Synopses & Reviews
This classic account shows how the fall of Constantinople in May 1453, after a siege of several weeks, came as a bitter shock to Western Christendom. The cityâs plight had been neglected, and negligible help was sent in this crisis. To the Turks, victory not only brought a new imperial capital, but guaranteed that their empire would last. To the Greeks, the conquest meant the end of the civilisation of Byzantium, and led to the exodus of scholars stimulating the tremendous expansion of Greek studies in the European Renaissance.
First published in 1965, this is a scholarly and highly accessible study of Constantinople's fall, an event which had tumultuous repercussions across both East and West. Runciman demonstrates the inevitability of the Turkish conquest and the impotence of the Byzantine Empire which, at the time, comprised only one ineffectual city. This vivid account reconstructs the dramatic events which won the Turks an imperial capital, with a vital geographical location, and examines how the Greeks reacted to this devastating blow.
While their victory ensured the Turks' survival, the conquest of Constantinople marked the end of Byzantine civilization for the Greeks, by triggering the scholarly exodus that caused an influx of Classical studies into the European Renaissance.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 236-245) and index.
Table of Contents
List of plates; List of figures; Preface; 1. The dying empire; 2. The rising sultanate; 3. The emperor and the sultan; 4. The price of Western aid; 5. Preparations for the siege; 6. The siege begins; 7. The loss of the Golden Horn; 8. Fading hope; 9. The last days of Byzantium; 10. The fall of Constantinople; 11. The fate of the vanquished; 12. Europe and the conqueror; 13. The survivors; Appendix I. Principal sources for a history of the fall of Constantinople; Appendix II. The churches of Constantinople after the conquest; Notes; Bibliography; Index.