Friday, May 29, 2020

On This Day: Fall of Constantinople 29 May 1453

From the all-knowing one (Wikipedia):  
...Plundering phase
Mehmed II granted his soldiers three days to plunder the city, as he had promised them and in accordance with the custom of the time.[18]:145[51] Soldiers fought over the possession of some of the spoils of war.[52]:283 The women of Constantinople also suffered from rape at the hands of Ottoman forces.[53] According to the Venetian surgeon Nicolò Barbaro, "all through the day the Turks made a great slaughter of Christians through the city". According to Philip Mansel, widespread persecution of the city's civilian inhabitants took place, resulting in thousands of murders and rapes and 30,000 civilians being enslaved or forcibly deported.[2]

The looting was extremely thorough in certain parts of the city. Four days later on 2 June, the Sultan would find the city largely deserted and half in ruins; churches had been desecrated and stripped, houses were no longer habitable and stores and shops were emptied. He is famously reported to have been moved to tears by this, speaking "What a city we have given over to plunder and destruction."[18]:152

On the third day of the conquest, Mehmed II ordered all looting to stop and issued a proclamation that all Christians who had avoided capture or who had been ransomed could return to their homes without further molestation, although many had no homes to return to, and many more had been taken captive and not ransomed.[18]:150–51 Byzantine historian George Sphrantzes, an eyewitness to the fall of Constantinople, described the Sultan's actions:[54][55]
On the third day after the fall of our city, the Sultan celebrated his victory with a great, joyful triumph. He issued a proclamation: the citizens of all ages who had managed to escape detection were to leave their hiding places throughout the city and come out into the open, as they were to remain free and no question would be asked. He further declared the restoration of houses and property to those who had abandoned our city before the siege. If they returned home, they would be treated according to their rank and religion, as if nothing had changed.
— George Sphrantzes
That rather dry narrative leads up to one of the more consequential changes in the last 2000 years.
With the land route from Europe to India and Asia in Mehmed II's control the Europeans had to find another way to trade with and later, plunder, the Lands to the East.
All of which resulted in me typing this paragraph.

If interested the religious historian Roger Pearse has scanned and PDF'd the last six pages of Rene Guerdan’s Byzantium which adds some detail.