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"The crossroads of the world. Many generations of men have ruled this city, but they have never subdued her. She always bounces back."
Yusuf Tazim regarding Constantinople, 1511.[src]
Constantinople
Constantinoplepic
Political information
Sovereign state

Byzantine Empire (330 - 1204, 1261 - 1453)
Latin Empire (1204 - 1261)
Ottoman Empire (1453 - 1923)

Ruling body

Autocracy (330 - 1204, 1261 - 1453)
Feudal monarchy (1204 - 1261)
Sultanate (1453 - 1923)

Other factions

Byzantines
Templars
Assassins
Romani
Thieves
Mercenaries

Historical information
Founded by

Byzas (as Byzantium)
Constantine I (as Constantinople)

Date founded

658 BC (as Byzantium)
324 - 330 (as Constantinople)

Additional information
Notable landmarks

Topkapı Palace
Hagia Sophia
Galata Tower

Assassination targets

Vali cel Tradat
Cyril of Rhodes
Georgios Kostas
Lysistrata
Mirela Djuric
Odai Dunqas
Tarik Barleti
Ahmet

Constantinople (Byzantine Greek: Konstantinoupolis; Latin: Constantinopolis or Byzantium; Turkish: Kostantiniyye or İstanbul) was the capital of the Byzantine Empire and, following the city's conquest in 1453, became the Ottoman Empire's capital in 1458.

The only pan-continental city in the world, during the Renaissance, it was Europe's largest and wealthiest city, consisting of four distinct districts: Constantine, Bayezid, Imperial, and Galata.

HistoryEdit

OriginsEdit

The city began in 658 BC as Byzantium, a modest city-state situated on First Hill. It was founded by Byzas, a devout soldier who had chosen the location based on a promising prophecy uttered by the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi.[1]

Reportedly a rowdy port town, Byzantium was nevertheless considered an "island" of Hellenic civilization due to the many barbarian tribes that surrounded it. As time went on, both the city's inhabitants and its rulers diversified, with Spartans, Macedonians, Athenians, and Romans all having controlled Byzantium at one point.[1]

Byzantine EmpireEdit

In 324 CE, the Roman Emperor Constantine I, supposedly inspired by a vision from God, moved the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium, which he then rebuilt and expanded. When construction was finished in 330 CE, he had the city rechristened Nova Roma Constantinopolitana, or "New Rome, City of Constantine". Colloquially, it came to be known as both "Constantinopolis" and "New Rome", as the rulers still considered themselves Romans living in the Eastern Roman Empire.[1]

For the next 800 years, Constantinople served as the capital of the Roman Empire, as well as a beacon of Christianity, while the West experienced barbarian attacks and economic hardship.[1] Nevertheless, the city suffered its share of turmoil as well; in 1204, mass riots against the Byzantine Emperor occurred, following which European Crusaders invaded and sacked Constantinople. As a result, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Mentor of the Levantine Assassins, could not carry out his intentions of introducing the Assassin Brotherhood to the city and was forced to retreat.[2]

In 1258, Niccolò and Maffeo Polo established an Assassins' Guild in Constantinople, after returning from the Assassin fortress of Masyaf, soon forming the Order's Turkish branch. They hid the five Masyaf Keys given to them by Altaïr in the Yerebatan Cistern, which could be entered by a secret door in Polo's old trading post, the Maiden's Tower, and beneath the Forum of the Ox, Galata Tower and what would become Topkapı Palace.[1]

Ottoman EmpireEdit

During the Renaissance, at some point between 1501 and 1507, the Doge of Venice, along with Sultan Bayezid II, sought to ally their considerable naval powers through a free trade treaty. However, the Templars were wary of any peace between the two, and became intent on interfering with their alliance. The Borgia family dispatched a force of mercenaries to disrupt the agreement, but they were quickly intercepted by members of the Italian Assassins, who set their ship aflame before they could depart.[3][4]

By 1509, the Templars had began to relocate themselves to Constantinople due to their defeat in Italy and the disruption of their activities throughout Western Europe. The Templars formed a faction known as the Stewards of Byzantium and attempted to seize control of the city in the wake of Bayezid's absence, due to his civil war with his son Selim.[1]

During this year, an earthquake uncovered one of the Masyaf Keys hidden beneath Topkapı Palace. Two years later, after traveling to Masyaf to research his Assassin heritage, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Mentor of the Italian Assassins, arrived in Constantinople to retrieve the other Keys before the Templars. His leadership enabled the Assassins to reclaim their dens from the Byzantines and liberated most of the shops from their control, much as he had in Rome, as well as training several Assassins to the rank of Master Assassin through the assassination of key Templar agents. However, when Selim took control of the throne, he banished Ezio from Constantinople,[1] though allowed him one final visit to the city to sort out his affairs, by request of his son Suleiman.[5]

TriviaEdit

  • Bernardo Baroncelli, one of the Pazzi conspirators, fled to Constantinople following the failed attempt to take over Florence.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, the city was slightly smaller than Rome was in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, but it had more buildings, and was more densely populated.
  • Alexandre Amancio, the Creative Director of the Assassin's Creed series, stated at E3 that Constantinople is a "really cool metaphor for Ezio meeting Altaïr", citing the fact that half of Constantinople was in Europe, and the other in Asia.
  • It was also stated by Darby McDevitt that Constantinople would be a meaningful meeting of Ezio and Altaïr as the city itself was formerly under Christian control, then Muslim, which suited Altaïr and Ezio as the former hailed from a Muslim culture in Syria and the latter hailed from a Christian Italy.
  • Constantinople was originally meant to be included in Assassin's Creed. [citation needed]
  • In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, it is only possible to explore the section of the city within the Constantinian Walls and Galata. The rest of the city, which is wholly inaccessible, can be seen from high locations such as top of the Galata Tower and the minarets of the Fatih Camii.

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

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