صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

stroyed by the order of the Kalif Hakem. Thirty years afterwards, permission was obtained by the Emperor Constantine Monomachus to rebuild them, which was effected under the Patriarch Nicephorus, about fifty years before the entry of the Crusaders. They, during their reign in Jerusalem, greatly increased the buildings; and, after their expulsion, no important changes took place until the unhappy fire, which, in 1808, so greatly damaged the Church, as to necessitate the entire reconstruction of its central portions. All these successive changes I shall proceed to examine at length. Each successive restoration of these buildings introduced changes of form and style, in accordance with the methods of building that happened to prevail at the moment; and we have, therefore, according to the statement just made, five distinct periods of the building to examine, namely, (1) the buildings of Constantine ; (2) those of Modestus; (3) those of Monomachus; (4) those of the Crusaders; and, finally, (5) those that at present exist. Now, although the historians relate that in the Persian invasion, and at the demolition by the Mahometans in 1010, the buildings upon this site were, as it were, uprooted from the earth; it must be remembered that the destruction of a complex mass of building, like that in question, is by no means so easy: nor is it ever effected by a hostile force, so as to obliterate the foundations, for the ruins of the vaults and walls necessarily protect the lower part of the buildings. When a building is taken down by friendly hands, the materials are carefully removed as fast as they accumulate. But this systematic process is not likely to be carried on by men working under the influence of malicious violence, whose sole purpose is to disfigure, and render untenable, the object of their fury. They are satisfied when the perfect structure is converted into a misshapen heap of ruins. But those who, when the storm has passed, return with friendly hands to clear away the rubbish, and rebuild the fallen walls, are sure to find the original foundations, much of the lower part of the walls, and many of the vaults, still entire. The original plan of the buildings, therefore, can never be lost, under such circumstances; but it may be departed from during the rebuilding, for two opposite reasons. In the first place, the funds may not be sufficient to reconstruct the whole of the buildings, or even to construct the part of them which has been selected, on so magnificent a scale as before. Or, on the other hand, the funds may be so large as to tempt an increase of magnitude and grandeur. It is true, however, that buildings founded, as these are, upon a rock, require so little depth of foundation-building, that they are more easily eradicated, and afford less temptation for the employment of old foundations in rebuilding, than structures which are erected upon ground that requires deep trenches to be made, and massive subwalls to afford a footing for the superstructure. Such substructures necessarily escape a hostile destruction. In our present building, the original levelling and cutting down of the rock will be found to afford the best traces of the former dispositions. But all these causes have influenced, from time to time, the remarkable group of buildings which I propose to examine. The authorities from which our knowledge of the arrangements of the buildings are derived, are the numerous pilgrimages and chronicles of the middle ages; and, by comparing and collating these, and by a constant reference to the site, I hope to be able to shew, that a tolerably consistent architectural history of these vicissitudes of plan may be drawn out. As the Churches in question form an exceedingly complex group, and we are necessarily better acquainted with the more recent structures, than with the older ones, we must take the history in a reverse order, and begin with the fourth period, namely, by describing the whole as it stood from the time of the Crusaders, until the fire of 1808", which however has not affected the plan of the buildings. The Church, in its general plan, may be described as a Romanesque cruciform structure, having a circular nave to the West, a North and South transept, and a short Eastern limb or choir terminated by an apse. An aisle runs round the circular nave, on three of its sides. Also there is an aisle at the end of each transept, and on the East and West sides of each transept; and an aisle passes round the apse, and has chapels radiating from it, in the usual manner. Projecting from the East end, but lying to the South of the central line of the edifice, is a chapel, termed the chapel of S. Helena. The Eastern aisle of the South transept is occupied by chapels in two floors, the upper floor having the chapel of the Crucifixion. The principal, and at present the only, entrance to the Church, is at the South front of this Southern transept. Moreover, the triforium of the Church is an entire floor, extending over the whole of the side-aisles, and was, on its first completion, accessible from one end to the other, and, indeed, all round the Church; but was subsequently obstructed by party walls, erected for the accommodation of some of the various sects who have divided the Church amongst them.

* Plate 2 is a Plan, and Plate 3 a am indebted to the kindness of my exlongitudinal section of the Church and cellent friend J. Scoles, Esq., who laid its chapels as they appeared during the it down in the year 1825. In Appendix fourth period; this plan is based upon (A) I have explained my authorities a most elaborate survey, for which I for the sections at length.

The circular nave or Rotunda was wholly erected with circular arches, but the Eastern part of the Church with pointed arches; having, however, round arches in the windows, according to the usual practice at the early period of the pointed style. In the centre of the Rotunda is placed the principal object, for the protection and veneration of which the entire structure was planned; and before I proceed to the detailed description of that structure, I must investigate the arrangement and history of the Sepulchral Cavern, which had so vast an influence upon it.



IN the centre of the Rotunda, as I have already said, there stands a small Chapel or edicula, twenty-six feet in length, and eighteen in breadth, having its interior divided into two small apartments, the inner one of which is said to be the actual Sepulchral Chamber “hewn out of a rock,” in which the body of our Lord was deposited. Its present appearance, which is, at first sight, that of an artificial construction of masonry, is explained by saying that the architects of Constantine levelled the ground all round the Cave, leaving that portion of rock, within which the chamber had been excavated, to stand up as an isolated block, and that the exterior and interior of this block has been cased with ornamental architecture, so as to give it its present artificial appearance. To enable my readers to judge of the probability of this account, I must digress into a short examination of the arrangement and form of the Jewish and Roman Sepulchres; for it must be remembered, that the Sepulchre in question, originally formed for a wealthy Jew, “his own new tomb,” “wherein never man before was laid,” was altered into its present condition by a Roman emperor, more than three centuries afterwards. Every traveller bears witness to the innumerable rock-sepulchres which exist in the valleys round about Jerusalem. The general mode of construction is, in the words of Robinson, that “a door in the perpendicular face of the Rock, usually small and without ornament, leads to one or more small chambers excavated from the rock, and commonly upon the same level with the door. Very rarely are the chambers lower than the door, the walls in general are plainly hewn; and there are occasionally, though not always, niches or restingplaces for the dead bodies. To obtain a perpendicular face for the door, advantage was sometimes taken of a former quarry; or an angle was cut in the rock with a tomb in each face; or a square niche or area was hewn out in a ledge, and then tombs excavated in all three of its sides. All these expedients are seen particularly in the northern part of the valley of Jehoshaphat, and near the Tombs of the Judges. Many of the doors and fronts of the tombs along this valley

« السابقةمتابعة »