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Constantinople was the capital of the East Roman/Byzantine Empire for more than 1,000 years and is one of the most important cities in world and religious history. Now known as Istanbul, it is located on the Bosphorus Strait in Anatolia on the site of the ancient city of Byzantium. The city was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine I as “New Rome” in 330 CE to move his imperial capital closer to the frontiers of the empire. For much of its history, Constantinople was the largest and most affluent city in Europe, and its location allowed it to control major trade routes to Asia. It also provided western Europe with a significant defense from both barbarian and Islamic invasions for several centuries. A prime example ...

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