Notes on Objects & Places from Ivanhoe

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Ivanhoe Objects/Places

forest, also Sherwood forest: Scene of much of the book's action, this forest lies between Sheffield and Doncaster. It is full of yeoman and outlaws, most of whom have been oppressed by forest laws. These laws prohibit certain groups from hunting, greatly hurting the Saxon and other lower classes' way of life.

Sheffield: A city in Northern England, it lies on one side of the forest.

Doncaster: A borough in Northern England which makes the other border of the forest.

vassals: A tenant of a noble, a vassal has vowed obedience the noble in exchange for protection. They are considered a lower class. Prince John allowed for the increase of vassals and vassalages in his brother's absence. Rich and powerful nobles turned their weaker neighbors into vassals, greatly disrupting and disturbing the country.

franklins: A landowner who is of noble birth, but not free. Cedric is a franklin, indebted to the Prior.

Conquest by Duke William of Normandy: The 1066 defeat of the Saxons by the Normans. The Normans took over rule of England, making the Saxons their unwilling subjects.

Battle of Hastings: The battle which decisively won England for the Normans.

language: One of the strong clashes between Norman and Saxon is through language. The Normans considered the Saxon dialect unintelligent, and the Saxons understandably resented this. The Norman language was considered the height of intelligence and chivalry, and was used in the courts. Language formed a strong barrier between the two groups, with only some on each side willing to speak the dialect that mixed the two languages.

brass ring: The ring is worn around the neck of servants such as Wamba and Gurth. It signifies their class and status.

serf: A landless servant who works the soil for his master. Gurth is a serf.

Anglo-Saxon dialect: One group that will speak in this 'lower' dialect are servants such as Wamba and Gurth. Their use of this dialect signifies their low status.

St. Botolph: The home of the convent where the injured Ivanhoe was brought. Richard visits him there.

Templestowe: The home headquarters for the Templars. Isaac hurries there to try and save Rebecca, who is in Bois-Guilbert's clutches.

Templar: A Knight of this religious and military order. They fought for Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulcher. In the absence of their leader, the members of the order strayed from all of their vows, including chastity and poverty. Bois-Guilbert is one of their members.

Rotherwood: Cedric's rustic home.

Saxon dress: The dress worn by Cedric, Athelstane, and their kinsmen. It is rugged and simple, and considered ridiculous by the more fashion-conscious Normans.

Asby-de-la-Zouche: The site of the tournament at which Ivanhoe appears.

Palestine: Region in the Middle East where much of the religious fighting was occurring. Richard and Ivanhoe had both fought there.

usury: The lending of money, including the lending of money with excessive interest rates. Jews such as Isaac were accused of being usurers.

York: Ancient county of northern England, bordering the sea. It is the site of Prince John's planning meetings, and later it is court to the returned King.

Torquilstone: Front-de-Boeuf's castle. This is where Bois-Guilbert imprisoned Rebecca, and where the Saxon prisoners were brought. The outlaws, aided by an old sibyl, defeat the castle's forces, and it burns to the ground.

Castle of York: The site where Prince John collects his followers near the end of the novel. It is there that he learns of Front-de-Boeuf's death, and his brother's return. Here he and Fitzurse hatch the plan to capture Richard, and possibly kill him.

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