The art of fortification had reached a high state of development even at the dawn of history. Powerful military works, dating from the remotest periods, have been found in Asia Minor, in Greece, and in the basins of the Tigris, the Euphrates, and the Nile rivers. The medieval castle, with its strategic, crenellated ramparts and aura of legend and romance, represents perhaps the most familiar form of a long-crucial art. This concise, scholarly volume traces the history of the castle from its ancient roots in the Levant, through Roman times and the Middle Ages, to the fanciful chateaux of the sixteenth century. Profusely illustrated with nearly 200 photographs, floor-plan diagrams, and pen-and-ink renderings, Castles explores innovations in castle design, siege operations, artillery, and other weapons, living conditions within the castle, and clearly explains intriguing features of construction: moats, baileys, keeps, donjons, barbicans, double curtains, loopholes, and many others. In addition, noted historian and fortification expert Sidney Toy takes the reader on a detailed guided tour of over 120 of the most famous castles and fortresses of Europe and the Middle East. Explore Caernarvon Castle (associated with the Princes of Wales), Dover Castle, Arundel Castle, Hadrian's Wall, the Tower of London, the famed city of Troy, and dozens of others in vivid accounts focusing on the architecture, offensive and defensive modifications, and historical importance of each structure or site. Castle enthusiasts, medievalists, military buffs, travelers, and anyone interested in the evolution and development of the castle will find this meticulously researched overview an informative and absorbing account.