“We are Forerunners. Guardians of all that exists. The roots of the Galaxy have grown deep under our careful tending. Where there is life, the wisdom of our countless generations has saturated the soil. Our strength is a luminous sun, towards which all intelligence blossoms… And the impervious shelter, beneath which it has prospered.”

Domain Query: Byzantine Intrigues

by | Jan 13, 2021 | Domain Query | 3 comments

We’re back with another Domain Query podcast. Longtime reader and FotS JohnC911 emailed me earlier to ask the following:

I finished reading the book you recommended, Lost to the West by Lars Brownworth.

Amazing reading more on the Byzantine Empire, especially the different leaders that ruled over Constantinople.The number of times that the empire should have fallen and yet continue survive and sometimes prosper [is amazing].

By the way I did have one question on it. What do you think might have happened if [the siege of] Constantinople in 1453 by the Turks had failed? We know about what happened after the fall of Constantinople with the Ottoman Empire taking over.Also before the attack Constantine XI supported John VIII’s position of Decree of Union, joining the Orthodox and Catholic churches.

During the siege there was also the last service with both Greek priest and Latin ones standing shoulder to shoulder. With the emperor turning to the Italian who were fighting with them, assuring them that they were now brothers, united by a common bond. 

As I say in this podcast, I actually don’t recall recommending the book, and I definitely haven’t read it. That said, I tackled the question as best as I could by looking at the history of the Byzantine Empire and concluded that:

  • The fall of the Byzantine Empire was pretty much inevitable;
  • If the siege of Constantinople had failed, the Ottoman Empire would have gone into immediate terminal decline;
  • I honestly don’t know if that would have significantly changed the course of history given the power dynamics in Eastern Europe at the time;

Here’s the podcast:

Book References

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  1. RMChris

    Any thoughts/experience with ProtonVPN (associated with Protonmail)?

    • Didact

      I have never used or tried ProtonVPN myself. I use NordVPN and I like it a lot – but they won’t give me an affiliate link, otherwise I’d tell everyone to use that.

      Judging by the VPN reviews out there, NordVPN is better on a number of levels, including speed, price, and value for money than ProtonVPN. But both of them lose out to Surfshark in terms of economy and value.

      I’d say any of those three will do fine, but Surfshark is best for value-for-money, ProtonVPN is best for security, and NordVPN is best for an all-round balance.

  2. JohnC911

    Thank you Didact.

    With the book sorry it must of been someone else who recommended me. I remember you recommending me The Legacy of Jihad by Andrew G. Bostom. I must of got the book Lost to the West by Lars Brownworth recommend by someone else and confuse it with you. Sorry about that.

    Anyway good podcast.

    I would add the pope did agree to send forces to the Byzantines before the siege. This was under an agreement of the 2 churches coming together under the Catholic leadership. Pope try to get the Catholic world to send forces but could only get a few Italian states to send any soldiers. This was due to other European powers were fighting amongst themselves. Poland against Germany, France against England (100 year War). The state of Venice promise to send a fleet and several ground forces but due to political infighting it was sent too late. I bet they regretted it later on when Ottoman become a Naval threat in the Mediterranean. Bulgaria did send an army but was Crashed months before by Ottoman forces.

    The Ottoman long Cannon that Bombard the walls bringing it down were invented and developed by a Hungarian name Orban ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orban ). He offer his service for a high price to the Byzantine Emperor first who could not afford. So he went to the Ottoman Emperor who asked if he could build a cannon powerful enough to break down a great wall. From what I read Orban understanding that the Emperor was talking about Constantinople he responded it can take down the Great wall of Babylon.

    For Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire timing was almost everything. The Walls falling due to new technology of the mighty Bombard also signal (to me) the end of the Middle age of warfare. Also many of the Byzantine took their knowledge and books into Europe. Europe then had the Renaissance period pushing them to new Heights.


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