Why were castles built?

Why were castles built?

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[Music] greetings I'm Chad and in this video I'll be addressing a very important question why castles why were they built and what purpose did they serve the answer to this question might seem rather obvious to some of you but there are some significant points that you might not have considered you see in the videos I've been able to make about castles thus far I have really emphasized how effective they really were and the castles are just incredible a small number of defenders can
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effectively you know defend a castle from a very large number of regressors this has been done historically many times now of course castles did fall but it took time and it was difficult to take them many of my viewers understand this and have come to me with a kind of obvious question as a result okay if I'm going to basically commit suicide by sending my army against this castle why bother even attacking the castle why can't I just take all the land roundabout and ignore it well I get to answering that question but first I want
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to address why castles why were they initially built and in so doing I will probably answer this other question as well castles are essentially a military base but there's obviously a distinct difference between a castle in the military base just by the fact that we've different terms for them and the difference is that on top of being a military base a castle is also a place of governing okay at the center of government and it is also a personal residence another point of distinction which is common to most castles but some
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castles actually don't have this you know distinction is that a castle is generally smaller than a full-blown military base like if you have a look at the Roman fortifications where their standing armies would you know rest resupply and train they were pretty damn big the average castle was nowhere near as big as that and the reason for this is explained by the medieval governments the standard medieval government was a feudal society it was a fractured government there was no massive
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overarching state now you might think well what about the king well the kings of the medieval period were actually not as powerful as the great ancient rulers of Rome and other massive empires speaking more about the early and high medieval periods of course in the late medieval periods medieval kingdoms got far larger and became far more powerful but still they even in these early medieval kingdoms they could field pretty impressively sized armies but it wasn't in the same
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way that the older empires did there was no national requirement for military service or state-run training camps instead local leaders were expected to recruit equip and train a certain number of soldiers independently and this was because power was not as centralized the individual kings did not have the resources to field huge armies by themselves nor did they have the resources to control and govern such
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large land areas they weren't able to establish large military bases with large you know groups of mens and barracks and stuff in even locations throughout all the land that they claimed and the perfect sample of this and really the one that kind of set it off was William the Conqueror you see William and his Normans came in and conquered England but the size of the conquering force was much smaller than the population that they had just conquered so then how are they going to
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keep this rebellious population in check well William granted different areas of land to certain loyal servants basically saying you are going to rule this smaller portion of land in my name but I'm going to give you a certain level of autonomy you just have to keep this populace in check tax them properly so I get the wealth that I rightly deserve and you'll get a portion of it - it was a pretty good deal but still how is this loyal servant to William going to keep a population in check that's essentially
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larger than the force that he has the answer is fortifications not the massive huge fortifications of years passed up small fortifications and I might as well make it where I live because I want to protect myself these people probably don't like me we've just conquered them and they might want to kill me so I might as well make my home fairly protected and there's no point in bubbling up the effort in making a separate fortifications by men I'll let them live under the same roof or in fact I might make separate kind of you know rooms or houses for these
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soldiers a barracks but keep it in this inside the same wall now remember what castles do they enable a smaller force to be out of fight off a much larger force so if any of these you know populations that are rebellious is they want to rebel and kick out visa servers well they're going to have a much harder time of it now because they have to take on these significant fortifications would they make fortifications of their own well they don't really have the resources and if they tried because
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there is already a force in the local area that has the weapons and armaments all the leaders can just come in and slaughter anyone as they're trying to build any rebellious fortifications you see this is how castles were initially used offensively and you could kind of call it the genesis of the medieval castle they were the modern Bailey style castles we see images of them depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry and so castles came about due to the fraction state of medieval style governance it really is an ingenious
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strategy when you think about castles of course evolved from this time as the medieval government grew in power so did the sizes of castles because outside of keeping a disperse but large population in check with smaller forces on resources they are profoundly effective in warfare and fighting off any invaders this is pretty much for the same reasons as to why they're so effective in controlling a population because fortifications enable at the defending
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force or whoever is in these fortifications to be able to fight off a much larger force now if the defenders have in equal size force as opposed to the attackers while adding fortifications on top of that almost guarantees the defenders victory and the attackers are going to have to resort to some different and even creative strategies to try and get these defenders outside of their fortifications one strategy is of course sacking the land roundabout and going
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squats to it but there's a problem with this it's temporary it does not achieve what the invaders want which is to take the territory and you can't take the territory unless you deal with the defenders in that land outside of just full-blown battle where I was army against army warfare was also conducted very much through skirmishes and maneuvers skirmishes can be very effectively and that the primary purpose would be to inflict losses on an enemy whether that's in killing certain number
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of their soldiers or cutting off supply lines you can win Wars through skirmishes sending out a raiding party that just comes in the impact warfare hits the enemy and then runs off the issue is they're running off you need to have a place of safety to get away from the enemy who would want to you know respond to getting attacked if you have fortifications nearby you have a secure place to retreat to an aggressor someone who is trying to invade a land won't have that advantage unless they in are able to build them but that takes time
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therefore a really good tactic for a defender is to keep their armies behind in their fortifications and just Harry the enemy nip it there heals constantly with these skirmishes but of course that can only be done for so long because if the enemy is going total scorched earth on all the land that can create significant problems it is still a temporary measure just raiding the lands nearby it does not conquer that land and another problem with just going on a raiding spree is that it's not dealing
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with the defenders the defending army is still there and a big issue with just sucking the land roundabout is that it gives the defenders time to raise more troops time is a profoundly significant resource in warfare especially if winter is approaching you don't want to wage a war in winter so you only have so much time to raid and this is exactly what happened before the Battle of Agincourt King henry v did not want to fight the French
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the French had a huge army okay and he did not expect to win that in general terms you would not think such a smaller force would be a defeat such a larger one as what happened in the Battle of Agincourt this is why Henry was trying to run away why was he trying to run away well he made some crucial mistakes when he besieged the port city of Harfleur in his initial assault it took too long nearly a whole month to take that city now the French could have tried to relieve that siege but they chose to raise a larger force which
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would guarantee them victory and in normal circumstances it would have you can generally be confident a victory if you have a larger force not always you know warfare can be a very risky thing in many circumstances but Henry ran out of that valuable resource time the campaign season was almost over so he didn't have time to take any more territory so he went on a raiding spree but the longer he took to do this raid the more time he gave the French to assemble a larger force so
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large in fact that he realized he made a mistake and he decided to just leg it and try and get out of there but it was too late and the French were able to surround him normally that would have spelled his defeat it was just the unique circumstances of the battle itself the Battle of Agincourt which gave the English victory and so just choosing to go on a massive raid through the land is not always the best choice because it gives the defenders time time
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is a very valuable resource and one of the ways that defenders will use that resource is to rally a larger force to kick out these aggressors so that is why raiding and ignoring the defenders in their fortifications and castles and cities isn't a good idea it does not take territory which is the whole purpose of an invasion and it doesn't deal with the defending army therefore aside from giving protection security and a means to repel attackers
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castles and also medieval style fortifications such as on cities grants this very significant resource time conquering a city with fortification takes a lot more time than a city with none and even then conquering that city or castle is not a guarantee an attacker could destroy his entire army on the walls of these defenses which is why the most common way they tried to take castles and cities was by starving the
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mouse so instead of assaulting the walls and would just surround them and play the waiting game but again playing the waiting game gives the defenders that resource time warfare like this is very sophisticated and choosing to do what and when can spell victory and defeat if you know that there is no large forces nearby you might be able to take your time and take a castle by starving it out but if there is a larger force nearby you probably don't have time to starve them out so
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that requires far more aggressive tactics which is also a risk because you're going to lose men in doing so fortified castles and cities really were the linchpins of medieval territory if you wanted to take that territory you needed to take the thought of five locations this is where the defending armies will be located and it is where you will be able to station your own troops to grant your soul security and defense while you control this newly conquered territory you just can't move
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in troops into a LAN and say this land is mine and be so vulnerable you need a more permanent place for defense resupply and just residence once your troops and army are able to live in this newly conquered territory in a secure enough way that it's not likely that you're you know soldiers will just be killed in an attack you can pretty much say you own the adjacent land these are the reasons why castles were built in the medieval period what purpose they
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served and the advantages they offered thank you very much for watching I hope to see you again and until that time farewell [Music]

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