WITH THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA MINOR. 65
Our illustration presents, not the general appearance of the country, but one of
those wandering ridges, which running from the high Balkans, like the fibres of some
gigantic tree, are the branches of those roots by which they seem fastened to the level
ground, and its picturesque and romantic features are different from the usual character
of the level country. The plain from hence to Adrianople, and to the sea, is generally
a flat surface of immense extent. These village-crowned peaks are called, both here
and in the neighbouring country of Macedon, meteors, or " appearances in the air."
They are usually chosen as the site of Greek convents, and sometimes ascended by a
basket let down with cords, in which the visiter is drawn up. The sides of the hills, in
every accessible spot, are covered with vineyards, from which the city of Adrianople is
supplied with grapes of an excellent quality.
CAVALRY BARRACKS ON THE BOSPHORUS.
The feudal tenure by which the conquered lands wrere held by those to w horn the
victorious Sultan assigned them, were called Zaims and Timariots. This obliged every
man to furnish a certain number of mounted followers, to take the field when called upon,
and formed the first cavalry enrolled for military service by the Turks. But to these
were added more efficient bodies, paid from the treasury, and enrolled as regular troops—
these were called Selictarli and Spahi.
Selictarli, which literally means "men of the sword," were the oldest and earliest
corps, and owed their origin to Ali, the fourth caliph of the Osmanli race. To their
care was entrusted the defence of the sacred person of the Sultan; they formed his
immediate body-guard, and were distinguished by a standard of bright red as their
ensign. But in the reign of Mahomet III, during a sanguinary combat, they were
seized with a sudden panic, and abandoned their sovereign. Unable to rally the
Selictars, he called on the grooms who attended their horses, who at once obeyed his
summons, and rescued him from the danger. To punish the one, and reward the other,
he formed a new corps of these grooms, conferred upon them the scarlet standard, while
their masters were obliged to adopt one of yellow, as a mark of their degradation ; and
he called his new corps " Spahi's," that is, simple cavaliers, without Zaim or Timar.
On their first appointment, their arms were bows and arrows, with sabres, and a
lance called a dgerid. They preferred these to pistols or carbines, for, said they, " firearms expend themselves in the air, but sabres and lances prostrate on the ground."
The dgerid was a short lance, which they darted with unerring aim at full speed ; to
this day, representations of their ancient combat with this weapon, form a distinguished
part of their athletic sports. They hurl pointless lances at each other as they pass at
full speed, and, stooping to the ground from their saddle-bow, recover them without
dismounting, or slackening their pace; to these were attached certain adventurers called