HISTORICAL SKETCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
The family of Constantine ended with Julian, and, as the first had endeavoured to
establish Christianity as the religion of this new capital of the world, so the last had
endeavoured to eradicate it But his successor Jovian set himself to repair the injury.
He was with Julian's army at the time of his defeat and death, and with great courage
and conduct extricated it from the difficulties with which it was surrounded. He immediately proclaimed the restoration of Christianity, and, as the most decided and speedy
way of circulating his opinions, he had its emblems impressed on his first coinage. He is
there represented as following on horseback the standard of the cross, as Constantine had
done, and so was safely led out of similar danger. He caused new temples to be raised
to Christian worship, with tablets or inscriptions importing the cause of their erection,
some of which still continue iu their primitive state. He reigned only eight months ;
but even that short period was sufficient to revive a faith so connected with human
happiness, and so impressed on the human heart, that little encouragement was required
to call it forth every where into action.
From the time of Jovian, Christianity remained the unobstructed religion of Constantinople ; but an effort was made in the reign of Theodosius to revive paganism in
the old city of Rome. The senate, who had a tendency to the ancient worship, requested
that the altar of Victory, which was removed, might be restored; and an attempt was
made to recall the Egyptian deities. On this occasion, the emperor issued the memorable decree, that "no one should presume to worship an idol by sacrifice." The globe
had been a favourite emblem of his predecessors, surmounted with symbols of their
families, some with an eagle, some with a victory, and some with a phoenix; but
Theodosius removed them, and placed a cross upon it, intimating the triumph of
Christianity over the whole earth; and this seems to have been the origin of the globe
and cross, which many Christian moriarchs, as well as our own, use at their coronations.
From this time, heathen mythology sunk into general contempt, and was expelled from
the city of Constantinople, where the inquisitive minds of cultivated men had detected
its absurdities: it continued to linger yet a while longer, among the pagij or villages of
the country, and its professors were for that reason called pagani, or pagans, a name by
which they are known at this day. The Christian city had now so increased, that it was
necessary to enlarge its limits. Theodosius ran a new wall outside the former, from
sea to sea, which took within its enclosure the seventh or last hill. The whole was now
enclosed by three walls, including a triangular area, of which old Byzantium was the
apex. Two of its walls were washed by the waters of the Propontis and the Golden
Horn, and the third separated the city from the country, the whole circuit being twelve
miles. These walls, with their twenty-nine gates, open on the land and sea; and the
area they enclose remains, without increase or diminution, still unaltered in shape or
size, under all the vicissitudes of the city, for fifteen hundred years.
When the city had thus increased in magnitude and opulence, it became the great
mark for the ambition of the barbarians that surrounded it. Placed at the extremity of
Europe, it was the bulwark, as it were, against Asiatic aggression, and, filled with the
riches of the earth, the great object of their cupidity. In the year 668, after it had