Sir John Fastolf and the Diverse Affinities of the Medieval Lancegay
The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS)
The weapon known as the lancegay flourished in England for approximately 100 years, from the third quarter of the fourteenth century, before falling suddenly into obscurity – an obscurity that has resulted in numerous misleading and erroneous statements being made about it. This article examines the linguistic and cultural origins of the lancegay together with the complex network of affinities that link it with a number of cognate words in several European languages. The evolution, patterns of influence and different senses that characterise this complex family of terms are examined, along with the uncertainties and shortcomings that exist in many editions and dictionaries, with the aim of casting fresh light on a number of issues that have previously not been mapped in relation to one another.
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