Glossary and historical background for Of Daggers and Deception

Al-Andalus: Areas of the Iberian Peninsula ruled by Muslims.

Almohad: A Berber group from Northern Africa whose Muslim empire included parts of present-day Spain. 

Amphora: A container with handles and a narrow neck, usually made of ceramic in this novel’s setting, generally used for liquids (plural amphorae).

Apodyterium: Dressing room of a bathhouse.

Basque: A person from the Basque homelands in present-day Spain and France. At the time of this story, the land was in the Kingdom of Navarre. The Basques have lived there since before the beginning of recorded history and have a distinct culture and language.

Bourrelet: A hat made of fabric rolled and arranged around a light-weight hoop.

Brigadine: Flexible piece of armor for the torso, made of thick cloth and small pieces of metal sewn or riveted into position.

Cadmea: The fortified, walled portion of the city of Thebes. Named for Cadmus, the city’s founder and first king.

Caldarium: The hot room of a bathhouse.

Castilian: The people or language originating in Castile, which, at the time of this story, was the largest kingdom in what would become Spain. Castilian was the precursor language to the modern Spanish now spoken on the Iberian Peninsula.

Catalan: The people or language originating in Catalonia (part of present-day Spain). Like Spanish and French, Catalan is a romance language. Most of the Catalans involved in this story are descendants of the Grand Catalan Company, whose members settled in Greece in the early part of the fourteenth century as mercenaries for and then rulers of the Duchy of Athens.

Cuirass: A piece of armor worn to protect the torso, consisting of a chest piece and a back piece.

Denier Tournois: Small coins used for everyday purchases, minted in French regions and in wide circulation in the Duchy of Athens.

Duchy: A political entity governed by a duke.

Duchy of Athens: A crusader state established after the Fourth Crusade attacked the Christians in Constantinople instead of the Muslims in the Holy Land. It included the areas of Boeotia and Attica, with a capital of Thebes. Originally ruled by Frankish nobles, then by the Grand Catalan Company, then by a series of Spanish and Italian mercenaries and adventurers.

Euskara: The language of the Basques. Euskara is an orphan language, unrelated to any other known language in the world.

Frigidarium: The cold room of a bathhouse.

Grand Catalan Company: A group of mercenaries from Catalonia. After working for and then getting into trouble with the Byzantine Emperor, they were hired by Walter de Brienne to clear the Duchy of Athens of all de Brienne’s enemies. They took the Duchy from de Brienne when he tried to dismiss most of them without full pay. They ruled the Duchy for roughly seventy years, until Nerio Acioli and the Navarrese Company started taking their possessions.

Halberd: A long pole weapon with a battle ax and a pike on the end.

Hauberk: A shirt of mail armor, usually mid-thigh length with sleeves.

Houppelande: A garment with a long body and flared sleeves, usually worn over other layers and fastened with a belt.

Hosa: Fitted leg coverings.

Janissary: An Ottoman soldier forcibly taken from his Christian family during childhood and raised to serve the sultan.

Madonna: A polite term of address in medieval Italian cultures for a married woman.

Maghreb: The Northwestern part of Africa that includes the lands traditionally inhabited by Berber peoples.

Messer: A polite term of address in medieval Italian cultures for a man.

Moor: In the context of this novel, a Moor is one of the Muslim inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula or Northwest Africa (or one of their descendants), usually of Berber or Arabic ethnicity.

Navarrese Company: A company of mercenaries that included men from Navarre and Gascony. They fought first for Charles II of Navarre in his war against France, then for his brother, Louis of Evreux, in his attempt to take back Albania for his wife. The company took Durazzo, but Louis of Evreux died, leaving them unemployed. They broke into several companies, most of which made their way to Greece, working with the Knights Hospitaller or Nerio Acioli. After taking Thebes and other cities from the Catalan Company, they settled into the Duchy as a power in their own right.

Pithos: A large storage container with a wide neck to allow easier access to its contents (plural pithoi).

Pourpoint: A thick, quilted garment tailored for the torso, normally fastened in the front with buttons. Originally designed for wear beneath heavy armor.

Signor: A polite term of address in medieval Italian cultures for men of rank.

Signora: A polite term of address in medieval Italian cultures for a married woman of rank.

Signorina: A polite term of address in medieval Italian cultures for an unmarried woman of rank.

Surcoat: A long, loose outer garment worn over armor.

Tepidarium: The warm room of a bathhouse.

Tunica: Garment with a basic T-shaped cut worn by men and women in the medieval Greek world. Often worn under other layers. Women usually wore tunicas with hemlines at the ankles. Length for men was more varied.

Verguer: A high-ranking Catalan official in the Duchy of Athens with judicial, military, and financial duties.