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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,
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.
NEWLY DISCOVERED TOMBS.
The moment I entered the first of these tombs—that exhibited in the accompanying engraving—I was struck not only with the
resemblance, but the exact similarity it bore to the Egyptian catacombs, especially to those of Sackara and Alexandria. Like them, it had a low, square doorway, opening into a chamber, about fifteen feet square, containing three horizontal sarcophagi, or places for bodies, one on each side; the doorway or entrance filled up the fourth side ; and the whole was carved out of the solid rock, which, like that of Egypt, is soft and easily excavated. In another place we found a large circular aperture in the ground, which had around it the entrances to eight tombs. In a third place was an immense deep excavation in the rocks, which we approached by a winding descent. This is nearly as large an excavation as at on Mount Pentillicus, and may, like it, have been originally a quarry for the old city ; but in the sides of it are the obvious remains of several tiers of sarcophagi. With few exceptions, the doors of all the tombs look toward the rock of Marshuk. Their similarity to the Egyptian, Grecian, and Irish, I shall have occasion to notice hereafter. I had, however, but little time to examine them in detail. They are, doubtless, of great extent, and just in the spot that we would expect to find the burial-place of a city—the side of a neighbouring hill. Porcupines in great numbers have taken possession of many of these excavations, throwing up large piles of rubbish about their mouths, which, as well as their being choked with weeds and brambles, together with the lowness of the apertures, served at first to conceal them from our
ANTIQUITY OF TYRE.
view. No traveller that I am aware of has described these chambers, though they are well worthy of observation, not only as giving an explanation of the mode of burial practised by the Tyrians, but as helping to fix the site of original Tyre; and of considerable moment in showing the intimate connexion of its inhabitants with the Egyptians. The people here seemed to know nothing about them; but their vicinity to this mosque, the appearance of the rocks, and their being on the side of the road leading to Sidon, will point out their site to future explorers.
In order to explain more fully the topography of the different cities possessed by the Phænicians near this spot, and denomi
ted Tyre, a brief historical sketch of that people may be found useful, as the antiquity of Tyre, the capital of Phænicia, has more than once been called in question.
Sidon, its mother, and afterwards its contemporary city, is spoken of in Genesis, (xliii. 13. B. c. 1689.) Although not mentioned by name, it seems to me that Tyre is implied through the medium of its manufactures, (by a figure of prosopopeia, if I may be allowed to use the expression,) as early as when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness ; for we will find that the roots of the words used in Exodus to express the blue, purple, azure, and scarlet, the gifts that the Hebrews brought according to God's commandment, to decorate the tabernacle, show us that they were the produce of Tyre, a city from the earliest account of it inin timate commercial intercourse with Egypt; and these were, in all probability, part of the wares of which the Israelites spoiled the Egyptians.
The intercourse between Egypt and Tyre was no doubt great, as we are told it should be sorely pained at its downfall; and although it may be said that the Hebrews, being in bondage, were not able to get these things, it was of such the Egyptians were spoiled. Her connexion with the Egyptians was also very great in the time of Isaiah, when he says, “the seed of Sihor is her revenue.” (Isa. xxiii. 35.) This seed was the corn from the Nile, which was called Si-hor from shachar, (to become black,) which it does, to a certain extent, during the inundation, when charged with the fertilizing mud.
Justin informs us that the Sidonians, being besieged by the king of Ascalon, went in ships and built Tyre. Thus it was the “ daughter of Sidon ;" and to this Isaiah may have referred when