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Chris Arrington





Joined: 06 Apr 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Mon 21 May, 2007 1:03 pm    Post subject: Definitive Book on Castle Design?         Reply with quote

Recently I was reading the science fiction novel

A Meeting at Corvallis by S.M. Stirling a series that I think most of you here would enjoy .

And while fiction seems to be fairly factual in terms of ancient weapons, tactics, and such. ie the author seems to do his homework.

In the the novel, the characters reference a book that they call the definitive book on the design of Castles.

I decided I would like to find the book on Castle design, but unfortuneately I do not know what I've done with the novel and I can't remember the name of the book.

Does anyone here have any ideas? Sorry for such a wild goose chase, and thanks for any help.

Chris
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Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Tue 22 May, 2007 3:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi,
Used text search in Amazon and the only reference that i could find was to Castle by David Macaulay. Not sure if this is the one you mean? Not sure though that i would in any way call it the "definitive" work on the subject?
Chris
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 22 May, 2007 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris,

Also, it really depends what sort of book you're looking for on castles. They changed quite a lot since their period of introduction in wood form around the tenth century, to their early stone forms in the 11th and 12th centuries, to their "classic forms" in the 13th and 14th centuries, and then to their later forms in the 15th c onwards. I assume you're looking for a book about castles in general, although it may be an idea to hone in on a particular period that interests you. If you like earlier castles, for instance, I would recommend checking out Anglo Norman Castles by Robert Liddard. It's not cheap, but it's a scholarly work on castles with chapters contributed from various professors in the field.

http://www.myArmoury.com/books/item.php?ASIN=0851159044
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Blaz Berlec




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
Joined: 26 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 4
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PostPosted: Tue 22 May, 2007 10:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
In the the novel, the characters reference a book that they call the definitive book on the design of Castles.


If I understand this correctly, then the book we're guessing could be fictitious, right? (I hope that is a word. Eek! ). There really isn't any need for making real world references in a sci-fi book.

And, unfortunately, I don't know of any book that deals with castle design from the perspective of the defensive design. Most books just briefly sketch various defence mechanisms in castles and their development over time.


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Extant 15th century Milanese armour
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

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PostPosted: Tue 22 May, 2007 11:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well there are a whole bunch of Osprey books dealing at least in an introductory fashion to castles and fortifications.
http://www.kultofathena.com/books.htm

One example among many: http://www.kultofathena.com/product~item~FOR3...961302.htm

Lots of other books are out there but some focus more on the art history " palaces " rather than military design.

Many books also show good photographs and ground plans of castles but few go into it it with a very focused military architecture approach explaining the why in detail of some features: At least not to my satisfaction Eek! Though with numerous books one can easily guess why some things like the design of gates would make an attacker miserable.

I don't have the time right now, but if others don't chime in with a list of good books on the subject, I'll have a look and see what titles I can come up with.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Chris Arrington





Joined: 06 Apr 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Fri 25 May, 2007 8:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Guys!

Obviously Castle design is not my forte, but I have done lots of research on various other historical subjects ( Just ask me something about Fw-190 aircraft Specificiations Wink ) and I realize that there is rarely such a thing as a "definitive work" on a subject.

But ... Sometimes there is, such as Oakshott

I just wanted to ask since I had seen it mentioned.

I appreciate the help.
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John H





Joined: 08 May 2006

Posts: 60

PostPosted: Fri 25 May, 2007 8:34 am    Post subject: Here's one I like         Reply with quote

The Medieval Fortress: Castles, Forts and Walled Cities of the Middle Ages (Paperback)
by H. W. Kaufmann
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Sean Scott





Joined: 02 Apr 2007

Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri 25 May, 2007 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Books on castle design per se are not really common, at least scholarly works examining the techinical aspects of them aren't.

There is, however a wealth of information on the technical aspects of fortresses, especially in respect of their design as a reaction to new offensive and siege methods.

I have four works in my personal library that I find fairly comprehensive and instructive:

Siege Warfare, Vol I: The Fortress in the Early Modern World, 1494-1660;

Siege Warfare, Vol II: The Fortress in the Age of Vauban and Frederick the Great, 1680-1789;

Christopher Duffy, Fire and Stone: The Science of Fortress Warfare, 1660-1860;

Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, A Manual of Siegecraft and Fortification, Engish translation of the original French by George A. Rothrock

If you're interested in earlier fortifications, try researching Roman castella. There are many works on that subject (I don't have any, though), and the Romans built stone forts that were still surprisingly "modern" in the 10th-12th centuries, as the forts amazingly preserved middle-eastern areas show. The famous Roman cavalry outpost of Qasr Bshir in Jordan:



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bshir.gif


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Micha Hofmann




Location: Bonn, Germany
Joined: 25 Mar 2005
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 109

PostPosted: Fri 25 May, 2007 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Chris.
If you are able to read german, I have a pretty nice book for you.
It's a reprint of an 1898 manuscript by August von Cohausen, titled "Die Befestigungsweisen der Vorzeit und des Mittelalters".

Cohausen, who rose to the rank of colonel as a Prussian military engineer, systematically covers every fortification from early old germanic and roman fortresses to the new style of fortifications of the renaissance. His book starts the individual, time-period based chapters by first explaining and analyzing the new architectural and tactical aspects the period brought and then showing and analyzing examples.

Even for a non-german reader, the book might be of use, because it contains an appendix with 57 pages full of excellent drawings, depicting more than 300 fortifications and their specific architectural elements.

It can be bought here for just under 10€ plus international shipping.

http://www.weltnetzbuch.de/einkauf.php?befehl...2=cohausen

Regards

Micha
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Chris Arrington





Joined: 06 Apr 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Fri 01 Jun, 2007 9:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Micha, I'll look that one up.

Unfortunately, I do not read German other than a word here or there that've I've picked up over the years.

Genetically, I'm almost 75% of German Heritage. The Arrington portion is English/Irish, but my Beckner heritage is from Prussia in the 1880s (an immigrant ex army sergeant). The Hein portion is reportedly from the Berlin area (dates of immigration unknow), and the Wagner (Vagner) is also of german origin but not much more is known.

A lot of germans moved here to work in the coal mines, but they quickly lost the native language and became Hillbillies ! Wink

Thanks for the recommendation, I'll look it up.
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Nick Tolimieri





Joined: 27 Aug 2003

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri 01 Jun, 2007 11:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings.

You might also lookup books by Sidney Toy. I have a couple. They mostly deal with castles in Great Britain, but they have lots of nice floor plans.

NT
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 612

PostPosted: Sat 02 Jun, 2007 8:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Warner, The Medieval Castle. Barnes & Noble had an inexpensive reprint a few years ago, probably still do. Very thorough overview of castle development with several studies and drawings. Another good one is John R. Kenyon, Medieval Fortifications. There are literally dozens of books on castles written in English, most of which cover only British castles and fortresses. And about a hundred amateur websites on castles as well. Google is your friend. Happy
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