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ing elevation, like a Gothic castle of the middle ages, and the white dwellings of Ba'albek, with its shattered mosques and broken minarets, now appeared above the surrounding grove at a distance of three miles. Nearer, on our left, was seen a circular ruin supported by columns on a hill behind the village of Duris. We then arrived at the ancient quarries, where the immense blocks of hard limestone had formerly been excavated for the foundations of the temples. Many stones lie perfectly formed for use; others are half cut out from the mountain ; and a huge rock, seventy feet in length, though not yet detached from the quarry, is shaped off in an oblong form, and seems to have been designed for the substructure of the larger temple. The city of Ba'albek now lay before us at a short distance. The ancient city walls, which were defended by large square towers, are demolished; but large heaps of stones and dilapidated turrets still indicate their direction along the eastern heights, and their northward curve inclosing the town. A clear, purling brook, descending from the fountain-head of Rasel-Ain, a couple of miles north of the city, passes around the base of the castle, and taking a south-western course through the plain, discharges itself in the Litany. This rivulet and a scattered grove of walnuts, willows, poplars, and plantains covering its banks and the environs of the temples, highly contributed to enhance the beauty of the scenery; nor is it possible to describe the pleasant sensations it at once called forth. Here we instantly dismounted, and ordering Mustapha to take our horses and attendants to the Greek convent in the town, we crossed the rivulet, and ascended to the temples.
They form, together with the spacious courts, sanctuaries and porticoes, an entire acropolis, elevated on an oblong platform, which extends twelve hundred feet in its longest diameter from east to west. The foundations of this platform consist, in some places, of gigantic freestones, between sixty and seventy feet in length. In their enormous dimensions and the similarity of their workmanship, they have a striking resemblance to the substructions of the great platform of the ancient Jewish temple on Mount Moriah at Jerusalem, and thus seem to corroborate the old tradition
of the Orientals, Christians as ird e Mohammedans, of their having bea i work of the times of Solomon, Kag«' Judah and Israel, who built Ilamath ts Tadmor in the desert. The outer n[ on the north is admirably preserved: c s thirty feet in height. It runs psrcL-r. with the platform of the temples, and c closes a deep court or moat, two hmdr?1 feet in length, and forty-five in bre*ltJ which is supposed to have served uiiw rium or inclosure for the wild beasts. *^ were kept for the worship of Baal, i> sun-god, and even in later times for tie« combats of the sight-loving Robbd*' These lions' dens remind us of those bfby the kings of Media and Babylonia in -• times of the prophets. The Saracens, ite the conquest of Damascus in 636, strut: fortified the temples of Ba'albek. The o*-' walls were raised higher and strengtbwby battlements; on the east, the prtof.ii entrance and portico were walled up is flanked by square towers. During tbe en sades, Ba'albek was bravely defended" the Saracens, and the Christian koigk never succeeded in permanently esttbfe ing themselves in the Buka'a. It is ti<rfore very probable that these early forr. cations, and their elevated and strong p» tion, may have saved the temples from ^ destruction to which other more eip*--monuments have so frequently be*n ?i jected. Indeed this Saracenic militirr ir chitecture of square and octagonal to»*R with pointed arches and battlemented p nacles, though in opposition to the &*" gigantic and graver monuments of Iinf*"1 Rome, do not a little contribute to '■'-■ Inexpressibly picturesque and Hum*" effect which the castle, as n whole, mi* on the beholder on his first approach.
The principal entrance was from i> city on the east, but it is at pres»'> [ structed and closed up by the a,r modern walls. In front of it was tbe t* or hexagonal court which is no* p" ruinous; but the larger quadraagulx; r inner court is in better preservation. Fr>" thence the prospect opens upon ti?"'
maining columns of the immense Pantheon, directly in front, and the smaller but wonderfully preserved temple of Ba'al farther off to the left, while the distant snow-clad ridge of Jebel-Makmcl forms a glorious background to this beautiful picture. Both courts present a series of large recesses, alternately square and circular, which seem toJiave been designed for sanctuaries, and schools of the philosophers and priests, who perhaps had their dwellings in the chambers which are distributed at the angles of the courts.* They ara all enriched with architectural decorations, with porticoes of four or six columns, tabernacles for busts and elegantly ornamented niches for statues, wliile a beautiful frieze Df bull's heads and wreaths of flowers and fruits, with a boldly projecting cornice ibove, gives union and firmness to the whole structure.
Over heaps of rubbish and broken columns, nearly hid among luxuriant shrubs and flowers, we forced our way to the great Pantheon, which according to an ascription on the exterior portico was dedi:ated to Jove and the great gods—diis magnis. This then was the magnificent temple built by Antoninus Pius about the middle of the second century of our era. John of Antioch says, that it was dedicated to Jove and considered one of the wonders )f the world. It appears to have been a kcastyle, with ten columns in the pronaos uid posticum, and nineteen in each of its Janks, after the Roman manner ; the whole number being fifty-four. The height of the columns is sixty feet, exclusive of the trchitrave, and with it seventy-two; their liameter seven feet; and the dimensions of the temple were two hundred and ninety Feet in length by one hundred and sixty in breadth.f No vestige of the cell or body
• "A great number of priests wait in the teniae, some of whom) slay the victims, others pour jutthe libations; some are calledJire-btarers,others itlendants on the altar. When I was there above i hundred of them assisted at the sacrifice. Their :»rments;were white, and they had hats on their leads, except the high priest, who is clothed in jorple and wears a tiara i he changes every year." Lucian de Dea Syr.
t The Olympeton at Athens was larger, being i dipttro* decaslylos, with one hundred and :wenty-eight columns of the Corinthian order. It measured three hundred and fifty-four by one Hundred and seventy-two feet; the shaft of the remaining columns is sixty feet, and their diameter seven and a half feet.
of the temple now remains. Only six beautiful columns of the rich Corinthian order, forming part of the southern peristyle, are still standing. The others were thrown down by an earthquake in 1759; their bases may be seen on the platform, while the shafts have rolled down below. The columns have not only preserved their Corinthian capitals, but even their architrave and a highly elaborate cornice. They consist of two or three blocks of a red and black granulous granite, and are so perfectly joined together that their junction can scarcely be discovered. These gigantic ruins stand on an elevated platform on the north-western angle of the castle-wall, where three immense blocks of sixty-five feet in length seem to have excited the admiration of ancient as well as modern writers.*
At the distance of fifty yards stands the second temple, supposed to be that of Ba'al, the sun-god. It was not inclosed within the great court, and forms now the southwestern corner of the castle; the Saracens having fortified it like the courts and porticoes with towers and battlements, and a strong traverse, which obstructs the view to the elegant door-way on the eastern front. This temple is still in excellent preservation. It had sixteen Corinthian columns, forming a double row on its eastern and western facades, and a peristyle of fifteen on each side, making in all fifty-four, of which twenty-three with their epistylia are standing at the present day; while the bases and lower frusta of many others are either indicating their place ot lying in wild confusion around the platform.
The outer row of six Corinthian columns on the eastern portico, the principal entrance, is demolished, and its fragments cover the broad staircase leading up to the temple. But the second colonnade h
• These blocks are sixteen feet in breadth ani thirteen feet in height. Such an enormous masi contains, according to Professor Russegger, four teen thousand five nundred and twenty cubic feel and weighs about one million two hundret thousand pounds.
The Chronicon Alexandrinum, page 303, say; that Theodosius converted the great and renownei sanctuary at Heliopolis, that of the Thru Sterna To rpi'Xidov, into a Christian Church. This epithe no doubt had reference to the immense substruc lions of the great Pantheon, thus distinguishing i from the smaller temple of Ba'al.
entire, and presents the highly remarkable feature, that the corner columns on the sides are fluted, while the six central shafts are plain. One column, perhaps overturned by an earthquake, is still leaning unbroken against the southern wall of the cell, thus proving the extraordinary solidity and skill with which the ancient architects united the shafts of their columns. The elevation of column and capital is fifty-one feet, eight inches ; the diameter five feet. The temple is two hundred and thirty feet in length and one hundred and sixty in breadth.
It is composed of a glossy white limestone, quite resembling marble, which in the course of time has assumed that beautiful golden hu«, so well suited to enhance the picturesque effect of ancient architecture in the warm coloring of a Syrian sky.
The roof of the temple has fallen in; but the coffers of th« peristyle—the lacunaria—are still lying in their places, and are ornamented with quite a variety of portraits of Roman Emperors and entire figures from the Grecian mythology, such as Leda caressing the swan, Jove with Ganymede, and Diana armed with bow and arrows. The high door-way on the eastern front leading into the body of the temple is twenty-five feet high by twenty feet broad. Its mouldings and ornaments are of an exquisite and exuberant workmanship, representing beautiful genii among wreaths of fruits and flowers. On the lintel, in excellent bas-relief, is seen an eagle with expanded wings grasping a caduceus in his talons, and holding in his beak the joined ends of two rich garlands, each of which at the other end is held by a winged victory. At the tremendous earthquake in 1759, the keystone of the lintel forming the eagle gave way, and sinking down eight inches it again became fixed, and is still seen hanging in this threatening position.
The interior of the cell is in better preservation than that of any temple I saw in Greece or Italy. It is well known that the only Greek temples which have preserved their cells are those of the Olympian Jove at Akragas, in Sicily, of the Theseum and Parthenon at Athens, and of the Apollo Epicurius in Arcadia, in which latter we still admire the beautiful halfcolumns in the interior. But in the temple of the Sun in Ba'albek, the four im
mense pilasters of the corners and tl* twelve fluted three-quarter Corinihin columns, with the intervening niches st-i tabernacles, surmounted by a rich and elegant entablature adorning the inner w*£. give a more distinct idea of the interior eel of an ancient heathen temple; while at too western extremity, the adyton, is seen It* raised stage with its arch or canopy. si> ported by two Corinthian columns, whiei seem to indicate the marble coach—As sacred thalamos—in which the symbol 'i Ba'al was screened from the gaze of t» adoring multitude.
The worshippers of the Sun-god, *h from all parts of the eastern world fleets by thousands to Emesa and Ba'albek '•»' offer their precious oblations at the sona of Ba'al, says Herodian, the historian, W no engraven image, ^sipoirorijron ihma, fc statue of a human form representing ib« deity, like the Greeks and Romans. B»'»i was worshipped under the name Htkgabal, the procreating god, in the form of i black conical stone, which it was belierei had fallen from heaven into the sanctuary i the great temple at Emesa. The color aai general appearance of this stone, and the tradition of its having fallen from heaTr-i evidently proved it to have been a met*:rolite. The Emperor Heliogabalus ail*-'wards carried it with him to Rome.
Grecian architecture had bee* nj favorite study during a residence of serea years at Athens; and my conception therefore, of the monuments of Syria »«•* not very great. Yet, summoning «p ti» different impressions left on my mind fros the contemplation of the gigantic archiveture of Ba'albek, I must confess that i bf far exceeded my expectations in the comf* ratively pure taste and excellent workmt ship of the ornaments and the impoaK grandeur of the masses; though it would I'improper of course to compare monura«'> of the age of the Antonines, when tin Roman architecture was fast verging to * decline, with the master-pieces of the gdv rious days of Greece. The noble momments of the Periclean era stand to tfc day alike unrivalled in their differs' characters of varied excellence—the m*t tasteful elegance combined with the m*1 pleasing simplicity—and the vast sapewaty of the Pentelic marble to the linwsfcof the Anti-Lebanon! I will neverthtle* adily subscribe to the judgment of a disigfuished traveller, who observes with re>rd to the temples of Ba'albek, that their chitecture, though groaning beneath the light of its own luxuriance and exhibit; in the numerous chapels, niches, friezes d cornices, a display of that minutely ished workmanship, which, neglecting e noble proportions of Hellenic construcn, betrayed the decline of art among eeks and Romans—still leaves a deep 1 pleasing impression on the traveller, d fascinates his eyes alike by the granur of the forms, the exquisite finish of the tails, and highly picturesque effects of i general scenery.
All travellers describe the ruins of Ba'ali as superior to those of Palmyra and rasa.
On our return we passed through the rterranean vaults which run beneath the ge platform, supporting the sanctuaries 1 the courts. They are built of imnse square stones, and are two hundred :es in length and twenty-five in breadth, I communicate with each other by pases. 'Large apertures for the admittance lirfrom above, render them dry and cool; I from this cause they were formerly d as an armory and magazine by the acens, though they are now neglected I so much obstructed by rubbish and les, that we had some difficulty in findour way through their dark recesses he moat of the castle. )n the south-east of the temples toxls the city of Ba'albek, stands a cirir building with six projecting columns the Corinthian order, which support a ious cornice, ornamented with Cupids, ling garlands of flowers and fruits. s little rotunda, which may have bered to the famous ancient temple of lus Astarte, the powerful Syrian god5, was surmounted by a cupola; part Is arched soffit still remains. It is of a te marble or limestone. The workman> is excellent, but the taste of its archive very bad, and so affected and odd ; it involuntarily reminded me of the Ko style of the age of Louis XIV. in nee. The Greeks formerly used it as hristian church, having dedicated it to ta Barbara; but since the earthquake of 9, it is in a tottering condition. it noon we returned to the Greek con
vent, inhabited by the bishop, the only Christian minister in Ba'albek. A few rooms, open and airy, with a delightful view towards the temples, the plain, and the distant Mount Lebanon, had been provided for us, and Mustapha now attended with an excellent dinner.
In the afternoon we took a ride through the desolate city of Ba'albek, which, nearly abandoned to decay, still exhibits traces of its former importance. Its ruinous mosque, with broken minarets and sunken cupola, has a fine portico of red granite columns; its tanks, fountains, and baths are desolate, and the dark cypresses in the courts seem still to mourn over the fate of the devoted city.
The early history of Ba'albek or Heliopolis is enveloped in almost impenetrable darkness. David, King of Judah, conquered Damascus and held the sway of Syria. Solomon was said to have built Ba'albek and Tadmor (Palmyra) in the desert.* Heliolatry, or worship of the Sungod, existed there, says Macrobius, in the most remote antiquity ; yet the most flourishing period of these cities, the time of the erection of the gorgeous temples, and of the power and wealth of the proud priesthood of Ba'al in Heliopolis, Emesa, and Palmyra, falls within the first two centuries of our era. Syria had then an exceedingly large population, and was full of rich and flourishing cities. Gaza, Ascalon, and Ptolemais, were celebrated mercantile ports. Aelia Capitolina, the venerable Jerusalem, though interdicted to the exiled Jews, began slowly to recover from its destruction, and was re-built by Hadrian. All professions, which required talent, ingenuity, and practice, were flourishing in Syria, and her intelligent and enterprising sons were dispersed over every part of the Roman Empire. The most distinguished musicians, stage-actors, mimics, and dancers, were found in Caesarea, Tyre, Berytos, and Heliopolis. Laodicea was proud of her inimitable horsemen; Lydda of her purple-dyers. The Syrian linen manufactures vied with those of Egypt. Gaza and Ascalon enjoyed the greatest export of wines and fruits. Science and philosophy flourished in Tarsus and
* And Solomon built Gczer and Beth-horon the nether, and BaalatK and Tadmor in the wilderness—1 ifjngj, ix. 17,18.
Berytos, where the young Romans crowded the celebrated colleges of law and jurisprudence. The beautiful and populous Antioch was the proud capital of the East, while Tyre and Sidon still exhibited the wealth, ease, and luxury of their more golden days. Emesa and Heliopolis were the great centre of the worship of the Sungod, and nowhere was Oriental beauty more admired than in the charming priestesses of the great temple of Venus Astarte here in Ba'albek. The -victorious campaigns of Trajan in Mesopotamia, the destruction of the Parthian empire, and the re-opened commerce with the countries beyond the Euphrates and Tigris, contributed to the sudden rise of Palmyra, that wonderful city of the desert, which, by her impregnable situation, and the talents of her great rulers, Odenathus and Zenobia, soon formed an independent and powerful empire on the banks of the Euphrates.
This period of two centuries and a half, when all the beautiful countries around the shores of the Mediterranean were consolidated in the well-organized and mighty Roman empire, is generally considered as that of the highest civilization in antiquity; and the peaceful reign of the Antonines, (A. D. 117-180) as the most happy era of mankind. And yet—bright, glorious, and peaceful as these times may appear—they were those of the deepest corruption and grossest superstition! History does not present us a picture of greater depravity and degradation among the proud Romans, than that of the triumphal entry of the monster Heliogabalus and his sun-priests into Rome in 218.
When the rebellious legions of Syria, says the interesting Greek historian, Herodian, had raised the high priest of the sun, Bassianus, the son of Soemias, to the imperial throne, the beautiful and vain youth immediately took the sacred name of Heliogabal himself, and the triumph of the god of Ba'albek, over all the religions of the world, became the great object of his fanatical zeal and superstitious gratitude. In a solemn and glittering procession he entered the city of Rome. The way was strewed with gold-dust, and the black ttone, the symbol of Ba'al, set in precious jewels, was placed on a chariot drawn by six white steeds, richly harnessed. The young pontiff held the reins, and, support
ed by his sun-priests, was drawn do»b backwards that he might continually ns» the divine presence! A magnificent Ke pic had been built on the Palatine Mobk. where sacrifices were celebrated to it Sun-god with all the pomp and enangance of the East. The most extiswi nary victims and the choicest srorat* were consumed on his altars, around wki beautiful Syrian maidens performed tier graceful dances; while the gravest pes* ages of the Roman state and army, cfc'jK in the long flowing robes of the Pk» cians, officiated in the meanest fancEt with affected zeal, but their hearts btctE with secret indignation! Thus the iscl priest of Ba'al was the ruler of the vcSi But the reign of superstition and Astfi extravagance and perversion was of ihn duration. The most influential revokw in the spiritual progress of mankind n at hand. The Christian Church lad * veloped itself in its primitive obscurity d in spite of poverty, contempt, and pa* cution, had spread throughout Orient * Occident. The Christians were pvas larly numerous in Antioch, and in all SyJ Constantine ordered the glittering teaW of Ba'albek and Emesa to be closed- & re-action was complete, and—ahhat paganism, during the short reign of Jsa the Apostate, again raised its banner. * the worshippers of Ba'al, at Heliopofe <» more abused the transient momens their prosperity—nevertheless the fc« victory of the Christian faith was triarat antly proclaimed by Theodosius the Gr* The pompous sacrifices at the alurs Ba'al then ceased, the priests varies and the zealous Christian rulers <* • church now no longer contented t*1 selves with the shutting of the temp the seizure of the instruments of idi»* and the abolishment of the prrrikf* the priesthood, but began a piu)»>r of destruction against the most be*2 monuments of Grecian antiquity Syria, Marcellus, the bishop, ace*1 with apostolic fervor, says Sozomens- ii historian, took the field against "the y* ers of darkness," and, accompanied b* numerous troop of soldiers and glad*^ attacked with fire and sword the j*v villages and the stately temples d « diocese of Apamea. Idols, cohnna*. n sanctuaries, now went down in • ecx