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The Holy Roman Reader. Late Addition Veinna: Today sunny, a few afternoon clouds. . “News Today, History Tomorrow.” . VOL. CL…NO. 13,573. The Enemy Revealed. Vienna, Sunday, November 16, 1556 . 25 CENTS. Diplomat Busbecq describes the Ottomans from their capitol of Istanbul.

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The Holy Roman Reader

Late Addition

Veinna: Today sunny,

a few afternoon clouds.

“News Today,

History Tomorrow.”

VOL. CL…NO. 13,573

The Enemy Revealed

Vienna, Sunday, November 16, 1556


Diplomat Busbecq describes the Ottomans from their capitol of Istanbul

Busbecq portrays the Turks as cultured and enlightened.

Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq was the Holy Roman ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during the sixteenth century. During his years of service he wrote several letters back to Vienna describing many aspects of the Empire. Imagine your group is a writing team of the “Holy Roman Reader”

charged with summarizing

One of Busbecq’s letters for

the population of Vienna.

Read through the section

provided noting four

interesting or important facts

to be written in your article.


Holy Roman Reader Activity:

1. Read the article provided in your writing pair.

2. Find four interesting, informative, and important pieces of information in your groups article which you would like to write about.

3. Write a two paragraph (3-5 sentences a paragraph) article (one for each group) summarizing Busbecq’s letter from the Ottoman empire for the people of Vienna. include the four facts you picked out.

4. Be prepared to present and turn in this article.

5. If you have any questions raise your hand and ask me.


The Janissaries

  • The Janissaries were an elite fighting force who acted as the Ottoman Empire’s standing arming.
  • The force was mainly built of Christian teens taken from the Balkans who would convert to Islam and undergo rigorous training.
  • The boys were strictly treated and told to forget their families, the Sultan was their father.
  • Those who were seen as the brightest would receive training in languages, literature, history, and the Quran to become pages.

Key Geography Terms

The Bosporus

The Balkans

Constantinople (Istanbul)

Asia Minor


The Dardanelles


The Byzantine capitol of Constantinople was taken over by the Ottomans who renamed it Istanbul.

Sea of Marmara

Northern Africa


Mehmet II


The Islamic religion was a unifying force that tolerated other religions.

  • Best known for ending the Byzantine Empire by conquering Constantinople.
  • Gave special protection to the Christians and Jews living within the boundaries of his empire.
  • Mehmet wrote the earliest known document on religious freedom.


Byzantine Constantinople

Great Palace

Hagia Sophia


80,000 Ottoman troops against 7,000 Byzantine defenders.

  • The siege lasted three months.
  • After the defenses were breeched the city was sacked for three days.
  • Mehmet II: “What a city we have given over to plunder and destruction.”

Muhammed’s Great Gun


The Great Turkish Bombard/ Sahi/ The Dardanelles Gun/ The Royal Gun

750mm Cannon

Weight: 18 tons

Ammunition: 1,500lb granite stones

Manned by: 60 oxen and 200 soldiers

Rate of fire: 7 shots a day


Was the largest cathedral in the world for 1,000 years.

  • Was the center of the Greek Orthodox church before being converted into a mosque by Mehmet II.
  • Hagia Sophia; “Holy Wisdom”

Hagia Sophia


Selim I

  • During his short reign (8 years) Selim doubled the size of the Ottoman Empire.
  • He had great success in pushing the Ottoman borders into the Middle East.
  • He conquered the Safavid capitol of Tabriz (defeating Shah Ismail I) and took control of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina as well as Egypt.
  • He was know as “Selim the grim” for his ruthlessness to his enemies and his own people.

Suleiman I

  • Suleiman the Magnificent in the west, Suleiman the Law Giver to Ottomans.
  • Known as a just ruler, he executed corrupt officials and one of his first acts as sultan was paying back merchants whom his father had taken.
  • He extended his empire further into the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.
  • Suleiman ruled over the height of the Ottoman Empire.




  • The Ottoman Empire expanded from Asia Minor to include parts of:
  • Southwest Asia
  • Southeastern Europe (Balkans)
  • North Africa