Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/132

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104 The Black Sea. -Many anecdotes, indeed, that rival the wit and godt even of the celebrated ?flrnanach des Gourmands, may be found in Athena?us, with regard to the salt fish, and the tunny of the Euxine; where Archcstratus, who made a gastronomic tour of the world*, is made to tell his brother epicures, in the Homeric vein, that, dressed after a particular fashion, they are--- And, to be serious, the constant recurrence of the figure of a fish on the coins of the Greek cities on this sea t, as well as of a fish- hook on those of Byzantium, is sufficient to show us what a value was set upon this source of wealth. Under these circumstances, Polybius continues, the Byzantines are looked upon as public benefactors; and not only do they experience the gratitude of Greece, but shonld danger-threaten thein froin the barbarians, they would with just reason be publicly benefited by her aid. It is singular to observe how something, at the present hour, of the same political feeling towards the posses- sors of Constantinople, has operated to the preservation of the Turkish empire, so foreign to all the nations of Europe both in re- ligion and in habits. Were it not for their holding the key of the Euxine, and the difficulties that for ever occur in the way of its passing into other hands, they would doubtless have been before now swept from the list of European powers; and,- in point of fact, it was the interest that the leading states of Europe could not but take in the affairs of Turkey, that brought our frigate into the harbour of Constantinople, and thence into a sea at other times so constantly sealed against the admission of ships of war. It was on the 9th of November, 18t?9, that the Blonde frigate, under the command of Captain Lyons, sailed from Constantinople for the Black Sea, with the permission of the Turkish government. She appears immediately to have ex. perienced the weather so fre- quently?described by the ancient writers to the discredit of this sea, and which, probably, as well as the reported cannibalism of its northern Scythian hordes, procured for it the name of '?f?$, or inhospitable. Ovid boldly enough remarks- ' Frigida me cohibent Euxini littora Ponti Dietus ab antiquis Airenus ille fuit.' Having had a fair wind, says the master, on the 9th, on the lOth we were taken aback with fresh winds froin the northward, accom- panied with rain and thick weather. It was doubtless by such a rebuff as this, that the Argo in ancient days, or the wretched craft

  1. ,A"?/,A"XIUO'Zt; ?r?! o?,Ot)?fV?ff q*??? ?/0?"7'?o? ?J'f;?; ?S?c.?.,4/Aefi?, lib. 11]. ?). 11?, fo

?f Many such engravings of coins may be seen in G. uthrie's Tam'ida.