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What were the last years of the Byzantine Empire like in Constantinople?
Stop reading this, and go upvote Michael Pothoven’s answer to What were the last years of the Byzantine Empire like in Constantinople?
I MEAN IT.
One of the conundrums of early Ottoman Constantinople is that there were many churches that were left alone after the Conquest, and not converted into mosques. The norm was that if a Christian city resisted a Muslim siege, all its churches could be converted to mosques; if the city surrendered, its churches would be left alone.
I don’t remember where I read this, but the solution to the conundrum I’ve seen proposed is that by then, Constantinople was so sparsely populated, that its outer suburbs were effectively separate settlements, surrounded by farmland. And those suburbs, cut off and living from subsistence farming, could easily have organised their own surrenders to the Ottomans, ignoring what was happening downtown.
Michael Pothoven paints a depressing picture of the last days of Constantinople. The detail I’ve given here, I find even more depressing.