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Series / Rise of Empires: Ottoman

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Rise of Empires: Ottoman is a 2020 English-language Turkish miniseries covering The Fall of Constantinople, as seen through the eyes of the young Ottoman Sultan, Mehmet II. Charles Dance narrates.


  • Breaching the Wall:
    • Mehmet has one of the largest cannons ever built constructed solely for the task of breaching Constantinople's famed defensive walls.
    • Constantinople's harbor is defended by a massive cast-iron chain that reaches all the way to the colony of Galata. The Ottoman forces manage to break into the Golden Horn by moving their fleet through the mountains north of Galata.
    • Mehmet's army finally breaks through Constantinople's walls after a Rousing Speech and what appears to be a sign from God, with the Janissaries eventually making the final push that overwhelms Giustiniani's forces.
  • Determinator: There are two leaders of this sort, each on opposing sides, going up against each other: Mehmet is determined to take Constantinople, Constantine is determined to hold Constantinople. Lots of bloodshed, cannon fire, and destruction follow.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • Lukas Notaras, the Grand Duke of Constantinople. He conspires with Mehmet's vizier to arrange a truce, hoards his wealth when the rest of the city is starving, stays out of the fighting, and tries to offer his fealty to Mehmet after the city falls. Mehmet is so disgusted that he orders him to be immediately beheaded.
    • Downplayed by Giovanni Giustiniani. He's initially a very brave and capable soldier who ties up Mehmet's forces for a considerable length of time, only to flee when Mehmet's forces breach the city walls and dying a few days later on a ship with the sullied reputation as "the man who ran" rather than as the last defender of Constantinople.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: When the Ottomans overwhelm the city's defenses, Emperor Constantine refuses to flee and goes down fighting.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Mehmet goes through a lot of pain and grief to finally take Constantinople, ignoring all his advisor's warnings in the process, but by the end he's walking through the Hagia Sophia and sitting down on the Roman throne.
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  • Evil Chancellor: Halil Pasha doesn't believe that victory against Constantinople is possible, and makes repeated overtures to the Byzantine court to arrange a truce behind Mehmet's back. Averted by Zaganos Pasha, who remains completely loyal to the Sultan.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: The historians in the series speculate why Giustiniani left the battle during the siege's final hours. Most likely, he didn't think victory was possible anymore and he was already wounded anyway. He's also a mercenary, not a Roman citizen, so there's no real point to him continuing to fight if his employers won't be there to pay him.
  • Historical Villain Downgrade: Far from showing mercy, Mehmet let his forces Rape, Pillage, and Burn for three days; the custom of the time for a city that had refused to surrender. So many of the Christian inhabitants were enslaved that he had trouble repopulating the city afterwards.
  • How We Got Here: The series opens during the middle of the siege of Constantinople, when one of the Ottoman cannons explodes as a result of overuse with Mehmet knocked to the ground by the force. It then flashes back to his upbringing and the build-up to the siege.
  • Macross Missile Massacre / More Dakka: This battle was one of the first instances of the use of cannon in large amounts in siege warfare. Emphasis on large amounts.
  • Rising Empire: The Ottoman Empire has already conquered a fair bit of the Balkans and Anatolia, and Mehmet is determined to defeat the Roman Empire so he can turn Constantinople into his new capital.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Both Emperor Constantine and Sultan Mehmet II actively involve themselves in planning, employing, and overseeing the strategies being used in the respective defense of and attack on Constantinople. In the final battle of the siege, they both field themselves, although for Constantine, he does so only after the Ottoman's victory becomes inevitable, making it a Dying Moment of Awesome for him.
  • Running the Blockade: The Ottomans impose a naval blockade on Constantinople to prevent reinforcements and aid from reaching the besieged city. A convoy of Genoan ships does manage to break through, as the western galleons are much larger than the Ottoman ships and can take a lot of damage without foundering. Mehmet is furious.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Giustiniani valiantly defends Constantinople for several weeks of heavy fighting, but when he takes an arrow during the final siege, he flees the city and meets a rather ignominious end a few days later when he dies of infection. If he had simply stayed and fought to the bitter end, he would have been remembered as a hero.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Mehmet gets the governor of the Genoese colony of Galata to collaborate with the Ottomans by just calmly pointing out how much they could profit from doing trade with the new empire, and how disappointed he would be with them if they hindered his success in any way. When the governor tries to assure Mehmet that the Genoese are his allies, Mehmet orders his cannons to start firing over Constantinople and into the Golden Horn, disguising the sound of his army cutting away at the trees and moving his fleet over land and into the Golden Horn behind the iron chain that protects it, and erasing any thought the governor may have had that Mehmet was bluffing and wasn't in range.
  • The Siege: The Battle of Constantinople is portrayed through the eyes of both the Ottoman attackers and the Roman defenders, while historians occasionally provide exposition on the mindset of the characters or information one has to know to understand the significance of certain events.
  • Single Tear: Mehmet sheds a single tear when he orders the execution of Halil Pasha, who signed his own death warrant by conspiring against his Sultan, but a man that Mehmet nonetheless considered a beloved mentor.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Roman Empire is on its deathbed, being reduced to a single city-state which, while heavily defended thanks to its walls and advantageous location, is surrounded by the Ottomans on all sides.
  • War Is Hell: Given that lots of people, both soldiers and civilians, die on both sides, lots of cannon fire is aimed at a populated city, and much of that city is destroyed by the end, this mini-series does NOT stray away from just how nasty war can be.
  • We Can Rule Together: After suffering many defeats in the field, Mehmet tries offering Giustiniani a position within the Ottoman Empire. Giustiniani considers it but refuses, although he later flees from the battle during the final hours of the siege.
  • You Have Failed Me: Mehmet considers beheading one of his Admirals who fails to stop the Genoan ships from relieving the defenders, but settles for A Taste of the Lash.
  • Young Conqueror: Mehmet captures Constantinople at the young age of 21.