Byzantine Constantinople: Monuments, Topography, and Everyday Life

Byzantine Constantinople: Monuments, Topography, and Everyday Life

Byzantine Constantinople: Monuments, Topography, and Everyday Life

Byzantine Constantinople: Monuments, Topography, and Everyday Life


This volume deals with the history, topography and monuments of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire and one of the greatest urban centers ever known, throughout Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. It contains 21 papers that emanate from an international workshop which was held at Istanbul in 1999.

Divided into eight sections, the collection addresses a variety of interconnected topics, ranging from topography to ritual and ideology, archaeology, religious and secular architecture, patronage, commercial life, social organization, women's roles, communities, urban development and planning.

Partly drawing on new archaeological and textual evidence, partly directing new questions to or reinterpreting previously available sources, the papers presented here fill important gaps in our knowledge of Constantinople and enhance our conception of the city as both a physical and social entity.


The papers collected in this volume were presented at a workshop devoted to the city of Constantinople, which took place in Istanbul on 7–10 April 1999. The workshop, organized jointly by the History Department of Bogaziçi University and the Institut Français d'Études Anatoliennes (IFEA), was the most significant conference on Byzantine Studies to convene in Turkey since 1955, and the first scholarly forum of wide scope on the capital of the Byzantine Empire, attended by a distinguished group of international academics, to be held in Istanbul, the historic site of Constantinople. Taking full advantage of its unique location, the workshop participants undertook excursions to examine monuments and sites that were discussed in a number of papers. Two related special events accompanied the workshop: an exhibition entitled “The Mediterranean's Purple Millenium— Byzantine Coins from the Yapi Kredi Coin Collection, ” and a concert of Byzantine chants performed by Sister Marie Keyrouz and the Ensemble de la Paix, both organized and sponsored by Yapi Kredi Kültür Sanat Yayincilik A.}.

The present publication, which includes all but two of the papers delivered at the workshop, brings together the work of Turkish Byzantinists with that of Byzantinists from several countries and makes an important contribution to scholarship on Byzantine Constantinople. In terms of chronological scope, the collection covers the entire course of the city's history from the time of its foundation by Constantine I in 330 to its conquest by Mehmed II in 1453. Within the three main themes of the workshop enumerated in the title of this volume, individual papers address a wide range of topics, including topography, ritual and ideology, archaeology, art and architecture, daily life, economy, communities, urban development and planning. Interdisciplinary approaches, intended to generate fruitful interaction among historians, art historians and archaeologists of the Byzantine Empire, are featured in the collection whose appeal is by no means limited to Byzantinists.

This volume owes a considerable debt to all those who made the workshop possible—the sponsors, the staff assistants, the participants . . .

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