_^ _. ^ – _,n/ • > < “n^’A-n1n/^ _^ r–n•xn^-‘…nWe shall soon be celebrating the cardinal date of thensecond Christian millennium, the fall of New Rome,notherwise known as Constantinople in 1453. For a thousandnyears after the collapse of the Western empire. New Romenhad stood, a living museum of Greek culture and Roman law,nthe last organic link with the origins of our civilization. Forncenturies—at least since 1204, when Crusaders sacked thencity—Constantinople had been a shadow of its former glories,nthe empire a hollow fiction with boundaries hardly broadernthan those of the smallest Italian commune. Catholic Europenhad learned to deride her rulers as the Emperor of thenGreeks, but when Manuel II made his futile trip to Europe innsearch of Christian help against the Turks, our gaudy barbariannancestors were struck with the nobility and simplicity of thenemperor.nUnlike the empire of the West, whose flame had gutterednout in vice and imbecility, the empire of the East went downnwith all the glory of a sunset. Constantine Paleologus, whomnGibbon describes as the last and best of the Caesars, refusednall offers of escape. He preferred to put on the uniform of ancommon soldier and died fighting with his men in the streetsnof The City, for in those days it was the city, the symbol of allncivilized life, and to this day the infidel conquerors call it Istanbul,ngarbled Greek for “to the city.”nCharles Williams once suggested that the Reformation wasna just retribution upon the Western Christians who had turnedntheir backs on the Eastern church. The defense of the citynagainst the Turks may have been impossible, but the Europeannpowers barely lifted a finger to save the Greek Christiansnwho crossed themselves the wrong way. The Popes weren10/CHRONICLESnPERSPECTIVEnK- ,’n, – •n- ^nf^-^…nGo East, Young Mannby Thomas Flemingnnn?nJ”n’•’n/n/nwilling to call a Crusade, but only if the Romaioi acknowledgednhis authority. The last emperors acceded, precipitatingna schism that made it even harder to hold out against the enemy.nIt was a Hungarian who manufactured the cannon thatnbreached the walls and Christians who taught the Turks how tonconcentrate their fire. In the end, it was a Genoese commandern(Giustiniani) who, receiving a wound, deserted hisnpost and escaped through a hole in the wall, followed by thengreater part of the western allies. The betrayal was altogethernfitting, since the Genoese, hoping to preserve their own tradingncolony, had made a separate peace with the Sultan.nIn undermining the emperor, Genoa had worked hand innhand with its chief rival, Venice. It was a Venetian Doge, at thenhead of his fleet,who persuaded the leaders of the notoriousnFourth Crusade, when they sacked the city and imposed theirnbarbarian rule upon the East, and it was the Venetians whonhad sought to monopolize the trade of the East and underminenthe economic base of the empire.nIn this activity, Genoa was not far behind. As a Pisannproverb has it, Genoa was a “sea without fish, men withoutnhonor, and women without shame.” The Pisans had, perhaps,na right to be resentful. For several centuries, they had laborednto enrich themselves at the expense of the Moslems, andnno maritime power had been more forthright in joining anynexpedition—to Sardinia, to Sicily, to Majorca, and even tonthe coast of North Africa—where the Cross could be advanced,ntheir pockets filled. It is easy to be cynical about thenfreebooting “republic of the waves,” but when Pisans capturednPalermo from the Saracens, they devoted a large part of thennn