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speech by Constantine XI

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    Posted: 24 Jun 2009 at 00:03
It was an end of an already dying empire but his speech is very moving and demonstrates the human spirit when set against great odds. I have read it several times and this is a copy I typed from the "Fall of Byzantium" by George Sprantzes. if only he had been Emperor at an earlier time. He lived in another era so we cannot really speak for him but the speech demonstrates, to me, he was a man of valor and honesty who held up his right arm of valor to defend his Kingdom or really city state; the empire died a while ago. (if you see any typos let me know)

George Sprantzes – The Fall of the Byzantine Empire 1453 primary source from the war.

Constantine Palaologus XI speaks before his officers and allies before the final siege of Constantinople by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed Bey

Most noble leader, illustrious tribunes, generals, most courageous fellow soldiers and all loyal honest citizens! You know well that the hour has come: the enemy of our faith wishes to oppress us even more closely by sea and land with all his engines and skill to attack us with the entire strength of this siege force, as a snake about to spew its venom; he is in a hurry to devour us, like a savage lion. For this reason I am imploring you to fight like men with brave souls, as you have done from the beginning up to this day, against the enemy of our faith. I hand over to you my glorious, famous, respected, noble city, the shining Queen of cities, our homeland. You know well, my brothers, that we have four obligations in common, which force us to prefer death over survival: first our faith and piety; second our homeland; third, the emperor anointed by the Lord and fourth; our relatives and friends.
     “Well, my brothers, if we must fight for one of these obligations, we will be even more liable under the command strength of all four; as you can clearly understand. If God grants victory to the impious because of my own sins, we will endanger our lives for our holy faith, which Christ gave us with his own blood. This is most important of all. Even if one gains the entire world but loses his soul in the process, what will it benefit! Second, we will be deprived of such famous homeland and of our liberty. Third, our empire, renowned in the past but presently humbled, low and exhausted, will be ruled by a tyrant and an impious man. Fourth, we will be separated from our dearest children, wives and relatives.
     “This wretch of a Sultan has besieged our city up to now for fifty seven days with all his engines and strength; he has relaxed the blockade neither day nor night, but, by the grace of Christ, our Lord, who sees all things, the enemy has often been repelled, up to now, from our walls with shame and dishonor. Yet now too, my brothers, feel no cowardice, even if small parts of our fortifications have collapsed from the explosions and engine missiles, as you can see, we made all possible, necessary repairs. We are placing all hope in the irresistible glory of God. Some have faith in armament, others in cavalry, might and numbers but we believe in the name of our Lord, our God and Savior, and second, in our arms and strength granted to us by divine power.
     “I know the countless hordes of the impious will advance against us, according to their custom, violently, confidently and with great courage and force in order to overwhelm and wear out our few defenders with hardship. They attempt to frighten us with loud yells and innumerable battle cries. But you are all familiar with their chattering and I need say no more about it. For a long time they will continue so and will also release over us countless rocks, all sorts of arrows and missiles, like the sand of the sea. But I hope that such things will not harm us; I see, greatly rejoice, and nourish with hopes in my mind that even if we are few, you are all experienced and seasoned warriors- courageous, brave, and well prepared. Protect your heads with shields in combat and battle. Keep your right hand, armed with the sword, extended in front of you at all times. Your helmets, breastplates and suits of armor are fully sufficient together with your other weapons and will prove very effective in battle. Our enemies have no and use no such weapons. You are protected inside the walls, while they will advance without cover and with toil.
     “For these reasons, my fellow soldiers, prepare yourselves, be firm, and remain valiant, for the pity of God, Take your example from the few elephants of the Carthaginians and how they dispersed the numerous cavalry of the Romans with their noise and appearance. If one dumb beast put another to flight, we, the masters of horses and animals, can surely even do better against our advancing enemies, since they are dumb animals, worse even than pigs. Present your shield, swords, arrows, and spears to them, imagining that you are a hunting party after wild boars, so that the impious may learn that they are dealing not with dumb animals but with their lords and masters, the descendants of the Greeks and the Romans.
     “You are well aware that this irreligious Sultan, the enemy of our holy faith, violated for no good reason the peace treaty we had with him and disregarded his numerous oaths without a second thought. Suddenly, he appeared and built his castle in the straights of Asomatosso he might be able to inflict daily harm on us. Then he put our farms, gardens, parks, and houses to the torch, while he killed and enslaved as many of our Christian brothers as he found; he broke the treaty of friendship. He befriended the inhabitants of Galata, the wretches rejoice over this, as they are unaware of the parable of the Farmer’s son who was roasting snails and said, “Oh stupid creature,” etc. Well my brothers, since he started the siege and the blockade, every day he opens his fathomless mouth and is seeking an opportunity to devour us and this city, which thrice-blessed Constantine the Great founded and dedicated to the all holy most chaste Mother of God, our lad, Mar the eternal virgin. She became the Queen of Cities, the shield and aid of our homeland, the shelter of Christians, the hope and joy of all wishes to destroy this city, which was once proud and blooming like a rose of the field.
     “I can tell you that this city mastered the entire universe; She placed beneath her feet Pontus, Armenia, paphlagonia, The Amazonian lands, Cappadocia, Galatia, Media, Georgian Colchis, Bosphoros, Albania, Syria, Cilicia, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Palestine, Arabia, Judea, Bactria, Scythia, Macedonia, Thessaly, Hellas, Boeotia, Locris, Aetolia, Arcarnania, Achaea, the Peloponnese, Epirus, Illyria, Lykhnites, the Adriatic, Italy, Tuscany, the Celts, and Galatian Celts, Spain up to Cadiz, Libya, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Beledes, Scude, Numidia, Africa and Egypt.
     Now he wants to enslave her and throw the yoke upon the Mistress of Citie, our holy churches, where the Holy Trinity was worshipped, where the Holy Ghost was glorified in hymns, where angels were heard praising in chant the deity of and the incarnation of God’s word, he wants to turn into shrines of his blasphemy, shrines of the mad and false Prophet, Mohammed, as well as into stables for his horses and camels.
     “Consider then, my brother and comrades in arms, how the commemoration of our death, our memory, fame and freedom can be rendered eternal.”
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2009 at 18:33
Byz emp or anyone know of any other speeches by Constantine XI before the fallof the city?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 20:01
no bites yet-

Do you think this speech was done by Constantine XI or was it written later by George Sprantzes and embellished a bit. I believe that these are the words of Constantine XI but what proof do we have; maybe other source such as Doukas- ???? etc etc

Edited by eaglecap - 29 Jun 2009 at 20:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 20:10
Wait, you are claiming we have the correct speech of some Eastern Emperor survived to us to this day?
 
I can believe that Cicero's 'Defensive Speeches' have survived, but I couldn't believe that such a one would have.
 
Besides, it is somewhat Hollywood'ish, the concept of some battle speech or sorts, at least to me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 20:21
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Wait, you are claiming we have the correct speech of some Eastern Emperor survived to us to this day?
 

I can believe that Cicero's 'Defensive Speeches' have survived, but I couldn't believe that such a one would have.

 

Besides, it is somewhat Hollywood'ish, the concept of some battle speech or sorts, at least to me.


I don't agree but it is possible that, after the fact, Sprantzes embellished the speech a bit. Byz Emp is a graduate major in Byzantine history so maybe he has a suggestion- but where is he?????

I do not doubt that even primary sources from as recent as 1453 could have been a bit corrupted but what do you say Byzantine Emp?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 20:43

I agree that Byzantine Emperor should know more than me or you about this.

Besides, I doubt that the writer was writing it when he spoke it (if he spoke it), therefore making it a transcription from the memory...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 21:53
Come now, Sprantzes can not be blamed entirely for this bit of Romatic rhetoric--"Tribunes" no less--since this oration in a briefer form is found in Edward Gibbons (Decline and Fall) and in a more succinct detailing found in the surviving letter of Leonardo of Chios, Bishop of Lesbos, to Pope Nicolas V in 1453. The version quoted above although assigned to Sphrantzes occurs nowhere in his contemporary narrative and is generally considered a late 16th century interpolation by Makarios Melissenos [there is a third version in the Greek Chronicle of the Turkish Sultans of which a fine study exists: Elizabeth Zachariadou. The Chronicle of the Turkish Sultans and its Italian Model (Thessaloniki, 1960)].
 
Here is the text of the 1453 letter:
 

Gentlemen, illustrious captains of the army, and our most Christian comrades in arms: we now see the hour of battle approaching. I have therefore elected to assemble you here to make it clear that you must stand together with firmer resolution than ever. You have always fought with glory against the enemies of Christ. Now the defence of your fatherland and of the city known the world over, which the infidel and evil Turks have been besieging for two and fifty days, is committed to your lofty spirits.

Be not afraid because its walls have been worn down by the enemy's battering. For your strength lies in the protection of God and you must show it with your arms quivering and your swords brandished against the enemy. I know that this undisciplined mob will, as is their custom, rush upon you with loud cries and ceaseless volleys of arrows. These will do you no bodily harm, for I see that you are well covered in armour. They will strike the walls, our breastplates and our shiellds. So do not imitate the Romans who, when the Carthaginians went into battle against them, allowed their cavalry to be terrified by the fearsome sight and sound of elephants.

In this battle you must stand firm and have no fear, no thought of flight, but be inspired to resist with ever more herculean strength. Animals may run away from animals. But you are men, men of stout heart, and you will hold at bay these dumb brutes, thrusting your spears and swords into them, so that they will know that they are fighting not against their own kind but against the masters of animals.

You are aware that the impious and infidel enemy has disturbed the peace unjustly. He has violated the oath and treaty that he made with us; he has slaughtered our farmers at harvest time; he has erected a fortress on the Propontis as it were to devour the Christians; he has encircled Galata under a pretence of peace.

Now he threatens to capture the city of Constantine the Great, your fatherland, the place of ready refuge for all Christians, the guardian of all Greeks, and to profane its holy shrines of God by turning them into stables for fits horses. Oh my lords, my brothers, my sons, the everlasting honour of Christians is in your hands.

You men of Genoa, men of courage and famous for your infinite victories, you who have always protected this city, your mother, in many a conflict with the Turks, show now your prowess and your aggressive spirit toward them with manly vigour.

You men of Venice, most valiant heroes, whose swords have many a time made Turkish blood to flow and who in our time have sent so many ships, so many infidel souls to the depths under the command of Loredano, the most excellent captain of our fleet, you who have adorned this city as if it were your own with fine, outstanding men, lift high your spirits now for battle.

You, my comrades in arms, obey the commands of your leaders in the knowledge that this is the day of your glory -- a day on which, if you shed but a drop of blood, you will win for yourselves crowns of martyrdom and eternal fame.

Honi soit qui mal y pense
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 22:13
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Come now, Sprantzes can not be blamed entirely for this bit of Romatic rhetoric--"Tribunes" no less--since this oration in a briefer form is found in Edward Gibbons (Decline and Fall) and in a more succinct detailing found in the surviving letter of Leonardo of Chios, Bishop of Lesbos, to Pope Nicolas V in 1453. The version quoted above although assigned to Sphrantzes occurs nowhere in his contemporary narrative and is generally considered a late 16th century interpolation by Makarios Melissenos [there is a third version in the Greek Chronicle of the Turkish Sultans of which a fine study exists: Elizabeth Zachariadou. The Chronicle of the Turkish Sultans and its Italian Model (Thessaloniki, 1960)].

 
Here is the text of the 1453 letter:

 


<P style="MARGIN-LEFT: 60px" align=left>Gentlemen, illustrious captains of the army, and our most Christian comrades in arms: we now see the hour of battle approaching. I have therefore elected to assemble you here to make it clear that you must stand together with firmer resolution than ever. You have always fought with glory against the enemies of Christ. Now the defence of your fatherland and of the city known the world over, which the infidel and evil Turks have been besieging for two and fifty days, is committed to your lofty spirits.


<P style="MARGIN-LEFT: 60px" align=left>Be not afraid because its walls have been worn down by the enemy's battering. For your strength lies in the protection of God and you must show it with your arms quivering and your swords brandished against the enemy. I know that this undisciplined mob will, as is their custom, rush upon you with loud cries and ceaseless volleys of arrows. These will do you no bodily harm, for I see that you are well covered in armour. They will strike the walls, our breastplates and our shiellds. So do not imitate the Romans who, when the Carthaginians went into battle against them, allowed their cavalry to be terrified by the fearsome sight and sound of elephants.


<P style="MARGIN-LEFT: 60px" align=left>In this battle you must stand firm and have no fear, no thought of flight, but be inspired to resist with ever more herculean strength. Animals may run away from animals. But you are men, men of stout heart, and you will hold at bay these dumb brutes, thrusting your spears and swords into them, so that they will know that they are fighting not against their own kind but against the masters of animals.


<P style="MARGIN-LEFT: 60px" align=left>You are aware that the impious and infidel enemy has disturbed the peace unjustly. He has violated the oath and treaty that he made with us; he has slaughtered our farmers at harvest time; he has erected a fortress on the Propontis as it were to devour the Christians; he has encircled Galata under a pretence of peace.


<P style="MARGIN-LEFT: 60px" align=left>Now he threatens to capture the city of Constantine the Great, your fatherland, the place of ready refuge for all Christians, the guardian of all Greeks, and to profane its holy shrines of God by turning them into stables for fits horses. Oh my lords, my brothers, my sons, the everlasting honour of Christians is in your hands.


<P style="MARGIN-LEFT: 60px" align=left>You men of Genoa, men of courage and famous for your infinite victories, you who have always protected this city, your mother, in many a conflict with the Turks, show now your prowess and your aggressive spirit toward them with manly vigour.


<P style="MARGIN-LEFT: 60px" align=left>You men of Venice, most valiant heroes, whose swords have many a time made Turkish blood to flow and who in our time have sent so many ships, so many infidel souls to the depths under the command of Loredano, the most excellent captain of our fleet, you who have adorned this city as if it were your own with fine, outstanding men, lift high your spirits now for battle.


<P style="MARGIN-LEFT: 60px" align=left>You, my comrades in arms, obey the commands of your leaders in the knowledge that this is the day of your glory -- a day on which, if you shed but a drop of blood, you will win for yourselves crowns of martyrdom and eternal fame.




Good post drgonzaga and it does not suprise me but as an ethnic Greek I would like to think it was his speech. Feelings and reality are not the same though. I still used it in my fictional account about the fall of Contantinople 1453. I am at 45 pages and it is growing as I add more fiction without distorting the history.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 22:48
Well, in History, feeling always intrudes and whether Constantine XI said it or not in the manner put forth, others much closer to the event, had their own reaction to that perilous night. Nor should it be forgotten, that it was just this type of rhetoric that flooded Italy in the last decades of the Quatroccento...keep in mind that the Aegean Isles continued in this religio-chivalric mind set for quite some time. Some might say it is not entirely gone given Blessed Constantine XI's place on the liturgical calendar 29 May (OS).
 
See; Donald Nichols. The Immortal Emperor. Cambridge: C.U.P., 1992.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 23:10
By the way, can anyone tell me how the Greek cities (in Modern Greece) which have been known places from the time of the Eastern Empire have street names related to Byzantine people (Agios Nikolaus in Crete has a street of Konstantinous Palaoulogous for example). Are these related to that period and preserved since then or renamed after the independence?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 23:22

See; Donald Nichols. The Immortal Emperor. Cambridge: C.U.P., 1992.

It is a great book and I have read it twice but I am not sure if I can get it now that I live in a rural area.


By the way, can anyone tell me how the Greek cities (in Modern Greece) which have been known places from the time of the Eastern Empire have street names related to Byzantine people (Agios Nikolaus in Crete has a street of Konstantinous Palaoulogous for example). Are these related to that period and preserved since then or renamed after the independence?

I am not sure and I did not notice this when I was in Greece but my focus was the Classical period then and pre Greek. It is a good question rider- invite one of the Greeks here.

Edited by eaglecap - 29 Jun 2009 at 23:24
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 20:57
It is a great hurrah for the soldiers and pumps them up for battle.  Kind of like William Wallace's speech before Bannockburn in Braveheart! Big smile
 
However, I must point out that Sphrantzes is following in an age-old tradition of putting prefabricated speeches into the mouths of his heroes.  This dates all the way back to Homer, Heredotus, and Thucydides.  It is not to say that elements could not have been true.  But Sphrantzes was Constantine XI's personal secretary and ambassador.  He would have wanted to paint the emperor in a heroic light (not to say that he was unheroic) and make him go out "with a bang" by delivering a flowery speech.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 21:16
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

It is a great hurrah for the soldiers and pumps them up for battle.  Kind of like William Wallace's speech before Bannockburn in Braveheart! Big smile
 

However, I must point out that Sphrantzes is following in an age-old tradition of putting prefabricated speeches into the mouths of his heroes.  This dates all the way back to Homer, Heredotus, and Thucydides.  It is not to say that elements could not have been true.  But Sphrantzes was Constantine XI's personal secretary and ambassador.  He would have wanted to paint the emperor in a heroic light (not to say that he was unheroic) and make him go out "with a bang" by delivering a flowery speech.

 


Thanks Byz for the post and yes I figured it was somewhat embellished like other sources I have studied from the classical period. As one with Byzantine roots I still like to see him portrayed as a hero and this is how I have developed him in my story- the fall of Constantinople 1453. I am playing with the title but this speech will really add a sense of romanticism to my story or the portion I put in the story. I printed out a copy of it from the fall of Byzantium.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 21:25
Originally posted by eaglecap eaglecap wrote:

Thanks Byz for the post and yes I figured it was somewhat embellished like other sources I have studied from the classical period. As one with Byzantine roots I still like to see him portrayed as a hero and this is how I have developed him in my story- the fall of Constantinople 1453. I am playing with the title but this speech will really add a sense of romanticism to my story or the portion I put in the story. I printed out a copy of it from the fall of Byzantium.
 
Like I said in the post, I don't think there is any evidence to conclude that Constantine XI was not heroic and did not die a heroic death defending the Theodosian Walls.  I am just saying that the speech, or any ancient and medieval speech, cannot be taken at face value as being what was truely spoken and that the recorder wrote it down verbatim.


Edited by Byzantine Emperor - 09 Jul 2009 at 21:29
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 21:30
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

Originally posted by eaglecap eaglecap wrote:

Thanks Byz for the post and yes I figured it was somewhat embellished like other sources I have studied from the classical period. As one with Byzantine roots I still like to see him portrayed as a hero and this is how I have developed him in my story- the fall of Constantinople 1453. I am playing with the title but this speech will really add a sense of romanticism to my story or the portion I put in the story. I printed out a copy of it from the fall of Byzantium.

 

Like I said in the post, I don't think there is any evidence to conclude that Constantine XI was not heroic and did not die a heroic death defending the Theodosian Walls.  I am just saying that the speech, or any ancient and medieval speech, cannot be taken at face value as being what was truely spoken and that the recorder wrote it down verbatim.


I understood and thank you
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Patrinos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2009 at 19:03

Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

By the way, can anyone tell me how the Greek cities (in Modern Greece) which have been known places from the time of the Eastern Empire have street names related to Byzantine people (Agios Nikolaus in Crete has a street of Konstantinous Palaoulogous for example). Are these related to that period and preserved since then or renamed after the independence?

Well, of course the street naming happened after the independence. You don't expect a local Ottoman pasha to name a street after K. Palaiologos(the genitive, that is used for streets, is Konstantinou Palaiologou,with out -s-).... Streets didn't even have official names, during that period, just unofficial like Chalkiadika(street of the braziers), Kretika(street of the Cretans),Agora(market-place) etc etc 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2009 at 20:04
Hello to you all
 
In my humble opinion most of these "inspiring" and "great" pre-battle speeches are simply baloney and there are many in our own history. CXI (the ruler) died in battle, his "empire" ended with him and most of those who fought in the battle died including the literate ones. I doubt that a normal greek of Venetian soldier would understand half what was said.
 
Anyway textual criticism will reveal all. I am not an expert on Byzantine history but I don't think they had tribunes then nor generals.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jul 2009 at 21:46
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Hello to you all
 

In my humble opinion most of these "inspiring" and "great" pre-battle speeches are simply baloney and there are many in our own history. CXI (the ruler) died in battle, his "empire" ended with him and most of those who fought in the battle died including the literate ones. I doubt that a normal greek of Venetian soldier would understand half what was said.

 

Anyway textual criticism will reveal all. I am not an expert on Byzantine history but I don't think they had tribunes then nor generals.

 

Al-Jassas


I tend to agree with you and yes it was embellished and portions of it were added, most likely, much later but Byz is also right when he said it had elements of truth. All myth has some element of truth in it but to the modern lovers of the E. Romans and their ancestors the speech is beautiful and inspiring and it will add to my fictional story about the fall of Constantinople 1453 -adds to the Romanticism

I also wonder just how accurate the speeches by Mehmed, as written by George Sprantzes, are? Was he biased or objective in his reports?

The Romans tended to be educated and they knew their faith quite well so even if he had made this speech I believe, at least, his fellow Romans would have understood him so in this I disagree with you. I am not sure about the Venetians.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jul 2009 at 22:50
I don't know about such that speech and I don't think it is true. There is definitely one, there always has been such speeches throughout Islamic history when important events like these happen and I think I remember reading one too, but in reality the speech is most likely to be bogus.
 
What I know is that some Hadiths (saying of the prophet) mysteriously appeared after the conquest praising the conquest and the conqueror. Of couse the problem is that accodring to strict orthodox belief Muhammed II is not a good muslim at all one reason being that he is a sufi but since he was the ruler nobody actually cared, he pays the salaries now.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jul 2009 at 23:12
I do agree and even the life of our national hero George Washington was embellished. I was taught the story about him chopping down the cherry tree and saying he could not tell a lie and that he chopped it down- urban legend, it never happened. We all embellish our heroes. Thanks Al for telling us about that portion of the Hadith- I did not know this.

I think in part there is some truth to these speeches as reported by George Srantzes but like I said it was embellished or in the case of Mehmed probably bias.

Maybe I should try remote viewing and see if it works and go back in time to see the speech. I say this in jest but some people believe in it. www.coasttocoastam.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jul 2009 at 01:37
The idea that this speech, or many others throughout history, are total inventions should not surprise us. How easily can it be that someone after the speech went away and produced a written transcript which accurately detailed every point made in the span of at least a few minutes?

Historians in that day and age did not have the written transcripts or radio tapes or video performances that we do. And so the most common way of compensating for this was for the historian to simply invent what they would say if they put themself in the position of the historical figure they are writing about. This practice was well established under Thucydides. Unlike the man quoting Constantine XI, Thucydides was at least a commander in the war he wrote about and probably was familiar with his fair share of pre-battle speeches.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Patrinos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jul 2009 at 11:40
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

This practice was well established under Thucydides. Unlike the man quoting Constantine XI, Thucydides was at least a commander in the war he wrote about and probably was familiar with his fair share of pre-battle speeches.

If you're talking about Sphrantzes he was the most familiar person of K. Palaiologos. I don't say that the speech the he wrote down was exactly what the Emperor had said but neither it was an imagination. I suppose his known devotion to him would be an inhibitory to misquote his words.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EmperorAjay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2014 at 07:23
I want to free Constantinople :(
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