תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

gated states, he did not touch, or stretch his hand over it, to grasp it as his own. And as a mark on the forehead of a man, it serves to identify the Turk as the king of the north as much as all the countries which he conquered. Yet it is but one mark out of many.

But these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. These are names or regions that are not unknown to any man who reads the Bible, or has studied the prophecies. And we need not here define their well-known situation and respective boundaries. And, turning from Gibbon to Volney, we find as express a definition of the territory in the history of the times when the Mameluke yielded to the Turkish power, as in the words of the prophet which foretold their escape. In the early history of the Mameluke domination over Egypt and Syria, these regions pertained to the government of Gaza. But before that city fell, as it did, into the hands of the Turks, Karak had become the seat of a separate government under two chiefs and two judges, with an Arab prince, who commanded all the tribes of the district.* The province of Gaza (as an Arabic manuscript, of which a translation is given by Volney, records) was then situated in a fertile plain. The district of Karak, also called Moab, was DETACHED from it, and stretched beyond Oula in Arabia Petrea, even to the river Zizale, which falls into the Jordan. It comprehended a space of twenty journeys of a camel, at the rate of six leagues to each journey (three hundred and sixty miles). The country had then many villages ; but there was a scarcity of water along the routes, and a great number of defiles among the rocks where one man could arrest a hundred cavaliers. Conjoined with

* Volney's Trav. vol. i. p. 269, French edition, Paris, 1806.

this description, it is said of Karak, at a date posterior to the subjugation of Egypt by the Ottoman arms, that it was one of the few strong citadels known which had never been taken by force.*

The region thus described and defined includes the whole of Edom and of Moab,—and a part,-but the chief part, including the site of the ancient capital of Ammon. The river Arnon, which subdivided Moab, flows into the Dead Sea ; but the ancient Jabbok, which divided the district of Tabarias from that of Karak, and included the Harvan, which lies to the north of that river, without the intervention of any other, falls into the Jordan, between the lake Gennesareth and the Dead Sea, and intersects the ancient land of Ammon, leaving the site of Rabba and the town of Szalt inhabited to this day by independent Arabs, on the southern regions of

* Documentary evidence respecting the actual territorial definition of Edom and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon, is to be found in the National Library of Paris. The fact is stated, as above, in an Arabic manuscript, which was discovered in Egypt, ani brought from thence, by Venture, the interpreter of Oriental Languages, who accompanied Bonaparte to that country. It was composed by a lawyer, Chaik Merei, about the year 1620. Venture was the personal friend of Volney, to whom he communicated a translation of it, which he affixed to his Travels in Egypt, deeming the insertion of it a thing agreeable to literature and to friendship. Being omitted in the English translation, it may, from still better motives, be agreeable to the reader to peruse, in the words of Volney, the ståtement of the fact that Edom, Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon, formed a detached and defined district,—the whole of both of the former and part of the latter being included.

La première (province de la Syrie) s'appelle province de Gaza, ville située en un plaine fertile. Le district de Karak, dit aussi Moab, en se détachè, et s'étend depuis Oula, dans l'Arabie pétrée, jusqu'au ruissean Zizale, qui tombe dans le Jourdan: c'est un espace de vinct journées de chameau (a six lieues la journée). La pays a beaucoup de villages : mais il y a disette d'eau sur les routes, et une grand quantité de defiles entre des rocks où un seul homme peut arrêter cent cavaliers.-Karak est une des plus fortes citadelles connues; on ne l'a jamais prise de force. Tome i. p. 285.' (Translated as above.)

Ammon, immediately contiguous to Moab. Every region around owned the Turks as masters; and more than Alexander or the Cæsars could have done, the, sultans of Constantinople claimed Mecca and Medina as their own. Yet their subjects could not freely pass from one part of their own dominions to another,—not even to their holy city, to which, as a religious rite, annual pilgrimages were made from all parts of their dominions. Wherever the land of Edom, and of Moab, and the chief of the children (or chief city) of Ammon lay along the road of the pilgrims, the lordly Porte was constrained to pay tribute to the Arab of the desert. The defiles of Petra became the haunt of robbers, instead of the emporium of commerce. A more notorious illustration of the fact of their escape could not be adduced, than that, instead of being enslaved, the wandering tenants of these regions are feared, and that, instead of paying a regular tribute, a stipulation has been made with them, generation after generation, for a free passage through their country. Edom and Moab are disowned and unknown at Constantinople, as forming any part of the Grand Seignor's dominions. And along the southern banks of the river which subdivides Ammon and falls into the Jordan, “the inhabitants," as recent travellers agree in confirming, “ live in a state of complete independence of the Porte," while the northern portion of Ammon, the most remote from the ancient capital, is not distinguished from the other territories of the Pachalic of Damascus. These shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.

And the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold, and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt. And the Lybians and Ethiopians shall be at his steps, ver, 42, 43, In the tenth and eleventh centuries, .

hordes of shepherds descended from Turkomania
into the plains of Persia, and the sceptre of Irak
passed from the Persian to the Turkish nation. The
fate of Armenia was decided in a day; and that of
all the Asiatic provinces in another. The king
entered into the countries, and overflowed and
passed over. But the whirlwind was stayed, and
its fury was broken for a season, on the plains and
mountains of Judea. The king of the north entered
that country, but not to overflow it; for before the
close of the same century in which the Turks first
boasted of a conquest or of a king, the crusades
began. The overthrow of many was the note of
that time; and when that long-continued and pecu-
liar era of slaughter passed, the Turks were again
loosed on ravaged countries and on exhausted
Europe. Headed by a race of warriors their king-
dom in Asia was renewed; Europe yielded up the
richest and fairest of its countries, and Asia deeply
resented and amply retaliated its wrongs. The
throne of the Cæsars was subverted for ever, and
the cross was supplanted by the crescent in the
capital of the eastern empire, which derived the
name which it still retains, from the first of Christian
kings. Constantinople was taken in 1453 ; but it
was only in the succeeding century that Egyptowned
fealty to the Porte. The Egyptians, in Palestine,
had over-mastered both Christians and Turks, and
in the great medley of nations, and overthrow of
many, a descendant of Seljuk had held the stirrup
of Saladin ; but though triumphant once, the last to
yield, and resisting long, the land of Egypt, unlike
to Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children
of Ammon, did not escape. Its day was delayed,
but its fate was sure ; and the sentence was not
executed till the order of its visitation was come, its
work accomplished, and its time fulfilled.
. In the preceding, and subsequent pages of this

volume, Gibbon's testimony, as the most accessible and unsuspicious, is in general referrred to, in preference to every other. From the debt to the gospel which he fatally contracted, we may without scruple demand large restitution, and hold him ready at a call to yield up the fruits of his labours. But the history of the decline and fall of the Roman empire was all told, when the Turkish Sultan, the king of the north stretched his sceptre from the throne of the Cæsars, on the countries over which he had before stretched his victorious hand. Other evidence must therefore be here appealed to than Gibbon's; but we now close his volumes, only to open them again; for, more than any other, he is the man, who, in exploring so fully, and smoothing so completely, many a rugged field of history, has opened up a plain and easy path through the mazes of the Revelation

In the year 1517, Selim 1. marched against Egypt, at the head of an army of one hundred and fifty thousand men.* After repeated battles, and the most determined resistance on the part of the Mamelukes, Selim became master of Egypt, but not until after the streets of Cairo, in the desperate fury of the defenders, had been a scene of slaughter for three days and nights, when “the arrows fell thick as rain," and "streams of blood ran down the streets.”+ “ After this slaughter, Selim marched towards Alexandria, which opened its gates before even the Grand Seignior had caused them to be summoned. All Egypt followed the example. No. thing was seen throughout but a . people who submitted to the conqueror. Thus ended the empire of the Mamelukes, respected in Africa and Asia for near three hundred years."I The land of Egypt

* Mignot's Hist. of the Turkish Empire, vol. i. p. 267. + Ibid. p. 278. Modern Universal History, vol. xii. p. 256. Ibid. yol. i. p. 230. .

« הקודםהמשך »