Medieval Life - Towns and Villages
The best site for a town or village
At the time the Domesday Book was compiled in 1087, there were only 18 towns in England with a population of over 2000. Many of these towns were originally Roman towns. But what if you want to establish a new town or village. What things do you have to consider when choosing a site?
It might be a good idea to position your new town or village near an existing castle. Castles are built for defence and contain knights and soldiers trained in weapons. This would give you good protection against raiders and invaders. Merchants also trade goods with castles and you might be able to trade with them as well. This will help to make your town richer and will attract more people to live there.
If there is not a castle nearby then it might be a good idea to position part of your new town or village on some high ground. You would then have a good view of the surrounding area and be able to spot possible attackers in plenty of time to prepare your own defence.
You think you have found the perfect spot, but is there a water supply nearby? Remember, there is no running water. Water has to be fetched each day from a river or stream and your people do not want to have to walk miles for it. A wide stream or river will also help to defend your town as attackers will have to find some way to cross it.
You have found a site with high ground that is near a stream. Your people will want to build themselves somewhere to live. Stone is the best building material as it offers the best protection against both attack and the weather. Having a good supply of stone will also allow you to build a wall around your town for added protection. Stone is also useful for throwing at your attackers and for making weapons.
Much of Britain in the medieval period was covered with forest so it should not be too difficult to find a site with a good supply of wood nearby. If there is not a lot of stone your people can make themselves houses from wood. You also need wood to make handles for axes and spears. But the most important thing about wood is that it is needed for making fires. A fire is essential for cooking, heating and for scaring off wild animals.
You have positioned your new town or village near a stream so there should be a good supply of fish. However, your people will not want to eat fish all the time and it is against the religion to eat fish at certain times of the year. You can send hunters out into the forest to catch meat, but you need to grow crops and vegetables as well. It is therefore important that there is some land that can be used for farming.
The Neo-Assyrian Empire used earthen ramps, siege towers and battering rams in sieges; the Greeks and Alexander the Great created destructive new engines known as artillery to further their sieges, and the Romans used every technique to perfection. That is to say, the Romans were not inventors, but they were superb engineers and disciplined, tough soldiers who fought against great odds and won, repeatedly.... Read More
Demetrius I, King of Macedon, invented many siege engines including battering rams and siege towers. For the Siege of Rhodes, he created the Helepolis, the Taker of Cities, a huge armored siege tower containing many heavy catapults.
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While sieges had taken place earlier than the Neo-Assyrian Empire, such as that between Egyptian Pharoah Thutmose III and Canaanite rebels led by Kadesh at the Megiddo fortress in the 15th century B.C., the Assyrians perfected the art of siege warfare during the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 911 to 609 B.C.
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For one thousand years, chariots rolled through the Middle East, terrifying armies, destroying infantry lines and changing the face of war. Sumerians used heavy battlewagons with solid wheels drawn by wild asses around 2600 B.C. Until the innovation of spoked wheels, the weight of the battlewagons hindered their utility in war. The domestication of the horse inspired further chariot innovation as horses... Read More