Dedicated to the military history and civilization of the Eastern Roman Empire (330 to 1453)

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- - - - Princess Anna Comnena (1083–1153) - Byzantine historian

Monday, March 3, 2014

Column of Flavius Arcadius Augustus

Assassins Creed - Forum of Arcadius

The column of Arcadius was a Roman triumphal column begun in 401 in the forum of Arcadius in Constantinople to commemorate Arcadius's triumph over the Goths under Gainas in 400. Arcadius died in 408, but the decoration of the column was only completed in 421, so the monument was dedicated to his successor Theodosius II.

During his reign, an old marketplace, known as the Forum of the Cow, was redecorated and renamed Forum of Arcadius.

Because on the Forum of Constantine and the Forum of Theodosius the emperors were commemorated with honorific columns, Arcadius also received such a monument, about fifty meters tall, and there was statue stood on top of it. It fell off during an earthquake in 704.

If we can believe a sixteenth-century drawing, the shaft was decorated with spiral bands of sculpture, representing scenes from a war. This frieze wound itself around the column fourteen times. Inside was a spiral staircase, which enabled people to climb to the top. (The war scenes must have been fairly stereotypical, because the emperor never went
to the front.)

On the pedestal, one could see Arcadius and his brother Honorius, united and triumphing over the barbarians; above them, two angels carry the sign of the cross, suggesting that the two rulers had received their power from God.

The Column of Arcadius was intentionally destroyed in 1715, because, after an earthquake, it had become unstable and it was likely to collapse. The ivy-clad, sad remains of this momument -that is: the inner core of the pedestal- can be found near the corner of the Cerra Pașa Caddesi and Haseki
Kadın Sokagi.

The detail of the shaft's decoration is conserved in a series of drawings made in 1575.

Forum of Arcadius

The Forum of Arcadius was built by the Emperor Arcadius in the city of Constantinople.

Built in 403, it was built in the Xerolophos area and was the last forum before reaching the Constantinian city walls and the Golden Gate in a line of forums, including the Forum of Theodosius, the Forum of Constantine, the Forum Bovis, and the Forum Amastrianum, built westward from the city center along the Mese.

The forum was later converted to a bazaar by the Ottomans, referred to as the Avrat Pazarı or "Women's Bazaar", which was mistaken with the Slave Market at Tavukpazari near Nur-u Osmaniye used for the auctioning of female slaves.

Emperor Arcadius

Arcadius (Flavius Arcadius Augustus; 377/378 – 1 May 408) was Eastern Roman Emperor from 395 until his death in 408. He was the eldest son of Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the Western Emperor Honorius. A weak ruler, his reign was dominated by a series of powerful ministers and by his wife, Aelia Eudoxia.

Arcadius was born in Hispania, the elder son of Theodosius I and Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of Honorius, who would become a Western Roman Emperor. His father declared him an Augustus and co-ruler for the Eastern half of the Empire in January, 383. His younger brother was also declared Augustus in 393, for the Western half.

Arcadius issued an edict of religious persecution by ordering that all remaining non-Christian temples should be immediately demolished.

Arcadius was dominated for part of his rule by Anthemius, the Praetorian Prefect. Arcadius himself was more concerned with appearing to be a pious Christian than he was with political or military matters, and he died, only nominally in control of his Empire, in 408.

In this reign of a weak Emperor dominated by court politics, a major theme was the ambivalence felt by prominent individuals and the court parties that formed and regrouped round them towards barbarians, which in Constantinople at this period meant Goths. In the well-documented episode that revolved around Gainas, a number of Gothic foederati stationed in the capital were massacred, the survivors fleeing under the command of Gainas to Thrace, where they were tracked down by imperial troops and slaughtered and Gainas dispatched.

The column was built to honor the victory over the Goths.

Idealizing bust of Arcadius in the Theodosian style combines
elements of classicism with the new hieratic style.
(Istanbul Archaeology Museum)

Base of the column

Column of Flavius Arcadius Augustus
Venetians, Turks and others would have met in markets like this one in the Jerrahpasha district of Constantinople, across the Golden Horn from the Venetians’ trading centers. The spiral column shown in this illustration from a 16th-century Ottoman manuscript was erected in about 405 by the Eastern Roman Emperor Arcadius.

(Emperor Arcadius)      (Column of Arcadius)      (Livius.org)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fine column . Maybe as big as the Trajan one , on dalmacian campaign ...
Really a shame that nothing is spare from that earthquake in the XVIII century .
As a weak ruler neverdeless he stpo the goths , that then go on the western part of the empire ...