Here you can find a rosary answer to how the first medieval castles were built.
Castles became widespread in Europe in the early 10th century. Then these were not at all those majestic stone structures, so well known to us from the films. Early locks were simple and made from scrap materials. This made it possible to easily and quickly erect them with the efforts of only a couple of dozen workers.
The first castles were built very simply. First, a suitable hill was selected. However, if it was not in the right place, then an artificial embankment had to be made. A large fortified tower made of logs was built on a hill or embankment. A palisade with fortified gates was made around the tower. As we can see, only logs and earth were used from materials.
But quite often the fortifications were built not just on a hill, but on the top of the rocks. In this case, it became extremely difficult for the besiegers to climb to the walls of the castle. And to drag siege engines up the mountain, and even more so, not every commander can do it.
Such a fortification can be built in just a couple of weeks. Despite this, its combat effectiveness is quite high. It was almost impossible to capture such a castle with a detachment of cavalry. But it was precisely the small detachments of mounted warriors that were the main type of combat unit in the Early and High Middle Ages. If the defenders had supplies of food and water, they could for a long time resist the numerically superior enemy detachment.
However, we understand that wood is short-lived and inferior in strength to stone. Our ancestors knew this too. Therefore, at the first opportunity, locks made of wood and earth began to be turned into stone. At first, they completely repeated the previous design of their wooden ancestors (a large tower with surrounding walls). Only now all the buildings were already being erected from hewn stone. The stone was usually taken from the one that was in the vicinity. Carrying it from afar was an overwhelming burden for medieval feudal lords. By the way, this is precisely why, in those places where there are no deposits of stone, stone castles were usually not built. For example, this is typical for the territory of Ancient Rus.
Most often, stone castles were surrounded by a moat. Which was not always filled with water. But if there was an opportunity to do this, or even to build a castle on the island, the degree of its inaccessibility would seriously increase.
Now you know how first medieval castles were built. Look for even more interesting facts about the Middle Ages on our website.
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