The conquest of Constantinople

The fall of Constantinople, (May 29, 1453), the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mohammed II of the Ottoman Empire. The declining Byzantine Empire ended 55 days after the siege of the city when the Ottomans invaded the ancient geography of Constantinople. Using artillery, Mohammed surrounded Constantinople by land and sea to maintain a continuous barrage of city walls. The fall of the city removed the powerful defense of Christian Europe against Muslim invasion, allowing the continued Ottoman expansion in Eastern Europe.


By the middle of the 15th century, the ongoing struggle for supremacy with its Balkan neighbors and Roman Catholic rivals had reduced the holdings of the Byzantine Empire to Constantinople and the lands west of it. In addition, Constantinople suffered a number of devastating sieges, with the city's population falling from 400,000 in the 12th century to between 40,000 and 50,000 in the 1450s. The vast plains contained much land within the walls. Byzantine relations have also deteriorated over the past several centuries: 1054 conflicts and the conquest of Latin Constantinople in the 13th century led to mutual animosity between Orthodox Byzantine and Roman Catholic Europe. However, Byzantine control over Constantinople was as deep as it could be understood as a necessary stronghold against Muslim control over land and sea in the eastern Mediterranean.

Unlike the Byzantines, the Ottoman Turks conquered many Byzantine cities west of Constantinople in the late 14th century and expanded their control over almost all the Balkans and Anatolia. During this period Constantinople became an Ottoman feudal lord. Hungary was the primary European threat to the Ottomans on Earth, and Venice and Genoa controlled much of the Aegean and Black Seas. Sultan Murad II invaded Constantinople in 1422, but had to raise it elsewhere to quell revolts elsewhere in the empire. In 1444 he lost an important battle with the Christian Alliance in the Balkans and left the throne to his son Mohammed II. However, he returned to power two years after defeating the Christians and remained sultan until his death in 1451.

Now for the second time the Sultan, Mohammed II wanted to fulfill his father's goal and conquer Constantinople for the Ottomans. In 1452 he made peace treaties with Hungary and Venice. He began building the fortress of Bosazzkesson (later known as Rumelihiari) in the narrow space of the Bosporus to limit travel between the Black and Mediterranean seas. Mohamed worked with the Hungarian gunner Urban to arm Rumelihisaro and with a cannon powerful enough to tear down the walls of Constantinople. By March 1453, Urban's artillery had been shipped from the Ottoman capital Edirne to the outskirts of Constantinople. In April, the Ottoman regiments of Rumelia and Anatolia gathered outside the Byzantine capital, quickly capturing Byzantine coasts along the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea. His navy sailed from Gallipoli to a nearby diplomat, and the sultan himself set out to meet his army.

Meanwhile, the Byzantine emperor Constantine XI Paleologus appealed to the major powers of Christianity to help him in the coming siege. Hungary refused to help, and, instead of sending men, Pope Nicholas V 1054 saw a dangerous situation for the reunification of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, which favored papacy. Conservative leaders voted in favor of the union, but the people of Constantinople opposed it and rioted in response. Military aid came from Venice and Genoa. 

The Ottoman invasion of the Venetian ship at Bosphorus prompted the Venetian Senate to send 800 soldiers and 15 galleries to the Byzantine capital, and many Venetians in present-day Constantinople also supported the war effort, but not the Venetian forces. Too late. Too long for any help. Part of Genoa, the city-state sent 700 troops to Constantinople, all of whom joined Giovanni Giustiniani Longo in January 1453. Emperor Constantine XI named Giustini commander of his land defense and fortified the city for the rest of the winter siege.

How battle happened?

In the 15th century, the walls of Constantinople were found to be the most formidable throughout Europe. The earth walls extend up to 4 miles (6.5 km) and have double line walls with a moat on the outside; The tallest of the two is 40 feet (12 m) high and the base is 16 feet (5 m) thick. These walls were never demolished during the thousands of years they were built. The adjacent sea wall ran along the Golden Horn and the Sea of ​​Marmara, the next section being 20 feet (6 m) high and 5 miles (8 km) long. When combined with a large metal chain drawn into the Golden Horn, Constantine convinced the city's navy to repel  and the confront Mohammed's land forces until they were relieved of Christian Europe. However, Constantine's ability to defend his city was thwarted by his small fighting force. Eyewitness Jakopo estimates that there are only 30,000 to 35,000 armed civilians and 6,000 to 7,000 trained soldiers. Giustinia wanted to concentrate most of these people on the north and west walls, in the middle of which he considered the weakest section of the city. A small fleet and armored merchant ships were also stationed at the Golden Horn to protect the chain. However, without external support, the defenders of Constantinople would spread thinly.

The Ottoman siege largely overtook the Byzantines and their allies. 60,000 to 80,000 soldiers fought on the field with 69 guns. Baltavolu ordered a fleet of 31 small and medium-sized warships, as well as 100 small boats and carriers, on the Suleiman Bay Diplokionion. Mohammed's strategy was straightforward: he used his fleet and siege lines to encircle Constantinople from all sides, while at the same time constantly hitting the city walls with artillery. They hoped that they would be disbanded or forced to surrender before Christian aid groups could arrive.

On April 6 the Ottomans opened their artillery barrage and demolished part of the wall. They marched. In front of the earth walls on April 7, but the Byzantines repulsed and were able to correct the defense. After taking a break to re-establish his artillery, Mohammed resumed firing and continued daily bombardment thereafter.

On April 12 the Sultan sent troops to suppress two nearby Byzantine forts and ordered Baltaglu to speed up the chain. The navy was repulsed twice, and on the night of the 17th the Baltags retreated into the Diplokionion, while at the same time marching to capture the Princess Islands southeast of the city, while crossing the Mohammedan Land Regiment wall. Attacked the Mesotica section. The Baltagos' victory over the islands was irreversibly affected when it was revealed that the defenders of Constantinople had once again captured their land, and that three auxiliary ships and a large Byzantine ship from the Pope had almost reached the city. The Ottoman galleys were too small to capture the longest European warships, and with the help of the Golden Horn Fleet, the warships safely crossed the chain. After hearing of his naval defeat, Mohammed removed Baltaglu from his rank and arranged for his replacement.

Mohammed took the Golden Horn and forced the Byzantines to conquer it. He bent one of his guns to hit the chain guards, and then began building an oiled wooden ramp on which he intended to take his small ships from the Bosphorus to the Golden Horn. Use to have. By April 22 the ships had encircled the chain and controlled all the waters around the city except the chain. The defenders tried to attack the rest of the Ottoman Fleet in the Bosporus, but were defeated.

After the complete siege of Constantinople, Mohammed continued his artillery barrage on the earth's walls until May 29. The Ottoman artillery committed many violations, but most were too narrow to send troops. Defenders of the city continued to repair the walls overnight and reinforce the damaged gate of St. Romanas and the reinforced areas in the Blocherne sector. On the morning of May 29, Ottoman workers filled a ditch around the city. Just before dawn, the Sultan launched a coordinated artillery, infantry and navy on Constantinople. Two attempts to break through the Romanus Gate and the Blacherney Wall met with fierce resistance, and the Ottoman forces were forced to retreat. Mohammed ordered a third attack on the gate, this time with the Palace Regiment of 3,000 Janissaries. A small group reached the top of a tower through the second gate, but the guards were almost eliminated until Gustinia was fatally wounded by Ottoman fire while in the courtyard. He was driven to the back, and his absence created confusion and diminished courage between the ranks. This allowed the Sultan to send another Janissary Regiment and take over the inner wall at St. Romanus Gate.

The Defenders' March began as many Venetian and Genoese fighters retreated to their ships at the Golden Horn. Information that Constantine XI died while fighting near Emperor Breach or while escaping from an escape boat. Although the Sultan tried to prevent the total destruction of the city, he allowed the looting to begin, which destroyed many Orthodox churches. When most of Constantinople was preserved, Muhammad himself walked through the city streets to the Hagia Sophia, the largest cathedral in Christendom, and turned the mosque into Aesophia. He stopped praying and demanded that the next robbery be stopped immediately. Thus the Sultan finished conquering the Byzantine capital.

What is the results?

After the fall of Constantinople, Mohammed II and his army were subdued in the conduct of their affairs. They largely avoided killing commoners and nobles, instead opting for the ransom in their own states and mainly killing only those who fought after surrender. Mohammed rehabilitated the city with people of many backgrounds and beliefs and moved his capital from Edirne to Constantinople, ensuring a multicultural seat for a multicultural empire. He began to see himself as Caesar-i-Rum ("Caesar of Rome"), the heir to the Roman Empire and its historic lands. He emphasized this point with several campaigns that completely suppressed both the Balkans and Greece by the end of the 15th century.

For Christendom, Muhammad's victory in Constantinople marked a drastic change in its affairs with the East. Now without a long buffer and access to the Black Sea against the Ottomans, the Christian states relied on Hungary to prevent them from expanding further west. Many modern scholars agree that the Greeks' emigration to Italy as a result of this event marked the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance.