The Antiquities of Constantinople

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

I
The Buildings and Monuments
Of Old Byzantium and Constantinople,
Called New Rome

NOW THAT I HAVE DESCRIBED THE SHAPE AND EXTENT of the city and examined the situation of the seven hills in detail, I shall proceed to consider what buildings and monuments Constantinople had in ancient times or now has, and into how many wards it was divided. For when I accidentally fell upon this division of the city into wards in an ancient manuscript written over one thousand years ago by a gentleman more noble by his birth than his writings, I hoped to be able to trace out the ancient city with some ease, but the barbarous Mohametans have either so demolished those venerable and truly heroic ornaments that distinguished it, in order to adorn their own paltry houses, or they have entirely buried them in their own ruins, so that you shall see remains of an old foundation in very few places.

I omit to mention the fires and other devastations committed not only by the savages of other countries but the great havoc lately made by the Turks themselves. For the last hundred years they have incessantly endeavored to deface and destroy entirely by building it in so different a manner that those who have formerly seen some parts of it scarcely know its ancient condition.

-51-

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