Thursday, April 3, 2014
Today is the third day of the A to Z Challenge, where participants post each day in April except on Sundays. You can visit the web page of this blog hop HERE, to join over one thousand bloggers as they roll through the alphabet this month. I hope to see your name on the list!
My theme is Fantasy and today it's about Castles.
Castles were fortified dwellings deliberately built for the security of a local lord and his or her followers in areas subject to little or no central political control. The primary purpose of true castles is defense, and any other uses were incidental or auxiliary.
Symptomatic of anarchic, fragmented societies, castles were not built for their aesthetic value and were rarely constructed inside strong national states. Rather, they were built for protection against raiders, foreign invaders or aggressive neighbors. From modest fortifications that sheltered a dozen warriors and their dependents, castles evolved through the Middle Ages into complex, durable citadels that housed hundreds. Some of the most well situated, well-constructed and well-stocked castles never succumbed to their enemies, whether by assault or siege.
Castles were usually built or controlled by the ruler of an area and were used to defend its frontiers from invasion. Such castles would be given to leaders who had sworn fealty to the noble. The lord of the castle usually had military control over the area immediately around the castle and maybe within a few hour's travel from it. He lived in the castle with his family, his soldiers and their families, and a variety of craftsmen, servants and serfs. Frequently, the latter did not live in the castle but on its lands and near enough that they could quickly repair it in times of crisis.
Castles were the rocks upon which the tiny states of feudal lords existed, and a suitably built, stocked and manned castle could allow a lord to wield great power within his realm and possible political importance outside of it. Thus, the temperament of the lord was of great importance to the people. They could be ruled by harshness or by compassion.
* * *
Would you want to live in a castle? If so, where would it be?