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how long were the walls of constantinople

The largest was 9 metres long with a gaping mouth one metre across. A few managed to escape aboard the Christian ships; most of the rest, including 90 percent of the populace, were sold into slavery. [71] Its military value was recognized by John VI Kantakouzenos (r. 1347–1354), who records that it was virtually impregnable, capable of holding provisions for three years and defying the whole city if need be. [80] Its name derives from the fact that it led to a wooden circus (amphitheatre) outside the walls. The walls protected the city from various sieges, however, a series of cannon shots finally passed through the walls in 1453, which handed Constantinople over to the Ottomans. HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. 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. Awe inspiring even in decay, they are a testament to the glory of Greco-Roman military art. A knight, grasping for balance moving down a narrow platform high above a ship rolling at anchor, then lifting himself over the parapet, all while evading the arrows, cuts and thrusts of the defenders, was at the mercy of his circumstances. The Christian ships were now bottled up in the Horn between two arms of the Moslem fleet. [14] It appears that large parts survived relatively intact until the 9th century: the 11th-century historian Kedrenos records that the "wall at Exokionion", likely a portion of the Constantinian wall, collapsed in an earthquake in 867. Despite the historic value, Turkey has made little efforts to … "[201], Several fortifications were built at various periods in the vicinity of Constantinople, forming part of its defensive system. Its identity is unclear, as is the question whether the gate, conspicuously named in honour of the patron saint of Venice, was pre-existing or opened after the fall of the city to the Crusaders in 1204. [79] It eventually became a museum in 1895. Its Byzantine name derives from the high official known as the Drungary of the Watch. Only the advent of gunpowder siege cannons rendered the fortifications obsolete, resulting in the final siege and fall of Constantinople … The wall seems to have extended from near the modern Galata Bridge in the Eminönü quarter south through the vicinity of the Nuruosmaniye Mosque to curve around the southern wall of the Hippodrome, and then going northeast to meet the old walls near the Bosporus. The walls were located to the west of the first wall. Of the 200,000 Muslims who laid siege to Constantinople in 717, only 30,000 crossed back into Syria the following year. This initial construction consisted of a single curtain wall with towers, which now forms the inner circuit of the Theodosian Walls. It was named so because it looked towards the quarter of Pegae (Πηγαὶ, Pēgai, "springs") on the other shore of the Golden Horn. Benefiting from a power vacuum in the region, the Arabs made stunning advances. After suffering extensive damage in the 1509 earthquake, it was repaired, and was used continuously until the late 19th century. [157], The known gates of the Golden Horn wall may be traced in order from the Blachernae eastwards to the Seraglio Point, as follows:[144], The first gate, very near the land walls, was the Koiliomene Gate (Κοιλιωμένη (Κυλιoμένη) Πόρτα, Koiliōmēnē (Kyliomēnē) Porta, "Rolled Gate"), in Turkish Küçük Ayvansaray Kapısı. [74][75] In the event, John V was soon after forced to flee there from a coup led by his grandson, John VII. The outer wall and the moat terminate even earlier, at the height of the Gate of Adrianople. This became apparent in the 1999 earthquakes, when the restored sections collapsed while the original structure underneath remained intact. The outer wall is known as the Wall of Leo, as it was constructed by Leo V the Armenian (r. 813–820) in 813 to safeguard against the siege by the Bulgarian ruler Krum. Interestingly, the salient problems lay along the strongest point-the Land Walls. As the capital of a mighty empire, and at the crossroads of two continents, Constantinople represented to the early medieval world what Rome and Athens had meant to classical times. The results of what followed shaped the course of world history. And all begin to leap out of the ships and transports and galleys, helter-skelter, each as best he can; and they break in some three of the gates and enter in; and they draw the horses out of the transports; and the knights mount and ride straight to the quarters of the Emperor Mourtzouphlos.’. [199], In the early centuries, the imperial guard consisted of the units of the Excubitores and Scholae Palatinae, which by the late 7th century had declined to parade-ground troops. Another problem, far more perplexing, was the region of the Blachernae Palace, a neglected salient in the original Land Walls. [126], From the last tower of the Wall of Manuel Komnenos to the so-called Prison of Anemas stretches another wall, some 150 m in length, with four square towers. On the seaward side, the wall was much lower. Both the Byzantine and Sassanid Persian empires, nearly prostrate from 25 years of mutual warfare (fighting that cost the Greeks alone some 200,000 men, an enormous drain of manpower in that age) were unable to hold back the tide. The name that eventually prevailed in common usage however was Constantinople, the "City of Constantine" (Gk. Between seven and eleven bands of brick, approximately 40 cm thick, traverse the structure, not only as a form of decoration, but also strengthening the cohesion of the structure by bonding the stone façade with the mortar core, and increasing endurance to earthquakes. [184], Next was the gate known in Turkish as Değirmen Kapı ("Mill[stone] Gate"), whose Byzantine name is unknown. It was 3.30 m thick and over 5 m high, but its effectiveness was apparently limite… Many more perished of disease and cold in dire encampments before the Land Walls. A coherent urban defense had to address those considerations. 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. With many of the garrison manning the engines, towers, bastions and other points, the distribution of soldiers along the walls was undoubtedly much thinner. A large breach was opened in the walls in the Lycus Valley and the Turks pressed the attack. This spread panic, beginning the rout of the defenders and leading to the fall of the city. [136], The land walls run through the heart of modern Istanbul, with a belt of parkland flanking their course. [183] Unique among the seaward gates, it was, like the Golden Gate, flanked by two large towers of white marble, which in 1816 was used to construct the nearby Marble Kiosk of Sultan Mahmud II. The belts were constructed at a tiered elevation, starting at 30 feet for the Inner Wall and descending to the moat. By 661, the standard of the Prophet Mohammed reached from Tripoli to India. A small gate of the western end of the fort's inner wall, near the Phanarion Gate, led to the city, and was called the Gate of Diplophanarion. From there the wall turns sharply to the northeast, climbing up to the Gate of St. Romanus, located near the peak of the Seventh Hill at some 68 m above sea level. Bigdaddy1204 – CC BY-SA 3.0. [137] The threat posed by urban pollution, and the lack of a comprehensive restoration effort, prompted the World Monuments Fund to include them on its 2008 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. [148] Theophilos' extensive work, essentially rebuilding the sea walls, is testified to by the numerous inscriptions found or otherwise recorded that bear his name, more than those of any other emperor. Constantinople (Istanbul’s former Byzantine name) was once a heavily fortified city on a peninsula. That provided a more stable platform and the possibility of assaulting a tower at two points. [65] The structure was richly decorated with numerous statues, including a statue of Theodosius I on an elephant-drawn quadriga on top, echoing the Porta Triumphalis of Rome, which survived until it fell down in the 740 Constantinople earthquake. The two walls stand some 26 m apart and are pierced by a gate each, together comprising the Gate of Blachernae (πόρτα τῶν Βλαχερνῶν, porta tōn Blachernōn). It is usually identified with the Ottoman Yalıköşkü Kapısı, and was destroyed in 1871.[179][180]. The Balat Kapı has been variously identified as one of them, and as one of the three gates on the Golden Horn known as the Imperial Gate (Πύλη Βασιλικὴ, Pylē Basilikē). [163] According to Byzantine tradition, the area was named thus after Peter the Patrician, a leading minister of Justinian I (r. 527–565). 2. Constantine’s wall did not resist, while from the wall of Theodosius small portions were kept, this being built between 408 AC–413 AC. Furthermore, a large force was largely unnecessary, because of the inherent security provided by the city walls themselves. [79] By adding three larger towers to the four pre-existing ones (towers 8 to 11) on the inner Theodosian wall, he formed the Fortress of the Seven Towers (Turkish: Yedikule Hisarı or Zindanları). In 632, the Muslim armies burst forth from the desert confines of the Hejaz and into the Levant. By Mark Bonocore I've recently been reading a book by John J. Robinson called "Dungeon, Fire, and Sword --a history of the Crusades". Employing the city's "Circus factions" in the work, the walls were restored in a record 60 days, according to the Byzantine chroniclers and three inscriptions found in situ. The art of fortification has existed ever since man first came to realize the value of natural obstacles to his common defense, and evolved as he sought to invoke his own methods to fully exploit that advantage. Twice it served as the entry-point for an emperor's triumphal return: in 1126, when John II Komnenos returned from the recapture of his ancestral Kastamonu, and in 1168, when Manuel I Komnenos returned from his victorious campaign against Hungary. [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. Their banner atop the inner and outer walls, the eastern limit of the Palace... The peninsula, was singular in only one respect a reliance on natural obstacles a... Standard of the damaged first wall up of the Hejaz and into the of. Galleasses and 20 Galleys control this strategically vital waterway in preparation for their final assault on Constantinople of. Your goal is to be completely impassable by anyone little importance despite the fact that its inhabitants were relatively.... 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Which little remains today rubble, faced with carefully cut limestone blocks, while the original walls... At two points Military gates '' were also used by civilian traffic, that posed little problem towards.

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