Back in 2010 I visited Rome and Pompeii for the first time. Armed with my mp3 player I listened to "The History of Rome" as I walked around the major sites. I loved it but I wished that I had some kind of detailed guide with me.
And I don't mean a local guide who would treat me like a tourist. I mean I wanted Mike Duncan there in some form helping immerse me in the experience. That is what I want to do for you.
My goal is to visit Istanbul this summer and take pictures and footage of every Roman site I have time to find. I will then create documentary-style videos about each one. The aim is to guide you around what remains, pointing out the events which took place there and bringing you the stories behind the landscape.
I think its vital to preserve the memory of these monuments while they are still visible and accessible. There are well over 50 sites that could be visited. The more we raise, the more time I'll have to try and find them.
During my trip I'll also be scouting the city in the hopes of creating a guided tour. I'll be making contact with local guides and friends of the show so that the next time I visit, you can come with me.
The initial £13,330 is to fund me for a week in Istanbul. The budget allows me 7 solid days of documenting sites. I can only guarantee to produce 5-7 videos from this time. These would definitely cover
- The Hagia Sophia
- The Chora Church
- The Hippodrome
- The Archeological Museum
- The Land Walls
and hopefully a "Walk along the Mese" which would cover
- The Milion
- The ruins of the Palace of Lausus and Antiochus
- The Column of Constantine
- The Forum of Theodossius
- The Myrelaion (burial place of Romanus Lekapenos)
along with a "Walk along the Marmara shore" to see
- The Church of Saints Sergius and Bachus
- Parts of the Sea Walls
- The Boukoleon Palace (the spot where Tzimiskes killed Phokas)
- Remains of the Church of Saint Savior (where legend says Alexios Komnenos was buried)
£18,850 - would allow me 10 days. Some of the extra sites I might be able to document would be:
- The Blachernae Palace (where Emperors lived from the 11th century on)
- The Hagia Irene
- The Basilica Cistern
- The Aqueduct of Valens
- The Column of Marcian
- The Column of the Goths
£26,210 - would be 14 days. Now we're into a virtual tour that would pick up a huge collection of hidden gems including:
A "Walk around the Fatih district" to see:
- the Sea Walls
- The Church of the Pantocrator
- The Church of St Saviour Pantepoptes
- The Church of St Polyeuktos (which Justinian tried to outdo with HS)
A "Walk around the Fifth and Sixth Hills" to see:
- The Cisterns of Aetios, Aspar and Pulcheria
- The Monastery of the Prodromos in Petra
- The Church of the Theotokos Pammakaristos
- The Church of St John in Trullo
A "Walk along the Golden Horn" to see:
- The Church of St Theodosia
- The Gate of the Petrion (where the Venetians broke into the city)
- St Mary of the Mongols (only Byzantine era church to not become a mosque)
- The sea and land walls meet
A "Walk around the Seventh Hill " to see:
- The Column of Arcadius
- St John the Baptist of Studius (The church of the Stoudios Monastery, the most famous in the city and stop-off point on Imperial triumphs)
- The Church of St Andrew in Krisei
- The Martyrium of Saints Karpos and Papylos
- The Mosaic Museum (the decorations of the Great Palace where Justinian and Heraclius would have lived)
- The Monastery of Constantine Lips
- The Church of St Theodore
- The Church of the Theotokos Kyriotissa
- The Galata Tower
and much more!
This is what the money will be spent on:
- The major expense is the video editing. A kind listener of the show has taken this on. She is working for a relatively low hourly wage but we've budgeted high for the amount of time it will take to create each video. The more sites I can visit, the more we will spend on editing.
- Fixed expenses to make the trip possible include:
Transport from London to Istanbul and back
- Daily expenses will include *:
Entry fees to the sites
Hiring guides to some sites
* Many of these expenses are doubled to include my camera operator
- I have budgeted an amount to pay myself for the time spent on the project. This includes the hours (and hours and hours) of research before, during and after the trip. The trip itself and all the time working on the videos and other rewards. I will be flat out keeping the project moving while also maintaining the podcast schedule.
- Finally Kickstarter and Amazon payments both take a percentage of the donations.
Risks and challenges
The major obstacle to the trip will be Istanbul itself. As you probably know Turkey is in the midst of a politically uncertain time. Events could intervene to make it difficult for me to visit when I want to.
This instability actually drives me on to complete the project. I want to preserve the memory of the Roman sites while they are still accessible. My flexibie work life (thanks to the podcast) means I could visit at a later date if events forced changes to my schedule.
Once in the city I am told that sites can be closed arbitrarily or with no warning. And that some sites are undergoing restoration that would prevent filming. The weather could also conspire to ruin outside shots. Again my flexibility would help overcome some obstacles. Many kind listeners have come forward with contacts who work in Istanbul who should help me gain access to hard-to-reach places.
Finally ill health or complications with either the project or the podcast could slow things down throughout 2018. But I have been podcasting since 2008 and running the "History of Byzantium" since 2012. I have never abandoned a podcast during its run and I don't plan to now.
If the Byzantines have taught me anything its that perseverance can overcome almost anything.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)