Imatges de pàgina
PDF

PART IV.

DOMESTIC ANTIQUITIES of The JEws, AND of other NATIONS INCIDENTALLY MENTIONED IN THE SCRIPTURES.

CHAPTER I.
ON THE DWELLINGS OF THE JEWS. -

I. Tents.-II. Houses—their arrangement—materials—and conveniences.—III. Furniture.—IV. Cities, Gates, and JMarkets.

I. As men, in the primitive condition of society, were unacquainted with the arts, they of course were not able to build themselves houses; they abode therefore necessarily under the shade of trees. It is probable that when mankind began to multiply on the earth, they dwelt in caves, many of which, in the Holy Land, are both capacious and dry. Thus, Lot and his daughters abode in a cave, after the destruction of Sodom. (Gen. xix. 30.) Antient historians' contain many notices of troglodytes or dwellers in caves, and modern travellers have met with them in Barbary and Egypt, as well as in various other parts of the East. The Horites, who dwelt on Mount Seir, the Zamzummim, and the Emims or Anakim, are supposed to have resided in caves. In succeeding ages, they abode generally in tents, as the Arabs of the Desert do to this day. The invention of these is ascribed to Jabal, the son of Lamech, who is therefore termed the father of such as dwell in tents. (Gen. iv. 20.) The patriarchs pitched their tents where they pleased, and, it should seem, under the shade of trees whenever this was practicable. Thus, Abraham's tent was pitched under a tree in the plains of Mamre (Gen. xviii. 4.), and Deborah the prophetess dwelt under a palm tree between Ramah and Bethel, in Mount Ephraim. (Judg., iv. 5.) In the East, to this day, it is the custom in many places to plant about and among their buildings trees, which grow both high and broad, and afford a cooling and refreshing shade. It appears from 1 Kings iv. 25. that this practice antiently obtained in Judea, and that vines and fig trees were commonly used for this purpose. These trees furnished two great articles of food for their consumption, and the cuttings of their vines would be useful to them for fuel. The tents of the emirs and sovereigns of the East, are both large and magnificent, and furnished with magnificent hangings. Those of the Turkomans are said to be white : and those of the Turks, green: but, according to D’Arvieux, Dr. Shaw, and M. Wolney, the tents of the Bedouins, or Arabs of the Desert, are universally black, or of a very dusky brown. To these the bride in the Canticles compares herself (i. 5), —I am black (or, tawny) as the tents of Kedar, but comely, or beautiful as the curtains of Solomon. In the East, those who lead a pastoral life, frequently sit (as Abraham did) in the tent door in the heatof the day. (Gen. xviii. 1.) The more opulent Arabs always have two tents, one for themselves, and another for their wives, besides others for their servants; in like manner, a particular tent was allotted to Sarah. (Gen. xxiv. 67.) When travelling, they were careful to pitch their tents near some river, fountain, or well. (1 Sam. xxix. 1. xxx. 21.)

1 Herodotus, lib. iii. c. 74. Diod. Sic, lib. iii. c. 31. intus Curti it. -6. Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xv. c.4 § I Quintus Cur ius, lib. v. c.

WOL. iii. 49

[graphic][graphic][graphic]

II. In progress of time men erected houses for their habitations: those of the rich were formed of stone or bricks, but the dwellings of the poor were formed of wood, or more frequently of mud, as they are to this day in the East Indies." In Egypt, Bengal, and Ceylon, houses are constructed with this material; which is but ill calculated to resist the effects of the impetuous torrents, that descended from the mountains of Palestine.” Our Lord alludes to this circumstance at the close of his sermon on the mount. (Matt. vii. 26, 27.) In the Indies also, nothing is more common than for thieves to dig or break through these mud-walls, while the unsuspecting inhabitants are overcome by sleep, and to plunder them." To similar depredations Jesus Christ appears to allude, when he exhorts his disciples not to lay up their treasure where thieves BREAK THROUGH and steal. (Matt. vi. 19, 20.) In the holes and chinks of these walls, serpents sometimes concealed themselves. (Amos v. 19.) In Egypt, it appears from Exod. v. 7., that straw antiently entered into the composition of bricks; and some expositors have imagined that it was used (as with us), merely for burning them; but this notion is unfounded. The Egyptian bricks were a mixture of clay, mud, and straw, slightly blended and kneaded together, and asterwards baked in the sun. Philo, in his Life of Moses, says, that they used straw to bind their bricks." The straw still preserves its original colour, and is a proof that these bricks were never burn in stacks or kilns.” Part of the bricks of the celebrated tower of Babel, (or of Belus as the Greeks termed it.) were made of clay

1 Dr. Davy's Account of the Interior of Ceylon, p. 256. See also Harmer's Observations, vol. i. pp. 265. 285. 2 See instances of the frailty of these tenements in Dr. Shaw's Travels, vol. i. p. 250, Belzoni's Researches in Egypt, p. 299, and Ward's View of the History, &c. of the Hindoos, vol. ‘..." 3.35. 3 Ward's History, &c. of the Hindoos, vol. ii. p. 325. 4 Philonis Opera, tom. ii. p. 86. (edit. Mangey.) 5 Shaw's Travels, vol. i. p. 250. Mr. Belzoni, in his late researches in Egypt, found similar bricks in an antient arch which he discovered at Thebes, and which he has "go"; among the plates illustrative of his Re. searches in Egypt, Nubia, &c. Plate, xliv. No. 2. In and near the ruins of the antient Tentyra, Dr. Richardson also found huts built of sun-dried brick, made of straw and clay. (Travels, vol. i. pp. 185. 259.) They are thus described by the Rev. Mr. Jowett, as they appeared in February 1819–Speaking of the remains of antient buildings in that part of Egypt, he says —“These

mixed with chopped straw, or broken reeds, to compact it, and then dried in the sun. Their solidity is equal to that of the hardest stone."

Of all modern travellers, no one has so happily described the form and structure of the eastern buildings as Dr. Shaw, from whose account the following particulars are derived, which admirably elucidate several interesting passages of holy writ. The general method of building, both in Barbary and the Levant (this distinguished scholar and traveller remarks), seems to have continued the same from the earliest ages down to this time without the least alteration or improvement. Large doors, spacious chambers, marble pavements, cloistered courts, with fountains sometimes playing in the midst, are certainly conveniences very well adapted to the circumstances of these climates, where the summer heats are generally so intense. The jealousy likewise of these people is less apt to be alarmed, whilst, if we except a small latticed window or balcony which sometimes looks into the street, all the other windows open into their respective courts or quadrangles. It is during the celebration of some Zeenah, as they sall it, or public festival, that their houses, and their windows, and latticed balconies, are left open. For this being a time of great liberty, revelling, and extravagance, each family is ambitious of adorning both the inside and outside of their houses with their richest furniture: whilst crowds of both sexes, dressed in their best apparel, and laying aside all modesty, ceremony, and restraint, go in and out where they please. The account we have (2 Kings iz. 30.) of Jezebel's painting her face, and tiring her hair, and looking out at the window on Jehu's public entrance, gives us a lively idea of an eastern lady at one of these Zeenahs or solemnities.

* o

:

o

magnificent edifices, while they display the grandeur of former times, exhibit no
less the meanness of the present. This temple, built of massive stone, with a por-
tico of twenty-four pillars, adorned with innumerable hieroglyphics, and painted
with beautiful colours, the brightness of which in many parts remains to this day,
is choked up with dusty earth. Willage after village, built of unburnt brick, crum.
bling into ruins, and giving place to new habitations, have raised the earth, in
some parts, nearly to the level of the summit of the temple; and fragments of the
walls of these mud huts appear, even on the roof of the temple. In every part of
Egypt, we find the towns built in this manner, upon the ruins, or rather the rub-
bish of the former habitations. The expression in Jeremiah xxx. 18. literally ap-
plies to Egypt, in the very meanest sense—The city shall be builded upon her own
heap ; and the expression in Job xv. 28. might be illustrated by many of these
deserted hovels—He dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man in-
habiteth, which are ready to become heaps. Still more touching is the allusion in
Job iv. 19.; where the perishing generations of men are fitly compared to habita-
tions of the frailest materials, built upon the heap of similar dwelling places, now
reduced to rubbish—How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose
foundation is in the dust"—(Jowett's Christian Researches, pp. 131, 132.)—In
one place, says the same intelligent traveller, “the people were making bricks,
with straw cut into small pieces, and mingled with the clay to bind it. Hence it
is, that, when villages built of these bricks fall into rubbish, which is often the case,
the roads are full of small particles of straws extremely offensive to the eyes in a
high wind. . They were, in short, engaged exactly as the Israelites used to be,
making bricks with straw; and for a similar purpose—to build extensive granaries
for the bashaw ; treasure-cities for Pharaoh.” Exod. i. 11. (Ibid. p. 167.)
| Sir R. K. Porter's Travels in Georgia, Persia, Babylonia, &c. vol. ii. pp.329,33"

[graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]
[graphic]

The streets of these cities, the better to shade them from the sun, are usually narrow, with sometimes a range of shops on each side. If from these we enter into any of the principal houses, we shall first pass through a porch' or gateway with benches on each side, where the master of the family receives visits, and despatches business; few persons, not even the nearest relations, having admission any farther, except upon extraordinary occasions. From hence we are received into the court, which lying open to the weather, is, according to the ability of the owner, paved with marble, or such proper materials, as will carry off the water into the common sewers. There is something very analogous between this open space in these buildings, and the impluvium, or cava adium of the Romans: both of them being alike exposed to the weather, and giving light to the house. When much people are to be admitted, as upon the celebration of a marriage, the circumcising of a child, or occasions of the like nature, the company is seldom or never admitted into one of the chambers, The court is the usual place of their reception, which is strewed accordingly with mats or carpets for their more commodious entertainment: and as this is called el woost, or the middle of the house, literally answering to the ro uscow of St. Luke (y. 19.), it is probable that the place where our Saviour and his apostles were frequently accustomed to give their instructions, might have been in the like situation, i. e. in the area or qua. drangle of one of these houses. In the summer season, and upon all occasions, when a large company is to be received, the court is commonly sheltered from the heat and inclemencies of the weather by a vellum umbrella or veil, which being expanded upon ropes from one side of the parallel wall to the other, may be folded or unfolded at pleasure. The Psalmist seems to allude either to the tents of the Bedoweens, or to some covering of this kind, in that beautiful expression, of spreading out the heavens like a reil or curtain. (Psal. civ. 2. See also Isaiah xl. 22.) Antiently, it was the custom to secure the door of a house, by a cross-bar or bolt, which by night was fastened by a little button or pin : in the upper part of the door was left a round hole, through which any person from without might thrust his arm, and remove the bar, unless this additional security were superadded. To such a mode of fastening the bride alludes in Cant. v. 4.” The court is for the most part surrounded with a cloister, as a card adium of the Romans was, with a peristylium or colonnade, over which, when the house has one or more stories (and they sometimes have two or three), there is a gallery erected of the same dimensions with the cloister, having a ballustrade, or else a piece of carved or

1 In Bengal, servants and others generally sleep in the verandah or porch, in front of their master's house. (Ward's History, &c. of the Hindoos, vol. ii. p. 323). The Arab servants in Egypt do the same. (Wilson's Travels in Egypt and the Holy Land, p. 55.) In this way Uriah slept at the door of the king's hogs; with all the serrants of his lord. (2 Sam. Xi. 9)

* BP. Percy's Translation of Solomon's Song, p. 76.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

latticed work going round about it, to prevent people from falling
from it into the court. From the cloisters and galleries, we are con-
ducted into large spacious chambers of the same length of the court,
but seldom or never communicating with one another. One of them
frequently serves a whole family, particularly when a father indulges
his married children to live with him; or when several persons join
in the rent of the same house. Hence it is that the cities of these
countries, which are generally much inferior in size to those of Eu-
rope, are so exceedingly populous, that great numbers of the in-
habitants are swept away with the plague, or any other contagious
distemper.
In houses of better fashion, these chambers, from the middle of
the wall downwards, are covered and adorned with velvet or damask
hangings, of white, blue, red, green, or other colours (Esth. i. 6..),
suspended upon hooks, or taken down at pleasure." But the upper

part is embellished with more permanent ornaments, being adorned

with the most ingenious wreathings and devices in stucco and fretwork. The ceiling is generally of wainscot, either very artfully painted, or else thrown into a variety of pannels, with gilded mouldings and scrolls of their Koran intermixed. The prophet Jeremiah (xxii. 14.) exclaims against the eastern houses that were ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion. The floors are laid with painted tiles, or plaster of terrace. But as these people make little or no use of chairs (either sitting cross-legged or lying at length) they always cover and spread them over with carpets” which for the most part are of the richest materials. Along the sides of the wall or floor, a range of narrow beds or mattresses is often placed upon these carpets: and for their farther ease and convenience, several velvet or damask bolsters are placed upon these carpets or mattresses; indulgences which seem to be alluded to by their stretching themselves upon couches, and by the sewing of pillows to the arm-holes, as we have it

expressed in Amos vi. 4. and Ezek. xiii. 8. At one end of the

chamber there is a little gallery, raised three, four, or five feet above the floor, with a balustrade in the front of it, with a few steps likewise leading up to it. Here they place their beds; a situation frequently alluded to in the holy Scriptures; which may likewise illustrate the circumstance of Hezekiah's turning his face when he prayed towards the wall, i. e. from his attendants, (2 Kings xx. 4.) that the servency of his devotion might be the less taken notice of and observed. The

! Similar costly hangings appear to have decorated the pavilion or state tent of Solomon, alluded to in Cant. i. 5.; the beauty and elegance of which would form a striking contrast to the black tents of the nomadic Arabs. The state tents of modern oriental sovereigns, it is well known, are very superb; of this gorgeous splendour, Mr. Harmer has given some instances from the travels of Egmont and Hayman. The tent of the Grand Seignior was covered and lined with silk. Nadir Shah had a very superb one ...; on the outside with scarlet broad cloth, and lined within with violet-coloured satin, ornamented with a great variety of animals, o &c. formed entirely of pearls and precious stones. (Harmer on Sol. Song, p. 180.

* Thus the apartment, in which our Lord and his apostles celebrated the passa.

Yer is said to be corportvoy, spread with a carpet. Mark xiv. 15. Luke xxii. 12.
See Macknight in loc.

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinua »