"Serpentine Column" Serpentine Column - Twisted Column Tip by Willettsworld


This peculiar bronze column lies in the middle of the Hippodrome, in the middle of two other monuments you'll come to if you walk down the Hippodrome from the Basilica Cistern. Each one was brought back from all parts of the Byzantine empire by different emperors. It was originally called the Tripod of Plataea and was cast to celebrate the victory of the Greeks over the Persians during the Persian Wars in the 5th century BC. Emperor Constantine ordered the Tripod to be moved from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, and set in middle of the Hippodrome. The top was adorned with a golden bowl supported by three serpent heads. The bowl was destroyed or stolen during the Fourth Crusade (early 13th century). The serpent heads were destroyed as late as the end of the 17th Century, as many Ottoman miniatures show they were intact in the early centuries following the Turkish conquest of the city. Parts of the heads were recovered and are displayed at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

Address: Hippodrome, Sultanahmet Square

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  • Written Mar 1, 2010
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