New Rome

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For other uses, see New Rome (disambiguation).

New Rome (Nova Roma) is traditionally reported to be the name given by emperor Constantine the Great to the new imperial capital he founded in 330 at the city on the European coast of the Bosporus strait, known as Byzantium until then and as Kōnstantinoúpolis (Constantinople) from that time to its official renaming as Istanbul in 1928. According to the Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, vol. 164 (Stuttgart: A. Hiersemann, 2005), there is no proof for the tradition that Constantine officially dubbed the city "New Rome" (Nova Roma or Nea Rhome). Commemorative coins that were issued during the 330s already refer to the city as Constantinopolis (see e.g. Michael Grant, The climax of Rome (London 1968), p. 133). It is possible that the emperor called the city "Second Rome" (Deutera Rhome), as reported by the 5th-century church historian Socrates of Constantinople, but it is most unlikely that he would have done what Socrates claims, and eclipsed his own name by making 'Second Rome, an official designation. The first appearance of the term 'New Rome' in connection to Constantinople in any kind of document was at the First Council of Constantinople (381), in the context of deciding that the relatively youthful church of Constantinople should have precedence over Alexandria and Antioch 'because it is a New Rome'. Even after this, the name was not used in official proclamations by the civil authority, as opposed to the Christian church.