Charles Bucke.

Ruins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) online

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Fallen, fallen, a lilent heap ; their heroes all
Sunk in (heir urns: Behold the plide of pomp,
The throne of nations fallen ; obscured in dust
Even yet majestical The solemn scene
Elates the soul ! DYFX.











THE reader is requested to observe, that, though
the plan of this work is entirely his own, the com-
piler of it does not put it forth as in any way origi-
nal in respect to language or description. It is, in
fact, a much better book, than if it had been what
is strictly called original, (which, indeed, must- have
involved an utter impossibility :) for it is a selection
of some of the best materials the British Museum
could furnish ; sometimes worked up in his own
language ; and sometimes and, indeed, very fre-
quently in that of others : the compiler having, at
an humble distance and with unequal steps, followed
the plan which M. Rollin proposed to himself, when
he composed his celebrated history of ancient times.
" To adorn and enrich my own," says that cele-
brated writer, " I will be so ingenuous as to confess,
that I do not scruple, nor am ashamed, to rifle where-
ever I come ; and' that I often do not cite the authors
from whom I transcribe, because of the liberty I
take to make some slight alterations. I have made the
best use in my power of the solid reflections that occur
in the Bishop of Meaux's Universal History, which
is one of the most beautiful and most useful books in
our language. I have also received great assistance


from the learned Dean Prideaux's ' Connexion of the
Old and New Testament,' in which he has traced
and cleared up, in an admirable manner, the par-
ticulars relating to ancient history. I shall takr tin-
same liberty with whatever comes in my way, that
may suit my design, and contribute to its perfection.
I am very sensible, that it is not so much for a per-
son's reputation to make use of other men's labours,
and that it is in a manner renouncing the name and
quality of author. But I am not over-fond of that
title, and shall be extremely well pleased, and think
myself very happy, if I can but deserve the name of
ft good compiler ; and supply my readers with a
tolerable history, who will not be over-solicitous to
inquire what hand it comes from, provided they are
but pleased with it."

Having followed this example, the compiler wishes
he could say with equal effect, he will be fully satis-
fied, should judicious readers feel inclined to concede,
that he has shown some judgment in selecting his
materials, and some taste in binding " the beads of
the chain," that connects them together. He dis-
claims, in fact, (as, in the present instance, he is
bound to do), all the " divine honours " of author-
ship ; satisfied with those of a selector, adapter, and
compiler ; and happy in the hope that ho has here,
by means of the superior writers, whoso labours he
has used, furnished his readers with an useful, accu-
rate, and amusing work. C. I '.

Lo idon, January \it, 1840.


I. ABYDOS ........ 1

II. ABYDU3 ....... 5

III. *GESTA ........ 7

IV. JEGIVA. ........ 8

V. AGRIGENTUM .. . . . . . . 15

VI. ALBA LONGA ....... 22

VII. ALCANTARA . . . . . . . 23

VIII. ALEXANDRIA . . . . . . .25

IX. AMISUS . - . . . . . . 50

X. ANTIOCH . . . . . . .53

XI. ARGOS . . . . . 57

XII. ARIAMMENE . ... . . . .65

XIII. ARSINOE . . . . . . . . 66

XIV. ARTAXATA ....... 69

XV. ARTEMITA . . . ... . \ 70

XVI. ATHENS ...... 74

XVII. BABYLON . . . . . . " . . 121

XVIII. BALBEC . . . . . . .165

XIX. BYZANTIUM . . t . . 185

xx. CAIRO (OLD) ...... 200

XXI. CANN* ........ 205

xxn. CAPUA 209



xxnr. < iiiTiur.F ....... 213

XXIV. C4TINEA ....... 237

XXV. CHALCEDON . . . . . ..'-'40

XXVI. CIIXRONF.A . . . . . . . - I ."

XXVII. CORDUBA . . . . . . . . 24 7

xxviu. rnncYKA (CORFU) 249


XXX. CTRSIPHON ....... 265

xxxi. DELPHOS ........ 274


XXXIII. ELF.USIS ........ 294

xxxi*. ELIS 299

XXXV. KPHESUS ........ 301



XXXTIII. GNIDOS . . . . . . 330


XL. HERCULANFUM . . ... . . 335


XI. II. ISPAHAN . ...... 353


XLIV. JERUSALEM . . .... 366


XLVI. LAODICEA ... .... 407

XLVII. LEUCTRA ....... 410


XLIX. MANTINEA ....... 415

L. MARATHON . . . 423

LI. MEGALOPOLIS ....... 428

Lll. MKGARJk ....... 430

I. III. MEMPHIS ....... 435



Of chance or change, oh ! let not man complain ;
Else shall he never, never, cease to wail ;
For from the imperial dome, to where the swain
Rears his lone cottage in the silent dale,
All feel the assault of fortune's fickle gale.
Art, empire, earth itself, to change are doom'd ;
Earthquakes have raised to heaven the humble vale;
And gulfs the mountains 1 mighty mass entomb'd ;
And where the Atlantic rolls wide continents have bloom'd.

THIS city stood on the Asiatic side of the Helles-
pont, now called the Dardanelles, opposite to the
city of Sestos, on the European side, the distance
from each other being about two miles. Abydos
was built by the Milesians, and became greatly cele-
brated from the circumstance that it was here that
Xerxes built his bridge over the Hellespont; also for
the loves of Hero and Leander.

Philip, king of Macedon, laid siege to this city,
and nothing of what is generally practised in the
assaulting and defending of cities was omitted in the
siege. No place, say the historians, was ever defended
with greater obstinacy, which might be said at
length, on the side of the besieged, to have risen to

2 HI-INS OF xxnrvr CITII->.

fury and brutality. Confiding in its own strength,
they repulsed, with the greatest vigour, the approaches
of the Macedonians. Finding, however, at last, that
the outer wall of their city was sapped, and that the
Macedonians carried their mines under the inner one,
they sent deputies to Philip, offering to surrender the
city on certain conditions, one of which was, that all the
free citizens should retire whithersoever they pleased,
with the clothes they then had on. These conditions
were not approved by Philip, he therefore sent for
answer, that the Ahydonians had only to choose,
whether they would surrender at discretion or con-
tinue to defend themselves gallantly as they had
before done.

When the citizens heard this they assembled toge-
ther, to consider what they should do in so great an
emergency ; and here we have to record, not in our
own language but in that of others, for our pen
would be unequal to the description, circumstances
scarcely to be paralleled in all history ! It is thus
given by Rollin :

They came to these resolutions; first, that the
slaves should be set at liberty, to animate them to
defend the city with the utmost vigour ; secondly,
that all the women should be shut up in the temple of
Diana, and all the children with their nurses in the
Gymnasium ; that this being done, they then should
bring into the great square all the gold and silver in
the city, and carry all the rest of the valuable effects
into the quadriremc of the Rhodians and the trireme
of the Cyzicenians. This resolution having passed
unanimously, another assembly was called, in whit -li
they chose fifty of the wisest and most ancient of the
citizens, but who at the same time had vigour enough
left to execute what should have been determined ;
and they were made to take an oath, in presence of


all the inhabitants, that the instant they saw the
enemy master of the inner wall they should kill the
women and children, set fire to the galleys laden
with their effects, and throw into the sea all the gold
and silver which they had heaped together. Then,
sending for their priests, they took an oath either to
conquer or die, sword in hand; and after having
sacrificed the victims, they obliged the priests and
priestesses to pronounce before the altar the greatest
curses on those who should break their oath.
This being done, they left off countermining, and
resolved, the instant the wall should fall, to fly to
' the breach and fight to the last. Accordingly, the
inward wall tumbling, the besieged, true to the oath
they had taken, fought in the breach with such un-
paralleled bravery, that though Philip had perpetu-
ally sustained with fresh soldiers those who had
mounted to the assault, yet, when night separated
the combatants, he was still doxibtful with regard to
the success of the siege. Such Abydorrians as marched
first to the breach, over the heaps of slain, fought
with fury, and not only made use of their swords
and javelins, but after their arms were broken to
pieces or forced from their hands, they rushed furi-
ously upon the Macedonians, knocked down some,
broke the long spears of others, and with the pieces
struck their faces and such parts of their bodies as
were uncovered, till they made them entirely despair
of the event. "When night had put an end to the
slaughter, the breach was quite covered with the
dead bodies of the Abydonians, and those who had
escaped were so prodigiously fatigued, and had
received so many wounds, that they could scarce
support themselves. Things being brought to this
dreadful extremity, two of the principal citizens,
unable to execute the dreadful resolution that had
B 2


been taken, and which at that time displayed
it.-rlf to their imaginations in all its horror, a-:
that, to save their wives and children, they should
send to Philip by day-break all their priests and
priesteaaee, clothed in pontifical habits, to implore
his mercy and open their gates to him. Accord-
ingly the next morning the city, as had been
agreed, was surrendered to Philip, during which the
greatest part of the Abydonians, who survived, vented
millions of imprecations against their fellow-citizens,
and especially against the priests and priestesses, for
delivering up to the enemy those whom they themselves
had devoted to death with the most dreadful oaths.
Philip marched into the city and seized, without the
least opposition, all the rich effects which the Aby-
donians had heaped together in one place. But now
he was greatly terrified with the spectacle he saw.
Among these ill-fated citizens, whom despair had
made furious and distracted, some were strangling
their wives and children; and others cutting them with
swords to pieces ; some were running to murder them ;
some were plunging them into wells ; whilst others
were precipitating them from the tops of the houses ;
in a word, death appeared in a variety of horrors.
Philip, pierced with grief, and seized with horror at
the spectacle, stopped the soldiers who were greedy
of plunder, and published a declaration, importing
that he would allow three days to all, who were
resolved to lay violent hands on themselves. He was
in hopes that during this interval they would change
their resolution, but they had made their choice before.
They thought it would be degenerating from those,
who had lost their lives in fighting for their country,
should they survive them. The individuals of every
family killed one another, and none escaped this
murderous expedition but those whose hands were


tied, or were otherwise kept from destroying them-

Nothing now remains of the ancient town, but a
few insignificant ruing in the neighbourhood of the
modern one *.


ABYDUS, in Egypt, is now called Madfuneh, or the
Buried City. According to Pliny and Strabo it was
a colony of Milesians. It is said once to have nearly
equalled Thebes in grandeur and magnificence ; but it
was reduced to a village in the reign of Augustus,
and is now only a heap of uninhabited ruins.

In its neighbourhood, however, the celebrated
tomb of Ismandes is still found ; he who built the
temple of Osiris, into which no singers or dancers
were ever allowed to enter. Besides numerous tombs
and sepulchral monuments, that are continually
found here, the remains of two grand edifices, and
other ruins, evince its former extent, and justify
the assertion of Strabo, that Abydus formerly
held the first rank after Thebes itself. One of those
edifices was called the Palace of Memnon ; but it
was, in reality, commenced by Osirei, and completed
by his son Remesis II., and from the peculiar nature
of its plan, and the structure of its roof, it is parti-
cularly interesting to the antiquary. This last is
formed of large blocks of stone placed from one archi-
trave to the other ; not, as usual in Egyptian build-
ings, on their faces, but on their sides ; so that
considerable thickness having been given to the roof,
a vault was afterwards cut in them, without endan-
gering its stability. The other building is the famous
temple of Osiris, who was reported to have been
buried in Abydus, and who was worshipped there in
his most sacred character. There are many other
* Plutarch ; Diodorus ; Rollin ; Sandwich.


says Plutarch, where his corpse is said to have
DM1 deposited ; but Abydus and Memphis are men-
tioned in particular as having the tnie body ; and for
this reason the rich and powerful of the Egyptians
were desirous of being buried in the former of these
two cities, in order to lie, as it were, in the same grave
with Osiris himself. The fact, that the natives of
other towns also were buried at Abydus, is fully
confirmed by modern discoveries ; and inscriptions,
purporting that the deceased were from sonu- ili>t;mt
part of the country, are frequently found in the
tombs of its extensive cemetery. The temple of
Osiris was completed by Remesis II., who enriched
it with a splendid sanctuary, rendered unusually
conspicuous from the materials used in its construc-
tion, being entirely lined with oriental alabaster.
He also added to the numerous chambers and courts
many elegant and highly-finished sculptures. One
of these lateral apartments contains the famous
tablet of kings, discovered by Mr. Bankes, and
which, in an historical point of view, is one of the
most precious monuments hitherto met with among
the ruins of Egypt. In the cemetery to the north-
ward are some other stone remains, among which is
one of the time of Remesis the Second, and another
bearing the name of Sabaco.

The reservoir mentioned by Strabo, which was
cased with stone, may be traced on the east side
of the ancient town ; and in the mountain, to the
north-west, are some limestone quarries, and an
inclined road leading to a narrow grotto, in an un-
finished state, and without sculpture.

The Arabs, in searching for treasure, have heaped
up piles of earth and rubbish ; but there arc no inha-

* Pliny; Strabo; Plutarch ; Diodorui ; Wilkin&on.



THE sterile country between Trapani and Alcamo
(in Sicily) may render the stranger better prepared
to contemplate one of the finest of ancient monu-
ments all that remains of ^Egesta, celebrated for
the temple of the Erycinian Venus. This town,
situated on a height at the base of Mount Eryx v
was deserted and almost in ruins at so early a period
as the time of Strabo.

All travellers, who have examined the temple,
are unanimous in its commendation. " The effect it
produced at a distance," says Mons. Simon, "increased
as I approached. Such is the magic of its proportions,
and the beauty of its forms, that, at whatever side it
may be viewed, it is equally admirable. It has
braved the influence of time the edifice stands
entire, columns, entablature, pediment all except
the cella and roof, which have disappeared. The
columns, of the Ionic order, are about seven feet in
diameter at the base, tapering towards the top, and
only four diameters in height ; but they form, with
the front, a total height of fifty-eight feet. The
dimensions of the interior are about one hundred
and seventy-four feet by seventy-two."

This city was destroyed by Agathocles. At a
subsequent time it was the residence of the tyrant
^milius Censorinus, who offered rewards to such
artists as were the most ingenious in the invention
of instruments of torture !*

* Simon ; Count Fedor de Karacray ; Malte-Brun.

NO. IV. I .. ISA.

" WE seated ourselves on a fallen column," says
Mr. Williams, " and could not but admire the s<vnr
before us : Attica, Peloponnesus, and the gulf of
^)gina, with their many points of attraction, ad-
dressing both the eye and the mind ! While we were
enjoying the splendid view, two shepherds stepped
from the ruins, and passing their crooks from thrir
right hand to their left, pressed their hearts and
foreheads, and kissed their hands in a manner than
which nothing could be more graceful. Their eyes
bespoke their curiosity to know what brought us
there; and when we looked across the gulf, they
both exclaimed, ' Athenae ! Athenae !' as if we were
desirous to know the name of the distant spot, that
marked the site of Athens."

Servius Sulpitius mentions JEgina, in a very agree-
able manner to Cicero, who was then grieving for
the loss of his daughter Tullia : " Once," said ho,
" when I was in distress, I received a sensible alle-
viation of my sorrow from a circumstance, which, in
the hope of its having the same influence upon you,
I will take this opportunity of relating. I was re-
turning from Asia ; and as I was steering my course,
I began to contemplate the surrounding country.
Behind me was JEgina ; Megara in the front ; the
Piraeus occupied my right hand, and Corinth my
left. These cities, once flourishing, were now reduced
to irretrievable ruin. * Alas!' said I, somewhat in-
dignantly, shall man presume to complain of the
shortness and the ills of life, whose being in this
world is necessarily short, when I see so many cities,
at one view, totally destroyed ? ' This reflection, my
friend, relieved my sorrow."

Mr. Dodwell, when he was in ./Egina, lodged at
the house of the principal Greek, who was acquainted


with the leading particulars of its history ; and when
he talked of its former grandeur, and compared it
with its present abject condition, the tears came into
his eyes, and he exclaimed " A las ! where is ^Egina
now ? "

The island of ^Egina lies between Attica and
Argolis, eighteen miles distant from the coast of
Athens and fourteen from Epidaurus. It does not
exceed nine miles in its greatest length, nor six miles
in its greatest breadth ; its interior is rough and
mountainous, and the valleys, though they are made
to bear corn, cotton, olive, and fruit trees, are stony
and narrow. Notwithstanding this, in ancient days,
through the blessings of commerce, this spot in the
seas of Greece was the residence of a numerous and
most thriving population, who created upon it such
works as are still the admiration of the civilised
world, though they are now in ruins ; the place, how-
ever, of those who built them, is scantily occupied
by an impoverished and degraded race of men.

The people of ^Egina were the first who coined
money to be subservient to the uses of life, agreeably
to the advice of Phidon, who considered that a
maritime commerce would best be promoted, where
exchange and accommodation became easy and fami-
liar between the vendor and purchaser.

The place, too, had the advantage of security ; an
important point in the earlier ages of Greece, when
piracy was a common and honourable profession. It
lay deep within a gulf; nature had made access to
its shores difficult, by nearly encircling them with
rocks and sand-banks ; and its industrious population
added artificial defences. Its port also was com-
modious, and well protected against the attacks of
man. Here, therefore, the goods procured, far and
near, by the enterprising inhabitants, could be lodged
without fear of pillage, and the Greeks would resort


hither as to a general mart, \\licrc\vliatc\irtlicy
wanted might be puivha-t-il. Wealth would thus
flow into the island, and its inhabitants, with their
exquisite feeling for all that was beautiful, would
employ their wealth in cultivating the fine arts, and
in covering their barren rocks with grand and grace-
ful edifices; and this was shown by the ancient
inhabitants of /Egina having had the honour of
introducing a style in sculpture superior to all that
preceded, though inferior to the ultimate perfection
of the Athenian school.

JEg\n& was, originally, subject to kings ; but it
afterwards adopted the republican form of govern-
ment. It was at length reduced by the Athenians,
and continued subject to them, till, at the end of the
Macedonian war, it was declared free by the Romans.
In the reign of Vespasian, however, it underwent the
same fortune as the other states of Greece.

A.D. 1536, it was subdued by the Turks, after an
obstinate resistance ; the capital was plundered and
burned ; and, after a great slaughter of the inhabit-
ants, the rest were carried into slavery not an un-
worthy fate, had it occurred in ancient times, for a
people, who were possessed of 420,000 slaves !

The site of . K- ina. the capital of the island, has
long been forsaken. Instead of the temples, men-
tioned by Pausanias, there are thirteen lonely
churches, all very mean, and two Doric columns
supporting their architrave. These stand by the
sea-side toward the low cape ; and, it has been sup-
posed, are a remnant of a temple of Venus, which
was situated by the port principally frequented.
The theatre, which is recorded as greatly worth
seeing, resembled that of the Epidaurians, both in
size and workmanship. It was not far from the
private port ; the stadium, which like that at
Priene, was constructed with only one side, being


joined to it behind, and each structure mutually sus-
taining and propping the other.

The most celebrated of its edifices was the temple
of Jupiter Panhellenius. " This temple," says Colonel
Leake, " was erected upon a large paved platform,
and must, when complete, have been one of the most
remarkable examples in Greece of the majesty and
beauty of its sacred edifices, as well as of the admi-
rable taste with which the Greeks enhanced those
qualities by an attention to local situation and sur-
rounding scenery. It is not only in itself one of the
finest specimens of Grecian architecture, but is the
more curious as being, in all probability, the most
ancient example of the Doric order in Greece, with the
exception of the columns at Corinth." This temple
is far from any habitation, and is surrounded with
shrubs and small pine-trees. No ruin in Greece is more
rich in the picturesque, as every point of view has some
peculiar charm: "When I was at ^Egina," says
Mr. Dodwell, " the interior of the temple was
covered with large blocks of stone, and overgrown
with bushes. This circumstance produced a sort of
confusion, which, while it intermingled the trees and
the architecture, made a great addition to the pic-
turesque effect of the interesting scene. The place
has since been cleared, the stones have been taken
away, and the trees cut down to facilitate the
removal of the statues which were found among the
ruins. Though these changes may have made some
deduction from the pleasure with which the painter
would have viewed the spot, yet they have added
greatly to the gratification of the classical traveller,
by whom all the architectural details may now be
readily examined and accurately discriminated."

This ruin Dr. Chandler considers as scarcely to be
paralleled in its claim to remote antiquity. The situa-

Online LibraryCharles BuckeRuins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 36)