Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

worthy of Alexander and his captains. All the repairs are mere patch-work. Near the western gate-way, at which you enter from the town, was once a fountain, now dry ; by which is a marble colossal head, the face much injured, of Apollo, or, as some have supposed, of Smyrna, an Amazon, from whom the people derived their name. Within is a deserted mosque, rubbish of buildings, and a large reservoir for water; the roof arched, and supported by piers. On the marble arch of the gate-way fronting the north is inscribed a copy of verses, giving an elegant and poetical description of the extreme misery, from which the emperor John, before mentioned, had raised the city; and concluding with an address to the omnipotent Ruler of heaven and earth, that he would grant him and his queen, whose beauty it celebrates, a reign of many years.* On each side is an eagle, rudely cut. The river Hermus may be seen from this eminence, which also affords a view of a fine champaign country round about, covered with vines.

Going down from the western gate of the castle towards the sea, at some distance is the ground-plat of the stadium, stripped of its marble seats and decorations. One side was on the slope of the mountain; the opposite, or that next to the town, was raised on a vaulted substruction, which remains. It appears as a long dale, semicircular, or rounded at the tpp. The area, when we first saw it, had been reaped; arid, another time, some men were busy ploughing in it. Going from the northern gate of the castle, over which is the inscription, you come to vestiges of a theatre, in the side of the hill, near the brow, and fronting the bay. Farther down is a quarry. Below the theatre is part of a slight wall, which, with a fosse round the hill,

< * Inscript. Ant. p. 5.

was begun about the year 1736, to protect the town from Soley Bey Oglou, a famous rebel, by whom it had been much distressed.*

The port, which shut up, reached once to the foot of the castle-hill, but is now dry, except after heavy rains, when it receives water from the slopes. It forms a spacious recess within the present town, and has houses along the margin. Tamerlane, by depriving the sea of its free ingress, contributed to this change, and the mud washed from above has gradually completed it. Like some of the Italian havens, it required perhaps to be cleansed, and deepened by machines contrived for that purpose. It is mentioned as the galley port at the beginning of this century.-j- A small mean castle still in use, on the north side of the entrance, is supposed to occupy the site of fort St. Peter.

The city wall, which descending from the castle, included the stadium on one hand, and the theatre on the other, has been long since demolished; and even its ruins are removed. A small remnant of it, on the hill above the stadium, consists of hard cement of rubble; but has been faced with better materials. This species of ancient masonry was called Pseudisodomum, as having externally the same appearance as the Isodomum, which was wholly of stone, or marble, the pieces regularly disposed. This side comprehended a large portion of the burying-grounds without the present town. The side next the theatre may be traced a considerable way along the brow, from its junction with the north east angle of the castle. In the Armenian quarter, by The Three Corners, or near the Frank street, are remnants of a thick and massive wall, which

[blocks in formation]

has a large V cut on each stone; and in 1675, the foundations of a great and solid fabric, probably the Gymnasium, were visible in that part. Beyond the deep valley, in which the river Meles winds, behind the castle, are several portions of the wall of the pomoerium, which encompassed the city at a distance, but broken. The facings are gone, and masses only of hard cement and rubble are left.

The ancient sepulchres were chiefly in the pomcenum, without the city. One, which has been absurdly supposed a temple of Janus, remained in 1675, in the way to Eshekleer, or beyond the river Meles and on the left of the road, leading toward Magnesia. It was then among olive-trees, in a field. The inscriptions of several are preserved and ha ve been published. At the house of a Turk, occupied by Mr. Purnell, an English gentleman, was a marble sarcophagus, of which a very exact drawing is given by Le Brum*

The ancient city has supplied materials for the public edifices erected by the Turks. The bezesten or market, which was unfinished in 1675, and the vizir-khan, were both raised with the white marble of the theatre. The very ruins of the porticoes and temples are vanished. We saw remains of one only; some shafts of columns of variegated marble, much injured, in the way ascending through the town to the castle. Many pedestals, statues, inscriptions and medals, have been, and are still discovered in digging. Perhaps no place has contributed more than Smyrna to enrich the collections and cabinets of the curious in Europe.

In the history of St. Polycarp, the first bishop of Smyrna, it is related, that he was burnt here in the Amphitheatre.

* See Wheler, p. 243, and Spon. t. t. p. 310. p. 130.

The Asiatic cities used the stadium for the diversions of the Roman amphitheatre; and that, it is probable, was the scene of his martyrdom. His sepulchre, which the Greek Christians are said to have revered, and to have visited annually, on the twenty-third of February, is still to be seen, as travellers have reported, by a spreading tree below the castle; but this is an idle tale, and deserves to be exploded. I examined the spot, and made particular enquiries, but could obtain no satisfactory information. If his reliques were interred, and the place once venerated, the knowledge of it has long since perished. The early tradition, if true, must have been often intercepted in its course downwards. The race of citizens, among whom it was most likely to be preserved, has been extirpated by war, plague, fire, and earthquakes; and Symrna has been destitute of Greeks. Even now, under a more settled government, the same family seldom subsists there more than three generations.

CHAP. XIX.

Smyrna a great martThe peopleDress of the womenBuild' ingsHeat, earthquakes, and plague.Burying grounds ProvisionsMosquitoes or gnats.

The devastations committed in Asia Minor, and the changes effected on the coast, as will be shewn hereafter, by the rivers, have rendered Smyrna the only considerable mart by the sea side; and, in consequence, the principal center of the traffic of the country. One lucrative branch of its commerce failed during the troubles in Persia, when the throne was usurped by Nadir Shah. The accustomed communication by caravans was then interrupted; and trade, meeting with obstructions in the old course, which it had held for ages, turned away into new channels. But, with this loss, Smyrna continues a large and flourishing city. The bay, besides numerous small craft, is daily frequented by ships of burthen from the chief ports in Europe; and the factors, who are a respectable body, at once live in affluence, and acquire fortunes.

The conflux at Smyrna of people of various nations, differing in dress, in manners, in language, and in religion, is very considerable. The Turks occupy by far the greater part of the town. The other tribes live in separate quarters. The protectants and Roman catholics have their chapels; the Jews a synagogue or two; the Armenians a large and handsome church with a burying-ground by it. The Greeks, before the fire, had two churches. They applied by their bishop at Constantinople, for leave to rebuild that which was destroyed, but the sum demanded was too exorbitant to be given. By this policy the Turks will in time extirpate Christianity from among their vassals.

The factors, and other Europeans settled at Smyrna, generally intermarry with the Greeks, or with natives of the same religion. Their ladies wear the oriental dress, consisting of large trowsers or breeches, which reach to the ancle; long vests of rich silk, or of velvet, lined in winter with costly furs; and round their waist, an embroidered zone, with clasps of silver or gold. Their hair is platted, and descends down the back, often in great profusion. The girls have sometimes above twenty thick tresses, besides two or three encircling the head, as a coronet, and set off with flowers, and plumes of feathers, pearls, or jewels. They commonly stain it of a

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »