162 Spanish Mediaeval Vocabulary

Alcazaba also of arabic origin (al-qasaba, stronghold), it is used to name fortifications built inside a city, – specially in southern spain (cordoba, alcala la real, almera, or malaga).

Alcazar – word of arabic origin (al-qasar) that means “fortress”. In spain, it is usually used to name castles with residential function. Examples: the “alcazares” of segovia, toledo or ciudad rodrigo; “los reales alcazares” of sevilla.

Almena (english merlon) – this is a line of prismatic stone fortification elements that line the tops of walls, crenells, crenellation, merlons. Usually refers to crenellation where the merlons are capped with a stone spike or pyramidal coping.

Arcada- a line of arches, sometimes in conjunction with a colonnade, usually built along a wall or around a courtyard.

Arrow – flecha

Axe – hacha

Baron/baroness – barón/baronesa)

Bastion – a fortification element that projects outward, beyond the main fortress, to cover dead ground. A bastion is used mainly in association with modern artillery fortresses.

Battering ram – ariete

Bow – arco

Castle – castillo

Castle – el castillo

Castro – pre-romanic (celtic or celtiberian) fortified village. Example: “castro de la ventosa”, at cacabelos, or the ancient castro of molina de aragon. It also appears at the name of many fortified towns: castrourdiales, castrotorafe, castrofuerte, castroverde, castrillo, puentecastro.

Catapult – catapulta

Coronation – la coronación

Count/countess – conde/condesa)

Court – el corte

Crossbow – ballesta

Crown – la corona

Crown prince – el príncipe heredero

Cuidadela (citadel) – it is used to describe a fortified location or fortress with a garrison, and often refers to modern artillery fortresses. It is also used to name royal residences, even if they are not fortified. The word appears in the names of some towns, as “alcazar de san juan” or “alcazaron” (lit. “two castles”)

Dagger            – daga

Defensive wall – muralla

Duke/duchess – duque/duquesa)

Emperor – el emperador

Empress – la emperatriz

Flail – mangual

Fortification – fortificación

Highness – alteza

King – el rey

Knife   cuchillo

Knight – cabellero

Mace – maza

Majesty – majestad

Marquis/marchioness – marqués/marquesa)

Matacan – a projection built onto the outer surface of a wall, parapet or gate with holes or slits on the bottom. The structures allowed the protected defenders to pour hot oil, boiling water and rubble, etc. At the enemy below.

Moat – foso

Monarch – el monarca

Mota – low hill placed on a plain. It is usually (but not always) artificial. Examples: “castillo de la mota” at medina del campo, or benavente; “mota del marquas”, at the town of the same name.

Mudojar – population of muslim religion who lived in the christian kingdoms. Also the architectural style, with arab influences, that was developped at spain at xiv, xv & xvi centuries, and usually performed by mudajares or moriscos (christians descendant of muslims). Example: the castle of coca is built at this style.

Palace – el palacio

Prince – el príncipe

Princess – la princesa

Queen – la reina

Royal family – la familia real

Saber – sable

Siege – asedio

Siege engine – arma de asedio

Spear – lanza

Sword – espada

Throne – el trono

Torre – tower. It is used to describe a fortified location usually consisting of a single tower defending a region or shoreline, but towers are often referred to as fortresses.

Torre albarrana – a tower which is built separated from the main wall of a fortification, and connected to it by means of an arch.

Tower – torre

Trebuchet – fundíbulo

Viscount/viscountess – vizconde/vizcondesa)

War hammer – martillo de guerra

Weapon – arma

Word Document at: 162 Spanish Mediaeval Vocabulary

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