Interpretations:Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

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I'll be damned -- for 10 years I thought this was a TMBG original!

In the UK this clunked after the top 10 Birdhouse. If only they had released Twisting! (Mr Tuck)

This song's about people changing everything and then trying to change it back after deciding they don't like it. -Walrus

I'm sure it's just about Istanbul being Constantinople no more.

I'd like to point out that Constantinople's name was changed to Istanbul because it was taken by the Turks. Ironically, before being called Constantinople, it was called Byzantium. Then Emperor Constantine moved his capital from Rome to there, changing the name to Constaninople in honour of himself. After all, Rome was named after its founder Romulus. The reason New York is no longer New Amsterdam is because it stopped being controlled by the Dutch, and was taken by the British. A few Dutch names linger throughout, however, such as Wall Street and Harlem. - Anatole the Vampire

I'd like to point out that Constantinople was given to the city after the death of Constantine, in memorial of the monumentus efforts he took part in to keep the Roman Empire together. He actually renamed it Nova Roma-New Rome. Furthermore, Constantinople was not officially renamed Istanbul until 1923-a full 400 years after the conquest. So to the group who wrote the song in 1953, it wasn't that far away in time, almost a current event.

Just thought I'd bring that up WZ Lawrence 18:06, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Ithink it's about change

The song happens to be a cover, contrary to popular opinion. It was originally written by "The Four Lads"[1] in 1953 It is available for the ear here. [2] The eyes may feast upon it at this location: [3]

methinks it about some immortal demon/fairy/god/time traveler guy reminiscing about the good ol' days of the Byzantine Empire/Dutch North America. that is my honest opinion. Lifty Fernandez.

OMG!!!! Its just a song about how things change, such as Constantinople becoming Istanbul. -man who states the ovious

Technically Istanbul isn't really a name-change, per se. Istanbul derives from the Greek phrase istimbolin, meaning "Into the City". Which made sense at the time since Constantinople was the city. Indeed, Turks have been calling Constantinople as Istanbul even before the Ottoman conquest, taking a page from colloquial Greek. The Ottoman Empire officially used Constantinople (or more correctly its Arab form, Konstantiniyye) as the name of the city until its collapse in 1923, and the city's name was only officially changed to Istanbul after the creation of the modern Turkish republic.

So why did they change it? It was a shift in language, mostly. Everybody was calling it Istanbul. The Turkish republic was at the time, cementing Turkish nationalism, and along with it, codifying the Turkish language. This meant names like Konstantiniyye or Konstantinoupolis were dropped in favor of the Turkish reference, Istanbul. So the way I see it, it never really changed. One name simply won out over the others.

What is this song about? It's about how Particle Man can never catch a break, obviously.

- Constantine XI


im no scientist, but im sure this song is about istanbul not being constantinople anymore


This is about Istanbul, mostly. Constantinople was a part of the Byzantine Empire (1261-1452), the capital of the Roman Empire (330-1204), part of the Latin Empire (1204-1261) and part of the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922). Though Constantinople still exists today, the area around it is known as Istanbul. Constantinople was renamed Istanbul in 1930. Linnell states in the song that you cannot go back to Constantinople, which is false because Constantinople still exists. Mrs.Xcitement (talk)

I’m probably stating the obvious, but[edit]

I think this song is about change.(Specifically changes without clear or obvious reasoning.) The meaning of this song is basically rooted in the praise,”Don’t fix what isn’t already broken”

It states that, though they don’t know why they changed it, people might just prefer the change. “Why they changed it, I can’t say, people just liked it better that way.”

It also says that there might be a more secretive reasoning behind the change. ”Why did Constantinople get the works? That’s nobody’s business but the Turks”

They convey this message by using Istanbul becoming Constantinople and New Amsterdam becoming New York. The message of this song is that changes happen, even with no clear reasoning.

This is one of my favorite They Might Be Giants song,(Even though it’s a cover of an old song) so it was fun to do an analysis of the lyrics.