Review: Crusader Castles in Cyprus, Greece and the Aegean 1191–1571, David Nicolle

Rating: 3 out of 5

Mr Nicolle’s take on Cyprus and the Peloponnesian crusader states was a bit disappointing overall. The wider geographic spread might have been the primary cause for this, or perhaps the author’s interest in this region does not extend to the same level as in Northern Europe. In any case, the careful detail and colourful commentary from primary sources, which one found in the books covering the Teutonic constructions.

Maps were helpful in showing the extent and location of constructions, but though the text frequently referred to previous Eastern Roman edifices, these were not highlighted in any way. It would have been both helpful and useful to understand whether the Catholic Christians tried to purposefully develop other regions, etc, which would have been assisted by a stronger background section.

Nevertheless, it was a good introduction into Greek and Cypriot castles, but it could have been a whole lot more. Most importantly, though the maps highlighted numerous fortresses, only a few were described in any detail at all. Especially taking the Osprey as a source for planning an investigation of these sites, at least a mention of every site and its present situation would have been very useful. The illustrations, though interesting, only covered the most exceptional castles but still missed out on the mountaintop fortresses in Cyprus—which at least sound like the most imaginative of the sites in this area.

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