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Short interview with a trainer of Byzantine fencing

Georgios Georgas is a fencing trainer and instructor of Pammachon. He's been practicing martial arts since the 90's and he has practiced various martial arts styles from the East and the West. Since 1993 he studies and teaches European fencing and Byzantine martial arts.

In 2012 he founded the Academy of historical European martial arts called Leontes. There, the trainees learn European and Byzantine martial arts. They learn how to fight with replicas of Byzantine weapons whose validity is based on the Byzantine manuscripts and depictions of weapons in Byzantine art. Once done with training, the trainees can start historical reenactment on the period of their choice.

Historical reenactement doesn't only involve fights but also culture such as the presentation of historical outfits of the people and the aristocracy. Leontes is one of the first teams to begin historical reenactment in Greece in 2016. The school has students abroad too and many foreign fencing schools cooperate with Leontes.

Who is your favourite Byzantine Emperor?

That's a hard question, as the Byzantine empire spans over a long time period. There are many remarkable leaders. However, my favorite is Justinian. He took an empire with a lot of problems and managed to deal with a lot of crises such as the Nika revolt,, the multifront enemies, and the Mediterranean pandemic. Of course, there were some negative aspects in his reign but his overall rule is considered positive.

What is your favourite historical period.

That's an even harder question. Even when the empire was in decline, Rhomania experienced the Palaiologan Renaissance. Although I am fascinated by the romanticism of the late medieval period, with the knights and the knighthood which was brought by the Latins. Although I like the bravery of the Akrites and the glorious Byzantine era of the middle Byzantine period, I would say that I am more fascinated by the early period. By that, I mean the gradual transition from antiquity to the era of Constantine the Great. There's a lot going on with new philosophical schools of thought coming to the surface and the martial arts reaching a high level. It's the period when the Roman empire gradually becomes Hellenized and Christian.

Why should someone study the history of Byzantium?

It's a civilization that never ceases to amaze you. Intrigues, revolts, philosophical developments, and clashes, are all that can make a researcher discover themselves in this fascinating world. Simultaneously, if the scholar looks into the sources correctly, they can learn many surprising things about the forgotten by the Greeks , and Medieval Greek culture. It's not a coincidence that abroad they study Byzantium from a different point of view and not in the way it was presented by the scholars of the 19th century and unfortunately the Greeks are stuck on this. Arts, science, architecture, warfare, flourished while the Byzantines kept the virtues of their Greco-Roman ancestors.

Previous interviews!

A British Byzantine scholar: Click here

An American fan of Byzantium: Click here

Portugal: Click here

Japan here: Click here

The Philippines: Click here

Chile: Click here

Serbia: Click here

Mexico: Click here

Greek reenactor: Click here

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