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城墙的城市:君士坦丁堡 – 译学馆
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城墙的城市:君士坦丁堡

The city of walls: Constantinople - Lars Brownworth

西方历史中最重要的城墙甚至不在西方
The most important walls in western history aren’t even in the West.
它们环绕着现代城市伊斯坦布尔 或者像罗马人称呼的 君士坦丁堡
They surround the modern city of Istanbul, Constantinople as the Romans called it.
在一千年内 欧罗巴的命运取决于它
And for a thousand years, the fate of Europe depended on them.
君士坦丁堡被设计为世界的中心
Constantinople was designed to be the center of the world.
当罗马帝国的边境在4世纪趋于崩溃时
When the frontiers of the Roman Empire began to crumble in the 4th Century,
首都迁到了文明、富有且依旧坚固的东方
the capital was moved to the cultured, wealthy, and still stable East.
在那里 在欧洲与亚洲的十字路口 古代世界主贸易路线的中心
There, at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, the hub of the major trade routes of the ancient world,
皇帝康斯坦丁建立了他的城
the Emperor Constantine built his city.
这是图书馆和大学之城
This was the city of libraries and universities,
是当时的伦敦或巴黎的20倍大
20 times the size of London or Paris at the time.
其承载着于西方式微的古典世界无价的知识
It contained the priceless knowledge of the classical world which was fading in the West.
为了从众多敌人手中保护这个杰作
To protect this masterpiece from its many enemies,
康斯坦丁的继任者们建立了有史以来最好的防御工事
Constantine’s successors built the finest defensive fortifications ever made.
第一道防线是60尺宽22尺深的护城河
The first line of protection was a moat 60 feet wide and 22 feet deep,
从南海岸到北海岸延伸了四公里长
stretching all four miles from coast to coast.
从城里了扯出的管道一见到敌军就能填满它
Pipes from inside the city could fill it at the first sight of the enemy,
和保护弓箭手的矮墙 使其得以点燃想要游渡的湿透的士兵
and a short wall protected archers who could fire at the soaked soldiers trying to swim across.
那些能够清扫护城河的幸运儿必须与从27尺高的外墙上射下的弹幕斗争
Those who were lucky enough to clear the moat had to contend with an unceasing barrage from the 27 foot outer wall above.
箭、矛或者更糟糕 希腊火药——一种古式凝固汽油 一触即燃
Arrows, spears, or far worse, Greek fire — an ancient form of napalm that would ignite on contact
而且无法被水扑灭——会流到它们的下面
and couldn’t be extinguished by water — would rain down on them.
罗马防御小队会携带手提火焰投掷器
Squads of Roman defenders would carry portable flame throwers,
喷射任何想要爬上护城河的人
spraying anyone trying to climb out of the moat.
惊吓的伤者会跳回 却发现他们在水中依旧着火
The terrified victims would leap back, only to find that they still burned underwater.
有时 罗马人会在堡垒上装置虹吸管
At times, the Romans would also mount siphons onto the ramparts,
并向侵略军的石弩发射装满希腊火药的陶罐
and launch clay pots full of Greek fire from catapults at an invading army.
前线会成为地狱
The front lines would turn into an inferno,
像大地自己在着火
making it appear as if the earth itself was on fire.
如果出现了什么奇迹 外墙失守
If, by some miracle, the outer wall was compromised,
侵略者将会面对终极防御:巨型内墙
attackers would be faced with the final defense: the great inner wall.
这些城墙宽到足以容纳四个人肩并肩行走
These walls were wide enough to have four men ride side by side,
允许军队奔向任何需要他们的地方
allowing troops to be rushed wherever they were needed.
阿提拉 文明的毁灭者 自称上帝之鞭
Attilla the Hun, destroyer of civilizations, who named himself the Scourge of God,
看了他们一眼 然后调转马头
took one look at them and turned around.
阿瓦尔人徒劳地攻击城墙 直到他们的弹弩弹尽
The Avars battled the walls uselessly til their catapults ran out of rocks.
土耳其人想要在下面打地道 却发现地基过于牢固
The Turks tried to tunnel under them, but found the foundations too solid.
阿拉伯人想靠饿死城市使其投降
The Arabs tried to starve the city into submission,
自己却断粮了而不得不食人为生
but ran out of food themselves and had to resort to cannibalism.
现代世界的枪炮才最终将其摧毁
It took the guns of the modern world to finally bring them down.
在1453年 土耳其人带来了他们的超级武器:
In 1453, the Turks brought their super weapon:
可以点燃一千五百磅重的石块并射出一英里的巨炮
a monster cannon that could fire a 15 hundred pound stone ball over a mile.
同上百的小枪
Together with more than a hundred smaller guns,
他们夜以继日地持续轰炸
they kept up a steady bombardment day and night.
一段旧城墙倒塌了 但即使在死死挣扎中它们也证明了自己的强大
A section of the old walls collapsed, but even in their death throes they proved formidable.
碎石比坚墙更易于吸收震碎的炮弹
The rubble absorbed the shock of the cannonballs better than the solid wall.
炸开一个缺口最终花费了持续一个半月的时间
It took a month and a half of continuous blasting to finally open a breach.
最后一位罗马国王 康斯坦丁十一世 提剑
The last Roman Emperor, Constantine the 11th, drew his sword
跃进壕沟想要阻止冲刺的人群
and jumped into the gap to stop the onrushing horde,
消失于传说之中
disappearing into legend.
城市被占领了 罗马帝国最终灭亡了
The city was taken, and the Roman Empire finally disappeared.
但那些破碎的城墙留下了最后的礼物
But those broken walls had one last gift.
当幸存者逃离了注定灭亡的城市时 他们带走了他们宝贵的书籍和古老的传统
As the survivors fled the doomed city, they brought with them their precious books and their ancient traditions.
他们向西流浪到意大利 将希腊语和学问重新介绍给西欧 成为了文艺复兴的导火索
They traveled west to Italy, reintroduced the Greek language and learning to western Europe, and ignited the Renaissance.
感谢君士坦丁堡的城墙 那些守护他们多时的砖石堆 我们依然能够拥有我们古典的过去
Thanks to Constantinople’s walls, that pile of brick and marble that guarded them for so long,we still have our classical past.

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