Castles of Medieval Europe

Unit: Europe to 1500
What comes to mind when I say castles?
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
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.
Sits on the famous “white cliffs” of Dover
Strategic because it is the closest point in
England to continental Europe. First line of
Has concentric stone circles and secret
Came to Scotland after the Norman invasion of
 Built on hills near cliffs and along water and trade
 Used heavily in the 13th and 14th centuries during
the independence wars from England
 Mainly towered houses and featured stone walls
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
Most were made out of stone and date from
the Norman Invasion
Mainly occupied by invading lords as
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
Originated from quarreling aristocrats and feuding
 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 Asian
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
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
William the Conqueror had a major influence on
castles throughout Europe.
Went from basic stone strongholds to elegant
Allies of the King claimed these fortresses and made
palaces of them.
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
Reflect the diversity of Germany: North- circular
citadels surrounded by water in lowlands. Southlack 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
 Some strongholds were very colorful
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
Spain’s location as a peninsula separated from Europe
by the Pyrenees Mt. was a major factor in castle
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
Built in Apulia
Octagonal layout on the interior and outside
of the main Castle
Classic example of Islamic and Western
European styles coming together
History known for battles against different
ethnicities and a great diversity in culture, politics
and geography
Castles brought by Germans building stone
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
Slavs also built castles-Western in style
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
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.
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.
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

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