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Sermon Podcast | Audio | Video : Christian Books : Chapter 10 A Description of the Sea-coast, out of Pliny and Strabo.

From The Talmud And Hebraica by John Lightfoot

Chapter 10 A Description of the Sea-coast, out of Pliny and Strabo.

|Idumea and Palestine begin from the rising up of the Sirbon lake. The towns of Rhinocorura, and within Raphea. Gaza, and within Anthedon. Mount Angaris. The country along the coast, Samaria. The free town Ascalon, Azotus. The two Jamnes, the one a village| (otherwise Jamne within). |Joppe of the Phoenicians. Thence Apollonia. The tower of Strato; the same is Caesarea. The bounds of Palestine are a hundred and eighty-nine miles from the confines of Arabia. Then begins Phoenice.|

And chapter 19: |We must go back to the coast, and Phoenice. There was the town Crocodilon; it is now a river. Rains of some cities. Dorum. Sycaminum. The promontory Carmel: and, in the mountain, a town of the same name, heretofore called Ecbatana. Near that, Getta, Lebba, the river Pagida or Belus, mingling glassy sand with its small shore: it flows from the lake Cendevia, at the root of Carmel. Next that is Ptolemais, a colony of Claudius Caesar, which heretofore was called Ace. The town Ecdippa. The White Promontory. Tyrus, heretofore an island, &c. It is in compass nineteen miles, Palae-Tyre, lying within, being included. The town itself contains two-and-twenty furlongs. Then the towns, Enhydra, Sarepta, and Ornithon; and Sidon, the artist of glass, and the mother of Thebes in Boeotia.|

Strabo goes backward: |Tyrus is not distant from Sidon above two hundred furlongs|: -- five-and-twenty miles.

The masters of the Jews have observed this neighbourhood in that canon, whereby provision is made, that nobody betake himself to sail in the Mediterranean sea within three days before the sabbath: |But if any (say they) will sail from Tyre to Sidon, he may, even on the eve of the sabbath: because it is well known, that that space may be sailed, while it is yet day.|

|Between Tyre and Sidon there is the little city Ornithon| (the city of birds). |At Tyre a river goes out.|

|Thirty furlongs beyond Tyre is Palae-Tyrus|: three miles three quarters. When, therefore, Pliny saith, the compass of Tyre is nineteen miles, |Palae-Tyre, that lies within, being included,| he shows manifestly, that it is not to be understood of the compass of the city itself, since he saith, |The town itself held two-and-twenty furlongs|: nor can it well be taken of the whole circumference of the Tyrian jurisdiction, but rather of the extent of the bounds of it that way, which he went.

|Moreover, from Tyre| (southward) |is Ptolemais, formerly called Ace. And between Ace and Tyre, is a shore heaped with sands fit to make glass.|

|Beyond Ace is the tower of Strato. The mountain Carmel lies between: and the names of some small cities, and nothing more. The cities of Sycamines, of Herdsmen, of Crocodiles, and others. And going thence, is a certain great wood.|

|After that, Joppa; next which, the shore of Egypt, which before had stretched out towards sun-rising, does remarkably bend towards the north. There some talk, that Andromeda was exposed to the whale. A place sufficiently high; so high, indeed, that from thence (they report) Jerusalem may be seen, the metropolis of the Jews. The Jews, also, that go down to the sea, use this port. But these ports are receptacles for robbers. And so was the wood and Carmel.|

|And this place was so well peopled, that, out of Jamnia, a near village, and the dwellings neighbouring about, might be armed forty thousand men.|

|Thence to mount Casius towards Pelusium, the distance is a thousand furlongs, and a little more. And three hundred more to Pelusium.|

Here we must stop, and see how these two authors do agree. For, according to Strabo's account, one thousand three hundred furlongs, and a little more, run out from Pelusium to Joppa: that is, one hundred and sixty three miles, or thereabouts: but according to Pliny's, at first sight, more by far. For |Arabia (saith he) is bounded sixty-five miles from Pelusium: and the end of Palestine is one hundred and eighty-nine miles from the confines of Arabia. And then begins Phoenice.| The sum is two hundred and fifty-four miles. He had named Joppa before, 'Joppa of the Phoenicians.' But now, supposing he makes Joppa the border of Palestine, and the beginning of Phoenice, there are from Pelusium to Joppa, himself reckoning, almost a hundred miles more than in Strabo. Nor is there any thing to answer from the difference of the measure of Strabo's furlongs, and Pliny's miles. For they go by the same measure, themselves being witnesses: for to Strabo, |Eight furlongs make a mile|; and, to Pliny, |A furlong makes a hundred and twenty-five of our paces|: -- which comes to the same thing.

We must therefore say, that by the 'end of Palestine,' in Pliny, is properly signified the end of it, touching upon Phoenicia properly so called; -- that is, upon the borders of Tyre and Sidon. For when he calls Joppa, |Joppa of the Phoenicians,| -- he does not conclude Joppa within Phoenicia; but because the sea, washing upon that shore of Palestine, was divided in common speech into the Phoenician and the Egyptian sea (so Strabo before, |Afterward Joppe; after that, the shore of Egypt,| &c.); and because the Phoenicians were famous for navigation, -- he ascribed their name to Joppa, a very eminent haven of that shore. But he stretched the borders of Palestine a great way farther; -- namely, so far till they meet with the borders of Tyre and Sidon. So far, therefore, doth Pliny's measure extend itself; to wit, -- that, from Idumea, and the rising of the Sirbon lake, to the borders of Tyre and Sidon, there be one hundred and eighty-nine miles. The place that divided these meeting-bounds to the Jews, was Acon, or Ptolemais; which we shall note, when we come thither: -- but whether it was so to Pliny, remains obscure. But it is a more probable opinion, that he computed according to the vulgar and most known distinction.

Gulielmus Tyrius, measuring the borders of the Tyre of his time southward, extends them to four or five miles: |For it is extended southward towards Ptolemais, as far as to that place, which, at this day, is called 'the district of Scandarion,' which is four or five miles.| If, therefore, it should be granted, that Pliny's measure extended so far, we might compute the length of the land from the Sirbon, where also is the river of Egypt, to Sidon, by this account:

I. From the Sirbon to the borders of Phoenice, one hundred and eighty-nine miles. -- Pliny.

II. From the first borders of Phoenice to Tyre, five miles. -- Gul. Tyrius.

III. From Tyre to Sidon, twenty-five miles. -- Strabo.

Sum total is two hundred and nineteen miles.

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