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Cathar Castles

Fortresses of the Albigensian Crusade 1209-1300

 

By Marcus Cowper
illustrated by Peter Dennis
Published by Osprey Publishing Limited
ISBN 978 1 84603 066 6
Softback, 65 pages with Index

This is an excellent little handbook, certainly the best English language book on the Castles of the Languedoc associated with the Cathars and the Cathar (or Albigensian) Crusade.

The book covers a brief history of the Languedoc with a chronology of key events, the development of fortifications on the sites, a tour of the main sites, the lords involved on both sides of the crusade, the roles of the main Cathar Castles, the period after the Crusade, and visiting the castle sites today.

Despite its length - only 65 pages - it manages to pack in all the key information, well presented and objectively. It is illustrated with colour and black and white photographs, site plans and colour paintings.

These colour paintings by Peter Dennis are one of the best things about the book - especially those of Queribus, Carcassonne, and Peyrepertuse - giving a good idea of what the castles would have looked like in the Middle Ages.

Other features are well-chosen quotations from source documents and a firm grasp on the niceties of medieval warfare.

Highly recommended.

 

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Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (1)

The red-brick castles of Prussia 1230-1466

 

By S.R. Turnbull
illustrated by Peter Dennis
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Osprey Publishing; illustrated edition edition (22 Oct 2003)
ISBN-13: 978-1841765570

 

Not nearly as well remembered as their fellow monk-knights (the Hospitallers and the Templars), the Teutonic Knights were the most warlike of the religious orders.

They fought a Crusade (ie a vicious war of oppression) against the pagans of Northern Europe who knew about Christianity and wanted nothing to do with it.

The Teutonic knights left as memorials magnificent castles they built during their conquest of Prussia. They were all built of brick, and raised during a period of less than a century and a half between 1230 and 1380. Many of these dramatic fortresses still exist today in what is now Poland, Kaliningrad and Lithuania, providing a unique example of an architectural style that reflects the nature of the men who created it. This book details the history of these spectacular fortresses from their inception through to their eventual decline and fall. Some such as the one at Marienburg (Malbork) were truly spectacular - perfect examples of Medieval fortresses.

Stephen Turnbull is one of the world's formost miltary historians (and the world's leading English language authority on medieval Japan and the samurai).

Highly recommended.

 

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The Castle at Marienburg
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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