We’ve chosen to create a seven-day event because after our last two events (at Marathon in 2011 and 2015) we became convinced that the difficulty of getting reenactors to Greece and the depth of the experience made a long event necessary. Our goal with this event is to increase reenactor immersion. We will have some public, but probably not the crowds we had at Marathon; the battlefield of Plataea is farmland around a very small community, well off the main highways, and it is unlikely that we will receive large-scale tourist visitors.
Having decided to concentrate on immersion, and after a good deal of battlefield research, we have come up with a program that will involve a fair amount of walking (or marching), but will allow all of us to experience the whole of the battlefield from the Athenian position on the far left near the town of Melissochori to the final Spartan position on the far right at Agios Demetrios below Erythres, almost 10 kilometers away. After a few days of settling in, drill, and demonstrations, we’ll ‘reenact’ the movements of the battle, including (we hope) the Athenian night march, the final Spartan march, and the skirmishing movements between the armies along the Asopus in in the rough ground along river courses. This experience of the original battlefield, including the archeological site of the ancient city and the almost untouched area of each phase of the battle, should be an unparalleled re-enactment experience.
Because we’ll never reach the numbers (or required safety equipment) to refight a battle with hundreds of thousands of participants, we’re choosing to recreate movement rather than fighting, and every participant will have the opportunity to take many roles; Athenians, Theban, Spartan, Persian.
By the end of the week, you should feel as if you were really there, and you will probably know more about the battle than most scholars!
A note on required equipment.
All reenactors, regardless of impression or gender, are welcome at any immersion sub-event, but in Boeotia in July, these marches will be hot and hard. We will cross fields full of vegetation that can slash unprotected legs and feet.
Every reenactor should come with:
- A correct straw hat
- A period canteen, water bottle, or water skin
- Good strong sandals with leg wraps, nalbinding socks or felt boots under sandals with greaves
You might want to practice marching in kit, and experiment with methods of carrying your shield and helmet (unless you are lucky enough to have a skeurophoros ). In 479 BC hoplites had slaves to do this… we won’t.
Finally, we expect some very limited combat interactions and safety will be paramount. We want to stress that there will NOT be ‘combat’ interactions. We may have ‘contact’ moments where two phalanxes come together, but we specifically will NOT then follow these with ‘combat.’ If individuals want to play at ‘hoplomachia’ they should DM Αρτιστειδες Δικαιος on Facebook for discussion. Please understand that we have multiple hosts and a web of safety rules and obligations. Reenacting in Greece is always full of… excitement.
Every reenactor intending to be in ‘contact’ MUST have the following:
- A safe spear with either a molded rubber head or foam rubber ‘safe’ head and either a rubber sarauter or a no sarauter.
- Eye protection that you can wear with your kit is recommended. However, archers will fire by volley in ‘contact’ scenarios and warning will be given. (We understand that many of you don’t have access to eye protection)
- Archers are required to have bows no more powerful than 50# and to have safed ‘flu-flu’ arrows with blunt rubber tips. (video on making them). We recommend 12-20 arrows per archer. A few non-flu-flu arrows are also recommended for archery experiments.
There will be scheduled safety inspections before every immersive event. No sharp spears or spears with sharp metal sarauters will be allowed in any immersive event, and all sharp swords, akinakes, daggers and axes will be required to stay in their sheathes in immersive events. Safety Officers will have the last word on what is safe. Please don’t debate with them.