Mehmed II Conquers Constantinople

Mehmed II Conquers Constantinople


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History Bytez

Mehmed II or Mohammed II (30 March 1432 – 3 May 1481), best known as Mehmed the Conqueror, was an Ottoman sultan who ruled first for a short time from August 1444 to September 1446, and later from February 1451 to May 1481. At the age of 21, he conquered Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) and brought an end to the Eastern Roman Empire. Mehmed continued his conquests in Anatolia with its reunification and in Southeast Europe as far west as Bosnia. Mehmed is considered a hero in modern-day Turkey and parts of the wider Muslim world. Among other things, Istanbul’s Fatih district, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Fatih Mosque are named after him.

When Mehmed II ascended the throne again in 1451 he devoted himself to strengthening the Ottoman Navy, and made preparations for the taking of Constantinople. In the narrow Bosporus Straits, the fortress Anadoluhisarı had been built by his great-grandfather Bayezid I on the Asian side Mehmed erected an even stronger fortress called Rumelihisarı on the European side, and thus gained complete control of the strait. Having completed his fortresses, Mehmed proceeded to levy a toll on ships passing within reach of their cannon. A Venetian vessel ignoring signals to stop was sunk with a single shot and all the surviving sailors beheaded, except for the captain, who was impaled and mounted as a human scarecrow as a warning to further sailors on the strait.

Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, the companion and standard bearer of Muhammad, had died during the first Siege of Constantinople (674–78). As Mehmed II’s army approached Constantinople, Mehmed’s sheikh Akşemseddin discovered the tomb of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. After the conquest, Mehmed built Eyüp Sultan Mosque at the site, to emphasize the importance of the conquest to the Islamic world and highlight his role as ghazi.

In 1453 Mehmed commenced the siege of Constantinople with an army between 80,000 to 200,000 troops and a navy of 320 vessels, the bulk of them transports and storeships. The city was surrounded by sea and land the fleet at the entrance of the Bosphorus stretched from shore to shore in the form of a crescent, to intercept or repel any assistance for Constantinople from the sea. In early April, the Siege of Constantinople began. At first, the city’s walls held off the Turks, even though Mehmed’s army used the new Orban’s bombard, a giant cannon similar to the Dardanelles Gun. The harbor of the Golden Horn was blocked by a boom chain and defended by twenty-eight warships.

On 22 April, Mehmed transported his lighter warships overland, around the Genoese colony of Galata, and into the Golden Horn’s northern shore eighty galleys were transported from the Bosphorus after paving a route, little over one mile, with wood. Thus the Byzantines stretched their troops over a longer portion of the walls. About a month later, Constantinople fell, on 29 May, following a fifty-seven day siege. After this conquest, Mehmed moved the Ottoman capital from Adrianople to Constantinople.


1453: Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror Began the Siege of Constantinople

Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror, who was only 21 years old at the time, led the siege.

At the time, Constantinople was one of the most fortified cities in the world, but the Byzantine Empire was reduced to a small remnant (it only comprised the surroundings of Constantinople and parts of present-day Greece).

The Byzantine emperor Constantine XI set a defensive chain at the entrance to the Golden Horn because he wanted to improve defense from the sea.

The large chain really prevented the Ottoman ships from entering the port of Constantinople. Therefore, Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror ordered his troops to move the ships from land into the waters of the Golden Horn.

The sultan used heavy artillery, often called the military bombardon, for the attack on Constantinople. The bombardon allegedly fired a missile with a mass of a few hundred kilograms.

The Ottomans captured the city after a siege that lasted fifty days. The sultan moved his capital to Constantinople (the former capital of the Ottoman Empire was Adrianople).

He turned the famous Hagia Sophia Church in Constantinople into a Muslim mosque.


The Conquest of Constantinople 1453

Constantinople was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire was founded by the religious Roman emperor Constantine I, also known as Constantine the Great, in 324 AD. Emperor Constantine I was the first Roman emperor who would eventually embrace Christianity. This was clearly visible in the city, especially with the largest and most beautiful cathedral in the world (later transformed into a mosque): The Hagia Sophia.

Colossus of Constantine I

Constantinople was in addition to her love for Christianity, one of the most magnificent cities globally, located on two continents, Asia and Europe. The name Constantinople means "the city of Constantine", but it was also known as the New Rome. The city survived many sieges in the past, until 29 May 1453. It could not resist the mighty cannons of the just 21 years old Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who's number one dream was to conqueror Constantinople and to spread Islam across the whole world.

After a golden age (from 850 to 1050) of Byzantine art, architecture and craftsmanship, Constantinople went into a sharp decline. One of the crucial factors that set the decline in motion was the Ottomans' onslaught who conquered much of Asia Minor.

Even centuries before the invasion, the association between Muslims and the conquest of Constantinople was not unfamiliar. The Muslim world believed that the conquest of the beautiful city would let to a just world. The Muslims' greatest motivation to start a siege was the Hadith coming from the last Muslim Prophet: Muhammad (saw). The Hadith cited "they will conquer Konstantiniye. Hail the leader and the army to whom that good fortune will be given".

The Muslim army made various attempts to capture the city, but these were to no avail. However, the city came under serious threat by the rise of the Ottoman Empire (1299 AD). But still, none of the Sultans were eager or wise enough to conquer Constantinople. But the belief in the Hadith was strong, and one day those strong Theodosian walls would be destroyed. Sultan Mehmed II, known for his high intelligence, would eventually be the Sultan that will end the Roman Empire and set up a new age: The Renaissance.

Sultan Mehmed II

Sultan Mehmed II also known as “the Conqueror”, was born on March 30, 1432, in Edirne. He was Sultan Murad II, his fourth son. Mehmed became Sultan at the age of 19, after his father’s death in 1451. Mehmed II was different from the previous Sultans who ruled the Ottoman Empire. The young Sultan was not only an able military commander with military talents in organising logistics, feeding, moving and directing an army, but he was also an insightful statesman. He was praised for his intellectual capacity and his love for literature and art. The history and geography of the world were not unknown to him. He was a master of astrology and always encouraging his researchers to reach for more. He also had a great interest in Persian poetry and wrote himself poems. The Sultan was so fond of art he later invited the gifted artist Bellini from Venice to his court and let him paint a portrait of himself together with one of his sons. A devout Muslim, fluent in at least three languages of the day, namely Arabic, Turkish and Persian. The Sultan could also read in Latin, Greek and Italian.

A portrait of Sultan Mehmed II and one of his sons, from the painter Bellini (ca 1479 AD)

Sultan Mehmed II was from the first day of his reign very ambitious to take the city. He took the opportunity to disclose his determination to be the leader that will conquer Constantinople and fulfil the famous Hadith. Immediately after the accession of the Ottoman throne, Sultan Mehmed began to create different plans to make the siege a success. However, the pressure on the young Sultan was immense, because he was confronted with a task none of his ancestor could complete. Not even his own father, Sultan Murad II was able to break down those huge walls.

Strategies and Manoeuver

The city of Constantinople was way smaller than the metropolis Istanbul has become today. The city had a rough triangle shape, with slightly curved sides. It was protected with a triple line of walls. The land-walls stretched from the Blachernae quarter on the Golden Horn to the Studion quarter on the Sea of Marmara. These walls were massive, each flanked by towers. The Golden Horn side walls were about three to four miles in length, but these walls were not as strong as the land-walls.

To protect his Empire, Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI made different changes to his defence. The last Roman Emperor ordered the bridge across the moats to be destroyed, and the gates of the city closed.

With the advice of a Genoese engineer, Bartolomeo Soligo, a great chain was constructed across the entrance to the harbour of the Golden Horn. The chain was stretching on one end to the tower of Eugenius and the other end to the walls of Galata. Disabling every enemy ship to enter the Bosphorus, and to start an attack from the sea.

The chain between Galata and Constantinople

Sultan Mehmed, a great strategist, studied the previous sieges of Constantinople with a lot of attention. He knew that this siege had to be different than the previous ones, to become successful. A master diplomat, the Sultan made several treaties in the western borders with the Serbians and Hungarians. These diplomatic treaties made it difficult for them to aid Constantinople when it was under siege. A second smart strategy adopted by the Sultan was to suppress the city of any supply and aid through the Bosphorus. This plan was executed by building a great fortress known as Rumeli Hisarı, on the city's European side. Across this large fortress, there was another one, Anadolu Hisari, erected earlier by Sultan Bayezid I.

Time also played a crucial role in the siege. A long siege would allow the Hungarian and Venetian forces to aid the besieged city. A long siege would also drain the Ottoman recourses and the fighting spirit of the soldiers. However, with the use of artillery, Sultan Mehmed wanted to make short shrift of the city. The Sultan made a concerted effort to improvise his artillery. His plan was made easier with the expertise provided by a Hungarian engineer named Urban. However, before helping the Sultan improving his artillery, Urban offered his expertise to the Emperor. But the Emperor could not pay Urban the salary he thought to be his due. After this, Urban offered the Sultan his plan to build a canon that even could blast the walls of Babylon. This canon was known as the Basilica and needed two to three hours to be reloaded.

After a long preparation time, both from the attackers and the defenders, the siege of Constantinople had ultimately begun on April 6, 1453. The siege lasted for seven weeks. The date of the siege was chosen for a reason. April 6 was a Friday, and Friday is the holy day of the Muslim world. After the Friday prayers, the Ottomans set their camp to the west of the city north of the Golden Horn. However, the continuous bombardment of the walls started on April 12. The large canons of Urban, as mentioned before, created enormous damage to the dense of the city.

The first two weeks of the siege were not successful. Although the city was short of defenders, it was defended with success. The land attacks by the Ottoman army did not yield any promising result. The Byzantine army, which was led by the Genoese captain: Giovanni Giustiniani Longo, was repeatedly cutting every attack of the Ottomans.

Genoese captain Giovanni Giustiniani Longo

Flying Ships

The young Sultan was aware of his constrain. Mainly because the land attack alone will not be able to defeat the Byzantine army Mehmed planned for an active naval attack. Because of the massive chain that made it impossible to sail into the Golden Horn and attack the city from the weak sea wall, the Sultan had to develop another smart plan. During the night of April 21-22, Sultan Mehmed ordered his vessels to dragged overland, over the Galata Hill into the Golden Horn. This allowed the Ottoman navy to fire on the sea wall, thereby spreading the Byzantine defenders even more thinly. The defenders of Constantinople were caught by surprise. A brilliant military move of the young, intelligent Sultan.

The Conquer

Despite this brilliant advantage, there was doubt about the campaign's success, especially from the Sultans Grand Vizier (adviser), Çandarlı Halil Pasha. From the very beginning, Halil Pasha intended to leave the assault and never really believed in the young Sultan.

Mehmed had to come with another brilliant plan to finish the siege with success. On Monday, May 28, he visited his troops and announced that rewards would be given for the first who managed to enter the city and warned that traitors would be punished severely.

The Sultans plan was working, and in the morning of May 29, the Ottoman troops burned their camps and were shouting that the next day they would be sleeping in Constantinople.

The Sultan commanded a large and final assault on May 29. The first and second attacks of the Ottomans were not a success, but they managed to weaken the defenders and to drain their ammunition. And finally, in the early light of dawn, the Sultan sent his twelve thousand best trained elite soldiers, the Janissaries.

Sultan Mehmed II entering Constantinople

The strategies inserted by the Sultan paid off. The spirit of the Ottomans was of no match to the demoralised defending Byzantines. The city was finally captured on May 29, 1453, after a siege of 53 days. After a three-day pillage, the Sultan entered the city and proclaimed, "Hereafter my capital is Constantinople”.


Contents

Mehmed II was born on 30 March 1432, in Edirne, then the capital city of the Ottoman state. His father was Sultan Murad II (1404–1451) and his mother Hüma Hatun, a slave of uncertain origin. [5] [6] [7]

When Mehmed II was eleven years old he was sent to Amasya with his two lalas (advisors) to govern and thus gain experience, per the custom of Ottoman rulers before his time. [7] Sultan Murad II also sent a number of teachers for him to study under. This Islamic education had a great impact in molding Mehmed's mindset and reinforcing his Muslim beliefs. He was influenced in his practice of Islamic epistemology by practitioners of science, particularly by his mentor, Molla Gürani, and he followed their approach. The influence of Akshamsaddin in Mehmed's life became predominant from a young age, especially in the imperative of fulfilling his Islamic duty to overthrow the Byzantine empire by conquering Constantinople. [ citation needed ]

After Murad II made peace with Hungary on June 12, 1444, [8] he abdicated the throne to his 12-year-old son Mehmed II in July [9] /August [8] 1444.

In Mehmed II's first reign, he defeated the crusade led by John Hunyadi after the Hungarian incursions into his country broke the conditions of the truce Peace of Szeged in September 1444. [8] Cardinal Julian Cesarini, the representative of the Pope, had convinced the king of Hungary that breaking the truce with Muslims was not a betrayal. [ citation needed ] At this time Mehmed II asked his father Murad II to reclaim the throne, but Murad II refused. According to the 17th-century chronicles, [10] Mehmed II wrote, "If you are the sultan, come and lead your armies. If I am the sultan I hereby order you to come and lead my armies." Then, Murad II led the Ottoman army and won the Battle of Varna on 10 November 1444. [8] Halil Inalcik states that Mehmed II did not ask for his father. Instead, it was Çandarlı Halil Pasha's effort to bring Murad II back to the throne. [9] [10]

In 1446 Murad II returned to throne, Mehmed II retained the title of sultan but only acted as a governor of Manisa. Following death of Murad II in 1451, Mehmed II became sultan for second time. İbrahim Bey of Karaman invaded disputed area and instigated various revolts against Ottoman rule. Mehmed II conducted first campaign against İbrahim of Karaman Byzantines threatened to release Ottoman claimant Orhan. [8]

When Mehmed II ascended the throne again in 1451 he devoted himself to strengthening the Ottoman navy and made preparations for an attack on Constantinople. In the narrow Bosphorus Straits, the fortress Anadoluhisarı had been built by his great-grandfather Bayezid I on the Asian side Mehmed erected an even stronger fortress called Rumelihisarı on the European side, and thus gained complete control of the strait. Having completed his fortresses, Mehmed proceeded to levy a toll on ships passing within reach of their cannon. A Venetian vessel ignoring signals to stop was sunk with a single shot and all the surviving sailors beheaded, [12] except for the captain, who was impaled and mounted as a human scarecrow as a warning to further sailors on the strait. [13]

Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, the companion and standard bearer of Muhammad, had died during the first Siege of Constantinople (674–678). As Mehmed II's army approached Constantinople, Mehmed's sheikh Akshamsaddin [14] discovered the tomb of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. After the conquest, Mehmed built Eyüp Sultan Mosque at the site to emphasize the importance of the conquest to the Islamic world and highlight his role as ghazi. [14]

In 1453 Mehmed commenced the siege of Constantinople with an army between 80,000 and 200,000 troops, an artillery train of over seventy large field pieces, [15] and a navy of 320 vessels, the bulk of them transports and storeships. The city was surrounded by sea and land the fleet at the entrance of the Bosphorus stretched from shore to shore in the form of a crescent, to intercept or repel any assistance for Constantinople from the sea. [12] In early April, the Siege of Constantinople began. At first, the city's walls held off the Turks, even though Mehmed's army used the new bombard designed by Orban, a giant cannon similar to the Dardanelles Gun. The harbor of the Golden Horn was blocked by a boom chain and defended by twenty-eight warships.

On 22 April, Mehmed transported his lighter warships overland, around the Genoese colony of Galata, and into the Golden Horn's northern shore eighty galleys were transported from the Bosphorus after paving a route, little over one mile, with wood. Thus the Byzantines stretched their troops over a longer portion of the walls. About a month later, Constantinople fell, on 29 May, following a fifty-seven-day siege. [12] After this conquest, Mehmed moved the Ottoman capital from Adrianople to Constantinople.

When Sultan Mehmed II stepped into the ruins of the Boukoleon, known to the Ottomans and Persians as the Palace of the Caesars, probably built over a thousand years before by Theodosius II, he uttered the famous lines of Saadi: [16] [17] [18] [19]

The spider is curtain-bearer in the palace of Chosroes,
The owl sounds the relief in the castle of Afrasiyab.

Some Muslim scholars claimed that a hadith in Musnad Ahmad referred specifically to Mehmed's conquest of Constantinople, seeing it as the fulfillment of a prophecy and a sign of the approaching apocalypse. [20]

After the conquest of Constantinople, Mehmed claimed the title of caesar of the Roman Empire (Qayser-i Rûm), based on the assertion that Constantinople had been the seat and capital of the Roman Empire since 330 AD, and whoever possessed the Imperial capital was the ruler of the Empire. [21] The contemporary scholar George of Trebizond supported his claim. [22] [23] The claim was not recognized by the Catholic Church and most of, if not all, Western Europe, but was recognized by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Mehmed had installed Gennadius Scholarius, a staunch antagonist of the West, as the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople with all the ceremonial elements, ethnarch (or milletbashi) status and rights of property that made him the second largest landlord in the said empire by the sultan himself in 1454, and in turn Gennadius II recognized Mehmed the Conqueror as successor to the throne. [24] [25]

Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos died without producing an heir, and had Constantinople not fallen to the Ottomans he likely would have been succeeded by the sons of his deceased elder brother. Those children were taken into the palace service of Mehmed after the fall of Constantinople. The oldest boy, renamed Has Murad, became a personal favorite of Mehmed and served as beylerbey of the Balkans. The younger son, renamed Mesih Pasha, became admiral of the Ottoman fleet and sanjak-bey of the Gallipoli. He eventually served twice as Grand Vizier under Mehmed's son, Bayezid II. [26]

After the fall of Constantinople, Mehmed would also go on to conquer the Despotate of Morea in the Peloponnese in 1460, and the Empire of Trebizond in northeastern Anatolia in 1461. The last two vestiges of Byzantine rule were thus absorbed by the Ottoman Empire. The conquest of Constantinople bestowed immense glory and prestige on the country. There is some historical evidence that, 10 years after the conquest of Constantinople, Mehmed II visited the site of Troy and boasted that he had avenged the Trojans by conquering the Greeks (Byzantines). [27] [28] [29]

Mehmed II's first campaigns after Constantinople were in the direction of Serbia, which had been an Ottoman vassal state since the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. The Ottoman ruler had a connection with the Serbian Despotate – one of Murad II's wives was Mara Branković – and he used that fact to claim some Serbian islands. That Đurađ Branković had recently made an alliance with the Hungarians, and had paid the tribute irregularly, may have been important considerations. When Serbia refused these demands, the Ottoman army set out from Edirne towards Serbia in 1454. Smederevo was besieged, as was Novo Brdo, the most important Serbian metal mining and smelting center. Ottomans and Hungarians fought during the years till 1456.

The Ottoman army advanced as far as Belgrade, where it attempted but failed to conquer the city from John Hunyadi at the Siege of Belgrade, on 14 July 1456. A period of relative peace ensued in the region until the Fall of Belgrade in 1521, during the reign of Mehmed's great-grandson, known as Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The sultan retreated to Edirne, and Đurađ Branković regained possession of some parts of Serbia. Before the end of the year, however, the 79-year-old Branković died. Serbian independence survived him for only two years, when the Ottoman Empire formally annexed his lands following dissension among his widow and three remaining sons. Lazar, the youngest, poisoned his mother and exiled his brothers, but he died soon afterwards. In the continuing turmoil the oldest brother Stefan Branković gained the throne but was ousted in March 1459. After that the Serbian throne was offered to Stephen Tomašević, the future king of Bosnia, which infuriated Sultan Mehmed. He sent his army, which captured Smederevo in June 1459, ending the existence of the Serbian Despotate. [30]

The Despotate of the Morea bordered the southern Ottoman Balkans. The Ottomans had already invaded the region under Murad II, destroying the Byzantine defenses – the Hexamilion wall – at the Isthmus of Corinth in 1446. Before the final siege of Constantinople Mehmed ordered Ottoman troops to attack the Morea. The despots, Demetrios Palaiologos and Thomas Palaiologos, brothers of the last emperor, failed to send any aid. Their own incompetence resulted in an Albanian-Greek revolt against them, during which they invited in Ottoman troops to help put down the revolt. [31] At this time, a number of influential Moreote Greeks and Albanians made private peace with Mehmed. [32] After more years of incompetent rule by the despots, their failure to pay their annual tribute to the Sultan, and finally their own revolt against Ottoman rule, Mehmed entered the Morea in May 1460. The capital Mistra fell exactly seven years after Constantinople, on 29 May 1460. Demetrios ended up a prisoner of the Ottomans and his younger brother Thomas fled. By the end of the summer, the Ottomans had achieved the submission of virtually all cities possessed by the Greeks.

A few holdouts remained for a time. The island of Monemvasia refused to surrender, and it was ruled for a brief time by a Catalan corsair. When the population drove him out they obtained the consent of Thomas to submit to the Pope's protection before the end of 1460. [33] The Mani Peninsula, on the Morea's south end, resisted under a loose coalition of local clans, and the area then came under the rule of Venice. The last holdout was Salmeniko, in the Morea's northwest. Graitzas Palaiologos was the military commander there, stationed at Salmeniko Castle (also known as Castle Orgia). While the town eventually surrendered, Graitzas and his garrison and some town residents held out in the castle until July 1461, when they escaped and reached Venetian territory. [34]

Emperors of Trebizond formed alliances through royal marriages with various Muslim rulers. Emperor John IV of Trebizond married his daughter to the son of his brother-in-law, Uzun Hasan, khan of the Ak Koyunlu, in return for his promise to defend Trebizond. He also secured promises of support from the Turkish beys of Sinope and Karamania, and from the king and princes of Georgia. The Ottomans were motivated to capture Trebizond or to get an annual tribute. In the time of Murad II they first attempted to take the capital by sea in 1442, but high surf made the landings difficult and the attempt was repulsed. While Mehmed II was away laying siege to Belgrade in 1456, the Ottoman governor of Amasya attacked Trebizond, and although he was defeated, he took many prisoners and extracted a heavy tribute.

After John's death in 1459, his brother David came to power and intrigued with various European powers for help against the Ottomans, speaking of wild schemes that included the conquest of Jerusalem. Mehmed II eventually heard of these intrigues and was further provoked to action by David's demand that Mehmed remit the tribute imposed on his brother.

Mehmed the Conqueror's response came in the summer of 1461. He led a sizable army from Bursa by land and the Ottoman navy by sea, first to Sinope, joining forces with Ismail's brother Ahmed (the Red). He captured Sinope and ended the official reign of the Jandarid dynasty, although he appointed Ahmed as the governor of Kastamonu and Sinope, only to revoke the appointment the same year. Various other members of the Jandarid dynasty were offered important functions throughout the history of the Ottoman Empire. During the march to Trebizond, Uzun Hasan sent his mother Sara Khatun as an ambassador while they were climbing the steep heights of Zigana on foot, she asked Sultan Mehmed why he was undergoing such hardship for the sake of Trebizond. Mehmed replied:

Mother, in my hand is the sword of Islam, without this hardship I should not deserve the name of ghazi, and today and tomorrow I should have to cover my face in shame before Allah. [35]

Having isolated Trebizond, Mehmed quickly swept down upon it before the inhabitants knew he was coming, and he placed it under siege. The city held out for a month before the emperor David surrendered on 15 August 1461.

The Ottomans since the early 15th century tried to bring Wallachia (Ottoman Turkish: والاچیا ‎) under their control by putting their own candidate on the throne, but each attempt ended in failure. The Ottomans regarded Wallachia as a buffer zone between them and the Kingdom of Hungary and for a yearly tribute did not meddle in their internal affairs. The two primary Balkan powers, Hungary and the Ottomans, maintained an enduring struggle to make Wallachia their own vassal. To prevent Wallachia from falling into the Hungarian fold, the Ottomans freed young Vlad III (Dracula), who had spent four years as a prisoner of Murad, together with his brother Radu, so that Vlad could claim the throne of Wallachia. His rule was short-lived, however, as Hunyadi invaded Wallachia and restored his ally Vladislav II, of the Dănești clan, to the throne.

Vlad III Dracula fled to Moldavia, where he lived under the protection of his uncle, Bogdan II. In October 1451, Bogdan was assassinated and Vlad fled to Hungary. Impressed by Vlad's vast knowledge of the mindset and inner workings of the Ottoman Empire, as well as his hatred towards the Turks and new Sultan Mehmed II, Hunyadi reconciled with his former enemy and tried to make Vlad III his own adviser, but Vlad refused.

In 1456, three years after the Ottomans had conquered Constantinople, they threatened Hungary by besieging Belgrade. Hunyadi began a concerted counter-attack in Serbia: while he himself moved into Serbia and relieved the siege (before dying of the plague), Vlad III Dracula led his own contingent into Wallachia, reconquered his native land, and killed the impostor Vladislav II.

In 1459, Mehmed II sent envoys to Vlad to urge him to pay a delayed tribute [36] of 10,000 ducats and 500 recruits into the Ottoman forces. Vlad III Dracula refused and had the Ottoman envoys killed by nailing their turbans to their heads, on the pretext that they had refused to raise their "hats" to him, as they only removed their headgear before Allah.

Meanwhile, the Sultan sent the Bey of Nicopolis, Hamza Pasha, to make peace and, if necessary, eliminate Vlad III. [37] Vlad III set an ambush the Ottomans were surrounded and almost all of them caught and impaled, with Hamza Pasha impaled on the highest stake, as befit his rank. [37]

In the winter of 1462, Vlad III crossed the Danube and scorched the entire Bulgarian land in the area between Serbia and the Black Sea. Allegedly disguising himself as a Turkish Sipahi and utilizing his command of the Turkish language and customs, Vlad III infiltrated Ottoman camps, ambushed, massacred or captured several Ottoman forces. In a letter to Corvinus dated 2 February, he wrote:

I have killed peasants men and women, old and young, who lived at Oblucitza and Novoselo, where the Danube flows into the sea, up to Rahova, which is located near Chilia, from the lower Danube up to such places as Samovit and Ghighen. We killed 23,884 Turks without counting those whom we burned in homes or the Turks whose heads were cut by our soldiers. Thus, your highness, you must know that I have broken the peace with him [Mehmed II]. [38] [ unreliable source ]

Mehmed II abandoned his siege of Corinth to launch a punitive attack against Vlad III in Wallachia [39] but suffered many casualties in a surprise night attack led by Vlad III Dracula, who was apparently bent on personally killing the Sultan. [40] It is said that when the forces of Mehmed the Conqueror and Radu the Handsome came to Târgoviste, they saw so many Turks impaled around the city that, appalled by the sight, Mehmed considered withdrawing but was convinced by his commanders to stay. However, Vlad's policy of staunch resistance against the Ottomans was not a popular one, and he was betrayed by the boyars's (local aristocracy) appeasing faction, most of them also pro-Dăneşti (a rival princely branch). His best friend and ally Stephen III of Moldavia, who had promised to help him, seized the chance and instead attacked him trying to take back the Fortress of Chilia. Vlad III had to retreat to the mountains. After this, the Ottomans captured the Wallachian capital Târgoviște and Mehmed II withdrew, having left Radu as ruler of Wallachia. Turahanoğlu Ömer Bey, who served with distinction and wiped out a force 6,000 Wallachians and deposited 2,000 of their heads at the feet of Mehmed II, was also reinstated, as a reward, in his old gubernatorial post in Thessaly. [41] Vlad eventually escaped to Hungary, where he was imprisoned on a false accusation of treason against his overlord, Matthias Corvinus.

The despot of Serbia, Lazar Branković, died in 1458, and a civil war broke out among his heirs that resulted in the Ottoman conquest of Serbia in 1459/1460. Stephen Tomašević, son of the king of Bosnia, tried to bring Serbia under his control, but Ottoman expeditions forced him to give up his plan and Stephen fled to Bosnia, seeking refuge at the court of his father. [42] After some battles, Bosnia became tributary kingdom to the Ottomans.

On 10 July 1461, Stephen Thomas died, and Stephen Tomašević succeeded him as King of Bosnia. In 1461, Stephen Tomašević made an alliance with the Hungarians and asked Pope Pius II for help in the face of an impending Ottoman invasion. In 1463, after a dispute over the tribute paid annually by the Bosnian Kingdom to the Ottomans, he sent for help from the Venetians. However, none ever reached Bosnia. In 1463, Sultan Mehmed II led an army into the country. The royal city of Bobovac soon fell, leaving Stephen Tomašević to retreat to Jajce and later to Ključ. Mehmed invaded Bosnia and conquered it very quickly, executing Stephen Tomašević and his uncle Radivoj. Bosnia officially fell in 1463 and became the westernmost province of the Ottoman Empire.

According to the Byzantine historian Michael Critobulus, hostilities broke out after an Albanian slave of the Ottoman commander of Athens fled to the Venetian fortress of Coron (Koroni) with 100,000 silver aspers from his master's treasure. The fugitive then converted to Christianity, so Ottoman demands for his rendition were refused by the Venetian authorities. [43] Using this as a pretext in November 1462, the Ottoman commander in central Greece, Turahanoğlu Ömer Bey, attacked and nearly succeeded in taking the strategically important Venetian fortress of Lepanto (Nafpaktos). On 3 April 1463, however, the governor of the Morea, Isa Beg, took the Venetian-held town of Argos by treason. [43]

The new alliance launched a two-pronged offensive against the Ottomans: a Venetian army, under the Captain General of the Sea Alvise Loredan, landed in the Morea, while Matthias Corvinus invaded Bosnia. [44] At the same time, Pius II began assembling an army at Ancona, hoping to lead it in person. [45] Negotiations were also begun with other rivals of the Ottomans, such as Karamanids, Uzun Hassan and the Crimean Khanate. [45]

In early August, the Venetians retook Argos and refortified the Isthmus of Corinth, restoring the Hexamilion wall and equipping it with many cannons. [46] They then proceeded to besiege the fortress of the Acrocorinth, which controlled the northwestern Peloponnese. The Venetians engaged in repeated clashes with the defenders and with Ömer Bey's forces, until they suffered a major defeat on 20 October and were then forced to lift the siege and retreat to the Hexamilion and to Nauplia (Nafplion). [46] In Bosnia, Matthias Corvinus seized over sixty fortified places and succeeded in taking its capital, Jajce, after a 3-month siege, on 16 December. [47]

Ottoman reaction was swift and decisive: Mehmed II dispatched his Grand Vizier, Mahmud Pasha Angelović, with an army against the Venetians. To confront the Venetian fleet, which had taken station outside the entrance of the Dardanelles Straits, the Sultan further ordered the creation of the new shipyard of Kadirga Limani in the Golden Horn (named after the "kadirga" type of galley), and of two forts to guard the Straits, Kilidulbahr and Sultaniye. [48] The Morean campaign was swiftly victorious for the Ottomans they razed the Hexamilion, and advanced into the Morea. Argos fell, and several forts and localities that had recognized Venetian authority reverted to their Ottoman allegiance.

Sultan Mehmed II, who was following Mahmud Pasha with another army to reinforce him, had reached Zeitounion (Lamia) before being apprised of his Vizier's success. Immediately, he turned his men north, towards Bosnia. [48] However, the Sultan's attempt to retake Jajce in July and August 1464 failed, with the Ottomans retreating hastily in the face of Corvinus' approaching army. A new Ottoman army under Mahmud Pasha then forced Corvinus to withdraw, but Jajce was not retaken for many years after. [47] However, the death of Pope Pius II on 15 August in Ancona spelled the end of the Crusade. [45] [49]

In the meantime, the Venetian Republic had appointed Sigismondo Malatesta for the upcoming campaign of 1464. He launched attacks against Ottoman forts and engaged in a failed siege of Mistra in August through October. Small-scale warfare continued on both sides, with raids and counter-raids, but a shortage of manpower and money meant that the Venetians remained largely confined to their fortified bases, while Ömer Bey's army roamed the countryside.

In the Aegean, the Venetians tried to take Lesbos in the spring of 1464, and besieged the capital Mytilene for six weeks, until the arrival of an Ottoman fleet under Mahmud Pasha on 18 May forced them to withdraw. [50] Another attempt to capture the island shortly after also failed. The Venetian navy spent the remainder of the year in ultimately fruitless demonstrations of force before the Dardanelles. [50] In early 1465, Mehmed II sent peace feelers to the Venetian Senate distrusting the Sultan's motives, these were rejected. [51]

In April 1466, the Venetian war effort was reinvigorated under Vettore Cappello: the fleet took the northern Aegean islands of Imbros, Thasos, and Samothrace, and then sailed into the Saronic Gulf. [52] On 12 July, Cappello landed at Piraeus and marched against Athens, the Ottomans' major regional base. He failed to take the Acropolis and was forced to retreat to Patras, the capital of Peloponnese and the seat of the Ottoman bey, which was being besieged by a joint force of Venetians and Greeks. [53] Before Cappello could arrive, and as the city seemed on the verge of falling, Ömer Bey suddenly appeared with 12,000 cavalry and drove the outnumbered besiegers off. Six hundred Venetians and a hundred Greeks were taken prisoner out of a force of 2,000, while Barbarigo himself was killed. [54] Cappello, who arrived some days later, attacked the Ottomans but was heavily defeated. Demoralized, he returned to Negroponte with the remains of his army. There Cappello fell ill and died on 13 March 1467. [55] In 1470 Mehmed personally led an Ottoman army to besiege Negroponte. The Venetian relief navy was defeated and Negroponte was captured.

In spring 1466, Sultan Mehmed marched with a large army against the Albanians. Under their leader, Skanderbeg, they had long resisted the Ottomans, and had repeatedly sought assistance from Italy. [44] Mehmed II responded by marching again against Albania but was unsuccessful. The winter brought an outbreak of plague, which would recur annually and sap the strength of the local resistance. [52] Skanderbeg himself died of malaria in the Venetian stronghold of Lissus (Lezhë), ending the ability of Venice to use the Albanian lords for its own advantage. [56] After Skanderbeg died, some Venetian-controlled northern Albanian garrisons continued to hold territories coveted by the Ottomans, such as Žabljak Crnojevića, Drisht, Lezhë, and Shkodra – the most significant. Mehmed II sent his armies to take Shkodra in 1474 [57] but failed. Then he went personally to lead the siege of Shkodra of 1478–79. The Venetians and Shkodrans resisted the assaults and continued to hold the fortress until Venice ceded Shkodra to the Ottoman Empire in the Treaty of Constantinople as a condition of ending the war.

The agreement was established as a result of the Ottomans having reached the outskirts of Venice. Based on the terms of the treaty, the Venetians were allowed to keep Ulcinj, Antivan, and Durrës. However, they ceded Shkodra, which had been under Ottoman siege for many months, as well as other territories on the Dalmatian coastline, and they relinquished control of the Greek islands of Negroponte (Euboea) and Lemnos. Moreover, the Venetians were forced to pay 100,000 ducat indemnity [58] and agreed to a tribute of around 10,000 ducats per year in order to acquire trading privileges in the Black Sea. As a result of this treaty, Venice acquired a weakened position in the Levant. [59]

During the post-Seljuks era in the second half of the middle ages, numerous Turkmen principalities collectively known as Anatolian beyliks emerged in Anatolia. Karamanids initially centred around the modern provinces of Karaman and Konya, the most important power in Anatolia. But towards the end of the 14th century, Ottomans began to dominate on most of Anatolia, reducing the Karaman influence and prestige.

İbrahim II of Karaman was the ruler of Karaman, and during his last years, his sons began struggling for the throne. His heir apparent was İshak of Karaman, the governor of Silifke. But Pir Ahmet, a younger son, declared himself as the bey of Karaman in Konya. İbrahim escaped to a small city in western territories where he died in 1464. The competing claims to the throne resulted in an interregnum in the beylik. Nevertheless, with the help of Uzun Hasan, the sultan of the Akkoyunlu (White Sheep) Turkmens, İshak was able to ascend to the throne. His reign was short, however, as Pir Ahmet appealed to Sultan Mehmed II for help, offering Mehmed some territory that İshak refused to cede. With Ottoman help, Pir Ahmet defeated İshak in the battle of Dağpazarı. İshak had to be content with Silifke up to an unknown date. [60] Pir Ahmet kept his promise and ceded a part of the beylik to the Ottomans, but he was uneasy about the loss. So during the Ottoman campaign in the West, he recaptured his former territory. Mehmed returned, however, and captured both Karaman (Larende) and Konya in 1466. Pir Ahmet barely escaped to the East. A few years later, Ottoman vizier (later grand vizier) Gedik Ahmet Pasha captured the coastal region of the beylik. [61]

Pir Ahmet as well as his brother Kasım escaped to Uzun Hasan's territory. This gave Uzun Hasan a chance to interfere. In 1472, the Akkoyunlu army invaded and raided most of Anatolia (this was the reason behind the Battle of Otlukbeli in 1473). But then Mehmed led a successful campaign against Uzun Hasan in 1473 that resulted in the decisive victory of the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Otlukbeli. Before that, Pir Ahmet with Akkoyunlu help had captured Karaman. However Pir Ahmet couldn't enjoy another term. Because immediately after the capture of Karaman, the Akkoyunlu army was defeated by the Ottomans near Beyşehir and Pir Ahmet had to escape once more. Although he tried to continue his struggle, he learned that his family members had been transferred to İstanbul by Gedik Ahmet Pasha, so he finally gave up. Demoralized, he escaped to Akkoyunlu territory where he was given a tımar (fief) in Bayburt. He died in 1474. [62] [ better source needed ]

Uniting the Anatolian beyliks was first accomplished by Sultan Bayezid I, more than fifty years before Mehmed II but after the destructive Battle of Ankara in 1402, the newly formed unification was gone. Mehmed II recovered Ottoman power over the other Turkish states, and these conquests allowed him to push further into Europe.

Another important political entity that shaped the Eastern policy of Mehmed II were the White Sheep Turcomans. Under the leadership of Uzun Hasan, this kingdom gained power in the East but because of their strong relations with the Christian powers like the Empire of Trebizond and the Republic of Venice, and the alliance between the Turcomans and the Karamanid tribe, Mehmed saw them as a threat to his own power.

In 1456, Peter III Aaron agreed to pay the Ottomans an annual tribute of 2,000 gold ducats to ensure his southern borders, thus becoming the first Moldavian ruler to accept the Turkish demands. [63] His successor Stephen the Great rejected Ottoman suzerainty and a series of fierce wars ensued. [64] Stephen tried to bring Wallachia under his sphere of influence and so supported his own choice for the Wallachian throne. This resulted in an enduring struggle between different Wallachian rulers backed by Hungarians, Ottomans, and Stephen. An Ottoman army under Hadim Pasha (governor of Rumelia) was sent in 1475 to punish Stephen for his meddling in Wallachia however, the Ottomans suffered a great defeat at the Battle of Vaslui. Stephen inflicted a decisive defeat on the Ottomans, described as "the greatest ever secured by the Cross against Islam," [ by whom? ] with casualties, according to Venetian and Polish records, reaching beyond 40,000 on the Ottoman side. Mara Brankovic (Mara Hatun), the former younger wife of Murad II, told a Venetian envoy that the invasion had been worst ever defeat for the Ottomans. Stephen was later awarded the title "Athleta Christi" (Champion of Christ) by Pope Sixtus IV, who referred to him as "verus christianae fidei athleta" ("the true defender of the Christian faith"). Mehmed II assembled a large army and entered Moldavia in June 1476. Meanwhile, groups of Tartars from the Crimean Khanate (the Ottomans' recent ally) were sent to attack Moldavia. Romanian sources may state that they were repelled. [65] Other sources state that joint Ottoman and Crimean Tartar forces "occupied Bessarabia and took Akkerman, gaining control of the southern mouth of the Danube. Stephan tried to avoid open battle with the Ottomans by following a scorched-earth policy". [66]

Finally Stephen faced the Ottomans in battle. The Moldavians luring the main Ottoman forces into a forest that was set on fire, causing some casualties. According to another battle description, the defending Moldavian forces repelled several Ottoman attacks with steady fire from hand-guns. [67] The attacking Turkish Janissaries were forced to crouch on their stomachs instead of charging headlong into the defenders positions. Seeing the imminent defeat of his forces, Mehmed charged with his personal guard against the Moldavians, managing to rally the Janissaries, and turning the tide of the battle. Turkish Janissaries penetrated inside the forest and engaged the defenders in man-to-man fighting.

The Moldavian army was utterly defeated (casualties were very high on both sides), and the chronicles say that the entire battlefield was covered with the bones of the dead, a probable source for the toponym (Valea Albă is Romanian and Akdere Turkish for "The White Valley").

Stephen the Great retreated into the north-western part of Moldavia or even into the Polish Kingdom [68] and began forming another army. The Ottomans were unable to conquer any of the major Moldavian strongholds (Suceava, Neamț, Hotin) [65] and were constantly harassed by small scale Moldavians attacks. Soon they were also confronted with starvation, a situation made worse by an outbreak of the plague, and the Ottoman army returned to Ottoman lands. The threat of Stephen to Wallachia continued for decades. That very same year Stephen helped his cousin Vlad the Impaler return to the throne of Wallachia for the third and final time. Even after Vlad's untimely death several months later Stephen continued to support, with force of arms, a variety of contenders to the Wallachian throne succeeding after Mehmet's death to instate Vlad Călugărul, half brother to Vlad the Impaler, for a period of 13 years from 1482 to 1495.

Skanderbeg, a member of the Albanian nobility and a former member of the Ottoman ruling elite, led Skanderbeg's rebellion against the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into Europe. Skanderbeg, son of Gjon Kastrioti (who had joined the unsuccessful Albanian revolt of 1432–1436), united the Albanian principalities in a military and diplomatic alliance, the League of Lezhë, in 1444. Mehmed II was never successful in his efforts to subjugate Albania while Skanderbeg was alive, even though he twice (1466 and 1467) led the Ottoman armies himself against Krujë. After Skanderbeg died in 1468, the Albanians couldn't find a leader to replace him, and Mehmed II eventually conquered Krujë and Albania in 1478.

In spring 1466, Sultan Mehmed marched with a large army against Skanderbeg and the Albanians. Skanderbeg had repeatedly sought assistance from Italy, [44] and believed that the ongoing Ottoman–Venetian War (1463–1479) offered a golden opportunity to reassert Albanian independence for the Venetians, the Albanians provided a useful cover to the Venetian coastal holdings of Durrës (Italian: Durazzo) and Shkodër (Italian: Scutari). The major result of this campaign was the construction of the fortress of Elbasan, allegedly within just 25 days. This strategically sited fortress, at the lowlands near the end of the old Via Egnatia, cut Albania effectively in half, isolating Skanderbeg's base in the northern highlands from the Venetian holdings in the south. [56] However, following the Sultan's withdrawal Skanderbeg himself spent the winter in Italy, seeking aid. On his return in early 1467, his forces sallied from the highlands, defeated Ballaban Pasha, and lifted the siege of the fortress of Croia (Krujë) they also attacked Elbasan but failed to capture it. [69] [70] Mehmed II responded by marching again against Albania. He energetically pursued the attacks against the Albanian strongholds, while sending detachments to raid the Venetian possessions to keep them isolated. [69] The Ottomans failed again to take Croia, and they failed to subjugate the country. However, the winter brought an outbreak of plague, which would recur annually and sap the strength of the local resistance. [52] Skanderbeg himself died of malaria in the Venetian stronghold of Lissus (Lezhë), ending the ability of Venice to use the Albanian lords for its own advantage. [56] The Albanians were left to their own devices and were gradually subdued over the next decade.

After Skanderbeg died, Mehmed II personally led the siege of Shkodra in 1478–79, of which early Ottoman chronicler Aşıkpaşazade (1400–81) wrote, "All the conquests of Sultan Mehmed were fulfilled with the seizure of Shkodra." [71] [ better source needed ] The Venetians and Shkodrans resisted the assaults and continued to hold the fortress until Venice ceded Shkodra to the Ottoman Empire in the Treaty of Constantinople as a condition of ending the war.

A number of Turkic peoples, collectively known as the Crimean Tatars, had been inhabiting the peninsula since the early Middle Ages. After the destruction of the Golden Horde by Timur earlier in the 15th century, the Crimean Tatars founded an independent Crimean Khanate under Hacı I Giray, a descendant of Genghis Khan.

The Crimean Tatars controlled the steppes that stretched from the Kuban to the Dniester River, but they were unable to take control over the commercial Genoese towns called Gazaria (Genoese colonies), which had been under Genoese control since 1357. After the conquest of Constantinople, Genoese communications were disrupted, and when the Crimean Tatars asked for help from the Ottomans, they responded with an invasion of the Genoese towns, led by Gedik Ahmed Pasha in 1475, bringing Kaffa and the other trading towns under their control. [72] After the capture of the Genoese towns, the Ottoman Sultan held Meñli I Giray captive, [73] later releasing him in return for accepting Ottoman suzerainty over the Crimean Khans and allowing them to rule as tributary princes of the Ottoman Empire. [72] However, the Crimean khans still had a large amount of autonomy from the Ottoman Empire, while the Ottomans directly controlled the southern coast.


Sultan Mehmed II Or Sultan Muhammad Fatih – conqueror of Constantinople

Sultan Mehmed II Fatih of Constantinople ( محمد ثانى‎, romanized: Meḥmed-i sānī Modern: II. Mehmet, pronounced ( 30 March 1432 – 3 May 1481), commonly known as Mehmed the Conqueror (Turkish: Fatih Sultan Mehmet), was an Ottoman Sultan who ruled from August 1444 to September 1446, and then later from February 1451 to May 1481. In Mehmed II’s first reign, he defeated the crusade led by John Hunyadi after the Hungarian incursions into his country broke the conditions of the truce Peace of Szeged. When Mehmed II ascended the throne again in 1451 he strengthened the Ottoman navy and made preparations to attack Constantinople.

Mehmed II was born as a son of Sultan Murad I and Huma Hatun on the night of 29th bound to 30th March 1432, in Edirne. His early childhood passed on Edirne for a while. He motivated for taking the city of Constantinople by Prophet Hz Muhammed’s words for the conqueror of Constantinople decades ago“One day, Constantinople will be conquered. How wonderful and blessed are the commander of its conquest and his soldiers!”

Recognition of Faith –

Sultan Mehmed II overthrew the Byzantine Empire by conquering Constantinople as consolidating the Ottoman Empire and marking the end of the Middle Ages. He took the name “conqueror” (Fatih) after the conquest of Istanbul on 29th May 1453. The conquest of Istanbul spelled the end of the Byzantine Empire and entered a phase of urban revival under the wise and tolerant administrations of Mehmed and his immediate successors.

He ruled the Ottoman Empire for 30 years and joined 25 campaigns himself. He was a very strict statesman and a very brave soldier. The great emperor had died on 3rd May 1481 and he was buried in “Fatih Turbesi” (tomb), near the Mosque of Fatih in Istanbul. After the Sultan’s death, the Ottoman Empire remained culturally and geographically strong.

Biography of Sultan Mehmed Fatih of Constantinople –

Mehmed II Fatih of Constantinople also known as The Conqueror is one of the famous sultans of the Ottoman Empire with his intelligence. Mehmed II ruled the Ottoman for a brief time, from 1444 to 1446, after his father. After that time Sultan Murad II renounced the throne but when he died Mehmed II ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1451 to 1481. Mehmet II was a genius statesman and a military leader who was also interested in literature, fine arts, and monumental architecture. He was educated by famous scholar Aksemseddin and according to Ottoman historians, he was speaking seven languages fluently.

Mehmed II Fatih of Constantinople was born as a son of Sultan Murad I and Huma Hatun on the night of 29th bound to 30th March 1432, in Edirne. His early childhood passed on Edirne for a while.

Mehmed II motivated for taking the city of Constantinople by Prophet Hz Muhammed’s words for the conqueror of Constantinople decades ago “One day, Constantinople will be conquered. How wonderful and blessed are the commander of its conquest and his soldiers!” Sultan Mehmed II, overthrew the Byzantine Empire by conquering Constantinople as consolidating the Ottoman Empire and marking the end of the Middle Ages. He took the name “conqueror” (Fatih) after the conquest of Istanbul on 29th May 1453. The conquest of Istanbul spelled the end of the Byzantine Empire and entered a phase of urban revival under the wise and tolerant administrations of Mehmed and his immediate successors.

Sultan Mehmed Fatih- Conquest of Constantinople –

The capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Army, under the command Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II on 29th May 1453. With this conquest Ottomans became an Empire and one of the most powerful empires, The Eastern Roman Empire fell and lasted. After the Constantinople conquest, 21 years old Ottoman Sultan II. Mehmed also took the title “The Conqueror” added to his name.

Although his early age, Sultan II Mehmed started to prepare siege for İstanbul. He wanted to be the commander as Prophet Hz Muhammed mentioned the conqueror of Constantinople “One day, Constantinople will be conquered. How wonderful and blessed are the commander of its conquest and his soldiers!” decades ago. First, he took precautions with strategic tactics in both inside and outside of the state. After this, he moved to conquer Constantinople.

Constantinople had been an imperial for many years. The city was bombarded by cannon fires which were designed by Mehmed the Second himself. Constantinople had been attacked in the past many times, but its great walls always prevailed. Sultan Mehmed, II changed this with the use of cannons forever. Sultan’s massive cannon fired on the walls for weeks.

Baltaoglu Suleyman Bey launched the first attack to enter the Golden Horn gulf on 9th April 1453 and failed to break the chains which were placed at the mouth of the horn. This chain, which floated on wooden logs, was strong enough to prevent any Ottoman ship from entering Golden Horn. The victory of the Pope’s Christian and Genoese ships decreased the morale of the Ottoman army.

During this chaos and widespread feeling of loss, with the Sultan’s spiritual mentor Aksemseddin promised certain success about the conquest. Sultan Mehmed improved a new type of cannon as called “humbara”, today is known as “howitzer” which is taken an aim for shooting the target. It is an important discovery for the world’s army history. Cannons were not enough to take the city. Encouraged by spiritual support, Sultan II Mehmed, decided to plan for his navy. The Ottoman fleet anchored in Dolmabahce would be moved to the Golden Horn gulf by land as an element of surprise. Several ships and galleys carried by soldiers via rope were slid over slipways. On the morning of 22nd April, Eastern Roman Empire woke up with a surprise and terrified when they saw Ottoman galleys in the horn.

On 29th May, the Ottoman army attacked for the final assault. The siege lasted from Friday, 6 April 1453 until 29 May 1453 Tuesday when the city was conquered by the Ottomans under the command of Sultan II. Mehmed. A new era started on the world and a new balance came through by the conquest of Constantinople.

started on the world and a new balance came through by the conquest of Constantinople.

List of campaigns –

1Karaman1451The Karaman attacked Ottoman territory after Mehmed became the sultan. In response sultan Mehmed made his first campaign against Karaman. The Karamanids were defeated and Ibrahim II of Karaman promised not to attack the Ottomans again and so peace was restored.
2Constantinople1453While sultan Mehmed was on his campaign against Karaman, the Byzantine emperor Constantinople XI demanded an increase of the annual allowance to an Ottoman pretender in Constantinople. Mehmed refused and prepared to besiege Constantinople. He ordered the construction of the Rumeli Hisar after which the siege of the city began. The city was conquered following a siege lasting 53 days. The Byzantine Empire ceased to exist and the city became the new capital of the Ottoman Empire.
3Serbia1454-55Mehmed led a campaign against Serbia because the Serbian ruler Durand Brankovic refused to send tribute and made an alliance with the Kingdom of Hungary. The Ottoman army conquered the important mining city of Novo Brdo.
4Serbia1456Mehmed continued his campaign in Serbia, numerous castles were captured but the Siege of Belgrade was unsuccessful and the Ottoman army retreated.
5Serbia1458-59After the death of the Serbian ruler Durand Brankovic a succession war broke out and the sultan who was related to the Serbian kings invaded the area. Smederevo was captured and the Serbian Despotate ended and was annexed to the Ottoman Empire.
6Morea1458-59The Despotate of Morea refused to pay its annual tribute and revolted. In response, Mehmed led a campaign into Morea. The inhabitants were defeated and their territories were annexed into the Ottoman Empire.
7Amasra1460Amasra the most important fortress of the Genoese on the Black Sea coast, was besieged and captured.
8Sinop1461Mehmed led a campaign against Trebizond and on the way annexed the entire Black Sea coast to the Ottoman Empire ending the reign of the Jandarids peacefully.
9Trebizond1461After the emperor of the Empire of Trebizond refused to pay tribute and made an alliance with the Akkoyunlu Mehmed led a campaign against Trebizond by land and sea. After a siege of more than 32 days, Trebizond and the emperor surrendered and the Empire came to an end.
10Wallachia1462Vlad the impaler who with Ottoman help had become the Ottoman vassal ruler of Wallachia refused to pay tribute after some years and invaded the Ottoman territory in northern Bulgaria. At that point, Mehmed, with the main Ottoman army, was on the Trebizond campaign in Asia. When Mehmed returned from his Trebizond campaign he led a campaign against Wallachia. Vlad fled after some resistance to Hungary. Mehmed first made Wallachia an Ottoman eyalet but then appointed Vlad’s brother Radu as a vassal ruler.
11Lesbos1462The island of Lesbos was captured following a siege of its capital, Mytilene. and annexed.
12Bosnia1463-64Mehmed led a campaign against the kingdom of Bosnia and annexed it to the Ottoman Empire.
13Morea1463Mehmed led a campaign in the Morea, which ended with the annexation of theDespotate of Morea.
14Albania1466-67Mehmed led a campaign against Albania and besieged Kruje. but Albanian soldiers under Skanderbeg resisted successfully.
15Karaman1468After the death of the ruler of Karamanids, a civil war began among his sons in which Uzun Hasan. ruler of the Akkoyunlu also became involved. After some time Mehmed marched into the area and annexed the Karamanids to the Ottoman Empire.
16Negroponte1470During the long Ottomon-Venetian war. Mehmed led a campaign against the Venetian colony of Negroponte and after a siege annexed the region to the Ottoman Empire
17Eastern Anatolia1473After many years of hostility, Mehmed invaded the lands of the Akkoyunlu and defeated their ruler, Uzun Hasan. in the Battle of Otlukbeli. after which they did not pose a threat against the Ottomans anymore.
18Moldavia1476Stephen III Moldavia attacked Wallachia. an Ottoman vassal, and refused to pay the annual tribute. An Ottoman army was defeated and Mehmed led a personal campaign against Moldavia. He defeated the Moldavians in the Battle of Valea Alba. after that they accepted to pay the tribute and the peace was restored.
19Albania1478During the long Ottoman-Venetian war Mehmed invaded Albania and besieged the Venetian fortress of Shkodra. The war ended in Venetian defeat and Shkodra was surrendered to the Ottomans in accordance with the Treaty of Constantinople (1479).

One of the most important developments in the Mehmed II Era in Ottoman, was the Code of Law (Kanunname) which commanded establishing various organizational positions, produce a form of law that suited the growing empire’s geography and state organizations after the conquest of Constantinople.

It is always argued that The Code of Sultan Mehmed’s legalizing fratricide. A policy of royal fratricide was introduced by Sultan Mehmet II whose grandfather Mehmed I had to fight a bloody civil war against his brothers to take the Ottoman throne. As in the Sultan Mehmed II Code, the majority of the Ottoman scholars permitted it as well. Sultan’s Code defended fratricide this code as using for the continuation of the unity of the state and prosperity of people. In his codes, Mehmed clearly legitimized a sultan’s executing his brothers for the sake of the imperial order.

Sultan II Mehmed’s Fratricide Code in Turkish as in the below:

“Ve her kimesneye evlâdımdan saltanat müyesser ola, karındaşların nizâm-ı âlem içün katl itmek münâsibdir. Ekser ulemâ dahi tecviz etmişlerdir. Anınla âmil olalar”

By his “Code” Sultan Mehmed II Fatih of Constantinople created new law codes dealing with administrative and criminal justice, military affairs, the discipline of statemen, and the organization order for religious hierarchy.


1481: Death of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror

He is known for conquering Constantinople in 1453 and for expanding the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire all the way to Bosnia (conquered in 1463).

Mehmed II was so ambitious that he even attacked Italy with his ships. Namely, in 1480, the Turkish forces managed to occupy the Italian city of Otranto on the Mediterranean Sea.

According to legend, the arrogant Turks converted the cathedral in Otranto into a stable, which was grave sacrilege.

However, on this day Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror died, at the age of only 49 years. There is an opinion that he was poisoned, but no one knows by whom.

Some suspect by his son Bayezid II, who succeeded him. Mehmed the Conqueror was the great-grandfather of Suleiman the Magnificent in the direct male line.

After the death of Mehmed II, the mentioned Italian city of Otranto was liberated from the Turks.


The Guns of Constantinople

Early in 1452, a Hungarian cannon founder by the name of Orban arrived in Constantinople, seeking his fortune at the imperial court. One of a growing band of technical mercenaries who plied their trade across the Balkans, he offered Emperor Constantine XI one of the most highly prized skills of the age: the ability to cast large bronze guns.

For Constantine and the Christian empire of Byzantium that he ruled, these were dark days. For 150 years the Byzantine frontier had been crumbling before the advance of the Ottoman Turks. By the time Constantine assumed the throne in 1449, his impoverished kingdom had shrunk to little more than the footprint of the city, surrounded on all sides by Ottoman land. The new sultan, Mehmed II&mdashyoung, ambitious and hungry for conquest&mdashwas making ominous military preparations in his European capital, Edirne, 140 miles to the west. It was clear he was intent on capturing the prize that had eluded previous Ottoman rulers: Constantinople.

Constantine was extremely interested in Orban&rsquos offer and authorized a small stipend to detain him in the city. But Constantine had few funds available for the construction of new weapons. Bronze cannons were ruinously expensive, well beyond the means of the cash-strapped emperor. Orban&rsquos tiny allowance was not even paid regularly, and as the year wore on, the master craftsman became destitute. So later that same year he decided to try his luck elsewhere. He made his way to Edirne to seek an audience with the young sultan.

At the time, Mehmed was racked by indecision over Constantinople. The city was the ultimate prize it would provide a fitting capital for the Ottoman Empire, and its capture was the subject of ancient Muslim prophecies, attributed to Muhammad himself, that predicted great honor for its eventual conqueror. However, Constantinople had repulsed repeated Muslim assaults from the 7th century onward. Its triangular site made it all but impregnable: Two sides were surrounded by sea, and the third landward side was commanded by the great Walls of Theodosius, a defensive line four miles long, the greatest bastion in the medieval world. In a thousand years the city had been besieged some 23 times, but no army had found a way to crack open those land walls.

Accordingly, Orban&rsquos arrival at Edirne must have seemed providential. The sultan welcomed the master founder and questioned him closely. Mehmed asked if he could cast a cannon to project a stone ball large enough to smash the walls at Constantinople. Orban&rsquos reply was emphatic: &ldquoI can cast a cannon of bronze with the capacity of the stone you want. I have examined the walls of the city in great detail. I can shatter to dust not only these walls with the stones from my gun, but the very walls of Babylon itself.&rdquo Mehmed ordered him to make the gun.

During the autumn of 1452, Orban set to work at Edirne, casting one of the largest cannons ever built, while Mehmed stockpiled substantial quantities of materials for guns and gunpowder: copper and tin, saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal. Workers excavated an enormous casting pit and melted scrap bronze in the brick-lined furnaces, superheating it with bellows and pouring it into the mold.

What finally emerged from Orban&rsquos foundry once the molds had been knocked off was &ldquoa horrifying and extraordinary monster.&rdquo It was 27 feet long. The barrel, walled with 8 inches of solid bronze to absorb the force of the blast, had a diameter of 30 inches, enough for a man to enter on his hands and knees and designed to accommodate a stone shot weighing something over half a ton. In January 1453, Mehmed ordered a test firing of the gun outside his royal palace. The mighty bombard was hauled into position near the gate and primed with powder. Laborers lugged a giant stone ball to the mouth of the barrel and rolled it back to sit snugly against the gunpowder chamber. A lighted taper was put to the touchhole. With a shattering roar and a cloud of smoke, the mighty projectile hurled across the countryside for a mile before burying itself six feet into the soft earth.

Mehmed now addressed the challenge of transporting the gun the 140 miles to Constantinople. Two hundred men and 60 oxen were detailed for the task. The immense barrel was loaded onto several wagons chained together and yoked to the ox teams. The great gun rumbled toward the city at a speed of two and a half miles a day, while another team of engineers worked ahead, leveling roads and building wooden bridges over rivers and gullies. Orban&rsquos foundry continued to turn out barrels of different sizes none was as large as the first supergun, though some measured more than 14 feet.

It took six weeks for the guns to lurch and jolt their way to Constantinople. By the time they arrived, in early April, Mehmed&rsquos army&mdasha huge force of 80,000 men&mdashwas dug in along the length of the land walls. Sappers had cut down orchards and vineyards outside the Walls of Theodosius to provide a clear field of fire. Others dug a ditch the length of the walls and 250 yards from them, with an earth rampart to shield the guns. Within the city walls, a mere 8,000 men awaited the inevitable assault.

Mehmed grouped the cannons into 14 or 15 batteries along the walls at key vulnerable points. Orban&rsquos supergun, which the Greeks called the Basilica cannon&mdash&ldquothe royal gun&rdquo&mdashwas positioned in front of the sultan&rsquos tent so he could critically appraise its performance. Each large cannon was supported by a cluster of smaller ones in a battery the Ottoman gunners named &ldquothe bear with its cubs.&rdquo They could fire stone balls ranging from 200 pounds up to a colossal 1,500 pounds, in the case of Orban&rsquos monster gun. Though eyewitnesses spoke of &ldquoinnumerable machines,&rdquo Mehmed probably had about 69 cannons, a huge artillery force by the standards of the day. They were augmented by more traditional technologies for hurling stones, such as the trebuchet. The latter had been effective in the Muslim capture of crusader castles 300 years earlier, but now it looked like a device from another age.

Installing and readying the cannons was a laborious process. Workers had to erect a massive block-and-tackle system to lower the barrels into position on a sloping wooden platform. Shielding the cannons from enemy fire were a wooden palisade and a hinged door that could be opened at the moment of firing.

The logistical support for this operation was immense. Ships transported loads of black stone balls mined and shaped on the north coast of the Black Sea. The cannons also required substantial quantities of saltpeter. Founders who worked with Orban at Edirne doubled as gun crews, positioning, loading and firing the cannons&mdasheven repairing them on site.

Preparing the big cannon to fire required time and attention to detail. Crews would load gunpowder, backed by a wooden or sheepskin wad pounded tight into the barrel. Next they manhandled a stone ball to the muzzle and eased it down the barrel. Each ball was designed to be a good fit, though an exact caliber match was often elusive. Crews set their aim by &ldquocertain techniques and calculations&rdquo about the target&mdashi.e., trial and error&mdashand adjusted the angle of fire by chocking the platform with wooden wedges. Great timber beams weighted down with stones acted as shock absorbers. Crews then poured priming powder into the touchhole.

On April 12, 1453, lighted tapers were put to the touchholes of the sultan&rsquos guns along a four-mile sector of the front line, and the world&rsquos first concerted artillery barrage exploded to life.

If there is any single moment in the history of warfare at which an authentic sense of awe at the exponential power of gunpowder could be palpably felt, it is here in the accounts of those firing these great guns in 1453. The taper ignited the powder:

And when it had caught fire, faster than you can say it, there was first a terrifying roar and a violent shaking of the ground beneath and for a great distance around, and a din such as has never been heard. Then, with a monstrous thundering and an awful explosion and a flame that illuminated everything round about and scorched it, the wooden wad was forced out by the hot blast of dry air and propelled the stone ball powerfully out. Projected with incredible force and power, the stone struck the wall, which it immediately shook and demolished, and it was itself shattered into many fragments, and the pieces were hurled everywhere, dealing death to those standing nearby.

When the huge stone balls struck the walls at an advantageous spot, the effects were devastating. &ldquoSometimes it destroyed a complete portion of wall,&rdquo an eyewitness reported, &ldquosometimes half a portion, sometimes a greater or smaller part of a tower, or a turret, or a parapet, and nowhere was the wall strong enough or sturdy enough or thick enough to withstand it, or to hold out totally against such a force or the velocity of the stone ball.&rdquo It must have seemed to the defenders that the whole history of siege warfare was unraveling in front of their eyes. The Walls of Theodosius, the product of two millennia of defensive evolution, crumbled wherever it was hit. The defenders were amazed and horrified by what they saw.

Balls from the superguns that cleared the walls traveled up to a mile into the heart of the city, shattering with devastating force against houses or churches, mowing down civilians or burying themselves in orchards and fields within the walls. According to eyewitnesses, the ground was shaken for two miles around, and even the galleys tied up in the harbors felt the explosions through their wooden hulls.

The psychological effects of the artillery bombardment on the defenders were even more severe than its material consequences. The noise and vibration of the massed guns, the clouds of smoke, the shattering impact of stone on stone dismayed seasoned defenders. To the civilian population, it seemed a glimpse of the coming apocalypse. It sounded, according to one Ottoman chronicler, &ldquolike the awful resurrection blast.&rdquo People ran out of their houses, beating their chests and crossing themselves. Women fainted in the streets. Churches were thronged with people voicing petitions and prayers.

The defenders tried different methods to mitigate the shock of the stone balls. Some poured a mortar of chalk and brick dust down the walls&rsquo outer face as a hardened coating others padded the walls with suspended bales of wool, leather sheets and even precious tapestries. These measures made little difference. The defenders also tried to knock out the big guns with their own few cannons, but they were short of saltpeter, and the palisades effectively screened the Ottoman cannons. Worse, the walls and towers proved unsuitable as gun platforms&mdashneither wide enough to accommodate the recoil nor strong enough to withstand the vibrations, which &ldquoshook the walls, and did more damage to them than to the enemy.&rdquo Their largest cannon soon exploded, enraging the harassed defenders so much that they threatened to put the gun master to death for being in the pay of the sultan. Regardless, it was clear that in this new age of warfare, the Walls of Theodosius were inadequate.

Mehmed&rsquos strategy was attritional&mdashand impatient. He decided to breach the walls with artillery fire and launch unpredictable skirmishes to wear down the defenders prior to a final attack. &ldquoThe assault continued night and day, with no relief from the clashes and explosions, crashing of stones and cannonballs on the walls,&rdquo reported a defender, &ldquofor the sultan hoped in this way to take the city easily, since we were few against many, by pounding us to death and exhaustion, and so he allowed us no rest from attack.&rdquo

Managing the great cannon remained difficult work. Loading and aiming were such laborious operations that the Basilica could only be fired seven times a day. The guns could be unpredictable and deadly to their teams. In the spring rain, they proved hard to keep in position, recoiling with the slam of a charging rhino and frequently slipping from their cradles into the mud. The possibility of being crushed to death was only exceeded by the risk of being blown to pieces by the shrapnel of disintegrating gun barrels. The Basilica quickly became a cause for concern to Orban casting on this scale was extremely demanding, and the intense heat of the explosions started to exploit hairline fractures in the impure metal. After each shot, crews soaked the barrel in warm oil to prevent cold air from penetrating and enlarging the fissures.

Their stopgap measure failed. The Basilica soon &ldquocracked as it was being fired and split into many pieces, killing and wounding many nearby.&rdquo Strengthened with iron hoops and pressed back into service, it soon cracked again, to Mehmed&rsquos intense anger. The supergun simply exceeded the tolerances of contemporary metallurgy.

In the end, it didn&rsquot matter. Though the supergun inflicted great psychological trauma, the slightly smaller yet still formidable bombards would do the real damage.

In the early days of the bombardment, a deputation of Hungarians visited the sultan&rsquos camp. One observed the firing of the great cannons with interest. Watching a shot strike the walls at a certain point, he laughed to himself as the gunners aimed a second shot at the same point. He advised them to aim their second shot &ldquoabout 30 to 36 feet from the first shot, but at the same height&rdquo and to position a third shot between the two &ldquoso that the shots form a triangular shape. Then you will see that portion of wall collapse.&rdquo Soon the &ldquobear and cubs&rdquo were working as coordinated teams. Smaller guns would make the two outer hits, then one of Orban&rsquos great guns would complete the triangle in the now weakened central section, &ldquothe shot being carried by such devilish force and irresistible impetus that it caused irreparable damage.&rdquo

The bombardment continued unabated for six days. Despite aiming difficulties and a slow rate of fire, gunners managed to launch about 120 shots a day at the city, concentrating their heaviest fire on the central section of wall. Inexorably, the walls began to crumble. Within the week a section of the outer wall had fallen, as had two towers and a turret on the inner wall.

However, after their initial terror at the bombardment, the defenders had regained heart and now worked unceasingly to repair the damage. They devised an effective ad hoc solution to shore up the outer wall, constructing a makeshift replacement of stakes reinforced with any material that came to hand, including stones, timber, brushwood, bushes and large quantities of earth. The defenders placed barrels full of soil at regular intervals to create firing positions that would absorb Ottoman arrows and bullets. At dusk men and women came up from the city to work all night, carrying timber, stones and earth to rebuild smashed defenses. The resulting earthworks provided a surprisingly effective counter to the devastating impact of the stone balls. Like stones thrown into mud, the cannonballs were smothered, their force neutralized.

As their own artillery was poorly situated for firing heavy balls, the defenders reinvented the pieces as huge shotguns, packing each cannon with five or 10 lead balls the size of walnuts. Fired at close range, the effect was appalling:

[They had] immense power in penetrating and perforating, so that if one hit a soldier in armor, it went straight through both his shield and body, then through another behind who was in the line of fire, and then another, until the force of the powder was dissipated. With one shot, two or three men could be killed at the same time.

Hit by this withering fire, the Ottomans suffered terrible casualties. But to Mehmed, men were a cheap and expendable resource.

On April 18, the sultan judged that his gunners had punched enough holes in the walls to launch a major assault. It failed, with a huge loss of life, but there was no respite his big guns went on firing. Cannons had been used in siege warfare before, but what was unprecedented about Mehmed&rsquos bombardment was its intensity and duration. No other army in the world possessed the materials required to mount a continuous artillery bombardment on this scale. The guns blasted away day and night, and chunks of wall continued to collapse.

For the defenders, the unceasing cycles of bombardment, attack and repair began to blur. Like later diaries of trench warfare, the chroniclers&rsquo accounts become repetitive and monotonous. &ldquoOn the 11th of May,&rdquo recorded a defender, &ldquonothing happened either by land or at sea except a considerable bombardment of the walls from the landward side….On the 13th of May, there came some Turks to the walls skirmishing, but nothing significant happened during the whole day and night, except for continuous bombardment of the unfortunate walls.&rdquo This pattern gradually drained the defenders of energy and morale. By May 28, the guns had been firing continuously for 47 days, expending 55,000 pounds of gunpowder and delivering an estimated 5,000 shots. Gunners had blasted nine substantial holes in the outer wall, only to be replaced piecemeal by the earth stockade. Both sides were exhausted.

Mehmed knew the time had come: On May 29, 1453, he ordered a climactic full-scale assault. At 1:30 in the morning, to the beating of drums and clashing of cymbals, the Ottoman army rolled forward along the whole four-mile sector. Behind them the cannons put up a withering fire. Volleys of stone shot sprayed the walls, peppering the defenders and felling Ottoman troops from behind. The extraordinary noise of the battle was so deafening that, according to one defender, &ldquothe very air seemed to split apart….It seemed like something from another world.&rdquo

After several hours of confused fighting, one of the big cannons landed a direct hit on the stockade and opened a hole. Dust and cannon smoke obscured the front line, but Ottoman troops moved quickly into the breach. Mehmed&rsquos men soon overwhelmed the defenses and sacked and burned the city in a few hours of terrible massacre.

Mehmed had succeeded where all previous Ottoman attempts had failed, and it was the big guns that made the difference. The fall of Constantinople symbolized the end of outmoded medieval techniques of castle construction and siege warfare and opened a terrible new chapter in military history. The use of massed artillery bombardment would prevail all the way to the battlefield of the Somme and beyond.

Mehmed lies buried in a mosque complex in the city he captured. At the door of his tomb stands a stone cannonball.

For further reading, Roger Crowley recommends his own 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West and The Fall of Constantinople, by David Nicolle, Stephen Turnbull and John Haldon. Or listen to a radio discussion on the subject in the BBC audio archives at [www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime].

This article was written by Roger Crowley and originally published in the September 2007 issue of Military History Magazine. For more great articles, subscribe to Military History magazine today!


An extract from Bad Boys' Book Club: Volume 12.


Looking for a Deal

Orban visited the court of Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos (8 February 1405 – 29 May 1453), soon to be the last Byzantine emperor, to pitch his cannons.

Constantine XI Palaiologos (Tilemahos Efthimiadis / CC BY 2.0 )

Orban entered the capital of Constantinople and offered his services to the emperor. The emperor was delighted in meeting with him, for he had an interest in using this new technology to his advantage after seeing it first-hand at the Hexamilion, which is a defensive wall constructed across the Isthmus of Corinth and seeing the power this new device of war, as it smashed through rock.

However, Constantine had not the resources such as timber for the foundry fires or even the money to offer Orban to build the desired weapons. Constantine also did not want the man to leave his capital and sought to keep him as long as he could. In order to do this, he provided a stipend from scraps to keep the man. This only lasted for so long and after the money ran dry, Orban left the city seeking a new customer. He made his way to the court of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II (30 March 1432 – 3 May 1481), best known as Mehmed the Conqueror, (the very man who would soon lay waste to Constantinople).

Once Orban arrived, he requested an audience with Mehmed to sell him his services. After Mehmed was informed of Orban's engineering skills, he was happy to welcome this traveler and to show him that his skills would be appreciated, and showered him with gifts. Mehmed asked Orban if were possible to build a powerful enough cannon that could breach the walls of Constantinople. Orban said, “I can cast a cannon of bronze with the capacity of the stone you want. I have examined the walls of the city in great detail. I can shatter to dust not only these walls with the stones from my gun, but the very walls of Babylon itself.”

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Cam Reais an author and military historian. He has written numerous articles for Ancient Origins, Classical Wisdom Weekly, and has authored several books, including:Leviathan vs. Behemoth: The Roman-Parthian Wars 66 BC-217 AD

Top Image: Modern painting of Mehmed and the Ottoman Army approaching Constantinople with a giant bombard, by Fausto Zonaro ( Public Domain )

Cam Rea

Cam Rea is a Military Historian and currently the Associate Editor/Writer at Strategy & Tactics Press. Mr. Rea has published several books and written numerous articles for Strategy & Tactics Press and Classical Wisdom Weekly. His most current publication is. Read More


Watch the video: National Geographic. 1453, η Άλωση της Πόλης


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