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

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round her neck, and hung herself with it. But that
wreath not being strong enough, and breaking, she
cried out " Ah ! fatal trifle, you might at least do
me this mournful office." Then, throwing it away
with indignation, she presented her neck to Bac-
chides. As for Berenice, she took a cup of poison;
and as she was going to drink it, her mother, who
was with her, desired to share it with her. They
accordingly drank both together. The half of that
cup sufficed to carry off the mother, worn out and
feeble with age ; but was not enough to surmount
the strength and youth of Berenice. That princess,
therefore, struggled long with death in the most
violent agonies; till Bacchides, tired with waiting
the effect of the poison, ordered her to be strangled.
Of the two sisters, Roxana is said to have swallowed
poison, venting reproaches and imprecations against
Mithridatcs. Statira, on the contrary, was pleased
with her brother, and thanked him, that being in so
great a danger for his own person, he had not forgot
them, and had taken care to supply them with the
means of dying free, and of withdrawing from the
indignities their enemies might else; have made them
undergo. Their deaths afflicted Lucullus very sen-
sibly ; for he was of a very gentle and humane dis-

Lucullus, in the mean time, laid strong siege to
Mithridatcs had given the conduct of


the place to Callimachus, who was esteemed the
best engineer of his time. That officer held out
for a long time very skilfully, and with the utmost
gallantry ; but finding at last that the town must
surrender, he set fire to it, and escaped in a ship that
waited for him. Lucullus did all he could to extin-
guish the flames ; but, for the most part, in vain ;
and the whole city had undoubtedly been burned, had
not a rain fallen so violently, that a considerable
number of houses were thereby saved ; and before he
departed, the conqueror caused those that had been
burned, to be rebuilt ; but so inveterate were his sol-
diers, that all his efforts could not secure it from

It was afterwards the favourite residence of Pompey
the Great, who rebuilt the city, and restored the
inhabitants to their liberties, which were confirmed
by CiBsar and Augustus. In subsequent times it
was included in the dominions of the Commeni em-
perors of Trebisond; and finally subdued by the
Turks in the reign of Mahomet the Second.

It is now surrounded by a decayed wall. Towards
the sea may be traced the remains of another wall ;
the ruins of these, in many parts, are almost buried
under the waves *.


THERE are few cities whose immediate origin we
know so well as that of Antioch.

Antigonus had built a city at a small distance
from the spot on which Antioch was afterwards
erected, and this he called after his own name, Antig-
onia. After his death Seleucus, having made him-
self master of Upper Syria, determined on founding a
city. He, in consequence, demolished the one Antig-
onus had built, and employed its materials in cou-
* Rollin ; Sandwich.

54 RUINS 01

structing his own*. This ho named after his son,
Antiochus. He afterwards transplanted all the
citizens to tin- new capital ; and he adorned it with
all tlu- beauty and elegance of (Inrian arehitecture.

Selcucus built several other cities in the same
direction, amongst which may b particularly noticed
Apamea, which he named after his wife, the daughter
of Arbaztis the Persian ; and Laodieea, which he called
after his mother. Apamea was situated on the same
river as Antioch, and Laodicea in the southern part
of the same quarter. What is rather remarkable is,
that in these cities he allowed the Je\\* the same
privileges and immunities as were enjoyed by the
Groeks and Macedonians ; more especially at Antioch,
where that people settled in such numl>crs that at
length they possessed as large a portion of the city
as their countrymen enjoyed at Alexandria.

In the Christian times it was the see of the chief
patriarch of Asia. It is often mentioned in the Acts
of the Apostles, and particularly wherein it is said,
that the disciples of Christ were here first called
Christians ; and in the river Orontes, according to
tradition, St. Paul is said to have been Baptised.
The city, at various times, has suffered severely from
the rage of bigotry and superstition, inseparably
attached to the zealots of the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries, when the spirit of enthusiasm, roused by
designing priests, induced the powers of Europe to
attempt the reduction of Syria and the Holy Land.

Antioch has several times been subjected to the
violence of earthquakes, and several times been
afflicted with great famine ; and when Chosroes
invaded Syria, the city, disdaining the offers of an
easy capitulation, was taken by storm, the inhabitants
slaughtered with unrelenting fury, and the city itself
delivered to the flames. It recovered, however, after
A. M. 3604, A. c. 800.


a time, and was again visited by earthquake, and the
sword of the conqueror. It was taken by the Cru-
saders A D. ! 098 ; and in 1 '26'2 all its glory term inated ;
having been taken possession of by Bybaris, sultan
of Egypt.

It is now a ruinous town, the houses of which are
built of mud and straw, and exhibit every appearance
of poverty and wretchedness. The walls, however, of
each quarter, as well as those which surrounded the
whole, are still remaining ; but as the houses are
destroyed, the four quarters appear like so many
inclosed fields.

It is said that this city, which was about four
miles in circumference, was built at four different
times, and consisted in a manner of four cities, divided
from one another by walls. The first, as we have
already stated, was built by Selcucus Nicator; the
second by those who flocked thither after the build-
ing of the first; the third by Seleucus Callinicus; and
the fourth by Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria.
The present town, which is a mile in circum-
ference, stands in the plain, on the north-west part
of the old city ; all the parts within the walls being
converted into gardens. The walls, which now
exist, though much ruined, mark the ancient boun-
daries of Antioch. They were built since the intro-
duction of Christianity; the form of them being
nearly of a rectangular figure.

There are, as we have already stated, very few
remains within the city of any ancient buildings.
The principal works are the aqueducts, and some
grottoes cut in the mountain, There were once two
temples of great celebrity, one of which was dedicated
to- Apollo and the other to the Moon. At this
moment not a vestige of these is to be discovered.
" Formerly," says Lord Sandwich, " it had a port of
considerable importance on the north bank cf the


Orontes, and on the shores of tho Levant; Imt the
harbour is choked up, and not a single inl)ul>it;ml
remains. The sun of Antioch is set. Thr present
city is a miserable place, extending four hundred
yards from the side of the river to the bottom of a
mountain, on the summit of which, and round tho
town, the crusaders, during their being in possession
of Syria, built a strong wall. Nothing remains of
its ancient grandeur besides some stupendous cause-
ways and massy gateways of hewn stone."

At a distance of about four or five miles was a place
called Daphne. There Seleucus planted a grove, and
in the midst of it he erected a temple, which he con-
secrated to Apollo and Diana. To this place the
inhabitants of Antioch resorted for their pleasures
and diversions, till at last it became so infamous, that
" to live after the manner of Daphne" was used pro-
verbially to express the most voluptuous and dissolute
mode of living.

Antioch is said to have been once greater than
Rome itself; but often ruined, and finally razed by the
Mamelukes, it is now only a small town, known by
the name of Antakia. Its climate is so agreeable,
that we may cite some observations, made in regard
to it in a passage in Mr. Robinson's tour in Palestine
and Syria. " For the breadth and brilliancy of the
eastern landscape, there is no architecture equal to
the Oriental. The solemnity and grandeur of the
Gothic are suited to our climate of cloud and tempest.
The severe or even the florid beauty of Greek archi-
tecture belongs to a country where the spectator sees
it under the lights and shadows of a sky as pictu-
resque as the hills and valleys that it covers. But
the magnitude, strong colourings, and yet fantastic
finish of Eastern architecture are made to be seen
across its vast plains under the unclouded sky ; and
glowing with the powerful splendour with which the


rising and the setting sun less illumine than inflame
the horizon. At a distance it has the dream-like
beauty which we habitually attach to the edifices of
the Arabian Nights*."


ARGOS was founded in the 1856th year before the
Christian era ; that is, in the time of Abraham.
Its founder was Inachus. Euripides, however, says,
that the city was built by the Cyclops, who came
from Syria. After flourishing for about 550 years,
it was united to the crown of Mycenae. According
to Herodotus, Argos was the most famous of all the
states, comprehended under the general name of
Greece. For a long time it was the most flourishing
city in Greece ; and this chiefly from its being
enriched by the commerce of Assyria and Egypt.
Its eai-ly history is resplendent with illustrious names
and shining achievements. Its inhabitants conceived a
hope of obtaining the sovereignty of all Peloponnesus;
but they became at length enfeebled and at last
ruined by intestine divisions.

There are many events exceedingly interesting in
the history of Argos ; amongst which, these. A
war broke out, in the reign of Theopompus t,
between the Argives and Lacedemonians, on account
of a little country called Thyrea, that lay upon the
confines of the two states, and to which each of them
pretended a right. When the two armies were ready
to engage, it was agreed, in order to sp^re the effu-
sion of blood, that the quarrel should be decided by
three hundred of the bravest men on both sides ; and
that the land in question should become the property
of the victors. To leave the combatants more room
to engage, the two armies retired to some distance.

*Wheler; Pococke ; Chandler; Rees ; Sandwich; Porter;
Kinneir; Buckingham j^Carne; Robinson ; Walpole. ( Rollin.

58 itriNs or \N< II:M i riBS.

Thoso generous champions then, who had all the
courage of two mighty armies, boldly adv:r
towards each other, and fought with so much n>olu-
tion and fury, that the whole number, except three
men, two on the side of the Arrives, and one on the
side of the Lacedemonians, lay dead on the spot ; and
only the night parted them. The two Ar_
looking upon themselves as the om^n'-Tors, made
what haste they could to Argos to carry the n<
the single Lacedemonian, Othryades by name, instead
of retiring, stripped the dead bodies of the Ar^
and carrying their arms into the Lacedemonian ramp,
continued in his post. The next day the two armies
returned to the field of battle. Both sides laid e<|iial
claim to the victory. The Argives, because they had
more of their champions left alive than the enemy
had; the Lacedemonians, because the two A reives that
remained alive had fled ; whereas their single soldier
had remained master of the field of battle, and had
carried off the spoils of the enemy : in short, they
could not determine the dispute without coming to
another engagement. Then fortune declared in
favour of the Lacedemonians, and the little territory
of Thyrea was the prize of their victory. But
Othryades, not able to bear the thoughts of surviving
his brave companions, or of enduring the sight of
Sparta after their death, killed himself on the same
field of battle where they had fought, resolving to
have one fate and tomb with them.

At* a subsequent period, the inhabitants of Argos
despatched ambassadors to Pyrrhus and Antigonus to
entreat them to withdraw their troops, and not
reduce their city into subjection to cither of them,
but to allow it to continue in a state of friendship with
both. Antigonus readily consented, and sent his son
a a hostage to the Argives. Pyrrhus, also, pro-


mised to retire ; but as he offered no security for the
fulfilment of his word, they began to suspect his
sincerity ; and, indeed, with sufficient reason : for as
soon as night appeared, he advanced to the walls, and
having found a door left open by Aristseus, he had
time to force his Gauls into the city ; and so seize it
without being perceived. But when he would have
introduced his elephants, he found the gates too low;
which obliged him to cause the towers to be taken
down from their backs, and replaced there when
those animals had entered the city. All this could
not be effected amidst the darkness without much
trouble, noise, and confusion, which caused them to
be discovered. The Argives, when they beheld the
enemy in the city, fled to the citadel, and to those
places that were most advantageous in their defence,
and sent a deputation to Antigonus, to press his
speedy advance to their assistance. He accordingly
marched that moment, and caused his son, with the
other officers, to enter the city at the head of his bett
troops. In this very juncture of time, King Areus
also arrived at Argos, with a thousand Cretans, and
as many Spartans as were capable of coming. These
troops, when they had all joined each other, charged
the Gauls with the utmost fury, and put them into
disorder. Pyrrlius hastened, on his part, to sustain
them ; but the darkness and confusion was then so
great, that it was impossible for him to be either
obeyed or heard. When day appeared, he was not a
little surprised to see the citadel full of enemies ; and
as he then imagined all was lost, he thought of
nothing but a timely retreat. But as he had some
apprehension with respect to the city gates, which
were much too narrow, he sent orders to his
son, Helenus, whom he had left without with the
greatest part of the army, to demolish part of the
wall, that his troops might have a free passage out

60 RUINS OF \\Mi:\r orrns.

of the city. The person to whom Pyrrhus rrave this
order in great haste, having misunderstood his ninui-
ing, delivered a quite contrary message ; in conse-
quence of which, Helenas drew out his l>rst infantry,
with all the elephants he had left, and then advanced
into the city to assist his father, who was preparing
to retire, the moment the other entered the place.

Pyrrhus, as long as the place afforded him a suf-
ficient extent of ground, appeared with a resolute
mini, and frequently faced about and repulsed those
who pursued him ; but when ho found himself
engaged in a narrow street, which ended at the gate,
the confusion, which already was very great, became
infinitely increased by the arrival of the troops his
son brought to his assistance. He frequently called
aloud to them to withdraw, in order to clear the
streets, but in vain ; for as it was impossible for his
voice to be heard, they still continued to advance ;
and to complete the calamity in which they were
involved, one of the largest elephants sank down in
the middle of the gate, and filled the whole extent in
such a manner, that the troops could neither advance
nor retire. The confusion occasioned by this accident
became then inextricable.

Pyrrhus observing the disorder of his men, who
broke forward a.nd were driven back, took off the
glittering crest, which distinguished his helmet, and
caused him to be known, and then, confiding in the
goodness of his horse, he sprang into the throng of
his enemies who pursued him ; and while he was
fighting with an air of desperation, one of the
adverse party advanced up to him, and pierced
his cuirass with a javelin. The wound, however,
was neither great nor dangerous, and Pyrrhus imme-
diately turned upon the man from whom he had
received it, and who happened to be only a private
soldier, the son of a poor woman at Argos: ihe


mother beholding the contest from the top of a
house, where she stood with several other women.
The moment she saw her son engaged with Pyrrhus,
she almost lost her senses, and chilled with horror at
the danger to which she beheld him exposed. Amidst
the impressions of her agony, she caught up a largo
tile, and threw it down upon Pyrrhus. The mass
fell directly upon his head, and his helmet being too
weak to ward off the blow, his hands dropped the
reins, and he sank down from his horse without being
observed. But he was soon discovered by a soldier,
who put an end to his life, by cutting off his head.

There is another circumstance related of Argos,
which it gives us great pleasure in remarking. When
Solon was at the court of Croesus, the king asked
him " Who, of all those he had seen, was the next
in felicity to Tellus." Solon answered, ' Cleobis and
Biton of Argos, two brothers, who had left behind
them a perfect pattern of fraternal affection, and of
the respect due from children to their parents. Upon
a solemn festival, when their mother, a priestess of
Juno, was to go to the temple, the oxen that were to
draw her not being ready, the two sons put them-
selves to the yoke, and drew their mother's chariot
thither, which was above five miles distant. All the
mothers of the place, ravished with admiration, con-
gratulated the priestess on the piety of her sons.
She, in the transports of her joy and thankfulness,
earnestly entreated the goddess to reward her chil-
dren with the best thing that Heaven can give to
man. Her prayers were heard. When the sacrifice
was over, her two sons fell asleep in the very temple,
and there died in a soft and peaceful slumber. In
honour of their piety, the people of Argos consecrated
statues to them in the temple of Delphos.

" If Athens," says Dr. Clarke, " by arts, by
military talents, and by costly solemnities, became

62 RUINS 01 < I HI-.

one of the eye* of Greece, there was in tin- humanity
of Argos, and in tlie good let linif displayed l.\ its
inhabitants, a distinction which come* nearer to the
heart. Sum-thing characteristic of the people may
be ohscrvi-d even in a name given to one of their
divinities; for they worshipped a 'God of Meek
ness.' It may be said, perhaps, of the Argive eh;i-
ractcr, that it was less splendid than the Athenian,
and less rigid than the Laccdiemonian ; hut it was
less artificial, and the contrast it exhibited, Nsheii
opposed to the infamous profligacy of Corinth, where
the manners of the people, corrupted by wealth and
luxury, were further vitiated by the great influx of
foreigners, rendered Argos, in the days of her pros-
perity, one of the most enviable cities of Greece.
The stranger, who visited Athens, might, indeed,
regard, with an eager curiosity, the immimTable
trophies every where suspended of victors in her
splendid games ; might admire her extensive por-
ticoes crowded with philosophers ; might gaze with
wonder at the productions of her artists; might
revere her magnificent temples : but feelings more
affecting were drawn forth in beholding the numerous
monuments of the Argives, destined to perpetuate
the memory of individuals who had rendered them-
selves illustrious by their virtues."

Argos was taken, A.I>. 1397, by Bajazet. It was
then totally deserted, and its walls destroyed. It
was rebuilt by the Venetians, from whom, in 1463,
it was taken by the Turks ; and after being retaken
by the Venetians, it was again recovered by the
Turks in the same year.

" But where is Argos ?" inquires La Martine ; " a
vast naked plain, intersected with marshes extending
in a circular form at the bottom of the gulf. It is
bounded on every side by chains of grey mountains ;
at the end of the plain, about two leagues inland,


we perceive a mound, with some fortified walls on
its summit, and which protects, by its shade, a small
town in ruins this is Argos. Close by is the tomb
of Agamemnon."

The antiquities of Argos, once so numerous, may
now be comprised within a very short list. Those
seen by Pausanias were the temples of Apollo, of
Fortuna, of Jupiter, and of Minerva; sepulchres
and cenotaphs; a theatre, a forum, a gymnasium,
a stadium, a subterranean edifice, &c., formed of

Of these now remaining*, are the ruins of the
theatret, which was a remarkable structure, having
been entirely an excavation in the rock, and having
the appearance of three theatres instead of one. Oppo-
site to this are the remains of a large edifice, built
entirely of tiles. Above the theatre are those of the
Hieron of Venus, within whose temple was a statue
of the poetess Telesilla, who, at the head of a band of
heroines, repulsed from the walls the enemies of her
country, when it was attacked by the Lacedaemonians.
She was represented, says Pausanias, standing upon
a pillar, with the books of her poetry scattered at
her feet, in the act of regarding her helmet, which
she was about to put upon her head.

On the sides and lower part of the modern fortress
are still seen the remains of Cyclopian architecture,
as ancient as the citadel of Tiryns, and built in the
same style J.

" This structure," says Dr. Clarke, " is mentioned
by Pausanias , where he states that the inhabitants of

* Clarke.

f 1 The devastations of time and w;ir have effaced the old city.
The stranger in vain inquires for vestiges of its numerous edifices,
the theatre, the gymnasium, the temples, and the monuments it
once boasted, contending even with Athens in antiquity and in
favours conferred by the gods. CHANDLER.

J See Tiryns. Lib. vii.


Mycenar were unable to demolish the walls of the
Argives, built, like those of Tiryne, by the Cyclops.
These Cyclopinn walls, as well as the towers of Argos,
are noticed by Euripides, Polybius, Seneca. Stral><,
and Statins. They are also hinted at by Virgil.
At the front of the Acropolis, we found one of the
most curious tell-tale remains, yet discovered among
the thirty temples of pagan priestcraft. It was
nothing less than one of the oracular shrines of Argos,
alluded to by Pausanias, laid open to inspection like
the toy a child has broken, in order that he may see
the contrivance whereby it was made to speak. A
more interesting sight for modern curiosity can hardly
be conceived to exist among the ruins of any Gre-
cian city. In its original state, it has been a
temple; the farther part from the entrance where
the altar was, being an excavation of the rock,
and the front and roof constructed of baked tiles.
The altar yet remains, and part of the fictile super-
structure ; but the most remarkable part of the
whole is a secret subterraneous passage, terminating
behind the altar, its entrance being at a considerable
distance towards the right of a person facing the
altar, and so cunningly contrived, as to have a small
aperture easily concealed, and level with the surface
of the rock. This was barely large enough to admit
the entrance of a single person, who, having de-
scended in the narrow passage, might creep along
until he arrived immediately behind the centre of the
altar ; where being hid by some colos-sal statue, or
other screen, the sound of his voice would produce a
most imposing effect among the humble votaries
prostrate beneath, who. were listening in silence upon
the floor of the sanctuary."

There was also in Argos a statne of Jupiter, which
had three eyes, one of which was in the middle of
the forehead. It is not impossible but this statue


may, one day, be found among the ruins under the

Argos was consecrated to Juno*; it was subject
to different forms of government; its people were
brave ; they cultivated the arts, but neglected the
sciences. Their memory may well be cherished ; for
they were, both in precept and in practice, the kindest
and most humane of all the citizens of Greece t.


THIS city was situate on the banks of the Araxes.
It is now called Esqui- Julfa ; and Chardin, Cart-
wright, and Sir W. Ouseley, we believe, are almost
the only travellers who have given any description
of it. " They called it Old Julfa," says Chardin,
" to distinguish it from the Julfa which is a suburb
of Ispahan ; and not without reason is it so called,

Online LibraryCharles BuckeRuins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) → online text (page 5 of 36)