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Castles in Medieval SocietyFortresses in England, France, and Ireland in the Central Middle Ages$
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Charles L. H. Coulson

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208242

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208242.001.0001

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Variety Violated: Some Conceptual Problems

Variety Violated: Some Conceptual Problems

(p.29) 2 Variety Violated: Some Conceptual Problems
Castles in Medieval Society


Oxford University Press

Until the conflict between the diffuse reality and the narrow perception is resolved, the centrality of castles (in all their manifestations) to society as a whole will remain obscured. The ‘military’ straitjacket falsifies them. Viewing them as adjuncts to the chivalric lifestyle is better, but still insufficient. Without question, the castellated and fortified style of building was aristocratic, and undoubtedly it spread early and fully as widely as the noble ethos itself. Nearly all the forms, from the Gallo-Roman cathedral city of the 5th century to the gun-forts, built to the order of Henry VIII at the end of his reign (1538-1547) along the south and south-east coast of England, were known to contemporaries as castra or castella. This chapter addresses the problems of nomenclature related to castles and fortresses in England and France during the medieval period.

Keywords:   castles, fortresses, England, France, medieval period

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