Almost five centuries of architectural development, from Romanesque to Renaissance, are represented in the buildings of the Latin settlers on the Levantine mainland and in Cyprus. In view of the mixed cultural background of the incomers and the diversity of local cultures and building traditions that they encountered in the East, what is perhaps most striking is that there do seem to have emerged styles that were both coherent and distinctive. One contributory factor may have been the materials available for building.
Stone was the traditional building material in the Middle Ages throughout the Levant. Limestone and sandstone were readily available, and basalt in the Jabal Druze (south of Damascus), eastern Galilee, and the Homs Gap. Chalk and limestone also produced lime for mortar and plaster. Quarries were often located near building sites, though finer freestone might sometimes be transported several kilometres. At Belvoir in Galilee (1168-87), for example, while most of the castle was built from local basalt quarried from the surrounding ditch, the chapel was built of a fine white limestone brought from Little Mount Hermon, some 15 km. away.
In Syria and Palestine a harder type of limestone, known as nan, was normally used for walls, while a softer type, known as maliki (or ‘royal’), was the freestone favoured for quoins, doors, windows, and sculptural ornament. In some areas, such as Bethlehem, the limestone was semi-marmorized, allowing it to be used as a substitute for marble. However, virtually all the fine marble used on such monuments as the royal tombs in the Holy Sepulchre or the exquisite architectural sculpture associated with the Temple Area was derived from antique columns and sarcophagi that had been imported during the Roman and Byzantine periods. Antique column-drums, both marble and granite, were also reused by the Franks, as by the Fatimids before them, to add solidity to harbour works and fortifications at Acre, Ascalon, Sidon, Jaffa, and Caesarea.
Deforestation was already well advanced by the time of the Muslim conquest in the seventh century. In the Middle Ages timber suitable for building was therefore only to be found in pockets: for example in the cedar forests of Mount Lebanon or in the famous forests of Aleppo Pine and Stone Pine outside Beirut, from which the bishop was permitted to take beams for his cathedral in 1184. Certain buildings, such as the Aqsa Mosque (Palatium Salomonis) and Dome of the Rock (Templum Domini) in Jerusalem and the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, had roofs made of timber that had been imported in Byzantine times; and when the roof at Bethlehem was repaired around 1480, the wood had to be brought from Venice. In general, however, although timber was often used during construction as scaffolding and as centring for vaults and arches, and although some buildings had timber features, such as the mezzanine floors in the castle towers at Qal‘at Yahmur (Chastel Rouge) and Tukla in north Syria, and the projecting balconies at Qal‘at Jiddin (Judyn) in Galilee, the more usual material for floors, roofs, balconies, and stairs was stone. This, perhaps more than anything else, gives the ‘crusader’ architecture of the Levant a particular character, which impressed itself on a German pilgrim to Jerusalem in 1172, who noted, ‘The houses . . . are not finished with high-pitched roofs after our fashion, but have them level and of a flat shape.’
Timber would also have been used for the internal fittings of houses, castles, and churches; but these have rarely survived.
Architectural metalwork has also mostly gone, though some of the wrought-iron grilles that surrounded the rock in the Templum Domini survive, both in situ and in the nearby Islamic Museum, and other similar pieces may be seen reused in Cairo mosques.
Although the patrons of building works are sometimes known to us, either by documentary record or even on occasion through inscriptions, the builders themselves rarely are. One inscription, in Greek and Arabic at the Orthodox monastery of Choziba between Jerusalem and Jericho, identifies those who restored the monastery in 1179 as Syrian Christians: Ibrahim and his brothers, the sons of Musa of Jifna. Indeed, the corps of skilled masons throughout the Latin East seems to have included Greeks, Armenians (whose masons’ marks appear on the church of the Annunciation in Nazareth), and Syrian Christians, as well as Franks.
The Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Counties of Tripoli and Edessa, and the Principality of Antioch Muslim restrictions on the construction of new churches and the dwindling numbers and resources of the indigenous Christian communities meant that the church buildings encountered by the crusaders when they arrived in Syria and Palestine were generally small and few in number. During the reign of the caliph al-Hakim (996-1021), most of those in the Fatimid sphere of influence had been destroyed, including the church of the Holy Sepulchre (or Resurrection) itself.
In 1036, however, the Byzantines were permitted to begin rebuilding the Holy Sepulchre. Other Orthodox churches rebuilt during this period around Jerusalem included the monastery of the Cross (c. 1020-38) and the churches of St John at ‘Ain Karim and at Sabastiya. The Jacobites also rebuilt the church of St Mary in ‘Abud in 1058, and Italian Benedictines the churches of St Mary Latin and St Mary Magdalene (for nuns) in Jerusalem.
The opportunity for rebuilding following the crusader conquest was seized not only by the Latins, but also by indigenous Christians. In the 1160s, the Armenian cathedral of St James was rebuilt and expanded, with a new south-facing narthex. Although the general planning of this church was evidently dictated by the requirements of the Armenian liturgy, much of the workmanship seen in the capitals and doorways is similar to that found on Frankish buildings of the period; furthermore, the masonry marks on the narthex suggest that the construction work itself was organized along western lines. The large Jacobite church of St Mary Magdalene, in the former Jewish quarter (now the Muslim quarter) of the city, also probably dated from the twelfth century.
In the 1160s and 1170s, a period of relatively cordial relations between Emperor Manuel I Comnenus and Kings Baldwin III and Amalric encouraged the rebuilding of a number of Orthodox churches and monasteries, including those of Choziba, St Elias (near Bethlehem), St John the Baptist beside the Jordan, and St Mary of Kalamon near Jericho. Orthodox churches rebuilt in Jerusalem included the small domed churches of St Michael the Archangel and the Dair al-‘Adas (convent of Lentils), besides St Nicholas and St Thecla. In Bethlehem, the paintings and mosaics in the sixth-century church of the Nativity were renewed with imperial assistance, even though the church was under the authority of a Latin bishop. Indeed, in Bethlehem, as in the Holy Sepulchre and St George’s cathedral in Lydda, it seems that communities of Orthodox and Latin clergy existed side by side in the twelfth century.
The church of the Holy Sepulchre represented not only the patriarchal cathedral of Jerusalem but also the holiest of all the holy places, the site of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Between 1042 and 1048, the rotunda covering the Tomb of Christ had been rebuilt as a church by the Byzantines, who added a gallery and an east-facing apse. During the first half of the twelfth century, the Latins enlarged the building by demolishing the apse and constructing a new choir and a transept to the east, thereby bringing all the traditional sites associated with the Passion, such as the Prison of Christ, Calvary, Golgotha, and the Place of Anointing, under one roof. To the east of this, on the site of the large basilica constructed by Constantine I (335) and destroyed by al-Hakim (1009), they erected a cloister surrounded by conventual buildings for the canons who served the church. The cloister covered an underground chapel of St Helena, built to commemorate the discovery of the relic of the True Cross.
Nothing is known of the architecture of the patriarchal cathedral in Antioch. However, many of the cathedrals of the Latin archbishops and bishops survive or are known from antiquarian or archaeological record. The grandest of all were the cathedrals of the archbishops of Tyre and Nazareth. The latter measured some 68 by 30 m. overall. Little now remains of the building, following its destruction by Sultan Baybars in 1263 and the construction of a new church on the site in 1959-69. It appears, however, to have been a three-aisled basilica of seven bays, terminating in three deeply recessed apses; the eastern bay of the nave was roughly square in plan, suggesting that it may have been covered by a dome or lantern tower. The nave piers were cross-shaped, and had an engaged column on each face, as had the responding aisle pilasters. The north aisle enclosed an aedicule covering the Cave of the Annunciation (or House of the Virgin). The cathedral of Tyre was of comparable size, but had projecting transepts.
The other cathedral churches seem to have been more modestly proportioned. At Caesarea the remains of the cathedral were excavated in 1960-1. The building, measuring overall a mere 55 by 22 m., had three aisles with semi-circular eastern apses. In common with other smaller churches the vaulting was supported on rectangular piers with an engaged column on each face; the nave was apparently groin-vaulted, as probably were the aisles. Traces of an opus sectile pavement composed of reused mosaic tesserae and fragments of marble were also found. The building was probably completed by the middle of the twelfth century, but the east end seems to have been rebuilt, possibly after damage sustained in 1191 or in 1219-20. The new pilasters are different from the old ones, and do not fit precisely on to their bases. While the rebuilding was in progress, a temporary apse was constructed in front of the sanctuary to allow religious services to continue without interruption.
Cathedrals of comparable size and style were also built in the twelfth century at Beirut, Jubayl (Gibelet), Tortosa (Tartus), Karak in Moab, Hebron (St Abraham), and Lydda (St George). In Hebron, the plan had to be compressed in order to fit within the Herodian precinct above the Cave of Machpelah, the burial place of the Patriarchs and their respective wives. The present building probably dates from soon after 1120, when the entrance to the cave was accidentally discovered by one of the Augustinian canons and relics of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were recovered.
The cathedral at Jubayl (Gibelet) also has a somewhat irregular ground plan, possibly the result of having replaced an earlier structure. As originally planned from 1115 onwards, it would have been a three-aisled building of six bays, the east end terminating in semi-circular apses, the nave arcades carried on elongated rectangular piers with engaged columns on their east and west faces, the nave barrel-vaulted and the aisles groin- vaulted. However, the building was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1170, after which only its eastern half was restored. As at Caesarea, in the rebuilding, which here concentrated on the south aisle, the engaged piers were replaced by plain rectangular ones. Attached to the north side of the third bay, and apparently predating the 1170 earthquake, stands an open-air baptistery, consisting of three chevron-moulded arches supporting a dome on pendentives.
Some development in style may be seen at Sabastiya, which was probably built in the 1170s. The church was rectangular in plan (54 by 26 m.) with a projecting central apse, the outer face of which was decorated, as at Beirut, with rounded pilasters. The central nave had four bays, three of which seem to have been covered by sexpartite rib-vaults, while the second from the east seems to have formed an inscribed transept, covered by a dome or lantern. The nave piers that supported the vaulting alternated with free-standing pairs of columns, which would have carried the clerestory and the quadripartite rib-vaulting of the aisles. Recent study by Nurith Kenaan-Kedar suggests that this building is likely to have been designed and constructed by someone familiar with the cathedral of Sens, whose archbishop, William, was a benefactor of Sabastiya in the 1170s. To the same period also belongs the nearby church at Jacob’s Well, which is stylistically similar though different in plan.
At Tortosa the cathedral was probably begun in the second quarter of the twelfth century, but was not completed until sometime in the thirteenth; thus the capitals of the nave show a stylistic progression, from Romanesque at the east end to early Gothic at the west. On a number of occasions in the twelfth century the Frankish inhabitants of towns such as Jaffa, Lydda, and Nazareth had to take refuge on church roofs when under Muslim attack. The cathedral of Tortosa, however, appears to be unique among surviving Latin churches in showing evidence for fortification. A pair of rectangular tower-like sacristies which project from the north-east and south-east corners of the building were evidently intended to provide flanking cover, and the buttresses attached to the north and south walls probably once supported machicolations serving the same purpose (as on the late thirteenth-century church of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the Camargue). Camille Enlart also found evidence for a pair of towers over the western aisle bays. This transformation of the church into a small castle appears to date to the 1260s, when Tortosa was being threatened by the Mamluks.
The distribution of Latin parish churches reflects that of the Frankish population. In general, with the exception of certain particular areas, such as the territories of Jerusalem and Acre where settlement in the countryside was widespread, westerners seem to have been concentrated in towns, with smaller numbers of them settled in villages, castles, and rural monasteries. In Gaza, Ramla, and Nablus the parish churches rival the cathedral churches by their size, though in Gaza one may doubt whether the inhabitants would ever have filled the building. Smaller three-aisled parish churches are found at Amiun, al- Bira, al-Qubaiba, Yibna, Bait Nuba, Saffuriya, Tiberias, and Qaimun. Village churches, however, were more often simple box-like buildings with a barrel-vaulted or groin-vaulted nave and a semi-circular apse; such churches occur at Fahma, Sinjil, Baitin, Dabburiya, Zir‘in, and ‘Amwas, and in the cities of Tiberias and Beirut.
Another important element in the Latin religious establishment in the East was represented by the religious orders. In the twelfth century, Augustinian canons rebuilt the church of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives to an octagonal plan, reflecting that of the Templum Domini (Dome of the Rock), which they also served. In the Valley of Jehoshaphat a new church was built over the Byzantine crypt enclosing the Tomb of the Virgin, and the buildings of a Benedictine abbey were laid out to the west of it. Just inside the Jehoshaphat gate of the city the church of St Anne was served by Benedictine nuns. The largest church in Jerusalem after the Holy Sepulchre was St Mary of Mount Sion, built on the supposed site of the Dormition of the Virgin. All that now remains of it is a southern gallery chapel that would have overlooked the sanctuary of the main church and is associated with the upper room of the Last Supper. The early Gothic rib-vaulting of this structure was probably modified in the late fourteenth century when the chapel came into the hands of the Franciscans; but opinion is divided on whether it originally dated to the years immediately preceding 1187 or to the brief period when Jerusalem returned to Latin hands between 1229 and 1244.
Outside Jerusalem, the Benedictines possessed a large church on Mount Tabor, marking the site of the Transfiguration. In 1143 Benedictine nuns, under the patronage of King Fulk and Queen Melisende, established the abbey of St Lazarus in Bethany, incorporating both the old Byzantine church, now dedicated to Sts Mary (Magdalene) and Martha, and a new one of St Lazarus, built above the tomb itself and associated with a new cloister and conventual buildings.
The Cistercians of Morimond established a daughter house at Belmont near Tripoli in 1157, and another called Salvation near Jerusalem in 1161. A daughter house of Belmont, called St John in the fioods, was also established at ‘Ain Karim in 1169. The modest layouts of these three houses have a family resemblance, with single-celled churches and the conventual buildings laid out around a small rectangular courtyard or cloister. They have little in common with the normal type of Cistercian plan found in the West. A more classic Cistercian church plan, however, is represented by the cruciform building erected by the Premonstratensians over the tomb of the prophet Samuel on Mount Joy, north-west of Jerusalem. Between c.1220 and 1283, the Carmelites also built a small church and cloister in the Wadi al-Siyah on the western edge of Mount Carmel.
The church architecture of the military orders deserves special mention. Although in the West a number of surviving Templar and Hospitaller churches and chapels have circular or polygonal plans, apparently imitating the rotunda of the Holy Sepulchre (or in the Templars’ case arguably that of the Templum Domini), in the Latin East their churches were more often conventionally rectangular. Such, for example, are the Hospitallers’ castle chapels at Crac des Chevaliers, Margat, and Belvoir, and their churches at Bait Jibrin, the German hospital in Jerusalem (St Mary of the Germans), and Abu Ghosh (Castellum Emmaus). The latter was built around 1140 to commemorate Christ’s resurrection appearance on the road to Emmaus; appropriately enough, it was associated with a road- station serving a twelfth-century pilgrimage route. Similarly, the Templars’ castle chapels at Tortosa and Chastel Blanc (Safitha) were rectangular, the latter taking the form of a keep or donjon; but the chapel built at Chastel Pèlerin (‘Atlit) sometime after 1218 was twelve-sided and that at Safad (1240-60) was also possibly polygonal.
In addition to religious buildings, the Latin settlers constructed a range of secular works throughout the period of their occupation of the Levant. Apart from castles, these have received relatively little scholarly attention, partly because many of them fall into the class of civil engineering rather than architecture, and partly because the lack of diagnostic architectural traits, such as sculpture or masonry marks, means that it is often difficult to be sure whether a given structure is Frankish or Muslim.
Most of the towns and cities of the Latin East had existed before the crusader conquest, and the same is true of their town walls. Consequently there is scant mention of building work on walls in the twelfth century. After 1187, however, when Frankish control was reduced to a thin coastal strip, much greater effort went into strengthening the defences of towns such as Ascalon, Beirut, Tyre, Sidon, Acre, Caesarea, Jaffa, and Tortosa, often with direct assistance from the West.
For their water supply, most towns relied on cisterns and wells, though in the case of Tyre, Antioch, Caesarea and Jerusalem, these were supplemented by ancient aqueducts. Covered markets of the twelfth century survive in Jerusalem, where some of the shop fronts bear the letters SCAANNA, showing that they belonged to the abbey of St Anne. In Acre part of the royal customs house, or Chaine, survives in the Ottoman Khan al-‘Umdan. Crusader harbour works, incorporating those of the Abbasid and Fatimid periods, survive at Sidon, Tyre, Caesarea, Arsuf, and Acre; and a thirteenth-century bath-house has been excavated in the town adjoining the Templar castle of Chastel Pèlerin.
Documentary and archaeological evidence suggest the existence of two different types of urban house. The oriental type, closed to the outside street and with its main rooms opening on to a central courtyard, containing a cistern to catch the rain from the roofs, is attested by written sources in Jerusalem, and by excavated examples at Caesarea. The latter were apparently built in the eleventh century, but were extended and kept in use by the Frankish newcomers in the twelfth. The second type of house is similar to those found in the West in areas bordering the Mediterranean, with shops, magazines, or a loggia opening on to the street at ground level and several floors of domestic apartments, or ‘solars’, above. Examples are recorded in Jerusalem, Acre, Caesarea, and Nablus.
Although in most cases the inhabitants of the cities built upon an infrastructure existing from before the conquest, some new foundations also occurred. In Acre, the new suburb of Montmusard was formally laid out and walled by 1212, increasing the size of the city by half as much again. The walled faubourg attached to the Templars’ Chastel Pèlerin was probably built and occupied between the 1220s and 1265, when it was sacked by Baybars. We also find Frankish ‘new towns’, which although primarily agricultural had burgess courts and specialist tradesmen among their inhabitants, indicating that they were in effect towns in the making. At al-Qubaiba (Parva Mahumeria), al-Bira (Magna Mahumeria), and al-Zib (Casal Imbert), the settlements had regular plans, with houses laid out end-on to a main street and with burgage plots running back from them. At al-Shaubak (Montreal) in Transjordan and Mi‘iliya (Castrum Regis) in Galilee, however, the settlements were set within the encircling walls of a royal castle.
In the countryside a range of secular building types is represented in the archaeological record. Functionally they may be categorized as follows: castles, held by major lords or military orders; small castles or semi-fortified manor houses—the equivalent of the French ‘maison forte’, or the English ‘moated manorhouse’—held by lesser lords, knights, or sergeants; estate centres or court buildings (curiae), occupied by estate officials, stewards, or village headmen; and the ordinary village houses of Franks and indigenous inhabitants. To relate these categories to the surviving buildings, however, is not easy, since many of them are ruinous and undocumented.
Few village houses survive, though some have been partially excavated. The more solidly built structures in the ‘new town’ of al-Qubaiba have an urban character, with workshops on the ground floors, and domestic accommodation above. A handful of hall-houses are known, good examples being those at Khirbat al-Burj, Kidna, and Bait ‘Itab. The latter was originally a free-standing two-storey building, 13.3 by 29 m., with a door defended by a slit-machicolation and a stair within the wall leading up to the hall on the first floor. In a secondary phase, it was incorporated into a courtyard building, consisting of four ranges set around a central courtyard, with an entrance on the south. The hall was now approached directly from the courtyard by means of an external staircase. In 1161, Bait ‘Itab was sold to the Holy Sepulchre by the knight John Gothman in order to pay his ransom from the Muslims. It seems likely therefore that the hall had formed the centre of his lordship.
A number of other such courtyard buildings are known. Some of them also probably represented the centres of lordships. But one, established on the village lands of Aqua Bella, west of Jerusalem, appears to have been an ecclesiastical building, quite possibly an infirmary belonging to the Hospitallers, who owned the village in the 1160s. Another, which developed around a tower at al-Ram (Rama, Ramatha), north of Jerusalem, may be identified as the courthouse of the Holy Sepulchre’s steward, at which the inhabitants of the ‘new town’ were obliged to pay their rents. The general form of a building is therefore not always a reliable indicator of a particular function, especially when little survives.
Castles representing the centres of lordships would have had broadly similar functions to some hall-houses and courtyard buildings; the principal difference lay in their degree of defens- ibility. Indeed some castles seem to have developed from unfortified or semi-fortified structures. In those of St Elias (al-Taiyiba) and Belmont (Suba), for example, north-east and west of Jerusalem respectively, an original inner ward, consisting of a courtyard building with minimal provision for active defence, was later surrounded by a polygonal outer enceinte with a sloping talus, following the contours of the site.
More obviously defensible structures were towers, of which over seventy-five have been documented in the kingdom of Jerusalem alone, some apparently isolated, some surrounded by an enclosure wall; others developed in time into fully fledged castles, as at Tripoli, Latrun, Mirabel (Majdal Yaba), and Beaufort (Qal‘at al-Shaqif Arnun). Many towers, however, also seem to have had a domestic purpose. This is particularly obvious in the case of the larger ones, such as the bishop’s tower at Bethlehem, the stewards’ towers at al-Ram and al-Bira, and those in the castles of ‘Ibillin, Qal‘at Jiddin, Qaqun, Madd al- Dair, Burj al-Ahmar, and ‘Umm al-Taiyiba. Indeed, not only is the general layout of these towers similar to that of a hall-house, comprising a living area above a vaulted basement and below a flat terrace roof, but analysis of their internal areas shows that they were often of comparable size. Smaller towers (i.e. below 60-70 m.2 internally) may have served a broader range of functions, for example as refuges and lookout posts. But even a relatively small tower like that at Jaba‘, which was sold to the abbey of St Mary of Mount Sion by the knight Amalric of Franclieu (Xoruit 1171-9), had a solar chamber on its first floor.
Other castles appear to have been conceived from the start with military rather than domestic considerations in mind. Examples include the four-towered castles which William of Tyre describes being built to encircle Ascalon in the 1130s and 1140s: Blanchegarde (Tall al-Safi), Ibelin (Yibna), Bait Jibrin, and possibly Gaza. In 1136 Bait Jibrin was granted to the Hospitallers. Its garrison would therefore presumably have consisted of a group of knights living in community, with a dormitory, refectory, kitchens, chapel, and other claustral buildings set around the central courtyard. A similar type of plan is found in the Hospitallers’ later castle of Belvoir, built from 1168 onwards, where the four-towered inner ward had a fifth tower containing a bent entrance added to it, and an outer ward containing service buildings and accommodation for the lay members of the garrison. However, such castles were not peculiar to the military orders, for Blanchegarde and Ibelin were granted to secular owners, and Darum (Dair al-Balah) and Mi‘iliya (Castrum Regis), both of which existed by 1160, were royal castles. It may be assumed that these would have contained a hall, chambers, chapel, and kitchen for the lord or castellan. The castles of Montfort (Qal‘at Qurain) and Jiddin (Judyn), which the Teutonic Order built in Galilee in the early thirteenth century to a typical Rhineland castle plan, with a principal tower and adjoining accommodation block enclosed by a high curtain wall, also demonstrate that in castle planning the military orders were accustomed to adapting secular castle types to their own needs.
During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, a number of advances were made in the art of fortification in the Latin East. They included the development of more sophisticated gateways, defended by elaborate combinations of gates, portcullises, and murder-holes, often, as at Belvoir, Tyre, Sahyun, Tortosa, Jerusalem, and Caesarea, with an indirect or bent approach. Curtain walls were constructed with rows of arrow-slits at different levels, and with projecting machicolations at the wall- head to prevent attackers approaching their base. The most significant advances, however, concerned the proliferation of outworks, designed to keep the enemy and his siege towers and stone-hurling artillery at a safe distance from the main walls. Similar developments were also taking place in western Europe, though they lagged behind the East, where the Franks had already encountered ‘concentric’ planning when they first laid siege to places such as Jerusalem (1099), Acre (1103), Tyre (1124), and Ascalon (1153). In castles, concentric planning occurs at Belvoir and Belmont before 1187, and at Darum by 1192. Some of the more spectacular concentric-plan castles, however, achieved their final form only in the thirteenth century. They include Hospitaller Crac des Chevaliers and Margat, and Templar Chastel Pèlerin and Tortosa, the latter of which were never taken by assault.
Remains of other structures from the period of Latin occupation may still be found in the countryside; they include horizontal water-mills and dams, cisterns, bridges, roads, stables, kitchens, and industrial installations producing sugar, salt, olive-oil, wine, iron, glass, and lime.
Cilician Armenia (1100/2-1375)
Cilicia was settled by increasing numbers of displaced Armenians from the mid-eleventh century onwards, under the aegis of the Byzantine emperor. In January 1199, the Rubenid Baron Leo united his dynasty with the rival pro-Byzantine Het‘umids and had himself crowned king. Although the kingdom lasted until 1375, culturally it remained very mixed. A former Byzantine province already partly settled by Turks, from 1097 Cilicia’s southern and eastern coastal areas were also colonized by Franks; and from the 1190s onwards, the Venetians, the Genoese, and the military orders were also granted concessions. Although King Het‘um I was able to reach an accommodation with the Mongols in the 1240s, it was the Mamluks of Egypt who were to represent the greatest threat, and who were finally to extinguish the kingdom in 1375.
The turbulent history and cultural diversity of Cilician Armenia is reflected in its architecture. The structures that have left the most obvious imprint on the landscape are the fortresses. However, the dating and cultural attribution of these have only recently been put on a sound footing, thanks to the work of Robert Edwards. Among the features that distinguish Armenian work are: irregular planning, following contours of the site, often with a succession of baileys, one below the other; the rounding of external angles and use of rounded or horseshoe-shaped towers; the splaying of the base of the wall; the lack of keeps or donjons; battlements with rounded-topped merlons, divided into sections by interposed towers; a lack of ditches; gates having an indirect approach to them, and wing- doors with a draw-bar, preceded by a slit-machicolation; gatehouses containing either a bent entrance or two gates separated by a vaulted passage with murder holes; embrasured or case- mated loopholes with stirrup bases and rounded heads cut from a single stone; and a preference for pointed arches and vaults. Most castles also contain a chapel and a cistern.
Although it has often been assumed that most of the Cilician castles date to the period after Leo I was crowned king, it now appears that a good number date from the preceding period when the rival Het‘umids and Rubenids were establishing themselves in the region. Many castles contain work of various periods. At Anavarza, for example, the castle predates the First Crusade, whose participants added to it by constructing a donjon on part of the site; the final Armenian phase is represented by modifications subsequently made to it, which are dated by an inscription to 1187-8. The island castle of Korykos was a Byzantine work of the early twelfth century, which Leo I and Het‘um I repaired. Other castles, such as Baghras and Silifke, appear to be essentially Frankish works.
In addition to the larger castles, which served both as baronial or royal residences and as garrison posts, a number of other fortified structures are recorded. They include watch posts, consisting of small enclosures sited to survey roads and to allow their garrisons to communicate with neighbouring inhabited centres by fire signal or messenger; and estate houses, similar in function to the hall-houses and towers belonging to minor lords or fief holders that are found in Frankish Palestine and Syria.
One such, Belen Keslik Kalesi, is a two-storey building, measuring overall 18 by 8.5 m., with a ground-floor entrance in the centre of one of the longer sides, defended by slit machicolations. A stair in the corner of the barrel-vaulted basement led up to the main living area, which was lit by slit-windows. At Gosne and at two sites called Sinap, one near Lampron and the other near Candir, the estate houses have rounded turrets or buttresses clasping the corners.
For reasons of security, Armenian society in Cilicia appears to have been based principally on castles, many of them sited high in the Taurus mountains. Settlement on the coast or in the plain was limited, and except for Sis (destroyed by the Mamluks in 1266), Tarsus, Adana, and Misis, which are mentioned as having churches, urban settlement was unusual. Indeed, the only urban church to survive, that of St Paul (or the Virgin) in Tarsus, is western in character, built so it seems during the first decades of the twelfth century. It has three barrel-vaulted aisles, supported on colonnades.
Most of the surviving Armenian churches and chapels are in castles. One of the most significant is the church which T‘oros I built for his ancestors in the south bailey at Anavarza in 1111. Unfortunately this has become badly ruined since it was recorded by Gertrude Bell in 1905. It was built in smooth ashlar with a poured rubble concrete core. The plan was rectangular, with three barrel-vaulted aisles terminating in inscribed semi-circular apses. The arcades were of three bays, carried on plain rectangular piers with moulded imposts. Originally the interior was decorated with frescos. Both the west and the south door had a lintel and relieving arch, composed largely of antique spolia. The west front also had windows lighting the aisles and an ocu- lus in the gable; the quoins were enhanced by decorative pilaster strips, and below the cornice ran an inscription recording the builder. In a secondary period an apsed room was added to the north side of the church.
At Candir, the church of the constable Smbat was dedicated in 1251. Its general plan is similar to that of the church of T‘oros I, but it is less well preserved. Its vaulting has fallen, but may have taken the form of a domed hall rather than a barrel-vaulted hall. The side apses are separated from the aisles and nave to form small barrel-vaulted rooms with the appearance of sacristies. This church also had an apsed side chapel or narthex added on to its south side.
Chapels form a more numerous class of ecclesiastical building. Mostly they consist of a single-celled barrel-vaulted nave, with semi-circular apse, either inscribed or rounded externally. Sometimes, as at Maran, Cem, Meydan, and Mancilik, they form part of the defensive circuit.
Cyprus, where Frankish dominion lasted for almost four centuries, has the most extensive architectural development of any of the areas settled by Latins, from the early Gothic cathedral of St Sophia in Nicosia to the Renaissance façade of the Palazzo del Provveditore (1552) in Famagusta. While Nicosia was the centre of royal and ecclesiastical administration, from 1291 Famagusta on the east coast assumed Acre’s role as the principal western commercial centre in the Levant; despite the robbing of stone from its buildings to construct Port Said in the mid-nineteenth century, its circuit of town walls still encloses the most exceptional group of Latin churches to survive anywhere in the East outside Jerusalem itself.
The commencement of work on the cathedral church of St Sophia in Nicosia is credited to Archbishop Eustorge of Montaigu (1217-49), though there is some evidence to suggest that construction had begun earlier. It was not until 1319, however, that the nave and narthex were completed by his successor Giovanni del Conte, and 1326 that the building was finally consecrated. The form is that of a thirteenth-century French cathedral, with the difference that the roofs above the vaulting are not of timber but are terraced according to the custom of the Levant; furthermore, the western towers were never completed. The building has a nave and aisles of five bays terminating in a rounded choir with ambulatory. The nave piers are cylindrical, while the vaulting of the ambulatory is carried on four reused antique columns. Five subsidiary chapels were attached to the church, including a Lady chapel (1270) in the south transept, a chapel of St Nicholas in the north transept, and a chapel of St Thomas Aquinas also on the south, the latter being decorated by the late fifteenth century with painted ‘legends of the holy doctor’.
The cathedral church of St Nicholas in Famagusta was begun around 1300, and an inscription west of the south door records a resumption of work on it on the instructions of Bishop Baldwin Lambert in 1311. To judge from the uniformity of its confident French Gothic style the main structure seems to have been completed within the first half of the century. The first sight of its west front, with its three large doorways with gabled canopies, its wheel-headed six-light window, and its once prominent bell-towers, is reminiscent of Reims (1220s-1230s); indeed, the allusion may have been intentional, since it was here that the Lusignan kings of Cyprus were crowned king of Jerusalem. As with most Latin buildings in the East, however, western influences were not restricted to a single source, and the detailing of the interior has more in common with the rayonnantarchitecture of St Urbain in Troyes, begun in 1262.
Of the eighty churches that Nicosia was said to have had in 1567, only half a dozen or so remain. They include the early fourteenth-century Benedictine abbey of Our Lady of Tyre (now the Armenian church of the Virgin Mary) and the late fourteenth-century flamboyant Gothic church of St Catherine (now the Haidar Pasha mosque). A decline in building standards is discernible in the early sixteenth-century north façade of the Orthodox metropolitan church of St Nicholas (now known as the Bedestan), located south of the parvis of St Sophia; while the interior represents a blending of Greek and western late Gothic and Renaissance styles, the builders’ attempt to imitate the main west door of the cathedral appears flat and lifeless.
While in the two main cities western styles predominated, even in the churches of the Orthodox, Nestorians, and Armenians, a more Byzantine style prevailed in the countryside. Some country churches, however, had chapels added to them for the use of Latin immigrants: as at the family chapel of the Gibelets at Kiti and the monastery church of St John Lampadistes at Kalapanayiotis. A small chapel built on a royal estate at Pyrga in 1421 not only has the distinction of having the name of the mason, Basoges, inscribed over the south door, but is decorated inside with paintings, including one representing the Crucifixion with kneeling figures of King Janus and his wife Charlotte of Bourbon. In other buildings, such as the Greek church at Morphou, which combines a dome with Gothic vaulting and foliage ornament, a Franco-Byzantine style may be discerned.
Few rural Latin monasteries survive. The most impressive is Bellapais, built on a rock escarpment overlooking the north coast east of Kyrenia. Originally an Augustinian house, founded by King Aimery (1194-1205), it adopted the Premonstrat- ensian rule under Archbishop Thierry of Nicosia (1206-11). Benefiting from generous endowments from King Hugh III (1267-84) and his successors, it grew rich and influential. The buildings are set out around a rectangular court, to which a rib- vaulted cloister was added in the fourteenth century. The church, dating from the early thirteenth century, lies on the south; it has a nave of two bays with flanking aisles, a crossing with inscribed transepts and a rectangular projecting chancel. On the east was the dormitory, above the chapter house and a barrel-vaulted undercroft. The refectory lay on the north and the cellarer’s range on the west, beyond which was a kitchen court; somewhere on this side was probably located the royal guest apartments, which King Hugh IV (1324-59) is known to have built for his own use.
Only the rock-cut ditch remains of the earliest Latin castle in Cyprus, that built by the Templars at Gastria in 1191. Another early castle, which is known only from archaeological excavation, was Saranda Kolones at Paphos. This was evidently built soon after 1191 and was destroyed by an earthquake in 1222. Although it has been ascribed to the Hospitallers, largely on account of its similarity to Belvoir, the evidence is not conclusive. It had a regular concentric plan. The inner ward was rectangular, with rectangular corner-towers and a rounded tower on the east, containing a bent entrance below a chapel. The outer wall had a variety of differently shaped towers, including cylindrical, rectangular, triangular, cutwater, and polygonal; the rectangular outer gatehouse also had a bent entrance, and was approached by a timber bridge spanning the rock-cut ditch. The construction of a sugar mill in the castle’s basement suggests that soon after completion it was being used as an estate centre, whatever its original purpose may have been.
Sugar cane was an important cash crop of the south-western part of Cyprus under the Latins. The Hospitallers’ castle of Kolossi, built by the master Jacques de Milly in 1454, lay at the centre of a sugar-producing estate, and next to a sugar factory. At Kouklia (Old Paphos) a pair of refineries with water mills for crushing the cane, and remains of the kilns for boiling the liquid and crystallizing it in ceramic moulds, have been excavated near a royal manor house. Another factory, which in the midsixteenth century belonged to the Cornaro family of Venice, survives at Episkopi.
In Latin Cyprus, all castles, except for those belonging to the military orders, seem to have been under direct royal control. In Kyrenia, the Lusignans inherited a Byzantine castle, some 80 m. square, with cylindrical corner-towers and an outer wall or barbican on the south, defended by cutwater-shaped towers. In the thirteenth century, they rebuilt the north and east walls which faced the sea, and added new outer walls to landward on the west and south containing chemins de ronde leading to arrow- slits; the castle presumably had corner-towers, but only one D- shaped one on the north-east survives. The royal apartments lay on the west, controlling the entry, with a chapel over the inner gate. The final Latin phase was in 1544-60, when the Venetians converted the castle into a regular artillery fortification by rebuilding the west wall, infilling the space between the double walls, and adding rounded bastions at the north-west and south-east corners, and an angled bastion on the south-west.
The thirteenth- to fourteenth-century royal castles in the Kyrenia range—St Hilarion (Dieudamour), Kantara, and Buffavento—also made use of sites fortified in Byzantine times. They have irregular plans, with a succession of baileys arranged to suit the natural topography. More regular planning is found in James I’s castle of Sigouri (1391), which had a rectangular layout and corner-towers, surrounded by a ditch, and also apparently at La Cava, near Nicosia.
In the Venetian period, particular attention was given to improving the defences of the two major cities. In Famagusta the first campaign of works ran from 1492 to 1496 and included the thickening of the Lusignan citadel walls and the addition of rounded bastions to it for artillery defence; the town wall was also provided with rounded bastions, with artillery on top firing over a sloping glacis and other guns in casemates in their flanks covering the curtains. The second campaign (1544-65) included the octagonal Diamante Bastion at the north-east corner, the Land Gate on the south-west, preceded by a rounded ravelin containing two outer gates at right-angles to the inner one, and the Martinengo Bastion at the north-west corner, an angled bastion with orillons protecting the flanking artillery. A number of the leading North Italian experts in artillery defence were involved in the design of these works, including Michele Sanmicheli and his nephew Giangirolamo, who died in Famagusta in 1558.
In Nicosia, the circular wall, with rounded towers, eight gates and a ditch, which had been built by Peter II in 1372, was considered by the Venetian engineers to be too long to be adequately defended. It was therefore demolished, together with all that lay outside it, and replaced by a much reduced circular wall enclosing the town centre. Built under the direction of Giulio Savorgnano, this had three gates and eleven angled bastions with rounded orillons, each designed to contain 200 men and four artillery pieces. The ditch and outworks were still incomplete when Nicosia fell to the Turks on 9 September 1570. None the less, the walls of Nicosia represent today one of the finest examples of Italian Renaissance fortification surviving outside Italy.