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CONSTANTINE
THE CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE BY
THE TURKS

CONSTANTINE, THE LAST EMPEROR


OF THE GREEf

CONSTANTI NE
XTbe

Xast lEmperor of tbe

(3reefts

THE CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE BY


THE TURKS
(a.d.

1453)

AFTER THE LA TEST HISTORICAL RESEARCHES

BY

CHEDOMIL MIJATOVICH
FORMERLY SERVIAN MINISTER AT THE COURT OF ST JAMES

XonDon
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & COMPANY
Limited
St unstan's l^ousc

Fetter Lane, Fleet Street, E.C.

1892
\^All rights reserved^

HISTORN

WITH PROFOUND ADMIRATION OF THE HEROISM DISPLAYED


BY

CONSTANTINE PaL^EOLOGOS

2)cWcate5
MOST RESPECTFULLY AND BY SPECIAL PERMISSION
TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS

PRINCE CONSTANTINE
DUKE OF SPARTA
HEIR TO THE THRONE OF GREECE

274210

PEEFACE,

The German Emperor Frederic


June 1453

to

Pope Nicholas

III. in a letter written

V.,

lamenting greatly the

catastrophe on the Bosphorus, calls Constantinople " the


capital of the Eastern Empire, the head of Greece, the

home of arts and


Grsecise caput

umque").^

literature " (" Orientalis imperii

sedem,

.... veluti domicilium litterarum

And

arti-

indeed, from the time of Constantino

the Great to the time

when

the

dawn

of Kenaissance

aroused Italy to her noble task, Constantinople was


the capital of Christian civilization.

Its place in the

history of the world has been always a most remarkable one,

Eome

being the only city which can suc-

cessfully bear comparison with

When in 1453 it passed into


^

The whole

naldi,

text of Frederic's long

Anrmlcs Ecdesiastici,

it.

the hands of
and interesting

vol. xviii., Colonise

Mohammed
letter in

Ray-

Agr. 1694, p. 408.

PREFACE.

Vlll

El-Fathi

its

possession consolidated at once the

Mohammedan

Empire, and enabled the Sultans of the

Ottoman Turks
Carpathians

new

to extend their

the

in

sway up

to the blue

north-west and to the Gulf of

There seems almost a mira-

Persia in the south-east.

culous telepathic influence in that place, an influence

which inspires

its

occupants, as long as they possess

some power, with an

irresistible

ambition to rule over

three worlds, and which enables old and exhausted

Empires to

than the most flattering pro-

live longer

phecies ever thouglit probable or possible.

There are theories which assert that the possession


of Constantinople

end

enervates, disorganizes,

and in the

So far as I have been able to read history,

kills.

I have found that he

who

takes Constantinople, once

securely seated on the Bosphorus, unavoidably feels


that his power

is

strengthened for a higher task, that

his political horizon has


of

widened to the misty limits

an Universal Empire, and that

it

is

the manifest

destiny of Constantinople to be the capital,

an universal, then at

least of a great

ing over Europe, Asia, and Africa.

say that

it

seems to

me

if

not of

Empire, stretch-

And

I would even

that neither the Byzantine

nor the Ottoman Empires could have withstood so long

PREFACE.

the

consequences of

IX

disorganization

if

their capital

had not been Constantinople.


It is

somewhat singular

that,

notwithstanding the

undoubted interest which European nations in general,

and the British in

particular, feel in everything con-

nected with Constantinople, the great catastrophe of


1453, so tragic in

its

incidents and so terrible in its

consequences, has never yet been fully and thoroughly

worked out and placed before the readers


I

do not

flatter

myself for a

moment

of history.

that I shall be

what others have not done.

I wish only

up

to the present

able to do
to state, as

an undeniable

fact,

that

no work on, and no description


Constantinople has used

all

of,

the conquest of

the materials which exist

in our time.

Gibbon wrote
(vol.

iii.

his incomparably graphic description

702-730), using only the Byzantine historians,

Phrantzes, Ducas, and Chalcochondylas, and the letter

addressed to the Pope Nicholas V.

by

the Archbishop

Leonardo of Chios.

The famous

historian

of

the

Ottoman

Empire,

Joseph von Hammer, looked to the same sources of


information,

adding

some

scanty

Turkish historian Sa'ad-ud-din.

notes

from the

PREFACE.

J.

Zinkeisen, in

ischen Beiches

his

Geschichte

833-866) was

(i.

des

Osman-

able to use letters

and reports found in the Vatican Library.

Mr

Martin

S.

Mr

and

Brosset

Bas Empii^e, par Lebeau) improved


scription

by

details

found

Armenian Abraham, and

in

in the

(Eistoire

Mr

the

du

Lebeau's de-

poem

of

the

so-called " Grusian

Chronicle."

The Eussian
Ossada

historian

vzyatiye

Mr

Vizantii

Stassulevich, in his

Turhami

(St

work

Petersburg,

1854), used only the old Byzantine sources and the


chronicle of Sa'ad-ud-din.

Mr

Sreznyevsky published in 1855 an old Slavonic

chronicle, Povyest o Tzaregradye,

accompanying

it

with

notes from Byzantine sources and from Leonardo of


Chios.

Dr

A. D.

Mordtmann has given us one

interesting descriptions in his Belagerung

erung Constantinopels durcJi die TUrJcen

of the

most

wnd Erdb-

im Jahre

1453,

nacJi Original-Quellcn learheitef (Stuttgart, 1858), using

largely the Journal of Nicolo Barbaro.

Professor

Dr

Y. U. Krause (Die Erdberungen von

Constantinopel in

XIII und

XV

Jalirhwnderty

nach

Bymntinischen, FrankiscJien und Tiirkischen Quellen und

PREFACE.

Berichteoi, Halle,

1870) drew principally from Byzan-

some portions from Sa'ad-ud-

tine authors, reprinting


din,

XI

and taking some incidents from the poem

of a

Greek eye-witness.
Rev.

W.

a Sketch of

stantinople,
to

and

J. Broadribb

Mr

History

its

Walter Besant (Con-

from

its

Foundation

Conquest hy the Turks in 1453, London, 1879)

its

followed

Mordtmann and Krause, but

independently

Byzantine

authors,

consulted also

and added some

interesting information on the condition of Constantinople, given

by the French knight Bertrandon de

la

Brocquiere.

The

latest

literature

{Les

is

monograph that appeared in Western


that one written

derniers jours

de

by

Mr

E. A.

Vlasto

Constantinople, Paris,

1883).

The author has mainly reproduced the general


of

the

researches of

especially those of

Mr

modern Greek
C.

political dissertation

historians,

Paparrigopoulo

work leaves you the impression

of

results

and

but his able

being

more a

than a historical picture of the

catastrophe.
It is rather singular that

single

there should not exist

monograph on the Conquest

of

Constanti-

nople by the Turks in English, though as early as in

XU

PREFACE.

1675 a tragedy entitled The Siege of Constantinople

was published

in London.

I believe that,

ments

by

carefully comparing the

and contemporaries

of eye-witnesses

as well as the letters

served in the

and documents

Italian

state-

of the siege,

of the time, pre-

and other archives

it

would

be possible to give a tolerably complete and reliable


account of one of the most stirring and important
events of history.

In the chapters which

shall give the result of

my

follow I

attempt in that direction.

I venture to hope that at the present time,

an

uncomfortable

feeling

that

Constantinople

when

may

soon again change masters pervades the world, political as well as military

worthy

men

will find this little

work

of perusal, at least for the sake of the great

subject of which

it treats.

Chedomil Mijatovich.
Kensington, January 1892.

CONTENTS.
--

CHAPTER

I.

Moral Causes of the Rapid Rise of the Ottoman and


THE Fall of the Byzantine Empires

CHAPTER

'.

27

III.

On the Eve of the Fall

CHAPTER

ir.

The Superior Military Organization of the Turks

CHAPTER

44

IV.

War

76

Military Arrangements of the Besiegers and op the


Besieged

131

Diplomatic Negotiations and Preparations for

CHAPTER

CHAPTER
The Diaries of the Siege

y.

VI.

150

CONTENTS.

XIV

CHAPTER

VII.

The Last Days

187

CHAPTER

VIII.

The Last Night

206

CHAPTER

IX.

The Last Hours

219

APPENDIX.
The Bibliography

231

ILLUSTRATIONS.
1.

Constantine, the last Emperor of the Greeks

2.

Mohammed

3.

The Fort Rumili-Hissar

4.

The First Naval Battle of the Turks

158

5.

The Turks

222

II.,

the Conqueror OF Constantinople

in St Sophia

%.-.

85
90

112

CHAPTEE

I.

Moral Causes of the Eapid Eise of the Ottoman


AND THE Fall of the Byzantine Empires.
1.
1.

Islam and Byzantinism.

In the one hundred years from the middle

of the

fourteenth to the middle of the fifteenth century (1365-

1465) events deeply tragical in their character and of


great historical importance occurred on the Balkanic

Peninsula.

An

entire change of social

was accomplished amidst

and

political conditions

terrible convulsions,

accom-

panied by fearful bloodshed and unspeakable suffering.

foreign race, a strange religion,

and a low culture

took possession of the beautiful regions between three


seas,

where once a highly gifted and comparatively

cultured

people

formed

and kept up independent

states.

It is
of

one of the most interesting unsolved problems

history

how an

uncivilized

and by no means

OOM QUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

numerous

tribe so speedily

succeeded

destroying

in

three Christian kingdoms of a higher degree of culture,

and in building up in their stead an extensive, powerful,

and enduring Empire.

The great

however, stands out

fact,

prominently,

assuming the dignity of a general law, that organization of forces, although these

and low in their

selves

over

may

be small in them-

inspirations, is always victorious

even though

disorganized forces,

the latter be

great, and superior in their individual character.


2.

The Turks were not

and natural
and came

gifts

to

Armenia

Seldjuk Sultans

the

destitute of certain virtues

when they left the Turcoman

to

steppes

guard the eastern frontier of

but after

their acceptance of

Islam their national character went through an evolutionary change.

The sparks

of fire

thrown out

of the

volcanic soul of the great Prophet of Arabia inflamed

the susceptible sons of the Asiatic deserts, and the metal


of their original character

into a

the

new form

was molten and

crystallized

of national individuality, capable of

accomplishment

of

the

great,

and

even

more

terrible

than great, task assigned to them by Providence.

As an

irresistible

breaking

avalanche, they

down and burying

all

moved westward,

political

organizations whose elasticity had been

and national

weakened and

whose strength had been undermined by ages

of abuse

and mismanagement.
Islam not only impressed upon Ertoghrul and his

ISLAM AND BYZANTINISM.


before

God,

truthful and charitable amongst men, but gave

them

the

followers

political ideas,

body

of

duty

of

upright

being

transforming a tribe of nomads into a

warriors and statesmen, capable of creating,

Islam

maintaining, and developing a great empire.


filled

them

genuine religious en-

to overflowing with

thusiasm, and with the belief that to serve


to

subdue the

Infidels,

their central idea,


political

God meant

and conquer the world.

was a bond

This,

of unity, giving

purpose and organization.

them

Their faith im-

measurably increased the forces inherent in an energetic,


hardy, and astute race.
3.

But

race, all
spirit

all

the energy of a youthful and hardy

their admirable organization,

with which Islam inspired the Turks, would not

themselves explain

of

the

swift

Had
Mohammed

Turkish rule in Europe.


siastic followers of

really strong, healthy,


side

and the high

of the

extension

of

the valiant and enthu-

encountered even one

and well-organized State on

Hellespont,

it

is

the

doubtful

this

whether the

pages of history would have recorded the wonderful

growth

of

the Ottoman Empire.

secret of that rapid

To decipher the

triumphant march we must read

the record not only in the lurid glare which con-

quering Islam gives, but also by the paUid light shed

by dying Byzantinism.
It is

not easy to describe in a few words what

Byzantinism was.

It seems as

though historic Pro-

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
vidence had desired to see the harvest which could be
the

raised, if

seed

should

Christian civilization

of

be sown on the peninsula between Asia and Europe,

watered by Western rains and warmed by


suns, on fields

Eastern

abandoned by Hellenic culture and

somewhat ploughed by Eoman

institutions.

It

might

have been hoped that the Divine idea of brotherhood

would unite the warm heart

mony, capable

of

New Eome

and the

Old Eome into an admirable har-

practical reason of

humanity

of lifting

to heights as yet

unattained.

But the experiment was not a


forces,

The great

success.

from the combination of which so much might

From

have been expected, proved barren.


of the

the spirit

East some colours and some forms were ac-

cepted, but little of

less

and what

of

tions took

depth, and warmth, and in-

From Eastern Philosophy only

herent nobility.

more or

its

a few

nebulous ideas of mysticism were retained

Eoman instituEoman institutions

good was borrowed from

no real

root,

because

presuppose a consciousness of responsibility, and also


initiative

and

civic

What

sentiment.

took

the

deepest root were the forms and spirit of autocratic

government from the worst times


perialism,
liberty

of the

which made the existence

The Christian

impossible.

of

Eoman Imindividual

religion

abstract, too sublime to be fully understood

pushed backward

to

let

the

was too
;

it

was

Church come forward.

ISLAM AND BYZANTINISM.

And the Church

identified itself very speedily with the

compactly-organized body

ignorant, superstitious,

of

priests,

who

exalted

the position of the Emperor only to use

him

as their

selfish

and ambitious monks and

servant,

and who made practical Christianity mean


old bones, rags, and

adoration of

mummies, and the

buying and selling of prayers for the repose of the


the

souls of

The

dead.

astray from

pure

the

having

people,

source

of

been

evangelical

led

truth,

found new power nowhere, nor a new idea capable


of

moving them

Emperors and the Church hierarchy became


remained so to the

The

great and glorious action.

to

allies,

and

last.

Before the blast of that powerful alliance the sparks


of individual liberty

volutions only

made matters

occasions

the

servility,

for

and

to

display

recompense base

prelates

up

it

will.

brutal

instinct

selfishness

The nation became an


and without

worse, because they gave

of

to spit at

cruelty,

and

was crushed out


vile

ingratitude.

inert mass, without initiative

Before the Emperor and the Church

grovelled in the dust

exploitation

force,

and ended by strengthening the

treason,

Every generous

autocracy.

Ee-

were quickly extinguished.

them and shake


above, hatred

its

behind them
fist.

it

rose

Tyranny and

and cowardice beneath

cruelty often, hypocrisy always and everywhere, in the

upper and lower

strata.

replaced true culture

Outward

polish

and dexterity

phraseology hid lack of ideas.


CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
Both

political

and

social bodies

spirit of the nation

and

mantle of

tried to cover its

the

of all elasticity.

on the throne

Selfishness placed itself


terest,

were alike rotten

was languid, devoid

of public in-

hideousness with the

false patriotism.

This political and social system, in which straight-

forwardness and manliness were replaced by astute-

and cowardice, while, however, there

ness, hypocrisy,

lingered love for fine forms and refined manners,

still

this system, in

which the State generally appears in

the ecclesiastical garb, bore the

was

It

4.

inevitable

name

that

of Byzantinism.

some

Byzantinism

should enter into the political and social organism of


the

nations

Slavonic

and

learn political

the

of

went

Practically they

to the

social

Balkan

Peninsula.

Byzantine

Greeks

to

wisdom, just as they went to

Constantinople for their religion.

It

was a slow and

exhausting process by which Byzantine notions displaced

Slavonic traditions

And

Bulgarians.
tributed to
its

this

among

the

Serbians and

struggle, not unnaturally, con-

weaken the Slavonic kingdoms.

own way

It

preparing the paths for the

was in

Turkish

invasion.
It is especially

noteworthy that we find so many

Serbian and Bulgarian malcontents in the


at the Court of the

Ottoman

political conditions of those Slavonic

Balkans

were

highly

The

Sultans.

camp and
social

kingdoms

unsatisfactory.

and

of the

The nobles

ISLAM AND BYZANTINISM.

haughty and exclusive.

(Vlastela) were

They jealously

watched the kings, and resented bitterly every attempt

They were hard and exacting masters

at reform.

the tillers of the soil settled on their estates,

much

to do

to

who had

personal service, and to give a large part

The power, centred in

of the produce of their labour.

the kings, was not strong enough to prevent all sorts

on the part

of abuse

Emperor

of the privileged class.

Stephan Dushan essayed to

by

fix

legal enactments

the duties of the peasants towards their feudal lords.

At the Parliament held


the

in 1349 at Scopia he obtained

consent of his noblemen

dignitaries to

and high

ecclesiastic

such a law, and a certain protection of

the central power was extended to the peasantry.


the

after

death of

But

most remarkable man in

this

Serbian history, the authority of the Central Govern-

ment was

shattered,

there were none

even

Bosnia,
fifteenth

and

so late

century,

if

the landlord acted unjustly

to protect the injured tenant.


as

some

in
of

the
the

beginning
landlords

of

In
the

regularly

exported their peasants and sold them as slaves


0.

The consequence

of

such a state of things was

that the peasantry, the great bulk of the population,

hating

their

unjust

more and more

The

first

and exacting masters, became

indifferent to the fate of the country.

Sultans, on their part, systematically, from

the very beginning of

their

settlement in

Europe,

protected and ostentatiously aimed at satisfying the

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

peasantry, never neglecting any occasion publicly to

At

manifest their desire to do justice to the poor.

same

the

they

time

national aristocracy.

ruthlessly

exterminated

when

Therefore

the

the horrors of

the invasion had passed away, the peasantry quickly


reconciled themselves to the Turkish rule, which in

some respects seems

to

have brought them a change

Numerous

for the better.

for this assertion,

proofs might be adduced

however paradoxical

it

may

appear

to-day.

In a letter written by Stephan, the


Bosnia, in 1463 to Pope Pius IL,

markable words

"

we

The Turks promise

king of

last

find these reto all

who

side

with them freedom, and the rough mind of the peasants

(rusticoeum eude ingenium) does not understand


artfulness of such

freedom
the

%oill

last

promise,

for ever

misguided common

'people

I am
Mohammed

unless they see that

when Sultan

stantinople, invaded

and

and

believes

may

There

still

let

Pii Secundi P.

And

peasantry

" It is not

the Twbles do it ! "

OUE

exists a letter reporting a conversation

between the envoy of the Duke


^

that

IL, the conqueror of Con-

would not move against him, saying,


;

stock

turn away from me,

supported by you."

Bosnia in 1464, the

business to defend the king

that

may happen

so it

the

of

Milan and King

M. Commentarn lierum MemoraMlmm, quae tem-

porihus suis contingerunt, a R. D. Joanne Gobellino, &c., Romse, 1584,


p. 548.
^

Ibid.

ISLAM AND BYZANTINISM.

Alfonso of Naples, in December 1455, in which

it

is

said that the Albanian peasantry preferred the rule

the Turks to that of

of

was

Alfonso

abandon

anxious

affeti al

surrender

homeni de

"

King

again

should
to

the

quello paese sono molto

una bona e humana

Turcho, EL quale gli fa

SIGNOEIA
self

li

nobles

Albanians

the

lest

Scanderbegh, and

Turks, because "

own

their

These are the words

the king him-

of

^
!

6.

The

Church in Bulgaria and

Serbia,

in

its

material relations with the people, was only another

form of aristocracy

it

demanded

labour, service,

and

The monks formed

a part of the produce of the land.

a privileged caste, and did not pay taxes to the State,

nor did they share any public burden.

Their numbers

were

thousands

continually

The

increasing.

of

churches and cloisters built by pious kings, queens,

and

nobles,

were not able

were living in towns

and

to

contain

villages

them.

They

and in private

houses, constantly exposed, and frequently succumbing,


to

worldly

saints,

of

Very few

temptations.

and the majority managed

them were

to forfeit the respect

the people, not only for themselves but for the

Church.

The great Keformer and Lawgiver, Stephan

Dushan, by law forbade monks


than

otherwise
^

of

Letter

of

cloistered

Albricus

Maletta,

but
dated

NeapoL," in Makusheflf, Italianskie Archivi,

and nuns to

live

the

monks proved

**8th

Decemb. 1455 ex

p. 97.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

10

The mass

stronger than the mighty Tzar.

people believed in the miraculous powers of

the

of

relics,

but

did not like the monks.


7.

This dislike explains to some extent the rapid

spread of the religious sect of the Bogumils or Partharenes, especially

Orthodox Church

in

opposed these

The history

testants of Europe.

rude Pro-

first

through two

centuries (12501450) has not yet been written

weakening of the
garian, Serbian,

where the
Catholic

the

religious

but

and in the

life,

political organization

the Bul-

of

and Bosnian kingdoms.

conflict

were evident in

of the results of that struggle

the deterioration of

wars

of the religious

which raged in the Balkan Peninsula

some

The

and Bosnia.

Bulgaria

fiercely

In Albania,

between the Orthodox

and the

clergy raged most fiercely, and in Bosnia,

where the struggle between the Orthodox Church and


the Partharenes lasted longest, Islam speedily found
converts.
It is characteristic of the dispositions of the people

at this period

(1360-1460) that the Calabrian monk

Barlaam found warm supporters among the Greeks


Constantinople

and indolence
Athos."

of

Still

more

Plethon, the personal

characteristic

friend

of

the

that

among the Greeks

Gemistos

Emperor John

Palseologus, one of the great theological

phical lights

of

when he denounced the ignorance


the monks of the " Holy Mountain

itself,

and philoso-

at the

Council of

ISLAM AND BYZANTINISM.


Florence, thought

He was
as it

it

necessary

to

certainly not the only

11

frame a new

man whom

religion f

Christianity,

was represented by the Orthodox Church

of his

time, did not satisfy.


8.

and

In addition
religious

work

to the circumstances of the social

life,

there were some other influences at

to disorganize the vital forces of the Christian

States.

There were almost always several pretenders to the


throne

imperial

Constantinople

in

and the royal

thrones in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Bosnia,

Turkish help to satisfy their

own

Again and again

Sultans.

who

Naturally,

ambition.

welcomed by the

these claimants were ever hospitably

garians, or Greeks,

who hoped by

Serbians, or Bul-

gifted

in their

own country

could

not rise from the position in which they were born,

found an

open

way

to

wealth, honour, and power,

Bey (Commander-

a path to the saddle of a Beyler

in-Chief), or to the carpet of a Vizier,


to

the

sisters

golden
of

cage

of

one

the Sultan himself

to say that the

the

of
!

It

daughters

combination

of

was novel and acceptable.

Yet their

absolute

the very broadest democracy, had

or

seems a paradox

Turks opened new horizons

people of the Balkan Peninsula.


system,

and perhaps

to

the

political

despotism with

much

in

To the notions

it

that

of

an

average Greek, and especially to the notions of

an

average Serbian or Bulgarian, that system was

not

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

12

more unnatural

or

more disagreeable than the feudal

system which secured

the good things of the world

all

only to the nobles and the priests.

The presence

of

Christian

malcontents, refugees,

pretenders, and adventurers in the Turkish


at

the

"Porte,"

Sultan's

camp and

materially aided

Turkish

policy and Turkish arms to progress from victory to

Without

victory.

them

Turkish

the

Viziers

and

generals could hardly have obtained that minute and

exact knowledge of
countries,

men and

circumstances in Christian

which so often astonished

their

contempo-

Thus the Porte became promptly informed

raries.

of

the plans of the Christian kings, and was enabled to


counteract them.

Indeed, the leadership of the

Empire speedily passed


renegades, and

almost

into the
all

the

hands

great

of

new

Christian

statesmen

and

generals of the Sultans at this period were of Greek,

Bulgarian, or Serbian origin.


9.

The last-mentioned circumstance

of the

most tragic characteristics

Balkan nations.

Its sadness is

constitutes one

of the history of the

deepened by the

fatal

entanglement of the Christian nations of the Peninsula,

who were skilfully compelled

to annihilate each other in

furtherance of Turkish aggrandisement.

army which destroyed the


field of

In the Turkish

Serbian kingdom on the

Kossovo (1389), there were numbers

Bulgarian, and Serbian warriors.

Among

of Greek,

others.

Despot

Constantine Dragash (the maternal grandfather of the

ISLAM AND BYZANTINISM.

Emperor

last

of the Greeks), followed Sultan

with a contingent of auxiliary troops.


battle near

13

Nicopolis in

When

the French

1396,

Murad

I.

in the

knights,

aided by the Polish and Hungarian cavalry, routed the


Janissaries of

Bayazed Ildirim, the Sultan's

sisting of several

reserve, con-

thousands of Serbian Cuirassiers, under

command of Prince Stephan Lazarevich, came rushdown to snatch the victory from the Christians.

the

ing

The Turks gave proof

of their great astuteness, at

this early stage of their history,

Christian

money and

by their using

chiefly

Christian arms to subdue, and

afterwards to destroy, the Christian States of the Balkan.

It

was a general rule

of

their policy not to

occupy at once the country of the defeated Christian


Prince, but to impose a

heavy tribute in money, and to

exact that a contingent of his best soldiers should be


regularly provided to fight against the Sultan's enemies,

even

the latter were friendly Christian neighbours of

if

the vassal Prince.


10.

King Marko

Bulgarian

(the hero of so

national

feeling with

songs)

has

many

Serbian and

illustrated well

knights fought in the ranks of the Turkish army.


the

commencement

of the great battle at

the Turks and the Vallachs (1394),


to his relative.
*^

I pray God

pay for

the

which comparatively cultured Christian

to

it loith

At

Eovine between

King Marko turned

Despot Constantine Dragash, and said


give victory to the Christians, though

my own

life

!"

l\

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

14

These historic words ^ were only an echo of the pain

which many a Christian knight endured when, in the


monstrously anomalous position, he had to draw his

sword

for the

own

his

bitter,

Mohammedan Turks

faith.

against brethren of

But that anomaly was only one

of the

yet inevitable, fruits of Byzantinism.

East and West.

2.

Byzantinism prepared the way for the Turkish

1.

It enfeebled the

invasion.

their mental elasticity,

which ripened into

Balkan nations, destroyed

and engendered a

all sorts of

selfishness,

wickedness.

Byzantinism on one side and the youthful energy

of

a religiously disposed tribe of born warriors on the


other explain much, but do not explain all
of the Byzantine

must

the relations

Empire with the West

also be considered.

When

the Eastern and Western Churches separated

(a.d. 1053),

they did not part with sorrowing hearts,

but with mutual anger and great bitterness.


separation
of the
^

of the

estrangement

They

are quoted

1427, printed

it

was rather the

by the Serbian court

Learned Society, vol.

in

Yet the

Churches was not the beginning

the Glasnik^ the

xxxiii.

result of deeper

historian, Constantin the

Philosopher, in his Life of the Despot Stephan


A.D.

Europe

of

tlie

Tall, written about

Journal of the

Serbian

EAST AND WEST.


under-lying

Old Kome and New Kome were


nor

similar

of

deepened

and

nerve

not of the same temper,

fibre.

monks had done

Separation only-

The

mutual aversion.

their

and opinions.

sentiments

of

differences

15

priests

and

their best to concentrate the latent

them

antipathies and to set

ablaze.

The

people,

when

they kissed the hands of their priests, seemed to have


received from these,

and

of peace

who

should have been preachers

charity, only

new

incentives to hatred

and intolerance.

The source

running in

river,

opened by

of bitterness,

hands even at the foot

of the Altar,

the

ecclesiastical

grew

to be a

deep

channels digged by political

events.
2.
it

The Normans occupying the south

Byzantine Empire.

With

the

Gregory VIL, Eobert Guiscar,


of

of Italy

found

easy to cross over to Albania, a province of the

God and

benediction of Pope

"Duke by

the grace

St Peter," besieged Durazzo (Dyrachium)

This strong place on the Albanian coast of

in 1081.

the Adriatic was the key of the famous old

road

Via

Egnatia,

which, crossing

Eoman

Albania

and

Macedonia diagonally, led to Salonica, joining there


another military road

to

Constantinople.

It

might

almost be said that Durazzo was the western gate of


the Byzantine Empire.
It is

worthy

this first

of note that

even at the occasion of

attempt by a foreign power to obtain a firm

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

16

footing in the Balkanic Peninsula, antagonistic interests

came

While Eobert Guiscar and Pope

play.

into

Gregory combined to
Venice

Empire,

tine

the conquest of the Byzan-

effect

her

sent

fleet

to

the

assist

And though

Emperor

in repulsing their attack.

Normans

defeated the Byzantine army, took Durazzo,

and conquered a number

of

towns and

castles in Epirus

and Thessaly, yet in the end they had


their conquests because the
IV.,

invaded

the

to relinquish

German Emperor, Henry

Italy.

But the Normans returned

to the

For

charge.

nearly a century the Greek Empire had to defend itself

lowed by that

Eoger

(in

(a.d.

1107), of

fol-

King

1146), and the great invasion of Tancred

The

(1185).

Bohemund

of

was

Guiscar's expedition

against their attacks.

Salonica, but

latter

only

not

took

Durazzo

marched into Thracia on

his

and

way

to

Constantinople.
3.

The Norman

successes

They helped

results.

had indirectly important

to destroy the prestige of the

Byzantine arms in the eyes of the Serbians, Bulgarians,

They shook the weakened Empire,

and Albanians.
and started
strated to

its

slow dismemberment.

They demon-

Western Catholic Europe that the conquest

of the Eastern

Empire was not impossible.

And

this

demonstration fired the ambition of the Popes to convert the East,

compel

it

to

if

not by arguments, and to

Rome.

It is significant that this

by arms

bow

to

EAST AND WEST.


very Pope Gregory, in

17

a letter written

in

1073 to
[

Ebouly de Eossi, declared


country

to

remain

" that it is

rule of

lender the

far

better

for a

Islam, than he
j

who

governed hy Christians

refuse to

acknowledge the

The

Orient's answer

rights of the Catholic Church."^

we

to this

shall learn

from the excited Greeks in the

days preceding the great catastrophe.

The lesson which the Norman warfare in Albania


and Epirus taught began

to bear fruit already

The

the end of the twelfth century.

Greek emperors, sought

of the

towards

Serbians, vassals

alliances in the

West,

with the evident intention of establishing a strong and

independent State of their

Byzantine Empire.
of

the

Serbian

own on

Stephan

dynasty

royal

the ruins of the

Nemanya, the founder


of

Nemanyich, en-

deavoured by special embassies to approach the German

Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and

him and

The Memoirs
state that the

of

Ansbertus, the Emperor's secretary,

Serbian Prince urged the Emperor to

make himself master


ing

him

suite

of

in 1189 received

his Crusaders with great hospitality at Nish.

of the

Byzantine Empire, promis-

Erom another chronicler in the


Barbarossa we learn that Nemanya made

assistance.

these proposals in the

names

of his allies, Peter

and

Ivan Assen, the chiefs of the Bulgarian nation, as well


as in his
*

ten,

own name.

Taffel, Regest. Po7Uifie.,^o.


ii.

Frederic was not prepared to


3542

Gfroerer, Byzantinische Geschich-

459.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

18

enter into

the

vast projects

Notwithstanding

this,

Ansbertus never mentions


" our friend, the great
4.

The passing

of

the

Serbian rnler.

they parted as sincere friends.

Nemanya without

Count

of

the

adding,

of Serbia."^

and generally un-

great

disciplined armies of the Crusaders through Byzantine

countries did not improve old feelings or remove old

On

prejudices.

the contrary,

it

enabled the Western

warriors (or, as the Greeks called them, " the Latins ")
to perceive at once the weakness of the

On

the unfriendliness of the people.

Empire and

the other hand,

the roughness and rudeness of the Crusaders confirmed


the contempt which the Greeks felt for such " Western
barbarians."

The

bitterness of the Greeks

was naturally largely

increased by the sudden appearance of the Crusaders

under the walls

of Constantinople,

sequent conquest
fifty-seven

years

possession of

of

and by their subFor

that capital (a.d. 1204).

(1204-1261)

the

Latins

retained

Constantinople and the best European

provinces of the Empire.

For fifty-seven years the

Catholic priests read masses at the altar of St Sophia,


to

the inexpressible sorrow and humiliation of

patriotic

and bigoted orthodox Greeks.

long, dark years the Greeks, especially the

minded populace

of the capital,

of the Latins, which,


^

Ansbertus in Pontes

During these

more narrow-

were storing up hatred

even two hundred years


Eerum

the

Aicstriacum. vol. v. 1-90.

later,

EAST AND WEST.

19

prevented them finding anything more bitter to endure.

Michael Palseologus succeeded in 1261 in driving

But he was un-

out the Latins from Constantinople.

able to reconquer the islands, the fortified towns in

Thessaly and Morea.

Instead of despots and princes

bearing the names of the old Greek families,

Guy

Due

la Roche,

find a

Baron de Chilandritza, a Guil-

de la Tremouille,

laume de

we

d'Ath^nes, a Nicholas de Saint-

Omer, Seigneur de Thebes, Richard Comte de Cephalonie,

G%illaume Allman Baron de Pairas, Villain

Baron

Bertrand de Baux,

d^ Arcadie,

Achaiae,"

&c.

This

&c.

names and feudal

titles

"

d'

Annoy

Mareschalcus

combination

of

French

with the classical names of

Athens, Patras, Thebes, Arcadia, Achaia, &c., sounds

even in our day strange and almost grotesque.


it

must have inspired the

days

with

highest, the

those

hatred

frantic

most

who under

patriotic

and

But

Greeks of those

despair.

And

the

cultured class

in Constantinople,

new dynasty

of Palaeologus ruled

the

the Empire, could not but feel great humiliation at the

thought

of

the

territories of the

French baronies
Peloponnesus.

be without anxiety whilst the

in

the

classical

Nor could the Greeks


energetic and clever

Anjous, the French dynasty of the kingdom of Naples

and

Sicily,

Imperial

were

throne

asserting
of

their

pretensions to the

Constantinople.

Catherine

de|

Valois, the wife of Philip II. of Anjou, bore proudly

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

20

the

titles

of "

Empress of Constantinople, Despotissa of

Romania, Duchess of Durazzo, Princess of Achaia,"


&c. &c.

and military preparations

The diplomatic

5.

Charles

Baldwin
were

so

to reconquer the Byzantine Empire,

I.

II.

Courtenay) had ceded to his house,

(of

and

extensive

Palseologus

thought

was only one course

avert the danger.

the invitation addressed to

and sent representatives


Council of Lyons.

Eastern

much

menacing that Michael

so

there

pursue in order to

amidst

of

which

He

him by Pope Gregory


Greek Church

of the

to

accepted
X.,

to the

There, on the 29th of June 1279,

enthusiasm, the reconciliation

and Western Churches

of

the

was solemnly pro-

claimed.

This

really

did

help

to

avert

the

danger

counteract the preparations of the ambitious


Naples.

and

King

of

The Greek diplomatists were highly pleased

with the success of their move

the

monks and the

people of Constantinople only laughed at the perform-

ances of the Council

attempt at

but in the end this insincere

reconciliation produced greater estrange-

ment, increasing among the Latins their disgust against

what they

called " the hypocrisy

and duplicity

of the

Greeks.

But that which the embarrassed and short-sighted


Byzantine leaders at the close of the thirteenth century
^

Pachymeras has interesting

details of these transactions.

EAST AND WEST.

21

considered only as a clever stroke of policy became an

unavoidable necessity from the middle of the fourteenth

John Cantacuzene, who, with

century.

comings and

vanities,

at once that the

all his

short-

was an able statesman, recognised

Turks were a

far

more formidable

danger to the Greek Empire than either the Latins or

He was

the neighbouring Slavs.

the

first to

declare

openly that an alliance with the warlike nations of


the

West could alone save the Greek Empire from

the Turks.

Erom

his time

onwards the alliance with

the Latins became the standing policy of the Byzan-

was a policy imposed by

tine statesmen.

It

circumstances.

The

Serbia,

orthodox

kings

of

force of

Bulgaria,

and Bosnia, were by the same circumstances

led to seek for alliances with the Catholic kings of

Hungary and Poland.

Some Greek, and

especially

cannot sufficiently blame

some Eussian historians

Rome

for its utilising the

danger that threatened the Eastern Empire to impose


the Papal authority on

it.

But

it

was only natural

that the Popes should seize the opportunity to bring

about the union of the Churches.


for

them

to act differently.

It

was

It

for

was impossible

them a simple

and unavoidable compliance with a sacred and


evident

duty.

From

their

point

of

view,

it

self-

was

manifest that Providence had chosen to use the arms


of the Infidels to break the stubbornness of

the

stifif-

necked Greeks, and to compel them to bow before the

)'

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

22

In perfect good

successors of St Peter.

Popes thought

the

faith,

clearly their duty to co-operate with

it

Eome

Providence for so good a purpose.

duty added much

to the

doing

melancholy character

its

of this

great tragedy.
6.

But

it

was

also quite natural that the masses of

the orthodox people in Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and


Greece, should not be able to comprehend the motives

which produced the apparent inconsistency

own

rulers

of their

They had grown up and

and statesmen.

been systematically educated in the belief that the

Roman Church was

the

enemy

of their

own

national

and truly orthodox Church, and that the Pope was an


incarnate Anti-christ;
give the

name

of "

they had been accustomed to

Eim-papa

" to their

dogs

been taught that the Latins were cheats,

and

liars,

and

and effeminate weaklings, who ate

thieves, faithless
frogs, rats,

they had

cats.

came and declared

to

And

now, suddenly, their rulers

them that

in consequence of a

(probably exaggerated) danger from the Turks, they

must unite
cal "

their "

Church

" Christ's

of

Orthodox

"

Church with the

" hereti-

" Anti-christ " as

Eome, acknowledge

Vicar " on earth, and embrace as brothers

the impure and barbarous Latins


It

was not an easy task

Byzantium and

own

for

the

Emperors

of

for their statesmen to suppress their

personal feelings, conquer their

own

prejudices,

and accept with a good grace what seemed

to be

"

EAST AND WEST.

Yet they did

inevitable.

23

The Council

it.

of Florence

1438 bears evidence of the readiness

in A.D.

Greeks to
affections

country.

sacrifice

their dearest

and convictions

of

some

and deepest personal

to the political interest of their

But no earthly power was able

to

change

the heart of the masses of the people, and to dispel


the clouds of prejudices accumulated through so

The populace execrated the union sub-

generations.

scribed to

by

their

Emperor and

his great secular

To the axiom

ecclesiastic dignitaries.
"

many

of

and

Gregory VII.,

Better Islam than schism " the Greeks of Constanti-

nople

And

now answered,

"

Better Islam than the Pope

Islam, turning towards Mecca, praised the only

one and true God,

who

did not permit the Giaours to

unite against the faithful


7.

To the wide-awake and wary Turkish Sultans

was quite

clear that the real

and practical

it

alliance of

the Balkanic with the Western nations would be the

death-warrant

of

Turkish

Therefore

ambitions.

to

prevent such an alliance by every means became to

immense importance.

the Porte a matter of

Sometimes they succeeded in doing


military action.
that

When

King Shishman

negotiations for an

it

of

this

was reported

by prompt

to

Murad

I.

Bulgaria had entered into

offensive

and defensive alliance

with King Lazar of Serbia and King Sigismund of

Hungary, the Turks unexpectedly invaded Bulgaria,

and destroyed her army, capturing Shishman and

all


CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

24

the royal family in Mcopolis (a.d. 1386).

no doubt that the great

on the

battle

field of

There

is

Kossovo

(15th June 1389) was fought with the intention of

King of Hungary,
When, a few years

paralysing Serbia before her ally, the

could come to her assistance.


later,

Vuk

Brankovich, prince of the country lying

between Bosnia and Macedonia (now Kossovo-Eyalet),


reopened negotiations with Hungary, the Turks pre-

vented the accomplishment of his projects by suddenly


seizing

and poisoning him (1395).

afterwards, the

son of Lazar,

young Prince

went personally

"When, shortly

of Serbia,

Stephan, the

do homage to Bayazed

to

Hderim, the Sultan warned him against leaning toward


"

Hungary,

hecause" he said impressively, " no good can

who lean

that

King Shishman and

the

come

to those

alliances

with

way

think what became of

other princes

Hungary!"

Lazarevich,

who had

Stephan's,

not from the Sultan's

of Prince Stephan

them

heard

That the Turks sought

soioght

These words are quoted

by Constantine, the Court chaplain

if

who

probably from

own

lips.-^

to prevent a Christian con-

federacy by diplomatic moderation and conciliation

shown by the counsels given


peror
"

John V. on

Whenever

the

to his sons

his deathbed

Turks hegin

by the

Constantine the Philosopher, in his

Em-

to

he

troublesome, send

embassies to the West at once, offer to accept union,

Glasnik, vol. xxxiii. p. 172.

is

life

and

of Stephan the Tall, in the


EAST AND WEST.
protract

negotiations

length;

great

to

25

Turks

the

so

greatly fear such union that they will become reasonable

and

still

the

union will not

because of the vanity of the Latin nations

Mohammed

to

"
!

much-abused Chalil-Pasha,

It will be seen that the

Grand Vizier

accomplished

be

the Conqueror, acted in

the spirit of the traditional diplomacy of

his pre-

decessors.

John V. (1391) to the


death of John VII. (1448) the Turks had become
much stronger, better organized, and more fully in8.

But from the death

of

They had had opportunities

formed.

themselves

against

successfully

German, and French knights.

Empire; and they began

threats of uniting the

were vain vapourings.

Polish,

They had been

nesses of the decay of the remaining


old

measuring

of

Hungarian,

to

wit-

strength of the

suspect

that

the

Western nations against them

They were shrewd enough

to

perceive that the task of uniting all the Christian

nations

for

great and

earnest effort

"While the Greeks were not learning any-

hopeless.
thing, the

Turks became stronger in offensive power

and richer in practical knowledge


political circumstances in

And

was almost

of the true state of

Europe.

in truth, the very act

by which the wisest

amongst the Greek statesmen thought to guard their


country

against

danger

the

acceptance

at

the

Council of Florence of the union of the Churches

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
It brought

proved only a source of weakness.

from the West


little

yet

divided and paralysed what

it

strength remained at

1450 Constantinople was in


against

itself,"

The

which

Christians

it is

of

no help

About the year

home.

reality a " house divided

declared must

the East ought

fall.

to

have been

assisted

by the Christians

fatality

seems to have beset Christendom between the

of the

West.

The Byzantine and

eleventh and fifteenth centuries.

worlds were in friction throughout those

the Latin
ages.

But a strange

The separation

of

Churches, the Crusades, the

Latin conquest of Constantinople, the ambition of the

Popes and of the

Sicilian Kings,

the reconciliation of Churches

even the attempts at


all

these contributed

to disorganize the vital forces of the Byzantine


pire.

Not merely did the Western Christians

Em-

fail to

come

to the rescue of their Oriental brethren in the

hour

of need,

but the Papal policy sapped the vigour

of the ancient
ally,

tions

Empire

of the East, and, unintention-

yet not the less effectually,


of

secure

power in Europe.

it

laid

establishment of a

the founda-

Mohammedan

CHAPTER

11.

The Superior Military Organization


OF THE Turks.

Moral and

contributed

causes

political

to

the

remarkable quickness with which the Christian states


of the

Balkan Peninsula were subdued by the Turks.

But the instrument which

chiefly

wrought Turkish

and Christian defeats was undoubtedly

victories

tlie

superior military organization of the Turks.

Not one

of the Christian

Peninsula

had

sovereigns

of

kingdoms

regular

Bosnia,

army.

standing

Serbia,

Balkan

of the

Bulgaria,

The

and Greece

usually surrounded themselves with a more or less

numerous body
hired abroad,

of guards,

Germans,

mostly professional soldiers

Italians,

Normans, and some-

Limes (especially in thirteenth and fourteenth centuries)

even Turks.

The

fidelity of

these mercenaries could

only be secured by the high rate of their pay, and


this precluded the possibility of large

permanently

employed.

An

numbers being

emperor's

bodyguard rarely exceeded 3000

pien.

or

a king's

These house-

hold troops, being constantly under arms, were the


nearest

approach to a standing army amongst the

Christian nations prior to the middle of the fifteenth

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

28

when King Charles VII.

century,
his

"

the

Franc- Archers,"

first

France enrolled

of

regular,

army

in

Christian country (a.d. 1449).

When

a Christian king had to defend his

country, or to carry

they could collect

his aid, with as

This irregular soldiery might have had

retainers.

much

into that of an enemy, he

many men as
and arm amongst their own tenants

called his nobles to

and

war

own

personal courage, but they were generally badly

armed, and certainly undisciplined.

numerous

they

were,

the

In

more

fact,

the more

and

incongruous

incomplete was their equipment, and the less their


willingness

The

to

political

submit to orders from head-quarters.


disorders

throughout

prevailing

the

peninsula on the eve of the Turkish invasion had

weakened

this feudal military organization,

already inherently weak.


it

which was

Tzar Lazar of Serbia

felt

necessary to add to his war manifesto a long and

terrible curse against all those

by joining him

not respond

at the field of Kossovo.

The Turks had retained


defining

who should

this feudal military system,

more precisely the number

of

armed

followers

when called to
and
Timar Beys).
{Ziyamet

each feudal lord was bound to produce


the standard of the Sultan,

Independently

of

this

feudal

army, the

possessed from 1326 a regular standing army.

and

Turks

Orkhan

his brother Vezir Ala-ud-din inaugurated a system

remarkable for

its

completeness and success, a system

MILITAKi" ORGANIZATION OF

which

testified to the

political

foresight of

THE TURKS.

29

great psychological insight

They not only

organizers.

its

and

converted military service into a permanent profession


for life,

but

made

it

one for which

trained from their boyhood.

men must

More than

be strictly

this,

with an

which would be most admirable were

ingenuity

it

not almost satanic, these organizers did not dream of

drawing the materials for their standing army from

They decided that the

the ranks of the Turks.

force

which was to conquer the Christian kingdoms and


empires should be supplied by the foes of Islam

From amongst
war

the Christian children captured in

or in never-ceasing raids across the frontiers, the

most healthy, handsome, and

intelligent

and sent

There they were trained

to

to special colleges.

were selected

be zealous Mussulmen and intrepid soldiers, and

when

sufficiently

prepared

were

enrolled

in

the

physically

and

regiments of the famous Janissaries.

Should

the

number

required

of

mentally qualified cadets not be recruited

from among

those captured and brought as slaves, special Imperial

Commissioners levied the most cruel of tributes from


the Christian Eayahs,
sons

from seven to

principle of

selection

that of their most promising

twelve

years

old.

Thus the

was applied in a hitherto un-

heard-of manner, to refresh and strengthen the Turkish

Empire by the best blood

The Janissaries

(or

of the Christians.

more exactly

"

Yeni-Cheri" the


CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

30

new

"

troops ") were instituted as a standing regular

army by Orkhan in 1326. They were reorganized by


his son, Murad I., who, on that account, was believed
by many early writers

be their original founder.

to

How thoroughly and soundly based was this organization


can be seen from the summary of rules prescribed by

Murad, and thus


1.

The

first

by Ahmed Djevad Bey^:

set forth

duty of every Janissary

obedience to the orders of his


officers
2.

were freed

name

chimney " or

must

prevail,

"

even

these

if

slaves.

Amongst the men belonging

(the Turkish
"

officers,

absolute

is

"Odjak"

to the

for the corps of Janissaries,

hearth

"),

perfect union

meaning

and concord

and therefore they should always dwell

together.
3.

As

always

truly

abstain

brave

and gallant men, they must

from

every

luxury,

avoid

every

unbecoming deed, and be simple in everything.

They must never disregard the teachings

Holy Hadji Bektash

as

to

must always scrupulously


Mussulmen.
5.

The

the duties of

chiefs

must

and they

their prayers,
fulfil

of the

true

exercise the greatest viligance

that no one be admitted to the Odjak

who has

not

been taken and brought up according to the law of


"

Devchirme
^

"

(law on the tribute in children).

Etat militaire Ottoman depuis la fondation de VEmpire, par

Ahmed Djevad Bey.

Paris, 1882, p. 66.

MILITARY ORGANIZATION OF THE TURKS.

6.

Advancement

in the

31

Odjak must always follow

the order of seniority.


7.

Janissary should only be punished or even

reprimanded by his superior


8.

receive pensions
9.

officer.

Janissaries incapacitated

Janissaries

by

illness or age are to

from the Odjak.

must not wear

and

beards,

shall not

be allowed to marry.
10.

They ought never

to be far distant

from their

ortas (barracks).
11.

or to

No

Janissary should be allowed to learn a trade,

work

an

as

artisan.

His exclusive occupation

ought to be exercise in the art of war.

Many
to'

that,

them

peculiar privileges were given

enhance their

esprit

when on campaign,

de corps.

One

in order

of these

was

their tents should be placed

immediately in front of the Sultan's tent, so that the

Padishah necessarily passed through


leaving or returning to his own.

was that the

capital

punishment

their

tents

in

Another privilege

of a Janissary should

never be executed in the day-time, or in public, but

always at midnight, in the presence of a few

cannon shot

fired in the central

time announcing to the Odjak that one


to it

had been removed from

officers,

barrack at the same

this

who belonged

world by the hands

of Justice.

During the fourteenth and


of Janissaries

fifteenth centuries the corps

never numbered more than 12,000 men.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

32

But

physical condition,

in

training,

discipline

and

bravery, no troops in Europe could be compared with

them.

They were

all foot soldiers, their principal

Some

being a bow.

of

them had

arm

in addition a scimitar,

others a lance.

Besides this regular infantry, the Sultans had from

an early date a body


hees,"

who were

of regular cavalry called " Spa-

same way

recruited in the

as the

In the fifteenth century they were armed

Janissaries.

with a scimitar, an iron mace (20 to 25 pounds in


weight), and a bow.

The
cise of

greatest attention

were made

of

metal

ally used in Europe,


issaries

to the

much

sword exer-

Their scimitars

superior to any then gener-

and by constant practice the Jan-

and Spahees learned to use these with marvel-

lous dexterity.

Empire

was given

both Janissaries and Spahees.

"

The Turkish saying

by the sword

"

was

The Greeks were superior


manoeuvres and in the use
of this composition

that they

won their

literally true.

to the

of "

Turks only

Greek

fire ";

in naval

the secret

was jealously kept.

There are two Christian contemporaries who speak

with authority on the Turkish army in the middle


the fifteenth century.
Philelpho, the other

is

One

is

of

the Italian Francesco

a Frenchman

Bertrandon

de

la Brocquiere.

Philelpho, himself a knight and statesman, sojourned

MILITARY ORGANIZATION OF THE TURKS.


at the Sultan's " Porte " as

some time

He

33

Greek Envoy.

knowing

certainly enjoyed good opportunities of

the true condition of the Turkish military forces, and

he describes them in his memoranda to the King of

France (dated 14th November 1461) and to the Doge of


Venice (10th February 1464).
Sultan's

According to him, the

army was composed

of

12,000 Janissaries,

8000 Assabs (who were in his regular pay), 25,000_


feudal troops levied in Europe and 15,000 levied in
Asia,

archers

The

altogether 60,000.
;

they also carried a

them had long

lances.

Janissaries were all

and some of

SJoaall shield,

The feudal troops were

all

horse-

men, armed with scimitars, maces, and small shields

some

of their

regular

army

number had bows.


of the Sultans

" But,"

he adds, "this

was always preceded and

followed in war by innumerable bands of irregular


troops,

composed mostly

Thessaly,

of shepherds

from Thracia,

and Moesia, who, being under no

restraint,

proved the most cruel scourge in the Turkish invasions.


Their arms were only crooked Turkish sabres.
carried with

them plenty

They

of ropes to bind the inhabit-

ants of towns and villages, and then drove

them

its

down

before the regular

army of the Sultan made

appearance."^

George Castriot Scanderbeg

(+

1468) indirectly

confirms Philelpho's statement about the usual strength


^

Francisci Philelphi, Epistolse, vol.

ii.

p. 52.

,'

/
'

to the

slave-markets; the villages and towns they pillaged and

burnt

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

34

According to his biographers,^

of the Turkish army.

" that the whole

he often stated

army of

the

Albanian

league hardly equals in numbers the fourth part of the

As

Sultan's forces."

the Albanians were able in a few

instances to muster 15,000 men, but generally had not

more than 12,000,

it

may

estimated the Turkish

be concluded that Scanderbeg

army

at about 60,000

men.

But the true expert in military matters was Berdon de

tra

la Brocquiere, Seigneur de

Councillor and First Equerry to the

Philippe

He went

Bon.

le

places of Palestine,

Vieux Chateau,

Duke of Burgundy,

in 1432 to visit the holy

and returned in 1433 overland, pass-

ing through Constantinople, Adrianople, Bulgaria, and


Serbia.

He

Duke a description of his


memorandum about ways and means

wrote for his

journey, with a
for driving the

Turks out

generally shrewd

are

of Europe.^

His observations

and apparently

judgment bears the stamp

true,

of impartiality.

and

We

his

will

quote some of his statements concerning the Turks and


their army.

"The conversation" (which he held


with some German

officers)

and caused

me

to inake

subjection

in

which

at Belgrade

"greatly astonished me,

some

reflections

the

Turk

on the strange

keeps

Macedonia,

^ Demetrius Franco,
Vita Oeorgii Scanderhegi, Venetia, 1480 ;
Marinus Barletius, De Vita ac Gestis Georgii Scanderhegi, Roma,

1503.
*

We use the

edited by

English translation of the Early Travels in Palestine,

Thomas Wright, London,

1848, pp. 862-369.

MILITARY ORGANIZATION OF THE TURKS.

I-Bulgaria, the

Despot

the

Emperor
of

of Constantinople, the Greeks,

Serbia,

dependence appeared

and

his

me

to

Such a

subjects.

a lamentable

Christendom; and as I lived

with

became acquainted with their manner

thing for

Turks,

and

of living

and

the

fighting,

and have frequented the company

persons

who have observed them narrowly

great enterprises, I

them,

concerning

35

am emboldened

to write

according

the

to

of sensible

in

their

something

best

my

of

ability
" I shall

begin with what regards their persons, and

say they are a

tolerably

handsome

beards, but of moderate size

well

that

strong

as

it

common

is

Turk

necessary,

long

know

and strength.

expression

say

'as

have seen

an

nevertheless

';

infinity of Christians excel

with

race,

to

them when strength was

and I myself, who

am

not of the strongest

make, have, when circumstances required labour, found


very
"

many Turks weaker than

They are

I.

diligent, willingly rise early,

and

live

on

badly

baked, raw

meat dried in the sun, milk curdled or

not, honey,

being

little,

with

satisfied

cheese, grapes, fruit, herbs,


flour,

bread

and even a handful

six or eight for

a day.

Should they have a horse or

a camel sick without hopes of recovery, they cut


throat

many

of

with which they make a soup sufficient to feed

and eat
a time.

it.

I have witnessed this

They

are indifferent as to

its

many and

where they

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

36

sleep,

and usually

consists of

lie

over the other, which


again, they

on the ground.

dress

felt,

and some capinats are

knees, and they wear wide drawers,


velvet, others of silk

In war, or when

these,

called a 'capinat.'

Their boots come up to the

and handsome.

fine

Over

to their feet.

fall

wear a mantle of

This, though light, resists rain,

very

Their

two or three cotton garments, thrown one

some

or fustian and

of crimson

common

travelling, to avoid being

stuffs.

embarrassed

their gowns, they tuck the ends into their drawers,

by

that they

may move

with greater freedom.

"Their horses are good, cost

allowances, never feeding

giving

them only

double the quantity

in food, gallop

They keep them on short

well and for a long time.

five

little

them but at

and then

night,

or six handfuls of barley with

chopped

of

the

straw,

put into a bag which hangs from the horse's

whole

ears.

At

break of day, they bridle, clean, and curry the horses,


but never allow them to drink before mid- day.

In

the afternoon they drink whenever they find water,

and

also in the evening

when they

and near a

for they always halt early,

river

During the night they are covered with


stuffs.

genette.

The horses

saddled

if

possible.

felt

or other

and bridled A

la

Their saddles are commonly very rich, but

hollow, having
stirrup-leathers
sit

are

encamp

lodge or

pummels

before and behind, with short

and wide

stirrups

The men

deeply sunk in their saddles as in an arm-chair.

MILITAKY ORGANIZATION OF THE TURKS.


very

knees

their

cannot

resist

unhorsed.

high,

The arms

which they

in

position

being

from a lance without

blow

37

of those

who have any

fortune

are a bow, a small wooden shield, a sword, a heavy

mace with a short handle and the thick end cut

many

This

angles.

into

weapon when

dangerous

is

on the shoulders, or on an unguarded arm.

struck

Several use small wooden bucklers

when they draw

the bow.
"

Their obedience to superiors

dare disobey, even

And

it

when

owing

is chiefly

their

is

boundless.

!N"one

are

stake.

lives

to this steady

such great exploits have

at

submission that

been performed, and

such

vast conquest achieved.


" I

have been assured that whenever the Christian

powers have taken up arms against the


latter

have

always

had

timely

this case the Sultan has their

tribes,

his

army two

or three

days'

spot where he proposes to fight

off,

Should

falls

he

suddenly on

For these occasions they have a particular

kind of march, beaten on a large drum.


signal

them

march from the

them.

think the opportunity favourable, he


them.

In

information.

march watched by men

assigned for this purpose, and he lays wait for

with

the

is

given, those

followed by the

without the

file

who

are to lead

others

with the

When

this

march quietly
same

silence,

ever being interrupted, the horses and

men having been

so trained.

Ten thousand Turks on

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

38

such an occasion will make less noise than 100


the Christian armies.

men

in

In their ordinary marches they

always walk, but in these they always gallop; and

as-

they are lightly armed, they will thus advance further

from evening to daybreak than in three other days.

They choose

no horses but such as walk

also

we

gallop for a long time, while

well and with ease.

gallop

marches

and

they

that

completely

have

defeating

It is

and

by these forced

succeeded
the

fast

select only those that

in

surprising

Christians

in

their

different wars.
" Their

manner

of fighting varies according to cir-

When

cumstances.

they find a favourable opportunity,

they divide themselves into different detachments, and


thus attack
This

many

mode

among woods

parts of an

particularly

is

army

at the

adapted

or mountains, from the great

they have for uniting together again.

they form

ambuscades, and send

scouts to observe the enemy.

he

is

same

time.

when they
At

are

facility

other times

out well-mounted

If their report be that

not on his guard, they instantly form their plan

and take advantage of the circumstance.


find the

army well drawn

Should they

up, they curvet round

it

within bow-shot, and, while thus prancing, shoot at


the

men and

horses,

long that they at last throw the


If the opposing
fly,

and disperse

this

manoeuvre so

enemy

into disorder^

and continue

army attempt

to pursue them, they

separately, even should only a fourth

MILITARY ORGANIZATION OF THE TURKS.

part of their

but
it

be ordered against them

in their flight that they are formidable,

it is

has

own number

39

been
the

defeated

that

and

have

they

In flying they have the

Christians.

adroitness to shoot

then

always

almost

arrows so unerringly that

their

man

Each

or horse.

they scarcely ever

fail

horseman has

on the pummel of his saddle a

also

When

tabolcan.

to hit

the chief, or any one of his

perceives the pursuing

enemy to be

three strokes on this instrument


it,

officers,

in disorder, he gives

the others, on hearing

do the same, and they are instantly formed round

their chief, like so

many

hogs round the old. one

and

then, according to circumstances, they either receive

the charge of the assailants, or

fall

on them by de-

tachments and attack them simultaneously in different


places.

which

In pitched battles they employ a stratagem


consists

throwing

of

fireworks

cavalry to frighten the horses.


their front a great

body

them on the enemy's

often place in

dromedaries and camels,

of

which are bold and vicious

They

among the

these they drive before

line of horse

and throw

it

into

confusion
" It is the policy of the

Turks to have their armies

twice as numerous as those of the Christians.

This

and

superiority of

numbers augments

aUows them

form different corps, and to make their

to

their courage,

attack on various parts at the same time.

they once force an

opening, they rush

Should

through in

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

40

and

incredible crowds,

.... The

lost.

it is

then a miracle

be not

if all

Turkish lances are worth nothing

their archers are the best troops they have,

do not shoot so strongly or so


a more numerous cavalry

and

inferior in strength to ours

and these

They have

far as ours.

their horses, though

and incapable

of carrying

such heavy weights, gallop better, and skirmish for a


longer time without losing their wind.
"I

must own that

in

my various

experiences I have

always found the Turks frank and

was necessary

on

and when

it

Their armies, I know, commonly con-

failed
sist

loyal,

show courage, they have never

to

men, but

200,000

of

and destitute

foot,

or

mallets,

equipped.

number

swords

They have,

of Christians,

of

few,

the

wooden
indeed,

besides,

who

part

greater

are

shields, helmets,

being

completely

amongst them a great

are forced to serve

Greeks,

Bulgarians, Macedonians, Albanians, Slavonians,

Wal-

lachians, Servians,

and other subjects of the despots

of that country.

All these people detest the Turk,

because he holds them in a severe subjection

should they see

the

Christians,

and

above

all

and
the

French, march in force against the Sultan, I have not


the slightest doubt but they would turn against

and do him great mischief."

him

MILITARY ORGANIZATION OF THE TURKS.


There

is

an interesting version of the

life of

41
George

Castriot Scanderbeg in an old Serbian manuscript not

yet printed.

It

on the whole, the

follows,

lines of

Marinus Barletius' work on Scanderbeg, but has some


modifications and additions, which do not only enrich

our stores of historical knowledge but impart to the

whole

local

and national

colour.

In both works

it is

recorded that on a certain occasion Sultan

Mohammed,

desiring to dispel the anxiety of his Viziers

and Pashas

in consequence of rumours of a great European coalition against the Turks,

made

a speech comparing the

Very probably Mohammed

Christians and the Turks.

never delivered the address attributed to him, but the


comparison was certainly made as early as when Barletius'

work was written (towards the end

fifteenth
^

'

knew

century),

"You have
!

and by a person who evidently

heard,"

Your heroism

well the unwashed

the

Sultan

is

made

manners, which

will be above theirs

certainly

much and

to eat

not

are

much

to

say,

But

fear

You know

and their ways and

Gyaours,

fine.

indolent, sleepy, easily shocked, inactive

drink

the

well the circumstances of which he spoke.

" that the Christians have united against us.

not

of

They are
they like to

in misfortunes they

are impatient, and in times of good fortune proud and


overbearing.

They

are lovers of repose, and do not

like to sleep without soft feather-beds

have no

women with them

when they

they are sad and gloomy

42

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

and without plenty

of good

wine they are unable to

keep counsel among themselves.

any military stratagems.

of

They

are ignorant

They keep horses only

to ride while hunting with their dogs

if

one of them

wishes to have a good war-horse, he sends to buy

They

from

us.

heat,

efifort

them

in the campaigns,

and menial work.

They

let

women

follow

and at their dinners give them

the upper places, and they want always to have

In

dishes.
"

life

my glorious

fellows,

You do
You sleep

qualities.

or your food.

do not want beds

the earth

any board your bed; there


a hardship

there

is

warm

no good in them.

short, there is

But you,

many good

it

are unable to bear hunger, or cold, or

you can show a great

much

not think
little,

and

of your

for that

you

is

your dining-table and

is

nothing you consider

nothing you think

it

impossible

to do
"

And

then, the Christians fight constantly

among

themselves, because every one desires to be a king, or

a prince, or the
another
Prince,

one

*
!

them.

'

Brother, help thou

and to-morrow I
Fear them not

them.

me

One

common

self-willed,

there

their superiors

and

interest.

and

says to

to-day against this

will help thee against that


is

no concord amongst

Every one takes care of himself only

thinks of the
unruly,

amongst

first

They

disobedient.

discipline they

everything depends on that

no one

are quarrelsome,

Obedience

to

have none, and yet

MILITARY ORGANIZATION OF THE TURKS.


"

When

they lose a battle they always say

were not well prepared


betrayed us

or

*
!

'

We

or

'

'

'

or

'

own advantage

confess truly

Turks

what they

and rightly

It is

God who

'

by

They have

occupied our country by turning our internal

is

We

The Turks

declaration of war,

misleading representations and treachery

Well, that

This or that traitor has

came upon us without previous

"

were too few in number, and

the Turks were far more numerous

culties to their

43

diffi-

!'

say, being not willing to

God

is

helps them,

on

the side of the

and

therefore they

conquer us !'"^
1

have used the text of the Serbian MS., Povyest o Oyurgyu

Zrnoyevichu, narechenom Skenderbegu, No. 418, 8vo, of the National

Library in Belgrade.

CHAPTEE
On the Eve

When

III

of the Fall.

history raises the curtain to

the most stirring tragedies in the

show us one

life of

conquest of a higher civilization by a lower


interest

who

naturally absorbed

is

by the

tableaux

historical

Palaeologus

so

nobly

in

which

personified

an

the

our

personalities

are working out the decrees of Fate.

great

of

one

nations

But the

Constantine

and

ancient

highly cultured Empire falling with dignity and honour,

and a great conqueror,


his wild

Asiatic race
in

mind

like

Mohammed

II.,

and rough, yet energetic and deeply

can only gain in interest when

that they are displayed

typified
religious

we

bear

amid surroundings

of

such extraordinary natural beauties as those of the


Bosphorus.

We

would

like if

we

could present to our readers

that wonderful picture of hill and valley, sunny glades

and shadowed bays, of sea and sky, which has excited


the admiration of all

who have looked on

more we should have liked

it.

Still

to place before their eyes

a true picture of Constantinople, and of the social and


political life

within

its walls,

on the eve of

its

heroic

ON THE EVE OF THE


defence and final

45

FALL.

But though the beauties

fall.

of the

Bosphorus are an inexhaustible source of inspiration


for artists in

modern

tions of the life

times, the drawings

and descrip-

and surroundings of Constantinople in

the middle of the fifteenth century are extremely rare.

we have

Still,

a bird's-eye view of the city of Con-

stantinople from the year 1422,

and a plan

of the city

from the year 1493.

The

bird's-eye

view of Constantinople was made in

the above-mentioned year by the Florentine engineer

and

artist,

Christophore Buondelmonti.

three copies extant

not been published;


Sathas,^

There are only

one, in the Vatican, has as yet

Mr

one in Venice, edited by

and the third in

Paris,

which was printed by

Banduri^ as early as 1711.


It appears, according to G. Critobulos, the

biographer of

Mohammed

II.,

Greek

that the Sultan, some

time after the conquest of Constantinople, ordered the


celebrated Greek geographer, Georgios Amyroutzes of

Trebizonde, to prepare for


countries of the world.

made

at the

stantinople,

same time a great map


and that

Dr Dickson

to
^

C.

him maps

it

of the different

It is believed that

was

this

Amyroutzes

of the city of

in the library of the Seraglio.

N. Sathas, Monumenta

Con-

map which was shown

SistoricB Hellenicce,

It is

Paris, 1888, vol.

iii.

Banduri, Imperium Orientale, Parisiis, 1711, vol.

ii.,

p. 448.

See

also Dufresne, Constantinopolis Christiana, seu Descriptio urbis Gonstantinopolitance qualis extitit sub imperatoribus Christianis, Parisiis, 1780.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

46

further believed that Gentile Bellini,

time

in the Seraglio

who

spent some

painting a portrait of Sultan

Suleyman, carried with him back to Venice a copy of


the same plan.

From

copy several other copies

this

were made and published in numerous editions during


the sixteenth century.^
It is very probable that

between the

stantinople at the time of its conquest


in 1453
of

and the

city of

by the Turks

city such as it is depicted

on the plan

1422 there could be hardly any material

The resources

of the

Con-

difference.

Byzantine Emperors between 1420

and 1453 were used principally


strengthening the city walls.

in

On some

repairing
stones,

and

which

have been taken when the Charsias Gate was pulled

down, and which are now preserved in the Arsenal of


Constantinople, there are inscriptions which state that

the

Emperor John Palseologus renovated the whole


This work was undertaken

fortification of the

town.

after the last siege

by Murad

the stones there

beneath the name of the Emperor

the

name

which

is

of

is

Manuel Jagaris

II. in

1432.

On

one of

(a Palseologue himself),

believed to be that of the chief engineer

had charge

of the restoration.^

who

George Brankovich,

the Prince of Serbia, the friend and ally of the Greek

Emperors, reconstructed in the year 1448 at his


^

See also Ancien plan de Constantinople, imprimd entre 1566

et

own
1574,

avec notes explicatives par Ccedidiis, Constantinople, Lorentz et Keil,

1882.
2

Dethier,

Der Bosphor und

Constantinopel,

Wien, 1873,

p. 55.

ON THE EVE OF THE

47

FALL.

expense two towers in the walls of Constantinople;

one in the wall along the Marmara Sea at the gate

Koum-Capou, and the other

called at present

wall along the Golden Horn.^


ever, did not involve

in the

All these works, how-

any material change

in the princi-

pal lines and general character of the fortifications and

the

town

such

itself

as

it

was when Buondelmonti

sketched his plan, and such as

when
It

would be not

Fortunately

fall.

la Brocqui^re

an insight

Greek capital on the eve

we can

least in a certain measure.

satisfy this desire, at

Chevalier Bertrandon de

spent some time in Constantinople in

1433, and wrote


of

most probably was

less desirable to obtain

into the inner life of the old


of its

it

the siege of 1453 took place.

what he saw

for his

master an interesting report

there.

Brocqui^re was one of the sharpest and most intelli-

gent observers

who

travelled over that route in the

Middle Ages; and as he was a

soldier

by

profession,

and

a gentleman by birth and education, his observations


are invaluable for the tiistory of the

Balkan Peninsula

in the first half of the fifteenth century.

He had

the

pluck and enterprising energy of a modern American


The full inscription in Greek that the " Pyrgos " and the adjoining
cortina " at Koum-Capou were restored at the expense of George
^
**

Brankovich,
Miklosich,

is

given in

Monumenta

Dr Mordtman,

Horn, see Novakovich, Glas,


p. 9.

Belagerung, p. 132, and in


About the tower on the Golden
Journal of the Serb. Academy, vol. xix.

Serbica, p. 441.


CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

48

and a decided talent

reporter,

most graphic de-

to give

scription of all he saw.

This

stantinople as he saw

January 1433

"We

from

who

all

cross

My

crossed in two Greek vessels.

me

took

and opposite to
and receive a

this passage,
it.

and I

companions

The owners

my boat

of

Turk and paid me great honours

for a

when they saw me

my horse

after landing leave

gate of Pera to be taken care

of,

and inquire

Genoese merchant named Christopher Parvesin, to

them waited

turned for
agreed on

my

me

me

sword and

who

if

my

lived hard by,

coming

retreat.

would have
:

my

to

but I had

assistance,

may have

All those with

have had any business have only made

and I have found more probity

Church, and the submission which

to this

any-

whom

me more

sus-

in the Turks.

These Greeks do not love the Christians of the

made

re-

than I had

I mention this as a

warning to travellers who, like myself,

than

whom
Two

good tarquais, and a Genoese shoe-

thing to do with the Greeks.

picious,

at the

and when I

they had dared to do so

were forced to

they

at the gate,

my horse they demanded more


for my passage.
I believe they

even struck

maker,

for

but

after a

I had letters, they suspected I was a Christian.


of

Con-

his picture of

is

arrived at Scutari on the Straits

The Turks guard

Pera.
toll

it,

Eoman

they have

Church was more through

since

self-interest

sincerity.-^

Evidently

Brocquiere

wrote his

Memoirs

after

the

nominal

ON THE EVE OF THE


"

Pera

is

49

FALL.

a large town, inhabited by Greeks, Jews,

under the

and Genoese.

The

last

Duke

who

styles himself 'Lord of Pera.'

of Milan,

are masters of

has a Podesta and other


their

The

latter

who govern

officers,

Great commerce

manner.

Turks.

it

is

It
after

carried on with the

have a singular

that should any of their slaves run

privilege,

namely,

away and seek an

asylum in Pera, they must be given back.


is

it

The port

the handsomest I have seen, and I believe I

may

add of any in the possession of the Christians, for the


largest

Genoese vessels can

However,

it

seems to

me

lie

alongside the quays.

that on the land side and

near the church, in the vicinity of the gate at the

extremity of the haven, the place


" I

met

Milan,

at Pera

named

is

weak,

an ambassador from the Duke of

The Duke,

Sir Benedicto de Furlino.

wanting the support of the Emperor Sigismund against


the Venetians, and seeing Sigismund embarrassed with
the defence of his

kingdom

of

Hungary

against the

Turks, had sent an embassy to Amurath, to negotiate


a peace between the two princes.

honour of
reception.

my

Lord

He

of

even told

me

reconciliation of the

much

a gracious

do mischief to

make them

from them by the Turks

in this he acted so

me

that, to

the Venetians, he had contributed to


Salonica, taken

Sir Benedicto, in

Burgundy, gave

lose

and certainly

the worse, for I have since

Greek and Roman Churclies at the Council of

Florence in 1438.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

50

seen the inhabitants of that town deny Jesus Christ

and embrace the Mohammedan

"Two
haven

my

days after

arrival at Pera I crossed the

to Constantinople, to visit that city.

and spacious, having the form


is

religion.

bounded by the

It is large

of a triangle

straits of St George,

one side

another towards

the south by the bay, which extends as far as Gallipoli,

and

at the north side is the port.

three

said,

large cities

seven

hills^Eome,

Eome

is,

on the

and

are, it is

earth, each enclosing

Constantinople,

think, larger

There

and

Antioch.

more compact than

Constantinople.
"

They estimate the

circuit of the city of Constanti-

nople at eighteen miles, a third of which

land side towards the west.


walls,

particularly

is

on the

It is well enclosed with

on the land

side.

This extent,

estimated at six miles from one angle to the other, has


likewise a deep ditch, excepting for about two hundred

paces at one of

Blaquerne.

its

extremities near the palace called

was assured that the Turks had

failed

weak

point.

in their attempt to take the

town

at this

Fifteen or twenty feet in front of this ditch there

good and high wall.

At

is

the two extremities of this

we

line

were formerly handsome palaces, which,

may

judge from their present ruins, were also very

if

strong
" Constantinople is

that

it

formed of many separate parts, so

contains several open spaces of greater extent

ON THE EVE OF THE


The

than those built on.

under

It has, beside, a

small

interior, capable of containing three or

This

four galleys.

51

largest vessels can anchor

walls, as at Pera.

its

harbour in the

FALL.

situated to the southward near

is

a gate, where a hillock


of the Christians,

pointed out composed of bones

is

who, after the conquests of Jerusalem

and Acre by Godfrey de Bouillon, were returning by


this strait.

When

the Greeks had ferried

they conducted them to this place, which


secret,

But

is

them

and there the Crusaders were murdered.

as this is

what was

"The

an old

story, I

know

of it

over,

remote and
.

no more than

told me.

many handsome

city has

remarkable and the

churches, but the most

principal church

is

that of

St

Sophia, where the Patriarch resides, with others of the

rank

of Canons.

It is of a circular shape, situated

near the eastern point, and formed of three different


parts

one subterranean, another above the ground,

and a third over


cloisters,

ference.

and had,
It is

Formerly

that.

now

cloisters remain, all

it

is

it

was surrounded by

said, three

miles in circum-

of smaller extent,

and only three

paved and inlaid with squares of

white marble, and ornamented with large columns of


various colours.

The

gates are remarkable for their

breadth and height, and are of brass.

was

told, possesses

one

end of the lance that pierced His

was offered

Him

This church, I

of the robes of our Lord, the


side,

the sponge that

to drink from, apd the reed that was

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

52

I can only say that behind the

put into His hand.


choir I

was

was shown the gridiron on which

broiled,

stand, on

wash-

of a

which they say Abraham gave the angels food

Sodom and Gomorrah.


witness the manner of the Greeks

when they were going


"I

Laurence

Sfc

and a large stone in the shape

was curious

when performing

to

to destroy

divine service, and went to St Sophia

on a day when the Patriarch

The Emperor

officiated.

was present, accompanied by his consort, his mother,

and his brother the Despot

of Morea.-^

was represented, the subject

of

which was the three

Nebuchadnezzar

had ordered to be

youths

whom

thrown into the


to the

Emperor

fiery furnace.

of Trebizonde,

mystery

The Empress, daughter


seemed very handsome

but as I was at a distance, I wished to have a nearer


view.

And

her horse, for


attended

was
it

only

also desirous to see

how

was thus she had come

by two

ladies,

she mounted

to the church,

three

elderly

ministers of state, and three of that species of

men,

men

to

On

whose guard the

Turks entrust

coming out

Sophia, the Empress went into an

of St

adjoining house to

dine,

their

wives.

which obliged me

until she returned to her palace,

to wait

and consequently

to

pass the whole day without eating or drinking.


^

The Emperor was John

Palseologus, the Despot

of Morea.his

brother Demetrius, his mother the Empress Irene, the daughter of the

Serbian Prince Constantino Dragash, and the Emperor's consort was

Maria Comnena, daughter of Alexis Comnena, Emperor of Trebizonde.


She died on the 17th December 1439.

ON THE EVE OF THE

"At
forth

bench was brought

horse,

which was superb,

length she appeared.

and placed near her

When she had mounted

and had a magnificent saddle.


the bench, one of the old

63

FALL.

men

took the long mantle

she wore, passed to the opposite side of the horse, and

held

it

in

his

hand extended

as high as he could

during this she put her foot in the stirrup, and bestrode
the horse like a man.
old

man

When

she was in her seat, the

cast the mantle over her shoulders

common

which one

of those long hats

with a point, so

in Greece,

was given

at one of the ends

to her

after

it

was

ornamented with three golden plumes, and was very


becoming.

was

so near that I

was ordered

to fall

back, and consequently had a full view of her.


wore- in her

ears broad

and

flat

precious stones, especially rubies.

and

fair

earrings, set

She
with

She looked young

and handsomer than when in church.

In

one word, I should not have had a fault to find with


her,

had she not been painted, and assuredly she had

no need
horses

and hats

of

it.

The two

ladies also

mounted

their

they were both handsome, and wore mantles


like the Empress.

The company returned

to

the palace of Blaquerne.


"

In the front of St Sophia

is

a large and fine square,

surrounded with walls like a palace, where in ancient


times games were performed.

saw the brother

of

the Emperor, the Despot of Morea, exercising himself


there with a score of other horsemen.

Each had a

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

54

bow, and they galloped along the inclosure, throwing


their hats before them, which,

they shot at

and he who pierced

arrow, or was nearest to

This exercise

expert.

Turks, and
to

On

passed,

his hat with

an

it,

was esteemed the most

they

have adopted from the

was one in which they were endeavouring

it

make themselves
"

when they had

efficient.

this side, near the point of the angle, is the

church

beautiful

of

St

Turkey in Asia, a tower

On

straits.

George,

which

facing

has,

at the narrowest part of the

the other side, to the westward,

a very

is

high square column with characters traced on

it,

He

summit.

holds a sceptre in his left

and

on the

an equestrian statue of Constantino in bronze

hand, and

holds his right extended towards Turkey in Asia and


the road to Jerusalem, as

if

of that country was under his

whole

to denote that the


rule.

Near

this

column

there are three others placed in a line, and each of

one block.

Here stood once three

gilt

now

horses,

at Venice.
"

In the pretty church of Pantheocrator, occupied by

Greek monks, who are what we should

call in

France

was shown a stone or

Gray Franciscan

Friars, I

of divers colours,

which Nicodemus had caused

body

of

to be

own tomb, and on which he laid out


our Lord, when he took Him down from

cut for his

cross.

table

During

this operation the Virgin

the
the

was weeping

over the body, but her tears, instead of remaining on

ON THE EVE OF THE


it,

on the stone, and they are

fell

upon

At

it.

first

touched them with


to look at

them

my

This

many

is

to

all

now

to be seen

for drops of

wax, and

hand, and then bent

down

and against the

light,

horizontally

when they seemed


water.

them

I took

55

FALL.

me

like drops of congealed

may have been

a thing that

persons as well as by myself.

seen by

In the same

church are the tombs of Constantine and of St Helena

on a column,

his mother, each raised about 8 feet high

having their summit terminated in a point, cut into


four sides, in the fashion of a diamond.

It is said that

the Venetians, while in power at Constantinople, took


the body of St Helena from

Venice, where, they say,

its

it

tomb and

is still

preserved.

further said that they attempted the

regard

to

succeed

the

and

body

of

of the

they made the attempt.

column

to

tomb are

The tombs

same thing

is

to be seen,

are of red jasper.

rods

by order
is

but

one

exceeds

in

same

Eome and
height the

There are likewise in the same

many holy relics in wooden coffins, and any


who chooses may see them. One of the saints

church
one

this

of Pilate.

of the

stone as the two others that I have seen at


;

day

where

shown the broken

This shaft, above the height of a man,

others put together.

in

which our Saviour was fastened

when He was beaten with

at Jerusalem

to

Constantine, but could not

In the church of St Apostles

shaft of the

it

It is

this is probable enough, for to this

two broken parts


"

carried

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

56

had

head cut

his

off,

and

to his skeleton the

head of

The Greeks, however,

another saint has been placed.

have not the like devotion that we have for such


It is the

same with respect

and the

pillar of

to the stone of

our Lord, which last

is

simply en-

by planks, and placed upright near one

closed

columns on the right hand

relics.

Nicodemus

of the

of the great entrance at

the front of the church.


"

Among

several beautiful churches I will mention

only yet one as remarkable, namely, that which


called Blaquerna

is

from being near the imperial palace,

which, although small and badly roofed, has paintings,

and a pavement inlaid with marble.


there

may

doubt not that

be others worthy of notice, but I was un-

able to visit

them

The Latin merchants have

all.

one situated opposite to the passage to Pera, where

mass
"

is

daily read after the

Roman manner.

There are merchants from

all

nations in this city,

but none so powerful as the Venetians,


bailiff to regulate all their affairs

Emperor and

his ministers.

enjoyed for a long time.

who have

independently of the

This privilege they have


It is

even said that they

have twice by their galleys saved the town from the

Turks

more
else.

their

but for

my

part I believe that they spared

for the holy relics' sake it contains

The Turks

also

have an

commerce, who, like

the

independent of the Emperor.

it

than anything

officer to

superintend

Venetian

bailiff,

is

They have even the

ON THE EVE OF THE FALL.


privilege, that

one of their slaves should run away

if

and take refuge within the


him, the Emperor

since

bound

is

on their demanding

city,

to

give

him

must be under great subjection

prince

him,

he pays

thousand ducats annually.


Constantinople,

57

up.

This

to the

Turk,

am told, a tribute of ten


And this sum is only for

beyond that town he possesses

for

nothing but a castle situated three leagues to the north,

and in Greece a small


" I

city called Salubria.

was lodged with a Catalonian merchant, who

having told one of the


attached to

my

Lord

me

to be asked if

the

Maid

believe.

it

told

officers of

the palace that 1 was

Burgundy, the Emperor caused

were true that the

of Orleans,

of

Duke had taken

which the Greeks would scarcely

them

what had happened,

truly

at

which they were greatly astonished.


"

The merchants informed me that on Candlemas-day

there will be a solemn service performed in the after-

noon, similar to

they conducted

what we perform on that day, and

me

one end of the

at

The Emperor was

to the church.
hall, seated

The

on a cushion.

Empress viewed the ceremony from an upper window.

The chaplains who chant the

service are strangely

richly dressed; they sing the service


"

Some days

after they took

on the marriage

of

me

by

to see a feast given

one of the Emperor's

There was a tournament

and

heart.

after the

relatives.

manner

country, which appeared very strange to me.

of

the

I will

68

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

describe

In the middle of a

it.

square they had

planted a large pole, to which was fastened a plank


3 feet wide and 5 feet high.
to the spot, without

Forty cavaliers advanced

any arms or armour whatever

They

but a short

stick.

by running

after each other,

half an hour.

at first

Then from

amused themselves

which lasted

for about

sixty to eighty rods of elder

were brought, of the thickness and length

of those

we

took one

The bridegroom

use for thatching.

and

set off full gallop

as the rod shook in his hand, he broke

when

first

towards the plank to break


it

it

with ease,

shouts of joy resounded, and the instruments of

music, namely nacaires, like those of the Turks, began


to

Each

play.

wands
tied

in the

two

of

of

the

other cavaliers

same manner.

home

"

My intention

Thus ended

safe

The Emperor and Empress have been


this entertainment

their

Then the bridegroom

them without being wounded

the feast, and everyone returned

broke

and sound.

spectators of

from a window.

was

to leave Constantinople

Sir Benedict de Furlino, who, as I

as ambassador to the

have

said,

Turks by the Duke

with this

was sent
of Milan.

There was a gentleman named Jean Visconti and seven


other persons in his suite.

He had

ten horses loaded

a traveller through Greece

must

absolutely carry everything requisite with him.

We

with

baggage, for

departed
1433."

from Constantinople on the 23rd January

ON THE EVE OF THE FALL.


To

this sketch of the

59

Greek capital we may give as

a "pendant" Brocquiere's impressions of the Sultan's

Court at Adrianople, and of

Turks in general.

the

The French knight had twice

to

breadth of Macedonia, as Sultan

Murad

the whole

cross

happened

II.

The picture

be at that time at Larissa in Thessaly.

to

which Brocquicre's Journal unrolls before our eyes

On

one of great desolation.

is

the whole stretch, from

Burgas on the Black Sea to Yenige-Basar, the country

was covered with ruins

of

towns and

castles,

were empty and abandoned.

villages

It was, so to

on the second day after the great wave

say,

and most

of

Turkish

invasion had passed across that once so happy and well-

populated country, that our French knight travelled

through Thracia and Macedonia.


his

report.

We

did not proceed to Larissa,

"

Grand Turk was on

that the
for

But

own

him

his

let

for,

way

him resume

having heard

back,

we waited

at Yenige-Basar, a village constructed

subjects.

When

he (the

consists of four or five

by

his

Sultan) travels, his escort

hundred horse

but as he

is

passionately fond of hawking, the greater part of his

troop was composed of falconers

who

and goshawk-trainers,

are great favourites with him,

and I was

keeps more than two thousand of them.


passion,
to

He

told

Having

he

this

he travels very short days* journeys, which are

him more an

object of

amusement and

pleasure.

entered Yenige-Basar in a shower of rain, having

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

60
only

fifty

horsemen attending him, and a dozen archers,

his slaves, walking

on foot before him.

His dress was

a robe of crimson velvet, lined with sable, and on his

head he wore,
self

To save him-

like the Turks, a red hat.

from the rain he had thrown over his robe another

manner

in the

mantle after the fashion of the

of a

country.
"

He was encamped in

a tent which had been brought

with him, for lodgings are nowhere to be found, nor

any

provision, except

in

the

large

towns, so

with them.

travellers are obliged to carry all things

The Sultan had numbers

of camels

In the afternoon he

burden.

bathe, and I

saw him

at

my

left

ease.

that

and other beasts

of

his tent to go to

He was

on horse-

back, with the same hat and crimson robe, attended

by

^1

six persons

attendants,

He

on

foot.

and he seemed

I heard
to

him speak

have a deep-toned

about twenty-eight or thirty years

is

to

old,

his

voice.

and

is

already very stout.


"

The ambassador sent one

him

if

with
being

of his attendants to ask

he could have an audience, and present him

gifts

he had brought.

He

gave answer

now occupied with his pleasures, he

pared to listen to any matters of business


his

is

that

not pre-

that, besides,

bashaws were absent, that the ambassador must

wait for them or return to Adrianople.


accepted

the

latter

proposal,

Sir Benedict

and consequently we

returned to Carmissin, whence, having again crossed a

ON THE EVE OF THE


great mountain,

we

61

FALL.

made between two

entered a road

high rocks, through which a river flows.

strong

castle, called

Coloung, had been built on one of these

rocks, but is

now

The mountain

in ruins.

covered with wood, and

is

partly

inhabited by a wicked race

is

of cut-throats.

"At

length

we

by the Emperor

arrived at Trajanopoly, a

Trajan,

who

many

did

town

built

things worthy

This town was very large, near the sea

of record.

and the Maritza

but

now has

only a few inhabitants,

being almost entirely in ruins.


the east of

it,

and the sea

its

baths bears the

is

Vyra, an ancient

Greek told

attached to

me

name

of

have converted

mountain

rises to

One

on the south.

Holy Water.
demolished in

castle,

of

Further on

many

places.

the church had three hundred canons

The choir

it.

lies

it

into

still

remains, but the Turks

They have

a mosque.

also

surrounded the castle with a considerable town, in-

them and the Greeks.

habited by

It is situated

on a

mountain near the Maritza.


"

On

leaving Yyra,

(the Beyler

Bey

sent for, and

of

we met

the Lieutenant of Greece

Eoumelia),

whom

the Sultan had

who was now hurrying with

a troop of

one hundred and twenty horsemen to join his master.

He

is

handsome man, a native

of Bulgaria,

had been

the slave of his master, but as he had proved to be able


to drink hard, the Sultan raised
of Greece,

with a revenue of

him

fifty

to

be the Governor

thousand ducats.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

62

We

"

had

to

wait eleven days in Adrianople.

length the Sultan arrived on the

The Mufti, who


went out

first

day

them what the Pope

to

is

of

At
Lent.

is to us,

meet him, accompanied by the principal

to

persons of the town,

who formed

a long procession.

The Sultan was already near the town when they met
him, but had halted to take some refreshment, and had
sent forward some of

make
"

of

attendants.

his

He

did not

his entry until nightfall.

During my stay in Adrianople I had the opportunity

making acquaintance with

several persons

who had
knew

resided at the Turkish Court, and consequently

the Sultan well, and

In the

about him.

who
first

frequently, I shall say that he


set

man, with the face

and brown

face,

me many

told

place, as
is

of a Tartar.

little,

short, thick-

He

has a broad

high cheek-bones, a round beard, a

big and crooked nose, and small eyes.


told that he

gives

particulars

have seen him

But I was

was kind, good, generous, and willingly

away lands and money.

His revenues are two

millions and a half of ducats, including two hundred

and

fifty

when he

thousand received as tribute money.


raises

him

nothing,

for the troops that are

brought

an army,

but he gains by

it

him from Asia pay

it

not only costs

for the transport to Gallipoli three

aspers for each man,

and

five

for each horse.

the same at the passage of the Danube.


his soldiers go

Besides,

It is

Whenever

on an expedition, and make a capture

ON THE EVE OF THE FALL.

he has the right of choosing one out of every

of slaves,

He

five.

and

nevertheless, thought not to love

is,

seems to

this report

me

trifling resistance

Christendom, that, were he to employ

and wealth on

this

object, it

to conquer great part of

hard.

As

of different sorts, of

He

very many.

ten to twelve gondils

seven quarts.

When

wine.

has,

was

told,

thousand

he can easily quaff


of wine,

off

which means

from

six or

he has drunk much, he becomes


;

his attendants

happy when they hear him

Last year a

him

which I have seen

generous, and distributes his great gifts


therefore are very

for

and those who drink

loves liquor,

for himself,

has,

from

His favourite pleasures

of a thousand hounds, and two

hawks

trained

it.

war,

power

his

all

would be easy

and hawking, and he

are hunting

He

well founded.

met with such

in fact, hitherto

upwards

63

Maure took

it

call for

into his head to

preach to him on this subject, reminding him that

wine was forbidden by the Prophet, and that those

who drink

it

are

not good Mussulmen.

The only

answer the Sultan gave was to order him to prison


he then expelled him from his

territories,

never again to set his foot on them.


love for

women,

gave his

own

of

whom

an annual income

of

He

has great

he has three hundred.

sister for wife to

with orders

He

one of his pages, with

25,000 ducats.

Some persons

estimate his treasure at half a million of ducats, others


at a million.

This

is

exclusive of his plate, his slaves.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

64

women, which

his jewels for his

alone at a million of gold.

last article is estimated

am

convinced that

blindly,

and hold

his hand,

of ducats without
"

he would lay by a million

wronging any one.

Every now and then he makes great and remark-

him

able examples of justice, which procure

obedience at

how

he

if

thus giving away

would for one year abstain from

home and

He

abroad.

keep his country in

perfect

knows

likewise

an excellent

state

of

defence, without oppressing his Turkish subjects

by

to

modes

taxes or other

composed

of five

in the war-time he does not

their pay, so that he does not

His principal

The

Vizier-Bashaws.

Bashaw

happens in other

officers are three

Vizier

is

him

(viz.,

or

the

or his household, and no one

can speak with him but through them.


in Greece

Bashaws

counsellor,

These three have the charge

a sort of chief.

of all that concern

augment

expend more than in

time of peace, contrary to what


countries.

is

thousand persons, as well horsemen

But

as footmen.

His household

of extortion.

When

he

is

Balkan Peninsula) the Lieu-

in the

tenant of Greece has superintendence of the army

and when in Turkey


of

(viz.,

Turkey (Anadoly Beyler Bey).

great possessions, but he

He

has given away

may resume them

whom

Asia Minor), the Lieutenant

at pleasure.

they have been given are

Besides, those

to

bound

to serve

him

in

troops at their

own

expense.

war with a

certain

number

It is thus that

of

Greece

ON THE EVE OF THE FALL.


annually

whom

supplies

may

he

him

with

whom

he only has

men

thousand

thirty

lead whither he pleases

ten thousand, for

65

and Turkey

to find provisions.

Should he want a more considerable army, Greece

was assured, can supply him with one

alone, as I

hundred and twenty thousand more


to

pay

for

The pay

these.

and eight

infantry,

is

but he

for the cavalry.

obliged

is

aspers

five

the

for

I have, however,

heard that of these hundred and twenty thousand,

there was but half

that

is

to say, the cavalry

that

were properly equipped and well armed with shields

and swords
miserably

the rest were composed of

accoutred,

some

having

men on

swords

foot,

without

bows, others without swords, bows, or any arms whatever,

many having

only staves.

It is the

the infantry supplied by Turkey, one

being armed with staves.


nevertheless

men

same with

half of

them

This Turkish infantry

is

more esteemed than the Greek, and the

are generally considered as better soldiers.

"Other persons whose testimony I regard as authentic


have since told me, that the troops Turkey
to furnish,

amount

when

to

is

obliged

the Sultan wants to form an army,

thirty

thousand

men

and those from

Greece to twenty thousand, without including two or


three thousand slaves of his own,

Amongst these
are likewise

Greece

slaves are

numbers

of

many

whom

he arms well

Christians,

and there

them amongst the troops from

Albanians, Bulgarians, and

men from

other

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

66

In the

countries too.

army from Greece,

last

there

Servian horsemen, which the

were three thousand

Despot of Servia had sent under the command of one


his

of

It

sons.

was with great regret that these

people came to serve him, but they dared not refuse.


"

The Bashaws arrived

For the transport of

his baggage.

three

days

with them part of his people

after their lord, bringing

and

at Adrianople

this

baggage

they used about a hundred camels, and two hundred

and

mules and horses, as amongst these people

fifty

waggons are not used.


" Sir

Benedict was impatient to have an audience,

and made inquiries

if

he could see the

answer was in the negative.

Their

Sultan.

Bashaws

of the

The

reason of this refusal was that they had been drinking

with him and were

know they were


country

that

On

that he might

let

him

instantly waited on

for such is the

to

custom of the

them without

even the slaves who guard their gates

exempted from

this visit.

mounted

when he

no one can speak

bringing a gift
are not

ambassador, to

to the

visible,

each with his presents

They, however,

intoxicated.

all

morrow

sent on the

I accompanied

it.

him on

the following day he was informed

come

to

the

palace.

He

instantly

his horse to go thither with his attendants,

and I joined the company.

But we

all

were on

foot,

he alone being on horseback.


"

In front of the court we found a great number of

ON THE EVE OF THE FALL.

men and

The gate was guarded by about

horses.

command

thirty slaves, under the

permission, they bid

armed

of a chief,

Should any person try to enter without

with staves.

drive

67

him

him away with

retire

their

he

if

they

What we

staves.

The Court of the King' the Turks

persists,

call

'

The Gate

call

of the

Every time the Sultan receives a message or

Lord.'

an embassy, which happens almost

daily,

he

'

keeps

the gate.'
"
it

When the

ambassador had entered, they made him

down near the

gate with

many

who

other persons

were waiting for the Sultan to quit his apartment and


hold his court.

The three Bashaws

first

entered, with

the Governor of Greece and others of the great lords.

The

Sultan's rooms looked into a very large court,

the Governor went thither to wait for him.

he (the Sultan) appeared.

At

His dress was, as

crimson satin robe, over which he had, by


another of

mantle,

and

length

usual, a

way

green figured satin, lined

of

with

His young boys accompauied him, but no

sable.

further than to the entrance of the apartment, and then

returned.

There was nobody with him but a small

dwarf and two young persons who acted the part of

He walked

fools.

gallery,

across the angle of the court to a

where a seat had been prepared

was a kind

four or five steps leading

on

it

for him.

It

of raised couch, covered with velvet, with

as do our tailors

up

to

when they

it.

He

seated himself

are going to work,

and

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

68

the three Bashaws placed themselves a

The other

him.

who on

officers,

of his attendants,

likewise

little

way from

these days form part

entered the gallery and

him

posted themselves along the walls, as far from

as

Without, but facing him, were twenty

they could.

Wallachian gentlemen seated, who had been detained


as hostages for the good conduct of their countrymen.

Within

this

apartment were placed about a hundred

some mutton and

dishes of tin, each containing

When

all

duced,

who pretended

belonged

homage

him,

to

that the

crown

for it to the Sultan,

when

ambassador

He

his attendants

set

down near

had made

Milan

from

advanced, followed by the

which were

do

conducted to a place

near the Bashaws, and

for.

to

and ask succour from him

He was

their appearance, the

his presents,

of that country

and came in consequence

against its present king.

sent

rice.

were placed, a lord from Bosnia was intro-

men

was

bearing

the tin dishes.

Persons appointed to receive them held them above


their heads as high as they could, that the Sultan
his Court

might see them.

While

this

was passing Sir

Benedict walked slowly toward the gallery.


of distinction

entering, Sir

came forward
Benedict

to

person

introduce him.

made an

and

On

obeisance, without

taking off the hat from his head, and

when near

the

steps of the couch he

made another very low bow.

The Sultan then

descended two steps to come

rose,

nearer to the ambassador, and took

him by

the hand.

ON THE EVE OF THE FALL.


The envoy wished

69

to kiss his hand, but

Jew

the homage, and through a

who spoke
asked how his good

the Jewish and Italian languages,

Duke

brother and neighbour, the


health.

The

question,

was conducted

of Milan, fared in

having

ambassador

he declined

interpreter,

replied

to

this

to a seat near the Bosnian,

walking backwards with his face towards the Sultan,

The Sultan

according to the custom of the country.

waited to see the ambassador

Then the

seated himself.

on duty

fetch

in the hall sat

who had

person

us,

Bosnians.

his

sit

down, and then

different officers

down on

the

re-

who were

floor,

and the

introduced the ambassador came to

attendants,

and placed us near the

In the meantime a silken napkin

was

attached to the Sultan, and a round piece of thin red


leather

was placed before him,

for their usage is to

Then some

eat only from table-coverings of leather.

dressed meat was brought to

When
tin

he was served, his

dishes spoken

of,

him

officers

in

two

gilt dishes.

went and took the

and distributed them

persons in the hall, one dish

among

to

the

There was

four.

in each some mutton and rice, but neither bread nor

anything to drink.

I saw, however, in a corner of

the court, a high buffet with shelves, which had some


plates

on them, and there was also a large

in the shape of a drinking-cup, out of

many
With

silver vase,

which I saw

drink, but whether water or wine I

know

not.

regard to the meat on the dishes, some tasted

it.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

70

others did not; but

clined to

eat.

were served,

before all

was

it

it

away, for the Sultan was not in-

He

never took anything in public,

necessary to take

and there are very few persons who can boast of


having heard him speak, or having seen him eat or
drink.

On

his going away, the musicians

who were

standing in the court near the buffet began to play.

They played on instruments, and sang songs about the

When

heroic actions of Turkish warriors.

those in

the gallery heard anything that pleased them, they


shouted, after their manner, most horrid cries.

Being

ignorant on what they were playing, I went into the


court,

large

and saw

it

was on stringed instruments

The musicians entered the

size.

whatever they could

and ate

At length the meat was

find.

when every one

taken away,

hall

of

rose up,

and the am-

bassador retired, without having said a word respecting


his embassy,

audience.

which

There

is

is

never

customary at

also another custom, that

ambassador has been presented


latter, until

the

first

Sultan,

the

he shall have given him his answer, sends

him wherewith

to

pay his daily expenses, the sum being

two hundred aspers per day.


fore,

to

when an

one of the

officers of

On

the next day, there-

the Treasury, the same

who

conducted Sir Benedict to the Court, arrived with the

above sum.

Shortly after, the slaves

gate presented themselves for

them.

They

are,

what

is

who guarded

the

usually given to

however, satisfied with a

trifle.

ON THE EVE OF THE


"

On

know

the third day the Bashaws let the ambassador

that they were ready to hear from

He

his embassy.

ject of

71

FALL.

him the sub-

immediately went to the

Court, and I accompanied him.

But the Sultan had

closed his audience, and was just retiring, and only the

three Bashaws, with the Beyler

Bey

or Governor of

now remained. When we had passed


we found these four seated on a piece of wood

the

Greece,
gate,

happened

to

be outside of the gallery.

that

They sent

to

would come forward, and had a

desire the ambassador

carpet placed on the ground before them, on which

they made him seat himself, like a criminal before his


judges, notwithstanding there were great

He

people present.
his

mission,

lord,

which was, as

on the part

yield

up

of the

of

I heard, to entreat their

Duke

of Milan, to consent to

Eoman Emperor

to the

numbers

explained to them the object of

Sigismund, Hungary,

Wallachia, Bulgaria as far as Sofia, Bosnia, and the


part of Albania he

moment inform
occupied, but

now

They

on Sclavonia.

held,

and which was dependent

replied they could not at that

the Sultan of this request, as he was

that

would be informed

within ten days the ambassador

ambassador

is

There

of the Sultan's answer.

likewise another custom, that from the time

announced as such, he can never speak


This

was

with

the

made

since the grandfather of the present Sultan

Sultan

murdered by

is

when an

an

personally.

ambassador

from

regulation

Serbia.

was

That

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

72

envoy had come to

solicit

from him some alleviation

in favour of his countrymen,


to

On

at not obtaining

he stabbed him, and was himself massacred

the instant
"

the Sultan wanted

In despair

reduce to slavery.

his object,

whom

after.

we went

the tenth day

The Sultan was

the answer.

those that served his

Lord

table.

Court to receive

there, again seated

had with him

his couch; but he

minstrels, nor the

to the

on

in the gallery only

saw neither

buffet,

of Bosnia, nor the Wallachians,

bat only Magnoly, brother to the

Duke

of Cephalonia,

whose manners towards the Sultan were those of a

Even the Bashaws were without

respectful servant.

and standing

at

part of persons

only

that

a distance, as well as the greater

whom

their

had before seen in the

number

While we were waiting

was now much

hall,

smaller.

outside, the Chief Cadi, with

his assessors, administered justice at the

outward gate

and I saw some foreign Christians come

of the palace,

But when the Sultan

to plead their cause before him.

rose up, the judges ended their sittings,

and

retired to

I saw the Sultan pass with his attend-

their homes.

ants to the great court, which I was unable to see

on the

first

He wore

occasion.

and green, somewhat


have a hasty
apartment,
that piece of

the

rich,

When

step.

Bashaws,

wood

as

a robe of cloth of gold

and he seemed
he

to

me

had re-entered

having

taken

seat

to

his

on

on the preceding day, sent for

ON THE EVE OF THE FALL.

73

Their answer was that their master

the ambassador.

charged him to salute in his name his brother, the

Duke
much

of Milan, that

but that his present request was un-

for him,

reasonable;

he was very anxious of doing

that from

him

regard for

their

had frequently abstained from pushing

master

his conquests

further into Hungary, which he might easily have done,

^nd such a

sacrifice

Milan); that

ought to satisfy him (the

would be too much

it

Sultan to surrender

all

Duke

he had won by sword

under the present circumstances he and

had no other theatre where

that

his soldiers

than

display

to

of

to expect the

the

territories of the

Emperor, and that he should be the

more unwilling

to

renounce

as

it

hitherto he

had

never met the Emperor's forces without vanquishing

them

or putting

them

to flight, as

was well known

to

all the world.

"

this

The ambassador, in
was

true,

for

before Golubatz he

fact,

in the

knew
last

personally that all

defeat

had witnessed

of

Sigismund

his discomfiture;

he had even the night preceding the

battle quitted

the Emperor's camp to wait on the Sultan.


"

The ambassador having received

this

the Bashaws, returned to his lodgings.


scarcely arrived

when he

answer from

But he was

received five thousand aspers,

which the Sultan sent him, together with a robe of


crimson camocas, lined with yellow calimanco.
six aspers are worth a Venetian ducat.

But

Thirtyof those

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

74

thousand aspers the Sultan's treasurer retained

five

ten per cent, as fees of his

During

my

office.

stay at Adrianople I

made

of another sort

likewise

on her wedding-day.

saw

by the

also a present

Sultan, to a bride

This bride was the daughter of

the Beyler Bey, Governor of Greece.

daughter of

one of the Bashaws was entrusted with carrying the


present to

Sultan's

by upwards
was

the

and gold

attended

Her own

women.

of thirty other

of crimson tissue

She was

bride.

dress

her face was covered,,

according to custom, with a very rich veil ornamented

The attendant

with diamonds.
veils,

and

ladies

had magnificent

and their dresses were robes of crimson velvet

They were

of cloth of gold without fur.

all

horseback, riding astride like men, and some of

had superb

on

them

In front of the procession rode

saddles.

thirteen or fourteen horsemen and two minstrels, alsa

on horseback, as well as other musicians, carrying a


trumpet, a very large drum, and about eight pairs of

cymbals, which altogether


noise.

presents,

and then the

ladies.

seventy broad platters of


of sweetmeats,

them

sheep,

and

"

of

tin,

The presents consisted of


laden with different sorts

twenty other

skinned,

ornamented with

and

made a most abominable

After the musicians came the carriers of the

painted

silver rings

platters,

red

and

having on

white

and

suspended from the nose

ears.

While

at

Adrianople I had an opportunity of seeing

ON THE EVE OF THE FALL.

numbers

thither for sale.

but

my

Benedict
f-

when

alms in the streets

for

I think of the shocking

hardships they sufier."

Brocqui^re

'

They begged

heart bleeds

who were brought

chained

Christians

of

75

Adrianople

left

on the 12th March.

in

the

We

of

suite

will

Sir

not follow

him on his journey through Macedonia, Bulgaria, and


Serbia,

though his description of the same

interest,

giving, as

is

full of

does, graphic sketches of the

it

country and the people, as well as of the incidents,

which throw

sufficient light

on the true condition

Balkan Peninsula shortly before the

fall of

of the

Constan-

tinople.^
^

See Voyage cCOutre-mer

voie de terre pendent

le

et

Retour de Jerusalem on France par la

cours des annees 1432

ei

1433, par Bertrandon de

la Brocquifere, conseiller et premier ecuyer tranchant de Philippe le

Bon, Due de Bourgogne

Ouvrage extrait d'un tnanuscri'pt de la

thhque nxitionale, remis en franqais moderne

Legrand D'Aussy,

Paris, 1803.

et

publU, par

le

biblio-

citoyen

CHAPTEE

IV.

Diplomatic Negotiations and Prepakations


FOK War.

In October

1.

1400 Manuel Palaeologus, the Em-

a.d.

peror of the Greeks, was the guest of

King

of England.

Henry

All the information

IV., the

we can

find

about that visit is in the old Hakluyt,who quotes Thomas

Walsingham's words

came

into

England

"

The Emperor of Constantinople

to seehe

ayde against the Turks,

ye king, accompanied with his

n/)hiltie,

whom

met withall upon

Blackheath upon the day of St Thomas the Apostle, and


received

brought

along

him
him

the

"beseemed

so

London and

honmorable presents.

And

prince,

and

him for
diet and giving

little

afterward

Emperor departed unth great joy out of England whom

King honoured with many precious


The Emperor was the guest

in

great

royally entertained

season, defraying the charges of his

him many
ye

as
to

Paris before he

came

royal historiographer, the

gifts."

of the King, Charles VI.,

to England.

The French

anonymous monk

of Saint

Denis, has left us some more interesting details of the


^

Hakluyt's Collections of Early Voyages,

vol.

ii.

178.

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

imperial visitor.

He

tells

dressed in robes of white


charger,

"

France.

was a

us that the Emperor

approach of the King of

of the

TJu Emperor,'' the chronicler continues,

man of

middle stature

hut his broad chest, his

muscular members, his features full of


heard and white hair, drew on
\

'people

deed

him

and made everybody say

to

was

that he rode a white

silk,

from which he alighted with singular grace

when he became aware


"

77

wear

nobility, his lon(f

the eyes of all the

that he is worthy in-

'

crown !'"^

the imperial

This man, whose handsomeness and noble bearing

made such

a deep impression on the Parisians of a.d.

1400, was the father of Constantine, the last Emperor


of the Greeks.

His mother, Irene, was the daughter

Constantine Dragasses, or Dragash,


eastern portion of Macedonia for

who

of

held the north-

some time

as an inde-

pendent and afterwards as a vassal-prince of the Sultan.

Through her
I

father, Irene

Serbian royal dynasty of

was nearly connected with the


Nemanyich, which was famed

physical appearance
I for the

who

scions,

and

intellectual gifts of its

boasted to have a strain of the noblest

rench blood in their veins, brought to


[elene

de Courtenay, who, as Queen of Serbia (1262-

fl308), exercised great influence

As
the
^

them by Princess

on Balkan

politics.

yet no authentic portrait of the last Emperor of

Greeks has been discovered.

But

as from

his

Chroniquedu Beligieuxde Saint-Denys, contenant le regne de CharlespublieparM.


Bellaguet, Paris, 1839, p. 757.

VI., 1380-1422,


CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

78

handsome and
blue blood

gifted father he inherited the purest of

that of the Imperial Palseologues

and

as

from his probably beautiful and certainly most able

and virtuous mother he might have inherited the


physical and intellectual qualities which were so pro-

minent in the greatest of the Serbian sovereigns


Tzar Stephan Dushan the Mighty

we

may

readily

suppose that his personal appearance was as noble as


his

life

and death were.

His contemporary and

personal friend, Francisco Philelpho, has given the best


description of

him when

France (dated 13th March 1450) he

man

" of pious

and

King

in a letter to the

of

Constantine

calls

elevated mind."

Constantine was born on the 9th February 1404,


the eighth of the ten children of

and

gifted

men

Manuel

Palseologus

All their sons were more or less

Irene Dragasses.

but whilst

John,

Andronik, Theodore,

Demetrius, and Thomas were very ambitious and even


selfish, their

unselfish,

brother Constantine was simple, honest,

and straightforward.

His brothers

guished themselves mostly as diplomatists


soldier of the house.

and the confusion


by the

When the weakness

of its internal policy

restless greed of his brothers,

distin-

he was the

of the

Empire

were increased

he was known to

be always endeavouring to make peace between them,

and ever ready

who were

to give

dissatisfied

up

with

his

own appanages

theirs.

to those

His devotion to the

military profession, his earnestness and disinterestedness,

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.
^s well as his

known

79

love for justice, secured for

him

a decided influence with his family and with the people.

So

it

came

when

to pass that

autumn

the

Emperor John VII.

of 1437, to leave for the Council of

Terrara (transferred in the next year to Florence), not

had, in the

Theodore, the second brother of the Emperor, but Constantine, a

much younger

No

the Empire.

one,

was chosen as Eegent

of

doubt this selection was decided by

the circumstance that already at that time he enjoyed

the reputation of a good

soldier,

and that

desirable to place at the head of the

it

was thought

Government some

one who could inspire the people with confidence in


the case that the Turks should suddenly attack Constantinople in the absence of the Emperor.

Knowing

2.

forces of his

well the insufficiency of the military

own country

as well as the superiority of

Turkish forces in number and in organization, Constantine

was deeply convinced that without military assist-

ance from the Western powers the Greeks would not


be able to retain for a longer period even the shadow of
their old Empire.

With such a

conviction he earnestly

and sincerely desired the reconciliation


and Latin Churches.

On

this point

of the

Greek

he was decidedly

at variance with the majority of the Greek people, and

with some of his

came

own

brothers.

into practical play

His

political notions

when he came

to

govern

Peloponnesus for the second time as an almost inde-

pendent

ruler.

The

heir presumptive, Prince Theodores,

'

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

80

in 1443 suddenly desired to exchange his possessions


in Peloponnesus for Selimvria, which was held by Con-

always ready to

Constantine,

stantine.

him

met

oblige,

and from 1444 we find

his brother's wish cheerfully,

as Despot of Misithra.

Initiated into the preparations for a league of the

Christian powers against the Turks, he began at once to

organize an

army in the Peloponnesus, and to strengthen

his defences

mus

by

raising a wall across the narrow isth

of

by the Pope that

Informed

Hexamilion/

at

King Vladislaus

Hungary and Poland and the

famous Hunyady were on the way to Adrianople,


Constantine undertook immediately a diversion, and
fell

into Northern Greece against the Turkish forces

there.

He was

victorious in several engagements,

was well on the way

and

Achaia altogether from

to clear

the Turks and subdue to his authority the last French

master of Athens,

Duke Nerio

but then the news

reached him that the Hungarian


defeated

by the Turks

at

army was

totally

Varna (10th November

1444), and he had to withdraw back to Peloponnesus.

The Emperor John and

his counsellors

were

suffi-

ciently astute to escape compromising themselves in

the

eyes

auxiliary

of

the

corps

to

Sultan.
join

Hunyady, nor made the

the

They neither
Christian

sent

an

army under

slightest effort to prevent the

Turkish forces crossing from Asia to Europe.


^ Chalcoehondylas, pp. 319, 342.

There

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

was

81

which

in Constantinople a strong Turcophile party,

always indeed, succeeded in imposing

often, almost

This programme con-

programme on the Emperor.


sisted in
to avoid

keeping an absolutely passive attitude, so as

provoking the attack of

prove the wisdom of

the

the

overtook

anti-Turkish

the

catastrophe at

consequences which

disastrous

policy

invaded Greece (autumn 1446), stormed the


tions at the

Isthmus on the 4th

of

the

of

Murad

Sultan

Constantine.

simple, patriotic soldier

To

Sultan.

policy, the Turcophile party

its

could show not only the Hungarian

Yarna, but also


speedily

its

fortifica-

December, and

let

loose his irregular cavalry over the peninsula, robbing,


killing,

The

and destroying.

However

the Albanian

treachery of

the

might

that

obliged to ask

the

Greeks asserted

Hexamilion was

loudly that the battle at

through

patriotic

have

lost

only

volunteers.

Constantine

been,

was-

Sultan for peace, expressing his

readiness to accept loyally the position of a vassal and

pay yearly

tribute.

Peace was concluded, and in the

Thomas

spring of 1447 Constantine and his brother

went personally

Murad

pay homage

to

Sultan

11.^

The people
scourge

of

60,000

men

to Thebae to

Morea

of

the

Turkish

suffered

Not

invasion.

and women

Phrantzes, p. 202

terribly

were

Chalcochondylas, 345

carried

from the
less

than

away

Ducas, 223

vs. 78.

as

ThrynoSf

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

82

The

slaves.

sufferers

responsibility on

the

laid all

The Turcophiles

Constantine.

of Constantinople

were

loud in their denunciation of the folly of Constantine's

And even those who

Occidental or Philo-Latine policy.

moment doubted

never for a

Constantine's patriotic

motives and the general soundness of his programme,


could not help acknowledging that a strange fatality

was the only outcome


It is

thus that

impression began

apparently a

of his patriotism

among the

man

to

and wisdom.

superstitious Greeks the

develop that

born under an

"

Constantine was

unlucky

star."

The impression that he was not a "lucky man"


must have been strengthened by the misfortunes that
occurred to

him

personally.

When

in

his

twenty-

fourth year he married Theodora Tocco (1st July 1428),

who brought him as dowry the


But already in November 1429

city

of

his wife

Constantine remained a widower up to the


1441,

when

John,

he

Francesco

Clarentza.^
died,

summer

at the instance of his brother, the

married
Gattilusio,

Catharina
Prince

Gattilusio,
of

Lesbos.

and
of

Emperor
niece

But

of

his

second wife died suddenly on the island Lemnos in

August 1442, while he was with her on the way


Constantinople.

In

the

period

between

1448 he made several attempts to marry


^

Thrrjnos, vers. 85-95.

There

came

brought to her

still

1444 and

for the third

Dukes of Clarence
which luckless Theodora

exists a supposition that the title of the

originally from this city of Clarentza,

to

more luckless husband Constantine.

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.
time, but

the negotiations

neither

83

wed

to

Isabella

Orsini del Balzo, the sister of the Prince of Taranto,^

nor those with the Doge of Venice for the hand of his
daughter, were successful.

disposed

Notaras, the

It

seems then that he was

marry Anne,^ the

to

Grand Admiral

also that project

had

of

Lucas

Fleet,

when

daughter

of the

Greek

abandoned on account

to be

of

the sudden call of Constantino to higher destinies.


3.

The Emperor John VII. died on the 3rd

now

Constantine was

October 1448.

the surviving sons of the Emperor

the

eldest

Manuel

II.,

of

of

and

there was not the slightest doubt of his legal right to

succeed

younger brother, the


lous Demetrius,
of the

the

brother,

his

late

Emperor.

happened

Emperor John, and

But

his

and unscrupu-

restless, ambitious,

to be alone at the deathbed

his partisans

began seriously

to consider should they not proclaim Demetrius, and

disregard the rights of Constantine.

legal pretext

they found in the circumstance that Demetrius was

born

" in the

purple

Emperor, whereas

"

while his father was a reigning

Constantine was born before

father ascended the throne.


consideration, there were

encouraged

known

them.

other circumstances which

Prince

in Constantinople

his

But, independently of that

Demetrius was as well

and Adrianople

for his Tur-

sympathies as Despot Constantine was for his

cophile

Hopf, GescMchte Griechenlands,

"

Sathas,

Momimenta

ii.

110.

Historicf- Hellenieoe, ix. p. 17.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

84

inclinations

And when,

an

towards

with

alliance

the

Latins.

a few days after the burial of the late

crushed

Emperor, the Sultan

under Hunyady

at the field of

the

Hungarian army

Kossovo (18th October

1448), the chances of the Turcophile Demetrius seemed

considerably to overbalance those of the unfortunate


friend of the defeated hero of the Christian League.

No

doubt the Empress Irene, the venerable mother of

the Palceologue princes,

who

still

lived

and exercised

great influence within the circle of her imperial family,

advocated decidedly the rights of her son Constantine,


to

whom

statesmen,

Manuel Cantacuzene, Manuel

influential

Jagros,

and

loyally standing for Con-

Lucas Notaras, were also


stantine.

The

she was greatly attached.

So was also Thomas, the youngest of the

when he reached

Palseologue princes,

November) Constantinople.

(on the 13th of

But the arguments

of

the Prince Demetrius' partisans were based not so

much on

personal as on public grounds

interest of the State.

Emperor

compromise was made

Would he acknowledge Despot


or not

one to prevent

Constantine as

This course was perhaps the only

civil war, or

the part of the Turks, but


else

last a

the political

to be sent at once to the Sultan to

an embassy was
ask him.

At

it

eventually an attack on

shows more than anything

the growing weakness of the Empire, and the

failing sense of dignity.

Sultan

Murad

II.

was a thoroughly honest and up-

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.
right

He

man.

hated bad

was famed

the Porte

engagements.

all

and during his reign

faith,

for the scrupulous fulfilment of

would have been clearly the

It

Turkey

interest of

political

to raise

Constantinople, or at least to set

who was a
Sultan Murad did

prince

at once

85

tried

up discord

on the throne a

and proven Turcophile.

not hesitate to declare that he would

by

right to him.

Prince Demetrius and his partisans were


disappointed, but they had sufficient

the question as definitely settled.

deputation

them the

wisdom
In

greatly

to accept

December a

by old Manuel Jagros

led

Constantinople for the

of

Yet

acknowledge Constantine as Emperor, because

the Greek throne belonged

special

in

left

Peloponnesus, carrying with

On

insignia of the imperial dignity.

the day

Epiphany, the 6th of January 1449, Constantine was

crowned in Misithra as the Basileus


4.

the

He

of all the Greeks,

entered Constantinople the 12th of

same

at once gave proof of his conciliatory

To

disposition.

of

and was warmly received by the

year,

He

citizens.^

March

his brother Prince

Thomas he gave

the rank of "Despot," the highest after that of the


Basileus

himself

Misithra

with

all

to

Prince

the

Before these two princes


requested

by

their

Demetrius he

province
left

he

lately

ceded
ruled.

Constantinople they were

mother, the

Empress

Irene,

to

Phrantzes says the citizens " exceperunt novum dominum universi


benigne et hilariter, impleti exultatione et Isetitia, maguosque agentes
^

triumphos,"

p. 206.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

86

swear solemnly in her presence that they would live


in brotherly concord, supporting each other faithfully.
It

was the

dramatic pageant in which the vener-

last

able Empress, perhaps already in the dark robes of

nun Hypomene, was a

the

by her three

sons,

and

23rd March of 1450

the

oaths,

and although Despot Thomas

Demetrius

Prince

the stately splendour of the

She died soon afterwards, on the

Byzantine Court.

and

all

central figure, surrounded

Emperor

soon

forgot

Constantine

solemn

their

never

speak of her with the highest respect and

ceased

to

affection.

Constantine gave proof of his conciliatory disposition

to

On

and prudence in yet another way.

arrival in Constantinople

him that

would be well

it

his

some suggestions were made


to repeat

in St Sophia

the ceremony of coronation, as otherwise some citizens


of

the capital

anointed

might

Basileus.

doubt of

his being

was one

It

of

formally

those

peculiar

themes, in which theological and political aspects were


so intimately interwoven, the discussion of which was
so attractive to the Byzantine mind.

refused to act on the suggestion.

But Constantine
His position was

strong from the canonical point of view, as

it

was

clear that the sacrament of anointment performed in

the modest church of Misithra was quite as valid as


it

had been performed

Sophia.
ally

His

political

mentioned,

at

the splendid altar of

if

St

grounds for refusal were speci-

and are more interesting: a new

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

87

coronation in Constantinople would give occasion to

reopen the

between the friends

strife

with the Latin Church and their

Emperor wished

of

the union

The

opponents.

to see internal peace established,

and

peace with the Sultan not compromised, and therefore


naturally found

wise to avoid reviving the delicate

it

question of the relations of the Eastern Church and


the

Komau

See.

This policy, to avoid anything likely to provoke the


Turks, was indicated by the circumstances of the time.

Within the

last

five

which had attempted

years
to

the

break

Hungarian armies
the

power of the

"Grand Turk" had been repulsed by crushing defeats,


and the Kingdom of Hungary, the only safe base of
operations against the Turks, needed time to reorganize

her

own

And

forces.

then there could be no serious

talk of the formation of the Christian League as long


as France

This

and England were

passive

and

at

temporising

war with each


policy

followed not only by the late and the


of

other.

which

was

new emperors

Constantinople, but also by the Despot George of

Serbia

was met

Murad and

his

cordially

To both these statesmen


interest of the Turkish

date

its

by the policy

of the Sultan

Grand Vizier Chalil-Pasha-Tchenderli.


it

Empire

seemed the paramount


to gain time to consoli-

position in Europe, to take a firm hold of the

extensive territories

which they had with such an

amazing rapidity conquered, and to secure the subjec-

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

88

tion of the

Balkan nations by the establishment

strong military and administrative government.

of a

This

they thought to secure by a policy of moderation and


conciliation,

which would

fill

Greeks and Serbs with

confidence that no immediate danger menaced

from the Turks, that the

statics

them

quo would be loyally

maintained for an indefinite time, and there was therefore

no pressing need

to

push forward the formation

the League of the Christian nations against the

power

of

Moslem

in Europe.

Under such circumstances the


Constantine's reign

passed

first

two years

He

peaceably.

left

of

the

question of the re-union of the Churches as he found


it, viz.,

quietly sleeping,

and cultivated friendly

with the Ottoman Porte and

tions

He

Serbia.

with

rela-

orthodox

did his best to prevent his two restless

brothers in Peloponnesus coming to open conflict, and

thought again of looking for a consort for himself.

His

faithful friend Phrantzes

1449

left

had already in October

Constantinople on a matrimonial mission to

the orthodox courts of the kings of Trebizonde and of


Iberia.
5.

But

this idyllic

calm could not

honest, but of late years

Murad
son,
* I

somewhat

last long.

The

indolent. Sultan

died on the 6 th February 1451, and his eldest

Mohammed

II.,

ascended the throne.^

follow the usual English Avay of writing the

queror of

Constantinople.

name

of the con-

But from the study of contemporary

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

89

The new Sultan, quite a young man, who had not


yet completed his

twenty-first

was generally

year,

considered incapable and pleasure-loving.

was based on the

This opinion

had

he

that

fact

once

been

when in 1444 there came a


own Grand-Vizier Chalil
summon the old Sultan Murad

before on the throne, but

moment

of great danger, his

thought

it

to

his duty to

reassume the reins of government.


Statesmen, however,

men and

with

who were

instance, the Serbian prince.

Duke

of

Milan

Mohammed was

the Porte

at

as, for

Despot George, the Greek

and the envoys

minister, Phrantzes,

the

intimately acquainted

Ottoman Court

things at the

of

Venice and of

knew

that

well

a youth of fiery ambition and great

personal ability.

Under

the

influence

his

of

stepmother,

Mara

women

of her

Brankovich, one of the most cultured

and

time,

Court,

of

some Greek renegades

Mohammed

reading, greatly

Turkish

at the

had acquired a decided taste

appreciating

the

Greek and Latin

works on Alexander the Great, Cyrus, Julius

and Theodosius the Great.


tion

of

civilizing

the

so

was

so

great,

generally admitted,

and her
that

was by many contemporary writers assumed

Mohammed's

own

mother.

Serbian and Greek writers there

Mehmed

or

Mahamed.

Caesar,

Mara's part in the educa-

heir-apparent

influence

for

is

But

to

she

be

Mohammed had

no doubt that his name was

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

90

Pelasgian blood

in

his

veins, being

son

the

of

beautiful Albanian slave.

Mohammed

was, in fact, the perfect type of a highly-

educated Oriental potentate, grown up under influences

coming from re-awakening Europe.


languages

of

and

Slavonic),

to

his

To

his

pronounced

poetry, astrology,

and occult

at Persian versification,

knowledge
Latin,

and

predilection

for

Greek,

Arabic,

he joined a great love

historical works,

hand

knew

(he

sciences.

of

He

Persian
tried his

and was deeply interested

in astrological interpretations.

He was

of

choleric

temperament, and therefore somewhat impulsive.

when

political objects

self a

As

But

were in question, he showed him-

past master in the art of astute dissimulation.

a young

man he was

deeply religious, but later

seems to have joined a body of Turkish free-thinkers,

and

in their

company sometimes made

tion, clever,

and

witticisms at the

Full of noble ambi-

expense of their great Prophet.

of great personal valour,

he

is

justly

considered one of the greatest of the Ottoman Turks.

The

acts of the

first

conciliatory.

He

young Sultan were exceedingly

retained Chalil

Pasha as

Grand-

Vizier, indicating therewith his intention to continue

his father's policy of keeping

up the

status quo.

When

the special envoys from the Emperor of Constantinople

and the Despot


presents

them very

and

of

Serbia

arrived with

congratulations,

gi-aciously.

He

the usual

Mohammed

received

solemnly engaged himself

MOHAMMED

II.

THE CONQUEROR OF CONSTANTINOPLE.


[To face p. 90.

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

by oath

91

keep peace with their sovereigns, and to

to

them by

respect faithfully the treaties concluded with


his

He

father.

assigned

Sultana Mara, rich

stepmother,

his

to

estates in Macedonia,

her permission to return to her father.

he promised to pay yearly 300,000


Venetian

Orchan

that

ducats),

Effendi,

the

and gave

To the Greeks
aspers

(10,000

might keep properly

they

an Ottoman prince, great-grandson of

Bayezid Ilderim, who had sought and found refuge

To ensure the payment

in Constantinople.

amount

certain towns in

of that

Macedonia were ordered

to

pay their taxes direct to receivers appointed by the


Greek Emperor.
credited

This gave occasion for the eagerly

rumour that the young Sultan was

so anxious

to secure the goodwill of his neighbours the

that he

had ceded

to the

Emperor

Greeks

certain parts

of

Macedonia.

Another proof

of this disposition

seemed apparent

the old Despot George

in the Sultan's request that

should mediate for a durable peace between the Porte

and Hungary.
Smederevo,

to

crossed, in

Having sent

special plenipotentiaries

the

of

capital

Emir

6.

of

the

Sultan

the summer of 1451, to Asia Minor to

subdue the rebellion of the


the

Serbia,

restless

Ottoman

vassal,

Karamania.

Prince George Brankovich of Serbia

"Despot George
his Christian

of Serbia," as

contemporaries

or rather

he was best known to

was

one of

the most

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

92

men

remarkable
visited

him

Chevalier Brocquiere

his time.

of

Serbia

in

1433, and speaks

A.D.

with

enthusiasm of his venerable appearance, great wealth,

and splendid

Another

Court.^

of his contemporaries,

Francisco Philelpho, in his letters to

Doge

the

of

Venice and to the King of France, described George


as " one of the

the age."^

most prudent and powerful princes

of

third and justly famous contemporary,

Aeneas Sylvius Piccollomini (subsequently Pope Pius


II.),

said

of

him

that "

by

appearance

his personal

and in other respects he was

full

of

dignity and

deserving of the highest respect, but unfortunately he

belonged to the Greek Church

numerous

Possessing

and

Hungary, he was a member

!"

extensive

of the

of Lords,

and was nearly elected Eegent

instead of

John Hunyady (1445).

almost a

member

his

wife,

first

daughter

of

in

Hungary

of

He was

considered

the imperial family of Greece,

of

Maria
the

estates

Hungarian House

Comnena,

Emperor

having

Alexius

been

Comnenus

the
of

Trebizonda, his second wife being Irene, the daughter


of

Manuel Cantacuzene, and

his son Lazarus having

married in 1445 the daughter of the Despot Thomas


Palseologus,

niece

Dragasses.

Despot

Voyage

of

the

George

Emperor

Constantine

exercised

considerable

d' Outre-mer, p. 130.

F. Philelphi, Epistolss, p. 574 (ed. Paris, 1503).

Aeneas Sylvius^ Europa,

p. 235.

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

93

influence at the Porte also, partly through his daugh-

whom

Mara,

ter

and partly

Sultan

and Viziers

Mohammed

married in 1436,

splendid presents

the

of

II. to

On

Sultan.

Pashas

the

to

the

through

ascension

of

the Ottoman throne George Bran-

was the most

kovich

11.

probably in a great measure

frequent and

his

Murad

influential

ruler between

Carpathians and the Bosphorus, and

it

was

the

acknow-

in

ledgment of that fact that the Hungarian and. Turkish

met

plenipotentiaries

in his capital

to negotiate for

the peace under his supervision.

In the

suite of the

Turkish commissioners was a

Greek, employed probably as an interpreter.

seems to have been an ardent


of

real

political

patriot,

Whenever

sagacity.

The man

and possessed
he

had

an

opportunity of meeting the old Despot George alone,

he implored
peace,

him

" because,"

to prevent

he argued,

the conclusion of
" if the

the

Sultan secures

peace with the Hungarians, he will have a free hand

down Constantinople

to strike
this,

" but,

and added,

"

Phrantzes recorded

unfortunately the Despot

much as turn his head


much less was he willing

of

Serbia would not so

to look at

this suggestion,

to reason

about
It
of

it

"

was not

whom

likely that the experienced statesman,

acute observers like Philelpho and Aeneas

Sylvius thought so highly, had not considered


1

Fhrantzes, iv.

c. 2,

p. 323.

all

the

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

94

But

circumstances.
fatality to

make

the

wisest

foolish in

the end, and

the most

certain

when

1451,

to

the

seems

it

the

privilege

and most

logical

oi

men

things the most unforeseen

be

In August

accomplished.

negotiations

in

Smederevo

were

proceeding, there was absolutely nothing to justify the

supposition

that

an attack on

imminent.

Had

not the Sultan given abundant proof

of his desire to live in peace

Constantinople

was

with his neighbours

There was no pretext whatever for such an attack,

and

was not

it

likely

Grand- Vizier

for

Chalil, the

Despot George and

the

the

fall

wantonly

old personal

friend

coalition,

the

of

of

Greek Emperors, a shrewd


well that

to precipitate

would accelerate the formation

attack

European

about

of the

who knew very

statesman,

such an

the Greeks would

Moreover, the Sultan had retained

provoke a quarrel.

of

and thus eventually bring

young Ottoman Empire

in

Europe, rather than the conquest of the Byzantine


capital.

Yet,

though

all

visible

signs

and

all

plausible

arguments indicated a long period of peace. Despot


George,

who was

thought

it

essentially a

man

of compromises,

best to allow only a three years' armistice to

be concluded between the Porte and Hungary, instead


of a formal treaty of peace.
7.

Amongst the Greek statesmen, and

in Constan-

tinople generally, the opinion prevailed that

no im-


DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

95

The

mediate danger was to be apprehended.

situation

looked so pacific and the political sky so cloudless that


the only question worthy of attention seemed to be
the marriage of the Emperor.

Constantine was of an age

when marriages

for love

can give place to marriages from more solid considera-

The people

tions.

Emperor

expected

twice-widowed

their

remarry properly and judiciously.

to

stantine, looking for a suitable party, after

Con-

some hints

from his relative Protostratorissa Palseologina, aunt


Mara, asked

Sultana

the

himself

if,

Sultana, with her family connections

after

all,

political

young

certainly no longer

advantages

handsome,

Greek

She was

Phrantzes deemed her two

or three years older than Constantine

the

and her supposed

influence at the Porte, could not bring to the

throne considerable

to

but she was

still

dignified, highly cultured, and, because of

her great charity, highly esteemed by the poor and


I

In addition

the clergy.

famed through

and

as the

widow

to all this, Mara's father

the East for his

all

of a Sultan

was

immense wealth,

and stepmother

of the

reigning Padishah she was believed to have abundant

means
of

own.

of her

the sword

of a

who

Yet, as often happens with


lose

courage before

woman, Constantine dared not mention

clusions

and

his inclinations to

any one

men

the shadow
his con-

at his Court.

Fortunately, two interesting communications reached

him, and

made him open

his lips,

one from

his

envoy

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
and friend Phrantzes, the other from Despot George
himself.

The

letter

from Phrantzes would have been

esting enough even

if

it

The King had a daughter

know

Phrantzes wished to
Princess would

The King

bring

Emperor married

continued the King,

knowledge,

country has

its

to

ham

Alexius

his great surprise.

who was famed

what

will

There

you

Every

Look,

husbands at the same time

several

Having arrived

Comnena

for his

was usual for a

it

But there were other matters


letter.

for her, at

own customs and manners

for instance, at Britain.

woman

"

of

of interest

at the Court of the

Trebizonde,

marriageable daughters, the

her.

money with

he expected to receive money

which Phrantzes could not suppress

extensive

Iberia.

the amount of dowry this


the

if

of

of truly Circassian beauty.

rejoined that, instead of giving

his daughter,

" Well,"

King

a conversation with the

portion of

inter-

had contained nothing but a

"

in the

Emperor

who had

several

envoy went one day to

the palace for a private audience with the Emperor.

Alexius received him with the question

you give me for a piece of good news

"
?

"

TThat will

and

then in-

formed him that Sultan Murad was dead, and that


the

new Sultan Mohammed had

honours his stepmother Mara


George.

Alexius, being the


^

sent

with

to her father.

first

great

Despot

cousin to Mara, was

PhrantzeSy p. 247.

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

97

her

movements.

well

naturally

informed

about

Phrantzes instantly forgot the Iberian beauty and the


marriageable daughters of Comnena, thinking the most

marriage for his master and friend would be

eligible

one with Mara Brankovich.

Not knowing

of Constantine's personal inclination

he wrote at some length to convince him of the advantages to accrue from such a union, answering in

advance

all

possible objections.

One

of these being

Mara,

their near relationship, Phrantzes argued that

having always been so liberal to the Church and the


clergy,

none could doubt but that the Church would

grant at once the necessary dispensation.

The communication from the Despot George was


the

same

tious,

effect.

to

The old man was decidedly ambi-

and would have liked exceedingly

daughter Empress of

Constantinople.

to

He

see^ his

seems to

have offered to Constantine a very rich dowry and


other advantages.

Constantine did not longer hesitate.

own

relative, Protostrator

Manuel

He

sent his

Palseologue, to the

Court of Serbia, to ask formally for the hand of Mara,

Manuel was apparently chosen because he had family


connections with the Cantacuzenes, and would therefore be received not
tive,

merely as a friend, but as a rela-

the Serbian Court being presided over with

splendour by Irena Cantacuzena, the

young wife of the old Despot.

much

comparatively

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

98

But the

by

far-

was blown away by a woman's

Mara, favourably known for her delicacy of

breath.
feeling,

much

fabric so laboriously constructed

statesmen

seeing

good

tact,

dignity to

and

political foresight, declared

her

special envoy, that she

remaining

life

thought

she did this

Anna

to the

had vowed

to the service of

with

Emperor's

to consecrate her

God, and therefore

Emperor.

Some people

from consideration

for the feelings

must decline the hand

of her cousin,

and

father

of the

Notaras, the abandoned fiancee of

Constantine.^

This episode, with

pleasant hopes and final dis-

its

appointments, was another sign of the peaceful situation in the first

months

of the Sultan

Mohammed's

reign.
8.

But the confidence

arising

opinion that no immediate

from

the

general

danger threatened them,

encouraged the Greeks to venture on a step which

suddenly and unexpectedly reversed the whole aspect


of affairs.

The Greek
condition.

finances were

in an

exceedingly bad

There was a large public debt with short

terms of repayment, while the revenue of the Empire

was small and uncertain.


to punctually

meet the

The Treasury was not able


salaries of the

State officials

and the pay to the few permanent companies of the


Emperor's bodyguard.
^

Sathas,

Monumenta

This irregularity and poverty


Hist. Hellenic, ix.

Preface.

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

99

was the cause that the famous maker of big guns,


the Hungarian Orban, left the service of the

and entered that

of the Sultan,

Emperor

who gave him

at once

a salary four times as large as that he should have


received from the Greek Government.

Looking at the empty Imperial Treasury, and

listen-

ing to the reports of the conciliatory disposition of

the

new

Sultan, the

Greek statesmen came

conclusion that they had not


financial advantage the evident
to live in peace.

to the

sufficiently turned

wish of

to

Mohammed

Some one made the fatal suggestion

was not yet too

that

it

the

Sultan's campaign in

late to

favourable opportunity for

mend

matters, and that

Caramania was a most


representing to

him

that

300,000 aspers were not adequate for the support of

an Ottoman Prince with becoming dignity, and


less

sufficient to

still

render a dangerous pretender inac-

cessible to ambitious temptations.

It

seemed

to be a

simple and ready method for increasing the Imperial


revenue.
the

Special envoys therefore were despatched to

Sultan's

received

headquarters

by the Grand-Vizier

at

Broussa,

and there

Chalil- Pasha.

According to Francesco Philelpho, Chalil was the


son of a Serbian father and of a Greek mother.

was captured when a

child,

made

a Mussulman,

educated to serve the Ottoman Empire.


of wise moderation, yet of great decision

was needful, had carried the

He
and

His policy

when

action

Empire successfully

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

100

many

through

Murad

II.

failing,

and

during

crises

But greed

reign

the

Sultan

of

wealth was his notorious

combined with

this,

ciliatory policy

of

his consequent con-

towards the Greek and Serbian Courts,

aroused suspicions that he was in the pay of the wily


Greeks, and of rich
called

the

him

common

he

"

and moderation, while

for his patience

people took revenge for his stinginess by

him

nicknaming
Ortagh

The impatient military party

Despot George.

disliked

"Vuk-Oglu," as the Turks

old

"

Gyaour- Yoldash "

"

and

Gyaour-

("the comrade and partner of the infidels

").

This old friend of the Greeks was amazed

when

Greek embassy.

The

heard

the

object

of

the

ambassador apparently thought

would be

it

secure the success of his mission

if

easier to

he hinted

that, in

the case of a refusal, the Greek Government might,


perhaps, cease to restrain the action of Orchan-Effendi.

Apparently

it

was just

which aroused the

this hint

indignation of the aged Grand- Yizier.

"You

foolish Greeks!" exclaimed Chalil;

"long ago

know your falsehood and your cunning


While Sultan Murad lived it was possible for you to

I learned to

go on comparatively well, because he was just and


conscientious.

man.

But Sultan Mohammed

his power, it will be a proof that

your crooked ways and your

on the documents

is

quite another

his impetuosity

If Constantinople escapes

God

sins.

does not punish

Fools

of peace concluded

and

The ink

between us has

!!

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

101

not yet dried, and you come to us with

You

We

are mistaken.

simple children to be easily scared.


believe
If

silly threats

not inexperienced and

are

you

If

you can do something, you are

really

free to do it

you desire to proclaim Orchan Sultan of Eomania,

go and proclaim him

you wish

If

Hungarians from across the Danube,


beg them to come!
countries you have
this one thing:
little

you

try

desire

Be

own

"

so in keeping with the character

is

might have heard

very ambassadors to

The point

the

recover

to

sure, however, of

general conduct of Chalil, that Ducas,


his history,

them, and.

will only succeed in losing the

that remains your

This answer

you

If
lost,

bring the

to
call

whom

it

in this answer

it

who

from the

gives

and

it

in

lips of the

was addressed.
is

the foreshadowing of

the possibility that the destinies of Constantinople

would be accomplished before Hungary


large) could

evidently

come

held

Mohammed

to its

by

in the

rescue.

Europe

who surrounded

those

summer

(or

at

That opinion was

of 1451.

It

Sultan

very quickly

deepened and spread, and took active forms.

The Sultan himself received the Greek ambassadors


courteously.
did

He, who was so hasty and impetuous,

not show the slightest annoyance

DucaSy xxxiv. 132.

It

was

Hammer who

Ohalil's speech

(Hammer,

first

when

told the

noticed the character of genuineness in

Geschichte,

i.

504).

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

102

object of their mission.

On

the contrary, he expressed

himself

to

do

quite

equitable,

willing

anything

and

right

and would gladly consider their proposals

as soon as he returned to Adrianople.


9.

In the beginning of the autumn of

1451 the

Sultan arrived at his European residence, with ready

answer to the

Greek

demands.

Orders were

im-

mediately issued to send away the Emperors receivers

from Macedonia, and

to

suspend payment for Orchan

Effendi; Hungarian Orban, the chief of the Turkish

cannon foundry, was ordered to hasten production of

heavy guns

and, in addition to all these preparations,

the Sultan announced his determination of constructing

a castle on the European shore of the Bosphorus,


facing Fort Anadoli-Hissar on the Asiatic side.

The point
Greek

new

selected for the

territory,

only four

or

fortification

miles

five

was on

north

of

Galata, at Loemocopia, where existed the ruins of an


old castle

Michael/

and an old church dedicated

to the

Archangel

According to a legend, Alexander the Great

crossed to Asia at this place.


It

was without

parallel in the history of the

world

that a sovereign should seize a portion of the territory


of a neighbouring State, with

which he was at peace^

and build himself a

intense

fort

on

it

The news produced

commotion amongst excitable Greeks

capital, especially as it
^

was evident

Le Beau,

xxi. 227.

to

of the

everybody that

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.
the two forts could cut off at any

103

moment

the supplies

from the Black Sea

of corn

Chalil

endeavoured

maintain some diplomatic

to

courtesy by sending a special envoy to the Emperor,

with a polite request for a formal permission to erect

He

the fort on that particular spot.


the Sultan's decision
desire to protect

explained that

was prompted exclusively by

his

commerce, as the Catalonian corsairs

would not venture into the

straits

when they knew

that every ship approaching the line of the Sultan's


forts

must stop

to

pay passage dues and show regular

papers.^

The Emperor and

Chalil's diplomacy.

They could

better than the worn-out expedient

them

were in great

councillors

The question was how

consternation.

meet

his

so often.

to effectually

devise nothing

which had helped

They hoped the shadow

of the West,

thrown slightly across the Sultan's path, might produce


its

old effect.

Therefore the Turkish envoy received

"

That the Emperor would cheerfully oblige

as answer:

his friend the Sultan, but unfortunately the territory

in question did not really belong to him,

ceded

long ago to

the

Franks

of

having been

Galata,

and he

therefore feared the building of the fort on Frankish

ground might bring the Sultan into


Frankistan
^

"

These details have been

with

first recorded by the Janissary Michael,


and are confirmed by Sa'ad-ud-din.
The Turkish historians speak explicitly about the Greek attempt

Povyest Janezara, p. 173,


^

collision

"

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

104

The Greek diplomatist who prepared


doubtless felt proud of his

who

statesman
Vizier "

skill.

smiled in his beard

Greeks.
saying, "

answer

But the experienced

on the velvet cushion

sat

this

of the

Grand-

" at the cleverness of the

He

turned their answer against themselves,

The

Sultan, unwilling to hurt the feelings of

his good friend the Emperor, did not wish to begin to

without his

build

formal

permission

but as

Emperor now declared the ground belonged


Franks, the Sultan,

who

the

to the

does not care a straw for the

feelings of the Franks, will without further delay pro-

ceed with his fort


10.

The Greeks were thus entrapped by

cunning.

The Emperor and

his councillors

duty bound to consider carefully the

tales

having on

told

in

All

young Sultan,

the bazaars about Sultan

his deathbed impressed

own

were in

situation.

rumours about the great ambition of the


all

their

Murad

on his son the duty

of conquering Constantinople (Sa'ad-ud-din), all hints

the

Grand- Vizier threw out concerning the resolute

character and probable policy of his

now

new

master, were

substantiated by the stern fact that the Sultan

was about

to construct a fort almost at the very gates

of Constantinople.

They could not

for

moment

seriously accept Chalil's proferred explanation of the


Sultan's pacific motives,

and his desire to protect only

to represent the territory in question as belonging to the Franks,

Sa'ad-ud-din, 163.

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.
the interests of

commerce.

They could no longer

question what was the ultimate purpose of

they must

and

have

felt

105

that this

Mohammed,

was

the

really

beginning of the end.

All these considerations led only to one conclusion


to the necessity for a change in the foreign policy.

The

passivity of the

Greek Government

of the last

years, their readiness to leave unfulfilled the decisions

of the Florentine Council, their neglect in cultivating


closer relations with the

Western powers, had been

possible only under the condition that the

spected

the

status

foreign policy

quo.

This

foundation

Turks
of

re-

their

was now shattered by a sudden and

rude shake of the impatient and grasping hand of the

new

Sultan.

For Constantine and his advisers

mained now nothing


Europe
It

else

re-

but to turn to the West of

for aid.^

must have been peculiarly humiliating

tine to be obliged

now

to Constan-

to appeal to the Pope, after

having for more than two years ignored the Florentine


engagements.
of the
^

Mr

He had

to explain

Greek Government, and

away the

late policy

to apologise for the

Stassulyevich (Ossada i vzyatiye Vizantii TurJcami) has ad-

vanced the theory that Constantine was personally responsible for the
catastrophe, inasmuch as he wantonly abandoned the " national
policy " of his predecessor, and without provocation and necessity
sought the alliance with the Latins, which naturally exasperated the
peace-loving Mohammed, and forced him to undertake the conquest of
Constantinople, so to say, in self-defence against the Western powers.
As I see the facts, they are pointing to a quite different conclusion.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

106

neglect and delay in executing engagements so solemnly

The Emperor's

entered into.

make some

the Emperor did

has not been pre-

letter

served, but from the Pope's answer

it

is

evident that

explanation and some

The Greek ambassador, Andronicus Brien-

apology.

nius Leonardus (or Leontaras), must have been received

Kome

in

about the end of September 1451, as the Pope

Nicholas' answer to the

Emperor

dated 5th October

is

the same year.

In his answer the Pope reminds the Emperor of


the solemnly-proclaimed union in Florence, of which
the

" witnesses

were

all

the

amongst which he mentions

and Ireland

Christian

("testis est Britania,

major Anglicorum

regis subjecta ditioni, testis Hibernia et

maximse extra continentem

seem

countries,"

also England, Scotland,

positse

to ignore the decree of the

Scotia, insulge

Only the Greeks

").

Union

("

tamen apud

Graecos Unionis hujusmodi decretum

silentio tegitur

The Pope did not dissimulate the

irritation of

the

The

last

but

Holy See

at

the conduct of the Greeks.

sentences

of

his letter are not only emphatic,

almost menacing

" If you,

").

with your nobles and the

people of Constantinople, are ready to execute the decree of the Union,

you

will find us

and our venerable

brethren the Cardinals, together with the whole Occidental Church, always willing to work for your honour

and your State

but

if

you and your people refuse

execute that decree, you will force us to

to

make such

107

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

may seem

provisions as

and

fit

to us for

As

for our honour."

your own salvation

a proof of the Emperor's

honest intentions, the Pope demanded that the Patriarch

who had been banished from

Joseph,

the patriarchal

throne in consequence of his faithful adherence to the

Union, should be recalled and reinstated.^

With

that

and

letter

declarations

categoric

its

Leonardus returned to Constantinople towards the end


of the
11.

autumn 1451.
During the winter

continued

of

endeavours

his

1451-1452 the Emperor


at

to induce

Porte

the

the Sultan to abandon his intentions concerning the

But

fort.

all

Mohammed
tions.

The

his representations

pushed only the more


best

were

no

of

avail.

actively his prepara-

masons were selected from

all

parts of

the Empire, and brought to the shores of the Bosphorus.

Building

materials

churches and

were

collected,

many

Archangel's ^church in Loemocopia was the

were

elaborated,

As a

triangle chosen.

was supposed

to

triangular shape

the

first

form.
^

376.

and one in the form

figure of cabalistic

to

be

of

meaning,

it

Some thought the

augur success.

was adopted in honour

letter in his

Probably

The whole

first

The

Several plans for the building of the

pulled down.
castle

Christian

ruined castles serving as quarries.

name being

of the Sultan,

of the triangular

simply technical considerations de-

letter printed in Kaynaldi,

Annales

ecdesiastici, xviii.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

108

termined the adoption of the plan, as triangular


fications

were popular in that

The Sultan

left

forti-

age.

Adrianople on the 26th of March

1452, and timed his journey so as to reach on the


seventh
five

day the spot selected

for the

new

thousand masons were waiting for his

rams being slaughtered and

mixed with the chalk and mortar

When

The

Kurban

foundations were immediately laid with great


festivities,

where

fort,

arrival.

their blood freely

in the first layers.

the earliest reports of the

commencement

of

the works reached Constantinople, the Emperor seemed

disposed to

make a

proceedings.

sally, and,

sword in hand, stop the

Constantine Dragasses was in fact rather

a simple, honest soldier than a skilful diplomatist

But

his councillors prevailed

new

the idea, and to try a

New

envoys

were

spoke plainly, saying


raising the fort

to

abandon

mission to the Sultan.

sent.
"

upon him

Greeks

This time the

Should the Sultan persist in

he would practically break peace with

the Greeks, and violate the treaties which his predecessors

had kept

loyally,

and which he himself had

They declared

confirmed by solemn oath."

further

that Constantinople could not enjoy peace, nor would

peace be of

any value

to

its

citizens, as

long

as

starvation, viz., the cutting off of the importation of

corn, should

Damocles.

hang over

their heads, like the

The Emperor was quite

yearly tribute, but he considered

it

sword

of

willing to

pay a

duty to

insist

his

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

109

on the Sultan's abandoning the construction of the


fort.

Mohammed

It is interesting to find

bringing forward

He

piety as a motive for a political act.

filial

to the

Greek envoys

related

when the

that, eight years ago,

Hungarian army under King Vladislaus and Hunyady


stood at Varna, preparing to

march on Adrianople,

his father, having experienced great difficulty in cross-

made

ing from Asia to Europe,

on the European
crossing

and

vow

to build a fort

army

side, so as to secure to his

safe

Death had prevented

recrossing.

and

father accomplishing his vow,


!

"

it

Do you

was the

his

son's

present duty to

fulfil

it

me doing

it ? "

asked the Sultan, in conclusion

prevent
" this

ground does not belong

should he come in

I am

that

to do,

do

and

my way

able to do

I am

that

And mark

"

Go and

your master

my predecessors

were not able

willing

this also,

to

do what they would not

I shall

have every ambassador

impaled who dares henceforth come


message ! "

me with

to

Crowds

city.

gathered in the markets and other open places

appeared stricken

related

The

new

Christian

Hammer,

i.

down by

and Turkish writers are in

Mohammed's answer

505

Zinkeisen,

i.

315

some

terror, others eagerly

versions of the Sultan's

general character of

68

such a

This answer created a panic in the

men

Emperor, and why


tell

what

the

to

think you can

answer; some

perfect accord

Dueas, 238

Mordtmann,

12.

on the

Gheirrulah,

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

110

struck their breasts, exclaiming:

times

Here are the days

destruction

What

is

"Here

are the last

and

of Antichrist

coming upon us

of our

Better,

Lord, let us die by a pestilence than that our eyes

should see the

fall

Thy enemies

hear

of

our

city,

or our ears should

tauntingly ask,

'Where

the saints that watch over their town

But there were numbers

now

are

"
'

men, without families

of

and without home, who looked on with contemptuous

when

smiles

the artisans and shopkeepers hurried to

the churches to cross themselves a thousand times

and touch the

with their foreheads hundreds of

The numerous small inns were

times.

men

floor

with

filled

without occupation, who, over bowls of spiced

wines, laughed loudly at the fright of the citizens.

Of

such men, a few companies of volunteers were formed,

which on

own account

their

sallied forth

through

the northern gate to drive away the Sultan and his

masons.

None

were

cut to pieces or taken

all

of

them returned

to the city.

They

prisoners

by the

Sultan

ordered

Turks.
Sa'ad-ud-din

relates

Mohammed-Bey, the son

the

that
of

Ac-Tchailou, to

ravage

the immediate neighbourhood of Constantinople, and


that this

commander captured much

cattle,

and made

prisoners of all the Greeks that he found in the fields

outside

Bey

the city.

Possibly

who encountered and

it

was
cut

this

down

Mohammedthe

Greek

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

and who afterwards with

volunteers,

Ill

his flying

column

watched the gates of Constantinople.

The same
"

historian

was extreme

confusion

mentions
after

They did not know what

to do,"

the

infidels'

Sultan's

answer.

that

the

he adds,

" except to

send their friend Chalil a present of some big fishes

with gold."

filled

Chalil certainly did his utmost to

persuade the Sultan to at least reassure the Emperor

by renewing assurances
the Sultan thought
to be

it

But

of peaceful intentions.

better to leave that suggestion

considered and decided after their return

Adrianople.

It is

not

of

because

to

most likely Chalil gave his advice,


golden

the

which

fishes,

floated

probably only in the imagination of the enemies of


the

Grand- Vizier, but from

He knew

political

considerations.

well that the Emperor's ambassadors had

been sent to the European Courts, and that despair

sometimes proves to be a source of great strength.

As

a cautious man, he might have honestly and in

good faith advised his master not to push matters to


the extreme.

The
of

fort

was completely

assiduous

each of
tower,

its

work.

Its

finished after four

months

were 25

thick

walls

feet

angles was fortified by a strong and high

armed with cannon which could throw

granite or basalt of

enormous

size.

balls of

Several smaller

towers connected those three principal ones.

The Sultan gave the

fort

the

name

of

''

Boghasi-

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

112

Kesen"

placed in

" the
it

command

fort

that

cuts

off

the

straits,"

and

a garrison of 400 Janissaries, under the

He

Firhudin-Bey.

of

towards

strong escort

and reconnoitred

then

the walls

Constantinople

of

fortifications.

its

with

rode

On

the

of

first

September he reached his residence on the Maritza.


12.

The Emperor Constantine was on

his

side

earnestly engaged in preparations for the defence of

He

his capital.

and

provisions

were given
being

called out volunteers,

military

with

But

stores.

these

orders

some apprehension, the Treasury

He

empty.

almost

and purchased

agents to his brothers,

despatched

who reigned

letters

and

in the Peloponnesus,

almost as independent sovereigns, requesting them to

send troops to

assist in the

defence of the Byzantine

No doubt he corresponded in the same sense

metropolis.

with George Scanderbeg, the Prince of Albania, with

Despot George of Serbia, and Hunyady

His special ambassadors

f,in

They were

in

some

mission to the Doge.

and commercial power


at

left

January 1452 on their way

stake

in

degree

of

again Constantinople

Venice and Eome.

to

successful

Venice, being the


of that age,

Constantinople

Hungary.

their

first

naval

had great

and the

Government had independent and

with

interests

Levant.

Its

reliable information

about the Sultan's movements and projects, and were


1

Later the fort obtained the

bears to this day.

name

of "Rumili-Hissar," which

it

11

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.
quite accessible to the representation

ambassadors.

They

sent

113
the Greek

of

once an order

at

the

to

Governor of Crete to engage Greek volunteers at the


expense of the Venetian Treasury, and forward them
to

Constantinople.

On

Doge Morosini signed


Emperor Frederick
Sicily,

and

Hungary.

to

the

24th

February the

Pope Nicholas,

letters to

of

of

Germany,

to

Hunyady, the Eegent

The Doge described

of

kingdom

of

of the

them

to

to the

King Alfonso
in

gloomy

colours the dangerous position of Constantinople,

and

menaced

urged them to send at once help to the


city.'

Genoa, which possessed the whole of Galata as her

own dependency,

was

also

well

informed

the

of

Her Govern-

dangers of the situation in the East.

ment, in a letter addressed to King Alfonso of Sicily

him

that

citizens of Galata

had

(written one day in the spring of 1452), told

two special envoys sent by the


arrived in

Genoa, and

brought reliable

move with

great

quod adversus

Con-

that the Sultan would next spring


force

against

stantinopolim

Constantinople
et

in ver proxirmim

"

Peram Machometus

summa

information

vi movitur").

Tiircarum

They

Dvx

said they

were glad to have just heard that an envoy from the

Greek Emperor has reached his (Alfonso's) Court


they informed him that they themselves were making
preparations to send, with the opening of the spring,
^

Acta Archivi

Veneti, il 454.

yt

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

114

men and arms

ships with

him

to Constantinople,

and urged

to do so likewise.^

Meanwhile the Greek ambassadors reached Eome.

They were honourably


assurances of

tive

received, as they brought posi-

the readiness of

the

Empire

to

accept formally, honestly, and seriously the Union of


the

The Pope and the Cardinals were

Churches.

highly gratified, and set at once to work.

Legates were sent to

all

Special

more important European


was attached

Courts, but the greatest importance

to

the missions to Paris and to London.

At

time

that

Europe that

if

it

was the general impression

new

crusade against the Turks was

to be carried to a successful issue,

on

all

must be under-

it

The

taken and conducted by Prance.


cist of

in

greatest publi-

the time, the acknowledged European authority

concerning

questions

the

East,

Erancesco

Philelpho, expressed this opinion very clearly in the

memorandum which he

addressed

the

to

King

of

France on the 13th of March 1450.

He

King

was the only

to undertake the task because he

sovereign in Europe

who

could do

it,

the Christian world expected that

He

urged the

and because

he would do

discussed the arguments which the

all
it.

King might

bring forward as an excuse, and of which the only


serious one

was

that the hostility of England pre-

vented him doing what otherwise he would


^

Raynaldi, Annales Ecclesiastid,

ix.

605.

gladly

115

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.
"

undertake.

But

" that

Philelpho,

not at

is

it

all

likely," continues

and

are a religious people,

it is

infidels.

who always

example

of their

followed the French kings and

them whenever

assisted

the English

more probable that they

will be ready to follow you, after the


forefathers,

you

Englishmen would prevent

entering upon such a sacred enterprise

moved

these

against

the

"1

Philippe,

Duke

Burgundy, who was considered

of

the champion of the Eastern Christians, did his best to

induce the King of France to put himself at the head


the movement to
moment he got, in 1451,
of

The

Constantinople.

save

the information (most likely

through letters from the Emperor Constantine) of the

changed

situation

at

Bosphorus, he

the

sent

Sire

Jean de Croy and the Chevalier Jacques de Lalaing as

King

his special envoys to

Charles,

and invited him

to

combine with him and the King of Sicily to save


Constantinople.^
]N"ow

in

Constantine's
^

" Nee est

the

beginning

1452,

of

new embassy made

tibi praeterea

shortly

after

satisfactory declara-.

subverendum ne quid adversum

te

tumul-

cum exAngli ullo modo

tus in Francia aut in regnique tiio Gallia per Anglos insurgat

ercitum adversus infideles eduxeris,

nam

necque

ipsi

patientur ut sunt homines religioni dediti, sed tarn piae,


tarn gloriosae expeditionis

tam

sanctae,

expertes duci, sed positis et prostratis

cunetis simultatibus propter Christum alacres te sequuntur, imitati


scilicet

majores suos, &c."

Epistolae,
^

ii.

Philelphi

ad Galium Regem adhortatio,

12.

Barante, Histoire des Dues dc Bourgogne,

vii. 5.

\\

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

116

tions in

Kome

(at the

end

of

January or the beginning

February), the Pope sent Cardinal d'Estoutteville

of

King

to the

of France,

King Henry

to

them

invite

to support

King

to

and the Archbishop

make peace and

the

himself

arms

The

Turks.

quite

make peace with England and hasten


Emperor

Eavenna

jointly turn their

Constantinople against

France declared

of

of

of England, with the instructions to

willing

to

the

to assist

But King Henry's answer

of the Greeks.

the Pope's Legate was to the

" that of

effect,

to

peace

they could only speak at some future day when the


English had reconquered by arms

had

lost in

mained in France,

all

the places they

Cardinal d'Estoutteville re-

France."^

at the request of

King

Charles, to

conduct the new investigation into the case of

Maid

of Orleans, but the

turned from England,


peace concluded "

The

"

"

Archbishop of Eavenna

having

lost all

Spe pacis sublata abcessisse ").

at

once

to

the

his

possibil-

As an honest man he

Greek

though in the worst case he will


alone,

were very

The Pope must have seen the

ity of being left alone to help.

declared

re-

hope of seeing

results of these important missions

disappointing.

the

ambassadors
assist the

help cannot be great, and

will

that,

Emperor
not

go

beyond sending a few ships with men and money.

He

advised the ambassadors to go themselves to visit

the more important Courts of Europe, and impress upon


^

Raynaldi, Antuxles Ecclesiastici,

xviii. 575.

117

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

them the necessity

Con-

of forwarding assistance to

stantinople, promising to lend

them

cordial support in

their task.

The ambassadors, acting upon


several Courts in Italy,

and went

this advice, visited


to Paris, " everywhere

with tears in their eyes praying for help" as Pope


Nicholas relates himself in his last will.

they had to return

all

results,

to

Eome

But

without

after

practical

having been only met with kind words and

promises that " what should prove possible would


done."

Aeneas Sylvius, speaking

of

"

To

Pope Nicholas and the Greek Emperor, wrote


our shame he

and

it

said

their eyes hlind !

the ears of

our princes were deaf

"^

The same year the Emperor Frederick came

Eome to
He had

be solemnly crowned

as "

to

Eoman Emperor."

already received letters from the Emperor

Constantine asking
of

he

of these efforts

aid,

also letters

from the Doge

Venice and from Pope Nicholas, setting forth the

necessity of

some common

In

action.

Eome he

found

the atmosphere of the Vatican impregnated with Greek

lamentations and Catholic ambitions.


the

Eoman Emperor

least

some

sort of

thought

it

The Pope and

desirable to

make

demonstration of their good- will.

conference of all the Cardinals present in

was held under the presidency


Bishop Aeneas Sylvius
^

at

Eome

of the Pope, to hear

make, in the name of the

Raynaldi, Annales Ecelesiastici,

xviii. 414.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

118

Emperor Frederick,
of

Sylvius, one

certain declarations.

the most brilliant orators of the time, described

vividly

the

great

and

sufferings

misfortunes

the

Christians had endured since the arrival of the Turks

in

He

Europe.

spoke strongly of the indifference

and coldness

of

on unmoved

while the

who looked

the European princes,

Mohammedan power grew


" Unfortu-

strong at the expense of the Christians.


Tiately"

he

" the

said,

Saracens

(so

Turks) arc far more ardent in their

We

are zealous in our faith.

and remain

Christians

down and in danger

quiet

infidelity

the

than we

on violence done

our religion

called

is

to

trampled

to he ptct %(,nder the yoke, yet

turn our eyes on the other side

At

look

he

we only

"
!

the conclusion of the address Sylvius declared

Emperor Frederick had firmly resolved

that the

to

lead his armies against the Turks, but of course relied

upon the powerful support


could unite

and secure

all

its

the faithful "in this

his blessing, but his

satisfactory.

desire anything

crusade

whose word

lioly enterprise!'

ultimate success.^

The Pope gave


quite

of the Pope,

He

said

more fervently than

undertaken

answer was not

personally he did not


to see

against the Turks

an earnest
but

making any promises binding on the Holy

must

first

before
See,

of other Christian Courts.


^

he

inform himself of the desires and intentions

The whole speech

in Raynaldi, Annates, xviii. 590-593.

119

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

After the conference Frederick returned to Vienna,

and seemed Tery soon to have forgotten everything

name

that was promised in his

The Greek ambassadors,

at

Eome.

losing hope of

any serious

support from the Western powers, begged the Pope to

send at least the help he had himself pledged to them.

The Pope

replied that he

was willing

to act

when

the

union of the two Churches was finally accomplished,

and the Patriarch

of Constantinople

clergy had solemnly acknowledged

and the Greek


papal

the

su-

premacy.

The

Greeks

j)oor

declared

accept all the conditions

men and money


Thereupon

for

Cardinal

if

the

themselves

ready

to

the Pope would only send


defence of

Isidore

was

their

capital.

Papal

appointed

Legate, with a special mission to Constantinople.


Isidore

was a Greek by

nationality.

Many

learned

Greeks and Serbians of the fifteenth century went to


Eussia to

make

his erudition
his
of

for themselves a career.

Isidore,

by

and energy, had succeeded in placing on

head the mitre of Archbishop and Metropolitan

Moscow.

prelate,

Church

Being actually the most learned Eussian

he was sent as representative of the Eussian


to the Council of Florence.

scribed to the

Union

of the Churches.

There he sub-

But both the

Eussian Church and the Eussian Court repudiated his


action,

and he was obliged

refuge in Eome.

He was

to leave Eassia

and seek

received there with great

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

120

honours, promoted to the dignity of a Cardinal, and a

most important and delicate mission was now entrusted


to him.

On

way

his

stopped

to

at several

the

Greek

islands

Cardinal

capital, the

the Archipelago, and

in

called for volunteers to enrol themselves

under the

But he was not very

successful.

Papal

banner.

Only a few volunteers joined him (some say not more


than

fifty

!),

and with them he arrived in Constanti-

nople at the beginning of November 1452.

There he found the position very sad and gloomy.

Commerce had been completely paralysed by the


recent events, and by the general feeling of an im-

The people were without work,

pending catastrophe.

They were

and almost without bread.


alarm in consequence

rumours
cavalry,

of

the

of

the

appearance

constant

in

continually

recurring

Turkish

irregular

of

who plundered and burnt

the farmhouses, and

destroyed the crops under the very walls of Constantinople.

Everyone

felt that,

without early and

assistance from the "West, the capital


to the

overwhelming power

of

must

the Turks

efficient

fall
;

a prey

yet the

majority of the citizens were full of bitterness and

hatred against everything Latin.


priests,

monks, and

nuns

(and

crowded with them) thought

it

The lower orders


Constantinople
a less evil

tliat

of

was
the

Sultan should take up his abode in the Old Imperial


Palace,

and St Sophia be transformed into a mosque.

121

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

than that the name of the Pope should be pronounced

And many

there in public prayers.

of

believe the danger of Turkish conquest

Some who pretended

nent.

out and circulated


diction,

that the

them did not


was

among the populace an


residence

of

immi-

so

to great learning

brought
old pre-

the Emperors would

not pass to other masters until ships were seen sailing

under

language,
flying

canvas across the dry land

full

meant

never.

Why

fall into

of the nobles

men, as well as a certain number


better.

the embrace

But the Court, the majority

knew

in plain

then should the people,

from an imaginary danger,

of Antichrist

which,

and

states-

of the higher clergy,

The Emperor and the new Patriarch

Gregorius signed the declaration accepting the Union


of the Churches, with the express reserve, that after

the present peril had past, all the points of the com-

pact between the Churches should undergo

new and

careful revision with the view to a definite settlement.

This reserve was the small safety-valve which supplied


the oppressed consciences of the Patriarch

and perhaps

On

of the

and

clergy,

Emperor himself, with a breath

the 12th of December a solemn Te

celebrated in St Sophia.

of air.

Deum was

Cardinal Isidore and Patri-

arch Gregorius officiated together, in the presence of


the

Emperor and

his Court,

and

"

Nicholas" was chanted, with the


suppressed sighs and tears.

Many

years to Pope

accompaniment

of

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

122

Meanwhile the populace, headed by monks

14.

and

priests,

ran through the

streets,

Church and the Empire, and

at the betrayers of their

way

expressing in every possible

and abhorrence

of the

their utter disgust

ceremony then going on in St

Some one mentioned

Sophia.

hurling anathemas

the

Thousands immediately echoed

it,

name

of Gennadius.

and great masses

of

people rushed to the monastery of Pantocrator.

The monk Gennadius


lar

name

of Gregorius

otherwise

Scholarius

known by his secu-

was

at

one time

a senator, and famous for learning and patriotism.

was he who gave a curious interpretation


tion on the
it

tomb

to

It

an inscrip-

of Constantine the Great, declaring

to be a prediction of the conquest of Constantinople

by the Turks.

John

to the

Gennadius accompanied the Emperor


Council of Florence, and there deeply

impressed the Latin

doctors

by

his

He

erudition.

signed there the Church Union, but having returned to


Constantinople, cursed
offices,

"

he lived in the

whence he directed the


tion with

And

own

deed,

and withdrew from the world.

Gennadius

of

his

resigned

As

"

his

Father

cloister of Pantocrator,

from

agitation against the reconcilia-

Kome.

now, on this 12th of December, dense crowds

people

against the

gathered

around

the walls, and

pressed

gates of that famous monastery, calling

upon Gennadius with impatient


in this emergency.

He

voices to direct

them

had the courage on the 15th

123

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

JSTovember to speak from the pulpit, in the presence of

the Emperor and his Court, against the Union.

Now

he

did not personally appear, but caused a written declara-

People

tion to be nailed on the gate of the monastery.

pressed eagerly to read the words which were written

you Greeks, worthy

"

your errors carried you

of all pity

You

Where have

are unfaithful to your

God, placing your hope only on the help of the Franks,

and with your

you give

city

May God

be merciful to

shame on

my

soul

me

Woe

to

left

you, and go over to

you on the Day

Judgment

of

This written answer of Gennadius was like

The excited people

flames.
I

the faith your fathers have


!

your faith to ruin

I do not carry your

Unhappy ones, stop a moment


With your city you lose

and consider what you do

infidelity

also

left

"

oil

on

the place more angry

and miserable than when they arrived

there.

Some

of

the more moderate citizens ventured to observe that,


after

all,

without the help of the Latins, the city would

be captured by the Turks


" Better

we should

he

but the mob shouted angrily:

Turks than Latins

"
!

The addresses given by a Bohemian that day

at

several places in the city greatly increased the excite-

He had

ment

of the people.

later

turned a follower of John Huss.

been Catholic, and had

He

told the

Dums, 141 Leonardo, 257 Uhert. Pusculus, vers. 477-488. Ge7iadius' Memorandum to the Emperor agaiust the Union, in P. Migne's
^

Patrologice Cursus, vol. clx.,


citizens,

where are also his manifestoes to the

dated 27th November and 12th December.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

124

crowds who thronged to hear him

all sorts of

stories

about the evil practices of the Popes, each story more


absurd and disgusting than the other. ^
It

was generally known that the Minister

Kyr Lucas

of State,

Notaras, the Great Admiral of the Fleet,

and a relative of the Emperor, was decidedly opposed


to the Union.

He had

not only refused to assist at

the ceremony in St Sophia, but loudly spoke to every

who

one

chose to listen, that he preferred far more to

see in Constantinople the turban of a

helmet

of a Latin.

Turk than the

All this produced a painful impression upon

Emperor Constantino.
upon him
his

own

at the very

He

moment when he was

personal feeling to save,

He

Empire.

by military

if

sacrificing

possible, the ancient

did not attempt to suppress the disorders

but permitted the unfortunate people

force,

to cry themselves hoarse.

own

the

heard the curses heaped

violence, the

When worn

crowds grew

still,

out with their

and a sullen quiet-

ness reigned throughout Constantinople almost more

unbearable than the wildest clamours.


After the 12th of December a melancholy solitude
settled

down upon

scarcely

the splendid church of St Sophia, as

any one went into

it

Most

to pray.

so-called " everlasting lights " burning before

the relics

of the

some

of

and of the "miraculous eikons," were extin-

guished long before the arrival of the Turkish Imams.


^

Uhcrt. Fusculus, vers. 531-558.

Ducas,

loc. cit.

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

Even

the

125

name of St Sophia provoked impatience and


among the ignorant and fanatic Greeks,

indignation

who now

considered the church " nothing better than

a Jewish synagogue or

a heathen

temple."

would receive communion from the hands

who had

None

of the priests

the church on the day of the

officiated in

Union, nor were they allowed to bury the dead or

much hysterical excitement


among the nuns. One of them,

Especially

baptize children.

seems to have prevailed

highly esteemed for her piety and learning, declared


" she

woidd not fast any more ; she would

T'lcrJcish

garments, and

sacrifices

offer

eat meat,

wear

Mahomet!"

to

The excitement and the hatred against the Catholics


became
angel

so intense, " that," as

from heaven had

vjould save the city

would unite with


have refused

descended,

from

the

says, " even if

Ducas

and

an

declared that he

the Turks, if only the people

Church of Borne,

the Greeks

would

"^
!

This deplorable state of things was aggravated by


the want of patriotism and political

by the nobility and the higher


difficult

position in

wisdom displayed
The

classes in general.

which the Emperor Constantine

was placed cannot be better described than in his

own

words.

In ISTovember

friend Phrantzes

man

here with

1451, he wrote to his

"If I except thee, there

whom

looks solely after his

of

I can hold counsel

own
1

private interests

Ducas, 257.

is

no

every one
since thou


CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

126

my

hast gone abroad

mother has

who was

after her died also Cantacuzen,

impartial judgment

is

deeds.

The great Domesticos

With whom,

With

be done, and that

is

angry against

the

and goes hand in hand with John Cantacuzen.

Serbians,

then, can I take counsel

men who

or with

to

good and wise except his own words and

nothing

monks

capable of

Lucas Notaras asserts loudly that

what ought

he alone knows

and shortly

died,

the nobles

Every one

With

the

are as ignorant as they


of

them belongs

to one

party or another, and would betray to others the secret

him

I might confide to
15.

"

However, in the midst

of all these troubles

and

anxieties Constantine did not forget the duty of pre-

paring

as

well

as possible

for

the defence of

capital.

were collected into the State magazines;

oil,

his

Provisions of all sorts, especially corn and


all

the

princes and independent rulers, near and distant, were

appealed to for military assistance; special commissioners

were appointed

scription

made

of all

to repair the city walls,

men

fit

and con-

for military service.

As

the Treasury became exhausted, and as the appeal to


the patriotism of the higher classes proved of

little avail,*

the Emperor, on the advice of his Synklytos, or Privy


Council, ordered that churches and monasteries should
1

Phrantzes, 222.

*
'

El povero Imperador cum lachrime domandava prestasseno danari


et quell i inravono esser poveri, disfatti, che

per condur provisonati

dapoi presi

il

Signer Turcho quelli trovo richissimi."

Dolfin, 22.

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

up

deliver

127

mint their gold and

to the imperial

to be coined for the use of the

State,

silver,

and gave them

exchange receipts engaging to repay them fourfold

in

when

the peril menacing the city had passed

away.-"-

All this while Constantine continued in Adrianople


his

diplomatic

endeavours

avert

to

the

danger.

Chalil-Pasha, though compelled to be doubly careful

and cautious on account

war

of the

party,

way, for peace.

the increasing influence

of

worked continually, and

in his

own

Despot George Brankovich was doing

the same.

But

all

had taken complete pos-

session of the

mind

From boyhood an

of the Sultan.

admirer of the great conquerors, he was


ambition to immortalize his

He

quest.

and

name by

had commended to him the conquest


his last desire.^

garians

with

a notable con-

very likely gave some foundation for the

this

allies of

filled

clung to this idea with religious fervour,

popular version that his father Murad,

as

The idea

these influences were unavailing.

of capturing Constantinople

dying,

of Constantinople

The exhaustion

the Greek Empire

when

of

the natural

the Serbians and

Hun-

the confusion in Peloponnesus and in Albania,

echoes of wars between France and England, perhaps


also the

knowledge that the Pontifical Chair in

was occupied by an old

man

who

Eome

preferred to collect

books and bind them beautifully, to undertaking the


1

Phra7itzes, 256.

Sa'ad-icd-din.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

128

terrible anxiety involved in the organization of a

crusade

all

these gave fresh encouragement to

hammed's ambitious
and what they
from the

stars,

He

plans.

told him,

new
Mo-

consulted astrologers,

and what he read himself

only contributed to hurry him onward.

But he consulted

also

much with

experienced

men

of

war, discussed with them the plans of campaign, and

himself drew up sketches of the proposed dispositions


of his army.

He was

occupied with this question day and night,

and became quite


devising the best

never

sleepless,

means

so intent

was he upon

for capturing the ancient yet

world-famed residence of the

old,

On

Caesars.

one occasion about midnight he sent for Chalil-Pasha.

The old Grand- Vizier through


never

all his

long career had

yet been disturbed at such an unusual hour.

Even a man with a


well have

felt

perfectly clear conscience might

uncertain whether he was not called to

encounter the rage of the impulsive Sultan, whose ear

was not always closed

to intriguers

and calumniators.

Chalil appeared before the Sultan, carrying above his

head a bowl

filled

with golden

coins.

on his bed, completely dressed.

Mohammed
When he

was

sitting

saw

his grey-bearded Vizier enter bearing the

after the fashion of slaves, he asked, "

mean,

my

"it

an

is

Padishah

Lola {my uncle)

?"" Sire"

What

answered

old custom that dignitaries of state,


calls

bowl

does this
Chalil,

when

the

for them at unusual hours, should not

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS.

129

appear hefore his Majesty with empty hands!'' "Put


that

away!"

gold ; what

"/

said the Sultan;

I want

Constantinople

you

to

do

is

do not loant your

me

help

to

to

capture

"
!

The Vizier judiciously

cast himself into the current

and said that

of his master's thoughts,

for himself

he

doubted not that God, who had made the Sultan lord
of

the

all

deliver to

provinces of

him

the

Greek Empire, would


Empire.

also the capital of that

added that he was ready to

sacrifice

Chalil

his

life

and

turn

everything else in his master's service.

The Sultan
on
to

it all

night,

remind

thee

replied

from

"

Look on

one side

that thou

softened hy gold or silver.

this

my

bed

I wish

to the other.

must not allow thyself


Let

us,

only
to he

with a firm will and

with persistence, fight the Greeks, and trusting in God

and

his great Prophet, let us

work

to

win

the residence

of the Caesars!"^
Possibly soon after this peculiar conversation an
official

communication on the part

sent to the Emperor.

We

Sultan was

of the

do not

know

nature,

its

but the text of the Emperor's answer has been preserved.


"

As

it is

wrote Constantine to

clear,"

*^that thou desirest

satisfy thee either hy

my

Mohammed,

more war than peace, as

my protestations

readiness to swear allegiance, so


1

cannot

of sincerity, or hy

let it he

according to

Ducas, 140.
1

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

130

I turn now and

thy desire.
it he

Mis

oppose
desire

will that the city he thine, where is he

His

I shall

for peace,

release thee

from

and

treaties

who can

thee

with a

However,

with me, and,

my capital, I will defend my people


my hlood I Beign in happiness until

of

drop of

the All-just, the

he only too happy.

all thy oaths

closing the gates


to the last

If He should inspire

will ?

Should

look alone to God.

Supreme Judge,

calls

us hoth hefore His

judgment seat!"^
There

is

a remarkable simplicity and quiet dignity

in this letter.

It breathes the spirit of a brave soldier,

a devoted Christian, and an


of his

Emperor deeply conscious

duty to his people and to his own name.


*

Ditcas, 141.

CHAPTEK

V.

Military Arrangements of the Besiegers and


OF the Besieged.

The

Emperor Constantine

the

last letter of

Sultan conveys the impression of


to a formal

The date

of the actual declaration of

Lucas, which

Erom

we

shall

mention hereafter,

war was held

to

war has not

expressions of

certain

it

Kyr

would seem

have begun in December

Certainly both parties were openly preparing

1452.
foi it
for

being an answer

ultimatum.

been preserved.

that the

its

the

to

during the winter months.

Experiments with the monster cannon of the age


nstructed by

ginning
Sultan.

of

Urban were made

1453,

the

to

He named

it

great

" Basilica."

early in

satisfaction

the bethe

of

Karadja-Bey was

ordered to proceed with a corps of 10,000 irregular


cavalry to escort the huge
stantinople.

This

gun

expedition

to the walls of

started

one

Con-

day in

February, and required not less than six weeks to


reach

its

destination.

yoke of oxen, 200

The cannon was drawn by 60

men marched on

each side

to

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

132

support

while a company of pioneers and sappers

it,

levelled roads

and made

Karadja's flying

bridges.

was meanwhile scouring the country around

corps

Constantinople.

It

is

mentioned by the

especially

that on this occasion the castle of San

chroniclers

Stefano was taken by storm and sacked.

Armed
the
\

first

numerous

the

of

assembling on
the

by Timar and Ziyamet Beys,

bands, led

chiefs

military

fiefs,

were

the plains around Adrianople during

weeks

The Sultan held a grand

March.

of

review of his troops in the second half of that month.

On

this occasion the

most popular Ulemas, Sheiks, and

the white-robed descendants of the Prophet, offered up

prayers in the midst of the

army

for the successful

issue of the campaign.^


I

On
left

Friday, the 23rd of March,

Mohammed

himself

Adrianople with 12,000 Janissaries and several

thousand Spahis, his best troops.

The plans

for the siege

and perfected in

knew

all

had been

their details.

leisurely arranged,

Every commander

the exact spot he was to occupy before the walls

of Constantinople.

small

corps was detached to

keep Selimbria in check, and to prevent

and people sending help

to the capital.

its

garrison

Turachan-

Pasha had a large army in Thessaly, holding in check


both

Scanderbeg in

Albania

brothers in the Peloponnesus.


^

and

the

Emperor's

To prevent the

Sa^ad-ud-din, 56.

latter

133

MILITARY ARRANGEMENTS.

more

effectually

to Constan-

from sending assistance

Ahmed

with a

corps on a raid into the Peloponnesus, and

several

severe engagements were fought during the

summer

Turachan despatched his son

tinople,

Ahmed and

between

1453

of

Commander
Towards
cuirassiers

Mathasas Assan, the

of the troops of Prince Demetrius.-^

the

end

March a corps

of

1500

of

was seen riding one day on the road leadThis was the

ing from Philippopolis to Adrianople.

George Prince of Serbia was

auxiliary corps which

by treaty engaged

men were under


Voyvode Yaksha

to furnish

to

command

the

famous captain,

of a

their

com-

Eumours

destination.

their

The

Sultan.

Not even

of Breznik.

mander knew exactly

the

were current that the Sultan would cross to Asia to

down

put

cuirassiers

the

rebels

reached

Philippopolis, a messenger

quarters

When

Caramania.

of

on

village

from the

met them with an order

to

route to Constantinople, and there join the

Konstantinovich,

who was

Their

but

order produced
first

to

impulse

return

to

amongst the

was not

to

After

Serbia.

Ottoman

himself

with

the indignation which

the auxiliary corps, describes


this

head-

Sultan's

take the shortest

army

Michael

the

the other side of

Serbian

officers.^

proceed

further,

some

reflection,

however, Voyvode Yaksha found that such an action


1

Phrantzes, p. 235.

Michael the Janissary,

p. 102.

t
i

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

134

might injure the interests

of his Prince

and country.

some friendly Christians in the neighbour-

Besides,

hood informed him confidentially that the Turkish

would have

towns through which

the

in

garrisons

on

to pass

not to allow

its

ordered

There remained nothing

to return.

it

corps

his

way back had been

but to resume the march to the Sultan's camp under


the walls of Constantinople.

On

of

April

spot

one

the 6th

arrived

at

the Sultan

suite

distant

from

The towers and the domes

Constantinople.

As

great city were plainly visible.

man,

mile

Italian

and his

Mohammed

ordered

first

the

of

a true Mussul-

that his carpet should

be unrolled, and he turned towards Mecca and prostrated


Eising, he sent " tellals " (public

himself in prayer.
criers) to proclaim

of the city
visit

each

through the entire camp

had now begun

The

siege

Ulemas were ordered

to

regiment, to incite the " true believers " to

go cheerfully to the work, as the Prophet had plainly

promised that this renowned and wealthy town should

be

theirs.^

At daybreak

the Tth of April the lines were

of

drawn nearer the town, and each commander

led his

troops to the position previously assigned them.

The

Sultan's tent

of a small hill,

what

was pitched on the eastern slope

now known

as Mal-Tepp^, lying some-

to the right of the gate of St


1

Sa'ad-ud-dln, 157.

Eoman.

135

MILITARY ARRANGEMENTS.

In front and on both sides of the Sultan's tent were


placed the Janissaries, and in front of these, directly
"
opposite to the St Eoman's gate, the great " Basilica

and three other enormous guns were formed

into a

formidable battery.

On

fourteen other points batteries of four ordinary

Nine

cannon were erected.

these batteries were

of

strengthened by one additional and heavier piece, so


that 56 ordinary and 12 great cannon, besides
Basilica,"

"The

making altogether 69 cannon, were placed

in positions against the land walls of Constantinople.

No

contemporary power could show anything approach-

ing this formidable artillery of the Sultan in magnitude.

These batteries were ready by the 11th of April.


This, considering the circumstances, speaks well for the
skill

of

manders

of the

Ottoman

artillery.

Besides the cannon, which

modern

the com-

the engineers and the energy of

weapon

of

the

the most

represented

time,

there

were placed

between the batteries some of the old catapults, which

threw

large stones

it

is

against

the walls and

In the Turkish History

town.

stated

"

Stones thrown by the catapults

arbalets carried before the Eternal

who defended

into the

" Tatch-ul-Tevarrih"

the forts and

and

Judge the enemies

towers of Stamboul."^

Phrantzes, Ducas, Barbara, Dolfino, and others.

Ahmed-Djevad Bey, Etat Militaire Ottoman,

i.

205.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

186

And

the use of these antiquated machines

also

is

mentioned by Giacomo Tedardi, who was one

of the

volunteer defenders of the city.^

The

right

by troops

wing

was occupied

of the Turkish position

levied in Asia Minor, under the

command

Mustapha- Pasha, the Anadoly Beyler Bey.

wing was composed

of troops levied in the

The

of

left

Balkan Pen-

and commanded by the Eumili Beyler Bey Tur-

insula

Behind the centre

achan.

On

a strong reserve.

of the position

was placed

the other side of the Golden

Horn, Zagan-Pasha and Karadja-Bey occupied a

and a

which

field,

at that time

formed the common of

Galata, and on which the suburb of Pera

Zagan and Karadja kept the

built.

hill

was afterwards

Italian suburb of

Galata in check, and their battery at the top of the


hill

commanded the western

portion of the Golden

Horn.

No

previous Ottoman

Sultan

had marshalled so

numerous an army as the one brought together by

Mohammed
witnesses

under the walls

and

Eye-

of Constantinople.

contemporaries

disagree

about

numerical strength: Chalcochondylas estimated


400,000
says

it

men Archbishop Leonardo at

says

300,000

its

at

Ducas

had 265,000 men, Phrantzes 258,000, the author

of rAr?/7ios

there

it

217,000 (adding, however, that of true Turks

were not more


that the

spoil of
^

than

70,000),

Evliya-Chelebi

Constantinople

Informacion, 22.

was divided

MILITARY ARRANGEMENTS.
amongst 170,000 warriors

number

culated the

137

the Venetian Barbaro cal-

of fighting

men

at 160,000

the

Florentine Tedardi at 200,000, but he explained that of


these " only 140,000 were

mainder were

and

other

effective soldiers,

men who followed


The Turkish

plunder."

while the re-

tailors, pastry-coolcs, artizans, petty traders,

army in hope of profit

the

army had not more than 80,000

besieging

or

historian Cheirrulah says the


fighting

men.

Most probably Mohammed brought with him an

army

of about 70,000,

ceeded, was increased


of

whom

We

but this army, as the siege pro-

by thousands

of

men

like those

Tetardi speaks.

are indebted to the

same observant Italian

for

a few features of the general appearance of this Turk-

His sketch, taken from the very walls of

ish army.

Constantinople, coincides in

many

respects with

what

we have

already quoted from the Chevalier Brocqui^re.

"

About

the

Tedardi,

"

fourth

'part

was armed hy hauhergeons and jaches

men were armed in

the French,

fashion^ others in various ways

hows

others

and

arms than wooden

cranqitins
shields

of Turkish swords."

One
made

of the

is

Turkish army!' says

of the

and

some

some in the Hungarian


some had iron helmets,

some were without other


scimitars,

a peculiar form

most important statements which Tedardi

that the Turkish


'^

army contained numbers

Informacion, 21.

of


138

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

Christians

of

precise

and

Greece

anonymous author

number

other

The

countries.-^

of the Thrynos gives us even the

thousand!

thirty

This

sad detail __

receives confirmation from the Archbishop of Chios,


"

But who has in fact

self, "

the

if not the Christians themselves

own

eyes that the

he asked him-

besieged the city"

and who has taught

Gh^eeks, the

Turks

the military art,

my

have seen with

Latins, the Germans, the

Hungarians, and men of every other Christian nationality were

mixed up with

the

Turks,

and with them

together stormed the walls ! "

This fact conclusively shows the moral confusion

then prevalent amongst the Christians in the Balkan


doubly sad when compared with the

Peninsula, and

it is

state of things

which prevailed in Constantinople

The Emperor Constantine had exhausted every


and

to obtain reinforcements,

his Legate that the

solemnly proclaimed.

effort

to place the capital in

the best possible state of defence.


bestir himself only after

itself.

The Pope began

to

he received the report from

Union had been formally and


But the representations which

he sent to other powers had not much practical

Only Venice and Alfonso, the King

effect.

to equip each ten galleys to join the other ten warships

which the Pope promised

But much time was

to

lost in

of Naples, decided

supply at his

equipping this

own

fleet.

expense.

Not

till

the 27th of April, after the siege had been in progress


^

Informaeion, 25.

Leonardo da

Scio,

La

Pi-esa, 258.

139

MILITARY ARRANGEMENTS.

for

three weeks, did

the Pope sign letters formally

empowering Jacob, the Archbishop

of Eagusa, to take

On f

charge of the equipment of the promised galleys.^

7th of

the

May

the Venetian squadron sailed from

More time

Venice.^

elapsed before the fleets united/

and they did not arrive

Euboea

at the island

till

the /

second day after Constantinople had fallen

The

had been un-

repairs of the walls of the city

fortunately placed under the superintendence of two

monks, skilled in engineering, but greedy and dishonest.

was believed that some

It

of the

money, destined

the fortifications, went into the monks' pockets.

may

ever that

be, the condition

of the walls

for

Howwhen

the Turks appeared was so bad that the Greeks were


afraid to place

heavy cannon upon them

The outside wall had been repaired by the Emperor

John

Palaeologus

some time between 1433 and 1444.

The inner and higher


not

less

than

112

wall, connecting

square

on the land side

towers,

thoroughly repaired for centuries.

had

Most

been

not

of these

112

towers had been constructed in the ninth and tenth


centuries.

Horn

all

Theophilus

On
of
^

'

one

The walls and the towers along the Golden


dated
(a.d.

of

from

the

time

of

the

Emperor

829-841).^
the towers on

the side of the

Sea

Marmara (between Koum-Kapou and Yeni-Kapou)


Raynaldi, Annates Eccles., xviii. 610.
Acta Archivi Veneti, ii. 454.

Mordtmann,

32.

^
r

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

140

a Greek inscription in bricks remains to this day, showing that that particular tower and the wall adjoining

were rebuilt in the year 1448 at the expense

it

What a

Despot of Serbia, George Brankovich.^


irony of

fate, to

of the

terrible

find only five years later, the

same

Christian Prince assisting the Sultan with a contingent


of cuirassiers to take Constantinople

Dolphin mentions that the tower Anemandra, near the


gate called Kylo-Porta, had been repaired by Cardinal
Isidore, probably

According

with funds furnished by the Pope.^

to Tedardi's statement, the inner wall

was

about 20 yards high, the outer being somewhat lower.^

Measurements made in our time have shown the ditch


have been 40 yards wide.*

to

The weakest point

in the walls

be behind the Palace of

was considered

Hebdomon

to

(near the Egri-

Kapoussi of to-day), where there was only a single wall

At

without any ditch.

the request of the Emperor

the Venetian captain Alois Diedo set the


his

ships

to

dig

ditch

there.

The

inaugurated on the 14th of March with


in the presence

of

the

men from
work

much ceremony

Emperor and

of

the State

dignitaries.

On

completed.

The Diedo ditch was 104 yards

the

was

31st of March the work was


long, its

scarp being 15 and counter-scarp 13 English feet deep.

The whole text of the inscription in the Miklosich, Monumenta


and in Mordtmann's Belagerung, in the Notes, p. 132.
* Mordtmann, 35.
^ Inforinacion 23.
Dolphin, 24.

Serbica, p. 146,
2

MILITARY ARRANGEMENTS.

At

that time

it

141

was known that the Turkish army was

approaching, and on the same day, the 31st of March,


the Emperor himself mounted guard with his

men on

neighbouring hill to prevent Turkish horsemen suddenly


appearing and attacking the

workmen

in the ditch.

The Emperor had ordered a conscription

to be

made

men able to fight, and of all sorts of arms. Phrantzes,


who was charged with this task, reports that he found

of

only 4973 Greeks and about 2000 foreigners capable


of defending the walls.^

that

there

Archbishop Leonardo says

were altogether 6000 Greeks and 3000

Latin Volunteers to defend the


that

there

were between

Tedardi states

city.

25,000 and

30,000

men

capable of bearing arms, but only between 6000 and

His statement confirms remarkably

7000 combatants.
that

of

thousand
the

"With

Phrantzes.

hardly-exercised

men

force

of

hastily-collected

seven,

or,

at

the Emperor Constantine had to defend

weak walls

of his capital against

an army fully ten

times that number, and possessing 69 cannon

while scarcely
to defend the

and

most, nine

ni^be

key

And

thousand Christians could be found

of three continents, the glorious re-

sidence of the old rulers of the world, thirty thousand

the ranks of the Sultan's army,

Christians were in

ready to shed their blood to bring

from St Sophia and replace

it

down

by the Crescent

The unhappy Emperor, notwithstanding


^

the Cross

Phrantzes, p. 241.

his personal

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

142

and moral courage, was exceedingly discouraged by


In order

the results of the conscription.

to avert a

general panic at the very beginning of the defence, he


directed that the particulars of the conscription should

be kept secret, and at the same time ordered that

all

whatever nationality, entering the harbour,

ships, of

should be detained, and

if

need be their crews com-

When

pelled to defend the walls.

told that a few-

nobles and other people had left the town, the Emperor
" said

nothing, but sighed deeply

"'

In the great council of war, under the presidency of


the Emperor, which had to decide on the final arrange-

ments

for the defence, the first

question was
tion of St

and most important

To whom should be entrusted the

posi-

The Turks had placed

their

Eoman's Gate

heaviest cannon and their best soldiers opposite that


gate,

and

it

was obvious that they intended

to con-

centrate their fiercest attack on that point.

When

the Emperor raised the question none of the

Greek and Latin captains present seemed willing


break silence or to offer any suggestion.

to

Then sud-

denly Juan Giustiniani di Longo, a Genoese captain

who had
Italian

arrived with

crossbowmen

the Emperor, said


to

stand there with

name defend

"

500

volunteers well-armed

in January, rose,

and bowing to

Trusting in God's help,

my men, and to

the

I am

honour of Christ's

the gate against the attacks of the


^

Fhrantzes, p. 241.

ready

enemy !

"


MILITARY ARRANGEMENTS.

143

These simple and noble words were greeted by loud

The Emperor thanked the

cheers from all present.^


speaker,

and promised

bestow on him the island of

to

Lesbos, with the dignity of a prince,

if

only the Turks

should be repulsed.

The Emperor

decided

further

to

make

his

own

headquarters in the Church of St Koman, which was

and

in the immediate neighbourhood of the gate,

at

that place of greatest danger and honour took under

command 3000

his

the

of

Greek and Latin

best

soldiers.

To the
northerly

from the gate

right

direction,

St

of

was the gate

Koman,

called

in a

Charsias.^

There the Emperor posted a small company of Greeks,

command

under

of

the famous

archer Theodore of

Karystos.^

The next gate was that


drium,

now

this position

company

Erom

Polyandrium or Milyan-

of their countrymen.*

extended somewhat to the

Golden Horn, protecting the part of

the city called Blaquerna, after

the imperial palace

quoted by Raynaldi, Annates,

Turco-Oraecia,

Earlier writers place the gate of Charsias


;

1. i.,

p. 9

xviii. 406.

somewhat more

to the

but Mordtmann's researches in Constantinople have proved


Mordtmann, 46 and 137.

their mistake.
*

of

Genoese

and Troylo Bocciardi, with a

this gate the walls

east towards the

north

The defence

was undertaken by the three

brothers, Paolo, Antonio,

small

of

called Edirne Capoussi.

Fhrantzes, 257.

Barbara, 19.

144

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

which stood
to the

That position had been entrusted

there.

Venetian Baylo (Minister-Eesident) Girolamo

Minnoti,

who commanded

residents

and

Further
defend

a corps formed of Venetian

strangers.^

north the walls had no ditch to

to the

them.

This

was

position

called

from the name of the adjoining suburb.


pected that the Turks would here try to

by undermining the

With

walls.

Emperor entrusted the defence

fortifications, at

was ex-

make

a breach

a view to
a

to

this,

the

German mining

by name.^

engineer, Johannes Grant

The command

Calligaria,

It

at the north-western angle of

the

the gate called Cynegion (now Ayvan-

Seray-Kapoussi) was entrusted to the Pope's Legate,


Cardinal Isidore.^

From

the central position at St

was stationed a small company


the

command

of their

Eoman

to the left

of Venetians,

countryman Dolphino.

under
After

the conquest, the gate of this position was walled up,

and even

name has been

its

forgotteti.

Near that gate was the one


(now

Silivri-Kapoussi),

called Sylivria or

which obtained

for

its

Pygi

com-

mander the learned Greek mathematician Theophilo


Palseologue, assisted

by the Genoese Mauricio Cattaneo

and the Venetian Mccolo Mocenigo.*

At

the next gate

its

name has

Barharo, 19

Fhrantzes, 252

'

Barbara, 17

Phrantzes, 253.

not been preserved

Ducas, 203.
*

Barbara, 16

Phrantzes, 254.

Phrantzes, 253.

MILITARY ARRANGEMENTS.

the

command was

145

in the hands of

the Venetian

Tabrucio Cornero.

The south-western angle

the fortifications was

of

occupied by a strong tower, or rather a castle, called

Cyclobyon (now the well-known Seven Towers, Yedi-

The entrance

Kuleler).
called "

to this

The Golden Gate," and

Horn

to the Sea of

Emanuelo

Marmara.

Venetian

N.,

IST.

was the

stretching from

the south in the walls

fided to the

it

tower was generally


last gate to

the Golden

This position was con-

Contarini and to the Genoese

who had under

command 200

their

Italian archers.^

It has not been recorded

who had

position between the Cyclobyon

Hypsomathia.

It is supposed that a

monks had been


city

collected

and stationed

serious attack could

at

charge of the

and the next gate of

number

this

point, against

young

of

from the monasteries

of the

which no

have been expected.

Giacomo Contarini, with a small company


Venetian countrymen, held

the

gate

of

his

called Contos-

calium (now Koum-Kapoussi).^

The next gate was named, on account


mity to the church of
also Basilika
of the position

was given

of its proxi-

St Sophia, Chodegetria, and

(now Ashir-Kapoussi).

The command

between Contoscalium and Chodegetria

to the Spanish Consul,

Phrdntzes, Barbara,

'

Phranizes, he.

cit.

Don Pedro

Giuliano.^

loc. cit.
'

Phrantzes, 252.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

146

Chodegetria was the most eastern gate in the walls

washed by the sea

Seraglio

was

Marmara.

of

In the Acropolis

now

the Eski-Seray, or the Old


ill-fated pretender

posted the

to the

Ottoman throne, Orkhan-Effendi, with a small number


Turkish followers.

of his

All

the

positions

from

the

Acropolis

to

the

Cynegion, along the Golden Horn, were placed under

supreme command of Kyr

the

Lucas Notaras, the

Grand-Admiral, who not only had the highest mili-

rank

tary

and

brave

considered

generally

Empire,

Byzantine

the

in

but

was

experienced

though he was not much liked on account

officer,

of his hasty temper.

At

the entrance of the harbour stood a tower in

which the Venetian Gabriello Treviso posted himself


with

men.

fifty

strong iron chain was stretched across the

of the harbour.

preserved

was formed
in

iron

the

in

of

sheets

portion of

Arsenal

of

this chain

mouth

has been

Constantinople.

It

huge oblong rings of oak enclosed

and linked together by small iron

rings.

Along that
a

number

lines,

chain, inside the harbour, 15 galleys

of smaller craft

were drawn up in several

and placed under the orders

captain, Antonio Diedo.

altogether 26 galleys

5 of

and

of the

Venetian

There were in the harbour

them Genoese, 5 Venetian,

MILITARY ARRANGEMENTS.

147

3 Cretan, 1 Anconitan, 1 Spanish, and 1 Erench, while


the remaining 10 were Greek.^

Nearer to the centre of the town, in the free space


surrounding the Church of the Holy Apostles (where

now stands

the mosque of the Sultan

was stationed a corps

Mohammed Fethi),

about 700 men,

of

mostly

recruited from the monks, as a reserve force under the

command

of

Demetrius Cantacuzene, and of his son-

in-law Mcephoras Palseologus.^

All the corps at the walls had priests and

monks

attached to them for the purpose of constantly saying

masses and offering special prayers.

In

all

the churches day and night services were to

The morning

be performed almost without ceasing.


liturgies

were

generally

concluded

by processions

through the streets and along the walls.

The Emperor Constantine usually


in the church

which happened

made

morning

was

his early

at the

visits to the

after them,

mounted on

he made the round of the

re-

fortifications, visiting

the positions, impressing on the soldiers " the duty

of enduring everything for

**

and often

Arabian mare,^ followed by a small but chosen

tinue,
all

walls,

he

solemn services between morning and noon.

Between these devotions and


his

assisted at matins

to be nearest as

God's glory"

Phrantzes, 250.

According to the popular tradition.

lalres Grecqucs, Paris, p. 74.

He would

Phrantzes, 255.

Recueil de Chansons Popu-

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

148
return

headquarters

his

to

Eoman, and

after a short rest

behind the gate of St

under a great tent

Emperor was usually accompanied by

the

task

start

In this self-imposed

again on his tour of inspection.

friend Phrantzes

Don Francesco
Duke of Alba).

his

and by a distant cousin, the Spaniard

di Toledo (the great-great-uncle of the

The suburb Galata, on


Golden Horn, in

itself

other

the

side

of

the

a fortified town, was mainly

They formed a

inhabited by Genoese.

special

munity under a Syndic, were independent

com-

of the

Emperor's jurisdiction, and in intimate connection with

The Galata

mother-republic.

their

great

were

mostly avaricious merchants, not caring much

for

any considerations
but

policy,

possible

of public morality or

looking always

benefits

for

utmost

exclusively.

The

as Catholics, arrogant

Sultan's

Genoese thought

fully returned this enmity.

Having heard from


of

them

the

higher

and unscrupulous competitors in commerce

and the Genoese

the

secure

to

themselves

Greeks heartily detested


foreigners,

citizens

their compatriots in Adrianople

extensive preparations,
it

the Galata

quite compatible with their duty

towards their fellow-Christians on the one hand, and


their duty towards themselves

energetically in

pressing reports
nople,

two
of

directions.

on the other,

They

sent to

to act

Genoa

the danger menacing Constanti-

and advised that military assistance should be

MILITARY ARRANGEMENTS.

149

One

promptly despatched to the Emperor.

result of

these efforts was the most welcome arrival of their

compatriot Giustiniani, with his Italian cross-bowmen.

But

same time they despatched

at the

to Adrianople to impress
fact that

They

Galata

special envoys

upon the Sublime Porte the

was independent

of

the Emperor.

offered to pledge themselves to be neutral spec-

tators,

and not

Emperor

to assist the

in

any way, but

demanded that the Sultan should acknowledge


neutrality,

and engage not

to molest their town.

their

To

and before he moved

this the Sultan gladly acceded,

against Constantinople he promised solemnly to respect

the neutrality of Galata.^

In consequence

of

these

transactions, while the

Greek capital was in the throes


Galata remained tranquil,
opportunity to

make

its

of the deadly struggle,

inhabitants taking the

large profits

belligerents with provisions

by supplying both

and other merchandise at

exorbitant prices.

Under such

peculiar circumstances did the siege of

Constantinople take place.


^

The Janissary Michael

gives another version.

He

says that it was

arranged that the Galata people should be unmolested during the


struggle

but

if

the Sultan conquered the city, they should at once

acknowledge themselves his subjects.

CHAPTEE

VI.

The Diaeies of the

Siege.

The Journal kept by Niccolo Barbaro, a Venetian


who fought on the side of the Greeks, the Memoirs
of

Emperor's

the

Phrantzes,

another
bishop

the

friend

report

defender of
of

Chios,

city,

attendant

constant

submitted

the

to

Pope by

the

Leonardo, the

Arch-

and the Slavonic Diary, written

most probably by an
afford sufficient

and

eye-witness

materials for the

the story of the struggle as

it

these

together

reconstruction

of

proceeded from day

to day.

The Turkish cannonade commenced on the 11th

of

April.

The
giant

signal

was given by the

"Basilica."

It

first

shot from the

seemed as though a sudden

peal of thunder shook the earth and tore the skies, so

deafening the crash and far and wide


tions.

its

reverbera-

Since the creation of the world nothing like

had been heard on the shores


the city not only terrified

of the Bosphorus.

women with

it

In

their children,

THE DIARIES OF THE


but

men

also,

street, striking

Eleysson

what

from their houses into

rushed

their breasts
is

151

SIEGE.

going

and exclaiming,

happen now

to

''

the

Kyrie

"
?

They were not reassured when exaggerated reports


about

tjie

enormous

size of the

mouth

quickly passed from

The Greek cannon

city.

of the largest calibre

and

a half "

to

(called

threw

Turkish stone-balls

mouth throughout the


eXe^oXei, helepoli)

balls not exceeding

one

The

Kentenar," or 150 Greek pounds.

smallest Turkish balls thrown against the walls were

not less than 200 Greek pounds in weight; most of

them varied between 200 and 500 pounds, while the


Turkish battery in front of the gate of St

Eoman was

throwing balls varying in weight from 800 to 1200

and

much time was required to clean


even when the Turks loaded with

Fortunately

pounds.

reload, so that,

the greatest quickness, these huge cannon could be


fired

only seven times a day.

On

the 12th of April, about one o'clock in the after-

noon, the Turkish


nople.

fleet

appeared in sight of Constanti-

It did not undertake

anything.

The ships

dropped anchor near the Asiatic shore, opposite the

Diplokynion of that time (now known as Beshiktash).

The

fleet

galleys as

was not

so imposing

by the number

by the greatness

of smaller ships.

of its

From

the

tops of some towers in Constantinople the watchers


believed

they

had counted about

smaller ships composing the Sultan's

145
fleet.

bigger

and

'

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

152

Between the

and 18th

12th

But

on day by day.

had hardly any

it

Turks did not understand how


}

^\
I

efficiently.

They were

nothing

April

of

The cannonade went

specially noteworthy happened.

The

effect.

to point their

cannon

also obliged to repair Urban's

giant " Basilica," which on the

first

out of order.

mentioned that Urban

strengthened

It is specially
its resistance to

or second day got

the charge by binding

it

with several iron rings.

The Greeks endeavoured


great stone shot

chalk and brick dust

Both
heavy

to lessen the effect of the

by pouring a mortar prepared with

down

the walls.

parties discharged arrows

These

rifles.

rifles

and

were as yet

tired

rare,

long and

and neither

Turks nor Greeks had a great number

of

them.

Still,

as Barbaro expressly mentions, the Greeks

more

of

them than the Turks.

Most

were posted at the gate of St

had

of the riflemen

Eoman, where,

as

already stated, the choicest troops were gathered under

the

command

of the

of Giustiniani, to fight

under the eyes

Emperor.

Though the

first

eight days of the siege were not

interesting from a military point of view, they were

not without interest of a different kind.


Shortly after the opening

ambassadors
j

from

John

of

the cannonade the

Hunyady, the Eegent

of

With

re-

Hungary, arrived in the Turkish camp.


spectful

greetings

to

the

mighty

"

Grand-Turk,"

THE DIARIES OF THE

Hunyady informed

153

SIEGE.

the Sublime Porte that he had

ceased to be " Gubernator Begni Hungariae,'' and had

surrendered
of

all

the young

power and government into the hands

King

Yladislaus.

Desiring to restore

new

king, he returned the

full liberty of action to

the

document signed by the Sultan's Thougra, approving


of the armistice

concluded in Smederevo 1451, and

asked that the document signed by his


yady's)

Its

move

march against him.


arguments

in aid of the

purpose was to intimidate the Sultan by

hinting that the Hungarian

was more

(Huu-

signature might be returned to him.

This was evidently a diplomatic


Greeks.

own

It

army might eventually

was a move

to strengthen the

Hunyady himself

of Chalil-Pasha for peace.

of a burly soldier than a diplomatist.

fine diplomatic

This

scheme could have been evolved only

in the head of an Italian Cardinal, or in the experi-

enced and versatile brain of the old Despot of Serbia,

who was

generally considered

an extremely

As

diplomatist as well as an able soldier.

skilful

has been

Despot George, at the request of the new

seen, the

Sultan,

it

and against the warnings

had mediated successfully

of a

Greek

patriot,

for a three years' armistice

between Hungary and Turkey.

Most

likely the anger

Kyr Lucas Notaras and of Cantacuzene against the


Despot
of which we have heard from the Emperor's

of

letter to

Phrantzes

had

vention in this armistice.

been provoked by his interIf it

were true that the

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

154
armistice

had given the Sultan a

free

hand

to attack

Constantinople, the cancelling of the same might be

considered likely to induce the Sultan to desist from


the siege.

But every measure undertaken by George Brankovich, however skilfully and logically planned, almost
invariably missed

and undesirable
with

sation

its

purpose, and produced unexpected

Once, in a memorable conver-

results.

the

famous

Capistran, George himself said


hut no good luck,

and

my people

"

of him,

remember me as a

will

His people certainly

wise hut unfortunate Prince!"

had that opinion

monk John
God gave me vnsdom

Franciscan

and even generally believed

his misfortunes were the Divine punishment

treason which his father,


to

for

the

Vuk Brankovich, was supposed

have committed against Tzar Lazar in the great

battle

on the

field of

Kossovo,

a.d.

1389.

If fatality could constitute a sure

mark whereby

to

recognize the work of George Brankovich, this Hungarian

mission to the Sultan's

camp was

ambassadors were allowed to


front of
officers

St

Eoman's Gate.

saw how the Turks

visit

his

The

work.

the great battery in

When

the

Hungarian
they

fired their cannon^

laughed loudly, and told them that notwithstanding


the weight of their balls they would never succeed in

making a breach in the


Christians,

who

walls.

And

then

these

came to draw away the Sultan from

the walls of Constantinople, actually instructed

the

THE DIARIES OF THE


Turkish artillery

officers

against

effectively

how

cannon

to level their

All the more

these very walls!

contemporary writers

important

155

SIEGE.

relate

this

fact.^

Phrantzes gives an explanation which seems to have


circulated

among the people

in the city.

He

says that

the Hungarians really desired Constantinople to


as soon as possible, as a Serbian hermit,

Hunyady

prophecy, had told

gift of

would not get

rid of the

famous

fall

for his

that Christendom

Turks until they had taken

possession of Constantinople

On

the 18th of April the cannonade continued the

whole day as usual, intermingled with shots from the


rifles

and cross-bows whenever

enemy exposed

and wherever

an

day.

The

shades of evening descended softly, and the full

moon

himself.

It

was a

fine

threw her pale light upon the wondrous beauty of the


Bosphorus.

About nine

o'clock suddenly big drums,

cymbals, horns, and pipes (zournes) echoed through the

Turkish

camp along

the whole line, and masses

of

Turkish warriors advanced with loud shouts towards


the walls.

In the city at this hour

vigils

were being held in

most churches, and crowds of people

filled

and outside

tapers in their

courts, holding

lighted

the naves

hands, often throwing themselves on their knees in

prayer at signals given from the


^

Phrantzes,

haro, 21.

239

Ducas, 275

altar.

The

CJialcochoTidylas,

448

beautiful

N. Bar-

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

156

many

evening had tempted

people into the streets.

Suddenly the alarm-signal was sounded from the walls,

and the

from

bells

churches and monasteries began

all

The congregations

immediately to ring clamorously.

in the churches rushed out terrified, and dispersed in

The Slavonic

confusion.
scene, says

"

The

chronicler, describing

this

reports of rifles, the ringing of

hells,

the clashing of arms, the cries of fighting men, the shrieks

of

women and wailing of children, produced such a noise,

that
fell

it

Clouds of smoke

seemed as if the earth trembled.

upon

the city

and

the camp,

last could not see each other,"

The struggle

lasted for

and

the combatants at

-^

some time

after midnight.

Barbaro wrote down in his Journal that the Emperor


greatly feared the

to

wounded

in

forcing an

But the Turks relinquished the attempt, and

entrance.
retired

enemy would succeed

their

in the

o'clock in the

camp, leaving

moat and on the

many

glacis.

killed

and

About three

morning quietness again reigned, broken

only by the cries of the wounded for water or for


help.

The defenders

of the walls

were so exhausted by

the fight that the Emperor, visiting

all

the positions

before dawn, found in several places the sentinels and

guards sleeping heavily.^

On

the

19 th of April the Turks removed their

wounded from the


^

glacis,

The Slavonic Chronicler,

then they carried away and

p. 27.

Ibid.

THE DIARIES OF THE

157

SIEGE.

burned the bodies of their dead.

According to the

Slavonic chronicler, the burning of the killed soldiers

was a regular practice

Turks during

of the

In Constantinople a solemn Te

Deum

was

assistance in the repulse of the assault

After

the

church

State

Some

dignitaries.

assault

Divine

celebrated.

Emperor held a
commanders and some civil

service

council with the principal

this siege.

for the

the

thought that

of these

the

the previous night had something to do

of

with the Hungarian cancelling of the armistice, and


that the Sultan might raise the siege.

such a decision

it

was thought wise

To

facilitate

to build a golden
;

bridge for him, to enable

honour.

him

to retrace his steps with

was therefore resolved

It

to the Sultan,

and to ask

to send

for peace

on any conditions

he might prescribe short of the surrender of the

On

the

an embassy

city.

20th of April, about ten o'clock in the

morning, four sailing-ships appeared on the southern


'i
horizon,
of

and speedily approached Constantinople.

them was soon recognized

Emperor's
trading

fleet,

all

loaded

bought by the Emperor for the public


Shortly afterwards
seen

sailing

to

to

'

the

and the three others were Genoese

They were

ships.

as belonging

One

the

whole

meet them.

with

wheat

stores.

Turkish

In the

fleet

sight

of

was
the

Greeks and Latins, who crowded the southern walls, 4


the first naval engagement of the Turks with the
Christians

was fought on

this

memorable day,

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

158
part of

the right wing of

forth,

army

the Turkish

also

The Sultan himself rode

witnessed the engagement.

with a splendid retinue of Viziers and Pashas, to

the shore of the Sea of Marmara, drawing bridle only

when
[^'

the waves began to wash the hoofs of his horse.

The four Christian


Turkish

fleet of

145

ships accepted battle with the

Crowds

ships.

walls naturally trembled for


inevitable

doom

of people

what seemed

of their friends.

But the Greek and Genoese crews were born

They used
time

it

among

their

on the

them the

to

Greek

sailors.

so skilfully that in a short

lire

became evident that great confusion prevailed


the Turkish

fleet.

The Sultan was dismayed

at tUe aspect the fight assumed,

and when his

fleet

turned back and sailed towards the Diplokynion, he


could not restrain his anger.

He

shook his

fist

at the

cowards, cursed Balta-Oglou, his Admiral, and in a


perfect fury spurred his charger into the sea.

But

all this

demonstration was of no

Balta-

avail.

Oglou took his ships back to their anchoring-place,

and the Christian ships

sailed

on until they dropped

their anchors under the city walls, to the great joy of

Late in the evening the chain which

the citizens.

closed the harbour

the

command

of

was lowered, two


the

Venetian

galleys,

captains

under

Gabrielo

Trevisani and Zacharia Grioti, sailed out, and with a

continual flourish of trumpets brought into harbour


the four ships, whose captains and crews had done

THE DIARIES OF THE

names

Cataneo,

On

their

to

The

compatriots.

the Emperor's ship was Flan tan elas, and

captairi of

the

day

honour that

such

159

SIEGE.

Genoese

three

the

of

Novara, and

were

captains

Balanere/

the 21st of April, under heavy and continued!

from the great Turkish battery, one of the towers

fire

defending the gate of St


Barbaro,

who was

Eoman suddenly

collapsed,

himself on that spot, wrote in his

Journal that had the Turks immediately stormed with


only 10,000

men

they could have entered the town,

and the conquest would have then been accomplished.^


Fortunately the Turks, not expecting such an im-

mediate

effect of their

fire,

a speedy assault.

for

It

had made no preparations


happened

that

also

the

Sultan was not in his usual place on the Mal-Tep4

He had

Hill.

gone very early in the morning with

10,000 horsemen to Diploky onion.


before

There he called

him Suleyman-Bey Balta-Oglou, the

Admiral

of his fleet, reproached

disgrace of the previous day,

him

ill-fated

violently for the

and ordered him

to be

taken away from his presence, to be impaled, and die


a slow and terrible death.

This horrible sentence shocked the Viziers, Pashas,

and
^

other

The

Journal,

state

and court

dignitaries

description of this naval engagement

24

Phrantzes,

248

is

who were

given in Barbaro 's

Ducas,

268 ; Chalcochondylas, 450.


Phrantzes adds that the Turks themselves affirmed they lost on that
;

day 12,000 men, which


2 N. Barbaro, 26.

is

no doubt a great exaggeration.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

160

present into pity, and they

fell

the Sultan, imploring his

mercy

Mohammed was

for

Suleyman-Bey.

replaced

the

first

in the sight of the whole

which he had been until that morning the

fleet,

of

chief

commander, and in the sight

who accompanied

and

softened,

sentence with a second one

on the ground before

the

of the

horsemen

Sultan, Balta-Oglou received

one hundred lashes, one accidentally destroying one of


his eyes.

His property was

and the proceeds

also to be

confiscated,

of its sale to be divided

amongst the

Janissaries.

After this painful scene the Sultan presided over a

great military council specially convoked at DiplokyI

The embassy from the Emperor Constantine

nion.

had

arrived the preceding day, and

placed before the Council was

the question

Should the propositions

Emperor concerning peace be accepted

of the

jected

now

or re-

The Grand-Vizier

Chalil strongly argued that this

opportunity should be seized to withdraw honourably


1

from before the

walls.

He

stated that the assault of

the 18th of April, and the naval engagement of the


previous day, proved clearly
capture

it

was not

so

easy to

Constantinople, and that while none could

foretell the length of the siege, all

lasted the greater

knew

the longer

it

was the danger that a Christian

army might appear in their rear. He reminded


those present that Hungary had already reclaimed

all
its

THE DIARIES OF THE


liberty of action, that preparations

161

SIEGE.

were progressing in

might arrive any

Italy,

and that the Venetian

day.

His conviction was that Constantinople would

fall

fleet

into the lap of the Sultan one day, as the ripe

fruit

falls

from the

tree,

but he

that golden fruit not yet ripe.

thought

(Chalil)

His proposal was to

conclude peace with the Emperor on conditions which

would drain the

vital forces

from Constantinople, and

thereby accelerate the ripening of the


that

purpose

he

suggested the

fruit,

demand

of

and

to

70,000

ducats as the yearly tribute of the Emperor to the

Padishah.

According to Sa'ad-ud-din, Sheikh Ak-Shemzeddin-

Ulema Ahmed-Kurani and Zagan-

Effendi, the learned

Pasha, earnestly opposed the arguments of Chalil.

It

was hardly to be expected the military commanders

would vote at
therefore

this special juncture

for

peace.

It

was not surprising that an overwhelming

majority of the Council declared for the continuation


of the siege.

The answer given

to the Emperor's ambassadors

was

to the effect that peace could be concluded only

on

the Emperor's immediate surrender of the city.

In

that case the Sultan


to the

peace

would cede the entire Peloponnesus

Emperor, and guarantee to him undisturbed

and sovereignty in that

State,

while to the

Emperor's brothers, Demetrius and Thomas, compensation could be given elsewhere,

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

162

The arguments
in

of the Grand-Vizier only succeeded

convincing the military commanders that

As

imperative to hasten the conquest.

had been attacked only on one


however small the

garrison,

was

it

It

assault.

was

clear

therefore,

possible for the

Greeks to concentrate their whole force

would be

was

yet the city

and

side,

it

to repulse the

the chances of success

that

were simul-

infinitely increased if the city

taneously attacked on two sides.

As

seemed

his military advisers

to

be at a loss for

them a plan

practical suggestions, the Sultan laid before

he had been studying for some time, and for eventual

made

execution of which he had

drew attention

preparations.

from the shores

to the fact that

He

of the

Bosphorus, at a point between Diplokynion and Galata,


a valley opened in a south-western direction, skirting
the western base of the hill overlooking Galata, and

descending gently to the basin of the Golden Horn,

and that
,

it

might be possible

to transport ships

from

the Bosphorus through that valley into the harbour!

The whole

distance

was

not

above

English

five

miles.
It

is

difficult

original one with

to

that

whether

Mohammed.

that the Sultan got

da un

say

it

Christian'').

this idea

Barbaro says expressly

from a Christian
Archbishop

some one had related

was an

("

lifu insegna

Leonardo believes

to the Sultan

Venetians had done fourteen years before,

what the

when they

THE DIARIES OF THE

163

SIEGE.

transported by land their ships from Etch into the


lake of Garda.^

However
orders for

its

may have

this

suaded of the

was per-

been, the Sultan

and gave

feasibility of the operation,

immediate execution.

men

Several thousand

speedily cleared the valley

from bush and underwood.

narrow canal was dug

through the whole length of the valley, and paved


with strong beams, abundantly smeared with

tar, tallow,

and lard bought in large quantities from the Genoese

Over the greased beams

tradesmen of Galata.

rollers

were placed, and on this a small ship to try the experiment.

Drawn by

pushed by

soldiers, the ship glided

buffaloes,

and supported and


along more easily

than was expected.

The Sultan ordered that

all

the ships to be thus

transported should have their sails unfurled and their


flags

hoisted,

should

play

reports that

and that on each vessel bands of music


martial
all

airs.

The Janissary Michael

the batteries kept up an incessant

cannonade that night.

This detail explains

Greeks, and especially

why

why

the

the fleet in the Golden

Horn, did not prevent the gliding of the Turkish ships


i^ito

the

harbour.

The constant

fire

from

Zagan-

Pasha's battery on the hill above Galata was sufficient


to prevent

any ship from approaching the place where

the improvised canal entered the Golden Horn.


^

Leonardo, 269.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

164

In the night between the 21st and 22nd of April the

Turks had succeeded in thus transporting into the bay


of the Golden

Horn some

thirty ships.^

men were busy

Giustiniani and his

that night re-

Eoman,

pairing the shattered tower at the gate of St

closing the breach with barrels filled with earth

and

The work was well done, and they

lashed together.

awaited the dawning day with some confidence.


'

The

citizens of Constantinople, especially the trades-

men and
dawn

the 22nd

of

Turkish

artizans,

fleet

and rushed

were early

was in the bay

of

the

first

news spread that the


People

to the walls along the

saw a number

With

risers.

of April the

left their

work

Golden Horn, and

Turkish ships lying in the Galata

corner of the bay, under the shelter of Zagan-Pasha's


battery.

Many

a citizen,

who had

against hope, lost all heart that day.

did not yet despair.


necessity

of sending

He was

until then

hoped

But the Emperor

mostly troubled by the

more men

to the north-eastern

wall to guard against an eventual attack from that


side.

2'drd April.

The cannonade on

the land side went

on as usual without any specially new

feature.

The Venetian naval captains met on the galley of


/ Antonio Diedo to consult about the ways and means
/

1 I follow here the statement of the Janissary Michael.


Cheirrulah
says there were only 20 ships, while Barbaro speaks of 72, Chalco-

chondylas of 70, and Ducas of

80.

THE DIAKIES OF THE


of

the Turkish ships in the bay.

destroying

object

was the more

began to

165

SIEGE.

construct

This

on that day the Turks

pressing, as

floating battery, or,

consultation, the proposition of Captain

as

some

After long

thought, a pontoon-bridge across the bay.

Giacomo Koko,

to attack and burn the Turkish ships at night, was

accepted.
24:th April.

The cannonade

lasted with

some brisk-

'

ness all day.

The Turks made progress


what now seemed more
bridge.

They

used

in the construction of

distinctly to be a pontoon-

empty

barrels,

binding

them

together with strong iron chains.

Captain
expedition.

Koko

prepared

two ships

He covered their

for the night

sides with bales of cotton

and wool, hoping therewith to deaden the

effect of

the

Turkish cannon.

At midnight the

sea captains

met on Diedo's ship

to fix the final details of the expedition.

The prepara-

tions were nearly complete, and some of the captains

pressed for an immediate attack.

To

this conference

some Genoese captains had been admitted, and they


requested that the attempt should be put off until the

next night, in order that they also might join in

The

rejection of this request

it.

would have exposed the

Venetians to the reproach that even in hours of great

and common danger they could not forego their old


jealousy- of the Genoese, their old competitors in

com-

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

166

The suggestions were there-

merce and naval power.


fore accepted

and the expedition postponed.

In the days of the 25th, 26th, and 27th of April

The intermittent can-

nothing remarkable occurred.

nonade and the desultory shooting from bows and

rifles

were continued.

The Turks succeeded


breaches

various

at

in

making smaller or

points; these

the

But

Latins quickly and effectively repaired.

larger

Greeks and

was

it

already apparent that the defenders were getting each

day more and more exhausted.

The Turkish archers

and sharp-shooters placed in the

first

changed and replaced by fresh

were daily

line

men from

the camp,

but the riflemen and archers on the walls could not be


replaced.

In addition to

discouraging

this

rumours of the scarcity

of food

fact,

began

disquieting

to circulate in

the last days of April.

The preparations

for

continued and completed.


not

to

plans

of

experienced

expedition were

certain Eaiuzzo, finding out the object

of the unusual activity

went over

naval

But the Genoese seemed

conducted their work with necessary

have

discretion.

the

to the

the

on some

of the

Genoese

ships,

Turkish camp, and betrayed the

Venetian

artillery

captains.

men with

four

number

of

cannons were

immediately sent to the Turkish ships in the bay, and


the utmost vigilance was enjoined on their captains.

THE DIARIES OF THE


2Sih of

Ap7^il.

Two

hours before the

day a small squadron


harbour

left

and moved

chain,

western corner of the bay.


galleys

and

three

Trevisani,

Two

dawn

smaller

near

the
the

It consisted of

Morosini,

and

two great
Griotti,

commanded by

ships

Girolamo

of that

towards

position

its

noiselessly

Trevisani and Zacharia

Gabrielo

of

167

SIEGE.

Silvestro

Giacomo Koko.

other small ships were taken in tow, laden with

gunpowder, Greek
It

fire, tar,

and other combustibles.

had been arranged that the two great

padded outside with bales

of cotton

But the impatient

precede and shelter the others.

Koko

let

lead.

his ship glide rapidly

few minutes later

Turkish ships were


speedily sunk,

fired,

Koko and

all

galleys,

and wool, should

ahead and took the

the cannon from the

Koko's ship was struck and


his crew

swimming

for their

lives.

moved

Trevisani's galley

rapidly onward through

clouds of smoke, but was received with a fresh volley,


staggered,

and sunk.

Trevisani and most of his

saved their lives by swimming.

men

The other captains

thereupon retired slowly, throwing volleys of Greek


fire.

But only one

of the

Turkish ships caught

fire

and was burnt.

Some

of those

who

tried to save their lives

ming, in the confusion of the catastrophe


the shore in the possession of the Turks.
prisoners, they

by swim-

swam

right to

Being made

were the next day beheaded in sight

168

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

of the soldiers

and crowds

of

people on the walls.

This cruelty aroused the indignation of the citizens

and the Government

of Constantinople to the highest

Unfortunately there were some 260 Turks in

pitch.

the prisons of the

on the

walls,

beheaded.

They were

city.

and

in sight

of

brought out

all

Turkish

the

army

Phrantzes himself relates this barbarous

act of retaliation.^

of April

29th

After

the

excitement

of

the

previous day, this day passed in comparative quietness

both in the Turkish camp and in the

The expedition

of the Venetians

carried

was naturally

among

the Greeks and Latins.

lost

still

city.

which had mis-

the topic of

all

the talk

The Venetians, who

about 90 of their chosen sailors and

soldiers, felt

the loss deeply, and openly and bitterly charged the

Genoese with treason.

The Genoese

retorted

that

the Venetian ignorance and Koko's foolishness had

caused the
speedily

The mutual accusations turned

failure.

into

mutual

menaces,

and,

as

even

the

Venetian and Genoese volunteers on the walls were on


the point of fighting

among

themselves, the

assembled the commanders and


nations,

and

h^ethren,

he

not

en^tcgh

said

of one

to

them:

officers

"J

mind and work

of misery that we have

such fearful odds outside the walls


1

Phrantzes, 257.

Emperor

of both the

praT/

you,

together.
to

my
Is

it

fight against

For God's sake

THE DIARIES OF THE


us not have any

let

the walls ! "

169

SIEGE.

amongst ourselves within

conflicts

-^

Z^th of AjpriLTho. Slavonic chronicler has noted

down

that on this day the

discharge from the

first

Turkish giant cannon against the St Eoman's position


*'

shook very

what low ;

much

the wall^

the upper part of the wall,

wide;

the

noon carried away

Turks were ready."

"before the

of May.

making a breach

According

to

the Turks concentrated the

fire

been

Giustiniani

wood and
"

efiected

day,

had during the night

filled

but
in

which
"with

earth."

When

they had," the chronicler goes on, " in that

way worn out


and

chronicler,

where the breach

previous

the

the

from several cannon

of ordinary size against the place

had

same

the

five feet

hecause

discharge wets not fired

third

night came on
1st

which was old and some-

the second discharge at

fired

the wall sufficiently, then they pointed

their

cannon.

great

But the

somewhat too high, and struck the wall


church behind, shattering

it

ball

went

of the nearest

into powder.

At noon

the Turks were just at the point of firing their second


shot,

when

Giustiniani

the Turkish

struck

by a

great

ball

from his own cannon

gun and dismounted

The Sultan, seeing what had happened,


rage,

'

Yagma

Yagma

'

the whole

Fhrantzcs, 258.

Slavonic Chronicler. 11.

it.

cried out in a

army repeated

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

170
shout

the

Yagma

'

Yagma

towards the wall and

and

'

the moat."

filled

In the city the alarm-bells were

The Emperor, coming

at

in

haste,

rung at once.

encouraged

The Slavonic

hold out resolutely.

rushed

soldiers
^

men

to

chronicler describes

some length the struggle which ensued, and which

was

by the Turks retreating from the walls

finished

after darkness

had

set in.

Several other witnesses speak of the fight of that

day (Phrantzes, Barbaro, Leonardo),

what

as

to

According

customed

to

them,

some

On

some-

essentially.

were ac-

of the soldiers

to leave their places at

dine with their families.


greater

differing

commencement, but not

its

noon and go home to

this 1st

number than usual went away

day

of

May

for this purpose.

The Turks, seeing but few men on the walls

at

St

Koman's Gate, descended into the moat, and began to


pull

down with long hooks

filled

the fascines and baskets

with earth with which the breach had been

hastily repaired

and thereupon ensued the

Giustiniani complained to the

Emperor

fight.

of this state

of things.

2nd of May. Nothing specially noteworthy hapThe usual exchange of shots.

pened.

The Emperor, however,

in consequence of

what had

happened on the previous day, brought the Greek


^

Slavonic Chronicler 12.

storm.

"Yagma yagma
!

!"

the Turkish call to

THE DIARIES OF THE

and reproached them

together,

soldiers

l7l

SIEGE.

for exposing

by surprise

the city to the danger of being captured

while they

Many

on the walls to go

left their places

to dine.

go

Greeks replied that they were obliged to

away, as neither they themselves nor their families at

home had anything


light

on the want

ferings

This statement throws a sad

to eat.

of proper organization,

and on the

suf-

which the people had already begun to endure.

The Emperor, shocked

at

this statement, ordered

immediately that henceforth certain men, unable to


fight,

should carry food and drink to those on the

walls,

and that the

families,

whose bread-winners were

engaged in defence of the

city,

with food by the Government.^

should be provided

The Commander

of

the reserve, Demetrius Cantacuzene, was at the same

time ordered to inspect the positions several times a


day, to ascertain that all the

He

men were

at their posts.

also received instruction to search the houses for

men who, though


selves, to

capable of bearing arms, hid them-

escape the duty of defending the Emperor,

the Empire, and their

own homes.

were ripe for Turkish slavery.

These cowards

But

seems

it

there were not a few people in the city

who

that
disap-

proved of every attempt at defence, and loudly abused

The Emperor's

the Emperor.

himself introduced these

friend

additional

Phrantzes has

gloomy features

into the already dark picture of the dying Empire.^


;

Phrantzes, 256

Barharo, 33

Leonardo, 261.

pjirantzes, 258.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

172

drd of May.

The Greeks

placed four cannons on a

tower which commanded the bay, and opened


the Turkish

The interchange

flotilla.

fire

on

of shots at this

point was continued for several days without

much

effect.

In the city

was generally known that Venice

it

and Naples, as well


help,

as the Pope,

had promised

day passed and no

thought
Latin

sail

desirable to send

it

fleet.

As day
Emperor

some one

in search of the

and eventually to hasten

fleet,

Constantinople

and in the night

a small brigantine
the

send

appeared, the

night for the appearance of the allied


after

to

and the southern horizon was watched day and

Marmara

Sea.

left

its

arrival at

of this 3rd of

May

the harbour and sailed out into

She carried the Turkish

her crew were dressed d la Turque.

This

is

flag,

and

stated in

Barbaro's Journal} while the Slavonic Chronicler says

that on this day " the Emperor sent


the islands,
help:'

and

to the countries

men

into the Morea,

of the Franks, to ask

for

The same day the Emperor presided


council;

at a great

at this not only the military commanders,

but also the dignitaries of the State and the Church


assisted.

reported

camp

The commandants
that

of positions

movements observed

indicated

preparations

for

Barbaro, 35.

Slavonic Chronicler, 14.

in

unanimously
the

Turkish

general assault.

THE DIARIES OF THE

173

SIEGE.

I
Considering the condition of the walls, and the weariness of the diminishing defensive forces, none could

speak confidently about the prospects of again repulsing

The senators and the

the Turks.

the city and retreat to a

them expressed

Emperor

more secure

and

to

to leave

Some

place.

of

their conviction that the people of the

provinces, so soon as they heard that the


alive

with the

prelates,

Patriarch at their head, advised the

Emperor was

safe outside the besieged capital,

him numbers

and that

of volunteers,

would send

these, together

with the armies of the Princes Demetrius and Thomas,

and with the Albanians,


fail to bring,

whom

Scanderbeg would not

might make a diversion

portant to alarm the Sultan, and force

from the

sufficiently

him

im-

withdraw

to

city.

Giustiniani himself energetically

and placed

representations,

all

supported
ships

his

these

at

the

Emperor's disposal.
"

The

Eiivperor'' continues

to all this qitietly

and

our chronicler, " listened

At

patiently.

after having

last,

been for some time in deep thought, he hegan to speak

I thank all for the advice which you have given me.
I know that my going out of the city might he of some

'

benefit

to

nu, inasmuch as all that you foresee might

But

really happen.

How

coidd

impossible for

leave the churches

servants the clergy,

such a 'plight

it is

and

to

go away

of our Lord, and His

the throne,

What would

me

the

and

my

people in

world say about

me

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

174

'pray you,

anything

my

friends, in future do not say to

hut, "

else

Nay,

sire,

do not leave us

I leave you ! I am resolved


And saying this, the Emperor

! "

me

Never,

with

never will

to die liere

you

turned his head

'

aside, hecause tears filled his eyes ;

and

the Patriarch

all

who were

and with him wept

there

"

These were words of a noble and generous heart,

words worthy

of

an Emperor.

Constantine Dragasses,

even on that occasion, did honour to the throne he


occupied and to the nation of

whom

was the

he

chief.
4:th

of May,

from the

The

rifles

cannonade and occasional

went on

as usual.

firing

Nothing specially

noteworthy happened during the day.

But during the night from the 4th


May,

attempt

another

was made

to the 5th of

to

destroy

the

This time the attack was

Turkish ships in the bay.

undertaken by a captain of one of Giustiniani's

ships.

The Turks, however, kept a sharp look-out, and when


the

Genoese

received with a

hth of May.

quietly

galley

full broadside

The

city

was

approached

and sunk
full of

she

was

at once.

rumours

of the

The report was spread that

last night's misfortune.

Giustiniani himself was on the unlucky galley and

had escaped with great

difficulty.

And

again

it

was

generally asserted that the Turks had received fore-

warning from a
:*

traitor.^

Slavonic Chronicler, 116.

Zhicas, 277.

THE DIARIES OF THE

new

feature

produced by the sudden opening of


battery

Pasha's

the

against

was

excitement

general

the

in

175

SIEGE.

fire

Christian

from Zaganposted

ships

For that purpose Zagan

along the harbour chain.

had obtained some heavier guns than those which he


had at

first.

heavy

struck

ball

Genoese

merchant

ship,

laden with silk and other costly freight, valued at

The ship foundered quickly

12,000 ducats.

was
its

The Christian

struck.

position

and

to

move

fleet

was obliged

after it
to leave

outside the chain, out of the

reach of Zagan's cannons.^

The Genoese

of Galata sent a formal protest to

the Sultan against the

damage done

excuses,

and promised that

city the

damage should be

^th of May.

The

after the conquest of the

prevent

the

brought

Eoman.

they maintained a steady

more cannon

All the day long

Towards evening a

fire.

had been opened near that

breach

who were

fully compensated.^

Turks

opposite the gate of St

wide

to those

The Grand-Vizier returned elaborate

perfectly neutral.

defenders

filling

continued firing at that point

the

gap

night.

all

gate.

the

To

Turks

Giustiniani,

however, did not attempt to repair the breach, but

somewhat

further

tower.^

^th of May.
^

Barbara

36.

inside

The
^

raised

barricades

and a

Turks continued to widen the

Ducas, 279.

Slavonic Chronicler, 118.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

176

breach with concentrated

Towards the evening the

About eleven

firing ceased.

o'clock

at

Turks rushed across the


ditch,

and hurried

from their great battery.

fire

night great numbers of

glacis,

towards

descended into the

the

breach.

Barbaro

30,000 Turks were ordered to this

says that about


assault.

The

Slavonic

chronicler

gives

some interesting

According to him, the Greeks

details of the fight.

and the Latins bravely went

into the breach to

the assailants, and fought with great fury.


niani personally

commanded, and was nearly

a Janissary of

gigantic

brought

to

of

killed

by

size.

Keinforcements were

the Turks by a

famous Turkish hero,

At

Omer, a Sandjak-Bey from Eomania.

moment

meet

Giusti-

Giustiniani was also reinforced

the same

by a company

Greeks under a very popular commander, Stratyg

(Colonel) Eangabe, and

by a gallant onslaught drove

the Turks from the breach into the moat.

Eangabe,

cheering his men, led the way, and, clearing his path

by the sword, he suddenly found himself

face to face

with the brave and famous Omer-Bey.

" Eangabe'*

continues our chronicler, "immediately attacked him,

and tracing one

of his legs against a stone he lifted his

sword with loth hands and cut Omer-Bey in two,


Turks, enraged hy the

and
and

cut

to ^pieces

loss

Tlie

of such a hero, surrounded

Rangabe.

retreated inside the walls.

Then

the

Greeks turned

There were ten-or

and

THE DIARIES OF THE

177

SIEGE.

and

general grief over the loss of Bangabe, the brave


gallant hiight,

On

whom

the Emjperor loved greaily"

May

the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th of

nothing

remarkable happened.

The Turkish cannonade continued


means, according

number

This

great

smaller balls (weighing between 200 and

of

100

pounds), some

500

as usual.

besides

Tedardi, that

to

120

to

of

heavier

balls

(weighing between 800 and 1200 pounds) were thrown


against the walls

In

and into the

Constantinople

increased

daily.

itself

Prayers

churches incessantly with

Great crowds pressed


picture of "

the

popular

depression

were

going

on in the

much

and many

fear

constantly

to

tears.

the holy

kiss

Maria, Mother of God," which, according

to the legend,
its

city.

had once already saved the

enemies, and might in mercy save

"miraculous

was exposed

eikon"

to

it

city

again.

from
This

the devotions

and donations of pious people in the church of the

Madonna Chodogetria near

the

Acropolis

and

St

Sophia.

As

it

was evident that the

rially aid the defence, the

their ships.
left his

two

On

Roman,

could not mate-

Venetians began to disarm

the 9th of May, Gabrielo Trevisani

galleys,

and with their crew, numbering

some 400 men, went


St

fleet

to strengthen

where the losses in

the position of

men were

naturally

heaviest.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

178

of May.

12th

The

cannon battered a

Turkish

breach in the walls near the imperial palace of Heb-

domon.

Greeks were able to begin the

Before the

the evening, several

repairs in

stormed

that

point.

thousands

Barbaro

has

men

this is

storming force at 50,000

Turks

of

down

put

the

most likely an

exaggeration.

Chronicle the Turkish

According to the Slavonic

made with such vehemence

onslaught was

Greeks were

The progress

compelled to retire
of the

" the Stratyg of


to

mean

think

" the

mand

breach.

Palceologus,

" the
it

of the cavalry," while others

assistant of

commander."

the

was Nicephoras

Palseologus,

father-in-law, Cantacuzene, in

the

of

reserves

Turks was stopped by

commander

Very probably
assisted his

that the

the

Singurla" which some writers beKeve

means

it

from

The

reserves.

were not

far

distant

headquarters

from

who

the comthe

of

the palace

of

Hebdomon, and therefore the help under Nicephoras


Palseologus could arrive in good time.

But although

Palseologus repulsed the Turks for the

moment, he very soon became badly pressed himself,


" because,"

according to

Pasha, Beyler

There

Bey

arrived

"Theodore, the
Giustiniani."
bability

our chronicler, " Mustapha-

of Anadolia, sent fresh troops."

to

the

assistance

commander

of

the

of

Palseologus,

Thousand, with

This commander, Theodore, in

was no other than Theodore

all

pro-

of Karystos,

who

THE DIAKIES OF THE

The

held the position of Charsias.


the

Hebdomon seems

was necessary

men from

to

179

SIEGE.

state of things at

have been so

critical

it

to call not only the reserve, but also

But not-

active service at other positions.

withstanding

that

all

this assistance, " the

Turks began

to

prevail against the Greeks,'' as the Slavonic chronicler

puts

it.

On

the same evening the

Emperor was present with

his suite at the vigil held in

After the

St Sophia.

night service, which in the Greek Church takes two


or three hours, the
halls adjoining St

members

Emperor withdrew

Sophia, where he was

his Synklitos

of

military commanders.

One

tary council.

to

and some

of

one of the

met by the
the highest

There they improvised a mili-

of the generals, supported

by the

Logothet George Phrantzes, proposed that at a favourable

moment

the Emperor

a general sortie, under the


himself, should be

command

undertaken.

pointed out two advantages of such a sortie

of

They

first

the

moral one, and next also the chance of capturing some


provisions.

This proposal was opposed by

and by the Prefect of the


thought

it

city,

would be unwise

Kyr Lucas Notaras

Nikola Goudeli.

to venture

upon

They
so haz-

ardous an enterprise, but wiser to keep behind the


walls,

and be

attacked.
" that

"

satisfied

We may

with defending themselves when


well

say!'

argued

we have been fighting noiv already

Kyr

Lucas,

five 7nonths,

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

180

and

God's will ivc can fight as

is

it

if

we

shall

Kyr Lucas

we

evi-

longer ; hut without God's help, whatever

and

all fall,

the city will he

dently considered that

the

lost"

many months
do,

war had commenced in

December.

While they were thus discussing

this

important

proposal a messenger arrived with the report that the

The

Turks were on the walls behind the Hebdomon.

Emperor
In the

at once hurried off to the point of danger.

streets

armed men,

met crowds

he

fleeing

from the

people,

of

and even

The Emperor

walls.

stopped them, and ordered them back to their posts

but his bodyguards were obliged to use their swords


to force the panic-stricken soldiers to go

and lances

back to the walls.

On

his arrival at the

Hebdomon

the Emperor found

the Turks had pressed through the breach and were

Greek and Latin volunteers in the

fisfhtinffwith the

adjoining streets

companies

The Emperor's

soldiers

of

gave

arrival with a

fresh

courage

Christians already engaged, and with

bined
moat.

efforts

"

If

to

few
the

new and com-

they threw the Turks outside into the


the JSmperor

assistance, tJiat

had not arrived with fresh

same night would have seen our final

de-

struction" says the Slavonic chronicler.^

To

probably belonged

this fight

which the

another incident

same chronicler reports incidentally on


1

Slavonic Chronicler, 12.

THE DIARIES OF THE

The Emperor himself was

another occasion.

by the desperate

excited

181

SIEGE.

struggle, that

so

much

he spurred his

horse and galloped to the breach, evidently intending

through

to ride

hand was

to

into the ditch,

it

where fighting hand

going on, " hut the noUcs of the

still

Imperial suite and his German guards stopped him and


prevailed on

him

haek^

to ride

The Turkish

in

loss

this

was currently

assault

reported the next day at about 10,000 men.

trustworthy

is

More

the statement that the Prefect of the

city ordered all the bodies of the killed

thrown outside the

fortifications, to

Turks

to be

be taken away by

the commanders of the nearest Turkish positions.


14^/2-

some

of May.

The

cannon from

above Galata).

Turks were seen transporting

Zagan-Pasha's

battery

(the hill

was believed they were going

It

strengthen the battery opposite the Kynegion.

they only stopped there some time for


carried the

cannon

rest,

to

But

and then

to the position opposite the gate of

St Roman.

This concentration

of artillery

indication that the principal attack

was an additional
would be directed

against the position in Giustiniani's charge.

new company

of

organized, picked

exposed

positions

Giustiniani's
^

Therefore

some 400 well-armed men was

up from
on the

ships,

walls,

and from other

and placed under

command.^

Slavonic Chronicler, 17.

less

Barbara, 40.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

182

15tJi

of May.

The

day passed away without any

special incident.

IQth of May.
the Christian

Some

Turkish galleys approached

which seems to have regained

fleet,

original position within the harbour chain.


inefficient

withdrew

to their anchorage.

Some

time before, the Greek head-

quarters had received information

the arrival of

of

Saxon miners in the Turkish camp.


were from Novo Brdo

Serbia,

worked

understood to

of

These miners

known

(otherwise

since

the middle

walls.

mean

And

the

of

mine in

thirteenth

Their arrival was

Saxons.

energetic attempts to undermine

really

on

the night

May, Johannes Grant succeeded

of

workmen and
18^7i.

of May.

soldiers

At

in discovering

were buried

tjie earliest

l7th

the

destroying a Turkish mine, in which a great


of

Novo-

as

or Neue-Berghe), a celebrated silver

century by a colony of

the

After the

exchange of some shots the Turkish ships

Vlth of May.

Monte

its

and

number

alive.

dawn

the

watchmen

at the Charsias Gate noticed a peculiar structure on

the other side of the ditch.

high wooden tower made of strong beams and

boards,

covered with

buffalo hides,

and placed on

wheels, had been pushed within 10 or 12 yards


ditch.

It

had two

stories,

of the

the sides of the lower being

enclosed by thick boards, and the space between them


filled

with earth.

The upper

floor,

which could be

THE DIARIES OF THE

183

SIEGE.

reached by a number of ladders, was specially pro

tected

by

The tower had three open-

buffalo hides.

wide windows, facing the

ings, like

city,

and from these

the archers and riflemen could easily shoot at the

on the
the

From

walls.

from the

for

Bufifalo

the

fell

into the

May was

full of

The Turkish archers

Greeks.

Tower caused them great

at the position of Charsias

and one

Eoman and

the gate of St

led to

camp.-'^

In general, this day of the 18th of


misfortunes

way

the tower a covered

the Turkish

first line of

men

loss of

men

of the towers at

part of the adjoining wall

moat under the reinforced

of

fire

the

great battery.

In the bay the Turks had completed their barrelbridge leading towards the north-eastern gate of the

Kynegion.^
wide.

It

It

was 250 yards

and 2^ yards

had evidently been the intention

Turkish commander-in-chief to
the

long,

same time two distant

Eoman and

points, the

gate

Kynegion, hoping

the gate of

of

the

attempt to storm at
of

St

thus to

divide the forces of the besieged.

On

the night of the 18th of

Constantine and Giustiniani

They succeeded

efforts.

made

May

in filling in the breach at St

Eoman's Gate, and raised a new tower


position

they

organized

to defend that

company

of

gallant

Barbara, 42.

Phrantzes, 244

Barbara, 143

Ducas, 279

the Emperor

almost superhuman

Chalcochondylas, 450

Phrantzes, 252.

184

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

volunteers,

who climbed

Greek

The

fire

the counterscarp, and threw

into the Buffalo Tower, burning

men among

boldest

Mohammed

it

to ashes.

even

Turks,

the

Sultan

himself, could not suppress their astonish-

ment, and openly expressed their admiration of the


skill

and energy

The Sultan

the defenders.

of

reported to have said concerning the

new tower

yesterday all the thirty-seven thousand prophets

me

the 19th

worthy

possible^

had

is

"

If

told

would not have

helieved it I "

On

was

such a feat

that

May

and 20th of

nothing happened

of special attention.

21st of

May.

The trumpets sounded very

board the ships of the Turkish

fleet,

early on

which

left its

anchorage before the Diplokynion, and sailed slowly


towards

the

signal of

entrance

of

the

The

Golden Horn.

alarm was given in the

city,

the soldiers

rushed to the walls, and the people with fear


trembling

filled

the streets.

But about seven

and

o'clock

the Turks steered suddenly back to their usual position.

In the afternoon

of the

mine approaching the walls

same day another Turkish


of Kalligaria

was detected

and destroyed.

The Turkish cannon made a


place,

and brought down part

heard of
place.

this,

He

fresh breach in
of a tower.

one

Barbaro

but did not catch the name of the

only mentions the


^

fact,

and added that

Barbara, 44.

THE DIARIES OF THE


succeeding

the

night

185

SIEGE.

Greeks

repaired

the

pioneers

detected

two

the

damage.^
22^16^

May.

of

Grant's

In

Turkish mines in Kalligaria and destroyed them.

one they had to engage in a hand-to-hand struggle


with the Turkish workmen and

soldiers, killing

every

one of them.

Though the nature


the

making

adapted

well

of the soil,

which had prevented

of a ditch in front of Kalligaria,


for

the

laying

mines,

of

was not
the

yet

pioneers on both sides developed no little skill and

boldness in this particular form of

were

active they

He

says

"

may

warfare.

How

be seen from Totardi's report.

men accustomed

Zagan-Pasha, with his

to

gold and silver mines, had undermined the fortifications

on 14 different points, having commenced digging

at great distance

their side,

by

from the

The

walls.

Christians,

on

listening, discovered the positions of the

Turkish mines, and made counter-mines.

By

smoke,

sometimes by bad odours, they suffocated the Turks


in their subterranean galleries.

drowned

them

In some places they

by admitting water, and

times they fought them hand to hand."

The Slavonic chronicler

states the

went during the nights into the


brickwork of

He
1

tlie

ditch,

at

other

Greeks

often

and through the

counterscarp undermined the glacis.

describes graphically the explosion of one of these


Phrantzes, 247

Barbaro, 45.

Informacion, p. 25.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

186

mines.

" It

was," he says, " as

if

the lightning had

struck the place, for the earth shook and with a great
crash a greenish whirlwind carried the Turks into the
air.

Fragments

of

and into the camp.

men and

timber

fell

into the city

The besieged ran away from the

walls and the besiegers fled back from the ditch."


^

Slavonic Chronicler, 12.

CHAPTEE

VII.

The Last Days.

On

the 23rd day of

approached

the

gate

trumpets and waving

May

a few Turkish horsemen

Eoman

St

of

with

sounding

giving the guard on the

flags,

tower to understand that they had a communication


to

make.

special

envoy

deliver a message to the

of the

Emperor

Sultan desired to
personally.

After

some time an answer was given from the walls that


the envoy might enter the city.

This envoy, Ismail Hamza, the Lord of Sinope and

Kostamboly, son of the


related

by marriage

Isphendiar-Khans
princes

who had

late

to the

Isphendiar-Khan, was

Padishah himself.

were for some

The

time independent

energetically resisted absorption into

the great Ottoman Empire

but at length they were

obliged to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Sultan,

and reconciled themselves to what seemed

The Isphendiar-Khans had been


friendly terms with the

for

inevitable.

generations

on

Greek Emperors, and Ismail

Hamza was received by the Emperor as an old friend.


Hamza delivered and explained the Sultan's

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

188

As

message.

why

should the Emperor prolong

war, and expose his

the miseries of

people

to the

consequences of the storming of the place

terrible

The Sultan entertained


Emperor,

the

the city was unmis-

the situation of

takably hopeless,

and

and deep respect

sincere

would permit him

to

for

withdraw

unmolested, together with his Court, noblemen, and


treasures,

than

wherever he desired
the

this,

to

the suzerainty of the Peloponnesus.


of

Nay, more

go.

Sultan again offered to the Emperor

The inhabitants

Constantinople would also be allowed to depart

with their portable property,


to all

who

security of

they chose to go

persons and possessions.

must consider

him

if

and

preferred to remain, the Sultan guaranteed

this as the

to surrender.

The Emperor

Sultan's last

summons

to

If rejected, the horrors of a sack

could not be spared to the

Then Hamza, speaking

city.

less as

the Sultan's envoy

than as the Emperor's friend, sought to induce Constantine to accept the apparent decrees of destiny.

The

walls on the land side were broken through in several


places, four towers

were quite destroyed, the

small

garrison could not be otherwise than exhausted, and

there

was no prospect

of a speedy arrival of help

from

without.

These argumei^fts were unfortunately


facts.

more

The

j^ctual condition

deplorable.

Provisions

of

the

all

city

undeniable

was even

were becoming every

"

THE LAST DAYS.


day scarcer

had sunk into a

the people

stolid despair

which

threatened

Virgin

Mary

by

"

was

them.

it

Sophia

"But,"

any wonder

was evident that the

It

on the walls and disperse

"

No

some orthodox

asked

and abominations

Others said

greater misfortunes

that, after the

supplications

their

still

could not be induced either by prayers

tears to appear again

enemy.

had

for the sufferings they

already undergone, and for the

the

state of

they considered the Emperor and his

Government responsible

or

189

to

of the

Greeks,

desecration of St

12th of December,

Heaven

were

unheeded

doubt our fathers and forefathers

have sinned and we have sinned ourselves, and


right in God's providence that

we should be

it

is

punished.

All these misfortunes are evidently Krjjyua tov Ocov,


'

God's

punishment.'

punishment

Why

seek

to

escape

Is it right to continue to fight,

oppose God's manifest will

Not only the battered

that

and

to

"
?

walls,

but

still

more the

broken spirit of the mass of the people, and the unfulfilled

promises of foreign assistance, would have given

Constantine a reasonable justification for honourable


surrender.

But Constantine had a more

own

dignity and duty.

turned by

Hamza

us, as

According to Ducas, he

re-

the following answer to the Sultan:

" I should praise

with

lofty conception of his

God

if

thou wouldst live in peace

thy forefathers did

they treated

my

pre-

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

190

decessors with

filial

and

respect,

this city with the

Whoever

consideration.

greatest

of

them was

secuted by misfortune and came to us was safe

whoever raised a hand against our


Eetain as thy rightful

pered.
tories

settle the

amount

to

which we

Eemember, that grasping the possessions

power
and

of

is

any one

my

neither in

here.

us,

will

and

do our

and then go in peace.

year,

of others,

thou

To

sur-

mayest thyself become the prey of others


render the city

but

possession the terri-

of the tribute,

pay every

city never pros-

which thou hast unjustly taken from

utmost

per-

We

shall do so without regret

power nor in the

are all prepared to die,


!

"

Early on the morning of the 24th of

May

a small

The

ship approached the chain closing the harbour.

crew were apparently Turks, but after the exchange


of signals with the

Venetian ships keeping guard, the

chain was lowered, and the vessel was admitted within the harbour.

proved to be the ship which some twenty days

It

previously had been despatched in search of the allied


Its

fleet.

the

commander had

called at

Archipelago, everywhere

leaving word for the allies to


nople.

But he nowhere

time he and his

men were

was almost hopeless

fell

islands of

inquiries,

hasten to

undecided

Ducas, 266.

But

how

and

Constanti-

in with them.

to return.
1

many

making

Eor a

to act, as it

in the

end they

THE LAST DAYS.


and not

their duty to go back,

felt it

191

to leave their

good Emperor to prolonged anxiety and uncertainty.

And

so they returned with their

and arrived only in time

report,

name

the

served

most discouraging
Unfortunately,

to die.

of that gallant captain has not been pre-

^
!

On

day Johannes Grant discovered and de-

this

stroyed

dangerous

very

mine,

had been

which

extended about ten yards beneath the wall of Kalligaria.^

The Turkish cannonade continued

all

day without

After sunset the entire Turkish

intermission.

was illuminated, and

at

the

camp

same time numerous

lanterns were hoisted on the masts of the vessels at

Great

Diplokynion.

rejoicings

board the ships and in camp.

were made both on

Wild Turkish music,

with a predominance of big drums, cymbals, and


nacaires, resounded the

Horn

to the

Sea of Marmara.

The Emperor Constantine rode out


visit

his army.

the posts of

At

fiery

crescent which seemed

Imperial City.

He

listened to the

as usual to

several points he

dismounted and went on the walls to


great

shrill

whole distance from the Golden

observe that

to

encircle the

monotonous beat-

ing of the drums, and to the wild tumult that prevailed


in

the

gallant
^

Turkish

men who

Barbara, 46.

camp.

Constantine

shared with

and

the

few

him the burden and


^

Barharo, 47.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

192

responsibility of the defence recognized in that spec-

We

tacle the precursor of a general assault.

are told

camp

that while gazing on the illuminated and noisy

enemy, the Emperor remained

of the

thought, while tears ran

in

was

not,

he had no need

to be,

was resolved bravely

as he

The

down

to

silent,

wrapped

ashamed

of his tears,

do his duty to the

great mass of the populace

He

his cheeks.^

last.

knew nothing

of

the rejoicings and of

the numerous bonfires in the

Some

of the citizens, while returning

Turkish camp.

from the

vigils

in the

churches, noticed the sudden

appearance of the red light at the base of the great


cupola of St Sophia.

The

slowly up and round the


gilt

cross

above

it.

light

seemed

cupola, until

There

it

it

creep

to

reached the

linsrered for

few

moments, and then the ruddy glare grew pale and


paler,

trembled for a few moments above the magnifi-

cent edifice, and then faded away.


the

sun, lingering awhile

in the

It

was as though

west,

had looked

back from behind the dark curtains of the night,

to

glance with a last loving ray on the finest temple in

the Christian world, and to greet with


reverence

a glow

of

the cross so soon to be displaced by the

crescent.

All this was merely a reflection from great bonfires


in the Turkish camp, which the simple

and supersti-

tious people in the streets of Constantinople could not


1

Slavonic Chronicler, p. 19.

THE LAST DAYS.


To them

see.

it

appeared a distinct sign from Heaven,

Two

meaning.

full of

193

Mcolo Barbaro

eye-witnesses,

and the writer of the Slavonic Chronicle, report that

who saw

the citizens

were

with

filled

the reflected light on the cupola

Barbaro

forebodings.

fearful

de-

whole scene as resembling an eclipse of

scribes the

the moon, reminding the people of an old prophecy

"that the city would

fall in

the days

when

the

moon

should give a sign."^

According to the

Slavonic

Chronicle,

the

monks

interpreted " the fearful sign " to the poople in this

way

"

The holy

light

which dwelt in the church of

whom God had

St Sophia, and the angel


of the

Emperor Justinian appointed

holy church and over the


to

city,

to

in the time

watch over

this

had that night departed

heaven in the pervading brightness so many people

had

seen.

It

was a sign that God meant

hands

city into the

to deliver the

of its enemies."^

The same night imperial messengers hurried through


the

summoning

streets,

commanding

officers

to

all

the state dignitaries and

meet the Emperor early next

morning.
2i>th of

May.

The

Council met very early, under

the presidency of the Emperor.


as did not

show

Barbaro, 46.

of its

members

signs of the fatigue of a night spent

on the walls, bore the stamp


countenances.

Such

Never

of

despair

before, amidst
*

the

on their
unrivalled

Slavonic Chronicler, 123.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

194

beauties of the Golden Horn, and under the soft and

balmy splendour
had a body

May

of a

morning on the Bosphorus,


under more mournful

of patriots assembled

With

and desperate circumstances.

all their

love for

their country, they felt with intense bitterness that the

old Byzantine Empire, hallowed

and grand

traditions,

arms and broken

by

measures

many

glories

their trembling

hearts.

The Council had that morning


the

so

was now dying on

requisite

view

in

to

deliberate

of

the

on

expected

assault.

The Emperor Constantine,


had

straightforward,

admiration of

gained

and

his wonderful

All present at that last Council were

animated by the deepest

Some

sympathy

and untiring devotion to the

patience, forbearance,

public interests.

unhappy

the

who had witnessed

all

and

simple, kind, brave

personal

regard

the

for

sovereign.

the statesmen again brought before the

of

Council the proposal that the interests of the Empire


required the Emperor and his Court to leave the city

immediately,
lived there

inasmuch

as so long

was hope that the

as the

Emperor

capital, if lost

now,

might one day be regained.

The

Prelate,

who was

at the

head of the

clergy, the

Patriarch Gregory having apparently in the meantime


resigned his
proposition.

office,

He

supported with great decision that

said

"

The servants

of the altar

saw

"

THE LAST DAYS.


unmistakable signs that
should

now

and

able,

fall

was God's

the

will

city-

but God's providence was unsearch-

Him to remember

might please

it

in mercy.
let

it

195

His people

If the Imperial City could not

the Emperor be saved

be saved,

The Emperor should

live,

because in his person are centred the hopes of his

We

people.

must

bow

all

decree

the

to

the

of

Almighty, whose mercy might return to our people as


it

had returned

to Israel in olden times

The

words deeply moved

Prelate's

The

all present.

Slavonic Chronicler says that the Emperor, on hearing


that the Church

also

unavoidable, was

so

"

and

it

was

him."

nights,

of

the city

he

work,

constant

and in addition the severe

as

he,

fall

that

fainted,

necessary to use 'perfumed waters to revive

Sleepless

anxieties,

believed the

overpowered

true Greek, had

supplications to

fasts

doubtless

Heaven, had

told

crushing

with which

supported his

upon

his

frame.

However, he was again himself in a few moments.

Then the

Prelates

him

pressed

to

leave

the

city

without delay, and the whole Council implored him to

comply with

this advice.

After

all

who wished

to

speak had spoken, the Emperor addressed them in a


quiet but resolute tone
"
fall,

My

friends, if it is

God's will that our city shall

can we escape His wrath

great

and

and
to die

glorious,

before

How many

me

for their country

emperors,

have had to

suffer

Shall I be the one

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

196

to flee

from

it

No, I will stay and die here with

youl"^
This determination of the Emperor to remain faithful

what

to

he

believed

duty rendered

his

But

discussion of his departure superfluous.

then

probably decided

further

was

it

away the Princess

to send

Helene, the widow of the Despot Demetrius, with the


ladies of her Court.
city,

the Sultan

When,

after the taking of the

inquired what had

become of the

imperial ladies, he was told that one of Giustiniani's


ships

had carried them away.^

The Council passed on


questions.

It

to the discussion of other

was resolved that

all

men, without

dis-

tinction, must assist in repairing breaches in the walls.

This

resolution

was adopted

bitterly complained that the

after

Giustiniani

in repairing the walls at St Eoman's, declaring

the diity of the Latin warriors

After

this,

whom

Giustiniani declared

it

it

to be

he commanded.
to be imperative

by additional

that his position should be strengthened


artillery,

had

Greeks had refused to aid

and he suggested that some guns might be

brought from the positions along the Golden Horn,

which were not much exposed to danger.


Notaras, the

commander-in-chief of

absolutely refused to give


^

Slavmie Chronicler, 127.

any

of his cannon.

Ibid.

Lib.

iv. c. 2, p.

It

came

Phrantzes incidentally confirms the

Slavonic report, saying, "the Emperor could have


he would not. "

Kyr Lucas

those positions,

327.

left

the place, but

THE LAST DAYS.


to sharp

were

197

words between these two, and the matters

drifting

to

interposed.

"My

time for quarrels

and pray God

forbearance

the

and kindness,

friends," said he, "this is not the

rather let us bear with each other,

us from the mouth of the

to save
"^

Turkish serpent

when

scene,

discreditable

Emperor, with his usual

But the haughty remarks

of

Kyr Lucas had piqued

the ambition of the brave and energetic Giustiniani.

He returned to his post, and by the help of some men,


whom the Archbishop of Chios specially

amongst

mentions a certain Ivan of Dalmatia, he succeeded


that day and the next night in repairing his walls so

well that both friends and enemies were astonished.

The Sultan
I not such

is

reported to have exclaimed

men

"

Why have

Late in the evening of this day a

was detected and destroyed in


2Qth of May.

"^

The enemies

city preparations

to

new Turkish mine

Kalligaria.
fired as usual.

In the

meet the expected attack were

continued with feverish

zeal.

The same day a diplomatic reception took place


the spacious tent of the Sultan.

new King

in

The embassy from

of

Hungary, Vladislaus, was received in

solemn audience.

According to Turkish etiquette, the

the

Phrantzes, 262

Ducas, 181

ClialcocJiondylas,

452

Barbara, 48.

The Archbishop Leonardo, relating this, adds that attempts were


made on the part of the Sultan to bribe Giustiniani (p. 262).
2

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

198

ambassador was not permitted to speak directly to the


Sultan about the object of his mission, but after the

audience he had an interview with the Grand- Vizier in

The

the presence of two Pashas of the highest rank.

ambassador gave

official notification of

King

Vladislaus*

accession to

the throne, and expressed the friendly

desire of the

young King that the Sultan would with-

draw

his

army from

before Constantinople, as otherwise

Hungary could not help

joining the league formed

the Pope against the Turks.

If the

by

Grand- Vizier was

not earlier acquainted with the fact of the Venetian

squadron being on
it

now from

its

way

to Constantinople,

he heard

the Hungarian ambassador.

Immediately after this interview very alarming


camp.

reports began to spread through the Turkish


It

was rumoured that the Hungarian ambassador

brought a declaration of war, and that


white hnigJit Voyvode

"

the,

redoubtable

Yanlw'* (as the Turks called

John Plunyadi) had already crossed the Danube with


a large army, and was marching on Adrianople, while
a

powerful

"

Dardanelles.

Latin

fleet "

was

not

far

Phrantzes says that Chalil's

tried to incite the

from the

own

agents

alarmed soldiers to speak against

the inexperienced young

would bring

their fine

army between

three

fires

Sultan,

but

whose recklessness

now almost exhausted

^
!

That evening, again, great illuminations were


1

Phrantzes, 264.

to

be

THE LAST DAYS.


seen in the Turkish camp.
"

beat louder, and the

199

But though the big drums

Zurnes

"

shrieked more wildly

than ever, the topics around the numerous bonfires

The Sultan

were not of a cheering nature.

himself,

according to Phrantzes, had a sleepless night.

The

message brought by the Hungarian ambassador, the


reports about the approaching fleet, the dissatisfaction

amongst his

And

soldiers,

combined to keep him awake.

the uncertainty as to the decisions of the great

war

council he

was

had convened

enough

itself

man

less ambitious

of May.

2*7 th

for the next morning,

away slumber from a

than Sultan Mohammed.

The

own

Padishah's

to drive

great

Everyone

tent.

had reached a most

Council
felt

met

in

that

matters

the

critical point.

Chalil-Pasha laid before the Sultan and the Council


his

own view

the

of

hardly be refused to that old

He knew

position.

envious and

keenly

for

Chalil

suspicious persons,

was no

chances

servant of the
sion

to

who were watching

his

"

Giaour- Yoldash."

He

traitor.

success.

Ottoman

fears,

they

But

after

As an

were greater than


old

and

faithful

throne, he gave frank expres-

without

consequences to himself.

whom

believed sincerely, and

to say, that the risks


of

could

in his peculiar

the least false step of the Yizier,

had courage
the

man

pity

well that he was surrounded by

already liked to call


all,

Some

situation.

caring

for

the

possible

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

200

Chalil stated that, according to the reports received,

Europe was

all

rising to the assistance of Constanti-

they would not be

Turks

the

Franks once reached that

If the united

nople.

from

satisfied

walls,

its

city,

with only driving away


they

and most

might,

probably would, undertake to drive them altogether


out

of

Europe.

Constantinople

The

persistent

brought

only

attempt

increasing

take

to

of

risks

losing all the

European provinces their ancestors had

"

I have often told your Majesty" said

conquered.

the Grand- Vizier in conclusion, " the probable results


I have pointed out to 70U the

of this undertaking.
risks

!N"ow, for

you

my

you ran; but you did not heed

let

the last time, I

am

counsel.

bold enough to implore

us raise the siege lest worse evils befall us!"^

Chalil spoke with great humility, but with decision.

His bowed

frame,

his

white

beard,

his

careworn

expression and earnest dark eye, presented the very


picture of an anxious, wise statesman, desirous to serve
his

country well.

least,

The Sultan,

at

that

moment

at

did not suspect the loyalty of his old adviser,

and was visibly impressed by

his earnestness.

Zagan, the chief of the Turkish Chauvinists,


the great importance of the moment.

felt

To withdraw

from Constantinople meant banishment from Court,


not the silken cord for

him and

his friends,

encouraged the Sultan to undertake the


1

Phrantzes, 266,

if

who had

siege.

Inde-

THE LAST DAYS.

201

pendently of these personal considerations, Zagan was

Turkish patriot, a

fiery

will,

man

and resolute

of strong

well informed about the true

of

state

affairs

not only in the Balkan Peninsula, but throughout


Europe.

"With
said

regard

the Grand- Yizier's

to

assertions,"

Zagan, "that the allied Franks are coming to

the assistance of Constantinople, I do not believe

Nor

it

for a

moment.

will

speedily appear.

well

the great dissensions that are raging in Italy

especially,

and in

all

is

it

likely that the Latin fleet

Thou,

knowest

Padishah,

In conse-

Frankistan generally.

quence of these dissensions the Giaours are incapable


of united action against us.

never will
efforts

unite

When

together.

protracted

after

they conclude something like a peace amongst

themselves,

bound by
seizing

The Christian potentates

it

never lasts long.

Even when they

treaties of alliance, they are not

territories

from each

other.

are

prevented

They always

stand in fear of each other, and are busily occupied in


intriguing against each other.

No

doubt they think

much, speak much, and explain much, but


they do very

When

they decide to do any-

much time

before they begin to act.

little.

thing, they waste

after all

Suppose they have even commenced something, they


cannot progress

very far with

it

because they are

sure to disagree amongst themselves

And

how

at present this is likely to be the case

to proceed.

more than

"

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

202

because there are

ever,

among them.
should fear

new

causes

Therefore there

Let

them.

us

What

is

dissensions

no reason why we

is

fleet

that to us

sake

the

even, for

argument, admit that the Latin


Constantinople.

for

may

of

arrive in

when their whole

force is not equal to half, no, not to one-fourth of

ours

There

sends one.

is

present no

at

Therefore,

danger unless

Padishah, do not lose hope,


!

but give us the order at once to storm the city

Zagan was a
Sultan

soldier,

who was

God

speaking in the presence of a

completely in sympathy with the

speaker by age, temper, and ambition.

In both speeches there was much that was wise

and

true.

The Sultan thought he could not do

than to combine both views by a

At

sort of

better

compromise.

his suggestion the Council decided to try a general

assault in the early

morning

of the 29 th of

the assault succeeded, well and good;

if

it

May

if

did not,

the siege should be raised at once.

According to Phrantzes, a trusty messenger came

from the Turkish camp into the


night,

city

and brought a detailed report

on the following

to the

Emperor

of

everything that had been spoken and decided in the


council in the Sultan's tent.

At

Emperor was advised not

to lose

hope

the same time, the


courage,

for the best, to place picked troops

walls, to be watchful,
1

and to

fight resolutely.^

Phrantzes, 269.

but

to

on the land

"

THE LAST DAYS.


This Sunday evening (27th of

camp and

fleet

much
fast

"

The

May)

were again illuminated.

were running in
orders

203

all directions,

the Turkish

The

Tellals

shouting the Padishah's

might enjoy themselves as

faithful

as they liked this night

to-morrow they must

and pray, so that each one who was predestined


be ready to be gathered to

to enter Paradise should

the martyrs for the faith next Tuesday morning

The knowledge that the storming

of the city

would

begin the day after the morrow caused fresh excite-

ment

All the night the Dervishes and

in the camp.

Ulemas went from one


their fantastic gestures

Zagan-Pasha

himself,

of

and from
enthusiasm

and more fantastic speeches.

by command

went in disguise amongst the


conversation

to another,

soldiers, rousing their

group to group of

by

fire

of

the

Sultan,

tents, listening to the

the soldiers, and was able

to

lay

before the Sultan, in the early morning of the 28th

May, a

of

the

satisfactory report of the spirit pervading

army.-"-

Monday, 28th of May.

Early in the morning the

trumpets resounded through the Turkish camp, giving


a signal that all the troops should take the positions

assigned to them, and that no soldier should leave his

company.

The squadron
line, facing

Horn deployed in a
The whole fleet
along the bay.

in the Golden

the walls
1

PhrarUzes,

loc. cit.


204

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

at Diplokynion left its moorings,

in the form of a

opposite

the

and took up a position


from a point

crescent, stretching

harbour

the

to

gate

Theodosius

of

(Vlanga-Bostan-Kapoussi).

The Turkish
four

batteries fired as usual

the

in

o'clock

up

when

afternoon,

to about

their

firing

abruptly ceased.

A
great

The

short time after the cessation of the cannonade

cheering was heard


Sultan, accompanied

each troop in

words to the

following manifest was

made

fall.

He who

falls

is

written:

If the city is taken,

pillage it for three days.

buildings

mind

that

They who survive


you
All

and women,

and the walls

in

it

fighting for the faith will

the conquest of the city will for

gold, silk, cloth,

army

soldiers, according to the

But bear

enter directly into Paradise.

pay.

Then the

soldiers.

to the

During the assault many

immutable law, must

brilliant suite, visited

Here and there he stopped

its position.

to address a few

"

from the Turkish camp.

by a

will
its

have licence to

wealth,

will be yours

will

be

after

receive double

life

its
;

silver,

only the

reserved for

the

Sultan."

The excitement among the Turks increased


after this " order of the

day " had been

read.

greatly

And

as

the evening rays gilded for the last time the cross of St
Sophia, the clamour of the thousands of warriors and

camp-followers echoing from the Golden

Horn

to the

"

THE LAST DAYS.


Sea of Marmara bore aloft the cry,

Mohammed
and

ressoul-Allah

Mohammed

Alas, did

is

any

"

of those

"

There

"

his prophet

205

La

illah il-AUah,

is

only one God,

who watched

the Turkish

tents from the walls of Constantinople, in the light of

that setting sun, feel that this

Christian Constantinople

Slowly

the

fires

They burnt some

last

evening of

were

time,

was the

lit

in the Turkish camp.

and towards midnight were

extinguished, and then all

was

quiet.

CHAPTEK

VIII.

The Last Night.


During

May)

the preceding

two days (26th and 27th

of

the repairs of the walls had been pushed on

with even increased

activity.

The Emperor personally

superintended and urged on the work, reminding the

men that not one hour must


On Monday morning

be

Emperor was again obliged

to

his

lost.

last

morning

the

interpose his patient

and lenient authority between the Latins and the

The Venetian Baylo had constructed some

Greeks.

movable wooden shelters


a

number

the Venetian

paid

in

for his archers.

of Greeks to carry these


posts, but

advance.

The

of food,

asked
to

the Greeks refused, unless

Venetians

especially as they believed the refusal

Greeks' hatred of Latins.

He

wooden fences

But

felt

indignant,

came from the

in this case the

want

more than any other motive, had prompted the

Greek answer.

The Emperor stopped the

and found means

to satisfy the angry Venetians.

The greater part

of the

quarrel,

morning the Emperor was

occupied in the marshalling of his troops on the walls.

THE LAST NIGHT.

207

Ducas says that there were now altogether scarcely


4000 fighting men in the

city.^

procession started early from St Sophia, to the

solemn pealing

church

of the

celebrated churches on
priests,

bells, visiting

way

its

many

Holy

in the possession of
so rich.

vestments of

stiff

miraculous eikons, bones

and jewelled crosses containing

of the saints, golden


" particles of the

Tree,"

and many other

women, and children

followed,

men

most

of

and beating

footed, weeping, sighing,


fists,

relics,

which the G-reek Churches were

Multitudes of people, old and young

with their

The

to the city walls.

wearing their ancient and

gold brocade, carried

the more

men,

them

their

bare-

breasts

joining in the chanting of the

clergy and in the singing of the psalms.

At every important

position the entire procession

The

stopped for a short time.


prayers that
city,

God would

and grant victory to His

bishops

then

raised

soldiers, sprinkling

of dried basylicum.

their

special

faithful people.

The

and blessed the

croziers

them with holy water from bunches

Some

with deep sadness that


blessing

priests read

strengthen the walls of the

present, doubtless, thought

this

was perhaps the

last

which the Christian Church might give

to

the Christian soldiers on the walls of Constantinople.

In the afternoon, before the hour


^

Diccas, 283.

Phrantzes exaggerates

when

lie

for Vespers, the


says that the propor-

tion of the defenders to the assailants was as 1 500.


:

"

"

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

208

Emperor assembled around him

not said where,

is

(it

but most likely at the headquarters) the commanders

and the chief

of the troops

them

He

citizens.

addressed

in touching words, asking all and every one not

and not

to spare themselves,

to regret the shedding

blood in defence of the glorious old

of their

city.

Turning to the Venetians, who stood on his right

them that Constantinople had

reminded

hand, he

always welcomed them as sons.

" I

pray you now,"

continued the Emperor, " show us in this difficult hour


that you are indeed our companions, our faithful

and our brethren

allies,

Then he turned towards the Genoese, spoke of


past, and asked them to prove once

their glorious

more on

this

momentous occasion

words addressed to

my

all

companions and

liberty, glory,

present

my

"

my

these

few

Let us work together,

brethren, to gain for ourselves

and eternal memory

commit now

their world-renowned

The Emperor concluded with

courage.

sceptre.

Into your hands

Here

it

is

Save

it

Crowns await you in heaven, and on, earth your names


will

remembered honourably

be

the

until

end

of

time!"^
"

Let us die for faith and Fatherland

for the

Church

of

The whole address

God and
is

course repeated only from

that occasion.

" "

for thee, our

Let us die

Emperor

given by Phrantzes, pp. 271-278, who of


memory what he had heard and seen on

"

THE LAST NIGHT.


were

enthusiastic responses of

the

around

who was

were

All

Constantine.

Phrantzes,

himself

209
those assembled

moved.

deeply

present,

writes

"

The

defenders of the city embraced each other, and through


tears kissed one another, asking

no

pardon;
property,

thought

one

more

and giving mutual


child,

or

but only of the glorious death which

all

of

wife,

were ready to meet for the sake of the Fatherland

The

bells

rang for Vespers.

The Emperor proceeded


was crowded.

him

to

to St Sophia.

The church

would have been only natural

It

think that

it

for

was, perhaps, the last time he

would stand beneath that magnificent cupola, under


which so many orthodox Emperors had worshipped in
good and

evil days.

Constantine prayed with great fervour.


his imperial chair,

ating the altar

He

left

and approaching the screen separ-

from the nave, he prostrated himself

before the great eikons of Christ and of the

which were on the

left

and on the right

central entrance to the altar.

Madonna,

side of the

Having passed some

time in prayer, he approached every prelate present in


the church, asked them to pardon

him

if*

he had ever

offended any of them, embraced each of them, and then

went

As

to the altar

and received the Holy Communion.

a Christian emperor, and as a Christian soldier, he

was solemnly, and in the

sight of his

people, pre-

paring to appear before his God.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

210

When

\
\

he turned to leave the church, the great con-

The

gregation wept aloud.

men and

the loud sobs of

And

vast church echoed with

with the wailings of women.

amidst such displays of sympathy from deeply

moved human

walked slowly out

his predecessors

their glory

and

had raised

church which

of the

as a

grand monument of

of their piety.

The Emperor next went

and

hearts, Constantine, himself greatly

visibly affected,

There he had ordered

all

imperial palace.

to the

the dignitaries of state, all

the courtiers and the servants of the Court, to await

him.

He

said

to

them

that no one could tell

the night would bring forth

what

he asked from each

for-

giveness for any harshness or injustice, and then he

Phrantzes,

who

was in attendance upon the Emperor, says that

it is

took a most touching leave of

all.

impossible to describe the scene which ensued, nor the

weeping and sobbing which shook the old palace.

was a scene

to melt a heart of stone

fit

Late in the evening Constantine

mounted

his

Arabian

horse,

and with

"

" It

left

the palace,

his usual suite

rode towards the walls to inspect for the last time the

brave

men who
#

kept watch and awaited the end.

According to the Slavonic Chronicler, the evening


\

of the 28th of

May was
^

sultry

Phrantzes,

and gloomy.

loe. cit.

As

night

THE LAST NIGHT.

211

advanced, heavy and dark clouds slowly gathered above


the city, like a pall dropped from heaven over this great

mausoleum

of

marble and gold.

Mohammed, awake and

Sultan

was struck

restless,

He

with awe as he looked from his tent at the sky.

most learned Ulemas, well read in

called one of his

the mysteries of the heavens, and asked

if

the dense

clouds hanging heavily over the city foreboded any-

thing
sign
"

"

Yes" answered the Ulema

forehodes the fall of Stamhoul

it

And

came not

" it

a great

is

"
!

then," says our informant, " from the

but large drops of water, each drop

rain,

almost as big as a bull's eye


the deeply

impressed

related, that

clouds

"

Afterwards, some of

survivors

of

the

catastrophe

shower of blood sprinkled

the city

shortly before the desperate death -straggle began.^

Towards midnight,

all

the

fires in

the Turkish

camp

were extinguished.
It
last

seemed as

if

the Byzantine Bosphorus passed

midnight in deep

May

night of

could not tear

city of the Christian

emperors.

from the Turkish camp,

lest

It
lift

awake the day, which was

time the

Moslem Stamboul.

"^

all

appeared quiet.

Slavonic Chronicler, 19.

seemed as

if

deaf

up the dark, cloudy

the morning star might

too early

In the city

from the beautiful

itself

and dumb midnight hesitated to


veil

its

It looked as if this sultry

sleep.

to see for the first

Only on the paved


^Ibid,

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

212

streets near the walls

were to be heard from time to

About an hour

time the echoes of horses' hoofs.

after

midnight some horsemen halted by the position near


Dismounting, they

Kalligaria

Gate.

walls.

was the Emperor with some

It

They

ful suite.

of his

the

faith-

strained their eyes in the darkness

They could

towards the Turkish camp.

But they heard

ascended

distinctly

see nothing.

rumbling sounds and voices

The Emperor inquired

subdued in

tone.

men what

these peculiar sounds meant, and

of the watch-

was

told

that apparently the Turks were advancing all their


first

and that possibly the

line,

rattling

the placing of ladders in the moat.

arose from

The Emperor

peered anxiously into the darkness, listening silently.

Who

could say what he thought and what he

moment

at that

Then the cocks began

felt

their first

crow.

The Emperor rode quietly back


St Roman.

He had

determination on the whole

had just

seen,

to the position of

found watchfulness, readiness, and


line.

The men whom he

and who are now seen only through

the shadows of more than four centuries, were brave

men.

The second crowing


to yard,

from street to

of the cocks
street,

sounded from yard

and throughout the Turk-

ish camp.

Suddenly the

awoke

firing of

spreading

echoes

air,

and

With

its

a cannon shook the


far

and

wide.

THE LAST NIGHT.

213

dying thunder mingled war-cries from 50,000 throats


along the Turkish

down

swiftly

glided

2000

planted
Christian

and thousands

line,

the

into

ditch,

the

ladders against

soldiers sprang to arms,

warriors

of

and hurriedly

city walls.

The

and the supreme

struggle began.

According to the established rule in Turkish warfare of that time, the storming

in three

poorest

The

lines.

troops in the

and untrained

columns were arranged

line

first

was formed

camp, with

followers of the Ziyamet

The hardy mercenaries, many

Beys.
soldiers

by

profession,

made

of

the

the undisciplined

and Timariot

whom

of

the second

line.

were

The

third line consisted of the highly trained companies of

the Janissaries and the Spahis.

After an arduous

fight,

that lasted nearly an hour,

the defenders of the walls successfully repulsed the

Broad streams

first assault.

of

Greek

were poured

fire

from the walls on the dense crowds of the assailants,


with more deadly
arrows, and

rifle

effect

than the showers of stones,

At

bullets.

last

the Turks in the

moat were panic-stricken, and climbing in

terror back,

fled across the glacis.

But the unfortunate


"

Chaoushes

with

"

who

fugitives

forced

were met by a line of

them with

chain-whips (Courbatch) back

The few who escaped the

iron maces and


into

the

moat.

ferocious Chaoushes were

encountered by the drawn scimitars of the Janissaries,

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

214

and

having only to

choose

between two

deaths,

returned back to the assault.^

Meanwhile the second

line

They advanced quickly and

forward.

to the sounding of trumpets

must have been

It

light of

morning

fierce billows

again with

up the

The uproar

in

fired constantly

is

like

described as simply

the camp, cannon and

the

rifles

and almost maddened

and thousands

men

shouted fiercely as they fought and

About three

city, all

from the city and against the

city,

of excited

o'clock in the

fell.

morning a cannon

ball

a piece of the outside wall near St Roman's

down

Upon

which

wilder fury dashed themselves higher

All the bells were ringing in the

a point where

Gate, at

of drums.

terrible in the pale yet increasing

to see the dense columns,

drums were beating

tore

in good order

and the beating

broke against the walls, receded, and then

still

ladders.

terrific.

were

had been ordered to move

this breach the

the Venetians were posted.

Turks immediately concentrated

their attack.

The Venetians, with the aid


pulsed the
ball

onslaught.

first

widened

the breach.

some Greeks,

of

re-

The next moment another

Then a

fresh

column of

Janissaries rushed forward, passed through the outside


wall,

and

filled

all

the space between that and the

inner wall, and reckless of danger planted there their


scaling ladders
1

and ascended them.

For these details see Phrantzes, 285

Barharo, 52.

THE LAST NIGHT.


The brave men who had already
hours gallantly defended

began

215

more than two

for

the position of

The Emperor sent

to waver.

Koman

St

reinforce-

for

Theophilus Palaeologus and Demetrius Canta-

ments.

cuzene

up with

hurried

their

men, and again the

Turkish wave had to recede.

Emperor

The

saw

the

Turks

fall

back,

and

"

Bear

cheered on his men, shouting loudly to them


Iravely for

yourselves

"

luills,

ours shall

still

spoke a ball from a

and having said a few words

officers,

The Emperor, who stood but a few


to see the

"Whither

" I go,"

rifle

struck the

he became

two Genoese

art

steps from him,

brave Giustiniani leave his

thou going, brother

to,

wound, said

it

"

he asked.

" to

and then I will return

The Emperor stepped nearer

to

answered the pallid Giustiniani,

wound attended

'^

the

to leave the place.^

was shocked

him

he

requesting one of them to take the command,

he turned

post.

enemy

of Giustiniani.^

The wound caused him excessive pain


pale,

the

see

While he
hand

If God

in disorder!

retires

victory

God's sake!

see

my

!"

to him, looked at his

was not a dangerous

one,

and implored

to remain.

Fhrantzes, 2S2.

Dueas, 284.

foot.

According to others, Giustiniani was wounded in the


2

Turco-Grcecia, p. 29.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

216

an

paused

Giustiniani

instant,

hesitated,

looked

gloomily before him, and with the expression of great

away without a

physical suffering on his face went


word.-^

Extreme
that

fatigue

and intense physical pain had in

supreme hour shaken the heroic

man who had done

much

so

who
moment

Constantinople, and

only by this one

is

spirit

of

defence

the

for

the
of

denied immortal renown

of weakness.

group of Turks noticed

among the

confusion

Hassan Ulubadli,

Christians at that particular point.

a Janissary of gigantic stature, hastily called on his

companions

Some

follow

to

him,

crowded

thirty Janissaries

shouting loudly the


of stones

name

and arrows, half

moat wounded or

and ran up a

killed.

close at

them

his heels,

Under showers

of Allah.
of

ladder.

fell

back into the

But Hassan sprang on the

wall with a few of his comrades, and slashed fiercely

about

him with

his scimitar.

stones and arrows struck

fresh

shower of

him down, another shower

wellnigh smothered him, but he rose on one knee and

fought

on, until at length, covered with

wounds, he

and a true

sank down and

Mussulman was

At many
^

died.

this

gallant soldier

Hassan Ulubadli.

other points of the land wall the fight

Phrantzes, 283; Ducas, 160; Leonardo, 98

The words

ascribed

by Phrantzes

logically impossible, while those quoted

Chalcochondylas, 269.

seem to me psychoby Ducas are far more natural.

to Giustiniani

THE LAST NIGHT.

217

raged with fierce and desperate fury.

seemed that
of

the

all

efforts

Sultan could not prevail

the

old walls and

the

steadfast

Sometimes

the choicest

of

it

troops

against the grand

courage

of

their

de-

fenders.

But suddenly a man, apparently

terror-struck, rode

in great haste towards the spot where the Emperor


stood,

and shouted from the distance that the Turks

had entered the

city,

and would speedily

assail the

rear of the Emperor's position

This

what had happened.

is

In the walls which defended the palace and suburb


of

Hebdomon

there was an old gate, quite low and on

a level with the bottom of the moat, called "Kerkoporta."


it to

One

of the

Byzantine emperors had ordered

be closed long ago because, as the legend runs,

someone had prophesied that through that gate the

enemy would
siege the

enter the

city.

Greek general

staff,

During the present

when

considering the

plan of a sortie against the Turkish positions, had

found that

it

would be easy

for a large

to issue through this old gateway

upon the

left

wing

of the Turks.

body

of troops

and come unawares


In preparation for

such an emergency, the gate was reopened, and a guard


told out to keep

watch

there.

The proposed

had been abandoned, and during the great

sortie

anxieties of

the last days the Kerko-porta was quite forgotten.

While the main

force of the assault

was being con-

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

218

centrated against the position of St

Eoman, a body of

Turks, passing in the moat along the walls, came un-

expectedly upon this old low-lying gate and found

They rushed

open.

in, killed

it

the few guards, hurried

on upon the wall, and hoisted a lance with the horsetail

on

them,

the nearest

running

and

tower

shouting

Other Turks followed


exultingly,

and soon

thousands had pressed into the city through this fatal


gate.

Kyr Lucas Notaras

vainly tried to stem this

torrent; his brave Greeks were speedily overpowered,

he was forced to

men

retreat,

and with a remnant

shut himself up in his

own

palace,

of his

which was

like

a fortified castle.

of

Some Turks at once took possession of


Hebdomon, while others hurried through

towards the position at St Eoman's Gate.

the palace
the streets

Their path

was red with blood and strewn with wounded and


dying men.

CHAPTEE

IX.

The Last Houks.


The

report that the Turks

had entered the

city spread

like wildfire.

The

soldiers

and

people were

panic-stricken

at

the sudden appearance of the enemies in their midst.

Many

Italians

at once

left

their posts,

wards the harbour, where numbers

of

and ran

to-

them succeeded

in reaching the ships.

Crowds

people

of

Sophia, filled

it

quickly almost to suffocation, and then

fastened all the doors.

through

where

the

to go or

In some

hastened to the church of St

streets,

what

of the

Other crowds ran to and


not knowing

fro

in their despair

to do.

more distant

streets

women were

seen walking with burning tapers in their hands

they

were hurrying to the matin mass in the church of St


Theodosia, whose festival was on this day.

Soon they

became alarmed by the distant uproar, and stopped


and

listened, until terrified

men and women rushed

breathlessly by, crying in horror the Turks were in the


city.

Thousands of half-dressed women and children

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

220

fled in wild terror

through the

had suddenly

earthquake

maddened with

The

fright.

streets, as

though an
,

them homeless and

left

shrieks

rising to the skies,

and

of terror

of despair of the unfortunate Christians

wails

mingled with the exulting

were

cries of

the victorious Turks.

At the news

of

what had happened the Emperor

moments

stood for a few

The

as if thunderstruck.

the Italians towards the harbour caused some

flight of

one in the imperial suite to suggest that there was,


time

perhaps,

still

harbour

safely.

the

for

Emperor

Constantine answered simply


should

an Emperor

live

city falls,

I loill fall

The wild

with

ivithout
"

cries of the

"

Constantine turned

and

God forbid

an Empire

the

I
As my
that

it !

Turks were distinctly heard

approaching from the neighbouring


towards

" Whoever wishes to escape,

to reach

streets.

his suite,

and said

him

save himself if he can ;


"^
whoever is ready to face death, let him follow me !
let

Theophilus Palseologus answered the Emperor's last


words, exclaiming

"

/ would

rather die than live

"
1

Constantine spurred his horse, and he rode forward,

sword in hand, to meet the Turks appearing in the


next

street.

nobles

About two hundred Greek and

Italian

and other volunteers followed the Emperor

Don

closely.
^

Francesco

di

Toledo

Spandugin Cantacuzin, Conientari,

p.

rode
190-6.

on

the


THE LAST HOURS.

221

Emperor's right hand, while Demetrius Cantacuzene

was on his

left.

few moments later they were

fierce fight

Ivan the
midst

writes, "

He

fell

of

all

engaged in a

with the advancing crowds of Turks.

Dalmatian spurred his horse into the

company

mowed

tliem

Turks, and, as

of

dovm

Phrantzes

as thoicgh they were

grass.''*

soon covered with wounds, dying the death of

a hero at the post of honour.

Theophilus
death to

life,

Pala^ologus,

who

so

nobly

preferred

from his horse mortally wounded.

fell

The splendid Spaniard, Don Francesco, fought bravely


some time

for

longer.

In the excitement

of the fight

soon separated from his followers.


fell

the Emperor was

His Arabian horse

The

under him, covered with blood and wounds.

Emperor on
struck

him

foot fought

desperately on.

with his sword, but


mortally wounded.^

An

Assab

The Emperor cut him down

in the face.

the next

Not one

moment

fell

forward

of the Turkish soldiers

on the spot knew at that moment who the brave

was who had died

The

man

fighting so valiantly.

struggle continued

some time around the

until heaps of slain covered the

ground

spot,

sanctified for

ever by the heroic death of the last Greek Emperor.

This can be taken as the description current at the Sultan's court,

and used by Sa'ad-icd-din.


the Greeks,

It

was also the popular tradition among

Chansons Fopulaires,

p. 74.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

222

TT

The Turks

in

mowed down
of the

vv*

the

lirst

whom

all

moments

of excitement

But

they met.

dawn

as the

day was approaching, they were able

to discern

that in the principal streets no more fighting

only a crowd of terrified men,

but

remained,

seemed unable

to think or act,

and

of

men
who

women, who,

at

the sight of the Turks and their bloody scimitars,

Then the Turks ceased

shrieked and fainted.

and began

to capture the people for slaves,

killing,

binding

men, women, and children indiscriminately with

Many

ropes.

of the Janissaries did not care for the slaves

to be captured in the streets, but hastened to St Sophia.

Most

of

them believed

in the old legends,

which had

been diligently spread through the camp, that there

was accumulated in the catacombs


an enormous treasure

of

gold, silver,

of

that church

and precious

stones.

Those who

first

arrived found all the doors fastened.

They broke open the

principal entrance.

interior of the sacred building

on these men thirsting

They proceeded

The splendid

produced no impression

for blood

and hungry

for prey.

at once to pillage the church,

was blazing with gold and

among themselves
women who had hoped to
divide

and who now, in

silver ornaments,

the thousands of

to

men and

find shelter in God's house,

sight of the holy eikons,

slaves of the Turks.

which

and

became the

The men were roughly bound

THE LAST HOURS.


with ropes, in the presence of
mothers, and

by

their

own

grand

their wailing wives,

The poor women were fastened

sisters.

and long

girdles

amidst

cupola,

The saddest

scarves.

human agony were

possible scenes of

the

223

the

enacted under

marble

resplendent

columns, and on the beautiful mosaic pavement of the


magnificent church.
its

It

wealth in types of

human beauty and

form and

all its richness

of

brush of a great

artist.

be compared with

was a picture which, with

it,

No

unless

ugliness,

all

and

awaits the

colour, still

other event in history can


it

be the

fall of

Jerusalem.

Before the arrival of the Turks, that part of the

church where the altar stood was


clergy,

When

some

of

filled

with the Greek

them reading the Morning

Service.

the Janissaries broke open the principal door,

the priests had mysteriously disappeared.

was afterwards spread that


Janissaries one

of

at the

legend

approach of the

the church walls near the altar

miraculously opened to admit the priest carrying the

and closed again

sacred, chalice,

after he

had entered.

According to the legend, the same priest will reappear,

coming out from the same


rupted

service,

on

wall, to continue the inter-

the day on which an

orthodox

Emperor reconquers Constantinople from the Turks.


The storming
o'clock in the

of the city

morning

had begun at about two

of the 29 th of

May.

About

eight o'clock A.M. Constantinople

was completely in

the possession of the conquerors.

In more outlying

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

224

around some

streets,

and

fortified

houses, fighting

not

change

morning

great

the

still

and

churches

went

strongly-

but this could

on,^

early on Tuesday

fact that

29th of May, the Turks became masters of

the

Constantinople.

In the dawn of that

fatal

day the great and

all-

absorbing problem with most of the defenders of the


city

how

was,

they

could

save

and

life

Those few morning hours must have been


heart-stirring episodes.

But only one or two

liberty.
full

of

them

of

have been recorded.

The Florentine Tedardi, and some other

Italians,

fought for full two hours after the Turks had entered
the city, and, realizing at last the true situation, he
tried to save himself,

and passed through many

before he reached the harbour.

himself into the waves, as so

Once

many

there,

perils

he threw

other people did,

and fortunately was soon picked up by a Venetian

The captains

boat.

harbour

were

untiring in their attempts to rescue the people.

For

the

of

ships

in the

Golden Horn

purpose

they

remained

several hours

after

the capture of the

this

away only

commanded
^

This

is

the

city, sailing

at noon.

Many fugitives
Among these were

Chronicler,

in

crossed in small

boats to Galata.

the three brothers Brocciardi,

who

at the position of Charsias.

stated by Phrantzcs,
and Tedardi,

p. 288, as well as

by the Slavonic

THE LAST HOURS.

225

Cardinal Isidore, with the aid of faithful servants,


laid aside his purple robes,

common

and put on the clothes

The body

of a

of a Latin volunteer

was

then dressed up in the robes of the Cardinal, and

left

soldier.

The Turks came soon upon

lying in a street.
off the

it,

cut

head of the supposed Cardinal, and carried

on a pike in triumph through the


while, Isidore

had

fallen into the

it

Mean-

streots.

hands of other Turks

but he seemed so miserable and so useless as a slave

him

that his Turkish master soon set

small

sum

The

of

at liberty for a

money.

ill-fated

pretender

Orchan-Effendi, let himself

the

to

down on

Turkish

throne,

the beach from a

tower of the Acropolis, disguised as a Greek monk.

He roamed

about there with some fugitive Greeks, in

the expectation of being taken on board a Christian


ship.

Turks,

who

ship, indeed,

once

at

came, but

captured

it

the

was

with

filled

One

fugitives.

wretched Greek bought his own freedom by betraying


to the

Turks who was the

man

in the monk's gown.

Orchan-Effendi was instantly murdered, and his head


sent to the Sultan.

The Turkish

chronicles mention that a

Greek monks

occupants of

indeed as

many

as three

number

of

the

hundred

monastery, seeing on that

day on

which side God was, and which was the true


declared themselves ready to accept Islam.
certainly a day of terrible trial to

many

faith,

It

was

a heart once

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

226

full of

faith,

now

but

despairing amidst the ruins of

WWW

an Empire.

Mohammed

Towards noon
gate

Poliandrium

of

4^

^r

Jl^f

5r

<4t-

entered the city by the

He

(Edirne-Kapoussi).

was

accompanied by his Viziers, Pashas, and Ulemas, and

by

escorted

who were

his bodyguards,

cially selected for their strength

The Sultan rode

straight

Church

the

to

At

There he dismounted.

Sophia.

men

all

espe-

and manly beauty.

its

St

of

threshold he

stooped down, and collecting some earth he let

it fall

on his turbaned head, as an act of humiliation before


God, who had given him the victory.^

Then he

and entered the

arose

edifice,

but in the

doorway he stopped some moments and gazed in

The grand dimensions

silence before him.

temple,

its

subduing

of

the

beauty and harmony, seemed to have a

efi'ect

on

his spirit,

even in that hour

of

triumph

mosaic
asked
fanatic.

floor

the

"

with an axe.
Sultan.

"

Mohammed,

the

Faith

"

You have

"

replied

"

the

got enough

the citizens for

ly

slaves

"
!

advanced then further on


^

in an impulse of anger, struck

and taking

The huildings are mine

He

Wherefore dost thou that

For

the man, saying angrily


pillaging the city

Turk breaking the

he saw a

Stepping forward,

towards the

Slavonic Chronicler, 21.

altar,

THE LAST HOURS.

227

passing

groups of his soldiers with their Christian

slaves.

Suddenly a door in the screen separating the

altar

from the nave was opened, and a number of

came through

priests

While

Sultan.
fell

still

and advanced

it,

meet the

some distance from him, they

at

on their knees and cried

ful to us

to

"

Aman

" "

Be merci-

"
!

Mohammed
chronicler says

"

them with

on

looked

He made a

priests to rise,

and

wrath, neither

of

said,

'

sign with his

Be not to-day

Our

pity.

hand

to the

afraid of

death nor of pillage!'

He

my

then

turned to his followers, and ordered them at once to

send public criers to prohibit


of the people.

said

'

Now,

let

And

all

further molestation

to the people in the

every

man

go to his

church he

own home

'"

This remarkable episode, described by the Slavonic


ClironicUr, is quite consistent with the character of

Mohammed and

with

all

most probable that the

other circumstances.

priests, at the

It is

approach of the

Janissaries, retired to one of the secret passages in the


walls,

and there

after

some time decided

to

avail

themselves of the Sultan's expected coming to the


church, to implore his protection.
for a

Their disappearance

time through a secret door in the cathedral walls

would explain the origin

of the legend

we have already

mentioned.
"

The Sultan," continues the


^

Chronicler, " waited for

Slavonic Chronicler, 22.

228

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

some time

until the people should quit the church

then unable to stay to the end, he himself departed."

From

other sources

we know

that before he left

the building, he ordered one of his Court-Ulemas to

He

ascend the pulpit and deliver a prayer.

mounted on the marble

table,

which had been the

Christian altar of St Sophia, and there


'*

Eika'at

"

certain

himself

made

his first

movements accompanying a Mus-

sulman's prayer.

From

moment

that

the St Sophia of the Christian

Constantinople was transformed into the Aya-Sofia of


the

Mussulman Stamboul.

Coming out
his

suite,

dignitaries,

of the

of the temple,

among

Emperor.

'No one

away on the

several

Greek

had any certain information.

more probably he had been carried

Italian ships

which had

It is possible that

who were squeezed

sailed

from the

even at that moment the

version was current that the

those

now

that he had very likely fallen in the

Qthers said

harbour.

were

inquired of

whether any one knew what had become

Some thought
fight

whom

Mohammed

Emperor was amongst

to death

when

a panic-

stricken crowd pressed through a gate.

As

the Sultan proceeded along the street leading

from St Sophia to the Acropolis, a Serbian


carrying in his hand a man's head,
cavalcade.

He

lifted

soldier,

met the imperial

up the bloody trophy, shouting

loudly to the Padishah, " Glorioles Lord {may liappi-


THE LAST HOURS.
ness he always thine

/),

tJiis

229
head of the Tzar

the

is

Constantine /"

The cavalcade

halted.

Kyr Lucas Notaras and

some other Greek nobles were called

approach and

to

look on the pale head.

At
some

the

first

glance the Greeks burst into tears, and

them sobbed

of

aloud.

It

was the head

of the

Emperor.

The Serbian led some

officers of

the Sultan's suite

show them the body from which the head had

to

been cut

It

off.

was

which the

imperial

broidered.

It

by the name

identified

by the purple shoes on

double-headed eagles

were em-

was lying on the square now known

of

Sandjakdar Yokushar.

The Sultan ordered that the Emperor's head should


be exposed for some time on a column of porphyry

which stood on the open space in front


palace.

He

of the imperial

wished the people of Constantinople to

see that the last

Greek Emperor was certainly

But on the same day he gave permission


clergy

to

bury

the

Emperor's

honours due to the imperial dignity.


still

more

personal

his

ordered that the

oil

to the

body with

regard for

And

dead.^

Greek

all

to

the

mark

Constantine, he

to be burnt in a

lamp

at the

grave of the last Greek Emperor should be defrayed

from his own treasury.'


1

Phrantzes, 291

Ducas, 300.

To this day oil in the lamp at Constantine's grave


the Ottoman Government.
Mordtmann.
2

is

provided by

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

230

The next day the Sultan

installed himself in the

palace in which the Byzantine Emperors had resided


Pillaging warriors had already stripped

for centuries.

completely of

it

halls,

which had

all

that

was

The great

portable.

and

in gold

glittered

scarlet,

were

dismantled and bare.

The
last

fate of the ancient

Emperor

Empire and the

stirred the heart of the

His poetical instincts were aroused

fate of its

young conqueror.
he paused some

time in deep thought, and then entered the large hall


of the palace, reciting the verses of the Persian poet

"

Now
And

the spider
the

draws

the curtain

owl proclaims

tlie

in the Gcesari palace

hall,

ivaich beneath AfrasiaVs vaulted dome.''

In the neighbourhood

of .the

Weffa-Mosque, in a

yard surrounded by the dwellings and huts of poor


artisans, there stands

are wreathed round

and wild

an old willow, whose branches

by a profusion

of climbing roses

vines.

In the shadow

of this tree a slab of

white marble

without any inscription covers a grave, at whose head

an

oil

lamp

is lit

every evening.

The spot ought

to be hallowed to every

respects faithfulness to duty

and

patriotism,

one who

and who

has sympathy with the single-hearted hero of a great


historic tragedy.
last

The

slab covers the remains of the

Greek Emperor, the

tine Dragasses.

patriotic

and brave Constan-

THE BIBLIOGRAPHY
OF WORKS USED OR CONSULTED FOR THE
PRECEDING SKETCH.

I.

1.

Reports of the Eye-Witnesses of the Siege.

Annales Georgii Phrantzae Protovestiarii, printed in

Corpus Scriptorum Historim Byzantinaej Bonnae, 1838.

George Phrantza's father was a chamberlain


at the Court of the

Emperor Manuel

II.

(KcAAicoSt/s)

Palseologue; his

grandfather was the Governor of Prince Constantine, one of

George Phrantza and

the younger sons of that Emperor.


Prince

Constantine (who was later to be the last Greek

Emperor) were educated together;

their

friendship com-

menced in their earliest boyhood, and lasted through life.


As an able diplomatist Phrantza was often* sent as envoy of
the Emperor to different courts.
Being one of theEmperor's
suite, he was personally engaged in the defence of ConstantiHe was made a prisoner by the Turks, but sucnople.
ceeded in paying his ransom and retired to Corfu, w^here
in the year 1462 he entered the Monastery of St Elias, and
at the pressing request of the Greek patriots wrote his
Memoirs.
2.

SciOf

Lettera de la presa di ConstantinopoUj di Leonardo


Arcivescovo di MetelinOy

scritta

a Papa Nicola

da
F.,

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

232

intorna la presa di Constantinopoli, ex Scio, xvi. Augusto

1453.

Archbishop Leonardo came

to

He was

of the Pope.

the

city.

capital

in

Isidore, the Legate

personally engaged in the defence of

His report to the Pope

valuable and trustworthy.


his letter.

Greek

the

November 1452, accompanying Cardinal


is

justly considered as

most

There exist several editions of

I have used that one printed in the collection of

Sansovino, Venice, 1573.


3.

Lettera d^Issidoro Buteno, Cardinale

della presa di Constantinopoli,

Legate del Papa.

At one time

nella quale

Vescovo SabinOy
egli si ritrovo

Ed. Sansovino, Venetia, 1573.

a Russian Archbishop, and after the Council

of Florence in 1438 one of the staimchest supporters of the

union with Rome, he came to Constantinople as the Pope's


Legate to accept the formal submission of the Greek Church.

During the

siege

of one of the
4.

he was, at

least nominally, the

most important positions

Giornale

dell'

Assedio di

commander

at the walls.

di

1453,

Constantinopoli^

Nieolo Barharo, P.V., corredeto di note e documenti per

Enrico Cornet, Vienna, 1856.


Barbaro, a Venetian nobleman, was himself in Constanti-

nople

when

the Turks began the siege, and he joined his

compatriots in

its

striking events,

defence.

He

which enables us

kept a Journal of the most


to follow the great

drama

day by day.
5.

Informacion envoyee par Francesco de Tresves k

J.

pere en Dieu, Monseigneur le Cardinal d' Avignon, &c.,


Jelian Blanchin

et

Jacques

prise de Constantinople,

de

Mai Van

Tedardi, Florentin, de Ventre-

faide par

1453, a laquelle

R.

par

le

VEmpereur Turc

le

29 jour

diet Jacques etstoit present

This "Informacion" has been published in

Chroniqu^s

THE BIBLIOGKAPHY.

233

de Charles VII. roi de France, par T. Chartier, Paris, 1858


iii. p. 20-25).
Tedardi fought on the walls when the
Turks entered Constantinople, and had much difficulty in
gaining the harbour, where he threw himself into the water
to escape Turkish slavery.
He was seen and picked up by

(vol.

a Venetian

His report abounds with interesting de-

boat.

tails.

VheHini Pusculi Brixiensis, Carmen de capta Con-

6.

stantinopolis libri quatuor.

TJbertino Pusculo, a citizen of Brescia,

had been

living in

Constantinople for some time before the siege, and remained

He

there to the end.

succeeded in escaping from slavery,

and wrote a poem describing some incidents

of the siege

and

an elegiac poem describing the siege and the

fall

the capture of the


7.

city.

0/3^1/os S>;s Ka)i/(rSavTtvo7ro7roA.0)s.

This

is

of the Capital, with such graphic power and such a minute

knowledge of

details, that there is

no doubt but that the

writer took part in the defence, and was in a

obtain accurate and extensive information.

position to

The poet was

afraid to publish his name, but indicated certain signs to

enable his friends to identify the author.

The

Qprjvo^ as well as Ubertini Pusculi's

printed

in

Literatur,
8.

von A.

the

Athos,

("

und

poem have been

Neu-Griechisclien

Elisser, Leipzig, 1857.

of

of the Capture of Constantinople

Turkish Sultan.")

kept in Chilandari,

which several copies

five copies in

them

The Keports

godless

manuscript

of

Mittel

Shazaniya o Vzyatii Tzar-grada hezhojnim turetzkim

Saltanom.
])y

Analekten der

Eussian

libraries,

This

is

a monastery
exist.

After

Slavonic

on

Mount

comparing

Sreznyevsky gave an abstract

in his essay " Povyest o Tzaregradye," read before

234

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

the Imperial

Academy

of Science at St Petersburg

of the Second Division^ 1854,


sion

(Memoirs

His own impres-

99-137).

i.

was that some Greeks who had escaped to Russia,


which they were eye-witnesses. But

related the details of

the manuscript

so full of the idioms of the

is

more

Balkan Slavs,

was written by some Bulgarian or


Serbian closely connected with the Court and Greek headquarters.
The graphic descriptions of incidents do not
permit a doubt of the w^riter relating what he actually
saw happen. In the citations I have called this MS. the
that

it is

likely

it

" Slavonic Chronicle."


9.

Memoirs of

the Janissary

Michael Konstantinovich.

Michael Konstantinovich was a Serbian knight, born at


Ostrovitza, taken prisoner by the Turks in 1455, and enrolled

amongst the Janissaries. He served in the Sultan's army


some years, and then went to Poland, where, about 1490,
he wrote his Memoirs. He devoted a chapter to events
connected with the siege of Constantinople, giving some

He

interesting details.

w^as himself Avith the Serbian con-

tingent in the Turkish camp.

His detachment was stationed

opposite to the gate of Adrianople, but, as he adds, " as far

as our help went^ the

The MS., WTitten


Polish,

was

first

Turh would never have taken

the city"

and
and printed under

in a peculiar mixture of Serbian

translated into Bohemian,

Historia neb Kronyha Turecha^ Lytomisc, 1565.

the

title

The

original text

was published under the

title

Pamietnihi

Janiczara by Galezowsky in his Zhior pisarzoiv PolsMeh


(vol. v., p. 128),

Warsaw, 1828.

II.
1.

Contemporary Writers.

Ducae, Michaeli Ducae nepotis^ Historia Byzantina

Bonnac, 1834).

(ed.

THE BIBLIOGRAPHY.

235

This writer was a distinguislied statesman and Greek


proud of his family connection with the old Imperial

patriot,

dynasty of Ducas.
Constantinople,

Shortly previous to the siege he was at

but apparently

declaration of war.

He

what he heard from

others.

the city before

the

Personally he belonged to that

minority of intelligent Greeks


alliance

left

conscientiously says that he repeats

who were

decidedly for the

with AVestern Europe, even at the cost of the sub-

mission of the Greek Church to the Pope.


2.

Laonici

Chalcoclioindylae^

Turcica

Mstoria (Bonnae,

1834).

Laonic (Xicola) and his brother Demetrius had been


intimately connected with the Court of the Prince Demetrius,

brother of the unfortunate Emperor Constantin.


Laonic
had exceptional opportunities of knowing the interior life of
both the Greek and Turkish Courts, his brother having been
once Prince Demetrius' envoy to the Sultan.
Critohulus,

3.

1451, 7isque

De

rehus gesiis Mecliemetis 11. inde ah anno

ad annum 1467.

(Printed in Caroli MuUeri,

fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum,

vol. v., Parisiis, 1870.)


" Critobulus of Imbros," a Greek in the Turkish service,

was a man

He

of

keen

dedicated his

intellect

work

but in his account of

and of much

to the

Conqueror

men and

literary ability.

Mohammed

XL,

events he shows great

impartiality.
4.

Tarich Muntechehati Evli Chelebi.

This Turkish historian lived late in the fifteenth century.

Writing of the conquest, he


the Turkish heroes of the
grandfather,

mann

states that Korosh-Dede, one of

siege, was a pupil


Turhhan Chodja Ahmed Yussuphy.

own
Dr Mordt-

of his

has given a translation of Chelebi's version, in the

Appendix

to his

own work on

the

siege.

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

236

5.

Dolphin, Assedio

Zcn-zi

e xiresa

di Constantinopoli nelt

anno 1453, estratto dalla Cronaca delle famiglie nobili di


Venezia e della stessa citta dalla sua origine sino I'anno
1478.

Dolphin says that he used not only the written reports of


Leonardo of Chios and of Philippo da Eimano, hut also
what he heard from those iclio were eye-witnesses (pp. 9 and 43).

His work was printed by George M. Thomas in the SitzungsBerichte der Kgl. hayei'ischen Akademie der Wissenschaften,

Munich, 1868.
6.

Theodore Spandugin Cantacuziu, gentilhuomo ConstanJ.

Comentari, Del origine e costumi Turchi,

Fiorenza, 1551.

Improved edition in C. N. Sathas, Monu-

tinopolitano,

menta Historice Hellenicm, vol. ix., Paris, 1888.


In his commentaries on Turkish questions, which were
much appreciated in Italy in the sixteenth century, Spandugin gave some interesting particulars of the

fall of

Constanti-

Being one of the family of the Cantacuzens, several

nople.

members

of which fell defending the capital, and having


been nearly related to Kyr Lucas Notaras, the Admiral of

the Greek

by

fleet,

he doubtless wrote down

his family as facts.

I follow

him

details accepted

especially in the closing

scene.

7.

Abraham

prise de

the Armenian,

Stamhoul,

traduite

Melodie elegiaque

par

M. Erosset

sur la

(printed

in

Lebeau's Histoire du Bas-Empire, vol. xxi. pp. 307-314).

Another translation into French was made by

Mr Eugene

Bor6, and printed in the Journal Asiatique for 1835.

The Armenian poet declares in the Introduction that having visited Constantinople " in its glory and admired its holy
relics,"

into a

and having now heard of its


that which he heard.

poem

fall,

he

felt

moved to put

THE BIBLIOGRAPHY.
8.

Kara

Georgii Scholarii,

aTTLo-TLas

Monk

r^s

237

iSt/x.oi'taK^s

atpeo-etos,

tjtol

(Contra Simoniacani haeresiam, sive infidelitatem).

Memorandum

Genadius'

Rome, printed in

J. P.

against the union with


Migne, Patrologice cursus, vol. clx.

pp. 731-8.

III.
1.

Contemporary Letters and Official Documents.

Francisci

Venetiis, 1493.
2.

Philelphi,

Epistolae,

The second

edition, Parisiis, 1503.

1437-1472.

a.d.

Reusnerii, Ejpistolarum Turcicarum^ libri v., printed in

Francfort, 1598.
3.

Raynaldi,

Odorici

Annates

Ecdesiastici,

vol.

(containing letters from the year 1417 to 1458).

xviii.

Coloniae

Agrippinae, 1694.
4.

Acta Archivi

Veneti, ed.

Dr Yanko

Schafarik.

Bel-

grade, 1866.
5.

Monumerda

{Archivi

Veneti)

spectantia

Meridionalium, edited by the South Slavonic


Science,

Slavorum

Academy

of

Agram, 1868.

IV.
Naturally

all

Modern Writers.

the modern works treating the history of the

Byzantine Empire or that of the Turkish Empire have


special chapters dedicated to the fall of Constantinople.
will

mention here only those which are considered as standard

works or which are monographs.


1.

Gibbon,

Decline

(ch. Ixviii., vol.

iii.).

and Fall

of

the

Roman Empire

All the sources from which Gibbon

CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

238
drew

his

information were

Phrantza,

Ducas,

Clialco-

chondylas, and the letter of the Archbishop of Chios.


2.

vol.

Joseph

book

i.

works,

V.

xii.

Hammer,

Geschichte dcs Osmaniscli&n Reiches,

In addition

Hammer was

to the Byzantine

and

Italian

well acquainted with Sa'ad-ud-din.

3. George Finlay, A History of Greece, edited by Rev.


H. E. Tozer, Oxford, 1877. The fall of Constantinople is
described in the third volume, from p. 496,

4.

Zinkeisen, J. W., Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches.

The author was

able to use

some

letters

and reports found in

the Vatican Library.


5.

Martin et M. Brosset, Hisloire du Bas-Empire par

J.

Leheauy Paris, 1835.

The

editors

were able to improve

Lebeau's description by a few details found in the


of the

Armenian Abraham and

poem

in the so-called "Grusian

Chronicle."
6.

J.

Stassulevich, Ossada

(St Petersburg,

Vzyatiye Vizantii

1854), consulted

Turhami

only the old Byzantine

sources and the Chronicle of Sa'ad-ud-din.


7.

Sreznyevski, Povyest o Tzaregradye, St Petersburg,

8.

Dr A. D. Mordtmann

interesting

descriptions

1 855.

has given us one of the most

in his Belagerung

Constantinopelsdurchdie TiirhenimJahre

und Eroherung

1 453, wac/i

Original

quellen hearheitet (Stuttgart, 1858), using largely the Journal

of Nicolo Barbaro.

Dr

Y. U. Krause, Die Eroherungen von Constantinopel


und xiv Jahrhunderte nach Byzantinischen, Frankischen, und Turhisclien quellen und Berichten, Halle, 1870,
drew chiefly from Byzantine authors, reprinting some portions
9.

im

xiii


THE BIBLIOGRAPHY.

239

from Sa'ad-ud-din, and taking some incidents from the poem


of a

Greek eye-witness.

10.

W.

Kev.

stantinople

J.

Broadribb and

a Sketch of its History

Mr

Walter Besant, Con-

from

its

Foundation to

its

Conquest by the Turks in 1453, London, 1879, followed


Mordtmann and Krause, but consulted also independently
Byzantine authors, and added some interesting information

on the condition
Bertrandon de
11.

The

of Constantinople

from the French knight,

la Brocqui^re.

latest

monograph in Western

literature is that

written by E. H. Vlasto, Les derniers jours de Constantinople^


Paris, 183.

Mr
in

Vlasto's bibliography mentions as the principal

modern Greek which


S.

works

D. Byzantios, Constantinople.

Spir. Zambelios,

Marc
S.

treat of this subject

Byzantine Essays.

Renieri, Historical Essays.

N. Sathas, Histo7'ical Works.

Const. Paparrigopoulo, TJie General History of the


Hellenic Nations,

(&c.

^0

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