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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These are constructed with inscribed pedestals, on one
of which is the name of Herodes Atticus, whose statue
it once supported. These ruins abound in snakes.
Chamelions and lizards, also, are frequently seen
basking in the sun. " The marbles, yet untouched,
would form a copious and curious harvest, if accessi-
ble. The downfall of some may be expected conti-
nually, from the tottering condition of the fabric ;
and time and earthquakes will supply the place of
ladders ; for which the traveller wishes in vain at a
place, where, if a tall man, he may almost overlook
the houses."

And yet these ruins, strictly speaking, are in Dr.
Chandler's opinion not those of Ephesus: those lie
nearer the sea ; and are visible from the castle hill.
The ruins of Aiasaluck are those of a town, built in
great part, if not entirely, of Ephesian ruins ; and
it may be supposed, by the Mahometan potentate,

312 KITNS o;

Mantakhia, who conquered Ephcsus and all Oaria,
in the year 1313.

The site of Ephesus is to be sought for in the way
from Aiasaluck to a square tower of white marble,
which stands on a ridge, projecting from the chain of
Corissu8,the southern boundary of the plain of theCay-
ster. For about half a mile from the village the route
is over a flat, interspersed with thickets of tamarinds,
agnus-castus, and other shrubs ; it then arrives at a
low round hill which extends to the north-east from
the high range of Cprissns. All the inhabitants of tho
once famous Ephesus, the chief of this part of Asia, as
the mistress governing the rest, by the residence of
the proconsul l>ere, amount now not to above forty
or fifty families of Turks, living in poor thatched
cottages, without, says Wheler, one Christian
among them. They lie in a knot together, on the
south side of the castle. " Within the gate, on the
castle wall," continues he, " we saw a marble,
whereon is cut a face, representing the moon, with
two snakes ; one on one side of the head, and the
other on the other ; joining their heads in the middle
of the crown, and their tails pointing outwards ; with
each of them a circle in such shape, they both re-
present a bow. This was to represent the deity
Hecate triformis; the moon in the heavens, repre-
sented by the large round visage ; Proserpine in
Hell, represented by the snakes ; and Diana upon
earth by the bow."

All the principal part of the ruins are on the side
of the hill, lately mentioned, and in a flat recess
between the west side of it and the high mountains.
On the slope of the hill which is called Pion, or
Prion (sometimes Lcpre Acte), is a large arch of
white marble, built, like the aqueduct before men-
tioned, from ancient ruins. On another part of the


hill are two arches and vestiges of a theatre. This
was, doubtless, the theatre into which the people
rushed, shouting, " Great is Diana ! " when St. Paul,
by his preaching, produced a tumult at Ephesus. In
both wings of this theatre, the seats and the ruins of
the proscenium of which are removed, are several
architectural fragmepts ; and over Tin arch, once one
of the avenues, is an inscription, enjoining the reader :
"If he did not think proper to approach the festive
scene, at least to be pleased with the skill of the archi-
tect, who had saved a vast circle of the theatre ; all-
conquering time having yielded to the succour he had

Coming to a narrow valley, broken columns and
pieces of marble are observed, with vestiges of an
Odeum, or music-room ; this is stripped of the seats,
and is naked. Beyond this are the remains of a large
edifice, greatly resembling the one with an arcade at
Troas. The top of one of the niches is painted with
waves and fishes ; and amongst the fragments lying in
the front are two trunks of statues, of great size, with-
out heads and almost buried ; the drapery of which is
both the same, alike remarkable. This was the gym-
nasium. " We pitched our tents," says Dr. Chandler,
" among the ruins of this huge building, when we
arrived from Claros, and 'employed on it three days in
taking a plan and view. We found the area green
with corn, and the site in general overrun with fennel,
in seed, the stalks strong and tall."

At the entrance from Aiasaluck is a street, and
from the remains still existing, it must have been a
noble one. The edifices must have been, also, ample
ones, with colonnades. There are many bases and
pedestals of columns ; and the vaulted substructions
of the fabrics are still entire.

Turning towards the sea, the traveller is greeted
with the sight of a prostrate heap, once forming a


temple. Tlu- cell, <>r nave, \v;i~ . of 1 ,;
coarse stout . Thw temple had four columns l>rt\\r<n
the antic. Their diameter is about four feet six
inches ; their length about tliirty-two feet ; but,
inchuliiii; tin- baso and capital, forty-six feet and
alwint seven inches. Though the dimensions of these
pillars was so great, the shafts arc Hnted. Tin- most
entire of them, however, are broken into two pieces.
The ornaments wen- rich ; but " of inferior t
and the mouldings ill proportioned*." This temple
is supposed to be the remain* of that eiveted at
Ephcsus, by permission of Augustus, to the god
Julius. Some, however, have imagined that it might
have been that dedicated to Claudius Caesar on Ins

About a mile from this are the remnants of a
sumptuous edifice; among the bushes beneath which
are altars of white marble. These stand upon an
eminence; and from that is beheld a lovely prospret
of the river Cayster, which there crosses the plain
from near Gellesus, into a small but full stream, and
with many luxuriant windings.

Mount Prion, according to Chandler, is among
the curiosities of Ionia enumerated by Pausanias.
It has served as an inexhaustible magazine of marhle,
and contributed largely to the magnificence of the
city. "The Ephesiuns, it is related, when they first
resolved to provide an edifice worthy of Diana, met
to agree on importing materials. The quarries, then
in use, were remote, and the expense, it was foreseen,
would be prodigious. At this time a shepherd hap-
pened to be feeding his flock on mount Priont, and

R<?vc't' MS. note*.

t On this pa**age Mr. Kcvctt has left the following observation
in a MS. note : " Upon what authority ? Vitruviut, though ho
relate* the story, <K>e not give us the name of the mountain on
which it happcued. If mount Prion conaints of white marble, it u


two rams fighting, one of them missed his antagonist,
and, striking the rock with his horn, broke off a
crust of very white marble. He ran into the city
with this specimen, which was received with excess
of joy. He was highly honoured for this accidental
discovery ; the Ephesians changing his name from
Pixodorus to Evangelus, the good messenger, and
enjoining their chief magistrate, under a penalty, to
visit the spot, and to sacrifice to him monthly."
This custom continued to be observed, even so late
as the time of Augustus Caesar.

Not far from the gymnasium, are cavities with
mouths, like ovens, forming burial-places, made to
admit bodies, which were thrust in. This was sup-
posed to have belonged to the oratory or church of
St. John, rebuilt by Justinian. Near the city, also,
are quarries in the bowels of the mountain, with
numberless mazes, and vast, silent, dripping caverns.
In many parts of this, Dr. Chandler informs us, are
chippings of marble and marks of tools. He found
chippings, also, which supplied marble for the city
wall, and huge pieces lying among the bushes at the

The Ephesians, at the time in which the learned
traveller to whom in this account we have so fre-
quently referred, were a few Greek peasants, living
in extreme wretchedness, dependence, and insensi-
bility ; " the representatives of an illustrious people,
and exhibiting the wreck of their greatness ; some,
the substructions of the glorious edifices which they
raised ; some beneath the vaults of the stadium,
once the crowded scene of their diversions ; and
some by the abrupt precipice, in the sepulchres, which
received their ashes."

These ruins were visited by Sir John Hob-
very extraordinary it was not discovered sooner ; part of the moun-
tain being included in the city."


"Tlu desolate walls of the mosque ol
John, ami the whole scene of Aiasaluek," says
lie. "cannot luit suL r L;<>t a train of melam holy re-
flections. The decay of these religions is thus
presented, at one view, to the eye of tin- traveller!
The marble spoils of the Grecian temple adorn the
mouldering edifice, over which the tower of the
Mussulman, the emblem of another triumphant wor-
ship, is itself seen to totter, and sink into the moul-
dering ruins." Not a single inhabitant, not even
a shepherd's hut, was to be seen on the actual site
of this once resplendent city ! " Its streets are
obscure and overgrown," says Chandler. " A herd
of goats was driven to it for shelter from the sun at
noon ; and a noisy flight of crows from the quarries
seemed to insult its silence. We heard the partridge
call in the area of the theatre, and of the stadium.
The glorious pomp of its heathen worship is no
longer remembered; and Christianity, which was
there nursed by apostles, and fostered by general
councils, until it increased in fulness of stature, barely
lingers on in an existence hardly visible."

Since this, the state of Christianity there has fallen
still lower. In 1812, one Greek, who was a baker,
living at Aiasaluck, and three or four fishermen, who
lived in sheds near the river, were the only Christians
to be found in the city of Ephesus*.


Tnis city is placed among those of the Deeapolis,
in Matthew, vii. 28 ; and it is from a rock near it,
from which the swine are described as having ran
down into the Dead Sea. By some it is included in
Coelosyria ; by others in Arabia.

DiixloniR Siculus; Vitruvius; 1'lin. Nat. lli-t.. Plutarch;
Polyrnut ; Wren's 1'aicntalia ; Bartliclcmy ; Gibbon; WLcler;
Chandler ; Kevctl ; Clarke ; llobboutc ; Brcwstcr ; Reef.


The ruins of this city were discovered by the well
known traveller, M. Seetzen (Conseiller d'Ambas-
sade de S. M. 1'Empereur de Russie). His letters
were addressed to M. von Zach, Grand Marshal of
the court of Saxe Gotha, and pail of them appeared,
at different times, in the Moniteur. Some members
of the National Institute sent over these papers to Sir
Joseph Banks, by whom they were forwarded to the
Palestine Association.

One of the most interesting portions of this jour-
nal is that, which comprises the account of the ruins
of Jerrash, situated in about the centre of the Holy
Land, the dilapidated buildings of which had, till
then, escaped the notice of its lovers of antiquity,
and which, for beauty and importance, may be com-
pared to those of Palmyra and Balbec.

" Jerrash" says our journalist, " is situated in
an open and tolerably fertile plain, through which
a river runs. Before entering the town, I found
several sarcophagi, with very beautiful bas-reliefs,
among which I remarked one, on the edge of the
road, with a Greek inscription. The walls of the
town are mouldered away, but one may yet trace
their whole extent, which may have been three-
quarters of a league, or a whole one. These walls
were entirely built of hewn marble. The ground
within it is of unequal heights, and falls towards
the river. Not a single private house remains entire ;
but on the other hand, I observed several public
buildings which were distinguished by a very beau-
tiful style of architecture. I found two superb am-
phitheatres, solidly built of marble, with columns,
niches, &c. the whole in good preservation. I found
also some palaces, and three temples, one of which
has a peristyle of twelve grand columns of the
Corinthian order, eleven of which are still upright.
In another of these temples, I saw a column on the


ml, of most beautiful poli-hed Ivjyntian
1 also found a handsome gate of tlie ci;y, well
preserved, formed of three arcades, and ornamented
with pilasters.

44 The most licautiful tiling I discovered was a
long i -rossed by another, and* ornamented on
both sides with a row of marble columns of the
Corinthian order, and one of whose extremities
terminated in a semicircle, that was set round with
sixty pillars, of the Ionic order. At the points
where the two streets cross, in each of the four
angles, a large pedestal of hewn stone is visible, on
which probably statues were formerly set. A part
of the pavement remains, formed of hewn stones.

" To speak generally, I counted about two hun-
dred columns, which yet partly support their enta-
blatures, but the number of (hose overthrown is
infinitely more considerable: I saw indeed but half
the extent of the town, and a person would probably
still find in the other half, on the opposite side of
the river, a quantity of remarkable curiosities.

" Jerrash can be no other than the ancient Geresa,
one of the Decapolitan towns. It is difficult to con-
ceive that so much ignorance of its real situation
should exist, as would allow Monsieur Paulus, in
his map, to have placed it to the worM-east of the
northern extremity of the Lake of Tiberias. T do
not know whether any ancient geographer has made
the same mistake. From a fragment of a (
inscription, which I copied, I am led to conclude,
that several of the buildings of this town were
erected under the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Anto-
ninus. The Roman history may, perhaps, furnish
some data in corroboration of this conjecture. It is,
at all events, certain, that the edifices of this town
arc of the age of the most beautiful Roman archi-


Gerasa lias been since visited by other travellers,
from whoso report we learn, that the principal curi-
osities of antiquity are, a temple adorned in front
with a double row of six columns in each row, of
which nine are standing ; and on each side of the
temple there remains one column belonging to the
single row of pillars, that surrounded the temple on
every side except the front. Of these eleven columns
are entire, and two are without capitals. They are
of the Corinthian order ; their capitals being beauti-
fully ornamented with the acanthus leaf. The in-
terior of this temple is choked with the ruins of the
roof. The number of columns which originally
adorned the temple and its area, was not less than
from 200 to 250. " The whole edifice," says
Burckhardt*, " seems to have been superior in taste
and magnificence to every public building of the
kind in Syria, the temple of the Sun at Palmyra

To the west of this, at about two hundred yards
distance, are the remains of a small temple, with
three Corinthian pillars, still standing. Not far
from this arc two colonnades, of which thirty broken
shafts are yet standing, and two entire columns, but
without capitals ; and opposite to these are five
columns, with their capitals and entablatures. Ori-
ginally there were about fifty.

At a short distance from these there are other
columns, much larger ; and still farther on seventeen
Corinthian, all of which are united by their entab-
lature. Some of these are twenty-one, some twenty-
five, and others thirty feet high. Their entab-
latures are slightly ornamented with sculptured bas-

In other parts of the ruins are other columns ; and
a large open space is enclosed by a magnificent semi-
circle of columns in a single row ; fifty-seven

320 nriNS OP ANCIKNT <i;

columns are yet landing; originally, it i- sup]
there were sixty. ( >n filtering the forum tlui<
four, and tlu-n twenty-one, united ly tli- ir entab-
latures. To the left, five, sev< n, and twenty, united
in the same manner. They are of the Ionic order ;
thus differing from all the others.

At the end of a semicircle are several basins, which
secin to have been reservoirs of water ; and remains
of an aqueduct are still visible. To the right and
left are some other chambers. From this spot the
ground rises ; and on mounting a low but steep hill,
Mr. Burckhardt found on its top a beautiful temple,
commanding a view over the greater part of the
town. Not far from this are the remains of a
theatre. It fronted the town ; so that the specta-
tors, seated on the highest row of benches, enjoyed
the prospect of all its buildings and quarters. At
the back runs the town wall.

In another part of the town are found in every
direction columns of considerable height, some still
standing, others lying prostrate, some having inscrip-
tions on their pedestals. In many parts, the streets
are absolutely rendered impassable from fragments ;
indeed we have not space to describe all that is to
be seen among these splendid remains. There are
190 columns still standing, and 100 half columns.
In respect to private habitations, there are none in
a state of preservation ; but the whole of the area
within the walls is covered with their ruins.

In one of the temples Mr. Irby noticed a curious
singularity, viz. a chaml>er under ground, below the
principal hall of one of the temples, with a bath in
the centre. " There are numerous inscriptions in
all directions," says Mr. Irby, " chiefly of the time
of Antoninus Pius ; most of them much mutilated.
On the whole, we hold Djerash to be a much liner
mass of ruins than Palmyra. This city has three


entrances of richly ornamented gateways ; and the
remains of the wall, with its occasional towers, are
in wonderful preservation.

" Gerasa," says Mr. Robinson, " was nearly
square, each side something less than a mile, the
walls crossing the river in two places at right angles ;
the other two sides being parallel to each other on
opposite sides of the hill. The greater part of the
inclosed space is covered with the ruins of houses,
forming a deep contrast with the elegant specimens
of art, whichever way the eye is turned. From the
triumphal arch on the south-west side to the wall
inclosing the north-east, along both sides of the
stream, the whole space is covered ; also east and
west of it, up the sides of the hill. There are several
small eminences within the walls, from one of which,
near the northern theatre, the view of columns seems
interminable, and that of the rest of the ruins is
beyond every thing attractive from this spot ; it is
indeed a perfect gallery of art."

The smaller theatre, Mr. Robinson is inclined to
believe, was used for purposes different from the
other ; the area below the seats being more extensive,
and furnished with a suite of dark, arched chambers,
opening into it. The latter was, probably, used to
confine the wild beasts destined to combat in the
arena ; such exhibitions being in vogue at the time
Gerasa may be supposed to have flourished *.


THE city of Granadat has twelve gates ; and is
about eight miles round, defended by high walls,
flanked with a multitude of towers. Its situ-
ation is of a mixed kind; some parts of it being
upon the mountain, and other parts in the plain,

* Seetzen ; Burckbardt ; Irby ; Robinson.

+ From a work published in 1778.

ti-2-2 nnxs OF ANCIENT cm

The mountainous part stands upon three small
eminences ; the one is called Albrensin ; which was
inhabited by the Moors that w.-n- driven out of
Baezza by the Christians. The second is called
Alcazebe; and the third Alhambra. This l-.i-t i>
separated from the other parts by a valley, through
which the river Darro runs; and it is also fortified
with strong walls, in such a manner as to command
all the rest of the city. The greatest part of this
fortified spot of ground is taken up with a most
sumptuous palace of the Moorish kings. This palace
ia built with square stones of great dimensions ; and
is fortified with strong walls and prodigious large
towers ; and the whole is of such an extent as to be
capable of holding a very numerous garrison. The
outside has exactly the appearance of au immense
romantic old castle ; but it is exceedingly magnificent

But before we enter, we must take notice of a
remarkable piece of sculpture over the great gate ;
there is the figure of a large key of a castle-gate, and
at some distance above it, there is an arm reaching
towards it ; and the signification of this emblematical
marble basso-relief is this : that the castles will never
be taken till the arm can reach the key.

Upon entering, not only the portico is of marble,
but the apartments also are incrusted with marble,
jasper, and porphyry, and the beams curiously carved,
painted, and gilt ; and the ceilings ornamented with
pieces of foliage in stucco. The next place you come
to is an oblong -square court, paved with marble, at each
angle of which there is a fountain, and in the middle
there is a very fine canal of running water. The
baths and chambers, where they cooled themselves and
reposed, are incrusted with alabaster and marble.
There is an exceeding venerable tower, called La
Tourc Comazey ; in which are noble saloons, and fine


apartments ; and all perfectly well supplied with
water. In the time of the Moors, there was a kind
of espalier, or cut hedge of myrtle, accompanied with
a row of orange trees, which went round the canal.

From thence you pass into an exceeding fine
square, which is called the Square of Lions, from a
noble fountain, which is adorned with twelve lions
cut in marble, pouring out a vast torrent of water at its
mouth ; and when the water is turned off, and ceases
to run, if you whisper ever so low at the mouth of
any one of them, you may hear what is said by apply-
ing your ear to the mouth of any one of the rest.
Above the lions, there is another basin, and a grand
jet-d'eau. The court is paved with marble, and has
a portico quite round it, which is supported by one
hundred and seventeen high columns of alabaster. In
one of the saloons, if you whisper ever so low, it will be
distinctly heard at the further end ; and this they
call the Chamber of Secrets. This sumptuous palace
was built by Mahomed Mir, king of Granada, in

" There is no part of the edifice," says Washington
Irving, " that gives us a more complete idea of its
original beauty and magnificence, than the Hall of
Lions, for none has suffered so little from the ravages
of time. In the centre stands the fountain, famous
in song and story. The alabaster basins still shed
their diamond drops ; and the twelve lions, which
support them, cast forth their crystal streams as in
the days of- Boabdil. The court is laid out in
flower-beds, surrounded by high Arabian arcades
of open filagree work, supported by slender pillars of
white marble. The architecture, like that of all the
other parts of the palace, is characterised by elegance
rather than grandeur ; bespeaking a delicate and
graceful taste, and a disposition to indolent enjoy-
ment. When one looks upon the fair tracery of the

324 RUINS 01 I ( (TIES.

peristyles, and the apparently fragile fretwork of the
walls, it is difficult to believe that so nuuh lias
survived the wear and tear of centuries, the shock of
earthquakes, the violence of war, and the quiet and
no less baneful pilfering of the tasteful traveller.

There is a Moorish tradition, that a king who built
this mighty pile was skilled in the occult scieuees,
and furnished himself with gold and silver for the
purpose by means of alchymy ; certainly never was
there an edifice accomplished in a superior style of
barbaric magnificence ; and the stranger who, even
at the present day, wanders among its silent and
deserted courts and ruined halls, gazes with astonish-
ment at its gilded and fretted domes and luxurious
decorations, still retaining their brilliancy and beauty
in spite of the ravages of time.

The Alhainra, usually, but erroneously, denomi-
nated the Alhambra, is a vast pile of building about
two thousand three hundred English feet in length ;
and its breadth, which is the same throughout, is
about six hundred feet. It was erected by Aluham-
iu' '1 Abu Abdillah, surnamed Alghalib Billali, who
superintended the edifice himself, and, when it was
completed, made it the royal residence.

Although the glory and prosperity of Granada
may be said to have departed with its old inhabit-
ants, yet, happily, it still retains, in pretty good

Online LibraryCharles BuckeRuins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) → online text (page 25 of 36)