European Castles Of The Medieval Era

1991 words - 8 pages

CASTLES:OF THE MEDIEVAL ERANot so long ago, there was a period in time where kings ruled the lands and knights took their directions. The feudal system was thriving and life was good. This time was the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages took their effect in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries. During this time, kings and lords built large forts to protect their strongholds. However, they were more than just forts. They were giant buildings of war; buildings called castles.WHAT IS A CASTLE?As you probably already know, or have inferred, the word, "castle" comes from a Latin word meaning "fortress". With their origin stretching back to the ninth century, castles were used by kings, lords, and nobles to strengthen their strongholds within the castle's infrastructure.The stronghold was where the king or lord lived and also stood as the most vital structure of the entire castle. The castle itself was basically, just a large wall around the stronghold, but it proves to be much more. Later, castles became very important in Western Europe in the late A.D. 900's and the 1000's. They played a central role in the political and military system called feudalism. In the Middle Ages, Europe was divided into many small states, and local conflicts were common. A castle helped the owner or owners defend the land where the castle stood. It also provided a home for the monarch or noble's family and servants. In addition, a castle served as a barracks, prison, storehouse, armory, treasure house, and center of local government. However, before the 1100's, most castles were made of timber and earth resources, but time grew on and enemies began attacking with unmerciful force. As the violence intensified, castles needed improved defense capabilities.HOW DOES THE CASTLE PROVIDE DEFENSE?In addition to providing support for defense of the stronghold, and occupants, castles now needed to defend everything else on the estate. For the castle was the heart and soul of the country. The king and queen and all of their loyal servants were inside, running the country. That's why villains would raid the castles for land or for money, knowing that they could hold the king and queen for ransom. Although, as new coming invaders made their way around Europe, the castle's assets now included the peasants/workers, equipment, crops, and the land itself. The castles stored much if not all of the master's wealth inside plus the acres of varying crops along the castle's perimeter. To a motivated enemy, castles had much to provide. At this point, anything outside of the castle or easily accessible inside of the castle was susceptible to the enemy's free will.A majority of the castles already stood upon a natural or artificially created hill called a "motte". Often placed on hills to show prominence, strength, and wealth on the owner's part, but now, it was for advantage. A tower called a "keep" or "donjon" then stood with or nearby the castle on top of the motte as well. The keep,...

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