The Pearl of Constantinople: Hagia Sophia

The Great Courses
Show More

Related videos

Nika Riots at the Racetrack: Theodora
Episode 17 of Living History
Head east to Constantinople, seat of the Byzantine Empire and the eastern counterpart to Rome. During a day of chariot races at the hippodrome, riots break out and threaten the Emperor Justinian and his politically savvy wife, Theodora. Learn about this unorthodox marriage and how Theodora's counsel ultimately saves the…
Byzantine Outposts: Monemvasia and Mistra
The port town of Monemvasia, once a coveted trading center, offers a rich slice of Byzantine history. Discover its mazelike streets, Byzantine buildings, and its mystical, cliffside Hagia Sophia church. Then explore Mistra's majestic Frankish castle and Byzantine palace, and contemplate the soul of Byzantium in religious architecture here and…
Hagia Sophia
Part of the Series: The World's Greatest Churches
Learn about the dramatic past of this jewel of Constantinople, which served as a church for 1,000 years before becoming a mosque. Discover one of the world's most extraordinary architectural spaces, highlighting its awe-inspiring dome and grand interiors. Also linger over its superlative mosaics, carved columns, and decoration in colored…
Vladimir Smashes the Idols of the Rus
Episode 22 of Living History
Observe the marriage of Vladimir, the Grand Duke of Kiev, to Princess Anna, the sister to Byzantine Emperor Basil II, a deal brokered so Vladimir will send mercenary troops to Constantinople. Following the wedding, Vladimir makes it his mission to convert his land to Christianity by fiat and suppress paganism,…
Aegean Ring of Fire: Milos and Santorini
On the lesser-known Milos, learn about the striking volcanic and geological features of the island before visiting its richly endowed archaeological museum, ancient classical theater, and extraordinary early Christian catacombs. Contemplate the breathtaking scenery of Santorini, as well as the intriguing remains of its principal historical site, the buried Minoan…
Leveraging Human Power—Construction Cranes
How were giant stone blocks lifted using only muscle power? Examine the technology of classical-era cranes, breaking down their components to understand how they provided significant mechanical advantage. Close with a theory on the construction technique used to stack the massive marble drums of Trajan's Column in Rome.
Discovering the Maya
Trace the unearthing of the great Maya civilizations in the 19th century, and revel in the excitement of the recent "cracking" of Maya hieroglyphics. Contemplate the extraordinary temple-pyramids, tombs, and athletic courts of the Maya; consider the use of remote sensing technology in uncovering Maya structures; and explore the premier…
Around Nafplio: Greek History at a Glance
In Greece's Argolid region, walk the mighty fortress of Tiryns, and learn about Mycenaean and classical-age warrior culture. Visit the Heraion, picturesque sanctuary to the goddess Hera, the imposing Roman villa of Herodes Atticus, and the port of Nafplio, with its remnants of Venetian, Byzantine, and Ottoman culture.
The Most Celebrated Edifice—The Pantheon
Conclude your study of great classical-era structures by examining the greatest of them all: the Pantheon in Rome. Imitated but never equaled, this temple to all the gods incorporates Greek as well as quintessentially Roman architectural features. The stupendous dome is a work of engineering genius.
Early Archaeology in Mesopotamia
Explore the history of phenomenal finds in Mesopotamia, beginning with the 19th-century unearthing of the great Assyrian palaces at Nimrud and Ninevah, with their libraries of cuneiform texts. Also contemplate the 20th-century discovery of the dazzling treasures of the famous "Death Pits of Ur."
The Myth of Masada?
The excavation of Masada--the ancient mountain stronghold of Jewish rebels against Rome--was a milestone for archaeology. Explore the discoveries at the site, hear the harrowing story of its defense, and contemplate the controversy surrounding the use of a first-century historical account in interpreting the archaeological evidence.
Plutarch, Suetonius, and Tacitus
Part of the Series: Famous Romans
Worthy heirs of Herodotus and Thucydides, these authors embody the essence of the classical tradition of history: its concern with greatness of theme and greatness of soul, its high moral seriousness, and its noble regard for freedom.