Saracen Strongholds 1100-1500: The Central and Eastern Islamic Lands (Fortress)
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By the time of the Crusades, the Islamic world had developed its own sophisticated styles of fortification. Distinctive and highly effective, the region's unique military architecture continued to evolve in response to the Crusader and Mongol threats, and also drew upon the traditions of their foes and neighbors. The resulting Islamic concepts of military architecture had an influence upon fortifications in Western Europe, including Italy and the Iberian Peninsula. Rather than providing security for feudal aristocracies, however, as was increasingly the case in Europe, Islamic fortifications continued to focus upon the defence of cities and frontiers
Covering fortifications as far apart as North Africa, Afghanistan and northern India, this volume focuses on the Islamic side of the conflict, highlighting the fortifications in use when the Crusaders sought to reconquer the Holy Land, as well as the eventual absorption of the territories of Byzantium into the Islamic world.
above which the core of the wall itself and its bastions were of dark red, exceptionally hard, firedbrick. The main outer surfaces were then covered with much softer mud-bricks, which may have provided an effective cushion against mangonel stones (Pope 1939, p. 1245). Meanwhile in northern Iraq the fortified city of Mosul still formed a semi-circle on the west bank of the River Tigris. According to the Persian chronicler Hamidullah Mustawfi al-Qazwini, writing in the first half of 27 the 14th
ruled. Meanwhile, most court ceremony and the activities of government were hidden from ordinary people, so that when the ruler and his entourage did emerge for a particular event, their appearance 'before the multitude' was even more significant. Nevertheless, court life and that of the military elites started to change with the Seljuk Turkish conquests of the 11th century. A new form of court-citadel emerged in the late 11th-century Middle East, in areas ruled by the Great Seljuk sultanate.
passage of the upper gate complex of the Citadel of Aleppo was protected by a series of box machicolations. However, their cramped interiors must have reduced their effectiveness, a man having to kneel to get inside. (Fred Nicolle and author's photograph) We were once sitting in the hallway at the entrance of the castle with our full equipment and swords. All of a sudden an old man appeared running towards us and said, 'O Moslems! Your private family quarters! The Rumis have entered the town'.
Nevertheless, Mamluk Alexandria was only defended by a small force plus local volunteers, so perhaps such stores may have been intended for use by a relief army rather than the resident garrison. The Genoese naval raiding party that attacked a fortified tower at Sidon in 1383 only seems to have been resisted by a small force, which suffered heavily from the crossbowmen - the most important offensive element in the Genoese fleet (Ashtor and Kedar 1975, pp. 19-21). The penultimate Mamluk ruler,
Tigris. To the south, near the River Euphrates, the castle of Rahba was repaired and strengthened several times, the work dating from the 12th-century period of Nur al-Din combining traditional brick and stone. Far away in Oman, the Indian Ocean port of Qalhat had an extensive but crude city wall whose outer and inner surfaces were of uncut freestone with an infill of rubble, plus small, widely spaced rectangular towers. The restored enclosure wall and new gate complex which turned the Temple of