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

VI: The arts in Frankish Greece and Rhodes,   pp. 208-250 PDF (15.7 MB)

Page 219

 Frankish sites are numerous in this neighborhood: Gastouni or Gastogne;
Santameri, a corruption of St. Omer; Vlesiri or La Glisière; but it
is not till Arcadia, the classical Cyparissia, that there are any considerable
medieval remains. Here the eastern point of the castle hill is defended by
a round tower built of small, rectangular stones, with a masonry batter sloping
down to a smooth rock face. This seems to be Frankish work, following the
capture of the castle by William of Champlitte in 1205, and is in marked
contrast to the larger blocks of the earlier Byzantine square tower at the
highest point of the hill. Inland in the hills the site of Siderokastron
is marked only by fragmentary and much overgrown masonry remains, but farther
south on the route from Arcadia to Kalamata, the castle of Androusa, the
Druges of the Chronicle of the Morea, is well preserved. It is a large single
enceinte, fortified with semicircular, polygonal, and rectangular towers,
the largest of which, on the east, possibly served as a keep. On part of
the standing walls, the platform walk is carried on an arcading of pointed
arches, whose voussoirs are decorated with a brick pattern. Though the masonry
is of small uneven stones, there are signs of unusual skill and workmanship
in the whole building. The nearby church of St. George, of typical Byzantine
bonded masonry, embodies a blocked-up Gothic door, whose moldings are of
good quality. Little is known of this castle; its competence, in this remote
southwest corner of the Morea, redeems some of the ruder works which elsewhere
recall the medieval settlement (pl. LXIIIc). 
 A short distance to the east of Androusa the fallen walls of Pidhima look
out over the Messenian plain; "Le petet mayne," the castle of Messenia, is
now an unknown site. Modon and Coron on either side of the Messenian peninsula
are purely Venetian towns. The wild and rocky Mama, the other arm of the
bay of Messenia, was guarded by Kalamata. It was here that William (II) of
Villehardouin was born in 1218, and here that he died in 1278; the castle,
much of which stands, may be Frankish work. When captured in 1205, the citadel
was found to have been converted into a monastery, and it still includes
a small Byzantine chapel. 12 Its outer court was repaired by the Venetians,
who occupied Kalamata in the seventeenth century, and the third enceinte
is clearly their work of that period. 
12. A. Bon, "Eglises byzantines de Kalamata," Actes du VIe Congrès
d'études byzantines, Paris, 27 juillet-2 aoât, 1948, II (1951),
35-50, and "La Prise de 
Kalamata par les Francs en 1205," Mélanges d'archéologie et
d'histoire offerts a Charles 
Picard a l'occasion de son 65e anniversaire, I [ = Revue archéologique,
ser. 6, XXIX-XXX 
(1949)1, 98-104. William succeeded his brother Geoffrey II in 1246. 

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