The epic glossary

The epic glossary


Apse, loophole, machicolation… maybe you have already heard of some of these words… But do you know what they mean?

Apse

a round, polygonal or flat construction forming the extremity of the choir in many churches.

Apsidiole

small apse built around the main apse or on the transept arms of a church.

Archer

a soldier armed with a bow.

Loophole

a narrow opening in the walls of a fortified castle or fortress for firing with bow and arrow or crossbow against assailants.

Archbishop

in the Catholic faith, a bishop in charge of an ecclesiastic province.

To have brushes with

to be in conflict or in disagreement with someone.

Cavalry

a group of soldiers fighting on horseback.

Fortified castle

fortified lordly residence, defended by ramparts, towers and ditches.

Wall-walk

a passageway running along the top of an enclosure wall and protected by a ‘parapet’. It enables soldiers to walk round the rampart for surveillance purposes or during combat.

To wrangle with

to fight or quarrel with.

Choir

in religious architecture, the part of a church that extends beyond the nave.

Consanguinity

being of the same blood, from the same family.

Buttress

a masonry feature protruding from a wall and aimed at reinforcing it.

Crenel

a notch between two merlons on the top of a rampart or tower used for defensive purposes.

Crypte

part of a church, often underground, in which saintly relics are placed.

Ambulatory

a gallery around the choir of a church for strolling.

Dukedom

the territory belonging to a duke.

Keep

the main tower of a fortified castle. It can be centrally located or part of the rampart. The keep is the ultimate refuge and is often used as the lord’s living quarters. It is a powerful symbol of seigniorial domination.

Carry shoulder-high

to carry triumphantly at the height of a man’s shoulder. Metaphorically here, to designate as king.

Betrayal

in this context, the breaking of an oath.

Defy

to disregard, despise.

Scorn

to show your disrespect for someone.

To give one’s word

to swear to.

Traitor

a person who is disloyal to his lord.

Fleet

a group of ships sailing together and involved in the same operations.

Ditch

a deep trench with steep sides used as a defensive feature around a castle.

Double-crossing

said of a slyly, hypocritical person who pretends to be honest.

Rogue

a dishonest or immoral person.

Rascal

infamous person.

Heir

the person who receives all or part of the goods belonging to a deceased person.

Portcullis

a wooden grid, often reinforced with iron, the base of which is armed with sharp points, which slides vertically at the entrance to a fortified castle to stop anyone entering.

Housecarls

elite foot soldiers forming the Anglo-Saxon kings’ personal guard.

Illegitimacy

being born out of wedlock.

God’s judgment

leaving the outcome of a conflict in the hands of God’s judgment is considered as a fair and infallible way of proving one’s good will, since it is generally acknowledged that God will always let the innocent triumph.

Lineage

descendants.

Nave

the central part of a church stretching from the portal to the choir.

To meet with one’s fate

to die.

Pilgrimage

a voyage of devotion towards a saintly place.

Excommunicated

said of a person who has been divest of Catholic communion as a punishment.

Drawbridge

Has two purposes:
1- lowered, it offers a passageway over a ditch or a moat
2- raised, it protects the castle entrance.

Porch

a covered area in front of the entrance to a building.

Relic

the remains of the body of a martyr or a saint, or a cult object associated with his/her life.

Rose window/rosace

a large, circular stained glass window with carved stone tracery.

Holy Father

name given to the Pope by Catholics.

Scoundrel

a dishonest or immoral person.

Seigniory

in the feudal system, refers to the domain belonging to a lord or a noble person.

Under the aegis of

under the protection of.

Tower

a construction that is higher than it is large and generally used for defensive purposes. It can also be of varying shapes: quadrangular, polygonal, circular.

Traditionalist

extremely attached to custom and tradition.

Transept

in churches in the form of a Latin cross, the part of the building which stands perpendicular to the nave.

Vassal

in the feudal system, a man who has a personal link with a lord, his suzerain, who endows him with a fief (in the form of land or money), in exchange for a number of services.

Vault

arched architectural feature in stone or concrete, used to cover an area and supported by walls or columns.