Tuesday, May 29, 2007


The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West
by Roger Crowley

Five hundred and fifty-four years ago today, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople fell to the forces of the Ottoman Turks ending a thousand years of Christian rule in the east. Its significance to us today is underscored by the daily headlines emanating from that region of the world. Iraq, formally known as Mesopotamia, is a legacy of both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.

Roger Crowley’s fluency of writing and even-handed approach in bringing the events occurring in the spring of 1453 to life avoids the simple-mindedness so common in “popular” histories. Crowley argues the fall of Byzantium “is unusual in being history largely written by the losers.”

Contemporary Ottoman accounts barely exist; they were still largely a preliterate society and the accounts from their oral tradition ossified into terse chronicles with the aim of creating an Ottoman dynastic legend. It is from reading between the lines of writing from Christendom, which can hardly be relied upon to be impartial. There is also a paucity of records from the Byzantine Greeks themselves. The story is largely left to Italian eyewitness accounts that give the Byzantines, with the exception of the 57th emperor Constantine XI, unfailingly bad press. The Ottoman emperor, Mehmet II who was a mere 21 years when he took Constantinople, is often label by European sources as a “blood-drinker”.

Crowley’s challenge is to sort out what was plausible and to engage the reader in the description of a two-month siege and he succeeds admirably. He takes the reader through the geopolitics of the 15th century as well as the engineering and tactical preparation of both the Muslim army – a multinational force of 80,000 containing a sizable number of Christians, and the defenders, a motley force of 8,000 comprised of Greeks, Venetians and Genoese as well as a contingent of renegade Turks and a intrepid Scotsman.

For anyone interested in the end of the medieval world and the origins of current situation in the Muslim world, I would highly recommend this informative and entertaining read.


At 12:08 AM, Blogger Barney said...


At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

buy pills online
buy cheap renova
buy cheap nexium
buy cheap mircette
buy cheap levaquin
buy cheap effexor
buy cheap arava
buy cheap diovan
buy ortho
ortho purchase
generic ortho
generic nexium
buy effexor
generic diovan

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's up, yes this article is actually good and I have learned lot of things from it regarding blogging. thanks.

my weblog; may quay phim

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Post writing is also a excitement, if you be familiar with then you can write
or else it is difficult to write.

Feel free to visit my web site - shock collars


Post a Comment

<< Home