Page images
PDF
EPUB

that, according to their usages, he should not have saluted her at all.:

His saluting her was, it seems, contrary to their usages, on what account is not perfectly clear: if it was on account of a supposed great disproportion of rank, our LORD might command them to assume this among other expressions of meanness, in opposition to those appearances of wordly grandeur the Jews expected to see, whenever the kingdom of God came—the kingdom of the Messiah,k

OBSERVATION XV.

Particular Kinds of Salutations.

The Eastern salutations differ considerably, according to the difference of rank of the persons they salute. .The common salutation," Sandys says, “ is laying the right-hand on the bosom, and a little declining their bodies; but when they salute a person of great rank, they bow almost to the ground, and kiss the hem of his garment.” Egmont and Heyman, agreeably to this, tell us," that two Greek noblemen that introduced

i Voy. tom. 1, p. 192. In the same place Niebuhr observes that they had just before met an Arab lady riding on a camel, accompanied by one domestic, who in order to testify her respect for the Sheekhs who accompanied him, rode out of the path, then alighted from her camel, and passed by them on foot. Edit.

Luke x. 11. P. 50. m Vol. 1. p. 258.

Upo

[ocr errors]

them to the exiled Chan of Tartary, who resided at Scio, kissed his robe at their entrance, and that they took their leave of him with the same ceremonies; and Dr. Pococke," that when he attended the English Consul on a visit of ceremony which he made the Pasha of Tripoli, upon his return from meeting the Mecca caravan, the two Dragomen (or interpreters of the Consul) kissed the Pasha's garment, and put it to their foreheads, as soon as he was seated, when he granted a request that was made, and when they went away. Pitts, le Bruyn, and Thevenot,' agree with Sandys also in the accounts they give of the common 'salutation. Which compliment the last-mentioned author tells us, he saw the Grand Signior himself pay the people, when he rode through the streets of Constantinople in great state, “He saluted all the people, having

Vol. iii. p. 237. • When then some Commentators tell us, the ten men's taking hold of the skirt of him that was a Jew, Zech. viii. 23, is to be considered as a gesture of entreating friendly assistance, they seem to be under a mistake; it is rather to be understood as an application of a most submissive kind, to be taken under his protection, or received among his de. pendants. Such an explanation of this gesture perfectly suits the interpretation of those, that suppose these words point out those accessions to the Jewish church and nation, under the Asmonæan princes, when several tribes of the Gentile world submitted to be circumcised, and were incorporated with the Jews. Of these, the Idumæans were the most celebrated; but there were others that thus united themselves with the Jewish nation.

P Pitts, p. 66. Le Bruyn, tom. 1. page 422. Thevenot, p. 30.

his right-hand constantly on his breast, bowing first to one side, and then to the other; and the people with a low and respectful voice wished him all happiness and prosperity." This form of salutation then between equals is what superiors also sometimes use to those that are much below them.

Shaw's account of the Arab compliment, Peace be unto you, or common salutation, agrees with what has been mentioned ; but he farther tells us, that inferiors, aut of deference and respect, kiss the feet, the knees, or the garments of their superiors ;" he might have added, or the hands; for d’Arvieux tells us, that though the Arab ,emir he visited withdrew his hand when he offered to kiss it, he frequently offered it to people to kiss when he had a mind to oblige them to do him that homage. They are not, however, expressions of equal submission : the kissing the hand is not only apparently less lowly than that of the feet ; but d’Arvieux expressly tells us so in another passage,' where he says, the women that wait on the Arab princesses kiss their hands, when they do them the favour not to suffer them to kiss their feet, or the border of their robe. .

Dr. Shaw observes, that in these respects the Arabs were just the same two or three thousand years ago as they are now: and ceremonies of 9 Part 1 p. 87.

-P. 237. - Voy, dans la Pal. p. 8. • P. 252.

the like kind, we may believe were used anciently among the neighbouring people too, as they are at this time. So our Lord represents a servant as falling down at his master's feet when he had a favour to beg; and an inferior servant as paying the same compliment to the first, who was, it seems, a servant of a higher class, Matt. xviii. 26, 29. In like manner the Evangelist Luke tells us, that Jairus fell down at our Lord's feet, when he begged he would go and heal his daughter, chap. viii. 41; that St. Peter fell at the knees of Jesus, after the present Arab mode, I presume, chap. v. 8; and he represents the woman, troubled with the issue of blood, as touching the hem of his garment, which I suppose, meang kissing it, Luke viii. 44. The other inhabitants of that country, we find, used the same ceremonies : so the Syro-Phenician woman féll at our Lord's feet, Mark vii. 25, 26; not to mention the instances of remoter antiquity in the Old Testament.

It is agreed, that there is something very graceful and noble in the forms of Eastern salulation;" some of them however have appeared too low, and expressive of too much disproportion. The natives of the West therefore, even when they have been in these Eastern countries, have not been wont to adopt these profound expressions of respect. So Conon the Athenian, on account of that kind of adoration the kings of

"See Rauwolf, p. 42. Pococke vol, 1. p. 182. VOL. 11.

2

Persia exacted of every one that came into their presence, which the next citation will explain, declined personal converse with that prince, and chose to transact his business with him by writing; not, he said, that he was himself unwilling to pay any kind of honour to the king, but because he thought it might be a disgrace to the state to which he belonged, if he should rather observe, on this occasion, the usage of those they called Barbarians, than the forms of his countrymen."

They however sometimes seem to have thought these expressions of reverence too great for mortals, at least they sometimes spoke of them in that strain : so Curtius tells us,y that Alexander thought the habit and manners of the Macedonian kings unequal to his greatness, after the conquest of Asia; and was for being treated according to the modes of Persia, where kings were reverenced after the manner of the gods : he therefore suffered people, in token of their respect, to lie upon the ground before him, &c. . This was enough to lead St. Peter to say to Cornelius, a Roman, who received him with a reverence esteemed the lowest and most submissive even in the ceremonious East, and which the Romans were wont to speak of as too solemn to be paid to mere men, Stand up, I myself also am a man, Acts x. 26; though Cornelius intended nothing idolatrous, nor did

* Corn. Ner. in Vità Con. Lib. vi. cap. G

« PreviousContinue »