Proper names for medieval stuff

HankB

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I've a map of a medieval town, but a few of the buildings/places I'm not sure what to call them. For example, what would you call a healing center? Hospital doesn't sound right. I know there were apothecaries, but that seems to be a person or establishment that makes and sells healing items.

Here's what I have so far. The main ones I'm hung up on are red, but if you have better names for any of the others, that would be nice:

archery range (where soldiers train archery)
a place to train soldiers
barracks (where soldiers are housed)
long-term housing for multiple families (like an apartment building)
blacksmith shop
mead hall (for drinking and socializing)
tavern (for eating and also maybe drinking/socializing)
apothecary (for making and selling healing potions)
healing center (like an infirmary/hospital)
bait & tackle/fishing shop
theatre (where actors and musicians entertain people)

Inn (temporary housing for travelers)
butcher shop
school (not a university, but for young people, like an elementary school)
university
temple (place of worship)

As much as I played D&D as a kid, I feel like I should be better at this, but here I am. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

slimmmeiske2

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I would expect most training places for soldiers to be close/attached to the barracks.

Well, in medieval times there wasn't a permanent theatre building. And the first theatre building was simply called The Theatre.

As for schools, from what I could research, they were usually part of a church/cathedral/monastery.
Hospital is the medieval name, though one source I've read also called it God's House (seems to be a translation of the French Hôtel Dieu). These too were connected to the Church (usually run by monks and nuns). Besides the sick, they could also house the old, the poor and travellers/pilgrims.

On a different note, not sure if you ever read this thread (it's about Worldbuilding for Medieval times), but I would check it out. :)
 

HankB

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I would expect most training places for soldiers to be close/attached to the barracks.
Yeah, I was thinking of just calling them "training grounds", but I thought there might be a more medieval term that had a little more flavor. I'm not even sure what modern day marines call it.

Damn... what do you call those areas where they run around tires, crawl through mud, climb ropes, and all that? I want to say "obstacle course", but I feel like there's another word.

Well, in medieval times there wasn't a permanent theatre building. And the first theatre building was simply called The Theatre.

Did not know that. Seems odd. The romans built these giant arenas 2,000 years ago for public entertainment, you'd think that 1,200 years later people would've come up with places for people to watch plays and stuff.

As for schools, from what I could research, they were usually part of a church/cathedral/monastery.
Hospital is the medieval name, though one source I've read also called it God's House (seems to be a translation of the French Hôtel Dieu). These too were connected to the Church (usually run by monks and nuns). Besides the sick, they could also house the old, the poor and travellers/pilgrims.

I think you and I did a lot of the same research (i.e. google searches), but I just didn't want to confuse players with religious terms if there were more secular terms.

On a different note, not sure if you ever read this thread (it's about Worldbuilding for Medieval times), but I would check it out. :)

Cool! Just looked at it, looks interesting, I will check it out. Thank you.
 

Matseb2611

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"a place to train soldiers"

This could be Training Camp or Training Grounds.

"long-term housing for multiple families (like an apartment building)"

This could be Lodgings. Or simply a Residential Building.

"healing center (like an infirmary/hospital)"

I think Infirmary or Hospital are fine. Though you could also go for Sanitarium.

"school (not a university, but for young people, like an elementary school)"

Academy perhaps?
 

uglywolf

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Pretty sure the Mead Hall comes with any large buildings, since its the place where their members gathered and all; it is usually for buildings that has things like lodgings.

And you might need to note for watchtower or outposts if you do have barracks, since it tend to fits with the lore's.
 

HankB

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I think Infirmary or Hospital are fine. Though you could also go for Sanitarium.

Yes, Sanitarium. This is what I'm looking for. Thank you. The term "hospital", while technically accurate, just doesn't sound right to me.

Academy perhaps?

There it is. Academy. Has a nice ring to it.

Pretty sure the Mead Hall comes with any large buildings, since its the place where their members gathered and all

I was thinking Mead Hall would come first, which, once built, would then unlock Taverns/Inns.
 

Luth

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You can try a mix of ancient-terms to make it feel medieval-ish :

-long-term housing for multiple families (like an apartment building) : Insula (from the latin for "island". It was clusters of housing, very similar to our modern vision of appartments.)

-healing center (like an infirmary/hospital) : Sanatorium (from latin sanatorius, "proper to heal". Those are XIXth century cure houses made to heal tuberculosis).

-theatre (where actors and musicians entertain people) : I can't think of a specific location for it, as it was mostly periodic during celebrations. Fair / Street performer camp. It depends of what you need and what your game consists of, but in that case the performers would travel between these two points. Heck why not adding multiple performance locations, as they would play in different districts ?
Perhaps Amphiteater if you want a building name.

The whole exercice is very difficult as there are concepts that didn't exist back then ! For technological/scientific or dogmatic reasons. "A place for children not to work at the farm but reading stuff instead ? Heresy."
Besides, most of the organs of power (science, culture, entertainment...) where very concentrated in specific building (church, castle).

I know that is some latin, but well, that's the story of western europe, I guess. :LZScheeze:
 
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slimmmeiske2

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Yes, Sanitarium. This is what I'm looking for. Thank you. The term "hospital", while technically accurate, just doesn't sound right to me.
Sanitorium/sanitarium/sanatorium sound very 19th century to me. I would still suggest going with hospital (which is also a word derived from Latin).

Same with academy to be honest. Seems that word came into use in 15th century (so late Middle Ages) and only started to be commonly used in the 16th century (so not in the Middle Ages).
 

alice_gristle

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Imma go with what @Luth said! You hafta improvise a bit, since stuff like schools or hospitals didn't exist like they do today. Like, I'd be boring and go with "school" instead of something funky like "schola", just 'coz "school" is gonna tell yo player exactly what's up. :kaoswt:
 

ElCheffe

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About the blacksmith, you should get rid of the shop behind. If you would like to add a different wibe you could also use forge instead. Or simply call it the blacksmith.

Same with butcher shop, butchery sounds way better.

Some of the naming might also be depending on the cultural background your world is built upon. Basically you could consider using Roman/Latin or Greek words for specific places. In fact many of these words are the basis for the current wording (e.g. Theatrum).
At first you might associate these words with more ancient times, but a lot of them where used for quite long.
 

TeiRaven

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I second "sanatorium" sounding very Victorian, I'd also stick with "hospital"--or give it a name, like many hospitals today. St. Francis, St. Vincent, St. Mary's, St. Anne's, St. Jude's, or not even after a saint-like figure--a family friend went to the Dana Farber cancer care center near Boston. That gives you the option of not having to stick exactly what it is in the title of the place, relying on the player to put the context together. "They took him to St. Somebody's" instead of "They took him to the hospital" might give you the flavor you want.

If your society is heavily religious (I'm not sure how historical vs medieval flavored fantasy you're looking to go) you could go so far as to name all KINDS of things after saints or other religious figures. FFXIV does this in Ishgard to great effect--Ser Vaindreau's Grace is the infirmary, Saint Reinette's Forum is sort of the center of town, The Congregation of Our Knights Most Heavenly is the headquarters of the Temple Knights (city guard), and the Lightfeather Proving Grounds are where would-be Temple Knights prove they know what they're doing. "Proving Grounds" might make a good name for "the place you train soldiers," although it definitely sounds more like the final exam than the practice. It can lead to a lot of map-checking ("Was I going to Saint Valeroyant's or Ser Vaindreau's?") so use your best judgement.

As far as theaters, those can be named after people as well--especially if you have a saint or deity associated with performing arts. Or you can go with something much simpler--some theaters of Shakespeare's time were The Globe, The Swan, and The Fortune.
 

The Stranger

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In addition to sanatorium being very 19th century sounding, it's also a type of hospital linked with tuberculosis rather than general healing and rest.

Some of these things don't really have a medieval word because professional armies were not the norm for many places back then, at least not in Europe. Drafted troops from the populace were common, though training in things such as archery (at least in England) was heavily encouraged or even mandated by law for when the crown wished to wage war. More professional troops did exist, but they didn't make up the bulk of an army.

As for words, a training grounds for an archer would be an archery range, just as it is today. A training ground for other types of weapon is more difficult, but I'd probably just stick with the generic training grounds. More elite troops, such as a knight, would probably have fancier places to train and spar on their own (likely in their estate if they had one) or would participate in tourneys.

Long term family housing for multiple families didn't really exist back then, at least not as far as I'm aware. Whole families would've lived in single floor bungalows for the most part (such dwellings may also have space for any owned animals). Longhouses, sunken houses, round houses (all were the dwellings of common folk). If you had some money behind you, and you weren't a bound serf, you could move into a towering town house; tall houses that were fairly narrow. These tall structures could also double into shops in cities; the front doors were sometimes designed in such a way that the top half could be opened while the lower half remained shut, which allowed a merchant to sell goods to folk in the streets from their house. Oh yeah, shops often didn't function like our shops today do, either. No putting your grubby paws on the merch, you had to tell the merchant what you wanted.

Hospitals could just be called hospitals. I mean, the word has its roots in both Latin and Middle English, so it's not exactly a modern word. They were named hospitals because they provided places to rest, not because you got good medical care.

A theatre, likewise, could just be called a theatre; also a Middle English word. You could get even fancier and use different words for different types of theatre, such as a Roman amphitheatre.

Not sure about a bait and tackle shop; not even sure if such a thing would've existed back then. I don't imagine bait and tackle would've been sold en masse like it is today, but I could be wrong.

Schools didn't exist in general. Children were educated by their elders; apprenticing young children to masters to learn various things was quite common, as was sending them to monastic orders, but many were simply taught by their direct family. If you really want schools like we have today, you could just use the word school. Again, it's not a modern word. If you want to be really fancy you could use schola.

Personally, I'd lose the shop from blacksmith and butcher shop and just call it a blacksmith or a butcher\butcher's. Few attach the word shop to something like a butcher.
 
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ATT_Turan

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Hospital is absolutely appropriate. Not only were they called that, the term extended beyond the buildings, with the order devoted to charitable and healing works being the hospitaler knights.

Aside from that...as was pointed out in some other posts, a number of the things you're asking about just didn't exist in the time frame you're concerned with, so you'll either have to just use the conventional terms or make up something that you think sounds good.
Damn... what do you call those areas where they run around tires, crawl through mud, climb ropes, and all that? I want to say "obstacle course", but I feel like there's another word.
No, that's what the army calls them.
 

TheGentlemanLoser

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school (not a university, but for young people, like an elementary school)

This concept absolutely did not exist in medieval times.

Chirurgeon is a medievalism for surgeon you might find useful. Well through the late 19th century, "barber", "surgeon", and "dentist" were all the same career path, all services traditionally provided by the same person (which is very yikesy if you think about it at all).

In addition to temples and churches there were monasteries, abbeys, convents, priories, cloisters, nunneries, cenobiums, and charterhouses as well as cathedrals. Religion was basically the default "leisure" activity for most of "Western civilization" throughout most of human history.
 

palinskyjoe

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This concept absolutely did not exist in medieval times.
Actually it sort of did, but not in any way that we would recognize it. Rich young men in the 14th century usually attended some type of monastic school. I think "song schools" and "grammar schools" would be the closest to modern elementary settings, but again these were just for young men and usually only taught the lyrics of Latin songs (at song schools) for the men to sing in the cathedrals and Latin grammar in the grammar schools. I learned in college the concept of "childhood" as we know it today essentially began in Victorian England, so everything prior geared towards kids is very very different than what we today understand.

[Edit: concept of childhood meaning how we now view it as a special time and that little children need to be treated in specific ways; prior to 14th century in Europe kids were mainly just guaranteed labor for the family]
 

The Stranger

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Chirurgeon is a medievalism for surgeon you might find useful. Well through the late 19th century, "barber", "surgeon", and "dentist" were all the same career path, all services traditionally provided by the same person (which is very yikesy if you think about it at all).
Hey, if you're comfortable enough letting a man put a blade to your throat, you might as well let him do a spot of bloodletting whilst he's there. xD There were dedicated doctors, physicians (doctors of physic), but I'm pretty sure they didn't perform surgery.
 

Finnuval

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Did not know that. Seems odd. The romans built these giant arenas 2,000 years ago for public entertainment, you'd think that 1,200 years later people would've come up with places for people to watch plays and stuff.
Well... Romans also build sewers, floor heating, user concrete, etc and then the dark ages happend lol
 

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I'll try not to repeat what others have said. Although I did find out before reading the comments that Hospital or Hospitale would be a name for temporary lodging, which I found interesting. Not exactly the same result Slimm got, but very close.

Long-term housing for multiple families (like an apartment building) - Maybe go with Tenement or Longhouse? I mean, tenement might be a bit modern. *shrug*
mead hall (for drinking and socializing) - I like Alehouse or Tavern.
tavern (for eating and also maybe drinking/socializing) - Taverns are primarily for alcohol and food isn't always served at one, so I don't think this works. If you want an eating place separated from the drinking place I say something like a Banquet or Dining Hall.
healing center (like an infirmary/hospital) - There's a reason why healing at churches is a thing in a lot of RPG's. It was absolutely a thing in medieval times too.
bait & tackle/fishing shop - Wasn't a thing. Maybe Fishery or replace it with something like a Smokehouse?
theatre (where actors and musicians entertain people) - This was normally done in the town square or they were invited to privately owned spaces of the rich. Not having a dedicated spot has more to do with traveling entertainers and less leisure time for common folk than it does with it not being invented. Calling it a Theatre is just fine.
 

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