Defensive wall

related topics
{church, century, christian}
{city, large, area}
{war, force, army}
{@card@, make, design}
{build, building, house}
{land, century, early}
{area, part, region}
{island, water, area}
{math, energy, light}
{group, member, jewish}
{city, population, household}
{town, population, incorporate}
{village, small, smallsup}
{god, call, give}

A defensive wall is a fortification used to defend a city or settlement from potential aggressors. In ancient to modern times, they were used to enclose settlements. Generally, these are referred to as city walls or town walls, although there were also walls, such as the Great Wall of China, Hadrian's Wall, and the metaphorical Atlantic Wall, which extended far beyond the borders of a city and were used to enclose regions or mark territorial boundaries. Beyond their defensive utility many walls also had important symbolic functions — representing the status and independence of the communities they embraced.

Existing ancient walls are almost always masonry structures, although brick and timber-built variants are also known. Depending on the topography of the area surrounding the city or the settlement the wall is intended to protect, elements of the terrain (e.g. rivers or coastlines) may be incorporated in order to make the wall more effective.

Walls may only be crossed by entering the appropriate city gate and are often supplemented with towers. In the Middle Ages, the right of a settlement to build a defensive wall was a privilege, and was usually granted by the so-called "right of crenellation" on a medieval fortification. The practice of building these massive walls, though having its origins in prehistory, was refined during the rise of city-states, and energetic wall-building continued into the medieval period and beyond in certain parts of Europe.

Contents

History

From very early history to modern times, walls have been a near necessity for every city. Uruk in ancient Sumer (Mesopotamia) is one of the world's oldest known walled cities. Before that, the city (or rather proto-city) of Jericho in what is now the West Bank had a wall surrounding it as early as the 8th millennium BC.

The Assyrians deployed large labour forces to build new palaces, temples and defensive walls.[1]

Some settlements in the Indus Valley Civilization were also fortified. By about 3500 B.C., hundreds of small farming villages dotted the Indus floodplain. Many of these settlements had fortifications and planned streets. The stone and mud brick houses of Kot Diji were clustered behind massive stone flood dykes and defensive walls, for neighboring communities quarreled constantly about the control of prime agricultural land.[2] Mundigak (c. 2500 B.C.) in present day south-east Afghanistan has defensive walls and square bastions of sun dried bricks.[3]

Full article ▸

related documents
Girona
Colosseum
Durham
Avignon
Antioch
Louvre
Vic
Burgos
Westminster Abbey
Full communion
Saint Andrew
Merton College, Oxford
Monreale
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
Glendalough
Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church
Anglican Communion
Cathedral diagram
Baalbek
Madonna (art)
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Siena
Thirty-Nine Articles
Ajanta Caves
Dissolution of the Monasteries
Canonization
Jansenism
Venice
Clergy
Martin Bucer