By Mary Morley
When members of the Quill and Sword Club gather for meetings, it seems like BYU has magically transported medieval Europeans to campus.
Although BYU does not actually own a time machine, it is home to a group of people that celebrate the history and culture of Europe between the eighth and 17th centuries.
Club member Ted Maxwell compared the club to other groups of history buffs that recreate more recent historical events.
“Some people enjoy the Civil War, we enjoy the medieval times,” said Maxwell, 22, a senior from Cary, N.C., majoring in physics.
For Maxwell, participating in club activities is a way to personalize history.
Club members, such as club president Lyz Sherrill, find creating a “persona” helps them feel more connected with the past.
Personas are fictitious identities that represent a typical medieval European.
The personas help the club members focus their research on a specific time and location.
Sherrill”s persona is Caelfind O”Meighan, an Irish woman that might have lived around 1330.
“What fun is recreating history if you can”t put yourself inside it?” Sherrill said.
For BYU students who are not members of the club, the most noticeable aspect of the group may be the costumes its members wear.
Sherrill said group members receive a wide variety of reactions from people around campus.
“Once in a blue moon, someone will say, ”Hey, nice cape,” or ”That”s a really cool costume,”” she said. “The rest of the time we get reactions ranging from odd looks to outright derision to curiosity.”
Although their costumes do tend to stand out in a crowd, the garb is only one aspect of their club.
Maxwell said club-sponsored activities vary from learning about medieval music, fighting and entertainment to giving educational demonstrations in elementary schools and hosting feasts.
The club hosted a “Twelfth Night” feast in January. The seven-course meal helped highlight the medieval traditions attached to the holiday. The feast”s entertainment included songs, stories, juggling and short plays, Sherrill said.
The Quill and Sword Club”s next meeting will be Thursday, March 29, at 7 p.m. in 456 MARB. The planned activity is a lecture on alchemy.
Club member Kathryn Southerland, 21, a senior from St. Augustine, Fla., majoring in history, urged everyone who might be interested to attend.
“If you”re at all interested, even a little bit, come see for yourself and then decide,” she said.