Military Review

The fall of Constantinople: alarming parallels

The fall of Constantinople: alarming parallelsMany philosophers, theologians and mystics firmly convinced that the past, present and future are inextricably woven into the living tissue of a linear historical time. Most ambitious and meaningful historical events are not completed and not exhausted, no matter how long ago they happened. And this is probably the main thing that history teaches us. If only he teaches ...
At the very least, sometimes it raises anxious, uncomfortable questions, such as: does anything change in human history at all? Not in the scenery and stage setting, but in essence ... So that it would not seem as if life moves along the same circle that inexorably closes the ends of the circle ...

29 May 1453 of the year under the blows of 120-ti thousandth army of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II fell Constantinople. And together with the capital fell thousand-year, one of the greatest in the history of mankind, the Byzantine Empire. The last Emperor of Byzantium perished heroically in the thick of the last battle, which flared up in the gaps of the collapsed wall of the great city. And his name was Constantine, just as 1123 had been called before his great predecessor, the name of which was the name of the legendary city, which now goes to the hidden depths of history. The circle closed, and Ouroboros bit its tail again.

In the death of Constantinople there is something gloomy, mysterious and at the same time inexorably edifying. When the army and the fleet of Mehmed II approached the city, a little more than 12-thousand defenders emerged on the walls of the once-million city, of which about 7 thousand were professional soldiers. Four and a half thousand were militias, plus another 700 order of Genoese mercenaries and about the same number of other variegated allied volunteers.

Given that the total length of the city walls was several tens of kilometers. This, of course, was already agony. The heroic agony of a great empire, in essence obsolete, exhausted itself. The point is not even that the city fell. The fact is that the population of the city, even though it had long gone through its best times, at that time numbered over 90 thousand people.

And in the moments of mortal danger these 90 thousands managed to squeeze out some mockingly pathetic 4,5 thousands. And this means that the empire was no longer there, only the outlines remained, the fragrant smoke of the centimeters, the evening evangelism, fabulous memories of the long gone glorious past.

And I can’t get rid of this annoying and disturbing image, which is again twisting time in a constantly closing circle. I remember the stories of my father and mother, shots of the military chronicles, fragments of Soviet military films, I see huge lines of volunteers crowding around the military offices that cannot cope with the stream of people who want to fight and win.

I look through time and I can’t give a sure answer to the typically typical Russian question that rises up to its full height: if tomorrow is a war, will there be overwhelmingly recruiting stations willing to give the debt of honor and valor to the Fatherland today, or will it happen to us So what happened to 563 a year ago with the last completely degenerated remnants of the Byzantine Empire?

In my opinion, as a coherent and well-studied phenomenon, the history of Byzantium provides a very fertile ground for very fruitful reflections on the most pressing problems of our time and even for predictions for the future. So, summing up the main causes of the fall of Byzantium, described in the works of the greatest Russian historians of the Byzantinists (V. Vasilyevsky, Y. Kulakovsky, F. Uspensky, G. Ostrogorsky, D. Obolensky and A. Vasilyev), one involuntarily reveals the alarming and, alas, absolutely distinct parallels with modern Russian reality.

I will try to give a brief synopsis of the internal causes of the fall of Byzantium listed by our eminent historians, and I will make the conclusions (quite obvious, however, obvious) to the readers themselves.

1. The oligarchic principle (existing at different stages directly or veiled) of the public administration system. The coalescence and deep diffusion of public and private structures, total corruption, the loss of effective levers of government and, as a result, a catastrophic decrease in the role of government regulation.

2. Loss of state control over finances, uncontrolled outflow of capital abroad, reduction of production, goods and products, speculative nature of the entire financial system. Structural distortions of public funding, a sharp decrease in the cost of education, science and culture.

3. Oligarchic decay, the struggle of clans and the opposition of elites, oblivion of the principles of public good.

4. Decorative, selective and corrupt principle of the functioning of the judicial system.

5. Spiritual degradation, the weakening of the religious foundations uniting the citizens of the empire, the betrayal of the faith of the fathers, the division of elites into Westerners and traditionalists, a humiliating union with Rome on the principles of subordination, the complete elimination of the very similarity of a coherent state ideology, the disappearance of civil consensus.

6. Demographic problems, decline in the birth rate, changes in the ethnic composition of the population, especially in the border areas, the settlement of the border areas by peoples who are not going to integrate into the empire and do not share the country's religious, everyday, cultural traditions. Creating enclaves, the growth of separatist sentiment.

7. Full mutual alienation of the ruling elite and the population (citizens) due to the growing property inequality, ideological vacuum, total corruption and the principles of favoritism when appointed to public office.

Neither add nor subtract! I don’t even know who it is about, about the Byzantine period of decline or about modern Russia. It looks like a detailed, in the language of art historians, hyperrealistic portrait of our present, which can repeat the sad Byzantine past.

From myself, I will add to this synopsis also a distracting attention of foreign policy diplomatic activity that flows into apathy of the population, which, however, cannot hide the sweetish and distinct smell of social disintegration. Here you have “the deeds of bygone days, the stories of old times deep”. But, alas, the story still only entertains, but teaches nothing.

Not being a fanatical admirer of the idea of ​​statism, nevertheless, I constantly recall the statement of Arthur Schopenhauer, who brilliantly formulated the very idea of ​​a social contract and expressed in the spirit that the state is an iron muzzle on the feral mouth of human egoism. The egoism that separates us all and therefore extremely dangerous, for: “[In] this kingdom, divided in itself, will become empty; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. ” (Matt. 12: 25).

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  1. kg pv
    kg pv 18 September 2017 15: 14
    And in fact, until I read about submission to Rome, I thought it was for Russia today. recourse
  2. mishastich
    mishastich 18 September 2017 15: 19
    A beautiful essay, having recently re-read the book of the Byzantine army of the 4th-12th centuries, came to similar conclusions.
    Especially, if we take as a basis that RI is the era of principate, the USSR is Konstantin, then the Russian Federation is Komnins.
  3. Varyag77
    Varyag77 18 September 2017 15: 34
    All right. Byzantium is the only copy of Russia in the history of mankind. Well, or vice versa. Multinationality, imperialism, Orthodoxy. The Byzantines struck a terrible blow in 1204, the Crusaders plundered the city. Constantinople was never able to recover from this pogrom. In Russia, 1917, the looting and export to the West of gold and the values ​​of the Empire. Against Byzantium was the whole west, including the Jewish kagal, who sponsored the crusaders and set them on Constantinople. Now the same is against Russia. Unfortunately, the history of Byzantium is not something that is not studied enough. She does not pay attention at all. But in vain. If you want to answer your question, what can be with Russia in the current state of affairs, then the history of Byzantium gives an exhaustive answer.
    1. venaya
      venaya 18 September 2017 16: 22
      Quote: Varyag77
      .. In Russia, 1917, the looting and export to the West of gold and the values ​​of the Empire. ..

      In 1991, an almost complete analogy, with the exception of some not fundamental "innovations." In addition to the export of values, in both cases, industrial production was further destroyed, that is, the basis of the state economy. It is reported that since 1991 alone, today they have managed to withdraw more than $ 2,5 trillion to offshore companies, and after all, prom. production destroyed an even more impressive amount. Recovery is underway, but very slowly, many destroyers, unfortunately, are still in power, so they should be dealt with.
      1. Varyag77
        Varyag77 18 September 2017 17: 34
        Absolutely agree. That is, Russia was plundered 3 times. In troubled times, in 1917, and of course in 1991
  4. inkass_98
    inkass_98 18 September 2017 16: 09
    I wrote a diploma in 93 on this subject. In the end, he cited approximately the same arguments and analogies in the context of the collapse of the USSR, which caused the approval of the commission wink .
  5. Garik23
    Garik23 18 September 2017 16: 45
    author, your article was stolen and posted on Comte
  6. R1H1
    R1H1 18 September 2017 16: 49
    And in the moments of mortal danger these 90 thousand managed to squeeze out some mockingly miserable 4,5 thousand from themselves. And this means that the empire was no longer there, only the outlines remained, the fragrant smoke of censers, the evening gospel, .......................
    And ........... 1. The oligarchic principle (existing at different stages directly or in disguise) of the public administration system.

    This is Ilya Ryabtsev’s visit to Gundyaev, the ion will explain that it was good, and for Russia such an outcome is good ... priests will tell him ...
  7. Lex.
    Lex. 18 September 2017 17: 49
    The fact is that the population of the city, even if it had long survived its best times, at that time totaled more than 90 thousand people
    The USSR who went to defend someone none of the Muscovites all went for Yeltsin
    1. already a Muscovite
      already a Muscovite 19 September 2017 01: 36
      Okay to invent ... In the USSR, almost everyone decided that they live poorly ... Especially during the perestroika years ...
    2. IS-80_RVGK2
      IS-80_RVGK2 19 September 2017 08: 52
      Quote: Lex.
      The USSR who went to defend someone none of the Muscovites all went for Yeltsin

      Including those Jewish comrades who are now writing to us from Israel about how we live here incorrectly.
      1. Lex.
        Lex. 20 September 2017 10: 02
        I don’t write anything to you. I’ve been in Israel since 2000, the USSR since 91, I disappeared I was 17 years old, so you don’t have to drive that you protected the USSR?
        Maybe we recall Muscovites, but weren’t they climbing such barriers for Yeltsin 90%, it wasn’t necessary to bring down all Jews here, I’m Belarusian, I’m a Jewish wife, so I didn’t attack
    3. Stas157
      Stas157 19 September 2017 19: 51
      Quote: Lex.
      The USSR who went to defend someone none of the Muscovites all went for Yeltsin

      No one went anywhere. All of Russia watched this performance on television. The people practically did not take part. It was a struggle of the elites. Gorbachevskaya was weaker.
      1. Lex.
        Lex. 20 September 2017 10: 06
        It’s not the hunchback who’s to blame, but the elite has degenerated, the hunchbacked Thatcher has noticed this henpecked wife of his wife, the father is represized, so she did the politics
  8. Socialism 2.0
    Socialism 2.0 18 September 2017 17: 53
    I love Russia - Putin’s power is not there, it’s anti-people .. I’m not going to fight for this power. But I will not give a descent to foreigners either. Cognitive dissonance however wassat
    1. Karen
      Karen 18 September 2017 18: 08
      We can add that the guns used by the Turks to break through the walls of the fortress were the designs of the Hungarian gunsmith Orban - he was refused financing in Hungary in his plans, and he turned to the Sultan.
      1. Kenxnumx
        Kenxnumx 18 September 2017 18: 38
        There were Slavs among the besiegers.
    2. Uma palata
      Uma palata 18 September 2017 18: 09
      Vlasovites also reasoned.
      1. Socialism 2.0
        Socialism 2.0 19 September 2017 00: 12
        Vlasovites are traitors. And you should think before you say something
        1. already a Muscovite
          already a Muscovite 19 September 2017 01: 39
          Why is anti-people power ?? I personally voted for Putin. Like many of my friends ... Maybe you are just stsikuny? ..
          1. Socialism 2.0
            Socialism 2.0 19 September 2017 17: 45
            And among my friends, relatives, not one. “By the fruits you know them” - what is he doing there for the people, eh? But for your Rotenberg friends and other "judokas" - you are always welcome.
            1. already a Muscovite
              already a Muscovite 19 September 2017 18: 08
              Well, there are always more normal people than any exotic there ...
    3. Galleon
      Galleon 21 September 2017 18: 49
      In any situation, they are not fighting for power, they are fighting for their homeland. I'm already being taken out of the military enlistment office with a kick in the ass due to age and due to illness. But I would go to war, but no, so the son will go for both of us. And for you, zhrebetnichka, we will go to war, only we won’t give your hands. So that you all your life lay on the couch with one discord, and never with a decent woman.
  9. Kenxnumx
    Kenxnumx 18 September 2017 18: 37
    The author forgot one of the most important things. The Turks capturing another area immediately reduced taxes.
    1. Cossack 471
      Cossack 471 18 September 2017 23: 27
      Everything in the article is correct. None of us wanted the collapse of the Union. but no one came out to defend. And now no one will come out. the people then understand to whom and what belongs in the country. For the good of others, there are unlikely to be many who wish to die. Powerful. hello! Did you teach history at school? She punishes those who do not know her.
      1. mac789
        mac789 19 September 2017 00: 22
        Our bosses are here on a business trip. Where did a bunch of former Russian ministers come up? ...
    2. aybolyt678
      aybolyt678 19 September 2017 00: 53
      Quote: Ken71
      The Turks capturing another area immediately reduced taxes.

      and they also demanded everyone to repeat the phrase three times - la illa il alla ve mohammed rasul alla
      There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet. otherwise ax head
    3. already a Muscovite
      already a Muscovite 19 September 2017 01: 42
      Why are you lying ?? Muslims everywhere introduced a tax for non-Muslims, which was 5 times more than the previous tax ... Otherwise, who would go into Muslimism ??
      1. Karen
        Karen 19 September 2017 06: 53
        There was one scanty moment here in Islamization ... A Christian who adopted Islam became legally the heir to the property of his relatives ...
  10. Pecheneg
    Pecheneg 20 September 2017 08: 18
    Well, the parallels are drawn, the analysis, too. There is an opportunity now to take measures to prevent the end of a similar end to Byzantium. As they say, whoever is warned is armed.