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Site Plans of Nineveh, Assyrian Imperial capital

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Site Plans of Nineveh, the Assyrian Imperial capital

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Nineveh: City wall and gates.

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City plans of Kalhu (Nimrud), Assyrian metropolis

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Plan of the northwestern palace of Kalhu (Nimrud), one of the ancient Assyrian capitals.


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Porta Grecorum

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Republication  from militaryarchitecture.com

 

Mdina, circa 1565, showing position of gateways and early Hospitaller bastions.Mdina, circa 1565, showing position of gateways and early Hospitaller bastions

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Mdina’s medieval gate.

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Perhaps the most visible and most evident vestige of the medieval defences of Mdina is Greeks Gate, or Porta Grecorum. Although this was not the main entrance into the city, but merely a porta falsa, or secondary gateway that went down directly into the land front ditch, it is nonetheless the only complete medieval entrance in all of the Maltese islands to have survived to the present day and, therefore, tells us much about the nature and workings of fortified medieval entrances.

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The fortress of Valletta 1566

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Republication  from militaryarchitecture.com

Valletta, named after its founder, Grand Master of the Order of St John, Jean Parisot de Valette, was built after the Great Siege of 1565 with the financial help of a Christendom grateful for the defeat of Suleiman’s war machine.

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Crusader Military engineering: The Templar Fortress of Tartous

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Republication  from Militaryarchitecture.com

6546549Plan of Tartous citadel and fortified city.

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Although largely famous today for its role as a Templar fortress during the time of the Crusades, the site had been equally renowned in antiquity for its strategic and military importance. Tartous was originally founded by the Phoenicians to complement the more secure but the less accessible settlement on the island of Arwad. For a long time it served a secondary role to Arwad, itself a major centre in Seleucid and Roman times. As a matter fact its classical name of Ataradus (meaning ‘anti-Aradus’ or ‘the town facing Aradus’ or Arwad) reflected this secondary role.

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French Military Architecture in Malta

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Source: Militaryarchitecture.com

Militaryarchitecture.com presents the first in an exclusive series of lectures by Dr. Stephen C. Spiteri on Military Architecture and Fortification.

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ON THE MILITARY ARCHITECTURE OF TROY: Some remarks on the difficulty of conquering the city

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1111Restored Plan of Troy’s citadel adapted from W. Dorpfeld’s excavations. The successive archaeological and urban levels are noted. Note also the outer and inner walls of Troy VI.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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My initial intention was to give an outline of the military architecture of Troy but the detailed studies of W. Dorpfeld, M. Wood, H. Schliemann, R. Neumann, C.W. Blegen, J.L. Caskey, M.Rawson, M. Korfmann, D. Easton and others, most of which are free on the internet, does not leave any room to add something new to the subject beyond the usual data. Therefore, in this article I will deal with the essential result of that architecture, namely the difficulty of conquering the mighty fortress which Troy VI had been.
Which of the archaeological urban levels of the city discovered and excavated by H. Schliemann at the hill of modern Hissarlik was the city of Homer’s epic? This is one of the main problems concerning the Homeric Epic Cycle. It is considered certain that the Homeric Troy corresponds to one of the levels VI (about 1900-1250 BC) and VIIa (about 1250-1180 BC). Wilhelm Dörpfeld who in 1893-94 continued Schliemann’s excavations in Troy, indicated level VI as the Homeric city. Dörpfeld found that the last phase of that level (VIh) was hit by an earthquake and concluded that after the blow, the city was captured by enemies who according to his view they were the Homeric Achaeans. The German archaeologist found that the earthquake caused damage to the city but the destruction was the work of man, a view based on the discovery of extensive fire traces in the VIh destruction level and on archaeological evidence, mainly traces of military activity.
This theory of Dörpfeld and those who agree with him today (e.g. M. Wood and others) is the most believable in my opinion, that is why in this article I will base my analysis on the assumption that Homer’s Troy was the archaeological level VI (phase VIh). In a future article I will deal with the arguments of those who argue that Homer’s city was the level VI and the ones of those who argue that that city was level VII (less likely).

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A rare and detailed representation of the total city of Troy (urban area and citadel). Most of the modern representations use to deal just with the architectural and engineering status of the citadel. Most of the defensive features mentioned in the text are noted, but please observe notably the scalar urban distribution of the buildings of the lower city and the citadel, essentially being the fourth defensive line of Troy (Copyright: National Geographic Magazine. Art by William Cook. Source on Troy: Troy project).

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ON THE MILITARY ARCHITECTURE OF BABYLON during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (6th c BC)

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babylon_map

Α diagram of Babylon in Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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Babylon was one of the most splendid and renowned cities in world History, being a real metropolis of the Near East and the political centre of a large kingdom and occasionally an empire which lasted more than a thousand years (18th-6th centuries BC), sometimes under foreign dynasties. The Babylonian kingdom remained nominally an independent political entity even when it was conquered by invaders such as the Kassites (Kossaioi) or the Assyrians. Even after Babylon’s capture by the Persians, she remained a very important city under the rule of the Achaemenids, of Alexander the Great who had chosen her as his capital, and of the Seleucids. Babylon’s gradual decline starts in the Late Seleucid and the Parthian Age and goes on more densely during the Sassanid Persian period.
The first appearance of Babylon in the historical-archaeological records possibly belongs to the 23th century BC, as a town of the Akkadian kingdom. However it is possible that the town pre-existed as a Sumerian settlement. Its inhabitants at that time seem to have been Akkadian Semite newcomers who had already started to replace the Sumerians as the main population of South Mesopotamia. I believe that a part of Babylon’s original population was Sumerian. In this phase, there is no urban planning and Babylon was in fact a Sumerian-type village or town because of the strong cultural influence of the indigenous people on the Akkadians (some scholars believe that the Akkadians were also indigenous of southern Mesopotamia, but I do not share this view).

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A representation of the city of Babylon; view from the Gate of Ishtar. Note in the front level the double wall of the inner defensive system, and the heavy fortifications of the Gate of Ishtar (painted blue). In the deeper level, note the Etemenanki Ziggurat and behind it, the Esagila (Temple of Marduk).

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