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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The art and architecture of the crusader states

IV: Military Architecture in the Crusader States in Palestine and Syria,   pp. 140-164 PDF (8.9 MB)

Page 160

citizens gave their labor and many prisoners of war were employed. Twenty
years later, when the bishop revisited Palestine, he found a magnificent
castle on the site where he had laid the first foundation stone. For all
its ditches and seven great towers, it was not to remain in Christian hands.
In 1266 Safad fell.Today, among its vague ruins, the ground plan and scheme
of defenses cannot be clearly traced. 
 The last work undertaken by the Templars was at the castle of Belfort (Qal'at
ash-Shaqif).28 This too was one of Fulk's buildings, originally a rectangular
keep of two stories overlooking a rock-cut ditch, the central point of an
irregular circuit of walls surrounding the plateau above the river Litani.
The type of masonry and scheme of the building suggest a date contemporary
with the crusading works at Saone and the first buildings at Krak. Belfort
then belonged to the lords of Sidon, and its siege by Saladin, when Reginald
of Sidon's negotiations and eventually his fortitude under torture gained
time for the crusading concentration on Acre, was a critical episode of the
campaign. Belfort fell, however, and from 1190 to 1240 was in Moslem hands.
The two round towers with their skillfully rounded glacis, the finest work
of the building, may date from the time of al-'Adil, though they have closer
points of resemblance with Baybars's work at Krak. In 1240 it was restored
by treaty, and in 1260 Julian of Sidon, after his irresponsible raids had
roused the Mongols to the plunder of his city, sold it to the Templars. The
fine hall, built in smooth-faced masonry, with ribbed vaults, much decayed
since Rey drew it in 1 859, must be their work. In 1268 the castle finally
fell: a carved lion, the emblem of its conqueror, Baybars, has been found
among the ruins. 
 The castles as such by no means represent the whole of the crusaders' activity
in fortification. Much of their work consisted of town walls, and some of
their most celebrated strong points are elements in schemes of city defense.
The strength of the city of Tyre was such that, Ibn-Jubair says, "it was
spoken of proverbially."29 Across the narrow isthmus which joined it to the
mainland there were three walls with twelve towers: "I have never seen better
ones," wrote Burchard, "in any part of the world." 30 Along the coast the
story of the town walls is one of constant rebuilding. Acre, Jaffa, Ascalon
were erected only to be overthrown. Acre in the thirteenth 
28. Desehamps, Defense du royaume, pp. 176-209. 
29. RHC, Or., III, 451-455; The Travels of lbn jubayr, tr. Broadhurst, p.319.
30. Laurent,Peregrinatores, p.25. 

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