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Hagia Sophia of Constantinople, 537–1204: Political, Social, and Urban History

Stephanos Efthymiadis, Open University of Cyprus, Fellow 2017–2018

I intend to produce a monograph on the political, social, and urban history of Hagia Sophia, the monument-symbol of Byzantium and its civilization. The standard picture of Hagia Sophia was naturally that of a sacred temple where church offices were performed daily, the residence of the patriarch of Constantinople, and the stage for imperial ceremonies and public appearances of the emperor. Yet often the church was a political arena. It was caught in the middle of rivalries between the emperor and the patriarch, the emperor and the populace, the populace and the patriarch, or even its clergy and the patriarch. I located a large amount of bibliography and other material that enabled me to examine the less spectacular, but no less important, aspects of the monument and its development between 532 and 1204. I studied Robert Van Nice’s collection of papers, notes, and photographs at the ICFA and consulted the rich sigillographic collection that records names and offices of the clergymen of Hagia Sophia, i.e., a significant part of those individuals who can be termed “its people.” This material is the substantial basis of my book; I have drafted the first three chapters.