Constantinopolis by James Shipman

4 Oct

“Times have changed,” stated a deep voice, speaking Turkish. Mehmet could speak Turkish and Greek, as well as Persian and Arabic.

“What do you mean?” answered another man, with a slightly higher voice. Both spoke the educated Turkish of the middle and upper class.

“Murad is dead. I think our days of glory are over. At least for now. For a hundred and fifty years our sultans have expanded our empire at the expense of the infidel Christians, but we can hardly expect that to continue.”

“Yes, Allah has favored our people.”

“Until now. Now what do we have? We have conquered Anatolia and driven our way far in to Europe. We have defeated the Italians and Hungarians and every crusading army sent by the infidels. How can we hold these gains? Not with a young sultan who twice had to give power back to his father? Who could not win control of his own household guard? I am afraid he will be driven from power and we will return to the bad days of civil war among our people.”

“Come now Ishtek, you are hardly being fair. He was only ten or eleven when he was made Sultan the first time. Murad should have kept the Sultanate until the boy was ready. I do not agree with you. I think he will do fine. Perhaps he will even be greater than Murad.”

“Bah! You are ever the optimist my friend. I will be content at this point to live out my life in Edirne, without being driven back to Bursa or further by the Hungarians. Can Mehmet stand up to John Hunyadi? Murad hardly could. I would not be surprised if Hunyadi’s armies were massing in the north right now, ready to strike against us.”

“Truly Hunyadi and the Hungarians are a threat. But we have not lost a major battle against the infidels. I do not think we will start now. Even under a weak Sultan. We still have our Grand Vizier Halil. He practically led our empire during the last few years of Murad’s reign, particularly when Murad relinquished power to his son. He will know what to do.”

“Ah yes, Halil. Allah bless him. If only he were our Sultan. He is wise and holy, and cares for the people. He practically is the Sultan. We must put our trust in him. He will lead us even if Mehmet cannot.”

“Mehmet. How can he come from Murad? We have had such good fortune. We have had such great leaders. Now we are left with an arrogant boy. We must pray for our salvation.”

Mehmet, Sultan of the Ottoman Turks, walked away from the home, having heard what he sought. He continued his walk, turning over carefully in his mind the words of the overhead conversation.

He was angry. He had almost burst through the door and killed the men right then and there. How could he though? They were right of course. Mehmet had failed terribly when he first became Sultan. He had wanted to do too much, too fast, and his father’s counselors and viziers worked against him. They had embarrassed him, let him make foolish mistakes, and then had called his father back, not once, but twice. Mehmet remembered the burning anguish when his father took the sultanate back the second time, chastising Mehmet with bitter words and sending him to govern a remote section of the Empire.


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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

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