The Construction and Defense of Medieval Castles

TLDR Medieval castles were strategically built on hilltops for defensive purposes, with features such as outer curtain walls, moats, gates, and gatehouses. They also included hortings, towers, and turrets for shooting at attackers and providing maximum protection. Building a castle was a costly and time-consuming endeavor, requiring skilled workers and materials.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Medieval castles were built as defensive fortifications and residences for rulers to protect themselves and their realms, typically located on hilltops for better visibility and strategic advantage.
02:16 Medieval castles were strategically located for defense, such as Mont Saint-Michel which was surrounded by water and mud, making it nearly impossible to attack, but the location of a castle also needed to consider accessibility for administrative purposes, and the primary means of defense was the outer curtain wall made of stone.
04:06 The height and thickness of castle walls were determined by the available resources and the need for protection, with moats serving the dual purpose of preventing tunneling under the wall and flooding any attempts to do so, and gates and gatehouses providing access and defense.
06:00 Hortings were wooden structures on castle walls that allowed defenders to shoot at attackers, while towers and turrets supported siege weapons and provided maximum protection for defenders to fire arrows or bolts.
07:49 Spiral staircases in castles typically go up in a clockwise direction, making it easier for right-handed defenders to swing their weapons and more difficult for attackers to do the same, while purposely uneven steps would make it harder for attackers to navigate the stairs.
09:39 Building a castle in the 12th century was an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, requiring a large number of skilled workers and materials, with costs ranging from a few hundred pounds to up to a hundred thousand pounds.
11:37 Goudalon Castle in France is a medieval castle being built using medieval techniques, and it serves as an example of experimental archaeology.
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