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Monday, March 21, 2011


I am reading the most fascinating book at the moment, The Muslim Discovery of Europe. Its amazing how small accidents of history have come to make the world as it is today.  It could all have been so different.

In the course of the struggle for the succession between the Sultan Bayezid II and his brother Jem, the Ottoman troops were withdrawn from Otranto, and the plan to conquer Italy was postponed and eventually abandoned. The ease with which, a few years later in 1494-1495, the French were able to conquer the Italian states one after another, almost without resistance, suggests that had the Turks persisted in their plans they would have conquered most or all of Italy without undue difficulty.  A Turkish conquest of Italy in 1480, when the Renaissance was just beginning, would have transformed the history of the world.


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