Saracen Strongholds 1100-1500, The Central and Eastern Islamic Lands, David Nicolle

Saracen Strongholds 1100-1500, The Central and Eastern Islamic Lands, David Nicolle

Fortress 76

This entry in the Fortress series looks at the fortifications of the Islamic heartlands, and covers castles, fortified cities and palaces, looking at their architectural development, peacetime existence and experience of warfare (both directly in sieges and indirectly as they changed hands after distant battles).

My opinion of this book demonstrates a problem common to reviewers. The Fortress volume on English Castles covered a smaller period and a smaller area than this volume, but fell into my own area of expertise (my own book was even in the bibliography). As a result I found the book a little lacking in detail. This book covers four times longer a period and a much wider geographical area, but because I don't know much about this topic the book feels much more detailed!

This book really does cover an impressively wide range of topics, including the Seljuk Turks, Ayyubids, Mamluks, Mongols and Assassins and covers an area than includes modern Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt and India.

Given the scale of the topic this book is best seen as an introduction or overview, but it is an effective one. The text is supported by a large number of plans, many showing several phases of building, some useful maps showing the locations of key fortresses and a good selection of surviving fortifications (including at least one early photograph of part of a building that has since been destroyed). 

Design and Development
The Living Sites
The Sites at War

Author: David Nicolle
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 64
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2009

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