Gold! gold! gold! gold!
Bright and yellow, hard and cold.
Molton, graven, hammered and rolled:
Heavy to get, and light to hold:
Hoarded, Bartered, bought, and sold.
Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled:
Price of many a crime untold:
Gold! gold! gold! gold!
Good or bad a thousand-fold!
How widely its agencies vary—
To save—to ruin—to curse—to bless—
As even its minted coins express,
Now stamped with the image of god Queen Bess,
And now of a Bloody Mary.
According to the chronicler Aboulgazi Bahdur-Khan, the Turks are descended from the eldest son of Japhet and of Mongolian origin; "but ", says this historian of his country, "as in gazing on the sun the eye becomes dazzled with its brightness so does the mind become confused with the brilliant origin of this illustrious race." Belonging to the great Turanian family the Turks spread northward as far as the banks of the Lena and westward into Asia Minor and the shores of the Black Sea Under the name of Tukin, whence probably comes the word Turks, they formed an empire on the borders of the Chinese, by whom they were first defeated and with some of the whom they were afterward united. Then came a division, tribes becoming slaves to the khan of Geougen, and working in the gold-bearing mountains of Altai, or as makers of weapons of war. The remainder formed a nation of warrior-shepherds, with pasture lands of almost unlimited extent, horses forming their principal wealth; so that in one of their armies were 400,000 cavalry. In later times, from the Trebizond, Caucasus, and Altai mines came a steady stream of gold, which metal became so abundant as to be used for the furniture of the earlier emperors, one of whom sat enthroned in a chariot of gold supported by golden peacocks. In the seventh century Mohammed appears on the scene, his religion spreading with such marvelous rapidity that the converts of Islam far outnumbered those of the Christian faith. About the end of the tenth century the title of sultan was conferred on Mahmud, one of the most powerful of Turkish potentates, whose domains extended into Persia and Hindustan. In the reign of Sultan Soliman Turkish troops first landed in Europe as a reinforcement to the Byzantine army at Scutari. Presently began the crusades, notwithstanding which the Turks made good their footing in Europe and Asia Minor, though it was not until the middle of the fifteenth century that they became masters of the long coveted prize on the shore of the Bosphorus.
Originally a Greek settlement, Constantinople, or Byzantium as first it was called, was founded about the middle of the seventh century of the pre-Christian era, and after being destroyed by one of the satraps of Darius was recolonized by Pausanias. Through its position on the Bosphorus it acquired control of the corn trade between the west and the cities on the Euxive, and from its wealth in tunny and other fisheries its curved bay was named the Golden Horn. Conquered by the Macedonians, it afterward became subject to Rome, and for espousing the cause of her enemies was demolished, and later in part rebuilt by Severus. By Constantine was reared a new city more than double the size of its predecessor, and enclosed with two walls on the building of which 40,000 Goths were employed, these fortifications being strengthened and repaired by successive rulers until they were believed to be impregnable.
They were in three tiers, each higher than the one in front, with towers at intervals of 150 feet, the entire work containing more masonry than would suffice for all the castles on the Rhine, while the remains are probably the most imposing ruins in the world. There is also a deep, wide foss, now used as a vegetable garden, and separated by open cisterns formerly filled with water sufficient to supply people during a four months siege.
At the opening of the thirteenth century Constantinople had become the principal city of the western world, not only as the residence of the emperor and his court, of the wealthy and noble who found in this new Rome all the luxury of the Augustan era, but as the highway of commerce between Europe and Asia, while much even of the traffic of Egypt passing into the Golden Horn. In this treasure-house of the nations had been amassed the riches of many centuries, men who had become wealthy in other lands flocking to the eastern capital to spend or invest accumulations gathered in cities themselves renowned for wealth. The warehouses were filled with gold and silver, with silks and purple cloths, while the citizens lived and attired themselves like princes, their garments glittering with gold and precious stones. Of the palace of Blachernae, fronting on a square where were the statue of Justinian and the silver image of the empress Eudoxia, the walls and columns were covered with gold, and in its golden throne and golden crown were gems of priceless value. "There was gold and silver for all," declares one of the crusaders, “there were vessels of the precious metals, silk, and satin cloths, furs of various kinds, and goods of all descriptions that have ever been found or made on the face of the earth. " As to places of worship, says Benjamin of Tuleda, a Spanish Jew sojourning in Constantinople, "all others in the world would not equal in wealth the church of the Divine Wisdom. It was ornamented with pillars of gold and silver and with innumerable lamps of the same materials, and its riches could not be counted.” Notwithstanding the strength of their fortifications, no wonder that the inhabitants trembled for the safety of possessions coveted not only by the Turks but by many European monarchs.
The history of Constantinople is in truth little more than a history of its sieges, most famous of which was that which resulted in its capture by Mohammed II. It was then that artillery first played a prominent part in warfare, a foundry being erected at Adrianople, where, as is said, cannon were cast that would throw a ball 600 pounds in weight. There were also powerful battering-rams and huge engines for hurling stones, while a fleet of ships and an army of 250,000 Turks aided in its work of destruction the grim machinery of death. Long and fierce was the resistance made by the slender garrison of 5,000 men, until in the breach at the gate of St Romulus the last of the Constantines fell in defense of the city which the first had founded and named. Then came pillage with its nameless horrors, after which the sultan surrounded with his viziers and pashas who celebrated the triumph of Islam on the high altar of the temple where but a few hours before Christians had prayed for deliverance, calling on their God in deep and earnest supplication, but calling in vain.
"The city and buildings are mine," declared Mohammed; "but I resign to your valor the captives and the spoil, the treasures of gold and beauty." And he kept his word; the booty being gathered by the strongest or by those who were first on the spot, without any attempt at regular division. In all the churches, monasteries, and palaces the work of pillage proceeded without check or hindrance; nor was there any building, however sacred or secluded, that could protect the persons and property of the inhabitants. The church of the Divine Wisdom, where multitudes had taken refuge was despoiled of the offerings of ages in vessels and ornaments of gold and silver, in precious stones, and in sacerdotal vestments, the rapine of a few hours being more productive than the contributions of many centuries. Then the captives, both male and female to the number of 60,000, were driven to the Turkish camp and fleet; the men to be ransomed or sold into slavery, and the virgins to exchange the life of the convent for that of the harem. Not least to be deplored was the destruction of the Byzantine libraries, containing, it is said, 120,000 manuscripts, among which were many of priceless value, ten volumes being offered for a single ducat, while for the same price could be purchased the entire works of Homer and Aristotle.
Among other palatial structures in Constantinople was the imperial palace, the site of which was later occupied by the mosque of Ahmed. It consisted of a series of buildings surrounded with gardens extending in one direction to the hippodrome and in another to the shore of the Golden Horn. Mohammed II erected the palace known as the seraglio in three divisions, one for his guards, one for public receptions, and a third for himself and his household. It became the abode of the Ottoman sultans; but only portions of its walls remain. By Constantine were reared the Palace of the Lord with its coronation hall, better known as the Tekfur-Scrai, at the foot of which is the mosque of Kahrich.
The mosque of St. Sofia, occupying the site of successive Christian churches, is the most imposing of the sacred edifices, and one of the finest specimens of Byzantine architecture.
Among the churches was that of the Divine Wisdom, erected by Constantine, the first dedicated to the new faith, and on a magnificent scale. Destroyed during the Christian schisms, it was reconstructed by Justinian with funds obtained in part by melting a silver statue of himself thirty-seven tons in weight, the total cost exceeding $5,000,000. Ten thousand men were employed on this structure under the personal supervision of the emperor, who paid them every night for their task and bestowed rewards on the more skilful and diligent workmen. It was nearly six years in building, and when it was completed it is said that the emperor, proudly surveying his temple as did Nebuchadnezzar the city which he had built, exclaimed "I have conquered thee, O Solomon." The exterior is of brick and somewhat crude in design; but within a striking effect is produced by the costly marbles which line the walls and by the bold sweep of the dome, 180 feet in height, resting on massive arches and flanked with colonnades of many colored pillars supporting lofty galleries. Among the columns, more than 100 in number, are those which Constantine removed from the temples of Apollo at Rome and of Diana at Ephesus. Both walls and dome were encrusted with mosaics in many figures and devices, of which little now remains except the colossal seraphim with wings 50 feet long, their features being obliterated when the church was converted into a mosque. The building has been many times repaired and restored, especially in 1849, when it was found that the dome was too heavy for its supporting walls.
Of the hundreds of mosques and mesjids in Constantinople, many are built not only on the site but with the materials of Christian churches, among them that of Suleiman the Magnificent, with an area of 52,000 square feet, and in dimensions and design resembling the fane of Saint Sophia, though internally far inferior as to decorative scheme. It is in the form of a Greek cross, surrounded by a quadrangle, as in most of the Turkish mosques, their plan being adopted from Christian models without reference to their origin. The entrance and of way is approached by a broad flight of marble steps, singular beauty are its lofty pillars of Egyptian porphyry. Most of the hills, on which as in Rome, the city is built are crowned with mosques whose stately domes and minarets stand forth in bold relief, and especially striking is the effect when illumined by night on festal occasions, they cast on the waters of the Golden Horn festoons of dazzling light.
Of the imperial hippodrome, with its rows of white marble seats resembling those of the Dionysias theater at Athens, most of the materials were used for the building of mosques. Founded by Severus, it was constructed and adorned by several of the emperors, among its decorations being an obelisk of Egyptian syenite, the pyramid which served as a goal, and the bronze horses now contained in the church of St. Mark at Venice. But its most famous monument was the column of the Three Serpents, which formerly supported the golden tripod in the temple of Delphi, captured by the Greeks after the battle of Platae. Elsewhere in the city and especially around and within the mansions of the rich thickly clustered in the fashionable quarter, were many columns, statues, and paintings; for Constantinople, like Rome, was a storehouse of Grecian art.
Of secular and especially commercial buildings of the better class, Galata on the northern side of the Horn, built up to the crest of a hill crowned with a ponderous fifth-century tower, is now one of the principal quarters. In former ages, when Constantinople was occupied by the Genoese, the tower was their principal defense, being joined to another huge castle on the opposite shore by a massive iron chain for protection against hostile fleets. Near it are the stores and banks and merchants' offices of the business quarter, not far from which are the palace of the podesta and the Lombard church of St. Benedict. Scutari, though on the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus, may be regarded as a suburb of Constantinople. It is a beautiful town, built in the form of an amphitheater on the slopes of several hills, beyond which are gardens, villas, and one of the largest cemeteries in the world, in its center the great dome with marble pillars erected by Sultan Mohammed in memory of his favorite horse. Connected with Scutari are many historic recollections, its ancient name of Chrysopolis, or the city of gold, being probably derived from the tribute collected by the Persians, who also formed here a depot for the rich spoils collected from the Greek settlements on the Asiatic coast.
Adrianople, named after the emperor Hadrian, whose improvements gave to it a more pleasing appearance than it now presents, with its narrow tortuous and refuse-littered streets, ranks next to Constantinople in importance. Among its public buildings are the mosque of Selim II, one of the most splendid of Mohammedan edifices, as also was the ancient palace of the sultans now fallen into decay. Bazaars are numerous, chief among them being that of Ali Pasha, and there is a considerable volume of commerce and manufactures in this city of 70,000 people. The country around is extremely fertile; the mines in its neighborhood were formerly among the most productive in the world, and here is the chief source of supply for the great fairs at which merchants gather from all quarters of European Turkey.
Salonica, the Thessalonica of ancient and the Therma of still more go ancient days, was an important city more than twenty-five centuries ago, when the plains that surround it were covered with prosperous Macedonian settlements.
There the army of Xerxes encamped, and there was the naval station of Macedonia until after his defeat at Pydna, Perseus, the last of its kings, was carried captive to Rome, there to show the people, as Plutarch relates, “what immense sums he had saved and laid up for them." Its wealth was derived from rich mines in the neighborhood, as well as from the trade and industries of a large population, while culture was combined with opulence, among the spoils most prized by the conqueror, Paulus Aemilius, being the library of the fallen monarch. Later, during Gothic and other invasions, it became the bulwark of Constantinople and of the Roman empire, one of its monuments being the triumphal arch erected in honor of Constantine, while amid mounds of rubbish are the remains of marble palaces columns and sarcophagi, beneath which perchance lie buried some of the treasures of Macedonian sovereigns. Still are to be seen the remnants of the white marble portico of the hippodrome where, without regard to age or sex, Theodosius massacred 15,000 persons whom he had treacherously invited to the games. An imposing structure is the castle of the Seven Towers, its domes and minarets rising above the foliage of elm and cypress groves. Near the end of the sixteenth century the cathedral of Saint Sofia, probably erected in the time of Justinian, was converted into a mosque, its dome being still covered with figures in mosaic representing the ascension. The dome of St. George’s has also its mosaics, whose subject is a series of saints worshiping in front of temples, the decoration, if such it can be termed, covering its entire surface of more than 7,000 square feet, the largest known specimen of ancient mosaic work.
Turkey is exceedingly rich in resources, though among her fertile plains and valleys are large areas of uncultivated land. Her waterfalls are little utilized; her rivers are filled with obstructions; her harbors as nature made them, and many of her roads impassable for wheeled vehicles. The mountains are covered with merchantable timber, and there are vast deposits of coal and iron, copper and lead, almost entirely unheeded while Thracian, princes were made wealthy by mines of gold and silver, now no longer worked but far from being exhausted. In Macedonia are veins of copper and argentiferous galena, and cinnabar is found in the region north of the Balkans. The richest of the silver and lead mines are in Mount Pelion where is also an abundance of fuel and water-power. Asia Minor and the islands of the Grecian archipelago were famed for their mineral wealth, and though the yield of their mines declined with the decline of the civilization to which the ministered there is still an abundance of valuable ores awaiting only the advent of capital and enterprise.
As Pliny relates, the riches of the island of Cyprus came largely from their copper mines, while there were also the precious metals, the emerald and agate, malachite, jasper, opals, and the rock crystals held in esteem by the Romans. In Lemnos was also copper; in Thasos gold; in Thessaly gold, silver, and lead while several of the islands were noted for their precious stones.
In former ages the Turks were noted for their skill in handicraft; but the application of steam to nearly all branches of manufacture has deprived them of this preeminence, and they are now almost entirely an agricultural people. At the beginning of the present century the markets of the Levant were stocked with Turkish manufactures, which have now given place to articles of English make. Damascus steel no longer exists; the muslin looms of Scutari and the silk looms of Salonica and Broussa have been idle for many years, as also have the cotton looms of Aleppo, while Constantinople, Adrianople, and Bagdad are no longer prominent as manufacturing centers. Thus exports consist almost entirely of raw products, chief among them being cereals and fruits, silk cotton and wool, coffee and olive oil. Imports are mainly of cotton and other textile fabrics, with a total value far in excess of exports, leaving a heavy balance of trade against the country to be met by payments in gold.
In the principality of Bulgaria, including eastern Roumelia, are several cities of historic fame, as Philippopolis, Varna, Shumla, Plevna, Silistria, and others whose annals need not here detain us. As with the Turks, the people are an agricultural community, raising cereals, fruits, and other products, of which there is a considerable surplus for export. For the most part they own the land which they cultivate, building thereon dwellings of wood and clay, in which as a rule large families are reared; for food is cheap and children are set to work at an early age. A portion of their farms is usually devoted to vineyards and flower gardens, and another portion to pasture, the buffalo being largely used for tillage, though of other livestock there is a plentiful supply. Timber is abundant and wastefully used; minerals are almost entirely neglected, and highway roads are few and poor, though railways connect the capital city of Sofia with European systems by way of Constantinople and Belgrade.
Of ancient and modem Egypt a description has already been given, and of Tripoli and other Turkish possessions in Africa I shall have occasion to speak in a later chapter of this work. Passing to Asiatic Turkey we find there much that is worthy of mention, though rather of historic than of transient interest; for here are many of the great centers of antiquity, from the city of the Troad to those whose spoils filled to overflowing the treasuries of imperial Rome. Of Troy it may be remarked that while implements and weapons resembling those which Homer describes have been unearthed, there is little to prove or disprove the story of its siege. Of much greater value are such ruins as those of Pergamum, with its temple of Athena Polias and its great sculptured altar of Zeus Soter, of Palmyra, Baalbek, and Djerach, pointing to Syrian civilization as it existed when in the days of Solomon the first of these cities was a storehouse on the principal highway of commerce. Though now a mere hamlet, Palmyra was at one time the mistress of the east, the emporium for the luxuries of the ancient world, the costly fabrics, the pearls and jewels, the perfumes spices and unguents of Arabia India and China. Greatest of all its monuments was the temple of the Sun, its courtyard 750 feet, square, lined with colonnades resembling those of Herod's temple, and whence from a triumphal arch adjoining radiated the central avenue of the city. No less imposing are the remains of Baalbek, the Heliopolis of the Greeks, though as to its origin the classical writers are silent. It is known that its walls were four miles in circuit, while its Great temple, 1,100 feet in length and rich in sculptural and columnar ornaments, was well worthy of its name.
Here also was a temple of the sun, of which portions are still preserved, and near it the Circular temple, the smallest of the three but the most finished in design and workmanship. When captured by the Moslems Baalbek was one of the wealthiest cities of Syria, containing many palaces and ancient monuments and well supplied with all that contributes to luxurious living. As ransom were exacted 2,000 ounces of gold and 4,000 of silver, 2,000 silken vests, 1,000 swords, and all the arms of the garrison.
Aleppo succeeded to Palmyra as the emporium of commerce between eastern countries and the Mediterranean seaboard, many traces of its former grandeur remaining in the neighborhood of the modern city. Plundered first by the Saracens and then by the Tartars, it finally passed into possession of the Turks early in the sixteenth century, since which time it has suffered much from earthquakes and pestilence. In 1822 the citadel, many of the mosques, and much of the town were laid in ruins by an earthquake which destroyed more than half its population; then came a recurrence of the plague which not many years before had swept away 60,000 persons, the cholera of 1832 adding to a succession of calamities which culminated in the tumults of 1850, when property to the amount of many millions was destroyed by Moslem fanatics. Before these disasters Aleppo was one of the fairest of Turkish cities and still its mosques and minarets, its Christian temples of worship, its colleges and libraries, with rows of houses built of freestone on the sides of terraced hills, present from a distance a scene of singular beauty. Its trade is still sufficient to maintain more than a hundred mercantile houses and among many branches of manufacture are its famous silken and other fabrics, flowered or woven with threads of gold and silver.
Damascus was a place of note even in the days of Abraham, whose steward, Eliezer, was a native of that town, many changes of dynasty occurring from the days when its people were carried away captive by the Assyrians, until finally it fell into the hands of the Turks. Few cities have been so often pillaged; but never were the woes of conquest so dire as after its capture by Tamerlane, “the wild beast"' as he is called by Arab chroniclers.
Though each one promptly paid the redemption money exacted by the conqueror, a general massacre followed, and of the entire Christian population only a single family escaped. Its stores of wealth and treasures of art were carried away or destroyed; its palaces were burned to the ground, and of its libraries, filled with the writings of the caliphs and of the fathers of the church, hardly a vestige remained.
Among the antiquities of Damascus are Roman gateways, walls founded by Seleucid monarchs, and a castle probably erected by one of the Byzantine emperors. Near the castle, but surrounded with dwellings and bazaars so as to be almost concealed from view, is the Great mosque, its massive exterior colonnades contrasting with slender Saracenic minarets and arcades. It is 430 feet in length, divided into aisles by rows of Corinthian columns, and surmounted by a dome beneath which it is said, lies the head of John the Baptist, buried in a golden casket. Among other mosques are the Tekiyeh, built by Sultan Selim for the accommodation of pilgrims, and the Senaniyeh, reared by near which are the Senan Pasha, with cloistered court and richly decorated chapels, tombs of Saladin and other Saracen princes. Damascus is a city of stately domes and tapering minarets, their gilded crescents rising above terraced roofs and luxuriant foliage, presenting at a distance the appearance of an enchanted realm. For sixty miles around it extend the gardens, vineyards, orchards, and meadows watered by the Abana, of which Naaman said: "Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus better than all the waters of Israel?" The bazaars are the most famous in the East, though merely rows of open stalls on either side of narrow covered alleys; there are also more pretentious marts called khans, where merchants meet for traffic. Gold and silver ornaments, weapons, silks, and woolens are the chief articles manufactured, and for them there considerable foreign demand.
Antioch, founded by Seleucus Nicator as his capital after the partition of the Macedonian empire, became in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes a city second only to Rome and Alexandria in architectural magnificence. From its citadel and the four quarters adjacent extended to the cypress grove of Daphne, with its temple and colossal statue of Apollo, a line of beautiful villas and gardens several miles in length. Of the city itself the streets and porticos were styled golden, in reference to their gilded and stately columns, the principal thoroughfare, paved with granite, having four parallel rows of pillars, leaving a spacious road in the center, flanked by arcaded sidewalks. Rivaling the great Roman edifice was the temple of Capitoline Jove, while even more imposing was the church which Constantine founded, its domical roof of enormous size and its interior glistening with golden ornaments and precious stones. A noble structure was the theater founded by Seleucid kings and completed and enlarged by Roman emperors, several of whom visited this eastern metropolis and added to its public monuments. Over one of its gates were placed by Titus the cherubim taken from the temple at Jerusalem; by Hadrian was built at the grove of Daphne a reservoir in the form of a temple dedicated to the nymphs; by Valens many new buildings were erected, including a forum encircled with basilicas in the center of which was a lofty column. And thus, except for destructive earthquakes, the city prospered until its capture and pillage by Khosru the Persian in 538, whereafter it fell from its high position as the queen city of the East. Several times Antioch was destroyed by earthquakes, entirely or in part.
In 115, during a series of violent shocks lasting for several days, the inhabitants fled the town to escape from falling buildings; the mountains shook and the rivers changed their courses; but most disastrous of all was the catastrophe of 526, when, as is related, a quarter of a million of people lost their lives.
Of Sardis, the former capital of the Lydian empire, only its ruins remain, except a cluster of huts occupied by a semi-nomadic tribe. During the reign of Croesus it became the wealthiest and most powerful city of the Orient, and long before that time was the industrial metropolis of the ancient world, coined money being here invented, while as a manufacturing center it was noted for costly and delicate fabrics. To the treasures stored in Sardis, and to its steady stream of wealth-producing commerce, was probably due the legend of the Pactolus flowing through the market-place over sands abounding in gold.
Of all the rich men of the East there were none who compared with Croesus, whose inherited possessions were increased by conquest and traffic until he came to be regarded as the type of human prosperity. His adversaries and those who sided with them he treated with ruthless severity; later, in the hope of expiating his wrongs, presenting magnificent gifts to the temples of the Greeks on the other side of the Aegean, as well as to those which he had pillaged. In the temple of Diana at Ephesus as Strabo relates, he repaired the damage wrought by the Scythians, donating also its golden oxen from whose and many of its marble columns. Still more lavish were his donations to the Delphic fane of Apollo, oracle he sought response as to the issue of the forthcoming war with Cyrus. First offering in sacrifice 3,000 oxen, he melted a sufficient quantity of gold from which to fashion 116 bricks from three to six hands' breadth long and one in thickness. To these were added a golden lion ten talents in weight, a female figure of gold three cubits in height, with vessels and casks of gold and silver.
The oracle responded that if Croesus went to war he should destroy a mighty empire; but the empire proved to be his own; for he was defeated and conducted as a prisoner into the presence of Cyrus, who became master of his capital and all his rich store of treasure. As to the fallen monarch, he was sentenced to be burned alive; but the legend relates that while the flames were ascending his funeral pyre, Cyrus relented, and as some have it the fire was extinguished by a shower sent by Apollo in response to his offerings and supplications.
In Ephesus, founded according to its own traditions in the eleventh century before Christ there was from time immemorial a sanctuary of Diana, around which clustered the most ancient quarter of the town. In the time of Croesus the first great temple was partially built, the splendor of the completed structure being largely due to his gifts, prompted rather by policy than piety, his object being to make of Ephesus an Asiatic rather than a Hellenic city. After its destruction in 356 by Herostratus, whose name would probably have perished but for the decree which forbade its use, it was rebuilt on a still more splendid scale, and later was regarded as the finest specimen of Ionic architecture, ranking among the wonders of the world. All Asia contributed to the cost, its 127 pillars of Parian marble being the gifts of as many kings, while the men of Ephesus gave their money and the women their jewelry, refusing the offer of Alexander the Great, on the night of whose birth the fire occurred, to pay the entire expense on condition that his name be inscribed on the pediment. It was 418 feet in length by 230 in width, many of its external columns, 56 feet in height, being sculptured with figures in relief, the remains of which show that they were of no ordinary workmanship. From floor to roof the entire building was of marble; the walls built of solid blocks faced with brass and silver plates, and the frieze adorned with mythological figures of Theseus, Hercules, and other mythological subjects. For centuries the temple was a rich museum of art and other treasures. Roman emperors vying in munificence with wealthy citizens, one of whom presented a large number of gold and silver images to be carried in the processions.
There were figures of Amazons, the mythical founders of the city, by Phidias, Polyclitus, and other of the classic masters; there was Apelles’ famous painting of Alexander wielding a thunderbolt, and from a constant stream of visitors and votaries came numberless contributions in money and objects of virtue. From lands and other sources the temple derived an enormous revenue, and here was also stored for safe-keeping much of the wealth of Asia, monarchs and subjects alike being glad to place their possessions under the guardianship of Diana of the Ephesians. Thus was this celebrated fane at once a sanctuary, a place of worship, a museum, and a bank, until in 262 it was plundered and destroyed by the Goths, together with the city itself. When Christianity supplanted the cult of Artemis, its remains were used as a quarry for the architectural embellishment, first of Constantinople, and then of Turkish mosques and Italian palaces. Later its site, covered deep with mud, remained for ages unknown, and was discovered only by an accident which in 1869 directed to the spot an explorer in the service of the British museum.
Smyrna, whose commerce had exalted it, twenty-six centuries ago to a foremost rank among the Greek settlements of Asia Minor, is still the leading commercial emporium of the Levant. Though its origin is lost in the twilight of history, it has preserved an almost perfect continuity of record, at least from the days of its occupation by Ionian colonists. Still are to be seen the remains of the massive Ionic fortress which formed the land-ward defense of the town until its capture by the Lydians, where after it sank into the condition of a village until restored and refortified on its present site by the successors of Alexander the Great, to whom, as is said, its rebuilding was it suggested in a dream. As then it stood, it was a city of surpassing beauty, rising from the seaboard, tier above tier, on terraced hillside slopes toward the acropolis. Its streets were broad, well paved, and laid out in regular lines. There were several temples, and among its public buildings were a theater, a stadium and a gymnasium. With a present population of more than 200,000, Smyrna is now the chief port of Asiatic Turkey, and the terminus of a railway system which is being gradually extended into the most fertile valleys of Anatolia.
Trebizond, the Trapezus of the Greeks, was first made known to the western world after the retreat of the Ten Thousand, who rested there for a time from their long and toilsome journey from Cunaxa. After the dismemberment of the Byzantine Empire it became, under the rule of the Commeni, a place of considerable note, its palace being famed for its splendor and its court for luxury, intrigue, and immorality. It was also a seat of learning and a resort for learned men who furnished the palace library with valuable manuscripts, while skilful architects adorned the city with costly and elaborate buildings; the writers of the age, among them Cardinal Bessarion, describing in glowing terms its churches and monasteries , its stately towers, and its suburban groves and orchards. The largest of existing churches is that of the Virgin of the Golden Head, a plain but massive edifice now converted into a mosque. A more tasteful structure is the church of Haghia Sophia, with its handsome portico and lofty campanile, whose walls are decorated with frescos descriptive of religious themes. A few leagues from the town is the monastery of Sumelas, founded some fifteen centuries ago at the mouth of a cavern midway in a tall perpendicular cliff. It was rebuilt and richly endowed by Commenus III, whose golden bull is among most valued relics.
In Turkish Armenia Erzeroum, its principal town, is still a place of some importance, though but a shadow of its former self, losing, it is said, at the time of its capture by the Seljuks, in 1201, more than thrice its present population. It is one of the most ancient of Armenian cities, and without exception the dirtiest, with narrow, tortuous streets, unpaved and badly drained, flanked by somber buildings of dark-gray mud-cemented stone. There are many mosques and churches, of which the cathedral is the only one worthy of note as an architectural composition. As the chief emporium for the caravan trade between Persia and Black Sea ports, Erzeroum has its full share of commerce, though sorely hampered by the unsettled condition of the people; for in Armenia Turks and Christians cannot dwell together in peace.
For the three centuries or more during which Cyprus has been in the hands of the Turks, its annals are almost a blank, except for occasional insurrections and massacres, its former prosperity giving place to stagnation and decay; so that the largest town. Lucarna, on the site of ancient Citium, has but 6,000 or 7,000 inhabitants. Though of its antiquities little is known, there have been unearthed many statues and other works showing a strange intermixture of Hellenic and Oriental art. In Crete, or Candia, recent explorations have added much to our knowledge of this ancient land, famed as the birthplace of Olympian deities, as the site of the Minos legend, and as the seat of a civilization so ancient that Lycurgus, it is said, borrowed its laws and institutions. Rhodes, under whose Colossus passed the triremes of the Greeks, has now several lines of steamers calling at its port; for commerce is increasing rapidly, and especially the transit trade. Of this gigantic monument, laid prostrate by earthquake in 224 BC, after keeping guard over the harbor for more than half a century, its enormous fragments were the wonder of the world until after the island was conquered by the Saracens, when the remains were sold for their worth as old metal, and loaded on the backs of 900 camels. As Strabo relates, Rhodes surpassed all other cities in beauty of design and decorative features, containing 3,000 statues, among which were many of exceptional merit, together with paintings by Protogenes and other masters. It was a city of arts and arms, the mistress of the sea, and with vast accumulations of wealth, until, for embracing the cause of Caesar, it was plundered by Cassius, and later reduced to a Roman province.
Miscellany—The foreign indebtedness of Turkey amounted in 1894 to about $660,000,000, in addition to which a war indemnity of $160,000,000 is being paid to Russia in installments of $1,600,000 a year. Taxation is oppressive, chiefly on account of its unequal distribution, and especially for the tithes demanded on agricultural products. In the army, including the militia, more than 700,000 men are available as combatants, and in the navy there are over 100 vessels, most of them of obsolete pattern.
During a visit to Europe the sultan was so greatly impressed with the advantages of railway communication that he at once planned a system which would open up his empire and bring Constantinople into connection with European lines. Concessions, guarantees , and privileges were granted, $100,000,000 being subscribed merely as a beginning while the various , projects included also Asiatic Turkey; so that the visitor might travel almost entirely by rail from London or Paris to the site of Troy or the ruins of the temple of Diana of the Ephesians.
The earthquakes of earlier centuries and the conflagrations of modern times have left but few relics of the former capital of the Byzantian empire and of the earlier sultans.
Around the hippodrome they are most numerous, including the remains of palaces, churches, and columns with which are associated the names of Constantine, Theodosius, Chrysostom, and others of historic renown. In the fire of 1870 more than 3,000 buildings were burned, and it is said that the losses by fire are equal to the entire destruction of the city once every twenty years.
The interior of Asia Minor is a vast tableland nowhere, less than 2,000 feet above the sea except for occasional valleys. It is traversed by many mountain ranges, rising to an elevation of 7,000 to 11,000 feet. Most of the rivers are small, and none are navigable for any considerable distance. The climate of the uplands is dry and the temperature subject to great extremes, large tracts consisting of bare and treeless downs fit only for the pasturage of sheep. In more favored districts are vineyards, orchards, olive and walnut groves, and tobacco plantations, while cotton thrives near the sea-shore and silk is largely produced in the neighborhood of Broussa. What are known as Smyrna figs and raisins are mainly produced in the valley of the Maeander, and opium, madder, and saffron are among the agricultural products. Of domestic animals the camel and buffalo rank first in value; cattle and horses are few and of inferior breed; vast herds of sheep are depastured on the plains, and still in demand is the hair of the Angora goat, from which shawls are made little inferior to those of Kashmir. Minerals are plentiful, but little utilized. The silver and copper mines of the north, and the marble quarries, especially the Phrygian marbles so much in favor with the Romans, are now almost neglected. There are coal deposits near Heraclea, on the Black Sea coast, and still the iron ores in the country of the Chalybes are worked in the same primitive fashion as in the days of the Greeks.
During the reign of Abdul Aziz the expenses of the court kitchens were over $2,500,000 a year.
A few centuries before the Christian era Miletus, whose site near the mouth of the Maeander is now a morass was, by far the wealthiest and most powerful city in Asia Minor, founding itself more than threescore settlements, among which were Cyzicus, Abydus, and Sinope. Of its four harbors, one was spacious, and all were well protected; its Black Sea trade was enormous, and its commerce extended along the entire coast of the Levant. After the revolt of 500 BC which followed the Persian conquest, its inhabitants were massacred or led into captivity by Darius, whereafter its annals are of no special interest. Miletus was a literary as well as a commercial center, its philosophers including Thales and his successor Anaximander.
By the treaty of Berlin it is provided that the prince of Bulgaria shall be elected by the people, and their choice confirmed by the Sublime Porte with the consent of the European powers, no member of the royal families of Europe being eligible. The principality has an army mustering, inclusive of militia, nearly 200,000 men, and there are a few small vessels of war.
Exports for 1894 amounted to nearly $20,000,000, with imports of about equal amount. The National bank of Bulgaria, with headquarters at Sofia and several branches, has a capital of $2,000,000, furnished by the state, and in each district is an agricultural bank under government control.
When Alemaeon of Athens returned from the temple of Delphi, where he had assisted the royal messengers in presenting the gifts of Croesus, the monarch told him to go into his treasury and take thence what he would, whereupon, as the legend is, the Athenian filled the skirt of his tunic, his boots, and even his hair with gold-dust. Croesus laughed when he saw him so heavily laden that he could barely walk, and said to him, "All this you may have and as much more as you wish." With the gold-producing regions of Asia Minor the Delphic and other Greek temples maintained unbroken intercourse entering into business relations with all the Hellenic colonies, and serving, as I have said, in place of banks.
Europe has standing armies aggregating from 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 men, which cost $1,000,000,000 or more to keep up, producers to pay the bills, and all for the pleasure of such rulers and demagogues as may take delight in seeing bands of men, having no quarrel and scarcely knowing what they are fighting for, meet and butcher each other. Add to this the cost of royalty, nobility, et cetera, with their vast progeny, and the creators of wealth have their hands full. The cost of heavy cannon, per ton, is for cast iron $100, Armstrong $500, Krupp $850, Whitworth $875. At Waterloo the English artillery fired 9,467 rounds, or one for every Frenchman killed.