By Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage

Through the center a long time, castles and different fortified structures have been a typical function of the ecu panorama. As important powers rose and fell, the lack of confidence of the time encouraged a revival of fortification thoughts first brought within the Roman Empire. regardless of obstacles in development ideas and manpower, medieval fortifications have been continually tailored to fulfill new political situations and guns expertise. here's an illustrated consultant to the structure of medieval fortifications, from the 1st castles to the fortified towns of the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1000s of precise and punctiliously researched pen-and-ink drawings, artist Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage introduces the reader to a heterogeneous workforce of structures whose distinct features exhibit the improvement and variety of ecu medieval army structure. every one drawing is followed through specific textual content describing kinds of structures (e.g., moat-and-bailey castles), integrated defenses (arrow splits, pepper-pot towers), and specific castles and towns (the Mont-Saint-Michel, the town of Jerusalem). components of medieval war and weaponry also are lined in drawings and textual content

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Extra resources for Castles and Fortified Cities of Medieval Europe: An Illustrated History

Sample text

Artificial or man-made, the top of the motte was flat­ tened in order to constitute a platform, which was de­ fended by a stockade and an earth rampart. In the middle of the platform stood a tim­ ber tower, which served as ei­ ther an observatory or, more frequently, a fortified wooden house where lived the dominus (lord), his family, his few warriors and some servants. This building was called the tower or great-tower, though other words were used, in­ cluding donjon, dungeon, keep, odel, dunio, domus, domicilium or castellum.

Continuing Germanic tra­ dition, the motte-and-bailey castle was characterized by the digging and heaping up of a huge mass of earth, and the use of wood, material which was everywhere avail­ able and easily used by non-specialists. Rather little is known about motte-and-bailey cas­ tles, but the Bayeux tapestry illustrates those at Dol, Rennes, Dinan and Bayeux in France and Hastings in England; the tapestry and a little archeological evidence give some indication of their structure. The motte proper was a conical mound which might vary considerably in size (between 6 and 15 m).

By nar­ rowing the windows in loopholes, crenellating the top of the walls, reinforcing the doors and using the bell-tower as an observatory and a donjon, churches and cathedrals were turned into fortresses. Furthermore, medieval coun­ try churches were usually surrounded by the village ceme­ tery; if the cemetery wall was well maintained and adapted to defense, it could be used as an external line of combat. So, with determination, a good deal of luck and many prayers, the frightened villagers were in some cases capable of resisting a gang of bandits, a party of looters or a group of raiders.

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Castles and Fortified Cities of Medieval Europe: An by Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage
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