Words and technical terms used in this website.

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  • Archaeomalacology

    Branch of science that studies the remains of molluscs found at archaeological sites. It provides abundant information on climate change, diet, economy, trade, rites, etc. if the object of study is fish, then the branch of science is known as archaeoichthyology.

  • Archbishop

    The highest feudal and ecclesiastic authority in Santiago de Compostela. The archbishop rules an archdiocese, which, in turn, consists of a number of dioceses (ruled by bishops). The territory ruled by the archbishop was the archbishopric.

  • Arrow slit

    As arrow slits are narrow, long openings in the outer walls of castle and medieval fortresses that were used to discharge crossbow arrows. Arrow slits were narrower on the outside of the wall and wider in the inside of the wall, which was where the crossbow went. As embrasures, on the other hand, were more open on the outside and narrower on the inside and were suitable for shooting guns.

  • Ashlar

    Rectangular, six-faced stone block that was cut to be part of walls. It is of much greater quality than the rough rocks used in dry-stone walls. Making these bond stones was the work of the stonemasons that built the walls of monumental architectural enclosures such as cathedrals and castles.

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  • Battlement

    Each of the openings and spaces at the uppermost section of walls and towers to shoot missiles while remaining protected. The solid interval between crenellations protecting defenders was called merlon.

  • Berenguel Gests

    As Gesta Berengarii de Landoria archiepiscopi Campostellani is a chronicle of the episcopate of Berenguel de Landoira, a laudatory account written by Aimerico de Anteiac, a canon of his in mid 14th century. It may be fully downloaded from the website of the University of Salamanca. Not to be confused with Gesta Berengarii imperatoris, a 19th century chronicle on the reign of Berenguel I of Italy.

  • Blackfriar

    A friar of the catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic of Guzman in early 13th century. Friars of this order were known for their black and white habits. For more information web da orde.

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  • Canonry

    The governing body of the cathedral. The members of the chapter were canons.

  • Castle on rocks

    A type of fortress that stands on rocky outcrops at strategic site such as hillocks, mountain tops, mountain ranges from where there was a good view of the land around. By taking advantage of the natural defense conditions made this castles into impregnable fortresses.

  • Ceitil

    The ceitil was a Portuguese coin minted throughout the reign of Afonso V of Portugal. Its name comes from the city of Ceuta, which was then in the territory of the Crown of Portugal, but ceitís were minted in Lisbon or Porto. As its emblem it has a castle under which there are three waves and a gothic C next to it. Initially, it was worth a third of a blanca(white)

  • Chapter constitutions

    Chapter constitutions were ecclesiastical rule books of an economic nature. They established the procedure to follow in collecting annuities, the sharing of revenues, etc.

  • Churruchaos

    A family or lineage from the Deza region (from the centre area of Galicia), they had conflicts with the Archbishopric of Santiago, particularly in the 14th century. Noblemen from the Churruchaos family where behind the murder of Bishop Sueiro Gómez; In turn, noblemen from this family were killed by order of Bishop Berenguel de Landoira.

  • Crown land

    Belonging to the King. In other words, the territory under the direct rule of the king as opposed to that of a feudal lord (seigniory). In the case of Santiago, the feudal lord was the archbishop.

  • Curtain wall

    A defensive construction erected in the perimeter of the medieval castles and fortresses outside their wall. It was shorter and slanted to protect the castle against catapults and similar war machines. In A Rocha Forte part of this outer wall or barbican has survived.

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  • Governor

    Person who, in the Middle Ages, was in charge of the defense of a fortress like that of A Rocha Forte. Álvaro Sánchez Davila was one such castellan.

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  • Infante

    In the Middle Ages, it was a title granted by the King. Nowadays in Spain, only the children and descendants of the king are infants.

  • Irmandiños

    Medieval revolts occurred in Galicia throughout the 15th century, when noblemen – sometimes supported by lower classes such as the incipient bourgeoisie or the peasantry – opposed the power of other noblemen. The first Irmandiño War was in 1431 while the second, also known as the great Irmandiño War, was between 1466 and 1469. As a result of this second war, the Castle of A Rocha Forte was destroyed.

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  • Killing field

    Space varying in size at the foot of the central building of a fortress and the wall around it. It is at ground level, while the chemins de ronde is at some height.

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  • Lawsuit Tavera-Fonseca

    Lawsuit between the Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela Juan Pardo de Tavera and his predecessor Afonso III de Fonseca. In 1525, Tavera sued Fonseca for damages seeking ten million marabedís in compensation for the derelict state of the fortresses of the archbishopric of Santiago , that had been brought down in the Irmandiño Wars and the wars between lords, especially those fought by Afonso II de Fonseca. Discovered in 1922, it was first published in 1984. The depositions by the witnesses to the trial are an extremely valuable source to know what the fortresses looked like before their destruction and to gain insight into the causes and consequences of the great Irmandiño War 1466-1467.

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  • Main verger

    Nobleman whose role was to preserve medieval order and uphold the rights of the Church.

  • Manorialism

    The territory and the legal and tax norms used by the feudal lord to control the land.

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  • Obol

    Small denomination coin minted in the final stage of the reign of Afonso X of Castile, The Wise (1252-1284), a king that attempted to unify coin across the Kingdom of Castile. Some of these coins came from the mint of the royal town of A Corunna, which had a scallop shell as its symbol. 

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  • Parapet walk

    The chemin de ronde and parapet at the top of walls and towers to protect defenders.

  • Petroglyph

    Prehistorical rock engraving. It was found in the vicinity of the castle of A Rocha Forte inside the fortified settlement of Castriño de Conxo, an Iron Age settlement. Discovered to science in 1935, it was known as the petroglyph of A Rocha. In this petroglyph the drawings of several weapons can be seen including a knife, three swords, halberds as well as scutiform elements (figures believed to be shields, masks or some kind of banners). Scholars disagree on the dating of this engraving: some date it back to the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BCE.) while others consider that it is contemporary to the fortified settlement, i.e. between the 9th and 5th centuries BCE.

  • Putlock hole

    Hole in the walls of a building to fit a crosspiece, a beam for a wood structure or a corbel.

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  • Refectory

    A room where the members of a religious community met to eat. These refectories were noble spaces, very important in the daily life of monasteries and nunneries in the medieval and modern times. 

  • Road Toll

    Medieval tax levied on those who wishes to cross some point in a road, the equivalent of our modern tolls.

  • Rubble

    Remnants of stone, brick, wood etc., that remain from a collapsed building.

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  • Siege warfare

    Static war technique consisting in enclosing a fortress or walled city. The main objective is to cut the supply of basic victuals to the population and wait until they surrender. If defenders would not surrender, Late Middle Ages siege war had specific war machines like catapults, ladders or rams as well as powder-based contrivances like bombards and falconets .

  • Stone ball

    Spherical stone projectile used by artillery pieces such as catapults.

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  • Tombo B

    Tombo B is a cartulary consisting of 371 documents of a legal and notarial nature on the property of the real property of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The documents go from the 9th to the 14th century and were collected by clerks García Pérez and Afonso Pérez between 1346 and 1354. It is available on line.

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  • Wedge

    Groove or mark carved on stone to indicate where to cut or break. In these lined holes, stonemasons would insert their wood or iron wedges to break the stone. They are also known as grilleiras.

  • White

    Small denomination coin made of billon, an alloy of copper and silver, that was used in the Kingdom of Castile from the time of Pedro I, mid-14th century, to the time of Philip II of Spain, by late 16th century. This coin is the origin of the current Spanish idiom "estar sin blanca", [Literally: “to have no white”], which means “to be skint”.

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