Welcome to The Company of Black

The Black Company started in 1998 as a Medieval Mercenary band. We grew into a company, a faire guild and then in 2004 into a full blown social organization that does all kinds of events including medieval ones. We are sub-culture junkies and travel to interesting events sometimes as performers, sometimes as spectators, sometimes to relax and sometimes to broaden our horizons. Some people might say we don't know what the hell we are, but we prefer to think of it as a group of friends whoose interests are broader than just the medieval recreation that brought us together. We are a team sometimes as we pull together to put on or perform at an event. Sometimes we are martial artists as we practice medieval fighting. Sometimes we are just having fun together and it does not matter what the context is except that we are doing it together. Brothers and sisters in spirit you could say. You may wonder why such a group still has Black as its color and a skull as its symbol. The Skull represents death and serves as a reminder to live each day as if it is your last. To face death in the triumph of your accomplishments rather than in the defeat of your laziness and failure to grow. Black has long been a color of power and we believe that it best represents our group because of this.

Now for some info on where we came from...

A brief history of the beginning of medieval mercenaries.
Mercenaries played a large part in the outcome of many battles throughout history. Sir John Hawkwood one of the most famous; Captain of the White Company, fought in Italy for his entire career and still has a statue in his honor there today. An actual Black Company exsisted in the 16th century and a brief discussion of it can be found here.

Mercenary life was harsh and often terminal for the average soldier. The strange fact is that many men found it attractive. This was because their life as a peasant was even more harsh! Adventure in foreign lands, loot and a regular meal were more attactive than working a field. Leaders of mercenary companies were often from the noble houses second and third sons who did not stand to inherit and so choose a life of adventure rather than being a third wheel in their home land.

Mercenaries troops in medieval times formed because there was contracts to be had. The feudal system of europe worked on the principle that each noble swore fealty to the one above him in a direct line to the king. Part of the fealty required that each noble, at the kings request, would be required to field a certain number of Knights, peasants and equipment for war. At some point (1000-1200?) it became acceptable to send money to the king instead. The king would then use this money to hire troops. This worked great for everyone involved because it allowed the Nobility to stay and manage their lands and leave their people working them. The King liked it because he could hire a much more professionally skilled full-time soldier. In fact, our modern system of taxation is derived from this system of paying to the king in money instead of service. It was not soon after that the kings began taxing for other purposes besides supporting the military. Public roads is a good example. I am sure it was soon after that nobles began taxing the people below him to meet the kings fees. This is of course a rather simplified version of everything that happened.

The Thrill of the fight!

So how does the Black Company fit into all this? Simple. We are people who want to learn the way of the sword and the axe. We are modern men and women who seek the adventure of old, clash of sword, bash of shield and the thrill of the fight. We are brothers of the old mind, born out of place and time.