The fall of Constantinople



by George Papasimakis

I will write about the greatest legend of modern Hellenism which is the " legend of the King that turned into stone".It is the legend of the Emperor Constantine IA' Palaiologos, last emperor of the Greek-Byzantine empire, that finished the long line of the Byzantine emperors.Constantine defended Constantinople in 1453 with 3.500 to 7.000 men against the barbaric Muslim Turkish hordes of 250.000 men, led by Sultan Mehmet II.
After many days of war the leader of the horde Sultan Mehmet II' send offers to Constantine in order to propose him to surrender him Constantinople in order to save his life and fortune.He offered him all Peloponnese peninsula as his kingdom, not to harm anybody of the Greek population of Constantinople, and they could all leave with their fortune and weapons.

Constantine, as a true descendant of King of Sparta Leonidas, answered like that:
<< To surrender you the city is not of me or any others of its citizens,
common opinion have we all to die without counting our lives.>>

After that answer, the Sultan ordered his final attack. Like demons, the Muslim hordes attacked the walls of the ancient capital of the Greek empire while the Christian warriors were fighting with great courage, trying to save the ancient city and its citizens from sure death, destruction and enslavement.

Moments were tragical, but King Constantine, seeing that the Turks started retreating, said << brothers the victory is ours, Christ fights by our side >>! He didn't finish his phrase and the General and leader of the defense after the King, Justiniani was badly hurt.He transported at his ship and he was followed by his troops.The King, even with less men continued to fight, till the last part, the part of the treason took place...

In the Jewish neighborhood of Constantinople was a little castle door named Kerkoporta".
That door was suddenly and mysteriously open! Some thousands Turks got into the city. Constantine with his exhausted remaining soldiers was surrounded.But I will let the historian George Frantzis to tell us the story, as a person that participated in this battle:
<< When the time came for the city to be Turkish and the Turks got in, went in a hurry our King to stop them.

It was a countless crowd turkey, thousands they surrounded him but he was striking and cutting by his sword. At his right was fighting Don Francisco Tolentano and like an eagle was cutting the enemy with his mouth and nails. At his left Theofilos Palaiologos was fighting like a leopard and John Dalmatis that was there fought with outrageous courage.
Three times they passed away the Turkish sea these fine men until they fall and our King left alone amongst the thousands of enemies.

From this point we have two different opinions.
1.The official history. Constantine died that day after these incidents he was killed in the Gate of St.Romanos where he fought as a simple soldier and his body identified by the red Imperial shoes with the double head eagle.
Constantine Palaeologus

2.The story of the legend. << When he fall, a Mauritian came to cut our King but God send an angel that took the Kings sword, killed the Mauritian, turned away Turks for a while and took on his golden wings our King in a cave deep inside the earth and turned him into stone.
And there awaits our King till the Angel returns and awake him and give him the same sword he had in battle. And he will hunt with his armies Turks till the "Red apple tree"
(far east).

Kωνσταντινος ΙΑ

Learn more about this author, George Papasimakis.