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natural horrors, that upwards of thirty fine contrast with the glowing colour pilgrims from Barbary were murdered of the edifice. We know not what to last year, on their return from Mecca, compare this scene with; perhaps by the men of Wady Mousa. The cloak there is nothing in the world that of one of them was afterwards offered resembles it. Only a portion of a very to us for sale, at Ipseyra, and one of extensive architectural elevation is their watches at Zaphoely. Salvator seen at first; but it has been so conRosa never conceived so savage and trived that a statue with expanded suitable a haunt for banditti. The wings, perhaps of Victory, just fills brook has disappeared beneath the soil the centre of the aperture in front, from the dryness of the season, but the which being closed below by the sides manner it which its occasional over- of the rock folding over each other, flowings have broken up the antique gives to the figure the appearance of pavement, and the slippery passes being suspended in the air at a conwhich the running of the waters have siderable height; the ruggedness of made, by polishing the rock where it the cliffs below setting off the sculphad been cut away to form the road, ture to the highest advantage. The sufficiently prove the necessity of pro- rest of the design opened gradually at viding another course for its waters. every pace as we advanced, till the A trough, carried along near the foot narrow defile which had continued of the precipice upon the left hand side, thus far, without any increase of was destined to confine the water, and breadth, spreads on both sides into to convey it upon a raised level to the an open area of a moderate size, whose city. At a considerable distance down sides are by nature inaccessible, and the ravine, this water-course crosses present the same awful and romantic over to the opposite side; and towards features as the avenues which lead to its extremity may be traced, passing it: this opening gives admission to a along at a great height in earthen pipes, great body of light from the eastward. bedded, and secured with mortar, in The position is one of the most beauhorizontal grooves cut in the face of tiful that could be imagined for the the rock, and even across the archi- front of a great temple; and the richtectural fronts of some of the tombs, ness and exquisite finish of the decorawhich make it probable that it is of a tions offer a most remarkable contrast later date. to the savage scenery which surrounds it.
We proceeded along this narrow passage for nearly two miles, the sides increasing in height as the path continually descended, while the tops of the precipices retained an uniform level. Where they are at the highest, a bear of stronger light breaks in at the close of the dark perspective, and opens to view, half seen at first through the tall, narrow opening, columns, statues, and cornices, of a light and finished style, and looking as if fresh from the chisel, without the tints or weather stains of age, and executed in a stone of a pale rose colour. At the moment we came in sight of them, they were illumined with the full light of the morning sun. The dark green of the shrubs that grow in this perpetual shade, and the sombre appearance of the passage from whence we were just issuing, formed a
It is very lofty, the elevation comprising two stories. In some respects the taste is not to be commended; but many of the details and ornaments, and the size and proportion of the great door-way especially, to which there are five steps of ascent from the portico, are very noble. No part is built, the whole being purely a work of excavation; and its minutest embellishments, wherever the hand of man has not purposely effaced and obliterated them, are so perfect, that it may be doubted whether any work of the ancients, excepting, perhaps, some on the banks of the Nile, have come down to our time so little injurea by the lapse of ages. There is, in fact, scarcely a building of forty years' standing in England, so well preserved in the greater part of its architectural
The half-pediments, which terminate the wings of the building, are finished at the top with eagles, which, combined with a style of architecture differing little from the Roman, can leave no doubt that this great effort of art is posterior to the time of Trajan's conquest.
Some of the heights, whose steep sides inclose the area in front of the temple, are rendered accessible, though with great difficulty, by flights of steps cut in them. We found the ascent, in some instances, so steep and slippery that we were obliged to take off our shoes, and to use our hands nearly as much as we did our feet. Some small pyramids hewn out of the rock are on the summit of these heights; and we discovered a much higher conical point of mountain, to whose summit there is a regular spiral staircase cut with great care and neatness; it is the same peak, possibly, as that on which we saw, from another point of view, a single pillar, or obelisk. We first observed, also, from the heights above the temple, the great vase which crowns another monument to the N.W.
decorations. Of the larger portions of the architecture, nothing is deficient excepting a single column of the portico; the statues are numerous and colossal. Those on either side of the portico represent, in groups, a centaur and a young man. This part of the work only is imperfect, having been mutilated, probably by the fanaticism of early Christians, or Mussulmen, directed against idolatry, and particularly against images in the human form. In the upper tier the figures are females; two are winged, and two appear to be dancing, with some instruments lifted above their heads, of which that on the left hand seems to be the Amazonian bipennis. Unfortunately, the centre figure, which was doubtless the principal one, is much defaced; and there is nothing in the ornaments that could enable us to discover to what divinity the temple has been dedicated. The principal chamber of the interior is large and remarkably lofty, but quite plain, with the exception of the door-frames and architraves, of which there are three, one at the farther end, and one at each side, all opening into small plain cells. There is also a lateral chamber on each side, of a rude form, opening from the portico. The centre of the superstructure, which comprises the second story, is a circular elevation surrounded by columns, with a dome surmounted by an urn. This urn has not failed to excite the covetousness of the natives. We heard of it, at Jerusalem, as the deposit of a vast treasure, "Hasnah-el-Faraoun" (Treasure of Pharoah; and that it has been repeatedly fired at is proved by the marks of bullets in the stone. No one, however, seems to have succeeded in reaching it by climbing, which would, indeed, be a difficult task. The green stains on either side would lead to the supposition that the handles had been of bronze. One of the per-sides of the mountains, covered with forations, caused by a musket-ball, an endless variety of excavated tombs would seem to prove that the urn is and private dwellings,* presented alhollow. Above the monument the face together the most singular scene we of the rock is left over-hanging, and it ever beheld; and we despair of being is to this that the excellent preservation of its details is to be ascribed.
The wide space which constitutes the area before the temple is about 50 yards in width, and about three times as long. It terminates to the south in a wild precipitous cliff, rendered accessible by the steps abovementioned to the N.N.W. The defile assumes, for about 300 yards, the same features which characterise the eastern approach, with an infinite variety of tombs, both Arabian and Roman, on either side. This pass conducts to the theatre, and here the ruins of the city burst on the view in their full grandeur, shut in on the opposite side by barren, craggy precipices, from which numerous ravines and valleys like those we had passed, branch out in all directions.
"O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the
rock!" Jer. xlix. 16.
able to give the reader an idea of the singular effect of rocks, tinted with most extraordinary hues, whose summits present us with Nature in her most savage and romantic form, whilst their bases are worked out in all the symmetry and regularity of art, with colonnades and pediments, and ranges of corridors sculptured on the perpendicular surface.
The short notice of Petra, by Pliny, is as follows: "The Nabatæi inhabit a city called Petra, in a hollow somewhat less than two miles in circumference, surrounded by inaccessible mountains, with a stream running through it. It is distant from the town of Gaza, on the coast, six hundred miles; and from the Persian Gulf one hundred and twenty-two." Book vi. c. 28, Strabo says, "The capital of the Nabatai is called Petra; it lies in a spot which is in itself level and plain, but fortified all round with a barrier of rocks and precipices, within, furnished with springs of excellent quality for the supply of water and the irrigation of gardens; without the circuit, the country is in a great measure desert, and especially towards Judea. Jericho is at the distance of three or four days." He adds, that one of the royal lineage always resided at Petra, and had a sort of counsellor attached to him who was entitled his brother; he describes their laws and customs.
It will be seen that these two ancient geographers, in characterising the position of the city, not only agree with one another, but are sufficiently correct in their statements; though, strictly speaking, the situation can neither be called a valley with Pliny, nor a plain with Strabo; yet it is certainly both low in position and level in surface, when compared with the crags and precipices that surround it. It is an area in the bosom of a mountain, swelling into mounds and intersected with gullies; but the whole ground is of such a nature as may be conveniently built upon, and has neither ascent nor descent inconveniently steep. Within the actual circuit of the city there are two mounds, which seem to have been entirely
covered with buildings, being still strewed over with a prodigious quantity of loose stones, tiles, and fragments of ancient ware, of a very light and delicate fabric. The bed of the river, taking its course to the N. W., flows between these two spots; the water has now sunk beneath the surface, and perhaps creeps through the rubbish which ages have accumulated in its bed; great part of it seems to have been arched over in the same manner as the stream at Philadelphia. Some of the principal edifices seem to have been on the low ground at the left bank of the stream. The first, to the N.W. from the theatre, was an archway of a very florid architecture, with pilasters, having panels enriched with foliage, in the manner of Palmyra : the whole is much ruined. This arch was the introduction to a great pile of building, standing nearly at right angles to it. The building had a door on one side; on the three others, it was decorated with a frieze of triglyphs, and large flowers in the metopes. Beams of wood are let in, at intervals, between the courses of the masonry, and continue, to this day, a strong proof of the dryness of the climate. The front had a portico of four columns. This part is much fallen into ruins. The interior of the edifice was divided into three parallel chambers, and there seem to have been several stories. This interior arrangement made us suspect that it was not a temple, but rather a palace or some private edifice. Whatever may have been its nature, it seems to have been intended for the same purpose as the ruined building at "Bait-el-Carm," which we afterwards saw from our camp above Dibdebar, and which is the only considerable work of masonry existing at Petra. Upon the summit of the other mound there is a mass of ruins of some solidity, but no very definite shape. The Nubian geographer says that the houses of Petra were excavated in the rock; now, that this was not universally true is evident, from the great quantity of stones employed for the lesser kind of edifices, which are scattered over the whole site; but it is
also true, that there are grottoes in great numbers, which were certainly not sepulchral, especially near the palace; there is one in particular which presents a front of four windows, with a large and lofty door-way in the centre. In the interior, one chamber of about 60 ft. in length, and of a breadth proportioned, extends across three of the windows and the door; at the lower end, the fourth window seems allotted to a very small sleeping chamber, which is not brought down to the level of the floor of the great apartment, but has a chamber below it of the same size, receiving no light but from the entrance. This, which seems the most important of all the excavated residences, has no ornament whatever on the exterior; and the same observation applies to all the other excavations of this nature. The access to this house is by a shelf gained out of the side of the mountain ;* other inferior habitations open upon it, and more particularly an oven, and some cisterns. These antique dwellings are close to an angle of the mountain, where the bed of the stream, after having traversed the city, passes again into a narrow defile, along steep sides of which a sort of excavated suburb is continued, of very small and mean chambers, set one above another, without much regularity, like so many pigeon-holes in the rock, with flights of steps or narrow inclined planes leading up to them. The main wall and ceiling only of some were in the solid rock; the fronts and partitions being built of very indifferent masonry with cement.
Following this defile farther down, the river re-appears, flowing with considerable rapidity. Though the water is plentiful, it is with difficulty that its course can be followed, from the luxuriance of the shrubs that surround it, obstructing every track. Besides the oleander, which is common to all the water-courses in the country, one may recognise among the plants which choke this valley, some which are
"He that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock." Isaiah, xxii, 16.
probably the descendants of those that adorned the gardens and supplied the market of the capital of Arabia; the carob, fig, mulberry, vine, and pomegranate line the river side; a very beautiful species of aloe also grows in this valley,bearing a flower of an orange hue, shaded to scarlet; in some instances it had upwards of one hundred blossoms in a bunch.
Amongst the niches for votive offerings in the mountain's side, some of which are cut to the height of 30 ft., are pyramids and obelisks; and in one instance there is an altar between two palm trees. The position of the theatre has been mentioned; it is the first object which presents itself to the traveller on entering Petra from the eastward. It is entirely hewn out of the rock; the diameter of the podium is 120 ft., the number of seats thirtythree, and of the cunii three. There was no break, and consequently no vomitories. The scene, unfortunately, was built, and not excavated; the whole is fallen, and the bases of four columns only remain on its interior face. The theatre is surrounded by sepulchres; every avenue leading to it is full of them, and one may safely say, that a hundred of those of the largest dimensions are visible from it; indeed, throughout almost every quarter of this metropolis, the depositories of the dead must have presented themselves constantly to the eyes of the inhabitants, and have almost outnumbered the habitations of the living. There is a long line of them not far from the theatre, at such an angle as not to be comprehended in the view from it, but forming a principal object from the city itself.
The largest of the sepulchres had originally three stories, of which the lowest presented four portals, with large columns set between them; and the second and third, a row of eigh teen Ionic columns each, attached to the façade. The rock being insufficient for the total elevation, a part of the story was grafted on in masonry, and is for the most part fallen away. The four portals of the basement open into as many chambers, very dissimi
lar, both in distribution and arrangements, but all sepulchral, and without any communication with each other. In one were three recesses, which seem to have been ornamented with marble, or some other extraneous material. Almost contiguous to this extensive front, is another somewhat smaller but equally rich, the design of which has a great analogy, especially in the circumstance of the half pediment and the circular lantern in the centre, to the beautiful temple of the eastern approach. Though a general symmetry pervades this piece of architecture, yet there are irregularities observable in its doors and windows, which may be explained by the circumstance of their opening into apartments no way connected with each other, and intended apparently for different families. A little further to the S.E., an area is gained upon the slope of the *mountain by excavating it, so as to form three sides of a square. Two of these have been formed into Doric porticoes. The third, which is the loftiest, being that which abuts against the body of the mountain, is occupied by a lofty front, decorated with four columns of the same order, but without triglyphs. A pediment surmounts the frieze, supporting an urn, in all respects similar to that on the temple at the eastern approach. A doorway with a window over it, fills the centre, and there are three windows in the attic, the centre one of which exhibits two half-length figures in basso-relievo. In the approach to this tomb there were arched substructions of great extent, now fallen into ruins. It is surprising to reflect that monuments of so vast a scale should be executed subsequent to the Roman conquest, since after that period we can look upon them as no more than the tombs of private individuals. It is difficult to conceive whence should come so much wealth, and such a taste for magnificence after the country had lost its independence. It is possible, however, that a trade by the Red Sea with India, or even the caravan trade with the spice country, may have imported such riches into the place, as
to give the inhabitants the same fondness for ostentation and ornament as at Palmyra, which owed its wealth to the same source. Yet to consider a mausoleum of upwards of 70 or 80 feet high, with lateral porticoes, and flights of terraces upon arched work leading up to it, as resulting from the vanity of some obscure individual in a remote corner of the Roman Empire, has something in it surprising and almost unaccountable. The interior consisted of one large and lofty chamber, having six recesses, with grooves in them at the further end.
On the establishment of Christianity these six recesses have been converted into three, for the reception of the altars, and the whole apartment has been made to serve as a church. The fastenings for the tapestry and pictures are still visible in all the walls, and near an angle is an inscription in red paint, recording the date of consecration. These were the only vestiges of a Christian establishment that we were enabled to discover throughout the remains of Petra, though it was a metropolitan see.
Diodorus Siculus has a long account of the expedition sent by Antigonus against the Nabatæi. He mentions that their riches were very great in gold and spices, and that such of them as were feeble and infirm were left at Petra, which he calls afterwards a place of prodigious natural strength, but without any walls; and distant two days' journey from any inhabited place. In the second expedition, it is said there was but one way of access to it, which was artificial. The loftiness of the post is afterwards mentioned. It is difficult to apply this description to Wady Mousa. Upon some of the high points of rock that rise about the skirts of the city, and tower above them, the remains of walled forts are visible from below; and as it is probable there was an acropolis, it must be looked for in some of these.
Two days were spent upon these ruins, from day-break until dusk, and yet it will be evident from what has been said, that this time was very in