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Title: Constantinople painted by Warwick Goble
Author: Van Millingen, Alexander, 1840-1915
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Post free, 20s. 6d.

   “We can emphatically declare that it is brilliant,
   suggestive, original, and interesting from the first
   chapter to the last.”--_Saturday Review._

  “A volume which will take high rank amongst the many
   works which have for their special object to recall Rome
   to those who have seen it, and to give some notion of its
   many attractions to those who have been denied that
   privilege.”--_Glasgow Herald._




                    64 & 66 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK

                    205 FLINDERS LANE, MELBOURNE

                    ST. MARTIN’S HOUSE, 70 BOND STREET, TORONTO

                    MACMILLAN BUILDING, BOMBAY
                    309 BOW BAZAAR STREET, CALCUTTA






    THE GREAT                                                           1


    AND ARCADIUS                                                       24




  ALONG THE WALLS                                                      80


  ALONG THE WALLS BESIDE THE GOLDEN HORN                              101


  ALONG THE LANDWARD WALLS                                            118


  AMONG THE CHURCHES OF THE CITY                                      132


  AMONG THE CHURCHES                                                  147


  AMONG THE CHURCHES                                                  170


  IMPRESSIONS OF THE CITY TO-DAY                                      195


  RELIGIOUS COLOURING                                                 223


  TURKISH WOMEN                                                       242


  EPILOGUE                                                            262

  INDEX   277


   1. A Turkish Lady in Out-Door Dress                     _Frontispiece_

                                                              FACING PAGE

   2. The Quay in Galata                                                2

   3. Galata from the Aqueduct of Valens                                6

   4. Stamboul Beggar                                                  10

   5. Gypsy Basket-Maker                                               12

   6. A Step Street in Galata                                          16

   7. A Flower-Market, Scutari                                         18

   8. The Galata Bridge                                                22

   9. A Cemetery by the Bosporus                                       24

  10. “A Kafedji”                                                      28

  11. Golden Horn from the British Hospital, Galata                    30

  12. Street Scene, Clay Works                                         34

  13. Street Scene, Stamboul                                           36

  14. A Village Store at Kavak                                         40

  15. Galata Tower from the Bridge                                     42

  16. Refugee Huts on the Marmora                                      48

  17. Turkish Delight Factory                                          50

  18. Flower-Sellers                                                   52

  19. Carpet-Menders                                                   56

  20. Fruit-Market, Stamboul                                           60

  21. Carpet Warehouse                                                 64

  22. Shoemaker, Stamboul                                              66

  23. Street Scene, Roumeli Hissar                                     70

  24. Grand Bazaar, Stamboul                                           72

  25. A Blacksmith’s Shop                                              76

  26. Seraglio Point from “The Stones”                                 82

  27. The Seraglio Lighthouse and Scutari                              84

  28. Crimean Memorial, British Cemetery, Haidar Pasha                 88

  29. Interior of the Mosque of Sultan Ahmed I.                        94

  30. Prinkipo (Princes Islands)                                       98

  31. Golden Horn, early Morning                                      104

  32. The Bridge from Galata                                          106

  33. Golden Horn                                                     108

  34. Suleimaniyeh at Sunrise                                         110

  35. Cemetery at Eyoub                                               112

  36. Galata and Stamboul from Eyoub                                  114

  37. Golden Horn after Sunset                                        116

  38. The Walls; the Tower of Isaac Angelus                           120

  39. Constantinople and Golden Horn from the Cemetery at Eyoub       130

  40. View from an old Cemetery                                       134

  41. Market in the Court of the Mosque of Sultan Ahmed I.            138

  42. Court of the Suleimaniyeh                                       142

  43. Interior of S. Sophia                                           158

  44. Interior of S. Sophia, the Sultan’s Gallery                     180

  45. Fountain in S. Sophia                                           184

  46. A Wet Day on the Galata Bridge                                  196

  47. In the Grand Bazaar                                             198

  48. A Fortune-Teller                                                200

  49. Street Scene, Top-Khaneh                                        202

  50. A Step Street                                                   206

  51. Simit-Seller                                                    208

  52. Market at Scutari                                               212

  53. Entrance to a Turkish Khan                                      214

  54. Turkish Well, Stamboul                                          216

  55. A Fountain by the Bosporus                                      218

  56. Open Air Café, Stamboul                                         222

  57. Roumeli Hissar                                                  224

  58. A Howling Dervish                                               228

  59. A Whirling Dervish                                              230

  60. Tomb in Scutari                                                 238

  61. The Sweet Waters of Europe                                      254

  62. The Yashmak                                                     256

  63. The Sweet Waters of Asia                                        260




328-337 A.D.

THE foundation of Constantinople was an event of the utmost political
significance. That personal feelings actuated Constantine the Great in
the decision to establish a seat of government far from the walls of
Rome is doubtless true. The insults to which he was exposed, on the
occasion of his visit to the ancient capital of the Empire, in 326, on
account of the execution of his wife and of his son, could not fail to
annoy him, and make him willing to shake the dust of the rude city from
off his feet. To have a placard put on his palace gates comparing him
with Nero was not flattering. Certainly the Roman populace did not make
respectful subjects. Diocletian also, before Constantine, had found
Roman citizens insolent, and fled from the slings and arrows of their
sarcasm without waiting to meet the Senate, or to be invested with the
consular dignity. But after all, personal feelings go only a short way
towards the explanation of an event so serious in the history of the
Roman State as the establishment of another seat of imperial authority.
The volume and force of a mighty river might as well be explained by the
drops of a shower which fall into its current. Constantine was too great
a statesman to be swayed by mere personal impulse. The foundation of
Constantinople was the outward and visible sign of profound changes in
the ideas and policy created and long embodied by the city enthroned
beside the Tiber. It was the expression of the spirit of a new epoch; as
much so as the foundation of Alexandria signified a change in the
political conceptions of the Hellenic world, or the building of St.
Petersburg marked the new aspirations heaving in the heart of Russia, or
the erection, in more recent times, of Washington or Ottawa proclaimed
the birth of new commonwealths, and the application of new principles.
Old ideas and ancient institutions cannot be altered in one day, or at
the caprice of one man. They are not the flimsy things which can be
created or destroyed by the wave of a magician’s wand. Constantine
only placed the copestone on an edifice which other hands, before his
reign, had gradually raised from the foundations to the point demanding
completion. He finished what others had begun. The creation of the new
capital was the result of causes, long in action; not a whim or matter
of taste.

[Illustration: THE QUAY IN GALATA]

In the first place, the political relation of the city of Rome to the
Roman world had undergone a fundamental change. The citizens of that
wonderful city were no longer the proprietors and sovereigns of the
realm over which the Roman eagles had spread their wings. The Senate
which assembled in the Curia, the people which gathered in the Forum
Romanum, had ceased to rule subject cities and nations. That glory had
departed. In Gibbon’s mordant language, “The Senate was left a venerable
but useless monument of antiquity upon the Capitoline hill.” Every
freeman within the Empire’s bounds was now the equal of the men whose
forefathers had been the kings of the world. Rome was now only one of
the great cities of the Roman State, differing from her peers only in
the memories and the prestige of a happier and grander past. The
government of the world by the city had broken down, and was vested in
the hands of one supreme man. And that man had gradually become an
absolute lord and monarch; who exercised plenary authority wherever he
chose to reside, who decked himself with jewels and resplendent robes,
who made his throne the lofty peak of a vast hierarchy of nobles and
officials, and introduced new methods of administration; a man, perhaps,
without a drop of the blood which Romans proudly bore, but a rude
provincial, yet to whose will the Eternal City bowed as humbly as the
remotest village beneath his sceptre. If a Cassius still lived he might,
pointing to the Master of the Empire, well exclaim, “He doth bestride
the narrow world like a Colossus, and we petty men walk under his huge
legs, and peep about to find ourselves dishonourable graves.... Rome,
thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!” That a city which had been
sovereign and self-centred should remain the head and representative of
a cosmopolitan State, and of an autocratic Government, was something
incongruous and unnatural.

Nor was this the only respect in which the old order had changed and
given place to new. Under Constantine the attitude of the Roman
Government towards the Christian Church was the direct opposite of that
maintained by his predecessors. What they had regarded as a hostile
organisation, he welcomed as an ally and friend. What they had
endeavoured to uproot and destroy, he cultivated and supported. That he
entertained a sincere respect for Christianity as a moral and social
force, and believed that there was something Divine associated with it,
cannot be doubted. And in his opinion, it was the part of true
statesmanship to accept the religious and moral revolution that had come
into the world, and to utilise it for the welfare of the Empire. This is
not the place to discuss the question how wisely the alliance between
Church and State was effected, or to decide how much the parties to the
union thereby gained or lost. It is enough for our purpose to recognise
that the union introduced as profound a change of policy as can be
introduced into the affairs of men, that it widened the breach between
the past and the present, and rendered the embodiment of the new system
of things in forms peculiar to itself perfectly natural, if not
inevitable. This was the more certain to occur, seeing Rome continued to
be the centre of opposition to the new faith.

Yet another change in the Roman world which explains the appearance of a
new capital was the increased importance and influence of the Eastern
part of the Empire. Not only “captured Greece” but captured Asia also
“led captive her captor.” The centre of gravity was now in the East.
There commerce was more flourishing, and intellectual life more active.
There the population was larger, and grouped in more important cities.
There Christianity had its home. Nor was it only in thought, and art,
and temper that the East exercised an ascendency. It was, moreover, the
post of greatest danger. Its frontiers were exposed to the most
formidable attacks which the Roman arms were now called to repel. The
secular hostility of Persia along the Tigris and Euphrates, the
incursions of Goths and Sarmatians across the lower Danube into the
Balkan lands, demanded constant vigilance, and involved frequent
warfare. The military front of the Empire was turned eastwards. There
“the triumph of barbarism” was meanwhile to be chiefly contested.

But to realise all the circumstances under which Constantinople was
founded, we should remember yet another fact. The rule of the Roman
world by one man had broken down, just as the rule of that world by the
citizens of Rome had failed. A single arm, it was discovered, could not
defend the frontiers of that vast realm against the numerous and
fierce foes who threatened its existence; or repress the insurrections
which ambitious men readily raised in widely scattered provinces, when
the central authority was too distant to strike promptly and with the
necessary vigour. Hence the famous scheme of Diocletian to divide the
burden of defending and administering the Empire between four rulers,
bound to one another by community of interest. As originally devised, it
was a short-lived scheme. But it was superseded only so far as its
details were concerned; its fundamental idea had come to stay. At first
sight, indeed, the restoration of the system of single rule, in the
person of Constantine, seemed to imply the abandonment of the multiple
form of government which Diocletian had established. Possibly
Constantine may have entertained such a purpose for some time. But
eventually he adhered to Diocletian’s plan, and thought to improve upon
it by the introduction of the dynastic and hereditary factor, hoping
that by distributing the government among members of the same family,
joint rule would prove more cordial and permanent, because resting upon
a more solid basis. Accordingly, he arranged that after his death the
government should be divided between his three sons and two nephews.


The Galata Tower, which is such a prominent feature from this
standpoint, is used as a station for signalling any outbreak of fire,
and also the quarter of the city in which it occurs.]

This was an excessive partition of power, and proved unsatisfactory. But
the view that the welfare of the State required the attention and
abilities of more than one ruler was consistently upheld, so long as
Western and Eastern Europe formed integral parts of the same dominion.

As a consequence Rome ceased to be the capital of the Empire, even in
the ordinary acceptation of the term. For multiplicity of rule involved,
necessarily, as many seats of imperial administration as the number of
rulers associated in the government of the Empire. Hence, under
Diocletian, four cities boasted of being capitals. Furthermore, the
selection of what cities should enjoy that honour would be determined by
their fitness to become natural parts of the new organisation of the
Roman world. Even Rome’s claim to be one of the capitals would be
submitted to that test. And when so submitted, the claim of the Eternal
City was disallowed even in that portion of the Empire which included
Italy, where, for strategic reasons, the choice fell first upon Milan
and subsequently upon Ravenna. When it came to the turn of the East to
provide suitable seats of government, the honours were shared between
Singidunum, near the modern Belgrade, and Nicomedia in Asia Minor. But
for reasons which will immediately appear, Constantine preferred
Byzantium, and, having changed the comparatively insignificant town into
a splendid city, named it New Rome and Constantinople, to become the
sole centre for the administration of the Eastern portion of the Empire,
and the local habitation of the spirit of a New Age.

It would appear that the selection of Byzantium for its great destiny
was made after the claims of other cities to that distinction had been
duly weighed. Naissus (the modern Nisch in Servia) which was the
Emperor’s birthplace, Sardica (now Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria),
Thessalonica were thought of for that purpose. They had the
recommendation of giving ready access to the Danube frontier, along
which the barbarians caused anxiety and demanded close attention. Some
consideration was given to Nicomedia, which had already been selected by
Diocletian for his capital. It is also said, though without any serious
grounds for the statement, that Constantine actually began work for a
new city near the site of old Troy, under the spell of the poetic
legends which associated Ilium with the origin of the Roman people. But
the superiority of Byzantium to all rivals was so manifest that there
was hardly room for long suspense as to the proper choice. The old
oracle, “Build opposite the blind,” which led to the foundation of
Byzantium could still serve to guide Constantine in his search for the
most suitable position of a new imperial city. There is no place in the
wide world more eminently fitted by natural advantages to be the throne
of a great dominion, than the promontory which guards the southern end
of the Bosporus. There Asia and Europe meet to lay down that antagonism
which has made so much of the world’s history, and to blend their
resources for man’s welfare. A Power upon that throne, having as much
might as it has right, should control a realm extending from the
Adriatic Sea to the Persian Gulf, and from the Danube to the
Mediterranean. From that point natural highways by sea and land proceed,
like the radii of a circle, in all directions where rule can be enforced
or commerce developed--to Russia, to Asia, to Africa, to the lands of
the West. Its magnificent harbour was fitly named the Golden Horn, for
it could be the richest emporium of the world’s wealth. Under no sky can
men find a more enchanting bower of beauty, or have more readily the
charms of nature, the portion and delight of daily life. When Othman,
the founder of the Ottoman power, beheld in his dreams this fair city,
situated at the junction of two seas and two continents, it seemed to
him a diamond set in sapphires and emeralds. Here, moreover, men could
dwell secure. Foes advancing through Asia Minor would find their march
upon the city arrested by the great moat formed by the Bosporus, the Sea
of Marmora, and the Hellespont. The straits just named could be made
impassable to hostile fleets approaching from the Euxine or the
Mediterranean. While armies which had succeeded in breaking through the
barriers of the Danube and the Balkans could be confronted by
impregnable fortifications planted along the short landward side of the
promontory. “Of all the events of Constantine’s life this choice,” Dean
Stanley declares, “is the most convincing and enduring proof of his real
genius.” Dr. Hodgkin pronounces it, “One of the highest inspirations of
statesmanship that the world has witnessed.”

[Illustration: STAMBOUL BEGGAR

One of a privileged class who was caught sleeping on duty.]

With these reasons for the choice made by Constantine, personal feelings
may have been associated. Such feelings could well play a part his
attachment to Byzantium as in his detachment from Rome. It was at
Byzantium and on the neighbouring heights of Chrysopolis (Scutari), on
the Asiatic side of the narrow straits between the two towns, that
Constantine had finally defeated his rival Licinius, and brought the
Roman dominion under his own rule. To set up his throne amidst the
scenes of his crowning victories, where his figure would stand out to
view for ever in solitary grandeur, as the inaugurator of a new epoch in
the world’s history, was a consideration that would appeal to the
feelings of men far less ambitious than the founder of Constantinople.

The long history of Byzantium, since the day when a band of colonists
from Megara settled there in 658 B.C., to the day in 328 A.D. when
Constantine enlarged the town into New Rome, must not detain us. It was
a prosperous little town, much occupied with fisheries, interested in
the business of corn and wine, and a port of call for ships trading
between the countries bordering the Euxine and the Ægean. It was also
celebrated as a fortress, being surrounded by walls of extraordinary
strength, which were defended on more than one occasion with great
heroism. Situated on one of the principal highways between the East and
the West, “even in the force and road of casualty,” many of the chief
movements of ancient times in either direction passed by its ramparts,
and compelled its citizens to take a side in the conflicts of the great
powers of the day, and act a part on the field of general history. When
Darius I. crossed the Bosporus into Europe to chastise the Scythians in
Russia, the town fell under the power of Persia, and remained subject to
the Great King until Pausanias, the victor at Platæa, delivered it from
that yoke. In the struggle for supremacy between Sparta, Athens, and
Thebes, it was controlled now by one of the rivals and then by another
of them. It acquired great fame by its resistance to Philip of Macedon,
when the star and crescent moon, which have from that time been the
device of the city through all changes of fortune, exposed the approach
of the enemy and disconcerted his plans. With the rest of the Greek
world, Byzantium formed part of the dominion of Alexander the Great. In
the war between Rome and Mithridates, it became the ally of the former,
and was eventually merged in the Roman Empire. Septimius Severus
levelled its splendid walls to the ground, because of its loyal
adherence to the cause of his rival, Pescennius Niger. He also deprived
it of its higher rank among the towns of the province, making it
subordinate to Heraclea. But he soon recognised the mistake of
destroying a stronghold that guarded one of the great highways into the
Empire, and ordered the fortifications to be rebuilt, and the town to be
refurnished with temples, theatres, baths, and other public edifices.
The subordination of the town to Heraclea, however, was maintained, with
the result that the Bishop of Heraclea became the superior of his
brother of Byzantium until Constantinople was founded. Then, naturally,
the ecclesiastical chief of the new capital took precedence. But in
virtue of the higher position held previously by Heraclea, the Bishop of
that see acquired the right to preside at the consecration of the
patriarch of Constantinople, and retains that right to the present day.
So long may a comparatively trifling action leave its mark upon the
world’s history.


With the knife he is holding he cuts long shavings off the faggots
suitable for plaiting into baskets.]

In the course of the third century, Byzantium suffered from the raids of
the Goths, and in commemoration of the defeat inflicted upon the
barbarians by the Emperor Claudius Gothicus at Nissa in 269 A.D., the
graceful Corinthian column of granite, which still rises some 50 feet
high on the slope above the Seraglio Point, was erected, bearing on its
pedestal the inscription, “Fortunæ Reduci ob devictos Gothos” (To
Returning Fortune, on account of the defeated Goths). Finally, here, as
already stated, the struggle between Constantine and Licinius was
decided by the fall of the town into Constantine’s hands, after a
desperate defence. From all this history of the town, one fact was
perfectly clear--the immense strategic value of the place. When
Constantine transformed Byzantium into a new capital and a great bulwark
of his Empire, he only developed the innate capacities of the site to
their natural culmination. Constantinople was Byzantium in flower.

Apart from the advantages offered by its situation, Byzantium had little
to recommend it to Constantine’s regard. It presented neither ample
room, nor a large population, nor convenient and splendid buildings to
favour the rapid growth of a metropolis. Of the tongue of land on which
the town stood, only the portion to the east of the line drawn from the
present Stamboul Custom House, on the Golden Horn, across to the
Seraglio Lighthouse, on the Sea of Marmora, was occupied. In the bay
beside that Custom House lay the harbours of the town, where shipping,
traders, and merchants did mostly congregate. The Acropolis stood on the
rocky hill now enclosed within the Seraglio Grounds, and there several
temples were found, that gods and goddesses might unite with men in the
defence of the citadel. Against the steep side of the Acropolis, facing
the blue expanse of the Sea of Marmora and the hills and mountains of
the Asiatic shore, two theatres were built, while a stadium lay on the
level tract beside the Golden Horn. The huge structure of the
Hippodrome, which Severus had begun, was waiting to be completed, and to
the north of it were the Baths of Zeuxippus and the adjoining public
square which bore the same name. All this did not constitute a rich
dowry for the future capital. But perhaps to the founder of
Constantinople that fact was not a serious objection; the greatness and
splendour of the new city were to be his own creation.

When precisely work upon the new capital commenced cannot be determined,
but the year 328 A.D., as already intimated, may be regarded as the most
probable date. The circuit of the fortifications which should guard the
city was marked out by Constantine himself with solemn ceremonial, and
comprised the territory that stretched for nearly two miles to the west
of the old town. The north-western extremity of the enclosed area
reached the Golden Horn somewhere in the neighbourhood of the
Stamboul end of the Inner Bridge, while the south-western extremity
abutted on the Sea of Marmora, at a point between the districts to which
the Byzantine names Vlanga and Psamatia still cling. The most precise
indication of the line followed by the landward wall of Constantine is
found in the Turkish name Isa Kapoussi (the Gate of Jesus), attached to
a locality above the quarter of Psamatia. The name refers to an ancient
gateway which stood in the Constantinian fortifications, and survived
their disappearance until the year 1508, when it was overthrown by an
earthquake. It is mentioned in late Byzantine days as “The Ancient
Gate,” and on account of its imposing appearance as “The very Ancient
Beautiful Gate” (Antiquissima Pulchra Porta). It was the original Golden
Gate or Triumphal Entrance of the city, and, like Temple Bar in London,
reminded the passing crowds both of what the city had been, and of what
it had become.


The name of the adjoining church, now known as Isa Kapoussi Mesdjidi,
probably suggested the Turkish appellation of this interesting and
important landmark. The addition made by Constantine to the size of
Byzantium was certainly considerable, and the astonishment of his
courtiers at the scale of his plans had some ground in reason. But the
response of the Emperor brings us into closer touch with the emotion
which animated the occasion. “I must go on,” said the founder of New
Rome, “until He stops who goes before me.” It was a reply in harmony
with the declaration made at another time, that he founded the city at
the Divine command, _jubente deo_. The principal agent in a transaction
of great moment often feels himself to be the instrument of a higher
will than his own, and is haunted by the thought that he builds more
wisely than he knows.

Of course a city such as Constantine designed could not be built in one
day, but such was the eagerness with which the work was pressed forward,
that by the spring of 330 sufficient progress had been made to permit
the official inauguration of the capital of the East. The 11th of May in
that year was appointed to be the city’s birthday. Never is the region
about Constantinople so beautiful as at that season. We can therefore
readily imagine the splendour in which earth and sea and sky arrayed
themselves to greet the advent of the new queen-city, and to match the
state and pomp and joy with which men acclaimed that nativity. In honour
of the event there was a long series of popular festivities for a period
of forty days, besides games in the Hippodrome, free access to the
Baths of Zeuxippus, free meals, and liberal gifts of money. For many
centuries the anniversary of the day was observed as a public holiday,
when the Law Courts were closed and races were held in the Hippodrome.
And that the lofty scene of the natal day might be acted over, a gilt
statue of Constantine, holding a Figure of the Fortune of the city, was
placed in a chariot, and under the escort of soldiers in white uniform
and carrying lighted tapers in their hands, was borne round the course
to receive the homage of the reigning Emperor and the assembled
multitudes. Probably the custom was a reminiscence of a procession in
which Constantine himself had taken part on the day of the inauguration
of the city.


What the feelings of the “oldest inhabitant” of Byzantium were on that
day it is not difficult to imagine. Any regret at the disappearance of
ancient and familiar landmarks would be lost in pride for the honour
which the old place had received, and in admiration of the magnificence
with which it was invested. Moreover, many features of the past had only
been transfigured, so that the new was not altogether strange. The
Hippodrome, which had stood for more than 130 years an unfinished pile,
was now completed; its seats were packed with spectators, and around its
spina, chariots whirled like the wind. The Baths of Zeuxippus kept their
place, but enlarged and beautified. The open space to the north of the
Baths was converted into a square, surrounded by porticoes, and named
Augustaion, after the title Augusta bestowed upon the Emperor’s mother.
On the eastern side of the place stood the Senate-House, with a
colonnade of six noble columns before the entrance. At the north-western
corner of the square was the Milion, whence distances from New Rome were
to be measured. To the north, the church dedicated to Irene proclaimed
the new faith of the Empire, and told of the peace which had enfolded
the Roman world when Constantine became sole Emperor. The ground now
occupied by the Mosque of Sultan Achmed, to the east of the Hippodrome,
was appropriated for the buildings which were to constitute the imperial
palace. The fortifications along the west of the old town had been
removed, but instead rose ramparts which could render greater service to
mankind, and had a wider outlook upon the world. On the territory within
the principal gateway of Byzantium, a forum had been constructed, named
after Constantine, and there stood a porphyry column, surmounted by his
statue watching over the city. The forum, elliptical in shape, was
enclosed by a double tier of porticoes, with entrances on the east and
the west through fine archways of marble. It was the business centre of
the city. Proceeding westwards to the hill now occupied by the Turkish
War Office, one came to buildings that recalled the Capitol of Rome;
while on the hill now crowned by the Mosque of Sultan Mehemet rose the
church dedicated to the Holy Apostles, in and around which the Emperors
of Constantinople were to be laid to rest when, in the language of the
Byzantine Court ceremonies, the Kings of kings summoned them to appear
before Him. Aqueducts and cisterns provided an abundant supply of water
for numerous public baths and fountains, as well as for private use. The
principal streets were lined with porticoes affording shelter from sun
and rain. The sewers ran deep underground. And the waters of a harbour,
one of the greatest needs of the city, on its southern side gleamed in
the bend of the shore of the Sea of Marmora, where the vegetable gardens
of Vlanga Bostan now flourish. It was known, after the superintendent of
the works, as the Harbour of Eleutherius.

Statues, many of them the work of the finest chisels of antiquity, had
been collected from all parts of the Empire to make the new capital a
museum of art, and to foster the love of the beautiful. Historical
monuments also were there, to suggest the continuity between the past
and the present, and to rouse the men of a new age to emulate the noble
deeds of the old time before them. Of these monuments none was so
inspiring as the Serpent Column brought from Delphi to the Hippodrome,
upon whose lowest thirteen coils are graven the names of the heroic
little States which hurled the Persians out of Greece. No monument stood
more appropriately in a city whose supreme task was to resist the
encroachments of barbarism upon the civilised world. Scattered over the
city were palatial mansions, some erected at the Emperor’s order for
personages whom he wished to attract to the new capital, others built by
men of wealth and rank who had come of their own accord to bask in the
sunshine of imperial favour. Persons belonging to other classes of
society had also been attracted in crowds by openings for business,
demand for labourers, exemption from certain taxes, and by the free
distribution of bread, for which the cornfields of Egypt furnished
80,000 modii of wheat. After the pattern of Rome, the good order of
the city was secured by the division of the city into fourteen wards or
regions, of which twelve lay within the walls, and two were suburban.
One of the latter, the 13th ward, was on the site of Galata; the other,
the 14th ward, the famous suburb of Blachernæ, stood on the hill now
occupied by the quarter of Egri Kapou. Both of these extra-mural suburbs
were fortified. Each ward had a curator, who attended to the general
interests of that portion of the city; a crier or messenger to give
public notice to its inhabitants of matters which concerned them; five
night watchmen; and a body of men (colligiati) representing the
trade-guilds, and varying in number according to the size or importance
of the ward, to render assistance in case of fire. After this survey of
the new city, the most loyal son of the old town might come to the
ancient Strategion--the ground devoted to military exercises (on the
level tract beside the present Stamboul Railway Station)--and gladly bow
to the decree inscribed on a column erected there, that Byzantium should
henceforth be named New Rome.

[Illustration: THE GALATA BRIDGE

which spans the Golden Horn at the end near the Bosporus forms the
principal link between Galata and Stamboul. It is presented here as seen
through a window in a small café on one of the adjoining steamboat



337-408 A.D.

AFTER visiting the sights of Rome, the Persian prince Hormisdas was
asked to give his impressions of the city. “One thing disappoints me,”
he replied, “men die here just as in the humblest village of the
Empire.” So was it in New Rome. Seven years after the inauguration of
the city he founded, Constantine the Great died in the neighbourhood of
Nicomedia. His body was carried to Constantinople in a golden coffin,
and, amid demonstrations of public grief, was laid to rest in a
sarcophagus of porphyry in the Church of the Holy Apostles. The tomb was
flanked by twelve pillars, representing, so the fact was construed, the
glorious company of the Apostles, with whom he could fitly be
associated as the champion of the Christian faith. The good that men do
is, however, not always interred with their bones, and Constantinople
remained to attest the far-sighted wisdom of its founder, and to grow in
splendour and importance. But one hundred and ten years had to come and
go ere the city attained its full stature. It is the history of the
growth of Constantinople during this period that will now engage our


Upon the death of Constantine, the eastern division of the Empire came
under the rule of his second son, Constantius, who soon discovered how
much work upon the new seat of government remained to be done. Nor could
his visit to Old Rome fail to impress upon his mind the greatness and
the difficulty of the task before him. “Having entered,” says the
historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, speaking of that visit of Constantius,
“the Forum of Trajan, the most marvellous structure in the whole world,
he was struck with admiration, and looked around in amazement without
being able to utter a word, wondering at the array of gigantic
buildings, which no pen can describe, and which men can create and see
but once in the course of centuries. Abandoning all hope of ever being
able to erect anything which would approach even at a respectful
distance Trajan’s work, he turned his attention to the equestrian
statue found in the centre of the Forum, and said to his followers that
he would have one made like it. Hormisdas, who accompanied the Emperor,
quietly remarked, pointing to the Forum, ‘For such a horse, you must
first provide such a stable.’”

Nevertheless, Constantius carried forward the improvement of New Rome to
such an extent that Themistius, a contemporary, speaking of the
Emperor’s services in the matter, declares that the city was indebted to
Constantine the Great only for its name, and owed its actual
construction to Constantius. During this reign the fortifications of the
city were completed, the Church of the Holy Apostles underwent repair,
and the Church of S. Sophia, usually ascribed to the founder of the
city, was built, the date of its dedication being the 15th of February
360, two years before Constantius died. Constantius, moreover, placed
the city, like Rome, under a Prefect--_Præfectus Urbis_--and, what is
worthy of note, endowed the new capital with a library, thus placing in
its hand the lamp of learning which was to shine so far in the world’s
history. If we may judge by the terms in which Themistius refers to the
foundation of this library, the value of books was fully appreciated in
those days. “Thus,” he exclaims, “the Emperor has recalled and raised
from the dead the souls of wise men and of heroes for the welfare of the
city for the souls of wise men are in their wisdom, mind, and
intelligence, while their monuments are the books and writings in which
their remains are found.” The author of the _Areopagitica_ said no more
when he declared, “A good book is the precious life-blood of a master
spirit embalmed and treasured up to a life beyond life.”

[Illustration: “A KAFEDJI”

Turkish coffee is to be obtained everywhere; a “kafedji” has here set up
his little stall at the corner of a street.]

Julian, the successor of Constantius, was attached to the city by
special ties. It was the place of his birth, and there he had received
part of his early education. The school he attended was attached to the
Basilica which stood on the site of the Cistern now styled Yeri Batan
Serai, a little to the south-west of S. Sophia, and thither he went
under the conduct of his pædagogue, Mardonius, to study grammar and
rhetoric, dressed simply and associating freely with his
fellow-students. His progress in his studies soon became the talk of
society, and in public opinion presaged his fitness to become, in due
time, the ruler of the Empire. Whereupon the jealousy which besets
despotic rule was roused in Constantius, and Julian was banished to
Nicomedia. But Julian always retained a warm affection for the home of
his childhood and youth. Speaking of Constantinople in one of his
letters he says, “I love her as my mother, for I was born and brought up
there, and I can never be guilty of ingratitude towards her.” Nor had he
reason to complain of his Alma Mater’s feelings towards himself. When he
approached the city, in 361, to assume the crown, the whole population
poured out to meet him, and hailed him with transports of joy as at once
their sovereign and fellow-citizen. The young capital acquired a greater
sense of dignity and importance at the thought that one who had been
cradled within its precincts now occupied the throne of the Roman world.
Julian spent only ten months in Constantinople as Emperor, his stay
being cut short by war with Persia, whose hostility was not less intense
since the chief seat of the Empire had been brought nearer to the
frontier between the two States. Into those few months, however, Julian
put an immense amount of work. The condition of affairs in his native
city was not after his heart, either as a statesman, philosopher, or
devotee of the ancient faith of Athens and Rome. There the Christianity
he would fain destroy was strongly entrenched. There wrangling sects of
the new creed, more difficult to appease than the wild Franks and
Alemanni, who had felt the strength of his arm upon the banks of the
Rhine, kept the population in constant turmoil. There was found an
Augean stable of official corruption, of unpunished crimes, of relaxed
military discipline, and of extravagant luxury at the court. According
to Libanius, a thousand cooks, a thousand hairdressers, more than a
thousand cup-bearers, a crowd of waiters, swarming like bees in a hive,
and eunuchs, thick as flies in early summer, were employed in the
service of the imperial palace. One day Julian sent for a barber, and in
answer to the summons an official in a gorgeous uniform made his
appearance. “But I called for a barber, not for a receiver-general,”
exclaimed the indignant Emperor. An investigation of the case having
been made, it was discovered that in addition to a large salary the
barber enjoyed the right to many perquisites, and received daily rations
sufficient for twenty men and as many horses. Julian swept the palace
clean of such abuses. Furthermore, Julian increased the importance of
the Senate of the city by the embellishment of the Senate-House, by
additional privileges conferred on the members of that body, and by
taking part in the deliberations of the assembly. He also constructed
another harbour on the southern side of the city, placing it in the
hollow ground below the heights on which the Hippodrome stands, and thus
provided for the convenience and safety of ships that found it difficult
to make the Golden Horn from the Sea of Marmora, in the face of the
northern winds that prevail in the Bosporus. The harbour was first known
as the New Harbour and the Harbour of Julian, but, in the sixth century,
it was also named the Harbour of Sophia or the Sophias, in view of
extensive repairs made at the instance of the Empress Sophia, the
consort of Justin II. The basin of the harbour can still be traced in
the configuration of the ground it once occupied, where its memory is
preserved by the present name of the locality--Kadriga Limani, the Port
of the Galley. At the head of the harbour Julian built a portico, a
crescent in shape, and therefore spoken of as the Sigma, from its
resemblance to the curved form of that letter in the Greek alphabet.
Very appropriately the portico became a favourite lounge of the
philosophers in Constantinople, and the scene of their discussions. But
what Julian doubtless considered his richest and most filial gift to the
city of his birth, was the presentation to its public library of his
collection of books.


Valens, the next Emperor concerned with the growth of the city, gave
special attention to the water-supply of Constantinople--always a
serious question owing to the comparative scarcity of water in the
immediate neighbourhood. The picturesque aqueduct which, with its double
tier of arches garlanded with ivy, still transports water across the
valley between the hills surmounted respectively by the Mosque of Sultan
Mehemet and the War Office, was built in this reign. It was an addition
to the system of water-supply provided by Constantine; a system which,
probably, had previously served the town of Byzantium, and which he only
extended and improved. Near the eastern end of the aqueduct a splendid
public fountain was placed. The Cistern of the Prætorian Prefect,
Modestius, now used as a Saddle-Market, near the Mosque of Sultan
Mehemet, belongs to this period; and, as a result of the abundance of
water thus introduced into the city, several public baths were erected.
The Baths or Thermae of Roman Constantinople, we should remember, are
the models of what we style the Turkish bath, and it is a curious fact
that this mode of bathing has been continued as a habit of popular life
only in countries comprised in the eastern division of the Empire.

But what, perhaps, makes the reign of Valens chiefly memorable in the
history of the city is that in his time the citizens of Constantinople
had their first experience of a usurpation of the throne, and of an
attack upon their walls.

The former event was brought about by a certain Procopius, a cousin of
the Emperor Julian.

Making the most of his relationship to the family of Constantine, he
took advantage of the discontent which the administration of Valens had
provoked, and having won the populace of the city and a body of troops
by means of liberal donatives, seized the palace and installed himself
as Emperor. A sharp war with Valens ensued, in which the usurper was at
length captured and put to death, while his partizans, and even persons
suspected of having favoured his cause, were put to the torture, and had
their property confiscated. Thus Constantinople learned--not for the
last time--the meaning of a reign of terror. A signal example also was
made of Chalcedon (Kadi Keui), on the opposite Asiatic shore, because
its inhabitants had sided with Procopius. The walls of the town were
ruthlessly torn down, and it was with the material thus made available
that the Aqueduct of Valens was built and that the Baths of Constantine
were repaired. Yet more serious was the quarrel of Valens with the
Goths, whom he had permitted to cross the Danube in their retreat before
the Huns, and settle in the territory we know as Bulgaria. The officials
entrusted with the control of the refugees, and with the duty of
providing them with food, did their work with such stupidity and
rapacity that the high-minded Goths flew to arms, and, at the close of a
struggle extending for upwards of a year, inflicted in 378 an
overwhelming defeat upon the imperial forces, outside the walls of
Adrianople. The Emperor himself and two-thirds of his army lay dead upon
the field. The Roman legions had not known such a disaster since they
were defeated by Hannibal at Cannæ. Flushed with victory, the Goths
marched upon Constantinople, assailed the walls, and nearly burst the
gates open. The honours of the defence fell to the widow of Valens, the
Empress Dominica, who, with the money found in the treasury, raised a
body of troops among the citizens, arming them with what weapons could
be found. A body of Arab soldiers, recently arrived in the city, also
rendered valuable aid. Sallying forth, they closed with the Goths in a
desperate struggle. Victory wavered between the two sets of barbarians;
when, suddenly, a long-haired, almost naked Arab, uttering a loud,
hoarse, and doleful cry, like a bird of evil omen, rushed upon the
Goths, and drawing his dagger, cut the throat of an opponent, and then
slaked his thirst at the flowing wound. What with the impression
produced by this horrid incident, added to a growing sense of the
impossibility of their taking a fortified place, the Goths gave up the
contest and retired from the city. This was the first siege of

With the accession of Theodosius I., a brighter day dawned upon the
Empire. He not only subdued the Goths, but converted them into allies,
and persuaded them to put 40,000 of their brave troops at his service.
He even induced their aged king, Athanaric, who had sworn never to set a
friendly foot upon Roman soil, to visit Constantinople. The visitor was
profoundly impressed by the appearance of the city. “Now,” said he, “I
see what I often heard of, but never believed, the renown of this great
city.” Then, surveying the city’s situation, the movement of ships
coming and going, the splendid fortifications, the crowded population
made up of various nationalities, like streams coming from different
directions to gush from the same fountain, the well-ordered troops, he
exclaimed, “Verily, the Emperor is a god upon earth; whoso lifts a
hand against him is guilty of his own blood.” Upon the death of
Athanaric, which occurred about a fortnight after he reached
Constantinople, Theodosius buried the body of his guest with royal
honours in the Church of the Holy Apostles, and, by this act of
chivalrous courtesy, bound the Goths more firmly to his side.


The barbarians, however, were by no means the only disturbers of the
peace of the Empire with whom Theodosius found it necessary to deal.
Society in the Roman world was distracted by the conflict between pagans
and Christians on the one hand, and by the keener strife between
Christian sects on the other, and it was the ambition of Theodosius to
calm these troubled waters. For this laudable end he employed the
questionable means of edicts for the violent suppression of heathenism
and heresy. To destroy the old faith of the Empire was comparatively an
easy task, although it involved him in a war with the pagan party in the
West. But to uproot the tares of heresy was a more formidable
undertaking; they were so numerous, vigorous, and difficult to
distinguish from the true wheat. For the space of forty years, the views
of Arius on the Person of Christ had prevailed in Constantinople, and
the churches of the city were in the hands of that theological party.
Only in one small chapel, the Church of Anastasia, was the Creed of
Nicæa upheld there by Gregory of Nazianzus, and despite his eloquence he
was a voice crying in the wilderness. But Theodosius, having been won
over to the Nicene Creed, determined to make it the creed of the State.
Accordingly, upon his arrival in Constantinople on the 20th of November
380, he sent for Demophilus, the Arian bishop of the city, and commanded
him either to accept the orthodox views or leave Constantinople.
Demophilus had the courage of his convictions, and, bidding his flock in
S. Sophia farewell, left the capital in obedience, as he said, to the
injunction, “When they persecute you in one city, flee ye to another.”
All the churches of the city were now transferred to the orthodox party.
The Arians, however, maintained religious services according to their
own tenets outside the city walls, in the district known as the
Exokionion (quarter of the outside column). The name was due to the
presence there of a column surmounted by a statue of Constantine. Owing
to their association with the district, Arians were sometimes designated
Exokionitæ. The district lay immediately outside the gateway in the
Constantinian walls already noted as the Ancient Gate of late
Byzantine times, and as Isa Kapoussi since the Turkish Conquest. It can
therefore be readily identified, and, curiously enough, under the
disguise of a Turkish garb--Alti Mermer, the Six Marbles--the locality
still retains its old name. For the Turkish designation is due to a
misunderstanding of the meaning of the term Exakionion, a corrupt form
of Exokionion frequently employed by Byzantine writers.


In pursuance of his religious policy, Theodosius furthermore convened at
Constantinople an assembly of 355 bishops, known as the Second General
Council, to reaffirm the Nicene Creed as the true Catholic faith, and to
restore the orthodox character of the capital of the East. At this
Council, the question of precedence between the Sees of Rome, Antioch,
Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Constantinople, which awakened burning
jealousies in the Christian world, was finally settled. The first place
was assigned to the Bishop of Rome, the prestige of the ancient capital
asserting itself, but the second place was given to Constantinople,
because it was New Rome, notwithstanding the closer connection of the
remaining rival Sees with the earlier history of the Christian faith. In
this decision, political reasons outweighed religious considerations.

But while thus occupied with high matters of Church and State,
Theodosius did not forget the embellishment of his capital. On the
contrary, what Theodosius did for that object, and left to his son and
grandson to complete, entitles him to be regarded as the second founder
of Constantinople. Under his auspices, a great forum, named the Forum of
Theodosius and the Forum of Taurus, was constructed on the summit of the
hill now occupied by the Turkish War Office. It was the largest forum in
the city, and there Theodosius erected a hollow column, _columna
chochlis_, similar to the column of Trajan and the column of Marcus
Aurelius at Rome. For better or worse, the desire to emulate Rome was
always an ambition of the young capital. Around the exterior of the
column winded a spiral band of bas-reliefs commemorating the exploits of
the Emperor, while the stairway within led to his statue on the summit.
Up that stairway, the Emperor Murzuphlus was taken to the top of the
column by the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade after their capture of the
city in 1204, and then barbarously hurled to the ground. Certain
persons, who became wise after the event, then pointed to a figure
represented on the column as falling from a high turret, and read there
the prophecy of this outrage upon humanity. The column was taken down
by Sultan Bajazet II. (1481-1512) to furnish material for the bath he
constructed in the vicinity. So does glory vanish. To the forum was
attached, as usual, a Basilica, the Basilica Theodosiana, 240 feet long
by 140 wide, remarkable for twelve marble columns 25 feet in height. To
the same Emperor is also ascribed a lofty pyramidal structure, in or
beside the forum, surmounted by a movable bronze figure to indicate the
direction of the wind, and appropriately named the Anemodulion. Judging
from the descriptions we have of it, the edifice displayed considerable
artistic taste. Upon it stood, in characteristic forms, the statues of
the twelve winds on the list of ancient meteorologists. There, one could
hear youths blowing trumpets, see laughing Cupids pelting each other
with apples, and admire wreaths of foliage, flowers, and fruit. It
recalls the Temple of the Winds at Athens. Another erection of the time
of Theodosius was the Golden Gate which was subsequently incorporated in
the fortifications built by his grandson and namesake, Theodosius II. It
was originally designed as a triumphal arch to celebrate the victory of
Theodosius I. over Maximus, who had usurped the throne of the western
division of the Empire, and through that archway Theodosius passed
three years later, when he returned to Constantinople in triumph. Like
similar monuments, the Golden Gate consisted of three arches, the
central arch being loftier than its companions, and was decorated with
statues of the Emperor, Victory, the Fortune of the city, and a group of
elephants in bronze. Upon the two fronts of the central arch was a Latin
inscription in gilt metal letters, gleaming like a crown of gold upon
the head of the gateway. The legend, “Theodosius adorns this place,
after the doom of the usurper,” looked towards the west; while the
words, “He who constructed the Golden Gate brings in the Golden Age,”
faced the east. When incorporated in the fortifications of Theodosius
II., the Golden Gate served as the State entrance to the city.

Another monument of the city due to Theodosius is the obelisk which
still keeps its place, as though the symbol of eternity, amid the ruins
of the Hippodrome. It was brought from Egypt before the Emperor’s reign,
but was successfully placed in position under his auspices, and two
inscriptions, one in Latin, the other in Greek, record the pride which
the achievement excited. They read to the effect that what others had
vainly attempted was accomplished by Theodosius during the prefecture
of Proclus--the time taken being thirty days according to the Latin
legend, thirty-two days according to the Greek version.


The bas-reliefs of the pedestal on which the obelisk stands, however
little they flatter the art of the period, are extremely interesting for
the glimpses they afford us of life in Constantinople under Theodosius
I. Any one who wishes to look upon the events of that distant day, and
cares to breathe the atmosphere in which his fellowmen then lived,
should come and linger before these weather-worn figures in which the
Past is perpetuated. They are not of “Attic shape”; they have not the
“fair attitude” of “the brede of marble men and maidens,” with which
Grecian urns were overwrought. Nevertheless, they too set the permanent
against the transitory scenes of our human history. Here the obelisk is
still being dragged through the city to the Hippodrome amidst the
deafening shouts of an enthusiastic population; it is still hoisted in
breathless silence and suspense from the ground, and set firm upon its
base to stand erect for these fifteen centuries. Here four-horse
chariots are still driving furiously around the _spina_ of the
race-course; the banners of the Factionsblue, green, white, red--still
wave frantically in the air; the crack of whips, the cheers of
spectators, urging steed and driver onward and faster, may still be
heard; the acclamations, the strains of music, the joyous dance, the
wild frenzy when the Emperor crowns the victor’s brow with laurel still
rend the air. Theodosius, his Empress, his two sons, Honorius and
Arcadius, still stand or sit before us. Here are the senators of New
Rome, and the courtiers in attendance upon the Emperor. Barbarians,
eastern and western, are here doing homage on bended knee to their
conqueror, and offering him tribute. Here are the Gothic troops which
Theodosius subdued and won to his side, wearing their golden collars,
and guarding him with spear and shield. Here the people of the city hold
colloquy with their sovereign through the tall heralds--mandatores--who
stand on the steps leading to the imperial tribune. Here Christianity
with the Labarum in its hand triumphs, and in the Greek and Latin speech
inscribed upon these stones we still listen to the voices that mingled
in the Græco-Roman world.

Other works of Theodosius could be mentioned, such as the improvement of
the Harbour of Eleutherius (at Vlanga Bostan), and the palaces erected
for the accommodation of members of the imperial family. But perhaps
we shall obtain a more vivid impression of the extent to which the
growth and improvement of Constantinople were due to this Emperor, from
the impression which the changes he introduced made upon the mind of a
contemporary who had known the city from the days of Constantius. “No
longer,” exclaims Themistius, as he surveys the altered aspect of the
place, “no longer is the vacant ground in the city more extensive than
the ground occupied by buildings; nor is the land under cultivation
within the walls more than that which is inhabited. The beauty of the
city is no longer scattered over it in patches, but is now continuous
throughout its whole area, like a robe finished to the very fringe. The
city is resplendent with gold and porphyry; it boasts of a new forum,
named after the Emperor; it is provided with baths, porticoes, gymnasia,
and what was its former extreme limit is now its centre. If Constantine
could see the city he founded, he would look upon a glorious and
splendid scene, not upon a bare and naked void; he would behold it fair,
not with apparent, but with real, beauty.” The mansions of the wealthy
were now larger and more stately; the suburbs also had grown. “The
city,” continues the orator, “is full of carpenters, builders,
decorators, and every other class of artisans, so that it might fitly be
described as a workshop of magnificence. Should the zeal of the Emperor
to adorn the city continue, a wider circuit will become necessary, and
the question will arise, whether the city added to Constantinople by
Theodosius does not excel in splendour the city which Constantine added
to Byzantium.”


The stairway down which the Turkish lady is hurrying leads to one of the
many steamboat piers adjoining the bridge.]

In the reign of Arcadius, events of great moment in the history of the
city occurred. In the first place, the government of the Empire, which
had been in the hands of Theodosius alone for a few months, was now
again divided between his sons, the West falling to Honorius, the East
becoming the dominion of Arcadius. This proved the final division of the
government, and prepared the way for the ultimate sundering of Europe
into two worlds. For it stimulated a conflict of interests and
occasioned a warfare of intrigues that strengthened the tendency for the
parts of the Empire to fall apart and form, practically, distinct
States. Thus, however, the individuality and independence of
Constantinople came to be clearly and fully asserted. In the next place,
under Arcadius, the question how far Constantinople and the Balkan lands
were to remain under the control of the Germans settled to the south of
the Danube reached its most critical stage. Would the East be
Teutonized, as the West was destined to be? Was the unity of Europe to
assume a Germanic form after the old Roman unity was broken? There were
moments in the reign of Arcadius when the signs of the times indicated
that the same destiny awaited both divisions of the Empire. Alaric, at
the head of the Visigoths, was ravaging the Balkan peninsula, and seemed
ready to establish a permanent kingdom there. Constantinople was full of
Germans. A fair-haired German lady, the Empress Eudoxia, shared the
throne of Arcadius. Germans were largely employed as workmen and as
household servants. Germans demanded liberty to worship in a church
within the walls, according to the Arian views introduced among them by
Ulfilas. Chrysostom, opposed their demand, and carried on a mission for
the conversion of the Goths in the city to the orthodox faith. The
politicians of the capital were divided into a Roman and a German party.
Gainas, a Goth, was in command of the army, and had become all-powerful.
At his instance, Rufinus and Eutropius, successively chief Ministers of
the Government of Arcadius, were put to death. He incited the
Ostrogoths settled in Asia Minor to rebel, and brought them over to
Europe to support his ambitious plans. He filled Constantinople with
Gothic soldiers, and twice attempted to burn down the palace. And when,
in view of the precautions taken against him, he found it prudent to
quit the city, it was with the idea of returning with a larger force to
make himself the master of the place. His plan failed, as such schemes
often fail, through an accident of an accident. A Gothic soldier treated
a poor beggar woman roughly; a citizen took her part and struck the
assailant dead. In the condition of the public mind, this proved the
spark which produces a tremendous explosion. The city gates were
immediately closed and the ramparts manned, while an infuriated mob went
through the city hunting for Goths, and did not cease from the mad
pursuit until the blood of 7000 victims had stained the streets of the
city. Gainas was pursued and defeated, and eventually his head was sent
to Constantinople by the Huns among whom he had sought refuge. This,
indeed, did not put all further trouble at the hands of Goths to an end,
but it was the knell of German domination in Constantinople and the
East. The reign of Arcadius is the watershed upon which streams, which
might have flowed together, separated to run in opposite directions and
through widely diverse scenes of human affairs. The inscription, “_ob
devictos Gothos_,” upon the column of Claudius Gothicus now acquired a
deeper meaning.

But one cannot think of the reign of Arcadius without recalling the fact
that for six years of that reign Constantinople was adorned by the
virtues, and thrilled by the eloquence, of John Chrysostom. Although
popular with the masses, he provoked the bitter hostility of the Court
and of a powerful section of the clergy, by his scathing rebukes of the
frivolous and luxurious habits of fashionable society, and by the
strictness of his ecclesiastical rule. He had the misfortune to quarrel
with the ladies of the city, including the Empress, for their
extravagance and looseness of manners. Ladies of fashion, for instance,
saw nothing unbecoming in taking a swim in the public cisterns of the
city. A sermon, preached while a statue of the Empress was being
inaugurated close to the cathedral of S. Sophia, filled the cup of his
offences. It may not be true that in the course of the discourse he
compared the Empress to Herodias demanding the head of his namesake,
John the Baptist. But whatever the precise form of his words, he said
enough to exasperate her to a degree that made her insist upon his final
banishment, notwithstanding all the popular opposition to that step. By
a strange fate, the pedestal of the column which bore the statue still
remains, being now placed for safe keeping within the railing that
encloses a narrow strip of ground on the northern side of the Church of
S. Irene, in the first court of the Seraglio. A Latin inscription upon
it records the erection of the monument in honour of Eudoxia, ever
Augusta, by Simplicius, the Prefect of the city; while an inscription in
Greek adds the information that the statue was of silver, the column of
porphyry, and that the monument stood near the Senate-House.

Notwithstanding, however, the anxieties of the period, the improvement
of the city continued to go forward. The splendour of the Court was
increased by the erection of four princely mansions, placed respectively
at the disposal of the Empress and her three daughters, Arcadia, Marina,
and the famous Pulcheria. New Thermæ were built, one of them, the Thermæ
Arcadianæ, situated near the Sea of Marmora on the level tract below S.
Irene, being a great ornament to the city. A more abundant supply of
water was secured by the construction of the large open reservoir,
whose basin, 152 metres square, now occupied by vegetable gardens and
houses, is still seen to the south-west of the Mosque of Sultan Selim,
above the quarter of the Phanar. But the most notable addition to the
equipment of the capital was a great forum placed upon the summit of the
Xerolophus, the hill at the south-western corner of the city. It was
commonly known as the Forum of Arcadius, but sometimes also as the Forum
of Theodosius, on account, probably, of additions made to it by
Theodosius II., the son and successor of Arcadius.


This pile of huts is perched on the old seaward walls overlooking the
Sea of Marmora. Petroleum cans are largely used for building material.]

As usual, the forum was surrounded by porticoes and adorned with many
statues; but its chief ornament was another lofty hollow column similar
to that in the Forum of Theodosius I., thus furnishing the city with the
same number of that class of columns as Rome possessed. On the summit of
the monument stood the statue of Arcadius, and the procession of
sculptured figures that winded their way around the shaft to his feet
celebrated his victories over the Goths. The column held its place, in
spite of storms, earthquakes, and fires, until 1715, when, threatening
to fall, it was taken down as far as its pedestal, for the safety of
neighbouring buildings. But it was inspected by many European visitors
to Constantinople previous to that date, with the fortunate result that
we have drawings and descriptions of the monument which allow us to form
some adequate idea of its general appearance and artistic merits. It
stood upon a platform of three steps, the uppermost step being 33½
feet square. The pedestal, a hollow cube, rose 26 feet high, each side
consisting of six huge blocks of marble. Along its upper portion it was
adorned profusely with wreaths, eagles, genii, and other usual forms of
architectural decoration, while the eastern, western, and southern sides
were covered with triumphal scenes in bas-relief. “Along the highest
part of the pedestal, on the southern side,” says the traveller Wheler,
“one sees the Labarum in a wreath held by two Victories. Below it, are
the Emperors Arcadius and Honorius, in honour of whom the column was
erected, with two Victories crowning them in presence of a crowd of
senators. Still lower down, in a third line, appear Victories contending
with one another, and several figures wearing mural crowns, representing
the cities conquered by the armies of the two Emperors.” From the
pedestal to the summit of the column 23 drums of marble, so well joined
as to seem one piece of stone, soared some 121 feet higher to give
the monument a total altitude of 146 feet. The figures on the upper part
of the shaft were larger than those nearer the ground, so as to appear
of the same size as the latter when seen from a distance. The hollow
shell of the shaft was 28 feet round, and from 2 feet to 1¾ foot
thick, the thickness diminishing as the shaft ascended. From the door in
the northern side of the pedestal 233 steps, lighted by 50 lights, led
one through the shaft to a door opening upon the abacus of the capital,
a platform 17¾ feet square, from which to survey securely the
glorious panorama presented by the great city below, and the surrounding
landscape of sea and islands and mountains.


The contents of the large copper pans are kept stirring for two hours or
more over a wood fire; various flavourings are added during this process
according to the result desired; those mostly in use are essence of
almonds, vanilla, rose leaves, almonds and pistachios.]



408-447 A.D.

SUCH ornamental public works, as have been described, were, like the
blossoms on a plant, indications of the general growth and flourishing
state of the city. In point of fact, we learn from historians of the
times that the population increased at an extraordinary rate, and put a
severe strain upon an adequate supply of food and of sufficient
accommodation. The ships importing wheat from Egypt, Asia Minor, Syria,
and Phœnicia had all they could do to provide enough bread for the
hungry multitudes of the new capital. The dwellings in the city were so
closely packed, that the inhabitants, both at home and out of doors,
felt cribbed, coffined, and confined. The narrow streets were so
encumbered with beasts of burden carrying building material in all
directions, that it was dangerous to walk abroad. Ground for building
had become so scarce that land had to be made by filling in portions of
sea along the shores of the city, and the houses on that artificial
ground alone formed a considerable town. And so the time came when it
was no longer possible to keep the city within the bounds prescribed by
its founder, and measures had to be taken to give Constantinople the
size and strength required by the altered circumstances of its history.
This was done in 413, early in the reign of Theodosius II., and
eighty-five years after the foundation of the city. The western limits
of New Rome were then carried to the line of fortifications, whose
ruins, like veteran warriors loth to quit their post, stretch to-day
from the Sea of Marmora to the old Byzantine Palace, known by the
Turkish name Tekfour Serai. At the latter point the new bulwarks joined
the walls which guarded the outlying 14th ward, the suburb of Blachernæ,
and thus enclosed the city down to the Golden Horn. By this change the
area of Constantinople was almost doubled, and reached its final size.
Any additions to the dimensions of the city after 413, as in the 7th
century when the tract now occupied by the quarter of Aivan Serai was
enclosed, or again in the 11th century when the Palace of Blachernæ was
protected by new ramparts, were extremely insignificant additions, and
were made not for the sake of obtaining more room but for strategic

[Illustration: FLOWER-SELLERS

Some of the gypsies wear garments rivalling in brilliancy the flowers
they sell.]

This extension of the city’s limits involved, of course, the erection of
new fortifications. Indeed the demand to make the capital of the East a
mightier stronghold was not less urgent than the necessity to enlarge
its borders. No statesman of the 5th century of our era could fail to
realise the formidable character of the barbarian peril which then
lowered over the Empire. A period in which an Alaric, an Attila, a
Genseric, insulted the majesty of the Roman name, and trampled upon
Roman strength, a period in which the Eternal City was captured and
sacked, in which Carthage was lost, and the original fabric of the
Empire in the West was levelled to the ground, must have been a time
when the minds of serious men were troubled by fears and anxieties.
These disasters necessarily cast, ere they came, long and dark shadows
before them.

Most fortunately for the eastern division of the Empire it had, early in
this critical period, a statesman at the head of the Government who
comprehended the situation, and who had the sagacity to devise measures
by which the strength of the impending storm might be greatly reduced,
if not broken. During the first six years of the reign of Theodosius
II., who ascended the throne when a child of eight years, the government
was in the hands of Anthemius, the Prætorian Prefect of the East. His
abilities and character had already made him conspicuous towards the
close of the reign of Arcadius. Chrysostom admired him greatly, and
described him as a person who honoured any office he held more than the
office honoured him. And now that he was Regent of the Empire he did all
in his power to prepare the ship of State to encounter the coming
tempest. His first step for that purpose was to establish peace with
Persia, the standing rival and foe of the Empire. In the next place, he
forced the Huns who had appeared to the south of the Danube to retrace
their steps, and placed a flotilla of warships upon the river to prevent
the return of those fierce barbarians. At the same time he strengthened
also the Illyrian fortresses to render the north-western frontier more
secure. Then, warned by a bread riot in Constantinople due to a scarcity
of wheat in the city, he made arrangements for a more regular supply of
grain from Egypt, thus making the population of the capital more
friendly to the Government. And lastly, as the crowning act of his
administration, he decided to array the city in new and better armour,
and make it the strongest citadel in the Roman world. The great wall,
flanked by ninety-six towers, which forms the innermost line of the
fortifications along the landward side of the city, notwithstanding the
changes it has undergone since his day, is even in its ruins, a
magnificent monument to his wisdom, and to his devotion to the public
weal. Those ramparts proved the shield of European civilisation for more
than a thousand years. Their erection was one of those great acts in
history which confer priceless benefits on mankind.

The change made by Anthemius in the position of the landward walls
involved also the extension of the seaward fortifications to join the
extremities of the new western limits. But, although that work must have
been included in the plans of Anthemius, it was postponed for no less
than a quarter of a century. Lack of funds, or the demands of more
urgent necessities, or that happy sense of security from naval attack,
in which the Government of Constantinople was tempted to indulge, in
view of the city’s geographical position, may account for the delay.
But whatever the explanation of the postponement, the gap in the
defences of the capital could not be left open indefinitely, and at
length, in 439, the thirty-first year of the reign of Theodosius II.,
the shores of the city were enclosed by Cyrus, the then Prefect of the
city. It was the year in which the Vandals took Carthage, and possibly
the alarm excited by their successes in Africa roused Constantinople to
defend itself at every point.

[Illustration: CARPET-MENDERS

These boys are engaged in patching up the holes in old carpets; they are
very skilful in matching the faded colours that are so highly prized in
the genuine antique.]

Scarcely, however, had the city girded on its full armour, when, in the
year 447, one of those violent earthquakes, to which Constantinople was
liable, shook the city, and overthrew a large portion of the wall of
Anthemius, with fifty-seven of its towers. The seaward walls of Cyrus
were also injured at the same time. Struck with panic, the population
rushed from the city to the open country, as far away as the plains
about the suburb of the Hebdomon (Makrikeui), and there, with Emperor,
Senate, and clergy, offered prayers and supplication that the quaking
earth should keep still. It was a terrible catastrophe under any
circumstances, but it was the more so at the moment when Attila was
sweeping everything before him in his advance upon the city. The crisis
was, however, met with extraordinary energy. Under the direction of the
Prefect Constantine (whom some authorities identify with Cyrus) the
calamity which had overtaken the city was turned into an opportunity of
building more formidable fortifications than those which had been
destroyed. Requisitions of money and materials were made upon the
citizens, and the Factions of the Hippodrome now vied with each other in
the race to build the most and the fastest. Not only was the wall of
Anthemius repaired, but at a distance of about twenty yards in front of
it was placed a second wall, also flanked with ninety-six towers, and
then at a distance of some twenty yards from the latter line a broad and
deep moat was constructed, with a battlement breast-high surmounting its
inner side. So vigorously was the work pressed forward that the second
wall was completed in two months. Thus, the capital stood behind a
barricade 190-207 feet thick and 100 feet high, comprising four lines of
defence, that rose tier above tier to permit concerted action, with
ample room for the operation of large bodies of troops, and affording
numerous points of vantage from which to pour upon an enemy every
missile of death in the arsenal of ancient warfare--arrows, stones, and
Greek fire. If men did their duty, the city was now impregnable, while
the Prefect Constantine earned the right to be associated with
Anthemius, as one of the forgers of the weapons with which
Constantinople defended the higher life of mankind against the assaults
of barbarism for ten centuries. Two inscriptions on the Gate Yeni
Mevlevi Khaneh Kapoussi (the ancient Gate of Rhegium)--one in Greek, the
other in Latin--have proclaimed the services of the Prefect Constantine
from his day to the present time. “In sixty days, at the command of the
sceptre-loving Emperor, Constantine the Eparch built wall to wall,” says
the former in modest terms. The Latin legend breathes the pride and
satisfaction which the work inspired. “By the commands of Theodosius,
the second month not being completed, Constantine set up these strong
fortifications. Scarcely could Pallas have built so quickly so firm a

But the erection of the new walls of the capital was not by any means
all the building done in Constantinople during the reign of Theodosius
II. The area added to the city naturally offered a wide field for
further construction. Much damage caused to the older portions of the
city by frequent fires and repeated earthquakes in the course of the
Emperor’s reign, or shortly before it, had also to be made good. The
Church of S. Sophia, and probably the adjoining Senate-House, now rose
from the ashes to which they had been reduced when Chrysostom was
exiled. The Baths of Achilles and the Public Granaries in the vicinity,
destroyed in the fire which burnt down the quarter now marked by the
Stamboul Custom House, were likewise rebuilt at this time. To the
ornaments of the Hippodrome were now added the four gilt bronze horses
of Lysippus, which to-day adorn the Church of S. Mark at Venice, whither
they were carried as trophies of the capture of Constantinople, in 1204,
by the fleet of the Doge Henrico Dandolo.

In this work of city improvement no one made himself so prominent as the
Prefect Cyrus, already mentioned as concerned in the fortification of
the shores of the city. He was a poet, a student of art and
architecture, and, if not a pagan, strongly imbued with the spirit of
the old faith. Moreover, he was distinguished for great integrity, a
rare virtue among the officials of the day, and, in consequence, had
been appointed simultaneously Prætorian Prefect of the East and Prefect
of the city four times. It was doubtless with the view of checking
corrupt practices that he restricted the powers of the Prefect of the
city in the administration of the municipal revenues. Among the
improvements he introduced, the proper lighting of shops in the evening
is mentioned. His character and services made him immensely popular; but
the fact did not make him happier. The dread of the fickleness of
fortune ever cast its shadow over his mind, and he was often heard to
say, “I do not like Fortune when she smiles much.” At length, his worst
fears were realised. Taking his seat one day in the Hippodrome, he
received a great ovation from the vast crowds assembled to witness the
races. “Constantine,” they shouted, “founded the city; Cyrus has
restored it.” Never had the capricious goddess smiled so benignantly
upon him, and never did she prove more treacherous. Such popularity
offended Theodosius, and he decided to break the idol of the people to
pieces. Cyrus was dismissed from office, deprived of his property, and
reduced to a political nonentity, by being consecrated Bishop of Smyrna
or of Cotæum in Phrygia. Such a proceeding appears very strange, but
probably we are ignorant of facts which would explain this
transformation of a pagan official into a Christian priest. One can
hardly believe that a man like Cyrus was insincere in his new character.


The street dogs always select the busiest and most inconvenient places
for resting.]

The post assigned to the ex-Prefect was not attractive. Four of his
predecessors in the diocese had been murdered by brigands, and the
people committed to his care doubted the soundness of his faith. But in
a sermon preached on Christmas Day he conciliated his flock by orthodox
statements, pointing out at the same time that the mystery before their
minds was most honoured by silence. And he died unmolested by robbers.
It is curious to observe, in passing, how punishment here assumes a
religious form, and how men tried to hide their cruelty under the
pretence of doing good to the souls of their victims. In the subsequent
history of Constantinople, this species of penalty became common. It was
a symptom at once of the mildness and the meanness of the times.

But the reign of Theodosius II. is not distinguished only for the
material growth of Constantinople. It is not less memorable for the
advance of the city in its intellectual character, as the nursery of
learning and the seat of justice. In this reign the University of
Constantinople was opened. It found a home in the building known as the
Capitol, on the hill now occupied by the Turkish War Office. Judging
from the descriptions we have of the building, it resembled in its
arrangements a Turkish theological school, _medresseh_,--an open court,
surrounded by class-rooms on the level of the court. Some of the rooms
were spacious halls, richly decorated, and accommodating large
audiences. The studies pursued were chiefly grammar, rhetoric, and
literature, both in Latin and in Greek, there being thirteen professors
for these studies in the former language and fifteen in the latter. To
philosophy only one professor was assigned, while the department of law
was in charge of two professors. In the charter, so to speak, of the
University, particular stress is laid upon the need of a separate
class-room for each teacher, lest the different classes should disturb
one another by simultaneous talking and variety of languages, with the
result that the ears and minds of the students would be diverted from
their proper occupation. A candidate for a professor’s chair was
required to undergo an examination before the Senate both as to his
learning and his character. After twenty years’ service a professor was
rewarded with the title of a Count of the Empire. Only the professors
attached to the University were allowed to lecture in public, and they
were not permitted to give private instruction. The foundation of the
University had two objects mainly in view--to prepare young men for the
civil service, and to supersede the pagan schools of learning. It had
certainly a lofty ideal, for, in the language of an inscription that
refers to the institution, it was to be “a glory to scholars, an
ornament to the city, the hope of youth, weapons to virtue, and wealth
to the good.” Thus, while the shadows of ignorance were gathering to
settle down upon western Europe, the light of knowledge was kept burning
in the capital of the East until the darkness passed away. The study of
Latin indeed was erelong abandoned in Constantinople, but Greek learning
had always its friends there, who handed that treasure down from century
to century, and bequeathed it at last to safer keeping and wider use.

Another act that does honour to the reign of Theodosius II. is the
codification of the laws enacted since the time of Constantine the
Great. The compilation took nine years to be made, and is known as the
Theodosian Code. How great a need it supplied is quaintly set forth in
the preamble to the Code. “The chaos presented by the state in which the
laws were found was such that few persons had an adequate knowledge of
the subject, even though their faces have grown pale from late
lucubrations.” “When we consider,” to quote Professor Bury’s
translation, “the enormous multitude of books, the divers modes of
process, and the difficulty of legal cases, and further the hugeness of
imperial constitutions, which, hidden as it were under a veil of gross
mist and darkness, precludes men’s intellects from gaining a knowledge
of them, we feel that we have met a real need of our age, and,
dispelling the darkness, have given light to the laws by a short


The interior of an old Khan now used as a show-room for antique rugs and

On 23rd December of the year 438, the Code compiled at Constantinople
was presented to the Senate of Rome and recognised by that body. It was
a curious reversal of the part which the elder city had acted in the
world. The teacher had become the pupil. Or is it truer to say, the
pupil then did homage to the teacher? The Theodosian Code was superseded
by the Code of Justinian the Great, but the earlier compilation retains
the honour of being the first great legal instrument to confer upon New
Rome the distinction of becoming the tribunal which has guided the most
civilised nations of the world into the paths of righteousness and
justice in the dealings between man and man. Into the religious
controversies which agitated Constantinople while Theodosius II. was
upon the throne, this is not the place to enter. But Constantinople
would not have been itself without a hard theological problem to
discuss, if not to solve, and we do not know the soul, so to speak, of
Constantinople unless we recognise what may be termed the religious
temperament of the city. At a period, indeed, when a great religious
revolution in the faith of men had taken place, and men were called to
make clear to themselves what exactly they believed, and how their
beliefs were to be harmonised with their philosophy and the general
principles of reason, religious questions could not fail to be prominent
everywhere. They were as naturally prominent in the fourth and fifth
centuries of our era, when Christianity became the religion of the
State, as they were at the time of the Reformation. But Constantinople
made these questions peculiarly its own. It could not well be otherwise
where the seat of the chief bishop of the Church in the East was found,
and in the capital of a Government which concerned itself in these
debates as matters of political importance. Nor can it be denied that in
the discussion of the subjects before the public mind we often witness
great intellectual acumen, and a profound religious spirit. Able and
pious men anxiously sought to reconcile faith in the unity of the
Divine, with faith in the intimate oneness between the Divine and the
human manifested in the life of Christ. No age is dishonoured by keen
interest in that theme.


His business plant consists of an awning propped up against the wall of
a fountain and a few broken-down old stools.]

On the other hand, these discussions sometimes degenerated into idle
debate, and displayed some of the most odious feelings of human nature.
And Constantinople laid itself open to the well-known satirical
description of its theological bias by Gregory of Nyssa. “The city is
full of mechanics and slaves, who are all of them profound theologians,
and preach in the shops and in the streets. If you desire a man to
change a piece of money for you, he informs you wherein the Son differs
from the Father; if you ask the price of a loaf, you are told by way of
reply that the Son is inferior to the Father; and if you inquire whether
the bath is ready, the answer is that the Son was made out of nothing.”

Under Theodosius II., the interest taken by the citizens of
Constantinople in theological controversy was all the greater, inasmuch
as the points at issue were raised by religious teachers in the capital
itself; one of the heretics being no less a personage than Nestorius,
the patriarch of the city. He denied the propriety of the epithet,
Theotokos, Mother of God, commonly bestowed upon the Mother of our
Lord. A great controversy followed, in which all classes of society,
from the Emperor and his family to the monks and populace, took part,
and displayed, as usual in such cases, a spirit unworthy of the
Christian name. So great was the commotion caused by the questions in
dispute, that two General Councils of the Church--that of Ephesus in
431, and that of Chalcedon in 451--were convened to affirm the orthodox
faith, if not to restore peace. And thus for some twenty years people in
Constantinople had all the theology they could wish to discuss. One
result of these religious troubles was to evoke the latent antagonism
between the different races which composed the population of the Empire.
Under the guise of religious differences, national diversities asserted
themselves. Rome and Constantinople, the West and the East, did not
learn to love each other better in the heat of such debates. While from
the Council of Ephesus and the Council of Chalcedon, the Armenian Church
and the Coptic Church date, respectively, their separation from the main
body of Christendom. The extent to which religious and political
aspirations are associated in the minds of the populations of the modern
East casts much light upon the formation of different Churches along
national lines in the earlier days of the Christian world, and also
enables us to understand why religious conflicts caused so much anxiety
to the imperial Government of New Rome.

Another feature in the religious life of Constantinople that became very
distinct in the time of Theodosius II., was the veneration cherished for
relics, and the growing desire to consecrate and enrich the city by
their presence. The body of Chrysostom was taken from its grave in
Pityus and entombed in the Church of the Holy Apostles, as an act of
reparation for the wrongs he had suffered, and as an atonement for the
sins of his persecutors. The supposed relics of Joseph and of Zacharias,
on their arrival in the city, were received with great pomp by the
Emperor, the Senate, and great officials, as though the saints were
being welcomed in person. Pulcheria brought the relics of the Forty
Saints martyred at Sivas, and enshrined them in a church she erected on
the Xerolophus. To her also is ascribed the foundation of the three
principal churches dedicated to the Mother of the Lord, S. Mary of
Blachernæ, S. Mary Chalcoprateia and S. Mary Hodegetria, to become
treasuries rich in relics of the Theotokos. The Empress Eudocia, on her
return to Constantinople from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, brought with
her, besides other relics, the portrait of Christ ascribed to S. Luke.
In this way, Constantinople grew to be a sacred city, a sanctuary to
which pilgrims came to acquire merit and receive benefits, almost as
great as those obtained by a pilgrimage to the land over whose acres
walked the blessed feet of the Saviour.

To omit all reference, however brief, to the influence of ladies in the
public life of Constantinople while Theodosius II. occupied the throne,
would be to omit an important feature of the time; a feature which often
reappeared in the subsequent life of the Empire, and profoundly affected
the course of its history. Pulcheria, the sister of Theodosius II., was
the power behind her brother’s throne. She directed his education,
arranged his marriage, and was, with brief interruptions, the presiding
genius of his career. The vow of virginity which she had taken, and
which she persuaded her sisters to take, her charities, her activity in
building churches, her orthodoxy, all rendered her popular in devout
circles and with the dominant ecclesiastical party. To her was due the
strong religious tone of the Court, and in the theological disputes
that agitated the Church and the State in her day she took an active
interest, and helped materially to determine the particular form of
their settlement. Her opposition to Nestorius and Eutychius had much to
do with the condemnation of their views. And notwithstanding the
occasional loss of her influence over a brother who was too weak to
adhere steadily to a single course, she triumphed at last over all her
rivals, and upon his death mounted the throne as the consort of Marcian.


Roumeli Hissar is the most interesting of the many Turkish villages on
the shores of the Bosporus.]

The story of Athenaïs, and her marriage to Theodosius II., is well
known, but it will always retain the attraction which belongs to a life
in which romance and tragedy acted their opposite parts. A beautiful and
talented girl, brought up as a pagan by her father Leontius, who
cultivated philosophy in the schools of Athens, she came to
Constantinople to seek redress for what she deemed a great wrong. Her
father, at his death, had divided his fortune between his sons, and left
her to struggle with the world almost penniless. This arrangement was a
philosopher’s eccentric way of indicating his appreciation of his
daughter’s loveliness and genius, and his confidence that they would win
greater success for their possessor than any prosperity his money could
ever secure. But either because of her modesty or her practical sense,
Athenaïs differed from her father on that point, and wished his decision
reversed. We can readily imagine how her story would circulate in the
society of the capital, and make its heroine a topic of general
conversation and interest. It raised so many questions to discuss, it
appealed to the sympathy of so many feelings. Naturally, the charming
girl was introduced to Pulcheria. She soon won the affection and
admiration of the princess, under whose austerities a woman’s heart
still beat, and it was not long before Pulcheria thought she could do
more for Athenaïs than obtain for her a share in the fortune of
Leontius. In fact she considered no one so fit to become the Emperor’s
wife. The interest of Theodosius was readily excited by a description of
the maiden’s charms: large eyes, the nose of Aphrodite, a fair
complexion, golden hair, a slender figure, graceful manners, clever,
accomplished, and “of wondrous virtues.” Accompanied by his friend
Paulinus, he went to his sister’s apartments, and standing concealed
behind a curtain, saw the fair form and was conquered. So Athenaïs
received baptism, and under the name of Eudocia became the bride of the
Emperor of the East. Like Portia, her father had scanted her and
hedged her by his wit that she might reach the pinnacle of human joys.
And with the spirit of Joseph in Egypt, she forgave the brothers who had
injured her, summoned them to Constantinople, and secured for them high
positions. Her talents appeared in her writings, and in her friendship
with the most intelligent men of the day. But erelong clouds began to
gather on this sunny sky. First came the natural rivalry between herself
and Pulcheria as to whether a wife’s influence or a sister’s would be
stronger over the mind of the Emperor; then estrangement, due to their
different temperaments and education; then diversity of theological
opinion, Eudocia taking the side opposite to Pulcheria in the
controversy raised by Nestorius. But perhaps these clouds might have
passed away, and the heavens grown radiant again, had not the friendship
between the Empress and Paulinus aroused the jealousy of Theodosius, and
excited his worst suspicions. According to a discredited tale the crisis
was brought about under the following circumstances--“One day the
Emperor was met by a peasant who presented him with a Phrygian apple of
enormous size, so that the whole Court marvelled at it. And he gave the
man a hundred and fifty gold pieces in reward, and sent the apple to
the Empress Eudocia. But she sent it, as a present to Paulinus, the
Master of the Offices, because he was a friend of the Emperor. But
Paulinus, not knowing the history of the apple, took it and gave it to
the Emperor as he reëntered the palace. And Theodosius having received
it, recognised it and concealed it, and calling his wife asked her,
“Where is the apple that I sent you?” She replied, “I have eaten it.”
Then he bade her swear by his salvation the truth, whether she had eaten
it or sent it to some one. And Eudocia swore that she had sent it to no
man, but had herself eaten it. Then the Emperor showed her the apple,
and was exceedingly angry, suspecting that she was enamoured of
Paulinus, and had sent it to him as a love-gift; for he was a very
handsome man.” But however idle this tale may be, the fact is that
Paulinus was put to death, and the Empress was banished to Jerusalem.
She spent the last sixteen years of her life there in retirement and
abounding charities, and died protesting her innocence.


One of its many vault-like passages in which the merchants are
displaying their goods.]

Before concluding this account of the making of Constantinople, we must
note another of the characteristics which the city gradually manifested
in the development of its life--the tendency to cease to be Roman and
to become Greek. It is true, that in one sense Constantinople always
remained Roman, and this character of the city should never be ignored.
The people preferred to be known as Romans rather than by any other
name. No title of the Eastern Emperors was so glorious in their view as
to be styled the Great Emperor of the Romans. Roman law ruled in the
Empire of which Constantinople was the head. The autocratic power
inherited from strictly Roman days was maintained there to the last.
Names of offices, epithets of officials, the denomination of taxes,
legends upon the coinage of the realm, the terms in which Emperors were
acclaimed by the army or the Factions were long preserved in their old
Latin forms, but slightly, if at all, altered, and showed clearly the
family connection that bound Rome upon the Bosporus to Rome upon the
Tiber. Nevertheless, the daughter-city, though proud of her lineage, was
also eager to declare her independence and to assert her individuality.

It could not be otherwise. A city exalted to be the capital of the part
of the Empire under the sway of Greek traditions, and employing the
Greek language as a vernacular speech, would inevitably consider itself
called upon to embody and champion the peculiar properties of the
society of which it was the constituted head. Nor could a community
whose religious life was under the direction of a Church that worshipped
in the Greek tongue, and was stirred by the eloquence of the
Chrysostoms, the Gregories, and the Basils of the East retain a Roman
complexion and character without serious modifications. So long, indeed,
as the western division of the Empire existed, the political union
between Rome and Constantinople proved a check upon the Greek bias of
the latter city, owing to the necessity of using Latin, as the language
whose writ could run equally in both parts of the Roman world. The Popes
of Rome, with characteristic insight, recognised the value of a common
official language as a bond of unity, and an instrument of maintaining
universal rule. The use of the Latin in the services and administration
of the Roman Church is a master-stroke of political genius. But when
partly by the estrangement of the two portions of the Empire, and partly
by the Fall of the Empire in the West, the need of a common speech
ceased to exist, the stream of tendency in the East was left free to
follow its natural bent.

[Illustration: A BLACKSMITH’S SHOP]

Within the period under review we see, of course, only the early
symptoms of the Greek bias to gain ascendency, but though these symptoms
are comparatively slight, they are the proverbial straws that indicate
the direction of the wind. While Latin alone glitters in the
inscriptions upon the Golden Gate, Greek also is allowed a place in the
legends which celebrate the elevation of the obelisk upon its pedestal
in the Hippodrome. The pedestal adorned by the statue of the Empress
Eudoxia likewise bore a bilingual inscription. The extraordinary energy
displayed by the Prefect Constantine in the erection of the outer
Theodosian Wall is lauded, on the Gate of Rhegium, in both languages.
Probably the same was the case in the record of that splendid
achievement put upon another gate of the fortifications--the Gate
Xylokerkou--although the historian, owing doubtless to his ignorance of
Latin, has preserved only the Greek version. But the balance inclines in
favour of Greek, when, at the University of Constantinople, there are
more professors attached to the studies in that language than to the
studies in the tongue of the elder Rome. At the same time also, the
Prefect Cyrus introduced the custom of publishing decrees in Greek
instead of in Latin. And along with this preference for Greek in speech,
there is a marked growth of what was Greek in spirit. Thus in the
relations between the Empire and Persia, as well as in the relations
between the Empire and the barbarians, the Government of Constantinople
depends now for success rather upon the devices of diplomacy than upon
the force of arms. The negotiations between the Court of Theodosius II.
and Attila are a remarkable chapter in the history of the diplomatic
art--not of the noblest character. When Marcian replied to the demand of
Attila for an increase of the tribute paid to the chief of the Huns by
the Government of Constantinople, in the haughty terms, “We give gold to
our friends, and steel to our enemies,” words were spoken that had
become somewhat unfamiliar, while the first Greek Emperor, as Theodosius
II. has been styled, sat upon the throne.

Furthermore, it is the Greek spirit, not the Roman, that appears in the
theological speculations of the Eastern Church, in the stress laid on
correct thinking, and in the philosophical development of Christian
dogma. After making every allowance for the vast difference between the
splendid genius of Ancient Greece and the mental life that flourished in
New Rome, it does not seem too much to say, that the old intellectual
temperament of Hellas survived and prevailed in the capital of the
East. There was undoubtedly, at all times, enough and to spare of
ignorance, superstition, and narrow-mindedness in Constantinople, but no
period in the history of the Byzantine world quite corresponds to the
Dark Ages in Western Europe. As in the Parthenon on the Acropolis of the
city with the violet crown, so, under the dome of S. Sophia, beside the
blue waters of the Bosporus, men agreed that the highest attribute of
the Divine, and the ideal of human attainment, is Wisdom.



For a person wishing to become acquainted with a great city, ready to
admire beautiful scenery, and furnished with adequate information,
nothing of the kind can be more interesting and memorable than to make
the circuit of the old fortifications of Constantinople. It is a tour of
thirteen miles, in the course of which, the city, set in the frame of
its splendid natural surroundings, is seen from many different points of
view, while at the same time the historical student travels through
eleven long centuries, crowded with events not only of local interest
but of world-wide importance.

_Along the Walls beside the Sea of Marmora_

The aspect which the city presents towards the Sea of Marmora and the
Asiatic coast is by many persons considered to be the most beautiful
view of Constantinople. It is certainly a very attractive view. Seated
on ground rising with long and steep ascent to the ridge of the
promontory, the city lies spread before you, from the Seraglio Point to
the Seven Towers, over an area five miles in length. As from every other
point so here also, Constantinople shows as much as possible of itself
at a time. It always appears in large dimensions, lofty, spacious,
far-reaching; never descending from its throne, never laying aside its
majesty, but constantly maintaining an imperial mien. Along the sky-line
is an array of domes and minarets that, in brilliant sunshine, gleam as
though made of whitest alabaster. While at the feet of the city lies a
sea of sapphire, lovely as a lake; not so broad as to place the city
into dim distance, yet wide enough to give the great metropolis
sufficient foreground to set off its size and dignity, to obliterate
petty details, to render prominent its salient features, to soften any
ruggedness, to silence its din, and make the quiet grey tones of its
dwellings blend harmoniously with the overhanging heavens and with the
surrounding waters. It is, if the expression is allowable, the most
poetical view of the Queen of Cities. Sometimes, an early watcher on the
Asiatic shore beholds a vision of extraordinary beauty. The silhouette
of the slumbering capital is seen against a darker mass of clouds that
gathered in the west during the hours of the night. Suddenly, in the
hush of dawn, a delicate pink light gleams on a minaret here or a dome
yonder. It tints minaret after minaret, dome after dome, house after
house. It spreads downwards and athwart, transfiguring everything its
rosy fingers touch, until the city, still set against a dark background,
is radiant with indescribable grace. Very beautiful also is the scene
towards sunset, when the slopes descending to the Marmora are in shade,
and the glowing vault of heaven is a canopy of glory; when the windows
in the dome of S. Sophia, as the last beams of day shine through them,
sparkle like jewels in a coronet, and the sea beneath seems woven of
crimson, gold, and purple. Nor can one fail to recall the soft tranquil
beauty of the scene when the Sea of Marmora glitters in the moonlight,
and the golden waters kiss the shadows of the broken towers and
battlements that watched and guarded the city in the days of old.

There is a grave in the British cemetery at Haidar Pasha, which,
contrary to the usual mode of interment, fronts westwards to be turned
towards this side of the city. It is the grave of an Englishwoman,
who, from her Asiatic home near Kadikeui, looked upon these views for
many years, and felt their spell so strongly, that by her express order
she was laid to rest in a position in which she might face their beauty
even in death.


On the Seraglio hill in the middle distance is the palace formerly
occupied by the Sultans.]

The fortifications beside the Sea of Marmora consisted of a wall that,
for the most part, followed closely the sinuosities of the shore, and
was flanked, if the account of a mediæval traveller may be trusted, by
no less than 188 square towers. The works attained their full extent in
three distinct stages, corresponding to the successive periods in the
growth of the city. The portion from the Seraglio Point to the
neighbourhood of Achour Kapoussi represented the bulwarks of old
Byzantium. The portion from the latter point to the vicinity of Daoud
Pasha Kapoussi, the ancient Gate of S. Æmilianus, was added by
Constantine the Great, and possibly the wall bounding the vegetable
gardens of Vlanga Bostan, formed part of the original defences erected
by the founder of New Rome. The extension of the line from Daoud Pasha
Kapoussi to the southern extremity of the landward walls was a
consequence of the enlargement of the city in the reign of Theodosius
II. For the protection of these ramparts against the waves of the
Marmora in angry mood, boulders ranged in loose order were placed in the
sea, at a short distance from the shore, to serve as a breakwater.
Still, like Canute, the emperors of Constantinople often found that the
sea scorned their control, and was the worst foe these bulwarks had
cause to dread. For instance, a furious storm which occurred on the 12th
February 1332 hurled the waves over the battlements, opened breaches,
forced the gates, and poured devastation into every adjoining quarter.
In the spring of 764 the walls near the Seraglio Point were damaged
under most extraordinary circumstances. The preceding winter in the
regions along the northern and the western coasts of the Black Sea had
been so severe, that the sea itself was frozen hard to an immense
distance from the shore. Upon the breaking up of the frost-bound waste,
a long procession of ice-floes entered the Bosporus on their way to the
south. They came in such numbers that for some time the channel at the
Marmora end of the straits was blocked, and men crossed from Scutari to
Galata and to S. Mamas (Beshiktash), and from Chalcedon (Kadikeui) to
the city (Stamboul) with perfect safety. When at length the ice broke
again and moved forward, two huge fragments were flung against the
Seraglio Point by the swollen currents coursing in that direction. The
strange assailants towered above the battlements, and made the city
quake with fear before the weird enemy at whose cold touch strong
bulwarks crumbled to pieces. How frequently these walls suffered from
their exposure to storm and weather appears in the numerous inscriptions
found upon them in honour of restorers of the works. The most extensive
repairs were made in the reign of Theophilus (829-842), and large
portions of the existing walls belong to his reign. But many other
emperors were likewise concerned in maintaining these fortifications in
proper order, as for example, Leo the Wise, Basil II., Manuel Comnenus,
Michael Palæologus, Andronicus II., and Andronicus III. The legends
commemorating repairs are usually formal, laconic records of the names
and titles of the rebuilder of a tower or of the curtain of the wall.
Three of the inscriptions, however, allow us to see more into the heart
of the persons they celebrate, and bring us into touch with the spirit
of the times. One of them, forming a line 60 feet long, is found on the
wall to the north of Deïrmen Kapoussi, and reads to the following
effect:--“Possessing Thee, O Christ, as a wall that cannot be broken,
Theophilus the pious sovereign and emperor, erected this wall upon new
foundations; which (wall) Lord of All, guard with Thy might, and display
to the end of time standing unshaken and unmoved.” The second
inscription referred to speaks more directly of the injury sustained by
the wall owing to the proximity of the sea:--“In the year 1024, Basil,
the pious sovereign, erected from the foundations this tower, which the
dashing of the sea, battering it for a long time with many and violent
waves, compelled to fall.” The third inscription tells that in the year
1448, only five years before the fall of the city, George, the Despot of
Servia, contributed funds towards the repair of these defences, thus
showing clearly how well he understood that the fate of his kingdom was
bound up with the fate of Constantinople.


The lighthouse occupies a prominent position near the old palace of the
Sultans overlooking the Sea of Marmora.]

The fortifications beside the Sea of Marmora were not called to occupy a
prominent place in the active defence of the city; that is to say, they
were never the object of a serious hostile attack. This was only what
might be expected so long as the Empire maintained its naval
superiority to the enemies with whom it was called to contend. But the
Empire was not always master of the sea. And the immunity of these
fortifications from attack was then due to the difficulties which the
currents that sweep along this shore place in the way of the approach of
ships within striking distance. The fear that the currents would carry
his ships out to sea was the reason why Dandolo refused to bring the
fleet of the Fourth Crusade into action against this side of the
capital. The nearest semblance of an attack upon these fortifications
was when Heraclius, in 610, brought up a fleet from Carthage to depose
the tyrant Phocas, and took up a position before the Harbour of Julian
or Sophia, the remains of which are seen in the quarter of Kadriga
Limani below the Hippodrome. But that was more in the nature of a
hostile demonstration than an active assault, for the citizens welcomed
Heraclius as a deliverer, and carried Phocas to him as a prisoner. Still
the comparative security of these walls from attack did not warrant
leaving them in a state to tempt an enemy to strike a blow, and
accordingly, though sometimes neglected in time of peace, they were
promptly put in order whenever a hostile fleet was expected. This was
particularly the case during the period of the Palæologi, when Genoa and
Venice and the Ottoman Turks ruled on the sea, and the naval strength of
the Empire had fallen into utter decay. In the siege of 1453, the
Turkish fleet blockaded this side of the city from the Seraglio Point to

In following the course of these walls to note the arrangements of the
city, and to recall historical associations, only a very brief mention
of what is most prominent and memorable is here possible. Beginning at
the head of the promontory, we have first the eastern portion of the
Seraglio Grounds, presenting to view the crags upon which stood the
Acropolis of old Byzantium. To become the master of that hilltop, with
its wonderful outlook and great strategic value was the ambition of
Xenophon and “The Ten Thousand” on their famous retreat from Persia, of
Philip of Macedon, of Severus Septimius, of Constantine the Great, not
to mention other aspirants. After the foundation of Constantinople,
until Turkish days, the site of the Acropolis formed an ordinary part of
the city, the most conspicuous edifice on that position being the Church
of S. Irene. There also was the hospital of Sampson, as well as that of
Eubulus. Among the buildings on the level tract below the Acropolis
were two theatres, inherited from Byzantium, one of which has left its
stamp in the hollow ground now occupied by the vegetable gardens to the
rear of Deïrmen Kapoussi. Scattered over the adjoining territory was a
crowd of churches in which saints encamped to guard this exposed point
of the city; a host led by S. Barbara, patroness of arms, S. George, the
Slayer of the Dragon, S. Mary Hodegetria, with her icon ascribed to S.
Luke, and regarded as a palladium. The Mangana or Arsenal, stored with
military engines for the defence of the walls, also stood in this
vicinity. The vaulted substructures near the ruins of Indjili Kiosk
belonged to the Palace of the Mangana, to which the imperial household
resorted to enjoy the cool breezes that winged their way down the
Bosporus from the north. Here also was a public park, the Philopation,
and an atrium built by Justinian the Great, crowded on summer
afternoons, when this side of the city is in shade, by people who loved
to look out upon the sparkling water, and the hills of the opposite
Asiatic shore, resplendent in the mellow light of the setting sun. The
fine building that formed the Thermæ of Arcadia was in this
neighbourhood, and a portion of the polo grounds, Tzycanisterion,
attached to the palace of the Byzantine emperors.


Erected to the memory of the British soldiers and sailors who fell in
the Crimean War.]

Fifteen years after the Turkish occupation, Sultan Mehemet the Conqueror
transferred his residence from his palace on the hill now surmounted by
the War Office to this quarter of the city, and for the security of his
new abode built the wall that, on its way across the promontory, from
the Sea of Marmora to the Golden Horn, passes to the north of S. Sophia.
In its general plan the Seraglio was a series of three courts, opening
one into the other; and around and within them, embowered in groves of
plane-trees and of cypresses, rose the numerous and picturesque edifices
which served the convenience of the imperial household. But however
inferior in the magnificence created by art, no royal abode has ever
been invested by nature with the beauty and lordliness surrounding that
in which the Ottoman Sultans sat enthroned from Mehemet the Conqueror to
Abdul Medjid, with its grand outlook over Asia, Europe, and the great
waterway between the lands on the north and on the south.

“It was at once a royal palace, a fortress, and a sanctuary; here was
the brain and heart of Islam, a city within a city, inhabited by a
people, and guarded by an army, embracing within its walls an infinite
variety of edifices, places of pleasure or of horror; where the Sultans
were born, ascended the throne, were deposed, imprisoned, strangled;
where all conspiracies began and the cry of rebellion was first heard;
where for three centuries the eyes of anxious Europe, timid Asia, and
frightened Africa were fixed, as on a smoking volcano, threatening ruin
on all sides.”

The slopes which descend from S. Sophia and the Hippodrome to the Sea of
Marmora, immediately outside the Seraglio Enclosure, are also haunted by
memories of splendour and power, for upon them stood the great palace of
the Emperors of New Rome from the time of Constantine the Great to
almost the end of the Byzantine Empire. The site did not command so
extensive a view of the Bosporus as the Seraglio enjoyed, nor had it the
outlook of the latter upon the Golden Horn and the busy life of the
harbour. But its prospect over the Sea of Marmora and the hills and
mountains of the Asiatic coast, rising to the snows of Mount Olympus or
merged in the pale blue of the distant horizon, was wider. It had also
the advantage of a sunnier and more temperate climate. The site was
furthermore recommended by its proximity to the Hippodrome, as direct
communication between the palace and that arena of the city’s public
life, in serious or gay mood, was of paramount importance in
Constantinople as at Rome. We must therefore imagine these slopes wooded
with trees, and crowded with stately buildings, often domed, for the
accommodation of a Court which sought, in pomp and luxury never
surpassed, to find all that power and pleasure can do to satisfy the
human heart. As in the case of Byzantine churches, so in the edifices
forming the “Sacred Palace,” artistic effort was chiefly devoted to the
decoration of the interior, and it was with similar means, marble
revetments and mosaics, that artistic effects were produced.

The throne-room, for instance, was, as we shall find in the sequel,
almost a facsimile of the Church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus. Like that
church it was an octagonal hall enclosed in a square, and surmounted by
a dome pierced by windows.

Each division of the octagon formed a bay under a semi-dome, and above
the bays was a rich entablature, with a cornice that projected so as to
constitute a gallery. The floor was paved with slabs of porphyry and
variegated marbles, arranged to form beautiful designs and set in
borders of silver, while walls and vaults gleamed with mosaics. The
hall was entered from the west, and in the bay directly opposite stood
the throne, with an icon of Christ in mosaic in the conch above it. The
bay immediately to the south of the throne was the emperor’s
robing-room, leading to a chapel in which his robes of state, his crowns
and arms, and two enamelled gold shields, studded with pearls and
precious stones, were kept under the guardianship of S. Theodore. The
other state rooms of the palace were all varieties of the same type,
displaying more or less skill and taste, according to the fluctuations
of art in Constantinople. Of all the magnificence that once adorned
these slopes, nothing remains but unshapely masses of brickwork, broken
shafts, fallen capitals and empty sarcophagi! Slopes that vied with the
Palatine as a seat of power, they are without a vestige of the grandeur
that lingers around the ruined home of the Cæsars! The higher part of
the site of the palace is now occupied by the Mosque of Sultan Achmed,
the six minarets of which, combined with the four minarets of S. Sophia,
make so striking a feature in the aspect of this part of the city. Upon
the lower slopes lives a Turkish population that never dreams of the
splendour buried beneath its humble dwellings.

Close to Tchalady Kapou, and at the water’s edge, are the ungainly ruins
of the residence of Justinian the Great and Theodora, before their
accession to the throne. Here began the romance of their lives. In
course of time additional buildings were put up at this point, and the
group thus formed became the Marine Residence attached to the Great
Palace. Here was the little harbour at the service of the Court, with
marble steps descending to the water from a quay paved with marble, and
adorned with many marble figures of lions, bears, bulls, and ostriches.
Here the Emperor embarked or disembarked when moving in his imperial
barge from one part of the city to another by water. One of the pieces
of statuary, representing a lion attacking a bull, bestowed upon this
Marine Residence the name Bucoleon (The Bull and Lion), under which
designation it is frequently mentioned in Byzantine history. There was
enacted the tragedy of the assassination of the noble Nicephorus Phocas
by John Zimisces, with the connivance of the Empress Theophano, the
victim’s wife; a typical instance of the intrigues and crimes that often
dishonoured the palace of the Byzantine emperors. The story has
recently been told by the brilliant pen of Mr. Frederic Harrison, and
therefore must not be repeated. But the visitor to the spot can recall
the event with startling vividness, so well preserved is the stage on
which the tragedy was acted. Directly opposite, on the Asiatic shore, is
Chalcedon, where the conspirators joined Zimisces to proceed to the
scene of their cruel work. The Sea of Marmora over which, on that fatal
night, a snowstorm spread a veil to hide the boat which bore the
conspirators across the sleeping waters, comes up to the very base of
the palace. From one of the palace windows overhanging the sea, a
basket, attached to a rope, was let down again and again to the boat,
and again and again drawn up, with one conspirator in it at a
time--Zimisces being the last--until the whole band stood within the
imperial abode. And somewhere in the vaulted building we still find at
the water’s edge, and whose ruins seem haunted by evil ghosts, was the
chamber in which the doomed emperor lay slumbering on the floor, and was
rudely awakened to know all the bitterness of ingratitude and the
sharpness of a cruel death. Geography and topography are certainly the
eyes of history.


This mosque is beautifully decorated with blue and green tiles; on the
right is the minber (pulpit) built of marble intricately carved and
delicately tinted; behind it is one of the four great marble columns
that support the roof.]

To the west of the Bucoleon is the beautiful Church of SS. Sergius and
Bacchus, erected by Justinian the Great; for some account of which the
reader is referred to the chapters on the churches of the city. The
district extending thence to the ancient Gate of S. Æmilianus (Daoud
Pasha Kapoussi) is remarkable for having been occupied by the artificial
harbours, constructed, from time to time, on the southern side of the
city in the interest of commerce, or for the use of the imperial navy.
They were four in number, and, notwithstanding the changes of centuries,
they have left their impress upon the ground to a degree which allows
their site and contour to be clearly identified. First in the order of
position, though not of time, came the Harbour of the Emperor Julian,
below the Hippodrome. It has already been noticed in the history of the
making of Constantinople. It was used for some time even after the
Turkish Conquest, but was ultimately abandoned for the deeper water
found along the shores of the Golden Horn. The Harbour of the
Kontoscalion followed; in the quarter which the Greek population still
designates by that old name, but which is commonly known as Koum
Kapoussi. It has been filled in, but the mole remains, as well as a
considerable portion of the wall around the basin of the harbour. The
entrance could be closed against an enemy by great gates of iron bars,
and in bad weather three hundred galleys, of fifty or a hundred pairs of
oars, might be seen taking refuge here, waiting for a favourable wind.

Next in order was the Harbour of Kaisarius, known also as the Neorion or
Dockyard of the Heptascalon, which stood where the Turkish quarter of
Tulbenkdji Djamissi is now situated. But few traces of it are left.
Indeed its position had been forgotten, and its distinctness from the
other harbours along this shore ignored, until 1819, when a great fire
in the district revealed the fact that the quarter of Tulbenkdji
Djamissi stood in the basin of an old harbour, enclosed by a wall built
in three tiers of huge blocks. This agreed with other indications of the
presence of a harbour at this point hitherto left unexplained--a mole in
front of the shore of the quarter, and a gap in the mole forming an
entrance to which corresponded an old opening in the city walls, now
closed by masonry of Turkish construction. It harmonised also with the
description which the historian Pachymeres gives of a harbour
constructed or restored by the Emperor Michael Palæologus on this side
of the city. Here Phocas placed troops to oppose the landing of
Heraclius, and here also the Emperor Constantine Pogonatus, in 673,
stationed his ships, armed with Greek fire, to await the fleet of the
Saracens in the first siege of Constantinople by that formidable foe.

Last in order of position was the harbour on the site of the vegetable
gardens of Vlanga Bostan, a work, as we have seen, belonging to the time
of the founder of the city, and known first as the Harbour of
Eleutherius, its original constructor, and later as the Harbour of
Theodosius I., who improved it. Its mole and extensive portions of the
walls around it remain, and carry thought back to the city’s earliest

These harbours are a monument to the great commercial activity of the
city during the Middle Ages, and formed a feature in the life and aspect
of the place which has disappeared. Occasionally, in the fruit-season, a
considerable number of the ships and large caïques engaged in the
coasting trade between the city and the ports of the Sea of Marmora
anchor off the points once occupied by these harbours, and help the
imagination to recall the animation, the busy crowds, the varied
merchandise, the picturesque craft and strange crews that made what
is now an almost silent shore one of the liveliest and most interesting
quarters of New Rome. Owing to the sand thrown up against this coast,
all these harbours demanded frequent cleaning and restoration, and had a
hard struggle for existence. They were at length neglected, and, one
after another, turned into dry land on which to plant market gardens, or
build dwellings for the poor.


A favourite summer resort of wealthy residents of Constantinople.]

The tract of the city extending from Vlanga Bostan to the landward walls
was noted for the number and importance of its churches and monasteries.
Conspicuous among them was the Church and monastery of S. Mary
Peribleptos in the district of Psamatia. It was destroyed by fire in
1782, and is represented by the modern Armenian Church of S. George,
generally styled, after the cistern beneath the old edifice, Soulou

The Church of S. John Studius, now a sad ruin, stood likewise in this
part of the city. So did the Church and monastery of S. Diomed, upon
whose steps one day, towards sunset, a way-worn youth in quest of
fortune lay down to rest, after his long journey from Macedonia, and
rose to become, in a capital where strange careers were possible, the
Emperor Basil I. He founded a dynasty that occupied the throne of the
Byzantine Empire for two centuries, and counted among its members such
notable sovereigns as Basil II. the Slayer of the Bulgarians, Nicephorus
Phocas the Conqueror of the Saracens, John Zimisces who drove the
Russians out of Bulgaria across the Danube.



THE fortifications which defended the side of the city along the Golden
Horn consisted of a single line of wall placed, for the most part, close
to the water’s edge and flanked, it is said, by one hundred and ten
square towers. Like the bulwarks along the Sea of Marmora, they attained
their full length gradually, according as the northern extremity of the
landward walls, which they were to join, was carried farther to the
west, when Byzantium expanded into the City of Constantine, when the
City of Constantine grew into the City of Theodosius II., and, finally,
when, in 627, the outlying level portion of the suburb of Blachernæ was
brought within the bounds of the capital. The points along the shore of
the Golden Horn thus reached were successively the Stamboul head of the
Inner Bridge, the eastern border of the quarter of Aivan Serai, and the
present point of junction with the landward walls on the west of that
quarter. But the actual wall is, substantially, the work of the ninth
century, when the Emperor Theophilus reconstructed the fortifications
along both shores of the city, as the inscription, “Tower of Theophilus,
Emperor in Christ,” found until recently upon almost every tower of the
line, proclaimed to the world. In the course of the improvements made in
the quarters along the Golden Horn, extensive portions of the
fortifications have disappeared, leaving scant remains to interest the
visitor. It should be added that the safety of this side of the city was
further secured by a chain stretched across the entrance of the harbour,
from a tower near Yali Kiosk Kapoussi, the Gate of Eugenius, to a tower
known as the Tower of Galata, somewhere near Kiretch Kapoussi on the
opposite shore.

The view of Constantinople from the Golden Horn, whether seen from the
bridges that cross the harbour, or from Pera, is universally admitted to
be as impressive and beautiful a spectacle as any city in the world can
present. The visitor of a day recognises its wonderful attractions at
the first glance, and long familiarity never allows one to feel
satisfied that he has given to the scene all the admiration which it
deserves. The dominant feature of the view is lordliness, although
beauty is almost equally manifest. Men spoke truly when they conferred
upon New Rome the title “The Queen of Cities,” for the aspect of the
city is not only lovely, but carries in its aspect the unmistakable air
of the majesty and authority that befit the capital of a great Empire.
Here is an eye “to threaten and command.” The city spreads itself before
you for some three miles on both sides of the Golden Horn, seated upon
hills that rise steeply from the water’s edge, and lift the long and
wide panorama high into view. The buildings are packed close together,
and rise tier above tier from the shore to the summit of the hills.
Great mosques, rectangular buildings surmounted by domes and flanked by
graceful minarets, occupy the most commanding positions, and crown the
city with a diadem of oriental splendour. The Golden Horn, one of the
finest harbours in the world, where the warships of a nation may ride
at ease, and great merchantmen can moor along the shore, is so inwoven
with the city as to be its principal thoroughfare, its “Grand Canal,”
alive with boats of every description, and spanned by bridges over
which the population streams to and fro in great tides. The city is
generally irradiated by an atmosphere of extraordinary clearness,
brilliance, and warmth of colour. Sometimes the solid earth seems
transfigured by the light into a glorious spiritual essence. Early in
the morning, Constantinople is often shrouded in a thick veil of mist,
and, as the sun gains strength, it is beautiful to see the veil
gradually rent at different points, and the objects it covered emerge,
piece by piece, one by one, now here now there, a dome, a minaret, a
palace, a red-tiled roof, a group of cypresses, as though a magician was
constructing the city anew in your presence, until the immense capital
gleams before you in its mighty proportions and minute details. Nor is
the vision less memorable towards sunset, when the lights and shadows
paint this varied surface of hills and valleys, of land and water, while
the long array of mosques and minarets upon the hills overhanging the
Golden Horn rests against the deepening glory of the sky. It is the
vision which Browning saw with a poet’s eye:--

  Over the waters in the vaporous West
  The sun goes down as in a sphere of gold
  Behind the arm of the city, which between,
  With all that length of domes and minarets,
  Athwart the splendour, black and crooked runs
  Like a Turk verse along a scimitar.


Beyond the pile of buildings in the foreground a glimpse of the Golden
Horn is seen with Stamboul partly shrouded in mist in the distance.]

The portion of the Golden Horn to the east of the Galata Bridge is
crowded with foreign steamships, among which those bearing the flags of
Britain, France, Austria, Italy, Germany, Greece, and Roumania, are the
most conspicuous. It may not be to the credit of the country, nor for
its greatest advantage, that so much of the commerce of the place should
be in foreign hands, but this gathering of the nations in the harbour of
the city is imposing; it is an indication of the central position
occupied by the city in the world’s affairs, and contributes largely to
form the cosmopolitan character for which Constantinople is
distinguished. Here the nations assemble to compete with one another as
nowhere else in the world, at least in a way so manifest and decisive.
This was a feature of the life of the city also before Turkish days.
There was a time, indeed, during the Middle Ages when the commerce
between the East and the West was exclusively in the hands of the
subjects of the Byzantine Empire, when the merchants of Constantinople
were the merchant princes of the civilised world. But not to speak of
the interference of the Saracens with the trade of the city, the
formidable competition of the Italian Maritime States began to make
itself felt towards the close of the eleventh century, and from that
time onwards became more and more serious until it well-nigh destroyed
the business carried on by the native inhabitants. This was due partly
to the enterprise of the Italian merchants, and partly to the policy
which purchased the aid of the Western States against the foes of the
Empire by means of commercial concessions which proved detrimental to
domestic trade. It was thus that Alexius Comnenus secured the help of
Venice against the Normans, and that Michael Palæologus obtained the
support of the Genoese, when, in 1261, he undertook the task of
recovering Constantinople from its Latin occupants. The attack upon
Constantinople in 1203-1204 by the Fourth Crusade, at the instigation of
the Doge Henrico Dandolo, was essentially a piratical expedition to
capture the commerce of the East for the benefit of the merchants of
Venice. In the course of time the foreign traders in Constantinople were
allowed by the Byzantine emperors to occupy the territory extending
along the southern shore of the Golden Horn from the Seraglio Point to
Zindan Kapoussi. They were grouped according to their nationality,
and placed beside one another in the following order, Saracens,
Genoese, Pisans, traders from Amalfi, Venetians. After 1261, the Genoese
were settled in Galata, where they have left a monument of their
occupation in the strong and massive Tower of Galata, that formed their
watch-tower and citadel, and where they established, at the very gates
of the capital, so strong a rival, that, as Gibbon observes, “The Roman
Empire might soon have sunk into a province of Genoa, if the Republic
had not been checked by the ruin of her freedom and naval power.” These
foreign communities were allowed to be self-governing, so far as the
Byzantine Government was concerned. They had their own courts of
justice, and their own places of worship, even the Saracens being
allowed to possess a mosque. A certain number of houses, a certain
extent of territory, and particular piers at which their ships could
moor for discharging or receiving cargo, were assigned to them, and, as
a rule, they paid lower duties than native merchants did. Sometimes, it
seems they were liable to render military service, as though feudal
vassals, but to all intents and purposes they enjoyed under the
Byzantine emperors very much the position which foreigners in Turkey
now occupy, in virtue of the Capitulations granted by Sultans to
European residents. The original copies of several of the commercial
treaties between the Empire and the Italian States are preserved in the
archives of Venice, Genoa, and other cities of Italy, and furnish an
interesting chapter in the history of diplomacy and commerce.


The sailing boats used in these waters are constructed so that the mast
and sail can be lowered in a few seconds to shoot the arches of the

The most picturesque portion of the Golden Horn is that which lies
between the two bridges. Along the Galata shore, a large flotilla of
gaunt native barges, with short masts and long oblique yards, is
generally moored, waiting to be employed in the transhipment of the
cargoes that leave or reach the port. Here also a mass of native
shipping is laid up for the winter, after the fashion of the early days
of navigation. It is a dense forest of bare masts and poles involved in
a network of cordage, with the steep hill, upon which the stone houses
of Galata and Pera are built, as a rocky background. After a night of
rain, the scene changes. Then from every yard and mast, heavy, damp
sails are spread in the warm, misty, morning air, and you seem to look
upon a flock of great sea-birds opening their wings to bask in the
sunshine. Along the opposite shore, surmounted by the domes and
minarets of the Mosque of Sultan Suleiman, the bank is fringed with
native craft, laden with fruit or oil from the islands of the Ægean Sea,
or bringing planks and beams to the timber-yards at Odoun Kapan from the
lands beside the Danube. Timber has been stored at that point ever since
the days of Justinian the Great, if not ever since the city was founded.
Caiques flit to and fro, as if shuttles weaving the sundered parts of
the city together. While companies of fearless sea-gulls spread grey
wings and white breasts over the blue waters, and dance around in every
graceful form that motion can assume. It is the portion of the harbour
in which the world of the East is still most clearly reflected. The
reach of the Golden Horn beyond the Inner Bridge is specially devoted to
the service of the Turkish navy, and there may be seen such modern
things as ironclads, torpedo boats, and torpedo destroyers. The time was
when the Ottoman fleet which gathered here formed an imposing display of
naval strength. The Admiralty, Naval Hospital, and Dockyard are situated
on the northern bank. On the hill above the Dockyard is the Okmeidan,
the field to which the Sultans whose strong arms built up the Ottoman
Power came to exercise themselves in the use of the bow. It is studded
with pillars commemorating the long shots made by the imperial archers.

[Illustration: GOLDEN HORN

Seen from the water’s edge on a misty morning; crowning the distant
heights is the Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent.]

The southern bank, with its steep slopes crowded with konaks, gardens,
mosques, minarets, is noteworthy for the number of Byzantine churches
still found beside the shore or upon the hill-sides, preserving the
memory and something of the aspect of the ancient city. Among them are,
S. Theodosia (Gul Djamissi), Pantocrator (Kilissé Djamissi), Pantepoptes
(Eski Imaret Djamissi), Pammakeristos (Fetiyeh Djamissi), Chora
(Kahriyeh Djamissi), SS. Peter and Mark (Atik Mustapha Pasha Djamissi).
Close to the western extremity of the shore stood the Church of S. Mary
of Blachernæ, once the object of profoundest reverence on account of the
wonder-working power attributed to the reputed girdle and mantle of the
Mother of the Lord, enshrined among its relics. The site is marked by
the Holy Well formerly attached to the sanctuary. On the hill above the
Well are the scanty remains of the famous Palace of Blachernæ, once the
favourite residence of the Byzantine Court. In the quarter of Phanar the
humble residence and the cathedral of the Patriarch of Constantinople
are found. What a contrast to the days when the chiefs of the Eastern
Church were enthroned under the dome of S. Sophia! In the quarter of
Balat, and at Haskeui on the opposite shore, are large settlements of
Jews, to whose lowly dwellings belongs the historical interest that they
are the homes of the descendants of the Jews who were expelled from
Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella, and found refuge here among Moslems
from persecution by Christians. They still use the Spanish language,
although not with the music of the speech of Castile. The suburb of
Eyoub at the foot of the hills at the head of the Golden Horn, and the
meadows beside the fresh-water streams which enter the harbour at that
point (the Sweet Waters of Europe) are interesting to all who delight in
Oriental scenes. No quarter in or around the city is so Turkish in its
appearance and spirit as the suburb of Eyoub. It contains the reputed
grave of Eyoub, the standard-bearer of Mahomet, who was present at the
first siege of Constantinople (673-678) by the Saracens, and who died
during its course. The grave was identified, so it is believed, in 1453,
when the city fell at last into Turkish hands, and the mosque erected
over the tomb is the sanctuary in which Sultans, upon their accession
to the throne, gird on the sword which constitutes them sovereigns of
the Ottoman Empire, and standard-hearers of Islam. It is a ceremony
which embodies the inmost idea of a Moslem State. No Christian is
permitted to enter the mosque. On a recent occasion the veneration in
which the edifice is held served a noble purpose. During the massacres
of 1896, a crowd of Armenians took refuge in the court of the mosque,
with the courage of despair. A wild mob followed, intent upon the death
of the fugitives. A terrible scene seemed inevitable. When, at the
critical moment, the imaum of the mosque appeared, and forbade the
desecration of the holy ground by the shedding of blood upon it. The
appeal was irresistible. The horde of murderers bowed to the command to
be gone, and their intended victims were allowed to escape. The sacred
associations of the suburb have made burial in its soil to be esteemed a
great honour, and, accordingly, many distinguished Turkish personages
have been laid to rest here from early times. The old turbaned
tombstones, inscribed with Arabic letters, painted with floral designs,
shaded by trees and overrun by climbing plants, form as picturesque a
cemetery as one can wish to see. The influence of the suburb is not
weakened by the fact that it enters into the life of Turkish children
by being a great factory of their toys. The hill above Eyoub commands a
magnificent view of the Golden Horn and the city. As to the scene in the
valley of the Sweet Waters, where Turkish ladies gather on Fridays in
early spring, it is no longer what it once was. The exchange of native
vehicles for carriages such as may be seen in Paris or London, and the
general use by Turkish ladies of quiet colours in their mantles and
head-dress instead of bright hues, have robbed the spectacle of almost
all its gaiety, originality, and decorative effect. The scene offers now
rather a study in the transformation of the Turkish woman, than a
presentation of her peculiar aspect and character. Still, as the change
is not complete, a stranger may yet find pleasure in seeing what
vestiges of former manners and customs have not disappeared.


The Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent, occupying one of the finest
sites in the city, is seen here at early sunrise emerging from the mist
on the Golden Horn.]

[Illustration: CEMETERY AT EYOUB

A cobble-paved pathway in the most picturesque cemetery in

Of the historical events of which the Golden Horn has been the theatre,
the most important are: first, the attack upon the walls along this side
of the city, in 1203, and again in 1204, by the Venetian fleet which
accompanied the Fourth Crusade; second, the transportation by Sultan
Mehemet into its waters in 1453, of warships over the hill that
separates the harbour from the Bosporus. The movements of the Venetian
fleet and of the army which accompanied it can be followed step by step,
so minute is the description of Ville-Hardouin and so unaltered the
topography of the country. Upon approaching the city the invaders put in
at San Stefano, now a favourite suburban resort upon the Sea of Marmora.
A south wind carried them next to Scutari. From that point they crossed
to the bay now occupied by the Palace of Dolma Bagtché, near Beshiktash.
There the army landed, and advancing along the shore attacked the tower
to which the northern end of the chain across the harbour’s mouth was
fastened. Upon the capture of the tower after a feeble resistance, the
chain was cut, and the fleet of Venice under the command of Dandolo,
flying the ensign of S. Mark, rode into the Golden Horn and made for the
head of the harbour. At the same time, the troops marched towards the
same point, along the northern shore, where Cassim Pasha and Haskeui are
now situated. At the latter suburb they crossed the stone bridge that
led to Eyoub on the southern bank. Then turning eastwards, they seized
the hill facing the portion of the city walls above which the windows
and domes of the Palace of Blachernæ looked towards the west. While
the army prepared to attack that point, the ships of Dandolo stood
before the harbour walls, in a long line from Aivan Serai to the Phanar
and the neighbourhood of the present Inner Bridge. A desperate assault
followed, in which twenty-five towers were carried by the Venetians, and
the day would have been won, but for the repulse of the land forces and
the necessity to hasten to their relief. Soon a revolution within the
city against the usurper whom the Crusaders had come to depose, and in
favour of the restoration of Isaac Angelus, whose claim to the throne
they supported, seemed to bring the struggle to an end. As a sign that
amicable relations had been established, and to avoid the danger of
angry collisions with the citizens, the invaders removed their forces to
the northern side of the Golden Horn. But the conditions on which help
had been rendered to Isaac Angelus were too hard to be fulfilled; and
insistence upon them provoked the national feeling against the foreign
intruders. The imperial protegés of the Crusaders were murdered, or died
from fear, and the smouldering embers of the strife burst once more into
flames. The army of the Crusade was therefore taken on board the fleet,
and proceeded to make a joint attack upon the portion of the harbour
walls which Dandolo had once before captured. Victory wavered from side
to side. At length, on Easter Monday 1204, Venetian ships approached so
near to the walls in the Phanar quarter that bridges attached to the
masts settled upon the parapet of the fortifications. Brave knights
rushed across, cut down the defenders, clambered down into the city, and
threw open the nearest gates. The blind Doge, ninety years old, leaped
upon the beach, with the banner of S. Mark in his hands, and summoned
his men to follow. The Emperor Murtzuphlus, who watched these operations
from the terrace of the Church of Pantepoptes, fled, and for the first
time in its history, Constantinople became the prize of a foreign foe.


From the cemetery at Eyoub, overhanging the Golden Horn at the upper
end, an attractive panorama is presented. On the right are the domes and
minarets of Stamboul stretching away to Seraglio Point; in the distance
is Mount Olympus on the Asiatic coast, while on the right are Galata,
Pera, and the Arsenal.]

The transportation of a fleet over the hill that rises some two hundred
and fifty feet between the Bosporus and the Golden Horn was a skilful
piece of strategy, and formed one of the most striking incidents in the
siege of 1453. By compelling attention to the safety of the walls along
the harbour, it extended the line of attack, and weakened the defence of
the landward walls. To effect the passage, a road was made through the
ravines leading from Beshiktash on the straits to Cassim Pasha on the
Golden Horn. On that road well-greased logs were laid, like the sleepers
on a railway, and then some seventy or eighty galleys, of fifteen,
twenty, or twenty-two pairs of oars, were placed in ships’ cradles and
dragged by men, oxen, and buffaloes, in the course of a single night, up
one slope and down the other, from sea to sea. The incongruous form of
navigation put everybody concerned in making the voyage into good
humour. Drums beat, fifes sounded, and to add to the zest of the
enterprise, the sails were unfurled, the oars were pulled, the rudders
set, as if the vessels were proceeding over their native element. But
the apparition of the enemy’s ships in the Golden Horn afforded no
amusement to the besieged. It increased immensely their anxiety and the
difficulties of their task. A brave attempt to burn the Turkish vessels
failed, and though the flotilla actually did little in the way of direct
attack, it remained a standing menace to the northern side of the city
until the close of the siege, a thunder-cloud keeping men in constant
dread of the bolts that might dart from its black bosom. Very
appropriately, the Turkish Admiralty stands on the shore of the bay in
which an Ottoman fleet first rode the waters of the Golden Horn.


When all traffic ceases, caïques, lighters, steamboats, and craft of all
kinds are taken to their moorings and the waters are silent and



IN the third chapter, occupied with the story of the making of
Constantinople, some account has been given of the portion of the
landward walls erected in the earlier half of the fifth century, when
the city was enlarged under Theodosius II., viz, the portion extending
from the Sea of Marmora, on the south, to the ruins of the Palace of the
Porphyrogenitus (Tekfour Serai) on the north. That seemed the most
appropriate place to speak of the origin and character of fortifications
which were built as much for the growth and convenience of the city in
its civic relations, as for its security as the citadel of the Empire.
To that chapter the reader who desires to recall the information given
on the subject, is referred. Here, after a brief account of the
additions made to the Theodosian walls, in subsequent times, we shall
consider the historical importance of the landward walls as a whole, and
glance at some of the scenes enacted before them.

The post-Theodosian portions of the walls that guarded Constantinople on
the side of the land extend from the courtyard of the Palace of the
Porphyrogenitus to the shore of the Golden Horn at Aivan Serai. They
replaced an older line of fortifications which ran, at a short distance
to the rear, between the same points, and were constructed to strengthen
the weak places which time revealed in this part of the city’s armour.
First in the order of position, though not in the order of time, comes
the wall erected by Manuel Comnenus (1142-1180), for the greater
security of the Palace of Blachernæ, his favourite residence, which
stood within the old bulwarks, just mentioned. It terminates at the foot
of the steep hill on which the quarter of Egri Kapou is situated. With
its nine noble towers it presents a striking likeness to the
fortifications of a feudal baronial castle, and its solid masonry defied
the Turkish cannon in 1453. Then follow walls, the original date of
whose construction cannot be precisely determined, as they evidently
underwent frequent repairs and alterations. Here is found the Tower of
Isaac Angelus, and, in the body of the wall to the north of the tower,
are three stories of large chambers, very much ruined, which some
authorities regard as the cells of the State Prison of Anemas. More
probably, they were either barracks or store-rooms attached to the
imperial residence, and at the same time buttresses for the support of
the terraced hill on which the palace was built. Beyond this chambered
wall there is a double line of fortifications. The inner wall was
erected in 627, under Heraclius, after the siege of the city by the
Avars, to protect the quarter of Blachernæ and its celebrated Church of
S. Mary of Blachernæ more effectively in the future than when assailed
by that enemy.

The outer wall was built as an additional defence in 813, by Leo the
Armenian (813-820), in view of an expected attack upon the city by the
Bulgarians under Crum.

The territory outside the landward walls has indeed a charm of its own,
in its quiet rural aspect, and in the glimpses it affords of distant
blue water seen through dark groves of cypresses. But it cannot pretend
to the splendid natural scenery which confronts the shores of the Sea of
Marmora or of the Golden Horn, and makes the beauty of Constantinople
famous throughout the world. This, however, is not altogether a
disadvantage, for it allows the visitor to view without distraction the
imposing line of bulwarks ranged across the promontory from sea to sea,
and to appreciate calmly all their significance. On the other sides of
the city, the fortifications which guarded the Queen of Cities are
comparatively unimportant, and are easily lost sight of in the beauty of
their surroundings. Here the walls and towers are everything. Here they
attained their greatest strength; here they rendered their greatest
service; here, like troops bearing the wounds and scars of a great
campaign, they force the beholder to realise the immense debt which the
civilised world owes to Constantinople for the strength, the valour, and
the sacrifices devoted through long centuries to the defence of the
highest life of mankind against terrible foes.


Part of the old fortifications, now in ruins, stretching from the
Marmora to the Golden Horn.]

Nor does the scenery which the walls themselves present need to borrow
attractions from any other source to render it the most picturesque and
impressive spectacle of the kind in the world. The alternate courses of
grey stone and red bricks in the structure of the fortifications; the
long lines of wall ranged in ranks, and rising tier above tier to
support one another in the terrible struggles they were called to
maintain; the multitude of towers, marshalled to guard the city and
Empire, great and small, of every shape, square, round, polygons looking
in six, seven, or eight directions, some intact after all the storms of
centuries, others bare, broken, fissured from head to foot, yet holding
together; inscriptions recalling wars, earthquakes, names of men who
have made history; towers crowned with ivy; trees interspersed between
the walls or standing upon the summit, like banners; crenellated
parapets affording glimpses of the blue sky behind, as though, in
Oriental phrase, the ramparts rose to the very heavens; all this
stretching for mile upon mile, from sea to sea, presents a scene of
extraordinary beauty and grandeur, not less attractive because of the
heroism and achievements of which it has been the theatre.

This is not the place for an extended history of the services which
these walls, and the Empire of which they were the citadel, rendered as
the shield of European civilisation. Enough to remember that the dread
of them dissuaded Attila and his Huns from delivering an attack upon the
city, although he approached as near to Constantinople as Athyras, now
Buyuk Tchekmedjé, some twelve miles distant. Doubtless they often
restrained the wrath also of other barbarous hordes. In vain did the
Avars, in 627, beat against these walls between Top Kapou (Gate of S.
Romanus) and the Gate of Adrianople (Charisius). In vain did the Arabs
invest these bulwarks from the spring to the autumn of four successive
years (673-677). As unsuccessful was the second siege of the city by the
same foe for twelve months (717-718). These fortifications defied the
Bulgarians both under Crum in 813 and under Symeon in 924. In 1203 they
repelled the valour of the knights and barons engaged in the Fourth
Crusade. They mocked the assaults of Sultan Murad, in 1422. And when
they succumbed, at length, to the artillery of Sultan Mehemet in 1453,
it was because their defenders were few and divided, and their
assailants were armed with weapons before which ramparts of stone, alike
in the West and in the East, crumbled to pieces, and old systems of
society were swept away.

The battles fought directly before the walls of New Rome do not, indeed,
give us the complete story of her warfare “per benefitio de la
Christiantade et per honor del mundo.” On eight occasions, at least, the
armies of the East Roman Empire were drawn up on the plain outside the
Golden Gate to celebrate victories won on distant battlefields, and to
enter the triumphal Gate of the capital with prisoners, standards, and
spoils captured on hostile territory. To the shouts “Glory to God, who
has restored to us our sovereign crowned with victory! Glory to God who
has magnified you Emperor of the Romans! Glory to Thee All-Holy Trinity,
for we behold our Emperor victorious! Welcome Victor! most valiant
sovereign!” the triumphal car of Heraclius drove into the city, after
his splendid campaign of seven years against the Persians; the campaign
which brought the long struggle between Europe and Persia since 492 B.C.
to an end. The same shouts rent the air, when Constantine Copronymus
returned from the defeat of the Bulgarians, and twice again, when Basil
II., by two murderous wars with that people, earned the title, the
Slayer of Bulgarians, Bulgaroktonos. Theophilus, on two occasions, and
Basil I. passed through the Golden Gate as victors over the Saracens.
And Zimisces received the same honour for beating back the Russians
under Swiatoslaf. These were great days in the history of the city, nay,
of mankind, for they stayed the waves of barbarism that threatened to
overwhelm the civilised world. But after all, it is when the enemy
stands arrayed before the very capital of the Empire, and delivers
assault after assault upon the citadel which guarded its fate and the
destiny of Europe, that the struggle waged between civilisation and
barbarism during the history of New Rome is fully recognised to have
been, indeed, a struggle for life, and that we learn to appreciate what
we owe to the Warden of the Gates to the Western World. To these walls
may be applied the words in which Mr. Gladstone appraised the value of
the services rendered by the Christian populations of the Balkan
Peninsula, in a similar connection. “They are like a shelving beach that
restrained the ocean. That beach, it is true, is beaten by the waves; it
is laid desolate; it produces nothing; it becomes perhaps nothing save a
mass of shingle, of rock, of almost useless sea-weed. But it is a fence
behind which the cultivated earth can spread and escape the incoming
tide.... It was that resistance which left Europe to claim the enjoyment
of her own religion, and to develop her institutions and her laws.”

Although inferior as military works to the other portions of the
landward walls, great historical interest is associated with the
fortifications between the Wall of Manuel and the Golden Horn, for they
guarded the Palace of Blachernæ, the favourite residence of the
Byzantine Court from the time of Alexius Comnenus (1081-1118) until the
fall of the Empire. As already intimated, the palace stood on the
terrace buttressed by the Tower of Isaac Angelus and the chambered wall
to the north of the tower, where the Mosque of Aivas Effendi is now
found. The terrace was almost level with the parapet-walk of the
fortifications, commanding fine views of the Golden Horn, and of the
hills at the head of the harbour; and there the most splendid Court of
the Middle Ages long displayed its wealth and pomp. What with the
Crusades, and what with the relations, hostile and friendly, between the
Italian Republics and the Government of Constantinople during the period
of the Palæologi, it was in that palace that Western and Eastern Europe
came into closest contact for good or for evil. On the hills and in the
valleys seen from the western windows of the palace, the armies of the
First Crusade encamped. To that residence came Peter the Hermit, Godfrey
of Bouillon, Robert of Normandy, Bohemond, Tancred, “the mirror of
knighthood,” Count Robert of Paris, to wonder at the marvels of
Byzantine Art, and to attempt the co-operation of the East and the West,
in the great political and religious undertaking of the times. On the
hill immediately in front of the walls the soldiers of the Fourth
Crusade pitched their tents, and thence Baldwin of Flanders and Hainaut,
Henry his brother, Louis of Blois and Chartres, and Hugo of Saint Paul,
led four divisions of the army against the wall erected by Leo the
Armenian. The wall was held by Varangian troops, the imperial
body-guard, recruited from England, Denmark, Norway, and Russia. “The
assailants,” to quote the words of Ville-Hardouin, a witness of the
combat, and the historian of the Crusade, “placed two scaling-ladders
against an outer wall near the sea; the wall was furnished with
Englishmen and Danes, and the attack was strong, and good, and hard. And
by sheer force some knights and two sergeants mounted the ladders, and
became masters of the wall. Fully fifteen reached the wall, and they
fought hand to hand with axes and swords. And the men within returned to
the charge and drove them (the assailants) out, right rudely, even
taking two of them prisoners. And those of our men who were captured
were led to the Emperor Alexis, and he was very highly delighted. So
ended the attack by the French. And there was a considerable number of
men wounded and of maimed; and the barons were very angry about it.”

The recovery of Constantinople from the Latins in 1261 did not diminish
Italian influence over the life of the city. On the contrary, from that
time to the close of Byzantine history that influence, modified indeed
by the rival force of Ottoman power, grew stronger and stronger.
Commercial interests, political necessities, schemes of ecclesiastical
union, literary sympathies, possibilities of aggrandisement at the
expense of an Empire hastening to ruin, made Italy, especially Genoa and
Venice, take a most active part in the affairs of New Rome. A Western
atmosphere, so to speak, then enveloped Constantinople, very much like
that which surrounds the City of the Sultans to-day.

But the portion of the walls about which the greatest and most pathetic
interest gathers is where Sultan Mehemet delivered his fatal blow upon
the Byzantine Empire, and won the title of “the Conqueror.” It is the
portion which stretches from Top Kapoussi (Gate of S. Romanus) to Edirné
Kapoussi (Gate of Charisius), across the ravine through which the
little stream of the Lycus, on its way to the Sea of Marmora, enters the
city. Owing to the depression of the ground and the impossibility of
constructing a deep moat there, this was the weakest point in the
Theodosian fortifications, and here the bravest of the defenders, under
Giustiniani of Genoa and the Emperor Constantine, manned the walls to
oppose the best troops under the command of the Sultan. Against this
part of the walls the enemy pointed his heaviest cannon, and here the
contest raged for more than seven weeks. Both the besieged and the
besiegers fought with the determination and the valour worthy of the
issues at stake. When the Turkish artillery broke down the Outer Wall,
Giustiniani and his Genoese and Greek comrades held their ground, and
replaced the fallen ramparts by a stockade built of stones, barrels full
of earth, beams, branches of trees--of anything within reach that would
hold together. Against that barricade wave after wave of Turkish troops
dashed and beat furiously and long. There were moments when the
defenders seemed to have gained the day. But like gleams of sunshine
that pierce storm clouds, they only served to make the impending
catastrophe more tragic. Giustiniani was wounded and left the field. A
band of bold Turks entered the city through the postern of the
Kerkoporta, thoughtlessly left open, and, mounting the walls, planted
their banners upon the parapet. Anon, the cry “The city is taken” burst
upon the air and reverberated from tower to tower. A panic seized the
besieged. The Sultan, grasping his opportunity, roused his janissaries
to a supreme effort, and hurled them against the battered and
half-deserted barricade. The Emperor Constantine did everything in his
power to rally his followers and repel the terrible onset. It was
hopeless. He then sought and found a soldier’s death, rather than
survive the fall of his Empire. “All was lost save honour.” And over his
dead body the tide of conquest poured into the city.

Thus ended the history of more than a thousand years. Then Asia dealt
its worst blow upon Europe. Then the last vestige of the State, ruled
first by Rome from the seven hills beside the Tiber, and afterwards by
New Rome enthroned on the seven hills beside the Bosporus, disappeared.
Then the Crescent gained its greatest triumph over the Cross. Not many
spots in the world have been the scene of such momentous events as took
place in the little valley of the Lycus on the 29th of May, 1453.
There an Empire died, and a long and great epoch closed.


Many a charming vista may be seen through the cypress trees in the
cemetery at Eyoub.]

It is very natural, when thoughtful men tread the road which skirts
these ancient fortifications, that the mind should be profoundly
impressed by the vanity of earthly might and greatness. On the one hand,
the way is strewn with the wreck and ruin of ramparts once deemed

                    O’er each mouldering tower,
  Dim with the mist of years, grey flits the shade of power.

On the other hand, stretch great silent cemeteries, beneath whose dark
cypresses lies the dust of a dead multitude more than can be numbered.
As one has expressed the feeling awakened by this spectacle of wreckage
and mortality, “It is walking through the valley of the Shadow of
Death.” And yet, seeing there must be an end to all things, is it not
wiser and more just to dwell rather upon the glory that crowns these
bulwarks for their long defence of the civilised life of the world?

   For a full account of the Turkish Conquest, see E. Pears’
   _The Destruction of the Greek Empire_.



CONSTANTINOPLE was a city of churches. Clavijo, the Spanish envoy, who
visited the city in 1403, was assured that it was hallowed by the
presence of no less than 3000 sanctuaries, counting large and small.
This was obviously an exaggeration, intended to impress the stranger’s
mind with a due sense of the city’s grandeur and sacredness. Ducange in
his great work, _Constantinopolis Christiana_, gives the names of some
400 churches mentioned by the Byzantine authors whose works he had
examined. But a wider acquaintance with Byzantine literature since the
time of that great student of the antiquities of Constantinople has
discovered the names of many churches not upon his list. It is therefore
impossible to reach exact figures here, and we must be content with the
vague statement that the number was so large as to form a striking
feature of the city’s aspect. This was only what might be expected in a
city where the number of churches would be determined not only by the
ordinary religious needs of a devout population, but also by the demands
of the many monasteries which sought security from violence behind the
bulwarks of the capital, notwithstanding the temptations of the world,
the flesh, and the devil, encountered there. What does cause surprise,
however, is that so few of the numerous churches which once adorned the
city, and embodied the piety of its people, have left one stone standing
upon another to recall their existence. At most, thirty-five remain, and
of these several of them are so dilapidated that they only serve for the
identification of an interesting site, or to emphasise the vanity of
earthly things.

Of course all the churches of the city were never contemporaneous. In a
city which had a life of more then eleven centuries, the list of almost
any class of edifices erected in the course of that period would
necessarily be a long one, without implying the existence of numerous
edifices of that class at one and the same time. According to the
description of Constantinople which dates from the first quarter of the
fifth century, the number of churches then in the city is given as only
fourteen. Churches appeared and disappeared, and while some of them
were, for special reasons, maintained throughout the whole course of the
city’s history, many came to flourish for a while and then decayed in
the ordinary course of things, bequeathing as their memorial only the
withered leaves of their names. Then we must remember the frequent and
disastrous earthquakes which shook the soil of Constantinople during the
Middle Ages, and the terrible conflagrations which again and again
reduced the wealth and glory and beauty of extensive tracts of the city
to dust and ashes. For example: the three fires associated with the
capture of the city by the Latins in 1203-1204 inflicted a blow from
which the city never recovered. One of those fires raged for a night and
a day; another for two days and two nights, with the result that almost
all the territory along the Golden Horn, as well as the territory
extending thence to the Hippodrome and the Sea of Marmora, as far away
as Vlanga, were turned into a wilderness of smoking ruins. “The fire,”
says Ville-Hardouin, a spectator of the awful scene, “was so great and
so terrible that no man could extinguish or check it. It was a sad and
pitiful spectacle for the barons of the army encamped on the other
side of the harbour to see those beautiful churches and those rich
palaces fall in and be destroyed, and great business streets burned by
the scorching flames; but they could do nothing. The fire spread beyond
the harbour across to the densest part of the city, quite close to S.
Sophia, and as far as the sea on the other side. It lasted two days and
two nights, without being ever touched by the hand of man, and the front
of the fire was fully half a league long. Of the damage done, or of the
property and wealth thus lost and consumed no estimate can be made, nor
of the number of men, women, or children who perished.” It is true that
churches injured by the hand of time were often restored. There were
even periods when such renovation was carried out on an extensive scale,
as for instance under Justinian the Great and under Basil I. (867-886).
But not less frequently the old fabric was so weakened by age or shaken
by earthquake that to repair it was out of the question, and the only
thing to be done was to use its stones and bricks and marbles as
materials in the construction of other buildings. Much of the material,
for instance, employed in the erection of the Tower of Isaac Angelus, in
front of the Palace of Blachernæ, was taken from the ruins of old
churches. While for the construction of the citadel which John VI.
Palæologus (1341-1391) built near the Golden Gate, material was taken
from the remains of churches so noted in their day as the Church of All
Saints, the Church of the Forty Martyrs, and the Church of S. Mokius.


Close to the busy thoroughfare of Pera large tracts of land lie
unoccupied save for a few mouldering old tombstones; they are the
remains of old Turkish burying-grounds.]

Upon the recovery of Constantinople from the Latins in 1261, something
indeed was done to repair the damage due to the occupation of the city,
for some fifty-seven years, by barbarous and covetous strangers. But the
last two centuries of the Empire were years of wars and civil broils,
years of decline and poverty, and at length of despair, so that
comparatively little could be undertaken to rebuild the sad ruins
inherited from the past, or to arrest the decay whose withering touch
was laid on the monuments that still survived more or less intact. Even
the Imperial Palace beside the Hippodrome was allowed to fall into such
neglect and desolation, that when the Turkish conqueror visited its
empty halls they echoed to his ear the couplet of the Persian poet: “The
spider has become the watchman of the royal abode, and has spread his
curtain over its doorway.” The decay which had smitten the city
impressed every visitor during the half-century preceding the Turkish
Conquest. “Although the city is large,” says the Spanish envoy already
cited, “and has a wide circuit, it is not thickly populated everywhere
for it contains many hills and valleys occupied by cultivated fields and
gardens, and where one sees houses such as are found in an outlying
suburb and all this in the heart of the city.... There are still many
very large buildings in the city, houses, churches, monasteries, but
most of them are in ruins.” The great disproportion between the size of
the city and the number of the population made a similar impression on
Bondelmontius who came here from Florence in 1422. He speaks of
vineyards flourishing within the city bounds, and adds, “There are
innumerable churches and cisterns throughout the city, remarkably large
and constructed with much labour, and found in ruin.” La Broquière, to
cite one witness more, who was here in 1433, observes that the open
spaces in the city were more extensive than the territory occupied by
buildings. Times had indeed changed since the days of Themistius and

Constantinople was therefore far from being a rich and splendid city
when it fell into the hands of its Turkish conquerors in 1453, and the
scarcity of the monuments of its former wealth and grandeur must not be
ascribed wholly to the action of its new masters. The ravages of time,
and the vandalism of the Latin Crusaders, had left little for other rude
hands to destroy.

In his dealing with the religious rights of the Christian community the
Ottoman lord of Constantinople proved conciliatory. While appropriating
S. Sophia and several other churches for Moslem use, he allowed the
Greeks to retain a sufficient number of their former places of worship.

He, moreover, ordered the free election of a new patriarch, who should
enjoy, as far as possible under altered circumstances, the privileges
which the chief prelate of the Great Orthodox Church had formerly
possessed. Upon the election of Gennadius to the vacant post, the Sultan
received him graciously at the palace, and presented him with a valuable
pastoral cross, saying “Be patriarch and be at peace. Depend upon my
friendship so long as thou desirest it, and thou shalt enjoy all the
privileges of thy predecessors.” The Church of the Holy Apostles, only
second in repute to S. Sophia, was assigned to the patriarch as a
cathedral, and he was not only allowed free access to the Seraglio,
but was even visited by the Sultan at the patriarchate. The loss of S.
Sophia was, indeed, a terrible humiliation, one from which the Greek
Church has never recovered; a humiliation which all Christendom feels to
this hour. But the preservation of the fabric is doubtless due to the
fact that it passed into the hands of the conquerors. It is difficult to
see how the Greek community could have maintained that glorious pile,
even “shorn of its beams,” after 1453. At the time of the fatal siege,
the population of the city counted at most one hundred thousand souls.
When the city fell, upwards of fifty thousand of its inhabitants were
sold into captivity. Nor did the subsequent efforts of the Sultan to
attract Christians to the city meet with great success. Hence extensive
portions of the city were abandoned by the Christian population, on
account of paucity of numbers, and the dread inspired by Turkish
neighbours. Even the Patriarch Gennadius soon begged to be transferred
from the Church of the Holy Apostles to the Church of S. Mary
Pammacaristos, in a district where Greeks were more numerous. This
request was made because the dead body of a Turk had been discovered,
one morning, in the court of the Church of the Holy Apostles, and there
was reason to fear that the Turkish inhabitants of the quarter would
avenge the murder of a Moslem, by reprisals upon the few Christians in
the vicinity. Naturally, churches situated in districts abandoned by the
Christian population passed into Turkish hands, and were disposed of as
the new proprietors might find most convenient. It was thus that the
Church of the Holy Apostles itself was lost to the Greek communion, and
made way for the erection of the mosque named after the Conqueror. Other
old churches shared a similar fate, either immediately upon the fall of
the city, or later under succeeding Sultans. For, as might be expected,
extensive building operations were carried on in the early days of
Turkish rule, and every ancient edifice which could not be turned to
better account was brought into requisition to provide ready-made
material for the new structures. During the reign of the Conqueror not
less than sixty mosques rose within the city bounds. The Fortress of the
Seven Towers, built in 1457, at the Golden Gate, was largely constructed
with materials taken from old buildings, as an examination of its walls
will prove. The first palace of the Sultan, on the site now occupied by
the War Office, must have played havoc among the Byzantine buildings,
secular and sacred, in that neighbourhood. While the palace which was
erected later, in the unrivalled situation at the head of the promontory
of Stamboul, encroached upon a territory crowded with such churches as
S. Demetrius, S. George Mangana, S. Mary Hodegetria, and S. Irene. All
were swept away, with the exception of the last, which was converted
from a temple of peace into an arsenal of war.


The courts of the mosques are often used for market-places.]

The Turkish occupation is therefore accountable for the destruction of
many ancient churches of the city. Indeed, if we may believe the
historian of the Greek Patriarchate from 1453 to 1578, there was a
moment when the Christian community was threatened with the loss of
every church, old or new, in its possession. The graphic story is too
long to be told here in all its details, but it is so characteristic of
the parties concerned, and of the prevalent method (not yet quite
obsolete), of creating and turning a difficult situation, that a summary
account of the affair may be permitted. The scene is laid either in the
reign of Selim I. or of his son Suleiman the Magnificent, when the
Patriarch Jeremiah occupied the patriarchal throne for the second time.
And the play opens with the determination of a fanatical Turkish party
to insist upon the law that the inhabitants of a city captured by force
of arms should be denied the right of worship, and should have their
churches either confiscated or levelled to the ground. The
Sheik-ul-Islam of the day had issued his fetva to that effect, and in
five days the sentence was to be carried into execution. A high Turkish
official, who was in the secret, informed a Greek notable of the storm
at hand, and the latter reported the matter immediately to his
ecclesiastical chief. After much weeping and many prayers, the patriarch
mounted his mule and hastened to the residence of the Grand Vizier, with
whom, happily, he was on the best of terms. The result of a long
interview was that the patriarch was dismissed with an invitation to
attend the Council of Ministers, and inform them that, while it was true
that Sultan Mehemet attacked the city and destroyed a portion of the
fortifications, the Greek Emperor had not carried matters to the bitter
end, but went betimes to the Sultan, surrendered the keys of the city,
and, after a friendly reception, brought him into Constantinople in a
peaceable manner. Whereupon, the patriarch, somewhat relieved, paid a
round of visits to the various Ministers of State and to other
influential personages, not forgetting to leave in each case a
suitable parting gift. An extraordinary Council of Ministers was then
summoned to consider the question, and before that assembly the
patriarch duly appeared. Meantime the news of the impending catastrophe
had spread, causing great excitement, so that an immense crowd of
Greeks, Armenians, and even Jews, collected outside the Council Chamber,
to learn as early as possible the result of the deliberations within.
The terrible fetva was solemnly read, accompanied by the announcement
that not only would it be applied to the case of Constantinople, but to
every town captured by the sword throughout the Empire. “O my lord,”
cried the patriarch in a loud voice, addressing the Grand Vizier, “as to
other cities I am not sufficiently informed, but as regards this city I
can vouch that when Sultan Mehemet came to fight against it,
Constantine, with the consent of his nobles and people, did homage to
him and surrendered the place voluntarily.” “Have you,” inquired the
Grand Vizier, “any Moslem witnesses who were in the army of Sultan
Mehemet when he took the city, and who can tell us how he took it?” “I
have, O my lord,” was the prompt reply. “Then come to-morrow to the
Council, and meantime we shall take the Sultan’s pleasure on the
subject,” said the Grand Vizier. Followed through the streets by the
whole Christian population of Stamboul and Galata, the patriarch stood
next day before the Council once more, and was informed that His Majesty
would be pleased to accept Moslem testimony to the correctness of the
statement that Constantinople had capitulated and was not taken by
force. “But O my lord, the witnesses you demand are not here; they are
at Adrianople; and to send for them and to bring them will involve a
delay of twenty days,” pleaded the patriarch. The delay was granted;
messengers, provided with a large sum of money and other gifts, were
forthwith despatched to Adrianople; the witnesses sought were found; and
soon they were welcomed with raptures of joy at the gates of the
patriarchate. After resting for two days, they were received in private
audience by the Grand Vizier, and were assured that they could safely
affirm whatever the patriarch might desire them to say. Accordingly, at
another meeting of the Council, the patriarch was asked to produce his
witnesses, failing which the fetva would be carried out. “They are
standing outside,” he answered. Two aged men were then introduced, their
eyes running with rheum and red as raw flesh, their hands and feet
trembling beneath the burden of years, their beards white as driven
snow. Never before had the assembly beheld men so venerable with age.


Along the low wall to the left are a number of water taps for the
Moslems to perform their ablutions before going to prayer.]

“What is your name?” the first witness was asked. “Mustapha.” “What was
your father’s name?” “Genouze.” “And (to second witness) what may your
name be?” “Pirez.” “And your father’s name?” “Rustem.” “How long is it
since Sultan Mehemet took this city?” “Eighty-four years, to a day.”
“How old were you then?” “Eighteen.” “How old are you now?” “One hundred
and two years old.” “Mashallah, Mashallah” (God protect you), exclaimed
the members of the Council, and stroked their long beards. “In what
capacity did you serve under Sultan Mehemet?” “As janissaries.” “How was
the city taken, by fighting or by surrender?” “By surrender.” Then
followed a long garrulous narrative of the circumstances of the
capitulation of the city, all of which went to prove the historical
trustworthiness of everything the patriarch had stated on that subject.
Finally, a report of these proceedings was drawn up and presented to the
Sultan, who, after expressing his surprise, natural or feigned, ordered
that the patriarch should have no further anxiety about the churches of
his communion “so long as the world standeth.”

Notwithstanding that order, however, the Greek community subsequently
lost several churches in its possession at that time, including S. Mary
Pammacaristos, then the patriarchal cathedral, with the result that it
can now boast of only some six insignificant sanctuaries which were
founded in the period of the Byzantine Empire. But excepting certain
portions of S. Mary Mouchliotissa in the Phanar quarter, none of them
can claim to be ancient fabrics. There are in Turkish hands about
twenty-five Byzantine churches, and, though sadly altered, most of them
retain enough of their original features to be interesting objects of



AS historical landmarks, these churches are of very great value, and if
Byzantine history were more generally studied they would enjoy wider
fame. They enable the historian to fix a date, to give a local
habitation to many events and scenes, to grasp a solid fragment of a
form assumed by the life of humanity, and to feel how thoroughly real
that life was. In them one touches hands that have vanished, and hears
the echoes of voices that are still. The Church of S. Irene, which,
under Turkish control, has been employed both as an arsenal and as a
museum, carries the mind back to the foundation of the city. Indeed,
there is reason to think that it was one of the Christian sanctuaries of
Byzantium before the town was transformed into the capital of the East,
for two early authorities assert that Constantine only enlarged and
beautified the church in order to make it match its new surroundings.
But be that as it may, it is certain that, since the destruction of the
Church of the Holy Apostles to make room for the Mosque of Sultan
Mehemet, S. Irene has been the only sanctuary in the city that can claim
connection with Constantine. Within its walls, it is said, the General
Council summoned by Theodosius I. to restore the orthodoxy of the Church
and Empire in 381 held its meetings. Occasionally, when S. Sophia for
any reason was not available, S. Irene served as the patriarchal church,
and is therefore sometimes designated the Patriarchate, and the
Metropolitan Church. It was burned to the ground during the Nika riot,
but was included by Justinian in the splendid restoration of the
buildings destroyed on that occasion. It was ruined again by the
earthquake of 740, and once more restored by Leo III. the Isaurian. To
it, therefore, is attached the memory of the hero who defended
Constantinople in the second siege of the city by the Saracens, a
service to the world as important as the defeat of the same foe on the
field of Tours by Charles Martel fourteen years later. “At this time,”
to quote Professor Bury, “New Rome, not Old Rome, was the great bulwark
of Christian Europe, and if New Rome had fallen it might have gone hard
with the civilised world. The year 718 A.D. is really an ecumenical
date, of far greater importance than such a date as 338 B.C. when Greece
succumbed to Macedon on the field of Chæronea, and of equal importance
with such dates as 332 B.C., when an oriental empire (Persia) fell, or
of 451 A.D. which marked the repulse of the Huns.”

Another church of historical interest is S. Saviour-in-the-Chora
(country), now Kahriyeh Djamissi, and popularly known as the Mosaic
Mosque, on account of the remarkable mosaics it still contains. It was
clearly in existence previous to the year 413, as thereafter it stood
within the line of the Wall of Anthemius, and could not then acquire the
distinction of being situated “in the country.” Accordingly, it is a
topographical landmark as regards the original extent of the city, only
second in importance to Isa Kapou Mesdjidi, which we have seen indicates
the line of the Constantinian Wall, the position of the first Golden
Gate, and the situation of the Exokionion. Like every church with so
long a life, S. Saviour-in-the-Chora has known many changes. It saw its
best days in the fourteenth century, when it was thoroughly renovated
by Theodore Metochites, and invested with the splendour which still
glows upon its walls, and makes it one of the most beautiful of the old
churches of the Byzantine world.

Not less interesting historically is the Church of S. John the Baptist
(Mir-Akhor Djamissi), situated in the quarter of Psamatia. It was
founded about 463 by Studius, a Roman patrician who, like many other
persons, when old Rome was tottering to its fall, fled from the West to
the East, as when New Rome neared its end, some thousand years later,
men escaped from the East to the West. The church was attached to a
large monastery belonging to the order of the Acœmetæ or Sleepless
Monks, who were so named because they celebrated Divine service in their
churches day and night without intermission. According to the original
constitution of the society the members of the order represented various
nationalities, Greek, Latin, Syrian, and were divided into companies
which passed from hand to hand, in unbroken succession, the censer of
perpetual prayer and praise. They sought thus to make the worship of
God’s saints on earth resemble that of the assembly gathered from all
nations and peoples and tongues that serves Him without ceasing in

                  Even thus of old
  Our ancestors, within the still domain
  Of vast cathedral or conventual church
  Their vigils kept; where tapers day and night
  On the dim altar burned continually,
  In token that the House was evermore
  Watching to God. Religious men were they;
  Nor would their reason, tutored to aspire
  Above this transitory world, allow
  That there should pass a moment of the year,
  When in their land, the Almighty’s service ceased.

As might be expected from the number and zeal of its inmates, the
monastery of Studius was highly venerated, and wielded immense
influence. Its abbot ranked first among the abbots of the capital, and
to it the Emperor was bound to pay an annual State visit on the 29th
August, one of the Baptist’s festival days. On that occasion the Emperor
usually came by water in the imperial barge from the Palace beside the
Hippodrome, and landed at the Gate (Narli Kapoussi) on the shore below
the monastery, where the abbot and his monks waited to receive the
sovereign. In this monastery the Emperor Isaac Comnenus in 1059, and the
Emperor Michael VII. in 1078, assumed the monk’s cowl. The former even
served as porter at the monastery gate, and so happy was he in his
retirement from the pomps and vanities of the world, that when his wife,
who had taken the veil at the time of his abdication, visited him, he
said to her, “Acknowledge that when I gave you a crown I made you a
slave, and that I give you freedom when I took it away.” His wife’s last
command was “that her body should be buried in the cemetery of the
Studion as a simple nun, with no sign to indicate that she was born a
Bulgarian princess and had been a Roman empress.”

No monks in the history of Constantinople showed themselves so
independent of ecclesiastical and State control as the monks of the
Studion. Enough to recall the fact that in the controversy which
agitated Constantinople and the Church at large for over a century
(725-842), as to the lawfulness of using pictures and statues in
religious worship, the monks of this monastery were the boldest and most
determined opponents of the Iconoclast emperors. The abbot Theodore, who
for many years led the opposition to the imperial authority in that
matter, is one of the great figures of the Eastern Church. Eight
occupants of the Byzantine throne found him a man who for conscience
sake defied all their authority, rejected all their favours, and
endured any suffering they chose to inflict. When the Synod, held in
815, ordered icons to be banished from the churches, Theodore and his
monks carried the sacred pictures in procession through the streets, and
gave them an asylum in his monastery. Nor was he only stern. He caused
the rejection of the treaty of peace with Crum, the King of Bulgaria,
because of the demand it contained to surrender the fugitives from that
monarch’s hard rule, many of whom had become Christians. To do so,
Theodore argued, would be to make void the gracious words, “Him that
cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” He held the view that no
monk should keep slaves, and condemned the persecution of the
Paulicians, urging that they who are ignorant and out of the way should
be instructed, not persecuted. There is a prevalent impression that the
pages of Byzantine history contain nothing but the recital of the life
of a servile and ignoble community, of a race of men who trembled at the
nod of any despot and were void of all independence of thought and
action. That such a spirit often prevailed is undoubted. But if the
Byzantines had the faults of our human nature, they were not altogether
without some of its virtues. And whatever our opinions on the
questions, political or ecclesiastical, that divided parties in
Constantinople, may be; although we may think that good men in that city
did not always take the wisest course; it is but common justice and fair
play to recognise that there also was found, in the face of great
difficulties, what we admire elsewhere--a sense of the rights of
conscience, some demand for freedom of thought, the feeling that right
and truth are the supreme authorities over human life, and that rulers,
like other men, should do justly and love mercy. There, as well as
elsewhere, men and women were found who preferred to suffer and to die
rather than prove faithless to their convictions.

The monastery of Studius is, moreover, celebrated for its attention to
hymnology, counting its great abbot Theodore, his brother Joseph, and
two monks, both named Simon, among the writers of sacred poetry. It had
also a scriptorium in which the Scriptures and other religious works
were copied. It was, moreover, famed as an “illustrious and glorious
school of virtue,” and thither youths of the higher classes of society
went for a part of their education. One of the attractions offered by
the school was the facility with which students in an institution so
near the fortifications could get out of the city to hunt in the open
country. The relics preserved in the church drew devout pilgrims to its
shrine from far and near. Many Russians visited the monastery on that
account, and even entered the order of the Acœmetæ to live and die
beside the sacred remains. The humble tombstone of one of these Russian
monks is built in the base of the modern wall enclosing the ground
behind the apse. It bears the inscription, “In the month of September of
the year 1387, fell asleep the servant of God, Dionysius a Russian; on
the sixth day.” The honour of burial in the cemetery in which the
Sleepless were at last laid to rest was accorded also to men
distinguished for their public services, as in the case of the patrician
Bonus, who bravely defended Constantinople in 627 against the Avars and
the Persians, while the Emperor Heraclius carried on his daring
campaigns far away in Persia itself.

SS. Sergius and Bacchus (Kutchuk Aya Sofia) and S. Sophia still reflect
the splendour of the spacious days of Justinian the Great; days in which
men still dreamed of the restoration of the Roman Empire to its ancient
bounds; days in which the justice which Rome had developed was codified
and enthroned to be the eternal rule of all nations that seek to
establish righteousness between man and man. The former sanctuary was
built by Justinian, probably in 527, as a thank-offering to the martyrs
to whom the church was dedicated, for having saved him from the death to
which he had been sentenced, on account of his implication in a plot
against the Emperor Anastasius. No wonder that, when the lustre of the
imperial diadem shed light upon the full meaning of his deliverance, his
saviours became the objects of his special gratitude and veneration. The
erection of the church was one of the first acts of his reign; he placed
it in the immediate vicinity of his residence while heir-apparent, and
at the gates of his palace when Emperor; to it he attached a large
monastery, endowed with his private fortune. There cleaves therefore to
the building the personal interest that belongs to anything done in a
man’s most earnest mood. Among the historical associations that gather
around the edifice is the fact that it was the church assigned to the
Papal Legates at the Court of Constantinople, for the celebration of
Divine service in the Latin form. Originally, indeed, that distinction
belonged to the basilica of SS. Peter and Paul which stood beside SS.
Sergius and Bacchus. The special regard cherished for the two great
apostles in the West would naturally make a church dedicated to them in
Constantinople the most acceptable religious home for the Roman clergy
on a visit to the city. But the basilica of SS. Peter and Paul soon
disappeared, under circumstances of which we have no record, and then
SS. Sergius and Bacchus, virtually a part of it, was placed at the
disposal of Latin priests. This fraternal custom was often interrupted
by the quarrels which, from time to time, rent Eastern and Western
Christendom even before their final separation, but it was restored
whenever the two parties were reconciled. Pope John VIII., for instance,
thanks Basil I. (867-886) for granting the use of the church again to
the Roman See, in conformity with ancient rights. Among the Papal
representatives in Constantinople was Pope Gregory the Great (590-614),
while still a deacon, and at a time when the ecclesiastical rivalry
between the Sees of Old Rome and New Rome was keen. It must have been
with something of the feeling that sprang from personal acquaintance
with scenes and men in the rival metropolis that he protested, when
Pontiff, against the assumption of the title “œcumenical bishop” by
the Patriarch John the Faster in 587, and that he adopted in
contra-distinction the well-known style of the Popes “the servant of the
servants of God.” Pope Vigilius spent several unhappy years (547-554) in
Constantinople, in controversy with Justinian and the patriarch of the
day, and in the course of the dispute had occasion to flee to the Church
of SS. Peter and Paul, for refuge from the Emperor’s displeasure.
Notwithstanding the right of sanctuary, Justinian gave orders for the
arrest of the Pope in his place of retreat. But when the officers sent
for that purpose appeared, Vigilius, a man of uncommon size and
strength, clutched the pillars of the altar, and refused to obey the
imperial summons. Thereupon, the officers pulled him by his feet and
hair and beard, to force him to let go his hold. But the bishop held
fast, and could not be moved until the pillars to which he clung gave
way, and threw him and the altar to the ground. This was too much for
the indignation and sympathy of the spectators who crowded the church.
Coming to the rescue, they put the assailants to flight, and left the
Pope master of the situation. It was only after a distinguished
deputation, led by Belisarius, waited upon him next day, warning him
that resistance to the Emperor’s authority would be vain, and assuring
him that submission would prevent further ill-treatment, that Vigilius
came forth from the church. This was in 551. The church was attached to
a large and rich monastery known as the monastery of Hormisdas, after
the name of the district in which it stood. Like the members of other
monasteries in the city, the monks of this House took their full share
in the theological controversies of their day.

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF S. SOPHIA]

Among the crowd of events witnessed under the dome of S. Sophia, there
are three scenes of paramount importance in the religious history of the
world that lend to the Great Church an extraordinary interest. The first
occurred on the day on which the envoys of Vladimir attended service in
the cathedral, and were so overwhelmed by the splendours of the worship,
that they hastened back to Russia to tell their sovereign that they had
seen the glory of the true God. “We know not,” they are reported to have
said, “whether we were not in heaven; in truth, it would be impossible
on earth to find such riches and magnificence. We cannot describe to you
all that we have seen. We can only believe that there in all likelihood
one is in the presence of God, and that the worship of other countries
is there entirely eclipsed. We shall never forget such grandeur.
Whosoever has seen so sweet a spectacle will be pleased with nothing
elsewhere.” The conversion of the Slavic peoples to the Christian faith,
a work commenced in the ninth century by the mission of Cyril and
Methodius to the Slavs of Bulgaria and Moravia, is one of the most
important services rendered by the Church of the Byzantine Empire to the
cause of European civilisation. So far as its political significance is
concerned, it can stand comparison with the conversion of the Teutons by
the Western Church. It accomplished what the victories of Zimisces
failed to achieve.

It was the moral conquest of Russia, and the source of her upward life,
until that country was opened also to the influence of Western
civilisation. It probably saved Russia from becoming a Mohammedan State.
The Slavic peoples rightly cherish a regard for Byzantine
Constantinople, similar to that which Western Europe feels for Athens
and Rome.

The second scene, to which we refer, took place on the 15th July 1054.
On the morning of that day, as Divine worship in the cathedral was about
to commence, three papal legates, Cardinal Humbert, Cardinal Frederic,
and the Archbishop of Amalfi, made their way through the crowd of
worshippers to the steps of the altar. Having denounced the Patriarch
Michael Keroularius for insubordination to the Holy See, the legates
placed upon the altar a bull of excommunication against him and his
adherents. They left the church, shaking its dust off their feet, and
exclaiming, “Videat Deus et judicet.” In due time the patriarch hurled
back a counter-anathema; and, thenceforth, the Christian world was
divided in two bitterly hostile camps. It was the wave precipitated
against the shore by waves that had tossed the ocean’s expanse, for
league upon league. It was the consummation of a long process of
disruption between the West and the East, the course of which is marked
by such events as the foundation of Constantinople, the jealousy between
Old Rome and New Rome, the invasion of the Teutons, the establishment of
the Holy Roman Empire, race antipathies, and wrangles over the phrase
Filioque, the use of images, the celibacy of the clergy, and the
employment of unleavened bread in the Eucharist. Behind all this
discord, we may be able to detect men groping for the truth, and
resisting absolutism in Church and State. But it has left Christendom
weakened both as a political and a religious power to this day.

On the 29th or 30th of May 1453, Sultan Mehemet the Conqueror alighted
from his horse at the gate of S. Sophia. It was most probably at the
“Beautiful Gate,” at the southern end of the noble inner narthex of the
church, the entrance through which the Emperors of Constantinople
usually proceeded to the cathedral. According to one account, the Sultan
stooped down at the threshold, took some earth, and scattered it on his
head in token of humiliation before God. Entering, he saw a Moslem
breaking the marble pavement. He struck at the vandal with a scimitar?
for daring to injure a building that belonged of right to the sovereign.
Then, in what to the Eastern world was the Holy of Holies of
Christendom, an imaum ascended the pulpit and cried aloud, “There is no
God but God, and Mahomet is His prophet.” And so it has been ever since.

The Church of S. Saviour Pantepoptes, the All-Seeing (Eski Imaret
Djamissi), the Church of S. Saviour Pantocrator, the All-Powerful
(Zeirek Kilissé Djamissi), and the interior of S. Saviour-in-the-Chora
(Kahriyeh Djamissi), recall the period of the Comneni and the Angeli

In their erection ladies of considerable importance in the history of
Constantinople had a part. The first was built by Anna Dalassena, the
mother of Alexius I. Comnenus; the last was restored by his
mother-in-law, Mary Ducæna, a Bulgarian princess famous for her beauty;
the second was an erection of the Empress of John I. Comnenus, the
daughter of Geysa I., King of Hungary. These churches represent the age
when Constantinople was stirred by the march of the earlier Crusades
through the territory of the Empire, when Peter the Hermit and Godfrey
de Bouillon encamped their followers within sight of the city walls, to
be dazzled by the splendours of the Palace of Blachernæ, and cajoled by
the diplomacy of Alexius I. Comnenus. They also recall the time when
Henrico Dandolo, the Doge of Venice, brought his fleet and the troops of
the Fourth Crusade to the Golden Horn, and founded the short-lived Latin
Empire of Constantinople. It was on the terraced ground beside the
Church of Pantepoptes that the Emperor Alexius Murtzuplus pitched his
vermilion tents and drew up his reserve forces. There he stood to see
the walls on the shore below attacked by the Venetian ships and carried
by Frankish knights. From that position he fled at the approach of a
body of the enemy’s horsemen, and under his unstricken vermilion tent
Count Baldwin of Flanders and Hainaut, soon to succeed him as Latin
Emperor of Constantinople, spent the night of that memorable day.

The monastery of the Church of the Pantocrator became the headquarters
of the Venetians during the Latin occupation of the city. In the
relations of Western and Eastern Christians to each other during the
period of the Crusades there is nothing of which we can feel proud. The
former were barbarous, the latter were decadent; neither of them worthy
to recover the San Graal in search of which so much heroism and devotion
were displayed for two centuries. But it is well to remember that the
encounter of the East and the West during those expeditions contributed
not a little to the “infiltration,” as it has happily been phrased, “of
ideas, knowledge, and art from the Grecised Empire into Western Europe.”
It brought the influence of an older and riper civilisation to bear upon
the younger life that had come into the world, and aided that life to
evolve a new and better order of things.

The Venetian occupants of the monastery of Pantocrator, for instance,
could learn much from the admirable organisation of the hospital
maintained by that House for the benefit of the poor. The hospital
contained fifty beds, of which ten formed a ward for surgical cases,
eight a ward for acute diseases, ten for ordinary maladies, and twelve a
ward for women. A fifth ward contained ten beds for the reception of
applicants for admittance into the other wards of the hospital, until
the physicians should decide upon the gravity of the cases. Each ward
was in charge of two doctors, three medical assistants, and four

To the women’s ward were attached a lady-physician, six assistant
lady-surgeons, and two female nurses. All patients were treated
gratuitously. Upon arrival at the hospital a patient’s clothes were laid
aside, and replaced by a white dress provided by the institution. There
was a liberal allowance of bread, beans, onions, olive oil, and wine,
for all able to partake of such food, while from time to time gifts of
money were distributed. The beds were kept clean, and a house-doctor
went through the wards every day to inquire of the patients, whether
they were satisfied with their treatment, and to examine their diet. In
addition to the hospital, the monastery maintained, on the same liberal
scale, a Home for Old Men, accommodating twenty-four persons.

The inhabitants of Constantinople were sinners, though not sinners above
all men, as they are often represented. But in their hospitals,
orphanages, asylums for the aged, free caravanseries, asylums for
lepers, and other institutions “to give rest to those whom trouble had
distressed,” which humanised the city with compassion, they were
distinguished also for that charity which covereth a multitude of sins.

The Churches of S. Mary Pammacaristos (Fethiyeh Djamissi), the Church of
S. Theodosia (Gul Djamissi), and portions of S. Saviour-in-the-Chora,
carry us to the times of the Palæologi, the dynasty that occupied the
throne of Constantinople during the last one hundred and ninety years of
the city’s history as New Rome. It is the period of the long struggle
with the Ottoman Turks, and the culmination of the conflict between the
Mohammedan world and Christendom which had filled more than eight
centuries with its hate and din; when the sign in which the Empire had
conquered yielded to the sign of the crescent, and the benediction of
the prophet of Islam--“Whoso taketh the city of Constantine, his sins
are forgiven”--found at length a man upon whose head it could settle. It
is a sad period of Byzantine history; yet one noble idea, at least,
appealed to its mind--the Reunion of Christendom--which, if realised,
would have changed the history of Europe. But it was not to be.

Like all the churches of the city situated near the fortifications, the
Church of S. Saviour-in-the-Chora was regarded with special veneration
as a guardian of the safety of “the God-defended capital,” and there,
during the siege of 1453, was placed, as an additional pledge of
security, the icon of S. Mary Hodegetria, attributed to S. Luke. But the
church was the first sanctuary into which Turkish troops broke on the
fatal 29th May for pillage. They spurned to take the icon as a part of
their plunder, and in mockery of its vaunted power hacked it to pieces.
The Latin Church of S. Peter in Galata claims to possess one of the

With S. Theodosia is connected the pathetic association that the
festival day of the church coincided with the day on which the city fell
in 1453. The area and galleries of the building were packed by a large
and earnest congregation that kept vigil through the night-watches,
praying for the safety of the Queen of Cities, when suddenly, soon after
the sun had risen, the wild rush of soldiers and shouts of victory in
strange accents told that the enemy had triumphed, and that the day of
vengeance was at the door. No massacre ensued, but the whole
congregation was doomed to slavery.

The Church of the Pammacaristos served as the cathedral of the
patriarchs of Constantinople for one hundred and thirty-five years after
1456, when deprived of the Church of the Holy Apostles.

These churches put the period of the Palæologi before us in also a
pleasing aspect. The mosaics which adorn the narthex and exo-narthex of
the Church of S. Saviour-in-the-Chora imply, that love for the beautiful
and skill to express it had not fled the city which reared S. Sophia.
The proportions of S. Theodosia are exceedingly fine, and the chapel
attached to the Pammacaristos is, at least externally, remarkably
attractive. Nor had intellectual life and scholarship altogether ceased.
The historian Nicephorus Gregoras was a monk in the monastery of S.
Saviour-in-the-Chora, and wrote his work in the retirement of his cell.
The historians Pachymeres, Cantacuzene, Phrantzes, Ducas, were not the
products of an ignorant age. The Greek scholars who took refuge in the
West, and contributed to its intellectual revival, represented a society
which, with all its faults, had not lost its interest in the literature
of ancient Hellas, or in general knowledge. Indeed, in studying the
period of the Palæologi, one continually meets a spirit akin to that
which produced the Renaissance in Western Europe. And, notwithstanding
the vanity of indulging in dreams of what might have been but never has
been, the mind obstinately asks, What if that upward movement had not
been checked by a great political catastrophe? What if it had been
accompanied by moral reform and military prowess?



BUT however interesting the old churches of the city are as historical
landmarks, however useful as a clue to guide us through the labyrinth of
the life of New Rome, their supreme value after all consists in the fact
that they are monuments, one of them the finest monument, of what is
styled Byzantine Art--the art which blended artistic elements derived
from Greece and Rome with artistic elements borrowed from Nineveh,
Persia, Syria, and unfolded a new type of beauty. It was the flower
developed by that fusion of Western and Oriental æsthetic ideals and
tastes resulting from the long intercourse maintained between Europe and
Asia, sometimes at the point of the sword, and sometimes by the peaceful
ministries of commerce. Nowhere could that Art find a more congenial
atmosphere in which to flourish than in the city which binds the West
and the East together. Like all else in the world, Byzantine Art was not
a sudden creation, independent of all antecedents, unheralded by
previous analogous forms. The dome was reflected in the waters of the
Tigris and of the Tiber before it was mirrored in the Bosporus. Columns
were bound together by arches instead of by a horizontal entablature, in
the Palace of Diocletian at Spalato, before they were so united in the
Sacred Palace beside the Hippodrome of Constantinople. Walls glistening
with variegated marbles, marble floors glowing with colours that vied
with meadows in flower, mosaics radiant with the hues of the rainbow,
had adorned homes and made palaces beautiful before the witchery of such
coloration cast a spell over the courtiers of Justinian, or suffused the
light in S. Sophia. Even the pendentive that fills the triangular space
between two contiguous arches at right angles to each other, so
characteristic of Byzantine architecture, is claimed to be an earlier
device in domical construction. Be it so. In one sense, there is nothing
new under the sun. The new grows out of the old, the present is the
product of the past. And yet, while a new order of things must spring
from an old order, it is not the bare repetition of what has been;
while it must employ materials shaped originally for the use of other
days, it is not the mechanical combination of those materials. It
employs them in another spirit, under the control of ideas different or
more mature than have yet been known, as the utterance of feelings
acting with peculiar force at particular moments in history, with more
skill, on a larger scale, with happier effect, and the result is that
something appears with an individual entity perfectly distinguishable
from all that ever was before, or that will ever come after. Byzantine
Art is its own very self, however many adumbrations prophesied its

The oldest ecclesiastical edifice in the city--the Church of S. John the
Baptist, attached to the monastery of Studius--does not, however,
represent Byzantine architecture. Built in 463, it is a basilica, and
accordingly is a specimen--the only specimen in Constantinople--of the
earliest type of a Christian sanctuary. It was well-nigh destroyed in a
conflagration that devastated the district of Psamatia in 1782, and its
roof was crushed in by a heavy fall of snow some three winters ago. But,
though only the shadow of its former self, its primitive character can
be clearly recognised. The old atrium before the church is still here,
with a phiale or fountain in its centre for the purification of the
gathering worshippers. Of the colonnaded cloister along the four sides
of the atrium, the western portion, borne by four columns and forming
the narthex of the church, still stands. There catechumens and
penitents, unworthy to tread the holy ground within the sanctuary, stood
outside and afar off. Beautiful trees now spread their branches over the
court, and the shaded light falls upon turbaned Moslem tombs, as of yore
it fell upon the graves of Christian monks, from the trees growing in
the Paradise of the monastery. It is the most peaceful spot in all
Constantinople, and as fair as it is calm and quiet. The narthex
belongs, undoubtedly, to the original fabric. Its marble pillars crowned
by Corinthian capitals of a late type bear a horizontal entablature, and
the egg and dart ornament, the dentils, the strings of pearls, familiar
in the friezes of Greek and Roman temples mingle with foliage, birds,
and crosses, expressive of new ideas and tastes. Within, the interior
was a hall 89 feet by 83, divided by a double row of seven columns of
verde antique marble, into a nave and two aisles. The proportion of
length to breadth is greater than is usual in basilicas of the West,
and an indication of the tendency to assume the square plan which
Byzantine architecture so strongly manifests. The long lessening vistas
so impressive in Western churches are rarely, if ever, found in an
Eastern sanctuary. In the latter the structure is more compact, and the
worshipper stands before a Presence that compasses him about alike on
every side. At the eastern end of the nave is the usual apse,
semicircular within, a polygon of three sides on the exterior. Triforium
galleries, now gone, divided the aisles in two stories, the upper storey
bearing also columns of verde antique. The columns of the lower tier
were bound by a horizontal entablature, while their fellows above were
united by arches, a mingling of old and new forms. The roof was of wood,
as in similar basilicas elsewhere. The church recalls the Church of S.
Agnes at Rome. Its disappearance will be a matter of deep regret, not
only as an ancient landmark, but as an edifice which preserved the
surroundings of early Christian congregations, and reflected, however
faintly, the light of classic days, through all the changes of the
city’s tastes and fortunes.

The Church of S. Irene, notwithstanding the serious restorations it
underwent in the sixth century and again in the eighth, retains so much
of its early basilican type that it can claim a place among the churches
of the older style. In spite of the two domes placed longitudinally upon
its roof, it is basilican in the proportion of its length to its
breadth, in the retention of lines of piers and columns to divide its
nave and aisles, in its single apse, and the galleries on three sides.
The apse has the interest of still preserving the tiers of marble seats
for the clergy, as in the Cathedral of Torcello. Its conch is adorned
with the mosaic of a large black cross on gold ground, and on the face
of the triumphal arch may be read the invocation calling upon the Hope
of all on the earth or upon the sea to enter His temple, and pour His
Spirit upon His people.

SS. Sergius and Bacchus, styled by the Turks little S. Sophia (Kutchuk
Aya Sofia), on account of the resemblance it bears to the greater church
of that name, is interesting from more than one point of view. It
deserves attention as a thing of beauty. Imagine an octagonal building
constructed of eight lofty piers united by arches. Cover that structure
with a dome furrowed by sixteen flutings. Let the sides in the diagonals
be curved and the sides in the axes be straight, to secure more room,
to avoid monotony of contour, stiffness, angularity, and to introduce
the variety, freedom, softness, which give wings to fancy. Within each
archway, except the one at the east, where the semicircular apse recedes
to make room for the altar and the seats of the clergy, place four
columns in two tiers, now green mottled with black spots, now
cream-coloured marked with red veins, now white marked with veins of
dark blue. Crown the lower columns with capitals, whose lobed form has
been compared to a melon partly cut open, but which might, more
gracefully, be likened to a tulip bud breaking into flower. Bind these
columns, after the old fashion, with a horizontal entablature, where
acanthus, egg and dart, reeds and reel, dentils, strands of rope and the
ornamental letters of an inscription, in honour of S. Sergius and of the
founders of the church, Justinian and Theodora, combine to make a
splendid frieze. Join the upper columns, according to the new taste,
with arches supporting conchs, and resting on long, flattened capitals
covered with marble lace. Revet all surfaces up to the cornice with
variegated marbles, and above the cornice spread mosaics. Then put this
octagonal fabric, with its undulated interior surface, thus carved and
coloured and gemmed, into a square edifice, like a jewel into a casket;
so that the apse may protrude beyond the square’s eastern side, and the
aisle, between the octagon and the square, may be divided into two
stories by galleries, and the round dome may soar aloft visible to all
without, and you have some idea of the plan and beauty of this gem of

Another consideration that lends interest to SS. Sergius and Bacchus is
its striking resemblance to the Church of S. Vitale at Ravenna. The
latter was commenced in 526, a year earlier than the former, while
Theodoric the Great ruled his Ostrogoths in the fair city beside the
Adriatic. It was not completed, however, until 547, after the arms of
Justinian had restored Ravenna to the Roman Empire. A comparison between
the kindred buildings would be invidious. Let it suffice to say,
speaking broadly, that the exterior arrangements of SS. Sergius and
Bacchus are superior to those of its western companion, while the
interior of S. Vitale is more beautiful than the interior of the church
on the shore of the Sea of Marmora. But, leaving comparisons between two
beautiful objects alone, it is pertinent to recognise the artistic
influence of Constantinople over Art in the West here manifested. For,
although the churches are too different for the one to have been copied
from the other, they are so similar as to prove the existence of a
common school of Art; a school which had its chief seat in the studios
and workshops beside the Bosporus. Even some of the materials of S.
Vitale were imported from the East; among them, “melon-capitals” like
those which adorn the columns on the ground-floor of SS. Sergius and

The similarity of the two churches has yet another interest. Their
likeness constitutes them symbols of Justinian’s great policy--the
reunion of the East and the West, a reunion maintained for some two
hundred years after its consummation. Since that unity was impaired,
they have stood, one beside the Adriatic, the other beside the Marmora,
like hills which erewhile formed sides of the same mountain, and rose to
the same peak, but which a cruel tide has torn apart and holds separate,
in spite of their kinship.

But, perhaps, the chief interest attaching to SS. Sergius and Bacchus is
the fact that it represents a stage in the solution of the problem how
to crown a square building with a dome, the characteristic mark of
Byzantine architecture.

To cover a round building, round from summit to base like the Pantheon,
with a dome is comparatively an easy matter, for in that case two
circular structures meet and fit together along the whole circuit of
their circumferences. On the other hand, to set the round rim of a dome
upon a square substructure seems an attempt to join figures which from
the nature of things can never coalesce.

Such a union is conceivable, only if, by some device, the different
figures can, at least at some point, be cut to the same shape. The
problem to be solved may therefore be stated as the question, whether
the summit of a square structure can be converted into a circle
corresponding to the rim of the dome it is to support. In SS. Sergius
and Bacchus we have the type of a building in which a step was taken in
that direction. There, as we have seen, the base upon which the dome
rests is formed by a substructure consisting of eight arches arranged in
the figure of an octagon; the gaps at the angles, where arch bends away
from arch, being filled with masonry to the level of the heads of the
arches. Such a base, it is true, does not match the dome as accurately
as a round substructure like the Pantheon. Still, an octagon
approximates to a circle more closely than a square does. Its contour
offers more points of contact to the orbed canopy set upon it, and the
gaps at its angles, being comparatively small, can readily be filled up
to afford the dome a continuous support. If the fit is not perfect, it
is sufficient to secure a decided advance beyond the simpler art, which
knew only how to put one round thing upon another round thing. And what
beautiful results could be gained by this advance, SS. Sergius and
Bacchus in Constantinople and San Vitale at Ravenna are there to prove.
But the end was not thus reached. Circular buildings and octagonal
buildings are exceedingly beautiful; they should always stay with us.
But they are not the most convenient, and cannot become the buildings in
general use. For the practical purposes of life, square or oblong halls
are in greater demand; such as the basilica, which could serve as a
court of justice, a church, a school, a market, or a throne-room. Hence
the question still remained, Can the summit of a square structure be
turned into a circular base for a dome?

And it is the merit of the architects of S. Sophia, Anthemius of Tralles
and Isidorus of Miletus, his nephew, to have applied the method which
solves that problem, with such ability, such splendid success, and to
have made it so conspicuous and famous, that they seem the discoverers
of the method, and not only its most illustrious exponents. The object
which these men set themselves to accomplish was to combine the
advantages of a basilican edifice with the advantages of a domical
building. For, in S. Sophia, the lineaments and beauty of a basilica are
still retained--the threefold division of a stately hall into nave and
aisles, the recess of the apse at the east end, the galleries dividing
the other sides into two stories, long lines of columns, the lustre of
marble and the glow of mosaics all are here. But the ceiling of a
basilica, whether flat, pointed, or vaulted, was an insignificant
feature. It cramped the upward view; it vexed the eye as heavy. In a
church, it seemed to fling back to earth the aspirations which sought
the heavens. It was dark; through it the Light of the world could not
stream into the soul.


This gallery, built of marble and screened with gilt fretwork, is for
the exclusive use of the Sultan; it is approached by a separate

Whereas a dome was something bold and striking; its construction evinced
great architectural skill; and rewarded the labour bestowed upon it, by
the dignity and the grace it gave to the building whose brow it crowned.
It also appealed to the spiritual mind; it lifted the heart on high, it
was kindred to the skies; it was a cloud through which the glory beyond
the earth could come, in the subdued light that permits mortal eyes to
behold the vision of God. For, most assuredly, the architects of S.
Sophia were not content to rear only a marvel of mechanical skill. Like
true artists they intended to compose “a poem in stone,” nay, to build a
“gate of heaven.” But first that which is natural, afterwards that which
is spiritual. And we must therefore glance at the method they employed
to cover a basilica with a domed canopy.

In the central area, let us say, of a rectangular building, 235 feet N.
and S. by 250 feet E. and W., erect a square structure of four arches.
Where arch bends away from arch, there are triangular empty spaces
breaking the continuity of the lines of the square summit. Such a base
is not round, and it is broken. Can it be made continuous and
circular--that is the question? It can. Fill the yawning triangular
spaces with masonry to the level of the heads of the arches; only let
that masonry be made concave, as though portions of the proposed dome
were inserted between the arches, to dovetail with them. And to your
surprise, perhaps, but inevitably, the square summit is transformed into
a circle, capable of becoming the bed on which a dome may rest as
accurately and securely, as though the square of arches was round and
solid to the very floor. It is all very simple, after you have seen it
done; but the device which introduced into those triangular gaps at the
upper corners of the square the pendentives which, when they mounted to
the height of the arches, converted a square into a circle was a
master-stroke of genius, whoever conceived it first, and an epoch in the
history of architecture. But how is this domed square structure to be
connected with the walls of the rectangular area within which it is
enclosed? How, especially, is it to be held in position, lest it be
split open by the thrust of the dome and hurled to the ground? The
double-storied aisles to the north and the south furnish the required
support in those directions. But it was in the means devised to sustain
the dome on the east and the west, that Anthemius and Isidorus displayed
all their daring, and secured an effect that has never been matched for
grandeur and beauty.

They placed two comparatively small piers to the east of the
dome-crowned fabric and two to the west of it; arched the piers, and
connected them to the right and the left, still with arches, with the
great piers to the rear of which they respectively stood. Filling up the
triangular void spaces between these arches, they thus gained a
semicircular base upon which to rear, at either extremity, a semi-dome,
climbing with gentle curve to the feet of the great dome, to support it
in its lordly place, and (if the expression may be pardoned) to stretch
it from one end of the nave to the other. It is as though the octagon of
SS. Sergius and Bacchus had been cut in twain and set east and west of a
square surmounted by a dome, converting the central area of the church
into an elliptical or oval figure.

For elasticity of spring, for the grace and majesty of its upward
flight, for amplitude, for the lightness with which it hangs in air,
there is no canopy like the arched roof spread over the nave extending
from the Royal Gates to the altar of S. Sophia.

Poised on arches and columns, soaring from triple bays to semi-dome, and
from semi-dome to dome, bolder and bolder, higher and higher, more and
more convergent, culminating above a circle of forty lights, through
which the radiant heavens appear, it is not strange that it has seemed a
canopy merged in the sky, and that for more than thirteen centuries men
have worshipped beneath it with the feeling “This is none other than the
House of God!”

[Illustration: FOUNTAIN IN S. SOPHIA

One of the two great alabaster water-jars near the entrance.]

Only one thing more was needed to make the fabric artistically
complete--to spread over it what Ruskin terms, “that most subtle,
variable, inexpressible colour in the world--the colour of glass, of
transparent alabaster, of polished marble, and lustrous gold.”
Accordingly, all that porphyry, verde antique, white marble, marbles of
variegated hues, in the form of pillar, slab, capital, inlaid patterns,
could contribute, all that delicate carving, with its lights and
shadows, all that mosaics bright and soft as sunset tints could lend,
was brought into requisition, until every part of the interior surface
was suffused in a splendid coloration, and the solid fabric stood
transfigured into a pavilion of some iridescent tissue, overwrought with
gorgeous embroidery, and held up on shafts of prophyry and emerald.

Many persons are, it is said, disappointed with the first view of even
the interior of S. Sophia. Of course the church is not in the state
which made Justinian exclaim, when he first crossed its threshold, “O
Solomon, I have surpassed thee.” But, after making every allowance for
the effect of what detracts from the original glory of the church, those
disappointed with S. Sophia must be reminded that, as some one has
remarked, “it costs an expensive education to admire a sunset”; and,
furthermore, that it is the mark of what is truly great to transcend our
immediate grasp, and to reveal its majesty only to prolonged and
reverent contemplation.

S. John Studius, SS. Sergius and Bacchus, S. Sophia, and S. Irene,
notwithstanding their great differences, agree in following, to an
extent that can be recognised, traditions of ancient art. The light of a
day, that is past and over, is still reflected from them; or, to change
the figure, in them the foliage of a bygone summer mingles sparse and
faded forms with the leaves of a new spring. In the other churches left
in the city, old features disappear, and what is new reigns supreme. The
influence of S. Sophia upon the history of Art has, it is said, been
greater than that of any other single building. And yet S. Sophia has
never been repeated.

Nor is this strange. A masterpiece cannot be reproduced. But we must
seek farther for a complete explanation of the fact. While S. Sophia is,
from one point of view, a culmination, it is, from another point of
view, a stage in a process of development. The combination of basilican
and domical features which it displays is a tribute at once to the
influence of old tastes and to the influence of a new fashion. The
result of the cross, so to speak, of the two influences was superb, and
might well have arrested further change. But considerations, practical
and theoretical, were at work urging movement onwards. Although the dome
of S. Sophia was a great triumph, it was not a complete success. It
rested squat upon the building, when viewed from without. And what was
more serious, its thrust against the walls of the church was so strong
as to demand external buttressing to prevent a fall. Furthermore, while
to stand in a forest of pillars was impressive, it was a pleasure that
interfered with the duty of following readily the services at the altar,
and broke the unity of the congregation of worshippers. Then, men had
grown somewhat weary of the basilica, and were enamoured with the dome.
Accordingly, a logical necessity urged the mind to draw all the
conclusions involved in the premises which had won the faith of the
world of Art. Henceforth, the architectural ideal would be a domed
rectangular edifice as free from pier or pillar, and as wide open to
view, if that were possible, as the area beneath the dome of the

Consequently, the columns or piers bordering the nave decrease in number
until they are reduced to the four necessary to carry the arches upon
which the dome rests. Lateral aisles become narrow; galleries disappear,
or are represented by a gallery only over the narthex. Indeed, in such
churches as S. Saviour-in-the-Chora, the piers that bear the dome are
not free-standing supports, but narrow projections from the walls of the
edifice; so that the interior is practically open to view in all its
length and breadth, having neither aisles nor gallery. In dealing with
the dome, the thrust was reduced, by carrying a cylindrical or polygonal
turret (drum) to a moderate height above the roof, and surmounting the
structure with a cupola. That the fundamental idea inspiring this
movement, from the basilica to the perfect development of a domical
building, was legitimate, and capable of producing magnificent results,
cannot be disputed. But, for some reason, Byzantine architects in
Constantinople did not realise their ideal to the extent we might
expect. At least, no large church constructed on this plan is found in
the city. Then a dome set upon a turret lacks mass and dignity, when
viewed from without, and fails to dominate the interior, or lift eye and
heart upwards, the moment the worshipper crosses the threshold. To look
into such a dome and admire its mosaics is also difficult; sometimes,
even painful.

In order to obtain a church of considerable size, the device was adopted
of building several small churches side by side, furnished with a
continuous narthex, and communicating with one another through their
common wall or walls. The Church of S. Mary Panachrantes, situated in
the Lycus valley, is an example of twin churches, while the Church of
the Pantocrator offers an example of an agglomeration of three churches.
At other times the same result was obtained by adding to an older church
a small chapel, as in S. Saviour-in-the-Chora, and the Pammacaristos.

To overcome the lack of grandeur in a dome placed on a drum, recourse
was had to the system of adorning a church with several domes, in the
hope that multiplicity would compensate for the absence of mass. This
employment of several domes appears already in the reign of Justinian,
who crowned the Church of the Holy Apostles with five domes. When a
church is small, this arrangement produces a graceful and pleasing
effect, as may be seen in the domes of S. Saviourin-the-Chora, S. Mary
Pammacaristos, and the charming Church of S. Theodore Tyrone (Kilissé
Djamissi, near Vefa Meidan). It is seen at its best in the domes of S.
Mark’s of Venice. But after all, this multiplication of domes does not
harmonize with lofty sites and broad spaces. Under the wide sky, and on
the hilltops of Constantinople, it looks a petty thing. It can never
attain the grandeur and sublimity essential to the highest achievements
of artistic architecture. Strangely enough, the ideal of Byzantine
architects is realised better in the imperial mosques that crown the
summits of Stamboul, and rise above the hills on which they stand, as
naturally and proudly as a peak lifts its head into the sky. How puny
are the domes of the Pantocrator or those of the Pantepoptes compared
with the dome of the Mosque of the Conqueror, or the dome over the
Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent, or the dome of the Mosque Shahzade,
or even the dome of the Mosque of Sultan Selim! Nor is it only in their
exterior aspect that the great mosques fulfil the Byzantine ideal. They
do so likewise within. The long pillared lines of the basilica have
vanished. In the Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent, only four piers and
four columns, the latter from Byzantine buildings, break the interior
view. In the Mosque of Sultan Achmed, only four piers uphold the roof.
And at the same time, what spaciousness! What loftiness and grandeur! If
in these mosques one misses the warmth of feeling awakened in S. Sophia,
one finds the same sense of the majesty of Heaven, the same suggestion
of the littleness of man.

But, if we must not look for grandeur in the churches of Constantinople
outside S. Sophia, we meet with much that is exceedingly attractive.
This would be more evident were it not for the neglect, the wilful
destruction, the inane attempts at decoration, to which the buildings
have been subjected. The groined ceiling, edged with a broad band of
marble lace, in the lateral apses of the Pantepoptes is very graceful.
As a general rule, considerable fancy and taste are displayed in the
ornamentation of capitals. The exterior of apses is sometimes rendered
pleasing by tiers of blind arches, or of niches and pilasters. The
portico of S. Theodore Tyrone, with its columns, melon-capitals,
sculptured balustrade, retains, even in its decay and neglect, traces of
remarkable beauty. There is fine work to be seen likewise in the
Pantocrator. While in S. Saviour-in-the-Chora, one can spend days in
admiration of its mosaics, frescoes, marbles, carvings, cornices, and
borders. The undercut foliage, upon a dark background, which crowns the
mosaic figure of the Virgin on the south-eastern pier of the church, is
exquisite. Very fine also are the faces and the robes of some of the
archangels in the dome of the side-chapel of the church. The mosaics on
the vaulted ceiling of the inner narthex, representing traditional
scenes in the life of the Virgin, are among the finest to be found
anywhere. They are wonderfully rich and brilliant in colour. The marble
revetment of the narthex is a splendid specimen of that style of
decoration. There must have been excellent artists in Constantinople in
the reign of Andronicus II., when the narthexes and the side-chapel of
this church were so beautifully embellished.

Yet the visitor to the churches of Constantinople must be armed with
such enthusiasm for what is historically great and artistically
beautiful, that he will be stirred to pursue his way by even the
minutest fragments of objects invested with these attributes. For it
cannot be said of these old sanctuaries, that they have--

  No need of a remoter charm
  By thought supplied, or any interest
  Unborrowed from the eye.

They have stood where no general appreciation for such things exists.
They have been in the keeping of those who have no pride in their
preservation, no reverence for their associations, no admiration for
certain features of their beauty. They are covered not only with the
dust of ages, but of neglect, ignorance, and depreciation. In visiting
these churches, diverted from their original destination, and shorn of
their glory, one is sometimes reminded of Gibbon sitting on the
Capitoline hill of Old Rome, and listening to the barefooted monks who
chanted vespers in the ruined temple of Jupiter. To his mind the
spectacle suggested the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. So, as one
hears the muezzin’s call sounding above the decayed sanctuaries of New
Rome, one may feel disposed to muse on the destruction of the Roman
Empire in the East. That is a natural, a legitimate, a profitable, line
of thought. But it should not be the only direction our thoughts follow.
The Past comes before us not only with its faults, and weaknesses, and
failures. It had its virtues, its strength, its achievements. The
landmarks which it has left behind are not here to recall only the
vanity of human things. They are with us to carry our minds and hearts
back to great examples and to glorious deeds. Sometimes the visitor to
these “church-mosques” is offered pieces of mosaic that have fallen from
the dome under which he stands. They tell of decay, it is true. But with
those radiant little cubes in his hand, an artist may reconstruct the
forms of saints, the figures of apostles and martyrs, the faces of
angels, the majesty of the Pantocrator. So these churches, even in their
humiliation, recall the great community of our fellowmen who lived their
lives, and wrought their deeds, in this city for more than a thousand
years, and they aid us to think the noble thoughts, to catch the love
for beauty, to cherish the high aspirations, and to emulate the services
which glorified that community--that these things may never pass away.



SO much has been written about Constantinople in its Turkish character,
that to say anything entirely fresh and new upon the subject is
impossible. The reader must, therefore, look to the illustrations which
adorn this work for the impression which the Oriental aspect of the city
makes upon an artistic eye. If the writer of the text ventures to repeat
some parts of a well-known tale, it is only because different ways of
telling an old story vary the points of view from which the matter is
regarded, bring different features into relief, and set them in another
atmosphere and colour; as the appearance of the same landscape changes,
according as it is seen at dawn, or at noon, or by the light of the
setting sun.

Speaking of the bridge that spans the Golden Horn from Galata to
Stamboul, De Amicis remarks that; “where every day a hundred thousand
people pass, not one idea passes in ten years.” The slowness with which
the East changes is, perhaps, the impression which the spectacle of life
in Constantinople naturally makes upon the mind of a stranger. His
attention is arrested by the differences between the scenes he observes
for the first time and the scenes with which he is familiar. A fresh eye
is quick to detect distinctions and peculiarities. On the other hand,
“an old resident,” on the same principle, is more deeply impressed by
the changes which have been wrought in the life and aspect of the city
of his abode, since the days of his early recollections. To the visitor
the old is new, and the new is old; while to the resident the old is
familiar, and the new is strange. If the former observer has the
advantage of seeing things from a more striking and picturesque point of
view, the latter is closer to fact and truth. Colonel White, writing in
1844, in his interesting book, _Three Years in Constantinople_, which
such a competent authority as Sir Henry Layard pronounced to be the best
work on Turkish life, said, that if a certain policy were pursued,
“fifty years cannot elapse ere travellers will flock to Constantinople
in search for relics of Moslem institutions with as much eagerness as
they now seek for vestiges of Christian or Pagan antiquities. “It would
be an exaggeration to say that this prophecy has been literally
fulfilled. But events have verified its forecast to such an extent, that
one is tempted to assume the prophet’s mantle, and predict that Colonel
White’s words will come to pass in the next half-century. At any rate,
if the world here has moved slowly, it has moved very far. The
descriptions of Constantinople in such works as Miss Pardoe’s _City of
the Sultan_, and Colonel White’s _Three Years in Constantinople_, seem
to-day descriptions of another city.


The men in long, white pocketless coats stationed at either end of the
bridge collect the toll levied on every man, beast, and vehicle using
the bridge--professional beggars alone being exempt.]

In the political situation, in the matter of education both among the
Turks and the Christian populations, the changes are simply enormous.
This is, however, not the place to expatiate upon these serious topics,
although it is only by their consideration that the greatness and
far-reaching consequences of the new state of things can be properly
appreciated. But look at the change in the matter of dress. Where is now
the variety of costume, where the brightness of colour that made the
movement of the population at all times a procession in gala dress? So
far as her garb is concerned, a Turkish woman to-day is a sere and
withered leaf. She is almost a European lady, thinly disguised. And
where are the men who moved about, crowned with turbans, and attired in
long, coloured, flowing robes? You meet them occasionally on the street,
or see them gathered about the mosques, weary and tattered stragglers of
generations of men, whose mien and gait were the look and motion of
princes. Some one has said that the Turks committed a great mistake when
they adopted the European dress; for the change makes you suppose that
they have ceased to be Orientals, and are to be judged by European
standards in all respects. Too much is therefore expected of them.
Certainly the change has not improved their appearance. It has robbed
them of that quiet dignity and commanding air which imposed immediate
respect. The eagle is shorn of his plumes.

[Illustration: IN THE GRAND BAZAAR]

The Turkish pasha, for instance, is now a shadow of his former self.
What a master of men he looked when seated on a fine Arab horse and
glittering saddle-cloth, he rode slowly through the streets, accompanied
by a retinue of servants on foot, the crowd making way for him to pass
as though a king went by. What an incarnation of dignity he was when he
floated on the Bosporus in a caïque of five pairs of oars, two
servants squatting in front of him, with folded hands, in the bottom of
the boat; his pipe-bearer, behind on the poop, ready to present him with
a long-stemmed pipe of cherry or jasmine wood, surmounted by an amber
mouthpiece, adorned with diamonds. With the disappearance of such
things, there has been a sensible weakening of the awe which the ruling
race excited in the rest of the population. If any one wishes to
experience the fall, so to speak, in the temperature of the feeling of
awe produced by the change from an Oriental to a European garb let him
visit the Museum of the Janissary Costumes. What terror those costumes
must have inspired! Or let him visit the Imperial Treasury in the
Seraglio, and walk down the line of lay-figures attired in the costumes
worn by successive Sultans. The eye pays instant homage to every master
of the Ottoman Empire clad in native apparel. But when the figure of
Mahomet the Reformer, who swept away the janissaries and other old
institutions, is seen dressed in European clothes (except for the red
fez), one reads there the sign that the glory of the House of Othman was
on the wane. The dread and majesty by which the Turk was formerly hedged
round have vanished. Within the memory of men still living, eunuchs
carried swords to chastise indiscreet admirers of Oriental beauties, and
did not hesitate to slash a European guilty of casting long, lingering
looks upon the fair faces. It was forbidden, within days that one
recalls, to pass the imperial palace on horseback or with an umbrella
opened. So strictly was the rule enforced, that even the “Great Elchi,”
Sir Stratford Canning, riding by the palace, was once compelled to
dismount from his horse. This proved too much for the great man. Furious
at the indignity, he sent instantly for his dragoman, demanded an
immediate audience of the Sultan, and obtained the order which put an
end to the humiliating custom.

It is not, however, among the Turkish population alone that a marked
change in dress has occurred. Within the memory of living persons,
Armenian and Jewish women appeared in public wearing distinctive veils.
Baggy trousers, head-kerchiefs, striking colours, embroidered jackets,
turbans, were in vogue among the non-Moslem inhabitants, making the
scenes in the streets kaleidoscopic, and furnishing also a ready means
whereby to identify the nationalities that seemed inextricably mingled
together. It is surprising how a resident of Constantinople can
recognise the nationality of the peoples he meets, even since a common
style of dress has come into fashion. But in days not very remote, every
native wore his country upon his sleeve. His costume was the badge of
his race and people. Now, the order of the day is “à la Franca.”

[Illustration: A FORTUNE-TELLER

In Stamboul, on the way to the Sublime Porte, an old negress may often
be seen telling fortunes by means of coloured beads and shells.]

Again, what a change has come over the style of building in the place.
The palaces of the Sultan are on European models.

The day has vanished, when to go up or down the Bosporus was to move
through a scene in which the charms of nature were heightened by the
fascinating primitiveness and fancifulness of the Orient. The large
old-fashioned Turkish house, almost nothing but stories of windows,
painted deep red, or left to assume the natural grey of the wood, with
broad eaves under which small attic windows, filled with little
diamond-shaped panes of glass nestled, have disappeared, or are fast
falling into decay. Venetian shutters are replacing the latticed
screens, which invested a Turkish home with so much mystery;
conservatories have taken the room of the old green-houses of
orange-trees and lemon-trees. And, worst of all, boats of European form
are supplanting the caïque, so light, so graceful, floating upon the
water like a seabird, and making the Bosporus seem a stream in

Nowhere, perhaps, is the mark of change more evident than in respect to
the means of communication, whether in the city or on the straits. Long
lines of tramways run from the Galata Bridge to the Golden Gate and the
Gate of S. Romanus, from one end of Stamboul to the other. Along the
railway that forms the highway to Europe, there are five stations within
the city limits for the accommodation of the districts beside the track.
The sedan chairs in which ladies were usually carried, in making calls,
are now occasionally employed to convey them to and from evening
parties. The groups of horses standing at convenient points in the great
thoroughfares to carry you up a street of steps or to a distant quarter,
with the surudji, switch in hand, running beside you to urge the animal
onward and to take it back at the close of your ride, have given way to
cabstands, and to a tunnel that pierces the hill of Galata. A tramway
carries one through Galata and Pera as far out as the suburb of Chichli,
while another line runs close to the shore from the Inner Bridge to
Ortakeui. There are persons still living who remember the first steamer
that plied on the Bosporus, in the forties of last century. Its main
occupation was to tug ships up or down the straits; but once a day, in
summer, it conveyed passengers between the city and the villages of
Therapia and Buyukderé. A second steamer soon followed, and charged
eleven piasters for the trip each way. Owing, however, to the opposition
of the caïquedjis, the steamer could not moor at the quay, so that
passengers were obliged to embark and disembark at both ends of the
journey in caïques, at the rate of one piaster each way. Thus a return
trip, which now costs one shilling and eight pence, involved an expense
of four shillings and four pence.


Top-Khaneh is a continuation of Galata.]

No one, of course, undervalues the advantages of steam navigation, or
suggests a return to sailing ships. At the same time it remains true,
that never again will men see the Bosporus so beautiful as it looked in
days when its waters were untroubled by steam. Owing to the prevalence
of northerly winds in these regions, ships bound for the Black Sea were
liable to long detention on their way up from the Mediterranean. Great
fleets of merchantmen were accordingly apt to collect in the Dardanelles
and in the Golden Horn, waiting for a favourable breeze. They had
sometimes to wait six weeks ere they could stir. When at length the
south wind did come, every stitch of canvas the ships could carry was
unfurled, and an immense procession of winged sea-coursers and chariots
rode through the Bosporus day after day so long as the south wind blew.
In an hour, a hundred, two hundred, vessels might pass a given point,
all panting to reach the open sea before the wind failed, and racing one
another to get there first. Ships of all sizes and of every form,
European and Oriental, sails and rigging of every style; huge
three-masted merchantmen, “signiors and rich burghers on the flood,”
schooners, brigs, barges, caïques, “petty traffickers,” with their white
wings stretched over the blue waters, from one green bank across to the
other, flew before the wind, and formed a spectacle solemn and stately
as a royal or religious ceremonial. It was a magnificent scene of
colour, motion, and variety of form; of eagerness and achievement.

When we think of the means of communication with the outer world, the
change is extraordinary. For the voyage from England to Constantinople a
sailing vessel took usually thirty to sixty days. It might be even three
months, as an Englishman still living in the city found, in 1845, in his
own case. To-day one travels by rail to London in three and a half
days. Letters from England took ten days. There was a weekly European
mail _viâ_ Trieste, and three times a month _viâ_ Marseilles. Now, a
European mail arrives daily. The postage on a letter was 1s. 4d. where
now it is 2½d. It is impossible to exaggerate the influence upon the
life of the place due to this close connection by steamship and by rail
with the Western world. The Ottoman authorities were not altogether
mistaken, from their point of view, when they looked with disfavour upon
the junction of the railroads in Turkey with the European railway
system. That junction, it was thought, would facilitate the military
invasion of the country. But ideas travel by rail, as well as soldiers.
And the invasion of a country by new ideas may have consequences as
formidable and far-reaching as any that arms can introduce. The
completion of the railroad between Constantinople and Vienna in 1888 may
be regarded as the conquest of the city by foreign thought and
enterprise. Little, perhaps, did the crowds, that gathered at the
Stamboul railway station on the 14th of August in that year to witness
the arrival of the first train from the Austrian capital, appreciate the
significance of that event. But it was the annexation of Constantinople
to the Western world. New ideas, new fashions now rule, for better and
for worse. And soon the defects and the charms of the old Oriental city
will be a dream of the past.

Owing to the narrowness and steepness of the streets of Constantinople,
the transportation of heavy loads through the city by means of wheeled
vehicles has always been a difficult, and often an impossible,
undertaking. Much has been done in recent years to widen and grade the
chief thoroughfares. The authorities are even accused of having
occasionally secured that improvement, by setting fire to the houses
along an old narrow but picturesque lane in order to take advantage of
the law, that when a house is rebuilt the municipality has the right to
appropriate a part of the old site to broaden the public way, without
giving compensation to the owner of the ground. Moreover, during the
Russo-Turkish War of 1876-77, the Moslem refugees from Bulgaria
introduced the use of a rough four-wheeled cart drawn by one horse, and
that conveyance is now extensively employed. The old-fashioned, long,
narrow, wagon drawn by a pair of oxen or buffaloes, so primitive that it
might be a wagon which the Huns left behind in their march through the
land, still crawls and creaks under a pile of the household furniture
of a family removing from one house to another, or from town to country,
or from country to town. But the means of transportation most
characteristic of the place are the backs of animals and of men. To an
extent seen nowhere else, at all events, in Europe, the streets are
obstructed by long trains of donkeys and horses carrying planks, or
stones, or lime, or bricks, to some building in course of erection, or
hurrying back from it for fresh loads. It is, however, in the employment
of human beings as beasts of burden that Constantinople excels.

[Illustration: A STEP STREET

A typical street in the old Turkish quarter; the houses are built almost
entirely of wood, brilliantly painted, and hardly two in the street are
on the same level; the lattice work at the windows indicates the women’s

The traveller soon makes the acquaintance of these hamals, as they are
called, upon his arrival, whether by sea or by land, and beholds with
surprise that, while he drives to his destination in a cab and pair, his
luggage is perched on the broad back of a fellowman, and proceeds
thither, so to speak, on foot. And the surprise grows into wonder at the
number of articles and the weight which can be put on that stooping
figure. In the affairs of residents, hamals occupy an important place.
No business at the Custom House can be done without their assistance.
They carry the merchant’s goods to and fro. They bring your charcoal,
your coal, your wood, your stoves, your piano, your chest of drawers,
every heavy piece of your furniture. They chop your wood, and store it
in your cellar. They will even carry a child in their arms up a hill or
to a distant house, as tenderly as any nurse. Sometimes a poor sick man
is taken on a hamal’s back to the hospital. To relieve the pressure of
his loads, a hamal wears a thick pad on his back, suspended from the
shoulders by straps through which he passes his arms, and curved upwards
at the lower end to furnish a hollow in which his burden may lodge. Thus
equipped, he stoops low, as a camel does, for friendly hands to load
him; a cord, by which he may steady himself and keep what he carries in
position, is then passed round his burden and given him to hold, and
thereupon he rises slowly and moves off. When a street is unusually
steep, it is customary to place, at convenient intervals, a series of
large stones or small platforms, upon which a hamal may rest his load
without removing it, and take breath for a few moments. To provide
stones of rest for these burden-bearers is considered a pious act. When
the load is too heavy for one man, it is slung upon a long ashen pole
and given to a couple of hamals to carry, by placing the ends of the
pole upon their shoulders. In the case of still heavier weights,
four, six, or eight hamals perform the task in a similar way. The load
is then attached to as many poles as are required; the men, ranged both
in front and in the rear in an oblique line, put the ends of the poles
on the left shoulder, and the right hand, where possible, upon the
shoulder of the comrade to the right; and thus bound and locked together
the band swings forward, shouting Varda. Many a person turns round to
watch the fine stalwart figures bearing off their burden, like a trophy
in a triumphal march.

[Illustration: SIMIT-SELLER

When moving about he carries on his head his tray, balanced on the red
pad resting on his turban.]

The hamals are not natives of the city, but come from various districts
of Asia Minor. They form part of that numerous body of men in
Constantinople who have left their homes and families in the interior of
the country to find work in the capital for a term of years, in order to
support their parents, or their wives and children. It is a practice due
to the scarcity of work in the interior, and a considerable portion of
the money thus earned is sent home to pay the taxes for which the
relatives there are a security. At intervals of five, or even ten years,
these men make a long visit to their homes, and then return to their
work, until they become too old for it, or have earned enough upon which
to retire. They generally own a cottage and a field, property
sufficient to afford the family the bare means of existence, and to
furnish a convenient retreat at last for the weary bread-winner at his
final home-coming. An ignorant, stubborn lot of men they may be, but
their simple lives, their hard labour, and the frequency and fidelity
with which they serve you, give them a place among the kind memories of
a resident in Constantinople.

A company of hamals, generally natives of the same district or village,
acquire the monopoly of carrying loads in a particular quarter or suburb
of the town. One of their number acts as their chief, and it is through
him that arrangements with them for work are made. All earnings are put
into a common fund, and divided fairly between the members of the
society. The various companies of hamals are as jealous of their claims
upon a particular locality as are the dogs of the quarter. They may
carry a load in a district not their own, only if the load is taken up
first in their own quarter. Any attempt to commence work in another
company’s territory results in a fierce fight between the parties
concerned, and exposes the articles in dispute to serious damage. The
Moslem hamals are very attentive to their religious duties. It is often
impossible to get them to attend to your wants at the hours of prayer.

At one time, by far the larger number of hamals employed in the city
were Armenians. Those of them who were attached to merchants’ offices,
as caretakers and confidential messengers, were renowned for their
fidelity and honesty. Any sum of money could be entrusted to their
keeping with absolute safety. Since the massacres of 1896, when this
class of the Armenian population was the object of special attack, and
was almost exterminated, the hamals of the city are chiefly Kurds. It
took some time for the newcomers to learn their duties, and merchants
were seriously inconvenienced by the consequent accumulation of their
goods at the Custom House, and the slowness of delivery. But, to all
complaints on the subject, the authorities, as though the injured
parties, returned the characteristic reply, “Why do you bring so many
goods?” Armenian hamals used to have one great holiday in the
year--Easter Monday--which they spent in dancing together, in their best
garb, on a great mound of rubbish beside the military parade ground at
Taxim. On their return, through the Grand Rue of Pera, “it was not
uncommon to see a band of them, carrying their long, massive poles,
heaving with every appearance of intense strain and fatigue; the burden
hung in the centre--an egg!” With the growth of a higher sense of human
dignity this species of a beast of burden will become extinct.

To omit all reference to the dogs of a city which has been styled a
“dog-kennel” is impossible, however well worn the theme may be. They are
one of the prominent features in the street-scenery of the city, and
attract the attention of all travellers. Along with other “improvements”
their number has been greatly diminished during recent years, but they
are still in evidence in every thoroughfare of the place. Tawny in
colour, with a furry coat, bushy tail, and pointed ears, they betray
their relationship to the wolf and the fox, although the hardships of
their lot, and still more the indulgence with which they are treated by
a large part of the population, have taken almost all their ferocity out
of them, except in their treatment of one another. They are the
assistant-scavengers of the city, eating the pieces of food found in the
rubbish, which, after an old custom not yet obsolete, is still too often
dumped into the street by the inhabitants at night, for the official
scavenger to remove in the morning. To some extent they act also as
watchmen, making night hideous with their barking.

[Illustration: MARKET AT SCUTARI

It is always market-day somewhere in Constantinople.]

For these purposes they divide the city between them; so that the
different quarters of Constantinople are respectively the special
domains of different companies of dogs, who guard their boundaries as
jealously and fiercely as any frontiers between rival nations. No sooner
does a strange dog enter a canine ward than his arrival is signalled by
a peculiar bark from a faithful defender of the rights of the invaded
district. The bark is echoed from member to member of the injured
community, until the whole pack is roused, and rushes upon the intruder
like a horde of savages, biting and worrying him beyond the bounds he
transgressed in an evil hour. Hence it is extremely difficult to take
your own dog out for a walk in the streets of the city. A deafening
uproar greets you from every community of dogs through which your road
passes. You must hold your companion in leash; you must be on the alert,
whip or cane in hand, to strike at the infuriated beasts that spring
with flashing teeth at him from all directions; and if you are fortunate
enough to get your dog safely through the fight, it will probably be
owing to the courtesy of some sympathetic onlookers who came to the
rescue in your extremity. When such an encounter occurs on an open road
with wilder dogs, the scene may prove a battle royal. In that case the
most effective way of driving your assailants off is to throw stones at
them, of which they are more afraid than of any stick in your hand.
Sometimes even the gesture of stooping to pick up a stone will suffice
to put the enemy to flight, yelping with imaginary pain. In view of this
state of things among the dogs of the city, a Turk, wishing to say that
a certain person is not of his “sort,” puts the case in the clearest and
most scathing light by the simple remark, “He is not a dog of my

The dogs are treated very kindly by the Moslem population. Large
companies of them encamp near barracks and guard-houses, certain to find
friends among the soldiers, and to share their rations. They will gather
about the shop of a baker or of a butcher, or wander like beggars from
one such place of entertainment to another in their district, sure they
will not be left to starve. There is a racy Turkish proverb based upon
this habit of dogs to sit in a row before a butcher’s shop, expecting
scraps of meat. It is pointed against idlers who are waiting for
something to turn up, and runs to the following effect, “If looking on
were enough to get on, dogs would become butchers.” It is not rare to
see Turks purchasing a loaf and distributing it among a company of dogs.
Sometimes a dog will take his stand near a baker’s shop, and at your
approach will place himself at your feet, and with beseeching eyes
appeal to your generosity to buy him some bread, wagging his tail in
gratitude for the anticipated favour. There are dogs who come to an
understanding with a family of their acquaintance as to the most
convenient time to call for food, and who, at the appointed hour, tap at
the door of their host’s house for the promised meal. It is common to
see at the door of a Turkish house an earthen jar, or an old petroleum
can, half sunk in the ground, and kept filled with water for the dogs;
and there is a low drinking-trough, for the benefit of the poor
creatures, at many of the public fountains in the city. Frequently also,
one sees a bed of straw provided for the comfort of a mother dog and her
litter of puppies.


The Khans formerly used by travelling merchants with their laden camels
are now almost entirely used for offices and warehouses.]

The idea of killing a dog is shocking to a Turk’s mind. In his opinion,
it is sinful to do so. At one time, a dog in the village of Roumeli
Hissar upon the Bosporus became exceedingly dangerous. Not content with
keeping stray members of his own race off his ground, he snarled and
showed his teeth at every decent person who crossed his path, until at
length a European resident, losing patience, drew a pistol and fired
upon the obnoxious animal. The shot missed, but the gentleman who had
fired it was guilty of a double offence. He had broken the law
forbidding the carrying of firearms, and he had attempted the life of a
dog. The culprit was instantly surrounded by a fierce mob, arrested by
the police, and taken to the village prison. As strong influence could
be secured for his protection, his case was easily settled. But the
question how to deal with the dog was a more difficult matter to
arrange. Neither arguments nor backsish could persuade the police to
kill the dog. The utmost the guardians of the public safety would do was
to transport him to the opposite side of the Bosporus, and consign him
to the tender mercies of the inhabitants of that shore; and this would
be done, only if the aggrieved party would defray the expense involved
in executing the decree of banishment. A change of domicile from Europe
to Asia, or from Asia to Europe, is the most usual remedy applied, when
dogs show bad temper or become too numerous for the happiness of a
particular locality. It is a remedy, however, that provokes a policy of
retaliation, and induces a return of the evil in some analogous form.


The water supply is obtained by means of the primitive pump at the side
of the stone tank; the rod attached to the crossbeam is pulled downwards
to work the pump.]

Notwithstanding all this kindness, dogs are held in great contempt. They
do look a disreputable lot. There are not many grosser insults in Turkey
than to call a man “a dog” (kiopek), or to dismiss him with the
ejaculation, “ousht,” the term employed in driving a dog away.

Among the objects which attract attention, as one moves through the
streets, are the public fountains scattered over the city. They are
found everywhere, and are often remarkable for their architectural
beauty. Their number is explained by the fact that the old system of
water-supply did not bring water into the houses, but only to the
different quarters of the city, thus making it necessary to have, at
convenient points, outlets from which the inhabitants could obtain
water, either by coming to draw it for themselves, or by engaging the
services of water-carriers. However inconvenient this arrangement may
seem, it was always a pleasing sight to see groups of women and children
gathered towards evening about the fountain (Tchesmè) of their district
to fill graceful, bright-coloured pitchers at the gushing faucets, and
then to wend homewards. It took one far back in the ways of the world,
and was a bit of the country in the town. Nor are the faithful
water-carriers (sakka) forgotten, who brought water in great leathern
vessels, shaped like a blunderbuss, hung horizontally by a strap from
the left shoulder, and who poured the contents into a large earthenware
vessel within your house. The aqueducts of Valens, Justinian, and other
Byzantine Emperors, as well as the Basilica Cistern (Yeri Batan Serai)
still act their part in furnishing the city with water. Until recently,
the only other source of water-supply was either rain-water led from the
roof into a cistern built under the house, or water brought in barrels
from springs in the surrounding country. The introduction of water from
the Lake of Derkos, which lies close to the Black Sea, to the west of
the Bosporus, has been a great boon to the city, but it is not in favour
for drinking purposes.


In this form of fountain the tank is enclosed within four marble walls
and roofed over.]

The most interesting fountains are those known as Sebil, generally pious
foundations, and next to the mosques and turbehs, the best specimens of
Oriental Art in the city. The finest example of this form of fountain is
the well-known Fountain of Sultan Achmed III. (1703-1730), which stands
to the east of S. Sophia, near the Grand Entrance to the Seraglio,
and which was designed by that Sultan himself. The fountains are
polygonal chambers; with broad, brightly-painted, wooden eaves; with
sides of gilded open iron work, or of marble slabs, over which carved
flowers and fruits are spread in profusion; and, often, surmounted by
fantastic little domes. Within, is found a tank from which a man keeps
full of water a number of metal cups, attached by chains to the iron
work, but accessible, through the openings in it, to every thirsty
wayfarer, without money and without price. The living, personal, human
element in this mode of distributing water is as impressive as the fairy
form of the monument. Furthermore, water-carriers, paid from the funds
which endow a fountain, go about the streets to give “the water of life”
freely to any person who asks for it.

To erect a public fountain is a very usual form of public benefaction
among Moslems, and is regarded as highly meritorious. It is common to
find, in the garden wall of Turkish mansions along the Bosporus, a
fountain opening on the side of the quay for the relief of any
passer-by, and especially of boatmen, who come on shore to tow their
craft against the current. To repair a fountain is also a work of merit;
an idea that, on one occasion, gave rise to a curious incident. The
fountain in a certain Turkish district, although very much the worse for
use, was for some reason left neglected by the community. Whereupon a
Christian neighbour proposed to put the fountain in order at his own
expense. The offer was welcome, but it raised a difficult question.
Would the original Moslem builder of the fountain not lose the merit of
having constructed it, if his work were restored by a Christian? Would
the Moslem community in the district not lose merit, for allowing the
fountain to be repaired by an alien in creed? And so the matter was laid
aside for consideration. At last it was settled to the satisfaction of
all parties on the following understanding. The Christian might be
allowed to execute the necessary repairs, if he renounced any merit for
doing so, and agreed that all the merit of the good deed should belong
to the original Moslem builder of the fountain. To this way out of the
difficulty, the Christian had no objection, and, after signing a legal
document to that effect, he was permitted to carry out his kind

Turks are extremely particular in regard to the quality of the water
they drink, and are willing to be at much trouble and expense to obtain
water of the kind they prefer. To be a perfect beverage, water must
issue from a rock, fall from a height, be of medium temperature, flow
rapidly and copiously, taste sweet, spring in high and lonely around,
and run from south to north, or from east to west. The excellence of any
water is accordingly determined by the number of these conditions it
fulfils. It is remarkable how much pleasure Turks find in visiting a
famous spring in the country, to spend the whole day beside it, under
the shade of trees, doing little else but drink carafe after carafe of
the water, as the elixir of life. Resorts of this description abound on
the shores and in the valleys of the Upper Bosporus, under such names as
“The Water of Life,” “The Silver Water,” “The Water under the Chestnut
Trees,” “The Water beside the Hazels.” The spectacle of the great
gatherings there, on Fridays, arrayed in bright colours, seated tier
above tier on the terraced platforms built against the green slope of a
hill, the women above, the men below, all in the deep shade of branches
meeting overhead, forms a picture beyond a painter’s power to reproduce.

In this connection may be mentioned also the attractive little scenes
upon which one comes frequently in walking through the city--quiet
nooks, a little off the great thoroughfares, with a vine or westeria
spread on a trellis across the street for an awning, and a group of
humble workmen, seated on low stools at the door of a cafeneh, sipping
tiny cups of coffee, drinking water, smoking the narghileh, too happy to
speak much. Occasionally, the court of a small khan, or a portion of a
large court, is thus canopied by a trellised vine, making an oasis in
the desert of lowly toil.


Smoking the narghileh and drinking coffee occupy a large part of the
Turk’s time.]



ANOTHER striking feature in the life of Constantinople is the extent to
which life here has a religious colouring. The Turkish State is a
theocracy. Its supreme law is a code reputed to be Divine. Citizenship
is secured by the profession of a particular religion. Obedience to the
law of the land is obedience to the will of God. The defence of the
State is the defence of a faith. Patriotism is piety. To die in battle
is to belong to the noble army of martyrs. The cemetery on the hill
above Roumeli Hissar is known as “The Field of the Witnesses” (Martyrs),
because the resting-place of soldiers who died while Mehemet the
Conqueror was building, in 1452, the castle which should command the
passage of the straits, and cut the communications of the city with the
lands around the Black Sea during the forthcoming siege, “when the bud
would open into flower.” The picturesque cemetery, shaded by oaks, on
the hill above the Genoese Castle, overlooking the entrance to the Black
Sea, a view that Darius I. and Herodotus came to admire, is also named
“The Field of Witnesses,” because there, it is supposed, Saracen
soldiers who fell in an attack upon the castle were buried. Such
cemeteries are holy ground, and sepulture in them is regarded as a great
honour. The attendance of the Sultan at the midday public prayers on
Fridays is the official act of the Caliph of the Mohammedan world. He
ascends the throne after girding his sword at the grave of the first
standard-bearer of the Prophet, in the Mosque of Eyoub. The mantle of
the Prophet, his green standard, his staff, sword, bow, are enshrined in
the Seraglio as the sovereign’s regalia, and are annually visited by the
Sultan as a great State function. Around that standard all true Moslems
must rally when Islam is in peril. No great act of Government may be
performed until the chief doctor of the Sacred Law, the Sheik-ul-Islam,
has been consulted, and sanctions the act, as in accordance with the
supreme authority of faith and righteousness. Sultan Abdul Azis and his
nephew, Sultan Murad, were deposed only after such sanction had been

[Illustration: ROUMELI HISSAR

One of the towers of the old Turkish castle built by Mehemet II. (“The
Conqueror”). The distant hills seen across the Bosporus are on the
Asiatic coast. The Judas tree in full bloom is a prominent feature in
the spring.]

Upon this theocratic conception of the State, the exclusion of the
Christian subjects of the Empire from the army is based. For, how can
aliens in religion be enlisted under the banner of the Faith? Hence the
institution of the janissaries in the early history of the Ottoman
Power, whereby children of Christian parentage were taken from their
homes and brought up as Moslems, to furnish recruits for the army. It
was an ingenious device to maintain the religious character of the
military force of the Empire, and yet to prevent the burden of filling
the ranks from resting exclusively upon the faithful. The abolition of
the child-tax, however fortunate to others, proved a great injury to
Turkey. It not only deprived the Sultans of their finest troops, but has
been one of the principal causes of the great decrease in the Moslem
population of the country; as that class of the community alone has
since been called to sustain the losses involved in military service.
The mortality among the soldiers of the Turkish army from disease and
war is so great that the Moslem population is rapidly dying out, and
well-informed medical experts are heard to say, “The Eastern Question
will be solved by the disappearance of the Turks in the natural course
of things.”

The theocratic character of a Moslem State facilitates, indeed, the
incorporation of different races in the same social and political
system, seeing that all distinctions between men are obliterated by
community in the faith of Islam. And it is impressive to see how closely
the Mohammedan world, though not free from sects, is knit together by
religious principle, and how strongly it cherishes the brotherhood of
believers. In it, not in theory only but also in practice, the black man
and the white man are fellow-citizens and of the same household. But on
the other hand, because of its theocratic constitution, it is impossible
for a Moslem State to accept reforms which seek to secure equality of
rights among its subjects, on the ground of a common humanity. Nothing
is more opposed to the deepest convictions of a genuine Moslem than the
idea that men of a different faith from his own can be his equals. There
is no one who can be more polite than a Turk; no one who can treat you
in a more friendly and flattering manner than he. Yet persons who have
known him well, nay, who have loved him, testify that even in the
relation of private friendship they have never felt that a Turk had
given them his whole self, but was a friend with reservations that might
lead him to act toward you in the most unfriendly manner. His religion
confers on him an inaccessible superiority, from which he cannot descend
without becoming a faithless son of Islam. His interests are superior to
those of an infidel. He is a religious aristocrat, and no patrician of
old or of modern days has resisted the demands of plebeians or commoners
for equality more obstinately or strenuously than a Moslem opposes the
pretensions of unbelievers to be placed on a parity with him. In the
case of the patrician, it was a matter of pride; with the Moslem, it is
a case of conscience. Though it may seem a small matter, it is a
significant fact that a Turk can wish the salutation of peace only to a
fellow-Moslem, and that in the exchange of courtesies with persons not
of his faith he expects to be saluted first. Rather than admit equality
in any real and absolute sense, it would seem as if the wreck of the
Empire were preferred--“faithful unto death.”

The outward forms of Mohammedanism are exceedingly impressive. The
muezzin’s call to prayer--at dawn, at noon, in the afternoon, at sunset,
and three hours later at night--floats through the air like a voice
from the upper world. No music of bells evokes such a sense of the
Divine Majesty as his proclamation, “God is Great, there is no God but
God.” However grand or however humble a mosque may be, whether
frequented by the most intelligent or the most ignorant of the people,
it contains nothing that tells of superstition, nothing that belittles
or lowers the conception of the Most High. One can understand why, when
Islam and Christianity confronted each other in the Byzantine Empire,
there were emperors who, for upwards of a century, strove to banish
pictures and statues from the worship of the Church. And where is the
reverence of the human soul before God expressed so utterly, as when the
Moslem worshipper, washed clean, with shoes off his feet, stands, bows,
kneels, prostrates himself before his Maker, in silent prayer? There is
no more impressive religious service in the world than that celebrated,
under the dome of S. Sophia, on “The Night of Power,” in the season of
Ramazan. Under the dim light of hundreds of small, hanging lamps, fed
with oil, as in days past, ten thousand men are then gathered upon the
floor of the mosque for evening worship, their hearts stirred by the
associations of the sacred season. It is essentially a service of silent
prayer. The silence is made only the more impressive by the brief
chant or vehement ejaculation that occasionally breaks the stillness, to
afford pent feelings some relief. But though dumb with awe, the
multitude cannot rest. The emotion is too strong for complete
suppression, and the vast congregation heaves to and fro, rises and
falls. It stands upon its feet, bends low, sinks to the floor, kneels,
prostrates the head to the very earth, filling the great church with a
sound as of distant thunder, or the sea breaking upon the shore. It is a
scene of intense humility and veneration. And yet it is so grave, so
quiet, so controlled, that the dignity of the worshippers is never lost.
It is the homage of the great to the Greatest. It is a remarkable
combination of reverence and of self-respect. Except in the practices of
certain orders of dervishes, the Howling Dervishes for instance, nothing
in the attitude of a Moslem at his devotions betrays an overpowering
feeling due to the weakness of human nature. The consciousness of
belonging to the _élite_ of the religious world, the sense that the
worship is paid to the One, True, Great Allah, beside whom there is no
other God, and that it is offered in a form worthy of the Divine nature,
inspire an elevation of soul like the pride of great nobles in the
presence of a mighty over-lord. A devout Moslem is an aristocrat to the
tips of his fingers.


The howling dervishes perform their devotions by standing in a row and
repeating the confession of faith, “La ilâh illa ’llah,” rocking
themselves backwards and forwards meantime; beginning slowly, they
gradually quicken the time and work themselves into a frenzy of
religious excitement.]

Partly because of the natural reserve of Moslems in speaking with
Christians on religious matters, and partly on account of the influence
of the social institutions, which Moslems have inherited from an
inferior stage of civilisation, it is exceedingly difficult to determine
the ethical power of Islam in the inner life of its adherents. Perhaps
the following remark, made by an intelligent Mohammedan to a Christian
friend, gives a glimpse into the spirit of the system. “Christianity is
perhaps the best religion, but it is too high for frail human beings.
Therefore God, in His mercy, has given us another religion, Islam,
which, if not so lofty as yours, is more easy of attainment and
practice.” Certainly, the distinction of Islam is the force with which
it insists upon the unity, spirituality, and greatness of God. A dogma,
not a moral ideal, is its chief concern. Nevertheless, although the
system does not develop the loftiest character, it does secure a
demeanour that commands respect. The submission to the Divine will,
which it inculcates, may have its defects; but it has likewise its
merits. If it saps energy, it fosters seriousness, calmness of spirit
amid life’s vicissitudes, and a dignified acceptance of the
inevitable. If Islam fails to inculcate disinterested virtue, or to
inspire goodness on a grand scale, it urges the performance of many
beautiful deeds of kindness.


Member of a religious order whose particular act of devotion consists in
whirling round on the toes until completely exhausted, the object being
to produce a trance-like condition, during which the mind is entirely
withdrawn from material surroundings.]

Almsgiving is one of the great duties incumbent upon a Moslem. During
Ramazan and the two festival seasons of Bairam, tables are set in the
houses of the wealthy classes, to which poor neighbours are made
welcome. Groups of beggars gather then about the houses of the rich to
receive liberal portions of pilaf, and meat stewed with vegetables,
besides a present of money or some article of dress. Connected with the
principal mosques of the city, there are endowed soup-kitchens
(Imarets), at which, along with the softas and imaums of the mosque, the
poor of the district can obtain soup every morning, and once a week
pilaf and zerdé (sweetened rice, coloured yellow with saffron). During
Ramazan, pilaf and zerdé are supplied every evening. The lame, the
blind, the halt, are usually allowed to cross the bridges over the
Golden Horn without paying toll, and to travel by the steamers on the
Bosporus free of charge. The regard of Turks for animals is well known.
If, again, the legal and ascetic prohibition of the use of intoxicants
by Mahomet is not the noblest method of educating free agents in
self-control, the sober habits of a Moslem community and the rarity of
violent crimes in it, when uncontaminated by foreign influence, are
advantages not to be despised. A distinctive feature of a Turkish
quarter in town or village is the absence of a wine-shop. On the other
hand, the segregation of the sexes, while it diminishes the “social
evil,” fosters a sensual tone of thought and feeling in Mohammedan
society, that contrast most unfavourably with the chivalrous sentiments
entertained towards womanhood in Western civilisation. The martial
spirit congenial to Islam has its admirable side, but, by the
unfortunate sanction of the use of the sword for the suppression of
unbelievers, unspeakable atrocities have been committed under the mantle
of religion; as, indeed, wherever a similar sanction has been allowed.
Opinions differ as to the lengths to which this spirit would go, if
Turkish Power were, under certain circumstances, driven to despair and
brought to bay. Will the part of Samson Agonistes be repeated
then?--“The edifice, where all were met to see him, upon their heads and
on his own he pulled.” There are some who think so. But much may be said
in favour of the contrary opinion. The Turk is a brave man, but he can
be cowed by superior strength, firmly applied. A Turkish maxim says:
“The hand you cannot cut, kiss, and press to your forehead.” This is not
like Samson.

It is not, however, only the Turkish community that presents a religious
colour. The same is true of the other communities of the country. With
them, also, the nation has come to be the Church. This is due, in part,
to circumstances anterior to the Turkish Conquest. The theological
disputes between Christians in the earlier centuries of the history of
the Church, even if purely religious and philosophical at first, erelong
assumed a national character, and became respectively the banners around
which racial distinctions and political antagonisms rallied, and
acquired a consistence which endures to this day. How deeply ingrained
in the Christian population of the country, to-day, is the spirit to see
things under a religious colour appears, sometimes, in small but
significant ways. A poor Greek woman, anxious to find a husband for her
daughter, who was neither young nor beautiful, was informed that a
worthy boatman was prepared to marry the girl. He had everything to
recommend him, but he was an Armenian. “What!” exclaimed the mother,
turning indignantly to the friend who recommended the man; “What! do
you wish me to give my daughter to an Arian? No; let her rather die.”
Evidently the woman was not an expert in the use of theological terms,
for the Armenians are not Arians. But her reply shows that old
theological disputes, which one might suppose had been forgotten, have
left their impress upon the popular mind, and are associated with
national distinctions. The division between Eastern and Western
Christendom is not merely a religious schism. The organisations known as
the Coptic Church, the Nestorian Church, the Armenian Church, are not
simply different ecclesiastical denominations, or various schools of
thought. They are as much, if not more, the assertion of national
peculiarities. They have maintained, so far as the times allowed, a
people’s independence; preserved the ties which bound a people to its
past; and continued the use of its ancestral speech at home, in the
affairs of social life, and in the worship of God. With the Turkish
Conquest, this fusion of national and religious sentiments became, if
possible, more complete. The new rule, involving the loss of political
freedom, and the ascendency of an alien faith, made the Church dearer,
and left her to be the only sphere of anything approaching national
life and independence. The distinction between Church and Nationality
consequently passed out of sight. And nowhere is the idea that to change
one’s religious profession is to be false to one’s people, and that to
be a faithful churchman is to be a patriot, more strongly entrenched
than among the adherents of the Christian communities in Turkey. On the
other hand, the new rulers could not hope, and did not desire, to
assimilate the Christian populations of the country, or to incorporate
them in one political body. What with the differences of race, creed,
language, civilisation, a gulf was fixed between the conquerors and the
conquered. The two parties could be nothing else but distinct and alien
communities. Under these circumstances, policy and necessity led the
conquerors to maintain the different organisations in which they found
the subjugated peoples already arranged. To divide and conquer may not
be the highest statesmanship, but it was a principle that, in the
condition of the country, could be quickly applied. For one thing, by
that process the power of the conquered to rise would be crushed.
Furthermore, to leave the different churches of the land to their own
ways was, after all, the only solution of the problem how to govern
people who, because of their religious beliefs, and their social
institutions, could not be brought under the operation of the Sacred
Code of Islam. It would, so far, please the conquered. It would accord
with that regard for use and wont, for what he calls _Adet_, which the
Turk cherishes. It was practical, and in harmony with the theocratic
conception of society familiar to the Moslem mind. Hence the Turkish
Government has been accustomed to classify the various peoples of the
Empire according to their respective creeds, and has granted them a
considerable measure of self-government, in such matters as marriage,
inheritance, education, the management of charitable institutions, and
jurisdiction over the clergy. As these bodies were ecclesiastical
corporations, their ecclesiastical chiefs became at once their rulers,
both in religious and in civil affairs, and their representatives in all
transactions with the Ottoman authorities. In fact, these communities
have enjoyed privileges that give them, in some respects, a status
similar to that conferred upon foreigners by the Capitulations. On the
principle of religious classification, Greeks, Roumanians, Bulgarians,
Servians, were considered members of the same civil community, because
members of the same Church. And, on the same principle, if an Armenian
left his National Church to join the Roman Catholic or the Protestant
communion, he passed beyond the authority of his former ecclesiastical
superiors not only in matters spiritual but also in matters secular,
acquiring with his new beliefs a new legal standing, as a “Latin” or an
“Evangelical.” In this new character, he came under the protection of
another chief, was placed under new regulations, and made amenable to a
different court. It is because of this intimate union of the religious
and the civil, that converts from the National Churches in the Empire
have been compelled to form themselves into distinct civil communities,
and to incur the odium of, apparently, deserting their own people. But
only thus could they escape the pains which their original
ecclesiastical authorities had the power to inflict upon dissident
subjects; only thus could the Turkish Government grant the converts a
legal independent status in religious life.

This method of dealing with the Christian subjects of the Empire worked,
on the whole, smoothly, until the idea of nationality, which has been
such a powerful factor in the recent history of Europe, spread also
among the various peoples of Turkey, inspiring them to assert their
distinctness from one another, and to seek liberation from the rule of
the dominant race. Then great searching of hearts arose. For the new
idea was subversive of a system based upon the principle that the
fundamental bond of unity between men is community of faith. Hence, when
the Bulgarians demanded to be organised into a community distinct from
the Greek community, though one in doctrine with it, and to have bishops
and an ecclesiastical head of their own nationality, the request proved
a source of considerable difficulty. The chiefs of the Greek Church,
under whose authority the Bulgarians had been placed since 1767, as
fellow-believers, naturally opposed the demand, taking ground upon the
principle that, “In Jesus Christ there is neither Greek nor Jew,
circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free”; a
principle which Moslems could appreciate. Turkish statesmen opposed the
demand as unconstitutional, and contrary to custom; at the same time,
suspecting it to be a step towards ultimate political independence.

[Illustration: TOMB IN SCUTARI]

Under these circumstances various expedients were suggested, whereby the
desired result might be secured in harmony with the law of the land.
By some of their friends, the Bulgarians were advised to separate from
the Greek Church on some unimportant point of doctrine or ritual, and so
acquire the right before Turkish law to form a distinct community.
Another proposal was to declare themselves Protestants, and thus not
only escape from the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople,
but gain the support of Protestant nations. Yet another plan was to join
the Roman Catholic Church, with the advantage of receiving the
protection of France. The movement in favour of the last course went so
far that a Bulgarian priest was consecrated a Roman Catholic bishop; but
the scheme was abruptly terminated by the spiriting away of that
personage to Odessa, with all the paraphernalia of his office.
Eventually, under Russian pressure, the demand was granted, and the
Bulgarians became a distinct civil and religious community on the ground
of difference of nationality. They were, however, a religious
corporation before the eye of the law, and in view of the large
Bulgarian population still under Turkish rule, especially in Macedonia,
the Exarch of the Bulgarian Church must reside in Constantinople to have
his authority over that class of the community recognised by the
Turkish Government. As though to add more religious colour to the
arrangement, the Patriarch of Constantinople, in 1872, laid the
Bulgarian Church under the sentence of excommunication as schismatic.

The form in which the Bulgarian question was settled has furnished a
precedent which other nationalities, in furtherance of their political
aims, have not been slow to appeal to, and which the Turkish Government,
with the object of weakening their Christian subjects by sub-divisions,
has been, of late, disposed to follow. In the province of Macedonia the
system is carried out to perfection. There Bulgarians, Greeks, Servians,
and Kutzo-Wlachs, all adherents of the Greek Orthodox Church, have had
the fires of their national rivalries fanned into fiercer flame by being
organised into different religious communities, under different
ecclesiastical superiors, with the result that a situation exists in
that province than which nothing more complicated can be imagined.

Before leaving the subject, it is only just to remark that, perhaps, the
world has not sufficiently admired the tenacity with which the various
Christian peoples of the Near East have adhered to their faith and
nationality, in the face of hardships and temptations to which some of
their members succumbed. If their life has been stagnant, it is not
altogether their fault. Their circumstances have been exceedingly
adverse to growth. But they have kept the treasure, although the vessel
which has contained it may be earthen. However much the identification,
or confusion, of political and religious issues has wrought mischief
among these peoples, however much it has quenched their spirit of
brotherly love, it is to their churches that they are mainly indebted
for the preservation of their national consciousness and aspirations.
Amid the darkness, the churches kept the lamp of hope ever burning. They
consecrated patriotism by associating it with loyalty to God. They made
faith firmer by uniting it with the love of fatherland. And their
peoples have lived to see the light of a new day. There is something
pathetic in the fact that all this was rendered possible by the degree
of self-government in civil and religious matters granted them by their
conqueror. There is something tragic in seeing the policy which a
conqueror adopted as the only method to establish his rule--nurse the
life of his foes, and forge the instruments of his ruin. But men are not
always masters of their fate.



IN the appearance and lot of Turkish women we see, perhaps, more
distinctly than in any other feature of life in Constantinople the
perpetuation of the ideas and usages which give to Turkish society its
peculiar character and physiognomy. The assertion is often made that,
according to the Moslem creed, woman has no soul. This is a mistake.
While man, indeed, is considered to be woman’s superior on the ground of
his higher natural endowments and of his services as bread-winner, the
Koran, at the same time, recognises her spiritual nature and religious
capacity. “Verily,” says that authority, “the resigned men and the
resigned women, the believing men and the believing women, the devout
men and the devout women, the truthful men and the truthful women, the
patient men and the patient women, the humble men and the humble women,
the charitable men and the charitable women, the fasting men and the
fasting women, the chaste men and the chaste women, and the men and
women who oft remember God, for them hath God prepared forgiveness and a
mighty recompense.” Although the female companionship which forms one of
the delights of the Mohammedan Paradise will be furnished by the houris,
still earth-born women are also present in the abodes of bliss. Hence a
Turkish mother, mourning the loss of her little girl, can find comfort
in putting over the child’s grave this epitaph:--“The bird of my heart
has flown from its cage to find a place in the gardens of Paradise.” If
Moslem women do not attend public worship in the mosques, the reason is
not any spiritual disqualification, but the idea that the sexes should
associate as little as possible. Yet elderly women may be seen at their
devotions in a mosque out of the hours of public worship, while during
the religious season of Ramazan special services for women are held in
some of the great mosques of the city, as well as in the imperial harem
and in the harems of wealthy personages, such services being conducted
by popular preachers. But after all is said that can be said to prove
that honourable views concerning woman are cherished in a society
constituted by Moslem thought, it remains true that the fundamental
conception underlying the organisation of that society and forming its
dominant spirit is of an opposite character. That conception, we should
in justice remember, is not peculiar to Islam. On the contrary, it has
prevailed outside the Mohammedan world; it has contaminated even the
life of Christendom. Nevertheless, the view that man and woman are not
equals, that the latter is chiefly made to minister to the pleasure of
the former, and that they are morally dangerous to each other, has
nowhere been applied so consistently, on so large a scale, and for so
long a period in the very presence of a higher civilisation, as in
Moslem society. Such a view demands naturally and necessarily that men
and women should be kept apart as much as the conditions of human
existence permit. Where polygamy, concubinage, and easy divorce are
lawful social arrangements, woman must be put behind the shelter of a
jealous protection. She must be placed out of sight, secluded, guarded,
and, when she appears in public, veiled and forbidden to display her
ornaments. Men, on the other hand, must avoid looking at a woman they
meet abroad, remembering that “God will reward the Muslim who, having
beheld the beauties of a woman, shuts his eyes,” and that, though the
first look is excusable, because often unavoidable, the next is
unlawful. The outward manifestations of these ideas are seen on every
hand in the Turkish life of Constantinople. Hence the division of a
Turkish home into apartments for men (selamlik) and apartments for women
(harem), into the former of which no Turkish lady enters, and into the
latter of which only the nearest male relatives are admitted. Hence also
the two doors leading from the street respectively to these divisions of
the house; hence the latticed screens outside the windows of the harem
to conceal the inmates from even the hurried glance of passers-by. If
you have occasion to call upon a Turk who keeps no man-servant, and a
woman comes to answer the door, she will, before opening it, inquire who
has knocked. If the caller is a man, and the master of the house is out,
she will refuse admittance in a tone which makes you feel happy to
depart; if the master is in, she will open the door ajar, leaving you to
open it wide, after you have given her time to announce your visit, and
retire from view. There is no such thing in Turkish life as a mixed
social gathering of ladies and gentlemen. For husband and wife to walk,
or drive, or boat together was unknown until quite recent times, and
when such proceedings occur they are regarded with disfavour. In tramway
cars, in trains, on steamers, in waiting-rooms, men and women occupy
different compartments. Should the ladies’ cabin on the steamers which
ply between the city and the suburbs on the Bosporus or the Marmora be
unoccupied at starting by Turkish women, gentlemen are permitted to seat
themselves in it, and to keep their places so long as Moslem women do
not appear. But if a Turkish lady embarks at a station on the way, the
cabin must be forthwith vacated by its male occupants, who do not
present the air of the lords of creation as they wander to find other
seats. On one occasion a foreign lady and gentleman reached a certain
pier on the Bosporus some time before the arrival of the steamer, which
was to convey them to the city, and, finding the ladies’ waiting-room
empty, seated themselves in it. Presently an elderly Turkish woman,
belonging to a somewhat humble class of society, appeared, accompanied
by her son, a lad some fourteen years old. According to strict etiquette
the gentleman should have left the room. But, as the lady he was
escorting wished him to remain, and as the Turkish woman looked a
motherly person and had her boy with her, he kept his seat, forgetful of
use and wont. Suddenly the lad in the hanum’s company went out. As the
event proved, it was to bring the man in charge of the pier upon the
scene. The latter approached the gentleman, whom he knew well, and in
the politest possible manner whispered the information that the Turkish
woman opposite objected to the presence of a man. There was nothing to
be done but for the intruder to withdraw with as little awkwardness as
the situation admitted, and the matter seemed settled to the
satisfaction of all concerned. But the indignation of the foreign lady
at the discomfiture of her escort was too great for the troubled waters
to be calmed so easily. Rushing out after him, she begged him to protest
on her behalf against the presence of the Turkish lad in the ladies’
room when she was there. So the faithful man in charge of the pier
proceeded to eject the youth likewise, while the fair complainant
resumed her seat in order to maintain her point until the steamer came
up. How her Turkish sister felt under the circumstances does not appear,
but the incident illustrates the influence upon the native mind of the
idea that men and women should be kept strictly apart.

For a woman’s hair to be exposed to public view is considered an extreme
humiliation. A poor Turkish woman on her way to an asylum threw herself
in a fit of wild excitement upon the ground, and, in doing so, threw off
the veil which covered her head. “Alas, alas,” screamed the female
friends who accompanied her, “she is showing her hair!” as though that
exposure was the worst feature of the case.

It would be a mistake, however, to infer from what has been said that
the seclusion to which Turkish women are consigned deprives them of all
freedom and social influence. The reverse is true. Wealthy ladies
control their own property even after their marriage. Furthermore, if
seclusion denies women certain privileges, it wins for them certain
rights--the right, above all, to have their seclusion respected. It
secures for them the regard cherished for those who have a great public
duty to perform, and entitles them to all the support requisite for the
discharge of that duty. A highly educated Turk, upon hearing of the
annoyance given to some Turkish ladies by the inquisitive gaze of
certain foreigners, expressed his indignation in the following curious
fashion: “Such conduct towards European ladies would not be strange, for
they exhibit themselves to public view, and must take the consequences;
but to treat Turkish ladies thus, when they have the right to enjoy
perfect privacy, was intolerable impertinence.” Although it is not
becoming for a Turkish lady to go out by herself, a company of Turkish
women may go anywhere, not only without fear of molestation, but without
attracting the slightest notice. Even the police shrink from interfering
with them. Sometimes Turkish women will refuse to pay toll for crossing
the bridges which span the Golden Horn, and defy all the attempts of the
toll-men to enforce payment. One has seen Turkish women embark on a
Bosporus steamer without tickets, and when challenged for doing so, take
off a slipper, strike the ticket-collector, and proceed on their way
none the poorer. Like a famous thistle, a Turkish woman cannot be
touched with impunity. Nor is it strange that a man’s female relatives
should influence him in Turkey, as much as they do in other countries
and in similar ways. After all, men and women are everywhere much the
same, and no artificial arrangements can altogether prevent the
operation of natural forces. Indeed, a man is, perhaps, more liable to
be swayed by his female relatives when they are the only women he meets.
But be that as it may, women related to the great officers of State
exercise considerable political influence. The mother of the Sultan,
known as the Validé Sultana, is the first lady in the land, and, if a
woman of capacity, is a power behind the throne. It is reported that the
famous British ambassador, Sir Stratford Canning, had once occasion to
suggest to the Sultan of his day that in taking a certain course of
action the sovereign of the Empire was yielding to a mother’s counsels.
“True,” replied the monarch, “but she is the only friend I can perfectly
trust as sincerely devoted to me.” Several years ago, delay in the
payment of salaries, no unfrequent occurrence in Constantinople, caused
great suffering among the humbler employees of the Government. Other
methods of redress having failed, the aggrieved parties betook
themselves to the weapon of female force. Accordingly, a large body of
women, mostly the wives of the poor men, but including professional
female agitators, invaded the offices of the Minister of Finance. They
filled every corridor, swarmed upon every stairway, blocked every door
they could find, and made the building resound with lamentations and
clamours for payment. The Minister managed to escape by a back entrance.
But the women would not budge. It was vain to call in the police or
soldiers to intervene. The indecorum of a public application of force in
dealing with the women would have created too great a scandal, and so
the authorities bowed before “the might of weakness,” and made the best
terms they could induce the victors to accept. A more recent experience
of the power of Turkish women to interfere, in spite of their seclusion,
with the affairs of the outer world, may be added. The owners of a piece
of land adjoining a Turkish village on the Bosporus decided to enclose
their property with a substantial wall of stone and mortar. As the
ground had long been a pleasant resort for the women and children of the
village, especially on Fridays, where sitting on the ground under the
shade of trees they enjoyed the fresh air and the beautiful views on
every side, the villagers very naturally regretted the loss which the
erection of the wall would involve, and they determined to prevent the
execution of the work to the utmost of their power. The opposition first
assumed a legal form. It was urged that the wall would interfere with
the water-course which supplied the village fountain, and furthermore,
would include a piece of land belonging to the community. Both
objections were shown to be without foundation, and building operations
were begun. No difficulties were raised until the wall approached the
fountain and the land in dispute, when it became evident that if the
work proceeded farther the opposition would resort to violent measures.
In the hope of coming to a friendly understanding with the villagers by
additional explanations, work was suspended for some time, but the
negotiations to establish peace having failed, the erection of the wall
was continued. The work had not gone far, when a band of women appeared,
led by the principal female personage in the community, who enjoyed the
distinction of being both the widow of the late imaum of the village
mosque and the mother of the present incumbent of that office; a
dark-visaged dame, with a sharp tongue. Not a single man accompanied the
women. Armed with sticks and stones, the band of Amazons rushed upon the
workmen and drove them off. The intervention of the police obliged the
women to retreat, but, when the masons returned next morning to their
work, they found the women already upon the scene of action. The imaum’s
widow with another woman had seated themselves in the trench and defied
the erection of the wall over their bodies! Again the police interfered,
and, after all methods of gentle moral suasion had proved useless, they
actually lifted the imaum’s widow somewhat forcibly out of the trench.
She took the affront so much to heart that she kept her bed for several
days. There was a consequent lull in the storm. But soon the women
resumed the struggle, coming in the dark and tearing down a considerable
portion of the building. The wall had therefore to be guarded by the
police during the day, and by watchmen during the night. Still the women
would not abandon the contest, and, as a supreme effort, sent a long
telegram to the Palace, invoking the sovereign’s aid and protection. In
reply, they were invited to send a deputation to the Police Court
connected with the imperial residence. The pasha of the Court was a
veteran official who, though he could not read, and knew to write only
his own name, had reached his responsible position by force of character
and the possession of common sense. He expounded the law to the women
before him, informed them that he intended to enforce it, and gave them
a tremendous scolding for the manner in which they and their sisters
had behaved; seasoning justice, however, with mercy, to the extent of
presenting them a small sum of money wherewith to meet the expense of
their visit to him and of their telegram.

The young imaum of the village was also summoned, and made to understand
that, unless his mother’s influence was employed to keep the peace, he
should lose his place. Accordingly, the war stopped, but there were
threats that the two persons most concerned with the erection of the
wall would be stoned to death. The threats were so serious that even a
brave Croat, in the service of the proprietors of the enclosed ground,
advised the superintendent of the works to avoid a road which would
expose him to assault. “I am an old man,” replied the latter, a Briton,
“it will not matter much if I am stoned to death.” “But,” answered the
Croat, “will it not be a shame to be killed by women?” It was an
ungallant remark to make, in view of the spirit displayed by the women,
yet a characteristic expression of that poor estimate of womanhood
against which the weaker sex has still to contend in the East--the
estimate which led Abimelech, long ago, when at the point of death by a
blow from a woman’s hand, to beseech his armour-bearer to kill him, lest
men should say “a woman slew him.”


A pleasure resort near the upper end of the Golden Horn much in favour
in the spring, when every Friday afternoon crowds of Turkish ladies with
their children flock there for recreation by the water-side.]

But the world moves, and Turkish women move with it. The last generation
has witnessed remarkable changes in their habits both in the capital and
in other great cities of the Empire. For one thing, there has been a
striking change in the matter of dress. The time was, when a Turkish
woman brought vivid colouring into every scene she adorned. Her yashmak,
enveloping head and face and neck in white gauze; her feredjé enfolding
her form down to the feet in red, green, blue, pink, or any other hue
she fancied; her yellow boots and yellow overshoes, worn like slippers,
made her as gay and bright as a butterfly or a flower. What wonderful
pictures did groups of women thus attired form, as they squatted on a
red rug spread on the green grass under the shade of cypresses or
plane-trees, beside the Sweet Waters of Europe and the Heavenly Waters
of Asia; or as they sat in long rows by the shores of the Bosporus to
drink in the salt air, to watch the blue waters and the hurrying to and
fro of boats and sails and steamers; or as they floated in a caïque over
the quiet sea. What a fantasia of colour they made as they went slowly
past, seated in a long, narrow wagon (arabah), its high sides bright
with painted flowers and gilded arabesque, under a scarlet awning edged
with gold fringe, drawn by white oxen, over whose heads heavy red
tassels, attached to rods fixed in the yoke, waved with every motion of
the creaking wheels!

[Illustration: THE YASHMAK

The veil is sometimes so transparent that it scarcely conceals the
features at all.]

But this feast of colour has ended, and the world of Turkish womanhood
has exchanged the brightness of summer for the sober tints of autumn.
The yashmak is now universally discarded, except by the ladies of the
imperial household who are still required to wear it, as well as a black
feredjé; the only bit of bright colour permitted being in the matter of
the headkerchief of tulle they wear under the yashmak. In the costume of
the mass of Turkish women, the feredjé has been replaced by the
charshaf, a mantle worn over the head and about the body down to the
feet, drawn in slightly at the waist. The material and the colour of the
garment differ according to the means and taste of the wearer, but the
colour is always quiet and subdued. To the portion of the charshaf above
the eyes a dark veil is attached, and this can be worn over the face, or
thrown back over the head, as the wearer pleases. When thrown back, a
Turkish lady’s face is seen as plainly as that of her European sister.
The charshaf may also be made of two pieces of cloth in order to secure
a better fit, and although the garb might seem to defy artistic
arrangement and effect, it is often very becoming and graceful. It would
appear that the charshaf was the original dress of Turkish women, with
the important difference from the present fashion that the veil could
not be thrown back, and was furnished with two holes for the eyes, as
among Moslem women to-day in Persia and India. The yashmak, it is said,
came into vogue at the time of the Conquest, being an adaptation of the
veil worn then by women of the Christian peoples of the land. Its
abandonment for the sake of a style which permits greater freedom is a
sign of progress. But the change, which was made some thirty years ago,
roused considerable opposition. Merchants in the bazaars objected to it,
because a charshaf required less material to be made up than a feredjé,
and consequently injured trade. Others found fault with it simply
because it was an innovation; while others feared that when worn with
the veil down it might facilitate disguise in carrying on social or
political intrigues. Nay, imperial iradès denounced and forbade the new
mode. But all was in vain, for even in Turkey it is possible for women
to have their own way. Nor is it only in their out-door dress that
Turkish women have introduced alterations. They have done so likewise in
their dress when at home. The baggy trousers, the embroidered vest and
jacket, which constituted the costume in which a Turkish hanum reclined
upon her divan, have been replaced, in the progressive section of
Turkish female society, by garments after European fashions. A Turkish
bride belonging to a wealthy family wears a wedding dress like that
which adorns a young lady under similar circumstances in Western lands,
the only difference being that the former allows her hair to hang down,
and decorates it with long narrow streamers of tinsel, pieces of which
she presents to her young friends for good luck. Elegant tea-gowns and
the latest Parisian robes are worn in wealthy harems. Turkish ladies,
indeed, have yet to adopt the low-necked dress, but, not to be
altogether behind the times, they make their servant-maids don that
attire on great occasions. When the maids are dark-skinned daughters of
Africa, the effect is not flattering to the costume. But after all,
these changes are interesting chiefly as indications of the fact that
the spirit of Turkish women has come, to some degree, under the
influence of new ideas. Polygamy is on the decline. Greater attention
is now paid to the education of girls among all classes of the
community. In wealthy families it is common for the daughters to have
English or French or German governesses, and to be instructed in the
ordinary branches of education, even to the extent of doing something so
foreign as to learn to ride. In a few instances, Turkish girls attend
foreign schools, and it is a most significant sign of the times to see
the female relatives of such girls present at the public proceedings of
these institutions. Periodicals providing special literature for ladies
have appeared, and there are Turkish authoresses, some of whom enjoy a
great reputation among their countrywomen. As might be expected, this
upward movement meets with opposition, as upward movements always meet
wherever they occur. Such a thing has been known as an imperial iradè,
commanding all foreign governesses to be dismissed from Turkish homes,
because of teachers pernicious ideas. On the eve of Ramazan it is usual
to issue strict orders for Turkish ladies to keep their veils down. A
Turkish lady once attended, with her husband, an “At Home” in a foreign
house. Shortly thereafter, the police called upon the gentleman, late in
the evening, as the custom is in this part of the world, and informed
him that he was wanted at the police-court next morning on important
business. What that business was the police did not condescend to say,
preferring to make night uncomfortable for the couple, by keeping them
in suspense. Upon appearing at the court the husband learned that the
visit of his wife to a foreign house, on the occasion referred to, had
been noticed and duly reported to the authorities, and he was warned
(under threat of severe penalty) not to allow the offence to be
repeated. At public gatherings at the Sweet Waters of Europe and Asia,
the police watch the behaviour of Turkish ladies as though so many
naughty or helpless children were abroad. One has seen a policeman order
a lady to put up the window of her carriage, because she attracted too
much admiration. At another time, one has seen a company of respectable
Turkish ladies, who were enjoying a moonlight row on the Bosporus,
packed home by the police. The life of educated Turkish women is
rendered hard and humiliating by such restrictions. On the occasion of a
visit to a Turkish gentleman in his garden, it so happened that two of
his nieces, not knowing that any one was calling, came to greet their
uncle. Surprised at seeing a man with him, the young ladies started
back, as gazelles might start at the sight of a hunter. Their uncle,
however, summoned them to return, and with extreme courtesy introduced
them to his visitor, with the information that one of the young ladies
could speak English. Conversation in that language had not gone far,
when another gentleman was announced. Instantly the girls sprang to
their feet and darted away as for dear life. “See,” said the uncle in
tones of mingled vexation and sorrow, “See what it is to be an educated
Turkish lady!”


Another favourite pleasure resort much frequented by Turkish ladies in

A Turkish gentleman of high rank wishing his daughters to enjoy the
advantage of a European education, but anxious to spare them as much as
possible the chagrin and ennui of being educated above the station of a
Turkish lady, hoped to attain his object by having his girls learn to
speak French without being able to read in that language. Such
experiences are disheartening. But, as the pale flowers which come ere
winter has wholly gone herald the spring and foretell the glory of
summer, so the recent improvements in the lot of Turkish women, however
slight they may appear meantime, warrant the hope of further progress
and final emancipation.



TO live in Constantinople is to live in a very wide world. The city, it
is true, is not a seat of lofty intellectual thought. Upon none of its
hills have the Muses come to dwell. It is not a centre of literary
activity; it is not a home of Art. Here is no civic life to share, no
far-reaching public works of philanthropy to enlarge the heart, no
comprehensive national life to inspire patriotism, no common religious
institutions to awaken the sense of a vast brotherhood enfolded within
the same great and gracious heavens. If one is so inclined, it is easy
for life here to be exceedingly petty. And yet, it is certain that to
live in Constantinople is to live in a wide world. It is not for any
lack of incentive that a resident here fails “to think imperially” or to
feel on an imperial scale. When a man possessed by the genius of the
place quits the city to reside elsewhere, the horizon of his life
contracts and dwindles, as when a man descends from the wide views of a
mountain peak to the life pent within the walls of a valley. For nowhere
else is the mind not only confronted, but, if one may thus express it,
assailed by so many varied subjects demanding consideration, or the
heart appealed to by so many interests for its sympathy.

The very geography of the place offers a wide outlook. As a part of his
everyday experience, a resident of Constantinople lives within sight of
Europe and Asia. Every day of his life, he sees the waterway that runs
between the two great continents thronged with vessels of every nation,
hurrying to and fro to bring the ends of the earth together. Then, how
much human power has been enthroned here--the dominion of Byzantium for
one thousand years; the rule of Constantine and his successors for
eleven centuries; the sway of the Ottoman Sultans through four hundred
and fifty years. If what we see has aught to do with what we are, here
is a mould in which to fashion a large life. But Europe and Asia are
present in more than their physical aspects, or in long periods of their
history. Their civilisations also meet here. On every side there is the
pressure of a dominant Oriental society and polity, with its theocratic
government, autocracy, the creed of Islam, polygamy, slavery, eunuchs,
secluded and veiled womanhood, men in long robes and turbans,
sluggishness, repose, the speech of Central Asia softened by the accents
of Persia and Arabia, minarets, domes surmounted by the Crescent,
graceful but strange salutations, festivals which celebrate events in a
course of history not your own, and express joys which have never
gladdened your soul. And mingling, but not blended, with this world of
Asiatic thought and sentiment and manner, is a European world, partly
native, partly foreign, with ideas of freedom, science, education,
bustle, various languages, railroads, tramways, ladies in the latest
Parisian fashions, church bells, the banner of the Cross, newspapers and
periodicals from every European and American capital, knitting scattered
children to the life of their fatherland. The members of the foreign
communities in the City of the Sultan do not forget the lands of their
birth, or of their race and allegiance. Though circumstances have
carried them far from their native shores and skies, physical separation
does not sever them from the spirit of their peoples. Nay, as if to
make patriotic sentiment more easy, foreigners are placed under the
peculiar arrangements embodied in what are termed the Capitulations,
whereby, in virtue of old treaties, they enjoy the privilege of living
to a great extent under the laws of their respective countries, with
little interference on the part of the Ottoman Government. When your
house is your castle, in the sense that no Turkish policeman dares enter
it without the authorisation of your Consulate or Embassy, when legal
differences between yourself and your fellow-countrymen are submitted to
judges, and argued by barristers, bred in the law which rules in your
own land, when your church and school can be what they are at home, and
when you can forward your letters, not only to foreign countries but
even to some parts of the Turkish Empire, with a stamp bearing the badge
of your own Government, it is natural that European residents in
Constantinople should be able to preserve their special character, both
after living here for many years, and also from generation to
generation. A Mohammedan polity is opposed to the assimilation of
strangers, unless the aliens become converts to Islam. Whatever process
of assimilation goes on in Constantinople appears in the slow changes of
the East towards some likeness to the West. Otherwise, the European
world is as present to the view as the Asiatic, and together they spread
a wide vista before the mind.

Furthermore, what a broad outlook does the heterogeneous population
afford! Whether you walk the streets or stay at home, on the mart of
business, at all large social gatherings, in all public enterprises, you
deal with diverse nationalities and races. Everywhere and always a
cosmopolitan atmosphere pervades your life. One servant in your
household will be a Greek, another an Armenian, a third a German or an
Englishman. Your gardener is a Croat, as tender to flowers as he is
fierce against his foes. The boatmen of your caïque are Turks. In
building a house, the foundations are excavated by Lazes; the quarrymen
must be Croats; the masons and carpenters are Greeks and Armenians; the
hodmen, Kurds; the hamals, Turks; the plumbers, Italians; the architect
is an Englishman, American, or a foreigner of some other kind; the
glaziers must be Jews. Fourteen nationalities are represented by the
students and professors of an international college.

When the season of pilgrimages comes round, the streets are thronged by
Tartars, Circassians, Persians, Turcomans, on their way to Mecca and
Medina, wild-looking fellows in rough but picturesque garb, staring with
the wonder and simplicity of children at the novelties they see,
purchasing trifles as though treasures, yet stopping to give alms to a
beggar, and groping for the higher life.

Nor is it only in great matters that this wideness of human life comes
home to the mind in Constantinople. It is pressed upon the attention by
the diversity that prevails, likewise, in matters of comparatively
slight importance; in such an affair, for example, as the calculation of
time. For some, the pivotal event of history is the birth of Christ; for
others, it is the Flight of Mahomet from Mecca to Medina, and
accordingly, two systems of the world’s chronology are in vogue. One
large part of the populations still adheres to the primitive idea that a
new day commences at sunset, while another part of the community defers
that event until the moment after midnight. Hence in your movements and
engagements you have constantly to calculate the precise time of day
according to both views upon the subject. The time-tables of the
steamers which ply between the city and the suburbs on the Bosporus and
the Sea of Marmora, adopt “Turkish time,” and require you to convert
the hour indicated into the corresponding hour from the European or
“Frank” standpoint; and the same two-fold way of thinking on the subject
is imposed upon all persons having dealings with the Government and the
native population in general. A similar diversity exists in regard to
the length of the year. The Turkish year consists of twelve lunar
months, a thirteenth being added from time to time to settle accounts
with the sun. The question when Ramazan, the month of fasting by day and
of feasting at night begins, or when the festival of Bairam commences is
determined, at least formally, by the appearance of the new moon, upon
the testimony of two Moslem witnesses before a judge in any part of the
Empire. Thus these religious seasons might commence on different days in
different localities, the moon not being visible in some places, on
account of the state of the weather. The formula in which the approach
of these seasons is now announced to the public, since the increase of
astronomical knowledge in Turkish circles, is a curious compromise
between former uncertainty and actual assurance on that point. “Ramazan
begins (say) on Tuesday next, provided the new moon is visible. If not,
the Fast will date from Wednesday.” Alongside the Turkish mode of
measuring the year, there is the method introduced into the Roman world
by Julius Cæsar, the “Old Style,” followed by Greeks and Armenians, and
also the “New Style,” the mode of reckoning inaugurated by Pope Gregory
XIII., now thirteen days in advance of the Julian Calendar. Accordingly,
to prevent mistakes in regard to a date, letters and newspapers are
often dated according to both styles. With some the year begins in
March, with the advent of spring; with others it commences in September,
when autumn gathers in the fruits of the earth; others make January, in
midwinter, their starting-point. The difference between the “Old Style”
and the “New Style” involves two celebrations, as a rule, of Easter, two
observances of New Year’s Day, while Christmas is celebrated three
times, the Armenian Church having combined the commemoration of that
festival with the more ancient festival of the Epiphany. For one section
of the community, moreover, the day of rest is Sunday, for another
Saturday, for yet another the day of special religious services is
Friday. All these differences are not matters seen at a remote distance
of place or time; they are not curious items of archæological lore. On
the contrary, they enter into the practical experience of your workaday
life, compelling you to see things from various points of view, and to
conform with the ways of humanity in manifold directions.

Then what a diversified scene is spread before the mind by the variety
of religious faiths professed here. A native of Constantinople put the
case before the Parliament of Religions, held at the Chicago Exposition,
thus: “We have a Parliament of Religions every day in Constantinople.”
The faith of Israel, Mohammedanism, and Christianity, are here matched
against each other in great organised communities, with the marks of the
controversies and wars which form so large a part of the history of this
Eastern world fresh and clear upon them.

Here are the sects and schools of thought which divide Islam; the
Sunnites who maintain the legitimacy of all the Caliphs, the Shiites who
hold that Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, was his first
lawful successor, and who gather annually in the court of the Validè
Khan in Stamboul, to cut and gash themselves, like their brethren in
Persia, as they mourn the murder of Ali’s sons, Hussein and Hassan; the
Howling and the Dancing Dervishes who hope to apprehend the Divine in
their ecstasy, the Bektashs Dervishes, more rationalistic, more
tolerant, more latitudinarian. Here are the sects that divide the
Christian world; Orthodox Greek, Roman Catholic, Gregorian Armenian,
Protestant, representatives of the Nestorian Church, and of the Syrian
Jacobites. What long vistas of Church History are thus open on every
hand; what different modes of conceiving truths stare you in the face at
every turn!

Finally, but not least, there is the spacious outlook afforded by the
political situation, of which Constantinople has long been the centre.
The question of the continued existence of the Ottoman rule in Europe,
if not also in Asia, has been a burning question for many generations,
affecting both the destiny of the peoples subject to that rule and the
interests and relations of all the Great Powers of Europe. It is one of
the biggest, most important, most complicated problems that can occupy
the minds of the statesmen of the world, and it has no less magnitude in
its appeals to the concern of philanthropists. Here, to speak with
malice to none and with charity for all, is a rule established by the
might of conquest over different races, rival nationalities, various
creeds. As already observed, the conquerors have neither wished nor
been able to efface these distinctions, nor have the conquered had any
inclination to be merged into a common life and polity. In such a state
of things it is not surprising that no love has been lost. Legend has it
that the battle of Chalons was waged with such ferocity, that, after the
bodies of the combatants lay cold upon the ground, their spirits
continued to fight in the air. The struggle between the conqueror and
the conquered in Turkey has raged in their hearts even when, to all
appearance, it seemed to have ended. In thought and sentiment the
country has always been in a state of war. That a rule carried on in the
spirit of conquest and of religious exclusiveness should have involved
intolerable treatment of the subject peoples is only what might be
expected, notwithstanding occasional good intentions. And that peoples
thus treated, and persistently reminded of their subjugation and
inferior legal standing should never abandon the hope of deliverance,
and should even endeavour to create opportunities to achieve
emancipation is, likewise, only what might be expected. Whether the
subject peoples could have already gained their liberty, if they had
been united, is a question open to debate. But what is certain is that
their rivalries, their dissensions, and their natural but incompatible
expectations, have retarded the realisation of their ambitions. To a
large extent, this is their misfortune; the fate imposed upon them by
their circumstances. Look, for example, at the situation in the European
portion of the Empire. How can any one expect Roumanians, Servians,
Bulgarians, Greeks, and Albanians to forget their historical
antecedents, their race distinctions, and their associations with
different parts of the country, in order to become one nationality? How
can they be persuaded to combine in a common effort to become free,
while the points in dispute between themselves remain unsettled? The
question is rendered yet more difficult when these peoples, as is often
the case, dwell side by side in the same section of the country.

Here is a tangle of claims which an impartial mind finds hard to
unravel, and feels tempted to relegate to the sword that cuts the
Gordian knot. The fundamental difficulty that hinders the solution of
what is known as “the Eastern Question” is the absence of a large
homogeneous population within the bounds of the Empire, to which the
Government of the country can be transferred from the hands of the
present ruling race. No single people, under Ottoman rule, can replace
the Turk in the mastership of the whole Empire. It is a property that
must be divided, and the division of the inheritance, if it is to be
carried out in the spirit of justice and common sense and not of
partisanship, is a matter of extreme perplexity. Hence the occasion for
the interference of the Great Powers of Europe, sometimes to assist the
weak, sometimes to repress risings, sometimes to limit the area of
disturbance, sometimes to extort concessions, sometimes to appropriate a
portion of the spoils, always to guard their own interests, real or
artificial. That interference is crippled, often paralysed, by mutual
jealousies, by native dissensions, by greater concern for the success of
foreign schemes than for the welfare of the country, by the dread of a
great war, by inability to answer clearly the question, What next? The
spectacle presented by the action of the Powers is not always edifying.
It has, at times, provoked the opinion that they are not powerful, but
powerless. But the historical evolution which is in process has brought
great actors upon the scene. It keeps great themes continually before
the mind. Again and again, it has been accompanied with the tramp of
armies, and resounded with the thunders of war. It is studded with
Conferences and Congresses, at which the foremost statesmen of the day
have discussed the destiny of this city and land, as the most momentous
problem of European politics. It is still overshadowed by war-clouds.

Nor has all this been a vain show. In the course of the past century,
liberty has won many victories in the Near East. Servia, Roumania,
Bulgaria, Greece, have risen from the dead and become independent and
progressive nations. Old national memories, stretching, in the case of
Greece, as far back as classic times, have united with modern ideas to
restore the continuity of history, and to hasten the day when the whole
of Europe will move forward together. The flood which covered the land
has slowly subsided. Tract after tract of the devastated earth has risen
above the waters, and is reclaimed for new life and fruit. And the
forces which have produced this wonderful transformation still operate.
Who can stay their power? What precise form the final consummation will
assume--a federation, the rule of a Free Russia, a group of independent
but friendly States, partition between the Great Powers--is a secret no
one can meantime divine. The unexpected may happen. But the future
destiny of a city which has acted so great a part in the past, and which
is capable of acting an even greater part in the time to come, is only
another reason why life here is so large. What other city presents such
a problem? One may as soon dwell by the shore of an ocean, or in view of
peaks rising to heaven, and fail to be impressed by the greatness of the
world, as live in Constantinople without realising the vastness of human
interests and problems.


  Abimelech, 254

  Acœmetæ, 150, 155

  Acropolis, 15, 16, 88, 89

  Admiralty, 109, 117

  Adrianople, 33, 144

  Aivan Serai, 54, 102, 115, 119

  Alaric, 45, 54

  Albanians, 273

  Alemanni, 29

  Alexander the Great, 13

  Ali, 270

  Alti Mermer, 37

  Amalfi, 161

  Ammianus Marcellinus, 25

  Anemodulion, 39

  Anna Dalassena, 163

  Anthemius, Prefect, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 137, 149, 183

  Anthemius of Tralles, 180

  Aqueduct of Valens, 218

  Arabs, 123

  Arcadia, 48

  Arian, 234

  Arius, 35

  Armenian Church, 68, 234

  Armenians, 211, 234

  Athanaric, 34, 35

  Athenais, 71, 72

  Athyras, 122

  Attila, 54, 57, 78, 122

  Augustaion, 20

  Avars, 120, 123, 155

  Bairam, 231, 268

  Balat, 111

  Basil, 86, 135, 157

  Basilica, 27

  Basilica Cistern, 218

  Basilica Theodosiana, 39

  Baths of Achilles, The, 60

  Baths of Constantine, 39

  Baths of Zeuxippus, 16, 19, 20

  Bektash Dervishes, 271

  Belgrade, 9

  Belisarius, 158

  Beshiktash, 84, 114, 116

  Blachernæ, 23, 53, 120

  Bohemond, 126

  Bondelmontius, 137

  Bonus, 155

  Bronze Horses of Lysippus, 60

  Browning, 104

  Bucoleon, 94, 96

  Bulgaria, 275

  Bulgarian Church, 239, 240

  Bulgarians, 236, 238, 239, 240, 273

  Bury, Professor, 148

  Buyuk Tchekmedjé, 122

  Buyukderé, 203

  Cannæ, 33

  Canning, Sir Stratford, 200, 250

  Capitol, 21, 62

  Capitoline Hill, 193

  Capitulations, 265

  Carthage, 54, 57

  Cassim Pasha, 114, 116

  Cassius, 4

  Chæronea, 149

  Chalcedon, 84

  Chalons, 272

  Charles Martel, 148

  Chichli, 202

  Christmas, 269

  Chrysopolis, 12

  Chrysostom, 45, 47, 55, 60, 69

    S. Agnes, 174
    All Saints, 136
    Anastasia, 36
    S. Barbara, 89
    S. Demetrius, 141
    S. Diomed, 99
    Forty Martyrs, 136
    S. George (Soulou Monastir), 99
    S. George Mangana, 89, 141
    Holy Apostles, 21, 24, 26, 35, 69, 138, 139, 140, 148, 168, 189
    S. Irene, 20, 48, 88, 141, 147, 148, 174, 186
    S. John Studies, 99, 150, 152, 154, 172, 186
    S. Mamas, 84
    S. Mark’s of Venice, 60, 190
    S. Mary of Blachernæ, 69, 110, 120
    S. Mary Hodegetria, 69, 89, 141, 167
    S. Mary Mouchliotissa, 146
    S. Mary Pammacaristos, 110, 139, 146, 164, 168, 189, 190
    S. Mary Panachrantes, 189
    S. Mary Peribleptos, 99
    S. Mokius, 136
    S. Peter in Galata, 167
    S.S. Peter and Mark, 110
    S.S. Peter and Paul, 157, 158
    S. Saviour-in-the-Chora, 149, 162, 166, 167, 168, 188, 189, 190, 191
    S. Saviour Pantepoptes, 110, 116, 162, 163, 191
    S. Saviour Pantocrator, 110, 162, 164, 190, 191
    S.S. Sergius and Bacchus, 92, 96, 155, 157, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179,
      180, 184, 186
    S. Sophia, 26, 27, 47, 60, 79, 82, 93, 111, 135, 138, 139, 148, 155,
      159, 162, 171, 180, 181, 182, 184, 185, 186, 187, 191, 218, 228
    S. Theodore, 93
    S. Theodore Tyrone, 190, 191
    S. Theodosia, 110, 166, 167, 168
    S. Vitale at Ravenna, 177, 178, 180

  Circassians, 266

  Clavijo, 132

  Code of Justinian the Great, 65

  Code of Theodosius II., 64, 65

  Column of Claudius Gothicus, 47

  Column of Marcus Aurelius, 38

  Column of Trajan, 38

  Constantine the Eparch, 58, 59, 77

  Coptic Church, 68, 234

  Council of Chalcedon, 68

  Council of Ephesus, 68

  Count Robert of Paris, 126

  Crum, 120, 123, 153

  Custom House, 207, 211

  Cyril, 160

  Cyrus, Prefect, 57, 58, 60, 61, 77

  Dancing Dervishes, 270

  Dandolo, Doge Henrico, 60, 87, 106, 114, 115, 116, 163

  Dardanelles, 203

  Darius I., 13, 224

  De Amicis, 195

  Delphi, 22

  Demophilus, 36

  Dionysius, 155

  Dockyard, 109

  Ducange, 132

  Ducas, 168

  Easter, 269

  Easter Monday, 211

  Eleutherius, 21

    Alexius I. Comnenus, 106, 126, 127, 163
    Alexius V. Ducas, Murtzuphlus, 38, 116, 163
    Andronicus II. Palæologus, 192
    Andronicus III. Palæologus, 85
    Arcadius, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 49, 50, 55
    Baldwin I., 127, 164
    Basil I., 99, 135, 157
    Basil II., 85, 100, 124
    Claudius Gothicus, 14. 47
    Constantine the Great, 1, 4, 7, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21,
      24, 25, 31, 43, 44, 61, 64, 83, 88, 91
    Constantine IV. Pogonatus, 98
    Constantine V. Copronymus, 124
    Constantine XII. Dragases, 129, 130
    Constantius II., 25, 26, 27
    Diocletian, I, 7, 8, 9
    Heraclius, 87, 98, 120, 124, 155
    Honorius, 42, 50
    Isaac I. Comnenus, 151
    Isaac II. Angelus, 115
    John I. Zimisces, 94, 95, 100, 124, 160
    John II. Comnenus, 163
    John V. Cantacuzene, 168
    John VI. Palæologus, 136
    Julian, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32
    Justinian the Great, 89, 94, 96, 109, 135, 148, 155, 156, 158, 178,
      185, 189
    Justin II., 30
    Leo III. the Isaurian, 148
    Leo V. the Armenian, 10, 12
    Leo VI. the Wise, 85
    Licinius, 12, 15
    Manuel Comnenus, 85, 119, 126
    Marcian, 71, 78
    Michael VII. Ducas, 151
    Michael VIII. Palæologus, 85, 97, 106
    Nero, 1
    Nicephorus Phocas, 94, 100
    Phocas, 87, 98
    Septimius Severus, 13, 16, 98
    Theodosius the Great, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 148
    Theodosius II., 39, 40, 49, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61, 62, 64, 65, 67, 69,
      70, 71, 72, 73, 78, 84, 101, 118
    Theophilus, 85, 86, 124
    Trajan, 26
    Valens, 31, 32, 33

    Dominica, 33
    Eudocia, 72, 73, 74
    Eudoxia, 45, 48, 77
    Sophia, 30
    Theophano, 94

  Epiphany, 269

  Eubulus, 88

  Eutropius, 45

  Eutychius, 71

  Exakionion, 37

  Exarch, 239

  Exokionion, 36, 37, 149

  Exokionitæ, 36

  Eyoub, 111, 113, 114

  Factions, 41, 58, 75

  Field of the Witnesses, 223, 224

  Fortress of the Seven Towers, 140

  Forum of Arcadius, 49

  Forum of Theodosius, 38, 49

  Forum of Theodosius I., 49

  Forum of Trajan, 25

  Forum Romanum, 3

  Fountain of Sultan Achmed III., 218

  Fourteen Wards, 23

  Fourth Crusade, 38, 87, 106, 113, 123, 126, 127, 163

  Frederic, Cardinal, 161

  Gainas, 45, 46

  Galata, 23, 84, 108, 195

  Galata Bridge, 105, 202

    Achour Kapoussi, 83
    Adrianople, 183
    Ancient Gate, 17, 36, 37
    Beautiful Gate of S. Sophia, 162
    Charisius, 123, 129
    Daoud Pasha Kapoussi, 83, 96
    Deïrmen Kapoussi, 86, 89
    Edirne Kapoussi, 128
    Egri Kapou, 23, 119
    Eugenius, 102
    Golden Gate, 39, 40, 77, 124, 140, 149, 202
    Isa Kapoussi, 37
    Jesus, 17
    Kerkoporta, 130
    Kiretch Kapoussi, 102
    Narli Kapoussi, 151
    Odoun Kapan Kapoussi, 109
    Rhegium, 59, 77
    S. Æmilianus, 83, 96
    S. Romanus, 123, 128
    Tchatlady Kapou, 94
    Top Kapoussi, 123, 128
    Xylokerkou, 77
    Yali Kiosk Kapoussi, 102
    Yeni Mevlevi Khaneh Kapoussi, 59
    Zindan Kapoussi, 106

  Gennadius, 138, 139

  Genoa, 88, 107, 108, 128, 129

  Genoese Castle, 224

  Genseric, 54

  George the Despot of Servia, 86

  Geysa I., 163

  Gibbon, 3, 193

  Giustiniani, 129, 130

  Gladstone, Mr., 125

  Godfrey of Bouillon, 126, 163

  Goths, 6, 14, 33, 34, 35, 49

  Great Palace, 94

  Great Powers, 271, 274, 275

  Greece, 275

  Greek Orthodox Church, 238, 239, 240, 271

  Greeks, 236, 240, 273

  Gregorian Armenian, 271

  Gregory of Nyssa, 67

  Gregory of Nazianzus, 36

  Harbour of Eleutherius, 21, 42, 98

  Harbour of Julian or New Harbour, 30, 87, 96

  Harbour of Kaisarius, 97

  Harbour of the Kontoscalion, 96

  Harbour of Sophia, 30, 87

  Harbour of Theodosius I., 98

  Harrison, Mr. Frederic, 95

  Haskeui, 111, 114

  Hassan, 270

  Hebdomon, 57

  Heraclea, 14

  Herodotus, 224

  Hippodrome, 16, 19, 20, 22, 30, 40, 41, 58, 60, 61, 77, 87, 92, 96,
    134, 136, 151, 171

  Hodgkin, Dr., 11

  Holy Well, 110

  Hormisdas, 24, 26

  Hospital of Sampson, 88

  Howling Dervishes, 229, 270

  Hugo of Saint Paul, 127

  Humbert, Cardinal, 160, 161

  Huns, 33, 55, 78, 122, 149, 206

  Hussein, 270

  Iconoclast, 152

  Imarets, 231

  Imperial Palace, 136

  Imperial Treasury, 199

  Indjili Kiosk, 89

  Inner Bridge, 17, 10l, 109, 115, 202

  Isidorus of Miletus, 180, 183

  Janissaries, 225

  Kadikeui, 83, 85

  Kadriga Limani, 30, 87

  Koran, 242

  Kurds, 211, 266

  Kutzo-Wlachs, 240

  La Broquière, 137

  Lake of Derkos, 218

  Latin Crusaders, 138

  Layard, Sir Henry, 196

  Lazes, 266

  Leontius, 71, 72

  Libanius, 29

  Louis of Blois and Chartres, 127

  Lycus, 129, 131

  Macedonia, 239, 240

  Mahomet, 111, 162, 232, 267

  Mangana, 89

  Mardonius, 27

  Marina, 48

  Mary Ducæna, 163

  Maximus, 39

  Mecca, 266, 267

  Medina, 267

  Megara, 12

  Methodius, 160

  Milan, 8

  Milion, 20

  Mir-Akhor Djamissi, 150

  Mithridates, 13

  Modestius, Prefect, 31

  Monastery of Hormisdas, 159

  Mosaic Mosque, 149

    Aivas Effendi, 126
    Atik Mustapha Pasha Djamissi, 110
    Eski Imaret Djamissi, 110, 162
    Eyoub, 224
    Fethiyeh Djamissi, 166
    Gul Djamissi, 110, 166
    Isa Kapoussi Mesdjidi, 17, 149
    Kahriyeh Djamissi, 110, 149, 162
    Kutchuk Aya Sofia, 155, 175
    Shahzadè, 190
    Suleiman the Magnificent, 109, 190
    Sultan Achmed, 20, 93, 191
    Sultan Mehemet, 21, 31, 148, 190
    Sultan Selim, 49, 190
    Tulbenkdji Djamissi, 97
    Zeirek Kilisse Djamissi, 162

  Mount Olympus, 91

  Museum of the Janissary Costumes, 199

  Naissus, 9

  Naval Hospital, 109

  Neorion or Dockyard of the Heptascalon, 97

  Nestorian Church, 234, 271

  Nestorius, 71, 73, 67

  New Style, 269

  New Year’s Day, 269

  Nicephorus Gregoras, 168

  Nicomedia, 9, 24, 27

  Night of Power, The, 228

  Nika, 148

  Nisch, 9

  Normans, 106

  Odessa, 239

  Okmeidan, 109

  Old Style, 269

  Ortakeui, 202

  Ostrogoths, 46

  Othman, 11, 199

  Pachymeres, 97, 168

  Palace of--
    Blachernæ, 54, 110, 114, 119, 126, 136
    Diocletian, 171
    Dolma Bagtche, 114
    Mangana, 89
    Porphyrogenitus, 118, 119

  Palatine, 93

  Pantheon, 179, 187

  Pardoe, Miss, 197

  Parthenon, 79

    Jeremiah, 141
    John the Faster, 158
    Michael Keroularius, 161

  Paulicians, 153

  Paulinus, 72, 73, 74

  Pausanias, 13

  Pera, 102, 108, 202

  Persia, 6, 28, 124

  Persians, 22, 266

  Pescennius Niger, 13

  Peter the Hermit, 126, 163

  Phanar, 49, 110, 115, 116, 146

  Philip of Macedon, 13, 88

  Philopation, 89

  Phrantzes, 168

  Pisans, 107

  Platæa, 13

    Gregory the Great, 157
    Gregory XIII., 269
    Pope John VIII., 157
    Vigilius, 158, 159

  Prison of Anemas, 120

  Proclus, 41

  Procopius, 32

  Psamatia, 17, 99, 150, 172

  Public Fountains, 217

  Public Granaries, The, 60

  Pulcheria, 48, 69, 70, 72, 73

  Ramazan, 228, 231, 243, 259, 268

  Ravenna, 8

  Robert of Normandy, 126

  Roumania, 275

  Roumanians, 236, 273

  Roumeli Hissar, 215, 223

  Rufinus, 45

  Russia, 275

  Sacred Palace, 171

  Samson, 233

  Samson Agonistes, 232

  San Stefano, 114

  Saracens, 107, 111, 124

  Sardica, 6

  Sarmatians, 6

  Scutari, 12, 84, 114

  Second General Council, 37

  Senate House, 20, 29, 60

  Seraglio Lighthouse, 15

  Seraglio Point, 14, 15, 48, 81, 83, 84, 85, 88, 90, 91, 106, 138, 199,
    219, 224

  Serpent Column, 22

  Servia, 275

  Servians, 236, 240, 273

  Seven Towers, 81

  Sheik-ul-Islam, 142, 224

  Shiites, 270

  Sigma, 30

  Simon, 154

  Simplicius, 48

  Singidunum, 9

  Sophia, 9, 36

  Spalato, 171

  Stanley, Dean, 11

  Strategion, 23

  Studius, 150, 151, 172

    Abdul Azis, 224
    Abdul Medjid, 90
    Bajazet II., 38
    Mahomet, 199
    Mehemet the Conqueror, 90, 113, 123, 128, 142, 143, 145, 162, 223
    Murad, 123, 224
    Selim I., 141
    Suleiman the Magnificent, 141

  Sunnites, 270

  Sweet Waters of Asia, 255, 260

  Sweet Waters of Europe, 111, 113, 255, 260

  Swiatoslaf, 124

  Symeon, 123

  Syrian Jacobites, 271

  Tancred, 126

  Tartars, 266

  Taxim, 211

  Tekfour Serai, 53, 118

  Temple Bar, 17

  Temple of Jupiter, 193

  Temple of the Winds, 39

  Themistius, 26, 43, 137

  Theodora, 94, 176

  Theodore, 152, 153, 154

  Theodore Metochites, 150

  Theodoric the Great, 177

  Theodosian Wall, 77, 118

  Therapia, 203

  Thermæ of Arcadia, 48, 89

  Thessalonica, 9

  Torcello, 175

  Tours, 148

  Tower of Galata, 102, 107

  Tower of Isaac Angelus, 120, 126, 135, 136

  Trajan, 26

  Troy, 9

  Turcomans, 266

  Tzycanisterion, 90

  Ulfilas, 45

  University of Constantinople, 62, 63, 77

  Validé, Khan, 270

  Validé, Sultana, 250

  Vandals, 57

  Varangian troops, 127

  Vefa Meidan, 190

  Venice, 60, 88, 106, 108, 114, 128

  Vienna, 205

  Ville-Hardouin, 114, 127, 134

  Visigoths, 45

  Vladimir, 159

  Vlanga, 17, 88, 134

  Vlanga Bostan, 42, 83, 98, 99

  Wheler, 50

  White, Colonel, 196, 197

  Xenophon, 88

  Xerolophus, 49, 69

  Yeri Batan Serai, 27, 218


  _Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.

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