Online Encyclopedia

BRIDGEBUILDING BROTHERHOOD

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 532 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BRIDGEBUILDING BROTHERHOOD, a confraternity (Fratres Pontifices) that arose in the south of France during the latter part of the 12th century, and maintained hospices at the chief fords of the principal rivers, besides building bridges and looking after ferries. The brotherhood was recognized by Pope Clement III. in 118g. BRIDGE-HEAD (Fr. tete-du-Pont), in fortification, a work de-signed to cover the passage of a river by means of fortifications on one or both banks. As the process of moving an army over bridges is slow and complicated, it is usually necessary to secure it from hostile interruption, and the works constituting the bridge-head must therefore be sufficiently far advanced to keep the enemy's artillery out of range of the bridges. In addition, room is required for the troops to form up on the farther bank. In former days, with short-range weapons, a bridge-head was often little more than a screen for the bridge itself, but modern conditions have rendered necessary far greater extension of bridge defences.
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