The Antiquities of Constantinople

By Pierre Gilles; John Ball et al. | Go to book overview

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

CONSTANTINOPLE IS SO SITUATED ON A PENINSULA that it is scarcely bounded by the Continent; for on three sides it is enclosed by the sea. It is not only well fortified by its natural situation, but it is also well guarded by forts erected in large fields, extending from the city at least two days'journey and more than twenty miles in length. The seas that bound the peninsula are Pontus, or the Black Sea, the Bosporus, and the Propontis. The city is enclosed by a wall formerly built by Anastasius. It is for this reason that being secured by a double peninsula, as it were, it calls itself the fortress of all Europe and claims the preeminence over all the cities of the world, extending over the straits of both Europe and Asia.

For besides other immense advantages peculiar to it, this is considerd a principle convenience of its situation, that it is encompassed by a sea abounding with the finest harbors for ships: on the south by the Propontis, on the east by the Bosporus, and on the north by a bay full of ports, which cannot only be secured by a boom, but even without such a security can greatly annoy the enemy. With the walls of Constantinople and Galata straitening its latitude into less than half a mile over, it has often destroyed the enemy's ships by liquid fire and other instruments of war. I would remark further, that were it secured according to the improvements of modern fortification, it would be the strongest fortress in the world. That is, if the four ancient ports, formerly enclosed within its walls by booms, were rebuilt. Two of these, which were not only the ornament, but the defense of old Byzantium, held out a siege against Severus for the

-xxxvii-

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The Antiquities of Constantinople
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Notes xxix
  • Translator's Preface xxxiii
  • Author's Preface xxxvii
  • Book One 1
  • Book Two 51
  • Book III 125
  • Book IV 169
  • Glossary 225
  • Bibliography 235
  • Index 239
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