Mohammed II, a Turkish sultan, .surnamed the Great and the Victorious, born in Adri-anople in 1430, died near Scutari in Asia Minor in May, 1481. He was the eldest son of Amurath II. by a Christian princess of Servia, and succeeded him in 1451. He began his reign by murdering his two brothers, calling his father's treasurers to a strict account, and repelling a Caramanian invasion. He next invested Constantinople, April 6, 1453, with a large fleet and an army of more than 250,000 men. The city was taken by storm, May 29, and for three days given up to pillage and massacre. Having determined, however, to make Constantinople his capital, he proclaimed religious toleration and various privileges and immunities to the inhabitants. Be completed the conquest of Servia in 1454, but in 1454 was baffled by Ilunyady in the siege of Belgrade, where the Turks were repulsed with the loss of 25,000 men, while the sultan himself was severely wounded and compelled to raise the siege. He next turned his arms against the Morea, which was still held by two Greek princes, Demetrius and Thomas, the latter of whom made a gallant though unsuccessful resistance.
The conquest of the Morea was completed in 14G0, with the exception of a few fortified seaports held by the Venetians. In 1401 he conquered Trebizond, and had its emperor David Comnenus put to death. He also seized Wallachia and most of the islands of the Archipelago. The prince of Mytileno defended his island for a month, when he surrendered on condition of receiving an indemnity; but Mohammed soon put him to death. Several Christian powers now agreed in a conference held at Mantua to enter on a new crusade against the Turks; but owing to the internal difficulties of the European kingdoms this scheme fell through. Scanderbeg gave the first serious check to Mohammed by defeating several Turkish armies sent against him. The sultan at length (14G5) invaded Albania in person with about 200,000 men, and laid siege to Croia, Scanderbeg's capital; but after heavy losses he was forced to retreat. In the following spring he renewed the attempt, but was again obliged to withdraw. After the death of Scanderbeg, in January, 1467, Albania soon became a Turkish province.
During the war with Scanderbeg the sultan was also engaged in hostilities with the Hungarians and the Venetians. From the latter he conquered Negropont in 1470, after a siege of Chalcis, the capital, in which he lost 40,-000 men; and though the governor of the city surrendered on condition of personal safety, he was put to death, as were all the rest of the captives. The Venetians now entered into an alliance against the Turks with Pope Six-tus IV., the kings of Naples and Cyprus, the grand master of Rhodes, and the shah of Persia. The fleets of the European allies attacked the coast- of the sultan's dominions and burned Smyrna and other places, while the Persians invaded the eastern districts of Turkey in great force, and defeated Mohammed's eldest Mustapha in a pitched battle near the Euphrates Mohammed himself, with 300,000 men, encountered the Persians in Armenia, and was at first defeated. In a second battle he was victorious, and the Persians suffered such severe loss that they withdrew from the alliance and concluded a peace with the sultan in 1474. In 1475 Mohammed wrested Kaffa and other Crimean ports from the Genoese, and made the khan of the Crim Tartars tributary.
But at the siege of Rhodes (1480) he was repulsed by the knights of St. John again and again for three months, suffered immense losses, and had to abandon the undertaking. Meanwhile he captured the Ionian islands and the city of Otranto. The latter was recovered in 1481 by the Italian states, aided by Spain, Portugal, and Hungary. The dtan was preparing to renew the attack on Rhodes when he died, not without suspicion of poison, after an illness of three days. Mohammed II. was one of the ablest of the Turkish sultans, and is glorified as the conqueror of two empires 12 kingdoms, and 200 cities, He is thus des ribed by Richard Knolles in his "History of the Turks" (1610): - He was of stature low, square- set and strong limbed. His complexion was sallow, his countenance stern, and eyes piercing, though a little sunk. His nose was so high and crooked that it almost touched hi. upper lip." Collections of his letters translated into Latin have been published at Lyons (1520), Rase! (1554), Marburg (11504), and Leipsic (1690)