Conquerors and Conquered: Narrating the Fall of Constantinople (1453) and Tenochtitlán (1521)

Conquerors and Conquered: Narrating the Fall of Constantinople (1453) and Tenochtitlán (1521)

Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte (IEG) Mainz mit dem Leibniz-Forschungsverbund »Wert der Vergangenheit«
IEG Alte Universitätsstr. 19
Vom - Bis
07.04.2022 - 08.04.2022
Stefanie Mainz, Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte (IEG) Mainz

This workshop is the first of three conferences that explore similarities and connections between Ottoman and Spanish histories of expansion in the early modern period as well as lasting memories thereof. It focuses on two key events in world history: the fall of Constantinople and the fall of Tenochtitlán. Although these events have much in common and were interrelated, they have rarely been looked at together.

Conquerors and Conquered: Narrating the Fall of Constantinople (1453) and Tenochtitlán (1521)

The workshop brings together historians of different regions to discuss how contemporaries saw the end of an old and the beginning of a new era, how they connected these events to ancient prophecies, how they wrote their histories of loss and victory, and how these early narratives have since shaped respective memory cultures. Did the conquerors, the conquered, and the various intermediaries in the Old and New World draw connections between their histories? Did they see, for instance, that the Ottoman expansion in the Eastern Mediterranean pushed the Spanish and Portuguese to seek new trading routes to Asia, which eventually led to the conquest of the Americas?

The event takes place within the Leibniz research association »The Value of the Past« (


Thursday April 7th 2022

13:00 Welcome
14:00–14:30 Introduction

14:30–15:30 Eleni Kefala St. Andrews
Strangers No More: Constantinople, Tenochtitlán, and the Trauma of the Conquest

16:00–19:00 Narratives of Conquest

Christopher Markiewicz Birmingham
Constantinople, Conquest, and the Order of the World in Ottoman
Historical Writing

Stefan Rinke Berlin
Bernal Díaz del Castillo and the Fall of the Great City of Tenochtitlan: A Tale of Inevitability

Sources: Tursun Bey, Aşıkpaşazade / Las Casas, Díaz del Castillo

Friday April 8th 2022

9:00–12:00 Narratives of Loss and Destruction

Aslıhan Akışık Istanbul
Forging an Ottoman Hellenism in the Aftermath of 1453: Kritoboulos and George Amiroutzes

Richard Herzog Marburg
Understanding Nahua Temporalities and Cosmogony through the Works of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl

Sources: Doukas, Kritoboulos, Chalko kondyles / Alva Ixtlilxochitl, Sahagún

14:00–17:00 Narratives of the Neighbors

Philip Bockholt Leipzig
A Turning Point in History? The Fall of Constantinople from the Perspective of the Islamic East

Antje Gunsenheimer Bonn
The Conquest as traumatic experience, described by colonial Yucatec Maya authors

Sources: Ibn Taghribirdi, Barbaro / The Book of Chilam Balam of

17:00–18:00 Final Discussion