By Roger Crowley
A gripping exploration of the autumn of Constantinople and its connection to the realm we are living in today.
The fall of Constantinople in 1453 signaled a shift in background and the tip of the Byzantium Empire. Roger Crowley's readable and accomplished account of the conflict among Mehmet II, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and Constantine XI, the 57th emperor of Byzantium, illuminates the interval in background that was once a precursor to the present clash among the West and the center East.
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Additional info for 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West
True, the Ottoman dynasty (named after its founder, Osman I, 1280–1324) traced its origins to a clan of Turkic warrior-nomads whose thirteenth-century military advances against the Byzantine empire placed them in a strong position to replace the declining Seljuk Turks as the major Muslim power in Anatolia. The Ottomans went on to seize the Balkans in the fifteenth century, Constantinople58 – the last stronghold of the Byzantine empire – in 1453, and the Middle East in the sixteenth century. But by this time, the Ottoman rulers had long since shifted their regime’s center of gravity from the saddle to the throne.
In Poland, attempts to impose Russian as the language of instruction in the school system were effectively abandoned in the face of widespread resistance, although higher education in Poland remained a Russian-language preserve until the First World War. In the parts of the Baltic provinces roughly corresponding to present-day Latvia and Estonia, the local German landowning aristocracy was regarded as a loyal elite that played a useful role in administering the region and in maintaining social order and the authority of the state (although the spread of German nationalism, especially among the non-aristocratic German urban population in the region, was a source of growing concern).
The rebellious Circassians of the western Caucasus were simply driven from their homes and forced to flee to the Ottoman empire. 44 These complex and inconsistent policies reflected the dilemmas faced by a regime hoping to bring the society and government of a multiethnic empire together as part of an organically unified polity under the auspices of a rigidly authoritarian system of government. Some Slavic and/or Eastern Orthodox groups were defined as integral parts of the body politic, vital limbs that needed to be more intimately connected to the Great Russian trunk.
1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West by Roger Crowley