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Mehmet the Conqueror

Born: 30 March 1432

Died: 3 May 1481

Nationality: Ottoman, Turkish

II. Mehmed, known as Fatih Sultan Mehmed, known in Europe under the name Grand Turco or Turcarum Imperator or Caesar of Rome. He was an Ottoman sultan who was reputed fluent in several languages, including Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Italian, Greek and Latin and who ruled first for a short time from 1444 to 1446, and later from 1451 to 1481.

Mehmed may be considered the most broad-minded and freethinking of the Ottoman sultans. After the fall of Constantinople, he gathered Italian humanists and Greek scholars at his court; he caused the patriarch Gennadius II Scholarios to write a credo of the Christian faith and had it translated into Turkish; he collected in his palace a library of works in Greek and Latin. He called Gentile Bellini from Venice to decorate the walls of his palace with frescoes as well as to paint his portrait (now in the National Gallery, London). Around the grand mosque that he constructed, he erected eight colleges, which, for nearly a century, kept their rank as the highest teaching institutions of the Islamic sciences in the empire. At times, he assembled the ʿulamāʾ, or learned Muslim teachers, and caused them to discuss theological problems in his presence. In his reign, mathematics, astronomy, and Muslim theology reached their highest level among the Ottomans.

At the age of 21, when he conquered Constantinople, Mehmed transported his lighter warships overland, around the Genoese colony of Galata and into the Golden Horn's northern shore; eighty galleys were transported from the Bosphorus after paving a little over one-mile route with wood. After this conquest, Mehmed moved the Ottoman capital from Adrianople to Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul and brought an end to the Byzantine. This event was considered to be the beginning of a New Era in the late Middle Ages by many historians.

Mehmed is considered a hero in modern-day Turkey and parts of the wider Muslim world.

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