My interest in Historical titles was piqued by books such as Alexander, Mahabharata, Ramayana and Camelot. However, when I saw Constantinopolis by James D. Shipman, I knew I had to read through this book.
Settled between Europe and Turkey, Istanbul (the erstwhile Constantinople) is right between the crusaders of Europe and the Ottoman army. The tale of Constantinople and its eventual fall at the hands of the Ottoman empire makes for an interesting story.
The Prelude to Constantinopolis
The author does a good job of explaining the history behind the fall of Constantinople. The reason behind Mehmet’s (the then Ottoman emperor) hunger for taking on Constantinople. The reason behind why the Vatican sent such a meagre force to help out the besieged city. The explanation of King Constantinople and the daily frustrations he faced in holding the Ottoman empire at bay.
People know of the Trojan War because of the horse, the malware and the movie. However, this tale bellies the same upheavals (if not more), the entire siege had both the sides teetering on the brink of destruction and coming back up to save the day to fight again.king
Sieges take time and well defended cities take months to fall. Likewise even this city which had some of the most formidable defenses took 6 months to finally fall in the hands of the Ottoman Turks. It’s not as if the Ottoman war machine was running in perfect synchronization.
They had their own set of problems, and the politicking within the large empire was subtle and this victory ensured that Mehmet become the all powerful emperor that he was destined to be, surpassing the feats of his father who was loved (and feared) by all his people.
Not just a Story, but History
All in all, the book is not just a tale, but also tells us the truth behind the events that led to the great city’s fall, and the subsequent rise in the Ottoman empire’s impact on Eurasian trade. If you love historical tales, do not forget to pick up this book!