Wednesday, August 11, 2021

One City, Four Names: Byzantium, Constantinople, Konstantiniyye, Istanbul

Some cities have a longer lifespan than civilizations. Consider the city of Byzantium, which was founded in 667 BC by Greeks from Megara. 

Byzantium was sacked by the Persians in 626 BC. In 478 BC, the Greeks from Sparta rebuilt Byzantium. Between 324 AD and 330 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great conducted a large-scale reconstruction in Byzantium. He renamed the city Constantinople. In 1453, the Ottomans captured the city and radically transformed its culture from Orthodox Greek to Islamic. They renamed it Konstantiniyye. In 1930, the rulers of the Turkish Republic renamed the city Istanbul.

In its history of over 2600 years, the city of Byzantium was ruled by the Pagan Greeks, Zoroastrian Persians, Pagan Romans, Orthodox Christians, and Islamic Turks, and it was renamed thrice.

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