Page images
PDF
EPUB

rous wines of Germany, which grow about the Rhine. But it cannot be denied that some vines were brought from Palestine to Europe and planted near the Rhine. Scheidt found near Emaus an abundance of vines, and Niebuhr, * found near mount Sinai remarkably fine ones. The Sacred Scripturet certifies that the country about Gaza produces wine : and at this day the wine of that place is spoken of by travellers. $ Shultz$ declares that grapes are found in Palestine of ten or twelve pounds weight.

In the Sacred Scriptures the word W177 often occurs, and it is generally translated new wine, from which however it by no means follows, that the ancients drank new wine to a great extent : the Hebrew word can justly be translated new wine, but it also frequently means simply wine. For it is derived from the root 27, which signifies to employ, whence wir'n, drink, easily employing

From many parts of the Bible|| it appears that this drink was in as great demand amongst the Orientals as amongst the Greeks and Romans. Mention is made of a sweet wine, which is called yasuxos, in the New Testament. It is uncertain, and a doubt may arise whether this is to be referred to new wine or to wine simply. One thing is certain, that it cannot refer to those wines which we call sweet. Pliny** mentions fourteen kinds of sweet wine : the middle one of these, he says, is what the Greeks call Aigleuces, that is new or sweet wine. That wine is made with care, since they prevent it from fermenting. For they immerse the casks in water immediately from the wine vat, until the cold is passed. From this, as I suppose, a certain kind of wine is produced, which they call gdeuxos : although I hesitate somewhat between two explications. For yačuxos can imply must; and that this is much sweeter than the wine made of it, none will deny. Whence also the Syrians use the word must for sweetness. But whether must is to be found at the feast of Penticost, may seem doubtful to some. But Pliny destroys that difficulty, affirming that the must was preserved in casks. And Columella* has described a method by which must may be kept as sweet as if it was fresh. Before the husks of the grapes are pressed, remove the must as soon as possible from the vat, and put it in a new cask ; then make the cask perfectly tight by daubing it with pitch, so that no water can enter, and immerse the cask in cold and fresh water, so that no part of it shall be left out of the water : then, after forty days remove it from the water, and the must will remain sweet for a whole year. It is in a manner somewhat similar that the noble wine of Campania is preserved and kept from fermenting. But the word gasuxos may mean the flower or essence of wine, that is, wine made by picking out only the best grapes.

a man.

* Beschreib. von Arab. p. 401.

+ Num. xii. 23, 24. Jud. xiv.5. # Conf. Relandi Palestina, pag. 589, et 792. Esposit. totius mundi, Vol. III. p.

5. ex edit. Hudsoni. Sidon. Appollin. Carm. XVII. ad Ommatium, Cassiodor. lib. xii. Epist. 12.

$ Leitungen des Höchsten nach seinem Rath auf đen Reisen durch Europa, Asia und Afrika, T. V. pag. 135, 285. Conf. Arvieux, T. II. p. 203. Plinik Hist. Nat. lib. xiv. c. 1. Strabo, lib. ii.

|| Gen. xxvii. 28. Jud. ix. 13. Jer, xxiv. 7. Ixv. 8.
1 Acts ïi. 13.
** Hist. Nat. lib. xis, cap. 9.

Which opinion has not been advanced by any of the interpreters, although Wetstein has treated largely on this subject. This is the way in which the essence of Tokay, the best wine of Hungary is made, and it appears not improbable to me, that a wine of a similar kind is here intended.

* De re rustica, lib. xii. cap. 29.

§ XI. Egypt is destitute of oil, but Palestine

abounds in it. According to Strabo* the greatest part of Egypt has no olive yards, the province of Heraclea alone excepted, which as it surpasses the other parts in other respects, so also produces olives to perfection, and very fruitful trees; and if any one would make the oil carefully, it would be very superior, but as they are very negligent in the manner of making it, it has a very disagreeable smell. But the rest of Egypt has no olives, except the gardens in the vicinity of Alexandria. Niebuhrt has described the instrument for making oil, but has not stated the place where he found it. If he did not find it in Alexandria, perhaps more labour and attention is paid, at this day, to the cultivation of the olive than was the case in the time of Strabo. But Palestine surpasses other countries in the abundance of its olives : whence Ezechielf the Prophet says, 6 Judah and the land of Israel were thy merchants : They traded in thy market (Tyre) wheat of Minnith and Pannag, and honey and oil and balm.” Solomon also is said, (1 Kings v. 11,) to have sent annually to the king of Tyre, twenty measures of pure oil. Hasselquist has given us the best description of its excellence, affirming that in no region has the oil a sweeter taste than in Palestine, and that it is far preferable to that of the Province. Bellonius says that a few olives are found in Lemnos, and that they grow in gardens of Crete, but that those of Syria and the land of Jerusalem surpass in richness. In the sacred monu

* De rebus Geographicis, lib. xvii. p. 809. Edit. Paris. Conf. Michaelis' Mosaisches Recht, T. IV. p. 90.

+ Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien, T. I. p. 151,

* Cap. xxvii. 17. Conf. Deut. vii. 13; xxxiii. 13 ; xxxiii. 24; Ps. xlv. 9 ; Hos. ii. 22. Conf. Talmud. in cod. Menachot cap. viii. 3. Bocharti Hieroz. p. 2, lib. iv. cap. 12. Bellonii Observat. lib. ii. c. 87. Shaw': 'I ravels, p. 337, 339. Roger's Terre Saint. lib. i. c. 9. Relandi Palestina, p. 380, 381.

A A

peace :

ments of Hebrew antiquity oil was held as a sign of forgiveness and mercy. Fertility also is denoted by the symbol of the olive tree. That it was the sign of fatness and fertility you may see from Jud. ix.; for when it was invited by the barren trees to govern, it answered that it was unwilling to leave its fatness, " wherewith by me they honour God and man.” By Horace* the olive is selected as the richest tree. Formerly the olive was the index and symbol of the sad and of those seeking pardon and as those asking pardon carried the olive in their hands. According to Demosthenes, the Athenians used to supplicate against Timocrates, in sordid clothing and carrying the olive. When Artaxerxes Ocho was besieging Sidon, as Diodorus Siculus says in the life of Philip, five hundred of the nobles of the city went out to meet Artaxerxes, carrying olive branches and begging for peace. Apuleus says, that women who have become widows by murder, carry olive branches in order to excite the commiseration of the judges. When the Romans carried on a war with Perseus king of Macedonia, ambassadors with long hair and beards, and carrying olive branches, came to the Roman senate to beg for mercy : this Livy states. riage feasts and celebrations oil was used to anoint the bridegroom ; according to the Oriental customt he had • some of his friends and companions with him, who were partakers of the unction, though not so largely as he. From the testimony of those who have visited the Eastern countries in our days, it appears that this custom has been abolished and perfuming introduced in its place. The Egyptian priests used to abstain from oil according to Chaeremon the stoic, in Porphyry. Many of them did not use it at all, and those who did, used it very sparingly with their herbs. The olive, then, was not cultivated in

In mar

* Lib. ii. Od. II. Conf. Pierii Valeriani Hieroglyphica, lib. 53.
+ Confer. Jud. xiv. 11, 20. Ps. xlv. 9.

De abstinentia, lib. iv, sect. 6.

Egypt and the land was not suitable for it, a very small part only, the tract of Heraclea excepted, and even this was bút little used for that purpose. But Palestine abounds in olives. Schulz* says, that he found many olive yards in the vicinity of Jericho ; whence Moses gave different precepts to the Israelites that they should use oil in their food, and he prohibited the use of the fat of kidneys, so that being more and more accustomed to oil, they might cultivate it with more industry, and never have a desire to remove into a region that did not produce oil.t This was an excellent method, to keep the Israelites from emigrating

§ XII.' They had butter in Egypt, but not in

Palestine. Butter appears to have been much used in Egypt, but not at all in Palestine; it was also scarcely known to the Greeks and Romans; thus Plinyt says, of milk is made butter, an excellent food of the barbarous nations, and which distinguishes the rich from the common people. It is generally made from the milk of the cow (e bubulo) and thence the Latin name; but the richest is from the milk of the ewe.

Of the Lusitanians Strabo says, they use butter instead of oil. My denial of the use of butter in Palestine will excite astonishment, since so many great men have strenuously affirmed it; and if we compare the old and recent interpreters of the Sacred Scriptures we find the word butter in their translations, although in the original text I contend there is no mention of the word. The Israelites had no need of it, possessing

*

Leitungen des Höchsten auf seinen Reisen, &c. T. V.

† Conf. II. Michaelis Comment. de legibus Moses Palestinam Israelitis caram facturis, sect. 5, 7. Mosaisches Recht. T. IV. p. 90.

# Hist. Nat. lib. xxviii. cap. 9. Droscorides lib. xi. cap. 81.

« PreviousContinue »