Notice: This is the official website of the All Empires History Community (Reg. 10 Feb 2002)

  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Register Register  Login Login

Constantinople 1453- New Book

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Komnenos View Drop Down
Tsar
Tsar
Avatar
Retired AE Administrator

Joined: 20-Dec-2004
Location: Neutral Zone
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 4361
  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Constantinople 1453- New Book
    Posted: 06-Nov-2005 at 10:29
For the many Byzantines on the Forum, here is the perfect stocking filler for the upcoming Christmas.
A new book about the Conquest of Constantinople in 1453. I haven't read it yet, so I can't say if has any new aspects to report. Here are excerpts from a review anyway, which I found quite, ehem, interesting, especially the beginning.
Constantinople as role model for Minas Tirith?

Noel Malcolm reviews Constantinople: The Last Great Siege, 1453 by Roger Crowley.


Even as a young schoolboy, I couldn't help noticing the uncanny resemblance between the siege of Minas Tirith in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the siege of Constantinople. On one side, the beautiful walled city with its ancient nobility and the few adventurers who had come to help in its defence; on the other, evil teeming hordes under a despotic ruler. You had only to look at the map in the end-papers, where the land of Mordor loomed to the east like Asia Minor, to get the point.

Tolkien even chose the name "Uruk-Hai" for some of his nastiest creations, fighting forces of Sauron who were a cross between orcs and goblins. This was surely borrowed from the "Yuruk", nomadic tribesmen used as auxiliary soldiers by the Ottomans. Few readers would have known that; but most would have got a whiff of something Asiatic here. For one thing Tolkien was outstandingly good at was tapping into the subconscious of our own, European, cultural history.


Deep down, we still think of the last great clash between Byzantium and the Turks as a Manichaean confrontation of civilisation and barbarism, West and East. But the historical reality, not surprisingly, is much less black and white. Above all, what sealed the fate of the defenders of Constantinople was the failure of "the West" to think of itself in any such monolithic, civilisational terms. When Venice, the leading Christian naval power in the eastern Mediterranean, received the Emperor's desperate pleas for help, it thought about its trading interests with the Ottomans and decided to do nothing.

Inside the embattled city there were tensions between Greeks and Italians, and bitter divisions between those Greeks who favoured the idea of union between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, and those who opposed it. Some even said they would prefer Turkish rule to Papal tyranny: it seems they had not forgotten the previous conquest of their city, when their churches had been looted and their women raped not by Turks but by Catholic "crusaders".

Outside the city, the besieging forces were not exactly monolithic either. A large part of Sultan Mehmet's army was made up of Christian soldiers from his European dominions; some may have been fighting unwillingly, but some probably saw this military service as just a normal feudal obligation to their ruler. In the early Ottoman period there are even reports of peasants migrating into the Ottoman-ruled parts of the Balkans, because they found the conditions of life preferable there.

But wasn't the whole Turkish campaign driven by the spirit of Islamic jihad? Apparently not. Mehmet himself was motivated partly by Realpolitik, and partly by romantic notions derived from his study of Latin and Greek authors. As for his troops, we have the opinion of his own spiritual adviser, Sheikh Ak Shemsettin: "The number of those who are ready to sacrifice their lives for the love of Allah is extremely small. On the other hand, if they glimpse booty they will run towards certain death."

And run they did. However much one qualifies the ideological significance of this conflict, however far one downgrades its geopolitical importance (the Byzantine "Empire" was already tiny and quite powerless), nothing can diminish the human interest of this closely-fought contest with its colossal loss of life. This will always remain one of the most exciting, cliff-hanging stories in world history; and in Roger Crowley's new book it is told extremely well.

The background to the conflict is deftly sketched; so too are the characters of the leaders on both sides - the middle-aged Emperor Constantine, a politically weak man who showed extraordinary resolution in war, and the young Sultan Mehmet, barely out of his teens, animated both by soaring ambition and by a terrible fear of failure. And the geographical setting is also lucidly explained: the city was almost impregnable by sea, but its great land walls had two weak spots on which Mehmet cannily concentrated his attacks.

.....
With a little reinforcement from outside, the defenders could have won. Defeat was never certain, but what ensured it in the end was the astonishing logistical abilities of the Ottomans and the sheer imbalance of numbers: perhaps 60,000 Ottoman fighters versus 8,000 Greeks and Italians. For this was no mighty metropolis; Constantinople had become a shell, a poor shadow of its former self. As Crowley says of the Turks, in one of the most poignant sentences in this book: "the city they imagined did not exist".

...

Occasionally he adds a touch of purple prose, or some novelistic detail that cannot be contained in his sources. And he is sometimes too eager to accept as authentic the made-up speeches put in the mouths of leading figures by some of the early chroniclers; as he admits only in a postscript, the trustworthiness of these sources is variable, and limited. But this is not an academic monograph. It is, rather, a powerful telling of an extraordinary story, presented with a clarity and a confidence that most academic historians would envy.


Send a note to Santa!


Source
[IMG]http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i137/komnenos/crosses1.jpg">
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Guest
Guest
  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Nov-2005 at 11:44

Tolkien even chose the name "Uruk-Hai" for some of his nastiest creations, fighting forces of Sauron who were a cross between orcs and goblins. This was surely borrowed from the "Yuruk", nomadic tribesmen used as auxiliary soldiers by the Ottomans. Few readers would have known that; but most would have got a whiff of something Asiatic here. For one thing Tolkien was outstandingly good at was tapping into the subconscious of our own, European, cultural history.

I'm a yrk by ancestry!! And any of us definately do not resemble orcs! We dont have any enemity or obsession with elfs or blondes either! Actually yoruks are described as the purest and most peaceful people of the society. All they have is 2-3 goats and one nomadic tent at a yaylak around Taurus mount. and these are enough to make a yoruk happy for eternity!


 



Edited by Oguzoglu
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Guest
Guest
  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Nov-2005 at 11:57

Regular yoruk girl...

Regular orc dude...

Back to Top
Komnenos View Drop Down
Tsar
Tsar
Avatar
Retired AE Administrator

Joined: 20-Dec-2004
Location: Neutral Zone
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 4361
  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Nov-2005 at 12:04
Originally posted by Oguzoglu

I'm ayrk by ancestry!! Andany of usdefinately do not resemble orcs!! We dont have any enemity or obsession with elfs or blondes either Actually yoruks are described as the purest and most peaceful people of the society. All they have is 2-3 goats and one nomadic tent at a yaylak aroundTaurus mount.and these are enough to make a yoruk happy for eternity!



Although this is slightly off topic. I don't think we have to take the mentioned comparison Uruk-Hai with Yuruks to literally. If Tolkien really borrowed the term "yuruk" , which I doubt, he didn't choose it because of the people but because of its sound.

Having said that, the notion that Tolkien's names for people and places have slightly xenophobic overtones, by choosing slavic or asiatic sounding terms for the Evil East, has been mentioned before.
[IMG]http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i137/komnenos/crosses1.jpg">
Back to Top
Seko View Drop Down
Emperor
Emperor
Avatar
Spammer

Joined: 01-Sep-2004
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 8596
  Quote Seko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Nov-2005 at 12:19

1453 : The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West: Prices

Read this book last month. It contains acounts of the war through mainly western eyes. The walls of Constantinople were impervious to penetration prior to this seige. Focus on the bravery of the defenders is mainly given to the Italian side. Open combat rarely occured in this battle. The defenders were in the precarious postion to man walls with as little as two per tower in some cases. The Ottomans had to overcome the moats and walls before any serious foothold could be gained. Though the great cannons breached them in several areas, they were quickly repaired in ad hoc fasion by the defenders. A tremendous loss of Ottoman troops just to breach the walls was eventually replaced by the fatefull day when the Circus gate was barred open. From then on the Byzantines dfid not have sufficient manpower to withstand the brunt of the Ottman forces bent on capturing the city. 



Edited by Seko
Back to Top
Belisarius View Drop Down
Chieftain
Chieftain

Suspended

Joined: 09-Dec-2004
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 1296
  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Nov-2005 at 23:48
Looks good. I'll have to add it to my collection...
Back to Top
Herschel View Drop Down
Pretorian
Pretorian
Avatar

Joined: 30-Oct-2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 172
  Quote Herschel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Nov-2005 at 14:42
It's going to be hard to top Runciman's "The Fall of Constantinople, 1453".
Back to Top
Mangudai View Drop Down
Consul
Consul
Avatar

Joined: 09-Aug-2004
Location: Sweden
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 368
  Quote Mangudai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Nov-2005 at 15:41

Tolkien even chose the name "Uruk-Hai" for some of his nastiest creations, fighting forces of Sauron who were a cross between orcs and goblins.

Wrong, the Uruk-Hai are the orcs of Saruman, and they're a crossbreed of orcs and elfs

Nu guhk go mis leat meahcit, de lea mis dorvu dn eatnam alde

Ossfok i s kringest sturwekster sttliger. Summer v kulluma i riktit finer!
Back to Top
Heraclius View Drop Down
Chieftain
Chieftain
Avatar

Joined: 28-Jun-2005
Location: England
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 1231
  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Nov-2005 at 17:11

 The orcs of Saruman who was following Saurons commands if I remember correctly, certainly in league with Sauron and was not the superior, in essence Sarumans orcs are Saurons, I always thought Uruk-Hai were orcs and goblins mixed together anyway.

 Though i've never bothered reading all the books found them terribly boring, so i'm sure what we see in the movies isnt always what Tolkien said.



Edited by Heraclius
A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough.
Back to Top
Infidel View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel
Avatar

Joined: 19-Dec-2004
Location: Neutral Zone
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 691
  Quote Infidel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Nov-2005 at 22:44

The fall of Constantinople is always an interesting subject. I read some stuff about it when I read some books about the history of the Ottoman Empire. It was a major conquest for the turks and especially for his young emperor.

As for the Tolkien thing, I think it's too far fetched.

An nescite quantilla sapientia mundus regatur?
Back to Top
Blood and Suicide View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary
Avatar

Joined: 02-Sep-2010
Location: Ankara
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 16
  Quote Blood and Suicide Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Sep-2010 at 09:27
lord of the rings last things in the movie are things that belong to Germanic mythology, the Turks have nothing to do with the Uruk-Hai, it looks like a Yuruk name mentioned as a no nonsense evidence
DO NOT SCORN A WEAK CUB HE MAY BECOME THE BRUTAL TIGER
Back to Top
Brainstorm View Drop Down
Baron
Baron


Joined: 21-Sep-2006
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 407
  Quote Brainstorm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2010 at 09:47


Yuruks in Macedonia,Greece,north of Langadas lake (1905)

P.Traeger, die Yuerueker und Koniaren in Makedonien, Zeitschrift fuer Ethnologie 37 (1905)
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Bulletin Board Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 9.56a [Free Express Edition]
Copyright ©2001-2009 Web Wiz

This page was generated in 0.154 seconds.