21 September 2007

Castle Trivia!

I'm leaving in half an hour to go to the castle, so I'm surfing Wikipedia. Here are some interesting bits of trivia about the castle and the lands it used to rule (little places like England, and Ireland).

Catherine de Medici had the castle restored, but her son Henry III had the towers shortened and used the stones to build streets and develop the city of Angers.

For a while, the castle was turned into a military academy. One of those it trained was the first Duke of Wellington, who later defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.

The Plantagenet dynasty, which is now sometimes called the Angevin Empire even though it wasn't an empire, ruled over half of medieval France, England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland to some extent. The first Angevin dynasty also ruled Jerusalem; the second ruled Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Sicily and Naples. It wasn't a very strict rule, except in England, where the king established rule through shires and sheriffs and reduced the power of the nobility. What time period was this? 12th and 13th centuries: the time of Robin Hood! Kind Richard, the one they all liked in the stories, was the Plantagenet king.

Essentially, the Plantagenet dynasty was the main part of the Norman invasion, which took English into a new era. The Norman influence is why we have so many Latin-based words in English now.

The Angevin kings replaced beer and cider with wine as the main drink.

The castle holds the Apocalypse tapestry, which happens to be the biggest in the world.

Time to leave for the bus. I'm sure I'll have more interesting tidbits once I've actually been inside the place!

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