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Season 1, Episode 1
Crac des Chevaliers (Syria)
EP01 – Crac Des Chevaliers: “A Medieval Seismic Upgrade!”
Welcome to the inaugural episode of Battle Castle! “Go Medieval”with host Dan Snow as he narrates this fascinating look at one of the most incredible castles in the world: the indomitable Crac des Chevaliers.
This amazing feat of medieval engineering lies in Syria and was built during the 12th century by the Knights of St. John – the Hospitallers. Battle Castles takes us inside the lives of the knights, their struggles, and the captivating history of this medieval mammoth.
The beauty of this show is that it manages to hit the proverbial sweet spot of serious academia and the medieval newbie. Scholars and Warcraft kids alike will tune in and stay tuned in. Its not dull or dry, yet, it’s not dumbed down – it’s succeeded at the perfect mix. Another high point: it’s medieval eye candy. The cinematography is majestic and beautiful. The camera sweeps around the castle and gets wonderful close ups of the foundation, arrow slits, walls and surrounding land.
Dan also explains the painstaking detail behind the build of a medieval castle when he visits a castle in France being built using authentic medieval methods. Once you see this portion, of the episode, you can’t help but be astounded by these awesome structures.
Crac has taken a lot of damage over its turbulent history but the knights kept rebuilding a bigger, better, and badder castle! In 1170, Crac was leveled by an earthquake and the knights rebuilt it with a talus (sloping 50m walls) to secure the foundation and to prevent conventional siege attacks. In 1188, after taking a beating from Saladin’s trebuchet, the knights were at it again and added a wall and moat to further fortify the castle making Crac damn near invincible.
There is a nice segue into the trebuchet in this episode and Dan gets to visit Wales and launch one! The camera gets amazing angles here right under the launching mechanism as it hurls its deadly missiles. Trebuchets can catapult a projectile up to an incredible 450m (1,476 ft)! Dan also treks to Poland to learns how Sultan Babars miners protected themselves from attacks under a device called a Cat. It was a mobile shelter that provided cover and took 12 people to move!
Trebuchets, earthquakes, Crusades and sweeping panoramas – you don’t want to miss a single minute of this fantastic ﬁrst episode of Battle Castle!
Hooked? Good! Tune in with us next week as we recap another medieval offering from Battle Castle in their episode on Chateau Gaillard