Tour From Beirût To Aleppo In 1845 -- By: W. M. Thomson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 005:17 (Feb 1848)
Article: Tour From Beirût To Aleppo In 1845
Author: W. M. Thomson


Tour From Beirût To Aleppo In 18451

Rev. W. M. Thomson

Within the last few years Palestine has been traversed in all directions by travellers from Europe and America, who have in various ways given to the public the result of their discoveries. Northern Syria however has been rarely visited, and but comparatively little is known in regard to it. This fact will probably be regarded by oriental students as a sufficient apology for publishing the following brief journal of a tour through this interesting country.

Oct 16th, 1845. In company with Capt. Newbold of the East India service I left Beirut this afternoon at 3 o’clock, on a tour to Aleppo. A ride of half an hour through rich mulberry orchards brought us to Nahr Beirût—the Magoras of Strabo and Pliny—which we crossed on a substantial stone bridge of seven arches. My companion examined, with some curiosity, the remains of a very ancient building, of Roman brick, which has for many ages marked the spot where St. George killed the Dragon. Leaving the lovers of legendary lore to discuss the rival claims between this and twenty other sites, for the honor of this wonderful combat, we pass on our way around the deep bay of St. George. The path lies along the soft sea beach, and the feathery surf of the light summer breeze tumbles harmlessly over the

feet of your horse. From N. Beirût to N. Antelias2 is one hour, and as much further to Nahr el-Kelb—or Dog river—the Lycus of the ancients. Remarkable on many accounts is this little river. Between lofty ramparts of perpendicular rock, it leaps boldly down from snow-clad Sunnîn into the Mediterranean. Its southern rampart projects into the sea, forming a bold, rough promontory, along whose overhanging brow, a narrow and slippery path has been cut out of the solid rock by “men of other days.” This remarkable pass was once defended by a gate in the narrowest part, the remains of which are still visible, including a granite column with a Greek inscription too much effaced copied. A few rods further on are the Egyptian and Persian figures cut in relief on the face of the rock. I see the name of Sesostris constantly coupled with one of these figures, and shall not attempt to disturb the relation. The origin of the winged globe overshadowing youth acting Egyptian gymnastics is not to be mistaken, and the inscriptions in the arrow-headed character are undoubtedly Persian. Further on and lower down are two Latin inscriptions which may be read in Burckhardt and many other travellers. Near the foot of the present bridge is a very long Saracenic inscription, so involved that our Arab sch...

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