Castles in medieval Europe

Castles in medieval Europe

First the feudal lords lived in encampments on high hills surrounded by moats, earthen ramparts and palisade camps. The only noteworthy construction of such a camp was the donjon – a multi-storey wooden or stone tower. The Donjon was not only the main defensive structure, but also a premise for the owner and his family.

In the XII century. The castle was already surrounded by massive stone walls, there appeared spacious rooms with all the amenities of that time. The castle had an entrance gate, equipped with a drawbridge, thrown over a ditch. At night and at the approach of the enemy, this bridge was raised. In the arch of the gate was also mounted an iron grating, which, when lowered, served as an additional obstacle for uninvited guests. In the protective wall were windows-loopholes – narrow openings through which the enemy filled the arrows.

It was not always possible to dig a well in the castle, so they were treated by rainwater tanks or water from below. When the castle was under siege, its inhabitants had a hard time without water and food, the supplies of which quickly ended.

In the XII-XIII centuries. the whole of Europe was already built up by feudal castles – the gloomy, cold havens of the nobility. Only in France there were about 40 thousand. The castles enabled the feudal lords to keep the peasants living in the district in a state of obedience. In the population, the mere sight of the castle was horrible, especially since people were talking about underground casemates in which rotten disobedient people were living. The castle made the feudal lord less dependent on the king.


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Castles in medieval Europe