20,000 Castles and no duplicates #MedievalMonday

An estimated twenty thousand castles were built in Europe during the medieval period from 850 up to 1700 AD, and no two are the same. There are however a lot of similarities amongst them.

Terrain, available quarries, cost, and intended use determined the final structure. Worldwide castle construction was estimated at over 70,000.

Castle Terminology

castle terminologyMotte: Flat top earth knoll. Later came to refer to the ditch/moat around the middle ward wall.

Outer Ward: Second line of defense after the uphill terrain of the motte.

Moat: Deep ditch (wet or dry) with steep sides. Its purpose was to protect the wall.

Middle Ward: Sometimes referred to as the killing field. The enemy was caught between the curtain and ward wall.

Towers: Built at the corners to protruded out past the wall for protection of the curtain.

Curtain: protected the bailey (inner ward). The larger curtains could be up to ten feet thick and up to thirty-five feet high.

Bailey: The area for the militia, stables, food storage, kitchen chapel, and the Keep. Some also had gardens and stockyards. Water was collected in a cistern or supplied by a well.

Keep: Until the seventeenth century this tower was referred to as the Donjon. It was the last sanctuary for the residences if the other defenses failed.

Gatehouse: Built to protect the weakest point. It was used to trap and kill the enemy.

Other castle facts:

  • Two thirds were built on highland areas.
  • The use of gunpowder in the 1400’s dramatically reduced the construction of castles.
  • Castles had military forces. Palaces were without a military force.

More on castles at http://bit.ly/1xPeP9R

Do you have a favorite castle?



BAheadshotAndean White
– Author of Heroic Fantasy

Twitter: @AndeanWhite
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As a young boy at family gatherings, I recall listening to the men after a meal. The opinions around the subjects of politics, car brands, hippies, and rock n roll filled the room with energy like aromatic smoke from a pipe. But, when the story telling began everyone found a seat or patch of floor. We sat for hours absorbing the stories, fact or fiction, that shaped who we became and it strengthened our imaginations. Fifty years later I know that a world without imagination would be pretty boring.

Winter’s Thief is the first of a four book series. Soft cover books available at your favorite Internet bookstore, or at the website www.AndeanWhite.com. The e-book version is available at Amazon.com.

Author: Andean White

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