תמונות בעמוד
[merged small][ocr errors]

crossing them diagonally from right to left, called hlimukes, which allowed the spectators to ascend to the upper rows, and not by ladders, as some have supposed.

The prospect from this theatre is one of the grandest, the most sublime, and exciting that I have ever witnessed; and though much fatigued by six hours' groping among the toinbs, it lost none of its powerful effect upon me as I rested on one of the upper seats, while my cornpanion, Mr. R. Meiklam, was making a sketch of what Clarke has described as “one of the most perfect specimens which the ancients have left of this kind of building; for by the plans of Grecian architects, the vast operations of nature were rendered subservient to the works of art.”

This theatre, unlike our modern ones, had no roof, but a canvas awning, or tectum, stretched across the top, shaded the spectators from the effects of the sun, and allowed the eye to wander over the extensive view that formed the vast natural scenery of the piece..

Different, indeed, is the effect produced by the painted daubs that modern art has rendered necessary to convey an idea of scenic beauty. Here the foreground was a real palace of huge dimensions, beyond which appeared the calm waters of the bay, with the numerous craft passing and repassing upon it. The towers, the tombs, and temples of the city rose upon the right, and to the left appeared the picturesque island of Cavaliére. Across the blue waters was a smiling, fertile plain, rich in vineyards, cornfields, and meadows; the flocks and shepherds on which required no propping from a scene-shifter. In the rear of the spectators, the heaths and myrtles on the well-wooded mountain perfumed the air ; and far in the distance rose one of most glorious scenes that an artist could possibly compress into a picture—the Carian mountains, placed beneath a sky of intense clearness, which allowed the beholder to trace the transition from plenteous regetation along the gentle slopes at their base, to that of glistening snow upon their summits. It is a landscape which would almost repay the trouble of going thus far to see. How different the luxuriant revelling and midnight waste of time and health indulged in by the moderns, from the healthful pastime of the ancient Greek, enjoyed in the open day, when listening to the strains of Sophocles and Euripides, or witnessing the performances of Æschylus and Aristophanes. Such comparisons, such recollections, and such excitements it is, that constitute the charm and



consolation of travel, and clothe with beauty every ruin of the ancients. Such were the sources of excitement which Byron, who experienced them in all their power, has stated to be (next to ambition) the greatest in existence; and he felt how sweet it was thus to sit, wrapt in the mantle of antiquity, and broider the golden web that fancy weaves, till the glorious tapestry of the past curtains from our view the ills and crosses of the present.

Then stay, illusion, stay awhile,

My wilder'd fancy still beguile;'
But no- it may not be; it will not last,

"The vision of enchantment's past :' for Telmessus, like many a scene in civilized life, while it delights the eye, gratifies the mind, and leads captive the imagination, warns the traveller to hasten from its pestilential environs, for plague lurks in its streets; the plains teem with miasma, disease and death are floating around, and the desolation that has here for centuries prevailed, still marks it a NECROPOLIS.

Before we leave this place, we must refer to one more memorable spot. To the left of the theatre a flight of steps conducts from the water's edge to a large grotto, twenty-one feet in breadth, vaulted over head, and rudely cut out of the solid rock, as represented in the accompanying vignette.


This grotto is supposed to have been a soothsayer's cave. The upper third of the back wall was hollow and contained a small



chamber, into which, with some difficulty, I climbed. Originally the front of this was closed up, and the partition wall so artificially plastered that it appeared a continuation of the solid rock. From this it is considered that the answer of the Sybil, concealed behind it, was returned to the inquirer beneath. This recess does not occupy, as Clarke supposed, the whole of the upper third, but only one half of that space. However, from the hollow sound of the partition wall upon the right-hand side, I am inclined to think that there is a second chamber behind it also. That the lower half of the wall is solid, we can see from a large chasm recently made in it. How the oracular priests had access to this, is at present difficult to say. This I may remark, that, on examining it I found several apertures like air-holes, leading upwards, cut through the rock, exactly similiar to those that exist in the chambers of the large pyramid, where jugglery of the same character may have been enacted. The further exploration of this cave would prove highly interesting, and it is well worthy the attention of future travellers.

Several other caves, and numerous tombs, occur along the shore, besides some low buildings with groined roofs, probably minor temples. Between the theatre and the town there is a perpendicular rock, whose face has been smoothed with great care ; in it are rows of holes, like joice-holes in modern houses, as well as several apertures carred into the form of fire-places. This place I consider to be the remains of an ancient bath.

The dromedaries here are smaller than any others that I have seen, and are covered with a coat of long, shaggy hair, with black tufts under the chin, on the forehead, and at most of the joints, no doubt to protect them from the cold, which is here at some seasons intense.

We perceived a manifest difference in climate, even during the two nights we spent here, which were piercingly cold. In the mornings a noxious fog or fen-damp rose from the marshy valley, which did not clear off till ten o'clock in the day. It has been noticed that the air is generally tainted in the vicinity of ancient cities, owing, it is said, to the water becoming stagnant in the places where fountains, aqueducts, and streams have been choked up with ruins ; but it is the total neglect of cultivation, and the advance of the sea, that have created this swampy plain. Besides these causes, there is at Telmessus a variability of tem

[ocr errors][merged small]

perature, even during a single day, that is highly detrimental to health, by the keen winds blowing at certain seasons from the lofty mountains, exposing the inhabitants to sudden chills a few hours after they have been suffering under intense heat.

Telmessus was celebrated for wine and augury; but it is to be regretted that, although mentioned by many of the ancient classic writers, such as Strabo, Pliny, Lucian, Herodotus, Cicero, Livy, Arrian, and others, they merely refer to some passing event that took place there, and do not give any regular description of the city itself or of its kings. Aristander, the celebrated soothsayer of Alexander, was a native of Telmessus. Herodotus relates that, in the days of Creesus, serpents filled the land about Sardis, and the horses left their pastures to feed upon them ; on which that monarch sent to Telmessis to inquire of the priests concerning this prodigy ; the interpretation of which was, that, as the serpent was produced from the earth, the horse might be considered both as a foreigner and an enemy; and that a foreign army was about to attack Cræsus;—matters turned out in accordance. The origin of the city may be the following :-Telmessus was a son of Apollo, by one of the daughters of Antenor, whom he endowed with the power of interpreting prodigies. This gift descended to her son, who was buried under the altar of Apollo in the city of Telmessus, of which it is probable he was the founder.

The island of Cavaliére, which forms the break-water to the bay of Macri, is a long, irregular piece of land, lying N. E., S. W., completely covered over with ruins of building which once belonged to the Knights of Jerusalem, and the Genoese and Venetians. The principal of these were forts, chapels, and houses, combining both dwellings and places of defence. After visiting it we got under weigh and sailed out of the gulf, intending to proceed at once to the island of Kastelorizo.

Patera we passed next day, but though perfectly visible to us, it blew so hard that we were unable to land. The coast still decreased in beauty and fertility, the mountains became barren, and the shore in many places resembled the desert, especially about the mouth of the Xanthus. The storm increased in violence, and toward the evening of the 4th we entered the bay of Kalamaki, said to be the port of Phænicus. Nothing could be more cheerless and gloomy than this place, of which

[blocks in formation]

so very little is known. On all sides the mountains rise in perpendicular cliffs from the water, which is here of great depth. The darkness was fast closing in upon us, and our situation was any thing but enviable. We could find no anchorage; there appeared no trace of human beings; and the white line of foam that marked the entrance told too plainly of the storm that raged without. Again and again we were on the point of quitting its inhospitable shores, and seeking safety in the raging sea without: at length we found bottom at ten fathoms, and cast anchor for the night.

A few Greek peasants had settled on the rocks near where we lay; they seemed to be in a most miserable condition, and all they could afford us was a little goat's milk. The beach, at the extremity of this bay, is petrified similar to that at Rhodes.

At day-break the weather moderated, and we continued on our course, and arrived at Mais or Kastelorizo, so called from its modern appellation of Castel Rosso or Red Castle. This place is about eighteen miles to the east of Kalamaki. It is a bold, rugged, and perfectly barren rock-a block of gray limestone that has received a reddish tinge from traces of iron scattered through the crevices of its strata, and rising in perpendicular cliffs to a height of 800 feet above the sea. The day was well suited for viewing the peculiar loneliness, and extraordinary situation of this island, if such it can be called. The wind still blew fresh, accompavied with heavy showers, and a drifting mist at times softened the outline of its fantastic form, and gave it a somewhat fairy-like appearance, as it revealed its sides, rising out of the mass of boiling water that foamed and tumbled round its base. But barren and inhospitable as it looks, it has upon its northwestern side, opposite the coast, one of the most secure and valuable harbours (at least for coasting craft) in this part of Asia Minor. The entrance to it is narrow, and it is protected on the north by a high peninsula, on which the town stands, while a high mass of rock shelters it from any wind that might reach it from the open sea to southward. This harbour is so deep, that, although there is no artificial pier, the vessels are ranged close along the shore, and reached by single planks from the landing place! Two or three stunted sickly olives were the only shrubs or vegetables of any kind on this island, whose sole wealth consists in its beautiful little harbour, and its healthy, but com

« הקודםהמשך »