In Constantine's day there was an oval forum situated here at what may have been the west gate of Antoninia. On its erection, the column of nine high drums was surmounted by a statue of Constantine as Apollo, and the orb he carried was said to contain a fragment of the True Cross. At the foot of the column was a sanctuary in which were relics claimed to be from the crosses of the two thieves who were crucified with Christ on Calvary, the baskets from the loaves and fishes miracle, a jar belonging to Virgin Mary and presumably used by her in the washing of the feet, the palladium of ancient Rome and a wooden statue of Athena from Troy.
This column is one of the most important examples of Roman art in Constantinople (Istanbul) and was constructed of various blocks placed on each other. It was originally 50 meters tall and was topped by the statue of emperor Constantine in the figure of Apollo. A strong gale in 1150 AD caused the statue to fall, and a cross was added in its place by the Byzantine emperor Manuel Comnenus.
Bronze wreaths once covered the joints between the drums, but these were taken by the Latin Crusaders who looted the city during the Fourth Crusade (1204). Since 1150 AD the column is 35 m tall.
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