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)
234 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES IV mortar. Much of the work was carried out by Turkish prisoners, but the local masons obviously had a considerable degree of competence and in particular their mortar has proved exceptionally durable. The masonry throughout is admirable work, and the heraldic sculpture carefully placed to set it off. Little care was taken for aesthetic effects. The wide ditches which surround the wails give them a sense of less height than they in fact have, and Rhodes suggests a businesslike efficiency rather than a prestigious dignity, though Naillac's tower must have added an impressive feature to the general scheme. Rhodes in 1444 was besieged by a force from Egypt, a siege that lasted for some forty days, in which considerable damage was done to the fortifications by the enemy's artillery. Even more threatening than the Egyptian siege was the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, and its demonstration of the new power of artillery against the most famous walls known to the medieval world. The grand master Peter Raymond Zacosta (1461-1467), in his short rule of six years, introduced a new scale and new methods of defense works. The Egyptian attack had been most fiercely con centrated on the northeast, from the bay of Mandraki, and here, with a liberal grant from Philip the Good of Burgundy, Zacosta built the tower of St. Nicholas, which, with much reconstruction, still survives. As originally designed it was a central round tower, 57 feet in diameter, surrounded by a polygonal outer wall, with gunports in each of its twenty sides. At the end of the mole leading to the castle was a smaller round staircase tower, from which the outer wall was reached by a drawbridge to a postern defended by machicolations. The polygonal scheme, evolved in a special form for the limited space of St. Nicholas, was carried further in the defenses of two of the main gateways, those of St. John (Koskinou) and of St. George, though the plan of the latter is now obscured by later additions. The Koskinou gate was already protected by a square tower, standing free of the curtain. Zacosta enclosed this tower with a barbican, springing from the wall of the fausse-braie and in height halfway between it and the original tower.7 This barbican was four-sided, but the two outermost sides meet in a point making a salient and thereby providing a wide field of fire for their gunports (fig. 16). Already Zacosta's predecessor, James of Milly from Auvergne (1454-1461), had used a slightly pointed salient on a tower strengthening the 7. B. H. St.J. O'Neil, "Rhodes and the Origin of the Bastion," The Antiquaries Journal, XXXIV (1954), 44-54.
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