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8-08-2015, 16:11


While not strictly castles, fortified towns gained in importance and until they approached the strength—and appearance—of castles. Some towns that grew up near monasteries or castles, at trade and transportation centers, required increasingly sophisticated defenses. At first, low walls and gates distinguished a town with its royal privileges from the countryside, which lay under the control of the local lord. Town gates, locked at night, kept out strangers. By the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries a town like Carcassonne in southern France had walls, towers, and battlements that could rival a castle (see Figures 11–13). Within the city walls, people with the same interests and occupations lived together in small districts. Twisting streets and alleys led to a few public squares. Sanitation was minimal and depended on rain. Public services and safety were nonexistent. Tradespeople combined workshop, sales room, and living quarters in a single building that stood three or four stories high with brick or timber walls and thatched roofs. Fire was a constant hazard. In short, life was hard and dangerous but stimulating (Document 60). The energetic and creative people found their way to the towns and cities, leaving the more conservative to live as peasants working the land and living in feudal villages.