Siege Warfare in the Levant, 1097-1193 – LECTURE

Date / time: 7 August, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Siege Warfare in the Levant, 1097-1193 - LECTURE


What did a siege look like in the 12th-century Middle East? How did people prepare for them? Which technique was the most likely to succeed?

Between the arrival of the First Crusade in Antioch and the death of Saladin (1097-1193), over 700 sieges took place in the Middle Eastern region of the Levant. Latin and Islamic commanders alike sought to capture fortified places in the strategic struggle for control of the region. However, mass market books and magazines, movies, TV series, and video games often misrepresent sieges of this period.

In this lecture Thomas Brosset (Lancaster University) will offer an accurate depiction of sieges by answering several questions:

1. First, by exploring the main characteristics of sieges. How long were these? Did Christians or Muslims lead more sieges? Were they successful? What was the usual outcome?

2. Secondly, which techniques were the most effective for the besieged to defend their settlements? The lecture explains how the besieged defended themselves, by looking at the fortifications as well as leaving the fortress (sallying) to attack the besiegers.

3. Thirdly, which techniques did besiegers favour to take a fortified site? The lecture explores attempts to assault settlements with siege engines, to create a breach in the fortifications with siege artillery and sapping, and, finally, to starve out the defenders.

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