Byzantine Constantinople

Course summary

  • Mon 02 Oct 2017 to Mon 04 Dec 2017
  • 11:00am-1:00pm 10 meetings
  • Ewert House, Ewert Place, Oxford, OX2 7DD
  • From £199.00
  • 10 CATS points
  • Course code O17P415HIW
  • +44 (0)1865 280892
  • Course ended

Byzantine Constantinople


Constantinople was the political and cultural capital of the Byzantine empire, the most long-lived empire in the history of the western civilisation, from 330 to 1453, and also the seat of one of the five patriarchates and the site of many ecumenical and local councils.

This course will trace the development of the city, as well as momentous events that took place in it, from the time of Constantine I to its fall to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Using contemporary texts and visual aids, the course will also examine the cultural, artistic and everyday life in the Byzantine capital from the fourth to the fifteenth century.

Programme details

Term Starts:   2nd October     

Week 1: Introduction to the topic - course requirements

Week 2: Topography - walls - water supply

Week 3: Public buildings in constantinople

Week 4: Palaces and monasteries in constantinople

Week 5: Churches in constantinople

Week 6: Everyday life in constantinople

Week 7: Constantinople seen through the eyes of the contemporaries

Week 8: Sieges of constantinople - the latin conquest of the city in 1204

Week 9: The fall of the city in 1453

Week 10: Class visit


Background Reading:

J. Harris, Constantinople, Capital of Byzantium, Continuum, 2011

S. Runciman, The Fall of Constantinople, Canto, 1990

P. Hatlie, The Monks and Monasteries of Constantinople, ca. 350-850, CUP 2007

G. Young, Constantinople, Barnes and Noble, New York, 1992

M. Maclagen, The City of Constantinople, Thames and Hudson, 1968

Cyril Mango (ed.), The Oxford History of Byzantium, Oxford, 2002


If you are planning to purchase books, remember that courses with too few students enrolled will be cancelled. The Department accepts no responsibility for books bought in anticipation of a course.

If you have enrolled on a course starting in the autumn, you can become a borrowing member of the Rewley House library from 1st September. If you are enrolled on a course starting in other terms, you can become a borrowing member once the previous term has ended.

Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.

Recommended Reading List


Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to do so.


Course fee: £199.00
Take this couse for CATS points: £10.00


Dr Aphrodite Papayianni

Aphrodite Papayianni teaches at the University of London. She has a particular interest in the Byzantine-Western relations and has published articles in various topics of Byzantine History.

Course aims

The course aims to enable students to develop a clear sense of the political, cultural and artistic importance of Byzantine Constantinople.

Course Objectives

1. To provide an overview of events and developments in the Byzantine capital.

2. To offer an overview of the cultural life in Byzantine Constantinople.

3. To encourage an enquiring and analytical approach to various aspects of the history of Constantinople.

Teaching methods

A range of teaching/learning methods will be employed, including lectures followed by discussion, and reading and interpreting documents.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

1. Have gained knowledge and understanding of the themes, issues and debates within the study of the history of Byzantine Constantinople.

2. Have been introduced to critical vocabularies needed to facilitate the study of Byzantine History.

3. Have been able to think critically and independently about what they have read.


Assessment methods

Essay or book review

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)