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CONSOLIDATION OF THE ROCKS.
examination.* We, however, got a boat near enough the northern side of the reef to allow us to land. The soundings close to the rocks outside were ten fathoms, and continued decreasing gradually to the shore. It is difficult to say whether this reef is natural or not. There are evident marks of art upon it; and although a reef may have originally existed here, I have no doubt but that much has been added to it by the labour of man, as in many places it has, decidedly, the appearance of Cyclopean workmanship. Whether those parts of the rocks which appear squared, are the natural ones cut into this form, or blocks carried out and placed there, is also difficult to determine. There is, however, a peculiar consolidating power in the water all along this coast, that has filled up the interstices, and makes the whole appear as one solid stone, in the same manner as the beach at Rhodes and along the coast of Asia Minor has been converted for miles into a petrified conglomerate. The cothon at Jaffa, which we know is artificial, bears now a very similar appearance. Mr. Lyell attributes the consolidation of the beach in Asia Minor, to the streams which run into the sea holding carbonate of lime in abundance, and precipitating travertine, or binding sand, gravel, &c., into a conglomerate, as at Rhodes. But here there is no stream of fresh water, so that it must have been produced either by the action of the sea water, or the atmosphere. The shell conglomerate found in the dying pots presents a similar formation. Where this reef joins the peninsula at the north-west corner, are the remains of an ancient Pharos; and beyond it is a gap or passage, which was probably the western entrance to the northern harbour, and which corresponds with the point where Alexander, when besieging the city, made one of his principal attacks.
We are told that there were anciently two harbours; the one open, the other shut. The southern was called the Egyptian port; and the Shereef Edrisi says that one had an arch over it,
* On reading over Quintius Curtius, while revising this second edition, I was greatly struck with the following passage-" The strait which separated Tyre from the continent, was four stadia broad; it was much exposed to the south-west wind, which drove crowding waves from the main sea against the work; nor does any thing more obstruct the work by which the Macedonians prepare to connect the island and the continent than this wind!"
ALTERATION IN THE WATER LEVEL.
and was fortified by a chain drawn across its entrance. Where the reef joins the south-western corner, are the remains of enormous Cyclopean work, evidently created to form a breakwater : and connecting it with the land are the ruins of what appear to have been buildings of a great size, but which are now sunk some feet under the water, leaving only two or three large arches visible above the surface.
There is one more subject connected with this very remarkable place, that naturally arises out of the inquiry as to its present and former state ; and that is—whether the small peninsula marked on the map can be that on which the whole of the ancient city stood; and whether the present relative positions of land and water are now the same as those existing at the time of Alexander's conquest. In some travels published many years ago, it was hinted that it was probable that much of the peninsula of Tyre had been submerged; and this is further verified, both by the observations of Count de Bertou, and the examination which I made of the place. I cannot, however, agree with this traveller in supposing that a large tract of land, and much of the ruins of the city, are beneath the surface. Our opinions correspond as to the northern reef being the remains of the ancient harbour on that side ; but the Count states, that he was informed by some spongedivers, that a sub-marine bank extends from the point which I have marked as “submerged ruins” on the map, in a S. S. W. direction, towards Cape Blanco, a distance of two miles. This, he says, “we partly examined, and found it covered by water to a depth of one to three fathoms, and measuring in breadth from twelve to fourteen yards.” This bank he supposes to have been the breakwater to the southern port ; but whether it is natural or artificial he was unable to determine.*
* Count de Bertou seems to have taken up this subject with great energy, and has petitioned the president of the Geographical Society at Paris to prevail on the government to send out a diving-bell, to explore these submarine ruins. Although I am not so sanguine as the Swiss traveller, yet the most interesting results may be anticipated.
While these pages are passing through the press, Lieutenant Skyring, R. E., writes to me :-“I am inclined to agree with Count de Bertou that much of the ruins are beneath the surface. I am aware, partly from my own soundings, and partly from my belief in the old boatman with whom
HAS THE SEA RISEN ?
The smallness of the peninsula compared with the probable extent of the ancient city—the submerged reef, or ancient pier, running north and south on both sides of it—the ruins which I have pointed out at the southern extremity, and the ancient town wall, now standing in the water at the landing-place, all afford conclusive proof of the sea-line having altered at this point many feet from its ancient position. But has the land sunk ? or if the sea has risen, has the Mediterranean generally risen? To decide this point geologists have principally confined their observations and reasonings to the celebrated temple of Serapis, in the bay of Baiæ, on which much has been already written ; but the prevalence of earthquakes, and the continued volcanic action going forward there, prevents a fair analogy being established with it and other parts of the Mediterranean.
Commencing at the gulf of Glaucus, I have pointed out tombs, and the walls of the city of Telmessus, now surrounded by water,
I was, that a submarine bank extends from the south-west angle of the peninsula in a S. S. W. direction towards Cape Blanco, and that for a distance (to the best of my recollection) of nearly two miles. I sounded a good deal about Tyre, and on the north and west it was evident that large blocks of masonry lay scattered at the bottom. The point on the north is, I may say, one mass of ruins : I examined some beautiful pillars lying there.
“ From nearly opposite the old Saracenic castle or tower on the south of the isthmus, there runs for many hundred yards, in a south-westerly direction, apparently a reef of rocks, but on close inspection I perceived they were artificial; and it struck me at the moment that they formed, once upon a time,' a row of double columns to a piazza or colonnade to the ancient port of Tyre-probably they may have formed the piers of the aqueduct conducting the water from the cisterns at 'Marshuk’ into the island; but whatever their use, this I am perfectly convinced of, viz. that they were artificial, and at present so covered with a breccia as to lead one to imagine them a reef of rocks. These facts go a great way in leading me to suppose that there are other hidden beauties, only requiring to be seen to be appreciated properly. I am inclined to agree with you, that the sea has encroached, or rather that Tyre has been submerged; and this opinion is not confined to Tyre alone, for every part of the coast of Syria which I have seen apparently has also. I nevertheless am of opinion that earthquakes and volcanic agency have had a great deal to do in the destruction of Tyre.” The observations and measurements of Mr. Skyring have been added to the map published with this edition.
PROPHECY OF TYRE'S SUBMERSION.
of which no doubt can exist that they originally stood on dry land. Following the coast eastward, we come to the island of Kakara, of which Captain Beauford states, that it is remarkable that in some places three or four of the lower steps (of houses), and even the foundations of walls, are now beneath the surface of the water. At Jaffa, the ancient Joppa, I have every reason to believe that the ancient cothon has been partly submerged; and in this state are also part of the ruins of Cæsarea. At Caipha I found the remains of a very antique building, which had been probably a temple, partly covered with water at its base. At Beyrout we see a tower standing in the water; and at Tyre there can be no doubt upon the subject, for there the ruins are seen below the surface. Here I must refer to one of the most remarkable prophecies, not only with regard to Tyre, but mentioned in the whole of Scripture, showing not merely the literal fulfilment of every sentence spoken against it, but accounting for why Tyre is now submerged. Among the many awful predictions of the doom of this city, it is thus stated by Ezekiel, (xxvi. 19, 20,) “For thus saith the Lord God, when I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited; when I shall bring up the deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee; when I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit.” And again, “ They shall bring thee down to the pit." The former has been fulfilled; and the latter expression Archbishop Newcome translates, “ the lower parts of the earth.” Upwards of fifty years ago this eminent scholar and divine remarked upon this nineteenth verse, that “part of the city towards the port may have stood on ground recovered from the sea ; " observation now proves the actual state of the case. The prophecy is so striking in itself, and shows how wondrously the Great Ruler of the universe works out his own designs, that I shall not offer one word more of comment upon it, except to remark, that had the land sunk, as many suppose, and not that the deep has come up upon it, the ancient arches of the aqueduct would not in all probability have existed this day. Various modern travellers have discovered submerged ruins at Aboukir, and at the Pharos of Alexandria; and, by a curious coincidence, in nearly the same longitude as Kakara on the opposite shore. Thus we have evidence of the whole upper border of the coast of the Mediterranean being submerged, more or less; and from its great extent, I am inclined to attribute it more to the encroach
THE CISTERNS OF SOLOMON.
ment of the sea, than to the sinking of the land. At the same time, I must confess that we want more proof, and more observation, to make any positive assertion on the subject; especially when several eminent authorities hold the contrary opinion. Besides the places that I have mentioned, there are other parts of Asia Minor where the coast is said to have advanced
the sea, since the time of Strabo, by filling up havens and joining islands to the mainland; but this arises from an entirely different cause, and does not militate against the opinion I have already expressed, for in those places there was a positive and actual addition of new material.*
11th. We visited the cisterns of Solomon, at Ras-el-Ain, which, tradition says, he erected in return for the assistance afforded by king Hiram in building the temple. There are two sets of these cisterns; the first we came to were small, and in ruins, and are evidently of a later date than the second. Their decayed state allowed us to examine the mode in which they were constructed, in order to raise the body of water to the required level. This water now finds its way direct to the sea, turning a mill in its course. No doubt can exist, I think, but that both these and the larger ones are natural springs, which, by being enclosed in those waterproof walls, raised the water to the height necessary for conducting it to the city. To suppose them, as has been asserted, supplied by a river having a higher source in the adjacent mountains, is unreasonable ; for had such been the case, why not conduct it from the highest point at once to the city, instead of bringing it into a valley, where both sets of these cisterns are situated. The larger are about half a mile further on to the south ; the ground which intervenes between them and the lesser ones is highly fertile, and was covered with green corn and
* Mr. Lyell, in his excellent work upon “ The Principles of Geology," quotes Tyre as an instance of the land advancing on the sea, and says that owing to this cause “the ruins of ancient Tyre are now far inland;" but on examining the map which I exhibited at the meeting of the British Association in Birmingham, in 1839, while reading a paper upon the physical geography of this part of the country, he stated his willingness to adopt my view of the subject, and to correct the passage in the subsequent editions of his work.