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The Tower of David, the only one now remaining of the three towers left standing by command of Titus when he destroyed the city, is the most conspicuous object within the citadel. It is seen to greatest advantage as one enters the city through the Jaffa Gate, and then turns to the right, passing directly in front of the entrance to the castle. That fortress is surrounded by a deep moat, and is entered over an arched bridge which spans the fosse on its eastern side ; but the entrance to the Tower of David is through the modern part, about half-way up, and on its western side, within the citadel. Major Wilson says that “the so-called Tower of David appears to be the oldest portions of the citadel. It has a sloping escarp of masonry, above which the tower rises to the height of twenty-nine feet. The escarp is faced with large stones, and retains to some extent its original appearance; but time and hard treatment have worn away much of the finer work, and the repairs have been executed in a very slovenly manner. Where the original workmanship can be seen, it is quite equal, if not superior, to that of the Wailing-place [of the Jews], the faces of the stones being finely chiselled, and having a shallow draught run round their margins. The whole, when perfect, must have presented a smooth surface, difficult to escalade, and, from the solidity of the mass, unassailable by the battering-ram.
The tower rises from the fosse, protected on the sides below by the sloping escarp, to a height of over forty feet, and this antique portion is apparently solid throughout; then comes the modern addition, rising to about thirty feet. The lower part is built of large bevelled stones, averaging ten and a half feet in length, four and a half feet in breadth, by about the same in height. I have been within the citadel, and examined the portions of the tower that are now accessible, but found nothing which could cast any further light upon its history. It is commonly supposed to occupy the site of the Tower of Hippicus, mentioned by Josephus, and to this it owes its chief importance, since Josephus makes that tower the point of departure in laying down the lines of the walls of Jerusalem.
The measurements of the Tower of David certainly do not correspond with those of the Hippicus, as given by Josephus. He
says: “Hippicus, so named from his [Herod's] friend, was square; its length and breadth were each twenty-five cubits, and its height thirty, and it had no vacuity in it." This latter fact agrees well with the lower part of the Tower of David, which, as already remarked, has “no vacuity in it.” But the size does not correspond, for twenty-five cubits make thirty-seven and a half feet; while the present Tower of David is fifty-six feet on the eastern and seventy feet on the southern side, which gives a superficial area three times larger than that of Hippicus - a difference so great as to render very doubtful its identity with the Tower of David.
Mr. Fergusson, however, maintains that this is the Tower of Pha
saëlus, and that the site of Hippicus is to be found at the extreme north-west corner of the present city walls, where are the remains of a tower called Kůl'at el Jâlûd—the Castle of Goliath.
The dimensions of Phasaëlus, forty cubits square, agree much better with those of the Tower of David. Forty cubits are equal to sixty feet, and the square of this is three thousand six hundred feet, which agrees closely enough with the superficies of the present tower—three thousand nine hundred and twenty feet—but not with the area of the Hippicus of Josephus. I am inclined, therefore, to accept the theory that identifies Phasaëlus with the Tower of David; but whether the Hippicus be at Kůl'at el Jâlûd, or adjoining the Tower of David, and nearer the Jaffa Gate, are questions yet to be decided.
All we know about these towers is gathered from Josephus, and if you turn to the fifth book of his Jewish Wars, at the fourth chapter, you will find a magnificent description of them. According to him the lower part of Phasaëlus was sixty feet high. Above this was a cloister fifteen feet high, and over this cloister a tower, parted into magnificent rooms, and a place for bathing. Its entire altitude was about one hundred and thirty-five feet, which was fifteen feet higher than the Hippicus. His statement that over the solid part of the Hippicus, which was forty-five feet high, there was a reservoir thirty feet deep, is simply incredible. But there may be some error in the text. Indeed, the entire account of these structures must be regarded as daring exaggeration on the part of Josephus. Beginning with the assertion that" for largeness, beauty, and strength these towers were beyond all that were in the habitable earth,” he proceeds to prove his assertion by assigning to them dimensions manifestly extravagant.
If I should venture to locate another of his towers, I would identify Kůl’at el Jâlûd with Psephinus. Josephus says that it was “at the north-west corner [of the city wall], and, being seventy cubits high, it doth afford a prospect of Arabia, at sunrising, as well as it did of the utmost limits of the Hebrew possessions at the sea westwards." No other position about Jerusalem commands such a vast outlook; and if Psephinus stood upon the elevated site of Kŭl'at el Jâlûd, this statement of Josephus may have been literally true.
ZION GATE.-LEPERS' VILLAGE.
South of the Tower of David are extensive barracks erected by Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt, in 1833 and 1834, and his architect told me that he had dug through sixty-eight feet of rubbish, hoping to reach the solid rock, but was finally obliged to build upon artificial foundations. The same result was made apparent by the excavations for a foundation upon which to erect the English church, which is directly east of the tower. I remember the dismay of the architect, Mr. J. W. Johns, at the enormous expense necessary to obtain a suitable foundation for that edifice. He was obliged to sink his shafts thirty-nine feet below the surface before he reached the rock, and the cubical contents of the foundations amounted to seventy thousand feet of masonry. All this shows that there was originally a deep ravine in that part of Zion, descending westwards into the valley of Gihon.
From the Tower of David I went directly south, along the level street that leads to the Gate of Zion. This is the cleanest and most agreeable street in Jerusalem, having the Armenian convent, the Church of St. James, and their extensive quarters for pilgrims on the east side, and attractive gardens and pleasant shade-trees on the west.
The Armenian community in Jerusalem, though not large, is reputed to be wealthy, and their church is, next to the Holy Sepulchre, the largest in the city. It occupies the traditional site of the martyrdom of St. James, and is rich in ecclesiastical decorations and sacred vestments, but its pictures are of no great value. The number of pilgrims sheltered and provided for in the spacious convent is very great, and altogether theirs is the pleasantest quarter within the walls of the city.
Zion Gate, known by the name of Bâb en Neby Dâûd-Gate of the Prophet David—is perfectly plain, and has no other importance, apparently, but to afford an outlet to that part of Zion which lies without the walls.
To the east of the gate, and just before passing out of the city, there formerly existed a row of hovels called the Village of the Lepers. Arranged along the wall for a short distance from the gate, those hovels presented a most, squalid and disgusting appear
A hospital has been recently provided for lepers, outside the
Jaffa Gate, near the upper pool of Gihon. One meets these unfortunate creatures in every part of the country, but it was only at their village here in Jerusalem that the horrors of their hopeless condition were fully exposed.
I was both surprised and startled, on approaching the Holy City in 1833, by the sudden apparition of a crowd of beggars, “sans eyes, sans nose, sans hair, sans everything." Having never seen a leper, or had my attention turned to the subject-for half a century ago Jerusalem and its marvels were not so well understood as they are now-I at first knew not what to make of them. They held up