« AnteriorContinuar »
to run in a northerly direction it will be carried along
a sloping ground, which is a disadvantage; but the Tyropceon must be crossed; and since Acra is north of Zion, the wall must run in that direction along the declivity to the upper and more shallow part of the valley, near the Damascus gate; it here reached the hill of Acra, round which
it was carried until it met the wall of the fortress of Antonia." 1
Compare with this the statement of Josephus. "The city was built avriirpoaayiros, one part facing the other, upon two hills, separated by a valley between; at which, compactly built together, the houses ended." But Mr. Williams, instead of placing Acra face to face with Zion upon the opposite side of the Tyropceon, carries the second wall northward from the northern wall of Zion to the Damascus gate, before it strikes the Tyropceon or the hill of Acra; he locates that hill upon the east of the Tyropceon, so that this valley divides Acra from "the rocky ridge of Gihon," but at no point separates it from Zion. Moreover Josephus informs us expressly that the Lower city was commensurate with Acra; and that its buildings terminated on the edge of the Tyropceon opposite to the houses of Zion or the Upper city. But Mr. Williams, on his map and by the course of his second wall, includes the upper part of the Tyropceon within the Lower city, which he extends over " the rocky ridge of Gihon," as well as over the opposite promontory, which he designates " the hill of Acra." He thus interposes, between Acra and Zion, (1) the depression eastward from the Jaffa gate, which Dr. Robinson proves to have existed between Zion and the hill directly to the north, (2) the hill which Mr. Williams calls the termination of the broad swell of Gihon, and (3) the valley running southward from the Damascus gate, which he calls the Tyropceon; these three marked features, instead of the one valley of Josephus, the Tyropceon, on the opposite sides of which the two divisions of the city, the Upper on Zion and the Lower on Acra, stood "fronting each other." Mr. Williams's theory of Acra must
l Holy City, p. 285.
be dismissed as entirely without foundation. It is to be regretted that this is presented in Smith's Dictionary of Ancient Geography as if it were the established or conceded view of the position of the second bill.
Dr. Tobler finds Acra in a subdivision of what is commonly called Zion. According to him the depression between the Armenian and the Jewish quarters answers to the Tyropceon, and within the modern walls the Upper city is to be sought mainly in the present Armenian quarter, and the Lower city in the Jewish quarter. The western half of Zion was the Upper city; the eastern half, nearest the temple, was the Lower.1 The profound learning of Dr. Tobler, and his patient research upon the ground, command our high respect. But his theory is impracticable upon any fair interpretation of Josephus. The depression between the Armenian and the Jewish quarters, could never have formed so marked a feature as to give the appearance of a two-hilled city to this bi-fronted hill of Zion;2 and the supposition that Acra intervened between Zion and the temple-mount, contradicts the express testimony of Josephus that a bridge joined "the Upper city to the temple: ical ye<pvpa avvunnovaa. T& iepai T?/j/ avco Ttoxiv." B. J. 6. 6. 2. Moreover, the theory of Tobler greatly contracts the area of the city.
If the location of Acra by Dr. Robinson be incorrect, there seems to be no alternative but that resorted to by Thrupp, viz. to locate Acra upon the east of the Tyropceon, opposite the eastern front of Zion, now the Jews' quarter; thus making it identical with the temple-hill. This writer, in common with Robinson and Williams, identifies Zion with the Armenian and Jewish quarters of the present city and the southern brow of the hill upon which these are built,
1 Topographie von Jerusalem, I. 34, Berlin, 1853.
2 Dr. Tobler in his Plan represents this division as marked: "Die Obcrstadt oder dcr 01>ermarkt entspricht dcr heutigen Westhiilftc Zions, die sich ebenfalls raehr gerade in die Langc zieht oder von Slid nach Xord eine langliche Form hat. Ich verweise deshalb auf meinen Plan von Jerusalem. Wie die Form des Hiigels mit der Oberstadt bezeichnet ist, so anch diejenige des die Unterstadt tragenden Hiigels; eine rundliche, fast vollmondige Form, im Gcgensaze zur langlichen . . . Die ll'esfhalftc Zions die obere, die Osfhalftc die untere," etc.
now lying without the walls; Acra is the ridge of the Haram, beginning near the present Stephen's gate and extending southward to the terminus of the ridge below the village of Silwan on the east and the fountain of Siloam on the west; the third hill is the /*i7/-part of the Mohammedan quarter of the modern city, lying to the north of the Haramesh-Sherif (the Bezetha of Robinson, Ritter, and others), and Bezetha is to be found in " the ridge of the modern Haret Bab el-Hitta," the greater part of which is excluded by the modern wall. This theory excludes from the city, in the time of Christ, the whole of the present Christian quarter, and that section of the Mohammedan quarter which lies westward of the street running down from the Damascus gate.1 By this plan of the city, Mr. Thrupp brings Acra and Zion face to face upon opposite sides of the Tyropceon, which he identifies with the Moors' quarter of the modern city; and by making Acra the temple-hill, he can connect the temple with the Upper city by a bridge over the valley, according to Josephus. But his plan contradicts the Jewish historian at one explicit point of his description, and can only be defended by a new and forced construction of his account of the third hill. Having described Acra as the hill of the Lower city, Josephus immediately adds:
"Over against this was a third hill, naturally lower than Acra, and formerly separated from it by another broad ravine. Afterwards, however, when the Asmoneans were in power, desiring to connect the city with the temple, they filled in this ravine, and, cutting down the summit of Acra, they reduced its elevation, so that the temple might appear above it."
Mr. Thrupp contends that the temple stood upon the second hill, viz. Acra; that the "third hill" lay to the north of the line of the Via Dolorosa, and that the northward portion of the temple-hill itself — the second hill or Acra — was levelled, in order that the temple, standing upon Acra, and already visible from Zion opposite, might also be made visible from the third hill on the north, and thus "be made
1 Ancient Jerusalem by Joseph Francis Thrupp, M. A. Cambridge, 1855. pp. 35—40.
conspicuous to the whole city."] This ingenious rendering meets the topographical description of Josephus better than the grammatical structure of his text. Josephus describes the city proper as built upon two distinct hills. If the temple, the most conspicuous building of Jerusalem, the dearest object to the Jew, the pride and glory of his city and his faith, and the most obstinately-contested point in the very siege which Josephus describes, had stood upon either of these hills, it is incredible that he should have omitted to speak of it. The immediate mention of a third hill over against Acra, and the statement that the Asmoneans filled the ravine between these two hills in order "to connect the city with the temple," proves that the temple could not have already stood within the Lower city. Mr. Thrupp's theory places the temple in the Lower city, and then unites it with an insignificant section, to the north, in order "to connect it with the city!" Clearly Josephus means, that, as the temple-hill was connected with Zion by a bridge, so it was connected with Acra by a causeway. Besides, the surface of the temple-hill, as described by Josephus, would not admit of a surrounding city. He expressly states that "originally the level space on its summit scarcely sufficed for the sanctuary and the altar, the ground about being abrupt and steep." His whole description warrants the inference that the temple-hill was the "third" hill, and distinct from Acra. Ritter, while he leaves the position and boundaries of Acra somewhat unsettled (zweifelhafte), has no hesitation in locating the temple-hill opposite to Acra, upon the east.2 Tobler, though he locates Acra differently, makes the site of the mosque Moriah on the temple-hill.
Rejecting Thrupp's theory as untenable, we must fall back upon Dr. Robinson's view, unless we carry the boundaries of Zion much further to the north. This is the view of Rabbi Schwartz, who transfers Hippicus from the Jaffa gate to a point near Jeremiah's grotto. The resident antiquarians and savans of Jerusalem are generally agreed in extending the area of Zi
1 Ancient Jerusalem, p. 37, Note.
a Erdkunde, Von Asien, B. VIII. 8. 4. $ 9.
on so as to include Dr. Robinson's Acra, making the valley running southward from the Damascus gate the Tyropoeon, and Acra the ridge sweeping round from that point to the Haram. This view is far more consistent with Josephus than that of Williams; inasmuch as it brings Zion and Acra face to face on opposite sides of a once steep ravine, while it also presents Acra as originally divided from the templehill by a broad valley, traceable from about the line of Stephen's gate. It has the further advantage of extending the area of the city so that it comports better with the measurements of the walls, given by Josephus, and with his statement of the population. This theory is fatal to the traditionists with respect to the site of the holy sepulchre, which could not have been within the wall of Zion. We are disposed to wait the result of further investigations in this direction. But at present we do not see how the advocates of this enlargement of Zion can dispose of the mass of evidence in favor of the common Zion of topographers, and of the identity of the Jaffa-gate castle with the Hippicus of Josephus.1
Von Raumer, in his third revised edition of his Palestina, after a candid and thorough review of all the evidence on these points, declares his entire agreement with Dr. Robinson in the location of Zion, Acra, the Tyropoeon, and their mutual relations.2 So far at least as the theories of traditionists concerning the holy sepulchre are concerned, may we not assume that the position of Acra is determined upon topographical grounds which no ecclesiastical tradition can disturb? True, the location here assigned to Acra does not of necessity overthrow the site which tradition has assigned to the place of the Saviour's crucifixion and burial; for the course of the second wall, over the ridge of Acra, remains to be determined. But the more violent traditionists seem tacitly to admit that to identify Acra with the summit due north from Zion is fatal to their theory. To build a wall
1 For the evidence on this latter point, sec Ritter, Von Raumer, Tobler, Robinson, Willinms, Traill's Josephus, and Barclay. a Palestina, Leipzig, 1850, p. 312.