1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam by Roger Crowley

By Roger Crowley

A gripping exploration of the autumn of Constantinople and its connection to the realm we are living in today.

The fall of Constantinople in 1453 signaled a shift in heritage and the top of the Byzantium Empire. Roger Crowley's readable and finished account of the conflict among Mehmet II, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and Constantine XI, the 57th emperor of Byzantium, illuminates the interval in background that used to be a precursor to the present clash among the West and the center East.

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Throughout the long span of the late or upper Palaeolithic there is evidence of increased dryness interrupted by warm and cool Mediterranean one damper interlude climates alternated. The culture is known from recent cave excavations near the Dog River, which have yielded human skeletal remains as well as those of deer, hyenas, rhinoceros, foxes and goats, with gazelle remains assuming a dominant place. While the industry in this epoch does not radically vary from the preceding, the stone implements manifest a tendency to diminish in size, indicating that man had begun to mount his tools in wooden or bone hafts.

Their subsequent history under the kings Saul, David and Solomon, and then in the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, is well known through its biblical connections, which have also given each detail exaggerated significance and fascination, but in the history of Syria it becomes increasingly alien and peripheral. Thus for details of the complex events in Palestine, and of the subsequent vicissitudes of the Jews, the reader should refer to any of several excellent narrative treatments. Here that history can only be sketched briefly in context.

But the arts of peace benefited equally. The art of building markedly improved. Sizable structures make their appearance. Many Copper Age villages were by a rude wall, for protection against enemies. In the meantime impetus was given to agriculture and animal husbandry. The ox, sheep and goat, whose domestication began in the Neolithic, were now widely used, as evidenced by their frequent appearance on figurines. The pig was the preferred animal for sacrifice, and the dove was associated with the goddess of fertility.

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