Eltz Castle photo taken by Tim Rebkavets
February 22, 2018

Fun Facts About Moats (Because Why Not?)

Real talk: encountering aggravating people as you go through life is about as certain as death and taxes. But as we move forward into the 21st century and beyond, it's important that the rest of us continue to build toward the sort of polite, helpful society we'd like ourselves and our descendants to live in, whether here on Earth or tooling around Mars in a vintage Tesla Roadster.

To that end, we've been trying to curb our saltier inclinations when dealing with those difficult people by taking a cue from retro architecture. "Go f#@k yourself" is so passé in 2018. Our suggestion? Tell those jerks to go jump in a moat!

If you're unfamiliar, moats are ditches used for the fortification of buildings. They've been more or less put out of business by Big Gate and/or Big Alarm System in recent centuries (damn The Man!), but there is still something charmingly brutal and anachronistic about them. Let's learn more, shall we?

depiction of ancient castle moat in Buhen, Egypt (source: Wikipedia)

 • Archeological evidence suggests that moats got their start in ancient Egypt, but it's unclear if their purpose was defensive or agricultural.

• Big Moat really took off in medieval Europe. They were a great way to guard against the use of siege weapons like battering rams & siege towers because those methods of attack relied upon close proximity to castle walls. Dry (your run-of-the-mill deep, wide ditch) or wet (filled with water, like a boss), moats helped keep pesky invaders at a distance.

Crocodile (source: David Clode, Unsplash)

• Popular depictions of medieval moats in TV and movies usually involve wet moats filled with flesh-eating creatures like crocodiles and alligators as an added level of defense, but this is a myth (or is it? See below). It would be almost impossible for apex predators like those to survive in a moat. However, wet moats were often stocked with fish and eels for use as a supplementary food source for the castle's inhabitants.

• Despite predator-filled moats being a logistical improbability, that hasn't stopped it from remaining a draconian Bond villain-esque fantasy in the modern age. Indonesia's drug czar revealed in 2015 that he was seriously considering surrounding prisons with croc-filled moats (as well as piranha-filled moats and tiger-filled dry moats for good measure) as a way to eliminate bribery of human guards as an escape risk for incarcerated drug traffickers. Because bribing animals is impossible, right? It just cannot be done

All that said, a person can always dream, can't they?

That's it for now! Until next week, 

Peace, love, and tacos,