Summary of the Lesson A battlement is a structure on top of castle or fortress walls that guards against attack. Battlements were traditionally small walls at the top of a castle's outermost walls. Today they can be any size up to the entire wall section they guard.
Battlements provide defenders with excellent cover and shooting positions, making them important elements in military strategy.
They also provide good observation points for defenders looking out over their territory. This is particularly useful when trying to spot enemy forces approaching from afar.
In medieval times, battlements were used as weapons themselves. They could be thrown down onto enemy troops below or fired off with guns of their own. Today they are more commonly used to decorate castles around the world. They add to the beauty of these monuments and help visitors understand how much danger they would have been in living in these structures.
There are several different names for the different parts of a castle. Here are the most common ones:
Battlement - The horizontal stone or brick segment placed along a wall's edge to protect soldiers stationed there.
Crenellation - The uneven edges of a window or opening of a building such as those found on church windows. These help keep intruders out while still allowing light inside.
The battlements were the square-shaped portions of the castle's walls that surrounded the top of the castle. They generally had a walkway behind them where troops might stand to watch for any attacks. They were also beneficial to soldiers protecting the castle during an attack. The sides of the battlements would provide better cover than the front if arrows were being shot at the castle.
The term "battlements" comes from the French word bataille, which means "shield." Thus, the battlements are the protective structures around the top of a castle wall designed to offer soldiers protection while still allowing them to see what is going on outside the fortress.
During wars between monarchs or nations, it was common for them to have alliances or treaties with each other. These agreements would include how people in each country would be allowed to trade, what kind of relationships they would have with each other, and so on. Sometimes these agreements included things such as giving or lending weapons to each other. For example, England and France signed a treaty in 1066 that granted permission for English merchants to travel to France and sell their goods without restriction. This treaty helped both countries get ready for their upcoming battles with each other.
After the war was over, the kings or leaders of each country would need to sign another agreement to show that there was no longer any threat to their country.
Battlements The battlements were the tops of the castle walls, a defensive, tooth-shaped parapet with a wall walk behind it for the troops to stand on. Missiles might be fired through gaps by the defenders (crenels). The elevated parts in between, known as merlons, provided protection for the defenders during an enemy onslaught.
Crenellations Small projections from the main body of the building used for mounting guns. These add strength to the structure and make the place less vulnerable to attack from above.
Drawbridge A bridge that can be raised to block off an entrance or open up a exit from a fortress. In medieval times, it was common for the defending forces inside the fortress to raise the drawbridge when an army approached so they could fire arrows or other projectiles at the enemy.
Moat The area outside a fortress where water is usually found in some form: lake, moat ditch. This makes the area too risky to land an aircraft or ship so it can be used against attackers.
Narrow Streets That lead up to the gates of a city or fortress. They are often only wide enough for one person to pass at a time, making them difficult to defend. If the attacker tries to force his way through, all who are waiting inside the gate will have time to react.
Point A projecting end of something. In this case, the point of a castle tower or fortified house door.
A battlement in defensive construction, such as that of city walls or castles, consists of a parapet (i.e., a protective low wall between chest-height and head-height) with openings or indentations at intervals to allow the discharge of arrows or other projectiles from within the structure. The word is also used for any similar raised platform.
Battlement comes from French battelement, which means "battle cry" or "shout." This term was adopted by soldiers stationed on battlements, where they had the opportunity to watch and shout encouragement to their comrades below. Today, it means a small lookout station on a fortification or building with views over large areas and good visibility for shooting at enemies.
Castle walls usually have several levels topped with a roof. The floors may be made of stone or dirt, but often include an attic space above them. Attics provide safe refuge for people who live in the castle during enemy attacks. They can also be used as storage spaces.
The word "bastion" is used to describe one of the four corners of a fortress or fortified town. These are the most vulnerable points, because attack forces can come from any direction. The four bastions are called the North, South, East, and West Bastions.
Bastions were important components of medieval castles. They provided shelter for men while fighting off attackers.
Battlement or battlements are the high, often parapeted walls that enclose an area within a city or town. The term comes from a time when guns were not available and people fought with arrows and other projectiles so defenses were needed to protect against attack.
The word "castle" itself comes from the Germanic words for "keep" or "fortress." These places would have had guards on duty at all times (including during the day) to protect their owners' families from harm as well as to warn of intruders.
In England, the king's palace was called a castle because it served as a refuge for him when attacked by enemies.
In America, many cities with historic fortifications continue to use their battlement walls as a means of protection. They make excellent walking trails because there are many points from which to view the landscape around you.
Battlement walls came in many shapes and sizes but they all had two things in common: they were meant to be seen and they made life safer for their inhabitants.