Constantinople
Overview
 
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, Eastern Roman, Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, Latin
Latin Empire
The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261...

, and Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

s. Throughout most of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.
The city was originally founded as a Greek colony under the name of Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

in the 7th century BC. It took on the name of Konstantinoupolis ("city of Constantine", Constantinople) after its re-foundation under Roman emperor Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

, who designated it as his new Roman capital.
Timeline

330    Byzantium is renamed ''Nova Roma'' during a dedication ceremony, but it is more popularly referred to as Constantinople.

359    Honoratus, the first known Prefect of the City of Constantinople, takes office.

365    Roman usurper Procopius bribes two legions passing by Constantinople, and proclaims himself Roman emperor.

380    Theodosius I makes his ''adventus'', or formal entry, into Constantinople.

437    Valentinian III, Western Roman Emperor, marries Licinia Eudoxia, daughter of his cousin Theodosius II, Eastern Roman Emperor in Constantinople unifying the two branches of the House of Theodosius

475    Byzantine Emperor Zeno is forced to flee his capital at Constantinople.

475    Basiliscus becomes Byzantine Emperor, with a coronation ceremony in the Hebdomon palace in Constantinople.

532    Nika riots in Constantinople.

532    Nika riots in Constantinople fail.

558    In Constantinople, the dome of the Hagia Sophia collapses. Justinian I immediately orders that the dome be rebuilt.

Encyclopedia
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, Eastern Roman, Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, Latin
Latin Empire
The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261...

, and Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

s. Throughout most of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.

Names

The city was originally founded as a Greek colony under the name of Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

in the 7th century BC. It took on the name of Konstantinoupolis ("city of Constantine", Constantinople) after its re-foundation under Roman emperor Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

, who designated it as his new Roman capital. The modern Turkish name İstanbul derives from the Greek phrase eis tin polin (εις την πόλιν), meaning "in the City" or "to the City". This name was used in Turkish side by side with Kostantiniyye, the more formal Arabic–Persian adaptation of the original Constantinople, during the period of Ottoman rule, while western languages mostly continued to refer to the city as Constantinople until the early 20th century. After the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the Turkish government began to formally object to the use of Constantinople in other languages and ask that others use the more common name for the city.

Byzantium

Constantinople was founded by the Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

 on the site of an already-existing city, Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

, settled in the early days of Greek colonial expansion, probably around 671-662 BC. The site lay astride the land route from Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 to Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 and the seaway
Turkish Straits
The term Turkish Straits refers to the two narrow straits in northwestern Turkey, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, that connect the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea on one side and the Aegean arm of the Mediterranean Sea on the other. They are conventionally considered the boundary between the...

 from the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 to the Mediterranean, and had in the Golden Horn
Golden Horn
The Golden Horn is a historic inlet of the Bosphorus dividing the city of Istanbul and forming the natural harbor that has sheltered Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other ships for thousands of...

 an excellent and spacious harbour.

306–337

Constantine had altogether more colourful plans. Having restored the unity of the Empire, and, being in course of major governmental reforms as well as of sponsoring the consolidation of the Christian church
Constantine I and Christianity
During the reign of the Emperor Constantine the Great, Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine, also known as Constantine I, had a significant religious experience following his victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312...

, he was well aware that Rome was an unsatisfactory capital. Rome was too far from the frontiers, and hence from the armies and the Imperial courts, and it offered an undesirable playground for disaffected politicians. Yet it had been the capital of the state for over a thousand years, and it might have seemed unthinkable to suggest that the capital be moved to a different location. Nevertheless, he identified the site of Byzantium as the right place: a place where an emperor could sit, readily defended, with easy access to the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 or the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 frontiers, his court supplied from the rich gardens and sophisticated workshops of Roman Asia, his treasuries filled by the wealthiest provinces of the Empire.

Constantinople was built over six years, and consecrated on 11 May 330. Constantine divided the expanded city, like Rome, into 14 regions, and ornamented it with public works worthy of an imperial metropolis. Yet, at first, Constantine's new Rome did not have all the dignities of old Rome. It possessed a proconsul
Proconsul
A proconsul was a governor of a province in the Roman Republic appointed for one year by the senate. In modern usage, the title has been used for a person from one country ruling another country or bluntly interfering in another country's internal affairs.-Ancient Rome:In the Roman Republic, a...

, rather than an urban prefect. It had no praetors, tribunes, or quaestors. Although it did have senators, they held the title clarus, not clarissimus, like those of Rome. It also lacked the panoply of other administrative offices regulating the food supply, police, statues, temples, sewers, aqueducts, or other public works. The new programme of building was carried out in great haste: Columns, marbles, doors, and tiles were taken wholesale from the temples of the Empire and moved to the new city. In similar fashion, many of the greatest works of Greek and Roman art were soon to be seen in its squares and streets. The Emperor stimulated private building by promising householders gifts of land from the Imperial estates in Asiana
Diocese of Asia
The Diocese of Asia was a diocese of the later Roman Empire, incorporating the provinces of western Asia Minor and the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea...

 and Pontica
Diocese of Pontus
The Diocese of Pontus was a diocese of the later Roman Empire, incorporating the provinces of northern and northeastern Asia Minor up to the border with the Sassanid Empire in Armenia. The diocese was established after the reforms of Diocletian, and its vicarius, headquartered at Amaseia, was...

, and on 18 May 332 he announced that, as in Rome, free distributions of food would be made to the citizens. At the time the amount is said to have been 80,000 rations a day, doled out from 117 distribution points around the city.

Constantine laid out a new square at the centre of old Byzantium, naming it the Augustaeum
Augustaion
The Augustaion or, in Latin, Augustaeum, was an important ceremonial square in ancient and medieval Constantinople , roughly corresponding to the modern Aya Sofya Meydanı...

. The new senate-house (or Curia) was housed in a basilica on the east side. On the south side of the great square was erected the Great Palace
Great Palace of Constantinople
The Great Palace of Constantinople — also known as the Sacred Palace — was the large Imperial Byzantine palace complex located in the south-eastern end of the peninsula now known as "Old Istanbul", modern Turkey...

 of the Emperor with its imposing entrance, the Chalke
Chalke
The Chalke Gate , was the main ceremonial entrance to the Great Palace of Constantinople in the Byzantine period. The name, which means "the Bronze Gate", was given to it either because of the bronze portals or from the gilded bronze tiles used in its roof. The interior was lavishly decorated with...

, and its ceremonial suite known as the Palace of Daphne
Daphne Palace
The Palace of Daphne was one of the major wings of the Great Palace of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire . According to George Codinus, it was named after a statue of the nymph Daphne, brought from Rome...

. Nearby was the vast Hippodrome
Hippodrome of Constantinople
The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydanı in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with only a few fragments of the original structure surviving...

 for chariot-races, seating over 80,000 spectators, and the famed Baths of Zeuxippus
Baths of Zeuxippus
The Baths of Zeuxippus were popular public baths in the city of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. They were built between 100 to 200, destroyed by the Nika revolt of 532 and then rebuilt several years later. They were so called because they were built upon the site where a Temple...

. At the western entrance to the Augustaeum was the Milion, a vaulted monument from which distances were measured across the Eastern Roman Empire.

From the Augustaeum led a great street, the Mese
Mese (Constantinople)
The Mese was the main thoroughfare of ancient Constantinople . The street was the main scene of Byzantine imperial processions. Its ancient course is largely followed by the modern Divanyolu Avenue.- Description :...

 (Greek: Μέση [Οδός] lit. "Middle [Street]"), lined with colonnades. As it descended the First Hill of the city and climbed the Second Hill, it passed on the left the Praetorium
Praetorium
- Etemology :The praetorium, also spelled prœtorium or pretorium, was originally used to identify the general’s tent within a Roman Castra, Castellum, or encampment. The word originates from the name of the chief Roman magistrate, known as Praetor...

 or law-court. Then it passed through the oval Forum of Constantine
Forum of Constantine
The Forum of Constantine was built at the foundation of Constantinople immediately outside of the old city walls of Byzantium. It was circular in shape and had two monumental gates to the east and west...

 where there was a second Senate-house and a high column
Column of Constantine
The Column of Constantine is a Roman monumental column constructed on the orders of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great in 330 AD. It commemorates the declaration of Byzantium as the new capital city of the Roman Empire...

 with a statue of Constantine himself in the guise of Helios
Helios
Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn...

, crowned with a halo of seven rays and looking toward the rising sun. From there the Mese passed on and through the Forum of Taurus and then the Forum of Bous, and finally up the Seventh Hill (or Xerolophus) and through to the Golden Gate in the Constantinian Wall. After the construction of the Theodosian Walls in the early 5th century, it would be extended to the new Golden Gate, reaching a total length of seven Roman miles.

395–527

The first known Prefect of the City of Constantinople was Honoratus, who took office on 11 December 359 and held it until 361. The emperor Valens
Valens
Valens was the Eastern Roman Emperor from 364 to 378. He was given the eastern half of the empire by his brother Valentinian I after the latter's accession to the throne...

 built the Palace of Hebdomon on the shore of the Propontis
Sea of Marmara
The Sea of Marmara , also known as the Sea of Marmora or the Marmara Sea, and in the context of classical antiquity as the Propontis , is the inland sea that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating Turkey's Asian and European parts. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Black...

 near the Golden Gate, probably for use when reviewing troops. All the emperors up to Zeno
Zeno (emperor)
Zeno , originally named Tarasis, was Byzantine Emperor from 474 to 475 and again from 476 to 491. Domestic revolts and religious dissension plagued his reign, which nevertheless succeeded to some extent in foreign issues...

 and Basiliscus
Basiliscus
Basiliscus was Eastern Roman Emperor from 475 to 476. A member of the House of Leo, he came to power when Emperor Zeno had been forced out of Constantinople by a revolt....

 were crowned and acclaimed at the Hebdomon. Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 founded the Church of John the Baptist to house the skull of the saint (today preserved at the Topkapı Palace
Topkapi Palace
The Topkapı Palace is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey, that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years of their 624-year reign....

 in Istanbul, Turkey), put up a memorial pillar to himself in the Forum of Taurus, and turned the ruined temple of Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

 into a coach house for the Praetorian Prefect
Praetorian prefecture of the East
The praetorian prefecture of the East or of Oriens was one of four large praetorian prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided...

; Arcadius
Arcadius
Arcadius was the Byzantine Emperor from 395 to his death. He was the eldest son of Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the Western Emperor Honorius...

 built a new forum named after himself on the Mese, near the walls of Constantine.

The importance of Constantinople gradually increased. After the shock of the Battle of Adrianople
Battle of Adrianople
The Battle of Adrianople , sometimes known as the Battle of Hadrianopolis, was fought between a Roman army led by the Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels led by Fritigern...

 in 378, in which the emperor Valens
Valens
Valens was the Eastern Roman Emperor from 364 to 378. He was given the eastern half of the empire by his brother Valentinian I after the latter's accession to the throne...

 with the flower of the Roman armies was destroyed by the Visigoths within a few days' march, the city looked to its defenses, and Theodosius II
Theodosius II
Theodosius II , commonly surnamed Theodosius the Younger, or Theodosius the Calligrapher, was Byzantine Emperor from 408 to 450. He is mostly known for promulgating the Theodosian law code, and for the construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople...

 built in 413–414 the 18-meter (60-foot)-tall triple-wall fortifications
Walls of Constantinople
The Walls of Constantinople are a series of defensive stone walls that have surrounded and protected the city of Constantinople since its founding as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire by Constantine the Great...

, which were never to be breached until the coming of gunpowder. Theodosius also founded a University
University of Constantinople
The University of Constantinople, sometimes known as the University of the palace hall of Magnaura in the Roman-Byzantine Empire was founded in 425 under the name of Pandidakterion...

 near the Forum of Taurus, on 27 February 425.

Uldin
Uldin
Uldin or Uldes was one of the primary chieftains of the Huns located beyond the Danube during the reigns of the Eastern Roman Emperors Arcadius and Theodosius II...

, a prince of the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

, appeared on the Danube about this time and advanced into Thrace, but he was deserted by many of his followers, who joined with the Romans in driving their king back north of the river. Subsequent to this, new walls were built to defend the city, and the fleet on the Danube improved.

In due course, the barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

s overran the Western Roman Empire: Its emperors retreated to Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

, and it diminished to nothing. Thereafter, Constantinople became in truth the largest city of the Roman Empire and of the world. Emperors were no longer peripatetic between various court capitals and palaces. They remained in their palace in the Great City, and sent generals to command their armies. The wealth of the eastern Mediterranean and western Asia flowed into Constantinople.

527–565

The emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 (527–565) was known for his successes in war, for his legal reforms and for his public works. It was from Constantinople that his expedition for the reconquest of the former Diocese of Africa set sail on or about 21 June 533. Before their departure the ship of the commander Belisarius
Belisarius
Flavius Belisarius was a general of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century previously....

 anchored in front of the Imperial palace, and the Patriarch offered prayers for the success of the enterprise. After the victory, in 534, the Temple treasure of Jerusalem, looted by the Romans in 70 AD
Siege of Jerusalem (70)
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was the decisive event of the First Jewish-Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in...

 and taken to Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 by the Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 after their sack of Rome in 455, was brought to Constantinople and deposited for a time, perhaps in the Church of St. Polyeuctus
Church of St. Polyeuctus
The Church of St. Polyeuctus was an ancient Byzantine church in Constantinople built by the noblewoman Anicia Juliana and dedicated to Saint Polyeuctus. Intended as an assertion of Juliana's own imperial lineage, it was a lavishly decorated building, and the largest church of the city before the...

, before being returned to Jerusalem
Jerusalem in Christianity
For Christians, Jerusalem's place in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostolic Age gives it great importance, in addition to its place in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible.-Jerusalem in the New Testament and early Christianity:...

 in either the Church of the Resurrection
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is a few steps away from the Muristan....

 or the New Church.

Chariot-racing had been important in Rome for centuries. In Constantinople, the hippodrome became over time increasingly a place of political significance. It was where (as a shadow of the popular elections of old Rome) the people by acclamation showed their approval of a new emperor, and also where they openly criticized the government, or clamoured for the removal of unpopular ministers. In the time of Justinian, public order in Constantinople became a critical political issue.

Throughout the late Roman and early Byzantine periods, Christianity was resolving fundamental questions of identity, and the dispute between the orthodox and the monophysites became the cause of serious disorder, expressed through allegiance to the horse-racing parties of the Blues and the Greens. The partisans of the Blues and the Greens were said to affect untrimmed facial hair, head hair shaved at the front and grown long at the back, and wide-sleeved tunics tight at the wrist; and to form gangs to engage in night-time muggings and street violence. At last these disorders took the form of a major rebellion of 532, known as the "Nika" riots
Nika riots
The Nika riots , or Nika revolt, took place over the course of a week in Constantinople in AD 532. It was the most violent riot that Constantinople had ever seen to that point, with nearly half the city being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed.-Background:The ancient Roman...

 (from the battle-cry of "Victory!" of those involved).

Fires started by the Nika rioters consumed Constantine's basilica of St Sophia, the city's principal church, which lay to the north of the Augustaeum. Justinian commissioned Anthemius of Tralles
Anthemius of Tralles
Anthemius of Tralles was a Greek professor of Geometry in Constantinople and architect, who collaborated with Isidore of Miletus to build the church of Hagia Sophia by the order of Justinian I. Anthemius came from an educated family, one of five sons of Stephanus of Tralles, a physician...

 and Isidore of Miletus
Isidore of Miletus
Isidore of Miletus was one of the two main Byzantine architects that Emperor Justinian I commissioned to design the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople from 532-537A.D.-Summary:...

 to replace it with a new and incomparable St Sophia
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey...

. This was the great cathedral of the Orthodox Church, whose dome was said to be held aloft by God alone, and which was directly connected to the palace so that the imperial family could attend services without passing through the streets. The dedication took place on 26 December 537 in the presence of the emperor, who exclaimed, "O Solomon
Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

, I have outdone thee!" St Sophia was served by 600 people including 80 priests, and cost 20,000 pounds of gold to build.

Justinian also had Anthemius and Isidore demolish and replace the original Church of the Holy Apostles built by Constantine with a new church
Church of the Holy Apostles
The Church of the Holy Apostles , also known as the Imperial Polyandreion, was a Christian church built in Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, in 550. It was second only to the Church of the Holy Wisdom among the great churches of the capital...

 under the same dedication. This was designed in the form of an equal-armed cross with five domes, and ornamented with beautiful mosaics. This church was to remain the burial place of the Emperors from Constantine himself until the 11th century. When the city fell to the Turks in 1453, the church was demolished to make room for the tomb of Mehmet II the Conqueror. Justinian was also concerned with other aspects of the city's built environment, legislating against the abuse of laws prohibiting building within 100 feet (30.5 m) of the sea front, in order to protect the view.

During Justinian I's reign, the city's population reached about 500,000 people. However, the social fabric of Constantinople was also damaged by the onset of Plague of Justinian
Plague of Justinian
The Plague of Justinian was a pandemic that afflicted the Eastern Roman Empire , including its capital Constantinople, in 541–542 AD. It was one of the greatest plagues in history. The most commonly accepted cause of the pandemic is bubonic plague, which later became infamous for either causing or...

 between 541–542 AD. It killed perhaps 40% of the city's inhabitants.

Survival, 565–717

In the early 7th century the Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

 and later the Bulgars
Bulgars
The Bulgars were a semi-nomadic who flourished in the Pontic Steppe and the Volga basin in the 7th century.The Bulgars emerge after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century....

 overwhelmed much of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

, threatening Constantinople from the west. Simultaneously, the Persian Sassanids overwhelmed the Prefecture of the East and penetrated deep into Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

. Heraclius
Heraclius
Heraclius was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.He was responsible for introducing Greek as the empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.Heraclius'...

, son to the exarch
Exarch
In the Byzantine Empire, an exarch was governor with extended authority of a province at some remove from the capital Constantinople. The prevailing situation frequently involved him in military operations....

 of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, set sail for the city and assumed the purple. He found the military situation so dire that he is said at first to have contemplated withdrawing the imperial capital to Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

, but relented after the people of Constantinople begged him to stay. Constantinople lost its right to free grain in 618, when Heraclius realized that the city no longer could be supplied from Egyptian sources due to the Persian wars. The population of Constantinople dropped substantially in size as a result, from 500,000 inhabitants to just 40,000-70,000.

While the Great City withstood a siege
Siege of Constantinople (626)
The Siege of Constantinople in 626 by the Avars, aided by large numbers of allied Slavs and the Sassanid Persians, ended in a strategic victory for the Byzantines...

, Heraclius
Heraclius
Heraclius was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.He was responsible for introducing Greek as the empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.Heraclius'...

 campaigned deep into Persian territory and briefly restored the status quo in 628 as the Persians surrendered all their conquests. However, the empire was left weakened in the face of subsequent attacks from the Arabs
Byzantine-Arab Wars
The Byzantine–Arab Wars were a series of wars between the Arab Caliphates and the East Roman or Byzantine Empire between the 7th and 12th centuries AD. These started during the initial Muslim conquests under the expansionist Rashidun and Umayyad caliphs and continued in the form of an enduring...

 when the African and south-east Mediterranean provinces were lost for good. During these wars, a first siege of Constantinople by the Muslims lasted from 674 to 678, and a second from 717 to 718. While the Theodosian Walls made the city impregnable from the land, a newly discovered incendiary substance known as "Greek Fire
Greek fire
Greek fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines typically used it in naval battles to great effect as it could continue burning while floating on water....

" allowed the Byzantine navy
Byzantine navy
The Byzantine navy was the naval force of the East Roman or Byzantine Empire. Like the empire it served, it was a direct continuation from its imperial Roman predecessor, but played a far greater role in the defense and survival of the state then its earlier iterations...

 to destroy the Arab fleets and keep the city supplied. In the second siege, decisive help was rendered by the Bulgars
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

. The failure of this siege was a severe blow to the Umayyad Caliphate, and stabilised the Byzantine-Arab equilibrium.

717–1025

In the 730s Leo III
Leo III the Isaurian
Leo III the Isaurian or the Syrian , was Byzantine emperor from 717 until his death in 741...

 carried out extensive repairs of the Theodosian walls, which had been damaged by frequent and violent attacks; this work was financed by a special tax on all the subjects of the Empire.

Theodora, widow of the Emperor Theophilus
Theophilos (emperor)
Theophilos was the Byzantine emperor from 829 until his death in 842. He was the second emperor of the Phrygian dynasty, and the last emperor supporting iconoclasm...

 (d. 842), acted as regent during the minority of her son Michael III
Michael III
Michael III , , Byzantine Emperor from 842 to 867. Michael III was the third and traditionally last member of the Amorian-Phrygian Dynasty...

, who was said to have been introduced to dissolute habits by her brother Bardas. When Michael assumed power in 856, he became known for excessive drunkenness, appeared in the hippodrome as a charioteer and burlesqued the religious processions of the clergy. He removed Theodora from the Great Palace to the Carian Palace and later to the monastery of Gastria, but, after the death of Bardas, she was released to live in the palace of St Mamas; she also had a rural residence at the Anthemian Palace, where Michael was assassinated in 867.

In 860, an attack was made on the city by a new principality set up a few years earlier at Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 by Askold and Dir
Askold and Dir
Askold and Dir are semi-legendary rulers of Kiev who, according to the Primary Chronicle, were two of Rurik's voivodes in 870s...

, two Varangian chiefs: Two hundred small vessels passed through the Bosporus and plundered the monasteries and other properties on the suburban Prince's Islands. Oryphas
Niketas Oryphas
Niketas Oryphas or Oöryphas was a distinguished Byzantine official, patrician and admiral under the emperors Michael III and Basil I the Macedonian , who achieved several naval victories against the Saracen raiders....

, the admiral of the Byzantine fleet, alerted the emperor Michael, who promptly put the invaders to flight; but the suddenness and savagery of the onslaught made a deep impression on the citizens.

In 980, the emperor Basil II
Basil II
Basil II , known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.The first part of his long reign was dominated...

 received an unusual gift from Prince Vladimir
Vladimir I of Kiev
Vladimir Sviatoslavich the Great Old East Slavic: Володимѣръ Свѧтославичь Old Norse as Valdamarr Sveinaldsson, , Vladimir, , Volodymyr, was a grand prince of Kiev, ruler of Kievan Rus' in .Vladimir's father was the prince Sviatoslav of the Rurik dynasty...

 of Kiev: 6,000 Varangian warriors, which Basil formed into a new bodyguard known as the Varangian Guard
Varangian Guard
The Varangian Guard was an elite unit of the Byzantine Army in 10th to the 14th centuries, whose members served as personal bodyguards of the Byzantine Emperors....

. They were known for their ferocity, honour, and loyalty. It is said that, in 1038, they were dispersed in winter quarters in the Thracesian
Thracesian Theme
The Thracesian Theme , more properly known as the Theme of the Thracesians , was a Byzantine theme in western Asia Minor , comprising the ancient regions of Ionia, Lydia and parts of Phrygia and Caria....

 theme when one of their number attempted to violate a countrywoman, but in the struggle she seized his sword and killed him; instead of taking revenge, however, his comrades applauded her conduct, compensated her with all his possessions, and exposed his body without burial as if he had committed suicide. However, following the death of an Emperor, they became known also for plunder in the Imperial palaces. Later in the 11th Century the Varangian Guard became dominated by Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 who preferred this way of life to subjugation by the new Norman kings of England.

The Book of the Eparch, which dates to the 10th century, gives a detailed picture of the city's commercial life and its organization at that time. The corporations in which the tradesmen of Constantinople were organised were supervised by the Eparch, who regulated such matters as production, prices, import, and export. Each guild had its own monopoly, and tradesmen might not belong to more than one. It is an impressive testament to the strength of tradition how little these arrangements had changed since the office, then known by the Latin version of its title, had been set up in 330 to mirror the urban prefecture of Rome.

In the 9th and 10th centuries, Constantinople had a population of between 500,000 and 800,000.

Iconoclast controversy

In the 8th and 9th centuries, the iconoclast
Iconoclasm (Byzantine)
The Byzantine Iconoclasm encompasses two periods in the history of the Byzantine Empire when Emperors, backed by imperially-appointed leaders and councils of the Orthodox Church imposed a ban on religious images or icons. The "First Iconoclasm", as it is sometimes called, lasted between about 730...

 movement caused serious political unrest throughout the Empire. The emperor Leo III
Leo III the Isaurian
Leo III the Isaurian or the Syrian , was Byzantine emperor from 717 until his death in 741...

 issued a decree in 726 against images, and ordered the destruction of a statue of Christ over one of the doors of the Chalke, an act that was fiercely resisted by the citizens. Constantine V
Constantine V
Constantine V was Byzantine emperor from 741 to 775; ); .-Early life:...

 convoked a church council in 754
Council of Hieria
The iconoclast Council of Hieria was a Christian council which viewed itself as ecumenical, but was later rejected by the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. It was summoned by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine V in 754 in the palace of Hieria opposite Constantinople. The council...

, which condemned the worship of images, after which many treasures were broken, burned, or painted over with depictions of trees, birds or animals: One source refers to the church of the Holy Virgin
Church of St. Mary of Blachernae (Istanbul)
Saint Mary of Blachernae is an Eastern Orthodox church in Istanbul...

 at Blachernae
Blachernae
Blachernae was a suburb in the northwestern section of Constantinople, the capital city of the Byzantine Empire. It was the site of a spring and a number of prominent churches were built there, most notably the great Church of St. Mary of Blachernae , built by Empress Pulcheria in circa 450,...

 as having been transformed into a "fruit store and aviary". Following the death of his son Leo IV
Leo IV the Khazar
Leo IV the Khazar was Byzantine Emperor from 775 to 780 CE.Leo was the son of Emperor Constantine V by his first wife, Irene of Khazaria , the daughter of a Khagan of the Khazars...

 in 780, the empress Irene
Irene (empress)
Irene Sarantapechaina , known as Irene of Athens or Irene the Athenian was a Byzantine empress regnant from 797 to 802, having previously been empress consort from 775 to 780, and empress dowager and regent from 780 to 797. It is often claimed she called herself "basileus" , 'emperor'...

 restored the veneration of images through the agency of the Second Council of Nicaea
Second Council of Nicaea
The Second Council of Nicaea is regarded as the Seventh Ecumenical Council by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic Churches and various other Western Christian groups...

 in 787.

The iconoclast controversy returned in the early 9th century, only to be resolved once more in 843 during the regency of Empress Theodora
Theodora (9th century)
Theodora was a Byzantine Empress as the spouse of the Byzantine emperor Theophilos, and regent of her son, Michael III, from Theophilos' death in 842 to 855...

, who restored the icons. These controversies contributed to the deterioration of relations between the Western
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 and the Eastern
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 Churches.

Prelude to the Comnenian period, 1025–1081

In the late 11th century catastrophe struck with the unexpected and calamitous defeat of the imperial armies at the Battle of Manzikert
Battle of Manzikert
The Battle of Manzikert , was fought between the Byzantine Empire and Seljuq Turks led by Alp Arslan on August 26, 1071 near Manzikert...

 in Armenia in 1071. The Emperor Romanus
Romanos IV
Romanos  IV Diogenes was a member of the Byzantine military aristocracy who, after his marriage to the widowed empress Eudokia Makrembolitissa was crowned Byzantine emperor and reigned from 1068 to 1071...

 Diogenes was captured. The peace terms demanded by Alp Arslan
Alp Arslan
Alp Arslan was the third sultan of the Seljuq dynasty and great-grandson of Seljuk, the eponymous founder of the dynasty...

, sultan of the Seljuk Turks, were not excessive, and Romanus accepted them. On his release, however, Romanus found that enemies had placed their own candidate on the throne in his absence; he surrendered to them and suffered death by torture, and the new ruler, Michael VII
Michael VII
Michael VII Doukas or Ducas , nicknamed Parapinakēs , was Byzantine emperor from 1071 to 1078.- Life :...

 Ducas, refused to honour the treaty. In response, the Turks began to move into Anatolia in 1073. The collapse of the old defensive system meant that they met no opposition, and the empire's resources were distracted and squandered in a series of civil wars. Thousands of Turkoman
Turkmen people
The Turkmen are a Turkic people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northeastern Iran. They speak the Turkmen language, which is classified as a part of the Western Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages family together with Turkish, Azerbaijani, Qashqai,...

 tribesmen crossed the unguarded frontier and moved into Anatolia. By 1080, a huge area had been lost to the Empire, and the Turks were within striking distance of Constantinople.

1081–1185

Under the Comnenian dynasty (1081–1185), Byzantium staged a remarkable military, financial and territorial recovery. In what is sometimes called the Comnenian Restoration, with the establishment of a new military system
Komnenian army
The Komnenian Byzantine army or Komnenian army was the force established by Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos during the late 11th/early 12th century, and perfected by his successors John II Komnenos and Manuel I Komnenos during the 12th century. Alexios constructed a new army from the ground...

, the Empire recovered nearly half of the lost Anatolian lands. In 1090–91, the nomadic Pechenegs reached the walls of Constantinople, where Emperor Alexius I with the aid of the Kipchaks
Kipchaks
Kipchaks were a Turkic tribal confederation...

 annihilated their army. The battle of Levounion
Battle of Levounion
The Battle of Levounion was the first decisive Byzantine victory of the Komnenian restoration. On April 29, 1091, an invading force of Pechenegs was heavily defeated by the combined forces of the Byzantine Empire under Alexios I Komnenos and his Cuman allies....

 in 1091 marked the beginning of a resurgence of Byzantine power and influence that would last for a hundred years. In response to a call for aid from Alexius I Comnenus
Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos, Latinized as Alexius I Comnenus , was Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118, and although he was not the founder of the Komnenian dynasty, it was during his reign that the Komnenos family came to full power. The title 'Nobilissimus' was given to senior army commanders,...

, the First Crusade
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

 assembled at Constantinople in 1096, but declining to put itself under Byzantine command set out for Jerusalem on its own account. John II
John II Komnenos
John II Komnenos was Byzantine Emperor from 1118 to 1143. Also known as Kaloïōannēs , he was the eldest son of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Irene Doukaina...

 built the monastery of the Pantocrator (Almighty) with a hospital for the poor of 50 beds.

With the restoration of firm central government, the empire became fabulously wealthy. The population was rising (estimates for Constantinople in the 12th century vary from approximately 100,000 to 500,000), and towns and cities across the realm flourished. Meanwhile, the volume of money in circulation dramatically increased. This was reflected in Constantinople by the construction of the Blachernae palace, the creation of brilliant new works of art, and general prosperity at this time: an increase in trade, made possible by the growth of the Italian city-states, may have helped the growth of the economy. It is certain that the Venetians
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 and others were active traders in Constantinople, making a living out of shipping goods between the Crusader Kingdoms of Outremer
Outremer
Outremer, French for "overseas", was a general name given to the Crusader states established after the First Crusade: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and especially the Kingdom of Jerusalem...

 and the West, while also trading extensively with Byzantium and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. The Venetians had factories on the north side of the Golden Horn, and large numbers of westerners were present in the city throughout the 12th century. Toward the end of Manuel I's reign, the number of foreigners in the city reached about 60,000-80,000 people out of a total population of about 400,000 people. In 1171, Constantinople also contained a small community of 2,500 Jews.

In artistic terms, the 12th century was a very productive period. There was a revival in the mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

 art, for example: Mosaics became more realistic and vivid, with an increased emphasis on depicting three-dimensional forms. There was an increased demand for art, with more people having access to the necessary wealth to commission and pay for such work. According to N.H. Baynes (Byzantium, An Introduction to East Roman Civilization):
"With its love of luxury and passion for colour, the art of this age delighted in the production of masterpieces that spread the fame of Byzantium throughout the whole of the Christian world. Beautiful silks from the work-shops of Constantinople also portrayed in dazzling colour animals - lions, elephants, eagles, and griffins - confronting each other, or represented Emperors gorgeously arrayed on horseback or engaged in the chase."

"From the tenth to the twelfth century Byzantium was the main source of inspiration for the West. By their style, arrangement, and iconography the mosaics of St. Mark's at Venice and of the cathedral at Torcello
Torcello
Torcello is a quiet and sparsely populated island at the northern end of the Venetian Lagoon. It is considered the oldest continuously populated region of Venice, and once held the largest population of the Republic of Venice.-History:...

 clearly reveal their Byzantine origin. Similarly those of the Palatine Chapel
Cappella Palatina
The Palatine Chapel is the royal chapel of the Norman kings of Sicily situated on the ground floor at the center of the Palazzo Reale in Palermo, southern Italy....

, the Martorana
Martorana
The Church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio or San Nicolò dei Greci, commonly called the Martorana, overlooking the renowned Piazza Bellini in Palermo, Sicily, southern Italy...

 at Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

, and the cathedral of Cefalù, together with the vast decoration of the cathedral at Monreale, demonstrate the influence of Byzantium on the Norman Court of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 in the twelfth century. Hispano-Moorish art was unquestionably derived from the Byzantine. Romanesque art
Romanesque art
Romanesque art refers to the art of Western Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The preceding period is increasingly known as the Pre-Romanesque...

 owes much to the East, from which it borrowed not only its decorative forms but the plan of some of its buildings, as is proved, for instance, by the domed churches of south-western France. Princes of Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, Venetian doges
Doge of Venice
The Doge of Venice , often mistranslated Duke was the chief magistrate and leader of the Most Serene Republic of Venice for over a thousand years. Doges of Venice were elected for life by the city-state's aristocracy. Commonly the person selected as Doge was the shrewdest elder in the city...

, abbots of Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino is a rocky hill about southeast of Rome, Italy, c. to the west of the town of Cassino and altitude. St. Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery, the source of the Benedictine Order, here around 529. It was the site of Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944...

, merchants of Amalfi
Amalfi
Amalfi is a town and comune in the province of Salerno, in the region of Campania, Italy, on the Gulf of Salerno, c. 35 km southeast of Naples. It lies at the mouth of a deep ravine, at the foot of Monte Cerreto , surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery...

, and the kings of Sicily all looked to Byzantium for artists or works of art. Such was the influence of Byzantine art in the twelfth century, that Russia, Venice, southern Italy and Sicily all virtually became provincial centres dedicated to its production."

1185–1261

In the course of a plot between Philip of Swabia
Philip of Swabia
Philip of Swabia was king of Germany and duke of Swabia, the rival of the emperor Otto IV.-Biography:Philip was the fifth and youngest son of Emperor Frederick I and Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy, daughter of Renaud III, count of Burgundy, and brother of the emperor Henry VI...

, Boniface of Montferrat
Boniface of Montferrat
Boniface of Montferrat was Marquess of Montferrat and the leader of the Fourth Crusade. He was the third son of William V of Montferrat and Judith of Babenberg, born after his father's return from the Second Crusade...

 and the Doge of Venice
Enrico Dandolo
Enrico Dandolo — anglicised as Henry Dandolo and Latinized as Henricus Dandulus — was the 41st Doge of Venice from 1195 until his death...

, the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 was, despite papal excommunication, diverted in 1203 against Constantinople, ostensibly promoting the claims of Alexius son of the deposed emperor Isaac. The reigning emperor Alexius III had made no preparation. The Crusaders occupied Galata
Galata
Galata or Galatae is a neighbourhood in the Beyoğlu district on the European side of Istanbul, the largest city of Turkey. Galata is located at the northern shore of the Golden Horn, the inlet which separates it from the historic peninsula of old Constantinople. The Golden Horn is crossed by...

, broke the chain protecting the Golden Horn
Golden Horn
The Golden Horn is a historic inlet of the Bosphorus dividing the city of Istanbul and forming the natural harbor that has sheltered Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other ships for thousands of...

 and entered the harbour, where on 27 July they breached the sea walls: Alexius III fled. But the new Alexius IV found the Treasury inadequate, and was unable to make good the rewards he had promised to his western allies. Tension between the citizens and the Latin soldiers increased. In January 1204, the protovestiarius Alexius Murzuphlus provoked a riot, it is presumed, to intimidate Alexius IV, but whose only result was the destruction of the great statue of Athena, the work of Phidias
Phidias
Phidias or the great Pheidias , was a Greek sculptor, painter and architect, who lived in the 5th century BC, and is commonly regarded as one of the greatest of all sculptors of Classical Greece: Phidias' Statue of Zeus at Olympia was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World...

, which stood in the principal forum facing west.

In February, the people rose again: Alexius IV was imprisoned and executed, and Murzuphlus took the purple as Alexius V. He made some attempt to repair the walls and organise the citizenry, but there had been no opportunity to bring in troops from the provinces and the guards were demoralised by the revolution. An attack by the Crusaders on 6 April failed, but a second from the Golden Horn on 12 April succeeded, and the invaders poured in. Alexius V fled. The Senate met in St Sophia and offered the crown to Theodore Lascaris, who had married into the Angelid family, but it was too late. He came out with the Patriarch to the Golden Milestone before the Great Palace and addressed the Varangian Guard. Then the two of them slipped away with many of the nobility and embarked for Asia. By the next day the Doge and the leading Franks were installed in the Great Palace, and the city was given over to pillage for three days.

The great historian of the Crusades, Sir Steven Runciman, wrote that the sack of Constantinople is “unparalleled in history”.
For the next half-century, Constantinople was the seat of the Latin Empire
Latin Empire
The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261...

. The Byzantine nobility were scattered. Many went to Nicaea
Empire of Nicaea
The Empire of Nicaea was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek successor states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade...

, where Theodore Lascaris set up an imperial court, or to Epirus
Despotate of Epirus
The Despotate or Principality of Epirus was one of the Byzantine Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire that emerged in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. It claimed to be the legitimate successor of the Byzantine Empire, along with the Empire of Nicaea, and the Empire of Trebizond...

, where Theodore Angelus did the same; others fled to Trebizond
Empire of Trebizond
The Empire of Trebizond, founded in April 1204, was one of three Byzantine successor states of the Byzantine Empire. However, the creation of the Empire of Trebizond was not directly related to the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, rather it had broken away from the Byzantine Empire...

, where one of the Comneni had already with Georgian support established an independent seat of empire. Nicaea and Epirus both vied for the imperial title, and tried to recover Constantinople. In 1261, Constantinople was captured from its last Latin ruler, Baldwin II
Baldwin II of Constantinople
Baldwin II of Courtenay was the last emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople.He was a younger son of Yolanda of Flanders, sister of the first two emperors, Baldwin I and Henry of Flanders...

, by the forces of the Nicaean emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus.

1261–1453

Although Constantinople was retaken by Michael VIII, the Empire had lost many of its key economic resources, and struggled to survive. The palace of Blachernae
Blachernae
Blachernae was a suburb in the northwestern section of Constantinople, the capital city of the Byzantine Empire. It was the site of a spring and a number of prominent churches were built there, most notably the great Church of St. Mary of Blachernae , built by Empress Pulcheria in circa 450,...

 in the north-west of the city became the main Imperial residence, with the old Great Palace on the shores of the Bosporus
Bosporus
The Bosphorus or Bosporus , also known as the Istanbul Strait , is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with the Dardanelles...

 going into decline. When Michael VIII captured the city, its population was 35,000 people, but, by the end of his reign, he had succeeded in increasing the population to about 70,000 people. The Emperor achieved this by summoning former residents having fled the city when the Crusaders captured it, and by relocating Greeks from the recently reconquered Peloponnese
Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

 to the capital. In 1347, the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 spread to Constantinople. In 1453, when the Ottoman Turks captured the city
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

, it contained approximately 50,000 people.

Importance

Culture

Constantinople was the largest and richest urban center in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea during the late Eastern Roman Empire, mostly as a result of its strategic position commanding the trade routes between the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea. It would remain the capital of the eastern, Greek-speaking empire for over a thousand years. At its peak, roughly corresponding to the Middle Ages, it was the richest and largest European city, exerting a powerful cultural pull and dominating economic life in the Mediterranean. Visitors and merchants were especially struck by the beautiful monasteries and churches of the city, in particular, Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey...

, or the Church of Holy Wisdom: A Russian 14th-century traveler, Stephen of Novgorod, wrote, "As for St Sophia, the human mind can neither tell it nor make description of it."

It was especially important for preserving in its libraries manuscripts of Greek and Latin authors throughout a period when instability and disorder caused their mass-destruction in western Europe and north Africa: On the city's fall, thousands of these were brought by refugees to Italy, and played a key part in stimulating the Renaissance, and the transition to the modern world. The cumulative influence of the city on the west, over the many centuries of its existence, is incalculable. In terms of technology, art and culture, as well as sheer size, Constantinople was without parallel anywhere in Europe for a thousand years.

International Status

The city provided a defence for the eastern provinces of the old Roman Empire against the barbarian invasions of the 5th century. The 18-meter-tall walls built by Theodosius II
Theodosius II
Theodosius II , commonly surnamed Theodosius the Younger, or Theodosius the Calligrapher, was Byzantine Emperor from 408 to 450. He is mostly known for promulgating the Theodosian law code, and for the construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople...

 were, in essence, impregnable to the barbarians coming from south of the Danube river, who found easier targets to the west rather than the richer provinces to the east in Asia. From the 5th century, the city was also protected by the Anastasian Wall
Anastasian Wall
The Anastasian Wall or the Long Walls of Thrace is an ancient, stone and turf fortification located west of Istanbul, Turkey built by the Byzantines during the late 5th century...

, a 60-kilometer chain of walls across the Thracian
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

. Many scholars argue that these sophisticated fortifications allowed the east to develop relatively unmolested while Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 and the west collapsed. With the emergence of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and the rise of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Constantinople became the gates of Christian Europe standing at the fore of Islamic expansion. As the Byzantine Empire was situated in-between the Islamic world and the Christian west, so did Constantinople act as Europe’s first line-of-defence against Arab advances in the 7th and 8th centuries. The city, and the Empire, would ultimately fall to the Ottomans by 1453, but its enduring legacy had provided Europe centuries of resurgence following the collapse of Rome.

Architecture

The Byzantine Empire used Roman and Greek architectural models and styles to create its own unique type of architecture. The influence of Byzantine architecture and art can be seen in the copies taken from it throughout Europe. Particular examples include St Mark's Basilica
St Mark's Basilica
The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture...

 in Venice, the basilicas of Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

, and many churches throughout the Slavic East. Also, alone in Europe until the 13th century Italian florin
Italian coin florin
The Italian florin was a coin struck from 1252 to 1533 with no significant change in its design or metal content standard. It had 54 grains of nominally pure gold worth approximately 200 modern US Dollars...

, the Empire continued to produce sound gold coinage, the solidus
Solidus (coin)
The solidus was originally a gold coin issued by the Romans, and a weight measure for gold more generally, corresponding to 4.5 grams.-Roman and Byzantine coinage:...

 of Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 becoming the bezant
Bezant
Bezant is a medieval term for a gold coin from the Byzantine Empire, which term is derived from the Greek name Βυζάντιον for the relatively minor city which in the 4th c. became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, renamed Constantinople by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great...

 prized throughout the Middle Ages. Its city walls were much imitated (for example, see Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle is a medieval building in Gwynedd, north-west Wales. There was a motte-and-bailey castle in the town of Caernarfon from the late 11th century until 1283 when King Edward I of England began replacing it with the current stone structure...

) and its urban infrastructure was moreover a marvel throughout the Middle Ages, keeping alive the art, skill and technical expertise of the Roman Empire.

Religious

Constantine's foundation gave prestige to the Bishop of Constantinople, who eventually came to be known as the Ecumenical Patriarch
Patriarch of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome – ranking as primus inter pares in the Eastern Orthodox communion, which is seen by followers as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church....

, vying for honour with the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

, a situation that contributed to the Great Schism
East-West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

 that divided Western Catholicism
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 from Eastern Orthodoxy from 1054 onwards. Constantinople is also of great religious importance to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, as the conquest of Constantinople is one of the signs of the End time in Islam
Islamic eschatology
Islamic eschatology is concerned with the al-Qiyāmah . Like the other Abrahamic religions, Islam teaches the bodily resurrection of the dead, the fulfillment of a divine plan for creation, and the judgement of the soul; the righteous are rewarded with the pleasures of Jannah while the unrighteous...

.

Popularity

  • Constantinople appears as a city of wondrous majesty, beauty, remoteness, and nostalgia in William Butler Yeats
    William Butler Yeats
    William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms...

    ' 1928 poem "Sailing to Byzantium
    Sailing to Byzantium
    "Sailing to Byzantium" is a poem by William Butler Yeats, first published in the 1928 collection The Tower. It comprises four stanzas in ottava rima, each made up of eight ten-syllable lines. It uses a journey to Constantinople as a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Yeats explores his thoughts and...

    ".
  • Constantinople, as seen under the Byzantine emperor Theodosius II
    Theodosius II
    Theodosius II , commonly surnamed Theodosius the Younger, or Theodosius the Calligrapher, was Byzantine Emperor from 408 to 450. He is mostly known for promulgating the Theodosian law code, and for the construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople...

    , makes several on-screen appearances in the television miniseries "Attila
    Attila (TV Miniseries)
    Attila was an American TV miniseries set during the waning days of the Western Roman Empire, in particular during the invasions of the Huns in Europe.-Synopsis:...

    " as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire.
  • Robert Graves
    Robert Graves
    Robert von Ranke Graves 24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985 was an English poet, translator and novelist. During his long life he produced more than 140 works...

    , author of I, Claudius
    I, Claudius
    I, Claudius is a novel by English writer Robert Graves, written in the form of an autobiography of the Roman Emperor Claudius. As such, it includes history of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 BC to Caligula's assassination in AD 41...

    , also wrote Count Belisarius
    Count Belisarius
    Count Belisarius is a historical novel by Robert Graves, first published in 1938, recounting the life of the Byzantine general Belisarius ....

    , a historical novel about Belisarius
    Belisarius
    Flavius Belisarius was a general of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century previously....

    . Graves set much of the novel in the Constantinople of Justinian I.
  • Constantinople provides the setting of much of the action in Umberto Eco
    Umberto Eco
    Umberto Eco Knight Grand Cross is an Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose , an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory...

    's 2000 novel Baudolino
    Baudolino
    Baudolino is a 2000 novel by Umberto Eco about the adventures of a young man named Baudolino in the known and mythical Christian world of the 12th century.Baudolino was translated into English in 2001 by William Weaver...

    .
  • Constantinople's change of name was the theme for a song made famous by The Four Lads
    The Four Lads
    The Four Lads is a popular Canadian male singing quartet. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the group earned many gold singles and albums. Its million-selling signature tunes include "Moments to Remember," "Standin' on the Corner," "No, Not Much," "Who Needs You," and "Istanbul."The Four Lads makes...

     and later covered by They Might Be Giants
    They Might Be Giants
    They Might Be Giants is an American alternative rock band formed in 1982 by John Flansburgh and John Linnell. During TMBG's early years Flansburgh and Linnell were frequently accompanied by a drum machine. In the early 1990s, TMBG became a full band. Currently, the members of TMBG are...

     and many others entitled "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
    Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
    "Istanbul " is a swing-style song, with lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy and music by Nat Simon. The tune is reminiscent of "Puttin' on the Ritz," written by Irving Berlin in 1929, but the song is said to be a response to "C-O-N-S-T-A-N-T-I-N-O-P-L-E," recorded in 1928 by Paul Whiteman and His...

    ".
  • "Constantinople" was also the title of the opening track of The Residents
    The Residents
    The Residents is an American art collective best known for avant-garde music and multimedia works. The first official release under the name of The Residents was in 1972, and the group has since released over sixty albums, numerous music videos and short films, three CD-ROM projects and ten DVDs....

    ' EP
    Extended play
    An EP is a musical recording which contains more music than a single, but is too short to qualify as a full album or LP. The term EP originally referred only to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play records and LP records, but it is now applied to mid-length Compact...

     Duck Stab!
    Duck Stab/Buster & Glen
    Duck Stab redirects here. For the 1978 EP, see Duck Stab!Duck Stab/Buster & Glen is an album released in 1978 by The Residents. It is often called Duck Stab, after Duck Stab!, a seven-song EP released earlier in 1978 featuring shorter songs similar to the first side of Fingerprince...

    , released in 1978.
  • Constantinople under Justinian is the scene of the book "A Flame in Byzantium" (ISBN 0312930267) by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
    Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
    -Biography:She was born in Berkeley, California. She attended Berkeley schools through high school followed by three years at San Francisco State College .In November 1969 she married Donald Simpson and divorced in February 1982...

    , released in 1987.
  • "Constantinople" is the title of a song by The Decemberists
    The Decemberists
    The Decemberists are an indie folk rock band from Portland, Oregon, United States, fronted by singer/songwriter Colin Meloy. The other members of the band are Chris Funk , Jenny Conlee , Nate Query , and John Moen .The band's...

    .
  • Stephen Lawhead's novel Byzantium (1996) is set in 9th-century Constantinople.
  • Filmmaker Peter Jackson
    Peter Jackson
    Sir Peter Robert Jackson, KNZM is a New Zealand film director, producer, actor, and screenwriter, known for his The Lord of the Rings film trilogy , adapted from the novel by J. R. R...

     said he wanted images of Minas Tirith
    Minas Tirith
    Minas Tirith , originally named Minas Anor, is a fictional city and castle in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth writings. It became the heavily fortified capital of Gondor in the second half of the Third Age...

     in his The Lord of the Rings
    The Lord of the Rings
    The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in...

    trilogy to look like "Constantinople in the morning".
  • Folk Metal band Turisas
    Turisas
    Turisas is a Finnish folk metal band from Hämeenlinna. It was founded in 1997 by Mathias Nygård and Jussi Wickström and named after an ancient Finnish God of war....

     makes multiple references to Constantinople in their song "Miklagard Overture", referring to it as "Konstantinopolis", "Tsargrad", and "Miklagard".
  • Constantinople makes an appearance in the MMORPG game Silkroad
    Silkroad Online
    Silkroad Online is a fantasy MMORPG set in the 7th century AD, along the Silk Road between China and Europe. The game requires no periodic subscription fee, but players can purchase premium items to customize or accelerate gameplay.- Gameplay :...

    as a major capital, along with a major Chinese capital.
  • Constantinople makes an appearance in the "Rome Total War" expansion "Barbarian Invasion
    Barbarian Invasion
    Barbarian Invasion may refer to:* The so-called 'barbarian invasions' contemporaneous with the fall of the Roman Empire* Les Invasions barbares, a movie by Denys Arcand with the English title The Barbarian Invasions;...

    " belonging to the Eastern Roman Empire
  • Constantinople makes an appearance in the game "Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
    Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
    Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings is a real-time strategy video game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft. Released in 1999 for the Microsoft Windows and Macintosh operating systems, it was the second game in the Age of Empires series...

    " in the fifth scenario of the Barbarossa campaign and again in the third scenario of the Attila the Hun campaign in the expansion pack "Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion".
  • Constantinople is the main setting of the game "Assassin's Creed: Revelations
    Assassin's Creed: Revelations
    Assassin's Creed: Revelations is a video game in the Assassin's Creed franchise developed and published by Ubisoft Montreal. The game was released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November 15, 2011. For Microsoft Windows, the game is delayed until December 2, 2011...

    ", the fourth major title in the best-selling "Assassin's Creed
    Assassin's Creed
    Assassin's Creed is an award-winning historical third person, stealth action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The bulk of the game takes place during the Third Crusade, with the plot revolving around a sect known as the Secret Order of...

    " series.
  • The sack of Constantinople in 1204 forms the climax of Paul Bentley's The Man Who Came After Hyacinth Bobo - a novel of the Fourth Crusade

Secular buildings and monuments

  • Augustaion
    Augustaion
    The Augustaion or, in Latin, Augustaeum, was an important ceremonial square in ancient and medieval Constantinople , roughly corresponding to the modern Aya Sofya Meydanı...

    • Column of Justinian
      Column of Justinian
      The Column of Justinian was a Roman triumphal column erected in Constantinople by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I in honour of his victories in 543...

  • Basilica Cistern
    Basilica Cistern
    The Basilica Cistern , is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul , Turkey...

  • Baths of Zeuxippus
    Baths of Zeuxippus
    The Baths of Zeuxippus were popular public baths in the city of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. They were built between 100 to 200, destroyed by the Nika revolt of 532 and then rebuilt several years later. They were so called because they were built upon the site where a Temple...

  • Column of Marcian
    Column of Marcian
    The Column of Marcian is a Roman honorific column erected in Constantinople in 455 dedicated to the Emperor Marcian. It is made of red-grey Egyptian granite, in two pieces. The basis is quadrilateral, formed by four slabs in white marble, decorated with Chi-Rhos inside medallions on three faces,...

  • Forum of Constantine
    Forum of Constantine
    The Forum of Constantine was built at the foundation of Constantinople immediately outside of the old city walls of Byzantium. It was circular in shape and had two monumental gates to the east and west...

    • Column of Constantine
      Column of Constantine
      The Column of Constantine is a Roman monumental column constructed on the orders of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great in 330 AD. It commemorates the declaration of Byzantium as the new capital city of the Roman Empire...

  • Great Palace of Constantinople
    Great Palace of Constantinople
    The Great Palace of Constantinople — also known as the Sacred Palace — was the large Imperial Byzantine palace complex located in the south-eastern end of the peninsula now known as "Old Istanbul", modern Turkey...

    • Bucoleon Palace
      Bucoleon
      The Palace of Boukoleon or Bucoleon was one of the Byzantine palaces in Constantinople. It was probably built by Theodosius II in the 5th century.The palace sits on the shore of Marmara Sea. Hormisdas is an earlier name of the place...

  • Hippodrome of Constantinople
    Hippodrome of Constantinople
    The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydanı in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with only a few fragments of the original structure surviving...

    • Horses of Saint Mark
      Horses of Saint Mark
      The Triumphal Quadriga or Horses of St Mark's is a set of bronze statues of four horses, originally part of a monument depicting a quadriga , which have been set into the facade of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, northern Italy, since the 13th century.-Origins:The sculptures date from late classical...

    • Obelisk of Theodosius
      Obelisk of Theodosius
      The Obelisk of Theodosius is the Ancient Egyptian obelisk of Pharaoh Tutmoses III re-erected in the Hippodrome of Constantinople by the Roman emperor Theodosius I in the 4th century AD.-History:The obelisk was first set up by Tutmoses III to the south of the seventh pylon...

    • Serpent Column
      Serpent Column
      The Serpent Column — also known as the Serpentine Column, Delphi Tripod or Plataean Tripod — is an ancient bronze column at the Hippodrome of Constantinople in what is now Istanbul, Turkey...

    • Walled Obelisk
      Walled Obelisk
      The Walled Obelisk is situated near the Serpentine Column at the southern side of the Hippodrome of Constantinople .- History :...

  • Milion
  • Palace of Lausus
    Palace of Lausus
    The Palace of Lausus or Lausos, also known as the Lauseion , was a 5th-century building located in Constantinople that was acquired and owned by the eunuch Lausus.- Lausus :...

    • Cistern of Philoxenos
      Cistern of Philoxenos
      The Cistern of Philoxenos , or Binbirdirek Cistern, is a man-made subterranean reservoir in Istanbul, situated between the Forum of Constantine and the Hippodrome of Constantinople in the Sultanahmet district...

  • Palace of Blachernae
    Palace of Blachernae
    The Palace of Blachernae was an imperial Byzantine residence in the suburb of Blachernae, located in the northwestern section of Constantinople...

    • Palace of the Porphyrogenitus
      Palace of the Porphyrogenitus
      The Palace of the Porphyrogenitus , known in Turkish as the Tekfur Sarayı , is a 13th-century Byzantine palace in the north-western part of the old city of Constantinople...

    • Prison of Anemas
      Prison of Anemas
      The so-called Prison of Anemas is a large Byzantine building attached to the walls of the city of Constantinople, modern Istanbul, Turkey. It is traditionally identified with the prisons named after Michael Anemas, a Byzantine general who rose in unsuccessful revolt against Emperor Alexios I...

  • Valens Aqueduct
    Valens Aqueduct
    The Valens Aqueduct is a Roman aqueduct which was the major water-providing system of the Eastern Roman capital of Constantinople...

  • Walls of Constantinople
    Walls of Constantinople
    The Walls of Constantinople are a series of defensive stone walls that have surrounded and protected the city of Constantinople since its founding as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire by Constantine the Great...


Churches, monasteries and mosques

  • Atik Mustafa Pasha Mosque
    Atik Mustafa Pasha Mosque
    - External links :*...

  • Bodrum Mosque
    Bodrum Mosque
    Bodrum Mosque is a former Eastern Orthodox church converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. The church was known under the Greek name of Myrelaion .-Location:...

  • Chora Church
    Chora Church
    The Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of a Byzantine church. The church is situated in Istanbul, in the Edirnekapı neighborhood, which lies in the western part of the municipality of Fatih...

  • Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus
    Little Hagia Sophia
    Little Hagia Sophia , formerly the Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus , is a former Eastern Orthodox church dedicated to Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Constantinople, later converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire....

  • Church of St. Polyeuctus
    Church of St. Polyeuctus
    The Church of St. Polyeuctus was an ancient Byzantine church in Constantinople built by the noblewoman Anicia Juliana and dedicated to Saint Polyeuctus. Intended as an assertion of Juliana's own imperial lineage, it was a lavishly decorated building, and the largest church of the city before the...

  • Church of the Holy Apostles
    Church of the Holy Apostles
    The Church of the Holy Apostles , also known as the Imperial Polyandreion, was a Christian church built in Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, in 550. It was second only to the Church of the Holy Wisdom among the great churches of the capital...

  • Eski Imaret Mosque
    Eski Imaret Mosque
    Eski Imaret Mosque is a former Eastern Orthodox church converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. The church has traditionally been identified with that belonging to the Monastery of Christ Pantepoptes , meaning "Christ the all-seeing". It is the only documented 11th-century church in Istanbul which...

  • Fenari Isa Mosque
    Fenari Isa Mosque
    Fenâri Îsâ Mosque , in Byzantine times known as the Lips Monastery , is a mosque in Istanbul, made of two former Eastern Orthodox churches.-Location:...

  • Gül Mosque
    Gül Mosque
    Gül Mosque is a former Eastern Orthodox church in Istanbul, Turkey converted into a mosque by the Ottomans.- Location :The building is located in Istanbul, in the district of Fatih, in the neighborhood of Ayakapı , along Vakif Mektebi Sokak...

  • Hagia Irene
    Hagia Irene
    Hagia Irene or Hagia Eirene , often erroneously rendered in English as St Irene, is a former Eastern Orthodox church located in the outer courtyard of Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. It is open as a museum every day except Monday but requires special permission for admission.-Church:The...

  • Hagia Sophia
    Hagia Sophia
    Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey...

  • Hirami Ahmet Pasha Mosque
    Hirami Ahmet Pasha Mosque
    - External links :*...

  • Kalenderhane Mosque
    Kalenderhane Mosque
    -External links:* * * * *...

  • Koca Mustafa Pasha Mosque
    Koca Mustafa Pasha Mosque
    Koca Mustafa Pasha Mosque is a former Eastern Orthodox church converted into a mosque by the Ottomans, located in Istanbul, Turkey. The church, as the adjoining monastery, was dedicated to Saint Andrew of Crete, and was named Saint Andrew in Krisei or by-the-Judgment...

  • Nea Ekklesia
    Nea Ekklesia
    The Nea Ekklēsia was a church built by Byzantine Emperor Basil I the Macedonian in Constantinople between the years 876–80. It was the first monumental church built in the Byzantine capital after the Hagia Sophia in the 6th century, and marks the beginning of middle period of Byzantine...

  • Pammakaristos Church
    Pammakaristos Church
    Pammakaristos Church, also known as the Church of Theotokos Pammakaristos , in 1591 converted into a mosque and known as Fethiye Mosque and today partly a museum, is one of the most famous Byzantine churches in Istanbul, Turkey...

  • Stoudios Monastery
    Stoudios
    The Monastery of Stoudios, more fully Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner "at Stoudios" The Monastery of Stoudios, more fully Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner "at Stoudios" The Monastery of Stoudios, more fully Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner "at Stoudios" (Greek Μονή του Αγίου...

  • Vefa Kilise Mosque
    Vefa Kilise Mosque
    Vefa Kilise Mosque is a former Eastern Orthodox church converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. The church was possibly dedicated to Hagios Theodoros , but this dedication is far from certain...

  • Zeyrek Mosque
    Zeyrek Mosque
    - External links :*...


Miscellaneous

  • Ahmed Bican Yazıcıoğlu
  • Byzantine calendar
    Byzantine calendar
    The Byzantine calendar, also "Creation Era of Constantinople," or "Era of the World" was the calendar used by the Eastern Orthodox Church from c. 691 to 1728 in the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It was also the official calendar of the Byzantine Empire from 988 to 1453, and in Russia from c...

  • Byzantine silk
    Byzantine silk
    Byzantine silk is silk woven in the Byzantine Empire from about the 4th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.The Byzantine capital of Constantinople was the first significant silk-weaving center in Europe. Silk was one of the most important commodities in the Byzantine economy, used by...

  • Byzantium
    Byzantium
    Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

  • Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
  • Eparch of Constantinople (List of eparchs)
  • Fall of Constantinople
    Fall of Constantinople
    The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

  • Golden Horn
    Golden Horn
    The Golden Horn is a historic inlet of the Bosphorus dividing the city of Istanbul and forming the natural harbor that has sheltered Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other ships for thousands of...

  • Istanbul
    Istanbul
    Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

  • List of people from Constantinople
  • Massacre of the Latins
    Massacre of the Latins
    The Massacre of the Latins occurred in Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, in May 1182. It was a large-scale massacre of the Roman Catholic or "Latin" merchants and their families, who at that time dominated the city's maritime trade and financial sector...

  • Nika riots
    Nika riots
    The Nika riots , or Nika revolt, took place over the course of a week in Constantinople in AD 532. It was the most violent riot that Constantinople had ever seen to that point, with nearly half the city being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed.-Background:The ancient Roman...

  • Notitia urbis Constantinopolitanae
    Notitia urbis Constantinopolitanae
    The Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae is an ancient "regionary", i.e., a list of monuments, public buildings and civil officials in Constantinople during the mid-5th century , during the reign of the emperor Theodosius II...

  • Sieges of Constantinople
    Sieges of Constantinople
    There were several sieges of Constantinople during the history of the Byzantine Empire. Two of them resulted in the capture of Constantinople from Byzantine rule: in 1204 by Crusaders, and in 1453 by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed II....

  • Third Rome
    Third Rome
    The term Third Rome describes the idea that some European city, state, or country is the successor to the legacy of the Roman Empire and its successor state, the Byzantine Empire ....

  • University of Constantinople
    University of Constantinople
    The University of Constantinople, sometimes known as the University of the palace hall of Magnaura in the Roman-Byzantine Empire was founded in 425 under the name of Pandidakterion...


External links



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