The city of Constantinople, capital of the late Roman and Byzantine Empire’s, was one of the last great ancient cities. Located at the mouth of the Bosporus straights and controlling access between the Mediterranean and Black Seas, Constantinople was strategically located to control the lucrative trade routes to the east.
Between the cities dedication in AD 324 by Constantine I and the death of Justinian I in AD 565 (generally considered to have been the last Roman Emperor), Constantinople experienced a prolonged period of growth and development.
The study of Constantinople’s development is particularly important as its development represents a bridge between the Greco-Roman models of city planning of antiquity to the period of medieval (i.e. Byzantine) urban development.
In general, we can divide the cities development to three distinct phases. The first, beginning with Constantine I’s choice of Byzantium as his new imperial capital in AD 324 was a massive enlargement of the existing city. During this phase, which consisted mainly of replicated established Roman and Greek conventions of town planning, most the city’s infrastructure was laid down.