In the first fortresses, the castle walls did not have additional protection and towers were soon invented. They served as a shelter for the riflemen, who showered the besiegers with arrows. Therefore, the towers were most often built next to each other, at an arrow flight distance.
Walls and towers of a medieval castle. However, the corners turned out to be the weak point of the fortifications, and gradually all the castles acquired more resistant towers to siege weapons and digging. They were built from the largest stones and usually had a round or square shape.
The towers of the castle were quite expensive in construction, so they were usually placed in the corners of the castle. However, closer to the High Middle Ages, the towers began to be built closer to each other.
Walls of medieval castles
The walls of medieval castles remained the most vulnerable part of the fortification. They could be smashed by trebuchet and catapult shells, they could fall as a result of undermining. To protect against such threats, they began to make an inclined embankment at the base of the wall. Often, for strength, the embankment was covered with stones. Thanks to her, the castle wall at the base became very thick. This made it possible not to fear its destruction in the long term. At the embankment, they also tried to plant dense bushes and trees, which made it possible to hold back the arrows and stones that were thrown by the besiegers. In turn, the high walls of the castle made it possible to fire at enemies even despite the large trees at the base of the fortification.
Often in large castles, several rows of walls were used. Thanks to this, if the first line of defense broke through, the attackers were trapped. They fell into a small courtyard between the lines of the walls and suffered heavy casualties. This courtyard was perfectly shot through.
The walls of the castle on the inside had galleries along which the soldiers could quickly cross to the most dangerous area. At first, the galleries were made of wooden hinges. However, over time, they became part of the wall itself.
To fight the enemy, holes were made in the walls and towers of the castle – loopholes. They were made very narrow on the outside and wide on the inside. This allowed the archer to take a position convenient for shelling, and it was very difficult for the enemy riflemen to hit the thin slot in the wall.
The hinged loopholes were called mashikuli. They were used for shooting from top to bottom at those who came close to the wall, as well as for throwing stones and pouring boiling water over them with tar or whatever was at hand.
Now you know how the walls and towers of a medieval castle were arranged. Look for even more interesting facts about the Middle Ages on our website.
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