A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, dug and surrounds a castle, building or town to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes and sluices. In older fortifications, such as hillforts, they are referred to as ditches, although the function is similar. In periods, moats or water defences may be ornamental, they could act as a sewer. Some of the earliest evidence of moats has been uncovered around ancient Egyptian castles. One example is at a castle excavated in Nubia. Other evidence of ancient moats is found in the ruins of Babylon, in reliefs from ancient Egypt and other cultures in the region. Evidence of early moats around settlements has been discovered in many archaeological sites throughout Southeast Asia, including Noen U-Loke, Ban Non Khrua Chut, Ban Makham Thae and Ban Non Wat; the use of the moats could have been either for agriculture purposes. Moats were excavated around castles and other fortifications as part of the defensive system as an obstacle outside the walls.
In suitable locations they might be filled with water. A moat made access to the walls difficult for siege weapons, such as siege towers and battering rams, which needed to be brought up against a wall to be effective. A water-filled moat made the practice of mining, digging tunnels under the castles in order to effect a collapse of the defences difficult as well. Segmented moats have one section filled with water. Dry moats cut across the narrow part of a spur or peninsula are called neck ditches. Moats separating different elements of a castle, such as the inner and outer wards are cross ditches; the word adapted in Middle English from the Old French motte "mound, hillock" and was first applied to the central mound on which a castle was erected, came to be applied to the excavated ring, a "dry moat". The shared derivation implies that the two features were related and constructed at the same time; the term moat is applied to natural formations reminiscent of the artificial structure, to similar modern architectural features.
With the introduction of siege artillery, a new style of fortification emerged in the 16th century using low walls and projecting strong points called bastions, known as the trace italienne. The walls were further protected from infantry attack by wet or dry moats, sometimes in elaborate systems; when this style of fortification was superseded by lines of polygonal forts in the mid-19th century, moats continued to be used for close protection. The Walls of Benin were a combination of ramparts and moats, called Iya, used as a defense of the capital Benin City in present-day Edo State of Nigeria, it was considered the largest man-made structure lengthwise, second only to the Great Wall of China and the largest earthwork in the world. With more recent work by Patrick Darling, it has been established as the largest man-made structure in the world, larger than Sungbo's Eredo in Nigeria, it enclosed 6,500 km2 of community lands. Its length was over 16,000 km of earth boundaries, it was estimated that earliest construction continued into the mid-15th century.
The walls are built of a dike structure. The Benin Walls were ravaged by the British in 1897. Scattered pieces of the walls remain in Edo, with material being used by the locals for building purposes; the walls continue to be torn down for real estate developments. The Walls of Benin City were the world's largest man-made structure. Fred Pearce wrote in New Scientist: "They extend for some 16,000 kilometres in all, in a mosaic of more than 500 interconnected settlement boundaries, they were all dug by the Edo people. In all, they are four times longer than the Great Wall of China, consumed a hundred times more material than the Great Pyramid of Cheops, they took an estimated 150 million hours of digging to construct, are the largest single archaeological phenomenon on the planet." Japanese castles have elaborate moats, sometimes with many moats laid out in concentric circles around the castle and a host of different patterns engineered around the landscape. Japanese castles will have up to three of these concentric moats.
The outer moat of Japanese castles protects other support buildings in addition to the castle. As many Japanese castles have been a central part of their respective city, the moats have provided a vital waterway to the city. In modern times, the moat system of the Tokyo Imperial Palace comprises a active body of water, hosting everything from rental boats and fishing ponds to restaurants. Most modern Japanese castles have moats filled with water, but castles in the feudal period more had'dry moats' karabori, a trench. A tatebori is a dry moat. A unejo tatebori is a series of parallel trenches running up the sides of the excavated mountain, the earthen wall, called doi, was an outer wall made of earth dug out from a moat. Today, it is common for mountain Japanese castles to have dry moats. A mizubori is a moat filled with water. Moats were used in the Forbidden City and Xi'an in China; the only moat fort b
Communes of France
The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or ayuntamiento in Spain; the United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered; the communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France. Communes vary in size and area, from large sprawling cities with millions of inhabitants like Paris, to small hamlets with only a handful of inhabitants. Communes are based on pre-existing villages and facilitate local governance. All communes have names, but not all named geographic areas or groups of people residing together are communes, the difference residing in the lack of administrative powers.
Except for the municipal arrondissements of its largest cities, the communes are the lowest level of administrative division in France and are governed by elected officials with extensive autonomous powers to implement national policy. A commune is city, or other municipality. "Commune" in English has a historical bias, implies an association with socialist political movements or philosophies, collectivist lifestyles, or particular history. There is nothing intrinsically different between commune in French; the French word commune appeared in the 12th century, from Medieval Latin communia, for a large gathering of people sharing a common life. As of January 2015, there were 36,681 communes in France, 36,552 of them in metropolitan France and 129 of them overseas; this is a higher total than that of any other European country, because French communes still reflect the division of France into villages or parishes at the time of the French Revolution. The whole territory of the French Republic is divided into communes.
This is unlike some other countries, such as the United States, where unincorporated areas directly governed by a county or a higher authority can be found. There are only a few exceptions: COM of Saint-Martin, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe région. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Martin became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007. COM of Wallis and Futuna, which still is divided according to the three traditional chiefdoms. COM of Saint Barthélemy, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe region. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Barthélemy became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007. Furthermore, two regions without permanent habitation have no communes: TOM of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands Clipperton Island in the Pacific Ocean In metropolitan France, the average area of a commune in 2004 was 14.88 square kilometres. The median area of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was smaller, at 10.73 square kilometres. The median area is a better measure of the area of a typical French commune.
This median area is smaller than that of most European countries. In Italy, the median area of communes is 22 km2. Switzerland and the Länder of Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia in Germany were the only places in Europe where the communes had a smaller median area than in France; the communes of France's overseas départements such as Réunion and French Guiana are large by French standards. They group into the same commune several villages or towns with sizeable distances among them. In Réunion, demographic expansion and sprawling urbanization have resulted in the administrative splitting of some communes; the median population of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was 380 inhabitants. Again this is a small number, here France stands apart in Europe, with the lowest communes' median population of all the European countries; this small median population of French communes can be compared with Italy, where the median population of communes in 2001 was 2,343 inhabitants, Belgium, or Spain.
The median population given here should not hide the fact that there are pronounced differences in size between French communes. As mentioned in the introduction, a commune can be a city of 2 million inhabitants such as Paris, a town of 10,000 inhabitants, or just a hamlet of 10 inhabitants. What the median population tells us is that the vast majority of the French communes only have a few hundred inhabitants. In metropolitan France just over 50 percent of the 36,683 communes have fewer than 500 inhabitants a
Schist is a medium-grade metamorphic rock. Schist has medium to large, sheet-like grains in a preferred orientation, it is defined by having more than 50% platy and elongated minerals finely interleaved with quartz and feldspar. These lamellar minerals include micas, talc, hornblende and others. Quartz occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is produced. Schist is garnetiferous. Schist has larger grains than phyllite. Geological foliation with medium to large grained flakes in a preferred sheetlike orientation is called schistosity; the names of various schists are derived from their mineral constituents. For example, schists composed of biotite and muscovite are called mica schists. Most schists are mica schists, but graphite and chlorite schists are common. Schists are named for their prominent or unusual mineral constituents, as in the case of garnet schist, tourmaline schist, glaucophane schist; the individual mineral grains in schist, drawn out into flaky scales by heat and pressure, can be seen with the naked eye.
Schist is characteristically foliated, meaning that the individual mineral grains split off into flakes or slabs. The word schist is derived from the Greek word σχίζειν meaning "to split", a reference to the ease with which schists can be split along the plane in which the platy minerals lie. Most schists are derived from clays and muds that have passed through a series of metamorphic processes involving the production of shales and phyllites as intermediate steps. Certain schists are derived from fine-grained igneous rocks such as tuffs. Before the mid-18th century, the terms slate and schist were not differentiated by those involved with mining. During metamorphism, rocks which were sedimentary, igneous or metamorphic are converted into schists and gneisses. If the composition of the rocks was similar, they may be difficult to distinguish from one another if the metamorphism has been great. A quartz-porphyry, for example, a fine grained feldspathic sandstone, may both be converted into a grey or pink mica-schist.
However, it is possible to distinguish between sedimentary and igneous schists and gneisses. If, for example, the whole district occupied by these rocks has traces of bedding, clastic structure, or unconformability it may be a sign that the original rock was sedimentary. In other cases intrusive junctions, chilled edges, contact alteration or porphyritic structure may prove that in its original condition a metamorphic gneiss was an igneous rock; the last appeal is to the chemistry, for there are certain rock types which occur only as sediments, while others are found only among igneous masses, however advanced the metamorphism may be, it modifies the chemical composition of the mass greatly. Such rocks as limestones, dolomites and aluminous shales have definite chemical characteristics which distinguish them when recrystallized; the schists are classified principally according to the minerals they consist of and on their chemical composition. For example, many metamorphic limestones and calc-schists, with crystalline dolomites, contain silicate minerals such as mica, diopside, scapolite and feldspar.
They are derived from calcareous sediments of different degrees of purity. Another group is rich in quartz, with variable amounts of white and black mica, feldspar and hornblende; these were once arenaceous rocks. The graphitic schists may be believed to represent sediments once containing coal or plant remains. Among schists of igneous origin there are the silky calc-schists, the foliated serpentines, the white mica-schists and banded halleflintas, which have been derived from rhyolites, quartz-porphyries and felsic tuffs; the majority of mica-schists, are altered claystones and shales, pass into the normal sedimentary rocks through various types of phyllite and mica-slates. They are among the most common metamorphic rocks; the diversity in appearance and composition is great, but they form a well-defined group not difficult to recognize, from the abundance of black and white micas and their thin, schistose character. A subgroup is the andalusite-, staurolite-, kyanite- and sillimanite-schists which make their appearance in the vicinity of gneissose granites, have been affected by contact metamorphism.
In geotechnical engineering a schistosity plane forms a discontinuity that may have a large influence on the mechanical behavior of rock masses in, for example, foundation, or slope construction. List of rock textures – A list of rock textural and morphological terms Greenschist Pelite An Examination of Mica Schist by Andrea Samuels, Micscape magazine. Photographs of Manhattan schist. by USGS: Idaho, Univ. of Idaho, articles cited
Ploërmel is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France. On 1 January 2019, the former commune Monterrein was merged into Ploërmel; the town is both modern and romantically mediaeval, has easy access to most parts of Brittany. Ploërmel is set on the edge of the magical Broceliande forest, which legend proclaims is the home of Merlin the Magician, amongst other fantastical characters. In 1351, during the Breton War of Succession, the town was occupied by the Montfortist faction, supported by the English; the rival French-supported Blois faction controlled nearby Josselin. Two groups of 30 English and French knights staged a tournament at a spot between the two towns, to show their prowess and make money by capturing opponents; the Franco-Breton team won after killing or capturing the Anglo-Breton force. This was known as the Combat of the Thirty. In 1944, 10 Resistance fighters were killed by German soldiers. 31 inhabitants were killed, 125 wounded, by the American air raid on the railway station on June 12, during the Normandy landings.
On 10 December 2006, the city unveiled a statue of Pope John Paul II. It was a gift by Russo-Georgian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, has sparked controversy over the separation of Church and State; the town gave its name to a monastic order, the Brothers of Ploërmel. The Doctor Who actor Tom Baker was a monk of the order for a while in Jersey. In 2008 from May 24 till 1 June 2008 the City of Ploërmel became the first City in France to host the International Federation of Carnival Cities Congress; the Ploërmel Carnival is the largest in central Brittany and is held on Saturdays at the beginning and end of May. Inhabitants of Ploërmel are called Ploërmelais. In 2008, just 2.62 % of the town's children received either bilingual education. Cobh, Republic of Ireland Apensen, Germany Dittmannsdorf/ Witzschdorf, Germany Gorseinon & Llwchwr, Wales Kolbuszowa, Poland Ploërmel was one of the favourite places of the South African-born British female composer, Priaulx Rainier, she evoked the place in her work for Ploërmel.
Ploërmel Astronomical Clock Mayors of Morbihan Association www.apensen.de/images/Ploermel/Startseite.html / Apensen, Deutschland http://dittmannsdorf.com/partnerschaften.phtml / Dittmannsdorf/ Witzschdorf, Gemeinde Gornau, Deutschland INSEE commune file Official website French Ministry of Culture list for Ploërmel
Paimpont forest known as Brocéliande forest is a temperate forest located around the village of Paimpont in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine in Brittany, France. Covering an area of 9,000 hectares, it includes the castles Château de Comper and Château de Trécesson as well as the national historical site of the Forges of Paimpont, is part of a larger forest area that covers the neighboring departments of Morbihan and Côtes-d'Armor, it has been associated with the mythical forest of Brocéliande and many locations from the Arthurian legend, including Val sans retour, the tomb of Merlin, the fountain of Barenton. The forest is located is the north-western France region of Brittany, about 30 km south-west of the city of Rennes, it occupies the territory of the commune of Paimpont but extends to bordering communes in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine Guer and Beignon in the south, Saint-Péran in the northeast, Concoret in the north. The woodland surrounding Paimpont are the remains of a much larger forest.
It is a broadleaved forest oaks and beech, with areas of conifers either inside after clear-felling or on the periphery as transition with moor, for example towards the west in the sector in the area of Tréhorenteuc and the Val sans retour. The relative altitude of the forested massif contributes to give it a climate close to the oceanic climate of the coasts of Finistère coast; this mode, where west and south-west winds carry of clouds and regular rain supports the vegetation, dominates. The surplus of water feeds the many brooks occupying the bottoms of small valleys before flowing into the river Aff the Vilaine, to the area around Redon in the south of Ille-et-Vilaine; the altitude decreases from the highest point to 258 m in the western part called high forest offering views towards the department of Morbihan. The road from Forges to Concoret, which goes north through Paimpont, separates the high forest and the low forest, of comparable size. Paimpont forest has been designated as Brocélien in the 15th century.
It was referred to in Breton name Brec'Helean. Because of its importance, the forest has been put under royal jurisdiction, it has been exploited for construction needs of the city of Rennes, in particular in the 15th century. The Forges of Paimpont were the most important wood forges of Brittany, operating from the 16th century until the end of the 19th century, their location was enabled by the proximity of an open-cast deposit of iron ore at Gelée, a site near the village of Paimpont, the existence of a major river system, the easy supply of locally produced charcoal. The forest was overexploited for the needs of the forges. During the period of the French Revolution, the abolition of privileges triggered a massive clearings of forests as the wood was excessively exploited for the power supply of the charcoal blast furnaces for the local industry. In 1804, the prefect of the department wrote the forest at Paimpont was in state of degradation and threatened by complete destruction. In 1875, the forest was bought from Prince Philippe, Count of Paris by shipowner and industrialist Louis Levesque, "for rest and pleasure".
The new owner created organized hunts of wild boars and deer. The exploitation of the forest by the local population was restricted to be only under licenses and the supervision of private forest rangers. Between the two world wars, the forest has been part of the hunting grounds of the Duke of Westminster. During World War I, the forest, deprived of most of its guards, was affected by major fires of unknown origin. During World War II, paratroopers of the SAS of Free France were dropped to join the partisans of the FFI in the forest with the mission of delaying German reinforcements as part of the Normandy landings in 1944. In September 1990, a great fire devastated the forest of Paimpont and the Val sans retour, raging for five days. Afterwards, during 1991-1992, thousands of volunteers planted more than half million new trees. In the 1990s, a dam project on the Aff for the water supply of the Rennes region caused a controversy and protests before being abandoned; the forest is an area of ZNIEFF and Natura 2000.
It is owned privately by those who maintain and exploit it for timber and for hunting. This situation prevents free movement in the forest on the outskirts of the village and its lake; the owners have however signed an agreement authorizing the hiking, although some paths of the forest are closed during the hunting season between April 1 to the end of September. Forest guards watch for behaviors that threaten its flora and fauna; the Paimpont forest benefits from its association, since the 13th century, with the imaginary forest of Brocéliande that has become the site of many episodes of the Arthurian legend in the French tradition. The identification with Brocéliande became institutionalized with the creation of the communauté de communes de Brocéliande, itself regrouped within a supra-intercommunal structure named the Pays de Brocéliande, it has been a tourist site since the 19th century and after 1945. Since 1951, followers of Neo-Druidism meet there periodically, including in organized ceremonies.
The Paimpont sites are implemented through signs and pedestrian trails designed to introduce visitors to Arthurian locations, with explanatory panels linking each place to a legendary tale. The Abbaye Notre-Dame de Paimpont is a tourist and cultural location at edge of
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history; the causes of the French Revolution are still debated among historians. Following the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution, the French government was in debt, it attempted to restore its financial status through unpopular taxation schemes, which were regressive.
Leading up to the Revolution, years of bad harvests worsened by deregulation of the grain industry and environmental problems inflamed popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the aristocracy and the Catholic clergy of the established church. Some historians hold something similar to what Thomas Jefferson proclaimed: that France had "been awakened by our Revolution." Demands for change were formulated in terms of Enlightenment ideals and contributed to the convocation of the Estates General in May 1789. During the first year of the Revolution, members of the Third Estate took control, the Bastille was attacked in July, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was passed in August, the Women's March on Versailles forced the royal court back to Paris in October. A central event of the first stage, in August 1789, was the abolition of feudalism and the old rules and privileges left over from the Ancien Régime; the next few years featured political struggles between various liberal assemblies and right-wing supporters of the monarchy intent on thwarting major reforms.
The Republic was proclaimed in September 1792 after the French victory at Valmy. In a momentous event that led to international condemnation, Louis XVI was executed in January 1793. External threats shaped the course of the Revolution; the Revolutionary Wars beginning in 1792 featured French victories that facilitated the conquest of the Italian Peninsula, the Low Countries and most territories west of the Rhine – achievements that had eluded previous French governments for centuries. Internally, popular agitation radicalised the Revolution culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins; the dictatorship imposed by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror, from 1793 until 1794, established price controls on food and other items, abolished slavery in French colonies abroad, de-established the Catholic church and created a secular Republican calendar, religious leaders were expelled, the borders of the new republic were secured from its enemies. After the Thermidorian Reaction, an executive council known as the Directory assumed control of the French state in 1795.
They suspended elections, repudiated debts, persecuted the Catholic clergy, made significant military conquests abroad. Dogged by charges of corruption, the Directory collapsed in a coup led by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. Napoleon, who became the hero of the Revolution through his popular military campaigns, established the Consulate and the First Empire, setting the stage for a wider array of global conflicts in the Napoleonic Wars; the modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French Revolution. All future revolutionary movements looked back to the Revolution as their predecessor, its central phrases and cultural symbols, such as La Marseillaise and Liberté, fraternité, égalité, ou la mort, became the clarion call for other major upheavals in modern history, including the Russian Revolution over a century later. The values and institutions of the Revolution dominate French politics to this day; the Revolution resulted in the suppression of the feudal system, emancipation of the individual, a greater division of landed property, abolition of the privileges of noble birth, nominal establishment of equality among men.
The French Revolution differed from other revolutions in being not only national, for it intended to benefit all humanity. Globally, the Revolution accelerated the rise of democracies, it became the focal point for the development of most modern political ideologies, leading to the spread of liberalism, radicalism and secularism, among many others. The Revolution witnessed the birth of total war by organising the resources of France and the lives of its citizens towards the objective of military conquest; some of its central documents, such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, continued to inspire movements for abolitionism and universal suffrage in the next century. Historians have pointed to many events and factors within the Ancien Régime that led to the Revolution. Rising social and economic inequality, new political ideas emerging from the Enlightenment, economic mismanagement, environmental factors leading to agricultural failure, unmanageable national debt, political mismanagement on the part of King Louis XVI have all been cited as laying the groundwork for the Revolution.
Over the course of the 18th century, there emerged what the philosopher Jürgen Habermas called the idea of the "public sphere" in France and elsewhere