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Constantine XI Palaeologus Dragas

( Byzantine Emperor)

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Biography Constantine XI Palaeologus Dragas
Constantine XI Palaeologus Dragas - Byzantine emperor, who ruled in 1449-1453 he. The son of Manuel II. Genus. 8 Feb.. 1405 g. + 29 May 1453


Before his accession to the throne of Constantine earned him the respect of Romans as a brave despot Moray. He did not shine education, preferring books, military exercises, was quick-tempered, but have common sense and nothing to convince listeners. He also had inherent qualities such as honesty and nobility of soul. When John died VIII, Constantine was in Mistra. His younger brother Dmitri first arrived in Constantinople in the hope that he will get the throne, but no one supported. Constantine himself was proclaimed emperor in early January in Mistra. In March, he arrived in the capital and took power. The following years, the emperor was engaged in the same than three of his predecessor: the city prepared for defense in case of siege, sought help from the Turks in the west and tried to reconcile the religious turmoil caused by the union with the Catholics. In all this he has succeeded only partially, but more in his position could hardly expect (Dashkov: 'Constantine Dragas').

. Sultan Mehmed, vowing to take Constantinople, also carefully prepared for a siege, knowing that he will have to deal with first-class fortress, from which have often retreated with losses army conquerors
. He paid special attention artillery. In autumn 1452, Mr.. Turks invaded the Peloponnese, and began military actions against the despots, the brothers of the Emperor, so that they do not come to the aid of Constantinople (Sfran-Disi: 3, 3). In March 1453, Mr.. Turks took Messemvria, Ahelon and other fortifications on the Ponte. Silimvriya was besieged. Romans could not get out of town. But with the sea are on their ships decimated the Turkish coast and many captured. In early March, the Turks pitched tents near the walls of the capital, and in April the city was besieged (Duca: 37-38).

In view of the scarcity of funds, many are dilapidated building capital. Thus, from the land side the city was protected by two walls: one big, reliable, and another - smaller. From outside the fortifications held ditch. But the wall of the bay was not very strong. Emperor decided to defend itself by building a defense on the outer wall. Strong decrease of the population made itself felt most adversely. Since the city held a large area and people were placed on all the walls, the soldiers to repel assaults were not enough.

The first half of April was held in the minor skirmishes. Then the Turks brought up two huge bombard, throwing heavy stone nucleus that exceeded weight of 2 talent. One set against "the palace, the other - against the gate of Roman. Besides them the Sultan had a lot of other smaller guns (Halkondil: 8). April 22 through Ha-Danish hill Turks dragged land their ships to bypass the Gulf of chain blocks and let them inside the harbor. Then the floating bridge was built, on it were placed artillery, and thus the siege ring closed. During the forty days besieged day and night, heavily beaten on the walls and caused the defenders all sorts of great concern fighting vehicles, fire and attacks. Destroyed in some places the wall by throwing guns and cannons, the Turks launched by fortifications and trenches were overwhelm. Night Romans cleared the ditches, and struck the towers reinforced with logs and baskets of earth. May 18, razed the tower near the gates of the holy Roman enemies dragged there siege machine and put it over the ditch. After this began, according to Sfrandizi, destructive and terrible battle. Repulsed all attacks, precipitated night cleared the ditches, restored the tower and siege engines burned. The Turks began to sap, but on May 23 defenders brought him under the mine and blew up (Sfrandizi: 3, 3). May 28 in the early evening the sultan began to common assault and would not let rum rest all night. Constantine himself to fend off a downed wall near the gates of the holy Roman (Duca: 39). But the Turks entered the city in a different place - through Kerkoportu - a small gate in the wall, which left open after one of the attacks (Dashkov: 'Constantine Dragas'). Climbing the wall at last, they dispersed the defenders and, leaving the external strengthening, through the gates of the inner wall into the city (Sfrandizi: 3, 5). After that forces surrounding the Emperor, fled. Constantine was abandoned by all. One of the Turks struck him with a sword in the face and wounded, and another struck a mortal blow to the back. The Turks did not recognize the emperor and killed him, left him lying as a simple soldier (Duca: 39). Already, after the evening of the last defenders surrendered, the emperor's body found under a pile of corpses by the king's boots. Sultan ordered to put the head of Constantine on the racetrack, and his body was buried with royal honors (Sfrandizi: 3, 9). This was the last emperor of Romans. With his death the empire ceased to exist.

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