A barbican (from medieval Latin "barbecana", "outer fortification of a city or castle," a general Romanic word, perhaps from Arabic or Persian cf. bab-khanah "gate-house" and "towered gateway" [ [ "Barbican" EOL] Other possible roots of the word lie in the Arabic word "barbakh", meaning a canal or channel through which water flows, might have been the source of the loop-hole meaning.] or from the mediaeval English "burgh-kenning" [Etymology suggested by Sir Henry Spelman in the 1640s. He explained the name as a combination of “burgh” meaning tower; and “ken” meaning see or watch (as in the folk song “D’ya ken John Peel”). See also [ Where does the name 'Barbican' come from?] ] ) is a fortified outpost or gateway, such as an outer defense to a city or castle, or any tower situated over a gate or bridge which was used for defensive purposes. Usually barbicans were situated outside the main line of defenses and connected to the city walls with a walled road called "the neck".

In the 15th century, with the improvement in siege tactics and artillery, barbicans lost their significance. However, several barbicans were built even in the 16th century.

ee also

*London's Barbican Arts Centre
* [ Pembroke Castle]
* [ Warwick Castle]
* [ Castle]
* [ in Warsaw]
* [ Chepstow Castle]
* [ Goodrich Castle]
* [ Hadleigh Castle]
* [ Siklos Castle barbican]


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  • Barbican — the Barbican also the Barbican Centre a large group of buildings in central London, which includes two theatres, two cinemas, a concert hall, an ↑art gallery, restaurants, and shops ▪ There s a new Royal Shakespeare Company production of A… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Barbican — Bar bi*can, Barbacan Bar ba*can, n. [OE. barbican, barbecan, F. barbacane, LL. barbacana, barbicana, of uncertain origin: cf. Ar. barbakh aqueduct, sewer. F. barbacane also means, an opening to let out water, loophole.] 1. (Fort.) A tower or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Barbĭcan — Barbĭcan, Vogel, s.u. Bartvogel …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • barbican — ● barbican nom masculin (de barbu et toucan) Oiseau (capitonidé) voisin du pic, au bec denté portant de fortes vibrisses à la base …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • barbican — outer fortification of a city or castle, mid 13c., from O.Fr. barbacane (12c.), a general Romanic word, perhaps ultimately from Arabic or Persian (Cf. bab khanah gate house ) …   Etymology dictionary

  • barbican — ► NOUN ▪ a double tower above a gate or drawbridge of a castle or fortified city. ORIGIN Old French barbacane …   English terms dictionary

  • barbican — [bär′bi kən] n. [ME < OFr barbacane < ML barbacana, < ?] a defensive tower or similar fortification at a gate or bridge leading into a town or castle …   English World dictionary

  • Barbican — Nom vernaculaire ou nom normalisé ambigu : Le terme « Barbican » s applique en français à plusieurs taxons distincts. Barbican …   Wikipédia en Français

  • barbican — /bahr bi keuhn/, n. 1. an outwork of a fortified place, as a castle. 2. a defensive outpost of any sort. Also, barbacan. [1250 1300; ME barbecan, barbican < OF barbacane or ML barbacana, perh. Pers balahana terrace over a roof, upper floor,… …   Universalium

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