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doomed to become unfit for navigation, if not absolutely converted into dry land. But the depth of its bed, with the vigorous and constant rush of water through the Channel of Constantinople, will always sufficiently dispose of the alluvial soil of the rivers without such a consummation, though at their mouths the formation of new land is in process. In the time of the Greek geographers, a great bank, a thousand stadia in length, existed at the distance of one day's sail from the Danube, upon which the sailors often ran aground by night, no traces of which are to be found at present. Probably the land at the mouth of the river has so increased in the lapse of nineteen or twenty centuries, that what was then a bank from thirty to forty miles off-shore, (a moderate computation for a day's sail,) has since become an integral part of it. The Black Sea, though not so salt as the Mediterranean, is much salter than the Baltic, notwithstanding a vast influx of fresh water from its mighty rivers, and a constant outflow by the passage of Constantinople. To account for this, some physical geographers have had recourse to an under-current from the Archipelago, making its way through the Dardanelles to the Bosphorus, and communicating its saltness to the waters with which it finally commingles. But the
great abundance of salt in the countries on the northern shores, some of which must constantly be finding its way to the sea by the drainage, is an adequate and more satisfactory explanation.
This great inland reservoir has been known under various and contradictory designations. The Latin writers often called it simply Pontus, the sea. The Greeks, in their earliest age, styled it Axenus, or “ inhospitable.” It owed this name probably to the stormy weather common at certain times of the year, formidable and perilous to timid and unskilful mariners, as well as to the barbarity of the nations on its shores, some of the northern Scythian hordes being reputed cannibals. At a subsequent date, when the Greeks had established colonies upon the coast, they substituted the more auspicious title of Euxinus, “ hospitable,” “ friendly to strangers,” out of compliment to their own civilised habits, and as an inducement to emigration. But a bad character, justly or unjustly acquired, adheres with extraordinary tenacity; and notwithstanding the change of style, the old adage about once giving a dog a bad name was verified in this case. The world persisted in thinking as ill of the Euxine as of the Axenus ; and it still retains the impression, that there is something specially unfavourable in its character, not to be found elsewhere. The modern denomination has contributed to strengthen this idea.
The present name, the Black Sea, Kara-dengis, originated with the Turks It is not suggestive of the agreeable, nor is it remarkable for pertinence. The nomenclature of seas and shores, in general, has been very arbitrarily settled; distinctive titles having been grafted upon very partial features, not at all confined to the localities they denominate. The White Sea is not whiter than Baffin's Bay; the Vermilion Sea is not more rosy than the Levant; the Red Sea is not ruddier than the Persian Gulf; and the Pacific Ocean roars just as terribly as the Atlantic, and quite as often. Such epithets are unfortunate. They make a false impression upon the mind in early life, which subsequent knowledge may correct, but seldom entirely effaces. The Turks and other eastern nations are accustomed to call sluggish waters Kara, “ black.” They are commonly of a dusky complexion; while the quickflowing streams of mountain districts are called “ white,” being generally limpid. The Euxine is, however, intensely blue, and the reverse of being a sleepy sea. But orientalism frequently denotes torrent-like rivers, and waters of difficult or dangerous passage, by the term “ black," as well as men
of evil deeds, formidable to their fellows. The Ottoman empire has numberless Kard-su's, or black waters, in its geography; and quite as many grand viziers, pashas, and seraskiers in its history, who, like the Kara Chalib Chendereli of its early age, have acquired an inglorious celebrity, and been similarly designated. In the same manner, real or supposed perils to navigation, the storms of winter, with the fogs which mark the dawn of spring and the close of autumn, are metaphorically expressed by the ominous phrase of the Black Sea. But, till very recent times, the surface has never been navigated by expert mariners, in efficient craft; and, under similar circumstances, the narrow seas of Great Britain would have strong claims to a sombre style and title.
No part of the globe has been more vituperated than the Euxine, Pontic, or Black Sea region. Two writers of antiquity, Ovid and Tertullian, a poet and an ecclesiastic, have expatiated upon its demerits, especially the former, who had some years' acquaintance with its western shore. In the fifty-first year of his age, he was relegated from Rome by the edict of the Emperor Augustus, probably for not keeping a still tongue in his head, and using it in gossiping about a piece of court scandal. By the terms of his banishment, he was ordered to reside at Tomi,-a colony of the Milesians, near the mouth of the Danube, – a spot in those days on the very confines of civilisation. Ovid was sent to his destination quite as unceremoniously as many an incautious chatterer at St. Petersburg has been marched off to Siberia. He reached it in winter, through stormy seas, and died in the ninth year of his exile. Fond of wine, baths, perfumes, fruits, flowers, and luxurious ease, the sentence came upon him like a thunderclap. Never man took to his lot in a more dolorous spirit. His Tristia and Pontic Epistles, ditties sent home to his friends, are crowded with abject solicitations for a remission of his sentence, and babyish complaints of everything-land, water, and sky—the climate, the soil, the air, and the people. “I am under the sky,” says he, “ of the extremity of the world. Alas ! how near is the end of the earth to me !” He thus apostrophises the land : “ Thou art the most intolerable part of my wretched banishment. Thou dost neither feel the spring, bedecked with the flowery wreaths, neither dost thou behold the naked bodies of the reapers. For thee no autumn holds forth the clustering grapes, but all seasons retain an intense cold. Thou keepest the sea bound up with ice; and often, in the ocean, does the