- Series: Canto
- Paperback: 270 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (November 30, 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521398320
- ISBN-13: 978-0521398329
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 56 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,011,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Fall of Constantinople 1453 (Canto) Reprint Edition
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'Once again Sir Steven Runciman demonstrates his mastery of historical narrative ... an excellent tale, full of suspense and pathos ... He tells the story and, as always, tells it very elegantly.' History
'Runciman [is] eminently accessible and readable.' Evangelicals Now
While their victory ensured the Turks' survival, the conquest of Constantinople marked the end of Byzantine civilization for the Greeks, by triggering the scholarly exodus that caused an influx of Classical studies into the European Renaissance.
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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. The only disadvantage that may be age related is that it would be nice to have a few more, and perhaps better organized maps and figures that went along with the text.
I highly recommend this book, it would be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about Constantinople, Greek history, Turkish history, Islaamic history, the early Renaissance, and the intricacies of Papal, Venetian and Genoan relations. This is also a great book for anyone who is just looking for a good book.
The book is organized by describing the background and focusing on the last Emperor and Sultan Mehmet II as the key individuals in that background. It continues with a description of the weaknesses that prevented the west from providing efficacious help to Constantinople. Attention then turns to the siege and fall followed by an overview of the exodus of learned Byzantines to the west which helped to spark the renaissance.
A map of Constantinople and a pictorial depiction of the disposition of troops during the siege provides some detail for context. I would have liked more maps of the other geographical areas mentioned to provide the greater world context and that is my single critical point on this volume.
That so much information could be conveyed in so few pages with such brilliant flair is testament to his reputation. This is still the definitive work on the last years of Constantinople and the final fall of the Byzantine empire. It is a must have for ancient history libraries and a must read for historians wishing to communicate historical lessons in writing.
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The only drawback is that the historian doesn't reveal the magnitude of characters who defended the...Read more