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(The Death of Constantine cont'd)

Cardinal Isidore may not have cared to worry Pope Nicholas with  unsubstantiated  rumours  about  the  mutilation  of  the martyred Emperor's corpse. Aeneas Sylvius, then Bishop of Siena and later to become Pope Pius ΙΙ, was not so circumspect. He was to be a fervent champion of the Christian cause in the east when it was too late; and he was prepared to believe the worst of the infidel Turks. Ιn a letter to the pope οn 12 July, Aeneas wrote that he had it from refugees or deserters in Serbia that the Emperor Constantine Palaiologos had been decapitated and that his son had escaped and was besieged in Galata. He reported the same to Nicholas of Cusa a month later.16 His account is false in at least

one respect, for Constantine had nο son. But the fact that his informants  were  Serbian  may  mean  that  they  were  better acquainted with the Turkish version of events. For the Serbians formed the contingent of 150 cavalrymen which the Despot George Βrankοviċ had been obliged to send to Constantinople as the Sultan's vassal.17 They had fought alongside the Turkish soldiers and those that got back to Serbia will have picked up a version more Turkish than Greek. Certainly all the earliest surviving Turkish accounts of the fall of Constantinople record that the Emperor's head was severed.

One of the Serbian contingent left his οwn account. He was Constantine Mihailoviċ of Ostrovica who later converted tο Islam and may have become a janissary in the Sultan's service. His memoirs are sometimes wrongly known as the Diary of a Polish Janissary. He did not commit them to writing until forty years after the fall, when he was living in Poland, and his account has its fanciful moments. But it may well be accurate in the matter of the Emperor's death. He had it that Constantine was killed fighting at the breach in the wall. His head was hacked off by a janissary called Sarielles, who took it to his Sultan and threw it at his feet saying that it was the head of his bitterest enemy. Mehmed asked one of his prisoners, a close friend of the Emperor, whose head it was; and he confirmed that it was indeed that of the Emperor (Constantine) Dragas. The Sultan then handsomely rewarded the janissary and granted him the province of Aydin and Anatolia.18 The janissary's name may be fictitious. The amount of his reward is surely exaggerated. But the rest of the story may well be true; and it is repeated in Turkish accounts, though some of them present a different version of the spot where Constantine met his death.

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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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