Welcome to CHASTEL

(Catalogue of the High Middle Age Strongholds and Town Fortifications of the Eastern Mediterranean Lands)

This preliminary version of the database CHASTEL is a spin-off of a larger project to establish a scientific gazetteer of all known fortified sites of the period, i.e. the epoch from the 11th to the 14th century. The geographical frame covers the area of the former Crusader states and the neighbouring Byzantine, Armenian*, and Islamic territories. Therefore, it focuses on sites located in the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean (Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, and Egypt). The entries are supposed to reflect the state of research and will thus be continuously updated and augmented.

*Armenia here denominates the Armenian dominion of Cilicia which emerged in the aftermath of the battle of Manzikert (1071). In 1198 it became a kingdom, formally alleged to the German Empire, existing until 1375.

Instructions for use:
The database is divided into three different categories representing Crusader, Islamic, and Armenian sites. Since many of the places often changed hands some of them may be listed in more than one category, provided that they were of a certain significance. The entries predominantly cover fortified sites of relevance for the period. Therefore, sites outside the geographical scope like those in Western, Northern and Eastern Turkey, Iraq, and Lower Egypt are not included. The transliteration of Arabic terms follows the Romanization Tables of the ALA-LC (American Library Association-Library of Congress), in order to facilitate readability.
Column 1 ("Site Name"): The most commonly used toponym is given, followed by the language (in brackets) it belongs to. For the abbreviations of the languages see the list at the end of the chart.
Column 2 ("Ancient/Variant Names"): Here the range of verified place names from antiquity onwards including the most important variants is displayed.
Column 3 ("Geographic Coordinates"): Latitude and longitude of the site are given in decimal degrees. They are linked to Google Maps where the location is shown in the satellite view.
Column 4 ("Occupation"): Here the history of occupation is given. The data are obtained from the analysis of a wide range of sources. For the abbreviations of the different ruling parties/dynasties see the list at the end of the chart (second column). An "id." refers to the content of the cell listed immediately above.
Column 5 ("Foundation of Fortification"): The data are drawn from archaeological evidence and other sources like inscriptions.
Column 6 ("Type of Site"): The character of a site in the medieval period is mentioned.
Column 7 ("Type of Fortification"): The nature of the site´s fortification in the medieval period is mentioned.
Column 8 ("State of Preservation"): The site´s state of today is given.
Column 9 ("Excavation (E), Survey (S)"): Excavations and surveys on the site are mentioned.
Columnn 10 ("Excavation Report (E), Monograph (M)"): The main publications dealing with the fortification of the site are given, whereas "id." refers to the author mentioned before.