1902 Encyclopedia > Palestine

Palestine




PALESTINE. As Palestine, geographically considered, forms the southernmost third of SYRIA, its general geographical relations, as well as its geological structure, its botany, &c., will be treated under that heading. In the matter of climate, on the other hand, it holds a more or less independent position; and this is more strikingly the case with its ethnographic characteristics, at least so far as the pre-Christian period is concerned. Purely historical questions have already been discussed in the article ISRAEL.

By Palestine is to be understood in general the country seized and mainly occupied by the Hebrew people.. That portion of territory is consequently excluded which they held only for a time, or according to an ideal demarcation (cf. Numbers xxxiv., from the older source) by which the land of the Israelites was made to extend from the "river of Egypt" to Hamath ; but, on the other hand, that other ancient tradition is accepted which fixes the extreme borders at Dan (at the foot of Hermon) in the north and at Beersheba in the south, thus excluding the Lebanon district and a portion of the southern desert. In like manner, though with certain limitations to be afterwards mentioned, the country east of Jordan stretched from the foot of Hermon to the neighbourhood of the Arnon. Towards the west the natural boundary—a purely ideal one so far as occupation by the Israelites was concerned-—was the Mediterranean, but towards the east it is difficult to fix on any physical feature more definite than the beginning of the true steppe region. That the territory of Israel extended as far as Salcah (cast of Bosra at the foot of the Hauran Mountains) is the statement of an ideal rather than an historical frontier (Josh. xiii. 11). Palestine thus lies between 31º and 33º 20' N. lat.; its south-west point is situated about 34º 20'E. long., some distance south of Gaza (Ghazza), its north-west point about 35º 15'E. long., at the mouth of the Lítány (Kásimíye). As the country west of the Jordan stretches east as far as 35º 35' it has a breadth in the north of about 23 miles and in the south of about 80 miles. Its length may be put down as 150 miles; and, according to the English engineers, whose survey included Beersheba, it has an area of 6040 square miles. For the country east of the Jordan no such precise figures are available. The direct distanct from Hermon to Arnon is about 120 miles, and the area at the most may be estimated at 3800 square miles, The whole territory of Palestine is thus of very small extent, equal, in fact, to not more than a sixth of England. The classical writers ridicule its insignificant size.

General Geography.—Palestine, as thus defined, consists of very dissimilar districts, and borders on regions of the most diverse character. To the south lies a mountainous desert, to the east the elevated plateau of the Syrian steppe, to the north Lebanon and Anti-Libanus, and to the west the Mediterranean. In the general configuration of the country the most striking feature is that it does not rise uninterruptedly from the sea-coast to the eastern plateau, but is divided into two unequal portions by the deep Jordan valley, which ends in an inland lake (see JORDAN). Nor does the Jordan, like the Nile in Egypt, simply flow through the heart of the country and form its main artery; it is the line of separation between regions that may almost be considered as quite distinct, and that too (as will afterwards appear) in their ethnographic and political aspects. This is especially the case in the southern sections of the country; for even at tlie Lake of Tiberias the Jordan valley begins to cut so deep that crossing it from either direction involves a considerable ascent.

The country west of Jordan is thus a hilly and mountainous region which, forming as it were a southward continuation of Lebanon, slopes unsymmetrically east and west, and stretches south, partly as a plateau, beyond the limits of Palestine. The mountain ranae consists of a great number of individual ridges and summits, from which valleys, often rapidly growing deeper, run east and west. Towards the Mediterranean the slope is very gradual, especially in the more southern parts, where, the plain along the coast is also at its broadest. About three-fourths of the cis-Jordan country lies to the west of the watershed. Towards the Dead Sea, on the other hand, the mountains end in steep cliffs; and, as the Jordan valley deepens, the country draining towards it sinks more abruptly, and becomes morer and more inhospitable. The plateaus back from the coast-cliffs of the Dead, Sea have been desert from ancient times, and towards the east they form gullies of appalling depth. On the other side of the Jordan the mountains have quite a different character, rising from the river gorge almost everywhere as a steep wall (steepest towards the south) which forms the edge of the great upland stretching east to the Euphrates.

Geology.—The mountains both east and west of the Jordan consist in the main of Cretaceous limestone; num-mulitic limestone appears but rarely, as on Carmel, Ebal, and Gerizim. Towards the Dead Sea the rock is traversed by hornblende and flint. Formations of recent origin, such as dunes of sea-sand and the alluvium of rivers and lakes, cover the western margin of Palestine (i.e., the whole of Philistia and the plain of Sharon) and the entire valley of the Jordan. Plutonic or volcanic rocks occur occasionally in the country east of Jordan; less frequently in the country to the west, as, for example, in the mountains round the plain of Jezreel.

Physical Divisions.—The mountain system west of Jordan must be broken up into a number of separate, groups, which, it may be remarked, are of political as well as physical significance. A first group, consisting of the country north of the plain of Jezreel, maybe subdivided into a large northern portion with summits reaching a height of 4000 feet, and a smaller southern portion not exceeding 2000 feet. The former, the Upper Galilee of antiquity, is a mountainous region with a somewhat intricate system of valleys, stretebing, from the Kásimíye in the north to a line drawn from Acre (‘Akka) towards the Lake of Tiberias. Of the valleys (more than thirty in number) which trend westwards to the Mediterranean, the Wádi Hubeishíye, Wá.di ‘Ezzíye, and Wádi el-Kurn deserve to be mentioned. Not far west of the watershed is a plateau-like upland draining northwards to the Kásimíye. The slope to the Jordan is steep. Jebel Jermak, a forest-clad eminence 3934 feet albove the sea, is the highest massif. The whole territory is fruitful, and forms decidedly one of the most beautiful as well as best-wooded districts of Palestine. The plain along the Mediterranean is on the average hardly a mile broad; between cliff and sea there is at times barely room for a narrow road, and at some places indeed a passage has bad to be cut out in the rock. South of Rás en-Nakúra, on the other hand, this plain widens con-siderably ; as far as Acre the portion named after this town is about 4 miles broad.

The mountain structure of the second subsection, or Lower Galilee, is of a different character,—low chains run-ning east and west in well-marked lines, and enclosing a number of elevated plains. Of these plains the most im-portant is that of Buttauf (plain of Zebulun or Asochis), an extremely fertile (in its eastern parts marshy) depression 9 miles long and 2 broad, lying 400 to 500 feet above the sea, between hills 1700 feet high. To the south-west, about 700 feet above the sea, is the smaller but equally fertile plain of Tor’án, 5 miles long and 1 mile broad. Among the mountains the most conspicuous landmarks are Nebi Sa’ín (1602) near Nazareth, Jebel es-Sîh (1838), and especially, to the east of this last, Jebel et’Túr or Tabor (1843), an isolated wooded cone which rises on all sides with consider-able regularity, and commands the plain of Esdraelon. Eastwards the country sinks by a succession of steps: of these the lava-strewn plateau of Sahel el-Alima, which lies above the cliffs that look down on the Lake of Tiberias, but is 300 feet below the level of the Mediterranean, deserves mention. The principal valleys of the whole region are (1), towards the west, the great basin of Nahr Na’mán (Belus of the ancients), whose main branch is Wádi Khalzún, known in its upper course as Wádi Sha’íb or Wádi Khashab, and, farther south, the basin of the Wádi Melek (Wádi Rummáni), which flows into the Nahr el--Mukatta’ (Kishon); and (2) towards the east the rapid--flowing Wádi Rubudíye, Wádi el-Hamám, and Wádi Fejjás.

A certain connexion exists between the plains already mentioned (those of Buttauf, Acre, &c.) and the great plain which, with an average height of 250 feet above the sea, stretches south from the mountains of Galilee and separates them from the spurs of the mountains of Samaria (the central portion of the cis-Jordan country). This great plain, which in ancient times was known as the plain of Megiddo, and also as the valley of Jezreel or plain of Esdraelon, and which now bears the name of Merj Ibn ‘Amir (pasture land of the son of ‘Amir), is one of the main features of the whole cis-Jordan region (Josephus called it the Great Plainpar excellence), and presents the only easy passage from the coast districts to the Jordan valley and the country beyond. The larger portion lies west of the watershed, which at El’Afúle is 260 feet above the Mediterranean. In the narrower application of the name, the whole plain forms a large triangle with its southern corner near Jennín and its western near the mouth of the gorge of the Nahr el-Mukatta’ (for here the hills of Nazareth shoot out towards Carmel); and connected with it are various small plains partly running up into the hills. The plain to the south of Acre, in which marshes are formed by the Kishon and Na’mán, and various other recesses towards north and east really belong to it. To the north-east stretches a valley bounded in one direction by Jebel Duby (the Lesser Hermon, a range 15 miles long and 1690 feet high) and in the other direction by the hills of Nazareth and Mount Tabor (where lie Iksal and Deburíye) ; then to the east of the watershed lies the Bíre valley, and the well-watered Wádi Jálúd from Zer’ín (Jezreel) falls away towards the Jordan between the slopes of Jebel Duhy and the more southern range, of Jebel Fukú’a (Mountains of Gilboa). And finally towards Jennín in the south lies the secondary plain of ‘Arrine. Quite recently it has been proposed to construct in the Merj Ibn ‘Ámir the beginning of a railway system for Palestine, and to turn to account the wonderful fertility of its rich basaltic loam which now lies almost completely waste, though in ancient times the whole country was densely peopled and well-cultivated.

To the south of the plain of Jezreel, which belongs to the northern system of Palestine, it is much more difficult to discover natural divisions. In the neighbour-hood of the watershed, which here runs almost regularly in great zigzags, lie a number of plains of very limited extent:—the plain of ‘Arrábe (700 to 800 feet above the sea) connected south-east with the Merj el-Ghuruk, which having no outlet becomes a lake in the rainy season; the plain of Fendekúmíye (1200 feet) ; and the plain of Rújib, east of Shechem, connected with the plain of Mukhna (1600 to 1800 feet) to the south-west. The highest mountains too are generally near the watershed. In the east lies the south-westward continuation of Gilboa. In the west Mount Carmel (highest point 1810 feet, monastery 470) meets the projection of the hills of Nazareth, and sends its wooded ridge far to the north-west so as to form the southern boundary of the Bay of Acre, and render the harbour of Haifa, the little town at its foot, the best on all the coast of Palestine. The belt of land along the shore, barely 200 yards wide, is the northern end of the lowland plain, which, gradually widening, stretches south towards Egypt. At Athlít (9 miles south) it is already 2 miles broad, and it continues much the same for 21 miles to the Nahr ez-Zerba (named by the ancients after the crocodile which is still to be found in its marshes), where a small ridge El Khashm projects from the highlands. South of Nahr ez Zerka begins the marvellously fertile plain of Sharon, which with a breadth of 8 miles near Caesarea and 11 to 12 miles near Yáfá (Jaffa), stretches 44 miles farther to the Nahr Rúbin, and slopes upwards towards the mountains to a height of about 200 feet above the sea. Its surface is broken by lesser eminences, and traversed by a few coast streams, notably the Nahr elFalik.

Between the maritime plain and the mountains proper lies a multiform system of terraces,with a great number of small ridges and valleys. In this the only divisions are those formed by the basins of the larger wadis, which, though draining extensive districts, are here too for the most part dry. They all have a general east and west direction. First comes the basin of the Nahr Mefjír, bounded south by the Bayazid range, and debouching a little to the south of Caesarea ; and about 5 miles farther sonth is the mouth of the Iskanderúne, which is distin-guished in its upper portion as the Wádi Sha’ír, running east as far up as Nábulus (Shechem), hardly a mile west of the watershed. It is in this neighbourhood that we find the highest portions of the mountains of Samaria—Jebel Eslám’ye or Ebal, 3077 feet high, to the north of Shechem, and Jebel et-Túr or GERIZIM (q.v), 2849 feet high. Both are bare ard rugged, and consist, like all the loftier eminences in the district, of hard limestone capped with chalk. It was generally possible, however, to carry cultivation up to the top of all these mountains, and in ancient times the highlands of Samaria are said to have been clothed with abundant forest. From the watershed eastward the important Wádi Fár’a (also known as Wádi Keráwa in its lower course) descends to the Jordan. Returning to the western slope, we find to the south of Nahr el-Falik the basin of the ‘Aujá, which after it leaves the hills is fed by perennial (partly palustrine) sources, and falls into the sea 5 miles north of Jaffa. As at this place the watershed bends eastward, this extensive basin stretches proportionally far in that direction ; and, the right side of the Jordan valley being also very broad, the mountains of the eastern slope soon begin to sink rapidly. On the watersbed, not far from Jifna, lies Tell ‘Asúr (3378 feet), and with this summit of hard grey limestone begin the hills of ancient Judah. South of the ‘Aujá comes the Nahr Rúbin (near Jabne), perennial up to the Wádi Surár (Sorek of Scripture?), and reaching, as Wádi Bét Hanína, as far as the country north of Jerusalem ; the Wádi el-Werd is one of its tributaries. Farther south begins the maritime plain of Philistia, which stretches 40 miles along the coast, and, though now but partially under cultivation, consists of a light brown loamy soil of extraordinary fertility. It is crossed by numerous ridges of hills; and to the south of Ashdod (Ezdúd) the highlands advance westwards, and form a hilly district composed of horizontal strata of limestone, sometimes considered part of the lowlands (Shephela), and separated from the more elevated region in the interior by a ridge more or less parallel with the line of the watershed. The basins to the south of the Rúbín are those of Wádi Sukereir, which runs up towards Tell-es-Sáfi in one direction and to Bét Jibrín in another, of Wádi el-Hesy, and finally of Wádi Ghazza, which forms the proper boundary of Palestine towards the south, runs past Beersheba as Wádi es-Seba, and receives the Wádi el-Khalíl (Hebron) from the north-east.

As regards the central parts of the country, the mountain-ous district north of Jerusalem is now known as Jebel el--Kuds, of which the loftiest point is the summit of the Nebi Samwil (2935), rising above the plateau of El-Jíb. Near Jerusalem the watershed lies at a height of about 2600 feet. Wild deep-sunk valleys descend eastwards to the Jordan; the Wádi Kelt, Wádi en-Nár (Kedron valley), Wádi ed Dereje, and southernmost Wádi Seyál deserve to be mentioned. The country sloping to the Dead Sea falls in a triple succession of terraces,—a waterless treeless waste (in ancient times known as the desert of Judah), which has never been brought under cultivation, but in the first Christian centuries was the chosen abode of monasticism. To the north of Hebron, in the neighbour-hood of Hulhúl, lie the highest elevations of this part of the central highlands (up to 3500 feet), which may be distinguished as the mountains of Hebron. Towards Yutta (Juttah) in the south is a sudden step; there begins a plateau at a height of about 2600 feet, but 500 feet below the Hebron watershed. It consists of open wolds and arable land, the soil being a white soft chalk; but there are no wells. Southward another step leads to the white marl desert of Beersheba, abounding in caves. In ancient times this southern district was called the Negeb; it extends far to the south, but is properly a part of Palestine. The country was in former times a steppe region without definite boundaries, and consequently the abode of nomadic herdsmen.

The Jordan valley having already been described in a separate article (vol. xiii. p. 746), we may pass at once to a brief sketch of the physical character of the country east of Jordan (compare also the article GILEAD, vol. x. p. 594). This is a more difficult task for several reasons: first, no connected series of investigations and measure-ments has been made in this region; and, secondly, as the ideal demarcation of the book of Joshua is a hardly sufficient basis on which to build, and the information about the actual state of matters supplied by other ancient sources is insufficient, it is impossible to determine the limits of the country as far as it was occupied by the Israelites.





In the opinion of the present writer, the plain of BASHAN (q.v.) can hardly be assigned to Palestine. To the south of the, Yarmuk (Hieromax of the Greeks and Romans, Hebrew name unknown), which falls into the Jordan below the Lake of Tiberias, begins the Cretaceous formation; only in the east of the country the basalt of the Hauran territory stretches farther south. Ascending from the Yarmuk) we first of all reach a mountainous district of moderate elevation (about 2000 feet) rising towards the south; this is Jebel ’Ajlún, which abounds in caves, and, according to recent explorers, is extremely well watered and of great fertility—the whole surface being covered with pasture such as not even Galilee can show. East-wards are massive ridges as much as 4000 feet in height—Jebel Kafkafa and especially Marád—separating this territory from the waterless desert lying at no great depth below. The plateau stretches away to the south of the deep gorge of the perennial Zerka (Jabbok), and reaches a considerable height in Jebel Jif’ád (Gilead in the stricter sense). The landmark of the region is Jebel’Osha, to the north of Es-Salt, so-called from the traditional tomb of Hosea. From the deep-sunk Jordan valley the mountains rise grandly in terraces, partly abrupt and rocky; and, while fig trees and vines flourish down in the lower levels, valonia oaks, Laurus Pinus, cedars, and arbutus grow on the declivities. Owing to its perennial springs, the interior terrace of the country, Míshór, is a splendid pasture land, famous as such in ancient times; and abundance of wood and water renders this whole middle region of the trans--Jordan country one of the most luxuriant and beautiful in Palestine. Only a few individual summits, such as Jebel Nebá (Mount Nebo), are noticeable in the ridges that descend to the Jordan valley. The country from the Zerka southward to the Mójíb (Arnon) is now known as El Belka; and beyond that begins the land of Moab proper, which also consists of a steep mountain-wall through which deep gorges cut their way to the plain, and behind this of a plateau poorly watered but dotted over with ancient ruins. In this district, too, there are a few individual summits. And here also a mountain-wall separates the plain from the eastern desert; and the mountain district continues farther south along the Araba (cf. IDUMEA, vol. xii. p. 699).

Water.—Palestine is not exceptionally deficient in water. Perennial streams, indeed, are scarce, and were so in antiquity ; but except in certain districts, as the desert of Judah, the country is not badly supplied with springs. In keeping with the structure of the rocks, these usually break out at the junction of the hard and soft strata. Thus abundant springs of good water occur on the very summit of the cis-Jordan country, as, for example, near Hebron, at Nábulus, and in Galilee ; and, though few are found in the immediate neighbourhood of Jerusalem, more than forty may be counted within a radius of 15 to 20 miles round the city. There is no water in the low hilly country behind the coast-region; and, though in its northern portion some fairly large streams take their rise, the same is true of the coast-region itself. Rising as they do at the foot of a great mountain range, the most abundant springs in Palestine are those of the Jordan, especially those near Bánias and Tell-el-Kádi. The mountains of Gilead are rich in excellent water. A considerable number of hot springs occur throughout the country, especially in and near the Jordan valley; they were used in ancient times for curative purposes, and might still be so used. The water of the bath of El-Hammám, about 2 miles south of Tiberias, has a temperature of 137º Fahr., and the spring near the Zerka Má’in, formerly known as Callirrhoe, as much as 142º Fahr. Hot sulphur springs also occur on the west coast of the Dead Sea. Many of the springs in Palestine are slightly brackish. From the earliest times cisterns have naturally played a great part in the country; they are found everywhere in great numbers. Generally they consist of reservoirs of masonry widening out downwards, with a narrow opening above often covered with heavy stones. Open reservoirs were also constructed to collect rain and spring water. Such reservoirs (pools; Arab., birka; Hebrew, berékha) are especially numerous near Jerusalem and Hebron ; the largest still extant are the three so-called Pools of Solomon, in Wádi Urtás (Artas), arranged in steps at a little distance from each other. Besides the conduits connected with this gigantic work, fine remains of aqueducts of Roman date are found near Jericho, in the ruins of many towns in the trans-Jordan country, at Sefúríye (Sepphoris) in Galilee, in ancient Caesarea, &c. Many of these aqueducts, as well as many now ruined cisterns, could be restored without much trouble, and would give a great stimulus to the fertility and cultivation of the country.

Climate and Vegetation.—Palestine may be considered part of the subtropical zone. At the summer solstice the sun stands 10 degrees south of the zenith; the shortest day is thus one of ten hours, the longest of only fourteen. In a few points, as already remarked, there is a difference between Palestine and the rest of Syria. The extensive maritime plain and the valley of the Jordan give rise to important climatic contrasts. From its vicinity to the sea the former region is naturally warmer than the highlands. The mean annual temperature is 70º Fahr., the extremes being 50º and 85º. The harvest ripens two weeks earlier than among the mountains. Citrons and oranges flourish; the palm also grows, but without fruiting; melons are largely cultivated; and pomegranate bushes are to be seen. Less rain falls than in the mountains. Another climatic zone consists of the highlands (from 500 to 3000 feet above the sea), which were the real home of the Israelites. The average temperature of Jerusalem, which may be taken as pretty much that of the upland as a whole, is 62º, but the extremes are considerable, as the thermometer may sink several degrees below the freezing point, though frost and snow never last long. The rain-fall of 20 inches is distributed over about fifty days. In this climate the vine, the fig, and the olive succeed admir-ably. Even in the southernmost districts (of the Negeb), as well as throughout the whole country, there are traces of ancient wine-growing. A large share of the oil is consumed at home, partly in the manufacture of soap. The mountain ridges in this zone are for the most part bare, but the slopes and the valleys are green, and beauty and fertility increase as we advance northwards. In regard to the climate of the third zone, see JORDAN (vol. xiii. ut sup.). The barley harvest here ends with the middle of April. The thermometer rarely sinks below 77º, and goes as high as 130º. The fourth zone, the elevated plateau of the trans-Jordan region, has an extreme climate. The thermometer may frequently fall during the night below the freezing point, and rise next day to 80º. The mountains are often covered with snow in winter. Whilst the rainfall in the Jordan valley is very slight, the pre-cipitation in the eastern mountains is again considerable; as in western Palestine the dewfall is heavy. From this short survey it appears that Palestine is a country of strong contrasts. Of course it was the same in antiquity; climate, rainfall, fertility, and productiveness cannot have seriously altered. Even if we suppose that there was a somewhat richer clothing of wood and trees in the central districts of the country, yet on the whole the general appearance must have been much the same as at present. To the stranger from the steppes arriving at a favourable season of the year Palestine may still give the impression of a land flowing with milk and honey. The number of cisterns and reservoirs is proof enough that it was not better supplied with water in ancient times; but, on the other hand, the numerous ruins of places which were still flour-ishing during the Roman period show that at one time (more especially in the southern districts, which now possess but few inhabited localities) cultivation must have been carried on more extensively and thoroughly. In general the country enjoyed the greatest security, and consequently the greatest prosperity, under Western rule, which even protected the country east of Jordan (at present partly beyond the control of the Government) from the inroads of the Bedouins. The Romans also did excellent service by the construction of roads, portions of which (as well as Roman milestones and bridges) still exist in good preservation in many places. Thus it cannot be denied that the resources of the country were formerly better developed than at present. Like all the lands of the nearer East, Palestine suffers from the decay of the branches of industry which still flourished there in the Middle Ages. The harbours are not of sufficient size for large vessels; that of Háifa alone is capable of any development. The road from Yáfá to Jerusalem is the only one in the country fit for carriages. The proposal to construct a railway along this route (for which a firman was granted in 1875) is renewed from time to time; but it will be hard to carry it out, as, in spite of the pilgrims (who, besides, are restricted to one period of the year), the passenger traffic is not large enough to be remunerative, and commercial traffic there. is almost none. At the same time the formation of means of communica-tion would increase the productiveness of the country. The culture of olives and export of oil are especially capable of expansion. As regards the industrial arts, souvenirs for the pilgrims, rosaries, carved work in olive wood and mother-of-pearl, &c., are produced at Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and to some extent are exported. Wheat from the Hauran is also shipped at Acre and elsewhere, but neither exports nor imports are commercially important. The salt farming, which could easily be carried on at the Dead Sea and the deposit of salt to the south of it, is hampered by the difficulty of bringing the produce up the steep paths to the top of the mountains. In the valley of the Jordan all the products of the tropics could with little trouble be cultivated. Bee-keeping still receives attention, but might also be extended.

Political Geography.—Evidence of an early occupation of Palestine is afforded by the stone monuments (cromlechs and circles of stones), which are found more especially in the country east of Jordan, but also in the country to the west. To what period they belong in this part of the world is as doubtful as it is elsewhere; but it may be remarked that stories of a gigantic primeval population once prevailed in Palestine. To what race these people may have belonged is, however, unknown. For thousandsm of years Palestine was an object of conflict between the vast monarchies of western Asia. As Egypt, whenever she sought to extend her power, was from the very position of the country naturally led to make herself mistress of the east coast of the Mediterranean, so, on the other hand, there were no physical boundaries to prevent the westward advance into Palestine of the Asiatic empires. For both Egypt and the East indeed the country formed a natural thoroughfare, in time of war for the forces of the contend-ing powers, in time of peace for the trading caravans which carried on the interchange, of African and Asiatic merchandise.

One of the oldest of the still extant historical documents in regard to the geography of Palestine is the inscription on the pylones of the temple of Karnak, on which Thothmes III. (in the beginning of the 16th century B.C.) has handed down an account of his military expedition to western Asia. Many of the topographical names of Palestine there mentioned are certainly hard to identify ; a number, however, such as Iphu for Yáfá, Luden for Lydda, Magedi for Megiddo, &-c., are beyond dispute. The lists show that these names are of extreme antiquity, dating from before the Hebrew immigration. There is also a hieratic papyrus of the 14th century B.C., which contains a description of a carriage journey through Syria made by an Egyptian officer, possibly for the collection of tribute. Bethshean and the Jordan, among other localities, appear to be mentioned in this narrative, but the identification of most of the names is very dubious. Another foreign source of information as to the geography of Palestine can only be alluded to—the records contained in the cuneiform inscrip-tions, which mention a number of the most important towns:—Akku (Akko, Acre), Du’ru Dor, Magidu. (Megiddo), Yappu (Jaffa), Asdudu (Ashdod), Iskaluma (Askalon), Hazzatu (Ghazza, Gaza), Altaku (Eltheke), Ursalimmu (Jerusalem), and Samarina (Samaria), and—-of course only from the 8th century, when they came into, hostile contact with Assyria—the countries of Judah, Moab, Ammon, and Edom.

The information supplied by the Old Testament enables us to form only an extremely imperfect conception of the earliest ethnographic condition of the country. The population to the east of the Jordan was already, it is clear, sharply marked off from that to the west. In the latter region dwelt an agricultural people which had already reached no inconsiderable degree of civilization. Closely related to the Phoenicians, they were distinguished as Canaanites from the name of their country, which originally applied to the maritime belt and afterwards to the whole cis-Jordan territory (vol. iv. p. 62). Though for particular reasons they are placed among the Hamitic races in Gen. x., many modern investigators are of opinion that, according to our principles of ethnographic classification, they were Semitic; their language, at any rate, was very similar to Hebrew. The separation of Canaanites from Semites may have been due, in part at least, to the fact that a deep contrast made itself felt between them and the Hebrews, though they were only, perhaps, an older result of Arabic emigration. The enumeration of the names of the various branches of the Canaanites leaves it an extremely difficult task to form a clear idea of their tribal distribution ; names of separate sections, too, like that of the Amorites, are sometimes applied to the Canaanites as a whole. The Amorites were at any rate the most powerful tribe; they dwelt in the southern portion of Canaan, as well as more especially in the northern parts of the country east of Jordan. About the others nothing more can be said save that the Perizzites, Hivites, and Girgashites dwelt in the heart of Canaan and the Jebusites near Jerusalem. The Philistines occupied the south-west of the country; an Arabian population was settled in the south and south-west. Amalekites and Midianites, and the Kenites, a branch of the latter, early entered into close relationship with the Israelites, and along with them took possession of the extreme south, where, however, they remained nomadic. Of peoples closely akin to the Israelites may be mentioned the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Edomites. Before the arrival of the Israelites the Moabites had developed a certain degree of power. The district, bordering on Edom, which they occupied in the south of the country east of Jordan, was bounded on the south by Wádi el-Ahsa (called in Is. xv. 7 the brook of the willows), an affluent of the southern part of the Dead Sea, and on the north stretched far beyond the Arnon (originally, indeed, to the north end of the sea, as in later times the country near Jericho was known as the steppes of Moab). Its eastern frontier must always have been matter of dispute, the relations of the nomadic tribes of the Syrian desert being the same as they are now, and contests with the Ammonites taking place from time to time. The Ammonites, a closely related people, lay to the north-east of Moab, east of the later possessions of Israel; but, as they were in the main nomadic, their frontiers were of a shifting character (see vol. i. p. 742). The Edomites (also nomadic) were situated in the south of the country east of Jordan; how far, at an earlier period, they extended their encampments to the west of Jordan and into the Negeb district cannot be with certainty decided.

It depends on the conception we form as to the general tribal relations of Israel how we represent to our-selves the method in which the settlement of the country by the tribes was accomplished as they passed from the nomadic to the fixed mode of life (cf. ISRAEL, JOSEPH, JUDAH). To explain this tribal relationship is not the task of a geographical sketch; it is enough for the present pur-pose to call attention to the fact that the account of the rise of the Israelitic tribes as it has come down to us is in great measure mythical or the product of later reflexion; even the number twelve is made out only with difficulty. Further, the settlements of the several tribes must be by no means conceived as administrative districts after the fashion of the modern canton; and, thirdly, the view that the several tribes had, after a general invasion of the country, their tribal territories allotted by Joshua (as we now read in the book of Joshua) is taken from the most modern, post-exilic, source of the Hexateach, and stands in glaring opposition to the accounts in other books, according to which the conquest was in the main a peaceful one, and the assimilation with the native Canaanites gradually effected. The tribes which settled to the north of the great plain, especially those on the sea-coast, appear to have been much less successful in keeping free from Canaanitish influence; gradually, however, as the state and religion of Israel grew stronger, Israelitish influence made its way more and more even there. The heart of the country was the central portion later known as Samaria. The opposition between this district, and the southern part of the country took shape at an early date. In the extreme south the Simeonites retained their nomadic way of life, and were by. degrees mixed up with other wandering tribes. Down into the time of the early kings the dominion of the powerful Philistines stretched far into the centre of the country, and gave the first impulse to a firmer concentration of the energies of Israel. But the Israelites did not succeed in forcing their way in the southern regions down to the sea ; in culture and well--established political institutions they were far surpassed by the Philistines. As regards the geography of the Philistine territory, the position of four of their chief towns, Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, and Ekron, is known; but it has not been ascertained where the fifth, Gath, was situated, though it must have lain not far from the present Bét Jibrín.—No definite boundaries can be assigned to the Israelitic country to north, south, or west.





Up to the conquest of Jebus the most important city of the southern region was undoubtedly Hebron (see vol. xi. p. 608). Clans belonging to Judah had there combined with others of alien origin ; and the portions of this tribe which dwelt in the farthest south had become mingled with elements from the tribe of Simeon, while on the other hand the Simeonites acquired certain places in the territory of Judah. In regard to the south country in general, we obtain in the Old Testament the most detailed description of the frontiers, but the reason that we are able to follow it with so much accuracy is that the statements refer exclusively to post-exilic times, though it must be assumed that a certain recollection was still preserved of the original boundary between Judah and Benjamin. The line of the marches of the northern tribes, as indeed this whole system of demarcation, frequently follows the configuration of the ground, but occasionally becomes vague arid doubtful. Especially striking is the omission of the districts of Samaria ; it seems that at the time of the codification of the system this district was little known to the Judaeans. A great deal of trouble has been expended—more especially since the rise of a more scieatific exploration of the country—in verifying the old place-names which are known from the Bible, the writings of Eusebius, and the Talmud. The task is rendered much easier by the fact that in Palestine, as in every country where the ethnographic conditions have not been too violently revolutionized, a large number of ancient names of places have been preserved in use for thousands of years, often with only insignificant changes of form—a state of matters to which the continuous existence in the country of Semitic-speaking people has powerfully contributed. The identification of the ancient with the modern names demands none the less thorough historical and philological investigation. Through the labours of Robinson and Guérin we now possess a list of the names in use at least in the country west of Jordan. The list of six thousand names collected during the English survey by Lieuts. Conder and Kitchener is particularly rich,—though it must be borne in mind that the orthography in many cases has not been determined with sufficient accuracy, and that a revision of the collection on the spot by a trained Arabic scholar would be desirable. By the help of this abundant material many of the ancient place-names can undoubtedly be assigned to their localities, and in part at least the direction of the tribal boundaries as they were conceived by the author of the lists preserved in the book of Joshua can be followed. In regard to a large number of places, Joshua leaves us to mere conjecture; and the investiga-tions and combinations hitherto effected are (in the opinion of the present writer) far from sufficient for the construc-tion of such a map of ancient Palestine as the Palestine Exploration Fund has published. The difficulties of the case are further increased by the fact that the ancient localities were at an early date fixed by tradition. An undoubted example of this is furnished by the grave of Rachel between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the localizing of which goes back to an ancient gloss on Gen. xxxv. 19. Even in the case of apparently well-established identi-fications such as Beitin=Bethel, the question may be raised whether in reality artificial tradition may not have been at work, and ancient Bethel have to be sought elsewhere. Too much care, therefore, cannot be brought to bear on the reconstruction of the ancient geography of Palestine.

It lies beyond the purpose of the present article to enter into the details of the ancient tribal demarcation of Palestine, especially as the tradition, as has been explained, is relatively late and artificial. As an illustration of our view of the subject we may select the boundaries of Judah itself (Josh. xv. ). Here the first thing that strikes the reader is that the western frontier as there described for the earliest times is purely ideal, inasmuch as it includes the land of the Philistines. Inconsistencies of view are apparent in the ascription of certain places in Judah to Simeon and of others to Dan. A further difficulty arises from the discrepancies between the Masso-retic text and that of the Septuagint in regard to the number of towns belonging to Judah. As regards the southern boundaries described in Josh. xv. 2 sq., the course of the line, in our opinion, cannot be determined with certainty even if it were generally admitted that Kadesh-Barnea is to be fixed at ‘Ain Kadis. The determination of the northern boundary is more explicit : it ran from the mouth of the Jordan to Beth-hogla (which is found in ‘Ain el-Hajla). The position of Beth-arabah (Beth ha-Araba) is doubtful ; and at least it has not been absolutely settled whether Eben Bohan ben Reuben really corresponds to Hajar el-Asbah. The identification of Debir with Thughrat-ed-Debr may be correct. Gilgal, which follows, is unknown. The ascent from Adummim may correspond with Talat-ed-Dem, which preserves at least an echo of the older name. It is a mere conjecture which places the water of En (Ain) Shemesh in ‘Ain Haudh. The Fuller’s Spring, En Rogel, has in recent times been s ought in St Mary’s Well ; but, with others, we consider Bir Eiyúb a more probable identification. The position of the valley of Hinnom and the plain of Rephaim has been determined; Nephtoah corresponds perhaps to the modern Lifta. The places situated on Mount Ephron—Baalah .and Kirjath-Jearim—cannot be made out any more than the mountains Seir and Jearim. It may be admitted that Chesalon is Kesla and Bethshemesh is ‘Ain Shems, since the direction towards Timnah (Tibna) is imperative. The position of Ekron is ascer-tained; but it is hazardous to find Shicron in Khirbet Sukereir; and where Mount Baalah was situated we do not know. Finally, Jabniel corresponds to Yebna. From this example it is clear how difficult it is with the existing material to determine the ancient tribal limits, and how necessary it is in such an undertaking to distinguish provisional conjectures from well-established identifica-tion. To carry out this task lies beyond the scope of this article; to prove individual points whole treatises require to be written. Compare the articles on the several tribes maps.

It has already been remarked that the extension given to the tribal territories in the book of Joshua is frequently the mere re-flexion of pious wishes. This holds true in general of the territories of Zebulun, Naphtali,and especially Asher; it is to be particularly that down to a very late date (the time of the Maccabees) the Israelites were almost entirely shut out from the sea-coast. To the north of the land of the Philistines the maritime plain was in the hands of the Phoenicians ; the plain to the south of Der (the modern Tantura) was called Naphoth Dor (hill range of Dor). Even in the New Testament mention is made of a district of Tyre and Sidon to which we must not assign too narrow in extension inland. How matters stood in the country east of Jordon it is hard to decide. The stretch froin.the north of the Dead Sea to the Yarmuk (practically to the south end of the Lake of Tiberias) was the only portion securely held by the tribes of Israel ; here, on the Jabbok, in the centre of the trans-Jordan region, the Gadites had settled ; here there was an ancient Israelitic district in the neigh-bourhood of Mahanaim, Jabesh (on the present Wádi Yábis), Succoth, Penuel—places whose position for the most part cannot be determined. From some passages it is evident that the warlike tribe of Gad found it difficult to protect itself against its enemies. Numbers xxxii., a chapter belonging to the older class of sources, throws much light on the conditions under which the country east of Jordan was occupied, and it represents Reuben and Gad as having seized the Moabite territory to the north of the Arnon. We have in this a picture of a temporary extension of the territory of Israel, probably from the time of Omri (compare MOAB).

According to the inscription of King Mesha, the Gadites were still in Ataroth ; Dibon, on the contrary, was Moabitic ; other towns, such as Kirjathaim, Nebo, Jahaz, had been conquered by Mesha from the Israelites. It is remarkable that the Roubenites are not once mentioned in the inscription. At the date, too, when Isaiah xv.-xvi. were written (before the time of Isaiah himself?), the Moabite dominion was widely extended. From all this it may be concluded that the Reubenites had to carry on a protracted struggle with Moab for the possession of the country,—the walled towns being now subject to the one belligerent and now to the other, and the Arnon consequently forming only an ideal boundary. No accurate knowledge of the condition of the settlements of Manasseh in the country east of Jordan has come down to us. The clan Maehir had its seat in Gilead ; and there, too, were the tent--villages of Jair, a clan which also possessed the district of Argob in Bashan, situated somewhere to the east of the Lake of Tiberias. The Nobah clan was settled in kenath (the modern Kanawát) on the western slope of the Hauran Mountains. From these facts it is evident that in the trans-Jordan region north of the Yarmuk and east of the Lake of Tiberias, there were at least a few Israelite colonies ; but they occupied merely scattered points, and thus in this district also the allotment of the country in the book of Joshua must be regarded as a mere pious wish. Other peoples settled in the Hauran, and the ever-advancing Araimaeans soon diminished and absorbed these Israelitic possessions.

The tribes of Israel made a great step in the conquest of the when, under the early kings, they became subject to a single central government. They were now strong enough to seize many of the walled towns which the Canaanites had hitherto occupied ; and their dominion, indeed, extended far beyond the limits of Palestine. Our information in regard to the divisions of the country during the regal period is very defective. The list of Solomon’s twelve "officers" (1 Kings iv.) at least is derived from ancient sources ; but it must be observed that, while the boundaries of some of the districts appear to coincide with the tribal boundaries, the political division was not based on the tribal. Nor at a later date was the line of separation between the kingdoms determined simply by the tribal division ; the most that is meant is that Judah and Benjamin stood on the one side ; of Simeon there is no longer any word. In the account given in 1 Kings xi. mention is only made, of one tribe that remained true to David, by which must naturally be understood that of Judah. The limits, in fact, so far as they related to the tribal territory of Benjamin, seem to have varied from time to time; the northern portion as far as Ramah (1 Kings xv.), or as far as the ravine of Michmash (Mukhmás), usually belonged to the northern kingdom, and the same was the case with Jericho, It was to this kingdom of Israel, also, with its general superiority in strength and influence, that all the Israelitic districts beyond Jordan were attached. That it consisted, however, of ten tribes (1 Kings xii.) is a highly artificial computation. The small extent of the southern kingdom is evident from a list (if in deed it be trustworthy) given in 2 Chron. xi. of the towns fortified by Rehoboam. As regards the capitals of the northern kingdom, the roval court was originallyat Shechem (Nábulus), from the time of Jeroboam I. at Tirzah (not yet identified), and from the time of Omri at Samaria (Sebastíye); the house of Ahab had its seat for a season at Jezreel (Zeríin) (see vol. xiii. p. 689).

It is rather an historical than a geographical task to describe in detail the boundaries or divisions of Palestine in later times. From the lists for the post-exilic period, found in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, and containing a series of new topographical names, it is evident that a considerable portion of the old tribal territory of Benjamin as well as of Judah was again peopled by Jews,—on the one hand the places from Jericho to Lydda, on the other a strip to the north of Bethel down to Beersheba in the south. Gradually, however, Edomites (perhaps pressed upon by Nabataeans) forced their way into the southern portion of the country, with the capital Hebron, so that it obtained the name of Idumea.

Before proceeding to the Graeco-Roman period it will be well to consider the names by which the country in general was called at different times. Gilead was the centre of the power of the Israelites on the east side of Jordan, and the whole country which they possessed there bore this name. Gilead consequently is opposed to Canaan,the "Promised Land." For the later Hebrews distinguished this western territory as more especially the country wbich had been promised them, and regarded it as the possession of their national God, and therefore as a holy land. After the separation the more important northern and eastern portion naturally became the land of Israel par excellence, while the southern portion ultimately received the name of the individual tribe of Judah (as indeed the northern kingdom was frequently called after the most powerful tribe of Ephraim). The name of the southern kingdom appears in Cuneiform inscriptions as mât (ír) Ya-u-du (di); and it is said that niat Sir’lai occurs once for the land of Israel, though more frequently it is called mât Humrí (Land of Omri). Though it has not been absolutely provea that even the Assyrians occasionally included Judah under the designation Palastav or Pilista (Philistia), still there is nothing improbable about the supposition. But it cannot be taken for granted that the cis-Jordan country bore the name of land of the Philistines at a time when it was the scene of a great development of the Philistian power ; the name was rather, as so often happens, extended by their neighbours from Philistia proper to the country beyond, and from the Egyptians it passed to the Greeks. In the Old Testament Peleshet is still always restricted to the Philistine coast-plain ; the same is the case in Josephus; and in Herodotus, though the usage is not very explicit, Palaestina appears usually to have no wider application. Gradually, how-ever, the designation Palaestina Syria, or simply Palaestina, got into vogue, and was made to include even the country east of Jordan, and consequently the whole territory between Lebanon and Sinai.

We now return to the divisions of Palestine. Already in the book of Kings (that is, by the time of the exile) the name Shomeron (Samaria) is applied to the territory of the northern kingdom, for mention is made of the "towns of Samaria." In the apocryphal books of the Old Testament, Judaea and Samaria (_____) are opposed to each other ; but the limits of the two divisions at the time of Christ, slid for centuries previously, can hardly be laid down. Thus in Josephus the Mediter-ranean coast as far as Acre is assigned to Judaea ; towards the south this country was bounded by Idumea ; in the north it extended to about 8 miles to the south of Nábulus (Shechem). Whether Samaria extended from the Jordan to the sea is uncertain; in the north it reached the southern edge of the plain of' Esdraelon, the frontier town being ‘En Gannim (Jennín). Galilee (in regard to which see vol. x. p. 27) was originally the district in the neighbourhood of Kedes, afterwards distinguished as Upper Gálilee. The Jewish popu-lation was there largely mixed with Phoenicians, Syrians, Greeks, and even Arabs. The whole maritime region to the north of Dor was still called Phoenicia in the time of the Romans, and thus does not strictly belong to Palestine in our sense of the word. Along the coast, as well as more especially in the north of the country, nunier-ous Greek colonies were established ; how strong the foreign influ-ence must have been in Samaria arid Galilee is evident from the preservation of so many Graeco-Roman names like Neapolis (Nábulus), Sebaste, (Sebastíye), Tiberias (Tabaríye). Elsewhere too, in the south for example, the old nomenclature was altered : Aelia was substituted for Jerusalem, Azotus formed from Ashdod, and so on ; but the old names were always retained in the month of the people. The north of the country and the trans-Jordan region were much more thoroughly brought under the influence of the Greeks and Romans than the south. The Greek towns in some cases date from the time of Alexander the Great, and other were founded by the Ptolemies ; but most of them owe their origin to the Seleucids. One district of the trans-Jordan region retained at that period its old riame in the Greek form of Peraea. Josephus says that this district extended from the Jordan to Phila-delphia (Rabbath Ammon, ‘Ammán) and Gerasa. (Jerash), went southward as far as Machaerus (Mkaur on the Zerka Ma’in), and north as far as Pella (Fáhil opposite Beisan). Adjoining Peraea, and mainly to the east of Jordan, lay the Decapolis, which was not, how-ever, a continuous territory, but a political group of cities occupied b y Greek republics distinguished from the tetrarchies with their Jewish-Syrian-Arabic population in the midst of which they were scattered. The largest of these cities was Scythopolis (Beisan) ; others were Hippos, Gadara (Mkés), Philadelphia, Dion, Gerasa, &c.; but ancient authorities do not agree about the names. Little requires to be said about the division of the country in later Roman times. In the 5th century a threefold partition began to prevail:—-Palaestina Prima (roughly equal to Judaea and Samaria), Palaestina Secunda (the countries about the upper Jordan and the Lake of Gennesaret), and Palaestina Tertia or Salutaris; (Idumea and Moab). In the time of the crusades the same names were applied to three divisions (at once political and ecclesiastical) of the country west of Jordan,—Palaestina Prima or Maritima being the coast region as far as Carmel (with Caesarea as its archbishop’s see), Palaestina Secunda comprising the mountains of Judah and Ephraim (with the patri-archal see of Jerusalem), and Palaestina Tortia corresponding roughly to Galilee (with its bishop’s see at Nazareth). The country east of Jordan was called Arabia, and was in like manner divided into three parts lying north and south of each other.

The Arabians retained the name Filistin, and they divided the country into two principal portions—the Jordan district (chiefly the northern parts) and Filistin proper, which extended from the Lake of Gennesaret to Aila arid from Lejjún to Refah. Under the Turks Palestine was till quite recently subject to the governor of Syria ; the greater part of it now forms an independent vilayet. The chief districts are (each with its town) Gaza, Hebron, Yáfá, Ludd (with Raml), Nábulus, Sha’rawíye, Jennin (with Beisan), Haifa, Acre, Tabaríye, Násira, Safed ; and in the country east of Jordan ‘Ajhún, Belká es-Salt, Kerak, and Má’án.

Palestine is by no means so strikingly a country apart as is usually supposed. It lay, as already mentioned, near the great military highway from western. Asia to Egypt and Africa. The traffic by sea was also formerly of importance ; and even in the Middle Ages something was done for the protection of the harbours. At no time, however, was the country in the proper sense of the word a rich one ; it hardly ever produced more than was necessary for home consumption. The great trading caravans which passed through were glad for the most part to avoid the highlands, and that region at least was thus more or less isolated. The following is a brief survey of the principal routes, partly as they formerly existed, and partly as they are still used. From Egypt a road runs by El-‘Arish (Rhinocolura) or "the river of Egypt" by Rafah (Raphia) to GAZA (q.v.). From Gaza another runs by Umm Lákis Lachish?) and Bét Jibrin (Eleutheropolis) across the mountains to Jerusalem. Northwards from Gaza the main route continues along the plain at some distance from the sea (which in this part has piled up great sand duiles) to EI-Mejdel (Migdal Gad) near Askelon, and so on to Ashdod (Ezdud, Azotus). From Ashdod a road runs by ‘Akir (Ekron) to Ramle, an important town in the mediaeval Arabian period, and Ludd (Lód, Lydda). From these towns, which are connected with the port of Yáfá (Japho, Joppa), three routes run to Jerusalem, of which the one most used in antiquity was evidently the northern one passing by Jimzu. (Gimzo) and the two Bét Urs (Beth-horon), and not the one now followed by ‘Amwás (Nicopolis) and Wádi ‘Ali. From Yáfá a road continues along the coast by Arsúf (Apollonia) to the ruins of Kaisaríye (Caesarea), then past Tantura (ruins of Dor) and ‘Athlit (Castellum Peregrinorum of the crusaders) and round the foot of the promontory of Carmel, to Haifa and Acre (a town of great importance from early times). Another route starting from Ludd runs north close to the mountains by Antipatris (now Kefr Saba or Rás el-‘Ain?) and Rakún, and ends at Khán Lejjún. The Great Plain offered the easiest passage from the coast inland. El-Lejjún (a corruption of the Latin Legio) was certainly an important point; it is still conjecturally identified, according to Robinson’s suggestion, with the ancient Megiddo, which Conder would rather place at Mejedde’a. In the vicinity lie the ruins of Ta’anuk (Taanach), and farther south-west the great centre of Jennín (‘En Gannim, Ginnaea). From Acre there also runs a road directly east over the mountains to Khán Jubb Yúsuf.

The coast road from Acre northwards passes through Zíb (Akhzib, Ecdippa) and the two promontories of Rás en-Nákúra and Ras-el-Abyad (Scala Tyrioruin), and so continues to the maritime plain of Tyre.—To return to the south, from Egypt (Suez, Arsinoe) the desert was crossed to Ruheibe (Rechoboth), Khulasa (Elusa), and Bir-es-seb’a (Beersheba), and from this place the route went north-ward to Ed-Dhoheríye and El-Khalíl (Hebron). In like manner a road from Aila up the Araba valley crossed the Es-Sufih pass to Hebron. -One of the most frequented highways traverses the cen-tral mountain chain northwards, and, though somewhat difficult in various parts, connects a number of the most important places of central Palestine. Starting from Hebron, it runs past Rama and Hulhúl through the Wádi el-Biyár, and leaving Bethlehem on the right holds on to Jerusalem, where a branch strikes east by Khán Hachrúr (probably there was once another route) to Jericho. From Jerusalem northwards it naturally continues by Sha’fát past Er-Rám. (Rama) to El-Bíre (Beeroth), and then onwards by ‘Ain el-Haramíye, Sinjil, and Khán Lubbán through the Mukhna plain to Nábulus (Sheebern). From this point a route runs down to the Jordan and Es--Salt (Ramoth Gilead ?); another passes by Tubás (Thebez) north--eastward in the line of the Jordan valley to Beisan (Bethshean, Scythopolis). The road across the highlands passes a little to the east of Sebastíye (Samaria, Sebaste), running along the west side of the Merj el-Ghuruk and past Tell Dothan (Dothan) to Jennín. Thence the road northward to Nazareth skirts the east side of the plain of Esdraelon, and from Nazareth a path strikes to Acre. The caravan route proper passes from ‘Afúle north-eastwards past Jebel et-Túr (Tabor) to Khán et-Tijjár (where several roads cross), and reaches the Lake of Tiberias near Mejdel (Magdala). It keeps by the shore only for a short distance. Having traversed the small plain of Gennesar, it begins again to climb the mountains where they approach the lake at Khán Minye (which, however, for many reasons cannot be Capernaum), and then it goes on to Khán Jubb Yúsuf, strikes down again into the valley of the Jordan, and crossing the river at Jisr Benát Ya’kúb holds on across Jebel Hish to Damascus. The moun-tain district of Samaria is crossed by a great number of small roads, but none of thern are true caravan routes or worth particular men-tion. An old caravan route once ran northwards up the Jordan valley from Jericho to Beisan ; and from Beisan an important, now less frequented, road crossing the river at the bridge El-Mejám’a struck north-east to Fík Tseil and Nawa in the Haurán, and finally to Damascus. In the country cast of Jordan a great highway of traffic ran from Petra (or really from the Elanitic Gulf) by Kerak (Kir Moab) to Rabba (Rabbath Moab, Areopolis); in front of Aroer (‘Ará’ir) it crosses the Mójib (Arnon) and runs northwards through the highlands to Hesban (Heshbon) and thence to ‘Amman (Rabbath Ammon, Philadelphia). A route also led from Jericho to Es-Salt (which could also be reached from Hesbán) and thence northwards to the-Jabbok and Jerash (GERASA, see vol. x. p. 441); and then frorn Jerash one stretched north-west by Tibne to Mkés (Gadara) and the valley of the Jordan, and another north-east to the Zumle and the Hauran or more precisely to Bosra (Bostra), and so on to Damascus. It must also be mentioned that the great pilgrim’s track direct from Damascus to Medina and Meeca skirts the eastern frontier of the country. A great many roads await more detailed investigation ; what has been said may suffice to show what lines of communication existed and still exist between the more import-ant places of Palestine.

Population.—There are no trustworthy estimates of the number of inhabitants in the country at any period of its history. Certain districts, such is Galilee, have, there is no doubt, from early times been much more populous than certain other districts ; the desert of Judah and some portions of the country east of Jordan must all along have been very sparsely peopled. The figures given in the book of Numbers indicate that the whole country contained about 2 1/2 million souls,—it being assumed that the statistics do not refer to the time of the wandering in the wilderness, and that the details may be suspected of being artificially adjusted. The number 2 1/2 to 3 millions may indeed be taken as a maximum; the population can hardly ever have been more than four times its present strength, which is estimated at 650,000 souls. Thus, in the most flourishing period, about 250 to 300 inhabitants would go to the square mile, while at present there may be about 65, a number which is rather above than below the mark. Lists based on information collected by the Turkish Government give much lower figures, viz., for the sanjak of Jerusalem (with the districts Jerusalem, Yáfá, Hebron), 276 places with about 24,000 houses (families) ; for the sanjak Belká (with the districts of Nábulus, Jennin, Ajlún, and Es-Salt), 317 places and 18,984 houses; for the sanjak ‘Akka (Acre) (with the districts 'Akka, Haifa, and Safed), 160 places with 11,023 houses,—making a total of 753 places with 54,237 houses. Reckoning five persons per house, this gives a population of 271,185, exclusive of the small number of Bedouins. Detailed statistics there are none as regards the relative strength of the Bedouin element and the peasantry, the numerical representation of the different religions, or any matter of this sort.

The ethnographico-geographical sketch given above has shown how the population of Palestine even at an early date was a very mingled one ; for even when they arrived in the country foreign elements were present among the Israelites, and later on they absorbed or were absorbed by the Canaanites. The Philistines, Moabites, and others in course of time were merged in the now nationality. From the period of the exile colonies from the east settled in the country, and so powerful did the Aramaean con-tingent gradually grow that Aramaean became the popular tongue. Next were added Greek and Roman colonies. The Arabic element exerted considerable influence even before the days of Islam ; with the Mohammedan conquest it became the dominant power, though it was only by slow degrees that it obtained numerical superiority. .The Arab tribes transplanted to Palestine their old distinctions, especially that between Northern and Southern Arabs (Kais and Yemen ; cf. ARABIA). The Arab peasantry is still diviaed into clans; for example, the districts of the Beni Hasan and Beni Malik to the west of Jerusalem, those of the Beni Hárith, Beni Zeid, and Beni Murrá to the north, and that of Beni Sálím to the east. Till recently the relations of the separate clans of fellahin was one of mutual hostility, and, unhindered by the Turkish Government, they engaged in sanguinary conflicts. In manners and in language (though Arabic is universally in vogue) the Palestine peasants retain much that is ancient. It is extravagant, however, to main-tain from the traditions they preserve that primeval Canaanite elements still exist among them. The prevalent type, in fact, is Syro-Arabic, or in many districts pure Arabic ; and their supersti-tious customs are partly remains of Syrian beliefs, partly modern Arabic reproductions, under similar external conditions, of ancient superstitions. These remarks are applicable to the saint worship at present spread through the whole Oriental world. The fellabin are on the whole a diligent frugal race, not destitute of intelli-gence. If well treated by a just Government which would protect them from the extortions of the nomadic tribes, they would be the means, with the assistance of the capitalist, of greatly improving the cultivation of the country, especially in the various lowland districts. They choose their own village sheiks, who derive most of their authority from the reputation of their virtues, their bravery, and their liberality. The Bedouins, i.e., wandering tribes of pure Arab origin, also play an important part in the country. Till quite recently they used to visit certain settled dis-tricts and exact black mail from the peasants ; and they find their undisputed domain in those districts which are incapable of cultiva-tion, and fit only for cattle rearing, and in other fertile portions which for various reasons are not occupied by the husbandman. To the first class belong the belt of desert to the west of the Dead Sea, the southernmost parts of the country west of Jordan and the south country beyond the river (Moab) ; to the second belong the greater portion of the maritime plain, the depression of the Jordan valley, and part of the country to the east. The divisions of the Arab tribes will be discussed in the article SYRIA. In Palestine east of Jordan the Beni Sakhr (Moab) are of most importance ; Jebel ‘Ajlún is the seat of the ‘Adwán. The Ghawárine (the inhabitants of the Ghor or Jordan depression) form a peculiar race which, as they are partly agricultural, have been a long time settled in the district. In type, as well as by their degeneracy, they are distinguished from the other Bedouins. The true Bedouin style of life can be studied only beyond the Jordan or to the south of Palestine,—the tribes west of the river, such as the Ta’ámire and Jehalín in the south being all more or less deteriorated. As the Turkish race does not fall to be treated in connexion with Palestine, it simply remains to mention the Frankish (European) elements. During the Middle Ages these were not unimportant, especially along the coast ; numerous ruined churches are still to be seen as the last and only memorials of crusaders’ colonies (see Vogüé, Les églises de la Terre Sainte, Paris, 1860, and the article SYRIA). Nor must the missionary efforts be forgotten which in our own times have been again specially directed to Palestine. As regards the Roman Catholic Church, the Franciscans have maintained their position in the Holy Land even in troublous times, and have not only established schools and printing presses but protected the Christian sanctuaries and taking care of pilgrims and travellers. On the whole it may be said that in comparison with that of the Roman and Greek Churches, the influence of Protestants is outwardly small. A German sect called the Templars settled in Palestine some years ago, and has now colonies at Yáfá, Sarona, Jerusalem, and Haifa. The colonists, about 1000 in number, have to contend with many and grievous difficulties, and are deficient in capital. Wine-growing is the most lucrative branch of their activity. As long as the Turks hold rule over the country successful colonization is hardly possible.

Literature.—The literature in regard to Palestine is extremely abundant. As bibliographical guides of the first class may be mentioned—Tobler, Bibliographia geographica Palaestinae, Leipsic, 1869 (a supplement to this appeared in Petzholdt’s Neuer Anzeiger für Bibliogr, und Bibliothekwissenschaft, Dresden, 1875). The works published between 1867-71 (with additions to Tobler) will be found in Röhricht and Meisner’s Deutsche Pilgerreisen nach dem Heiligen Lande, Berlin, 1880 (pp. 547-648). Socin has given an annual survey of current literature from 1877 in the Zeitschr. des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins. Compare also Archives de l’Orient Latin, i., Paris, 1881. The series of old pilgrimages published by the Société de l’Orient Latin deserves special mention:—Itinera Latina bellis sacris, anteriora, Geneva, 1879; Itinéraires á Jérusalem et descriptions de la Terre Sainte red. en français aux XI-XIII sié’es, Geneva, 1882. Older studies on the geography of Palestine are Easebius, Onomasticon urbium et locoruin Sanctae Scripturae (edited by Larsow and Parthey, 1862, and De Lagarde, 1870); Neubauer, La géographie do Talmud, Paris, 1868; Hadr. Reland, Palaestina monumeneis veteribus illustrata, 2 vols., 1714; Ritter, Vergleichende Erdkunde, vol. xv-xvii., Berlln, 1850-55; K. Raumer, Palästina (4th ed., 1860; now to be completely remodelled by Furrer). Strictly scientitic accounts of travel begin only in the present century; the credit of having led the way belongs to E. Robinson. (Biblical Researches in Palestine, 1841; Later Biblical Researches, 1856; Physical Geography, 1865). Of importance is the voluminous work of V. Guérin, Description géographique, historique, et archeologique de la Palestine, 1868, sq. Splendid service has been rendered by the Palestine Exploration Fund, which has published Quarterly Statements since 1869,—the labours of Wilson, Warren, and Conder being particularly noteworthy. In 1880 appeared Conder and Kitchener’s Map of Western Palestine (26 sheets), the result of surveys extending over many years; an edition in six sheets was published in London in 1881. Trelawney Saunders’s Special Edition illustrating the Divisions and the Mountain Ranges, 1882, is to be recommended (compare his valuable Introduction to the Survey of Western Palestine—its Waterways. Plains, and Highlands, 1881); but the same cannot be said about the Special Edition of the map illustrating the Old Testament and that illustrating the New Testament, London, 1882 (each six sheets), many of the identifications resting on mere provisional conjecture. As companions to the great maps we have Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology (3 vols.), a Name-List (1 vol.), Special Papers (reprinted from the Statements, 1 vol.), Jerusalem (1 vol.), Flora and Fauna (1 vol.). The Exploration Fund is preparing to accomplish a similar work for the country east of Jordan, since the American Society, which was to have undertaken the survey of that region, has relinquished the undertaking (compare also Sclah Merrill, East of the Jordan, New York, 1881). The German Palästina-Verein has published its Zeitschrift since 1878, a yearly volume of topographical and historical investigations on definite points. Guide-books which may partly serve as works of reference are—Baedeker’s Palestine and Syria (written by Socin, 1876), Murray’s Handbook for Travellers in Syria and Palestine (by Porter, 1875), and Joanne’s Guide (new edition, 1882). The best illustrated work is Picturesque Palestine, Syria, and Elypt (edited by Colonel Wilson, &c., London, 1881), to which may be added D. Roberts, The Holy Land, and Lortet, La Syrie d’aqjourd’hui, 1884. W. M. Thomson’s The Land and the Book, London, 1881-83, is of particular value for manners and customs. For natural history, see Tristram, The Land of Israel (London, 1861) and Natural History of the Bible (London, 1873). Lartet’s geological investigations will be found in De Luynes, Voy. D’exploration à la Mer Morte, &c., Paris, 1876. For matter of geographical detail consult especially Tobler’s works (Bethlehem; Nazareth; Dritte Wanderung, &c.). Wilson, The Lands of the Bible, Edinburgh, 1847; Conder, Tent Work in Palestine, 1878; and Finn, Byeways in Palestine, London, 1868, may conclude the list. Menke’s Historischer Atlas (Gotha, 1868) is still the best. (A. SO.)



The above article was written by: Prof. Albrecht Socin, University of Tübingen.



Search the Encyclopedia:



About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Sitemaps
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us



© 2005-17 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries