The Middle Ages
apprentice: a person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, having agreed to work for a fixed period at low wages.
arrow loops: An arrow loop is a thin vertical aperture in a fortification through which an archer can launch arrows.
bailey: the outer wall of a castle.
barbican: the outer defense of a castle or walled city, esp. a double tower above a gate or drawbridge.
bishops: a senior member of the Christian clergy, typically in charge of a diocese and empowered to confer holy orders.
chivalry: the medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code.
Christian: a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.
clergy: the body of all people ordained for religious duties, esp. in the Christian Church.
crest: a distinctive device borne above the shield of a coat of arms (originally as worn on a helmet), or separately reproduced, for example on writing paper or silverware, to represent a family or corporate body.
crusades: a medieval military expedition, one of a series made by Europeans to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries.
dark age: Middle Ages: the period of history between classical antiquity and the Italian Renaissance
drawbridge: a bridge, esp. one over a castle's moat, that is hinged at one end so that it may be raised to prevent people's crossing or to allow vessels to pass under it.
excommunicate: officially exclude (someone) from participation in the sacraments and services of the Christian Church.
fealty: a feudal tenant's or vassal's sworn loyalty to a lord.
fief: an estate of land, esp. one held on condition of feudal service.
friars: a member of any of certain religious orders of men, esp. the four mendicant orders (Augustinians, Carmelites, Dominicans, and Franciscans).
gatehouse: a house or enclosure near a gateway.
guild: a medieval association of craftsmen or merchants, often having considerable power.
heraldry: the system by which coats of arms and other armorial bearings are devised, described, and regulated.
indenture: a contract by which a person agreed to work for a set period for a landowner
inner bailey: A motte-and-bailey castle is a fortification with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised earthwork called a motte, accompanied by an enclosed courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade
Islam: the religion of the Muslims, a monotheistic faith regarded as revealed through Muhammad as the Prophet of Allah.
joust: (of a medieval knight) engage in a sports contest in which two opponents on horseback fight with lances.
keep: the strongest or central tower of a castle, acting as a final refuge.
king: the male ruler of an independent state, esp. one who inherits the position by right of birth.
knights: (in the Middle Ages) a man who served his sovereign or lord as a mounted soldier in armor.
Leif Ericsson: Leif Ericson was a Norse explorer regarded as the first European to land in North America, nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus
liege: concerned with or relating to the relationship between a feudal superior and a vassal.
machicolations: (in medieval fortifications) an opening between the supporting corbels of a projecting parapet or the vault of a gate, through which stones or burning objects could be dropped on attackers.
Magna Carta: the royal charter of political rights given to rebellious English barons by King John in 1215
manor: a large country house with lands; the principal house of a landed estate.
mead: an alcoholic drink of fermented honey and water.
minstrels: a medieval singer or musician, esp. one who sang or recited lyric or heroic poetry to a musical accompaniment for the nobility.
moat: a deep, wide ditch surrounding a castle, fort, or town, typically filled with water and intended as a defense against attack.
monarch: a sovereign head of state, esp. a king, queen, or emperor.
murder holes: A murder hole or meurtrière is a hole in the ceiling of a gateway or passageway in a fortification through which the defenders could fire, throw or pour harmful substances or objects, such as rocks, arrows, scalding water, hot sand, quicklime, tar, or boiling oil, down on attackers
Muslim: a follower of the religion of Islam.
outer bailey: In fortifications, a bailey or ward refers to a courtyard enclosed by a curtain wall. In particular, an early type of European castle was known as a Motte-and-bailey. Castles can have more than one ward.
page: a boy in training for knighthood, ranking next below a squire in the personal service of a knight.
palisade: a fence of wooden stakes or iron railings fixed in the ground, forming an enclosure or defense.
parapet: a low protective wall along the edge of a roof, bridge, or balcony.
peasant: a poor farmer of low social status who owns or rents a small piece of land for cultivation (chiefly in historical use or with reference to subsistence farming in poorer countries).
Pope Urban II: Pope Urban II, born Otho de Lagery, was the head of the Catholic Church from 12 March 1088 to his death in 1099. He is best known for initiating the First Crusade
portcullis: a strong, heavy grating sliding up and down in vertical grooves, lowered to block a gateway to a fortress or town.
postern gate: A postern is a secondary door or gate, particularly in a fortification such as a city wall or castle curtain wall. Posterns were often located in a concealed location which allowed the occupants to come and go inconspicuously
priests: an ordained minister of the Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican Church having the authority to perform certain rites and administer certain sacraments.
queen: the female ruler of an independent state, esp. one who inherits the position by right of birth.
realm: a kingdom.
Richard I of England: son of Henry II and King of England from 1189 to 1199; a leader of the Third Crusade; on his way home from the crusade he was captured and held prisoner in the Holy Roman Empire until England ransomed him in 1194. Also known as Richard the Lion-Hearted
Saladin: sultan of Syria and Egypt; reconquered Jerusalem from the Christians in 1187 but was defeated by Richard Coeur de Lion in 1191 (1137-1193)
serf: an agricultural laborer bound under the feudal system to work on his lord's estate.
squire: a young nobleman acting as an attendant to a knight before becoming a knight himself.
trebuchet: a machine used in medieval siege warfare for hurling large stones or other missiles.
usurp: take (a position of power or importance) illegally or by force.
vassal: a holder of land by feudal tenure on conditions of homage and allegiance.
vikings: any of the Scandinavian seafaring pirates and traders who raided and settled in many parts of northwestern Europe in the 8th–11th centuries.
yeomen: a man holding and cultivating a small landed estate; a freeholder.
Parts of a Castles
Coat of Arms Project