Thursday, May 18, 2006

Castles: an overview of medieval European life

Rochester Castle
Originally uploaded by Namsob69.
English castles! There were lots of them. Mighty stone cathedrals, too.

The castle design was influenced by lessons in the Crusades - in the early 1200's. Knights fought the Muslims and got effective ideas for fortifications in Syria and Palestine.

* portcullis - fortified door
* drawbar - behind the door
* gatehouses
* crennelations - tops of walls offered cover to soldiers (see above)
* finials - pointy decorations atop walls, etc.
* arrow loop - slot thru which archers fired
* inner ward: chapel, nobles' apartments, great hall, barracks & stables, kitchen & well, blacksmith shop, storehouses.
* inner & outer curtain - stone walls

The forces that swept into Celtic England and made the British an amalgam:
* Normans - from Normandy, France
* Angles & Saxons - from Germany (Angle Land - England)
* Norse - Danes, Norwegians, Swedes (Scandinavians)
* Romans - from Italy.

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