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by the southern channel of the Jordan, through the valley of Jericho, into the Dead Sea. *
The appearance of the lake, as seen from this point of view at Capernaum, is still grand; its greatest length runs nearly north and south, from twelve to fifteen miles, and its breadth seems to be, in general, from six to nine miles. † The barren aspect of the mountains on each side, and the total absence of wood, give, however, a cast of dullness to the picture; and this is increased to melancholy by the dead calm of its waters, and the silence which reigns throughout its whole extent, where not a boat or vessel of any kind is to be found.
There were fleets of some force on the lake of Tiberias during the wars of the Jews with the Romans, and very bloody battles were fought between them. The ships were, no doubt, as large as the common vessels then in use on the
*It is for this reason that the Dead Sea is called in Scripture, the Salt Sea, at the south end of Jordan. — Josh. xviii. 19, ; Deut. xv. 5.
† Abulfeda, in describing the lake of Tiberias, says,
طولها اشني عشر ميلا وعرضها ستة
"The length of it is
twelve miles, and the breadth of it is six miles." He farther de
scribes its situation, in the deep valley. This name of El Ghoor, is given to the whole of the valley, or low country, from the Dead Sea through the plain of Jordan, all the way up to the Gebel-el-Thelj, the Shenir of the Scriptures, north of this lake of Tiberias.
shores of the Mediterranean Sea; and, as has been observed by Whiston, those that sailed on this sea of Galilee are always called by Josephus Nyes and Пa, and Exaon, i. e. plainly, ships; and this, he adds, should not be rendered boats, as it is often done. *
Tal-hhewn, though now only a station of Bedouins, appears to have been the site of some considerable settlement, as ruined buildings, hewn stones, broken pottery, &c. are scattered around here over a wide space. † The foundations of a large and magnificent edifice are still to be traced here, though there remains not sufficient of the building itself, to decide whether it was a temple or a palace. It appears to have had its greatest length from north to south, and thus presented a narrow front towards the lake. The northern end of the building is sixty-five paces in length; and, as the foundation of the eastern wall appears to extend from hence down close to the sea, it must have been nearly four times that measurement, or two hundred paces in extent. Within this space are seen large blocks of sculptured stone, in friezes, cornices,
*Whiston's Josephus, I.ife, sec. 32. in a note.
Tal is, in Hebrew, "a ruinous heap." See Parkhurst, in voce and in modern Arabic it has mostly, that signification, though sometimes applied to small hillocks generally.
mouldings, &c., and among them two masses which looked like pannels of some sculptured wall. I conceived them at first to have been stone doors, but they were too thick for that purpose, and had no appearance of pivots for hinges; nor could they have been sarcophagi, as they were both perfectly solid.
The sculpture seems to have been originally fine, but is now much defaced by time. The block was nine spans long, four and a half spans wide, and two spans thick in its present state, and lay on its edge against other hewn stones.
Among the singularities we noticed here; were double pedestals, double shafts, and double capitals, attached to each other in one solid mass, having been perhaps thus used at the angles of colonnades. There were at least twenty pedestals of columns within this area occupying their original places, besides many others overturned and removed, and all the capitals we saw were of the Corinthian order and of a large size,
Near to this edifice, and close upon the edge of the lake, are the walls of a solid building, evidently constructed with fragments of the adjacent ruins, as there are seen in it shafts of pillars worked into the masonry, as well as pieces of sculptured stones intermingled with plain This small building is vaulted within,
though the Arabs have raised a flat terrace on its roof, and a poor family, with their cattle, now use the whole for their dwelling.
To the north-east of this spot, about two hundred yards, are the remains of a small domestic bath, the square, cistern, and channels for supplying it with water, being still perfect; and close by is a portion of the dwelling to which it was probably attached, with a narrow winding stair-case on one of its sides. The blocks of
the great edifice are exceedingly large; and these, as well as the materials of the smaller buildings, and the fragments scattered around in every direction, are chiefly of the black porous stone, which abounds throughout the western shores of the lake. Some masses of coarse white marble are seen, however, in the centre of the large ruin, and some subterraneous work appears to have been constructed there of that substance. The whole has an air of great antiquity, both from its outward appearance and its almost complete destruction, but the style of the architecture is evidently Roman.
The name of Capharnaoom, which is said to have been the one borne by this city anciently, is unquestionably meant for the Capernaum of the Scriptures. That this was a place of some
* Capernaum idem est quod vicus Naum, i. e. D Capharnachum.. Reland. 1. iii. de urbibus et vicis Palæstine, p. 682.