Medieval clashes take place at Northmont Library


ENGLEWOOD — Camelot came to the Northmont Library on June 27 when the Society for Creative Anachronisms staged a demonstration of medieval skills and crafts.

The SCA, as it is known, dates back to 1966 and calls itself “an immersive history group.” According to the Website ( people “dressed in clothing of the period, can experience tournaments, royal courts, feasts and dancing, and learn how to recreate crafts and skills of the pre-17th century world.”

Northmont Librarian Kristi Ross said she was always interested in the medieval period and joined the SCA when she saw an ad on a bulletin board at Miami University while she was in college.

She emphasized that the Renaissance Festivals, like the one held each fall near Waynesville, are to watch and spend money at, but the SCA “encourages getting involved. Some come for the history, some for the crafts and some for the fighting. If it was done in the Middle Ages, someone does it for the SCA.”

There was no jousting on horseback at Northmont, but there were fencing contests and battles with halberds and pikes. The fencers used swords, although not the light fencing swords used in modern matches.

Anything before the 1600s is all right, and there are people who specialize in Viking lore. Most, however, prefer to concentrate on the period around the 1400s. There is no age limit. At the Northmont Branch Library, a boy of elementary age was dressed as a medieval child (although he was not taking part in the fighting).

Members have “medieval names.” Susie Lurtzmanis is known as Irene the Questing. A member for 40 years, she became fascinated by the period in childhood when her parents took her to a Renaissance Festival.

She took the name Irene when she joined, and the others added the description because of her intense interest in learning everything.

She makes glass beads and other jewelry, using a lot of banded agate. When polished dots appear on this substance and were thought to protect against the evil eye.

Another craft demonstrator was Maya Galbraith, spinning wool into yarn, using wool from her own Merino sheep and Angora rabbits.

Unlike Civil War re-enactors, who insist on accurate materials, knights’ armor and shields can be made of wood or plastic, but the design is accurate.

Much, though, is of metal, often aluminum. Pat Savelli (William of Fairhaven), putting on his armor in preparation for a bout, said, “There are full-time armorers all over the place.”

He said the helmets are the most important, and some can cost as much as $1,000.

The pikes and halberds are made of rattan which Savelli explained will become spongy as it wears instead of splintering. The SCA is not so devoted to the medieval period as to recreate the actual bloodshed.

The local chapter of the SCA is the Barony of Flaming Gryphon. Visit to learn more.

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