Castle


Castle
/kas"euhl, kah"seuhl/, n.
Irene (Foote), 1893-1969, born in the U.S., and her husband and partner Vernon (Vernon Castle Blythe), 1887-1918, born in England, U.S. ballroom dancers.

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I
Medieval European stronghold, generally the fortified dwelling of the king or lord of the territory in which it stood.

The castle developed rapidly in western Europe from the 9th century. In form it was somewhat sprawling compared to later fortified buildings. The castle's enceinte (outer wall) was surrounded by one or more moats, which were crossed by drawbridges that could be raised from the inner side. The gateway itself was heavily protected and often defended by a barbican, or watchtower. One or more baileys, or walled courtyards, surrounded the donjon. The age of the medieval castle came to an end with the increasing use of firearms in the 15th–16th centuries.
II
(as used in expressions)
Castle Vernon and Irene

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 medieval European stronghold, generally the residence of the king or lord of the territory in which it stands. The word is sometimes applied to prehistoric earthworks, such as Maiden Castle in England, and is also applied, in various linguistic forms (e.g., château, castello, and Burg), to princely mansions or country seats.

 The castle developed rapidly in western Europe from the 9th century. Fortifications built in France in the 10th century often included a high mound encircled by a ditch and surmounted by the leader's particular stronghold, as in the castles at Blois and Saumur. Later, one or more baileys or wards (grounds between encircling walls) were enclosed at the foot of the mound. During the 11th century this type of private fortress, known as the “motte [mound] and bailey” castle, spread throughout western Europe.

 The thickness of castle walls varied according to the natural strength of the sites they occupied, often diverging greatly at different points of the site. The defense of the enceinte, or outer wall, of the castle was generally by means of one or more lines of moats, which were crossed in front of the gateways by drawbridges—i.e., bridges that could be drawn back or raised from the inner side in order to prevent the moats from being crossed. The gateway was often protected by a barbican—a walled outwork in front of the gate—and the passage through the gateway was defended by portcullises, doors, and machicolations. Portcullises were generally made of oak, were plated and shod with iron, and were moved up and down in stone grooves, clearing or blocking the passage. Machicolations were of two kinds: some were openings in the roof of the passage through which missiles were thrown on encroaching enemies, and others were openings between the corbels of the parapets of walls and gates through which lethal missiles could be shot or dropped on the enemy below.

 The baileys at the foot of the mound were enclosed by palisades and later by walls and towers of masonry. Almost at the same time that the shell keep was being erected in western Europe, the rectangular keep, a more compact form of citadel, was also being built. Examples are the donjon at Loches, France (c. 1020), and the keep at Rochester, England (c. 1130).

 The keep, or donjon, was the focal point of the castle, to which, in time of siege, the whole garrison retired when the outer works had fallen; it was therefore the strongest and most carefully fortified part of the defenses. It had a well, contained the private apartments, offices, and service rooms, and held all the appointments necessary to sustain a long siege. Often the keep stood in line with the outer line of defenses, so that while one side looked toward the bailey (or succession of baileys) commanding the operations of the defense there, the other side commanded the field and the approaches to the castle. The side of the keep exposed to the field also presented a line of escape.

 After the Third Crusade (Crusades) (1189–92) the site chosen for a new castle, where such choice was possible, was the summit of a precipitous hill, the citadel being backed against the cliff. The main defense was concentrated in the direction of approach, where there were often two or three lines of advance fortifications. The living quarters—with the hall, domestic offices, and chapel—were then built in the court of the inner bailey. The keep (often no longer the residence but still the last line of defense) was smaller than those built previously but was of more powerful design.

      Development in the use of firearms (gun) was so rapid during the 15th and 16th centuries as to require a radical change in military architecture. French troops marched through Italy in 1494 and, with their guns, reduced castle after castle with astonishing rapidity. The age of the medieval castle came to an end, and the era of modern military fortification opened. The principle governing the design of the new forts constructed all over Europe was that the whole building should be concentrated in one compact block. Its low walls could then be defended all around by artillery, the guns being mounted on bastions and redans.

      Although the break with the past did not occur suddenly but extended over many years, there came to be from the time of the Renaissance a complete separation between military and domestic architecture, the former being a fort under military control of the monarch and the latter an unfortified palace, mansion, manor house, or hôtel. The notion of the castle held an enduring romantic appeal, and the castle-style royal residence remained a model for country houses of the wealthy in the 18th and 19th centuries.

▪ ship part
      in ship construction, structure or area raised above the main deck for combat or work purposes. The name was derived from early similarities to fortress turrets. The forecastle and aftercastle (or sterncastle) are at the bow and stern of the vessel. A top castle was perched on masts of some ships about the 13th century. The first known castles are shown amidships or astern on Roman ships, to afford vantage points in sea skirmishes. Forecastles were constructed on Viking ships as early as the 8th century. By the 14th century, the forecastles and aftercastles had become a part of the hull, rather than an added tower. The aftercastle on 15th-century galleys was used by officers, and naval enlisted men have traditionally been quartered in the area of the forecastle. The forecastle remained the designation for the area around the foremast in 19th-century men-of-war, although the deck was flush from bow to stern. Many cargo vessels have a forecastle (deck). The aftercastle was superseded by the quarterdeck.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Castle — Cas tle, n. [AS. castel, fr. L. castellum, dim. of castrum a fortified place, castle.] 1. A fortified residence, especially that of a prince or nobleman; a fortress. [1913 Webster] The house of every one is to him castle and fortress, as well for …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • castle — [kas′əl, käs′əl] n. [ME < OE & Anglo Fr castel < L castellum, dim. of castrum, fort] 1. a large building or group of buildings fortified with thick walls, battlements, and often a moat; castles were the strongholds of noblemen in the Middle …   English World dictionary

  • Castle — Cas tle, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Castled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Castling}.] (Chess) To move the castle to the square next to king, and then the king around the castle to the square next beyond it, for the purpose of covering the king. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Castle — Castle, OK U.S. town in Oklahoma Population (2000): 122 Housing Units (2000): 58 Land area (2000): 0.176491 sq. miles (0.457110 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.176491 sq. miles (0.457110 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Castle, OK — U.S. town in Oklahoma Population (2000): 122 Housing Units (2000): 58 Land area (2000): 0.176491 sq. miles (0.457110 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.176491 sq. miles (0.457110 sq. km) FIPS code …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • castle — (n.) late O.E. castel, from O.N.Fr. castel (O.Fr. chastel, 12c.; Mod.Fr. cháteau), from L. castellum fortified village, dim. of castrum fort; cognate with O.Ir. cather, Welsh caer town (and perhaps related to castrare cut off ). This word had… …   Etymology dictionary

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  • Castle [2] — Castle, Edmund, s. Castell …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon


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