Refined Plan of a Star Fort and Walled Settlement
Manuscript plan outlining a formidable fortress complete with moat, bastions, inner and outer walls, and several building outlines. The plan is finely wrought, showing similarities to the famous fortification designs of Vauban.
A central irregular-hexagonal fortress is protected by six bastions. These are pointed, so as to eliminate a dead zone, or a blind spot for ordnance, just in front of the bastions. This central fort is protected by two large walled enclosures, perhaps city or town walls. Each of these again has several bastions for their protection. Walls are outlined in red.
A moat runs partially around the inner fort, as well as around the outer walls; two inlets allow water in at the top and bottom of the page. Earthen mounds are also indicated, as well as two rock faults that run diagonally to the central fort. These are labeled, as is one of the large enclosures.
An eighteenth-century hand has annotated the plan, including the title at the top, “Orange.” This might indicate that the fortified location is in the Principality of Orange, in the Netherlands.
Star forts like this first appeared in Italy in the fifteenth century in response to the rise of warfare conducted with gunpowder and firearms. They were perfected in design by Sebastian Le Prestre de Vauban, the Marquis of Vauban (1622-1707). Vauban’s skills for designing fortifications became the dominant model of siege craft and defense in the late seventeenth century and continued to influence fortress architecture well into the eighteenth century.