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other, lay, covered with dust and cobwebs, upon the altar. From its appearance, it was evident that it had been found near the spot, the dirt not having been remored ; and that the same piety, which had been shown in collecting together the other scraps,

had also induced some person to place it upon the altar, as a relique. How long it had remained there could not be ascertained ; but in all probability it had lately been deposited, because the cattle, coming into this place, might have disturbed it; and the Moslems, from their detestation of every pictured representation of the human form, would have rlestroyed it, the instant it was perceived by them. We there. fore inquired for the person to whoin this place principally beJonged. An Arab came, who told us the picture bad been found in moving a heap of rubbish belonging to the church ; and that there were others like it, which were discovered in clearing some stones and mortar out of an old vaulted lumberroom belonging to the building, where certain of the villagers had since been accustomed to keep their plaster bee-hives* and workiog utensils. To this place he conducted us.

It was near the altar. The Arab opened it for us, and there, in the midst of bee-hives, implements of husbandry, and other lum. ber, we found two pictures upon wood, of the same kind, almost eptire, but in the condition which might be expected from the mander of their discovery. Of these curious reliquics, highly interesting, from the circumstances of their origin, and their great antiquity, as specimens of the art of painting, a more particular description will now be given.

The first, namely, that which was found in two pieces upon the altart represents the interior of an apartment, with a man and woman seated at their supper table. The marks of age are strongly delineated in the features of these two personages. -A young female is represented as coming into the house, and approaching the table in haste, to communicate intelligeuce. Her left hand, elevated, points toward heaven. A circular symbol of sanctity surrounds the heads of all of them; and the picture, according to the most ancient style of painting, is executed upon a golden back ground. The subject seems evidently the salutation of Elizabeth by the Virgio, in the house of Zacharias.* Upon the table appears a fiagon, some radishes, and other articles of food. Elizabeth is represented holding a cup half filled with red wine, and the Virgin's right hand rests upon a loaf of bread." A chandelier, with lighted candles, hangs from the ceiling; and, wbat is more remarkable, the Fleur de Lis, as an ornament, appears amorig the decorations of the apartment. Tlie form of the chalice in the hand of Elizabeth, added to the circumstance of the chandelier, give to this picture an air of less antiquity that seems to characterize the second, which we found in the vaulted chamber, near the altar; although these afford no document whereby its age may be determined. Candelabra, nearly of the same form, were in use at a very early period, as we learn from the remains of such antiquities in bronze; and the lily, * as a symbol

* Hasselquist was at this place upon the fifth of May, 1751. The monks who were with him alighted to honour the ruins of the church. 1. The inhabitants," says he, " breed a great number of bees. They make their hives of clay, four feet long, and balf a foot in diameter, as in Egypt.” This sort of bee-bive is also used in Cyprus. See p. 209.

| Having presented this picture to the Rev. T. Kerrich, principal librarian of the University of Cambridge, exactly as it was found upon the altar of the church of Sephoury, that gentleman, well known for the attention he has paid to the history of ancient painting, has, at the author's request, kindly communicated the following re. sult of his observations upon the subject.

" This ancient picture is on cloth, pasted upon wood, and appears to be painted in water colours upon a priming of chalk, and then varnished, in the manner taught by Theophilus (1) an author who is supposed to have lived as early as the teath century (2)

* It is a fragment, and nearly one fourth part of it seems to be lost. Three persons, who by the nimbus or glory about the head of each, must be all saints, are at a table, on which are hes, or some other roots, bread, &c. Two of the figures are, sitting, and one of them holds a gold vessel, of a particular form, with an ear; the

(1) See Raspe's Essay on Oil-Painting, p. 68, and 87. 4to. Lond. 1781, (2) Page 46, of the same book.

other a gold cup, with red liquor in it: the third appears to be speaking, and points up to heaven.

" The glories, and some other parts of the picture, are gilt, as the whole of the background certainly was originally.

“ It is undoubtedly a great curiosity, and very ancient, although it may be ex. tremely difficult to fix its date with any degree of accuracy. From the style I cannot conclude any thing, as I never saw any other picture like it; but there is nothing in the architecture represented in it to induce us to suppose it can be later than the end of the eleventh century ; and it may be a great deal older.

* Luke i. 39, 40.
† Probably intended as an allusion to the elements of the holy sacrament.

The vulgar appellation of Flower de Luce is given in England to a species of iris, but the flower originally designated by the French term Fleur de Lis, was, as its name implies, a lily. It is represented in all ancient paintings of the Virgin, and sometimes in the hand of the archangel, in pictures of the annunciation, thereby denoting the advent of the Messiah. Its original consecration was of very high antiquity. In the Song of Solomon (ch. ii. 1, 2.) it is mentioned with the rose, as an emblem of the church: “ I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valley:" This alone is sufficient to explain its appearance upon religious paintings. Its introduction as a type in heraldry may be referred to the crusades. It appears in the crown worn by Ed. ward the Confessor, according to a coin engraved both in Speed and in Camden. But there is another circumstance

wbieh renders its situation upon pictures of the Virgin peculiarly appropriate: the word Nazareth, in Hebrew, signifies à fioner: and St. Jerom, who mentions this circumstance, (tom. I. epist. xvii

. ad Marcellam : See also Fuller's Palestine, book II. c. 6. p. 143. Lond. 1650) considers it to be the cause of the allusion made to a flower in the prophecies concerning Christ. Maripus Samu

at this prophetical allusion in the writings of Isaiah. These are his words: “ Hæc est illa amabilis civitas Nazareth, quæ florida interpretatur: in quâ fios campi oritur, dum in Virgine Verbum caro efficitur..... Ornatus tamen illo nobili flore, super quem constat spiritum domini quievisse. · Ascendet," inquit Isajas, 'Ros de radice

of Christianity, has been found upon religious pictures as long as any specimens of the art of painting have been koowu, which bear reference to the history of the church. The wood of the sycamore was used for the backs of all these pictures ; and to this their preservation may be attributed ; as the sycamore is never attacked by worms, and is knowo to endure, uvaltered, for a very considerable time. Tudeed, the Arabs maintaju that it is not in any degree, liable to decay.

The second exhibits a more ancient style of painting : it is a picture of the Virgin, bearing, in swaddling clothes, the infant Jesus. The style of it exactly resembles those curious specimens of the art which are found in the churches of Russia ;* excepting, that it has an Arabic, instead of a Greek, inscription. This picture, as well as the former, is painted according to the mode prescribed by Theophilus, in his chapter “De Tabulus Altarium;"'+ which alone affords satisfactory proof of its great antiquity. The colours were applied to a priming of chalk upon cloth previously stretched over a wooden tablet, and covered with a superficies of gluten or size. The Arabic inscription, placed in the upper part of the picture, consists oply of these words :

Bary the Ulirgin.

The third picture is, perhaps, of more modern origin than either of the others, because it is painted upon paper made of cottop, or silk rags, which has been also attached to a tablet of sycamore wood. This is evidently a representation of the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus, although the words “ The Holy," in Arabic, are all that can be read for its illustration; what followed having been effaced. Three lilies are painted above Jesse, et requiescet super eum spiritus domini.'(Marin. Sanut. Secret. Fidel. Cruc. lib. iji. pars 7. c. 2.) Hence the cause wherefore, in ancient paintings used for illu mipating missals, the rose and the lily, separately or combined, accompany pictures of the Virgin. In old engravings, particularly those by Albert Durer, the Virgin is rarely represented unaccompanied by the lily. Hence, again, the origin of those singular paintings wherein subjects connected with the history of Christ are represented within a wreath of Aowers, added, not for ornamental purposes alone, but as having a religious interpretation; and hence, in all probability, the curious ancient legend of the miraculous flowering of Joseph's staff in the temple, wherely the will of God, concerning his marriage with the Virgin, was said to be miraculously manifested. See the book of The Golden Legende," as printed by Caxton. In the account given by Quaresmius concerning Nazareth (lib. vii.c. 5. Elucid. Ter. Sanct.). Christ is denominated Flos campi, et lilium convalliuni, cujus odor est sicut odor agri pleni." Vid. tom. IL p. 817. Antwerp. 1639. * See the first volume of these Travels, chap. II.

't See the ancient manuscript published by Raspe, and referred to by Mr. Kerrich in his pole upon the former picture.

the head of the infant Messiah : and where the paint has wholly disappeared, in consequence of the injuries it has sustained, an Arabic manuscript is disclosed, whereon the picture was painted. This manuscript is notbing more than a leaf torn from an old copy book : the same line occurs repeatedly from the top of the page to the bottom; and contains this aphorism:

Chi Unbelizuzr hath walked in the way of Sin.

Whatsoever may have been the antiquity of these early spe. cimens of the art of painting, it is probable that they existeni long prior to its iptroduction into Italy; since they seem evidenils of an earlier date than the destruction of the church, beneath whose ruins they were buried, and among which they were recently discovered, No value was set upon them: they were not esteemed by the Arabs in whose possession they were found, although some Christiau pilgrim had placed the two frag. ments belonging to one of theni upon the rude altar which his predecessors had constructed from the former materials of the building. Not the smallest objection was made to their remoral: so, having bestowed a trifle upon the Mahometan tenait of the bec-live'repository, we took them into safer custody.* Among the various authors who have mentioned Sephoury

, no intelligence is given of the church in its entire state : this is the more remarkable, as it was certainly one of the stateliest edifices in the Holy Land. Quaresmius, who published in the seventeenth century a copious and elaborate description of the Holy Land,t has afforded the only existing document concerning the form of this building ; but his account is avoiedly derived from a survey of its ruins. Speaking of the city, he expresses himself to the following effect :* “ It now exhibits a scene of ruin and desolation, consisting only of peasants' habitations, and sufficievtly manifests in its remains, the splendour of the ancient city. Considered as the native place of Joachim and Apna, the parents of the Virgin, it is renowned, and worthy of being visited. Upon the spot where the house of Joachim siood a conspicuous sanctuary, built with square stones, was afterfard erected. It had two rows of pillars, by which the vault of the triple pave was supported. At the upper end were three chapels; now appropriated to the dwellings of the ( Arabs ) Moors." From the allusion here made to the nare and side aisles, it is evident Quaresmius believed its form to have been different from that of a Greek cross: yet the four arches of the center and the dome they originally supported rather denote this style of architecture. The date of its construction is incidently afforded by a passage in Epiphanius,t in the account given by him of one Josephus, a native of Tiberias, wlio was authorized by Constantine to erect this and other edifices of a similar nature, in the Holy Land. Epiphanius relates, that he built the churches of Tiberias, Diocæsarea, and Capernaum; and Diocæsarea was one of the names given to Sepphoris.fThis happened toward the end of the life of Coustantine; therefore the church of Sepplioris was erected before the middle of the fourth century. "There was,” says he, " among them one

* The author is further indebted to his learned friend, the Rev. J. Palmer, of St. John's College, Cainbridge, Arabic professor in the university, for the following ob servations upon these pictures. Professor Palmer travelled in the Holy Land 8008 after they were discovered.

“ The antiquity of the tablets cannot be determined precisely; yet it may be of importance to remark the absence of any Arabic titles corresponding with MP, OT.. and OEOTOKOC, so commonly, not to say invariably, inscribed upon the effigies of the Virgin, some of them more than five hundred years old, which are seen in the Greek churches.

" I assume, as beyond douht, that these tablets belonged to some churcb, or do mestic sanctuary, of Milkite Greeks; both from the close correspondence, in figure and expression, between the effigies in their churches, and those on the tablets, and from the fact, familiar to all who hare visited eastern countries, that such tablets are rarely, if ever, found among Catholic Christians."

This work is very little known. It was printed at Antwerp in 1639, in two large folio volumes, containing some excellent engravings, under the title of Historie Theologica el Moralis Terra Sancta Elucidatio" Quaresmius was a Franciscan friar of Lodi in Italy, and once apostolic commissary praeses of the Holy He had therefore every opportunity, from his situation, as well as his own actual observa tion, to illustrate the ecckesiastical antiquities of that country.

* Nunc diruta et desulata jacet, rusticanas dumtaxat continens domos, et muitas objiciens oculis ruinas ; quibus intelligitur quam eximja olim extiterit urbs. Celebris est, et digna ut visitetur, quód credatur patria Joachiin et Annæ, sanctorum Dei geoitricis parentum. Et in loco ubi Joachim domus erat fuit posteà illustris ædificata ecclesia ex quadratis lapidibus: quos habebat ordines columnarum, quibus triplicis navis testudo fulciebatur: in capite tres habebat capellas, io präsentiâ in Maurorun comunculas accommodatas," Quaresmii Elucid. Terr. Sanct. lib. vit. cap. 5. tom. II.

† The testimony of Epiphanius concerning this country is the more valuable, as le was himself a natire of Palestine, and flourished so early as the fourth century. He was born at the village of Besanduć, in 320; }ived with Hilarjon and Hesychius; vias made bishop of Salainis (now Famagosta) in Cyprus, in 366; and died in 403, at the age of eighty, in returning from Constantinople where he had been to visit Chrysos• As it appears in the writings of Socrates Ecclesiasticus and Sozomen. Vid. Socrat. Hist. xi. 33. Sozomen. Histor. lib. iv. c 7. 2. 5 “Εν δε τις εξ αυτών Ιώσηπος, ουχ ο συγγραφές, και ιστοριογράφος, και παλαις εκείνος, αλλ' ο από Τιβεριάδος, ο εν χρόνος του μακαρίτου Κωνσταντίνου του Βασιλεύσαντου, του γέροντος, ός και προς αυτού του βασιλέως αξιώματος Κομίτων έτυχε και εξεσίαν είληφεν εν τη αυτή, Τιβεριάδι εκκλησιαν Χριστώ ιδρύσαι, και εν Διοκαισαρεία και εν Kansprauj!, mai tais mais. “Fuit ex illorum numero Josephus quidam, non histo. riæ ille scriptor antiquus, sed Tiberiadeosis alter, qui beatæ memoriæ Constantini Sedioris Imperatoris ætate vixit: à quo etiam comitivam accepit, cum eâ potestate ut cum la urbe ipsâ Tiberiadis, tum Diocesareæ, Capbarnaumi, ac vicinis allis in oppidis ecclesias in Christi honorem extrueret." Epiphanii Opera, Par. 1022, tom. II. lib. i. Adv. Haer. p. 122.

p. 852.

tom:

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