Romaioi and Teukroi, Hellenes and Barbaroi, Europe and Asia: Mehmed the
Conqueror—Kayser-i Rum and Sulţān al-barrayn wa-l-bahrayn
In the late summer of 1462, nine years after the conquest of
Constantinople, Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror visited “the ruins of Ilion and
the traces of ancient Troy” on his way to the island of Lesbos.
He was interested in
“the tombs of the heroes Achilles and Ajax,” as the “vir doctus et Imbriota
nobilis Hermodorus Michael Critobulus” relates in his History
which he had written before 1466. Kritoboulos continues that Mehmed praised the
heroes of Antiquity for having found the poet Homer as their panegyrist
(Kritoboulos himself obviously could not come up to these expectations).Mehmed
evidently imitated Alexander the Great, who visited the tomb of Achilles and
exclaimed: “O Achilles, as a great man you have found a great herald in
But then the
sultan’s speech changed to politics and turned out to be a statement on his
ideology and his own role in history:
God has reserved for me, through so
long a period of years, the right to avenge this city and its inhabitants.
For I have subdued their enemies and have plundered their cities and made
them the ‘spoils of the Mysians.’ 
It was the Hellenes and Macedonians and Thessalians and
Peloponnesians who ravaged this place in the past, and whose descendants
have now, after a long period of years, through my efforts paid the just
penalty for their injustice to us Asiatics at that time and so often in
This statement is interesting in many respects and raises a
variety of questions.
Let us have a look at some of them, which are related to the topic of this
Revenge and Punishment for Deeds in the Past
Why can the conquest of Byzantium and especially of
Constantinople be interpreted as a punishment? Similarily to other religions
which developed an eschatology, the Jews, Christians and Muslims believed
that misfortunes of all kinds had to be interpreted as a divine punishment
examples in Byzantine history are contemporary descriptions of the Nika
conquest of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204 
and later Byzantine failures in
political relations to the Western states.
The interpretation of the Ottoman
triumph over Byzantium in 1453 as a punishment that was sent from God is
confirmed by many sources. The general opinion of Byzantine historians and
other contemporaries was indeed that God allowed the conquest of
Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 as a punishment, although we observe a
certain variety in the sort of sins they were supposed to have
historian Doucas, for example, believed that their greatest sin was to break
their oaths in favor of the union of the churches, which they gave at the
Councils of Lyons (1274) and Florence (1438/9), 
whereas for Laonicus
Chalcocondyles it was indeed the fall of Troy to the Greeks, a pre-Christian
Hellenic outrage, which was avenged through the siege and sack of
Constantinople by the Turks.
According to Kritoboulos 
this last sack was more terrible
than those of Troy by the Greeks (1209/8 BC?
), of Babylon by the Assyrians (689
BC), of Rome by the Gauls (387 BC), of Carthage by the Romans (146 BC) and
of Jerusalem by the Romans (70 AD).Chalkokondyles’ and Kritoboulos’
interpretation is supported by Nestore Iskender, an eye-witn ess of the
conquest, who tells that Mehmed “exterminated the exterminators of
magnificent Troy.” 
From where did Mehmed take the idea of justifying or explaining his deeds
through the stories of a mythical past?We know that the sultan was
interested in history; Kritoboulos tells us a trustworthy account of
Mehmed’s visit to Athens in 1458: 
He was greatly enamored of that city and of the
wonders in it, for he had heard many fine things about the wisdom and
virtues, and of the many wonderful deeds they had done in their times
when they fought against both Greeks and barbarians. So he was eager to
see the city and learn the story of it and of all its buildings,
especially the Acropolis itself, and of the places where those heroes
had carried on the government and accomplished those things. He desired
to learn of every other locality in the region, of its present
condition, and also of the facts about the sea near by it, its harbors,
its arsenals, and, in short, everything. He saw it and was amazed, and
he praised it, and especially the Acropolis as he went up into it. From
the ruins and the remains, he reconstructed mentally the ancient
buildings, being a wise man and a Philhellene and as a great king, and
he conjectured how they must have been originally. He noted with
pleasure the respect of the inhabitants of the city for their ancestors,
and he rewarded them in many ways. They received from him whatever they
Going on a step further, however, we read what the real focus
of Mehmed’s interests was:
When he … had under his power already the
largest and best parts of both Asia and Europe, he did not believe that
these were enough for him nor was he content with what he had: instead
he immediately overran the whole world in his calculations and resolved
to rule it in emulation of the Alexanders and Pompeys and Caesars and
kings and generals of their sort … His physical power helped him well. His energies were keen for everything, and the power of his spirit gave
him ability to rule and to be kingly. To this end also his wisdom aided,
as well as his fine knowledge of all the doings of the ancients. For he
studied all the writings of the Arabs and Persians, and whatever works
of the Greeks had been translated into the language of the Arabs and
Persians—I refer particularly to the works of the Peripatetics and
Stoics. So he used the most important philosophies of the teachers of
the Arabs and Persians.
History Justifies Politics
Mehmed’s strong interest in history is confirmed by other
contemporaries, but is also uncovered as not at all merely a theorist’s or
classicist’s passion: an anonymous Ottoman chronicler, for example, reports
the sultan’s special interest in the history of Constantinople.
Venetian doctor, Jacomo Langusto, we learn that the sultan “wanted to be
informed about the situation of Italy and the places where Anchises arrived
with Aeneas and Anthenor, where the sees of the pope and the emperor were,
how many kingdoms existed in Europe, of which he possessed a painted map,
with all its kingdoms and regions.” 
Pseudo-George Sphrantzes describes
another facet: “he always liked to read about the heroic deeds and lives of
the Macedonian Alexander, Octavius Caesar, Constantine the Great, Flavius,
and Theodosius the Spanish emperor of Constantinople, and he searched for
ways to surpass them all.” 
In general one should have no illusions about the political intentions behind
Mehmed’s cultural interests 
—humanist ideas had no priority for him.Mehmed’s
preference for Alexander the Great is confirmed by the Kievan cardinal
Western sources, for example Nicolaus Secundinos, who reports that the
sultan had in his entourage an Arab with “excellent knowledge in his
language” ( doctissimum lingua arabem
and two doctors, “one of them having command of Latin, the other of Greek”
( quorum alter latine alter graece est
), who should inform him about history: “He chose to
imitate particularly Alexander the Macedonian and Gaius Caesar, whose deeds
he ordered to be translated into his language, because he took great
pleasure in reading or hearing about them.” 
A similar story may be found in
the already-mentioned Jacomo Langusto: “Every day he got a companion of
Ciriaco of Ancona and another Italian to read to him.He got them to read to
him Laertius, Herodotus, Livy, Quintus Curtius, and chronicles about the
popes, the emperors, the king of France, the Lombards.” 
Of course the sultan liked to hear flattery, such as: “The army of Alexander
the Macedonian never was as big as yours,” 
or that he was only the third
after Alexander and Pompey, but in any case the greatest to pass the Taurus
mountain range in arms as a warrior.
Of course he had read or listened
to the famous Iskendernâme
written by Ahmedî (d. Adrianople, 1413).
However, it is not astonishing that Mehmed did not like to be compared with
the megas basileus
Xerxes, as did many
Western and some Greek sources, 
because he prefered to be the victor
Let us, in parenthesis, touch upon the question of whether Mehmed knew
foreign languages, in particular Greek: Some of the above-mentioned texts
refer to translators
Kritoboulos also relates that George Amiroutzes’ (1400–1470) son translated
Ptolemy’s Geographike Hyphegesis
(a demanding, very
specialized text) into Arabic for the sultan.
Cardinal Isidore, on the other
hand, remembers that Mehmed listened every day to texts written “in Arabic,
Greek and Latin,” 
and Jacomo Langusto assures us that “he used three languages: Turkish, Greek
and Slavonian.” 
His command of Greek (and Latin) may not have been excellent, 
the information from the sources and the lack of explicitly negative
evidence, I am inclined to believe that he had at least a basic knowledge of
those languages, a hypothesis which also may be supported by the existence
of a scriptorium that produced Greek manuscripts for the Sultan’s library in
the sixties and seventies of the fifteenth century.
Hellenes and Barbaroi
To return to the initial question: where are the roots of
the construction of a “historical” and ideological justification within the
category of “punishment” or “revenge”? The earliest classical authority is,
of course, the already-mentioned Herodotus, whose history is built upon the
archaic basic conflict between Greeks and barbarians. From the very
beginning Herodotus declares the Trojan War a crucial historic event with
from this time forward they had always
considered the Hellenic race to be their enemy: for Asia and the
Barbarian races which dwell there the Persians claim as belonging to
them; but Europe and the Hellenic race they consider to be parted off
from them. The Persians for their part say that things happened thus;
and they conclude that the beginning of their quarrel with the Hellenes
was on account of the taking of Ilion.
Yet the immediate inspiration came probably not from Herodotus but
from Arrian.In July 1453, the humanist Lauro Quirini wrote that Mehmed not
only felt himself to be a new Alexander, but also that he read Arrian
“almost every day.” 
Arrian indeed expresses the aspect of revenge very clearly (and from
Mehmed’s perspective doubtless provocatively):
But he (Alexander) said
that he wished to take vengeance on the Persians, in retaliation for
their deeds in the invasion of Greece, when they razed Athens to the
ground and burnt down the temples. He also desired to punish the
Persians for all the other injuries they had done the Greeks. But
Alexander does not seem to me to have acted on this occasion with
prudence; nor do I think that this was any retributive penalty at all on
the ancient Persians.
An important point of motivation for the
rivalry between Asians and Greeks was for Mehmed the history of Aeneas, who
after his flight from Troy arrived at Latium in the end and became progenitor
of the Romans, a story that was
definitely converted into the foundation myth of the Roman Empire by Virgil
(d. 19 BC).As far as we know, it was already in the context of the Latin
conquest of Constantinople in 1204 that this myth was used as a
justification, indirectly by Nicetas Choniates accusing “those Aeneades
” of arson in revenge for Troy, 
and directly by a
French nobleman: “Troy belonged to our ancestors, and they who escaped
thence came to dwell in that place from whence we are come; and because it
belonged to our ancestors we are come hither to conquer lands!” 
Information about the histories of Aeneas and the foundation of Rome, which
gave the sultan the historical argument for planning the “reconquista” of
the Old Rome, was without doubt available also in Constantinople, since
Maximos Planoudes (d. ca. 1305) had translated Ovid’s Metamorphoses
In parenthesis I should mention
that Mehmed’s siding with the Trojans was in some way already supported by
the twelfth-century Byzantine writer Isaak Porphyrogennetos, who praises
Hector as “the best strategist and the bravest of all the Trojans and the
Skythai, Persai, Teukroi
Mehmed’s ideological construct was without doubt helped by
the Byzantine identification of the Ottoman Turks with the Teukroi
, the inhabitants of Homeric Ilion. This rested on the obvious similarity of their ethnic name to that of the
descendants of Teucer, the legendary first king of Troas.Until the halosis
the name “Teukroi” was only identified
with the people of Troy, 
but immediately after the conquest of Constantinople the
new meaning can be found not only in Western sources 
but also in the letters of the
Greek humanist Michael Apostolius 
(d. 1480).The sultan himself may have associated it
with the fate of the Teukroi
Aeneas in Planudes’ translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses
with the help of his reader of Greek texts.
This identification is all the more remarkable in light of the Byzantine
practice in past centuries of giving various Turkish tribes the names of the
(former) inhabitants of those adjacent Asian or European regions from which
they approached the frontiers of the Byzantine / Roman empire. Therefore
earlier Byzantine historians often gave the name Skythai
to those Turks who migrated along the northern Black
Sea shore and reached Byzantine territories at the lower Danube.
Later, they used
to call them Persai
, because the Selçuk
tribes were invading Byzantium from former Persian territories 
and from Iraq.
(Therefore it is
not at all a coincidence that Mehmed ordered the removal of Justinian's
equestrian statue, which had been erected in 543/544 on a column in the
Augusteum to mark the victory over the Persians, soon after the capture of
Hellenes in the Ecumene, Barbaroi in Asia (and elsewhere)
The ancient Greek historiographical ideology and mythology
claims a superiority of Hellenes over barbarians of any sort.This
fundamental design may already be found at Herodotus (who quotes Euripides:
“Rightly the Greeks reign over the barbarians” 
), and is further developed in the
writings of Aristotle, who argues that barbarians and Greeks
much from each other as the soul from the body and the human being from
the animal …, they are slaves by nature…. By nature he is a slave who
participates in reason to the extent that he receives but not owns
From Alexander the Great onwards, the Macedonians were also
integrated step by step into this “community of superiority” of the
Hellenes—as late as the end of the ninth century AD, the self-designation
“Macedonian” served as an argument of legitimation for the imperial dynasty
of Basil I (867–886), Leo VI the Wise (886–912) and their successors. The
fact that they later, at the time of Leo’s son Constantine Porphyrogenitus
(d. 959), claimed an Arsacid origin for their ancestors further expanded
their imperial legitimation, because the latter were Christian rulers of
Armenia who fought against the pagan Sasanian Empire of Persia.
speculations probably were inspired by Basil’s spiritus rector
and adviser, the Patriarch Photios.
These barbarians, the Persians in (late) antiquity and the Turks in the late
Middle Ages, had their roots outside the Roman Ecumene, in Asia, or to be
more precise, in great Asia. This “great Asia” is defined in the Geography
of Ptolemy, which was also to be found in
the library of Mehmed.
Ptolemy makes a distinction between three parts of great
Asia ( megale Asia
), the actual Asia ( ἰδίως
which is Asia Minor, and the adjacent
and remotest parts
( ἔσχατα μέρη
understood as Asian regions bordering the Roman Ecumene, which at his time
in the second century AD, clearly included parts of Asia in the east of the
subcontinent Asia Minor. Therefore Constantine Porphyrogenitus in the tenth
century also identified megale Asia
parts of Asia outside his Ecumene: India, Ethiopia and Egypt.
Barbaroi: Semantic Flexibility in Byzantium
Byzantine meaning of barbaroi
was modified or extended according to
the respective current (political) circumstances. It was a characteristic
trait of the Byzantines that they had no problem with accumulating or
combining their various identities—with being by faith
, in politics Romaioi
and by culture Hellenes
. Accordingly, we observe a flexibility in the usage
of the term barbaros
: any political
enemy, not only a pagan, but also a Christian, could turn out to be barbaros
, a single person as well as an entire
tribe or nation.
A particular case was, during the Middle Ages, the Western nations which
belonged ideologically and politically to the first Rome: at first, in the
twelfth century, mainly the Normans of Sicily were so described, but after
the Fourth Crusade and the “Latin” conquest of Constantinople in 1204, many
other nations could be portrayed as barbaroi
.Now, to quote only a few examples from the Greek
sources, the archbishop of Athens, Michael Choniates, criticizes the
“barbarically-speaking Italians, whose trust in Christ turned into a trust
in gold,” as was the case with king Midas; 
the patriarch Gregory II complains
of the “barbaric Italians” who suppress the Greeks; 
the historian George Pachymeres
compares the Italians with the Alans and emphasizes their “blood lust.” 
On the other hand,
the emperor John Cantacuzenus makes a clear distinction between barbarians
and Italians, though he also equates them indirectly by accusing them of the
A New Muslim Ecumene instead of the Old Roman Ecumene?
The political ideology of the Hellenes and the Hellenized
Roman Empire also fascinated the “others.” The decade after the battle of
Mantzikiert (1071), when the Seljuk leader Alp Arslan defeated the army of
the Byzantine emperor Romanos IV Diogenes, opening Asia Minor to Turkish
, therefore represented a more decisive
political shift than the ominous year 1204.
The fact that the first Turkish
state in Asia Minor was called Sultanat of Rûm
is not a mere
coincidence; it was a decisive step towards the fulfilment of the
totalitarian claim of Islam to rule over the Hellenized (and Christian)
Roman Empire and its symbolic and real center, the Nea Rome
, Constantinople. From a report to the Venetian
Signoria we learn that
as the Turk himself said, God enabled the first
Mohammed, the prophet, to give the law to the peoples, which he did in
part, but that God had now given the order to him, the second Mohammed,
to extend his law, which he wants to be brought to all the Christians
and that he believes to be much mightier than Caesar, Alexander or any
other ruler, who ever strived for world domination.
Going far beyond the idea of Asiatic revenge against the Greeks,
which was without doubt a useful means of propaganda, it was the Hellenic
Roman-Christian Ecumene which the sultan wanted to overcome and to replace
with an Islamic Ecumene (certainly centered upon his person, to be sure).
Therefore he consistently pursued the idea of conquering not only the
“daughter,” the second Rome, as prophesied by the Prophet Muhammad, 
but also the
“mother,” Rome itself:
To this he directed all thoughts, all
considerations, upon this he concentrated all his efforts in the navy
and in the infantry, trusting in certain vaticinations and prophecies,
which promised him a reign over Italy and the capture of the city of
Rome. He said that the heavens had granted him the see of Constantine,
and this was Rome, whereas Constantinople could not be seen as equal and
identical—as he had taken the daughter by force, so he could also take
Mehmed’s field-marshals (not he himself!) spoke about “Holy
strived after for himself was to conquer all lands adjacent to the
Mediterranean, including Europe, 
and to dominate the ancient Ecumene in imitation of the
Byzantine emperor Justinian: “He said that only one world power, one faith,
one monarchy should exist,” 
and between 1453 and his early death in 1481 
believed that he would succeed. Even his last enterprise (1480) indicated
that, in his attempt to found his worldwide empire, he intended to invade
Italy (including the “mother” Rome). It is not surprising that George of
Trebizond was not sucessful, when he invited Mehmed to follow the example of
Constantine the Great: to convert to the Christian faith and thus to attain
world rule as a Roman emperor.
The sultan’s universal aspirations were continued by the
rulers of the Sublime Porte through the reign of another admirer of
Alexander the Great, Suleiman the Magnificent (1520–1566), the “Commander of
the Faithful and Successor of the Prophet of the Lord of the Universe” and
worthy rival of the emperor Charles V (1520–1556, d. 1558).
Perhaps also in an eschatological sense, Mehmed attached importance to being
addressed by the title “Kayser-i Rum” (“Caesar of the Romans”) by Christian
(European) rulers, 
though as a Muslim he had assumed the title of “Hakan [or] Sulţān al-barrayn
wa-l-bahrayn” (“Lord / Sultan of the two continents and the two seas,” i.e.,
the Asian and the European parts of the empire, and the White / Aegean and
the Black Sea).
Combining these titles, Kritoboulos adresses him in the dedicatory letter of
his history as “Supreme Emperor, King of Kings, Mehmet the Fortunate, the
Victor, the Winner of Trophies, the Triumphant, the Invincible, Lord of Land
and Sea by the Will of God,” thus imitating the intitulations of the late
antique Roman emperors.
Mehmed planned to convert the Nea Rome
Constantinople into an ecumenic Muslim metropolis: a contemporary Armenian
tradition claims that he adapted the name εἰς τὴν
into Islambol (‘lots of Islam’) or Islambul (‘find
may be legendary, but there is no doubt about his intense efforts to
repopulate the imperial city 
and to redevelop it into his magnificent ecumenic
least two symbolic actions should be mentioned here: immediately after the
conquest (May 29th, 1453), Mehmed converted the church of Hagia Sophia into
the Great Mosque, 
and in 1458 he built the first genuine Ottoman sanctuary in Constantinople,
a memorial for Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, the prophet Mohammed’s companion,
outside the city walls at a high place that dominated Constantinople, not
far from the location where Mehmed’s teacher Akşemseddin had found Abu
Ayyub’s remains during the siege.
A Last Question…
Why did Kritoboulos and other Byzantine Greeks, but also
Western writers 
the fifteenth century (readily) support Mehmed’s aspirations to overcome the
narrow tribal myths of the Ottoman Turks and to refer to—in fact
inacceptable for Christians—Muslim prophecies? Why did they indirectly
encourage the view that Mehmed’s victories gained an ecumenic historic
dimension, which enforced the expansion of the Turkish identity to that of
the transnational and ecumenic identity of Muslim heroes?
Why did the
Byzantine Greeks and their European contemporaries depict Mehmed as an
overwhelming and ingenious character and personality? This willingness to
accept and explain Mehmed’s success may have emanated from a negative
self-awareness, namely that the Western nations and their leaders knew that
they had failed for a long time to organize an ecumenic, transnational and
Christian defensive action against the Ottoman-Muslim conquest. Their
behavior may have been an attempt to suppress the image of their own
political and military failure. Likewise, the classical and multilingual
education which they attributed to the sultan may have served the same
purpose, because this could additionally demonstrate his supposed cultural
Demetrius Cydones had foreseen this situation as early as 1364, when he
addressed an urgent and impressive warning to the leaders of the European
nations not to abandon their joint efforts and the political unity of the
If [the Phrankoi] continue to help against the infidels
only with words, not with deeds, the big city will be conquered … then
they will be forced to fight against the barbarians in Italy and along
the Rhine … and the nations around the Black Sea and the Bosporus and in
Asia [Minor] will not accept that others in the West enjoy a comfortable
life, whereas the East suffers subjugation, but they will support the
barbarians against those who did not want to prevent the disaster though
they could have done so … Therefore it is better to wage war on the
Turks for the Polis “with us” than to fight in the future, much more
endangered, against all.
To return to the beginning: Some historians
may highlight the resemblance of Mehmed the Conqueror’s statements to
election manifestos and electoral addresses of present-day populist
politicians; others could emphasize a conscious myth-making, initiated first
of all by himself, but also by some members of his entourage. I think that
both are part of the truth and that two aspects prevailed in his character:
First, Mehmed was in his twenty-second year when he conquered
Constantinople, and he was some ten years older when myth-making began. Therefore it is not astonishing that as a personality Alexander the Great,
world conqueror, was his shining example and at the
same time a challenge which he wanted to surpass in ruling over the pagan
and Christian ecumene. Second, his name was also for him both obligation and
challenge: although not personally religious, he nevertheless wanted to be a
religious leader for the Muslims, a second Mohammed who brought the final
victory of the true faith for the Ecumene.
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Ciriaco de’ Pizzicolli, who met Kritoboulos at Imbros in September 1444,
describes him with these words, as cited in Setton 1978:87–88n22.
Ciriaco may address Kritoboulos as Hermodorus in allusion to Hermodoros
of Ephesos, who explained the Greek laws to the decemvirs in Rome and
“thus assisted them in drawing up the laws of the Twelve Tables,” as in
Smith 1870, s.v. “Hermodorus (of Ephesus).” See also the Suda , s.v.: Λόγοισιν
Ἑρμόδωρος ἐμπορεύεται· ὁ Ἑρμόδωρος, ἀκροατὴς γενόμενος Πλάτωνι, τοὺς
ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ συντεθειμένους λόγους κομίζων εἰς Σικελίαν
“ ὦ Ἀχιλλεῦ· ὡς [οὐ] μέγας ὢν μεγάλου κήρυκος
ἔτυχες Ὁμήρου!” Sternbach 1963:35 (no. 78). Mehmed
probably visited the so-called Achilleion (Beşiktepe) on the
northwestern coast of the Troas.
“spoils of the Mysians” ( Μυσῶν λείαν ):
a proverbial saying known since Demosthenes ( De
corona 72.2), often quoted in Byzantium and explained, for
example, by Photius ( Lexicon , s.v.): Μυσῶν λείαν· παροιμία τίς ἔστι, λαβοῦσα τὴν ἀρχὴν ἀπὸ
τῶν καταδραμόντων ἀστυγειτόνων τὲ καὶ ληστῶν τὴν Μυσίαν κατὰ τὴν
Τηλέφου τοῦ βασιλέως ἀποδημίαν.
Σημείωσαι ὡς ἱστόρησε τοὺς τάφους τῶν ἡρώων ὁ
βασιλεὺς πορευόμενος διὰ τῆς Τροίας καὶ ὅπως ἐπῄνεσε καὶ ἐμακάρισεν
αὐτούς·…καὶ ἀφικόμενος ἐς τὸ Ἴλιον κατεθεᾶτο τά τε ἐρείπια τούτου
καὶ τὰ ἴχνη τῆς παλαιᾶς πόλεως Τροίας καὶ τὸ μέγεθος καὶ τὴν θέσιν
καὶ τὴν ἄλλην τῆς χώρας ἐπιτηδειότητα καὶ ὡς ἔκειτο γῆς καὶ θαλάσσης
ἐν ἐπικαίρῳ, προσέτι δὲ καὶ τῶν ἡρώων τοὺς τάφους ἱστόρει, Ἀχιλλέως
τέ φημι καὶ Αἴαντος καὶ τῶν ἄλλων, καὶ ἐπῄνεσε καὶ ἐμακάρισε τούτους
τῆς τε μνήμης καὶ τῶν ἔργων καὶ ὅτι ἔτυχον ἐπαινέτου Ὁμήρου τοῦ
ποιητοῦ· ὅτε λέγεται καὶ μικρὸν συγκινήσας τὴν κεφαλὴν εἰπεῖν· ἐμὲ
τῆς πόλεως ταύτης καὶ τῶν αὐτῆς οἰκητόρων ἐν τοσούτοις περιόδοις
ἐτῶν ἐκδικητὴν ἐταμιεύετο ὁ θεός· ἐχειρωσάμην γὰρ τοὺς τούτων
ἐχθροὺς καὶ τὰς πόλεις αὐτῶν ἐπόρθησα καὶ Μυσῶν λείαν τὰ τούτων
πεποίημαι. Ἕλληνες γὰρ ἦσαν καὶ Μακεδόνες καὶ Θετταλοὶ καὶ
Πελοποννήσιοι οἱ ταύτην πάλαι πορθήσαντες, ὧν οἱ ἀπόγονοι τοσούτοις
ἐς ὕστερον περιόδοις ἐνιαυτῶν νῦν ἐμοὶ τὴν δίκην ἀπέτισαν διά τε τὴν
τότε ἐς τοὺς Ἀσιανοὺς ἡμᾶς καὶ πολλάκις γενομένην ἐς ὕστερον ὕβριν
αὐτῶν , in Reinsch 1983, 4.11.5; English translation from
Riggs 1954:181–182, with minor changes. In fact, Mehmed possessed a
manuscript of the Iliad , see Raby 1983,
particularly the checklist on p. 29. Tursun Beg (İnalcık and Murphey
1978:49–50) does not mention Mehmed’s visit to Troy.
See Babinger 1959:224-225 and Schmitz 1970. I would not doubt that
Mehmed really visited the extensive and “most beautiful” ruins which at
his time were identified with Troy and Ilion. The places where the
Byzantines believed that Ilion and Troy were located (not Karatepe in
Cilicia, as Schrott 2008 proposes) are under discussion. One possibility
is ancient Sigeion near the mouth of the Skamandros river, another the
ruins of Alexandreia Troas, which is mentioned as Troada in a portolan (Delatte 1947:243, l.
2). See the lemmata in Belke forthcoming. Some thirty years later,
Bernardo Michelozzi and Bonsignore Bonsignori describe the sito
bellissimo as follows (Borsook 1973:193; the description
of Troy begins on p. 192):
For the late Byzantine period see Zgoll 2005:202–204. A central text is
Ps.-Methodius of Patara, see Lolos 1976, Lolos 1978, Reinink 1993,
Suermann 1985, and Möhring, H. 2000.
Romanos Melodos, hymn 54; see Catafygiotou Topping 1978, Barkhuizen
1990, Barkhuizen 1995, and Meier 2003, particularly 631–634.
Bibliography in: Laiou 2005b, Madden 2008, Piatti 2008. See also
Isnenghi 2006 and Koder 2005.
One example: in the autumn of 1376 Demetrius Cydones mentions in a
letter to John Lascaris Calopherus that no help is to be expected from
the Roman Church and Western Christendom, because “as it seems, a demon
or rather our own sins act against it” ( δαίμονός
τινος, ὣς ἔοικεν, ἢ μᾶλλον τῶν ἡμετέρων ἁμαρτημάτων,
ἀντιπραττόντων ), Loenertz 1960, ep. 167, l. 43–44.
See Papadopoulou 2009, Reinsch 2009.
Οἱ τοσοῦτοι ὅρκοι ἕνεκα τῆς συστάσεως καὶ
ὁμονοίας τῶν χριστιανῶν, ἤγουν τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν, ἡ ἐν τῷ Λουγδούνῳ
γενομένη σύνοδος ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τοῦ πρώτου Παλαιολόγου, ἡ ἐν
Φλωρεντίᾳ γενομένη σύνοδος ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τοῦ ὑστάτου τῶν βασιλέων
Παλαιολόγων, καὶ νῦν ἐν τῇ θείᾳ καὶ ἱερᾷ μυσταγωγίᾳ αὕτῃ οἱ
γενόμενοι σὺν ἀφορισμοῖς ἀλύτοις ἐπ᾽ ὀνόματι τῆς Ἁγίας Τριάδος
μέλλωσιν ἐξᾶραι τὸ μνημόσυνον αὐτῶν ἐκ γῆς καὶ σὺν αὐτοῖς τὸ τῆς
Πόλεως , Grecu 1958a, 36.6.8–14.
Περὶ μὲν τοὺς τοῦ Βυζαντίου Ἕλληνας τοσαῦτα
ἐγένετο· δοκεῖ δὲ ἡ ξυμφορὰ αὕτη μεγίστη τῶν κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην
γενομένων ὑπερβαλέσθαι τῷ πάθει, καὶ τῇ τῶν Ἰλίου παραπλησίαν
γεγονέναι, δίκην γενέσθαι τοῦ Ἰλίου ὑπὸ τῶν βαρβάρων τοῖς Ἕλλησι
< πασσυδὶ > ἀπολουμένοις, καὶ οὕτω τοὺς Ῥωμαίους οἴεσθαι
ξυμβῆναι, τὴν τίσιν ἀφῖχθαι τοῖς Ἕλλησι τῆς πάλαι ποτὲ γενομένης
Ἰλίου ξυμφορᾶς , Darkó 1922:166–167.
Reinsch 1983, 1.68.4–8; see Rhoby 2003:153–157.
Following Jacoby 1904:146–149 ad
Chronicum Parium 38–39.
“… distrusse i distruttori di Troia magnifica ,”
quoted in Pertusi 1976, 1:296.
Κατεῖχε γὰρ αὐτὸν ἔρως σφοδρὸς τῆς τε πόλεως
ταύτης καὶ τῶν ἐν αὐτῇ θεαμάτων, ὅτι ἤκουσε πολλὰ καὶ καλὰ περί τε
τῆς σοφίας καὶ φρονήσεως τῶν ἐνταῦθα προγεγονότων ἀνδρῶν καὶ τῆς
ἄλλης ἀνδρείας καὶ ἀρετῆς καὶ τῶν πολλῶν καὶ θαυμαστῶν ἔργων, ὧν ἐν
τοῖς κατ’ αὐτοὺς καιροῖς ἐπεδείξαντο καὶ πρὸς Ἕλληνας καὶ πρὸς
βαρβάρους ἀγωνιζόμενοι· καὶ ἐπεθύμει ἰδεῖν τε καὶ ἱστορῆσαι τήν τε
πόλιν καὶ τὰς ἄλλας ταύτης οἰκοδομὰς καὶ δὴ καὶ τὴν ἀκρόπολιν αὐτὴν
τούς τε τόπους, ἐν οἷς οἱ ἄνδρες ἐκεῖνοι ἐπολιτεύοντο καὶ ταῦτα
ἔπραττον, καὶ τὴν ἄλλην πᾶσαν θέσιν τῆς χώρας τε καὶ κατάστασιν τῆς
τε κατ’ αὐτὴν θαλάσσης καὶ τῶν λι μένων καὶ νεωρίων, καὶ περὶ πάντων
ἁπλῶς. καὶ εἶδε καὶ ἐθαύμασε καὶ ἐπῄνεσε καὶ μάλιστά γε δὴ τὴν
ἀκρόπολιν ἀναβὰς ἐς αὐτὴν ἀπό τε τῶν ἐρειπίων καὶ τῶν λειψάνων ὡς
σοφός τε καὶ φιλέλλην καὶ μέγας βασιλεὺς τὰ ἀρχαῖα καὶ ἄρτια
στοχαζόμενός τε καὶ τεκμαιρόμενος. τοὺς δέ γε οἰκήτορας ταύτης αἰδοῖ
τῶν προγόνων φιλανθρώπως τε εἶδε καὶ ἐδωρήσατο πολυτρόπως, καὶ
πάντων ὧν ᾔτησαν ἔτυχον παρ’ αὐτοῦ. τέσσαρας δὲ ἡμέρας αὐτοῦ
διαγαγὼν…, Reinsch 1983, 3.9.5–7; English translation
Riggs 1954:136–137. We cannot discuss here antiquam Atheniensis gloriam civitatis during the Middle
Ages, but see Hunger 1990. Additional information may be found in:
Fenster 1968:77 and 161–162, Rhoby 2003:89–90, Koder 1977, Koder 2000,
and Scholz 1997:231–235.
Laonicus Chalkokondyles 3.211 (see Darkó 1922) also relates that Mehmed
admired the Acropolis; Tursun Beg (see İnalcık and Murphey 1978:43) does
not mention Mehmed’s visit to Athens.
καὶ τί γὰρ ἢ τὰ πλεῖστα καὶ κράτιστα τῆς Ἀσίας
τε καὶ Εὐρώπης ἔχων ὑφ’ ἑαυτὸν οὐκ ἀποχρῆν ἐνόμισεν αὐτῷ ταῦτα οὐδὲ
τοῖς παροῦσιν ἠγάπησεν, ἀλλ’ εὐθὺς πᾶσαν ἐπέτρεχε τὴν οἰκουμένην τῷ
λογισμῷ καὶ τὴν ταύτης ἀρχὴν εἶχεν ἐν νῷ καὶ πρὸς Ἀλεξάνδρους ἑώρα
καὶ Πομπηίους καὶ Καίσαρας καὶ τοὺς κατ’ ἐκείνους βασιλεῖς τε καὶ
στρατηγούς.… εἶχε μὲν γὰρ καὶ τὴν φύσιν συνεργοῦσαν καλῶς τό τε
δραστήριον αὐτῆς καὶ ὀξὺ περὶ πάντα καὶ τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ἄγαν ἀρχικὸν
καὶ βασιλικόν, μάλιστα δὲ πρὸς τοῦτο ἐνῆγον αὐτὸν ἥ τε σοφία καὶ τὸ
πάντα τὰ τῶν παλαιῶν εἰδέναι καλῶς· ἤσκητο γὰρ ἐς ἄκρον πᾶσαν τὴν
Ἀρράβων καὶ Περσῶν καὶ ὅση τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἐς τὴν Ἀρράβων τε καὶ Περσῶν
γλῶσσαν μεθερμηνεύθη, λέγω δὴ τῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ Περιπάτου καὶ τῆς Στοᾶς,
παιδευταῖς χρησάμενος Ἀρράβων τε καὶ Περσῶν τοῖς σπουδαιοτάτοις τε
καὶ σοφοῖς τὰ τοιαῦτα , Reinsch 1983, 1.5.1–2; English
translation Riggs 1954:13–14.
Giese 1922:74, Giese 1925:99–100, quoted after Thorau 2007:157.
se informa del sito de Itallia, et de i luoghi doue capitono
Anchise cum Enea et Anthenor, doue e la sede dil papa, del
Imperator, quanti regni sono in Europa, la quale ha depenta cum li
reami et provincie , Bodnar 1960:66.
Ἀναγινώσκειν ἀεὶ ἠγάπα τά τε κατορθώματα καὶ
βίους τοῦ Ἀλεξάνδρου τοῦ Μακεδόνος καὶ τοῦ Ὀκταβίου Καίσαρος,
Κωνσταντίνου τοῦ Μεγάλου τοῦ καὶ Φλαβίου καὶ Θεοδοσίου τοῦ ἐξ
Ἱσπανίας βασιλέως Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, αἰτῶν καὶ ἐρευνῶν μηχανάς, ἵνα
τοὺς πάντας ὑπερβῇ , Grecu 1966:232.
Setton 1978:142n12 (with bibliography) offers an excellent short
evaluation; his skepticism towards the positive image expressed by
Jacobs 1949 is fully justified.
See the detailed research at Philippides 2007a:356–366.
Alexandrum Macedonem et C. Caesarem praecipue
sibi imitandos delegit, quorum res gestas in linguam suam traduci
effecit, in quibus legendis vel audiendis mirum delectatur in
modum , Nicola Sagundino oratio 25.1.1454, as given in
Pertusi 1976, 2:130/2.
ogni di se fa lezer historie romane, et de altri da uno
compagno d. o
Chiriaco dAncona, et da uno altro Italo, da questi se fa lezer
Laertio, Herodoto, Livio, Quinto Curtio, Cronice de i papi, de
imperatori, de re die Franza, de Longobardi , Bodnar
Ὁ στρατὸς τοῦ Μακεδόνος Ἀλεξάνδρου οὐχ ὑπῆρχε
ποτὲ τοσοῦτος, ὡς τὸν σόν, οὐδὲ τοσαύτας παρασκευὰς ἐκεῖνος
εἶχε , Ps.-Sphrantzes in Grecu 1966:410.
Reinsch 1983, 4.4.3–5.
For these Western comparisons see Philippides 2007a:366–375. Mehmed is
not the first Ottoman ruler who remembered the history of war between
the Greeks and Asians; Bayezid I is already said to have alluded to
Xerxes, Alexander the Great and Darius III in a speech before the battle
of Ankara (1402): βασιλεὺς δὲ Παιαζήτης λέγεται
εἰπεῖν τάδε. «Τὸ πλῆθος ἔοικεν, ὦ ἄνδρες, ᾗ ἐγὼ τεκμαίρομαι, ὑμᾶς
δεδίττεσθαι. ἀλλ’ ἐκεῖνο δὴ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἴστε, ὡς πλήθους οὐδὲν ὑγιές
ἐστιν, ὅπου ἂν ἀρετὴ παραγένηται. ἴστε δὴ καὶ Ξέρξην τὸν Δαρείου,
βασιλέα Περσῶν, πλήθη ὁπόσα ἀγόμενος καὶ ἐς τὴν Εὐρώπην διαβὰς παρὰ
βραχὺ ἐπῄει ἀποθανούμενος, εἰ μὴ Μαρδόνιος ὑποστὰς ἐπήμυνεν αὐτῷ τὸν
ὄλεθρον ἐπανιόντι ἐς Σοῦσα. καὶ Ἀλέξανδρον ἴστε, ὡς Δαρείῳ
μαχεσάμενος τήν τε βασιλείαν ἀφείλετο καὶ αὐτὸν ἀπέκτεινε ,
Grecu 1958b, 1:139, 143–144.
Kritoboulos in Reinsch 1983, 5.10.5–8.
… arabice, graece et latine , quoted
from Philippides 2007a:358n37.
… usa tre lengue turcho, greco, et schiavo , Bodnar
1960:66. The explanation for schiavo may have been
not only that in the first half of the fifteenth century and during the
reign of Mehmed, persons of Serbian origin were present at the Ottoman
court, but also that he was on good terms with his stepmother Mara,
daughter of Đurađ Branković, who could already have had contact with him
before the death of Murad II in 1451. See Popović 2010:73–76.
See Patrinelis 1972.
See Raby 1983, who describes 15 still-existing manuscripts dated between
ca. 1463 and ca. 1474.
Τὴν γὰρ Ἀσίην καὶ τὰ ἐνοικέοντα ἔθνεα βάρβαρα
οἰκηιοῦνται οἱ Πέρσαι, τὴν δὲ Εὐρώπην καὶ τὸ Ἑλληνικὸν ἥγηνται
κεχωρίσθαι. 5. Οὕτω μὲν Πέρσαι λέγουσι γενέσθαι, καὶ διὰ τὴν Ἰλίου
ἅλωσιν εὑρίσκουσι σφίσι ἐοῦσαν τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς ἔχθρης τῆς ἐς τοὺς
Ἕλληνας , Herodotus 1.4–5; English translation by
Quam ob rem sese principem orbis terrarum
gentiumque omnium id est alterum Alexandrum et esse et dici vult.
Unde et Arianum, qui res gestas Alexandri diligentissime scripsit
quotidie ferme legere consuevit , quoted at Philippides
2007a:359n40. Arrian’s Anabasis is still
preserved in the Saray library in Istanbul, see Raby 1983:29 (“Checklist
of Manuscripts”) and passim. For Lauro Quirini ( quotidie ferme ) see Pertusi 1977.
ὁ δὲ [sc. Ἀλέξανδρος ] τιμωρήσασθαι ἐθέλειν
Πέρσας ἔφασκεν ἀνθ’ ὧν ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα ἐλάσαντες τάς τε Ἀθήνας
κατέσκαψαν καὶ τὰ ἱερὰ ἐνέπρησαν, καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα κακὰ τοὺς Ἕλληνας
εἰργάσαντο, ὑπὲρ τούτων δίκας λαβεῖν. ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ σὺν νῷ
δρᾶσαι τοῦτό γε Ἀλέξανδρος οὐδὲ εἶναί τις αὕτη Περσῶν τῶν πάλαι
τιμωρία , Arrian, Anabasis 3.18.12, English translation
from Alexander the Great source archive,
… εἶπον δ’ ἂν ὡς καὶ ἀντίποινα τοῦ τὴν Τροίαν
ᾐθαλῶσθαι πυρὶ ταῖς σαῖς σχετλίως φρυκτευθέντι φιλότησιν οἱ
Αἰνειάδαι οὗτοι πυρί σε κατέκριναν , van Dieten
Troies fu a nos anchiseurs, et chil qui en escaperent si s'en
vinrent manoir la dont nous sommes venu, et pour che que fu a nos
anchiseurs, sommes nous chi venus conquerre tere , said the
knight Pierre de Bracheur, when he was asked for the reasons for
conquering Byzantium, see Lauer 1924:106; English translation from Stone
1939. Carolina Cupane, Vienna, kindly drew my attention to this source.
Schmitt 1968:138–140. Half a century later, the historian Nicephorus
Gregoras mentions in a letter to Maximos, abbot of Chortaitou in
Thessalonica, that Aeneas came from Troy and took possesion of Italy and
Rome, τὸ μέγα τῆς οἰκουμένης ὄνομα ,
Leone 1983, letter 21, l. 66–71.
Ἕκτωρ, ὁ τοῦ Πριάμου καὶ τῆς Ἑκάβης υἱός, ὁ
πάντων οἶμαι τῶν Τρώων καὶ τῶν Ἑλλήνων στρατηγικώτερός τε καὶ
ἀνδρειότερος , Hinck 1873:87, l. 10–11. Cf. Hinck
1873:74–75, Porphyrogennetos’ critical words about Neoptolemos, the
μιαιφόνος ‘murderer’ of Priam, who
destroyed Troy. Mehmed probably did not know the work of Isaak
See e.g. Schmidt 1861, s.v.: Τεῦκροι· οἱ Τρῶες, and ὄνομα τοῦτο ἐπιχώριον τοῖς Τρωσί, Τεῦκροι γὰρ οἱ
Τρῶες , van der Valk 1976:581, l.15–16.
Enea Silvio (=Pius II, pope 1458–1464) provides us with an early
document: “ Video complures aetatis nostrae non
auctores aut poetas duntaxat, verum etiam historicos eo errore
teneri, ut Teucrorum nomine Turcas appellent ,” Pius II
Noiret 1889, letters 16, 57, 63, 64, 73, 90, 105, 125.
Ἐντεῦθεν, ἀναμνησθέντες οὗτοι τοὺς Τεύκρους ἐξ
αἵματος τοῦ Τεύκρου τὴν ῥίζαν κατάγοντας, τῇ Κρήτῃ
προσέσχον , Papathomopoulos and Tsavare 2002, 13.958.
One example: Σκύθαις … τουτέστιν Ἀβάροις καὶ
Τούρκοις , Ps.-Maurikios Strategikon 11.2 Pinax.
Examples: Moravcsik 1967, 38.62: κατασκηνῶσαν τὸ
προρρηθὲν ἔθνος τῶν Τούρκων πρὸς ἀνατολὴν εἰς τὰ τῆς Περσίδος μέρη
μέχρι τοῦ νῦν ; Perez Martin 2002, 105.10–11: οἱ Πέρσαι (Τούρκους δὲ τούτους νυνὶ ὁ λόγος οἶδε
καλεῖν) ; Heisenberg 1907:21, ὁ τὰ
μεγάλα κατὰ τὴν Ἀσίαν ἰσχύων Πέρσης τὴν σήμερον . The
emperor Manuel II’s “Dialogue with a Persian” may be a special case,
because it is possible that Manuel’s Muslim opponent was indeed of
Persian origin; see Trapp 1966.
For other names see Durak 2009.
The Turks believed that this statue (which was clothed like Achilles:
τούτῳ δὴ τῷ ἵππῳ χαλκῆ ἐπιβέβηκε τοῦ
βασιλέως εἰκὼν κολοσσῷ ἐμφερής. ἔσταλται δὲ Ἀχιλλεὺς ἡ
εἰκών , Procopius, De Aedificiis
1.2.7) represented Constantine the Great. For discussion of Justinian’s
column see Raby 1987, Effenberger 2008, Meier 2003:599–607; Stichel
1988. For equestrian statues in Constantinople see Stichel 1982, with
Iphigenia at Aulis 1400: βαρβάρων δ’ Ἕλληνας ἄρχειν εἰκός . See
ὅσοι μὲν οὖν τοσοῦτον διεστᾶσιν ὅσον ψυχὴ
σώματος καὶ ἄνθρωπος θηρίου …, οὗτοι μέν εἰσι φύσει δοῦλοι, … ἔστι
γὰρ φύσει δοῦλος ὁ δυνάμενος ἄλλου εἶναι (διὸ καὶ ἄλλου ἐστίν), καὶ
ὁ κοινωνῶν λόγου τοσοῦτον ὅσον αἰσθάνεσθαι ἀλλὰ μὴ ἔχειν ,
Ross’ 1957 edition of Aristotle Politics 1254b.
Cf. Politics 1285a, διὰ
γὰρ τὸ δουλικώτεροι εἶναι τὰ ἤθη φύσει οἱ μὲν βάρβαροι τῶν Ἑλλήνων,
οἱ δὲ περὶ τὴν Ἀσίαν τῶν περὶ τὴν Εὐρώπην, ὑπομένουσι τὴν δεσποτικὴν
ἀρχὴν οὐδὲν δυσχεραίνοντες , and 1252b: φασιν οἱ ποιηταὶ “βαρβάρων δ’ Ἕλληνας ἄρχειν εἰκός”,
ὡς ταὐτὸ φύσει βάρβαρον καὶ δοῦλον ὄν . For the theoretical
background see e.g. Koselleck 1979:218–220.
αὐτοκράτωρ Βασίλειος ὡρμᾶτο μὲν ἐκ τῆς Μακεδόνων
γῆς, τὸ δὲ γένος εἷλκεν ἐξ Ἀρμενίων ἔθνους Ἀρσακίων ,
Vita Basilii = Theophanes
continuatus 5.2 (212 Bonn), see Koder 1997, and Toumanoff
Cf. the excerpt from Arrian’s Parthika , Photius
Bibliotheca Cod. 58 (esp. 17a) and Cod. 241
(324b): Βασιλεὺς μὲν δὴ Ἀρμενίας τότε ἦν
For the tradition of Ptolemy see Stückelberger, Graßhoff et al. 2006,
1:27–30 and passim. The Codices Seraglienses 27 and 57 are not in the
checklist of Raby 1983:29.
Τῆς ἰδίως καλουμένης Ἀσίας θέσις ,
Stückelberger, Graßhoff et al. 2006, 2:484.
Ἔκθεσις τῶν ἐφεξῆς μερῶν τῆς Μεγάλης
Ἀσίας , Stückelberger, Graßhoff et al. 2006, 2:594.
Ἔκθεσις τῶν ἐσχάτων μερῶν τῆς Μεγάλης
Ἀσίας , Stückelberger, Graßhoff et al. 2006, 2:684.
… τὴν μεγάλην Ἀσίαν, ἐν ᾗ κατοικοῦσιν Ἰνδοὶ καὶ
Αἰθίοπες καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι , Constantine Porphyrogenitus De thematibus Asia 1 (Pertusi 1952:60). We do not
know if the emperor took this information, at least indirectly, from
Ptolemy, because he did not mention him in his work. Strabo does not
know the term. Perhaps he borrowed it from John Lydus, De ostentis 55.21, 57.25–26?
καὶ βάλλ’ οὕτως, φίλη μοι κεφαλή, βαρβαροφώνους
δὲ Ἰταλοὺς ἔα φθινύθειν, τὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ λατρείαν εἰς χρυσολατρείαν
μεταθεμένους καὶ παρασυμβληθέντας τοῖς χρυσωρυχοῦσι μύρμηξιν ὡς εἴθε
καὶ Μίδου τοῦ Φρυγὸς τὰ κατ’ εὐχὴν ἀποτελέσματα τοὺς ἀσεβεῖς
καταλάβοιεν , Kolovou 2001, 148.30–34. See also Kolovou
2001, 93.15–16. ( Ἰταλοὺς, ὑπὲρ τὰς μυθικὰς
Ἁρπυίας τὴν τῶν ἀνθρώπων τροφὴν ἁρπάζοντας ), and 146.22
( βαρβάροις Ἰταλοῖς ).
βαρβάροις ἔλαχεν ἰταλοῖς τὸ ἐκεῖσε δουλεύειν
ἑλληνικόν , Lameere 1937:177.
ἀνθρώποις βαρβάροις καὶ αἱμοχάροις ἐξ ἀδικίας; Ἰταλοὶ δὲ καὶ αὖθις ἐν
ὑπερημερίαις διέτριβον τὸν καιρόν, πολλὰ ἀτάσθαλα (120) καὶ ἀθέμια
πράττοντες, καὶ πρὸς Ἀλανοὺς εἰς διενέξεις ἀκαίρους ἐχώρουν, Failler
2002, 11.21.120; see also 11.31.5.
Καὶ γὰρ οὐ βάρβαροι μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ
Ἰταλοὶ …, John Kantakuzenos, Histories 1.196.
For 1204 see Laiou 2005a. For the importance of 1071 see Koder 1992. See
also the prophecy mentioned by Yerasimos 1990:133.
è Maumetto, che esso Turcho dice che Dio dando el primo
Maumetto propheta per dare la legge a popoli et che la de’ a una
parte, ma che Dio à hora mandato lui secondo Maumetto per ampliare
la sua legge, ala quale intende fare venire tutti i christiani. Et
molto più potente essere li pare che Cesare, Alexandro o alcuno
altro principe mai, quale abbia haspirato al dominio del
mondo , Leonardo Benvolienti, report to the Signoria dated
November 22nd, 1453 (Pertusi 1976, 2:109).
Sultan Mehmed’s teacher Akşemseddin (died 1460) encouraged him to
conquer Constantinople, quoting a hadith of the prophet Mohammed, who
according to Ahmed ibn Hanbal (eighth to ninth century) had prophesied:
“Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will
he be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!” (Hakim, 4.422; also
Bukhari, Tarikh as-Saghrir , 139, and Ibn
Hanbal, 4.335). Another hadith saying that the conqueror of
Constantinople would have the prophet’s name probably did not survive,
but is only mentioned in the Kitāb al-uyūn . See
Canard 1926:84 and 107, Eisener 1987:129n481–482.
Ad haec omnes cogitationes, cuncta consilia
dirigit, ad haec apparatus omnes copiasque maritimas et pedestres
componit struitque, innixus vaticiniis et praedicationibus quibusdam
quae sibi regnum Italiae et urbis Romae expugnationem promittunt;
ait sibi concedi coelitus Constantini sedem, hanc vero Romam esse,
non Constantinopolim videri aequum valdeque congruere, quasi filiam
vi ceperit, hanc etiam matrem capere posse , Nicola
Sagundino, oratio 25.1.1454 (Pertusi 1976, 2:132).
İnalcık and Murphey 1978:43 and 55–56. Tursun Beg also gives him the
title “Padishah of the World”; see İnalcık and Murphey 1978, facsimile
For his “Weltherrschaftsanspruch” see Thorau 2007:154–157 and Thorau
uno dice dover esser lo imperio del mundo, una
fide, una monarchia , Jacopo de’ Languschi in the chronicle
of Zorzo Dolfin, as cited in Setton 1978:257–258n23.
For the short Ottoman occupation 1480–1481 of Otranto, see Majoros and
See Mercati 1943 and the bibliography at Möhring 200:344n237.
So an anonymous “Pamphlet contre Mahomet”: καὶ
αὐτὸ τὸ ὄνομα τὸ στέργει νὰ λέν· τῶν Ῥωμαίων βασιλέα ,
Delatte 1927:353, l. 20–21. Cf. Podskalsky 1972:61–63. Tursun Beg
(İnalcık and Murphey 1978:33) relates that Mehmed did not accept that
the last Byzantine Emperor bore the title of Kayser-i
Encyclopédie de l’Islam , nouvelle édition, s.v.
Αὐτοκράτορι μεγίστῳ, βασιλεῖ βασιλέων Μεχεμέτει,
εὐτυχεῖ, νικητῇ, τροπαιούχῳ, θριαμβευτῇ, ἀηττήτῳ, κυρίῳ γῆς καὶ
θαλάσσης θεοῦ θελήματι . For the intitulations (Latin
equivalents: felix , victor , triumphator , invictus ) see Rösch 1978:43–47 and 168–171.
İnalcık 1978:224, 234. See also Georgacas 1947:366–367.
See İnalcık 1969–1970:229–249.
Contemporary reports by Michael Kritoboulos (Reinsch 1983, 2.1–2, 10, 22
and 3.11–13), Ducas (Grecu 1958a, 42.3), and Aşıkpaşazade (Giese
1929:132–133). See Encyclopédie de l’Islam ,
nouvelle édition, s.v. “Istanbul” (particularly 234–242), Thorau
2007:152–154, and Bakırer 2009 with bibliography.
Necipoğlu 1992. For the history of the mosque in Constantinople during
the Byzantine period see Tabar 1991, with bibliography.
The legend is reported by Evliyâ Celebi, here quoted after Kreiser
See Medvedev 1999, Philippides 2007b, Schreiner 2009, Korać and Radić
It is not coincidental that the conscripts of the Turkish army are still
today nicknamed “Mehmetçik.”
Loenertz 1956, ep. 93, l. 85–99: ἴσθι δὲ ὡς εἰ
μηδὲ νῦν εἰς ἔργον ἄξουσι τὰς κατὰ τῶν ἀσεβῶν ἀπειλὰς, ἀλλ᾿ ἐν τῷ
ψηφίζεσθαι καὶ παρασκευάζεσθαι καὶ τοῦτο παρέλθοι τὸ ἔτος, ἁλώσεται
μὲν ἡ μεγάλη Πόλις—τοῦτο γὰρ μόνον οὐχὶ φωνὴν αφιέντα διδάσκει τὰ
πράγματα—κρατηθείσης δὲ ταύτης περὶ τὴν Ἰταλίαν καὶ τὸν Ῥῆνον
ἀναγκασθήσονται πολεμεῖν τοῖς βαρβάροις. οὐκ ἐκεῖνοις δὲ μόνον, ἀλλὰ
καὶ πᾶσιν ὅσοι τὴν Μαιῶτιν καὶ τὴν Βόσπορον καὶ τὴν Ἀσίαν ὅλην
οἰκοῦσιν. τῆς γὰρ βασιλεὶας ἁλούσης πάντες οὗτοι δουλεύσουσι τοὶς
κρατήσουσι, καὶ οὐκ ἀγαπήσουσιν εἰ τῆς Ἀνατολῆς δουλευούσης ἄλλοι
τρυφῷεν ἐπὶ τῆς Ἑσπέρας καθήμενοι, ἀλλ᾿ ἀμυνοῦνται μετὰ τῶν βαρβάρων
τοὺς ἐξὸν τὰ δεινὰ κωλύειν μὴ βουληθέντας, καὶ πάντα ποιήσουσι ὥστε
μετ᾿ αὐτῶν κἀκείνους δουλεύειν.… βέλτιον οὖν μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν ὑπὲρ τῆς
Πόλεως πολεμῆσαι τοῖς Τούρκοις ἢ πρὸς πάντας ἐφεξῆς ἀγωνίζεσθαι,
μᾶλλον δὲ κινδυνεύειν . See the commentary of Eszer
1969:207–212. The realism of this opinion is supported by the
information of Tursun Beg (İnalcık and Murphey 1978:66) that after
Sultan Bayezid’s conquest of Akkerman and Kilia in 1484 “Poland, Bohemia
and Hungary were all fearful of the Ottoman advance and became concerned
for the security of their countries.”