Medieval Information

Everything About the Dark Ages

Armor Terminology

Armet: A very light helmet. It was closed and a very good protection for the face and eyes principally.

Barbute: An Italian helmet. It had a "Y" shape in the middle that provided visibility and ventilation.

Breaths: Holes in a helmet to provide ventilation.

Buckler: A small round shield used to strike and block. It was made for very flexible fighters.

Byrnie: A mail shirt used by wealthy warriors until the XI century.

Camail: A curtain of mail hanging from a helmet protecting the neck.

Cuirass: A full protection for warriors. It consisted of a breastplate and backplate.

Gauntlet: Armored glove.

Hauberk: It was normally made of mail and it covered all the upper body (including the neck sometimes).

Pauldron: Plate armor for the shoulders.

Shield: A defensive devise used normally with the left hand. Shield were built in a very big variety of sizes and shapes.

Vambrace: Armor that guarded the forearm.

Weapon Nomenclature

Axe: Being one of the first type of weapons ever devised; the axe was very useful not only for killing enemies but also for destroying doors and walls. Many types of axes were designed, even two-handed.

Blade: Length of steel that forms a sword.

Bow: Ranged weapon used to fire arrows at invaders.

Catapult: An enormous siege engine designed to throw projectiles at a castle.

Crossbow: Very powerful quarrel launcher, the crossbow was able to override shields and armor.

Dagger: A type of knife.

Lance: Long spear.

Longbow: Better than the original bow, this one could reach many feet.

Pilum: Roman throwing spear. It was against-shields, meaning that it could knock down its opponents.

Pike: A long infantry spear used in formation. Its size was of more than 18 feet sometimes and it was only useful when used in tight formations.

Staff: Normally a long wooden weapon designed to hit enemies.

Sword: Basic weapon used primarily by knights and nobles. Larger swords were able to cut a man in two, making them very effective.

Volgue: A spear.

Terms Used for People

Abbot/Abbess: Superior of an abbey or monastery.

Archer: Person who wielded a bow.

Emir: Ruler of an Islamic territory.

Herse: A knight or noble in Scandinavia.

King: Supreme ruler, thought to be made so by God himself.

Knight: Term used to describe a person who would go to war in exchange for fief from his lord. They were mostly fearsome mounted warriors.

Lord: Owner of land who would exchange fief with a knight for protection.

Serf: An slave who works a determined land for his or her lord.

Vassal: A freeman or peasant who owes his loyalty to a lord normally because of land or money.

Vintenar: Man in charge of twenty melee soldiers.

Castle Terminology

Abbey: A community composed of monks or nuns.

Allure: A walkway on a wall.

Apse: Circular end of a tower.

Arrow loop: A hole in a wall from which arrows could be fired to the outside.

Ballista: Huge siege engine resembling a crossbow.

Battering Ram: A machine used by many soldiers to break a castle's weak spot.

Battlement: An intermittent wall built on an allure to help archers from being attacked.

Curtain wall: A castle wall protecting a courtyard or another important place.

Cut: Assault tower.

Donjon: The keep.

Dungeon: A jail found in either one of the basements or underground.

Enceinte: An exterior wall protecting a castle.

Fief: Land given by lord to knights.

Gate House: Complex system of doors and walls used to protect the main entrance of a castle.

Keep: The last defensible position of a castle.

Murder Holes: Holes inside the gatehouse from which arrows could be fired at the invaders. They also served for throwing oil.

Oubliette: A generally underground dungeon reached by a trap door. Criminals would be left to emaciation until their death.

Trebuchets: War engines used to throw stone--or other projectiles--at a castle.

Turret: A small tower raising above a main tower. They were mostly used as a look out point.

Wall Walk: See allure.

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