Forum of Theodosius

The Forum of Theodosius (φόρος Θεοδοσίου, also known as Forum Tauri) was built during the reign of Theodosius I (379-395). It was located on the Mese (the main street of Constantinople) west of the Forum of Constantinople and Hagia Sophia. Possibly the largest forum of Constantinople, it had a monumental column crowned with a statue of Theodosius and a triumphal arch
Once it became the capital, Constantinople was in competition with Rome and other major cities. The Forum of Theodosius was modeled on the Forum of Trajan in Rome as an effort to rival the city of Rome. Theodosius, who was born in Spain, claimed descent from the Spanish native Trajan, thus imitating Trajan’s forum had this additional ideological feature. Work on the forum probably began shortly after the victory over the Goths in 386, which seems to have been the subject of the reliefs on the monumental column that stood in the forum. While the column seems to have been erected by 386, the forum itself was not inaugurated until 393. 
The column was located on high ground overlooking Propontis, it was visible to anyone approaching Constantinople by sea. Furthermore it was located on the Mese, the main street of Constantinople, placing it at the heart of the city. The Basilica of Theodosius was located on the southern side of the forum, while the Arch of Theodosius seems to have stood on the southwestern corner of the forum. 
Archaeological remains of the Column of Theodosius and the Arch of Theodosius have survived, allowing for a partial reconstruction of the forum.  The location of the column is uncertain, though it seems it was north of the center of the forum. It was modeled on the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius in Rome, with spiral reliefs and an internal spiral staircase. The Arch of Theodosius seems to have stood on the southwestern corner of the forum. There were statues of two sons of Theodosius, Arcadius and Honorius, located over the triumphal arch. Its alternative name, Forum Tauri, might derive from a statue of a bull once in the forum. Eventually it was destroyed; the first record of damage occurred in an earthquake in 558. 

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Detail of a map of Constantinople by Braun-Hogenberg (1572)

Based on map by Magdalino

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Portrait of Emperor Arcadius

Fragment of the Column of Theodosius
Soldiers on the march in front of a city

Statue of a Man

4th-5th century

Statuette of Orpheus

First half of the 4th century

Marble Capital with Inscription

6th-7th century

Fragment of a Frieze Relief with Lions attacking a Bull

8th-9th century

Sources
Constantinople: Capital of Byzantium by Jonathan Harris
Brickstamps of Constantinople by Jonathan Bardill
Two Romes: Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity edited by Grig and Kelly
The Oxford History of Byzantium by Cyril Mango 
Streets and Public Spaces in Constantinople by Albrecht Berger


Resources
Forum of Theodosius (Byzantium 1200)

Columns and Monuments of Constantinople Photo Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

Columns and Public Spaces (Nicholas V. Artamonoff Collection)

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The Byzantine Legacy
Created by David Hendrix Copyright 2016