The fifth annual Horns of Hattin battle reenactment is to take place on July 3-5, the anniversary of the 1187 battle that led to the fall of the Christian hold in Jerusalem and the Third Crusade.
Sponsored by the Regnum Hierosolymitanum club, a group that carries out historical reenactments of significant events during the time of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, this three-day event is to include a 30 km. march to the Sea of Galilee and culminate in the reenactment of the battle.
For Regnum Hierosolymitanum, this is “the major event of the year,” said Aviva Shwartz, one of the organizers.
“We do other events during the year, but this is definitely our largest production.”
The event has prioritized historical accuracy as a trademark feature of the march, and the project is based on significant academic research from archeological finds at the battlefields.
The march itself is a realtime event. The program’s intention is to resemble the landscape and conditions of the original march as much as possible.
“Everything is authentic.
People ride on horses, and we only use equipment that they had at the time of the battle,” Shwartz said. “They live in a camp like they used to have in the 12th century, and they only have weapons and instruments and even food from that time period.”
All attendees of the program participate in the events, and are assigned to one of two armies, the king of Jerusalem or Salah ad-Din forces.
Each person is assigned a role within the army, with some playing knights and members of the military order while others become musicians, countrymen or Beduin.
A statement from Regnum Hierosolymitanum said that though the battle is the focal point of the weekend, the march is no easy feat to complete.
Just like in the original battle, “the march includes a large number of people and animals moving over complex terrain... Probably not everyone will reach the sea.”
Adding to the difficulty of the course are the natural elements.
“Each year it’s the same heat,” Shwartz said.
“They’re going to imitate the same conditions that they had in the original battle. It was very, very hot then, and they had on all of the equipment and armor but they didn’t give up.”
The marchers in the reenactment share in this stoicism.
Extreme heat or not, “they are not giving up,” Shwartz said.
Though funding is not enough to provide spectator- friendly events, Shwartz said he has high hopes for the future. “Next year, [we] want to really make it a bigger, open, national event, with many more people coming from other countries.”