Slabs of the Galata Walls

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[The Genoese have started to settle in Galata (also called Pera) following the Treaty of Nymphaeum (1261) but political struggles with the Byzantine Empire halted the process until 1267. The imperial edict of May 1303 was another milestone, which defined the exact borders of the conceded quarter for the first time. However, the Genoese have gradually extended the borders of this granted neighborhood; sometimes with additional edicts from the Byzantines, sometimes by just occupying adjacent territories and then including them with further enclosing city walls.

As Galata was relatively weak populated prior to the arrival of the Genoese and had its fortifications demolished by the emperor as a precaution, all of its late medieval defensive constructions can be attributed to them. There were also new civil constructions inside the walls that a couple of them still exist together with very few and detached mural remnants. There are mainly two types of slabs among the discovered pieces; the construction slabs and the tombstones that the majority of both types have coat of arms of the concerning noble families, supported with Latin inscriptions and dates. The construction slabs are mainly for the walls but an important group of them refer to civil constructions as well.]

Map by Sercan Saglam

Marble Slab with Palaiologan coat of arm

βασιλεὺς βασιλέων, βασιλεύων βασιλευόντων

“King of Kings, Ruling over Rulers”

3-5) Three adjacent marble slabs with Palaiologan and Genoese coat of arms (c. 1304-1316)

From the later demolished İç Azap Gate, now at Istanbul Archaeological Museums (Inv. no. 973a, 973b and 974)

Genoese slab with Saint Michael the Arch

+ M · CCC · LXXX VII · DIE · XXV · MARCII HOC OP(US) | FACT(UM) · FUIT T(EM)P(O)R(E) NOB(I)L(IS) | D(OMI)NUS · RAFAEL · D(E) · AUR(IA) | POT(ESTAS) · PEIRE

+ March 25, 1387. This work was done during the time of the noble lord Raffaele Doria, podestà of Pera.

11) Slab with Saint Michael the Archangel flanked by Genoese and Doria arms (1387)

From first tower northwest of Galata Tower, now at Istanbul Archaeology Museums (Inv. no. 954)

Genoese slab with Papal insignia, Fregos

+ M CCCC LII + DIE P(RIM)A APRILIS | NICOLAUS PAPA Q(UI)NTUS JANUEN(SIS) | TEMPORE • S(PECTABILIS) • D(OMINI) • ANGELI IOH(ANN)IS  LOM- | ELINI POTESTATIS PERE SUB DUC(ATU) • ILL(USTRIS) • | • D(OMINI) • D(OMINI) PETRI D(E) CAMPOFR(EGOSO) JAN(UE) • DUCIS •⋮•
+ April 1, 1452. Pope Nicholas V of Genoa. During the time of the admirable lord Angelo Giovanni Lomellini, podestà of Pera, under the duchy of the illustrious ruler Lord Pietro de Campofregoso, Doge of Genoa.

43) Slab with Papal insignia and Genoese arms flanked by Fregoso and Lomellini arms (1452)
From semicircular lower wall before Galata Tower, now at Istanbul Archaeology Museums (Inv. no. 950)

Genoese slab with Fregoso, Genoese, and

+ SPECTABIL(IS) · ET · NOBILIS · VIR · DOMINUS | NICOLAUS · ANTONIUS · SPINULLA · Q(UO)NDAM · D(OMI)NI | THOME · POTESTA(S) · PERE · (ET) · IANUENSIU(M) · IN · TO- | TO · IMPERIO · ROMANIE · CONSTRUI · FECIT · HANC | TURRI(M) · (ET) IN PAUCI(S) · DIEBU(S) · CO(N)STRUC(IONIS) · M · CCCC · XXXX · II | DIE · VIIII · MAY

+ The admirable and noble man, Lord Nicolo Antonio Spinola, the son of the deceased Lord Tomaso, the podestà of Pera and Genoa within the whole Roman Empire constructed this tower in a few days. May 9, 1442.

29) Genoese slab with Fregoso, Genoese, and Spinola coat of arms (1442)

From fourth tower in the northwest of Galata Tower, now at Istanbul Archaeology Museums (Inv. no. 961)

Genoese Slab with the Virgin Mary and th

33) Slab with the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child, flanked by two saints (c.1442)

From fourth tower in the northwest of Galata Tower, now at Istanbul Archaeology Museums (Inv. no. 911)

Genoese slab with Adorno, Genoese, and G

+ HEC · TURRIS · FUIT · PERFICTA · TE- | MPORE · SPECTABILI(S) · D(OMI)NI · BORUELI(S) | DE · GRIMALDIS · M · CCCC · XXXXIII ·

+ This tower was completed during the time of the admirable lord Boruel de Grimaldi, 1443.

35) Slab with Adorno, Genoese, and Grimaldi coat of arms (1443)

Now at Istanbul Archaeology Museums (Inv. no. 962)

Genoese Slab with Doria, Genoese and De

12) Slab with Doria, Genoese and De Merude arms above Harip Gate (c. 1386-1387)

Genoese Slab with defaced arms flanked b

+ YHS • IN • M • CCCC • XXXV • PER • SPE-
CTABILE(M) • DO(M)INU(M) • STEPHANU(M) • D(E) • MA-
RINI(S) • POT(EST)ATE(M) • (CON)DITU(S) • FUIT • MURU(S) • ISTE
+ HIS (Jesus). In 1435, the admirable lord Podestà Stefano De Marini built this wall.

25) Slab with inscription, defaced arms, flanked by Genoese and De Marini arms

In situ, on the coastal wall of the small annexation in the west

Sources

Urban Palimpsest at Galata & An Architectural Inventory Study for the Genoese Colonial Territories in Asia Minor by Sercan Saglam

Resources

Galata Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

Istanbul Archaeological Museums (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

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Created by David Hendrix Copyright 2016