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Alain D.





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PostPosted: Sun 13 Sep, 2009 9:54 am    Post subject: History of the Hobby         Reply with quote

Does anybody know the history of the reenactment/weapon collecting hobby? I understand that most people did not have money to spend on such things until the 20th century, but it seems logical that there would have been historians in the past with the passion to pursue such a hobby. Victorian archery could be considered a historical example, as well as fencing. Are there any other documented examples of people pursuing such hobbies in the past? There certainly wouldn't have been reproductions widely available on the market until modern times to support the community of today.

-Alain
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 13 Sep, 2009 10:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Collecting was known in Victorian times (19th century) and many fakes were at the time produced to satisfy the demands of collectors. Other antiques were ruined by being over-cleaned, altered, and/or decorated to suit the collector's fancy.

In some ways the fakes of the Victorian era are the ancestors of modern replicas.

Reenactment was happening at the same time, I believe. There were jousts in the 19th century using new armour and cobbled together old harnesses.

There may have been collecting and reenacting prior to the 19th century as well.

Happy

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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Sun 13 Sep, 2009 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that collecting arms and armour is a very, very old hobby. For instance, king Phillips II of Spain purchased the collection of his father, emperor Charles V, in 1559. Charles V had a sizable collection of his own. His collection (called royal armoury, or Real Armeria) can now be visited in the royal palace in Madrid.

Fencing as a hobby is also very old, as manuscript I.33 from the 13th C. shows, but in my opinion, fencing (i.e. learning to fight with swords in a competitive manner) might be as old as swordmanship itself.

Making new weapons "in the style of" was popular in the late middle ages when Roman and Greek arms and armour inspired contemporary designs.

As Chad notes, the modern interest could be traced to the Victorian era. But I'm not sure that it's fair to call Victorian era reproductions "fakes", as I think that they were not neccessarily marketed as originals so there is little difference with modern reproductions.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 13 Sep, 2009 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
As Chad notes, the modern interest could be traced to the Victorian era. But I'm not sure that it's fair to call Victorian era reproductions "fakes", as I think that they were not neccessarily marketed as originals so there is little difference with modern reproductions.


A good number were marketed as real originals. You hear much more about fakes than about replicas or reproductions.

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Alain D.





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PostPosted: Sun 13 Sep, 2009 6:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting points. I had thought that perhaps very wealthy aristocrats or royalty might be interested in collecting such items.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 13 Sep, 2009 6:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alain D. wrote:
Interesting points. I had thought that perhaps very wealthy aristocrats or royalty might be interested in collecting such items.


They were almost certainly the target audience of the people making fakes/repros. The reborn jousts were similarly the games of the wealthy.

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Eric W. Norenberg





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PostPosted: Sun 13 Sep, 2009 9:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

'Lo, all!

Just in case anybody's not read this one yet:

http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_schmidt.html

Maybe a spiritual forefather of Albion, A & A, et al.?

Seems like nostalgic re-enactment has been around as long as we, as a species, have been mindful of our history. Many recorded tourneys and mock battles from the Middle Ages were themed / scripted to portray Arthurian, Roman, Greek, etc. feats of arms. But, yeah, as to the current state of things, I think we owe it to the Victorian-era (meaning that time period - England wasn't the only nation celebrating a-new its Medieval legacy) Medieval Revival movements, based themselves in reaction to the industrial age and the economic and political changes that came with it, for creating our current, enduring love affair with all that "Medieval Crappe", as my wife terms it. Just look at the Arts and Crafts movement, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the Romantic authors and poets, the very serious revival of Gothic architecture. Both our romanticised imaginings of the period and our first steps toward an accurate historical reckoning of it come from the 19th century.

Sorry for the near-thesis, there. It's just my thing.

-Eric
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Sep, 2009 7:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I'm recalling correctly, Alexander the Great stopped off at Troy on his way east, and carried off a shield said to have belonged to Achilles. That was probably a little more due to his egomania than a passion for collecting antiques, but still...

Matthew
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Sep, 2009 4:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not confident that Alexander would not have stopped at Troy to collect a battlefield artifact. (The site and surroundings presently considered by archeologists to be Troy VII does not yield that many weapon type artifacts, and its history after 1180 B.C. does not seem to have been that glorious.) Items like Achilles armour were supposed to have been moved to shrines. There were supposed to have been several Roman shrines containing artifacts from the Trojan war. I figure that might count as a sort of early beginning to museums.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Douglas S





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PostPosted: Mon 14 Sep, 2009 5:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Um, probably it was not the real site of Troy, nor was it probably really the shield of Achilles. Idea
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Sep, 2009 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I'm not confident that Alexander would not have stopped at Troy to collect a battlefield artifact. (The site and surroundings presently considered by archeologists to be Troy VII does not yield that many weapon type artifacts, and its history after 1180 B.C. does not seem to have been that glorious.) Items like Achilles armour were supposed to have been moved to shrines. There were supposed to have been several Roman shrines containing artifacts from the Trojan war. I figure that might count as a sort of early beginning to museums.


Douglas S wrote:
Um, probably it was not the real site of Troy, nor was it probably really the shield of Achilles.


Well, I'd have to dig up the story to be sure I'm getting it right, but the implication is that he really did visit Hissarlik, generally accepted as the site of Troy. He made a sacrifice at a mound which he was told was the tomb of Achilles, and it was probably at a nearby temple that he found the shield. The site had been revered by locals since long before Alexander got there, and sure, it might have just been a random pile of dirt, but it is his belief that it was the tomb of Achilles that really counts. Same with the shield--doesn't matter if it wasn't the actual shield made by Hephestus himself, or even if the locals believed it was or were pushing an old platter off as a hero's shield. Heck, look how many fake artifacts show up on a board like this one! The point is that Alexander took the shield because he believed it belonged to his great hero and role model.

It might be possible to find references to people collecting old weaponry even farther back than Alexander, but that's still in the time when warriors took the armor from defeated foes as trophies, visible and highly treasured evidence of their prowess and glory. Wealthy men naturally had multiple weapons, and even more than one suit of armor. They weren't really "collecting" as we do today, of course, since these were the tools of their trade. The shield of Achilles is an unusual case, but then Alexender never really fits into the box labeled "normal"!

Valete,

Matthew
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Sep, 2009 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Iliad was the most revered piece of literature in the ancient Greek and Roman world, people knew more or less where Troy had been, and many wanted to visit it. Alexander (who was obsessed with the Iliad and Achilles in particular) took the Shield of Achilles. There was also the Tomb of Achilles, where a 7 foot skeleton could be viewed. It wouldn't surprise me if there was a Lyre of Paris, a Sword of Hector, and a Golden Brassiere of Helen on display. In short, it was one of the world's first tourist traps.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Sep, 2009 1:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
It wouldn't surprise me if there was a Lyre of Paris, a Sword of Hector, and a Golden Brassiere of Helen on display. In short, it was one of the world's first tourist traps.


It would not surprise me if there actually had been such relics either. Tom Harper's "The Lost Temple" is a fairly good book that I read recently. The subject was a fictional present day quest for the shield of Achilles. It had a lot of actual historical and archeological background based upon true "historical belief" within ancient Greek writings that there really were such shrines, and assertions of the artifacts really being contained in them. Some of the known ruins (actually visited by the author) really do seem to give a credible basis for the stories that now seem so fantastical.

Anyhow, as to the history of collecting... I figure some warriors kept things handed down by their fathers. Others may have enshrined equipment of fallen heroes. That would count as a form of collecting in my opinion, probably done since ancient times.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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