Chronicle: Archaeology on Television | Excavations and reports from Sutton Hoo to Machu Picchu

Chronicle | The Fall of Constantinople

John Julius Norwich brings the Byzantine Empire alive for a fleeting moment in Istanbul.

CHANNEL | BBC 2

FIRST BROADCAST | 25 October 1967

DURATION | 32 minutes 42 seconds

FIRSTBROADCAST

1967

Synopsis

John Julius Norwich tells the dramatic story of the fall of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, followed by the rise of the Ottoman Turks in the 15th Century. Using monuments in Istanbul to show the formidable artistic and intellectual achievements of the Byzantines, Norwich vividly describes the last scenes of Greek Orthodox Christianity from within the Hagia Sophia.

Did you know?

Norwich describes the calamitous scenes of the last progress of the sacred icons around Constantinople (Istanbul). 'Icon' is derived from the Greek word for image (eikon) and took on a special religious significance in Orthodox art. The tradition of painting the same, or similar, images of saints and holy people is meant to bring the artist and worshippers closer to the face of God. There were periods, known as iconoclasms, when icons were banned by Christians who believed that such images were heretical.

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