Talks

Byzantium and the fall of Constantinople
by Professor Jonathan Harris

Date: Thursday 7 January 2021

The last days of Byzantium as its impregnable capital city was besieged by the Ottoman Sultan in May 1453.

Byzantium and the fall of Constantinople
Byzantium and the fall of Constantinople

Byzantium (or the Byzantine empire) had once been the most powerful Christian state but by 1450 it had declined to a position of terminal weakness. Most of its territories had been parceled out among its eastern and western enemies and little remained to it apart from its capital city of Constantinople. It was at this point that the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II took the decision to launch an attack on the city and to put an end to the shadow empire once and for all. This lecture sets out the background to the siege and follows the events leading to the Ottoman victory on 29 May 1453.

Jonathan Harris is Professor of the History of Byzantium at Royal Holloway, University of London. His recent publications include: The End of Byzantium (2010); Byzantium and the Crusades (2nd ed. 2014); The Lost World of Byzantium (2015), Constantinople: Capital of Byzantium (2nd ed. 2017) and An Introduction to Byzantium, 602-1453 (2020).

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