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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe

VII: The Ottoman Turks and the Crusades, 1329-1451,   pp. 222-275 PDF (24.1 MB)

Page 253

After Nicopolis Venice had to take more serious steps to protect Constantinople
and Euboea. 
 After his victory Bayazid turned against Byzantium, which he held responsible
for the crusade; now its conquest appeared easier than ever. The sultan's
pressure on Constantinople in October 1396 is confirmed by Venetian and Genoese
documents, as well as by the Ottoman chronicles.83 Venice feared that the
fall of Constantinople was quite imminent, and hastily sent instructions
dated October 29, 1396, to Mocenigo to take appropriate measures. 84 Ottoman
tradition makes it clear that immediately after the battle of Nicopolis Bayazid
turned his army against Constantinople and demanded the surrender of the
city. Negotiations were concluded by the emperor's pledging allegiance, with
the payment of a yearly tribute of ten thousand gold ducats and the establishment
of a Turkish quarter in Constantinople with a qadi and a mosque. (Our source
adds that the Moslems from Göynük and TarakliYenije who were settled
in the quarter were driven out of the city after Bayazid's defeat at Ankara
by Timur [Tamerlane] in 1402.) Apparently the sultan never gave up his intention
of taking the city, but temporarily acquiesced to the peace offer of the
emperor85 at a time when pressing problems in Anatolia confronted him. 
 While Bayazid was occupied in Anatolia, first in conquering Karaman territory
and then in fighting against sultan Burhäneddin of Sivas in the Amasya
area in 1397, and the following year in capturing several cities in the Euphrates
valley from the Mamluks, Manuel II was busy sending diplomatic missions to
try to persuade the courts of France, Rome, and Venice to send a crusade
to deliver Constantinople from its fate.86 In 1397 Venice was seriously concerned
about the alleged plans of the ex-emperor John VII to surrender the city,
and took naval measures to prevent jt.87 Marshal John Boucicault's fruitless
expedition (1399) and Manuel II's visit to European capitals in quest of
aid (1400—1403) did not bring about any change in the situation. 88
 83. Ibid.; Thiriet, Régestes, I, no. 914. 
 84. Ibid., nos. 917, 918; but Silberschmidt, op. cit., p. 165, thinks that
references in the documents belong to the period before the battle of Nicopolis;
cf. Setton, The Papacy, I, 358. The letter of the vicarius of Pera thanking
the Venetians is dated October 28, 1396; for the sultan's siege of Constantinople
after Nicopolis see ' Ashik Pasha-zâde, op. cit., 67—68; Neshri,
op. cit., p. 90. 
 85. In his letter dated July 1, 1397 (see Barker, Manuel II, pp. 154—155),
Manuel II speaks of three years of hard times in the war against Bayazid
 86. Ibid., pp. 149—160. 
87. Ibid., pp. 138—146. 
 88. Setton, The Papacy, I, 370—385; Barker, Manuel II, pp. 154-199.

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