The Ottoman besiegers vastly outnumbered the Byzantines and their allies. The conquest of Istanbul [Constantinople] and the conversion of the Hagia Sophia [Greek for "Holy Wisdom"] into a mosque are among the most glorious chapters of Turkish history. The Ottoman galleys were too short to capture the tall European warships, and, with the help of the Golden Horn fleet, the warships safely sailed past the chain. Nevertheless, just as deeply entrenched was the understanding that Byzantine control of Constantinople was a necessary bastion against Muslim control of land and sea in the eastern Mediterranean. In May 1453, the Ottomans, led by Mehmed II, defeated the Byzantine Empire and took control of Constantinople, the capital of the Empire. An adjoining sea wall ran along the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara, the latter section being 20 feet (6 metres) high and 5 miles (8 km) long.  The Chinese histories then explain that the Arabs forced the Byzantines to pay tribute afterwards as part of a peace settlement. The sultan thus completed his conquest of the Byzantine capital. Mehmed II and his army were remarkably restrained in their handling of affairs after the fall of Constantinople. Login with Facebook In 716, after years of preparations, the Arabs, led by Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik, invaded Byzantine Asia Minor. As the Byzantine chronicler reports, "Every day there was a military engagement from morning until evening, between the outworks of the Golden Gate and the Kyklobion, with thrust and counter-thrust". In 324 the ancient city of Byzantium became the new capital … Updates? In 1453 the Turkish Ottoman Empire captured the city of Constantinople. In the meantime, Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI Palaeologus entreated major powers in Christendom to aid him in the impending siege. Omissions? Although the sultan attempted to prevent a total sack of the city, he permitted an initial period of looting that saw the destruction of many Orthodox churches. Myles Hudson was an Editorial Intern at Encyclopædia Britannica. The Byzantines attempted to obstruct the Arab plans with a naval attack on Egypt, but it was unsuccessful. A small fleet of naval and armed merchant vessels were also stationed in the Golden Horn to defend the chain. Theodosius' poem commemorates a decisive naval victory before the walls of the city—with the interesting detail that the Arab fleet too possessed fire-throwing ships—and makes a reference to "the fear of their returning shadows", which may be interpreted as confirming the recurring Arab attacks each spring from their base in Cyzicus. On the other hand, echoes of a large-scale siege of Constantinople and a subsequent peace treaty reached China, where they were recorded in later histories of the Tang dynasty. The city’s defenders continued to repair the walls at night and reinforced areas at the damaged Gate of St. Romanus and the Blachernae sector. On April 6 the Ottomans began their artillery barrage and brought down a section of the wall. On May 29, 1453, [Ottoman] Sultan Muhammad II entered the city after … "After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Rome became the 'Red Apple,' the ultimate objective of the Muslim Ottomans and the symbol of the triumph of Islam over Christianity. The Ottoman cannon created several breaches, but most were too narrow to send troops through. On April 12 the sultan dispatched a contingent of troops to subdue two nearby Byzantine forts and ordered Baltaoğlu to rush the chain. European Historians refer to this conquest as the ‘Fall of Constantinople’. The Islamic conquests are not the conquests of an empire which conquers and plunders lands, steals their resources and sends them back to the homeland like Britain and France did in the colonial era, and which the west in general continues to this day.  Given the lack of any mention of such an assault in Byzantine sources, it is most probable that the Arab chroniclers—taking account of Yazid's presence and the fact that Chalcedon is a suburb of Constantinople—"upgraded" the attack on Chalcedon to an attack on the Byzantine capital itself. , Based on a re-evaluation of the original sources used by the medieval historians, the Oxford scholar James Howard-Johnston, in his 2010 book Witnesses to a World Crisis: Historians and Histories of the Middle East in the Seventh Century, rejects the traditional interpretation of events, based on Theophanes, in favour of the Syriac chroniclers' version. These defeats forced the Arabs to abandon the siege in 678. The Byzantine victory was of major importance for the survival of the Byzantine state, as the Arab threat receded for a time. Now sultan for the second time, Mehmed II intended to complete his father’s mission and conquer Constantinople for the Ottomans. Hungary refused to assist, and, instead of sending men, Pope Nicholas V saw the precarious situation as an opportunity to push for the reunification of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, a priority of the papacy since 1054. The conquest of Istanbul has had such a historical impact on the Turkish and Muslim world to the degree that some historians demarcate the end of the Middle Ages with the city's conquest. At about the same time, the Muslim army in Asia Minor, under the command of Sufyan ibn 'Awf, was defeated by the Byzantine army under the generals Phloros, Petron and Cyprian, losing 30,000 men according to Theophanes. When most of Constantinople was secure, Mehmed himself rode through the streets of the city to the great cathedral of Hagia Sophia, the largest in all of Christendom, and converted it into the mosque Ayasofya. Thus the tomb was left in peace, and even became a site of veneration by the Byzantines, who prayed there in times of drought. When combined with a large metal chain that had been drawn across the Golden Horn, Constantine was confident that the city’s defenses could repel a naval assault and withstand Mehmed’s land forces until relief came from Christian Europe. , In 674, the Arab fleet sailed from its bases in the eastern Aegean and entered the Sea of Marmara.  In these Chinese sources, Fu lin was directly related to the earlier Daqin, which is now considered by modern sinologists as the Roman Empire. However, without outside support, Constantinople’s defenders would be spread thin.  Following the conclusion of peace, he moved against the mounting Bulgar menace in the Balkans, but his huge army, comprising all the available forces of the Empire, was decisively beaten, opening the way for the establishment of a Bulgar state in the northeastern Balkans. In the early hours of May 29, Ottoman labourers filled the moat surrounding the city. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? The conquest of Constantinople and the fall of the Byzantine Empire was a key event of the Late Middle Ages and is sometimes considered the end of the Medieval period. In contrast to the Byzantines, the Ottoman Turks had extended their control over virtually all of the Balkans and most of Anatolia, having conquered several Byzantine cities west of Constantinople in the latter half of the 14th century. The Muslim conquest of the Maghreb (Arabic: الفَتْحُ الإسْلَامِيُّ لِلمَغْرِبِ ) continued the century of rapid Muslim conquests following the death of Muhammad in 632 and into the Byzantine-controlled territories of Northern Africa. This was found in the peninsula of Cyzicus on the southern shore of the Sea of Marmara, where a raiding fleet under Fadhala ibn 'Ubayd wintered in 670 or 671. However, Constantine’s capacity to defend his city was hampered by his small fighting force. Muslim raids against the Cilician frontier zone and deep into Asia Minor began as early as 640, and continued under Mu'awiya, then governor of the Levant. Muslim incursions intensified, leading to a second Arab attempt at conquering Constantinople in 717–718, which also proved unsuccessful. Mehmed surrounded Constantinople from land and sea while employing cannon to maintain a constant barrage of the city’s formidable walls. It mentions how Constantine IV had ships driven (probably on wheels) across the Thracian Chersonese from the Aegean to the Sea of Marmara, a major undertaking for imperial navy ships and one which only makes sense if the Dardanelles was blocked by the Arabs at Cyzicus. Crusades - Crusades - From Constantinople to Antioch: Late in May 1097 the Crusaders and a contingent of Byzantine soldiers reached the capital of the Turkish sultanate, Nicaea (now İznik, Turkey), which surrendered to the Byzantines on June 19. Under the Umayyads the continuing conquest of North Africa (665), the second Arab siege of Constantinople (717-718) and the conquest of Tbilisi (736). This land was conquered in the year 857 A.H (1453), about 565 years ago, and to The Muslim in those early times knew the importance of the city and its excellent location as well as the prophet’s, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam the prophecy.  The most prominent among them in later tradition is Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, one of the early companions (Anṣār) and standard-bearer of Muhammad, who died of illness before the city walls during the siege and was buried there. https://www.britannica.com/event/Fall-of-Constantinople-1453. Mehmet the conquerer's conquest of Constantinople.  The subsequent peace also gave a much-needed respite from constant raiding to Asia Minor, and allowed the Byzantine state to recover its balance and consolidate itself following the cataclysmic changes of the previous decades. The campaign marked the culmination of twenty years of attacks and progressive Arab occupation of the Byzantine borderlands, while Byzantine strength was sapped by prolonged internal turmoil.  Following the murder of Caliph Uthman and the outbreak of the First Muslim Civil War, Arab attacks against Byzantium stopped. They largely refrained from slaughtering commoners and nobility, instead choosing to ransom them to their home states and primarily executing only those who fought after the surrender. Ignorance is bliss, but more so among jihadists with a pen, not necessarily an automatic rifle. In 659, Mu'awiya even concluded a truce with Byzantium, including payment of tribute to the Empire. The Arab conquests: 7th century: One of the most dramatic and sudden movements of any people in history is the expansion, by conquest, of the Arabs in the 7th century (only the example of the Mongols in the 13th century can match it). , Later Arab sources dwell extensively on the events of Yazid's 669 expedition and supposed attack on Constantinople, including various mythical anecdotes, which are taken by modern scholarship to refer to the events of the 674–678 siege. Mu'awiya dispatched another army, led by his son (and future Caliph) Yazid, to Fadhala's aid. Hungary was the primary European threat to the Ottomans on land, and Venice and Genoa controlled much of the Aegean and Black seas.  Both Byzantine and Arab chroniclers record the siege as lasting for seven years instead of five. , In spring 669, after receiving additional troops, Fadhala entered Asia Minor and advanced as far as Chalcedon, on the Asian shore of the Bosporus across from the Byzantine capital, Constantinople. He angled one of his cannons such that it could strike the defenders of the chain and then began to construct an oiled wooden ramp upon which he intended to portage his smaller vessels from the Bosporus to the Golden Horn. Upon hearing of his navy’s defeat, Mehmed stripped Baltaoğlu of his rank and arranged for his replacement. When they will arrange themselves i The peace treaty, of a nominal 30-year duration, provided that the Caliph would pay an annual tribute of 3,000 nomismata, 50 horses and 50 slaves. The country was governed by the East Roman civil service and military, both of which were filled by the Greek-speaking ruling class to the general exclusion of the native Coptic-speaking Egyptians. Having encircled Constantinople in full, Mehmed continued his artillery barrage of the land walls through May 29. Mehmed repopulated the city with people from a multitude of backgrounds and faiths and relocated his capital from Edirne to Constantinople, ensuring a multicultural seat of power for a multicultural empire. Many churches were left dilapidated and there was severe economic hardship with a small population.  From the next year, Muslim attacks recommenced, with pressure mounting as Muslim armies began wintering on Byzantine soil west of the Taurus range, maximizing the disruption caused to the Byzantine economy. , On the other hand, the historian Marek Jankowiak argues that a major Arab siege did occur but that Theophanes (writing about 140 years after the events, based on an anonymous source itself written about 50 years after the events) misdated and garbled the events, and that the proper dating of the siege should be 667–669, with spring 668 for the major attack. The Crusade army left Nicaea for Antioch on June 26 and found crossing the arid and mountainous Anatolia difficult. , The essential outline of Theophanes' account may be corroborated by the only near-contemporary Byzantine reference to the siege, a celebratory poem by the otherwise unknown Theodosius Grammaticus, which was earlier believed to refer to the second Arab siege of 717–718. Had it fallen, the Empire's remaining provinces would have been unlikely to hold together, and would have become easy prey for the Arabs. Mehmed surrounded Constantinople from land and sea while employing cannon to maintain a constant barrage of the city’s formidable walls. The land walls spanned 4 miles (6.5 km) and consisted of a double line of ramparts with a moat on the outside; the higher of the two stood as high as 40 feet (12 metres) with a base as much as 16 feet (5 metres) thick. , Coordinates: 41°00′44″N 28°58′34″E / 41.0122°N 28.9760°E / 41.0122; 28.9760, Major conflict of the Arab–Byzantine Wars, Opening moves: the campaigns of 672 and 673, Arab attacks and related expeditions in 674–678, "East Asian History Sourcebook: Chinese Accounts of Rome, Byzantium and the Middle East, c. 91 B.C.E. For Christendom, Mehmed’s victory at Constantinople represented a serious shift in its dealings with the East. Just before dawn, the sultan launched a coordinated artillery, infantry, and naval assault on Constantinople. , The details of the clashes around Constantinople are unclear, as Theophanes condenses the siege in his account of the first year, and the Arab chroniclers do not mention the siege at all but merely provide the names of leaders of unspecified expeditions into Byzantine territory. Login with Gmail. The Byzantine chronicler Theophanes the Confessor reports that the Arabs remained before Chalcedon for a while before returning to Syria, and that on their way they captured and garrisoned Amorium. He also began to view himself as Kayser-i Rûm (“Caesar of Rome”), the inheritor of the Roman Empire and all its historical lands.  Conversely, Byzantine prestige reached new heights, especially in the West: Constantine IV received envoys from the Avars and the Balkan Slavs, bearing gifts and congratulations and acknowledging Byzantine supremacy. A small group reached the top of a tower through another gate but were nearly eliminated by the defenders until Giustiniani was mortally wounded by Ottoman gunfire while on the ramparts. Constantinople’s defenders once again held their ground, however, and Baltaoğlu’s success at the islands was irreparably marred by the revelation that three relief ships from the pope and one large Byzantine vessel had nearly reached the city unhindered. Fortunate will be the leader and fortunate will be the army that accomplishes this.” For eight centuries, the conquest of Constantinople remained a dream for the Muslims. , The failure of the Arabs before Constantinople coincided with the increased activity of the Mardaites, a Christian group living in the mountains of Syria that resisted Muslim control and raided the lowlands. According to the account of Theophanes, they landed on the Thracian shore near Hebdomon in April, and until September were engaged in constant clashes with the Byzantine troops. They renamed the city Istanbul.  They record that the large, well-fortified capital city of Fu lin (拂菻, i.e. , At the same time, the preoccupation with the Arab threat had reduced Byzantium's ability to respond to threats elsewhere: in Italy, the Lombards used the opportunity to conquer most of Calabria, including Tarentum and Brundisium, while in the Balkans, a coalition of Slavic tribes attacked the city of Thessalonica and launched seaborne raids in the Aegean, even penetrating into the Sea of Marmara. Their analyses have placed more emphasis on the Arabic and Syriac sources, but have drawn different conclusions about the dating and existence of the siege. ", "The Arabs in Asia Minor (641–750), from Arabic Sources", "Les expéditions des Arabes contre Constantinople dans l'histoire et dans la légende", "Two Arabian sieges of Constantinople (674–678; 717/718)", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Siege_of_Constantinople_(674–678)&oldid=971695839, Naval battles involving the Byzantine Empire, Naval battles involving the Umayyad Caliphate, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 7 August 2020, at 17:30. Immense resources were poured into the undertaking, including the creation of a huge fleet. Furthermore, with Constantinople having suffered through several devastating sieges, the city’s population had dropped from roughly 400,000 in the 12th century to between 40,000 and 50,000 by the 1450s. If there will be no second conquest of Constantinople, what then is the meaning of those narrations that speak of the ’emergence of dajjal’ shortly after this conquest. The Arab attacks on Chalcedon were repelled, and the Arab army was decimated by famine and disease. What drives Muslim animus for Israel: brotherly love for “oppressed” Palestinians or religious hatred for “infidel” Jews? A massive artillery bombardment of Constantinople's triple wall was engineered by mercenaries from the West – a task taking several hundred oxen to move the cannon and about a hundred men working together to load and fire. Its failure had similarly important repercussions, and represented a major blow to the Caliph's prestige. The fleet was twice driven back, and Baltaoğlu retreated to Diplokionion until the night of the 17th, when he moved to capture the Princes Islands southeast of the city at the same time that Mehmed’s land regiments assaulted the Mesoteichon section of the wall. Armenia and Iberia reverted for a time to Byzantine control, and Cyprus became a condominium between Byzantium and the Caliphate. These walls had never been breached in the thousand years since their construction. An Ottoman attack on a Venetian ship in the Bosporus prompted the Venetian Senate to send 800 troops and 15 galleys to the Byzantine capital, and many Venetians presently in Constantinople also chose to support the war effort, but the bulk of the Venetian forces were delayed for too long to be of any help.  At the same time, the failure of the Arab attack on Constantinople was a momentous event in itself. A chain of fortress towns ran across th…  Throughout this period, overland raids into Asia Minor continued, and the Arab troops wintered on Byzantine soil. Although it had lost all of its territories, the city still commanded great respect as the seat of the Byzantine Empire. Now devoid of both a long-standing buffer against the Ottomans and access to the Black Sea, Christian kingdoms relied on Hungary to halt any further westward expansion. 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