ePub 版


arches, and their weight is firmly supported by CHAP. four massy piles, whose strength is assisted on the northern and southern sides by four columns of Egyptian granite. A Greek cross, inscribed in a quadrangle, represents the form of the edifice; the exact breadth is two hundred and forty-three feet, and two hundred and sixty-nine may be assigned for the extreme length from the sanctuary in the cast to the nine western doors which open into the vestibule, and from thence into the narthex or exterior portico. That portico was the humble station of the penitents. The nave or body of the church was filled by the congregation of the faithful; but the two sexes were prudently distinguished, and the upper and lower galleries were alloted for the more private devotion of the women. Beyond the northern and southern piles, a balustrade, terminated on either side by the thrones of the emperor and the patriarch, divided the nave from the choir : and the space, as far as tħe steps of the altar was occupied by the clergy and singers. The alter itself, a name which insensibly became familiar to Christian ears, was placed in the eastern recess, artificially built in the form of a demi-cylender; and this sanctuary communicated by several doors with the sacristy, the vestry, the baptistery, and the contiguous buildings .subservient either to the pomp of worship, or the private use of the ecclesiastical ministers. The memory of past calamities inspired Justinian with a wise resolution, that no wood, except for the doors, should be admitted into the new edifice; and the choice of the ma14




CHA P. terials was applied to the strength, the lightness, or the splendour of the respective parts. The solid piles which sustained the cupola were composed of huge blocks of freestone, hewn into squares and triangles, fortified by circles of iron, and firmly cemented by the infusion of lead and quicklime : but the weight of the cupola was diminished by the levity of its substance, which consists either of pumice-stone that floats in the water, or of bricks from the isle of Rhodes. five times less ponderous than the ordinary sort. The whale frame of the edifice was constructed of brick; but those base materials were concealed by a crust of marble; and the inside of St. Sophia, the cupola, the two larger, and the six smaller semi-domes, the walls, the hundred columns, and the pavement, delight even the eyes of Barbarians, with a rich and vaMarbles. riegated picture. A poet *, who beheld the primitive lustre of St. Sophia, enumerates the colours, the shades, and the spots of ten or twelve marbles, jaspers, and porphyries, which nature had profusely diversified, and which were blended and contrasted as it were by a skilful painter. The tri


* Paul Silentiarius, in dark and poetic language, describes the various stones and marbles that were employed in the edifice of St. Sophia (P. ii. p. 129. 133, &c. &c.): 1. The Carystian-pale, with iron veins. 2. The Phrygian-of two sorts, both of a 10sy hue; the one with a white shade, the other pur ple, with silver flowers. 3. The Porphyry of Egypt-with small stars. 4. The green marble of Laconia. 5. The Carian-from Mount lassis, with oblique veins, white and red. 6. The Lydian-pale, with a red flower. 7. The African, or Maurita nian-of a gold or saffron hue. 8. The Celtic-black, with white veins 9. The Bosphoric-white, with black edges. Besides the Proconnesian, which formed the pavement; the Thessalian, Molossian, &c. which are less distinctly painted.

[ocr errors]


umph of Christ was adorned with the last spoils c HAP. of Paganism, but the greater part of these costly stones was extracted from the quarries of Asia Minor, the isles and continent of Greece, Egypt, Africa, and Gaul. Eight columns of porphyry, which Aurelian had placed in the temple of the sun, were offered by the piety of a Roman matron; eight others of green marble were presented by the ambitious zeal of the magistrates of Ephesus both are admirable by their size and beauty, but every order of architecture disclaims their fantastic capitals. A variety of ornaments and figures was curiously expressed in mosaic; and the images of Christ, of the Virgin, of saints, and of angels, which have been defaced by Turkish fanaticism, were dangerously exposed to the superstition of the Greeks. According to the sanctity of each object, the precious metals were distributed in thin leaves or in solid masses. The balustrade of the choir, the capitals of the pillars, the ornaments of the doors and galleries, were of gilt bronze; the spectator was dazzled by the glittering aspect of the cupola; the sanctuary contained forty thousand pound weight of silver; and the holy vases andvestments of the altar were of the purest gold, enriched with inestimable gems. Before the structure of the church had risen two cubits above the ground, forty-five thousand two hundred pounds were already consumed; and the whole expence Riches. amounted to three hundred and twenty thousand : each reader, according to the measure of his belief, may estimate their value either in gold or



CHA P. silver; but the sum of one million sterling is the result of the lowest computation. A magnificent temple is a laudable monument of national taste and religion, and the enthusiast who entered the dome of St. Sophia, might be tempted to suppose that it was the residence, or even the workmanship, of the Deity. Yet how dull is the artifice, how insignificant is the labour, if it be compared with the formation of the vilest insect that crawls upon the surface of the temple!

Churches and pala.

[ocr errors]

So minute a description of an edifice which time has respected, may attest the truth, and excuse the relation of the innumerable works, both in the capital and provinces, which Justinian constructed on a smaller scale and less durable foundations *. In Constantinople alone, and the adjacent suburbs, he dedicated twenty-five churches to the honour of Christ, the Virgin, and the saints: most of these churches were decorated with marble and gold; and their various situation was skilfully chosen in a populous square, or a pleasant grove; on the margin of the sea-shore, or on some lofty eminence which overlooked the continents of Europe and Asia. The church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople, and that of St. John at Ephesus, appear to have been framed on the same model: their domes aspired to imitate the cupolas of St. Sophia; but

The six books of the Edifices of Procopius are thus distributed: the first is confined to Constantinople; the second includes Mesopotamia and Syria; the third, Armenia and the Euxine; the fourth, Europe; the fifth, Asia Minor and Palestine; the sixth, Egypt and Africa. Italy is forgot by the emperor or the historian, who published this work of adulation before the date (A. D. 555.) of its final conquest.


but the altar was more judiciously placed under the CHAP, centre of the dome, at the junction of four stately porticoes, which more accurately expressed the figure of the Greek cross. The Virgin of JerusaJem might exult in the temple erected by her Imperial votary on a most ungrateful spot, which afforded neither ground nor materials to the architect. A level was formed, by raising part of a deep valley to the height of the mountain. The stones of a neighbouring quarry were hewn into regular forms; each block was fixed on a peculiar carriage drawn by forty of the strongest oxen, and the roads were widened for the passage of such enormous weights. Lebanon furnished her loftiest cedars for the timbers of the church; and the seasonable discovery of a vein of red marble, supplied its beautiful columns, two of which, the supporters of the exterior portico, were esteemed the largest in the world. The pious munificence of the emperor was diffused over the Holy Land; and if reason should condemn the monasteries of both sexes which were built or restored by Justinian, yet charity must applaud the wells which he sunk, and the hospitals which he founded, for the relief of the weary pilgrims. The schismatical temper of Egypt was ill-entitled to the royal bounty; but in Syria and Africa some remedies were applied to the disasters of wars and earthquakes, and both Carthage and Antioch, emerging from their ruins, might revere the name of their gracious benefactor*. Almost every saint in the calendar acquired the honours of a temple; almost every


*Justinian once gave forty-five centenaries of gold (180,000!) for the repairs of Antioch after the earthquake (John Malala, tom. ii. p. 146-149.).

« 上一頁繼續 »