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tyrant Djezzar Pasha, to avenge himself on the Franks, inflicted a severe punishment on the Jewish and Christian inhabitants of Saphet. It is said that he had resolved to massacre all the believers in Moses and Jesus Christ, who might be found in any part of his dominions, and had actually sent orders to Nazareth and Jerusalem to accomplish his barbarous design. But Sir Sidney Smith, on being apprised of his intention, conveyed to him the as. surance, that if a single Christian head should fall, he would bombard Acre, and set it on fire. The interposition of the British admiral is still remembered with heartfelt gratitude by all the inhabitants, who looked upon him as their deliverer. “ His word,” says Burckhardt, “ I have often heard both Turks and Christians exclaim, was like God's word,
it never failed.”
It is to no purpose that we endeavour to ascertain the position of Dan, the extreme point of the ancient Hebrew territory. Its proximity to the Fountains of Jordan might be supposed to prove a sufficient guide to the geographer in his local researches; but, as has been already mentioned, the rivulets which contribute to form the main stream of this celebrated river are so numerous, and apparently so equally en. titled to the honour of being accounted the principal source, that the precise situation of the temple where Jeroboam set up one of his golden calves is still open to conjecture.
The road from Nazareth to Acre proceeds for some time over a barren rocky tract of country, which Hasselquist informs us is a continuation of a species of territory peculiar to the same meridian, and stretching through several parallels of latitude. At length the traveller reaches Sephouri, or Sepphoris, the Zippor of the Hebrews, and the Diocesarea of the Romans, once the chief town and bulwark of Galilee. The remains of its fortifications exhibit one of the works of Herod, who, after its destruction by Varus, not only rebuilt and fortified it, but made it the principal city of his tetrarchy. Its inhabitants often revolted against the Romans, relying on the advantages for defence supplied by its natural position. It is mentioned in the Talmud as the seat of a Jewish university, and was long famous for the learning of its rabbis. Here also was held one of the five sanhedrims, authorized by the spiritual governors of Palestine ; the others being established at Jerusalem, Jericho, Gadara, and Amathus. But its chief celebrity is connected with the tradition, that it was the residence of Joachim and Anna, the parents of the Virgin Mary. The house of St Anne, observes Dr Clarke, is the “commencement of that superstitious trumpery which for a long time has constituted the chief object of devotion and of pilgrimage in the Holy Land.” No sooner was the spot discovered where the pious couple had lived, than Constantine issued instructions to build upon it a magnificent church, the remains of which have been minutely described by the enterprising traveller to whom we have just alluded.
“ We were conducted to the ruins, of a stately Gothic edifice, which seems to have been one of the finest structures in the Holy Land. Here we entered beneath lofty massive arches of stone. The roof of the building was of the same materials. The arches are placed at the intersection of a Greek cross, and originally supported a dome or a tower; their appearance is highly picturesque, and they exhibit the grandeur of a noble style of architecture. Broken columns of granite and marble lie scattered among the walls, and these prove how richly it was decorated. We measured the capital of a pillar of the order commonly called Tuscan, which we found lying against one of granite. The top of this formed a square of three feet. One aisle of this building is still entire ; at the eastern extremity a small temporary altar had been recently constructed by the piety of pilgrims; it consisted of loose materials, and was of very modern date. Some fragments of the original decorations of the church had been gathered from the ruins and laid upon this altar; and although they had remained open to every approach, even the Moslems had respected the votive offerings."*
The date of this building is incidentally mentioned by Epiphanius, who relates that one Joseph, a native of Tiberias, was authorized by Constantine to erect a number of such edifices in the Holy Land, and that he fulfilled the intention of his sovereign at Tiberias, Capernaum, and Diocesarea. Reland, upon the authority of Theophanes, places its destruction in the year 339 of the Christian era, when the town was demolished on account of the seditious conduct of its inhabitants. . It is perhaps worthy of notice, that Dr Clarke examined some pictures which had been recently discovered among these ruins. One appears to represent the interview between our Saviour and the two dis
* Travels, iv. p. 141.
ciples at Emmaus, when in the act of making him. self known to them by the breaking of bread. Another exhibits the Virgin bearing in swaddling. clothes the infant Jesus; and a third seems to illustrate the same subject in circumstances somewhat different. They are said to bear a great resemblance to those used in the churches of Russia, being executed upon a square piece of wood about half an inch in thickness. As they were not valued highly by the person into whose hands they had accidentally fallen, the Englishman bestowed a trifle on the ignorant Mohammedan, and “ took them into safer custody.”*
The Vale of Zabulon divides the village just described from the ridge of hills which look down on Acre and the shores of the Great Sea. This delightful plain appears every where covered with spontaneous vegetation, flourishing in the wildest exuberance. The scenery is described by Dr Clarke as not less beautiful than that of the rich valleys upon the south of the Crimea. It reminded him of the finest parts of Kent and Surrey. The prickly pear, which grows to a prodigious size in the Holy Land, sprouts luxuriantly among the rocks, displaying its gaudy yellow blossoms, and promising abundance of a delicious cooling fruit. On either side of the road the ruins of fortified places exercise the ingenuity of the antiquarian traveller, who endeavours, through the mist of tradition and the perplexing obscurity of modern names, to identify towns which make a figure in Jewish and Roman history. All remains of the strong city of Za
* Travels, iv. p. 148.
bulon, called by Josephus the “ city of men,” have disappeared ; and its “ admirable beauty.” rivalling that of Tyre, Sidon, and Berytus, is now sought for in vain among Arab huts and scattered stones.
The plain, which skirts the Mediterranean from Jaffa to Cape Blanco, presents many interesting memorials of Hebrew antiquity and of European warfare. Every town along the coast has been the scene of contention between the armies of Christendom and those of Islamism; whence arises the motive which has determined us to incorporate the history of these cities with the narrative of the exploits whereon their fortunes have chiefly depended. Suffice it to mention as we go along, that the vicinity of Acre invites the attention of the natur. alist, on account of certain facts recorded by Pliny, and repeated by subsequent historians. It is said by this writer, that it was at the mouth of the river Belus the art of making glass was first discovered. A party of sailors, who had occasion to visit the shore in that neighbourhood, propped up the kettle in which they were about to cook their provisions with sand and pieces of nitre; when to their surprise they found produced by the action of the fire on these ingredients, a new substance, which has added immensely to the comforts of life and to the progress of science. The sand of this remarkable stream continued for ages to supply not only the manufactories of Sidon, but all other places, with materials for that beautiful production. Vessels from Italy were employed to remove it for the glasshouses of Venice and Genoa so late as the middle of the seventeenth century.