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the gates of the Hellespont and Bosphorus were shut, the capital still enjoyed, within their spacious enclosure, every production which could supply the wants or gratify the luxury, of its numerous inhabitants. The seacoasts of Thrace and Bithynia, which languish under the weight of Turkish oppression, still exhibit a rich prospect of vineyards, of gardens, and of plentiful harvests; and the Propontis has ever been renowned for an inexhaustible store of the most exquisite fish, that are taken in their stated seasons, without skill and almost without labour.' But when the passages of the straits were thrown open for trade, they alternately admitted the natural and artificial riches of the north and south, of the Euxine and of the Mediterranean. Whatever rude commodities were collected in the forests of Germany and Scythia, as far as the sources of the Tanais and the Borysthenes; whatsoever was manufactured by the skill of Europe or Asia; the corn of Egypt, and the gems and spices of the farthest India, were brought by the varying winds into the port of Constantinople, which, for many ages, attracted the commerce of the ancient world.
The prospect of beauty, of safety, and of Founda
wealth, united in a single spot, was sufficient to the city. justify the choice of Constantine. But as some decent mixture of prodigy and fable has, in every age, been supposed to reflect a becoming majesty on the origin of great cities, the emperor was 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 care
y See Belon. Observations, c. 72–76. Among a variety of different species, the pelamides, a sort of thunnies, were the most celebrated. We may leam from Po. İybius, Strabo, and Tacitus, that the profits of the fishery constituted the principal revenue of Byzantium.
- See the eloquent description of Busbequius, epistol. 1. p. 64. Est in Europa ; babet in conspectu Asiam, Ægyptum, Africamque à dextrâ : quæ tametsi contiguæ non sunt, maris tamen navigandique commoditate veluti junguntur. A sinistra vero Pontus est. Euxinus, &c.
• Datur hæc venia antiquitati, ut miscendo humana divinis, primordia urbium augustiora faciat. T. Liv. in proem.
ful to instruct 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 celestial inspiration was communicated to his mind, the defect of his modest silence has been liberally supplied by the ingenuity of succeeding writers, who describe the nocturnal 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 generous superstition;" and though Constantine might omit some rites which savoured too strongly of their Pagan origin, yet he was anxious to leave a deep impression of hope and respect on the minds of the spectators. On foot, with a lance in his hand, the emperor himself led the solemn procession, and directed the line, which was traced as the boundary of the destined capital; till the growing circumference was observed with astonishment by the assistants, who at length ventured to observe, that he had already exceeded the most ample measure of a great city. I shall still advance (replied Constantine) till he, the invisible guide, who marches be
• He says in one of his laws, pro commoditate urbis quam æterno nomine, jubente Deo, donavimus. Cod. Theodos. lib. 13. tit. 5. leg. ñ.
• 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. lib. 1. p. 24, 25.
a See Plutarch in Romul. tom. 1. p. 49. edit. Bryan. Among other ceremonies, a large bole, 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. VOL. II.
fore me, thinks proper to stop. Without presuming to investigate the nature or motives of this extraordinary conductor, we shall content ourselves with the more humble task of describing the extent and limits of Constantinople.
In the actual state of the city, the palace and
gardens of the seraglio occupy the eastern promontory, the first of the seven hills, and cover about one hundred and fifty acres of our own measure. The seat of Turkish jealousy and despotism is erected on the foundations of a Grecian republic; but it may be supposed that the Byzantines 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 enclosed five of the seven hills, which, to the eyes of those who approached Constantinople, appear to rise above each other in beautiful order.8 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 sixth, 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 surround his capital with an adequate and per
e Philostorgius, lib. 2. c. 9. This incident, though borrowed from a suspected writer, is characteristic and probable.
See in the Memoires de l'Academie, tom. 35. 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 nine thousand five hundred, determines the circumference of the city as consisting of about seven thousand eight hundred French toises.
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, lib. 4. c. 6.; but I have tried, without success, to discover the exact place where it was situated.
manent enclosure of walls. From the eastern promontory to the golden gate, the extreme length of Constantinople was about three Roman miles; the circumference measured between ten and eleven; and the surface might be computed as 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 considered as a part of the city;' and this addition may perhaps authorize the measure of a Byzantine historian, who assigns sixteen Greek (about fourteen Roman) miles for the circumference of his native city. Such an extent may seem not unworthy of an imperial residence. Yet Constantinople must yield to Babylon and Thebes," to ancient Rome, to London, and even to Paris.o
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 prefect Cyrus. The suburb of the Blachernæ was first taken into the city in the reign of Heraclius. Ducange Const. lib. 1. c. 10, 11.
The measurement is expressed in the Notitia by fourteen thousand seventyfive 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 hundred and eighty feet with the seventy-eight Hashemite cubits, which in different writers are assigned for the height of St. Sophia. Each of these cubits was equal to twenty-seven French inches.
* The accurate Thevenot (lib. 1. c. 15.) walked in one hour and three quarters round two of the sides of the triangle, from the Kiosk of the seraglio to the Seven Towers. D'Anville examines with care, and receives with confidence, this decisive testimony, which gives a circumference of ten or twelve miles. The extravagant computation of Tournefort (lettre 11.) of thirty-four or thirty miles, without including scatari, is a strange departure from his usual character.
The sycæ, or fig-trees, formed the thirteenth region, and were very much em. bellished 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. lib. 1. c. 22. and Gyllius de Byzant. lib. 4. c. 10.
One hundred and eleven stadia, which may be translated into modem Greek miles each of seven stadia, or six hundred and sixty, sometimes only six hundred, French toises. See d'Anville Measures Itineraires, p. 53.
n 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 twentyfive or thirty miles. Compare d'Anville Mem. de l'Academie, tom. 28. p. 285. with bis Description d' l'Egypte, p. 201, 202.
• If we divide Constantinople and Paris into equal squares of hifty French toises, the former contains eight bundred and fifty, and the latter one thousand one hundred and sixty, of those divisions.
The master of the Roman world, who aspired the work. 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 expense bestowed with imperial liberality on the foundation of Constantinople, by the allowance of about 2,500,0001. for the construction of the walls, the porticos, and the aqueducts. The forests that overshadowed the shores of the Euxine, and the celebrated quarries of white marble in the little island of Proconnesus, supplied an inexhaustible stock of materials, ready to be conveyed, by the convenience of a short water-carriage, to the harbour of Byzantium.' A multitude of labourers and artificers urged the conclusion of the work with incessant toil: but the impatience of Constantine soon discovered, that, in the decline of the arts, the skill as well as numbers of his architects bore a very unequal proportion to the greatness of his designs. The magistrates of the most distant provinces were therefore directed to institute schools, to appoint professors, and by the hopes of rewards and privileges, to engage in the study and practice of architecture a sufficient number of ingenious youths, who had received a liberal education." The buildings of the new city were executed by such artificers as the reign of Constantine could afford; but they were decorated by the hands of the most celebrated masters of the age of Pericles and Alexander. To revive the genius of Phidias and Lysippus, surpassed indeed the power of a Roman emperor; but the immortal
p Six hundred centenaries, or sixty thousand pounds weight of gold. This sum is taken from Codinus Antiquit. Const. p. 11.; 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.
9 For the forests of the Black sea, consult Tournefort, lettre 16. for the marble quarries of Proconnesus, see Strabo, lib. 13. p. 588. The latter had already furnished the materials of the stately buildings of Cyzicus.
See the Codex Theodos. lib. i3. tit. 4. leg. i. This law is dated in the year 334, and was addressed to the prefect of Italy, whose jurisdiction extended over Africa. The commentary of Godefroy on the whole title well deserves to be consulted.