In the 4th century CE, it was the beginning of the road to Rome.
L: Looking west to the Pillar of Constantine and, behind, Beyazit Camii (Mosque) on an old postcard in my collection, then termed the Colonne brulée for damage a fire did in the 18th century. Turkish name: Cemberlitas, Hooped Column. The hoops were added in 416 CE and replaced in 1701.
R: artist’s recreation of the Forum of Constantine of which the pillar was the centrepiece. In some accounts the forum was an oval.
Part of the road between Constantinople and Rome mapped:
Courtesy Sting (Eric Gaba), Wikimedia Commons.
A fifteen-minute walk away from Rome brings us to the Hippodrome. These pillars stood in the middle of the original stadium. Musta been like that racecourse in the movie Ben Hur, eh? (Artist’s recreation here.)
Were attracted to the little bazaar by the Hippodrome for its gloomy atmosphere:
The obelisk itself dates from the end of the 16th century BCE. It came from Egypt possibly with Constantine and sat on a beach until Theodosius had it mounted in its present position, with carved marble tablets at the base. At left, top to bottom: Theo watching the races; Theo handing out awards; Theo accepting “homages from vanquished enemies” (Strolling 113). The inscriptions in Latin and Greek “praise Theodosius and his Prefect Proclus for erecting the obelisk.”