Battle Castles: 500 Years of Knights and Siege Warfare by Dan SnowTV’s Dan Snow brings to thrilling life a cavalcade of medieval fortifications and the clashes that turned empires to dust and mortals into legends.
Castles and their ruins still dominate the landscape and are a constant reminder to us of a time when violence, or the threat of it, was the norm.
Dan Snow explores the world’s greatest medieval castles: from Dover Castle to Château Gaillard, Richard I’s fortress in Normandy, and Castillo de Gibalfaro, the last vanguard of Moorish rule in Spain, to Krak des Chevaliers in Syria – an astounding feat of engineering by the Crusaders.
Each castle’s story is dramatically recounted: the building techniques, the weapons used and daily life within the walls. Spanning the globe, and using the latest CGI reconstructions, Dan Snow gets to the very heart of the bloodshed and battles of the greatest fortresses of the Middle Ages.
What It Was Like to be a Knight During Medieval Times
Medieval warfare is the European warfare of the Middle Ages. Technological, cultural, and In terms of fortification, the Middle Ages saw the emergence of the castle in Europe, which then spread to Western Asia. . Typically the feudal armies consisted of a core of highly skilled knights and their household troops.
Siege Warfare in Medieval Europe
Siege tactics were a crucial part of medieval warfare , especially from the 11th century CE when castles became more widespread in Europe and sieges outnumbered pitched battles. Castles and fortified cities offered protection to both the local population and armed forces and presented an array of defensive features which, in turn, led to innovations in weapons, siege engine technology, and strategies. From the 12th to 15th century CE medieval warfare became very much a case of win the siege, win the war , especially when targets were administrative centres or occupied a position of particular strategic importance. Early castles in France and Britain during the 11th century CE adopted the motte and bailey castle design. This involved placing a wooden tower on a natural or artificial mound motte with an accompanying walled courtyard bailey at the base with the whole structure surrounded by a ditch or moat which could be dry or contain water. As these castles were gradually converted into stone, which made them much more resistant to fire, or entirely new castles were built and the idea of their usefulnees spread, so, too, their defensive designs improved. The gate might also receive extra protection with a barbican - a short piece of fortified wall built in front of it.
The Middle Ages saw the development of new modes of warfare encompassing both pitched battles and siege warfare. Then as now the western world was engaged in an arms race. New weapons technology prompted new defensive technologies, for example the introduction of cross-bows led quickly to the adoption of plate armour rather than chain mail. During the Dark Ages Christendom had largely abandoned the sophisticated techniques of Classical times, arguing that anything not mentioned in the bible was of satanic origin and that God would ensure victory for his faithful followers. Along with the scientific advances, military techniques had been abandoned and forgotten. This affected building as well as weaponry.
Please select a castle to sign up. Page: A boy who acted as a knight's attendant as the first stage of training for chivalric knighthood. Squire: A young nobleman attendant upon a knight and ranked next below a knight in feudal hierarchy. Knights were medieval gentleman-soldiers, usually high-born, raised by a sovereign to privileged military status after training as a page and squire. Originally knights were attendants or specialized foot-soldiers, but the status of knights was elevated around A. The knight was given a sword, a pay raise and, frequently, a plot of land. Most knights were required to be at least 21 years old.