J.M. Bellew

J.M. Bellew (1823-74)

J.M. Bellew (1823-74)

J.C. M. Bellew was a noted author, preacher, and public reader. He was ordained in 1848 and served in several curacies in England. In 1851 he assumed the chaplaincy of St. John's Cathedral in Calcutta. He returned to England in 1855, and over the next decade became noted as one of London's finest preachers. During this period he also published several volumes of sermons as well as a work called "The Seven Churches of Asia Minor." Accompanied by the illustration of Thomas Allom, this appeared in the Art Journal in 1862. In 1868 Bellew resigned as a clergyman and converted to Catholicism. He then became successful as a public reader, with elocutionary prowess comparable to that of Charles Dickens. Following two extended reading tours in America, Bellew suffered a physical breakdown, dying prematurely at age 51. Bellew's visit to the Seven Churches must have occurred during his travels to or from India.



By J. M. Bellew

The greatest, the most imposing, and by far the most interesting of the “Seven Churches” was Ephesus. Great was its greatness; utter has been its desolation. What may be its future history it would be hard to guess, since the power that is now transforming the face of the civilized world, and penetrating into the uncivilized, has touched Ephesus with its iron hand of enchantment. The railway has reached it, and the traveler may take a morning’s run from Smyrna to Ephesus, see the ruins, spend the day upon the hills, and return at evening time to the former city, just as a pleasure party from London would go to spend the day at Richmond or at Windsor. For the convenience of the European traveler who loves his ease, this may be a consideration, but to the writer, and to all those who think that the iron horse and the metal road are painful intruders among the remains of hoar antiquity, the presence of a railway at Ephesus, the ear-splitting shriek of the engine whistle, the smoke, and rattle, and bustle of life which the trains bring with them, are quite out of place, and destroy the charms of association. We would rather contemplate St. Paul as he “fought with beasts at Ephesus,” or St. John as he conferred his apostolic blessings upon the infant Church, “Little children love one another”–we would rather dwell upon the hopes and confidence which the scene in the amphitheatre of Ephesus awakened in the apostle’s mind, without the interruption of the railway whistles, and the perpetual reminder, as the pasha in “Eöthen” says, that the world is now all “Wheels, wheels, wheels; whirl, whirl, whirl; and whiz, whiz, whiz.” Until the other day, when steam first intruded into the plain, Ephesus was reckoned thirteen or fourteen hours’ journey from Smyrna, of which city it lies directly south, being distant about forty miles.

The origin of the city is difficult to trace. Justin and Pliny ascribe it to the Amazons, in the same way that Smyrna was said to be founded by them. Into the region of fiction it would be useless to try and penetrate. We may assume as fact the statement that the shores of Asia Minor, skirting the district amidst which Ephesus is situated, were held by Phoenician colonies, first heard of in history as Carian, or Leleges, and alluded to by Homer (Iliad 21.5.86). It is to Androclus, the son of Codrus, last king of Athens, that the foundation of Ephesus is commonly attributed. Under him the Ionians are said to have sailed from the shores of Attica, and to have established themselves upon the seaboard of Asia. Thus Androclus is by ordinary consent called the founder of Ephesus. According to this statement, Ephesus was founded about the time when David reigned in Jerusalem At a much later period it was possessed by Croesus, King of Sardis. Later again it formed part of the dominions of Lysimachus, nearly three hundred years before Christ; and still later it was possessed by the kings of Pergamos. Subsequently, like the surrounding countries, it bent the knee before the power of Rome, and became the metropolis of Proconsular Asia. It seems to be agreed on all hands that from remotest antiquity Ephesus was a sacred city. Thucydides, in speaking of the sacred festivals at Delos, says that the Tones congregated at Ephesia. The Great Temple of Diana, which became the glory of Ephesus in the clays of its wealth and spendour, would seem to have taken the place of a much more ancient shrine–-the original place of worship for the Ionians, and attracting the, people of the surrounding plains to its festivals. We know that when Croesus attacked the city, with the probable intention of making it a port to his own royal residence at Sardis, there was a Temple of Artemis then existing, in which the king offered sacrifices. It was around this temple that the ancient city of Androclus had grown up, and upon its site it is almost certain the later and greater one was constructed.

So remote is the period when sacred worship first brought Ephesus into notice, that tradition asserts the Amazons, in the time of Theseus, sacrificed here to Diana, on their way to Attica; and it further affirms that her image was first set up by them under a tree. This was the image which the people of Ephesus, in the time of St. Paul, believed had fallen down from Jupiter, and to the honour of which the temple that held its shrine was seven times restored, before the final and stupendous edifice was erected of which the Christian reads in the Acts of the Apostles. Wherever the image was brought from, there can be no doubt that it was one of the rudest objects of primeval worship, and might have been far more appropriately enshrined in an Indian than in a Grecian temple. When the Ionians arrived, Androclus protected the mixed community which had gradually settled here for purposes of devotion. Having founded a Temple of Diana, the city grew up around it, and a fixed population became settled in the place. Androclus, fighting against the Carians, was killed in battle. His body was removed and buried by the Ephesians, and his monument surmounted by the figure of a man armed, was shown in Ephesus as late as the second century of the Christian era.

But, before we trace the subsequent history of the city, it is necessary to be clear about its geographical position, and the locality itself, upon a right understanding of which, a correct conception of the appearance of the plains and ruins of Ephesus must depend.

By reference to the map of Asia Minor, it will be seen that along its western sea‑board there are only two rivers of any importance, flowing from the interior mountains to the Mediterranean. These are the streams so often alluded to in previous articles–-the Hermus to the north, and the Meander to the south. But almost midway between them there is another river, much smaller in volume, which seeks the ocean behind the island of Samos, in the gulf Scala Nuova. This is the Caystrus of the ancient, commonly called the river Cayster.

The well‑protected harbourage which this gulf afforded for shipping, and the convenience of the navigable river, created, without a doubt, the ultimate importance of Ephesus; for, though it always preserved the character of a sacred city, the peculiar business of which was the worship of Diana, nevertheless the influx of visitors which the attractions of the sacred shrine created, necessarily promoted commerce in the city, and gradually developed the mercantile importance of Ephesus, until in later ages it became the metropolis of Proconsular Asia.

In sailing along the coast, and skirting the shores of the Scala Nuova, the site of Ephesus may be clearly traced. It stands in a small plain, running inland, eastward from the sea, to the distance of about six miles. The extreme eastern horizon is bounded by the peaks of the lofty chain of Messogis. Around the plains of Ephesus ranges of hills are gathered, enclosing it north, east, and south. To the north the heights of Gallenus, which form a natural rampart, and follow a course north‑east, being met towards the east by the loftier branches of Mount Pactyas, which is the foreground to the distant Messogis. On the south of the plain the steep hills of the Corissus closely shut it in, and are, indeed, so contiguous to the site of the ancient city, that the dwelling‑places of citizens were at one period seated upon its slopes, as the city wall still continues to run along its crest.

Through the midst of this plain flowed, and still flows, the river Cayster. There were two geographical features of the plain that contributed greatly to enhance the importance of Ephesus. The first was a lake, adjoining the Cayster and communicating with it, which formed what was called the “Sacred Harbour.” The quays of the city were built upon the margin of this basin, and being removed from the sea, it enabled vessels not only to be brought up to the city itself, but to ride in safety in the harbour, removed from all dangers either of wind or wave. At some point close to the edge of this lake, or harbour, the Great Temple of Diana was erected. The other peculiar feature of the plain was a hill at the east end, in front of the slopes of Pactyas–-a high, circular, solitary hill, called Prion. It was to Prion that Ephesus was indebted for all its splendour. It served as an inexhaustible resource for the provision of marble, and was regarded by Pausanias as one of the curiosities of Ionia. Story tells how the Ephesians, when they had resolved to build a temple worthy of their goddess, were at a loss from whence they should import the stone necessary for the purpose.

While the people were beset with difficulties, it happened that a shepherd feeding his flocks on Mount Prion saw two rams fighting. One missed his antagonist, and butting against a piece of rock with his horn, broke a fragment, which the shepherd, picking up, found to be white marble. Running with the marble into the city, and announcing its discovery, he was received with universal joy. His name was changed to “Evangelus,” the good messenger; and sacrifices were offered to him subsequently, upon the spot where the discovery had been made. Whether the legend be true or not, it is certain that the discovery of marble quarries in Mount Prion was the direct cause of the splendour which the city subsequently exhibited.

The reader, carrying these features of the plain of the Cayster in memory, will be easily able to conjure up before the imagination both the situations of the buildings to which we shall have to refer, and also the present aspect of the desolated city.

Assuming that Ephesus was founded by Androclus, the son of Codrus, the last Athenian king, we must date the rise of the city somewhere about one thousand years before Christ. For hundreds of years history is so scanty regarding it, that all we have to tell is, that it fell successively under the Lydian and Persian kings, and that Croesus (who died B.C. 546) tool, possession of it. From Androclus, therefore, to the time of Croesus, four hundred years had elapsed. What Ephesus was during that time, or what the Ephesians did, we know not. When Croesus took the city he found a Temple to Artemis in it; and on this occasion the people (seeking protection from the goddess) dedicated their city to her, by stretching a cord round the city and attaching it to the temple, which thereby became dedicated. Ephesus had in reality been subjected to a succession of Ionian tyrants, from whose yoke the Lydian king, Croesus, relieved the city, and overthrew Pindarus, who held it in thraldom.

When Croesus was overthrown by Cyrus, Ephesus became subject to him, and paid tribute to the Persians. To the Persians Ephesus continued tributary, with very few intervals, from the downfall of the Lydian empire until Persia, stooped before the conquering progress of Alexander. But during this period it was continually subject to petty despots, who simply paid tribute to the imperial treasury. It is not until we come down to the time of Alexander that Ephesus can be said to possess a history. We know that when the Athenians went against Sardis they left their ships in the port of Ephesus, and that some of the Ephesii guided them over Mount Tmolus, in their descent upon Sardis (as narrated in our article on that city). We know that Xerxes spared the Temple of Diana at Ephesus. We know that the original city, founded by Androclus, was upon the slopes of the Corissus, or the Prion. We also know that when the Temple of Diana came to be erected in the plain, and near the lake, or “Sacred Harbour” (because, as Pliny says, it was thought that on marshy soil or near water there was less fear of earthquake). The inhabitants gradually descended from the neighbouring slopes and settled in the plain. A few disjointed facts of this description have kept their place in ancient record, but they are entirely inadequate as material for a history of the city. Of one building alone do we know anything positive, previous to the time of Alexander, and that is the Great Temple. It existed before his time, and of it we shall have to speak fully presently From the days of Cyrus when Ephesus became subject to the Persian (B.C. 546), to the days of Alexander (B.C. 334), when the Persian retreated before the conquering Macedonian, we only know of Ephesus that its citizens were busy during the whole of that period, nearly two hundred years, in erecting their famous temple. Further than this, there is no incident in the history of Ephesus that is of sufficient import to arrest our attention. As regards Alexander’s impressions on seeing the temple we shall have to speak hereafter. It was not until his death, when the kingdom came to be partitioned among his generals, that Ephesus rose into magnificence. In a former article on Pergamos, it has been shown how Lysimachus, one of Alexander’s generals, founded the capitol of that city as a storehouse for his treasures. This same Lysimachus was the founder of commercial prosperity and the civic splendour of the town that became a part of his dominions.

The reign of Lysimachus lasted until the year B.C. 281. In the great wall which extends along the Corissus (already alluded to), we have still preserved to us a remain which tells of the power of Lysimachus. In many parts its towers, and walls, and posterns continue as perfect to‑day as they were when originally built. From this period we must date the rise of the city. Lysimachus, finding the citizens living upon the plain and around the temple, vainly endeavoured for a length of time to persuade them to remove and dwell upon the higher ground around Prion. The people of Ephesus were unwilling to obey, particularly as the new city was to be built under the patronage of the king’s licentious wife Arsinoe, and to receive her name. Lysimachus, determined to be obeyed, took advantage of the flooding of the Cayster, and all the sewers and outlets for the water being stopped up by the soldiers, the inhabitants of the lowlands near the harbour were washed out of their homes, or drowned, as tradition says, by the thousands. The result was what Lysimachus desired, and although the city in a very short period returned to its old name of Ephesus, the return found it a new city in all respects. Then began to be built the palaces, and theatres, and marketplaces, which, added to in later days by the Romans, raised Ephesus to the magnificence with which we associate it in the apostolic age.

Subsequent to the time of Lysimachus, Ephesus became subject to the kings of Pergamus, whose history has been already traced in the article on Pergamos. When the last Attallus of the Pergamenean line died and left his states to the Romans (B.C. 133), Ephesus passed into the possession of Rome, and it became the chief place of Roman territory in Asia, as well as the ordinary residence of the Roman governor. The gulf and harbour were so safe and convenient to the Roman merchants, that Ephesus became the port to which the Italian vessels commonly came in Asia. Cicero was received here with great distinction (B.C. 51) when he was going to his province of Cilicia. Scipio was at Ephesus a very short time previous to the battle of Pharsalia. After the defeat of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi, Anthony visited Ephesus, and offered splendid sacrifices in its temple to Diana. Before the battle of Actium, the fleet of Anthony and Cleopatra collected at Ephesus, and after the battle, Caesar Octavianus permitted the people to erect a temple to the deified dictator, Caesar, the ruins of which remain, and of which we shall have to speak.

Having given a hasty outline of the history of Ephesus from its foundation to the Christian era, we may now proceed to speak of the city itself. Our consideration must necessarily be turned, in the first instance, to the Temple of Diana. It has been already stated that the temple, of which alone the modern world knows anything, was the last of seven, The probability is, that all these successive temples had occupied the same site, and that in the remotest times, the earlier ones, like many edifices at Persepolis and elsewhere throughout the East, had been built of wood. How it happened that six temples were destroyed, there is no evidence to show, but that the last–-the Great Temple–-should have been founded very shortly after the overthrow of the Lycian dominion and the establishment of Cyrus and his dynasty, seems to imply that in the Persian invasion, the temple in which Croesus had formerly worshipped, and which had been bound with the cord of dedication, must have perished, probably by fire. This much at least is certain, that Croesus perished in B.C. 546, and Ephesus became subject to Cyrus; and in 541, five years later, a new temple began to be erected. It is of this temple that history speaks as one of the seven wonders of the world. It was founded B.C. 541, and as the foundations had to be laid in a marshy and unsafe soil, a concrete (if it may be so termed) formed of charcoal, well rammed down with fleeces of wool, was formed, which proved to be a safe bedding for the substructure. In getting a firmly‑fixed souterrain, immense quantities of marble were used. The temple itself rested upon this basement, which was raised to such a height, that it had to be approached by flights of ten steps. The original architect was Ctesiphon, of Crete, assisted by his son Metagenes. Their plans were subsequently carried on by Demetrius, one of the priests of Diana. The structure was eventually completed, after two hundred and twenty years of building, by Daphnis, a citizen of Ephesus.

The Temple measured–Length, 425 feet; Width, 220 feet; Height, 60 feet. It was surrounded, as is stated by Pliny, with one hundred and twenty‑seven columns, which it is evident must be a mistake, as there could not possibly have been an uneven number of pillars. It is believed that on each side of the temple there was a double row of twenty‑one columns, and a triple row of ten columns at each end. This calculation will give its one hundred and twenty columns, because the twenty‑four columns at the corners must only be counted once. By adding four columns in front of the antis at each end of the building, we make up the one hundred and twenty‑eight, which is most probably the number that Pliny intended to indicate.

In order to convey to the reader’s mind some conception of the vastness of the temple at Ephesus, it may be mentioned that the Parthenon at Athens was not one‑fourth its size; and that in comparison with (for instance) the area of St. Paul’s Cathedral, while that building is only seventy‑five feet longer than Diana’s Temple, the temple was in breadth more than double the size of St, Paul's; the comparative figures being:

Comparison of the size of the temple with other buildings

The order of architecture adopted at Ephesus was Ionic, and the Temple was remarkable as being the first in which fluted columns and capitals with volutes were introduced. The columns were said to be presents from various kings, and were cut out of Parian marble each shaft being sixty feet high. It is said that each shaft was a single stone; and we know that this is not impossible, when we look at the three great stones in the foundations of the temple at Baalbec; but that one hundred and twenty‑eight shafts of singlecut stones should be erected around one building does seem extremely improbable. Thirty‑six of these pillars were carved, and one of them, it is asserted, by the famous Scopas. The gates were of cypress, the roof of cedar. The works of Praxiteles adorned the shrine; Scopas contributed a statue; Timareto, the greatest of ancient female artists, gave a picture of the goddess; while Apelles and Parrhasius lavished their talent upon the panels of the walls. A picture of Alexander grasping a thunderbolt, by Apelles, was ultimately added to the decorations of the temple.

We are indebted to Strabo and to Pliny for the documentary evidence we possess regarding this glorious temple, which justly deserved the celebrity it acquired among the ancients. By many writers it is supposed that the temple was utterly destroyed on the birthday of Alexander, when one Herostratus, a philosopher of Ephesus, determining to obtain notoriety, if he could not fame, set fire to the building. It was subsequently remarked as a singular fact, that the date of the firing of the temple was the natal day of Alexander. Drawing our conclusions from a comparison of the best authorities, it seems certain that the edifice of the temple which Alexander saw some years subsequently was the same that was erected in the time of Cyrus, and that the work going on was a work of restoration, and not of reconstruction. In fact, Diana’s shrine had suffered from the mad folly of Herostratus, much as York Minster did some years ago from the parallel insanity of Martin, the incendiary. During the fire, the Temple of Diana had, no doubt, suffered terribly, but the carcass of the building remained in Alexander’s time, the same as before. If the statement of historians be true that the temple took two hundred and twenty years to complete, it could hardly have been complete when the great fire took place. From the manner in which artists are particularly spoken of, as combining to embellish the building, and the Ephesian ladies as giving their jewellery and ornaments to pay for the decorations, it seems almost certain that when the fire was extinguished, the fabric itself was preserved, and that the “rebuilding,” as it has been called, was, in reality, the restora­tion of the shrine, the replacing of the cedar‑wood ceiling, and the redecoration of the interior. Two facts are remarkable. First, the image of Diana of the Ephesians was certainly not de­stroyed; and, second, the elaborate work of Praxiteles was also saved.

Alexander seems to have visited Ephesus at the period when the temple was being restored to its pristine splendour. He was so impressed with its magnificence, that he offered to dedicate his accumulated wealth to the completion of the decorations, if the Ephesians would allow him to record the fact upon the entablature. This the people of Ephesus declined. It was their pride that the temple should be completed and decorated by the resources of the city people themselves, without any foreign aid. This historical incident proves that they were engaged upon nothing more than a work of restoration (costly though that work might be), for it would be impossible to have rebuilt in a few years (so as to have approached completion), a building which it had previously taken two centuries to erect and decorate.

When Alexander gazed with admiration upon this mighty structure, and coveted the honour of seeing his own name carved upon its stones, we know that his eyes rested upon the most magnificent edifice he had ever beheld. Where is it now? Where are the remains of the temple whose foundations must have been laid at an immense depth beneath the surface of the plain, in order to obtain a secure substructure to carry the enormous superincumbent weight imposed upon it? Every visitor to the ruins of Ephesus asks this question, and every one is doomed disappointment in attempting to answer it.



By J. M. Bellew

“The Crown of Ionia, the ornament of Asia,” Smyrna is the chief seaport of Asia Minor. Breasting the waves of time, as she has done the ocean waves lashing against her seaboard, she exists, in her ancient remains and her modern buildings, a monument of past grandeur and of continuous prosperity. The sources of the Nile have been lately discovered, and at length the speculations of ages are set at rest; but mounting the stream of life’s mighty river, it is impossible to discover the source of Smyrna’s greatness, or to reveal her birth and origin. The antiquarians of the city in ancient days con­tended, as Tacitus informs us, that Smyrna was built either by Tantalus, the offspring of Jove, or by Theseus, himself of divine origin; or if not by one of these superior individuals, cer­tainly by one of the Amazons. Tradition seems to have regarded the Amazon with the greatest favour, and accordingly the stupendous architecture which still crowns a hill, the probable site of the ancient Smyrna, but at some distance from the modern, is called “Amazonian.” Extravagance of preten­sion has intruded itself where absolute obscurity hung over the history of Smyrna. If in these days we are unable to accord the credit of classic ages to the traditions of Tantalus, Theseus, or the Amazons, we may turn a move willing ear to the story which the Smyrnean people promulgated, that their city was the birthplace of the Father and Prince of Poets–Homer. In schoolboy days we all learned the lines–

“Smyrna, Chios, Colophon, Salamis, Rhodes, Argos, Athenae, Orbus de patria certat, Homere tua!”

The seven cities never having settled their contention, we are left in obscurity as to which of them really was the poet’s birthplace–-assuming that there was such a person as Homer, for even upon this point our historical sceptics have created doubts. When the schoolboy has well learned his Iliad, and the man committed to memory the household words of his Shakspere, it is not perhaps very pleasant to be confronted with the pamphleteer’s inquiry, “Is Homer a myth?” “Did such a man as Shakspere ever live?” There can be no question that the people of Smyrna had full confidence in the bodily existence of Homer. Their story ran, that his mother, going with companions to celebrate some festival at a neighbouring town, was suddenly taken in labour by the banks of the Meles, where she brought forth the future poet. It is perhaps unfortunate for the acceptation of the story, that the poet himself should nowhere make mention of this poetical fashion of his birth. That a temple to Homer existed at Smyrna there is little doubt; and that a cavern still exists in which he is said to have composed his Iliad, no one need doubt who visits the city, and feels disposed to excite the Turkish scent after money and capacity for invention by the exhibition of European credulity and curiosity.

But where was ancient Smyrna? and what was ancient Smyrna? If obscurity rests upon its origin, so also speculation and conjecture are obliged to be busy in settling its site. We shall perhaps be most perspicuous if we distinguish three Smyrnas in history–the first the mythic, the second the historic, the third the Turkish. By calling the first Smyrna mythic, it must not be supposed that we mean to doubt the existence of such a place, but mainly to signify that we know nothing about it, save and except such knowledge as myths supply in the absence of facts.

The Smyrnean people, it is commonly narrated, originally inhabited part of Ephesus, and took their name from Smyrna, an Amazon, under whose conduct they probably migrated, she becoming the founder of the settlement which acquired a local habitation and a name from her. In consequence, Smyrna was regarded as a colony of Ephesus.

That the Amazonian city was destroyed, all historians seem agreed, though they differ considerably as to the authors of its destruction. The Ephesian colonists are by Strabo and Pliny to have been expelled by the Aeolians, and to have taken refuge at Colophon, by the people of which city they were eventually aided in reestablishing themselves. Herodotus, however, asserts that Smyrna was always Aeolian; that the Colophonians had been admitted into it; and that during some festival they made themselves mas­ters of the place. The probability seems to be, that Smyrna did belong to the Aeolian confederation until B.C. 688, when, by the treacherous act of the Colophonians, it became an Ionian possession, and was admitted as the thirteenth city in the Ionian League. It was vainly attacked by Gyges, king of Lydia, and resident at the neighbouring city of Sardis. Its peaceful par­ticipation in the Ionic confederation, however, was not destined to be of long duration, for B.C. 627, the third king of Lydia in succession from Gyges, Alyattes, father of the celebrated Croesus, attacked and destroyed Smyrna. With this incident the history of the original, or (as we have entitled it) mythic Smyrna, ends.

It may at first sight appear to the reader curious that we should take so much trouble to trace the fabled origin of the primitive city, and to note what Strabo, Pliny, or Herodotus have said of it, when we are compelled to confess that the second and third cities bearing the name have possible connection with the Amazonian and Aeolian settlement. We have the authority of Strabo for the fact that the Smyrna of his time, the origin of which we shall presently describe, was more than (according to English measure­ment) two miles removed front the site of the original settlement. An accurate eye, and a close examination of the geographical conformation of the country skirting the Gulf of Smyrna, will lead any traveller to conclude that the assertion of Strabo is correct. An obstacle to the realization of this fact among travellers who have only given the country cursory observation, and who have taken the authority of maps as conclusive evi­dence, has been the fact that the ever‑famous Meles, by whose banks we have stated Homer is represented to have been born, is supposed to wash the foot of Mount Pagus, the hill over­ looking the modern Smyrna. By turning to an atlas, the reader will probably find that the classic Meles is drawn as flowing into the Gulf on the southern side of the modern city; and be­cause it flows under a lofty hill which crowns that city, and because the classic Meles flowed under a hill similarly dominant above the ancient city, therefore it has been hastily, and, as the writer believes, most erroneously supposed that Smyrna still stands where Smyrna did stand, and that the river behind and beneath Mount Pagus is, as the maps commonly represent, the Homeric Meles. The writer believes this is totally incorrect, and that the site of ancient Smyrna and the course of the Meles must be traced elsewhere.

By following the seaboard of the Gulf northward of the present Smyrna, the reader’s eye will fall upon a little village, named Bournoubat. It is distant about two and a half miles (as the crow flies) from Smyrna, though following the tergiversating coast, it would be about four miles. In point of distance, therefore, it answers to the measurement given by Strabo of twenty stadia intervening between now and ancient Smyrna. At this point there is a mountain stream, clear and pure, tumbling over rocks, and descending between steep hills, seeking to lose itself in the Aegean. The valley through which this stream winds widens as it nears the sea, and opening into a plateau, sweeps with ever‑inclining and more graduated slopes towards the ocean. Some two miles up this valley, and crowning the crest of a hill towards the east, are found remains of some very ancient walls, and of an Acropolis. The architecture, which still survives the, lapse of centuries so many, that even the name of this place is lost to history, is Cyclopean in its character. The blocks of stone in the walls, or forming part of the gateway, are round to be eight and ten feet long, and evidently belong to fortifications erected at some period of most remote antiquity, when the people who settled at this spot felt, that it was necessary for the sake of security to fix themselves on a lofty eminence commanding the surrounding neighbourhood, and one which could be strongly fortified, so as to resist invasion. Can this, then, be the site of mythic Smyrna? Are these traces of the city of the Amazon “Smyrna?”

It has already been mentioned that “Smyrna” is not the only person who is reported to have founded the city of that name. Tantalus also lays claim to the dignified appellation “Fundator.” It is worthy of observation that there is a series of tumuli and of tombs at the neighbouring village of Bournoubat, which have been objects of curious examination to various European travellers, and especially to M. Texier, the French traveller. The walls that surrounded these tombs (now for the most part in ruins) have, like the structures on the hill, been Cyclopean in structure; and it is remarkable that among them the tradition of the country recognises the tomb of Tantalus. Farther up the valley again, we arrive at the Lake of Tantalus. With Mount Sipylus (which is but a short distance inland) we also find the story of the transformation of Niobe, the daughter of Tantalus, associated. The phantom of Niobe is supposed to appear upon the mountain, the superstition having arisen from the singular effects of passing light and shade upon the mountain, These local traditions, associating this valley and so many localities about it with the stories of Tantalus–-one of the reported founders of ancient Smyrna–-serve to strengthen the supposition that we have upon the hill‑top above Bournoubat, among the Cyclopean ruins which crown its Summit, actual traces of the very city founded by the Ephesian colonists, and rendered famous by being the supposed birthplace of Homer. The stream running beneath will perfectly answer to the Meles of classic story, upon whose banks the Father of Poetry is reputed to have been born, hence receiving the name “Melesigenes”:–

“Blind Melesigenes thence Homer called, Whose poem Phoebus challenged for his own.”

The reader, though unprepared for this description of a Smyrna totally disconnected with the place concerning which the present article is chiefly concerned, will, it is to be hoped, receive with satisfaction this information concerning the city of the Amazon, which is so closely connected, with the name and fame of Homer that even Cicero wrote of it, “Homeri Smyrnaei suum esse confirmant; itaque etiam delubrum ejus in oppido dedicaverunt.” With the destruction of the mythic Smyrna, by Alyattes, king of Lydia, the name of the city vanishes from historic record for four hundred years.

The Smyrneans subsisted during that period among the villages in the surrounding country. At length it happened that Alexander the Great, after hunting in the neighbourhood of Mount Pagus (the hill which overhangs the modern Smyrna), fell asleep beneath a plane‑tree, that overshadowed a fountain near a temple of the Nemeses. Alexander had a vision, and dreamt a dream. The goddesses appeared to him, and bade him found a city for the dispersed Smyrneans. The work was not executed by Alexander, but by his generals, Antigonus and Lysimachus; and the oracle declared that the inhabitants of Smyrna should be a prosperous people. The oracle, with a rectitude of prophetic vision which has not always attended oracular declarations, proved correct. Smyrna did become prosperous, and has continued to prosper, despite the innumerable calamities which it has undergone, more especially since the Christian era.

It will be understood that the city of which we have now to speak, the second, or historic Smyrna, is removed two and a half miles southward on the margin of the Gulf, from the Cyclopean remains of which we have before been speaking. When this second city had been built, Strabo wrote of it: “It is the finest city of Asia : part of it is built on a hill; but the finest edifices are on the plains, not far from the sea, over against the temple of Cybele. The streets are the most beautiful that can be, straight, wide, and paved with freestone. It has many stately buildings, magnificent porticoes, majestic temples, including an Homerium (or a temple in honour of Homer), a public library, and a convenient harbour, which may be shut at pleasure.”

Of that harbour there are still traces in the dried‑up basin, running towards the foot of the castle hill, through which, in the rainy season, a mountain‑rill pursues its way, skirting a Turkish cemetery on the northern suburb of the present town.

Of the historic Smyrna but few remains are now to be discovered. The few that have out­lived the destructive attacks of barbarians are ex­tremely interesting. Among these are the Stadium and the ancient Theatre, on the slope of Mount Pagus, overlooking the present Turkish quarter, which is located in the upper or higher portion, of the town–-the Armenian quarter being in the centre, and the Frankish or European the shore. The proscenium of this theatre has utterly perished. What has been done with its materials there is no difficulty in determining for the Turkish residences in the vicinity show how this noble theatre has been despoiled–-how its marble columns and rich ornaments have been used up to construct the walls of mean and dirty hovels.

Upon the hill‑top, and traceable in one or two other places, are remnants of walls, which may be Hellenic, being built without cement. A very massive line of wall, belonging undoubtedly to the classic ages, descends from the castle towards the west which may very probably trace for us the ancient city boundary, from the seaboard up to the Acropolis. There are also considerable remains behind Mount Pagus of a wall, which Chandler in his travels calls the Pomoerium. This wall runs along the summit of a ridge south of Mount Pagus, and crosses the roads to a village called Budjah. The facings of the wall itself have perished, and only masses of cement and rubble remain, as is frequently the case with the ruins of ancient walls among the cities of Asia Minor. Because this wall is carried over the ravine behind Mount Pagus upon arches, it is commonly called at Smyrna, the “Roman Aqueduct.” It is impossible now to determine what was the object of the wall. There are no traces of its ever having been an aqueduct; and if it was intended for purposes of defence, it is a puzzle to conceive why part of it should have been built on open arches. Allusion has been made to the castle that crowns the summit of Mount Pagus, and with which the walls spoken of connect themselves. This castle, though of considerable extent, is a structure belonging to the Middle Ages. It is such a heap of ruin and confusion that it is perhaps difficult to determine whether any portion of it was erected by the generals of Alexander. Remains observed in it have tempted the traveller to give this castle a higher esteem than it really deserves. Chandler spoke of the colossal head of Apollo, which some supposed to represent the Amazon Smyrna, lying near what was once a fountain within the western gate. As it is now almost a hundred years since Chandler set out on behalf of the Society of Dilettanti to visit the East, many alterations must necessarily have taken place in that period.

That the castle, whose ruins now crown the hill‑top of Pagus, marks the place where the Greek kings erected their fortress, there can be no doubt. That the Acropolis stood on this spot is certain. But it is, after all, a matter of speculation and of great doubt, whether among the existing ruins we can distinguish any remains of the Greek architecture. Some travellers have thought that in the basement of the towers on the southwest, built of red trachyte (which has the appearance of porphyry), they have discovered remains of the Alexandrine period. The ruins generally belong to the Byzantine period. A marble gateway, with Byzantine inscription upon it, is pronounced by Pococke and others to have been brought from some other site, and to have been inserted at the spot where its remains still exist. The inscription has long since perished; but it is preserved in Chandler’s work, from which we learn that the restoration of the ancient castle was effected by the Emperor John Comnenus.

It appears idle to the writer of this article (who on visiting Smyrna carefully examined the ruins in question) for travellers to visit them expecting to trace in them remains of the Alexandrine ages, and to detect any architectural features of the structure which dominated the city when the Apostle wrote the Apocalypse, and famous Polycarp yielded up his life in fidelity to the Christian faith he professed. In the Stadium and the Theatre we most certainly recognise traces of the buildings which stood in the days of Polycarp; but both Stadium and Theatre have been so thoroughly spoliated, that we can do little more than recognise them.

The Stadium extends (it would be more correct to say extended) from east to west, a little below the ruins or the castle. The tiers of seats were of marble; but they have been carried away to be built into the walls of modern houses. Happily the declivity upon which the Stadium was erected has been the means of preserving it from also annihilation. The whole of the left‑hand side of the structure had to be erected upon the spur of the hill, which, on the right hand, had been dug out to complete the circular form. These massive foundations still exist, and exhibit semicircular niches and masonic work, evidently of the Roman period.

It was in this Stadium, as tradition says, that Polycarp was martyred. There is no reason to doubt the truth of the assertion, as it was in the amphitheatres that the early Christian martyrs were commonly put to death. These cellular foundations, therefore, have a claim upon the deepest interest of the Christian, if it was within their walls that one of the most shining lights of primitive Christianity gave up his life in proof of his fidelity to his Lord and Master. To this subject we shall return presently.

The third town, or modern town, of which we have now to speak is (as the above facts will have shown), historically modern. It is a city which has grown out of ruin and devastation, slaughter, fire, earthquake, and famine. The life‑principle must be very strong in any place that could survive the series of calamities which, from the second century to the fifteenth, century after century, overwhelmed this place. Men, however, live for a day, while Nature smiles at their wars and their havoc, and lives on through the long centuries, re‑invigorating and renewing herself, when they are gone for ever. Smyrna is one of those places which can never perish. Fire, sword, and earthquake are unequal to the task of accomplishing her extinction; for Nature has located her so graciously, adorned her so beautifully, and clothed her so luxuriantly, that however many cities, marking her site might be destroyed, a Smyrna must always exist. Situated as she is, Nature has invested her for ever “the Crown of Ionia, the ornament of Asia.”

Looking towards the Aegean, Smyrna seems land‑locked. Her gulf, surrounded with mountains and studded with islands, is divided from the, sea, opposite the town, by the promontory of Melaena, now called Cape Karabournu, behind which is the classic island of Chios. Steering round the coast of Chios and the point of Melaena, the Gulf of Smyrna opens south of the Isle of Mytilene in a boot‑like shape, at the toe of which stands Smyrna itself, rising amphitheatrically from the water’s edge, crowned with the summits of Pagus, and the ruins of the castle founded by Alexander’s generals, restored by John Comnenus, and last famous a stronghold of the Knights of St. John. The Greeks, always noted for choosing admirable sites for their cities, showed their judgment and taste when they constructed Smyrna. It has everything to recommend it in beauty of situation, in strength of position, and in attraction as a commercial port. The same natural features which recommended it thousands of years ago, recommend it still. It may be called the Genoa of the East.

When our vessel nears the town, we observe the busy port to be stretched along the water’s edge; while on the rising ground and terraces above, the quiet residences of families, or the cypress groves which mark the burial‑grounds, carry the eye up to the solitary crest of the hill and the dark walls which frown upon the triangular plain beneath.

The first impression upon the writer’s mind on seeing Smyrna was, that some Swiss village had removed for change of air to the sea‑side. The impression was caused by the mass of houses in the town being built of wood, bearing, at a distance, very much the appearance of Swiss cottages. The reason why the inhabitants of the last three centuries have built with wood is on account of the prevalence of earthquakes. They have philosophised upon the destructiveness of earthquakes, and adopted the plan of building with materials which, if they call be easily knocked down, can also be easily, and with comparative cheapness, built up again. This custom, as the reader may be aware, is very common in Asia Minor but its wisdom is very doubtful, because of the frequency of fires. It is unnecessary to say that all the picturesque appearance of Smyrna vanishes, as soon as the traveller enters its streets or bazaars. It is the same with all Turkish town–-‑narrow streets, prevailing filth, open gutters in the centre, foul and pestilent, and the sunlight as much as possible shut out above. In Smyrna there is no modern structure, or monument, or work of Art, to attract the traveller. In the buildings and warehouses along the quay, and the flags flying over the consular offices, the European detects at a glance the Frankish quarter. In this part of the town the houses are in a great measure stone structures, and have much more of a European character than elsewhere. In the interior the chief buildings are the Bezestein, or market‑place; the Long Bazaar, which traverses the town, and contains in its dirty course many shops well stocked with European goods. The Vizier‑Khan is said to have been built from materials taken out of the ancient theatre. In the mosques, or churches, there is nothing whatever that is attractive, though it is a significant fact, as showing the progress of French influence in Asia Minor, that there is a Catholic cathedral being erected at the present moment in Smyrna, under the support of the French government.

One institution in the town well worthy of the traveller’s notice is the hospital in the Frank quarter, supported by the resident Christian population. This hospital is regarded in Asia as a school of medicine, and has been productive of the greatest blessings to Europeans engaged in trading with Smyrna. It may be remembered that during the Crimean war a large military hospital was established at Smyrna. This stood outside the town, upon the sea‑shore.

In passing along the bazaars of Smyrna, the life and animation, and the strings of camels coming in from the country, tell their own tale as to the commercial importance of the place the chief seaboard city of Asia Minor. During the busy part of the day a greater variety of tongues may be heard in its streets than in any other Eastern town, except Alexandria. Smyrna exports silk and cotton; but the writer particularly observed that the camels were most frequently laden with raisins, figs, fruit, and drugs. Of these articles there is all enormous export trade. A very large Jewish community is settled at Smyrna, carrying on a commission trade, chiefly between the European merchants and the native traders. The present population of Smyrna may be reckoned about 160,000 persons,

To the Christian, Smyrna must ever be regarded with peculiar interest, as one of the Seven Apocalyptic Churches. “And unto the angel in the church of Smyrna write.” This church which has completely experienced all the “tribulation and poverty” spoken of by St. John has literally seemed not to “fear any of these things which she has suffered.” Smyrna has always preserved and upheld the Christian faith. It contains five Greek churches, two Catholic and two Protestant; in addition to which, the Catholics are now engaged in building the cathedral before alluded to. “But then art rich,” says St. John. The words are literally true, when Smyrna is compared with the other places to which he addressed himself. In the history of Christianity in Smyrna, there is one name that stands out prominently on the page towards which the reader always turns with reverential admiration. It is the name of Polycarp. In the opinion of many Biblical scholars (see Dean Trench’s “Commentary on the Epistle to the Seven Churches”), it seems probable that the “angel” whom St. John addressed was Polycarp himself, who died in extreme old age A.D. 168. When we consider how glorious a martyr Polycarp was, we may well argue and try to convince ourselves that about the year 96 when the Apocalypse was probably written, he was bishop of the church in Smyrna. “Eighty and six years have I served Him”–-Christ–-says Polycarp in his examination before the proconsul, which proves him to have been a Christian fourteen years previous to St. John writing his Epistle; and as, at the time of his conversion and baptism, he would be an adult, it is perfectly possible that before the Epistle was written, Polycarp may have been called upon to preside over the church at Smyrna.

Upon the Smyrnaean Epistle, which details to us the circumstances of the death of Polycarp, it is not the object of the present article to descant. The epistle has always been received with respect, and is believed to give an accurate account of the trial and death of the venerable bishop. In the reign of Marcus Aurelius, A.D. 167, he became a martyr to the truth he had preached and professed. We have only space to quote one passage from the Smyrnaean Epistle, which describes the trial scene of the martyr: “The proconsul asked him if he was Polycarp, to which he assented. The former then began to exhort him, ‘Have pity on thy own great age. Swear by the fortune of Caesar; repent; say, Take away the Atheists.’ Polycarp, with a grave aspect beholding all the multitude, waving his hand to them, and looking up to heaven, said, ‘Take away the Atheists.’ The proconsul urging him, and saying, ‘Swear, and I will release thee; reproach Christ.’ Polycarp said, ‘Eighty and six years have I served Him and he hath never wronged me, and how can I blaspheme my King who hath saved me ?’ The proconsul still urging, ‘Swear by the fortune of Caesar.’ Polycarp said, ‘If you still vainly contend to make me swear by the fortune of Caesar as you speak affecting an ignorance of my real character, hear me frankly declaring what I am: I am a Christian.’ ” Polycarp was condemned to death, and burnt in the Stadium before described, as tradition says, and says correctly, in the writer’s humble opinion. He died proclaiming the words, "”I bless Thee, I glorify Thee, by the Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, thy well‑beloved Son, Amen.” And when he had pronounced “Amen” aloud, the officers lighted the fire.

The whole of this epistle is well worth the reader’s study. Gregory of Tours tells us it was considered so edifying to Christians, that up to his time it used to be commonly read in the Gallican churches. Archbishop Usher republished the narrative as given in Eusebius; and the epistle itself was translated by Archbishop Wake, and published in his “Epistles of the Apostolic Fathers,” in which work, and also in Milner’s Church History,” the reader will find it.

The martyrdom of Polycarp made the church of Smyrna famous. The sweet odour of his piety still lingers about the place, still makes Smyrna a household word in the history of Christianity; and the Christian traveller entering the Gulf, looking upon the town climbing up the hill‑side at the foot of the Gulf, and tracing the spot where the castle stood upon Mount Pagus, in which Polycarp was tried, or that Stadium in which he died, takes courage from so bright an example; and, ruminating over the splendour and greatness which have marked the history of the city, remembers with proud satisfaction that Smyrna’s greatest fame is derived from a faithful Christian’s death.



By J. M. Bellew

The city of Pergamos is situated sixty‑four miles N.N.W. of Smyrna, in one of the most fertile valleys in the world. (When speaking of the modern town, the name is always written Pergamos; when of the ancient, Pergamus.) It is one of the Seven Churches which still continues to flourish, and is reckoned the third in importance, Smyrna and Philadelphia being its superiors. The modern, like the ancient town, is located beside a river at the foot of a high overhanging hill, the ancient Capitol, on which stood the Acropolis. From the accompanying engraving a most correct idea may be gathered of the position which Pergamos occupies. The town covers the entire valley at the back of the extensive ruin which is seen in the foreground, and a few of the better houses, surrounded by their gardens, are perched upon the slopes of the Acropolis itself.

On referring to the map it will be observed that Pergamos is seated upon the mainland in Asia Minor, immediately behind the Island of Lesbos, and almost directly eastward of Mytilene. A considerable river, the Caicus, connects the city with the Mediterranean, at the Elaitic Gulf. The sea‑board is distant from the town about twenty miles. To the fact that Pergamos is only twenty miles from the sea, and is seated upon a navigable river, we trace the explanation of its having continued to exist, when so many other and greater cities around it, not possessing the same geographical advantages, have perished. Although it is usual to say that Pergamos is situated upon the banks of the Caicus, such is not strictly the fact. It will be more accurate to state that two mountain streams running towards the Caicus, and having expanded into the dimension of small rivers, flow through Pergamos, emptying themselves into the Caicus at a short distance south of the city. These are known as the Selinus and the Cetius. The first, the Selinus, rolls its rushing waters through the heart of the city; the other, the Cetius, anciently washed its walls, and (as will be seen presently) flowed through the midst of the Amphitheatre. As the volume of water in the Selinus was sufficient to serve the purposes of craft of small burthen, it was competent for the merchants of Pergamos to lade and unlade the vessels employed in the coasting trade of the Mediterranean upon their own wharves. This has been the cause of the preservation of the city. Its origin was occasioned by a very different, but also geographical, fact. We may pass over the mythical birth of the place, which Pausanias attributes to Pergamus, the son of Phyrrhus and Andromache. He also informs us that the widow of Hector found

in Pergamus, in its Acropolis and situation, a souvenir of Troy, which attached her to the city. The first historical mention of Pergamus that we meet with, is in the Anabasis of Zenophon. From him we learn that the formidable position of the precipitous hill which overhangs the city attracted the attention of Lysimachus, who selected it as a safe locality for the deposition of his treasures. Having erected a citadel, and strongly fortified the hill, he converted this place into his treasury, and confided the guardianship of it to a eunuch named Philetaerus, of Tyane, in Cappadocia, a man whom Lysimachus raised from the position of an obscure subaltern, and who at length reached sovereign power and founded a dynasty. It was in consequence of the defeat of Antoninus at lpsus, B.C. 301, that the north‑west provinces of Asia Minor became united to the Thracian kingdom of Lysimachus, and the security of the position caused him to favour the growth of the city around the foot of the Capitol in which he had stored his riches.

In consequence or the intrigues of Arsinoes, wife of Lysimachus, Philetaerus had, or conceived he had, good reason to tremble for the continuation of his deputed power as lieutenant of the king. He assumed to be driven into rebellion, and forced to assert his independence. Having revolted against his king and patron, he joined himself to Seleucus, King of Syria, and upon the death of that sovereign, B.C. 280, Philetaerus founded the independent kingdom of Pergamus, though he refrained from taking to himself the name of king. This title was only assumed by the second in succession from him, King Attalus, after his great victory over the Gauls. The following is a list of the sovereign rulers of the Pergamenean dynasty:–


B.C. 280 to 262

Eumenes I     

262 to 241

Attalus I

241 to 197

Eumenes I

197 to 159

Attalus II (Philadelphus)

159 to 138

Attalus III (Philometer)

138 to 132

The kingdom of Pergamus attained its greatest extent after the defeat of Antiochus the Great by the Romans, who bestowed upon Eumenes II the provinces of Mysia, Lydia, Pisidia, Pamphylia, and many others. In the reign of Eumenes we read of the “greatest splendour of the city.” It was by Eumenes that the celebrated library was founded which became the rival of that at Alexandria, and which was destined eventually to enrich the Alexandrine collection. It was also in the reign of Eumenes that the requirements of this library led to one of the most valuable discoveries that have subserved the purposes of literature‑parchment, which was anciently known by the name “Charta Pergamenta,” and which, in the corruption of the word Pergamenta into parchment, still reminds us of its place of original discovery and utility. It was the jealousy of Ptolemy that led to this most useful discovery. The collection of 200,000 volumes brought into active exercise the pens of all the copyists whose services the King of Pergamus could secure. In order to provide material for their transcriptions, extensive orders for papyrus had to be sent to Egypt, which aroused the attention of the protectionist traders of that country. The foundation of the library had been viewed with displeasure by the King of Egypt, and he was consequently ill‑disposed to allow the material to be exported from his kingdom, which would provide the Pergameneans with the means of increasing their library, and without which, as the Egyptian monarch fallaciously argued, it would be impossible for the MSS. to be accumulated. A royal edict was issued, forbidding papyrus to be exported. In this, as in a multitude of similar cases, the short‑sighted policy of the Egyptians was the direct means of supplying the Pergameneans with abundance of material for their transcriptions.

As with individuals so with nations, when forced into self‑reliance, instead of depending upon others, either intellectual or national resources are discovered which would otherwise have remained neglected and uncultivated. It is apparent misfortune or disaster. The greatest blessings have thus continually sprung out of the seeming misfortune of people forced to rely upon themselves. The Pergameneans discovered they were able to supply themselves with abundance of material to serve the requirements of their national library, when the ports of Egypt were closed against the exportation of papyrus, upon which the authorities in Egypt fondly imagined they were totally dependent. The vexation or disaster which the Egyptian king imagined he was about to create for the people of Pergamus, not only proved the greatest benefit, but it has been beneficial to the whole civilised world. What would have become of ancient records but for the Charta Pergamenta? It is impossible for us to estimate the incalculable value which the tanners of Pergamus have conferred upon civilisation. Pursuing their trade of old time by the banks of the Selinus, as they still do, the want of papyrus raised the ingenuity of the citizens, and it was not long before the scraped and cleansed sheep‑skin yielded them a material exactly suited to their civic necessity, and a material, moreover, which, after a lapse of just two thousand years since the days of Eumenes, has maintained its place in literature and art as the most beautiful and most endurable substance on which to hand down from century to century the products of men’s brains, or the facts which constitute the records of nations and histories, whether of public bodies or private families.

As it will not be necessary to refer again to the formation of the library by Eumenes, it may be as well to mention in this place its ulterior destiny and its final fate. The existence of this library attracted to Pergamus the learning of Asia Minor. The city became an eastern Athens, and in the pursuit of learning and of science it made Aesculapius the especial object of its idolatry. As a centre of learning it had its influence upon Christianity when first introduced within its walls, although many years previous to that date the celebrated library had been moved. When Augustus gave to Anthony his sister Octavia in marriage, there was a new division of the empire. All the provinces eastward of Illyricum as far as the Euphrates were allotted to Anthony. On returning to the East, Anthony became, for a second time, enslaved by the beauty of Cleopatra, to whom he seems to have been unable to deny anything. Among other gifts, he presented to her the Pergamenean library, which was forthwith removed to Alexandria, and served to replace the loss that the great library had only a few years previously sustained when a portion of it was burnt during the siege of Alexandria by Julius Caesar. The utter destruction of this, the greatest library of the ancient world, is too sadly known to, and regretted by, all men of literature. Though it be popular to attribute this loss to the Saracens under the command of the Caliph Omar, there is too much reason to suspect that the story of Saracenic barbarity would better rest on the shoulders of the Christians of the fourth century, who, led by the Archbishop Theodosius, stormed the Serapium–Temple of Jupiter Serapis–and burnt the books deposited in that building. Whether the work of destruction was effected by fanatic Christians or by fanatic Mussulmans, it will profit us little at this time to pause and discuss. Enough for us to know that the Alexandrine library utterly perished, and with it the treasures of the library of Pergamus. Whether the books served to warm the baths of Alexandria for six months, in the year of our Lord 642, or whether two centuries before a rabble of over-muscular Christians, headed by a fire-and-faggot prelate, cleared the shelves, and almost destroyed the whole body of ancient literature (without even making the books so useful as to warm baths with their burning leaves), is a matter which will only be discussed with interest by those who have a purpose in asserting that the Christian archbishop was a lamb, and the unbelieving Saracen an outer barbarian. If the historian Orosius is to be credited, the shelves of the spoliated library were cleared a couple of centuries before Caliph Omar adopted such an expensive method for obtaining a warm bath.

It will be observed in the above list of kings of the Pergamenean dynasty, that the race only existed for one hundred and fifty years, from B.C. 280 to B.C. 133. It terminated with the third Attalus, who bequeathed his kingdom to the Romans in one of the shortest wills that has ever been made under any circumstances, but a will that has become historically celebrated for its brevity in consideration of the vast territory and power which it carried with it from the testator to his heir. It ran as follows: "Populus Romanus bonorum meorum hoeres esto.”The Roman people, duly appreciating the gift, took possession of Pergamus. From that date the kingdom may be said to have been extinguished. Pergamus, nevertheless, continued to be the capital of the surrounding provinces; but even this dignity was destined to be snatched from it, and under the Byzantine kings, the capital having been removed to Ephesus, the city at once declined.

From what has been already stated regarding the rise of Pergamus under the favour of Lysimachus, it will be understood that the place was never regarded by him as a city but only as a treasury. Pergamus (or as it is now written “Pergamos”) only rose into importance under the favour of the rebellious lieutenant of Lysimachus Philetaerus. To its original patron, therefore, the history of Pergamus bears no testimony. Raised from a low position by Alexander the Great, and promoted to the dignity of a king, it has been his lot to be remembered in history chiefly on account of two incidents connected with brute creation. The preceptor of Alexander was Callisthenes, a pupil of Aristotle. To him Lysimachus became attached, and when the philosopher was about to suffer disgrace at the hands of his imperial master, Lysimachus had the courage to convey poison to him, and so enabled Callisthenes to rid himself of life. Alexander in his wrath ordered Lysimachus to be thrown to the lions, but the soldier was not prepared to die patiently. When the lion sprang upon him he thrust his hands into its mouth, and seizing its tongue, wrenched it out by the roots. Having vanquished the foe, Alexander was so pleased with the courage of his officer, that he immediately promoted him, and ever after bestowed upon him evidences of his high esteem. When Lysimachus met his death in his Asiatic war against Seleucus (who had given refuge to his rebel subject), it is narrated that his body, lost among the heaps of slain, was eventually discovered through the fidelity of a pet dog that watched over the spot where his master had fallen.

This capital of the Attalian kings exhibits (as might be expected from the foregoing historical facts) remains both of Grecian and Roman architecture. The Grecian belongs to the period when the kings Attalus and Eumenes reigned; the Roman to the period of the Christian era, and the two or three centuries immediately succeeding. In the accompanying illustration, the view presented is as nearly as possible from south to north. It looks N.N.E., and happily presents to our observation the most striking remains of ancient Pergamus. The large ruin in the foreground is what is commonly called the Basilica, and is commonly, or rather vulgarly, regarded as the remains of the church of St. John (Αγιος Θεολογος), supposed to have been built by that Christian emperor, Theodosius, whose penance before St. Ambrose has furnished a subject, frequently reproduced, for the exercise of the pencil of some of the greatest ancient masters. Theodosius died at Milan A.D. 395, and to those familiar with that city his name will be recalled in connection with St. Ambrose, on visiting the church of St. Ambrogio, one of the most perfect and early of the Byzantine churches now existing, the glory and the pride of the Milanese. That the so‑called Basilica may have been converted into a Christian church, and may have been dedicated to St. John, is very probable, but that it was built by Theodosius is highly improbable. It is, or rather has been, a purely Corinthian structure, and so exactly accords with the plans of Vitruvius that most probably it was originally erected by Eumenes or Attalus, and centuries later, when Christianity was established in the city, was converted into a Christian church. A glance at the engraving will show that the main structure of this remarkable pile of building is rectangular. Its measurement can only be given at a guess, from the impression made upon the eye. It is probably about 50 feet wide and 120 Iong. At the end of the building presented in the engraving, although the wall is considerably ruined, nevertheless the apsidal formation may be distinctly recognised. This semicircular apse, so exactly suited to contain the Αγια τράπεζα of a Greek church, has encouraged the members of that communion in the belief that the building was originally erected as a Christian church. It is easy to understand how eager the Asiatic Christians would be to encourage the belief that in Pergamus, so directly addressed by St. John, a building apparently well suited for ecclesiastical purposes should have been a church, and especially dedicated to the Apocalyptic Evangelist. Time has made the tradition venerable, and, undoubtedly, to the Christian traveller this so‑called Basilica of Pergamos becomes clothed with veneration when he thinks that he therein contemplates a Christian shrine, erected by the great Theodosius to the memory of the apostle. Unfortunately, however, the moment any one conversant with architecture, and acquainted with the broad distinctions between the forms of early Christian churches and heathen structures, comes to criticise this still stupendous ruin he has too good reason to regard the Greek tradition with suspicion, and to entertain the idea that the Basilica was erected at a date long prior to the Christian era.

In order to give the reader an ocular evidence of what is meant, let him examine the engraving, and he will remark, east and west of the central block of building, that there are circular towers. These were originally connected with the central block. Assuming that the entire structure was Grecian, raised during the Pergamenean dynasty, there would be no difficulty in accounting for these “towers,”which, in reality, appear to have been small temples or shrines. Internally they are about 40 feet in diameter, with a recess on one side, fitted to receive a statue. Rising to a considerable height, they are roofed with cupolas. It is almost unnecessary to state that no Christian church has ever been known, flanked east and west with such circular temples; and supposing that this building had really been erected as late as the days of Theodosius, we know by the example of the church of St. Ambrogio at Milan what would have been the general plan of a Christian church erected by him. It would have had to the west a quadrangular court, surrounded by a cloister (the origin of “cloisters” as appended to our modern cathedrals), in which catechumens would have collected to listen to the service within the church, prior to their baptism and right of admission into the sacred edifice. In the “Basilica” of Pergamos there is no such resemblance to the Byzantine or early Christian churches, but on the contrary there are several architectural features which strongly indicate that the building not only was not erected subsequent to the establishment of Christianity at Pergamos, but was never intended in heathen days for the worship of the gods of antiquity. One remarkable piece of evidence to this effect is the introduction of spiral staircases on each side of the apse. One of these staircases is contained in the angle of the building, as presented in the illustration. Supposing either a heathen or a Christian altar, or even the statue of a god, to have occupied this apse, it is evident that staircases abutting upon such altars, and leading to galleries which ran round three sides of the building, would never have been constructed or permitted. Many other features in this structure might be quoted in support of the opinion that it was built long before the time of Theodosius; and though it is very probable that it was at a late date appropriated to the purposes of Christian worship in Pergamos, it is almost certain that it was originally built for some civic purpose by one of the Pergamenean kings. There have not been wanting travellers, who, in contemplating this singular erection and its adjacent circular temples, have risked the opinion that it maybe the remains of the ancient library of Pergamus. It is obvious that this is one of those architectural puzzles concerning which busy brains may spin numberless webs of conjecture, and never arrive at any positive conclusion. “It may have been” this or that. The traveller contemplates it in absolute uncertainty as to what it really was, although it must be admitted that the construction of the building is far more appropriate to a library than to a temple, and that if we can coax ourselves into the supposition that this is a remain of the library of Pergamus, we invest it with a far higher interest than it could possibly assume in our eyes, supposing it to have been built for any other purpose. These ruins at present bear the title Kizel Aneg, or the “red court‑yard.” The name has been given because the carcases of the buildings are constructed of red brick, granite and marble having been used for the pillars, windows, and general embellishments.

When we consider how much is done in the present day by the combinations of brick and stone, we can form some idea of the beautiful effects of colour originally produced in so immense a structure as that which presents itself to our notice in the accompanying engraving. Brick, granite, and marble formed the materials out of which the structure was raised. Within and without the “nave” there have been rows of Corinthian columns, and it is curious to observe (as far as we can trust observation in the present condition of the ruin) that the polished granite columns seem to have been used within the building, while the rows of marble shafts were outside. A great number of fragments of marble lie scattered about the outside. They are the remains of the Corinthian columns which once adorned the building, and the sole reason why these fragments have escaped is because they have not been wanted as yet to break up and reduce to lime. The finest pieces of marble have been used to build the Turkish tombs in the cemetery which adjoins the ruins. In the interior of the nave are five recesses on each side, extending about three‑quarters of the length of the area. Between each recess there has been a pillar, so that counting the pillars of the aisles, there were double rows on each side of the nave supporting the gallery above, which ran round the building. This gallery was lighted with rows of windows, five on each side, corresponding to the number of recesses below. They are indicated in the illustration, and, as the reader will observe, they bear a strong resemblance to our early Saxon “lights.” Here again is a puzzle. If this building had been constructed as a temple, these lights would have been most curious and singular. If the building was a library, their purpose would be plain enough. If it was converted into a church, the insertion of these windows would be equally explicable; they would, in fact, be the clerestory windows. But as far as a general examination of the walls permitted the writer to form an opinion, these “lights” appear to belong to the original structure, and to have been necessary to its peculiar construction. It must be frankly admitted that their existence is one very strong argument in favour of the building having been constructed for Christian purposes. But then how are we to explain away the difficulty of the galleries being approached by staircases entered from either side of the altar, opening out of the apse? And how are we to explain the meaning of the two circular temples, Οι Βωμοι, “the altars,” as the Greeks call them? Knowing, as we do, that Aesculapius was an especial object of Pergamenean worship, we can find a meaning in these temples connected with a library or school of learning in ancient Pergamus. Assume that the building was erected by Theodosius for Christian worship, and these temples become eccentricities without any conceivable meaning or purpose. The preponderance of evidence in the writer’s mind goes to prove that the so‑called Basilica was converted into a church, but was in reality a public structure of ancient Pergamus, adapted to the rites of primitive Christian worship.

The Greek Christians, still adhering to the traditions regarding the buildings, stick up wretched paper figures of saints against the pillars, and make offerings of candles which are fixed to the walls. These are the only indications of the place ever having been used for sacred purposes; at the present time the shelter of its vaulted roof is taken advantage of for the purposes of manufacturing coarse pottery.

Besides the so‑called Basilica, there are three remnants of antiquity in modern Pergamos which are worthy of close examination. These are the Acropolis and its ruins, the amphitheatre, and the bridges and tunnel. In the engraving the mouth of the tunnel is seen. It is a most remarkable remain, and shows us how space within the circuit of the ancient city walls was economised. This tunnel formed, and still forms, a platform upon which to carry a portion of the city. As the course of the river ran through the most densely populated part of the city, it was necessary either to sacrifice a large amount of space, or to obtain it by this device. The masonry, which is purely classical, and takes its back to the days of the ancient kings, is just as fresh and as serviceable at this moment as when it was originally constructed. The tunnel measured 196 metres in length. As a proof of its immense strength, it may be mentioned that in ancient edifice was built upon it, the crumbling remains of which serve to show that it was of vast proportions. The tunnel is still part covered with human habitations, closely packed together. To these houses the Turks give a very characteristic name; they are called Ne Yerde ve ne Goenkde, “Neither on earth nor in heaven.”

As the rivers Selinus and Cetius passed through the city, we might naturally expect to find bridges in various directions. Such expectation is more than gratified, for not only are there remains of bridges, but there are in actual use and excellent preservation five of these bridges spanning the river in various quarters of the city, and stretching from north to south over 867 metres. Architecturally, they are of very great interest, as the substructure of the whole of them is purely Grecian, while the superstructure, or, at least, the repairs and the ornamentation is Roman. The bridges, therefore, are a chapter in stone upon the history of ancient Pergamus. The Pont do Mouslouk is the most, important work, and at the same time one of the finest existing specimens of Grecian bridge engineering. It is composed of two arches, which are irregular in span, the larger measuring 13 yards, while the smaller is only about 9 yards. Le Pont du St. Sophia is Byzantine in its ornamentation, and has lost something of its character by having been repaired by one of the sultans.

Not inferior to the Basilica or the bridges, in point of interest, is the Amphitheatre, which stands upon the sister stream the Cetius, and is removed at some distance to the west of the modern town. The interesting and curious fact connected with this amphitheatre is, that it does stand upon a river, and that the waters flow right through the centre of the arena. In point of size, this amphitheatre ranks with those of Nismes and Arles, but as far as the writer knows it is unique at the present day, as having been constructed for the display of aquatic spectacles. Standing in a deep ravine, massive Grecian arches have been thrown across the river, above which the circle of the amphitheatre has been completed. It is entirely constructed of stone, and therefore it was probably built about the third century, for it has been demonstrated that the stone amphitheatres now remaining were erected at dates posterior to the reigns of the Caesars. In the Pergamenean amphitheatre, as might be expected from the purpose for which it was erected, there are no vomitories, the arena being constructed with a view to its being instantaneously filled with water. The only entrances into the arena are by two narrow gangways, right and left of the principal gallery. It might be supposed that the river had at some period been roofed in with a tunnel, but there is no trace of any such arrangement, and therefore it is natural to suppose that when the water was drawn off, the stream was crossed with planks. The flood gates at the extreme ends of the arena, beneath the archways, were so contrived that the arena could be filled with water in a few minutes when the games were about to commence. As an amphitheatre for the display of aquatic spectacles, this ruin at Pergamos is especially interesting, and well deserves the careful examination of every traveller.

On the same side of the city as the amphitheatre, but more to the south, stand the ruins of the theatre. The circle for the spectators, and the outline of the stage, are still distinct; but there is nothing in the ruin which calls for particular notice.

From position, and from the association of the place, the overhanging hill, the Acropolis of Pergamos is necessarily the place of most interest connected with the city. The walls which encompass it are Grecian in their foundations, and can be traced to a considerable extent surrounding the hill. Upon the summit are the ruins of the Acropolis, and also the remains of the “Palace,” the residence or the kings of Pergamus, and the probable site of the treasure‑house of Lysimachus.

The great temple of Minerva, described by the historian as standing “in excelsissimolia,” once rose majestically above the ramparts on this hill, dominating the surrounding vallies, as the Parthenon did. When Dallaway visited the ruins, he was able to measure the dimensions of the temple. The length of the cella was 34 feet; the ground‑plan, 49 feet; the portico, 20 feet deep; the pillars, 4 feet in diameter. Short as the time is, comparatively, since these measurements were made, the work of destruction has been rapid–so much so, that the outline of the temple cannot now be clearly traced. The foundations of the Castle or Palace of Lysimachus, because less rich in material, have fared better, and exist to the present moment. Upon the Acropolis there are evidences of the same passion for mingling stone and marble that we have traced in the Basilica.

Of the Christian church founded in Pergamos, the description given by St. John is one of the most interesting regarding the Seven Churches. He speaks of “Antipas, my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” The death of Antipas occurred most probably during the Domitian persecution. In the still extant “Acts of Antipas,” he is said to be one of our Saviour’s earliest disciples, and to have been Bishop of Pergamos. He was put to death, as the tradition asserts, by being enclosed in a brazen bull, which was then put in a fire, and the martyr was roasted alive. The allusion to Pergamos, as the place where Satan dwelleth, and where Satan's seat is, is supposed to allude, first of all to the device of the city, which is seen upon its coinage, which presents the figure of a serpent, indicative of the worship of Aesculapius. In this sense Pergamos was “Satan's seat.” But in a deeper and more awful sense, it would appear that the Christians made it a home of Satan, from the frightful manner in which they degraded the teaching of Christ, by mixing it up with the doctrine of devils. The “doctrine of Balaam” and the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, “which things I hate,” says the Apocalypse, are charged against the Pergamenean Christians. We can gather the meaning of this accusation from 2 Peter 2: 15, 16, and by comparing that passage of Scripture with Numbers 25:1, 2, and, specially 26:16. The conduct and character of the Pergameneans resembled that of the Mesopotamian divines. Their religion was disgraced with odious obscenities and licentious libertinism. Sensual gratification took its place in religious ceremonial, just as the Midianitish women were engaged in the sensual practices of Balak's idolatry, when “Israel joined himself to Baal‑Peor;” or, as we may read it, “because initiated in Baal‑phegor.” The grace of God was turned into lasciviousness in Pergamos, and Christian worship amalgamated with pagan rites. While Christian doctrines were trifled with, Christian conduct was degraded; and consequently the flagitious crimes of such proceedings came to be attributed to Christianity itself. For this, Pergamos is called upon to repent, or the vengeance of God is threatened against it. Its present ruins and humiliation tell us the rest.



By J. M. Bellew

The situation of Thyatira was for a considerable period a matter of dispute. During many centuries its site was unknown, and supposed to be entirely lost. When interest was revived regarding the Seven Churches, speculation began to be busy as to the geographical position of Thyatira. Ruins in various parts of Asia Minor were christened with the name of this city, and one locality, very much to the south of the town now recognised as Thyatira, was for a length of time esteemed the veritable site. The modern town, Ak‑Hissar, has been proved to be the locumtenens of the city to which St. John addressed his warning.

The foregoing facts will prepare the reader for the further and disappointing information, that of all the Seven Churches, Thyatira, or rather Ak‑Hissar, presents the smallest amount of interest to the Christian traveller or antiquarian. When Chandler visited Asia he was scared away from the valley of the Lycus by the presence of the plague. When Texier visited it, he considered this place sufficiently honoured with a single line in his chapter “Lydie." A glance at the accompanying engraving of Thyatira (Ak‑Hissar) will inform the eye almost as thoroughly as an actual visit to the place would, both as to its present appearance, and also as to the amount of “remains” that bear evidence to the apocalyptic age. The artist has happily seized upon the most favourable spot for presenting in one view a picture of ancient Thyatira, and modern Ak‑Hissar, though it must be noted that the circular tower to the right of the engraving has no claim upon our interest, as it is nothing better than the ruin of a windmill. The caps of pillars, fragments of plinths, and remains of friezes scattered about the ground in various parts of the suburbs, or otherwise turned to account in the walls and buildings of the modern town, are the only evidences which the traveller can now discover of the once thriving city. Sir C. Fellows remarks that Ak‑Hissar teems with relics of an ancient splendid city. The statement is certainly correct, but not appreciable to the eye of an ordinary traveller. It requires the taste and the patient search of an antiquarian to discover in this town the teeming evidences to which Sir C. Fellows alludes. We are ordinarily satisfied if we can find but one ruin of stately importance on the site of an ancient city. It is in vain that we look for one at Thyatira. Regarded as a town, its buildings are entirely modern. No amphitheatre, no castle, no temple, no traces even of walls, have survived and braved the centuries. Its prosperity has been its destruction, in antiquarian sense. Paradoxical as this may sound, it is strictly true; and, moreover, it is true with reference to all the cities of the Seven Churches.

The remains of the apocalyptic cities are most perfect in those places from which trade has departed, and which have, consequently, fallen into decadence. Smyrna, Philadelphia, Pergamos, and Thyatira are still thriving commercial markets. Sardis, Laodicea, and Ephesus are deserted. Classic remains are most abundant in the latter; from the former they are almost entirely swept away. The truth of this observation may be still further demonstrated by a comparison of the four still flourishing cities. In proportion to their modern prosperity is the destruction of their antiquities. Pergamos, the least commercial and progressive, is the most rich in ruins. Philadelphia, on the highway from the interior to the Mediterranean, retains very few objects of interest. Smyrna has slipped away from its ancient sites; but where the modern town has come in contact with Roman or Grecian architecture, it has consumed and destroyed it. So also in Thyatira. A thriving trade and a most fertile situation have fostered an increasing modern town, and the destruction of the ancient city has been the consequence. This may, perhaps, be regarded as a natural consequence, and by some persons it would be called inevitable. If natural, it is to be regretted; but if considered inevitable, we are driven to the conclusion that in the midst of modern civilisation there still lingers an immense amount of barbarism. The blank disappointment which any traveller must experience in visiting the modern Thyatira is precisely the same feeling that centuries hence would have filled the mind of any stranger to our national cities, bad there not, happily, been re‑awakened during the present century, both in England and on the Continent, a reverential regard for the temples and shrines, the castles and the abbeys, which, even in their ruins are the ornaments of Europe, and the landmarks of a country’s history. It is to be feared that this conservative tendency is not yet sufficiently indoctrinated into men’s minds. Wonderful as are the changes now being effected in Paris, many a time‑worn relic of ancient days, associated with French history, has been swept away, for the loss of which the stateliest Napoleonic boulevard can make but poor atonement.

Progress and the requirements of commerce have in like manner made civic prosperity the greatest enemy to the rare old antiquities of London. In Manchester, in Bristol, in Newcastle, and in many other provincial towns, the most splendid specimens of mediaeval domestic architecture have been levelled to the ground in order to clear a space for buildings, monsters in size, and monstrous in taste. It is to be hoped that the tide of destruction is checked at last, and that we are not doomed in England to witness such a spectacle as Thyatira exhibits in the total annihilation of the stately edifices of classic ages.

The town is situated in one of the most fertile valleys of Asia Minor. It is seated in the north of Lydia, on the river Lycus; and on the road leading from Sardis in the south, to Germa, north. It is 26 miles north of Sardis, and 56 miles north‑west of Smyrna. The contiguity of Thyatira and of Pergamos to Smyrna accounts to us for the present prosperity of these places. Communication with the sea‑board being easy, the roads good, and the distance short, there is every convenience afforded by nature to the lethargic Turk for conveying his produce to the great port of Smyrna.

Thyatira is embosomed with hills, in the midst of the extensive plain to the north of the river Hermus which is famous throughout the country for its fertility and fruits. Cavalcades of camels laden with the produce of Thyatira may be continually seen threading their way through the narrow streets and bazaars of Smyrna, conveying their loads to the Frankish quarter, to be bartered to the Greek and French merchants. Strabo, in speaking of Thyatira, calls it a Macedonian colony. It is said that Seleucus Nicator gave it the name “Thyatira” because it happened that he was resident there when he received intelligence of the birth of a daughter (θυγατηρ). It is now considered that the assertion of Strabo is incorrect, and that the city, known by a variety of names, existed long before the Macedonian conquests. It probably belonged to Mysia. After the time of Antiochus Nicator it rose into importance, although comparatively little is known of it prior to the Roman conquest of Asia. It is in its conquest that Thyatira first appears as a place of note on the page of history.

Turning to the engraving, the reader catches sight of the slopes upon which Antiochus the Great mustered his hosts prior to the fatal battle with the two Scipios that crushed his power, and led to his untimely death. The plain of Thyatira must ever be associated with the name of Antiochus. If St. John has made it a place of interest to the Christian historian, Antiochus has invested it also with stirring interest to the student of ancient history. In that plain, and present in the battle, were three of the most famous men of the second century before Christ–Antiochus the Great, Hannibal, Scipio Africanus. Lucius Cornelius Scipio (Asiaticus), the brother of Africanus, was there likewise: indeed, it was he that commanded the Roman army, Africanus having merely accompanied him in the subordinate capacity of his lieutenant. Upon that field were confronted once more Hannibal and his conqueror! Both the former commanders of the mighty armies that met upon the field of Zama, and there decided the conflict between Rome and Carthage, met again in the plain of Thyatira, and both as friends and attendants upon other generals!

At the present period Thyatira contains about eleven hundred houses and three or four hundred huts. As already stated, it possesses nine mosques, and only one Greek church, if the wretched structure honoured by that title may be admitted to deserve it. There are a few Greek and Armenian priests in Thyatira, which ecclesi­astically is under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Ephesus, who is here entitled Αρχιερευς. Christianity certainly has a resting‑place in Thyatira–it has its priests–it has its church; but anything more miserable than the attitude it assumes it would be hard to conceive. The staple trade of the town is traffic in cotton wool, and in dyed goods. It was the purple dye of Thyatira–its particular commerce–which first brought the place into contact with Christianity. When St. Paul was at Philippi– “On the sab­bath day we went out of the city by a river side where prayer was wont to be made, and we sat down and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman, named Lydia, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us, whose heart the Lord

opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. She was baptised, and her household,” &c. The common tradition of the church has been that Lydia's presence at Philippi, when St. Paul happened to be there, was the direct means of the Gospel of Christ being made known in Thyatira. She and her household having been baptised would be certain to make known the truths which they had learned, as soon as their commercial engagements at Philippi in selling purple stuffs brought from Thyatira had terminated, and they had returned to that place. She, “whose heart the Lord opened,” and who received Paul and Silas into her house, may with confidence be assumed to have been the first Christian missionary in Thyatira.

The message to the Church of Thyatira (Rev. 2:17–29) is the fullest of any penned by St. John. Its phraseology is very remarkable. “Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants.” “Unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira as many as have not this doctrine, and Aliieh have not known the depths of Satan,” &c. It is probable that these term, are used with the same meaning as “the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which I hate,” that was alluded to in the description of Pergamos. The same errors most probably affected these neighbouring churches, and the sin of Jezebel was akin to the sin of “the doctrine of Balaam.” “Jezebel” is here used as a generic term, just as the “Virgin Daughter,” the “Bride and Spouse” are elsewhere used. “When Joram. saw Jelu, he said, Is it peace, Jehu ? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many? As the term “Virgin” and “Virgin Daughter” were symbolically used to express purity of life and purity of religious service–as the term “Bride” was significant of devotion and self‑dedication to the service of “one Lord”–so “Jezebel” was a term used to signify infidelity of heart and impurity of life. Such infidelity, we know, abounded among professed Christians in Pergamos; and it is evident, from the expression here used by St. John, that the Christians of Thyatira, in a similar manner, had used their Gospel liberty for a cloak of maliciousness. Self‑indulgence seems to have been the besetting sin of these infant Asiatic churches. The “depths of Satan” is probably an allusion to the errors of doctrine coupled with it; for, according to Epiphanius, the faith of the people of Thyatira was corrupted through the teaching of the agents of Montanus, who professed himself to be the promised Paraclete.

That the church in this place became terribly corrupt there can be no doubt; nevertheless, although ancient Thyatira has perished and passed away, the early alliance between commerce and Christianity which planted the knowledge of the Gospel of Christ in this city has survived, and still preserves in modern Ak‑Hissar a few who “hold fast till I come".



By J. M. Bellew

Sardis, the casket of  “famed Gyges treasures” and the repository of all the wealth of Croesus was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia. Situated in the plain of the River Hermus, and sheltering itself under the protection of the snowy range of Mount Tmolus, Sardis may be described as having been the “half‑way house” between Smyrna and Philadelphia. The modern name of the place is Sart. It is comprised in the Pashalic of Anadoli, and is distant from Smyrna about fifty miles. On leaving Smyrna, and penetrating into the country, the ruins of Sardis are the first remains of those ancient homes of civilisation which make Asia Minor so con­spicuous on the pages of history. According to Strabo, the city was of more recent origin than the Trojan war. I owes its rise, according to Lydian chronology, to Gyges, though Gyges was only the founder of the third dynasty in Lydia, according to Herodotus. The people of the dis­trict in which Sardis is situated mere called in the Iliad, Μήονες, and were allies of the Trojans. Whether the Meonians changed their title, and became afterwards known as Lydians, or whether they and the Lydians were distinct peoples, it needs not that we should here pause to consider. The latter opinion has been adopted by Niebuhr. As concerning the origin of the Lydian kingdom, however, of which Sardis was the capital, a very striking observation has been made by Hamilton, in his “Researches in Asia Minor;” and it is so curious and so interesting, that it may be desir­able to reproduce it at present, in speaking of the country over which Sardis rose to be the metropolis. It may be prefaced, that nearly all the works which the Greeks possessed, giving the history of Lydia, have perished, and that we derive our chief knowledge of the country from Herodotus. Air. Hamilton says, “Lydia might be divested of many of the inconsistent fables with which it has been clothed by Herodotus.” “I wished to have shown,” he observes (Appendix I., note A, p. 383, vol. ii.) “that Manes, the first king of Lydia, was no other than Noah; that Lydus, the grandson of Manes, was Did, the grandson of Noah; and particularly with regard to the much involved question of the Tyrrhenian emigration of the Lydians, that the whole account is a confused and perverted narrative, founded on the real emigration of another Tyrrhenus, viz., Abraham, the son of Terah, with the account of which, in the twelfth and thirteenth Chapters of Genesis, the Lydian emigration coincides in every important respect.”


How Mr. Hamilton might develop his theory it is impossible for us to conjecture. It suffices our present purpose to inform the general reader that so distinguished a man as the secretary to the Geological Society has propounded an opinion that the founder of the first Lydian dynasty was the patriarch Noah. How Mr. Hamilton would have disposed of the Noachian deluge and the geographical traditions regarding Mount Ararat, is a question for the curious.

Turning to Herodotus, we are informed that Lydia was successively governed by three dynasties. The first, as he asserts, began with Lydus, the son of Atys. The second was the dynasty of the Heracleidae, beginning about B.C. 1200, with Agron, and ending with Candaules. Herodotus connects this dynasty with the founder of Nineveh, and he may possibly mean that it was of direct Assyrian origin. The Heracleids remained in power for five hundred and five years. Then came the third, or Mermnad, dynasty, which is to its practically (and likely enough positively) the first Lydian race of rulers. This commences with Gyges, B.C. 718. Gyges is said to have murdered Caudaules, and to have conquered the countries adjacent to the Hermus extending, his power even to the shores of the Hellespont. How much of truth or of myth there may be in the story which Herodotus tells of Gyges it is useless to inquire. Probably there is an immense structure of fiction on a small basis of fact. His name, however, still survives on the page of history, as the founder of the great dynasty of Lydian kings, and in the lake which adjoins Sardis, called the Gygean Lake, his memory has been preserved in connection with the geography of Asia Minor.

As it will be necessary to refer to various kings of Sardis, in describing the ruins and remains, it. may be well to introduce a table of Lydian chronology. Croesus was the last Lydian king of the dynasty of the Mermnadae.


718 B.C.













The Romans


The two immediate successors of Gyges extended their kingdom slightly, without anything of great importance marking their reigns. Alyattes be­came a great warrior, and having conquered most of the Ionian cities, he pushed his conquests so far towards the East that he carried his dominion to the banks of the river Halys, and so reached the boundary territory of Cyaxeres, the Mede. This lust of empire conduced to the ultimate destruction of the Lydian dynasty. The imperial greatness of Alyattes is recalled to memory even to the present hour, when the traveller in Asia Minor, approaching Sardis, sees before him the tomb of Alyattes–the stupendous tumulus, or mound, erected over his grave by the people of Sardis. To this we shall presently refer. Though the treasures of Gyges had made Sardis famous, it was not until the death of Alyattes that the greatest of all Lydian kings ascended the throne. His successor was the world‑famous Croesus.

Croesus extended his conquests so far as to em­brace nearly the whole of Asia Minor. It was in his reign that Sardis reached the culminating point of its glory–a glory that, in its ruins we must endeavour to recall. The ambition of the father of Croesus had unfortunately paved the way to his son’s ruin. When two conquering nations push their frontiers forward, so as to come in contact, and are only divided by a narrow river, it needs little political foresight to predict that a collision must arise, and that the downfall of one or the other is imminent. The Persian on one bank of the Halys, and the Lydian on the other, could not long contemplate one another in peace and content. Conflict ensued: Croesus invaded the Medo‑Persian empire, but was repulsed, pursued, and at length conquered by Cyrus in the plain before his own city of Sardis. Then Lydia became annexed to the Per­sian empire, and Sardis the residence of the Satraps.

Upon this Sardis of the time of Croesus the mind ponders, as it surveys those mouldering ruins which still remain the memorials of the city of his pride, his wealth, and his downfall. When those ruins were princely structures, Solon walked among them. The Σοφισται of Greece beheld the magnificence of the king, and congregated at his court. It was thence that the familiar story of the interview between Solon and Croesus was derived–a story the moral of which is so beautiful, that we are tempted to rebel against the irreconcilable and obdurate difficulties of dates, which compel Mr. Grote to regard the beautiful narrative of Herodotus as an “illustrative tale…put together to convey an impressive moral lesson.” Everyone would wish to believe the tale true, that Solon, seeing all the prosperity and magnificence of Croesus, on being asked who was the happiest man he had ever seen, should have warned the king of the precariousness of riches and that no man is to be esteemed happy until he has terminated life without a reverse. His wealth and pride were his destruction; and the Delphic oracle told him, and told truly, that when he should march against the Persians he would overthrow a great, empire. He overthrew his own!

We know that Croesus was subsequently attached to the Persian court, but of his uItimate fate we know nothing. In his downfall the glory of the Lydian kings departed, and from that moment the splendour of Sardis waned. Having passed into the possession of Darius, the Ionians, assisted by an Athenian force, having landed at Ephesus, and marched by the Cayster across the Tmolus, made a sudden descent upon the city, and took it, though they were unable to gain possession of the Acropolis.

It was during this raid, that a soldier set fire to a house, which swiftly spread, and soon enveloped the city in flames. It is most probable that in this fire the great temple perished. When Darius heard of the burning of the city, he shot an arrow into the air and vowed vengeance against the Athenians, a fact which singularly resembles the incident recorded in 2 Kings 13:15–17. That vow he was not destined to keep, but the oath of the father was bequeathed to his son, Xerxes, who made Sardis his winter‑quarters when preparing for the memorable invasion of Greece, which occupied four years in elaborating, and in which Herodotus asserts that when Xerxes reached Thermopylae, he was followed by an army of two million men. The repulse which he there experienced from Leonidas and his gallant band is sufficiently familiar. His great calamity at the battle of Salamis (which Xerxes himself beheld from a seat on Mount Aegaleos) was his crowning discomfiture, after which the Persian monarch retreated across the Hellespont, and returned to Sardis a humbled man. Sardis then became the home of revelry and of the basest amours of Xerxes, terminating in his murder. Subsequently, after the battle of the Granicus, it yielded without resistance to Alexander, who at once took possession both of the city and the Acropolis. At the death of Alexander it passed to the possession of Antigonus, and when he had been defeated at Ipsus, to the Seleucidae of Syria. Antiochus the Great besieged it, and obtained possession through one of his soldiers settling the precipitous rock of the Acropolis where it was unguarded, and opening the gates to the besiegers, who had vainly invested the city for a whole year.

After the battle of Magnesia, in which Antiochus was defeated by the Romans, Sardis became part of the Roman territory. As such, and during the reign of Tiberius Caesar, it suffered frightfully from the too celebrated earthquake, which played havoc among the cities of Asia Minor in the time of Tiberius. As a Roman city we contemplate it at the time when St. John addressed it in the Book of Revelation, and such it continued down to the close of the Byzantine empire. In the eleventh century the Turks took possession of it. In the thirteenth it suffered frightfully, and as a city was destroyed by Tamerlane. From that date, down to the present time, the historical Sardis is no more. Its site is called Sart. A Greek who keeps a mill upon the river which flows through it, is the only European in the place, and the village of Turks is difficult to discover. Such is a hurried outline of the history of Sardis. It has been necessary to preface a description of the place by this sketch of its antecedents, since the great interest of what now remains of Sardis is particularly centred in its Lydian kings, Gyges, Alyattes, and Croesus.

On turning to the map, of Asia Minor, it will be, observed that a lengthened mountain chain extends eastward from behind Smyrna as far as the Catakekaumene beyond Philadelphia, bearing the title Mount Tmolus. This range of mountains, in many parts capped with snow, runs from west to east, and upon its northern side looks down upon the spreading plain through which the Hermus flows. Upon the lowest spurs or mounds of the Tmolus, where it sinks with gentle slopes into the plain, stood Sardis–now stand its ruins. In the illustration accompanying this narrative, the peaks of Tmolus are seen in the southern distance. Behind the ruins a solitary hill lifts itself up, on which formerly stood the Acropolis. Viewed from the city side, as it is presented to us in the picture, it will be observed that its slopes are steep. On the opposite side, and looking towards the Tmolus, it is a precipitous rock of the most formidable character, and in that direction was considered by the ancients to be impregnable, although it so happens that on the two great occasions when Sardis was taken, both Cyrus and Antiochus gained possession of it through the precipitous rock of the Acropolis being scaled, where it was left unprotected by the garrison, because it was considered that from that direction it was unapproachable.

Upon the summit of the Acropolis remains of the ancient triple line of fortifications still exist, which, although Byzantine, have no claim to Hellenic antiquity. In the “Voyage à Magnesie, à Thyatire, à Sardis,” &c., par M. de Peyssonel (Paris, 1765), there are a series of rude but very interesting drawings of the remains in Sardis, as he beheld them; and among others, views or the Acropolis from the precipitous side, and of the interior of the fortifications on its summit. It is from this summit that a bird’s‑eye view of the situation of Sardis, and of the, surrounding country, must be taken. It is like taking a view of Edinburgh and its neighbourhood from Arthur’s Seat.

Behind us stretch the ranges of the Tmolus, one peak above another, the loftiest crested with snow. Through a luxuriant gorge in those mountains, and behind the Acropolis, a stream rushes from the heights, and winding at a little distance round the base of the Acropolis, flows down into the plain, losing itself eventually in the Hermus. This stream is the Pactolus, the classic Pactolus, beside whose golden waters Sophocles, in the Philoctetes, tells its that the goddess Cybele loved to dwell.

The great and famous temple of Sardis, dedicated to Cybele, stood upon the banks of the Pactolus, behind the Acropolis. There its ruins still stand, the west front rising above the river, the east nestling under the overhanging Acropolis. Following the course of the Pactolus (which was called “Golden,” Πακτωλον ευχρυσον, because in ancient days its bed was rich with golden nuggets, and served as a “digging” in the time of Croesus) as it winds round the base of the Acropolis, and flows northward across the plain, the eye wanders over one of the most picturesque scenes in Asia Minor. Beneath our feet, skirting the sides of the Pactolus, are the few and shattered remnants of the Lydian capital–the city that was identified with the exploits of Croesus, Cyrus, Xerxes, and Alexander.

On the slopes beneath us, whereon these ruins stand, we see the dwarf ibex and the arbutus flourishing; and a turn in the river near the Gerusia, or supposed palace of Croesus, brings back to memory the sides of the upper lake at Killarney. Looking across the plain, bounded by the Phrygian mountains, we see the Hermus winding through its centre, at the distance of between two and three miles from the site of Sardis; while beyond the river the Gygean lake glitters in the sun, encompassed about by a fringe of hills, and skirted with its own reeds and rushes. Near to it the eye rests upon a series of mounds, and in their midst a monster mound rises in solitary dignity. This is the Necropolis of Sardis. Those mounds are the tombs of her kings, and that ambitious tumulus, looking down upon all that surrounds it, is the grave of Alyattes. There it stood for Herodotus to see and to describe, and there the tomb of Alyattes, at the term of twenty­ centuries, still stands for the modern traveller to see and describe. On every side the rich tints of the brushwood, and the luxuriant green of the arbutus, give beauty and picturesque effect to the pinnacled rocks and the jagged sides of the hills, scarred and furrowed by the mountain torrents which have seamed their faces and ploughed their features with the wrinkles of time.

Sardis is in itself a very interesting evidence of the tremendous changes which are produced by the abrasions of mountain storms and rains. Of the walls upon the Acropolis the greater proportion have disappeared, their foundations having been undermined by the wear and tear of the weather; and not only walls, but rocks and crags have given way, so that it seems as if the Acropolis itself were subjected to gradual decline. So, again, with the site of the city. The soil, and rabble, and sand are washed away, and in many parts pieces of rock are left protruding from the ground, above which originally was the level of the city. It is curious to observe upon these rocks in various places remains of ancient walls, or fragments of buildings, which now seem to be lifted into the air, but which, in reality, mark the ancient level of the city, that storm and torrent have literally washed away.

This spreading Lydian plain, in the midst of which Sardis sat a queen wearing her Acropolis like a coronet over her head, was anciently called Σαρδιανον πεδιον. Of its picturesque beauty the reader is able to form some estimate by the description here attempted to be given of the plain as it now presents itself to the traveller’s observation. But how splendid must it have been when the Temple of Cybele, with the most exquisite Ionic columns that ever were constructed, rose beside the golden Pactolus, and beneath the overhanging Acropolis; when that same stream flowed through the classic Agora, or market‑place, and washed the walls of the stupendous palace, or Gerusia–the house of Croesus, where he displayed his wealth and splendour to the admiring Greeks when the stadium and the theatre, constructed of marble, enriched the foot of the Acropolis upon the city side; and when the whole circuit of the capital was surrounded by walls so massive and stupendous that they were considered impregnable, and resisted a twelve months’ siege of the troops of Antiochus! Here the Lydians taught the world to coin gold and silver; here, as a commercial people, they were the first to establish retail trade; here likewise the use of dice was first invented, beside many other games of hazard, which betokened a people labouring under it plethora of wealth. Now we look upon its ruins, picturesque indeed with thickets of tamarisk, and made vocal with the songs of the nightingale, but in their desolation realising the prophetic warning–“If, therefore, then shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” Among the few remains that exist the most interesting are those of the Temple of Cybele, the Gerusia, the Acropolis, and, though it is removed seven miles away across the Hermus, the Necropolis of the Kings, with the Tomb of Alyattes.

The most important remain in Sardis is the temple. In point of size it was inferior to many others, but in architectural beauty it was probably–in the Ionic order–unsurpassed. When Smith, the first of our English travellers, visited it in the time of Charles II, there were ten of its columns still standing. In 1750 there were three columns, with their architraves, part of the cella, and three detached columns. In 1812 this number had diminished by one half when Cockerell visited Sardis, and there then remained standing only what we now see–two of the columns with caps, which belonged to the eastern front, and part of the trunk of one of the detached columns at the side of the temple. To those who have travelled in Asia, and are unacquainted with the character of the present inhabitants of the country, it may seem strange that within one hundred years six stupendous columns, measuring from six to seven feet in diameter, should have vanished, particularly when we consider that their solidity made them capable of withstanding for thousands of years any probable natural influence except earthquake. The wonder ceases in a moment when it is that the Turks have been in the habit of blowing these columns up in order to get the iron where­with their joints were clamped, or to look for the gold which their vulgar traditions led them to believe was buried in the masonry of the temple. The small remains of this beautiful temple which now gladden the eye of the tra­veller, are buried for quite twenty‑five feet in the ruin and rubbish which have accumulated about its walls. It is impossible, therefore, to know how much of the foundation of the temple itself remains; but the probability is, that if the collected soil could be cleared away, and the proportions or the temple dug out, its original pavement, and the trunks of many of its columns, would be discovered in the highest state of preservation. It belonged to that classi­fication which Vitruvius called “Octastylus Dip­terus.” As this title designates, the architrave was supported east and west by a row of eight columns; and a remarkable fact in the arrangement of these columns was, that the two centre ones were the widest, while the distance between the successive columns decreased as they approached the flank of the building.

This arrangement  is indicative of a very high antiquity; indeed it cannot be doubted that the temple was the work of the Lydian kings, and that it was most probably approaching completion at the time of the fall of Croesus. Cockerell calculated that there were seventeen pillars along the flanks of the building, as we already know there were eight in double rows, east and west. The entire length of the peristyle, east to west, was 260 feet, and its breadth 144 feet. The caps of the columns which still remain have elicited the admiration of every European traveller who has examined them. Cockerell very justly pronounced them the “grandest remains” of Ionic architecture that he had ever seen. They are grand not only in the massiveness of their proportions, but in the exquisite elaboration of their carving. How stupendous they were may be, in some degree, realised, when it is mentioned that the architrave between the columns was constructed with single blocks of stone, each one extending from the centre of one cap to the centre of the next. Each of these blocks weighed, it is computed, not less than twenty‑five tons weight. How they were raised to their elevated position, at least 80 feet above the level of the ground, is a mechanical puzzle which yet remains to be solved. It is most deeply to be lamented that the hand of barbarism has been laid so ruthlessly upon this exquisite marble temple. The two columns which still stand at the east end supporting their solitary fragment of architrave, supply us with the only data to calculate what must have been the glory and beauty of the entire structure; for though it is true that there are the truncated remains of two other columns at the cast end, and one column of the portico of the Pronaus, nevertheless as these are deprived of their caps, and are buried at least 25 feet from their base in accumulated debris, they afford little help to the architectural enthusiast in his strong desire to reconstruct in his imagination the original elevation of the Temple of Cybele. When Sardis was burnt, during the invasion of the Ionians, aided by the Athenians, it seems probable that the temple was destroyed.

The vow of vengeance which Darius took  and which Xerxes endeavoured to carry into effect, has been referred to. It is a remarkable fact, that wherever the army of Xerxes marched on its devastating way through Greece, the soldiers invariably destroyed the Grecian temples. This would appear to have been an act of vengeance, in retaliation for the destruction of the Temple of Cybele. The day may perchance come when the foundations of this temple will be reclaimed from the mass of rubbish under which they are now hidden; but as that day seems at present to be distant, the reader must rest content with the few details here given, which are all that can be put together upon file subject.

After the temple, the most important ruins are those of what has been conjectured to be the Gerusia, or palace of Croesus. Whether this is or is not the site of Croesus’ palace, it is evident that the ruins themselves are the remains of some majestic structure. The outline of two chambers is complete, and a ground‑plan of it has been given by Pryssonel. They measure 156 feet in length and 42 ½ in width. The ends of these superb apartments are both semicircular. The walls of the Gerusia are 101 feet in thickness. The structure consists of brick and marble–marble piers sustaining ponderous fragments of brick arches. Chandler, in his travels, points attention to the brick of which this palace is built, as an evidence of the durability of that material for the purpose. If this be the palace of Croesus, these brick walls must have stood for more than two thousand years. So great is their solidity and sound state of preservation, that it is even now difficult–nay, almost impossible–to separate one brick from another, In the accompanying engraving the lofty piers in the foreground represent the remains of this supposed Gerusia. Further back, and beneath the slope of the Acropolis, the outlines of the theatre and stadium appear. The theatre is on the brow of the Acropolis, which was called Prium; it is 400 feet in diameter, but is one of the least attractive of these structures in Asia Minor, as none of the architectural embellishments  remain. Parts of the vaultings that supported the tiers of marble seats are all that have survived the ravages of the Turks. These serve to trace the outline of the building, and to prove its proportions. Below the theatre, and at right, angles with it, is the stadium, 1,000 feet long. This, like the theatre, is completely defaced and ruined.

History tells us that the Pactolus flowed through the Agora, or market‑place, of Sardis. Of this building, which must have been one of the grandest in the city, there is not at present a trace. It has been frequently asserted that the remains of two Christian churches survive among the ruins! This statement rests upon conjecture, springing out of the desire of persons interested in the history of the Seven Churches to connect some ruin in Sardis with the church to which St. John addressed himself. Smith originally started the idea that he had found remains of a church; and others adopted his supposition.

From Sardis to the Necropolis of the Kings, is a distance of seven miles. The Necropolis is plainly visible from the ruins, and lies directly north‑west across the plain, and on the other side of the Hermus. A pleasant ride through tamarisk thickets for a distance of about two miles and a half, brings us to the rather deep ford by which the broad and dangerous Hermus is crossed. Four miles beyond it we come upon the Gygean Lake, surrounded with marshes and skirted with reeds. The Necropolis, famed for the tomb of Alyattes, is in its immediate vicinity. This home of the dead is called by the Turks “Bin Tepeh,” or the “Thousand Bills,” on account of the, burial mounds or tumuli which on every side surround the grave mound of Alyattes. There are three of these mounds of stupendous proportion, while sixty or seventy smaller ones are gathered around them.

In book i. cap. 93, Herodotus gives us all account of this tomb, which, as a work of Art, he. declares is second only to those of Egypt and Babylon. A mound, according to this measurenient–viz., six stadia and two plethra, or rather more than three‑quarters of a mile in circumference, and thirteen plethra in breadth, or 433 yards–is certainly vastly larger than the mountain mound which still continues to be as much a subject of interest and astonishment as in the days of Herodotus. The largest possible size which can be at present assigned to this tumulus, is half a mile round. Even this measurement would give a size and vastness to which the European eye is altogether unaccustomed. It has often been said that the base of the Great Pyramid would just fit into Lincoln’s‑Inn Fields, in order to convey to the intelligence of London the size of the Egyptian monument. In the same way, to realise the immense proportions of the tomb of Alyattes, let us suppose the entire area of Lincoln’s‑Inn Fields converted into a mound, rising to the height of the clock‑tower of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Even these proportions would be considerably smaller than the measurement which Herodotus gives.

He tells us that this tumulus was constructed by three classes of people, the labourers, the artisans, and the ενεργαζόμεναι παιδισκαι–the Lydian young women who made it a rule to sell themselves, and so accumulate a marriage portion. The greater proportion of this vast mound was erected by this class of women. To the present hour it continues a wonder of the world. There is a tradition still existing that the neighbouring Gygean Lake was originally dug. It is supposed that the artisans and laborious Lydian women may have carried, from what is now part of the basin of the lake, the earth which was required to construct the tumulus. If not from the bed of the lake, it must have been brought a still greater distance from the bed of the river.

However much Herodotus may have exaggerated the size of this monument to the memory of Alyattes, and although it has evidently been greatly decreased in the lapse of two thousand years through the deep ravines worn into its sides by the rains, particularly towards the south, nevertheless an estimate of its present vastness may be formed from the fact, that it takes full tell minutes for a traveller on horseback to ride round its base. On the summit of this mound there still exist the foundations of the Termini to which Herodotus alluded, and upon which pyramidical finish to the tomb inscriptions were originally cut telling its history. The Termini have vanished, but the foundations, 18 feet square, still exist.

No accurate measurement of this tumulus has been made until very lately. M. Spiegenthal, the Prussian Consul at Smyrna, having explored it, gives the measurement of its diameter at 281 yards, which gives us a circumference of half a mile. Now as Lincoln’s‑Inn Fields is just one‑eighth of a mile from north to south, it will give the reader a tolerably accurate idea of the tomb of Alyattes to imagine that entire area occupied with a circular mound, and rising 200 feet in height. The Prussian consul dug a gallery into the centre of the mound, and discovered there a sepulchral chamber (composed of white blocks of marble), 11 feet long, 8 feet broad, and 7 feet high. It was quite empty, and contained no remain either of sarcophagus or inscription. But this was accounted for by the fact that M. Spiegenthal discovered the mound had been pierced with various galleries at former dates, and therefore the tomb of Alyattes had been rifled. Nevertheless the chamber remains as perfect at this moment as when it was originally constructed in the days of Solon and of Croesus.

At the Christian era, it has already been stated, Sardis was subject to Roman government. It had been one of the twelve great cities which had suffered so terribly from earthquake–that earthquake, which Tacitus informs its happened in the night, when hills sank and valleys rose to mountains. Sardis was indebted to the Emperor Tiberius for its restoration. How Christianity came to be planted in this city is unknown; there is a tradition that St. Joint preached in it, and that Clement, a disciple of St. Paul, was its first bishop. The warning addressed to it by St. John in the Apocalypse is the first historical reference to it which we possess, as a home of Christianity. That it was a place of great solicitude to the Evangelist there can be no question. “I know thy works, that thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain.” “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!” “Even in Sardis’ would seem to imply that the progress of the Gospel in that city was subjected to great discouragement.

Its history has afforded us but “a few names” of men illustrious as the champions of the Cross; and in later centuries the Church of Sardis may be said to have utterly perished with the total depopulation of the place. One of its bishops has left an illustrious name in the annals of the Christian Church. In the second century, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 177), Melito one of the pillars of the Church in Asia, was Bishop of Sardis. He is distinguished in history as the first Christian who ever made a catalogue of the books of the Old Testament. This he was led to do through travelling in Palestine. We are indebted to Eusebius for preserving many fragments of the writings of Melito: among others, for a part of the letter dedicatory to Onesimus, regarding the Canon of Scripture. He says, “When therefore I travelled in the East, and came into that country where these things were preached and done, I made strict inquiries about the books of file Old Testament, a catalogue of which I have herewith sent you.” For the making of this catalogue the Christian Church to the present hour is indebted to Melito, Bishop of Sardis. He is historically distinguished as having put forth an apology for the Christians suffering persecution, addressed to Marcus Antoninus. The defence offered to the emperor will be found quoted by Neander in his “Church History” (vol. ii). It is to be regretted that the moving appeal of Melito was of none effect. Eusebius has preserved another fragment regarding Melito that is extremely curious and interesting. It would appear that Melito, actively engaged in supporting Polycarp, wrote two books upon the fiercely disputed subject of Easter. The works themselves are lost, but this scrap of their preface is preserved: “Servilius Paulus being Proconsul of Asia, when Sagaris suffered martyrdom, there arose a controversy at Laodicea concerning Easter, at which time I wrote these books.” Bishop Melito seems to have been a voluminous writer, judging from the number of his works catalogued by Eusebius. “As an early apologist, a voluminous writer, and an exemplary Christian,” says Milner, “he was one of the pillars of the Asian churches, in an age when the fiery torrent of persecution beat against them.” In the acts of the Council of Chalcedon, mention is made of one Florentus, Bishop of Sardis. With the exception of these two men, history has not preserved to us the names of any among the “few” who were found faithful at Sardis.

In the reign of Julian, idolatry was restored in Sardis; though at his death Christianity was again established. The faith then continued to hold root in the city until the fifth century, when Sardis was taken by the Goths, and given up to rapine and pillage. Its streets flowed with blood at the time of the persecutions of Nestorius. Its subsequent history is that of the common country about it. The inroads of the Tartars and the  Turks have brought it down gradually, since A.D. 1304, to its present state of desolation. The invasion of Tamerlane sealed its doom. Since that date, century by century, and year by year, it has declined, until it is at length a desolation; and the miller who grinds his corn at the mill on the Pactolus is the “last man” who can be called an inhabitant of Sardis. “In the lapse of twenty centuries the Persian chivalry, the Macedonian phalanx, the Roman legion, and the barbarous Goth, have been witnessed within its walls; while its inhabitants have alternately listened to the counsels of Solon, the hymns of the half‑frantic priestess, the lessons of Apostles, and the doctrine of the false prophet. But princes, warriors, temples, and churches have now passed away, and the owl and the jackal occupy the gorgeous palace of Croesus; while the black tent of the Turcoman is alone seen upon the plains through which Xerxes poured his millions to fall beneath the Grecian sword.”



By J. M. Bellew

On leaving Laodicea, the next of the Seven Churches of Asia which present itself to our is Philadelphia. Were we to travel as the map would suggest, we should go direct to the sea‑board and Ephesus, which would merely be journeying from ruin to ruin, from desolation to another scene of desolation, between which localities there is no ordinary communication. No doubt in ancient days Ephesus was the port of Laodicea, but had the latter city survived the ravages of the Turks, it would have been obliged to seek some other outlet for its staple trade, as the retiring sea has long since destroyed the port of Ephesus. For many centuries Smyrna has been the port from which the commerce or the interior has been shipped; while between it and Aleppo there is a road, and a, caravan travels starting from Smyrna, this highway passes through several of the Seven Churches, touching first of all at Sardis, next at Philadelphia, and then, winding through the mountains by Laodicea and Colossoe traverses the southern hills, and proceeds towards Aleppo.

When we speak of roads in Asia Minor, the English mind must not conjure up before its imagination such highways as we are accustomed to in Europe, and particularly in England--smooth as a carpet, and often as direct as a Roman causeway. The bridle‑ways that prevailed in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I or those narrow bits of old lanes in Kent, in which are still identified traces of the path followed by the Canterbury pilgrims, would convey a much more correct, though far too flattering, idea of what is called a road in Asia Minor. Such road is not a road at all in the European sense of the word, but may more properly be compared to a cart track over our downs, or a well rutted lane in the midst or fields. The ruts in the East, it must be understood, are not formed by wheels, because in the interior there is no cart traffic whatever. All land carriage is conducted on the backs of camels, and the highways indicated in the plains, or the trough‑like, lines of way upon the mountains, have been worn by the feet of these patient porters of Turkish commerce. Miserable as the so‑called “roads” are, it is necessary to follow them, and therefore on leaving Laodicea (described in our issue of January), and taking the road with the caravan, we necessarily arrive next at Philadelphia.

A very singular and very mistaken idea prevails among Europeans regarding the Seven Churches of Asia. They seem to think that they are all ruined cities. So opposed to the truth is this notion, that four out of the seven are still thriving; and one of the four–Smyrna–is a most busy seaport. Philadelphia cannot put forth any claim to rival Smyrna, but nevertheless it boasts of a population of fifteen thousand, and contains within its walls more than three thousand Turkish residences, and upwards of three hundred Greek families. Properly to understand the appearance of this place it is necessary to direct the reader's attention to the map of Asia Minor. In our former article it will be remembered that we gave a harried glance to the neighbouring city of Hierapolis--that marvellous series of ruins stretching out upon the sides of the lofty chain of Messogis.

The range of Messogis, rising to the east of ancient Ephesus, runs directly eastward for some eighty mites, and then bends in a north‑easterly  direction. But before this natural curve occurs, a bite in the mountains to the north of Laodicea opens to the caravans a natural course for the roadway to follow. Through this bite, or pass, the caravans between Smyrna and Aleppo take their way. Reversing the route, and going towards Smyrna, we must suppose ourselves traversing this pass and, emerging from it, to be leaving the Messogis behind us towards the south; we then open upon a plain through which glides the inconsiderable stream of the river Cayster, finding its way to the ocean through the site of Ephesus itself. Beyond us we see another lofty range of hills, ruled across the country with remarkable straightness, and cutting in from west to east, rising near the seaboard behind the port of Smyrna. This range, famous in history and in mythological story, is called Mount Tmolus. As we pass from the Messogis, its eastern extremities face us, and our route carries us beneath their spurs. Winding round them, we come to another and very extensive plain, bounded by these natural walls upon the, south, and defended towards the north by the course of the famous river Hermus; while, towards the east, we observe that the plain terminates in a vast, desolate, cineritious tract of country, known as the Catakekaumene, or the “burned land.” This district, stretching between the Hermus on the north, and the eastern extremities of Messogis on the east, covering a tract of country sixty‑two miles Iong and about fifty broad, presents the same sort of aspect that is familiar to “Overland” passengers in the neighbourhood of the coaling depot, at Aden. It has been scorched up by the violence of volcanic action; and though the Plutonic fires have centuries ago been quenched, and the land delivered from the dread overthrows to which it was continually subjected, nevertheless the contiguity of region to the burning furnaces which once vomited forth their earthquakes and their flames is too apparent in the desolation which remains, and the scorched lava‑like nature of the ground appropriately denominated Catakekaumene.

Philadelphia, in too close proximity to this fiercely‑ravaged district, was a continual sufferer in the convulsive visitations of nature. So great were the terrors they created, that it seems probable the Philadelphian people of the higher classes, like, the more opulent of our city merchants in the present day, merely came into the town for the transaction of business during the day, and betook themselves at evening to villa residences upon the neighbouring hills, which, in their elevation, afforded it safer home and more secure repose than the adjacent and perpetually threatened plain. By referring to the map, it will be seen that the range of Mount Tmolus pursues a course almost directly eastward from Smyrna; and, as we have before stated, a vast plain stretches out beneath its feet towards the north, through which flows the classic “Flumen Hermus.”

At the eastern extremity of this plain, and seated upon three or four of the lower slopes of the Tmolus, stands Philadelphia, near the southern bank of one of the tributary streams of the Hermus called the Cogamus. The town is enclosed in ancient walls, almost square in plan, and is embossed with trees, among which rise the shafts of five minarets. It lies about sixty‑eight miles east of Smyrna and about twenty‑eight from Sardis, which, being also seated in the valley of the Hermus, may be said to be a  “half‑way house” between Smyrna and Philadelphia. The views from elevated points above the town upon the Tmolus are grand in the extreme‑gardens and vineyards lying at the back and sides of the walls, while before it stretches one of the, most extensive and naturally luxuriant plains in Asia. At the present moment the traveller vainly looks for and sighs for that luxuriance which alone appears upon the banks of the Hermus and the Cogamus. It is not only here, but everywhere throughout Asia, that this disappointment is experienced, and consequently the richness of foliage and verdure is only seen where rivers or rills compel luxuriance, despite the apathy of the Turkish people. Anciently even the district of the Catakekaumene was covered with vines, and was the locality in which, according to the, stories of the poets, the monster Typho was overthrown by the lightnings of Jupiter. Among the gardens and vineyards which adorn the decli­vities of Mount Tmolus, the remains of ruins are in several places discernible, more especially upon one hill which overhangs the town, on which stood the ancient Acropolis. On mounting this hill to examine its remains, the antiquary finds himself disappointed, for there is not a trace of building belonging either to the ancient or even to the Lower Empire. Such ruins as remain are entirely of Turkish construction.

We have spoken of the want of vegetation–in other words, of industry and agricultural enterprise among the Turks. It needs no more than a glance at the Valley of the Hermus to be convinced of the luxuriance that spread broad­cast therein the classic ages. The eye, as it dwells upon the spreading panorama, is ready to credit all the historical and poetic pictures that have been drawn of the now desolated scene! It must not, however, be supposed that the Turk totally neglects all kinds of agricultural pursuits, but he is thoroughly utilitarian. He grows tobacco, cultivates vineyards, and rears fields of poppies for opium.

As we have already stated, Philadelphia is situated about sixty-eight miles, English, to the east of Smyrna, and is commonly approached from Smyrna, passing through the intermediate town of Sardis. We have already described the character of the country on travelling towards it from the south, i.e. from Laodicea, through the pass of Messogis. When approached by way of Sardis, the road follows a little chain of hills that overhang the river Hermus, composed entirely of sand and alluvial deposit. The magnificence of the superb plain or valley of the Hermus is at present much deteriorated by the want of that cultivation whose luxuriance won for it, from the pen of Homer, the title of “the Asian Meadow:” amongst the lush grass of which meadow Dionysius tells us you might hear the cranes and swans making the marshes echo with their noise, as they sat in the spring time enjoying the coolness of the many rills pouring down from the Tmolus, and seeking their extinction in the flowing Hermus. The swans that sang within the brake have vanished with the distant centuries, but the cranes still survive, and may be seen, like gaunt sentinels, keeping guard upon the shattered walls of Philadelphia. The summits of these ancient walls are entirely surrendered to these birds, who build their huge nest upon them, and make them “the habitation of the stork.”

On leaving Sardis, having followed the course of the Hermus for some twenty‑seven miles, we arrive in front of the town of Philadelphia, spreading out upon the slopes of three or four hills, or lower spurs of the Tmolus, all situated between that mountain range and the river. Philadelphia is now known by the name Alla Sher, or the “City of God;” its walls, broken through in many places, being as nearly as possible square. The stream Cogamus, which flows past the town, a tributary of the Hermus, affords water particularly suitable for the purposes of dyeing, and in consequence Philadelphia is much frequented by Armenian merchants.

On approaching the town, its extreme picturesqueness of situation is exceedingly striking; but like most Turkish cities, distance lends enchantment to the view, and close inspection renders it extremely offensive in its prevailing filth. When we come near to Philadelphia, it is quickly apparent that we are doomed to disappointment, if we expect to trace out remains of the city referred to in the Apocalypse.

Philadelphia is as barren of, as Laodicea is rich in, antique building. On a close examination of the walls, the writer was speedily convinced that their construction could not possibly date further back than the thirteenth or fourteenth century; and to fix this date is to give to a great proportion of them (in all probability) a respectability of age to which they have no claim. There is one only remnant of antiquity in these walls, which is a gateway, crowned with an arch in high sculptured relief, the architectural details of which are distinctly of the Byzantine style. With this exception, we do not find in Philadelphia any other piece of building worthy or remark; although the resident Greeks point to a high stone wall, surmounted by a brick arch, which they have the confidence to assert is a remnant of the Church of the Apocalypse–a statement which it is perhaps unnecessary for the European to contradict, seeing that the arches are in themselves the most complete contradictions. In the same way, in one of their churches, the Greeks point to a particular pillar, which they assert is that alIuded to by St. John (Rev. iii. 12); but as the pillar spoken of by him was spiritual, and not part of any temple built with hands, we only smile at the ignorant tradition attaching to this particular column.

The question necessarily arises in the mind, “How does it happen that Philadelphia is so completely stripped of the architecture which adorned it in the time of the Empire, and that not one building, or even fragment of a building, of any importance, has survived?” The only satisfactory way of answering the inquiry, is to attribute the wholesale work of destruction to earthquake. There is certainly nothing in the history of the place, in the sieges or calamities it sustained, to account for the marvellously complete work of destruction which has occurred within its walls. Its proximity to the ravaged district of the Catekekaumene, and the devastating earthquakes which were nursed in the fiery bosom of that region, seem to provide us with the real causes  of its architectural obliteration.

The ancient city was founded by Attalus Philadelplus, king of Pergamos, brother of Eumenes, who died B.C. 138. John Ducas, the Greek general, to whom Laodicea submitted, took Philadelphia and Sardis by assault in A.D. 1097. Again, under the same emperor, it was reduced in 1106. Shortly afterwards the Turks, marching from the east, designed to plunder it and the maritime towns. In the year 1300, when the conquests of the Sultan Aladin came to be divided, Philadelphia fell to the lot of Karaman. In 1306 the town was besieged, by Alisuras, who greatly distressed it, but at once retired on the approach of the Roman legions to its relief. At various periods throughout the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the Philadelphians, who held the Turks in contempt, showed their prowess, but never more signally than when this town alone, in all the district of Lydia, refused to stoop before the feet of the conquering Bajazet, and determined to withstand his siege. It was only when the Philadelphians were reduced by the ravages of famine, that they consented to capitulate. And let it be said in its honour, that it was the last town of Asia Minor which capitulated to the Turks–not until after a six years’ protracted siege, when the direst famine laid done its work, and the beleaguered place could no longer hold out: then Bajazet marched into its streets–the conqueror of living spectres, and the master of a city of the dead.

About a mile and a half outside the town there is still shown a wall, which is pointed out as a monument of the siege of Philadelphia built, as it is said, of the bones of the Christians who, in 1391, resisted the invading Turk. The wall is shown as the trophy of Bajazet's revenge. It certainly appears to be built of bones, but whether the effect produced upon the eye results from similar petrifying effects to those described in our former article as existing at Heliopolis, and thereby an ossified appearance has been produced, or whether the wall was really built of bones, seems to be a disputed point. No traveller has had the curiosity to bring a fragment of this wall to England for chemical examination, therefore the point remains to the present moment undecided.

When it was said above, that no ancient buildings of importance remain to identify the Philadelphia of the Apocalypse, it must not be supposed that there are no remains whatever of the classical and early Christian ages. Several evidences of the days of Roman occupation may, by a careful eye, be picked out among the walls of Turkish houses, and several ancient sarcophagi may be detected in common use as watering‑troughs. There is also a very ancient Necropolis, in which large antique crosses are found sculptured upon the tombs. It would be difficult, perhaps, to assign them an age; but it may with confidence be said that they belong to a very distant period, and mark the graves of the Christians of Philadelphia in the centuries which preceded the final surrender of the town to Turkish domination.

Modern Philadelphia is the seat of an Archdiocese, the Archbishop’s palace receiving from the resident Greeks the name of the “Metropollis”–strongly reminding the English traveller of the name “metropolitan,” commonly applied to our Archbishop. In the town there exist twenty-five so‑called Christian churches. Service is confined to five out of the twenty‑five. Indeed, the other buildings are hardly worthy of the name “church,” and for any church purposes are absolutely useless. They are mean structures, in which at some time Christian service may have been celebrated. The Church of St. John, which was of course the most venerated of all the churches has, like that at Damascus, been seized upon by the Turks, and converted into a mosque. The principal edifice now in possession of the Greeks is dedicated to the Virgin Mary–the worship of the Panagia, the ever pure and holy, as she is denominated, having from very early ages been one of the fondest and deepest religious feelings of the Greeks. There is little doubt that the Greek veneration of the Panagia grew out of the old heathen idolatry of Venus and that the worship of woman incarnated in the Virgin was the reproduction upon the Christian platform of the same inclination of human nature, as was illustrated in the Grecian mythology in the personal adoration of Venus. One of the most sacred and deeply‑rooted points of belief among the Greeks is the perpetual purity and virginity of the Mother of our Lord. His brethren and his sisters are not allowed in their creed to be regarded as bearing the common relationship to him which the language of the people of Nazareth might imply. To the Greek mind it is an abomination and an outrage to hint a doubt regarding the perpetual virginity of the Panagia–the ever‑pure mother of our Lord. It is impossible to help respecting the tenacity of their belief upon this question, or to help seeing that it takes a most important place in their worship. Their reverence for the Panagia is a romance as well as a worship, and enlists all the enthusiasm of an imaginative people. With them, and even with their priests, it will not bear discussion. Discussion would imply a doubt, and they would as soon tolerate discussion on the divinity of Christ as on the everlasting virginity of the Panagia. European missionaries have occasionally, and in singularly bad taste, endeavoured to wrestle in argument with the Greek priests upon this tenet of their Church, but to no purpose. A very curious comparison between the Greek and Christian adoration of woman, in the persons of the Virgin Mary and Venus, might be drawn; and it might be shown how the details of heathen ceremonial were borrowed to engraft upon the Eastern Christian rites. The subject is too extensive for present elaboration; but it is desirable that it should be alluded to, and also borne in remembrance by any one purposing to travel in Asia Minor.

The Arch‑diocese of Philadelphia extends to Sardis on the west, and to Laodicea on the south‑east ; but neither the suffragan bishops, nor the priesthood, are so numerous as might be expected, although both the church and the Greeks themselves are at the present time decidedly, though slowly, increasing and developing. Of late years–perhaps through Russian intrigue–there has been a freshened and more vital power exhibited among them, in proportion as the Turkish lethargy became more and more deep and intense.

The Metropolis–i.e. the palace of the Archbishop–extends its simple hospitality to all travellers who carry with them proper letters of introduction to that dignitary, who is, in the proper and simple sense of the term, “the bishop and pastor of his flock.” It is impossible to contemplate this town and its Christian church, and to recall the historical fact that Christianity, reigned here, when it had declined elsewhere in Asia Minor, without emotion. When St. John wrote from Patmos it was the purest of all the churches of Asia, and whatever the, stains it may have since contracted, it demands our reverence as a living, thriving church still. “Thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation,” are words that have had a singular and literal fulfillment. Even Gibbon was constrained to quote the passage, and to give his witness to its truth. “At a distance from, the sea, forgotten by the Emperor, encompassed on all sides by the Turks, her valiant citizens defended their religious freedom above fourscore years, and at length capitulated with the proudest of the Ottomans in 1390. Among the Greek colonies and churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect--a column in a scene of ruins–a pleasing example that the paths of honour and safety may sometimes be the same.”



By J. M. Bellew 

In comparison with the Holy Land, the Seven Churches of Asia are almost a terra incognita to European travellers. At first sight, it may appear strange that contiguous countries–the eastern and northern sea‑boards of the Eastern Mediterranean, which Asia Minor and Syria are–should be, the one well known and well travelled, the other little travelled and little known. A perfect library of books has been composed by the journals and diaries of travellers in the Holy Land, while the works are very few indeed that give us any satisfactory account of the Biblically famous Seven Churches of Asia. The reason may, perhaps, be traced to two causes. In the first place, popular interest has been naturally much more directed towards Palestine than towards Asia Minor; and in the next place no facilities have, until very lately, been offered to the vacation rambler who could, with comparative comfort, during his autumn vacation, "do" his Jerusalem and Damascus, via Beyrout or Jaffa, but who, as the Austrian Lloyds' steamer threaded its way among the Isles of Greece, en route from Smyrna to Rhodes and Cyprus, saw little to tempt him in the grey desolate, and rugged outline of the mainland, within whose borders, his map informed him, lay all that remains of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse.

The first English traveller who visited the sites of the cities which the pen of the Evangelist has rendered interesting to the Christian world, was Thomas Smith, Bachelor of Arts, and Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1676, he published in Latin a small work, entitled “Septem Asiae Ecclesiarum Notitia,” which must have created a considerable amount of interest among the scholars of the reign of Charles II, since it was speedily republished, and, for popular purposes, subsequently translated. From 1676 to the present century, the English press yielded no work of any importance upon the subject.

During the last fifty years we have had travels by Arundell, Leake, Hamilton’s Researches (1842) and a few other works; but the only one which can be strictly called a book on the Seven Churches themselves, is that of Arundell (1828). It is a diary of a journey undertaken by him to visit the sites; but, unfortunately, the Rev. Mr. Arundell had not at his elbow that most necessary companion in Eastern travel–a good draughtsman. His descriptions are very brief and unhistorical. The consequence is, they are disappointing. The Journal of Fellowes, and the magnificent French work of Texier (1839), superbly illustrated, are text books with reference to Asia Minor. They do not, however, pretend to give that particular information which a series of articles on the Seven Churches may attempt to supply.

It is unnecessary to enter into any lengthy description, geographical or topographical, of Asia Minor. Let it suffice to remark, that the country is mountainous, and from the sea‑board presents the appearance of a naturally beautiful, but desolated land. Its bold and picturesque out­line fatigues the eye with its reiterated grey and rugged hills, that only want the verdure and timber of English scenery to make the landscape perfection. Here and there, when the hills dip down into deep valleys, and the mountain rills swell through the vales into boisterous streams, tumbling over their rocky shelves, the eye dwells with infinite satisfaction upon the stunted foliage which revels in the life‑giving presence of those waters, for lack of which vegetation withers and perishes in a thirsty and dry land. The want of vegetation for which the eye longs throughout Asia Minor and Syria, must not be attributed to the nature of the soil alone, because we know well how fruitful those countries were in ancient times. No doubt the cultivators were always compelled to have recourse to Art in order to render the soil pro­ductive, evidences of which are continually trace­able throughout Asia Minor and Palestine; but such art only did for those countries what British enterprise is doing for India in the present day by means of the Ganges Canal, and the scheme for irrigation. A political, far more than a physical cause, has operated to impoverish the spreading plains, which once were rich in corn and wine, oil, olive, and honey. The Turk reigns in Asia Minor; and where he rules depopulation ensues, lands fall out of cultivation, and in a very few years the burning sun reduces to a scorched aspect the provinces which only require labour to make them commercially rich. Through jobbing and oppression, the population of the Island of Cyprus has been reduced one half within the last forty years; and that island, which, if properly cultivated in its wine trade, would make immense fortunes for the growers of the vine, is practically profitless, on account of the grasping and oppressive tax‑gathering of the servants of the Porte, who rent from the government of the Sultan such possessions.

Owing to the thraldom of the Turk, wherever his power predominates the traveller meets with disappointment. Barren lands, desolate plains, and the dreadful fatigue of hills or mountains, blinding the eyes with their stony glare, beset him on every side. This is the character of Asia Minor and of Syria. There are, of course, many exceptions; but they are exceptions created by the self‑assertion of nature. She is in scattered spots green and luxuriant enough: but it is because she will be so, not because min has made her so.

Laodicea stands inland, 130 miles east‑southeast of Smyrna. It is the most remote from the sea‑board of any of the Seven Churches, except the adjacent Colossoe; and yet, such was the favour in which it was held during the Roman occupation, that, next to Apomea, it was, about the Christian era, the largest town in Phrygia.

If the reader wilt turn to a map of Asia Minor, and carry his eye from the Gulf of Scala Nuova, behind the Island of Samos, along the course of the Maeander (now Mendere) for about 100 miles inland, it will be seen that it is fed by a tributary stream which was formerly known as the river Lycus. Two small streams rising among the hills to the south and south‑east , and flowing down into the plain, meet at a point some sixteen miles from the Meander, and form in conjunction the river Lycus. About a mile and a half within the fork of those streams stands the site of the city of Laodicea, now known by the name Eskihissar–i.e. “Old Castle”–a term which is synonomous with the Greek παλεοκαστρο.

The Asopus and Caprus, by their streams, mark the course of two narrow valleys, between which a long spur of clustering hills runs down from the range of mountains to the east and south, terminated in the background by the snowcapped summits of Cadmus (Baba Dagh). As this spur runs north‑north‑west, towards the continence of the streams it becomes subdivided into seven small hills, which, spreading out at the distance of about a mile and‑a‑half within the bifurcation of the Asopus and Cadmus, mark the ground formerly occupied by Laodicea, and now strewn with its ruins.

Laodicea was originally known by the name Diospolis, the "City of the Great God;" subsequently according to Pliny, it assumed the name Rhoas: and, at a later date, under Greek sway, the title Laodicea, in honour of Laodice, the wife of Antiochos Thetis, who built upon the site of the ancient town. It suffered terribly when besieged by Mithridates, King of Pontus; but when the Roman power was established, very quickly revived, and gradually expanded into that greatness which distinguished it at the Christian era. Under the Emperors, despite its distance from the sea‑board, it rose into one of the most flourishing commercial cities of Asia Minor, in a great measure owing to its staple trade in wool, The extensive plain which spreads out beneath its feet, through which the Lycus and the Maeander flow, afforded to the shepherds the most desirable sheep‑walks, upon which the Laodicean sheep browsed, particularly a breed of black sheep, for which the neighbourhood became famous. With its commercial prosperity the wealth of the inhabitants increased, and its merchants in their pride sought to adorn the city with the Arts of the Greeks–a fact sufficiently evident to the present hour. Among others, Hiero delighted in embellishing it, and bequeathed at his death 2,000 talents to its people. Laodicea also became famous as a school of medicine. The flourishing wool trade of the city was the probable attraction to the Jews, who lived in great numbers within its walls. To this fact we may trace the cause of Christianity being proclaimed at Laodicea; and though there may be no demonstrative evidence that St. Paul actually preached the Gospel of Christ in it, yet its contiguity to the city of Colossoe, and the allusion to Laodicea in his epistle to the Colossians, leave us little doubt that he must have done so. By reference to any good map, the reader will see that Laodicea, Colossoe, and Hierapolis were neighbouring towns–Laodicea and Colossoe forming the base of a triangle, and Hierapolis its apex.

The distance between these three cities was inconsiderable. From Laodicea to Colossoe, seated beneath Mount Cadmus, is about eight miles; from Laodicea to Hierapolis, is six miles. Their relation to one another, therefore, must have been somewhat the same as that of those knots of towns in Lancashire, in which it is hard to say where the suburbs of one end, and those of the next begin. This contiguity has not been familiar to the readers of the Apostle's epistles, and therefore the meaning of his address to the Colossians has lost something of its clearness, when, alluding to Epaphras, he says, “I bear him record that he hath a great zeal for you (Colossians), and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.” Epaphras was “one of yea,” i.e. a Colossian, and necessarily familiar with the Christians at Laodicea and Hierapolis.

Having alluded to the early history of Laodicea, it may be well to sketch in outline its later destinies. It will be seen presently that one of its most important public edifices was erected subsequent to St. John's writing the Apocalypse, and therefore we have evidence that the city was rising in splendour at the Christian era. Its importance became so great, that, Laodicea was chosen as the seat of a Metropolitan, who had sixteen suffragan bishops under him. This fact will in some degree account for the circumstance that it was selected as the place wherein that most important Council of the early Church was held, which decreed the Canon of Scripture, the authority of which is alike recognised by Protestants and Catholics.

The fall of the Roman empire, and the prevalence of earthquakes, seem to have been the leading causes of the decline of Laodicea. Fellowes, in his Journal, alludes to the popular statement of Laodicea having suffered from earthquakes, and states that the hills on which it stands do not show any signs of volcanic changes. This is certainly the case; but, when we consider that since the fourteenth century this place has been an absolute desolation, and that its natural decay caused by earthquakes, commenced centuries earlier, it is not difficult to understand that distinct traces might have vanished, while the historical tradition remained perfectly true, that in the reign of Tiberius it was almost overthrown.

In A.D. 1097, we find Laodicea possessed by the Turks; and then submitting to Ducas, a general of the Emperor Alexis. In 1120, the Emperor, John Comnenus, defeated the Turks, who were engaged sacking the towns of' Phrygia; and taking possession of Laodicea, he restored its walls. In 1161, it was once more dismantled by the Turks; many of its inhabitants and its bishop were murdered, and its people carried off. Twenty‑nine years subsequently, the German Emperor, Frederic Barbarossa, passing through the country to join the Crusade, was welcomed with joy by the oppressed and despoiled Laodiceans. But their relief was of short duration, for six years subsequently (1196), the sword of the Turk spread desolation once more through the city.

In 1255 the country suffered from another species of invasion. The Tartar hordes swooped down upon it, and the Sultan, in an emergency, gave the city to the Romans, who were totally unable to defend or retain it. It returned again to the dominion of the Turk, and finally settled down in permanent submission to Moslem power in the fourteenth century. When these historical dates are reviewed, we have little difficulty in understanding the gradual decline and eventual extinction of Laodicea–the Roman and the Christian. But the absolute desolation–the terrible and literal fulfillment of the prophetic vision of the Evangelist, so thoroughly and verbally fulfilled–is not so easily accounted for from natural causes. Smyrna still flourishes. It will be said it is a port, and its situation has preserved it. Ephesus also was a seaport, but situation has not preserved it. Though earthquakes may effect ruin, and the Turks may have cut off peoples with the edge of the sword, neither one nor the other are sufficient explanations for the absolute desolation of Laodicea. Therein is neither house, nor home, nor mosque. The eagles gather around it to devour their prey. The fox peeps forth from his hole among the displaced marble slabs, but man goeth not forth from its crumbling walls; and the only evidence it exhibits of being known to men is a grave‑yard.

Leaving the past, we may now proceed to the description of Laodicea as it appears at present. Such persons as have travelled through Asia Minor have commonly set out from Smyrna, descending southward to Ephesus and from Ephesus have gain travelled south to the valley of the Mendere or Maeander, which conducts us, at a distance of one hundred to one hundred and twenty miles, to the sites of Laodicea and Colossoe. Following this valley from the sea, a chain of hills called Messogis bounds the plain towards the north. These hills in several places rise several hundred feet in height, and consist chiefly of gravel and sand, singularly cemented or encrusted with drippings through limestone. The consequence is, that Messogis is remarkable for its caverns, which are frequently observed as the traveller follows the course of the Maeander; and also for horizontal strata, and the conical shapes into which the hills are carved. Their appearance is frequently most fantastic, and calls to mind the sugarloaf chain of hills behind Jericho, that for a few miles skirt the Jordan before it falls into the Dead Sea. Having proceeded inland about one hundred miles, the traveller reaches the village called Caroura, from whence an object of peculiar interest, upon the face of the mountains of Messogis, presents itself to his notice, looking, at that distance, like two white spots, or dabs of paint. These spots, glistening upon the cliffs, are the ruins of the ancient Hierapolis to which St. Paul alludes in the passage before quoted. The modern name of these ruins is Pambouk‑Kalesi, i.e. the “Cotton Castle.” It has received this name from the natives, on account of the singular effect produced by the hot waters which flow from springs within the ruins of Hierapolis. The water, strongly impregnated with lime, leaves a species of stalactite deposit, or coat of cement, wherever it flows. Falling over the rock and sand of the steeps of Messogis, it has formed what appear from the distance to be two immense cascades. On approaching them, the traveller finds that they are metamorphosed into stone.

The appearance of these streams of cemented stone is very white from the distance, and hence the resemblance to cotton suggested to the native mind; and the name "Cotton Castle" given to the ruins. As it is not the object of this article to describe Hierapolis (which is one of the most interesting of the ruined cities of Asia Minor), a passing allusion to it is all that can be given, though it is impossible for any traveller to describe the approach to Laodicea and not to speak of Hierapolis; and it is equally impossible to separate the two places in the mind when once they have been visited, and the relationship in which they are placed by the Apostle is remembered.

The ruins of the city are between three and four miles in circumference, and are especially attractive on account of the amphitheatre being in a marvellous state of preservation. The remains of two Christian churches are traceable, the ponderous piers and buttresses of which, like parts of the Holy Sepulchre, carry us back to the times of the Crusades, and give us a conclusive hint of the European influence under which they were built. With regard to the hot‑springs of Hierapolis, it, is stated that, in ancient times, the inhabitants cut trenches for the water to run around their gardens or lands, and that in a short time the cementing quality of the streams created stone walls wherever they coursed. The statement appears to be perfectly correct. From the elevated platform upon which Hierapolis stands a magnificent panorama is obtained. The broad valley of the Maeander stretches away, as far as the eye can travel, towards the sea. The chain of Messogis encloses it to the north, glittering with its arid and conical lines of sentinel bills. The river flows with deep and rapid waters, red in colour, between sunken banks and ledges, like the Jordan. As the traveller traces its serpentine course towards the ocean, the windings of the stream may be clearly traced by the verdure of the swamps, often dangerous, which fringe it. To the south, beyond the river, the gentle hills begin to rise again, gradually climbing upwards into a mountain range, upon whose slopes the wearied and blinded eye gratefully recognises vast forests, topped with brilliant snow. This is Cadmus–Cadmus that overlooked Colossoe as Monte Pilate does Lucerne–Cadmus that formed the background of the panorama to the people of Laodicea, as Monte Rosa does to Milan.

The distance from Hierapolis to the ruins of Laodicea, across the plain, is about six miles. On descending, the hills in this neighbourhood exhibit a much greater variety of colour than nearer the sea. They show hues of red and brown, as well as the painful and blinding grey; and the rod colouring of the rocks explains the tinge which is given to the waters of Maeander, flowing from the springs on the slopes of Cadmus. Around Hierapolis, tombs in the rocks are very common, and frequently rooms are attached to them, seeming to have been retreats for the friends of the dead, bringing forcibly to mind that passage in the history of our Lord, where we read of those who had their "dwellings among the tombs."

On reaching the plain, the traveller has to be wary of the swamps into which the horses fre­quently sink up to the saddle‑girths. Having the course of the Lycus upon the right, after about an hour’s easy riding, the point of junc­tion between the Asopus and Caprus is reached, and a partially ruined but massive bridge, con­ducting us over the narrow stream, brings us onto the site of Laodicea. The existing ruins are about a mile and a half to the rear of this meeting of the streams. Between them and the confluence of Asopus and Caprus, are the remains of an ex­tensive burial‑ground, marked in several places by sarcophagi.

Approaching the dead city from this direction (north), the sense of desolation is perfectly oppressive. Barren sand‑hills of rounded shapes, one series after another, limit the prospect, and leave the eye nothing to rest upon but the space of hills before us, everywhere strewn with the remnants of architecture. From the bridge alluded to, a road conducts us to a massive remain of building with three arches, that may perhaps have marked one of the entrances to Laodicea.

The engraving accompanying this article will give the reader a clearer idea, at a glance, of the present aspect of Laodicea, than any amount of description. The chief objects of interest in the ruins are the remains of three theatres, and also an immense amphitheatre, which is shown in the engraving. It contains an area of about 1,000 square feet, and could easily have seated 30,000 people. At the west end of this structure there is a cavernous passage, 140 feet long, which was evidently designed for horses and animals entering the arena. On the moulding at the entrance there are the remains of a Greek inscription, copies of which, made in the present century, are much more imperfect than that of Smith in 1676. As his transcript is much the most easy to be rendered into English, I here supply it, remarking that in the original the letters are all strung together without any divisions of words: “To the Emperor Titus Caesar Augustus Vespasian, seven times Consul, son of the Emperor, the Governor Vespasian, and to the people–Nicostratus the younger, son of Lycias, son of Nicostratus, dedicated....at his own expense–Nicostratus....his heir having completed what remained of the work, and Marcus Alpius Trajanus, the Pro‑Consul, having consecrated it.” From this inscription we learn that the amphitheatre was built after the Evangelist wrote the Apocalypse, and the city was not, at that date, one of those places in which the “lukewarm” Laodiceans showed themselves “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” As the seventh consulate of Vespasian and the consulate of Trajan are fixed dates, we learn that it took twelve years to buiId this stupendous amphitheatre, which was finished A.D. 82.

Two of the theatres are cut out of the hills. The seats remain in singular preservation. One facing the east is extremely handsome, constructed with tiers of marble slabs, and the names of the occupants in several places carved upon the blocks. These theatres, one measuring 450 feet in dia­meter, and the amphitheatre, are the most pro­minent features of the ruins. There are, however, several remains of temples and vast walls. It is possible that some of these may be the walls of Christian churches. The ruins of a street, and a colonnade, and the shell of some very extensive edifice, with piers and arches, is likewise indicated in the engraving  north of the amphitheatre. Beyond these, and facing the south, is the third theatre, the proscenium of which is strewn about in large masses of marble. Beyond that, once more, there is another series of arches and walls, that may have been a gymnasium. To the west, three other arches, crossing a small valley, reveal to us a bridge road, which was used by the Lao­diceans. Everywhere among the ruins are pedes­tals and fragments of marble, with which the city was adorned; but it is somewhat curious to find that the Laodiceans, as a general rule, only faced their buildings with marble, while the carcasses of the structures themselves were built of the peculiar cemented rubble which abounds in this district.

To the south, upon the summit of one of the hills behind the city, there are the remains of an aqueduct, carried upon arches to the edge of the hill; but instead of the arches continuing, the water has been conducted through descending pipes, some of which remain, and can be traced into the city to the spot where they rose again in some fountain to their own level. It is evident that hydrostatics were understood at Laodicea; and it is also remarkable that several of these pipes are choked with incrustations of calcareous matter, proving to us that the water which fed Laodicea was as strongly impregnated with lime as we find it at Hierapolis.

Such is a general description of this member of the Seven Churches. Its candlestick is indeed withdrawn, and the desolation which its lukewarmness towards God brought down upon it is complete. No one can picture to himself a waste more thorough than the arid hills, the dreary swamps, the melancholy graveyard, and the shattered ruins of Laodicea, present to the eye of the traveller. “Is this the city that men called beautiful?” we involuntarily exclaim! “Is this the city that was the pride of the Roman, and the Jew, as well as of the Laodicean?” It is impossible to contemplate such a wilderness of ruin, without feeling that it needs the prophetic language of the Evangelist to unriddle the mystery of its downfall, for which the incidents of human affairs fail to render a satisfactory solution.

“Pride that her votaries doomed, still ushers in; Pride–that besetting, universal sin!

Mortal and proud! strange contradictory terms; Pride in death's victims, in the Prey of worms.”

It was against the ungodly pride of Laodicea that the finger of Divine vengeance was pointed, and that ungodly pride worked out her destruction. The scattered remains of the city, as above described, will sufficiently prove to the reader that Laodicea was given up to luxury, indulgence, and pleasure. Her fate, like that of Rome, and many another ancient city, is a warning, to us, that what we call civilisation, Art, and refinement, unless wedded to goodness of purpose and manliness of life, end in effeminacy, corruption, and licentiousness, and leave both cities and peoples easy prey to the incursions of Turks, or Goths, or those barbarians of war whose lust of empire is always ready to overpower the weak.