jacerant (s.xii2/4)

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jacerant (s.xii2/4)


[ FEW: 19,56b gaza'iri; Gdf: 4,639b jaseran 1 and 2; GdfC: ; TL: 4,1608 jazerenc; DEAF: J226 jazerenc; DMF:  jaseran; TLF:  jaseran; OED:  jazerant n.; MED:  jesseraunt n. and adj.; DMLBS: ]
jaceraunt,  gesseraunt,  jaceran  3339 jazerant  

Jacerant raises etymological and thus semantic problems. The traditional etymology < Ǧazā’ir (Algiers), originally proposed by Covarrubias in 1611 and adopted by the FEW, comes up against the obstacle of a lack of any obvious historical evidence that Algiers was known for armour manufacture, or indeed well known at all, in the early Middle Ages (DEAF J 228 [Dörr]; Möhren 2006, 5-8). Meyer-Lübke (REW 3947a) and Wartburg (FEW 19,56b) both query the etymology without proposing an alternative. Möhren 2006 takes up a suggestion originally made by Schultz, and suggests derivation from the Dalmatian town of Zadar (formerly Jadera/Gazera/Jazira etc.)

The meaning of jaserant in OF and AN is fairly clear: typically it qualifies hauberc, and the contexts (predominantly epic) indicate that the referent is chain-mail. When attested without hauberc, a jaserant is typically of fer or acier, thus again reinforcing the chain-mail sense (DEAF J 228).

A recent article by Ralph Moffat (curator of European Arms and Armour at the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow) presents an important array of technical evidence which points to a different etymology and (originally) a rather different sense for the etymon of jaserant (Moffat 2012): ‘A jazerant is a piece of armour combining mail and padded textiles. It was originally a coat of mail covered with silk-waste and inserted into a brocade garment. The etymology is from the Persian for a war kaftan composed from the words kazh (silk-waste) āgand (stuffed/padded). It passes from Turkish-Arabic sources to French and English. The defining element is the mail often referred to as acier (steel) or fer (iron)’ (p.293). See also Thomas, Romania 35 (1906), 598-601: ‘Ancien français casigan, -ingan, gasigan, -ingan’, and FEW 19,92b.

Möhren, Frankwalt (2006). ‘L’importance de la critique des sources en étymologie’, in: Buchi (Éva) (ed.), Actes du Séminaire de méthodologie en étymologie et histoire du lexique (Nancy/ATILF, année universitaire 2005/2006), Nancy, ATILF (CNRS/Université Nancy 2/UHP), (http://www.atilf.fr/IMG/pdf/seminaires/Seminaire_melh_Mohren_2005-11-03.pdf ), 17 pages.

Moffat, Ralph (2012). Owen-Crocker, Gale/Coatsworth, Elizabeth/Hayward, Maria (eds.) (2012), Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles, C.450-1450 (Leiden: Brill), p.293 jazerant.


1armourmil.composed of mail, interlaced metal rings
( MS: s.xii2/4 )  Li quens le fiert tant vertuusement [...] Trenchet […] Trestut le cors e l’osberc jazerenc  1604
( c.1185; MS: s.xiiim )  del bon hauberc jazerant Plusurs des mailles ad rumpu  8999
( s.xiiiin; MS: s.xiii2 )  Grant cope li done en le hauberc jacerant  2948


1armourmil.mail-shirt, hauberk
( c.1170; MS: s.xiiim )  Ocire le quida par mi sun jacerant Mes li halberc fud bons  (O) 4820
( 1404 )  j lorica vocata gesseraunt, cum greves et qwhisshons in manu Prioris  395
This is an AND2 Phase 3 (I/Y-M) entry. © 2008-2012 The Anglo-Norman Dictionary. All rights reserved. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom.