[60] The debate has been carried over to a Latin inscription in metal letters, now lost, which stood above the doors and commemorated their gilding in celebration of the defeat of an unnamed usurper:[61]. [91] It has no Turkish name, and is of middle or late Byzantine construction. [116] It is known from the Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae that the XIV region, which comprised Blachernae, stood apart and was enclosed all around by a wall of its own. In addition, a number of them have proper names, and the established sequence of numbering them, based on their perceived correspondence with the names of certain city quarters lying between the Constantinian and Theodosian walls which have numerical origins, has been shown to be erroneous: for instance, the Deuteron, the "Second" quarter, was not located in the southwest behind the Gate of the Deuteron or "Second Military Gate" as would be expected, but in the northwestern part of the city.[52]. [184] Close by and to its north stood the great Tower of Mangana, which was intended to hold the one end of the chain, planned (but probably never actually installed) by Manuel I Komnenos to close off the Bosphorus, the other end being at a tower erected on the island of the modern Maiden's Tower (Kız Kulesi) off Chrysopolis (modern Üsküdar), known as Damalis (Δάμαλις) or Arkla (Ἄρκλα) in Byzantine times. The responsibility for these repairs rested on an official variously known as the Domestic of the Walls or the Count of the Walls (Δομέστικος/Κόμης τῶν τειχέων, Domestikos/Komēs tōn teicheōn), who employed the services of the city's populace in this task. [27], The double Theodosian Walls (Greek: τεῖχος Θεοδοσιακόν, teichos Theodosiakon), located about 2 km to the west of the old Constantinian Wall, were erected during the reign of Emperor Theodosius II (r. 408–450), after whom they were named. [172] This gate is also identified with the Gate of the Jews (Ἑβραϊκὴ Πόρτα, Hebraïkē Porta), Porta Hebraica in Latin sources, although the same name was apparently applied over time to other gates as well. Undoubtedly, Constantinople’s finest hour came when it turned back a series of determined Arab attacks during the initial period of Islamic expansion. Following the walls from south to north, the Golden Gate (Greek: Χρυσεία Πύλη, Chryseia Pylē; Latin: Porta Aurea; Turkish: Altınkapı or Yaldızlıkapı), is the first gate to be encountered. The city had about 20 km of walls (land walls: 5.5 km; sea walls along the Golden Horn: 7 km; sea walls along the Sea of Marmara: 7.5 km), one of the strongest sets of fortified walls in existence. Its Byzantine name is unknown, but is prominent on account of its proximity to the famed Monastery of Stoudios. [5] However, appreciating the city's strategic importance, Severus eventually rebuilt it and endowed it with many monuments, including a Hippodrome and the Baths of Zeuxippus, as well as a new set of walls, located some 300–400 m to the west of the old ones. Constantinople had withstood many sieges and attacks over the centuries, notably by the Arabs between 674 and 678 CE and again between 717 and 718 CE. Despite future changes and restorations, these walls would essentially protect the city until the end of the empire. Awe inspiring even in decay, they are a testament to the glory of Greco-Roman military art. As its names testifies, it led to the leading to the Neorion, the main harbour of ancient Byzantium and the oldest naval arsenal of the city. HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. In exchange for overthrowing the usurper, Alexius promised 200,000 marks, generous trade concessions and troops for the coming campaign. The Walls of Constantinople were 12 kilometers long at the time and 12 meters high. After suffering extensive damage in the 1509 earthquake, it was repaired, and was used continuously until the late 19th century. To those two fortified points were adjoined the Sea Walls, similar in construction to the Outer Wall, of which little remains today. These were double walls, but in the 5th century, and were considered to be completely impassable by anyone. [45] According to conventional wisdom, it is here that Constantine XI Palaiologos, the last Byzantine emperor, was killed on 29 May 1453. The strongest construction faced west, against an approach by land. The Ottoman Turks, who emerged in the late 14th century as the next great challenge to Byzantium, were in the forefront of this early technology. [109] In 1864, the remains of a postern located on the Outer Wall at the end of the Theodosian Walls, between tower 96 and the so-called Palace of the Porphyrogenitus, were discovered and identified with the Kerkoporta by the Greek scholar A.G. Paspates. It is pertinent today, as historians look upon the tragic history of the Balkans, to recognize the consequences for the West and the implications for the world had it not been for Constantinople’s role as the citadel at the gate of Europe, which for critical centuries held the East at bay through the long night of the Dark Ages. The massive Turkish army of 200,000 men arrived outside the walls of Constantinople on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1453. The empire was at the end of its resources, its defenses left primarily to Italian mercenaries. [176] In the early Ottoman period, it was known in Turkish as the Çıfıtkapı ("Hebrew Gate"), but its modern name is Bahçekapı ("Garden Gate"). The outer wall and the moat terminate even earlier, at the height of the Gate of Adrianople. There, along a four-mile stretch of rolling land, stand the legendary Theodosian Walls, their depths blending together, the merlons overlapping like teeth in the mouth of an Olympian shark. [44] They featured a room with windows on the level of the peribolos, crowned by a battlemented terrace, while their lower portions were either solid or featured small posterns, which allowed access to the outer terrace. The moat itself was over 20 m wide and as much as 10 m deep, featuring a 1.5 m tall crenellated wall on the inner side, serving as a first line of defence. I thought I'd share this with you, so that we might explore the history. The Christian ships were now bottled up in the Horn between two arms of the Moslem fleet. [37], The inner wall is a solid structure, 4.5–6 m thick and 12 m high. [93] From Byzantine texts it appears that the correct form is Gate of Rhesios (Πόρτα Ῥησίου), named according to the 10th-century Suda lexicon after an ancient general of Greek Byzantium. A large breach was opened in the walls in the Lycus Valley and the Turks pressed the attack. The text mentions that a fore-wall (proteichisma) ran near the Philadephion, located at about the middle of the later, Constantinian city, suggesting the expansion of the city beyond the Severan Wall by this time. Persians, Avars, Sacracens, Bulgarians, Russians and others tried to take the citadel in their turn. In Turkish it is known as Çatladıkapı ("Broken Gate"). HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. To compensate for the rolling terrain, the moat was sectioned by a number of dams, which enabled it to retain an even distribution of water along its length. τεῖχος Ἀναστασιακόν, teichos Anastasiakon) or Long Wall (μακρὸν τεῖχος, makron teichos, or μεγάλη Σοῦδα, megalē Souda), built in the mid-5th century as an outer defence to Constantinople, some 65 km westwards of the city. The belts were constructed at a tiered elevation, starting at 30 feet for the Inner Wall and descending to the moat. The entire city was enclosed in a defensive circuit of 14 miles of walls, reinforced by more than 400 towers and bastions, and several strong points and fortresses. [19] Its construction is often attributed to Constantine, but is in fact of uncertain age. That night, the usurper Alexius III, fled and the next day Isaac was crowned with his son as co-emperor Alexius IV. With 80,000 soldiers-including 15,000 of the Sultan’s elite Janissary corps-Serbian miners, various siege engines, and a fleet of some 300 to 400 ships, it was a formidable force, though hardly anything the city had not seen many times before. The impact of Constantinople’s successful defense at that time cannot be overstated. [153] In 1351, when the empire was at war with the Genoese, John VI Kantakouzenos again repaired the walls, and even opened a moat in front of the wall facing the Golden Horn. 2. The ruins that still enclose what is now the Turkish capital of Istanbul are the remnants of centuries of evolution. The ancient Lycus River ran diagonally northwest to southeast across the peninsula, forming a narrow valley that sectioned the city into two distinct areas-a chain of six hills running along the Golden Horn to the north, and a single, larger hill to the south. 337–361). Earlier scholars favored the former, but the current majority view tends to the latter, meaning that the gate was constructed as an integral part of the Theodosian Walls. [208] Today only the Galata Tower, visible from most of historical Constantinople, remains intact, along with several smaller fragments. Superior military organization, the leadership of Leo III (the Isaurian) and the timely intervention of one of history’s most decisive weapons, a medieval form of napalm dubbed ‘Greek fire,’ enabled the Byzantines to weather the storm. Although the original city of Byzantium certainly had sea walls, traces of which survive,[139] the exact date for the construction of the medieval walls is a matter of debate. A.M. Schneider also identifies it with the Gate of Myriandr[i]on or Polyandrion ("Place of Many Men"), possibly a reference to its proximity to a cemetery. 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