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TOMB OF SETH-OF NOAH-BAALBEK.
wide. The length of the edifice built upon this platform is eighty-nine feet, the breadth about forty, and the height to the top of the cornice fifty-four. The interior is divided like that at Hibbarîyeh. The style of architecture resembles the Ionic, and the egg and cup, or cup and ball ornaments occur every where, as at Baalbek. There are other ancient buildings at this Deir ’Asheîr, and the place is well worth a visit.
Proceeding farther north, there are remnants of small temples at various points along the slopes of Anti-Lebanon. At Neby Sheet is the tomb of Seth, under a vaulted room more than one hundred feet long. The tomb is about ten feet broad, extends the entire length of the vault, and is covered with a green cloth. This prophet Seth is the third son of Adam, transformed into a grand Moslem saint, with three hundred wives, and children without number. Opposite to his tomb, on the west side of the Bŭk'ah, is that of Noah, at Kerak. It is a little more than one hundred and thirty feet long, and even at that accommodated the tall
patriarch who stepped across the Deluge only to the knees, the remainder being provided for by a deep pit sunk perpendicularly into the earth. But this entire system of fanes and temples received its grandest enunciation in the wonderful structures at Baalbek, on the eastern side of the Būk'ah.
Is Baalbek the Baal-gad of the Bible ?
The main reasons for the support of this opinion are that the names are very similar: the first half identical in form, the other probably so in significance, and both correctly translated by Heliopolis, City of the Sun. Then, again, the notices of it in the Bible lead us to search for Baal-gad in the direction and neighborhood of Baalbek: In the valley of Lebanon, under Hermon, and the entrance into Hamath : these are the geographical indications. That it is in the valle of Lebanon can not be questioned; that it is under Hermon is equally certain; and that it is at or on the road to the "entrance into Hamath," my explorations in that direction have fully satisfied my own mind. This “entrance," so conspicuous in ancient Biblical geography, was the province at the north end of the Bŭk'ah, drained by the sources of the Orontes, the river of Hamath. This province was reached from the west or sea-board by the passes over the low mountains of Akkar, at the north end of Lebanon, which I take to be the Mount Hor of Numbers xxxiv. 7,8. This, says Moses, shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you Mount Hor (Heb. Hor Hahor), and from Mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath. Of course the kingdom, not the city of Hamath, is meant in all cases, and the southern province of it would be reached through the Bŭk'ah, past Baalbek, and from the sea through Akkar, as just described. This theory ascertains the line of Israel's northern boundary, and at the same time corroborates the idea that Baal-gad is identical with Baalbek. Let any one ride from Baalbek northward to Lebweh or 'Ain, or, better still, to Kamûa Hermel, and look off toward Hamath, and he will be struck with the propriety of the phrase, entrance into Hamath. From his stand-point the valley of the Bŭk'ah opens out like a vast fan on to the great plain of northern Syria, and he is at the gate of the kingdom. Baalbek being, therefore, in the neighborhood where we must look for Baal-gad, there seems to be no good reason to doubt their identity, for there is no rival to dispute the honor of the name and site.
| Josh. xi. 17, and xiii. 5.
The remains at Baalbek are adequate to meet the demands of any history, and some of them
claim an antiquity equal to any thing that even Egypt can boast. The substructures of the great temple can scarcely be of a later age than that of Solomon, and may have supported a magnificent edifice in the time of Joshua. If we reject this identification, what other name shall we or can we give to these wonderful ruins? I can think of none; and after traveling up and down, and across that whole region for twentyfive years, and studying every ancient site in it, I find no other Baal-gad, and ask for none.
How much evidence is there that Solomon erected any of these temples at Baalbek ?
The unanimous voice of Mohammedan romance and Oriental fable. That he should have had something to do with Baal-gad is, however, not incredible. His government included the Būk'ah; he was given to magnificent architecture; he built with great stones, quite equal, according to Josephus, to those in the sub-structures at Baalbek, and not much less, according to the Bible; and, finally, there is no other prince known to history to whom the most ancient parts can be ascribed with greater plausibility. If not this very Suleyman Bin Daoud of the Moslem, their author is absolutely unknown.
It is the general opinion, I believe, that the remains there are of very
ages. It requires no great architectural knowledge to decide that point, but just how many ages and orders can be distinguished in the wilderness of present ruins I will not undertake to determine. The most ancient, no doubt, are the foundations seen on the west and north sides of the great temple to which the six columns belonged. The first tier above ground consists of stones of different lengths, but all about twelve and a half feet thick, and the same in width. Then came over these stones more than sixty-three feet long, the largest blocks, perhaps, that were ever placed in a wall by man.* One of this class lies in the quarry, where it can be viewed all round, and measured easily. It is fourteen by seventeen, and sixty-nine feet long. Here is a drawing of it; and remember, as you look at it, that three very respectable rooms might be cut in it, and still leave partition walls three feet thick. How such blocks could be transported a mile over uneven ground to the temple, and elevated to their position on its platform, is yet an unsolved problem in the science of mechanical forces. But there is something about them still more wonderful. The corresponding surfaces of these enormous stones are squared so truly and polished so smoothly that the fit is most exact. I was at first entirely deceived, and measured two as one, making it more than a hundred and twenty feet long. The joint had to be searched for, and, when found, I could not thrust the blade of my knife between the stones. What architect of our day could cut and bring together with greater success gigantic blocks of marble more than sixty feet long and twelve feet square?
* Dr. Robinson, the greatest master of measuring tape in the world, gives the dimensions of these three stones thus : One is sixty-four feet long, another sixty-three eight inches, and the remaining one sixty-three feet: the whole, one hundred and ninety feet eight inches. The height about thirteen feet, and the thickness perhaps greater.
It is admitted, is it not, that the temple for which this foundation was laid was never completed?
It is; but this does not prove it. That those who subsequently built upon the foundation did not occupy the whole of it, is evident enough. The portion left out is indicated by the tier of great stones on the northwest corner; but it is not certain that the remains of the most ancient temple were not taken, so far as needed, for the smaller structures of succeeding architects. I suspect that we now see the fragments of these blocks in the Grecian columns, capitals, and cornices which encumber the platform of the present edifices. The quality of the rock is identical, and there could be no reason why the Grecian architects should not appropriate to their use these ruins, just as they did so much of the foundation as suited their purposes.
Are there no inscriptions to aid in determining these doubtful points ?