Author Topic: Siege of Constantinople 1453 - The diary of the Venetian Surgeon Nicolo Barbaro  (Read 2208 times)

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Offline Grytviken

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http://domin.dom.edu/faculty/dperry/hist267crusade/calendar/1453/Barbaro.pdf

Interesting first person account for any medieval history nerds out there.

Offline Christo

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Offline Panos_

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Yeah, read how the migthy Turks with 10 times more army than the defenders, took a city that was struck by 4 plagues before falling, a couple of famines, a promise of help from the west that never arrived, the betrayal of the serbs, and the cowardice of the pussy Hungarians.
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Offline LordBerenger

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Yeah, read how the migthy Turks with 10 times more army than the defenders, took a city that was struck by 4 plagues before falling, a couple of famines, a promise of help from the west that never arrived, the betrayal of the serbs, and the cowardice of the pussy Hungarians.

If Byzantines weren't so stubborn and would convert to Catholicism they would've survived.
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Offline Christo

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Yeah, read how the migthy Turks with 10 times more army than the defenders, took a city that was struck by 4 plagues before falling, a couple of famines, a promise of help from the west that never arrived, the betrayal of the serbs, and the cowardice of the pussy Hungarians.

but muh shield of christianity
« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 11:52:38 PM by Christo »
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Offline Kratos

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It was 100k vs 15k yeah pretty ez but we are talking about the best guarded city in its age also the plague also hit the Turks  plus my personal opinion is moving ships from land is one of the best military moves in history i give that credit to Mehmet II otherwise it is an ez siege imo too.

I sometimes go to inner İstanbul and get amazed how Byzantines built those walls and statues like its in modern age. Çemberlitaş, Yerebatan etc.

İstanbul is a combination of both architectures and observing this is pretty amazing , you can see how Byzantines planned everything centuries ago and Turks followed the plan in their style of architecture , plus they've guarded historical buildings from Greek Era, its amazing to see that when Ottomans were hard İslamists, they actually gave credit to Christian art.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 11:29:38 PM by Kratos »

Offline Grytviken

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If Byzantines weren't so stubborn and would convert to Catholicism they would've survived.

Doubtful, there were several other major wars ongoing in the west that took precedent (Hundred Years War, Lombardy Wars, Reconquista). The last few Byzantine Emperor's made several costly diplomatic missions to try and save their lands that were highly unpopular with their own people. They pawned invaluable Orthodox artifacts in Italy for diplomatic concessions and incited and funded a civil war between the Turks that failed. This left Byzantium bankrupt and surrounded without any resources to be able to field a military, everything from weapons to food had to be imported at this time. Byzantium was viewed as a hopeless charity case at this point. The city was in a terrible state of decay and dependent upon unpaid Venetian and Genoese mercenaries. Venice was the only power capable of helping at this point but was pre-occupied with other wars and had countless rivals of their own.

Offline Grytviken

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The organization of the last Byzantine military formation suggests that the last professional Greek soldiers at Constantine XI's disposal were the Emperor's personal bodyguard (100-400 according to some accounts?), likely to be nobles and well off merchants who could afford quality weaponry and armor, and possibly the crews that manned the 5 remaining galleys, these ships were described as unarmed, weaponry was possibly taken off the ships to reinforce the defense of the walls, the crews numbered around 1000 with foreign mercenaries mixed in.

The bulk of the Byzantine forces defending the city were comprised of 5000 levies, 1500 who composed of the original city-guard before the siege. The levies were described as cowards and incapable by the mercenaries. The reality is they were probably very lightly armed, with some crossbows, mainly relying on rocks and any other object they could drop off the walls, and had no prior military experience. Small artillery was available but somewhat unreliable as the recoil was dangerous and damaging to their own walls, although some were employed with positive effect on the hills behind the Theodosian wall to the counter-fire Turkish artillery that was firing into the harbor.

11 Genoese and Venetian galleys with 1000 crewmen - Galleymen were some of the best soldiers of the era, it was a physically demanding job and the combat was grueling and dangerous,well armed and armored, these mercenaries were the professional equivalent to modern era marines, while technically mercenaries they were largely unpaid and were more politically or religiously motivated to help the Greeks because of nearby Italian holdings in Greece and Crete.   

So in all it's unlikely there were 15,000 defenders, the number is closer to 7-8000.

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Galley warfare at the Battle of Lapento

Also a project dedicated to the digital recreation of the monuments of old Constantinople - http://www.byzantium1200.com/
« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 06:00:55 AM by Grytviken »

Offline Leshma

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Same would happen to Wien if not for Jan III Sobieski. If things went other way, we would be just like those migrants you hate so much :)

Offline Knute

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For anyone interested in the history of Byzantium/The Eastern Roman Empire, I have to recommend this book:

http://www.audiobooks.com/audiobook/lost-to-the-west/121257

It covers the the entire story of the empire from beginning to end. I found it on audiobook at a library so would just listen to it while stuck in LA traffic. The voice over wasn't that great (he sounds like he's reading Bible stories to kids) but otherwise the stories about various generals and emperors were really interesting.

As far the the Byzantines converting to catholicism, I don't think that would have helped since most western kingdoms had such a negative view of them post-crusades.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 12:16:25 AM by Knute »

Offline Grytviken

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Byzantium at this point was reduced to a few isolated states in Morea and Constantinople. Morea was in a state of Civil War and was easily conquered, and the majority of Constantinople was neglected, underpopulated and in a sorry state, the state itself was bankrupt and a tributary to the Ottomans. The last major armament shipments to Constantinople were in 1422, which meant useful siege weaponry was sparse. Diplomacy was key to the survival of Constantinople in the 1400's and the usual tactics this time around infuriated the Ottomons getting this response from Çandarlı Halil Pasha.

You stupid Greeks, I have known your cunning ways for long enough. The late sultan was a lenient and conscientious friend to you. The present sultan Mehmed is not of the same mind. If Constantinople eludes his bold and impetuous grip, it will only be because God continues to overlook your devious and wicked schemes.


You are fools to think that you can frighten us with your fantasies when the ink on our recent treaty of peace is barely dry. We are not children without strength or sense. If you think that you can start something, do so. If you want to proclaim Orhan as sultan in Thrace, go ahead. If you want to bring the Hungarians across the Danube, let them come. If you want to recover places that you lost long since, try it. But know this: you will make no headway in any of these things. All that you will do is lose what little you have


After all of the infighting and civil wars between the Turks, Mehmed II was paranoid of other Turks and had his Grand Vizier executed after the siege, he replaced most Turkish commanders with Christian slaves from Serbia, Anatolia and Albania fulfilling his premeditated plan to breed a ruling class of his own from Balkan and Greek slaves, something that was contradictory and forbidden by Islam.


Also interesting is the Ottomons had mistaken Venetian troops for Greek soldiers in Thessalonica which is at least some evidence that the Byzantine Army at this time was very similar if not visually inseparable from the Italians in weaponry and armor. The only thing that gave away their identity was the Venetian Navy's Artillery bombardment of the city during the evacuation.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 09:05:54 PM by Grytviken »

Offline Grytviken

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Venetian Garrison Armor 1400's

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Venetian heavy armor suit found on the Greek Island of  Euboea that was captured by the Ottomons in 1470

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Exotic Venetian Burgonet (1480s? +)
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 09:40:37 PM by Grytviken »