What can we learn from computer games about medieval warfare?From 1000-1400fighting
So far you have studiedMedieval weaponsMedieval armourYouve compared your new knowledge to the computer games and asked how useful games are
Today you will investigate: What can we learn from computer games about medieval castles?
The REAL history of castles
In pairs, you are Master Castle BuildersYou have been hired by the Kings of England to build castles for them You are about to receive your first instructionsListen carefullythe instructions will give you advice on how to build your castle
The year is 1066William the Conqueror has just won at the Battle of Hastings to become King of EnglandBut in many parts of England the people dont want him to be King, so they are fighting against himWilliam and his soldiers must be protected and the English people must be shown who is boss, so he decides to build a castleBut he says it must be built very quicklyWilliam only has wood and earth (soil) availableIt is very important that he is high up to see any danger approachingHe needs an area for the soldiers to live in too
Wooden fenceHill (made from soil)Square wooden castle, high up to see enemiesWooden houses for soldiers1066
The year is 1081The castles William first built have problemsThe wood is rotting in the heavy rain, making them weakAlso, wood catches fire easily, so Williams castles are at risk of being burnt downFinally, you need bigger buildings for your soldiers to live in there is not enough room in the old designBut King William still needs to keep control of EnglandHe has more servants now, and more moneyStone is availableWilliam thinks the way the wooden castles looked was good
Square stone castle (same design as the wooden ones)Lots of levels giving room for many soldiers1081
The year is 1126Some English people have worked out that they can make your stone castles collapse!They are digging holes under the stone walls, so the stone wall falls into it breaking a hole in the castle so they can attack the soldiersYou must add extra defences to your castlesYou must act quickly do not re-design your castle: just add something that will protect itStone is availableMoney is available too
Same square stone castle from beforeNew wall to protect the castle, giving extra defence1126
The year is 1272The English are surrounding castles (called a siege)If 100s of them surround it, the soldiers inside are trapped in one place, and will starveYou must revise your castle designMake sure that the soldiers cannot be trapped in one placeIt would be good idea to have lots of little castles within one bigger design, and more walls to protect people insideAlso, you discover that round walls wont collapse if anyone digs under themStone is availableMoney is available too
Lots of towers instead of one single castleRounded walls1272
What are we learning about castles? True or false?All castles were made of woodWooden castles had to be replaced by stone castlesThere was only ONE type of castle designThere were DIFFERENT types of castle designCastle designs were all invented at the same timeCastle designs were invented bit by bit they changed over timeNew castle designs happened mostly because of problems with the old designs
1272112610811066How castle design changed over time
But do computer games make us think the right thing about medieval castles??
The computer games say this is how castles looked in 1191Two walls protecting castleSquare towerLots of towers not just oneInsert screen shot from computer games
Square towerAt least two protective wallsRounded towerInsert screen shot from computer games
Castle on a hillSquare towerRounded towerInsert screen shot from computer games
Compare the computer games to the REAL historyCan you spot the problem?
Clue: look at the date the computer games say they are Did the design of the castles in the games actually exist then?
How useful are computer games for learning history?Write a paragraph explaining how useful you think computer games are for learning about castlesFirst explain why they are useful (what have they got right).Next explain why they are not so useful (what have they got wrong)Try to suggest why you think they get things wrong (think about the purpose of a game, and the motive of the game designers)Finally, suggest what else a really good historian could do to check the historical accuracy of games
Final thoughtsWe can learn history from LOTS of different sources, like computer games, films, books and the internetEach source gives us a slightly different view of the pastSo we should always COMPARE sources to get our thinking right!
Ps. Why not visit the Towerof London: an amazing castle here in London!