John Lord.

Anceint states and empires online

. (page 12 of 55)
Online LibraryJohn LordAnceint states and empires → online text (page 12 of 55)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the fashion of war in those days. Galilee stood appalled,
Fall of and all its cities but three surrendered. Of these

Gamaia. Gamala, the capital, was the strongest, and more

inaccessible than Jotaphata. It was built upon a precipice,
and was crowded with fugitives, and well provisioned. But
it was finally taken, as well as Gischala and Itabyriun, and
all Galilee was in the hands of the Romans.

Jerusalem, meanwhile, was the scene of factions and dissen-
Factions at sions. It might have re-enforced the strongholds
Jerusalem. Q f (j a iii ee? mit g ave itself up to party animosities,
which weakened its strength. Had the Jews been united,
they might have offered a moi-e successful resistance. But
their fate was sealed. I can not describe the various in-
trigues and factions which paralyzed the national arm, and
forewarned the inhabitants of their doom.

Meanwhile, Nero was assassinated, and Vespasian was
elevated to the imperial throne. He sent his son Titus to
complete the subjugation which had hitherto resisted his
conquering legions.

Jerusalem, in those days of danger and anxiety, was still
rent by factions, and neglected her last chance of organizing
her forces to resist the common enemy. Never was a city

Chap. XII.] Situation of Jerusalem. 139

more insensible of its doom. Three distinct parties were
at war with each other, shedding each others' infatuation-
blood, reckless of all consequences, callous, fierce, of tbe Clty-
desperate. At length the army of Titus advanced to the siege
of the sacred city, still strong and well provisioned. Four
legions, with mercenary troops and allies, burning to avenge
the past, encamped beneath the walls, destroying the orchards
and olive-grounds and gardens which everywhere gladdened
the beautiful environs. The city was fortified with three
walls where not surrounded by impassable ravines, not one
within the other, but inclosing distinct quarters ; j f fl a _
and these were of great strength, the stones of tions -
which were in some parts thirty-five feet long, and so thick
that even the heaviest battering-rams could make no im-
pression. One hundred and sixty-four towers surmounted
these heavy walls, one of which was one hundred and forty
feet high, and forty-three feet square ; another, of white
marble, seventy-six feet in height, was built of stones thirty-
five feet long, and seventeen and a half wide, and eight and
a half high, joined together with the most perfect masonry.
Within these walls and towers was the royal palace, sur-
rounded by walls and towers of equal strength. The for-
tress of Antonia, seventy feet high, stood on a rock of ninety
feet elevation, with precipitous sides. High above all these
towers and hills, and fortresses, stood the temple, on an
esplanade covering a square of a furlong on each side. The
walls which surrounded this fortress-temple were built of
vast stones, and were of great height ; and within these
walls, on each side, was a spacious double portico fifty-two
and a half feet broad, with a ceiling of cedar exquisitely
carved, supported by marble columns forty-three and three-
quarters feet hio-h, hewn out of sino;le stones. There

\ n -r. The temple.

were one hundred and sixty-two of these beautiful
columns. Within this quadrangle was an inner wall, seventy
feet in height, inclosing the inner court, around which, in the
interior, was another still more splendid portico, entered by
brazen gates adorned with gold. These doors, or gates,

140 The Roman Governors. [Chap. xn.

were fifty-two and a half feet high and twenty-six and a
quarter wide. Each gateway had two lofty pillars, twenty-
one feet in circumference. The gate called Beautiful was
eighty-seven aud a half feet high, made of Corinthian brass,
and plated with gold. The quadrangle, entered by nine of
these gates, inclosed still another, within which was the
temple itself, with its glittering facade. This third and
inner quadrangle was entered by a gateway tower one hun-
dred and thirty-two and a half feet high and forty-three and
a half wide. " At a distance the temple looked like a moun-
tain of snow fretted with golden pinnacles." With what
eomtions Titus must have surveyed this glorious edifice, as
the sun rising above Mount Moriah gilded its gates and pin-
nacles — soon to be so utterly demolished that not one stone
should be left upon another.

Around the devoted city Titus erected towers which
overlooked the walls, from which he discharged his destruc-
tive missiles, while the battering-rams played against
° ' the walls, where they were weakest. The first wall
was soon abandoned, and five days after the second was
penetrated, after a furious combat, and Titus took possession
of the lower city, where most of the people lived.

The precipitous heights of Zion, the tower of Antonia
and the temple still remained, and although the cause was
hopeless, the Jews would hear of no terms of surrender.
Titus used every means. So did Josephus, who harangued
the people at a safe distance. The most obstinate fury was
added to presumptuous, vain confidence, perhaps allied with
utter distrust of the promises of enemies whom they had
offended past forgiveness.

At length famine pressed. No grain was to be bought.
Famine in The wealthy secreted their food. All kind feelings

e Clty ' were lost in the general misery. Wives snatched
the last morsel from their family and weary husbands, and
children from their parents. The houses were 'full of dying
and the dead, a heavy silence oppressed every one, yet no
complaints were made. They suffered in sullen gloom and

Chap. XIL] Fall of Jerusalem. 141

despair. From the 14th of April to the 19th of July, a. d. 70,
from one hundred thousand to five hundred thousand, ac-
cording to different estimates, were buried or thrown from
the walls. A measure of wheat sold for a talent, and the
dunghills were raked for subsistence.

When all was ready, the assault on the places which remain-
ed commenced. On the 5th of July the fortress of The assault
Antonia was taken, and the siege of the temple was
pressed. Titus made one more attempt to persuade its defend-
ers to surrender, wishing to save the sacred edifice, but they
were deaf and obstinate. They continued to fight, inch by
inch, exhausted by famine, and reduced to despair. They
gnawed their leathern belts, and ate their very children. On
the 8th of August the wall inclosing the portico, or cloisters,
was scaled. On the 10th the temple itself, a powerful fort-
ress, fell, with all its treasures, into the hands of

. . The fall.

the victors. The soldiers gazed with admiration on
the plates of gold, and the curious workmanship of the sacred
vessels. All that could be destroyed by fire was burned,
and all who guarded the precincts were killed.

Still the palace and the upper city held out. Titus prom-
ised to spare the lives of the defenders if they The siege
would instantly surrender. But they still demand- the city.
ed terms. Titus, in a fury, swore that the whole surviving
population should be exterminated. It was not till the 7th
of September that this last bulwark was captured, so obsti-
nately did the starving Jews defend themselves. A miscel-
laneous slaughter commenced, till the Romans were weary
of their work of vengeance. During the whole siege one
million one hundred thousand were killed, and ninety-seven
thousand made prisoners, since a large part of the population
of Judea had taken refuge within the walls. During the
whole war one million three hundred and fifty-six thousand
were killed.

Thus fell Jerusalem, after a siege of five months, the most
desperate defense of a capital in the history of war. It fell
never to rise again as a Jewish metropolis. Never had a

142 The Roman Governors. [Chap. xii.

city greater misfortunes. Never was heroism accompanied
with greater fanaticism. Never was a prophecy more sig-
nally fulfilled.

The fall of Jerusalem was succeeded by "bloody combats
Consequen- before the whole country was finally subdued,
of Jerusalem With the final conquest the Jews were dispersed
among the nations, and their nationality was at an end.
Their political existence was annihilated. The capital was
destroyed, the temple demolished, and the royal house
extinguished, and the high priesthood buried amid the ruins
of the sacred places.

With the occupation of Palestine by strangers, and the
final dispersion of the Jews over all nations, who, without a
country, and without friends, maintained their institutions,
their religion, their name, their peculiarities, and their asso-
ciations, we leave the subject — so full of mournful interest,
and of impressive lessons. The student of history should see
in their prosperity and misfortunes the overruling Providence
vindicating his promises, and the awful majesty of eternal





We have seen that the Oriental world, so favored by-
nature, so rich in fields, in flocks, and fruits, failed Degeneracy
to realize the higher destiny of man. In spite tai states.
of all the advantages of nature, he was degraded by de-
basing superstitions, and by the degeneracy which wealth and
ease produced. He was enslaved by vices and by despots.
The Assyrian and Babylonian kingdom, that " head of gold,"
as seen in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, became inferior to the
" breast and arms of silver," as represented by the Persian
Empire, and this, in turn, became subject to the Grecian
States, " the belly and the thighs of brass." It is the nobler
Hellenic race, with its original genius, its enterprise, its stern
and rugged nature, strengthened by toil, and enterprise, and
war, that we are now to contemplate. It is Greece — the land
of song, of art, of philosophy — the land of heroes and freemen,
to which we now turn our eyes — the most interesting, and
the most famous of the countries of antiquity.

Let us first survey that country in all its stern ruggedness
and picturesque beaut v. It was small compared _ ., .

r # u * m r Boundaries

with Assyria or Persia. Its original name was of Greece.
Hellas, designated by a little district of Thessaly, which lay
on the southeast verge of Europe, and extended in length
from the thirty-sixth to the fortieth degree of latitude. It

14:4 Geography of Ancient Greece. [Chap. XIIL

contained, with its islands, only twenty-one thousand two
hundred and ninety square miles — less than Portugal or
Ireland, but its coasts exceeded the whole Pyrenean
peninsula. Hellas is itself a peninsula, bounded on the north
by the Cambunian and Ceraunian mountains, which sepa-
rated it from Macedonia ; on the east by the iEsegean Sea,
(Archipelago), which separated it from Asia Minor ; on the
south by the Cretan Sea, and on the west by the Ionian Sea.

The northern part of this country of the Hellenes is tra-
The moun- versed by a range of mountains, commencing at
Greece. Acra Ceraunia, on the Adriatic, and tending south-

east above Dodona, in Epirus, till they join the Cambunian
mountains, near Mount Olympus, which run along the coast
of the iEgean till they terminate in the southeastern part of
Between Os- Thessaly, under the names of Ossa, Pelion, and Tis-
pusTs thJfo- a3us. The great range of Pindus enters Greece at
Tempi' 1 e ° the sources of the Peneus, where it crosses the Cam-
bunian mountains, and extends at first south, and then east to
the sea, nearly inclosing Thessaly, and dividing it from the
rest of Greece. After throwing out the various spurs of
Othrys, CEta, and Corax, it loses itself in those famous haunts
of the Muses — the heights of Parnassus and Helicon, in Pho-
cis and Boeotia. In the southern part of Greece are the
mountains which intersect the Peloponnesus in almost every
part, the principal of which are Scollis, Aroanii, and Tayge-
tus. We can not emunerate the names of all these mountains ;
it is enough to say that no part of Europe, except Switzer-
land, is so covered with mountains as Greece, some of which
attain the altitude of perpetual snow. Only a small part of
the country is level.

The rivers, again, are numerous, but more famous for asso-
ciations than for navigable importance. The Peneus

Tlie rivers.

which empties itself into the iEgean, a little below
Tempe ; the Achelous, which flows into the Ionian Sea ; the
Alpheus, flowing into the Ionian Sea; and the Eurotas, which
enters the Laconican Gulf, are among the most considerable.
The lakes are numerous, but not large. The coasts are lined

Chap, xiii.] Natural Productions. 145

by bays and promontories, favorable to navigation in its
infancy, and for fishing. The adjacent seas are full of islands,
memorable in Grecian history, some of which are of con-
siderable size.

Thus intersected in all parts with mountains, and deeply
indented by the sea, Greece was both mountainous Natur ai a d-
aud maritime. The mountains, the rivers, the val- ™ mHi fn-
leys, the sea, the islands contributed to make the de P endeni;e -
people enterprising and poetical, and as each State was divid-
ed from every other State by mountains, or valleys, or gulfs,
political liberty was engendered. The difficulties of culti-
vating a barren soil on the highlands inured the inhabitants
to industry and economy, as in Scotland and New England,
while the configuration of the country strengthened the pow-
ers of defense, and shut the people up from those invasions
which have so often subjugated a plain and level country.
These natural divisions also kept the States from political
union, and fostei-ed a principle of repulsion, and led to an
indefinite multiplication of self-governing towns, and to
great individuality of character.

Situated in the same parallels of latitude as Asia Minor,
and the south of Italy and Spain, Greece pro- Natural
duced wheat, barley, flax, wine, oil, in the earliest ductioDS -
times. The cultivation of the vine and the olive was pecu-
liarly careful. Barley cakes were more eaten than wheaten.
All vegetables and fish were abundant and cheap. But little
fresh meat was eaten. Corn also was imported in consid-
erable quantities by the maritime States in exchange for figs,
olives, and oil. The climate, clear and beautiful to modern
Europeans, was less genial than that of Asia Minor, but more
bracing and variable. It also varied in various sections.

These various sections, or provinces, or states, into which
Greece was divided, claim a short notice.

The largest and most northerly State was Epirus, contain-
ing four thousand two hundred and sixty square
miles, bounded on the north by Macedonia, on the pirus '
east by Thessaly, on the south by Acarnania, and on


146 Geography of Ancient Greece. [Chap. XIII.

the west by the Ionian Sea. Though mountainous, it
was fertile, and produced excellent cattle and horses.
Of the interesting places of Epirus, memorable in history,
ranks first Dodona, celebrated for its oracle, the most
ancient in Greece, and only inferior to that of Delphi.
It was founded by the Pelasgi before the Trojan wai*-
and was dedicated to Jupiter. The temple was surround-
ed by a grove of oak, but the oracles were latterty delivered
by the murmuring of fountains. On the west of Epirus is
the island of Corcyra (Corfu), famous for the shipwreck of
Utysses, and for the gardens of Alcinous, and for having given
rise to the Peloponnesian war. Epirus is also distinguished
as the country over which Pyrrhus ruled. The Acheron, sup-
posed to communicate with the infernal regions, was one
of its rivers.

West of Epirus was Thessaly, and next to it in size, con-
taining four thousand two hundred and sixtv square

Thessaly. r . .

miles. It was a plain inclosed by mountains ; next
to Boeotia, the most fertile of all the States of Greece, abound-
ing in oil, wine, and corn, and yet one of the weakest and
most insignificant, politically. The people were rich, but
perfidious. The river Peneus flowed through the entire ex-
tent of the country, and near its mouth was the vale of Tempe,
the most beautiful valley in Greece, guarded by four strong-

At some distance from the mouth of the Peneus was
The famous Larissa, the city of Achilles, and the general
places. capital of the Pelasgi. At the southern extremity

of the lake Ca3las, the largest in Thessaly, was Pheroe, one
of the most ancient cities in Greece, and near it was the
fountain of Ilyperia. In the southern part of Thessaly was
Pharsalia, the battle-ground between Caasar and Pompey,
and near it was Pyrrha, formerly called Hellas, where was
the tomb of Hellen, son of Deucalion, whose descendants,
./Eolus, Dorus and Ion, are said to have given name to the three
nations, yEolians, Dorians, and Ionians. Still further south,
between the inaccessible cliffs of Mount QSta and the marshes

Chap. XIIi.] JElolia and Doris. 147

which skirt the Maliacus Bay, were the defiles of Ther-
mopylae, where Leonidas and three hundred heroes died
defending the pass, against the army of Xerxes, and which in
one place was only twenty-five feet wide, so that, in so narrow
a defile, the Spartans were able to withstand for three days
the whole power of Persia. In this famous pass the Amphic-
tyonic council met annually to deliberate on the common
affairs of all the States.

South of Epirus, on the Ionian Sea, and west of iEtolia,
was Acarnania, occupied by a barbarous people
before the Pelasgi settled in it. It had no historic
fame, except as furnishing on its waters a place for the de-
cisive battle which Augustus gained over Antony, at Actium,
and for the islands on the coast, one of which, Ithaca, a rug-
ged and mountainous island, was the residence of Ulysses.

JEtolia, to the east of Acarnania, and south of Thessaly,
and separated from Achaia by the Corinthian Gulf,
contained nine hundred and thirty square miles.
Its principal city was Thermon, considered impregnable, at
which were held splendid games and festivals. The iEtolians
W T ere little known in the palmy days of Athens and Sparta,
except as a hardy race, but covetous and faithless.

Doris was a small tract to the east of JEtolia, inhabited by
one of the most ancient of the Greek tribes — the

. . Doris.

Dorians, called so from Dorus, son of Deucalion,
and originally inhabited that part of Thessaly in which were
the mountains of Olympus and Ossa. From this section they
were driven by the Cadmeans. Doris was the abode of the
Heraclidse when exiled from the Peloponnesus, and which
was given to Hyllas, the son of Hercules, in gratitude by
^Egiminius, the king, who was reinstated by the hero in his
dispossessed dominion.

Locri Ozok-e was another small State, south of Doris, from
which it is separated bv the ran<;e of the Parnas-

1 jo Loon Ozolse

bus, situated on the Corinthian Gulf, the most
important city of which was Salona, surrounded on all sides
by hills. X aupactus was also a considerable place, known

148 Geography of Ancient Greece. [Chap. xiii.

in the Middle Ages as Lepanto, where was fought one of the
decisive naval battles of the world, in which the Turks were
defeated by the Venetians. It contained three hundred and
fifty square miles.

Phocis was directly to the east, bounded on the north by
Phocis Doris and the Locri Epicnemidii, and south by

the Corinthian Gulf. This State embraced six
hundred and ten square miles. The Phocians are known in
history from the sacred or Phocian war, which broke out in
357 b. c, in consequence of refusing to pay a fine imposed by
the Amphictyonic council. The Thebans and Locrians car-
ried on this war successfully, joined by Philip of Macedon,
who thus paved the way for the sovereignty of Greece. One
among the most noted places was Crissa, famed for the Pythian
games, and Delphi, renowned for its oracle sacred to Apollo.
The priestess, Pythia, sat on a sacred tripod over the mouth
of a cave, and pronounced her oracles in verse or prose.
Those who consulted her made rich presents, from which
Delphi became vastly enriched. Above Delphi towers Par-
nassus, the highest mountain in central Greece, near whose
summit was the supposed residence of Deucalion.

Boeotia was the richest State in Greece, so far as fertility
^ ,. of soil can make a State rich. It was bounded on


the north by the territory of the Locri, on the west
by Phocis, on the south by Attica, and on the east by the
Euboean Sea. It contained about one thousand square
miles. Its inhabitants were famed for their stolidity, and
yet it furnished Hesiod, Pindar, Corinna, and Plutarch to the
immortal catalogue of names. Its men, if stupid, were brave,
and its women were handsome. It was originally inhabited
by barbarous tribes, all connected with the Leleges. In its
southwestern part was the famous Helicon, famed as the seat
of Apollo and the Muses, and on the southei'n border was
Mount Citheeron, to the north of which was Platea, where the
Persians were defeated by the confederate Greeks under
Pausanias. Boeotia contained the largest lake in Greece —
Copaias, lamed for eels. On the borders of this lake was

Chap. XIII.] Attica. 149

Coronea, where the Thebans -were defeated by the Spartans.
To the north of Coronea was Chseronea, Avhere was fought
the great battle with Philip, which subverted the liberties
of Greece. To the north of the river JEsopus, a sluggish
stream, was Thebes, the capital of Boeotia, founded by Cad-
mus, whose great generals, Epaminondas and Pelopidas,
made it, for a time, one of the great powers of Greece.

The most famous province of Greece was Attica, bounded
on the north bv the mountains Cithaeron and Parnes,

J . Attica.

on the west by the bay of Saronicus, on the east by
the Myrtoum Sea. It contained but seven hundred square
miles. It derived its name from Atthis, a daughter of Cranaus ;
but its earliest name was Cecropia, from its king, Cecrops. It
was divided, in the time of Cecrops, into four tribes. On its
Avestern extremity, on the shores of the Saronic Gulf, stood
Eleusis, the scene of the Eleusinian mysteries, the most
famous of all the religious ceremonials of Greece, sacred to
Ceres, and celebrated every four years, and lasting for nine
days. Opposite to Eleusis was Salamis, the birthplace of
Ajax, Teucer, and Solon. There the Persian fleet of Xerxes
was defeated by the Athenians. The capital, Athens, founded
by Cecrops, 1556 b. c, received its name from the goddess
Neith, an Egyptian deity, known by the Greeks as Athena,
or Minerva. Its population, in the time of Pericles, was one
hundred and twenty thousand. The southernmost point of
Attica was Sunium, sacred to Minerva; Marathon, the scene
of the most brilliant victory which the Athenians ever
fought, was in the eastern part of Attica. To the southeast
of Athens was Mount Hymettus, celebrated for its flowers
and honey. Between Hymettus and Marathon was Mount
Pentelicus, famed for its marbles.

Megaris, another small State, was at the west of Attica s
between the Corinthian and the Saronican gulfs.

■ Megarla.

Its chief city, Megara, was a considerable place,
defended by two citadels on the hills above it. It was
celebrated as the seat of the Megaric school of philosophy,
founded by Euclid.

150 Geography of Ancient Greece. [Chap. xilL

The largest of the Grecian States was the famous peninsula
ThePeiopon- known as the Peloponnesus, entirely surrounded
its states. by water, except the isthmus of Corinth, four geo-
graphical miles wide. On the west was the Ionian Sea ; on
the east the Saronic Gulf and theMyrtoum Sea ; on the north
the Corinthian Gulf. It contained six thousand seven hundred
and forty-five square miles. It was divided into several
States. It was said to be left by Hercules on his death to
the Heraclidae, which they, with the assistance of the Dorians,
ultimately succeeded in regaining, about eighty years after
the Trojan war.

Of the six States into which the Peloponnesus was divided,
Achaia was the northernmost, and was celebrated for the
Achaean league, composed of its principal cities, as well as
Corinth, Sicyon, Phlius, Arcadia, Argolis, Laconia, Megaris,
and other cities and States.

Southwest of Achaia was Elis, on the Ionian Sea, in
which stood Olympia, where the Olympic games
were celebrated every four years, instituted by

Arcadia occupied the centre of the Peloponnesus, sur-
rounded on all sides by lofty mountains — a rich and
pastoral country, producing fine horses and asses.
It was the favorite residence of Pan, the god of shepherds,
and its people were famed for their love of liberty and music.

Online LibraryJohn LordAnceint states and empires → online text (page 12 of 55)