From his bleak palace window the Emperor Constantine Paleologus stood looking down at the city of Constantinople. Below him lay all that was left of the once great Byzantine Empire. From the toe of Italy to the broad Euphrates River in Asia the Empire had extended, from the Danube in Central Europe to the falls of the Nile deep in Africa. Now, in 1452, it was reduced to one city on the Bosporus.
But what a city! For 1100 years Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, had flourished and glittered like a jewel in a dark world. For while the Dark Ages drew a curtain down over Europe, ancient culture was kept alive in this Eastern Center. Constantinople alone preserved Greek art, Roman law and Christianity itself. It soon became the strongest and richest city in the world.
It was no wonder that other people should fix their eyes greedily upon Constantinople. First the early Mohammedan Arabs, then the Seljuk Turks, had tried to capture it, and had failed. Later the Latins had invaded and plundered the city, only to be driven out again. But now in 1452 a new force was closing in upon Constantinople. The Ottoman Turks were on the march this time, tens of thousands of fierce warriors moving toward the golden city in massed formations. The Emperor Constantine looked down upon his impoverished city and shuddered....
In The Fall of Constantinople, Bernadine Kielty has brought to life the fascinating history of one of the greatest, most fabulous cities the world has ever known.
From the dust jacket
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