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…)