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whence his head was brought in a charger to gratify the revenge of an angry woman, living in reputed incest with her husband's brother, and to fulfil an oath made to her daughter, whose dancing pleased Herod and his captains, when probaby heated with wine, at his birthdaysupper.
This large church, whose remains still exist, stands east and west, and is about one hundred feet in length, by fifty in breadth. In the court at the west end are two apertures, leading down to a large subterranean reservoir for water, well stuccoed on the inside, and now nearly dry ; though during the rains it often becomes filled to the brim. On the south side are high slender buttresses, and on a piece of building without this is a sloping pyramidal mole, constructed of exceedingly large stones. The northern wall is quite plain; the eastern front is semicircular, with three open and two closed windows, each contained in arches divided from each other by three Corinthian columns.
The interior of the eastern front has a pointed arch, and columns of no known order, though the capitals approach nearer to the Corinthian than to any other. The eight small arches which go round the tops of the windows within,
are semicircular, and have each at their spring the capital of a column, but no shaft attached to it; the great arch of the recess is pointed, and the moulding that passes round it is fantastic in the extreme. Among other things seen there, are the representations of scaly armour, an owl, an eagle, a human figure, and an angel, all occupying separate compartments, and all distinct from each other.
The exterior of the eastern front presents a still more singular mixture of style, as the pointed and the round arch are both used in the same range, and the ornaments of each are varied. In the lower cornice are human heads, perhaps in allusion to the severed head of the Baptist; and there are here as fantastic figures as on the inside, the whole presenting a strange assemblage of incongruous ornaments in the most wretched taste.
The masonry appears in some parts to have been exceedingly solid, in others only moderately good ; and in some places, weak and paltry; and at the west end, in a piece of build‘ing apparently added since the original construction of the church itself, are seen several blocks of sculptured stone, apparently taken from the ruins, and worked into the present
On the inside of this ruined edifice, is a small
mosque, erected over the supposed dungeon in which St. John was executed ; and an Arab family, who claim the guardianship of this sanctuary, have pitched their dwelling on the southwest angle of the great church, where it has the appearance of a pigeon-house. On learning that I was a Moslem, we were all admitted into this mosque, which we entered with becoming reve
They have collected here the white marble slabs, found amid the ruins of the church, to form a pavement; and in one part we noticed three large pieces with sculptured circles and bands on them, which were set up in the wall as tablets.
The mosque itself is a small oblong room, with steps ascending to an oratory, and its only furniture is a few simple lamps and some clean straw mats for prayer, the recess of the Caaba being in the southern wall. From the mosque, we descended by a narrow flight of steps to the subterranean chamber or dungeon of St. John, which had all the appearance of having been an ancient sepulchre. It was not more than ten feet square, and had niches as if for the reception of corpses, in arched recesses on each side. There was here, too, one of those remarkable stone doors, which seem to have been exclusively appropriated to tombs, resembling exactly in
form and size those described in the Roman sepulchres at Oom Kais.
The panneling, the lower pivot, and the sill in the ledge for receiving the bolt, were all still perfect; but the door was now unhung, and lay on its side against the wall,
ŚHECHÉM, OR NEAPOLIS, MOUNT EBAL AND GERI
ZIM, AND THE WELLS OF SAMARIA.
After taking some bread and olive oil, as a meal of hospitality with the Sheikh of Subusta, we quitted it about eleven o'clock, and from hence our road lay for half an hour over hills of siliceous stone, going constantly to the south ward until we opened upon the long valley of Nablous, running nearly east and west.
We turned off to the eastward, leaving on our right the village of Beit Eiba, on the side of the hill ; Beit Oozan, a smaller one, just above it; and on the summit of the range, an enclosed town with walls and towers, called Aijeneid, all peopled by Mohammedans. The valley here is really beautiful, being covered with woods of olives, corn fields now green, reservoirs of water, gardens, aqueducts in different directions, both arched and plain, and all the marks of industry, opulence, and abundance.
We continued our way easterly through this valley, and at noon approached Nablous by the