Norman Stone Castles (2): Europe 950-1204 (Fortress) by Christopher Gravett

By Christopher Gravett

Following the production of the Duchy of Normandy, the Normans have been quickly brought to the citadel they usually equipped them in huge numbers. within the mid-11th century, different Norman adventurers all started carving out dominions for themselves in Southern Italy: a few crossed to Sicily in 1061 and via 1091 had conquered the total island. As in Normandy, they have been willing to assimilate new rules, together with architectural kinds, leading to a few extraordinary constructions. This identify, a significant other to citadel thirteen: Norman Stone Castles (1) The British Isles 1066-1216, presents a close consultant to the castles inbuilt Normandy, Southern Italy and Sicily, overlaying protecting rules, everyday life, the occasions of siege conflict, and the destiny of the castles.

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By Christopher Gravett

Following the production of the Duchy of Normandy, the Normans have been quickly brought to the citadel they usually equipped them in huge numbers. within the mid-11th century, different Norman adventurers all started carving out dominions for themselves in Southern Italy: a few crossed to Sicily in 1061 and via 1091 had conquered the total island. As in Normandy, they have been willing to assimilate new rules, together with architectural kinds, leading to a few extraordinary constructions. This identify, a significant other to citadel thirteen: Norman Stone Castles (1) The British Isles 1066-1216, presents a close consultant to the castles inbuilt Normandy, Southern Italy and Sicily, overlaying protecting rules, everyday life, the occasions of siege conflict, and the destiny of the castles.

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In Sicily the existing Muslim iqta was a form of fief that probably provided the model for smaller Sicilian feudal fees. In western Sicily the jund system of recruiting regional militias was continued under the Norman conquerors. On the island Lombard, Greek or Muslim villeins were expected to perform garrison service, since theoretically the Normans could summon all able-bodied men in southern Italy. Local militias gradually declined, though, especially in well-organised areas such as Sicily and Calabria.

As noted previously, the only practical approach was via the south side, and from here an attacker was forced to capture an outer, then a middle, then an inner courtyard, the latter including the powerful donjon. It was not a true concentric design, in which inner walls follow and protect the outer walls, since this only occurs on sections of the inner and middle walls, but it utilises its setting to full advantage. La Roche-Guyon also shows this use of two curtains supporting each other, but they do not completely surround the donjon.

Geoffrey was now duke of Normandy as well as count of Anjou. His invasion had, on the whole, been fairly bloodless and many castles offered little or no resistence to him, namely Avranches and Coutances in 1141, Verneuil and Vaudreuil in 1143, Rouen in 1144, and Arques in 1145. All these latter castles, no matter how advanced their defences, did not stand up to a siege by an army on a winning run, and with King Stephen and other leading men busy with civil wars in England, anarchy had reigned in Normandy.

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