Why is Constantinople conveniently located

The conquest of Constantinople a turning point in history Compare different perspectives on a historical event

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1 The conquest of Constantinople a turning point in history Compare different perspectives on a historical event Learning area: Time frame: Required material: Overarching educational goals G 7.3: New spatial and intellectual horizons 2 lessons or 1 double lesson M 1 Photo of the skyline of Istanbul M 2 Report on the situation after the Ottoman victory over the city of Constantinople M 3 Speech from the Turks by Enea Silvio Piccolomini 1454 M 4 Illustrations of the dome of the Hagia Sophia Putzger historical world atlas (104th edition, various maps see below) Intercultural learning Competence expectations and content Learning area G 7.3 : New spatial and spiritual horizons The students recognize that the encounter between peoples and cultures in the Middle Ages and at the beginning of the modern era led on the one hand to political, religious and cultural conflicts and on the other hand to a widening of the spatial and spiritual horizons. You use this knowledge to orientate yourself in the past and present. B. To assess the opportunities and challenges of cultural contact for the individual and society. (Orientation competence) deal with the controversial assessment of the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 in order to grasp the perspective-relatedness of the assessment of historical events. (Competence in judgment) Contents: Conquest of Constantinople Page 1 of 10

2 Task introduction: This is the skyline of a city on the border between Europe and Asia Minor (M 1). Do you recognize them or one of your classmates? Where is this city located exactly? Task: In the course of history after Byzantium, this city also had the names Constantinople and Istanbul. Conquest and renaming often go hand in hand. Look at the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 from the perspective of both Muslims and Christians and write a short text on your results. The following assignments will help you: 1. Get an overview of the history of the city on the strait between Europe and Asia with the help of history cards. Bring the names into a chronological order and consider together what the background to the triple name change could have been. Use the Historical World Atlas for this. (Putzger, 104 ed., 1st print: Maps The Roman World Empire from 200 BC to 117 AD on p. 43, Islamic World Empire on S and The Ottoman Empire on p. 91). Pay particular attention to the situation in the city in the 15th century. (Map The Ottoman Empire) Tip: Ottomans is a historical name for Turks. 2. In a contemporary report (M 2) you can find out what happened to this city in 1453. Proceed in the following steps to develop the source: a. Summarize the event in your own words. b. Explains why the leader of the Turks, Mehmed II, behaves and judges his behavior. c. Look again at the map The Ottoman Empire in the Historical World Atlas and find out what significance the conquest of the city of Constantinople had for the Turks. Tip: Pay particular attention to the years that indicate the time of the various conquests on the map. 3. Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who was temporarily secretary to the emperor and later became Pope Pius II (), gave a speech after hearing of the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans. He gave this speech several times at various Diets (e.g. in Regensburg and Frankfurt a. Main), and it was widely distributed as a print (cf. M 3). a. Summarizes how Enea Silvio Piccolomini reacted to the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans. b. Explains why the conquest of Constantinople was so important to Christians. c. Discuss what reactions he might have tried to provoke from the audience of his time. Page 2 of 10

3 4. Using the results of the last two tasks, write a short text that shows the importance of the conquest of Constantinople for both Muslims and Christians. The headline of the text reads: The Significance of the Conquest of Constantinople Possible for an in-depth final discussion: The Hagia Sophia is over 1500 years old and is one of the oldest buildings in the city of Istanbul. After the conquest in 1453 (see M 2) the church was converted into a mosque. Look at the dome picture (M 4a) as it was decorated today with artistic Islamic calligraphy (= calligraphy) from the 16th century. Historians and restorers suspect that under this calligraphy there might be a mosaic with a Christian motif from the Byzantine period (such as in the illustration of M 4b). Discuss how to deal with it! Should it be exposed and the Islamic calligraphy destroyed or should the Christian motif be hidden forever? Page 3 of 10

4 Materials M 1: Modern skyline M 2: Report on the situation after the Ottoman victory over the city of Constantinople Around noon the Sultan (Mehmed II) learned that the city was completely in the hands of the victors, which he [] his Took way to Hagia Sophia 1. Here he dismounted from the horse and entered. His first glance fell on a Turk who was hacking the marble floor with an ax in a raw lust for destruction. The Sultan asked him why he was spoiling the pavement. Because of the faith, replied the Turk. Rightly indignant about such vandalism, 2 the Sultan struck him with the saber and said: You have enough of the booty and the prisoners; the buildings of the city are mine []. Then the sultan ordered someone present to go up to the pulpit to pronounce the Mohammedan creed and to invite the believers to afternoon prayers. Mehmed himself jumped on the altar, on which he offered his prayer. As a result of this act, Hagia Sophia was withdrawn from Christian worship and henceforth intended for Islam. The following is summarized below: The sacking of the city lasted for three days, and the fleet and army returned laden with treasure; On the fourth day the Sultan began his measures to repopulate and establish the new capital of the Ottoman Empire: the appointment of a Greek Patriarch 3, the conversion of the most beautiful churches into mosques [], the building of a new palace [and] the repair of the walls [] . Report by Ducas p Hezarfenn. Tankich ül Tewarich fol.114, rect. Quoted and slightly shortened from: Andreas David Mordtmann: Siege and conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 according to the original sources, 1858, p. 98 f. U Hagia Sophia: the largest Christian church at the time World in the center of Constantinople. 2 Vandalism: blind mania for destruction. 3 What is meant is a high priest of the Orthodox Christians who previously prevailed there. Page 4 of 10

5 5 10 M 3: Enea Silvio Piccolomini held a so-called Turkish speech on October 15, 1454 at the Reichstag in Frankfurt a. M. on the fall of Constantinople (May 29, 1453), excerpt: Constantinople's downfall, [] which was a great victory for the Turks [], frightens and torments each of you []. Now that Constantinople has been lost, such a large city has fallen into the power of the enemy, so much Christian blood has been shed, so many believers have been brought into bondage, [] our religion has been shamelessly shaken, the name of Christ has been excessively damaged and humiliated. Even centuries ago, if we want to confess the truth, the Christian community has never suffered greater shame than it does now. Because in earlier times we were wounded in Asia and Africa, that is, on foreign territory, but now we have been shaken and slaughtered in Europe, that is, in the fatherland, in our own house, at our seat. And although someone might say that the Turks were crossed from Asia Minor to Greece [] many years ago, [] we have never lost a city or place in Europe comparable to Constantinople. [...] And this so beneficial, so useful, so necessary place was lost to the Savior Christ and a prey to the seducer Mohammed, while we were silent, not to say: slept. from: Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Speech Constantinopolitana clades in Frankfurt on Oct. 15, 1454: Pius II., Pii II orationes politicae et ecclesiasticae, ed. by Johannes Dominicus Mansi, 3 vols., Lucca 1755/1757/1759, here: vol. 1, S M 4a: Pictures from the main dome of the Hagia Sophia Islamic calligraphy in the dome of the Hagia Sophia page 5 of 10

6 M 4b: Dome mosaic from Florence Example of a dome mosaic around 1300 with Christ as judge of the world, as he was often depicted in church domes at that time. Here from the Baptistery 4 San Giovanni in Florence. Notes on teaching The preoccupation with the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 is the third encounter with the Islamic world for the pupils (cf. G 6.6 Spread of Islam, G 7.3 Time of the Crusades). It is essential to work out the opposing meaning and evaluation of the results from the perspective of the Ottomans and the Christian Europeans in a multi-perspective approach. A stereotypical juxtaposition of evil conquerors and good defenders should be avoided. Rather, the nuances, as they result from M 2 and from the historical-critical development of M 3, should be worked out. Sub-task 1 (M 1): Following the brief introduction based on a photo, the eventful history of the city and its special historical significance should be worked out on the basis of detailed maps. In doing so, the pupils should again deal with the historical processes of change in this region using the maps from the sixth grade. Optionally, you can also work with the two smaller maps From the Eastern Roman to the Byzantine Empire. The Ottoman Empire map refers to the special situation of Constantinople at the time of its conquest in the 15th century. It becomes clear that the Ottomans had conquered the region around the Bosporus and parts of the Balkans before 1453 and that the capture of Constantinople was more of a symbolic character. The event of the conquest should then be placed in the center through the source work. Sub-task 2 (M 2): Using the excerpt from the sources, the pupils should clearly understand the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453. The contemporary depiction, which also shaped the creation of legends about Mehmed II, also presents a differentiated picture of the sultan. On the one hand, the report shows the sad and cruel 4 baptisteries: Christian baptistery. Page 6 of 10

7 Accompanying phenomena of the conquest Looting and destruction, but at the same time it also becomes clear that the taking possession of the Hagia Sophia, the largest church in the world at the time, was an important symbol of power for Islam. Mehmed II is shown as a conqueror and also as a tolerant ruler according to his time, who stops the blind vandalism of his soldiers and starts the reconstruction of the city. The Ottoman Empire map is now to be examined again. The importance of the conquest for the Ottomans is clear from the year of the conquests and the colors. This shows the actual end of the Byzantine Empire and also that the Ottoman Empire became a permanent threat to Central Europe in the early modern period. Its spread to Vienna is also clearly visible to the students. During this time, the Ottomans also gained dominance in the Islamic world and founded a large empire that lasted until the First World War. This makes it clear what significance the year 1453 has for history. Sub-task 3 (M 3): With the development of Enea Silvio Piccolomini's speech, the pupils change their perspective. You are now seeing events through the eyes of Christianity, which particularly emphasizes the aspects of loss and threat. The Turkish threat was mainly fueled by the conquest of Constantinople. The associated stereotypes and enemy images increased again through the sieges of Vienna (1529 and 1683). The demarcation from Islam as an enemy image also served the construction of a European identity. (In connection with the Reformation, one of the many Turkish prints or Turkish songs could also be used in the classroom.) When analyzing the speech, the students recognize that Silvio Piccolomini not only stirs up fear of the Turks, but also of a crusade against them Turks called on, but he failed. This is in clear contrast to his representation in the source M 2. Overall, Piccolomini depicts the conquest of Constantinople as the boundary of the epoch. The mention of the term Europe as the conclusion of the Christian world, which was rare at the time, should be emphasized here and can be optional with the students Students. For subtask 4: Finally, the students should present the central results from subtasks 2 and 3 in a text. Sub-task 5: A further, in-depth discussion should take up aspects of the preceding competence expectation. Taking possession of Hagia Sophia in 1453, as reported in the first source (M 2), resulted in the church being expanded and converted into a mosque. Pupils should now deal with the historical clash of cultures using the example of the design of the dome of the Hagia Sophia. On the one hand, the search for and handling of hidden mosaics is actually an international research focus, but it becomes clear to the students how closely religion, politics and society are still today. It also becomes clear how strongly the assessment depends on the historical perspective. In this way, the above-mentioned challenges that can be found in cultural contact are made aware and the students can develop their own (balanced) attitude. Page 7 of 10

8 examples of products and solutions from the pupils For subtask 1 (M 1): 1. Byzantium: Roman city on the Bosporus. Already the map The Roman Empire from 200 BC. The city was named Byzantium until AD 117. 2. Constantinople: Name since 337, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (map p. 45) 3. Istanbul: Name since 1453, connection with the expansion of the Ottoman Empire For subtask 2 (M 2): a. Sultan Mehmed II conquers Constantinople and rides into Hagia Sophia. There he stops one of his soldiers from ravagingly destroying the church. Instead, he rededicated Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Then Constantinople is sacked, but then the reconstruction begins. The city becomes the new capital of the Ottoman Empire. Many new buildings are being erected, churches are being turned into mosques. However, Mehmed II also appoints a new Christian Patriarch. b. Mehmed II could have behaved this way because he has conquered the city but would like to have it as the new capital in the long term. He makes it Islamic, but rebuilds it and lets the Christians live on too. c. The conquest of Constantinople represents an important step for the Ottoman Empire, but the Ottomans had conquered the region on the Bosporus and up to the Balkans much earlier. Conquering the Golden Horn is therefore also a symbol. For subtask 3 (M 3): a. Piccolomini reacts horrified, fearful and indignant. b. He sees a great threat in the case of Constantinople, namely that of the attack by the Islamic world on Europe. c. He wants to shake things up and perhaps call for resistance. Sub-task 4: The main results are the end of the Byzantine Empire and the threat to Central Europe as well as the demarcation between Islam as an enemy and a European-Christian culture. For subtasks 2 and 3, it is also conceivable to make an entry in a pre-structured board with two columns. The content is already prepared for text production. The focus is therefore on text design and repetition. Page 8 of 10

9 The significance of the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 for the Ottomans / Turks: the Christian Occident: Conquest of the Byzantine Empire Constantinople becomes the new capital of the Ottoman Empire (Istanbul) Fall of the Byzantine Empire Threat to Christian Europe from Islam (conversion of churches into mosques ) The enemy image of the cruel Turk is developing. Sub-task 5: The further, in-depth discussion does not aim to arrive at a uniform position that is supported by all students. It is very likely that these will take different positions. They should back them up with objective arguments. In doing so, the respective perspective boundness of the expressed position should become clear, which always means a reading or interpretation of the past. Sources for M 1 Skyline of modern Istanbul Istanbul panorama and skyline by Ben Morlok - Istanbul panorama. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons (as of February 1, 2019) on M 2 Report on the situation after the Ottoman victory over the city of Constantinople Report by Ducas p Hezarfenn. Tankich ül Tewarich fol.114, rect. Quoted and slightly shortened from: Andreas David Mordtmann: Siege and conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453: according to the original sources, 1858, p.98 f. U to M 3 Speech from the Turks by Enea Silvio Piccolomini 1454 Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Speech Constantinopolitana clades in Frankfurt on Oct. 15, 1454: Pius II., Pii II orationes politicae et ecclesiasticae, ed. by Johannes Dominicus Mansi, 3 vols., Lucca, here vol. 1, S to M 4a images from the dome of the Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia Dome Inside by Metsavend. Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License or CC SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons (as of February 1, 2019) Page 9 of 10

10 to M 4b Figure from the dome of the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Florence Mosaic in the Baptistery of San Giovanni of Florence, scene: Christ Pantocrator and the Last Judgment around 1300 Florence Inner dome of the Baptistery of San Giovanni by Johann H. Addicks (-jha-). Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License or CC SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons (as of February 1, 2019) Page 10 of 10