Column of Flavius Marcianus Augustus
The Column of Marcian is a Roman honorific column erected in Constantinople by the praefectus urbi Tatianus (450-c.452) and dedicated to the Emperor Marcian (450-57). It is located in the present-day Fatih district of Istanbul. The column is not documented in any late Roman or Byzantine source and its history has to be inferred from its location, style and dedicatory inscription.
The column is carved from red-grey Egyptian granite, in two sections. The quadrilateral basis is encased by four slabs of white marble. Three faces are decorated with IX monograms within medallions, and the fourth with two genii supporting a globe.
The column is topped by a Corinthian capital, decorated with aquilae. The inscription confirms that the capital was originally surmounted by a statue of Marcian, in continuation of an imperial architectural tradition initiated by the Column of Trajan and the Column of Marcus Aurelius in Rome. The basis of the column is orientated northwest/southeast, while its capital is aligned north/south, possibly so that the statue could look towards the nearby Church of the Holy Apostles.
A dedicatory inscription is engraved on the northern side of the basis. Its lettering was originally filled with bronze, which has since been removed. The inscription reads:
[pr]incipis hanc statuam Marciani | cerne torumque |(Behold this statue of the princeps Marcian and its base,
[prae]fectus vovit quod Tatianus | opus
a work dedicated by the prefect Tatianus.)
Computer Recreation of the Statue on the Column.
This image and those below used under FAIR USE from Byzantium1200.
Review for comment, criticism and scholarship as allowed under FAIR USE section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.
The website Byzantium 1200 published an article about the Column of Marcianus. The Column still exists today making that job much easier. But the artists decided to recreate the long lost statue of the Emperor.
Based on the time Emperor Marcianos (450-457) ruled I suspect the dress is dead on being more Roman than Byzantine. What the Emperor actually looked like is anyone's guess.
The Column is never mentioned by Byzantine sources. The recreation is a job well done.
|One of the faded IX monograms inside a wreath at the base of the column.
|Solidus of Emperor Flavius Marcianus Augustus
Emperor Marcian was born in 392 in Illyricum or Thracia. The son of a soldier, he spent his early life as an obscure soldier, member of a military unit located at Philippopolis.
Marcian was dispatched with his unit for a war against the Sassanids (probably the Roman-Sassanid war of 421–422), but along the road East he fell ill in Lycia; at this time he might have already been tribunus and commander of his unit.
After recovering from his illness, he went to Constantinople, where he served for fifteen years as domesticus under the generals Ardaburius and Aspar. In 431/434, while fighting in Africa under Aspar, Marcian was taken prisoner by the Vandals; according to a later legend, he was brought before King Geiseric (428–477), who knew by an omen that Marcian was to be Emperor and was released on his oath never to take up arms against the Vandals.
He became a captain of the guards, and was later raised to the rank of Senator. On the death of Theodosius II (450) he was chosen as consort by the latter's sister and successor, Pulcheria.
Marcian reformed the Empire's finances, checked extravagance, and repopulated devastated districts. He repelled attacks upon Syria and Egypt in 452, and quelled disturbances on the Armenian frontier in 456. The other notable event of his reign is the Council of Chalcedon in 451, in which Marcian endeavored to mediate between the rival schools of theology.
Marcian generally ignored the affairs of the Western Roman Empire, leaving that tottering half of the empire to its fate. He did nothing to aid the west during Attila's campaigns, and ignored the depredations of Geiseric even when the Vandals sacked Rome in 455.
Marcia Euphemia was the only known daughter of Marcian, and she was married to Anthemius, later Western Roman Emperor. The identity of her mother is unknown.
Pulcheria was his second wife. Pulcheria had taken a religious vow of chastity. The second marriage was a mere political alliance, establishing Marcian as a member of the Theodosian dynasty by marriage. The marriage of Marcian to Pulcheria was never consummated, and consequently Euphemia never had younger half-siblings..
Marcian died on 27 January 457 of a disease, possibly gangrene, contracted during a long religious journey.
(Column of Marcian) (Marcian)