Imágenes de páginas

him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.”—Matthew xv. 21, 22.

For an account of this miracle, see the following verses, and Mark vii. 24, &c.

“But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea : and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judea .. and they about Tyre and Sidon.”—Mark iii. 7, 8.

“ And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea-coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases.”—Luke vi. 17.

“ And the next day we touched at Sidon, and Julius courteously intreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself."-Acts xxvii. 3.

[Luke iv. 26; Acts xii. 20; Josh. xiii. 4, 6; Judg. i. 31, xviii. 28; 2 Sam. xxiv. 6; Ezek. xxvii. 8, xxviii. 21 ; Jer. xxv. 22 ; Joel iii. 4; Zech. ix. 6.]

Sidon was the most ancient of all the Phænician cities. It is supposed to have been founded soon after the flood, by Sidon, the son of Canaan, and is mentioned both in the Pentateuch, and in the poems of Homer; which Tyre is not. Its inhabitants are said to have been the inventors of crystal glass.

“ None were skilled to hew timber like the Sidonians," and they assisted Solomon in his preparations for the building of the temple. The goddess of the Sidonians was Ashtoreth. In the division of the Promised Land by Joshua, Sidon is spoken of as a great city, and was assigned to Asher ; but the Israelites never subdued it. In later ages, the younger Tyre outstripped Sidon in the career of prosperity and power; but both were equally renowned for commerce, their manu


factures, and the cultivation of the fine arts, as well as for the luxury and vices usually attendant upon commercial prosperity. When the Assyrian, Shalmeneser, entered Phænicia, about 720 B.C., Sidon and the rest of Phænicia, except insular Tyre, submitted to the conqueror, and remained long under the dominion of the Assyrians and Persians.

“ Under Artaxerxes Ochus, about 350 B.C., Phænicia revolted from the Persian yoke; and Sidon was captured and destroyed by that monarch. Yet it was soon built up again; and in 332 B.C. opened its gates to Alexander the Great, on his approach. After Alexander's death, Sidon continued alternately in the possession of the Syrian and Egyptian monarchs, until it came at last under the Roman power; at this time it was still an opulent city. This was during the times of the New Testament, when our Lord visited the territories of Tyre and Sidon; and Paul afterwards found here Christian friends on his passage to Rome. There doubtless was early a Christian church and bishop at Sidon . . . Eusebius and Jerome still speak of Sidon as an important city ; but we know little more of it until the time of the Crusades, when it was taken by the Christians ... Sidon remained in their possession . until A.D. 1187, when it fell into the hands of Saladin.

“ The sultan appears to have dismantled the fortifications, and partially destroyed the city; for when in A.D. 1197, after a hard-fought battle in the vicinity, the Christians entered Sidon, they found it desolated. The pilgrims stabled their horses in mansions ornamented with the cedar of Lebanon ; and cooked their food at fires fragrant with the odours of the same precious wood, collected from the ruins ... The Christians, however, rebuilt and occupied the city; which, after half a century, was once more taken and dismantled by the Saracen forces in A.D. 1249. Four years later, when another attempt to restore it had been made, a Muslem host again approached, and took pos

session of the place. The garrison, with a few of the inhabitants, withdrew to the castle upon the rock; which being entirely surrounded by water, afforded them security; but of the remaining inhabitants, two thousand were slain, and four hundred carried off as prisoners to Damascus, after the city had been laid waste. A few weeks after this, Sidon was again rebuilt by the French king, Louis, who himself repaired thither; and was once more dismantled ; but it continued for a while to be a place of some importance. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, it was, for the most part, in ruins, with few inhabitants, and a single khân. But about this time, the chief of the Druses (a people inhabiting Mount Lebanon), restored Sidon to some celebrity. He erected there a vast palace for himself, and other structures.

He encouraged commerce, and revived the trade of the city. The French were the great traders with Sidon, and purchased and exported from that city cotton, both raw and spun, silk, rice, nutgalls, ashes from the desert, senna, &c. Their merchants established at Sidon had factors in several other places, sometimes in Tyre, who purchased up the products of the country, and transmitted them to Sidon, whence they were shipped to Marseilles. So it continued till 1791, when the French were driven out; and since then the little trade of Saida has been carried on chiefly by the natives. It is now rarely visited by foreign vessels.”—See ROBINson's Researches, pp. 421-428.

6 The road from Sidon to Tyre passes through a rich valley, in many places more than a mile wide, which requires only a little industry to render it extremely fertile ; and the glimpses with which we were favoured into the interior, through the breaks in the chain of mountains, convinced us that this valley is not alone in its fertility

“ There is some approach towards magnificence in the distant view of Saida. It has a castle upon a rock

in the sea, connected with the main land by a bridge of several arches. There is another castle upon an eminence that commands the town. The harbour is now of little use, and had in it only one vessel. The streets are many of them more like courts, as the houses are built over them after the first story; and the wonder is, not that the plague sometimes effects an entrance, but that it is ever kept out. There is an aqueduct of ancient construction from the river, in most places covered ; and near the town the water rises into pillars, from whence it is conveyed to the different streets. The house we occupied has a cistern in the centre of the interior court; into which a small stream is constantly running. There are also several public cisterns in the streets ... The houses we entered were clean, with mats upon the floor, and of one story. The roof is hung with dried fruits and herbs, and in one room I observed a clock, a common mirror, and the shelves were ornamented with bottles, glasses, and coarse earthenware. The children appeared to me remarkably pretty, but it must be remembered that I had been absent from Europe some years. They had on the forehead an ornament made of coins, something resembling the clasps by which the helmets of the military are fastened. The hair of some of the females is of a golden colour, and appears as if it was dyed. There is a great profusion of compliments among the people, passed with a gravity that to a stranger is quite amusing. The servant, when he presented the coffee and sherbet, repeated a form, and there was an appropriate reply, and when we drank we had to look at our host, and nod, and stroke our breasts, and give thanks.” -Hardy's Notices, pp. 103—106.

" Saida, the ancient Sidon, lies on the north-west slope of a small promontory, which here juts out for a short distance obliquely into the sea, towards the southwest. The highest ground is on the south, where the citadel, a large square tower, is situated; an old struc

ture, said by some to have been built by Louis IX., in A.D. 1253. A wall encloses the city on the land side, running across the promontory from sea to sea ; it is kept in tolerable repair. The ancient harbour was formed by a long low ridge of rocks, parallel to the shore in front of the city. Before the time of Fakhred-Din, there was here a port capable of receiving fifty gallies ; but that chieftain, in order to protect himself against the Turks, caused it to be partly filled up with stones and earth; so that ever since his day only boats can enter it. Larger vessels lie without the entrance, on the north of the ledge of rocks, where they are protected from the south-west winds, but exposed to those from the northern quarter. Here, on a rock in the sea, is

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

another castle of the time of the Crusades, the form of which is in part adapted to that of the rock ; it is connected with the shore, at the northern end of the city, by a stone causeway with nine arches, lying between the inner and outer port.

“ The streets of Saida are narrow, crooked, and dirty, like those of most Oriental cities. The houses are many of them large and well built of stone; and

« AnteriorContinuar »