Medieval Architecture Study: Hollywood Castles vs. Historical Crenelations & Machicolations

Disney castles are beautiful, luxurious and dreamyallowing billions to lose themselves in romantic pleasure–but in a historical context they’re completely pointless. In the Crusader States of the 11th to 14th centuries, Christian castles riddled mountain-peaks and crossroads in the Holy Land because they were crucial for assuring the livability of Christian insurgents in a foreign land. Therefore, we can assume that THE WHOLE POINT OF CASTLES IS TO HAVE BATTLEMENTS FOR MILITARY PURPOSES!

medieval battlements
real medieval castle

I would be willing to bet you $6 that over 90% over the castles shown in video games, cartoons and all other “fantastical” castles don’t have machicolations.

Machicolations” are similar to murder holes but they are narrower, longer and located underneath the crenelations of a rampart so that archers on the wallwalks can shoot arrows and drop hazards onto besiegers huddling or scaling the side of the wall below.

Have you ever used a VHS player? Do you still have one? And all the old Disney cartoons and everything! OMG, I love you! But, hey… go grab any Disney cartoon movie off the dusty shelf and take the time to study all the castles you see, if you see any, (don’t forget popcorn) or just replay them in your mind if you’re lazy and don’t feel like following the commands of a random blogger. Disney cartoons from the time of VHS tapes were the best, btw.

To learn the difference between the fake castles and real ones, follow the following two steps…

STEP: 1

After you’ve reintroduced yourself to Disney castles, go onto your favorite online platform for searching up old pictures, images or non-VR videos and type “real medieval castles.”

What differences can you see?

STEP: 2

Hmm, for a clearer picture of why I’m asking you to do this, now search for “video game castles from 2018.”

What differences can you see?

When I do this, I see hundreds of differences, but the ones related to the title of this blog post are crenelations not being the proper size in video games and machicolations existing in history but not in video games.

medieval castle
castle and moon

For more information about the differences explained here, I advise you to consider taking Medieval Studies to learn about military history at your local university or physical school centre, if your futuristic city still has one.

Thank you for being excited about historical architecture. We hope you write about it, too. Go back to the homepage for more!