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c H A P. quity" had described the advantages of a fituation,

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from whence a feeble colony of Greeks derived
the command of the sea, and the honours of a
flourishing and independent republic *.
If we survey Byzantium in the extent which it
acquired with the august name of Constantinople,
the figure of the Imperial city may be represented
under that of an unequal triangle. The obtuse
point, which advances towards the east and the
shores of Asia, meets and repels the waves of the
Thracian Bosphorus. The northern fide of the
city is bounded by the harbour; and the southern
is washed by the Propontis, or sea of Marmara.
The basis of the triangle is opposed to the west,
and terminates the continent of Europe. But the
admirable form and division of the circumjacent
land and water cannot, without a more ample ex-
planation, be clearly or sufficiently understood.
The winding channel through which the waters
of the Euxine flow with a rapid and incessant
course towards the Mediterranean, received the
appellation of Bosphorus, a name not less cele-

The Bosphorus.

• Polybius, I. iv. p. 423. edit. Casaubon. He observes that the peace of the Byzantines was frequently disturbed, and the extent of their territory contracted, by the inroads of the wild Thracians.

* The navigator Byzas, who was styled the son of Neptune, founded the city 656 years before the Christián ZEra. His followers were drawn from Argos and Megara. Byzantium was afterwards rebuilt and fortified by the Spartan general Pausanias. See Scaliger Animadvers. ad Euseb. p. 31. Ducange Constantinopolis, i. i.

part i. cap. 15, 16. With regard to the wars of the Byzantines

against Philip, the Gauls, and the kings of Bithynia, we should trust none but the ancient writers who lived before the greatness of the imperial city had excited a spirit of flattery and fiáion. . .



brated in the history, than in the fables, of an- c H A p.
tiquity”. A crowd of temples and of votive al- XVII.
tars profusely scattered along its steep and woody TT'
banks, attested the unskilfulness, the terrors, and
the devotion of the Grecian navigators, who, after
the example of the Argonauts, explored the dan-
gers of the inhospitable Euxine. On these banks
tradition long preserved the memory of the palace
of Phineus, infested by the obscene harpies";
and of the sylvan reign of Amycus, who defied
the son of Leda to the combat of the Cestus *.
The streights of the Bosphorus are terminated by
the Cyanean rocks, which, according to the de-
scription of the poets, had once floated on the
face of the waters; and were destined by the gods
to protect the entrance of the Euxine against the
eye of profane curiosity". From the Cyanean
rocks to the point and harbour of Byzantium, the

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c H A P. winding length of the Bosphorus extends about

sixteen miles’, and its most ordinary breadth may be computed at about one mile and a half. The new castles of Europe and Asia are constructed, on either continent, upon the foundations of two celebrated temples, of Serapis and of Jupiter Urius. The old castles, a work of the Greek emperors, command the narrowest part of the channel, in a place where the opposite banks advance within five hundred paces of each other. These fortresses were restored and strengthened by Mahomet the Second, when he meditated the fiege of Constantinople’: but the Turkish conqueror was most probably ignorant, that near two thousand years before his reign, Darius had chosen the same fituation to connect the two continents by a bridge of boats”. At a small distance from the old castles we discover the little town of Chrysopolis, or Scutari, which may almost be confidered as the Asiatic suburb of Constantinople. The Bosphorus, as it begins to open into the Propontis, passes between Byzantium and Chalcedon. The latter of those cities was built by the Greeks,


7 The ancients computed one hundred and twenty stadia, or fifteen Roman miles. They measured only from the new castles, but they carried the streights as far as the town of Chalcedon. * Ducas Hist. c. 34. Leunclavius Hist. Turcia Musulmanica, 1. xv. p. 577. Under the Greek empire these castles were used as state prisons, under the tremendous name of Lethe, or towers of oblivion. -- - - . 9 Darius engraved in Greek and Assyrian letters on two marble columns, the names of his subject nations, and the amazing numbers of his land and sea forces. The Byzantines afterwards trans. ported these columns into the city, and used them for the altars of their tutelar deities. Herodotus, l. iv, c. 87. - - - - a few

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c H. A. P. while their sterns are floating in the water".

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From the mouth of the Lycus to that of the harbour, this arm of the Bosphorus is more than feven miles in length. The entrance is about five hundred yards broad, and a strong chain could be occasionally drawn across it, to guard the port and city from the attack of an hostile navy". Between the Bosphorus and the Hellespont, the shores of Europe and Afia receding on either fide inclose the sea of Marmara, which was known to the ancients by the denomination of Propontis. The navigation from the issue of the Bosphorus to the entrance of the Hellespont is about one hundred and twenty miles. Those who steer their westward course through the middle of the Propontis, may at once descry the high lands of Thrace and Bithynia, and never lose fight of the lofty summit of Mount Olympus, covered with eternal snows". They leave on the left a deep gulf, at the bottom of which Nicomedia was

feated, the imperial residence of Diocletian; and

** Procopius de AEdificiis, l. i., c. 5. His description is confirmed by modern Travellers. See Thevenot, part i. i. i. c. 15. Tournefort, Lettre XII. Niebuhr Voyage d'Arabie. p. 22.

** See Ducange, C. P. l. i. part i. c. 16. and his Observations sur Villehardouin, p. 289. The chain was drawn from the Acropolis near the modern Kiosk, to the tower of Galata; and was supported at convenient distances by large wooden piles.

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