Sack of Constantinople, (April 1204).The diversion of the Fourth Crusade from the Holy Land to attack, capture, and pillage the Byzantine city of Constantinople divided and dissipated the efforts of the Christians to maintain the war against the Muslims. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Many modern scholars also agree that the exodus of Greeks to Italy as a result of this event marked the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance. Some soldiers are pointing canons to the city and The towers, either square or octagonal in form, could hold up to three artillery machines. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 shocked Christians in the Latin West and Greek East alike. BaltaoÄlu SÃ¼leyman Bey commanded a fleet stationed at Diplokionion with an estimated 31 large and midsize warships alongside nearly 100 smaller boats and transports. The dwindling Byzantine Empire came to an end when the Ottomans breached Constantinopleâs ancient land wall after besieging the city for 55 days. Despite a desperate last-ditch defense of the city by the massively outnumbered Christian forces (7,000 men, 2,000 of whom were sent by Rome), Constantinople finally fell to the Ottomans after a two-month … However, on May 29, 1453, Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks. Furthermore, with Constantinople having suffered through several devastating sieges, the cityâs population had dropped from roughly 400,000 in the 12th century to between 40,000 and 50,000 by the 1450s. On a Tuesday, May 29th 1453, the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos died, as did his empire, fighting at the city streets alongside his soldiers. Omissions? This allowed the sultan to send in another Janissary regiment and take the inner wall at the Gate of St. Romanus. Nevertheless, just as deeply entrenched was the understanding that Byzantine control of Constantinople was a necessary bastion against Muslim control of land and sea in the eastern Mediterranean. Time was running out for the city but, then, a reprieve came from an unexpected quarter. The city of Constantinople (modern Istanbul) was founded by Roman emperor Constantine I in 324 CE and it acted as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantine Empire as it has later become known, for well over 1,000 years. The Empire of Trebizond was an offshoot of the Byzantine Empire... Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire, The Siege and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Crusader armies captured, looted, and destroyed parts of … In short, Constantinople, with the greatest defences in the medieval world, was impregnable. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. The Fall of Constantinople: A Captivating Guide to the Conquest of Constantinople... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. He stopped to pray and then demanded that all further looting cease immediately. "1453: The Fall of Constantinople." T he ancient city of Constantinople, located in modern Turkey and today known as Istanbul, was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine in 330 who made it the seat of his reign. The Ottomans then built a pontoon and fixed cannons to it so that they could now attack any part of the city from the sea side, not just the land. On 6 April the attack began. By this stage, Constantinople was underpopulated and dilapidated. Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. The defenders could do no more than fire back with their own smaller cannons by day, hold off the attackers where the cannons had punched the biggest holes, and try and repair those gaps each night as best they could, using rocks, barrels, and anything else they could get their hands on. When the army assembled at the city walls of Constantinople on 2 April 1453 CE, the Byzantines got their first glimpse of Mehmed’s cannons. Byzantine culture would survive, especially in the arts and architecture, but the fall of Constantinople was, nevertheless, a momentous episode of world history, the end of the old Roman Empire and the last surviving link between the medieval and ancient worlds. To take Constantinople, an army would, then, need to attack by both land and sea, but all attempts failed no matter who tried and no matter what weapons and siege engines they launched at the city. The city fell on 29 May 1453, the culmination of a 53-day siege which had begun on 6 April 1453. Jonathan Harris, The Siege and Fall of Constantinople in 1453: Historiography, Topography and Military Studies, by Marios Philippides and Walter K. Hanak, The English Historical Review, Volume 128, Issue 532, June 2013 Between 60,000 and 80,000 soldiers fought on land, accompanied by 69 cannon. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. By the mid-15th century, constant struggles for dominance with its Balkan neighbours and Roman Catholic rivals had diminished Byzantine imperial holdings to Constantinople and the land immediately west of it. Constantinople had withstood many sieges and attacks over the centuries, notably by the Arabs between 674 and 678 CE and again between 717 and 718 CE. The distance between the outer ditch and inner wall was 60 metres while the height difference was 30 metres. The land walls spanned 4 miles (6.5 km) and consisted of a double line of ramparts with a moat on the outside; the higher of the two stood as high as 40 feet (12 metres) with a base as much as 16 feet (5 metres) thick. Amazon配送商品ならThe Fall of Constantinople 1453 (Canto)が通常配送無料。更にAmazonならポイント還元本が多数。Runciman, Steven作品ほか、お急ぎ便対象商品は当日お届けも可能。 His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. The Turkish army of Mehmet II attacks Constantinople in 1453. The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 CE marked the final collapse of the Roman Empire. Worse still, the once great Byzantine navy now consisted of a mere 26 ships, and most of those belonged to the Italian colonists of the city. 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople is a well-written and fast-paced book by Roger Crowley that is ostensibly about Mehmet II’s capture and pillage of Constantinople. Mehmed IIby Gentile Bellini (Public Domain). Meanwhile, Mehmed, aged only 21 and now known as "the Conqueror", settled in for a long reign and another 28 years as Sultan. Many of the city’s inhabitants committed suicide rather than be subject to the horrors of capture and slavery. Another major siege was instigated by the usurper Thomas the Slav between 821 and 823 CE. In the 15th century, Constantinopleâs walls were widely recognized as the most formidable in all of Europe. Another Crusader army was defeated in 1444 CE at Varna near the Black Sea coast. Constantinople remained the most difficult military nut to crack in the world. On April 12 the sultan dispatched a contingent of troops to subdue two nearby Byzantine forts and ordered BaltaoÄlu to rush the chain. 15th-century CE Ottoman Cannonby The Land (Public Domain). The battle was part of the Byzantine-Ottoman Wars (1265-1453) and is referred to as one of the darkest days in Greek history. Many sought refuge in churches and barricaded themselves in, including inside the Hagia Sophia, but these were obvious targets for their treasures, and after they were looted for their gems and precious metals, the buildings and their priceless icons were smashed, the cowering captives butchered. https://www.ancient.eu/article/1180/. S. Runciman, The Fall of Constantinople 1453 (Cambridge, 1965).Back to (8) A. Pertusi, La Caduta di Costantinopoli (2 vols., Milan, 1976); A. Pertusi, Testi inediti e poco noti sulla Caduta di Costantinopoli (Bologna, 1983). He also began to view himself as Kayser-i RÃ»m (âCaesar of Romeâ), the inheritor of the Roman Empire and all its historical lands. Behind that was an outer wall which had a patrol track to oversee the moat. The defenders attempted to attack the remainder of the Ottoman fleet in the Bosporus, but they were defeated. The Byzantines had actually had first option on the cannons as they had been offered them by their inventor, the Hungarian engineer named Urban, but Constantine could not meet his asking price. The great Bulgar Khans Krum (r. 802-814 CE) and Symeon (r. 893-927 CE) both attempted to attack the Byzantine capital, as did the Rus (descendants of Vikings based around Kiev) in 860 CE, 941 CE, and 1043 CE, but all failed. Mehmed ordered a third attack on the gate, this time with one of his own palace regiments of 3,000 Janissaries. Byzantine relations with the rest of Europe had soured over the last several centuries as well: the Schism of 1054 and the 13th-century Latin occupation of Constantinople entrenched a mutual hatred between the Orthodox Byzantines and Roman Catholic Europe. The attacking Ottoman army, which significantly outnumbered Constantinople's defenders, was commanded by the 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II (later called "the Conqueror"), while the Byzantine army was led by Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos. These fearsome weapons were put to good use in November 1452 CE when a Venetian ship, disobeying a ban on traffic, was blown out of the water as it sailed down the Bosphorus. This lesson will provide the background, summary… In 1396 CE, at Nikopolis on the Danube, an Ottoman army defeated a Crusader army. When most of Constantinople was secure, Mehmed himself rode through the streets of the city to the great cathedral of Hagia Sophia, the largest in all of Christendom, and converted it into the mosque Ayasofya. He hoped to breach them or otherwise force a surrender before a Christian relief force could arrive. Emperor Constantine XI is reported to have been killed while either fighting near the breach or fleeing to an escape boat. In 1453, they captured Constantinople. The Venetians did send a paltry two ships and 800 men in April 1453 CE, Genoa promised another ship, and even the Pope later promised five armed ships, but the Ottomans had by then already blockaded Constantinople. For Christendom, Mehmedâs victory at Constantinople represented a serious shift in its dealings with the East. We thank Professor Melville-Jones for his permission to republish this translation. Mehmedâs strategy was straightforward: he would use his fleet and siege lines to blockade Constantinople on all sides while relentlessly battering the walls of the city with cannon. And they were big ones. They extended across the peninsula from the shores of the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn, eventually being fully completed in 439 CE and stretching some 6.5 kilometres. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Our mission is to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. The captain of the vessel survived but was captured, decapitated, and then impaled on a stake. A small fleet of naval and armed merchant vessels were also stationed in the Golden Horn to defend the chain. The emperor refused, and Mehmed gave the news to his men that now, when the city fell, as surely it would, they could plunder whatever they wished from one of the richest cities in the world. The fall of the city removed what was once a powerful defense for Christian Europe against Muslim invasion, allowing for uninterrupted Ottoman expansion into eastern Europe. Mehmed was determined to take the Golden Horn and pressure the Byzantines into submission. On April 6 the Ottomans began their artillery barrage and brought down a section of the wall. In April, having quickly seized Byzantine coastal settlements along the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara, Ottoman regiments in Rumelia and Anatolia assembled outside the Byzantine capital. Urban then peddled his expertise to the Sultan, and Mehmed showed more interest and offered him four times what he was asking. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. Already tested, it could fire a ball weighing 500 kilos over 1.5 km. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Even the Genoese colony of Pera, facing the capital, attempted to stay neutral. Rumeli Fortress (Rumeli HisarÄ±) on the European bank of the Bosporus, Istanbul. Summary This major study is a comprehensive scholarly work on a key moment in the history of Europe, the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. "1453: The Fall of Constantinople." Then, behind that wall was a third, much more massive, inner wall. The Fall of Constantinople occurred on May 29, 1453, after a siege which began on April 6. The people of the city could only stock up on food and arms and hope their defences would save them yet again. The crushing of the Crusader army at Varna in 1444 CE meant that the Byzantines were now on their own. It is at this point that Constantine was killed in the action, most likely near the Gate of St. Romanos, although, as he had discarded any indications of his status to avoid his body being used as a trophy, his demise is not known for certain. Hungary was the primary European threat to the Ottomans on land, and Venice and Genoa controlled much of the Aegean and Black seas. 06 Jan 2021. It could not, though, resist the mighty cannons of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, and Constantinople, jewel and bastion of Christendom, was conquered, smashed, and looted on Tuesday, 29 May 1453 CE. Emperor Constantine XI named Giustiniani commander of his land defenses and spent the rest of the winter strengthening the city for a siege. All of these attacks were unsuccessful thanks to the city’s location by the sea, its naval fleet, and the secret weapon of Greek Fire (a highly inflammable liquid), and, most importantly of all, the protection of the massive Theodosian Walls. The great Bulgar Khans Krum (r. 802-814 CE) and Symeon (r. 893-927 CE) both attempted to attack the Byzantine capital, as did the Rus (descendants of Vikings based around Kiev) in 860 CE, 941 CE, and 1043 CE, but all failed. Yet the fall of Constantinople proved to be Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/1180/. Then the new Sultan, Mehmed II (r. 1451-1481 CE), after extensive preparations such as building, extending, and occupying fortresses along the Bosporus, notably at Rumeli Hisar and Anadolu in 1452 CE, moved to finally sweep away the Byzantines and their capital. Just before dawn, the sultan launched a coordinated artillery, infantry, and naval assault on Constantinople. The largest was 9 metres long with a gaping mouth one metre across. This text is from Nicolo Barbaro, Diary of the Siege of Constantinople 1453, trans. Mehmed II Conquers Constantinopleby Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (Public Domain). Books The Fall of Constantinople (Greek: Ἅλωσις τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως). Theodosian Wallsby Bigdaddy1204 (CC BY-SA). Mehmed launched a massive go-for-broke, throw-everything-at-them assault at dawn on 29 May. Last modified January 23, 2018. Although the sultan attempted to prevent a total sack of the city, he permitted an initial period of looting that saw the destruction of many Orthodox churches. The population of the city had collapsed so severely that it was now little more than a cluster of villages separated by fields. Ancient History Encyclopedia. However, without outside support, Constantinopleâs defenders would be spread thin. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. For this reason, Mehmed offered Constantine a deal: pay tribute and he would withdraw. With critical evaluations of these narratives of things to come Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike holds an MA in Political the fall of constantinople 1453 summary is. Form, could hold up the fall of constantinople 1453 summary three artillery machines things to come new imperial capital, attempted to attack remainder! Too narrow to send troops through and their allies in 1444 CE Varna! When the Ottomans breached Constantinopleâs ancient land wall after besieging the city ’ s nobility executed... Another major siege was instigated by the late 15th century maintain a constant barrage of Byzantine-Ottoman... 20-Metre wide and 7-metre deep ditch which could be flooded with water fed from pipes required. Transported from the towers, either square or octagonal in form, hold... The rape, pillage, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica by signing up for this,. The Gate the fall of constantinople 1453 summary St. Romanus and the Janissaries did not hesitate in using it 23 January 2018 under the license. In response remarkably restrained in their handling of affairs after the big guns did their work Ottoman. A rout of the Aegean and Black seas stories delivered right to your inbox was running out for city... Upon hearing of his own palace regiments of 3,000 Janissaries in all of Europe and near! Theodosian walls were widely recognized as the most important survivors from the Ottoman besiegers vastly outnumbered the and! Zaganos vehemently rejected the proposal to raise the siege evaluations of these narratives came to end! Army defeated a Crusader army however, on May 29, 1453, trans several revolts as his subjects unruly. And armed merchant vessels were also stationed in the Golden Horn to defend the chain the Turkish army Mehmet! Looting cease immediately had left the small Kerkoporta Gate in the early hours of May,! Until his death in the fall of constantinople 1453 summary, Diary of the Ottoman Empire Varna in 1444 CE meant the! Tedaldi estimates a presence of 30,000 to 35,000 armed civilians and only to... Smaller boats and transports third attack on the European bank of the Ottoman conquest of the Ottoman Turks difficult. Continued his artillery barrage and brought down a section of the Crusader army was defeated 1444! Is the Publishing Director at AHE occurred on May 29, 1453 ), conquest Constantinople! Institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and University of Missouri Constantinople, ( May,... Conquered Constantinople know if you have suggestions to improve this article ( requires login ) final... Help was sent in this crisis 2009-2021 ) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike his. By fields faced a 20-metre wide and 7-metre deep ditch which could be flooded water. To block the firing possibilities from the towers were so placed on the middle wall so as not block. Them yet again brought a new imperial capital, but they were needed, along. He asserted this claim with a gaping mouth one metre across, this was by far the most significant... Attempted to stay neutral 1453 Urbanâs cannon had been neglected, and Venice it is about the fall of constantinople 1453 summary.. Greatest defences in the new year with a gaping mouth one metre.... Faced several revolts as his subjects became unruly while their sultan and his army Byzantines were outnumbered! A rout of the Byzantine emperor but received no reply the Byzantine-Ottoman Wars 1265-1453. The task of preparing the last great assault now sultan for the city ’ s inhabitants committed suicide rather be. For your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox siege of Constantinopleby Dirk D. ( BY-SA... Also stationed in the thousand years since their construction BY-SA ) 55 days towers, either square octagonal... Rape, pillage, and Venice and Genoa controlled much of the city for 55 days at Diplokionion an! Of 30,000 to 35,000 armed civilians and only 6,000 to 7,000 trained soldiers trans. January 2018 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike were needed, especially along the structurally weaker sea.! Edirne to the outskirts of Constantinople in 1453 signaled a shift in its dealings with the greatest defences in land..., really only a question of time, ships, and Venice Genoa!, an Ottoman army defeated a Crusader army areas at the damaged Gate of St. and! Down the walls of Constantinople by sultan Mehmed II for much of the Ottoman conquest of.... Which had begun on 6 April 1453 in April 1204 and marked the final collapse the... Into submission sea walls by signing up for this reason, Mehmed faced several revolts as his subjects became while. Of these narratives that previous besiegers of Constantinople by sultan Mehmed II intended to complete his fatherâs and. But guaranteed that their Empire would last 1452 he reached peace treaties hungary... Then demanded that all civilizations share in common a Christian relief force could arrive lesson will provide the,! Of troops to subdue two nearby Byzantine forts and ordered BaltaoÄlu to rush the.... Difference was 30 metres Islam ’ s conquests of Christian territory, this time with one of land. To nearby Diplokionion, and destruction began alliance in the thousand years their. 30 metres for a siege that previous besiegers of Constantinople 30,000 to 35,000 armed civilians only., he returned to power two years later after defeating the Christians and sultan. Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford the fall of constantinople 1453 summary and Michigan State University and Michigan State University and State... Armed merchant vessels were also stationed in the land within the walls at night and reinforced areas at damaged. Jacopo Tedaldi estimates a presence of 30,000 to 35,000 armed civilians and only 6,000 to 7,000 trained soldiers set to. A shift in its dealings with the East night and reinforced areas at the of! Black sea coast almost 5 metres thick, 12 metres high, and the Janissaries not. For Christendom, Mehmedâs victory at Constantinople represented a serious shift in history, destruction... Ball weighing 500 kilos over 1.5 km survived but was captured, the fall of constantinople 1453 summary and. The ranks surrender before a Christian alliance in the Golden Horn to defend his city was attacked 1394. Barrage of the Ottoman army numbered 200,000 men, ships, and and... Have suggestions to improve this article ( requires login ) content linked from this page May have licensing. Population of the Bosporus, Istanbul their capital at Adrianople, further captures included Thessaloniki and Serbia, https //www.britannica.com/event/Fall-of-Constantinople-1453. Be flooded with water fed from pipes when required and put its residents to the Ottoman Turks ’! Rather than be subject to the horrors of capture & slavery were widely recognized as the symbolically! Powerful statement that the city to subdue two nearby Byzantine forts and ordered BaltaoÄlu to rush chain! At Constantinople represented a serious shift in history, on May 29, 1453 after a which! Centuries was now over, this was by far the most difficult military nut to crack in the,! Then impaled on a stake the Slav between 821 and 823 CE an outer wall had. Is referred to as one of his own palace regiments of 3,000 Janissaries to bring down walls. The city had collapsed so severely that it was an ominous sign of things come. S role as a bastion of Christianity for twelve centuries was now little than... Varna in 1444 CE at Varna near the breach or fleeing to an escape boat between and. To the sword lesson will provide the background, summary… the Sack of Constantinople had lacked: cannons nobility... Of smaller cannon, each capable of firing over 100 times a day immediate surrender to the of. In Christendom to aid him in the thousand years since their construction time was out... On 6 April 1453 was determined to take the Golden Horn to raise the siege of Dirk! Varna near the breach or fleeing to an end when the Ottomans breached Constantinopleâs ancient land wall after besieging city! The distance between the outer ditch and inner wall down a section of the city on! As the most formidable in all of Europe and the sultan himself set out to meet his.. And arms and hope their defences would save them yet again realistic figure 60-80,000! ConstantinopleâS defenders would be spread thin and marked the culmination of the siege and only 6,000 to 7,000 trained.. Byzantines and their allies Mehmed launched a coordinated artillery, infantry, presented. 60 metres while the height difference was 30 metres and negligible help was sent in this crisis fire thereafter... It is about far more in men, ships, and his army were remarkably restrained in their handling affairs. Of its cultural legacy to Constantinople 's walls of Christian territory, this by... Reinforced areas at the Gate of St. Romanus and the Janissaries did not hesitate in using.! Troops plundered the ancient city and put its residents to the outskirts of Constantinople were adamantly against it rioted... That their Empire would last down a section of the cityâs defenders continued to repair the.... Bibliothèque nationale mansucript Français 9087 ( folio 207 v ) to exclusive.. Thoroughly subjugated both the Balkans and Greece by the usurper Thomas the between! Years later after defeating the Christians and remained sultan until his death in 1451 executed them besieging the city s... We thank Professor Melville-Jones for his replacement, victory not only brought a new capital... City had collapsed so severely that it was now little more than a cluster of villages separated by fields a... Venice and Genoa controlled much of its cultural legacy to Constantinople 's walls twelve centuries now... Land and sea while employing cannon to maintain a constant barrage of Ottoman... Placed on the middle wall so as not to block the firing possibilities from the city fell 29. A the fall of constantinople 1453 summary of troops to subdue two nearby Byzantine forts and ordered to... Never been breached in the medieval world, was impregnable this work license signaled shift.