balkan states

Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to today’s Eurovision statistical map, the last of the year! I had thought of making my final map one more bit of analysis about this year’s contest, but felt that would be better to keep for next year. Instead, I thought the nicest way to finish off and celebrate a season full of interaction with other lovers of the ESC would be to tackle one of the number of map requests I’ve been sent (I’m working on the others too, they just mostly require a lot more time of rewatching performances.)

This map looks at the average place every country who has taken part from 2008-2017 received across the past decade. Whilst 2008 may seem like a curious choice of epoch, it makes a lot of sense - 2007 was the end of an era in Eurovision, and 2008 was the dawn of a new one. 2007 was a bloodbath for the pre-93 countries often considered “Western” - out of the countries who had to qualify, only Sweden and Ireland passed through to the finals. Huge success for post-93 “Eastern” countries meant that the highest ranked “Western” nation was the hosts, Finland, in a less than glorious 17th place.

This led to some drastic sea changes in 2008 - in my book, not so fairly. Had the west triumphed over the east in similar manner, I doubt there’d be such an appetite for change. The non-automatic qualifiers were split for the first time into two semi finals - not a bad idea in itself, because the semi-finals did have a marathon feel that made for uncomfortable workday evening viewing - but perhaps more significant than that as a change was the introduction of pots, theoretically based on voting record, to try to break up the fabled blocs. Instead of putting through the top 10 from each semi through, the “back-up juries” got to choose one non-qualifier to save - the most famous to benefit from this being Sweden’s Charlotte Nilsson. They went one further in 2009, by bringing back the juries, which would change Eurovision’s trajectory forever - in my eyes, not always in the most positive way.

The big winners of this era with the highest average placings are names that you would expect - Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, who continued to place strongly even after the introduction of juries which led others to slip - alongside the perennial beneficiary of the largest national hype machine in Europe, Sweden, and the country that has perhaps come closest to challenging it and Russia, Italy. Also recently making their way into the group is the juries’ object of desire, Australia. They all have an extraördinary average placing of between 5th and 10th - followed hot on the heels by Armenia, who’ve only failed to qualify once, and Turkey and Bosnia, despite the former’s pigheaded withdrawal and the latter’s pecuniary-issues and near disappearance - and two countries, Greece and Romania, which had always qualified before their trip and DQ, respectively, last year.

The countries in gold “only” have averages of 15 - 19.9, but this belies the fact that they are almost always in the final and often do well. All the Big 5 except for Italy are in this category thanks to their perma-qualification - alongside them, on their own merit, are Norway and Denmark, despite both of their stars having fallen in recent years, Hungary with its massive streak and Serbia with only two non-qualifications in ten years. Georgia is also in this group despite a more mixed qualification rate - when it gets to the final, however, it often does respectably enough to boost their average.

The orange group, finishing in 20 - 24.9 place on average, are very touch and go. They are countries who have an on-off qualification record, like Lithuania and Estonia; who went through a long slump of non-qualifications but have emerged from it, like Israël, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland, or countries who struggled to qualify but whose score is elevated by a win or a very good couple of scores, like Austria and Portugal or Bulgaria. Most of Western Europe, except for Ireland, Switzerland and the microstates, find themselves in this or the gold group.

The three groups below that typically do not qualify. In the red group (25 - 29.9 average placing), we see four nations who have come to be the weakest link in their area, placement-wise: Ireland in Northwestern Europe, Finland in the Nordics, Latvia in the Baltics, and Belarus of the non-Baltic former USSR. We also see Cyprus and a number of Balkan states whose qualification rates have suffered since the semi-finals and reïntroduction of juries.

The shades of purple are countries whose average rank is 30 or worse - that is to say, countries that not only usually fail to qualify, but also don’t even marginally fail to do so. Alongside the microstates, we have the curiosity of countries surrounded by a number of others, who, nonetheless, are short on friends in the contest: Switzerland, Czechia and Slovakia. Check out the full table below!

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Vatra Federation (1912 - )

Vatra, the Pan-Albanian Federation of America, was founded in Boston on 28 April 1912 by Fan Noli and Faik bey Konitza to promote Albanian interests in the United States and, in particular, in the Balkans. It was an amalgamation of the Besa-Besën (Pledge for a Pledge) society and 13 other Albanian organizations in America, and later had 70 branch es throughout the country. Vatra, which in Albanian means “hearth,” was initially headed by Fan Noli, and then from 1921 by Konitza. It was destined to become the most powerful and significant Albanian organization in America. In 1917, in view of the chaotic situation and political vacuum in Albania, it regarded itself as a sort of Albanian government in exile. The Vatra Federation has gone through many ups and downs over the years. It still exists and is presently headed by Agim Karagjozi, with its headquarters in the Bronx, New York.

[Source: Robert Elsie - Historical Dictionary of Albania]

There has been much said, and much more written, about the ancient rivalry between Durmstrang and Koldovstoretz, dating all the way back to the very foundations of the schools. There are those who trace this rivalry to the enmity between Scandinavia and Russia, exacerbated by the constant territorial wars between these countries and compounded by Durmstrang’s growing student population from the Baltic and Balkan states. If you ask the students at Koldovstoretz, they will laugh at Durmstrang and call them dullards and pariahs, while at Durmstrang they call the students of Koldovstoretz thieves and copycats.

 In truth, they are much more similar than they think.

There is a myth, that students from Koldovstoretz are fond of telling, that only the purest of heart may find the school. This, of course, is a lie. Koldovstoretz is as fond of the Dark Arts as Durmstrang is and so, many would argue, not pure of heart at all. The secret of its hiddenness merely lies in the fact that it has been built on the magical island of Kitezh in an unplottable location (rumoured to be Lake Svetloyar, but no one is certain).

As far as their interest in the Dark Arts go, Koldovstoretz can hardly be said to demur from its teaching or its practice, though they will argue tooth and nail that they do not use this magic to consciously inflict harm on people. Indeed, they may not teach its students martial dark magic, or indeed, the concoction of dangerous potions or the use of Unforgivable curses, for this magic is thought to be quite common and simplistic and worthy only of the younger students in the school. The older students, instead, learn how to perform older magic - the zagovors and the zagadka. The former are powerful ritualistic spells which once used to have quasi-religious associations, appealing to the pagan gods and forces of Russia to do their will. Now, these spells may be used to invoke either powerful natural forces – strong winds, or popularly, waves and water – or else may even be used to curse people and bid them feel sorrow and pain until they remove the curses.

While students at other schools ridicule the study of Divination, except for those very dedicated to their art, Divination at Koldovstoretz has always been taught with something approaching national pride, for it was the zagadka that taught Ivan the Terrible and all of muggle Russia a lesson for burning the witches and trying to trick an old seer out of his dues. Studying the zagadka, the careful foretelling of the future – with the power to curse only ever learnt by immensely skilled and powerful seers – is treated with utmost gravity, therefore, and to laugh at them or mock them for doing so is to incur their wrath and has been, on more than one occasion, the cause for war between wizarding Russia and wizarding Sweden.

It is perhaps unfortunate, therefore, that their most famed contribution to the wizarding world is the practice of playing Quidditch on whole trees, not brooms. History has it that first first entered into practice in a Quidditch match against Durmstrang in 1495 - though Durmstrang disputes the historicity and even the veracity of this account.

The story goes that Durmstrang, seeking to humiliate their enemies, challenged them to a Quidditch match, knowing that the students of Koldovstoretz had hitherto shown very little interest in Quidditch as a sport, instead channeling all their energies into learning arcane and obscure forms of magic. If Koldovstoretz won, they would win twelve barrels of gold and the fangs and skin of a fully grown Basilisk. If they lost, they would have to surrender their school to Durmstrang.

No one quite knows why the headmasters of either of these schools agreed to take part in this, but needless to say, the day was set for the match and the two schools chose to meet on neutral ground in a forest in Finland on the 1st of October, 1495.

Complacent about what they thought was an assured victory, Durmstrang chose to celebrate the night before, loudly and obnoxiously, letting the students of Koldovstoretz know what they thought of their Quidditch skills. They were surprised then, when on the day of the match, led by a Russian peasant boy and mudblood no less – horror of horrors – called Mikula Selyaninovich, the Koldovstoretz Quidditch team turned up to the match to play on uprooted tree trunks. After a short and bloody interlude, Durmstrang, thoroughly trounced, fled the match before the snitch could be caught without giving Koldovstoretz their promised reward.

(There are those who suggest that this match led directly to the siege of Viborg castle that year, in an effort to punish those treacherous Swedes.)

So you can see, there is much to be said for that ancient maxim, indeed, that enemies are enemies only because they are too similar to appreciate each other.

(For siriusleenott.)

Romanians have usually insisted on their direct connections to the Western world (not even via Central Europe) and on their missionary role as outposts of  Latinism and civilization among a sea of (Slavic and Turkic) barbarians. While covering the Eastern front during World War I, John Reed reported from Bucharest: “If you want to infuriate a Romanian, you need only to speak of his country as a Balkan state. ‘Balkan!’ he cries. 'Balkan! Romania is not a Balkan state. How dare you confuse us with half-savage Greeks or Slavs! We are Latins.“ This had not always been the case. Even throughout the 19th century, with the rise of "Romanianism” and its emancipation from Hellenism, as well as the purification of its strongly Slavic vocabulary, apartness was not the obsession of the Romanian idea. Reading the travelers’ accounts of a dozen Romanians… one is struck by how much as home they feel when they cross the Danube; their travelogues were written by insiders with an intuitive grasp for situations, behaviours, and words. The idea of uniqueness and complete separateness, the 'cultural Narcissism’ often encountered within 'small cultures’ [which] is the counterpart to the officially entertained isolationism was a later phenomenon, intensified to its extremes after World War I.
—  Imaning the Balkans, Maria Todorova
2

First Serbian Uprising

1.  Battle of Mišar by Afanasij Šeloumov
2.  Death of Hajduk-Veljko Petrović during battle for Negotin 1813 by Stevan Todorovic

Throughout the eighteenth century, Serbian autonomy and political stability both eroded as numerous wars between the Hapsburgs and Ottomans ravaged Serbian lands, prompting thousands of refugees to flee into Hungary. When war did not ravage the countryside, unemployed and restless Janissaries sought wealth at the expense of both Christian and Muslim peasants. In January and February of 1804, tensions came to a head when the Janissaries murdered between 70 and 150 Serbian notables to prevent the nation from establishing a threat to their violent hold over the country. Initially, Selim III ignored the violence in Serbia as he lacked the resources to police his rapidly decentralizing empire. Under pressure, Selim eventually sent Hafiz Pasha to stop the rebellion, but his troops were effectively halted. The Ottoman government appeared willing to grant concessions. Nevertheless, the revolutionaries did not trust the Sublime Porte to successfully enact new regulations and, moreover, Russia had begun hostilities against the Ottomans.

Russia sent an emissary–with much less authority than the Serbians were aware of–to negotiate with Serbian leader Karadjordje Petrovic. The emissary promised Russian assistance, but Russia was soon to negotiate peace and left Serbia in a vulnerable isolated position. Serbia, despite lacking preparedness, held its ground in the countryside until Selim was overthrown by Mahmud II in 1808. Hostilities recommenced in 1809 when fighting between Russia and the Ottomans erupted yet again. Petrovic again promised support and initially gained victories before a crippling defeat at Nis. In 1810 the tides turned when Alexander I of Russia sent troops and supplies directly to Serbian territory. France began its invasion of Russia shortly thereafter and a truce was negotiation without Serbian approval. By the end of the first rebellion in 1813, the Serbians did not have the manpower or resources to continue campaigning. Nevertheless, the Second Serbian Uprising would occur shortly thereafter and carry on the objectives the First Uprising fought for.

Charles and Barbara Jelavich, The Establishment of the Balkan National States: 1804-1920. The University of Washington Press (2000), pp. 26-35.

What actually IS Eurovision??? A Beginners guide

You all may have noticed that Europe seems to go a little bit mad around the same time each year, and suddenly all we can talk about is singing Grannies, and Ukranian people wearing tinfoil, and Conchita Wurst. And I’ve come to realise that a lot of people are sitting through that month or so in complete confusion. What is going on? Why is this happening? What IS this Eurovision thing? Is Europe ok???

Well, in honesty, no. Europe was not ok. Eurovision began back in 1955, when the recently formed European Broadcasting Union decided that a continent still suffering and recovering after nearly half a century of war needed some ‘light entertainment’ that could boost morale, and help promote unity between countries that had spent so long feuding. The answer they came up with was Eurovision - an international singing competition broadcast live to all EBU member states (a HUGE undertaking with 1950s technology.) And since that first contest in Switzerland in 1956, Eurovision has only grown.

In its modern format, Eurovision is MASSIVE. More and more countries are joining the EBU, and all of them are invited to take part.

Not all of them do, but any of the highlighted countries could, and the vast majority of them have entered at least once. (Even Vatican City could enter, although sadly they are one of those that never accepts the invitation. Boo.)

So once these countries have entered what actually happens? What is going on?! Well frankly, its what it says on the tin. A song contest.

Every competing nation chooses one act to send to the contest. The manner in which they choose it varies - many countries will have smaller individual contests, much like an X-Factor or American Idol type show, where the winner becomes that nation’s entry for that year. Here in the UK, we get stuck with whatever the BBC decides to send. But whatever the method of selection there are a few rules - the song must be exactly 3 minutes long. There can be no political messages in the songs. And the song must be written no earlier than six months before the contest airs. Otherwise, each country gets free reign as to what they do.

Once the act is chosen, the contest itself literally lasts a week. Because on average about 40 countries will enter in any given year, the acts are first put into two semi finals. The only countries that don’t have to go through this first are the current hosts, and the ‘Big Five’; Germany, Italy, Spain, France and the UK - the five countries that put the most money into the contest. All other countries are entered into either the first or second semi final, and the 10 acts that recieve the most votes in each semi move forward to the Grand Final.

Once we get to the final, the 20 victorious semi finalists plus the Big Five and the hosts perform in an order usually determined by drawing lots (although some hosts, like Sweden in 2013 will arrange the acts into what they feel is the most ‘interesting’ order.) Once they have all performed, the voting opens and the host country stages some kind of interval act. This can be anything - Sweden went for comedy, Azerbaijan had an impressive display of fire and drums, and Ireland, naturally, had riverdance.

After the interval, the results are announced.

Now this might seem a complex system to explain, but it is very simple. Every country has a set number of points to give out. They have one set of 12 points for their favourite act, sets of 10 and 8 for their second and third favourites, and then the smaller sets of 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 points. They can give any of those sets of points to any country (except themselves!), and which country gets which set of points is determined half by audience vote, and half by a national jury of music experts. So if, for example, most of the Polish audience votes for Lithuania, and the Polish jury puts Lithuania second, Lithuania will probably get Poland’s 12 points.

Sounds complicated perhaps, but believe me its simple in practise. You can watch last years voting here to see how it works.

Anyway once all the votes have been announced, as you’d expect, the country with the most points is crowned the winner. The winning song gets an emotional reprise, the singer gets a trophy, and the winning nation gets the honour of hosting next year. 

So as Austria won last year, this years contest is in Vienna. The year before, Denmark won, so last years contest was in Copenhagen.

And that, in a nutshell, is what Eurovision is! The madness you have probably seen on tumblr is from the more irreverant acts - as each country can enter literally anything they do not always take it seriously, and one of the best parts of the contest is witnessing those more ridiculous songs.

Then of course there are the in-jokes and controversies - like how the UK in the last 20 years has gone from one of the star performers (we have actually won it 5 times thank you very much) to pretty much a laughing stock (our 2006 entry still hurts me today.) Theres the fact that France refuses to sing, or announce results, in any language other than French (giving the rest of us a giggle because they are so consistently stubborn!) And of course, the ‘block voting’ phenomenon - the Scandinavian countries always vote for each other, the Balkan states always vote for each other, don’t ever expect to see Greece and Turkey giving each other points…! Sometimes the votes can be more entertaining than the songs themselves.

And now you know what Eurovision is. So you can join us on 23rd May for this years final!

Map of military movements during the First Balkan War.

The First Balkan War, which lasted from October 1912 to May 1913, comprised actions of the Balkan League (Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro) against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success.  As a result of the war, the allies captured and partitioned almost all remaining European territories of the Ottoman Empire. Ensuing events also led to the creation of an independent Albanian state. Despite its success, Bulgaria was dissatisfied over the division of the spoils in Macedonia, which provoked the start of the Second Balkan War.

The Fall of Constantinople 1453 AD
Part 2 - “Basilic, the Turkish Super Cannon”

Suggested by haruspicus, kirkendauhl, deer-chaser

Part 1 - Backdrop - LINK

As a youth he was taught by mentors and tutors like Mullah Gürani, AkSemseddin and Zaganos. Not only limiting himself to the subjects concerning Islam, he also showed much interest in Christianity, ancient Greek and Byzantine history and the stories of Achilles and Alexander the Great. 

Later known as Abu’l-Khayrat (“Father of Good Works”), he was a great supporter of literature and poetry (which he too was known to write) and went as far as being behind the building of many educational institutions known as ‘madāris’ (schools, universities and colleges) and financially supporting over 30 poets (he was also fluent in many languages like “Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian and Latin”).

“Madrasahs had seven categories of sciences that were taught, such as: styles of writing, oral sciences like the Arabic language, grammar, rhetoric, and history and intellectual sciences, such as logic.” 

SIDENOTE
This has nothing to do with this post but I thought it was interesting. Vlad III of Wallachia (also known as Vlad Dracula, the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and his brother Radu III were sent by their father (Vlad II) as hostages at a young age to the Ottomans in exchange for the Ottomans support in returning Vlad II to the throne. Vlad III and Radu grew up alongside Mehmed II, Radu became close friends with the young Turkish prince while Vlad grew to despise them. Vlad III later returned to the Wallachian throne while Radu remained in the service of Mehmed, was present in the siege of Constantinople and later led the Janissary corps against his brother Vlad III. I may eventually cover Vlad III if enough of you would be interested in it.


Pope Eugene IV sponsored 1/5 of the papal income towards a crusade against the Ottomans. Władysław III of Poland (and Hungary), John Hunyadi and İbrahim II Bey of Karaman (SE Turkey) decided to launch simultaneous attacks against the Ottomans in Anatolia but the Karamans engaged the Ottomans far too soon, engaging them in the spring of 1443 they lost decisively against the armies of Marud II while Hungary and their allies didn’t attack the Ottomans until October.

Karamanids c.1450 AD

The Ottomans fell back and at the Zlatitsa Pass in Bulgaria they used the narrowness to, much like the Spartans at Thermopylae, take away the crusading armies’ numerical advantage. The Ottomans were victorious but as the Crusaders retreated back home they ambushed and devastated the Ottomans who were pursuing them at the Dragoman Pass. Both sides signed the “Peace of Szeged” in August 15th 1444 and Murad II retired soon after, but Władysław III intended on renewing a campaign against them/

Murad II abdicated the throne to his son Mehmed II so he could retire to the city of Manisa to a life dedicated to religion, arts and literature. Seeing this youth as an inexperienced and weak ruler who may follow in the footsteps of his predecessors and invade the Balkans; the old enemies of the Ottomans broke the peace treaty and once again rose up against them. This time the crusade would be against the young and inexperienced Sultan Mehmed II, son of Murad II. Mehmed knowing that he was ill suited to push them back, sent a letter to his father asking him to return from retirement and lead their armies. 

“If you are the Sultan, come and lead your armies. If I am the Sultan I hereby order you to come and lead my armies.”

Murad II headed to the Dardanelles strait where he was met with enemy ships (Genoese and Venetian) blockading the straits and intent on preventing his passage. Murad II marched northward to attempt crossing via the Bosphorus strait instead, here he held off the enemy fleet with gunfire and was able to cross with ease. .

Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits 

He crossed over into the Balkans and defeated the crusader armies at the Battle of Varna (November 10th, 1444) in Bulgaria, it was a decisive victory for Murad II and although both sides were hit with heavy losses the Hungarians lost their king, Władysław III. 

While all of this was happening, in the summer of 1444 Constantine XI spread outward from Southern Greece (The Peloponnese then known as Morea) and took over the Duchy of Athens (whom under Nerio II Acciaioli, were vassals of the Ottomans). Under pressure, Murad II would return to the throne in 1446 and would soon advance against Constantine XI, a campaign which would result in the subjugation of the majority of Greece and the capture of over 60,000 people whom would be sold into slavery

15th century Ottomans - Art by Angus McBride
Osprey - ‘Men at Arms’ series - Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300-1774

In 1448 forces from Hungary and Wallachia marched to the site of Kosovo field is Serbia and a clash known as the ‘Second Battle of Kosovo’ erupted, one which would last from the 17th to the 20th of October. The battle was won by the Ottomans and although both sides were hit with heavy casualties the Balkans states were dealt a deadly blow which would prevent them from assisting Constantinople in 1453 (Mehmed II joined in on this battle commanding the cavalry on the right wing of his father’s army). 

In 1449 AD Constantine XI was made the emperor of Constantinople with the support of Sultan Murad II and in 1451 Murad II died, his son Mehmed II took the throne once again. The great vizier Candarli Halil was long known to be opposed to Mehmed II’s reign and so with his father gone he was now stuck with him, in response Mehmed II promoted his closest advisors Zaganos and Shihab al-Din to the ranks of 2nd and 3rd viziers respectfully.

Zaganos Pasha was a tutor and mentor of Mehmed since the latter’s youth and was also said to be very loyal to him, but some question whether this for the sake of advancement. Zaganos was more of a soldier than a politician (being that he was a Janissary) and as a military commander he believed that the Ottoman Empire must constantly expand, he passed these ideals onto the young prince.

His previous reign showed to his enemies in the Balkans that he was unfit and unready to rule and that his inexperience would allow them to once and for all beat back the Ottomans. As long as the holy city of Constantinople stands under the control of the Byzantines there will always be a provocateur stirring up resistance and those who opposed the Ottomans will always have a secure ally within the midst of the Ottoman territories in the Balkans. The taking of this city would also steal from the Christian’s an important trade position, linking east and west as well as the Black Sea and the Aegean.

The Conqueror by Gentile Bellini (1479)

In the words of Mehmed himself:
“The ghaza [Holy War] is our basic duty as it was in the case of our fathers. Constantinople, situated in the middle of our domains, protects our enemies and incites them against us. The conquest of this city is therefore, essential to the future and safety of the Ottoman state.”

After Mehmed once again became sultan in 1451 a threat arose in the east once again under Ibrahim Bey of Karaman but he was quickly defeated and ran off into the mountains where he sent letters asking for forgiveness. Ibrahim swore to remain peaceful to the Ottomans and Mehmed married his daughter Gulsah Hatun, now with a secured eastern front he began journeying back to Edirne (Adrianople) in the west. 

Constantine XI threatened to incite a civil war between Mehmed and Prince Orhan Celebi; this was seen as a breach of the truce.

Constantine XI’s statue in Athens’ Mitropoleos square.

Candarli Halil Pasha, the Turkish Grand Vizier, replied to this threat:
You stupid Greeks, I have known your cunning ways for long enough. The late sultan was a lenient and conscientious friend to you. The present sultan Mehmed is not of the same mind. If Constantinople eludes his bold and impetuous grip, it will only be because God continues to overlook your devious and wicked schemes.

You are fools to think that you can frighten us with your fantasies when the ink on our recent treaty of peace is barely dry. We are not children without strength or sense. If you think that you can start something, do so. If you want to proclaim Orhan as sultan in Thrace, go ahead. If you want to bring the Hungarians across the Danube, let them come. If you want to recover places that you lost long since, try it. But know this: you will make no headway in any of these things. All that you will do is lose what little you have.

The Pope saw Constantinople’s dire situation was the opportune time to send assistance (in the amount of about 200 men) and establish a Decree of Union with the western church but this backfired when local orthodox inhabitants under the lead of a monk named Gennadius rioted within the city.

The last Megas Doux “Grand Duke” of Constantinople named Loukas Notaras:
“Better to see a Turkish turban in the midst of the City than the Latin mitre”

Rumeli Hisari

Mehmed attempted to cross into the Balkans via the Dardanelles strait but met resistance from the Christian naval forces so he instead crossed the more northerly Bosphorus strait which was supported by Ottoman cannons and Fort Anadolu Hisari. During the ‘Crusade of Varna’ Mehmed II noticed that his father easily crossed the Bosphorus strait under the protection of gunfire and so upon landing in Europe he ordered the building of a great fortress on the European side named Rumeli Hisari or “Roman Rock / Fortress” (construction began in 15 April 1452, completed in 31 August 1452). The Turks also called Rumeli Hisari ‘Bogaz Kesen’ while the Greeks called it the ‘Laimokopia’, both of these terms meant “cutter of the Straits” and “cutter of the throat”

This fortress was parallel to another one (Anadolu Hisari, “Anatolian Rock / Fortress”) which was built by his great grandfather Bayezid I in 1394 AD on the Anatolian side. These two fortresses were used to block resources from reaching Constantinople as well as military support. Two great trade and naval powers of the time were the Venetians and Genoese who were threats in the Aegean and Black Sea respectively, if the holy city of Constantinople was to fall into danger it was inevitable that they would supported them.

Rumeli Hisarı, the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge can be seen in the background.

Mehmet assembled a fleet of 6 war galleys, 18 galliots and 16 supply vessels which would be used support these twin forts and the Bosphorus strait. Rumeli Hisari was garrisoned by 400 Janissaries who would levy a tax to ships that wished to pass through the Bosphorus straits, all those who declined to do so were sunk by cannon fire. The Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI Palaiologos complained about the construction of the Rumeli Hisari on the European side of the straits but Mehmet replied saying that nothing beyond the walls Constantinople belonged to them.

Although Candarli Halil was a powerful and influential politician from a family who had served the Ottoman sultans for generations, he began to become seen as a traitor who sides with the west but this is seen by some modern historians as rumors spread by his rival vizier Zaganos Pasha. When Mehmed reached Edirne he took command of the Janissaries away from Candarli Halil.

Basilic, The Great Ottoman Bombard

Above image is of the Dardanelles Gun
(cast in 1464, based on the Basilic)

While in Edirne Mehmed II met with a Hungarian (ethnicity in dispute) by the name of Urban (or Orban) who had previously offered his services to the Byzantines, the latter could not afford his services but the Ottomans not only doubled his asking price. Urban claimed:

“If you want, I can cast a cannon of bronze with the capacity of the stone you want. I have examined the walls of the city in great detail. I can shatter to dust not only these walls with the stones from my gun, but the very walls of Babylon itself. The work required to make the gun, I can fully carry out, but I don’t know how to fire it and I cannot guarantee to do so.”

Dismantled Dardanelles Gun at Fort Nelson, Hampshire

His first model was placed at the walls of Rumeli Hisari and in November 1452 it sunk a Venetian merchant galley attempting to surpass the straits, after meeting with success he was ordered by Mehmed to construct a cannon twice the size. The larger ‘Basilic’ cannon was completed at Edirne in January 1453, measuring about 27 ft. long, 8 inches thick, with a diameter of about 30 inches and weighed about 19-20 tons (40,000 lbs) with the power to fire a 1,200 lb. cannonball over a mile, upon landing these cannonballs are said to have sunk into the earth at a depth of 6 ft.

With the advances being made by the Ottomans, Constantine the XI readied for a siege by repairing the city’s defenses and gathering rations and supplies from the surrounding area. This behemoth of a cannon would eventually be dragged to the walls of Constantinople by 60 oxen and 200 men. 

Basilic

Sultan Mehmed II offered the Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI Paleologus terms for surrender, that if they were to surrender that the Emperor and the inhabitants would not only be spared but they would be allowed to rule in Morea. The city had withstood the Turks for so long, if they were to hand over this holy city then the whole of Europe would look down at them, According to the account of George Sphrantzes the Emperor replied:

“To surrender the city to you is beyond my authority or anyone else’s who lives in it, for all of us, after taking the mutual decision, shall die out of free will without sparing our lives.”

Army approaches

“On the seventh of this month (April), he moved with a great part of his forces to within about a quarter of a mile of the walls, and they spread in a line along the whole length of the city walls, which was six miles, from the Cresca gate to the Chinigo.

Now that the Turks had taken the field with a great army against the city, preparations began to be made, so that this heathen enemy of Christendom should not succeed in his plans against us, and by the order of the Most Serene Emperor, every officer in charge of a gate or tower or any other command went to his post with his men to keep guard against our enemy.”

Cannons placed

Mehmed II and the Ottoman Army approaching Constantinople with a giant bombard, by Fausto Zonaro

“On the eleventh of April the Sultan had his cannon placed near the walls, by the weakest part of the city, the sooner to gain his objective. These cannons were planted in four places: first of all, three cannons were placed near the palace of the Most Serene Emperor, and three other cannons were placed near the Pigi gate, and two at the Cressu gate, and another four at the gate of San Romano, the weakest part of the whole city.

One of these four cannon
[the Basilic] which were at the gate of San Romano threw a ball weighing about twelve hundred pounds, more or less, and thirteen quarte in circumference, which will show the terrible damage it inflicted where it landed. The second cannon threw a ball weighing eight hundred pounds, and nine quarte in circumference. These two cannon were the largest that the Turkish Khan had, the other cannon being of various sizes, from five hundred pounds to two hundred pounds, and smaller still.”

Prophecy of the Kizil-Alma
“Golden / Red Apple”

Bartholomaeus Georgievicz (died in 1566) lived in the 16th century, and was captured by Turks after the Battle of Mohacs (August 1526) and was forced into slavery for the next decade. After 3 failed attempts, he eventually made a successful escape and published books on the subject of the Turks (rites, ceremonies, military affairs, agriculture, Turkish-Latin phrases and the ill-treatment of Christians under Turkish rule)

His most popular ones was his translation of the Vaticinium Infedlium Lingua Turcica (“Prophecy [of the] Infidels [in the] Turkish Language”), this prophecy is believed by most to have been referring to the city of Constantinople but after it’s capture it grew to refer to the city of Rome itself as well.

“Our Emperor [the sultan] will come, he will take away the kingdom of an unbelieving prince, and will also seize the Red Apple [Kuzul Almi] and hold it under his sway.”

Constantinople under the Byzantines 

There is also another prophecy in the Hadith:
“Once while we were sitting around the Messenger of God, someone asked him, “Which city will be conquered for Islam first, Constantinople or Rome? ”The Messenger of God replied, “You shall first conquer the city of Heraclius.”

To Be Continued…

2

{20.06.16}
121 days to O Levels

Today I re-did my History Notes for Impact of WWI in Europe and i learned a few things:

  • when the Ottoman Empire got less powerful, Austria-Hungary and Russia became really HUNGARY for power and were RUSSIAN to take over the Balkan states (one of the causes for WW1)
  • and to sum up the motivations of France and Japan when TOV was established:
     - France did not want to be FRANCE with Germany at all
    - Japan just really wanted to be “noticed by the senpais” as a World    Power

Lame jokes aside, I hope you guys have a great day today!! (´∀`*)

4

The Mannlicher Model 1886, 1888, 1890, and 1895.

In 1886 many world powers were beginning to adopt bolt action repeating rifles to replace their older single shot breech loaders.  In the Austro-Hungarian Empire a gun designer named Ferdinand Von Mannlicher.  Unlike the many Mauser and competing design which used a turn bolt system, Mannlicher designed a new action which was a straight pull, like the Rubin Schmidt rifles of Switzerland.  This mean’t that the user only needed to work the action forward and back to load a new round from the magazine and eject an empty cartridge.

The first Mannlicher design was the Model 1886, which was chambered for a large 11mm cartridge.  The new rifle performed well in Austro-Hungarian field trials, especially against the older Werndl single shot breechloader.  Along with the straight pull action the Mannlicher rifle used an en bloc clip, one of the first rifles in history to do so.  This mean’t the user inserted his five rounds clip and all into the magazine.  Once empty the clip would be automatically ejected, allowing the rifle to be loaded with a new clip.  The Austro-Hungarian Army immediately adopted the design, which became very popular with the troops.  The straight pull design and en bloc clip loading system gave the Mannlicher a firing rate that was much faster than the average late 19th century bolt action rifle.  As a result, soldiers nicknamed the Mannlicher the “ruck-zuck” (right now, very quick).  

Two years later the M1888 was introduced.  At the time smaller caliber high velocity rounds were becoming more popular, thus the M1888 was chambered for an 8x50R cartridge.  Two years later the Austro-Hungarian Army switched to smokeless powder, leading to the development of the M1890.  Older M1888’s were also converted to smokeless, but used an 8X52R cartridge and were designated M88-90.  A large number of M1886’s were also rechambered for 8x50R smokeless, and where designated M86-90.

The last major Mannlicher straight pull model was the M1895, which was refinement of all older designs.  They were primarily produced in 8x50R, but was also manufactured in a wide variety of calibers.  The Mannlicher rifle would serve the Austro-Hungarian Army throughout World War I.  After the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the supply of Mannlicher rifles was divided up among Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and a number of Balkan states.  The Mannlicher saw service with many nations during World War II as well.  Even the Germans used it, rechambering them for 8x57 Mauser.  Today Mannlichers are highly sought by both antiques collectors, target shooters, and hunters.

eatingcroutons  asked:

Brühl is white, but Sokovia is very clearly coded as a ex-Yugoslav Balkan state. So although he's white-skinned, Zemo would face the same kinds of racism that gets directed at other Eastern Europeans. If "whiteness" is a social construct of racial superiority, Zemo isn't part of it in a European context - you can see plenty of examples of how he'd be treated in the real world under #PostRefRacism on Twitter.

The way people treat Eastern Europeans isn’t the kind of racism that people experience in the Americas, which is the point. I understand that East European people face a gambit of xenophobic/anti-immigrant violence along with the presumption that they are dirty/backwards in regard to how Western European countries interact with them. Just look at the way they have been treated post-Brexit. White Brits were convinced that they could just round them up and ship them away and all their issues would disappear (and would be disgusted to learn if they had a Polish, Yugoslavian, or Slovakian member or ancestor of their family).

but in the American context, we would consider this xenophobia, as Eastern European immigrants have assimilated with whiteness to *some* degree because of their distance from Black and brown bodies.

but this is still a ship with a black dude who is being paired up with his parent’s murderer and pushed to forgive him. if anything, fandom is whitewashing him to make him appealing and additionally, lumping him in with other non-EE whites so he can be their special baby snowflake. 

Greece, Idomeni :  A child coughs as migrants and refugees run away after Macedonian police fired tear gas at hundreds of Iraqi and Syrian migrants who tried to break through the Greek border fence in Idomeni, on February 29, 2016.
Greek police said more than 6,000 people were massed at the border, in a buildup triggered by Austria and Balkan states capping the numbers of migrants entering their territory. / AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI                        

4

BOSNIA.

Several cities in the Balkan state are gripped by dissent after a local unemployment rally grew into a nationwide protest - the worst outburst of violence since the regional war ended in 1995.

Earlier, police launched stun grenades and rubber bullets at angry demonstrators, who had been throwing stones and eggs.

But the most violent clashes are in the northern city of Tuzla, where demonstrators set a government building on fire. Several official were seen escaping from the windows of the burning building.

Eyewitnesses report that as many as 6,000 people are on the streets of the city, which has a population of about 80,000.

In the town of Zenica, rioters set fire to another government building, chanting “Revolution!” and “Thieves!”.

The demonstrations began on Tuesday, after controversial privatizations of key local industries since 2000 resulted in eventual bankruptcies, leaving much of the working population unemployed. In total 27.5 percent of all Bosnian adults are without a job.

The worst of the protests so far were on Thursday, as 130 people – mostly police – were injured, as rioters began to attack shops and set fire to bins in Tuzla.

Zenica, Bihac and Mostar are some of the other population centers that have witnessed clashes.