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Title: The Independently Fortified Tower: An International Type in Ottoman Military Architecture, 1452-1462
Authors: Holmes, Denwood N S
Advisors: Leisten, Thomas
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Fortifications
Military architecture
Siege warfare
Subjects: Art history
Military history
Near Eastern studies
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: <bold>Abstract</bold> Mehmed the Conqueror (r. 1451-1481) built four fortresses ex nihilo in the years leading up to and immediately following the conquest of Constantinople. Two were located in the immediate vicinity of his new capital: RumeliHisarý (1452), placed opposite an existing Ottoman fortification on the Asian shore and intended to control the narrowest point in the Bosphorus just north of the city, and Yedikule (1457-1458), built against the interior side of the Byzantine land walls of the city itself immediately following the Conquest. The other two fortresses guarded the entrance to the Dardanelles, thereby controlling the southern access to the Sea of Marmara: Kilid-ül Bahr, on the European shore, and Kale-i Sultaniyye (also known as Çanakkale) on the Asian bank opposite (both 1461-1462). Although Mehmed II undertook other fortification projects during his reign, none compares in magnitude to these four. Taken as a whole, the group constitutes the pinnacle of early Ottoman military architecture. The four fortresses are extremely challenging buildings in terms of interpretation. Although all were completed within a decade of one another, architecturally speaking the group is extremely diverse. Besides owing very little to each other, the four buildings also seem to draw very little upon existing local traditions. Markedly dissimilar to their predecessors in Western Anatolia and the Balkans, these four buildings are nevertheless in and of themselves puzzlingly accomplished, seeming to have emerged fully-formed from the mind of their architect(s) without, in each case, any sort of identifiable developmental trajectory. However, this mid fifteenth-century flowering of Ottoman military architecture cannot have been entirely sui generis. Military architecture, shaped usually by soldier/engineers with direct experience of siege warfare, is by nature both adaptive and imitative; it is responsive to new threats and likewise heedful of successful precedents. The catalytic influences and heritage - both stylistic and technological - behind these mysteriously "new" monuments have nonetheless never been adequately identified in the limited scholarship on these buildings, and it is precisely this thread of investigation that this dissertation takes up.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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