Topography of Constantinople

Cecily Hennessy

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Topography of Constantinople

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Constantinople was the capital city of the Byzantine Empire until its fall in 1453. It was founded in 324 by Constantine I on the site of Byzantion, which is bordered by water on three sides: the Propontis (Sea of Marmara) to the south, the Bosporos to the east, and the Golden Horn to the north. The site covers seven hills emerging from a ridge running east to west. Constantine inherited the Roman city, which was inhabited since the seventh century BCE and had been developed under Septimius Severus with an acropolis, baths, and city wall. He built the Great Palace to the south of the city, built or rebuilt the hippodrome adjacent and to the west of the palace, but left the acropolis as it stood. The main monuments of the city were constructed on the main thoroughfare leading from the Milion Aureum, the Golden Milestone established by the hippodrome. This article describes the topography of Constantinople, focusing on its monuments, palaces, entertainment, churches, monasteries, water supply, harbors, and granaries.

Keywords: Constantinople; Byzantine Empire; Constantine I; Byzantion; monuments; topography; palaces; entertainment; monasteries; water supply

Article.  5599 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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