« ForrigeFortsæt »
submission ; but its being used by the governor of Egypt, when he appeared before his master shews, that though it was an expression of humiliation and perfect submission, it was not an ignominious one ; but a token it undoubtedly was of such respect, as was thought proper for 'the conquered to pay the victor when they begged their lives ; and as such was used, I suppose, by Benhadad; for those ropes about the necks of his servants were, I should imagine, what they suspended their swords with, if the customs of later times may be thought to be explanatory of those of elder days, as in the East they often are.
Curious Illustration of 1 Kings xx. 34.
BEN-HADAD was received to mercy, and treated with respect; and upon this occasion promised to restore to the kingdom of Israel, the cities his father had taken from it, And thou shalt make, said he to Ahab, streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. 1 Kings xx. 34.
This was a proposal better relished by Ahab, than understood by commentators. Bishop Patrick tells us, some suppose the word nish chutsoth, signifies market-places, where things were sold, the toll of which should belong to Ahab ;. others think, he meant courts of judieature, where he should exercise a jurisdiction over the Syrians; others what we now call a piazza,' of which he should receive the rents; but commonly, he says, interpreters understand by the word fortifications, or citadels, as we now speak ; none of which suppositions however, pleased Gotf. Vallandus, who attempts to prove that palaces are meant, the building of which by Ahab being a token of subjection in Benhadad.
Perhaps the privileges which we know were actually granted to the Venetians for their aid, by the states of the kingdom of Jerusalem in the time of the captivity of Baldwin II. may more satisfactorily explain these words of Benhadad. William of Tyre, the greatest historian of the Croisades, has preserved that ancient instrument,' which the curious reader may consult, and in which he will find ample room for the exercise of the talents of an antiquary. It will be sufficient here to observe, that it appears from that convention, as well as from the accounts that he has else where given of the privileges granted to other nations for their assistance, that they were wont to assign churches, and to give streets, in their towns and cities, to those foreign nations, together
• Or rather what is called by Rauwolff a fondique camp, carvatschara, or caravanserie, p. 24, 30, and by others a kane ; that is a great house, built like a cloister round a great court-yard, and full of warehouses and apartments, in which foreign merchants are wont to live, or travellers to repair, as to an inn.
• Gesta Dei, p. 830, 831.
with great liberties and jurisdiction in these streets. Thus that historian tells us, that the Genoese had a street in Accon, or St. John d'Acre, together with full jurisdiction in it, and a church, as a reward for taking that city," together with a third part of the dues of the port. So the above-inentioned ancient instrument very clearly shews that the Venetians had a street also in Accon; and explains what this full jurisdiction in a street means, by giving them liberty to have in their street there an oven, mill, bagnio,' weights and measures for wine, oil, and honey, if they thought fit, and also to judge causes among themselves, together with as great a jurisdiction over all those that dwelt in their street and houses, of whatever nation they might be, as the king of Jerusalem had over others.
May we not believe, that the same, or nearly the same franchises and regalities that were granted the Venetians and Genoese, to obtain aid from them, the father of Ahab had granted to Benhadad's father to obtain peace, and which Benhadad, upon this fatal turn of his affairs, proposed to grant to Ahab in DamascusA quarter for his subjects to live in, and which he should possess, and enjoy the same jurisdiction over, as he did the rest of his kingdom. Such a power in Samaria, and such a making over a part of it to him, in annexing it to the kingdom of Syria, with a right of building such idol-temples as he thought fit, was a sufficient disgrace to the father of Ahab; and the proposing to give Ahab now a like honour in Damascus, an expression of a very abject adulation in Benhadad. As the things that commentators have mentioned, are either not of importance enough to answer the general representations of matters in the history; or absolutely destructive; a medium is to be sought for.
v P. 791.
* The privilege of having a bagnio of their own, is explained by something mentioned p. 878; as is that of having weights and measures, by a paragraph in p. 124; it appearing that the bagnios paid certain duties to the Eastern princes of those times, who also received some of their dues from weights and measures.
Barbarous Customs used by Victors against eht
dead Bodies of their Enemies.
As the Indians of North America are not content with killing their enemies, but produce their scalps as proofs of the number they have destroyed ; it will not be thought strange, I presume, that something of the like kind obtained anciently in Asia too, but it is surprising to find some traces of it still there.
These ocular proofs of their success in war are agreeable enough to unpolished times : such was the age of Saul, when he required some unequivocal marks of David's having destroyed an hundred Philistines, or at least heathens, and that they should be brought before him, 1 Sam. xviii, 25, 27. But it is somewhat astonishing to find something of the like sort lately practised in so polite a country as Persia ; yet the MS. C. assures us, that in the war of the Persians against the Yuzbecs, the Persians took the beards (of their enemies) and carried them to the king. Strange custom to be retained !
Particular Places used for Prayer previous to
APPREHENSIVE of these fatal turns in war, they were wont anciently to perform very solemn devotions before they went out to battle, and at particular places. So it is said that the Israelites, in the time of Judas the Maccabee, assembled themselves to Maspha, over against Jerusalem ; for that in Maspha was the place where they prayed aforetime in Israel, 1 Macc. iii. 46.
The desolation of the Temple, and the Gentiles being in possession of a strong place adjoining to it, might induce Judas to assemble the people at some other place: the forty-fifth verse seems to assign these reasons for it: but that Maspha should be chosen as a place where they before prayed in Israel on such public occasions, is strange, as it does not appear that either the Tabernacle or the Ark were ever