The collapse of Byzantium. End of the Middle Ages

Resurrected Byzantium was a weak state. She was feverishly stricken by the cruel struggle for the throne, one area after another vanished from her, her wind was walking in her treasury, she was mercilessly plundered by the Genoese merchant class. Of the external enemies, it was most of all pestered by the Italian Normans, the Slavic tribes, the Polovtsians and especially the Turks, who migrated from Central Asia to the north-western part of Asia Minor. The Turkish Sultan Osman extended his power to Byzantine Asia Minor. The Turks began the conquest of the Balkan Peninsula – they defeated Serbia and Bulgaria. Constantinople was surrounded. In the face of mortal danger Byzantine nobility finally quarreled. Some hoped that Western Europe would help them if they fulfilled its demand to unite the Orthodox Church with the Catholic Church. Others were more afraid of the Catholic West than of Islamic Turkey. The Byzantine admiral declared that it was better to see Turkish turban in Constantinople

than the papal Tiara. The influential Byzantine clergy also panickedly feared Catholicism.

In the middle of the XV century. a huge Turkish land army and navy began the siege of Constantinople. The Byzantines fiercely resisted, but the forces were unequal. No one came to the aid of Byzantium, although the emperor signed a decree on the reunification of the Orthodox Church with the Catholic. The Byzantines blocked the Golden Horn bay with a massive iron chain so that Turkish ships could not approach the city, but the Turks dragged them overland and began the assault. The emperor died in battle very soon. May 29, 1453 the Turks took possession of Constantinople, plundered it, bringing into slavery tens of thousands of townspeople. From the top of St. Sophia’s temple, a golden cross was shot down, and an Islamic crescent was planted in its place – and the Orthodox church turned into the largest Muslim mosque. Constantinople became the capital of the Ottoman Empire – Istanbul. For several years, the Turks introduced to the Ottoman Empire what remained of the former Byzantine Empire. The date of the fall of Byzantium, 1453, historians sometimes consider the end of the Middle Ages.

To conquer Constantinople quickly, the Turks cast a giant siege gun that fired stone beams weighing almost half a ton, and the sounds of which were heard over 50 km. However, this monster failed to hit the target, and besides the gun was soon torn.

Sultan – the title of monarch in some countries of the East.

Tiara is the triple crown of the pope with a cross at the top.

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The collapse of Byzantium. End of the Middle Ages