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Title: The Founding of Constantinople
Subtitle: An Interdisciplinary Approach
Author(s): BAGHOS, Mario
Journal: Ancient West & East
Volume: 20    Date: 2021   
Pages: 121-161
DOI: 10.2143/AWE.20.0.3289532

Abstract :
This article addresses a lacuna in the existing scholarship on the founding of Constantinople, namely, that many contemporary Byzantinists overlook the religious and cosmic significance of the incipient city. Using insights from the history of religions, specifically the heuristic devices of imago mundi (image of the world) and axis mundi (centre of the world) as articulated by Mircea Eliade, this article demonstrates that Constantinople was intended at its outset as the recapitulation and intersection of a cosmos imbued with the sacred. The article also addresses the nuances inherent in the founding of the city, including the extent to which St Constantine the Great incorporated the ruler cult – as inherent to the civic enterprise – into his new capital, along with the Christian symbolism that would condition the city’s thousand-year history.

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