A woman from Poitiers publishes a book to act “like Vikings”

A woman from Poitiers publishes a book to act “like Vikings”
A woman from Poitiers publishes a book to act “like Vikings”

She knows the Viking way of life well. She even practices it regularly, within the reenactment troupe of which she is one of the founders, Les Ours d’Alfadir. Poitevine Cynthia Léonard will now share it with her readers, since she has just written the book Like Vikings.

Weaving wool and making mead

“I had already had the opportunity to write about the Vikings, in a magazine, she explains. I have always loved writing and I said yes when the Vagnon publishing house, which belongs to the Fleurus group, contacted Les Ours, as a re-enactment troupe, to publish an introductory book so that people could reproduce Viking-style techniques at home.

Working with wool and weaving braid, making a tunic or an apron dress, styling your hair or beard, making a shield, knowing how to light a fire, knowing about celebrations, cooking a pork stew with beer, making a successful mead recipe, learning to play merelle… By theme and through 25 tutorials, the book gives practical advice, richly illustrated. “These are 95% of the photos I took with the Bears, during our events, like our annual mountain hike.”says Cynthia Leonard, who plays Lennhylde in the Viking clan.

Based on historical research

She herself discovered and learned all these techniques over time. “My grandparents took me to medieval festivals in Auvergne. When I met my partner, he was also passionate, we started by participating in medieval reenactments in Auvergne then in Vienne, and we created Les Ours d’Alfadir. We developed our equipment and our outfits through research, working with specialists in the Middle Ages and the Vikings.” She insisted that the title of the book, Like Vikingseither in the plural, “so that everyone can identify, man or woman”and focused on choosing models “easy to create”.

Above all, it removes prejudices: “The Vikings did not have horned helmets! I use these tutorials to provide historical information, with boxes that cite sources, namely texts and archaeological pieces. What would please me most is if reading this book could generate vocations for doing reconstruction and that people would want to do their own research.” Since we know that the Vikings came to Poitiers several times, that might give you some ideas!

Like Vikings, Éditions Vagnon, €14.95. On sale in bookstores and online.

See The Bears of Alfadir

The Bears of Alfadir represent a Viking clan formed in Norway around the year 995. The association was created in Poitiers in December 2012 to reconstruct the Viking era of the raiding period (from the years 700 to 1100): the choice of name pays homage to Alfadir, another name for the god Odin, and to the bear, emblem of the warrior spirit.

The troupe, which has around ten members, is taking part in several events during the summer of 2024. On July 21, it will be at the major Viking festivals at the Ornavik historical park in Normandy. Closer to home, in Taillebourg (Charente-Maritime), Les Ours will be livening up the castle alleys during the day, from Thursday July 25 to Monday July 29, in conjunction with the show Le Pari Drakkar offered in the evening by Les Baladins du Comté de Taillebourg. In Vienne, they will take part, as they do every year, in the medieval festival of Château-Larcher, on September 14 and 15.

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