Defence In the Middle Ages

Essay by lufia1Junior High, 8th gradeD, August 2004

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Defending conquered territory was very vital in medieval times as it could easily be taken away again by other tribes. In response to this castles were built. Castles are a properly fortified military residence. Initially, they were designed and built to hold down conquered territory. They were usually built on earthen mound or on an area where it would be hard and difficult for rivalling tribes to attack. If a mound was not present a moat was usually dug out around the castle and filled with water.

At first, castles were made up of nothing but earth, with timber towers and buildings. They could be built quickly, and without skilled laborers but were not sturdy and could not withstand much pressure. The wood would also rot over a period of time. In later castle development, castles were built of stone or converted to stone. Stone castles were much sturdier, did not rot like wood, and were able to withstand any attack by an invader.

After this stone castles began to spread across the country.

The features that made stone castles stable and able to withstand battle include the following:

The walls were very thick, anywhere between 8 and 20 feet in thickness, so they could withstand bombardment or battering from a battering ram, or another siege engine (like a trebuchet or catapult).

The shape of the towers changed as castle- builders experimented with designs. The round tower was determined to be a more effective shape for withstanding the impact of a battle. However, it was more difficult to build because the design was more complex. Yet, many castles made use of round towers. Their shape caused cannon balls and other types of missiles to bounce off the walls without doing damage.

The curtain wall (the wall which surrounded the...