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SUBJECTS PROPOSED FOR INQUIRY.
been more called towards it than to any other place with which we are acquainted. It was a spot I had long and ardently desired to visit--not that I required to become an eye-witness of its state, to convince me of the perfect completion and fulfilment of all the warnings and denunciations uttered against it, but that I hoped to be enabled, by inquiry and examination upon the spot, to arrive at some degree of knowledge as to the precise locality of the original city, and also as to the manufacture of its renowned purple dye, and the real animal from which it was obtained. Historians are undecided as to the exact site of the former; and, although modern naturalists have enumerated several varieties of shells from which a purple colouring matter may be extracted, they are not agreed as to the particular one that was used.
And although Pliny and others tell us it was a murex, a buccinum, or a purpura, we were till now unable to determine the shell by the descriptions handed down to us.
In this inquiry, I hope I shall be fortunate enough to set the matter at rest, both by the discovery of the shells used, and of the very pits or mortars in which the dye was manufactured.
With regard to the topography of ancient, or Palæ Tyrus, I may remark, that many learned disquisitions have been written, and many opinions have been expressed; the contradictions in which, are only to be equalled by the conflicting surmises of travellers. The three or four days I spent here examining the ruins may warrant my offering an opinion on this highly interesting topic, so necessary, not only as a commentary on some of the older historians, but as affording us much light in the study of those prophecies in which Tyre is mentioned.
The situation of Tyre, and of the objects mentioned in the following description of the surrounding country, will be clearly understood by the reader, on referring to the accompanying map, and bearing in mind, that the coast runs almost due north and south. *
• While examining this place, I made several plans and sketches, with the intention of constructing a map of the topography of the ancient cities. On my return, however, to this country, I found, that an accurate survey of the coast had been made by A. H. Ormsby, Esq., by order of the Admiralty; and through the kindness of my friends, Captain Beaufort, the hydrographer, and Captain Larcom, R. E., I have been furnished with
THE MODERN PENINSULAR TOWN.
The present town, or peninsular Tyre, stands to the west of the general line of the coast, and is connected with the shore by an isthmus of sand. Leaving the town, and proceeding eastward, you arrive at two square towers, about one hundred and fifty yards from the gate; the first of which is built over a well, from which the principal supply of water for the inhabitants is obtained, and to which numerous bands of Arab women, carrying their pitchers on their heads, may be constantly seen passing and repassing. Within is a flight of steps leading to a terrace at the top, from which there is a very extensive view ; and underneath there is a khan for the accommodation of those who do not choose to stop in the town, or who may have arrived late at night. This tower is situated on the isthmus, which is now covered, as I have mentioned, with sea-sand; and the water of the well, which is pure and good, cannot rise here, but is, most probably, conducted by some portions of the aqueduct, which still remain pervious, but hidden beneath the sand and rubbish ; and this probability is further strengthened, by the fact of the water becoming in the month of September troubled, and of a reddish colour, synchronously with that at the fountains of Solomon at Ras-el-Ain, or the “Head of the Spring." The shore presents, on both sides of the peninsula, unequal concavities; that on the southern being the larger and deeper, and running down to the above-named fountains in the south-east, and with a very heavy surf rolling in upon it. Looking inland from this tower, you see a plain of some miles in extent; its horizon bounded towards the east by the Lebanon range of mountains. On the north stands Sidon; and following with the eye the line of aqueduct, whose broken arches rise at intervals
the chart, upon whose outline I have transferred my own plans, as well as the recent discoveries of Count de Bertou. I may also take this opportunity of expressing to Captain Larcom my obligation for the facilities and information he has afforded me, in prosecuting this and other subjects of scientific research.
Since the first edition of this ork appeared, an accurate military survey of Tyre was made by Lieut. Skyring, R. E., who has kindly corrected some slight errors in the map, and also furnished me with some additional notes, which have been inserted in the text.
THE ROCK OF MARSHUK.
above the sand, a most remarkable object arrests the attention:—a solitary mound, of a white appearance, standing above the plain, and crowned by a mosque, a marabut, and one or two old houses, which being whitewashed, glitter in the sun, and attract the eye almost involuntarily. It is visible from all sides, and may be seen from a great distance, owing to the extreme flatness of the plain ; and is instantly remarked by the mariner entering either of the roadsteads of Tyre. “This hill is not fictitious, like those of the desert, but a natural rock, of about 150 feet in circumference, and about 40 or 50 feet in height.” Volney, however, who thus notices this rock, has fallen into a slight error, in stating it to be only a quarter of an hour's walk from the village. It is distant from the water-tower on the isthmus, upwards of a mile and a half. It is called by the natives Marshuk, and from the northern aspect exhibits the appearance of the accompanying engraving
The aqueduct, which is the principal object on the plain, and runs towards the present town from the north-east, has several of its magnificent arches stiil perfect ; it can be seen at a considerable distance at sea, and the water oozing out at breakages, or filtering through the cement, has encrusted them all over with
THE ANCIENT AQUEDUCTS.
stalactites of a peculiar form, which gives them, at a little distance, the appearance of being clothed with some gigantic foliage.
The water was conveyed across the plain on these arches in a trough at the top, lined with cement, and forty-four inches in depth. The arches are not all of the same construction, and are, in all probability, of different dates, as if renewed from time to time. The principal of these are seventeen feet in cord, and the buttresses, eight feet ten inches in breadth, by nine feet three in depth.
Where the sand has encroached, as is the case in some places, the arches are completely obliterated, yet, you can trace the stream-way for a great distance throughout. The aqueduct was evidently repaired at a more recent date, when hydrostatics were better understood. A perfectly water-tight tube of crockeryware, formed of pieces about two feet long, accurately fitted and cemented into each other, is found connecting the broken parts of the aqueduct, or, in some places, laid in the stream-way. Captains Irby and Mangles noticed a similar form of aqueduct connecting the ancient water-course through the city of Petra. The aqueduct runs nearly in a straight line to the north-east, till it arrives at the rock already mentioned. This rock, which is about one mile from the nearest point of the sea, is of whitish limestone, sloping towards the north-east, and inaccessible on the south. On the north side are the remains of steps leading to the top, cut in the solid rock, similar to those in the prophylea leading to the Parthenon at Athens; and from this part is obtained a most commanding prospect of the sea, and of the surrounding country for a vast distance. At its foot, on the S. and S. E. sides, are the remains of large cisterns or reservoirs, where the aqueduct commences that runs towards the present town; and to this spot the aqueduct was brought in as straight a line as the position of the ground would admit, from the cisterns of Solomon, which lie to the southward.
This water-course, after arriving at the rock, was conducted round a third part of its base in a conduit cut through the solid rock-partly bored into a tunnel, and partly roofed over with immense blocks of stone. On getting into this tunnel, I found that it enlarged considerably, and became much deeper than the channel of the aqueduct. It contained a considerable quantity of good and pure water, which supplied the people living in the mosque and
ANCIENT THRESHING MACHINE.
in the neighbourhood. It is remarkable, that although it is never known to be dry, there is now no apparent communication between it and the fountains through the remaining aqueduct; and it has all the appearance of being a well sunk in the place. It is, on the whole, evident, that this was the main water-work. From the north-western side of this cistern runs another aqueduct of a smaller size, and of a seemingly modern construction-I should think not more than a few centuries old, if it be even so much. It is supported on rudely formed arches, and extends about half a mile, when it becomes lost to the view. It appeared to us, that it had been formed merely for the purpose of irrigation. In the immediate vicinity of the rock are the remains of a mill, which was probably turned by the water of the aqueduct in later days; and here also we found the tops or opercula of three large sarcophagi, of a pattern exactly similar to those huge flat stones placed over the vaults at Telmessus, being raised into a ridge in the centre, and having knobs at the corners.
In a vault, which is used as a granary, I saw a most primitive and curious machine, consisting of a large flat block of wood, three feet by four; the under side of this was pierced with holes, in which were inserted a number of flints that projected about an inch beyond the surface. This is the threshing instrument mentioned by Isaiah (xli. 15); and the tribulum of Virgil, (Geor. i. 164.)
Inland, towards the east, the plain becomes more fertile, and was, at the time of our visit, covered with green corn, doura, vetches, and small clumps of trees, together with large bee preserves, similar to those used in Asia Minor. In wandering about here, one of our party picked up the headless bust of a female, executed in white marble, which from the dress appeared to be Grecian.
The high road to Sidon passes by this rock ; and pursuing it northward for about half a mile, we came to a low
range of hills which terminated the plain in this direction. These ascend gradually to the more elevated heights of Lebanon. In the sides of these hills I found an extensive series of catacombs, cut in the face of the white sandstone rock of which they are composed; and which, from their colour, cause them to be distinguished at some distance on the plain. The ground about these catacombs is much broken, and is now covered with a plantation of fig-trees.