Grand Magne

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Grand Ma[i]gne ("Great Maina", in Greek: Μεγάλη Μαΐνη) or Vieux Ma[i]gne ("Old Maina", in Greek: Παλαιά Μαΐνη) was a Frankish castle in the Mani Peninsula, Greece. It was built, according to the Chronicle of the Morea, ca. 1248–1250 AD by William II Villehardouin, the Prince of Achaea in order to control the Slavic tribe of the Melingoi.[1] He was captured by the Byzantines in 1259 at the Battle of Pelagonia, and had to give up the castle as part of his ransom.[2]

The location of the castle is not clear. There are generally considered to be four candidates:

Wagstaff argues that Kelepha is the most likely:

  • Porto Kagio does not fit the topographic description in the Chronicle and its fortification was not mentioned by portolans or travelers before about 1568;
  • Tigani is too far south to control the Melingoi;
  • There is no evidence that there ever was a fortification at Kastro tis Orias;
  • Though the design of Kelepha Castle is not typical of Frankish forts, there is evidence that the Ottomans rebuilt it in 1670.

But he concedes that the evidence is weak.[1]


  1. ^ a b J. M. Wagstaff, "Further Observations on the Location of Grand Magne", Dumbarton Oaks Papers 45:141-148 (1991) JSTOR 1291698
  2. ^ Bon, Antoine (1969). La Morée franque. Recherches historiques, topographiques et archéologiques sur la principauté d’Achaïe (in French). Paris: De Boccard. pp. 502–504. 

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