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           An objective comparison of the two powers, the Roman and the Ottoman, shows us that neither the Ottomans were too strong, nor the Romans were too weak*. In other words, it was not a one-sided war. Each side had their own superior qualities and advantages. They were both strong opponents, Romans were experienced defenders, Ottomans were powerful aggressors.

            Perhaps the most visible superiority of the Ottomans was the numbers. According to objective sources**, the Ottoman army numbered about 80.000 troops. Some of these troops were janissaries. Janissaries were professional soldiers, i.e. a standing army. At that time, the Ottomans were the only power in Europe with a standing army. European kings collected soldiers at wartime. During peace, there were no armies in Europe. The Romans had about 7.000 soldiers to defend the city. The total population of the city of İstanbul was about 50.000 at that time.

            The big difference between the numbers should not be misleading because the Romans were famous defenders and they had the biggest and strongest walls in the world. These walls were about 20 kilometers around the city and were always new. The Romans looked after their walls. Besides, the Romans were quite confident because many armies had besieged İstanbul before, none with success(1). For them, the Ottomans were only another besieger. So, their morale was great. They also believed that Europeans were going to help them soon.

            Against the strong and famous walls of İstanbul, however, the Ottomans had big guns. No one had made or used such big guns before. The Ottomans had another great advantage too; it was logistics. To put it simply, besieging armies are usually far from home. So, they often have problems in finding essential supplies such as water and food. The Ottomans, however, were at home. The Turkish land was all around İstanbul. It seemed that İstanbul was a foreigners’ house within the house of the Turks. This is also one of the reasons why Fatih was so eager to capture the city. Would you like to have foreigners living in a tent in your house? Of course we can put an ironic question from the Roman perspective: would you like foreigners to build a big house around your small house and imprison you in your own house? The Romans were foreigners to Turks but Turks were foreigners to Romans too. In short, both opponents were at home and therefore they didn’t have logistical problems.

            It is clear that the Ottomans seemed far stronger than the Romans. However, the Romans were not hopeless. They believed in themselves. They had frustrated many besiegers before. They believed that with their big walls and experience they would defeat Fatih too.

            Despite his superior power***, Fatih (Mehmed II) was neither complacent nor arrogant. In other words, he was not too hopeful****. He didn’t underestimate his opponents. We can understand it from the fact that he made serious preparations with detailed plans.

            In conclusion, it was not a one-sided war. It was going to be a serious and fierce battle between two strong opponents.

*neither…….nor =ne o, ne bu; ne öyle ne böyle. Neither the Ottomans were too strong, nor the Romans were too weak =Ne Osmanlılar aşırı güçlüydü, ne de Romalılar aşırı zayıftı.


**According to objective sources =tarafsız kaynaklara göre


***Despite his superior power =Üstün gücüne rağmen


****Bir sıfatın başına “too” getirilmesi o sıfata olumsuz bir anlam katar. Too hopeful =Aşırı umutlu, fazla iyimser. Yani “too”?”very” diyemeyiz.


(1) The famous Latin invasion of İstanbul in 1204 is not an exception here. The crusaders were on the way to Jerusalem. The Roman Emperor supported them. He was hoping to regain his lands from Turks. So, the crusaders were guests in İstanbul. However, they went astray. They forgot/gave up their original plan and suddenly decided to capture and loot this amazing city. They were true barbarians. They looted and burnt the city and killed many of its inhabitants, their hosts. This event is neither a siege, nor a conquest.


1)     The process leading up to the conquest of İstanbul by Turks was not a one-sided war. Why not?

2)     How many countries in Europe had standing armies at that time?

3)     What were the most important advantages of the Romans?

4)     What were the most important advantages of the Ottomans?

5)     What did the Ottomans have against the formidable walls of İstanbul?

6)     Although the Ottomans were the besiegers they were not logistically disadvantaged. Why not?

7)     Did Fatih think that it would be very easy to conquer İstanbul?



Altı çizili zamirler hangi ifadelerin yerine kullanılmıştır?

1)     they, satır 6:

2)     them, satır 19:

3)     them, satır 21:

4)     they, satır 24:

5)     this, satır 29:

6)     it, satır 40:


Besiege (v) : When an army besieges a city, it surrounds it and doesn’t allow anyone in or out. This army wants to conquer the city. Fatih besieged İstanbul.
Imprison (v): When the police imprison a man, they put him in prison.
Arrogant (adj): If you are arrogant, you feel/think that you are better/more intelligent/handsomer than other people. You think you are the best!
Obama looks very arrogant in this picture.
experienced (adj): “I am a new teacher but Mr. Kemal is an experienced teacher because he started teaching 20 years ago.
defender (n): savunan, savunma yapan
aggressor (n) x defender
visible (adj): If something is visible, you can see it. For example your hand is visible, look at it, you can see it.
yanlış anlamaya yol açabilecek
kendine güvenen, güven sahibi
Essential (adj): =crucial, very very important. Food and water are essential for life.
Eager (adj): If you are eager to do something, you want to do it very much. The children were eager to play football.
Frustrate (v): planını bozmak, hayal kırıklığı yaşatmak
Complacent (adj): If a student is complacent, he thinks that he is good enough and doesn’t need to work more. Cemil got 27 from the maths exam. He hadn’t studied because he was complacent. He thought he didn’t need to study.
Underestimate (v): azımsamak, küçümsemek
Fierce (adj): şiddetli, sert
Sorular / Yorumlar
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