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Castle, fortified dwelling, built to dominate and guard a region. The term derives from the Roman castellum (fort or frontier stronghold). In Western Europe, most of the extant castles were built between 1000 and 1500, often on an artificial mound, with a palisaded courtyard. Later, the stockade was replaced by masonry keeps, or dungeons; defensive outer walls; and frequently a moat and drawbridge. With the decline of feudalism, the castle evolved into the Renaissance château, with its emphasis on splendor rather than on fortification.

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