Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

Manual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions online

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eastern part of the city is jVori.iA, which, with Bezetha, rises from the Valley of Jehoshaphat ;
south of Moriah, and a't the south-eastern corner of ihe city, is Ophel: Bezetha, Moriah, and
Ophel may he considered as pans of one ridge which extends to the south beyond the walls.

These hills are closely encompassed on three sides by narrow valleys ; on the east the Galley of
Jehoshaphat ; on the west, the Valley of Gihon, which is continued into the Valley of Hinnom on
the south : at some distance from the soiuh-eastern corner of the city, the Valley of Jehoshaphat
and that of Hinnom are connected. The Brook Kidron is but the bed of a torrent which during
the rains of winter flows through the Valley of Jehoshaphat to the south. The valley in which
was the bed of the ancient Tyropmon commences in the depression between Zion and Akra (near
the western or Hebron or Bethlehem gate), and descending easterly bends to the south between
Zion and Ophel, and meets with the other two valleys at their common point of junction.

The hill Ziim was the part first occupied by David, and hence called " the city of David."
Only the northern part of it is now within the "walls ; much of the rest is literally "a ploughed
field ;" on the north-western part is the present citadel, the lower portions of the walls of whicii
are probably the remains of the ancient Tower of Hippicas.— On the summit of Akra is the churcH
of the Holy Sepulchre, on the spot designated by dnubtfnl tradition as being the Golgotha and
the Calvary of the Scriptures. — Bezetha is mostly covered with low buildings or hovels, with no
obVious traces of ancient ruins. — On Moriah, which at the first was apparently a mound nf solid
rock, the Temple of Solomon was built ; the surface of the rock being leveled" for the purpose ;
and then immense walls were erected from the base of the rock on the four sides, and the
interval between filled in with earth or built up with vaults so as to make on the top a large
area, which tormed the Court of the Temple. To this the present area of the grand Mosque of
Omar, or enclosure called " EI-Haram-esh-Sherif," nearly if not wholly corresponds; being a
plateau or terrace nearly in the form of a parallelo?ram, supported by and wiihin massive walls
built up from the lower ground on all sides; the lower portions of the walls are probably the
very walls on which the ancient Temple rested ; as seems to be shown by some remains of an
iuimense arch which supported the Brido-e that formerly extended from the Temple across the
TyroptEon to a celebrated Xystus or portico on Mount Zi"on.— In the northern part of the present
area of the Mosque of Omar was the fortress called the Toicer of Antonia, rendered memorable
in the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, who captured the city, A. I). 70; at which time the Temple
was utterly destroyed by fire. The Mosque now on its site was built by Omar in the seven?-!

The ancient inhabitants depended for water, as do the modern, chieflv on cisterns ; almost
every house having now one or more excavated in the limestone rock on which the city stands.
Immense cisterns also still exist within the space under tl.e area of the Temple. Large oper


reservoirs or tanks, or pools, were likewise constructed in and around the city. The Upper Poo,
and the Lower Pool still exist ; the former west of the city, in the Valley of Gihoii ; tlie latter,
on the south-west, in the Valley of Hinnom. The Pool of Bathsluba, the Pool of Hezekiah, and
the Pool of Beihesda, are names given to three reservoirs within the present walls : the latter is
at the north-east corner of the Ilaram-esh-Sherif ; but there is no evidence that it is the pool
mentioned in the New Testan)ent by the same name {\ir]lJio£u), having five porches. — The only
Fountains of living water now accessible are three; that now called the Well of J\''eliemiah, pro-
bably the En-Rofid of the Old Testament (Josh. xv. 7, S; xviii. 16), a deep well just below the
junction of the Valley of Hinnom with that of Jehoshaphat; the Fountain and Pool of Siloam,
which is in the valley of the Tyropceon, just above its junction with the Valleys of Hinnom and
Jehoshaphat; and the Fountain of the Virgin, which is some distance from that point of junc-
tion, up the Valley of Jehoshaphat: the water of the latter is accessible only by descending
sixteen steps down an excavation in the solid rock; and an artificial subterranean passage
extends from it through Mount Ophel to the Fountain of Siloam, winding so as to make the
distance 1750 feet, by which the waters of Siloam proceed from the Fountain of Mary the Vir-
gin. — A fountain is said to exist at the depth of seventy or eighty feet below the area of the
grand mosque, flowing by some artificial passage.

An jlqueduct, supposed to be ancient, carries water across the Valley of Hinnom, around the
sides of Mount Zion, and conveys it, as is supposed, to the Haram-esh-Sherif, or area of the

East of Moriah, on the rocky elevation just beyond the Brook Kidron, are the sepulchral
monuments called the Tomb of Absalom or Absalom's Pillar (cf. P. HI. $ 187. 5), and Tomb of
Zacharias. — South-east of these, on the south-western declivity of the Mount of Olives, are the
excavated sepulchres called the Tombs of the Prupliets.— Those called the Tombs of the Jud/res,
are further up the Valley of Jehoshaphat, rather west of north from the city. — The remarkable
excavations commonly called the Tombs of the Kings, are about north from the city, on the nearer
side of the valley : they are probably the celebrated sepulcher of the mother of Constantine, the
Empress Helena, who, having embraced Christianity, spent the latter part of her life at Jeru-
salem, and died there at the age of eighty, about A. D. 325.

The above outlines of the Topography of Jerusalem will be of service to the student in reading the Scriptures, and the intensely
interesting story of the siege and destruction of the city by the Romans.— See Jnsephus (cf. P. V. § 24S). — Milman. as cited § 211. ii

For fuller details as to the Topography, see F. G. Crome, Jerusalem, in Ersch und Gruber's Encyclop'ddie. — E. Robinson,

Biblical Researches, as cited § 171. In vol. iii. is a full list of works on Palestine. For details respecting the Temple, with Plans,

&c , see H. Prideaux, Connexions, &c. N. York, 1S40. 2 vols. 8. with engravings —Calmet, Diet, of the Bible, Fragments 242—
249. vol. iii. p. 346. Chariest. 1813. 4 vols. 4.— For Plan of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, &c., see also Calmet, vol. iii. p. 164.

§ 169 a. The southern district of Judaea was called Idumea, or the land of Edom ;
the chief towns were Gera, Zoar, and Bozra at the foot of IMount Seir. But this dis-
trict, or the principal part of it, is included, perhaps more properly, under Arabia Pe-
Ircea (§ 171). — The sea-coast was called Philistaa, or the land of the Philistines, from
whom the whole country is now called Palestine ; its chief towns were Gath, Ekron,
Azotus or Ashdod, Ascalon, and Gaza.

"^ 169 b. Pera;a is separated from the other provinces by the river Jordan. The
chief towns were Ramoth-Gilead, in the land of the Gileadites ; Gadara, on the tor-
rent Hieromas, wdiere the Christians were severely defeated by the Saracens; Gaulon,
a fortress of remarkable strength ; Garnala, near the Sea of Tiberias ; and Rabboth-
Ammon, in the district Ammonhis, afterwards called Philadelphia. — The Jordan
rises in Mount Hermon, and passing through the Sea of Tiberias, tails into the lake
Asphaltites, whence there is no exit for its waters.

This lake is supposed to occupy the situation of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It has
been said that, from its extreme saltness or other properties, it is destructive of animal and
vegetable life, and that neither fish nor weeds are found in its waters. Dr. K. Robinson, who
visited the region in 1838, states that the water is intensely salt and bitter : but that trees and
bushes grow by it ; no pestiferous vapor was perceived, and many birds were singing among
the trees, and some flying over the waters. Bibl. Rcpos. Apr. 1839, p. 419.

^ 170. Mesopotamia was south of Armenia, between the rivers Tigris and Eu-
phrates, whence it derives its name. Its chief towns were Nisibis, on a branch of the
Tigris, the great bulwark of the Romans against the Parthiaus; Edessa, near Syria;
Seleucia, now Bagdad, on the confluence of the Tigris with a branch of the Euphra-
tes ; and Carrhce, called in Scripture Charran, for a time the residence of Abraham,
and the scene of the miserable overthrow of Crassus. On the borders of Chaldaea
were the plains of Cunaxa, where Cyrus was slain by his brother Aria.xerxes, and
where the ten thousand Greeks commenced that retreat so memorable in history.

Babylonia and Chaldaea were districts separate from jMesopotamia, lying below it
to the south-east. Their chief town was Babylon, the most ancient and remarkable
city of antiquity.

Belus, its founder, commenced his building near the tower of Babel, which by profane writers
is called after his name ; but to Semiramis, the widow of his descendant Ninus, the grandeur
of Babylon is attributable. She enclosed the city with a wall of brick cemented by bitumen, of
almost incredible dimensions, and ornamented it with one hundred brazen gates. The circuit
of the city was said to have been more than sixty miles ; and so great was its length, that when
Cyrus had captured one extremity of the city, the inhabitants of the other were ignorant of the
event until the following morning. — The river Euphrates flowed through the city, and Cyru?
having diverted the river into another channel, led his troops through the vacant bed, and sur-
prised the Babylonians, who, with their monarch Belshazzar, were at that ntoment celebrating
ft fepst in honor of their gods, and consequently made but a feeble resistance. — The Chaldaeans


were celebrated astronomers, but they debased the science by the admixture of judicial astro-
logy, for which perversion of inielleci they were greatly celebrated.

On the topoCTaphy and ruins of Babylon and Nineveh, see /. M. Kinneir, Geo^phical Memoir on Per?ia.— fienne/i, Remarks
on the Topography of Babylon. Load. 1816.— RicA, Memoir on Babylon, &c Lond. 1818.— £iiJ. Repoi. No. xxii. 365 ; No. ixiii.
15.«, 246; No. xxv. 139.

East of the Tigris lay Assyria, now called Kurdistan from the Carduchi, a tribe
that inhabited the northern part of the country; they are mentioned by Xenophon as
having opposed the retreat of the ten thousand ; they are supposed still to exist in the
modern Koords, varjous tribes of whom occupy the mountains of this country, and
who are generally of a savage character. — Its chief towns, Ni7ius or Nineveh, fre-
quently mentioned in Scripture ; the ruins of this celebrated city he opposhe the mo-
dern il/os«Z; and Arhela, near which is the village Gaugamela, where Alexander
overturned the Persian empire, by the defeat of Darius.

§ 171. The only country of Asia remaining to be noticed is Arabia, which was the
large peninsula between the Sinus Persicus (Persian Gulf), and the Sinus Ambicus
(Red Sea). It was divided into three parts ; Deserta (desert), Petraa (stony), and
Felix (happy).

Arabia Deserta lay between Syria and Chaldaea, and extended along the Sinus
Persicus. — Arabia Felix, celebrated for its fertility, was in the southern part border-
ing on the Sinus Arahicus and the ocean. The most remarkable among its inhabitants
were the Sabcei, who cultivated frankincense. Macoraha was the name by which the
Greeks knew Mecca, which is illustrious in the Mohammedan history; here is the
famous building called Kaha or Kaaba, with the fabulous black stone of Gabriel. —
Arabia Petraea was a smaller portion lying south of Judea and at the head of the
Sinus Arabicus or Red Sea, which is here divided into two bays, the eastern called
Rhinites Sinus, and the western Heroopolites Si?ius. Between these bays or arms
were the mountains Horeb and Sinai. On the eastern was the seaport Berenice or
Asiongaber, the Ezion-Geber of Scripture. The most remarkable place was Petra
(called Sela by the Hebrews), embosomed in rocky mountains just south of Judea, in
the district called Idumea.

The ruins of Petra have been discovered recently, and have excited great interest from their
striking peculiarities (lieing entirely excavations from the solid rock), and from the evidence
Ihey furnish of the fulfilment of prophecy.

See Labnrit) Jouruey to Arabia Petraea, Lond. IS36. 2 vols 8. with 65 plates — Cf. Land. Quart. Rev. No. cxviL— JVortA Jmer.
Rev. for Jan. 1837.— £iW. Repii^lory, vol. ix. p. iSt.— Stephens, Incidents of Travels, &c.— £. Robinson, Biblical Researches in
Palestine, Mt. Sinai, and Arabia Petraea, Eost. 1S41. 3 vols. 8.

The observations ana inquiries of Robinson s^em to have settled the question as to the mountain on which the Ten Command-
ments were jiven by God to .Moses ; showing satisfactorily that it was not the summit pointed out by tradition under the name of
Sinai or Jebel-Miisa, but another summit a little north-west from it, belonging to what is called Horeb. — See the very interesting
account, vol. i. p. 87-212.

The celebrated Sinaitic Inscriptions, which have attracted the attention of travelers, in an unknown and peculiar alphabet, have
lately been deciphered by Sur, of Leipzic — See Robinson, vol. i. p. ISS, 552.— Grey, in the Transact, of the Royal Soc. of LUera-
tttre, vol. iii. Lond. 1S32.

§ 172. The Asiatic Islands were not very important, except those in the IVIare
^gaeum already named (§ 147). The principal other in the Medherranean was C y-
prus, sacred to Venus; the chief towns of which were Paphos, where stood the
celebrated temple of Venus, infamous for the debauchery and prostitution it sanc-
tioned ; Citium, the birthplace of Zeno. the Stoic, on the west coast ; Salainis (Fama-
gusta), built by Teucer, on the east ; Lapethus, Arsinoe, and Soli, in the north ; and
Tamassus, celebrated for its copper-mines, in the interior. — The other islands were
Proconnesiis (Marmora), in the Propontis; Taprobane (Ceylon), and Jabadi (Sumatra),
in the Indian ocean.


§ 173. The name Africa was applied strictly and properly by ancient geographers,
at least until the time of Ptolemy, to a small part of that vast peninsula ot the eastern
continent which it now designates ; and by them Egvpt was reckoned among the
Asiatic kingdoms. But we here use the term as including all that was known to the
ancients of that whole country. We shall consider it under the following divisions ;
-SIIgyptus, or Egypt, ^Ethiopia, Libya, Africa Propria, Ncmidia, Mauritania,
and Africa Interior.

^ 174. I'he general boundaries of .iEeYPTUS were the Mediterranean on the north,
Syria and the Sinus Arabicus on the east, Ethiopia on the south, and Lybia on the
west. The limit between it and Syria was the Torrens JEaypti. or river of Egypt as
called in the Bible, which flowed into the arm of the sea called Pains Sirbonis. The

E 2


limit between Egypt and Lybia on the west was the great declivity and narrow pass
termed Catabathmos (KOTaffadixos). Its southern limit was the smaller cataract of the

One of the most striking features of Egypt was its river, Nilus. This has two prin-
cipal sources ; the eastern rising in the mountains of the country now called Abys-
sinia, and the western in the LunrB Monies, or 3lonnfains of the Moon. Having passed
through the ancient Ethiopia, it flows through the whole length of Egypt to the jMedi-
terranean ; not receiving a single tributary for the last 1000 miles of its course, and at
last dividing into two great arms and forming the triangular island called Delia from
US shape. It had seven mouths ; the most western was the Ostium Canopicum ; the
others in their order proceeding towards the east, were the Balbytinum, Sebenniti-
cum, Phatnicum, Mendesium, Taniticum, and Pelusiacum. — Its annual inundations
were the great cause of fertiUty, and reservoirs and canals were formed in great num-
bers to convey the water over the whole country ; where the land was too high to
allow canals to convey it, pumps were used for raising the water ; almost every vil-
lage, It is said, had its canal, although there were in the narrow valley of Egypt many
thousand cities and villages.

§ 175. There were three principal divisions of Egypt ; the northern part on the Me-
diterranean was called ^gyptvs hiferior; the southern part on thp confines of Ethio-
pia was .Slgyptus Superior or Thebais; and the portion between these, He-ptanomis. —
The capital of Lower Egypt was Alexandria, the great mart of Indian merchandize ;
during the middle ages, caravans continually passed from thence to Arsiiio'e (Suez),
on the Red Sea, whence goods were conveyed by sea to India. In front of the har-
bor was an island named Pharos, on which a celebrated hghthouse was built ; south
of the city was the lake Mareotis, in the vicinity of which the best Egyptian wine was
made. In Ale.xandria was the celebrated library, said to have been buined by the
Saracens. (Cf. P. IV, § 76). — In the interior of the Delta was Sais, the ancient capi-
tal, remarkable for its numerous temples. Between the Delta and Sinus Arabicus
were IleroopoUs, the city of the shepherd kings; and Onion, founded by a colony of
Jews, who fled hither under their high-priest Onias, from the cruelties of Antiochus,
and, by the permission of Ptolemy, built a city and temple.

In Lower Ejjpt, east of the Delta, was the land of Goshen, accordinj to tlie views of the best modern authors. — Cf. E. P'i'iinson,
on the Exodus of the Israelites, &c. £ibl. Repot, vol. ii. 74-L Also, Researches, vol. i.

<S 176. In the middle portion or Heptanomis, one of the chief places was Memphis,
near the spot where Grand Cairo now stands; it was the ancient metropolis of all
Egypt ; in its vicinity are the stupendous pyramids. Arsinoe south-west of Memphis
was an important place ; near this was the famous lake Moeris, said to have been exca-,
vated by order of an Egyptian king as a reservoir to contain the waters of the Nile
conveyed into it by a great canal, now the lake Birhet-el-Kurun, and believed to havs
been wholly or chiefly the work of nature ; at the southern end of this lake was the
still more celebrated Labyrinth. — Oxyryrichus was a considerable place, said to have
derived its name from a sharp-nosed "fish.(o^yf ^>vyxoi) worshiped by the inhabitants.—
Ir. Upper Egypt, the most important place was Thebes, which gave the name oi Thebais to
this division ; called also by the Greeks Diospolis, and Hecatompylos ; although de-
stroyed by Cambyses 500 years before Christ, its ruins still e.xche admiration, occupying
a space of 27 miles in circumference, including the modern Karnak, Luxor, and other
villages; near it was the famous statue of Memnon. — Tentyra (Denderah), was nortk
of Thebes, and also presents interesting ruins ; especially the large temple of Isis,
from the ceiling of which was taken the famous Zodiac transported to France and
made the subject of much speculation (cf. Amer. Quart. Rev. vol. iv). — Between
Thebes and Tentyra, nearer the former and on the eastern side of the Nile, was Cop-
tos; from this place a road was constructed by Ptolemy Philadelphus across the desert
to Berenice on the Sinus Arabicus. Considerably to the south of Thebes was 0;nbi
made notorious by Juvenal (Sat. xv.) for its quarrels with Tentyra respecting the wor
ship of the crocodile. Syene was the extreme town on the borders of Ethiopia ; the
place of Juv nal's exile ; where also was the well sunk to mark the summer solstice, its
bottom beirdr then illumined by the vertical rays of the sun directly perpendicular over
it. Not far from Syene was the island on which Elephantine stood, of which interest-
ing ruins still remain. Near Syene was also the Mons Basanites, mountains of touch-
stone, from which the Egvptians used to make ornamental vases. — South of Syene
were the Cataracts of the Nile ; mighty terraces of red granite {Syenite) cross the bed
of the river, and throw its waters into an impetuous and foaming torrent. In this region
were the quarries whence the vast obehsks and colossal statues and blocks of the Egyp-
tian temples were taken. There were three places on the Sinus Arabicus, which
should be mentioned ; Berenice, in the southern extremity of Egypt ; Arsinoe (now
Suez), at the head of the Sinus Heroopolites, the western arm of the Red Sea; and
Mvoshormus, called also Portus Veneris, midway between them ; they were commercial
places, goods being transported from them to the Nile. A canal, called Fossa Trajani,
»:onnected Arsinoe with that river.





In the vast deserts on the western or Lybian side of Egypt were the cultivated and
inhabited spots called Oasis Magna, and Oasis Parva, the Great and the Little Oasis.
The latter was in the division termed Heptanomis, south of lake Mceris. The Great
Oasis is in the part that was called Thebais. It was a place of banishment in the time
of the later Roman empire ; yet said to have been a delightful residence, and some-
times called by the Greeks, the isle of Ihe blessed.

^ 177. The ruins and antiquities of Egypt have ever awakened the deepest interest
in the traveler and the scholar. Besides the various temples and other edifices, of which
splendid remains are found in various places, the following rank high among the objects
of curiosity. 1. Obelisks and Pillars ; several of these were removed to Rome; of
the remaining, the most noted are the Pillar of On at Heliopolis, the two obehsks
called Cleopatra'' s Needles at Alexandria, and Pompey's Pillar, also at Alexandria. An
obelisk, nearly 70 feet in length, was brought to Paris in the year 1836, to be erected
in that city, by Louis Philippe. — 2. The Pyramids, ranked by the Greeks among the
seven wonders. They are numerous at Djiza, or Gize, near Cairo and the ancient
Memphis, and at Sacchara, 18 miles south of Gize. Those at Gize are the most cele-
brated. One of them has been open from the earliest times of which we have account.
Several others have been opened in recent times. They all contain chambers evidently
used for sepulchral purposes. (Cf. P. IV. ^ 231. P. II. § 96. 3.) — 3. Catacombs. These
are subterranean burying places. They are found in several places ; but the most re-
markable are near Thebes, at a place now called Gournou, a tract of rocks at the foot
of the mountains west of the Nile. The tombs are excavated in the rocks, and extend,
it is said, over the space of two miles. From these, many mummies have been taken. —
The labyrinth, which Herodotus considered more wonderful than the pyramids, included
nuiTierous subterranean chambers designed as repositories for the dead ; over these was
an immense pile of splendid buildings. Some ruins of this structure near lake Mceris
($ 176) have been discovered. — 4. Colossal images and statues. One of the most re-
markable of the colossal images of the sphinx (cf P. II. *$> 117) is near the great pyra-
mids. A very celebrated colossus is that commonly called the statue of Memnon (cf.
P. II. § 74. P. IV^. <5i 169. 2. ^231. 1). — The Egyptian monuments are covered with
inscriptions in Hieroglyphics (cf. P. IV". § 16).

Much research has been emplnyei in modem times upon Egyptian Antiquities and Remains. A new decree of interest wa»
awakened in the whole subject by the celebrated expedition of Bonaparte in 1798. In this invasion of Egypt, he took wilh him a
de'achment of no less than one hundred men who had cultivated the arts and sciences (safari*) selected for Ihe purpose. "Tbij
body, Ihe first of the kind which ever accompanied an invadin? army, was liberally supplied with books, philosophical instruments,
and all the means of prosecuting; the several departments of knowledge."— The splendid work, published under the emperor"*
patronage, and style 1 Desariptxnn de VEgypte, was the result of their labors (cf. P. IV. § 169).

Many other valuihle works illustralin? the history and monuments of Esrypt have been published during the present century,
some from members of the company of snvans above named. That of Deiion holds a high rank ; entitled Travels i/j Upper a»id
Lmoer Esypt during the Campaipis of Bonaparte ; wilh folio plates.— The following works relate to this subject. Leigh's Travels
in Egypt.— ieizoJii'i Travels.— Jpmard'* Description de I'Egypte.— flamiHoji'* S,zypUa.C3..—Letron7ie, Recherches sur I'Egypte.

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 15 of 153)