HISTORICAL SK ETCH
C 0 N S T A N TINOPL E.
1 in first mercantile expedition and recks, to a remote country, was that
to Colchis, the eastern extremity of the Black Sen, to bring back the allegorical golden
This distant and perilous vovairo, could not fail, in that rude age, to excite
the imaginati the poetfl have adorned its historical details with all the !
nations of fiction; the hold mariners who embarked in the ship Argo are dignified
with the qualities of heroes, and their adventures swelled into portentous and preternatural event.-. The S\raplegades were placed at the entrance of this dark sea, which
dosed upon and crushed the daring ships that presumed to penetrate into its mysti
and so for ever shut out all access to strangers. But the intrepid sailors, whose names
ire handed down to posterity for their extraordinary physical powers, overcame every
difficulty; and Jason, the Columbus of the ancient world, returned in safety with his
golden freight. From that time the hitherto impervious sea changed its name. It had
been called by the inhospitable appellation of AxtHOiy because it was inaccessible to
Strangers; it was now named Ehjchos, as no longer repelling but, on the contrary,
inviting foreigners to it- shores.
The dark Kuxine, and all its visionary dangers, soon became familiar to the enterprising Greeks, and colonies were every where planted on the narrow waters that led to
it. Little, however, was understood of the advantages of selecting a site for these young
cities; and one of the first on record still remain-, to attest the ignorance of the founders.
In the year 685 before the Christian era, Argias led a colony from Megara, which he
settled at the mouth of the Bosphorus. The site d for the town was the shore
of a -hallow bay that indented the A-iatie coast, and was exposed to every wind. It
was Brs1 called Pro© ifterwarda Colpusa, and finally Chaleedon.
A few years had brought experience to the Greeks, and a more mature judgment led
them to select a better situation. About thirty years after, Byzas led another colony
from Nfegara. He consulted the oracle, i usual in such cases, where he should
erect bis new city; and the answer was, of course, wra] t in mystery. lie was directed to
place it "opposite the city of the blind men." On exploring the mouth of the strait,
he discovered, on the European shore, a situation unrivalled perhaps by any other in
the world. A peninsula of gradual elevation was washed on one side by the Propontis,
and on the other by a magnificent harbour, broad and deep, and sheltered from every