Helping tools


Arrow slit: vertical hole in a wall used for shooting bow and crossbow.

Barbican: advanced defence structure placed in front of an entrance to protect it and to stop a direct attack by the enemy.

Bastion: massive fortification built into the surrounding wall of a castle.

Bolt: a projectile for a crossbow.

Break-back trap: an opening in the ceiling of a passage that allowed for projectiles to be thrown down for vertical defence.

Camail: collar of mail that protects the head and neck.

Cannon port: a round, square or oval opening in a wall through which a cannon was fired.

Cranequin: mechanism with a gear and crank handle used to tighten the rope.

Crossguard: perpendicular piece of a bladed weapon handle that stops the hand from slipping onto the blade and protects it from the enemy’s blows.

Curtain wall: rampart stretching between two towers generally topped by a parapet walk.

Cut (taille): blow delivered by the cutting edge of the blade weapon, like in the old expression “cut and thrust”.

Grip: handle of a polished bladed weapon.

Helm: cylindrical metal head protection, equipped with openings for eyes, that completely covers the head and face.

Hoarding: gallery built of wood overhanging the ramparts that allowed projectiles to be thrown down.

Machicolations: gallery made of stone overhanging the ramparts that allowed projectiles to be thrown down.

Parapet walk: walkway protected by a low wall at the top of a defence wall.

Pommel: the end of a sword’s handle that serves as a counterweight and stops the weapon from slipping from the hand.

Quillons: Cross-shaped branches of a bladed weapon’s crossguard.

Quiver: case used for carrying arrows.

Sap or Sapping: All the underground demolition works carried out at the base of the walls.

Staff weapon: general name given to weapons composed of a sharp and pointed tip fitted to the end of a wooden shaft.

Stock: the crossbow’s “body” made of wood with a groove to guide the bolt.

Tabard: tunic decorated with a coat of arms and worn over the amour or chain mail.

Thrust (estoc): blow with the point of a bladed weapon.

Vent (of a cannon): small opening located at the back of a cannon allowing the powder to be ignited.

White harness: full suit of armour made of metal.