صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

south of the Promontoriura Cimmerium, except that branch of the Kuban which flows into the lake of Temruk, and thence by two channels into the creek of the Sea of Azof. This is the same branch which Strabo calls a part or arm of the Anticeita or Hypanis, but for which he has no special name. The mouth of this branch, that is, the mouth of the creek, is in 45°21' N. lat, and in 36° 55' E. long., and between it and the Promontorium Cimmerium there is a latitudinal difference of 7 minutes, being very near the 10 minutes of Ptolemy. But if instead of the mouth of the creek, we put the point of the junction of the southern or larger of those two branches with the creek, which is in 45° 18' N. lat., and exactly 10 minutes south of the promontory, there is no difference at all, and Ptolemy is as correct as the great Russian Atlas of Russia in 60 sheets, which I have used for these measurements.

From these inquiries we obtain the following results:—Anticeita, Hypanis, and most probably also Psychrus, are names for the Kuban in general, and especially for its main branch; the Atticitus of Ptolemy is one of the northern branches of the Kuban, either the Chernaia Protoka, or the Kazatchei Yerik, and most probably the local name of either of them, there being no proof whatsoever that the Atticitus and the Anticeita of Strabo are the same rivers. The Vardanus is not the main branch of the Kuban, as has been asserted so often, but the local name of either of the Temruk branches of the Kuban—most probably of the southern and larger branch.

After this investigation concerning the knowledge of the ancients of the island of Taman, I take up again the course of my inquiries concerning the traces of the Burlic of Constantine Porphyrogeneta.

A glance at the map of Taman will show that the lake of Temruk, sending its waters into the Sea of Azof, and being situated above the level of this sea, no direct and regular communication between the Sea of Azof and the Black Sea can ever have existed across the island of Taman. It is true, that in the rainy season the Kuban overflows many parts of the low isthmuses in the eastern part of the island, so as to produce a communication by water between the two seas; but this is only a periodical inundation. One part of the waters flows towards the


north into the Sea of Azof, and another towards the south into the Black Sea; and these waters cannot even be called a periodical mouth of the Sea of Azof. Here, of course, no second Bosporus is conceivable, though it is very probable, that, at. a period beyond all historical knowledge, the present Bosporus did not exist, and that the elevated part of the island of Taman was the easternmost part of the continent of the Crimea, from which it was separated by the waters of the Sea of Azof, which bored a new channel after the primitive eastern channel had been filled up with the mud and sand carried down by the Kuban. The only place where a second mouth can possibly have existed after that phenomenon had taken place, is the narrow isthmus which separates the bay of Taman in the south from the Sea of Azof in the north. Pallas gives the following description of it:—

"On approaching the eastern corner of the bay of Taman, the traveller comes to a flat sandy plain, which is but little elevated above the level of the sea. Several old barrows rise above it, and its surface is covered with downs, drifted together by the wind, and resembling in some way large clods, the sides of which are cut up almost at right angles. At the angle of the innermost bay we passed a singular ancient rampart, the foundation of which exceeds ten fathoms in breadth: it extends in a straight line from east to west, over the level country, at the distance of nearly one verst from the sea. It has three distinct passages, and each of them was formerly defended by a kind of bonnets, the ruins of which are still visible. It terminates in a hillock on the plain, without reaching any of the eminences in its vicinity. On the south side of the mound is a broad shallow ditch containing some brackish water, and on the opposite side are some excavations, from which the soil appears to have been taken for the purpose of raising the rampart. After having passed this barrier, we gradually approached the soft slope of the elevated country, which is covered with a luxuriant vegetation. A little farther on the high plain are several barrows, surrounded with large slabs of a calcareous sandy schistus: they are scattered irregularly about, sometimes extending east and west, and sometimes north and south. They are not of Tatar, but probably of Tcherkessian origin. Two slender pillars, or tomb-stones, upwards of a fathom in height, are conspicuous among them. On the whole, we observed here a perfect resemblance to the graves near Tokluk."

This flat and sandy plain, bordered in the west and in the east by hills, and stretching from one sea to the other, across an isthmus of only four miles breadth, bears the distinct character of an ancient sea-ground. There the Sea of Azof once, undoubtedly, communicated with the bay of Taman; and there is the only place where we can put the Burlic of Constantine Porphyrogeneta. Two principal causes seem to have contributed to the formation of this plain: the sand carried down by the Sea of Azof, and a rising of the ground produced by one of those quasi-volcanic phenomena which are so frequent in this island. In 1799 a small island rose suddenly above the surface of the sea, at a small distance from the coast near Temruk, a phenomenon which was preceded and accompanied by all the symptoms of an earthquake. The ancient, channel was first filled up, as it seems, on the side where it poured its waters into the bay of Taman. A small isthmus arose there, which the Gothic inhabitants defended by means of that ancient rampart of which Pallas speaks, in order to make this part of Taman less accessible to the invasions of the Turkish and Tcherkessian hordes. At least, a rampart which extends only over a portion of the isthmus, leads to the natural conjecture, that it was only this portion which required to be fortified, the remaining part being defended by nature. As the broad ditch was on the south, or more correctly, the south-eastern side of the mound, the enemy, of course, was expected from this side, the only one from which those barbarians could approach the peninsula beyond the rampart. The remaining part of the channel was, without doubt, at that time a dead inlet of the Sea of Azof, which continued to be filled up with sand, until it became that flat plain which we see there at the present time. A circumstance of the highest importance corroborates the opinion that the plain was formerly covered with water, viz. the ancient barrows or tombs of which Pallas speaks. There is a great number of similar tombs on the elevated country, along both the shores of the Bosporus, and its gulfs; a fact from which we may conclude that the inhabitants used to inter their dead in the elevated fields and gardens along the sea, from which the barrows were thus

to be seen at a considerable distance. Some of these tombs, of which Pallas gives a description, are of Turkish (Tatar) others of Tcherkessian origin; and they must not be confounded with those more ancient Greek tombs which have been examined by Pallas and Dr. Clarke. The tombs in this place are not on the plain, as Pallas at first seems to say, by using the vague expression, erheben sich iiber die Ebene, "rise above the plain;" they discontinued before he arrived in the plain; and it was only after having crossed the rampart that he saw more of them on the elevated ground, several of which have an easterly direction, that is, are situated along the borders of the plain. It is scarcely credible, that people who liked to inter their dead along the seashore, should have buried them along the borders of a barren sandy plain. These tombs may therefore be considered as an additional proof that at the time of their construction the plain was a channel of the sea. The Tcherkessian tombs were erected at a later period than that of Constantine Porphyrogeneta, in whose time the island of Taman was chiefly inhabited by Gothi Tetraxitae, and some Greeks, who lived in the towns. Almost a century later these nations were driven out by the Tcherkessians, who, in their turn, were obliged to make room for Turkish tribes.

It is very probable that the line of the soundings in the bay of Taman, which are taken from a MS. chart of Cloquet17 and others, indicates the direction of the current of the ancient Burlic. The deepest soundings of the bay are not in its mouth towards the Bosporus, but are confined to a narrow bed stretching from east to west across the whole length of the gulf. These soundings are generally the same as those of the Bosporus; and there is a striking parallelism between their direction, so as to make us believe that both the channels were formed at the same time, and by the same force acting upon a soil possessing the same natural properties. While the current of the Bosporus was confined to the narrow channel between the continent of the Crimea and the isle of Atech,

17 Carle Manuscrite du Detroit de Taman, par J. B. Cloquet. Geographical Archives of the Foreign Office in Paris, No. 3104; Plan Manuscrit de la Mer (TAzofet d,une partie de la Mer Noire,

dresse" en 1774 par le Capitaine de Kins, bergen. lb. No. 3099. Through the kindness of Mr. Walker I have been enabled to compare these charts with a MS. tracing of the Russian Survey.

that of the Burlic ran east of it, between this island and the opposite coast of Taman, across the cluster of islands which stretches from point Yushna'ia Kossa north-west. The smaller isles between Atech and Taman cannot have existed at that period, on account of the current; and we thus conceive why Constantine Porphyrogeneta mentions only one isle, Atech, which was situated in the middle of the Bosporus. The smaller isles, the surrounding banks, as well as the still increasing Teska Bank round Point Sewernaia Kossa, are produced by the sands carried down by the Bosporus, which were heaped up there as soon as the current of the Burlic had ceased to carry them away into the Black Sea. Beyond Atech the two currents ran in a parallel direction towards the sea, and at last the Burlic emptied into the Euxine at the very same spot where the Bosporus discharged itself into it. Thus the passage of Constantine Pophyrogeneta, which has caused so much trouble to

Bayer, "To BovpXiK irpbs Ttjv Tov H6vtov Bakturo-av Karapel iv a itTTiv 6

BcHTTropor," far from presenting the slightest difficulty, informs us, on the contrary, in the plainest and clearest way, of what was the case in the tenth century. We also learn that the word Burlic cJJUjJ or cJta (union, association, company,) was well chosen as the name of this second Bosporus. Pallas18 tells us, that that part of the Bosporus which is occupied by the cluster of islands, still serves as the most convenient ford for horses and cattle, on account of the numerous shoals on which they can rest. The original signification of the word BoWopor is therefore still applicable to the Bosporus Cimmerius.

Supposing by the Words "EinrXfUO-avrt els rbv KopoKov8ap.TJrip,"

Strabo understands a navigator coming from the north through the Burlic, he tells us that this navigator has Phanagoria and Cepi to his left, which agrees exactly with the situation of these towns; and that Hermonassa and Apaturum Veneris are beyond the Hypanis, which is likewise correct. The only inconsistency would be, that in this case the latter towns were likewise to the left, and not to the right. Whatever his idea was, we are forced to admit that Strabo knew the exact position of Phanagoria; and every conjecture which does not start from this fact cannot be otherwise than erroneous.

la Pag. 288-89 of the English Translation.

« السابقةمتابعة »