The Offensive and Defensive Innovations and Technologies of Krak des Chevalier Castle and the Islamic Invasion of 1271 A.D.

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The Offensive and Defensive Innovations and Technologies of Krak des Chevalier Castle and the Islamic Invasion of 1271 A.D.
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius

“Krak des Chevalier, (pronounced “crack day chev-al-ee-yay”) located in modern day Syria, is strategically positioned upon a key route from the Mediterranean coast to the interior. The name “Krak fed Chevalier” means “Castle of the Knights” in French and features impenetrable sloped walls, ingenious battlements, and a deadly ramped entrance.

In 1271 A.D., a Muslim military force more than 10,000 strong, prepared to siege Krak des Chevalier in an effort to drive European Christian knights out of the Middle East. 129 years prior, in 1142 A.D., European knights poured into the Levant upon a Crusade to secure Jerusalem, Israel, and its surrounding territories.

The Homs Gap is the key to the European knight’s success as it is one of the only breaks in a long chain of mountains which provide natural protection from invading Europeans. Without control of the Homs Gap, European Crusaders would be subject to attack from the east with defense of the critical map point falling to warrior monks.

Hospitallers, also referred to as the “Knights of St. John”, are a military order which began in the Middle East running hospitals for pilgrims. Eventually, over time, the Hospitallers began defending these hospitals using military strategy and technology which lead to this group becoming one of the most important military divisions during the Crusades.

Building castles in the Middle East was an important task for Christian Europeans as it allowed them to setup a permanent, secure base to subdue the population and defend against invading militaries. The knight tasked with commanding each individual castle is referred to as a “Castellan” (pronounced “cast-al-ann”) with a new person filling this role every few years. The mission objective of the Castellan was simple, to protect a castle and rule its surrounding territory.

All merchants and traders who temporarily pass by such castles were required to pay taxes along side villagers and farmers who live within the region permanently. On occasion, Castellan knights”

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