Известия Уральского федерального университета. Серия 2: Гуманитарные науки (2015-12-01)

Turks under the Walls of Constantinople (1422): The Image of the Enemy viewed by the City’s Defenders

  • Tat'jana Viktorovna Kushch

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 17, no. 4(145)
pp. 105 – 115


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John Cananus’ work about the siege and attack of Constantinople in the summer of 1422 by the Osmanli Turks contains important material for image analysis. Relying on the aforementioned account of the events, the author analyzes the image of the enemy in the eyes of average defenders of the Capital of Byzantium. The research illustrates that the majority of the city dwellers, albeit unaware of the peculiarities of intel- lectuals’ anti-Islamic rhetoric, did understand that confrontation with the Islamic world could lead to a loss of their religious identity. Any conflict with Turks was perceived by the people of the epoch through the prism of religious confrontation. However, according to Cananus, the inhabitants of the city did not call Muslims profane or barbarous, and abstained from criticizing their cult or religious rules. The negative image of the enemy is created by alternative means. All the pejorative characteristics have to do with the moral and ethical characteristics of the adversary. Together with that, common Byzantines recognized their courage, bravery and military valor. Without depreciating the enemy’s power, they were ready to recognize the military advantage of the Turks. But it was this overpowering force of the enemy that made Constantinople’s defenders’ feat even more significant.