Nika riots (nonfiction)

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The imperial district of Byzantine Constantinople, with the Great Palace and the approximate locations of its main buildings (based on literary descriptions), the Hippodrome, the Hagia Sophia and the surrounding structures. Surviving or excavated structures are in black, the conjectural outlines of structures in grey, and the shaded portion corresponds to the area occupied by the Sultanahmet Camii and other later structures.
The Nika riots (Greek: Στάσις τοῦ Νίκα Stásis toû Níka), or Nika revolt, was a revolt against Emperor Justinian I that took place over the course of a week in Constantinople in AD 532.

It was the most violent riot in the history of Constantinople, with nearly half the city being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed.

On January 13, 532, a tense and angry populace arrived at the Hippodrome for the races. The Hippodrome was next to the palace complex, and thus Justinian could watch from the safety of his box in the palace and preside over the races. From the start, the crowd had been hurling insults at Justinian. By the end of the day, at race 22, the partisan chants had changed from "Blue" or "Green" to a unified Nίκα ("Nika", meaning "Win!" or "Conquer!"), and the crowds broke out and began to assault the palace. For the next five days, the palace was under siege.

The fires that started during the tumult resulted in the destruction of much of the city, including the city's foremost church, the Hagia Sophia (which Justinian would later rebuild).

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