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of God's wonders and the giving of the law. To this end the place of the people has been sought in the tract on the south of that mountain. Laborde, in bis Commentaire Géographique published in 1841, was the first distinctly to propose this view; and he gives a plan of the southern tract, but so distorted and incorrect that no one would ever recognize it. Other travellers have examined the ground with more care, as Mr. Kellogg in 1814, and Strauss and Krafft in 1815; and, on the report of the

latter, Ritter in his great worki bas adopted the same view. They have - doubtless established,—what no one has ever called in question,-the

possibility of a standing-place for the Israelites in that quarter. At the same time they appear to ine to have overlooked several circumstances, which militate strongly against the probability of such a position; circumstances, too, which leave the third particular or test above specified wholly out of view. The weight of Ritter's authority gives an importance to the subject, which it would not otherwise possess.

As to Jebel Mûsa itself: If its claim is supposed to rest on its greater elevation, then we ought rather at once to assume Jebel Katherin, which is much loftier. If it depends on tradition, then it remains to be shown that there is any tradition at all reaching back beyond the fourth or fifth century. The Scriptures afford no evidence that the later Jews had any tradition on the subject. The flights of steps and the many inscriptions on and around Jebel Serbàl are supposed to indicate, that this mountain was at one time regarded as the true Sinai. When too the angels bore the dead body of St. Catherine to this peninsula, it may be supposed that they intended to deposit it in the most sacred place; and if so, then Jebel Kâtherîn was at that time regarded as the holy mount. Indeed, there is nothing which definitely connects tradition with the present Sinai, before the establishment of the convent ly Justinian in A. D. 527.

In respect to the application of the three particulars, above specified, to Jebel Mûsa, there is here of course the mountain, and also space before it on the south-east sufficient for all the people. But as to the third particular, -and this is the point I wish to bring out,-it may well be doubted, whether the relation between this space and the foot of the mountain is such, that bounds may be supposed to have been necessary, lest the people should approach and touch the mount. It is just this point, which those who adopt this view seem to me to have overlooked.

Mr. Smith and myself sat for hours upon the summit of Jebel Mûsa examining this very question in all its bearings. And I suppose it will be admitted, that, from whatever part or tract there is a view of the mountain from below, there will be an equally full view of that tract from the summit above. There is visible in the south-east the head of Wady es

" Erdkunde, Th. XIV.


Jebel ed-Deir, or Mountain of the Cross.


Sebå'iyeh, spreading itself as a narrow plain (Burckhardt calls it here a broad Wady, p. 539, er-Råhah he calls a plain, p. 596 ;) among what appeared to us as naked gravel hills ; which, however, Mr. Kellogg says are granite hills. There is also the similar bend of another valley, Wady elWa’rah, running south-east, towards the gulf of 'Akabah. But let the space in these heads of vallies be larger or smaller,—and I think it has been not a little exaggerated,—there were two main reasons which led us to believe, that this was not the position occupied by the Israelites before the mount; viz. first, the distance from the base of the mountain, which at the nearest point cannot be much (if any) less than half a mile, and for the most part is much more ; and secondly, the rough and impassable character of the intervening ground, consisting of abrupt, gravelly (or, still better, granite) hills, accumulated apparently around the base in irregular masses of low broken cliffs, precluding all idea of easy approach, or of the setting of bounds.

This general view appeared to us so convincing, that we neglected to examine more particularly the immediate base of Sinai on this side. But it has since come to light that there is here a deep ravine between the mountain proper and the low adjacent cliffs, completely separating them and the open ground beyond from the mountain ; thus demonstrating still more strongly the correctness of our view. Such a valley Ritter infers (p. 592) from the language of Schimper, who speaks of passing in his botanical excursions quite around the ridge of Sinai, by following several irregular vallies with only some hills between. It is, however, most fully described by Mr. Kellogg in the Literary World, of Feb. 19, 1848 ; accompanied by a sketch on wood, which is “inaccurate,” as he admits, and is also greatly exaggerated.

Mr. K. had ascended for about five hundred feet the south-western face of the Mountain of the Cross or Jebel ed-Deir, in order to obtain a good view of the peak of Sinai, which he was anxious to sketch.

“Here,” he says, "close at my right, arose, almost perpendicularly, the holy mountain. ... Clinging around its base was a range of sharp, upheaving crags from one to two hundred feet in height, which formed an almost impassable barrier to the mountain itself from the valley adjoining. These crags were separated from the mountain by a deep and narrow gorge; yet they must be considered as forming the projecting base of Sinai [?] ***

" I remained at work until nearly sunset, when I discovered people coming towards me through the deep ravine between the mountain of Sinai and the craggy spurs which shoot up around its base. I feared they might prove to be unfriendly Arabs; but, as they came nearer. I discovered them to be my companions and their guides, who were returning from Mount St. Catherine.” ***

Returning the next day, with a companion, he says: “From Wady es-Seba'iyeh, we crossed over the granite spurs, in order to pass around the southern border of Sinai into Wady Leja. These spurs are of sufficient size to have separate names

VOL. VI. No. 22.


among the Arabs. Around them were generally deep and rugged gorges and rav. ines or water-courses, whose sides were formed of ledges of granite nearly perpendicular. ... Whilst crossing over these low hills, my friend pointed out the path between them and Sinai, through which he had passed yesterday on his return from St. Catherine.... This ravine around Sinai becomes a deep and impassable gorge, with perpendicular walls, as it enters Wady Leja, passing through the high neck connecting Sinai with the mountain on the south. Descending into el-Leja, under the rocky precipice of Sinai, we found the Wady narrow, and choked up with huge blocks of granite, which had tumbled from the sides of the adjacent mountains. We could now see the olive-grove of the deserted convent el-Arbain."

Had Ritter been acquainted with the nature of the ground and the ravine here described ; and especially could be have stood for balf an hour on the summit of Jebel Mûsa ; I cannot help thinking, that the authority of his great name would hardly have been given to the view in question.

One other point may be noticed. It would appear from the language of Scripture, that Moses ascended the mountain in the presence of the people; and the bounds were set (in part) lest the people should “ go up into” the mount (Ex. 19: 12, 20, 24). Now on its southern side the peak of Jebel Mûsa is perfectly inaccessible ; and it can be ascended only from near the convents in the vallies on each side, out of sight of any space on the south. But from er-Râhah, a ravine leading up through the steep face of es-Süfsàfeh, affords a way of ascent directly in sight of the whole plain. This is not improbably the Derb el-Serieh of Pocockel



[Addressed to one of the Editors.]

Yale College, March 26, 1849. MY DEAR SIR: I send you copies of inscriptions transcribed by Mr. Thomson during the tour, bis account of which is contained in the Bib. Sac. for November 1848. The inscriptions are, I regret to say, unimportant in themselves, and in an extremely corrupt state. They ought, however, to be published, as a slight contribution to the epigraphic de

See Pococke, Descr. of the East, I. p. 144. Ritter, Erdk. XIV. p. 542.


Greek Inscriptions in Syria.


partment of Greek archaeology. I have added some few corrections or conjectures.

1. Found on the cornice of the sepulchral chamber at Bshindelayeh mentioned under date of Aug. 29th, in the Bib. Sac. Vol. 5. p. 669. The inscription which occurs immediately under the wreath, extends in large letters the entire length of the cornice, and is very plain except where it has been purposely defaced. ΤΙKΑΦΙΛΟΚΛΗC TIKΛΕ (oC ΑΝΔΡΟΝ - ΤΟΝ ΠΑΤΕΡΑ . ΥΤΟΥΚΑΙΚΑ ΚΙΠΑΡΟΥ, ΤΗΝ ΜΗΤΕ...... (KM ' .. HC ΧΑΡΗ

The fourth letter ought to be 4; and we have here an abbreviation for Τιβέριος Κλαύδιος, which again occurs for the accusatives of the same words. The father's name was perhaps Σώσανδρος. With the mother's I can do nothing. The inscription may have run thus: Tc. Kh. φιλόηλης Τ.. Κλ. Σώσανδρον τον πατέρα αυτού και *

* την μητέρα τιμής και μνήμης χάριν.

2. A few inches beneath this is the following in smaller characters.


I seem here to discern έτους σπρ. μηνός Δύστρου δ. Σώσανδρε .... The year 186, if that be the year, belongs to some aera first used in the Roman times. See ldeler's Handbuch der Chronol. Vol. I. 457-476.

3. On a piece of broken cornice belonging to a ruined church at the village of Kokaniyeh. See Mr. Thomson's tour, p. 670.

IcΘΕ οςο ΤΕΛΙω(AC..


4. On a pedestal of one of the columns is this:


i, e. "Έτους γπι. Μηνός Λόου ? or Δίου ?

5. From the face of a tomb on Jebel Arbayin near Riha. See p. 673.

+ ΕΤΟΥC BY * ΜΗΝΟΓΛωΟΥΓ+ ΕΕ Λ. ΡΟ... ΟΕΤΟΟΕΓΚΑΙKΑΝΚΟΛΛΛΙ[ΟΥΕΟΑ * ΡΧωΝΥΙΟΥΛΙΛΕΓΓ ΙΠΥΔΙΛΓΕΡΓΟΝΙΕΥΡ All following the second cross seems to be in one line, if I understand Mr. Thomson correctly. The date is legible ; and towards the end something occurs which looks like 'Ιουλία ... Γοργο[ω]νίου. 6. On another tomb in the same place


7. From the south cornice of a canopy over the fountain at Kefr Lata, mentioned p. 673. The letters are in one line and some of them nearly illegible.


8. Over the door of a large house at Bara. See p.



This is Psalm 121: 8, with των αιώνων for του αιώνος, and αμήν following. The same verse is copied by Mr. Thomson from an inscription over another door partly obliterated.

9. “ Above the north window of a palace is the following.”


This must be Luke 2: 14, as far as εν α[νθρώποις εύδοκίαν], with the nouns put into the accusative. But the first part is not clear. After δόξαν there is not room for εν υψίστοις Θεώ.

10. The following is over a doorway at the same place. ΝΕΓΑΛΗ Η ΔΥΝΑΝΙΕΤΗ ( ΑΓΙΑ ΤΡΙΔΟ( + O KONIC ΠΡΙ Ο Κ Ο ΕΝ ΓΟΥΤωΝΙΚΑ

That is μεγάλη η δύναμις της αγίας τριαδός. +ο Κομης Πρίσκος. εν τούτω νίκα.

Count Priscus lived after Constantine, perbaps a great while after. .

11. Near the modern village at the same place.


This is probably έτους η, και, Ψ. Ξαντικου μηνός [ευρα ?] Π of the inscription is probably N and T joined together. The Macedonian montb Xanthicus is also written not unfrequently with a (see Bergk’s Beiträge zur Griech. Monatskunde, p. 54), and also with t, comp. Boeckh Corp. inscr. Vol. 3. No. 4672. The name of the month usually follows unvós.

12. On two sides of a large cross upon a coffin occurs Psalm 91: 9, second clause, and 10, which it is unnecessary to copy.

13. In the porch within one of the gates of the castle at Salamiyeh, copied by Dr. De Forest. See p. 682.

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This stone must have been broken in two nearly in a direction down

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