Imágenes de páginas

Mr. Harmer says, he has not met with any account of horses decked after this manner in the east ; but the fact is expressly stated by Major Rooke, in his travels to the coast of Arabia Felix. When he was at Mocha, the Turkish cavalry had a field day in the great square, which from the mode of exercise, called to his mind the idea of our ancient tilts and tournaments. The horses were sumptuously caparisoned, being adorned with gold and silver trappings, bells hung round their necks, and rich housings. The riders were in handsome Turkish dresses, with white turbans, and the whole formed to the major a new and pleasing spectacle. This custom obtained in Greece, as is evident from Aristophangs, who calls the artificers that joined the bells to the furniture of the war horses, κωδωνοφα αρρπωλοι. Ο Mr. Burder traces this custom to the idolatrous veneration which the heathens of the east entertained for the sun, whom they called Baal or Bel, from his supposed dominion over all things ; whence the word came at last to denote a lord, or master in general. He was considered as the author of vibratory motion, the source of musical sound ; and such instruments as emit a sound by percussion are called bells, from Bell or Bel, the name by which the sun was denoted among the Druids.

For the same reason, a bell seems in very early times to have been made a sign or symbol of victory or dominion. Thus, as horses were employed in war, and are celebrated in the earliest ages for their strength, stately port, and undaunted courage, bells became a part of their martial furniture. The Jewish warrior adorned his charger with the same ornaments which the prophet foretels should in future times be consecrated to the service of God: "In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holi: ness unto the Lord.” Chardin observes that something like this is seen in several places of the east ; in Persia, and in Turkey, the reins are of silk, of the thickness of a finger, on which are wrought the name of God, or other inscriptions.*

+ Trav. p. 82

u Lib. 994. Burder, No. 1160. Potter's Gr. Antiq. vol. ii, p. 18.


А а

The warriors of primitive times were carried to the field in chariots, drawn for the most part by two borses. The custom of riding and fighting upon horses, was not introduced into Greece, and the regions of Asia bordering on the Hellespont, till some time after the Trojan war ; for Homer, whose authority in such cases is indisputable, always conduets his heroes to battle in chariots, never on horseback. In what age the chariot was first used in battle cannot now be ascertained ; but by the help of the sacred volume, we can trace the practice to a very remote an, tiquity, for the aboriginal inhabitants of Canaan, appear, from the number of armed chariots which they possessed, when Joshua invaded their country, to have been trained to that mode of warfare long before. “ And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us; and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel.” This by no means intimates, that the chariots were made of iron, but only that they were armed with it. Such chariots were by the ancients called currus falcati, and in Greek dgszeropugeks. They had a kind of scythes, of about two cubits long, fastened to long axle trees on both wheels; these being driven swiftly through a body of men, made great slaughter, mowing them down like grass or corn. The efficacious resistance which the Canaanites from their chariots of iron, opposed to the arms of Israel, is emphatically marked by the sacred historian : “ And the Lord was with Judah, and they drave out the inhabitants of the mountain, but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron." The native princess of Canaán, fully aware of the great advántages to be derived from this species of force, in combating the armies of Israel, which consisted, as has been already observed, entirely of infantry, continued to improve it with a care and diligence proportioned to its importance. In the time of the judges, not long after the death of Jos shua, Jabin the king of Canaan, sent nine hundred chariots of iron into the field against the people of Israel; a and in a succeeding war, between this people and their inveterate enemies the Philistines, the latter met them in the field with “ thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore for multitude,"b

* Zech. xiv, 20. * Harmer's Obsery. vol. ä, p. 277. See also Xen. Anab. lib. i, cap. 8,

Josh. xvii, 16.

sec. 10.

The chariots of princes and heroes were contrived both for service and ornament, being richly embossed with gold and other metals. Homer adorned the chariot of Rhesus with a profusion of gold and silver :

Αρμα δε δι χρυσω τε και αργυρω εν ασκηται. Il. lib. x, I. 438. « The chariot of Diomed he ornamented with gold and tin.”

Αρματα σε κρυσω πιαυκασμενα, κασσιτερωσε.

» Burder, No. 765. Potter's Gr. Antiq. vol. ii, p. 13, 14.

Judg. i, 19. A Judg. iv, 19. b 1 Sam, xiii, 5.


“ And furnished Lycaon's chariot with splendid curtains, expanded like the wings of a bird." The chariots of Solomon, by far the richest and most magnificent sove reign of his time, were certainly finished in a style of elegance corresponding with the wealth and taste of the royal

It is in allusion to these, that the mystical chariot of the everlasting gospel is thus described ; “ King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem."

The Scriptures furnish us with very little information relating to the military evolutions of the Hebrews, the form of their battalions, or the general order of battle, although they frequently speak of troops in battle array. The manner of their encamping, and the order of their march in the wilderness, are minutely described by Moses, and furnish a noble example of military arrangement. The number of this prodigious multitude was known by exact lists; each man was set down in his tribe; each tribe in its quarter under one of the four divisions, according to the order of birth-right among the patriarchs, and the quality of their mothers. They marched by sound of trumpet, always in the same order; and always quartered in the same situation about the tabernacle of the covenant, which was the centre of the camp. When the first alarm was given by sound of trumpet, the camps on the east side struck their tents and commenced their march : when the second alarm was given, the camps on the south side took their journey; every division moved in its turn by the mandate of God to his servant Moses. Every tribe c Iliad, lib. xiii et lib. xv.

a Song iii, 9, 10.

was placed under the command of its own prince; and followed its own standard, which was carried by a standard-bearer at the head of the column. “ In the first place went the camp of the children of Judah according to their armies, and over his host was Nahshon the son of Amminadab,” and in their rear, the hosts of Issachar and Zebulon. « Then the tabernacle was taken down, and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari, set forward bearing the tabernacle.” Then the standard of the camp of Reuben set forward, followed by the hosts of Simeon and Gad, under their respective princes. Then the Ko hathites set forward, bearing the sanctuary; and the bearers of the tabernacle set it up in their next encampment, by the time they arrived. Then the armies of Ephraim, followed by those of Manasseh and Benjamin, began their march. Then the standard of Dan set forward, followed by the hosts of Asher and Naphtali, bringing up the rear of all the tribes." Every station, and movement, and time of marching, was fixed by express command; and, in this admirable order, that immense multitude traversed the desert forty years, without the least confusion or inconvenience, from the countless numbers which crowded their camps. From this account, it will be evident, that the way of encamping, and every thing else that we admire with so much reason in the Greeks and Romans, was taken from the ancient models of the orientals, and particularly from the divinely appointed arrangements of the ancient Hebrews.

In the primitive ages, the arms of the warrior were made of brass, which seems to have been the only metal with which they were acquainted. This important fact

d Numb. x, 14, &c. e Potter's Gr. Antiq. vol. ii, p. 20.

« AnteriorContinuar »