Castles of the Middle Ages


What are castles? Definition states that a castle is a large fortified building built in the middle ages. It is also a chess piece that is at the top 4 corners of a chess board. Anyways, castles were used for centuries to show off, protect a king or lord, or to protect a small city. Castle are considered a beautiful work of art, but in the middle ages they could be the difference between life and death.


Castles can be found in almost any European country. They could be found


as far west as Spain to as far east as the Ukraine. Castles were amazing because, at the time, they seemed indestructible (until cannons and heavy artillery was invented). If the castle had a moat, the only way soldiers could infiltrate the castle and kill the people inside was to build a siege tower so that castles could be taken over.


Since castles were originally built of wood, it was extremely easy to destroy a castle. That was until stones were used. The castle walls came in three layers starting in the 12th century for maximum protection. It truly was amazing what a castle could hold up against.


Lower class castles were rare, yet they did exist. They were usually built on land given from a king or lord to a butler or knight that had proved their loyalty. They were usually smaller, with only one to five rooms and lacked the luxury of other castles.


Upper class castles started to be seen throughout the 1400’s that belonged to the upper class. These were often used for the beauty, not the fortification. Some famous upper class castles are the Castle of Versailles and the Tower of London.


If you were caught plotting against the person living in the castle, there were dreadful punishments. One was beheading (a more honorable and noble punishment) or quartering, cutting you up into four equal pieces. After one was beheaded, their head would be placed on a pike for decoration and for a warning against enemies of the person residing in that castle.


Defending a castle was a horrible job, yet somebody had to do it. Archers, pikemen, and everyone of that sort snuck out a secret hatch in the back of the castle to fight of the offensive enemy. Since some castles were located near towns or villages, the local townspeople and peasants also fought off the attacking enemy.


Castle conditions were rarely comfortable. They usually were dark, gloomy, and cold, due to the lack of heat. Eventually, they became moderately luxurious, but until then, the living conditions could have been better.


There were many parts of a castle, which included the ever so famous moat, drawbridge, gate tower, curtain, and others. A castle did not have to have all of these to be considered a castle, yet these parts would surely improve the castle’s overall living conditions and security.


Today, people still reside in some castles, but they have been greatly modified for modern needs. Even though castles have lost their great security, they will never lose their sheer splendor.


Bibliography


Lisa, Hull. "Home Page" Castles-of-Britain 18 October 2003 http://www.castles-of-


britain.com.


Libal, Dobroslav. Castles of Britain and Europe. Prague, Czech Republic: Blitz Editions, 1992.


"Dictionary.com" Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. 19 Oct. 2003 &It http://www.dictionary.reference.com &Grt