Unit: Europe to 1500 Castles of Medieval Europe
Castles! Castles! Castles! • What comes to mind when I say castles?
Castles: A Quick Overview • They were not new in the Middle Ages- but built by lords consolidating power and having fortresses to protect their land’s people • Some were cold while others were opulent • Used for protection, landmark and pride • Primary military resources of many countries in medieval Europe. • Ended with the advent of artillery during the 1500s.
English Castles • Brought to England by William (Duke of Normandy) in 1066. He used castles (made of wood) to become King of England. Later he used stone. • Built castles on hills as basis for the stronghold. • Castles became symbols of protection and power for peasants. • Lords were granted Castles through sworn allegiance to the King.
English Castle-Dover • Sits on the famous “white cliffs” of Dover • Strategic because it is the closest point in England to continental Europe. First line of defense. • Has concentric stone circles and secret tunnels.
Scottish Castles • Came to Scotland after the Norman invasion of 1066. • Built on hills near cliffs and along water and trade routes. • Used heavily in the 13th and 14th centuries during the independence wars from England • Mainly towered houses and featured stone walls
Scottish Castle- Bothwell • Built in Strathclyde • Thick walls made of red sandstone • Has a large round keep that is separated from the courtyard by a large ditch • Famous from William Wallace laying siege to it in order to take back the castle from the English for 14 months
Irish Castles • Most were made out of stone and date from the Norman Invasion • Mainly occupied by invading lords as strongholds
Irish Castle- Blarney • Said that Munster men were awarded stone to build this castle after aiding Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn. • Contains the Blarney Stone and gives people the “gift of gab.” • Phrase said by Elizabeth I because of Lord Blarney’s penchant for debate
Italian Castles • Originated from quarreling aristocrats and feuding families • Entire cities could be walled in, and wealthy families would build towers for themselves • Excellent examples were built by merchant princes in cities like Florence • Architecture based on Norman, Islamic and Asiandesigns
Italian Castle-Castelvecchio • Built in Verona • Known for its fortified bridge across the River Adige. It divided the castle • Made out of red brick and lighter materials to highlights the design
French Castles • Started off as simple towers called donjons that were rectangular • Contained all of the rooms for the lords in the stronghold. Only trusted vassals could enter the donjons • William the Conqueror had a major influence on castles throughout Europe. • Went from basic stone strongholds to elegant chateaus. • Allies of the King claimed these fortresses and made palaces of them.
French Castle- Mont-Saint- Michel • Built in Normandy • City onto itself; stronghold • Tides create a natural barrier • Duke of Normandy founded Benedictine abbey there • Centuries brought many changes: Carolingian church then gothic structures seen today
German Castles • Reflect the diversity of Germany: North- circular citadels surrounded by water in lowlands. South- lack of symmetry with spires on high ground • Diversity based on contact with other cultures surrounding Germany, and where German lords and knights went to fight • Began to flourish during the development of feudal Germany • Some strongholds were very colorful
German Castle- Falkenstein • Built in Hettstedt in the Harz mountains • Made to withstand heavy attacks- and an invading army had to pass six doors in order to reach the main castle • Eike von Repkow wrote the Sachsenspiegel book of law here • Used as a hunting lodge
Spanish Castles • Spain’s location as a peninsula separated from Europe by the Pyrenees Mt. was a major factor in castle building • Castillo (basis for English word Castle) strongholds were built to battle the Islamic forces invading Spain after 711 C.E. • Symmetrical and colorful in design with rounded towers and masonry based on Islamic design • The flat landscape gave towers excellent vantage points to see invading armies • Distinct from their use of torre del hominaje- a keep with machicolations at and in-between corners
Spanish Castles- Castel de Monte • Built in Apulia • Octagonal layout on the interior and outside of the main Castle • Classic example of Islamic and Western European styles coming together
Eastern European Castles • History known for battles against different ethnicities and a great diversity in culture, politics and geography • Castles brought by Germans building stone fortifications • In Balkans where Ottoman Empire would rule, castle fell into ruin as Christian nobility fled • Known for fortified monasteries-to protect the villagers from raids where they would seek refuge in churches • Slavs also built castles-Western in style
Eastern European Castle- Ciechanow • Built in Poland by Duke of Masovia as a stronghold in the 1400s. • Boasts great towers and symmetrically laid out on boulders for better defenses • Residential wings were not added until 100 years later
Eastern European Castle- Harman • Built in Transylvania, Romania in the 1200s. • Is a fortified church that is encircled by a wall and protected by a water filled moat. • Many people laid siege to the fortress, but none succeeded.
Side Note- Japanese Castles • Sprang up from feuding Warlords • Very similar to European Castles- Used for protection and contained large walls, moats, slit windows and used terrain for defense.
Assignment • Create Your Own Castle!!! • Sign up for a country and then “build” a castle based on that country. • More details will be given to you