Gate, Theodosian Walls

Gate, Theodosian Walls


Constantinople

Constantinople ( / ˌ k ɒ n s t æ n t ɪ ˈ n oʊ p əl / [5] Greek: Κωνσταντινούπολις Kōnstantinoupolis Latin: Constantinopolis Ottoman Turkish: قسطنطينيه‎ ‎, romanized: Ḳosṭanṭīnīye) was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), the Byzantine Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922).

  • 330 AD: Founding of Constantinople
  • c. 404/05-413 AD: Construction of the Theodosian Walls
  • 474 AD: Great Fire of Constantinople [1]
  • 532 AD: Nika Riots and Fire of Constantinople
  • 537 AD: Completion of the Hagia Sophia by Justinian I[2][3][4]
  • 626 AD: First Siege of Constantinople
  • 674–678 AD: First Arab Siege of Constantinople
  • 717–718 AD: Great Siege of Constantinople/Second Arab Siege of Constantinople
  • 1204 AD: Sack of Constantinople
  • 1261 AD: Liberation of Constantinople
  • 1422 AD: First Ottoman Siege of Constantinople
  • 1453 AD: Fall of Constantinople

In 324, the ancient city of Byzantium was renamed “New Rome” and declared the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was renamed, and dedicated on 11 May 330. [6] From the mid-5th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe. [7] The city became famous for its architectural masterpieces, such as Hagia Sophia, the cathedral of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which served as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the sacred Imperial Palace where the Emperors lived, the Galata Tower, the Hippodrome, the Golden Gate of the Land Walls, and opulent aristocratic palaces. The University of Constantinople was founded in the fifth century and contained artistic and literary treasures before it was sacked in 1204 and 1453, [8] including its vast Imperial Library which contained the remnants of the Library of Alexandria and had 100,000 volumes. [9] The city was the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and guardian of Christendom's holiest relics such as the Crown of thorns and the True Cross.

Constantinople was famed for its massive and complex defenses. The Theodosian Walls consisted of a double wall lying about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the west of the first wall and a moat with palisades in front. [10] This formidable complex of defences was one of the most sophisticated of Antiquity. The city was built intentionally to rival Rome, and it was claimed that several elevations within its walls matched the 'seven hills' of Rome. Because it was located between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara the land area that needed defensive walls were reduced, and this helped it to present an impregnable fortress enclosing magnificent palaces, domes, and towers, the result of the prosperity it achieved from being the gateway between two continents (Europe and Asia) and two seas (the Mediterranean and the Black Sea). Although besieged on numerous occasions by various armies, the defenses of Constantinople proved impregnable for nearly nine hundred years.

In 1204, however, the armies of the Fourth Crusade took and devastated the city and, for several decades, its inhabitants resided under Latin occupation in a dwindling and depopulated city. In 1261 the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos liberated the city, and after the restoration under the Palaiologos dynasty, enjoyed a partial recovery. With the advent of the Ottoman Empire in 1299, the Byzantine Empire began to lose territories and the city began to lose population. By the early 15th century, the Byzantine Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs, along with Morea in Greece, making it an enclave inside the Ottoman Empire after a 53-day siege the city eventually fell to the Ottomans, led by Sultan Mehmed II, on 29 May 1453, [11] whereafter it replaced Edirne (Adrianople) as the new capital of the Ottoman Empire. [12]


Golden Gate, Yedikule Fortress and Theodosian Walls, Istanbul

My visit to the Golden Gate (part of the Theodosian Walls), Yedikule Fortress in Istanbul and half of the length of the whole land walls. The Yedikule fortress site, that gave access to visit the Golden Gate as well, is closed down since 2014 for no apparent reasons. The Golden Gate is the most important and well preserved gate of the walls and the walls as a whole are Unesco World Heritage Site. The main purpose of this post is to publicize, discuss and acquire information about the state of conservation of this site. Simply put most of the walls and towers I toured are crumbling and falling to pieces as evident from my images. There are no tourist or maintained tourist path available to tour the walls neither on the top nor on the side. The walls area is used to cultivate vegetable, even in greenhouses lodged between the walls, as a semi stable homeless refuge and other economic activities (once again see pictures). The main site to visit, relative to the walls, Yedikule Fortress, is shut down since 2014 and no reason was given, nor any date to reopen is given. I couldn't find any further information.

My visit was done in early January 2016. I had already visited Yedikule and Golden Gate back in 2012 when it was still operating.


Theodosian Walls

For over a millennium they protected the citizens of Constantinople from invaders. Today, they are becoming irreparable, yet they remain one of the most notable and worthwhile monuments of Istanbul, designated as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1985.

The Land Walls were erected under the rule of the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II. The construction was finished in 413 A.D. The wall lost its defensive role in the 14th century as the city spread out behind it, which led to the worsening of their condition. Some sections of the walls are well preserved or have been restored, while at other sections only a foundation can still be seen.

The total length of the wall is around 6 kilometers, beginning at the Golden Horn next to Ayvansaray and leading out to the Marmara Sea south of the Yedikule Fortress. The best place to begin sightseeing along the wall is at the area of Edirnekapı which is the highest peak of the city, rising 77 meters above sea level. From there, one can climb the enormous 20 meter high restored tower. It’s not easy, seeing as there are steep stairs along the way, but at the end if the reward of a breathtaking panorama of Istanbul and the Golden Horn bay.

Edirnekapı is the Turkish name for “Edirne Gate.” It served as the most important gate during the Ottoman period. This is where the road connecting Edirne and Istanbul ran through. It was used by sultans for triumphal entries to the city, including one of the most important sultans, Mehmed II The Conqueror, in 1453. This gate has since been restored and can be viewed from the tower.

Even though the wall isn’t used for military purposes anymore, it still divides the city. On one side there is the district of Fatih, with narrow, but mostly quiet streets and some old and ruined homes. On the other side there lay vast open spaces filled with parks and cemeteries. If it wasn’t for Beylerbeyi Street, this area would be very peaceful and perfect for relaxing.

Only in the next interesting section, in the area of Topkapı, the streets goes underground and we can spend a nice time in the shadow of an ancient wall. Topkapı in Turkish means “cannon gate.” This is where the canon known as “Basilica” fired from during the siege of 1453. The cannonballs weigh around 550 kilograms. This is the same place were on May 29, 1453 the last emperor of the Byzantine Empire, Constantine XI, was killed. A panoramic image of the siege can be seen at the History Museum in the area. Unfortunately, the gate itself was nor preserved.

South of here, there is a section of the wall between Silivrikapı and Belgradkapı which is fully restored. Here is where one can see how the wall appeared originally with a 12 meter high inner wall and a nine meter high outer wall with a dried out moat that is now used as a vegetable garden. This section of the wall is in such good condition that viewers may walk a distance on top of the wall and imagine how it felt to be a Byzantine defender of Constantinople. This is where one can fully understand how monumental the Theodosian Walls were during their glory years. However, a glance at all the other sections reminds us of what it was so long ago.


Theodosian Walls of Constantinople

The Walls of Constantinople are a series of stone walls that have surrounded and protected the city of Constantinople (today Istanbul in Turkey) since its founding as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire by Constantine the Great. With numerous additions and modifications during their history, they were the last great fortification system of antiquity, and one of the most complex and elaborate systems ever built.

Initially built by Constantine the Great, the walls surrounded the new city on all sides, protecting it against attack from both sea and land. As the city grew, the famous double line of the Theodosian Walls was built in the 5th century. Although the other sections of the walls were less elaborate, when well manned, they were almost impregnable for any medieval besieger, saving the city, and the Byzantine Empire with it, during sieges from the Avars, Arabs, Rus', and Bulgars, among others (see Sieges of Constantinople). The advent of gunpowder siege cannons rendered the fortifications less impregnable, although the end of the final siege, leading to the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans on May 29th 1453, seems to have come about because some Ottoman troops gained entrance through a gateway, rather than because the walls had been broken down.

The walls were largely maintained intact during most of the Ottoman period, until sections began to be dismantled in the 19th century, as the city outgrew its medieval boundaries. Despite the subsequent lack of maintenance, many parts of the walls survived and are still standing today. A large-scale restoration programme has been under way since the 1980s, which allows the visitor to appreciate their original appearance.


Theodosian Walls

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LemonMonk

Creating Checksum.

The walls are historically accurate. They should remain in game. If every single holding had a unique feature [since irl they would.. but be doubtlessly so hard to research] I'm sure people would not object. Why do people care about one holding?

Every game has something(s) that are OP. Football Manager has Barcelona, Spore has the Grox. CK2 has these walls, Aztecs, Famitids, HRE etc..

Lt. General

With Republics playable, I'd like to see these added to Galata also. The Emperor's personal background and philosophy shouldn't make the capital more vulnerable by physically moving part of the city outside the Theodosian walls.

Edit: learned today from deadliest blogger that Galata is actually the suburb on the far side of the Golden Horn, so yeah, outside the Walls. Presumably at least one of the other 3 cities represents a commercial harbor district inside the Walls, so my larger point still stands that a Republic should be able to have them in its capital holding.

What franchise besides CK could make a player nostalgic for consanguinity inheiritance law?

Furthermore, Harmony Gold must be destroyed.

Toniagree

Major

Rashtrakut

Major

Gunnarr

Field Marshal

Oriflamme

Colonel

Chalkface

Second Lieutenant

To clarify what Oriflamme said: The Theodosian walls are the walls that face the land to the west of the city, where most invaders have to approach from due to their focus on land forces. They are a series of increasingly high walls, with a wide courtyard between them and a moat ahead, meaning that multiple layers of garrison could attack at any one time and that the walls had to be breached twice before the invaders could get inside. The walls were so effective that technically they never fell to enemy invasion.

The two times the city has fallen to invasion, the 4th Crusade and the invasion of Mehmet II, the invaders found ways to circumvent the Theodosians. The first fall involved the actual crusade army, though in initial attacks trying to blast through the main walls, actually ending up breaking in through a single weakness that the Ottomans later exploited - Blachernae. The Venetians used elaborate and on site constructed seige equipment - towers on their ships with huge gangplanks - to take towers along the Golden Horn sea walls and thus open the harbour gates (This took several attempts and a riot to finally succeed). The weakness at Blachernae was that they actually weren't part of the Theodosian wall system, but much later, 11th Century walls, probably a cheap fix for a hole in the original design. Unfortunately, both the Crusaders and the later Ottomans discovered this weakness and broke though those walls in their final assaults. Of course, in the latter situation I'm sure the Theodosian Walls WOULD have been broken eventually, but in neither times the city was conquered by foreign invader did that invader successfully cross them.


That is why the Theodosian Walls are a big deal. They were incredibly OP.

Ithvan

Running Before the Wind

To clarify what Oriflamme said: The Theodosian walls are the walls that face the land to the west of the city, where most invaders have to approach from due to their focus on land forces. They are a series of increasingly high walls, with a wide courtyard between them and a moat ahead, meaning that multiple layers of garrison could attack at any one time and that the walls had to be breached twice before the invaders could get inside. The walls were so effective that technically they never fell to enemy invasion.

The two times the city has fallen to invasion, the 4th Crusade and the invasion of Mehmet II, the invaders found ways to circumvent the Theodosians. The first fall involved the actual crusade army, though in initial attacks trying to blast through the main walls, actually ending up breaking in through a single weakness that the Ottomans later exploited - Blachernae. The Venetians used elaborate and on site constructed seige equipment - towers on their ships with huge gangplanks - to take towers along the Golden Horn sea walls and thus open the harbour gates (This took several attempts and a riot to finally succeed). The weakness at Blachernae was that they actually weren't part of the Theodosian wall system, but much later, 11th Century walls, probably a cheap fix for a hole in the original design. Unfortunately, both the Crusaders and the later Ottomans discovered this weakness and broke though those walls in their final assaults. Of course, in the latter situation I'm sure the Theodosian Walls WOULD have been broken eventually, but in neither times the city was conquered by foreign invader did that invader successfully cross them.


That is why the Theodosian Walls are a big deal. They were incredibly OP.

One point of critique: you forgot to mention FRIGGIN' CANNONS, MAN!

EmperorG

Exarch et Katepan

Imperia Surgere et Cadere, Ego non Facio

SRM = "Yeah. Seducer/Seductress is just getting people in bed. Hedonist is reclining on a bed made of slave girls painted with gold dust while eating chocolate covered grapes off of your concubines' chests and watching your least favorite sister get tag-teamed by farm animals. Seduction focus is nothing in comparison"


Ancient Theodosian Walls of Istanbul

The Walls of Constantinople are a series of stone walls that have surrounded and protected the city of Constantinople (today Istanbul in Turkey) since its founding as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire by Constantine the Great. With numerous additions and modifications during their history, they were the last great fortification system of Antiquity, and one of the most complex and elaborate systems ever built.

Initially built by Constantine the Great, the walls surrounded the new city on all sides, protecting it against attack from both sea and land. As the city grew, the famous double line of the Theodosian Walls was built in the 5th century. Although the other sections of the walls were less elaborate, when well manned, they were almost impregnable for any medieval besieger, saving the city, and the Byzantine Empire with it, during sieges from the Avars, Arabs, Rus', and Bulgars, among others (see Sieges of Constantinople). Only the advent of gunpowder siege cannons rendered the fortifications obsolete, resulting in the final siege and fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans on May 29th 1453.

The walls were largely maintained intact during most of the Ottoman period, until sections began to be dismantled in the 19th century, as the city outgrew its medieval boundaries. Despite the subsequent lack of maintenance, many parts of the walls survived and are still standing today. A large-scale restoration programme has been under way in the past twenty years, which allows the visitor to appreciate their original appearance


Is it true that Constantinople fell because a guard forgot to lock the wall’s gate.

I would say that is false in the literal wording, but metaphorically true.

The issue surrounding the 1204 Crusade revolved around the Venetians exploiting the volatile internal politics of the medieval Roman Empire. Namely, a contestant for the throne invited the crusaders to take the city in his name in exchange for him becoming Emperor. Venice also was in competition with the Empire and wanted to get advantageous trading privileges as well. Ones they weren’t getting in the current administration under the current Emperor.

However, the sack of Constantinople happened much differently than intended. The claimant didn’t ascend to the throne and the Venetians decided to control it outright instead of having a potential puppet head turn against them for his own interests.

The internal politics left the wall’s door wide open for exploitation by foreign forces.

Similar circumstances plagued 1453, where the local Orthodox adherents opposed any alliance with Rome, probably due to the events that transpired earlier alongside simple pride. It’s not just a hollow maxim that pride happens before a fall.

I’ll have to update this with names, but this is all sound and backed by my sources , which are:

Byzantium and the Crusades

Byzantium: Interesting Life of a Medieval Empire - Judith Herrin.


ON THE LAND SIDE, NEAR TOP KAPOUSI.

The walls of Constantinople, notwithstanding the shocks of earthquakes, the numerous assaults of besiegers, the decay of time, and the dilapidations of neglect, are at this day surprisingly perfect and though fifteen centuries have passed since their first erection, they include the same space, and stand at the same elevation. The great wall, forming as it were the base of the triangular area on which the city is built, and running from sea to sea, is nearly five miles in extent: a broad high road passes parallel to and just under it, so that a traveller can view without interruption the whole line, from the Golden Horn to the Propontis, and contemplate, during a delightful walk, the most interesting remains perhaps existing in the world. In some places the rising ground so elevates him, that he sees a considerable part of the interior of the city over the walls, and he looks down upon places, hallowed by various recollections, which the narrowness and obscurity of the streets prevent his viewing from within.

This wall, originally erected by Constantine the Great, was enlarged by Theodosius, and is therefore called after his name. It suffered various shocks by violence of different kinds-of nature, time, and the hand of man-and was finally repaired by Leo and Theophilus. From the district called Blacherne, where it meets the harbor, it rises to an immense height, and towers to a surprising elevation above the head of the passenger. The uniformity is broken, however, by the remains of edifices on the summit of the wall, and the rich drapery of ivy and various trailing plants, which cover it. Here the wall, secured by its magnitude, is single, and presents but one defense. But at the gate called Egri Kapousi, or the crooked gate, where it forms an angle, the elevation is less, and the defense increased by a triple wall of three parallel fortifications, which extend to the Seven Towers and the sea.

The walls are eighteen feet asunder, crowned with battlements, and defended by fifty-nine towers, of various forms and sizes. Inserted in different places are tablets of stone or iron, containing inscriptions which commemorate events, or persons who repaired the walls but most of them are now entirely effaced, particularly those on iron, by the rust and corrosion of the metal. The masonry in some parts consists of huge blocks of granite, resembling those early structures in Greece called Cyclopean, from the fancy of mythologists, that they had been erected by gigantic architects. In others, they are composed of alternate courses of broad flat bricks, resembling our tiles, and stones twice the thickness. Arcades and arches, both in the walls and towers, are formed, in a curious manner, of similar materials. The wall is entered by seven gates, called by the names of the towns to which they lead, or some circumstance connected with them. Of the latter, is the gate of Top Kapousi.

The Triple Wall of Constantinople.

This gate, called also Porta Sancti Romani, as leading to the Greek church of St. Romanus, was that rendered memorable by the final attack of the Turks. Before it stands the Mal Tepé, one of those artificial mounds, supposed to be sepulchral tumuli, which are spread for many hundred miles over these regions, both in Europe and Asia. The summit commands an extensive view of the interior of the city, and here Mahomed II. erected the Sanjak-sheriff, or great standard of the Prophet, and directed the operations of the siege. Beside the gate are seen, yet unrepaired, the breaches made in the walls by that enormous artillery which he caused to be cast for the purpose, and on the summit of the gate are placed some of the huge granite balls discharged from them, in memory of the event and hence the gate is now called Top Kapousi, or “Port of the Cannon.”

When the cross was sinking under the crescent, and the great capital of the Christian world was just falling into the hands of the followers of Mahomet, Constantine retired to the church of Sancta Sophia, and, after receiving, with his few faithful adherents, the solemn eucharist, proceeded to make his last effort in the breach. He was killed in the attack, and the Turks poured into the devoted city over his body. There is no tomb, or coin, or other artificial memorial, to preserve the name of this good and gallant man but nature has herself supplied the neglect. There grows out of the breach some picturesque and venerable trees, on the spot where tradition says he fell and travelers gather the red berries in their season, to sow and propagate at home these testimonials of the last and best of the Paleeologi,


Gate of Rhesios, Istanbul

The best-preserved and one of the most intriguing gates of the Theodosian Walls, substantially retaining its original, 5th-century appearance, is the Gate of Rhesios named according to the 10th-century Suda lexicon after an ancient general of Greek Byzantium. In early modern texts it also referred to as the Gate of Rhegion (allegedly after the suburb of Rhegion, today's Küçükçekmece), or as the Gate of Rhousios, after the hippodrome faction of the Reds which was supposed to have taken part in its repair.

The gate stands out for the exceptionally large number of inscriptions preserved on its tower (at least six have been recorded), of which the most frequently cited is: "The Fortune of Constantine, Our God-Protected Despot, Triumphs. "

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Istanbul . Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.


Watch the video: Walls of Xian and Constantinople