April 1453. The Ottomans, led by Sultan Mehmed II, lay siege to the city of Constantinople. They intend to seize the city and unify their Sultanate, which was cut into two by the Byzantine Empire. In the defense of his capital, Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI can count upon his citizens, and also upon Genoese and Venetian soldiers. The reinforcements expected by the Byzantines are late in arriving, but the besieged city holds firm under the command of the charismatic Genoese captain, Giustiniani, an excellent leader of men. He commands his troops with an iron hand while remaining very popular. He is vital to the defense of the city. On May 28, 1453, during yet another Ottoman assault, Giustiniani is mortally wounded by a ball from a culverin light gun. Deprived of their leader, the defenders of Constantinople panic. The final Ottoman assaults cannot be contained, and the weakened and demoralized defenders finally buckle. Mehmed II seizes the city on May 29, 1453. His army indulges in three days of pillaging. The Byzantine Empire, last remnant of the Roman Empire and guardian of the orthodox faith in the East, has just collapsed.