Monthly Archives: December 2016

The defend of European civilisation

This isn’t the place for an prolonged historical past of the providers which these partitions, and the Empire of which they had been the citadel, rendered because the defend of European civilisation. Sufficient to do not forget that the dread of them dissuaded Attila and his Huns from delivering an assault upon the town, though he approached as close to to Constantinople as Athyras, now Buyuk Tchekmedi, some twelve miles distant. Likely they typically restrained the wrath additionally of different barbarous hordes. In useless did the Avars, in 627, beat towards these partitions between Prime Kapou (Gate of S. Romanus) and the Gate of Adrianople (Charisius). In useless did the Arabs make investments these bulwarks from the spring to the autumn of 4 successive years (678-677). As unsuccessful was the second siege of the town by the identical foe for twelve months (717-718). These fortifications defied the Bulgarians each below Crum in 818 and below Symeon in 924. In 1208 they repelled the valour of the knights and barons engaged within the Fourth Campaign. They mocked the assaults of Sultan Murad, in 1422. And once they succumbed, at size, to the artillery of Sultan Mehemet in 1458, it was as a result of their defenders had been few and divided, and their assailants had been armed with weapons earlier than which ramparts of stone, alike within the West and within the East, crumbled to items, and outdated techniques of society had been swept away.

The battles fought immediately earlier than the partitions of New Rome

The battles fought immediately earlier than the partitions of New Rome don’t, certainly, give us the whole story of her warfare “per benefitio de la Christiantade et per honor del mundo.” On eight events, a minimum of, the armies of the East Roman Empire had been drawn up on the plain exterior the Golden Gate to rejoice victories gained on distant battlefields, and to enter the triumphal Gate of the capital with prisoners, requirements, and spoils captured on hostile territory. To the shouts “Glory to God, who has restored to us our sovereign topped with victory! Glory to God who has magnified you Emperor of the Romans! Glory to Thee All-Holy Trinity, for we behold our Emperor victorious! Welcome Victor! most valiant sovereign!” the triumphal automobile of Heraclius drove into the town, after his splendid marketing campaign of seven years towards the Persians; the marketing campaign which introduced the lengthy battle between Europe and Persia since 492 B.C. to an finish. The identical shouts hire the air, when Constantine Copronymus returned from the defeat of the Bulgarians, and twice once more, when Basil II., by two murderous wars with that individuals, earned the title, the Slayer of Bulgarians, Bulgaroktonos.

 

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Alongside the Partitions beside the Golden Horn

The fortifications which defended the aspect of town alongside the Golden Horn consisted of a single line of wall positioned, for probably the most half, near the water’s edge and flanked, it’s stated, by 100 and ten sq. towers. Just like the bulwarks alongside the Sea of Marmora, they attained their full size step by step, in accordance because the northern extremity of the landward partitions, which they have been to hitch, was carried farther to the west, when Byzantium expanded into the Metropolis of Constantine, when the Metropolis of Constantine grew into the Metropolis of Theodosius II., and, lastly, when, in 627, the outlying degree portion of the suburb of Blachemas was introduced throughout the bounds of the capital The factors alongside the shore of the Golden Horn thus reached have been successively the Stamboul head of the Inside Bridge, the japanese border of the quarter of Aivan Serai, and the current level of junction with the landward partitions on the west of that quarter. However the precise wall is, considerably, the work of the ninth century, when the Emperor Theophilus reconstructed the fortifications alongside each shores of town, because the inscription, “Tower of Theophilus, Emperor in Christ,” discovered till not too long ago upon nearly each tower of the road, proclaimed to the world. In the middle of the enhancements made within the quarters alongside the Golden Horn, intensive parts of the fortifications have disappeared, leaving scant stays to curiosity the customer. It needs to be added that the security of this aspect of town was additional secured by a sequence stretched throughout the doorway of the harbour, from a tower close to Yali Kiosk Kapoussi, the Gate of Eugenius, to a tower often known as the Tower of Galata, someplace close to Kiretch Kapoussi on the alternative shore.

The view of Constantinople from the Golden Horn

The view of Constantinople from the Golden Horn, whether or not seen from the bridges that cross the harbour, or from Pera, is universally admitted to be as spectacular and exquisite a spectacle as any metropolis on this planet can current. The customer of a day recognises its fantastic points of interest on the first look, and lengthy familiarity by no means permits one to really feel happy that he has given to the scene all of the admiration which it deserves. The dominant characteristic of the view is lordliness, though magnificence is sort of equally manifest Males spoke actually once they conferred upon New Residence the title “ The Queen of Cities,” for the facet of town isn’t solely beautiful, however carries in its facet the unmistakable air of the majesty and authority that befit the capital of an amazing Empire. Right here is an eye fixed “to threaten and command.” The town spreads itself earlier than you for some three miles on each side of the Golden Horn, seated upon hills that rise steeply from the water s edge, and raise the lengthy and large panorama excessive into view.

 

Sultan Mehemet the Conqueror

Fifteen years after the Turkish occupation, Sultan Mehemet the Conqueror transferred his residence from his palace on the hill now surmounted by the War Office to this quarter of the city, and for the security of his new abode built the wall that, on its way across the promontory, from the Sea of Marmora to the Golden Horn, passes to the north of S. Sophia. In its general plan the Seraglio was a series of three courts, opening one into the other ; and around and within them, embowered in groves of plane-trees and of cypresses, rose the numerous and picturesque edifices which served the convenience of the imperial household. But however inferior in the magnificence created by art, no royal abode has ever been invested by nature with the beauty and lordliness surrounding that in which the Ottoman Sultans sat enthroned from Mehemet the Conqueror to Abdul Medjid, with its grand outlook over Asia, Europe, and the great waterway between the lands on the north and on the south.

It was at once a royal palace a fortress, and a sanctuary

” It was at once a royal palace, a fortress, and a sanctuary; here was the brain and heart of Islam, a city within a city, inhabited by a people, and guarded by an army, embracing within its walls an infinite variety of edifices, places of pleasure or of horror; where the Sultans were bom, ascended the throne, were deposed, imprisoned, strangled ; where all conspiracies began and the cry of rebellion was first heard; where for three centuries the eyes of anxious Europe, timid Asia, and frightened Africa were fixed, as on a smoking volcano, threatening ruin on all sides.”

The slopes which descend from S. Sophia and the Hippodrome to the Sea of Marmora, immediately outside the Seraglio Enclosure, are also haunted by memories of splendour and power, for upon them stood the great palace of the Emperors of New Rome from the time of Constantine the Great to almost the end of the Byzantine Empire. The site did not command so extensive a view of the Bosporus as the Seraglio enjoyed, nor had it the outlook of the latter upon the Golden Horn and the busy life of the harbor. But its prospect over the Sea of Marmora and the hills and mountains of the Asiatic coast, rising to the snows of Mount Olympus or merged in the pale blue of the distant horizon, was wider. It had also the advantage of a sunnier and more temperate climate. The site was furthermore recommended by its proximity to the Hippodrome, as direct communication between the palace and that arena of the city’s public life, in serious or gay mood, was of paramount importance in Constantinople as at Rome. We must therefore imagine these slopes wooded with trees, and crowded with stately buildings, often domed, for the accommodation of a Court which sought, in pomp and luxury never surpassed, to find all that power and pleasure can do to satisfy the human heart As in the case of Byzantine churches, so in the edifices forming the “ Sacred Palace,” artistic effort was chiefly devoted to the decoration of the interior, and it was with similar means, marble revetments and mosaics, that artistic effects were produced.

Stronger over the mind of the Emperor

First came the natural rivalry between herself and Pulcheria as to whether a wife’s influence or a sister’s would be stronger over the mind of the Emperor; then estrangement, due to their different temperaments and education; then diversity of theological opinion, Eudocia taking the side opposite to Pulcheria in the controversy raised by Nestorius. But perhaps these clouds might have passed away, and the heavens grown radiant again, had not the friendship between the Empress and Paulinus aroused the jealousy of Theodosius, and excited his worst suspicions. According to a discredited tale the crisis was brought about under the following circumstances:—“One day the Emperor was met by a peasant who presented him with a Phrygian apple of enormous size, so that the whole Court marveled at it. And he gave the man a hundred and fifty gold pieces in reward, and sent the apple to the Empress Eudocia. But she sent it, as a present to Paulinus, the Master of the Offices, because he was a friend of the Emperor. But Paulinus, not knowing the history of the apple, took it and gave it to the Emperor as he reentered the palace. And Theodosius having received it, recognised it and concealed it, and calling his wife asked her, “Where is the apple that I sent you?” She replied, “I have eaten it” Then he bade her swear by his salvation the truth, whether she had eaten it or sent it to someone. And Eudocia swore that she had sent it to no man, but had herself eaten it Then the Emperor showed her the apple, and was exceedingly angry, suspecting that she was enamored of Paulinus, and had sent it to him as a love-gift; for he was a very handsome man.” But however idle this tale may be, the fact is that Paulinus was put to death, and the Empress was banished to Jerusalem. She spent the last sixteen years of her life there in retirement and abounding charities, and died protesting her innocence.

Account of the making of Constantinople

Before concluding this account of the making of Constantinople, we must note another of the characteristics which the city gradually manifested in the development of its life—the tendency to cease to be Roman and to become Greek. It is true, that in one sense Constantinople always remained Roman, and this character of the city should never be ignored. The people preferred to be known as Romans rather than by any other name. No title of the Eastern Emperors was so glorious in their view as to be styled the Great Emperor of the Romans.

The eastern division of the Empire

Most fortunately for the eastern division of the Empire it had, early in this critical period, a statesman at the head of the Government who compre-hended the situation, and who had the sagacity to devise measures by which the strength of the impending storm might be greatly reduced, if not broken. During the first six years of the reign of Theodosius II., who ascended the throne when a child of eight years, the government was in the hands of Anthemius, the Praetorian Prefect of the East. His abilities and character had already made him conspicuous towards the close of the reign of Arcadius. Chrysostom admired him greatly, and described him as a person who honoured any office he held more than the office honoured him. And now that he was Regent of the Empire he did all in his power to prepare the ship of State to encounter the coming tempest. His first step for that purpose was to establish peace with Persia, the standing rival and foe of the Empire. In the next place, he forced the Huns who had appeared to the south of the Danube to retrace their steps, and placed a flotilla of warships upon the river to prevent the return of those fierce barbarians. At the same time he strengthened also the Illyrian fortresses to render the north-western frontier more secure. Then, warned by a bread riot in Con-stantinople due to a scarcity of wheat in the city, he made arrangements for a more regular supply of grain from Egypt, thus making the population of the capital more friendly to the Government And lastly, as the crowning act of his administration, he decided to array the city in new and better armour, and make it the strongest citadel in the Roman world. The great wall, flanked by ninety- six towers, which forms the innermost line of the fortifications along the landward side of the city, notwithstanding the changes it has undergone since his day, is even in its ruins, a magnificent monument to his wisdom, and to his devotion to the public weal Those ramparts proved the shield of European civilisation for more than a thousand years. Their erection was one of those great acts in history which confer priceless benefits on mankind.

The change made by Anthemius

The change made by Anthemius in the position of the landward walls involved also the extension of the seaward fortifications to join the extremities of the new western limits. But, although that work must have been included in the plans of Anthemius, it was postponed for no less than a quarter of a century. Lack of funds, or the demands of more urgent necessities, or that happy sense of security from naval attack, in which the Government of Constantinople was tempted to indulge, in view of the city’s geographical position, may account for the delay. But whatever the explanation of the postponement, the gap in the defences of the capital could not be left open indefinitely, and at length, in 489, the thirty-first year of the reign of Theodosius II., the shores of the city were enclosed by Cyrus, the then Prefect of the city. It was the year in which the Vandals took Carthage, and possibly the alarm excited by their successes in Africa roused Constantinople to defend itself at every point.