Изображения страниц

came to Sinjil for the night. Next morning we diverged again to the right of the usual road, in order to examine an ancient site called by the Arabs Seilûn. We reached it in an hour from Sinjil, and found it to correspond entirely to the ancient Shiloh, which Josephus also writes Siloun (Echoūv). We fell into the usual road again near Khan Lübban, and crossed the fine though narrow plain, on the West side of which is the village Lübban, the ancient Lebonah.

The country now began to assume a new aspect. The mountains in general are less lofty and less steep; while the vallies open out into fertile plains or basins surrounded by bills. Two hours before reaching Nablous, we entered upon the southern end of such a plain, running off N. N. E. four hours in length and nearly an hour in breadth. About the middle of the western side of this fine plain, are seen the eastern ends of Gerizim and Ebal, 800 to 1000 feet high; between which runs the narrow valley of Nablous in a direction nearly N. W. The city of Nablous lies half an hour within the valley, and directly on the water summit; the waters of the eastern part of the city flowing east into the plain, while the fine fountains on the western side send off a pretty brook towards the western sea. We visited here the Samaritans; and one of them accompanied us to the top of Gerizim, and pointed out their Kebla and other sacred places. On this summit are traces of a considerable town; and also the remains of a large and strong fortress of stone.

On the way from Nablous to Samaria, where the road turns up the hills to the right, there is in the valley an ordinary Arab aqueduct, which leads the waters of the brook to an overshot mill. This Richardson and others have magnified into an ancient Roman bridge! At Samaria the large ruined church evidently is the work of the Knights Templars; as is testified by the frequent crosses of this order. Many columns also remain of the ancient temples; and a long colonnade extends around the southern base of the hill, for more than half a mile.—We now took the road to Jenîn, on the border of the great plain of Esdraelon ; passing on our way the former robber fortress Sanûr, now a heap of ruins.

We crossed the great plain from Jenîn to Nazareth by a route somewhat East of the usual one ; passing through Zer'in, the ancient Jezreel, and Sôlam, the ancient Shunem ; which Jerome also writes Sulem. At a distance on the S. W. edge of the

[ocr errors]

plain, are seen Ta'annuk and Lejyun, corresponding to the ancient Taanach and Megiddo. The eastern part of the plain of Esdraelon has never yet been correctly laid down in the maps. Two mountain ridges run out into it from the East, commencing near the brow of the Jordan-valley, and extending westward to near the middle of the plain. The southern ridge is Gilboa, the northern is the Little Hermon of Jerome. They divide the eastern half of the plain into three parts ; of which the northern and southern decline towards the West, and their waters flow off to the Kishon, while the middle portion, between Gilboa and Hermon, slopes to the East, and its waters descend to the Jordan through a broad valley or plain at Bisan, the ancient Bethshean. Jezreel stood on the southern brow of this central valley ; in which are copious fountains. One of these is now called Jalûd, the Tubania of the Crusaders, and doubtless the ancient fountain of Jezreel.

From Nazareth we went to the summit of Mt. Tabor, where we spent an afternoon and night enjoying the wide prospect, and dwelling upon the associations connected with this beautiful mountain. Here the remains of a large fortress are visible, evidently of Saracenic origin. We descended by way of the Mount of Beatitudes (so called) and Hottin to Tiberias. The walls of this city were thrown down by the earthquake of Jan. 1837; and still lie in ruins. A single sail-boat now exists upon the lake; but we tried in vain to hire it for an excursion.-We had intended to proceed directly to Damascus ; but learned at Tiberias that the Druses of the Ledja and of Antilebanon were in a state of insurrection, so that all the routes from this quarter to Damascus were unsafe. We proceeded however to the North end of the lake ; passing by Mejdel (Magdala), the plain Gennesareth with its round fountain, the ruined Khan-Minya, and the remarkable ruins of Tel Hûm. We encamped near where the Jordan enters the lake ; and explored the eastern plain, and the site of the ancient Julias, the northern Bethsaida. We made minute and persevering inquiry throughout the whole country, after the ancient names Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Chorazin ; but no trace of them remains among the Arab population. If former travellers have heard them, it must have been from the monks of Nazareth or their dependents.-We now bent our course to Safet, which was destroyed by the earthquake of Jan. 1, 1837, and is still little more than a heap of ruins. Here we waited a day for intelligence ; hoping yet to be able to visit SECOND SERIES, VOL. I. NO. II.



Damascus. But the account became more threatening; and we were compelled to turn our faces towards Beiront by the way of Tyre and Sidon

While at Safet, we went to a point an hour North of the town, whence we could see the Castle of Banias and overlook the whole plain and lake of the Hûleh. The latter is but one lake, eight or ten miles long by four or five miles broad; the northern half being a mere tract of marsh covered with all reeds or fags. Between this lake and that of Tiberias, the Jordan Aows in a narrow valley, and forms no intervening lake.-On the way from Safet to Tyre, nearly two hours N. W. of Safet, we saw the crater of an extinct volcano; wbich was probably the central point or Ableiter of the great earthquake of the preceding year, by which Safet and the adjacent villages were destroyed. -We reached Beirout June 26, 1838; and thence returned to Western Europe by Alexandria, Smyrna, Constantinople, and so across the Black Sea and up the Danube to Vienna.



By Henry R. Schoolcraft, Esq. Detroit, Michigan.


Antiquitates Americanae, sive Scriptores Septentrionales Rerum

Ante-Columbianarum in America. - Samling af de i Nordens Oldskrifter indeholdte Efterretninger om de Gamle Nordboers Opdagelsesreiser til America fra det 10de Aarhundrede.-- Edidit Societas Regia Antiquariorum Septentrionalium. Hafniae, 1837. 4to. pp. 479.

INTRODUCTORY NOTE, BY THE EDITOR. [A very brief notice of this learned and interesting work appeared in the Repository for April 1838. Since that time we have not found it convenient to take up the subject of its important disclosures, until Mr. Schoolcraft has consented to favor us with the present Article. The work, however, has been in the country some eighteen months, and several notices of it have appeared; but it has excited less interest than the importance and attractive character of its topics, as well as the learning and evidence with which they are presented, would lead us to expect. The light of authentic history is here shed upon what otherwise must have remained, to a great extent, the “ fabulous age" of our country.

That our readers may possess, in as brief a form as possible, an intelligible description of the volume referred to, we insert as an introduction to the Article of Mr. Schoolcraft, the following Prospectus, issued by the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries, accompanying its publication.]

Alexander von Humboldt, who of all modern travellers has thrown the greatest light on the physical circumstances, first discovery, and earliest history of America, has admitted that the Scandinavian Northmen were the true original discoverers of the New World; a fact which several later writers of eminence have nevertheless either flatly denied, or called in question. The above mentioned great inquirer has however remarked that the information which the public as yet possesses of that remarkable epoch in the middle ages is extremely scanty, and he has expressed a wish that the Northern Literati would collect and publish all the accounts relating to that subject. The Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries considers it a matter of duty to comply with this wish, embracing a threefold purpose: that of illustrating ancient geography and history; that of perpetuating the memory of our forefathers, and lastly that of everlastingly securing to them that honorable station in the history of the World, of Science, of Navigation, and of Commerce, to which they are justly entitled. This has appeared to the Society to be so much the more necessary, since the latest researches have rendered it in a high degree probable, that the knowledge of the previous Scandinavian discovery of America, preserved in Iceland, and communicated to Columbus when he visited that island in 1447, operated as one, and doubtless as one of the most powerful of the causes which inspired the mind of that great man (whose glory cannot in any degree be impaired by the prior achievement) with that admirable zeal, which bidding defiance to every difficulty enabled him to effect the new discovery of the New World under circumstances that necessarily led to its immediate, uninterrupted, and constantly increasing colonization and occupation by the energetic and intelligent races of Europe. For this his memory will be imperishable among the nations of the earth. Yet still we Northmen ought not to forget his meritorious predecessors, our own forefathers, who in their way had difficulties to contend with not less formidable, since without knowledge of the properties of the magnet, without aid of compass, charts, or mathematical science properly so called, they dared to navigate the great Ocean, and thus by degrees discovered and partly colonized Iceland in the ninth century, Greenland in the tenth, and

subsequently several of the Islands and Coasts of America during the latter part of the tenth and beginning of the eleventh century.

“ It is the last of these epochs—very remarkable in the history of the world, yet not sufficiently known—that forms the subject of the work now announced. No separate work has hitherto been devoted to this subject, if we except the Vinlandia of Torfaeus, published in 1705, and now extremely scarce. That work, however, does not contain any collection of the original statements on which the investigation must be based, and such accounts as it does communicate are but few and incomplete. This collection therefore now makes its appearance for the first time as complete as possible, compiled from the numerous and valuable MSS. now extant, and accompanied by a Danish and also a complete Latin translation; and by

a prefatory remarks, archaeological and geographical disquisitions, and other critical apparatus also in Latin. Of its contents we can here merely give a brief sketch, mentioning only the principal sections. Among these may be named, first the historical accounts of Erik the Red, and the Greenlanders, extracted—and now for the first time accurately published-from the celebrated Codex Flateyensis, particularly concerning Biarne Heriulfson's and Leif Eric. son's first discovery of the American Islands and Coasts, and the several voyages thither, performed by Leif's brothers and sister. Next the Saga of Thorfinn Thordson surnamed Karlsefne, descended from Irish, Scottish, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish Ancestors, chiefly taken from two ancient MSS, never before edited, and in fact not previously known to the Literati, the one of which is supposed to be partly a genuine autograph of the celebrated Hauk Er. lendson, Lawman of Iceland, well known as a compiler of one of the Recensions of the Landnama-book. This very remarkable Saga contains detailed accounts of Thorfinn Karlsefne's and his company's three years voyages and residence in America, whereby an entirely new light is diffused over this subject hitherto so little known. The only knowledge that Torfaeus had of this Saga, which he imagined to be lost, was derived from some corrupted extracts of it contained in the collection of materials for the history of ancient Greenland left by the Iceland Farmer Biörn Johnson of Skardso. It is now for the first time submitted to the literary world in a complete form. The work here announced moreover contains every. thing else that the Society has been able to collect and discover relating to that knowledge of the New World which our forefathers obtained from the early discoveries and researches of the Northmen. Among these we may mention, 1. Adam of Bremen's accounts of Vineland (in America) written in the eleventh century, being in fact communicated to him by the Danish King Sweyn Éstrithson, and compiled from authentic accounts furnished to him by Danes, and now for the first time published from the excellent Codex in the

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »