William H. Seward's Travels around the World

By William Henry Seward; Olive Risley Seward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI.
FROM PALESTINE TO GREECE.

Impressions of Palestine.--The Egyptian Race.--Egyptian Civilization.--Phœnicia and Palestine.--The Four Religions.--What we owe to the Jews.--Present State of Palestine.--The Island of Cyprus.--The Cesnola Collection.--Smyrna.--An Excursion to Ephesus.--The Seven Sleepers.--Mr. Wood's Researches.--The Temple of Diana.--The Isles of Greece.--Tinos.--The City of Syra.--An Illumination.

Steamer Apollo, June 20th.--We are to see no more of either Palestine or Syria. It is time to set down the result of the impressions received in them. As we neared the promontory of Sinai, which divides the head of the Red Sea into the two gulfs of Akaba and Suez, the thought occurred that we were approaching the site of the opening scene of the world's civilization. The one half of that site is Egypt, the other half Syria, including in ancient times, as now, the two distinct divisions of Palestine and Phœnicia. We find no satisfaction in the attempt to trace the nations which inhabited these regions, either to a common origin or to distinct races --at least we can do nothing of that kind here now. It is certain that the ancient Egyptians were neither negroes from the west bank of the Nile nor Arabs from the eastern shore of the Red Sea, for they fought and conquered tribes and nations of both those regions. The negroes and Arabs, like our North American Indian races, prefer the desert and its habits to civilization. Neither were the ancient Egyptians Jews. We distinguished the Jews from the Egyptians in the paintings on the tombs, especially at Beni-Hassan. Nor were the ancient Egyptians of any Western type of the Cau-

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