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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admitted to see Carthage ; Scipio being well pleased
to have people view the sad ruins of a city, which
had dared to contend for empire with the majesty of

Commerce, strictly speaking, was the occupation
of Carthage, the particular object of its industry,

* Bollin.


ami its peculiar and predominant < harartrristic. It
formed the greatest strength and tin- chief support
of that commonwealth. In a word, it may In-
affirmed, that the power, the conquests, the credit,
and the glory of the Carthaginians, all flowed from

This gives Mr. Montague an opportunity of nun-
paring Carthage with England : " To the commer-
cial maxims of the Carthaginians, we have added
their insatiahle lust of gain, without their economy,
and contempt of luxury and eifeminacy. To the
luxury and dissipation of the Romans, we have
joined their venality, without their military spirit :
and we feel the pernicious effects of the same species
of faction, which was the great leading cause to min
in both those republics. The Roman institution was
formed to make and to preserve their conquests.
Abroad invincible, at home invulnerable, they pos-
sessed within themselves all the resources requisite
for a warlike nation. The military spirit of their
people, where every citizen was a soldier, furnished
inexhaustible supplies for their armies abroad, and
secured them at home from all attempts of invasion.
The Carthaginian was better calculated to acquire
than to preserve. They depended upon commerce
for the acquisition of wealth, and upon their wealth
for the protection of their commerce. They owed
their conquests to the venal blood and sinews of other
people ; and, like their ancestors the Phoanicians, ex-
hibited their money bags as symbols of their power.
They trusted too much to the valour of foreigners, and
too little to that of their own natives. Thus while
they were formidable abroad by their fleets and mer-
cenary armies, they were weak and defenceless at
home. But the great event showed how dangerous
it is for the greatest commercial nation to rely on


this kind of mercantile policy ; and that a nation of
iiimrmed undisciplined traders can never be a match,
whilst they are so circumstanced, for a nation of

Notwithstanding the denunciations of the senate
against all who sho.uld attempt to rebuild Carthage,
the senators were induced, in a very short period,
themselves to sanction the undertaking.

When Marius took refuge in Africa, outcast and
deserted, he is said to have dwelt in a hovel amidst
the ruins of Carthage. The answer of Marius to the
prjetor of Africa, is one of the finest indications of a
strong mind recorded in history. Oppressed with every
species of misfortune, Marius, after escaping many dan-
gers, arrived at length in Africa ; where he hoped to
have received some mark of favour from the governor.
He was scarcely landed, however, when an officer
came to him, and addressed him after the following
manner : " Marius, I am directed by the prsetor to
forbid your landing in Africa. If, after this message,
you shall persist in doing so, he will not fail to treat
you as a public enemy." Struck with indignation at
this unexpected intelligence, Marius, without making
any reply, fixed his eyes, in a stern menacing manner,
upon the officer. In this position he stood for some
time. At length, the officer desiring to know whe-
ther he chose to return any answer ; " Yes," replied
Marius, " go to the praetor, and tell him that thou
hast seen the exiled Marius, sitting among the ruins
of Carthage*."

Twenty-four years after the victory of vEmilianus
(B. c. 142), the sedition of Tiberius Gracchus began
to be formidable to the patricians, since he was sup-
ported by the great body of the people in his endea-
vours to pass an Agrarian law. Gracchus, finding
himself unable to accomplish his purpose, was pro-
* Harmonics of Nature.

nriN> or \\in\r on

Iwibly not unwilling to accept the otlt-r. made to him
liv the senate, of becoming the leader of six tliou-.nul
citizens to the site of Carthage, for the purpose of its
restoration. From this, however, he was terrified by
a dream.

It seems probable, nevertheless, that a few buildings
began to spring up among the ruins. Julius Ctesar
determined on rebuilding it, in consequence of having
beheld, in a dream, a numerous army, weeping :it tin-
fate of Carthage. His death prevented the fulfilment
of his purpose. Augustus, however, sent three thou-
sand Romans thither, or rather, within a short dis-
tance of it, who were joined by the inhabitants of the
neighbouring country.

From this time it appears to have increased in
beauty, convenience, and the number of its inha-

In the early part of the fifth century, however,
Genseric having invaded Africa, the whole of Un-
fruitful provinces, from Tangier to Tripoli, were
in succession overwhelmed, and Carthage was sur-
prised, five hundred and eighty-five years after its
destruction by the younger 8cipio.

At this time, we are told*, Carthage was consi-
dered as the " Rome" of the African world. It con-
tained the arms, the manufactures, and the treasures
of six provinces ; schools and gymnasia were insti-
tuted for the education of youth ; and the liberal
arts were publicly taught in the Greek and Latin

The buildings were uniform and magnificent ; a
shady grove was planted in the midst of the city ;
the new port, a secure and capacious harbour, was
subservient to the commercial industry of citi/' n
and strangers ; and the splendid games of the circus
and the theatre were exhibited.


After Genseric had permitted his licentious troops
to satiate their rage and avarice, he promulgated an
edict, which enjoined all persons to deliver up their
gold, silver, jewels, and valuable furniture and ap-
parel, to the royal officers ; and the attempt to secrete
any part of their patrimony was punished with tor-
ture and death, as an act of treason against the state.

Carthage never recovered this blow, and it fell
gradually into such insignificance, that it disappeared
altogether from the records of history.

We now select a few passages from Mons. Cha-
teaubriand and Sir George Temple, in respect to its
present condition.

" The ship in which I left Alexandria," says the
former, " having arrived in the port of Tunis, we
cast anchor opposite to the ruins of Carthage. I
looked at them, but was unable to make out what they
could be. I perceived a few Moorish huts, a Mahom-
medan hermitage at the point of a projecting cape ;
sheep browsing among the ruins ruins so far from
striking, that I could scarcely distinguish them from
the ground on which they lay this was Carthage.
In orden-to distinguish these ruins, it is necessary to
go methodically to work. I suppose then that the
reader sets out with me from the port of Goltetha,
standing upon the canal by which the lake of Tunis
discharges itself into the sea. Riding along the shore
in an east-north-east direction, you come in about
half an hour to some salt-pits of the sea. You begin
to discover jetties running out to a considerable dis-
tance under water. The sea and jetties are on your
right ; on your left you perceive a great quantity of
ruins upon eminences of unequal height, and below
these ruins is a basin of circular form and of con-
siderable depth, which formerly communicated with
the sea by means of 'a canal, traces of which are still
to be seen. This basin must be, in my opinion, the


Cothon or inner port of Cartlia^. Tin- remains of
the immense works, discernible in the sea, would, in
this case, indicate the site of the outer mole. If I
am not mistaken, some piles of the dam, constructed
by Scipio, for the purpose of blocking up the p<>rt,
may still be distinguished. I also observed a second
inner canal, which may have been the cut, made by
the Carthaginians when they opened a new passage
for their hVt t."

At the foot of the hill at Maallakah * ore the found-
ations of an amphitheatre, the length of which ap-
pears to have been about three hundred feet by two
hundred and thirty, and the dimensions of the arena
one hundred and eighty by one hundred.

There are, also, the ruins of a very extensive edi-
fice, supposed to have been the temple of Ceres.

Some trifling fragments of edifices, and the traces
of its triple walls, are all that remain of the Byrsa's
splendid fanes and palaces; though many pieces of rare
marbles have been found, as serpentine, giallo, rosso,
and porphyry. Nor is there any remain of the
famous temple of ^sculapius, the approach to which
was by a magnificent flight of steps, and rendered so
interesting from having been the place in whose
flames Asdmbal's wife destroyed herself, her children,
and nine hundred Roman deserters, rather than sub-
mit to the yoke of the haughty vanquishers of her

Sir George Temple's observations are very beau-
tiful : " Early in the morning, I walked to the
site of the great Carthago of that town, at the
sound of whose name mighty Rome herself had
so often trembled of Carthage, the mistress of
powerful and brave armies, of numerous fleets, and
of the world's commerce, and to_whom Africa, Spain,
Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, and Italy herself, bowed in



submission as to their sovereign ; in short, ' Car-
thago, dives opum, studiisque asperrima belli.' I
was prepared to see but few vestiges of its former
grandeur ; it had so often suffered from the devas-
tating effects of war, that I knew many could not
exist: but my heart sunk within me, when, ascending
one of its hills, (from whose summit the eye em-
braces a view of the whole surrounding country to
the edge of the sea,) I beheld nothing more than
a few scattered and shapeless masses of masonry *.
Yes, all the vestiges of the splendour and magni-
ficence of the mighty city had, indeed, passed away,
and its very name is now unknown to the present
inhabitants t."


THIS city, situated at the foot of Mount Etna, was
founded by a colony from Chalcis, seven hundred and
fifty-three years before the Christian era ; and soon
after the settlement of Syracuse. There have not
been wanting some, however, to assert that ancient
Catanea was one of the oldest cities in the world.

It fell into the hands of the Romans, and became
the residence of a prfetor.

It was then adorned with sumptuous buildings of
all kinds. It was destroyed, however, by Pompey ;
and restored by Augustus with greater magni-
ficence. It was large and opulent. Being so con-
tiguous to Mount Etna, it is rendered remarkable

* " A company, formed at Paris, for exploring the ruins of
Carthage, has already met with great success. A large house has
been discovered on the margin of the sea, near Bourj-Jedid.
Paintings in fresco, similar to those at Pompeii, adorn many of the
rooms, and beautiful mosaics, representing men, women, and
nymphs, fishes of various kinds, tigers, gazelles, &c. have been
found. Fifteen cases with these precious relics have arrived at
Toulon." Literary Gazette, May 19, 1838.

f Polybins ; Livy; Cicero ; Justin ; Rollin ; Kennett ; Gibbon ;
Montague; Chateaubriand ; Clarke; Sir George Temple.


for the fatal overthrows to which it lias boon sub-
jreteii by the eruptions of that mountain ; in some of
whieh it has been known to discharge a stream of
lava four miles broad and fifty feet deep, and ad-
vancing at the rate of seven miles in a day.

The number of eruptions from the page of history
are 81.

From the time of Tluirydidct (B.C. 481) 3

In the \ear B.C. . . 1

In A.D. 44 .... 1

A.D. 252 ... 1

During the 12th century . 2

13th . . 1

14th . . 2

15th . 4

16th . . 4

17th . . 22

18th . . 32

Since the commencement of the 19lh cent. 8

81 total.

In 1693 Catanea was entirely destroyed by an
earthquake, so that hardly one stone remained upon
another. It began on the 9th January, and on the
llth the earth opened in several places. Almost in
a moment 1 1 ,000 persons, who had fled to the
cathedral for shelter, perished by its fall ; the canon,
with the ministers at the altar, and about one
hundred persons, being all that escaped. The
undulations of this shock were felt, it is said, in
Germany, France, and even in England. Fifty-four
towns of some magnitude were, more or less, sufferers
by this earthquake, and the total loss of human life,
it is supposed, amounted to nearly one hundred

" The present town," says Malte Brun, " is well
built. Its fine edifices are so many proofs, not of its
prosperity, but of its misfortunes ; for, in Catanea,
houses never become old ; they give way either to
lava or volcanic shocks. It is to the earthquakes of


1G93 and 1783 that it owes its magnificence; almost
wholly destroyed, it was rebuilt with greater regu-
larity. Most of its edifices, however, have been
injured by the shocks in 1819."

A great many antiquities are contained in the
Biscari Museum, which was founded by a wealthy
noble of the same name, who spent his fortune in
exploring or digging for antiquities in the territory of
Catanea. The ancient theatre and amphitheatre, the
old walls, baths, and temples, were buried under
several layers of lava and alluvial deposits, that were
removed by the same individual ; lastly, the town
is indebted to him for several ancient statues.

" There are many remains of antiquity," says Mr.
"Brydone, " but most of them are in a very ruinous
state. One of the most remarkable is an elephant of
lava, with an obelisk of Egyptian granite on his back.
There are also considerable remains of a great theatre,
besides that belonging to the prince of Biscaris,
a large bath, almost entire ; the ruins of a great
aqueduct eighteen miles long ; the ruins of several
temples, one of Ceres ; another of Vulcan. The
church, called Bocca di Fuoco, was likewise a tem-
ple. But the most entire of all is a small rotunda,
wliich, as well as the rotunda at Rome, and some
others to be met with in Italy, demonstrates that
form to be the most durable of any."

There is also a well at the foot of the old walls,
where the lava, after running along the parapet, and
and then falling forwards, produced a very com-
plete and lofty arch over the spring.

Through the care, and at the expense of prince
Biscaris, many other monuments of ancient splen-
dour and magnificence have been recovered by digging
down to the ancient town, which, on account of the
numerous torrents of lava that have flowed out of
Mount Etna for the last thousand years, is now to be

-40 iirixs or v\i II..N r < i

sought for in dark IMMHI* many feet below the pre-
aent surface of the earth.

Mr. Swinburne states, tliat he descended into batli-.
sepulchres, an amphitheatre, and a theatre, all M TV
much injured by the various catastrophes that have
befallen them. He found, too, that these building
were erected not on the solid ground and with hriek
or stone, but on old beds of lava, and with square
pieces of the same substance, which, in no in.-tain <.
appears to have been fused by the contact of new
lavas : the sciarra or stones of old lava having con-
stantly proved as strong a barrier against the flowing
torrent of fire as any other stone could have been,
though some authors have been of opinion, that the
hot matter would melt the whole mass, and incor-
porate itself with it.

There was a temple at Catanea, dedicated to
Ceres, in which none but women were permitted to


This place, which stands opposite Byzantium, was
built by a colony from Megara, some years before
Byzantium, viz. B. c. 685. Its position was so impru-
dently selected, that it was called the city of blind
ment ; by which was intimate. 1 the inconsiderate
plan of the founders. It was built on a sandy and
barren soil, in preference to the rich one on the oppo-
site side of the Bosphorus, on which Byzantium waa
afterwards founded.

Chalcedon, in the time of its prosperity, was con-
siderable ; not only on account of its buildings, but
the wealth of its inhabitant*, who enriched themseh < -
greatly by commerce; more especially by the ex-

" Swinburne; Brydone; Malte Uriin; Encyclop. Londiueoti*.
t By Pliny, Strata, and Tuciiiw.


portation of purple dye, which was found in great
quantities upon its coast.

In ancient times it underwent many revo-
lutions ; being first subdued by Otanes, general of
the Persians, whose father Sisanes, one of the judges
of the Persian empire, having pronounced an unjust
sentence, was flayed alive by the order of Cambyses.
Not long after this the Lacedemonians made them-
selves masters of it, but were obliged to give place to
the Athenians, who contented themselves with im-
posing upon the inhabitants an annual tribute, which
they in time neglecting to pay, were again reduced
to obedience by Alcibiades. Afterwards, with the
rest of the world, it passed under the dominion of
the Romans, who were succeeded by the Greek
emperors, under whose administration it became
famous by a celebrated council of the church (A. D.
327), which is recorded under the name of the council
of Chalcedon.

A tribunal also was here erected by the Emperor
Julian, to try and punish the evil ministers of his
predecessor, Constantius. " We are now delivered,"
said Julian, in a familiar letter to one of his most
intimate friends, " we are now surprisingly delivered
from the voracious jaws of the hydra. I do not
mean to apply that epithet to my brother, Constan-
tius. He is no more ; may the earth lie light on
his head ! But his artful and cruel favourites studied
to deceive and exasperate a prince, whose natural
mildness cannot be praised without some efforts of
adulation. It is not my intention, however, that
these men should be oppressed ; they are accused, and
they shall enjoy the benefit of a fair and impartial
trial." The executions of some of these men, one of
whom (Paulus) was burned alive, were accepted, says
the historian, as an inadequate atonement by the
widows and orphans of so many hundred Romans,



whom those legal tyrants had betrayed and mur-

Persians, Greeks, Goths, Saracens, and Turks, by
turns, despoiled Chalcedon. The walls were razed
by Valens, and much of the materials was employed
in the aqueduct of Constantinople that bears his
name, and which was, by a singular coincidence,
repaired by Soliman II., from the remaining ruins of
this devoted city.

Here it was that the infamous Rufinus, so justly
stigmatised by Claudian, built a magnificent villa,
which he called the Oak*. He built, also, a church ;
and a numerous synod of bishops met in order to
consecrate the wealth and baptise the founder. This
double ceremony was performed with extraordinary

A. D. 602, Chalcedon became remarkable for the
murder of the Emperor Maurice and his five sons ;
and afterwards for that of the empress, his widow,
and her three danghterst. The ministers of death
were despatched to Chalcedon (by Phocas). They
dragged the emperor into his sanctuary ; and the five
sons of Maurice were successively murdered before
the eyes of their agonised parent. At each stroke,
which he felt in his heart, he found strength to re-
hearse a pious ejaculation : " Thou art just, O Lord!
and thy judgments are righteous."

It is now a small place, known to the Turks by
the name of Cadiaci ; but the Greeks still call it
by its ancient name. It is a miserable village, inha-
bited by a few Greeks, who maintain themselves by
their fishery, and the cultivation of their lands.
Wheler found an inscription, importing that Evante,
the son of Antipater, having made a prosperous
voyage towards the Abrotanians and the islands
Cyaneap, and hence desiring to return by the JEgean
* Quercu*, f Zamny, tpud Gyll.


Sea and Pontus, offered cakes to the statue he had
erected to Jupiter, who had sent him good weather
as a token of a good voyage.

Pococke says, " There are no remains of the ancient
city, all being destroyed, and the ground occupied
by gardens and vineyards." " We visited the site of
Chalcedon," says Dr. Clarke, " of which city scarcely
a trace remains ; landing also upon the remarkable
rock, where the light-house is situate, called the
tower of Leander. The Turks call it the ' Maiden's
Castle ;' possibly it may have been formerly used as
a retreat for nuns, but they relate one of their ro-
mantic traditions concerning a princess, who secluded
herself upon this rock, because it had been foretold
she should die by the bite of a serpent, adding, that
she ultimately here encountered the death she sought
to avoid*."


A CITY in Bceotia, greatly celebrated on account
of a battle fought near it between Philip of Macedon
and the Athenians.

The two armies encamped near Chaeronea. Philip
gave the command of his left wing to his son
Alexander, who was then but sixteen. He took the
right wing upon himself. In the opposite army the
Thebans formed the right wing, and the Athenians
the left. At sunrise the signal was given on both
sides. The battle was bloody, and the victory a
long time dubious ; both sides exerting themselves
with astonishing valour. At length Philip broke
the sacred band of the Thebans t, which was the

* Julian ; Barthelemy ; Gibbon; Pococke; Clarke.

f The sacred battalion was famous in history. It consisted of a

body of young warriors, brought up together, at the public expense,

in the citadel. Their exercises and even their amusements were

regulated by the sounds of the flute, and in order to prevent their

K 2


flower of their army. The rest of the troops being
raw, Alexander, encouraged by bin example, entirely

The conduct of the victor after this victory shows
that it is much easier to overcome an enemy than t<
conquer one's self. Upon his coming from a grand
entertainment which he had given his officers, being
equally transported with joy and wine, he hurried to
the spot where the battle had been fought, and there,
insulting the dead bodies with which the field was
covered, he turned into a song the beginning of the
decree, which Demosthenes had prepared to excite
the Greeks to war, and sang thus, himself beating
time ; *' Demosthenes the Peanian, son of Demos-
thenes, has said." Everybody was shocked to see
the king dishonour himself by this behaviour ; but
no one opened his lips. Demades, the orator, whose
soul was free, though his body was a prisoner, was
the only person who ventured to make him sensible
of the indecency of this conduct, telling him " Ah,
air, since fortune has given you the part of Aga-
memnon, are you not ashamed to act the part of
Thersites?" These words, spoken with so generous
a liberty, opened his eyes, and made him turn in-
ward ; and so far from being displeased with
Demades, he esteemed him the more for them,
treated him with the utmost respect, and conferred
upon him all possible honours.

courage from degenerating into blind fur/, care was taken to in-
spire them with the noblest ami most animated sentiment*. Each
warrior choe from tlie band a friend to whom ho remained inse-
parably united. These three hundred warrior* were anciently dis-
tributed in troops at the head of the different divisions of the army.
Philip destroyed this cohort at the battle of Charonca, and the
prince seeing thrsc young Tbebaus stretched on the field of bsttle
covered with honourable wounds, and lying side by side on the
irr-nmd on which they had been stationed, could not restrain lii-


The bones of those slain at Chaeronea were carried
to Athens ; and Demosthenes was charged with com-
posing a eulogium, for a monument erected to their
memory : ,

This earth entombs those victims to the state,
AVho fell a glorious sacrifice to zeal.
Greece, on the point of weaving tyrant-chains,
Did by their deaths alone, escape the yoke.
This Jupiter decreed : no effort, mortals,
Can save you from the mighty will of fate.
To gods alone^belongs the attribute
Of being free from crimes with never-ending joy.

According to Procopius, Chaeronea and other places
in Boeotia (also of Achaia and Thessaly) were de-
stroyed by an earthquake in the sixth century.

The Acropolis * is situated on a steep rock, dif-

Online LibraryCharles BuckeRuins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) → online text (page 19 of 36)