Crusaders roamed the city, tombs were vandalized, churches desecrated, and Justinian’s sarcophagus was opened and his body flung aside. Constantinople - the largest city and former capital of Turkey; rebuilt on the site of ancient Byzantium by Constantine I in the fourth century; renamed Constantinople by Constantine who made it the capital of the Byzantine Empire; now the seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church Despite th… These Italian groups soon obtained a stranglehold over the city’s foreign trade—a monopoly that was finally broken by a massacre of Italians. Hypernyms ("Constantinople" is a kind of...): ecumenical council ((early Christian church) one of seven gatherings of bishops from around the known world under the presidency of the Pope to regulate matters of faith and morals and discipline) Sense 4. Afterwards Justinian was reported to say, “Solomon, I have surpassed thee.” Near the height of his reign, Justinian’s city suffered an epidemic in 541 CE --the Black Death-- where over one hundred thousand of the city’s residents would die. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. It would perish during the Nika Revolts under Justinian in 532 CE. Its importance would take on new meaning with Alaric’s invasion of Rome in 410 CE and the eventual fall of the city to Odoacer in 476 CE. While his son Constantine V was equally successful, his grandson Leo IV, initially a moderate iconoclast, died shortly after assuming power, leaving the incompetent Constantine VI and his mother and regent Irene in power. The inevitable end was retarded by the defeat of the Turks at the hands of Timur (Tamerlane) in 1402; but in 1422 the Ottoman sultan of Turkey, Murad II, laid siege to Constantinople. After a general massacre, the pillage went on for years. Constantine’s new city walls tripled the size of Byzantium, which now contained imperial buildings, such as the completed Hippodrome begun by Septimius Severus, a huge palace, legislative halls, several imposing churches, and streets decorated with multitudes of statues taken from rival cities. 'Conquest of Istanbul') was the capture of the Byzantine Empire's capital by the Ottoman Empire. It was named after Byzantium, which Emperor Constantine I rebuilt (A.D. 330) as Constantinople and made the capital of the entire Roman Empire. First settled in the seventh century B.C. There were sufficient aqueducts, tunnels and conduits to bring water into the city but a lack of storage still existed. Cite This Work But as time went forward, the conversation expanded. Constantine was unsure where to locate his new capital. Constantinople was to become one of the great world capitals, a font of imperial and religious power, a city of vast wealth and beauty, and the chief city of the Western world. Irene ruled with an iron hand, preferring treaties to warfare, aided by several purges of the military. That said, an exact block number has not yet been confirmed in which the code would become operational … It displaced the power centre of the Roman Empire, moving it eastward, and achieved the first lasting unification of Greece. It started as a riot at the hippodrome between two sport factions, the blues and greens. It was protected by massive walls that surrounded it on both land and seafront. Over ten thousand workers would take almost six years to build it. Young Constantine rose to power in the west when his father, Constantius, died. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Our mission is to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. His successor, Julian the Apostate, a student of Greek and Roman philosophy and culture (and the first emperor born in Constantinople), would become the last pagan emperor. It was closer to the geographic center of the Empire. In 1261 Constantinople was retaken by Michael VIII (Palaeologus), Greek emperor of Nicaea. There was, furthermore, a welcome for Christians, a tolerance of other beliefs, and benevolence toward Jews. The economy of the empire would never completely recover. Until the rise of the Italian maritime states, it was the first city in commerce, as well as the chief city of what was until the mid-11th century the strongest and most prestigious power in Europe . The old circus was transformed into a victory monument, including one monument that had been erected at Delphi --the Serpent Column-- celebrating the Greek victory over the Persians at Plataea in 479 BCE. Constantine inaugurated the first ecumenical councils; the first six were held in or near Constantinople. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Even Justinian wasn’t immune, although he survived. It quickly became the largest city in the empire. The riot expanded to the streets where looting and fires broke out. The last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI (Palaeologus), was killed in battle. On April 13, 1204, however, the Crusaders burst into the city to sack it. His grandson, Theodosius II (408 – 450 CE) rebuilt Hagia Sophia after it burned, established a university, and, fearing a barbarian threat, expanded the city’s walls in 413 CE; the new walls would be forty feet high and sixteen feet thick. In 381 it became the seat of a patriarch who was second only to the bishop of Rome; the patriarch of Constantinople is still the nominal head of the Orthodox church. The siege of the city began in April 1453. The city was built with an intention of rivaling Rome and eventually becoming the capital of the Roman Empire. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The Byzantine Empire came to an end when the Ottomans breached Constantinople’s ancient land wall after besieging the city for 55 days. This is precisely why the ancient city of Rome took on the designation of “Old Rome,” while Constantinople took on the designation of “New Rome.” Both were still Rome. The gold solidus of Constantine retained its value and served as a monetary standard for more than a thousand years. One of his greatest-considered works was the renovation and development of the hippodrome. Many armies, including numerous Islamic hordes, had tried to take the impregnable city and failed. Like the Nicene Creed, the Creed of Constantinople repeats much of the language about the nature and deity of Jesus. The fall of … As the last emperor to rule both east and west, he did away with the Vestal Virgins of Rome, outlawed the Olympic Games and dismissed the Oracle at Delphi which had existed long before the time of Alexander the Great. In the 8th and 9th centuries Constantinople was the centre of the battle between iconoclasts and the defenders of icons. Built on seven hills (just like Old Rome), the city was divided into fourteen districts. Various attempts were made to heal the breach in the face of the Turkish threat to the city, but the divisive forces of suspicion and doctrinal divergence were too strong. Please support Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation. License. Constantinople would become the economic and cultural hub of the east and the center of both. A common practice prior to the formation of the modern Republic of Turkey. Constantinople (Greek: Κωνσταντινούπολις, Konstantinoúpolis, or Πόλις, Polis) was the capital of the Roman Empire (330-395), the Byzantine/East Roman Empire (395-1204 and 1261-1453), the Latin Empire (1204-1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922). Some construction was carried out in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, but thereafter the city was in decay, full of ruins and tracts of deserted ground, contrasting with the prosperous condition of Galata across the Golden Horn, which had been granted to the Genoese by the Byzantine ruler Michael VIII. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. Constantinople was also an ecclesiastical centre. When the smoke cleared, the emperor saw an opportunity to clear away remnants of the past and make the city a center of civilization. The matter was settled by the seventh ecumenical council against the iconoclasts, but not before much blood had been spilled and countless works of art destroyed. During the Middle Ages, the city would become a refuge for ancient Greek and Roman texts. The city needed a reliable water supply. Diocletian chose to rule the east. The Fall of Constantinople (Byzantine Greek: Ἅλωσις τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, romanized: Hálōsis tē̂s Kōnstantinoupóleōs; Turkish: İstanbul'un Fethi, lit. He built another cistern and additional grain silos. Last modified April 09, 2013. Besides a new forum, the city boasted a large meeting hall that served as a market, stock exchange, and court of law. By the end of the 4th century, Constantine’s walls had become too confining for the wealthy and populous metropolis. THE MODERN CITY.—It occupies one of the most beautiful and advantageous sites in the world, uniting as it does Europe with Asia and putting in communication the Black Sea and all Southern Russia with the greater part of Europe and Asia, and even with distant America. Since it was surrounded almost entirely by water, it could be easily defended (especially when a chain was placed across the bay). It was comparable to napalm, and water was useless against it as it would only help to spread the flames. Was established as New Rome by Constantine the Great in the 4th century A.D. (The Byzantine Empire was actually the Greek-speaking Eastern half of the Ancient Roman Empire, which offically fell in 476 A.D., with the deposition of Romulus Augustus. He brought in gold from Egypt, porphyry from Ephesus, white marble from Greece and precious stones from Syria and North Africa. The ambitious ruler defeated his rival, Maxentius, for power at the Battle of Milvian Bridge and became sole emperor of the west in 312 CE. Being surrounded by water also helps trade, and the harbor here is constantly filled with ships. Religion took on new meaning in the empire. Constantinople was reborn as Istanbul, and as the capital of the Ottoman Empire, its fortunes were reversed. The Crusading knights installed one of themselves, Baldwin of Flanders, as emperor, and the Venetians—prime instigators of the Crusade—took control of the church. Qusṭanṭinīyya, Persian: قسطنطنیه, translit. A number of weak emperors followed Theodosius II until Justinian (527 – 565 CE) --the creator of the Justinian Code-- came to power. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 09 Apr 2013. Donald has taught Ancient, Medieval and U.S. History at Lincoln College (Normal, Illinois)and has always been and will always be a student of history, ever since learning about Alexander the Great. Constantius II defeated his brothers (and any other challengers) and became the empire’s sole emperor. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. North of the arch stood the old basilica which Constantine converted into a square court, surrounded by several porticos, housing a library and two shrines. Much of the rebuilding, however, was lost during the Fourth Crusade (1202 -1204 CE) when the city was plundered and burned, not by the Muslims, but by the Christians who had initially been called to repel invaders but sacked the city themselves. 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