Constantinople

Constantinople

Κωνσταντινούπολις or Κωνσταντινούπολη (in Greek)

Constantinopolis (in Latin)
Byzantine Constantinople-en.png
Map of Constantinople
Constantinople is located in Turkey
Constantinople
Shown within Turkey
Alternate name Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Miklagard/Miklagarth ( Old Norse), Tsarigrad ( Slavic), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City")
Location Istanbul, Istanbul Province, Turkey
Region Thrace
Coordinates 41°00′49″N 28°57′18″E / 41°00′49″N 28°57′18″E / 41.01361; 28.95500
Type Imperial city
Area

6 km2 (2.3 sq mi) enclosed within Constantinian Walls

14 km2 (5.4 sq mi) enclosed within Theodosian Walls
History
Builder Constantine the Great
Founded AD 330
Periods Late Antiquity to Late Middle Ages
Cultures Roman, Byzantine
Timeline of Constantinople

Capital of the Byzantine Empire 330-1204 AD; 1261-1453 AD

Constantinople ( Greek: Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoúpolis or Κωνσταντινούπολη Konstantinoúpoli; Latin: Constantinopolis; Ottoman Turkish: قسطنطینية, Ḳosṭanṭīnīye‎) was the capital city of the Roman/ Byzantine (330–1204 and 1261–1453), and also of the brief Latin (1204–1261), and the later Ottoman (1453–1923) empires. It was reinaugurated in 324 AD from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, and dedicated on 11 May 330 AD. [5]

From the mid-5th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe [6] and it was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times as the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and as the guardian of Christendom's holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross. After the final loss of its provinces in the early 15th century, the Byzantine Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs, along with Morea in Greece, and the city eventually fell to the Ottomans after a month-long siege in 1453.

Aerial view of Byzantine Constantinople and the Propontis (Sea of Marmara)

Constantinople was famed for its massive and complex defences. Although besieged on numerous occasions by various peoples, the defences of Constantinople proved invulnerable for nearly nine hundred years before the city was taken in 1204 by the Crusader armies of the Fourth Crusade, and after it was liberated in 1261 by the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, a second and final time in 1453 when it was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. The first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, and surrounded the city on both land and sea fronts. Later, in the 5th century, the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius under the child emperor Theodosius II undertook the construction of the Theodosian Walls, which consisted of a double wall lying about 2 km (1.2 miles) to the west of the first wall and a moat with palisades in front. [7] This formidable complex of defences was one of the most sophisticated of Antiquity. The city was built intentionally to rival Rome, and it was claimed that several elevations within its walls matched the 'seven hills' of Rome. Because it was located between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara the land area that needed defensive walls was reduced, and this helped it to present an impregnable fortress enclosing magnificent palaces, domes, and towers, the result of the prosperity that was engendered by its being the gateway between two continents (Europe and Asia) and two seas (the Mediterranean and the Black Sea).

The city was also famed for its architectural masterpieces, such as the Greek Orthodox cathedral of Hagia Sophia, which served as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the sacred Imperial Palace where the Emperors lived, the Galata Tower, the Hippodrome, the Golden Gate of the Land Walls, and the opulent aristocratic palaces lining the arcaded avenues and squares. The University of Constantinople was founded in the fifth century and contained numerous artistic and literary treasures before it was sacked in 1204 and 1453, [8] including its vast Imperial Library which contained the remnants of the Library of Alexandria and had over 100,000 volumes of ancient texts. [9]

Constantinople never truly recovered from the devastation of the Fourth Crusade and the decades of misrule by the Latins. Although the city partially recovered in the early years after the restoration under the Palaiologos dynasty, the advent of the Ottomans and the subsequent loss of the Imperial territories until it became an enclave inside the fledgling Ottoman Empire rendered the city severely depopulated when it fell to the Ottoman Turks, [10] whereafter it replaced Edirne (Adrianople) as the new capital of the Ottoman Empire. [11]

Names

Before Constantinople

According to Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, the first known name of a settlement on the site of Constantinople was Lygos, [12] a settlement of likely Thracian origin founded between the 13th and 11th century BC. [13] The site, according to the founding myth of the city, was abandoned by the time Greek settlers from the city-state of Megara founded Byzantium ( Greek: Βυζάντιον, Byzántion) in around 657 BC, [14] across from the town of Chalcedon on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus.

The origins of the name of Byzantion, more commonly known by the later Latin Byzantium, are not entirely clear, though some suggest it is of Thraco- Illyrian origin. [15] [16] The founding myth of the city has it told that the settlement was named after the leader of the Megarian colonists, Byzas. The later Byzantines of Constantinople themselves would maintain that the city was named in honour of two men, Byzas and Antes, though this was more likely just a play on the word Byzantion. [17]

The city was briefly renamed Augusta Antonina in the early 3rd century by the Emperor Septimius Severus (193–211), having razed the city to the ground in 196 AD for supporting a rival contender in the civil war and rebuilt, in honour of his son Antoninus, the later Emperor Caracalla. [18] [19] The name appears to have been quickly forgotten and abandoned, and the city reverted to Byzantium/Byzantion after either the assassination of Caracalla in 217 or, at the latest, the fall of the Severan dynasty in 235.

Names of Constantinople

This huge keystone found in Çemberlitaş, Fatih may have belonged to a triumphal arch at the Forum of Constantine; the forum was built by Constantine I in the quarter of modern-day Çemberlitaş.
The Column of Constantine, built by Constantine I in 330 AD to commemorate the establishment of Constantinople as the new capital of the Roman Empire

Byzantium took on the name of Konstantinoupolis ("city of Constantine", Constantinople) after its re-foundation under Roman emperor Constantine I, who transferred the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Byzantium in 330 AD and designated his new capital officially as Nova Roma (Νέα Ῥώμη) 'New Rome'. During this time, the city was also called 'Second Rome', 'Eastern Rome', and Roma Constantinopolitana. [20] As the city became the sole remaining capital of the Roman Empire after the fall of the West, and its wealth, population, and influence grew, the city also came to have a multitude of nicknames.

As the largest and wealthiest city in Europe during the 4th–13th centuries and a centre of culture and education of the Mediterranean basin, Constantinople came to be known by prestigious titles such as Basileuousa (Queen of Cities) and Megalopolis (the Great City) and was, in colloquial speech, commonly referred to as just Polis (η πόλη) 'the City' by Constantinopolitans and provincial Byzantines alike. [21]

In the language of other peoples, Constantinople was referred to just as reverently. The medieval Vikings, who had contacts with the empire through their expansion in eastern Europe ( Varangians) used the Old Norse name Miklagarðr (from mikill 'big' and garðr 'city'), and later Miklagard and Miklagarth. In Arabic, the city was sometimes called Rūmiyyat al-kubra (Great City of the Romans) and in Persian as Takht-e Rum (Throne of the Romans).

In East and South Slavic languages, including in medieval Russia, Constantinople was referred to as Tsargrad (Царьград) or Carigrad, 'City of the Caesar (Emperor)', from the Slavonic words tsar ('Caesar' or 'King') and grad ('city'). This was presumably a calque on a Greek phrase such as Βασιλέως Πόλις (Vasileos Polis), 'the city of the emperor [king]'.

Modern names of the city

The modern Turkish name for the city, İstanbul, derives from the Greek phrase eis tin polin (εἰς τὴν πόλιν), meaning "into the city" or "to the city". [22] This name was used in Turkish alongside Kostantiniyye, the more formal adaptation of the original Constantinople, during the period of Ottoman rule, while western languages mostly continued to refer to the city as Constantinople until the early 20th century. In 1928, the Turkish alphabet was changed from Arabic script to Latin script. After that, as part of the 1920s Turkification movement, Turkey started to urge other countries to use Turkish names for Turkish cities, instead of other transliterations to Latin script that had been used in the Ottoman times. [23] [24] [25] [26] In time the city came to be known as Istanbul and its variations in most world languages.

The name "Constantinople" is still used by members of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the title of one of their most important leaders, the Orthodox patriarch based in the city, referred to as "His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch." In Greece today, the city is still called Konstantinoúpolis/Konstantinoúpoli (Κωνσταντινούπολη/Κωνσταντινούπολις) or simply just "the City" (Η Πόλη / Η Πόλις).

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Konstantinopel
العربية: القسطنطينية
azərbaycanca: Konstantinopol
Bân-lâm-gú: Constantinopolis
беларуская: Канстанцінопаль
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Канстантынопаль
български: Константинопол
bosanski: Konstantinopolj
brezhoneg: Kergustentin
Чӑвашла: Кустантин
čeština: Konstantinopol
Cymraeg: Caergystennin
ދިވެހިބަސް: ޤުޞްޠަންޠީނިއްޔާ
español: Constantinopla
Esperanto: Konstantinopolo
فارسی: قسطنطنیه
français: Constantinople
Bahasa Indonesia: Konstantinopel
interlingua: Constantinopole
italiano: Costantinopoli
Kiswahili: Konstantinopoli
latviešu: Konstantinopole
Limburgs: Constantinopel
la .lojban.: konstantinupolis
македонски: Цариград
Bahasa Melayu: Constantinople
Nederlands: Constantinopel
Napulitano: Custantenobbule
norsk nynorsk: Konstantinopel
پنجابی: قسطنطنیہ
Plattdüütsch: Konstantinopel
português: Constantinopla
română: Constantinopol
sicilianu: Costantinòpuli
Simple English: Constantinople
slovenščina: Konstantinopel
српски / srpski: Константинопољ
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Konstantinopolj
українська: Константинополь
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: كونىستانتىنوپول
Tiếng Việt: Constantinopolis