Sultan Mehmet II, the Grand Turk, known to his countrymen as Fatih, 'the Conqueror', and to much of Europe as 'the present Terror of the World', was once the most feared and powerful ruler in the world. The seventh of his line to rule the Ottoman Turks, Mehmet was barely 21 when he conquered Byzantine Constantinople, which became Istanbul and the capital of his mighty empire. Mehmet reigned for 30 years, during which time his armies extended the borders of his empire halfway across Asia Minor and as far into Europe as Hungary and Italy. Three popes called for crusades against him as Christian Europe came face to face with a new Muslim empire.Mehmet himself was an enigmatic figure. Revered by the Turks and seen as a cruel and brutal tyrant by the west, he was a brilliant military leader but also a renaissance prince who had in his court Persian and Turkish poets, Arab and Greek astronomers and Italian scholars and artists.
In this, the first biography of Mehmet for 30 years, John Freely vividly brings to life the world in which Mehmet lived and illuminates the man behind the myths, a figure who dominated both East and West from his palace above the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, where an inscription still hails him as, 'Sultan of the two seas, shadow of God in the two worlds, God's servant between the two horizons, hero of the water and the land, conqueror of the stronghold of Constantinople."
John Freely was born in New York and joined the US Navy at the age of seventeen, serving with a commando unit in Burma and China during the last years of World War II. He has lived in New York, Boston, London, Athens and Istanbul and has written over forty travel books and guides, most of them about Greece and Turkey. He is author of 'The Cyclades', 'The Ionian Islands', 'Crete', 'The Western Shores of Turkey', 'Strolling Through Athens', 'Strolling Through Venice' as well as 'Inside the Seraglio', 'Jem Sultan' and the bestselling 'Strolling Through Istanbul'.