GRITUS – Reviving History and Reconstructing Life in the Middle Ages
Terra UltraSilvana Historic Restoration Group (“Grupul de Reconstituire Istorica Terra UltraSilvana” – GRITUS) is a non-profit organization, created in 2013 at the initiative of a small passionate group of admirers of a national history past era, specifically a period known as the The Middle Ages.
Beyond the nostalgia for the times of old, when manhood was proven in direct combat, beyond the sword and the chivalrous ideals of our ancestors, GRITUS wants to do more than to simply tell a story about what was. As the name implies, its members will go into well studied details and will effectively reconstruct life as it was in that era, with everything that it entails, supported by historic evidence.
These activities, much more complex than what a parade or a cultural event could indicate, unfold on multiple layers, from the study of historic sources to the recreation of battle scenes. Thus, the attendants get a true taste of the civilian and military life of multiple social categories and professional groups.
• archery, including the initiation of those willing to try it;
• fencing, following the instructions from existing manuscripts of the old fencing schools, recently united under the name Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), a sport that may soon become contemporary;
• creating specific costumes;
• crafting weapons and armour, including traditional medieval bows and even some artillery elements;
• setting up autonomous camps and workshops, including authentic kitchen.
As per its operating statute, the aim of the organization is non-patrimonial, educational-informative in nature, cultural and recreative, targeting:
• promoting culture, history, sports and traditional crafts;
• incentivizing young people towards the aforementioned activities through the adoption of a recreative process;
• promoting historical tourism;
• historic investigation and restoration through experimental archeology;
• organizing and participating in cultural-artistic and historic events aiming to enlighten the public, through activities as: crafting-artistic workshops, sport events (archery, mock-combat), crafting artistic and artisanal objects, mounting theatre plays, sketches, demonstrations and interactive exhibitions about the life and main practices of the medieval society, crafting and selling props, panoply, armour pieces, clothing items, weapons etc.
However, beyond these statements, for the members of GRITUS, historic restoration can be considered a way of living, as they will gladly assume the role of their character, they will wear the clothes and armour, may he be a foot soldier, a boyar or a merchant. At this time, the group is made up of two camps: the Transylvanian craftsmen and the Ottoman janissaries. The scenes of the Transylvanian burgs aren’t just played, I’m convinced they are also re-lived by each of them, no matter the side they are on that occasion, may it be the camp of the Turkish soldiers or the camp of the Transylvanians.
A few costumes and a sword could create the atmosphere of a masquerade, but they are insufficient in recreating life as it was a few hundred years ago. This requires serious documentation work, maintaining the physical condition necessary for the fights, studying the art of fencing, having skill and mastery of the crafts, extensive knowledge about materials and old tools. For example, not only are the costumes the own creation of GRITUS, but also some of the bows that are crafted from wood, while being faithful to the original technologies.
For the entire article, see Black Gryphon Magazine.