Column of the Goths
The Column of the Goths is located in the outer garden of the Topkapı Palace. The overall height of the monument is 18.5 meters and is topped by a Corinthian capital. The Proconnesian marble column is 15 meters high (with a dimension of 4.3 meters) and sits on a tall pedestal.
A Latin inscription on the pedestal indicates that it was erected to commemorate a successful campaign against the Goths, thus its modern name. There is evidence that this inscription replaced an earlier one of unknown content which was also in Latin. The other side of the column supposedly once had a cross with the inscription IC XC NIKA. The date of this column is uncertain. It has been attributed to Claudius II Gothicus (r. 268-270), Constantine I (r. 306-337), or Theodosius I (r. 378-395).
There is no hard archaeological evidence to show whether the capital was crowned by a statue, and no late-antique or Byzantine literary reference can be securely related to this monument. It therefore remains uncertain whether there was ever a statue, and, if so, to whom. It is possible that it supported a statue of Fortuna (Tyche), to which the inscription could refer. There is also reference to a column in the area supporting a statue of Byzas (founder of ancient Byzantium) in the Late Byzantine Era. After Mehmet II conquered Istanbul, it is possible he considered it a trophy that recalled the antiquity of his palace’s location.
“To Fortune of Good Return, because of the defeat of the Goths.”
From the Nicholas V. Artamonoff Collection
Photo by Claude-Marie Ferrier (1857)
Photo by Pierre de Gigord
From Byzantine Constantinople to Ottoman Kostantiniyye by Gulru Necipoglu