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Similarity of the antient and modern "City Imperial Armoury

- Vase of the Byzantine Emperors Description of the four principal Sultanas

Interior of the Seraglio - Sultan's Kiosk -CHAREM, or Apartments of the Women-Chamber of Audience Assembly Room - Baths Chamber of Repose Saloon of the CHAREM-Garden of Hyacinths-Upper Walks of the Seraglio.


the antient


THERE are many interesting sources of reflection, in the present appearance of Constantinople, unnoticed by any Similarity of Author. To these my attention was early directed, and will and modern be principally confined. The Reader would not be much gratified by an elaborate detail, or even an abridgment, of the volumes which have been written upon this remarkable city, sufficient alone to constitute a library. Historically






considered, the period, in which the Eastern metropolis of the Roman Empire ceased to exist as a seat of letters and refinement, seems, from the fulness and freshness of intelligence, to be almost within our recollection. The discovery of printing, taking place at the same precise period, brought with it such a tide of information, that, in the very instant when Literature appeared upon the eve of

of expiring, Science and Philosophy beamed a brighter and more steady light. Thus, in the fourth century which has elapsed since its capture by the Turks, we are carried back to the circumstances of their conquest, as though we had been actual witnesses of the victory. The eloquence and testimony of Isidore forcibly direct our attention to the scene of action : description is transmitted in all its original energy; and, in the perusal of the narrative, we feel as spectators of the catastrophe.

But, although Time has had such inconsiderable influence in weakening impressions of this kind, it is believed the case would be far otherwise, viewing the spot



(1) The description given by Cardinal Isidore, who was an eye-witness of the horrible scene which ensued at the capture of Constantinople by the Turkish army, affords a striking example. The art of printing has been scarcely adequate to its preservation ; and, without it, every syllable had perished. It is only rescued by a very rare work of Bernard de Breydenbach, of Mayence; printed in the black letter, at Spire, in 1490, by Peter Drach; and since copied into a volume of Tracts, published at Basil in 1556. This document seems to have escaped not only the researches of Gibbon, but of every other author, who has written upon the subject of the siege. The insertion of Isidore's account of transactions, in which he was a spectator, may gratify the Reader's curiosity, and is therefore added, in the Appendix, in his own words. — See Appendix, No. I.



memorable for those transactions. The literary traveller, visiting Constantinople, expects to behold but faint vestiges of the Imperial city, and believes that he shall find little to remind him of “the everlasting foundations” of the master of the Roman world. The opinion, however, may be as erroneous as that upon which it was founded. After the imagination has been dazzled with pompous and glaring descriptions of palaces and baths, porticoes and temples, groves, circuses, and gardens, the plain matter of fact may prove, that in the obscure and dirty lanes of Constantinople> ; its small and unglazed shops ; the style of architecture observed in the dwellings; the long covered walks, now serving as bazars 3; the loose flowing habits with long sleeves, worn by the natives“; even in the practice of concealing the features of the women'; and, above all, in the remarkable ceremonies and observances of the public baths; we behold those customs and appearances which characterized the cities of the Greeks. Such at least, as far as inanimate objects are concerned, is the picture presented by


(2) Athens itself was not very unlike Constantinople in its present state, if we may credit the statistical testimony of Dicæarchus, who mentions the irregularity of the streets, and the poverty and meanness of the houses. — Vide Stat. Græciæ Geogr. Minor. Hudsoni.

(3) Bazar is the appellation used to signify a market, all over the East.

(4) Herodotus, speaking of the Persians, mentions their garments with long sleeves : and we learn from Xenophon, that Cyrus ordered two persons to be put to death, who appeared in his presence with their hands uncovered.

(5) Dicæarchus, describing the dress of the women of Thebes, says, that their eyes only are seen; the other parts of their faces are covered by their garments.". Βίος "Ελλαδος. Walpole's MS. Journal.


the interesting ruins of Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabiæ
With regard to the costume of its inhabitants, we have only
to view the dresses worn by Greeks themselves, as they are
frequently represented upon the gems and coins of the
country, as well as those used in much earlier ages 2.
There is every reason to believe, that the Turks themselves,
at the conquest of Constantinople, adopted many of the
customs, and embraced the refinements of a people they
had subdued. Their former habits had been those
Nomade tribes; their dwellings were principally tents; and


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(1) “ The city of Constantinople, in its actual state, presents some of those monuments and works of art, which adorned it at the end of the fourteenth century. They are alluded to in one of the epistles of Manuel Chrysoloras; from which I have extracted the three following passages.

In the first we have the very form of the modern bazar. I omit,' says he, 'the covered and inclosed

walks, formerly seen traversing the whole city, in such a manner that you might pass through it without being inconvenienced by the mud, or rays of the sun.' Eώ δε σκεπαστούς και φρακτους δρόμους δια πάσης ποτέ της πόλεως δεικνυμένους, ώστε šeiva äveu ayaoû xai extivos nãouv Euróval. In the second, he mentions the cisterns, which are still to be seen, supported by granite columns and marble pillars. They were built by Constantine and Philoxenus. I omit also the number of pillars and arches in the cisterns. Και το πλήθος των εν αυταίς κιόνων και αψίδων. In the next, the baths are described, which appear to have been as numerous then in Constantinople, as now. ' But why should I speak concerning the baths ; the number of which, were I to relate it, would be incredible ?' Τί δε περί λουτρών αν λέγοιμι· ών το ιστορούμενον εν αυτή γενέσθαι πλήθος απιστείται;” Walpole's MS. Journal.

(2) The dress worn by the Popes of Rome, upon solemn occasions, corresponds with the habits of the Roman Emperors in the lower ages : and from a representation of the portrait of Manuel Palæologus (See the Vignette to this Chapter), as taken from an antient manuscript, and preserved in Bandurius, ( Vid. Imperium Orientale, tom. ii. p. 991. ed. Par. 1711.) it appears that there is little difference between the costume of a Greek Emperor in the fifteenth century, and a Grand Signior in the nineteenth.—The mark of distinction worn upon the head of the Turkish Sultans, and other grandees of the empire, of which the calathus was an archetype, is also another remarkable circumstance in the identity of antient and modern customs.

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