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whomsoever should do it. These imprecations will scarcely be visited upon Louis Napoleon, or the officers of the French corvette La Sérieuse, on board of which the sarcophagus was carried to France; for it had been opened by some former rifler of tombs, probably in search of treasure, notwithstanding the declaration of the king that there were none with him. It is curious to notice this anxiety so early in man's history, proving that the custom of digging for hid treasures, as Job has it, and rifling the tombs of kings for the same purpose, is extremely ancient.
Another thing interested me very much in this tablet. Many of the letters so closely resemble those of our own alphabet that one can scarcely be mistaken in tracing ours up through the Romaic and the Greek to that of Phoenicia; and this accords with, and confirms the ancient tradition in regard to the origin of the Greek alphabet. Still more interesting is the fact that the characters on this stone are so like the old Hebrew as to establish their close relationship, if not their actual identity. If this be so, then we have on this tablet of Ashmunazer the very alphabet that God employed to preserve and transmit to us the priceless gift of his divine law. It farther appears that the language of the two peoples, as well as their alphabet, were identical. And this, too, accords with our most ancient history. In all the incidental notices of intercourse between the patriarchs and their descendants, and the inhabitants of Palestine, this fact is assumed or necessarily implied. It is only in Egypt that they heard a language which they could not understand (as David has it in the 81st Psalm), and conversed through an interpreter—a character and office never mentioned in Palestine. It is, perhaps, not necessary to suppose that either borrowed from the other, but that both inherited from their common ancestor. At any rate, it is scarcely possible that the Phoenicians could borrow their language and literature from the Hebrews. They were the more ancient people, and had attained a high civilization while the patriarchs still abode in tents and tended cattle.
In regard to the temples mentioned by Ashmunazer, I
have the idea that Baal-Sidon was that which once covered the old mazar, or shrine now called Sidone, a short distance southeast of the upper castle of the city. The Ene Dalil on the mountain may have been this temple of Mūnterah on the bold promontory above the Sanîk. The position, and the apparent signification of both names, would point to it. There are also traces of more than one temple at Tubloon itself-one over the spot where the sarcophagus was found, and another farther south.
But here is one of Sidon's antiquities by the road side which claims a passing notice. Those two mighty emperors, Septimius Severus and Pertinax Arabicus, sought to immortalize their august names by graving into this granite column the important fact that they mended this road. And this brings us to the little river Sanik, somewhat swollen by the heavy rains. I will tell you something about this river when we get settled in our tent this evening. In the mean while, notice its exit from the mountains a mile to the east of us, through that fine gorge, with a village in its mouth, called, by some strange whim, Durb es Sîn, or road to China, to translate according to sound. That ruined temple on the promontory above is Mūnterah, commanding the noble prospect I spoke of the other day. There are many tombs in the rock thereabouts, and one so large that it is still used occasionally as a church. In my rambles I once bolted into it, horse and all, and was surprised to find myself before an altar with a crucifix, an old picture of the Virgin, and a greasy earthen lamp. I subsequently learned that it was dedicated to Mary, and, on a certain day of the year, a great feast is celebrated at it to her honor. That large village with white domes, a little farther south, is called Gâzzîyeh, which Maundrell spells Korie. William of Tyre, and other Crusaders, make equally shrewd approximations to the reality. Those domes cover the shrines of reputed prophets, or holy men; a sort of patron saints very common in this region. Each village has one or more, and, besides these, every conspicuous hill-top has a willy or mazar, beneath a spreading oak, to which people pay religious visits, and thither they go up to worship and to discharge vows. All sects in the country, without exception, have a predilection for these “high places,” strong as that of the Jews in ancient times. The most pious and zealous kings could not remove the high places from Israel, and most of them not only connived
at, but shared in this superstition, and frequented these shrines. They were generally surrounded with a grove, or at least, had one or more shade-trees planted near them, and so they have to this day. The customs are identical. There is one of these high places, with its grove of venerable oaks,
on the very summit of Lebanon, east of Jezzîn. It is of an oval shape, corresponding to the top of the mountain, and the grove was planted regularly around its outer edge. When I stood within this mystic circle of mighty oaks, and looked over the vast plain of Coele-Syria, northeast to the temple of Baalbek, and then southwest to ancient Tyre, I fancied that this had been a connecting point between the two great temples of Baal and Belus. The first rays of the “God of Day” would glance from the gilded dome in Baalbek to this high place, and thence into the grand portal of Belus at Tyre. Many of these mazars, whose history no one knows, have probably come down from remote antiquity, through all the mutations of dynasties and religions, unchanged, to the present hour. We can believe this the more readily, because they are now frequented by the oldest communities in the country, and those most opposed to each other. For example, Neby Seijûd, which you see crowning yon southern peak of Lebanon, is resorted to by Jews, wild Arabs of the desert, Moslems, Metāwelies, and Christians. We have, therefore, in these places, not only sites of the very highest antiquity, but living examples and monuments of man's most ancient superstitions; and, if this does not add to our veneration, it will much increase the interest with which we examine them. If it does not soften our condemnation, it may at least lessen our surprise.
This little brook is called Meshûn, and here the road to Hasbeiya takes off to the southeast, over those swelling hills on our left. After crossing the River Zahrany, it winds up a conical hill nine hundred feet high, to Khan Mohammed Ali, where is a fountain with a Greek inscription. Farther on are rock-tombs, and other indications of an ancient city, near the present village of Zifty. An ancient road continues due east past Deîr Zahrany and Tell Húbbush to the Jermŭk, a beautiful vale, which leads down to the Litany, at the ford called Tamra-seven and a half hours from Sidon. The modern road, however, passes south of this, through the long wady Kafûr to Nebatîyeh, and thence to the bridge Khŭrdîleh, below the great castle of Shủkîf, which is about eight hours from Sidon. Beyond the Litany the road divides to various parts of Ijon, Wady et Teim between the two Lebanons, to the Hûleh and the Hauran. In those days when Sidon possessed Dan, and the fertile plains of Merom, this was an important highway, and was well kept, furnished with cisterns of water, and paved in places which required it. I trust we may be able to visit Shŭkîf on our return. It is the castle of Bellefort, or Beaufort of the Crusaders, and commands a magnificent panorama of mountains, plains, rivers, and lakes.
Our present path has brought us to a second milestone, with a Latin inscription, which we need not stop to copy, as it is a fragment which reveals nothing worth remembering. That pretty river before us is the flowery Zahrany, with a broken bridge of three arches embosomed in a wilderness of oleanders. We shall have something to say about this river also in the evening. In the mean while, we will examine that Tell, which rises like a huge haystack on the very margin of the sea. It is called Tell el Burak, from those very ancient cisterns east of it, in which was collected the water from fountains that rise out of the plain above it.
What is that man quarreling about with his companion ? Shall I translate this last explosion of his wrath ? “May God curse your grandfather, and the father of your great grandfather! Can't you give a man time to pray? I want to pray."
Both together are certainly preposterous enough; and yet this scene and language are so familiar that I should not have noticed them if you had not called my attention that way.
But what makes the man so pertinaciously resolved to pray at this hour and place?
Perhaps he has made a vow to say his prayers at this time of day, wherever he may be, and if he fails he must do penance or pay a piastre, which is worse. Alas! religion in the East has always been joined in fellowship with many