A glossary can be an important part in a fantasy novel. I know when I write I like to use accurate historical items and people. However, over the generations, some items are replaced by others, and their definition is lost in time.
When this occurs, I like to write about and introduce the reader to the item and its purpose or how it works. This can be tricky, because describing it in-depth can make the reader bored, or not describing it enough can leave the reader lost and frustrated.
Knowing the tools, weapons and titles of people in a novel can take the reader into the magical world of that novel. The more the reader knows, the more easily they can travel on your words to reach that destination. This is the reason some writers use a glossary.
The glossary can be used to describe specific items or people’s titles or events and not bury them into the novel itself. It is commonly used in science fiction or fantasy novels to give background stories.
As I stated, I like writing specific descriptions in my novels. I do not have a problem with other authors using a glossary.
I thought I would give you a glossary of uncommon words from my novel. I hope this will prep you when you read it, and make you more familiar with the world that I tried to create.
Term Used Definitions
Athame A ceremonial knife used by a witch.
Ahnentafel table A way to show heritage with numbers.
Arma Patrina A squire who never became a knight.
Baldaquin Large canopy which was positioned over the area where the king and queen were seated.
Belfry A pyramid shaped siege tower.
Bottlery Where the wine was served or placed in wooden casks.
Buttery Place where fine ale is bottled.
Caparisons Ornamental covering for a horse used in tournaments or warfare.
Cauteries Iron surgical tools that were heated so they could seal off skin.
Crépine Medieval hair band.
Cunning Folk (Wise Men or Wise Woman) Individuals who use herbs and plants to heal the sick. They are sometimes wrongly confused as witches.
Familiar A supernatural being taking the form of an animal to assist a witch
Great Hall Principal hall in a castle or mansion; can be used for dining, entertainment or ceremonies.
Glyphs Symbol or character, especially one that has been incised or carved out.
Golden Spurs Awarded to a squire when he becomes a knight.
Gjermundbu Helmet A Viking helmet which covers the head and eyes.
Haketon A thick quilted coat worn for protection.
Honourable Ordinaries Simple geometrical figure, bounded by straight lines and running from side to side or top to bottom of the shield.
Horson Insult meaning son of a prostitute
Invocation A parade used to start the knight tournament.
Joust a Plaisance Series of elimination jousting contests which were held over several days. An overall jousting winner would be determined
Kipper Individual designated by the knight to retrieve the armor of a fallen opponent.
Knight-errant A knight who departs his kingdom to seek adventure to prove himself
Malleus Maleficarum “The Hammer of the Witch.” Main legal book written dealing with how to handle witches and witchcraft.
Mandragora Mandrake root used in medicine.
Mangonel A type of catapult siege weapon that uses a bow to propel objects.
Melee a Pied Teams of knights fighting on foot. A knight defeats an opponent if he makes three hits with his blunted weapons.
Melee a Cheval Similar to the melee a pied, except on horseback.
Mjölnir The hammer used by Thor in Norse mythology.
Minne A Norse tradition of drinking to remember the dead.
Month’s Mind A prayer service and mass performed one month after a person dies.
Nine Men’s Morris A medieval board game.
Norns Scandinavian mythology, the three goddesses of destiny and fate
Order of Hospitallers A religious and military order dedicated to take care of the injured and sick
Pavise A large shield used by crossbowmen to stand behind while they reload
Place of Arms A room in a castle designated for knights to discuss items dealing only with their order.
Quarrel A bolt, or projectile used on a cross bow.
Sacristy A section of the church where historical and religious documents and artifacts are stored.
Scrying The ability of a witch to see the past, present of future by staring into a reflective medium.
Silver Spurs Awarded to a page when he becomes a squire
Soporific sponge A sponge soaked in medieval anesthesia.
Switchel ring An oval shaped container. Made so it can be held on the upper arm, usually contained molasses and honey.
Thirteen Knot Rope A knotted rope used as a carpenter’s square. Can be used to form angles.
Tilting A competition where a mounted knight uses his lance to catch or pierce an object.
Vespers Tourney A tourney held on the eve of a larger event, where the pages and squires have an opportunity to demonstrate their prowess before the knights and assembled gallery.
Next Time: A list of monsters