Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Castles Essay -- essays research papers fc

  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  The castle, a strong stone structure, which invokes images of kings and knights, dragons and princesses, is such an integral part of medieval history. One cannot think history without thinking about the towering structures of stone that dominated the green landscapes of the past. These stone monoliths served many purposes: buildings of government, defense, symbols of power, and homes. Just as it has varied purposes, the castles diverse and interesting history, from tiny wooden structures to the behemoth structures of rock and mortar that we associate with the word: Castle.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  The castle’s development cannot be pinpointed to a particular year or location, though the first castle is widely accepted as being Douà ©-la-Fontaine and Langeais in the Loire Valley of France. Both these castles were originally stone fortifications that served as homes to local warring Counts. As time went on and their feuding got more violent, their homes got more impressive, each count adding levels and stones to their homes. This one-upmanship continued until, at some point, the homes became what is considered the first castle, the motte and bailey.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  The Motte and Bailey Castles started out simple, normally just wooden buildings, which relied on natural defenses such as rivers or hills to prevent attacks. Oft times rivers were even diverted to add extra protection, and as a steady water supply in the event of a siege. But always somebody had to do better; soon they were adding mounds, banks ditches, and whatever else would trip up invaders. Earthworks, as they were called, could be mounds, also called mottes, or hollow circles of dirt, called ringworks. In the case of a motte, a wooden tower usually topped it; while a ringwork enclosed structures protected by a wooden palisade, or fence. Nonetheless, in each instance, earth was dug from the perimeter, leaving a ditch, which further impeded attackers. Eventually these two types of earthworks were combined into one castle, the traditional Motte and Bailey. Baileys being a large level area surrounded by a ringwork, with a Motte connecting. The bailey often contai ned a hall, buildings for livestock, a forge and armory, and a chapel. The Motte and Bailey castles were also very quick and easy to construct, and provided a look-out post, in addition to, ad... ... proceeded at a more leisurely pace, becoming more of a hobby than a necessity. However, there were times when a castle or two discouraged an invading force or to quell a rebellious population. These changes in society gradually led to the decline of the castle as an institution. Where castles had once served an important position as a fortress, city hall, and home, these functions were now being better served by other buildings at reduced costs. Nobles tired of playing the ‘my castle is bigger’ game and searched elsewhere for more comfortable homes. And forts manned by professional soldiers assimilated the duty of defending areas. Luckily, some castles remained, serving as a centre for local administration or as prisons long after they had ceased being cool. Some castles were upgraded into opulent palaces, but this cost a boatload, and it was oft cheaper just to build a new home, often cannibalizing the old castles for building material. Bibliography Bradbury, Jim. The Medieval Siege. The Boydell Press. Woodbridge, 1992. Brown, R. Allen. The Architecture of Castles: A Visual Guide. Facts On File Publications. New York, 1984. Steele, Philip. Castles. Kingfisher. New York, 1995.

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