The Fortress Series of Books

Osprey publishing has several wonderful series of books that are oriented toward medieval subjects and themes. One of these series is the Men-at-Arms series. And another series, which I show you here, is the Fortress series.

Fortress 11: Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (Volume 1)

Throughout their stormy history the Teutonic Knights of Germany have always been the most controversial brotherhood ever to call themselves 'Knights of Christ'.They were the most warlike of the religious orders, and this is reflected in the architecture they left behind. In contrast to the Templars who are remembered for their churches, the Teutonic memorials are the magnificent brick-built castles they built as a result of their conquest of Prussia between 1230 and 1380. Many of these dramatic fortresses still exist today in what is now Poland and provide a unique example of an architectural style that closely reflects the nature of the Order.

 

Fortress 13: Norman Stone Castles (Volume 1) The British Isles 1066-1216

Descended from the Viking raiders who settled in Northern France under the leadership of Rollo in around 911, the Normans were amongst the most feared warriors of their time. Their territorial ambitions culminated in Duke William 1's conquest of England in 1066, but although victory at Hastings left the English crown in William's hands, Norman sovereignty remained far from established on the island. In order to consolidate his position, the new king built a series of fortifications across the country - this book covers all these developments from the early days of William I through to the fortifications of Henry II, Richard I and John.

 

Norman Stone Castles (Volume 2): Europe 950-1204 (Fortress)

Following the creation of the Duchy of Normandy, the Normans were soon introduced to the castle and they built them in large numbers. In the mid-11th century, other Norman adventurers began carving out dominions for themselves in Southern Italy: some crossed to Sicily in 1061 and by 1091 had conquered the whole island. As in Normandy, they were keen to assimilate new ideas, including architectural styles, resulting in some striking buildings. This title, a companion to Fortress 13: Norman Stone Castles (1) The British Isles 1066-1216, provides a detailed guide to the castles built in Normandy, Southern Italy and Sicily, covering defensive principles, daily life, the events of siege warfare, and the fate of the castles.

 

Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights, Vol. 2: The Stone Castles of Latvia and Estonia, 1185-1560 (Fortress 19)

The original forced conversion of pagan Livonia, what is now the Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia, was carried out by a military order known as the Brethren of the Sword. In 1236 this order was incorporated into the Teutonic Knights following a catastrophic military defeat. The knights had always consolidated their conquests through networks of castles and fortified places, and the Livonian Chapter of the Teutonic Order built castles of stone. This title covers the developmental and operational history of these fortresses over the length of the Middle Ages. It details how the Baltic fortifications of the Teutonic Knights evolved to reflect the changing nature of siege warfare and the increasing dominance of gunpowder in warfare.

 

Crusader Castles in the Holy Land 1097-1192 (Fortress)

The Crusaders that landed in the Middle East in the late-11th century brought with them their own traditions of military architecture, but it was not long before their defensive construction began to reflect a broad array of local influences. Most early Crusader structures were relatively small, and tended to increase the existing natural and defensive features of a site. The basic forms comprised freestanding towers, castra, and hilltop and spur-castles, but urban centres, religious sites and rural dwellings were also fortified. From the 1160s, bigger, stronger and more expensive castles began to appear, in response to developments in Islamic siege weaponry. This title examines the early fortifications erected by the Crusaders in modern-day Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and south-eastern Turkey.

 

Crusader Castles in the Holy Land 1192-1302 (Fortress)

The debacle of the Second Crusade in 1148 caused the Crusader States to realise the necessity of developing a more cautious strategy. The original expansionist spirit largely disappeared, and the Crusader States made priorities of strengthening their existing fortifications and towns and building new castles. These structures encompassed core aspects of Western European military architecture with the integration of rapidly developing Arab and Islamic traditions. Following Fortress 21: 'Crusader Castles in the Holy Land 10971192', this book examines the design, development and defensive principles of some of the best-known Crusader fortifications and castles, including Crac des Chevaliers, Castel Blanc, Arsuf, Margat, Atlit, Montfort and Acre.

 

British Forts in the Age of Arthur

When the Romans left Britain around AD 410 the island had not been fully subjugated. In the Celtic fringes the unconquered native peoples were presented with the opportunity to pillage what remained of Roman Britain. By way of response the Post-Roman Britons did their best to defend themselves from attack, and to preserve what they could of the systems left behind by the Romans. The best way to defend their territory was to create fortifications. While some old Roman forts were maintained, the Post-Roman Britons also created new strongholds, or re-occupied some of the long-abandoned hill-forts first built by their ancestors before the coming of the Romans.

 

Crusader Castles in Cyprus, Greece and the Aegean 1191-1571 (Fortress)

Crusader castles and other fortifications in Cyprus, the south-western coast of Turkey, and Greece are among the best examples of late medieval military architecture to be seen in Europe. These important fortifications, erected by the Hospitallers during the 15th century to face the growing Ottoman Turkish threat, vary considerably from those in the Middle East. Despite there being many visible remains of fortifications in Cyprus, Greece, and the Aegean, few studies exist of these areas compared to the fortifications of the Holy Land.

Providing numerous architectural plans, maps, and color illustrations, this book seeks to redress this imbalance and complement the previous bestselling treatments of Crusader fortifications in the Fortress series.

 

The Castles of Henry VIII (Fortress)

In the last years of his reign Henry VIII needed a radically modern system of defense to protect England and its newly Protestant Church. Anticipating a foreign onslaught from Catholic Europe after his split from Rome, Henry energetically began the construction of more than 20 stone forts to protect England's major ports and estuaries, whilst modernizing existing fortresses from Hull to Milford Haven. The majority of this was paid for with his new-found fortune plundered from the monasteries, allowing Henry to employ a strong workforce well supplied with materials.

Aided by excellent full-color illustrations and a range of photographs and diagrams, Peter Harrington explores the departure from artillery-vulnerable medieval castle designs to the low, sturdy stone fortresses inspired by European ideas. He explains the scientific care taken to select sites for these castles, and the transition from medieval to modern in this final surge of English castle construction. With many of these fortifications still standing today, this is an ideal book for fortification enthusiasts and tourists alike.

 

MORE in the series:

 

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