A castle is a defensive structure associated with the Middle Ages,
found in Europe and the Middle East. The precise meaning of "castle" is
debated by scholars, but it is usually considered to be the "private
fortified residence" of a lord or noble. Over the approximately
900 years that castles were built they took on a great many forms with
many different features, although some, such as curtain walls and
arrowslits, were commonplace. A European innovation, castles originated
in the 9th and 10th centuries, after the fall of the Carolingian Empire
resulted in its territory being divided among individual lords and
princes. Early castles often exploited natural defences, and lacked
features such as towers and arrowslits and relied on a central keep. In
the late 12th and early 13th centuries, a scientific approach to castle
defence emerged. This led to the proliferation of towers, with an
emphasis on flanking fire. Although gunpowder was introduced to Europe
in the 14th century, it did not significantly affect castle building
until the 15th century, when artillery became powerful enough to break
through stone walls. While castles continued to be built well into the
16th century, new techniques to deal with improved cannon fire made
them uncomfortable and undesirable places to live. As a result, true
castles went into decline and were replaced by artillery forts with no
role in civil administration, and country houses that were
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Roman Emperor Diocletian's first "Edict against the Christians" was
published, beginning the Diocletianic Persecution, the last and most
severe episode of the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.
In their ruling in Marbury v. Madison, the U.S. Supreme Court
established judicial review in the United States.
The first Swaminarayan temple, Swaminarayan Mandir in present-day
Ahmedabad, India, was inaugurated.
The steamship SS Gothenburg hit a section of the Great Barrier Reef at
low tide and sank about 50 kilometres (31 mi) northwest of Holbourne
Island, Queensland, Australia, with the loss of over 100 lives.
Colonel Juan Perón, founder of the political movement that became known
as Peronism, was elected to his first term as President of Argentina.
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared a state of
emergency in an attempt to subdue a possible military coup.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. Emitting light as a result of being heated.
2. Shining very brightly.
3. Showing intense emotion, as of a
Wikiquote quote of the day:
The lot of critics is to be remembered by what they failed to
--George A. Moore