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The great Hermon (Jebel-ei-Slteich) rises hign above the other mountains.

The valleys are no longer inhospitable ravines; they become long and broad, and partly form plains of large extent, as Esdraelon. A beautiful pasture land extends to the heights of the mountains. Considerable mountain streams water the valleys.

(3.) To the east of this mountain chain lies the valley of the Jordan, the most remarkable of all known depressions of the earth, as well on account of its great length as of its almost incredible depth. [See below, III. and IV.]

(4.) On the east of the Dead Sea and the Jordan valley, with the sea of Tiberias, rises like a wall a steep mountain range of Jura limestone. On the top of this lies a broad plateau inhabited by nomadic Arabs and stationary tribes. The southern part of these highlands is known by the name of Jebel Belka; further north, beyond the Zerka, in the neighbourhood of the lofty Ajhm, it meets the highlands of Ez-Zoucil; and still further north begins the well known plateau ELHauran, which, inhabited chiefly by Arabs and Druses, is bounded by Antilibanus and the Syrian desert, joins the plateau of Damascus, and there reaches a height of 2304 Paris feet above the sea.

III. The Jokdan.

The most celebrated river of Judaea, and the only stream of any considerable size in the country. Its etymology has not been successfully investigated by the ancients, who propose a compound of Yor and Dan, and imagine two fountains bearing these names, from which the river derived its origin and appellation. S. Jerome (Onomatt. «. v. Dan) derives it from Jot, which he says is equivalent to ^tlQpov, fluviut, and Dan the city, where one of its principal fountains was situated. Bat there are serious objections to both parts of this derivation. For in the first place TK^ is the Hebrew form of the equivalent fur Jluvius, while the proper name is always pi*)?, and never pJTN', as the proposed etymology would require; while the name Dan, as applied to the city Laish, is five centuries later than the first mention of the river in the book of Genesis; and the theory of anticipation in the numerous passages of the Pentateuch in which it occurs is scarcely admissible (See Judges, xviii.; Gen. xiii. 10, xxxii. 10; Job, xl. 23), although Dan is certainly so used in at least one passage. (Gen. xiv. 14.) Besides which, Beland has remarked that the vowel always written with the second syllable of the river is different from that of the monosyllabic city, and not J"J. He

suggests another derivation from the root "OJ, deMcendit, labitur, so denoting a river, as this, in common with other rivers which he instances, might be called *«■' Hoxtiv: and as Josephus does call it T&» Toto^ov, without any distinctive name (Ant v. I. § 22), in describing the borders of Issacbar. This is also adopted by Gesenius, Lee, and other moderns. (Lee, Lexicon, s. v.)

Tbe source of this river is a question involved in much obscurity in the ancient records; and there is a perplexing notice of Josephus, which has added considerably to the difficulty. The subject was fully investigated by the writer in 1842, and the results are stated below.

The Jordan has three principal sources: (1) at Baniat, the ancient Caesarea Philippi; ('J) at Tell

el-Kadi, the site of the ancient Dan, about two miles to the west of Banias; (3) at Hasbeia, some distance to the north of Tell-el-Kadi. These several sources require distinct notice.

1. The fountain at Baniat is regarded by Josephus and others as the proper source of the Jordan, but not with sufficient Reason. It is indeed a copious fountain, springing out from the earth in a wide and rapid but shallow stream, in front of a cave formerly dedicated to Pan; but not at all in the manner described by Josephus, who speaks of a yawning chasm in the cave itself, and an unfathomable depth of still water, of which there is neither appearance nor tradition at present, the cave itself being perfectly dry. (Bell. Jud. i. 21. § 3.) He states, however, that it is a popular error to consider this as the source of the Jordan. Its true source, he subsequently says (iii. 9. § 7), was ascertained to be at Phiala, which he describes as a circular pool, 120 stadia distant from Caesarcia, not far from the road that led to Trachonitis, i. e. to the east. This pool, he says (named from its form), was always full to the brim, but never overflowed, and its connection with the fountain at Paneas was discovered by Herod Philip the tetrarch in the following manner: — He threw chaff into the hike Phiala, which made its appearance again at the fountain of Paneas. This circular, goblet-shaped pool, about a mile in diameter, is now called Birketer-Ram. It is situated high in a bare mountain region, and strongly resembles the crater of an extinct volcano. It is a curious error of Irby and Mangles to represent the surrounding hills as "richly wooded" (Travels, p. 287). The water is stagnant, nor is there any appearance or report among the natives of any stream issuing from the lake, or of any subterranean communication with the fountain of Paneas. The above-named travellers correctly represent it as having "no apparent supply or discharge." The experiment of Philip is therefore utterly unintelligible, as there is no stream to carry off the chaff. (For a view of Phiala, see Traill's Josephus, vol. ii. p. 46, and lxxx. &c.)

2. The second fountain of the Jordan is at Tellel-Kadi. [dan.} This is almost equally copious with the first-named; and issues from the earth in a rapid stream on the western side of the woody hill, on which traces of the city may still be discovered. The stream bears the ancient name of the town, and is called Nahr Led&n, " the river Led&n," sometimes misunderstood by travellers as the ancient name of the river, which certainly no longer exists among the natives. This is plainly the Daphne of Josephus, "having fountains, which, feeding what is called the little Jordan, under the temple of tbe golden calf, discharge it into the great Jordan." (Bell. Jud. iv. 1. § 1, conf. Ant. viii. 8. § 4; and see Reland, Palaettina, p. 263.)

3. A mile to the west of Tell-el-Kadi, runs the Nahr Hasbany, the Basbeia river, little inferior to either of the former. It rises 6 or 8 miles to the north, near the large village of Hasbeia, and being joined in its course by a stream from Mount Hermon, contributes considerably to the bulk of the Jordan. It is therefore somewhat remarkable that this tributary has been unnoticed until comparatively modem times. (Robinson, Bib. Iks. vol. iii. p. 354, note 2.)

These three principal sources of the Jordan, as the natives affirm, do not intermingle their waters until they meet in the small lake now called Buhrtl-llidth, "the waters of Merom" of Scripture (Josh. xi. 5, 7), the Semechonitis Paliis of Josephus (Ant. v. 5. § 1, Bell. Jud. iii. 12. § 7, iv. 1. § 1); but the plain between this lake and Parens is hard to be explored, in consequence of numerous fountains and the rivulets Into which the main streams are here divided. , (Robinson, /. c. pp. 353, 354; Bibliotheca Sacra, 1843, pp. 12, 13.)

This point was investigated by Dr. Robinson in 1852, and he found that both the Leddn and the Basb&ny unite their waters with the stream from JBanias, some distance above the lake, to which they run in one stream. (Journal R. Geog. Soc. vol. xxiv. p. 25, 1855.)

This region, now called Merj-el-Huleh, might well be designated ?Aos or Tov 'lopSdvov, " the marshes of Jordan," by which name, however, the author of the first book of Maccabees (1 Mace. ix. 42) and Josephus (Ant. xiii. 1. § 3) would seem to signify the marshy plain to the south of the Dead Sea. The waters from the three sources abovementioned being collected into the small lake, and further augmented by the numerous land springs in the Bahr and Ard-el-Muleh, run off towards the south in one current. towards the sea of Tiberias [tiberias Mare], a distance, according to Josephus, of 120 stadia. They flow off at the southwestern extremity of this lake, and passing through a district well described by Josephus as a great desert (toxav ipniitav, B. J. iii. 9. § 7), now called by the natives EUGhor, lose themselves in the Dead Sea.

Attention has been lately called to a peculiar phenomenon exhibited by this river, the problems relating to which have been solved twice within the last few years by the enterprise of English and American sailors. In the spring of the year 1838 a series of barometrical observations by M. Bertou gave to the Dead Sea a depression of 1374 feet below the level of the Mediterranean, and to the sea of Tiberias a depression of 755 feet, thus establishing a fall of 619 feet between the two lakes. At the close of the same year the observations were repeated by Russegger, with somewhat different results; the depression or" the Dead Sea being given as 1429 feet, the sea of Tiberias 666 feet, and the consequent fall of the Jordan between the two, 763 feet. Herr von Wildenbruch repeated the observations by barometer in 1845, with the following results:—Depression of the 4)ead Sea 1446 feet, of the sea of Tiberias 845 feet, difference 600 feet. He carried his observations further north, even to the source at Tell-el-Kadi, with the following results:— At Jacob's bridge, about 2 J miles from the southern extremity of Bahr HvJeh, he found the Jordan 89 9 feet above the Mediterranean; at the Bahr Huleh 100 feet; and at the source at Tell-elKadi 537 feet: thus giving a fall of 1983 feet in a direct course of 117 miles:—the most rapid fall being between the bridge of Jacob and the sea of Tiberias, a distance of only 8 miles, in which the river falls 845 feet, or 116 feet per mile. Results so remarkable did not find easy credence, although they were further tested by a trigonometrical survey, conducted by Lieut. Symonds of the Royal Engineers, in 1841, which confirmed the barometrical observations for the Dead Sea, but were remarkably at variance with the statement for the sea of Tiberias, giving to the former a depression of 1312 feet, and to the latter of 328 feet, and a difference of level between the two of 984 feet. The

| whole subject is ably treated by Mr. Petermann. In a paper read before the Geographical Society, chiefly in answer to the strictures of Dr. Robinson, in a communication made to the same society,—both of which papers were subsequently published in the journal ot the society (vol. xviii. part 2, 1848). In consequence of the observations of Dr. Robinson {Bib. Res. vol. ii. p. 595, n. 4, and vol. iii. p. 311, n. 3), the writer in 1842 followed the course of the Jordan from the sea of Tiberias to the sea of Huleh^ and found it to be a continuous torrent, rushing down in a narrow rocky channel between almost precipitous mountains. It is well described by Herr von Wildenbruch, who explored it in 1845, as a " continuous waterfall " (cited by Petermann, /. c p. 103).

The lower Jordan, between the sea of Tiberias and the Dead Sea, was subsequently explored by Lieut. Molyneux in 1847, and by an American expedition under Lieut. Lynch in the following year. The following extracts from the very graphic account of Lieut. Molyneux, also contained in the number of the Royal Geographical Society's Journal (pp. 104— 123) already referred to, will give the best idea of the character of this interesting river, hitherto so little known. Immediately on leaving the sea of Tiberias they found the river upwards of 100 feet broad and 4 or 5 deep; but on reaching the ruins of a bridge, about 2 miles down the stream, they found the passage obstructed by the ruins, and their difficulties commenced; for seven hours they scarcely ever had sufficient water to swim the boat for 100 yards together. In many places the river is split into a number of small streams, and consequently without much water in any of them. Occasionally the boat had to be carried upwards of 100 yards over rocks and through thorny bushes; and in some places they had high, steep, sandy cliffs all along the banks of the river. In other places the boat had to be carried on the backs of the camels, the stream being quite impracticable. The Ghor, or great valley of the Jordan, is about 8 or 9 miles broad at its upper end; and this space is anything but flat—nothing but a continuation of bare hills, with yellow dried-up weeds, which look when distant like corn stubbles. These hills, however, sink into insignificance when compared to the ranges of the mountains which enclose the Ghor; and it is therefore only by comparison that this part of the Ghor is entitled to be called a valley. Within this broader valley is a smaller one on a lower level, through which the river runs; and its winding course, which is marked by luxurious vegetation, resembles a gigantic serpent twisting down the valley. So tortuous is its course, that it would be quite impossible to give any account of its various turnings in its way from the lake of Tiberias to the Dead Sea. A little above Beisan the stream is spanned by an old curiously formed bridge of three arches, still in use, and here the Ghor begins to wear a much better and more fertile aspect. It appears to be composed of two different platforms; the upper one on either side projects from the foot of the hills, which form the great valley, and is tolerably level, but barren and uncultivated. It then falls away in the form of rounded sand-hills, or whitish perpendicular cliffs, varying from 150 to 200 feet in height, to the lower plain, which should more properly be called the valley of the Jordan. The r:*er here and there washes the foot of the cliffs which enclose this smaller valley, but generally it winds in the most tortuous manner between them. In many places these clifls are like walls. About this part of the Jordan the lower plain might be perhaps 1 \ or 2 miles broad, and so fall of the most rank and luxuriant vegetation, like a jungle, that in a few spots only can anything approach its banks. Below Beisan the higher terraces on either side begin to close in, and to narrow the fertile space below; the hills become irregular and only partly cultivated; and by degrees the whole Ghor resumes its original form. The zigzag course of the river is still prettily marked by lines of green foliage on its banks, as it veers from the cliffs on one side to those on the other. This general character of the river and of the Ghor is continued to the Dead Sea, the mountains on either side of the upper valley approaching or receding, and the river winding in the lower valley between bare cliffs of soft limestone, in some places not less than 300 or 400 feet high, having many shallows and some large falls. The American expedition added little to the information contained in the paper of our enterprising countryman, who only survived his exploit one month. Lieut. Lynch's report, however, fully confirms all Lieut. Molyneux's observations; and he sums up the results of the survey in the following sentence: —" The great secret of the depression between lake Tiberias and the Dead Sea is solved by the tortuous course of the Jordan. In a space of 60 miles of latitude and 4 or 5 miles of longitude, the Jordan traverses at least 200 miles. . . . We have plunged down twenty-seven threatening rapids, besides a great many of lesser magnitude." (Lynch, Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the Jordan, cfc, p. 265.) It is satisfactory also to find that the trigonometrical survey of the officers attached to the American expedition confirms the results arrived at by Lieut. Symonds. (Dr. Robinson, Theological Bevieto for 1848, pp. 764—768.)

It is obvious that these phaenomena have an important bearing on the historical notices of the river; and it is curious to observe (as Mr. Petermann has remarked), in examining the results of De Bertou, Russegger, and Von Wildenbrnch, that the depression both of the Dead Sea and of the lake of Tiberias increases in a chronological order (with only one exception); which may perhaps indicate that a continual change is going on in the level of the entire Ghor, especially as it is well proved that the whole Jordan valley, with its lakes, not only has been but still is subject to volcanic action; as Russegger has remarked that the mountains between Jerusalem and the Jordan, in the valley of the Jordan itself, and those around the Dead Sea, bear unequivocal evidence of Volcanic agency, such as disruptions, upheaving, faults, &c. &c,—proofs of which agency are still notorious in continual earthquakes, hotsprings, and formations of asphalt

One of the earliest historical facts connected with this river is its periodical overflow during the season of barley-harvest (Josh. iii. 15; 1 Chron. xii. 15; Jeremiah, xii. 5; see Blunfs Undesigned Coincidences, pp. 113, 114); and allusion is made to this fact after the captivity. (Ecclus. xxiv. 26; Aristeus, Epist. ad Pkilocratem.') The river in the vicinity of Jericho was visited by the writer at all seasons of the year, but he never witnessed an overflow, nor were the Bedouins who inhabit its banks acquainted with the phaenomenon. The American expedition went down the river in the month of April, and were off Jericho at Easter, yet they wit

nessed nothing of the kind, though Lieut Lynch remarks, "the river is in the latter stage of a freshet; a few weeks earlier or later, and passage would have been impracticable." Considerably further north, however, not far below Beisan, Lieut Molynenx remarked "a quantity of deposit in the plain of the Jordan, and the marks of water in various places at a distance from the river, from which it was evident that the Jordan widely overflows its banks; and the sheikh informed him that in winter it is occasionally half a mile across; which accounts for the luxuriant vegetation in this part of the Ghor" (I. c. p. 117). It would appear from this that the subsidence of the basin of the Dead Sea and the more rapid fall of the Jordan consequent upon it, which has also cut out for it a deeper channel, has prevented the overflow except in those parts where the fall is not so rapid.

Another charge may also be accounted for in the same manner. "The fords of the Jordan" were once few and far between, as is evident from the historical notices. (Josh. ii. 7; Judges, iii. 28, vii. 24, xii. 5.) But Lieut. Molynenx says of the upper part of its course, " I am within the mark when I say that there are many hundreds of places where we might have walked across, without wetting our feet, on the large rocks and stones" (p. 115).

The thick jungle on the banks of the river was formerly a covert for wild beasts, from which they were dislodged by the periodical overflow of the river; and " the lion coming up from the swelling of Jordan" is a familiar figure in the prophet Jeremiah (xlix. 19, 1. 44). It was supposed until very recently that not only the lion but all other wild beasts were extinct in Palestine, or that the wild boar was the sole occupant of the jungle; but the seamen in company with Lieut. Molyneux reported having seen " two tigers and a boar" in their passage down the stream (p. 118).

The principal tributaries of the Jordan join it from the east; the most considerable are the Yarmuk [gadara] and the Zerlca [jabbok.].

This river is principally noted in sacred history for the miraculous passage of the children of Israel under Joshua (iii.),— the miracle was repeated twice afterwards in the passage of Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings, ii. 8, 14),—and for the baptism of our Lord (St. MatL iii. &c). It is honoured with scanty notice by the classical geographers. Strabo reckons it the largest river of Syria (xvi. p. 755). Pliny is somewhat more communicative. He speaks of Paneas as its source, consistently with Josephus. "Jordanis amnis oritur e fonte Paneade, qui uomen dedit Caesareae : amnis amoenus, et quatenus locorum situs patitur ambitiosus, accolisque se praebens, velut invitus. Asphaltiden lacum dirnm natura petit, a quo postremo ebibitur, aquasque laudatas perdit pestilentibus mistas. Ergo ubi prima convallium fuit occasio in lacum se fundit, qnem plures Genesaram vocant, etc." (Hist. Nat. v. 15.) Tacitus, though more brief, is still more accurate, as he notices the Bohr Htdeh as well as the sea of Tiberias. "Nec Jordanes pelago accipitur: sed nnum atque alteram lacum, integer perfluit: tertio retinetur." (Hist. v. 6.)

The ancient name for EUGhor was Aulon, and the modern native name of the Jordan is EsShiriah.

(Karl von Raumer, Palastina, 2nd ed., 1850, pp. 48—54, 449—452; Ritter, Erdkmde, fc.Wat Asien, vol. 15, pp. 181—556, A. D. 1850, Her Jordan und die Betchiffung del Tod ten Meeres, em Vortrag, cfc., 1850. The original documents, from which these are chiefly compiled, are:—Comte de Bertou, in the Bulletin de la Soc. Geog. de Paris, torn. xii. 1839, pp. 166, &c, with chart; Russegger, Beam in Europa, Asien, Afrika, &c, vol. iii. Stuttgart, 1847, pp. 102—109, 132—134; Herr Ton Wildenbruch, Monattberichte de Getellschaft fur Erdhmde xu Berlin, 1845, 1846.)

IV. The Dead Sea.

Of all the natural phaenomena of Palestine, the Dead Sea is that which has most attracted the notice of geographers and naturalists both in ancient and modern times, as exhibiting peculiarities and suggesting questions of great interest in a geological point of view.

Namet.—The earliest allusion to this sea, which, according to the prevailing theory, refers to its original formation, is found in the book of Genesis (xiv. 3), where it is identified with the vale "of Siddim," and denominated "the Salt Sea" Kaurffa TWf a\uv, LXX.); comp. Numb, xxxiv. 3, 12); which Salt Sea is elsewhere identified with "tlie sea of the plain" {Deui. iii. 17, iv. 49; Josh. iii. 16, xii. 3), daAatnra "ApoSo, LXX.; called by the prophets Joel (ii. 20), Zachariah (xiv. 8), and Ezekiel (xlvii. 18), the "former," or "eastern sea." Its common name among the classical authors, first found in Diodorus Siculus (inf. cit.), and adopted by Josephus, is "Asphaltitis Lacus" (faetaA.TiTis Ai/wtj), or simply Tj 'AaipakTiTis. The name by which it is best known among Europeans has the authority of Justin (xxxvL 3. § 6) and Puusanias (v. 7. § 4), who call it dd\turaa it vfKpd, " Mortuum Hare." Its modern native name is Bohr Lit, "the Sea of Lot,"—therein perpetuating the memorial of the catastrophe to which it may owe its formation, or by which it is certain that its features were considerably altered and modified. The name assigned it by Strabo must be referred to a slip of the author; for it is too much to assume with Falconer that the geographer had written Soeoftrjs AijuvT), when all the copies read 2ep6Wlj A.

So copious are the modem notices of this remarkable inland sea, that it would be vain to attempt even an abridgment of them; and the necessity for doing so is in great measure superseded by the late successful surveying expedition, conducted by Lieut. Lynch of the American navy, whose published narrative has set at rest many questions connected with its physical formation. The principal ancient writers will be quoted in detail and in chronological order, that it may appear how far they have borrowed one from another, or may be regarded as independent witnesses. Their notices will then be substantiated or controverted by modem writers. The questions relating to the formation of the sea, its volcanic origin, and the other igneous phaenomena iu the country, will be reserved for another chapter.

The earliest extant writer who has noticed at any length the marvels of the Dead Sea, is Diodorus Siculus (b. C. 45), who has twice described it; first in his geographical survey of the country (ii. 48), and subsequently in his account of the expedition of Demetrius against the Nabataei (xix. 98), to which last account a few particulars are added, which were omitted in the earlier book,

"We ought not to pass over the character of this bko (ABphaltites) uumcntioned. It is bituated ill

the midst of the satrapy of Idumaea, in length extending about 500 stadia, and in breadth about 60. Its water is very salt, and of an extremely noxious smell, so that neither fish nor any of the other ordinary marine animals can live in it; and although great rivers remarkable for their sweetness flow into it, yet by its smell it counteracts their effect. From the centre of it there rises every year a large mass of solid bitumen, sometimes more than 3 plethra in size, sometimes a little less than one plethrum.* For this reason the neighbouring barbarians usually call the greater, bull, and the lesser, calf. The bitumen floating on the surface of the water appears at a distance like an island. The time of the rising of the bitumen is known about twenty days before it takes place; for around the lake to the distance of several stadia the smelt of the bitumen spreads with a noxious air, and all the silver, gold, and brass in the neighbourhood loses its proper colour; which, however, returns again as soon as all the bitumen is ejected. The fire which burns beneath the ground and the stench render the inhabitants of the neighbouring country sickly and very short-lived. It is nevertheless well fitted for the cultivation of palms, wherever it is traversed by serviceable rivers or fountains available for the purposes of irrigation. In a neighbouring valley grows the plant called balsam, which yields an abundant income, as the plant grows in no other part of the world, and it is much used by physicians as a medicine.

"The bitumen which rises to the surface is carried off by the inhabitants of both sides of the lake, who are hostilely inclined towards each other. They carry away the bitumen in a singular manner without boats: they construct large rafts of reeds, which they launch into the lake. Upon each of these not mora than three can sit, two of whom row with oars attached to the raft, and the third, armed with a bow, drives off those who are sailing up from the opposite side, or who venture to use violence; but when they come near to the bitumen they leap on it with axes in their hands, and, cutting it like soft stone, they lade their raft, and then return. If the raft break and any one fall off, even though he may be unuble to swim, he does not sink as in other water, but floats as well as one who could swim; for this water naturally supports any weight capable of expansion, or which contains air, but not solid substances, which have a density like that of gold, silver, and lead, and the like: but even these sink much more slowly in this water than they would if they were thrown into any other lake. This source of wealth the barbarians possess, and they transport it into Egypt and there sell it for the purposes of embalming the dead ; for unless thia bitumen is mixed with the other spices, the bodies will not long remain undecayed."

It has been mentioned that Strabo (cir. A. D. 14) describes it under the name of Sirbonis Lacus, a palpable confusion, as regards the name, with the salt lake on the eastern confines of Egypt [sirboms Lacus], as is evident from his statement that it stretched along the sea-coast, as well as from the length which he assigns it, corresponding as it does with the 200 stadia given by Diodorus Siculus as the length of the true Sirboms Lacus, which that author properly places between Coelesyria and

* In book ii. he says the smaller masses were two plethra in size.

Egypt (i. 30). The mistake is the more unaccountable, as he not only describes the Dead Sea in a manner which shows that he was thoroughly acquainted with its peculiarities, but also cites the opinions of more ancient authors, who had described and attempted to explain its phaenomena. His notice is peculiarly interesting from the accounts which he gives of the formation of the bitumen, and the other indications which he mentions in the vicinity of the operation of volcanic agency, of which more will be said in the following chapter. The native traditions of the catastrophe of the cities of the plain, and the still existing monuments of their overthrow, are facts not mentioned by the earlier historian.

"The lake Sirbonis is of great extent: some have stated its circumference at 1000 stadia; it stretches along near the sea-coast, in length a little more than 200 stadia, deep, and with exceedingly heavy water, so that it is not necessary to swim, but one who advances into it up to his waist is immediately borne up. It is full of asphalt, which it vomits up at uncertain seasons from the midst of the depth, together with bubbles like those of boiling water, and the surface, curving itself, assumes the appearance of a crest. Together with the asphalt there rises much soot, smoky, and invisible to the sight, by which brass, silver, and everything shining, even gold, is tarnished; and by the tarnishing of their vessels the inhabitants of the neighbourhood know the time when the asphalt begins to rise, and make preparations for collecting it by constructing rafts of reeds. Now the asphalt is the soil of the earth melted by heat, and bubbling up, and again changed into a solid mass by cold water, such as that of the lake, so that it requires to be cut; it then floats on the surface by reason of the nature of the water, which, as 1 have said, is such that a person who goes into it need not swim, and indeed cannot sink, but is supported by the water. The people then sail up on the rafts, and cut and carry off as much as they can of the asphalt: this is what takes place. But Posidonius states that they being sorcerers use certain incantations, and consolidate the asphalt by ponring over it urine and other foul liquids, and then pressing them ont. After this they cut it; unless perhaps urine has the same properties as in the bladder of those who suffer from stone. For gold-solder {xpu^oKdWa, borax) is made with the urine jf boys. In the midst of the lake the phaenomenon may reasonably take place, because the source of the fire, and that of the asphalt, as well as the principal quantities of it, are in the middle; and the eruption is uncertain, because the movements of fire have no order known to us, as is that of many other gases (wvd/xara). This also takes place in Apollonia of Epeirus. There are many other evidences also of the existence of fire beneath the ground; for several rough burnt rocks are shown near Moasas [masada], and caves in several places, and earth formed of ashes, and drops of pitch distilling from the rocks, and boiling streams, with an unpleasant odour perceptible from a distance, and houses overthrown in every direction, so as to give probability to the legends of the natives, that formerly thirteen cities stood on this spot, of the principal of which, namely, Sodoma, ruins still remain about 60 stadia in circumference; that the lake was formed by earthquakes and the ebullition of fire, and hot water impregnated with bitumen and sulphur; that the rocks took fire; and that some of the cities were swallowed up, and others were de

serted by those of their inhabitants who could escape. Eratosthenes gives a different account, namely, that the country being marshy, the greater part of it was covered like the sea by the bursting out of the waters. Moreover, in the territory of Gadara, there is some pernicious lake-water, which when the cattle drink, they lose their hair, hoofs, and horns. At the place named Tarichiae the lake affords excellent salt fish; it also produces fruit-trees, resembling apple-trees. The Egyptians use the asphalt for embalming the dead." (Lib. xvi. pp. 763, 764.)

Another confusion must be remarked at the close of this passage, where Strabo evidently places Tarichiae on the Dead Sea, whereas it is situated on the shores of the sea of Tiberias.

The next writer is the Jewish historian, who adds indeed little to the accurate information conveyed by his predecessors; but his account is evidently independent of the former, and states a few facts which will be of service in the sequel. Josephus wrote about A. r>. 71.

"It is worth while to describe the character of the lake Asphaltites, which is salt and unproductive, as I mentioned, and of such buoyancy that it sustains even the heaviest substances thrown into it, and that even one who endeavours to sink in it cannot easily do so. For Vespasian, having come to examine it, ordered some persons who could not swim to be bound with their hands behind their backs, and to be cast into the deep; and it happened that all of them floated on the surface as if they were bome up by the force of a blast. The changes of its colour also are remarkable; for thrice every day it changes its appearance, and reflects different colours from the rays of the sun It also emits in many places black masses of bitumen, which float on the surface, somewhat resembling headless bulls in appearance and size The workmen who live by the lake row out, and, laying hold of the solid masses, drag them into their boats; but when they have filled them they do not find it easy to cut the bitumen, for, by reason of its tenacity, the boat adheres to the mass until it is detached by means of the menstruous blood of women or urine, to which alone it yields. It is used not only for shipbuilding but also for medicinal purposes : it is mixed with several drugs. The length of this lake is 580 stadia, as it extends as far as Zoara of Arabia; its breadth is 150 stadia. On the borders of the lake lies the territory of Sodom, formerly a flourishing country, both on account of the abundance of its produce and the number of its cities; now it is all an arid waste. It is said that it was destroyed by lightning, on account of the wickedness of its inhabitants. The traces of the heavenly fire and the ruins of five cities may still be seen; and ashes are found even in the fruits, which are of an appearance resembling the edible kinds, but which, when plucked, turn into smoke and ashes. Such confirmation do the legends concerning the land of Sodom receive from actual observation." (Joseph. B. J. iv. 8. § 4.)

The Dead Sea and its marvels was a subject suited to the inquiring spirit of the naturalist; and Pliny's account, though brief, is remarkably clear and accurate, except that, in common with all writers, he greatly overstates its size. He wrote probably too soon (a. D. 74) after Josephus to avail himself of his account and may, therefore, be regarded ns an independent authority.

"This lake produces nothing but bitumen, from

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