Fortifications and castles


The “chevalier” towers

By the term “chevalier” we mean towers that were placed on inclined curtain walls or, more rarely, on the corner formed by two contiguous inclined curtain walls. They represent an architectural improvement on the cylindrical square towers, since the jutting apparatus guaranteed cover for enfilade fire without reducing the efficiency of vertical fire. This uncommon design required considerable architectural and construction skills. The examples known to us are few, and they include some crusader castles in the Holy Land (Crac des Chevaliers at Homs and Marqab), Goodrich castle in England, the Norman keep in Bovino, the master tower of the “sea” castle in Palermo (documented at the end of the 12th century), and three Molisian examples, Termoli, Tufara and Roccamandolfi. Interpretation of these towers is difficult and made more complex by the fact that it is not always possible to understand the true structural relations between the straight and curved sections. In some cases it may be hypothesised that they are actually round towers supported by a spur. The spur facilitated backing up, reinforced the point that was most exposed to attack and, when properly shaped, helped to distribute the rebound of dropped projectiles.
In any case, the Molisian examples are very interesting for documentary purposes though many aspects remain doubtful.

Crac des 
(Lavrence, 1939)