- Fortified tower
A fortified tower (also defensive tower or castle tower or, in context, just tower) is one of the defensive structures used in fortifications, such as castles, along with curtain walls. Castle towers can have a variety of different shapes and fulfil different functions.
Shape of towers
Square or rectangular towers are easy to construct and give a good amount of usable internal space. Their disadvantage is that the corners are vulnerable to mining. Despite this vulnerability, rectangular towers continued to be used, and Muslim military architecture generally favoured them.
Round towers, also called drum towers, are more resistant to siege technology such as sappers and projectiles than square towers. The round front is more resistant than the straight side of a square tower, just as a load-bearing arch. This principle was already understood in antiquity.
The horseshoe-shaped (or D-shaped) tower is a compromise that gives the best of a round and a square tower. The semicircular side (the one facing the attacker) could resist siege engines, while the rectangular part at the back gives internal space and a large fighting platform on top. The large towers at Krak des Chevaliers and the gate towers at Harlech are good examples. Armenian castles such as Lampron also favoured this style.
A common form is the octagonal tower, used in some bergfrieds and at Castel del Monte in Italy.
There are also hybrid shapes. For instance, the keep at Château Gaillard is round, but also has a triangular beak to deflect projectiles.
Towers with specific functions
Wall towers provide flanking fire (from crossbows or other projectile weapons) to a straight part of the curtain wall. Corner towers enfilade the two adjoining wall faces. If corner towers are far apart, additional flanking towers may be added between them. Towers in an outer curtain wall are often open at the back.
Particularly large towers are often the strongest point of the castle: the keep or the bergfried. As the gate is always a vulnerable point of a castle, towers may be built near it to strengthen the defences at this point. In crusader castles, there is often a gate tower, with the gate passage leading through the base of the tower itself. In European castles, it is more common to have flanking towers on either side of the gatehouse.
A rectangular and a round tower projecting from the wall at Krak des Chevaliers.
Wall towers and square gate tower at the Citadel of Aleppo.
Rectangular keep and round tower at Château de Falaise.
- Kennedy, Hugh (2000). Crusader Castles. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-79913-9.
- Toy, Sidney. Castles: Their Construction and History. ISBN 978-0486248981.
Fortifications Since ancient times Since Middle Ages
Arrowslit · Barbican · Bartizan · Bastion · Bent entrance · Bergfried · Caltrop · Castle · Concentric castle · Cheval de frise · Citadel · Curtain wall · Drawbridge · Enceinte · Embrasure · Fortified tower · Gate tower · Gabion · Glacis · Guard tower · Gulyay-gorod · Hoarding · Keep · Kremlin (Detinets) · L-plan castle · Machicolation · Moat · Motte-and-bailey · Murder-hole · Peel tower · Portcullis · Reduit · Shield wall · Toll castle · Tower house · Turret · Wall tower · Ward (Bailey) · Watchtower · Yett
Since Early modern period Since 19th century Fortifications by topography
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Tower house — The Tower of Hallbar in South Lanarkshire, Scotland … Wikipedia
Tower and stockade — ( he. חומה ומגדל, Homa U Migdal , lit. Wall and tower ) was a settlement method used by Zionist settlers in the British Mandate of Palestine during the 1936 39 Arab revolt, when the establishment of new Jewish settlements was restricted by the… … Wikipedia
tower — tower1 [tou′ər] n. [ME tour, tur < OE torr & OFr tur, both < L turris, a tower; akin to Gr tyrsis, fortified city] 1. a building or structure that is relatively high for its length and width, either standing alone or forming part of another … English World dictionary
Tower of London — For other uses, see Tower of London (disambiguation) Coordinates: 51°30′29″N 0°4′34″W / 51.50806°N 0.07611°W / 51 … Wikipedia
Fortified Houses — In Ireland at the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century the fortified House, along with stronghouses, developed as a replacement for the tower house. Fortified Houses were often rectangular, or sometimes U or L shaped,… … Wikipedia
Tower — For other uses, see Tower (disambiguation). CN Tower (world s third tallest freestanding structure) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada … Wikipedia
tower — tower1 towerless, adj. towerlike, adj. /tow euhr/, n. 1. a building or structure high in proportion to its lateral dimensions, either isolated or forming part of a building. 2. such a structure used as or intended for a stronghold, fortress,… … Universalium
Tower of London — Situated at the eastern extremity of the City of London on the north bank of the Thames on Tower Hill (S. 45, and Bayley, ed. 1821, I. p. 1), on the confines of Middlesex and Essex, 1315 (Cal. P.R. 1313 17, p.314). The most celebrated… … Dictionary of London
Tower house — Dunguaire Castle in Irland … Deutsch Wikipedia
tower — /ˈtaʊə / (say towuh) noun 1. a building or structure high in proportion to its lateral dimensions, either isolated or forming part of any building. 2. such a structure used as or intended for a stronghold, fortress, prison, etc. 3. any of various … Australian English dictionary