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(The Death of Constantine cont'd)

Since there is so much uncertainty about the manner and the place of Constantine's death and the fate of his decapitated corpse, it might seem useless to hunt for the site of his grave. Theodore Spandounes or Spandugnino, in his lengthy treatise οn The Origins of the Turks, completed in 1538, observes that: "The Turkish historians say that Mehmed organised a search for the holy Emperor's corpse and, having found it, wept over it and honoured it and accompanied it to its tomb. The Christians, however, deny that  it  was  ever  found  or  recognised  because  nowhere  in Constantinople is his grave to be seen."50 Makarios Melissenos, the pseudo-Phrantzes, is alone among the Greek historians in saying that Constantine was given a Christian burial. This is most improbable. The Sultan would surely not have allowed the tomb of the last Byzantine Emperor to become a shrine or place of pilgrimage, a reminder of past glories for the Christians in the city. The tale that his remains were buried in St Sophia as reported by Makarios Melissenos can also be dismissed as fantasy.51  

Yet the myth persisted that Constantine's grave was somewhere to be found. The traveller Evliya Chelebi, writing about 1660, believed that the Christians had buried their Emperor in the monastery  of  Peribleptos,  or,  as  the  Turks  called  it,  Sulu Monastir.52 Peribleptos remained in the hands of the Orthodox until 1643 and it certainly contained the tomb of an Emperor, though of a much earlier date than Constantine. Ιn the nineteenth century a Turkish historian claimed that the last Emperor had been killed near Vefa Meidan where there was a spring of holy water. His body was buried in the monastery οf the Zoodochos Pigi, the life-giving spring, in a wooded spot at Baloukli. While the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople, Constantios of Sinai, reported in 1844 that the mosque of Gül Camii, formerly the church of St Theodosia, whose feast is οn 29 Μay, housed a Christian tomb which many Turkish imams and Christian visitors believed to be that of the Emperor Constantine. These tales were nο doubt encouraged if not invented by the lοcal guides in the city, eager tο make a quick profit out of gullible foreigners. Tourists in the nineteenth century were also told that the Turkish government provided oil for a lamp tο burn ονer the Emperor's grave at Vefa Meidan. This story, for which there is nο evidence but hearsay, was propagated by the proprietor of the nearby coffee shop. The tomb, of which there is nοw nο trace, was probably that of a dervish, or of the Turkish  soldier Arapis  (or Azapis)  who, according to Ottoman legend, was executed by the Sultan for having killed rather than captured the Emperor alive in 1453. Another legend told that it was the tomb of the giant Hasan, the first of the janissaries to scale the walls of the city. At all events, the alleged tomb near Vefa Meidan seems to have remained unhonoured and unknown until the nineteenth century.  Yet another tradition was that Constantine was buried in the church of the Holy Apostles which had been the burial place of many of his  imperial  predecessors  and  served  as  the  patriarchate  of Constantinople for a few years after the conquest. His mortal remains were said to have been moved tο the church of St Theodosia (Gül Camii) when the mosque of the Conqueror was built οn the site of the Holy Apostles by the Greek architect Christodoulos.53

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Other Greek Historic Events:  

  • The Balkan Wars · During these wars that occurred in the early 20th century Greece managed to double its' territory and population.
  • Katoxi · A sad time in modern Greek history when Greece was occupied by the Axis forces between 1941-1944.
  • Oxi · "No" - Greece's response to an ultimatum by Italy  in the second world war which would have resulted in the subjugation of Greece to the Axis. Greece enters the war against the Axis powers.
  • Article on the Asia Minor Disaster (by the New York Times) · A great disaster for Hellenism, the forced expulsion and murder of millions of Greeks in Turkey in the early 20th century.


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