The Matthias Rex Association /

Mathias Rex Történelmi Hagyományőrző Egyesület

A short preface

Let me go on with the introduction of Hungarian reenactors, clubs and associations, and Historical European Martial Art (HEMA) fans. 
Photos are from the Association’s FB page
Who are wielding swords and stretching bows in the “Hungaries” in our days? I took a deep breath and started the survey. A friend told me there might be as many as 30,000 people altogether in the Carpathian Basin who speak the Hungarian language and have something to do with history and weapons, of course on different levels. Additionally, there is a wide range of interest from the lovers of Roman Legions to modern-day reenactors who dress in WWI uniforms. Now, I am concentrating on those of them who deal with the period discussed on my FB page “Hungarian History 1366-1699”.

Roughly saying, there are three grand categories:
1. experts who are trying to pay attention to the smallest historical detail, both in their attires and weapons. They are usually reenactors who attend festivals.
2. HEMA-ist swordsmen (or swordswomen 🙂 ) or other martial art associations like Baranta who preserve and build historical traditions in their activity. They usually attend to modern championships and tournaments, fighting with longsword, rapier, or saber.
3. The third group includes all the hobbyists and ad-hoc groups who do not wish to submerge in reenactment or historical martial art too deeply but nevertheless they took an honest liking in this area. Let us not forget, even a little fencing knowledge is better than no knowledge at all and some of us simply don`t have the proper circumstances or financials to get involved so much.

The groups and associations are scattered all over the “Hungaries”: of course, I have more information about groups and clubs in Hungary but there are several of them in Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, Austria, and Ukraine. Just to make it more complex, many Hungarians are members of clubs where the members are not necessarily joined because of their nationality. So there are many Hungarians in Croatian, Romanian, and other reenactor associations or in HEMA clubs. I have to note here: please, send me information about all the clubs you may know in the Carpathian Basin, preferably telling me details about them so as to introduce them in this series…

The Matthias Rex Association 

The association I would like to introduce is from Hungary, they are the Matthias Rex Association, and this is their FB page, check it out, I particularly like that they write many posts in the English language, not just in Hungarian:

The Matthias Rex Association was founded in 2002 in Budapest by a group of friends who were interested in the special atmosphere of the Middle Ages, armor, and fencing. Now, there are 8-10 active members, mostly in Budapest but one of them lives in Somogy County. They are reenacting the armored mercenaries of King Matthias Corvinus (1443-1490), dressed like the soldiers of the Black Army. You can read more about King Matthias on my page:

King Matthias’ statue in Kolozsvár (Cluj, Klausenburg, Romania)

They are fighting in armor, focusing on freestyle combat. They began to work with cannons and guns in 2008-2010. It was the time when they opened towards a new period and began to reenact the Landsknecht age as well. The Landsknechts were German mercenaries in the 16th century, savage and valiant but also disciplined fighters in the battles. They fought in Hungary during the Ottoman wars, too. For example, there were 300 of them who covered the retreat of King Lajos (Louis) II of Hungary in the Battle of Mohács in 1526, all dying in doing so.

What do the members of Matthias Rex like the most? They replied to me with a funny quotation from the film “Conan, the barbarian”, saying: “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women.” As it is, their greatest joy now is to spend together some long weekends, bringing along their families, pretending as if they were in the Late Middle Ages, and telling legendary stories to each other. Their goal is to display the everyday life of mercenary soldiers in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

The primary goal is not the presentation of fencing, but rather the display of everyday tools and attire of a common soldier. (Knife-maker, relic-seller, spice-merchant, barber, midwife…) They are spreading historical knowledge to those youngsters who are interested in reenactment, showing them a good example. It is difficult to organize fencing training because their living places are far from each other. Yet, they try to meet at least once a week to practice fencing, according to German manuals. Often, they join in the training of other clubs.

They are lucky to have one supporter that has been promoting them since the beginning, it is the family enterprise of their founder, Intertechnika Ltd. This company works with metal plates and they give them a storage place, too, where the group can store their equipment. On the other hand, they could not gain any financial aid by applying for funds from foundations or organizations. Their members pay individually for their own armor and weapons. The group pays together for the camp equipment and has the cannons, tents, benches, and tables manufactured from their own income, too.

They have been working closely together with other reenactment groups like the „Rühes Farkasok” (Mangy Wolves), the Alba Societas, the „Fekete Hollók” (Black Ravens) or the Mare Temporis Foundation.
Enjoy the pictures below that I found on their FB page:

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