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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries


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Old July 10th, 2006, 05:57 AM   #1

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The oldest castle


I've always wondered where the oldest castles or fortresses in the world can be found and during what period they were built? Probably located in Southern France if I had to guess.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 08:52 AM   #2

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Sorry, the Sumerians [modern day Iraq] were building forts and fortresses five or six thousand years ago!
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Old July 10th, 2006, 09:11 AM   #3
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Maybe he was talking about Medieval castles?

And doesn't southern France have cave's that were inhabited by cavemen 10,000+ years ago? Any chance that they fortified their caves?
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Old July 10th, 2006, 01:45 PM   #4

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Not seen amything about fortified caves, but if you have, I'll go with that.

In medieval times, much that was adopted in western Europe stone castle building was taken from Roman-Byzantine sources by returning crusaders.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 09:30 AM   #5
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Leeds Castle in England has definitely been there for awhile.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 01:33 PM   #6

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Sorry I didn't make the original post clear. I was referring to Stone Castles with Moats and towers.

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Old July 16th, 2006, 02:45 PM   #7
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with moats and towers, that would be france, especially Normandy
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Old July 17th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #8

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The word Castle derives from the Norman French Castelle, which in turn derives from the "Byzantine" term Castella, which in turn derives from the Latin Castellum, a Roman fort.

Moat derives from "motte" originally a mound, but later used to describe the trench from which the mound was built, and which consequently surrounded the motte, therby providing an obstacle [sometimes filled with water].

Castles as we understand them, were "imported" into Europe by returning crusaders, but had been around in one form or another since at least Roman times, if not before.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 11:16 AM   #9

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I live about 20 minutes from the Castillo de San Marcos, in St. Augustine Florida... The oldest "castle" and oldest fort/structure in America

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Old May 18th, 2007, 05:07 AM   #10
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Re: The oldest castle


Castles exist since from the earliest civilizations. Maybe as a forerunner to the medieval castles, Istanbul (earlier Constantinople) can be mentioned. During the pax romana fortifications were not needed and not maintained in many places. When threats started occuring from the north, Istanbul was designed as a walled city with towers and moats. It is still one of the most extensive fortifications in the world ca.20 km.s long.
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