WITH THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA MINOR. 11
attracted altogether; a circumstance known to be the effect produced on magnetic
needles, when brought near other bodies possessing the same property.
The conversion of Niobe, not into a fountain, but a rock, was an opinion so universally
received by the ancients, that Pausanias affirms, he himself, in ascending the hill, saw
the statue with his own eyes. This indurated memorial of the tear-dissolved mother, is
yet to be seen as Pausanias saw it 2,000 years ago. On the side of the hill is the rude
fragment of a rock, bearing a semblance to a human form, which a lively imagination may
easily convert into a Niobe. The person represented, however, has been disputed ; some
have taken it for the colossal statue of Cybele, the tutelar deity of the place.
The face of the mountain, ascending from the city, presents the remains of very
extensive fortifications, once occupied by soldiers of various nations, but at present in a
state of entire dilapidation. Its cannon were removed to Smyrna, and now protect
its ancient ally. A more modern edifice, surrounded by well-timbered woods, attracts
more attention. This is the residence of the present Ayan, or proprietor of the soil, whose
family has been long distinguished in this region. When the Osmanli made their first
inroads on Christian possessions, they secured them, by establishing, as they advanced,
a feudal system. They left the acquired territory under some military chief, who portioned
it out among his Moslem followers, on the terms of military service when called upon.
These were named Dere beys, or "Lords of the valleys;" and the rich plains of Asia
Minor were divided among them. They were classed as Zaims or Timariots, according
to the number of spahis or cavalry they were bound to supply; and were the only
hereditary nobility in the Turkish empire—few in numbers, but the petty and brutal
tyrants of their respective territories. To these, however, was one distinguished exception:
the family of Cara Osman Oglou preserved a high character for many generations, and every
traveller who visited Magnesia spoke of them as liberal and enlightened benefactors of
the territory over which they presided. This nobility is now extinguished; the energetic Mahomed, in his reforms, reduced this small but tyrannic oligarchy to the general
level, and united, and confined to his own person, the whole nobility of the empire. The
last descendant of the Oglous was invited to the capital, where he now employs his time
and revenues in mechanical pursuits. He is a cunning shipwright, and has built a man-
of-war, to serve in the Turkish fleet.
The present population of the city is estimated at somewhat more than 30,000, of
which 20,000 are Turks, and the remainder Jews and Christians. The former have
twenty mosques, whose bristling minarets are seen in our illustration. There are three
Greek and Armenian churches, and two synagogues. In the foreground is represented
one of those Oriental wells, which from the earliest ages were " digged" in the East, and
which now form a conspicuous object in every landscape. A long horizontal beam of wood
is divided into two unequal lengths, and supported and turned on a perpendicular. On the
short arm is placed a weight which counterpoises the longer and the bucket and cord
attached, when it descends into the well, and is very easily raised by means of this lever.
One of these machines is seen erected in every garden, and, as irrigation is constantly
required in an arid soil, it is always in motion, and its dull and drowsy creaking is the
sound incessantly heard by all travellers.