- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 41 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audio Connoisseur
- Audible.com Release Date: January 16, 2009
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001Q58IA2
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Fall of Constantinople Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
We read about the desperate attempts by the last Byzantine Emperors to look for help from an increasingly indifferent West. We note the internal strife between the Chrisitian kingdoms of the Balkans, both Latin and Orthodox, that created disunity and allowed the Ottoman sultans to conquer territories one by one until Constantinople was completely surrounded and isolated. We also hear of the sad accounts of the conditions within this once great City that was hailed as the Eye of all the World. By the time of the City's capture, it was a hollow shell of its former glory.
It is the last chapter in the thousand year history of Byzantium, and all its characters appear to face a noble and heroic end defending their capital. Yet, the Ottomans, Runciman says, brought a new breath of vitality to Constantinople and its conquered territories. The City was rebuilt, and the Greeks survived as best they could, up until the early 20th century. Runciman also suggests the Ottoman Turks were the better conquererors than the Latins might have been since the Greeks and Slavs were allowed to keep their Orthodox faith and culture, something that might have been forcibly lost under the Papal West.
With superb writing, excellent narration, and great historical analysis, Runciman has written a fantastic book, and one that has been the standard for decades now. Highly recommended
Runciman shows that the fall of Constantinople to the Turks on May 29, 1453 (550 years ago today!) was both inevitable and of mostly marginal historical significance (except, of course, to the people of the city itself). It had always seemed to me an event of epochal importance -- history's pages finally slamming shut on the Roman Empire. But in literally his first sentence, Sir Steven disabuses us of this notion, or that the fall marked the close of the Middle Ages. Indeed, "only the Papacy and a few scholars and romanticists had been genuinely shocked at the thought of the great historic Christian city passing into the hands of the infidel" (p. 179). For the most part, it was part of the rising tide of Turkish conquest, alarming in a general way, but not immediately catastrophic to the dying empire's fickle co-religionists in the West.
Runciman's narrative is engrossing, full of political tension, military conflict, and the religious disputes that always colored Byzantine history. His characterizations are insightful, his descriptions colorful, his writing elegiac -- at times even poetic -- well-sourced (both Christian and Muslim authorities are consulted), and frequently entertaining, even when discussing a sad and even horrific topic. His larger works may not be to everyone's taste (for topic more than style), but a short work like this one, on an interesting and oft-neglected theme, is a worthwhile read for any student of history. Highly recommended.
If you enjoyed any of Norwich's books on the rise and fall of Byzantium, then this book serves as an excellent conclusion. The author, Mr. Runciman, does a fantastic job of detailing the story, placing it in its appropriate historical time frame and setting the record straight on many elements. One of his central tenemants is the arbitrary nature of defining Constantinople's fall as the 'end' of the Dark Ages, and he does a convincing job of making his point that many of the effects often ascribed to the fall had long been in process. First published in 1965, this is by no means the latest re-telling of this event, but its ability to stand the test of time certainly reinforces that it is one of, if not outright, the best.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's a great story and this book tells it well, with particularly good attention on the background. The events are told thoroughly but without losing the narrative thread of a... Read morePublished 12 months ago by William H. Coffin
I am a History nut focusing on military histories. My personal Library has dozens of books on all periods and subjects. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Gerald Farber
Post-modernist historians will tell you that there are no such things as historical turning points but (as in so many other things) they are mistaken, and one of history's great... Read morePublished on January 4, 2014 by Jonathan Baum
This is a terrific read, well written and absorbing, of an event that resonated through the European iimagination. Read morePublished on December 10, 2013 by Anne Mills
Runciman who wrote the most complete history of the Crusades, turns to a related subject the final fall of Constntinople in the 1453. Read morePublished on February 25, 2013 by LRE
This is one of the best short histories available on this topic, and is suitable for "armchair" study of the battle, as well as a brief guide that you would use (as I have)... Read morePublished on November 22, 2012 by Clifford D. Emerson
Written in a very simple way so that it's fun to read and most of all to be understood given the load of info it's dealing with. Read morePublished on July 5, 2012 by Elizabeth
The Fall of Constantinople 1453
Runicman is the great historian raconteur. Read more