Countries square off with swords at Battle of the Nations

To a medieval bloodhound, there is no sweeter sound than two sword-wielding warriors trying to take each other down. If you love such sport, check out the Battle of the Nations competition going on in France.

A scene from the 2012 Battle of the Nations. Battle of the Nations

If you're a fan of "Game of Thrones," a grand competition called Battle of the Nations might be right up your alley. The tournament, held yearly in Europe, features a variety of full-contact medieval battle competitions involving around 500 people in teams from 22 countries.

The 2013 Battle of the Nations, which concludes on May 13, takes place in Aigues-Mortes, France, and offers battles such as 1 vs. 1, 5 vs. 5, 21 vs. 21, and a grand royale battle where everyone fights each other. Russia has won all three of the previous tournaments.

Mayhem erupts at a match during the Battle of the Nations. Battle of the Nations

To achieve a real feel, participants wear steel armor and use blunted weaponry (swords, maces, shields, etc.) that must conform to the designs used in the Middle Ages. The rules forbid any repeated stabbing and a person "dies" when three different areas of the body simultaneously hit the ground. Minor injuries, such as broken fingers, occur often.

The group organizing the event already uploaded the first day of activities, which include 1 vs. 1 duels and 21 vs. 21 showdowns that you can watch in the eight hour (!) video below. Check out more coverage of the festivities on the Battle of the Nations YouTube channel, and if you're awake in the middle of the night, you can even watch the action live.

About the author

Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.


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