Glossary of Weaponry, Armour and War

(adapted from Nicolle vol. 2 "Dictionary of Terms")


Aketon: quilted soft armour usually with sleeves, same as French bacqueton, differences from gambeson are unclear.


Arming Caps: small conical metal cap worn under the helmet, but over the coif as added protection.


'askar: small standing military force consisting of slaves and freed men, under the Islamic amirs.


Bargustuwan: general term for horse or eleqhant armour, may be quilted or of lamellar.


Caparison: a decorative covering for the tack or harness of a horse; trappings.


Chapel-de-fer: literally "iron hat", wide brimmed helmet, also called a war-hat.


Chausses: leg armour used in foot combat.


Cuisses: padded or quilted armour for the thighs or knees.


Coif: also Coiffe, or Coife mail coif, or head covering made of mail that covers the head and neck and is worn under the helmet.


Enarmes: holding straps inside a shield


Gambeson: also Gambais, Gambaisel, Gambaison, Gamboison, Gambison. padded garment worn beneath mail hauberk, probably sleeveless, possibly from Byzantine.


Great Helm: helmet which developed by the end of the crusades. completely covered the face and neck, surrounding the head, with a flat top


Guige: also Guiche , strap around neck to support large shield.


Hauberk: a long defensive shirt, usually of mail, extending to the knees.


Iqta': a type of holding granted to the amirs by the Sultan, usually consisting of land or revenue. Assigned as a reward for service to the state, it gradually became a militarized institution.


Poleyns: round disks, usually of metal laced around back of legs to protect knees.


Ran: cavalry leggings worn above or over boots and tied to waist-belt, may also be of iron, (like cuisses).


Saq: leg defenses, perhaps of mail, tied on in the same way as helmet or sa ad arm protections and tied to waist belt, probably mail chausses but later with plate elements added.


Surcoat: a garment worn over medieval armour, often embroydered with heraldic arms.


Tijfaf: quilted soft armour for man or horse, same as bargustuwan.