Today in European history: the Siege of Constantinople begins (maybe, 717) and ends (718)

Before it fell for good to the Ottomans in 1453, the city of Constantinople withstood something like a dozen sieges by foreign armies over its long history. The one successful siege, by the soldiers of the Fourth Crusade in 1204, was of course eventually rolled back when the Latin Empire went defunct in 1261. But other than that, all of them were unsuccessful. Two (allegedly) of those failed attempts to take the city were made by Arab armies under the Umayyad Caliphate. The first attempt may have been made in 674-678, when the Byzantines may have been saved by the advent of Greek Fire (a highly effective incendiary weapon, whose formula is still unknown, that was particularly destructive at sea, since it continued to burn even in water) and its use in destroying an attempted Arab naval blockade of the city sometime in 677-678.

Read the rest at my new home, Foreign Exchanges!

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