Column of Marcian
The Column of Marcian (Turkish: Kıztaşı) is a Roman honorific column erected in Constantinople by the praefectus urbi Tatianus (450-c.452) and dedicated to the Emperor Marcian (450-57). It is located in the present-day Fatih district of Istanbul. The column is not documented in any late Roman or Byzantine source and its history has to be inferred from its location, style and dedicatory inscription.
The column is carved from red-grey Egyptian granite, in two sections. The quadrilateral basis is encased by four slabs of white marble. Three faces are decorated with IX monograms within medallions, and the fourth with two genii supporting a globe. The column is topped by a Corinthian capital, decorated with aquilae. The inscription confirms that the capital was originally surmounted by a statue of Marcian, in continuation of an imperial architectural tradition initiated by the Column of Trajan and the Column of Marcus Aurelius in Rome. The basis of the column is orientated northwest/southeast, while its capital is aligned north/south, possibly so that the statue could look towards the nearby Church of the Holy Apostles.
A dedicatory inscription is engraved on the northern side of the basis. Its lettering was originally filled with bronze, which has since been removed. The inscription reads:
[pr]incipis hanc statuam Marciani | cerne torumque |
[prae]fectus vovit quod Tatianus | opus
(Behold this statue of the princeps Marcian and its base,
a work dedicated by the prefect Tatianus.)
The Turkish name Kıztaşı, "the column of the girl" (kız: "girl" + taş: "stone"), apparently derives from the genii on the basis, which during the Ottoman period inspired a variety of spurious tales about the column's origin and history.
- Martindale & Morris (1980) 1053-4, Tatianus 1
- Mango (1951) 62 = CIL III 738 = ILS 824
- Stillwell, Richard (1940). "Review of Rudolf Kautzsch's "Kapitellstudien. Beitraege zu Einer Geschichte des Spaetantiken Kapitells im Osten vom vierten bis ins siebenten Jahrhundert"". American Journal of Archaeology 44 (1): 172. doi:10.2307/499613.
- Mango, C. A. (1951). "The Byzantine Inscriptions of Constantinople: A Bibliographical Survey". American Journal of Archaeology 55 (1): 52–66. doi:10.2307/501180.
- Martindale, John Robert; Jones, Arnold Hugh Martin; Morris, John (1980), The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Volume II: AD 395–527, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-20159-9
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Column of Marcian.|