Charles V and the Turks

The loss to the Turks of Constantinople, the ancient capital of the Eastern Empire, in 1453 had been a terrible blow to Christendom. It was the crusading dream of Charles V, argues Sinclair Atkins, to reconquer the Byzantine city.

Charles V was nurtured on the writings of a Burgundian gentleman, Olivier de La Marche, who wrote, beside his Memoirs , a long allegorical poem entitled Le Chevalier Dé . In the latter he extolled the virtues of Charles' great-grandfather, Charles the Bold of Burgundy, at whose court La Marche had lived and worked as a young man. The great Duke, wrote this author, had always burned to avenge the wrong done to the Faith in 1453, when the Turk conquered Constantinople and slew the Greek Emperor, 'the noblest person in the whole world'. Because of the niggardly nature of his enemy, Louis XI of France, Charles the Bold had been forced to take upon himself the whole burden of this great undertaking. This was why he found it necessary to subdue his neighbours, and, when he perished at Nancy in 1477, it was 'as a champion who had made God's cause his own'.

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