Medieval Club off to a Colorful Start

Saint Mary's newest student group, the Medieval Club, enjoyed a debut feast on April 24 complete with food prepared by a chef who specializes in period cuisine, a dance master and musician who played on antique instruments and three Vikings who brought along drinking horns.

"The exercise caused much merriment, as drinking from a four-foot horn is quite an endeavor," said professor Costanza Dopfel, who teaches classes on medieval times during January Term. "The Vikings also talked about their adventures raiding monasteries and had their weapons, jewelry and a statue of Thor."

The Vikings came from the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), which is dedicated to researching and recreating pre-17th century European history.

Freshman Joelle Rowley, who took Dopfel's January Term course, pushed for the new club.

"I've been interested in all things medieval since I was really young," said Rowley, who began attending SCA events with her father in high school. "We started attending the wars they had and from the very beginning I knew I wanted to have as much involvement as possible with them. I bought my own clothes, bow and arrows and I started to learn archery. It is just so much fun that I couldn't not share it with others when I came to SMC, and since nobody had started a club yet here on campus, I thought it would be awesome if one was started."

Students from Dopfel's Art History course came to the feast in the Brother Urban Gregory Hall lounge dressed in 13th-century period costumes, and those over 21 drank mead from the Viking horn.

The musicians wore 16th-century Spanish court attire in silver and blue velvet.

The food included homemade cheese, homemade dry-cured salami and mortadella, fresh tortellini with peas, small birds (game hens and chicken) in a pie, an herb torte and meatballs.

Rowley wants to club to stage events, including a medieval fair for SMC students and for children in the area, which would include different crafts and combat styles of medieval times. She hopes that club members can also learn archery and fencing; Carl Thelen, a staff member in the computer services department who taught fencing to the Jan Term Class, may also teach it to club members, Dopfel said.

-- Erin Hallissy
Office of College Communications