A Short History of the Near East from the Foundling of Constantinople (330 A.D. to 1922)

A Short History of the Near East from the Foundling of Constantinople (330 A.D. to 1922)

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A Short History of the Near East from the Foundling of Constantinople (330 A.D. to 1922)

A Short History of the Near East from the Foundling of Constantinople (330 A.D. to 1922)

Read FREE!

Excerpt

It was about 660 B. C. when a deputation from Megara questioned the Delphic Oracle, "Where shall we found our projected colony?" Not without worldly wisdom the Pythoness answered, "Found it opposite to the 'City of the Blind.' " This "Delphic Utterance" was easy to interpret. Chalcedon was a Greek settlement upon the Asiatic side of the southern end of the Bosphorus. One mile away, on the European shore, there rose a far superior site, a hill-crested peninsula easy to defend. On the southern side was the blue Propontis (Sea of Marmora); on the eastern a noble salt river, the Bosphorus; on the northern that deep inlet and harbor which was the later "Golden Horn," while on the western opened the rich hinterland of Thrace toward which a relatively short wall betwixt the Propontis and the harbor could guard against attack. The adjacent waters abounded in fish. Already a lively commerce was developing between the Greek lands and the Black Sea ("Euxine"), all passing directly through the Bosphorus. The climate was healthful and not too severe. The Megarian colonists therefore made baste to obey the mandate of Apollo.

For the next thousand years Byzantium remained an important center, first as a city-republic of free Greece, then as a local metropolis of the Roman Empire. In 196 A. D. it was stormed by the stern Emperor Septimius Severus warring against his rival, Pescennius Niger. The city was ruthlessly devastated, but was speedily . . .

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