Mehmed II, commonly known as Mehmed the Conqueror (Turkish: Fatih Sultan Mehmet / 30 March 1432 – 3 May 1481), was an Ottoman Sultan who ruled from August 1444 to September 1446, and then later from February 1451 to May 1481.
At the age of 21, he conquered Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) and brought an end to the Byzantine Empire. After the conquest Mehmed claimed the title “Caesar” of the Roman Empire (Qayser-i Rûm), based on the assertion that Constantinople had been the seat and capital of the Roman Empire. On his accession as conqueror of Constantinople, Mehmed was reputed to be fluent in several languages, including Turkish, Serbian, Arabic, Persian, Greek and Latin.
Mehmed continued his conquests in Anatolia with its reunification and in Southeast Europe as far west as Bosnia. At home he made many political and social reforms, encouraged the arts and sciences, and by the end of his reign his rebuilding program had changed the city into a thriving imperial capital. Among other things: Istanbul’s Fatih district, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Fatih Mosque are named after him.
At times, he assembled the Ulama, or learned Muslim teachers, and caused them to discuss theological problems in his presence. During his reign, mathematics, astronomy, and Muslim theology reached their highest level among the Ottomans. Besides, Mehmed II himself was a poet writing under the name “Avni” (the helper, the helpful one) and he left a classical diwan (poetry). On 3 May 1481, at the age of 49, and was buried in his türbe in the cemetery within the Fatih Mosque Complex.
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It was on his orders that the Parthenon and other Athenian monuments were spared destruction.