He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion. Instead, he believes that the reference to a siege was a later interpolation, influenced by the events of the second Arab siege of 717–718, by an anonymous source that was then used by Theophanes. [40] Conversely, Byzantine prestige reached new heights, especially in the West: Constantine IV received envoys from the Avars and the Balkan Slavs, bearing gifts and congratulations and acknowledging Byzantine supremacy. Theodosius' poem commemorates a decisive naval victory before the walls of the city—with the interesting detail that the Arab fleet too possessed fire-throwing ships—and makes a reference to "the fear of their returning shadows", which may be interpreted as confirming the recurring Arab attacks each spring from their base in Cyzicus. Login with Facebook Muslim incursions intensified, leading to a second Arab attempt at conquering Constantinople in 717–718, which also proved unsuccessful. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. It had only a fraction of the population of centuries before. At the dawn of the seventh century AD, Egypt was a tributary of the Byzantine Empire. [13][12], In spring 669, after receiving additional troops, Fadhala entered Asia Minor and advanced as far as Chalcedon, on the Asian shore of the Bosporus across from the Byzantine capital, Constantinople. "After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Rome became the 'Red Apple,' the ultimate objective of the Muslim Ottomans and the symbol of the triumph of Islam over Christianity. When combined with a large metal chain that had been drawn across the Golden Horn, Constantine was confident that the city’s defenses could repel a naval assault and withstand Mehmed’s land forces until relief came from Christian Europe. Their fleet moved from Gallipoli to nearby Diplokionion, and the sultan himself set out to meet his army. [26] The subsequent peace also gave a much-needed respite from constant raiding to Asia Minor, and allowed the Byzantine state to recover its balance and consolidate itself following the cataclysmic changes of the previous decades. [53][54] The most prominent among them in later tradition is Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, one of the early companions (Anṣār) and standard-bearer of Muhammad, who died of illness before the city walls during the siege and was buried there. If there will be no second conquest of Constantinople, what then is the meaning of those narrations that speak of the ’emergence of dajjal’ shortly after this conquest. However, on May 29, 1453, Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks. This was followed by the landing of Byzantine forces in Syria in 677/678, which began the Mardaite uprising that threatened the Caliphate's grip on Syria enough to result in the peace agreement of 678/679. The Crusade army left Nicaea for Antioch on June 26 and found crossing the arid and mountainous Anatolia difficult. [24][15] Throughout this period, overland raids into Asia Minor continued, and the Arab troops wintered on Byzantine soil. [66], On the other hand, the historian Marek Jankowiak argues that a major Arab siege did occur but that Theophanes (writing about 140 years after the events, based on an anonymous source itself written about 50 years after the events) misdated and garbled the events, and that the proper dating of the siege should be 667–669, with spring 668 for the major attack. The Ottoman cannon created several breaches, but most were too narrow to send troops through. [58] The Chinese histories then explain that the Arabs forced the Byzantines to pay tribute afterwards as part of a peace settlement. Updates? Giustiniani intended to concentrate most of these men at the land walls to the north and west, the centre of which he observed to be the most vulnerable section of the city. [50][51][52], Later Arab sources dwell extensively on the events of Yazid's 669 expedition and supposed attack on Constantinople, including various mythical anecdotes, which are taken by modern scholarship to refer to the events of the 674–678 siege. He turned the largest Christian city in the world into the largest Muslim city in the world. Now devoid of both a long-standing buffer against the Ottomans and access to the Black Sea, Christian kingdoms relied on Hungary to halt any further westward expansion. They mounted a frontal assault of the land walls on April 7, but the Byzantines repelled them and were able to repair the defenses. Sultan Mehmed II transformed Hagia Sophia into an mosque, and the few partisans of the union fled to Italy.…, The fall of Constantinople in 1453 provided humanism with a major boost, for many eastern scholars fled to Italy, bringing with them important books and manuscripts and a tradition of Greek scholarship.…, …the enterprise and during the siege of Constantinople (April 6–May 29, 1453), the opposing views were voiced in two war councils convened at critical moments. The conquest of Istanbul has had such a historical impact on the Turkish and Muslim world to the degree that some historians demarcate the end of the Middle Ages with the city's conquest. Constantinople had also been weakened economically. In May 1453, the Ottomans, led by Mehmed II, defeated the Byzantine Empire and took control of Constantinople, the capital of the Empire. The Eastern Roman Empire was under constant Ottoman pressure ever since the new conquerors appeared in the Anatolia. In contrast to Yazid's expedition, Mu'awiya intended to take a coastal route to Constantinople. [62][63][64], Constantin Zuckerman believes that an obscure passage in Cosmas of Jerusalem's commentary on Gregory of Nazianzus, written in the early eighth century, can only refer to the Arab blockade of Constantinople. The defenders attempted to attack the remainder of the Ottoman fleet in the Bosporus, but they were defeated. He angled one of his cannons such that it could strike the defenders of the chain and then began to construct an oiled wooden ramp upon which he intended to portage his smaller vessels from the Bosporus to the Golden Horn. Emperor Constantine XI is reported to have been killed while either fighting near the breach or fleeing to an escape boat. Constantinople itself became an Ottoman vassal during this period. With the siege of Istanbul , the Ottomans proceeded to establish hegemony over numerous independent Turkish states (Beylik) within Anatolia . [7], The peace lasted until the end of the Muslim civil war in 661, from which Mu'awiya and his clan emerged victorious, establishing the Umayyad Caliphate. On the other hand, echoes of a large-scale siege of Constantinople and a subsequent peace treaty reached China, where they were recorded in later histories of the Tang dynasty. The Second Arab Siege of Constantinople in 717–718 was a combined land and sea offensive by the Muslim Arabs of the Umayyad Caliphate against the capital city of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople. The Ottoman besiegers vastly outnumbered the Byzantines and their allies. It marked the culmination of Mu'awiya's campaign of attrition, pursued steadily since 661. A rout of the defenders ensued, with many of the Venetian and Genoese fighters retreating to their ships in the Golden Horn. The Islamic conquests are not the conquests of an empire which conquers and plunders lands, steals their resources and sends them back to the homeland like Britain and France did in the colonial era, and which the west in general continues to this day. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). As long as it remains (a museum) it means the crusaders' occupation remains." [34][15][35], At the same time, the preoccupation with the Arab threat had reduced Byzantium's ability to respond to threats elsewhere: in Italy, the Lombards used the opportunity to conquer most of Calabria, including Tarentum and Brundisium, while in the Balkans, a coalition of Slavic tribes attacked the city of Thessalonica and launched seaborne raids in the Aegean, even penetrating into the Sea of Marmara. Having encircled Constantinople in full, Mehmed continued his artillery barrage of the land walls through May 29. When Muslim forces failed again in the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople (717-718), conquering the ancient Christian capital became something of an obsession for a succession of caliphates and sultanates. [44][45] Following the conclusion of peace, he moved against the mounting Bulgar menace in the Balkans, but his huge army, comprising all the available forces of the Empire, was decisively beaten, opening the way for the establishment of a Bulgar state in the northeastern Balkans. He asserted this claim with a series of campaigns that thoroughly subjugated both the Balkans and Greece by the late 15th century. On occasions, the Byzantine capital had given shelter to fleeing Ottoman princes … In April, having quickly seized Byzantine coastal settlements along the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara, Ottoman regiments in Rumelia and Anatolia assembled outside the Byzantine capital. In 1452 he reached peace treaties with Hungary and Venice. Crusades - Crusades - From Constantinople to Antioch: Late in May 1097 the Crusaders and a contingent of Byzantine soldiers reached the capital of the Turkish sultanate, Nicaea (now İznik, Turkey), which surrendered to the Byzantines on June 19. He was carried to the rear, and his absence sowed confusion and lowered morale among the ranks. [26][32][36][33], The essential outline of Theophanes' account may be corroborated by the only near-contemporary Byzantine reference to the siege, a celebratory poem by the otherwise unknown Theodosius Grammaticus, which was earlier believed to refer to the second Arab siege of 717–718. They used the peninsula of Cyzicus near the city as a base to spend the winter, and returned every spring to launch attacks against the city's fortifications. Mehmed II and his army were remarkably restrained in their handling of affairs after the fall of Constantinople. According to the report of Theophanes, the Emperor Constantine IV (r. 661–685), upon learning of the Arab fleets' approach, began equipping his own fleet for war. Mehmed then tasked the Hungarian gunsmith Urban with both arming Rumelihisarı and building cannon powerful enough to bring down the walls of Constantinople. Emperor Constantine XI named Giustiniani commander of his land defenses and spent the rest of the winter strengthening the city for a siege. His fleet, equipped with Greek fire, routed the Arab fleet. Preparation for the conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul today) started in 1452. The city's fall also stood as a turning point in military history . The city was incredibly well defended with a giant wall on [48][49] The peace lasted until Constantine IV's son and successor, Justinian II (r. 685–695, 705–711), broke it in 693, with devastating consequences: the Byzantines were defeated, Justinian was deposed and a twenty-year period of anarchy followed. As reported by the Byzantine chronicler Theophanes the Confessor, the Arab attack was methodical: in 672–673 Arab fleets secured bases along the coasts of Asia Minor, and then proceeded to install a loose blockade around Constantinople. The Muslim in those early times knew the importance of the city and its excellent location as well as the prophet’s, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam the prophecy. Constantine's armament included siphon-bearing ships intended for the deployment of a newly developed incendiary substance, Greek fire. [38], Constantinople was the nerve centre of the Byzantine state. Although the sultan attempted to prevent a total sack of the city, he permitted an initial period of looting that saw the destruction of many Orthodox churches. On May 29, 1453, [Ottoman] Sultan Muhammad II entered the city after … He also began to view himself as Kayser-i Rûm (“Caesar of Rome”), the inheritor of the Roman Empire and all its historical lands. In 716, after years of preparations, the Arabs, led by Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik, invaded Byzantine Asia Minor. [41], The failure of the Arabs before Constantinople coincided with the increased activity of the Mardaites, a Christian group living in the mountains of Syria that resisted Muslim control and raided the lowlands. Hungary refused to assist, and, instead of sending men, Pope Nicholas V saw the precarious situation as an opportunity to push for the reunification of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, a priority of the papacy since 1054. According to Muslim tradition, Constantine IV threatened to destroy his tomb, but the Caliph warned that if he did so, the Christians under Muslim rule would suffer. At about the same time, the Muslim army in Asia Minor, under the command of Sufyan ibn 'Awf, was defeated by the Byzantine army under the generals Phloros, Petron and Cyprian, losing 30,000 men according to Theophanes. Muhammad ibn Abdallah's fleet wintered at Smyrna, a fleet under a certain Qays (perhaps Abdallah ibn Qais) wintered in Lycia and Cilicia, and a third fleet, under Khalid, joined them later. Now sultan for the second time, Mehmed II intended to complete his father’s mission and conquer Constantinople for the Ottomans. [4][5][6] Following the murder of Caliph Uthman and the outbreak of the First Muslim Civil War, Arab attacks against Byzantium stopped. ", "The Arabs in Asia Minor (641–750), from Arabic Sources", "Les expéditions des Arabes contre Constantinople dans l'histoire et dans la légende", "Two Arabian sieges of Constantinople (674–678; 717/718)", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Siege_of_Constantinople_(674–678)&oldid=971695839, Naval battles involving the Byzantine Empire, Naval battles involving the Umayyad Caliphate, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 7 August 2020, at 17:30. This was found in the peninsula of Cyzicus on the southern shore of the Sea of Marmara, where a raiding fleet under Fadhala ibn 'Ubayd wintered in 670 or 671. The Arab garrisons were withdrawn from their bases on the Byzantine coastlands, including Rhodes, in 679–680. Mehmed surrounded Constantinople from land and sea while employing cannon to maintain a constant barrage of the city’s formidable walls. [31][32][33] Thus from the Arab sources it is only known that Abdallah ibn Qays and Fadhala ibn 'Ubayd raided Crete and wintered there in 675, while in the same year Malik ibn Abdallah led a raid into Asia Minor. Armenia and Iberia reverted for a time to Byzantine control, and Cyprus became a condominium between Byzantium and the Caliphate. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Finally, the young Muslim navy scored a crushing victory over its Byzantine counterpart in the Battle of Phoenix in 655. The Byzantines attempted to obstruct the Arab plans with a naval attack on Egypt, but it was unsuccessful. Under the Umayyads the continuing conquest of North Africa (665), the second Arab siege of Constantinople (717-718) and the conquest of Tbilisi (736). [30][29], The details of the clashes around Constantinople are unclear, as Theophanes condenses the siege in his account of the first year, and the Arab chroniclers do not mention the siege at all but merely provide the names of leaders of unspecified expeditions into Byzantine territory. The conquest of Istanbul [Constantinople] and the conversion of the Hagia Sophia [Greek for "Holy Wisdom"] into a mosque are among the most glorious chapters of Turkish history. When most of Constantinople was secure, Mehmed himself rode through the streets of the city to the great cathedral of Hagia Sophia, the largest in all of Christendom, and converted it into the mosque Ayasofya. An adjoining sea wall ran along the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara, the latter section being 20 feet (6 metres) high and 5 miles (8 km) long. As the Byzantine chronicler reports, "Every day there was a military engagement from morning until evening, between the outworks of the Golden Gate and the Kyklobion, with thrust and counter-thrust". Mehmed was determined to take the Golden Horn and pressure the Byzantines into submission. Accounts of what followed differ. This can be reconciled either by including the opening campaigns of 672–673, or by counting the years until the final withdrawal of the Arab troops from their forward bases, in 680. Between 60,000 and 80,000 soldiers fought on land, accompanied by 69 cannon. The tomb was "rediscovered" after the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 by the dervish Sheikh Ak Shams al-Din, and Sultan Mehmed II (r. 1444–1446, 1451–1481) ordered the construction of a marble tomb and a mosque adjacent to it. The Byzantine victory was of major importance for the survival of the Byzantine state, as the Arab threat receded for a time. Finally, the Byzantines, under Emperor Constantine IV, managed to destroy the Arab navy using a new invention, the liquid incendiary substance known as Greek fire. Muslim raids against the Cilician frontier zone and deep into Asia Minor began as early as 640, and continued under Mu'awiya, then governor of the Levant. He was given the task of preparing the last great assault. A recent incident in Jerusalem goes a long way in answering this question. According to Howard-Johnston, "The blockade of Constantinople in the 670s is a myth which has been allowed to mask the very real success achieved by the Byzantines in the last decade of Mu'awiya’s caliphate, first by sea off Lycia and then on land, through an insurgency which, before long, aroused deep anxiety among the Arabs, conscious as they were that they had merely coated the Middle East with their power". 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