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Old June 11th, 2012, 08:13 AM   #11

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The Church of the Holy Apostles was initially given by Mehmed II to the patriarchate. However, the church appears to have been in quite bad shape by the time of the Turkish conquest and it is questionable whether maintenance and repair would have been possible at the time, thus leaving the place a bit of a hazard for public health. It also occupied the highest hill inside the land walls, and thus was a desirable location for Mehmed to put his mosque. To acquire the church, there's a story of the corpse of a Turk being found in the courtyard, which led to hostile demonstrations by the Turks. The patriarch requested to move elsewhere, and the patriarchate thus passed to the Pammakaristos church, part of which is today a museum with spectacular golden mosaic. I suspect that Mehmed had two reasons behind its destruction. First, repairs would have been quite costly. Second, by putting his own mosque on the highest hill, he demonstrated very clearly to his subjects that he could do as he pleased while reminding them that they now lived in a Muslim empire. This latter point is important because Mehmed immediately set about re-populating Constantinople after the conquest, but not with Turks. He filled the city with Armenians.

Some of the tombs still exist, and are lined up outside the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul. I'll get you some pictures later today.
Very interesting. Is there a reason why he chose the Armenians? I am not familiar with the history of the Armenian people. Where did the Armenians live prior to being placed in Constantinople?
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Old June 11th, 2012, 09:36 AM   #12

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Where did the Armenians live prior to being placed in Constantinople?
In Armenia. ahuheeuehahauhe.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 04:25 AM   #13
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I find it unlikely that the crusaders would have simply looted and destroyed Constantine's tomb, unless of course they were completely oblivious of who was buried there which I also find unlikely, given the location of his tomb. If anything, common sense dictates that they would have either left the tombs untouched in order not to incur the wrath of their new subjects in Constantinople, or they would have transported Constantine's tomb to some place in Italy, where it would have been a source of prestige and possibly also income from pilgrims and the like (something similar to the "relocation" of St Nicholas' tomb)...
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Old June 12th, 2012, 05:24 AM   #14

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New evidence for the Byzantine Church of the Holy Apostles from Fatih Camii, Istanbul

  1. Ken Dark,
  2. Ferudun Özgümüş
The Church of the Holy Apostles was one of the most important buildings in Byzantine Constantinople. The mausolea of Constantine the Great (the main imperial burial place until the eleventh century) and of Justinian I were in the complex surrounding this vast cruciform church. Nothing of this complex appeared to have survived its demolition to clear the site of the Ottoman mosque complex of Fatih Camii after 1461. Fieldwork in 2001 recorded walls pre–dating the fifteenth–century phase of the mosque complex, still standing above ground level and apparently including a large rectilinear structure. This is identified as the Church of the Holy Apostles and an adjacent enclosure may be that containing the mausoleum of Constantine the Great. The reconstructed church plan resembles those of St John of Ephesus and St Mark's (San Marco), Venice – churches known to have been modelled on the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantinople.

New evidence for the Byzantine Church of the Holy Apostles from Fatih Camii, Istanbul - Dark - 2002 - Oxford Journal of Archaeology - Wiley Online Library
Oxford Journal of Archaeology

Index to Volume 21, 2002
I've done a lot of web searching since you posted this, and I can find absolutely no follow up to this article. Either there is no work being done on the large chamber that was boarded up in the 1950s, or it is being kept a closely guarded secret. It looks like Drs. Dark and Özgümüş have moved on to other things, and Dark is now heading up a project on the Hagia Sofia.

Maybe there are excavations we don't know about, but if there aren't this seems like a huge opportunity wasted, for whatever reason. If the authors are correct and the chamber that was boarded up by the mosque is indeed the mausoleum of the Church of the Holy Apostles, then it would be a very major archaelogical find. Locating the burial chamber of the most prominent emperors - especially one as massively important as Constantine - of one of the greatest empires in world history would be magnificent. Let's hope excavations move forward in some capacity...
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Old June 12th, 2012, 06:18 AM   #15

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In Armenia. ahuheeuehahauhe.
I wanted his response on the importation of the Armenian people. I looked up the history myself thanks.

Background:
Armenia, situated along the route of the Great Silk Road, is a landlocked country of rugged mountains and extinct volcanoes, located in the southern Caucasus, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
It is the smallest of the former Soviet republics, bounded by Georgia on the north, Azerbaijan on the east, Iran on the south, and Turkey on the west.

History
Armenia was a regional empire with a rich culture in the years leading up to the 1st Century CE, at one period controlling all the land between the Black and Caspian Seas.
In 301, Armenia was the first state to formally adopt Christianity as its official state religion, twelve years before Rome. It also changed between various dynasties. But after Parthian (Iranian), Roman, Arab, Mongol and Persian occupation, Armenia had been substantially weakened. In 1454, the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Persia divided Armenia among themselves.
Armenia - Country Profile - Republic of Armenia - Hayastan
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Old June 12th, 2012, 06:21 AM   #16

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I've done a lot of web searching since you posted this, and I can find absolutely no follow up to this article. Either there is no work being done on the large chamber that was boarded up in the 1950s, or it is being kept a closely guarded secret. It looks like Drs. Dark and Özgümüş have moved on to other things, and Dark is now heading up a project on the Hagia Sofia.

Maybe there are excavations we don't know about, but if there aren't this seems like a huge opportunity wasted, for whatever reason. If the authors are correct and the chamber that was boarded up by the mosque is indeed the mausoleum of the Church of the Holy Apostles, then it would be a very major archaelogical find. Locating the burial chamber of the most prominent emperors - especially one as massively important as Constantine - of one of the greatest empires in world history would be magnificent. Let's hope excavations move forward in some capacity...
Did you happen to read the archaeological report in OJA in it's entirety? If you cannot access it, I will take a trip to the college library to find it. There may be notations in the report. Maybe the funding stopped for the excavations and permits for further excavations may not have been granted.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 06:34 AM   #17

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Did you happen to read the archaeological report in OJA in it's entirety? If you cannot access it, I will take a trip to the college library to find it. There may be notations in the report. Maybe the funding stopped for the excavations and permits for further excavations may not have been granted.
I did read the report in its entirety - fascinating stuff. They located the original wall of the church, and essentially the location of the adjacent mausoleum, which they measured to be almost the exact same dimensions of Constantine's original mausoleum in Rome, which was built by his mother, Helena. Even more fascinating, in the 1950s the mosque built over the church underwent renovations, and they found a tunnel leading to a Byzantine era circular room corresponding to the exact place where the remnants of the mausoleum wall were discovered adjacent to the mosque. They had boarded up the room and no one has entered since. The article concludes by saying the next step would be to negotiate entry into this room. After that there appears to be nothing else done at this site, which is a shame. I will e-mail the authors to see what has become of this, and if there are any plans for future work.

Such a tantalizing discovery - it would be a huge archaeological find if this turned out to be the actual mausoleum.

Last edited by PubliusBassus; June 12th, 2012 at 07:25 AM.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 07:18 AM   #18

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I've done a lot of web searching since you posted this, and I can find absolutely no follow up to this article. Either there is no work being done on the large chamber that was boarded up in the 1950s, or it is being kept a closely guarded secret. It looks like Drs. Dark and Özgümüş have moved on to other things, and Dark is now heading up a project on the Hagia Sofia.

Maybe there are excavations we don't know about, but if there aren't this seems like a huge opportunity wasted, for whatever reason.
I have no answer to this, but there are two factors to consider. First, in the last two years Turkey has made large changes to its laws which have effectively barred all but the richest foreign dig teams from excavating in Turkey. The purpose of this law does not seem to have been to limit foreign excavation but rather increase it, but the real effect is that foreign schools simply cannot afford the excavation season that the Turkish government requires. The second is that the excavations at Yedikule for a new road under the Bosporos discovered something like thirty Byzantine ships in the harbour of Theodosius. As this is a time-sensitive project, the Turkish government invested massive resources into a large recovery and preservation program. The excavations there were carried out 24-hours a day for quite some time. Thus it is possible that the importance and immediate danger to the wooden ships diverted all resources to that project at the expense of the Holy Apostles.

I don't suppose that you could send that article my way? I'm currently in academic limbo as I just graduated from one institution and do not yet have library privileges at my new school.

Last edited by Kirialax; June 12th, 2012 at 07:44 AM.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 07:20 AM   #19

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Such a tantalizing discovery - it would be a huge archaeological find if this turned out to be the actual mausolem.
And even more tantalizing considering that one year ago (when I was exploring the ruins of Byzantine Constantinople) the mosque was undergoing major renovations, so who knows what they found?
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Old June 12th, 2012, 07:49 AM   #20

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And even more tantalizing considering that one year ago (when I was exploring the ruins of Byzantine Constantinople) the mosque was undergoing major renovations, so who knows what they found?
Amazing. One would think the government would want to finance such an excavation - a find of that magnitude could be a boon for tourism. Plus, like you said, who knows what they might find in there....
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