Prime The Fortress of Rhodes 1309-1522 By Konstantin Nossov –

An excellent overview of the fortress, aspects of its defence management by the Order of Saint John, the development of its fortifications and the two sieges of 1480 and 1522 The photographs and artwork are superb The book is ideal for anyone who wants to be informed in some detail prior to a visit or for general interest A good read. First besieged inBC, the island of Rhodes became part of the Roman Empire and was later fortified in the Byzantine style Due to its strategic position in the Mediterranean, Rhodes was also attacked and besieged for over a century by Islamic forces This title details the development of these fascinating fortifications, as well as the sieges that sought to reduce them To start with the big plusses From all the books from Osprey s fortress series this may be the one with the best graphics I know no other fortress of fortified town so well without every having been there This book also gives an excellent account, how under the influence of siege artillery medieval castles evolved into renaissance fortresses.So why only 4 stars The fact that the responsibility for two fortress sections was exchanged between the English and the Aragonese was repeated so often, and the explanations why the one or the other was built under the one grand master and not the other was so detailed that I nearly fell asleep So with either less text or stories on the life in Rhodes 500 years ago or on the sieges I whould have given the book 5 stars. The Fortress of Rhodes 1309 1522 surveys its defense by the Order of the Knights Hospitaller against repeated assaults by Muslim forces from Egypt and Turkey In the process, author Konstantin Nossov and illustrator Brian Delf provide a detailed look at successive improvements made to the older structure inherited by the Knights, to keep it defensible.The book follows the standard Osprey Fortress Series format, with a basic chronology, a brief explanation of the changes in warfare that forced the Hospitallers to repeatedly made improvements, and a narrative of the actual modifications of various portions of the walls, ditches and other features under different grand masters of the Order The final segment of the book briefly describes the sieges of Rhodes, down to the final one in 1522 The text is clear and easy to read, and is much enhanced by a terrific selection of photographs, illustrations, maps, and diagrams of the fortress.The book has a few challenges An overall schematic of the fortified town of Rhodes doesn t make an appearance until two thirds of the way through the narrative As another reviewer has noted, there is no map placing the Island of Rhodes in context in the Eastern Mediterranean A variety of technical terms are used to describe the features of the fortress their meaning is reserved for a glossary at the end of the text That said, this is a fascinating look at a storied fortress, and a worthwhile introduction to its history Recommended. This book, like most in the Osprey Fortification series, provides a very good overview of its topic in its relatively short breadth 64 pages, roughly half of which are illustration.The physical characteristics of the fort are especially well covered, especially in terms of illustration drawings, etchings, photographs and contemperoneous artwork The emphasis of the book is on the physical fortifications in the condition they were in during the two famous sieges of 1480 1522 Little discussion regarding the fortifications is presented outside of this time frame The book is richly illustrated with drawings and etchings showing the condition of this fort during the two sieges As the fort is today, or less, in the same state it was at the end of the 1522 siege there are also many excellent photos that illustrate its key defensive and architectural points.There is also considerable discussion as to strengths and weaknesses of the fortifications along with how they developed over time i.e., closing off of many entrances, building of large moats, building of secondary set of walls and fortifications in front of main walls and in moats, etc The primary emphasis, again, is on how the fortifications developed between 1480 and 1522 The illustrations show how the fort s defenses were massively expanded during this interim period In addition, there is a good discussion, along with accompanying illustration, of what certain features were for i.e., machicolations, tunnels that permitted entry from fort into moat floors that permitted sallies, etc The book also covers how responsibility for fort defense was partitioned, by lines along the wall, by nationality and a brief discussion of the Knight s of Saint John and non military functions of the fort to assist pilgrims to the Holy Land, etcThe book does have a few weaknesses which do not permit it to be granted a five star rating however The most important of these is a lack of a combat history of the two sieges with an emphasis on how the fortifications performed relative to the strengths and weaknesses identified in the book For a good history of the two sieges Eric Brockman s book The Two Sieges of Rhodes, 1480 1522 is highly recommended by this reviewer Other weaknesses include a lack of cutaway drawings, lack of photos some of the very impressive still standing interior the Knight s main banquet hall is incredibly impressive but not covered in book and some discussion of the geopolitical importance of the fort and why the Ottoman state expended such great efforts to invest the fort In addition, as the fort is currently standing in or less the state discussed in the book, the book could have added a paragraph or so on travel and tour recommendations for those interested in actually visiting the site For the fortification aficionado with the inclination, time and money to spend a visit is well worth it as the pictures in book taken by the author make clear. Ilove it as i was born in Rhodes, well written very good history summary. Well done analysis I could understand the terrain and the weapons systems and the use of evolving defensive tactics to hold back the superior and technologically well armed Ottomans. great