Translated Jeff Matthews
In bastioned works the term normally refers to an open gate in the part of the bastion covered by the orillion; the postern is also known as a false gate, secondary or sortie gate. By extension, the term refers also to the entire tunnel (whether underground or in the walls themselves) that provides access to the gate.
In the Eurialo Castle in Siracuse there is a well developed example of this “defensive dynamic” using underground structures. It was built by Dionysius between 402 and 397 BC and was located atop the great walls that enclose the Epipole terrace and control the road that connected Syracuse with the interior of the island. The series of tunnels, posterns and trenches were designed to be used in pincer-like sorties and counterattacks by outflanking the enemy or taking him from behind in later stages of the action. (Mauceri L., Il Castello Eurialo nella storia e nell’arte, Edizioni Dafni, reprint of the second expanded edition, Catania 1993).
Padovan Gianluca (ed. ), Archaeology of the Subsoil. Lectures and studies of artificial cavities. British Archaeological Reports, International Series 1416, Oxford 2005.
Basilico Roberto et alii, Italian Cadastre of Artificial Cavities. Part 1. (Including introductory comments and a classification), B.A.R. International Series 1599, Oxford 2007.
Gianluca Padovan (Associazione S.C.A.M. – Federazione Nazionale Cavità Artificiali)
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