Chalke

   The major ceremonial entrance to the Great Palace at Constantinople (qq.v.). The original structure was destroyed in the Nika Revolt (q.v.) of 532. It was rebuilt by Justinian I (q.v.) as an enclosed porch covered by a dome (q.v.) resting on the arches of four barrel vaults and their corner pendentives (q.v.). Its great bronze doors are probably why it was called "brazen" (chalke). Its dome was decorated with mosaics showing Justinian I with Theodora (q.v.) and an entourage of senators, and the emperor victorious over the Goths and Vandals (qq.v.). The exterior was replete with statues of emperors, of Belisarios (q.v.), as well as ancient statuary (four gorgon heads, two Athenian philosophers). However, it was the icon (q.v.) of Christ called Christ Chalkites that was most famous. Leo III's (q.v.) removal of this icon in 726 was the beginning of Iconoclasm (q.v.). When Iconoclasm was finally defeated in 843, the patriarch Methodios (qq.v.) asked the painter Lazaros to create a new icon of Christ to replace the one destroyed by Leo III.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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