Sarah Bassett’s ‘The Urban Image of Late Antique Constantinople’

From the Garden into the City

[Note: This is an informal and unpublished book review that I did for a graduate course a while back. I’m re-posting it here in the hope that it will be of some use to someone.]

Bassett, Sarah, The Urban Image of Late Antique Constantinople. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pp. xix + 291. Hardcover: $79, Paperback: $59. ISBN 978-0521030847.

Sarah Bassett’s The Urban Image of Late Antique Constantinople posits to examine the antiquities that were placed and arranged in Constantinople from the fourth to the sixth centuries. This is done in two major parts. The first half of the book is the argumentative section. Here, Bassett outlines the major programs of collection, divided into sections on Constantine, the Theodosians, the Lausos collection, as well as Justinian. Wisely choosing not to believe Eusebius’ statement that Constantine set up pagan monuments in Constantinople to be mocked, Bassett convincingly argues for a careful…

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