A castle is a type of fortified structure, generally built in Europe and
the Middle East during the Middle Ages. Usually the private residences
of lords and nobles, castles ranged from hill forts and country houses
to expansive keeps surrounded by curtain walls and fortified towers.
After the fall of the Carolingian Empire in the ninth century, castles
were used for defence, as bases for raiders, as centres of
administration, and for controlling trade routes. As symbols of power,
some grand castles had long winding approaches that dominated their
landscape. In the late 12th and early 13th centuries, a scientific
approach to castle defence emerged, leading to the proliferation of
towers, with an emphasis on flanking fire. Many new castles were
polygonal or relied on concentric stages of defence that could all
function at the same time. Castle building began to decline in the
15th century, when artillery became powerful enough to break through
stone walls. In the 18th and 19th centuries, mock castles with no
military purpose epitomized the Romantic revival of Gothic architecture.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
Roman emperor Constantine the Great defeated former colleague
Licinius in the Battle of Adrianople.
Pickett’s Charge, a futile Confederate infantry assault against
Union Army positions, occurred during the final and bloodiest day of
fighting in the Battle of Gettysburg, marking a turning point in the
American Civil War.
Second World War: The British Navy attacked the French fleet
(French destroyer Mogador pictured), fearing that the ships would fall
into German hands after the armistice between those two nations.
The Troubles: The British Army imposed the Falls Curfew on
Belfast, Northern Ireland, which only resulted in greater Irish
Same-sex marriage became legal in Spain.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
One who takes part in a coup d’état.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
There is nothing besides a spiritual world; what we call the world
of the senses is the Evil in the spiritual world, and what we call Evil
is only the necessity of a moment in our eternal evolution. One can
disintegrate the world by means of very strong light. For weak eyes the
world becomes solid, for still weaker eyes it seems to develop fists,
for eyes weaker still it becomes shamefaced and smashes anyone who dares
to gaze upon it.
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