Building of Hagia Sophia (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The building of Hagia Sophia marks the pinnacle of Byzantine architecture and engineering, creating a cathedral whose design influences future building in both the Muslim and Christian worlds.
Summary of Event
When Justinian commissioned the construction of the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople in 532, he envisioned the structure to be a symbol of both Christianity and his ability to civilize and rule much of the known world. The first church to occupy the site was built and dedicated by Constantine II on February 15, 360. It followed a basilica plan similar to Old Saint Peter’s in Rome. During the riots that followed the banishment of John Chrysostom, the structure burned on June 20, 404. Hagia Sophia was rebuilt by Theodosius the Younger and consecrated in 415. This second church was one of many architectural victims of the riots in January, 532, begun by the uniting of Hippodrome factions against the state. Through its failure, the Nika insurrection provided Justinian the opportunity to rebuild the imperial capital and usher in a new “golden age.”
As architects for the cathedral of Hagia Sophia, or “Holy Wisdom,” Justinian chose two scholars and master builders: Anthemius of Tralles, and Isidorus of Miletus. Anthemius, the principal designer, authored works on conic sections and reflectors. Isidorus, who taught physics and stereometry at the Universities of Alexandria...
(The entire section is 1466 words.)
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