Imágenes de páginas

also hear the man myself... And on the morrow, when
Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp .
at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to
speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the
hand, and answered for himself ... Then Agrippa
said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a
Christian!”-See Acts xxiv. xxv. xxvi.

The city of Cæsarea (sometimes called Cæsarea Palestina, to distinguish it from Cæsarea Philippi) is frequently mentioned in the New Testament. Here

[ocr errors][graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

that great and glorious event took place—the admission of the Gentiles into the Church of Christ, when the distinction which had formerly existed between Jew and

Greek openly ceased—and they became one in Christ Jesus. Here Philip resided with his four gifted daughters, and here the prophet Agabus foretold the coming trials of St. Paul. Hence several faithful brethren accompanied that great apostle to the place of his apprehension, and here he returned and dwelt as a prisoner for two years. Here the profligate and guilty Felix trembled at his reasoning, and Agrippa was almost persuaded to be a Christian. And here, lastly, did that fearful judgment come upon Herod (recorded in Acts xii.) who in this very city, which he had filled with so many wonders, and adorned with such magnificence, died of a loathsome and horrible disease, the punishment of his vain-glorious boasting.

“ Cæsarea, formerly called Strato's Tower, from a Greek, who founded it, was built by Herod the Great, in honour of Augustus Cæsar. It was situated on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, near the south end of Mount Carmel, thirty-six miles south of Acre, thirty north of Joppa, and sixty-two north-west of Jerusalem. It was a dispute respecting the possession of this city that gave rise to the war with the Romans; the Jews claiming it because it had been built in their own land, and the Greeks because it had been dedicated to the heathen gods.

“ Cæsarea was inhabited by Jews, Heathens, and Samaritans ; hence parts of it were esteemed unclean by the Jews. Some would not pass over certain places; others were less scrupulous. Perpetual contests were maintained between the Jews and the Syrians, or the Greeks ; on one Sabbath-day, twenty thousand persons were slain here.

The account Josephus gives us of the building of Cæsarea is as follows : -“ Now, upon his (Herod's)

1 This circumstance, no doubt, added to the scruples of the Apostle about going to Cornelius, and gave double force to the announcement, that henceforth he was to call no man common or unclean.

the sea ...

observation of a place near the sea, which was very proper for containing a city, and was before called Strato's Tower, he set about getting a plan for a magnificent city there, and erected many edifices all over it, of white stone. He also adorned it with most sumptuous palaces and, what was the greatest and most laborious work of all, he adorned it with a haven, that was always free from the waves of

It was of excellent workmanship, which was the more remarkable, being built in a place that, of itself, was not suitable to such noble structures, but was perfected by materials from other places, at very great expenses. This city is situate ... in the passage by sea to Egypt, between Joppa and Dora, which are lesser maritime cities, and not fit for havens, on account of the impetuous south winds that beat upon them ... So Herod endeavoured to rectify this inconvenience, and laid out such a compass towards the land, as might be sufficient for an haven, wherein the great ships might lie in safety: and this he effected by letting down vast stones of above fifty feet in length, not less than eighteen in breadth, and nine in depth, into twenty fathom deep ... the mole, which he built by the sea-side, was two hundred feet wide, the half of which was opposed to the current of the waves, so as to keep off those waves which were to break

upon them ... the other half had upon it a wall, with several towers, the largest of which was named Drusus ... from the son-in-law of Cæsar, who died young. There were also a great number of arches, where the mariners dwelt. There was before them a quay, or landing-place, which ran round the entire haven, and was a most agreeable walk ... there were edifices all along the circular haven, made of the most polished stone, with a certain elevation, whereon was erected a temple, that was seen a great way off by those that were sailing for that haven, and had in it two tatues, one of Rome, the other of Cæsar.

The city

itself was called Cæsarea, and was also built of fine materials, and was of a fine structure. Nay, the very subterranean vaults and cellars had no less of architecture bestowed on them than had the buildings above ground. Some of these vaults carried things, at even distances, to the haven and to the sea ; but one of them ran obliquely, and bound all the rest together, that both the rain and the filth of the city were together carried off with ease; and the sea itself, upon the flux of the tide from without, came into the city and washed it all clear. Herod also built thereon a theatre of stone; and on the south quarter, behind the port, an amphitheatre also, capable of holding a vast number of men, and conveniently situated for a prospect to the sea. This city was thus finished in twelve years, at the sole expense of Herod.”

In the description of the march of Titus across the desert of Pelusium, from Egypt to Palestine, with intent to besiege Jerusalem, he is said to have halted at Cæsarea, having taken a resolution to gather all his forces together at that place. And after the memorable siege and fall of this devoted city, 6 Titus went down with his army to that Cæsarea which lay by the seaside, and there laid up the rest of his spoils in great quantities, and gave orders that the captives should be kept there; for tlie winter season hindered him from sailing into Italy."

During the long period between this event and the rise of the Mohammedan power, no remarkable details are known respecting it; but it was captured in the seventh century, by the Saracens.

After giving the preceding extracts from the Jewish historian, Mr. Buckingham thus describes the present state of Cæsarea, now a mass of ruins :

“ In examining the ruins of this celebrated spot, we first passed the remains of a building with fine Roman arches, many of which still remained perfect, while other masses of fallen fragments lay scattered beneath

them. A little beyond were the remains of another pile, with five or six granite columns fallen into the sea, on the very edge of which these buildings appear to have been originally erected. They appeared to us to correspond, both in situation and form, with the edifices appropriated to the residence of the mariners.

Ascending from the beach, we saw fragments of white marble, highly polished, and an abundance of broken pottery, of the ribbed or grooved kind, so common amid Egyptian ruins; and this we conceived to mark the site of the edifices which stood all along the circular haven, and were built of the most polished stone, while the pottery might have been fragments of domestic utensils, or of broken vessels used in the service of the temple that stood here.

“ We next came to the principal remains of a large and well-built fort, of an irregular form, having four sides facing nearly towards the cardinal points, and the western one fronting the sea. On its northern front we observed four pyramidal bastions with sloping sides, each about forty feet long at the base, twenty at the top, fifteen feet thick in the centre, and from twenty to twenty-five feet in perpendicular height. They were separated from each other by a space of twice their own length, which was occupied by the main wall of the fort, excellently built; and near the centre, within the wall, we saw the remains of a large building, with the arched gateway of a passage through it.

« On the eastern front, which is of greater extent than the northern, were ten similar bastions, including both of those at the angles. Opposite to the fourth, from the north-east angle, we observed a well, and looking down into it, saw distinctly an arched passage of undetermined extent, which was doubtless one of those subterranean vaults constructed for the carrying off the filth of the city by the influx of the sea ; and, as far as the eye could trace it from above, it seemed to confirm the assertion of the historian, that these sub

« AnteriorContinuar »