Before we continue our story we must stop to ask, “What is a castle?” Once a castle was defined simply as the fortified and self-sufficient dwelling of an individual feudal lord. Today we know that castles had many functions, both practical and symbolic. The castle was a new architectural form—part fortress, part residence, part statehouse, part theatrical stage. Furthermore, every castle was different, depending on the wealth of the builder, the reason for the castle (control of territory, border, coastlines), the local geography (availability of naturally defensible sites), the knowledge of the master builder or patron, the available materials, the degree of urgency (speed), and finally the building traditions of the region (the techniques the workmen knew and used). In short, there is no such thing as a typical castle; a castle was a very special building whose form and function answered the needs of people living in Europe from the eleventh through the fifteenth century.