Charles Bucke.

Ruins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) online

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Sir W. Onseley says, " I explored the ruins of
villages, scattered over the plain in all directions near
our camp ; and some must have been considerable in
size and respectability from the handsome houses
which they contained. Although pillaged and depo-
pulated by the Afghans almost a century ago, many
of their chambers yet remain, with vaults and stair-
cases but little injured; yet no human IK!;
seen within their walls, except some traveller, who
wonders at finding himself alone in places, which
might be easily rendered habitable, situate not above
a mile from the walls of a great metropolis. It must
be confessed, that these ru ins composed of sun-dried
brick and mud, appear, like many edifices in Persia,
to much greater advantage on paper than in reality."

Morier, in his second journey into Persia, says :
"The great city of Isfahan, which Chardin has de-
scribed, is twenty-four miles in circumference, were it
to be weeded (if the expression may be used) of its
ruins, would now dwindle to a quarter that circum-
ference. One might suppose that God's curse had
extended over part of this city, as it did over
Babylon. Houses, bazaars, mosques, palaces, whole
streets, are to be seen in total abandonment ; and I
have rode for miles among its ruins without meeting


with any living creature, except, perhaps, a jackal
peeping over a wall, or a fox running to its hole.

" In a large tract of ruins," Mr. Morier goes on to
observe, " where houses, in different stages of decay,
were to be seen, now and then an inhabited house
may be discovered, the owner of which may be assi-
milated to Job's forlorn man, ' dwelling in desolate
cities, and which no man inhaliteth y which are ready
to become heaps* ' Such a remark as this must have
arisen from scenery similar to those which parts of
Isfahan present ; and unless the particular feeling of
melancholy which they inspire has been felt, no
words can convey any idea of itt."


THIS city {in Spain) is supposed to have been
founded by the Phoenicians, who give it the name of
Hispalis. It was afterwards colonized by the wounded
soldiers of Scipio. ' It was then called Julia, and at
last, after a variety of corruptions, Sebilla or Sevilla,
la Viega.

The Romans embellished it with many magnificent
edifices, but of which scarcely any vestige now

In regard to the new city, the Gothic kings for
some time made it their residence ; but it was taken
by storm soon after the victory obtained at Xeres,
over the Gothic king Rodrigo. t It at last fell before
Ferdinand III., after a year's siege ; and three hun-
dred thousand Moors were compelled to quit the
place ; notwithstanding which it became the most
magnificent city in all Spain, a little after the disco-
very of America ; all the valuable commodities of the
West Indies being carried thither.

* Job, chap. xv. ver. 28.

+ Ferilousa ; Kbu Hakekl ; Delia Valle ; Chardin ; Kinneir;
Porter ; Malcolm ; Malte-Brun ; Ouseley.

366 RUINS 01 1 CITIES.

An old Spanish writer thus speaks of this pL
"Not far fnmi limn- one MLS the rnnm nf an
titici, nt city ; and of an amphitheatre, great part of
which remains ; but many of the great parts lie in
such confusion, as if it had been thrown into disorder
by an earthquake. The people call this place Sevilla
la Vieja, or Old Seville ; but the learned take it to
be the ancient Italica, the birth-place of the emperor
Adrian and Silius Italicus ; there having been found
a sufficient number of ancient medals and inscriptions
to justify that opinion ; and amongst others, they
found a medal of Tiberius, with the following legend
And in the time of Fernando el Santo, the conqueror
of Seville (which was in the year 1248), this place
retained some traces of its ancient name ; for it was
called Talca. Some of the ruins appear to have
been the remains of a temple, and a bath. In the
spot near which many of these ruins arc to be seen,
there is a monastery of St. Isidore ; and in the church
there is an altar of alabaster, which can scarce be
matched in Europe*."


' How doth the city solitary sit, she that was full of people !
How is she become a widow, that was great among the nations!
Princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary !
She weepcth sore in the night, and her tear is upon her cheek :
She hath none to comfort her, among all her lovers:
All her friends have betrayed her, they became her enemies."

/.mi, a. i. I, 2.

" IN the whole universe," says Mr. Eustace,
" there were only two cities interesting alike to every
member of the great Christian commonwealth, to
every citizen of the civilised world, whatever may be
his tribe or nation Rome and Jerusalem. The
former calls up every classic recollection ; the lat-
ilippolito de Jose.


ter awakens every sentiment of devotion ; the one
brings before our eyes all the splendour of the pre-
sent world ; the other all the glories of the world to

Palestine, or the land of Canaan, originally ex-
tended in length from north to south, near two hun-
dred miles, and from eighty to fifteen in breadth,
from east to west. Its southern boundary was formed
by the desert of Beersheba, the Dead Sea, the river
Arnon, and the river of Egypt, or the Siehor ; to the
north, it was bounded by the mountainous ridge
called Antilibanus ; to the east by Arabia, and to the
west by the Mediterranean. Though rocky and
mountainous, it was one of the most fertile provinces
of the temperate zone ; a land, according to the
authority of the sacred penman, of brooks of waters,
of fountains, and depths, that spring out of valleys
and hills ; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines,
and fig-trees, and pomegranates ; a land of olive-oil,
and honey ; a land wherein bread might be eaten
without scarceness, whose stones were iron, and out
of whose hills might be dug brass.

In the midst of this highly favoured region stood
the city of Jerusalem, which, according to the Jewish
chronology, was founded by their high priest Mel-
chizedec, in the year of the world "2032. It was
then called Salem, a word signifying peace.*

* From the time that Solomon, by means of his temple, had
made Jerusalem the common place of worship to all Israel, it was
distinguished from the rest of the cities by the epithet Holy, and in
the Old Testament was called Air Hakkodesh, . e., the city of
holiness, or the holy city. It bore this title upon the coins, and
the shekel was inscribed Jerusalem Kedusha, t. e., Jerusalem
the Holy. At length Jerusalem, for brevity's sake, was omitted,
and only Kedusha reserved. The Syriac being the prevailing lan-
guage in Herodotus's time, Kedusha, by a change in that dialect
of sh into th, was made Kedutha ; and Herodotus, giving it a
Greek termination, it was writ KaSims, or Cadytis. PRIDEAUX'K


Joshua is supposed to have d>. -troyed -I. ni-aVm ;
tliat town, though not ni' ntioned, licin^ considered
to have been one of those that fought airain-i < Jil
the- king of whic-h was Adoni-zedek*.

The city was afterwards rebuilt by David, and
surrounded with fortifications, extending in wan Is
from the low grounds, called Millo, to the summit of
the mountain, on which he erected a citadel, destined
alike to be the great fortress of the nation, and the
sumptuous residence of its kings. The rich work of
the tabernacle, and the splendour which charaett
many of their ceremonies, had long tended to inspire
the Israelites with a taste for the elegant arts. David's
palace, we accordingly find, was a palace of cedar.
In raising this structure, the timber of Tyre and the
superior skill of its artificers were employed to
secure its beauty and stability. When completed,
the grace and majesty of the pile reminded the mon-
arch that, in taking up his abode in such a build-
ing, he should be more splendidly lodged than the
ark and visible emblem of Jehovah itself. With this
idea in his mind, he resolved upon erecting a build-
ing for the service of God, which should be as worthy
of its destination as the ability and piety of man
could make it.

This design, David not living to carry into execu-
tion, was followed up and completed by Solomon his
son. From the reign of Solomon to the final de-
struction of the city, it underwent many vicissitudes,
some of which we shall recite. In the fourth year
of Solomon's son, Rehoboam (B.C. 971), it was be-
sieged and taken by Sesac, king of Egypt, who car-

Conncxioo of the Old and New Testament, vol. i. part i. p. 80, 81,
8vo. edit.

And Joshua tmote all the country of the hill*, and of the
south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings;-
he left none remaining ; but utterly destroyed all that breathed,
a* the Lord God of Israel commanded. Joshua, ch. x. vcr. 40.


ried away the treasures of the temple, as well as
those of the royal palace.

In 826 B. c. the temple and palace were plundered
by Jehoash, and the walls demolished. In 608 B. c.
Jerusalem was taken by Nechao, king of Egypt.
It was next besieged by Sennacherib, king of Nineveh.
That prince having returned from Egypt, which he
had ravaged, and taken a great number of prisoners,
laid siege to it with a vast army. The city appeared
to be inevitably lost : it was without resource, and
without hope from the hands of men. It had, how-
ever, says the historian, " a powerful protector in
Heaven, whose jealous ears had heard the impious
blasphemies uttered by the king of Nineveh against
his sacred name. In one single night 185,000 men
of his army perished by the sword of the destroying

Jerusalem was soon after besieged by Nebuchad-
onosser and taken; when the conqueror caused
Jehoiakim to be put in chains with the design of
having him carried to Babylon ; but, being moved
with his affliction, he restored him to his throne. Great
numbers, however, of the Jews were carried captives
to Babylon, whither all the treasures of the king's
palace and a part of the temple were likewise trans-
ported. From this famous epoch we are to date the
captivity of the Jews at Babylon.

They having afterwards rebelled, the king came
from Babylon and besieged them anew. The siege
lasted nearly a year. At length the city was taken
by storm, and a terrible slaughter ensued. Zede-
kiah's two sons were, by Nebuchadnezzar's orders,
killed before their father's face, with all the noblemen
and principal men of Judah. Zedekiah himself had
both his eyes put out, was loaded with fetters, and
carried to Babylon, where he was confined in prison
as long as he lived. As to the city and temple, they


370 HI 1X8 OF ANCIT.NT <TMi:s.

were both pillaged and burned, and all their fortili-
cations demolished.

The kings of Persia soon after permitted the
Jews to rebuild the temple;* but not the walls.
Artaxerxes Epiphanes, however, issued an ediet that
they might rebuild their walls ; and Nehemiah, as
governor of Judea, was appointed to put this edict
in execution ; and, in order to do him higher honour,
the king ordered a body of horse to escort him
thither. He likewise wrote to all the governors of
the provinces on this side the Euphrates, to give him
all the assistance possible in forwarding the work for
which he was sent. This pious Jew did not fail to
execute every part of his commission with great
activity and zeal.

After the time of Nehemiah, Jerusalem enjoyed
peace till the year B. c. 33:?, when Alexander, ha\ iii^'
taken Tyre, demanded assistance of the Jews, and
being refused by the high-priest, who pleaded an
oath, made to Darius, not to take part with his
enemies ; the Macedonian was incensed, and repair-
ing to Jerusalem, determined to be avenged on the
city and its inhabitants ; but being met by a multi-
tude of people, dressed in white, the priests arrayed in
their robes, and the high priest in a garment of purple
and gold, having on his head a tiara, on which was
inscribed the name of the Lord, his passion subsided ;
and, approaching the high-priest, he offered his ado-
ration to God, and saluted all the Hebrews.

We pass over Alexander's entry into the city, be-

The emotion* which filled the mind* of those who witnessed
the lay in.' of the foundation of the temple were itrangely mingled.
All gave thank* to the Lord; and the multitude shouted with a
great ihout when the foundation* were laid; but, "many of the
priests and I^eviien, nnd chief of the father*, who were ancient men,
thai had sern the first house, when the foundation of this house was
id before their eyes, wept with aloud voice." EZRA, iii. J2.


cause enough will be said of that vain-glorious person,
in other pages of our work ; also the siege which
Ptolemy made it sustain, to the time when Antiochus
Epiphanes took it by storm ; and during three days
abandoned it to the fury of his soldiers. He caused
no less than 80,000 of its inhabitants to be inhumanly
butchered. Forty thousand meu, also, were taken
prisoners, and the like number sold to the neigh-
bouring nations. He committed, also, a thousand
other atrocities.

We now come to the period in which it was be-
sieged by another Antiochus, viz. Antiochus Sidetes.
Hircanus having been, by the death of Simon, ap-
pointed high -priest and prince of the Jews, Antiochus
marched with all possible haste, at the head of a
powerful army, to reduce Judea, and unite it to the
empire of Syria. Hircanus shut himself up in the
city, where he sustained a long siege with incredible
valour. At length he was compelled, by the. extre-
mity of his necessities, to make proposals of peace.
Several of the king's councillors, however, advised
him not to listen to any proposals of that nature.
" The Jews," said they, " were driven out of Egypt,
as impious persons, hated by the gods, and abhorred
by men. They are enemies to all the rest of man-
kind. They have no communication with any but
those of their own persuasion. They will neither
eat nor drink nor have any familiarity with other
people ; they do not adore the gods that we do ;
their laws, customs, manners, and religion, are entirely
different from those of all other nations ; they there-
fore deserve to be treated by all the nations with
equal contempt ; to receive hatred for hatred ; and
to be utterly extirpated."

Such was the language addressed to Antiochus ;
and had he not been devout and generous, says
Diodorus, this advice had been followed. He lis-
B B 2


tencd, however, to milder c<mn^cl>\ ami agreed that
the besieged should have lr.i\e to surrender their
arms; and that their fortifications bein^ demolished,
a peace should be granted. All this was done.

Some years after this, Jerusalem was taken pos-
session of by the Romans under the ooamtaM of
Pompcy the Great, and the temple carried by storm.
There were two parties in the city. One, the adher-
ents of Ilircanus, opened the gates ; the other retired
to the mountain where the temple stood, and caused
the bridges of the ditch and valley which surrounded
it to be broken down. Upon this, Pompey, who
was already master of the city, ventured to besiege
the temple. The place held out three months, and
might, perhaps, have done so for three months longer,
and, perhaps even obliged the Romans to abandon
their enterprise, but for the rigour with which the
l>esieged thought proper to observe the sabbath.
They believed, indeed, that they might defend them-
selves when attacked ; but not that they might pre-
vent the works of the enemy, or make any for them-
selves. The Romans knew how to take advantage
of this inaction on sabbath-days. They did not
attack the Jews upon them ; but filled up the fosses,
made their approaches, and fixed their engines with-
out opposition. At length, being able to make a
breach in the walls, the place was carried by the
sword, and not less than 1 2,000 persons were slain.
The victors entered the temple ; and Pompey went
even so far as to penetrate to the Holy of Holies, and
altered the name of Jerusalem (then called Ilicroso-
lyma) to Hierosolymarius. Not long after, Cras-
sus, marching against the Parthians, entered the
temple, the treasures of which Pompey held sacred,
and rifled it of a sum equivalent, in our money, to

Pom pey caused the walls to be demolished :


Caesar afterwards caused them to be rebuilt ; and
Antipater, executing that commission, soon put the
city into as good a position of defence as it had been
before the demolition. Notwithstanding this, Jeru-
salem became subject to another siege by the Romans,
acting in behalf of Herod, with 60,000 men. The
place held out many months with great resolution ;
and if the besieged had been as expert in the art of
war and the defence of places, as they were brave
and resolute, it would not, perhaps, have been taken.
But the Romans, who were much better skilled in
those things than they, carried the place, after a
siege of more than six months. They entered, made
themselves masters, plundered and destroyed all
'before them, and filled every part of the city with
blood. The crown of all Judea was soon after
placed in the hands of a stranger, an Idumean
(Herod); in whose reign Jesus Christ was born.

During the reign of Herod the Great, Jerusalem
was much enlarged and embellished. He erected a
superb palace, a theatre, and an amphitheatre. He,
also, projected the design of enlarging the temple,*
which had been erected after the return of the Jews
from the Babylonian captivity ; and, having begun
the work in the eleventh year of his reign, he com-
pleted it in eight years.

Tacitus call this erection " immensee opulentiee
templum ;" and Josephus says, " it was the most
astonishing temple he had ever seen, as well on ac-
count of its architecture as its magnitude ; the rich-
ness and magnificence of its various parts, and the
reputation of its sacred appurtenances." This temple
Herod began to build about sixteen years before the
birth of Christ. It was so far completed in nine
years and a half, as to be fit for divine service : and
what is very remarkable, it was afterwards destroyed
* Besides this, he built another temple.


by the Romans, in tin- same inontli and day of the
month, in which Solomon's temple had l:een destm\ -
ed by the Babylonians.

In its most flourishing state Jerusalem was di-
vided into four parts, each separated by a wall. \i/.
1. The old city of Jcbus, standing on Mount /ion,
where David built a magnificent palace and ca-tle.
This part was called tbe city of David. "2. The
lower city; called tbe Daughter of Zion, in which
part Solomon built two magnificent palaces, for him-
self and bis queen ; and which contained that of the
Alaccabcan princes; and tbe amphitheatre of Herod.
Also the citadel of Antiochus; and lastly the citadel
built by Herod, upon a high rock, and thence called
Antonia. 3. The " New City ;" mostly inhabited by*
merchants, tradesmen, and mechanics. 4. Mount
Moriah ; on which Solomon built his temple.

The height of the temple thus repaired is said to
have been one thousand two hundred feet. The
stones of which it was built were all of marble,
forty cubits long, twelve thick, eight high, and so
exquisitely joined that they appeared to be of one
combined piece. There were one thousand four hun-
dred and fifty-three columns of Parian marble, and
two thousand nine hundred and six pilasters, of such
thickness, that three men could hardly embrace them;
and their height and capital proportionable, and all
of the Corinthian order.* All the materials of the
original fabric were, as it is well known, finished
and adapted to their several ends before they were
brought to Jerusalem : that is, the stones in their
quarries, and the cedars in I^ebanon ; so that there
was no noise of axe, hammer, or any other tool,
heard in the rearing of it. There were no less than

* Some have thought that this description, which i from JOM-
phus, applies rather to the temple of Herod-


one hundred and sixty-three thousand men employ-
ed in this work ; and yet it took nine years in the

The expense of building this wonderful structure
was prodigious : the gold and silver employed for
this purpose, amounted to 800,000,000^. sterling,
which, according to Prideaux's calculation, was a
sum equal to have built the whole of solid silver ;
but it can scarcely be questioned, we think, that
some error has crept into the account* : There could
not have been so much bullion, much less coin, at
that time in the world.

In ancient Jerusalem there were ten gates and four
towers. Its extent was about one mile. In Solomon's
time, this extent appears to have been twice, if not
thrice, more. In the time of Titus it was four miles
125 paces. Eusebius lays the circumference at 2550

AVe must now proceed to give some account of the
destruction of the city by Titust : and in doing so we

* It is remarkable that the sum mentioned is equal to the British
national debt.

f " Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyful-
ness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things ;
therefore shall thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send
against thce, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in
want of all things : and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck,
until he have destroyed thee. The Lord shall bring a nation against
thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth;
a nation whose tongue thou shall not understand ; a nation of
fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor
show favour to the young : and he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle,
and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed : which also shall
not leave thee either com, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine,
or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall
besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come
down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land : and he
shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which
the Lord thy God hath given thee. And thou shall eat the fruit of


shall adopt the description j>r.- utrl 1>\- the author

of " On the Beauties, Harmonies, and Sublimities of


** The war began in the month of May, A. D. 66 ;
and the siege left to the management of Titus, April
14, A. D. 70. Previous to the siege, the city was
a prey to the most intolerable anarchy ; robbers
having broken into it, and filled almost every li
with thieves, assassins, and broilers, of every descrip-
tion. The best citizens were thrown into prisons, an* I
afterwards murdered, without even a form of trial.
At this time Titus appeared before the gates a vast
multitude having previously arrived in the city to
celebrate the feast of the passover. During this cele-
brated siege, there were no less than three earth-
quakes ; and an aurora boreal is terrified the inhabit-
ants with forms, which their fears and astonishment
converted into prodigies of enemies fighting in the air.
and flaming swords hanging over their temple. They
were visited with a plague, so dreadful, that more
than one hundred and fifty thousand persons were
carried out of the city, at the public charge, to be
buried ; and six hundred and fifty thousand were

thine owu body, the flesh of thy tons and of thy daughters, which the
Lord thy God hath givcu thce, in the siege, and in the straitnesi,
wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee : to that the man that
is tender among you and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward
his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the rem-
nant of his children which he shall leave : so that he will not givo
to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat : be-
cau-c he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the itiaitncss,
wherewith thine enemies shall distress thce in all thy gates. The
tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure
to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for dclicatcnessand ten-
derness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom,
and toward her son, and toward her daughter, and toward her chil-
dren which the shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all
things secretly in the siege and utraitncss wherewith thine enemy

Online LibraryCharles BuckeRuins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) → online text (page 29 of 36)