:"This article is about the city. See also
Byzantine Empire."Byzantium (Greek: Βυζάντιον, Latin: _la. BYZANTIVM, _la. Byzantium) was an ancient Greek city, which was founded by Greek colonists from Megarain 667 BCand named after their king Byzasor Byzantas (Βύζας or Βύζαντας in Greek). The name "Byzantium" is a Latinizationof the original name Byzantion. The city is what later evolved to be the center of the Byzantine Empire(the Greek-speaking Roman Empireof late Antiquityand the Middle Ages) under the name of Constantinople. Constantinople fell to the Turkish Ottoman Empirein 1453. The name of the city was changed to Istanbulin 1930 following the establishment of modern Turkey.
The origins of Byzantium are shrouded in legend. The traditional legend has it that Byzas from Megara (a town near
Athens), founded Byzantium, when he sailed northeast across the Aegean Sea. Byzas had consulted the Oracle at Delphito ask where to make his new city. The Oracle told him to find it "opposite the blind." At the time, he did not know what this meant. But when he came upon the Bosporushe realized what it meant: on the Asiatic shore was a Greek city, Chalcedon. It was they who must have been blind because they had not seen that obviously superior land was just a half mile away on the other side of the Bosporus. Byzas founded his city here in this "superior" land and named it Byzantion after himself. It was mainly a trading city due to its strategic location at the Black Sea's only entrance. Byzantion later conquered Chalcedon, across the Bosporus.
After siding with
Pescennius Nigeragainst the victorious Septimius Severus, the city was besieged by Roman forces and suffered extensive damage in 196 AD. Byzantium was rebuilt by Septimius Severus, now emperor, and quickly regained its previous prosperity. The location of Byzantium attracted Roman Emperor Constantine I who, in 330 AD, refounded it as Nova Roma. After his death the city was called Constantinople(Greek Κωνσταντινούπολις or Konstantinoupolis) ('city of Constantine'). It remained the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, which was later called the Byzantine Empireby historians.
This combination of
imperialismand location would affect Constantinople's role as the crossing point between two continents: Europeand Asia. It was a commercial, cultural, and diplomatic magnet. With its strategic position, Constantinople could control the route between Asia and Europe, as well as the passage from the Mediterranean Seato the Black Sea.
May 29, 1453, the city fell to the Ottoman Turks, and, once again, became the capital of another powerful state, the Ottoman Empire. The Turks called the city Istanbul(though not officially renamed until 1930) and it has remained Turkey's largest (and arguably its most important) city, although Ankarais now the capital.
Byzantium first produced coins with the crescent and star symbol in the 4th century BC. According to legend, this was to honour the moon-goddess
Hecate, who the inhabitants believed had saved the city from attack by Philip II of Macedonin 340-339 BC. ["Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece" by Nigel Guy Wilson (Routledge, 2006) p.136] ["The Complete Dictionary of Symbols" by Jack Tresidder (Chronicle Books, 2005) p.127)] In 330 AD Constantine I added the Virgin Mary's star to the flag. Byzantium would then also be the first attested nation or empire to use the combination of the crescent moon and star together as an emblem.Fact|date=June 2008
The crescent moon and star was not completely abandoned by the Christian world after the fall of Constantinople. To date the official flag of the
Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalemis a labarumof white, a church building with two towers, and on either side of the arms, at the top, are the outline in black of a crescent moon facing center and a star with rays.Fact|date=June 2008
Constantinopledetails the history of the city before the Turkish conquest of 1453.
Istanbuldetails the history of the city from 1453 on, and describes the modern city.
* Harris, Jonathan, "Constantinople: Capital of Byzantium" (Hambledon/Continuum, London, 2007). ISBN 978 1847251794
*Jeffreys, Elizabeth and Michael, and Moffatt, Ann, "Byzantine Papers: Proceedings of the First Australian Byzantine Studies Conference, Canberra, 17-19 May 1978" (Australian National University, Canberra, 1979).
* [http://www.istanbulinfolink.com/the_city/istanbul/history_1.htm Istanbul Historical Information - Istanbul Informative Guide To The City] . Retrieved
January 6, 2005.
* [http://www.guideistanbul.net/tablo1a.htm The Useful Information about Istanbul] . Retrieved
January 6, 2005.
* "The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium" (Oxford University Press, 1991) ISBN 0195046528
* Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies : [http://www.byzantium.ac.uk www.byzantium.ac.uk]
* Description of Byzantine monetary system - fifth Century BC : [http://www.galmarley.com/framesets/fs_monetary_history_faqs.htm History of money FAQs]
* [http://www.asiaing.com/the-economic-history-of-byzantium.html "The Economic History of Byzantium"] , By Angeliki E. Laiou, Harvard University Press, January 2002.
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