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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 162

had its great circuit of Byzantine walls stretching up the slopes of Mount
Silpius to the citadel that crowned the summit. Today mostly mere foundations
(vol. I, 1958 ed., fig. 2A), they still cause wonder at the scale and problems
of their construction. History has given to the Antiochene castles a character
of their own. Small Byzantine strongholds were numerous on the defiles of
the Amanus mountains and in the plain stretching towards Aleppo; these were
occupied by the crusaders and in many cases little altered. The principality
in its early days threatened Aleppo, and the Franks fortified Sarmadã
and al-Athärib as advanced posts against it, but their hold was brief
and uncertain and Moslem reconquest swept them back to a confined area around
Antioch itself, destroying or rebuilding their castles in the plain. Hãrim,
where on a large tell the Franks enlarged a Byzantine strong point, was completely
rebuilt by az-Zãhir at the beginning of the thirteenth century and
the slopes faced with stone as in the great citadel at Aleppo. To the southeast,
controlling the Orontes valley, were a group of fortresses, many of them
known only as names of uncertain identification. To the northwest of the
bridge at Jisr ash-Shughur was the double castle of Shughr Bakãs.
It is built on a narrow spur separated from the hillside by an artificially
cut ditch, similar to that at Saone but much less deep. The peculiarity of
the setting is a depression in the middle of the spur, which has been emphasized
by ditches cut at either end of it and which separates the castle into two
independent units. Taken by Saladin in 1188, it was not recaptured, and the
present somewhat scanty ruins seem mainly Moslem rebuilding of the thirteenth
 To the south of the river crossing, high in the hills overlooking the path
through to Latakia, the castle of Bourzey, possibly the Rochefort of some
crusading documents, still has a tower of roughly bossed masonry which may
be Frank, but which is poor and hurried building. It depended on its natural
strength rather than its walls. Hidden in the hills in the bend made by the
Orontes, off the main tracks, the "little castle" (al-Qusair), the Cursat
of the crusades (Qal'at az-Zau), is somewhat better preserved.35 T11e property
of the Latin patriarch of Antioch, frequently his retreat in times of dispute,
its repair was financed by the papacy in 1256, and the two rounded towers
still standing are owed to this assistance. They are built in bossed stone,
the bosses being chiseled smooth, and are indeed of a "pulchra fortitudo"
worthy of the special interest of Rome in their 
35. Van Berchem and Fatio, Voyage, I, 24 1-251. 

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