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The first fortifications of Constantinople, on the land side only, were started by Constantine I and completed by Constantius II. In the reign of Theodosios II the Land Walls were extended about 1.5 km to the west so as to describe a huge arc, 6 km long, extending from the Propontis to the Golden Horn. Completed by 413 and repaired on numerous occasions (notably after the earthquakes of 447, 740, 989, etc.), they continued to protect the city throughout the Byz. period and parts of them are still standing. They consist of an inner wall 11 m high with towers at intervals of about 70–75 m, a lower outer wall also furnished with towers, and a moat. The walls are built of bonded masonry with bands of brick (five successive courses going right across the wall) alternating with bands of cut-stone facing, enclosing a core of mortared rubble. The only section of the Theodosian walls that has not survived was in the area of Blachernai, where, as documented both in texts and visible remains, their original line was brought forward by Herakleios to enclose the Church of the Virgin and by Manuel I to protect the imperial palace. The Land Walls were pierced by six main gates, including the Golden Gate, and a number of secondary posterns.
The Sea Walls, both along the Propontis and the Golden Horn, consist of a single line of fortifications and are today poorly preserved. They were first built in 439 and repaired many times, notably under the emperors Anastasios II and Theophilos. About 65 km west of Constantinople the Long Wall was built to defend the imperial capital from attack from that direction. Cyril Mango
Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.oxfordreference
In 2004, the Istanbul Archaeological Museums started large-scale salvage excavations at Yenikapi within the scope of Marmaray-Metro projects. For the first time in Istanbul's history, archaeological excavations were conducted at one of its Byzantine harbors. When the excavations started, it was not known what this ancient harbor at the mouth of the Lykos (Bayrampasa) River would yield. At first, Ottoman remains were encountered in the excavation area, which covers over 58,000 square meters. Then, one of Constantinople's most important, and the world's best known harbors, the Theodosian Harbor, was reached only 1 meter below sea level. During the ongoing excavations, countless small finds and works of architecture were unearthed. In addition to wood and rope fragments, an unexpected find, a shipwreck, was found in 2005. As the excavation area expanded, a total of 37 ships dating between the 5th and 11th centuries were brought to light. Among the finds are very well preserved small and large merchantmen, as well as galleys from the Middle and Late Byzantine periods, which have been found for the first time. The Yenikapi wrecks constitute the largest collection of shipwrecks ever found together. Another surprise was waiting for the archaeologists 6,3 meters below sea level: Istanbul's oldest settlement. This Neolithic settlement dates back 8000 years and changes the writing of Istanbul's history. The footprints of istanbulites who lived there thousands of years ago were found a few meters below. As the excavations go on uninterrupted, we have now acquired much new information about the city. This exhibition has been prepared in light of the finds from Yenikapi and their scientific study. It presents a section of the city from its first inhabitants to the present, and allows a multidimensional view of trade, seafaring, shipbuilding technology, and everyday life in Constantinople through four wrecks that were found together with their cargo.
Brickstamps of Constantinople is the first major catalogue and analysis of stamped bricks manufactured in Constantinople and its vicinity in the Late Roman and Early Byzantine periods. The text discusses the organization of the brickmaking industry, the purpose of brickstamping, and establishes for the first time a chronology for the brickstamps. On the basis of the conclusions, dates are proposed for previously undated buildings in the city, and revised dates are given for other monuments.
Millenium pursues an interdisciplinary approach transcending historical eras. The editorial board and the advisory board represent a wide range of disciplines - contributions from art and literary studies are just as welcome as historical, theological and philosophical contributions on both the Latin and Greek and the Oriental cultures.The Studies present relevant monographs or collections of papers from across the whole range of topics.
Constantinople originated in 330 A.D. as the last great urban foundation of the ancient world. When it was sacked by the Fourth Crusade in 1204 it was the greatest city of the European Middle Ages. Its transition from the one to the other was determined partly by its continuous function as an imperial capital, partly by the steady proliferation of churches, monasteries, and Christian philanthropic institutions, and partly by the widespread urban disruption and depopulation that affected what was left of the Roman Empire in the east from the sixth to the eighth centuries. The studies in the present volume examine aspects of this long and complex process as reflected in the topography, monuments, self-image and political status of medieval Constantinople. They include a revised English version of a monograph published in French ten years ago, nine reprinted articles, and two published here for the first time.
One of the most detailed works describing the walls of this renowned city, Alexander Van Milligen's Byzantine Constantinople: The Walls of the City and Adjoining Historical Sites (1899) is of use to anyone interested in Byzantine architecture, the Byzantine Empire, and medieval history more generally. Van Milligen uses his expertise as a historian who had lived and taught in Constantinople to provide a detailed account of the Byzantine capital before it fell in 1453. Complete with meticulous verbal descriptions, illustrations, maps and plans, Van Milligen combines historical accounts with physical surveys, tracing Constantinople's expansion. He describes how the city spread and how the walls adapted, pausing to outline the importance of certain structures within the city, and of the hierarchy of gates within the walls. He also includes a table of emperors to assist the general reader, while his painstaking detail makes the book useful to professional scholars as well.
In its author's words: "This study is the outgrowth of an investigation of problems associated with the administrative organization for defense of later Roman and Byzantine Constantinople. In the process of that investigation, recurring questions persisted concerning specific areas of the fortifications and defensive provisions, and especially about controversial named locations mentioned in the sources."
The walls of Constantinople are the greatest surviving example of European medieval military architecture in the world. They withstood numerous sieges until being finally overcome by the artillery of Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453, and exist today as a time capsule of Byzantine and Medieval history. This book examines the main defensive system protecting the landward side of the city, which consisted of three parallel walls about 5 miles long. The walls defended the city against intruders, including Attila the Hun, before finally being breached by European knights during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and, ultimately, destroyed by Turkish artillery in 1453.
The 19 papers presented in this volume by North American and European historians and archaeologists discuss how early medieval political and religious elites constructed 'places of power', and how such places, in turn, created powerful people. They also examine how the 'high-level' power exercised by elites was transformed in the post-Roman kingdoms of Europe, as Roman cities gave way as central stages for rituals of power to a multitude of places and spaces where political and religious power were represented. Although the Frankish kingdoms receive a large share of attention, contributions also focus on the changing topography of power in the old centres of the Roman world, Rome and Constantinople, to what 'centres of power' may have meant in the steppes of Inner Asia, Scandinavia or the lower Vistula, where political power was even more mobile and decentralised than in the post-Roman kingdoms, as well as to monasteries and their integration into early medieval topographies of power.
From its foundation, the city of Constantinople dominated the Byzantine world. It was the seat of the emperor, the centre of government and church, the focus of commerce and culture, by far the greatest urban centre; its needs in terms of supplies and defense imposed their own logic on the development of the empire. Byzantine Constantinople has traditionally been treated in terms of the walled city and its immediate suburbs. In this volume, containing 25 papers delivered at the 27th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies held at Oxford in 1993, the perspective has been enlarged to encompass a wider geographical setting, that of the city’s European and Asiatic hinterland. Within this framework a variety of interconnected topics have been addressed, ranging from the bare necessities of life and defence to manufacture and export, communications between the capital and its hinterland, culture and artistic manifestations and the role of the sacred.
From Constantinople to the Frontier: The City and the Cities provides twenty-five articles addressing the concept of centres and peripheries in the late antique and Byzantine worlds, focusing specifically on urban aspects of this paradigm. Spanning from the fourth to thirteenth centuries, and ranging from the later Roman empires to the early Caliphate and medieval New Rome, the chapters reveal the range of factors involved in the dialectic between City, cities, and frontier. Including contributions on political, social, literary, and artistic history, and covering geographical areas throughout the central and eastern Mediterranean, this volume provides a kaleidoscopic view of how human actions and relationships worked with, within, and between urban spaces and the periphery, and how these spaces and relationships were themselves ideologically constructed and understood.
Richard Krautheimer offers new and provocative historical insights as he uses the architectural monuments of early papal and Constantinian Rome, Constantinople, and Milan to illuminate the complexities of power politics and religious beliefs that shaped life in these early Christian capitals.