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THE MODERN TOWN.
At the distance of more than a mile from the shore, the southern hills present a remarkable appearance, as if studded with rows of yellowish white spots, which, upon a nearer inspection, develope the contour of porticoes and the façades of temples, but which, on examination, prove to be the celebrated rock-carved sepulchres of this ancient Doric colony. The modern town of Macri is a collection of miserable houses, huddled together without even an attempt at regularity; it stands upon a low point of rock, and is, in fact, partly surrounded by the ancient walls. It is well supplied with pure water, which springs out of the rocks in several places, and is distributed through the town; it is included in the bashalic of Rhodes, is governed by an Aga, and its inhabitants are now mostly Greeks. Some of the females whom we met were noble-looking, but had the sallow aspect produced by the unhealthy situation of the place. The only peculiarity in their dress consisted in three large silver clasps, which confined the boddice over the bosom. This ornament is common all over the country, and is a remnant of the ancient Greek costume. Salt is procured here by enclosing sheets of shallow sea-water, which in dry weather evaporates, leaving a saline crust on the sand similar to that at lake Mareotis. In one of these ponds, at the period of our visit, were innumerable grey mullet, which the natives spear with great dexterity; and thousands of water-fowl abound in these lagoons.
For many years past, this place has been the southern point of communication between the Porte and her colonies in Egypt and Syria; couriers are always in readiness to transmit dispatches, and camels and horses can be always procured for travelling. Owing to this constant intercourse with Constantinople, the village is seldom free from disease for six months at a time. Plague generally lurks within it or in its neighbourhood; and it suffers periodically from intermittent fever, which generally breaks out in the month of May.
Since Egypt and Syria have changed masters, Macri has continued to decrease in every respect except in disease. A few months ago, plague was introduced by some Turkish soldiers ; and although no case had occurred lately within the town itself, a small village, about four hours' journey from it, had been nearly depopulated. The place had a most forsaken look at the time of our visit; and the extreme quiet that prevailed, with the sur
village, aboo bad occurrenced by some
THE TOMBS OF TELMESSUS.
rounding tombs and ruins, and the paucity of its inhabitants, gave it a most dreary and desolate appearance. Its exports are inconsiderable, and at present consist of timber, tar, salt, and' honey ; but even these have decreased very much of late.
Around Macri, on all sides, are the remains of the ancient Telmessus; we commence with the most remarkable—its tombs.
These here present a mixture of the Asiatic and the Egyptian, the Persepolitan and modern Grecian. The greater number of them extend over a rugged valley to the east of the town, but numerous detached soroi are scattered on all sides. History records no spot that contains so many different forms of tombs, or that affords such opportunities of studying the modes of burial practised by the ancients; for, with the exception of the pyramidal, we have here nearly every species of sepulchre, from the simple mound of earth, or barrow, to the elaborately wrought mausoleum carved in the living rock. They may all be classed under four heads. First, we have the simple grave, or Barrow,
1, and then to that of a Stan Oak Creeks. at
formed by a mound of earth heaped over the body of one or more persons. That this primitive form of interment was that first adopted by man, I think there can be little doubt. When Adam was expelled from Eden, and the curse passed upon his posterity, it was said that he should return to the ground from whence he was taken; and the first written record of a grave is that erected over Deborah, whom Jacob buried under an oak in Bethel. Among many of the early nations, especially the Greeks, and Romans, a certain degree of disgrace was attached to the exposure of a dead body; and when such was found, it was incum-bent on the passers-by to throw three handfuls of earth upon it, and by this means a tumulus or barrow was formed. It is remarkable that this custom has been preserved even to the present day in Ireland, where in cases of murder, sudden or unnatural death, the peasant stops, crosses himself, and throws three stones upon the spot where it occurred;* which in a short time is accumulated into a tumulus, thousands of which still exist in different parts of that country.
Of the ancient barrow mode of burial we have numerous instances in Greece, Siberia, Russia, Malabar, the British isles, in North America, the Steppes of Tartary, and particularly wherever the Celtic nations settled, as well as in the lava mounds of Grand Canary, and upon a large scale in the memorable monument of Marathon; and under this head may also be placed the Cairn, of which so many instances occur in almost every country of the world.
The second kind is the Stelé or pillar, placed either as an addition over the barrow, or without any mound or elevation of the ground; these are numerous at Telmessus, and without ornaments or inscriptions. The headstones in our graveyards are all such, and as it is a sepulchral monument in most extensive use every where, some inquiry as to its nature and origin may not be irrelevant to our present subject. If we believe the authority of Josephus, the children of Seth, the son of Adam, were the
* So rooted is this superstition among our peasantry, that on a murder taking place some years ago near a small market-town in the west of Ireland, a police force had to be placed on the spot to prevent the demesnewall of a clergy man from being levelled to furnish the necessary material.
original constructors of these pillars, two of which were formed by them—one of brick, the other of stoneon which they inscribed their own discoveries in astronomy, &c., and the predictions of Adam as to a deluge and a conflagration. Both of these, the historian says, were emblematical- that of brick being removable by water—while the one of stone would only yield to the power of flame. This last was reported to have existed in the land of . Syriad or Syria even at the time when the Jewish historian wrote. But it seems more than probable that Josephus has in this case jumbled names and dates, a fault frequently found in that great writer ; for Seth, the son of Sesostris, the very originator of pillars, erected many such in Syria, for reasons enumerated by Herodotus. Pillars were also set up as witnesses. Lot's wife looked back on Sodom, and she became her own sepulchral monument, a “pillar of salt.” Jacob “ took the stone he had used for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil on the top of it,” thus consecrating it an altar ; and this practice we can trace through the classic nations, even to modern times; for at the consecration of Roman Catholic houses of worship in some countries, they anoint the altars, door-posts, and pillars. The first mention of it as a funereal emblem is that over the grave of Rachel. The patriarch Jacob erected another pillar to bear witness to his solemn covenant with Laban, and directed his brethren to gather stones and make an heap. Now the Hebrew ba gal, which is here translated heap, properly speaking, means a circle ; and this circle was, no doubt, placed round the pillar. ! From this fact, we naturally revert to the remarkable stone circles found at Stonehenge, Grange, and Aubry, in the British isles ; and in this locality also the pillar alone is found, as in the case of the curious pillar of Rudstone ; and several such are found in Ireland under the name of “giant's finger-stones.” That after a time these funeral monuments were made in the likeness of some object, and adored, would appear from the command of Moses, that the Jews should not erect any such, as they might lead them to the practice of idolatry. At the farewell exhortation of Joshua, he set up a great stone under an oak in Sechem, for a witness or memorial, as it heard all that was said. The Nasamones swore by laying their hands on the tombs and pillars of eminent persons ; and in like manner the famous pillars of Jachin and Boaz, in Solomon's temple, were not only ornaments, and had many mysti
those at Teately dug up hely a sep
cal meanings, which are known to the initiated, but were afterwards used by the kings of Judah, who“ witnessed” (standing by them) to any solemn covenant that was made. Numbers of such stelæ, corresponding to those at Telmessus, and representing an ancient Hebrew rite, * have been lately dug up in the ruins of ancient Athens. Pompey's pillar was most likely a sepulchral monument. The Samians inscribed the names of eminent men upon public columns; and pillars were placed round the temple of Æsculapius at Corinth, with the names of diseases, and their remedies, inscribed upon them.
The third form of tomb is the Soros or sarcophagus ; and of these there are many varieties : one kind is the cyclopean prototype of those to be met in every English churchyard, and consists of an oblong chamber, formed by four stones placed upright, and roofed by one immense slab. Some of these flags are flat, others raised into a ridge in the centre; and several of them that I measured were ten feet eight inches long, by nine feet nine inches broad. The entrance is at the end ; and on the righthand side is an inscription, that usually written by the ancient Greeks, being a recital of the name of the person buried within, by whom the tomb was erected, and imposing a fine to the state, and also imprecating the wrath and vengeance of the infernal deities on all disturbers of their ashes. Beneath this chamber is another smaller vault of stone, in which the body was placed. The upper apartment may have been used as a place of mourning for the friends who, we read, occasionally resorted to such places for that purpose. Many of these upper chambers are of such a size that whole families of the poorer inhabitants have taken up their abodes within them, and others are converted into donkey-stables, and are filled with filth and rubbish. The tomb of Helen, a woman of Telmessus, situated in a small enclosure by the seaside, near the town, which, from its inscription, Porson considered
* As to what relation the round towers of Ireland may bear to the oriental pillar I will not take upon me to say, as Mr. Petrie's work is now in the press, which will no doubt treat upon that subject. And those who may wish to be further informed upon this interesting topic should consult “ An Essay upon the State of Architecture and Antiquities previous to the landing of the Anglo-Normans in Ireland, by Miss L. C. Beaufort,” published in the fifteenth volume of the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy.