Rhine Castles

Apr 2015
Recent Rhine cruise created great interest in what was really going on in those castles ca. 1100-1500. The river is so easily navigated now, it is hard to imagine it in an untamed age when horses were necessary to pull boats from the river banks. Therefore the castles had real power to collect tolls, because stopping those horses would have been a lot easier than shooting arrows across the river.

But, there seems to be very little information about the details. Those castles are so close - did the owners sit in their towers glowering at each other? How many soldiers were in each castle? How did they siege each other? Did the castles have catapults for bombarding boats? Are there any detailed sources of such things?
Likes: Futurist


Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
There are some books in German which investigate the history of many of the Rhine castles but most were active in different eras but the famous robber barons were mostly during the Interregnum of 1250–1273 when authority was weak but even then local knights and church officials banded together in the Rhine League and in only a few years knocked out almost all the main 'robbing' castles.

Tolls along the Rhine many interior waterways and roads of Europe were a large source of income for nobility as the economy moved away from agricultural produce and land tenancy being the main sources of wealth. By the 1500s many noble titles were simply attached to a collection of rents from tolls and licences to operate and did not come with any estates or lands to manage.
Apr 2015
Thanks Willempie. Great minds think alike - last week I found that economic article and signed up to get it. Apparently there were fascinating economic aspects to castle life, including cartels to make sure folks charged the right tolls, and sieges of those who charged excessive tolls. Just wondering if there are sources about how those conflicts played out...?