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fredag 16 juli 2010

All good things must come to an end

As you may have noticed, I am no fan of Blogger. I will therefore move my blog to this adress:
. Be sure to update your links, and to tell all your friends.

Also, I have found a co-author - Maria. Hopefully this change will be for the better, with more posts, different subjects (not only boring museum reports) and a better blog interface for us as users and you as readers.

My report on our trip to Germany will continue there. Hopefully I will have enough time to write soon.

Thanks to all readers. I sincerely hope you will begin to read at If you don't, I guess I'll see you on some battlefield ;)

onsdag 23 juni 2010


One of my favorite girls are blogging about Albrechts Bössor. I would like you all to have a look at Jungfruburen. Right now!

måndag 7 juni 2010

Finally finished

Those gloves are finished. Both. The second one looks like the first one, although a bit better. I will never do it again if I can avoid it.

lördag 22 maj 2010


When we were finished in Lübeck, we went to Hamburg. When we arrived we looked up our hostel, and then we were off to meet Thorsten Stoye - bagpipe maker extraordinary. That's where I collected the King of Noise. We had tea and talked about bagpipes for a while, and then we went back to Hamburg to meet our dear friends of Elvelüut Hamborch. They booked a table at the Gröninger Privatbrauerei and I can dearly recommend food, drink, company and service. We ate about five kilos of meat, had a good few beers and nearly fell asleep.

Next day it was time for one of our main goals - the

Hamburger Kunsthalle
Rating: 5/5

At the Hamburger Kunsthalle you can see two magnificent altarpieces by Meister Bertram van Minden, who died about 1415 or so. He was a master of his trade and very well known; his will has even survived to our days. He worked at different places in middle- and northern Germany. His style is to a great extent naturalistic and he spares few details. His works are a goldmine for any late 14th century reenactor. There were also some other interesting pieces but I was tremendously impressed by Meister Bertram's sculptures and painting. We had no problems taking photos there, even with a tripod.

Next stop was
Hamburg Museum
Rating: 2/5

This museum is a good one in general, but the medieval section is way too small and poorly organized. Almost no datings exist, which means that you can never be certain if a certain artefact is interesting for you. I was a bit impressed by pretty cool weapons, and I liked the fact that we got to take photos - although without tripod - but otherwise I was disappointed.

fredag 7 maj 2010

Blogger is in deep trouble

I am very close to leave Blogger for something else. I really, really hate working with pics here. There is a good name for it in Swedish: Användarfientligt.

onsdag 5 maj 2010

Lübeck churches

And now - time for the Lübeck churches.

We started with Marienkirche - a huge brick church.

Rating: 3/5

This church is awesome in its own respect. As a building it is magnificent, and we were breathtaken. There is absolutely no doubt about the might and importance of the Hansa cities - most Swedish churches are tiny in comparison. When it comes to late 14th century art, the church has little to offer however. The only thing we stumbled across was a tucked away effigy of Bruno von Warendorp. He died in 1369 after a battle in Helsingborg in south Sweden.

Lübeck Dom
Rating: 3/5

The Lübeck cathedral is packed with cool art. However this was a first premonition of what the trip was going to be like: we found oh so pretty altar pieces dated to the 1420's - too late for us but splendid in detail and technique. The church is worth a closer look just because it's so nice.

There were loads of other churches. We visited a few, but generally they were of little interest for the late 14th century nerd. It also seemed one of our goals for the trip, Katharinenkirche, was closed. Too bad, but it gives us a reason to come back again.

söndag 2 maj 2010

May I present - The Lübeck Museums!

First of all, a bit of general info.

The trip lasted three whole days, and there is loads of stuff to mention about it, but I'll just mention the best stuff. Plus, I'll write a short review about each of the places we visited. And there will be pics!

We travelled like this:

Rostock > Lübeck > Hamburg > Wismar > Bad Doberan > Greifswald > Stralsund > Rostock. We travelled a bit further than necessary - we "missed out" Bad Doberan and Wismar on our way to Hamburg and went more or less the same way back - all because it was too early in the morning for anything to be open. We used that time to travel instead, and arrived in Lübeck in good time to have breakfast and to check out where the museums were situated.

And now - get ready for museums (close your mouths, you nerds!)!

Lübeck has, as far as I know, three museums of interest for the medieval reenactor, plus loads of churches, but let's begin with the museums.

Burgkloster Museum
Rating: 5/5

This museum is one of the best museums I have ever been to. And I have been to many, believe me... I believe there is only one museum I visited that can match it. The collections were very nicely displayed, there were loads and loads of artifacts, well preserved and interesting. The pottery nerd will have his fill - they have an entire floor just packed with pottery of different types in near mint condition. All of us were stunned if not to say over-excited, and we left the museum exhausted but happy. The museum is situated in an old monastery with some wall paitings and sculptures, which are also very nice indeed. This is a must see!

Holstentor Museum
Rating: 3/5

The Holstentor Museum is cool in its own respect, as it is in fact a gate house of the old city wall. The building is intriguing really. But then it's not so cool anymore, at least not if you are into the latter part of the 14th century. The only thing that saves the museum from a 2/5 rating is the gambeson on display. It's from the 1430-ies if I am not mistaken, but it can nevertheless teach us a lot about gambeson construction.

Kunsthalle St Annen
Rating: 4/5

This museum of art contains smashing examples of naturalistic, beautiful and very interesting art. I believe I have never seen a cooler altar piece, plus there is some very well preserved chests and some decent art in general. But the altarpiece is some work of art. The only problem is that it is dated to 1405, which puts it out of reach for us... The museum as a whole is very well worth a visit.

söndag 25 april 2010


In Albrechts Bössor we have the ambition to use sources between 1364-1389. It is a rather exact time frame, but it has to do with the reign of the king - he sat on the throne between those years. It is also a nigh impossibility. It's not much more than 20 years, and when it comes to most sources they are not dated as exactly. Normally you will have to do with "latter part of the 14th century" or if you are lucky "the third quarter of the 14th century". To put it short: we use sources from the latter part of the 14th century, but aim for sources 1360-1390.

And we SHOULD use sources from Scandinavia or Germany only. It is hard and sometimes frustrating work. Until a couple of years ago I mainly used French sources for a lot of things. You guys on the continent may well frown and ask yourselves "Why French sources? It is totally wrong!". You are right there. My big problem has been that my German hasn't been good enough to work with German sources (don't ask me how I could find French ones - I have absolutely no idea what so ever how I managed as I don't speak a word French).

Now a days I can manage pretty well, as I used my German to find out stuff and as I made new friends in Germany. And that means that a whole new world has opened up for me, especially when it comes to historical recordings, as for instance Urkundenbücher - books that describes this and that from various areas or cities. I estimate that about 70% of medieval German is so similar to Swedish that I can read it without any greater efforts. Sometimes I miss out on details, but most of the time it's not a big deal.

So far so good. Here come the next problem. We also have an aim to use two or more sources that are independent from each other (unless we are making exact copies - that is rare). That means that it doesn't count to use the same altar piece or manuscript (for example) twice when you are reconstructing something. You can't have two pictures of a similar jacket from the same manuscript and say that they are two sources. It is one and the same.

It is also a question of how meticulous you should be - is it two different sources if you find two sculptures on different geographical locations, where one is made in the 1370's and the other made circa 1380 - by the same sculptor? I am not entirely sure - all it tells us really is a single person's interpretation of the same object. It is really a git.

To summarize:

- Use two sources independent from each other.
- Use sources only from Scandinavia and Germany.
- Use sources from between the years 1364-1389.

In practice I don't believe that anyone in the group has really managed to complete an outfit within these boundaries, but never the less - that is the ambition.

However. Our German trip was part of an elaborate scheme. Me and the new guy Kristofer decided that we were going to be the first to do it. Better still - we aimed for a time frame of 1370-1380 and a geographic limitation of cities in the vicinity of the Baltic sea. And we really thought we were able to succeed.

We started out with Internet research. I asked around on forums and we browsed thousands of pictures in for example to get a grip of which cities could have the most interesting churches and museums. I searched the part west and northwest of Lübeck. Kristofer searched the area to the east of Lübeck. We limited ourselves to go no further south than Hamburg. My parts seemed to be of little interest in comparison, so we chose the Meckleburg-Vorpommern area.

Before long we had found enough places to put together a crazy research trip that was planned by the minute - eat, sleep, travel, visits. And by the look of it, we should have enough sources from 1370-1380 to succeed! We set out with great hopes, Thursday the 1st of April, and drove our car on to the ferry 22:45. We rolled onto German soil in Rostock 06:30 in the morning the 2nd, and set out for our first goal - Lübeck.

fredag 23 april 2010

Why so German?

First of all I would like to explain why I have been going on outings to Denmark and Germany. After all, I do reenact Swedish 14th century, not German and Danish. Yeah, that's right.

But. Swedish 14th century reenactors (really most Swedish reenactors that reenact anything else than the 18th century and onwards) are having a bit of trouble.

- The Royal library burned down in the late 17th century (1698). The oldest (i.e. the medieval) accounts were stored in the back, and weren't saved. Almost all medieval archives went up in flames that horrid night.

- The reformation was particularly ruthless up here. It was backed up by the sly and hard nosed king Gustav Wasa and loads of accounts were destroyed along with monasteries, churches and church art.

- During the Black plague (that reached Sweden in 1350) about 1/3 of the population died. And in a country the size of Sweden with about 1 million inhabitants, the blow was fearsome. There was hardly anyone left to build churches or to decorate them. And after the plague came the agrarian crisis...

- Sweden was a bit backwater by the time. For instance, we had very few knights, and the concept of effigies was little known. We had few mighty cities and as we were situated far in the north, influences from mainland Europe took time to establish themselves. What is left of church art during the 14th century is for the most part kind of crude and poorly kept.

These are some of the reasons for my fascination in German and Danish sources. We simply don't have enough Swedish sources to work with when it comes to art and litterature (I can think of one single manuscript from 14th century Sweden that is adorned with miniatures).

Another reason is that we had lot of contact with both Danes and Germans. Particulary German merchants were abound in Swedish cities - it is even stated in laws from the time that a city can have no more than three German mayors - if there were more, the Germans would have too much influence. Also, in the mountain regions lots of German miners came to lead and develop mining. During the latter half of the 14th century even more Germans came. Sweden had seen German nobles before, but during this time I would estimate that the German nobles were nearly as many as the Swedish - they followed King Albrecht from his homelands in Mecklenburg to be in his service and to receive estates and wealth. Some names of these are Vicke von Vitzen, Rawen von Barnekow, Heyne and Gerhard Snakenborg and Heinrich Parow (the last mentioned is a bloody traitor, but that is a different story :-)).

A third reason is that the guys in Albrechts Bössor reenact so called "Garpar". A Garp is a word with the meaning "a person that is a real pain in the ass". It also means "German person" or "Person of German ancestry". In other words - we reenact German or Swedish/German mercenaries serving the German elite in Sweden, including King Albrecht, who was a duke of Schwerin (and Rostock, I believe).

There you have it. This is why I am so German. I will tell you more about the circumstances under which I try to do research some time in the near future.

torsdag 22 april 2010

Pitiful contributions

I haven't written for quite some time. Work is really a git, and I am still up to my ears in that divorce. Nevertheless. I will soon give you full accounts on the German trip, plus our blackpowder course with test firing. Stay tuned!

tisdag 6 april 2010

Enough said...

...The king has arrived. I posted some notes on this earlier. Look here.

The trouble will be to make it sound right, without freaking out the neighbors...

måndag 5 april 2010

Look here Isis!

I got something for you!

The noble woman Floria Sukow, 1385, Kloster zum Heiligen Kreuz, Rostock. I would say that is pretty much northern Germany...

onsdag 17 mars 2010

Gauntlet #1

Finally - pics of my gauntlet mounted on my leather glove! Enjoy!

Before and after.

The glove allows excellent movability...


...and rock and roll!

måndag 15 mars 2010


This weekend I had quite the happening in my apartment. Some of our newer members, along with some veterans and friends from Fraternis Militia Carnis came to Växjö for a crafting weekend. It was mostly textile - I fixed up my worn out hose, there was naalbinding and embroidery going on and some distance away, in a workshop, some of the participants were working on reconstructions of Wisby gauntlets.

We had great discussions, worked with sources, made new patterns, had some beers and good food, and watched medieval themed movies. It was fantastic to have them all gathered, and I even got to started with my second glove for my gauntlets (which reminds me - this week I'll post pics on the finished one - I borrowed Roger's camera so now all I have to do is transfer the pics and write the blog post. Just you wait!

torsdag 11 mars 2010

Frilled veils, 14th century, Northern Germany

This one's for you, Isis!

Hamburg, 1379

Halberstad, 1376-1400

Havelberg, ca 1400

Mühlhausen, 14thC - OK, not really northern Germany, but somewhere in the middle.

Mühlhausen, 14thC - OK, not really northern Germany, but somewhere in the middle.

onsdag 24 februari 2010

Crazy slow

Hey hey.

Long time. This whole business with the divorce is grinding me down, and I do not often find the motivation to write. But I am still here, don't you worry. This spring I will start to post more frequent as I am feeling better and as various crafting projects start to come to an end. However, as soon as I can get hold of a camera (the-soon-to-be-ex-wife seems to have claimed our camera for herself) I will be posting proud pics of my first upgraded gauntlet.

I have had the gauntlets for three or four years, but they were mounted on a pair of makeshift workers gloves, and hence fitted kind of badly. I had very limited movability and they were sometimes seriously uncomfortable. Now, after tremendous effort, I have finally stitched the first tailored glove to fit one of my gauntlets. I am satisfied, more or less. It is my first glove, and it is a git to stitch gloves I'll tell you! But I'll tell you more as soon as I get pictures uploaded to the blog. Stay safe in the meantime!

tisdag 26 januari 2010

What happens in Denmark...

(This post might be a bit boring, as I am mainly listing different sites we visited. bear with me, please...)

In October, me Simon, Malin and Kristofer went to Denmark. I had planned a trip for a long time, and now it was finally time to make it. I put together a series of places I wanted to visit - churches and museums throughout the distant parts of Denmark, where you never really put your foot; normally us Swedes go to Copenhagen or just pass through Denmark to get to Germany. But now I felt it was time to really open my eyes to our neighbors and what they have to offer.

We started out at early evening and went across the bridge to Copenhagen, and just went on driving. We arrived at Louise and Mikkel about ten or so in the evening, and we were offered splendid food and as splendid drink. I guess you know by now, that I have been working as a chef, but I was truly impressed with Mikkels cooking. After dinner we sat doing stuff reenactors usually do when they meet; we were discussing crafts, showing of craft, telling stories and drinking beer. It was regular hygge and we really enjoyed ourselves.

It was so nice to finally meet Louise and Mikkel (and Simon); we've been reading each others blogs, chatting on Facebook and so on, but we have never met. It was truly a grand gesture of the, taking us in and letting us stay in their wonderful home. It's one of the things I appreciate the most with medievalism; people are hospitable and friendly to a great extent. You can always count on your fellow nerds! We haven't got around to it, but there is a simple gift for our hosts, to show our appreciation. Just you wait, guys! ;)

Next morning we started out early. We had a tight schedule. We were to visit the museum of Randers, the Cathedral of Århus, the museum and Cathedral of Odense, the church of Sorø abbey, the church in Højby, the church in Skamstrup, the Cathedral and museum of Roskilde and the National Museum in Copenhagen. This, plus travel time, was to be covered in two days.

We arrived in Randers, just to discover we were nearly two hours early - the museum wasn't open yet. We took a stroll in a nice town before we went to check on the exhibitions. The museum was really good, with quite a lot of artefacts. Some months have passed, so I can't really recall any favourites, but I remember I enjoyed it.

Before we left Randers we had lunch, and Simon thought it would be a good idea to put a sharp eating knife in my butt. I am not kidding you. My best trousers were pierced and it hurt like hell. It was of course meant as a joke, but I became really pissed off. We finished our meal, and I decided not to be grumpy - it was a silly thing to do, but it wouldn't help to be sour about it. So I cheered up and we went for Århus to visit a nice cathedral, but with no vivid signs of the 14th century (which makes it a dull spot :-))...

Next stop was Odense. We visited a newly opened medieval part of the city museum, but I must say that I was not impressed. They had a grand exhibition on iron age and viking age, but the medieval bit was really pitiful. Too bad. The cathedral wasn't very impressing either - at least not from a 14th century point of view - but it was chilling to se the remains of the murdered S:t Knud, which are on display in the crypt. At the same spot you can also admire the beautiful Ørnetæppet, a form of tapestry from the 11th century. On our way to the car we passed a bakers shop where we bought honningkage - honey cake (OK - this one says "merry christmas" but I couldn't find a better pic)

We left Odense, before agreeing that we wouldn't stay in the hostel there, and pressed on for Sorø. We were in luck, as it seemed the hostel wasn't really open this time of the year, but they had some kind of a party going on, which meant we could get accommodation anyway. We took the car to Sorø town center and bought a couple of bottles of Danish porter, which was excellent! And then we went to a restaurant, where I wasn't knifed, but instead had a great meal - a kind of Danish speciality called Stjerneskud (Shooting star). It's a fish dish, and I really enjoyed it. We had a quiet and nice time in Sorø that evening. We returned to the hostel to have some porter and some honningkage for dessert. After that it wasn't long until we fell fast asleep. I didn't sleep very well - it was kind of hot and stuffed in the room.

In the morning we went to Sorø again. We had a quick breakfast (on top of the car) with coffee and rolls with cheese, plus some yoghurt, while waiting in the morning mist for the church to open. We managed to get into the church, just 15 minutes before mass. We had a quick run through the magnificent church and took loads of photos of an effigy from our period, before we had to evacuate to leave room for the church goers. The effigy is kind of famous, as it shows a king and a queen, and the queen has a frilled veil, which is really cool.

Then we departed for Skamstrup and Højby. Louise had made arrangements with the caretakers of both churches, so we were welcome as soon as mass was finished. Both churches were amazing in their own respects. Perfectly good murals and frescoes from 1350-1380. It was pure joy to see. I will try to post pictures when I have time. I would say this was the best part of the trip. The pictures show male fashion and armour in great detail, and as such images from our cultural sphere is very rare, it was like manna from heaven for us! The colours and the people depicted seemed so vibrant and alive. I was quite taken by it; it really made my day, in spite of an annoying headache.

Next stop was Roskilde. It turned out that we couldn't get access to the cathedral as tourists, so we skipped it for a later date, and went to Roskilde city museum instead. I for my part, have visited the cathedral before, so I wasn't very concerned. Also, Roskilde is not very far from Malmö, so it gives us possibility to go back another day.

The city museum was a good museum with a decent collection of medieval stuff. I especially remember a cistern, a really cool one! Me and Kristofer had a handful of photos, but Malin was having a severe headache, and hence she and Simon went looking for painkillers, which I happily accepted when we got back to the car.

The trip was all but finished at the National Museum in Copenhagen, where we had a proper look (for the 10th time or so) and had loads of pics taken. We arrived in Malmö about 18:00, and that was the end of it. I had a pleasant time and got to know Kristofer a lot better, and I also had the chance to meet some of our Danish colleagues. Next time I will find new ways and new places to visit. Just you wait!

The green markings on the map show how far we really travelled. Louise and Mikkel live in a village south of Århus, and that's where we stopped before continuing to Randers. The orange markings show our route the second day, whereas the yellow markings show the third day's route.

lördag 2 januari 2010

03.50 in the morning

It is pitch dark, but an eager moon lights the half metre snow I'm forcing my way through. I'm walking to Vigilia. It is bitter cold. I can't remember the last time it was as cold as it is this morning. The snow creaks under my feet, as I open the door to the chapel. I stomp my feet to rid them of the snow, and walk inside. It is warm. The smell of incense and burned candles has impregnated the room. I make the sign of the cross. Then I sit down on the murky green wooden bench and close my eyes. It is dark in the chapel. Only two candles light it. I am alone with my thoughts. I pray, silently, asking for blessings and protection for my family and my friends; even for those that people say would be my enemies.

Then one of the monks appear. He walks slowly round the room with a long match, lighting the candles. Soon, as the other monks enter the room, it is filled with soft candle light. It is still dark. Then the Vigilia suddenly begins.

Herre, hur många är inte mina fiender!
Många reser sig mot mig.
Många säger om mig: ”Det finns ingen frälsning för honom hos Gud.”

I read the words in my mind. I haven't yet learned the monotone chant. I think of what they mean, and I try to reach beyoind their apparent meaning.

Men du, Herre, är en sköld omkring mig.
Du är min ära, du lyfter upp mitt huvud.

My thoughts are drifting. I restrain them.

Jag ropar högt till Herren, och han svarar mig från sitt heliga berg.

I think again of the words. I think of the saints. I ask their help.

Jag lade mig och somnade, jag vaknade igen, ty Herren håller mig uppe.

I pray for forgiveness, strength, wisdom and courage.

Jag fruktar ej för skaror av många tusen,
som ansätter mig från alla sidor.

One of the brothers has started burning incense. Its grassy smell fills the air. I'm not sure if I like it or not.

Stå upp, Herre, fräls mig, min Gud!
Du slår alla mina fiender på kinden, du krossar de ogudaktigas tänder.

I decide I like the smell of the incense.

Hos Herren finns frälsningen. Låt din välsignelse komma över ditt folk!

I try to chant along, but there are no words from my mouth. I sit silent. The monks start their next psalm. It is early morning, and I am trying to get back on my feet.