Saba, Matthew. "Architecture and Empire in Byzantine Constantinople/Ottoman Istanbul." Syllabus. Columbia University, New York, NY, 2016.
Syllabus for a class titled "Architecture and Empire in Byzantine Constantinople/ Ottoman Istanbul" developed by Matt Saba during a visiting lectureship at Columbia University in Fall 2016.
This seminar will examine the built environment of İstanbul (Constantinople), one of the world’s longest-lived imperial centers, from its establishment as the new capital of the Roman (Byzantine) Empire in the fourth century C.E., to its heyday as the center of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century, to its remaking as a modern city in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries under the later Ottoman Sultans. The city’s fortifications, street systems, public squares, churches, mosques, palaces, and gardens will be explored with several questions in mind: how did Byzantine and later Ottoman architects use the built environment to solidify notions of power and project ideals of beauty? How did the strategies of imperial presentation change over time? To what extent did the city’s physical features (both geographic and architectural) dictate its development over time? In addition to exploring questions of İstanbul/ Constantinople’s architectural history specifically, assigned readings also serve to introduce larger theoretical and methodological issues in the fields of architecture, art history, cartography and historiography.