AskDefine | Define barbican

Dictionary Definition

barbican n : a tower that is part of a defensive structure (such as a castle) [syn: barbacan]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A tower at the entrance to a castle or fortified town

Extensive Definition

A barbican (from mediæval Latin barbecana) 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.

Barbicans remaining today

barbican in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Барбакан
barbican in Czech: Barbakán
barbican in German: Barbakane
barbican in Spanish: Barbacana (construcción)
barbican in French: Barbacane
barbican in Italian: Barbacane
barbican in Hebrew: ברביקן (אדריכלות)
barbican in Lithuanian: Barbakanas
barbican in Dutch: Barbacane
barbican in Polish: Barbakan
barbican in Portuguese: Barbacã
barbican in Russian: Барбакан
barbican in Sicilian: Varvacani
barbican in Slovak: Barbakán
barbican in Chinese: 瓮城

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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