THEODOSIUS II’S CHURCH: HAGIA SOPHIA

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THEODOSIUS II’S CHURCH: HAGIA SOPHIA
  1 THEODOSI US II’S CHURCH: HAG IA SOPHIA Nihat Tekdemir İ stanbul Technical University History of Architecture 1. INTRODUCTION This study focuses on the architecture of Hagia Sophia church under the reign of the emperor Theodosius. The research is conducted in the Bogazici University Library, the library of German Archaeological Institute, the library of ITÜ and the Y apı Kredi Sermet Çifter   Library and it analyses both the primary and secondary sources about Hagia Sophia. The articles and the dissertations that can be reached through various digital databases were also incorporated into this research. In order to understand second Hagia Sophia this study reviews early Byzantine church forms and the new discussions triggered by the recent archaeological excavations and the reasons behind the restoration of Hagia Sophia Church under the reign of Theodosius. Regarding the sparse material evidence about the architectural remains of the Theodosian church, the study focuses on the literature and the discussion about this monumental building before the construction of the Justinianic church. By focusing on architectural analogies and theories that compare the Theodosian church and the Justinianic church, the study presents strong material evidence about the differences and the similarities of these two different phases of Hagia Sophia.  2 1.1   Political Developments Some important developments happened during the reign of Emperor Arcadius (395-408), which lead the construction of the Theodosius Church. Two important characters were in the centre of the important events who are also played an important role in Arcadius’ life. One of them  was empress Eudoikia, and the other one was John Chrysostom, the Patriarch of Istanbul. Hagia Sophia Church was not only the religious centre, but also the political centre. But the social centre was Hippodrome (Türkoğlu 2002). Those political and social developments include Hagia Sophia started during the reign of Arcadius and brought chaos to the city. 1.1.1 Ioannes Chrysostomos John Chrysostom was one of the important characters that influenced the Christianity, and reached to the rank of a saint was well educated at Antioch. He was known by his honest personality and his philanthropic life. He heavily criticized the luxury and extravagantness of palace life during his speeches in Hagia Sophia. He especially criticized the Empress Aelia Eudoxia’s plans about e recting a silver plated statue at the palace. He used outrageous statements and when the palace aware of that he was exiled from the city. Palace’s decision leads tremendous events that included Hagia Sophia’s fire.  In 20 June 404, as a result of a riot, Hagia Sophia, the Senate buildings and many other buildings were burnt down. Side aisles and the roof of the main naïve caught fire immediately started to fire. Palladius, a friend of John Chrysostom, described the incidents dramatically; “As soon as the p atriarch left the church fire inflamed. At the same time guardian angels were also leaving the church anyway”   (Türkoğlu 2002) . 1.2   Early Byzantine Churches and Hagia Sophia It is necessary to study early Byzantine church forms, in order to understand Hagia Sophia during the reign of Theodosius because the documentation and excavations of that era is lacking sources. Early Byzantine churches were formed rectangular as in the Roman basilicas. The interior space was separated to three naves with two colonnaded lines. The main nave on the centre was wider and higher when compared to the side naves. At the east side there was a semi rounded apse, which was slightly overhung to the outer  3 space. On the west side there was a vestibule named narthex, which was reached by crossing from atrium. At this time the roofs of the basilicas were covered with timber and roof tiles (Mainstone, 1997). 1.2.1 Construction phases The first church was known as the Megale Ecclesia (Eyice, 1984). The first phase of three phased Hagia Sophia was commissioned by Constantius, the son of Constantine, completed in 360 AD. The church was blessed by Archbishop Eudoksios. The first church had a basilical plan, single naved and had upper galleries. There was a baptistery and skeuophylakion located near the church (Freely and Çakmak, 2005).  Even there were arguments about the construction date of the church that it is ordered by Constantine, it is indicated that the opening to religious service happened during the reign of Constantius the son (337-361). Sokrates (380-440) narrates that the first building was erected by Constantine (337-361). Additionally Chronicon Pascale quotes that Constantine donated silver and golden objects to the church for the opening (Türkoğlu, 2002). Moreover Esusebious (260 -339), who wrote about the works of Constantius, did not mention about such a church (Eyice, 1984). The seconda phase was commissioned by Theodosius II. in 415 AD. The third phase constituted present Hagia Sophia was commissioned Emperor Justinianus in 537 AD.  4 Figure 1.1:  Front to back; Theodosian Basilica, Justinianus’  Hagia Sophia , and after the dome collapse in 557. ( Url-2  http://ukar.ff.cuni.cz  ).  5 2. THEODOSIUS CHURCH The restoration of the first Hagia Sophia that was destroyed in 404, was carried out  by Theodosius II. The architect Rufinus was responsible for the repairs and on the 10th of October 415 the church was blessed by Archbishop Atticus and so, opened for worship once again (Wiener, 2001; Freely ve Çakmak, 2005) . Sources reveal that this church was the cathedral of the capital, just as the latter one. The building was designed as a basilica with five naves, and an adjoining courtyard lined with columns. Other architectural structures associated with the second Hagia Sophia were The Treasury (Skeuphylakion) of which only basement level remains today, the Olympias Monastery on the west of today’s church, and the Church of St. Nikolaus, most likely build by Constantius, on the east of today’s church  (Diker, 2010). It is understood that the 2 nd  Hagia Sophia was smaller than the one it was later replaced with later in the 6th century, and was oriented further southwards with a few degrees difference. Evidence of the work carried out at the church after the fire is limited. It is not known if parts of the old building were kept and repaired or if the skeuophylakion was left as it was and the rest was rebuild completely. There are no inscriptions until the dedication of Theodosius II of the 10 October 415. This fact brings to mind the idea that either the construction work hold after the fire was very detailed or the restorations started after a long time from the actual fire. Another possibility is that the fire didn’t destroy the function of the basilica and the  basilica was still used for worship (Mainstone 1997). Various excavations in the atrium by A.M. Schneider, in the Skevophylakion by Feridun Dirimtekin and inside the church excavations by Muzaffer Ramazanoğlu have been carried out, but new information concerning the old building could not be discovered.
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