The Middle Ages, also referred to as the ‘Dark Ages’, was the medieval period in European history between the 5th and 15th centuries. It started from the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD until it gradually made way for the Renaissance period in 1450. This period is called the ‘Dark Ages’ because Europe became a fairly grim place after Rome and Greece were conquered. However, the medieval period that lasted about 1,000 years wasn’t all that grim after all. We say this because the Middle Ages left behind astonishing castles, fortifications, and fortresses. Some well-known medieval castles are still standing at present, with all their majestic grandeur remaining unscathed. But why did this period built so many sophisticated castles?
In the late Middle Ages, there was a series of wars between France and England that lasted for 116 years. The infamous war is what we all know as the ‘Hundred Years’ War’. The long war was the result of a struggle between the two countries on taking over the French throne. During those times, castles were primarily constructed for the purpose of protection against attackers. But the most surprising thing about these surviving medieval castles is that all of them share one common detail. They all have spiral staircases.
For centuries, people thought that spiral staircases were just a trend in medieval architecture. But that may not be the case after all. Tumblr user nasanerd09 posted a detailed explanation on why medieval castles employ the use of spiral staircases. Since the thread started, history enthusiasts began to weigh in some additional facts to confirm the real purpose behind the spiral design.
Here are some fascinating facts about the spiral staircases of medieval castles that you need to know:
According to studies, approximately 90% of the world population is right-handed, leaving the left-handed people to the minority. Due to this fact, medieval architects designed castles in a way that attackers won’t be able to fully utilize their dominant hands. On the other hand, the spiral staircases could lead to a left-handed person’s advantage. But being left-handed during the Middle Ages isn’t actually a better thing because there are several disadvantages that come with. Most swords and other weapons are specifically designed to be used by the right hand. Moreover, left-handed knights were not allowed to joust.