On July 14, 1229, an army led by the Lord of Beirut routed the mercenaries and feudal levees of the five Imperial Baillies of Cyprus. The battle brought to a dramatic end the misrule of Emperor Frederick II's minions. Yet all five Baillies not only survived the battle but fled to safety in three of Cyprus' great castles. Most significantly, three of the Baillies took refuge in the impregnable fortress St. Hilarion -- and they had the young King of Cyprus, Henry, with them. While the Imperial Baillies held out in the hope of Imperial relief, the Lord of Beirut was forced to lay siege to a castle containing his king -- prima facie an act of treason. Today I look at the course and consequences of that fateful siege.
|The Castle of Kantara seen from below. Photo by the author.|
The latter built a trebuchet that, allegedly "battered down nearly all the walls," without inducing surrender because the bedrock on and into which the castle was built defied destruction. Meanwhile, multiple attempts to assault the castle were successfully repulsed and sorties from the castle defeated. However, Brie was joined by the Lord of Caesarea, whose father had been killed at the Battle of Nicosia, allegedly by Sir Gauvain de Cheneche. Caeasrea brought a "sharp-shooter," a cross-bowman, who he charged with killing Cheneche. One presumes the archer received a handsome reward because he was successful. Although Cheneche's stepbrother assumed command of the defense of Kantara, morale was shaken and supplies soon ran low. After ten months, the new commander Sir Philip de Chenard surrendered Kantara to Brie and Caesarea.
|The castle of St. Hilarion seen from a distance. (Photo by HPSchrader)|
|The Lord of Beirut had five sons, who were referred to as the "Wolflings" by Novare in one of his poems.|
|A troubadour entertains -- here in more civilized circumstances than Novare describes!|