The Birth of the Middle Ages, 395-814

By H. St. L. B. Moss | Go to book overview

PART II
THE TRIUMPH OF JUSTINIAN

IV
CONSTANTINOPLE

THE centre of Constantinople was the Augusteum, a spacious marble-paved square, which in general effect must have resembled the Piazza San Marco at Venice. On the north side rose the dome of St. Sophia; on the cast were the porticoes of the Senate House, while on the south side a low building with heavy iron gates formed the entrance to the Palace. Beyond this stood the lofty wall of the Kathisma, a structure whose upper stories, looking out on the Hippodrome on the opposite side, formed a royal box for the Emperor, and communicated directly with the palace buildings by galleries and a spiral staircase. In the square, besides the Milestone, a vaulted monument from which started all the roads of the Empire, stood a tall bronze column, bearing a colossal equestrian statue of Justinian, in full armour, holding the orb of the universe, his hand stretched towards the East, as if commanding the barbarians of Asia not to pass their frontiers. The Mesa, or Middle Street, lined with arcades, statues, and sumptuous palaces, led westwards from this square along the peninsula to the Golden Gate, a fortified entrance, after the Roman style, in the massive walls which ran across the isthmus.

Seen from the Bosporus the vast palace enclosure, which included the slopes between the Augusteum and the shore, was dotted with groups of gilded domes, white pavilions, baths, terraces, and chapels, set among trees and fountains, and connected by flights of marble steps.

The main entrance to the Palace led from the Augusteum to a large domed hall, decorated with mosaics displaying the wars and triumphs offnustinian. Behind it was the throne-room, and stairs led up from this to the palace of Daphne, with its airy terraces and chambers looking out across the blue waters-to the snowy summits of the Bithynian mountains.

-79-

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The Birth of the Middle Ages, 395-814
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Description of Illustrations xvi
  • Part I- Romans and Barbarians 1
  • I- The Roman World 1
  • II- The Barbarian World 38
  • III- The Clash of Cultures 57
  • Part II- The Triumph of Justinian 79
  • IV- Constantinople *
  • V- Justinian and the West 95
  • VI- Justinian and the East 108
  • VII- The Aftermath 125
  • Part III- The Onslaught of Islam 143
  • VIII- The Faith 143
  • IX- The Conquest 149
  • X- The Culture 159
  • Part IV- The Age of Charlemagne 175
  • XI- The European Background 175
  • XII- The Franks 193
  • XIII- The Papacy 222
  • Appendix A 266
  • Appendix B 270
  • Chronological Table 275
  • Bibliography 283
  • Index 288
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