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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stalking Theodora

It's probably a good thing all my favorite people from history are dead. Actually, I know it's a good thing because it wouldn't take long for me to be arrested for lurking in the bushes outside their houses. (Or palaces, in the cases of Theodora and Hatshepsut).

Last summer I got to stalk Theodora when I went to Istanbul. I figured it was probably time to get around to sharing some of that stalking. (Yes, I'm trying to make you all accomplices. Just go with it).

A giant Medusa pillar in the Basilica Cistern. Justinian (Theodora's husband) pilfered columns from all over the empire to build this.

Inside the Hagia Sophia. The monogram on that pillar is either Justinian's or Theodora's. If I built the biggest church in the world (at the time) I'd put my initials all over it too. Modesty is highly overrated.

The Empress and Empress-in-Training in the Empress' box at the Hagia Sophia. All we needed was a throne.

Recently discovered floor mosaics from the Sacred Palace. Yes, that means Theodora would have walked here. (And yes, I drooled over these).

The Egyptian obelisk of Tutmose III from the Hippodrome. The obelisk was swiped from Egypt (obviously), but the base shows the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius watching the chariot races. Ancient Egypt in Byzantium? SO COOL!

That's it for now. I'm pretty excited because it looks like I get to go back to Istanbul for a couple days this summer. More stalking!

DISCLAIMER: I promise not to stalk anyone unless they're already dead. Then they're fair game. And no zombies either. That's just weird.


Amalia T. said...

I am completely jealous of your travels!! I look forward to seeing how you bring Istanbul to life in your Theodora book! You're so good at creating those atmospheres.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

How fascinating. I have made Empress Theodora a recurring character in my Victor Standish and Samuel McCord urban fantasies.

In them, Theodora is the Empress of what she calls the Unholy Roman Empire. She is a revenant (my version of vampires - but no sparkles and hardly any morals.) As a daughter of bear trainer, my Theodora has a harsh view of life, hardly tempered by the memory of her husband, Justinian.

Great to see those photos! Roland

Julie Dao said...

Wow! These photos are amazing! What an inspiring place. I'm so jealous. I hope I get to see Istanbul one day - it's right up there with the million other places I hope to visit!

Gary Corby said...

You're tempting me to go back there.

The cistern is very cool! (Both temperature and karma-wise.) Your trivia for the day is that the cistern appears in a scene in James Bond, in From Russia With Love, and given its atmosphere I'd totally recommend it to any aspiring assassin.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

You are so amazing! I love it that you get to visit the places of your obsessions--and that you share the pictures with us!! :-)

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Jealous also. But how cool we get to see those gems through your eyes!

L.G.Smith said...

See, it doesn't even matter if they are dead. I'm still going to drool over monuments and hallowed halls where kings and queens walked when I get to England. I tried explaining my love of history to someone, but they didn't quite understand how these people are like rock stars to me. I mean, true, I can't get their autograph, but just knowing they walked in some castle is enough for me. :))

Jemi Fraser said...

Those photos are incredible! Love the ancient egyptian twist on history. When you have enough money/power apparently you can rewrite history - cool! :)

Renee Yancy said...

I agree with LG Smith above - it's hard to explain your love of history and historical figures to someone who doesn't get it. But we get it, don't we? I hope you're going to post more pics. They are great!

Vicki Tremper said...

You're definitely awakening a desire to visit Istanbul in me. Keep the pix coming!

S.L. Stevens said...

LOVE Istanbul. When I was there several years ago the Hagia Sophia was half full of scaffolding (they were doing restoration work on the ceiling), so the effect was a bit spoiled. I really loved the Basilica Cistern.

Medeia Sharif said...

Fascinating post. I'd love to go to Istanbul one day. Such great sights and an interesting history.

I think it's okay to stalk dead people.

Holz said...

Beautiful photos of the Hagia Sophia! I've just discovered your blog, and am delighted to see someone else is also a big fan, if I may say so, of Hatshepsut. I have been interested in Ancient Egypt for as long as I remember, and it so happens that Hatshepsut was my favourite pharaoh/historical character from the get-go to this day!