Looking for books on building military castles (ca. Middle Ages-era)
December 2, 2009 4:11 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for resources (preferably books) on how castles were built, say, why stairs are spiralled in one direction and not the other, or what are the pros&cons of circular towers vs. octagonal ones, or the considerations for putting internal and external defence rings, the height and thickness of walls, or the differences between how the castles were built in different countries, etc. Thanks in advance!
posted by noztran to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

Building Construction Before Mechanization is a pretty interesting book.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:19 AM on December 2, 2009 [3 favorites]

Castle : Stephen Biesty's Cross-Sections

AMAZING book, with great artwork and tons of info.
posted by jschu at 4:33 AM on December 2, 2009

Castle by David Macaulay who also wrote how things work.
posted by mearls at 4:36 AM on December 2, 2009 [3 favorites]

Mearls just offered my recommendation. I loved that book when I was a kid, but it's just as useful to a grown-up brain.
posted by rokusan at 4:52 AM on December 2, 2009

Annals of a Fortress is good fun. It follows a small imaginary French castle through two thousand years and examines what changed about it and why. Also available online for free. Written during the nineteenth century, inspired by its writer's work as a military engineer (though he was primarily an architect). I suppose some of its theories have now been replaced by newer ones by now, mind.
posted by severalbees at 4:54 AM on December 2, 2009 [3 favorites]

Spiral staircases go the way they do so that defending swordsmen (normally right handed) have the protection of the central pillar.
posted by lungtaworld at 5:29 AM on December 2, 2009

Response by poster: @lungtaworld

Does it mean that for a similar reason (albeit reversed) the stairs leading to king's quarters go the other way round thereby making it easier for the servants to bring food, etc?
posted by noztran at 6:30 AM on December 2, 2009

Definitely the Macaulay book Mearls recommended.
posted by whatzit at 11:21 AM on December 2, 2009

« Older Brand names used for generic products.   |   Looking for Julius Monk on CD or mp3 Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.