By John Freely

Sultan Mehmet II, recognized to his countrymen because the "the Conqueror" and to a lot of Europe as "the Terror of the World," used to be Europe's so much feared and strong ruler.

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Extra resources for The Grand Turk: Sultan Mehmet II - Conqueror of Constantinople and Master of an Empire

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This man, who just became sultan, is young and an enemy of the Christians since childhood, he threatens with proud spirit that he will put into operations certain plans against the Christians. ’ Sphrantzes also learned that Mehmet had sent Murat’s widow Mara back to her father George Branković, the Despot of Serbia. This led him to write to Constantine XI, suggesting that the emperor, who was a widower, marry Princess Mara. ’ Constantine took the suggestion seriously and sent an envoy to Despot George Branković to propose marriage to the princess.

Throughout his reign Cantacuzenus honoured the alliance he had made with Orhan. During that time Orhan thrice sent his son Süleyman with Turkish troops to aid Cantacuzenus on campaigns in Thrace. On the third of these campaigns, in 1352, Süleyman occupied a fortress on the Dardanelles called Tzympe, which he refused to return until Cantacuzenus promised to pay him 1,000 gold pieces. The emperor paid the money and Süleyman prepared to return the fortress to him, but then, on 2 March 1354, the situation changed when an earthquake destroyed the walls of Gallipoli and other towns on the European shore of the Dardanelles, which were abandoned by their Greek inhabitants.

The Seljuk Sultanate of Rum lasted from the second half of the eleventh century until the beginning of the fourteenth century. At their peak, in the first quarter of the thirteenth century, the Seljuks controlled all of Anatolia except for Bithynia, the north-westernmost part of Asia Minor, which was virtually all that remained of the Byzantine Empire in Asia, while the Greek empire of the Comneni dynasty ruled the eastern Black Sea region from their capital at Trebizond. The Byzantine Empire was almost destroyed during the Fourth Crusade, when Latin troops and the Venetian navy captured and sacked Constantinople in 1204.

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