🏆 The most desired city of history
This week on our Instagram page we are discovering the story of one of the mightiest and most beautiful cities of history: Constantinople, today’s Istanbul. For example, did you know that Constantinople is the city that was besieged the most in history? Read below to discover more!
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🏛 THE CITY THAT WAS BESIEGED THE MOST IN HISTORY
Constantinople (today's Istanbul) is the city that was besieged the most throughout its history. The city, from its foundation to its final fall, faced 24 sieges and was defeated on only two occasions.
The first one in 1204.
In January 1203, while marching to Jerusalem, the Crusaders promised the Byzantine prince Alexios Angelos to divert the Crusade to Constantinople and restore his deposed father Isaac II Angelos as emperor in exchange of military and financial help. In August 1203, following the siege of the city, Alexios was crowned co-emperor. However, in January 1204 he was deposed by a popular uprising. The Crusaders were no longer able to receive the payments promised by Alexios: they decided to conquer and sack the city.
The second and last one in 1453.
The Ottoman Turks had extended their control over virtually all of the Balkans and most of Anatolia, having conquered several Byzantine cities west of Constantinople in the second half of the 14th century. Constantinople itself became an Ottoman vassal during this period. Sultan Mehmed II intended to complete his father's mission and finally conquer Constantinople.
The city fell on May 29, 1453, at the culmination of a 53-day siege, when the Ottomans broke through the three tiers of the city walls, built by Emperor Theodosius in 408, and widely recognized as the most formidable in all of Europe.
🔬 IMAGINE YOU COULD MELT A METAL WITH YOUR HAND
Gallium (symbol Ga and atomic number 31) is a soft, silvery blue metal at standard temperature and pressure while in its liquid state it becomes silvery white. However, gallium does not occur as a free element in nature, but as gallium(III) compounds in trace amounts in zinc ores and in bauxite. Elemental gallium is a liquid at temperatures greater than 29.76 °C (85.57 °F), above room temperature, but below the normal human body temperature of 37 °C (99 °F): hence, the metal will melt in a person's hands!
The existence of gallium was first predicted by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1871. It was eventually discovered using spectroscopy by French chemist Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1875 from its characteristic spectrum (two violet lines) in a sample of sphalerite from the Pyrenees. Later that year, Lecoq obtained the free metal by electrolysis of the hydroxide in potassium hydroxide solution. He named the element gallia, from Latin Gallia meaning Gaul, after his native land of France.
Gallium is mainly used to produce semiconductors and electrical components. Moreover, some of its compounds are being tested as a potential treatment for some diseases. Other applications are the creation of extremely brilliant mirrors and neutrino detection.
Finally, a well-known practical joke among chemists is to fashion gallium spoons and use them to serve tea to unsuspecting guests, since gallium has a similar appearance to its lighter homolog aluminium. The spoons then melt in the hot tea.
🎨 EUGENE DELACROIX - ENTRY OF THE CRUSADERS IN CONSTANTINOPLE
The Entry of the Crusaders in Constantinople (Entrée des Croisés à Constantinople) was commissioned by King Louis Philippe in 1838 and completed in 1840.
Delacroix's painting represents an episode of the Fourth Crusade (April 12, 1204), when the Crusaders abandoned their plan to invade Muslim Egypt and Jerusalem, and sacked Constantinople.
The painting shows Baldwin I of Constantinople leading a procession through the streets of the city after the assault; on all sides are the inhabitants of the city pleading for mercy.
The painting's luminosity and use of color come from the influence of great painters of the past, like Paolo Veronese.