Friday, 29 May 2009

The Golden Horn

The Chain...
This is a picture of the Golden Horn showing the city walls of Constantinople (as it was in medieval times). The chain below the picture is part of the the actual chain that was drawn up to prevent enemy ships entering the Horn. If you look closely at the picture you can see that two chains were used, one is further up the channel. If the guards managing the chains got their timing right, they could break the backs of the unwanted ships. We found this picture in the Archeological Museum in Istanbul.

The quays alongside the Golden Horn were used by trading ships from all corners of the Empire and beyond, including Venice.  Silk, glassware, spices, silks and slaves were among the things traded.     Byzantine silk was much sought-after.  This fragment of Byzantine silk - seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London - gives a hint at the gorgeous fabrics Katerina, the heroine of Bound to the Barbarian might have worn when she undertook to impersonate Princess Theodora.  The weave and patterning are stunning.

3 comments:

Michelle Styles said...

Oh gosh I have read about the chain and how the Vikings had to rock their boats over it escape.

Carol Townend said...

Yes, it was astonishing to see the Actual Chain! :)))

Nicola Cornick said...

How fascinating, Carol. And the snippet about the Vikings too. Wonderful.