Bland, not Grand

Artillery fort seen in the distance

Warwick Castle in the English MidlandsArtillery forts were strong enough to take cannon fire, large enough to hold a garrison of soldiers (and perhaps also encompass a town), and each one spread out far beyond what any medieval castle would require for ground. But as suggested in the computer simulation above, in profile and from a distance those forts were not awe-inspiring nor even stirring to the eye.  As anyone outside standing in a field would see it, a fort tended to resemble the back side of a dike.  The first impression for a modern person would be "oh, a railroad embankment."

With its daring vertical walls and high towers, a medieval fortification gripped the heart.  An artillery fort did not inspire with its sloped sides on a low and broad shape.

Only when one came close did an artillery fort command respect.

This brings us to the next chapter: Beyond the Basics. Artillery fortresses that went up across Europe were either all earth or an earth core faced and reinforced with masonry. Masonry made a sturdy, weather resistant, but costly enhancement.

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© 2006, Barry L. Siler
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