Abbildungen der Seite

c H. A. P. age, been supposed to refle&t a becoming majesty xvii. on the origin of great cities “, the emperor was *T- desirous of ascribing his resolution, not so much to the uncertain counsels of human policy, as to the infallible and eternal decrees of divine wisdom. In one of his laws he has been careful to instrućt posterity, that, in obedience to the commands of God, he laid the everlasting foundations of Constantinople”: and though he has not condescended to relate in what manner the coelestial inspiration was communicated to his mind, the defečt of his modest filence has been liberally supplied by the ingenuity of succeeding writers; who describe the noćturnal vision which appeared to the fancy of Constantine, as he slept within the walls of Byzantium. The tutelar genius of the city, a venerable matron sinking under the weight of years and infirmities, was suddenly transformed into a blooming maid, whom his own hands adorned with all the symbols of Imperial greatness”. The monarch awoke, interpreted the auspicious omen, and obeyed, without hesitation, the will of heaven. The day which gave birth to a city or colony was celebrated by the Romans with such ceremonies as had been ordained by a

*5 Datur haec venia antiquitati, ut miscendo humana divinis, pri. mordia urbium augustiora faciat. T. Liv. in proem.

** He says in one of his laws, pro commoditate Urbis quam aeterno nomine, jubente Deo, donavimus. Cod. Theodos. l. xiii. tit. v. leg. 7.

** The Greeks, Theophanes, Cedrenus, and the Author of the Alexandrian Chronicle, confine themselves to vague and general expressions. For a more particular account of the vision, we are obliged to have recourse to such Latin writers as William of . Malmsbury. See Ducange C. P. l. i. p. 24, 25.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

** See Plutarch in Romul, tom. i. p. 49. edit. Bryan. Among other ceremonies, a large hole, which had been dug for that purpose, was filled up with handfuls of earth, which each of the settlers brought from the place of his birth, and thus adopted his new country.

*9 Philostorgius, l. ii. c. 9. This incident, though borrowed from a suspe&ted writer, is charaćteristic and probable.

3° See in the Memoires de l'Academie, tom. xxxv, p. 747—758, a dissertation of M. d’Anville on the extent of Constantinople. He takes the plan inserted in the Imperium Orientale of Banduri as the most complete; but, by a series of very nice observations, he reduces the extravagant proportion of the scale, and instead of 95oo, determines the circumference of the city as confisting of about 78oe French toises.

7 about

c H. A. P. about one hundred and fifty acres of our own xvii. measure. The seat of Turkish jealousy and deTT spotism is erected on the foundations of a Grecian republic; but it may be supposed that the Byzantins were tempted by the conveniency of the harbour to extend their habitations on that side beyond the modern limits of the Seraglio. The new walls of Constantine stretched from the port to the Propontis across the enlarged breadth of the triangle, at the distance of fifteen stadia from the ancient fortification; and with the city of Byzantium they inclosed five of the seven hills, which, to the eyes of those who approach Constantinople, appear to rise above each other in beautiful order ". About a century after the death of the founder, the new building, extending on one side up the harbour, and on the other along the Propontis, already covered the narrow ridge of the fixth, and the broad summit of the seventh hill. The necessity of protecting those suburbs from the incessant inroads of the Barbarians, engaged the younger Theodosius to furround his capital with an adequate and permanent inclosure of walls “. From the eastern promontory to the golden gate, the extreme length of Constantinople was about three Roman miles”;

31 Codinus Antiquitat. Const. p. 12. He assigns the church of St. Anthony as the boundary on the side of the harbour. It is mentioned in Ducange, l. iv. c. 6. ; but I have tried, without success, to discover the exačt place where it was situated.

32 The new wall of Theodosius was constructed in the year 413. In 447 it was thrown down by an earthquake, and rebuilt in three months by the diligence of the praefe&t Cyrus. The suburb of the Blachermae was first taken into the city in the reign of Heraclius. Ducange Const. l. i. c. 10, 11.

9 Constan


the circumference measured between ten and

eleven; and the surface might be computed as TT

equal to about two thousand English acres. It is impossible to justify the vain and credulous exaggerations of modern travellers, who have sometimes stretched the limits of Constantinople over the adjacent villages of the European, and even of the Asiatic coast ". But the suburbs of Pera and Galata, though situate beyond the harbour, may deserve to be confidered as a part of the city “; and this addition may perhaps authorise the measure of a Byzantine historian, who assigns fixteen Greek (about fourteen Roman) miles for the circumference of his native city ". Such an extent may seem not unworthy of an Imperial re

33 The measurement is expressed in the Notitia by 14,075 feet. It is reasonable to suppose that these were Greek feet; the proportion of which has been ingeniously determined by M. d’Anville He compares the 180 feet with the 78 Hashemite cubits, which in different writers are assigned for the height of St. Sophia. Each of these cubits was equal to 27 French inches. 34. The accurate Thevesot (), i. c. 15.) walked in one hour and three quarters round two of the fides of the triangle, from the Kiosk of the Seraglio to the seven towers. D'Anville examines with care, and receives with confidence, this decifive testimony, which gives a circumference of ten or twelve miles. The extravagant computation of Tournefort (Lettre XI.) of thirty-four or thirty miles, without including Scutari, is a strange departure from his usual chara&er. 35 The sycae, or fig-trees, formed the thirteenth region, and were very much embellished by Justinian. It has since borne the names of Pera and Galata. The etymology of the former is obvious ; that of-the latter is unknown. See Ducange Const. 1. i. c. 22. and Gyllius de Byzant. l. iv. c. 10. 36 one hundred and eleven stadia, which may be translated into modern Greek miles each of seven stadia, or 660, sometimes only Goo French toises. See d’Anville Mesures Itineraires, P. 53.

Wol. III, - C sidence,

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and Thebes ", to ancient Rome, to London, and

even to Paris 3°. -
The master of the Roman world, who aspired
to erect an eternal monument of the glories of
his reign, could employ in the prosecution of that
great work the wealth, the labour, and all that
yet remained of the genius of obedient millions.
Some estimate may be formed of the expence
bestowed with Imperial liberality on the foun-
dation of Constantinople, by the allowance of
about two millions five hundred thousand pounds
for the construćtion of the walls, the porticoes,
and the aquedućts”. The forests that over-
shadowed the shores of the Euxine, and the cele-
brated quarries of white marble in the little island
of Proconnesus, supplied an inexhaustible stock of
materials, ready to be conveyed, by the conveni-
ence of a short water-carriage, to the harbour of
Byzantium *. A multitude of labourers and

Progress of the work.

37 When the ancient texts, which describe the size of Babylon and Thebes, are settled, the exaggerations reduced, and the measures ascertained, we find that those famous cities filled the great but not incredible circumference of about twenty-five or thirty miles. Compare d'Anville Mem. de l'Academie, tom. xxviii. p. 235, with his Description d' l'Egypte, p.2 or, 202. 38 If we divide Constantinople and Paris into equal squares of so French toises, the former contains $50, and the latter 116o of those divisions. 3° Six hundred centenaries, or fixty thousand pounds weight of gold. This sum is taken from Codinus Antiquit. Const. p. 11.5 but unless that contemptible author had derived his information from some purer sources, he would probably have been unacquainted with so obsolete a mode of reckoning. **. For the forests of the Black Sea, consult Tournefort, Lettre XVI. fer the marble quarries of Proconnesus, see Strabo, l. xiii. P. 588,

« ZurückWeiter »