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83i DESCRIPTION OF ST. SOPHIA. [CH. XL.
twelve marbles, jaspers, and porphyries, which nature had profusely diversified, and which were blended and contrasted as it were by a skilful painter. The triumph of Christ was adorned with the last spoils of Paganism; but the greater part of these costly stones was extracted from the quarries of Asia Minor, the isles and continent of Greece, Egypt, Africa, and Gaul. Eight columns of porphyry, which Aurelian had placed in the temple of the sun, were offered by the piety of a Roman matron; eight others, of green marble, were presented by the ambitious zeal of the magistrates of Ephesus: both are admirable by their size and beauty; but every order of architecture disclaims their fantastic capitals. A variety of ornaments aad figures was curiously expressed in mosaic; and the images of Christ, of the Virgin, of saints, and of angels, which have been defaced by Turkish fanaticism, were dangerously exposed to the superstition of the Greeks. According to the sanctity of each object the precious metals were distributed in thin leaves or in solid masses. The balustrade of the choir, the capitals of the pillars, the ornaments of the doors and galleries, were of gilt bronze; the spectator was dazzled by the glittering aspect of the cupola; the sanctuary contained forty thousand pounds' weight of silver; and the holy vases and vestments of the altar were of the purest gold, enriched with inestimable gems. Before the structure of the church had risen two cubits above the ground, forty-five
St. Sophia, (P. 2, p. 129. 133, &e. &c.) 1. The Carystian—pale, with iron veins. 2. The Phrygian—of two sorts, both of a rosy hue; the one with a white shade, the other purple, with silver flowers. 3. The Porphyry of Egypt—with small stars. 4. The green marble of Laconia.
5. The Carian—from Mount Iassis, with oblique veins, white and red.
6. The Lydian—pale, with a red flower. 7. The African or Mauritanian—of a gold or saffron hue. 8. The Celtic—black, with white veins. 9. The Bosphoric—white, with black edges. Besides the Proconntssian, which formed the pavement; the Thessalian, Molossian, &c . which are less distinctly painted. [When Dr. Clarke visited the St. Sophia in 1799, its general appearance was gloomy. The pavement was so far below the surface of the surrounding ground, that the edifice waa entered by descending a long flight of stairs or steps. The dome which Procopius described as suspended by a golden chain from heaven, "exhibited much more of a subterranean, than of an aerial character;" and its interior was defaced by the depredations of the Turks, who were daily despoiling it of the gilded tessera, which gave it the "glittering aspect" of its early splendour. Travels, part 2,
thousand two hundred pounds were already consumed; and the whole expense amounted to three hundred and twenty thousand pounds; each reader, according to the measure of his belief, may estimate their value either in gold or silver; but the sum of 1,000,000Z. sterling is the result of the lowest computation. A magnificent temple is a laudable monument of national taste and religion, and the enthusiast who entered the dome of St. Sophia, might be tempted to suppose that it was the residence, or even the workmanship of the Deity. Yet how dull is the artifice, how insignificant is the labour, if it be compared with the formation of the vilest insect that crawls upon the surface of the temple!
So minute a description of an edifice which time has respected may attest the truth, and excuse the relation, of the innumerable works, both in the capital and provinces, which Justinian constructed on a smaller scale and less durable foundations.* In Constantinople alone, and the adjacent suburbs, he dedicated twenty-five churches to the \ honour of Christ, the Virgin, and the saints; most of these churches were decorated with marble and gold; and their various situation was skilfully chosen in a populous square, or a pleasant grove; on the margin of the sea-shore, or on some lofty eminence which overlooked the continents of Europe and Asia. The church of the holy apostles at Constantinople, and that of St. John at Ephesus, appear to have been framed on the same model: their domes aspired to imitate the cupolas of St. Sophia; but the altar was more judiciously placed under the centre of the dome, at the junction of four stately porticoes, which more accurately expressed the figure of the Greek cross. The virgin of Jerusalem might exult in the temple erected by her imperial votary on a most ungrateful spot, which afforded neither ground nor materials to the architect. A level was formed, by raising part of a deep valley to the height of the mountain. The stones of a neighbouring quarry were hewn into regular
p. 35.—Ed.] * The six books of the Edifices of Procopius
are thus distributed. The first is confined to Constantinople; the second includes Mesopotamia and Syria; the third, Armenia and the Euxine; the fourth, Europe; the fifth, Asia Minor and Palestine; the sixth, Egypt and Africa. Italy is forgotten by the emperor or the historian, who published this work of adulation before the date 336 BYZANTINE PALACE EESTOEED. [cn. XL.
forma; each block was fixed on a peculiar carriage, drawn by forty of the strongest oxen, and the roads were widened for the passage of such enormous weights. Lebanon furnished her loftiest cedars for the timbers of the church; and the seasonable discovery of a vein of red marble supplied its beautiful columns, two of which, the supporters of the exterior portico, were esteemed the largest in the world. The pious munificence of the emperor was diffused over the holy land: and if reason should condemn the monasteries of both sexes which were built or restored by Justinian, yet charity must applaud the wells which he sank, and the hospitals which he founded, for the relief of the weary pilgrims. The schismatical temper of Egypt was ill entitled to the royal bounty; but in Syria and Africa some remedies were applied to the disasters of wars and earthquakes, and both Carthage and Antioch, emerging from their ruins, might revere the name of their gracious benefactor.* Almost every saint in the calendar acquired the honours of a temple; almost every city of the empire obtained the solid advantages of bridges, hospitals, and aqueducts ; but the severe liberality of the monarch disdained to indulge his subjects in the popular luxury of baths and theatres. While Justinian laboured for the public service, he was not unmindful of his own dignity and ease. The Byzantine palace, which had been damaged by the conflagration, was restored with new magnificence; and some notion may be conceived of the whole edifice, by the vestibule or hall, which, from the doors perhaps, or the roof, was surnamed choice, or the brazen. The dome of a spacious quadrangle was supported by massy pillars; the pavement and walls were incrusted with many coloured marbles—the emerald green of Laconia, the fiery red, and the white Phrygian stone, intersected with veins of a seagreen hue: the mosaic paintings of the dome and sides represented the glories of the African and Italian triumphs. On the Asiatic shore of the Propontis, at a small distance to the east of Chalcedon, the costly palace and gardens of Heraeumf were prepared for the summer residence of Justi
(a.d. 555) of its final oonqueat. * Justinian once gave forty
five centenaries of gold, (180,000?.) for the repairs of Antioch after the earthquake. (John Malalas, tom. ii, p. 146—149.)
+ For the Herseum, the palace of Theodora, see Gyllius (de Bosphoro Thracio, 1 . 3, c. 11) Aleman. (Not. ad Anecdota, p. 80, 81, who quoted
nian, and more especially of Theodora. The poets of the age have celebrated the rare alliance of nature and art, the harmony of the nymphs of the groves, the fountains, and the waves; yet the crowd ot attendants who followed the court complained of their inconvenient lodgings,* and the nymphs were too often alarmed by the famous Porphyrio, a whale of ten cubits in breadth, and thirty in length, who was stranded at the mouth of the river Sangaris, after he had infested more than half a century the seas of Constantinople, f
The fortifications of Europe and Asia were multiplied by ] Justinian; but the repetition of those timid and fruitless precautions exposes to a philosophic eye the debility of the empire. J From Belgrade to the Euxine, from the conflux of the Save to the mouth of the Danube, a chain of above fourscore fortified places was extended along the banks of the great river. Single watch-towers were changed into spacious citadels; vacant walls, which the engineers contracted or enlarged according to the nature of the ground, were filled with colonies or garrisons; a strong fortress defended the ruins of Trajan's bridge,§ and several military stations affected to spread beyond the Danube the pride of the Roman name. But that name was divested of its terrors; the barbarians, in their annual inroads, passed, and contemptuously repassed, before these useless bulwarks;
several epigrams of the Anthology) and Ducange (C. P. Christ. 1. 4, c. 13, p. 175, 176). * Compare, in the Edifices (1 . 1, c. 11),
and in the Anecdotes (c. 8—15), the different styles of adulation and malevolence: stripped of the paint, or cleansed from the dirt, the object appears to be the same. + Procopius, 1. 8. 29.
Most probably a stranger and wanderer, as the Mediterranean does not breed whales. Balsenae quoque in nostra maria penetrant. (Plin. Hist. Natur. 9, 2.) Between the polar circle and the tropic, the cetaceous animals of the ocean grow to the length of fifty, eighty, or one hundred feet. (Hist, des Voyages, tom, xv, p. 289. Pennant's British Zoology, vol. iii, p. 35.) X Montesquieu observes
(tom, iii, p. 503, Considerations sur la Grandeur et la Decadence des Romains, c. 20) that Justinian's empire was like France in the time of the Norman inroads—never so weak as when every village was fortified.
§ Procopius affirms (1. 4, c. 6) that the Danube was stopped by the ruins of the bridge. Had Apollodorus, the architect, left a description of his own work, the fabulous wonders of Dion Cassius (1. 68, p. 1129) would have been corrected by the genuine picture. Trajan's bridge consisted of twenty or twenty-two stone piles with wooden arches; the river is shallow, the current gentle, and the whole interval no more than four hundred and forty-three (Reimar ad Dion., from Mar■igli) or five hmdred and fifteen toUes. (D'Anville, Geograpkie
VOL. IV. Z
and the inhabitants of the frontier, instead of reposing under the shadow of the general defence, were compelled to guard, with incessant vigilance, their separate habitations. The solitude of ancient cities was replenished; the new foundations of Justinian acquired, perhaps too hastily, the epithets of impregnable and populous; and the auspicious place of his own nativity attracted the grateful reverence of the vainest of princes. Under the name of Justiniana prima, the obscure village of Tauresium became the seat of an archbishop and a prefect, whose jurisdiction extended over seven warlike provinces of Illyricum,* and the corrupt appellation of Oiustendil still indicates, about twenty miles to the south of Sophia, the residence of a Turkish sanjak.f For the use of the emperor's countrymen, a cathedral, a palace, and an aqueduct, were speedily constructed; the public and private edifices were adapted to the greatness of a royal city; and the strength of the walls resisted, during the lifetime of Justinian, the unskilful assaults of the Huns and Sclavonians. Their progress waa sometimes retarded, and their hopes of rapine were disappointed, by the innumerable castles, which in the provinces of Dacia, Epirus, Thessaly, Macedonia, and Thrace, appear to cover the whole face of the country. Six hundred of these forts were built or repaired by the emperor: but it seems reasonable to believe, that the far greater part consisted only of a stone or brick tower, in the midst of a square or circular area, which was surrounded by a wall and ditch, and afforded in a moment of danger some protection to the peasants and cattle of the neighbouring villages.J Yet these military Ancienne, tom, i, p. 305.) * Of the two Dacias, Mediterranea
and Ripensis, Dardania, Prsevalitana, the second Moesia and the second Macedonia. See Justinian (Novell., 11) who speaks of his castles beyond the Danube, and of homines semper bellicis sudoribus inha* rentes. [When Aurelian relinquished to the Goths in 270 the original Dacia, north of the Danube (see vol. i, p. 362), he formed a new province of the same name, on the southern side of the river, to preserve the memory of Trajan's conquests. In this was situated the birth-place of Justinian.—En.] + See D'Anville, (Memoirea
de l'Academie, &c. tom. xxxi, p. 289, 290) Ricaut (Present State of the Turkish Empire, p. 97. 316), Marsigli (Stato Militare del Imperio Ottoinano, p. 130). The sanjak of Giustendil is one of the twenty under the beglerbeg of Rumelia, and his district maintains forty-eight 2aiins and five hundred and eighty-eight timariote.
X Those fortifications may be compared to the castles in Mingrelia (Chariltu, Voyages en Perse, tom. i, p. 60. 131,)—a natural picture.