!!> BOOKS ✰ Istanbul: The Imperial City ⚦ Author John Freely – Furosemidelasix.info

Istanbul: The Imperial City Somehow managed to have at least a seven year gap between starting and finishing this.Writing a history of a city that has been an imperial hub for what, 1700 years is always going to be difficult in that the history of the empires and the history of the city blend into one another The Byzantine Empire was saved countless times by the fact Constantinople was unconquerable Equally, during the Ottoman period, the empire s highs and lows played out in Janissary riots across the city Therefore w Somehow managed to have at least a seven year gap between starting and finishing this.Writing a history of a city that has been an imperial hub for what, 1700 years is always going to be difficult in that the history of the empires and the history of the city blend into one another The Byzantine Empire was saved countless times by the fact Constantinople was unconquerable Equally, during the Ottoman period, the empire s highs and lows played out in Janissary riots across the city Therefore what we often get when reading is a history of a war which ended at its gates rather than what was happening the other side of those gates during those years.The middle ground of a history that truly covers the city while explaining the fortunes of the empires that revolve around it wasn t found in this book Entire chapters cover lives of sultans and the only context in how it affected Kostantiniyye was that these sultans lived there Worse than that, the real expansion of the city over the centuries isn t really discussed That s the equivalent of a history of London discussing kings or queens moving from Windsor to Buckingham Palace while neglecting to mention that London had expanded from the City well into what in previous chapters was being called countryside.A book that diverts regularly into discussing frontier imperial politics somehow fails to mention the Armenian genocide which altered Istanbul s character, and even if this was too controversial, doesn t mention infamous documented official Greek pogroms over decades either.That balance in storytelling is seldom found in books on the topic the flipside is that histories of the Byzantine empire often read as histories of Constantinople, for example and the issue is a lack of sources, with most focussing on the court That is forgiven in the book until it reaches a period of mass sources and continues the trend, at which point it looks unimaginative from the author.Ultimately this is a very safe but lacking history to be picked up a few weeks before a trip to Istanbul to add some flavour and depth to sights It s a history of the power that resided in the city and tails off as soon as the capital is moved to Ankara A true history of the city as a city this is not Not that good, it slike a long list of names of who got murdered for control of the city with the occasional anecdote and the he build this and she build that with a long index of monuments at the end that seems copy pasted from wikipedia. It s already a part of tradition that I always find and buy a book about the places I visit fortunately Istanbul have not one but two excellent english bookshops in the central area same owner that cater for tourists, visitors and diplomats there is a nice selection of books about Turkey and Islam in english so I selected Istanbul the imperial city by John Freely as my first introduction to this beautiful and exciting city, since I don t know much about its history except basic informa It s already a part of tradition that I always find and buy a book about the places I visit fortunately Istanbul have not one but two excellent english bookshops in the central area same owner that cater for tourists, visitors and diplomats there is a nice selection of books about Turkey and Islam in english so I selected Istanbul the imperial city by John Freely as my first introduction to this beautiful and exciting city, since I don t know much about its history except basic informations.So far I am really enjoying it not too much space was focused on early settlers but very soon author moves on to explain it greeks and roman roots that have left muchtraces than people who lived here before Right now I am at the Chapter 12 and romans are in full swing lots of interesting and brutal anecdotes about emperors being killed by mobs and queen mothers having their tongues sliced , noses cut off and such stories We also get informations about all the important palaces,temples and public buildings built around this time as well as occasional story about ordinary people who lived there, famous courtesans, saints, priests and soldiers who were remembered in history Very gripping story and I am truly enjoying it and so far its still a roman city, at this stage of the book muslims are only distant treat from far away Objectively, this book is kind of boring I picked this book up because I find Istanbul enchanting and I enjoyed the portions of this book that focus on the growth and development of the city and its landmarks enough to like the book as a whole But, that really isn t the book s focus Instead, Freely focuses on the long and violent parade of emperors and empresses that ruled the empires centered there While these rulers records brutality and duplicity makes the Song of Fire and Ice series loo Objectively, this book is kind of boring I picked this book up because I find Istanbul enchanting and I enjoyed the portions of this book that focus on the growth and development of the city and its landmarks enough to like the book as a whole But, that really isn t the book s focus Instead, Freely focuses on the long and violent parade of emperors and empresses that ruled the empires centered there While these rulers records brutality and duplicity makes the Song of Fire and Ice series look tame, a straightforward catalog of people betraying and killing family members actually grew dry John Freely s reference book can be identified as tale of three cities Byzantium, Constantinople and stanbul This lyric tale, which attracts the reader from the very first page, just starting with ethymological roots of stanbul stin poli , i.e to the city, no other name is needed to identify it as Freely beautifully points out and Anatolia which means land of sunrise , whereas Europe can be translated as land of darkness in both Indo Europe and Semitic languages according to Freel John Freely s reference book can be identified as tale of three cities Byzantium, Constantinople and stanbul This lyric tale, which attracts the reader from the very first page, just starting with ethymological roots of stanbul stin poli , i.e to the city, no other name is needed to identify it as Freely beautifully points out and Anatolia which means land of sunrise , whereas Europe can be translated as land of darkness in both Indo Europe and Semitic languages according to Freely.The tale floods from mythological origins of the city and touches every significant era until 20th century, and explains how a Greek colony evolved to first Roman capital, than land of promise for Muslim world, and a Muslim imperial city for 5 ages than part of new Turkish republic Yet queen of cities stanbul can not be understood by just digesting its own history, hence the book dwells on city s identity in multidimensional forms including but not limited to its topographical details, sociological layers, its interaction with other millets, i.e national compartments and cultural evolution and transformation throughout the centuries.The book also contains some beautiful illustrations and maps as well as containing innumerable anecdotes and reviews from famous intellectuals, such as Lord Byron and Edmondo de Amicis that I will omit in this review in order not to further spoil the book and harm its fluency.Another aspect of the fluency is the language I read the book from an English copy, something I mitigate to do unless I am enforced to as this decelerates me due to my lack of vocabulary and this was evenexplicit in long quotations in the book Nevertheless, reading the book in its own language acts like the soul of the work is diffusing in my brain directly and that is why I dared to write this review in English, although I knew my English is not sufficient enough.Having said all this, the relation that you establish with the city is eventually personal Freely s masterpiece can be a key for you to enter through one of the Roman walls and help you wander around within centuries in stanbul but it will be your own personal experience to assoicate all of these pieces with you, build your own network of memories with the people you love This, I believe, may be why Freely implies his personal experience towards the very end of the book which contrasts the formal language dominates the rest This is a book I enjoyed reading..With my general love of history, the author introduced me to pre Ottoman Istanbul, which revealed to me along with Ottoman and Republican Istanbul this what weight and value this beautiful city has in world history making me love Istanbul even..The author divides the book into three parts Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul.The first two cover the period before the 1453 Ottoman conquest, taking us back to around 600 bc with the early Greek settlement This is a book I enjoyed reading..With my general love of history, the author introduced me to pre Ottoman Istanbul, which revealed to me along with Ottoman and Republican Istanbul this what weight and value this beautiful city has in world history making me love Istanbul even..The author divides the book into three parts Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul.The first two cover the period before the 1453 Ottoman conquest, taking us back to around 600 bc with the early Greek settlements in the area and the establishment of Byzantium on the first hill of the historical peninsula on the Marmara Bosphorus Byzantium develops into a state and then into a capital of an empire chosen by the emperor Constantine to be the Roman empire capital named Constantinople after his name.With it s empire the capital flourishes for centuries but then finally descends witnessing internal struggles and external threats which are covered in the material recording the social development and building of the city historical monuments.Reading this pre Ottoman history was certainly interesting and very useful with the the load of details some readers might not be familiar with in the city s ancient history.The third part, Istanbul, wasfamiliar The city Constantinople is conquered by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror Fatih the year 1453 and is reborn as Istanbul the capital of the Ottoman empire inheriting the richness of the past and with the new Ottoman additions turns into a real metropolis of a city adding beauty to it s ancient historical beauty.As in the pre Ottoman history, the city expands with numerous monuments built in the process recorded in the material along with the social developments of it s people where the author includes various texts written by historians and travellers adding value to the reading experience of the material.The city lives with the empire and the Sultans witnessing the up and downs the good days and the bad days finally witnessing the collapse of the great Ottoman Empire ending the days of imperial Istanbul which transforms into the modern Republican Istanbul no longer a capital but still the beautiful city with it s special spirit and character surviving over it s centuries of long history on the Bosphorus.The author added a useful appendix for readers interested indetails on the many monuments and landmarks mentioned throughout the book.There were some very minor instances where some Ottoman political history details lacked accuracy or completion This did not negatively impact my reading having this book a story of Istanbul the place and the inhabitants Such minor notes will not impact my rating of the book deserving a full rating of 5 5.A high recommendation for lovers of Istanbul and it s beauty throughout history I bought this book on the road back from Istanbul, a city I enjoyed very much during a week long visit Istanbul The Imperial City by John Freely is exactly what I should have been reading before visiting it is a history of the city sprinkled with descriptions of the buildings and landmarks still visible at the middle of the 1990s We are also given excerpts from some of the most important writings on the topic of Istanbul, especially from the old writs.In active, somewhat repetitive prose, Fr I bought this book on the road back from Istanbul, a city I enjoyed very much during a week long visit Istanbul The Imperial City by John Freely is exactly what I should have been reading before visiting it is a history of the city sprinkled with descriptions of the buildings and landmarks still visible at the middle of the 1990s We are also given excerpts from some of the most important writings on the topic of Istanbul, especially from the old writs.In active, somewhat repetitive prose, Freely exposes the two and a half millenia of the wonderful city of the Golden Horn, Istanbul, or Constantinople, or Byzantium Founded by the colonist Byzas of Megara around 660BC, Byzantium made use of advanced military engineering to protect itself for centuries from a large number of wannabe conquerors Persians, Thracians, Scytes, Macedonians, Athenians, etc It is early in its history the Byzantium inaugurated its infamous treasonous behavior, with switches of allegiance and murdered leaders common For example, around 440BC Byzantium revolts against Athens, to whom it was paying tribute, and is besieged by troops from the Athenian League the siege ends when the pro Athenian faction lets down ladders from the besieged walls The Byzantine generals agreement is, today, a famous and difficult problem of consistency in distributed systems computer science In this problem, the goal is to agree on the order to either attack or retreat, assuming that one or several of the generals, but not all, are traitors This book raised a lot of memories from my history classes Here We learn about the establishment of Constantinople in Greek Constantinopolis, or the City of Constantine , the town that effectively quadrupled the size of the ancient Byzantium while maintaining its core in the Golden Horn We read about the long internal struggle for power of a dying Roman Empire names like Theodosius, Julian, Justinian, and others We see how Haghia Sophia Aya Sofia, Hagia Sofia, the Church of the Divine Wisdom gets built and repeatedly rebuilt We observe the Cristian Church being split into Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox We conquer the city with the Crusaders the first fall and the Ottomans the second fall We understand the Dark Ages and the medieval world Overall, I loved reading about the places I ve just seen I felt at home with many of the names, peoples, and places I was tested thoroughly on my knowledge of history, and I was not disappointed to see what has left from my gymnasium lessons I was delighted to observe how many words I knew from childhood were of Greek or Turkish origin ayazma, kestane, kadin, If it wasn t for the rather long and somewhat unintelligible list of names, the rather superficial analysis of the causes of various events, and the too long excerpts in the latter parts of the book, it would have been a 5 star Thumbs up, recommended reading for visitors of Istanbul This book about Byzantium Constantinople Istanbul, by the American teacher John Freely, is a curious read It purports to be a chronological history of the city, yet is in fact mostly a string of anecdotes about the doings of its sometime rulers interspersed with the odd undigested gobbet of political history It has none of the contextual depth or atmospherics required to really understand the place, in the way, for example, that you can almost walk the streets of Victorian London in Desmond an This book about Byzantium Constantinople Istanbul, by the American teacher John Freely, is a curious read It purports to be a chronological history of the city, yet is in fact mostly a string of anecdotes about the doings of its sometime rulers interspersed with the odd undigested gobbet of political history It has none of the contextual depth or atmospherics required to really understand the place, in the way, for example, that you can almost walk the streets of Victorian London in Desmond and Moore s incredible biography of Darwin So the first 300 odd pages skate unsatisfyingly over the surface of their subject and then the final 60 odd, footnotes to the main text, consist of detailed architectural descriptions with sketches of the remaining monuments of the Byzantine and Ottoman eras which would no doubt be illuminating if you were examining those places with the book in your hand, but are really just annoying when you have to flick back and forth.Perhaps I ll pack it next time I go it might change my mind Istanbul S History Is A Catalogue Of Change, Not Least Of Name, Yet It Has Managed To Retain Its Own Unique Identity John Freely Captures The Flavour Of Daily Life As Well As Court Ceremonial And Intrigue The Book Also Includes A Comprehensive Gazetteer Of All Major Monuments And Museums An In Depth Study Of This Legendary City Through Its Many Different Ages From Its Earliest Foundation To The Present Day The Perfect Traveller S Companion And Guide Too many facts to really digest by reading it through, but lots of information for someone visiting Istanbul that provides a significant depth of knowledge.I would have rated it lower if I had to read it all in one sitting probably too overwhelming for that but if you spread it out, you can see patterns and understand the flow of the city.


About the Author: John Freely

John Freely was born in 1926 in Brooklyn, New York to Irish immigrant parents, and spent half of his early childhood in Ireland He dropped out of high school when he was 17 to join the U S Navy, serving for two years, including combat duty with a commando unit in the Pacific, India, Burma and China during the last year of World War II After the war, he went to college on the G I Bill and eventually received a Ph.D in physics from New York University, followed by a year of post doctoral study at Oxford in the history of science He worked as a research physicist for nine years, including five years at Princeton University In 1960 he went to stanbul to teach physics at the Robert College, now the Bo azi i University, and taught there until 1976 He then went on to teach and write in Athens 1976 79 , Boston 1979 87 , London 1987 88 , stanbul 1988 91 and Venice 1991 93 In 1993 he returned to Bo azi i University, where he taught a course on the history of science His first book, co authored by the late Hilary Sumner Boyd, was Strolling Through stanbul 1972 Since then he has publishedthan forty books.


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