صور الصفحة
PDF

t'nnf in the smaller islands, though lodgings may be procured in all of them.

There are Theatres at Corfu and at Cephalonia, where Italian operas are given during the winter, and plays and amateur representations at other seasons.

British subjects will have no trouble about their luggage or passports on landing in the Ionian Islands.

EOUTES

DESCRIPTIONS OF THE SEVERAL ISLANDS.

1. CORFD (CoRCTRA, KipKVpa).*

It may safely be asserted, without prejudice to the poetical fame of Ithaca, that of all the Ionian Islands, Corcyra, or Corfu (an Italian corruption of Kopv<pu, tho Byzantine name for the island, derived from the two peaks, or KopuQal, on which the citadel is now built), is the one which in all ages has played the most important part on the stage of history. From the peculiar character of its beautiful scenery and • lelightful climate, it forms a connecting link between the East and the West, like Mndoira between the Old World and tho New. Its geographical position on the high road of navigation between Greece and Italy has made Corcyra a jiossession of great imporlance both in ancient and in modern times. "Here (' Thucydides,' vi. 42) was passed in review that splendid armament which was destined to perish at Syracuse—the Moscow of Athenian ambition. Here—400 years Inter—tho waters of Actium saw a world lost and won. Hero again, after the lapse of sixteen centuries, met together those Christian Powers which off Lepanto dealt to tho Turkish

» For an account of the hotels, shops, Ac, of Corfu, see Iktbouuctios.

fleet—so long the scourge and terror of Europe—a blow from which it has never recovered." But our space will allow us to draw only an outline of the glories of Corfu—the seat of government in these regions under both the Venetians and the English—and for so many ages the key of the Adriatic, and one of the main outposts of Christendom.

The ancients universally regarded Corcyra as identical with the Homeric Scheria (derived, perhaps, from tho Phoenician tcjiara, commerce'), whero the enterprising and sea-loving Phasacians dwelt, governed by their King Alcinous. The island is said also to have been called from its shape Drepano (Ap«7r<tn)), or the Sickle; it describes a curve, the convexity of which is towards the W.; its length from N.W. to S.E. is about 40 miles; the breadth is greatest in the N., where it is nearly 20 miles, but it gradually tapers towards its S. extremity. The historical name of Corcyra appears first in 'Herodotus.' Al»ut B.C. 734 a colony was planted here by the Corinthians; and that maritime activity for which the Corcyramns were afterwards celebrated may have partly arisen from the fusion of the Dorians with the original inhabitants. Homer states that the Phseacians had come from Sicily; but it seems probable that they were a branch of tho Libnrnians, that enterprising and sea-faring people »ho bmg continued to occupy the more northemly islands in the Adriatic itlong the Dalmatian and Illyrian shores. Corcyra soon became rich tnd powerful by its extensive commerce, and founded many colonies on the neighbouring mainland, such as Kpidamnus, Apollonia, Leucas, and Anactorium. So rapid was their prosperity that tbe colonists soon became formidable rivals of their mothercountry; and about B.C. 665 a battle was fought between their fleets, which U memorable as the most ancient seafight on record. Corcyra appears to have been subjugated by Periander (Herod., iii. 49, seq.), but to have recovered its independence. During the Persian war the Corcyracans are stated by Herodotus (vii. 168) to have played false to the national cause, and their names did not appear on the muster-roll of Salamis. At a later period Corcyra, by invoking the aid of Athens against the Corinthians, became one of tho proximate causes of the Peloponnesian war. During the progress of that contest her political power and importance were irretrievably ruined, in consequence of the fierce factions and civil dissensions which agitated the island, and in which both the aristocraticul and popular parties were guilty of the most horrible atrocities. It has been truly observed, that "it was tho state of parties and of politics at Corcyra that the greatest of ancient historians nuule the subject of a solemn disquiMtion, considering that they were a tj pe of the general condition of Greece at the period of the Peloponnesian war, and that tho picture which he then drew of his countrymen belongs, in its main outlines, to all ages and nations. He who would discuss that most interesting problem, tho stato and prospects of tho Modern Greeks, can hardly do wrong in adopting for bis observations the same basis as Thncydides." For some generations after the Pcloi war the fortunes of Corcyra

were various. Though it appears never to have recovered its former political consequence, a gorgeous picture of tho fertility and opulence of the island in B.c. 378 has been drawn by Xenophon (Hellcn., vi. 2). When it was invaded in that year by tho Spartans under Mnasippus, it is represented as being in tho highest stato of cultivation and full of the richest produce; with fields admirably tilled, and vineyards in surpassing condition; with splendid farm-buildings, well-apj>ointed winecellars, and abundance of cattle. The hostile soldiers, wo are told, while enriching themselves by their depredations, became so pampered with the plenty around them that they refused to drink any wino that was not of the first quality. At a later period the island was alternately seized by tho Spartans, the Athenians, and the Macedonians. King Pyrrhus, of Epirus, occupied it during his Italian wars; and it finally fell under the Roman dominion B.C. 229. From its situation near Brundisium and Dyrrachium— the Dover and Calais of the ancients —Corcyra was frequently visited by illustrious Romans. Here Augustus assembled his fleet before the battle of Actium, and we have notices of the presence of Tibullus, Cato, and of Cicero, whose friend Atticus possessed large estates on the opposite coast of Epirus—probably in the plain of Butrinto, now so much resorted to by English shooting-parties. The last mention of Corcyra in the ancient authors seems to have been that by Suetonius, who relates that the Emperor Nero, on his way to Greece, sang and danced before the altar of Jupiter at Cassiope.

Henceforward there is little notice of Corfu until the times of tho Crusades, when its geographical position caused it to be greatly frequented. Robert (iuiscard seized the island in A.d. 1081, during his wars with tho Eastern Empire; and another great Norman Chief, Richard I. of England, landed here on his return from tho Holy Land in A.d. 1193. After remaining in the island for some time, he continued his voyage to Ragusa, whence proceeding by land towards his dominions, he was made captive by the Duke of Austria.

During the decline qf the Empire, Corfu underwent many changes of fortune, being sometimes in the hands of the Greek Emperors, sometimes in thoso of various Latin princes, particularly of the House of Aujou, then governing Naples, and always exposed to the incursions of freebooters and pirates. At length, A.d. 1386, the inhabitants sent a deputation to Venice to implore the protection of that Republic, under whose sovereignity they remained until its downfall in A.d. 1797. We have already drawn an outline of the political condition of the Ionians under Venetian rule, and of their subsequent fortunes until united to the Kingdom of Greece. Venice made Corfu her principal arsenal and point d'appui in Greece, and surrounded the town with extensive and massive fortifications, which set at defiance the whole power of the Ottomans in the assaults of 1537 and 1570, and, above all, in the celebrated siege of 1716, remarkable as the last great attempt of the Turks to extend their conquests in Christendom. On this occasion the Republic was fortunate in its selection as Commandant at Corfu of Marshal Schulemberg, a brave and skilful German soldier of fortune, who had served under Prince Eugene and the King of Saxony. While directing the retreat of a division of the Saxon army before the Swedes, he had formerly extricated himself, when apparently lost, by throwing his forces over the river Oder—a manoeuvre which drew from Charles XII. himself the exclamation, "Schulemberg has conquered us to-day I" A statue of the Marshal, erected by the Senate of Venice, stands on the esplanade at Corfu, in front of the gate of the Citadel*

The Turkish fleet of 60 ships-ofwar, and a number of smaller vessels, appeared before the place on July 5th, 1716; they were commanded by

* A sister of Schulemberg was one of the two mistresses of Oeorge 1. of Great Britain, and was by htm created Duchess of Kendal.

the Capitan-Pasha or Lord High Admiral of the Empire in person; while the Seraskicr or General-in-Chief led the army of 30,000 picked troops, which was ferried across by the boats of the fleet from Butrinto to Govino. On July 8, the Venetian fleet entered the northern channel, and by saluting the Virgin of Cassopo gave notice of their approach to the Turks, who might otherwise have been taken at a disadvantage. During the subsequent siege, neither party felt sufficiently strong to force on a sea-fight, but stood, as it were, at bay, the Ottoman vessels stretching across from Butrinto to Govino, and the Venetians from Vido to Sayada.

On July 16, the Seraskier established his head-quarters at Potamo, and laid waste the country far and wide, the peasantry having mostly taken refuge within the walls of the town. The garrison amounted to 5000 men, chiefly Germans, Slavonians, and Italians. The Turks erected batteries on Mount Olivetto, above the suburb of Manduchio, on August 1, and, after several failures, carried Mount Abraham by assault on August 3. Their advanced works were then abandoned by the besieged, when the Turks pushed their approaches through the suburb of Costrades, and closely invested the town. For several days there were frequent assaults by the Infidels and sorties of the Christians, with heavy loss on both sides, the inhabitants, including, it is said, even the priests and the women, fighting along with the soldiers on the ramparts and in the trenches. An hour beforo daybreak on August 19 the Turks made their grand assault, and effected a lodgment in Searponi. on outwork of Fort Neuf. Schulemberg then headed a sally in persou, and after a desperate contest drove them from this vantage-ground with immenso loss. In the night of the 22nd they retreated to Govino, re-embarked, and sailed away to Constantinople, where both the Admiral and the General paid with their lives the penalty of their failure. The Turks abandoned in their treuches all their ammunition and stores, including 78 piec*s of artillery; and they are stated lo have lost, during the siege of 5 seeks, full half their army in action and by disease, for it was the most deadly period of a very unhealthy season. The Venetians lost 2000 out of their garrison of 5000 men.*

The first approach to Corfu, whether from the north or the south, is extremely striking. The south channel will be described hereafter (Section n„ Bte. 1). Coming from the north, the traveller sails close under those

'• Thunder-cliff* of fear. The Acrocerannian mountains of old fame *—

an uninterrupted lofty chain, rising abruptly from the very brink of the sea in precipitous cliffs or rugged declivities, and terminating in craggy peaks, capped with snow during nine months in the year. Here and there an Albanian hamlet hangs like a snowwreath on the mountain-side. Wherever there is a break in the heavy masses of cloud which robe so often the further summits of the Pindus range, and the sun of Greece tints tiicm at mid-day with golden, at even with rosy, radiance, the mind delights to figure to itself, far away amid those dim mysterious crags, the region of the '"wintry Dodona," now shorn, indeed, of its ancient sanctity and honour, but still tenanted, as in Homer's time, by a race " with unwashed feet and sleeping on the ground." (7/., xvi. 285.) As we advance, the coast of Corfu

* An excellent account of the aiegeofCorfu in lilt will be found in the 'Corps Papers of the Efcjal Engineers," vol. i., pp. 362-272.

Tae best special authorities ou the antiquities bai history of the Island are :—

'Htstoria di Corfu,' da Andrea Marmora, Vaske, 1612; which contains much curious ta&rmatton and several prints of the towu and fcrtr*sws in their mediaeval aspect.

'Primcrdia Corcyra,' cura A. M. 0,ulrlnl, 1725; i treatise in Latin on the antiquities of Corfu '7 a Roman Catholic Archbishop of the island.

'Ulustrazloni Corciresi.' da Andrea Mustoxidi, Milatio, l*u ; comments on the history of his Estiva bland by a Corflot noble of literary distUKDon.

'Le tie Costltuzioni delle Isole,' Corfu, 1800; a valuable collection of official documents, ax., throwing Light on the more recent history of the Ionian islands.

rises to the southward, presenting a long swelling mountain-ridge,

"Spread lite a shield upon the dark blue sea." 0<L, v. 2S1.

The outlines of the island are very graceful; and its surface is a dark mass of luxuriant groves of olive, cypress, and ilex. The eastern extremity of the mountain-ridge of San Salvador (the Istone of the ancients, but now called by the Greeks nwTOKpaVaip) projects within 2 in. of tho mainland. On tho right the vessel passes the ruined walls of the mediaeval fortress of Cassopo, erected on the site of the Hellenic city of Cassiope; on the left opens the plain or valley of Butrinto, the ancient Butlirontum, where ^Eneas was entertained by his kinsman Holt-mis. Ou clearing this strait, the sea again expands into an open gulf between the two coasts, and the citadel and town of Corfu appear in sight, forming the centre of an amphitheatre of rich varied scenery. In front, the green slopes of the islet of Vido form a breakwater for the harbour. Behind, the promontory on which the town is built terminates to the eastward in the citadel, built on a huge insulated rock, with its summit split iuto two lofty peaks, the aeriee Fhseacum arcet of Virgil (JEn., iii. 291), from which the modem name of the island is derived, 'i'hc hoary cliff is bound round with forts and batteries, while its base is strewn with white houses and barracks, perched like sea-fowl, wherever they can lind a resting-place. The ramparts and bastions mingle with Nature's own craggy fortifications, mantled by a profusion of cactuses, evergreens, and wild flowers.

Across the bay, the Albanian coast presents now a less rugged aspect. The ridges of snowy mountains retire further into tho distance, while the hills in the immediate vicinity of the sea offer, by their bleak but varied landscape, a fine contrast to tho richly wooded and cultivated shores of the island. In the general view of the town, the Palace, formerly of the Lord High Commissioner, and now of Ihe King, stands out among the other buildings as prominently as did that of King Alcinous of old. {Od., vi. 300.)

The channel which separates Corfu from Albania varies in breadth from 2 to 12 m., and appears one noble lake from the harbour, whence its outlets are not visible. It certainly affords ono of the most beautiful and stirring spectacles in the world. Its northern extremity narrows until it is lost among lofty mountains, swelling each over each like the waves of the ocean; while, gradually widening as it extends to the southward, it spreads round the indentations and promontories of the fair and fertile island. But the whole forms a sceno which addresses itself to the eye and to the heart rather than to the ear. The memory of those who have once beheld it will long carry a vivid impression, which they will find it hard to describe in adequate language.

The ordinary landing-place is at the Health Oflice Mole, but there is another for man-of-war and yacht boats in the ditch of the citadel, whence a flight of steps leads immediately to the esplanade.

The Esplanade occupies the space between the town and the citadel, and is laid out with walks and avenues of trees. On its northern verge stands tho Palace of white Maltese- stone, ornamented with a colonnade in front, and flanked by the two Gates of St. Michael and St. George, each of which frames a lovely picture of the sea and mountains. The Palace Whs erected under the administration of Sir Thomas Maitland, and contains a suite of excellent ball-rooms. The casino, or villa of tho king, was built by Sir Frederick Adam in a beautiful situation, about a mile to tho south of the town. At the southern extremity of the esplanade is a terrace overhanging the sea, a little circular temple erected in memory of Sir Thomas Maitliind, and an obelisk in honour of Sir Howard Douglas. There is also a statue of Sir Frederick Adam in front of the Palace, and one of Marshal Sohulembcrg in front of the drawbridge which leads into the citadel.

To the W., tho side of the esplanade next the town is bounded by a lofty row of private houses with an arched walk beneath them.

The stranger in Corfu had better devote his first hour of leisure to inspecting the splendid panoramic view of the town and island presented from the summit of the citadel. Tho Greek Garrison Church is a large building, with a Doric portico, at the S. side of the citadel. The ramparts are of various ages; some of them dating as far back as A.d. 1550. At the opposite, or western, extremity of the town, rises another fortress, erected by the Venetians at the end of tho loth centy., and still generally known as Fort Neuf, or La Fortezza Nuova. The hill on which it is built is less lofty and precipitous than that of tho citadel. The fire of these two fortresses protects the harbour.

The town, including its suburbs of Manduchio to the \V. and Caslrddeg (called in Greek rapiVfa) to the S., contains 24,091 inhabitants. There are 4000 Latins, with an archbishop of their own, and 5000 Jews, which latter live in a separate quarter of tho town; tho remainder of tho people belong to the Greek Church.

Tho cathedral, dedicated to Our Lady of the Care ('H Iltuwyia 2w»j\iu>Turaa), is situated on the Linewall, not far from Fort Neuf. The oldest church in tho island is in tho suburb of Castrades, near the Strada Marina. It is dedicated to St. Jason and St. Sosipater, comrades of St. Paul, and who are related by tradition to have been the first preachers of Christianity in Coreyrn. Though neglected, and repaired in bad taste, this church is a very graceful specimen of Byzantine architecture, and seems to have been finally erected out of the materials of heathen temples. Several columns and other ancient fragments are also built into the walls of the church at 1'aleojiolis, Oti tho road to the One-gun Battery. There are a great many other churches, the most remarkable being that of St. Spiridion, the PatronSaint of Corfu, whoso body is pre

« السابقةمتابعة »