Map of the Byzantine Empire 1453 AD

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On the eve of it's final battle for survival, Byzantium was reduced to a few isolated territories surrounded by the Ottoman Empire, which had experienced a rapid expansion in power and territorial extent. Constantinople, still under Byzantine control, but situated in the heart of Ottoman territories, had become an anomaly and irritant, which the Sultan Mehmet II finally removed on 29 May 1453 after an epic siege and heroic last-ditch defence.

The long story of the Roman-Byzantine Empire was over. But even in its final centuries, the Empire generated a cultural life of great vitality and influence which belied its lack of temporal power.

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