Medieval Middle East by Sarah Dea

Chivalry isn’t dead, according to the UAE chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

“The SCA is all about trying to extend honour, courtesy, and the dream of chivalry. The world needs a lot of that these days,” says Deborah Knight, Dubai resident and founding member of the UAE SCA group. The SCA is an international historical re-creation society, divided into regional and local chapters. The SCA reaches 5 continents and boasts over 30,000 members, according to its website. While the UAE group is still in its infancy, it already has 12 official members and continues to blossom after each meet-up.

“I got in just over 16 years ago from a demo in a Medieval fair in Florida. I call it the uber hobby because whatever you’re interested in: costuming, history, cooking jewelry making, martial arts, there’s a place for it within this group,” says Knight.

When Knight moved to Dubai four years ago, she met Abu Dhabi resident Joanne Labny. Together, they created the Shire of the Pearl Coast, a UAE-based group. The name of the group is inspired by the region’s rich history of pearl trading. Their aim is to study and recreate mainly Medieval European cultures and their histories before the 17th century. “”It’s really cool because all sorts of people from all walks of life will come together with a mutual interest, “ says Labny, a history graduate.

During one of the recent revels in Safa Park, the group donned their costumes, played Medieval games, shared food from the period and enjoyed the last days of the spring breeze. The highlight of the gathering included the one-on-one battle reenactments staged by some of the costumed members. Paul Cooper, a Dubai resident, has recently joined the UAE SCA group and enjoys practicing his swordplay. “I became interested in history when it was something to do rather than something to read about,” says Cooper. Through his reenactments, he says he recreates an idealized form of history, the way it should have been.

Although the outdoor events are finished for the season, the group will continue to meet on a monthly basis for “arts and science” days, where members can work on historical projects together.

More information can be found on the group’s website

Photos and text by Sarah Dea / The National

Published: May 18, 2014 04:00 AM


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