Palaiologan Constantinople (1261-1453): architecture, ideology, and patronage

Varsallona, Jessica (2021). Palaiologan Constantinople (1261-1453): architecture, ideology, and patronage. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis analyses the urban and architectural transformation of Constantinople during the era of the Palaiologoi (1261-1453). It investigates the main monumental developments of the early (1261-1328 – chapters I, II, and III), middle (1328-1354 – chapter IV), and late (1354- 1453 – chapter V) Palaiologan periods, with an emphasis on imperial and aristocratic patronage, ideological use of the monumental heritage, and impact on the topography of Constantinople.
The Palaiologoi had an ambiguous relationship with the imperial past and the history of the city. Violent religious and political crisis repeatedly challenged the stability of their reign. It is one of the purposes of this research to show how urban changes and architectural developments often mirrored these internal political events.
This thesis reconsiders all the surviving material evidence of the Palaiologan period. It locates it in connection with the historical, cultural, and religious context, providing a multidisciplinary synthesis on the reign of the Palaiologoi and their impact on the architecture of the Byzantine capital. The result is the overall reconstruction of the metamorphosis of the city, a living organism in continuous transformation. Direct examination of the material evidence leads to the reconstruction of building activities’ internal mechanisms, such as the regulation and distribution of labour, and thus, involves broader social elements in the discourse.
The investigation of the entire Palaiologan period allows envisaging the transformation and adaptation to the new needs of the cultural and symbolic meanings of the buildings and the different quarters of Constantinople, underlining possible patterns of continuity that endured into the Ottoman era. Those show that the role of Palaiologan Constantinople was pivotal for the subsequent developments of the city of Istanbul.
To sum up, the overall output of this research is the reconstruction of the building activity of Palaiologan Constantinople, its extent, development, consequences, and broad influence on the patrons and audience, worshippers and subjects, citizens of Constantinople or neighbouring foreigners, and vice versa.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies
Funders: Other
Other Funders: BRIHC
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World


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