Medieval Reference by jennyyingdi


									Medieval Reference
Resources, Industries, and Commodities
      Farming
            o    Crops
            o    Livestock
      Fishing
      Trapping / Hunting
      Timber
      Mining / Processing
      Ceramics
      Spices
      Hydro
      Food

Nobility Titles

Medieval Dictionary

      Farming
            o  Crops
                        Wheat
                        Rye
                        Barley
                        Oats
                        Corn
                        Tobacco
                        Cotton
                        Fruit Orchards
                        Vineyards
                        Vegetable Orchards
                        Brewery
            o  Livestock
                        Steer – leather, beef
                        Dairy cows – milk, leather, beef
                        Sheep – wool, sheepskin, mutton
                        Pigs – pork, pigskin
                        Goats – milk, goatskin, kidskin, meat
                        Horses - draft / riding
                        Rams – meat
                        Ostrich – feathers, eggs
                        Chickens – eggs, meat
                        Llamas – fur, meat
                        Camels
                        Oxen
      Fishing
            o  Fish oil
            o  Hatcheries
            o  Types of Fish
                        Freshwater
                                   Eel & Lamprey
                                   Carp
                                   Crayfish
                                   Trout
                        Saltwater
                                   Cod / Haddock “Stockfish”
                                   Herring
                                   Stockfish
                                   Lobster / Crab
                                   Mackerel, Tuna
                                   Mollusks: Cockles, oysters, mussels, scallops and whelks
                                  Pike
                                  Plaice, Flounder
                                  Salmon
                                  Shrimp
        o    Pearl Diving
   Trapping / Hunting
        o    Rare / expensive furs
                       Fox
                       Sable (from the marten / weasel), second only to ermine in popularity with nobility
                       Mink
                       Cordovan – fine Spanish leather
                       Ermine – fur of the stoat, most popular among the wealthy
                       Powdered Ermne (spotted) – from the tail of the stoat, worn by royalty to distinguish from normal
                       Leopard
        o    Common furs
                       Beaver
                       Bear
                       Rabbit
                       Squirrel
                       Foyne – fur of the polecat
                       Lynx
                       Otter
                       Buckskin leather
                       Deerskin leather
        o    Wild game
                       Deer
                       Pheasant
                       Boar, Wild Pig
                       Duck, Goose
                       Rabbit, Hare, Coneys
                       Fox
   Timber
        o    Hard woods – deciduous trees, typically harder and more expensive to refine into lumber, furniture, etc
                       Ash
                       Cherry
                       Elm
                       Hickory
                       Mahogany
                       Maple
                       Oak
                       Poplar
                       Sandlewood
                       Teak
                       Walnut
        o    Soft woods – coniferous trees, typically softer and cheaper to refine into lumber, furniture, etc ; Primarily used
             for timber in construction
                       Pine
                       Fir
                       Spruce
                       Cedar
                       Hemlock
   Mining & Processing
        o    Iron
                       Smelting – burning of carbon fuels produces ambient carbon in smelter which strips away oxygen and
                        refines the ore into a metal state
                       Wrought Iron – produced by lower temperature smelting, low carbon content, not very strong but
                        malleable and easy to shape; can be refined by heating with carbon to create steel
                       Cast Iron –produced by higher temperature smelting, high carbon content – enormously strong and
                        can be cast into molds but is brittle and cannot be shaped once cast; can be refined by decarburizing
                        down to steel
                       Steel – about 1% carbon iron, very hard and holds an edge; refined from pig iron, removes carbon
                        and oxidizes impurities; cast into ingots, bars, sheets
                       Pig iron – iron smelting produces blooms containing carbon, process produces the intermediate
                        product high-carbon pig iron, which is of limited use – cast into ingots which are sent on to be refined
                        into steel
        o    Coal
        o    Limestone
       o   Marble
       o   Granite
       o   Sandstone
       o   Clay
       o   Slate – used for roofing
       o   Lead
       o   Tin
       o   Bronze – copper and tin
       o   Brass – copper and zinc
       o   Zinc
       o   Salt
       o   Precious metals:
                    Gold
                    Silver
                    Copper
                     Platinum
                    Mithril
       o   Precious Gems:
                    Diamond
                    Ruby
                    Sapphire
                    Emerald
                    (all others considered semi-precious)
       o   Gems: in order of value
                    Agate (banded, eye, moss)
                    Azurite
                    Blue Quartz
                    Hematite
                    Lapis Lazuli
                    Malachite
                    Obsidian
                    Rhodochrosite
                    Tigers Eye
                    Turquoise
                    Pearl (freshwater, irregular)
                    Bloodstone
                    Citrine
                    Jasper
                    Moonstone
                    Onyx
                    Peridot
                    Quartz (clear, rock crystal, rose, smokey, star rose)
                    Rhodonite
                    Sard
                    Sardonyx
                    Amber
                    Amethyst
                    Coral
                    Cat's Eye (Chrysoberyl)
                    Garnet (red, brown-green)
                    Jade
                    Tourmaline
                    Pearl (white, gold, pink, silver)
                    Alexandrite
                    Aquamarine
                    Garnet (violet)
                    Deep Blue Spinel
                    Topaz (yellow, blue)
                    Pearl (black)
                    Emerald
                    Sapphire (blue, blue star, black star)
                    Blue or Black Star Sapphire
                    Corundrum (yellow or purple)
                    Opal (white, black, fire)
                    Star Ruby
                    Diamond: Blue-white, canary, pink, brown, blue
                    Emerald (clearest bright green)
                    Jacinth
   Ceramics
              o      Clay pits / quarries
              o      Brick factory – located near clay pits to reduce cost of transporting raw material
              o      Ceramic Tiles
              o      Pottery
              o      Jewelry
         Spices
              o      Saffron – the most expensive and prized spice, aromatic stigmas of this plant was used to color foods and as a
                     cooking spice and dyes
               o     Vanilla
               o     Cardamom - from the whole or ground dried fruit a plant of the ginger family, indigenous to India and Sri Lanka
               o     Pepper - The most sought after spice. Black pepper was the most expensive. Imported from Asia and later
               o     Cinnamon - made from bark of the Cinnamomum zeylanicum
               o     Cloves - Cloves were indigenous to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, of Indonesia
               o     Nutmeg - made from seeds also indigenous to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, of Indonesia
               o     Ginger - known as 'Grains of Paradise', also called Atare Pepper, was used as a substitute for the more
                     expensive black pepper
               o     Coriander - made from seeds and leaves and a relative of the parsley family
               o     Cumin - made from the dried fruit of a plant in the parsley family
               o     Garlic – imported by the Romans
               o     Turmeric – made from a root, related to ginger and has a vivid yellow-orange color
               o     Mace - made from the dried fleshy covering of the nutmeg seed
               o     Anise - A liquorice flavored plant whose seeds and leaves are used to spice a variety of dishes
               o     Caraway - the small, crescent-shaped dried seeds from a herb
               o     Mustard - A spice with a pungent flavor, either used as seeds or ground
         Textiles
               o     Linen
               o     Silk
               o     Cotton
         Hydro
               o     River damming
               o     Irrigation
               o     Water wheels for forges / foundries / smelting furnaces

Food in the Middle Ages

Depending on their status in society and where they lived, medieval people had a variety of meats to enjoy. But thanks to Fridays,
Lent, and various days deemed meatless by the Catholic Church, even the wealthiest and most powerful people did not eat meat or
poultry every day. Fresh fish was fairly common, not only in coastal regions, but inland, where rivers and streams were still teeming
with fish in the Middle Ages, and where most castles and manors included well-stocked fish ponds.

Those who could afford spices used them liberally to enhance the flavor of meat and fish. Those who could not afford spices used
other flavorings like garlic, onion, vinegar and a variety of herbs grown throughout Europe. The use of spices and their importance
has contributed to the misconception that it was common to use them to disguise the taste of rotten meat. However, this was an
uncommon practice perpetrated by underhanded butchers and vendors who, if caught, would pay for their crime.

Meat in Castles and Manor Homes

A large portion of the foodstuffs served to the residents of castles and manor homes came from the land on which they lived. This
included wild game from nearby forests and fields, meat and poultry from the livestock they raised in their pastureland and
barnyards, and fish from stock ponds as well as from the rivers, streams and seas. Food was used swiftly -- usually within a few
days, and sometimes on the same day -- and if there were leftovers, they were gathered up as alms for the poor and distributed

Occasionally, meat procured ahead of time for large feasts for the nobility would have to last a week or so before being eaten. Such
meat was usually large wild game like deer or boar. Domesticated animals could be kept on the hoof until the feast day drew near,
and smaller animals could be trapped and kept alive, but big game had to be hunted and butchered as the opportunity arose,
sometimes from lands several days' travel away from the big event. There was often concern from those overseeing such victuals
that the meat might go off before it came time to serve it, and so measures were usually taken to salt the meat to prevent rapid
deterioration. Instructions for removing outer layers of meat that had gone bad and making wholesome use of the remainder have
come down to us in extant cooking manuals.

Be it the most sumptuous of feasts or the more modest daily meal, it was the lord of the castle or manor, or the highest-ranking
resident, his family, and his honored guests who would receive the most elaborate dishes and, consequently, the finest portions of
meat. The lower the status of the other diners, the further away from the head of the table, and the less impressive their food. This
could mean that those of low rank did not partake of the rarest type of meat, or the best cuts of meats, or the most fancily-prepared
meats; but they ate meat nonetheless.

Meat for Peasants and Village-Dwellers

Peasants rarely had much fresh meat of any kind. It was illegal to hunt in the lord's forest without permission, so, in most cases, if
they had game it would have been poached, and they had every reason to cook it and dispose of the remains the very same day it
was killed. Some domestic animals such as cows and sheep were too large for everyday fare and were reserved for the feasts of
special occasions like weddings, baptisms, and harvest celebrations.

Chickens were ubiquitous, and most peasant families (and some city families) had them; but people would enjoy their meat only
after their egg-laying days (or hen-chasing days) were over. Pigs were very popular, and could forage just about anywhere, and
most peasant families had them. Still, they weren't numerous enough to slaughter every week, so the most was made of their meat
by turning it into long-lasting ham and bacon. Pork, which was popular in all levels of society, would be an unusual meal for

Fish could be had from the sea, rivers and streams, if there were any nearby, but, as with hunting the forests, the lord could claim
the right to fish a body of water on his lands as part of his demesne. Fresh fish was not often on the menu for the average peasant.

A peasant family would usually subsist on pottage and porridge, made from grain, beans, root vegetables and pretty much anything
else they could find that might taste good and provide sustenance, sometimes enhanced with a little bacon or ham.

Because monasteries or convents were mostly self-sufficient, the meat available to the brothers and sisters was -- usually -- pretty
much the same as that served in a manor or castle, although the more common foodstuffs like chicken, beef, pork and mutton would
be more likely than swan, peacock, venison or wild boar.

The average medieval cook or housewife had access to a variety of meat from both wild and domesticated animals. Cooks in the
households of the nobility had a fairly impressive selection available to them. Here are some, but by no means all, of the meat
medieval people would consume.


         Beef and Veal - By far the most common meat, beef was regarded as coarse and was never considered exclusive
          enough for the nobility; but it was very popular among the lower classes. Though more tender, veal never surpassed beef
          in popularity.
               o    Many peasant households had cows, usually only one or two, that would be slaughtered for meat once their
                    days of giving milk had passed. This would usually take place in the fall so that the creature would not have to
                    be fed through the winter, and whatever was not consumed at a feast would be preserved for use throughout
                    the months ahead. Most of the animal was used for food, and those parts that weren't eaten had other
                    purposes; the hide was made into leather, the horns (if any) might be used for drinking vessels, and the bones
                    were occasionally used to make sewing implements, fasteners, parts of tools, weapons, or musical instruments,
                    and a variety of other useful items.
               o    In larger towns and cities, a substantial portion of the population had no kitchens of their own, and so it was
                    necessary for them to purchase their meals ready-made from street vendors: a kind of medieval "fast food."
                    Beef would be used in the meat pies and other food items these vendors cooked if their customers were
                    numerous enough to consume the product of a slaughtered cow in a matter of days.
         Goat and Kid - Goats had been domesticated for thousands of years, but they were not particularly popular in most parts
          of medieval Europe. The meat of both adult goats and kids was consumed, however, and the females gave milk that was
          used for cheese.
         Mutton and Lamb - Meat from a sheep that is at least a year old is known as mutton, which was very popular in the
          Middle Ages. In fact, mutton was sometimes the most expensive fresh meat available. It was preferable for a sheep to be
          from three to five years old before being slaughtered for its meat, and mutton that came from a castrated male sheep (a
          "wether") was considered the finest quality.
               o    Adult sheep were most often slaughtered in the fall; lamb was usually served in the spring. Roast leg of mutton
                    was among the most popular foods for nobility and peasant alike. Like cows and pigs, sheep might be kept by
                    peasant families, who could make use of the animal's fleece regularly for homespun wool (or trade or sell it).
               o    Ewes gave milk that was frequently used for cheese. As with goat cheese, cheese made from sheep's milk
                    could be eaten fresh or stored for quite some time.
         Pork, Ham, Bacon, and Suckling Pig - Since ancient times, the meat of the pig had been very popular with everyone
          except Jews and Muslims, who regard the animal as unclean. In medieval Europe, pigs were everywhere. As omnivores,
          they could find food in the forest and city streets as well as on the farm.
               o    Where peasants could usually only afford to raise one or two cows, pigs were more numerous. Ham and bacon
                    lasted a long time and went a long way in the humblest peasant household. As common and inexpensive as
                    keeping pigs was, pork was favored by the most elite members of society, as well as by city vendors in pies and
                    other ready-made foods.
               o    Like cows, nearly every part of the pig was used for food, right down to its hooves, which were used to make
                    jellies. Its intestines were popular casings for sausages, and its head was sometimes served on a platter at
                    festive occasions.
       Rabbit and Hare - Rabbits have been domesticated for millennia, and they could be found in Italy and neighboring parts
        of Europe during Roman times. Domesticated rabbits were introduced to Britain as a food source after the Norman
        Conquest. Adult rabbits more than a year old are known as "coneys" and show up fairly frequently in surviving cookbooks,
        even though they were a rather expensive and unusual food item.
             o    Hare has never been domesticated, but it was hunted and eaten in medieval Europe. Its meat is darker and
                  richer than that of rabbits, and it was frequently served in a heavily-peppered dish with a sauce made from its


       Chicken, Capons, and Eggs - Chicken appears in a good percentage of the recipes that have survived from the Middle
        Ages, and among the upper classes the meat was served frequently. In more modest homes, chicken might be served on
        very special occasions; peasants needed chickens for their eggs, and were very unlikely to eat a hen until it had stopped
        laying them. Eggs were used regularly and frequently in a wide variety of recipes in upper-class kitchens and peasant
        dwellings alike. Capons -- castrated males -- were considered luxury items that only the rich could afford.
       Duck – Though not as popular as chicken or goose, duck was often served in medieval Europe. Sometimes duck was
        raised domestically, but more often than not it appears to have been hunted or captured in the wild. Duck feathers were
        probably put to use in bedding and clothing, though goose feathers were more common for such uses
       Game Birds: Partridge, Pheasant and Quail - These three birds are all related to each other, and all were hunted with
        the help of falcons by the upper classes. Pheasant was especially prized, since its meat was considered very flavorsome.
        Male pheasants had colorful feathers, and at aristocratic banquets it was common to serve them in their own plumage
       Goose - domesticated since ancient times, and they have been raised for their feathers as well as for the meat, grease,
        and liver used in cooking
       Peacock - Domesticated and highly prized for its stunning plumage, the peacock wasn't a particularly tasty bird, but it was
        still served at aristocratic functions as a status symbol in spite of its toughness. Their taste could be improved and their
        toughness mitigated by hanging the slaughtered birds by the neck with their feet weighted down a day or two. Like
        partridges and swans, the peacock was almost always served re-dressed in its own skin with its notable tail feathers
        fanned out.
       Dove / Pigeon - The wood pigeon, the rock dove and the turtledove were domesticated for food in medieval Europe, and
        were usually reserved for the upper class. Pigeons and doves might be roasted or served in pies.

Fish and Seafood

       In the Middle Ages, the seas, lakes and rivers were teeming with fish, and medieval people took advantage of this fact
        with professional fishing fleets and fish traps. When a castle moat had water it might also have fish, and fish ponds were
        part of many manor holdings. Preserved fish was very common and easy to acquire.
       Fish was allowed on the days of the week that the Church had declared "meatless" (such as every Friday and all of Lent),
        but it was usually eaten more often, especially in coastal regions. In medieval cookbooks, the exact type of fish wasn't
        always specified; as with measurements and cooking times, the knowledgeable cook decided what recipe went best with
        what fish.
       Carp - Carp is native to northern European rivers and wasn't introduced into England until the late Middle Ages. Bream, a
        variety of carp, is indigenous to northern and central Europe and prefers slow-flowing and stagnant waters. This made it
        perfect for medieval fish ponds and castle moats, but its reputation as a bottom-feeder limited its prestige. The active
        dace, also of the carp family, could be caught by skilled anglers in fairly swift-moving streams and rivers, and occasionally
        made a good meal.
       Cod or "Stockfish" - Although some sources indicate that "stockfish" could refer to any white fish, the term usually
        referred to cod (and its relatives haddock and whiting). Cod was caught in vast quantities in the North Atlantic, much of it
        off the coast of Iceland, where it was air-dried in the cold to preserve it and traded widely across Europe. Properly dried
        cod could last for years, and had to be beaten for hours and soaked for days to make it edible again. Preserved cod was
        often a staple in medieval households. Its roe, tongue and liver were considered delicacies.
       Herring - This oily, fatty fish caught in the North Sea and the Baltic was enormously popular in the Middle Ages. Most of
        what was caught by professional fishermen was pickled, packed in barrels, and traded throughout Europe. Herring that
        was gutted, pre-soaked in brine, and thoroughly smoked would turn red. Herring that was cured without smoking retained
        its silver skin and was known as white herring, which kept longer than red herring. Though herring didn't last as long as
        cod, it still made a good staple fish.
               o     Anchovies and sardines, which are found in warmer waters, are smaller relatives of the herring and were also
                     eaten in the Middle Ages. The consumption of anchovies goes back to ancient times, and the fish remained part
                     of Mediterranean cuisine throughout the medieval era and beyond. Both anchovies and sardines were salted to
                     preserve them and traded throughout the Mediterranean and Adriatic regions.
       Lamprey and Eel - Lamprey fish are sometimes mistaken for eels because of their slick, snakelike appearance, but they
        are actually parasites that suck the blood of larger fish. They live in the sea and spawn in rivers. Eels spawn in the ocean
        and spend most of their lives in fresh water; they were often caught in river traps. Eels, which were very common in the
        Middle Ages, were sometimes carefully separated from their skins, seasoned, and returned to the skin for roasting. Some
        surviving medieval recipes regard lamprey and eel as interchangeable.
       Lobster, Crab and Crayfish - The Greeks and Romans were fond of lobster and crab, and the high regard with which
        such seafood was held never faded through the Middle Ages. (It's interesting to note that for a time in America, the
        abundance and easy availability of lobster made it a common food for poorer folk; but such was never the case in
        medieval Europe.) The lobster's freshwater cousin, the crayfish, was not precisely considered a delicacy, but it made a
        prestigious meal and was especially sought-after on meatless days.
       Mackerel and Tuna - Both the mackerel and its relative, the tuna, were fairly abundant in the Atlantic and Mediterranean
        in medieval times. Mackerel was enjoyed fresh in season (usually beginning in June but sometimes as early as March),
        but it proved exceedingly difficult to preserve. Only the French appeared to have any success preserving mackerel, which
        they did with a lot of salt. In Sicily, a tradition of tuna trapping goes back to at least the 10th century and may have
        originated with Muslim residents, although it's possible the custom goes back to Roman times or even earlier.
       Mollusks - Cockles, oysters, mussels, scallops and whelks were consumed regularly in the Middle Ages, chiefly by
        people living on the coast. Although they were sometimes eaten by the wealthy (especially as part of a multi-course
        feast), mollusks were much more commonly eaten by the lower classes.
       Pike - This carnivorous fish was held in high regard by medieval cooks and was a favorite of the nobility. Though often
        caught wild in the lakes and rivers of low-lying regions, pike were also kept in fish ponds, where they kept down the
        population of such prolific fish as bream.
       Plaice and Flounder - These flatfish were among the most popular fish in northern Europe. In England, archaeological
        evidence shows that stockfish and herring were the only fish to appear more frequently in the High Medieval English diet.
       Salmon and Trout - Though it spawns inland, the salmon lives all the rest of its days in the ocean. It was therefore
        caught in both seagoing ships and river traps. In the Middle Ages, salmon was very common, and was caught in great
        quantities in the Rhine and traded throughout Germany and beyond by the Hanseatic League. Trout, which is related to
        the salmon, was often mentioned in cookbooks as an alternative to other fish. Unlike its cousin, the trout is confined to
        fresh water.
       Shrimp - The common European shrimp could be found in coastal waters of the North Atlantic. There was no large-scale
        shrimping industry, but shrimp were known to be consumed as part of impressive feasts. Since they could be obtained in
        shallow waters, they were probably eaten by poorer folk, as well.

Farming Schedule

             Month                   Work that needed to be done                     Weather the farmer wanted

             January                  mending and making tools,
                                          repairing fences

                                       carting manure and marl                                 showers

                                   ploughing and spreading manure                       dry, no severe frosts

                                  spring sowing of seeds, harrowing                    showers and sunshine

              May                 digging ditches, first ploughing of
                                                                                       showers and sunshine
                                             fallow fields

              June                 hay making, second ploughing of
                                                                                             dry weather
                                     fallow field, sheep-shearing

              July                   hay making, sheep-shearing,
                                                                                       dry early, showers later
                                          weeding of crops

                                               Harvesting                                 warm, dry weather

           September              threshing, ploughing and pruning
                                              fruit trees
                                       Last ploughing of the year                         dry, no severe frosts

                                        collecting acorns for pigs                       showers and sunshine

             December              Mending and making tools, killing
                                                                                         showers and sunshine

              o    The farming year in Medieval England was clearly shaped around the weather. At certain times of the year,
                   certain things had to be done by peasant farmers or crops would not have grown. Farming, in this sense, was
                   controlled by the weather.
              o    Marl = a limy clay used as manure in Medieval England
              o    Frosts were a major worry for Medieval peasants as just one severe frost in the growing season could kill off
                   your crop. Seeds were especially vulnerable to frosts. The impact of a bad frost could leave a family or village
                   without a crop for the year.
              o    Harrowing = a spiked farming tool used to cover up seeds after they have been planted. Like a giant garden
              o    Fallow fields = these were farming fields left alone by the farmers for a year so that the field could regain its
                   strength. If a field was used year in year out, it would not maintain its fertility. Though this system seems a
                   waste as land was lost to the farmers, it was the only way then not to exhaust the land.
              o    Acorns = these come from oak trees which were a very common tree in Medieval England. Pigs were allowed to
                   wander in forests and feed themselves up on acorns. Acorns were free and a lord would not mind as he would
                   have no use for the acorns - but he certainly would for fattened pigs.
              o    Heavy rain - this was feared in the summer as the crop had nearly grown and a heavy rain storm could flatten
                   the crop and make harvesting it all but impossible.
              o    Demesne – domain of the local lord, off limits to hunting by commoners

Rare / expensive furs


Sable (from the marten / weasel), second only to ermine in popularity with nobility


Cordovan – fine Spanish leather

Ermine – fur of the stoat, most popular among the wealthy

Powdered Ermne (spotted) – from the tail of the stoat, worn by royalty to distinguish from normal ermne


Common furs





Foyne – fur of the polecat


Buckskin leather

Deerskin leather

Wild game



Boar, Wild Pig

Duck, Goose

Rabbit, Hare, Coneys


Nobility Titles in the World of Nemmerle

Titles vary from one historical period to another, from one culture to another. It is impossible to make a
direct correlation between titles of so many political systems. For purposes of simplicity and keeping to
titles familiar to the average player, Nemmerle will feature titles derived from English rank and will use
these across all kingdoms. The simplified system will appear as follows:

Titles of Nobility

          Emperor, Empress – rulers of a collection of kingdoms or city states (very rare)
          King, Queen – rulers of a kingdom or of a city-state within an empire. Kings divide their lands up
           among their supporters, who will respond to a call from the King in times of war and raise taxes
           for the King from the land granted to them. A King’s word is law, making him sovereign over all
           things except maybe that of a church that holds sway in their kingdom.
       Prince, Princess – children of kings and queens, in some cases heir apparent even if not blood
        related, holders of no land themselves they still enjoy rank granted by their station but of course
        the eldest will eventually enjoy all the power once they ascend to the throne
       Baron, Baroness – Barons represent the old families of Nobility. Some are entertained by the
        King or Queen out of respect to lineage, even if their land holdings are small and the title
        honorific. Some receive large portions of land directly from the king, pledging their loyalty in
        times of war and paying taxes from their lands. Baronial families are old and respected enough
        to be considered of Royal peerage. They are the highest level of nobility and occupy stations
        highest in court. Conflicts over ascension to the throne usually involve Baronial families.
       Duke, Duchess – Dukes are the highest non-royal title of nobility, acting as warlords that assist
        the king and the barons in times of war. Barons traditionally allot portions of their lands for the
        Dukes to oversee. Land overseen by a Duke is referred to as a Duchy. Dukes marshal the troops
        for the Baron in times of war and, during conflict within the realm, will likely side with their
       Earl, Countess – Earls are the lowest level of nobility, presiding over the Earldoms or Counties
        within a Duchy. Most knights carry the title Earl of their land, unless they graduate to the level
        of a Duke or Baron.

Officers of the King’s Court
The four main officers of a king’s court were the Chancellor, the Chamberlain, the Justiciar, and
the Treasurer
It was the job of the Chancellor to oversee the Chancery, the segment of the government dealing
with domestic and foreign affairs. Chancellors were required to be able to read and write, a skill
that was, until the 13th century, rare outside the clergy; thus, the position was always filled by an
ecclesiastic. The chancellor was keeper of the great seal used to validate royal documents, and
thus he became the most powerful official in most medieval kingdoms. As the power of the
office grew, the people assigned to fill the post were drawn from positions of prestige.
Eventually, most chancellors were also bishops or even archbishops.

Chamberlain - In a royal household, a chamberlain was the officer who controlled access to the king.
The term has its origins in the royal chamber; it was the king's private room, or chamber, which was the
chamberlain's responsibility. The chamberlain was also the administrator of the household and any private
estates the king might have.
A Justiciar was one of the four main officers of medieval courts. It was the job of the justiciar to
administrate the royal judicial system and to serve as the king's viceroy when the king was absent from
the country.
The Treasurer was the chief financial officer of the kingdom, and the senior officer of the exchequer.
Duke, Duchess

The Latin dux was a military title that might roughly translate to "field marshal". The historical kernel of
in the stories of King Arthur probably refers to a dux bellorum in charge of the forces holding off the
barbarian onslaught in early post-Roman Britain.

The English kings introduced the French ducal structure into the British system, and it was
initially a mostly royal title (as all new creations during this century have been). In France
especially after 1600, however, as well as in Britain, it has evolved into a mostly non-royal title.

The idea that a duke is a royal title, however, is strong in Germany, perhaps stronger than it ever
was in Britain, where all the children of the head of some ruling houses are automatically a
Herzog or Herzogin, much as imperial offspring were archdukes or archduchesses.

A duchy (or grand duchy) is the territory ruled by a duke (or grand duke) or the lands (and/or
incomes) specifically attached to the ducal title. A dukedom is the title itself.

Marquess, Marchioness

This title glosses to "march lord", i.e. a noble in charge of the marches (the border regions) of a realm in
distinction to other lords in more-settled lands. These were essentially warlords with broad powers and
in this context, may be thought of as a "palatine" title. In earlier times, it was a rare title; it was later
revived as a grade between count and duke.

Earl, Count, and Graf

"Earl" is related to Old Norse "jarl", and is equivalent to "count", which itself comes from the Latin
comes. This in turn is related to the English word "county", which pretty much explains what a count
was: the principal figure of the county. In Roman times, the comes was a courtier, an Imperial official,
and actually outranked a dux (duke).

William I of England regarded the Anglo-Saxon "earl" as a synonym for "count", and while this
was not correct, it was a practical equivalency. Old English lacked a feminine and thus the
French term was adopted for an earl's wife as well as for women who hold earldoms in their own
Viscount, Viscountess

This is the leftover title, what the king bestowed on someone who was not important enough to merit
being made a count. It's a rather late innovation. It originated in France, as the count's deputy, i.e, the

Baron, Baroness

Barons were originally (in Britain) those who held their lands directly from the king. Not all British nobles
have baronies and many viscounts, for example, do not. (--Louis Epstein) The majority of the nobility in
Britain are just plain barons.

Once, a baron was an important noble, especially before the Renaissance. In olden times, when there
was little differentiation in degree or rank between neighboring nobles, "baron" could signify any noble,
large or small, a meaning with some currency today on the continent, roughly equivalent in meaning to
"peer" or "lord" in the UK.

Latin Rex, Regina

Greek Basileus

English King, Queen

German König, Königin

French Roi, Reine

Spanish Rey, Reina

Portuguese Rei, Reiha
Romanian Regele, Raina

Bulgarian Tsar

Norwegian Konge, Dronning

Danish Konge, Dronning

Swedish Konung, Drotning

Dutch Koning, Koningin

Irish Ri, Rigan (High-King = Ard Ri)

Medieval Dictionary

                      Person entitled to bear Heraldic Arms, such as a Sovereign or nobleman. It can also mean a
Armiger               Squire that carries the armour of a medieval knight. In latin it literally means "armour-
                      Formerly the extinction of a person's civil rights resulting from a sentence of death or
                      outlawry on conviction of treason or felony.

Billets               A chunk of wood especially for fuel.

Board of Green Cloth The committee that audited the Royal accounts.

                      A document entitling a commissioned officer to hold temporarily a higher rank without the
                      appropriate pay and allowances.

                      Welsh hero and son of Cadwallon, King of Gwynedd, North Wales. He defeated and slew
                      Eadwine of Northumbria in 633 but was himself killed in battle the following year.

                      One of the insignia of royalty, the cap is made of crimson velvet turned up with ermine. It is
                      carried on a white wand before the Sovereign at the Coronation and on ceremonial
                      occasions such as the State Opening of Parliament. The name is derived from 'main a
Cap of Maintenance    tenant' meaning 'held in hand'. Historically a cap was an emblem of high rank and honour,
                      given by the Pope in medieval times to European sovereigns (the last English sovereign
                      recipient was Henry VIII) - hence its association with the monarchy. The cap's main symbol is
                      that of Mercy.

Carbine               A kind of short-barrelled shoulder rifle

                    The King's Champion (campio regis) is an office peculiar to England and dates probably from
                    the 14th century. Originally the Champion's function was to ride, clad in full armour, into
                    Westminster Hall during the Coronation banquet. Flanked by the High Constable and the
Champion of England Earl Marshal, he threw down the gauntlet three times, challenging to mortal combat any
                    one who would dispute the King's right to reign. There is no record that the challenge was
                    ever accepted. The ceremony last took place at the Coronation of George IV in 1821. Since
                    1902 the King's Champion has carried the Standard of England.

                     A coroner was an Officer of the Royal Household charged with maintaining the rights of the
                     private property of the Crown. In modern times of course his chief function is to hold
Coroner of the Verge inquest on the bodies of those who have died by violence of accident. A verge is literally an
                     area of land that encompasses the Royal Court that is subject to the jurisdiction of the Lord

Curvet                In dressage, a low lead with all four feet off the ground, or to prance about.

Damask                A reversible fabric, usually silk or linen, with a pattern woven in it.

                      or, Dun Cow is the savage beast slain by Guy of Warwick. A huge tusk, probably that of an
Donne Kowe            elephant, is still shown at Warwick Castle as the horns of the Dun Cow. The fable is that it
                      belonged to a giant and was kept on Michell Fold, Shropshire, and its milk was
                      inexhaustible. One day an old woman who had filled her pail wanted to fill her sieve also.
                      Enraged, the cow broke loose and wandered to Dunsmore Heath where she was slain.

                      On Dunsmore Heath I alsoe stewe
                      A monstrous wyld and cruell beast,
                      Calld the Dun-Cow of Dunsmore Heath;
                      Which many people had opprest.
                      Some of her bones in Warwick yett
                      Still for a monument doe lye.
                                          Percy (The Legend of Sir Guy)
Faggot                A bundle of sticks or twigs especially when bound together and used as fuel.

                      In medieval England, many activities were at one time or another prohibited under forest
                      law. These included hunting, enclosure of land, felling of trees, building, the carrying of
                      weapons and the grazing of livestock. In the beginning, punishments for these offences
                      were brutal and blinding or amputation were not uncommon. This evolved into a system of
Forest Law
                      fines and eventually this became a de facto tax; providing a major source of income to the
                      Crown. Forest law was enforced by foresters, and the fines administered by verderers.
                      These titles still exist today, although they are now largely ceremonial.
                      Edited from Wikipedia/forestlaws

                      Gentlemen-Commoners were distinguished from ordinary commoners by special academic
                      dress, by dining at a separate table, by various immunities with respect to lectures etc and
                      by the payment of higher fees. The term is now practically obsolete.

                      The Gilt Rod carried on state occasions by the Colonel of the Life Guards or the Captain of
Gold Stick
                      the Gentlemen at Arms.

                      A large cask used for the shipment of wines and spirits. It is also a unit of capacity, used
Hogshead              especially for alcoholic beverages. It has several values, being 54 imperial gallons in the
                      case of beer and 52.5 imperial gallons in the case of wine.

Japanned              A glossy durable black lacquer originally from the Orient used on wood and metal.

                      A member of a Roman Catholic religious order founded by Ignatius Loyola in 1534 with the
Jesuit                aims of defending the papacy and Catholicism against the Reformation and to undertake
                      missionary work.

                     or Esquire of the King's Body are as the title suggests one the Sovereign's closest attendants
Knight of the King's
       Body          and shield bearer.

                      Eight state landaus are still in use for royal occasions today; all of them date before 1872.
                      State landaus are drawn by two bay horses driven from the box; the footmen stand when
                      the hood of the carriage is closed and are seated when the hood is open. The State landaus
                      can be seen in the Royal Mews behind Buckingham Palace.
Lord Chamberlain      An Officer who manages the Royal Household.

                      This office is always filled by noblemen of great rank. In England the title is the third official
                      of the Royal Household. The Master of the Horse has the management and direction of all
                      matters relating to the Royal stables and the revenue appropriate to this branch of the
                      Royal Household. He has the privilege of using horses belonging to the Crown, and of being
Master of the Horse
                      attended by pages and servants attached to his department. In Royal processions and on
                      occasions of state he usually rides in the same carriage with the Sovereign or is in
                      immediate attendance. The office is now a political one and the holder resigns on a change
                      of government.

                      A medieval weapon consisting of an iron or steel spearhead joined to a long pole, the

                      Any one of a line of English kings ruling from the ascent of Henry II (1154) to the death of
Plantagenet           Richard III (1485). Its literal meaning sprig of broom with reference to the crest of the
                      Algevin kings. Latin planta (sprig) + genista (broom).

Poursuivant           A King's messenger or State messenger.

                      A private apartment inside a Royal residence. A private room reserved for the use of a
Privy Chamber
                      specific person or group.

                      The private council of the British Sovereign. The number members of the council was
                      anciently about twelve when it discharged the functions of state, but it became unwieldy
                      before 1679 when it was remodelled upon Sir William Temple's plan and reduced to thirty
                      members. It currently consists of all current and former Ministers of the Crown and other
                      distinguished subjects, all of whom are appointed for life. The number of councillors is
                      again unlimited but no members attend unless specifically summoned. The members are
                      selected by the Sovereign and are drawn from persons distinguished by high office, wisdom
                      and political experience. The council includes the principal ministers of the Crown, some
                      judges, many diplomats, peers and commoners whose services to the state and whose
Privy Council
                      position in it, whether past or present, render them eligible to advise upon public affairs. A
                      privy councillor, even though a commoner, is styled "right honourable" and has precedence
                      of all knights, baronets and younger sons of barons and viscounts. S/he is admitted a
                      member upon taking the oath prescribed by law and forthwith takes their seats at the
                      board, according to his rank.

                      During the period of The Commonwealth 1649-1660 a Privy Council was still held although
                      members were sworn at councils held at The Hague, Breda and elsewhere. Charles II re-
                      formed his council on Restoration in 1660.

Prorogue              verb, To discontinue the meeting of a legislative body without dissolving (dismissing) it.
Proselytes          A person newly converted to a religious faith or sect; a convert.

                    A Roman Catholic than did not attend the services of the Church of England, as was required
                    by law. Or indeed, any person that refuses to submit to authority.

                    Any of several officials of The Exchequer whose duties include collecting debts due to the

                    The period of English history after the fall of the Protectorate, or Commonwealth, in 1660. It
                    saw the re-establishment of the Monarchy in the person of King Charles II.

Regicide            The killing of a King or a person that kills a King.

Sarsenet            Or sarcenet, a fine soft silk fabric used for clothing and ribbons.

                    Sergeants-at-Arms have been a part of British history since 1279 when Edward I formed a
                    body guard of 20 Sergeants-at-Arms. The gentlemen under this title, carried a decorated
Sergeant at Arms    battle-mace as a weapon and as a badge of this particular office. The English body guard’s
                    strength was later increased to 30, and in 1415 one of their numbers was appointed to
                    attend upon the Speaker and all Parliaments as Sergeant-at-Arms for the Commons.

                    An attendant of high rank in charge of the serving of meals and the seating of guests. The
                    holder was until the fifteenth century an Officer in the Royal Household and an Office of
Sewer of the King
                    Ceremony at Coronations. Sewer, Carver and Cup Bearer and the like where the King is
                    served personally were positions known as 'Yeoman Ushers of Devotion'

                    or for our US or Canadian guests - Shanks's Mare. To ride Shanks's Pony or Mare is to walk
Shanks's Pony       or go on foot. The shanks being the legs. Some may know it as the Marrow-bone Stage or
                    Walker's Bus.

Sinecure            A paid office or post involving minimal duties.

                    A match or fuse that burns slowly without flame, especially a wick impregnated with
Slow Match
                    potassium nitrate.

                    A civil and criminal court in England so named because of the star-shaped ceiling decoration
                    of the room in the Palace of Westminster where its first meeting was held. Created in 1487
Star Chamber
                    by Henry VII it comprised of between 20 and 30 judges. It became notorious under Charles I
                    for judgments favourable to the King and to Archbishop Laud. It was abolished in 1641.

St Edwards Crown    The usual representation of the crown since 1952. Some Victorian representations of
                    crowns are also obviously St Edward's Crown
                    Patron saint of England. He is said to have been martyred at Lydda, in Palestine in 303,
St George           probably under Dioletain, but other elements of his legend are of doubtful origin. The story
                    that St George rescued a girl by slaying a dragon, evidently derived from the Perseus legend,
                      first appears in the 16th century. The cult of St George was introduced into Western Europe
                      by the Crusaders. His feast-day is celebrated on 23 April.

Sword of State

                                                                                                        Sword of
                      State represents the power to make war (as opposed to the Cap of Maintenance, carried at the
                      same time as the Sword of State, that represents Mercy)
Tartine               A big article of commonplace character. Something sensational that can attract a crowd.

                      In England - a member of an aristocratic class, ranking below an Earldom, whose status was
                      hereditary and who held land from the King or from another nobleman in return for certain
Thane                 services. In Scotland - a person of rank, often a chief of a clan, holding land from the King.
                      The title was also appointed to a lesser noble who was a Crown official holding authority
                      over an area of land.

                      Dry wood or fungus material such as amadou (a spongy substance made from certain fungi
Touchwood             used as tinder to light fires; in medicine to stop bleeding; by anglers to dry off flies between

                      As one might guess this title dealing with the Sovereign's finances for that particular area of
  Treasurer of the
  Royal Household     the rule.

                    As one might guess this title dealing with the Sovereign's finances for that particular area of
  Treasurer of the
Sovereign's Chamber the rule.

                      The standard pattern representational crown with raised arches, used between 1901 and
                      1952. Introduced by King Edward VII who described it as - "the Tudor, 'Henry VII' Crown,
Tudor Crown
                      chosen and always used by Queen Victoria personally". This was, presumably, a reference to
                      Queen Victoria's Small Diamond Crown, which in shape, is similar to the Tudor Crown

                      The Stannaries were districts comprising the tin mines and smelting works of Devon and
   Warden of the
    Stannaries        Cornwall formerly under the jurisdiction of Stannary Courts.

                      A sack containing or intended to contain wool. It is also the seat of the Lord Chancellor in
                      the House of Lords, formerly made of a large square sack of wool.

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