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…)

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…)

A Saturday in Sultanahmet: Reflection (Harrison King)

Although it has largely disappeared today, the Hippodrome of Constantinople was once a vibrant urban center where chariot races and political gatherings took place. The massive elliptical structure, measuring 115 x 425 meters with a holding capacity of 60-100,000 people, first emerged under the reign of Emperor Septimus Severus and was completed by Emperor Constantine I (“the Great”) in 330, the year Constantinople was established. Built adjacent to the Great Palace of Constantinople on the city’s historic peninsula, now known as Sultanahmet, the hippodrome’s southern curvilinear end (sphendones) approached the Sea of Marmara while the opposite end had a less pronounced curve and featured a quadriga (four horse statues), brought from Rome, which was placed on top. An exciting element of the chariot races was the sight of the emperor, who sat in the kathisma (imperial viewing box), tangent to the Great Palace on the last stretch of the racetrack, from where he crowned the victor with a laurel wreath. (more…)