« ForrigeFortsett »
prise of Vitalian.* A machine was fixed on the walls of the city, consisting of an hexagon mirror of polished brass, with many smaller and moveable polygons to receive and reflect the rays of the meridian sun; and a consuming flame was darted to the distance, perhaps, of two hundred feet. of The truth of these two extraordinary facts is invalidated by the silence of the most authentic historians; and the use of burning-glasses was never adopted in the attack or defence of places. I Yet the admirable experiments of a French philosopher ş have demonstrated the possibility of such a mirror; and, since it is possible, I am more disposed to attribute the art to the greatest mathematicians of antiquity, than to give the merit of the fiction to the idle fancy of a monk or a sophist. According to another story, Proclus applied sulphur to the destruction of the Gothic fleet: in a modern imagination, the name of sulphur is instantly connected with the suspicion of gunpowder, and that suspicion is propagated by the secret arts of his disciple Anthemius. ** A citizen of Tralles in Asia had five sons, who were all distinguished in their respective professions by merit and success. Olympius excelled in the knowledge and practice of the Roman jurisprudence. Dioscorus and Alexander became learned physicians; but the skill of the formner was exercised for the benefit of his fellow-citizens,
* Zonaras (1. 14, p. 55) affirms the fact, without quoting any evidence.
+ Tzetzes describes the artifice of these burning glasses, which he had read, perhaps with no learned eyes, in a mathematical treatise of Anthemius. That treatise, tepi napadówv mexav. nuárwv, has been lately published, translated, and illustrated, by M. Dupuys, a scholar and a mathematician. (Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions, tom. xlii, p. 392–451.)
In the siege of Syracuse, by the silence of Polybius, Plutarch, Livy; in the siege of Constantinople, by that of Marcellinus, and alí the contemporaries of the sixth century.
$ Without any previous knowledge of Tzetzes or Anthemius, the immortal Bufton imagined and executed a set of burning-glasses, with which he could inflame planks at the distance of two hundred feet. (Supplément à l'Hist. Naturelle, tom. i, p. 399–483, quarto edition.) What miracles would not his genius have performed for the public service, with royal expense, and in the strong sun of Constantinople or Syracuse !
John Malalas (tom. ii, p. 120–124) relates the fact; but he seems to confound the names or persons of Proclus and Marinus.
** Agathias, 1. 5, p. 149–152. The merit of Anthemius as an architect is loudly praised by Procopius (de Edif. 1. 1, c. 1) and Paulus Silentiarius (part 1. 134, &c.).
while his more ambitious brother acquired wealth and reputation at Rome. The fame of Metrodorus the gram-marian, and of Anthemius the mathematician and architect, reached the ears of the emperor Justinian, who invited them to Constantinople; and while the one instructed the rising generation in the schools of eloquence, the other filled the capital and provinces with more lasting monuments of his art. In a trifling dispute, relative to the walls or windows of their contiguous houses, he had been vanquished by the eloquence of his neighbour Zeno; but the orator was defeated in his turn by the master of mechanics, whose malicious, though harmless, stratagems, are darkly represented by the ignorance of Agathias. In a lower room, Anthemius arranged several vessels or cauldrons of water, each of them covered by the wide bottom of a leathern tube, which rose to a narrow top, and was artificially conveyed among the joists and rafters of the adjacent building. A fire was kindled beneath the cauldron; the steam of the boiling water ascended through the tubes; the house was shaken by the efforts of imprisoned air, and its trembling inhabitants might wonder that the city was unconscious of the earthquake, which they had felt. At another time, the friends of Zeno, as they sat at table, were dazzled by the intolerable light which flashed in their eyes from the reflecting mirrors of Anthemius; they were astonished by the noise which he produced from the collision of certain minute and sonorous particles; and the orator declared, in tragic style, to the senate, that a mere mortal must yield to the power of an antagonist, who shook the earth with the trident of Neptune, and imitated the thunder and lightning of Jove himself. The genius of Anthemius and his colleague Isidore the Milesian, was excited and employed by a prince, whose taste for architecture had degenerated into a mischievous and costly passion. His favourite architects submitted their designs and difficulties to Justinian, and discreetly confessed how much their laborious meditations were surpassed by the intuitive knowledge or celestial inspiration of an emperor, whose views were always directed to the benefit of his people, the glory of his reign, and the salvation of his soul.*
* See Procopius (de Edificiis, 1. 1, c. 1, 2; 1. 2, c. 3). He relates & coincidence of dreams which supposes some fraud in Justinian or his
The principal church, which was dedicated by the founder of Constantinople to St. Sophia, or the eternal Wisdom, had been twice destroyed by fire; after the exile of John Chrysostom, and during the Nika of the blue and green factions. No sooner did the tumult subside than the Christian populace deplored their sacrilegious rashness; but they might have rejoiced in the calamity, had they foreseen the glory of the new temple, which, at the end of forty days, was strenuously undertaken by the piety of Justinian.* The ruins were cleared away, a more spacious plan was described, and, as it required the consent of some proprietors of ground, they obtained the most exorbitant terms from the eager desires and timorous conscience of the monarch. Anthemius formed the design, and his genius directed the hands of ten thousand workmen, whose payment in pieces of fine silver was never delayed beyond the evening. The emperor himself, clad in a linen tunic, surveyed each day their rapid progress, and encouraged their diligence by his familiarity, his zeal, and his rewards. The new cathedral of St. Sophia was consecrated by the patriarch,
architect. They both saw, in a vision, the same plan for stopping an inundation at Dara. A stone quarry near Jerusalem was revealed to the emperor (l. 5, c. 6): an angel was tricked into the perpetual custody of St. Sophia. (Anonym. de Antiq. C. P. I. 4, p. 70.)
* Among the crowd of ancients and moderns, who have celebrated the edifice of St. Sophia, I shall distinguish and follow :-1. Four original spectators and historians : Procopius (de Edific. l. 1, c. 1), Agathias (1. 5, p. 152, 153), Paul Silentiarius, (in a poem of one thou. sand and twenty-six hexameters, ad calcem Annæ Comnen. Alexiad.) and Evagrius (1. 4, c. 31). 2. Two legendary Greeks of a later period: George Codinus (de Origin. C. P. p. 64—74) and the anonymous writer of Banduri (Imp. Orient. tom. i, 1. 4, p. 65–80). 3. The great Byzan. tine antiquarian, Ducange (Comment. ad Paul. Silentiar. p. 525-598. and C. P. Christ. 1. 3, p. 5—78). 4. Two French travellers—the one, Peter Gyllius (de Topograph. C. P. 1. 2, c. 3, 4) in the sixteenth ; the other, Grelot (Voyage de C. P. p. 95—164, Paris, 1680, in 4to.): be has given plans, prospects, and inside views of St. Sophia; and his plans, though on a smaller scale, appear more correct than those of Ducange. I have adopted and reduced the measures of Grelot: but as no Christian can now ascend the dome, the height is borrowed from Evagrius compared with Gyllius, Greaves, and the Oriental Geographer. [Dr. Clarke (Travels, part 2, p. 34) found that a traveller might obtain admission to see the St. Sophia for eight piastres; but that no entrance was granted to other mosques without a firmân, which could, however, be easily procured.-ED.]
five years eleven months and ten days from the first foundation; and, in the midst of the solemn festival, Justinian exclaimed with devout vanity, “ Glory be to God, who hath thought me worthy to accomplish so great a work: I have vanquished thee, 0 Solomon!”* But the pride of the Roman Solomon, before twenty years had elapsed, was humbled by an earthquake, which overthrew the eastern part of the dome. Its splendour was again restored by the perseverance of the same prince; and, in the thirty-sixth year of his reign, Justinian celebrated the second dedication of a temple, which remains, after twelve centuries, a stately monument of his fame. The architecture of St. Sophia, which is now converted into the principal mosch, has been imitated by the Turkish sultans, and that venerable pile continues to excite the fond admiration of the Greeks, and the more rational curiosity of European travellers. The ere of the spectator is disappointed by an irregular prospect of half domes and shelving roofs: the western front, the principal approach, is destitute of simplicity and magnificence: and the scale of dimensions has been much surpassed by several of the Latin cathedrals. But the architect, who first erected an aerial cupola, is entitled to the praise of bold design and skilful execution. The dome of St. Sopbia, illuminated by four-and-twenty windows, is formed with so small a curve, that the depth is equal only to onesixth of its diameter; the measure of that diameter is one hundred and fifteen feet, and the lofty centre, where a crescent has supplanted the cross, rises to the perpendicular height of one hundred and eighty feet above the pavement. The circle which encompasses the dome lightly reposes on four strong arches, and their weight is firmly supported by four massy piles, whose strength is assisted on the northern and southern sides by four columns of Egyptian granite. A Greek cross, inscribed in a quadrangle, represents the form of the edifice; the exact breadth is two hundred and forty-three feet, and two hundred and sixty-nine may be assigned for the extreme length from the sanctuary in the east to the nine western 'doors which open into the vestibule, and from thence into the narthex, or exterior portico. That portico was the humble station of the penitents. The nave or body of the church was filled by the congregation of the faithful; but the two sexes were prudently distinguished, and the upper and lower galleries were allotted for the more private devotion of the women. Beyond the northern and southern piles, a balustrade, terminated on either side by the thrones of the emperor and the patriarch, divided the nave from the choir: and the space, as far as the steps of the altar, was occupied by the clergy and singers. The altar itself, a name which insensibly became familiar to Christian ears, was placed in the eastern recess, artificially built in the form of a demi-cylinder; and this sanctuary communicated by several doors with the sacristy, the vestry, the baptistery, and the contiguous buildings, subservient either to the pomp of worship, or the private use of the ecclesiastical ministers. The memory of past calamities inspired Justinian with a wise resolution, that no wood, except for the doors, should be admitted into the new edifice; and the choice of the materials was applied to the strength, the lightness, or the splendour of the respective parts. The solid piles which sustained the cupola were composed of huge blocks of freestone, hewn into squares and triangles, fortified by circles of iron, and firmly cemented by the infusion of lead and quicklime: but the weight of the cupola was diminished by the levity of its substance, which consists either of pumice-stone, that floats in the water, or of bricks from the isle of Rhodes, five times less ponderous than the ordinary sort. The whole frame of the edifice was constructed of brick; but those base materials were concealed by a crust of marble; and the inside of St. Sophia, the cupola, the two larger, and the six smaller, semi-domes, the walls, the hundred columns, and the pavement, delight even the eyes of barbarians with a rich and variegated picture. A poet,* who beheld the primitive lustre of St. Sophia, enumerates the colours, the shades, and the spots of ten or
* Solomon's temple was surrounded with courts, porticoes, &c. but the proper structure of the house of God was no more (ií we take the Egyptian or Hebrew cubit at twenty-two inches) than fifty-five feet in height, thirty-six and twothirds in breadth, and one hundred and ten in length a small parish church, says Prideaux, (Connection, vol. i, p. 144, folio) but few sanctu. aries could be valued at four or five millions sterling!