Teacher notes

History-Social Science Content Standards:

7.6 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the civilizations of Medieval Europe.
7.6.4 Demonstrate an understanding of the conflict and cooperation
between the Papacy and European monarchs (e.g., Charlemagne,
Gregory VII, Emperor Henry IV).
7.6.6 Discuss the causes and course of the religious Crusades and their effects on the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish populations in Europe, with emphasis on the increasing contact by Europeans with cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean world.
7.8.2 Students analyze the origins, accomplishments and geographic diffusion of the Renaissance, in terms of the importance of Florence in the early stages of the Renaissance and the growth of independent trading cities (e.g., Venice) with emphasis on their importance in the spread of Renaissance ideas.
1. Students will understand that events of 500 years ago still have ramifications in actions and reactions in today's world.
2. Students will understand some forces which cause decisions to be made by leaders of various areas can affect the entire known world.
3. Students will analyze the relationships, during the 15th Century, between neighboring countries with conflicting ideologies and rivalries, and make connections to the present.
4. Students will analyze the role of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires on the area of the World (Balkans) they both once controlled, and how outside pressures can change territorial boundaries.
Research and group activities may take about 300-400 minutes depending on the number of computers connected to the Internet. One Computer classrooms will take longer unless you have WebWhacker, or the teacher downloads and copies the website pages in advance of the lesson.

Testimony/presentations should take about one class period and be limited to 5-10 minutes for each group, with one additional class period for rebuttal/questions.

Materials: See materials list above.
Duplicate enough copies of the dossier pages for at least 2 copies for each group, and one copy per student of the letter from the insurance company, the introduction page, Constantine XI's final speech. the Short History Sheet and the Volcano sheet. (Also the website pages, 1-2 per group)

  • Hand out highlighters to each group to highlight the dossiers.

  • Reprint the questions to be answered to keep the students on task.

  • Appoint a person to quickly start the timeline on butcher paper (title, lines, etc.). As soon as each group has found and written up five facts, have them put on the paper. It now becomes a resource.

  • Print up (in color if possible) the maps as samples from Maps of Central Europe 980-1871 - Great Historical Maps of England, France, Hungary, Venice, Genoa, Serbia. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/central_europe.html and Maps of South Eastern Europe - Great Historical Maps of Serbia, Hungary, Venice, Danube Area, Moldavia, Genoese territory, Croatia, Wallachia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Varna, Thessalonika, Transylvania. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/Libs/PCL/Map_collection/historical/se_europe.html

  • Invite the Principal and Assistant Principal and/or parents to be the members of the tribunal.

  • Tape one student representing Sophia, who states the charges (reasons for the lawsuit), Play the tape at the beginning of the testimony (direct from Moscow).

  • Play the song "Istanbul was Constantinople..." at the start of the hearing and at the end.

  • Help the groups, if asked, by insisting they find out what the competition is doing.

  • If you have a world map in your classroom, cover all but the area in dispute (no North or South America) and label it "World, 1473". This helps to set the scene.

  • Tape the presentation on video to replay.

France and England were not truly important to this historical event. If you need to drop a group or groups, these are the two least important to the unit. Those countries can become part of an extension/extra credit unit along with Albania who is also mentioned in the texts of the dossier pages. People who have trouble staying on task in a group can be assigned to do research on Dracula, or national heroes like Janos Hunyadi or George Brankovich and then present these reports as eyewitnesses or as a media interview between testimony.

Resources for teachers:
See resources and bibliography above.

Additional notes for teachers:

Constantinople was surrounded on all sides by walls: a triple wall to the west and single walls along the water. The walls along the east and south of the city were bombarded by cannon from the Ottoman ships. The western walls were tunneled under, attacked by cannon and attacked by men. These walls held up.

The entrance to the Golden Horn (to the north of the city) was protected by a huge forged iron chain which ran from Galata (a city held by Genoa after a disasterous war with the Byzantines) to Constantinople. Access to the Golden Horn was restricted and no Turkish battle ships could enter to attack the northern walls.

Mehmed II decided to bypass the chain by dragging 79 ships around Galata. He ordered trees cut down and laid in a double track, end to end, then greased. The ships were dragged down the track around Galata and into the Golden Horn, appearing one morning in April, 1453, to the consternation of the Byzantines.

Added question sheet:

Questions you need to be able to answer:

1. What happened to Constantinople?

What did it look like? Did it change from 1380 to 1453?
Where was Galata?
Who owned Galata?
Where is the Golden Horn? Where was the chain located and why was it there?
Who were the Ottomans and where did they come from?
Who was your leader in 1453?
Who was your leader in 1472?

2. Were you involved in or did either battle of Kossovo effect you? In what way(s)?

3. Were you involved in or did the battle of Varna effect you? In what way(s)?

4. Did the invention (use) of gun powder have any role in the downfall of the Byzantine empire (Constantinople)?

5. What was really lost in 1453?

(Everyone answers the next questions but the Ottomans who turn the questions around to oppose the other sides [the Byzantines only answer if a B appears after the question mark])

6. Did you help the Byzantine empire at any time between 1380 and 1453? (B)

7. Did you participate in any battles against the Ottoman Turks between 1380 and 1448? If so, did you lose? Did you ever make a peace treaty with the Ottomans? (B)

8. How close to you, or land that you owned, were the Turks during the period 1380 to 1453? Did they get closer over time?

9. Were you in danger from the Turks? Are you in danger now? (1472) Have you been taken over by the Turks? (Can you show this information on a map?)

10. Did you have an economic interest in the Byzantine Empire or Constantinople? Did its fall effect your income? trade? ability to get goods? Would you be willing to spend money to find a way to get goods from India and China without going through the Ottoman held areas including Constantinople?

11. Did you lose or gain land during the period 1380 to 1453? (can you show this on a map?)

12. Did you have a religious interest in the Byzantine Empire? What was it?

13. Byzantines: Did you ever ask for help between 1380 and 1453? Did you get any? Was it effective? Who helped you and were you satisfied with the help? Who do you mainly blame for the disaster?

Everyone should know the key players!!

Who is: George Brankovich, Hunyadi, Dracula, Constantine XI, Mehmed (Mohammed) II, Pope Nicholas V, Scanderbeg, Doge of Venice, King of Poland and Hungary?

Who do you think should be responsible for the loss of the city and the empire?

Author: Gina Otto
Granada Middle School
East Whittier City School District
Whittier, California
Submitted by Gina Otto 3/98
Grade 7