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Crusader Castles: a Medieval Culmination

  • Date Submitted: 01/27/2010 11:09 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 57.6 
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King Edward I of England made a number of military campaigns during his reign, in two of which he captured modern-day Wales. In order to hold his gains he built a series of castles, which are said to still be some of the world’s greatest strongholds. But, over 3500 kilometres away a period of fascinating castle building took place prior to Edward’s as a result of the crusades. These constructions were designed by absorbing the constructive wisdom of the crusaders and those they came into contact with. The crusader castles were built faster, larger, and stronger, to create what are without a doubt, the world’s greatest strongholds. The crusaders designed their castles to provide the essentials needed for survival while developing design techniques capable of turning a castle into a stronghold that were mimicked throughout the medieval world. Once their castles were designed the crusaders displayed a construction ability and ingenuity that turned the designs into reality, taking any material they could obtain and use it to create anything they needed. So successful was their construction that attacking forces of incredibly larger numbers were needed to capture only a select few of the castles over a hundred year period, and often the circumstances of capture were not a fault of design but an unfortunate twist of fate. Through design, construction, and history, a picture emerges of a pioneering period of military construction that was never matched.

The design of a castle is most certainly the greatest factor in its defensive capabilities, and many of the innovations credited to the development of the castle finds itself in the history of the crusades. The most significant development is the concentric castle; this is the concept in which the inner walls are able to fire over the outer walls, either because of close proximity or size. In this manner the maximum amount of firepower can be directed at any one point. Belvoir (See Fig. 1...


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