Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul are
three names given to the city throughout its history. According to the
legend, the legendary founder of the city of Byzantium was Byzas from
Byzas was looking for a new land for his family and
his flowers. He asked the Delphic oracle for advice. The oracle advised
him not to settle until he found the land of the blind. He told him to
build his city just opposite the blind. The oracle was referring to the Chalcedonians,
a Greek colony established earlier on the Asiatique side.
Byzas set sail. When he was sailing thru the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea
at the point of the Bosphorus where three sides were surrounded by water,
he decided that the Calcedonians must have been blind not to have chosen
this great location. So Byzas built his city on this point in 650 B.C. It
was called Byzantium.
Byzantium was an independent city with its own
government, the favourable location of Byzantium,which controlled the sea
routes from the Aegean to the Black Sea.
Byzantium was an important center for trade and commercial. The city was
taken by Darius 512 B.C. and remained under Persian control from 479 to
444 B.C. after the expulsion of the Spartan General Pausanias.
Byzantium later became a voluntary ally of Athens, following two centuries
the city frequently changed hands between Athens and Sparta. In the year 179
B.C. the city was captured by the combined forces of Rhodes, Pergamum and
Bithynia. In 1710 B.C. Byzantium was captured by the Romans and remained a
Roman province until 325 A.D.