Thursday, 25 November 2010


The Internet can always be relied upon for the serendipity of unexpected sidetracks. While browsing for a historical article, I just ran into a rich lode of mostly unfamiliar terminology:

It is on the south side of the chancel near the altar, and consists of a freestone table, upon which lies extended the figure of Sir Thomas, clothed in the armour of the time. The pauldrons and coudieries are ornamented, and the brassarts and vambraces puffed or ribbed. Taces, to which are appended deep lambeaux of overlapping plate; a large apron of chain-mail and broad-toed sabbatons complete his costume and he is armed with sword and misericorde 1.

- An account of Sir Thomas Grenville's tomb in Bideford church, and also of the long bridge in Bideford, By Rev. Roger Granville, M.A., Rector Of Bideford. Exeter. Transactions of the Diocesan Architectural and Archaeological Society, 1894

Naturally I had to go to Wikipedia's Components of medieval armour, and in the process of going through the list ...

Aventail, Bevor, Gorget, Pixane, Brigandine, Cuirass, Culet, Plackart, Fauld, Hauberk, Codpiece, Lance rest, Loin-guard, Ailette, Besagew, Couter, Gauntlet, Pauldron, Rerebrace, Spaulder, Vambrace, Chausses, Cuisses, Greave, Poleyn, Sabaton, Schynbald, Tasset, Tonnlets, Bases, Gousset, Lamé, Rondel

... I spotted a disambiguation link from sabaton to Sabaton (band), and naturally ended up at YouTube.

Sabaton (official site here) are a Swedish power metal group who specialise, strangely, in English-language songs about pivotal events in historical wars. I feel I shouldn't like them, but the music is highly listenable and weirdly invigorating (the sort of music to play while working out); the nearest description I can find is that it's metal/rock opera about wars, with no particular agenda (some of the songs could be viewed as glamorizing warfare, others are distinctly anti-war).  Primo Victoria (about the D-Day landings) and Attero Dominatus (about the fall of Berlin) are characteristic.

I can't find any account of why, but the band is (I assume) named after the sabaton, as one features on the "S" of its logo.

1. In case of confusion: Sir Thomas is armed with a knife, not a small shelf (though both have the same etymology, misericordia = "act of mercy").
- Ray

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