Castles

Discussion in 'Medieval Boards' started by evadra, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. evadra

    evadra New Member

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    Can any one give any info on how castles were used to contol the land they were used to protect the land?
     
  2. gumboot

    gumboot lorcutus.tolere

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    A castle provides a "hard point"; that is a protected site where people can seek shelter in times of trouble. You'd build one in a tactically sound position; usually at a high point or a choke point, with a ready supply of water. Ideally you want to stick it somewhere it can't be fully invested (surrounded) during a siege. It's also a force multiplier because a man behind fortifications has a dramatic advantage over an attacker.

    Anyone seeking to conquer a given piece of land will have to deal with the castle, because if they don't they'll get continual harassment in the form of sallies from the castle and eventually be driven away.

    The other thing, of course, about a castle, is that it's occupied by some sort of Lord, who has knights, men-at-arms, archers, and other delightful weapons of war. They'll protect the surrounding land and fight off any invaders. There doesn't need to be many of them, because being behind fortifications gives an enormous advantage; the general figure I work with is that a fortified site can generally be defended by about 1/20th as many people as it takes to capture it; so if the local Lord has a total fighting force of 50 men in his keep, you'll want at least 1,000 men to be confident of victory.
     
  3. Tanasa

    Tanasa Mind Creeper

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    As far as I know, castles were strategically placed in the center of a group of villages. In every castle there was a lord or noble (I think) which goes to each of these villages to collect taxes. A castle has barracks to keep a small army, which keeps the land safe from enemies and potential revolts :D.
    Sorry if I made any grammar mistakes :/
     
  4. I Man

    I Man New Member

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    The castle also served as the town proper. While residents would live on the countryside (you had to if you were farming, which was what many did), the castle housed the professional and commerce buildings that people think of as what makes a town. For the popular 'motte and bailey' design of castles, what people think of as a castle was the structure (like a keep) that was on the motte. Surrounding the motte/keep, was the bailey which was basically a giant wall. Inside that wall were lots of the town buildings like churches and shops. So, the castle wasn't just the strong building people think of, but it was also the walled heart of a town's economy and, as Tanasa said, a place for people to shelter in bad times. However, it was also a place to gather in good times.

    Think of a castle as the 'downtown' of a town, with the people living outside the castle in the 'suburbs.'
     
  5. Druid of Lûhn

    Druid of Lûhn The Little Lamb.

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    Of course, that depends what era we're talking about, but consider we're talking about the post-1000 era (until Renaissance, when they became purely decorative and indicative of status).

    That depends: certain castles, that evolved as forts, were only for garrisons and were therefore not part of a town: they would have a small village but nothing more.

    As to the castles that had towns around them, they had a defensive and administrative role. Most towns and cities, unless it was the capital or some important administrative/religious place, were created around a market for commercial reasons and would therefore have their own centre and rich quarters.
    The castle at this point would be there to hold the garrison, the lord who owned the city and adjoining lands and to provide a safe place for his people, although that wasn't always enforced.

    Some less powerful lords would only have a castle, usually a simple motte and bailey, and would keep that for their reputation and personal defence, but they would have a townhouse somewhere and live there.