Copyright
Charles Bucke.

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

. (page 30 of 36)
Online LibraryCharles BuckeRuins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) → online text (page 30 of 36)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


shall distress thce in thy gates." DIUT. xxviii. 47 57.



RUINS OF ANCIENT CITIES. 377

cast over the walls, and out of the gates. A famine
ensued ; and so horrible was the want, that a bushel
of corn sold for six hundred crowns. The populace
were reduced to the necessity of taking old excre-
ment of horses, mules, and oxen, to satisfy their hun-
ger ; and a lady of quality even boiled her own child
and ate it a crime so exquisite, that Titus vowed to
the eternal Gods, that he would bury its infamy in
the ruins of the city. He took it soon after by
storm ; the plough was drawn over it ; and with the
exception of the west walls, and three towers, not
one stone remained above another. Ninety thousand
persons were made captives ; and one million one
hundred thousand perished during the siege. Those
made captives being sold to several nations, they were
dispersed over a great portion of the ancient world ;
and from them are descended the present race of Jews,
scattered singly, and in detached portions, in every
province of Europe, and in most districts of Africa
and Asia. Thus terminated this memorable siege
a siege the results of which meet the eye in every
Jew we meet."

The Jews having, in the reign of Adrian, given way
to a turbulent disposition, that emperor resolved to
level all things to the ground that is, those build-
ings which the Jews had erected to destroy the
towers, that were left by Titus for the convenience of
the Roman garrison ; and to sow salt in the ground
on which the city had stood. Thus did Adrian
literally fulfil the prophecy, that neither in the city,
nor in the temple, should one stone be left upon
another. This final destruction took place forty-
seven years after that of Titus.

A new city, under the name of JE\\& Capitolina,
was soon after built, where the presence of the Jews
was absolutely prohibited. In this new city, the
Christians were sometimes persecuted, and sometimes



378 HI-INS or \M irvr ( i :

protected, by the RoOUUI iiiprmrs, till tin- time when
the riii]m -s Jlrlciia raiiie to visit tin- citv ; when,
finding it in a most forlorn and ruinous condition, >he
formed tin- design of r. >turiii:r it to its ancient lu>tic ;
and her son, Constantine, having embraced the Chris-
tian doctrine, he issued an edict, that the old name of
Jerusalem should be employed when speaking of the
city.

A few years after, an attempt was made to rebuild
the temple by the emperor Julian, an nth-nipt which
is recorded as having proved abortive, from fiery
eruptions escaping out of the earth, and dispersing
the workmen.

In the reign of Justinian, that emperor built a
magnificent church at Jerusalem; the foundation
being formed by raising part of a deep valley. Tin-
stones of a neighbouring quarry were hewn into
regular forms ; each block was fixed on a peculiar
carriage drawn by forty of the strongest oxen, and
the roads were widened for the passage of such
enormous weights. Lebanon furnished her loftiest
cedars for the timbers of the church ; and the season-
able discovery of a vein of red marble supplied its
beautiful columns ; two of which, the supporters -of
the extensive portico, were esteemed the largest in
the world.

In 613, Jerusalem was taken by Chosroes, king
of Persia. The sepulchre of Christ and the stately
churches of Helena and Constantine were consumed ;
the devout offerings of three hundred years were
rifled, " the true cross" was transported into Persia ;
and the massacre of ninety thousand Christians is
imputed to the Jews and Arabs, who swelled the
disorder of the Persian march.

It was recaptured by Heraclius in 627. This
emperor banished all the Jews, and interdicted
them from coining nearer to it than three miles.



RUINS OF ANCIENT CITIES. 379

Nine years after this, Jerusalem was taken by
Khaled, one of Omar's generals. Omar being apprised
of this success of his arms, immediately set out to visit
the Holy City. He was attended in his journey by
a numerous retinue. He rode upon a red camel, and
carried with him two sacks of provision and fruits.
Before him he had a leather bottle containing water,
and behind him a wooden platter, out of which many
of his retinue ate in common with himself. His
clothes were made of camels' hair, and were in a very
tattered condition ; and the figure he made was mean
and sordid to the last degree. On the morning after
his arrival, he said prayers and preached to his troops.
After the conclusion of his sermon, he pitched his
tcht within sight of the city. There he signed the
articles of capitulation ; by which the inhabitants
were entitled to the free exercise of their religion,
the possession of their property, and his protection.

It continued under the caliphs of Bagdad till A. D.
868, when it was taken by a Turkish sovereign of
Egypt ; during the space of two hundred and twenty
years it was subject to several masters, Turkish and
Saracenic ; and in 1099, it was taken by the cru-
saders under Godfrey of Bouillon, who was elected
king. He was succeeded by his brother Baldwin,
who died A. D. 1118, and having no son, his eldest
daughter, Melisandra, conveyed the kingdom into
her husband's family. In A". . 1 1 88, Saladin, sultan
of the East, captured the city, assisted by Raymond,
count of Tripoli, who was found dead in his bed on the
morning of the day on which he was to have delivered
tip the city. It was restored in 1242 to the Latin princes
by Salah Ismael, emir of Damascus. They lost it in
1291 to the sultans of Egypt, who held it till Io82.
Selim, the Turkish sultan, reduced Egypt and Syria,
including Jerusalem, in 1517, and his son Solyman
built the present walls in 1534. It continues to the



380 RUINS OF ANCIKXT CITIES.

present day under the Turkish dominion, fulfilling
the jro]>liiry, that it "should be trodden down of
the (Jentiles." It is not, therefore, only in tin;
history of Josephus, and in other ancient writers,
that we are to look for the aoeompliahment of
Christ's prediction ; we see them verified at this mo-
ment before our eyes, in the desolate state of this
once celebrated city and temple, and in the pn-. nt
condition of the Jewish people ; not collected toge-
ther into any one country, into one political society,
and under one form of government, but dispersed into
every region of the globe, and everywhere treated
with contumely and scorn.

We now proceed to give some account of the city,
as it now stands, from various travellers who have,
visited it ; confining ourselves, however, almost en-
tirely to what may be called its antiquities.

The following particulars in regard to the approach
to Jerusalem are from the pen of Mr. Robinson.

" As we approach Jerusalem, the road becomes
more and more rugged, and all the appearance of
vegetation ceases ; the rocks are scantily covered with
soil, and what little verdure might have existed in
the spring, is in the autumn entirely burnt up.
There is a like absence of animal life ; and it is no
exaggeration to say, here man dwelleth not ; the
beast wandereth not; the bird flieth not; indeed,
nothing indicates the approach to the ancient me-
tropolis of Judea, unless it be the apparent evidences
of a curse upon its soil, impressed in the dreadful
character* just mentioned, whilst the * inhabitants
thereof,' are * scattered abroad.' Oftentimes on the
road was I tempted to exclaim, like the stranger that
was come from a strange land, ' Wherefore hath tho
Lord done this unto the land ? what meaneth the
heat of this great anger* ?'"

* Dent. xxix. 22,24,27.



KUINS OF ANCIENT CITIES. 381

Dr. Clarke, however, was nevertheless struck with
its grandeur. He says that, instead of a wretched
and ruined town, as he had expected, he beheld a
flourishing and stately metropolis, domes, towers,
palaces, and monasteries, shining in the sun's rays
with inconceivable splendour. " Like many other
ancient places," says a French commentator on this
account, " it no doubt presents two aspects ; a mix-
ture of magnificence and paltriness."

To the southward of the site of Bethlehem stands
the city castle*. It is composed of towers connected
by curtains, which form two or three enclosures,
the interior successively commanding the exterior.
A few old guns, mounted on broken carriages, are
planted on its walls to keep the Arabs in awe. The
castle is sometimes called the castle of Daniel ; and
sometimes of the Pisans, having been erected by
that people when the city was in the hands of the
Christians. From one of the windows looking north,
travellers are shown the site of the house of Uriah ;
and a piece of ground attached to it, and just within the
walls, an old tank, called Bathsheba's bath. But the
place where the latter was bathing, when seen by the
amorous monarch, was more probably the great basin
lying in the ravine to the south of the castle at the
foot of Mount Zion, and called the lower pool of
Gihon.

The sides of the hill of Zion have a pleasing appear-
ance ; as they possess a few olive-trees and rude
gardens, and a crop of corn was growing there when
Mr. Carne visited it. On its southern extremity is
the mosque of David, which is held in the highest
reverence by the Turks, who affirm that the remains
of that monarch, and his son Solomon, were interred
there.

* Robiuson.



Kl'IN> Hi 1 AM I KM (I !

The palace of Pilate is now a Turkish residence,
and stands near to the gateway l>y which ( 'lirist was led
thence to Calvary, to lie crucified. Men- is pointed
out the spot on which Pilate presented Jesus to the
people, declaring he could find no guilt in him ; the
place on which he fainted under the weight of the
cross, and where the Virgin' swooned, also, at the
sight ; the spot where Veronica gave him her hand-
kerqhief to wipe his forehead ; and lastly, where the
soldiers compelled Simon of Cyrene to bear his cross.
In the palace the monk points out the room where
Christ was confined before iris trial ; and at a short
distance is a dark and ruinous hall, shown as the arch
where Christ stood till his judge exclaimed " Behold
the man * ! '*

One of the streets is said to be the same where
Christ made his first appearance after his resurrec-
tion; and in the same street stands an Armenian
convent, erected over the spot on which James, the
brother of John, was beheaded. This is one of the
finest buildings in Jerusalemt. At a short distance
is a small church, said to be erected on the spot
where formerly stood the house of the high-priest
Annas ; and, a little farther on, another which marks
the house of Caiaphas ; while, just beyond the gate,
the attention is directed to a mosque, where the
house stood in which Christ ate his last supper.

The mosque of Omar, which occupies the site of
the Jewish temple, loses nothing of its grandeur or
beauty on a near approach. The spacious pave>l
courts, the flights of steps, and surrounding arcades,

* Buckingham.

t The patriarch, says an accomplished traveller, makes his ap-
pearance in a flowing vent of rilk, instead of a monkish habit, and
every thing around him bear* the character of Eastern magnificence.
He receive* his vUitnis in rogal statclinets ; sitting among cloudi
of incvnsc, and regaling thcui with all the luxuriance of a Pctiiao
court.



RUINS OF ANCIENT CITIES. 383

the dark tall cypress-trees and running fountains,
and the largp octagonal body of the mosque, with its
surrounding domes, produce altogether the finest
effect, and increase the desire to enter its forbidden
walls. It is said to be the most magnificent piece of
architecture in the Turkish empire ; far superior to
the mosque of St. Sophia in Constantinople. By
the sides of the spacious area in which it stands are
several vaulted remains ; and evidence is said tq be
capable of proving, that they belonged to the foun-
dation of Solomon's temple*.

Chateaubriand says, that he was strongly tempted
to find some mode of penetrating to the interior of
the mosque ; but was prevented by the fear, that he
might thereby involve the whole Christian population
of Jerusalem in destruction. Dr. Richardson, how-
ever, succeeded in gratifying a similar curiosity,
which he shared in common with a host of other
travellers.

The Tomb of Zacharias is square, with four or five
pillars, and is cut out of the rock. Near this is a sort
of grotto, hewn out of the elevated part of the rock,
with four pillars in front, which is said to have
been the apostles' prison at the time they were con-
fined by the rulers.

At a small distance within the gates of St. Ste-
phen, that fronts Olivet, is the pool of Bethesda, said
. to be the scene of one of Christ's most striking miracles.
The pool is at present dry, and its bed nearly filled
up with earth and rubbish. Wild tamarisk bushes
and pomegranate trees spread their foliage round it ;
but, according to Chateaubriand, the mason- work of
the sides, composed of large stones, joined together
by iron cramps, may still be traced ; making the
measurement of this reservoir to have been in width

* Dr. Clarke.



384 1U 1X8 OF ANCII.NT CITIES.

40 feet, anil in length 15Q. At it- .a -tern ml arc
some arches dammed ujt. It is evidently tin- most
ancient work in -Jeni-alem, and, as stidi, is an in-
teresting specimen of the primitive aivhit> rtuiv of
its inhabitants. All travellers seem to agree that
this was the pool of liethesda, im-mnralile in the
Gospel history as the scene of the paralytic, related in
St. John. It was here, perhaps, that the sheep
marked, preparatory to the sacrifices ot tin temple*.

" At about two-thirds of the ascent of the Mount
of Olives," says Mr. Robinson, "we were slm\vn the
place where our Lord, looking do\Mi upon the city,
wept over its impending fate. ' Seest thmi these
great buildings ? There shall not be left one stone
upon another, that shall not be thrown downt.' "

" From the summit," says Mr. Carne, " you enjoy
an admirable view of the city. It is beneath, and
very near, and looks, with its valleys around it, like
a panorama. This noble mosque of Omar, and large
area, planted with palms, its narrow streets, ruinous
places and towers, are all laid out before you, as you
have seen Naples and Corfu in Leicester-square. On
the summit are the remains of a church, built by the
empress Helena ; and in a small edifice, containing
one large and lofty apartment, is shown the print of
the last footsteps of Christ, when he took his leave of
earth."

" About forty years," says Dr. Clarke, " before
the idolatrous profanation of the Mount of Olives by
Solomon, his afflicted parent, driven from Jerusalem
by his son Absalom, came to this eminence to present
a less offensive sacrifice, and, as it is beautifully ex-
pressed by Adichomius, * flcns et nudis pedibus
adoravit,' what a scene does the sublime description,
given by the prophet, picture to the imagination of

* Uobinsoii. t Matt. xiii. 2.



feUINS OP ANCIENT CITIES. 385

every one who has felt the influence of filial piety,
but especially of the traveller, standing upon the very
spot where the aged monarch gave to heaven the
offering of his wounded spirit. " And David went up
by the ascent of Mount Olives, and wept as he went
up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot,
and all the people that was with him covered every
man his head ; and they went up weeping."

On the top of the mount are the remains of several
works, the history of which has been lost. Among
these are several subterraneous chambers. One of
them has the shape of a cone, of very large size. It
is upon the very pinnacle of the mountain.

*' The Mount of Olives," says Mons. La Martine,
*' slopes suddenly and rapidly down to the deep
abyss, called the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which sepa-
rates it from Jerusalem. From the bottom of this
sombre and narrow valley, the barren sides of which
are everywhere paved with black and white stones,
the funereal stones of death, rises an immense hill,
with so abrupt an elevation, that it resembles a fallen
rampart : no tree here strikes its roots ; no moss even
can here fix its filaments. The slope is so steep that
the earth and stones continually roll from it, and it
presents to the eye only a surface of dry dust, as if
powdered cinders had been thrown upon it. From
the heights of the city, towards the middle of this
hill, or natural rampart, rise high and strong walls of
large stones, not . externally sawed by the mason,
which conceal their Hebrew and Roman foundations
beneath the same cinders, and are here from fifty to
one hundred, and further on, from two to three hun-
dred feet in height. The walls are here cut by three
city gates, two of which are fastened up, and the only
one open before us seems as void and as desolate as
if it gave entrance to an uninhabited town. The
walls, rising again beyond this gate, sustain a large

VOL. i. c c



886 HIT

ami vast terrace, which runs uloni: two-thirds of the
bb of Jerusalem, on the eastern si.le ; ami. jml^in^
by the eye. may le a thousand feet in length, ami
five or six hnmlred in breadth. It is nearly level,
except at its centre, where it sinks insensibly, ns if
to recall to the eye the rll<-i/ <>f filth <l''/>t/t, which
formerly separated the hill of Sinn from the city of
Jerusalem. This magnificent platform, prepared no
doubt by nature, but evidently finished by the han-l
of man, was the sublime pedestal upon which arose
the temple of Solomon. It now supports two Turkish
mosques."

Acra Hill* rose to the north of Sion, the east side
facing mount Moriah, on which the temple was
situated, and from which this hill was separated only
by a chasm, which the Asmoneans partly filled up
by lowering the summit of Acra. As we are in-
formed by Josephus, Antiochus Epiphanes erected
a fortress upon it to overawe the city and the temple ;
which fortress, having a Greek or Macedonian
rison, held out against the Jews till the time of Simon,
who demolished it, and at the same time levelled the
summit of the hill.

The east side of Mount Moriaht bordered the valley
of Kedron, commonly called the Valley of Jehoshaph at,
which was very deep: the south side, overlooking a
very low spot, (the Tyropceon,) was faced, from top
to bottom, with a strong wall, and had a bridge going
across the valley for its communication with Sinn.
The east side looked towards Acra, the appearance of
which from the temple is compared byJosephus to a
theatre; and on the north side an artificial ditch, says
the same historian, separated the temple from a hill
named Ik'getha, which was afterwards joined to the
town, by an extension of its area.

The loftiest, the most extensive, and in all respects
~~~ fid.



RUINS OP ANCIENT CITIES. 387

the most conspicuous eminence, included within the site
of the ancient city, was that of Sion, called the Holy
Hill, and the citadel of David. This we have positive
authority for fixing on the south of the city. David
himself saith, " Beautiful for situation, the joy of the
whole earth, is Mount Zion ; on the sides of the north
the city of the great King *."

" On its summit," says La Martine, "at some
hundred paces from Jerusalem, stands a mosque and
a group of Turkish edifices, not unlike an European
hamlet, crowned with its church and steeple. This
is Sion ! the palace, the tomb of David ! the seat of
his inspiration and of his joys, of his life and his
repose ! A spot doubly sacred to me, who have so
often felt my heart touched, and my thoughts rapt by
the sweet singer of Israel, the first poet of sentiment,
the king of lyrics. Never have human fibres vibrated
to harmonies so deep, so penetrating, so solemn ; all
the most secret murmurs of the human heart found
their voice and their note on the lips and the heart of
this minstrel ! and if we revert to the remote period
when such chants were first echoed on the earth ; if
we consider that at the same period the lyric poetry of
the most cultivated nations sang only of wine, love, and
war, and the victories of the muses, or of the coursers
at the Eleian games, we dwell with profound astonish-
ment on the mystic accents of the prophet king, who
addresses God the Creator, as friend talks to friend,
comprehends and adores his wonders, admires his
judgments, implores his mercies, and seems to be an
anticipating echo of the evangelic poetry, repeating
the mild accents of Christ, before they had been
heard. Prophet or poet, as he is contemplated by
the philosopher or Christian, neither of them can deny
the poet king an inspiration, bestowed on no other

* Buckingham.

cc2



388 nrixs OF AMIKNT rmr.

man! Jvea<l Horace or I'lndur after a Psalm ? For

my part I cannot !"

Near Jerusalem is a spot called Tophet, which is a
ravine, whirh contains several ancient tombs, marked
witli Hebrew and Greek inscriptions. This valley is
remarkable for the barbarous worship here paid to
Moloch ; to which deity parents often sacrificed theif
offspring by making them pass through tho fire. To
drown the lamentable shrieks of the children* thus im-
molated, musical instruments were played. After the
captivity the Jews regarded this spot with abhorrence,
on account of the abominations which had been prac-
tised there ; and following the example of Josiaht,
they threw into it every species of filth, as well as the
carcases of animals, and the dead bodies of malefac-
tors ; and to prevent the pestilence which such a mass
would occasion, if left to putrefy, constant fires were
maintained in the valley in order to consume the
whole ; hence the place received the appellation of
Gehenna.

All round the hill of SionJ, and particularly on
that facing the Valley of 1 1 iiiin.ni. are numerous ex-
cavations which may have been habitations of tho
living, but are more- generally taken for sepulchres
of the dead. They are numerous and varied, both
in their sizes and forms ; and are supposed to have
been the tombs of the sons of Ileth, of the kings of
Israel, of Lazarus, and of Christ.

The modern sepulchres of the unfortunate Jews
are scattered all around. The declivities of Sion
and Olivet are covered with small and ill-shaped
stones, disposed with little order : Here are the
tombs of their fathers.

The sepulchres of the kings of Judah consist of a
series of subterranean chambers, extending in dif-

* 2 Kingi zxiii. 10, 12. 2 Cliron. zzvii. 3. f 2 King* zziii. 10.
1 Brewitcr.



RUINS OP ANCIENT CITIES. 889

fcrcnt directions, so as to form a sort of labyrinth,
resembling the still more wonderful example, lying
westward of Alexandria, in Egypt, by some called
" the Sepulchres of the Ptolemies." Each chamber
contains a certain number of receptacles for dead
bodies, not being much larger than our coffins. The
taste, manifested in the interior of these chambers,
denotes a late period in the history of the arts. The
skill and neatness visible in the carving is admirable,
and there is much of ornament in several parts of
the work. There are, also, slabs of marble, exqui-
sitely sculptured. These sepulchres are not those of
the kings of Judah. Some suppose they may have
been constructed by Agrippa, who extended and
beautified this quarter of the city ; but the most
current opinion is, that they were the work of He-
lena, queen of Aliabene, and her son Izatus.

The Sepulchres of the Patriarchs face that part
of Jerusalem where the Temple of Solomon was
formerly erected. The antiquities which particu-
larly bear this name, are four in number : these are
the sepulchres of Jehoshaphat, of Absalom, the cave
of St. James, and the sepulchre of Zechariah.
These tombs display an alliance of the Egyptian
and Grecian taste, " forming, as it were," says Cha-
teaubriand, " a link between the Pyramids and the
Parthenon." " In order to form the sepulchres of
Absalom and Zechariah," says Dr. Clarke, " the
solid substance of the mountain has been cut away;
sufficient areas being thereby excavated, two monu-
ments of prodigious size appear in the midst ; each
seeming to consist of a single stone, although stand-
ing as if erected by an architect, and adorned with
columns, appearing to support the edifice, whereof
they are, in fact, integral parts ; the whole' of each
mausoleum being of one entire block of stone. These
works may, therefore, be considered as belonging to



300 Ilf INS OP ANCIENT CM

sculpture, rather than to architecture : for, immense
as these are, they appeared sculptured instead of
being built. The columns are of that ancient style
and character, which yet appear among the works
left by Ionian and Dorian colonies, in tin' remains of



Online LibraryCharles BuckeRuins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) → online text (page 30 of 36)