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several crooked turnings and a steep descent with steps, find themselves at the South end of the court of the Church, where, as we have already seen, was once a cloister. From this point three steps more lead down to the court and into the Church. Thus it is evident that the gradual slope of the Northern street is compensated for in the Southern street by a rapid descent with many steps, which shews that something like the brow of a cliff is situated between Patriarch Street and the court of the Church, for Palmer Street (MG) from this court to St Stephen Street appears to be tolerably level, and so also is St Stephen Street from G to I, or at least their slope is a mere gentle inclination downwards towards the south-east. It follows from this, that the pavement of the Rotunda lies at about the same level as the Street of St Stephen, and that the point of Patriarch Street, which lies in contact with the Rotunda, cannot be less than from twenty to twenty-five feet above that pavement. I have already shewn that the western door of the Rotunda gave admission to the triforium of the Church; and it seems that in the original state of the ground this abrupt slope at L. must have extended northwards, forming the rugged brow of a cliff, in which the cave of the Holy Sepulchre C and the catacomb D (of which the socalled tomb of Joseph and Nicodemus was a part) were excavated. The architects of Constantine must have cut away the rock on the south, west, and north sides of the Sepulchral cavern, leaving it standing in a manner analogous to that in which the tombs of Absalom and Zachariah were detached from the rock that lies behind them'.
* Mr Fergusson, in a passage dis- pression and good taste, informs us that tinguished by his usual felicity of ex- “the out-and-out advocates for the
So far therefore from the cave having been originally formed in an isolated rock that stood up from the level land, as it is usually represented”, the present state of the ground shews that this Sepulchre was excawated out of the face of the cliff like the common tombs of Jerusalem and elsewhere, described in the second section above; and that its conversion into an isolated monolith was the work of Constantine. And this explains very readily the concealment and preservation of it when the agents of Hadrian heaped earth upon it and erected a Temple of Venus thereon; an operation of no difficulty, since they had only to cover up an opening in front of the cliff". But the rock of Calvary at E still stands up fifteen feet above the pavement, and it appears likely that in its original state this rock was part of a little swell of the ground that jutted out from the slope of Sepulchre Street, and probably always formed a somewhat abrupt brow on the West and South sides. This would afford a convenient spot for the place of public execution. For the south-western brow of the rock has just sufficient elevation to raise the wretched sufferers above the gazing crowd, that would naturally arrange itself below and upon the sloping ridge opposite (at M), which formed a kind of natural theatre with respect to the brow of Calvary. The ground immediately to the West of St Stephen Street (GI) appears at present to have accumulated. In its original state I have supposed it to have sloped down gradually eastward from the brow of Calvary and the little isthmus, FE, which connected that hill with the main slope of Sepulchre Street. It must be remembered that the city wall, G I, formed the West boundary of St Stephen Street, according to the accounts of those who defend the authenticity of the present Holy Sepulchre, and with which I concur. The ground, however, between the Chapel of Helena (A) and this wall, is higher than St Stephen Street, and is bounded by an abrupt descent, described as a
identity of the present Sepulchre insist
of rock and casing has been in some
Fabri (p. 326) imagines that the impossible, and not inconsistent with opening of the outer cave of the Sepul- the view I have given above of the chre looked to the south, which is not original state of the ground.
bank of earth (not of rock), which shews its South face behind a certain tannery in Palmer Street (at N), and its eastern face between the Chapel of Helena and the street, and upon this bank is erected the Coptic Convent, formerly the Convent of the Canons of the Sepulchre. The part of the street of St Stephen occupied by a deserted bazar, is arched over (from H to I), and the raised ground is so much higher than the street at this point, that the garden-surface is carried over these arches without interruption, so that this end of the street appears like a tunnel or excavation. But this accumulation is plainly the natural result of the form of the ground, which sloped downwards to the wall, and, occupied by buildings that have fallen into decay, would necessarily become heaped up in the corner, so as to admit of being levelled and formed into gardens”.
Eusebius relates” that Constantine, being desirous to do honour to the place of our Lord's Resurrection, at Jerusalem, commanded an House of Prayer to be erected on that spot. For that certain impious persons
* That this ground is an accumulation, is evident from Schultz's description of the ruined portal, (which I shall presently shew was the great porch of Constantine's Basilica, ) for he tells us that the pillars are half-buried in the ground, and that the bank of earth upon which the Abyssinian monastery stands
rises behind them.
* The work of Eusebius is so well known, that it is unnecessary for me to do more in this place than give such a mere abridgment of his narrative, as may serve to introduce the description of the Basilica, which I shall translate at length.
(acting, as other authorities inform us, under the orders of the Emperor Hadrian",) had formerly resolved to consign to oblivion that Salutary Cave, and had therefore with much labour brought thither a vast quantity of earth, with which they filled up and levelled the whole place, and having paved it with stone, they thus concealed the Holy Cave beneath this heap of materials. They proceeded, moreover, to erect thereon a temple of Venus, and offered there their sacrifices. But the Emperor Constantine commanded that not only the buildings and the statues should be taken down, but that their materials, and even the earth which had been heaped up there, should all be carried away to a great distance, because they had been defiled with the blood of the profane sacrifices. When this was done, it was discovered, contrary to all expectation, that the Sepulchral Cavern existed unharmed beneath. Then the Emperor ordered a magnificent House of Prayer to be erected round about the Salutary Cave, and wrote letters to the governors of the Eastern provinces to forward the work, and amongst others, a letter (A.D. 326) to Macarius, the Bishop of Jerusalem, which is given at length by Eusebius, in which he expresses his joy and gratitude and admiration that the Token of our Saviour's most Holy Passion, for so many years hid under the earth, should now so gloriously appear; and confessing this to be miraculous, he declares his firm determination that that Holy Place which he had disburthened of the vile idol, should be ornamented with magnificent structures”.
* Holy City, Vol. 1. p. 240. Vol. 11. proving the authenticity of that wonp. 71. - drous relic which is known by the name * Writers who are interested in of “the true Cross,” endeavour to shew