Charles Anthon.

A system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges online

. (page 76 of 89)
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Inland, commencing at the north, we have, 1. Antipatris, founded by Herod
the Great, and named in honor of his father Antipater. The site had been pre
viously occupied by a place called Capharsaba. It is not the modern Arsuf,
as has commonly been supposed, but more probably the village Kaffr Suba.

2. Timnath Serah, to the southeast, selected by Joshua for his place of burial.

3. Skiloh, to the east, where Joshua set up the tabernacle, and made the lust



672 ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY.

and general division of the land among the tribes. The ark and tabernacle re-
rfnained here upward of three hundred years. It is supposed to bo identical with
a place now named Seilun. 4. Ephraim, to the southwest, among the mount
ains of the same name, and to which Jesus withdrew from the persecution
which followed the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. 5. Gophna, to
the south, a strong place, and, in Roman times, the capital of a district called
from it Gophnitica. It is now Jifna. 6. Lydda, to the southwest, called in
Scripture Lud, and under the Roman dominion Diospolis. It was the scene of
Peter s miracle in healing ^Eneas. St. George the martyr was buried here, and
the place is often mentioned likewise in the history of the crusades. It is still
called Lud. 7. Arimathea, to the southwest, the birth-place of the wealthy Jo
seph, in whose sepulchre our Lord was laid. There is great probability in iden
tifying it with the modern Ramlch. 8. Emmaus, to the southeast, called also
Nicopolis, and now answering to Amwas. This place must not be confounded
with the village of Emmaus, noted for our Lord s interview with two disciples
on the day of his resurrection. The latter was much nearer Jerusalem, and its
site has long been lost. 9. Bethel, originally Luz, to the southeast of Gophna.
Here Jacob had his vision, and changed the name of the place accordingly. The
site is now called Beitsin. 10. Michmas, to the southeast, near which was a
pass where an enemy might be impeded or opposed. Here Jonathan, son of
Saul, distinguished himself, and here also, at a later day, Jonathan Maccabaeus
fixed his abode. It still bears the name of Mukhmas. 1 1 . Ramah, to the south
west, and in the vicinity of Gibeah. It is supposed to be identical with the
modern village Er-Ram, two hours journey north of Jerusalem, and to be the
Rama alluded to by Jeremiah. 12. Hierichus, in Scripture Jericho, situate in the
plain of Jericho, not far from the Jordan, just before its entrance into the Dead
Sea. It was besieged and destroyed by the Israelites immediately after the
passage of the Jordan ; but was afterward rebuilt, on or near its former site,
and became a flourishing city, next in size to Jerusalem. It is often called in
Scripture "the city of palm trees," from the numerous trees of this description
which abounded in its vicinity. Its site is now occupied by a wretched village
named Rihah.

13. Hierosolyma, or Jerusalem, a name meaning in Hebrew "the abode of
peace," to the southwest of Jericho, and twenty-seven miles west from where
the Jordan enters the Dead Sea. It was the capital city of the Hebrew nation,
and the chief city of their worship ; and is thought to have been the Salem of
which Melchisedec was king. When the Israelites entered Canaan, they found
this city in the occupation of the Jebusites, a tribe descended from Jebus, a son
of Canaan, and the place then bore the name of Jebus. The lower city was
taken and burned by the children of Judah, but the Jebusites had so strongly
fortified themselves in the upper city, on Mount Zion, that they maintained pos
session of it until the time of David. That monarch, after his seven years rule
over Judah in Hebron, became king of all Israel, on which he expelled the Jeb
usites from Mount Zion, and made Jerusalem the metropolis of his kingdom.
Jerusalem was built on several hills, the largest of which was Mount Zion,
which formed the southern part of the city. A valley toward the north sep
arated this from Acra, the second or lower city, on the east of which was Mount
Moriah, the site of the temple of Solomon. Southeast of Mount Moriah was
the Mount of Olives, lying beyond the brook and valley of Kedron, which bor
dered Jerusalem on the east ; on the south was the Valley of Hinnom, and at the
north was Mount Calvary, the scene of the Crucifixion. Jerusalem was taken by
Titus, September 8, A.D. 70, and almost entirely destroyed. It was afterward



ASIA. 673

rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian, as a fortified place, by which to keep in check
the whole Jewish population. On the ruins of the temple the same emperor *
caused a fane to be erected in honor of Jupiter Capitolinus, and gave the new
city the name of JElia Capitolina, the first part of this appellation being derived
from his own praenomen of JElius, and the latter being in honor of the deity just
mentioned. The ancient name, however, began to come again into use in the
time of Constantine. Jerusalem is now called by the Arabs el-Kuds, or "the
Holy."

14. Bethlehem, to the southwest of, and about six miles from Jerusalem, and
the birth-place of our Savior. It was generally called Bethlehem Judah, to dis
tinguish it from another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulon. It is likewise styled
in Scripture Ephratah, or " the fruitful." It is now a large village named Beit
Lahm. 15. Herodium, to the southeast, a fortress and city erected by Herod
the Great. The site answers now to that of the Frank Mountain. 16. Eleuthe-
ropolis, to the southwest, an important episcopal city in the time of Eusebius and
Jerome. It is supposed to have been the same with the Beto-gabra of Ptolemy,
and to be now represented by the village of Beit-Jibrin. 17. Hebron, to the
southeast, and a very ancient city. Its earlier name was Kirjath-Arba, or " the
City of Arba," from Arba, the father of Anak and the Anakim, who dwelt in
and around this city. This was the burial-place of Abraham and his family.
David, on becoming king of Judah, made Hebron his royal residence. Here he
reigned seven years and a half, and here he was anointed king over all Israel.
The Arabs now call it el-Khulil. 18. Engaddi, to the southeast, on the western
shore of the Dead Sea, and nearly equidistant from both extremities of that lake.
It was famed for its beautiful palm trees, its opobalsum, and vineyards. The
Arabs now call the site Ain-jidy. In its vicinity was the Wilderness of Engaddi,
abounding in caverns. 19. Masada, to the south, on the shore of the same sea, a
celebrated fortress built by Jonathan Maccabaeus, and afterward greatly strength
ened by Herod, as a place of refuge for himself. It stood on a lofty rock over
hanging the Dead Sea. It was taken by the Romans after the fall of Jerusalem,
the garrison having devoted themselves to self-destruction. The Arabic name
for the ruins is Sebbeh. 20. Beersheba, or " the Well of the Oath," some distance
to the west, so often mentioned in Scripture as the southern limit of the coun
try possessed by the children of Israel. The northern limit was Dan, in Upper
Galilee. This place took its name from the well which was dug there by Abra
ham, and the oath which confirmed his treaty with Abimelech.



SAMARIA.

I. Samaria was the smallest but most fruitful of the three
divisions of Palestine. It was bounded on the north by Galilee,
on the south by Judcea, on the east by the Jordan, and on the
west by the Mediterranean.

II. After the kingdom of Israel had been overthrown, and
the people carried away captive by the Assyrians, the country,
being thus depopulated, was next inhabited by the neighboring
heathen people, and by colonies from other parts of the Assyr
ian empire. These, mixing with the scattered remains of the
tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, formed the people spoken of

Uu



674 ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY.

.in the New Testament as the Samaritans, who were regarded
by the Jews as an impure race, and between whom and the
Jews there always existed a strong mutual hatred.

PLACES IN SAMARIA.

1. Jezrael, near the northern borders, called also Esdraelon, and one of the
residences of the kings of Israel. In the days of Eusebius and Jerome it was a
large village called Esdraela, and in the same age it occurs again as Stradela.
In the time of the crusades it was named by the Franks Parvum Gerinum, and
by the Arabs Zerin. This last appellation still remains. 2. Beth-slian, to the
southeast near the Jordan, and called also Scythopolis, because, as is supposed,
some Scythians had settled there in the time of Josiah (B.C. 631) in their pas
sage through Palestine toward Egypt. This place, though commonly ranked
among the Samaritan cities, belonged in reality to what was termed Decapolis,
an association of ten cities, which, not being inhabited by Jews, formed a con
federation for mutual protection against the Asmonean princes of Judaea; Scy
thopolis is now Beisan. 3. Megiddo, to the west of Jezrael, originally one of the
royal cities of the Canaanites, and which the Israelites were for a long time un
able to conquer. Josiah was slain in battle near this place by Pharaoh-Necho.
It was afterward called Legio, and is now Lejjun. 4. Ccesarea, to the southwest,
on the coast, originally named Turris Stratonis, and subsequently made a mag
nificent city and port by Herod, who called it Ccesarea in honor of Augustus.
Here the Roman governors resided. It was the birth-place of Eusebius. The
modern name is Kaisarieh. 5. Samdrta, to the southeast, the capital of the king
dom of Israel, or of the ten tribes, on a mountain or hill of the same name. The
site was extremely well selected both for strength and beauty. It was destroyed
by John Hyrcanus, rebuilt by the Roman governor Gabinius, and beautified and
enlarged by Herod, who called it Sebaste in honor of Augustus. It was also
strongly fortified. The modern village of Sebustieh, built out of its ruins, stands
near the site of this once royal city. 6. Slchem., to the southeast, in the narrow
valley between Mounts Ebal and Gerizim, on the latter of which was built the
Samaritan temple, in rivalry of the orthodox temple at Jerusalem. Sichem was
a very ancient city. After the conquest of the country it became one of the
Levitical cities, and during the life-time of Joshua it was a centre of union for
the tribes. The city was taken and the temple destroyed by John Hyrcanus.
B.C. 129. In the New Testament the place occurs under the name of Si/char.
Vespasian subsequently either restored or rebuilt it, and gave it the name of
Neapolis, which it still retains under the Arabic form of Nabulus.

GAL1LJEA.

I. Galilcea or Galilee, lay to the north of Samaria, and was
divided into Upper and Lower. Upper Galilee was mountain
ous, and was called Galilee of the Gentiles, from the heathen
nations established there, who were enabled, by the mountain
ous nature of the country, to maintain themselves against all
invaders. Strabo enumerates among its inhabitants Egyp
tians, Arabians, and Phoenicians. Lower Galilee, on the other



ASIA. 675

hand, was a populous and fertile country, and contained nu
merous cities.

II. Galilee was the district which, of all others, was most
honored with the presence of our Saviour. Hence the disciples
were called Galibaeans. They were easily recognized, indeed,
as such, since the Galilseans spoke a dialect of the vernacular
Syriac, different from that of Judaea, and which was accounted
rude and impure. The Jews of Judsea regarded the Galilaeans
with much contempt.

PLACES IN GALILEE.

IN Lower Galilee we may mention, 1. Nazareth, where our Saviour resided until
the commencement of his ministry. It was probably no more than a village.
It is now a small but more than usually well-built place, retaining its ancient
name. 2. Dio Ccesarea, to the northwest, the Sepphoris of Josephus. It was
captured by Herod the Great, and afterward destroyed by Varus. Herod An-
tipas rebuilt and fortified it, and it became the largest and strongest city of Gal
ilee, taking precedence eventually of Tiberias itself. The modern Sefurich
marks the ancient site. 3. Tiberias, on the western shore of the Lake of Gen-
nesareth, which was called also from this city the Sea of Tiberias. It was found
ed by Herod Antipas, and named in honor of the Emperor Tiberius. After the
fall of Jerusalem this place became one of the chief seats of the Jews, and was
famous during several centuries for its school of Rabbinical teachers or doctors.
The modern name is Tabaria. 4. Ammaus, a little to the south, famed for its
hot baths, which are still frequented. The name of the place appears to be
formed from the Hebrew Hammath, signifying "warm baths." 5. Tarichaa, at
the southeastern extremity of the lake, and deriving its name from the fish-
salteries established there. After the capture of this place by Titus, a great
number of the inhabitants escaped by water in boats and small craft. Vespa
sian having pursued them on the lake, a conflict ensued, in which a large num
ber of the Jews were slaughtered. 6. Capernaum, on the northwestern side of
the lake, where our Saviour, frequently resided after the commencement of his
mission. Its site is supposed to be marked by a mound of ruins called Khan
Minyeh.

In Upper Galilee we may mention, 1. Dan, the most northern place of the land
of Judaea. Its original name was Laish or Lcshcm, and it was conquered by a
warlike colony of Danites, who named it after their tribe. It became afterward
a chief seat of Jeroboam s idolatry, and one of the golden calves was set up in it.
The extent of the promised land is expressed in the well-known words " from
Dan to Beersheba." Dan is supposed to have stood near the present Tell el-
Kady, where the second source of the Jordan rises. 2. Casarea Philippi, a little
distance to the northeast. It was originally called Paneas ; but, being enlarged
and embellished by the tetrarch Philip, it was named by him Casarea, in honor
of Tiberius, to which Philippi was added, in order to distinguish it from Ccesarea
on the coast. The modern name is Banias. Twenty miles above this place
the Jordan had its main source. 3. Jotapata, to the southeast, where the Jewish
historian Josephus sustained a siege against Vespasian.



676 ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY.

P E R & A.

THE country on the east of the Jordan, between the two lakes, was called
Peraa, a name derived from nepav beyond," and extending from the brook
Arnon, which flows into the Dead Sea, to the Hieromax, now Sheriat el-Man-
dhur, or Yarmouk, a tributary of the Jordan. The upper part of this tract was
called Galaaditis, or Gilead, taking its name from the mountains of Gilead. This
chain is connected with Antilibanus by means of Mount Herman. It begins not
far from the latter, and extends southward to the sources of the brooks Jabbok
and Arnon, thus forming a kind of eastern boundary for Peraea. To this chain
belongs that of Abarim, in a northeastern direction from Jericho. From one
of the highest mountains of the range of Abarim, namely, Nebo, Moses survey
ed the Promised Land before he died. The highest and most commanding peak
of this mountain was, in all probability, the Pisgah of Scripture. In Peraea we
may mention the following places : 1. Gadara, the metropolis, in a district term
ed Gadarene or Gcrgesene, below the Hieromax. Its inhabitants were heathens
and Jews intermingled. Here the miracle in the case of the swine was per
formed. Gadara now answers to the village of Om-Keis. 2. Pdla, to the south,
and the southernmost of the cities of Decapolis. To this place many Christians
fled when Jerusalem was getting invested by the Roman armies. It is now
d-Budsche. 3. Amathus, to the south, an important place, made by Gabinius
the seat of one of the five jurisdictions into which he divided the country. Its
Jewish name was Betharamathon. It is now Amatah. To the south of it the
Jabbok, now the Zerka, flowed into the Jordan. 4. Ramoth Galaad, to the south
east, on the Jabbok, and a place of great strength. It was the occasion of sev
eral wars between the later kings of Israel and the kings of Damascus, who
long retained possession of it. This was one of the cities of refuge. 5. Ma-
charus, to the southeast, a fortress on the frontiers of the Nabathaean Arabs,
destroyed by Gabinius. 6. Heshbon, to the southeast, originally a city of the
Moabites, but held by the Amorites when the Israelites arrived from Egypt. It
became eventually a Levitical city. In the time of Eusebius and Jerome it was
called Esbus. It is now Hesbon. 7. Calirrhoe, to the southwest, near the shore
of the Dead Sea, and well known for its medicinal and health-bestowing waters,
whence its Greek name. The Hebrew name was Lasa.

BATAN^A, &c.

Batancea, answering in part to the Scripture Bashan, lay to the north of Percea,
and to the east of the Lake of Gennesareth and the upper part of the Jordan.
When the Israelites invaded the Promised Land, Og was king of Bashan, and
the country contained sixty " fenced cities," besides unwalled towns. These
were all taken, and Og and his people were cut off. After the captivity, the
name Balanced was applied to only a part of the ancient Bashan, the rest being
called Trachonitis, Iturcea, Auranitis, and Gaulonitis. The richness of the pasture
land of Bashan, and the consequent superiority of its breed of cattle, are fre
quently alluded to in the Scriptures. The oaks, too, of Bashan are mentioned
in connection with the cedars of Lebanon. Modern travellers also speak in high
terms of the fertility of this country.

Trachonitis. This was the name given in the days of the Herodian dynasty to
the country situate between the range of Antilibanus and the mountains to the
south of Damascus. The appellation was derived from the rugged nature of
the region, rpa^wv denoting in Greek " a rugged, stony tract."

Iturcea. The situation and limits of this region are difficult to determine. It
appears, as far as we can ascertain, to have lain between Trachonitis and Ba-



ASIA. 677

tana^a, and to have answered to what is now Jedur, in which traces of the an
cient name appear. Ituraea formed part of the tetrarchy of Philip.

Auranitis. This district lay to the south of Trachonitis, and answers in some
degree to the modern Hauran, which is much more extensive.

Gaulonitis.K district on the eastern shore of the Lake of Gennesareth, and
taking its name from Gaulon, a Levitical town situate in it. It appears to have
formed part of the more ancient Bashan.

ARABIA.

I. Arabia was bounded on the north by Palestine and the
Desert of Syria ; on the northeast by the Sinus Persicus, or
Persian Gulf; on the east and southeast by the Mare Eryth-
rccum, or Indian Ocean ; on the southwest by the Sinus Arab
icus, or Red Sea ; and on the west by the Isthmus of Suez.

II. The original inhabitants of the country are called by the
present Arabs Bajadites, or " the lost," to whom belonged the
extinct tribes of Ad, Thamud, &c. The present Arabs derive
their origin in part from Joktan or Kahtan, the son of Eber,
and in part from Ishmael. The descendants of the former call
themselves, emphatically, Arabs ; those of the latter, Mosta-
rabs. The name Arab itself implies " an inhabitant of the
west," that is, one dwelling to the west of the Euphrates, and
of the regions that were probably the earliest seats of the Se
mitic tribes.

III. Arabia was divided by the Greeks and Romans, from the
time of Ptolemy, who introduced the division, into Arabia De-
serta, Petrcea, and Felix, an arrangement which we shall also
follow on the present occasion. The more natural division, how
ever, is that which distinguishes the coast, covered with aloes,
myrrh, frankincense, indigo, nutmegs, &c., from the interior
of the country, consisting for the most part of a desert of mov
ing sand, with thorns and saline herbs.

IV. Arabia Deserta (rj ep^o?) comprised the interior of the
peninsula, but more particularly the northern part, bordering
on the Syrian Desert. Arabia Petrcea (TJ ITerpa/o) was the
northwestern portion, from Palestine to the Sinus Arabicus, in
cluding the country around the Sinus JElanites, or Gulf of
Akabft: Arabia Felix (rj evdai^v) comprised all the rest of
the peninsula, namely, the shores of the Sinus Arabicus below
the Sinus JElanites, of the Mare Erythrceum, and of the Sinus
Persicus. The maps generally, but incorrectly, restrict Arabia
Felix to the southwestern and a part of the southeastern shore.



678 ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY,

ARABIA DESERTA.

I. THIS portion of Arabia was roamed over by nomadic tribes resembling the
modern Beduins. The Greek writers gave these tribes the general name of
Ardbes Scemta, from the circumstance of their living in tents (SKnvlrat, OTTO r&v
GKJJVUV). The Greek and Roman Christian writers, at a later day, confounded
all the Arabian tribes, from Mecca to the Euphrates, under the name of Sara-
ceni, a term derived from the Arabic saraka, " to plunder," and referring to their
predatory habits. Ptolemy, however, some time before this, speaks of a tribe
called Saraceni, whom he makes distinct from the Scenita, and dwelling to the
south of them.

II. Besides the general name of Scenita, we learn y especially from Ptolemy,
the appellations of many individual tribes, such as, 1. The Catanii, between
Palmyra and the Euphrates. 2. The Cauchabeni, to the southeast, on the con
fines of Chaldaea. 3. The Auslta, in the land of 7~. 4. The CcdramtcK, deriv
ing their origin from Kedar, son of Ishmael. 5. The Agrcei, with the watering-
place of Agra, &c.

ARABIA PETR^EA.

I. THIS portion of Arabia was so called from its capital Petra, although the
epithet is also, as Burckhardt remarks, not inappropriate, on account of the rocky
mountains and stony plains which compose its surface.

II. Five powerful tribes dwelt in this country at an early period, namely, 1.
The Amalekites, descended from Amalek, the grandson of Esau, and occupying

* the district between Idumsea and Egypt. They were the first assailants of the
Israelites after the passage of the Red Sea. Their power was subsequently
broken by Saul. 2. The Edomites or Idumcei, occupying the country of Edom,
from the south of the Dead Sea to the Sinus Mlanites, or Gulf of Akaba. In
the time of our Saviour, Edom or Idumaa included a considerable portion of
southern Palestine. The Edomites claimed descent from Esau, son of Isaac,
They were made tributaries of the Jews during the reign of David ; and the
conquest of their country was of great importance to the Jews, since it enabled
Solomon, by obtaining possession of the ports of Elath and Ezion-Geber on the
Red Sea, to participate in the advantages of the trade with India. 3. The Ma-
abites, claiming descent from Moab, son of Lot. They occupied the country on
the east of the Dead Sea, from Zoar to the River Arnon, and were frequently
engaged in hostilities with the Israelites. They were a pastoral people, and
their country was well adapted for rearing cattle, and also produced corn and
wine. Their chief city was Rabbath Moab, called afterward Areopolis. Jerome
says it was destroyed by an earthquake in his youth. The ruins retain the name
of Rabba. Another place in their country was Zoar, one of the five cities of
the plain of Siddim, in which Lot took refuge. 4. The Ammonites, descended
from Ben Ammi, the son of Lot. Their country lay between the Arnon and the
Jabbok, above that of the Moabites. Their capital was Rabbath Ammon. It was
destroyed by the Assyrians, and rebuilt subsequently by Ptolemy Philadelphia,
who gave it the name of Philadelphia. The ruins are still called Amman. 5. The
Midianites, a wide-spread nomadic race, whose earlier seats were to the west
of Sinai, but who afterward extended themselves on the eastern side of the Red
Sea as far as the Moabites. They carried on an active overland traffic between
Arabia and Egypt. The Midianites annoyed the Israelites by constant inroads
until completely subdued by Gideon.

III. All the five tribes just mentioned gradually disappeared from history, and
in their place appeared the Nabathai, who became the chief people of Arabia



ASIA. 679

Petrsea. At first they led a nomadic life ; but when the Ptolemies of Egypt ex
tended their favoring care to the commerce of the Red Sea, the Nabatheei be
came actively engaged in an overland traffic with the products of eastern Asia.
Their capital was Petra, in Hebrew Sela, both terms signifying "rock." The
situation of the place corresponded well to this name. It lay in a valley sur
rounded by lofty rocks, with a stream flowing through it, and having an access
on one side only, and that a difficult one. As a commercial city, and a place



Online LibraryCharles AnthonA system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges → online text (page 76 of 89)