Medieval Castles

Overview

The castle was far more than a walled and turreted fortress; it was an instrument of social control and the symbol of power, authority, and wealth. Acknowledged expert Marilyn Stokstad combines interpretive essays and original documents in English translation in order to examine the role of the castle in society as well as its use in war.

Commencing with an overview of the military and social systems operating in the Middle Ages, Stokstad places castles and other fortified ...

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Overview

The castle was far more than a walled and turreted fortress; it was an instrument of social control and the symbol of power, authority, and wealth. Acknowledged expert Marilyn Stokstad combines interpretive essays and original documents in English translation in order to examine the role of the castle in society as well as its use in war.

Commencing with an overview of the military and social systems operating in the Middle Ages, Stokstad places castles and other fortified places into an appropriate context. Readers are then guided through the development of early motte and bailey castles and the development of masonry towers and walls in the 11th and 12th centuries. Medieval Castles considers the military aspect of castles, including seige warfare and the architectural response to attack and defence, in the 12th and 13th centuries. It explores castles and citadels as local and regional government and economic centers in the 14th and 15th centuries. It also looks at the symbolic role of architecture and at castles as elite residences and settings for public display. A concluding interpretive essay looks at the impact of gunpowder on castles as well as our continuing fascination with the castle as a romantic fantasy of an idealized world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[B]lends thirty illustrations with twenty brief biographies of rulers, builders, and histories of medieval castles, reviewing both military and social systems to consider the construction and popularity of castles and other fortifications of their times. From different castle purposes to the symbolism of architecture, Medieval Castles is a highly recommended addition to Greenwood's Guides to Historic Events of the Medieval World series."

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MBR Internet Bookwatch/Library Bookwatch

"Stokstad, the author of a well- regarded history of medieval art, has written an account that describes all aspects of medieval castles, with many specific examples and a rich collection of primary sources. Written for high school students and the general reader, the text provides a nuanced look at castles, with attention to their architecture, methods of fortification, methods of warfare, functions besides defense, inhabitants, their fate after the invention of gunpowder, and the romantic attachment to their architecture from the 18th century to the present. This volume focuses mainly on examples in England and France; it is supplemented nicely by examples in another book in this series, also written by a senior scholar, that focuses on the Crusades."

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Art Book News Annual

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Product Details

Meet the Author

MARYLIN J. STOKSTAD is Judith Harris Murphy Distinguished Professor of Art History at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and consultative curator of medieval art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. She is the author of the textbook Art History (1995). Her scholarly work includes a half-dozen books, several book chapters, reviews and museum publications, and a long list of articles for periodicals. She has also served as an editorial consultant to the Nelson-Atkins and St. Louis art museums, the World Book Encyclopedia and several major book publishers.

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Table of Contents

Overview : castles in context
1 The great tower : Norman and early Plantagenet castles 1
2 The castle as fortress : the castle and siege warfare 21
3 The castle as headquarters : the political and economic role of the castle 43
4 The castle as symbol and palace 63
5 Impact and consequences : the afterlife of the castle 83
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