Constantinople: The Last Great Siege
Roger Crowley

Constantinople: The Last Great Siege

‘I shall tell the story of the tremendous perils and the loss of Constantinople, which I observed at close quarters with my own eyes.’ Leonard of Chios.

Constantinople: The Last Great Siege tells the story of one of the great forgotten events of world history - the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks.

For a thousand years Constantinople was quite simply the city: fabulously wealthy, imperial, intimidating - and Christian. Single-handed it blunted early Arab enthusiasm for Holy War; when a second wave of Islamic warriors swept out of the Asian steppes in the Middle Ages, Constantinople was the ultimate prize: ‘The Red Apple’.

Constantinople is the taut, vivid story of the final struggle for the city told largely through the accounts of eyewitnesses. For fifty-five days a tiny group of defenders defied the huge Ottoman army in a seesawing contest fought on land, at sea - and underground. During the course of events, the largest cannon ever built was directed against the world’s most formidable defensive system, Ottoman ships were hauled overland into the Golden Horn, and the morale of defenders was crucially undermined by unnerving portents. At the centre is the contest between two inspirational leaders, Mehmet and Constantine, fighting for empire and religious faith, and an astonishing finale in a few short hours on 29 May 1453 - a defining moment for medieval history.

1453 is both a gripping work of narrative history and an account of the war between Christendom and Islam that still has echoes in the modern world.

Book Details:

  • Author: Roger Crowley
  • Published Year: 2005
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Faber
    • US: Hyperion
    • Holland: Mouria
    • Greece: Oceanida
    • Turkey: April Publishing
    • Russia: AST
    • Brazil: Rosari
    • Italy: Mondadori
    • Germany: Theiss
    • Indonesia: Pustaka Alvabet
    • Poland: Rebis
    • China: Social Sciences Press
    • Denmark: Rosenkilde & Bahnhof
    • Spain: Atico
    • Korea: Sanchurum
    • Hungary: Park

Roger Crowley

Roger Crowley was born in 1951 and educated at Cambridge University. As the child of a naval family, early experiences of life in Malta gave him a deep interest in the history and culture of the Mediterranean world. After finishing school he spent his summers pottering in Greece; after university the Mediterranean bug took a more serious turn with a year spent on and off teaching English in Istanbul, exploring the city and walking across Anatolia with friends and donkeys. In recent years he has made return trips to the Greek-speaking world, including two visits to Mount Athos, spiritual hom...
More about Roger Crowley

Book Reviews

  • "...a vivid, well-researched narrative, rich in period colour."
    Sunday Telegraph
  • "We are treated to narrative history at its most enthralling"
    The Daily Express
  • "... reads more like lively fiction than dry recounting of historical events."
    LA Times
  • "Dispassionate yet gripping"
    The Economist
  • "Crowley manages to invest his retelling with almost nail-biting drama"
    San Francisco Chronicle
  • "Vivid and readable...an excellent traveller's guide"
    The Guardian
  • "Engagingly fresh and vivid account"
    The Sunday Times
  • "One of the most exciting, cliff-hanging stories in world history, told extraordinarily well"
    The Sunday Telegraph
  • "Swiftly paced, useful guide to understanding the long enmity between Islam and Christianity."
    Kirkus Review
  • "One of the great turning points in world history is vividly re-created in Cowley's account, which gives a fresh vitality to a story that has been told and retold for 500 years."
    Sunday Times