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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume IV: The art and architecture of the Crusader states

V: The arts in Cyprus,   pp. 165-207 PDF (8.9 MB)

Page 206

(pl. LXa). Though the towers recall the semicircular contour fa vored in
local Byzantine work, the castle seems to date in the main to the fourteenth
century. James I is known to have put the finishing touches to it as part
of the encirclement of the Genoese in Famagusta. 
 In contrast to their splendid fortresses in Syria, the military orders have
left scant remains in Cyprus. Of the Templar castle at Gastria on the north
side of Famagusta bay only the rock-cut ditch remains, which is to be regretted,
as it was probably the first all-Frankish castle to be built on the island,
mentioned as early as 1211. Of the tower at Khirokitia, where the marshal
of the Temple was impris oned when the order was disbanded, little remains
above ground. The Hospitallers have left, at Kolossi, the keep which was
erected as the grand commander's headquarters in the mid-fifteenth century.
With its drawbridge, machicoulis, and battlements, which make no provision
for artillery, it is a fitting representative of the later Middle Ages, unconnected
with the defense of the kingdom but built for the security of a great landowner
in troubled times. The ornamentation of the fireplaces is closely modeled
on the contemporary carving of the buildings of the knights in Rhodes. 
 To sum up the achievements of the Lusignans in this field, it can be said
first that no general program of fortification was undertaken on the establishment
of the Franks on Cyprus. They inherited from the Byzantines a network of
useful if somewhat outmoded fortresses, which were only gradually supplemented,
improved, or replaced. Surviving thirteenth-century works are on a modest
scale and owe not a little to the local Byzantine tradition. The big effort
was made after the fall of Acre. It extended well into the fourteenth century,
and it had behind it the experience of the builders of the great castles
in Syria and the fine masonry tradition of that country.10 To it belong the
walls and citadel of Famagusta, and to it we may attribute the main Frankish
works of Kyrenia, which might reasonably be styled the last of the great
crusader castles. With the prosperous years of the mid-fourteenth century
came a greater, though mistaken, sense of security, reflected in the spacious
residential accommoda tion added at St. Hilarion and Kyrenia. The Frankish
walls of Nicosia were indeed started at this time, but they neglected an
elementary principle of security in their multiplicity of gates, of which
there were no fewer than eight. The misfortunes which assailed the 
 10. The inspiration was not, however, exclusively Syrian. The steep-pitched
tiled roofs used at St. Hilarion reflect the direct influence of European

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