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Medieval Glossary

Medieval Term of the Week: Barbican

Barbican bahr-bi-kuhn Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French barbecane, from Medieval Latin barbacana 1) An outwork or forward extension of a castle gateway. (Gies, Joseph and Francis. Life in a Medieval Castle, 225) 2) Outerwork of a castle, providing additional defence for the gatehouse. (Prestwich, Michael. Armies and Warfare in the… Read More »Medieval Term of the Week: Barbican

Medieval Term of the Week: Hoardings

Hoarding [hawr-ding, hohr-] Wooden galleries erected on the face of a castle’s battlements to enable the defenders to fire on men attacking the base of the wall. (Wise, Terence. Medieval Warfare, 249)

Medieval Term of the Week: Coif

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Coif Pronunciation: [koif] Middle English coife, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin cofea 1) Mail hood covering the head (Wise, Terence. Medieval Warfare, 247) 2) a hoodlike cap worn under a veil by nuns 3) any of various hoodlike caps, varying through the centuries in shape and purpose, worn by men… Read More »Medieval Term of the Week: Coif

Medieval Term of the Day: Falchion

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Falchion Pronunciation: [fawl-chuhn, -shuhn] Etymology: Middle English fauchoun, from Anglo-French fauchun, from faucher to mow, from Vulgar Latin *falcare, from Latin falc-, falx 1) Broad-bladed cutting weapon.    (Prestwich, Michael. Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: The English Experience, 347) 2) Short, curved single-edged sword with a broad blade,… Read More »Medieval Term of the Day: Falchion

Medieval Term of the Day: Retinue

Retinue Pronunciation: [ret-n-oo, -yoo] Function: noun Etymology: Middle English retenue, from Anglo-French, from feminine of retenu, past participle of retenir to retain a) small troop of fighting men of all types raised on the estate of a knight b) body of persons “retained” in the service of a noble or royal personage

Medieval Term of the Day: Investiture

Investiture Pronunciation: [in-ves-ti-cher, -choor] Function: noun Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin investitura, from investitus, past participle of investire The act of formally putting someone into an office or landholding; it was a major occasion of dispute in the eleventh and twelfth centuries when reformers opposed lay rulers who invested clergy… Read More »Medieval Term of the Day: Investiture