Castles of God: Fortified Religious Buildings of the World by Peter Harrison

By Peter Harrison

All through historical past, nice faiths were subjected to persecution and assault from past the wall - actually partitions, in Peter Harrison's awesome ebook of the nice monastery-fortresses, and church-fortresses, of the world.The fortified spiritual structures of Christendom, Islam and Tibetan Buddhism are one of the most dramatic constructions of the center a long time. even though they shared a standard function in protecting the residing religion from the armies of the unbeliever, they're astonishingly diversified from one another. Peter Harrison has spent a life-time in scholarly pursuit of fortified spiritual constructions courting from one thousand years in the past and extra, within the previous and New Worlds, the Orient, and the Occident, ranging via New Mexico, North Africa and Tibet, although the bulk are to be present in Europe.The wild, frequently opposed, terrain during which those fortresses have been equipped speaks of a militant religion, and Peter Harrison's goal is to teach how and why spiritual institutions included army structure. He considers this unstudied topic from a uniquely broad perspective, old, army, and architectural. each kind of non secular construction that acquired fortifications is illustrated, from the common-or-garden parish church buildings of the Anglo-Scottish Borders to the Potala Palace of the Dalai Lama and the Vatican.Particular positive factors of this publication are the author's pictures, taken in many of the wildest and such a lot inaccessible elements of the realm, and his personal very certain plans and illustrations of a number of the structures described.SHORTLISTED FOR THE LONGMAN-HISTORY this day publication OF THE yr 2005 AWARD.Dr PETER HARRISON is examine affiliate, Centre for Medieval stories, college of York.

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Unfortunately archaeological evidence for fortification is scant before the ninth century, although extensive monastic remains are to be found all over the Middle East and Egypt. In Egypt, where the monasteries had already been fortified, the Coptic Church spent huge sums on further defences. As previously described, the monasteries of the Wadi al-Natrun were further strengthened by Shenudeh I, the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria, who replaced the existing enclosure walls with huge enceintes using as his template border fortifications erected earlier by Byzantine military architects.

Where monasteries survived, especially in Palestine and the Middle East, the change in rulers had resulted in a different environment. The need for defence became increasingly paramount whether from desert tribes, brigands, a covetous and at times hostile populace and an indifferent local administration. Unfortunately archaeological evidence for fortification is scant before the ninth century, although extensive monastic remains are to be found all over the Middle East and Egypt. In Egypt, where the monasteries had already been fortified, the Coptic Church spent huge sums on further defences.

Frequently a second vault supports the fourth or fifth storey with its battlemented parapet. The groundfloor entrance is low and narrow and is frequently defended by an overlooking machicolation. Loop-holes, small and narrow, cover all approaches. 30 This arrangement is closely followed in the west tower of Taghmon church. 9m, has its shorter sides flush with those of the nave. It conforms to the above typology in every detail bar one: there is no projecting machicolation. There was no need, however, as the tower was entered from the church by a newel staircase that passed through all four storeys to the fighting platform.

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