The positioning and construction of castles in ancient times responded not only to strategic opportunity, but also to the issue of geomorphological risk. We investigated castles and strongholds built in the era of the Great Countess Matilda of Canossa in part of the northern Apennines (Italy), in order to study the relationship between their positioning and the distribution of geomorphological and geological hazards. We observe how the location of castles follows clear patterns of avoidance of potential hazards: castles are kept far from the main fault systems and stream networks, and are mainly at a safe distance from landslide- and badlands-susceptible terrains. The knowledge of Medieval communities on landscape hazards was sufficiently advanced to minimise risks, while maintaining the strategic value of fortifications.

Matilda’s castles, northern Apennines: geological and geomorphological constrains / G.S. Mariani, F. Brandolini, M. Pelfini, A. Zerboni. - In: JOURNAL OF MAPS. - ISSN 1744-5647. - 15:2(2019), pp. 521-529.

Matilda’s castles, northern Apennines: geological and geomorphological constrains

G.S. Mariani
Primo
;
F. Brandolini
Secondo
;
M. Pelfini
Penultimo
;
A. Zerboni
Ultimo
Conceptualization
2019

Abstract

The positioning and construction of castles in ancient times responded not only to strategic opportunity, but also to the issue of geomorphological risk. We investigated castles and strongholds built in the era of the Great Countess Matilda of Canossa in part of the northern Apennines (Italy), in order to study the relationship between their positioning and the distribution of geomorphological and geological hazards. We observe how the location of castles follows clear patterns of avoidance of potential hazards: castles are kept far from the main fault systems and stream networks, and are mainly at a safe distance from landslide- and badlands-susceptible terrains. The knowledge of Medieval communities on landscape hazards was sufficiently advanced to minimise risks, while maintaining the strategic value of fortifications.
Geomorphological risk; landslides; castles; Middle Ages; Apennines; Matilda of Canossa
Settore GEO/04 - Geografia Fisica e Geomorfologia
SUCCESSO-TERRA-Società Umane, Cambiamenti Climatico-ambientali e Sfruttamento/Sostenibilità delle risorse durante l'Olocene medio in Pianura Padana. Il caso delle Terramare
17-giu-2019
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/650829
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