The Fall of Constantinople and Current Military Matters

In this weekend episode, Victor Davis Hanson talks with cohost Sami Winc about current affairs in Sudan, Syria, and Ukraine, and VDH explains the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and Ottoman power.

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12 thoughts on “The Fall of Constantinople and Current Military Matters”

  1. A few additional points on the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.

    * The story of how Mehmet got ships into the Golden Horn is worth mentioning because it was critical to the Ottoman efforts.

    The Greeks had a chain strung across the entry into the Horn, which they pulled tight to block enemy ships from entering. But Mehmet circumvented it in a spectacular feat: he cut a path through the forest in Galata. Then, in the middle of the night, he had his men take the ships out of the Bosphorus and push them on log rollers up over the hill (I’ve walked that hill: it’s fairly steep) into the Horn. Incredible! All under the eyes of the Genovese who were sitting in Galata tower.

    * The Ottomans favored the word “Ghazi” over “Jihadi.” In Arabic, it roughly means “raider for the faith.” Erdogan makes a point of referring to Kemal Ataturk as “Ghazi Mustafa Kemal” to re-paint him as an Ottoman rather than a Turkish nationalist.

    Here’s a photo of my son at the Theodossian wall, much of which is still intact. You can see both the outermost and innermost walls:

  2. Thank you, VDH and Sami for yet another fascinating description of some history, a little on our current national, sad state, and especially for the background on the Hoover Institute and its founder principal. What an absolute treasure and great mentor. Now I understand Hoover better. Thank you.


    Istanbul was Constantinople
    Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
    Been a long time gone, Constantinople
    Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night
    Every gal in Constantinople
    Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
    So if you’ve a date in Constantinople
    She’ll be waiting in Istanbul

    (Apologies for the frivolity)

  4. On Ukraine: spare us your anger and your sanctimonious “I knews”, Uictor. You spent 8 months ripping Zelenskyy and denigrating him as a madman as well as opposing aid to Ukraine and naysaying the entire fight. If you gave a sh*t about the Ukrainians, you would have used that time to urge that we arm them to the teeth defensively and get it asap with no feet dragging. Own your NatPop and oppose-the-libs-at-all-costs and don’t try to retcon your position like you did on Iraq. You’re getting a situation in Ukraine that you vociferously lent your voice to. Own it.

    1. Zelensky?
      Zelensky, the comic piano player?
      Even a leftist rag published an article stating that up to approx 70% of US aid was lost.
      There is no good reason to continue that bad investment except, possibly, as a cover-up op.

      1. Hi Leroy! Slow day at NRO? Sad to learn that Russia’s running out of ammo too and Wagner group is just plain running?

  5. Victor and Sami,
    The weekend history lessons are great, always learn something new, and want to find out more about the topics your cover. Regarding the farmers of this country, they are the some of the strongest yet most charitable individuals one will ever meet. My 85 year old mother grew up on a farm, and even though her health is failing she works hard every day. Thank you for your podcast.

  6. Thomas O'Brien

    My mother (born in 1912) spent her early years living on the her parents’ homestead in Eastern Oregon where they ran sheep. This was in the high desert.

    There was an old bachelor (widower?) that had a cabin some distance away, but still in line of sight. He had an arrangement with my grandmother. Each evening he would hang a lit lantern on his cabin’s porch as a signal that all was well. If he failed to do so, that would alert her that he needed attention.

    A few year’s before my mother’s passing in 1999 she gave me a metal flour container that my grandmother bought from an itinerant peddler on the desert . Getting into the nearest town of any consequence (Lakeview, OR) happened only a couple of times a year. Mom wanted me to safeguard it as a family keepsake. I have it prominently displayed in my kitchen area.

    As kids we were always encouraged to go barefoot in the summer. If I had a cold or runny nose, my mother gave me a handkerchief that she earlier created by tearing up a worn out bedsheet. I think this reflected the values she was raised with. Nothing was wasted. We never were hungry, and my parents owned their own home. Without exception every evening meal had potatoes.

    When I was in college in Fresno, many students wore cut-offs, AKA bermuda shorts in the hot weather. Not me. It somehow seemed wasteful to pay full price for only half the pants. So, I guess it was a reflection of my frugal upbringing. Eventually I overcame this aversion by my mid-thirties.

  7. Listening to Victor and Sami discuss the Ottoman’s and their openness and willingness to accept,use, and improve on western technology brings to mind China today. This doesn’t bode well for America it seems.

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