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Exceptional athletes from Chemnitz University of Technology attended the new edition of the "Battle of Hastings"

The new edition of the "Battle for Hastings" was deceptively real, but not dangerous. Photo: private

This year the time had come again: On October 14th and 15th, after six years, the legendary battle between the invaders of Normandy and the Anglo-Saxons in 1066 took place on the south coast of England. The "Battle of Hastings" paved the way the Normans under William I paved the way for the conquest of England. 940 years later, the decisive opening defeat of the Anglo-Saxons on the "Senlac Hill" was faithfully recreated by approx. 3,000 actors from all over the world.

Among them was a contingent from the TU Chemnitz that fought on the side of the Normans. With 16 participants, the Chemnitz swordsmen were part of the "Franco-Flemish Contingent", or FFC for short. "The FFC has united many German fighters and together with the Thuringian Knights Association, the participants from the Chemnitz University of Technology made up the bulk of this 300-strong group," explains Thomas Krause, who is responsible for public relations for medieval swordsmen at the Chemnitz University of Technology. The Chemnitz University Sports Course of the same name is also the largest after the Thuringian Knights Association with over 20 regular participants in events. "We are the only university group in Germany and as a sports course we have the unique opportunity of regular training with many participants," says Krause.

Preparations were in full swing months before the great battle in England. The FFC's dress rehearsal for Hastings was in September at the Kaiserpfalz in Goslar. During the joint training sessions and military exercises, the swordsmen attached great importance to the archers' formation and volley shooting. "In order to minimize the risk of injury, we trained and fought with so-called exhibition weapons, that is, no swords with sharp edges or points, no shields with metal frames. The arrows of the archers were also provided with rubber stoppers, strictly according to regulations," explains Thomas Krause, who has not yet had a serious injury in the sports course.

Around 40,000 spectators came to this globally unique spectacle in England. Krause says enthusiastically: "We were there for the first time and it was just awesome, especially the riders and the whole atmosphere were really impressive for us". However, the conditions for the participants were tough, especially with regard to the dress code and appearance in public. Among other things, wearing glasses or smoking in public were among the strict bans, as it did not fit into the time. Most of the clothes were made by the participants themselves or bought in thrift shops. The swordsmen also received financial support from the student council of the TU Chemnitz and other sponsors. The participants from Saxony are all the more pleased that they were not only there, but also received a lot of praise from the organizers for the authentic equipment and the excellent level of training. "The most sexiest archery group on battlefield" was affectionately called the German archers by the organizers. The German riders called them the "best cavalry unit" they had so far. Gawan, General of the FFC, said beaming with joy: "With this appearance we have made history and set new standards in the historical representation."

Anyone who would like to experience this spectacular event live will have to wait until 2017. The battle of Hastings will only be re-enacted if the historical date, i.e. 14/15 October falls on a weekend. An exception will probably only be made in 2066, 1,000 years after the momentous battle. The organizer is currently thinking about pulling out the battle again in this size in 2011.

additional Information from Thomas Krause, phone (03 71) 5 31 - 33 357, email [email protected]

Information on the "Franco-Flemish Contingent":http://www.ffc1066.de

(Author: Marlies Facius, student intern)

Mario Steinebach
14.11.2006

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