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Vatican Putting Out Feelers For How Public Would React To Another Children’s Crusade

VATICAN CITY—Saying they had been giving some thought recently to the idea of sending legions of Christian boys and girls to retake the Holy Land and wanted to gauge the level of support, Vatican officials reportedly began putting out feelers Wednesday to determine how the public might react to another Children’s Crusade, much as was attempted in the year 1212.

John Kerry Scrambles To Stop Bunker’s Self-Destruct Sequence As Russian Oligarch Taunts Him From Bank Of Monitors

BOGDARNYA, RUSSIA—Working frantically to gain access to the system’s override settings at the computer terminal controlling the impending implosion, Secretary of State John Kerry scrambled to stop the self-destruct sequence of an underground bunker located thousands of feet below the Russian countryside Tuesday while oligarch Dmitry Granovsky taunted him from the numerous banks of monitors positioned throughout the facility, sources confirmed.

Islamic Awakening Inspires Man To Defect From ISIS

MOSUL, IRAQ—Telling reporters he had renounced his role as a militant and would soon be relocating in order to seek out an environment more conducive to fully devoting himself to his newfound religious faith, 24-year-old Huzaifa Quraishi confirmed Tuesday his recent Islamic awakening had inspired him to defect from ISIS.

CIA Orchestrates Coup D’État To Replace Entire Population Of Venezuela

Agency Installs Pro-American Populace Of 30 Million Venezuelan Citizens

CARACAS, VENEZUELA—Sources are confirming that the Central Intelligence Agency has orchestrated a coup d’état in the South American nation of Venezuela, toppling the country’s 30 million residents and replacing them with an entirely new, pro-American populace.

A Primer On North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains largely unknown to Americans due mainly to the secrecy and isolationism upheld by its government. The Onion provides a primer on North Korea’s people and culture

‘People Are Inherently Good,’ World Halfheartedly Mutters

NICE, FRANCE—Following yesterday’s terrorist attack in Nice, France that left over 80 people dead and scores more injured, sources reported that a dazed and utterly dejected global populace halfheartedly muttered the phrase “People are inherently good” to themselves Friday.

Louvre Curators Hurry To Display Ugly Van Gogh Donor Gave Them Before Surprise Visit

PARIS—After retrieving the eyesore from amid a clutter of unused display cases and movable stanchions in the back of the facility’s basement where it had been stowed ever since the museum received it, curators at the Louvre hurried to display an ugly Vincent van Gogh painting before the artwork’s donor made a surprise visit to the museum Friday.
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Byzantine Empire Will Fall To Turks, Historian Warns

ITHACA, NY—The Byzantine Empire, the Eastern continuation of the Roman Empire, is in grave danger and will soon fall to united armies of Ottoman Turks, Cornell University history professor Wallace Schroeder warned Monday.

In a speech delivered to more than 300 students, Schroeder said that the Empire, having never fully recovered its unity and strength following the violent sacking of Constantinople by Christian crusaders in 1204, remains a severely truncated shadow of its former self. Once a powerful bulwark against the Muslim armies of the Middle East and Anatolia, the Byzantine Empire now faces its most formidable threat yet, the Ottoman Turks.

"It is clear that this situation is very grave indeed for the Byzantines," Schroeder said during the one-hour address in Room 101 of Uris Hall. "By this point, their army consists entirely of mercenaries and inexperienced would-be landholders who are serving temporary stints in the military, merely in the hopes of being granted huge amounts of farmland in the central Anatolian plain under the greatly unprofitable 'feudal levy' system. This rather ragtag bunch is altogether no match for the extraordinarily well-trained janissaries of the upstart Ottoman clans."

The U.S., long interested in the Byzantine Empire for its strategic location and close proximity to Eastern spice and silk markets, is following the developments closely.

"The stability of Byzantium is extremely important to the United States," said U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-RI), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Certainly we're concerned about the Ottomans' ambitions and the threat they pose to the security of the spice routes. Rest assured we'll be in close contact with the Venetian city-state and the Frankish duchies on this matter."

Cornell University history professor Wallace Schroeder.

Despite a pledge of full military support from President Clinton and the threat of severe U.S. economic sanctions against the Ottomans, many seriously question the Byzantines' ability to withstand a Turkish siege.

"Even if the United States were to deploy 20,000 of its finest horse-mounted warriors to the Near East and cut off all opium exports to the Turks, it is still unlikely that that would be enough to stem the tide of history," said Arthur V. Wills, a Duke University professor of Near Eastern Studies and noted Byzantine scholar. "The reality is, U.S. aid or not, the once-great Byzantine Empire will in all likelihood not survive the 1290s."

Philip A. Brannock, visiting professor of Near Eastern Studies from Cambridge University, agreed. "I must concur with my esteemed colleague," Brannock said. "How easily we forget what an imposing force the Ottoman Turks are. Even an extremely capable and prestigious ruler like Holy Roman Emperor Charles V bent to their will, eventually ceding much of his Hungarian possessions to them."

While the volatile Byzantine situation is drawing the attention of scholars and government officials, perhaps no one is monitoring the developing crisis more closely than Kathleen Altman, a Cornell sophomore majoring in English.

"Professor Schroeder said that everything through the end of the Hundred Years War is going to be on the midterm," the 19-year-old from Syosset, NY, said, "so I guess we'll definitely have to know all the stuff about the Ottomans. Oh, my God, I have to pass that test."

Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI could not be reached for comment.

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