considered as a systematic description of the earth, took its rise at a much later period than other sciences, probably because it is of less essential necessity to man; yet the elements of the knowledge out of which scientific geography is constructed must have existed as soon as men turned their attention to the earth on which they dwelt, and found it necessary to journey from one part of its surface to another. SEE COSMOLOGY.
1. In the absence of positive statements, we have to gather the views of the Hebrews as to the form of the carth from scattered allusions, and these for the most part in the poetical books, where it is difficult to decide how far the language is to be regarded as literal, and bow far as metaphorical. There seem to be traces of the same ideas as prevailed among the Greeks, that the world was a disk (Isa 40:22; the word חוּג, circle, is applied exclusively to the circle of the horizon, whether bounded by earth, sea, or sky), bordered by the ocean (De 30:13; Job 26:10; Ps 139:9; Pr 8:27), with Jerusalem as its center (Eze 5:5), which was thus regarded, like Delphi, as the navel (טִבּוּר; Jg 9:37; Eze 38:12), or, according to another view (Gesenius, Thesaus. s.v.), the highest point of the world. The passages quoted in support of this view admit of a different interpretation; Jerusalem might be regarded as the center of the world, not only as the seat of religious light and truth, but to a certain extent in a geographical sense; for Palestine was situated between the important empires of Assyria and Egypt; and not only between them, but alcove them, its elevation above the plains on either side contributing to the appearance of its centrality. A
different view has been gathered from the expression "four-corners" (כּנָפוֹת, generally applied to the skirts of a garment), as though implying the quadrangular shape of a garment stretched out, according to Eratosthenes's comparison; but the term "corners" may be applied in a metaphorical sense for the extreme ends of the world (Job 37:3; Job 38:13; Isa 11:12; Isa 24:16; Eze 7:2). Finally, it is suggested by Bähr (Symbolik, 1:170) that these two views may have been held together, the former as the actual and the latter as the symbolical representation of the earth's form. SEE EARTH.
In the account of creation mention is made of a spot called Eden, out of which a river, after watering Paradise, ran, and "from thence it was parted, and became into four heads" (fountains), which sent forth as many rivers — Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel, Phrat or Euphrates. SEE EDEN. Josephus, on this point, says (Ant. 1:2), "The garden was watered by one river which ran round about the whole earth and was parted into four parts." The idea here presented is that of a vast circular plain (the earth), with water, a river, or the sea (ὠκεανός in Homer, 11. 21:196) encircling it, from which encircling body of water ran the said four rivers. Such, whether derived from the Hebrew Scriptures or not, was the earliest conception entertained of the earth. That some such idea was entertained among the Hebrews, even at a later period, appears from the words found in Ps 24:2: "He hath founded it (the earth) upon the seas, and established it upon the floods" (see also Pr 8:27); though Job 26:7, "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing" (compare Job 37:4,6), would seem to intimate that the writer of that book entertained superior notions on the point. That, however, the general idea was that the earth; formed an immense disk ("the circle of the earth"), above which were the substantial and firmly-fixed heavens, the abode of God, while the earth beneath was his footstool, appears from the general phraseology employed in the sacred books, and may be found specially exhibited or implied in the following passages: Isa 40:21 sq.; Job 37:18; Ps 102:25. SEE ASTRONOMY.
As to the size of the earth, the Hebrews had but a very indefinite notion; in many passages the "earth," or "whole earth," is used as co-extensive with the Babylonian (Isa 13:5; Isa 14:7 sq.; 24:17) or Assyrian empires (Isa 10:14; Isa 14:26; Isa 37:18), just as at a later period the Roman empire was styled orbis terrarum; the "ends of the earth" (קצוֹת) in the language of prophecy was applied to the nations on the border of these kingdoms, especially the Medes (Isa 5:26; Isa 13:5) in the east, and the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean in the west (Isa 41:5,9); but occasionally the boundary was contracted in this latter direction to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean (Isa 24:16; Zec 9:10; Ps 72:8). Without unduly pressing the language of prophecy, it may be said that the views of the Hebrews as to the size of the earth extended but little beyond the nations with which they came in contact; its solidity is frequently noticed, its dimensions but seldom (Job 38:18; Isa 42:5). The world in this sense was sometimes described by the poetical term tebel (תֵּבֵל), corresponding to the Greek οἰκουμένη (Isa 14:21).
The earth was divided into four quarters or regions corresponding to the four points of the compass; these were described in various ways, sometimes according to their positions relatively to a person facing the east, before (קֶרֶם), behind (אָחוֹר), the right hand (יָמַין), and the left hand (שׂמאֹל), representing respectively E.,W.,S., and N. (Job 23:8-9); sometimes relatively to the sun's course, the rising (מַזרָח), the setting (מָבוֹא, Ps 1:1), the brilliant quarter (רָּרוֹם, Eze 40:24), and the dark quarter (צָפוֹז, Ex 26:20; comp. the Greek ζόφος, Hom. II. 12:240); sometimes as the seat of the four winds (Eze 37:9); and sometimes according to the physical characteristics, the sea (יָם) for the W. (Ge 28:14), the parched (נֶגֶב) for the S. (Ex 27:9), and the mountains (הָרַים) for the N. (Isa 13:4). The north appears to have been regarded as the highest part of the earth's surface, in consequence, perhaps, of the mountain ranges which existed there, and thus the heaviest part of the earth (Job 26:7). The north was also the quarter in which the Hebrew El-Dorado lay, the land of gold mines (Job 37:22, margin; comp. Herod. 3:116).
These terms are very indistinctly used when applied to special localities; for we find the north assigned as the quarter of Assyria (Jer 3:18), Babylonia (Jer 6:22), and the Euphrates (Jer 46:10), and more frequently Media (Jer 1; Jer 3; comp. Jer 51:11), while the south is especially represented by Egypt (Isa 30:6; Da 11:5). The Hebrews were not more exact in the use of terms descriptive of the physical features of the earth's surface: for instance, the same term (יָם) is applied to the sea (Mediterranean), to the lakes of Palestine, and to great rivers, such as the Nile (Isa 18:2), and perhaps the Euphrates (Isa 27:1); mountain (הִר) signifies not only high ranges, such as Sinai or Ararat, but an elevated region (Jos 11:16); river (נָהָר) is occasionally applied to the sea (Jon 2:3; Ps 24:2) and to canals fed by rivers (Isa 44:27). Their vocabulary, however, was ample for describing the special features of the lands with which they were acquainted, the terms for the different sorts of valleys, mountains, rivers, and springs being very numerous and expressive. We cannot fail to be struck with the adequate ideas of descriptive geography expressed in the directions given to the spies (Nu 13:17-20) and in thee closing address of Moses (De 8:7-9); nor less, with the extreme accuracy and the variety of almost technical terms With which the boundaries of the tribes are described in the book of Joshua, warranting the assumption that the Herews had acquired the art of surveying from the Egyptians (Jahn, 1:6, § 104). SEE TOPOGRAPHICAL TERMS.
2. We proceed to give a brief sketch of the geographical knowledge of the Hebrews down to the period when their distinctive names and ideas were superseded by those of classical writers. Like most other sciences, geography owes its elementary cultivation as a science to the Hellenic race, who, from the mythic period of their history down to the destruction of the Western empire (A.D. 476), continued to prosecute the study with more or less system, and to more or less definite results; yet it must be added that it is only in a qualified sense that the ancients may be said to have known or advanced scientific geography.
The highlands of Armenia would appear to have been the first known to the human family. Descending from these, some may have gone eastward, others eaestward. The latter alone are spoken of in Scripture. Coming south and west, the progenitors of the world first became acquainted with the countries lying between the Euphrates and the Tigris, roughly tersced Mesopotamia, whence they advanced still mare south and west into Aram or Syria, Arabia, Canaan, and Egypt. These are the chief countries with which the ancient Hebrews seem to have possessed an acquaintance; yet if the national geographical table found in Genesis 10 is to be referred to the early period which its position in the Bible gives it, it would appear that the geographical knowledge of the Hebrews was, even before the flood, far more extensive, embracing even "the isles of the Gentiles." SEE ETHNOLOGY. Other parts of Scripture by no means warrant us in ascribing to the Hebrews, before the Babylonian captivity, a wider range of knowledge than we have indicated above. This national calamity had the effect of enlarging the circle of their knowledge of the earth; or at least of making their knowledge of Assyria, Media, and Babylonia more minute and definite. It was to their neighbors, the Phoenicians, that the Israelites owed most of their geographical knowledge. This commercial people must have early acquired a superficial acquaintance with remote regions, while engaged in their maritime commercial expeditions. The knowledge they brought back to Palestine would spread beyond their own borders and reach the Hebrews, though they may not have been given to inquiry and study on subjects of the kind; nor is it safe to attempt to define at how early a period some rough notions of the isles of the Gentiles may, by means of the Phoenician navigtors, have been spread about in the East. According to Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom. 6:4, 36), the Egyptians had in circulation writings on geogiraphy. Their king Sesostris may habe had maps (Schol. ad Apoll. Rhod. 4:292; Goguet, Oriq. des Loix, 2:227), though probably the first attempt to form a map (that is, a written catalogue of places, with something like their relative positions and distances roubhly guessed) is to be ascribed to the men whom Joshua (Joshua 18) sent with orders to "go through the land and describe it;" and the men "went and passed through the land," and described it by cities into seven parts in a book.
At a later period, it is unquestionable that the Hebrews possessed a knowledge of the north-west, and a wider knowledge of the east, and even of the north of Asia (Eze 27; Isa 51:23). From the period of the Maccabees the Jews entered into relations of a mercantile and political character, which extended their knowledge of the earth, and made them better acquainted with Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy. In the time embraced by the New Testament history they must have been widely acquainted with the then known world, since colonies and individuals of their nation were spread over nearly the entire surface covered by ancient civilization, and identified with the Roman empire. The occasional, if not periodical, return of the Jews thus scattered abroad. or at least the relations which they would sustain with their mother country, must have greatly widened, and made less inaccurate, the knowledge entertained in Palestine of other parts of the world. Accordingly we read (Ac 2:5 sq.) that, at the effusion of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, "there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews out of emaery nation under heaven."
3. The Hebrews do not seem to have devoted any attention to geography as a science, though they were widely scattered at the commencement of our sera, and occupied a distinguished place in literature. The Greeks probably led the way in systematic geography. The first map is said to have been constructed by Anaximander, about B.C. 600. Nearly a century later, Hecatnus of Miletus wrote a geographical work entitled Περίοδος γῆς (Ukert, Geographiae des Hecat. und Damastes). These were followed by Strabo and Ptolemy. The Pheoenicians and Egyptians were likewise distinguished as geographers. Ptolemy acknowledges that his great work was based on a treatise written by Marinus of Tyre (Heeren, Commentatio de Fontilus Geographicorum Ptolemaei, etc.). Pliny, the only Roman writer deserving of special mention in this place, was a mere compiler. As a geography his book is of little value (see Ukert, Geographie d. Griechsa u. Römer; Mannert, Geograpie, etc.). Sacred geography was not reduced to a system until a comparatively recent time. The Onomasticon of Eusebius and Jerome is an alphabetic list of places, with brief descriptions. The Tract of Brocardus, written in the 13th century, is little more than an itinerary. To Samuel Boehart, a French Protestant minister (born 1599), belongs the honor of writing the first systemcatic work on Biblical geography. His Geographia Sacra is a storehouse of learning from which all subsequent writers have drawn freely. Wells wrote his Historical Geography of the O. and N.T. in the beginning of last century. Reland's Palaestina, published in 1714, remains to this day the standard classic work. Dr. Robinson's Researches open a new era in Biblical geography. It, however, is neither complete nor systematic; it is only a book of travels, with most important historical and geographical illustrations. Ritter's Palastina used Syrian aims at system and completeness, but it is too diffuse. It gives a resume of everything that has been written on Bible lands. A systematic and thorough treatise on Biblical geography is still a great desideratum in literature. SEE ARCHEOLOGY, BIBLICAL.
Among the profane writers, Herodotus mentions Palestine, and probably Jerusalem, which he names Cadytis (Herod. 1:105; 2:106, 157, 159; 3:5, 62, 64, 91; 4:39). Strabo (in the time of Augustus) treats of Palestine in the second chapter of his sixteenth book on Geography, mingling together such truth and much error. Ptolemy, who died A.D. 161, treats of Palestine and the neighboring countries in chapters 15-17 of his fifth book (see Reland, page 456 sq.). Dion Cassius relates the conquest of Palestine by Pompeay (27:1517), the siege of Jerusalem by Titus (61:4-7), the restoration of the Temple by Hadrian, and the insurrection of the Jews under the same emperor (59:12-14). Of the Rosean writers, Pliny, in his Natissal Hist. (5:13-19), treats of Syria, including Palestine, and supplies much useful information. Tacitus's History, from the first to the thirteenth chapter of the fifth book, also relates to our subject. He hated both Jews and Christians (Annal. 15:44), and in consequence gave false colorings to much of what he said relating to them (Hist. 5:3, 4; 2:79; Annal. 2:42; 12:23). Some information may also he found in Justin (36:2), in Suetonius (Augustus, 93; Claudius, 25,28; Vespasian 4, 5; Titus, 4, 5), in Pomponius Mela (1:2), and in Ammianus Marcellinus (14:8; 23:1).
Among the fathers of the Church much serviceable knowledge on the subject of Biblical geography may be found in the expository writings of Theodoret and Jerome. The most important work, however, is the Onomasticon urbium et locorum sacrae Scripturae (ed. J. Bonfrerii. 1707). Living as they did for a long time in Palestine, the writings both of Eusebius and Jerome possess peculiar value, which, however, grows less as the times of which they speak recede from their own.
Some Arabian writers are not without value. We have Edrisi, Geogrophia Nubiensis (Paris, 1619); also Abulfedae Tabula Syrice, and his Annales Muslemici. Schultens, in his Index Geographicus in Vitam Saladini (Lugduni Batav. 1732), has collected many observations of Arabian authors on Palestine. See also Rosenmüller, Hand. Bibl. Alterth. 1:34; Ritter, Erdkunde, 2:478.
Modern works of travel in Bible countries have contributed much original information on this subject. They are too numerous, especially those on Palestine (q.v.), to be enumerated here in detail. Some of them may be seen in Darling's Cyclopaedia, col. 1819 sq.; and most of them are referred to under each country in this work. The following lists embrace the most important in the several classes, including the above:
a. Ancient and Mediceval Writers who have incidentally fusrnished Information on Sacred Geography. — The chief text-book is of course the Bible. Next to this are
(1.) Jewish — The Apocrypha; Josephus, Opera (ed. Hudson, 1720, 2 volumes, fol.). Traill's translation of the War (London, 1851, 2 volumes) contains important notes and illustrations.
(2.) Heathen — Herodotus, especially Rawlinson's translation (Lond. and N. York, 1858-60, 4 volumes); Strabo, Geographia (ed. Casaubon, Geneva, 1587); Pliny, Historia Naturalis (ed. Sillig, Geneva, 1831-36, 5 volumes). Dio Cassius (Hamburg, 1752) gives some short notes on Palestine. The few remarks in Tacitus and Livy are of little value.
(3.) Christian — Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret, in Historiae Eccles. Scriptor. Graeci (1695, 3 volumes, fol.); Jerome, Opera (ed. Migne, 9 volumes, 8vo); Theodoret, Opera (ed. Migne, 5 volumes). In the exegetical writings of Jerome and Theodoret are some useful notes; they both resided in Palestine. William of Tyre, Historia Belli Sacri; James de Vitry, Historia Orientalis, etc. (these two works, with several others, are contained in Bonger's Gesta Dei per Francos, fol. 1611); Chronicles of the Crusades (ed. Bohn, 1848), containing Richard of Devizes, Geoffrey de Vinsauf, and De Joinville.
b. Geographical Works and Itineraries. — Ptolemy, Geographia (fol. 1535); Tabula Peutingeriana, a rude chart of the Roman empire, made in the 3d century. Reland gives the part including Palestine. Eusebius and Jerome, Onsomasticon Urbium et Locorum S. Scripturae (ed. Clerico, fol. 1707; last edit. by Larsow and Parthey, Ber. 1862); Vetera Romanorum Itineraria (ed. Wesselingio, 1735), containing the inportant itineraries of the Bordeaux pilgrim, and of Antonine, with Synekdemus of Hierocles; Edrisi, Geographia Universalis (in Rosenmüller's Analecta Arabica, 1828); Topographical Index in Bohadini Vita et Res Gestae Saladini (ed. Schultens. folio, 1732); Brocardus, Locorum Terrce San. Descriptio (ed. Clerico, appended to the Onomasticon, folio, 1707); Abulfeda, Tabula Syriaca (1766); Bochart, Opera (ed. Leusden et Villemandy, 1712, 3 volumes, fol.); Sanson, Geographia Sacra (ed. Clerico, folio, 1704); Caroli A.S. Paulo, Geographia Sacra (ed. Holsten, fol. 1704); Cellarius, Notitia Orbis Antiqui (1701-5, 2 volumes, 4to); Wells, Historical Geography of the O. and N.T. (1819, 2 volumes); Reland, Palaestina ex monumentis veteribus Illustrata (1714, 2 volumes, 4to); Busching, Erdbeschreibung, Palastina, Arabien, etc. (1785); Rosenmüller, Bib. Geogr. of Central Asia (by Morren, 1836, 2 volumes); Raumer, Palastina (1850); Forster, Historical Geography of Arabia (1844, 2 vols.); Rohr, Historico-
Geograph. Account of Palestine (1843); Ritter, Die Sinai-Halbinsel, Pauliistina und Syrien (184855, 4 volumes in six parts; an English transl. has appeared, Lond. 1868, 2 volumes); Kitto, Physical Geography of Palestine (1841, 2 volumes); Conybeare and Howson, Life of St. Paul (1855, 2 volumes 4to); Smith, Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul (2d ed. 1856); Porter, Hand-book for Syria ucnd Palestine (1858, 2 volumes); Van de Velde, Memoir of Map of Palestine (1858); Robinson, Phys. Geog. of the Holy Land (1865).
c. Books of Travel. — Wright's Early Travels in Palestine (1848, containing, among others, Arculf, Sewulf, Benjamin of Tudela, Maundeville, and Maundrell); Cotovicus, Itinerarium Hierosolymnitanum (1619); Quaresmius, Historia Theologica et Moralis Terrae Sanctae Elucidatio (1639, 2 volumes, fol.); D'Arvieux, Travels in Arabia the Desert (1732); Shaw, Travels in Barbary and the Levant (1808, 2 volumes); Pococke, Description of the East (1743-45, 2 volumes, fol.); Hasselquist, Travels in the Levant (1766); Niebuhr, Travels through Arabia (1792, 2 volumes); Volney, Voyage en Syrie, etc. (Paris, 1807, 2 vols.); Ali Bey, Travels in Morocco, Egypt, Syria, etc. (1816, 2 volumes, 4to); Seetzen, Reisen durch Syrien, Palastina, etc. (1854-55, 3 volumes); Burckhardt, Travels in Syria (1822, 4to); Travels in Arabia (1829, 4to); Notes on the Bedouin and Wahabys (1830, 4to); Travels in Nubia (1822, 4to); Buckingham, Travels in Palestine (1822, 4to); Travels among the Arab Tribes (1825, 4to); Irby and Mangles, Travels in Egypt and Nubia, Syria, and Asia Minor, etc. (1822); Laborde, Journey through Arabia Petrcea to Sinai and Petra (1838); Lord Lindsay, Letters on Egypt, Edom, and the Holy Land (1838, 2 volumes); Addison, Damascus and Palmyra (1838, 2 volumes); Bowring, Report on Statistics of Syria (1840); Williams, The Holy City (1849,2 volumes); Bartlett, Forty Days in the Desert (5th ed.); Walks about Jerusalem; Jerusalem Revisited (1855); Footsteps of our Lord and his Apostles (1852); Wilson, Lands of the Bible (1847, 2 volumes); Tobler, Bethlehem (1849); Topographie von Jerusalem und seinen Umgebungen (1853-54, 2 volumes); Lynch, Official Report of Expedition to Explore the Dead Sea, etc. (1852, 4to); Narrative of Expedition, etc. (1849); De Saulcy, Narrative of Journey round the Dead Sea, etc. (1853, 2 volumes); Van de Velde, Narrative of Journey through Syria and Palestine (1854, 2 volumes); Lepsius, Discoveries in Egypt, the Peninsula of Sinai, etc. (1853); Robinson, Biblical Researches in Palestine isn 1838-52, 2d edit. (1856, 3 volumes); Porter, Five Years in
Damascus, Researches in Palmyra, Lebanon, and Bashanz (1855, 2 volumes); Layard, Nineveh and its Remains (1849); Nineveh and Babylon (1853); Loftus, Chaldaea and Susiana (1857); Stanley, Sinai and Palestine (1856); Thomson, The Land and the Book (1858). In addition to the above, important articles on Biblidal Geography and Topography may be seen in various numbers of the American Bibliotheca Sacra, the Journal of Sacred Literature, and the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, by Robinson, Thomson, Porter, Rawlinson, Layard, Wallin, Poole, Ainsworth, and others.
d. The best small maps are those in Robinson's Researches (1st edit.) and Porter's Hand-book; Van de Velde's large map of Palestine is the most complete and accurate hitherto published (2d ed. 1865); Henke's Bibel- Atlas (Gotha, 1868) is valuable for the ancient divisions. — Kitto, s.v.