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Such of the eastern people as are 'in better circumstances dip their bread in fine oil olive before they eat; but the poor either make use of oil of an inferior kind, or have no other addition than salt or summer-savoury dried and powdered. To make frequent use of oil, though it answers only to our eating of bread and butter, is accounted an expensive luxury.
Milk forms a very favourite article of their diet, and they are furnished with it, in considerable abundance, by their goats. Their butter is not very good, and always has something of the taste of tallow. They make it by churning it in leather bottles, which practise is not very cleanly, filling it up afterwards with milk, and so make their cheese, which is white, and of a very bad taste, but they make no other. They drink, sometimes sweet milk, and sometimes make broth of it; but when it curdles, they put the juice of an herb to it to make it sourer, and, consequently, more refreshing. They also put some of it upon their pilaw, (boiled rice) and eat it mixed together. They esteem butter and honey as a most exquisite breakfast, and present it to those whom they would wish to treat with the first distinction. This mixture may, at first, seem very strange, but we are assured by travellers that it is not disagreeable.
They eat but little meat in comparison with what we do in Europe. Bread, dibbs. leban, butter, rice, and a very little mutton, make the chief of their food in winter. They esteem roast meat a great delicacy, especially roasted lamb or kid, dressed with butter and milk. But we cannot present a more agreeable picture of their hospitality and manner of living, than that which is given by la Roque concerning the Arabs.
"When strangers enter a village where they know nobody, they enquire for the Menzil, and desire to speak with the Sheik, who is as the Lord of it, or, at least, represents his person; and the body of the community, after saluting him, they signify their want of a dinner, or of supping and lodging in the village. The Sheik says they are welcome, and that they could not do him a greater pleasure. He then marches at the head of the strangers, and conducts them to the Menzil, where, also, they may alight at once, if the Sheik is not at home, and ask for every thing they want. But they seldom have occasion for all this, for as soon as the people of the village see any strangers coming, they inform the Sheik of it, who goes to meet them, accompanied by some peasants, or by some of his domestics; and, having saluted them, asks if they would dine in the village, or whether they choose to stay the whole night there; if they answer that they would only eat a little morsel and go forward, and that they choose to stay under some tree a little out of the village, the Sheik goes, or sends his people into the village, to cause a collation to be brought, and, in a little time, they return with eggs, butter, curds, honey, olives, fruit, fresh or dried, according to the season, when they have not time to cook any meat." He afterwards tells us, that if it is evening, and the strangers would lodge in the village, that the women belonging to the Sheik's house, having observed the number of the guests, "never fail to cause fowls, sheep, lambs, or a calf, to be killed, according to the quantity of meat which will be wanted for the entertainment of the guests, and of those that are to bear them company, and quickly make it into soup, roast it, and form out of it many other ragouts after their way, which they send to the Menzil for the Sheik's servants, in wooden bowls, which they place on a great round straw mat, that usually serves them for a table. These dishes being set in order, with many others, in which are eggs, cheese, fruit, sallad, sour curdled milk, olives, and all that they have to treat their guests with, which they set before them at once, that every one may eat as he likes the Sheik begs of the strangers to sit round the mat, he himself sitting down with them, together with the other peasants of fashion belonging to the village, in order to do them honour. They make no use of knives at table, the meat being all cut into little bits."
The principal drink of the Asiatics is water, but they have wine both red and white, of several kinds. They keep their wine in jugs or flagons, as they have no casks, for which reason it is always thick. To slake their thirst in the height of summer, the poor people drink vinegar, and those who are in better circumstances lemonade. Their fruits are oranges, lemons, citrons, dates, figs, grapes, pomegranates, apricots, pistachio nuts, almonds, water melons, and several others. Oranges and lemons are, however, generally believed to have been unknown to the antients. The citron is exceedingly valuable, the tree itself affording an agreeable shade, and the fruit, which is of a gold colour, being equally grateful to the smell and taste. The date grows upon a species of the palm-tree, and, as it is reckoned of a hot quality, is eaten with bread in the winter. The figs are of various kinds, and produced in different seasons of the year. The pistachio nuts of Syria, and, probably, those of Palestine are accounted the best in the world. The water-melons are very serviceable to quench the thirst, and prevent those diseases which are the effect of excessive heat,
Their entertainments are commonly accompanied with music, of which the principal instrument is the tabret, which is played upon by women It is described, by Dr. Russel, as "a hoop, (sometimes with pieces of brass fixed in it to make å jingling) over which a piece of parchment is distended. It is beat with the fingers, and is the true tympanum of the antients, as appears from its figure in several relievos." They have, likewise, a sort of a bag-pipe, which numbers of idle fellows play upon round the skirts of the town, making it a pretence to ask a present of such as pass. Their field music consists of a sort of hautboy, shorter, but shriller, than ours; trumpets, cymbals, large drums, the upper head of which is beat upon with an heavy drum-stick, the lower with a small switch. Besides these, they have small drums beat after the manner of our kettle-drums. This music, at a distance, has a tolerable good
Having thus given an account of such of the customs of the inhabitants of this country, as, being of a permanent nature, may be yet traced among the Arabs and other Asiatic people; we shall proceed to relate those changes which took place after the death of Herod, and describe the state of the Jews at the commencement of our Lord's ministry.
The latter days of Herod were darkened by all those horrors which are sometimes commissioned to pursue the men of violence and blood. Having ascended the throne by the most unjustifiable means; governing a people who despised him as a proselyte, and hated him as an imitator of the Romans; and being surrounded by courtiers as daring and unprincipled as himself; he had sought security by the sacrifice of his wife Mariamne, her sons Alexander and Aristobulus, and a vast number of his subjects. His favorite son Antipater, whose false accusations had occasioned the death of the two last mentioned princes, had been recently convicted of a conspiracy to poison Herod, but his execution was suspended till the sentence should be approved by Augustus. At length, worn down with age, sickness, and numberless cares and inquietudes, he fell into a violent disease, which, added to all his other misfortunes, made him so morose and choleric, that he became a burden to himself and every one about him. Finding his end approaching, he set about making his will, by which he appointed his youngest son his heir and successor, the misrepresentations and calurinies of Antipater having rendered his other two sons, Archelaus and Philip, obnoxious to him. He bequeathed, in legacies, one thousand talents to Augustus, five hundred to his empress, and left a considerable fortune to the unworthy Salome. The rest of his estate, lands, revenues, and money, he ordered to be divided between his children and grand-children. His disease continuing to increase, he thought of an horrid expedient to prevent the Jews
from rejoicing at his death. He summoned their chief men to repair to Jericho, on a set day, under pain of death, and, upon their arrival, ordered them all to be shut up in the circus; and, having sent for his sister Salome, and her husband Alexas, gave them strict charge to have them all butchered as soon as his breath was gone. By this means, said he, I not only damp the people's joy, but secure a real mourning at my death. About this time came back his messengers from Rome, with Augustus's approbation of Antipater's sentence, and the news that Achme had been there put to death for her treachery. Herod could not but feel a sensibie joy at it, in spite of all his tortures, and, finding himself at that time very hungry, called for an apple and a knife; but his pains increasing at that instant, and he, essaying to put an end to them with the knife, made a grandson of his, who tried to stop his hand, give a loud shriek, which alarmed the court, and made every body without believe he was dead. The report of it soon reached Antipater's prison, who expressed such lively joy and hopes at the news, as hastened his execution; for his gaoler, having acquainted the king with it, threw him into such a rage, that he dispatched one of his guards, on the very instant, to put him to death. He outlived his son but five days, during which he altered his will afresh ; left his kingdom to Archelaus; made Antipas tetrarch of Galilee and Perea; and left to Philip the regions of Trachonitis, Gaulon, Batanea, and Panias, which he erected, likewise, into a tetrarchy. To Salome, besides fifty thousand pieces in money, he gave the cities of Jamnia, Azotus, and Phaselis, with some considerable legacies to hist other relations. He died in the seventieth year of his age, the thirty-seventh after his advancement to the Jewish crown, and the thirty-fourth after the expulsion and death of Antigonus, and to the no small joy of the Jews. This joy was diminished, as Herod had intended; for his executors, instead of fulfilling his request, permitted all the prisoners to depart to their respective homes.
Herod was no sooner dead, and the prisoners released, than Salome and Alexas summoned the chief officers and soldiery to the amphitheatre at Jericho, and read to them a letter from the deceased king, in which he thanked them for their past services and fidelity to him, and desired them to shew it now to his son Archelaus, whom he had appointed his successor. His last will was read to them at the same time, by Ptolemy, the then keeper of the royal seal, in which there was this remarkable clause, That it was to be of no force till ratified by Cæsar. The audience, however, taking it for granted that the emperor would not fail to confirm it, sent out an universal shout, Long live king Archelaus! and both officers and soldiers promised him the same allegiance and attachment which they had shewn to his father.
The new king, to shew his gratitude to him, began with preparing a funeral answerable to his greatness and dignity. His body was laid on a sumptuous golden litter, enriched with variety of precious stones, wearing the royal crown on his head, and holding the sceptre in his hand. His sons and grandsons, his sister and her husband, accompanied with the rest of his relations, marched by his side, and were followed by all his officers both civil and military, according to their rank. Among the latter, his guards led the van; then came the Thracians; next, the Germans; and, last of all, the Gauls, or Galatians; all of them armed, and in order of battle. The procession was closed with five hundred of the king's domestics, with aromatic perfumes, and proceeded to his castle of Herodion, which was about eight stades, or one thousand paces distant from Jericho, and where they deposited his remains, according to his will. They returned from thence to Jerusalem, where Archelaus, having finished the seven days" mourning for his father, according to the Jewish custom, gave the people a magnificent feast. He went next to the temple, clothed in white, and in the midst of their loud acclamations; and, being there seated on his golden throne, gave the people thanks
for the zeal they expressed for him; but added, that he would not assume the title of king till it had been affirmed to him by Augustus, though that, as well as the royal diadem, had been offered to him at Jericho, by the suffrages of the whole army. He concluded with assuring them, that, as soon as he was confirmed by the emperor, his chief care and study should be to deserve the love they had so unanimously testified for him, and to make his reign more easy and happy than that of his father had proved to the Jewish nation. This speech was followed with vollies of huzzas; after which, they began to try the sincerity of it, by a number of petitions suitable to their different exigencies. Some begged for an alleviation of their tribute; others, for the total abolition of the customs; others, again, for the release of prisoners; all which were readily granted at this lucky juncture, Archelaus not thinking it adviseable to exasperate them by a denial. The whole ceremony was concluded with suitable sacrifices, and a sumptuous entertainment, which he gave there to his friends.
The Jews, however, soon resumed their rebellious course, in spite of all these grants. That afternoon was scarcely over, before a number of malcontents, who had been, for some time, holding secret cabals for raising new mutinies, broke loose in a body, and, for want of a more plausible pretence, came beating their breasts, bewailing the deaths of Matthias and others of his accomplices, who had been burnt for pulling down the golden eagle, and demanded justice against those friends of the deceased king who had an hand in their deaths; particularly they desired that the high-priesthood might be taken from Joazar, to whom it had been given upon that occasion. This unexpected indignity failed not to exasperate the new king; but as he was upon the point of departing for Rome, and was unwilling either to have his journey stopped by this tumult, or to go away before it was quelled, he sent his master of the horse to appease them by fair words, and to remind them that the king would do nothing till he was confirmed by the emperor; but before he could utter a word to them, they fell a pelting him with vollies of stones, so that he was forced to withdraw. He sent some fresh officers on the same errand, and they met with the same reception, insomuch, that they wanted but number to have raised themselves into open rebellion. By this time the feast of the passover was come, which brought a great concourse of people, from all parts, to Jerusalem; during which solemnity the malcontents never stirred from the temple, but chose to beg subsistence from the comers, rather than leave the place, or intermit their godly work till they were driven from it by main force.
Archelaus, who justly feared lest these mutineers should spread the infection among the multitudes that repaired to the feast, sent an officer, at the head of some troops, with express orders either to disperse them, or to seize such as stood their ground. They were scarcely come in sight of the revolters, before they found themselves briskly attacked by them, and by a great number of strangers whom their outcries had inspired with the same rebellious spirit: a bloody encounter followed, in which most of the soldiers were killed upon the spot, and the officer terribly vounded, and narrowly escaped with life. This fresh indignity obliged, at length, Archelaus to send his whole army against them, with orders to his cavalry to kill all who came out of the temple, and to hinder the strangers from assisting them. After another obstinate fight, in which three thousand of the rebels were killed, the rest were put to flight, and betook themselves to the mountains; upon which, the king published an order for all the strangers to depart to their own houses, by which an end was put to the paschal solemnity for that year. He set out soon after for Rome accordingly, leaving the government of the kingdom to his brother Philip, and took with him his mother Mattace, by nation » Samaritan, Nicholas Damascen, an old friend and counsellor of his late father, and u great number of other friends. He was, likewise, accompanied by his aunt Salome,