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  1. Mehmed, pronounced [icinˈdʒi ˈmehmed]; 30 March 1432 – 3 May 1481), commonly known as Mehmed the Conqueror (Ottoman Turkish: ابو الفتح ‎, romanized: Ebū'l-Fetḥ, lit. 'the Father of Conquest'; Turkish: Fatih Sultan Mehmed ), was an Ottoman sultan who ruled from August 1444 to September 1446, and then later from February 1451 to ...

    • Early Life & Family Origins
    • Ascension to The Throne
    • Siege of Constantinople
    • Consolidation of Power
    • Later Conquests & Death
    • Government Administration & Religious Affairs
    • Legacy

    Born on 30 March 1432 CE, Mehmed was the third son of Sultan Murad II (r. 1421-1451 CE), and Hüma Hatun, a concubine of Balkan origins from Murad's harem. His paternal grandfather was Mehmed I (r. 1413-1421 CE) and traced his ancestry back to Osman I (r. 1280-1323 CE), the founder of the Ottoman Dynasty. Mehmed's name was derived from the name of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (570-632 CE), and unlike the naming customs of other Islamic cultures, in Turkish tradition, the name Muhammadwas generally reserved for the Prophet himself. Mehmed spent his early childhood in Edirne, until he was moved to the Black Sea city of Amasya and replaced his brother Ahmed as the governor of the province in 1437 CE after his death, despite being five years old. Mehmed's status as a child of the sultan afforded him the opportunity to study under the best scholars of the region. He had many tutors throughout the years, teaching him theology, history, foreign languages, among many other topics. These pers...

    Mehmed's father, Murad II's reign, was embroiled in conflict from its onset, both domestic and foreign. During the start of his reign, Murad fought in a war of succession against one of his brothers, who, with the support of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) and other Balkan Christian states, led a revolt in the European part of Ottoman territory. After crushing the uprising, he fought wars against Turkic states such as the Karamanids to the east, and the various European powers such as the Venetians, Hungarians, and crusaders in the west. These prolonged conflicts, along with the death of his favorite son Alaeddin (d. c. 1444 CE) took a toll on Murad, and he decided to retire in Bursa in 1444 CE and relinquished the throne to Mehmed, who was 12 years old at the time. The rivals of the Ottomans and various domestic factions saw the reign of the child sultan Mehmed as an opportunity to further their interests. In 1444 CE, Pope Eugene IV (r. 1431-1447 CE) began mustering for...

    Constantinople itself was a husk of its former glory, the population reduced by plagues, constant sieges, and the loss of the surrounding territory made the city more of a symbolic target rather than a strategic one. Many of Mehmed II's predecessors attempted to conquer the city but to no avail. A short occupation after the Fourth Crusade aside, it remained nearly impregnable over the centuries, mostly due to the Theodosian Walls, a series of fortifications built by the Byzantine emperorTheodosius II (r. 402-450 CE). Before the siege, Mehmed II renewed his peace treaties with many European states and the Karamanids. Then he began preparations to besiege the city in the winter of 1452 CE by building a navy in Gallipoli and then mustering forces in Thrace. In the spring of 1452 CE, he strengthened his stranglehold on the Byzantine capital by constructing a new major fortress across the Golden Horn near Pera, which is known today as Rumelihisari. It complemented the fortress Anadoluhis...

    Following the ghazi traditions, the Ottoman troops were allowed to sack the city for three days. After the third day, Mehmed made his triumphant entry into the city through the Gate of Charisius; his procession went directly to the Hagia Sophia, which would be converted into a mosque. To restore the population of the city, the sultan issued an edict relocating people from Anatolia and the Balkans into his new capital, regardless of ethnicity or religious origin, and he ordered many of the same soldiers that fought in the siege to restore damaged infrastructure. He also oversaw the building of a new royal palace, which would be known as Yeni Saray, and later on as Topkapi Palace. Caroline Finkel describes Mehmed's new headquarters: Mehmed now began the task of purging dissenting factions and those who could challenge his authority. Among the first to be charged was Grand Vezir Halil Çandarlı. The power of the grand vizier was also weakened, with many of its responsibilities delegated...

    Soon after Constantinople fell, the Genoese colony city of Pera (now known as Galata) surrendered peacefully. With his dream of conquering Constantinople realized, Mehmed set his sights on new targets. In the spring of 1454 CE, he began a campaign in Serbia to annex territories under the Hungarian sphere of influence. Mehmed's made limited progress, the city of Novo Brdo, famous for its rare ore deposits, was captured, but the campaign was called off after Hungarian forces began mobilizing near the border. Mehmed would make several more incursions into Serbia, during which his first major defeat was dealt in the Siege of Belgrade in July of 1456 CE. However, Mehmed's final attempt in subjugating Serbia was successful when in 1459 CE, the Ottomans took control of the fortress of Smederevo. The rulers of the now-dissolved Despotate Serbia were exiled, and the frontier territory near the Hungarians was stabilized. In the years following his success in Serbia, Mehmed began absorbing Byz...

    Mehmed II made huge strides towards centralizing Ottoman rule and expanding the role of the sultan. He consolidated his power through weakening and redelegating the roles and responsibilities of high-ranking officials who would also be bound to the sultan through political marriages. Wealth and land from the aristocrats was redistributed to Mehmed's slave class, giving him a reliable and loyal base and having the additional benefit of a check on the power of any conspiring nobles. Mehmed and his imperial council convened in regular meetings known as the Divan, named after the floor-level couches adorning the room. One development during Mehmed's reign, which is more famously attributed to future Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520-1566 CE), is the compilation of law codes, replacing vague progenitors. These secular law codes, known as kanun, dealt with topics such as the power structure of the government and taxation of subjects and were carefully formulated not to clash with r...

    Throughout his reign, Mehmed II enacted sweeping administrative changes, reorganization of military forces, ambitious construction projects, and broad conquests, leaving his successors an empire to be reckoned with, but he was also known as a benefactor of artists and authors. He read classical Greek and Roman literatureas a child and continued to collect and read relevant manuscripts throughout his reign as sultan. He supported dozens of poets, writers, and scholars, and invited philosophers, astronomers, and painters from across Europe and the Middle East to his court. John Freely describes his court's opulence as: During his reign, he also undertook many bold architectural undertakings, which included repairing his new capital's broken infrastructure, building the lavish Topkapı Palace, the Grand Bazar, and overseeing the construction of several mosques built in his honor, the most famous of those being Fatih Camii (Mosque of the Conquerer). It is said that when he entered the ci...

  2. Mehmed II, also known as The Conqueror is one of the famous sultans of Ottoman Empire with his intelligence. Mehmed II ruled the Ottoman for a brief time, from 1444 to 1446, after his father. After that time Sultan Murad II renounced the throne but when he died Mehmed II ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1451 to 1481.

  3. Of Mehmed the Conqueror's many great achievement, his greatest must be the Siege of Constantinople. He was the first person in all of history to break through the city's great walls. The Siege of Constantinople was led by Mehmed when he was just in his early 20s. The assault lasted over 50 days and consisted of over 200 ships and around 50,000 ...

    • The Child Sultan
    • Mehmed II’s Second Reign
    • The Fall of Constantinople
    • Mehmed The Conqueror
    • Mehmed II Wages War on Vlad III Dracula
    • Mehmed II’s Later Years
    • The Long-Ignored Legacy of Mehmed The Conqueror

    Mehmed II was born in Adrianople on March 30, 1432, the fourth son of the ruling Ottoman sultan, Murad II. According to tradition, when he reached the age of 12, he was sent to the city of Manisa, near the Aegean Sea, with his two tutors. In 1444, Murad signed an important peace treatymeant to halt the fighting between the Turks and a crusader army led by the Hungarians. As a part of the agreement, Murad abdicated and set his young son on the throne at Edirne, then the Ottoman capital. The young Mehmed was beset by internal unrest between two rival groups; on one side, the grand vizier Çandarlı Halil, and the other, the viziers Zaganos and Şihâbeddin. Both sides claimed they were protecting the rights of the child sultan though were only using him as a means to claim more power for themselves. They weren’t the only ones looking to take advantage of the situation, however. Almost as soon as Murad was out of the way, Hungary violated the peace treaty and the participants of the crusad...

    Mehmed II was 18 years old when his father died, news of which was sent to Mehmed through a messenger in a sealed envelope. Eager to travel to Edirne before news of the accession was announced to the public — out of fear that the people might revolt before he arrived — Mehmed mounted his horse and rushed to the capital, declaring to his followers: “Let those who love me follow me.” He arrived in Edirne with his supporters and officially assumed the Ottoman throne for the second time on February 18, 1451. He immediately consolidated his power and eliminated rival claimants. One account even states that he had his father’s youngest infant son drowned in his bath. Later, he had the fratricide law officially enacted, stipulating: “Whichever of my sons inherits the sultan’s throne, it behooves him to kill his brothers in the interest of the world order. Most of the jurists have approved this procedure.” He also reinforced the military and devoted himself to diplomatic and military arrang...

    Constantinople had been the capital of the Byzantine Empire— so named to differentiate this vestigial eastern half of the Roman Empire from the western Roman Empire, which fell in 476 A.D. — for more than a thousand years. During its millennium of history, it faced down innumerable sieges and attacks — nearly everyone turned back due to its highly defensible location and the strength of the famous Theodosian Walls around the city — 12 meters tall at their highest, with intricate defensive structures within and without. The Muslim prophet Muhammad famously said: “One day Constantinople will be conquered. Great is the commander who will conquer it. Great are his soldiers.” Muslim rulers ever since have seen Constantinople as the ultimate prize to be won, but none had ever succeeded. It was Mehmed’s dream to succeed where these predecessors failed and to take the Christian capital for the Ottoman Empire. According to a chronicle that he commissioned, he had dreamed of capturing Constan...

    While the West saw the fall of Constantinople as the end of the Roman Empire, Mehmed saw himself as the continuation of the long line of Roman Emperors — Mehmed II even took on the title Kayser-i Rum — which translates to “Roman Caesar.” Inspired by the glory of the ancient empire he had conquered as well as the legacy of Alexander the Great, Mehmed’s goal was to rule over a similarly vast empire. According to a Venetian envoy, he declared that he would “advance from East to West, as in former times the Westerners advanced into the Orient. There must…be only one Empire, one faith and one sovereignty in the world.” Mehmed II’s name spread quickly through Europe, the Middle East, and Africa after the fall of Constantinople, and he was called Mehmed the Conqueror forever afterward. Soon, he turned his attention toward expanding his empire even further. Starting in 1453, he led a series of campaigns against Serbia, finally annexing the kingdom in 1459, and led his forces into Morea, whi...

    In 1462, Mehmed II began his engagement with his most famous adversary: Vlad III Dracula, the prince of Wallachia, whose cruelty provided the real-life inspiration for Bram Stoker’s famous novel Dracula. Vlad Dracula in real life was no less fearsome than his fictional counterpart, as Mehmed II would soon learn. In 1462, Vlad III led a campaignagainst Ottoman territory and captured a large Ottoman force. As a warning to Mehmed II, Vlad III won himself the name Vlad the Impaler after impaling more than 20,000 of the Turkish prisoners — while they were still alive. “We killed 23,884 Turks without counting those whom we burned in homes or the Turks whose heads were cut by our soldiers…” Vlad III wrote of the affair. “Thus…I have broken the peace with [Mehmed II].” Indeed, when Mehmed led a force into Wallachia in response and saw this “forest” of impaled men lined up around Vlad III Dracula’s capital city of Târgoviște, the horrified Sultan reportedly asked, “how can we despoil of his...

    After witnessing Mehmed II’s string of victories across southeastern Europe, the Pope brought together the Ottomans’ greatest rivals, Hungary and Venice, into an alliance with an eye toward another crusade. A new crusader army was formed and their offensive began in 1463. Venice retook Argos, some territory in Morea revolted against the Ottoman rulers and sided with Venice, and Hungary captured the capital of Bosnia. Mehmed reacted swiftly and strongly, commissioning new fortresses, strengthening his army, and constructed a new shipyard for his navy. He began retaking the territory lost to the crusaders and then, in 1464, the pope died and the crusade foundered. Still, the war between the Ottomans and the Venetians continued into 1479, when they finally reached a peace settlement that forced Venice to relinquish some territories to Mehmed. In 1473, he solidified his control over Anatolia and the Balkans by beating the region’s leader Uzan Hasan at the Battle of Bashkent. Over the la...

    Mehmed was a complex man and is remembered for being both cruel and gentle. Sometimes he built schools and markets and other times he ordered war, massacres, and torture. He promoted tolerance in his capital, but he also punished rebels with a severity that even shocked his hardened contemporaries. He left a powerful and lasting legacy, and in many parts of the Muslim world, he is revered as a hero. The year of his conquest of Constantinople, 1453, is remembered as one of the most significant years in history, especially for people in Turkey. Not surprisingly, he is much less celebrated in the West — if he is talked about at all. The West has by-and-large tried to avenge itself on the man they called the “Terror of the World” by ignoring his accomplishments and keeping his name out of history lessons in their schools for more than 500 years. They have never been able to forget him entirely, however; thousand-year-old fortress capitals of an empire do not simply fall from natural cau...

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  4. Mehmed 6 Episodes. Çetin Tekindor. Çandarlı Halil Paşa ... Season 1 of Mehmed: The Conqueror premiered on March 20, 2018. View All Seasons.

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