# Thread: Architecture of a Castle.

1. Originally Posted by Talroth
Can anyone find a reference as to what castles a Herse was ever used on? It isn't something I've come across before, and now I'm really curious about it.
the only reference I could find after a quick search is Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle. And that was a picture of a reconstruction....not too sure if that counts...

2. Originally Posted by Talroth
Every portcullis I have ever read about that was in working order was counter balanced so a single man could raise or lower it. (Note, this has not been a lot of material. It is an oddly lacking detail from a lot of books on fortifications.) This means that you can't really 'crash the gate shut' in general design, because there is a nearly equal weight that you have to raise up to lower the gate.
Hmmm. Just to clarify, you're talking about raising/lowering it properly, with the crank (or whatever mechanism one uses). Not raise/lower as you would a garage door, correct?

3. Originally Posted by ravells
It's a shame you don't have photoshop, you can use the vanishing point filter to measure dimensions from a photograph. All you need is one 'known' starting dimension. There must be ways you can do it with a ruler and trig as well, but I'm no mathematician.

Different portcullis entries were different heights and sizes, I don't think there was a standard. If you want to post a photo of one you had in mind, I (or anyone else with photoshop CS3 extended or better) can measure it for you.

Here's one. Assuming the person standing under the gate is 5.8 feet high, I make the portcullis about 15.2 feet high, and the width is about 13.8 feet.
Splendid. This more or less sticks with my raw guessing. In my estimates, I was calculating to the actual tips of the spikes. Seeing the portcullis in the back, it looks like the bottom of the spikes line up with where the arch starts.
Also, this may just be my eyes playing tricks, but if you trace the rectangle formed by the bottom opening and the fancy detailing above the arch, it looks to be a Golden Rectangle.

By the way, I actually do have CS5 now, I had to get it for some of my design classes last fall. Yay me :-). It never occured to me to use the vanishing perspective feature., however. Thanks for that tip.

4. Originally Posted by ravells
There must be ways you can do it with a ruler and trig as well, but I'm no mathematician.
Well, since you really don't have enough on your plate, I recommend you do a search on the word "photogrammetry."

5. Something else intirely, but i always have to say this, when i see a castle like this: the way to the castle is not put clever. Attackers marching at the castle are showing their left side to the castle, which is the side for the shield. One should always try to build a castle so that attackers would show their right side to the castle. This way they either march sideways (disrupting order in their ranks) or archers in the castle can hit their vulnerable right side, which is not protected by the shield.

6. In theory, perhaps. In practice, an approach to any determined defending castle is fraught with danger regardless of whatever side one bears one's shield. Shields aren't very good at protecting someone against projectiles lobbed from the top of high walls. Attackers will not even come within bowshot until defences have been breached, and depending on the aggressor's commander, that may or may not be directed at the gate. Sieges, historically speaking, tend to last only as long as it takes for one side or the other to run out of money, health or time. This can end with the garrison commander surrendering under terms, or the aggressors quitting the field. A formation of troops 'marching onto the castle' is generally a very good way of getting them all killed unless the castle is compromised, or their defenders are broken. So, you tend to keep soldiers out of the way until you know for sure they are going to make a lick of difference.

Siege warfare. Good times.

Edit: As an aside, and depending on the topography of the landscape the castle is perched upon, I'd be investing in breaching the wall on the east-side of the first gate house, but that depends if I have the money to spend on sappers, engineers or a couple of reliable canons. If I just had troops, and the money to keep them happy long enough, I'd just sit on them and wait for them to run themselves out of food, water and hygiene.

7. On magic, yes it changes things, but it takes a good deal of contrivance with a more than low-magic setting to have castles make sense, at least without substantial redesign. Even without spells, flying cavalry (winged horse, gryphons, hippogriffs, etc.) and fast-tunneling and wall-crawling creatures, castle walls become less secure. Walled towns still make sense for defense against bandits lacking magic and land animals.

8. Even in a high-magic setting, though, magic on that kind of scale is likely to be expensive. Probably most magical threats to the fortress could be neutralized by whoever lives in that wizard's tower. If magic is common and powerful enough to obsolete castles, then nobody will undergo the effort and expense of building them. Ergo, if this castle exists, it is not in great danger of being overrun by magical beasties.

Then again, magic of that kind would make large buildings easier to construct, if the wizards could be enticed into doing that sort of low work.

Page 3 of 4 First 1234 Last

#### Posting Permissions

• You may not post new threads
• You may not post replies
• You may not post attachments
• You may not edit your posts
•