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Publisher's Summary

In terms of geopolitics, perhaps the most seminal event of the Middle Ages was the successful Ottoman siege of Constantinople in 1453. The city had been an imperial capital as far back as the fourth century, when Constantine the Great shifted the power center of the Roman Empire there, effectively establishing two almost equally powerful halves of antiquity's greatest empire. Constantinople would continue to serve as the capital of the Byzantine Empire even after the Western half of the Roman Empire collapsed in the late fifth century. Naturally, the Ottoman Empire would also use Constantinople as the capital of its empire after their conquest effectively ended the Byzantine Empire, and thanks to its strategic location, it has been a trading center for years and remains one today under the Turkish name of Istanbul.

The end of the Byzantine Empire had a profound effect not only on the Middle East but Europe as well. Constantinople had played a crucial part in the Crusades, and the fall of the Byzantines meant that the Ottomans now shared a border with Europe. The Islamic empire was viewed as a threat by the predominantly Christian continent to their west, and it took little time for different European nations to start clashing with the powerful Turks. In fact, the Ottomans would clash with Russians, Austrians, Venetians, Polish, and more before collapsing as a result of World War I, when they were part of the Central powers.

The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople also played a decisive role in fostering the Renaissance in Western Europe. The Byzantine Empire's influence had helped ensure that it was the custodian of various ancient texts, most notably from the ancient Greeks, and when Constantinople fell, Byzantine refugees flocked west to seek refuge in Europe.

©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Sloppy recording made it difficult to focus.

Low speaking volume punctuated by painfully loud S's, pauses between names, and repeated lines from recording mistakes were distracting.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Mediocrity

This was extremely mechanical in content and the reader was one if the most monotone I have ever experienced. Was worth the sale price. Barely

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good overview, but distracting narration.

As a brief overview of the waning days of the Byzantine Empire this audiobook does well, but it is seriously hurt by the narration-- which features an incredibly distracting whistle in the voice. Very grating, although it gets better halfway through.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good material, mediocre performance.

The historical material was absolutely excellent as this is not the only I have consumed on the topic.  So matrial was great. The performance lacks emotion, spirit and is not engaging, it is detached.  There are a few mumbled mistakes that the engineer should have edited out.  


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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

mediocre book

I rhought the book was mediocre at beat. The subject material was good but the production quality and narration was terrible.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Short, well written, so-so reading

The book focuses on the very specific period surrounding the fall of Constantinople and I feel it does a good job of covering the basics.

The reading lacks dynamism, and the sibilants are often whistled. That gets old pretty quickly. The pronunciation is very clear with special care given to the names, many of which may be new to the listener.