ersatz_read (ersatz_read) wrote in 1word1day,

Monday word: pavise

pavise (păv' is), noun

A large heavy oblong shield protecting the whole body.

Archers and crossbowmen would crouch behind a pavise while reloading.  A row of such shields is called a pavisade.

Etymology:  Named after Pavia, Italy, where the shields supposedly originated (somewhere around the middle of the thirteenth century).

This link has many fine examples of historical pavises.  Some have a distinct central ridge:  it housed a stake that was used to prop up the shield.  Some fighters had a pavisier to hold the shield for them during battle; others used the stake to hold the shield in place.

For a modern example of a pavise, below is a picture of one my friend built for his wheelchair (not in this picture is the energetic and colorful battle going on around him).

Tags: italian, noun, p, wordsmith: ersatz_read

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