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Medieval Castles

Medieval Castles (Hardback)

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The castle was far more than a walled and turreted fortress; it was an instrument of social control and the symbol of power, authority, and wealth. Acknowledged expert Marilyn Stokstad combines interpretive essays and original documents in English translation in order to examine the role of the castle in society as well as its use in war. Commencing with an overview of the military and social systems operating in the Middle Ages, Stokstad places castles and other fortified places into an appropriate context. Readers are then guided through the development of early motte and bailey castles and the development of masonry towers and walls in the 11th and 12th centuries. Medieval Castles considers the military aspect of castles, including seige warfare and the architectural response to attack and defence, in the 12th and 13th centuries. It explores castles and citadels as local and regional government and economic centers in the 14th and 15th centuries. It also looks at the symbolic role of architecture and at castles as elite residences and settings for public display.

A concluding interpretive essay looks at the impact of gunpowder on castles as well as our continuing fascination with the castle as a romantic fantasy of an idealized world.

Marilyn Stokstad is Judith Harris Murphy Distinguished Professor of Art History at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and consultative curator of medieval art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. She is the author of the textbook Art History (1995). Her scholarly work includes a half-dozen books, several book chapters, reviews and museum publications, and a long list of articles for periodicals. She has also served as an editorial consultant to the Nelson-Atkins and St. Louis art museums, the World Book Encyclopedia and several major book publishers.

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