The Gathering of Forces



The Conquest of Constantinople

Mehmet II built the fort of Rumeli Hisari, 10 miles north of the city on the european side of the Bogazici, to gain control of the water way and sever Byzantium's communications with the Black Sea as well as to assure the passage of Ottoman troopsfrom anatolia to Europe.As soon as the new port was completed, Mehmet demanded that Constantinople surrender, threatening a full-scale siege.The actual siege began in February 1453 when the first forces sent from Edirne occupied the Byzantine seaports along the Sea of Marmara and huge cannons were dragged through Thrace to lead the attack on the city's great walls.In March, the Ottoman armies of Anatolia crossed the Bogazici to the new Rumeli hisari, while an armada built in Gallipoli went through the Canakkale Bogazi into the sea of Marmara and began the attack the city by sea.The final assault began on the night of May 28.After two hours the huge Ottoman cannon tore large gaps in the walls between the modern Topkapi and the Yalikapi, and the attackers flowed into the city.The Ottoman fleet broke the Byzantine chain and entered the Halic (Golden Horne).Once within the city the Ottomans advanced slowly and methodically, clearing the streets of the remaining defenders.While Islamic law would have justified a full-scale sack and massacre of the city in wiev of its resistance, Mehmet kept his troops under firm control,killingonly those Byzantines who actively resisted and doing all he could to keep the city intact so that it could be the center of his world Empire.