Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I'm just sayin'

Just stumbled across this bit today on Yahoo, via Encyclopedia Brittanica.

"1930: Constantinople renamed Istanbul
Built as Byzantium about 657 BC, then renamed Constantinople in the 4th century AD after Constantine the Great made the city his capital, the Turkish city of Istanbul officially received its present name on this day in 1930."

I wonder why they refer to it as "the Turkish city", and never make a mention of how that came to be. They mention the founding, they mention Constantine, but they neglect to point out that it was CAPTURED by the Turks. In fact, by calling it "the Turkish city", they actually imply the opposite: that the Greeks and/or Romans had taken it from the Turks.

Which is of course absurd.

But to point out that it was not originally a "Turkish city" would have been an explicit admission that the (Muslim) Turks- who are not even indiginous to Turkey, but to central Asia (off the top of my head, I would guess someplace around Turkmenistan)- captured it from somebody else. Like the (Christian) Europeans. And we can't do that, can we?

Of course, since most Americans that have an inkling of geography know whereabouts Turkey is found, it works even better. Turkey borders Iraq, therefore the Europeans must have conquered the City from the poor Turkish natives, right? Christianity and Imperialism and all that.

But of course, those of us that actually know a bit more know this little factoid: BYZANTIUM/CONSTANTINOPLE/ISTANBUL IS ACTUALLY IN EUROPE. Geographically and culturally, it is (or was before the Turks beseiged and captured it, with all the attendant bloodshed) a Greek and European city.

Of course, we can't say that can we? That would be horribly un-PC. It might even make the really ignorant among us ask if how we can possibly blame Bush for something that happened shortly before Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue.

Hmmmmmm. Built in Europe in about 657 B.C., captured by the Asian (and Muslim) invaders almost two millenia later.

Yup, it's a Turkish city alright.


1 comment:

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Down Under,

Enjoyed your writing. Would like to see some deisgn elements on the blog, like graphics, photos, etc.

Have a look at the posts titled `reader radar' and `House of Lauds' on my blog at

Cheers for now