Inspiration # 10, A Varangian Guardsman

As a commander of raiders’ army at Wolin Festival, he is one of the most important figures in European early medieval combat reenactment. Those who were lucky enough to meet him will remember his uncompromising look, earrings, a tattooed body and a distinctive behaviour. At Wolin 2015, I had the opportunity to see his determination, as he was running around the array, constantly driving and pushing the indecisive fighters forward until they won. Then they raised their commander on the shield and shouted to his glory. Indescribable atmosphere. “I have to include an interview with him in my inspiration series,” I thought. In this jubilee part of the inspiration series, we will take a closer look at the living legend of Maxim Makarov, so-called Max or Ragnar, founder and leader of Moscow group Silver Wolf (Серебряный волк).

Maxim’s costume represents a Swedish man in the court of the Russian prince and is set to the end of 10th and the beginning of 11th century. With his group Silver Wolf, he focuses mainly on reign of Yaroslav the Wise (1016–1054).

Because Maxim didn’t have much time, he couldn’t tell me about all the details of his costume. The costume always consists of a dyed shirt and dyed trousers, stockings fixed with garters, low leather shoes, a hood or a lush cloak. The only thing Maxim told me about his textiles is that he uses wool, wool and silk, and that he combines Swedish and Russian traditions. His clothes are embroidered with woollen and golden threads. The shirt is belted with an unique reconstruction of a silver decorated belt found in Poltava (Ukraine) on which hangs a pouch, a knife and a bag (tarsoly type). Jewellery (cloak pins, necklace, bracelet) are based on finds from Gotland.

To battle he wears a replica of helmet from Nemia, quite thin leather padding or just a leather tunic, mail and a sleeveless coat fastened with bronze buttons. According to the photos, he fights with a spear and a combination of shieldsword (type S?) and an axe.

Maxim and his group attend all Russian and many “European” historical festivals. Plus he is engaged in other activities, such as sailing on replicas of medieval and modern ships and reconstructing the Napoleonic Wars. In short, Maxim is an experienced veteran with such a powerful aura that he can motivate people to do great things and gain their respect. It perfectly depicts what I imagine when someone says “Varangian “. He is one of the best leaders I had the honour to meet.

23. října 2020

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