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the last of roman emperors
MEHMET the second

Mehmed II was the Ottoman Sultan between 30 March 1432 – 3 May 1481. The name Mehmet is the Turkish version of the name Mohammad. He is commonly known as Mehmed the Conqueror since the time he invated contantinopolis. He was the Ottoman sultan who ruled from August 1444 to September 1446, and then later from February 1451 to May 1481. In Mehmed II's first reign, he defeated the crusade led by John Hunyadi after the Hungarian incursions into his country broke the conditions of the truce Peace of Szeged.


When Mehmed II ascended the throne again in 1451 he strengthened the Ottoman navy and made preparations to attack Constantinople. At the age of 21, he conquered Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) and brought an end to the Byzantine Empire.

After the conquest of Constantinople, Mehmed claimed the title of caesar of the Roman Empire (Qayser-i Rûm), based on the assertion that Constantinople had been the seat and capital of the Roman Empire since 330 AD, and whoever possessed the Imperial capital was the ruler of the Empire. The contemporary scholar George of Trebizond supported his claim. In 1466, the Greek philosopher George of Trebizond legitimized this claim as:

“No one should doubt that you are the Emperor of the Romans. The person, who legally holds the capital city of the Empire, is the Emperor and the capital city of the Roman Empire is Constantinople.”

The claim was not recognized by the Catholic Church and most of, if not all, Western Europe, but was recognized by the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church also viewed the Sultan as protector of Orthodoxy and believed that God had raised the Turks and allowed them to conquer Byzantium in order to safeguard the Church from falling under Catholic domination. Mehmed had installed Gennadius Scholarius, a staunch antagonist of the West, as the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople with all the ceremonial elements, ethnarch (or milletbashi) status and rights of property that made him the second largest landlord in the said empire by the sultan himself in 1454, and in turn Gennadius II recognized Mehmed the Conqueror as successor to the throne.

Arab and Persian authors considered the Empire to be a continuation of the old Roman realm. In Sumatra, Malacca and the Indonesian archipelago, the Sultan was known as the “Raja Rum”, the Roman Raja .


Some historians describesbes Ottoman Empire not as a Turkish Empire but an Empire of two nations which are Greeks and Turks. Thousands of Ottoman statesmen  with Greek origins can be given as examples to this allegation. Besides what happened to the members of the royal family of Constantinopolis is another strong example.


Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos died without producing an heir, and had Constantinople not fallen to the Ottomans he likely would have been succeeded by the sons of his deceased elder brother. Those children were taken into the palace service of Mehmed after the fall of Constantinople. The oldest boy, renamed Has Murad, became a personal favorite of Mehmed and served as beylerbeyi (State Governor) of the Balkans. The younger son, renamed Mesih Pasha, became admiral of the Ottoman fleet and sanjak-bey of the Gallipoli. He eventually served twice as Grand Vizier (Primeminister) under Mehmed's son, Bayezid II. Mesih Pasha whose origin is Bysantine Royal family sieged the İsland Rhodes in 1480 as the Ottoman Grand Admiral.


Mesih Paşa (Above) during the siege of Rhodes

The following account by Panagiotis Charanis, a Greek-American Byzantine scholar and Voorhees Professor of History at Rutgers University, is interesting and an example of how people of Greek origin outside of mainland Greece considered themselves Romans.


Since Charanis was born on the island of Lemnos, he recounts that when the island was taken from the Ottomans by Greece in 1912, Greek soldiers were sent to each village and stationed themselves in the public squares. Some of the island children ran to see what Greek soldiers looked like. "What are you looking at?" one of the soldiers asked. "At Hellenes," the children replied. "Are you not Hellenes yourselves?" the soldier retorted. "No, we are Romans," the children replied.

Pharagraph with the support of Greg Fabic.

This example explains how the Greek society in ottoman lands were accepted as Roman. The Ottomans consistently used the word "Rum" for the Greek people, which is a modified form of the adjective "Roman". In modern Turkish, the word "Yunan" is used to depict the Greek people & the country is named as ''Yunanistan''.  This word actually depicts he western Anatolian region called "Ionia" and the people of Hellenic origin living in the area are called "Ionan". The word Ionan has turned into "Yunan" by taking the letter "Y" in time due to its incompatibility with Turkish pronunciation.

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