Skip to content

Review of Castles of Europe: From Charlemagne to the Renaissance

Castles of Europe - William Anderson - Medieval Castles - Medieval Europe - Middle Ages History - Medieval HistoryCastles of Europe: From Charlemagne to the Renaissance
By William Anderson, Photographs by Wim Swaan
Copyright 1970 – Paul Elek Productions, London; Random House, USA

Castles of Europe: From Charlemagne to the Renaissance is an older book — at least the edition I own — and you’ll likely have to find a used copy if you want to buy it. While nearly forty years old, this book really has some wonderful photographs of medieval castles throughout Europe. The pages are large, and some of the photographs take up the entire page in sharp detail. There are also plenty of illuminations and castle diagrams to study.

The book is broken out into ten chapters, spanning various regional architectural designs of castles down through the centuries of middle ages history. These chapters include:

  1. The Origins of the European Castle (e.g. – Byzantium, the knights of Charlemagne, the Vikings)
  2. Castles in an Age of Conquest (the Normans conquest of England, the motte-and-bailey castle, German castles in the 11th century, the first Crusade)
  3. Castles of the 12th and 13th Centuries — Soldiers, Masons, Ladies, and Lovers (the knights, arms and armor, day-to-day life)
  4. Capetians and Angevins (Castles in the Holy Land, Henry II, Castles in 13th century England, Spain and Portugal)
  5. Hohenstaufens and Communes — German, Austrian, Swiss, and Italian Castles of the 12th and 13th Centuries)
  6. Warfare, Courts, and Castles in the 14th and 15th Centuries (the castle in a changing world, towns and technology)
  7. French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese Castles of the 14th and 15th Centuries (includes The Hundred Years War)
  8. Castles of Eastern, Central, and Mediterranean Europe in the 14th and 15th Centuries (Teutonic Knights, the Hussite wars, castles of the Netherlands)
  9. Kings, Cannons, and Gunpowder
  10. Changes and Transformations – the Later History of the Castle

In addition to photographs, illuminations, and diagrams, Castles of Europe also has plenty of middle ages history text surrounding the life of a castle : people, events, battles, etc. It is a thick volume of work, some 302 pages including the notes at the end. Its physical size is approximately half an arm in length.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars