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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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since it is totally ruined and demolished. There is
nothing further to be known of it, except the grandeur
which it once enjoyed. There are nothing but holes
and caverns made in the mountains, fitter for beasts
then men. I do not believe there is in the world a
more barren and hideous place than that of Old
Julfa, where there is neither tree nor grass to be
seen. True it is, that in the neighbourhood there are
some places more happy and fertile; yet, on the
other side it is as true, that never was any city
situated in a more dry and stony situation. There
are not more than thirty families in it, and those

* The district of Argol is first received colonies, who introduced
civilisation into Greece. It has been reckoned the cradle of the
Greeks, the theatre of events, which distinguished their earliest
annals, and the country which produced their first heroes and
artists. It was accordingly in the temple of Juno at Argos where
the Doric order first rose to a marked eminence, and became the
model for the magnificent edifices afterwards erected in the other
cities, states, and islands. CIVIL ARCHITECTURE.

f Kolliii ; Rces ; Clarke ; La Mixrtine.


Julfa was mined by Abbas the (ireat, ami all that
art had contributed to its fortification; and tin- )
did in order to prevent the Turkish armies from
getting supplies of provisions during thrir incursions
into Persia. To this end he transplanted the inha-
bitants and their eattle to other places, ruined all
their houses, fired the whole country, burnt up all
the turf and trees, and even poisoned their springs.

Sir John Cartwright visited this place about two
hundred years ago, and he stated the number of
houses to be two thousand, and the inhabitants ten
thousand. When Chardin was there (in 1675),
however, as we have already stated, there were not
more than thirty families. Sir W. Ouseley says, that
there were only forty- five families in 1812, and
those, apparently, of the lowest class. " Several
steep and lofty mountains," says he, " offer very
extraordinary aspects. Many huge masses of rock
had lately fallen during earthquakes ; and the whole
country round bespeaks some ancient and tremendous
commotion of nature*."


ARSINOE was situated near the lake of Mocris, on
the west shore of the Nile, where the inhabitants
paid the highest veneration to crocodiles. They nou-
rished them in a splendid manner, embalmed them
after they were dead, and buried them in the subter-
ranean cells of the Labyrinth ; thence the city was
called, in ancient times, Crocodilopolist. When the

* Chardin ; Cartwright ; Ousclcy.

f Every nation had a great zeal for their gods. " Among us,''
says Cicero, " it is very common to see temple* robbed, and
statues carried off ; but it was never known, that any person in
Egypt ever abused a crocodile ; for its inhabitants would have
suffered the moet extreme torments, rather than be guilty of such
sacrilege." It was death for any person to kill one of these animals


Greeks conquered Egypt they altered its name to

This name it retained in the time of Adrian, and
Greek medals were struck here in honour of that
emperor as well as of Trajan. Its ruins are thus
described by Belzoni : " On the morning of the
7th I went to see the ruins of the ancient Arsi-
noe ; it had been a very large city, but nothing
of it remains except high mounds of all sorts of
rubbish. The chief materials appear to have been
burnt bricks. There were many stone edifices, and a
great quantity of wrought granite. In the present
town of Medinet I observed several fragments of gra-
nite columns and other pieces of sculpture, of a most
magnificent taste. It is certainly strange that granite
columns are only to be seen in this place and near the
Pyramids, six miles distant. Among the ruins at
Arsinoe I also observed various fragments of statues
of granite, well executed, but much mutilated ; and
it is my opinion that this town has been destroyed by
violence and fire. It is clearly seen that the new
town of Medinet is built out of the old town of
Arsinoe, as the fragments are to be met with in every
part of the town. The large blocks of stone have
been diminished in their sizes, but enough is left to
show the purposes for which they originally served.
About the centre of the ruins I made an excavation in
an ancient reservoir, which I found to be as deep as the
bottom of the Bahr-Yousef, and which was, no doubt,
filled at the time of the inundation, for the accommo-
dation of the town. There are other similar wells in
these ruins, which prove that this was the only mode
they had of keeping water near them, as the river is at
some distance from the town. Among these mounds
I found several specimens of glass, of Grecian manu-
facture and Egyptian workmanship, and it appears to



me, that this town must have been one of the first

Near this city was the Labyrinth, so ^r atly cele-
brated in ancient times, that Pliny regaivr I it a-^ the
most astonishing effort of human genius. Herodotus
saw it, and assures us that it was still more >ur-
prising than the Pyramids. It was built at the
southernmost part of the lake of Maoris. It was not
so much one single palace as a magnificent pile, com-
posed of twelve palaces, regularly disposed, \\hich
had a communication with each other. Filttcn
hundred rooms, interspersed with terraces, were r;i!
round twelve halls, and discovered no outlet to such
as went to see them. There were the like number of
buildings under ground. Those subterraneous struc-
tures were designed for the burying-place of the
kings ; " and who," says Rollin, " can say this with-
out confusion, and without deploring the blindness of
man, for keeping the sacred crocodiles, which a nation,
so wise in other respects, worshipped as gods?" In
order to visit the rooms and halls of the Labyrinth,
he continues, it was necessary, as the reader will
necessarily suppose, for people to take the same pre-
caution as Ariadne made Theseus use, when he was
obliged to go and fight the Minotaur in the labyrinth
of Crete. Virgil describes it in this manner :

And in the Cretan labyrinth of old,

With wandering ways, and many a winding fold,

Involved the weary feet without redress,

In a round error, which denied rccew ;

Not far from thence he graved the wondrous maze ;

A thousand door*, a thousand winding wajs.

Of this monument no more is now to be found than
amid the mins of Babel Caroan and Casr Caroan.
" Hereafter," says Savary, " when Europe shall have
restored to Egypt the sciences it received th-
perhaps the sands and rubbish, which hide the sub-
terranean part of the Labyrinth will be removed, and


precious antiquities obtained. Who can say that the
discoveries of the learned were not preserved in this asy-
lum, equally impenetrable to the natives and foreign-
ers? Ifthe dust of Herculaneum, an inconsiderable city,
has preserved so many rarities and instructive remains
of art and history, what may not be expected from
the fifteen hundred apartments in which the archives
of Egypt were deposited, since the governors assembled
here to treat on the most important affairs of religion
and state*?"


THE ruins of this city are seen at a place called
Ardachar, or, as it is more frequently called in the
East, Ardechier; sometimes Ardesh. The city rose
above the plain with fortress, palaces, and temples j
and two more splendid than the rest, one dedicated to
Anaites or Armatea, the other, a magnificent struc-
ture to Apollo. Statues were raised in all.

Artaxata was the capital of Armenia, and the resi-
dence of the Armenian kings. It was situate on a
plain, upon an elbow of the A raxes, which formed a
peninsula, and surrounded the town, except on the
side of the isthmus. This isthmus was defended by
a broad ditch and rampart.

It was built by Artaxias in consequence of Han-
nibal's having recommended the spot as a fit place
for the king's capital ; and there Artaxias' successors
resided for many generations.

Lucullus having defeated the Armenians, under
their king Tigranes, did not venture to lay siege to
this place, because he considered it impregnable. The
gates were, however, thrown open to the Roman general
Corbulo, but the city itself was burnt and razed. It was
afterwards called Neronia, in compliment to the em-
peror Nero, who commanded Tiridates to rebuild it.

* Herodotus ; Rollin; Savary ; Belzoni; Rees.


A few families, of tin- poorest order of people, are
now the sole occupants of this once famous city.

" On reaching the remains of Ardisher," says Sir
Robert K or Porter, " I saw the earth covered loan
immense extent, and on every side, with that sort of
irregular hillocks, which are formed by Time over
piles of ruins. These, with long dyke -like ridges,
evidently by the same venerable architect, and mate-
rials connecting them in parts, told me at once I was
entering the confines of a city, now no more. It is
not in language to describe the effect on the mind in
visiting one of these places. The space over whu-h
the eye wanders, all marked with the memorials of
the past, but where no pillar or dome, nor household
wall of any kind, however fallen, yet remains to give
a feeling of some present existence of the place, even
by a progress in decay. All here is finished ; buried
under heaps of earth ; the graves, not of the people
above, but of their houses, temples, and palaces ; all
lying in death-like entombment. At Anni I found
myself surrounded by a superb monument of Arme-
nian greatness ; at Ardechier I stood over its grave.
Go where one will for lessons of Time's revolutions,
the brevity of human life, the nothingness of man's
ambition, they nowhere can strike upon the heart
like a single glance cast on one of these motionless
life-deserted * cities of the silent*.' "


ARTEMITA was a large town in Mesopotamia,
according to Pliny the naturalist; but Strabo, more
correctly, places it in Babylonia, five hundred stadia
east of Seleucia, on the banks of the lake Arsissa, now
called Argish.

Though Chosroes was undoubtedly sovereign of
Ctosiphon and built the splendid palace, of which tin;
Strabo ; Rcci ; Porter


remains are visible ; he did not approach the gates of
that city for nearly four-and-twenty years. His favou-
rite residence wasDustegerd( Artemita), situate on the
Tigris, not less than sixty miles north of Ctesiphon;
and here, since the length of his residence at Ctesiphon
has not been clearly ascertained, and with a view of
giving the reader some idea with respect to the power
and splendour of this prince, we will cite the descrip-
tion that has been given of the wealth and magni-
ficence for which his name has been rendered
remarkable to all posterity. " The adjacent pastures
were covered with flocks and herds ; the paradise or
park was replenished with pheasants, peacocks,
ostriches, roebucks, and wild boars; and the noble
game of lions and tigers were sometimes turned loose
for the bolder pleasures of the chase. Nine hundred
and sixty elephants were maintained for the use and
splendour of the great king ; his tents and baggage
were carried into the field by twelve thousand great
camels and eight thousand of a smaller size ; and the
royal stables were filled with six thousand mules and
horses, among which the names of Shebdiz and Barid
were renowned for their speed and beauty." The
treasure, which consisted of gold, silver, gems, silk,
and aromatics, were deposited in one hundred sub-
terranean vaults; and his palace walls are described
as having been hung with thirty thousand rich hang-
ings, and thousands of globes of gold were suspended
in the dome to imitate the planets and constellations
of the firmament. When this palace was sacked by
Heraclius, the conqueror found in it, as we are
informed by Cedrenus, sugar, ginger, pepper, silk
robes woven, and embroidered carpets ; aloes, aloes-
wood, mataxa, silk, thread, muslins, muslin garments
without number, and a vast weight of gold bullion.

Dustegerd stood upon the spot where now are
seen the vast ruins of Kesra-Shirenc. These have

/ - i; MNs r AN< ci /

been toeribedby *ir K. KIT 1'ort'T. " W- an' told,

that tin- city of l)ii-tc:_'rrd was the most stationary
residence of Kliosroo 1'urvi/, and that it contained
his most superb palace, treasury, and ])iil)lic hnild-
inj>. There he passed his winters, with the beauti-
ful object of bis idolatry*; and thence be flew with
her from the conquering arms of the emperor IK ra-
dius. \Vc entered upon a chain of hills, amongst
which our road led in the most circuitous and intricate
ina/.cs I had ever trod ; heights and depths, ravines,
dry or water courses, rugged promontories, short
stony plains, in short, every species of mountain
difficulties, diversified our path for full fifteen miles,
till we arrived at a once formidable barrier, not far
from wbicli we caught a view of the meandi i MI_;
river Zobaub. All along the alpine bridge we
mounted, runs a massy wall of large hewn stone,
winch, in many places, like a curtain, closes the open-
ings left by nature in the rocky bulwarks of the
country. It had evidently been intended for a defence
against any hostile approacb from the eastward, and,
on passing it, we went tbrough what had formed
ono of its gates."

Journeying on a mile or two furtber, the traveller
came to a second wall, still bighcr and stronger, and
from that ran a third wall, which partly enclosed a
large angular space. On various spots lay large
stones of a great length, and hollowed in the middle,
as if they were the remains of some ancient covered
channel to convey water. This is still called the
aqueduct of Khosroo Purviz ; and the natives told
Sir Robert, that it was ono of the works constructed
by that prince to win the smiles of his beloved

For the love* of Chosroct and Sbiicnc, tec D'Hcrbclot, and the
Oriental collection!.


Numerous fragments and continuations of the groat
rampart wall tracked their way, till they came to the
ruins of another wall, the position and extent of
which seemed to declare it to have been one side of
the battlements of some large and ancient city. This
they were informed was Kesra-Shirene.

They passed under a gateway of simple construc-
tion, formed of hewn stones, twelve feet high and
about six in thickness. The wall ran to a consider-
able distance, then disappeared, and then started up
in massy fragments ; the whole seeming to have for-
merly enclosed an area of several miles, and likely to
have been occupied by the streets, courts, and public
buildings of a very noble city. " The first ruined
edifice we approached," continues Sir Robert, " was
built of stone, and consists of long ranges of vaulted
rooms, nearly choked up with the fallen masses of
what may have been its magnificent superstructures.
A little onward, we came to the remains of some
place of great magnitude. It is a square building of
nearly a hundred feet along each side; four entrances
have led into the interior, and the arches of these
portals, which are falling to the last stage of decay,
cannot be less than from thirty to forty feet in height.
The walls are of equal elevation, and of a more than
ordinary thickness for any structure to stand the
brunt of war, being twelve feet in solidity. The in-
terior of the place, which seems to have been one
enormous chamber or hall, is covered with lime,
stones, and other fragments of masonry. No rem-
nant of any sculptural ornaments or inscription was
to be seen. At the southern angle of the great arch
within the city walls, on a commanding rise of
ground, stands a ruin of a stronger character ; the
massiveness and form of the work proving it to
be the remains of a fortress. The building is of stone
and brick ; the latter being of a large square surface,


but not very thick. Various lofty arched chambers,
as well as deep subterraneous dungeons, compose this
noble niin. In ranging over the rest of the ground,
contained within the circuit of the great interior
walls, we found it covered with every indication that
there had once stood the busy streets of a great and
populous city*.


" Look ! on the JEgean shore a city stands,
Huilt nobly, pure the air and light the soil.
Athens ! the eye of Greece, mother of arts
And eloquence, native to famous wits,
Or hospitable in her sweet reccs*.
City or suburban studious walks and shades!
See there the olive groves of Academe,
Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird
Thrill* her ihirk-warbled notes the summer long.
There, flowery hill, Hymettus, with the sound
Of bec>, industrious murmur, oft invites
To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls
His whispering stream. Within the walls then view
The schools of ancient sages ; his who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world.
Lyceum there and painted Stoa next." MILTON.

Tin. Athenians thought themselves the original
inhabitants of Attica ; for which reason they were
called " Sons of the Earth ; " and " grasshoppers."
They sometimes, therefore, wore golden grasshop-
pers in their hair, as badges of honour, to distinguish
themselves from the people of later origin and less
noble extraction ; l>ecause these insects are supposed
to be sprung from the ground. " Our origin," said
Socrates, " is so beautiful, that none of the Greeks
can give such pure appellations to their country as
we can. We can truly style the earth on which v%.
tread our nurse, our mother, our father."

It was governed by seventeen kings, in the follow-
ing order :

Rcet ; Sir Robert, Ker Porter.


After a reign of fifty years, Cecrops was succeeded

a. c.

Cranaus 1506

Ampliictyon .... 1497

Ericthonius .... 1487

Pandion 1437

Erictlicus . . . . 13.97

Cecrops II 1347

Pandion II 1307

JEgeus 1283

B. c.

Theseus 1235

Mcnestheus .... 1205

Demophoon .... 1282

Oxvntos 1149

AphidM 1137

Thymoetes .... 1336

Melanthus . . . . 1128

Codrus , . 1091

The history of the first twelve monarchs is, for the
most part, fabulous.

Athens was founded by Cecrops, who led a colony
out of Egypt, and built twelve towns, of which he
composed a kingdom.

Amphictyon, the third king of Athens, procured
a confederacy between twelve nations, who met
every year at Thermopylae, there to consult over their
affairs in general, as also upon those of each nation in
particular. This convention was called the assembly
of the Amphictyons.

The reign of ^Egcus is remarkable for the Argo-
nautic expedition, the war of Minos, and the story
of Theseus and Ariadne.

jEgeus was succeeded by his son, Theseus, whose
exploits belong more to fable than to history.

The last king was Codrus, who devoted himself to
die for his people.

After Codrus, the title of king was extinguished
among the Athenians : his son was set at the head of
the commonwealth, with the title of Archon, which
after a time was declared to be an annual office.

After this Draco was allowed to legislate, and
then Solon. The laws of the former were so severe,
that they were said to be written in blood. Those
of the latter were of a different character. Pisistra-
tus acquired ascendancy ; became a despot, and was
assassinated: whereon the Athenians recovered their

76 Hi:-

liberties and lli]>p'a<. the son of Pisistratns, in vain
attempted to re-e-tahl-i-h a tyranny. The Athenians,
time after, burnt Sanlis, a city of the lYi>;ans,
in conjunction with the lonians; and, to revenge
tin-. Darius invaded (Jreeee, hut was conquered at
Marathon hy Miltiades.

Xerxes soon after invaded Attica, and th - Athe-
nians having taken to their " wooden walls," their
city was burnt to the ground.

After the victory, gained over the Persians at Sa-
lam is, the Athenians returned to their city, hut were
obliged to abandon it again ; Mardonius having
wasted and destroyed < \\-vy thing in its nei^'hhonr-
hood. They returned to it soon after their victory
at Platoea. Their first care, after returning to their
city, was to rebuild their walls. This measure was
opposed by the Lacedemonians, under the pretence of
its being contrary to the interest of Groeee, that there
should be strong places beyond the isthmus. Their
real motive, however, was suspected to be an aver-
sion to the rising greatness of the Athenians. The-
mistocles conducted himself with great art in this
matter*, lie got himself appointed ambassador to
Sparta; and before setting out he caused all the
citizens, of every age and sex, to apply themselves to
the task of building the walls, making use of any
materials within their reach. Fragments of houses,
temples, and other buildings, were accordingly em-
ployed, producing a grotesque app< aranee, which re-
mained to the days of Plutarch. He then set out for
Sparta; but, on various pretences, decimal entering on
his commission, till he had received intelligence that
the work he had sot on foot was nrarly completed.
He then went boldly to the Lacedemonian senate, de-
clared what had been done, and justified it, not only
by natural right of the Athenians to provide for
* Brewitr,


tlieir own defence, but by the advantage of opposing
such an obstacle to the progress of the barbarians.
Tho Lacedemonians, sensible of the justice of this
argument, and seeing that remonstrance would now
avail nothing, were fain to acquiesce.

No city in the world can boast, in such a short space
of time, of such a number of illustrious citizens, equally
celebrated for their humanity, learning, and military
abilities. Some years after the Persian defeat, Athens
was visited by a very terrible calamity, insomuch
that its ravages were like what had never been before
known. This was a plague. We now adopt the
language of Rollin. " It is related, that this scourge
began in Ethiopia, whence it descended into Egypt,
from thence spread over Libya, and a great part of
Persia ; and at last broke at once like a flood upon
Athens. Thucydides, who himself was seized with that
deadly disease, has described very minutely the several
circumstances and symptoms of it ; in order, says he,
that a faithful and exact relation of this calamity
may serve as an instruction to posterity, in case the
like should ever happen. This pestilence baffled the
utmost efforts of art ; the most robust constitutions
were unable to withstand its attacks; and the greatest
care and skill of the physicians were a feeble help to
those who were infected. The instant a person was
seized, he was struck with despair, which quite dis-
abled him from attempting a cure. The assistance
that was given them was ineffectual, and proved
mortal to all such of their relations as had the cou-
rage to approach them. The prodigious quantity of
baggage, which had been removed out of the country
into the city, proved very noxious. Most of the in-
habitants, for want of lodging, lived in little cottages,
in which they could scarcely breathe, during the
raging heat of the summer ; so that they were seen
either piled one upon the other, the dead as well as


those who wire living, or else crawling through the
streets; or lying along by the side of fountain*, t<>
which they had dragged themselves, to qnrm-li tin-
raging thirst which consumed them. The very
temples were filled with dead bodies, and every part
of the city exhibited a dreadful image of death ; with-
out the least remedy for the present, or the least
hopes with regard to futurity.

*' The plague, before it spread into Attica, had,
as we have before stated, made wild havoc in Persia.
Artaxerxes, who had been informed of the mighty
reputation of Hippocrates of Cos, the greatest phy-
sician of that or any other age, caused his governors
to write to him, to invite him into his dominions, in
order that he might prescribe for those who were in-
fected. The king made him the most advantageous
offers ; setting no bounds to his rewards on the side
of interest, and, with regard to honours, promising
to make him equal with the most considerable per
sons in his court. This great physician sent no othfr
answer but this : that he was free from either wants
or desires ; and he owed all his can's to his fellow-

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