« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
will seem to have concurred with the partiality of nature, and to have distinguished this as a favourite island.
The Genoese continued in possession of Scio, about two hundred and forty years. They were deprived of it in 1566, during the siege of Malta, by the Turkish admiral, who garrisoned it for Sultan Solyman; but the Chiotes, in general, were still indulged with numerous and extraordinary privileges. They consisted of two parties, differing in their religious tenets ; one of the Greek persuasion, which acknowledges the patriarch of Constantinople as their head; the other of the Latin or papists which enjoyed a free toleration under the Turks, their priests celebrating mass as in Christendom, bearing the sacraments to the sick, going in solemn procession, habited, beneath canopies, with censers in their hands, to the year 1694. The Venetians then attacked and took the castle, but abandoned it on a defeat of their fleet near the Spalmadore islands, which lie in the channel between Scio and the continent. The Latins who had assisted them, dreaded the punishment, which their ingratitude deserved; and the prime families, with the bishop, fled and settled in the Morea, which had been recently conquered by the Venetians. The Turks seized the churches, abolished the Genoese dress, and imposed on their vassals badges of their subjection; obliging them, among other articles, to alight from their horses at the city-gate, and at the approach of any, even of the meanest mussulman.
The town of Scio* and its vicinity resembles, from the sea, Genoa and its territory, as it were in miniature. The ancient city had a good port, and stations for eighty ships. The present, which occupies its site, beneath Pelinaeus, is large, well
* See Views. Le Brun, p. 168.
built and populous. A naked hill rises above it, with a house or two on the summit, where was the acropolis or citadel of the Greeks, and afterwards of the Genoese, We found men at work there, digging up the old foundations for the materials. The port has an ordinary or ruinous mole, like that of Tenedos, almost level with the water. The mouth is narrow, and beset with lurking rocks and shoals. It was about noon when we landed. We went to the house of the English consul, who was in the country. A Greek, called Antonio, his servant, find the dragoman or interpreter belonging to the captain, who was with us, procured some fowls, and eggs, with wine and fruit, for our dinner. In the evening we walked over the town, which appeared to us as a collection of petty palaces, after the hovels of mud we had lately seen on the continent.
The beautiful Greek girls are the most striking ornaments of Scio. Many of these were sitting at the doors and windows, twisting cotton or silk, or employed in spinning and needle-work, and accosted us with familiarity, bidding us welcome, as we passed. The streets on Sundays and holidays are filled with them in groups. They wear short petticoats reaching only to their knees, with white silk or cotton hose Their head-dress, which is peculiar to the island, is ? kind of Turban, the linen so white and thin it seemed snow. Their slippers are chiefly yellow, with a knot of red fringe at the heel. Some wore them fastened with a thong. Their garments were of silk of various colours; and their whole appearance so fantastic and lively, as to afford us much entertainment. The Turks inhabit a separate quarter, and their women are concealed.
We returned to the ship at night, the dragoman and Chiote lighting us with long paper lanthorns to the boat, which waited at the beach. A great number of gaunt dogs were collected by the shambles, which are at the out-skirt of the town. They barked furiously at us, but were chid and repelled by our guides, whose language they understood. The public, we were told, maintains them; and they assemble, when all is quiet. These animals, it is observable, were of old a like nuisance. They seem the Lemures of the ancients, who used to pacify them with food. The Arcadians, in particular, were accustomed to carry bread from their table on account of the nightly terrors, or the dogs, which they expected to assail them in the streets.*
The next morning we were set on shore again. I accompanied Captain Jolly to the principal Bagnio or public bathing-place, a very noble edifice, with ample domes, all of marble; and shall attempt to give an account of the mode of bathing. We undressed in a large square room, where linen is hung to dry, and the keeper attends with his servants. We had each a long towel given us to wrap round our middle, and a pair of tall wooden pattens to walk in. We were led through a warm narrow passage into the inner room, which is yet more spacious, and made very hot by stoves, which are concealed. In this was a water-bath, and recesses, with partitions on the sides. The pavement in the centre under the dome was raised, and covered with linen cloths, on which we were bid to lie down. We were soon covered with big drops of sweat, and two men naked, except the waist, then entered, and began kneading our flesh; tracing all the muscles and cleansing the pores. By the time they had finished, our joints were sufficiently suppled, and they commenced the formidable
* See note, Vitruvius, 1.6. c. 5.
operation of snapping all of them, not only the toes, ancles, knees, fingers, and the like, but the vertebrae of the back, and the breast; one while wrenching our necks; then turning us on our bellies, crossing our arms behind us, and placing their right knee between our shoulders. The feats they perform cannot easily be described, and are hardly credible. When this was over, we were rubbed with a mohair-bag fitted to the hand, which, like the ancient strigil, brings away the gross matter perspired. We were then led each to a recess, supplied by pipes with hot and cold water, which we tempered to our liking. The men returned with soap-lather and tow in a wooden bowl, with which they cleaned the skin, and then poured a large quantity of warm water on our heads. Our spirits were quite exhausted, when they covered us with dry cloths and led us back to the first room, where beds were ready for us. On waking after a gentle slumber, we were presented each with a lighted pipe and a dish of coffee. We rose much refreshed, and as the ladies of the Aga or Turkish governor were expected there, hastened away. The common Turks and Greeks pay a very small gratuity for the use of the bath, which they frequent once a week or oftener. I have sometimes been regaled, while in the inner room, with ripe fruits and sherbet, and with incense burning to scent the air. One of my companions repeatedly partook with me in this innocent and wholesome luxury at Smyrna and at Athens.
On our return from the bath we found the consul at home. He was a spare shrewd Greek, a direct contrast to the fat, open, hospitable Jew our host at the Dardanell. He presented us with pomegranates of a particular species, for which the island is noted. The kernels are free from stones. It is usual to bring them to table in a plate, sprinkled with rose water. These are excellent fruit, but accounted astringent. An English gentlemen named Bracebridge had come with the consul to visit us. He was an elderly person, and had been absent some years from his native country, for the benefit of a warmer climate. After much wandering, he gave the preference to this island above any of the places which he had tried. Our captain, who took leave of us at night, intending to sail in the morning, was detained some time longer by foul weather.
We soon found that the old religious parties still subsist with unextinguished animosity, each sect cherishing insuperable hatred, and intriguing to ruin its adversary. We saw the Latins at their worship in the chapel of the viceconsul of the French nation, which was very neat, well filled, especially with women, and handsomely illuminated. The English consul, who served some other European powers, was much haunted by priests of that church, and had a patent of knighthood from the pope. The wines of Scio have been celebrated as aiding digestion, as nutritive and pleasant. They were much esteemed by the Romans. Hortensius hoarded them; and Caesar, who was as generous as magnificent, dispensed them freely to the people at his triumphs and sacrifices. It is related, that the culture of the vine was introduced by a son of Bacchus, called CEnopion, or The Wine-Drinker, whose sepulchre remained here in the second century; and that red-wine, with the method of making these liquors, was invented by the Chians. A rugged tract, named Arvisia, was particularly famous for its produce, which has been extolled as ambrosial, and styled a new nectar. Mr. Bracebridge, whom we visited at his house near the town, treated us with a variety of choice specimens; and it may