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It is probable that the residence of Constantine bore some resemblance in design and style to the house of Diocletian at Spalato and other mansions of the period.1 The descriptions of the octagonal Chrysotriklinos show that it was built under the influence of the new style of ecclesiastical architecture which was characteristic of the age of Justinian. The chief group of buildings which Theophilus added introduced a new style and marked a third epoch in the architectural history of the Great Palace. Our evidence makes it clear that they were situated between the Constantinian Palace on the northwest and the Chrysotriklinos on the south-east.2
These edifices were grouped round the Trikonchos or Triple Shell, the most original in its design and probably that on which Theophilus prided himself most. It took its name from the shell-like apses, which projected on three sides, the larger on the east, supported on four porphyry 3 pillars, the others (to south and north) on two. This triconch plan was long known at Constantinople, whither it had been imported from Syria; it was distinctively oriental. On the west side a silver door, flanked by two side doors of burnished bronze, opened into a hall which had the shape of a half moon and was hence called the Sigma. The roof rested on fifteen columns of many-tinted marble.* But these halls were only the upper storeys of the Trikonchos and the Sigma. The ground-floor of the Trikonchos 5 had, like the room above it, three apses, but differently oriented. The northern side of this hall was known as the Mysterion or Place of Whispers,
See my Great Palace in B.Z. xx. (1911), where I have shown that Labarte's assumption that the Lausiakos was perpendicular to the Triklinos of Justinian is not justified and has entailed many errors. It has been adopted by Paspates and Ebersolt and has not been rejected by Bieliaev. That the line of these buildings was perpendicular to the Hippodrome cannot be strictly proved. It is bound up with the assumption that the eastwest orientation of the Chrysotriklinos was perpendicular to the axis of the Hippodrome.
See Ebersolt, Le Grand Palais, 160 sqq., whose plan of the Constantinian palace, however, cannot be maintained; cp. my criticisms, op. cit.
2 Cont. Th. 139 sqq. gives the de
tailed description of the buildings. Their situation is determined by combining the implications in this account with data in the ceremonial descriptions in Cer. I have shown (op. cit.) that the Trikonchos was north of the Chrysotriklinos (not west as it is placed by Labarte, Ebersolt, etc.).
3 So-called "Roman" stone, really Egyptian (Cont. Th. 327): red porphyry with white spots (Anna Comnena, vii. 2, ed. Reifferscheid, i. p. 230). Cp. Ebersolt, 111.
4 From Dokimion in Phrygia, near Synnada. The stone in these quarries presents shades of "violet and white, yellow, and the more familiar brecciated white and rose-red" (Lethaby and Swainson, Sancta Sophia, 238). 5 Known as the Tetraseron.
because it had the acoustic property, that if you whispered in the eastern or in the western apse, your words were heard distinctly in the other. The lower storey of the Sigma, to which you descended by a spiral staircase, was a hall of nineteen columns which marked off a circular corridor. Marble incrustations in many colours1 formed the brilliant decoration of the walls of both these buildings. The roof of the Trikonchos was gilded.
The lower part of the Sigma, unscreened on the western side, opened upon a court which was known as the Mystic Phiale of the Trikonchos. In the midst of this court stood a bronze fountain phiale with silver margin, from the centre of which sprang a golden pine-cone.2 Two bronze lions, whose gaping mouths poured water into the semicircular area of the Sigma, stood near that building. The ceremony of the saximodeximon, at which the racehorses of the Hippodrome were reviewed by the Emperor, was held in this court; the Blues and Greens sat on tiers of steps of white Proconnesian marble,3 and a gold throne was placed for the monarch. On the occasion of this and other levées, and certain festivals, the fountain was filled with almonds and pistacchio nuts, while the cone offered spiced wine to those who wished.
Passing over some minor buildings, we must notice the hall of the Pearl, which stood to the north of the Trikonchos. Its roof rested on eight columns of rose-coloured marble, the floor was of white marble variegated with mosaics, and the walls were decorated with pictures of animals. The same building contained a bed-chamber, where Theophilus slept in
1 ἐκ λακαρικῶν παμποικίλων (Cont. Th. 140).
2 στροβίλιον. Fountains in the form of pine-cones seem to have been common. There were two in the court of the New Church founded by Basil I. (Cont. Th. 327), and representations occur often in Byzantine art. fountain has been recognised in the Theodora mosaic of St. Vitale at Ravenna. See Strzygovski, “Die Pinienzapfen als Wasserspeier," in Mittheilungen des d. arch. Instituts, Rom, xviii. 185 sqq. (1903), where the subject is amply illustrated, and it is shown that the idea is oriental. The pinecone occurs in Assyrian ornament, and
summer; its porticoes faced east and south, and the walls and roof displayed the same kind of decoration as the Pearl. the north of this whole group, and fronting the west,' rose the Karianos, a house which the Emperor destined as a residence for his daughters, taking its name from a flight of steps of Carian marble, which seemed to flow down from the entrance like a broad white river.
In another quarter (perhaps to the south of the Lausiakos) the Emperor laid out gardens and constructed shelters or "sunneries," if this word may be permitted as a literal rendering of héliaka. Here he built the Kamilas, an apartment2 whose roof glittered with gold, supported by six columns of the green marble of Thessaly. The walls were decorated with a dado of marble incrustation below, and above with mosaics representing on a gold ground people gathering fruit. On a lower floor was a chamber which the studious Emperor Constantine VII. afterwards turned into a library, and a breakfast-room, with walls of splendid marble and floor adorned with mosaics. Near at hand two other houses, similar yet different, attested the taste of Theophilus for rich schemes of decoration. One of these was remarkable for the mosaic walls in which green trees stood out against a golden sky. The lower chamber of the other was called the Musikos, from the harmonious blending of the colours of the marble plaques with which the walls were covered-Egyptian porphyry, white Carian, and the green riverstone of Thessaly,-while the variegated floor produced the effect of a flowering meadow."
If the influence of the luxurious art of the East is apparent in these halls and pavilions which Theophilus added to his chief residence, a new palace which his architect Patrikes built on the Bithynian coast was avowedly modelled on the palaces of Baghdad.
1 The Karianos faced the Church of the Lord (Cont. Th. 139), which was in the extreme north of the palace grounds, near to the south-east corner of the Augusteon and to the gate leading into the grounds of the Magnaura.
2 The Kamilas and the two adjacent houses are described as cubicula (Cont. Th. 144).
It was not far from the famous
3 μεσóτатov, not the ground-floor, but the entresol (as Ebersolt renders, 116). From here one had, through a Kλovẞlov, railing or balustrade (cancelli, cp. Ducange, s. v. Kλoẞós), a view of the Chrysotriklinos.
4 The Musikos had only two walls, east and north; on the other sides it was columned and open (Cont. Th. 146). It was thus a hêliakon.
palace of Hieria, built by Justinian. The Asiatic suburbs of Constantinople not only included Chrysopolis and Chalcedon, but extended south-eastward along the charming shore which looks to the Prince's Islands, as far as Kartalimen. Proceeding in this direction from Chalcedon, one came first to the peninsula of Hieria (Phanaráki), where Justinian had chosen the site of his suburban residence. Passing by Rufinianae (Jadi-Bostan), one reached Satyros, once noted for a temple, soon to be famous for a monastery. The spot chosen by Theophilus for his new palace was at Bryas, which lay between Satyros and Kartalimen (Kartal), and probably corresponds to the modern village of Mal-tépé.1 The palace of Bryas resembled those of Baghdad in shape and in the schemes of decoration.2 only deviations from the plan of the original were additions required in the residence of a Christian ruler, a chapel of the Virgin adjoining the Imperial bedroom, and in the court a church of the triconch shape dedicated to Michael the archangel and two female saints. The buildings stood in a park irrigated by watercourses.
Arabian splendour in his material surroundings meant modernity for Theophilus, and his love of novel curiosities was shown in the mechanical contrivances which he installed in the audience chamber of the palace of Magnaura. A golden plane-tree overshadowed the throne; birds sat on its branches and on the throne itself. Golden griffins couched at the sides, golden lions at the
1 For these identifications, and the Bithynian poάoтela, see Рargoire's admirable Hiéria. Cp. also his Rufinianes, 467; he would seek the site of the palace in ruins to the east of the hill of Drakos-tépé.
2 ἐν σχήμασι καὶ ποικιλίᾳ, Cont. Th. 98, cp. Simeon (Add. Georg.) 798. The later source says that John the Synkellos brought the plans from Baghdad and superintended the construction; there is nothing of this in Simeon, but it is possible that John visited Baghdad (see below, p. 256). The ruins of an old temple near the neighbouring Satyros supplied some of the building material for the palace of Bryas. The declension of this name is both Βρύου and Βρύαντος. Some modern writers erroneously suppose that the nominative is Βρύος.
foot; and there was a gold
3 It is to be noticed that he renewed all the Imperial wardrobe (Simeon, ib.).
4 The triklinos, or main hall, of the Magnaura (built by Constantine) was in form a basilica with two aisles, and probably an apse in the east end, where the elevated throne stood railed off from the rest of the building. See Ebersolt, 70. There were chambers off the main hall, especially the nuptial chamber (of apse-shape: κόγχη τοῦ παστοῦ), used on the occasion of an Imperial wedding. The situation of the Magnaura was east of the Augusteon; on the north-west it was close to St. Sophia; on the south-west there was a descent, and a gate led into the grounds of the Great Palace, close to the Church of the Lord and the Consistorion.
organ in the room.1 When a foreign ambassador was introduced to the Emperor's presence, he was amazed and perhaps alarmed at seeing the animals rise up and hearing the lions roar and the birds burst into melodious song. At the sound of the organ these noises ceased, but when the audience was. over and the ambassador was withdrawing, the mechanism was again set in motion.2
One of the most remarkable sights in the throne room of the Magnaura was the Pentapyrgion, or cabinet of Five Towers, a piece of furniture which was constructed by Theophilus.3 Four towers were grouped round a central and doubtless higher tower; each tower had several, probably four, storeys; * and in the chambers, which were visible to the eye, were exhibited various precious objects, mostly of sacred interest. At the celebration of an Imperial marriage, it was the usage to deposit the nuptial wreaths in the Pentapyrgion. On special occasions, for instance at the Easter festival, it was removed from the Magnaura to adorn the Chrysotriklinos.5
If the Emperor's love of magnificence and taste for art impelled him to spend immense sums on his palaces, he did not neglect works of public utility. One of the most important duties of the government was to maintain the fortifications of the city in repair. Theophilus did not add new defences, like Heraclius and Leo, but no Emperor did more than he to strengthen and improve the existing walls. of the siege conducted by Thomas seem to have shown that the sea-walls were not high enough to be impregnable. It was decided to raise them in height, and this work, though commenced by his father on the side of the Golden Horn,7 was mainly the work of Theophilus. Numerous inscriptions
1 Two gold organs were made for Theophilus, but only one of them seems to have been kept in the Magnaura. Simeon (Add. Georg.), 793.
2 Constantine, Cer. 568-569; Vita Bas. 257 Cont. Th. 173. For such contrivances at Baghdad see Gibbon, vi. 126.
3 Simeon, ib. (cp. Pseudo-Simeon, 627); it was made by a goldsmith related to the Patriarch Antonius. If not of solid gold, it was doubtless richly decorated with gold. The same