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Castles in medieval society : fortresses in England, France, and Ireland in the central Middle Ages /
Charles L.H. Coulson.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2003.
description
xi, 441 p.
ISBN
0198208243
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2003.
isbn
0198208243
catalogue key
4845564
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-02-01:
Coulson's mission is to transform our view of medieval castles, correcting the overemphasis on their role in warfare and highlighting their social function. He attacks "sado-romanticism," or the "battering ram and boiling oil view of the Middle Ages." Castles may not have always engaged in warfare, but they were fundamental to the medieval social structure, "license to crenellate" being equivalent to establishing one's noble status. It was the obligation of the noble class to protect and defend the people, and the castle served as a refuge. It was the administrative center of the district as well as a medieval version of the stately home. The moat may have been as important as a fishpond as it was for defense. Coulson (Univ. of Kent) notes that warfare did not become the exclusive property of the state until the 16th (England) and 17th (France) centuries. Much of what he terms the "castle-phobic fantasy" was the propaganda of the early modern monarchy. To illustrate his arguments, he uses many examples and lengthy quotations from primary sources. Readers should have a thorough grounding in medieval history and law. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Graduate students and faculty. E. Edson Piedmont Virginia Community College
Reviews
Review Quotes
...There can be no doubt that this is an important, agenda-setting work...nobody with any interest in the medieval castle can afford to ignore it.
Part I. Castles: Ancient, Various, and Sociable 1. A Fresh Look at Early Castles 2. Variety Violated: Some Conceptual Problems 3. Some Social Relations of 'Castles and Fortresses' Part II. Castles and the Public Interest 4. Noble Military 'Liberties', Ethos, and Ethics 5. Peacekeeping at Home and Abroad 6. Private Property but Public Utility Part III. Castellans, Colonization, and Rural Community 7. Castle-Lords, Castle-Lordships, and Noble Civilization 8. Colonization and Fortresses 9. Population and Fortresses: Protection and Perquisites Part IV. Castles and Circumstances of Widows, Guardians, and Heiresses 10. Female Castellans: Prevision not Prejudice 11. Ladies of Fortresses and Castle-Children Epilogue Bibliography Index
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2004
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Charles Coulson overturns many of the traditional assumptions about the nature and purpose of castle-building in the Middle Ages. Going back to the original sources, he proposes a new and more subtle understanding of the function and symbolism of castles as well as vivid insights into their inhabitants.
Long Description
In this challenging new book Charles Coulson overturns many of the traditional assumptions about the nature and purpose of castle-building in the middle ages. He demolishes the traditional belief that castles were overwhelmingly military in their function, showing how this was simply one aspect of a more complicated whole. He sets out to recreate the medieval understanding of castles as symbolically fortified places of all kinds, from ancient walled post-Roman towns and prestigiousreligious enclaves to transitory campaign forts.Going back to the original sources, Dr Coulson proposes a new and more subtle understanding of the function and symbolism of castles as well as vivid insights into the lives of the people who inhabited them. Fortresses were only occasionally caught up in war, but constantly were central to the ordinary life of all classes: of the nobility and gentry, of widows and heiresses, of prelates and clergy, of peasantry and townspeople alike. Castles in Medieval Society presents and exploresthis broad social panorama.
Main Description
In this challenging new book Charles Coulson overturns many of the traditional assumptions about the nature and purpose of castle-building in the middle ages. Going back to the original sources, he proposes a new and more subtle understanding of the function and symbolism of castles as well as vivid insights into the lives of the people who inhabited them.
Main Description
In this challenging new book Charles Coulson overturns many of the traditional assumptions about the nature and purpose of castle-building in the middle ages. He demolishes the traditional belief that castles were overwhelmingly military in their function, showing how this was simply oneaspect of a more complicated whole. He sets out to recreate the medieval understanding of castles as symbolically fortified places of all kinds, from ancient walled post-Roman towns and prestigious religious enclaves to transitory campaign forts. Going back to the original sources, Dr Coulson proposes a new and more subtle understanding of the function and symbolism of castles as well as vivid insights into the lives of the people who inhabited them. Fortresses were only occasionally caught up in war, but constantly were central to theordinary life of all classes: of the nobility and gentry, of widows and heiresses, of prelates and clergy, of peasantry and townspeople alike. Castles in Medieval Society presents and explores this broad social panorama.
Short Annotation
Charles Coulson overturns many of the traditional assumptions about the nature and purpose of castle-building in the Middle Ages.
Table of Contents
Castles: Ancient, Various, and Sociable
A Fresh Look at Early Castles
Variety Violated: Some Conceptual Problems
Some Social Relations of 'Castles and Fortresses'
Castles and the Public Interest
Noble Military 'Liberties', Ethos, and Ethics
Peacekeeping at Home and Abroad
Private Property but Public Utility
Castellans, Colonization, and Rural Community
Castle-Lords, Castle-Lordships, and Noble Civilization
Colonization and Fortresses
Population and Fortresses: Protection and Perquisites
Castles and Circumstances of Widows, Guardians, and Heiresses
Female Castellans: Prevision not Prejudice
Ladies of Fortresses and Castle-Children
Epilogue
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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