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The bronze monster that ended an empire

The bronze monster that ended an empire

1452.

Two empires are vying for control of the Mediterranean.

The Byzantines - a relic of the Roman Empire, who controlled the Bosporus from their capital Constantinople.

And the Ottomans, of Sulieman the Magnificent lore.

In the middle: a Hungarian siege engineer named Orban, promising to build the biggest cannon the world had ever seen.

First, he went to the Byzantines.

“Too expensive. Impractical. Won’t work”.

So off he trotted to the Ottomans, where the Sultan listened in wonder about the weapon that would "blast the walls of Babylon itself".

Orban set to work.

A massive pit was dug, where, for three months, his workers poured tons upon tons of bronze into a mould.

Finally, wiping the sweat off their brows, they stepped back…

And looked in awe at the monster they'd created.

Orban named it "Basilica".

The beaming Sultan found 60 of his finest oxen..

And 400 of his strongest men…

And dragged Orban’s cannon to the walls of Constantinople, where it smashed through the city, ended an empire, and heralded the coming of Ottoman power in the Med.

It also began a new age of Ottoman "super" cannon, the heaviest and most feared guns in the world.

Guns so powerful, they’d be used 300 years later against the British.

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