The Byzantine Columns of Istanbul

The Column of Constantine

The Column of Constantine is one of the most important examples of Roman art in the world.

Goths Column

The column stands at the outer courtyard of Topkapi Palace, in Gulhane Park, and surrounded by trees. It's one of the oldest columns from the Roman period, which was erected probably in the 3rd or 4th centuries AD, carved from a single piece of stone and decorated with a Corinth style capital containing an eagle relief. Because of the inscriptions mentioning the victory over the Goths, it's called as Goths Column. The column is 15 meters high and rests on a small base.

Million Stone

Historical Million Stone, also called Milion, which was the center of the former Nova Roma (“New Rome”). The stone, which is now a monument, was the zero-mile marker of all roads: all distances were measured from here. At the same time, it was the starting–point for the measurements of distances from Byzantine Constantinopolis to the European cities of the Eastern Roman Empire. It had the same function as the Milliarium Aureum in Rome.

Column of Theodosius

The Column of Theodosius was a monumental column located in the Forum of Theodosius in Constantinople built during the reign of Theodosius I (379-395). It was modeled on the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius in Rome, with spiral reliefs, an internal spiral staircase and an imperial statue crowning it. The column was located on high ground overlooking Propontis, it was visible to anyone approaching Constantinople by sea. Furthermore it was located on the Mese, the main street of Constantinople, placing it at the heart of the city. It was also part of the attempt to rival the city of Rome during this period.

Serpent Column

To commemorate the Greek victory at Plataea in 479 BC a votive offering was dedicated to Apollo at Delphi. Likely cast from the captured bronze weapons and armor of the defeated Persians, the monument represented three serpents, their intertwined bodies forming a serpentine column and their heads, the jaws open, stretched out to support a golden tripod. The tripod was stolen by the Phocians in 355 BC but the bronze column survived, only to be appropriated by Constantine to decorate the central spina of the Hippodrome in his newly founded capital of Constantinople. This may have been as early as AD 324, when Constantine became sole ruler of the Roman Empire, or as late as AD 330, when the city was dedicated. There the Serpent Column remained intact until its sack by the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

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