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Subject: A thematically better name for the first castle section? rss

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Jason Martin
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sthrjo wrote:
The english rules names the first castle section as "dungeon", and the swedish rules names it (translated) "basement". However I think medieval castles were built around a mini-castle, lat. castellum, or in swedish kastal, kärntorn ("nucleus tower" or something). Secondly the walls were erected, and then towers at the corners of the wall. This was the way castles were built generally, for instance the old castle of Stockholm. Im asking for an english (and german, and french) better word for the first castle section? The picture on the game-board supports my claim that it is not the dungeons or basement that is built in the first section, it is the castellum.


Logical first section would be the keep.
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Walt
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"A keep was a great tower and usually the most strongly defended point of a castle before the introduction of concentric defence. "Keep" was not a term used in the medieval period -- the term was applied from the 16th century onwards -- instead "donjon" was used to refer to great towers, or turris in Latin. In motte-and-bailey castles, the keep was on top of the motte. "Dungeon" is a corrupted form of "donjon" and means a dark, unwelcoming prison." -- Wikipedia, "Castle"
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Jason Martin
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Tall_Walt wrote:
"A keep was a great tower and usually the most strongly defended point of a castle before the introduction of concentric defence. "Keep" was not a term used in the medieval period -- the term was applied from the 16th century onwards -- instead "donjon" was used to refer to great towers, or turris in Latin. In motte-and-bailey castles, the keep was on top of the motte. "Dungeon" is a corrupted form of "donjon" and means a dark, unwelcoming prison." -- Wikipedia, "Castle"


Very enlightening...but how is it relevant? All art made in an era is about the current era, whether set in the past, present, or future. According to your implied complaint, Wallace's Byzantium should be called "Rome", and terms like bronze and Copper age should never be used.

Perspective.
 
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Quote:
Logical first section would be the keep.


Agreed. Especially since the Keep would be the most valuable part. ("Dungeon" is such an odd choice.)

However, comparing the pictures of the sections to the picture of the completed castle, I usually teach it as:

Towers -> Walls -> Keep
 
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Nicolas V.
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I guess the problem is that "donjon" in french means "keep" in english and not "dungeon".
But "dungeons and dragons" is translated in french by "donjons et dragons" which is inaccurate !
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Jason Martin
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soupline wrote:
I guess the problem is that "donjon" in french means "keep" in english and not "dungeon".
But "dungeons and dragons" is translated in french by "donjons et dragons" which is inaccurate !


Keeps and Dragons, lofl!
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Nicolas V.
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I heard that "Drakkar" in swedish means "Dragon".
Whereas in french "drakkar" is the viking boat (longship).



Now try to translate "dungeons and dragons" in swedish
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Jason Martin
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soupline wrote:
I heard that "Drakkar" in swedish means "Dragon".
Whereas in french "drakkar" is the viking boat (longship).

:)

Now try to translate "dungeons and dragons" in swedish ;)


Dragons with a Chance of Meatballs?
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Walt
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Anjohl wrote:
Very enlightening...but how is it relevant?

It's relevant because the first-build part of the castle would be the donjon, and because it may explain why Ystari Games calls Caylus' first section "dungeon" in the first place. And, indeed, retrieving the French rules for Caylus confirms this:

"Le château est construit en 3 sections :
"● le Donjon (comportant 6 éléments) est construit avant le
premier décompte.
"● les Murailles (comportant 10 éléments) sont construites
avant le second décompte.
"● les Tours (comportant 14 éléments) sont construites avant le
troisième et dernier décompte."

Donjon, walls, towers.

Anjohl wrote:
All art made in an era is about the current era, whether set in the past, present, or future. According to your implied complaint, Wallace's Byzantium should be called "Rome", and terms like bronze and Copper age should never be used.

I fail to see how a simple quote from Wikipedia implies all this. Or even any of it! shake

My sole point was that Dungeon was probably an understandable subtle mistranslation--or over-translation--and donjon, a current English word (see 1, below), would be a good translation.
--merriam-webster.com


Keep is not quite synonymous with donjon, so I think donjon is the better choice.
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Ken Bush
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My understanding of Castles after visiting several in England was that the Dungeon was usually in the "basement" or part of the foundation therefore had to be build first.

Seems appropriate to me.
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Russ Williams
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Interesting info, from a linguistic standpoint! I always assumed that "donjon" meant "dungeon" (indeed it often seems to be (mis)translated that way, I guess thanks in large part to the popularity of Dungeons and Dragons... e.g. in the French comics series Donjon translated as "Dungeon").

Quote:
My sole point was that Dungeon was probably an understandable subtle mistranslation--or over-translation--and donjon, a current English word (see 1, below), would be a good translation.


It may be a "current English word" in the sense that it exists in some English dictionaries, but I suspect not in the sense that a majority of English speakers know it or know what it actually means... I suspect the result of using "donjon" would be indistinguishable from the result of using "dungeon" - most people would assume it means the underground part of the castle.


On the other hand, the idea that "dungeon" (even if it's a mistranslation) represents the foundation/basement/etc which must be built first before the later stuff on top of it has a definite intuitive appeal, even if it's not the logic of the original French rules.
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Jason Martin
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Tall_Walt wrote:
Anjohl wrote:
Very enlightening...but how is it relevant?

It's relevant because the first-build part of the castle would be the donjon, and because it may explain why Ystari Games calls Caylus' first section "dungeon" in the first place. And, indeed, retrieving the French rules for Caylus confirms this:

"Le château est construit en 3 sections :
"● le Donjon (comportant 6 éléments) est construit avant le
premier décompte.
"● les Murailles (comportant 10 éléments) sont construites
avant le second décompte.
"● les Tours (comportant 14 éléments) sont construites avant le
troisième et dernier décompte."

Donjon, walls, towers.

Anjohl wrote:
All art made in an era is about the current era, whether set in the past, present, or future. According to your implied complaint, Wallace's Byzantium should be called "Rome", and terms like bronze and Copper age should never be used.

I fail to see how a simple quote from Wikipedia implies all this. Or even any of it! :shake:

My sole point was that Dungeon was probably an understandable subtle mistranslation--or over-translation--and donjon, a current English word (see 1, below), would be a good translation.
--merriam-webster.com


Keep is not quite synonymous with donjon, so I think donjon is the better choice.


I might have misinterpretted your post as sarcasm, or as an insult. I am sorry if I was mistaken.
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Robert Canner
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Tall_Walt wrote:
... donjon, a current English word (see 1, below), would be a good translation.

Yes, "donjon" is quite a nice translation, for the reasons given by Walt. But for us Brits, that word is rarely used nowadays. The word on the street here is "keep".

When I was in my twenties, I visited a castle in Japan. The tourist information referred to various parts of the castle, including the "donjon". I assumed donjon was the Japanese word for a keep. (It did sound Japanese to me, like donburi or nihonjin.)

Later, in my forties, I bought Caylus Magna Carta, and realised it was not a Japanese word at all. Just an English word I had been unaware of for most of my life!
 
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