Page images
[blocks in formation]

and as far back as the fourth century it was esteemed one of the most remarkable cities in Cole-Syria. When first mentioned this was the chief city of the Ammonites, and was said to contain the bed, or sarcophagus, of the giant Og.

The site of Rabbah is 35 miles E. N. E. of Jerusalem, and 23 miles E. of the Jordan. It was situated near the southern source of the Jabbok, on the road between Heshbon and Bostra, and was the last place at which a stock of water could be obtained for the journey across the desert. Its position was such as to render it an important garrison station for repelling the incursions of the wild tribes of the desert.

At the commencement of David's first campaign against the Ammonites, a part of the army under Abishai was sent as far as Rabbah to keep the Ammonites in check, but the main force under Joab remained at Medeba.

After the defeat of the Syrians at Helam the Am. monite war was resumed, and this time Rabbah was the main point of attack. Joab took the command, and laid siege to the city. The siege lasted nearly two years, as the inhabitants made a determined resistance, which was characterized by frequent fierce sallies. After Joab had taken the lower town, he sent for David, as he desired that he should have the honor of taking the citadel or stronghold of the place. David shortly after arrived, when the citadel was ta ken, and its inmates, with great booty, including the idol of Moloch, fell into his hands.

It was during the time of this siege by Joab that

Uriah, by order of David, was placed in the forefront of the battle, where he was slain (Sam. II. xi. 15, 16, 17).


In the time of Amos, two and a half centuries later, it again had a wall and palaces, and was still the sanctuary of Moloch. At this period it is frequently mentioned in such terms as imply that it was of equal importance with Jerusalem. From Ptolemy Philadelphus (B.c. 285) it received the name of Philadelphia, but afterwards resumed its ancient name. 30 it was taken from the Arabs by Herod the Great. When the Moslems conquered Syria they found this city in ruins; ruins remarkable for their extent and desolation. The principal ruins are those of a theatre and a fortress. The theatre was very large, and its walls are quite well preserved. The ruins of the fortress show that it was built of large square stones, put together without cement. The remains of private houses are also quite extensive.


is about 100 miles E. of Smyrna, and was formerly the capital of Croesus, king of Lydia, proverbial for the immensity of his wealth.

Sardis, now Sart, is situated at the foot of Mount Tmolus. The route of Xerxes to Greece lay by Sardis. From its convenient position, and the fertile region surrounding this city, it was a commercial mart of considerable importance in the very earliest times. It was also a slave mart.

The art of dyeing wool is said to have been in

vented here, and it was the entrepôt of the dyed woolen manufactures. This was also the place where the metal electrum was procured, and here the Spartans sent, in the sixth century B. C., to purchase gold for gilding the face of the Apollo at Amycle. This gold was probably furnished from the auriferous sand of the Pactolus, a brook which ran through the forum by the side of the great temple of Cybele. This city changed hands several times during the contests after the death of Alexander. It was taken and sacked by the army of Antiochus the Great in 214 B.C. In the time of the Emperor Tiberius, Sardis was desolated by an earthquake, and a pestilence followed. It was taken and nearly destroyed by Tamerlane, A.D. 1400.

It is now a small village, but contains a large khan for the accommodation of travelers, it being on the road for the caravans coming out of Persia to Smyrna with silk.

The ruins of the ancient city are to the southward of the town, chief among which are those of the massive temple of Cybele, a theatre and a stadium. Two columns of the temple are still standing, and are 6 feet 4 inches in diameter, at about 35 feet below the capital. One stone in their architrave was calculated to weigh 25 tons. The present soil is more than 25 feet above the pavement. The ruins of the theatre and stadium are on the north side of the Acropolis, overlooking the valley of the Hermus. The diameter of the theatre was 400 feet, and that of the stadium 1,000. The hight on which the citadel was built is badly shattered by an earthquake. The

ruins and the countless sepulchral mounds in the vicinity indicate what Sardis was before earthquakes and the sword had laid it waste.

The Turks, in their hatred of all images, have sawn to pieces and burnt into lime nearly all of the beautiful sculptures which adorned the Temple and other public buildings, of which there were thousands of figures of men and animals in the best style of Greek art.


is 385 miles from Jerusalem via Joppa and the Mediterranean. It is situated in a fertile plain, on the banks of the river Cydnus, 12 miles from its mouth. This city was at one time the metropolis of Cilicia, and a place of considerable importance. It was distinguished for the culture of Greek literature and philosophy. In the number of its schools and learned men it rivaled Athens and Alexandria. It was also illustrious as the birth-place of the Apostle Paul (Saul).

It is now called Tarsous, and though much decayed and full of ruins, it still contains a population of 7,000 inhabitants in the summer, and 30,000 in the winter, mostly Turks. The excessive heat of summer drives a large part of the people to the highlands of the interior.

As the ancient city contained no public edifices of any considerable size, none of the many ruins can be identified.

« PreviousContinue »