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CHARLES G. ADDISON, ESQ. The history of the Knights Templars, Temple Church, and the Temple

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CHARLES G. ADDISON, ESQ.
The history of the Knights Templars, Temple Church, and the Temple
page 179



and formidable castle of Saphet. Eight hundred and fifty work, men, and four hundred slaves were employed in the task. The walls were sixty French feet in width, one hundred and seventy in height, and the circuit of them was two thousand two hundred and fifty feet. They were flanked by seven large round towers, sixty feet in diameter, and seventy-two feet higher than the walls. The fosse surrounding the fortress was thirty-six feet wide, and was pierced in the solid rock to a depth of forty-three feet. The garrison, in time of peace, amounted to one thousand seven hundred men, and to two thousand* two hundred in time of war.* The ruins of this famous castle crowning the summit of a lofty mountain, torn and shattered by earthquakes, still present a stupendous appearance. In Pococke's time " two particularly fine large round towers" were entire, and Van Egmont and Heyman describe the remains of two moats lined with freestone, several fragments of walls, bulwarks, and turrets, together with corridors, winding staircases, and internal apartments. Ere this fortress was completed, the Templars again lost the holy city, and were well-nigh exterminated in a bloody battle fought with the Carizmians. These were a fierce, pastoral tribe of Tartars, who, descending from the north of Asia, and quitting their abodes in the neighbourhood of the Caspian, rushed headlong upon the nations of the south. They overthrew with frightful rapidity, and the most terrific slaughter, all who had ventured to oppose their progress ; and, at the instigation of Saleh Ayoub, sultan of Egypt, with whom they had formed an alliance, they turned their arms against the Holy Land. In a great battle fought near Gaza, which lasted two days, the Grand Masters of the Temple and the Hospital were both slain, together with three hundred and twelve Knights Templars, and three hundred and twentyfour serving brethren, besides hired soldiers in the pay of the • Slip», Biilm Misceli., lib. vi. p. 3.17.


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