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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

M Footnote 105 Paul Silentiarius


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 pounds weight of silver; and the holy vases and vestments of the altar were of the purest gold, enriched with inestimable gems. Before the structure of the church had arisen two cubits above the ground, forty-five thousand two hundred pounds were already consumed; and the whole expense amounted to three hundred and twenty thousand: each reader, according to the measure of his belief, may estimate their value either in gold or 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 labor, if it be compared with the formation of the vilest insect that crawls upon the surface of the temple! [Footnote 103: Among the crowd of ancients and moderns who have celebrated the edifice of St. Sophia, I shall distinguish and follow, 1. Four original spectators
and historians: Procopius, (de Edific. l. i. c. 1,) Agathias, (l. v. p. 152, 153,) Paul Silentiarius, (in a poem of 1026 hexameters, and calcem Annae Commen. Alexiad.,) and Evagrius, (l. iv. c. 31.) 2. Two legendary Greeks of a later period: George Codinus, (de Origin. C. P. p. 64-74,) and the anonymous writer of Banduri, (Imp. Orient. tom. i. l. iv. p. 65--80.)3. The great Byzantine antiquarian. Ducange, (Comment. ad Paul Silentiar. p. 525--598, and C. P. Christ. l. iii. p. 5--78.) 4. Two French travellers--the one, Peter Gyllius, (de Topograph. C. P. l. ii. c. 3, 4,) in the xvith; the other, Grelot, (Voyage de C. P. p. 95--164, Paris, 1680, in 4to:) he has given plans, prospects, and inside views of St. Sophia; and his plans, though on a smaller scale, appear more correct than those of Ducange. I have adopted and reduced the measures of Grelot: but as no Christian can now ascend the dome, the height is borrowed from Evagrius, compared with Gyllius, Greaves, and the Oriental Geographer.]

[Footnote 104: Solomon's temple was surrounded with courts, porticos, &c.; but the proper structure of the house of God was no more (if we take the Egyptian or Hebrew cubic at 22 inches) than 55 feet in height, 36 2/3 in breadth, and 110 in length--a small parish church, says Prideaux, (Connection, vol. i. p. 144, folio;) but few sanctuaries could be valued at four or five millions sterling! * Note *: Hist of Jews, vol i p 257.--M]

[Footnote 105: 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.:)


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