Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

years the Syrians were ruled by a Latin race, and there is, our author remarks, every reason to believe that they were content to be so governed; truly, in the present century,' he writes, Syria might still be ruled well by a system 'founded on that of the Assizes of Jerusalem.' Various were the races ruled by these Christian kings, Normans, Provençals, Italians, Germans, Frisians, a few English and Spaniards, at one time Norsemen and Danes, among Europeans; among the native races, Christian and Moslem, were Greeks, Armenians, Georgians, Syrians, Moslem Fellahin and Arabs, and apparently Persians among the Druzes and Assassins. As the natural result of the communion of the East and West, the lingua Franca contained a mixture of Arabic and Italian, and other tongues of the Latin races. The language of literature and the Church was Latin. Europeans married native women; thus arose the race called Poulains by the chroniclers. Baldwin I. and Baldwin II. married Armenian princesses, but this did not result in placing a half-bred king on the throne. The alliances of the noble 'families with Armenians were very numerous, and the rosy 'cheeks and dark eyes of the women of this race seem to have been more admired than the dusky beauties of Syrians, ' even when of Christian belief.'

Among the Italian republics represented in Palestine, the Venetians seem to have been the richest and most important; in 1123 they obtained by treaty a quarter in every city in the kingdom; the Genoese sold their assistance dearly to Baldwin I., obtaining a third of the loot for every mari' time city taken by aid of their fleet.' The Jews under crusading rule do not seem to have flourished. Already in 1090 the crusaders killed nearly all the Jews in Jerusalem. Probably, as Captain Conder suggests, the needy Norman nobles remembered their ruin by Jewish usury at home, and so were determined not to admit a similar element of weakness into their newly constituted state, preferring to borrow from the equally usurious Armenian Christians, or from the rich bankers of the Templar order.

In connexion with the social relations and customs of the principal classes of the population during the period of Norman rule, existing documents of the age show in detail the tenure of the smaller fiefs and the services rendered by the vassals. The knights when required were obliged to take the field with a certain number of horses or pack animals. Rent for their land was paid in money or in kind. Sometimes they acted as paid officials. The knights of the

great orders of the Hospital and of St. Lazarus were subject to the Patriarch of Jerusalem; the Templars were independent of ecclesiastical authority, forming an imperium in imperio which rendered them a danger to the State. Their count and viscount protected the burgesses, who also formed a system of brotherhood among themselves; these orders under patron saints and protected by bishops became rich and prosperous guilds.

The care of the poor and of the lower class of pilgrims devolved mainly on the Church. The canons of the Holy Sepulchre are said to have used their funds mainly in assisting pilgrims and the sick. In 1165, according to John of Würtzburg, the hospital relieved every day 2,000 poor, giving them both food and medical aid. Great towns, like Jerusalem and Nâblus, had their hospitals for the lepers tended by the Knights of St. Lazarus.'

Slaves of both sexes were employed as servants by the Franks; they were bought in Armenia as in Ezekiel's time, or were negroes sold at Jeddah by the Abyssinians and sent north by the same route which slaves from Africa still traverse. The slaves appear to have been sometimes Christians, and Christians would not allow such slaves to be sold to Moslems. The treatment of slaves, as has been mentioned, was regulated by the Assizes of Jerusalem. Liberty was often given to them. Eunuchs were employed by the kings of Jerusalem as well as in Armenia.

The forces of the kingdom did not apparently exceed some 7,000 fighting men, not counting the great orders; with their forces, Turcopoles or native horsemen, and Maronite archers, the grand total of the Christian permanent forces is estimated to have been between 20,000 and 25,000 men. Some sketches on the pillars at Bethlehem give a correct idea of the lofty crests used on the tops of helmets in the earlier times of the Norman rule. Moslems did not hesitate to sell arms to Christians; swords of Damascus were in high esteem, others came from India and Yemen. The armour of the crusading period is familiar from seals and pictures.

The dress of the Franks in civil life seems to have been loose and flowing, and suited to the climate. Geoffrey de Vinsauf has given a full description of King Richard's wedding dress, which was of rose-coloured stuff, ornamented with rows of crescents in solid silver, with a scarlet hat embroidered in gold with figures of birds and beasts; his sword handle, his spurs, and the clasp of his belt were of gold, as was his horse's bit.

'Furs from the centre of Asia (where Marco Polo describes them)

and from Russia, with silk, satin, and various other stuffs, ostrich feathers and plumes of the peacock (white or of the commoner species), were also woven with lamb's wool jackets, recalling those still common among the Arabs. The appearance of a mediæval crowd on a gala day must apparently have resembled a flower garden for colour.'

Pastimes and diversions were not forgotten by the crusaders; jugglers, tumblers, conjurors, dancing men and dancing women were admitted into the great halls of the castles. True to habits of cleanliness, certainly more prevalent among English people than other nations, baths were cominon. Each castle had a bathing-place within its walls. The passion for music-embodied in the popular song of Gaily the Troubadour '—for romances and wonderful legends was insatiable, nor was the excitement of the chase forgotten; the falcon, gazelle-hound, and hunting leopard (niner), were used by both Franks and Arabs. The cru

saders

'both ate and drank much more than was good for them in such a climate; the latter was luxurious both as regards its viands, and also as to its furniture. The wines of the country, strong and heady as they are, were supplemented with beer, which was sold in Damascus as early as 1129. Sauces, sweetmeats, scents, and iced drinks were also adopted by the Normans through Arab influence.'

The finest buildings of the age are the beautiful churches of the crusaders; in general style these buildings show the influence of Byzantine art on the Latin architects. The dates of the principal churches still extant in Palestine are known. According to M. de Vogüé, the cathedral of the Holy Sepulchre dates from 1103 A.D., the church on Mount Tabor from 1110, the monastery of Bethany from 1138, the church at Nazareth from 1185. The Dome of the Rock was covered exteriorly with glass mosaic work, with long Latin texts, traces of which are still to be found on the wall. The present Gothic porch of the Aksa may probably be attributed to the order of Templars, whose horses were stabled in what is now shown as Solomon's stables. The Latin rite of baptism necessitated the use of fonts, and noble specimens of these great fonts are found in the ruins of Palestine where churches once existed. The tombs of the crusaders were sunk in the rock, and had a chamber beneath the shaft for two bodies, man and wife. There is a large cemetery of this kind at Iksol below Nazareth; graves in church walls or floors, with flat tombstones and short Gothic-lettered inscriptions in Latin, are also known; leaden coffins were used in the crusading period; hired mourning women were

employed by native Christians in the twelfth century. The cultivation of the country was well attended to; vineyards were numerous; the vines of Engedi with those in the fiefs of Tripoli and Antioch were specially noted; olives, fruit trees, and cotton were grown. The sugarcane was found by the crusaders at Tripoli, and was grown in the plains of Jericho, where the ruined sugar-mills of the crusading period still remain.' The introduction by the crusaders of plough lands, corresponding to the Domesday carucates, is very curious. The casale (village) was divided into plough portions, each of about eighty acres.

[ocr errors]

There are many other interesting topics in Captain Conder's book relating to this interesting period of the Crusades, of which the space at our command forbids us to speak. We are certain that Syrian Stone-Lore' will prove to be a most useful manual, and a valuable companion to the author's other works on Palestine. If we may be allowed to suggest any alterations in future editions of the work, we would strongly recommend the removal from its pages of that portion which would explain the Hamathite inscriptions as early forms of Egyptian hieroglyphics, a theory which seems to us to be utterly untenable. It is true that here and there one may pick out a few Hamathite characters which bear some resemblance to Egyptian hieroglyphs, but anyone even slightly acquainted with Egyptian writing can see at a glance the utter dissimilarity between the two systems when taken as a whole; the insertion, therefore, of certain Hamathite and Egyptian characters on page 25, side by side, is most misleading. As to the general question of the Hittite inscriptions, we think, with Captain Conder, that nothing or next to nothing is absolutely known. While thanking Professor Sayce, Dr. Wright, and Mr. Rylands for their book, in which all that has hitherto been discovered of the Hittites and their monuments is given and discussed, we confess that very little has been proved. We must be content to wait for further discoveries-the much-needed key would be a bilingual inscription of greater length than the bare mention of the king of Erme on the silver boss of Tankondemos-before a hope can be entertained of acquiring any definite knowledge. At present, the question of decipherment seems to us to be involved in a thick mist, which even the brilliancy of Professor Sayce's intelligence and his skilled patience have been unable to penetrate.

Captain Conder's opinion that the Exodus is to be referred to the reign of Thothmes IV. and not to that of Men-en

[ocr errors]

ptah, as nearly all the best Egyptologists believe, does not seem to us to be well sustained, and would be very difficult to reconcile with Egyptian and Hebrew records. Here and there we notice what in other writers one would be inclined to call a dogmatic tendency. For instance, we are told that Ophir was certainly in Arabia.' The question where Ophir was has long been a disputed one, and even now its whereabouts has not been absolutely proved. Max Müller and other excellent authorities think there is no doubt that it was somewhere in India; at any rate it is a great deal too much to affirm an Arabian locality in the very decided remark of Captain Conder. The question as to the original home of the Egyptians is probably correctly answered by asserting that it was somewhere in the Asiatic quarter of the world; the introduction of the word 'probably' is recommended in the sentence, The Egyptians were themselves an Asiatic migratory people.' Among Arab words transported from Spain, we almost certainly have our English 'admiral' (Emîr-el), and certainly damask' from Damascus; but sheriffe is Anglo-Saxon, and not from the Arabic; and tartan' has nothing to do with Tyre, nor satin' with Zeitûn.

THE

ART. VI. History of the Great Civil War. By SAMUEL R. GARDINER, M.A., LL.D., &c. &c. Vol. I. London: 1886. HE political side of the Great Civil War will always remain the most important and interesting part of that phase in our history. The Monarchy, the Church, the Estates of the Realm, and the settled fabric of English society were overthrown in an eventful contest; and for the first and the last time in our annals, the polity of these ancient kingdoms was subverted by a despotism of the sword. The struggle, fitful and passionless at the outset, and marked by the English spirit of compromise, was gradually exasperated by the faithlessness of the King and the fanaticism of the Puritan movement; until, having desolated England and Scotland and turned Ireland into a field of blood, it terminated in the tragedy of Whitehall and the establishment of the Cromwellian Commonwealth. This period of violence has passed away, and its animosities appear extinct, but it has been attended by mighty results. The constitutional rights of England and Scotland have grown out of the destruction wrought by the war in the old order of things;

« ForrigeFortsæt »