Castles, Keeps, and Fortresses…Oh, My!

Things have been quiet around these parts recently because I spent nearly three weeks in Europe this summer. My travels took me to Germany, the Czech Republic, and Spain. It was an amazing trip, even if it didn’t have any real bearing on my novel set in medieval England.
But I did see lots of different examples of castles and fortresses from other countries. And I’ve decided to kick off a series of posts examining what we mean when we say “castle,” synthesizing the research I did for my novel and my discoveries on my travels. Expect lots of pictures, factoids, and fun.
But first, some castle basics:
I grew up on fairy tales and Disney princesses. When I was younger, if you asked me to envision a castle, it would probably look something like this:


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

But in reality, the concept of “castle” could vary quite a bit.
According to Wikipedia:

A castle (from Latin: castellum) is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. This is distinct from a palace, which is not fortified; from a fortress, which was not always a residence for nobility; and from a fortified settlement, which was a public defense – though there are many similarities among these types of construction. Usage of the term has varied over time and has been applied to structures as diverse as hill forts and country houses.

Next time, we’ll talk about the origins of the castle and common features of their construction.

One thought on “Castles, Keeps, and Fortresses…Oh, My!

  1. Pingback: Origins of the English Castle | Elise Cyr

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