Late in the night of 28 May 1453, Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos met with his commanders. For six weeks they had defended the walls of Constantinople against the forces of the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed II.
Now from their positions on the walls, they could see from the piles of scaling ladders and from the frenzied activity in the besieger’s camp that Turkish preparations for the final assault were complete.
At this moment, the emperor to raise the soldier’s morale gave a rousing speech:
‘Well then, my brothers and fellow soldiers, be prepared for the morning. With the grace and strength granted to you by God and with the help from the Holy Trinity, in which we have placed all our hope, let us force the enemy to depart from here in shame.’
His commanders were deeply moved and declared that they were ready to die for Christ and their homeland. The emperor then proceeded to ask them to forgive him if he had ever done them any wrong. They embraced one another and ‘no man, even if he were made of wood or stone, could have held back his tears.
The defenders then returned to their positions to face the Ottoman attack…”
(The End of Byzantium- Jonathan Harris)