תמונות בעמוד
[blocks in formation]

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 clergyman from being levelled to furnish the necessary material.

[blocks in formation]

original constructors of these pillars, two of which were formed by them—one of brick, the other of stone-on 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 hy 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


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 sa 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

[blocks in formation]

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

inhabitants have taken


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.



to have been built two thousand two hundred years ago, belongs to the class I have now described

The second variety of soros is a tomb of great elegance and beauty of form, and seems to be peculiar to Asia Minor ; none of this kind having been as yet found in any other part of the world, except two or three in the valley of Waddy Mousa, in Arabia. It consists of a sarcophagus of one solid stone, raised upon a pedestal, and having a roof like that of a trunk-lid, ornamented with a ridge at top, and knobs jutting out on either side. The knobs, independent of their ornamental character, may have been used in raising these massive stones into their present position. There is also in these an upper chamber, serving the purpose of a cenotaph. Some of these monuments are entirely formed out of single blocks of stone, limestone bolders, which for ages occupied their present position, and which the Grecian artist took advantage of for hewing into tombs. These had their entrances at the end, the stone doors of which moved up and down in a groove carved within. When either the repository or the top was a separate piece, no such opening was required, as it was raised on the pedestals after the body was placed within. Some of these monolithic monuments are perched upon the rugged, unhewn rocks; others have their situation in corn-fields and enclosures, and form some of the most picturesque objects I have ever seen. There are inscriptions on several, but greatly defaced ; and others have groups of figures embossed upon the sides, representing death-scenes and groups of mourning friends at the last farewell. In several of these entablatures the principal figure is represented sitting, and with an outstretched hand seems to be in the act of admonishing the others, who stand in a row, with the right-hand holding a napkin or part of the drapery applied to the eyes. There is one of these tombs so very extraordinary that I cannot refrain from briefly describing it, as it is by far the most interesting of this kind, both from the beauty of its construction, and the position which it at present occupies.

This, which was, in all likelihood, the mausoleum of a warrior, has several boldly-designed and well-executed bas-reliefs upon its panelled sides, representing battles, horsemen, and chariots. It is not unlike the marble tomb at Xanthus, lately drawn by Mr. Fellowes, but it is in a state of much better preservation. The pedestal of this stood upon a square platform, but it now leans

[blocks in formation]

very much to one side, having been shaken by an earthquake, which has shifted some of its parts out of their places. This monument, which was certainly erected on the shore, is now upwards of thirty yards from it, and the sea covers at least two feet of its base! Beside it, to the west, ran the ancient city-wall, part of which, of a quadrangular form, still exists.

There are two subjects connected with this monument that also claim our attention : the first is, the positive proof that it affords of land and water having changed their relative positions in this part of the Mediterranean; but whether this change is caused by the rising and encroachment of the one, or the sinking of the other, is a question that will be considered when discussing that interesting topic in connection with the ruins of ancient Tyre. The second subject is, the possibility of having the monument removed to England. From its being composed of many pieces; and being placed within the reach of a boat, it could with great safety be carried out to one of our men-of-war that make a summer-cruise to these parts, and thus conveyed to England. This is well worthy the attention of those who have the power to do so ; and so very little labour and expense would attend it, that I feel assured it could be placed within the walls of the British Museum for £20.*

The fourth and most magnificent form of tomb is that hollowed out in the face of the rocks that form the base of the mountain that completes the back-ground of this picture to the south-east. It is these which form such conspicuous objects on entering the harbour, owing to the lime-stone, in which they are hewn,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

• Since my visit to Telmessus, the very elegant works of Mr. Fellowes upon Asia Minor have appeared, in which he has established the topography of some of the ancient cities in that country, and drawn with great truth and fidelity several tombs of the kind that I have described as existing in Lucia, at Xanthus, Antiphellus, and other places. It will also give much pleasure to all lovers of antiquities to learn, that, at the suggestion of the trustees of the British Museum, several of the beautiful marble tombs at Xanthus have been removed by the government to this country. It would be well if those employed upon that object, had also possessed themselves of the warrior's tomb at Macri, which is fully as beautiful as any of the Xanthian antiquities, and could have been removed without much trouble or expense.

« הקודםהמשך »