figures-all full of life and action. These scenes of war and hunting indicate the people's cherished pursuits, and perhaps suggest their continuance beyond the grave.

. The ancient Grecian architects erected their temples on wet and low ground, perhaps to escape the convulsions of the earth; thus we find many temples buried below the

[graphic][merged small]

surface by the acretion of the soil. While retarding discovery, this has promoted preservation. What the wind would have coveted the worm has spared, and so some travellers have claimed that they beheld unearthed palaces and temples in a state of marvellous preservation, with the most minute and delicate sculptural details.

Numerous columns and friezes of beautiful sculpture that lay on every side as exhibitions of genius and prowess are gradually disappearing. Many have been carried away to Europe, and the rest have no meaning to the stupid mind and selfish consideration of the half-civilized nomads of Asia Minor, who have used them for foundations, pavements, walls and grave-yards. Had the hand of man dealt as gently with this monument of skill as the tooth of time or the erosion of the elements, we could now visit temples, palaces and tombs, and find them as their artists left them at the last stroke of the chisel. Where earthquakes have thrown them down, they could be rebuilt from the fragments-their inscriptions and decorations sharp and distinct as when they were new. Such is the preserving character of the climatic influence in this region.

Yet not to the archæologist alone are the plains of Asia Minor rich and tempting. Here the botanist may revel in a flora, the most varied and the most exquisite in the world. Hither the glacier and the volcano, mepitic caves dead seas and buried rivers invite the probing, prying geologist. Here on the agate rocks of Phrygia, the subterranean streams of Lycus, the petrified cascades of Hierapotes, the extinct volcanoes of Laodicea, hitherto are drawn the energy and cupidity of Europe and America to the development of its wondrous natural resources, while the spade of the archæologist has been unearthing priceless treasures of antiquity. The diamond drill, with its almost endless cable, has often pierced the bowels of the native rock and caused it to vomit forth riches unsuspected by the natives who have lived and died above them for centuries, and the land of geography, the land made graphic by the pen of Herodotus and of Zenophon, is again the scene of numberless researches in topography and survey, whose object is the exploration of the world's fairest fields and noblest streams, that they may yield their tribute to Occidental capital and energy.

As we have intimated, Asia Minor is not only replete with monuments and relics, but rich in legend and historic record. Its ancient divisions, on the western coast Mysia, including the Greek colonies of Doris, Aeolis and Ionia, Pontus, Paphlagonia and Bithynia on the northern coast. On the southern coast Cicilia, Pisidia, Pamphylia and Lycia, with the inland provinces of Galatia, Cappadocia, Isauria, Lyconia and Phrygia, and more familiar to the modern reader than the department of France or the counties of England. They live in the pages of celebrated names, such as Ptolemy and Strabo. Strabo furnishes us with a specific knowledge, particularly of the central regions. Arrian narrates the marches of Alexander through the vast region of the Levant.f

Zenophon follows the road of Cyrus from Sardes in Lydia, passing through the cities of Phrygia and Lacaonia, terminating at Tarsus on the Cilician coast. Livy follows with the progress of Cm. Manlius. These interesting

† The modern name “Leavant” frequently used for Asia Minor, corresponds with the Greek term Anatolia, “Sunrise."

descriptions of old should prove of great value to the modern amateur in his researches.

On the borders of Bithynia and Mysia is Mount Olympus, her massive head rising 9,454 feet into the ether. This cloud-veiled summit represented the Grecian heaven, where the host of gods resided at the court of Zeus, surrounded by all the mythical conceptions of pomp and glory. But where are now the great family of gods? Are they dead? The summit of Mount Olympus is covered only with ice and snow, and they must needs have removed to more comfortable quarters. Not very far from this abode of lost gods, on the lake Ascania, is situated Nicaea, the city of Antagonius, whose possession has been vigorously contended during the medial ages between the powers of Turkey and Greece.

Amid all the associations and relics which crown her past, Nicaea calls forth from her bosom a hallowed reflection; for here was held the first Christian council, which Arostanes, a son of St. Gregory, and Archbishop Catholicos of Armenia attended, accompanied with King Trirdatis. There our Armenian royal and clerical dignitaries took prominent part in the Oecumenical Synod, and were entertained with much honor by the Emperor Constantine the Great. This first council originated the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

Along the coast of Asia Minor are many isles wherecluster mythological legends, and where heroic grandeur and poetic enchantment reach the acme of perfeciion. On

the southwestern coast of this region lies the island of Rhodes, her atmosphere so strikingly different from the rest of Asia Minor that it seems to be the combination of African and Asiatic zones; there pine and palm grow side by side; there is cloudless sunshine, salubrious air and

[graphic][merged small]

delightful climate, combined with the rich soil of evergreen gardens, blooming valleys, orchards of fig and orange trees, and all the endowments of nature are so charmingly attractive that the isle of Rhodes was a source of inspiration to the early Greeks in their numerous poetical legends. The

« ForrigeFortsett »