Ringforts, ring forts or ring fortresses are circular fortified settlements that were built during the Bronze age up to about the year 1000. They are found in Northern Europe in Ireland. There are many in South Wales and in Cornwall, where they are called rounds. Ringforts may be made of stone or earth. Earthen ringforts would have been marked by a circular rampart with a stakewall. Both stone and earthen ringforts would have had at least one building inside. In Irish language sources they are known by a number of names: ráth, caiseal, cathair and dún; the ráth and lios was an earthen ringfort. The caiseal and cathair was a stone ringfort; the term dún was used for any stronghold of importance, which may or may not be ring-shaped. In Ireland, over 40,000 sites have been identified as ringforts and it is thought that at least 50,000 ringforts existed on the island, they are common throughout the country, with a mean density of just over one ringfort within any area of 2 km2. It is that many have been destroyed by farming and urbanisation.
However, many hitherto unknown ringforts have been found thanks to early Ordnance Survey maps, aerial photography, the archaeological work that has accompanied road-building. In Cornwall and south Wales, enclosed settlements share many characteristics with their Irish counterparts, including the circular shape and souterrains, their continuing occupation into the early medieval period. Few Cornish examples have been archaeologically excavated, with the exception of Trethurgy Rounds. Hillforts are known from Scandinavia, of which nineteen can be found on the Swedish island of Öland alone; these hillforts are not to be confused with Viking ring fortresses, of which seven are known from Denmark and southern Sweden, all from around 980 in the Viking Age. The Viking forts all share a strikingly similar design and are collectively referred to as Trelleborgs, after the first excavated fortress of that type in 1936. All the Viking ring fortresses are believed to have been built within a short timeframe, during the reign of Harold Bluetooth, but for yet unknown military purposes.
They might have served as boot camps for Sweyn Forkbeard's men before his invasion of England in 1013. The debate on chronology is a result of the huge number of ringforts and the failure of any other form of settlement site to survive to modern times in any great quantity from the period before the Early Christian period or from Gaelic Ireland after the Anglo-Norman arrival. Three general theories mark the debate on the chronology of Irish ringforts. According to the authoritative New History of Ireland, "archaeologists are agreed that the vast bulk of them are the farm enclosures of the well-to-do of early medieval Ireland"; the theories that the ringfort either pre- or post-dates the Early Middle Ages in Ireland, are both based on the same premise, as is highlighted here by Tadhg O'Keefe in relation to the latter argument. The a priori case for attributing some ringforts to the Later Middle Ages... is based on the absence of any other settlement form of appropriate date in those landscapes.
In other words, if the Gaelic-Irish did not live in ringforts, where did they live? The conjecture that ringforts can be seen to have evolved from and be part of an Iron Age tradition has been expanded by Darren Limbert; this hypothesis is based on a number of re-interpretations of the available evidence, as well as concern over the available evidence. As only a small portion of ringforts have undergone total excavation, the fact that these excavations have not taken place on anything like a national level, the evidence is insufficient to place all ringforts and the origins of them within the Early Christian period. Limbert argues instead, that the ringfort should be seen in the context of a variety of similar developments in Britain and the European Continent in Iberia and Gaul. While conceding that most ringforts were built in the Early Christian period, he suggests a link between the arrival of Eóganachta dynasty in Munster c. 400 AD, the introduction of ringforts. In support of this he notes that: "The other major Eoganachta ringforts of Ballycatten and Garryduff, despite limited stratigraphic discernment, have produced artefacts of ambiguously early origins.
Their defensive nature... supports an intrusion of a Celtic warrior caste..." The similarity with South Welsh'raths' and Cornish'rounds' suggests a degree of cultural interaction between Western British and Irish populations, however differences in dates of occupation mean this cannot be confirmed. On the island of Öland, nineteen ringforts have been identified, including Eketorp, a site, excavated and that one may visit. Excavations are ongoing at Sandby borg, the site of a massacre in the 5th century A. D, it is possible that the Hill
In medieval fortresses, a bretèche or brattice is a small balcony with machicolations built over a gate and sometimes in the corners of the fortress' wall, with the purpose of enabling defenders to shoot or throw objects at the attackers huddled under the wall. Depending on whether they have a roof, bretèches are classified in two types: open and closed; the open ones were accessed from a crenel. Medieval latrines were similar in construction, but they were not placed over doors. In Catalan and Portuguese the word for bretèche was in fact derived from the Byzantine latreys, but this regionalism did not carry over to other languages; because the places protected by bretèches were vital, they were manned by professional soldiers mercenaries in the Middle Ages. As a result of these circumstances, the word for latrine denoted a mercenary in some regions. A bretèche is pictured in Bellifortis, Livro das Fortalezas, in several other medieval military texts. Bartizan Murder-hole
A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is an individual who takes part in military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, is not a member of any other official military. Mercenaries fight for money or other forms of payment rather than for political interests. In the last century, mercenaries have come to be seen as less entitled to protections by rules of war than non-mercenaries. Indeed, the Geneva Conventions declare that mercenaries are not recognized as legitimate combatants and do not have to be granted the same legal protections as captured soldiers of a regular army. In practice, whether or not a person is a mercenary may be a matter of degree, as financial and political interests may overlap, as was the case among Italian condottieri. Protocol Additional GC 1977 is a 1977 amendment protocol to the Geneva Conventions. Article 47 of the protocol provides the most accepted international definition of a mercenary, though not endorsed by some countries, including the United States.
The Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, 8 June 1977 states: Art 47. Mercenaries 1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a prisoner of war. 2. A mercenary is any person who: is recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict. All the criteria must be met, according to the Geneva Convention, for a combatant to be described as a mercenary. According to the GC III, a captured soldier must be treated as a lawful combatant and, therefore, as a protected person with prisoner-of-war status until facing a competent tribunal; that tribunal, using criteria in APGC77 or some equivalent domestic law, may decide that the soldier is a mercenary. At that juncture, the mercenary soldier becomes an unlawful combatant but still must be "treated with humanity and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial", being still covered by GC IV Art 5; the only possible exception to GC IV Art 5 is when he is a national of the authority imprisoning him, in which case he would not be a mercenary soldier as defined in APGC77 Art 47.d.
If, after a regular trial, a captured soldier is found to be a mercenary he can expect treatment as a common criminal and may face execution. As mercenary soldiers may not qualify as PoWs, they cannot expect repatriation at war's end; the best known post-World War II example of this was on 28 June 1976 when, at the end of the Luanda Trial, an Angolan court sentenced three Britons and an American to death and nine other mercenaries to prison terms ranging from 16 to 30 years. The four mercenaries sentenced to death were shot by a firing squad on 10 July 1976; the legal status of civilian contractors depends upon the nature of their work and their nationalities with respect to that of the combatants. If they have not "in fact, taken a direct part in the hostilities", they are not mercenaries but civilians who have non-combat support roles and are entitled to protection under the Third Geneva Convention. On 4 December 1989, the United Nations passed resolution 44/34, the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use and Training of Mercenaries.
It entered into force on 20 October 2001 and is known as the UN Mercenary Convention. Article 1 contains the definition of a mercenary. Article 1.1 is similar to Article 47 of Protocol I, however Article 1.2 broadens the definition to include a non-national recruited to overthrow a "Government or otherwise undermining the constitutional order of a State. Critics have argued that APGC77 Art. 47 are designed to cover the activities of mercenaries in post-colonial Africa and do not address adequately the use of private military companies by sovereign states. The situation during the Iraq War and the continuing occupation of Iraq after the United Nations Security Council-sanctioned hand-over of power to the Iraqi government shows the difficulty of defining a mercenary soldier. While the United States governed Iraq, no U. S. citizen working as an armed guard could be classified as a mercenary because he was a national of a Party to the conflict. With the hand-over of power to the Iraqi government, if one does not consider the coalition forces to be continuing parties to the conflict in Iraq, but that their soldiers are "sent by a State, not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces" unless U.
S. citizens working as armed guards are lawfully certified residents of Iraq, i.e. "a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict", they are involved with
A gatehouse is an entry control point building, enclosing or accompanying a gateway for a town, religious house, manor house, or other fortification building of importance. Gatehouses are the most armed section of a fortification, to compensate for being structurally the weakest and the most probable attack point by an enemy. There are numerous surviving examples in France, Germany and Japan. Gatehouses made their first appearance in the early antiquity when it became necessary to protect the main entrance to a castle or town. Over time, they evolved into complicated structures with many lines of defence. Fortified gatehouses would include a drawbridge, one or more portcullises, arrow loops and even murder-holes where stones would be dropped on attackers. In some castles, the gatehouse was so fortified it took on the function of a keep, sometimes referred to as a "gate keep". In the late Middle Ages, some of these arrow loops might have been converted into gun loops. Urban defences would sometimes incorporate gatehouses such as Monnow Bridge in Monmouth.
York has four important gatehouses, known as "Bars", in its city walls including the Micklegate Bar. The French term for gatehouse is logis-porche; this could be a large, complex structure that served both as a gateway and lodging or it could have been composed of a gateway through an enclosing wall. A large gatehouse might be called a châtelet. At the end of the Middle Ages, many gatehouses in England and France were converted into beautiful, grand entrance structures to manor houses or estates. Many of them became a separate feature free-standing or attached to the manor or mansion only by an enclosing wall. By this time the gatehouse had lost its defensive purpose and had become more of a monumental structure designed to harmonise with the manor or mansion. In the Dravidian architecture of South India tall gopuram gatehouses four, dominate large Hindu temple complexes. Bargate, in Hampshire is a medieval gatehouse in the city centre of England. Constructed in 1180 as part of the Southampton town walls Ightham Mote, in Kent has an imposing 13th and 14th century gatehouse.
Durham Castle, in Durham has an 11th-century gatehouse, now used as accommodation for students attending University College, Durham. Layer Marney Tower, the apotheosis of the Tudor gatehouse. Stokesay Castle, a 13th-century fortified manor house in Shropshire has a Jacobean half-timbered gatehouse. Stanway House, Gloucestershire, where the gatehouse measures 44 ft. by 22 ft. and has three storeys. Westwood House, which has a frontage of 54 ft. with two storeys. Burton Agnes Hall, East Riding of Yorkshire, which has three storeys and is flanked by great octagonal towers at the angles. Hylton Castle, Sunderland, although it is an actual castle, it is styled in the shape of a classical gatehouse. Château de Châteaubriant, two gatehouses, one for the lower bailey, one for the upper ward. Château de Suscinio, a large 15th-century gatehouse in the logis-porte style, Brittany. Château de Trécesson, a simple 14th-century gatehouse on a moated manor house in Morbihan, Brittany Château de Vitré, a large 15th-century châtelet or gatehouse in Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany Latrobe Gate, a Greek Revival and Italianate gatehouse built in 1806, Washington, D.
C. Lorraine Park Cemetery Gate Lodge, a Queen Anne style stone and frame building constructed in 1884, Baltimore County, Maryland. Guardhouse This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Gatehouse". Encyclopædia Britannica. 11. Cambridge University Press. P. 529
A city gate is a gate which is, or was, set within a city wall. City gates were traditionally built to provide a point of controlled access to and departure from a walled city for people, vehicles and animals. Depending on their historical context they filled functions relating to defense, health, trade and representation, were correspondingly staffed by military or municipal authorities; the city gate was commonly used to display diverse kinds of public information such as announcements and toll schedules, standards of local measures, legal texts. It could be fortified, ornamented with heraldic shields, sculpture or inscriptions, or used as a location for warning or intimidation, for example by displaying the heads of beheaded criminals or public enemies. City gates, in one form or another, can be found across the world in cities dating back to ancient times to around the 19th century. Many cities would close their gates after a certain curfew each night, for example a bigger one like Prague or a smaller one like Flensburg, in the north of Germany.
With increased stability and freedom, many walled cities removed such fortifications as city gates, although many still survive. Many surviving gates have been restored, rebuilt or new ones created to add to the appearance of a city, such as Bab Bou Jalous in Fes. With increased levels of traffic, city gates have come under threat in the past for impeding the flow of traffic, such as Temple Bar in London, removed in the 19th century. Egypt: Gates of Cairo Morocco: Bab Agnaou of Marrakech China Zhengyangmen and Deshengmen in Beijing Gate of China in Nanjing city gate of Jianshui Cyprus: Famagusta Gate in Nicosia India Gateway of India in Mumbai Walled city of Jaipur in Jaipur Walled city and gates of Aurangabad in Aurangabad Walled city of Kota in Kota Teen Darwaza in Bhadra Fort, Ahmedabad Mesopotamia: Ishtar Gate, Babylon Iran Qur'an gate Nowbar gate. Israel: Gates in Jerusalem's Old City Walls Japan: Rashomon Gate, Kyoto Macau: Portas do Cerco - border gate for Macau with neighbouring Zhuhai Pakistan: Walled City of Lahore South Korea: Seoul's city gates, including: Namdaemun and Dongdaemun Taiwan: North gate of Taipei Yemen: Bab al Yemen of Sana'a Austria: Wienertor: in Hainburg an der Donau Belgium: Brusselpoort: in Mechelen Waterpoort in Antwerp Halle Gate in Brussels Bosnia and Herzegovina: Višegradska kapija Višegrad gate, gate in Sarajevo Croatia: Walls of Dubrovnik Czech Republic: Powder Gate, Prague Písek Gate, Prague Zelená brána, Pardubice Brána Matky Boží, Jihlava Svatá brána, Kadaň Vysoká brána, Rakovník Pražská brána, Rakovník Denmark: Vesterport, Faaborg England: Bargate Southampton London's Roman and Medieval gates of the London Wall: Ludgate, Aldersgate, Cripplegate, Aldgate Westgate, Canterbury Eastgate, Northgate,Watergate and Bridgegate.
Chester The gates of the York city walls Estonia: Tallinn Gate in Pärnu France: Porte de Joigny and Porte de Sens in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne Porte de la Craffe in Nancy Porte des Allemands in Metz Porte Saint-Denis and Porte Saint-Martin in Paris Porte Mars in Reims Porte Cailhau in Bordeaux Porte de la Grosse-Horloge in La Rochelle Porte Mordelaise in Rennes Germany: Fünfgratturm in Augsburg Rotes Tor in Augsburg Vogeltor in Augsburg Wertachbrucker Tor in Augsburg Brandenburg Gate, in Berlin Eigelsteintor, Ulrepforte, Severinstor in Cologne Nordertor and Rotes Tor in Flensburg Martinstor and Schwabentor in Freiburg im Breisgau Holstentor, in Lübeck Isartor, Sendlinger Tor and Propylaea in Munich East Gate, in Regensburg Steintor, in Rostock Old Gate, in Speyer Porta Nigra, in Trier Greece: Lion Gate in Mycenae, 13th century B. C.. Ireland: Saint Laurence Gate, Drogheda Sheep Gate, Trim St. James's Gate, Dublin gates of Dublin Italy: Porta Galliera, Bologna Porta Saragozza, Bologna Porta Paola, Ferrara Pusterla di Sant'Ambrogio, in Milan Porta Nuova, in Milan Porta Nuova, in Milan Porta Ticinese, in Milan Porta Ticinese, in Milan Porta Capuana, Naples Porta San Gennaro, Naples Port'Alba, Naples Porta Nolana, Naples Porta Felice, in Palermo Porta Nuova, in Palermo Porta San Giovanni, in Rome Porta del Popolo, in Rome Porta Maggiore, in Rome Porta Pinciana, in Rome Porta Tiburtina, in Rome Porta San Sebastiano, in Rome Porta San Paolo, in Rome Porta Camollia, Siena Porta Palatina, in Turin Lithuania: Gate of Dawn, in Vilnius Malta: City Gate and Victoria Gate, Valletta Mdina Gate and Greeks Gate, Mdina Notre Dame Gate, Birgu St. Helen's Gate, Cospicua Netherlands: Amsterdamse Poort, a city gate of Haarlem Waterpoort, Sneek Vischpoort, Elburg Vischpoort, Harderwijk Koppelpoort, Amersfoort Zijlpoort, Leiden Poland: Brama Floriańska, Kraków Żuraw, Gdańsk Brama Zielona, Gdańsk Brama Wyżynna, Gdańsk Brama Mariacka, Gdańsk Brama Krakowska, Lublin Brama Mostowa, Toruń Brama Klasztorna, Toruń Brama Opatowska, Sandomierz Brama Młyńska, Stargard Brama Pyrzycka, Stargard Brama Garncarska, Malbork Brama Lidzbarska, Bartoszyce Nowa Brama, Słupsk Brama Świecka, Chojna Brama Wolińska, Goleniów Brama Odrzańska, Brzeg Brama Portowa, Szczecin Brama Górna, Olsztyn Brama Szczebrzeska, Zamość Portugal: Arco da Porta Nova, Braga Portas da Cidade, Ponta Delgada Portão dos Varadouros a.k.a.
City Gate, Funchal Romania: Catherine's Gate, Brașov Russia Voskresensky Gate
A bergfried is a tall tower, found in castles of the Middle Ages in German-speaking countries and in countries under German influence. Friar describes it as a "free-standing, fighting-tower", its defensive function is to some extent similar to that of a keep in French castles. However, the characteristic difference between a bergfried and a keep is that a bergfried was not designed for permanent habitation; the living quarters of a castle with a bergfried are separate in a lower tower or an adjacent building called a palas Consequently, a bergfried could be built as a tall slender tower with little internal room, few vaults and few if any windows. The bergfried served as a refuge during sieges; the distinction between a bergfried and a keep is not always clear-cut, as there were thousands of such towers built with many variations. There are some French keeps with only austere living quarters, while some late bergfrieds in Germany were intended to be habitable. For maximum protection, the bergfried could be sited on its own in the centre of the castle's inner bailey and separate from the enceinte.
Alternatively, it could be close to or up against the outer curtain wall on the most vulnerable side as an additional defence, or project from the wall. For instance, the Marksburg has its bergfried in the centre, Katz Castle on the most direction of attack. Some, like Plesse Castles, have two bergfrieds. Outside Germany, the crusader castles of Montfort Castle and Khirbat Jiddin built by the Teutonic Order had prominent towers that some authors have compared to bergfrieds, arguing that these castles depended more on Rhineland than local crusader traditions of military architecture. Eynsford Castle in Kent is a rare English example, where the bergfried is the central element of the design; the word'"bergfried", sometimes rendered perfrit, berchfrit or berfride and many similar variants in medieval documents, did not just refer to a castle tower, but was used to describe most other types of tower, such as siege towers, bell towers or storage buildings. The main tower of a castle was simply referred to as a "tower" or "big tower".
In late medieval Low German documents, the terms berchfrit and similar variants appeared in connexion with smaller castles. German castle research during the 19th century introduced Bergfried or Berchfrit as the general term for a non-residential main tower, these terms became established in the literature; the etymological origin of the word is unclear. There are theories about it being derived from Middle High German or Latin, or from a Greek word brought back from the Crusades. A theory, stated in older texts, that the bergfried took its name from the phrase "weil er den Frieden berge", i.e. it guaranteed the security of the castle, cannot be confirmed. The bergfried established itself as a new type of building during the 12th century and from about 1180 to the 14th century became a feature of the Central European castles. Numerous examples have survived from this period to their full height. However, the origin of the design is not understood, since towers dating from before the 12th century have had to be entirely excavated archaeologically, only the lowest sections remain.
Individual examples may be found dating to as early as the second half of the 11th century. The precursor of the bergfried is the fortified tower house, whose Western European expression is called a donjon or keep. Residential towers were common before the advent of the bergfried in German-speaking countries, too. Donjons combine the two contrasting functions of a stately, comfortable residence and a fortification; the bergfried, dispenses with the keep's residential function in favour of its defensive purposes. At the same time, new forms of unfortified residential building became popular, the palas, for example, was incorporated into castle construction; the emergence of the bergfried is thus related to the differentiation of living and fortification within a castle. In Western Europe however, the donjon or keep, with their combination of domestic and defensive functions, continued to be predominant during the course of the Middle Ages; the bergfried forms the main tower in the centre of the castle or is positioned as a wall tower on the main avenue of attack against the castle.
It may be an isolated structure standing alone amongst the other buildings of the castle or be joined to them to form a combined building complex. However the bergfried is a self-contained element, not internally connected to other buildings and has its own access; as a rule, this is a so-called elevated entrance, i.e. the entrance is located at the level of an upper floor of the tower and is accessed via its own bridge, staircase or ladder. Bergfrieds often have a square or round floor plan, but pentagonal towers are frequently encountered. There are a few examples of bergfrieds with irregular polygonal floor plans. A rare form is the triangular bergfried of Grenzau Castle near Höhr-Grenzhausen or that of Rauheneck Castle near Baden bei Wien. Towers with triangular and pentagonal floor plans invariably had a corner facing the main line of att
A circular rampart is an embankment built in the shape of a circle, used as part of the defences for a military fortification, hill fort or refuge, or was built for religious purposes or as a place of gathering. The period during which these structures appeared stretches from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages; the key feature of a circular rampart is the embankment forming the primary means of the defensive fortification. It can be constructed in various ways: as a simple earth embankment, as a wood and earth structure or as a wall. Circular ramparts have a moat or ditch in front of them. Several concentric rings were built, which produced a more effective defensive position against attackers; the interior of such sites shows evidence of buildings such as halls and other secondary structures. Circular ramparts are found in north and western Europe, for example, in Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain and the Netherlands, they are hidden in woods and discovered by aerial photography. Archaeological profiles through the defences and excavations of the interior enable analysis of the period the site was occupied, the pottery used and the type of food consumed.
Viale Beatrice d'Este, italy Aggersborg, near Aggersund, Denmark Circular rampart of Burg, near Celle, Lower Saxony, Germany The Donnersberg, near Rockenhausen, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany Castle Dore, England Fyrkat, Denmark Gråborg, built in stages between years 500–1100, Öland, Sweden The Heidenmauer near Bad Dürkheim, Germany Nanih Waiya, a Choctaw mound, Winston County, USA The circular rampart at Old Basing, England Celtic circular wall of Otzenhausen, Germany Saxon rampart on the Marienberg near Nordstemmen, Germany Viking ring fortress of Trelleborg, Sweden Varbola Stronghold largest circular rampart fortress built in Estonia Ringfort – Circular fortified settlements found in Northern Europe Ringwork – A form of fortified defensive structure Orser, Charles E. Encyclopedia of historical archaeology, Routledge, 11 April 2002, ISBN 0-415-21544-7 Shoemaker, American Indians, WileyBlackwell, 1 October 2000, ISBN 0-631-21995-1 Trelleborg circular fortress in Denmark Castle Dore in Cornwall, England Old Basing, England