Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

fruits, fish and provisions, boats passing to and fro without intermission. Near the scale or landing-place, which is three hours distant, is a large quantity of low land, bare, or covered only with shallow water. This tract is the site of a considerable fishery; being inclosed by reed-fences with gates or avenues, which are shut up to prevent the shoals, from retreating, when they have once entered. We saw on the beach many camels laden, or standing by their burthens; and met on the road some travellers from Arabia and other countries; going to, or returning from, Constantinople. The hills were enlivened by flocks of sheep and goats, and resounded with the rude music of the lyre and of the pipe; the former a stringed instrument resembling a guitar, and held much in the same manner, but usually played on with a bow. We were then engaged, with some of our countrymen, in a shooting party, and in traversing the mountains, I had a distinct view of Menimen. It is situated on a rising ground by the Hermus, and appeared as a considerable place, with old castles. I have sometimes suspected it to have been anciently called Ncontichos; but these parts, with the whole country of iEolia, still remain unexplored.

The Hermus, which in the winter had spread a wide flood, now, after, passing Menimen, pursued its way to the sea, through low grounds, in some places, still under water. The stream was not wide, but full; winding toward the mouth, by which the soil appeared bare, and as mud undried. In summer it has a bar at the entrance, and is often shallow; and some of the shoals marked in the map are then dry. The plain had many channels formed by torrents from the mountains.

Near the mouth of the river is a sand-bank or shoal. The channel there is very narrow, the land on the opposite side running out, and forming a low point, on which is a fortress erected, to secure the approach to the city, soon after the battle of the Dardenelles in 1656, when the Venetians defeated the fleet of Mahomet the Fourth. It is called Sattgiac castle, because the grand seignior's colours are, on some occasions, hoisted there.

Besides the visible accession of land by the Hermus, and on the margin of the gulf, several banks lie concealed beneath the water, on either hand, sailing up to Smyrna. The principal one next the river, it is said, was formerly a dry and green flat, which suddenly sunk after an earthquake; probably that which happened in 1739, and was so great as to occasion a general terror: many families, from apprehension, abandoning their houses after it, and sleeping all the summer in hitts in their gardens and court-yards. Ships often go upon it, without much danger, and are soon afloat again, if the wind set in. The end is driven out in an elbow toward the Sangiac castle by a strong current from the bay of old Smyrna; but the head is firmly fixed, and it will gradually re-emerge, and become dry and green as before. I have sailed often by shoals on the same side as the castle, in the way to the olive-groves, which, I was told, had risen above the surface of the sea, within a few years. On one or two of them was a hut belonging to some poor fishermen.

The beautiful and extensive plains, which were of old regarded as .peculiar to the country, have been justly styled the offspring of it& rivers. The Hermus, the Cayster, and the Meander, were each noted for producing new land; and had each a district, aptly called by its name, as by that of the parent.

The mouth of the Hermus has been continually shifting and changing place, in consequence of the encroachments made on the sea. Hence Pliny writes, " The town of Temnos has been, but the rocks within the extremity of the gulph, called Myrmeces, The Pismires, now are at the mouth of the Hermus." It is at present much nearer to Smyrna, than appears in the maps in general, and perhaps than it was a few centuries ago.

The same author mentions, that Leuce, then a promontory in the Smyrnean gulf, had once been an island. This spot had on it a small town of the same name, founded in the second year of the ninety-ninth Olympiad, by Tachos, a Persian malcontent, who died soon after. .< The people of Cyme and of Clazomene contended for it, and agreed to submit their cause to the decision of the oracle at Delphi; when the Pythia gave Leuce to the claimant, which should first sacrifice there in the temple of Apollo. The Clazomenians were the more remote, but by their management obtained the place. Aristonicus, an illegitimate son of king Eumenes, got possession of it on the death of Attalus Philometor. The Roman consul, Crassus, was sent against him, and was killed fighting near it.

It happened, that our passage up. and clown the gulf was in the night; but when we sailed from Smyrna, the Inbat met us near the entrance, and we steered our boat into a small creek on the north side, below the Hermus, and an hour from Phoggia or Phocea. We had there a view of the extremity of the plain, which is wide, low, and level, encircling the rocks once called the Myrmeces, and a small mountain or hill with a smooth top. This,' it is believedw was the island and promontory Leuce. A long spit now runs from it out into the sea.

On the coast, after Leuce, was anciently Phoc6a, situated in a bay; the city oblong, the wall inclosing a space of two miles and five hundred paces, the sides then meeting, and forming as it were a wedge, which they called Lamptera, where it was one mile and two hundred paces wide. A tongue of land then running a mile out into the sea, and dividing the bay about the middle, formed two secure ports, one on each side of the isthmus; that toward the south called Naustathmos; the other, which was near, Lamptera The present town* is seated on the tongue, within the isthmus, and the ancient site is called Palae-Phoggia, or Old Phocia. It has on the north four islets, one named St. George, lying before the harbour. Beyond Phocea were the boundaries of Ionia and iEolia, less than two hundred stadia, or twenty five miles, from Smyrna.

The river Hermus, by its influence on the gulf, has already effected great changes, and will gradually accomplish some signal alterations, of which the progress deserves to be accurately marked. The flats before Smyrna wrll mutually approach; and, leaving only a narrow ingress, the city will be on a lake. This will be fed by the Meles, and by torrents, and in time become fresh. The plague of gnats will then, if possible, be multiplied at Smyrna. The land will continue to increase, until it is in a line with the mouth of the gulf, when the site of Clazomene and the islets within Kara-bornu, will be encompassed with soil; and, if no current intervene, Pho

* See views in Le Brun, p. 166.

cea will be deprived of its harbour. The sea within the gulf will by degrees give place to a noble plain created and watered by the Hermus. Commerce will have then removed to some ntore commodious mart, and Smyrna be, if not utterly deserted, desolate and forlorn.

CHAP. XXII.

Our frhmanFirst journey from SmyrnaA tendourMildness of the winter at SmyrnaReturn of the cranesWe prepare for another journeyRumour of the plagueConfirmed Our embarrassmentOur second journeyMethod.

On our return to Smyrna, in the evening of the 18th of September, from a small excursion with a party of our countrymen, we were agreeably surprised to find the Anglicana arrived in the bay from Constantinople. The captain brought with him a firhman or travelling command, obtained for us from the Porte by the English ambassador. This instrument enjoined all the governors, the judges, the officers of the janizaries and of the revenue, to whom we should present it, not to molest us or our European servants, on any pretence, nor to exact tribute from us, but to protect and defend us, and. permit us to prosecute our journies without obstruction, as they respected the imperial signature. It was dated about the middle of the moon Rebiulevvel, in the year of the Hegira 1178; or of September, 1?64.

A small portion of the year yet remained not unfit for travelling. Finding our English bedding too cumbersome, we purchased thin mattresses stuffed with cotton, some tin ket

N

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »