And we will see Constantine XI go out fighting, a more dignified way to end the Roman Empire than Romulus Augustulus cowering in his palace in Ravenna as Odoacer entered it or Julius Nepos' plan to reclaim Italy being disrupted by him being stabbed to death in Dalmatia.Constantinople's end is nigh.
Well this is considerably more bloody than OTL ending. I’m gonna go and say the Ottomans are going to regret doing that. If not, then Rome will sack and gut them to death
It was the 28th of May, a wet and miserable Monday, and Constantinople had weathered the siege for fifty-three long, arduous days. The Christian defenders, Romans and Italians and, indeed, even a handful of Castilians and a single Scotsman, had resisted the Turks fiercely; but their spirits had grown threadbare, their foodstuffs were rationed and their tempers were frayed. Indeed, Giovanni Giustiniani threatened to run through Loukas Notaras, the highest ranking Byzantine nobleman besides the Emperor himself, in an argument over the placement of a cannon. Only the intervention of William Crispo, who had distinguished himself in the defence of the walls, halted such bloodshed between allies.
The final attack had launched to the cacophonous sound of drums, pipes and cymbals. The Christian irregulars in the service of the Sultan -- Serbs, Bulgarians, Greeks and more -- now lurched forwards silently, carrying scaling ladders, and were met by a determined defence; boiling oil was poured down upon their heads, stones rained, axes lopped hands and arms off. The night was filled with the sound of cries and curses and the cannons' fire illuminated the massed army. It was a slaughter. Blood lathered the walls. It gurgled noisily between the broken masonry.
Later in the night, Mehmed's heavy infantry -- Anatolians armoured in mail, tested in battle and under a strict, rigid command system -- launched a second attack against Saint Romanus Gate. In the darkness, the two masses -- Anatolian Muslims and Greek Christians -- brawled; arrows hissed through the darkness, handguns cracked, blades clashed together and echoed through the night. Men tangled their feet in ropes of intestines. Bright handheld flares lit up bearded face, twisted in pain or hatred.
This scene was repeated all across the Queen of Cities. Another serious attempt was made at the Blachernae Palace and here, three Genoese brothers -- Antonio, Paolo and Troilo Bocchiardi -- resisted. The Empress Caterina had opened the Palace doors and here the wounded were treated by whatever physicians were available.
Mehmed, some four hours after the irregulars first attempted to seize the walls, now knew that he needed to commit his professional, paid soldiers before it was too late. The attack was again directed against Saint Romanus Gate. Here, the Emperor and Giustiniani -- weary, Giustiniani suffering from an injury he received several days before -- urged their men onwards. No quarter was given to either side.
And then, Giustiniani was mortally wounded. A shot penetrated his breastplate and he collapsed, bleeding. A gate was opened and the Genoese, seeing their commander being carried back to his ship, broke ranks. Constantine bellowed commands and attempted to stem the tide and was, largely, ignored.
Meanwhile, the Bocchiardi brothers had been busy sallying out of the walls via a hidden gate, the Circus. Fate now played her hand. One of the brothers' men had left the Circus Gate open, and the Ottomans took advantage of this. The Bocchiardis' standard was wrestled down and replaced with the Sultan's.
At Saint Romanus Gate, this was spotted. Panic ensued. Men turned and fled through the gateway that Giustiniani had left by.
The Emperor stood firm. His faithful companions would not leave his side. Here, defending the gate, they died valiantly to a man. All across Constantinople, Ottoman flags were raised from towers and the gates were swung wide open.
Niccoló Gattilusio led his men of Mytilene in a desperate attempt to reach his sister Caterina at the Blachernae Palace. In the rabbit-warren streets and alleyways, they were decimated and Niccoló himself was slain.
At the Palace, the Bocchiardis momentarily turned back the Ottomans with a desperate cavalry charge. Realising the hopelessness of their situation, they ordered a retreat. As they fled, Paolo was struck across the head and killed.
Within the Palace itself, the doors were now barricaded. The Empress, it was said, knew that all was lost. She prayed for her husband and she prayed for her son, Antigonos, gone for what seemed like a lifetime now. Caterina Gattilusio would be no slave. She would not be the Sultan's whore. One of the men defending the Palace, at the Empress' command, stabbed her through the heart and placed a shroud over her body.
The Ottomans now flooding the city acted with bitter savagery, remembering the months of siege, avenging their lost kinsmen and brothers-in-arms. The old and the infirm were hacked to death. Babies were dashed against walls. Women were dragged away to be defiled and clamped in chains. Churches were plundered greedily.
Small groups of organised resistance remained. William Crispo, badly injured, and his band of warriors fought their way to the harbour. The Ottoman fleet, ill-disciplined hungering for loot, abandoned their ships and ignored the tide of humanity fleeing the city.
In the harbour itself, the panic continued. Hundreds drowned as they attempted to reach the ships. The chain boom's wooden anchor was hacked apart and now Christian ships started to flee for the Mediterranean.
The Emperor Constantine's fate has, largely, become a matter of myth. Multiple accounts of the great man's death exist -- but all agree that he went bravely and proudly, never once wounded in the back. He had, the Turkish begrudgingly admitted, acquainted himself fiercely. He was forty-nine years old.
He left behind a single son and heir, Antigonos.
The Queen of Cities, Constantinople, now belonged to the young Ottoman Sultan.