World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Enceinte

Article Id: WHEBN0003201899
Reproduction Date:

Title: Enceinte  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Bergfried, Tantallon Castle, Tenaille, Warfare in Medieval Scotland, Ward (castle)
Collection: Castle Architecture
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Enceinte

Enceinte of Khotyn Fortress in Ukraine
The keep of Château de Vincennes protected by its own isolated enceinte
Krak des Chevaliers: a concentric castle.

Enceinte (from Latin incinctus: girdled, surrounded), is a French term denoting the "main defensive enclosure of a fortification".[1] For a castle this is the main defensive line of wall towers and curtain walls enclosing the position. For a settlement it would be the main town wall with its associated gatehouses and towers and walls.

According to the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, the term was strictly applied to the continuous line of bastions and curtain walls forming "the body of the place", this last expression being often used as synonymous with enceinte. However, the outworks or defensive wall close to the enceinte were not considered as forming part of it. In early 20th-century fortification, the enceinte was usually simply the innermost continuous line of fortifications.[2]

In architecture, generally, an enceinte is the close or precinct of a cathedral, abbey, castle, etc.[2]

Contents

  • Features 1
  • Other meaning 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4

Features

The enceinte may be laid out as a freestanding structure or combined with buildings adjoining the outer walls. [3] The enceinte not only provided passive protection for the areas behind it, but was usually an important component of the defence with its wall walks (often surmounted by battlements), embrasures and covered firing positions.

The outline of the enceinte, with its fortified towers and domestic buildings, shaped the silhouette of a castle. The ground plan of an enceinte is affected by the terrain. The enceintes of hill castles often have an irregular polygonal shape dictated by the topography, whilst lowland castles more frequently have a regular rectangular shape, as exemplified by quadrangular castles.

From the 12th century onwards an additional enclosure called a zwinger was often built in front of the enceinte of many European castles. This afforded an additional layer of defence as it formed a killing ground in front of the main defensive wall. Sometimes - depending on the size and type of the surrounding fortifications − several wall systems were built (e.g. as zwingers) that could also be used to keep dogs, wild boar or bears, or even cattle in times of need. During the Baroque era it was not uncommon for these enclosures to be turned into pleasure gardens as for example in Dresden).

Other meaning

Enceinte is also an archaic euphemism for pregnant.[4]

Notes

  1. ^ Friar 2003, p. 105.
  2. ^ a b Chisholm 1911, p. 368.
  3. ^ Piper 1967, p. 319.
  4. ^ "Enceinte". Merriam-Webster. 

References

  • Friar, Stephen (2003), The Sutton Companion to Castles, Stroud: Sutton Publishing, p. 105,  
  •  

Attribution:

  •  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.