Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

made a deep impression upon the remains of Sabaste ; for when Dr Clarke passed through it, he could not discover even the relics of a great city, and was, therefore, disposed to question the existence of the splendid ruins mentioned by Maundrell, and more minutely described by Richardson and Buckingham. He is inclined to identify the site of the ancient Samaria with the high ground on which stands the castle of Santorri ; but his reasoning is not sufficiently cogent to satisfy the mind even of the least reflecting among his readers.

At this point we leave the territory of Ephraim, and pass into that of the half-tribe of Manasseh. Pursuing his course northwards, the traveller reaches a small hamlet called Beth-amareen ; and afterwards, at the distance of three or four miles, he finds himself at Gibba, a village surrounded with trees bearing olives and pomegranates, and occupying a lofty station over a narrow valley. This place is succeeded by Sannour, which appears to be nothing more than a castle erected on an insular hill, and is more commonly known by the name of Fort Giurali. Another village, called Abati, presents itself on the right hand, embosomed in a grove of fruit-trees; but the stranger, desirous to proceed, advances along the valley until, after having ascended a rising ground, he beholds stretched out at his feet the fine Plain of Esdraëlon covered with the richest pasture.*

On the slope of the hill, which bounds the southern extremity of this fertile valley, stands the town of Jennin, a place, like most of the cities of Pales

* Richardson, vol. ij. 415.

tine, more remarkable for decayed grandeur than for actual wealth, beauty, or power. Its ancient name was Ginoa, and it is found recorded in the works of some of the older writers as a frontier place between Samaria and Galilee. The population at present is said to amount to about eight hundred; but the ruins of a palace and a mosque prove that it once possessed a greater importance than now belongs to it. Marble pillars, fountains, and even piazzas, still remain in a very perfect state; an Arabic inscription over one of which, induces the reader to believe that it was erected by a commander named Selim.

Instead of pursuing our course towards Nazareth and the Lake of Tiberias, we shall now cross the Jordan into the Land of Gilead, and lay before our readers a brief outline of the discoveries which have been recently made in that section of Palestine, the inheritance of Reuben and of Gad. We have already remarked, that to the indefatigable exertions of Dr Seetzen the world are indebted for much of the knowledge they possess relative to the ancient city of Geraza, the ruins of which are pointed out by the Arabs under the name of Djerash.

Approaching it from the south, the traveller first observes a triumphal gateway, nearly entire, bearing a striking resemblance in point of workmanship to the remains of Antinoë in Upper Egypt. The front presents four columns, of a small diameter, and constructed of many separate pieces of stone: their pedestals are of a square form, but tall and slender. On each of these is placed a design of leaves, very like a Corinthian capital without the volutes; and on this again rises the shaft, which is plain, and com

posed of many small portions. As all the columns were broken near the top, the crowning capitals are not seen. The pediment and frieze are also destroyed; but enough remains to give an accurate idea of the original design, and to prove that the order of the architecture was Corinthian. The building appears to have been a detached triumphal arch, erected for the entrance of some victorious hero passing into the city.

Just within this gateway is perceived an extensive naumachia, or theatre for the exhibition of seafights, constructed of fine masonry, and finished on the top with a large moulding wrought in the stone. The channels for filling it with water are still visible. Passing onward there is seen a second gateway, exactly similar in design to the one already mentioned, but connected here on both sides with the walls of the city, to which it seems to have formed the proper entrance. Turning to the left the stranger advances into a large and beautiful colonnade arranged in a circular form, all of the Ionic order, and surmounted by an architrave. He next perceives beyond this point a long avenue of columns in a straight line, supposed to mark the direction of some principal street that led through the whole length of the town. These columns are all of the Corinthian order, and the range on each side is ascended to by a flight of steps.

Making his way along this imaginary street over masses of ruins, his attention is attracted by four magnificent pillars, of greater height and larger diameter than the rest; but, like all the others, supporting only an entablature, and probably standing before the front of some principal edifice now de

stroyed. He next arrives at a square formed by the first intersection of the main street by one crossing it at right angles, and, like it also, apparently once lined on both sides by an avenue of columns. At the point of intersection are four masses of building resembling pedestals; on the top of which there probably stood small Corinthian columns, as shafts and capitals of that order are now scattered below. Passing the fragments of a solid wall on the left, which appears to have constituted the front of a large edifice, the tourist next comes to the ruins of a temple of a semicircular form, with four columns in front, and facing the principal street in a right line. The spring of its half-dome is still remaining, as well as several columns of yellow marble and of red granite. The whole seems to have been executed with peculiar care, especially the sculpture of the friezes, cornices, pediments, and capitals, which are all of the Corinthian order, and considered not less rich and chaste than the works of the best ages. On a broken altar near this ruin is observed an inscription, containing the name of Marcus Aurelius. “Beyond this, again,” says Mr Buckingham,“ we had temples, colonnades, theatres, arched buildings with domes, detached groups of Ionic and Corinthian columns, bridges, aqueducts, and portions of large buildings scattered here and there in our way; none of which we could examine with any degree of attention, from the restraint under which our guides had placed us."*

The author of the unpublished journal, from which we have already drawn some rich materials, inspected the remains of Geraza three years ago. “ We set out for the ruins, and reached them before sunrise. Having seen them only partially, by a faint light and from a distance, the previous evening, I had not formed a high opinion of them, and wondered that they should ever have been brought into comparison with Palmyra. A full examination now altered my decision, and left me and all the party full of admiration at the grandeur and the elegance of the ruins. We were struck with the view down the main street of the city. Close to us was a temple, a fine mass of building, surrounded by innumerable fallen columns and ruined cornices. Beneath was the great street, commencing in an elegant circular or rather oval colonnade of fifty-seven pillars, and containing a succession of straight colonnades on each side, crossed at right angles by another line of columns with an entablature. On one side was a splendid temple, with columns, on a height; and on the other a bridge crossing the stream on which the ruins stand. Close to this temple is a theatre in remarkably high repair ; almost all the seats are quite entire. The proscenium is still sufficiently so to give a complete idea of the plan; and it is easy to sit on one of the benches and fancy a Greek play performing to a Gerazan audience as it was seventeen hundred years ago. Proceeding northward along the great street, we soon came to a building which seemed to me one of the finest things in Jerash. It was a sort of semicircular temple, in front of which had been a portico of Corinthian columns, composing part of the grand colonnade. I do not think they can be under fifty feet in height, and their form is very elegant.

* Travels in Palestine, &c., by J. S. Buckingham, vol. č. p. 144.

« AnteriorContinuar »