The Significance of the Hippodrome – Touran Samii

The declaration of Constantinople as the capital of the Roman Empire in 330 BC was not only a political statement, but one that also announced the urban development of the city as one pertaining to Roman architecture and city planning. It was a city meant to illustrate the success of Constantine’s military and portray the lavishes and wealth of the newly expanded empire. Similar to the metropolis of many Mediterranean capitals, Constantinople featured forums or public meeting places, surrounded by imperial quarters and basilicas used for civil services or religious purposes. At its center, lay the imperial palace flanked by the pilgrimage-worthy St Sophia to the South of Agustaion square and the Hippodrome to its South-west (Cormack 38). Dispersed among these magnificent structures, were open squares decorated with an abundance of flora. (more…)

Gözde Pekol

The trip that we had to Sultanahmet was not an ordinary one.Thw first Hagia Sophia was constructed in 360 by constantius II then it became the cathedral of Byzantium.It burned in 404 and also in 532. the third Hagia Sophia was reconstructed in 537. After 1453 it was immediatly turned into a friday mosque. We met in front of the Ayasofya Museum’s enterance which was Augustaion square (fora) in Mese. Augustaion took its name from augustus which was a title for emperors. It was a typical type of Roman courtyard where commercial activities occured, functioned as a public forum where people met. (more…)

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Tarçın Köprülü

Where we met for our fieldtrip was Augustaion which was situated south of Hagia Sophia was the imperial square in the center of the Constantinople and on the Mese which is the main street. The name Augustaion refers to the title “agustus” used for the Roman emperors. The public forum was rebuilt by Justinian after the Nika Riot. The fora is surrounded by the colonnades. On its western side there was the coloumn of Justinian which was as high as the dome of Hagia Sophia. (nearly 50m). The coloumn was made of brick and covered with a bronze sheating. On the top of the coloumn there was the statue of Justinian on the horseback who reigned between 527 and 565. This monument could be seen from an important distance from the sea and the city. (more…)

The Hidden History of Istanbul – Andrea Hague

Our Late Antique & Byzantine art history class traveled to Sultanahmet two Saturdays ago to see for ourselves what remained of what we have read about and discussed in class. As we waited in front of the Hagia Sophia for everyone to arrive, Dr. Ricci repeated what we had learned in class, that we were standing had been the Augusteon, the forum where Justinian had placed his great equestrian statue. And yet, even as we were standing there staring up at the church that he had built, I did not feel that much more connected to that time period than when I had studied the diagrams in class. In place of the Augusteon there is still a plaza of sorts, but nothing remains of its Byzantine past. This disconnect that I experienced as I stood in what I knew had once been the Augusteon continued throughout the day. Even in the places where we were still able to see remnants of the city’s early history, it was difficult to put them into context. (more…)

The Hippodrome and Its Monuments – Ayse Yucel

Constantinople is former capital of the Byzantine Empire, which was founded at A.D. 330 as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Constantine I. After Constantine I named the city with his own. Constantinople was the largest and most pompous European city of the middle Ages. Constantinople shared the glories and descents of the Byzantine Empire. The city witnessed tough wars so in 5th century Theodosius II started o built giant walls surrounding the city in order to protect it from the enemies coming from the sea. Constantine I finished the construction of the wall, which was one of a kind for that century. There are lots o important structures (beside the city wall) built in Constantinople, which gave the city its prominence. (more…)

The Hippodrome and it’s monuments – Ayşe Aslıhan Ağralı

The construction of the Hippodrome was started by the emperor Septimus Severus in 196. Also Constantine the Great the was the one who enlarged the construction. It was modeled on Circus Maximus in Rome. The Hippodrome was used for horse racing tracks, theater performances and athletic activities. The inauguration of the place was in the year 330. It has been rebuilt several times, and today only the columns which placed in the middle are survived. The Hippodrome had a Kathisma for the emperor to watch the event, the kathisma was also connected with the great palace. (more…)

Blog Post on the Hippodrome, David Bergstein

Our field trip began at the Augustaion Square, directly outside the Hagia Sophia. In Byzantium the Augusteon served a similar function as it does today: a public forum, a meeting space and a center of commercial activity. After the Nika Riot the square was re-built by Justinian (along with the Hagia Sophia), and until the iconoclast period it was full of statues. During the Byzantine era the Augustaion square was surrounded by the Palace of the Patriarchate, the main Gate of the Great Palace, the Senate, Palace of Magnaura (the diplomatic palace), the bath of Zeuxipphos, the Hippodrome and the Basilica Cistern. The centrality of the square makes it easy to imagine that the Augustaion must have been full of activity. (more…)

Field Trip 1 (Didem Özcan)

The palace of Antiochos near the Hippodrome of Constantinople was built in 416-418 and after the downfall of its founder, it became the imperial property. Then, in the 7th century it converted into a church of St. Euphemia and its ruins are still visible today as we examined in our field trip. It is known that this church survived until the end of the Byzantine Empire and its architecture and frescoes that depict the life of St. Euphemia reflect the Byzantium style. The palace consisted of two parts, a southern section, which is inaccessible to the public today and converted into the church and a northern part, which stays between the wall of Hippodrome and the Mese including a semi-circular portico. (more…)

The Hippodrome and its monuments (Narges Aminolsharei)

The Other Side of Byzantium
Late Antique and Byzantine Art

Field Trip 1 (24 October 2009)

The Hippodrome of Constantinople is located in the Marmara region of Turkey, in the city of Istanbul and in the Eminonu district. It is one of the city’s most famous historical buildings and an UNESCO landmark. It should be said that this was the largest hippodrome (stadium) of the Ancient world, even larger than Rome’s Circus Maximus- which the hippodrome was designed after. It should also be noted that history’s first “four-horse chariot races” were conducted in the Hippodrome of Constantinople. Although the construction of the Hippodrome was began by Roman emperor Septimius Severus, it was enlarged by Constantine later on, when the Roman empire was moved to Constantine from Rome. (more…)

Field Trip 1: Reflections (Will Wyeth)

The Augusteon square at the very centre of the Byzantine empire and its capital Constantinople has witnessed the great events that shaped the empire. Its location echoes the importance that it played in classical Byzantium but more pressingly the role it had in the empire founded by Constantine. Bordered on all sides by buildings of vital importance to the empire, it acted as a pedestal for successive emperors to display their aspirations or the pay homage to their heritage. (more…)