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RUINS OF TYRE-FOUNTAIN.
267 slightest idea of their existence. This collection of columns and marble floors was again covered up by the quarriers in their search for available stone, and the unconscious tourist now walks heedlessly over wrecks of ancient splendor, which astonished and delighted even the well-traveled “Father of History” four centuries before the birth of Christ. The entire southern half of the island is buried deep beneath just such ruins, and I hope the day is not distant when others will explore them besides poor quarriers, rummaging for building-stone at so many piastres per hundred.
Should any one ask incredulously where are the stones of ancient Tyre—where, at least, the remains of those lofty towers and triple walls which so excited the wonder and admiration of the Crusaders only some seven centuries ago, the preceding incidents will furnish a satisfactory reply. They are found in this depth of ruins, spread over the island, and over the causeway of Alexander. They are found in her choked-up harbor, and at the bottom of her sea. They are at Acre, and Joppa, and Beirût, and in the rubbish of all those cities. In fact, the only wonder is that so much still remains to reveal and confirm the ancient greatness of this Phænician capital.
Do you suppose that the fountain outside of the gate has any connection with Ras el ’Ain?
The period of Tyre's greatest extent and glory was before the causeway was made, and it is not probable that an aqueduct was carried under the sea; and, besides, this fountain is not on the edge of the island nearest the main land, as it would have been had such an aqueduct been constructed, but three hundred paces farther west, in the interior of the original island. There is no need of such an hypothesis to explain any apparent mystery about this fountain. The strata along the coast dip toward the sea, and pass under it. Where they terminate abruptly at the shore, innumerable streams of water run out on a level with the surface, and below it. There are hundreds of such streams along this coast, and some of them very large. A little north of Ruad -the Arvad of the Bible-a fountain bursts up from the bottom of the sea of such enormous size and power during the rainy months as to make the whole surface boil like a caldron. Now apply this to our fountain. The strata of the plain opposite the city dip under the sea at a very small angle, and, of course, pass below the island. A shaft sunk only a few feet deep will reach a stratum that extends to the main land, and water running beneath that stratum will pass under the island. Cut off such a stream by your shaft, and the water will rise as high as the conditions of the strata on the neighboring plain will admit. Accordingly, the people will tell you that water can be found on any part of the island by digging to the proper depth. It will generally be somewhat brackish, and this is to be expected from the close proximity to the sea. These facts explain, as I believe, how it was that the Tyrians could sustain such protracted sieges, as we know from history they repeatedly did. They appear never to have been straitened for water, because they had a supply on their own little island which the besiegers could not cut off.
Have you ever seen the shell-fish from which the farfamed Tyrian purple was obtained ?
That variety of the Murex from which this dye was procured is found all along this coast, but it abounds most around the Bay of Acre. So, also, the Helix Janthina, from which a blue, with a delicate purple or lilac tinge may be extracted, is equally abundant. After a storm in winter you may gather thousands of them from the sandy beach south of Sidon. They are so extremely fragile that the waves soon grind them to dust. A kind of Buccinum is found here at Tyre, which has a dark crimson coloring matter about it, with a bluish, livid tinge. According to ancient authors, this was used to vary the shades of the purple. Pliny says the Tyrians ground the shell in mills to get at the dye. This could not have been the only process, because the remnants of these shells found in pits along the southeastern shore of our island were certainly broken or mashed, and not ground, and the same is true with the shells on the south of the wall at Sidon.
This Tyrian purple was celebrated in Greece, even in the remote age of Homer, who sings of
“Belts, That, rich with Tyrian dye, refulgent glowed.” The references to these colors of red, purple, and scarlet in the Bible are more ancient still; indeed, from Genesis to Revelations they are so numerous, and so mingled and blended together, that it is almost impossible to particularize them; nor is it necessary; the merest child can turn to a score of them. And these colors are equally prevalent and popular at the present day among all classes of Orientals.
These and other matters which connect the history of Tyre with that of the people of God are invested with peculiar interest, and I have long desired to become intimately and accurately acquainted with them. I encounter a difficulty at the very beginning of her story. Isaiah calls Tyre the daughter of Sidon;' and Joshua mentions the “strong city Tyre” in describing the boundary of Asher,2 from which it is certain that she was not a very young daughter even at the conquest of Canaan by the Jews; yet Josephus, in stating the exact time in which Solomon's temple was built, says there had passed two hundred and forty years from the founding of Tyre to the building of the temple; but Joshua lived more than four hundred years before Solomon. Here is a discrepancy of more than two hundred years. Isa. xxiii. 12.
2 Josh. xix. 29.
There is; and it is possible that Josephus wrote four hundred and forty instead of two hundred and forty. Such errors in copying might easily occur. But Josephus lived after the beginning of the Christian era, and may have had in his mind the city that then existed, and all agree that it was built long after continental Tyre. This Palai Tyrus had been totally subverted for seven hundred years when the Jewish historian wrote, and he may have dropped it out of view entirely, and spoken only of that city concerning which the Roman world would feel interested. Insular Tyre was very likely not built more than two hundred and forty years before the time of Solomon. At any rate, the testimony of Joshua that there was a Tyre in his day is decisive, and if the statement of Josephus could in no way be reconciled with it, we should not hesitate which to believe. I understand him, however, to refer to different cities, and thus there is no contradiction.
Where do you find the site of continental Tyre ?
It extended, I suppose, from the great fountains of Ras el ’Ain northward, included the long, low Tell Habeish as its acropolis, and in its greatest prosperity probably reached the shore opposite the island. The whole of the Tell is full of buried foundations. Reschid Pasha, the present grand vizier, has purchased this neighborhood, and within two years has planted fifty thousand mulberry-trees, besides olives and fruit-trees, and seems determined to revive the place again. But the people say the enterprise must fail, because God has declared that Tyre shall never be rebuilt. Thus far the success is not very satisfactory. The mulberry-trees flourish well enough, but the place has proved so unhealthy that the peasants refuse to reside there. Last summer the Pasha's agent had workmen erecting houses on Tell Habeish, and I was greatly interested to see that wherever the men dug for foundations, they came upon old works, which must have belonged to what Diodorus called Palai Tyrus in his day. Pliny says that it was thirty furlongs from insular Tyre to the south, which agrees with this locality, and with no other.
DESTRUCTION OF TYRE-PROPHECIES. 271 This was that joyouş city, whose antiquity was of ancient days, even when Isaiah sang the burden of Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth. The Lord of hosts proposed by this utter overthrow to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth. It is of this city that Ezekiel says, Thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt be any more. And, so far as one can judge, it will never be a city again. Alexander, as Arrian relates, scraped off the very dust of old Tyre to build his causeway, and now you can find none of the remains except by digging below the surface. Even this feeble attempt of Reschid Pasha to revive the site of old Tyre has proved a losing speculation. It is so sickly that not even a village of any size can be established there, and, should the plain become again densely peopled, the villages will be built at a distance from this fatal spot.
In the prophecies relating to Tyre, there seems to be a blending together of the continental and the insular city, so that it is often difficult to distinguish which of the two is meant.
There is; but this is in entire accordance with the general method of prophetic announcements. Those of our Saviour in regard to the destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem are mixed up with other matters connected with, or analogous to that great event, and it is impossible now to assign to each its proper part. There is, in reality, a propriety in thus joining together continental and insular Tyre. The same people-guilty of the same vices—they deserved and received the same judgments, though in different degrees and at various times. The one was totally destroyed, never to rise again; the other repeatedly overwhelmed, but again partially reviving, just as the whole drift of the prophecies would lead us to expect. Indeed, it is nearly certain that the two cities were actually connected long before Alexander joined the island to the coast, and thus there would be no impropriety in speaking of them as * Isa. xxiii. 7, 8, 9.
2 Ezek. xxvii. 36.