Medieval Fortifications

Indulge your secret desire to design and possess your own castle by reading Dame Aoife's annoted links on medieval fortifications. Greetings everyone, on this hot, muggy day. I hope the weather is treating you better than it's treating me here in the Poconos. We hit 90 today! And it's still spring. Whew!

This week's Links list, by special request of my Husband, is on castles and fortifications. I've included a little bit on fortifications from all over Medieval Europe, and even a program for your kids to use to build their own castle at home.

I hope you enjoy these Links and will pass them along to those who will find them interesting.



Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon
m/k/a Lisbeth Her-Gelatt

For Fun:

Build A Medieval Castle: Free children's activity
(Site Excerpt) Free educational software. Build your own medieval castle, complete with towers, gatehouse and keep. To understand how an army lay siege to a castle, how a castle was defended, or what it might be like to live in a castle (though this varied by who you were) -- build a model castle.

For Teachers:

Castle Builder Lesson Plan

And the Serious Links:

Castles of Britain: Build a Castle
(Site Excerpt) Even today, centuries after they were active in British history, castles demonstrate the majesty, power and wealth of their noble builders. By the end of the 12th century, stone castles became more elaborate, the obsession of several powerful personalities who felt pressure to prove their own value by constructing these towering piles. While Edward I used the stone fortress as an effective means of dominating a rebellious Welsh populace, and gave us several of the most impressive structures in the world, his fortresses also reinforced his status as a wealthy and privileged ruler.

Medieval Fortifications
Prof. Jefferey Howe, Boston College
Inlcudes slides of castles at: Aigues-Mortes, Carcassonne, Pierrefonds, all in France.

123Voyage--Southwest France Medieval fortifications
(Site excerpt) The south west of France is full of medieval castles - or rather the remains of them - reflecting the turbulent and bloody history of the area.

A comprehensive listing of the medieval castles, castle sites, fortified houses, urban and coastal defences and other fortifications of England and Wales
(Site excerpt) The site consists of two main sections. The first is the listings of medieval fortifications and the second is a listing of the texts and online sources used in compiling in information for these lists This section also contains details of some other important or useful texts and Internet resources.

Infoplease: Ancient and Medieval Fortification
(Site Excerpt) As long as weapons remained relatively primitive, permanent fortifications predominated. The art of fortification developed in earliest times with the building of earthworks made up of layers of mud, sticks, rocks, and the like. These soon were developed into walls, then into palisades and elaborate wooden stockades. In the Middle East walled cities appeared very early. Those of Mesopotamia had walls of mud or sun-dried brick built to withstand invaders. The citadel, a fort or fortified section within the city, also appeared early. Phoenician cities were strongly walled and offered sturdy resistance to Assyrian, Persian, and Macedonian attackers.

Alphabetical Listing of German Castles and Fortifications

Medieval Fortifications in Florence
(Site excerpt) In Medieval times, Florence was protected by city walls that surrounded the city, as well as a number of forts around the perimeter. These forts and walls served as the first line of defense, followed by the defenses of the individual buildings -- the Medici's palace and the town hall are even more imposing structures...

The medieval town fortifications of Limerick by Kenneth Wiggins
(Site Excerpt)
Limerick is situated about sixty miles from the coast at the lowest crossing point on the River Shannon. The island area to the north, known as King's Island (Inis-Sibtonn), formed by the Shannon and Abbey rivers, attracted settlement by the Vikings in the 9th century, and they were well established in the 10th century. An account of the sack of 'the fort and the good town' at Limerick in 968 describes a place of fabulous opulence (Todd 1876, 79, 81). This core Danish town was later taken over by the Anglo-Normans at the end of the 12th century, and re-walled and extended to the north to form medieval English Town. Later the Irish borough on the southern side of the Abbey River was walled in 1310 - 1495 as Irish Town. Therefore, the city was like a figure-of-eight in the medieval period, with Baal's Bridge connecting the two halves.

(Site Excerpt) In the many hundreds of years since the days of Roman Britain, the island which makes up England, Wales and Scotland has become studded with thousands of castles, fortifications and towers. Even major highlights of the apparently unending wars which swept over this land would make for lengthy reading, and a solid understanding of them would consume a lifetime of study. So it is not surprising that as I was driving along the southern coast of England a while back, I chanced upon the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle which was partly destroyed on the orders of Parliament in 1646.

Castle-UK Castle Listing

Castles Unlimited (Castles of Britain Learning Center)

Castle and Seige Terminology

Nova: Secrets of Lost Empires: Medieval Seige--Shockwave required to play the seige game
(Site Excerpt)Welcome to the companion Web site to the NOVA program "Medieval Siege," originally broadcast on February 1, 2000. In the film, which is a part of the NOVA series Secrets of Lost Empires, a team of timber framers and other specialists design, build, and fire a pair of trebuchets, a devastating engine of war popular in the Middle Ages. Here's what you'll find online: Medieval Arms Race...Nova Builds a Trebuchet...Life in a Castle...Destroy the Castle...Resources...A Teacher's Guide

The Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne
(Site Excerpt) Since the pre-Roman period, a fortified settlement has existed on the hill where Carcassonne now stands. In its present form it is an outstanding example of a medieval fortified town, with its massive defences encircling the castle and the surrounding buildings, its streets and its fine Gothic cathedral. Carcassonne is also of exceptional importance because of the lengthy restoration campaign undertaken by Viollet-le-Duc, one of the founders of the modern science of conservation (Note: Further two links, a very short page).

Russian Military History--Fortifications
(Site Excerpt) This is the 'cover page' for an expanding web site devoted to the history of fortifications in Russia and Ukraine. It features extensive illustrations. The following locations are currently on line. Gorodetz fortress on the Volga
Ivangorod Ivan III's fortress opposite Narva
Izborsk Novgorodian fortress on Livonian frontier west of Pskov
Kam'yantes Medieval fortress fought over by Poles and Turks
Kazan Tatar capital captured by Ivan IV
Khotin Polish- Galician fortress fought over by them and Turks...(many more links)

LePage Castles and Fortified Cities in Medieval Europe (Book Review)
(Site Excerpt) The Dutch writer and illustrator, Jean-Denis Lepage, has produced a wonderfully illustrated, comprehensive volume on the history of fortification that demonstrates his enviable ability with ink and fluidity of prose, although not quite as much his analytical skills. A large-format (9x12in.) volume with copious (easily half the overall page space) clear black and white line-art drawings of castles from Roman castra to early modern trace italienne fortified cities, this book is clearly targeted at the general reader rather than the scholarly academic