Launched on April 27, 2020, The New Leaf Journal is a growing online magazine.We feature creative writing content and musings from our editors and writers. Chroniclers report that all those who were gathered were moved by Gregory’s words, and that the Emperor, upon hearing it vocalized that the Church now recognized that the fall of Constantinople as unavoidable, he momentarily fainted. Into your hands I commit now my scepter. Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. In Constantine XI’s view, it was his duty to God and to his station to defend Constantinople with his life. After the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, the city’s new Turkish rulers converted the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Constantine and the few gallant men who shared with him the burden and responsibility of the defence recognized in that spectacle the precursor to general assault. (Sultan Mehmed II subsequently had his head cut off, peeled off the skin, and stuffed it … Constantine XI Palaeologus, Palaeologus also spelled Palaiologos, (born February 9, 1404, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire [now Istanbul, Turkey]—died May 29, 1453, Constantinople), the last Byzantine emperor (1449–53), killed in the final defense of Constantinople against the Ottoman Turks. Please feel free to use... Constantine and the Last Vespers at Hagia Sophia, Constantine, The Last Emperor of the Greeks, [A]nd then the last of the Caesars and his nobles went forth to die, An Early Review of Pixelfed – Instagram Alternative, Persona 4 Golden Digital Artbook Review (Steam), The Quarantine Sessions: Covering The Beatles. Launched on April 27, 2020, The New Leaf Journal is a growing online magazine. Constantine XI, also known as Constantine Paleologos, led a valiant effort to defend the city until the final day of the siege when he was killed. Then he received his last communion. Rumours of Constantine XI's survival and subsequent rescue by an angel led many to hope that the city would one day return to Christian hands. We are told that while gazing on the illuminated and noisy camp of the enemy, the Emperor remained silent, wrapped in thought, while tears ran down his cheeks. Copyright © 2021 The New Leaf Journal All Rights Reserved. Constantine XI’s reign was brief, and his dominion, even before the fall of Constantinople, was small. He resolved to stand up to the Ottomans, and when a young and ambitious Mehmet II took the Ottoman throne in 1451, the two leaders would fight with everything they possessed. For all we can know, in the din, dust and fury of his battle Custer may have thought he was winning until the moment he was killed. With that, the last Roman Emperor left the cathedral that had been left to him for the final time, resolved to defend it until his last, which would come the very next day. This, we are told, elicited tears from both the Emperor and his council. He left his imperial chair, and approaching the screen separating the altar from the nave, he prostrated himself before the great eikons of Christ and the Madonna, which were on the left and on the right side of the central entrance to the altar.”. The New Leaf Journal’s tag-line – “Where the leaves are perennially virid” – highlights the common fiber that holds our content together. Indeed, it is perhaps ironic that one of the greatest empires in history surrendered rather meekly without much of a struggle. What would the world say of me? Heading for the gate, they engaged Turkish troops and fought until the end. We must all bow to the decree of the Almighty, whose mercy might return to our people as it had returned to Israel in olden times.”. According to the chroniclers, he urged them to fight with no regrets, for their cause was worthy. Constantinople had neither the finances nor the manpower to adequately prepare for a Turkish invasion, and help from the West came in insufficient numbers. Regardless of the sincerity of all of the Sultan’s promises, the historian and diplomat Cedomilj Mijatovic noted that the Ottoman’s assessment of the Emperor’s military position consisted of “undeniable facts.”  He noted that “[t]he walls on the land side [of Constantinople] were broken through in several places, four towers were quite destroyed, the small garrison could not be otherwise than exhausted, and there was no prospect of a speedy arrival of help from without.”  Nevertheless, Mr. Mijatovic observed that “Constantine had a more lofty conception of his own duty and dignity,” one that could not survive by accepting the Sultan’s terms. He undertook to fortify the city and appealed for support from Catholics in Western Europe, but it would be for naught. They were joined in the Hagia Sophia by their Emperor, Constantine XI, who went to church for the final time to pray and ask his subjects for their pardon. After addressing his soldiers for the final time, Constantine visited the church of St Sophia where he prayed  “with great fervor.” Then Constantine “approached every prelate present in the church, asked them to pardon him if he had ever offended any of them, embraced each of them, and then went to the altar and received the Holy Communion.”  Mr. Mijatovic wrote:  “As a Christian emperor, and as a Christian soldier, he was solemnly, and in the sight of his people, preparing to appear before his God.”  Those present reportedly cried as he left the church, and Constantine himself was not unaffected. Saved by Alex Aja. Indeed, it is perhaps ironic that one of the greatest empires in history surrendered rather meekly without much of a struggle. N.A. If God gives us grace and valour, and the Holy Trinity help us, in Whom alone we trust, we will do such deeds that the foe shall fall back with shame before our arms.”. You will find many articles about society and culture, music, arts and literature, history, and current affairs. Nevertheless I release thee from all thy oaths and treaties to me, I close the gates of my city, I will defend my people to the last drop of my blood. Finally, although the Eastern Roman Empire (or Byzantine, as it is most often called) had been for centuries a Greek Empire, it still traced its lineage, with a few hiccups, to the Roman Empire established by Augustus. Not only did Byzantium achieve greater feats of art and science than Rome, they safeguarded (and advanced) for nearly 1,500 years the ancient knowledge of the Greeks and Romans. However, on July 10, 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan turned the hallowed Hagia Sophia cathedral back into a mosque. When the Emperor came to, he was again faced with pleas for him to flee. Alternatively, the Sultan would offer the Emperor the suzerainty of the Peloponnesus under his jurisdiction. You will find many articles about society and culture, music, arts and literature, history, and current affairs. We are told by another chronicler than his personal intervention along with additional troops repaired a breach in Constantinople’s defenses on May 13. Although the situation remained grave, the Emperor fought on. I know that my going out of the city might be of some benefit to me, inasmuch as all that you foresee might really happen. This content may not be used or published elsewhere without the express permission of the owner(s). With 567 years having passed since Constantine and the Eastern half of the Roman Empire breathed their last, I thought that it would be fitting, with the aid of some older books and other resources, to make a toast to the last Emperor. Mijatovic then described Constantine’s departing the Hagia Sophia: “When he turned to leave the church, the great congregation wept aloud. This is post 2 of 2 in the series “Constantine XI”. The vast church echoed with the loud sobs of men and with the wailings of women. By May 23, any hope of the Greeks holding on had all but been extinguished. However, rather than escape, Constantine prepared to go to the front lines himself: “God forbid that I should live an Emperor without an Empire! On May 28, 1453, Greco-Christian Constantinople, the last bastion of the once vast Byzantine and Roman Empires, faced the prospect of the imminent fall of the city to the Ottoman Empire. Sourced from Pinterest. Constantine Palaologus XI speaks before his officers and allies before the final siege of Constantinople by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed Bey Most noble leader, illustrious tribunes, generals, most courageous fellow soldiers and all loyal honest citizens! Constantine, we are told, commanded the defense and encouraged his men to hold the city walls with all they had left. He had already sent away the ladies of the imperial household, his sister-in-law, and her attendants. The last stand of Emperor Constantine XI. (Sultan Mehmed II subsequently had his head cut off, peeled off the skin, and stuffed it … The city, however, was surrounded b… Crowns await you in heaven, and on earth your nations will be remembered honourably until the end of time.”, Another account reported his saying (149):  “Brothers and fellow-soldiers, be ready for the morn. The now-former Patriarch Gregory, we are told, implored the Emperor: “If the Imperial City could not be saved, let the Emperor be saved! During a council meeting on the 25th of May, the Emperor was again encouraged to flee the city. Constantinople would not only be sacked and absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, but also renamed “Istanbul,” which it remains today as part of modern Turkey. Enter your email address to sign up for The Newsletter Leaf Journal. The last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI (Palaeologus), was killed in battle. Before continuing, it is worth noting that we will be relying on ancient sources, mostly as condensed by the writers of two nineteenth century history books. Ferrell enjoys coffee, tea, reading, history, philosophy, politics, video games, anime, and long walks. This content may not be used or published elsewhere without the express permission of the owner(s). That there is a thread linking Augustus, who became master of the Roman world after prevailing in his civil war against Marc Antony in the latter half of the first century BC, to Constantine XI, the final Greek and Christian ruler of Constantinople, is remarkable in and of itself. Meanwhile Constantine XI manages to overthrow the Ottomans in Europe with the help of a general uprising of their Orthodox subjects and thus revitalizes the empire. Constantine’s final days and death, in a sense, honored the traditions of Republican and Christian Rome – and in this sense, served as an equally fitting and tragic end to the Roman Empire. We turn to pages 148-49 for the account of the last Roman Emperor’s final visit to the Hagia Sophia. This is post 1 of 2 in the series “Constantine XI”. “[Constantine] listened to the monotonous beating of the drums, and to the wild tumult that prevailed in the Turkish camp. However, slowly but surely, the position of Constantine XI and his army deteriorated. As the sun set on the Roman Empire for what would be its final night, anxious citizens of the city gathered in the magnificent cathedral, the Hagia Sophia, for what would be its final night to date as a functioning Christian church. Constantine XI's last moments in life, as he stood before the walls of Constantinople in 1453, have bestowed a heroic status on him. Had he surrendered the city or not volunteered to stand with his men at the very end, he would be remembered, if at all, as a sort of curiosity – similar to Romulus Augustulus, the child who nominally served as the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire in 476. Emperor Constantine XI cast off his purple cloak and made a last stand with his remaining soldiers. The capture of Constantinople by Ottoman Turks is a pivotal historical moment. Constantine XI Paleologos, the last Emperor of the East Roman Empire, who was martyred by the forces of Sultan Mehmet during the assault on The City on May 29, 1453, was a man whose personal life was marked by tragedy, but who above all maintained steadfast his Christian faith and his dedication to his duties as the Christian Emperor. After establishing himself as the Despot, Constantine worked to strengthen the defence of the Morea, including reconstructing a wall across the Isthmus of Corinth called the "Hexamilion" (Six-… Despite the fact that he was both kind and competent, his empire was beyond the point of no return. Unlike the valiant last stand by Constantine XI in Constantinople which marked the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Roman Empire in the West did not fall after a notable battle. Nicholas A. Ferrell, a life-long resident of brownstone Brooklyn, is the content editor and acting site administrator for The New Leaf Journal. Shall I be the one to flee from it? Having heard the Emperor’s determination, the council acquiesced, and it would not have the opportunity again to persuade Constantine to abandon his post. As we know, the Christian emperor would, within the day, cast aside his regalia and make his final stand as a Christian soldier, falling with his men. N.A. The New Leaf Journal’s tag-line – “Where the leaves are perennially virid” – highlights the common fiber that holds our content together. For the account itself, we learn a bit more about how sources described Constantine’s visit. By May 28, Emperor Constantine XI was well aware that the fall of the city was likely near. Constantine XI Palaiologos or Palaeologus (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος ΙΑ' Δραγάσης Παλαιολόγος, Kōnstantinos XI Dragasēs Palaiologos), (February 8, 1405[1] – May 29, 1453) was the last reigning Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, from 1448 to his death. Welcome to The New Leaf Journal Guestbook. So far the good news. The once capital of the greatest Christian empire had now become the capital of the most successful Islamic empire in history. See our About page to learn more. Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos is not only remembered for being the last Byzantine Emperor who put up a brave last stand against the Ottomans, but also for his last speech to his officers and allies before the Fall of Constantinople on May 29, 1453 by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II. As for Constantine XI himself, his body was never found. Combined with exposure to Islamic and far eastern (India and China) learning and wisdom, the Byzantium Empire was at one point, the height of knowledge on Earth. Mr. Mijatovic wrote: “The struggle continued some time around the stop, until heaps of slain covered the ground sanctified for ever by the heroic death of the last Greek Emperor.”. On May 29, 1453, the Ottoman Turks under Sultan Mehmed II launched their successful final assault on Constantinople, ending a 53-day siege and demolishing the last legitimate claimant to the legacy of the Roman Empire. A legend, similar to some surrounding the legendary King Arthur, has Constantine being rescued by an angel and turned into marble, which will awaken when Christians reconquer Constantinople. In 1448, the last Roman/Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI, ascended to the throne. Our second account comes from a book with two names:  “Constantine, The Last Emperor of the Greeks; or, The Conquest of Constantinople by the Turks.”  Written by Cedomilj Mijatovic, this story upon which I relied heavily for my earlier article on Constantine XI, was published in 1892. Constantine XI Dragases Palaiologos, Latinized as Palaeologus (Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος ΙΑ' Δραγάσης Παλαιολόγος, Kōnstantinos XI Dragasēs Palaiologos; 8 February 1405 – 29 May 1453) was the last reigning Byzantine Emperor, reigning as a member of the Palaiologos dynasty from 1449 to his death in … The Sultan would permit the Emperor, his court, and his noblemen to withdraw from Constantinople and go wherever they wished. I turn now and look above to God. Just as the story of Constantine XI’s last stand tied together the heroic ideals of classical and Christian Rome, the Hagia Sophia endures, as a testament to the faith that went into it and as a link to the pinnacle of the Eastern Roman Empire (see final thoughts). Speaking both to the Greeks and to the Italians who had joined the cause, Constantine said: “Let us work together, my companions and my brethren, to gain for ourselves liberty, glory, and eternal memory! Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos was the last emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, today more commonly known as the Byzantine Empire. When the siege of Constantinople began on April 6, 1453, the Emperor and his 7,000 soldiers were vastly outnumbered – nearly ten-to-one by one account. I have also provided links to the books and pages that I am using as references, so you will be able to follow along. Like he had weeks before, he again asserted his resolve to defend Constantinople to the end: “My friends, if it is God’s will that our city shall fall, can we escape His wrath? It was upon the ringing of the church bells that “[t]he Emperor proceeded to St. Sophia.”  According to this account, “[t]he church was crowded.”  Mijatovic left the source material for a moment to speculate about what the Emperor was thinking as he walked into the Hagia Sophia for what would prove to be the final time:  “It would have been only natural for him to think that it was, perhaps, the last time he would stand beneath that magnificent cupola, under which so many orthodox Emperors had worshipped in good and evil days.”. The alternative, of course, would be the sack of Constantinople. Similarly to the Greeks, who made the final Byzantine Emperor a symbol of national resilience during their ultimately successful push for independence in the early nineteenth century, I find the story of Constantine XI’s last stand quite moving. In so doing, I will note where we are relying on chroniclers and where I am noting passages from nineteenth century historians analyzing the chronicles. After the death of his father Murat II, Mehmet II ascends to the Ottoman throne. You will find many articles about society and culture, music, arts and literature, history, and current affairs. Or perhaps as the legend goes, Constantine lies marbled, in splendid repose, waiting to rise again. Articles about the life and times of the last Roman/Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI. At a council including the Emperor on May 3, his military commanders, and other dignitaries of state and church, several senators, prelates, and the Patriarch of the church pled with Emperor Constantine to flee – hoping that by surviving he would attract volunteers to force the Sultan to withdraw. The real point here is that Emperor Constantine XI’s last stand was not like the most famous one in American history, that of General Custer. But it is impossible for me to go away: how could I leave the churches of our Lord, and His servants the clergy, and the throne, and my people in such a plight? Evidence suggests the European Renaissance was brought about an influx of, “Gr… Many reckon the end of the medieval world by the fall of this last vestige of the Roman Empire. Before the beginning of the siege, Mehmed II, the leader of the Ottoman forces, made an offer to Constantine to surrender the city. 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