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Forum Lockedstory writing -The fall of Constantinople 1453

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eaglecap View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16-Jul-2008 at 22:20
Well I just seem to stuck in this period (1453) - time warp or I need more meds-

I would really like to write a fictional account of this tragic event and for now I am researching and brain storming.
How should I write the story-
fiction with both made up and real characters - no
Write it in the form of a memoir- no

An epic tale - yes!!

books for my research:
Aristotle Poetics
Seven famous Greek plays - only portions
The Aeneid of Vrigil- portions
The Iliad on CD - will pick it up soon at the public library
Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek myths
A CD Set with lectures concerning the great epic poems of history; including Dante's Inferno.

Byzantine primary sources:
Decline of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks by Michael Doukas
Portions by Nico Barbaro and George Sprantzes- printed from internet.

Secondary sources- some of which I have read several times:

Immortal Emperor by Donald Nicol
Constantine Palaeologus 1448-1453 by Mijatovic
The Fall of Constantinople by Nicolle, Haldon and Turnbull
Osprey books; Byzantine Armies and Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300- 1774.

Does anyone know of any Turkish primary sources in English?


I am doing this research to get closer to the mind of a Byantine from that period and try to purge out the American influences for this story. I want to think like them which means a greater understanding of the classics and the Bible from an Orthodox mindset. At least part of my upbringing was Greek Orthodox.

Any suggestions from: Byzantine experts, fellow Greeks or anyone with roots from that region; Slavs, Turks etc.

This is only a very crude, crude draft and it is already subject to change or rearrangement but for now it is on hold while I continue my research. This could take a couple of years to write- ouch!!

An Epic Tale; the Fall of Constantinople (even this is subject to change)

Prologue: Byzantium O’ Byzantium!“How lonely is the city that was full of people. How like a widow is she. Who was great among the nations?   The Princess among Provinces has become a Slave!”
                         Lamentations 1: 1

(oh, by the way I repeated this very quote when I stood upon the walls of old Constantinople- I was alone)       

The battle raged within the gates, on the high towers; the trenches swam deep in blood.1 A reflection captured, for a moment in time, in a teardrop, of black smoke rising towards the heavens stretching over city like the dark hand of death above the empty blood drenched streets of Constantinople. Forced to flee from their ancient capital the Romans fled like the innocent house of Priam, and the proud city built by Neptune, smoke from the ruined ground, the cities inhabitants were driven in different ways1. fleeing from the Turkish hoard. The teardrop, in slow motion, gently struck the salty waters of the Marmara Sea causing tiny ripples to form in the still water; moving towards the four corners of the Earth; like the refugees of this defeated citidal. Fleeing in boats the city soon became a distant sight to those exiles lucky enough to escape, but memories of their Roman city still burned deep within their bosoms. Etched into their psyche the final days of the Turkish siege against the Byzantine’s ancient capital will linger on for eternity within the souls of those who call themselves Romans. In those last hours of the siege the last Emperor Constantine Palailogos held his swords high in defiance of the Turks; who were swarming through the breaches in the cities broken walls.
Feeling abandoned and isolated Constantine XI uttered his final words, “Is there no Christian who will take my head?” Shortly afterwards, like brave Achilles, who died by the thrust of Paris’s poison tipped arrow; Emperor Constantine was cut down by the edge of a Turkish sword. A Turk struck him in the face and wounded him but in turn, like a lion, Constantine struck back. Another mortal blow brought him down bringing a dramatic end to the life of the last Byzantine Emperor.” Her adversaries have become the master, Her enemies prosper…Her children have gone into captivity before the enemy.” (Lamentations 1:5)

I have to rethink his but I don't want to totally demonize the Turks either and in some ways I admire Mehmet, although, I will write in the way history had handed it down.
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jul-2008 at 09:14
Starting to read "Constantine Palaeologos 1448-1453" by Chedomil Mijatovich to help prepare me for this story.

Byzantine Emp any suggestions???
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jul-2008 at 18:09
Sir Steven Runciman is a specialist on Byzantium and his book "the fall of Constantinople" is an absolute must:
 
Works:
 
The Emperor Romanus Lecapenus and His Reign (1929)
  • The First Bulgarian Empire (1930)
  • Byzantine Civilization (1933)
  • The Medieval Manichee : A Study of the Christian Dualist Heresy (1947)
  • A History of the Crusades: Volume 1, The First Crusade and the Foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem (Cambridge University Press 1951) (Folio Society edition 1994)
  • A History of the Crusades: Volume 2, The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East (Cambridge University Press 1952) (Folio Society edition 1994)
  • A History of the Crusades: Volume 3, The Kingdom of Acre and the Later Crusades (Cambridge University Press 1954) (Folio Society edition 1994)
  • The Eastern Schism: A Study of the Papacy and the Eastern Churches in XIth and XIIth Centuries (1953)
  • The Sicilian Vespers: A History of the Mediterranean World in the Later Thirteenth Century (1958)
  • The White Rajahs (1960)
  • The Fall of Constantinople 1453 (1965)
  • The Great Church in Captivity (1968)
  • The Last Byzantine Renaissance (1970)
  • The Orthodox Churches and the Secular State (1972)
  • Byzantine Style and Civilization (1975)
  • The Byzantine Theocracy (1977)
  • Mistra (1980)
  • Patriarch Jeremias II and the Patriarchate of Moscow (1985)
  • A Traveller's Alphabet.Partial Memoirs. (1991)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Efraz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jul-2008 at 19:30
The true epic of the "Fall of Constantinople" would be the 4th Crusade if I were to write such a fiction.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jul-2008 at 20:13
Originally posted by Efraz Efraz wrote:

The true epic of the "Fall of Constantinople" would be the 4th Crusade if I were to write such a fiction.



That is true and if it were not nor 1204 there might not have been a 1453 but the same could be said about 1171- Manzikert. Things happen a reason in history and history does repeat itself. The USA will face the same fate someday like all nations and empires. Although comparing 1453 to 1204 I think the former would make for a better epic struggle. A few against a vast army with the latest siege weapons. It is sort of like the battle between the Spartans and the Persians at the hot gates.

I appreciate the advice but for Greek, like myself, it is sort of a Custer's last stand so to speak. It is amazing the defenders held out so long although surrender would have been smarter.
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jul-2008 at 20:17
Originally posted by Yiannis Yiannis wrote:

Sir Steven Runciman is a specialist on Byzantium and his book "the fall of Constantinople" is an absolute must:
 

Works:

 

The Emperor [COLOR=#0000ff">Romanus Lecapenus[/COLOR"> and His Reign (1929)




Thank you Yiannis - I will check and see if the university has some of these. I want to find a Turkish primary source in English though.
We have three campuses who could have them; Gonzaga U, EWU or WSU so I will see. We have seven colleges in Spokane both state and private.
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Efraz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jul-2008 at 20:20
Originally posted by eaglecap eaglecap wrote:


I appreciate the advice but for Greek, like myself, it is sort of a Custer's last stand so to speak. It is amazing the defenders held out so long although surrender would have been smarter.


:)) A greek or not I am an Istanbulite. I don't like the pages in history that my city was violated. By Turks or by Italians or English.

But I would like to read the story after you finish. But my advice was there in order to avoid cliche still write a Constantinople dark epic. I am sure every Greek has read that story as an epic many times.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jul-2008 at 21:29
Originally posted by Efraz Efraz wrote:


Originally posted by eaglecap eaglecap wrote:

I appreciate the advice but for Greek, like myself, it is sort of a Custer's last stand so to speak. It is amazing the defenders held out so long although surrender would have been smarter.
:)) A greek or not I am an Istanbulite. I don't like the pages in history that my city was violated. By Turks or by Italians or English.But I would like to read the story after you finish. But my advice was there in order to avoid cliche still write a Constantinople dark epic. I am sure every Greek has read that story as an epic many times.


Efraz do you know of a Turkish primary source so I can see their perspective as well? I have been to your city and I love it and I have friends there but I cannot change history or make it PC although I will not demonize the Turks either. My late Papoo was born there so in many ways that city is part of my history. I respect your advice and I will consider it so thank you much- I dream of the day when I return to Turkey- maybe in a year or two

Edited by eaglecap - 19-Jul-2008 at 22:06
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Efraz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jul-2008 at 11:44
Sure my friend,

If you come one day let me know ;)

Well there are a number of sources but I don't know if they have English translations.

The most interesting one is "Fetihname-i Sultan Mehmed" by Kivami

The work is not only a historic document also a literary heritage, an epic story of Sultan Mehmed's campaigns to west.

It could be a source of quotes for a modern day fiction.

Another more known one is "Tarih-i Ebu'l Feth" by Tursun Bey

Both authors lived in 15th century. I am sure there are French and German translations. But don't know about English.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jul-2008 at 00:37
Thank you for the sources - I will check them out and hopefully I can find one in English. Even Greek primary sources are hard to find because Spokane, Washington is an isolated city; despite having seven college campuses here. I still want to learn Turkish so I plan to pick up the Rosetta stone language set for that and modern Greek. I use to be able to speak some Spanish but I have forgotten due to non-use. This whole project will not be overnight and it will be my first attempt at fiction. I have worked as a reporter and I have had articles published as a free lance writer. As a reporter I covered mostly local government for a small town, in the middle of nowhere, in the state of Montana. It is about the size of Turkey but with under 900,000 people living in it but the winters can be fiercely cold.
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Aug-2008 at 03:56
Well, I am slowly working on it and so far almost two pages with sources from: The Fall of The Byzantine Empire by G. Sprantzes, Doukas, the Aenid of Virgil, Old Testement and Nicolo Barbaro.
I was listening to the Odessey and now I am listening to Don Quixote on CD to get some ideas- great author.
"The right of a valor" great phrase fron Don Quixote
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maharbbal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Aug-2008 at 14:48
I'm saying this like that but 1204 has the advantage of having quite a lot of primary sources published in English. Besides, it also has one of the greastest characters one can dream of in an epic: the Venetian doge Dandolo, who led the attack while nearly 100 years old and blind. Would be great to "see" the invasion through the eyes of a blind man.

Regarding 1453, would be great to avoid the "conflict of civilization" kind of theory. I mean, there has been enough mercenaries and traitors on both sides not to fall in such a simplistic vision.

Great idea though can't wait to read it


Edited by Maharbbal - 31-Aug-2008 at 14:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Sep-2008 at 21:57
Originally posted by Maharbbal Maharbbal wrote:


I'm saying this like that but 1204 has the advantage of having quite a lot of primary sources published in English. Besides, it also has one of the greastest characters one can dream of in an epic: the Venetian doge Dandolo, who led the attack while nearly 100 years old and blind. Would be great to "see" the invasion through the eyes of a blind man.Regarding 1453, would be great to avoid the "conflict of civilization" kind of theory. I mean, there has been enough mercenaries and traitors on both sides not to fall in such a simplistic vision. Great idea though can't wait to read it


These are some good ideas and 1204 could be for the future but I am stuck on 1453; maybe I was there in a past life---


Clash of cultures- It will be fiction so I really do not see this as a problem but there were elements of conflict between Christianity and Islam. I will not make this a focal point but focus instead on certain key characters such as Constantine XI, Mehmet the great, etc
I really appreciate the wise advise!!

I am really taking my time in writing it and probably will not have a completed draft for a year of two. I take it serious and I am even using works from Virgil and famous Greek plays- mainly for quotes.
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maharbbal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2008 at 04:30
have you tasted the Captain Allatriste serie? Great books, very simple writing (although too many quotes and too many "lets give you the bigger picture" tendencies).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2008 at 23:33
Originally posted by Maharbbal Maharbbal wrote:

have you tasted the Captain Allatriste serie? Great books, very simple writing (although too many quotes and too many "lets give you the bigger picture" tendencies).



No but thanks- I will check it out at Barnes and Noble, Hastings or Borders; wherever my Toyota takes me.

This whole project with be revised many times to add both accuracy and fiction; a fine balance.
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2008 at 21:23
I found a Turkish historian, from the 15th c. AD, named Tursan Beg. He wrote about the fall of Constantinple-1453 and I have tried to find anything he has written. I have tried to find it on interet but does anyone know of a English translation for his writings. He wrote from the perspective of the Turks so it would give my story some balance without being PC.
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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I'll do some research and get back to you if I get some info. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2008 at 21:39
Originally posted by eaglecap eaglecap wrote:

I found a Turkish historian, from the 15th c. AD, named Tursan Beg. He wrote about the fall of Constantinple-1453 and I have tried to find anything he has written. I have tried to find it on interet but does anyone know of a English translation for his writings. He wrote from the perspective of the Turks so it would give my story some balance without being PC.
 
You are in luck, there is an English translation of Tursun Bey's account:
 
Tursun Beg. The History of Mehmed the Conqueror. Translated by Halil İnalcık, and Rhoads Murphey. Minneapolis, MN: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1978.
 
It looks like the University of Washington library has two holdings of it.  You could probably interlibrary loan it from them.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2008 at 01:59
Wow and many thanks- I will see if I can find it at Gonzaga University but if not I will do an inter-library.
Well then, brothers and fellow citizens and soldiers, remember this in order that your memorial, your fame and freedom will be eternal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Count Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2008 at 03:16
How are you going to write the story? in first, second or third person will it be from the point of view a person in the city, or form that of a turk? and the first part sounded like it was about the refugees who fled to italy, and you might want to check out some byzantine army stuff I like the idea of an epic will it have both ficitonal and historical characters? you also need to be very realistic about the people be balanced show both the good and the bad.


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