WITH THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA MINOR. 75
Islands floating as it were on the surface of the sea below; and the splendid view terminates by the coast of Asia, and the snowy ridges of Olympus. The walls are built of
hewn stone interlaid with strata of Roman brick as large as flooring tiles. They are
pierced by five gates, which are still standing, and closed carefully every night. Part of
the area within the walls is now filled up with mean dirty streets, inhabited principally
by Jews and Greeks. Below, on the shores of the sea, is another portion of it, almost exclusively Turkish. It has a port, in which lie a fleet of small-craft, used for conveying
the produce of the neighbourhood to the markets of Constantinople, and this is all that
remains of the bustle and activity of that commerce, which once distinguished the enterprising Greek cities of this coast.
Over one of the gates is an inscription containing the name of Theodora, of whom the
Byzantine historians relate an interesting anecdote. " When the Emperor Theophilus
wished to select a wife, he announced his intentions ; and several ladies, most distinguished
for beauty and accomplishments, appeared as candidates for his favour. On the appointed
day, they arranged themselves in an apartment of the palace, and the emperor, with a
golden apple in his hand, walked along the line to make his choice. He remarked aloud
in passing, that women had been the cause of much evil in the world; and a young lady
of the group of candidates, named Icasia,and on whom the emperor had fixed his regards,
hoping to recommend herself by her wit as well as by her beauty and spirit, immediately
replied, that his majesty must allow they had also been the cause of much good. The
emperor turned from his fair antagonist with dislike, and, fixing his eyes upon another,
who seemed shrinking from notice, he placed the golden apple in her hand, and selected
her for his wife. This was Theodora—and she did not deceive his choice. She was afterwards distinguished for her modesty and prudence." There stands in the area of the
esplanade a very ancient Greek church, which she is said to have erected ; and, notwithstanding the convulsions of the state, and the desolation of the invading Turks, to have
remained in the undisturbed celebration of Christian worship for 1000 years.
Our illustration represents the Acropolis of this ancient city on the summit of a high
and lofty hill, with the road at its base, winding to the town and port below, with various
peasants bringing baskets of grapes, and other local commodities, for transportation to
the markets of the capital.
A TURKISH LETTER-WRITER, AT CONSTANTINOPLE.
There are two modes of communication among the Turks—by symbols, and letters;
the first was of very early adoption, and used even on important occasions of state.
While Buda was in the power of the Turks, and they threatened to lay siege to Vienna,
the vizir of Soliman caused a large water-melon to be conveyed to the Austrian ambassador. The Turks are in the habit of sending presents of fruit as tokens of good-will,
and it was supposed that this fine fruit imported no more. It was found, however, that