The Fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Turks in 1453

May 29, 1453– May 29, 2014

May 29 (New Style) and June 11 (Old Style) is the 557th anniversary of a day that will live in infamy....That day commemorates the Fall of Constantinople—the Queen of Cities—to the Muslim Turks.

For almost 1000 years, Old Rome fought fiercely by every means possible—even enlisting the help of Saint Peter himself—to overthrow her eastern rival, Constantinople.

All of her efforts were in vain until the fateful year of 1453.

The Fall of Constantinople seemed like a tremendous victory, but it was a Pyrrhic victory, because it led to the 3 greatest events of the last centuries of world history....These 3 great events were:

The Discovery of the New World by John Cabot.
The glorious Reformation led by Saint Martin Luther.
The rise of Orthodox Christian Russia.

Constantinople, bridging Europe and Asia, was the most important city in the world until 1453.

City of Constantinople circa 800 A.D.
New Rome circa 800 AD.

The City of Constantinople was called the Queen of Cities.

It is also built on 7 hills and was called New Rome.

Constantinople is now called Istanbul.
Constantinople is now called Istanbul.

Constantinople was greatly weakened by the 4th Crusade and the brutal Latin occupation from 1202 to 1261. Constantinople was finally conquered by the Muslim Turks in 1543 and renamed Istanbul.

Patriarch Bartholomew I is a virtual prisoner of the Turks in Istanbul

Since the conquest by the Muslims, the Orthodox Patriarchs have been virtual prisoners in their own city. The situation is even worse today with the Patriarch of Constantinople receiving death threats daily and having to live behind barbed wire and security cameras.

Patriarch Bartholomew I.
Patriarch Bartholomew I.

Old Rome's millenarian rival—the Eastern Patriarch—is a virtual prisoner of the Muslim Turks.

At the Vatican they are "praying" that he will soon leave permanently.

What more proof is needed that Islam is the military arm of the Vatican!!

Headquarters of Patriarch Bartholomew I.
Very modest headquarters of the Patriarch.

When Pope Pius IX lost the temporal power in 1870, he was allowed to continue living at the Vatican. Still, he raised hell and called himself a "prisoner of the Vatican." After 1453, the Turks turned Hagia Sophia it into a mosque, and Kemal Ataturk turned it into a museum in 1935.

Exterior view of Hagia Sophia surrounded by minarets.
Exterior view of Hagia Sophia surrounded by minarets.

Hagia Sophia (Gk. Holy Wisdom) was the headquarters of the Eastern Patriarchs for over 1000 years.

In 1453, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque, and Kemal Ataturk turned it into a museum in 1935.

Interior view of Hagia Sophia showing verses from the Koran.
Interior view of Hagia Sophia showing verses from the Koran.

Hagia Sophia was the largest basilica in the world for nearly 1000 years. Today, it is a tourist attraction and the Pope of the Orthodox Church has just a few small buildings as his headquarters!!

Constantinople gave the world a stable currency for 800 years!!

As well as preserving the manuscripts of the New Testament, Constantinople gave the world a stable currency for about 800 years (400-1200). It was called the BEZANT.

Emperor Constantine stripped the pagan temples of centuries of accumulated gold, and that gold was minted into SOLIDI or BEZANTS. The gold served a far higher purpose as circulating money than bedecking lifeless images.

The BEZANT was a stable gold currency accepted by countries from Hibernia to China:

Not only was money in abundance at Constantinople, center of a far flung political and commercial hegemony, but the bezants struck with the imperial seal became the accepted medium of exchange throughout the civilized world. Indubitable evidence of the regard for Byzantine coinage are the nomisma with names of the Byzantine emperors of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries which have been found in southern and western India, and in the Mongol hoards which were uncovered during the Indian Mutiny of 1856. The bulk of these coins, incidentally, were not carried to India by Byzantine merchants, but by Persians and Abyssinians, who evidently regarded them as more generally acceptable than the productions of their own mints.
And in Europe the bezants served in all important payments where gold passed hands. Either because of respect for the authority of the Eastern Empire, as Del Mar believes, or because of the prestige of the Byzantine gold and the profusion with which it was minted, the European princes and feudal lords never minted gold on their own account. In England, for instance, we learn from the exchequer rolls of the Middle Ages, payments in bezants were the ordinary thing where gold was used. (Groseclose, Money and Man, p. 50).

The main competition to the BEZANT was the Arabic DINAR. Dinar is translated as PENNY in the English Bible. Dinar comes from the old Roman word denarius which was current money during the time of pagan Rome.

Emperor Justinian's gold bezant or solidis.
The Arabic DINAR was the main competition for the bezant until 1202.
Arabic DINAR.

The bezant was HONEST money and accepted worldwide.

After the Fourth Crusade, Genoa, Venice and Florence began issuing their own money and the bezant began a steady decline until its demise in 1453. If not for the Discovery of the New World and the blessed Reformation, the Arabic dinar would have become the universal currency centuries ago!!

The 4th Crusade of 1202 greatly weakened New Rome!!

The Crusades were launched for 2 main reasons:

Massacre the Muslim Arabs for making peace with Constantinople.
Annex the Eastern Roman Empire to the Latin West.

After the disastrous defeat following the siege of Constantinople by Caliph Muawiyah I (674–679), the Arabs developed a healthy respect for the fighting abilities of the Eastern Romans . . . and Greek Fire.

Both religions developed a healthy respect for each other and actually lived in peace:

In the middle of the eleventh century the tranquility of the east Mediterranean world seemed assured for many years to come. Its two great powers, Byzantium and Fatimid Egypt, were on good terms with each other. Neither was aggressive; both wished to keep in check the Moslem states further to the east, where adventurers from Turkestan were stirring up trouble, which as yet did not seem serious. The Fatimids showed goodwill towards the local Christians and welcomed merchants and pilgrims from the West; and this goodwill was guaranteed by the power of Byzantium. (Runciman, The First Crusade, p. 23).

This friendship with Constantinople by the Arabs was anathema to Old Rome because the Arab conquests had been financed by Old Rome at tremendous cost and now they were on friendly terms with the very enemy they were supposed to destroy!!

We see the same situation happening today with the Pentagon Crusaders destroying Iraq because of its friendship with Russia!

Pope Innocent III (1160 -1216).
Pope Innocent III (1160–1216).
Reigned from 1198 to 1216.

Pope Innocent III launched the Fourth Crusade in 1202, which saw the conquest and occupation of Constantinople by the Latins.

The Latin empire that was established by the Crusaders fell apart in 1261.


Sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders.
Sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders.

Constantinople survived the 60 year occupation of the city but was greatly weakened as a result:

When Constantinople was captured by the Crusaders and Venetians it was adorned with the accumulated wealth of centuries and decorated with art treasures for which not only Greece but the whole Roman Empire had been ransacked. When the city was recaptured by the Greeks it was a desolation. Houses, churches, and monasteries were in ruins; whole quarters were deserted. Heaps of rubbish marked where extensive fires had consumed houses which no one cared to rebuild. The imperial palace itself was in so disorderly and filthy a condition that it was sometime before it could be occupied. In place of a large population of the most educated and highly civilised people in Europe, was a miserably small number of Greeks who had been reduced to poverty with a number of foreign and principally French colonists. While the foreign captors had plundered the city and carried off the bronze horses of Lysippus and innumerable other objects of art and value to Western Europe, they and their successors during the fifty-eight years of occupation had, in their contemptuous ignorance of the art of a conquered people, destroyed probably more than had been taken away as plunder. (Pears, The Destruction of the Greek Empire and the Story of the Capture of Constantinople by the Turks, p. 22).

The biological warfare commonly referred to as the Black Death carried away millions of the inhabitants of the Eastern Roman Empire....This was not the first such devestating pandemic to afflict the Empire. The wrongly named "Justinian's Plague" wiped out almost half of the population between 541 and 750.

Victims of the Black Death.
Victims of the Black Death.

The Black Death, that raged from 1347–1351, was a biological weapon used against the Eastern Empire.

Painful BOILS covered the entire body.

75 million men, women and children died.

A victim of the Black Death.
A victim of the Black Death.

Such massive mortality rates were not seen until the Spanish Flu of 1918.

Bubonic plague was not the "wrath of God" but an international example of what Satan did to ONE man—Job:

So Satan went out from the presence of JEHOVAH, and struck Job with painful BOILS from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head (Job 2:7).

This pestilence drastically reduced the population of the Eastern Empire. It went out of control and also ravaged Western Europe:

Lastly, the depopulation caused by the terrible diseases which visited Europe in the century preceding the Moslem conquest aided greatly in destroying the empire. The prevalence of Black Death or Plague killed in the Balkan peninsula and especially in the towns hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of the population. In 1347 this scourge, probably the most deadly form of epidemic that has ever afflicted humanity, made its appearance in Eastern Europe. The cities of the empire contained large populations crowded together, and their normal population was increased by many fugitives. These crowded cities, with their defective sanitary arrangements and poverty-stricken inhabitants, offered a favourable soil for a rich harvest of death. The disease had followed the coasts from the Black Sea, where, says Cantacuzenus, it had carried off nearly all the inhabitants. At Constantinople it raged during two years, one of its first victims being the eldest son of Cantacuzenus himself. Rich as well as poor succumbed to it. What proportion of the inhabitants of the city died it is impossible to say, but, judging by what is known of its effect elsewhere, we should probably not be wrong in suggesting that half the people perished. But its ravages were not confined to the towns, and from one end of the Balkan peninsula to the other it swept the country in repeated visitations and probably carried off nearly the same proportion of inhabitants. Cantacuzenus, in a vivid description of the disease, adds that the saddest feature about it was the feeling of hopelessness and despair which it left behind. (Pears, The Destruction of the Greek Empire and the Story of the Capture of Constantinople by the Turks, pp. 189-190).

Naturally, the Turks were not affected by it:

It may safely be assumed that the Turks, who lived in the open air, and in the country rather than in towns, suffered less than the Christians. Though they are reported to have lost severely, the process of depopulation scarcely told against them. The places of those who died were taken by the ever-crowding press of immigrants flocking westward. The successors of the Greeks who perished were not Christians but Turks. In other words, while the Christians died out of the land, there were always at hand Turkish nomads to take their place. (Pears, The Destruction of the Greek Empire and the Story of the Capture of Constantinople by the Turks, p. 191).

The rejection of the Council of Florence sealed the doom of Constantinople.

Rejection of The Council of Florence sealed the doom of Constantinople!!

The Council of Florence, which ended on July 5, 1439, was the last great desperate effort by Old Rome to end the Great Schism before the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks.

The Council began in 1431 in Basel, Switzerland, and became known as the Council of Ferrara after its transfer to Ferrara was decreed by Pope Eugene IV. The Council transferred to Florence in 1439 because of the danger of plague at Ferrara, and because the city of Florence had agreed, against future payment, to finance the Council.

Pope Eugene IV (1383-1447).
Pope Eugene IV (1383–1447).
Pope from 1431 to 1447.

The Council was the last great event before the Fall of Constantinople.

The Emperor John VIII Palaiologos actually signed the decrees but the union was rejected by Saint Mark of Ephesus and the common people of Constantinople.

Emperor John VIII Palaiologos (1392-1448).
John VIII Palaiologos (1392–1448).
Emperor from 1425 to 1448.

All the Greeks present at the Council–even the Emperor–signed the decrees of union . . . except for one man: Saint Mark of Ephesus.

For his uncompromising stand, Saint Mark died an untimely death at the young age of 52.

The voluntary union sought by Old Rome never materialized—so she unleashed her Muslim Turks against the city only 14 years later.

Constantinople finally fell to the Terrible Turks in 1453

Old Rome was finally able to eliminate her Eastern rival in 1453. After fighting heroically for 1000 years, the Empire finally came to an end.

The Turkish besiegers numbered about 150,000 troops against about 9,000 defenders. It was the Alamo of the East.

With all the Turkish superiority in numbers, the Eastern Romans put up an HEROIC defense of their beloved city which lasted about 2 months.

The newly invented gunpowder cannon were deployed against the city for the first time in history.

Massive Turkish army on the march to Constantinople.
Huge Turkish army on the march to Constantinople.
Massive gunpowder cannon were used for the first time to demolish the walls of Constantinople.
Massive Hungarian Cannon.
Massive Hungarian Cannon.

Only the Venetians and Genoese fought side by side with the defenders of the city.

The defenders were in a hopeless situation but they held out for 2 months against the Muslims.

The Hungarian Cannon, named after the Hungarian engineer Orban, who cast the gun for the Ottoman besiegers of Constantinople. Today it belongs to the British Royal Armouries collection.

Constantine XI (1449- 1453).
Constantine XI (1449–1453).
Considered the last Roman Emperor.

Emperor Constantine XI did not want to survive the fall of his beloved city and live under Sharia law where he would be forced to "pray" 5 times a day to the Black Stone at Mecca.

He died sword in hand fighting for his Faith and beloved city.

Sultan Mehmed II (1449-1481). Conqueror of Constantinople.
Sultan Mehmet II (1449–1481).
Conqueror of Constantinople.

His body was never recovered for the usual beheading and exhibiting as a trophy.

The church of St. Sophia was turned into a SLAUGHTERHOUSE!!

As the fierce battle raged for control of the city, old men, women and children sought shelter in the church of St. Sophia. That was their fatal mistake as the Muslims had no consideration for age or sex.

St. Sophia is now a mosque.
St. Sophia is now a mosque.
This church was the scene of a terrible slaughter as the Turks went berserk and massacred old men, women and children who had sought sanctuary within its walls.
Interior of St. Sophia.
Interior of St. Sophia.

Some of the prettiest young women were saved alive for a fate worse than death . . . to become concubines in the harem of the Sultan Mehmet II:

The church was still thronged. The Holy Liturgy was ended, and the service of matins was being sung. At the sound of the tumult outside the huge bronze gates of the building were closed. Inside the congregation prayed for the miracle that alone could save them. They prayed in vain. It was not long before the doors were battered down. The worshippers were trapped. A few of the ancient and infirm were killed on the spot; but most of them were tied or chained together. Veils and scarves were torn off the women to serve as ropes. Many of the lovelier maidens and youths and many of the richer-clad nobles were almost torn to death as their captors quarrelled over them. Soon a long procession of ill-assorted little groups of men and women bound tightly together was being dragged to the soldiers' bivouacs, there to be fought over once again. The priests went on chanting at the altar till they too were taken. But at the last moment, so the faithful believed, a few of them snatched up the holiest vessels and moved to the southern wall of the sanctuary. It opened for them and - closed behind them; and there they will remain until the sacred edifice becomes a church once more. (Runciman, The Fall of Constantinople 1453 , p. 147).

The name of the city was later changed to Istanbul and St. Sophia was turned into a mosque.

Jubilation at the Vatican over the downfall of their rival

Pope Nicholas V was the first Pope to make St. Peter's Basilica the official residence of the Popes. He was jubilant at the news of the Fall of Constantinople.

Pope Nicholas V (1397-1455).
Pope Nicholas V (1397–1455).
Pope from 1447 to 1455.

Pope Nicholas V was eternally grateful to the Muslims for conquering Constantinople.

This Pope issued a Bull in 1452 calling the Muslims PAGANS and giving permission to the Portuguese to enslave them.

St. Peter's Basilica circa 1453.
St. Peter's Basilica circa 1453.

Just the previous year, Pope Nicholas issued a Bull calling the Muslims pagans and giving permission to Portugal to join the Muslim African slave trade:

We grant you (kings of Portugal) by these present documents, with our Apostolic Authority, full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate the Saracens and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, counties, principalities, and other property and to reduce their persons into perpetual slavery. (Bull Dum Diversas, 1452).

This was really the beginning of the European slave trade which would later ship millions of African slaves to the New World.

The Orthodox church preserved the Greek New Testament manuscripts

With the Fall of Constantinople, Old Rome believed that all her troubles were over....In actuality . . . they were just beginning!

The Orthodox church preserved the Greek New Testament manuscripts that survived from the last great pagan persecution under Emperor Diocletian.

When Constantinople fell, many of the Greek scholars fled to Italy, bringing their priceless manuscripts with them. This was later to lead to the Renaissance and Reformation.

Venice–the adopted homeland of John Cabot–always had a very special relationship with the Eastern Roman Empire:

Northern Europe had taken an interest now, too, and its scholars had begun journeying to Italy, where many of them studied with the same Byzantine teachers as the Italians. The Dutch scholar who was the greatest of the northern humanists, Desiderius Erasmus, learned Greek in Venice with Marcus Musurus. Erasmus' English friend Thomas Linacre, a doctor and classicist who founded London's Royal College of Physicians, spent more than a decade in Italy studying Greek with Demetrius Chalcondyles and Politian, and winning his degree in medicine from the university of Padua. Linacre was Erasmus' and Sir Thomas More's doctor, and the close friend of another English humanist, John Colet, who had also studied in Italy. The German humanist Johannes Reuchlin had come to Italy in the 1480s, where he studied Greek with John Argyropoulos in Rome. (Wells, Sailing from Byzantium, p. 113).

All copies of the original Greek Septuagint and the Old Latin Version were destroyed by the Latin monks long before the Fall of Constantinople.

Desiderius Erasmus (1466 - 1536).
Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536).

Erasmus scoured Italy for copies of Greek manuscripts.

He used these ancient and manuscripts to prepare Latin and Greek editions of the News Testament.

It was a Greek edition of Erasmus that Saint Martin Luther used to produce his German translation.

Saint Martin Luther (1483–1546).

Erasmus of Rotterdam was the intellectual giant of the Renaissance in Europe. He was the most learned man of his age. Every university in Europe vied for the honor of having him as a member of their faculty. He was also the editor of the Greek New Testament that Saint Martin Luther used to launch the blessed Reformation. It was said that "Erasmus laid the egg that Luther hatched." Erasmus had nothing but contempt for the corrupt clergy. His father and mother, Gerard and Margaret Brandt, are the subjects of The Cloister and the Hearth.

William Tyndale used the same Byzantine text as Saint Martin Luther in his superb English translation of the New Testament.

Moscow is the successor of Constantinople!!

The Triune God, who sees all things in advance, had a new home for the Orthodox church in Russia.

Zoe Palaiologina (1455-1503).
Zoe Palaiologina (1455–1503).
Wife of Ivan from 1472 to 1503.

Zoe Palaiologina was the niece of Emperor Constantine XI.

In 1472, she married the Grand Duke of Moscow, Ivan III.

Due to her influence, Moscow became the 3rd Rome, and depository of the Orthodox faith.

Ivan the Great. (1440-1505).
Ivan the Great. (1440–1505).
Reigned from 1462 to 1505.

Due to her family traditions, she encouraged imperial ideas in the mind of her husband, Ivan. It was through her influence that the ceremonious etiquette of Constantinople (along with the imperial double-headed eagle and all that it implied) was adopted by the court of Moscow.

Double headed imperial eagle.
Double headed imperial eagle.
The double-headed eagle was adopted by Ivan III after his marriage with the Byzantine princess Zoe Palaiologina, whose uncle Constantine XI, was the last Byzantine Emperor.
Russian coat of arms.
Russian coat of arms.

We shouldn't fail to mention that the Julian calendar was imported to Moscow from Constantinople, as well as the Greek based Cyrillic alphabet.

The Fall of Constantinople led to the Discovery of the New World by John Cabot

John Cabot was born in Genoa just 3 years prior to the conquest of the city. He dreamed of emulating Marco Polo and traveling overlandto China.

The Fall of Constantinople severed the main overland trade link between Europe and Asia. As a result, he planned on reaching Asia by sailing westward.

John Cabot (1450-1499).
John Cabot (1450–1499).

John Cabot's overland route to China was blocked by the Turkish conquest of Constantinople.

As a result, he moved to Bristol, England, and planned on sailing westward to China.

San Marco Cathedral, Venice.
San Marco Cathedral, Venice.

He made landfall in the New World on June 24, 1494.

Old Rome is still trying to end the East-West Schism!!

Old Rome is still trying to end the East-West Schism by using Belarus as an ecumenical bridge to the Third Rome—Moscow.

Pope Benedict and Alexander Lukashenko.
On April 27, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI and Alexander Lukashenko had a meeting at the Vatican to discuss a union between the Third Rome and Old Rome!!
Alexander Jukashenko and Pope Benedict.

Belarus is only 400 kilometers from Moscow and ideally situated for a NATO Crusaders invasion of that country.

Vital links



Darwish Nonie. Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 2008.

Groseclose, Elgin, Money and Man: A Survey of Monetary Experience. University of Oklahoma Press, 1934.

Little, Lester K. Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541-750. Cambridge University Press, London & New York, 2007.

Pears, Edwin, The Destruction of the Greek Empire and the Story of the Capture of Constantinople by the Turks. Haskell House Publishers, New York, 1968.

Runciman, Sir Steven. The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge University Press. London & New York, 1965.

Runciman, Sir Steven. The First Crusade. Cambridge University Press. London & New York, 1951.

Wells, Colin, Sailing From Byzantium. How a Lost Empire Shaped the World. Delacorte Press, New York, 2006.

Warraq, Ibn. Why I Am Not a Muslim. Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York, 1995.

Copyright © 2013 by Patrick Scrivener

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