Why were castles built

If you have been to famous castles like the “Bran Castle” in Romania or the “Edinburgh Castle” in Scotland, then you might have wondered at one point or the other about the reasons behind the massive constructions. Even if you have not seen any castles in real life, you might have wondered about the same while seeing pictures or reading about them. The answer to the question is of course protection or at least the primary reason behind the constructions anyways. Castles were built by nobles, leaders and kings to protect themselves and their family members from external attacks by enemies. The high walls of the castles allowed the soldiers to fight with the advantage of altitude over their opponents. The higher ground and the reinforced walls of a castle ensured that the defending army is able to protect the castle against a military force much greater than them. Earlier, a properly planned and well made castle was a really tough obstacle to overcome even for the strongest of armies. Success was not always absent, but a direct confrontation seldom worked well and even when the Castles fell, it occurred usually after the attacking forces had lost a good deal of their military strength in the battle.

Apart from protection, there were other benefits of building a huge castle as well. One such advantage was of course intimidation. The castles represented the status and strength of the people who lived inside them and the local people who lived around the castles were made aware that the castle-dwellers are in control of the area. The rulers changed at times when an area was conquered, but the inhabitants of the area always knew to show respect and fear towards whoever dwelt in the castle at the time because a castle was the ultimate building of power in those days. This fear was also exploited by the nobles and kings to extort money from the people who lived around the place. As castles were a sign of prestige, they were often built as a gift to a powerful person like a noble or a landowner from kings and leaders.

These gifts were seldom an act of love; rather it was an arrangement that allowed the local landlords and nobles to become wealthy and resourceful allies of the king in question. The king would call upon the armies of his nobles in the time of his need to defend or attack and the nobles would send their army to serve the king in return for the king’s earlier acts of friendship. Technically, everything belonged to the king and the nobles were sworn allies of the throne, but it was necessary for even the king to maintain a good relation with his nobles because some of them were very influential and the chances of winning a war increased when these powerful lords joined their forces with that of the monarch.