Illustrated TV tie-in to a new Dan Snow 6-part TV series on the history of castles. Each chapter focuses on one particular castle, each representing the chief style of castle and each having been tested in battle.
From the mouth of Lough Foyle in the north of Ireland, to the Alborz Mountains of Iran, castles and their ruins still dominate the landscape and our imaginations, and are a constant reminder to us today of a time when violence, or the threat of it, was the norm.
Dan Snow explores in turn the world’s greatest surviving castles: Dover Castle, ‘the Key to England’ and King John’s first line of defence against the French; Château Gaillard, Richard I’s fortress in Normandy (the only chink in whose armaments was through the latrines); Castillo de Gibalfaro, the last vanguard of Moorish rule in Southern Spain; Malbork Castle, headquarters of the evangelical and entrepreneurial Teutonic Knights in Poland; Edward I’s network of castles in Wales, with its heart at Conwy, built to suppress the rebellious Welsh princes; and Krak des Chevaliers in Syria – an astounding feat of engineering by the Crusaders, which only fell to Sultan Baibars by an underhand subterfuge.
Each castle’s story is dramatically recounted – the building techniques, day-to-day life and, crucially, how well it stood up to the onslaught of siege warfare and battle. Spanning across Europe and the Middle East, and using the latest CGI reconstructions, Dan Snow gets to the very heart of the bloodshed and battles of the greatest fortresses of the Middle Ages.