Rutgers Scarlet Cross raises medieval history from the dead
Dressed in robes and silver armor and carrying pikes and swords, students performed and fought for guests at the Rutgers Involvement Fair.
The Rutgers Scarlet Cross Medieval Organization is a student group that allows student to re-enact some of the more interesting aspects of medieval history, said Booker George, the club's president.
George, a School of Engineering senior, said Scarlet Cross is made up of University students who have an interest in medieval history from any region. The group is not limited to people with a related major.
“The only requirement is enthusiasm for the subject,” George said. “We focus on 600 (Common Era) to 1600 C.E., and cover topics ranging from warfare, to art, to social customs and beyond.”
The organization hosts a number of different events. Their weekly meetings include a presentation about an element of medieval history, researched and presented by the organization's members or alumni.
The club takes pride in creating a fun and relaxed environment that fosters educational purpose and lets members pursue their interests outside of class, George said.
The main purpose of Scarlet Cross is reenactment and armored fighting, Goerge said. Club members suit up and equip themselves with padded pole arms, swords, shields and other equipment.
“The weapons are made out of modern materials, but the weights and designs are pretty true to the originals,” George said. “We’ve also started branching out into historic fencing and arranging off-campus archery practices when we can.”
Melanie Caria, a two-year member of Scarlet Cross, said the club also focuses on accurate portrayals of life and historical events throughout the middle ages.
“We do fighting, cooking, arts and crafts, chainmail, metal jewelry, singing, barding and much more,” said Caria, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. “We have been to renaissance fairs, camping events, Medieval Times and other fun places.”
Doisgail Zulueta, vice president of the organization, said the weekly meetings are important to understand the true lifestyle of how people lived and worked in that time period.
There have been meetings on medieval torture, medicine, weapon and garb crafting and barding where the members bring in their favorite period accurate songs and stories to share with others, said the School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
“We are a small club and therefore aren't invited to many events, but we encourage people to come to our meetings,” Caria said. “Our meetings are run by volunteer members who speak or run an activity based on a topic of their interest.”
The organization also hosts the Rutgers Renaissance Fair and Festival and the Wack-a-Knight on Rutgers Day every year, George said.
The festival involves an armored fighting tournament, local vendors, book performances and an amateur fighting arena where Rutgers students can step into the ring and sword fight their friends.
“This year it will be April 23rd at Skelley Field, across from the Cook Student Center,” George said.
The club has lost a lot of members to graduation over the last couple years, George said.
Despite this, there have been several new members, he said. Many alumni also return to help
“But we’ve been lucky enough to get an influx of new enthusiastic members this year, and our alumni have been generous in coming back to share their expertise,” George said.
The club spirit unites their members together, Caria said.
“We are like a family — joined together by our love for history, fun and adventures — and to create memories that will last beyond college,” Caria said.
Christine Lee is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in American Studies. She is a contributing writer at The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @christie2504 for more.