DAMSEL OF THE HAWK
standalone in the Curse of the Lost Isle medieval fantasy series
99cts for a few more days in kindle
As I am writing the last book in the Curse of the Lost Isle medieval series, ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN (Book 8) set in Aquitaine, I am thoroughly enjoying the research, as much as the story and the characters.
In the Twelfth Century, castles sprouted all over Europe. In England the first castles were mainly built in a hurry, out of wood, by the Norman invader to secure conquered territory. They were motte and bailey castles, with a keep, earth works, wooden fences and sharp stakes. Later, the keep and walls were rebuilt in stone.
Meanwhile, on the continent, like in Aquitaine, castles were already made of stone. The Romans had built stone roads and forts centuries earlier, leaving solid foundations in prime locations. Just out of the dark ages after the barbarian invasions, the central power fractured into smaller estates, the local lords rebuilt and expanded these stone forts for protection. Not only they fortified their castles, but also their entire cities.
|Medieval building technique. Notice the crane.|
The new cities and castles were generally built on a promontory, a plateau or a hill, surrounded by water, at an estuary, a confluent, or on a cliff overlooking a river. A body of water protected the castle from attacks by land, but rivers could also be highways for enemies invading by boats. Occasional Viking and Norman raids were still common.
|Fortified city and castle of Carcassonne - Southern Aquitaine|
The lack of a strong central power also encouraged greedy land owners and bands of rogue knights to appropriate territory by force. Stone walls offered the best protection.
Building a castle was expensive and required a great amount of gold to pay the many skilled workers needed for the monumental task. A lord would hire a taskmaster, overseers, a master mason, architects, an army of masons and stone cutters, carpenters, blacksmiths, lead beaters, barrel makers, potters, candle makers, and other craftsmen. He also needed diggers and general workmen, as well as water carriers.
|Castle of Lusignan - Aquitaine - Original design|
First, the trees around the site would be felled and peeled, then sliced lengthwise to provide lumber for the scaffolding, and the giant beams to support the wooden ceiling of the upper floors. Meanwhile, the stone had to be extracted from the surrounding rock, then cut and chiseled to size. Often the stone was extracted from the excavation for the moat. Secret passages and underground storage rooms and cellars would often be dug from the rock before erecting the walls, with arched ceilings and thick columns to support the edifice above.
|Arrow slit in a castle wall|
|medieval toilet - or garderobe|
|Castle of Tiffauge - Aquitaine - France|
|Mock up - castle of Lusignan - Aquitaine - France|
|Castle of Lusignan - Aquitaine - France|
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Swords, blasters, romance with a kick
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