Company of the Wolf
Company of the Wolf Founded 2005 Location Australian, based in Australia Period 1250–1490 Speciality Mercenary Campaigning Number of members around 50 Alliances none
The Company of the Wolf is an Australian combat reenactment and living history group, re-enacting a mercenary company of the High Middle Ages to the Late Middle Ages, portraying a timeline of the great warring periods of the Middle Ages, from the later Crusading period of 1250, through the Hundred Years' War, to the end of the Wars of the Roses and Bosworth Field in 1485. Portraying a collection of the finest hired blades in Europe, the Company's ranks include members representative of the landless nobility, grizzled professional campaigners and humble foot soldiers, as well as a variety of camp followers drawn from across Western Europe.
The group's charter states that its intent is twofold;
"To be an accessible reenactment group, catering to anyone with an interest in mediaeval European history, a suitable place in the group will be found for anyone with any level of experience or interest, and; To provide an accurate, interesting and fun educational experience to any institution or educational group interested in learning more about this interesting and largely misunderstood period of history. "
Origins and history
The Company of the Wolf formed during 2005 to provide a vehicle for mediaeval historians and re-enactors living in and around the New England region of New South Wales. Traditionally the Company has retained close links to other groups in Australia, frequently supplying members to reinforce the displays and shows of other groups. The Company is notable for its mascot Loupes De Guerre, or "war wolves". Historically, wolves, or other fierce breeds, would be unleashed before close quarters combat to break and demoralise enemy infantry formations. The Company of the Wolf use the considerably friendlier Siberian Husky to represent these dogs of war, equipping them with historically accurate armour. While dogs are frequent attendants in historical re-enactment, Company of the Wolf claims to be the only reenactment group in Australia that fields a dedicated armoured war dog sub unit.
Traditions and customs
The Company of the Wolf has a number of internal traditions and customs based on mediaeval practices.
Members of The Company of the Wolf who have attended three or more major events as members of the Company are awarded the rank of knight. This involves a traditional accolade or "dubbing" ceremony, where the newly elevated member is tapped on the shoulder with a sword and presented to his fellows, followed by a blow from a mailed fist. This represents the last blow that the new knight may ever take without responding to the challenge. The new knight is then presented with a small token of his or her new rank, often a badge. Once a knight, the member is referred to as "Sir" or "Lady", and has the right to wear spurs in the field to display his or her status to friends and foe alike. The knights of the Company of the Wolf are occasionally referred to collectively as "Knights of the Order of the Wolf". Unlike mediaeval orders of knighthood, both male and female members who are granted membership in the order are referred to as "knights", although their pre-nominal honourifics are gender specific.
The Wolf Banner
When the Company of the Wolf deploys as a group, the Wolf banner is displayed. This is a large black banner displaying the arms of the Company. When static, this banner remains in the campsite signifying the Company is present and deployed as a unit. On parade or for combat displays, the banner can be carried by two bearers to announce that members of the Company have taken the field. When a member of the Company of the Wolf achieves the rank of knight, the armorial achievement of the member may be added to the banner in miniature. Children of knights, even when not knights themselves, are permitted to display their arms alongside their parents' with appropriate marks of cadency. As accessibility and inclusiveness are key components of the group's mission, children of members have always been encouraged to participate. When an existing member, male or female, becomes the parent of a new child, the baby is bestowed honorary membership until the age of 14, when they may decide for themselves if they wish to continue participation with the Company.
The Wolf's Tail Badge
Members of the Company of the Wolf will sometimes wear a "wolf's tail" hanging from their belts in both civilian and military attire as a form of group identification. As foxes are officially classed as vermin in Australia, members forgo the use of real wolves tails, and large fox tails are preferred. These "wolves' tails" are also sometimes hung from the poles of the Wolf Banner as a further embelishment of the Banner as the Company's rallying point.
The Company of the Wolf supplies displays, encampments and re-enactors to several high profile re-enactment events in Australia, including the Abbey Tournament at Caboolture in Queensland, and the Vikings! Exhibition  at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney. The Company also provides educational or "interest" displays for schools, universities or social groups when requested. Company members cover a range of mediaeval interests, and the group is structured in such a way as to allow the widest range of participation possible. This gives the Company of the Wolf a high degree of versatility, and allows the group to display and educate in civilian and military aspects of mediaeval life. The Company is lucky to count among its members and associates experts in a range of combat styles, mediaeval fashion and clothes making, armouring, heraldry and even mediaeval midwifery. Company of the Wolf is also notable for being one of the few mediaeval living history groups in Australia to field historically accurate black powder weapons and crews. As well as public displays and shows, the Company of the Wolf also deploy privately to a number of immersive events for re-enactors along the East Coast of Australia.
- ^ Company of the Wolf founding committee (2005). "Company of the Wolf Charter" Company of the Wolf letters of incorporation, University of New England Printery Service, Armidale, Australia
- ^ http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/content/animals/animals/breeds/dogtopics/dogs_war.htm
- ^ http://www.florilegium.org/?http%3A//www.florilegium.org/files/ANIMALS/dogs-msg.html
- ^ http://www.abbeytournament.com/whos_who_of_reenactors.htm#wolf
- ^ http://www.aetaustralia.org/vikings.htm
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