« السابقةمتابعة »
of the Breakwater, which so effectually covers the anchorage of the Sound from the heavy seas that before tumbled in, when the wind was to the southward, and made that a most dangerous roadstead for ships, which is now perfectly safe. On this subject we need not enlarge, as most of the particulars regarding this stupendous work have already appeared in our Journal; and we shall, therefore, content ourselves with copying from him a statement of the comparative activity of the people employed at the two parallel works of Plymouth and Cherburgh, taken from a Memoir" by M. Cachin, Engineer, which, however, we may be permitted to say, is erroneous in almost every thing that relates to the Breakwater of Plymouth, though accurate in the following particulars.
Quantity of Stone
264,207 Cherburgh. 1812
321,457 * Thus,' says M. Dupin,' three persons at Plymouth perform the same quantity of work as four at Cherburgh; and, as it also appears, at a cheaper rate.
If any apology should be thought necessary, for entering inte so much detail, the importance of the subject must plead our
We might perhaps urge, in addition, that the bulky nature of the original work must confine it to few hands; and, at any rate, that a translation of it into our language, if made at all, (and we are inclined to recommend it) cannot be speedily executed :-but we are satisfied with recurring to our first plea.
Art. II.--Tableaux Pittoresques des Maurs, &c. des Russes, Tar
tares, Mongols et autres Nations de l'Empire Russe, en quarante Planches enluminées d'après des Dessins faits sur lieur. Par J. G. G. Geissler : avec un texte servant d'explication, par
Frederic Hempel et J. Richter. Paris & Leipsig. A MONG the many strange appearances which attract the tra
veller's attention in the course of his journey through the Russian empire, none are more striking than the discordant traces which have been left there on the face of society, by separate and successive importations of foreign manners. The feudal system of Rurik and his Scandinavians, the Greek refinements of Vladimir,-the Asiatic customs introduced by the Tartars,-the Dutch civilization of Peter,--the French civilization of Katharine, all of these in harmonious elements are still to be clearly recognized and easily discriminated in the existing usages and habits of the nation. To none, however, of the countries to which Russia may consider herself indebted, is she bound to be so grateful as to Greece. Her acquaintance with the Christian religion is a blessing which she owes to the Eastern Empire, her alphabet, a modification of the Greek, accompanied the introduction of the Scriptures ;—and as cleanliness is proverbially a virtue, next in value to godliness itself, the general propensity of her inhabitants to the enjoyment of the bath, (a taste which, in all probability, was propagated from the same quarter,) may perhaps, not improperly, be added to the list. Ecclesiastical architecture, also, an art of immediate necessity to a recently converted people, was acquired by the Russians from the Byzantine Greeks; and the peculiar style of building in which their churches have been generally constructed, is copied, as well as skill and materials would allow, from the more magnificent temples of Constantinople. Considerable discussion has of late been excited (nor have we ourselves been altogether idle in the inquiry) on the subject of the Lombard, the Saxon, and the Norman styles, which originated in the west, from the degenerate architecture of Christian Rome; but the oriental branches of the same stock, comprising the Byzantine, the Russian and the Turkish modes of building, have hitherto received from our antiquaries but a small share of attention and illustration. The history of Russian architecture is for the most part buried in the Sclavonian records of monastic libraries; but we still, perhaps, may execute an office not totally uninteresting to our readers, if we bring within the compass of the present article, the little which we have gleaned from inore accessible sources on the subject of its introduction and progress.
One of the established modes by which the Turkish court is accustomed to betoken its condescension to the ambassadors of infidel nations, is a fatiguing facility which it regularly accords to them, of visiting on a set day, and once for all, the innumerable mosques of the capital. There is reason to believe that a custom resembling this practice of the Turks existed during the declining days of their more classical predecessors; for we learn from the early Russian chroniclers that when the ambassadors of Prince Oleg were sent to conclude a treaty at the court of the Greek Emperor, about the year 911, a visit to the temples was one among the ceremonies which were devised for the entertainment of the pagans. Intercourse like this conveyed very early to Russia, a respect for the gaudy decorations of Byzantine architecture, so peculiarly calculated to awaken the admiration of the half-tamed barbarians of the Dneiper; and in the course of the same century, other circumstances occurred, which still further contributed to promote this effect. In the year 955 the Russian Grand Princess Olga, or Elga, then about 60 years of
age, paid a visit to Constantinople, for the purpose of receiving baptism from the hands of the Greek Patriarch. The arrival of this primitive Rusty-Fusty seems to have caused considerable sensation (as the phrase is) at the ceremonious court of Constantine Porphyrogennetus. That Emperor has left us a tedious detail of the etiquette observed at her reception, in which are minutely described, the marching and counter-marching, by which the Archontissa, as he calls her, was conducted from room to room, through the palace of the eastern Cæsars, and the festival, during which she accepted from a salver of gold and gems a present of 200 miliaresia, in value about eight guineas. Know, my son,' says the Emperor to Romanus, in his work de Administrando Imperio,' that in all the people of the north is implanted, as it were by nature, an insatiable desire of riches ; wherefore they covet all things; ask for all things; neither is their avarice bounded by any limit. The moderate amount of Princess Olga's subsidy will hardly be thought to justify the asperity of this intemperate remark. Whatever were its cause, however, the unfavourable impression left by this visit was not confined to the imperial breast of Constantine Porphyrogennetus, but appears to have influenced with equal intensity the feelings of either party. Notwithstanding the gossip of some writers, no love seems to have been lost between them, for we find the Archontissa soon afterwards withholding the presents of wax, furs, and slaves, which she had previously engaged to send, and accusing the Emperor, in .no qualified terms, of making merry at the expense of her old age.—The construction of churches at Kieff, then the Russian capital, is usually dated from this period; but since, notwithstanding the baptism of the Princess, Christianity had not yet become the national religion, it is probable that those structures were small and poor. The great event of all, however, the conversion of Vladimir, took place not many years afterwards; and as that important transaction forms an era in the history of Russian architecture, we may be exeused in reminding the reader of a few of its attendant circumstances.
The territories of the Grand Duke, at the time of which we are speaking, were encompassed by nations, all differing from each other in their religious opinions, nearly as much as from the idolaters of Russia. All of these, whether Greeks, Papists, Mahometans, or Jews, seem to have been naturally anxious to secure to themselves so powerful and distinguished a proselyte. A mission from each of them is accordingly reported to have met at the court of Vladimir, and an account of the audience to which they were admitted is recorded in one of the Chronicles. M. Karamsin has permitted himself to doubt whether the edifying orations at
tributed to the deputies on this occasion, were ever in fact delivered by those solemn personages. Whatever might have been said, however, it is clear that but little was done. The Prince assured the Mahometans, with all the warmth of internal conviction, that wine was the joy of the Russians, and could not be dispensed with. He delicately hinted to the Jews, that they were a people accursed of God, and should know better than to tempt the inhabitants of other countries to lose, as they had done, their place and nation. Finally, not willing to rely on the representations of interested advocates, and encouraged by the advice of his Boyars, he resolved to send chosen ambassadors of his own into every region with whose name he was acquainted, in order to examine with impartiality their respective modes of worship, and to select for him a faith. The commissioners appear to have discharged their unusual office with marvellous discretion and despatch; and as so singular a document, as their Report, may gratify the curiosity of our readers, we will translate it as given by Lomonossoff, on the authority of the Russian Chronicles.
• The religion of the Bulgarians,' say they, • appeared to us altogether contemptible. They assemble in a shabby mosque, without condescending even to put a girdle round their bodies. Having first made a scarcely perceptible nod, they seat themselves on the ground, and wag their heads from side to side, like fools. Their religion makes no impression on the heart, and fails to elevate the soul to God. Divine service is much better performed at Rome, but still with less order and magnificence than among the Greeks. On arriving at Constantinople, we were so struck with the splendour of the church, which the great Justinian has caused to be built in honour of the Divine Wisdom, with the perfume and the light which are shed by the tapers, with the beauty of the prayers and the harmony of the chaunting, that we thought ourselves transported into heaven. Since we have seen this light, Sire, we can no longer remain in the darkness with which we are surrounded. We therefore pray you to permit us to embrace the religion of the Greeks.'*
The faith of Vladimir was decided by this description; but having pursued a rather eccentric process for the resolution of his theological doubts, he determined to take a still more extraordinary step, in order to give eclât to his conversion. He thought it most consistent with his dignity, (to use the odd expression of a native historian, ť) to conquer the Christian religion. Accordingly, falling foul of the nearest Christian city which had the misfortune to attract his regards, after the horrors of a lingering siege, he was baptized within the walls of Chersonesus, in the year 988.
* Lomonossoff, Part II. Chap. 8.
+ Karamsin, I. 265.
This circumstance, and his subsequent marriage with a Greek Princess, conduced to render the intercourse between Russia and Constantinople henceforward more intimate and frequent. The church of the Tithe, at Kieff, (so called because the Prince is said to have endowed it with the tenth part of his revenue,) was built by Greek artists, and completed in the year 996. This is expressly recorded as the first Russian church constructed of stone, and was decorated, through the mistaken piety of Vladimir, with pictures, vases, and relics, the plunder of Chersonesus. From the knowledge of the persons employed, we may safely conclude that this editice bore a close resemblance to the churches of the Eastern Empire; but unfortunately, the comparison cannot now be submitted to the test of actual examination, since this ancient cathedral was utterly ruined by the Tartars, upon the capture of Kieff, in 1240, nothing remaining of the original building, but the fragments of a Sclavonian inscription, preserved in the walls of the present church.
The importation of holy pictures from Greece during the eleventh and twelfth centuries seems to have been very considerable; and we read of numerous churches erected during that period at the expense of the Russian princes, who usually availed themselves of the skill of Byzantine artists. Of these buildings, by far the most remarkable specimen which has escaped the ravage of the Tartars, is the Cathedral of St. Sophia at Novgorod. This edifice was constructed by Prince Vladimir Yaroslavich, who died in the year 1052, and was buried within its walls. It is doubtful how much of the structure at present existing may be referred to that early date, since it suffered considerably by accidental conflagration in the year 1340. The greater part of the walls, however, which, though of brick, are massive and substantial, presenting every appearance of antiquity as well as of solidity, may probably be considered as belonging to that æra. The form of the church presents the humblest possible imitation of St. Sophia's at Constantinople, being nearly square, though thrown into the shape of a Greek cross, by the four piers which support the roof. No traces of the classical orders are observable, either within or without, and indeed very little ornament of an architectural nature is to be seen in any part of the building. The church has a high and sloping roof, the exterior of, which is now painted green, and is surmounted by a gilded dome and four smaller cupolas. It is regarded by the Russians with more than common interest; not only as the earliest monument of their faith, but also as the scene of many of those political convulsions, which testified, during so many centuries, the turbulent independence of Novgorod.