Castle Moats: Holy for Some, Sewer for Others

The study of religious or heroic legends and tales. One constant rule of mythology is that whatever happens amongst the gods or other mythical beings was in one sense or another a reflection of events on earth. Recorded myths and legends, perhaps preserved in literature or folklore, have an immediate interest to archaeology in trying to unravel the nature and meaning of ancient events and traditions.

Moderators: Minimalist, MichelleH

Castle Moats: Holy for Some, Sewer for Others

Postby archaeo » Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:03 am

No mention of water as a leveling device, which I file under "possibly even 'cosmological' significance."

Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/08/1 ... -moat.html

Aug. 12, 2009 -- Over 2,000 years ago, residents of at least one royal palace enjoyed convenient indoor toilets, with the contents regularly transported to the stately mansion's surrounding moat, according to a recent excavation. The dig also found that the inhabitants struggled, and likely failed, to keep the waste flowing away from the palace.

Yet another recent excavation at an estate in Scotland indicates moat water held spiritual and possibly even "cosmological" significance. ..........
archaeo
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:22 am

Re: Castle Moats: Holy for Some, Sewer for Others

Postby Minimalist » Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:32 am

"Even if a moat was advantageous, perhaps even necessary, in defense, people living in settlements or palaces encircled by a moat might have to endure, then, the several inherent problems, such as the spread of pathogens, bad smells, the proliferation of mosquitoes, and others," concluded Dong Hoon Shin and colleagues, who excavated the moat ruins at Weolseong Palace, Korea.



Two thoughts on this.

First, micro-organisms were unknown so the link to disease is dubious in the minds of the inhabitants, and

Second, as a defensive system, it would seem logical to make the moat as unattractive as possible to potential attackers.

Although, were I personally designing the fortifications, I might be inclined to push the moat out from the walls to at least medium-to-long archery range.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
Minimalist
 
Posts: 15380
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Castle Moats: Holy for Some, Sewer for Others

Postby dannan14 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:44 am

Actually Min, that wouldn't necessarily be a good idea. A major purpose of a moat was to prevent sappers from digging under the walls. If the moat doesn't come up to the castle wall then sappers have a shot at doing their work.
dannan14
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:47 pm

Re: Castle Moats: Holy for Some, Sewer for Others

Postby Minimalist » Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:33 am

True, although they'd have to start their work on the inside of the moat and thus under steady fire from archers (crossbow or other) and catapult/ballista weapons. Might not bother the men digging underground but it would sure cause the morale of the guys who had to extract the dirt to drop. Plus, the rest of the army would have to stand by in case of a sortie. Also, it would be pretty obvious to the defenders what was going on and counter-mines were used in such cases.

Still, I have this image of the Middle Ages smelling god-awful anyway....they threw the garbage in the middle of the streets...so would they really mind a sewer flowing around the walls? Hell. The sewer might have been cleaner than the streets!
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
Minimalist
 
Posts: 15380
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Castle Moats: Holy for Some, Sewer for Others

Postby dannan14 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:48 pm

"Must be a King"

" 'ow do you know 'e's a King"

" 'e 'asn't got shit all over 'im"
dannan14
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:47 pm

Re: Castle Moats: Holy for Some, Sewer for Others

Postby Minimalist » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:57 pm

Exactly.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
Minimalist
 
Posts: 15380
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Castle Moats: Holy for Some, Sewer for Others

Postby Rokcet Scientist » Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:27 pm

Rest assured they found out very quickly that moats with stagnant water wasn't a good idea. If I were asked to guess when they found out I would say in Sumerian times or even before.

So castles and fortifications were preferably built were there was already a lot of, flowing, water. E.g. on promontories, peninsulas, were you needed to defend only one side, the 'landside', instead of four. Or at the juncture where a stream/river flowed into a lake, sea, or other stream/river, whence you needed to only dig two sides of a moat, instead of four. Flowing water, everytime. Neatly tripling functionality as a defense system, as the 'fresh' water supply system, and as the sewage system.
Rokcet Scientist
 


Return to Mythology, Ritualisms, Traditions and Folklore

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron