In This Article Fall of Constantinople

  • Introduction
  • General Overview
  • Reference Works
  • Nontraditional Resources
  • Historical Background
  • Last Centuries and Last Emperors
  • The Aftermath
  • Reception in Literature
  • Post-Byzantine Culture
  • Art History
  • Literary Appraisals
  • Identity
  • Prosopography

Renaissance and Reformation Fall of Constantinople
by
Eugenia Russell
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 April 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 June 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0192

Introduction

The Fall of Byzantine Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 is one of those monumental events that has captured the imagination of historians, writers, bards, and poets the world over, both contemporary and modern. It signifies the definite conclusion of the Greco-Roman world, in the sense that Constantinople was seen by its inhabitants as the heiress of the cultural achievement of Rome, often called “second Rome” in Byzantine literature. Second Rome was in fact the original name of the new capital, highlighting the link with the old Rome and its importance as the new center of power. The term survives in the honorific title of the Ecumenical Patriarch, who is styled Αρχιεπίσκοπος Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, Νέας Ρώμης και Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης (Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch). The Fall of Constantinople in 1453 also signifies the destruction of a certain way of life that remained in existence for over 1,000 years and defined the post-Classical world. In that sense, 1453 is often used by historians and teachers of civilization as the conventional commencement of the modern era. This article explores the reception of the event by means of a bibliographical study.

General Overview

Philippides and Hanak 2011 is the panacea of this subject. Students who can afford only one book to start with will do well to choose this resource. An effort of monumental size and scope, it will serve the discipline well for many decades as both an introduction to the field and a valuable reference work.

  • Philippides, M., and W. K. Hanak. The Siege and Fall of Constantinople in 1453: Historiographical, Topographical, and Military Studies. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2011.

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    Primary sources for this topic are comprehensively covered in this relatively new work. The wealth of primary sources would mean that they can only be obliquely and partially referred to in a bibliographical essay like this one and therefore give a more imperfect picture than if diverting the reader to this one major work, which may become a staple for scholars for years to come.

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