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Constantinople and the End Time: The Ottoman Conquest as a Portent of the Last Hour

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The Muslim conquest of Constantinople was seen in various apocalyptic traditions as one of the portents of the end. An Ottoman mystic, Ahmed Bî-cân, gave voice to these apocalyptic fears and expectations soon after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 CE. His apocalyptic narrative, expressed in the Turkish vernacular, placed the Ottoman enterprise within the final tribulations and hailed the sultan, Mehmed II, as an apocalyptic warrior. This endorsement heralded the emergence of a new imperial ideology in the sixteenth century: Ottoman history became an important component of universal history, while Ottoman sultans were attributed cosmic responsibilities and messianic abilities.

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Affiliations: 1: Tulane University


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