La Colonne brulée de Constantin

Pascal J. Sébah (1823–1886), La Colonne brulée de Constantin, ca. 1880 (676.2002)

The Column of Constantine was built in 328 by Emperor Constantine. Standing over 100 feet tall, it was initially topped with a statue of a standing Apollo with the face of Constantine wearing a crown with seven rays. A devastating fire in 1779 gave the column its’ common name, the burnt column. It has survived numerous natural disasters, storms, political and religious changes.

Pascal J. Sébah, a photographer of Armenian descent, opened his studio, prolific and successful, in 1857 in Constantinople (Istanbul). The studio was in operation until 1952.
April 24, 1915 is the day when the Ottoman Empire began its genocide against the Armenian people by arresting hundreds of Armenian and Christian intellectuals and leaders in Constantinople. They were later executed. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed between 1915 and 1922.

The burnt column, Apollo-less, perhaps a perch for pigeons and pedestrian, still stands. (In a byzantine turn of events, a recently discovered photo of a telegram, written in secret code by Ottoman officials in 1915, photographed in an inaccessible archive by an Armenian monk in the 1940s, may provide evidence of government knowledge of the genocide. In the coded telegram the Ottoman officials were “asking for details about the deportations and killings of Armenians in eastern Anatolia.” (NY Times)

New York Times
Public Domain Review

Google Street View, La Colonne brulée de Constantin, 2014-2017

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