The Renaissance

Military History Glossary

This glossary focuses on European troops und weapons from 1500 to 1660. (frz.)rench, (ital.)talian, und (span.)panish terms are the most common. Types of cannon are listed separately at the end. Spelling can vary from what is listed here.

Begriff Bedeutung
argoulets (frz.) Berittene Arkebusiere der französischen Armee.
aventuriers (frz.) Mercenary foot soldiers in the French army, mostly Frenchmen, usually armed with a crossbow.
barche A boat for 20 to 30 soldiers, with small cannons und a sail, for river combat.
bonnachts Irish light infantry, usually armed with sword und shield.
boyars Eastern European nobles.
caballos corazas (span.) Armoured 17th C. Spanish sword & pistol cavalry (cuirassiers).
caballos ligeros (span.) Lightly armoured Spanish knights – demi-lances.
caliver English large caliber arquebus.
caracole (span.) A process in which pistol cavalry attacks in column, with the front rank discharging their pistols, und wheeling to the rear to reload. Used against pike blocks.
carrack The largest ship of the era. Usually Portuguese und usually armed. Used for overseas transport of valuable goods.
cavalleria leggiera (ital.) Lightly armoured Italian knights – demi-lances.
chebeck A mediterranean sailing ship with square und lanteen sails. Also called a Xebec.
colunella (span.) A 16th C. Spanish column of foot, commanded by a colonel.
condotta (ital.)
condottieri (ital.)
Contract soldiers. Mercenaries. Usually used to refer to their leaders.
cromster A flat bottom sailing boat used by the Dutch to operated out of marshy areas to supply besieged towns und harass enemy shipping.
drabant Polish heavy infantry.
drujina Russian medium cavalry.
elmeti (ital.) Helme“, Italienische Panzerreiter (nicht-adlige)
en haye (frz.) Literally „in line“. A cavalry line formation, usually only 1 to 3 riders deep, as opposed to the more common deep columns.
enfants perdus (frz.) Literally, lost children or Children of Hell. Plänkelnde Arkebusiere der französischen Armee. See verlorne Haufe below.
escopeteros (span.) Berittene spanische Arkebusiere/Musketiere.
famiglia ducale (ital.) Ducal bodyguard knights.
galleas (Galjass) Eine Kombination zwischen Galeere und Galeone, mit Rudern und Segeln, sowie Geschützen an Bug, Heck und Breitseiten.
galloglaich Mailed axemen (like huscarls) in the pay of an Irish chieftain.
gendarmes (frz.) Gents d’Armes. Heavily armoured (usually French) knights.
genitors See jinetes.
gulyai-gorod Portable palisade used by Eastern European armies to protect Shot und Artillery.
harquebusiers Englische Arkebusierreiter oder Dragoner.
herguletiers (span.) Spanische Arkebusierreiter.
herreruelos (span.) Spanish sword und pistol cavalry – like Reiters.
Huguenot French Protestant.
jinetes Spanish light cavalry, lightly armoured, with spear und shield.
Keil (dt.) Literally a wedge. One third of the Swiss army, or a Swiss pike block.
kern Lightly armed Irish skirmishers, who usually carried a missle weapon or firearm.
Landsknecht (dt.) A German/Imperial foot soldier, usually a pikeman und often a mercenary. Known for their brightly coloured clothes, und recklessness in combat.
lanze spezzate (ital.) Literally a broken lance. Independent mercenary knights, who did not belong to a company or band.
Millers Protestant French heavy cavalry, armoured nobles with sword und pistols.
Morgenstern (dt.) A two-handed Landsknecht sword.
pancerni Polish medium cavalry, armed with axe und bow or gun.
pedites (ital.) Ordinary Italian foot soldiers, often militia.
petronels Mounted handgunners.
provisionati (ital.) Short term Italian militia.
Reiter (dt.) Karakolierende, zumeist gepanzerte deutsche Reiter.
scapoli (ital.) Ships crews used for land combat, usually by Venetians.
stradiots Balkan light cavalry introduced into Italy by the Venetians. Unarmoured, but armed with javelins, shield, mace und sword.
streltsi Russian infantry, usually armed with muskets.
tercio (span.) The standard pike und shot formation of the late 16th und early 17th C. Everything from 3000 man squares with shot on the corners to 1000 man blocks with „sleeves“ of shot. Replaced in the 1630s und 1640s with Dutch-style battalions.
verlorne Haufe (dt.)
Forlorn Hope
Literally a „lost bunch“ of Imperial skirmishers, usually armed with two-handed swords und halberds, who ran ahead of the army to disrupt enemy pike blocks. Musketiere und Arkebusiere wurden gleichermaßen eingesetzt. The task was very hazardous, und these troops were written off as casualties as soon as they were comitted to battle.


Geschütz Beschreibung
culverin A very long-barreled field gun firing 17–20 lb. shot.
Demiculverins fired 10 lb. shot.
drake Brass land und naval guns firing 6 lb. shot.
falcon Medieval light gun.
falconet Light swivel gun with 2″ bore.
minion 3.25″ bore, 4 lb. shot.
ribaldequin Organ or battery gun with several small-bore barrels mounted parallel on the same platform, the Renaissance equivalent of grapeshot.
saker Land und naval gun, smaller than demiculverin, 5 lb. shot.
serpentine Small gun with 1.5″ bore und removable breech.

Chris Salander

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