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in general; when they tell us, that all the places where the Jews had their principal fettlements, abounded in grain of the best kind, in excellent fruits, in wines and oils of the first quality ; when they represent the environs of Sephoris, as an admirable country for its fertility; when they commend the mountainous parts of Judea, the gardens round about Jerusalem, fo famous for their figs, the arable grounds of Barcaim and Capharachum, the wines of Kurium and Atolim, and the territory of Hebron, which, though stony, is, according to them, superior to the most fruitful provinces of Egypt for its wines, pafture-grounds, and Aocks. The encomiums the Talmudists bestow upon Bethsan or Scythopolis, on account of the extent of its vineyards, its rich plantations of palm-trees, the beauty of its byssus (or fine flax) and the fine linens that were manu-. factured there, fuppofing them exaggerated, must have had at least some foundation in truth; and when we consider that it was one of the common proverbs of the Talmudists, that the land of Israel was a paradise, and that Bethfan was its gate, it must be absurd to imagine, that this paradise was no more than a wretched, barren country, without either fertility or culture.
From the Jewish writers, our Author proceeds to the accounts given of Judea by Pagan authors, and quotes, among others, Galen, Pausanias, Solinus, and Ammianus Marcellinus. Galen travelled in Judea, and examined its productions with the spirit of a naturalist. He commends, as Hippocrates had done before him, the date of that country, and represents them as excellent both for food and medicine, He enlarges on the two valuable productions of the Lake Asphaltites, its bitumen, which he prefers before all others, and its falt, of which he mentions both the excellent quality and the great abundance. He affirms, that the water of that Lake contains more salt than any other sea-water. Experiments, made fome years ago by the Academy of Sciences at Paris, confirm the affertion of Galen, and prove, that each quintal of the water of that Lake yields forty-four pounds fix ounces of salt. This salt, which salen considered as more detersive and salubrious than any other, was used, exclusively, in the second temple, and must have been an important branch of commerce for the country.
Pausanias, who lived but a little after Galen, had also travelled into Palestine: it even appears, that he gave a description of that country, composed in the same. method with his Voyage through Greece. This work has unhappily perished in the ruins of time; and the only passages, relative to Judea, that can be cited from Pausanias, are some accidental ones, that we find in his description of Greece. He there speaks of the Jordan as a fishy river, of the balsam-trees, dates, and other objects that announce fertility, as also, of a curious and magnificent tomb APP, REV, Vol. lxii.
which he had seen niear Jerusalem. Our Author confines, principally, his attention to what Pausanias fays of the Bulusa which that historian esteems highly, and in order to celebrate the Byffus of Elis, says, that it was equal in fineness to that of Fudea, though it was not so yellow. Mr. Forster, in his treatise de Byllo Antiquorum, thinks, that the Byffus of the ancients was a very fine fort of cotton, and concludes from these words of Pausanias, that this cotton is the Bomba of the isle of Ceylon.
Solinus, who is supposed to have copied Pliny, is quoted by our Author, as speaking of the beautiful streams of Jordan, of the rich and smiling plains which it waters, of the lake of Tiberias, which has many beautiful towns situated on its borders, of the culture of the balfam-trees of Engeddi, and of the famous forests of Palm-trees, whose beauty had neither diminilhed by the ruins of time, nor by the devastations of war. An hundred and fifty years after Solinus, a ftill more respectable historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, spoke in terms equally advantageous of Palestine. “ It is, says he, the remoteit of the Syrias: it is “ very extensive: it abounds with fertile and well-cultivated “ lands: cultis abundans terris et nitidis : there are many warm “ springs in that country, which prove wholesome in various “ disorders, and also beautiful cities."-Egregias urbes, &c.Thus, observes M. Gueneè, Pagan Authors of the first note, instead of representing Judea as a miserable country, barren, desert, and poor, speak in high terms of its cities, its waters, its foil, and its cultivation.
The Christian authors of the period under consideration, such as Eusebius, Epiphanius, Jerome, Theodoret, and others, speak a fimilar language; as allo Antoninus Martyr, a citizen of Placentia, who, in the sixth century, travelled to Palestine, and composed an account of his voyage, which is still extanto But this writer is less known than Eufebius and Jerome. “The “ canton of Nazareth, says Antoninus, is not inferior to Egypt “ in corn and fruits. The territory of that city is not very “ extenfive; but it abounds in wine and oil, and excellent “ honey.” The country about Jericho appeared to him ftill more fertile. He praises the wine, as a falutary remedy ir fevers, the dates, the kidney-beans, whose cods are sometimes two feet long, and the grapes, that are ripe in the month of May. He saw Mount Tabor, which he represents, as surrounded with cities:-he observed, in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, vineyards, great plantations of fruit-crees, and through the whole country, a considerable number of hospitals, monasteries, beautiful edifices, &c. Towards the end of his journey Antoninus passed through Tyre. He observes, that the morals in that city were depraved in a high degree, in consequence of the abuse of opulence; that its inhabitants were enriched by filken manu
factures and commerce, and lived in luxury, and the effeminate pursuit of pleasure. Now our Author thinks, that the commerce of the Tyrians extended to Palestine, whose inhabitants may have purchased its rich stuffs and fine linens. It is well known by the relations of Jerome and Gregory of Nysra, that the greatest depravation of morals reigned through Palestine, and the conclusion our Abbé draws from thence is as follows:
“ It is not in poor and barren countries that corruption " of manners reigns : licentiousness is the daughter of luxury, “ and luxury is the offspring of opulence. And from all that “ has been observed, adds he, I conclude, that whether we « consider the history of Judea at that time, or judge by the “ testimonies of contemporary writers, we must be persuaded " that, during the period under consideration, it was a fruit« ful, rich and populous country. No contemporary author “ has spoken otherwise, or given any description of the Holy “ Land, similar to those digusting ones which we meet with “ in some modern writers,”—who mean by them to serve a purpose.
Our Author, however, in concluding his work, acknowledges, that the opulence and fertility of Judea may have begun to diminish towards the middle of this period : but he does not think any argument can be drawn from hence, against its having been, at the commencement of this period, in a flourishing state; much less can any proof be brought from hence, that in preceding periods, under the kings, or under the administration of Moses, the country of Palestine was a barren, poor, and uncultivated district. For to say, Palestine, in the time of St. Jerome, was no longer distinguished by its fertility and cultivation--therefore, it was uncultivated, barren, and miserable, two, or three, or four, or fifteen centuries before that time, would be a very fallacious way of reasoning.
Febriles.-A Dissertation concerning the pernicious Effects of
judices to conquer; mutton broth, veal broch, and chicken broth, are such comfortable things, when the appetite is disordered, and the stomach is faftidious, and they have so many old women, beside those of the faculty, on their fide, that M. LAUDUN must not flatter himself, that he shall be able to vanquilh them, when he fallies forth alone into the field of battle. If he maintains, as well he may, both from authority and experience, that animal food in feverith cases, and broths in Pp 2
particular, tend to produce a putrid fermentation ; the adversary will tell him, that he has only to squeeze a Seville orange into the said broth, in order to correct this pernicious tendency. The apothecaries, more especially, whose prosperous commerce in emetics and purgatives is peculiarly promoted by the consequences of animal food and fresh broths, will take our Author and his light nourishment severely to task; but we believe him to be in the right, notwithstanding all this opposition.
ART. XIX. Saggio Hiftorico, &c.-An Historical Effay concerning the Royal Gallery of Florence. By M. JOSEPH BENCIVENNI, Director of that celebrated Collection. Vols. I. and II. 8vo. Florence. 1779.
HE gallery of Florence is, undoubtedly, the first collec
tion of ancient ftatues, ballo relievos, pictures, gems, medals, &c. in the world. The immense variety of elegant and venerable riches, contained in this gallery, has been the admiration of ages; and were there no other object in that country adapted to attract the attention of men of tafte, this alone would render a voyage to Tuscany fingularly interesting. The description of this noble collection, published in eleven volumes in folio, under the title of Mufeo Florentino, is a purchase too expensive for persons of a middling fortune; befides, it is not finished; for, as the merit of the engravings did not answer the expences of the publication and the price of the work, this rendered its sale less successful than might have been expected; but whether it was this circumstance, or the death of Mr. Mouke, a German printer, of great reputation, who was principally concerned in this undertaking, that prevented the continuation of the work, we know not. There is a compen-dious description of the gallery of Florence in 8vo, by Bernard Bianchi; but this is little more than an index, which is sold to strangers who go to see the gallery, and which is far from having the merit of the Historical Elay now under consideration.
It is to the first branches of the illustrious House of Medicis, that this magnificent collection owes its existence ; and as they transmitted their taste and their munificence to their succeffors, it was still farther enriched and improved, in process of time. The history, then, of this gallery, from Cosmo de Medicis, surnamed the Father of the Country, to the present time, is the subject of this work : and a noble subject it is, as it comprehends, in reality, the history of the restoration and progress of the fine arts in Italy. Whatever advantages M. Bencivenni may have had for the execution of this plan, from his situation at Florence, yet he might have improved and enriched his work with several curious anecdotes, and elegant remarks, if a work,
printed a few years ago in Holland, under the title of Memoires Genealogiques de la Maison de Medicis *, had fallen into his hands.
However that may be, M. BENCIVENNI's Essay has more than one kind of merit. It is easily to be purchased, and it contains good information. Its Author being on the spot, and having the direction of the royal gallery, has the objects before his eyes, and excellent sources of hiftorical instruction are near at hand.
In the first volume, our Author gives an account of the ineftimable colle&tions possessed by the House of Medicis, before it arrived at the sovereignty, and which, at this day, enrich several cabinets in different parts of Europe. In the fecond, he gives a history of the foundation of the Gallery of Florence, in the year 1581, under the Grand Duke François I, as also, of the acquisitions with which it was enriched by the fucceffors of that prince. It contains, at present, according to our Author's account, go ftatues, 70 busts of emperors and empresses, 100 heads of the most celebrated personages of antiquity, a multitude of Greek and Latin inscriptions, ballo relievos, and fragments, of which several are Tuscan, two collections of bronzes, one ancient, the other modern, 1100 pictures, 850 portraits of illuftrious men, and the portraits of 344 painters, drawn by themselves. There are also in this grand collection 162 volumes of exquisite drawings, a great quantity of prints, a confiderable number of excellent pieces of workmanship in wax, ivory, amber, stones, marquetry, turquoise, tortoise-shell, mosaic, &c. and above 4000 intaglios and cameos. The medals, of which there is a prodigious variety, are above 14000. The number of modern coins, which have been lately arranged in a geographical order, is also confiderable.
The Author proposes giving, in the following volumes, a description of the principal productions of the fine aris contained in this Gallery, with the opinions that have been given of them, respectively, by the most celebrated connoiffeurs.
Genealogical Memoirs of the House of Medicis. Tnis inttructive, elegant, and entertaining work (which we have this moment before us, bound in three octavo volume:) was never exposed to fale: the title exhibits neither the name of the learned and ingenious Author, nor that of the place where it was printed. We have been, howe ever, informed, that the Author is a native of the Hague, where he fills an honourable employment, and where also his work was printed and dillributed among select friends,