Castles of God: Fortified Religious Buildings of the World

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Boydell Press, 2004 - Architecture - 304 pages
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Throughout history, great faiths have been subjected to persecution and attack from beyond the wall - literally walls, in Peter Harrison's remarkable book of the great monastery-fortresses, and church-fortresses, of the world.The fortified religious buildings of Christendom, Islam and Tibetan Buddhism are some of the most dramatic buildings of the middle ages. Though they shared a common purpose in defending the living faith from the armies of the unbeliever, they are astonishingly different from each other. Peter Harrison has spent a lifetime in scholarly pursuit of fortified religious buildings dating from a thousand years ago and more, in the Old and New Worlds, the Orient, and the Occident, ranging through New Mexico, North Africa and Tibet, though the majority are to be found in Europe.The wild, often hostile, terrain in which these fortresses were built speaks of a militant faith, and Peter Harrison's purpose is to show how and why religious establishments incorporated military architecture. He considers this unstudied subject from a uniquely wide point of view, historical, military, and architectural. Every form of religious building that received fortifications is illustrated, from the humble parish churches of the Anglo-Scottish Borders to the Potala Palace of the Dalai Lama and the Vatican.Particular features of this book are the author's photographs, taken in some of the wildest and most inaccessible parts of the world, and his own very detailed plans and illustrations of many of the buildings described.SHORTLISTED FOR THE LONGMAN-HISTORY TODAY BOOK OF THE YEAR 2005 AWARD.Dr PETER HARRISON is Research Associate, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Middle Eastern Origins
7
The religious settlements of the Essenes at Qumran Israel
9
The Monastery of St Catherine Egypt
16
Ireland
23
The Crusades
38
Chastel Blanc Syria
45
Portugal
54
Sucevita Moldavia Romania
150
Alaverdi Georgia
150
Russia
158
America and the Philippines
170
The fortified Spanish missions of San Antonio Texas
171
The Caucasus Region
191
The fortress Monastery of St Paul and St Peter Tatev Armenia
193
The Church and Monastery of Dzvari Georgia
200

Great Britain
66
The fortified ecclesiastical buildings of Englands northern Borderlands
67
Lindisfarne Priory Holy Island Northumberland
74
The Church of St Cadoc Cheriton Wales
83
Scandinavia
88
The fortified churches of the Baltic
90
France
97
BeaumontduPerigord France
102
SaintAvitSenieur France
116
The Eastern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe
121
The monasteries of Mount Athos Greece
122
The fortified Saxon village church of Prejmer Romania
132
Central Europe
137
Ecclesiastical fortresses in RhinelandPalatinate Bavaria and BadenWurttemberg
140
Italy
148
Monastery of St Simeon Aswan Egypt
150
Ethiopia
206
Enda Medhane Alem Adua Tigre Ethiopia
213
Islam I
215
The ribats and fortified mosques of Tunisia
224
Islam II
227
Iran and Syria
239
The Persian and Syrian castles of the Assassins
241
The Himalayan Region
250
The monastery complex of Pelkhor Chode Gyantse Tibet
259
Fortified dzongs and monasteries of Bhutan
269
Conclusion
276
Glossary of Terms
281
Bibliography
285
Index
291
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About the author (2004)

About the Author

Peter Harrison has been fascinated by computers since the early 1980s. He was the founding president of PCJAM, Jamaica's first computer user group, and was the principal systems engineer responsible for the computerization of the island's tax collection and social security systems.

He then sought new opportunities as the western Caribbean representative for a Fortune 500 pharmaceuticals firm and later became the international sales manager for a West Indian rum company. Before moving to Silicon Valley he ran Trinidad and Tobago's first industrial trade office to Latin America.

Peter has since worked extensively in the Internet sector deploying large-scale data centers and Web sites. Extensive use of Linux in this environment combined with his varied business background has helped him create this highly readable book for the newbie, the techie, and their bosses.

In his quieter moments, Peter enjoys the art and literature of the Caribbean and Latin America. Long rides on his bicycle provide another guilty pleasure. Peter likes to relax with his family on short weekend trips to the many attractions of the San Francisco Bay Area.
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