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For here, retired, the sinking billows
And smiling calmness silvered o'er the deep.
I only in the bay refused to moor,
From thence we climbed a point, whose airy brow
scribed as the mother of all the Milemotive, or encouragement for these sian towns on the Bosphorus. The
settlements must have been of a commercial kind, and must at least have been connected with the fertility of a region which, under good manage
Commands the prospect of the plains ment, was fitted to be the granary of
No tracks of beasts, nor signs of men, we found,
But smoky volumes rolling from the ground.'
Uncertain as the historical elements may be which enter into the fabulous legends of Greece, we may venture to infer from them thus much, that the Black Sea must have been the scene of early adventure and enterprise, and the seat of great wealth and important commerce between the Eastern and Western world. It seems clear also, that its northern shore was from a remote period subjected to inroads by a succession of tribes, each brayer or more powerful than those who previously occupied it. Among these occupants were the Tauri, who gave a name to the district which it still retains, and who, in early times, seem to have been eminently savage and superstitious, adorning the roofs of their houses with the heads of their enemies, and sacrificing shipwrecked mariners to a virgin goddess supposed to resemble Diana, under whose auspices they probably found it convenient to carry on the traffic of wrecking, which has disgraced ages and countries of much higher
In process of time the influence of Greek colonisation and commerce was favourably felt in developing the resources of the Taurian Chersonesus and its neighbourhood; and in the sixth or seventh century before Christ the Milesians had rendered the navigation of the Euxine comparatively easy and familiar; and at first, perhaps, in irony, though afterwards in earnest, had changed its name, if not its nature, from the Inhospitable to the Hospitable Sea. They are said to have founded a great number of maritime colonies on its shores, and, among others, the city of Panticapæum, now Kertch, which is de
Eastern Europe. Kertch afterwards became the capital of the flourishing Greek kingdom of Bosporus, which subsisted for several centuries.
The most celebrated name connected with these scenes in ancient history is that of Mithridates, one of the most powerful, and perhaps the most persevering of all the enemies that arose against the Roman republic. This prince, apparently of Persian blood, was born at Sinope, on the Black Sea, and to his hereditary kingdom of Pontus soon added the Bosphorus and other dominions, of which Kertch may be considered as the metropolis. The extent of his empire, and the miscellaneous nationality of its inhabitants, evinced by the recorded fact or fable which has made his name proverbial, that he could converse with the deputies of his different subjects in twentyfive languages; yet in this singular region even that degree of versatility would not be sufficient to embrace the various tongues of all the tribes under his sway. There is something sublime in the character and fate of this man, surrounded by his legion of languages, and wielding almost a mythical power over life and death by his skill in poisons and antidotes; bestriding the boundary of Europe and Asia, and, like the Russian of our own day, fixing his position where the keys of empire, alike of east and west, were near his grasp; classed by the Greek and Roman nations as a barbarian, yet hailed by the one as a deliverer, and feared by the other as a destroyer; calling forth and sometimes defeating, but always eluding, the greatest efforts of the best generals of Rome during a quarter of a century; and at last perishing in his old age by his own hands in the midst of domestic disaffection and family feud. The town of Kertch was the scene of his death, and a neighbouring hill still bears his name.
Among the achievements of Mithridates, he is stated to have overcome the Scythians of the Taurian Bosphorus in a naval engagement during summer, on a spot near Kertch, on which he afterwards again defeated them in winter in a cavalry action on the ice; a fact sufficiently indicative of that wide range of temperature and periodical severity of climate which our own countrymen have since so feelingly experienced.
At a later period, the connection of certain Gothic tribes with the Black Sea presents the singular spectacle of a Germanic people in an insulated position among hordes of alien origin, and is especially interesting to ourselves as a nation of kindred blood.
The Goths, as we may infer from the sure evidence of language, were of Eastern origin; but their songs and legends seem to have handed down a tradition that their earliest settlement in Europe was in the neighbourhood of the Baltic, whence they afterwards migrated to the western shores of the Euxine. In the third century of the Christian era they were established in considerable force in the countries of Dacia and Moesia; and from the mouths of the Danube and Dniestr they repeatedly made plundering expeditions by sea to the tempting coasts of Greece and Asia Minor. One of the most interesting of the early accounts of the Black Sea and its borders is given by Ammianus Marcellinus, who describes their condition in the fourth century with the accuracy, perhaps, of personal observation. He speaks of Panticapæum (Kertch) as the mother of all the Milesian cities, but he does not mention any people in its immediate neighbourhood whom we can distinctly trace as of Gothic blood, though it is plain that the Goths had then extended their settlements along the north-western shore of the Euxine. Neither is it very easy to draw a clear inference from the obscure and confused account which Jornandes, in the sixth century, gives of the eastern settlements of the Goths, which were at a distance from his own home; yet his account of Ermanaric's kingdom on the Euxine seems to extend
it to the Crimea; and Procopius, a more accurate and able writer of the same age, gives a distinct description of a tribe of Tetraxite Goths settled as an independent nation in this very district, and surviving as remnants of a larger population of the same race. He states them to be Christians, though he is ignorant whether they are Arian or orthodox, and mentions that, in the twenty-first year of Justinian's reign, a deputation from them arrived at Byzantium, ostensibly to solicit the appointment of a new bishop, but covertly, at the same time, to suggest what ought to be done by the Romans for the subjugation of the barbarous nations of Huns and others among whom they were situated. A Gothic episcopal see at Theodosia, or Caffa, in the Crimea, in connection with Constantinople, continued to be officially recognised for several centuries, and travellers from time to time bear witness to the continuance of a Gothic race in that region in the thirteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. The minute and intelligent account of Auger Gislen, better known by his local name of Busbequius, who went as Austrian ambassador to the Turks about the year 1560, is a strong confirmation of the other evidence on this subject. His statement, though curious and interesting, is too well known to require insertion. Joseph Scaliger, in the end of the sixteenth century, says that the Goths about Perecop still possessed the Scriptures in the language and characters of Ulphilas; but more lately the traces of a surviving Gothic population in this district become fainter and fainter in succeeding writers; their Christianity itself seems to have died out amidst the surrounding heathenism, as in 1760 we are told of a Turkish galley-slave, of the race of Crimean Goths, who mentioned that their religion consisted solely in worshipping an old tree. About the end of the last century they seem entirely to disappear, though Mnias Bschkrantz, in his Armenian Travels, which appeared at Venice in 1830, is said to speak of Gothic monuments and inscriptions at Mankoup and Sudagh, both in the Crimea.
The history of the Crimean Goths
has brought us past some of those momentous changes which the country has otherwise undergone in modern times, but on which we shall now merely touch so far as may help to illustrate our more immediate subject.
In 1226 the Crimea, with the adjoining territory, was invaded by the Tartars, that Mongolic race which long ruled over it, and which still-or did till lately-constitutes the bulk of its population. But simultaneously with their sway, and under a nominal subjection to it, the great maritime powers of that period, Venice and Genoa,
established themselves in the Black Sea successively, or in rivalry with each other; and under the Genoese in particular the Crimea became, in the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth centuries, a flourishing seat of commerce, and the great key of communication between Europe and the East. The growing power of the Turks, however, terminated this state of things, and nearly expelled the older nations of Europe from the Black Sea; and the Portuguese discovery in the end of the fifteenth century of the passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope, contributed to divert commerce into new channels.
The Turks continued to be the sovereigns of the Crimea, with a Tartar Khan under them, for nearly three hundred years, until 1771, when they were overthrown and supplanted by the Russians. The Russian sway in the Crimea is again safe for the present, and we own that, with all its faults, we prefer it to the Turkish.
In its existing state the Crimea is full of reminiscences of its many changes and transactions. The surviving Tartar population reminds us of the powerful hordes of invaders who, under Gengis Khan and his successors, threatened to overrun Europe with a Turanian race.
The classical names of places still lingering around recall the glories of ancient Greece, and the struggles of the mighty Mithridates; while the sepulchral monuments, such as abound in the neighbourhood of Kertch, reveal glimpses of other nations, which add a more solemn interest to the
"The traveller," says Dr M'Pherson, on approaching Kertch, whether by sea or by land, beholds a wide expanse of steppe or meadow land, having an uudulating surface dotted with ridges and mounds. As he nears the Necropolis of the ancient Milesian city, these mounds assume the appearance of immense cones. The surface of these mounds and ridges is so equally developed, they are so regular in formation, so strikingly similar in every respect, and so numerous, that the mind at once becomes convinced of their artificial construction.
"They are, in fact, sepulchres of the ancient world; and their size and grandeur excite astonishing ideas of the wealth and power of the people by whom they
were erected: for the labour of construction must have been prodigious and the expenditure enormous. Grotesque peaks of coral rag arise from the plains, in the midst of these sepulchral monuments, and give a sublime aspect to this vast field of the dead."
The Russian Government," he says, "has shown, for some years past, a laudable desire to preserve all fragments of interest; and with this view, appointed a commission to collect into one place the mutilated tablets of marble, the elegant arabesques, the bas-reliefs and other sculptures that marked the origin and history of the colony. The tumuli, which up to this period had been common property, were taken under the protection of Government. For hundreds of years these mounds have proved a mine of wealth to the successive tribes
and nations who have followed in the wake of those who formed them.
fact, the importance of this ancient Greek colony was only recognised on the discovery in these tombs, within the last few years, of valuable antiquities and relics of art testifying to its former greatness."
"The local tradition is, that the tumuli were raised over the remains of the rulers who held sway over the colonists; and that the earth was heaped upon them annually on the anniversary of the decease of the prince, and for a period of years corresponding to the rank or respect in which its tenant was held, or the time he had reigned over them and at this day the successive layers of earth heaped on each succeeding year can be traced; a thin coating of rushes, seaweed, charcoal or other substance having been apparently first put down, with the view probably of preventing the moisture of the fresh soil permeating that below, and thus displacing it. The thickness of these fresh layers of earth is
usually from one to three feet, according to the height of the mounds: which are to be seen of all sizes, varying in circumference from ten to four hundred feet, and having an elevation of from five to one bundred and fifty. A tumulus four hundred by one hundred feet, not an uncommon size, would give in cubic measure three millions of cubic feet of earth and stone to form the sepulchre ; for they are usually composed of surface soil, broken pottery, stone, and in fact debris of every sort.'
rampart meet, which extends North to the Sea of Azof, and South-East to the Bosporus, just above Nymphæum. was probably the ancient boundary of the territory of Panticapæum and of the kingdom of the Bosporus, before the conquest of Nymphæum and Theudosia. Within the rampart, 150 paces to the East, there is another monument of the same kind, but unfinished. It consists of a circular esplanade, 500 paces round, and 166 feet in diameter, with an exterior covering of Cyclopean masonry, built of worked stones 3 feet long and
After these tombs had long been left a prey to the curiosity or cupidity high, of which there are only five layers.
of all who chose to open them, the Russian Government, it has been seen, had latterly taken pains to explore them and preserve their contents. But it would be tedious to notice the results of the former excavations of these tumuli. These were already noticed in Mr Seymour's book, and are again detailed in that of Dr M'Pherson, now before us. A general summary will be sufficient, and we may be allowed to borrow it from a valuable book of reference, Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, voce 66 Panticapæum :
"Foundations of ancient buildings and heaps of brick and pottery, are still scattered over the hill of Mithridates; but the most remarkable ancient remains are the numerous tumuli round Kertch, in which many valuable works of art have been discovered, and of which a full account is given in the works mentioned below. The most extraordinary of these tumuli are those of the Kings, situated at the mountain called Altum-Obo, or the golden mountain, by the Tartars. One of the tumuli is in the form of a cone, 100 feet high, and 450 feet in diameter, and cased on its exterior with large blocks of stone cubes of 3 or 4 feet, placed without cement or mortar. This remarkable monument has been at all times the subject of mysterious legends, but the entrance to it was not discovered till 1832. This entrance led to a gallery, constructed of layers of worked stone without cement, 60 feet long and 10 feet high, at the end of which
was a vaulted chamber, 35 feet high, and 20 feet in diameter, the floor of which was 10 feet below the floor of the entrance. This chamber, however, was empty, though on the ground was a large square stone, on which a sarcophagus might have rested. This tumulus stands at a spot where two branches of a long
But the greatest discovery has been at the hill called by the Tartars Kul-Obo, or the hill of cinders, which is situated outside of the ancient rampart, and 4 miles from Kertch. Here is a tumulus 165 feet in diameter; and as some soldiers were carrying away from it, in 1830, the stones with which it was covered, they accidentally opened a passage into the interior. A vestibule, 6 feet square, led into a tomb 15 feet long and 14 broad, which contained bones of a King and Queen, golden and silver vases, and other ornaments. Below this tomb was another, still richer; and from the two no less than 120 pounds' weight of gold ornaments are said to have been extracted. From the forms of the letters found here, as well as from other circumstances, it is supposed that the tomb was erected not later than the fourth century B.C."
We now proceed to notice the researches of Dr M'Pherson himself, who was placed at the head of the medical staff attached to the Foreign legions raised by Government during the Russian war, and employed in the Crimea. His leisure time while at Kertch was laudably employed in the investigations which he has now given to the public in a work of much elegance and interest.
The methods which have prevailed among different nations of disposing of their dead, have always been a subject of much attraction, which has latterly assumed a new importance from the careful and scientific principles on which it has been investigated, particularly in connection with the north of Europe. We are afraid that the recent death of Mr John Mitchell Kemble, cut off suddenly in the prime of life, and in the ardent pursuit of his favourite studies, has deprived us, at least in a great degree
of a work which was promised from his pen on this topic; and we know of no antiquary who is qualified singly to do what Mr Kemble would have done. The impulse, however, has been given, and the accumulation from various quarters of the different facts which new discoveries are constantly suggesting, will carry us in time to some satisfactory results.
However general the practice of cremation may have been among the northern pagan nations, and however much we may be inclined with Mr Kemble to consider interment, generally speaking, as an effect of Christianity, at least among the Teutonic tribes, there are authentic instances of the practice of pagan burial in the earliest ages among nations inhabiting Europe or the adjoining regions of Asia. The wellknown description by Herodotus, B. IV., sec. 72, of the Scythian mode of burial, particularly in the case of the Scythian kings, connects the practice directly with the neighbourhood of the Crimea, and is referred to by Dr M'Pherson in this point of view.
Of whatever race the Scythians may have been, it seems to be thought that they communicated their mode of disposing of the dead to the Greek colonists who settled on their shores, though apparently the prevailing Greek custom was to burn rather than to bury the dead. There seems to be little evidence of burning among the Crimean tombs.
We have already referred to the tumuli which diversify the neighbourhood of Kertch. Dr M'Pherson's researches in these were not very successful. They had already been rifled of their most valuable stores. But on removing his workmen to an undulating ridge, extending from Mons Mithridates to the Altyn Obo or Mountain of Gold, he met with better results. The account of some of these we shall present to our readers. Having reached a small subterranean temple near the Golden Mountain, but which he found already explored, he thus describes it :
"Over the inner entrance, possibly with a view to guard it, were painted two lion-headed figures. The walls of the temple were marked off in squares. About the centre of the wall, and sur
rounding the building, there was what now appeared to be scroll-work much defaced, in which birds, grotesque figures, and flowers, could still be traced. Two figures on horseback-a person in authority, and his attendant sketched, in black, on the wall opposite the entrance. Slung on the shoulders of the latter could be traced a bow and quiver of arrows (the Scytho-Grecian
bow and arrows are a common emblem on the coins of Phanagoria), and he held in his hand a long javelin, also a formidable weapon in those days. The gold coin of the period, found in this locality, and now in the British Museum, represents the griffin holding the javelin in his mouth.
"On the bas-reliefs of the Bosphorus, the representation of an equestrian figure, attended by a youth, is very frequent. In the right and the left side of the wall of the inner chamber there were recesses, resembling doors which had been closed up. The workmen were directed to remove this masonry; but it was so exceedingly strong, that we found it an easier matter to break the stones
than to remove them from their places. Stretched across the entrance of the
recess on the right hand side, about midway, was a human skeleton entire ; a coarse lachrymatory, and something like an incense jar, but broken, was found under the neck. In the recess on the left side the skeleton of a horse was discovered in a similar position. The frequency of our finding the entire skeletons and perfect bones of animals, more especially those of the horse, which appeared to us very remarkable. could always be ascertained by the teeth,
"I am much indebted to Mr Kemble, whose profound knowledge in archæological subjects is well known, for the following remarks on the same interesting and curious subject:
'Burial of the horse is first mentioned by Tacitus as a part of the funeral rite of the Germanic races; but it was common to the ancient Scythians, as we learn from Herodotus; to the Tschudi of the Altai (Ledebour Reise, i. 231); the Tartars of the Crim (Lindner, p. 92); to the Keltic tribes in Gaul and Britain; to the Franks, as evidenced in Childeric's grave; the Saxons, as proved by constant excavation; and the Northmen, as we read in all the Norse Sagas, and find in innumerable Norse graves. It was common also to the Slavonic nations; to the Russ, in the tenth century (see Frahn's Edition of Ibn Fozlan's Travels, pp. 104, 105); to the Lithuanians, Letts, Wends, and the Ugrian popula