battlement


battlement
battlemented /bat"l men'tid/, adj.
/bat"l meuhnt/, n.
Often, battlements. a parapet or cresting, originally defensive but later usually decorative, consisting of a regular alternation of merlons and crenels; crenelation. Also called embattlement.
[1275-1325; ME batelment < MF bataille battlement; see -MENT]

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Parapet (portion above the roof) of the exterior wall of a fortification, consisting of alternating low portions (crenels) and high portions (merlons).

Rooftop defenders would shoot from behind the merlons during times of siege. Medieval battlements were often bracketed out (see corbel) to form a machicolation (overhang) with holes in its floor through which objects could be dropped on encroachers below.

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      the parapet of a wall consisting of alternating low portions known as crenels, or crenelles (hence crenellated walls with battlements), and high portions called merlons. Battlements were devised in order that warriors might be protected by the merlons and yet be able to discharge arrows or other missiles through the crenels. The battlement was an early development in military architecture; it was found in Chaldea, Egypt, and prehistoric Greece, as well as commonly in ancient Roman fortifications. It was in the European Middle Ages that the battlement received its highest development, crenels being narrowed and frequently given splayed sides, the merlons often having in the centre a thin slit, sometimes cross-shaped, to give the widest possible arc for the discharge of missiles. The developed medieval battlement was frequently bracketed out from the face of the wall, and holes in its floor were provided to allow objects to be dropped directly upon attacking forces.

      In actual siege use, the battlement was usually covered with a protecting shed of timber and hides. In some countries, through Middle Eastern influence, the battlement frequently took decorative shapes; and toward the end of the Gothic period in Europe, as the military necessity decreased, the battlement became merely decorative.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Battlement — Bat tle*ment ( ment), n. [OE. batelment; cf. OF. bataillement combat, fr. batailler, also OF. bastillier, bateillier, to fortify. Cf. {Battle}, n., {Bastile}, {Bastion}.] (Arch.) (a) One of the solid upright parts of a parapet in ancient… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • battlement — index bulwark Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • battlement — early 14c., from O.Fr. bataillement, earlier bastillement fortification, from bastillier to fortify, to equip with battlements, from bastille fortress, tower (see BASTION (Cf. bastion)). The raised parts are cops or merlons; the indentations are… …   Etymology dictionary

  • battlement — ► NOUN ▪ a parapet with gaps at intervals for firing from, forming part of a fortification. DERIVATIVES battlemented adjective. ORIGIN from Old French bataillier fortify with movable defence turrets …   English terms dictionary

  • battlement — [bat′ lmənt] n. [ME batelment < OFr bataillier, to fortify < bataille, fortification on a wall or tower < ? VL * battacula, place of battle < battere,BATTER1] 1. a parapet with open spaces for shooting, built on top of a castle wall,… …   English World dictionary

  • Battlement — Castellated redirects here. For the hardware item, see castellated nut. 9th cent. BC relief of an Assyrian attack on a walled town with battlements …   Wikipedia

  • battlement — noun a) In fortification: an indented parapet, formed by a series of rising members called cops or merlons, separated by openings called crenelles or embrasures, the soldier sheltering himself behind the merlon while he fires through the… …   Wiktionary

  • battlement — bat•tle•ment [[t]ˈbæt l mənt[/t]] n. for archit. Often, battlements. a parapet of a fortification consisting of a regular alternation of merlons and crenels • Etymology: 1275–1325; ME < MF bataille battlement bat′tle•ment ed ˌmɛn tɪd adj …   From formal English to slang

  • battlement — noun Etymology: Middle English batelment, from Anglo French *bataillement, from batailler to fortify with battlements more at battle Date: 14th century a parapet with open spaces that surmounts a wall and is used for defense or decoration •… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Battlement —    A parapet wall or balustrade surrounding the flat roofs of the houses, required to be built by a special law (Deut. 22:8). In Jer. 5:10, it denotes the parapet of a city wall …   Easton's Bible Dictionary


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