United States

EMBCA Commemorates 570th Anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople

NEW YORK – The East Mediterranean Business Culture Alliance (EMBCA) presented the 570th Anniversary Commemoration of the Fall of Constantinople (Tuesday, May 29, 1453) webinar panel discussion on May 28. The panel discussion was introduced by Lou Katsos, EMBCA’s President and Co-Moderated by him and Marina A. Belessis Casoria, EMBCA’s Executive Vice President. The highly distinguished panelists for this unique historical discussion included Prof. Dr. Johannes Niehoff-Panagiotidis of the Freie Universität Berlin; Dr. Constantine G. Hatzidimitriou, Adjunct Assistant Professor at St. John’s University and the City University of New York (CUNY); Professor Ilias Yerenis of Ionian University; and Author/Poet, Prof. Nicholas Alexiou, and Director of the American Hellenic Project (HAP) at Queens College CUNY.

“The fall of Constantinople, also known as the conquest of Constantinople on Tuesday, May 29, 1453 after a 53-day siege was a seminal event in world history in the late Middle Ages and effectively marked the end of the last remnants of the Roman Empire, later called ‘Byzantine’, which amazingly lasted nearly 1500 years,” Katsos said in his introduction. “Among many historians, the fall of Constantinople is considered the end of the medieval period as well as a turning point in military history. The exodus of many of the Hellenes to what later became Italy as a result of this event also marked the beginning of the Renaissance.”

“Constantinople, the New Rome, had been the Roman imperial capital since its consecration in 330 under Constantine the Great and named later after him,” Katsos continued. “Although the city was besieged many times until its fall 11 centuries later in 1453 it was captured only once before during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 when a Latin state was formed and the remainder of the Empire splintered into a number of successor states of Nicaea, Epirus, and Trebizond. The successor states fought as allies against the Latin establishments, but also fought among themselves for the Roman Byzantine throne.”

“Although the Nicaeans eventually reconquered Constantinople from the Latins in 1261, reestablishing the Roman/ Byzantine Empire under the Palaiologos dynasty there was little peace as the weakened empire fought off successive attacks by the Latins, Serbs, Bulgarians, and Ottoman Turks,” Katsos noted. “It was further weakened between 1346 and 1349 by the Black Death that killed almost half of the population of Constantinople, further depopulation by the general economic and territorial decline that ensued, as well as internal religious strife as a result of the agreements resulting from the Council of Florence in 1439 with the Latin West. By 1450, the empire had shrunk to a few square kilometers outside the city of Constantinople itself, the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara and the Peloponnesos with its cultural center at Mystras. The Empire of Trebizond, an independent successor state that formed in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade, was also present at the time on the coast of the Black Sea. The city’s conquest by Sultan Mehmed II and the defeat of the vastly outnumbered Roman Byzantines and the death of Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos marked the end of the Empire although the Morea, Trebizond, Theodoro, and Epirus continued as Roman / Byzantine remnant states until their conquests in 1460, 1461, 1475 and 1479, respectively. After conquering the city, Mehmed II made Constantinople the new Ottoman capital, replacing Adrianople.

This event was presented in the memory of Dr. Marios Philippides who passed away December 27, 2022, and was Emeritus Professor in the Department of Classics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He published among other things many articles and books relating to the fall of Constantinople including his monumental 2011 study, written with Walter K. Hanak, The Siege and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453: Historiography, Topography, and Military Studies.

Prof. Hatzidimitriou began his presentation by speaking about his friend and colleague Dr. Philippides, noting that “he was a very generous scholar, very supportive of myself and everyone else… there was no one like him in terms of the siege.”

Hatzidimitriou then discussed two examples of Byzantine resistance in Thrace and Central Greece prior to the conquest and summarized some of the observations Dr. Philippides made concerning the siege.

Prof. Dr. Johannes Niehoff-Panagiotidis noted that “the shock of 1453 was so heavy that in the long run this sense of deep loss of an empire led to the establishment of the modern Greek democracy, you had in the beginning of 1821, you had always this dream of reconquering Constantinople which ended in the disaster of Smyrna in 1922, then finally the majority of the Greek nation woke up that there is no way back to the empire because today you are dealing with national states, the moment that you try to transform the memory of lost empire into a national memory, you are lost.”

Prof. Yerenis spoke about how the event of the fall had an impact on the collective memory of that generation of Byzantines and how this event became a collective memorial experience and was integrated into the wider perspectives, expectations, successes and failures for the Greek nation-state in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Prof. Alexiou noted that “the dismantling of the empire did not bring about the dismantling of Hellenism” and pointed out “the ideological shift from the idea of empire to a national idea.”

Video of the discussion is available on EMBCA’s YouTube page: https://shorturl.at/mvyFX.


ATHENS – Young Greek entrepreneurs are achieving remarkable commercial success while contributing to the well-being of the society and the future of Greece.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.


Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.