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Map of Byzantine Constantinople
Constantinople (Greek: , Kōnstantinoúpolis, or hē Pólis, , in formal Ottoman Turkish: قسطنطينيه Kostantiniyye) was the imperial capital (Gr: , Basileúousa) of the Roman Empire (330–395), the Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). Strategically located between the Golden Hornmarker and the Sea of Marmaramarker at the point where Europe meets Asia, Byzantine Constantinople had been the capital of a Christian empire, successor to ancient Greece and Rome. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.

Depending on the background of its rulers, it often had several different names at any given time; among the most common were Byzantium (Gr.: , Byzántion), New Rome (Gr.: Néa Rhōmē, ), Constantinople, and Stambol/Stamboul. It was also called Tsargrad (Цѣсарьградъ; "City of the Emperors") by the Slavs, while to the Vikings it was known as Miklagarð, "the Great City", similar to the common Greek appellation "the City" ( , hē Pólis).

It was officially renamed to its modern Turkish name Istanbulmarker in 1930 with the Turkish Postal Service Law, as part of Atatürk's national reforms. This name in turn derives from the Greek and Slavic colloquial name Stambol, which is a short form of the name Kōn-STAN-tinoú-POL-is. Folk etymology, misguided by the prefix I, erroneously derives the name Istanbul from the Greek phrase eis tēn polin ("to the City [Constantinople]"). However, the prefix I is simply an addition arising from the properties of the Turkish language, just like the Turkish name Izmirmarker arises from Greek Smyr-nē (see also vowel harmony).



Constantinople was founded by the Roman emperor Constantine I on the site of an already existing city, Byzantium, settled in the early days of Greek colonial expansion, probably around 671-662 BC. The site lay astride the land route from Europe to Asia and the seaway from the Black Sea to the Mediterraneanmarker, and had in the Golden Hornmarker an excellent and spacious harbour.


Constantine had altogether more colorful 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, 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 or the Euphrates 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 initially Constantine's new Rome did not have all the dignities of old Rome. It possessed a proconsul, 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. Similarly, 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 and Pontica, 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. 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 Palacemarker of the emperor with its imposing entrance, the Chalkemarker, and its ceremonial suite known as the Palace of Daphne. Nearby was the vast Hippodromemarker for chariot-races, seating over 80,000 spectators, and the famed Baths of Zeuxippusmarker. At the western entrance to the Augustaeum was the Milionmarker, a vaulted monument from which distances were measured across the Eastern Roman Empire.

From the Augustaeum led a great street, the Mese (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 or law-court. Then it passed through the oval Forum of Constantine where there was a second Senate-house and a high columnmarker with a statue of Constantine himself in the guise of Helios, crowned with a halo of seven rays and looking towards 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.


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 built the Palace of Hebdomonmarker on the shore of the Propontismarker near the Golden Gate, probably for use when reviewing troops. All the emperors up to Zeno and Basiliscus were crowned and acclaimed at the Hebdomon. Theodosius I founded the Church of John the Baptist to house the skull of the saint (today preserved at the Topkapı Palacemarker in Istanbul, Turkey), put up a memorial pillar to himself in the Forum of Taurus, and turned the ruined temple of Aphrodite into a coach house for the Praetorian Prefect; Arcadius built a new forum named after himself on the Mese, near the walls of Constantine.

Gradually the importance of Constantinople increased. After the shock of the Battle of Adrianoplemarker in 378, in which the emperor Valens 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 built in 413–414 the 18 metre (60 ft) tall triple-wall fortificationsmarker which were never to be breached until the coming of gunpowder. Theodosius also founded a University near the Forum of Taurus, on 27 February 425.

Uldin, a prince 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. Subsequently new walls were built to defend the city, and the fleet on the Danube improved.

In due course the barbarians overran the Western Roman Empire: its emperors retreated to Ravennamarker, 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.


The emperor Justinian I (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 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 Jerusalemmarker, looted by the Romans in 70 AD and taken to Carthagemarker by the Vandals after their sack of Rome in 455, was brought to Constantinople and deposited for a time, perhaps in the Church of St. Polyeuctusmarker, before being returned to Jerusalem in either the Church of the Resurrection 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.

The entire late Roman and early Byzantine period was one where 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 (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 and Isidore of Miletus to replace it with a new and incomparable St Sophiamarker. 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 Solomonmarker, 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 churchmarker 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 eleventh 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 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 between 541–542 AD. It killed perhaps 40% of the city's inhabitants.

Survival, 565–717

In the early 7th century the Avars and later the Bulgars overwhelmed much of the Balkans, threatening Constantinople from the west. Simultaneously the Persianmarker Sassanids overwhelmed the Prefecture of the East and penetrated deep into Anatolia. Heraclius, son to the exarch of Africa, 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 Carthagemarker, but relented after the people of Constantinople begged him to stay. While the Great City withstood a siege, Heraclius launched a flank attack against the Persians, invading Armeniamarker and Media. The Emperor's victories restored the previous status quo and the Roman eastern frontier, but the prolonged warfare left both empires severely weakened.

The religion of Islam arose in the power vacuum left by the two exhausted empires. It quickly overran the Sassanid Empire, and seized the Roman Near Eastern provinces in quick succession. The centuries-long Byzantine-Arab Wars followed, creating a new balance of power in the Mediterranean world. During these wars, the Muslims attempted twice to strike at the heart of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople. The first siege lasted from 674 to 678, and the second from 717 to 718. While the Theodosian Walls made the city impregnable from the land, the newly discovered incendiary substance known as "Greek Fire" allowed the Byzantine navy to destroy the Arab fleets and keep the city supplied. In the second siege, decisive help was rendered by the Bulgars, who attacked the Arab army. The failure of this siege was a severe blow to the Umayyad Caliphate, and resulted in the stabilization of the Byzantine-Arab equilibrium, opening the way for the Empire's gradual recovery under the Isaurian dynasty.


In the 730s Leo III 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 (d. 842) acted as regent during the minority of her son Michael III, 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 Gastriamarker, 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 865 an attack was made on the city by a new principality set up a few years earlier at Novgorodmarker by Rurik, a Varangian chief: two hundred small Russian vessels passed through the Bosporus and plundered the monasteries and other properties on the suburban Prince's Islandsmarker. Oryphas, 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 received an unusual gift from Prince Vladimir of Kiev: 6,000 Varangian warriors which Basil formed into a new bodyguard known as the Varangian Guard. They were known for their ferocity, honour and loyalty. It is said that in 1038 they were dispersed in winter quarters in the Thracesian 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 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, the Constantinople had a population of between 500,000 and 800,000.

Iconoclast controversy

In the eighth and ninth centuries the iconoclast movement caused serious political unrest throughout the Empire. The emperor Leo III 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 which was fiercely resisted by the citizens. Constantine V convoked a church council in 754 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 Virginmarker at Blachernaemarker as having been transformed into a "fruit store and aviary". Following the death of his son Leo IV in 780, the empress Irene restored the veneration of images through the agency of the Second Council of Nicaea 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, who restored the icons. These controversies contributed to the deterioration of relations between the Western and the Eastern 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 Manzikertmarker in Armenia in 1071. The Emperor Romanus Diogenes was captured. The peace terms demanded by Alp Arslan, 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 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 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.


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, 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 annihilated their army. The battle of Levounion 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, the First Crusade assembled at Constantinople in 1096, but declining to put itself under Byzantine command set out for Jerusalemmarker on its own account. John II 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 twelfth 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. Certainly, the Venetiansmarker and others were active traders in Constantinople, making a living out of shipping goods between the Crusader Kingdoms of Outremer and the West while also trading extensively with Byzantium and Egyptmarker. The Venetians had factories on the north side of the Golden Horn, and large numbers of westerners were present in the city throughout the twelfth century. Towards 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 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 Torcellomarker clearly reveal their Byzantine origin. Similarly those of the Palatine Chapelmarker, the Martoranamarker at Palermomarker, and the cathedral of Cefalùmarker, together with the vast decoration of the cathedral at Monreale, demonstrate the influence of Byzantium on the Norman Court of Sicily in the twelfth century. Hispano-Moorish art was unquestionably derived from the Byzantine. Romanesque art 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 Kievmarker, Venetian doges, abbots of Monte Cassinomarker, merchants of Amalfimarker, 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."


In the course of a plot between Philip of Swabia, Boniface of Montferrat and the Doge of Venice, the Fourth Crusade 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 Galatamarker, broke the chain protecting the Golden Hornmarker 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, probably to intimidate Alexius IV, but whose only result was the destruction of the great statue of Athena, the work of Phidias, 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 Milestonemarker 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. The Byzantine nobility were scattered. Many went to Nicaea, where Theodore Lascaris set up an imperial court, or to Epirus, where Theodore Angelus did the same; others fled to Trebizond, 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, by the forces of the Nicaean emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus.


Although Constantinople was retaken by Michael VIII, the Empire had lost many of its key economic resources, and struggled to survive. The palace of Blachernaemarker in the north-west of the city became the main Imperial residence, with the old Great Palace on the shores of the Bosporusmarker 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, who had fled the city when the Crusaders captured it, back, and by relocating Greeks from the recently reconquered Peloponnesemarker to the capital. In 1347, the Black Death spread to Constantinople. In 1453, when the Ottoman Turks captured the city, it contained approximately 50,000 people.



Constantinople was the largest and richest urban center in the Eastern Mediterraneanmarker during the late Roman Empire, mostly as a result of its strategic position commanding the trade routes between the Aegeanmarker and the Black Seamarker. It would remain the capital of the eastern, Greek speaking empire for over a thousand years. In its heyday, 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, particularly Hagia Sophiamarker, 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 metre tall walls built by Theodosius II were essentially 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, a 60 kilometre chain of walls across the Thracian peninsula. Many scholars argue that these sophisticated fortifications allowed the east to develop relatively unmolested while Ancient Rome and the west collapsed. With the emergence of Christianity and the rise of Islam, 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.


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 Basilicamarker in Venice, the basilicas of Ravennamarker, and many churches throughout the Slavic East. Also, alone in Europe until the 13th century Italian florin, the Empire continued to produce sound gold coinage, the solidus of Diocletian becoming the bezant prized throughout the Middle Ages. Its city walls were much imitated (for example, see Caernarfon Castlemarker) and its urban infrastructure was moreover a marvel throughout the Middle Ages, keeping alive the art, skill and technical expertise of the Roman Empire.


Constantine's foundation gave prestige to the Bishop of Constantinople, who eventually came to be known as the Ecumenical Patriarch, vying for honour with the Pope, a situation which contributed to the Great Schism that divided Western Catholicism from Eastern Orthodoxy from 1054 onwards.


See also

Secular buildings and monuments

Churches, monasteries and mosques



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  2. BBC - Timeline: Turkey.
  3. Room, Adrian, (1993), Place Name changes 1900-1991, Metuchen, N.J., & London:The Scarecrow Press, Inc., ISBN 0-8108-2600-3 pp. 46, 86.
  4. Britannica, Istanbul.
  5. Lexicorient, Istanbul.
  6. Commemorative coins that were issued during the 330s already refer to the city as Constantinopolis (see e.g. Michael Grant, The climax of Rome (London 1968), p. 133), or "Constantine's City". According to the Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, vol. 164 (Stuttgart 2005), column 442, there is no evidence for the tradition that Constantine officially dubbed the city "New Rome" (Nova Roma). It is possible that the emperor called the city "Second Rome" ( , Deutéra Rhōmē) by official decree, as reported by the 5th-century church historian Socrates of Constantinople: see Names of Constantinople.
  7. A description can be found in the Notitia urbis Constantinopolitanae.
  8. Socrates II.13, cited by J B Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, p. 74.
  9. J B Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, p. 75. et seqq.
  10. Description des îles de l'archipel, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.
  11. Margaret Barker, Times Literary Supplement 4 May 2007 p. 26.
  12. Procopius' Secret History: see P Neville-Ure, Justinian and his Age, 1951.
  13. St Sophia was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of the city, and is now a museum.
  14. Source for quote: Scriptores originum Constantinopolitanarum, ed T Preger I 105 (see A. A. Vasiliev, History of the Byzantine Empire, 1952, vol I p. 188).
  15. T. Madden, Crusades: The Illustrated History, 114.
  16. Justinian, Novellae 63 and 165.
  17. Early Medieval and Byzantine Civilization: Constantine to Crusades, Dr. Kenneth W. Harl.
  18. Past pandemics that ravaged Europe, BBC News, November 7, 2005.
  19. Vasiliev 1952, p. 251.
  20. George Finlay, History of the Byzantine Empire, Dent, London, 1906, pp. 156-161.
  21. Finlay, 1906 pp. 174-5.
  22. Finlay, 1906, p. 379.
  23. Enoksen, Lars Magnar. (1998). Runor : historia, tydning, tolkning. Historiska Media, Falun. ISBN 91-88930-32-7 p. 135.
  24. J M Hussey, The Byzantine World, Hutchinson, London, 1967, p. 92.
  25. Vasiliev 1952, pp. 343-4.
  26. Silk Road Seattle - Constantinople, Daniel C. Waugh.
  27. The officer given the task was killed by the crowd, and in the end the image was removed rather than destroyed: it was to be restored by Irene and removed again by Leo V: Finlay 1906, p. 111.
  28. Vasiliev 1952, p. 261.
  29. The Pechenegs, Steven Lowe and Dmitriy V. Ryaboy.
  30. There is an excellent source for these events: the writer and historian Anna Comnena in her work The Alexiad.
  31. Vasiliev 1952, p. 472.
  32. J. Phillips, The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, 144.
  33. J. Phillips, The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, 155.
  34. Hussey 1967, p. 70.
  35. T. Madden, Crusades: The Illustrated History, 113.
  36. J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Decline and Fall, 217.
  37. The Black Death, Channel 4 - History.
  38. D. Nicolle, Constantinople 1453: The end of Byzantium, 32.
  39. The Fourth Canon of the First Council of Constantinople:


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