"The construction of the city - by a labor force that is said to have included skilled stonecutters from Naples and 40,000 Gothic troops - was expedited by Constantine “with the impatience of a lover.” The task took some six years to complete, and the new capital was dedicated in a splendid ceremony on May 11, 330. The inaugural procession, composed of priests, senators, and imperial dignitaries, moved from the west of the city to the Forum of Constantine. A statue of the emperor in the guise of Apollo the sun-god was then heaved on top of the central column to the chanting of Kyrie Eleison. A priest proclaimed the new name of the capital as Constantinopolis, and the city was saluted with acclamations while all the priests cried aloud: “O Lord guide it on the good path for infinite ages.” This inscription was purportedly placed on the column: “O Christ and Master of the World, to You I now dedicate this subject City, and these Scepters, and the Might of Rome. Protector, save her from all harm.”
In one of the entrances to the Hagia Sophia, this mosaic panel of the 10th century shows the Virgin Mary in the middle of Emperor Constantine, holding a model of the city of Constantinople, and Emperor Justinian, holding a model of the church.
Bust of Constantine the Great at the Capitoline Museums, in Rome. Photograph by Jean-Christophe Benoist.