Retraction-THE CITY-1453

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Retraction-THE CITY-1453

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:29 pm

Hi Guys:

Well, it sure seems as though Dale is right on this one, the Emporer Constantine Palaiologos did in fact die somewhere near the "Gate of Saint Romanus" .

His body was never recovered. He was the last man to call himself "Emporer of the Romans".

The Gate was called Topkapi by the Ottomans. At least the museum of the same name existed until the 1960's-I assume it is still there, but i am not going to make the same assumptions about the gate as I have no present knowledge as to its condition.

The Byzantine Empire had been steadily shrinking since the Battle of Manzikert, a disastrous loss by the Empire to the Seljuk Turks. It was a battle they could have won.

At the time of the 1st Crusade, which seems to have been largely Norman French Driven, many of the Crusaders considered the Byzantine Imperial Army to be the best in the World.

The Imperial Army took advantage of the Crusade and its victory over the Seljuks at Dorylaeum and the fall City of Antioch to the "Latin Crusaders" and occupied much of it the territory lost after Manikert.

I do not recall that the Orthodox Empire felt comfortable to follow the Crusaders further than that City.

As you well know the Byzantine Empire had been steadily shrinking before the Arab Expansion and then the Seljuk and Ottoman Conquests since the 8th Century.


So my error will cost you all some heavy reading (or not) as well as the opptunity to enlighten me further.

In any case, the Emporer in 1453 had only 50-75,000 subjects, 99% within the walls of Constantinople, and his realm consisted of what is shown within the City walls.


The above picture does not show "Pera" on the other side of the Golden Horn.


The "walls" of the City.

Trained military personnel of the Garrison included about 5,000-6000 Greeks (not known if from the City) and 2000-2500 foreigners, probably mostly Genoese and some Venetian mercenaries or volunteers..

So, even though up to 30,000 civilians aided in the defense of the city, although partly just serving as laborers repairing the breaches made by Mehmet's guns; a fairer phrase to have been used would have been, at best, the Byzantines "could" not serve in their own defence.

One source does say (if I can find it again) what the defenders lacked in sophistication, they compensated for in enthusiasm.

It is suprising to note that even in what is now modern day Turkey, the Ottomans did not hold pervasive sway, and, apparenty, had to contend with Timur I Leng (Tamerlane-he hated being called that as it named him as 'lame") and the areas of influence of the Seljuks and other Turkish 'groups".

Many things developed or used by the Ottimans (heavy siege artillery, fife and drums corps to name two) were copied and adopted by the West.

The elite "shock troops" of Mehmet's Army were the Janissaries, children mostly born of Christian or other non Islamic peoples, raised in Islam and the Military life (re-envisioned by Frank Herbert is the "Sarduakar" in the Science Fiction novel of the 60's: "Dune". Although Herbert stayed pretty well away from religious shadings.)

The walls alone did not prevent the sacking of the City, as Hugh noted, by the Western Fourth Crusade. However IF I recall correctly, the Crusaders may have had already been allowed within the City when, ah, shall we saying stealing and looting on site seemed better than contuing to the Holy Land.

However, this is in question as some sources as the tension and hatred extant between the Latin Papacy and The Greek Orthodox Patriarchy at that time is no secret.

to be continued----

Last edited by JOHN THURSTON on Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Dale Houser » Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:24 pm

My favorite book on this subject is The Fall of Constantinople 1453:

You are right, the Byzantines were too weak, vastly outnumbered and ultimately doomed but they put up a heck of a defense. Cheers.
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Postby Hugh » Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:01 pm

One advantage of the Fall of Constantinople was the flowering of the Renaissance as a result of the flight of Christian scholars from Constantinople to the West along with much of their libraries which included a lot of ancient writings that had been lost to the West for one reason or another. There had been a similar if lesser intellectual stirring after the fall of Cordoba to the Reconquista in the 13th Century opened its library to the rest of Western Europe. It was during this period that we see Thomas Aquinas and what are called the Scholasticist Movement.
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Dynamics of the Fall

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:26 am

Hi Hugh Hi Dale:

Quite right. The Human Dynamics of the Mediterraean Basin have always been most interesting.

I blieve it was Washington that said, when referring to Europe was : "Stay Away from that blood soaked continent".

Well, the New World could not 'stay away" because the Forces that caused the Bleeding In the "Old World" simply had, have and will continure to export bloodletting on a massive scale to the New World.

But I digress. I plan a thread on the Killing Fields of Native Americans which will include North America , Mexico, Central America, and South America,

All I have now it bits and pieces of the great wave of death that swept the Native New Worlders on a frightening scale-well, actually it's way beyond frightening.

Yes, for sure, historians use the Fall of The City to the Ottomans as a convenient bookmark to mark the beginning of the Renaissance.

If Hugh says that scholars fled the City and the areas being dominated by the Turks and the Amalgam of tribes commanded by Tamerlane from Samarkand etc,, you can count on it being true. I just never thought of it.

Many years before in what is now France, Islamic Advance into Europe
was given its high water mark at Tours when the forces of Islamic Expansion were stopped.

I can't give you much on Tours right now. But we are on this track and will follow it out in tis or a related thread.

Subsequent to Tours, the forces of unification and of the Reconquista were gathering.

Roderigo Diaz, known to me as Roderigo de Bivar, and to Legendary history as El Cid (from the Arabic Al Sayyid-'the master') passed away in 1099.

We discussed him briefly in the Thread "The Arthur Complex".

He had spent his life fighting both for and against the "Moors" and died in Valencia in 1099 but he remains a perfect Example,nonethelss, of the force gathering in Iberia.

Moorish impact, control and influence lasted Centuries in Spain after the death of Al ASayyid, and the same forces that spawned the Reconquista would have some impact on the birth of the Sancta Casa.

Grenada, the last stronghold of the Moors, I beleive, in Iberia fell to the forces of the Reconquista in 1492. I can't give detailed information on that event at the moment..

So, in a sense, while the Islamic Ottoman destroyed the Center of Greek Orthodox Christianity with a "right cross" thru The City and on into the Balkans, the "right hook" of the Reconquista was building to strike back in Iberia.

Strangely enough, the forces of the Reconquista did not, after the fall of Grenada, focus on the Islamic Eastern Mediterranian or the Ottomans.

The expansionistic force in Iberia seems to have become an Imperial one that dispensed with notions of freeing the Holy land or indeed of striking at any areas in the areas held by the Ottomans.

The Fall of the City, although it had a hidden and powerful impact which would emerge centuries later, but at the time : "caused little stir in the West and was in fact of importance on;y to the two peoples directly involved, the Greeks and the Turks" *from the History of the World by--many contributors such as Sir Mortimer Wheeler. *will in dicate a source that I will eventually set forth in a biblioragraphy of this and the accomanying thread.

Of course I disagree with this writer.

Ottoman Expansion eventualy reached as far west as Egypt and coastal "Cryrenica" as the Romans and later the Fascist Italians would call it, (Libya) and to Budapest in the Western Europe.

The Empire held Allepo, Damascus and would engulf most of the Arabian peninsula in the Sixteenth Century.

An odd anecdote from "Dungeon Fire nad Sword by John J. Robinson runs as follows: "When General Edmund Allenby led a column of Britsh troops through the gates of Jerusalem, where no Christian Army had set foot since 1244, the barristers of the Temple held a special service. Its hilight was a chivalrous gesture as the barristers of the Temple processed into the round church of the Templars and placed laurel wreath of Victory on the efigies of the knights, to convey the message "You are not forgotten. Nor will they be"

At the Same time, in 1918, after Turkish surrender, the British fleet was allowed to anchor in the Waters of the Golden Horn. Waters so well defended that the combined French and British Fleets could not force entrance to The City in 1915 and the Anzac Forces were butchered in their attempt to reach the City by land through Gallipoli by means of an amphibious attack. The operation became fatally bogged down in a brutal trench war of attrition on the peninsula..

Nonetheless, if the City was to have changed hands again, 1918 would have been the time.

Is it not ironic that the weapons invented de facto my mehmet to take the City (the mortar and the howitzer) would be used to deadly effect thoughout France, Belgium, "the Central Powrers', Italy ,Russia, and the Ottoman Empire.

to be continued---
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