Byzantium, Constantinenoble, Constantinoble, Constantynenoble, Constantynoble, Costentineoble

A seaport in northwest Turkey founded in 600 BC as the capital of the Roman Empire in the east, which continued to flourish for nearly 1000 years after the fall of Rome. Its original name was Byzantium, changed to Constantinople in AD 330. after the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. At the time when the Roman Empire was divided into two, Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern or Byzantine Empire. The present name of the city is Istanbul.

From AD 457 to 474, Constantinople was ruled by Emperor Leo I. From 474 to 491, it was ruled by Emperor Zeno, who sent the Ostrogoths under Theodoric I into Italy to drive out the Germans. Zeno was followed by Anastsius (491-518) and Justin I (519-527). Between 527 and 565, which would encompass the Arthurian period as given by the early chronicles and the Annales Cambriae, the empire was governed by Justinian the Great, who restored a great many of the territories lost to the German tribes, including Italy itself.

Saving the appearance of Leo in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s chronicle as Arthur’s enemy during the Roman War, none of the Arthurian tales that include Constantinople reflect its actual history during the Arthurian period. An “Empress of Constantinople” makes an appearance in the Welsh tale of Peredur. While visiting Britain, she chanced to see the noble Peredur in a tournament. Peredur fell in love with the Empress at first sight, and he sent all of the men he defeated in the tournament to do honor to her. Later the two met, and the Empress revealed herself to be the same woman who had earlier given Peredur an enchanted stone, which had enabled him to defeat the afanc, a monster that plagued the King of Suffering and his sons. In gratitude and love, Peredur accompanied the Empress to Constantinople and ruled for fourteen years before returning to Britain.

In Chrétien de Troyes’s Cliges, the empire of Constantinople and Greece is ruled in succession by Emperor Alexander, Emperors Alis and Alexander, and Emperor Cliges. In the Vulgate Merlin, it is the birthplace of Sir Sagremor (Sagramore); Emperor Hadrian is his grandfather or uncle. The Vulgate Lancelot tells us that Helain the White – the son of Sir Bors – eventually became its emperor. Floriant and Florete gives the empire to Emperor Filimenis, who went to war with ArthurSir Floriant married Florete, Filimenis’s daughter, and inherited the empire.

Emperors who ruled there in the traditional Arthurian period were:
– Marcian : AD 450-457
– Leo I : AD 457-474
– Leo II : AD 474
– Zeno : AD 474-475 and again 476-491
– Basiliscus : AD 475-476
– Anastasius I : AD 491-518
– Justus I : AD 518-527
– Justinian I : AD 527-567

Geoffrey says that the Byzantine emperor contemporary with Arthur was Leo, and G. Ashe identifies him with Leo I. In Cligés, the imperial family of Constantinople is given the tree shown above, illustrating its kinship with Lot of Lothian.

See also
Empress of Constantinople | The Legend of King Arthur