Augustaion

The "Augustaion" (Greek: Polytonic|Αὐγουσταῖον) or, in Latin, "Augustaeum", was the main public square in medieval Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey), roughly corresponding to the modern "Aya Sofya Meydanı" ("Hagia Sophia Square").

History

The square was laid out during the rebuilding of the city of Byzantium by Constantine the Great in ca. 330. It was then called the "Tetrastoon" ("four stoas"), and was the main market ("agora") of the city. Constantine erected there a porphyry column supporting a statue of his mother, the "Augusta" Helena, after which the square was renamed. ["Chronicon Paschale", I.527-530] The "Augustaion" was rebuilt in 459, and again in the 530s, after the Nika riot, by Emperor Justinian.

Location and description

The "Augustaion" lay in the eastern part of Constantinople, which in the early and middle Byzantine periods constituted the administrative, religious and ceremonial center of the city. The square was a rectangular open space, enclosed within a colonnade ("peristylos");Procopius, I.10.5] it was entered in its western side from the "Mesē", the city's main thoroughfare. At this point stood the "Milion", the mile marker from which all distances in the Empire were measured. To its north, the "Augustaion" was bounded by the Hagia Sophia cathedral and the Patriarchal palace ("Patriarcheion"), and to its south by the Baths of Zeuxippus and the northern end of the Hippodrome. At the southeastern corner stood the the monumental "Chalkē" Gate, the entrance to the imperial palace precinct, and to the east lay the main Senate house, which was first built by Constantine, and rebuilt by Justinian, with a porch of six great columns adorning its front. [Procopius, I.10.6] This structure is probably the same as the middle Byzantine imperial audience hall known as the "Magnaura" ("Great Hall").

The square featured a number of statues, including a group of three barbarian kings offering tribute, which stood before the Column of Justinian, erected in 543 by Emperor Justinian in the western end of the square to commemorate his victories. [Procopius, I.2]

References

ources

*Procopius, [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Procopius/Buildings/1C*.html "de Aedificiis", Book I]
*Edward Gibbon, [http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1367&chapter=12179&layout=html&Itemid=27 The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 3, Appendix on the Augustaeum and the Forum of Constantine]
*cite book |title=The Great Palace of Constantinople |last=Paspates |first=A. G. |origdate=1893 |year=2004 |publisher=Kessinger Publishing |isbn=0766196178

External links

* [http://www.byzantium1200.com/augustaion.html 3D reconstruction of the square at the Byzantium1200 project]


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