May 29, 2022
Today marks the 569th anniversary of the final fall of Rome.
On this date, May 29, 1453 the Ottoman Turks finally captured the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire - Constantinople.
While we often refer to it as the Byzantine Empire (named after the original name of the city - Byzantium) it was in fact successor to the Roman Empire. The government remained in continuous operation. Yes, it was more Greek than Roman at the end, but it still was the vestige, albeit shrunken and withered, of the mighty Rome of yore.
I've always found it fascinating that Rome lasted that long.
But that's not the end of the story! This has important international implications today.
In 1472 Ivan III aka Ivan the Great, Prince of Moscow, married one of the Byzantine Emperors nieces, a woman named Zoe Palaiologina (She would change her name to Sophie) which gave Russia the claim they were the "Third Rome". Granted, the Empire had already fallen, but in the Middle Ages that didn't matter so much as the familial relationship.
That is why the king of Russia was called Tsar, a Russification of Caesar.
Much Russian policy today stems from this very claim. They believe they have a right to the Black Sea and have always dreamed of taking Constantinople to make this claim of the "third Rome" solid by controlling the old Imperial capital. So this date in history is germane to the Ukraine war ongoing today!
The Russians want complete control of the Black Sea, thus making any trade that goes through the Bosporus and Dardenelles Russian trade.
Ukraine's possession of any port on the Black posed a problem to the Russian claim of Roman hegemony.
And the Russians stayed in World War I far longer than their public wanted for one simple reason; to take Constantinople. After the Revolution the head of the Provisional Governrnment - a rather dopey fellow named Alexander Kerensky - kept Russia in the war because he knew the war was winding down and after it was over the allies would carve up the old Ottoman Empire and Russia would get the pigslice - Constantinople. But he misread the public on this, who wanted the war over no matter what. They had kicked out the Tsar to end it, for crying out loud! Kerensky tried to keep Russia in and the end result was the Bolshevik October coup. The milder socialism of the Provisional Government people - the Mensheviks, S.R.'s, etc. fell to the violent and despotic Bolsheviks.
Rome was the central concept of Russia, and remains a powerful idea there to this day. Putin fancies himself the new Emperor.
A title claimed from a this date in History, ultimately.
Hat tip: Gaetano Catelli.
Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at
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Posted by: Smm heart at June 01, 2022 05:03 AM (fq8p1)
Posted by: Dana Mathewson at June 01, 2022 09:01 AM (5O9A0)
As you know, I specialized in Russian history in College, with a degree in History and a certificate in Russian Scientific Translation. I would have had a double major with Russian language and another certificate in Eastern Area Studies but I needed one class on the philosophy of Marxism/Leninism and the teacher who taught that was on sabbatical so I couldn't take it. (He was a big liberal anyway.) I would say I have the double major and two certificates; I did all the work needed save this little bit.
I would have done well if that rotten Ronald Reagan hadn't broken the Soviet Unon and ruined any career prospects I had!
Enough bragging. The sad thing is few Americans know or care about history, so what is happening in Ukraine is a complete mystery to them. That makes them easy fodder for the propagandists, who labor mightily on behalf of the Ruling Class, the Chicoms, and the Davos crowd.
Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at June 02, 2022 12:23 PM (OdeZx)
Posted by: Kanpur Matka at September 23, 2022 03:03 AM (8kBxB)
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