Explain with supporting details of actions and thoughts why conquering Constantinople was so important to Sultan Mehmet. In what ways did he demonstration his preoccupation and dedication to the task? What did he achieve he achieve for himself or for Islam after the victory?
The magnificent city of Constantinople experienced great development due to its strategic position, which created a flourishing trade. It was with time becoming an international trade centre welcoming traders from all over the continent. The marvelous goods shipped from all over the world had introduced a peculiar flavor in the immensely upcoming attraction centre. The Ottoman foresaw this might and interrupted in order to control the trade that provided a real source of immense wealth. The city succumbed to several attacks, but it had maintained its supremacy thanks to their strong army, their massive wall, and their series of able kings. The sultans, however, challenged the city in 1453 under the leadership of Sultan Mehmed II the successor to his father Sultan Murad II. The Sultan had just a lot to prove after he had risen to power at a tender age of nineteen following the demise of his father. Sultan Mehmed attacked the city in order to own the immense wealth of literary and artistic treasures.
Secondly, the Muslims wanted to overcome Christianity, which during this period was growing rather rapidly in this city of Constantinople. The prophet of the Ottoman Turks had earlier on predicted the conquest of Constantinople. This served as the driving force for the Muslims to invade the city. During this period, the defense forces of the city of Constantinople were weak, and the western forces declined to provide the necessary security to the city as they promised to do (Aloston 76). In addition, Sultan Mehmed II was extraordinarily innovative, idealistic and a hardworking leader of the Ottoman. He was at his rise and worked efficiently to create a legacy to live long after his death. The Muslims influenced Christians to change their faith and follow Islam, this was also a prime reason for the Ottomans attacking their neighbors the Constantinople city a strong hold of Christianity. It was the keeper of the church of Orthodox with Hagia Sophia in the prosperous heart of the imperial city’s palace.
The Ottoman employed a series of strategies including the building of cannons. The Turks built exceptionally long, strong, and stable cannons that formed part of their innovative preparations to overcome their defenders. This proved successful since the long canons, the “Basilica canon” that was about 8.2 meters long and had the ability to hurl a stone weighing 272 kilograms over a mile (Nicolle, et al. 164). In fact, they had hired a Hungarian engineer who was from the city of Constantinople. The engineer had approached the city’s army to hire his technology, but they had inadequate funds to accept the deal. In preparations, the Turks also increased their army personnel. The number rose to over 80,000 that were relatively higher than the Constantinople defensive forces that guarded the city. The Ottomans deployed around 1,500 cavalries from Serbia to assist as an obligation that he had made earlier. In addition, the western forces that acted as witnesses continuously supplied unusually high numbers of armed personnel of up to about 300,000 people (Nicolle 179). Indeed this was a considerable advantage over their defenders who on the contrary were growing weaker due to the reduced numbers in their army. Sultan Mehmed then restructured his army and transported his men together with the canon and other massive artillery in strategic positions making sure they surrounded the entire wall in readiness to launch an attack on Constantinople city. The alignment would be a newly designed strategy that unlike many other methods would assist to break the city’s defense forces. Moreover, new cannon had an estimated capability to demolish the walls of the then beautiful city.
The successful conquest of Constantinople brought a veritable honor to Sultan Mehmed; he successfully fulfilled the prophecy of his predecessors that one day the illustrious and mighty city of Constantinople shall eventually succumb to the leadership of an Islamic community. It earned him a great name and might amongst his subjects and amidst other kingdom. His name has always served to the Islamic world as a symbol of success and power over other people. He also gathered great wealth for himself and the entire Ottomans who could thereafter participate as the masters of business in the formerly business worthy city. Similarly, the Muslims under their Islamic faith were able to spread their faith in their new territory and its surroundings, which also forms part of a people’s ambition in religion. The Muslims immediately embarked on erecting their structures including mosques and other religious decorations in the city to embrace their victory. Other Muslims who believed in Islamisation eagerly welcomed the move. On the other hand, it threatened and eroded Christianity in the region ultimately weakening the Christianity in parts of Europe. This followed with the re naming of the ancient city from Constantinople to Istanbul that became officially documented in the Turkish Postal law of 1930 that added in as part of the reforms.
Aloston, Gabor. Encyclopedia of the ottoman empire. Infobase Publishing, 2009.
Nicolle, David, Haldon John, and Turnbull Stephen. The fall of Constantinople: the ottoman conquest of byzantium. Osprey Publishing, 2007.
Nicolle, David. Constantinople 1453: The End of Byzantium. Osprey Publishing, 2000