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The Destiny of Constantinople

Mehmed II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, played a great role in the destiny of Constantinople. For many years he was under the shadow of his father, who was a great conqueror. That is why when his father, Murad II, abdicated the throne to Mehmed II when he was a 12-year-old boy, the Ottoman became a sop in the pan for enemies. Soon Hungarians and Serbians canceled the oath about peace and took on direct actions. Still, Mehmed broke the troops of the enemies and came back to Manisa. Since that time Mehmed gained the reputation of a weak ruler. Several oppositions were held by Janissaries to take the young Padishah away from the throne.

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Of course, it could not but influence the boy. The young Padishah decided to dedicate several years to educational purposes. If in early years he was reluctant about education, now Mehmed II dived into the world of metaphysics unsolicited.

A few years later, when Murad II died, Mehmed returned to governing the Ottoman Empire. Still, the image of a helpless was alive among Byzantines and Hungarians. So, there were new feeble efforts to fight the throne of the Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless, it was obvious that Byzantine Empire was too weak and scattered because of the internecine war to fight with the powerful Ottoman Empire. Moreover, the Ottoman Empire did not expect that the young Sultan would change his approach towards leading the war.

The whole situation changed when the young Sultan decided to take the capital of the Byzantine Empire. On the one hand, the conquest of the Byzantine land was not remarkable from the political point of view. On the other hand, the conquest of the Byzantine Empire was a promising act from the point of view of trade routes. Still, some experts are sure that Mehmed II thought that conquest of Constantinople was an inevitable action; otherwise, the Ottoman Empire would be under constant threat of the Byzantine Empire’s collusion with Mehmed’s enemies. That was a solid argumentation to start the war (Runciman, 1990, p. 86).

Nevertheless, Constantinople was inaccessible from the land. Previous attacks of the Byzantine Empire from the land were unsuccessful. Mehmed II decided to change the tactics. He commanded his troops to commence the attack from the side of the Black Sea. In such a way the Sultan gained two aims: he stopped up receipt of refreshment and provisions through the sea routes; Mehmed found the weak side of the capital. Different kinds of ships and boats participated in the battle. The siege was held for more than fifty days. One cannot but give credit for the Sultan: he appointed naval commanding officers and did it successfully (Runciman, 1990, p. 95).

Soon the ships of the Sultan crossed Dardanelles and the Sea of Marmara. This event meant the beginning of the end for Constantinople. Byzantine troops were too weak to resist Mehmed II’s force. That is why the fall of the capital was just a question of time. On the twenty-ninth of May 1453 citizens of Constantinople humbled in token of honor of Mehmed the Conqueror.

All in all, the conquest of Constantinople was a strategic event for Mehmed II: he forced his position as a great conqueror, gained legitimacy as a powerful sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and got the town which was beneficial for the economical, political, and cultural development of the Empire.

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Runciman, S. (1990). The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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