Military Architecture and Fortifications (15th-18th Century)


Undertsand and discuss specific issues relating to military architecture and fortification of the modern period in the disciplinary framework of art history, considering the following key objectives:
a) Understanding the basic body of knowledge about military architecture and fortification between the 15th and the 18th centuries.
b) Identifying the main works and protagonists encompassing the Early Modern architectural culture and reading the Portuguese features in the internacional context.
c) Managing concepts, methodological procedures and the knowledge on the prime sources for research in the specific field of military architecture and fortification.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Available soon


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



Not applicable.


CONCEIÇÃO, M.T. (2008). Da cidade e fortificação em textos portugueses (1540-1640), Dissertação de Doutoramento em Arquitectura apresentada à Universidade de Coimbra
CONCEIÇÃO, M.T (2002). Da Vila Cercada à Praça de Guerra. Formação do Espaço Urbano em Almeida (Séculos XVI-XVIII). Lisboa: Livros Horizonte
FARA, A. (1989). Il Sistema e la Città, Architettura Fortificata dell´Europa Moderna dai Tratati alle Realizzazioni, 1464 - 1794. Génova: Sagep Editrice
MOREIRA, R. (1986). Arquitectura Militar. In Serrão, V. (dir.) História da Arte em Portugal. O Maneirismo. Lisboa: Alfa, vol. VII, pp. 137-152
MOREIRA, R. (1986). Do Rigor Teórico à Urgência Prática: A Arquitectura Militar. In Moura, C. (dir.) História da Arte em Portugal. O Limiar do Barroco. Lisboa: Alfa, vol. VIII, pp. 67-86.
MOREIRA, R. dir. (1989). História das Fortificações Portuguesas no Mundo. Lisboa: Alfa.
POLLAK, M. D. (2010). Cities at war in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Teaching method

Lectures, case studies discussion in class and study tours. The topics will be developed on theoretical sessions, followed by practical sessions based on the review and comment of primary and bibliographical written and visual sources, documents that will be previously given out.

Evaluation method

The final evaluation should balance the preparation and participation on practical sessions (40%) and the production of an individual paper resulting from autonomous research and with oral presentation in class (60%).

Subject matter

1) Early Modern military architecture and fortification specificities.
2) Experimental fortification and Renaissance architectural culture.
3) Defensive systems between the 16th and 18th centuries: the main European cycles.
Bastioned fortification as geometric system. Italian technicians.
The case of El Jadida and the defense of Portuguese sea routes.
Engineers movement under the Habsburg dominium.
The context of the Flemish wars.
The French military experiences and the action of Vauban.
Fortification of the Portuguese border. Cities of war: Elvas, Almeida and Valença,
4)Military treatises and the issue of the national schools.
Architectural treatises, mathematics and military art books in the Italian culture.
The Dutch and the French fortification school in the 17th century.
The school of Luís Serrão Pimentel and the Portuguese wars.
Manuel de Azevedo Fortes and the military learning network in the 18th century.
5)Military design and cartography: cities and territories.