« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
the city, crossed the mouth of the dry port, to a road between the burying-grounds on the hill and the sea. There, on the right hand, near the end of the graves, may be seen a piece of tessellated pavement, running under the bank. After going over a bare craggy ridge, we turned westward into a wood' of olives, in which we remarked many trees with huge knotty trunks, indicating extreme old age. The green level was enamelled with anemonies, and other beautiful flowers. The sky was clear and serene, and the breeze gentle and deliciously soft. The Europeans resort to these groves, on shooting parties, in boats from the town, or with their families for pleasure, and the benefit of the air.
We came now to a shallow river, over which is a lofty bridge, intended to secure a passage to the traveller, when torrents descend from the adjacent mountain, formerly called Corax. On this principally the clouds seen from Smyrna reside, when the wind is southerly. Nearer the foot are vestiges of an ancient bridge, of which the piers were rebuilt, or repaired, before its final ruin; and in one of them is a maimed Corinthian capital. I once pursued the stream a considerable way into the mountain. It flowed rapid and transparent over the rough solid rock, its course deep-sunk between shaggy summits, whose sides are almost perpendicular, and inaccessible even to goats; a crowded flock then browsing below. We met, besides these and their keepers, a peasant or two by a little over-shot mill, the wretched tenants of this solemn and striking recess.
Some fragments of architecture in the Turkish buryinggrounds, not far from hence, it is likely, belonged, with the relique above-mentioned, to the temple of Apollo, once seated
on the western bank of this stream, by the hot baths. * These have been computed forty stadia, or five miles from the city, and were called the Agamemnonian, by the people of Smyrna. It is related, that the army under Agamemnon, ravaging Mysia, was engaged by Telephus near the river Caicus; that many of the Greeks were wounded in the battle ; that an oracle directed them for a cure to these waters; and that here and there the helmets taken from the enemy were suspended. | The old remains of the buildings are of brick, the masonry good, but soil and rubbish have risen to the imposts of the arches, which are closed.
You descend by steps to the bath, which is under a modern vaulted roof, with vents in it for the steam; and adjoining to this, is a like room now disused. The current, which is soft and limpid, is conveyed into a small round basin of marble, and runs over into a large cistern or reservoir beneath. Our thermometer rose in the vein to one hundred and fifty. Near it is a duct, which supplies à cold stream; but in January, when I saw it, was dry. A quantity of coagulated blood lay on the pavement. I was informed a sheep had been killed above, and that substance used instead of soap in shaving, which operation is often performed in the baths. The warm rill emerges in two or more places in the bed of the river, and in cool weather may easily be discovered, a thick mist rising from it, visible afar off.
After passing the river and Sangiac castle, we came to the sea-side, and to a coffee-hut, at which we alighted, and tarried twenty minutes. At one we opened the isthmus, or neck of the peninsula, the southern boundary of the gulf.
* Strabo, p. 645. + Philostratus, p. 664.
The Clazomenians anciently inhabited on the north side, bordering on the Erythréans, who were within it. The Teians were on the south, with a port north of their city. Hitherto our course westward had been chiefly beneath the northern termination of Mount Corax.
The isthmus appears as a wide pleasant valley, and the land being mostly level, we could discern across it the blue tops of the island Samos. Its width* was reckoned fifty stadia, or six miles and a quarter; and the periplus or circumnavigation of the peninsula, a thousand stadia, or one hundred and twenty-five miles. The distance of Smyrna from Ephesus, in a straight line, was only three hundred and twenty stadia, or forty miles ; but, if you coasted, near two thousand two hundred stadia, or two hundred and seventy five miles ; owing principally to this peninsula. Alexander the Great, to render the communication easier, ordered, that a navigable cut should be made though the plain here, intending to join the two bays, and by converting the whole Cherronese into an island, to surround the city Erythræ and Mount Mimas with the sea. A dike, or canal, running up the valley, is a monument of that attempt, which failed, when the workmen came to the rock. We passed it over a bar of sand at the mouth. The inbat blowing fresh, and the waves dashing over, two of our horses started aside, floundered deep, and wetted our baggage. A like accident, in fording another water afterwards, occasioned some delay.
We continued our journey along the shore. The hills on our left were covered with low shrubs, and villages, some of a clean dry aspect, and several not immediately discernible,
though near; the mud-built cottages being exactly of the same colour with the soil. As we approached Vourla, the little vallies were all green with corn, or filled with naked vine stocks in orderly arrangement, about a foot and a half high. The people were working, many in a row, turning the earth, or encircling the trunks with tar, to secure the buds from grubs and worms. The shoots, which bear the fruit, are cut down again in winter. We saw another species, which produces very large grapes, running up and spreading on the branches of trees planted for their support. A mart like Smyrna diffuses cultivation through all its vicinity.
Vourla is distinguished at a distance by its numerous windmills. On entering the town, we saw nobody, the houses were shut up, and a silence and solitude prevailed, which, before we recollected what we had lately seen, suggested to us the terrible idea, that the inhabitants had left it, to avoid the cruel distemper from which we also were flying. It is a place of considerable extent, the buildings dispersed on eminences; with a pleasant plain toward the sea. The water and air are reputed good. The Turks have seven mosques, and the Greeks two churches. At one of these is a small bass-relief, representing a funereal supper, with a short inscription.* Another is fixed in the wall over a fountain. We were recommended by letter to an Italian, a practitioner in physic, who attended us about the town, and shewed us every civility in his power. A cursory view of this place was sufficient to convince us, that it did not stand on the site of Clazomene.
* Inscript. Ant. p. 6.
We search for Clazomene-Discover the mole-Pass over the
site—Islets—We repass-Origin of Vourla.
We were assisted by the friendly Italian in our enquiries for a ruined city in that neighbourhood, and in the evening procured a man to conduct us, as we supposed, to the site of Clazomene. We set out early in the morning, when he carried us back to the opening of the isthmus, and shewed us, for Clazomene, a piece of ordinary wall, which has inclosed a cistern on the top of a hill ; with some scattered rubbish on the slope. There, it is likely, was anciently the settlement of the Chalsidensians, probably a colony from Chalsis in Euboea, belonging to Clazomene. Above them was a grove sacred to Alexander the Great, where the games called Alexandréa were celebrated by the Ionian body.
Finding our guide ignorant, and at a loss which way to go, we adopted the surer direction of ancient history ; remembering, that the Clazomenians, to be more secure from the Persians, had settled in an island, which, by command of Alexander, was afterwards changed into a peninsula, by the addition of a mole. We crossed the plain of Vourla, slanting toward the sea, and soon discovered this monument also of that great mind, which delighted in correcting or subduing nature by filling up or forming paths for the deep; which here still bore visible marks of his royal pleasure, and now raged, as it were indignant, but in vain, against the barrier which he had appointed.