Bradley A. Gorski
Articles by Bradley A. Gorski

Magic and Dragons and Swords, Oh My! Affect and the Medieval

As medieval knights, damsels, and lords descended on central Moscow this summer as part of the annual Times and Epochs festival, many of them saw their activities as specifically apolitical. Similar sentiments are voiced throughout Russia’s growing movement of Historical Reconstruction, members of which meet at hundreds of festivals throughout the country each summer. But upon reflection, many acknowledge that medieval reconstruction does indeed align with a certain social and political orientation: “Healthy values, ‘absorbed’ from the past, are characteristic of reconstructors: strong families, traditional gender roles, a cult of camaraderie.”

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Medieval Knights in Central Moscow

Billed as “The world’s largest historical event,” Times and Epochs annually attracts hundreds of thousands of battle re-enactors, period-specific artisans, and uncostumed spectators for recreations of everything (or every time) from ancient Rome to medieval Rus’ up to the Russian Civil War and WWII. The festival is only one of an enormous number of such events that have sprung up across the country in recent years and that act as the meeting points for the growing Movement in Historical Reconstruction.

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