This medieval glossary references terms from the middle ages, that appear in the Saga. Unlike the terminology of the continent which explains notions specific to the world of the Dark Knight, the terms below refer to historical realities.

Medieval Glossary

Of the middle ages, 10th - 12th centuries


In construction


Arms: Heraldic symbols. Emblems and colors of a person or an authority, replicated on his flags and seals, sometimes his shield. Also called "coat of arms", "armorial bearings".


Arrowslit: Military architecture. Also referred to as an arrow loop, loophole, or "loop hole". Vertical and narrow firing bay, to shoot arrows without exposing oneself. Arrowslits give a unique lighting to the towers and rooms of medieval castles. On the facades, they are usually set in staggered rows, following shrewd calculations to avoid blind spots.


Bailiff: Office and dignity. Appointed governor of a lord or an authority, in a given place. A man of trust.


Belfry: Civilian architecture and siege warfare. Has two meanings;
1/ Tall and thin tower of stone, built in cities, that ends with a bell and lookouts posted under a tapered roof. The belfry allows to spot from a distance the enemy's arrival, the fires and natural hazards that might happen within the walls, and to sound the alarm.
2/ By analogy with the civilian watchtower, the belfry also designates the wooden siege tower, that is rolled to bring an invasion force on the wall-walk of a stronghold under siege.


Bit: Horsemanship. It sported long forward branches in medieval times, which pivoted to pull down the horse's head and bring it abruptly to a halt.


Bow: Weaponry. Projectile weapon, drawn with a string for shooting arrows. In the West, the bow was often made of yew or ash. Its length varied from 1 to 2 meters (3.2 to 6.5 feet), with an average range of 200 meters (218 yards).
Much quicker than the crossbow, the bow allows the release of 10-15 arrows (depending on the strength of the archer) against 2 crossbow bolts during the same lapse of time. In the 10th-12th centuries, it did not yet have the power of the english longbow, whose effects will be devastating during the Hundred Years War.
The recurve bow (also called "composite", "reflex") was in use in the steppes since antiquity, employed by the Huns, the Turks, and the Mongols. This bow also remained in use in the Near East during the High Middle Ages. Its draw weight is stronger, from 45 to 70 kilos (99 to 154 pounds).


Coat of mail: Armor. One of the best armors in the 10th to 12th centuries, made of tiny iron rings riveted together (each with 4 others was considered best). Still very costly at the time, the longer, the more expensive. Also called "hauberk".


Fibula: Ornament. A brooch, very common at the time to fasten coats, collars of tunics and dresses.


Flint and iron: The traditional way to light a fire, for most of mankind's history.


Goatskin: Glass, and therefore bottles were unknown as containers. Beverages were carried in goatskins or kegs on a journey.


Master-at-arms: A specialist of medieval fencing, reputed for his skill with weapons.


Notch: Weaponry. At the end of the arrow shaft. You slide the string in it, then draw the bow to shoot.


Portico: Architecture. The pillars supporting a balcony, forming an open gallery beneath.


Quivers: Were worn at the right thigh in the middle ages, never at the back. Wearing a quiver at the back is a fancy misconception, which makes the archer loose too much time and accuracy when shooting with a bow.


Rule: Military. The code of discipline, by which knights in an order abided.


Scabbard: The sheath of the sword.


Sword: Weapon. Long blade with two edges, used exclusively for letal combat. It is often made of iron coated with steel, which makes it flexible and sharp. The sword is a fearsomely deadly weapon, that inflicts terrible wounds. In full swing and at full speed, it can cut very deeply, sometimes even the bones.
In the Dark Knights Saga, most of the swords are Oakeshott types X, XI, XII, XIIa, and XIIIif you would like to see their shapes here More coming on that one.


Street-village: The simplest form of village, a single street lined with thatched houses.


Wedge: Military combat formation. Also known as boar's snout from antiquity. By analogy with a triangle aimed at the enemy. Offensive formation of foot soldiers armed with lances, arranged in a V to break through enemy lines.