« PreviousContinue »
one great whole. Josephus, in his controversy with Apion, states distinctly, on the authority of Dius, who, he says, wrote the Phoenician history accurately, that Hiram joined the temple of Jupiter Olympus, which stood before on an island by itself, to the city by raising a causeway between them. There never has been more than one island here, and the causeway must have joined that to the main land. Thus the ancient city and the island were connected even in the time of Solomon; nor would the work be very difficult, owing to the shallowness of the water. This, with other notices of Tyre by Menander the Ephesian, render it highly probable that continental Tyre extended along the shore from Ras el 'Ain to the island; and this, again, agrees with the statement of Pliny, that Tyre was nineteen miles in circumference, including old Tyre, but without it about four. A line which would now include the island and Ras el’Ain might easily be so drawn as to be nineteen miles long, while the utmost extent of the walls around the island alone would be nearly four miles, as Pliny has it.
The history of this fallen representative of ancient wealth, commerce, and civilization spreads over so many ages of stirring activity—there is so much to be seen, and so many are the reflections suggested by what is no longer to be seen, that one becomes quite bewildered.
It is, indeed, long since Joshua divided yonder hills and valleys between Asher and Naphtali, and during a large portion of this time Tyre was the most splendid city, perhaps, in the world. In the days of David and Solomon she was able not merely to maintain her independence in presence of these mighty conquerors, but by her unrivaled skill in arts and architecture she became an honored ally and necessary partner in the enterprise of building a temple for the Most High to dwell in. From this time she is associated, more or less intimately, with the history of God's chosen people for a thousand years. They had, in general, the same enemies, and, to a certain extent, shared the same fortunes. When the kings of Nineveh, or Babylon, or of Egypt came against the land of Israel, they attacked Tyre
also. Yet, in spite of all her enemies, she flourished beyond a parable. The Hebrew historians, prophets, and poets constantly allude to her power, wealth, luxury, and vices, and Ezekiel seems to tax the entire geography of the known world to set forth the extent of her commerce and the multitude of her riches. It would take a volume to trace the varied fortunes of Tyre through Egyptian, Chaldean, Macedonian, Roman, Saracenic, Frank, and Turkish dynasties, down to the present wretched representative of so much greatness and glory. With but few exceptions, it is now a cluster of miserable huts, inhabited by about three thousand five hundred impoverished Metawelies and Arab Christians, destitute alike of education, of arts, and of enterprise, carrying on with Egypt a small trade in tobacco from the neighboring hills, and of lava mill-stones from the Hauran. This is a sorry schedule for the name of Tyre, but it is about all she can exhibit:
“Dim is her glory, gone her fame,
Her boasted wealth has fled ;
The fisher's net is spread.
And Tyria's mirth is low;
Are hushed, or wake to woe.' It is, indeed, a fearful falling off from the catalogue in the 27th chapter of Ezekiel. Can you follow the geography of the prophet with any degree of certainty?
Not in all cases, but we can make a nearer approximation than might be supposed. It well deserves a careful study; for, judged by its undoubted antiquity, it is the most important geographical document, and by far the most suggestive commercial tariff in existence; and now is the time, and this the place, to examine it with pleasure and profit. Undeterred, therefore, by its length, let us read over this 27th chapter of Ezekiel, and a few very brief additions to the text will show how many of the countries named are now known, and how far the commodities and the characteristics ascribed to them still hold good.
O thou that art situated at the entry of the sea—beautifully significant of continental and insular Tyre united—a merchant of the people for many isles, thus saith the Lord God: 0 Tyrus, thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty. They have made all thy ship boards of fir-trees from Senir (Mount Hermon), and of cedars from Lebanon have they made thy masts. Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars, and thy benches of ivory brought out of the isles of Chittim (Cyprus and the Grecian islands). Fine linen, with broidered work from Egypt, was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail—and Egypt still deals largely in linen, though not remarkably “fine"-purple and scarlet from Elishah (Greek islands and neighboring nations) was that which covered thee. The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were thy mariners (Arvad is now wholly inhabited by mariners). The ancients of Gebal were thy calkers (and their city is still found on the shore north of Ruad; or, if Jebeîl be meant, tar and pitch for calking is now made on the mountains above it). They of Persia, and of Lud, and of Phut were in thine army (Phud and Lud were in Mesopotamia“). Tarshish (Tarsus in Cilicia, possibly Tartessus in Spain) was thy merchant, with silver, iron, tin, and lead (and in both these regions rich mines of these metals abounded in ancient days, and are still found). Javan, Tubal, and Meshech (Northern Asia Minor, Georgia, and Circassia) traded the persons of men (as they still do, or more frequently the persons of women). They of the house of Togarmah (Armenia) traded in thy fairs with horses and mules (and this country is still celebrated for its horses). The men of Dedan (Ethiopia and along the Red Sea) brought thee for a present horns of ivory and ebony. Syria occupied in thy fairs with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate. Judah and the land of Israel traded in thy market wheat of Minnith and Pannag (in the Howrano), and honey, and oil, and balm. Damascus was thy merchant in wine of Helbon (Aleppo, or more probably from a city some twenty miles north of Da
2 Josephus v. 7, 10.
1 Judith ii. 23.
EXTENT OF THE COMMERCE OF TYRE.
mascus) and white wool. Dan and Javan going to and fro (Arabs from the Persian Gulf) occupied in thy fairs : bright iron, cassia, and calamus. Dedan in South Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, occupied with thee in lambs, rams, and goats (and Southern Palestine is now supplied with them from the same regions). The merchants of Sheba and Raamah occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones and gold. (The Abyssinians claim Sheba, and Raamah was probably in the same region, where spices grow and precious stones are gathered.) Haran and Canneh, Eden and Sheba, Asshur and Chilmad (which ends the list, were countries and cities along the Euphrates and Tigris), they were merchants in all sorts of things, blue cloths, broidered work, and chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar. The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy market, and thou wast replenished, and made very glorious in the midst of the seas.
Thus extensive was the commerce of Tyre. From Abyssinia and Arabia on the south, to Armenia and Georgia on the north, and from the frontiers of India to the utmost islands of Greece, and, indeed, far beyond both, came to this little spot—the caravans by land and the ships by sea-a commerce rarely exceeded in extent and variety—a concentration of wealth and luxury which few cities of any age or country could boast. No doubt her merchants were princes, and her traffickers the honorable men of the earth. How impressive the change! Well might the isles shake at the sound of her fall.? Her present utter prostration and poverty are abundantly sufficient to meet the demands of prophecy, even without reference to continental Tyre, which has been literally wiped off the map of the earth. She has sunk down to the dust beneath the heavy “burden" of prophecy; nor can she ever recover her ancient glory without a succession of mighty physical, moral, and political miracles, such as the world has never seen, and which we have no reason to expect. Must we not allow a very wide application to some of Ezekiel's names, in order to compass the entire range of Tyrian commerce?
| Ezek. xxvi. 15-21.
No doubt; and therefore great latitude must be given westward to Elishah, Chittim, and Tarshish, and northward to Javan, Tubal, and Togarmah; to Aram, Persia, and Dedan eastward, and to Sheba and Raamah toward the south. Many of these names were probably applied in a loose way to regions but little known and of vast extent. Hiram had ships that traded from Ezion-geber, at the head of the Gulf of Akabah, out into the Indian Ocean, and brought from Ophir, once in three years, almug-trees, precious stones, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. And so, also, through Carthage and Cadiz, their commerce spread along the whole northern coast of Africa and southern shores of Europe, and even to Ireland and England. Ezekiel could not have been ignorant of this, and it is fair to explain his catalogue according to this large interpretation.
After all, the commerce of Tyre was very limited in variety as compared with that of modern times—neither cotton, nor silk, nor rice, nor Indian corn, nor sugar, nor coffee, nor tea, nor tobacco, nor potatoes, nor oranges, nor any of the almost countless fruits and nuts which enrich our markets of the present day. It is fair to conclude that there bas been a very great advance in all the arts of life since that early day.
28th. It has taken just an hour to ride from our tent to this celebrated Ras el 'Ain.
And, as our pace has been more rapid than usual, the distance is full thirty furlongs, and our ride has thus corroborated the statement of Strabo in regard to the central site of continental Tyre, though the whole distance from this to the island must have been occupied by the city and suburbs in the days of her greatest prosperity and largest extent.
These pools—birkehs you call them-are, indeed, extraordinary structures, and appear to be very ancient.
As old, perhaps, as the Pools of Solomon, in which case they may have been erected by Hiram himself, the friend
11 Kings ix. 26–28; and x. 11, 22.