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ITS TOMBS AND AQUEDUCTS.
by this destroying agent, which though slower than the flame or the torrent, is not the less sure and fatal.
The probable site of Palæ Tyrus may also be ascertained from its vicinity to the tombs. Perhaps no one object serves more accurately to mark the site of an ancient city than its tombs. By them alone we could determine the topography of ancient Jerusalem, even if no modern city pointed out the spot. So, likewise, in the cities of Egypt; and at Telmessus, as well as at Latakia (the ancient Laodicea), scarcely any thing else remains but the tombs to mark their sites. The sepulchral chambers were placed just outside these cities; and the peculiar construction of those I have described at page 361, as existing near Tyre, show the early date at which they were formed; while their situation determines the probable site of the old city, which, in all likelihood, extended thus far.
Another means for determining the site of an ancient city is, the direction of its aqueducts. The fountains of Ras-el-Ain are now, as no doubt they originally were, the principal, if not the only supply of water to Tyre. But, if the original city was situated either at these fountains or on the island, there would be no occasion to conduct the water in an aqueduct to this solitary rock, where it either ended, or was continued as far as the three great arches that rise up in the midst of the plain between it and the peninsula. I am inclined to think, that after Palæ Tyrus was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar, instead of conducting the water to the port by a new aqueduct, the Tyrians merely extended the former one from the rock where we see it, forming something more than a right angle with that which conveyed the water to the peninsular city.
It is to be regretted, that more has not been done to explore the site of this great city, although other places of less note and less interest have been made objects of untiring research ; and yet when we come to examine into its history, we find it more frequently referred to in sacred and profane history than any city of like antiquity.
Volney, in his description of ancient Tyre, has mixed up the different cities; yet he rightly conjectured that "its original situation must have been on this rock,” which remains in the same state in which he visited it in 1783 — still “ a terror and a desolation.” With the exception of Volney, traveller after
traveller have in modern times visited this spot, and like the priest and the Levite, came, looked on it, and passed by on the other side, without making any effort to explore its site or ascertain its topography, until the Count de Bertou, in his late visit, devoted some attention to the subject, and, as I have said before, published an interesting account of his investigations ; but these were chiefly with regard to the insular city.
The present town is situated entirely on the peninsula, of which it occupies about a third part. The houses are all built of gray sand-stone, and are flat-roofed ; they are surrounded by courts, and are much scattered. Opposite the landing-place on the north side, and about one hundred yards from the shore, are some portions of the ancient town wall, now surrounded by the sea; they are of immense thickness and Cyclopean architecture, and marked on the map, “ Ancient Wall.” Within these is a pool of water about three feet in depth, which has generally been mistaken for part of the ancient cothon or harbour, but it is a portion of the town, over which, in my opinion, the sea has encroached. Some old castles and several rows of Gothic arches mark the days of the Crusaders; these require to be distinguished from the ancient city on whose ruins they stand, and above which they are raised about six or eight feet.
Towards the south-eastern angle are the remains of a large Christian church, the east front forming three semicircles, flanked by towers with winding staircases leading to the top of each. As it was built when this country was the seat of religious warfare, it is probable it was thus constructed as well for a place of defence as of worship. In the immediate vicinity of this church are three of the largest granite pillars I have ever seen in any country but Egypt. I think they must have been brought from that country, as no such material occurs in the neighbourhood of Tyre. Maundrell supposed this church to be the cathedral of Tyre erected by Paulinus, and asks, whether it may not be the identical one in which Eusebius preached his remarkable consecration sermon. The present inhabitants, who are mostly Christians, amount in number to about fifteen hundred.
Ibrahim Basha commenced the erection of a cloth manufactory here, but the building has been discontinued since the late disturbances in the Houran. A custom-house, market-place, and
REMAINS OF INSULAR TYRE.
bazaar, have been lately established; and I may remark, en passant, that either the population must have greatly declined in numbers latterly, or a gross imposition was practised upon a well-known traveller, who made it amount, in 1816, to from five to eight thousand. My information with regard to the number of its inhabitants, &c. was derived from the governor, our consul, and the bishop
Some sarcophagi are to be found in the gardens outside the town, remarkable for having a pillow hewn for the head to rest on in each.
Proceeding southward across the isthmus, you arrive at the remains of a considerable pier, extending all along the water's edge ; the stones of which it is composed are of great size, and scattered about it are numbers of pillars, of granite and variegated marble, many of them piled up into landing-places for boats.
The shore here demands particular attention, as it contains the remains of the ancient houses, the foundations of some of which are in many places still to be seen. In the perpendicular face of the beach we found the floors of these ancient houses, marked by whole strata of tesselated pavement, which show that the level of the peninsular city was from eight to ten feet below the present surface — the intervening portion being composed of broken crockery-ware, pieces of marble, and rubbish. This pavement was of three different kinds: the first was composed of small bits of marble of from one-half to three-fourths of an inch square; the second, of small bricks or tiles, all placed together with great accuracy; and the last, of small portions of broken brick thrown into a bed of mortar, in which they were wrought together, and afterwards smoothed down and polished.
While examining the remains along the shores of this harbour, I found a number of round holes cut in the solid sandstone rock, varying in size from that of an ordinary metal pot to that of a large boiler. Many of these holes were seven feet six inches in diameter, by eight feet deep; others were larger, and some were very small. They were perfectly smooth on the inside, and many of them were shaped exactly like a modern iron pot, broad and flat at the bottom, and narrowing towards the top. Some were found detached, and others in a cluster; where the latter occurred, two or three of the holes were connected by a narrow channel cut
DISCOVERY OF THE DYE POTS.
through the stone about a foot deep. Many of these reservoirs were filled with a breccia of shells, such as are represented in the accompanying woodcut. In other places, where the pots were
empty, this breccia lay in heaps in the neighbourhood, as well as along the shore of this part of the peninsula. It instantly struck me on seeing these apertures, that they were the vats or mortars in which was manufactured the Tyrian dye. I am confirmed in this opinion by the fact that the species of shell discovered in this breccia, corresponds exactly with
that described by the old authors as that from which the colour was extracted, and from which a purple dye can be obtained even at the present day; and it is acknowledged as such by modern naturalists.
Although I broke up large quantities of these masses, in no instance could I find a single unbroken specimen, which I certainly would have found had they been rolled in from the sea, or were in a fossilized state. I picked up one of the recent shells upon the shore, which corresponds in every respect with those found in the conglomerate. The stones in the vicinity of this place were covered with large Serpulæ.
The binding material of this mass of shells, is lime and a trace of strontian; and the only thing found in connection with them are a few pebbles. This substance is of great weight, and adamantine hardness, and is of the same character as the petrified strand which I have already mentioned as existing at Rhodes and in Karamania. Now it seems to me more than probable, that the shells were collected into these holes, or, as they might be more properly called, mortars, in which they were pounded, for the purpose of extracting from them the juice which the animal contained ; and in this opinion I am borne out by Pliny the
naturalist, who says, that “when the Tyrians light up any great purples, they take the fish out of the shells to get the blood, but the lesser they press and grind in certain mills, and so gather that rich humour which issueth from them.”
These vats may have been also used for steeping the cloth; for dying pots, cut either in the rock or formed of baked clay sunk in the earth, are still found in many parts of the east, and may be seen in use in some of the by-streets of Alexandria and Grand Cairo, bearing some resemblance to our tan-pits. Such places as these are still used for indigo-dying throughout Africa.
The shells of which this mass is composed (a portion of which is now in my possession) are all of one species, and are undoubtedly the murex trunculus, which conchologists admit was one of the species from which the Tyrian dye was obtained ; but until now no proof could be given of its being the actual shell. Two specimens of the recent shell are here exhibited —the larger is from the coast about Smyrna ; the smaller I picked up in the vicinityof these very dye-pots. A subject of such extreme interest, connected with the arts and manufactures of the first of commercial cities, will, I am sure, require but little apology for devoting a few pages of the appendix to an inquiry into the nature and properties of the Tyrian dye.*
On the seaboard line of the peninsula, and running north and south of it, parallel with the shore, is a reef of what now appears to be rocks, just rising above the water, and forming, of course, the western boundary of both harbours. A question arises if this breakwater be natural or artificial.
During the whole of our stay at Tyre, the wind blew strongly from the outh-west, and the sea breaking violently on these rocks, particularly the southern, precluded the possibility of a close
* See Appendix M.