Medieval Castles

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005 - History - 192 pages
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. Thirty illustrations provide valuable visual references, while 20 brief biographies of rulers, builders, and chroniclers allow one to glimpse into the lives of those who lived in and constructed these impressive structures. Seventy excerpted and annotated primary documents cover topics ranging from the defence of castles to the banquets thrown within them. A glossary of terms, annotated chronology, and index complete this useful work on a fascinating subject. 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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User Review  - br77rino - LibraryThing

This is flavorless rendering of the different types of castles and their uses in medieval times. Read full review


Series Foreword
Castles in Context
The Great Tower Norman and Early Plantagenet Castles
The Castle as Fortress The Castle and Siege Warfare
The Castle as Headquarters The Political and Economic Role of the Castle
The Castle as Symbol and Palace
Impact and Consequences The Afterlife of the Castle
Primary Documents
Annotated Bibliography

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About the author (2005)

Marilyn 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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