Online Talk

Commercial and Daily Life in Constantinople:
Imaginary Mr. Constantine’s Day in the Market
Koray Durak


27 May 2020 / 18:00 Past Activity

Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, was one of the greatest Mediterranean markets in medieval times, thanks to a large palace and a large population with high purchasing power. The story of this living market can be found in a great variety of historical sources ranging from the recorded lives of saints to laws, literary works and archeological findings in Yenikapı. The purpose of this speech is to unearth traces of commercial life in Constantinople especially in the Middle Byzantine period via stories taking place in its streets.

With money in his pocket, a cart on his back, Mr. Constantine goes out for shopping on Mese Street one day. He intends to buy linen from Giresun and wine from Tekirdağ, unaware that later that day he will narrowly survive the fire that will break out in a glass workshop in Strategion (Eminönü) and will save a saint from drunkards in Artopoleia (near Aksaray).

Koray Durak Lecturer of Byzantine and Mediterranean history under the Department of History in Boğaziçi University since 2008, Koray Durak’s main research interests include economic and commercial life in Byzantine and Medieval Islam, as well as geographical imagery in Medieval Byzantine and Arabic literature. Recipient of Young Scientist award from the Turkish Academy of Sciences in 2011, Koray Durak wrote papers on the definition of Rum/Rhomaios and Constantinople published in national and international journals. He is currently working on the pharmacological substance trade between Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world. 

The speech will be live on the YouTube channel of Pera Museum. The event will be in Turkish.