BBC’s Chronicle – The Fall of Constantinople

Here is a little gem and a blast from the past. John Julius Norwich (who wrote the excellent and accessible trilogy on the history of Byzantium) tells the dramatic story of the fall of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, followed by the rise of the Ottoman Turks in the 15th Century. Using monuments in Istanbul to show the formidable artistic and intellectual achievements of the Byzantines, Norwich vividly describes the last scenes of Greek Orthodox Christianity from within the Hagia Sophia.

First broadcast on BBC 2 on 25 October 1967. Running time is 32 minutes 42 seconds

A ‘Did You Know’ (of course we do!) from the website – John Julius Norwich describes the calamitous scenes of the last progress of the sacred icons around Constantinople (Istanbul). ‘Icon’ is derived from the Greek word for image (eikon) and took on a special religious significance in Orthodox art. The tradition of painting the same, or similar, images of saints and holy people is meant to bring the artist and worshippers closer to the face of God. There were periods, known as iconoclasms, when icons were banned by Christians who believed that such images were heretical.

Click the picture to play.

Related article:

The Fall of Constantinople 29 May 1453

“Better Turks than Latins!” – The Aftermath and the New City

About proverbs6to10

Interested in Byzantium and Patrick Leigh Fermor
This entry was posted in History, The Fall of Constantinople 1453, Video and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to BBC’s Chronicle – The Fall of Constantinople

  1. Francesco says:


    i like this website very much. byzantium is such a fascinating civilization. just read an excellent book about the fall of constantinople, queen of cities, found it on amazon. exciting story. i didn’t know the fall of the city was so dramatic!


  2. mackenzee says:

    It won’t let me watch the video…:(

  3. proverbs6to10 says:

    It does work – try it in Internet Explorer. I tried today in Firefox and no=go. IE it worked.

  4. SEG says:

    Unfortunately, this is not viewable outside of the UK

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