CONSTANTINOPLE AND ITS ENVIRONS ;
A STREET IN SMYRNA.
This second church of the Apocalypse is, with the exception of Philadelphia, the only
one that retains any thing of its former consequence. Its palaces, theatres, pagan temples,
and Christian churches have passed away, but its riches, its commerce, its population,
and its extent have been probably increased; and modern Smyrna is a more wealthy and
prosperous town than either its pagan or Christian predecessor.
It was from the earliest ages celebrated as one of the most distinguished and frequented sea-ports of Asia Minor. It is approached by a noble and spacious bay, penetrating deeply into the country, expanding its capacious bosom to the Egean, and inviting
the commerce of the world. Its waters are daily ruffled by the lnbat, a trade-wind,
which blows with unerring regularity, morning and evening, bearing ships in and
out, so that they enter and depart with the most perfect certainty and security; and it is
a locality where the riches of the East and West most conveniently meet together. Such
permanent characters, impressed by the hand of nature, are of every age; and Smyrna
has at all times been a great commercial emporium, as well of the ancient as the modern
The founder of Smyrna is disputed; some confer the reputation of it on Tantalus,
others on the Amazons; but after various vicissitudes of earthquake, conflagration, war,
and pestilence, it was splendidly re-edified by Alexander the Great, and became the chief
of the twelve cities of the Ionian confederacy, and distinguished for its magnificence as
well as its power. It contained temples of Jupiter, Cybele, Apollo, and Diana, the latter
more beautified, though less extensive, than that at Ephesus. Games were periodically
celebrated, like those of Elis and Olympia; and the reputation of being a learned people,
was among the laudable ambitions of the citizens of Smyrna. They laid claim to Homer
as a native, and pointed out the cavern, on the banks of their river Meles, where his
immortal Iliad was composed, and from hence the poet is called Melesigenes, and his
works Mehtcece charts. The people erected statues to him, taught rhetoric in a
temple dedicated to him, and impressed his head and name upon their coins; and of all the
Which claim the poet dead,
Through which the living poet begged his bread,
the assumptions of Smyrna seem to be the best founded; but whatever doubt may rest
on Homer's place of nativity, it is certain that Bion, Mimnermus, and other distinguished
writers, were natives of Smyrna, and ennobled the city of their birth.
The towns are designated in the following hexameter :
" Smyrna, Rhodos, Colophon, Salamis, Chios, Argos, Athena4."