Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What Were Castles Purposes?

    What were castles purposes? Well, castles in the medieval ages served many purposes. One purpose was to protect the person who owned the castle, usually called a lord. The castles were introduced in the 9th century and were common until around the 18th century. The lord, lady and people who worked for him all lived in the castle. The castle housed hundreds of people. They were like small towns/ villages. They …were …HUGE!
   The castles also house many things the lord and his people needed. Castles were centers of defense for the lord’s army. The lord could afford such a structure for paying money little money and fighting for the emperor in his army. The emperor also could tax the lord for him to afford such a huge building. Peasants farmed and worked for the lord to have a place to live in the castle. The peasants gave half of their “rewards” to the lord.

What Was to be Found in a Castle?

   Since the castles were so big, they had to house a lot of things right? That is partly correct, partly incorrect. The outside of the castle was simple, high walls to keep invaders out, and bridges. A draw-bridge was a bridge that someone had to lower from the inside of the castle for someone on the outside to get in. If the drawbridge wasn’t down, it was very hard to get into the castle. There were also other obstacles on the outside of the castle making it difficult to enter. There was a moat…a hole dug around the entire castle filled with water. The draw-bridge would lower over this making it easier to walk across. There were also high towers for look-outs to see what was going on outside of the castle. A castle could be beautiful or not very attractive depending on how it was built.
   On the inside, the castle housed a large dining area for the family of the lord and his servants. There was also a chapel for the lord to practice his religion safe from harm. There were also kitchens, bedrooms, closets, restrooms, and rooms for entertainment much like today’s homes. In castles though, wooden furniture wasn’t as common. There were beds and a few chairs, but there wasn’t a lot of furniture.

How Were Castles Made?

   How castles were made…an interesting question. Crusaders, while on their way to the holy land, were some of the first to build castles. They built them for protection. Castles do vary in building materials though. They can be made of wood, planks, iron, or stone. All sorts of materials were used, but one thing is for sure; they needed a lot of whatever they were using!
   The lord hired craftsmen and laborers after he told them how he wanted the castle to be constructed. The castles were usually built on hard-to-get-to land masses like steep hills, mountains or on the middle of a lake. The reason for this was to make it harder for foreign invaders to attack it. They also wanted to intimidate their enemies with its looks. Castles did make a huge dent in the lord’s budget though. A lord had to be rich to afford one of their miniature towns. Also, to afford the people and equipment needed to build it. There was a lot of large equipment they had to use to construct such a large structure. They needed these machines to lift heavy materials, dig etc. Technology wasn’t as advanced back then though, so they needed a lot of workers to construct it while today, it would take half of the length of time with all of our technology.

Was There Any Protection for the Lord and His Castle?

A castle protected on a high hill.

   The castle was a valuable thing to the king. Today, castles would have cost billions of dollars. So, people would want to steal valuables from the castle, or just try to take it over all together. The lords had loyal servants to guard and serve for him and his valuables. He had guards and knights. Guards guard areas that attackers could possibly breach the castle. They guard the draw bridge and weak points in the castle. Knights serve the lord and emperor.  They fight invaders who threaten the lord or castle when called on by the lord. Knights were very brave and loyal, so they were well respected.

   Castles also just had protection by what it was built on. They were usually built on mountains, steep hills, or in the middle of a lake. This made it hard to get too. Attackers would have a hard time attacking the castle when it is up a mountain that is a 300 feet drop if you fail! You've probably heard the myth that in ancient times, castles had moats filled with alligators right? That wasn't a myth! They filled moats around the castle filled with dangerous things to scare invaders to beware!