The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 08 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 559 pages of information about The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 08.
and Mahomet II entered his new capital at the gate of St. Romanus, riding triumphantly past the body of the emperor Constantine, which lay concealed among the slain in the breach he had defended.  The Sultan rode straight to the Church of St. Sophia, where he gave the necessary orders for the preservation of all the public buildings.  Even during the license of the sack, the severe education and grave character of the Ottomans exerted a powerful influence on their conduct, and on this occasion there was no example of the wanton destruction and wilful conflagrations that had signalized the Latin conquest.  To convince the Greeks that their orthodox empire was extinct, Mahomet ordered a mollah to ascend the bema and address a sermon to the Mussulmans, announcing that St. Sophia was now a mosque set apart for the prayers of the true believers.  To put an end to all doubts concerning the death of the Emperor, he ordered Constantine’s head to be brought and exposed to the people of the capital, from whence it was afterward sent as a trophy to be seen by the Greeks of the principal cities in the Ottoman empire.

[Footnote 1:  The great Hungarian leader, who long fought against the Turks, and signally defeated them at Belgrad in 1456.—­ED.]



A.D. 1455-1485


Historians themselves declare that no part of English history since the Norman Conquest is so obscure and uncertain as that of the Wars of the Roses.  “All we can distinguish with certainty through the deep cloud which covers that period is a scene of horror and bloodshed, savage manners, arbitrary executions and treacheries, dishonorable conduct in all parties.”  These brutal aspects of that horrid drama of history, running through more than the course of a full generation, are depicted for the mimic stage by Shakespeare, in Henry VI and Richard III, with a vividness that brings before us the ghastly realities of the historic theatre itself, and with such realization of the rude forces at work as calls for all the poet’s refining art to make their representation tolerable to modern spectators.

But the historians, while consciously failing to discover the hidden motives of intrigue and treachery which throughout actuated the parties to this fearful struggle of Englishmen with Englishmen, have nevertheless recorded for us its main outlines and leading episodes with sufficient clearness.  We are enabled to see England as she was in that great transition of her “making”—­in the throes of civil strife, again to be endured two centuries later—­through which she must pass before she could become a “land of settled government.”

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The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 08 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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