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ROAD TO SARDIS.
Frank dress, half Greek, half Italian, entered. Without invitation they passed the evening with us; and the former was supplied by my companion with a number of books, which he gladly accepted.
From Kasabah to Sardis the distance is five hours. As it was stated that the neighbourhood was infested by robbers, the aga thought it necessary to send with us one of his guards, an armed African. This son of Ham, dressed in a brown embroidered jacket, with a colored turban folded round and round a scarlet fez and formed into a cone at the top, in full battle equipment, amused us during the ride by his equestrian exploits; now brandishing a long chibouque as he leaped over mounds and ditches, now putting his horse to full speed and suddenly arresting it; at one moment, with a display of politeness, offering us his pipe to smoke; at another, performing various antics, indicative of the mirthsome negro character.
The road runs at the foot of Tmolus, which presents the same jagged appearance, with all the volcanic indications already described ; while the other side of the valley is bounded by a parallel chain of low hills. The caravans of camels were so numerous as to form almost a continuous series. In one we counted a hun
dred and eighteen animals, and the total must have amounted to several thousands, some of which were quite white.
The approach to Sardis is marked by a number of tumuli, full eighteen or twenty, by the way-side, whose history is unknown, and few are so bold as to conjecture in honor of whom they were erected: they are of various sizes, but all of nearly the same shape, differing very little from semi-spheres : in many, the outer circle is formed of brick-work; which, in some, is well covered with earth overgrown with grass; in others, it is partially exposed, so as to leave no doubt that the mounds are artificial. From what we read of the customs of past ages, there is reason to suppose
that these tumuli are not wholly destitute of treasures; and it is surprising that neither speculators nor antiquaries have explored them.
The individual is not to be envied who can approach without emotion the ruins of Sardis. That church which was solemnly exhorted to “ be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die,” and which was admonished, “ If thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee,”* hav
Rev. iii. 2, 3.
ing long since filled up the measure of her ini- . quities, is now a standing proof of divine wrath and truthfulness.
The very first stones which arrest the eye of the traveller as he enters Sardis speak of life, and youth, and glory past away. They are the remains of an old Turkish burial-ground, now disused because the living have well nigh fled from a place which seems to be devoted to destruction. Strabo and Herodotus mention that the air of this part of the country was so healthy that the inhabitants generally lived to a great age. The Turks now consider it pestilential, and have a saying that every man dies who builds a house at Sardis ; consequently, not a single native Moslim resides there. About thirty vagrants from Turcomania, who have permission to inhabit a certain district of Anatolia entirely deserted by Turks, pitch their tents in the neighbourhood in summer, and house themselves during winter in huts scattered at the foot of the mountain. Holding, in common with the Persians, the doctrines of the Sheeahs, they are regarded by the Turks, who are all Sunnees, * as worse than infidels, and they live
* The three immediate successors of Mohammed were Abubeker, Omar, and Othman; his son-in-law Ali not coming into power till twenty-two years after his decease, in the Sardis, now called Sart, stands at the foot of Tmolus, in a plain bounded on all sides by year of the Hegira 35, A.D. 656 ; his reign was of only three years duration, and his two sons, Hussan and Hussein, then fell with their father under the stronger party of their oppo
here without mosque or priest. Such is the existing population of what was once the capital of Croesus; the ancient city called, by way of distinction, “ The city of the Lydians;
»* which has witnessed the successive glories of Lydian kings, Persian satraps, and Macedonian conquerors; of Syrians, Romans, and Turks ! Now, alas ! with its temporal honors, its higher and spiritual are no less past away.
Of the Christian church, to which it was once said • Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy,”+ the only representatives are a single Greek, his wife, and child, of whom all that charity can hope is that they are not living “ atheists in the world.” I
The Sheeahs regard Abubeker and his successors as usurpers, maintaining that Ali should have succeeded to his father-in-law; the Sunnees hold the opposite opinion. This is the origin of the schism which has divided, from that day to this, the Mohammedan world.
* Herod. vii. 31.
CONNECTED WITH SARDIS.
upon the mind.
hills utterly desert and exhibiting no trace either of cultivation or human habitation. Here a thousand historical associations rush
On this plain was fought the battle which placed Lydia at the disposal of Cyrus, fulfilling the prophetic declaration that it should become as a “rib” in the mouth of the Persian “ bear.”* Here Alexander rested after the battle of the Granicus; and here were encamped the armies of Xerxes, Antiochus, and Timur Shah. In the distance are seen the Gygæan lake and the vast tumulus of Halyattes, the father of Croesus, with the ample stream of Hermus; while, close at hand, flows the golden-sanded Pactolus, famed for its alchymic power and the part it played in the tragedy of Midas.
On the left of the road from Magnesia, beyond the Pactolus, now called Sard-chaee, and nearly opposite the old Turkish cemetery, is a large mass of ruins, bounded by a thick wall in the form of a segment of a circle, within which are traced three interior and concentric circles, resembling the substruction of rows of seats.
Near these are some remains to which tradition has assigned the name of the Palace of
* Dan. vii. 5. See Bishop Newton on the Prophecies.