Lead: When the Ottoman forces of Sultan Mehmet II assaulted and then overcame the defenses of the city of Constantinople in 1453 it bought not only a bloodbath but also the end of an empire.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The magnificent and strategically important city of Constantinople, overlooking the vital Bosporus waterway, was the sole remaining important territorial vestige of the Roman Empire. Despite temporary setbacks the city's legacy went back 1000 years to the reign of the first Christian emperor, Constantine I. Yet, by the middle of the 1400s there was hardly anything left of the vaunted Byzantine Empire. The ruler of the city was another Constantine, Emperor Constantine XI. He would be the last. The city was beset by economic trouble, religious and political dispute between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic clergy, and soon faced the overwhelming forces of the increasingly irresistible Ottoman Empire. When Western governments finally responded to Constantine's plea for help it was too little, too late. His forces numbered only about 6000. In spring 1453 19-year-old Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II brought numerous modern cannon, elaborate siege engines and 80,000 troops to the party.