“An himself from his soldiers and made the last

“An emperor should not
outlive his empire”-1453, The Fall of Constantinople

Emperor Constantine XI
Palaiologos, The Last Emperor of the Byzantine Empire

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All hope for victory is lost, we are surrounded, the enemies
have broken the gates. The empire has fallen, my people are murdered and I’m
still alive, fuck I’ll take as many as you before I fall. The empire, my people
dies and so do i.

 

Just imagine yourself being faced with an enemy that
outnumbered your army 10 to 1, and possessing a state of the art weapon that
could smash the thousand year old walls to rubble. The victorious enemy then
offers you a last ditch of chance to spare your life in exchange of a province
, the last few chunks left of an empire that once stretched the eastern portion
of  the once Great Roman Empire. Weakened
and decimated by the Bubonic Plague the population is now only about 50000,
with your soldiers only about 7000. To make things worse your brother
Christians in the West were not in good terms due to religious squabbles, it
doesn’t help they sack the capital at 1204 and not in any mood to send
reinforcements. After almost a month of siege with delivering heavy losses at
the side of the enemy for repeated failed attempts to break through, the tide
has turned and the enemy has gained the upper hand, not long after your city is
taken. The capital of the once great Byzantine Empire is now at the enemies,
overlooking at your citadel. It is unthinkable to flee so he tore of his
imperial ornaments so not to distinguish himself from his soldiers and made the
last charge towards his enemy. His fate is unknown and his body never
recovered.

All of us die, but it’s how we respond to it with dignity
and calm composure and valour towards an enemy that has clearly won militarily
is a sure way to imprint ourselves in the history book. Constantine is not the
first and neither he is last from the long line of people who acted as leaders
to the very end. A leader of an empires of old, don’t just rule and maintain
order, they are supposed to embody the principles, the virtues and values of
the people they rule. The Ottoman Empire embodies a different set of values and
tradition than the Eastern Romans do. The new power symbolizes the coming of a
new age and the death of an old one. Constantine knew his empire has died it’s
a shadow of its former glory just before the last siege that took it. For a
leader like Constantine it is unthinkable that he, the embodiment of old proud
Roman values that stretch all the way to Augustus Caesar, will choose
self-preservation over death.  Ultimately
it’s dishonourable that your Roman values be abandoned in the face of a
stronger enemy.

How many of us, prefers the easy way of pleading mercy to
the enemy. Many people run away from struggles, and take flight and loose
composure at the sight of our problems to the breaking point. Sometimes those
problems are made worse that they could be your last. That there’s no way out
of it. Sometimes we are told that we only got few months to live because of an
illness but hey, we still have to fight, that dying on the inside is much worse
than our actual demise. In the process succumbing to despair we die as our
values die, we lose sight of the things we still have in life. Depression
hollows out our soul, it sinks and corrodes our mental and psychological
faculties. But some people know that physical death may kill their dreams, but
never their attempts to reach it.  They
remain calm knowing that death is not something to be feared of but a rite of
passage to greatness in the sheer determination to reach their dreams despite
its monumental and inevitable impossibility offered by the physical enemy. The
body disintegrates a hollow shell left but the values and virtues the soul
embodies throughout their life will live on. If we die on the inside, living
has turned to just mere existing .Values has to come first, it never dies,
because it isn’t physical, it will forever remain eternal for the people
striving for it. For Constantine the last charge manifests the fighting soul
within a dying body.