The Last Emperor
A best selling novel
The novel is based on the historical context of the clash between Christianity and Islam, that led to the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the destruction of the Byzantine Empire. While historical fact is the starting point, the aim is to focus on the human aspect of these events: The sadness, desolation, and hopeless heroism of the Byzantines, the ruthless cunningness and determination of the Turks.
With power thought, face to face with historical fact, the author Maria Lampadaridou Pothou conveys, minute by minute, the ultimate agony of the last days of the Imperial City, the struggle of that tragic besieget people, who became a universal symbol.
But beyond that, Maria Lampadaridou Pothou, with her hero as a mythic axis, describes the decline of Byzantium, as well as the painful experience of the Greek people after the Fall – an experience that gave rise to the flowering of the Greek spirit in Western centers of the Renaissance.
The novel Byzantium - The Fall has been translated into English.
"What I hoped to do was to find that which almost always remains outside of history: the passion, the miracle, the heroic grandeur of that tragic besieged people, abandoned by God a man. All those things I attempted to portray through the pain of the One Conscience, the One Solitary Cry, so that today’s man and woman could participate in that stunning event, which determined the historical course of the last millennium.
I believe that only historical self-knowledge can lead a nation to transcend blood, and that the death of the Byzantine Empire constitutes a historical past for every contemporary man and woman. In the spirit of peaceful co-existence foreshadowed by the new millennium, knowledge of the historical truth is that which will shape the new ecumenical human being."
"When I began to write my novel about the fall of the Byzantine Empire, I could not imagine the adventure on which I was embarking. On the one hand, there was the position I had to take, as author, toward a historical event that altered the world stage and shaped a new order in the balance of power throughout the world; on the other, there was the psychic price to pay, in reviving the wrenching experience of the last days of the siege of Constantinople and its fall.
The novel describes, moment by moment, the last fifty-seven days of the dying Byzantine Empire and at the same time recounts the unhappy course of thw Empire’s decline and of its abandonment by the West. It, also, outlines the painful experience of the Greek people after the fall which led to the flowering of Greek learning in the West.
I made use of poetic language and symbols, in order to enrich the epic account with insights from contemporary psychology.
History needs poetry in order to survive.
Poetry was my raw material".
First Edition 1996, 19th edition 2010
«Η αράχνη υφαίνει τον ιστό της και η κουκουβάγια κρώζει στους πύργους του Αφραστάβ…»
Ήταν ο στίχος του Πέρση ποιητή που απάγγειλε ο Μωάμεθ, ευθύς μόλις μπήκε κατακτητής στη σπαραγμένη Βασιλεύουσα και επισκέφθηκε το Ιερό Παλάτιο και την Αγια Σοφιά".