Page images
PDF
EPUB

rubbish into which the army of Nebuchadnezzar had reduced it?

OBSERVATION LXIV.

Shields carried before Persons, a Mark of Honour.

The word 38 tsinnah, used for those martial ensigns of royal dignity, which were carried before King Solomon, and which our version renders targets, 1 King's x. 16, was supposed by the Septuagint to signify spears or lances : 9 and as the word is to be understood to signify some sharp-pointed weapon, it may be more natural to understand it of a lance, than of a defensive piece of armour with a short sharppointed umbo in the middle, considering that, shields of gold were also carried before this prince, at solemn seasons. One can hardly find a disposition to admit, that two sorts of things so much alike as targets and shields, should be meant here; and if such similar defensive pieces of armour were hardly meant, the translation of the Septuagint is as natural as any, to say nothing of the authority of so ancient a version, in which, so far as appears by Lambert Dos, all the copies, which frequently disagree in other matters, concur.

But whatever we may think of this way of 4 K 21 s Tornos Eahawe triaxoolo dogætu xpura shatx, 1 Kings (or as in the Septuagint, 3 Kings) x. 16. And Solomon madu three hundred spears of beaten gold. Epit.

[ocr errors]

CE

translating the original word, we can hardly suppose such martial ensigns of honour were unknown in the time when this translation was made. It is certain they now appear in the Levant. Thus Windus, in his description of a pompous cavalcade of the emperor of Morocco, tells us, that after several parties of people were passed, “ came Muley Mahomet Lariba, one of the emperor's sons ; he is Alcayde of the stables, or master of the horse: there attended him a guard of horse and foot, at the head of which he rode with a lance in his hand, the place where the blade joins to the wood covered with gold."

Soon after which came the emperor himself.

The account of this lance seems to give a clear illustration, of what the Septuagint referred to in their translation of this passage; if not of the original of the Hebrew historian.

A comparatively modern prince of Persia seems to have emulated this piece of grandeur of Solomon, and to have even surpassed it, though by means of a different kind of weapon from either of those I have been mentioning. According to d'Herbelot, he had two troops of horsemen, consisting of a thousand cach; one troop carrying maces of gold, each of which weighed one thousand drachms, or thousand crowns of gold; the second, maces of silver of the same weight. These two bri. gades served him for his ordinary guard, and

*P. 9, 153.

upon extraordinary ceremonies each of these horsemen carried his mace upon his shoulder.' One tenth part of the number would have been extremely majestic.

OBSERVATION LXV.

resses

OUT

Rich Dresses and costly Furs used in doing honour

to Persons of Distinction.*

The arraying in a rich dress, and making to ride in great pomp and ceremony, were, it seems, the ancient mode of investing with the highest degree of subordinate power in Egypty and still remain so, with a small variation, which may give occasion to some speculations.

Thus we find when Pharoah gave Joseph all power over Egypt under himself, he, among other things, arrayed him iu vestures of fine linen .... and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. Gen. xli. 42, 43. On the other hand, in our times, the History of the Revolt of Ali Bey tells us,' that on the election of a new Sheckh bellet," the Pasha who

• Bibliotheque Orient, art. Jacoub ben Laith, p. 467.

* See a similar subject treated of before, Observations xxxiii. xxxiv. XXXV. xxxvi. xxxvii. EDIT.

1 P. 43.

u The Sheckh of the country we are told the word sig. nifies, who has the actual government of Egypt, under the nominal government of the Pasha, the representative of the Grand Seignior.

Core him, Bow thef Egypt. Genthe History

approves of him invests him with a valuable fur, treats him with sherbet, and when the Sheckh bellet departs, the Pasha presents him with a horse, richly caparisoned. He is treated in like manner when he waits upon a new Pasha: when such a Pasha first comes into Egypt, the Pasha gives him a robe of costly fur, and when the Sheckh bellet departs gives him a horse richly caparisoned."

Rich vestments, and riding in great magnificence, were anciently practised; and still take place, as to him that is invested with the highest degree of the actual power of government, under the pre-eminence of another, whose power is oftentimes little more than honorary and nominal : but here lies the difference, which is considerable, and deserves some notice; Joseph was arrayed in fine linen, the modern Sheekh bellet in robes faced with costly furs; the first rode in the second-best royal chariot, the others on horses richly caparisoned.

The vestments of fine linen seem to be cool and airy, and fit for so warm a climate as Egypt; while furred robes seem more suitable to the princes of Russia and the North, where the severity of the winter makes such warm garments highly requisite: nevertheless, we find they now obtain not only in the dresses of ceremony in Europe, but throughout the East too, which seems to intimate, that the knowledge of those animals that furnish out the most magnificent furs had not anciently reached

* P. 32, 33.

) Warm

these countries; or at least the manner of preparing them elegantly. For since these things have been discovered, they have every where prevailed, as requisite to make princely habits magnificent, and the robes of those in considerable, though far inferior stations, sufficiently honourable.

Accordingly there is not one word of costly furs in the Scriptures: blue, or purple and fine linen,' and habits enriched with threads or wires of silver and gold, are the only things mentioned there, relating to the substances that composed their vestments of pomp.

As to magnificent riding, chariots are not now made use of, either by men, or even the fair sex. It may be difficult to say what this is owing to: whether to the difficulty of their roads : or to the clumsy and unmechanical manner of constructing their carriages; or to a junction of both causes. Certain it is, that they are not now used in these countries : and the magnificence of the furniture of their horses makes up the want of pompous chariots. Anciently, however, chariots were used by the great: they were thought most deadly machines of war; : it was courage in war that in those ruder times gave dignity, and seems to have been

y Judges viji. 26. Esth. viii. 15. Jer. 1. 9. Luke xvi. 19, &c.

2 Exod. xxxix. 3. That royal apparel that Ilerod Agrippa wore, in the theatre of Cæsarea, when struck with death, was, according to Josephus, of silver, vol. 1, p. 950, ed. Hav.

a Joshua xvii. 16. 18. Judges 1, 19, ch. iv. 3, &c.

« PreviousContinue »