Byzantium 1200 AD
July 21, 2012 4:16 PM   Subscribe

Byzantium1200 is a project to create a 3d digital map of Constantinople and its famous monuments. The Hippodrome and Agia Sophia have been modeled as they would have appeared at their height. You can even watch a video of a Hippodrome race or see the results in book form.
posted by deanc (15 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
What was the driver of the white team thinking? That's no way to win a chariot race!

Also: cool project
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:45 PM on July 21, 2012


Isn't that Istanbul, not Constantinople?
posted by piearray at 4:45 PM on July 21, 2012


Isn't that Istanbul, not Constantinople?

This again? Take it up with the Turks, Mac, it's their business.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:50 PM on July 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Isn't that Istanbul, not Constantinople?

Definitely not in 1200! Istanbul came into use in 1453 and wasn't set by law to be the exclusive name until 1930.
posted by deanc at 4:51 PM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is fun if you take it as equivalent to the maps of Arkham. We know far too little about the medieval and earlier cityscape of Constantinople for it to have any historical value, even if it weren't explicitly a fantasy:

Due to revolts, iconoclasm, great fires, very strong earthquakes, lack of funds to maintain the monuments, reuse of materials, plagues, centuries of time and the most devastating of all: the 4th crusade, Byzantium never looked as good as in many of these reconstructions. Even in 1200 most of the Great Palace was in ruins and was not used anymore. When turks arrived in 1453 the city was a large village with ruins scattered around and in a very sorry state. Reconstructions on this website will try to show the monuments as they were built or modified until 1200 and as if they were maintained properly (which was never the case).

(Emphasis added.)
posted by languagehat at 5:11 PM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I saw some noise about this when it first started. Very cool to see it has come this far. I have a lot of interest in Roman history, and especially of the Byzantine era. The Byzantine era got passed over as not very sexy, and yet it lasted much longer than what's considered the classic Roman era. Early scholars poo-pooed the whole idea of the Byzantine era. Their coinage was cruder. Not as much physical left over of their art and writing. And yet there it is lasting all that time.
posted by Eekacat at 5:30 PM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


as they would have appeared at their height

That's the problem with these models, same with Rome, the models look beautiful, but the cities were in constant states of construction and looked discombobulated.
posted by stbalbach at 5:38 PM on July 21, 2012


As the sages say "no computer model survives contact with history."
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:43 PM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


While I agree that this looks nothing like the real Constantinople, of any era, I do sort of enjoy that someone has gone and made a digital version of the Dream Byzantium, the splendid city of legend that inspired writers as different as W. B. Yeats, Robert Silverberg and Walter Scott.
posted by Kattullus at 5:52 PM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The 12 Byzantine Rulers: The History of The Byzantine Empire podcast by Lars Brownworth is well worth a listen.
posted by NailsTheCat at 12:48 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a History of Byzantium podcast that's just started. It's a bit rough around the edges, but I have high hopes for it. Every episode has been better than the last. I'm waiting a bit before making a post of it.
posted by Kattullus at 2:26 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


.... the splendid city of legend that inspired writers....

And at least one French miniaturist and a Romanian frescoist. So it's not like this is anything new. Grains of salt notwithstanding, I'd rather they were doing it than not.

(Now to make time for a podcast....)
posted by BWA at 4:34 PM on July 22, 2012


While I agree that this looks nothing like the real Constantinople, of any era, I do sort of enjoy that someone has gone and made a digital version of the Dream Byzantium, the splendid city of legend that inspired writers as different as W. B. Yeats, Robert Silverberg and Walter Scott.

And let's not forget Guy Gavriel Kay, either.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 4:37 PM on July 22, 2012


Yeah, in Western Europe Constantinople was a legendary city even while the Byzantine Empire still existed, for example in the medieval romance Partonopeus de Blois.
posted by Kattullus at 6:51 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Destroying Istanbul
posted by homunculus at 7:23 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


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