Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

Sect. II.

oluigiN ANd progness of buildixG.

3. The original classes into which mankind were divided were, we may safely assume, those of hunters, of shepherds, and of those occupied in agriculture; and the buildings for protection which each would require, must have been characterised by their several occupations. The hunter and fisher found all the accommodation they required in the clefts and caverns of rocks; and the indolence which those states of life induced, made them insensible or indifferent to greater comfort than such naturally-formed habitations afforded. We are certain that thus lived such tribes. Jeremiah (chap. xlix. 16.), speaking of the judgment upon Edom, says, “O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill;" a text which of late has received ample illustration from travellers, and especially from the labours of Messrs. Leon de Laborde and Linant, in the splendid engravings of the ruins of Petra (fig. 1.). To the shepherd, the inhabitant of the plains wandering from one spot to another, as pasture became inadequate to the support of his flocks, another species of dwelling was more appropriate; one which he could remove with him in his wanderings: this was the tent, the type of the architecture of China, whose people were, like all the Tartar races, nomades or scenites, that is, shepherds or dwellers in tents. Where a portion of the race fixed its abode for the purposes of agriculture, a very different species of dwelling was necessary. Solidity was required as well for the personal comfort of the husbandman as for preserving, from one season to another, the fruits of the earth, upon which he and his family were to exist. Hence, doubtless, the hut, which most authors have assumed to be the type of Grecian architecture.

4. Authors, says the writer in the Encyc, Methodique, in their search after the origin of architecture, have generally confined their views to a single type, without considering the modification which would be necessary for a mixture of two or more of the states of mankind; for it is evident that any two or three of them may co-exist, a point upon which more will be said in speaking of Egyptian architecture. Hence have arisen the most discordant and contradictory systems, formed without sufficient acquaintance with the customs of different people, their origin, and first state of existence.

5. The earliest habitations which were constructed after the dispersion of mankind from the plains of Sennaar (for there, certainly, as we shall hereafter see, even without the evidence of Scripture, was a great multitude gathered together), were, of course, proportioned to the means which the spot afforded, and to the nature of the climate to which they were to be adapted. Reeds, canes, the branches, bark, and leaves of trees, clay, and similar materials would be first used. The first houses of the Egyptians and of the people of Palestine were of reeds and canes interwoven. At the present day the same materials serve to form the houses of the Peruvians. According to Pliny (l. vii.), the first houses of the Greeks were only of clay; for it was a considerable time before that nation was acquainted with the process of hardening it into bricks. The Abyssinians still build with clay and reeds. Wood, however, offers such facilities of construction, that still, as of old, where it abounds, its adoption prevails. At first, the natural order seems to be that which Vitruvius describes in the first chapter of his second book. “The first attempt," says our author, “was the mere erection of a few spars, united together with twigs, and covered with mud. Others built their walls of dried lumps of turf, connected these walls together by means of timbers laid across horizontally, and covered the erections with reeds and boughs, for the purpose of sheltering themselves from the inclemency of the seasons. Finding, however, that flat coverings of this sort would not effectually shelter them in the winter season, they made their roofs of two inclined planes, meeting each other in a ridge at the summit, the whole of which they covered with clay, and thus carried off the rain." The same author afterwards observes, -- The woods about Pontus furnish such abundance of timber, that they build in the following manner. Two trees are laid level on the earth, right and left, at such distance from each other as will suit the length of the trees which are to cross and connect them. On the extreme ends of these two trees are laid two other trees, transversely : the space which the house will enclose is thus marked out. The four sides being so set out, towers are raised, whose walls consist of trees laid horizon& tally, but kept perpendicularly over each other, the alternatelayersyoking the angles. The level interstices, which the thickness of the trees alternately leave, is filled in with chips and mud. On a similar principle they form their roofs, except that gradually reducing the length of the trees which traverse from angle to angle, they assume a pyramidal form. They are covered with boughs, and thus, after a rude fashion of vaulting, their quadrilateral roofs are formed.” The northern parts of Germany, Poland, and Russia still exhibit traces of this Principle of building; and they are also found in Florida, Louisiana, and elsewhere, in various places. See fig. 2. 6. We shall not, in this place, pursue the discussion on the timber hut, which has certainly, with great appearance of probability, been so often said to contain within it the types of Grecian architecture, but shall, under that head, enlarge further on the subject.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

Sect. III.

DIFFERENT SORTs of DW Ellings A Rising frto M difff:ftenT occupations.

7. The construction of the early habitations of mankind required little skill and as little knowledge. A very restricted number of tools and machines was required. The method of felling timber, which uncivilised nations still use, namely, by fire, might have served all purposes at first. The next step would be the shaping of hard and infrangible stones into cutting tools, as is still the practice in some parts of the continent of America. These, as the metals became known, would be supplanted by tools formed of them. Among the Peruvians, at their invasion by the Spaniards, the only tools in use were the hatchet and the adze; and we may fairly assume that similar tools were the only ones known at a period of high antiquity. The saw, nails, the hammer, and other instruments of carpentry were unknown. The Greeks, who, as Jacob Bryant says, knew nothing of their own history, ascribe the invention of the instruments necessary for working materials to Daedalus; but only a few of these were known even in the time of Homer, who confines himself to the hatchet with two edges, the plane, the auger, and the rule. He particularises neither the square, compasses, nor saw. Neither the Greek word "pwy (a saw), nor its equivalent, is to be found in his works. Daedalus is considered, however, by Goguet as a fabulous person altogether, the word meaning, according to him, nothing more than a skilful workman, a meaning which, he observes, did not escape the notice of Pausanias. The surmise is borne out by the non-mention of so celebrated a character, if he had ever existed, by Homer, and, afterwards, by Herodotus. The industry and perseverance of man, however, in the end, overcame the difficulties of construction. For wood, which was the earliest material, at length were substituted bricks, stone, marble, and the like; and edifices were reared of unparalleled magnificence and solidity. It seems likely, that bricks would have been in use for a considerable period before stone was employed in building. They were, probably, after moulding, merely subjected to the sun's rays to acquire hardness. These were the materials whereof the Tower of Babel was constructed. These also, at a very remote period, were used by the Egyptians. Tiles seem to have been of as high an antiquity as bricks, and to have been used, as in the present day, for covering roofs.

8. The period at which wrought stone * originally used for architectural purposes is

2

[graphic]

quite unknown, as is that in which cement of any kind was first employed as the medium of uniting masonry. They were both, doubtless, the invention of that race which we have mentioned as cultivators of land, to whom is due the introduction of architecture, properly so called. To them solid and durable edifices were necessary as soon as they had fixed upon a spot for the settlement of themselves and their families.

9. Chaldaea, Egypt, Phoenicia, and China are the first countries on record in which architecture, worthy the name, made its appearance. They had certainly attained considerable proficiency in the art at a very early period; though it is doubtful, as respects the three first, whether their reputation is not founded rather on the enormous masses of their works, than on beauty and sublimity of form. Strabo mentions many magnificent works which he attributes to Semiramis; and observes that, besides those in Babylonia, there were monuments of Babylonian industry throughout Asia. He mentions Aépoi (high altars), and strong walls and battlements to various cities, as also subterranean passages of communication, aqueducts for the conveyance of water under ground, and passages of great length, upwards, by stairs. Bridges are also mentioned by him (lib. xvi.). Moses has preserved the names of three cities in Chaldaea which were founded by Nimrod (Gen. x. 10.). Ashur, we are told, built Nineveh; and (Gen. xix. 4.) as early as the age of Jacob and Abraham, towns had been established in Palestine. The Chinese attribute to Fohi the encircling of cities and towns with walls; and in respect of Egypt, there is no question that in Homer's time the celebrated city of Thebes had been long in existence. The works in India are of very early date; and we shall hereafter offer some remarks, when speaking of the extraordinary monument of Stonehenge, tending to prove, as Jacob Bryant supposes, that the earliest buildings of both nations, as well as those of Phoenicia and other countries, were erected by colonies of some great original nation. If the Peruvians and Mexicans, without the aid of carriages and horses, without scaffolding, cranes, and other machines used in building, without even the use of iron, were enabled to raise monuments which are still the wonder of travellers, it would seem that the mechanical arts were not indispensable to the progress of architecture; but it is much more likely that these were understood at an exceedingly remote period in Asia, and in so high a degree as to have lent their aid in the erection of some of the stupendous works to which we have alluded.

10. The art of working stone, which implies the use of iron and a knowledge of the method of tempering it, was attributed to Tosorthus, the successor of Menes. It seems, however, possible that the ancients were in possession of some secret for preparing bronze tools which were capable of acting upon stone. Be that as it may, no country could have been called upon earlier than Egypt to adopt stone as a material, for the climate does not favour the growth of timber; hence stone, marble, and granite were thus forced into use ; and we know that, besides the facility of transport by means of canals, as early as the time of Joseph waggons were in use. (Gen. xlv. 19.) We shall hereafter investigate the hypothesis of the architecture of Greece being founded upon types of timber buildings, merely observing here, by the way, that many of the columns and entablatures of Egypt had existence long before the earliest temples of Greece, and therefore that, without recurrence to timber construction, prototypes for Grecian architecture are to be found in the venerable remains of Egypt, where it is quite certain wood was not generally employed as a material, and where the subterranean architecture of the country offers a much more probable origin of the style.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

11. If rudeness, want of finish, and the absence of all appearance of art, be criteria for judgment on the age of monuments of antiquity, the wonderful remains of Abury and Stonehenge must be considered the most ancient that have preserved their form so as to indicate the original plan on which they were constructed. The late Mr. Godfrey Higgins, a gentleman of the highest intellectual attainments, in his work on the Celtic Druids (published 1829), has shown, as we think satisfactorily, that the Druids of the British Isles were a colony of the first race of people, learned, enlightened, and descendants of the persons who escaped the deluge on the borders of the Caspian Sea; that they were the earliest occupiers of Greece, Italy, France, and Britain, and arrived in those places by a route nearly along the forty-fifth parallel of north latitude; that, in a similar manner, colonies advanced from the same great nation by a southern line through Asia, peopling Syria and Africa, and arriving at last by sea through the Pillars of Hercules at Britain; that the languages of the western world were the same, and that one system of letters – viz. that of the Irish Druids—pervaded the whole, was common to the British Isles and Gaul, to the inhabitants of Italy, Greece, Syria, Arabia, Persia, and Hindostan; and that one of the two alphabets (of the same system) in which the Irish MSS. are written—viz. the Beth-luis-nion—came by Gaul through Britain to Ireland; and that the other—the Bobeloth—came through the Straits of Gibraltar. Jacob Bryant thinks that the works called Cyclopean were executed at a remote age by colonies of some great original nation; the only difference between his opinion and that of Mr. Higgins being, that the latter calls them Druids, or Celts, from the time of the dispersion above alluded to. 12. The unhewn stones, whose antiquity and purport is the subject of this section, are found in Hindostan, where they are denominated “pandoo koolies,” and are attributed to a fabulous being named Pandoo and his sons. With a similarity of character attesting their common origin, we find them in India, on the shores of the Levant and Mediterranean, in Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, in France, and on the shores of Britain from the Straits of Dover to the Land's End in Cornwall, as well as in many of the interior parts of the country. They are classed as follows: — 1. The single stone, pillar, or obelisk. 2. Circles of stones of different number and arrangement. 3. Sacrificial stones. 4. Cromlechs and cairns. 5. Logan stones. 6. Tolmen or colossal stones. 13. (1.) Single Stones. – Passages abound in Scripture in which the practice of erecting single stones is recorded. The reader on this point may refer to Gen. xxviii. 18. Judges, ix. 6., 1 Sam. vii. 12., 2 Sam. xx. 8., Joshua, xxiv. 27. The single stone might be an emblem of the generative power of Nature, and thence an object of idolatry. That mentioned in the first scriptural reference, which Jacob set up in his journey to visit Laban his uncle, and which he had used for his pillow, seems, whether from the vision he had while sleeping upon it, or from some other cause, to have become to him an object of singular veneration; for he set it up, and poured oil upon it, and called it “Bethel" (the house of God). It is curious to observe that some pillars in Cornwall, assumed to have been erected by the Phoenicians, still retain the appellation Bothel. At first, these stones were of no larger dimension than a man could remove, as in the instance just cited, and that of the Gilgal of Joshua (Josh. iv. 20.); but that which was set up under an oak at Shechem was a great stone. And here we may notice another singular coincidence, that of the Bothel in Cornwall being set up in a place which, from its proximity to an oak which was near the spot, was called Bothel-ac; the last syllable being the Saxon for an oak. It appears from the Scriptures that these single stones were raised on various occasions; sometimes, as in the case of Jacob's Bethel and of Samuel's Ebenezer, to commemorate instances of divine interposition; sometimes to record a covenant, as in the case of Jacob and Laban (Gen. xxxi. 48.); sometimes, like the Greek stelae, as sepulchral stones, as in the case of Rachel's grave (Gen. xxxvi. 20.), 1700 years b.c., according to the usual reckoning. They were occasionally, also, set up to the memory of individuals, as in the instance of Absalom's pillar and others. The pillars and altars of the patriarchs appear to have been erected in honour of the only true God, Jehovah ; but wherever the Canaanites appeared, they seem to have been the objects of idolatrous worship, and to have been dedicated to Baal or the sun, or the other false deities whose altars Moses ordered the Israelites to destroy. The similarity of pillars of single stones almost at the opposite sides of the earth, leaves no doubt in our mind of their being the work of a people of one common origin widely scattered; and the hypotheses of Bryant and Higgins sufficiently account for their appearance in places so remote from each other. In consequence, says the latter writer, of some cause, no matter what, the Hive, after the dispersion, casted and sent forth its swarms. One of the largest descended, according to Genesis (x. 2.), from Gomer, went north, and then west, pressed by succeeding swarms, till it arrived at the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, and ultimately colonised Britain. Another branch, observes the same author, proceeded through Sarmatia southward to the Euxine (Cimmerian Bosphorus); another to Italy, founding the states of the Umbrii and the Cimmerii, at Cuma, near Naples. Till the time of the Romans these different lines of march, like so many sheepwalks, were without any walled cities. Some of the original tribe found their way into Greece, and between the Carpathian mountains and the Alps into Gaul, scattering a few stragglers as they passed into the beautiful valleys of the latter, where traces of them in Druidical monuments and language are occasionally found. Wherever they settled, if the conjecture is correct, they employed themselves in recovering the lost arts of their ancestors. 14. To the Canaanites of Tyre and Sidon may be chiefly attributed the introduction of these primeval works into Britain. The Tyrians, inhabiting a small slip of barren land, were essentially and necessarily a commercial people, and became the most expert and adventurous sailors of antiquity. It has been supposed that the constancy of the needle to the pole, “that path which no man knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen," was known to the Tyrians; and, indeed, it seems scarcely possible that, by the help of the stars alone, they should have been able to maintain a commerce for tin on the shores of Britain, whose western coast furnished that metal in abundance, and whose islands (the * Scilly) were known by the title of Cassiterides, or tin islands. In this part of Britain there seems unquestionable evidence that they settled a colony, and were the architects of Stonehenge, Abury, and other similar works in the British islands. In these they might have been assisted by that part of the swarm which reached our shores through Gaul; or it is possible that the works in question may be those of the latter only, of whom traces exist in Britany at the monument of Carnac, whereof it is computed 4000 stones still remain. From among the number of pillars of this kind still to be seen in England, we give (fig. 3.) that standing at Rudstone, in the east riding of Yorkshire. It is described by Drake, in his Eboracum, as “coarse rag stone or millstone grit, and its weight is computed at between 40 and 50 tons. In form (the sides being slightly concave) it approaches to an ellipse on the plan, the breadth being 5 ft. 10 in., and the thickness 2 ft. 3 in., in its general dimensions. Its height is 24 ft. ; and, according to a brief account Fig. 3 ...T.: communicated to the late Mr. Pegge, in the year 1769 (Archaeologia, vol. v. p. 95.), its depth underground equals its height above, as appeared from an experiment made by the late Sir William Strickland." 15. (2.) Circles of Stone.—The Israelites were in the habit of arranging stones to represent the twelve tribes of Israel (Erod. xxiv. 4.), and for another purpose. (Deut. xxvii. 2.) And in a circular form we find them set up by Joshua's order on the passage of the Israelites through Jordan to Gilgal (5x5x); a word in which the radical Gal or Gil (signifying a wheel) is doubled to denote the continued repetition of the action. In this last case, Joshua made the arrangement a type of the Lord rolling away their reproach from them. 16. Though traces of this species of monument are found in various parts of the world, even in America, we shall confine our observations to those of Abury and Stonehenge, merely referring, by way of enumeration, to the places where they are to be found. Thus we mention Rolbrich in Oxfordshire, the Hurlers in Cornwall, Long Meg and her daughters in Cumberland, remains in Derbyshire, Devonshire, Dorsetshire, at Stanton Drew in Somersetshire, and in Westmoreland. They are common in Wales, and are found in the Western Isles. There are examples in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and various parts of Germany. Clarke, in his description of the hill of Kushunlu Tepe in the Troad, observes, that all the way up, the traces of former works may be noticed, and that, on the summit, there is a small oblong area, six yards long and two broad, exhibiting vestiges of the highest antiquity; the stones forming the inclosure being as rude as those of Tiryns in Argolis, and encircled by a grove of oaks covering the top of this conical mountain. The entrance is from the south. Upon the east and west, outside of the trees, are stones ranging like what we in England call Druidical circles. Three circles of stones are known in America, one of which stands upon a high rock on the banks of the river Winnipigon. The stupendous monument of Carnac in Britany, of which we have above made mention, is not of a circular form; the stones there being arranged in eleven straight lines, from 30 to 33 ft. apart, some of which are of enormous size. They are said to have formerly extended three leagues along the coast. A description of this monument is given in vol. xxii. of the Archaeologia. 17. Abury, or Avebury, in Wiltshire, of which we give a view in a restored state (fig. 4.), is a specimen of this species of building, in which the climax of magnificence was attained. Stukely, who examined the ruins when in much better preservation than at present, says, “that the whole figure represented a snake transmitted through a circle;" and that, “to make their representation more natural, they artfully carried it over a variety of elevations and depressions, which, with the curvature of the avenues, produces sufficiently the desired effect. To make it still more elegant and picture-like, the head of the snake is carried up the southern promontory of Hackpen Hill, towards the village of West Kennet; nay, the very name of the hill is derived from this circumstance;" for acan, he observes, signifies a serpent in the Chaldaic language. Dr. S. then goes on to state, “that the dracontia was a name, amongst the first-learned nations, for the very ancient sort of temples of which they could give no account, nor well explain their meaning upon it.” The figure of the serpent extended two miles in length; and but a very faint idea can now be formed of what it was in its original state. Two double circles, one to the north and the other to the south of the centre, were placed within the large circle, which formed the principal body of the serpent, and from which branched out the head to Hackpen Hill, in the direction of

[graphic]
[graphic]
« ZurückWeiter »