diumenge, 21 de març de 2010

The last words of Byzantium

"I am George Sphrantzes the pitiful First Lord of the Imperial Wardrobe, presently known by my monastic name Gregory. I wrote the following account of the events that occurred during my wretched life. It would have been fine for me not have been born or to have perished in chilhood. Since this did not happen, let it be known that I was born on Tuesday, August 30, 1401." In laconic, strangulated tones Sphrantzes recorded the twin tragedies -personal and national - of the Ottoman advance. Both his children were taken into the seraglio; his son was executed there in 1453. Of september 1455 he wrote: "my beautiful daughter Thamar died of an infectious disease in the Sultan's seraglio. Alas for me, her wretched father! She was fourteen and five months." He lived until 1477, long enough to see the almost complete extinction of Greek freedom under the Turkish occupation."

Roger Crowley, 1453.

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