- 1) City on the Black Sea (q.v.). Along with Cherson (q.v.), it was an important center of trade where Byzantium (q.v.) traded for furs, leather, and slaves with the barbarian peoples north of the Black Sea. Located on the easternmost projection of the Crimea (q.v.), the city was ruled by the Huns (q.v.) until it sought the protection of Justin I (q.v.) in 522. In 528 its king Grod came to Constantinople (q.v.) and was baptized, whereupon Justinian I (q.v.) sent a garrison of soldiers to Bosporos and fortified its walls. However, from 576 onward Byzantium controlled Bosporos intermittently until the Mongols (q.v.) captured it (by 1240).2) Strait that links the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara (qq.v.). Constantinople (q.v.) is located where the Sea of Marmara and the Bosporos meet. The strategic importance of the Bosporos is illustrated by the fact that when Mehmed II (q.v.) prepared to besiege Constantinople, his first act was to construct in 1452 a huge fortified enclosure now called Rumeli Hisar on the west bank of the Bosporos. Its cannons were able to control all sea traffic between Constantinople and the Black Sea, hence its Turkish name at the time, Boghaz-kesen ("the cutter of the strait").
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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