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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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Peacekeeping at Home and Abroad

Peacekeeping at Home and Abroad

(p.128) 2 Peacekeeping at Home and Abroad
Castles in Medieval Society


Oxford University Press

However coloured by medieval (chiefly ecclesiastical) polemic, and by constitutionalists of a statist cast of mind misapplying the concepts of the modern nation, fortresses (castles in the original comprehensive usage) were not so much private force embodied in stone (or earthwork and timber, latterly brick) as, rather, the most conspicuous contemporary and still surviving manifestation of the socially diffusive medieval ruling class. This art, along with the ‘religious’ architecture to which it is so closely related as to be indistinguishable, was among the most noble achievements of medieval culture. Since fortifying, like the ‘arms-ban’, operated as a noble perquisite, the restraining hand of the ‘public interest’ must be pursued also in other directions than ‘military activities’. Political as well as social motives were involved. This chapter looks at castles, fortresses, and fortifications as means of peacekeeping and pacification in England and France during the medieval period.

Keywords:   castles, fortresses, peacekeeping, England, France, public interest, fortifications, pacification, peace treaties

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