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KEN DARK AND FERUDUN O ZGU MU S

NEW EVIDENCE FOR THE BYZANTINE CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES FROM FATIH CAMII, ISTANBUL

Summary. The Church of the Holy Apostles was one of the most important buildings in Byzantine Constantinople. The mausolea of Constantine the Great (the main imperial burial place until the eleventh century) and of Justinian I were in the complex surrounding this vast cruciform church. Nothing of this complex appeared to have survived its demolition to clear the site of the Ottoman mosque complex of Fatih Camii after 1461. Fieldwork in 2001 recorded walls pre-dating the fifteenth-century phase of the mosque complex, still standing above ground level and apparently including a large rectilinear structure. This is identified as the Church of the Holy Apostles and an adjacent enclosure may be that containing the mausoleum of Constantine the Great. The reconstructed church plan resembles those of St John of Ephesus and St Mark’s (San Marco), Venice – churches known to have been modelled on the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantinople.

INTRODUCTION

The ‘great church’ of Hagia Sophia stands almost intact as perhaps the most enduring symbol of Istanbul. But the second most important church of Byzantine Constantinople is usually said to have disappeared almost without trace. This was the Church of the Holy Apostles, a large cruciform building probably only surpassed in scale among the churches of

the Byzantine capital by Hagia Sophia itself. The Church of the Holy Apostles was the principal model for several architecturally important churches elsewhere, including the sixth- century St John’s at Ephesus and St Mark’s (San Marco) in Venice, begun in the eleventh century. (For the Church of the Holy Apostles see: Heisenberg 1908; Downey 1951; Janin 1953, 46–55; Krautheimer 1964; Strube 1973, 131–147; Mu¨ller-Wiener 1977, 405–11;

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Krautheimer (with C urcˇic´) 1986, 241–2; Majeska 1982, 299–306; Wharton Epstein 1982; Mango 1994, Studies V, VI and VII. For additional bibliography: Dagron 1974, 401–8 and Majeska 1982, 300.) A rotunda mausoleum immediately east of the Church of the Holy Apostles was originally built for Constantine the Great in the early fourth century and served as the principal burial place for the Byzantine emperors until Constantine VIII in 1028. The Byzantine imperial sarcophagi today prominently displayed at Istanbul Archaeological Museum were originally placed within this mausoleum, which must have been an impressive structure. Another, cruciform, mausoleum (said to be that of the famous sixth-century Byzantine emperor Justinian

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FOR THE BYZANTINE CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES FROM ISTANBUL Figure 1 Fatih Camii, air photograph.

Figure 1 Fatih Camii, air photograph.

(Editors’ note: Every effort has been made to contact the copyright holders. If for any reason copyright has been inadvertently infringed, the editors ask that the copyright holder contact them, and will be pleased to make the necessary and reasonable arrangements at the first opportunity.)

I) was also probably located to the north-east of church (for the mausolea and the sarcophagi:

Mango 1994, Studies V, VI and VII; Grierson 1962). The Church of the Holy Apostles was situated on a prominent hill in the west of the Constantinian city, very near the ‘Aqueduct of Valens’. Its approximate, but unfortunately not exact, location is not in doubt. Byzantine and early Ottoman-period textual sources suggest that the church was either located on the hilltop occupied today by the early Ottoman imperial mosque of Fatih Camii (‘the Mosque of the Conqueror’) or at the imaret of this mosque (Mango 1990, 27; Berger 2000). An imaret, in the strict sense of the term, is a charitable kitchen and the kitchen of the Fatih complex stood immediately south-east of the mosque. Fatih Camii is still a prominent landmark of this part of modern Istanbul (Fig. 1), but the imaret has been largely destroyed. Its site is just south of Tabhane Medresesi, the boys’ Koranic school of the present Fatih Camii mosque (Ayverdi 1973, esp. figs. 631–2; Ahunbay 1997). Whatever its exact location, it is clear that the church was demolished in the 1460s, in order to make way for the construction of that mosque and its surrounding complex. The first phase of the mosque was constructed under Mehmet II ‘Fatih’ (1451–81), the Ottoman sultan who captured Byzantine Constantinople in 1453. The original appearance and plan of the mosque and its ku¨lliye (‘complex’) are known from standing structures, written accounts and artistic depictions. Constructed between 1462–70, the mosque was essentially square in plan, with a porticoed courtyard to its west and two broad lateral stairways giving entrance both to the main prayer hall and the courtyard. There was a walled compound to the east, which

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eventually contained the mausoleum (tu¨rbe) of Mehmet II and that of one of his wives. The east wall of this compound was part of a large rectilinear precinct, containing the broad open area called Fatih meydanı (‘Fatih square’) with the mosque at its centre and surrounded by the

buildings of the ku¨lliye, which also extended outside this precinct to the east. Fatih Ku¨lliyesi (‘the Fatih complex’) was the first ku¨lliye established in the city after the conquest. (For the

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structural history of Fatih Camii and its ku¨lliye: Ag˘a-Og˘lu 1930; Kunter and U lgen 1939;

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Kunter and U lgen 1953; Ayverdi 1953, no. 43; Goodwin 1971, 121–31; Ayverdi 1973, esp. 125–71; Ahunbay 1997. For additional bibliography: Eyice 1994). The original ku¨lliye of Fatih Camii was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1766 and rebuilt under Sultan Mustafa III. This altered many of its buildings, including the mosque itself, which had been particularly affected. Although the rebuilt mosque used few of the original walls (only the mihrab, western door and the bases of the minarets of this mosque were preserved in the eighteenth-century structure) and was slightly larger than that of 1470, the original fifteenth-century courtyard and parts of the precinct walls and ku¨lliye survived to be incorporated into the eighteenth-century structures. The tu¨rbe of Mehmet II and that of his wife were totally rebuilt, perhaps not even on the same sites. It is the eighteenth-century buildings that remain in use today, a focus for considerable Islamic religious devotion in contemporary Istanbul.

Faced with a lack of architectural remains, scholars (at least since Wulff 1898) have understandably turned to written and graphic sources in order to reconstruct the Byzantine church. Several written accounts of the structure survive, notably those by Procopius in c.554 (Dewing with Downey 1954, I.iv, 49–53), Constantine of Rhodes in the early tenth century (Legrand 1896), Nicholas Mesarites in c.1200 (Downey 1957) and the catalogue of imperial burials in ‘The Book of Ceremonies’ (Grierson 1962). There are also some possible depictions of the church in illuminated manuscripts, such as the ‘Menologion of Basil II’ (Vatican Ms.gr 1613 folios 121, 341 and 353) and Vatican Ms.gr 1162 folio 2b. In particular, the former manuscript appears to offer a fairly realistic depiction of a whitewashed apsidally-ended church with five domes, the central one on a drum. Together, these sources enable the reconstruction of an outline building-history of the church and provide details of its decoration and appearance. The first part of the complex to be constructed was the rotunda mausoleum of Constantine the Great, built in the early fourth century. This was apparently a tall drum with a gilded dome. It had bronze grilles at openings around its marble-veneered walls. The mausoleum was originally built as a free-standing structure in a rectilinear porticoed enclosure surrounded by subsidiary buildings. The church was probably constructed immediately west of this mausoleum in the reign of Constantius II and consecrated in 370 (Mango 1994). By the end of the fourth century, the church and mausoleum were the most important imperial buildings in the west of the city. The church was entirely rebuilt under Justinian I, in the same sixth-century campaign of imperial beneficence as the present version of Hagia Sophia. This produced a five-domed cruciform building, with the central dome over the crossing alone supported by a drum, which was pierced by windows. The nave was longer than the other ‘arms’ and the building had a gallery and an internal colonnade running parallel to its cruciform plan, although the central dome was supported on piers rather than columns. Its atrium continued the line of the north and south sides of the nave westward, suggesting a relatively small space. This church was never completely rebuilt and so it is presumably the building depicted in the ‘Menologion of Basil II’ and described by Mesarites (on the latter see Downey 1957; Baseu-Barabas 1992).

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The domes and arches of the rebuilt church were adorned with elaborate mosaic schemes, and these are also described in textual sources. The earliest of these mosaic schemes may belong to the sixth century, but redecoration in the ninth century (perhaps when the church was refurbished by Basil I) is suggested by Constantine of Rhodes’s account. A further redecoration is hinted at by Mesarites, whose description of them differs in important respects from that of Constantine of Rhodes. Although re-designed, throughout the history of the building the mosaics seem to have illustrated Biblical passages. Mesarites provides the clearest indication of the church walls and floor. He mentions how, below the level of the mosaics, the interior walls were covered with polychrome marble veneers and the floor was of coloured marble slabs in an opus sectile design. Beneath the veneer, the walls of the church were largely of brick with courses of stone blocks, which began at ground level. The altar, under a pyramidal canopy of white marble and imperial porphyry, was beneath the crossing (rather than in the chancel as was usual in Byzantine churches) and to its east there was a synthronon (semi-circle of seats for clergy). Graphic depictions may add a few further details of the structure and its immediate context. Vatican Ms.gr 1613 fol. 121 shows what may be the atrium of the church, indicating columns of mottled green stone with white (probably marble) Corinthian capitals. This could be nothing more than ‘artistic licence’, but similar columns are re-used in the fifteenth-century courtyard of Fatih Camii and in Tabhane Medresesi and may derive from the church (for a recent discussion: Ahunbay 1997). It is just possible, therefore, that the artist – although working in a highly stylised idiom – hoped to capture something of the true appearance of the atrium. This illumination and Vatican Ms.gr 1613 folio 323 also show a substantial wall defining an area to the east of the church. Again, this might be nothing more than artistic convention, but it could represent something of the actual layout of the site. Although one can get an impression of the church from this material, most features of the structure are far from well understood. The size and precise plans of the church and mausolea and the way in which the mausoleum of Constantine the Great related to the church remain uncertain. It is unclear what happened to the mausoleum in the Late Byzantine period, so although the church was in use until the Ottoman conquest it may have already fallen into disrepair by that time. What is certain is that there was only a very short interval between the disuse of the Church of the Holy Apostles and the construction of Fatih Camii. After the Ottoman conquest in 1453, the church was briefly employed as the Orthodox Patriarchate under Gennadios II Scholarios, but the Patriarchate was relocated in 1461 to St Mary Pammakaristos (Runciman 1968, 169, 181–4). The Church of the Holy Apostles was then demolished to make way for the construction of the mosque. It is usually assumed that the destruction of the church complex was complete and rapid. Even Pierre Gilles, who visited the site within a century of its disuse, says that nothing remained apart from a cistern and the imperial sarcophagi. If the church was not on the site of Fatih Camii it was probably at the (now-destroyed) imaret. This was said to be the location of the church by a sixteenth-century Greek source but it

is on the hill-slope rather than the hilltop and there is no suggestion, today or in the records of earlier scholars, of Byzantine terracing in the vicinity. One would expect extensive terracing if a major Byzantine building was located here. Moreover, as Kuban has pointed out, the term ‘imaret corresponds to a ku¨lliye in the

Ottoman sources’ (Kuban 1996, 212). He notes also that ‘ku¨lliye

is a neologism’ first used in

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the nineteenth century and ‘Ottoman historians never use the word’ (Kuban 1996, 207). So a sixteenth-century text could well have termed the whole ku¨lliye the imaret. One might also question the motivation of the informant. Perhaps it was more pleasant to post-Byzantine thought to imagine this great imperial church replaced by an imaret in its narrow sense, rather than by the mosque commemorating the Ottoman conqueror of the city.

Alternatively, it is possible that genuine confusion arose because the imaret was the site of one of the several smaller churches (such as the Church of All-Saints) recorded to have been near to the Church of the Holy Apostles (on the Church of All-Saints see: Mu¨ller-Wiener 1985. On adjacent churches in general, see also: Janin 1953, 53, 254; Majeska 1982, 305–6). So the case for the imaret as the site of the Church of the Holy Apostles may be weaker than frequently supposed. Surprisingly perhaps, archaeological or architectural studies have failed to resolve these problems. During the twentieth century architectural historians looked in vain for any traces of the church in the structure or plan of modern Fatih Camii and its surroundings. In particular, Wulzinger (1932) made a gallant and well-argued attempt to identify elements of its plan in that of the main mosque building, mostly by comparison with the church of St John at Ephesus. A seemingly insuperable problem for his argument is that, as we have seen, the eighteenth-century rebuilding of the mosque left only a few portions of the original Fatih Camii

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standing. Later studies, particularly those by Kunter and U igen (1953) and by Ayverdi (1973),

refuted Wulzinger’s plan-based arguments and argued that nothing remained of the church structure. The only certain trace of the church appeared to be pieces of sculpture found in the mosque courtyard in 1953, Byzantine columns re-used in Ottoman buildings and a large underground colonnaded cistern within the Fatih meydan precinct (Eyice 1956). An enigmatic (and summarily reported) excavation was undertaken by the then Director of Istanbul

Archaeological Museum, Fıratlı, during ground-levelling operations adjacent to the mosque in

near the north and south walls of the

mosque’ (Fıratlı 1950, 61). The excavator felt that these were not parts of the church, but he does not say why or mention exactly where they were. It is in this context that the present paper presents new material evidence for a substantial building beneath the known fifteenth-century portions of Fatih Camii. It will be shown that this was probably a large cruciform structure dating from the Byzantine period, with a contemporary enclosure to its east.

the late 1940s. This discovered ‘remains of foundations

AN EARLY STRUCTURE AT FATIH CAMII (Fig. 2)

In 2001, the Istanbul Rescue Archaeological Survey (co-directed by Drs Ken Dark and

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Ferudun O zgu¨mu¨s ) examined the whole Fatih Camii ku¨lliye in detail. As part of this survey, a

detailed photographic and written record of the standing structure of the mosque and its

courtyard was compiled according to the normal methods of this project (for the survey: Dark

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and O zgu¨mu¨s 1998, 1999, 2001). Analysis of these records immediately after the 2001 survey surprisingly showed that there is evidence of a large (but previously unrecognised) structure at the site. This pre-dates the few surviving portions of the original mosque and its courtyard. This analysis and the composition of this paper were carried out by Ken Dark, to whom any errors belong, but the execution of this survey would not have been possible without the participation of Ferudun

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FOR THE BYZANTINE CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES FROM ISTANBUL Figure 2 Outline plan of Fatih

Figure 2 Outline plan of Fatih Camii in 2001, showing features discussed in text

Thin outline; eighteenth-century and later mosque and physically connected structures of eighteenth-century or later date (M = mausoleum of Mehmet II ‘Fatih’, G = mausoleum of Mehmet II’s wife Gu¨lbahar, F = fountain in centre of courtyard). Thick outline; features or wall lines retained from fifteenth-century Ottoman features (S = lateral stairways, P = plinths). C = C¸ o¨rbakapısı gate in precinct wall, T = Tu¨rbekapısı gate) A, AB, B, AC, AD1, AD2 and AE are features mentioned in text. X = wall junction. (Drawn by K.R. Dark 2001. Plan of mosque, mausolea and precinct based on a detailed survey by E. Ayverdi (1971), with modifications and additions from 2001 survey).

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¨ ¨ ¨ KEN DARK AND FERUDUN O ZGU MU S Figure 3 Feature A, showing

Figure 3 Feature A, showing contrast between lower courses of wall and fifteenth-century mosque wall above.

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O zgu¨mu¨s . The inclusion of both co-directors’ names is in accordance with the agreement for the project as a whole. The structure reported here is defined by courses of light whitish-grey limestone ashlar blocks, differently coloured and noticeably more pocked and eroded than the somewhat uniform stonework above them. These are largely preserved in well-laid courses at the base of the north stairway and courtyard walls of Fatih Camii and the adjacent cemetery to the east. Only one similar block occurs in the upper structure of the mosque building. Unlike the blocks in the lower part of the courtyard, this appears to be set on its side. A circular hole (once probably in the top of the block) is visible in the wall face. Otherwise, Fatih Camii is constructed of a particularly restricted range of stone. Three well-laid courses of such blocks run along the southern wall of the mosque courtyard from the low stone plinth flanking its western stairway to the west, to the present south external stairway (feature A). This looks like a foundation for the mosque courtyard wall at first sight and is well preserved along the whole of its length. It is directly overlaid by the fifteenth-century mosque courtyard wall and by the eastern edge of the southern plinth running along the west of the courtyard (Fig. 3). Beneath the south wall of the plinth, feature A terminates as three ‘steps’ (Fig. 4). This could be deliberate or may be where it has been destroyed. This stepped termination is overlaid and abutted by the lowest of two visible phases of the plinth, both of which abut the western end of the fifteenth-century courtyard wall. The lower of these may be the western plinth first shown in the depiction of Fatih Camii by Matrakc¸ı in 1568 and separately in the view attributed to Veli Can in 1578 (Ayverdi 1953 and 1973, fig. 582; Halbout Du Tanney 1996, figs. 54, 68 and 80).

One would expect that the plinth – a low, flat, structure – would have survived the 1766 earthquake, so this preservation is unremarkable. If so, feature A pre-dates 1568 and is likely to date from before the construction of the first mosque at the site, of which this plinth was presumably part.

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FOR THE BYZANTINE CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES FROM ISTANBUL Figure 4 Detail of western termination

Figure 4 Detail of western termination of feature A, where overlaid by mosque plinth.

Other evidence supports the view that feature A is more than a simple foundation for the original mosque courtyard. The blocks forming the top course of feature A include examples with clearly defined circular holes. These holes always occur in the upper face of the blocks, as if to be used to join them to another (now removed) course above. But they have no structural purpose in relation to the fifteenth-century mosque courtyard wall and are very unlikely to be a decorative feature. The consistency of the blocks used, in size, shape and colour (and the laying of the holes vertically) suggest that this was not re-used stone. This implies that feature A was once topped by at least one more course of stonework, but this would be impossible if it was first built as the foundation for the courtyard wall. A single block projects forward from the base of feature A near to the western end of the courtyard wall. Projections such as this are not found elsewhere in the remarkably symmetrical ku¨lliye surrounding Fatih Camii and would serve no obvious function if this coursing is nothing more than a foundation for the courtyard wall above. To gain further evidence for the date of feature A one must look at its eastern continuation. There is no trace of it in the eighteenth-century southern mosque wall and it has a straight-joint with the southern stairway, which contains no similar blocks. However, three courses of similar (but more heavily eroded) stonework continue along the south cemetery wall to the east of the mosque (feature AB) (Fig. 5). At the point where the cemetery wall connects with the southern wall of the mosque (Fig. 6) there is a jumble of stone blocks (X on Fig. 2). These imply considerable remodelling associated with a break in the cemetery wall where two sculptured (but undatable) door-jambs lie either side of the eighteenth-century door-frame (Fig. 7). This remodelling appears to have been undertaken to match the cemetery wall line to the eastern end of the south wall of the mosque. The eighteenth-century cemetery wall projects southward from the mosque wall, so it was necessary to construct a ‘dog-leg’ at this point to accommodate this. Although out of line with the eighteenth-century mosque walls, feature AB at the base of the south cemetery wall aligns perfectly with feature A in the courtyard wall. The similarity

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¨ ¨ ¨ KEN DARK AND FERUDUN O ZGU MU S Figure 5 Feature AB, looking

Figure 5 Feature AB, looking toward C¸ o¨rbakapısı gate, visible in distance.

looking toward C¸ o¨rbakapısı gate, visible in distance. Figure 6 Feature X, showing western terminal of

Figure 6 Feature X, showing western terminal of entrance.

of the stone used and the construction of features A and AB suggest that there was once a continuous wall line (feature A1) connecting the two before the eighteenth-century mosque wall was built on a different line. This is unlikely to date from the fifteenth century, as the fifteenth-century mosque’s south wall was probably further north than that of the eighteenth- century building. This implies that feature A1 is earlier than the fifteenth-century mosque and is at least three stones thick. A wall of such thickness would seem strange for the foundation of a screen-like cemetery wall. Feature AB continues beyond the undated gate, along the south cemetery wall almost as far as the north–south precinct wall close to the C¸ o¨rbakapısı, one of the fifteenth-century

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FOR THE BYZANTINE CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES FROM ISTANBUL Figure 7 Feature X, from the

Figure 7 Feature X, from the west, showing the thickness of the wall, its irregular junction with the eighteenth-century mosque wall (visible in the left of picture) and the distance between the two wall lines.

of picture) and the distance between the two wall lines. Figure 8 Eastern end of feature

Figure 8 Eastern end of feature AB where this passes beneath the fifteenth-century wall north of the C¸ o¨rbakapısı gate. Feature AB1, the short stretch of wall abutting feature AB but running under the Ottoman precinct wall, is visible near the centre of the picture.

gates to the precinct to have survived later rebuilding (C on Fig. 2). Just before reaching the wall immediately north of the C¸ o¨rbakapısı, there is a short stretch of blocking or replacement stonework (feature AB1), filling a gap between the east of feature AB and the north–south precinct wall (Fig. 8). Feature AB1 can be seen on a photograph taken when the foundation of the precinct wall was exposed in rebuilding to run under the short length of precinct wall bonded into and adjoining the fifteenth-century C¸ o¨rbakapısı (Ag˘a-Og˘lu 1930, 179–95, fig. 6; Ayverdi 1973, fig.

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577, 833). Feature AB1 must, therefore, precede the construction of the fifteenth-century precinct wall. If feature AB pre-dates feature AB1, it must also date from before the fifteenth- century construction of the mosque. If so, it seems likely that the whole of feature A1 pre-dates the construction of the fifteenth-century mosque, as the other evidence implies. At the point where feature AB is infilled by feature AB1 an ashlar block similar to those of feature AB is partly exposed in the surface of the overgrown cemetery immediately to the north of the south cemetery wall. A very slight linear earthwork can be seen running north from this block and fading out among the Ottoman graves (feature B), but this cemetery is an area in which detailed fieldwork is impossible and it was not possible to plan this feature. Nonetheless, it does not seem to be related to any visible grave. In view of its relationship to AB and AB1, this earthwork can be interpreted as a buried wall, of which the exposed block is the only visible part. If so, although the north–south precinct wall is shown on sixteenth-century depictions of the complex (first in 1578: Ag˘a-Og˘lu 1930, 179–195, fig. 6), this wall is not shown in any of the Ottoman depictions of Fatih Camii so far published. As the perimeter of Fatih Camii’s precinct was established at the foundation of the mosque in the fifteenth century, a line still evidenced by the surviving gates, the wall represented by the block and earthwork – if correctly identified – probably pre-dates the fifteenth-century mosque precinct. This is, of course, what one would expect from the terminus ante quem already demonstrated for features AB and AB1. Similar eroded limestone courses also exist on the north side of the mosque (Fig. 9). Two comparable courses of stonework extend along the north of the courtyard wall from the western plinth to the north stairway, where they show a straight-joint with this (AC). Surviving circular holes on their tops could imply that there may once have been a third course here also. In this respect it is interesting that, although somewhat better-preserved than those in the cemetery walls, these courses are more eroded (or damaged) than those on the south of the courtyard.

(or damaged) than those on the south of the courtyard. Figure 9 Feature AC, showing contrast

Figure 9 Feature AC, showing contrast with wall above.

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FOR THE BYZANTINE CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES FROM ISTANBUL Figure 10 Feature AD1, showing relationship

Figure 10 Feature AD1, showing relationship to mosque north stairway.

Feature AD1, showing relationship to mosque north stairway. Figure 11 Feature AD2, showing relationship to mosque

Figure 11 Feature AD2, showing relationship to mosque north stairway.

Most of the north mosque stairway is plainly of Ottoman construction but a small length of eroded limestone coursing is visible immediately west of a modern tree-surround in front of the north face of the north stairway (feature AD1). This plainly continues behind the tree-surround, but is obscured at this point (Fig. 10). Immediately adjacent to the tree- surround on the eastern side there is what may be the continuation of this feature (AD2). In this case, the stonework is not as consistent as in the other lengths so far mentioned, although this may be the result of greater damage and patching of its visible face. At the easternmost point of AD2, immediately west of the present easternmost steps into the mosque, there is what might be an inturned chamfer (Fig. 11). But this feature is not well enough defined on

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¨ ¨ ¨ KEN DARK AND FERUDUN O ZGU MU S Figure 12 Feature AE, beneath

Figure 12 Feature AE, beneath Ottoman cemetery wall, showing Tu¨rbekapısı gate in left of picture.

the eroded block to preclude the possibility that it is the result of damage or a chance configuration of the stone. There is a single eroded limestone course along the base of the north cemetery wall up to the eastern precinct wall by the Tu¨rbekapısı gate (AE). The precinct wall south of the Tu¨rbekapısı gate (the gate is T on Fig. 2) overlies feature AE, which could be seen to run under it (Fig. 12). This too has to date from before the fifteenth-century precinct was set out. Feature AE is very similar to the stonework in AC and, of course, reflects the sequence near the C¸ o¨rbakapısı, although here the evidence does not suggest that feature AE too was infilled near the later precinct line.

STRUCTURAL INTERPRETATION

Although appearing at first sight to be a simple foundation, the eroded limestone coursing clearly represents one or more rectilinear structures earlier in date than the fifteenth- century mosque. Doubtless many scholars have seen this feature before and dismissed it simply as the early Ottoman foundation course. This is what it looks like without detailed inspection, so that assumption is quite reasonable unless one examines it in great detail and observes its stratigraphical relationships with other features at the site (part of the feature seems to appear in this context in the elevations of the mosque illustrated by Wulzinger 1932, 22–23). But we have seen that it is earlier than the fifteenth-century mosque eastern precinct wall (Fig. 13), is overlaid by the fifteenth-century courtyard and was probably truncated by the western plinth before 1568. Moreover, the difference in the number of courses to the north and south contrasts with the symmetry of the fifteenth-century Ottoman building. Circular holes on the upper surface of stones extending beyond the courtyard wall-line may imply a lost course or courses above those that survive today. If they date from before the first phase of Fatih Camii, these features are almost sure to be Byzantine, as (wherever the Church of the Holy Apostles was situated) this site was

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FOR THE BYZANTINE CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES FROM ISTANBUL Figure 13 Feature AE, where overlain

Figure 13 Feature AE, where overlain by line of fifteenth-century mosque precinct wall adjacent to Tu¨rbekapısı gate.

probably not used for other major Ottoman structures between 1453 and 1462. The re-use of Byzantine structures and substructures in early Ottoman buildings is widely attested in Istanbul and so is unremarkable here. This suggestion is supported by the observation that, unlike the blocks in the mosque walls, this stonework is extremely similar to that found in other Early Byzantine buildings in Istanbul. For example, this resembles the stonework of the palatial ruins immediately west of the Hippodrome (the ‘Palace of Antiochus’), in the apse of Hagia Eirene and elsewhere. All these are well-dated structures of the fifth and sixth centuries (Peschlow (with Kuniholm and Striker) 1977, e.g. ill. 8 and 19; Naumann and Belting 1966, e.g. ill. 4c). If so, we have evidence of a very large rectilinear Byzantine structure (or structures) still visible on the site of Fatih Camii.

COULD THIS BE THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES?

One obvious possibility is that this is the Church of the Holy Apostles or at least part of its complex. Without an inscription incorporated into them it is, of course, impossible to be certain what these features represent. Using only the directly observable data and the assumption that the fifteenth-century Fatih Camii might have been built on Byzantine constructions as sound foundations (as widely attested elsewhere in the city) the hypothesis that this might be the Church of the Holy Apostles may, nevertheless, be examined. The mihrab of a mosque is always aligned on Mecca, so the alignment of these walls with the Ottoman mosque might be seen as a possible objection to their interpretation as a church. However, the mihrab of Fatih Camii is not in the exact centre of the mosque’s eastern wall and it is not precisely aligned with the side walls of the Ottoman building. According to Ayverdi’s very precise architectural plan of Fatih Camii, made in 1971 (Ayverdi 1973, fig. 577), the mihrab lies at a slight (approximately 2 degree) angle to the east wall and points north-east. The centre of the mihrab (facing Mecca) is also c.40 cm north of the central line of the building. This anomaly between the mosque and its mihrab is accentuated by

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a difference in alignment between the eighteenth-century mosque and the fifteenth-century courtyard to its west. The courtyard wall to the north of the mosque is 1.43 m north of the north mosque wall and the south courtyard wall runs 1.47 m south of the south mosque wall. If the central line of the courtyard is also that of the fifteenth-century mosque, this was c.1 m north of the centre of the mihrab. So, the walls are aligned with the Ottoman mosque, but not precisely with its mihrab. If the fifteenth-century structure had been a wholly new construction one might imagine that it would have been symmetrical around the mihrab and, if so, the walls of the mosque would have run on a north-east alignment diagonal to its courtyard. This was not the case, as the surviving fifteenth-century western doorway shows. The anomalous alignment of the mosque may support the interpretation that its plan is constrained by that of an earlier structure. It remains to ask whether this could have been on a suitable orientation for a Byzantine church. Byzantine churches in Constantinople did not follow one standard orientation. Their alignment was often influenced by adjacent features. Both points are clearly illustrated by the excavated church at Kalenderhane: the Early Byzantine ‘North Church’ was aligned on the adjacent aqueduct (and close to the alignment of the later mosque at the site) but the later Byzantine churches on the site were differently orientated (Striker and Kuban 1997, 27 and 37–45). The orientation of any church on the site of later Fatih Camii might, therefore, have followed the alignment of a major pre-existing topographical feature, probably either the adjacent main street or the ‘Aqueduct of Valens’. The exact alignment of the aqueduct in this area is uncertain because the relevant portion is destroyed and the stretch surviving closest to Fatih Camii (which follows the same alignment as the mosque) is probably Ottoman in date (Dalman 1933; Mango 1990, 20, 31, 56; Mango 1995, 12). Recent topographical studies by Cyril Mango (1990, plans 1 and 2), Paul Magdalino (1996, map on 106) and Albrecht Berger (1997; 2000) have concurred that the alignment of the main street is indicated by the south side of the ‘Cistern of Aetius’. This was a large open cistern dating to the fifth century, located between the site of Fatih Camii and the city walls (Mango 1995, 16). The principal south and north walls of the cistern align with the south wall of the outer precinct of Fatih Camii and this wall has the same alignment as the fifteenth- century courtyard. Thus, the structure beneath the walls of Fatih Camii can be easily explained as having been aligned with the adjacent main street, arguably established on this line as early as the fourth century. Interpreting the observed features as a church, features A and AC could represent the south and north side walls of the nave, filled with rubble during the construction of the mosque and used as a foundation for the courtyard. The western plinth of mosque could have utilised the western end of the church as a foundation in a similar manner, which would explain the height difference between the interior of the courtyard and ground surface outside. This form of argument might also be applied to the mosque’s lateral stairways. Here we have a direct association between features AD1 and, possibly, AD2 and the fifteenth-century mosque plan. AD1 and AD2 might best be seen as the end of a short north transept with the south stairway originally using the south transept in the same way as sound foundations. Interestingly, the transepts of St John at Ephesus had small doorways in approximately the same position as the possible chamfer in AD2, although this may be nothing but a chance coincidence. A fifteenth-century decision by the architect of Fatih Camii to utilize the transepts of the church as the foundations for the stairways would have ‘positioned’ the whole plan of Fatih

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Camii on that of the Church of the Holy Apostles. As a result, the mosque was skewed to the east of the church rather than directly superimposed over it. This interpretation would give a large cruciform church (Fig. 14). This has a nave c.57 m wide and c.38 m. long, with transepts c.35 m long, projecting c.6.5 m. The east end would lie somewhere underneath Fatih Camii: on Fig. 14 it is shown where the original mosque probably had its eastern semi-dome. The sculpture recovered by Eyice in 1953 would have been found in the area of the nave, perhaps because the nave walls had been filled with rubble as a foundation for the mosque courtyard as already postulated. Figure 15 illustrates how close in size the reconstructed church (Fig. 15, A) is to St John’s, Ephesus (Fig. 15, C) and St Mark’s, Venice (Fig. 15, D). (For St John’s see: Ho¨rmann 1951; Wiplinger and Wlach (with Gschwantler) 1996, 50–2; Castelfranchi 1999 and for St Mark’s: Demus 1960; Demus 1984; Megaw 1996. For other possible Italian copies: Wharton Epstein 1983.) The same archaeological evidence would permit an alternative, and perhaps more exact, reconstruction of the church as in Fig. 15, B, with a western ambulatory or narthex and side porticoes. This gives a plan closer to St John’s and St Mark’s and although the ambulatory at St Mark’s (the so-called ‘atrium’) is an addition of the early thirteenth century, this was when the Church of the Holy Apostles still stood and might have still been copied in Venice (Krautheimer (with Cu˘rc˘ic´) 1986, 404–11). At this stage it is worth noting that the relationship between this structure and the later mosque is not simply a re-statement of Wulzinger’s (1932) hypothesis. He did not use the evidence upon which this reconstruction is based and his reconstruction was different in many respects. He placed the crossing beneath the mosque dome, whereas it was approximately under the mosque entrance west of this, and the east end of the building will not have lain as far to the east as he reconstructed it (Wulzinger 1932, 33).

THE EASTERN ENCLOSURE

An interpretation can be suggested for features AB and AE (in the cemetery walls) on the same basis as the preceding reconstruction of the church. The walls indicated by AB and AE lay outside the east end of the church but are similar to those of the main building. As such, they could be the side walls of the courtyard containing the rotunda mausoleum, directly east of the church (Majeska 1982, 305). Feature AB1 might either hint that this area was extended further east in the Byzantine period or be a blocked gate – perhaps the other (undated) gate in feature AB might, in its earliest form, represent one of a pair of matched doors into the courtyard. That these walls were, at least partly, of three stones thickness suggests a more formidable wall than that of the Ottoman cemetery. It is perhaps worth noting that, if this is its courtyard, it is likely that the main Byzantine mausoleum was well under c.50 m in diameter. This would encompass a structure of similar size to the Empress Helena’s rotunda mausoleum in Rome: possibly the most apt parallel, because (as Deichmann and Tschira 1957, 64, argued) it seems possible that Helena’s mausoleum was intended for Constantine the Great himself until this Constantinopolitan structure was planned. This recalls the story that the present tu¨rbe of Mehmet II ‘Fatih’ stands to the east of his original tomb. The fifteenth-century tu¨rbe is said to lie approximately beneath the mihrab of the eighteenth-century mosque (Fig. 14, M). Eyice rejected the story as fable and it is unlikely that a free-standing Ottoman building was in this location in the fifteenth century. But mosque

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¨ ¨ ¨ KEN DARK AND FERUDUN O ZGU MU S Figure 14 Reconstruction of outline

Figure 14 Reconstruction of outline plan of the pre-1470 structure at Fatih Camii, interpreting this as the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Thick black line = Pre-mosque walls visible on site in 2001 Mid-grey line = Possible pre-mosque wall visible on site in 2001 (projecting join between features AD1 and AD2). Light grey line = Projected continuations, where these would certainly be obscured by later features, of pre-mosque walls visible on site in 2001. Thin black line = Parts of fifteenth-century mosque possibly reflecting pre-l470 wall lines suggested by observed features. Dashed line = Hypothetical eastern wall lines of church and mausoleum of Constantine the Great, assuming the former to be beneath the projected location of the semi-dome of the fifteenth-century mosque and the latter to be c.20 m in diameter and attached to the eastern apse of the church. M = mihrab of eighteenth-century mosque and underground burial place of Mehmet II ‘Fatih’ according to mosque authorities. (Drawn by K.R.Dark 2001. Plan based on data and arguments presented in the text – location of eastern semi-dome of fifteenth-century mosque and mihrab of eighteenth-century mosque based on E. Ayverdi 1973 and M. Ag˘a-Og˘lu 1930).

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FOR THE BYZANTINE CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES FROM ISTANBUL Figure 15 Comparative outline plans of

Figure 15 Comparative outline plans of St John’s Ephesus, St Mark’s (San Marco), Venice and the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantinople.

All plans are shown in outline only to facilitate comparison with evidence from Fatih Camii.

Plan A = Plan of the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantinople reconstructed on the basis of directly observable on-site evidence. East end conjectural. Plan B = Plan of the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantinople reconstructed with narrow chancel and ambulatory. Alternatively, one could envisage side porticoes and a western narthex occupying the same space as the ambulatory. Plan C = Outline plan of St John’s, Ephesus. Plan D = Outline plan of St Mark’s (San Marco), Venice. So-called ‘Atrium’, the ambulatory area, shaded to show cruciform plan at core of structure.

(Drawn by K.R. Dark 2001, St John’s, Ephesus based on a plan by M. Bu¨yu¨kkolancı following H. Ho¨rmann, St Mark’s (San Marco), Venice based on a plan by O. Demus and the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantinople reconstructed on the basis of evidence recorded in 2001).

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staff and the ‘Director of Tombs’ in charge of the tu¨rbe report that there is an underground space in this location. They claim that it is a curvilinear Byzantine chamber, reached by a tunnel from the eighteenth-century tu¨rbe, and was last opened and seen in the 1950s before being boarded over. The restoration of the mosque in 1953 might have occasioned such an event (Eyice 1956, 64). Although the story at first reminds one of the position of the circular mausoleum of Constantine the Great, the chamber described by mosque staff in 2001 would be far smaller than the Byzantine mausoleum. If the reported tomb really exists and this description represents it accurately, at most it might have been part of the mausoleum (possibly its substructure) or a crypt under the eastern apse of the church. Or perhaps it is an Ottoman burial structure symbolically constructed on the same site as the mausoleum. Until entry has been negotiated, it is impossible to tell but (as seen on Fig. 14) a c.20 m diameter rotunda mausoleum like that of Helena attached to the east apse of the church would (if the apse lay approximately where the first mosque may have had its eastern semi-dome) be centred almost exactly on this spot!

CONCLUSION

The structural evidence found in 2001 might well represent the walls of the Church of the Holy Apostles. It would seem that Byzantine Constantinople’s second greatest church, the model for St Mark’s in Venice and the burial place of the Byzantine emperors, may at last have been rediscovered.

Acknowledgements

This survey was only possible due to the permission and help of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and assistance and encouragement of the Government Representative for the survey, Ms. T. Kavala. The Turkish Embassy and Consulate in London, especially Ms. E. Ecer and Mr K. Ipek, also provided invaluable help. Thanks are also due to the relevant museum and other authorities in Istanbul: especially to the staff of Fatih Camii. Support of various kinds was received from The British Museum, the Late Antiquity Research Group and Istanbul University, and institutional support from the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara. Special thanks are also due to Dr A.L. Harris who spent several days during the 2001 survey at the site, discussing the building and context with Dr Dark.

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