Medieval Europe was full of castles, why did ancient China never build castles?

The ancient times of Europe was a castle age. Due to the enfeoffment system, each nobleman had his own castle, which directly led to the war in the Middle Ages, which was also a war between castles.

The castle combines the functions of a fortress and a palace, and refers to the “self-sufficient private armed residence of the lord”. Due to the different construction periods and locations, castles have many different forms and features, but generally have defensive fortifications such as walls and crenels. Many castles were originally built of mud and wood, with a central tower where the lord lived, surrounded by only a few low walls. Because of its lack of defense, the fortifications were often rebuilt with stone later.

The castle has layers of defense, which are easy to defend and difficult to attack. It can fight dozens of times the enemy with very little strength. It is the absolute core of defense and is highly valued by Europeans. So to this day, castles can still be seen everywhere in Europe. However, foreigners have a question, why did not build castles in ancient China?

1. The scale of war in ancient China was quite large.

In 1420, China had a big city with a population of more than 1.2 million (Paris was only 200,000). Such a war would require at least 100,000 troops to besiege the city, just like Zhu Di did in the Ming Dynasty. In this level of war, the castle was nothing compared to the city walls of Nanjing. It was either breached by catapults in the distance, or the soldiers inside came out and surrendered themselves after the siege ran out of ammunition and food.

China does have castles, but there are very few of them. Most of them are stationed in the countryside or next to the Great Wall as garrison or fortress. It’s just that for China, the city itself is a fortress. Usually, the richer and bigger the city is, the taller and stronger the city walls and towers will be, making the city itself a huge castle.

2. The scale of ancient Chinese wars was large.

European wars are only a few hundred or a few thousand people, while in China, it is not uncommon for both sides to dispatch 400,000 or 800,000 people, which is impossible in the castle war. Therefore, the Chinese will use tall city walls as barriers to protect the population, and then use infantry or cavalry to fight outside the city. This kind of large-scale battle, the castle defense in Europe will not work, as for the 300 Spartan warriors, they can’t even last a minute!

3. China does not need to build castles.

In the late 12th and early 13th centuries, the scientific study of castle defenses began. This study emphasized the fire on the sides, under whose influence people began to erect a large number of towers in the castle. As a result, new castles are often polygonal and have a set of fortifications that can concentrate fire at the same time. These fortification improvements were also influenced by many other aspects, such as the way castles were built by the Crusaders and inspired by ancient Roman fortresses.

The elements of castle architecture are not all used for military purposes. Designs such as moats have gradually become a symbol of power from their original defense purpose. Appears majestic and important in the landscape.

Compared with Europe in the Middle Ages, China was unified at that time, the emperor held the power and did not need a castle to protect it, in addition to dealing with the invasion from the north, this is also the reason why they built the Great Wall. In Europe and Japan, power is in the hands of local lords and knights, and they are out of control, constantly fighting each other.

4. Castles were not used in ancient China.

We all know that castles are a sign of the collapse of urban life, but China has never collapsed like Western Europe. And Chinese culture is built on a collective society, not as individualistic as in Europe.

In China, if the feudal landlords dared to build castles, regardless of the life or death of the common people, they would not be far from their heads. What do you think about this?