A Review Of Defensive Architecture History Essay

Defensive architecture is far excessively wide of a topic to cover in merely a few pages so what I ‘m traveling to make is contract it down to some of the most of import constructions of the in-between ages and the development of the palace in England. Weapons and tactics will be covered to demo the ground certain defences were built into the palaces. The timeline will stop at the innovation of gunpowder which changed the face of warfare as it was known. Palaces and munitions could non efficaciously withstand the onslaught of cannon fire and were finally rendered useless as a agency of defence.


Around the beginning of the first millenary there were many grounds to construct bastioned constructions in Europe. Of class the chief intent was defence but they were besides used to house elites and their households. After the autumn of the Carolingian Empire districts were frequently divided up with Godheads, knights and princes and the palace would be their chief abode. From here the environing lands could be enforced and controlled with the military forts kept at the palace under the feudal system. They were frequently in strategic locations on trading paths or close beginnings of nutrient and H2O.

Palaces were used for Godhead and people of the environing countries for protection from busting Vikings, Magyars and Muslims. This offered significant protection from the plunderers as they were non willing to perpetrate to a drawn-out besieging of the palace.

We can non speak about defensive architecture without cognizing what it was supporting against. Knights and Heavy Cavaliers were great at unfastened field conflict but were useless against edifices. For this ground besieging arms and tactics had to be used. The most basic of siege tactics is to obstruct the country or edifice and merely wait for the people to go dehydrated or hunger plenty to where they would give up. Although this sounds easy plenty, the assailing ground forces had to do certain it could last either with their ain nutrient and H2O brought with them or by populating off the land around them if a adust Earth maneuver was non carried out before they got at that place. This made H2O and nutrient storage perfectly critical to the endurance of the people within a palace. Most palaces had their ain good to supply the H2O.

To rush a besieging would necessitate a direct onslaught on the palace. The simplest manner to assail a munition was to utilize scaling ladders to mount over the walls and prosecute the guardians. This proved to be many lives in a conflict as the guardians could take out the enemy at the top of the ladder as they came up.

The following measure was to develop and utilize siege engines originally used by the Romans. These original arms of mass devastation included buffeting random-access memories, besieging towers, and a assortment of slingshots such as catapults, catapults, catapults and catapults. Siege towers were built to be taller than the outer drape wall with and protected from pointers. A little ground forces of work forces would be indoors while the tower was pushed up to the wall where a lift bridge opened and the work forces come running out for manus to manus combat on the wall. This was a much quicker bringing system than scaling ladders. Buffeting random-access memories and siege towers were limited in their utilizations as they had to come into direct contact with the palace wall to be effectual. A simple fosse could halt them unless the ground forces built a tract across it which used up valuable clip and work force.

Slingshots proved to be more utile because of their ability to assail from a distance with significant harm. The most common missiles were big stones and bolides. Not all of the missiles were aimed at the walls. Sometimes they would assail the interior courtyard of a palace seeking to do harm and lower the moral of the guardians. The first effort at biological warfare was during this clip utilizing slingshots to establish dead morbid animate beings into the palace in an effort to infect the people inside. The most annihilating slingshot was the catapult. It used a big counterbalance to swing a long arm with a sling at the terminal. Although they were slow, approximately two shootings per hr, they were the most daunting and destructive arms in usage at the clip.

Another type of onslaught during a besieging was mining. The assaultive ground forces would seek to destruct the foundation of a palace and convey its walls down from underneath. They would delve tunnels under the walls and fall in them normally by puting wood support beams on fire. To counter this, the guardians would delve tunnels to stop the other tunnels before they could make the foundation. One can merely conceive of the conflicts down at that place.

Now that we know a small about how a palace was attacked we can travel into item about how it was built to guard of these onslaughts. As with all warfare, development is changeless on both the violative and defensive sides. When one maneuver is developed to assail another is developed to support against it.

To protect their lands Godheads built the first motte and Bailey palaces. These were built on hills made from soil that was dug around it to organize a ditch. At the top of this motte a courtyard was built to organize the Bailey. This was done by doing a wall utilizing wood called a palisade wall. Within the Bailey assorted edifices were built that were considered critical to the country. Normally made of wood and Earth, this was a comparatively speedy and cheap munition that could guard off little onslaughts. Having a ditch environing the palace and being elevated made it really easily to support.

These early motte and Bailey palaces were slightly weak and really prone to fire. Because of this more palaces were being made of rock, a much more solid and fireproof stuff. The design finally led up to concentric palaces, a system of utilizing multiple environing walls to decelerate the progress of an assaultive ground forces. This design proved really effectual for centuries. Stone palaces in England were quickly built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror in 1066. He built more than 30 palaces to support his new district.

The first line of defence for most palaces is the fosse. This is a ditch that dug around the palace and sometimes filled with H2O. This proved effectual in doing it harder for assailing ground forcess to acquire in direct contact with the palace walls. Scaling ladders, besieging towers and buffeting random-access memories were uneffective unless a fosse was filled in to do a land span. Water-filled fosses besides slowed down or made it impossible for mining tactics to be used against the foundation as they were frequently excessively deep to delve under.

Curtain walls were the following obstruction to get the better of after the fosse. This sometimes consisted of an outer and an inner wall used in homocentric palaces. These defined the countries of the chief Bailey and the lower Bailey. The outer wall was ever shorter than the interior wall so that bowmans could hit over the outer wall at the assailing ground forces. Curtain walls ranged in thickness anyplace from 7 to 20 pess and in tallness, from 30 to 40 pess. At the top of the walls teeth like constructions called battlement or crenelations. The nothingnesss are known as scallops and the solids are known as merlons. This gave bowmans some protection while firing from the scallops and utilizing the merlons for screen. Sometimes machicolations were built into the top of the wall. This was an rock outcrop where holes were cut out in the underside so that objects could be thrown down onto the caputs of aggressors.

Towers were placed at the corners and in regular intervals of the drape wall. These were harder to strike hard down and provided more angles to hit pointers from. Towers were taller than the drape walls to let a more defensible subdivision if the wall were to be compromised. They besides made an effectual observation point. Flanking towers were frequently put at intervals in the drape wall. They would stick out somewhat from the wall so that aggressors at the base could be attacked with pointers more easy than from the top of the wall.

Small Windowss were put into the walls and towers known as pointer slits. These Windowss would be narrow on the outside and angle out towards the interior. This allowed for bowmans to be more protected yet still be able to hit at wider angles. Sometimes horizontal slits were added to give a broader field of vision in forepart of them.

The entryway in most edifices is considered a one of the weak points and was really of import to protect. To let people and goods to travel in and out of palaces with a fosse, a lift bridge was put into topographic point. This was span could be raised or lowered by the people inside the palace. Obviously it would be raised while under besieging. The lift bridge led up to the gatehouse, or barbacan, which was one of most to a great extent defended countries of the palace. A good built gatehouse would be flanked on both sides by towers. It frequently had a guardhouse and life quarters. The portcullis was a perpendicular gate made of heavy wood and metal and lifted by a system of blocks and weights. Built into the ceiling of a barbican were infinites called slaying holes. These were holes that pointers could be shot from or heavy objects could be dropped on the enemy seeking to pound the entryway. Sometimes even boiling H2O was dropped down on the interlopers from the slaying holes. This was non the wisest thing to make as it used up valuable resources such as H2O and wood.

On the rear of some palaces there was a little unfortified door called a postern or sally larboard. This was used during wartime to establish surprise onslaughts on the assailing ground forces. While the front entryway was being attacked a little fort could go out the sally port and prosecute the enemy in manus to manus combat.

Once inside the palace the aggressors would come across one last line of defence called the support. We know it as a support today but in mediaeval times it was known as a keep from Gallic beginning. It besides served as the Godhead ‘s abode and held the great hall. A good designed palace would hold had its H2O good located in the support along with nutrient storage and the armoury. Keeps come in many different forms and sizes from square to round to octangular. They were located either indoors or next to the inner drape wall.


It became really interesting to see how technological and tactical progresss evolved on both violative and defensive sides in wartime. Defensive architecture builds high walls so an ground forces on the onslaught uses scaling ladders and besieging towers. An violative ground forces starts utilizing buffeting random-access memories so the defensive side physiques fosses. It seems like this goes on until eventually gunpowder gets the best of palaces. They merely were n’t built to defy the shootings from powerful cannon fire. However, there was an adaptation to the castle signifier. Alternatively of being tall and square they became more garrison like being short with thicker walls and holding many angles to where cannons could non hit the wall forthrightly. The new munitions designed by Vauban were low, thick and asteroid. Palaces after this either fell into ruin or were converted into places more like the fairytale palaces in alive films. A immense difference from their original no frills useful design.