Thursday, June 13, 2013

castle keep

A "keep" or defensive tower is called a "donjon" in French.  This is one of those "faux amies" (false friends) where the French word is similar to (or the same as) an English word but the meaning is not the same.  Thus, a "dungeon" in English (a subterranean jail cell) is really the opposite of the French word "donjon" although pronounced similarly.  Unfortunately, there are other French words that can really get an anglophone in trouble.


  1. Is there any history about how many troops/attacks were defended at that position? I would not like to be one that had to descend that path to attack the gate, with people above firing arrows at me.

  2. This tower is part of the château at Chinon. During the middle ages these types of defensive measures were to ward off invasions from other competing regional powers. I don't know the details of any one skirmish here but looking at it, it's hard to see how you could ever get past the high walls with arrows being shot at you from above. Sometimes, the invaders would just lay siege to eventually starve the inhabitants to death. What fun it must have been to live in those times.