The Palace and the City
This chapter examines the mutual relations of palace and city in Byzantium. More specifically, it considers the link between the imperial court within the Great Palace of Constantinople and the local population who called themselves “Byzantines.” Constantine's foundation of a new capital on the site of ancient Byzantion gave rise to a series of epithets for the metropolis: the Queen City, or ruling city, basileuontas polis, as it became known, or simply “the city.” In Constantinople “the palace” refers to the “Great Palace,” even though there were many other palaces in the city and suburban region. The chapter describes the occasions when the emperor had contact with three important groups of people who could enter the palace doors: circus factions, soldiers, and merchants. It also discusses two circumstances in which the emperor left the palace: journeys established by imperial protocol for fixed ceremonies, and unplanned visits to the city.
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