Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul. One metropolis has been the capital city of three empires—Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. Each has brought its own faiths, beliefs, and traditions, and each has left its mark on architecture, traditions, and on the faith-communities who still populate this vast modern metropolis. In this series, Simon Sebag-Montefiore unveils Istanbul’s strange and complex past in all its vibrancy and color against the backdrop of this modern, living city that spans the gulf between Asia and Europe. It’s a journey through the history of world faith that takes Simon from the pantheon of the Athenian Greeks through the founding of Christianity to the rise of Islam.
Far from disappearing after the Hellenistic age, Greek art flourished with the rise of Christianity and the Orthodox church. This program explores the development of icon painting, the influence of Greek artists on later European movements, and the advent of neoclassical architecture as a manifestation of an age-old cultural legacy. With historical context from the conversion of Constantine through Greece's post-WWII development period, Beyond the Classical provides a double portrait of a national art movement that has drawn on its own roots to reinvent itself, and set of aesthetic principles that have shaped societies around the world.
For more than 1,000 years, the Byzantine Empire was the eye of the entire world. The origin of great literature, fine art, and modern government, it was also the first Christian empire. Pass through the gates of Constantinople, explore the magnificent mosque of Hagia Sophia and see the looted treasures of the empire now located in St. Marks, Venice.