Medieval Fortifications in Cilicia

The Armenian Contribution to Military Architecture in the Middle Ages


In Medieval Fortifications in Cilicia Dweezil Vandekerckhove offers an account of the origins, development and spatial distribution of fortified sites in the Armenian Kingdom (1198-1375). Despite the abundance of archaeological remains, the Armenian heritage had previously not been closely studied. However, through the examination of known and newly identified castles, this work has now increased the number of sites and features associated with the Armenian Kingdom.
By the construction of numerous powerful castles, the Armenians succeeded in establishing an independent kingdom, which lasted until the Mamluk conquest in 1375. Dweezil Vandekerckhove convincingly proves that the medieval castles in Cilicia are of outstanding architectural interest, with a significant place in the history of military architecture.

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Dweezil Vandekerckhove, Ph.D. (2015), Cardiff University, is currently a policy advisor for the Flemish Liberal Party (Open Vld) on cultural heritage. He has given lectures and appeared on national radio about his archaeological discoveries in Cilicia.
"Vandekerckhove makes a compelling case for Armenian castle-builders as adaptive and innovative. His model provides an important baseline which can be tested by future research and his chapters include numerous suggestions for what further work needs to be done. In summary, this book represents a milestone for scholarship on castles, military architecture and the medieval eastern Mediterranean, not to mention providing a much-needed critical study of Armenian Cilicia". Alks Pluskowski, in Medieval Archaeology, 65 (1), 2021.
 List of Illustartions

Sources and Historiography
  1.1 Historiography: The Discovery of Armenian Cilicia
  1.2 Sources
   1.2.1 The Armenian Sources
   1.2.2 The Syrian Sources
   1.2.3 The Greek Sources
   1.2.4 The Latin and Frankish Sources
   1.2.5 The Arabic Sources
  1.3 Archaeological Research

 2 Historical Outline of Cilicia (969–1375)
  2.1 The Geography of the Armenian Kingdom
   2.1.1 Cilicia Trachea (or Rough Cilicia)
   2.1.2 Cilicia Pedias
   2.1.3 Rubenid and Hetʿumid Region in the Taurus Mountains
   2.1.4 Amanus Region
  2.2 Armenian Settlement (969–1097)
   2.2.1 From the Caucasus to the Mediterranean Sea
   2.2.2 The Establishment of Armenian Baronies in the Eastern Mediterranean Coastlands
   2.2.3 The Origin of the Hetʿumids and Rubenids in Cilicia
  2.3 Norman Cilicia (1097–1112)
   2.3.1 The Arrival of the First Crusade in Cilicia (August–September 1097)
   2.3.2 A Multitude of Rulers: Hetʻumids, Rubenids, Franks, and Seljuks in the Cilician Plain (September–October 1097)
   2.3.3 Tancred, Norman Master of Cilicia (1097–1099)
   2.3.4 The Second Norman Conquest of Cilicia and the Battle of Harran (1101–1104)
   2.3.5 The Expansion of the Principality of Antioch and the Treaty of Devol (1106–1112)
  2.4 Towards an Armenian Kingdom (1112–1198)
   2.4.1 Komnenian Intervention (1081–1143)
   2.4.2 The Rise of the Rubenids (1143–1188)
   2.4.3 From Baron to King
  2.5 The Armenian Kingdom (1198–1375)
   2.5.1 Levon and the Role of the Military Orders
   2.5.2 Hetʿum I (r. 1226–1269)
   2.5.3 From the Rise of the Mamluks to the Fall of the Armenian Kingdom (1269–1375)

 3Fortifications and Geography
  3.1 Fortifications in their Historical Landscape
   3.1.1 Cilicia: Crossroads between the West and East
   3.1.2 Settlement Patterns in Byzantine Cilicia (450–650)
   3.1.3 Cilicia on the Islamic-Byzantine frontier: The Construction of the Frontier or al-thughūr
   3.1.4 Cilicia on the Islamic-Byzantine Frontier: A Process of Incastellamento or Kastroktisia Byzantine Skirmishing Tactics in the Taurus Region (650–950) Process of Incastellamento or Kastroktisia Phrouria, Aplèkta, Kastra, and Kataphygia Arab Occupation of the Cilician Plain and Amanus Mountains (650–950) Byzantine Re-conquest and Construction of Fortifications
  3.2Strategy and the Spatial Distribution of Fortifications
   3.2.1 General Principles
   3.2.2 A Google Earth Analysis The Spatial Distribution of Fortifications Newly Built Constructions (1075–1350) Refortification and Occupation
   3.2.3 Land Routes, Rivers and Topography as Variables for the Distribution of Fortifications Cilicia Trachea Hetʿumid Region Cilicia Pedias Rubenid Region Amanus
   3.2.4 The Idea of Intervisibility
  3.3 Towards a More Dyanamic Model
   3.3.1 Cities The Hetʿumid and Rubenid Barony, Two Spheres of Influence, 1075–1198 The Armenian Kingdom, Tarsus and Sis (1198–1266) Fortifications and the Mamluk Threat (1266–1375) The Armenian Kingdom, Zones of Concentration (1198–1375) The Role of the Monasteries

 4The Form and Functions of the Armenian Fortifications in Cilicia
  4.1 Byzantine, Arab and Crusader Inheritance
   4.1.1 The Byzantine Inheritance
   4.1.2 The Arab Inheritance
   4.1.3 The Crusader Inheritance Principality of Antioch Hospitallers Teutonic Knights Templars
  4.2 Typology of Surviving Armenian Fortifications
   4.2.1 Raisons d’être and Functions
   4.2.2 A Typology for Medieval Fortifications in Cilicia Watch Posts Quadrangular Enclosure Castle with Projecting Towers (Forts, Quadriburgia, Castella, or Castra) Tower Keeps/Hall Houses Keep Tower and Bailey Castle without Enclosure Enclosure Castle Fortress/Citadel Sea Castle
   4.2.3 Conclusion
  4.3 Rural Settlements with Fortifications
   4.3.1 Introduction
   4.3.2 Catalogue of Settlements Aladağ Andıl Babaoğlan Çem Fındıkpınar Oğlan (near Kızlar) Sinap (near Lampron) Vahga
   4.3.3 Conclusion

The Characteristics of Armenian Military Architecture
  5.1 The Influence of Byzantine Military Architecture
   5.1.1 Siting and Lay-out of Byzantine Fortifications
   5.1.2 Byzantine Masonry
   5.1.3 Byzantine Mural Towers
  5.2 Armenian Military Architecture
   5.2.1 Armenian Masonry
   5.2.2 Theoretical Background
   5.2.3 A Model for Armenian Masonry
   5.2.4 Gateways
   5.2.5 Posterns
   5.2.6 Design of Gateways
   5.2.7 Other Components of Armenian Fortifications Curtain Walls Battlements, Hoardings (bretêche/brattices), and Slit-Machicolation Arrow-Slits Round -and D-Shaped Towers
  5.3 Conclusion

 6General Conclusion
  Appendix 1
  Appendix 2
  Appendix 3

   Primary Sources
   Secondary Sources
All interested in the history of the Crusades, medieval warfare and military architecture, and anyone concerned with the Armenian heritage in the Middle East.
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