Post-classical history

Cave de Suète

Cave de Suète (Arab. Habis Jaldak, in mod. Jordan) was a cave fortress established by one of the lords of Tiberias sometime before 1109 in a former Byzantine laura cut into a cliff face on the south side of the gorge of the river Yarmuk to the east of the Jordan.

Approached by a narrow path, the castle comprised three levels of chambers accessed by external timber stairs and internal passages. Its purpose was to watch over the territory known as the Terre de Suète, which in 1109 was divided between the kingdom of Jerusalem and Muslim Damascus. In 1113, Tughtigin, atabeg of Damascus, took the castle and killed its garrison, but it reverted to Frankish control two years later. Taken again by the Muslims in 1118, it was recaptured later that year by Baldwin II of Jerusalem, who then advanced to Dara, bringing the whole Yarmuk Valley under Frankish control.

Nūr al-Dīn besieged the castle in July 1158 but raised the siege on the approach of Baldwin III, who then defeated him at Puthaha, south of Lake Tiberias. Restored and regarrisoned, the castle remained in Frankish hands until July 1182, when Farrūkh Shāh, Saladin’s nephew, took it after five days by mining up through the soft rock from the lower level. In October 1182, however, the Muslim garrison of around seventy men surrendered when the Franks blockaded the castle and dug them out from the clifftop. Thereafter, Cave de Suète remained in Frankish possession until the large- scale conquests of Saladin in 1187.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!