By the 15th century, the Byzantine Empire was but a memory. The territories once controlled by the fabled “Second Rome” had all either achieved their independence or were conquered by the forces of Islam. All that was left was the city itself, Constantinople, whose greatest days were many centuries past. An emperor, the research paper on community development Basileus, still reigned, and still pretended to be heir to the Roman Caesars, yet the Greek autocrats had always styled themselves like Persian warlords rather than Western rulers, demanding cringing obeisance from all who came into their presence. Further, the Eastern empire was based upon introduction for a research paper Caesaropapism, in which the Church hierarchy was merely an adjunct of the State. Consequently, apart from a few exceptions, the emperors and patriarchs hated one thing above all others: Christ’s representative on earth, the Pope of Rome. Even after the Easterners split from the True Church in the 11th century, they continued to beg the Pontiffs for aid, and were constantly pleading for Western knights to save them from the ferocity of the Musselmen. The Fourth Crusade, dredged up endlessly as an example of Western perfidy, was exactly the opposite. A Byzantine pretender hoped to oust his uncle and usurp the throne, and therefore lured the Crusaders from their original goal with promise of riches as reward. When they got to Constantinople, they were betrayed and learned why the word “byzantine” is synonymous with “treachery.” The emperors and their wives also surrounded themselves with Jews and Muslims as advisors, and intense hatred of the West was palpable, resulting in periodic horrific massacres of Catholics living in the city. A motto was common-“Better the sultan’s turban than the Pope’s tiara.” And yet these wretches continued to beg help from Christians whom they hated with such passion.

    In the spring of 1453, the sultan, Mehmet II, moved to seize the city once and for all. The only reason the Greeks had been able to hold out until then was the massive double curtain walls and an enormous chain in the water which could be windlassed up to impede attacking ships at the Golden Horn. But static defenses, especially ones allowed to fall into disrepair, were no longer adequate. The city’s only hope was a spirited defense by the entire population. This would not happen either. The Greeks, morally and intellectually decadent, merely hoped that a handful of Western soldiers would protect them. After a 7-week siege, on May 29, the slaves of the “prophet” moved in for the kill.  The following account is from current event research paper topics Stories of the Byzantines by Jean Defrasne.


   “Listening glumly to the flattery of his courtiers, the emperor Constantine XI was nevertheless well aware the moment of attack was near…. After a night when his sleep had been troubled by strange nightmares, he woke to find himself, not in Blachernai Palace, which was too near the ramparts and exposed to Turkish cannon-balls, but in the Sacred Palace at the very heart of the city. Constantine disliked this huge building with its dilapidated salons and overgrown gardens. He felt ill at ease in the consistory, where Justinian had once dazzled his guests with the majesty of their surroundings: the tiles and mosaics had fallen to pieces long since and spiders spun their webs on the gold and azure ceiling.

    Nevertheless, on awakening, the emperor had found all the high dignitaries assembled at the door of his apartments in the order prescribed by the Master of Ceremonies. The Turks were at the gates but the life of the Court continued inexorably with all its rites.

    So Constantine crossed the town and there, too, nothing seemed to have changed. The Mese, the great street of business, was still very lively: the women were elegant, the passers-by careless. But here came a few dozen Greek soldiers, emerging from the church of the Holy Apostles where they were billeted and marching off down the street with a martial air. Their leader, Demetrios Kantacuzenus, a great lord with a haughty air, wore a gold breastplate and rode a richly caparisoned charger. The crowd cheered. How could they fail to feel safe when they had such splendid-looking troops to protect them?

    The emperor himself did not share their confidence. What effective force could he send against the huge Turkish army? His troops consisted of some nine thousand men, of whom barely half were Greeks. Indeed, the most valiant were the Venetians, the Catalans and above all the seven hundred Genoese mercenaries at the Gate of St. Romanus, under the command of John Giustiniani. Truly, God’s help would be needed if they were to save the city.”


    To be continued…

  I was at Boston College, working on a dissertation concerning Catholic chaplains in the  Civil War when my mentor, Tom O’Connor, mentioned that there was a Jesuit still living at St. Mary’s Hall who had been a chaplain in World War II.  I went to meet him, thinking I would get an article out of it, but it became so much more. Father Foley was past 90, but still full of life and good humor. Instead of a one-shot, we started to meet regularly for lunch and became good friends. He told me right off he was dying of cancer and would be going soon. No sniveling out of him, and I liked that. After a while he gave me his unpublished diary, kept during most of the war. I talked to O’Connor about changing my topic, since this was great stuff, and he agreed.

  Occasionally you hear about some doctoral candidate secreting a gun in the room when he has to do his defense and letting his committee have it when they give him the boot, after he’s been working on the paper the last 18 or 19 years. Me, I wasn’t worried. These things are supposed to be public, after an ancient tradition, and a few of my fellow students did appear for the show. It was over quick. One professor had no questions except “When’s the movie coming out?’ They passed me with “High Honors,” if that means anything. There’s the joke about professors- Why are the fights in academia so vicious? Because the stakes are so small. I never did go to commencement. Couldn’t afford the thousand bucks for the gown and mortar board and had no desire to listen to the pro-sodom, pro-abortion “Catholic” speaker who BC had that year, like every year. Likewise, I didn’t want to be within 100 yards of the Cardinal-Archbishop of Boston, soon to go into exile in Roma, where he still lives research paper on laser technology la dolce vita today, unlamented but unpunished. Besides, I was teaching at a nickel and dime community college the day of the festivities. I’m still grinding away.

  I sent the manuscript of tourism in italy research paper Blackrobe in Blue to a few Jesuit University publishers, which was, of course, a waste of postage. I tried that popular publisher run by a Jesuit and he sent it back with an odd lie, claiming that he liked it but that they “didn’t publish history.” Their catalog is heavy with biographies of Jesuits, but whatever you say, Father. Next I tried the Naval Institute press, and the editor there evinced interest but said it would be some months before the selection committee met. I sat on my hands for the better part of a year and when I haunted him about it, he said the committee thought the book had no “bottom line,” meaning they wouldn’t make enough money on it. Now this is the ultimate laugh. I’m the first to admit that the story of a Jesuit chaplain aboard an aircraft carrier is never going to make a best-seller list, but you should see the types of titles military publishers put into print. Fascinating tomes such as cover letter format for research paper submission Women Marine’s Footwear During the Interwar Period, how do you write a research paper apa format 6 April, 1919 the autobiography of malcolm x research paper - research paper on blue eyes technology 23 October, 1937 microwave popcorn research paper , with supplements on issued insoles. Their catalogs are filled with junk that nobody reads, much less buys, but they must always heed their master’s voice.

  I just had some copies run off myself. I actually got good reviews in decent journals and spoke at a few places, but I had to get back to work and didn’t have the time to properly market the book. Most of them, I believe, were purchased by children or grandchildren of vets and I’ve received several letters from them wanting to tell me about the experiences they had with their Catholic chaplain. Interestingly, many of these letters are from Protestants who didn’t convert but still retained fond memories about the padre.

  As noted below, I just turned up a box of the books so there’s a few copies available. I see some dudes are selling used copies online for more than 200 bucks. Murray Rothbard and the “anarcho-capitalist” bunch would call that good business, but why buy from a flipper when you can get something at the source? That’s better business

I have mentioned my friend Fr. John Foley SJ, in the past. His story, and in a larger sense, the story of Catholic chaplains in the military in World War II and the character of the Jesuit order at that time, is the subject of the book. The publishing of the book, entitled Blackrobe in Blue: The Naval Chaplaincy of John P. Foley, SJ, 1942-1946 is a story in itself, which I'll tell another time, but I just found a few copies stashed away. If anyone is interested in purchasing one, they're $24.95 plus $3.99 shipping, inscribed if you wish. Write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.