The Castle of Kantara -a key to the evolution of active defence in the 13th century between the Eastern and the Western Worlds

Abstract : The Castle of Kantara, a key to the evolution of active defence in the 13th century between the Eastern and the Western Worlds 1 Nicolas Morelle Abstract : Set on a rocky outcrop, this fortress in Cyprus has stood the test of centuries facing the sea and the Mesaoria plain. Despite being abandoned in the 16th century, it still remains a well preserved castle in Cyprus. Today, it serves as an attraction to a few tourists, almost deflecting attention from the political conflict that has divided the island since 1974. (fig. 1) This island in the eastern Mediterranean, off the coasts of Levant and Anatolia was successively in the hands of Romans, then the Arabs and the Byzantines, until the Latins took over in the Middle-Ages. It helps us to develop the discussion on the military evolution that took place between the Ancient period and the present. Geographically, the island is well placed so as to be at the heart of the political, economic and military history of the Mediter-ranean, between the Oriental and the Occidental worlds. It can be seen that the control of Cyprus was important to powerful empires for strategic reasons. The study of Cypriot fortification therefore requires a knowledge and comparative analysis of all the fortified networks along the Mediterranean coasts. This would help define the cultural melting point of technical exchanges and trace the evolution of the art of warfare (poliorcetics) and military architecture during the Middle-Ages in the Mediterranean belt (fig. 2).Through the study of the system of Cypriot fortification, we shall deal with the notions of frontier lines and coastal fortification, compared to Rhodes and Byzantine frontiers.
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Nicolas Morelle. The Castle of Kantara -a key to the evolution of active defence in the 13th century between the Eastern and the Western Worlds. the Castle Studies Group journal, Castle Studies Group, 2014, pp.292-318. ⟨halshs-01165328⟩

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