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The port of Tenedos has been enclosed in a mole, of which no part now appears above water, but loose stones are piled on the foundations to break the waves. The basin is encompassed by a ridge of the mountain. On the south-side is a row of wind-mills and a small fort; and on the opposite a castle by the shore. This was taken in the year 1656 by the Venetians in four days, but soon after abandoned as not tenable. The houses, which are numerous, stand at the foot, or on the slope, of an acclivity; with a flat between them and the sea, formed by weeds and slime from the water, and by soil washed down from above. They reckon six hundred Turkish families and three hundred Greek. The church belonging to the latter is decent.
We found here but few remains of antiquity worthy of notice. We perceived on our landing a large and entire sarcophagus, or stone coffin, serving as a fountain, the top-stone or lid being perforated to admit a current of water, which supplies the vent below; and on one side is an inscription.* A Greek inquired whether the characters were not Gothic. Near this was part of a fluted column converted into a mortar for bruising corn ; and in a shop was a remnant of tesselated pavement then recently discovered. In the streets, the walls, and burying-grounds, were pieces of marble, and fragments of pillars, with a few inscriptions.
In the evening, this being Sunday and a festival, we were much amused with seeing the Greeks, who were singing and dancing in several companies to music, near the town, while their women were sitting in groups on the roofs of the houses, which are flat, as spectators, at the same time enjoying the soft air and serene sky.
* Inscriptiones Antiquæ, p. 3. p. 4.
We were lodged, much to our satisfaction, in a large room, with a raised floor matted, on which we slept in our clothes, in company with two Jews and several Greeks ; a cool breeze entering all night at the latticed windows, and sweetening our repose.
In these countries, on account of the heat, it is usual to rise with the dawn. About day-break we received from the French consul, a Greek with a respectable beard, a present of grapes, the clusters large and rich, with other fruits, all fresh gathered. We had, besides, bread and coffee for breakfast, and good wines, particularly one sort, of an exquisite flavour, called Muscadel. The island is deservedly famous for the species of vine, which produces this delicious liquor.
We had been told, that an ancient building remained on the south side of the island, not much out of our way to the ruins of a city called Eski-Stamboul, on the continent of Asia. Our Turks were waiting at the boat, and we just ready to join them, when we were informed that a wherry was arrived from the Asiatic Dardanell, which she had lately left, and that the presence of the consul was required on some very urgent business at Constantinople. His brother, who had set sail in the morning early to overtake him, remained with us in his stead, and soon won our regard by his attention and civility.
Leave Tenedos--An antiquity on the island-Fountains--Their
construction--Their use--Face of the island—Set sail for the continent.
AFTER some delay we got on board our wherry,and leaving the port of Tenedos, coasted, with the island on our right hand.. We soon passed a creek, which is frequented by small craft during the vintage, and has near it a solitary church, with a foun. tain or spring of excellent water, and at some distance a quarry of stone or marble. The gullies and the slopes of the hills were green with vines. We doubled a craggy point, and saw some cliffs inhabited by wild pigeons ; with some partridges ; a few cattle; and a church, by which, we were told, is a water noted for its purgative qualities. We landed about ten on a fair beach, having gone almost half round the island.
We were now near the building, which we had purposed to examine. It proved a small arched room, the masonry ancient, underneath a mean ruined church. You descend to it by a few steps, with a light. The floor was covered with water. Near it was a fig-tree or two, and a fountain, with an inscription, in modern Greek characters, fixed in the wall.
The reader, as we proceed, will find frequent mention of fountains. Their number is owing to the nature of the country, and of the climate. The soil, parched and thirsty, demands moisture to aid vegetation. The verdure, shade, and coolness, its agreeable attendants, are rendered highly grateful to the people by a cloudless sun and inflamed atmosphere. Hence they occur not only in the towns and villages, but in the fields and gardens, and by the sides of the roads and of the beaten tracts on the mountains. Many of them are the useful donations of humane persons, while living; or have been bequeathed as legacies on their decease. The Turks esteem the erecting of them as meritorious, and seldom go away, after performing their ablutions or drinking, without gratefully blessing the name and memory of the founder.
The method of obtaining the necessary supplies of water used by the ancients still prevails. It is by conveying the fluid
from the springs or sources, which are sometimes very remote, in earthen pipes or paved channels, carried over the gaps and breaks in the way on arches. When arrived at the destined spot, it is received by a cistern with a vent; and the waste current passes below from another cistern, often an ancient sarcophagus or coffin. It is common to find a cup of tin or iron hanging near, by a chain ; or a wooden scoop with a handle, placed in a niche in the wall. The front is of stone or marble; and in some, painted and decorated with gilding, and with an inscription in Turkish characters in relievo.
The women resort to the fountains by their houses, each with a large two-handled earthen jar on their back, or thrown over the shoulder, for water. They assemble at one without the village or town, if no river be near, to wash their linen, which is afterwards spread on the ground or bushes to dry. To these also the Turks and Greeks frequently repair for refreshment; especially the latter on their festivals, when whole families are seen sitting on the grass, and enjoying their early or evening repast, beneath the trees, by the side of a rill. And at those near the roads, the traveller, sun-burnt and thirsty, after a scorching ride, finds cool water, the shelter of a plane or of some spreading tree, and a green plat to repose or dine on; affording him a degree of pleasure not adequately conceived, unless by those who have experienced it.
We agreed to let the heat of noon be passed, before we proceeded on our voyage. A carpet was spread for us under a shady holme, and a fire kindled at some distance. We now received each a lighted pipe and a dish of coffee. A kettle was then filled with water, and some fowls, which we had provided, made ready to be boiled. The French consul, who had joined us, undertook to furnish grapes. His vineyard was a considerable way off toward the town, but two of us, attended by a couple of armed Turks, chose to accompany him. We crossed a kind of heath spread with wild thyme, sage, and low bushes of mastic, to a spot shaded with cypresses, where was a church, as miserable as that we had left, consisting only of loose stones piled for walls, without a roof. It had a well close by. We saw a few trees, some common stubble, and some fields of Turkey wheat, and of sesamus. The soil was parched; but in the centre of the island we found a large tract sheltered by naked barren hills, and green with olive trees and with vines. The grapes hung in numerous clusters, rich and tempting; and we ate freely, being assured the fruit was innocent and even wholesome, especially if plucked before the air within it was rarified by the sun. In about a fortnight the vintage was to commence, when a guard of ten Turks is placed to secure the property from pilferers or pirates. Among the hills, one towers far above the rest, and has on its summit a church or chapel dedicated to St. Elias. The form is conical, and it is seen over the main-land of Asia coming down the Hellespont.
On our return to the tree we found the company there had been uneasy at our absence, fearing we had strayed or were detained by some untoward accident. We dined and slept in the shade ; and soon after, the French consul took leave of us. About two in the afternoon we sailed with a brisk gale; steering for Eski-Stamboul, anciently called Troas and Alexandria Troas. The distance of this city from Tenedos was reckoned forty stadia or five miles. Some of its ruins are in view, standing on an eminence; the uneven summits of Mount Ida covered with trees rising beautifully behind.