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Fortifications And Sieges

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Chapter Summary

The endemic warfare between small states which lacked the resources and manpower to control large territories increased the importance of static defences. The defence of the principalities which were established in the Balkans in the late medieval period relied on the possession of heavily fortified cities and fortresses in strategic locations. This system of defence necessitated the repair and maintenance of existing walls and fortresses and favoured the construction of new, heavily fortified citadels and fortifications. Since warfare in Byzantium was a state issue, the building and repair of fortifications was an imperial prerogative through which the throne displayed its sovereignty. The Catalans did not have the time or the patience to starve the Byzantine cities into submission, although they used siege weaponry. The defence of the Byzantines against the Catalans in Macedonia relied on the strength of their fortifications and not on successes on the battlefield.

Keywords: Balkans; Byzantine warfare; fortifications; late medieval period; siege weaponry



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