Lowry, Ousterhout, and the earliest Ottoman fortress in Europe

posted by istanbul on 2009/08/09 10:27

[ Books ]

The Princeton-based Ottomanist Heath Lowry has recently released two books significantly increasing our understanding of the early Ottoman expansion into Greece in the 14th century (1, 2). Not entirely unnoticed should go a review he wrote for Cornucopia: the magazine for connoisseurs of Turkey (No. 39), in which he discusses the recent book  The Byzantine Monuments of the Evros/Meric River Valley by Robert Ousterhout and Charalambos Bakirtzis. The text is available online here. While he finds the book a useful addition, he disagrees with them when it comes to the 14th-ct. fortress of Pythion near Didymoteicho in Greek Thrace. One part of which has been dendrochronologically dated to c1331, hence making it a Byzantine building. Lowry, however, suggests to attribute the second stage of the fortresses construction to the Ottoman "Lord of the Marches" Haci Ilbegi. If this dating is correct, it would make the Pythion fortress "the earliest known Ottoman fortification, predating Anadolu Hisarı on the Asian side of the Bosphorus by close to half a century." Curiously, Bulgarian National Television has just used the fortress for the filming of its documentary titled The Ottoman Invasion (*).


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