Between the Medieval and The Modern

December 27, 2010

Somewhere between the Medieval and the Modern

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frau Magda @ 2:33 am
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The Magdalen Reading
Rogier Van der Weyden
Before 1438

I’m a child of the modern world. And one of my main challenges as a 16th century reenactor is trying to understand the medieval mind so that I can more fully inhabit my character.

I’m an agnostic sometimes-pagan former-Unitarian who portrays a devout Catholic.

I’m a college educated woman who is portraying a woman who can’t even read.

I am an English speaker, portraying a woman who speaks German, and probably (based on her travels) at least a smattering of Italian, Dutch, English, and Latin.

I am a childless woman, portraying a mother of five.

I am a divorced woman, portraying a widow.

I am someone who mostly feeds herself by heating up a can of something or popping something into the microwave. Magda would have learned to cook from her mother, and would have been able to make a tasty meal from any ingredients presented to her.

Because if I can’t understand how a 16th century person would think and respond to life, I’m not really reenacting.  I’m just playing dress up in 16th century clothes.

There are things that would have been daily facts of life for our ancestors (famine, plague, war, death in childbirth) that those of us who live in the West don’t have to worry about nearly as  much.  And there are things that we Westerners spend way too much time fretting over (cholesterol, breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, outsourcing, gas prices, Facebook) that would not have been issues for our ancestors.  There are definitely times that, because of my love of history, I don’t feel like I quite fit into the modern world ether.

This blog is going to be about my adventures, here in the space between the Medieval and the Modern.



  1. Sorta looks like the Magdalen has a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee by her side. . .

    Comment by Fritz — January 4, 2011 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  2. One of the ways that we know this picture is Mary Magdalen is because she’s often depicted with an alabaster jar of perfume.

    And I do think that in this case the jar does look a bit like a modern coffee travel mug. 😉

    Comment by Frau Magda — January 4, 2011 @ 6:22 pm | Reply

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