Final Speech Of The Last Roman Emperor Constantine XI

Constantine Palaologus XI speaks before his officers and allies before the final siege of Constantinople by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed Bey 

When Constantinople’s walls were finally breached, Constantine XI knew there would be no quarter, but he would not flee with the Genoese generals. He died fighting in the streets of Constantinople.

Most noble leader, illustrious tribunes, generals, most courageous fellow soldiers and all loyal honest citizens! You know well that the hour has come: the enemy of our faith wishes to oppress us even more closely by sea and land with all his engines and skill to attack us with the entire strength of this siege force, as a snake about to spew its venom; he is in a hurry to devour us, like a savage lion. For this reason I am imploring you to fight like men with brave souls, as you have done from the beginning up to this day, against the enemy of our faith. I hand over to you my glorious, famous, respected, noble city, the shining Queen of cities, our homeland. You know well, my brothers, that we have four obligations in common, which force us to prefer death over survival: first our faith and piety; second our homeland; third, the emperor anointed by the Lord and fourth; our relatives and friends.
     “Well, my brothers, if we must fight for one of these obligations, we will be even more liable under the command strength of all four; as you can clearly understand. If God grants victory to the impious because of my own sins, we will endanger our lives for our holy faith, which Christ gave us with his own blood. This is most important of all. Even if one gains the entire world but loses his soul in the process, what will it benefit! Second, we will be deprived of such famous homeland and of our liberty. Third, our empire, renowned in the past but presently humbled, low and exhausted, will be ruled by a tyrant and an impious man. Fourth, we will be separated from our dearest children, wives and relatives.
     “This wretch of a Sultan has besieged our city up to now for fifty seven days with all his engines and strength; he has relaxed the blockade neither day nor night, but, by the grace of Christ, our Lord, who sees all things, the enemy has often been repelled, up to now, from our walls with shame and dishonor. Yet now too, my brothers, feel no cowardice, even if small parts of our fortifications have collapsed from the explosions and engine missiles, as you can see, we made all possible, necessary repairs. We are placing all hope in the irresistible glory of God. Some have faith in armament, others in cavalry, might and numbers but we believe in the name of our Lord, our God and Savior, and second, in our arms and strength granted to us by divine power.
     “I know the countless hordes of the impious will advance against us, according to their custom, violently, confidently and with great courage and force in order to overwhelm and wear out our few defenders with hardship. They attempt to frighten us with loud yells and innumerable battle cries. But you are all familiar with their chattering and I need say no more about it. For a long time they will continue so and will also release over us countless rocks, all sorts of arrows and missiles, like the sand of the sea. But I hope that such things will not harm us; I see, greatly rejoice, and nourish with hopes in my mind that even if we are few, you are all experienced and seasoned warriors- courageous, brave, and well prepared. Protect your heads with shields in combat and battle. Keep your right hand, armed with the sword, extended in front of you at all times. Your helmets, breastplates and suits of armor are fully sufficient together with your other weapons and will prove very effective in battle. Our enemies have no and use no such weapons. You are protected inside the walls, while they will advance without cover and with toil.
     “For these reasons, my fellow soldiers, prepare yourselves, be firm, and remain valiant, for the pity of God, Take your example from the few elephants of the Carthaginians and how they dispersed the numerous cavalry of the Romans with their noise and appearance. If one dumb beast put another to flight, we, the masters of horses and animals, can surely even do better against our advancing enemies, since they are dumb animals, worse even than pigs. Present your shield, swords, arrows, and spears to them, imagining that you are a hunting party after wild boars, so that the impious may learn that they are dealing not with dumb animals but with their lords and masters, the descendants of the Greeks and the Romans.
     “You are well aware that this irreligious Sultan, the enemy of our holy faith, violated for no good reason the peace treaty we had with him and disregarded his numerous oaths without a second thought. Suddenly, he appeared and built his castle in the straights of Asomatosso he might be able to inflict daily harm on us. Then he put our farms, gardens, parks, and houses to the torch, while he killed and enslaved as many of our Christian brothers as he found; he broke the treaty of friendship. He befriended the inhabitants of Galata, the wretches rejoice over this, as they are unaware of the parable of the Farmer’s son who was roasting snails and said, “Oh stupid creature,” etc. Well my brothers, since he started the siege and the blockade, every day he opens his fathomless mouth and is seeking an opportunity to devour us and this city, which thrice-blessed Constantine the Great founded and dedicated to the all holy most chaste Mother of God, our lad, Mar the eternal virgin. She became the Queen of Cities, the shield and aid of our homeland, the shelter of Christians, the hope and joy of all wishes to destroy this city, which was once proud and blooming like a rose of the field.
     “I can tell you that this city mastered the entire universe; She placed beneath her feet Pontus, Armenia, paphlagonia, The Amazonian lands, Cappadocia, Galatia, Media, Georgian Colchis, Bosphoros, Albania, Syria, Cilicia, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Palestine, Arabia, Judea, Bactria, Scythia, Macedonia, Thessaly, Hellas, Boeotia, Locris, Aetolia, Arcarnania, Achaea, the Peloponnese, Epirus, Illyria, Lykhnites, the Adriatic, Italy, Tuscany, the Celts, and Galatian Celts, Spain up to Cadiz, Libya, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Beledes, Scude, Numidia, Africa and Egypt.
     Now he wants to enslave her and throw the yoke upon the Mistress of Citie, our holy churches, where the Holy Trinity was worshipped, where the Holy Ghost was glorified in hymns, where angels were heard praising in chant the deity of and the incarnation of God’s word, he wants to turn into shrines of his blasphemy, shrines of the mad and false Prophet, Mohammed, as well as into stables for his horses and camels.
     “Consider then, my brother and comrades in arms, how the commemoration of our death, our memory, fame and freedom can be rendered eternal.” 

The Crumbling Theodosian

Every day
Another brick falls.
Every day
The vines creep closer.
The statues are ground to dust.
The words are fading.
The blood is covered with earth and forgotten.
The happy heart decays
Until only beasts once more remain


Justice is the lifeblood of society.
It runs and fights
And bleeds through my veins.
Justice is the highest calling of good men.
A man who cares not for justice is not a man but a beast.

I am also for truth.
I distrust the justice of this world
I’m skeptical of anything people tell me
“Look at this injustice! look here and here and here”
Everyone echoes everyone.

People cry out when one man is killed by the state,
And it’s right that they do so,
But then they go on about their day
When thousands of children
Are poisoned, burned, and cut to pieces by their mothers.

Fuck you and your “justice”
Fuck you and your utopia

You wouldn’t know injustice
If it were ripped from its womb
And placed in a hazmat bag
To be discarded with the rest of the days trash.

Life’s Ordinary Glories

You are who you are.

This life is your life.

If you can’t find happiness where you are
You won’t find happiness elsewhere.
Joy is a state of being –
It’s a revelation –
It’s a taking off of the veil –
An opening of your eyes for the millionth time.

The taste of honeysuckle
The touch of sunlight
The sound of sparrows
The smell of rain
The shining intelligence in an infants eyes

If you can’t find happiness
Amidst all the ordinary glories of your life,
You won’t find happiness at all.

A Traveler of the Stars

As long as I’m in pursuit of You,
I can never be lonely, my Love,
For I carry You everywhere
And You infect every crack and crevice
Of my broken being.
I am Your Kintsugi bowl
And it’s Your gold
That has put me back together again.
I shall never break
As long as I’m in Your hands.
Oh love – What worlds will we see together?
What wonders do You have to show me?
I strive after Your mystery
Like a traveler of the stars
Searching for another piece of Your puzzle.
I long to drink –
And You are always there
Giving me sip after beautiful sip,
Leaving me only wanting more and more of You.
Always with me – but a universe apart.

Monday Night Beneath The Towers

It’s a Monday night beneath the towers,
And for no particular reason,
I’ve decided to get drunk.
Maybe it’s the city
Maybe it’s that sucking sound
Coming from my innermost being.
Daoist tears from a thousand years,
Collected in the taste of a beer.
I drink to Li Bai,
I drink to lovers from another time,
I drink to those nails
Which put Christ on the cross,
I drink to all I’ve given up,
I drink to all that’s lost,
And I drink to the hope,
The hope that warms me
In a world gone cold with decadence.

How Necessary Is It To Have Opinions

Yes! No!

How necessary it is to have opinions! I think the spotted trout
lilies are satisfied, standing a few inches above the earth. I
think serenity is not something you just find in the world,
like a plum tree, holding up its white petals.

The violets, along the river, are opening their blue faces, like
small dark lanterns.

The green mosses, being so many, are as good as brawny.

How important it is to walk along, not in haste but slowly,
looking at everything and calling out

Yes! No! The

swan, for all his pomp, his robes of grass and petals, wants
only to be allowed to live on the nameless pond. The catbrier
is without fault. The water thrushes, down among the sloppy
rocks, are going crazy with happiness. Imagination is better
than a sharp instrument. To pay attention, this is our endless
and proper work.
~ Mary Oliver ~

May I Learn To Love You Like This

Too late I loved Thee,
O thou beauty of ancient days, yet ever new!
Too late I loved Thee!
And behold, Thou wert within and I abroad,
And there I searched for Thee;
Deformed I, plunging amid those fair forms which Thou hadst made.
Thou wert with me but I was not with Thee.
Things held me far from Thee which,
Unless they were in Thee,
Were not at all.
Thou calledst, and shoutedst, and burstedst my deafness.
Thou flashedst, shonest, and scattered my blindness.
Thou breathedst odors, and I drew in breath and pant for Thee.
I tasted, and hunger and thirst.
Thou touchedst me and I burned for Thy peace.
When I shall with my whole soul cleave to Thee,
I shall nowhere have sorrow or labor,
And my life shall live as wholly full of Thee.
-Saint Augustine

“Oh my God, sweetness unspeakable, turn into bitterness all my fleshly consolation, which draweth me away from love of eternal things, and wickedly allureth towards itself by setting before me some present delight. Let not, oh my God, let not flesh and blood prevail over me, let not the world and its short glory decieve me, let not the devil, and his craftiness supplant me. Give me courage to resist, patience to endure, constancy to persevere. Grant in place of all consolations of the world, the most sweet unction of thy spirit, and in place of carnal love, pour into me the love of thy name.”
-Thomas A Kempis

A Man

A man should strive for peace
Yet be a violent as wild fire towards injustice.
He should be gentle like a lamb,
Yet bold as lions!
He should deafen his ears to foolishness,
Seek wisdom, and speak with discernment.
A man should treat all life with respect,
But take it from evil with a fury.
He should strive for love,
And run from judgment for it isn’t his,
It belongs to the law which is above him.
A man must choose his side,
Must choose his creed,
And live his life – bound by no one
But God and his conscience.

Language is a Song

Language is a song
Which rolls like grace off the tongue.
A love song watered down into other uses
And sung each day unenthusiastically.

I wonder how exciting it was for Adam
To hear the first words sung by Eve,
And how melodically eloquent
They were to his lonely soul.

Those words,
The realization and expression
Of her complex and gentle spirit

Mei hua
Piaoliang hua
Beautiful flower
Exquisite blossom.


I don’t want to be like the rest
But how – on a satellite as dark as this
Does a man recover his heart again?
How do I aquire
This great desire of my heart,
To know deep down
That I live a life of honor.
To conquer compromise
To quell the complaining
And to quit wasting
This short and precious life
Making it count
For the sole reason that it is holy,
Standing firm against mediocrity.

December Days Under The Trees

When you get down to it,
Life is two friends
Sitting by a river on a cold day
Reading the words of dead men
And basking in the glory.


There are times
When your body shakes
From the pulsing blood,
From the conscious thought,
That this is your life.
There is nothing you can do
but shake – mouth open wide
sit and shake and breathe
and be filled with awe,

Under the leafless trees,

Under the setting sun.


I admire the tree in silence.
The way it clings to the rock
And works its way down into the river
Down into the earth.
I think about the knowledge of man.
All the things that men have told me
about the tree – about botany or biology.
They have said this
They have said that
Words whispered into the air and gone in time.
Knowledge is worthless in comparison to beauty
This tree is magnificent
And that is enough for me.

Creed of the Modern Thinker

A poem by Steve Turner

We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don’t hurt anyone
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during, and
after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy’s OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything’s getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there’s something in horoscopes
UFO’s and bent spoons.
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha,
Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher though we think
His good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same-
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens
they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then its
compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps
Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn

We believe in Masters and Johnson
What’s selected is average.
What’s average is normal.
What’s normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and
Americans should beat their guns into tractors .
And the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It’s only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that
is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth
that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds,
And the flowering of individual thought.

If chance be
the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky
and when you hear

State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!

It is but the sound of man
worshipping his maker.

-Steve Turner, English Journalist

What Does It Mean To Be Human?

A philosophical talk given at the Mayo Clinic by Ravi Zacharias. I highly recommend you watch it. If you dont have time now come back later.

Courtesy of The Veritas Forum


I’ve heard some say,
Some alive, some dead,
That they wished they could be
A wolf, an eagle, or a lion.
But I sit here on this rock,
Blood running strong in my veins,
Under the end of August sun,
A young man,
Free and with the world at my feet,
Tell me,
What more fantastic or wild thing
Could I ever wish to be?


A man loses his family in a high speed accident,
No tragedy here.
A woman gets raped in a brothel,
No tragedy here.
A baby has scissors shoved into its skull by a doctor,
No tragedy here.

Science declares,
It’s just matter in motion.

Garden Monologue – Tarkovsky – The Sacrifice

The following is one of the most moving monologues I have ever heard in a film. It is from Tarkovsky’s last film “The Sacrifice.” The character sits talking to a young girl on the eve of nuclear holocaust and laments the nature of man. Reading it does not have the same effect as watching it, but I cannot find it in clip form anywhere on the net so this will have to do.

And for the other people on the net looking for this thing… You are welcome =)

Years ago
Before I was married
I often went to visit my mother in the country.
She was still alive in those days.
Her house, a little cottage,
Was surrounded by a garden
A little garden
Dreadfully neglected and overgrown
No one had tended it for many years
And I don’t think
Anyone had ever been in it.
Even then my mother was very ill
She almost never left the house
Still… Amidst the ruin of the garden
There was something that was, in its way, beautiful.

Now I know what it was.

When the weather was fine…
She often sat at the window…
Looking out at the garden
She even had a special chair by the window.
Once, though, I decided that I would tidy things up
In the garden that is.
I wanted to mow the grass
Burn the weeds, prune the trees
On the whole,
I wanted to redo the garden in my own taste
With my own hands
Yes, simply to please my mother.
And for two solid weeks
I went at it with shears and a scythe.
I dug and cut
And sawed
And weeded…
I kept my nose to the ground literally
And I took great pains to get it ready
As soon as possible.
My mothers condition grew worse
And she kept to her bed.
But I wanted her to be able…
To sit by the window
And see her new garden.
In short, when I was finished
And everything was ready
I took a bath
Put on fresh underwear,
A new jacket, even a tie.
Then I sat down in the chair
To see what I had made,
Through her eyes as it were,


I sat there…

And looked out the window.
I had prepared myself to enjoy the sight…
Anyway, I looked out the window and saw…

What did I see?

Where had all the beauty gone?
The naturalness of it?
It was so disgusting
All that evidence of violence!

I remember once
When my sister was young.
She went to a barber and had her hair cut.
It was the fashion then.
Her hair was unbelievably lovely,
Golden yellow like Lady Godiva’s.
She came home pleased as punch.

Then my father saw her.

He began to cry.
I think it was the same with the garden.