Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Her Adversaries Have Become the Master

Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium, fell to the Ottoman invaders 559 years ago today, on May 29 1453. With its fall the Roman Empire came to an end.

Many thanks to Anestos Canelides for this tribute to the brave defenders of Constantinople.

Byzantium: The Fall of Constantinople, 1453

In memory of the loss of Constantinople to the Christian world
May 29th 1453

by Anestos Canelides

Prologue: Constantinople! O Constantinople!

“How lonely is the city that was full of people! How like a widow is she, who was great among the nations! The Princess among Provinces has become a slave!”
— Lamentations 1:1

The battle raged within the gates, on the high towers; the trenches swam deep in blood.[1]

A lone refugee, who had taken flight on a Venetian galleon wept at the unfortunate sight of Constantinople, shrouded in flames. A reflection in her teardrop captured the black smoke rising like the dark hand of death over the city’s blood-drenched streets.

These Hellenized Romans were forced to flee from their ancient capital just as during the Trojan War the innocents of the house of Priam had fled the proud city built by Neptune.

Smoke arose from the ruined ground while the city’s inhabitants fled in different directions [1] from the pursuing Turkish hoard.

Her teardrop, in slow motion, gently struck the salty waters of the Marmara Sea causing tiny ripples to form in the still water, moving towards the four corners of the Earth. Like the ripples the refugees of the vanquished city fled with winged feet to foreign lands. In those last hours of the siege, the valorous right arm of the Emperor Constantine Palaeologus XI held his sword high in defiance of the Turks, who were swarming through the city’s broken walls.

His very soul crushed within, and feeling abandoned, Constantine XI uttered his final words: “Is there no Christian who will take my head?”[2] Shortly afterwards, like brave Achilles who died by the thrust of a poison tipped arrow, Emperor Constantine was cut down by the edge of a Turkish sword. An enemy soldier struck him in the face and wounded him, but in turn, like a lion, Constantine struck back. Another mortal blow struck him down bringing a dramatic end to the life of the last Roman Emperor.

“Her adversaries have become the master, Her enemies prosper… Her children have gone into captivity before the enemy.”
— Lamentations 1:5


1. The Aeneid of Virgil, translation by Rolf Humphries, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York 1951, pp 44, 81,332, 335.
2. Sprantzes, George, The Fall of the Byzantine Empire, translated by Marios Philippides, The University of Massachusetts at Amherst 1980.

Previous posts by Anestos Canelides:

2010 May 29 The Last Empire
  Jun 18 The Muslim Devastation of India
  Aug 20 Are They Lying to Us?
  Sep 28 Devshirme: A Muslim Scourge on Christians
  Oct 6 AIFD: Friends of America and Freedom
  Dec 3 A 19th-Century Jihad on American Shipping
2011 May 29 Borders, Language and Culture
  Oct 18 The Jihad Against Dogs
    31 Slavery and Jihad
  Nov 15 Abuse of Power
  Dec 10 Islam is not a Pacifist Religion
    28 Those Evil Crusades
2012 Mar 25 Why Do We Tolerate Their Intolerance?
  Apr 6 History is the Fairest Instructor
    21 Jihad: The Law of War
  May 27 The Arab Siege of Constantinople


Asher Abrams said...

Thank you for this very moving tribute.

Anonymous said...

ChristianInfidel says:

Thank you, Anestos Canelides, and thank you, Baron & Dymphna.

It feels good-- "good" in the sense of something right-- to honor them.

Anonymous said...

How long before someone writes about London, Paris or Madrid in the same vein?

Peter H

Anonymous said...

Good of Mr. Canelides to honor those that fought courageously against the Turkish horde on that fateful day (also known as "Black Tuesday"). However, I respectfully disagree with the assertion that the Byzantines were simply "Hellenized Romans [Latins]". If anything, they were the "Christian Greek inheritors of imperial Rome" as attested by many modern Byzantinists and by the very "Byzantines" (i.e. Romaioi/Graikoi/Christianoi) themselves.


P.S. I heard that Turkey was going to turn Hagia Sophia into a fully functional mosque. Is this true?