Fairy Tales and Naivete

I’ve been continuing to read up on castles. For various reasons I’ve become interested in the whys and wherefores of their development. Although lines between different categories like fortified cities, castles and garrisons can get blurred, according to Wikipedia:

Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. This is distinct from a palace, which is not fortified; from a fortress, which was not always a residence for nobility; and from a fortified settlement, which was a public defence – though there are many similarities among these types of construction.

These arise when the central government ceases to be an effective bulwark against violence and, by necessity, delegates the defenses to private lords. While I was surfing the internet, I found a blog post that had some nice photos of some castles. I didn’t bookmark the page, so I can’t give a link, but in one of the comments someone wrote that it was a shame that the U.S. missed out on “the whole castle building era.” A shame? Thank heavens. Fortifications are the mark of conflict and the fewer one has in all likelihood the more peaceful and time and place happened to be. Castles only look romantic today because the need for them is no longer there.


I made this for myself because I’m a very visual person. The locations listed in gray were the castles built as part of the initial conquest of England by the Normans. You can see the concentration of castles near the Welsh border.

When people advocate for anarchist or radical libertarian ideas of government I wonder how good their grasp of history is.

  1. >>When people advocate for anarchist or radical libertarian ideas of government I wonder how good their grasp of history is.

    They don’t have any, they live in a fantasy world where the government takes the role of the Dark Side.

    • fojap said:

      Yes. Sometimes I think I have far too nuanced a view of the world. It must be so reassuring to have good guys and bad guys and to be certain you can tell the difference.

  2. Apart from castles, walled cities are evidences of warring nations. For example the great Wall of China, the wall around old city of guangzhou all point to a country at war with her neighbours.

    • fojap said:

      Absolutely. England has Hadrians’ wall. The Saxons built fortified town on rivers as defenses against the Vikings. You also get castles, as opposed to collective defenses, in feudal Japan but I don’t have enough background knowledge about the history there.

      • The little I know of the East is that Japan and China were almost always at war with each other

      • fojap said:

        From what I can tell, there’s more resentment against the Japanese in Asia than there is against the Germans in Europe. In graduate school I was dating a Korean man and my desk was next to a Japanese woman. She and I used to loan each other comics. One day, after she left, my boyfriend whispered under his breath, “I just don’t like the Japanese.”

        Now, the Koreans have been invaded by both the Japanese and the Chinese.

  3. I hear there are castles going up in Texas as I write this. Apparently folks there are just begging for the central government to collapse, or try to invade the state. I forget which.

    • fojap said:

      Well, let’s hope they never get a chance to find out that being a knight in shining armor isn’t as much fun as it looks in the movies. You should see the bathroom facilities.

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