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which the grey and black stones gathered from the ruins had been arranged in regular layers, so as to shew, by their succession, broad stripes of black and white, quite in the taste of the modern Egyptians, among whom, saints' tombs, mosques, &c. are so decorated with red and yellow horizontal lines, or like the great enclosure of Adjerood, near Suez, as well as the lower part of several buildings in that town.
On quitting these interesting ruins of a small colonial city, situated in a barren district, as unfavourable for agriculture and manufactures as for commerce, we could not but be forcibly struck with the luxury that must have prevailed here, and the wealth that must have existed, not merely to build such splendid temples and colonnades, but to support two large theatres for the entertainment of the living, and to construct such massy tombs and extensive sarcophagi, apparently for all classes of its dead, since the number of the latter, if considered to belong to the rich only, was disproportionately great, when compared with the size and probable population of the place.
On returning to the small village of Oom Kais, which lies scattered chiefly between the necropolis and the eastern wall of the ruined city, we found a meal of cakes and oil prepared for us, by a
white-bearded sheikh, and a crowd gathered around us, as usual, to enquire after the treasure we had been taking up out of the earth. We were treated here, however, with great kindness and civility, and furnished with food without demand of payment, the people being a mixture of shepherds and cultivators; some inhabiting the ancient Roman tombs, some living in rude dwellings formed by a circle of broken sarcophagi and other large stones on the spot; so me dwelling in conical huts of reed, plastered on the outside with mud, like the Abyssinians, and other inhabitants of rainy climates, and others again reposing beneath tents woven from the hair and wool of their own flocks. The whole population of this settlement does not exceed two hundred, and these are all Mohammedans, their sheikh acknowledging the Pasha of Sham for his sovereign.
Before we departed, we were taken to see one of the ancient Roman tombs, now used as a carpenter's shop, the occupier of it being employed in constructing a rude plough, and in fixing the irons to one of those long Syrian goads, which serve to spur the animal with one end, and clear the plough of clods with the other. On examining the size and weight of this iron at the foot, Maundrell's conjecture
štruck me as a very judicious one, that it might have been with such a weapon that Shamgar made the prodigious slaughter related of him. *
From this tomb we went to a still more perfect one, which was entirely cleared out, and now used as a private dwelling. Though the females of the family were within, we were allowed to enter, and descended by a flight of three steps, there being either a cistern or a deep sepulchre on the right of this descent. The portals and architrave were here perfectly exposed, the ornaments of the latter were a wreath and open flowers; the door also was divided by a studded bar, and pannelled, and the ring of the knocker remained, though the knocker itself had been broken off. The door, which was of the same size and thickness as those described, traversed easily on its hinges, and we were permitted to open and close it at pleasure. On examining it closely, all that has before been said on the mode of fixing and of fastening it, was confirmed, as we could here see every part of the construction more perfectly.
The tomb was about eight, feet in height, on the inside, as there was a descent of a steep step
* And after him was Shamgar, the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox-goad : and he also delive:ed Israel. — Judges, iii. 31.
from the stone threshold to the floor. Its size was about twelve paces square, but as no light was received into it except by the door, we could not see whether there was an inner chamber, as in some of the others. A perfect sarcophagus still remained within, and this was now used by the family as a chest for corn, and other provisions, so that this violated sepulchre of the dead had thus become a secure, a cool, and a convenient retreat to the living of a different race.
FROM OOM KAIS, ACROSS THE HIEROMAX AND JORDAN,
We left the village of Oom Kais about fou o'clock, and descended by a winding path down the steep hill on whose summit it stood. In about half an hour we reached its foot, and seeing some Bedouin tents near, our guides determined on halting here for the night.
We had arranged amongst ourselves, to reach, if possible, the small village of Sumuk, in the southern bight of the lake, and after sleeping there, to proceed to Tiberias, on its western edge, in the morning ; but we now learned that there was an affair of blood between the people of that neighbourhood and our guides ; and that, therefore, they could not enter either the one or the other. They professed their willingness to go to Nazareth, but no further; and Mr. Bankes, not having seen that neighbourhood, or the coast to the northward of Jaffa, agreed to go directly thither with them.