- Constantine XI Palaiologos was the last Christian Emperor of Constantinople and the Byzantine empire. In 1453, when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks, he was last seen fighting at the city walls, but the actual circumstances of his death have ...
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Constantine XI Dragases Palaiologos or Dragaš Palaeologus (Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος Δραγάσης Παλαιολόγος, Kōnstantinos Dragasēs Palaiologos; 8 February 1405 – 29 May 1453) was the last Byzantine emperor, reigning from 1449 until his death in battle at the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Constantine XI Palaeologus, Palaeologus also spelled Palaiologos, (born February 9, 1404, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire [now Istanbul, Turkey]—died May 29, 1453, Constantinople), the last Byzantine emperor (1449–53), killed in the final defense of Constantinople against the Ottoman Turks. He is sometimes referred to as Constantine XII, based on the erroneous idea that Constantine Lascaris was crowned in 1204.
Mar 19, 2021 · Constantine XI Palaiologos was born on February 8, 1405, the eighth of ten children of Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos and his wife Elena Dragases, daughter of the Serbian ruler Konstantin Dejanovic. Little is known about Constantine’s life before his rise to the throne of Byzantium.
Constantine XI Dragasēs Palaiologos (February 8, 1404 – May 29, 1453) He was the last reigning Byzantine Emperor from 1449 to his death as member of the Palaiologos dynasty. After his death in battle during the fall of Constantinople, he became a legendary figure in Greek folklore as the "Marble Emperor" who would awaken and recover the Empire and Constantinople from the Turks.
- Despot of The Morea
- Reign as Emperor
- Fall of Constantinople and Death
Constantine became the Despotes of the Morea (the medieval name for the Peloponnesus) in October 1443, ruling from the fortress and palace in Mistra. At the time, Mistra, a fortified town also called Sparta or Lacedaemon due to its proximity to the ancient city,was a center of arts and culture rivalling Constantinople. After establishing himself as the Despot, Constantine worked to strengthen the defence of the Morea, including reconstructing a wall across the Isthmus of Corinth called the "Hexamilion" (Six-mile-wall), on the suggestion of the famous scholar and teacher of his, Plethon. In summer 1444, he launched an invasion of the Latin Duchy of Athens from the Morea, swiftly conquering Thebes and Athens and forcing its Florentine duke to pay him tribute. The Duchy was ruled by Nerio II Acciaioli, a vassal of the Ottoman Sultan. The Turks, frustrated by the attempt of the Greeks to expand from the Morea into central Greece started raising an invading army. Two years later, in autu...
Constantine XI married twice: the first time on 1 July 1428 to Theodora Tocco, niece of Carlo I Tocco of Epirus, who died in November 1429; the second time to Caterina Gattilusio, daughter of Dorino of Lesbos, who also died, during childbirth, in 1442. He had no children by either marriage. After his coronation, in 1451, Constantine XI sent a commission under George Sphrantzes asking Mara Branković, daughter of the Serbian Despot Đurađ Branković and Byzantine princess Irene Kantakouzene, by then the widow of Murad II, to marry him (Maria had been allowed to return to her parents in Serbia after the death of Murad). The proposal was welcomed by her father Đurađ Branković, but it foundered on the objection of Maria herself who had vowed that "if God ever released her from the hands of the infidel she would lead a life of celibacy and chastity for the rest of her days". Accordingly, the courtship failed and Sphrantzes took steps to arrange for a marriage with a princess either from Tre...
Despite the foreign and domestic difficulties during his reign, which culminated in the fall of Constantinople and of the Byzantine Empire, contemporary sources generally speak respectfully of the Emperor Constantine. When his brother, Emperor John VIII Palaiologos, died childless, a dispute erupted between Constantine and his brother Demetrios Palaiologos over the throne. Demetrios drew support for his opposition to the union between the Orthodox and Catholic churches. The Empress Helena, acting as regent, supported Constantine. They appealed to the Ottoman Sultan Murad IIto arbitrate the disagreement. Murad decided in favor of Constantine and on 6 January 1449 Constantine was crowned in the cathedral at Mistra by the local bishop. It was rare but not unprecedented for an emperor to be crowned in a provincial city. The founder of the dynasty of Palaiologos had been crowned at Nicaea, Asia Minor, John Cantacuzene at Adrianople, Thrace. But they had been thought proper that a second...
Before the beginning of the siege, Mehmed II made an offer to Constantine XI. In exchange for the surrender of Constantinople, the emperor's life would be spared and he would continue to rule in Mistra, to which, as preserved by G. Sphrantzes, Constantine replied: He led the defence of the city and took an active part in the fighting alongside his troops in the land walls. At the same time, he used his diplomatic skills to maintain the necessary unity between the Genoese, Venetian and the Greek troops. He died on 29 May 1453, the day the city fell. His last recorded words were: "The city is fallen and I am still alive", and then he tore off his imperial ornaments so as to let nothing distinguish him from any other soldier and led his remaining soldiers into a last chargewhere he was killed. Soldiers were sent hastily to search amongst the dead and the first that was believed to be the emperor's, a body that had silk stockings with an eagle embroidered in it, the head was decapitated...
A legend tells that when the Ottomans entered the city, an angel rescued the emperor, turned him into marble and placed him in a cave under the earth near the Golden Gate, where he waits to be brought to life againto conquer the city back for Christians. While serving as ambassador to Russia in February 1834, Ahmed Pasha presented Tsar Nicholaswith a number of gifts, including a jewel-encrusted sword supposedly taken from Constantine XI's corpse. Constantine XI's legacy was used as a rallying cry for Greeks during their war for Independence with the Ottoman Empire. Today the Emperor is considered a national hero in Greece. During the Balkan Wars and the Greco-Turkish War, under the influence of the Megali Idea, the name of the then-Greek king, Constantine, was used in Greece as a popular confirmation of the prophetic myth about the Marble King who would liberate Constantinople and recreate the lost Empire. Constantine Palaiologos' legacy is still a popular theme in Greek culture. Th...
- Brief History
- Saintly Status
- See Also
- Further Reading
- External Links
Constantine was the son of Emperor Manuel II. He was trained as a soldier and in 1441 conquered the Morea Peninsula of Greece. It had long been under the Frankish principality of 'Achaia' Constantine was crowned Emperor January 6, 1449 AD succeeding his brother. A little less than five years later in 1453 AD he was killed during the final assaults by the Turkish Sultan, Mehmed II on Constantinople. Constantine, with some 8,000 Greeks, Venetians, and Genoese, had faced 150,000 Turkish besiegers under the Sultan, and after almost two months of heroic defense, directed by the emperor, the city and the empire fell. Constantine died fighting with the last of his men.. Going back to Augustus and the ancient Roman Empire, he was the 138th and last Roman Emperor. 1. Constantine XI Palaiologos 2. Statue of Constantine XI Palaeiologos, Mystra, Greece 3. Close up of Statue
Orthodox do not consider Constantine XI a saint, though there are some who incorrectly, personally consider him so because of their love of the Byzantine (Roman) Empire. However, the last Emperor has never been recognized as a Saint due to his heretical beliefs and his compromising of the Faith in order to gain material aid from Latin lands. When the Empire was in need, he sought Latin military aid by reaffirming the heretical statements of the Council of Florence.. And it is said that he defiled the Church of Agia Sophia the day/night before the Fall with a blended Divine Liturgy and Latin mass. In attempting to preserve an earthly Empire, he lost a Heavenly Kingdom. In contrast, there is Tzar Lazar of Serbia, who gave up an earthly Kingdom for the Heavenly. The Faith is always more important than earthly possessions.UNESCO World Heritage site of MystrasSt. Ipomoni, Born as Helena Dragaš
Donald M. Nicol. The Immortal Emperor: The Life and Legend of Constantine Palaiologos, Last Emperor of the Romans. Cambridge University Press, 2002. ISBN 0521894093, 9780521894098 (174 pp)
The fourth son of Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, Constantine was born on February 8, 1405.
Jun 09, 2020 · Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos is not only remembered for being the last Byzantine Emperor who put up a brave last stand against the Ottomans, but also for his last speech to his officers and allies before the Fall of Constantinople on May 29, 1453 by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II.
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