Post-classical history


A fortress, known in Arabic as Rāwandān (mod. Ravanda Kalesi, Turkey), about 40 kilometers (25 mi.) west of Turbessel (mod. Tellbaflar Kalesi, Turkey), on a commanding position on a tall conical hill above the upper Afrin Valley.

During the First Crusade the castle was captured by Baldwin of Boulogne with the support of the local Armenian population (1097-1098). It was first given to Baldwin’s guide, Bagrat, but was taken away from him following intrigues and given, along with Turbessel, to Godfrey of Bouillon, who based himself there in the summer of 1098.

Ravendel was subsequently incorporated into the Frankish county of Edessa. It formed part of the lordship of Joscelin I of Courtenay during his tenure of Turbessel (1101-1113) and thereafter belonged to the counts of Edessa. After Joscelin II’s capture in 1150 it was transferred to a Byzantine garrison, but in 1151 it was taken by Nûr al- Dīn. The castle and its town had been expanded by the Franks; the castle was substantially rebuilt by Saladin, and it remained a military and administrative center under the Mamlûks, although it was depopulated during Timur’s invasion (1400).

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