Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Medieval Turn of Phrase - Medieval Glossary

Anyone interested in medieval history and medieval castles simply has to read Sir Walter Scott's 'Ivanhoe'. It is a magnificent piece of writing which brings to life all things medieval - eg. the quality of life enjoyed by a nobleman compared to that of a serf, the code of chivalry amongst knights, the prejudices of class and religion that existed, the role played by women in medieval times and what life in a medieval castle was like.

One of the most striking things about the book, however is the language used. Granted, Scott deliberately used a very 'flowery' language throughout his story, but he also made reference to many truly medieval terms and phrases, some of which we still use today and some that we don't.

For example ....

  • words we still use today - gaiters (leggings), muscadine (sweet wine), bodkin (needle)

  • words we no longer hear - capul (horse), fortalice (fortress), senechal (steward)

To read more of the kind of vocabulary popular in medieval England, visit our Medieval Glossary.

If you're interested to read more about Sir Walter Scott, there's lots of information in the Walter Scott Digital Archive.

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