Perched at the tip of Europe, gazing across to the shores of Asia, Istanbul remains as much a city of crossroads as it has been for the past two millennia. The history of this fabled metropolis--known at first as Byzantion, then Constantinople, and now Istanbul--is glorious, grandiose, and astounding. No other city has stood at the center of world events for so long, a home to great empires and diverse cultures from the Greeks to the Romans, the Italians to the Armenians, the Ottomans to the modern Turks. Prizewinning historian Thomas F. Madden's tremendous new biography of this mysterious city captures centuries of triumph and defeat, riches and poverty, seen through the lives of those who inhabited it: the emperors and empresses, craftsmen and architects, sailors and fishermen, street vendors and harem concubines. This book propels the reader on a journey of Mediterranean commerce, thought, religion, and power, running through ancient roads, wharfs, forums, and palaces. Excavating centuries of firsthand accounts, Madden sets this history against the background of men and women who forever changed their worlds, including Alexander the Great, Constantine, Empress Theodora, Mehmed the Conqueror, Suleiman the Magnificent, and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Witness the construction of the massive Theodosian Walls, the embellishment of rich Hagia Sophia, and the transformation and revitalization of the Golden Horn district. From 667 BC to President Erdoğan's tumultuous twenty-first century presidency, Madden's account not only questions how we think of Istanbul's past, but also examines what we can learn from a people who have withstood invasion and threat time and time again. Through the long gaze of Madden's stirring narrative, we experience the strength of a people who endure at the intersection of faith, geography, and ideology.--Adapted from dust jacket.