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RUINS OF RADBAN OF Ammon. nearer to the south than the north side of the valley. conceived, but not ascertained, which explain the diffiThe river itself is a fine clear stream full of small fish. culty better than the supposition of a second town of note, It is called Moiet Amman, and has its source in a pond a bearing the same name and mentioned with similar cirfew hundred paces from the south-west end of the town. cumstances. We shall therefore take the Bozrah of the Burckhardt was informed that it disappears underground Hauran to be that of the present text; and if we should three times before it reaches the river Zerka, to which it be in error, it does not much matter, for if there were two contributes its waters. On each side of this stream there places of the name, this was doubtless one of the two, and are remains of some of the noblest edifices in all Syria ; the desolation of both is, in that case, equally foretold in but being mostly of Roman origin, as indicated by their Jeremiah. We do however feel more assured that this style of architecture, they are not of such Scriptural in- Bozrah was the city of Edom, than that there was not terest as to require any detailed notice. The most im- another in the land of Moab, and concerning which we portant is a magnificent theatre, on the south side of the possess no information. There is an instructive passage stream, the largest of which any trace has been found in in the apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees, bearing on the subSyria ; but which the natives regard as having been the ject. In chap. v. we are told that it was determined that royal palace. It is still in very good condition, forming Judas, then in Galilee, should go at the head of 8000 indeed an unusually perfect monument of Roman luxury. men into Gilead. Accordingly he and his brother JonaThere are also remains of several temples in various stages than crossed the Jordan and travelled three days' journey of decay, and of other public buildings, the precise cha- in the wilderness, where they met with the · Nabathites' racter of which has not yet been determined. They who came to them in a peaceable manner, and told them appear to be mostly of the Corinthian order, and in some of all that had previously happened in Gilead, and how instances the shafts are at least five feet in diameter. that some Jews were kept confined in ‘Bosora' and five Thus, as a whole, is Rabbah, with its marked standing other cities strong and great,' which were then in posruins, interspersed with prostrate shafts and capitals, and session of the Greek kings of Syria. He immediately with only the foundations and stone door-posts of its marched to Bosora, and having taken it, destroyed it with dwellings remaining, 'a desolate heap;' yet not so wholly fire. All these circumstances no doubt refer to the Bozrah extinct but that the Bedouin, who alone frequents its de- of Edom; and the indications clearly point to the town in solations, can stable his cattle in its temples and palaces, the Hauran—such as its distance from the Jordan, and fulfilling the Divine prediction that the proud Rabbah the passage through Gilead to arrive at it. We see also, should be a stable for camels. Ezek. xxv. 5.
that after the three days, he came among the Nabathites, 13. • Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a a people incorporated with the Edomites; and the partiwaste, and a curse.'- See the note on Isa. xxxiv. 6. Since cular notice that they came in a friendly manner seems writing that, we have had the satisfaction of finding the to prove this; as the same chapter begins with a statement conjecture with which it concludes confirmed by Calmet that Judas had avenged the ill-treatment the Jews rein his note on the present text. He says that we do not ceived from the Edomites. But those inhabiting this know the situation of the Bozrah of Edom, unless it be quarter behaved well; probably because they felt there the same which is sometimes mentioned as belonging to the bitterness of the Syrian yoke, and regretted to see Moab. He observes that the dominion of the Edomites Bozrah and their other towns in the possession of Anextended to the place where the Bostres of Arabia (that tiochus. is, in the Hauran) is usually fixed; and conjectures that Bozrah (or, as it is now spelled by different travellers, it was probably occupied by both Moabites and Edomites, Boszra, Bosra, Bostra, Botzra) is situated in the open and is therefore said sometimes to belong to the one and plain in the southern part of the district called the sometimes to the other. The Bozrah in view was cer- Hauran. Under the Romans it was the capital of Arabia tainly near the frontier which separated the children of Provincia, and is now, including its ruins, the largest town Lot and Esau, and hence arises the probability of joint of the Hauran. It is of an oval shape (Burckhardt: occupation. Perhaps it was a neutral town, or the autho. Buckingham says an irregular square), and the circumrity over it fluctuated; and other circumstances may be ference around the walls is about three miles. Many parts of the thick wall, which, in olden times, gave it the repu- changes, and the sites are often wholly forsaken. A few tation of great strength, still remain entire. It is certain settlers, driven from other places, come and occupy the that nothing among the ruins is of Scriptural antiquity; habitable houses, which have no owners; they increase as indeed we have just seen that the place was destroyed for the time in which a little quiet is allowed them; but by Judas Maccabæus. All the remains appear to be Ro- ere long, the incursions of the Bedouins and the exactions man and Mohammedan, and therefore require to be only of the governors drive them away to seek other homes. briefly noticed. They consist of a temple situated on the In time others come and occupy their vacated seats, and side of a long street which intersected the whole town- are at last obliged to withdraw in their turn. Such knots two triumphal arches—some fine detached columns, of insecure settlers on the ruined site of Bozrah, do standing, and many others scattered on the ground-a not certainly redeem its desolate character, but serve all rotunda, which is supposed to have been a Greek church the more to render it'a desolation, a reproach, and a -an old mosque of the earliest age of Mohammedanism. waste.' In the Roman remains, the Corinthian order prevails, as 15. 'I will make thee small among the heathen, and deusual. There is also a large castle of Saracenic origin, spised among men.'-In illustration of this, among other supposed to be of the time of the Crusades, and which facts, the curious one has been adduced, that when Mr. still occasionally receives a garrison from Damascus to Bankes applied at Constantinople to have Kerak and protect the harvest of the Hauran against the incursions of Wady Musa inserted in his firman, the answer was rethe Bedouins. In the eastern quarters of the town there turned that they knew of no such place within the is a very extensive reservoir, the work of the Saracens, Grand Signior's dominions. for watering the pilgrim caravan to Mecca. The south 16. O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that and south-east quarters of the site are covered with ruins holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make of private buildings, the walls of many of which are still thy nest as high as the eagle, etc.—The chief seat of standing, but most of the roofs have fallen in. Burck- the Edomites is doubtless here principally referred to, hardt says: Of the vineyards, for which Boszra was and in that they are described as dwelling in the clefts of celebrated even in the days of Moses, and which are the rock. How remarkably this applies to Petra will be commemorated by the Greek medals of ΚΟΛΩΝΙΑ ΒΟΣ- seen from the various engravings which, in the course of TPHE, not a vestige remains. There is scarcely a tree in this work, we have given from the magnificent volume of the neighbourhood of the town; and the twelve or fifteen Laborde, as well as from the note to 2 Kings xiv. 7. The families who now inhabit it cultivate nothing but wheat, object of that note was however rather to identify the site barley, horse-beans, and a little dhourra. A number of than to furnish the descriptive information which it fine rose-trees grow wild among the ruins of the town.' seemed best to reserve to illustrate the present text, in The small population here mentioned had increased when which the chief place of Edom is so remarkably indicated Buckingham was there ; but, as he says of this and other and characterized. places similarly circumstanced, the population continually Irby and Mangles, and the English editor of Laborde,
have between them collected the notices of Petra contained * This is a mistake; he must mean Isaiah (lxiii. 1–3); in ancient writers, and which remarkably correspond not and this shews that he (a very good authority) considered only with the situation and appearance of Petra, but with this the Bozrah of Edom.
the few intimations on the subject which the Scriptures
contain, and which describe it as a rock, and that rock as containing habitations, and sepulchres on high.'
Pliny (Hist. Nat. vi. 28) says that the Nabatæi inhabited a city called Petra, which was situated in a valley somewhat less than two miles in extent,* surrounded by inaccessible mountains, and iutersected by a river. Strabo also says that the capital of the Nabatæi, which was called Petra, lay in a spot in itself plain and level, but was enclosed on all sides by a barrier of rocks and precipices. Within, it was furnished with springs of excellent quality, for the supply of water and the irrigation of gardens; but beyond the confining hills, the precincts were in a great measure desert, particularly in the direction towards Judæa. It was three or four days' journey from Jericho. Strabo considered the Nabatæi the same people with the Idumeans. Captain Mangles, in his remarks on these accounts, furnishes a good general idea of the site. It will be seen that these two geographers, in characterizing the position of the city, not only agree with one another, but will be found sufficiently conformable to the reality, though, strictly speaking, the situation can neither be called a valley, with Pliny, nor a plain, with Strabo; yet it is certainly both low in position and level in surface, when compared with the crags and precipices that surround it. It is an area in the bosom of a mountain, swelling into mounds and intersected with gullies; but the whole ground is of such a nature as may be conveniently built upon, and has neither ascent nor descent inconveniently steep.' It is not difficult to comprehend how such a situation should, in that region, have been considered highly advantageous for the foundation of a city. Laborde says: 'In the remote ages, when men were engaged in perpetual wars, and plunder was the order of the day, it was no small advantage to a community to find a position which presented a considerable
surface, enriched by abundant streams, and hemmed in by a girdle of rocks, to which there was no iugress except from a ravine so narrow that a few men stationed on the top of the mountain might prevent an enemy, however numerous, from effecting an entrance into the town. When the Nabathæans grew to be a powerful people, the importance of this position became more obvious, as they had to guard themselves not only against the jealousy of the neighbouring tribes, but also against the desire of conquest which animated more distant nations. It is doubtless to the advantages of its position that we must attribute the very singular character which this city offers. To realise these advantages, it was necessary that the in. habitants should confine their town within this hollow; but as its base was of very limited extent for a metropolitan city, they were almost driven to the resource which they adopted, of excavating the sides of the enclosing rocks, and forming there temples, tombs, and habitations; and as ages passed and population increased, these became so multiplied as to give to the site that peculiar character which it now exhibits, and which for countless ages yet to come it is likely to maintain. Probably there were many natural caves which were first occupied, and which suggested the idea of forming others by art, when no more of them remained unappropriated. There is no reason to suppose that these excavations received at once the highly-enriched character which a great number of them now bear. The inhabitants, in the first instance, probably formed simple cavities, to which the more refined and luxurious people of a later age added the ornamental and magnificent façades, sculptured out of the surface of the rock, of which many examples have been given in our different engravings, and which impress so distinct a character up the desolated city of Edom. No doubt, however, many of the caverns were formed in these comparatively late times, and in which the ornamental frontispieces formed part of the original design. Thus it is that while consirucied towns of much later date, are now reduced to heaps and scattered fragments, or arc even covered by mould over
* He uses the general term, “paulo minus II MP. amplitudinis;' but he must mean the circumference, and so Irby and Mangles and also Laborde's editor understand.
which the plough passes and the harvest grows-the tombs, one interesting mass, which, though greatly ruined, towers temples, and dwellings of Petra, carved in the living rock, above the general wreck, and affords us information as to remain for the most part entire and beautiful, unbroken, the form and style of the constructed edifices, and we have and even unstained, by the ages which have passed since therefore made it the subject of our second engraving. the town was the seat of that luxury and wealth which In the foreground are the remains of an archway of very the commerce of many nations brought into its hollow florid architecture, with pilasters having panels, enriched valley.
with foliage, etc., in the manner of Palmyra. The arch A detailed description of any of these excavatious and was the introduction to the great pile of building standing the noble fronts which many of them ofier, could not be nearly at right angles to it. This building has a door on suitably introduced in this place; and the impression on one side, on the three others it was decorated with a frieze the subject which it might be desirable the reader should of triglyphs and large flowers in the metopes. Beams of realize, will be better given by the engravings we have wood are let in at intervals between the courses of the formerly given, and by those which we now introduce, masonry, and continue to this day-a strong proof of the than by any quantity of written description. That which dryness of the climate. The front had a portico of four we now add, as well as what we have already stated, has columns. This part is much ruined. The interior of the rather in view the general aspect of the scene than the edifice was divided into three parallel chambers, and there particular objects which it includes. Our first cut shews seem to have been several stories. Laborde calls it a a pass, beyond which appears the theatre, the whole of temple; but Mangles, whose description we have followed, which, with the ascending rows of seats, is cut in the solid thinks from the interior construction that it was rather a rock. Speaking of this, Mangles says, 'This pass con- palace or some private edifice. The Græco-Roman chaducts to the theatre, and here the ruins of the city burst racter exhibited in this and in broken portions of other on the view in full grandeur, shut it on the opposite side ruins, indicating a later date than the time of the prophets, by craggy precipices, from which numerous ravines and is a corroboration of prophecy; for it was foretold that valleys branch out in all directions; the sides of the God would destroy and make desolate not only that which valleys covered with an endless variety of excavated Edom had already built, but that which it should build tombs and private dwellings (Isa. xlix. 16) presented the in future times : Though thou make thy nest as high most singular scene we ever beheld; and we must despair as the eagle, I will bring thee down.'— They shall build, to give the reader an idea of the singular effect of rocks, but I will throw down. In reference to this passage, tinted with the most extraordinary hues, whose summits and to Obadiah, 1, 3, it is well observed by Dr. Olin present us with nature in her most savage and romantic (Travels in the East, ii. 15), that althvugh ciied usually aspects, while their bases were worked out with all the with particular reference to Petra, these texts should symmetry and regularity of art, with colonnades and be understood in a more extended application. They pediments, and ranges of corridors adhering to their per- are, no doubt, strikingly descriptive of the situation pendicular surface. To this the retlections of Laborde, of Petra in a deep fissure of the mountain, and at the marking, as they do, the fulfilment of the doom denounced same line elevated three thousand feet above the level of by the prophets, form a marked sequel :- What a people the sea, and not less than two thousand perhaps above must they have not been who first opened the mountain Wady Arabah. But they are equally applicable to the to stamp upon it the seal of their energy and genius! whole region of Mount Seir, in reference to which they What a climate, too, which gilds with its light the graceful seem to have been used, at least by Obadiah. The deep forms of a great variety of sculptures, without suffering valleys, bounded by high steep cliffs, which pervade every its winters to crumble their sharp edges, or to reduce in part of the country, and which must always have conthe least their high reliefs! Silence reigns all around, tained the chief part of the population, are well described save where the solitary owl now and then utters his as “clefts of the rocks, and heights of the bills," as “ high plaintive cry. The Arab passes through the scene with habitations." ; perfect indifference, scarcely deigning to look at works 17. • Elom shall be a desolation,' etc.---We may here executed with so much ability, or to meditate, except with contempt, on an object which he in vain seeks to compre- whole plain presented to the view an expanse of shifting hend.' The writer of this passage has, without intending sands, whose surface was broken by innumerable undu. it, made every word it contains replete with meaning for lations and low hills..... And the Arabs told me that the the illustration of prophecy.
valleys continue to present the same appearance beyond As scpulchres are more frequently than dwellings ex- the latitude of Wady. Musa (Petra). In some parts of cavated in the sides of mountains, we suspect that too the valley the sand is very deep, and there is not the large a proportion of those in Petra have been regarded slightest appearance of a road, or of any work of human as tombs. That a great number of them were destined A few trees grow among the sand-hills, but the for sepulchres is perfectly clear: but that many were used depth of sand precludes all vegetation of herbage. The for habitations is allowed by Mangles and Laborde. The sand which thus covers the ancient cultivated soil appears former, after quoting the Nubian geographer, who states to have been brought from the shores of the Red Sea by that the houses of Petra were cut in the rock, says: the south winds.' • That this was not universally true is evident from the With reference to the above and other prophecies of great quantity of stones employed in the lesser kinds of similar import, Dr. Olin remarks:–‘Such was the lanedifices which are scattered over the whole site; but it guage uttered by the Jewish prophets while this doomed is also true that there are grottoes in great numbers which region was yet prosperous and powerful. It portrays a are certainly not sepulchres.' Of these he particularly state of desolation and ruin the most absolute and irrementions one which presents a front of four windows with trievable, such as probably no portion of the globe once a large and lofty doorway in the centre, but the front of fertile and populous now exhibits. These fearful denun. which is without ornamental sculptures. The door and ciations and their fulfilment furnish an invulnerable arguthree of the windows open into a large apartment, sixty ment in favour of the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures ; feet in length and of proportionate breadth ; while the and the present state of this once rich and beautiful fourth window belongs to a smaller apartment, apparently region is a terrible monument of the divine displeasure for sleeping, which is not brought down to the level of against wickedness and idolatry:: the floor of the great chamber, but has below it another 20. · He shall make their habitations desolate.' --As we small apartment, which receives light only from the door. here and in Isaiah pointed out many of the minute coOf the constructed edifices in the open area itself, very incidences between the prophecies concerning Edom and little of a definite shape now remains, and the ruin into their fulfilment, we feel the more bound to put on record which these houses have fallen furnishes a marked and our conviction that the eagerness for illustrative points instructive contrast to the comparatively perfect condition has been carried by some pious and able writers into a of the surrounding works in the rock. There is however degree of extravagance and minuteness of detail against