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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The fall of Byzantium


Constantine XI (1449-1453) and the capture of Constantinople


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Italian sources have given us the priceless Journal of the siege of Constantinople, written in the old Venetian dialect in a dry business style, by a noble Venetian, Nicolo Barbaro. He enumerated day by day the conflicts between the Greeks and Turks during the siege, and his work is therefore of the greatest importance for the reconstruction of the chronology of the siege.

In old Russian an important history of the capture of Tsargrad, this great and terrible deed, was written by the unworthy and humble Nestor Iskinder (Iskander). Probably a Russian by origin, he fought in the sultan's army and described truthfully and, as far as possible, day by day, the actions of the Turks during the siege and after the fall of the city. The story of the fall of Constantinople is also related in various Russian chronicles. Finally, there are Turkish sources estimating the great event from the point of view of triumphant and victorious Islam and its brilliant representative, Muhammed II the Conqueror. Sometimes Turkish sources offer a collection of Turkish popular legends about Constantinople and the Bosporus.

This enumeration of the chief sources shows what rich and various information exists for the study of the problem of the siege and capture of Constantinople by the Turks.

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