Post-classical history


A castle in southern Palestine located near al-‘Auja (mod. Rosh Ha ‘Ayin, Israel), in the lordship of Ramla.

Mirabel existed by 1152, when it was held unsuccessfully against King Baldwin III of Jerusalem by Manasses of Hierges, the husband of Helvis, lady of Ramla. Around 1162 it became the center of an independent lordship under Baldwin of Ibelin, son of Balian I, but the lordship was reunited with Ramla when Baldwin succeeded his brother Hugh as lord of Ramla in 1171.

The castle surrendered to the Ayyûbid prince al-‘Adil after bombardment in July 1187, and it was held and defended by the Ayyûbids during the Third Crusade (1189-1192). In the later thirteenth century, it was superseded by the Mamlûk castle at al-‘Auja. The structural remains comprise an early twelfth-century donjon (keep), standing on the west side of an enclosure of some 45 meters square, with vaulted ranges on the south, east, and probably north. An outer wall with rectangular towers and a sloping masonry batter or talus, which survives on the west, abuts a large rectangular building of uncertain function on the north and most likely enclosed the castle on the remaining three sides, completing its concentric plan.

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