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faces the west, and has a vestibule (A) thirteen feet by nine. Chamber (B), nearly twenty feet square, and eight high. The north side is seen in elevation in Fig. 2, and shows two
tiers of niches, one over the other, not often met with in tombs. There are seven in the lower tier, each seven feet long, twenty inches wide, and nearly three feet high. The upper tier has three arched recesses, and each recess has two niches. From this room (B) doors lead out into chambers (C and D), which have their own peculiar system of niches, ANCIENT SEPULCHRES-INSCRIPTIONS.
or loculi, for the reception of the bodies, as appears on the plan. I have explored scores of sepulchres at Ladakîyeh closely resembling this at Jerusalem, and there are many in the plain and on the hillsides above us here at Sidon of the same general form-chambers within chambers, and each with niches for the dead, variously arranged according to taste or necessity. The interior of not a few of these about Sidon was plastered originally, or in after ages, with a hard cement or stucco, which is still quite perfect in some of them. In one I found a Greek inscription drawn in the stucco before it hardened. In others there were such inscriptions written on the plaster with red ink. One large one is adorned with wreaths of flowers and small birds, with palm, orange, and other trees, such as are now found in the gardens below. These would seem to prove that the orange had been cultivated at Sidon from a very remote age.
But I am inclined to believe that this stuccoing, writing in Greek, and painting upon the tombs took place long after they were first hewn in the rock, probably after the original occupants had returned to utter dust. I am confirmed in this suspicion from examining a large tomb which was uncovered last winter on the plain. The surface above it had been used from time out of mind as a summer threshing-floor. A shaft, sunk about ten feet through the soil, exposed a low door in the face of the rock opening into a room thirty feet long by twelve broad. The ceiling and walls are stuccoed and ornamented with various figures in red paint; and a Greek inscription, written with the same paint, runs quite round the room as a sort of ornamental border. It is much the longest inscription I have seen, and the letters are large, well formed, and as perfect as the day they were laid on. This was not the first time that this tomb had been opened, for all the antiquities it contained had been removed, and it was nearly full of earth, thrown there from other tombs connected with it. Something about this chamber suggested the idea that it was a kind of subterraneous oratory, and not a sepulchre. In short, that it was one of those underground sanctuaries among the tombs, where the early Christians are said to have met for worship in times of cruel persecution. The whole area in this neighborhood is undermined by tombs, and, if one had funds to excavate them, many curious discoveries might be made. I need hardly remind you that sepulchres hewn in the rock are mentioned in many passages in the sacred record.
IX. SIDON- Continued. 11th. We have had a delightful ramble along the aqueduct and through the vast fruit-orchards, and my respect for old Sidon has decidedly risen by the excursion. What may be the present population of the city and her gardens ?
It is not possible to arrive at perfect accuracy, as there are no statistics kept by the government. The number of inhabitants is said to be about 9000. Of these, 6800 are Moslems, including the Metāwelies, 850 Greek Catholics, 750 Maronites, 150 Greeks, and 300 Jews. These are ecclesiastical returns, and they are always understated, in order to diminish the taxation, which is assessed according to the people's ecclesiastical relations. The entire population is therefore not far from 10,000. This is a small figure for a city called "great," even by Joshua. Nor is she increasing, or likely to increase much for years to come. Beirût is too near, and draws every thing into her all-absorbing vortex. Sidon exports tobacco, oil, fruit, and silk, but the amount is small, except in tobacco, which is, in fact, the main dependence of her merchants. It is all sent to Egypt,
Are there no antiquities about Sidon?
Not many, and none very striking. She is too old. Her decline commenced " before antiquity began.” There are a few things, however, besides the tombs, in which her greatness was buried thousands of years ago, which are worthy of attention. The immense stones, which form the northwest angle of the inner harbor, each one being some ten feet
square, were no doubt put there in the days of Sidon's early prosperity ; but it is surprising that the ancient inhabitants allowed the ledge of rocks on the seaward side to