Ottoman conquest returns to screens with University of Greenwich historian


Following the success of the first series, Rise of Empires: Ottoman returned to Netflix on 29 December and features Dr Michael Talbot, from the university's history, politics and social sciences department.

The first season, released in 2020, follows Sultan Mehmed II and focuses on how the Ottomans took Constantinople.

In Season two, years after the conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul), Sultan Mehmed II consolidates his power, but Vlad the Impaler rebels in what is present day Romania. This results in a showdown between him and Mehmed the Conqueror.

Dr Michael Talbot, Associate Professor in the History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Middle East at the University of Greenwich said:

“I have had the privilege of being involved in the new series from the very beginning, and it has been a fascinating, challenging, and rewarding experience.  I got to talk with Kelly McPherson (Producer) as he developed his initial ideas, providing historical context and suggesting sources.

“I was involved as a 'talking head', contributing some commentary and analysis of the events from a historical perspective. I also provided advice on a variety of aspects of production, from maps and weapons to buildings and clothes.

“One of my favourite parts of this was translating Ottoman Turkish written poetry by Mehmed the Conqueror and his Grand Vizier Mahmud Pasha. Poetry is such an important source for Ottoman history, and it's something I love discussing and exploring with my students in my third year undergraduate module, 'Cities of the Sultans: Life in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire', here at the University of Greenwich. To share this with such a huge international audience is a real privilege as a historian.

“I was over the moon when Kelly got in touch to ask me to work with him as a historical consultant and contributor for the new series. I still get emails nearly every week from members of the public and students from all over the world who were inspired to learn more about Ottoman history because of watching the show.”

Kelly added: “One of the privileges and perks of writing and producing Series 2 of Rise of Empires was the opportunity to work with Michael again. I can’t think of a better tour guide for this journey through the 15th century Ottoman Empire.”