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Title: A History of Sinai
Author: Eckenstein, Lina
Language: English
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                          A HISTORY OF SINAI


                            LINA ECKENSTEIN

                     _WITH MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS_


                         SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING
                          CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE
                      NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, W.C.
                      NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO.

                              PRINTED BY
                          LONDON AND BECCLES.


IN the winter of 1905-6 Professor Flinders Petrie undertook the
examination of the Egyptian remains in Sinai. After working at Wadi
Maghara he removed into the Wadi Umm Agraf to copy the inscriptions
and excavate the temple ruins at Serabit. His work is described in
“Researches in Sinai, 1906,” and the inscriptions are in course of
publication by the Egypt Exploration Fund. Among the workers at Serabit
was myself. I had long been interested in the hermit life of the
peninsula and in the growing belief that the Gebel Musa was not the
Mountain of the Law. The excavations at Serabit and the non-Egyptian
character of the ancient hill sanctuary supplied new material for
reflection. In the hours spent in sorting fragments of temple offerings
and copying temple inscriptions it occurred to me that we might be on
the site which meant so much in the history of religion. Studies made
after our return suggested further points of interest. The outcome is
this little history which will, I trust, appeal to those who take an
interest in the reconstruction of the past and in the successive stages
of religious development.


 _Easter, 1920._


      I.  B.C. 5500.        Monument of Semerkhet in Sinai
     IV.   ”   4800.            ”       Khufu         ”
     VI.   ”   4300.            ”       the Pepys     ”
    XII.   ”   3600.        Amen-em-hats and Sen-userts
     XV.   ”   2500.        Hyksos Conquest
           ”     ”          Time of Abraham and Joseph
  XVIII.   ”   1580.        Amen hotep and Tahutmes
           ”   1380.        Akhen-aten (Amen-hotep IV),(?) time of Moses
    XIX.   ”   1328—1202.   Ramessides
           ”   1300—1234.   Ramessu II.



    Constantine, 869.
    Marcus I, 869.
    Jorius, 1033.
    John I, 1069.
    Zacharias, 1103 or 1114.
    George, 1133 or 1143.
    Gabriel I, 1146.
    John II, 1164.
    Simeon (Archbishop), 1203-53.
    Euthymius, 1223.
    Macarius I, 1224.
    Germanus I, 1228.
    Theodosius, 1239.
    Macarius II, 1248.
    Simeon (? II), 1258.
    John III, 1265.
    Arsinius, 1290.
    Simeon, 1306.
    Dorotheus, 1324-33.
    Germanus II, 1333.
    Marcus II, 1358.
    Gabriel II.
    Macarius of Cyprus, 1547.
    Eugenius, 1565-83.
    Anastasius, 1583-92.
    Laurentius, 1572-1617.
    Joasaph, 1617-58.
    Ananias (1667-77), 1658-68.
    Joannicus I. (1677-1703), 1668-1703.
    Cosmas, 1705.
    Athanasius of Bari, 1706-18.
    Joannicus II of Mytilene, 1718-29.
    Nicephorus Mortales, 1729-49.
    Constantius I, 1749-59.
    Cyrillus II, 1759-90.
    Dorotheus of Byzantium, 1794-96.
    Constantius II, 1804-59.
    Cyrillus III, 1859-67.
    Callistratus, 1877-85.
    Porphyrius, 1885.


_For other works and writers see Alphabetical Index and page referred

BREASTED, J. H., “Ancient Records of Egypt, 1906.”

“Perigraphe of Holy Mount Sinai, 1817.” (In Greek.)

PETRIE, W. M. FLINDERS, “Researches in Sinai, 1906.”

WEILL, RAYMOND, “La Presqu’île de Sinai, 1908.”

WILSON & PALMER, “Ordnance Survey, 1870-71.”


  CHAPTER                                              PAGE

         FOREWORD                                       iii



         CHIEF AUTHORITIES                               ix

         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                         xiii

      I. INTRODUCTORY                                     1

     II. SINAI A CENTRE OF MOON-CULT                      8

    III. THE SANCTUARY AT SERABIT                        17

     IV. THE EGYPTIANS IN SINAI. I.                      30

      V. EARLY PEOPLES AND PLACE NAMES                   41

     VI. THE EGYPTIANS IN SINAI. II.                     52

    VII. THE ISRAELITES IN SINAI. I.                     64

   VIII. THE ISRAELITES IN SINAI. II.                    74

     IX. THE NABATEANS                                   83

      X. THE HERMITS IN SINAI                            94

     XI. THE WRITINGS OF THE HERMITS                    106

    XII. THE BUILDING OF THE CONVENT                    121

   XIII. MOHAMMAD AND ST. KATHERINE                     134

    XIV. SINAI DURING THE CRUSADES                      143

     XV. THE PILGRIMS OF THE MIDDLE AGES. I.            155


   XVII. THE CONVENT BETWEEN 1500 AND 1800              173


         ALPHABETICAL INDEX                             195


  FIG.                                              PAGE

   1. SITUATION OF SANCTUARIES                         9

   2. FIGURES OF BABOONS                              11

   3. SNEFERU RAVAGING THE LAND                       13


   5. AMEN-EM-HAT III, THOTH AND HATHOR               15


   7. FIGURE WITH SEMITIC SCRIPT                      23

   8. PLAN OF CAVES AT SERABIT                        27


  10. TEMPLE RUINS AT SERABIT                         53

  11. PLAN OF TEMPLE                                  55

  12. AMEN-HOTEP III OFFERING TO SOPD                 59

  13. QUEEN THYI                                      61

  14. MEN IN BURNING BUSH                             69

  15. AYUN MUSA                                       71

  16. VIEW OF THE CONVENT                            123

  17. CHAPEL ON GEBEL MUSA                           141

  18. EL ARISH                                       145

  19. ZIGIRET EL FARAUN                              149


  21. RITTER VON HARFF AND ST. KATHERINE             169

  22. SULYMAN ABU SĪLM, A BEDAWY                     187

  23. MAP OF THE PENINSULA                           193




SINAI is the peninsula, triangular in form, which projects into the
Red Sea between Egypt and Arabia. The name used to be applied to the
mountainous region of the south, now it is made to comprise the land as
far north as the Mediterranean.

Sinai is famous for the part which it has played in the religious
history of mankind. It was at one time a centre of moon-cult, before
it became the seat of the promulgation of the Law to the Jews at the
time of Moses. In Christian times it was one of the chief homes of
the hermits, and the possession of the relics of St. Katherine in the
great convent of the south, caused Sinai to be included in the Long
Pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages.

A history of Sinai deals with the people who visited the peninsula at
different times, rather than with its permanent inhabitants, who, in
the course of centuries, seem to have undergone little change. They
still live the life of the huntsman and the herdsman as in the days of
Ishmael, sleeping in the open, and adding to their meagre resources by
carrying dates and charcoal to the nearest centres of intercourse, in
return for which they receive corn.

The country geographically belongs to Egypt, ethnologically to Arabia.
It falls into three regions.

In the north, following the coast line of the Mediterranean, lies a
zone of drift sand, narrowest near Rafa on the borders of Palestine,
widening as it is prolonged in a westerly direction towards Egypt,
where it is conterminous with the present Suez Canal. This desert was
known in Biblical days as Shur (the wall) of Egypt. “And Saul smote
the Amalekites from Havilah (north Arabia), until thou comest to Shur
that is over against Egypt” (1 Sam. xv. 7). The military highway from
Egypt to Syria from ancient times followed the coast line of the
Mediterranean, the settlements along which were modified on one side by
the encroachment of the sea, on the other by the invasion of sand.

Adjoining this zone of drift sand, the land extends south with
increased elevation to the centre of the peninsula, where it reaches
a height of about 4000 ft., and abruptly breaks off in a series of
lofty and inaccessible cliffs, the upper white limestone of which
contrasts brilliantly in some places with the lower red sandstone.
This region is, for the most part, waterless and bare. It is known in
modern parlance as the Badiet Tîh (the plain of wandering). Its notable
heights include the Gebel el Ejneh and the Gebel Emreikah. This plain
is drained in the direction of the Mediterranean by the great Wadi el
Arish and its numerous feeders, which, like most rivers of Sinai, are
mountain torrents, dry during the greater part of the year, and on
occasion like the _fiumare_ of Italy, flowing in a spate. The Wadi el
Arish is the River of Egypt of the Bible (Gen. xv. 18; Num. xxxiv. 5),
the _Nahal Muzur_ of the annals of King Esarhaddon.

The Badiet Tîh is crossed from east to west by the road from Akaba to
Suez, along which the Holy Carpet, which is made at Cairo, was annually
conveyed to Mecca. Halfway between Suez and Akaba, at Kalaat el Nakhl,
the road is crossed by one coming from Gaza, which is prolonged south
in several directions down precipitous passes. Kalaat en Nakhl is an
important watering place, and was for a time a military station. It was
known in the Middle Ages as a _puteus Soldani_ (well of the Sultan).

The roads coming from Nakhl lead down the escarpment of Tîh to a belt
of sand and gravel, varying in width, which, with the arid stretches
adjoining it, covers an area of some thirty square miles. This is the
Gebbeter Ramleh (belt of sand). Its western parts including the Wadi
Jarf is the wilderness of Sin of the Bible (Exod. xvi. 1).

South of this great belt of sand, red sandstone reappears in shelving
masses leading up to the great mountainous district which forms
Sinai proper, the third region of the peninsula. These mountains are
traversed by many river-beds or wadies. Some of them, according to the
ways of the country, do not bear the same name throughout their course,
but the main stream frequently takes another name when it is joined by
a tributary. Thus the Wadi Nasb after its junction with the Wadi Beda
becomes the Wadi Baba, and so forth.

This sandstone district is cut into by deep gorges and canyons, that
have sheer falls of several hundred feet in places. It comprises the
mountains which yielded turquoise and copper, products that brought the
neighbouring people into Sinai. Beads of turquoise were found in the
pre-dynastic tombs of Egypt which probably came from Sinai, while there
was an increasing demand for copper in the surrounding countries from
the close of the Neolithic Age. If the name Milukhkha of the Babylonian
records refers to Sinai, these people also came there several thousand
years before our era.

Turquoise appears in a ferruginous layer in the sandstone at the height
of about 2650 ft. at Serabit, and at the height of about 1170 ft. at
Maghara above sea-level. The copper ore occurs in the Wadi Nasb, and in
the Wadi Khalig, somewhat extensively in the latter, together with iron
and manganese. Enormous slag heaps lie at the head of the Wadi Nasb
and near the outlet of the Wadi Baba, which bear evidence to former
smelting activity. Again, in the Wadi Sened, a dyke rich in copper
traverses syenite for a distance of nearly two miles.

The district which was worked by the ancient Egyptians was comprised
between the valley system of the Wadi Baba on the north, and that of
the Wadi Sidreh on the south, both of which have their outlet in the
direction of the coastal plain of El Markha. It was from this side
that the ancient Egyptians approached Sinai. The chief height of the
district is the Tartir ed Dhami (black cap), so called from the dark
basalt that forms its summit, which rises to a height of 3531 ft. There
is also the double-peaked Umm Riglên (mother of two feet) which rises
to the south of the Wadi Umm Agraf and dominates the height of Serabit.

To the south of the ancient mining district the sandstone is connected
in a manner highly interesting to the geologist with the plutonic rock
which gives its imposing character to the mountains of the south. Here
lies the Wadi Feiran, one of the best watered and fruitful valleys
of the peninsula, to the south of which Mount Serbal rises abruptly
from a comparatively low elevation to the height of 6734 ft. This
mountain has been described as one great lump of diorite, and its
majestic appearance led some recent travellers, including Lepsius[2]
and Bartlett,[3] to identify it as the Mountain of the Law. Further
south lies the great group of mountains which include the Gebel Musa,
7359 ft. high, and the Gebel Katrîn with its three peaks, the highest
of which rises to 8527 ft. The Gebel Musa from early Christian times
was generally looked upon as the Mountain of the Law. At its foot lies
the great convent of Sinai, at one time known as the Bush, which has
carried on to the present day the traditions of the early Christian
hermits, who settled in the peninsula. The Gebel Katrîn lying further
south, was looked upon during the later Middle Ages, as the height on
which the angels deposited the body of St. Katherine. Another imposing
height of the group is the Ras Safsaf, 6540 ft. high, which has been
put forward in recent times as a possible Mountain of the Law.

These mountains of the south contain many natural springs and fruitful
valleys, which were formerly the home of Christian ascetics. They are
divided from the Gulf of Suez on the west by the desert of El Kaa,
which drains a large amphitheatre of hills, and becomes a coastal plain
that extends as far as Ras Mohammad, the southernmost point of the
peninsula. The desert of El Kaa has a harder subsoil which is so tilled
that the accumulated moisture is thrown up at the coast near Tur, the
chief harbour of the peninsula, and possibly an ancient Phœnician
colony. Near it lay Raithou, a place of many oases and large date-palm
plantations which were carefully tended by the monks during the Middle

The south-eastern parts of the peninsula are rarely visited by
Europeans. There are some high mountains, including the Gebel Thebt
(7883 ft.), the Gebel Umm Shomer (8449 ft.), and the Gebel Umm Iswed
(8236 ft.), in districts that were recently explored by Dr. Hume.[4]
The eastern coast-line of the peninsula is relatively inaccessible.
There are some creek ports at Sherm, some ten miles north of Ras
Mohammad, and some palm trees with a good supply of water at Nakhb.
From here it is less than eight miles across the sea to Ras Fartak,
the nearest point of Arabia. Further north, opposite the coastland of
what is now reckoned the land of Midian, lies Dahab and, beyond it, Ain
en Nuêbeh, where the road that leads from the convent to Akaba at the
head of the Gulf of Akaba, reaches the coast. From Akaba the mountains
are prolonged in the direction of Palestine on both sides of the Wadi
el Arabah, the great depression that extends northwards to the Dead
Sea. This is “the land of Seir, the country of Edom” of the Bible (Gen.
xxxii. 3). Edom signifies red in Hebrew, and the land may have been so
called owing to the red sandstone of the district.

Sinai, generally speaking, is a country of stern desolation. Its
mountains are bare, its plains are swept by the wind, its river beds
are to all appearance waterless. But clusters of bushes that follow the
valley floors or rise from the plains, show that moisture percolates
the soil beneath the surface, and is procurable by digging down to the
harder subsoil, (_i.e._ “striking the rock”) as was done at the time of
the passage of the Israelites. Such digging is done by the Bedawyn at
the present day, the holes for water being called _hufrah_ in Arabic.
In some places, however, the water along the valleys is thrown up and
forms natural oases as in the Wadi Gharandel, the Wadi Feiran, and at
Tur. In others, it is raised by means of the mechanical device of a
water-wheel and by a _shaduf_.

Rain falls in the peninsula in sudden downpours, often in connection
with a thunderstorm. When we camped in the Wadi Umm Agraf in January
of 1906, it rained without ceasing for two days and a night, creating
rivulets and a waterfall down the mountain slope. A week later the
valley floor was carpeted with verdure and flowers, and the thorny
bushes were masses of bloom. Rainstorms may result in a spate, the
dreaded _seil_ of the Bedawyn, which often appears several miles below
where the rain has actually fallen. In the winter of 1914-15 the Wadi
el Arish was twice in spate, and left extensive pools of water behind.
The effect of a spate, seen on Dec. 3, 1867, in the Wadi Feiran by the
Rev. F. W. Holland, was described by him. In little more than an hour,
the Wadi Feiran, at this point about 300 yards wide, was filled with
a raging torrent from eight to ten feet deep. Men, animals, and trees
were swept past upon the flood, and huge boulders ground along the wady
bed with a noise of a hundred mills at work. In this spate perished
thirty persons, scores of sheep and goats, camels, and donkeys, and it
swept away an entire encampment that had been pitched at the mouth of a
small valley on the north side of Mount Serbal.[5]

Disasters of this kind are in part attributable to the reckless
deforestation of the country which has gone on unchecked for
thousands of years, and continues at the present day. To this is
attributable also the calamitous invasion of sand along the shores of
the Mediterranean recorded by Arabic writers. In ancient times wood
was extensively used for smelting purposes in different parts of the
peninsula, as is shown by enormous slag-heaps in the Wadi Baba and in
the Wadi Nasb. A great bed of wood ashes beneath the temple-floor at
Serabit showed that wood was freely used in offering the holocaust in
a district that is now entirely denuded of trees. According to the
Mosaic Law, charcoal was used in early times at the Temple service as
we gather from “a censer full of burning coals” (Lev. xv. 12).[6] For
domestic use it was exported during the Middle Ages, and was regularly
delivered by the Bedawyn as tribute to the Pasha in the nineteenth
century. Its export continues to this day.

The heathen past tried to stem the ravages of deforestation by marking
off certain valley floors, the use of which was reserved to the
sanctuaries. Inside this holy ground, the _hima_, no animal might be
hunted and no tree might be cut down. Many valleys of Sinai to this
day contain one tree of great age and often of prodigious size, which
is accounted holy and is therefore left untouched.[7] But the mass of
the trees and with them the hope of a copious undergrowth, has gone.
At the time of the passage of the Israelites, there must have been
extensive tamarisk groves, since it is the tamarisk which yields manna,
a product well-known in ancient Egypt. Its abundance must have made an
appreciable difference in their food-supply. Only a few tamarisk groves
remain in the more southern mountains at the present day, chief among
them the groves of Tarfat el Gidaran. Again neglect has destroyed the
palm groves of which enormous plantations existed in the Middle Ages.
We read of a plantation of over 10,000 date-palms at Tur, and the date
since the earliest times was a staple article of diet. According to
Arab tradition the land along the shores of the Mediterranean was of
great fruitfulness before it was invaded by sand drifts. It was the
same with the numerous fruit and vegetable gardens which were once
cultivated by the monks and the hermits. With the exception of the
garden belonging to the convent, they have passed away. Journeying
across the wide stretches of the country which were formerly a
wilderness and are now a desert, one wonders if a wise government
could not impose restrictions which would stop the destruction of
the undergrowth and regulate the water-supply. This would extend the
cultivation of the date-palm, the tamarisk and of other food products,
for the Bedawyn, the present inhabitants of the peninsula, live in
a state of semi-starvation. Their various means of subsistence have
steadily grown less with the centuries. Deforestation has influenced
the fauna to the detriment of the huntsmen. The herds of gazelles which
were numerous as late as the Middle Ages, are few and far between.
Pasture lands which formerly fed sheep and goats were encroached
upon by the introduction of the camel. The transport of goods and of
pilgrims which gave occupation to the owners of camels during the
Middle Ages has practically ceased. The convent formerly helped to tide
over difficult times by means of its resources, but the advent in the
east of the Turk reduced these resources to a minimum, and the convent
is nowadays hardly able to satisfy its own needs. In the face of this
state of things, it seems worth recalling the different periods in the
past when Sinai held the attention of the outside world and helped in
the making of history. For the recognition of her solitary ruins, and
of her literary wealth still enshrined in the convent, taken with the
needs of her people, may stimulate effort to inaugurate a new era to
the profit of Christian and of Moslim alike.



THE name Sinai is first mentioned in the Song of Deborah (Judges v.
5), which is dated to about B.C. 1000, and in the story of Exodus.
It perpetuates the early form of belief of the inhabitants of the
peninsula. For the word Sinai together with Sin (Exod. xvi. 1) and
Zin (Num. xiii. 21), all date back to Sin, a name of the moon-god in
ancient Babylonia.

The word Sin appears as part of the name of Naram-Sin, king of Accad
in Babylonia (_c._ B.C. 3700), whose great stele of victory, now
in the Louvre, represents his conquest of Elam (Persia). The acts
of Naram-Sin were considered in the light of lunar influence, for
his Annals state that “the moon was favourable for Naram-Sin who at
this season marched into Maganna.”[8] Maganna, otherwise Magan, was
frequently named in early annals and inscriptions, notably on the great
statues of King Gudea (B.C. 2500). It was the place where the diorite
came from out of which the statues were made. The same inscriptions
mention Milukhkha.[9] An ancient fragment of Assyrian geography which
was engraved about the year B.C. 680, but the original of which is
considered much older, names side by side: “The country of Milukhkha as
the country of blue stone, and the country of Maganna as the country
of copper.”[10] Of these names Maganna may refer to Sinai while the
word Milukhkha recalls the Amalekites who dwelt in the peninsula. In
any case the name Sin goes back to Babylonian influence, probably to
the Semites who were powerful in the land of Arabia in the days of



Fig. 1.—Situation of Sanctuaries. (Petrie: _Researches in Sinai_.)]

The constant recurring changes of the moon caused this to be accepted
as the ruler of times and seasons by the huntsman and the herdsman
generally. The Hebrews came from a stock of moon-worshippers. It was
from Ur of the Chaldees, a centre of moon-cult, that Terah and Abraham
migrated to Haran on the way to Canaan about B.C. 2100.[11] The Arab
writer Al Biruni (_c._ A.D. 1000) in his _Chronology of the Ancient
Nations_, noted the connection of Haran with the moon-cult, and stated
that near it was another place called Selem-sin, its ancient name being
Saram-sîn, _i.e._ _Imago lunæ_, and another village called Tera-uz,
_i.e._ _Porta Veneris_.[12]

The acceptance of moon-worship among the ancient Hebrews is confirmed
by Artapanus, some of whose statements were preserved by Alexander
Polyhistor (B.C. 140). Artapanus described the Syrians who came to
Egypt with Abraham as “Hermiouthian” (_i.e._ worshippers of Hermes),
and stated that Joseph’s brethren built Hermiouthian sanctuaries at
Athos and Heliopolis.[13] Heliopolis, the city On of the Bible (Gen.
xli. 45), was near the present Cairo; followers of Abraham were held to
have settled there. Athos has been identified as Pithom. More probably
it was Pa-kesem, the chief city of Goshen. The word Hermiouthian
indicates moon-worshippers, as Hermes, the Greek god, was reckoned by
the classic writers the equivalent of the Egyptian moon-god Thoth, as
is shown by the place-name Hermopolis, (_i.e._ the city of Thoth), in
Lower Egypt.

Another name for the moon-god was Ea or Yah, who was accounted the
oldest Semitic god in Babylonia, to which his devotees were held to
have brought the cultivation of the date-palm, an event that marked a
notable step in civilisation.[14] The emblem of Sin was the crescent
moon, the emblem of Ea was the full moon, who, in the Assyrian Creation
story is described as “Ea the god of the illustrious (_i.e._ lustrous)
face.”[15] On Babylonian seal cylinders Ea is shown standing up as a
bull, seen front face, with his devotee Eabani (_i.e._ sprung from
Ea), a man seen, front face also, who wears the horns and hide of a
bull.[16] This representation perpetuates the conception of the horned
beast as a sacrosanct animal that was periodically slain. We shall come
across this conception later in the emblem worn by the Pharaoh, and in
the story of the Israelites and the Golden Calf.

[Illustration: Sandstone Baboon from Serabit

Glazed Baboon from Hierakonpolis

Glazed Baboon from Abydos]

Fig. 2.—Figures of Baboons. (_Ancient Egypt_, a periodical, 1914, Part

The monuments found in Sinai contain information which points to the
existence of moon-worship there at a remote period of history. These
monuments consist in rock-tablets which were engraved by the Pharaohs
from the First Dynasty onwards over the mines which they worked at
Maghara, and of remains of various kinds discovered in the temple
ruins of the neighbouring Sarbut-el-Khadem or Serabit. Maghara more
especially was associated with the moon-god and was presumably the site
of a shrine during the period of Babylonian or Arabic influence which
preceded the invasion of the peninsula by the Egyptians (Fig. 1).

Among the Egyptians, Thoth, the moon-god, had shrines at Hierakonpolis
and at Abydos in Upper Egypt, and in both these places he was
worshipped under the semblance of a baboon. He was worshipped also at
Hermopolis in Lower Egypt, but here he was represented as ibis-headed.
In Sinai we find him represented sometimes as a baboon and sometimes as

Thus the excavations of the temple-ruins at Serabit in 1906 led to
the discovery of several figures of baboons. One was the rude figure
some three inches high which is here represented; it was found in
the cave that was the treasure-house of the sanctuary. This little
figure is similar in appearance and in workmanship to figures found
at Hierakonpolis and at Abydos, the centres of moon-worship in Upper
Egypt. Several of these figures were found at Hierakonpolis.[17] At
Abydos more than sixty were discovered in the winter of 1902 in a
chamber at the lowest temple level, where they were apparently placed
when the later cult of Osiris superseded the earlier cult of Thoth.
This took place in pre-dynastic times.[18] The figure of the baboon
who stood for the lunar divinity in Egypt, was doubtless deemed a
suitable offering to the sacred shrine at Serabit in Sinai, because
of the nearness of this shrine to the centre of moon-worship of the
country. If the figure was carried to Sinai at the time when similar
figures were offered in Egypt, the establishment of the moon-cult in
the peninsula dates back to the pre-dynastic days of Egypt.[19]

[Illustration: Fig. 3.—Sneferu ravaging the land. (_Ancient Egypt_, a
periodical, 1914, Part i.)]

Another baboon, carved life-size in limestone with an inscription
around its base, came out of one of the chambers of the adytum to the
sacred cave at Serabit, the work and inscription of which dated it to
the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. The presence of this figure suggests that
the Egyptians associated their moon-god with the moon-worship of the

[Illustration: Fig. 4.—Khufu smiting the Anu before Thoth.]

The chief shrine or sanctuary of the moon god in the peninsula probably
lay in Wadi Maghara where mining on the part of the Arabs preceded that
of the Egyptians, for the Egyptians here fought for the possession of
the mines. This is shown by the tablets carved in the living rock,
which commemorate the Pharaohs from King Semerkhet (I 7) of the First
Dynasty onwards. They are represented as smiters of the enemy above the
mines which they worked. One of these tablets represents Sneferu, the
ninth king of the Third Dynasty, who wears a head-dress that consists
of a double plume which rises from a pair of horns as is seen in the
illustration. The double plume is well known, but the horns are foreign
to Egypt, and recall the lunar horns that are worn by Eabani, the
devotee of the moon-god Ea or ancient Babylonian seal cylinders. The
adoption of horns by the Pharaoh of Egypt seems to indicate that he has
usurped the authority of the earlier ruler of the place (Fig. 3).

[Illustration: Fig. 5.—Amen-em-hat III, Thoth and Hathor. Maghara.
(Petrie: _Researches in Sinai_.)]

Other monuments found at Maghara point to the same conclusion. Thus one
rock-tablet represents King Khufu (IV 2), the great pyramid builder,
smiting the Anu in front of the ibis-headed figure of Thoth who stands
holding out his sceptre facing him (Fig. 4). Other Pharaohs are
represented as smiters. But after the Fifth Dynasty the opposition
which the Pharaohs encountered in Sinai must have come to an end, for
later Pharaohs were no longer represented as smiters, but are seen in
the double capacity of lord of Upper and of Lower Egypt standing and
facing the ibis-headed figure of the moon-god Thoth, who now holds out
to them his sceptre supporting an _ankh_ and a _dad_, the Egyptian
emblems of life and stability. Among the Pharaohs so represented was
Amen-em-hat III, sixth king of the Twelfth Dynasty, who is shown facing
the god Thoth behind whom the goddess Hathor is seen (Fig. 5). The
interpretation is that the Pharaoh is now acting in complete agreement
with the divinities of the place. Of these Thoth stands for the
moon-god who originally had his shrine at Maghara, and Hathor stands
for the presiding goddess who had her shrine at Serabit. This shrine
or sanctuary at Serabit is of special importance in the religious
associations of the peninsula.



THE existence of the sanctuary at Serabit in Sinai was unknown to
Europeans till the year 1762, when it was chanced upon by Carsten
Niebuhr, who did not, however, record its name. Seetzen who visited it
between 1809 and 1810 noted this as Serrabit-el-Chadem.[20] _Sarbat_ is
Arabic for height, _khadem_ signifies slave. But Prof. Sayce claims for
the name a different derivation. In ancient Egyptian _ba_, plur. _bit_,
signifies hole or mine, _khetem_ signifies fortress. Serabit el Khadem
thus signifies mine fortress, with the prefix _sar_, which probably
stands for exalted.

Other place names in the district probably date from the ancient
Egyptians also. Thus the valley leading up from the coastal plain of El
Markha to the mine district is called Wadi Baba, _i.e._ mine valley.
Again, a tributary of the Baba, with its valley head close to Serabit,
is the Wadi Bateh, a name which probably includes the word for mine

The sanctuary of Serabit[21] at the outset consisted of a cave, or
rather of two caves adjacent to one another, of which the larger, which
has been squared, measures 20 by 10 feet, the smaller one measures 6
by 4 feet with three steps leading up to a round-headed apse or recess
(Fig. 9).

These caves have separate entrances and lie in a knoll facing a plateau
in the midst of wild, upland scenery. The plateau lies some 2680 feet
above sea level, and is difficult of access on all sides (Fig. 6).

To the north it communicates with the Wadi Suweig along the steep and
tortuous Wadi Dhaba, which is marked number 6 on the map. The word
_dhaba_ signifies panther, probably in allusion to the feline animal
which was at one time associated with the presiding female divinity at
Serabit. Another valley, marked number 7 on the map, leads up to the
temple ruins, with a path passing the mines which contain inscriptions
in an early Semitic script. But it was not along these gorges, but
along a path leading up from the plain El Markha along the Wadi Baba
and the Wadi Nasb that the ancient Egyptians approached the sanctuary.
This path has been included in the Ordnance Survey of 1871. A rock
tablet marked P on the map, which commemorates the Pharaoh Amen-em-hat
IV (XII 7), lies near the watershed, and this shows that the Egyptians
passed here. A small Egyptian shrine (Q) was also discovered at the
western end of the plateau.

To the south of the plateau, and separated from it by several ravines
and valley heads, extends the Wadi Umm Agraf which is comparatively
remote from the valleys communicating with the Wadi Suweig and the Wadi
Baba, and relatively close to the sanctuary. The approach to the temple
from this side was unknown to Europeans till the winter of 1905-6,
when Prof. Flinders Petrie and his party, who worked at excavating the
temple ruins, pitched their tents here. A path was constructed from the
camp up the mountain side to the temple by clearing away the stones. In
parts an old path was re-used, the existence of which showed that there
was at one time frequent intercourse between the sanctuary and the Wadi
Umm Agraf. Some way down the Wadi Umm Agraf the valley floor is crossed
by a wall made of rough stones piled together, the purpose of which was
to mark off the upper reaches of the Wadi as is seen by a glance at the
map. These upper reaches evidently constituted a tract of land the use
of which was reserved to the sanctuary. A copious supply of good water
is obtainable at a well some miles down the valley. The separation
wall across the valley is undoubtedly old. A similar wall crosses the
Wadi Maghara, which was dated by Prof. Petrie to at least the Fourth
Dynasty. Its purpose, like that near Serabit, was to mark off the
upper reaches of the valley, which in this case may have represented
the _hima_ or tract of land that was originally appropriated to the
sanctuary of the moon-god.


Fig. 6—Sanctuary surroundings at Serabit. (Petrie: _Researches in

The plateau of Serabit falls away abruptly on its southern and western
edge, and the stratum here appears which anciently yielded turquoise.
The wish to control access to this turquoise no doubt originally led
to the permanent occupation of the caves, and we shall probably not be
far wrong if we imagine this in the possession of a clan or hereditary
priesthood, who, in return for offerings brought to their cave, gave
turquoise or the permission to work it inside the appropriated area.
The offerings brought to the cave naturally led to a sacrifice and
feast which, in the course of time, would hallow the precincts of the
place. Prof. Robertson Smith remarked that almost every sacred site in
Palestine had its cavern or grotto which served to store the vessels
and utensils that were used at the sacrifice that took place near it.
No religious significance originally attached to the cave. But the
holiness of the sacrifice reflected on it, and in the course of time it
was identified as the abode of the divinity.[22]

The plateau in front of the caves at Serabit served as a High Place of
Burning. Such high places were in use in Canaan before and after the
Exodus. Prof. Robertson Smith showed how the barren and unfrequented
hill top would be one of the most natural places chosen for the
holocaust, and in this connection recalled the proposed sacrifice of
Isaac on the mountain.[23] We read in the history of Samuel how he
was called upon to sanctify the sacrifice on the height, of which the
people would not partake until it had received his blessing (1 Sam. ix.
12); also that Solomon visited Gibeon, where he burnt sacrificial flesh
and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon the altar (1 Kings iii. 4).
In consequence of the building of the Temple at Jerusalem efforts were
made to draw to it all the offerings, but the High Places seem to have
continued till the Captivity. They finally came under the ban of the
ceremonial law.[24]

The use made of the plateau of Serabit as a High Place of Burning was
shown by the excavations. In front of the caves, beneath the stone
floor of the Temple buildings that were erected by the Egyptians after
their appropriation of the site, there was found a continuous bed of
wood-ashes which extended all across the temple area and out as far
as the buildings and stone walls on the south, in all fifty feet in
breadth. Outside the area covered by the stone floor the ashes would
be carried away by wind and rain. In the words of Prof. Petrie: “We
must therefore suppose a bed of wood ashes at least 100 by 50 feet very
probably much wider, and varying from 3 to 18 inches thick, in spite
of all denudation that took place before the XVIII dynasty. There must
he on the ground about 50 tons of ashes, and these are probably the
residue of some hundreds of tons of ashes. The ashes are certainly
before the XVIII dynasty.” In further explanation of the way in which
the sacrifice was treated, Prof. Petrie tells us that “the fires were
not large, as the ash is all white, and no charcoal of smothered fire
remains. No whole burnt sacrifice was offered, as no calcined bones
were found; and some kind of feeding at the place is suggested by the
finding of a few pieces of pottery jars and of thin drinking cups.
These belonged to the age of the XII dynasty.”[25]

The space in front of the caves was fenced in by a wall built of rough
stones loosely piled together, similar in construction to the walls
that cross the Wadi Umm Agraf and the Wadi Maghara. The temple area
which the wall enclosed varied at different periods. It was finally
200 feet in its greatest length and 140 feet at its greatest breadth.
Behind the caves across the knoll its course was doubled. It thus
enclosed a vast temenos of oblong form which included large open spaces
that were again partitioned off, besides the ground that was covered by
the Egyptian temple buildings (Fig. 11).

Outside the temenos wall and well in view of the knoll, rough circular
enclosures lie scattered here and there on the plateau, which were made
by clearing the ground of stones and piling these together in the same
way as the walls were built up. These stone enclosures are for the most
part four to six feet inside measurement, a few are larger, and many
of them contain one stone of larger size that was set up at one side
of the enclosure and propped up by other stones. There were also some
uprights without enclosures.

Similar uprights and enclosures are found in Syria; their devotional
and commemorative origin is apparent from incidents related in the

Thus in the story of Jacob we read how, coming from Beersheba, he
lighted on a certain place that was holy ground, and tarried all night
because the sun was set. “And he took of the stones of that place and
put them for his pillows” (Gen. xxviii. 11; LXX at his head). In the
night he had his wonderful dream and on the following morning he set up
the stone and poured oil on it and called it Bethel (_i.e._ house of
El), saying, “And this stone which I have set for a pillar (_mazzebh_)
shall be God’s house” (Gen. xxviii. 22). On another occasion he made a
covenant with Laban in ratification of which he took a stone and set it
up for a pillar (_mazzebh_), and called his brethren to take stones and
make an heap (perhaps an enclosure), “and they did eat there upon the
heap” (Gen. xxxi. 45, 46). Again when the Israelites camped in Sinai,
Moses erected an altar, and set up twelve pillars (_mazzeboth_), and
when they crossed the Jordan, Joshua took twelve stones from the river
which he set up at the place which was known as Gilgal (Joshua iv. 1-9,
19-20). The name Gilgal in this case was associated with “rolling” away
the reproach of Egypt (Joshua v. 9). But the word Gilgal signifies
“circle of stone.”[26] In the Septuagint the word generally stands
in the plural Galgala (Joshua iv. 19, 20, etc). If the single stones
(_mazzeboth_) were set up inside circular stone enclosures, this would
correspond with the way the uprights were set up at Serabit.

In the course of the Twelfth Dynasty, the Egyptians secured a foothold
in Serabit where they erected inscriptions and steles, and commemorated
the female divinity of the place under the name of Hathor. A statuette
of Hathor was the usual gift to the shrine of the Pharaohs of this
dynasty. Her cult was at first coupled with that of the moon-god Thoth
as the representative of the neighbouring Maghara, later she appears
alone or associated with the local divinity Sopd.

At Wadi Maghara, Hathor appears on one tablet following the ibis-headed
Thoth, who faces the Pharaoh Amen-em-hat III (XII 6), as already
mentioned (Fig. 5). On a corresponding tablet found at Serabit she is
seen holding out to the same king a sceptre which supports the _ankh_
and the _dad_. There were many Hathors in Egypt, for Hathor here
took the place of earlier mother-divinities in much the same way as
the Virgin Mary took the place of local mother-divinities in Europe.
The goddess Hathor in Sinai was generally represented wearing a
head-dress that consists of a pair of horns which support the orb of
the full moon, and she is described as mistress of the turquoise land,
and later simply as mistress of turquoise (_mafkat_). Hathor stands
for the unwedded mother-goddess who appears as Ishtar in Babylonia,
as Ashtoreth in Canaan, and as the Queen of Heaven generally. At
Serabit her name appears in script which may be Semitic. One of these
inscriptions is on a figure of the usual squatting type that came out
of the sanctuary (Fig. 7). Another is on a peculiar sphinx that is
now in the British Museum. Others are on much-battered steles that
were carved on the rock in the mine along the valley marked number 7
(Fig. 6). The name consists of a sequence of four signs, which Dr. Alan
Gardiner reads as Ba-alat: “Almost every Egyptian inscription from
Serabit names the goddess Hathor, and there could not possibly be a
better equivalent for the name of this goddess than Ba-alat.”[27]

[Illustration: Fig. 7.—Figure with Semitic Script. (Petrie:
_Researches in Sinai_.)]

The name Ba-alat recalls Alilat whom Herodotus (_c._ B.C. 450) named
as the chief divinity of Arabia (iii. 8), and who reappears as Al-Lat
in the Koran (_c._ A.D. 630). Al-Lat had her sanctuary at Taïf, about
forty miles north-north-east of Mecca, which consisted of a cave in an
upland plain in which clothes, jewels, incense, silver and gold, were
stored. The goddess was held to be incarnate in a white rock that was
afterwards seen lying under the mosque, and which was described by
Hamilton and by Doughty as a mass of white granite now shattered with
gunpowder and shapeless.[28] Appropriated to the sanctuary at Taïf was
a guarded and reserved tract of land, the _hima_, where no _idah_-tree
might be cut and no animal hunted, and the reluctance of Mohammad to
dislodge the goddess was shared by the Taïfites, to whom the gatherings
near the shrine were a source of wealth.

Another cave sanctuary at El Nakhl, not far from Mecca, which was
associated with El Uzza, likewise consisted of a cave with accumulated
wealth and owned a reserved tract of land or _hima_.[29] The
arrangement at Serabit was apparently the same, and proves the Arabian
or Semitic origin of the place.

The excavations at Serabit, moreover, led to the discovery of temple
furniture such as served the “Queen of Heaven” elsewhere.

Thus several short stone altars were found, of which one, broken in
half, was 22 inches high with a cup hollow on the top, 3½ inches wide
and one inch deep. Another was described as “well finished, and on the
top the surface was burnt for about a quarter of an inch inwards, black
outside and discoloured below. This proves that such altars were used
for burning, and from the small size, 5 to 7 inches across, the only
substance burnt on them must have been highly inflammable, such as

Two rectangular altars cut in stone were also found, each with two
saucer-like depressions, ten inches wide all over, and seven inches
across inside, which “might well be for meat offerings, or cakes
of flour and oil, a kind of pastry.”[31] According to a passage in
Jeremiah, the Israelite women, who repudiated visiting the sanctuary
of the Queen of Heaven without their husbands, which was forbidden to
them, said, “And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and
poured out drink-offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship
her, and pour out drink-offerings unto her, without our men?” (Jer.
xliv. 19). The utterance shows that offerings in food and drink as well
as incense burning was customary in the cult of the Semitic goddess.

Offerings that consisted of cakes continued in Arabia into Christian
times. For Epiphanius of Cyprus († 403), in his book, _Against all
Heresies_, denounced certain Christians as Collyridians, from the
cakes which they placed under an awning and offered in the name of the

Hathor, however, was not the only divinity whose cult was located at
Serabit. While the larger of the two caves was appropriated to her,
the smaller adjacent cave was associated with Sopd, who was repeatedly
named here from the reign of Amen-em-hat III (XII 6) onwards. One
inscription of the sixth year of this king named him together with
Hathor. Another of the forty-second year mentioned Sebek-didi who set
up an inscription and described himself as “beloved of Hathor; mistress
of the _mafkat_-country; beloved of Sopd, lord of the east; beloved of
Sneferu and the gods and goddesses of this land.”[33]

The special association of Sopd with the Pharaoh Amen-em-hat III is
shown by an open hall that was erected outside the temple at Serabit in
the course of the Eighteenth Dynasty, the decoration of which caused
Prof. Petrie to call it the hall of the kings. On the inner wall of
this building are the figures of the divinities and the kings who
were especially associated with Serabit. Among them is Sopd who is
seen holding in one hand an _ankh_, in the other a staff of justice,
and who follows the Pharaoh Amen-em-hat III.[34] Sopd during the
Eighteenth Dynasty was reckoned the equal of Hathor. For the entrance
to a mine that was opened conjointly by Queen Hatshepsut and her nephew
Tahutmes shows Tahutmes offering incense to Hathor and Hatshepsut in a
corresponding scene offering incense to Sopd.

The divinity Sopd has no place in the older Egyptian pantheon, and is
to all appearance an Egyptianised divinity of Semitic origin. He is
named among the gods who are favourable to the Pharaoh Sen-usert I (XII
2) in the so-called _Tale of Sanehat_, which describes an incident of
the time and is looked upon as a genuine historical account.[35] The
cult of the god seems to have gained a firm foothold in connection with
the forced retreat of the Mentu people. For it says in a nome text of
Edfu, “Shur is here Sopd, the conqueror of the Mentu, lord of the east
country, and in Edfu golden Horns, son of Isis, powerful god Sopd.”[36]

One mention of Sopd in Egypt is on a tablet of Sen-usert II (XII 4)
that was found in the temple of Wadi Qasus in the desert of Kossayr on
the borders of the Red Sea. On it Sopd is described as “lord of the
eastern foreigners (_sut_), and of the east (Neb-Apti).”[37]

The description “lord of the east,” refers to the cult of Sopd in the
land of Goshen, the twentieth nome of Lower Egypt, the capital of
which, Pa-kesem, was known also as Per-Sopd, _i.e._ the House of Sopd.
The amulet of Sopd at Per-Sopd was of turquoise, which bore out his
connection with Sinai. An Egyptian text, moreover, described Sopd as
“noblest of the spirits of Heliopolis.”

Now the Syrians or Hebrews, as already stated, had a foothold at
Heliopolis since the days of Abraham, while the land of Goshen, as we
know, was allotted to the Israelites. The inference is that Sopd who
had a sanctuary in Sinai, had sanctuaries in Heliopolis and in the land
of Goshen also. The study of these sanctuaries shows that they had
features in common with some of the early sanctuaries in Palestine.

The ancient city Per-Sopd in Egypt, known as Phakusa in Greek, and
as Kesem in the Septuagint, is now called Saft-el-Henneh. The change
from Sopd to Saft suggests a possible origin of certain place names in
Palestine, including Tell-es-Safi, which is situated between Jerusalem
and Gaza, and Safed, which is situated north of the Sea of Galilee.
Both of these were hallowed by ancient religious associations.



Fig. 8.—Caves at Serabit. (_Ancient Egypt_, a periodical, 1917, Part

Modern Safed occupies a conspicuous position on the summit of a
mountain. Together with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias, it ranked as a
holy city of Palestine.[38] It is named Tsidphoth in the _Travels of an
Egyptian Mohar_,[39] and is Tsapheth in the Talmud, and Sephet in the
Vulgate of Tobit.

On the other hand Tell-es-Safi, situated between Jerusalem and Gaza,
was identified as a High Place of Burning by recent excavations.
Possibly it was Gath of the Bible, one of the five holy cities of
Palestine. The excavations at Tell-es-Safi led to the discovery of
features which recall the arrangements at Serabit in Sinai. At a depth
of 11 to 21 ft. the pre-Israelite ground was reached, on which stood
several pillars (_mazzeboth_), some of which were enclosed in the
largest of several chambers that were built on slightly higher level.
The long wall of the chamber which included the uprights, had a break,
roughly in the form of an apse that was 4 feet 5 inches wide and 2 feet
4½ inches deep. A rude semicircle built of stone stood 20 inches high
from the ground a distance of a few feet, facing it.[40] This apse
corresponds with the recess at the back of the cave of Sopd in Sinai.

The likeness between the place names Per-Sopd, modern Safet in Egypt,
and the place names Sephet, modern Safed, and Safi in Palestine,
suggests that the cities in Palestine also were the site of a shrine
of the Semitic divinity who figures in Egypt and in Sinai under the
name Sopd. It is possible that Sopd is the verbal equivalent of the
Hebrew word _shophet_, Phœnician _sufet_, which signifies judge. Among
the early Semites the sanctuary was the seat of justice, and the
priests were its administrators, who, in this capacity, gave out the
pronouncements. As such they were sacred and, with reference to the
joint divinities (El) of the tribes, they were at first called Elohim,
later Kohanim. The word shophet itself indicates the Supreme Judge,
as in the passage, “Shall not the Judge (shophet) of all the earth do
right?” (Gen. xviii. 25), while the relation between the Judge and
His administrators is indicated by the words, “And the heavens shall
declare his righteousness, for Elohim is Shophet himself” (Psa. l. 6).

The shrine of Sopd in Sinai and the one at Per-Sopd in Egypt, perhaps
the one at Heliopolis also, served the same purpose as the shrine
at Tell-es-Safi. The priest would stand in the recess with his face
towards the suppliant, who, at Safi, stood in the low semicircle.

In Sinai the cave of Sopd was adjacent to that of the moon-goddess
(Fig. 8). According to information already cited, a shrine at
Heliopolis where Sopd was “noblest of spirits” dated from the
“Hermiouthians,” who came there with Abraham, while Hermiouthian
sanctuaries were erected in Goshen by the brethren of Joseph. We are
left to infer that a shrine of Sopd, presumably a centre for the
administration of justice, was connected here also with the localised
cult of the moon.

Other features at Serabit confirm the non-Egyptian character of the
cult of Sopd. Thus, on the northern approach to the temple stood a
stone tank measuring 54 by 32 inches, with a hollow of 37 by 17 inches.
Inside the temple area, in one of the courts which were built in the
Eighteenth Dynasty, stood a circular tank, 31 inches across with a
hollow of 25 inches, and another rectangular tank, 44 by 30 inches
stood in the same court, and a further rectangular tank in the hall
on the approach to the lower cave. The disposition of these tanks was
such that the worshipper who approached the temple from the north,
passed the tank outside and the various other tanks on his way to
the lesser cave. The use of tanks outside and inside the temple, is
foreign to Egypt. They are in keeping with the _apsu_ or stone tank
of the Babylonian temple; and with the regulations of Moses regarding
the laver that stood between the entrance to the temple and the altar
(Exod. xxx. 18). In Jerusalem in the temple of Solomon was a “molten
sea” that was round about, and there were ten lavers of brass, five on
the right and five on the left side of the house. (1 Kings vii. 23, 38,
39). A similar arrangement prevails to this day in the Arab mosque.
Outside stands the well or place for legal washings _ghusl_, and inside
is the circular tank for ablution _wazur_.[41] The tanks at Serabit
were therefore connected with the cult of Sopd, and their presence
confirms the Semitic character of the place.



THE monuments which the Egyptians erected in Sinai are evidence of
their continued connection with the place. These were examined and
studied in the winter of 1906.[42] They comprised many monuments which
were carved in the living rock, and were found in the Wadi Maghara,
the Wadi Nasb and at Serabit. At Serabit, moreover, there were found
numerous offerings consisting of statuettes, vases, pottery, and other
objects which were brought from Egypt to the sanctuary. Outside this
sanctuary the Egyptians set up steles near the holy caves and on the
neighbouring hillside, and they built chambers and porticoes inside
the temenos, and covered these with scenes and inscriptions. Thus the
buildings outside the caves went on increasing till the place assumed
the appearance of a vast temple.

The baboon figure which was discovered in the temple of Serabit, and
the turquoise that was found in early graves in Egypt, show that the
Egyptians came to the peninsula in pre-dynastic days. The beginning of
dynastic history in Egypt was dated by Prof. Breasted (1909) to about
B.C. 3400,[43] and by Prof. Petrie (1914) to about B.C. 5500. Scholars
are more and more inclining to accept the earlier date.

At the beginning of the First Dynasty the Egyptians had secured a firm
foothold in the peninsula, as is shown by the inscriptions on the
living rock of the Pharaohs of this dynasty. These rock-inscriptions
are close to the mine holes in the hillside about 170 feet above the
valley floor. Besides these there were many inscriptions of kings of
the Third, Fifth and Sixth Dynasties. They were known to Europeans in
the eighteenth century, and some were drawn and described. But their
importance was not fully recognised and many perished in the blasting,
when the search for turquoise was renewed in the nineteenth century.
Among those which were ruthlessly destroyed was the great tablet of
King Khufu (IV 2), here reproduced. A full record was therefore made of
those which remained in 1906, and, in order to save the tablets, they
were removed to the Museum in Cairo. One only was left _in situ_. It
was the oldest of all, dating from King Semerkhet (I 7), seventh king
of the First Dynasty, which is engraved on the rock 394 feet above the
valley floor in a position which seems to guarantee its safety.

The earliest tablets in the Wadi Maghara represented the Pharaoh under
three aspects: as king of Upper Egypt, as king of Lower Egypt, and as
smiter of the enemy who crouches before him. There is, at first, little
wording beside the names and the titles of the king. As a smiter the
king holds a mace in one hand and a staff in the other, and the enemy
has a bold cast of countenance, abundant hair, a peaked beard, and
wears a loin-cloth. The Pharaoh holds him by the top-knot, together
with a carved object which he seems to have taken from him. This may be
a feather; possibly it is a boomerang or throwstick.

The rock inscription of Semerkhet was worked by cutting away the face,
and leaving the figures and the hieroglyphs standing in relief. A
little in front of the scenes, and worked on the same scale, was the
general of the expedition, who wears no distinctive dress, but the word
_Mer-meshau_ (leader of troops), written in hieroglyphs, is before
him. He is without head-dress and carries arrows and a bow of the
double-curved Libyan type.

Semerkhet was probably not the first Pharaoh who worked in Sinai. For
a small plaque found at Abydos represents Den-Setui, an earlier king
of the First Dynasty, who is seen in the same attitude as the Pharaohs
on the Sinai rock tablets, and the cast of countenance of the enemy is
also the same.[44]

Little is known of King Semerkhet outside Sinai. It is supposed that
the First Dynasty at his time was weakening. No records in Sinai
mention kings of the Second Dynasty, who were indigenous to the Nile
valley, and whose energies were devoted to reconstructing the older
elements of government at home.

A new spirit arose with the kings of the Third Dynasty, of whom
Sanekht (III 1) was represented at Wadi Maghara in the usual scenes
with the addition of the jackal-nome standard, one of the earliest
represented in Egypt, which may refer to the troops that accompanied
his expedition. The face of Sanekht is strongly Ethiopian in character,
not unlike the present Sudanys. The jackal-nome standard appears also
on the tablet of Zeser (III 2), the next Pharaoh recorded, who was
seen in the regular group of smiting with the addition of the familiar
titles, “giver of purity, stability, life, gladness for ever.”[45]

The intercourse between Egypt and Sinai found a new development under
Sneferu (III 9), who was represented wearing the horned head-dress
mentioned above, and the wording of his tablet described him as “Great
god ravaging the lands,” here reproduced. Sneferu worked not only at
Maghara, but was in contact also with the sanctuary at Serabit. To
this he presented the figure of a hawk, his favourite emblem, worked
in grey limestone, which was discovered in the winter of 1906 in the
sacred cave itself. Its work and inscription mark it as a contemporary
monument. It is now in the British Museum. Later ages looked upon
Sneferu as especially connected with Sinai, reckoning him as one of
the protecting divinities of the place, and his haul in turquoise was
referred to in the Twelfth Dynasty as exceptional. “I obtained more
turquoise than any man since Sneferu.”[46] The value which was set on
turquoise in Egypt during his reign is shown by one of the so-called
_Tales of the Magicians_, which relates how the damsels of the harim
of Sneferu went rowing on the lake. One dropped her jewel of “new
turquoise” into the water, which was recovered by magical means.[47]

The next Pharaoh who was commemorated at Maghara was Khufu (IV 2), the
great pyramid builder, who, as already mentioned, was figured smiting
the enemy before the ibis-headed figure of the god Thoth. At Maghara
several tablets recorded him, which were of large size and of excellent
workmanship. The chief one had fortunately been drawn and photographed
before it was entirely smashed during the recent blasting. On this
tablet, the Pharaoh, here named Khnumu-Khufu, was described as a smiter
of the Anu, a word written with three pillar signs, with a man as a
determinative (Fig. 4).

Next in date at Maghara was the tablet of Sahura (V 2), which was
framed by a colossal _Uas_-sceptre on either side and a row of stars
along the top. Sahura was described in the wording as “smiter of the
Mentu.” The same words were used to describe Ra-en-user (V 6), whose
tablet at Maghara measured 63 by 102 inches, and was the largest
of all. This tablet has the additional feature of an enormous vase
supported by two _ankhs_ with the words: “The lord of foreign lands
(_neb Setui_) gave coolness,” which suggests that a water supply was
made accessible by some local sheykh.

The Pharaohs at Maghara, between the First and the Fourth Dynasties,
were always represented as smiters. The tablets of the Fifth and Sixth
Dynasties are for the most part broken or destroyed, but what is left
of them points to more peaceful relations, and records the mining
expeditions with additional detail.

Thus the tablet of Dadkara (V 8) states that the expedition (_upt_)
was sent in the year after the fourth cattle census, which dates it to
the eighth or ninth year of the reign of this king. Again, a tablet
of Pepy I (VI 3) was dated by “the year after the eighteenth cattle
census”. These tablets, moreover, mention some of the dignitaries who
took part in the expedition. That of Dadkara named the ship-captain
Nenekt-Khentikhet; that of Pepy I the ship-captain Ibdu; a further
one of Pepy II (VI 5) the ship-captain Benkeneph.[48] This shows that
the Egyptians approached the mine-land by water. There is mention on
these tablets also of princes, of scribes, of a commander of recruits
(_hez-uz-neferu_), of inspectors (_uba_), of interpreters of princes
(_sehez-saru_), of the seal-bearer to the god (_neter sahu_), of
a chief of the land (_mer ta_), of a chief of the storehouse (_mer
ab_), of a chief of the elders (_mer uru_), and of others, which shows
how carefully the expeditions were organised. The tablet of Dadkara,
moreover, mentions for the first time the _Fkat_ country, _fkat_ being
short for _mafkat_, the ancient Egyptian word for turquoise. There is
always a difficulty in reading aright the names of precious stones.
_Mafkat_ was often rendered as malachite, and it needed the turning
over of the rubbish heaps at Serabit and the discovery of turquoise, in
order fully to establish the nature of the stone that was the product
of the area appropriated to “Hathor of Mafkat.”

The close of the Sixth Dynasty brought a break in the relations between
Egypt and Sinai, which is attributable, no doubt, to changes in Egypt
itself, of which we know little at this period. Perhaps there were
movements among the people of the east. Among those who threatened
Egypt from this side were the Mentu, who were Asiatics, and whose
successful defeat was achieved, as mentioned above, with the help of
the devotees to Sopd.

The Egyptians probably resumed work in Sinai during the Eleventh
Dynasty, since workmen’s pots, found in the Wadi Maghara, are dated
to this dynasty by their style.[49] The reign may have been that of
Mentu-hotep III (XI 7), for a group of four kings seated at a table
carved in stone was discovered at Serabit, with the names of the kings
along the edge of the table on which their hands were placed. They were
Sneferu (probably), Mentu-hotep III (XI 7), Amen-em-hat I (XII 1), and
his son Sen-usert (XII 2), who was probably the donor of the group.[50]

When work was resumed in Sinai in the Eleventh Dynasty, the attitude of
the Egyptians towards Serabit had undergone a marked change. In early
days they had approached the sanctuary as quasi-worshippers, presenting
offerings such as the baboon and the hawk. Now the sanctuary itself was
drawn within the sphere of their influence, and they erected uprights
or _mazzeboth_ on the approach to the cave on which they recorded their
mining expeditions.

Uprights of this kind are entirely unknown in Egypt. The _mazzeboth_
erected by the Egyptians in Sinai were therefore set up in deference
to the custom of the place. They were worked in red sandstone which
was quarried on the north side of the temple height judging by a great
square cutting that remains there, and the work of inscribing them
was done _in situ_ by Egyptian stone-cutters who were attached to the
expeditions. These steles are for the most part 6 to 12 feet high,
2 to 4 feet broad, and 6 to 8 inches thick. Their tops are rounded,
which gives them the appearance of gravestones, and this led some of
the earlier travellers to describe the height of Serabit as a place of

The oldest of the _mazzeboth_ were erected on a prominent spot outside
the temenos within sight of the sanctuary; later these steles were
placed along the approach to the cave, more and more crowding the
adytum. These Egyptian inscribed _mazzeboth_ all have a flat stone at
the base which suggests a place of offering, and their purpose seems
to have been to recommend the members of the expedition who set up the
stone to the good graces of Hathor of Mafkat.

In keeping with this, a statuette of Hathor was presented to the
shrine by the Pharaohs of the Twelfth Dynasty, every one of whom
organised one, if not several, expeditions to Sinai, in order to
secure turquoise. Several of these statuettes, varying in size and in
workmanship, were discovered inside the temple area during the winter
of 1906; most of them were sadly mutilated.

One statuette was the gift of Amen-em-hat I (XII 1), the founder of the
dynasty, who erected a portal outside the lesser cave as was shown by
a stone lintel bearing his name, which was found here. His successor,
Sen-usert I (XII 2), added to this portal as was shown by a piece
of limestone bearing his name. The larger cave about this time was
squared, its walls were smoothed and a slab was fixed inside, on which
were placed the more important Egyptian offerings, including the hawk
presented by Sneferu, and the statuettes of Hathor. It served also
to hold a hawk worked in sandstone that was presented by Sen-usert
himself, which named him, his queen Khent, their daughter Sebat, and
Ankhab, chief or overseer of the north land.

The same Ankhab also set up a tablet of his own, inside the cave on
which he was represented offering loaves to Amen.

Of the next king, Amen-em-hat II (XII 3), there was found the usual
statuette of Hathor, which was presented by the ship-captain Sneferu.
Inscriptions on a hill at some distance from the caves showed that the
Egyptians now worked turquoise mines at Serabit on their own account on
land which they had acquired. One inscription was of the seventeenth
year of Amen-em-hat II, another of his twenty-fourth year. The latter
mentioned the “mine chamber which Men, born of Mut, triumphant and
revered, excavated.” Two steles erected in the approach to the
sanctuary likewise recorded the seventeenth and the twenty-fourth year
of the reign of the same king.

The next kings, Sen-usert II (XII 4) and Sen-usert III (XII 5), made
the usual gift of a statuette of Hathor. The latter was presented
by five officials, including Merru, two inspectors, a scribe of
the cattle, and an Amu or Syrian named Lua or Luy, “a name which
corresponds to the Semitic Lévy.”[51] This shows a Semite in actual
contact with the place. A stele of the same Pharaoh stood in a knoll
of hæmatite on the plateau, the exposed position of which caused it to
fall and crumble long ago; its remains strew the ground.

The reign of the next Pharaoh, Amen-em-hat III (XII 6), marked a climax
in the intercourse of Egypt and Sinai. Of the forty-four years of his
reign, at least fourteen witnessed expeditions to Sinai, which were
commemorated by inscriptions set up in Wadi Maghara, in Wadi Nasb, and
at Serabit.

A great inscription of the second year, mentioned above, stands on a
boulder at the entrance to Wadi Maghara, which shows the king facing
the ibis-headed Thoth and Hathor, and the accompanying wording mentions
Khenti-hotep Khenemsu, who was commissioned to fetch turquoise and
copper, and who had with him 734 men. Another inscription was set
up by Harnakt, who “crossed the sea and secured stones of great

At Serabit also Amen-em-hat III was commemorated by many inscriptions.
Large stone steles, set up on the plateau, recorded the 4th, 8th, 13th,
23rd, 30th, 44th, and 45th year of this reign. Several of these steles
mention by name the Retennu people, of whom we now hear for the first
time in Sinai.

[Illustration: Fig. 9.—Upper half of Stele of Amen-em-hat III.
(Petrie: _Researches in Sinai_.)]

The stele of the fourth year contained in two columns the names and
titles of over a hundred persons who took part in the expedition. The
names start in fairly large hieroglyphs at the top, and diminish in
size lower down. A few additional names were roughly inscribed along
the edge of the stele as the result of an afterthought. This splendid
stele stood about ten feet high in the approach to the temple, but,
worn through at the base by the continued action of wind and rain, it
fell, and snapped in two in the falling (Fig. 9).

Not far from this stele stood one that was set up by Horoura,
describing an expedition which reached the mines in hot weather. “The
desert burnt like summer; the mountains burnt like fire; the vein
seemed exhausted; the overseer questioned the miners; the skilled
workers who knew the mine replied, There is turquoise to all eternity
in the mountain, and at that moment it appeared.”[53]

The reference is to the turquoise mines opened by Amen-em-hat II,
which were now further developed. The neck of rock which contained the
turquoise had hitherto been worked from the north. This neck of rock
was now attacked from the south, and, as the work became complex, a
shaft of about ten feet square was sunk from above, which brought light
and air into the passages. This shaft was wrongly described by some
travellers as a reservoir. The passages eventually extended about 220
feet into the rock. A great inscription on the rock, near the chief
opening, gives an idea of the offerings which the Egyptians made at
the sanctuary at this time; evidently in return for the permission
to work here. It mentions “a thousand loaves, jars of beer, cattle,
fowls, incense, ointment, and everything on which the gods live.”
The offerings in this case were presented by Sebek-her-heb, chief
chamberlain, who declared, “I excavated a mine-chamber for my lord, the
workmen came in full quota, never was there any neglect.”[54]

The same Sebek-her-heb erected the stele of the 44th year of
Amen-em-hat III on the plateau. It is inscribed on one side only and
stands in a rough stone enclosure with a flat stone at the base. The
inscription runs “a royal offering to Hathor, mistress of turquoise
(_mafkat_), for the family spirit (_ka_) of the chief chamberlain
Sebek-her-heb, and the _ka_ of the seal-bearer, deputy of the overseer
of seal-bearers, Kemnaa, born of Ka-hotep.”[55]

Another inscription of the 45th year of Amen-em-hat III, named Ptahwer,
triumphant, who described himself as “delivering the Anu Sut (eastern
foreigners) to the Pharaoh, and bringing the Mentu to the halls of the

During the reign of Amen-em-hat III the caves at Serabit were
re-modelled to their present shape. The larger cave, without the
recesses, now measures 20 by 10 feet. A square pillar of rock was left
standing in its centre as a support to the roof. On one side of this
pillar the Pharaoh was represented facing the goddess Hathor, wearing
a high head-dress, who held out to him a sceptre. Beneath this scene
Khenum-su, Ameny-seneb, seal-bearer, and other officials were seen.[57]
The walls of the cave at the same time were smoothed and inscribed with
mortuary prayers. But their surface for the most part has crumbled
away, perhaps owing to intentional desecration, and the inscriptions
are lost.

Ameny-seneb who was represented on the squared pillar, also set up in
the cave an altar in the name of his king. This altar measured 40 by
26 inches, and probably stood at the back of the cave in a recess of
corresponding dimensions. It was found in another part of the cave.
This altar had the ordinary appearance of an Egyptian altar and was
worked in the red sandstone of the place. It apparently took the place
of an earlier stone or altar of different appearance, fragments of
which were also found inside the cave. The smashing of this altar also
points to an intentional desecration of the place.

The smaller cave which was appropriated to Sopd, was probably
re-arranged at the same time. There was here no sign of inscription or
tablet. It was simply a rounded apse with three steps leading up to it.

The other work which was done during the reign of Amen-em-hat III
included mining in the Wadi Nasb, where an inscription at the head of
the valley recorded his 20th year.[58]

The head of the valley floor of the Wadi Nasb is covered with an
enormous mass of slag, which points to extensive copper smelting. The
mass of slag is 6 to 8 feet deep, 300 feet wide, and extends about 500
feet down the valley. It “may amount to 100,000 tons.” The provenance
of the copper that was smelted here is insufficiently known. It can
hardly have been brought up from the mines in the Wadi Khalig. But even
at Serabit, now entirely denuded of trees, a crucible was found.

After the long reign of Amen-em-hat III came the short reign of
Amen-em-hat IV (XII 7), the last king of his dynasty. An inscription
in the Wadi Maghara recorded work done there in his sixth year, and,
at Serabit, the small rock tablet mentioned above, was set up on the
western side of the plateau. A portico-court about 10 feet square was
also built by him outside the larger cave. This court was roofed over
with slabs of stone, the roof being supported by two fluted columns
which, like the rest of the building, were worked in the red sandstone
of the place. The walls of this portico were inscribed, the subject
being Hathor seated with the Pharaoh offering to her, and a long row of
officials behind him. The same scene reversed was represented on the
other side of the entrance. But the surface of the wall has crumbled so
that the general character only of the scenes is visible and the names
of the officials have gone.



THE ancient peoples and place names of Sinai claim separate attention.

The earliest Egyptian rock inscription at Maghara represents the
Pharaoh as a smiter, and describes him as such with the signs of a
hand, an eagle, and the determinative of hills. The term is held
to apply to no people in particular, and is therefore rendered as

King Khufu (IV 2), in addition, is described as a smiter of the Anu;
the word is written with the pillar sign. The word Anu was applied in
Egypt to cave-dwellers generally, more especially to those of Nubia.
The Anu are first mentioned on the Palermo Stone in connection with
a king of the First Dynasty whose name is broken away, but who was
probably King Den-Setui.

In the estimation of the historian Josephus (_c._ A.D. 60), the
inhabitants of Sinai at the time of Moses were cave-dwellers, for he
stated that Moses, in going to Sinai, went among the “troglodytes”
(_Antiq._, ii. 11).

Among the early inhabitants of the peninsula were the Horites. The
Babylonian kings who fought against the four kings of southern Syria
who revolted in the time of Abraham, “smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth
Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh-Kiriathaim,
and the Horites in their mount Seir unto El Paran, which is by the
wilderness” (Gen. xiv. 5-6). This associates the Horites with Mount
Seir, which extended along the depression between the head of the Gulf
of Akaba and the Dead Sea.

In the estimation of Prof. Robertson Smith the Horites of the Bible
were troglodytes, which would bring them into line with the Anu of
the Egyptian inscriptions. These Horites were accounted of low stock
by the Hebrews, and were probably in the stage through which the
Israelites had passed before they formed a confederacy. Prof. Robertson
Smith pointed out that the list of their so-called dukes (Gen. xxxvi.
20) is not a literal genealogy, but an account of their tribal and
local division, since five of the names are animal or totem names.[59]
The view that the Horites were cave-dwellers was based on the likeness
between the name Horite and the Hebrew word _hor_, which signifies
mountain. The connection between the names is now denied, and the
Horites of the Bible are identified with the Kharu or Khalu of the
Egyptian texts. The Kharu appear in the _Annals_ of Tahutmes III (XVIII
6) and of Amen-hotep IV (XVIII 10), among the people against whom the
Egyptians fought on the way to Naharain _i.e._ Mesopotamia.[60] But
the word Kharu on the Egyptian side has been interpreted as “mixed

The next people who are mentioned on the Egyptian monuments in Sinai
are the Mentu. King Ra-en-user (V 6) was described as “great god of
the smiting countries and raider of the Mentu.” Again, the tablet of
Men-kau-hor, mentioned a royal expedition to the Mentu; and Ptahwer in
Sinai of the Twelfth Dynasty was described as “bringing the Mentu to
the king’s heels.”

The Mentu took part in the great Hyksos invasion of Egypt between the
Twelfth and the Eighteenth Dynasties. For when the tide of foreign
nations was rolled back, they were among the conquered. King Aahmes
I (XVIII 1), after seizing the foreign stronghold Avaris, “made a
slaughter of the Mentu of Setiu, and going south to Khent-hen-nefer,
he destroyed the Anu-Khenti.”[61] Among the conquered people who were
represented around the throne of Amen-hotep II (XVIII 7) are the Mentu,
who have the appearance of true Asiatics. An Edfu inscription, as
mentioned above, stated that the Mentu were thrown back with the help
of the devotees of the god Sopd.

The people who figured most prominently in the Egyptian annals of Sinai
were the Retennu, who were mentioned again and again on the steles
which were set up at Serabit in the course of the Twelfth Dynasty.
On three separate steles it says that the Egyptian expedition was
sped across the desert by the brother of the sheykh (_sen-heq-en_) of
the Retennu country, whose name was Khebdet or Khebtata, and who is
represented riding on an ass which is led by a man in front, with a
servant carrying his water flask behind him. On one stele six Retennu
are named.[62]

These Retennu who figure in the annals of the Sinai in the Twelfth
Dynasty are mentioned as dwelling in southern Syria in the Egyptian
_Tale of Sanehat_, otherwise _Sinuhe_. This tale describes how a
high-born Egyptian fled when news reached him of the death of King
Amen-em-hat I (XII 1). He was at the time on the western Delta and by
way of the Wadi Sneferu (unknown) reached the quarries of Khri Ahu
(perhaps Cairo), crossed the Nile and passed the domain of the goddess
Hirit, mistress of the Red Mountain (possibly Gebel Ahmar), and the
wall which the prince had constructed. He reached Keduma (or Aduma)
where Amu-anshi, sheykh of the Upper Tennu, took him for a sojourner or
son-in-law, and settled him in the adjoining Ya-a country, a land of
honey and figs, where wine was commoner than water. Sanehat remained
here many years till the death of the Pharaoh caused him to petition
his successor Sen-usert I (XII 2) for return to Egypt.[63] The name of
the land to which Sanehat fled was read either as Aduma which would be
the equivalent of Edom, but more probably (cf. Maspero and Dr. Alan
Gardiner) as Keduma, and is probably the land Kedem, _i.e._ the east
country, to which Abraham sent the sons of his concubines (Gen. xxv.
6). But the Retennu, who were peaceful neighbours of the Egyptians
during the Twelfth Dynasty, were among the peoples against whom they
afterwards waged war. Tahutmes I (XVIII 3) fought the Retennu on his
way from Egypt to Naharain, _i.e._ Mesopotamia; Tahutmes III (XVIII
6) again and again ravaged their country; and Sety I (XIX 2), whose
objective was Kadesh on the Orontes, was represented in his temple at
Karnak dragging after him the great sheykhs of the Retennu, whom he is
shown holding by the hair of their heads.[64] Again, Ramessu III (XX 1)
mentioned the tribute which was brought by the Retennu, in the great
inscription of his temple at Medinet Habu.[65]

The Retennu and their name survived in Sinai, for Ptolemy, the
geographer, named as its inhabitants the Pharanites, the Raithenoi and
the Munichiates. Again, in the year 1816 the traveller Burckhardt noted
that, attached to the mosque that stood inside the convent precincts,
there were certain poor Bedawyn “called Retheny,” whose duty it was to
clean the mosque. One of them had the dignity of _imam_, a leader in
prayer, and was supported by offerings.[66]

And not only did the Retennu continue, the language which they spoke
seems to have continued likewise. The sheykh who befriended Sanehat
about two thousand years before our era, was named Amu-anshi, as
recorded in the _Tale of Sanehat_. About the year A.D. 440 the
Christian community of Pharan in Sinai, in consequence of outrages
committed by the Arabs, lodged a complaint with their sheykh who stood
in the relation of phylarch to the Romans, and who dwelt at a place
described as twelve days’ journey from Pharan. The sequel of the
account makes it probable that it was Petra. The name of the sheykh was
Ammanus, which is the Latinised equivalent of Amu-anshi.

Another people who were associated with Sinai were the Rephaim who
are mentioned in the Bible among the people who were raided by the
Babylonian kings about B.C. 2100. “They smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth
Karnaim” (Gen. xiv. 5). The word Rephaim is related to Raphaka or
Raphia of the annals of Sargon II (B.C. 722-50).[67] It lies on the
high road from Syria to Egypt on the Mediterranean. Its modern name is

The Rephaim of the Bible were accounted giants. In Arabian tradition
we also hear of giants or tyrants, the Jababera. They were accounted
descendants of the Aulad bin Nuh (children of Noah), or Amalikah, from
their ancestor Amlah bin Arfexad bin Sam (Shem) bin Nuh. Masudi spoke
of the giants of the race of Amalekites who ruled in Syria at the time
of Moses.[68]

According to Arab belief the Amalekites were inspired with a knowledge
of the Arabic tongue, and settled at Medina, and were the first to
cultivate the ground and plant the date palm. In the course of time
they extended over the whole tract towards the Red Sea (El Hedjaz), and
the north-western part of the Indian Ocean (El Omar), and became the
progenitors not only of the Jababera, but also of the Faraineh (_i.e._
the Pharaohs) of Egypt.

In the Biblical genealogy Amalek appears as a descendant of Esau,
his mother, Adah, being a Hittite (Gen. xxxvi. 2, 12). But scholars
generally are agreed in assigning a high antiquity to the Amalekites.
The prophet Balaam, inspired by Jehovah, uttered the words, “Amalek was
the first of the nations” (Num. xxiv. 20).

Whatever their origin, the Amalekites were in the possession of Sinai
when the Israelites came there, since they opposed their entrance and
harried them on their way to the holy mount, and later attacked them
in Rephidim, where the Israelites carried the day (Deut. xxv. 17;
Exod. xvii. 8-16). Later, acting in concert with the Canaanites, they
smote the Israelites on their way to Hormah (Num. xiv. 25-45), and
in the time of Saul they still occupied the land “from Havilah unto
Shur” (from Arabia to the Wall of Egypt), which, according to another
account, was allotted to the sons of Ishmael (Gen. xxv. 18). Saul waged
a fierce war against them.

The connection of the Amalekites with Sinai continued in the mind of
the Arab, for Makrizi († 1441) speaking of Pharan, the city of Sinai,
described it as a city of the Amalekites.[69]

The Amalekites of the Bible and of Arab tradition are probably the
Milukhkha of the ancient annals. As mentioned above, they appear on
the statue of Gudea of about the year B.C. 2500, and in the Assyrian
fragment of geography of about B.C. 600.

Pharan, which the Arab writers described as a city of the Amalekites,
was from early times a place-name in Sinai. According to the Bible,
the Babylonian kings (_c._ B.C. 2100) pressed the Horites as far as
“El Paran, which is by the wilderness,” a phrase which the Septuagint
rendered as “the terebinth of Pharan,” as though it were a site marked
by a tree. Pharan, to all appearance, was a general name given to the
peninsula of Sinai. It is like the name Pharaoh, and this is apparently
the reason why the name “Bath of Pharaoh,” Gebel Hammam Faraun, is
given to a hill near the west coast, and the name Giziret el Faraun
to the island near Akaba, the idea of the Pharaoh leading to various
localised legends.

In the Bible we read that the Israelites, after leaving the Holy Mount,
passed through “the wilderness of Paran” on their way to Edom, which
would locate it to the Badiet Tîh. Again, King Hadad (_c._ B.C. 1156),
on his way from Midian to Egypt, passed through Paran (1 Kings xi. 17).

The Septuagint and the classical writers rendered Paran, as Pharan, and
Ptolemy, the geographer, named a village (κώμη) Pharan, the position
of which corresponds with the seat of the later Christian bishopric in
the Wadi Feiran. He also named the southernmost point of the peninsula,
the present Ras Mohammad, as the promontory of Pharan, and included the
Pharanites among the inhabitants of Sinai.

Again, Pliny († A.D. 79) mentioned a variety of precious stone as
_sapenos_ or _pharanites_, so called from the country where it is found
(xxvii. 40). Perhaps turquoise is meant, in which case Sapenos, a word
otherwise unknown, may be connected with the name Sopd; Pharanites
would refer to Pharan or to Pharaoh.

The Egyptologist Ebers was the first to suggest that the name Paran
shows Egyptian influence, and may be the place-name Rahan _plus_ the
Egyptian article _Pa_, in the same way as Pa-kesem is the land of
Kesem, _i.e._ Goshen.[70]

The word Rahan occurs in an Egyptian inscription of the Twelfth
Dynasty, according to which an envoy coming from Egypt crossed Desher
to the Rahan country.[71]

The word Raha as a place continues in different parts of the peninsula
to the present day. The north-western part of the Tîh is called Gebel
er Raha, and the wide sandy plain that extends north of the Gebel Musa
is the Plain of Raha.[72]

According to the Bible, Ishmael “a wild man and an archer,” dwelt in
the wilderness of Paran, and his mother, who was an Egyptian, “took him
a wife out of Egypt.” The Septuagint rendered this as “out of Pharan
of Egypt” (Gen. xvi. 12; xxi. 21). The Ishmaelites in the Bible are
referred to Abraham himself, which shows that they were regarded as an
allied stock by the Hebrews, a certain inferiority being implied by
their having Egyptian blood in their veins. The acceptance of a joint
divinity El seems to have made a bond of union between the twelve
tribes of Ishmael, as it did between the tribes of Israel. According
to Genesis the Ishmaelites dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, “living in
houses and castles,” or rather in “tents and booths,” as the Septuagint
rendered the passage (Gen. xxv. 16).

While Paran in the Bible was associated with Ishmael the adjoining land
of Edom was connected with Esau, the incidents of whose story are more
or less mythical, but a clue to them is yielded by the word Edom which
signifies red in Aramaic.

Esau was red-haired at birth. “And the first came out red, all over
like a hairy garment; and they called his name Esau” (Gen. xxv.
25). Again, Esau, in exchange for his birthright, _i.e._ herds and
flocks and precedence after his father’s death, took “very red food,”
literally the “red, red thing,” which the Septuagint rendered as “fiery
red” (πυῤῥοῦ). In the further development of the story, the red thing
is described as a pottage of red lentils. “And Esau said to Jacob, Feed
me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore
was his name called Edom” (Gen. xxv. 30). The hairiness of Esau has
been connected with Mount Seir, a word signifying rough;[73] on the
same basis the idea of redness conveyed by the word Edom, is referable
to the red sandstone of the district.

The Edomites, according to the Bible, took possession of the land of Uz
(Lam. iv. 21), which was the land of Job (Job i. 1). Uz was described
as the son of Aram, the son of Shem (Gen. x. 23), or, according to
Masudi († 957), “Aud, the son of Aram, the son of Shem.”[74]

Uz and Aud are thus identified, and in keeping with this, Septuagint
described Job as dwelling in the land “Ausitis.”

Aud was a divinity by whom a group of Arabs took their oath, and the
people of Ad or Uz were among the great people of the Arab legendary
past, who were smitten by misfortune. The calamities which befell them
are, perhaps, reflected in the story of Job.

In the Koran the utterance was put into the lips of Moses, “Hath not
the story reached thee of those who were before thee, the people of
Noah and Ad and Themud” (xiv. 9).[75] “And unto Ad we sent their
brother Hud ... and unto Themud we sent Saleh, but the people received
them not as their prophets, and they were destroyed” (vii. 63). “And we
destroyed Ad and Themud” (xxix. 38). According to Masudi († 957) Aud,
who was sent to the Adites, and Saleh, who was sent to the Thamudites,
lived immediately after the Flood, before Abraham.[76]

Many stories were current among the Arabs concerning the wealth and
influence of the Adites. They were said to have lived twelve hundred
years, when their sons the Shaddad, subjected the country of the
Egyptian, and in this they remained two hundred years, and built the
city Aour or Awar.[77] The reference is to the great fortress of the
Hyksos, the Hatuar of the Egyptians, the Avaris of Manetho-Josephus,
situated about twenty miles north of Cairo. If the Adites were
instrumental in erecting this city, they must have taken part in the
great Hyksos invasion which happened during the Fourteenth Dynasty of
Egypt, _i.e._ about B.C. 2500.

According to Makrizi († 1441), the Adite king who marched against
Egypt was Shaddad ben Haddad ben Shaddad ben Ad, and the Pharaoh whom
he conquered was Ashmoun ben Masir ben Beisar, son of Cham, son of
Noah, whose buildings he destroyed and in his turn he raised pyramids
(probably pillars), traced Alexandria and then left for the Wadi el
Korah between El Nabouyah and Syria. He built a series of square
reservoirs, which resulted in many kinds of cultivation, which extended
from Raïah (_i.e._ Raithou) to Aila (at the head of the Gulf of Arabia)
to the western sea (_i.e._ the Mediterranean). His peoples’ dwellings
covered the district between El Dathmar, El Arish, and El Goufar, in
the land of Shaleh (along the Mediterranean sea-board in northern
Sinai), where there were wells and fruit-trees, and cultivation
including that of saffron of two kinds and of the sugar-cane. This
land was occupied by Khodem ben El Airan, when God, because of the
over-bearing of the Adites, raised a storm, and sand of the desert
covered the land they inhabited. Hence the words of the Koran, “And
in Ad: when we sent against them the desolating blast, it touched not
aught over which it came, but it turned it into dust.”[78]

The Adites at one period controlled the gold and incense route from
Inner Arabia to Syria, and the Koran credited them with erecting
pillars, probably _mazzeboth_, in high places. “Hast thou not seen
how the Lord dwelt with Ad at Iram, adorned with pillars whose like
have not been raised in these lands” (lxxxix. 6). And again, “Build ye
land-marks on all heights in mere pastime” (xxiv. 128). Ptolemy, the
geographer (A.D. 140), located the Oaditæ to the east of the Gulf of
Akaba, and named as their chief city Aramava, which was an important
watering station on the way between Petra and Mecca. Aramava is perhaps
Iram of the Koran.[79]

The Adites as traders were succeeded by the Thamudites, who, according
to the Koran, “hewed rocks in the valley” (xxxix. 8). The reference is
possibly to Petra. According to tradition they occupied Aila.[80]

A prophet of the Thamudites was Saleh, who has a special interest for
southern Sinai, since the Benu Saleh, who claim descent from him, are
among the oldest and most powerful tribes of the peninsula. Saleh in
the Biblical record is named as third in descent from Shem, and as the
progenitor of Eber (Gen. x. 24).

The remembrance of the Thamudites survives in the present Diar (or land
of) Themoud, in north-western Arabia, which includes the great Wadi El
Korah which is followed by the pilgrims from Damascus to Mecca. In the
Wadi El Korah lie the Medaïn (cities of) Saleh, and some distance south
of these, is the pass which is associated with the destruction of the
she-camel, the creation of Saleh. For the people of Themoud to whom
Saleh was sent, did not accept him. They asked for a sign, whereupon he
produced from the rock the Naga or she-camel that gave milk. “Let her
go at large,” was his command, “and feed on God’s earth, and do her no
harm. Drink there shall be for her and drink there shall be for you,
on a several day for each; but harm her not, lest the punishment of
a tremendous day overtake you. But the Thamudites hamstrung her, and
repented of it on the morrow, for the punishment overtook them.”

This story of the she-camel preserves the tradition of man’s right to
the free use of an animal, which was indispensable to the well-being of
the man of the desert. According to the Koran, it will be the end of
all things when “the sun is folded up, the stars fall, the mountains
rock, the she-camel is abandoned and the wild beasts are gathered
together” (lxxxi. 1).

In the year 1873 Doughty, coming from Damascus, stayed at the Medaïn
Saleh, where he saw and described the well, now enclosed in a tower,
where the she-camel was watered. He also visited the pass some way
further along the road, the Mubrak en Naga, where the she-camel was

According to one tradition this was done by Codar el Ahmar (_i.e._
the Red), a name in which Caussin de Perceval, saw a likeness to
Chedorlaomer of the time of Abraham.[82] This agrees with Masudi’s
statement that Saleh came to the rescue of the Thamudites when their
existence was threatened by a descendant of Ham.[83] Saleh and King
Djundu fled to Sinai where they became hermits, and Saleh died and was
buried in El Ramlah. The tomb of Nebi Saleh is located in the present
Wadi Sheykh near the Gebel Musa, and is the site of the great annual
encampment of the Arabs of southern Sinai.

In the newly discovered annals of King Sargon of Assyria (B.C.
722-705), the people of Tamud are named among “the Arabians living
at a distance in the desert of whom the Wise Men and the Magi knew
nothing, who never brought tribute to (my father) the king, whom I
overthrew, and the remainder I carried off into Palestine.”[84]
This transportation explains the re-appearance of the Thamudites in
different localities. Ptolemy knew of Thamuditæ who dwelt along the
Gulf of Akaba, and of Thamudenæ who dwelt further inland.[85] Diodorus
Siculus (_c._ B.C. 50) mentioned Thamudeans living in Arabia.[86] As
late as about A.D. 452-3 a _Notitia Dignitatum_ mentioned _equites
Thamudeni_, who were in the service of Rome, of whom one division, the
_equites Saraceni Thamudeni_ camped on the frontier of Egypt, another,
the _equites Thamudeni Illyriciani_, were stationed in Judæa.[87] The
present Bir Themed, in Sinai, situated half-way between Akaba and
Kala’at en Nakhl, recalls the connection of the Thamudites with the



AFTER the close of the Twelfth Dynasty, the Egyptians ceased for
centuries to come to Sinai. The reason was that foreigners, for over a
hundred years, ruled in the Nile valley whom the Alexandrian writers
called Arabians or Phœnicians. The Egyptians themselves called them
Hyksos. To this period probably belong the inscriptions in Semitic
script that were set up in some mines in the Wadi Dhabah near Serabit,
and the offerings of a squat figure and of a sphinx inscribed in the
same Semitic script which were presented before the shrine of the
goddess. These inscriptions again and again mention the goddess of
the place in lettering which may be Ba-alat, and the script itself is
considered of the highest interest in the study of Semitic characters

After throwing back the foreign invaders of Egypt, the Pharaohs of the
Eighteenth Dynasty once again sent expeditions to Sinai, where, as we
learn from the inscriptions and monuments, they worked both at Maghara
and at Serabit. At Serabit building was now continued on an extensive
scale outside the caves of the sanctuary. Halls, courts, a pylon, and
a long row of chambers were erected on the plateau inside the temenos,
which gave the sanctuary the appearance of a vast temple. The buildings
were all constructed of the red sandstone of the place, which was
quarried on the hill slope just below the temple on the north side,
where great quarries remain (Fig. 11).

The offerings which the Egyptians now made to the shrine were smaller,
more numerous and, with few exceptions, of less importance than those
of the Twelfth Dynasty. They included figures, bowls, cups, vases of
alabaster and glaze, ring-stands, _sistra_ or rattles, _menats_ or
pendants, besides wands for temple use, and rows upon rows of beads.
Most of these objects are similar to those which were in use in Egypt
in connection with the cult of the goddess Hathor, but many bear a
character which show that they were made in deference to the local
associations of the place.

[Illustration: Fig. 10.—Temple ruins at Serabit.]

Thus, on some of these offerings, beginning with the reign of
Hatshepsut (XVIII 5), a feline animal appears, which is sometimes a
cheetah and sometimes a serval, and which was directly associated with
the goddess Hathor, as was shown by a ring-stand on which the head of
the goddess appeared with a cat on either side.

This animal, considering its varying form, can hardly be intended for
an Egyptian nome-animal, such as the cat of Bubastis. Rather should we
look upon it as intended for a local animal associated with the temple.

In other parts of the world, the early totem animal was sometimes
associated by a later age with the mother-divinity. Possibly the
animal in the offerings in Sinai was of this kind. No traditions on
the subject are preserved, but the chief gorge along which the plateau
of the temple is approached from the north is called the Wadi Dhaba, a
word which signifies wild beast or panther in Arabic.

Of the smaller cult objects which now accumulated in the sanctuary,
many were carried off before the winter of 1906, and are scattered
in various museums. But the mass of the objects that remained was so
great that their fragments covered the ground of the sanctuary and the
portico in front of the larger cave, in a layer two or three inches
thick. Fragments also strewed the ground outside the temple precincts.
Of these fragments several hundredweights were conveyed from the
temple to the camp, where they were laid out and fitted, but although
days and weeks were spent in fitting them, and many objects had a
distinctive appearance, no complete specimen of any kind was recovered.
The explanation is that the objects were intentionally smashed, and
their fragments scattered outside the cave where they gradually
disintegrated. It was doubtless done from the same lust of iconoclastic
zeal which caused the smashing of the statuettes of Hathor, but whether
during some ancient upheaval or by the Moslim, who can tell?

Among the masses of fragments as many as 447 bore cartouches of the
Pharaohs, and this enables us to date them.

Thus Aahmes (XVIII 1), first ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty, was named
on a _sistrum_ and on _menats_; his daughter Merytamen was named on
a _menat_; and his successor Amen-hotep I (XVIII 2) was named on a
_sistrum_, a _menat_ and a plaque of Hathor. The same Pharaoh’s queen,
Aahmes Nefertari, was named on a _menat_.

Of these kings, Amen-hotep I restored the portico of the cave of
Hathor, as was shown by a perfect lintel slab with a cavetto cornice,
22 inches high and 50 inches long, bearing his name which was found
in front of the entrance. His successor, Tahutmes I (XVIII 3) gave a
_menat_ of himself and his queen, a wand, and an alabaster vase, and
pottery vases. There was no mention of Tahutmes II (XVIII 4).


Fig. 11.—Plan of Temple, reduced. (Petrie: _Researches in Sinai_.)]

Great activity was shown during the reign of the next rulers,
Hatshepsut (XVIII 5) and her nephew Tahutmes III (XVIII 6), and their
names appear on a large number of small offerings, including several
which show the feline animal. These rulers jointly worked the mines at
Serabit which had been opened in the Twelfth Dynasty, and at Maghara a
tablet dated to their 16th year stands inside the entrance to a mining
gallery that is about 24 feet long, 60-70 inches wide, and about 100
inches high. It is on this tablet that Hatshepsut is seen offering
incense to the god Sopd, while Tahutmes offers incense to the goddess
Hathor. The large rubbish heaps outside this mine contained much
discoloured turquoise.

A new era now began in the history of the sanctuary at Serabit. The
Egyptians built porticoes, halls, and chambers across the High Place
of Burning, which disappeared beneath them. These buildings were all
worked in the red sandstone of the place, and were decorated with
figures and hieroglyphs in the formal style of Egypt. The arrangement
and the disposition of the buildings have nothing in common, however,
with the temples of Egypt. Like the Twelfth Dynasty steles, which were
erected in conformity to Semitic usage, the temple buildings of the
Eighteenth Dynasty reflect a non-Egyptian influence.

A small hall was now erected outside the lesser cave, the roof of
which was supported by two pillars, and the wall bore an inscription
commemorating its building and naming the god Sopdu. In this stood the
rectangular tank alluded to above (compare plan).

On the approach to this hall was another hall, measuring about 20
feet square, which in its complete state must have been an imposing
structure. Four great square pillars surmounted by the head of Hathor
supported the roof, with long roof beams from the pillars to the
walls, and short roof beams between the pillars that carried the
roofing slabs. These great pillars were standing when Rüppell visited
the place in 1817, now only two are left. The colossal head of the
goddess surmounted the pillars, and is full of dignity and strength.
In the centre of the hall, surrounded by these four pillars stood a
great circular stone tank, now broken across. There was, moreover, a
rectangular tank built into the wall in one corner of the same hall.

Inside the north entrance on the way to the sanctuary, Queen
Hatshepsut also erected a hall which was roofed over and open at one
side. The roof, in this case, was carried by four fluted columns, one
of which remains standing. The inside walls of this hall were covered
with figures and writing, which gave an account of its building, and
a recital of the offerings that were made for it. Among the figures
represented were Sneferu, Amen-em-hat III, Sopd, Queen Hatshepsut,
and Hathor. The position of this hall suggests that it served for the
formal reception of worshippers who entered the temple precincts from
the north. It has a wide outlook over the gorges below.

The building activity of Tahutmes increased, if anything, after the
queen’s death. He set up two small sphinxes in the court between the
approach to the larger and the lesser cave, one of which was found _in
situ_. They were too large to convey, and were re-buried. He also built
a great pylon with a forecourt (M), over the doorway of which, was an
inscribed lintel with mention of him. This pylon, which stands up high
among the ruins, at this period formed the entrance to the temple from
the west. It was flanked by two steles of the fifth year of the king’s
reign. An outer court (L) was perhaps his work also.

Outside this entrance the next king, Amen-hotep II (XVIII 7) added
two small chambers (I H), which were again so constructed that their
western side formed a front to the temple. He also presented _menats_
and vases to the sanctuary. Later rulers built additional chambers,
pushing the temple front out further west. These chambers measured
about 6 by 10 ft. each, with a seat on either side, and they eventually
extended in one long line from the pylon along the whole length of
the temenos, a distance of about 200 feet. They had been built under
shelter of a break in the hill and were roofed over. Loose stones were
piled up against their walls from outside along the whole length, which
concealed them from view and gave them a subterranean character. Their
purpose is a matter of conjecture. Probably they housed the guardians
of the sanctuary, and served as an adytum to the cave of Hathor. The
worshipper who approached the sanctuary from the west, and entered the
outermost chamber, would feel himself in proximity to the cave while he
was in reality a long way off. As the treasures which were stored in
the cave multiplied, the device would help to ensure their safety.

The erection of these buildings across the bed of wood-ashes put an
end to the use of this space as a High Place of Burning. The site for
offering the holocaust was therefore removed, probably to a site on
the north side of the temple which had been squared in the course of
quarrying stone for temple buildings. Corn was growing on this site in
the winter of 1906, which prevented its being dug down to the rock.
But the peculiar fertility of the accumulated soil which rendered the
growing of corn possible, suggested that, here also, there might be an
accumulation of wood ashes due to extensive burning.

His successor, Tahutmes IV (XVIII 8), further extended the mines of the
Twelfth Dynasty, and recorded his doing so by a tablet which is dated
to the fourth year of his reign. Tablets of the fifth and the eighth
years of his reign have also been mentioned by travellers, but these
were sought for in vain in the winter of 1906.

The next Pharaoh, Amen-hotep III (XVIII 9), also added further chambers
to the temple approach (G F), and flanked the new entrance with two
steles which record mining expeditions of his 36th year.

[Illustration: Fig. 12.—Amen-hotep III (XVIII) offering to Sopd.
(_Ancient Egypt_, a periodical, 1917, Part iii.)]

The fragments of many beautiful objects which dated from this reign
were found in and near the cave of Hathor. They included _menats_
and wands, and some cups in lotus form of alabaster of exquisite
workmanship. There were also pieces of glazed inlay of two colours—an
ancient art of Egypt which was revived at this time. A find of
considerable importance was the relief, here reproduced, on which
Amen-hotep III is seen offering to the god Sopd who faces him wearing
the double plume; in his one hand the staff of royalty. This shows
that special significance was attached to the god of non-Egyptian
origin at the court of a Pharaoh who had strong Syrian affinities.
The connection was further emphasised by the discovery of the head
of a statuette of Queen Thyi, the consort of the magnificent monarch
Amen-hotep III. This, in some ways, was the greatest find of all. In
the words of Prof. Petrie, “It is strange that this remotest settlement
of Egypt has preserved her portrait for us, unmistakably named by
her cartouche in the midst of her crown. The material is dark-green
schistose steatite, and the whole statuette must have been about a foot
in height. Unfortunately no other fragment has been preserved. The
haughty dignity of the face is blended with a fascinating directness
and personal appeal. The delicacy of the surfaces around the eye and
over the cheek show the greatest care in handling. The curiously
drawn-down lips with their fulness and delicacy, their disdain without
malice, are evidently modelled in all truth from life.”[88] The
reader will recall that Queen Thyi also was of Syrian origin, and that
Amen-hotep III and Thyi were the parents of Amen-hotep IV (XVIII 10),
better known as Akhen-aten, the great religious reformer of Egypt.
Signs of a connection of Sinai with the reforming king himself were not
wanting, for among the work found inside the temenos of the temple was
an inscribed limestone tablet, partly broken, which showed a figure
carefully wrought in the peculiar style of art which was favoured by
Akhen-aten as we know it at Amarna. The figure was Ramessu I, the
founder of the Nineteenth Dynasty, who was described on the tablet as
“prince of every circuit of the Aten,” a title which was introduced by
the religious reformer.[89] The use of the term is therefore relatively
late, and suggests that the adherents of the religious reformer after
his downfall sought and found a refuge at the relatively remote centre
of Serabit.

In the estimation of the present writer, the Exodus of the Israelites
was connected with the reaction in favour of the older Egyptian
religion which followed the downfall of Atenism, and Moses visited the
sanctuary at Serabit before the rise of the Nineteenth Dynasty. If so
he saw it as it was left standing at the time of Amen-hotep III (XVIII
8); and the account of the building activity of the later Pharaohs at
the sanctuary should therefore follow the account of the passage of the
Israelites. But as authorities differ as to the Pharaohs who were in
contact with Moses, it seems preferable here to complete the account
of the Egyptian activity in Sinai before dealing with the story of the

Many small objects similar to those brought during the Eighteenth
Dynasty were presented at the shrine by the Pharaohs of the Nineteenth
and Twentieth Dynasties, who worked extensively at the mines, where the
cult of Hathor continued. No inscription mentions Sopd, whose cult,
which lasted from the Twelfth to the Eighteenth Dynasties, was now at
an end.

Of the kings of the Nineteenth Dynasty King Sety I (XIX 2) made the
usual small offerings, and erected a commemorative stele on a hillock
at some distance from the temple which is still visible from afar. He
added two courts (B and A) to the row of chambers which extended across
the temenos, enclosing the stele which had been set up by Amen-hotep
III, and carrying the row of chambers beyond the temenos wall. These
now extended well nigh 200 feet beyond the actual cave, the remoteness
and safety of which were thereby ensured. With the work of Sety ended
the growth of the temple, His successor, Ramessu II (XIX 3), rebuilt
inner parts of the sanctuary, and erected several commemorative steles.
He also made a large number of small offerings. Again, Meren-ptah (XIX
4) inscribed the pylon, carving his name across that of Tahutmes III,
and made the usual small offerings. Sety II (XIX 6) and Ta-usert (XIX
7) made small offerings of glazed pottery also.

[Illustration: Fig. 13.—Queen Thyi. (Petrie: _Researches in Sinai_.)]

The last of the steles recording a mine expedition was erected by King
Set-nekht (XIX 9), on the south entrance to the temple. After him
Ramessu III (XX 1) appropriated to his own use steles set up by earlier
kings which he reinscribed in the way usual to him. He also made many
small offerings, including two vases, cylindrical in form, with scenes
in relief modelled around them in different colours, which, in their
completeness, were objects of great beauty. Fragments of them only
were found which made restoration impossible. One of these vases was
worked in dark grey, green and light green. “The subject was the king
seated, with a girl standing before him holding a bouquet of flowers.
On the other side of the vase were conventional representations of
two tall bouquets and garlands between them, with a duck flying above
the garlands. Around the top was a wreath of petals, around the base
the usual arrangement of petals. The smaller vase is more elaborate.
The figures are not only in relief but brightly coloured, yellow on
a violet ground; the petals at the base are green, violet, or white.
The same subject is repeated on opposite sides of the vase. King
Ramessu III is seated, holding the _dad_; his cartouches are before
him, while a girl stands offering two bouquets to him.... Such fine
relief-modelling is not known on any other vases, but it belongs to
the same school as the glazed tablets with figures of foreign subjects
of Ramessu III found at Tell el Yehudiyeh. The art of these has a
relationship to that of the finely modelled and coloured reliefs of
stucco found at Knossos.”[90]

The annals of Ramessu III, preserved in Egypt, bear witness to
his activity in Sinai. The _Harris Papyrus_, after mentioning
the destruction of the people of Seir of the tribes of the Shashu
(Bedawyn), and the expedition to Punt (Arabia), stated that he went
to Atika and “the copper mines which are in this place.” Part of the
expedition went by water, and part took the land journey with asses.
This had not been done before. Possibly Atika stands for Sinai. Ramessu
also says, he sent to “my Mother Hathor, mistress of turquoise,”
silver, gold, royal linen, and things numerous as the sand. And they
brought back to the king wonders of real turquoise in numerous sacks,
such as had not been heard of before.[91] The same king built the great
temple at Medinet Habu, the inscription of which mentioned as his gifts
to it myrrh, silver, gold, every splendid costly stone, the impost of
the Retennu as tribute, and among the stones lazuli and turquoise.”
(_Ibid._, iv. 27-30). The turquoise was no doubt part of the great haul
he made in Sinai.

Of later Pharaohs, Ramessu IV (XX 2) built a porch in the temple
at Serabit and altered the door of the sanctuary, making the usual
small offerings. Ramessu V (XX 3) was named on some small offerings,
including bracelets. Ramessu VI (XX 4) inscribed the pillars of a
chamber (O), and gave a cup and a bracelet. After that, no trace was
found of any construction or offering made by the Egyptians in Sinai.



THE passage of the Israelites through Sinai forms the most thrilling
episode in the history of the peninsula. The how and when and where
of this journey periodically engage attention. A hundred years ago it
was a matter of common belief that Moses wrote the five books that are
associated with his name. On the contrary, Biblical criticism now holds
that, “regarded as a history of ancient migrations of the Israelites
and their establishment as a religious and political community in
Canaan, the Hexateuch contains little more than a general outline on
which to depend.”[92] But the study of the episode reviewed in the
light of modern research, reveals an unexpected accuracy, and once more
shows that tradition is of value in proportion to our power of reading
it aright.

Different views were put forward regarding the date of the Exodus and
of the Pharaohs who were in contact with Moses.

According to the Book of Kings it was “in the 480th (LXX 440th) year
after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the
fourth year of his reign,” that Solomon began to build the Temple at
Jerusalem (1 Kings vi. 1).

Solomon ruled from _c._ B.C. 974 to B.C. 935. His fourth year would be
970, and the Exodus, on this basis, happened either in B.C. 1450, or in
B.C. 1410 according to the Septuagint.

Prof. Brugsch looked upon Ramessu II as the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
Prof. Petrie endorsed the view, accepting the date of Ramessu II as
B.C. 1300-1234, and of the Exodus as _c._ B.C. 1220. One of his
reasons for doing so was that the Israelites, as stated in the Bible,
worked at the “city Raamses” (Exod. i. 11), which, as excavations have
shown, was a creation of the Ramessides. But the expression the “land
of Rameses,” was used in connection with the story of Joseph (Gen.
xlvii. 11), which deals with events that were long anterior to the
Ramessides, showing that the compilers of Exodus used expressions that
were current at the time when they wrote.

The identification of Ramessu II, a king of the Nineteenth Dynasty, as
the Pharaoh of the Exodus, clashes with the information reaching us
through Alexandrian and Syriac sources, which suggests that Moses was
befriended by Amen-hotep IV, better known as Akhen-aten (XVIII 10),
the great religious reformer, and that the Israelites left Egypt under
one of his immediate successors. This connection between Moses and the
great reformer of Egypt strikes the imagination, all the more as it is
in keeping with the Egyptian king’s Syrian affinities. The authorities
are worth recalling.

Chief among these were Demetrius Phalereus (B.C. 345) and Manetho
(_c._ B.C. 260) who were quoted by Josephus (A.D. 80) and Eusebius
(A.D. 320); and Artapanus of unknown date, passages of whose work were
preserved by Alexander Polyhistor (B.C. 140) and accepted by Eusebius
and the Chronicon Paschale. The information of Demetrius, Manetho,
and Artapanus is peculiar in that it takes no account of Scripture.
Moreover, Artapanus compared what the people of Memphis and the
Heliopolitans preserved regarding the passage of the Red Sea. Another
writer was Philo of Alexandria (A.D. 40) who wrote a _Life of Moses_.

The _Chronicon_ of Eusebius contains the Egyptian dynasties as derived
from Manetho, and in the list of kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty, Oros
stands for Amen-hotep IV (_i.e._ Akhen-aten). Against his name stands
the entry, “the Birth of Moses.”[93] In agreement with this, Epiphanius
in his book _Against all Heresies_, mentioned Thermuthis, the daughter
of Amenophis, who adopted Moses,[94] while the Syriac writer Barhebræus
(† 1218), who had access to many sources, held that the princess who
adopted Moses was Tremothisa, in Hebrew Damris, the daughter of
Amunphatisus.[95] The historian Josephus called her Thermuthis, and
related that she intended Moses for her father’s successor (_Antiq._,
ii. 9).

On the other hand, Artapanus gave the name of the Pharaoh as
Palmanothis, adding that he built sanctuaries at Kessa (perhaps Akhet
at Amarna) and at Heliopolis. His daughter Merris who was childless
adopted Moses. She was betrothed to Chenefres.[96] The Chronicon
Paschale called him Chenebron.[97]

Various traditions point in the same direction. Thus, the Arabs held
that Moses was saved by the eldest of seven little princesses, who were
daughters of the Pharaoh.[98] Students of Tell el Amarna will recall
the representations of the little daughters of Akhen-aten, of whom as
many as six are seen with their parents on the wall sculptures of the
tombs. On the Egyptian side we know that the marriage of Meryt-aten,
Akhen-aten’s eldest daughter, with Ra-smenkh-ka (XVIII 11) his
co-regent and successor, was without issue.

According to the Artapanus Moses spent his early manhood in the service
of the husband of the princess who adopted him, and led a campaign
against the Ethiopians (_Præp. Evang._, ix. 27). In keeping with this,
Stephen Martyr († _a.d._ 36) said that Moses was well nigh forty years
old before it came into his heart to look after his brethren, the
children of Israel (Acts vii. 23). The exploits of Moses against the
Ethiopians were described by Josephus (_Antiq._, ii. 10).

The identification of a daughter of Akhen-aten as the princess who
adopted Moses suggests another possible date for Exodus. The reign of
Akhen-aten was dated by Prof. Breasted to _c._ B.C. 1375-1350, and
by Prof. Petrie to _c._ B.C. 1383-1365. If Moses left Egypt during
the reign of one of his immediate successors, perhaps under that of
Tut-ankh-amen (XVIII 12), _c._ B.C. 1353-1344, the date of Exodus on
the basis of the Egyptian chronology as now accepted, would be about
B.C. 1350, as against the date B.C. 1410 or 1450 as stated in the First
Book of the Kings.

According to the Bible, Moses slew an Egyptian who had smitten a
Hebrew, whereupon the Pharaoh sought to slay Moses, and he fled (Exod.
ii. 12-15). According to Artapanus, the Pharaoh, after the death of the
princess, called upon Chanethotes (Canuthis) to kill him. Moses, warned
by Aaron, crossed the Nile at Memphis, intending to escape into Arabia.
Chanethotes lay in ambush, whereupon Moses, in self-defence, slew him.

Moses then dwelt in the land of Midian, where he watered the flock
kept by the daughters of Reuel (called Raguel in Numb. xi. 29). Reuel
befriended him and took him for a sojourner and son-in-law (Exod. ii.
21). A further passage states that Moses kept the flock of Jethro, his
father-in-law, who is described also as a priest (Exod. iii. 1), and
a Kenite. Artapanus named Raguel, describing him as ruler (ἄρχων) of
the country, and said that he desired to make an expedition into Egypt
in order to secure the crown for Moses and his daughter, but Moses
refused.[99] Barhebræus says that Moses married a daughter of Jethro,
and describes Jethro as a son of Raguel.[100] This suggests that Raguel
was the father of the tribe. Philo of Alexandria also refers to Moses’
claim to the crown of Egypt.

In the service of Jethro, Moses led the flock to the backside of
the desert, and came to the mountain of God, to Horeb (Exod. iii.
1). Here he found himself on holy ground. The presence of a priest,
of a mountain of God, and of a reserved tract of land, point to an
ancient sanctuary, and our thoughts naturally turn to Serabit, for
many centuries a High Place of Burning, a centre of moon-cult and a
shrine of the Semitic god Sopd. The wall of rough stones across the
Wadi Umm Agraf marked the limit of the ground that was reserved to the
sanctuary. This would be the backside of the desert from which Moses
approached the mountain.

The angel or messenger of God who spoke to Moses did so from a Burning
Bush inside the limit of the holy ground (Exod. iii. 5). Perhaps he
was set there as a guardian to the place. During our stay in Sinai the
guards who were appointed to watch over our encampment near Serabit,
settled near some bushes to which they added brushwood, so as to form a
circular shelter, with an opening on one side, and in this they spent
their time, mostly sitting around a small fire. The appearance of the
shelter from outside was that of a burning bush (Fig. 14).

The Divinity in Sinai revealed himself to Moses in the name of Yahveh
or Jehovah, and subsequently declared himself the God of Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob (Exod. iii. 6), “but by my name Yahveh was I not known
to them” (Exod. vi. 3). Considering the connection of Abraham and of
Joseph with Haran and the “Hermiouthian” sanctuaries mentioned above,
their God was presumably the moon-god. The word Yahveh under which the
Divinity now manifested himself, probably represents the moon-god as
Ea or Ya under a later and more spiritualised aspect. In our Bible the
term is rendered as “I am that I am” (Exod. iii. 14), which recalls the
interpretation by the Septuagint as Ὤν, the Self-existent One. From
the Song of Deborah we gather that Yahveh “came to Sinai from Seir and
the field of Edom” (Judges v. 4), which leaves us to infer that he had
sanctuaries there also. This explains how it was that during the later
progress of the Israelites, Yahveh spoke to Moses at Kadesh on the
borders of Edom (Num. xx. 7), at Hor (Num. xx. 23), and again in the
Red Sea, and how it was that the prophet Balaam was inspired by Yahveh
(Num. xxiv. 13). Various allusions render it probable that the cult of
Yahveh was peculiar to the Kenites whose home lay in Edom. Jethro, who
befriended Moses, was at once a priest of Midian and a Kenite (Judges
i. 16).

The representative of the Divinity from the Burning Bush commanded
Moses to persuade the elders of Israel to bring forth the people out
of Egypt, in order to serve God on the mountain, going three days into
the wilderness in order to sacrifice to the Lord, the women bringing
with them all available jewels of silver and jewels of gold (Exod. xi.
2, xii. 35). The pilgrimage is called a feast (Exod. v. 1, x. 9), which
may have been similar to the modern Arab _hadj_, a word which signifies
an encampment or erection of tents. This term, and the general claims
that were advanced, show that it was question of a pilgrimage to a
well-known centre, the thought of which caused no surprise to the
Egyptians. One of its features was the offering of animals. Such
offerings among the Hebrews were made to keep off the plague; they
forestalled the sacrifice of the first-born, which was the means they
used to stay the plague once it had begun. The Pharaoh, who was anxious
to prevent the Israelites from going the pilgrimage, proposed that they
should sacrifice in Egypt instead. Moses refused on the plea that their
doing so might be interpreted as sacrificing the “abomination,” _i.e._
tampering with a sacred-nome animal of Egypt (Exod. viii. 26). When the
Pharaoh, further wrought upon, said that the people alone might go,
Moses insisted that they must have wherewith to sacrifice, and that
there must be cattle, since “we know not with what we must serve the
Lord until we come thither” (Exod. x. 26).

[Illustration: Fig. 14.—Men in Burning Bush.]

This serving the Lord with animals shows that a holocaust was in
contemplation, and bears out the belief that the objective of the
pilgrimage was a High Place of Burning.

The pilgrimage as planned would have been undertaken in spring, for
the plagues carry us through a year’s course in Egypt, with the Nile
running red when it is at its lowest in April; with frogs abounding
when the inundation comes in July; with darkness and sandstorms in the
month of March. Springtime came round again before the Israelites left,
after sacrificing the lamb of the Passover.

Rallying in the city of Rameses, probably at the present Tell er Rotab,
in a marshy valley, they moved to Succoth, the Thuku of the ancient
Egyptians, and encamped at Etham (LXX, Othom), being led by a pillar
of cloud in the day and by a pillar of smoke at night (Exod. xiii.
20-22). Doughty describes how on the _hadj_ of the Moslim, “cressets
of iron cages are set up on poles, and are borne to light the way upon
serving-men’s shoulders in all the companies.”[101] The burning fire at
night would naturally take the appearance of a pillar of smoke in the

At Etham the Israelites turned south, making for Pihahiroth, between
Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon (Exod. xiv. 2). Pihahiroth
of the Bible is Pa-qahert of the Egyptian inscriptions, while
Baal-zephon is a Semitic name, recalling Zephon, the god of darkness.
Pihahiroth and Baal-zephon lay west and east of the branch of the Red
Sea which at this time extended so far north as to include the present
Bitter Lakes. Here, owing to the blowing of the east-wind (LXX, south
wind), the waters went back and the Israelites crossed (Exod. xiv. 21),
at a spot which should be sought some thirty miles north of Suez. They
continued to move south three days, through the wilderness of Shur,
stopping first at Marah, where the waters were sweetened, and then
at Elim, with its twelve wells and seventy palm-trees. Elim has been
identified as the Carandara of Pliny (vi. 23), the Arandara of the lady
Etheria (of about A.D. 450), who described how the waters disappeared
into the ground and reappeared, which applies to the present Wadi
Gharandel. If this identification be correct, the fountain which Moses
changed from bitter to sweet presumably lay about half-way between
Baal-zephon and Wadi Gharandel, where the present Ayun Musa or Wells of
Moses are found; possibly it lay nearer to the Bitter Lake.

[Illustration: Fig. 15.—Ayun Musa.]

Leaving Elim, the Israelites entered “the wilderness of Sin, which is
between Elim and Sinai” (Exod. xvi. 1). A murmur arose because of
the lack of food,—perhaps of food suitable for keeping the full moon
festival, the movements of the Israelites being timed by the phases of
the moon. For they left Egypt after keeping the Passover, a full moon
festival which comes on the 14th (Exod. xii. 6) or 15th of the month
(Josh. v. 10); and a month later “on the 15th day of the second month
after they had departed out of Egypt,” they entered the wilderness of
Sin. Moses held out the promise of help, and, as they looked towards
the wilderness, “the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud” (Exod.
xvi. 10). The glory of the Lord probably indicates the moon. Quails
appeared between the two evenings. They were plentiful in Sinai in
the days of Josephus (_Antiq._, 88), and continue so at certain times
of the year to the present day. Manna was gathered in large quantities
which took the place of bread. This shows that the Israelites were
moving among groves of the tamarisk, for manna is the secretion which
exudes from the tamarisk, owing to the punctures of an insect during
six to eight weeks, beginning in May. A year later, when the Israelites
were in the desert of Paran or Zin, they again gathered manna at the
same season (Num. xi. 8), and continued to do so every year during the
years they spent in the wilderness (Exod. xvi. 35). Manna appears under
the name _mennu_ in the contemporary records of Egypt, and is still
collected in Sinai and exported.

The Israelites were now in Rephidim, the land of the Amalekites and,
as there was a lack of water, Moses was divinely directed to smite the
rock. The waters which he raised were Massah and Meribah (Exod. xvii.
7); the water which he struck near Kadesh, a year later, was Meribah
also (Num. xx. 13), hence the place was called Meribath Kadesh (Ezek.
xlviii. 28). A technical term for water-finding seems to be meant. In
ancient Egyptian _mer_ signifies channel, and _ba_, as mentioned above,
signifies hole, which suggests a possible derivation. For wherever
water percolates the soil with hard rock beneath it in the desert,
it is possible to reach and raise it by cutting into the soil to the
surface of the rock. The practice is still resorted to by the Bedawyn,
who are adepts at striking water when they are on the march.

In Rephidim the Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites, who harried
them while they were on their way (Deut. xxv. 17). The place where
the encounter took place is not specified, nor the losses which were

The number of the Israelites was tabulated in two lists of the
contingents of each tribe which were drawn up, the first when they
encamped before the Holy Mount (Num. i. 46), the other when they
were on the point of entering the Promised Land (Num. xxvi. 51). The
internal evidence is strong that these census lists, which enumerate
the numbers of each tribe, are a first hand record. At the same time
the numbers arrived at by listing up the contingents of each tribe,
603,550 in the one case (Num. i. 46), and 601,730 in the other
(Num. xxvi. 51), and 600,000 speaking generally (Exod. xii. 37; Num.
xi. 21), are looked upon as in excess of the population which the
land of Goshen could contain, and the land of Sinai could receive.
Poetic licence or a mistake of the scribe was therefore put forward
as an explanation. Prof. Petrie proposed a different solution.[102]
The word _alaf_ in Hebrew signifies thousand, but it also signifies
family or tent-settlement. If we read the census lists as preserved
in Numbers taking the so-called thousands to signify families or
tent-settlements, and the hundreds only as applying to the people, the
census lists contain what appears to be a reasonable statement. Thus,
the tribe of Judah, instead of numbering 74,600 persons, numbered
74 tent-settlements, containing 600 persons, _i.e._ about eight
persons to each tent-settlement; the tribe of Issachar, instead of
numbering 54,400 persons, numbered 54 tent-settlements, containing
400 persons, and so forth. On this basis the Israelites, at the first
census in Sinai, numbered 598 tent-settlements, with 5550 persons;
and at the second census, on the entry into Canaan, they numbered
596 tent-settlements with 5730 persons. The numbers 600,000 and so
forth are attributable to a mistake of the scribe who added up the
contingents of the census lists, reading the word _alaf_ as thousand,
instead of tent-settlement.



HAVING reached the goal of their pilgrimage, the Israelites encamped
near the Mount of God, Har-ha-elohim (Exod. xviii. 5), a word which
can also be read as height of the priests. If we identify this goal as
Serabit, it follows that they encamped near the outlet of one of the
gorges on the northern side of the plateau in the direction of the Wadi
Suweig, probably near the outlet of the Wadi Dhaba. This was the side
from which there was direct access to the cave of Sopd, and the side on
which the Semitic inscriptions were found in the mines.

The physical features of the place are in closest agreement with the
requirements of Scripture. For here is “a mountain with a wilderness
at its foot, rising so sharply that its base could be fenced in while
yet it was easily ascended, and its summit could be seen by a multitude
from below.”[103]

If we go from the sanctuary down in the direction of the Wadi Dhaba and
turning back, look up, we see the temple ruins standing against the
skyline, with the square cutting, where the holocaust at this period
presumably took place, just below it to the right.

When the Israelites were encamped, Moses was sought by Jethro, the
priest, who carried out the choice of an animal and “took a burnt
offering and sacrifices for God” (Exod. xviii. 12). Moses himself
ascended the Mount, and after his return sanctified the people,
who were now called upon to practise abstinence during three days,
avoiding their wives, and washing their clothes against the third day,
when “the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon
Mount Sinai” (Exod. xix. 11). This arrangement was apparently part
of a widespread Semitic usage, for in the Koran we read of similar
restrictions for the three days preceding the appearance of the new
moon (Koran, ii. 193).

On the third day there were “thunders and lightnings,” or rather,
“voices and flashes,” and the sound of a trumpet (Exod. xix. 16),
and the people were led out by Moses and stood on the nether part
of the Mount from where they witnessed the theophany. Fire appeared
first, then smoke (Deut. v. 23), which shows that they were out before
daybreak. “And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord
descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke
of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly” (Exod. xix. 18). The
voice of the trumpet waxing louder, Moses spoke and God answered him by
a voice (Exod. xix. 19), whereupon he went up and was charged to set
bounds about the Mount. On his return he declared to the people the
statutes and judgments (Deut. v. 1; Exod. xx. 1), which were vouchsafed
to him.

The ceremony points to a well-established ritual which has its roots
deep down in Semitic usage. For a trumpet of horn was sounded on
special occasions among the Hebrews long before the Exodus. “Blow up
the trumpet (_shophar_) in the new moon in the time appointed, on our
solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel and a law of the
God of Jacob. This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he
went out through the land of Egypt, where I heard a language that I
understood not” (Psa. lxxxi. 3-5).

In the Moslim world, nowadays, it falls to the _mu-ezzin_ to call the
announcement or prayer (the _azan_) from the tower of the mosque in the
early morning, when a man of piety may respond.[104]

The theophany on high bearing witness to the presence of the Divinity,
Moses prepared for the tribal sacrifice below by erecting an altar and
setting up twelve pillars (_mazzeboth_). The young men slew the oxen,
and Moses sprinkled the blood on the pillars and the people. Then,
taking with him three priests and seventy elders, he went up into the
mountain. “And they saw the God of Israel, and there was under His
feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone and as it were the very
heaven for clearness” (Exod. xxiv. 10, 11). And they ate and they drank

We read that Moses’ second stay in the Mount lasted forty days and
forty nights, during which he fasted (Exod. xxxiv. 28). The Moslim
identified this fast as Ramadan, which, before Mohammad interfered
with its date, happened during the heat of summer.[105] The Israelites
at the foot of the mountain, probably observed the same fast, since
Aaron’s reason for making the calf was that “to-morrow shall be a feast
of the Lord,” _i.e._ at the conclusion of the fast, there was feasting,
drinking, throwing off of clothes, dancing and much noise (Exod. xxxii.
6, 17, 25). In this case it was a question of a full moon festival,
for, on a later occasion, Jeroboam made two calves of gold, one of
which he set up in Bethel and one in Dan, and ordained a feast on the
15th day (1 Kings xii. 28, 32).

In the Mount, Moses was directed to make a portable sanctuary on the
model of actual arrangements which he was shown. “And let them make
me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I
show thee, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the
instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it” (Exod. xxv. 8, 9). “And
thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof
which was showed thee in the Mount” (Exod. xxvi. 30). “Hollow with
boards shalt thou make it; as it was showed thee in the mount, so shall
they make it” (Exod. xxvii. 8). The furniture included an ark or chest,
which contained a vase and two stones, _i.e._ the standards of capacity
and weight, and the “mercy seat” which was upon the ark (Exod. xxv.
17). There was also a standard of length, perhaps the rod of Aaron.
The strict adherence to these standards was henceforth a matter of
religious duty with the Israelites. “Ye shall do no unrighteousness
in judgment, in mete-yard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances,
just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have” (Lev. xix.
35, 36). These standards were of Babylonian origin, and confirm the
presence in the Mount of strong Semitic influence.

The ark further contained the two tables of testimony, which were cut
in stone, but which were so brittle that they easily broke, whereupon
Moses engaged to provide others (Exod. xxiv. 12; xxxii. 19; xxxiv. 1;
Deut. x. 1). The commandments which they contained consisted, for the
most part, of a prohibition that was followed by a precept. In this
they resemble the commandments that have come out of Babylonia, which
contain precepts such as these, “Thou shalt not slander, speak what is
pure. Thou shalt not speak evil, speak kindly.”[106]

The tablets were in the “writing of God” (Exod. xxxii. 16), which
raises the question as to the language and script that were used.
Moses, as we know, was “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians”
(Acts vii. 22). He was certainly familiar with hieroglyphs, and the
fact that the commandments were preserved in two texts that differ
(Exod. xx; Deut. v.), suggests that they were written in a language
that was not Hebrew. But the discovery of a primitive Semitic script at
Serabit itself, puts a different complexion on the matter. The “writing
of God” was possibly a Semitic script.

Over and above the commandments, Moses received a collection of written
customs for the guidance of those who were henceforth to decide
in inter-tribal disputes. They are known as judgments (Exod. xxi.
1), which is in keeping with their being given out at a sanctuary,
where Yahveh was accepted as Supreme Judge. In the Yahveh cult the
pronouncements were no longer subject to the decisions at local
centres. They were set down in writing and associated with the holy
tent, and it was by accepting the local Baals and Ashtoreths that the
Hebrews fell from the covenant and lapsed into an earlier barbarism.
The discovery of the Code of Khammurabi and the points of likeness
between its ordinances and those of the code accepted under the name
of Moses, further corroborate the Semitic or Arabian influence of the
religious centres where the ordinances were received.

Moses had many communings in the Mount, and a year had gone by when the
tabernacle was set up “on the first day of the first month,” in order
to celebrate the Passover (Exod. xl. 2; Num. ix. 1). On the twentieth
day of the second month in the second year the fires were extinguished
and the Israelites moved out of the wilderness of Sinai while a cloud
lay on Paran (Num. x. 11-12). They were led by Hobab, the Kenite. Hobab
is described in one passage as “the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses’
father-in-law” (Num. x. 29), in another as “the father-in-law of Moses”
(Judg. iv. 11). The Septuagint renders the term in both passages as
“brother-in-law” (_i.e._ γαμβρός) of Moses. The terms of relationship
are difficult to fix, but if Raguel be accepted as the tribal father,
as already suggested, Jethro and Hobab may be looked upon as younger
members of the tribe, perhaps his sons.

The first station was called Taberah because of the “Burning.” Here
manna was again plentiful (Num. xi. 8), which shows that the district
was wooded. The next place was called Kibroth-Hata-avah, _i.e._ burial
place of Ta-avah, because of those who died of the plague and were
buried. Here again quails were plentiful, which the wind brought up
from the sea (Num. xi. 31). The next stopping place was Hazeroth (Num.
xi. 35), the last station before they entered the wilderness of Paran
(Num. xii. 16).

Robinson located Hazeroth at Ain Hudhera.[107] But if the original goal
of the Israelites was Serabit, they would be moving in a northerly or
north-easterly direction. In the opening lines of Deuteronomy occur
the words Hazeroth and Dizahab (Deut. i, 1), for which the Septuagint
substitutes Aulon, rich in gold (Αὐλὼν or Αὐλὸν καὶ καταχρύσεα).[108]
The word Aulon signifies ravine, which suggests that Hazeroth must be
sought somewhere along the escarpment of the Badiet Tîh, or “plain of
wandering.” The map of Sinai in a north-easterly direction shows Wadi
Hafera, which has some likeness to Hazeroth. The Bir Shaweis and the
Bir Themed are perennial wells which the people would strike if they
moved in a north-north-easterly direction.

The next stopping place was “in the wilderness of Paran” (Num. xii. 16).

According to the Bible, in the first month (_i.e._ eleven months after
leaving the Holy Mount), the Israelites abode in Kadesh, where Miriam
died and was buried (Num. xx. 1). Moses once more struck water from the
rock, the water as before was Meribah (Num. xx. 13), hence the name of
the place Meribath-Kadesh (Ezek. xlviii. 28). The name Kadesh itself
suggests a sanctuary, and Moses here again had communings with Yahveh
(Num. xx. 7).

Kadesh appears as Cades in the life of Hilarion († 307), which was
written by Jerome. The saint went there to see a disciple passing by
Elusa (modern Khalasa).[109] There is Ain Kadeis or Gadeis marked on
the modern map. Robinson, however, sought Kadesh of the Israelites near
Mount Hor, at the present Ain el Waiba.[110]

Kadesh lay “in the uttermost borders of Edom,” and the Israelites would
now have marched through Edom, “keeping along the king’s highway.”
Perhaps the road along the Mediterranean is meant. “But Edom refused”
(Num. xx. 21). They were therefore obliged to seek an entry into Canaan
by compassing the land of Edom, which meant turning in an easterly
direction towards Mount Hor, and then in a southerly direction to the
Gulf of Akaba, the so-called “Red Sea” (Num. xiv. 25). An intercalated
passage in Deuteronomy states that “the children of Israel took their
journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera; there Aaron
died” (Deut. x. 6). The wells must therefore be sought close to Mount
Hor, and may be the so-called Wells of Moses, which are named as such
by the mediæval pilgrims. The modern map mentions Wadi Musa, which
joins the Arabah coming from Petra. The Book of Numbers located the
death of Aaron in “Mount Hor, by the” (border, not) “coast of the land
of Edom” (Num. xx. 23). Here the Lord once more spoke to Moses, which
suggests the existence of a sanctuary.

Eusebius (_c._ 320) wrote, “Mount Hor, in which Aaron died, a hill near
the city Petra.”[111] Mount Hor is the modern Gebel Haroun or Mount of
Aaron, a few miles north-west of the classical Petra. The district at
the time was apparently in the possession of the Kenites, since the
prophet Balaam, called upon by King Balak of the Moabites, to curse the
Israelites, foretold the fall of the Amalekites, and, looking towards
the Kenites, declared “Strong is thy dwelling place, and thou puttest
thy nest in a rock” (Num. xxiv. 21). This rock, a term which the
Septuagint rendered as Petra, was probably the Ha-sela (Arabic _sila_,
a mountain cleft) of the Bible, a name changed to Joktheel after its
capture by Amaziah (_c._ B.C. 800, 2 Kings xiv. 7).

At Kadesh the Israelites had been told to “get you into the wilderness
by the way of the Red Sea” (Num. xiv. 25), _i.e._ they moved south
from Mount Hor. The intercalated passage further named “Gadgodah and
Jotbath, a land of brooks and water” (Deut. x. 7; LXX, Etebatha). The
modern map mentions Et Taba in the depression between the Red Sea and
the Dead Sea, where Romans perpetuated the existence of a sanctuary
in the name Ad Dianam, later Ghadiana. This movement brought the
Israelites into conflict with the Amalekites and the Canaanites, with
whom they fought and were discomfited even unto Hormah (Num. xiv. 45;
LXX, Herman), perhaps the present El Hameima.

According to Arab tradition, Joshua fought against Samida ben Hagbar
ben Malek, the Amalekite king of Syria in the land of Aila and killed
him. Also Moses, after the death of Aaron, entered the land of the
people El Eiss, called El Serah, and advanced to the desert Bab. There
was then near Aila an important city called Asabaum or Aszyoun.[112]

This Aszyoun was “Eziongeber beside Eloth (_i.e._ Alia) on the shore of
the Red Sea in the land of Edom” (1 Kings ix. 26). It was the port on
the Gulf of Akaba which was used by King Solomon. By way of this the
Israelites passed into the plains of Moab. “And when we passed by from
our brethren the children of Esau which dwelt in Seir, through the way
of the plain from Elath, and from Eziongeber, we turned and passed by
the way of the wilderness of Moab” (Deut. ii. 8).

A list of stations with further names stands in Numbers (xxx. 12,
13, 17-30), which affords no guide and confuses the issues. It is
now looked upon as a post-exilic collection of caravan routes which
the scribe who compiled the Book of Numbers incorporated into his
account, perhaps because the number of stations named in it was
forty, corresponding to the forty years’ wandering. Along some routes
it mentions the stations that appear in the narrative in Exodus and
Deuteronomy, but even here with deviations.

Having passed by the depression near the Red Sea, the Israelites were
in districts that were occupied by the allied Moabites and Midianites.
They entered into friendly relations with the Midianites; later they
waged a cruel war against them.

The frontiers of Midian were always vague. According to the Bible Moses
met Jethro in the “land of Midian,” which suggests that the peninsula
of Sinai was included in Midian at the time. Midian is called Madian in
the Septuagint and by the Arab writers. Antoninus Martyr (_c._ _a.d._
530) held that the city Pharan, situated between the convent and Egypt,
was in “the land of Midian” with its inhabitants descended from Jethro
(c. 40).

Makrizi († 1441) described Madian as of wide extent including many
cities, chief among which were El Khalasa and El Sanuto. “On the side
of the sea of Kalzouna (_i.e._ Suez) and El Tor the cities of Madian
are Faran, El Ragah (_i.e._ Raithou), Kolzoum, Aila and Madian. In the
town of Madian there are still to-day wonderful ruins and gigantic

In modern parlance the term Midian is applied to the eastern shore of
the Gulf of Arabia, between Akaba and Muweileh, which has made some
writers believe that Moses went into this part of Arabia, and further
led to the identification of Jethro of Scripture with Shoeib, a prophet
of the land of Midian.

Sir Richard Burton in 1877 visited the ruins of the city of Midian,
the position of which agreed with that of Madiama mentioned by
Ptolemy.[114] The valleys which here cut into the high plain of Nedched
contained the remains of silver, copper and gold mines, and near the
city were great loculi cut into the rock which were known as the
Mughair (caves of) Shoeib.

Shoeib was one of the prophets of the Arab past. In the Koran we read,
“And we sent to Madian, their brother Shoeib. He said, O my people,
worship God, no other God have you than He: give not short weight and
measure: I see indeed that you revel in good things, but I fear with
you the punishment of the all encompassing day.... And when our decree
came to pass, we delivered Shoeib and his companions in faith, and a
violent tempest overtook the wicked, and in the morning they were found
prostrate in their houses as if they had never dwelt in them. Was not
Madian swept off even as Themoud was swept off?” (xi. 89). According to
other passages, an earthquake put an end to the dwellers in Al Ayka,
the forest of Madian, who treated their apostles as liars (vii. 90,
xxix. 30).

The name of Shoeib now attaches to the valley in Sinai in which lies
the great convent, and tradition identified Shoeib of the forest
of Midian with Jethro, the priest of Midian of the Bible. Their
identification is said by Sir Richard Burton to go back to the Arab
writer El Farga of about A.D. 800.

It was endorsed by Eutychius, patriarch of Alexandria (935-940),
who stated that Moses fled to the Hadjaz and dwelt in the city of
Madyan, where Jethro (whom the Arabs call Shoeib) was priest of the
temple.[115] But Masudi († 951), while accepting that the daughter
of Shoeib married Moses, pointed out that this Shoeib, chief of the
Midianites, was a very different person from Shoeib the prophet, who
was mentioned in the Koran. “There are centuries between these two

The identification of Jethro with the prophet Shoeib may be due, in
the first instance, to the claims which these prophets made on their
people. Moses, who was in contact with Jethro, received the standards
of weight and capacity in the Mount, the strict adherence to which was
henceforth a matter of religious observance to the people. Shoeib,
according to the Koran, impressed upon the people of the forest the
need to give measure and weight in fairness, and the disregard to his
command was the cause of their destruction (Koran, lxxi. 88, xxvi.



THE last Pharaoh whose activity was recorded in Serabit was Ramessu VI
(B.C. 1161-1156), after whose reign information about the peninsula
ceased for several centuries. The road along the north was trodden
by the Egyptians when the country was in friendly relation with King
Solomon (B.C. 974-35) and the kings of Judæa. It was trodden also by
the Assyrian armies which invaded Egypt under Esarhaddon (B.C. 670),
and under Ashurbanipal (B.C. 668-626). Although we hear nothing of the
sanctuary at Serabit its importance must have continued. For in the
list of temples which made gifts to Nitocris on the occasion of her
adoption by the Pharaoh Psamtek I (XXVI 1), about the year B.C. 654,
a gift was made of a hundred _deben_ of bread by the temples of Sais,
of Buto, and by “the house of Hathor of Mafkat” _i.e._ Serabit, and by
Per-Seped, _i.e._ the sanctuary of Sopd in the city of Goshen.[117]

In the third century before Christ, Egypt passed under the rule of
the Ptolemies. Ptolemy Philadelphus (B.C. 250-247), a man of wide
outlook, built Arsinoë (north-east of the later Suez) to serve as a
port in place of the ancient Heroöpolis, which was silting up. He
further sent out an expedition to explore the coasts of the Red Sea
under the charge of Ariston. Diodorus Siculus (_c._ B.C. 20), quoting
Agatharcides (B.C. 110), and the geographer Strabo (_c._ A.D. 24),
quoting Artemidorus (B.C. 100), give an account of the information
that is preserved regarding Sinai. After describing the western
shore of the Red Sea with its countries and its inhabitants who were
Ichthyophagoi (fish-eaters), and Troglodytes (cave-dwellers) or nomads,
and the dangers which threatened shipping from storms and sand-banks,
Diodorus, in his account, passed to the other side of the Gulf. Here
Ariston erected an altar at Neptunium or Posidium. “From thence to the
mouth of the Gulf, is a place along the sea-coast of great esteem among
the inhabitants for the profit it yields them; it is called the Garden
of Palm-trees (Phoenikon), because they abound there, and are so very
fruitful that they yield sufficient both for pleasure and necessity.
But the whole country next adjoining is destitute of rivers and brooks,
and lying to the south is even burned up by the heat of the sun; and
therefore this fruitful tract that lies amongst dry and barren regions
(remote from tillage and improvement), and yet affords such plenty of
food and provision, is justly, by the barbarians, dedicated to the
gods. For there are in it many fountains and running streams as cold as
snow, by which means the region from one side to the other is always
green and flourishing, and very sweet and pleasant to the view. In this
place there is an ancient altar of hard stone, with an inscription in
old and illegible characters; where a man and a woman, that execute
here the priest’s office during their lives, have the charge of the
grove and altar. They are persons of quality and great men that abide
here, and for fear of the beasts, have their beds (they rest upon)
in the trees.”[118] In the corresponding account Strabo mentioned no
altar, but the man and woman who guarded the trees.[119]

The Phoenikon or palm grove of these writers, was sometimes located at
Raithou; perhaps the one at Ayun Musa is meant.

Diodorus then mentioned the Island of the Sea-calves on the coast of
Arabia, and the promontory (_i.e._ Sinai) that shoots out towards
this island, describing this as “over against Petra in Arabia and
Palestine to which the Gerrhaens and Mineans bring incense.” He then
mentioned the Maraneans and Garindaeans (names which recall Mara and
Wadi Gharandel, the Carandar of Pliny), who dwell along the coast, and
related how the Maraneans were absent on their quinquennial festival,
sacrificing fattened camels to the gods of the grove and fetching
spring water, when the Garindaeans killed those who were left behind
and then murdered those who returned and seized their country.

According to Diodorus (still quoting Ariston) there were few harbours
along the shore in the direction of the Aleanite promontory where dwelt
the Arabians called Nabateans, who held not only the coast but large
districts inland. The Nabateans have a special interest for Sinai,
since the numerous rough rock-inscriptions along the wadis of the
south, which long puzzled the learned, are now generally attributed to

Josephus located Nabatea between Syria and Arabia extending from
the Euphrates to the Red Sea, and connected the name Nabatean with
Nebajoth, whose name stands first in the confederacy of the Ishmaelite
tribes (Gen. xxv. 13).[120] On the other hand Strabo, like Diodorus
Siculus, located them in north-western Arabia, extending as far south
as Leukokome on the Gulf of Arabia.[121]

The existence of Nabateans in districts that lay far apart is explained
by the recently discovered Annals of Assyria. In the long list of
peoples “Arameans all of them,” who were raided by Sennacherib (_c._
B.C. 705), mention is made of the Nabatu, of whom large numbers were
carried off into Assyria.[122] Again, when Ashurbanipal (B.C. 668-626)
set out to conquer Arabia, King Vaiteh of Arabia sought refuge with
Nathan, king of Nabat, “whose place is remote.” The Nabateans were
again raided, and numbers of them were transplanted. “The road to
Damascus I caused their feet to tread.”[123] The remote homes of the
Nabateans was attested by Makrizi († 1441), who classed them with the
Magi, the Indians and the Chinese. These denied the Flood because it
had never penetrated to them, and traced their origin, not to Noah, but
to Kajumath.[124]

The efforts of the transplanted Nabateans to remain in touch with their
home sanctuaries, may have opened their eyes to the possibilities
of trade. In the fourth century before Christ, they attracted the
attention of the western world by seizing Petra, the Ha-Sela of
antiquity, which lay half-way between the head of the Gulf of Akaba
and the Dead Sea at the point where the old gold and incense route
from Arabia to Damascus was crossed by the overland route from India
to Egypt. This appropriation gave the Nabateans the control of the
Eastern trade. In order to check their progress Antigonus Cyclops,
king of Syria and Palestine since B.C. 312, sent Athenæus and an army
against them. The army reached Petra at the time when the Nabateans
were absent on a pilgrimage. They easily overcame the aged, the women
and children, and seized an enormous booty in spicery and silver. But
the returning Nabateans overtook and well nigh destroyed the invading
force. Another army was sent under Demetrius to seize Petra, and
chastise the Nabateans. But these drew the enemy along desert tracks,
and the invaders achieved nothing.[125]

Henceforth the Nabateans acted as a recognised nation, whose kings from
about B.C. 200 held their own by the side of the kings of Judæa. Of
these kings Aretas I (_Arabic_ Harith), the contemporary of Antiochus
Epiphanes (B.C. 173-164), received the fugitive Hasmoneans (2 Macc.
v. 8); Malchos I dwelt at Petra and struck a coinage; Aretas III was
master of Damascus and king of Cœle-Syria. Their control over the
trade-routes extended in many directions. Along the Mediterranean
on the north coast of Sinai they secured a foothold far beyond the
limit of Cœle-Syria almost as far as the Tanitic mouth of the Nile.
For excavations made at Qasr Ghait or Ouait between Kantara and
Katia led to the discovery of a Nabatean sanctuary with a Nabatean

As the Romans advanced their frontier, they were brought into contact
with the kings of Nabat. Malchos II in the year B.C. 47, supported
the Romans under Cæsar, and entered into an agreement with them. As a
result, a Roman tax-collector resided at Leukokome, the southernmost
point of Nabat. After the conquest of Egypt in B.C. 30, the Romans,
their imagination fired by the thought of the untold wealth of Arabia,
entered into an agreement with the Nabateans, and sent eighty boats,
with ten thousand men, including five hundred Jews and a thousand
Nabateans. These sailed from Arsinoë around Sinai in B.C. 25 to invade
and conquer Arabia. It was in vain that Syllæus, the Roman tax-gatherer
at Leukokome, urged that the Arabians were rich in merchandise only.
The expedition landed, camels were chartered and the Romans entered the
country. But here they found a land bare of food and water, and no one
to contend with. The expedition was a miserable failure, but Syllæus
who tried to prevent it, was accused of treachery and condemned to

The Nabateans had originally been content with pastoral pursuits. For
a time they became pirates and had little skiffs, with which they
despoiled all other merchants who trafficked in their seas. Their
obvious intention was to protect the trade along their overland route
which assumed great proportions as we learn from the remarks of Strabo.

One reason of their success in this direction was their extensive use
of the camel as a means of transport. There are many references in
the Assyrian annals to the large number of camels which were bred in
Arabia. Ashurbanipal (B.C. 668-626) says that after his conquest of
Arabia, “camels like sheep I distributed and caused to overflow to the
people of Assyria dwelling in my country. A camel for half a shekel,
in half shekels of silver, they were valued for at the gate.”[128]
The Nabateans employed camels in such numbers that Strabo spoke of
their convoys of camels (καμηλέμποροι), which moved between Petra and
Leukokome in the land of Nabat, with so many people and camels that
they resembled armies. The camels moved to and fro at certain periods
of the year, being timed by the arrival at Leukokome of the boats from
the East. In between they were driven to pasture in the fruitful wadis
which lay near the caravan routes. It was to the men herding these
camels that the wadis of southern Sinai owed their inscriptions.

These inscriptions consist, for the most part, of a few words,
including a name or a greeting, which are roughly incised on rock or
boulder at about the height of a man above the valley floor. Some
are accompanied by signs or by the rough drawing of animals or men,
sometimes there are drawings and signs without writing. The animals
are chiefly camels, gazelles or cattle. There are some horsemen and
some nondescript animals. Among the signs that are used are the
Egyptian _ankh_, the Greek _alpha_ and _omega_, and the Christian
cross, showing that a great variety of persons passed there. The words
are written without regularity, the animals and men are drawn with poor
skill. They are, for the most part, unattractive scrawls, the interest
of which lies in the information which they indirectly convey.

The inscriptions in the wadis of southern Sinai were first noted by the
lady Etheria who visited the peninsula about the year 450. A century
later they attracted the attention of Cosmas, whose second name,
Indicopleustes, marked the extent of his travels. Cosmas was in Sinai
about the year 545, and in his _Christian Topography_ wrote of the
inscriptions, which he attributed to Israelite industry.

“And when they had received the Law from God in writing and had learnt
letters for the first time, God made use of the desert as a quiet
school and permitted them for forty years to carve out letters on
stone. Wherefore, in that wilderness of Mount Sinai one can see, at
all their halting places, all the stones that have been broken off
from the mountains, inscribed with Hebrew letters, as I myself can
testify, having travelled in those places. Certain Jews too, who had
read these inscriptions, informed me of their purpose which was as
follows: the departure of so and so of such and such a tribe, in such
and such a year, in such and such a month,—just as with ourselves,
there are travellers who scribble their names in the inns in which they
lodge.—And the Israelites, who had newly acquired the art of writing,
continually practised it, and filled a great multitude of stones with
writing, so that all those places are full of Hebrew inscriptions,
which, as I think, have been preserved to this day for the sake of
unbelievers. Anyone who wishes, can go to these places, and see for
himself, or at least can enquire of others, about the matter, when he
will learn that it is the truth which we have spoken.—When the Hebrews
therefore had been at the first instructed by God, and had received a
knowledge of letters through those tables of stone, and had learned
them for forty years in the wilderness, they communicated them to the
Phœnicians at that time when first Cadmus was king of the Tyrians, from
whom the Greeks received them, and then in turn the other nations of
the world.”[129]

After the time of Cosmas we hear no more of the inscriptions, till
the seventeenth century when they attracted the attention of Pietro
della Valle about the year 1618.[130] In the eighteenth century copies
were brought home of some of them which attracted further attention.
In 1762 Niebuhr went to Sinai with the intention of visiting the
Gebel Mukattab, or mountain of writing. He was taken, instead, by his
sheykh to the inscribed ruins of Serabit. Some of the rough Sinaitic
inscriptions appeared in the _Transactions of the Royal Society of
Literature_ in 1832; others were incorporated by Lepsius in his work on
Sinai. They were first claimed for the Nabateans by Lévy in 1860.[131]
Prof. Palmer of the Ordnance Survey collected over 3000 between
1868-70, and endorsed the view that they were the work of traders and
carriers. Prof. Euting recently published over 300 in facsimile and
collected similar inscriptions along the wadis west of Petra between
Damascus and Palmyra, and elsewhere.[132] It is said to be habitual in
Arabia to scrawl tribal marks on walls and rocks in order to show the
rights of the tribe, a name and a greeting being frequently added as a
notice to kinsmen and friends passing that way. These casual marks and
inscriptions have recently gained a new interest, for the light which
they throw on the development of the Arabic script.

Most of the inscriptions along the wadis of Sinai are in Aramaic or
other Semitic script, a few are in Greek, a few are in Kufic. The
larger number are pagan, and their character is indicated by such as
the following, “Remember Zailu, son of Wailu, son of Bitasu” (no.
11).[133] “Think of Sambu, son of Nasaigu” (_Ibid._, no. 120). Many
names are those of the Bible, including Jacob (no. 510) and Moses (no.
337). How the sight of these names must have rejoiced the heart of
Cosmas! Others include names that are current in Arabia at the present

In Greek script stand the words “Be mindful (μνησθῇ) of Chalios the son
of Zaidu” (no. 253). One inscription consists of an Egyptian _ankh_
with the _alpha_ and _omega_ on either side, and the Greek words _Kyrie
eleison_, with the figure of an animal that may be intended for a camel
(no. 380). Again, in Greek stand the words “An evil race! I, Lupus,
a soldier, wrote this with my hand” (no. 613). Another inscription
consists of a cross with the words “Amen, one God, our Saviour” (no.

A definite date is conveyed by the following: “Blessed be Wailu, son of
Sad Allahi, this is the 85th year of the eparchy” (no. 463). And again,
“Think of Aallahi, son of Iali, in the year 106, which is that of the
three emperors” (no. 451). In the year A.D. 105 Trajan attacked the
Nabateans in Petra, which he conquered, and he established the Roman
headquarters at Bosra, from which the so-called era of Bosra was dated.
The first of the inscriptions which mentioned the 85th year, therefore
indicated A.D. 189; the second inscription, which mentioned the 106th
year, indicated _a.d._ 211, the year in which the three emperors
Septimus Severus, Caracalla and Geta succeeded one another.

Some authorities also make the Nabateans responsible for the circular
huts built of stone, the so-called Nawamis, groups of which are found
in the Wadi Wutah, the Wadi Sigilliyeh, and elsewhere. About the
year 450 Etheria saw some on her way to the Mount of the Law, and
looked upon them as houses built by the Israelites. The huts served
at different times as store-houses, places of burial, and hermitages;
their origin is quite uncertain. Besides these huts, rectangular huts
were noticed in the Wadi Aleyat, the Wadi Nasb, and elsewhere. These
also cannot, at present, be claimed for any age.

The introduction of the camel to the wadis of Sinai dealt one more blow
at the vegetation of the peninsula. For the camel is to all purposes
a huge goat, and, like the goat, is a most destructive animal. His
introduction was necessarily followed by the loss of verdure which
resulted in loosening of the soil and spread of the desert. In Egypt
the introduction of the camel during Roman times depleted the flora and
altered the fauna. Gazelles and antelopes sought pasture elsewhere,
and the crocodile that lay in wait for them when they came to water,
altogether disappeared. In Sinai the effects were equally marked.
Gazelles, still numerous in early Christian times, are found now in the
remoter wadis only, and the depletion of the soil which began with the
destruction of trees for purposes of smelting and charcoal-burning, was
carried one stage further by the havoc wrought among the lower growth
by the camel.

The conquest of Petra by Trajan in the year 105 set a term to the
existence of the kings of Nabat. The greater part of their domain was
now incorporated in the Roman province of Arabia, which was firmly
and wisely administered by the prefect Aulus Cornelius Palma, who
left Nabatean religious cults untouched. The annexation of Damascus
followed, through which the control of the trade of the East altogether
passed under the Romans.

The frontier line between Egypt and Asia during the period of Roman
rule began at Raphia, modern Rafa, and ran in a westerly direction,
then turning sharply south towards Arsinoë near the present Suez. The
coastal province was called Augustamnica Prima according to Ammianus
Marcellinus. It included a number of cities which, by virtue of being
situated in a province belonging to Egypt, were later included in the
patriarchate of Alexandria.

The first of these cities on the road from Syria was El Arish, situated
near the Wadi el Arish, the river or “stream of Egypt” of the Bible
(Isa. xxvii. 12). El Arish was accounted a very ancient city by the
Arabs. Its land was cultivated soon after the Deluge and was called
the Gate to Paradise. Abraham passed here. Makrizi († 1441) relates
a tradition regarding the building of reed huts there, which recalls
an incident preserved by Diodorus Siculus (_c._ B.C. 20), the origin
of which may be sought in the wish to explain the later name of the
city which was Rhinocorura or Rhinocolura. According to Diodorus, King
Actisanes of Egypt, possibly Hor-em-heb (XVIII 14), having conquered
Egypt, collected all who were suspected of thieving, and after their
judicial conviction, caused their noses to be cut off, and sent them
to colonise a city built for them at the extremity of the desert.
Here, being destitute of means of subsistence, they resorted to the
device of splitting reeds, which they wove into nets and stretched out
along the sea shore to catch quails. The incident of the noses (quasi
ῥῖνος κόλουροι = curti, al. ρ. κείρασθαι), determined the name of the
place.[134] Its Egyptian name was probably Zaru (Fig. 18).

The city gained in importance during Roman times. Strabo called it a
city of Phœnicia, close to Egypt, and an emporium of Indian and Arabic
merchandise, which was discharged at Leukokome and conveyed via Petra
to Rhinocorura, where it was dispersed.[135] The city is now partly
enclosed by walls of considerable thickness, and lies half a mile from
the coast on the edge of the desert. According to the travellers, Irby
and Mangles, it contains some notable Roman remains. From this period
probably date the marble columns, later appropriated to the churches
which were eventually transported to Cairo.

West of Rhinocorura lay Ostracine, the site of which is nowadays
surrounded by marshland which is flooded at certain times of the
year. The city was formerly fed by a canal that brought water from
the Tanitic branch of the Nile. The strategic importance of Ostracine
attracted the attention of the emperor Vespasian. For the road coming
from Syria divided at Ostracine. One branch led north of the Serbonian
bog, _via_ Casium, Gerra and Pelusium to Alexandria; another passing
south of the bog, was the old military road to Memphis with stations at
Katia and Kantara. A third road led from Ostracine to Arsinoë (near the
present Suez), which Pliny described as “mountainous and destitute of
water” (asperum montibus et inops aquarum).[136]

Ostracine has recently been excavated by Clédat. It consisted of two
parts, an inland part with a fortress and a church which have been
excavated, and a maritime port, Ostracine Majumas, where Roman remains
were found, including mosaics and sculpture, now transferred to the
museum at Ishmailia. The buildings were not constructed of brick, but
of stone, which points to a certain wealth. Here also there were the
remains of a church. The name Ostracine signifies shell, a meaning
reproduced in the Arabic El Flousiyeh the name of the village that now
occupies the site of the inland part of the town.

West of Ostracine lay the Serbonian bog which stood out in men’s minds
as the scene of the disaster which befell the invading Persian forces
in the year B.C. 350. On the northern side of the bog, beyond the
break in the narrow strip of land confining it, lay Casium, which had
a hill with a temple dedicated to Zeus Casius or Jupiter Ammon. On the
flank of this hill a tumulus marked the place where the beheaded body
of Pompey the Great was buried. Pompey was murdered when he landed on
the coast after his defeat at Pharsalia; and Hadrian, at a later date,
erected a monument to his memory of which remains were found near

West of Casium lay Gerra, from Greek _gerrhon_, a shield, a name which
corresponds in meaning with Shur, Hebrew for wall, in the Bible. “Shur
that is before Egypt as thou goest toward Assyria” (Gen. xxv. 18).
Brugsch identified it as the Egyptian Aneb.[137]

Gerra was known also as the camp of Chabrias, the Athenian general, who
entered the service of the Pharaoh Nectanebo (XXX 1, B.C. 378-61), and
later commanded the forces of his successor Zeher (XXX 2), in opposing
the Persian invasion of Egypt. The cities along the Mediterranean coast
were at the distance of a Roman day’s march, about 14 miles, from each
other. Titus on his march from Egypt for the conquest of Jerusalem,
pitched his camp in succession near the temple of the Casian Jupiter,
at Ostracine, at Rhinocorura and at Raphia, as recorded by Josephus
(_Wars_, IV. 11, 5). On the _Table Peutinger_, the Roman road map of
the second century, land and water are roughly marked with the stations
along the roads of communication. On this Table along the shore of
the Mediterranean we note _Gerra_ (?) miles to _Casium_, 26 miles to
_Ostracine_, 24 miles to _Rhinocorura_, 28 miles to _Raphia_.



A NEW era in the history of Sinai began with the advent of the
Christian hermit. The desert has ever been the home of liberty. The
desire to follow the New Way, coupled with the need of escaping the
Roman governor, drove many Christians into the wilderness, where,
remote from the claims and the unrest of citizen life, they embraced
life in a form which meant reducing physical needs to a minimum.

This life in itself was no new departure. Again and again in the course
of history, a recoil from civilisation led men to seek enlightenment
in remoteness, simplicity and solitude. Elijah the Tishbite, with
rough mantle and flowing locks; John the Baptist, who lived on locusts
and wild honey; the Essenes in Palestine, and the Therapeutæ near
Alexandria, were one and all actuated by the belief that a higher life
is possible here below, provided that the amenities and the comforts of
this world count as nothing.

The hermits who came to dwell in Sinai, settled in the mountains of
the south where many natural springs rendered possible the cultivation
of vegetables and fruit, their staple articles of diet. Here they were
outside the sphere of Roman influence. The extent of this influence can
be gauged by the _Table Peutinger_.

On this Table two roads, the one coming from Syria, the other from
Egypt, lead to _Pharan_ in Sinai proper. The road from Egypt passed
_Arsinoë_, _Clesma_, _Lacus Mar_, and a station, the name of which
is obliterated, but which Weill reads as Medeia. From this it was 80
miles to Pharan. The road from Syria, starting from Jerusalem, passed
_Oboda_, _Lyssa_, _Cypsana_, _Rasa_, _Ad Dianam_ (later Ghadiana),
i.e. _Aila_, from where it was 60 miles to _Pharan_. Pharan was no
doubt the κωμὴ, _i.e._ village Pharan of Ptolemy, the later seat
of the episcopate. This was, therefore, the southernmost point of
Roman administration in the peninsula. It was beyond this, among the
mountains of the south and on the coast near Tur, that the hermits
settled by preference.

The inhabitants of the peninsula at this period were called Ishmaelites
or Saracens. The origin of the word Saracen has been much discussed.
Ptolemy, the geographer, located Sarakene on the borders of Egypt, and
the Sarakeni east of the Gulf of Akaba.[138] According to Eucherius
(† _c._ 449), the Arabs and the Agarenes in his time were called
Saracens.[139] But the historian Sozomenus († 443) held that the
Ishmaelites deliberately called themselves Saracens in allusion to
Sarah, because they resented the association with Hagar.[140] Sprenger
connected the word with _saraka_, Arabic for robber; the present view
is that it signifies easterner.

The Saracens are mentioned in a letter which Dionysius, bishop of
Alexandria, wrote about the year 250, in which he mentioned that the
Christians fled to the desert to escape persecution. “Many were seized
in the Arabian mountains by the heathen Saracens and carried off into
captivity.”[141] By the Arabian mountain he probably meant the hills
between the Nile valley and the Red Sea, but he may be referring to

An early hermit of Sinai was St. Onophrius, whom Nectarius, in his
_Epitome of Holy History_, numbered among the founders of ascetic
life.[142] Onophrius dwelt in a grotto in the Wadi Leyan, south of the
Gebel Musa, which was visited during the Middle Ages by pilgrims and is
still pointed out to travellers.[143]

Paphnutius († _c._ 390), a monk of Egypt, came across Onophrius on his
wanderings and wrote a life of him. Onophrius told him that he had been
in the desert seventy years. Originally he dwelt in the Thebaid with
about a hundred monks, but hearing of Elijah and John the Baptist, he
decided that it was more meritorious to dwell alone in the desert, so
he wandered away, led by an angel, and met a hermit who urged him to go
five days further where he reached “Calidiomea” (perhaps a corruption
of _calybem_, a hut), near which stood a palm tree where he remained.
He suffered from hunger and thirst, from cold and heat, and lived on
dates, his clothes gradually dropping from him. He took Paphnutius
into his hut, and they were conversing together when a sudden pallor
overspread his countenance, and he intimated that Paphnutius would
bury him. He died there and then, and Paphnutius tore a piece off his
own cloak, in which he wrapped him and laid him in a crevice in the

Onophrius was perhaps the unnamed hermit who was visited by a monk
of Raithou, “where stood seventy palm trees in the place which Moses
reached with the people when he came out of Egypt.” This monk described
how, on his wanderings, he came to a cell in which he found a dead monk
whose body dropped to dust when he touched it. In another place he came
upon a hermit who had lived in an ascetic community at Heroöpolis,
but he associated with a professed nun, and yielded to temptation,
whereupon he fled into the distant desert where, as time went on, his
hair grew and his clothes dropped from him.[145]

Of similar appearance was the hermit whom Postumianus was bent on
seeing when he went from Italy into Sinai some time before 400. In the
_Dialogues_ of Severus the words are put into his lips: “I saw the
Red Sea and I climbed the height of Mount Sinai (jugum Sina Montis),
the summit of which almost touches heaven and cannot be reached by
human effort. A hermit was said to live somewhere in its recesses, and
I sought long and much to see him, but was unable to do so. He had
been removed from human fellowship for nearly fifty years and wore no
clothes, but was covered with bristles growing on his body, but of
divine gift he knew not of his nakedness.”[146]

Another hermit who was drawn to Sinai was Silvanus, a native of
Palestine, “to whom on account of his great virtue, an angel was wont
to minister. He lived in Sinai and afterwards founded, at Gerari (?
Gerra), in the wadi, a very extensive and noted cœnobium for many good
men, over which the excellent Zacharias, afterwards presided.”[147]
Like other hermits, Silvanus shared his cell with a youthful disciple,
and cultivated a garden that was surrounded by a wall and served by a
water conduit. Various anecdotes told of him bear witness to his good
sense and humility.

“A certain brother once came to Sinai where he found the brethren hard
at work and he said to them, Labour not for the meat that perishes.
Silvanus, who overheard the remark, directed his disciple Zacharias
to give him a book and lead him to an empty cell. When the ninth hour
came, the brother looked towards the entrance expecting to be called to
a meal, but no one came, so he went to Silvanus and said, Father, do
not the brethren eat to-day? Silvanus replied, Oh yes, they have eaten.
Then why was I not called? Because, said Silvanus, thou art a spiritual
man who needs no such food. We others, being carnal, must eat, and
therefore we work. Thou hast in truth chosen the better part, and art
able to study all day requiring nothing. On hearing this, the brother
saw that he was at fault, and said, Father, forgive me. Silvanus
replied, Surely Martha is necessary to Mary, it was due to her that
Mary was able to pray. Silvanus himself worked with his hands, chiefly
at basket-making, so as to earn his living and not depend on alms.”

The baskets, we gather from other remarks, were used to pack dates for
export. Like other hermits, Silvanus had visions. One day he sat for a
long time without speaking and then burst into tears. It was, he said,
because he saw men of his own kind going to hell, while many secular
persons went to heaven. Among the sayings attributed to him was this
one, “Woe unto him who has more renown than merit.”[148]

Other early hermits were Gala̭ction and his wife Episteme, whose
experiences were noted in the _Menology_ of Basileus,[149] and were
worked up into a longer account by Simeon Metaphrastes. They were from
Emesa and took ten days to reach the height called Pouplios (? _Rubus_,
the Bush), near Mount Sinai (τὸ Σινᾶ ὄρος), where they found ten
hermits who were joined by Gala̭ction. Episteme dwelt at some distance
with four virgins. But the Roman governor (Ursus) sent for Gala̭ction.
Episteme, apprised by a dream, came forward to die for him. Both
endured the penalty of death, and Eutolmios, at one time their slave,
recovered and brought back their bodies.[150]

The settlement where Episteme dwelt was afterwards allotted to
the slaves who were brought into Sinai and appointed to serve the
convent by the emperor Justinian († 563). The settlement lay on a
slope north-east of the convent facing the valley, and was pointed
out to Bishop Pococke in the year 1734.[151] The existence here of a
settlement of women, and the value which was set on the bodies of the
hermits, are worth noting in connection with the finding of the body of
St. Katherine of Alexandria, to which we shall return later.

Other saints who were connected with Sinai were the well-known Cosmas
and Damianus, Arab doctors who taught Christianity. There are no
traditions regarding their coming into Sinai, but their names were
attached to a hermitage, now dilapidated, which stood at Tholas, in the
Wadi Tla’ah, and was dedicated to them.

It was customary at the time for the hermits to wander from place to
place. Among the famous hermits who visited Sinai was Julian Sabbas (†
363), who left his cell near Osrhoene (Edessa), and, with a few devoted
followers, sought the remoteness of Sinai where he remained some
time. On reaching the desired height (τὸ ποθούμενον ὄρος), he built
a church and set up an altar on the stone on which Moses, prince of
prophets, rested. Theodoret (_c._ 450), who related this, stated that
the altar remained in his day.[152] Antoninus Martyr (_c._ 530) noted
the existence of an oratory above Pharan, with its altar on the stones
which supported Moses when he prayed.[153] The plan and ruins of an
oratory are figured in the Ordnance Survey (pl. X), which probably mark
this spot. Its erection helped to locate the struggle of Moses and the
Amalekites in this valley, which, according to other views, took place
further south.

The hermits at this period occupied caverns and huts, an older man,
called _abbas_, _i.e._ father, usually dwelling with a younger
disciple. But as time wore on the cells were more and more grouped
around a centre where the hermits assembled once a week for religious
service. These centres or churches sometimes consisted of a square
tower built of stone, its entrance raised above the ground, and in
these the hermits sought refuge in times of danger. One such tower or
church stood near Raithou, and formed part of the later convent of St.
John; another, the Arbaïn, now in ruins, stood in the Wadi Layan, near
the grotto of Onophrius; a third was near the Bush, and was included in
the present convent. Tradition claimed that the tower near the Bush,
was built by Helena, the mother of the emperor Constantine, and was
dedicated to the Theotokos in order to commemorate the spot where the
Lord appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush.[154] The tower was pointed
out to Burckhardt, and was described by him as of older construction
than the convent.[155] The pilgrimage of Helena to the East in the year
326 is well authenticated, but there is no contemporary reference to
her entering Sinai. If there were, it would be the earliest association
of the site of the convent with the coming of Moses.

We first hear of bishops established in cities of Sinai in connection
with religious discussions and difficulties. At the beginning of the
fourth century Arius raised doubts regarding the fundamental truth of
the Divine Sonship, and a synod of three hundred and ninety bishops met
at Nicæa in the year 325 to discuss the question. Among those who set
their signature to the declaration of faith which rejected the claims
of Arius was Peter, bishop of Ahila, _i.e._ Aila, a city which, by
virtue of its situation was included in the province of Palestine.[156]

As a sequel to these discussions a Council was held in the church of
St. Thekla at Seleucia in September of the year 359 by order of the
emperor Constantius, at which there were present a hundred and sixty
bishops, about two-thirds of whom were semi-Arians. Theoctistes,
bishop of Ostracine, was among them.[157] He was therefore deposed by
Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria († 371), who appointed, in his
stead, Serapion.[158] But the representatives of the neighbouring see
of Rhinocorura firmly held by Athanasius, and Sozomenus († 443), after
praising the hermits of Nitria, wrote of Rhinocorura, “celebrated at
this period for its holy men, who were not from abroad, but natives
of the place. Among the most eminent philosophers were Melas, who
then administered the church in the country; Dionysius, who presided
over a monastery to the north of the city; and Solon, the brother
and successor of Melas in the bishopric.” When, owing to a decision
of Valens (_c._ A.D. 364), there was a reaction in favour of Arius,
officers appeared at Rhinocorura who were charged with orders to eject
those opposed to Arianism. Melas, who did the lowliest work, offered
a meal to the officers, waiting on them himself, and declared his
willingness to go into exile. His brother Solon gave up commerce in
order to embrace the monastic life. “The church of Rhinocorura having
been thus from the beginning under the guidance of exemplary bishops,
never afterwards swerved from their precepts and produced good men. The
clergy of this church dwell in one house, sit at the same table, and
have everything in common.”[159] Among these bishops was Polybius, a
disciple of Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis in Cyprus († 403), who wrote
a supplement to the _Life of Epiphanius_.

The religious difficulties, combined with the general unrest which
followed the conjoint rule of the imperial brothers, Valentinian and
Valens (364-367), are reflected in the account told by the Egyptian
monk Ammonius of what happened at the time when he was on a visit to
Sinai with the hermits at the Bush. The account which he wrote in
Coptic is preserved in Greek, in Syriac, and in Latin.[160] It is a
composition of considerable merit, to which the condensed account,
which follows, can do but scant justice.

“It occurred to me,” wrote Ammonius, “as I sat in my little cell near
Alexandria at the place called Canopus, that I could go a journey and
thus escape the persecutions (by the Arians) of the faithful, who
included our holy bishop Peter (II, 372-380), who was obliged to go
into hiding, first at one place and then at another, and was thereby
hindered from ministering to his flock. I was, moreover, fired by the
desire to see the memorable places, including the Holy Sepulchre, the
place of the Resurrection, and others that were associated with our
Lord Jesus Christ. After worshipping at these places, I decided to seek
the holy mountain called Sinai, going the desert journey together with
others who were bent on the same purpose, and I journeyed thither (from
Jerusalem) with the help of God in eighteen days. And when I had prayed
I remained with the holy fathers in order to visit their several cells
to the profit of my soul.”

A description follows of the occupations of the hermits, their solitary
life on week-days, and their gatherings in church on Sundays. “Their
aspect was that of angels, for they were pallid and, so to say,
incorporeal, owing to their abstaining from wine, oil, bread, and other
food that tends to luxury, living on dates only, just enough to keep
themselves alive.”

“A few days later,” Ammonius continued, “Saracens, whose sheykh (or
king) had died, fell upon the fathers in their cells and slew them,
so that I, together with the superior Doulas and others sought refuge
in the tower, while the barbarians slew all the hermits who were in
Thrambe (Syriac, Gethrabbi),[161] Choreb (Horeb), Kedar (Codar), and
other places. They would have dealt the same with us, but a great fire
appeared on the mountain which scared them so they fled, leaving behind
their women, children and camels. We who saw this from the tower, gave
thanks to God, and then sallied forth to the other settlements. We
found 38 hermits who were dead. Twelve belonged to Thrambe, including
Isaiah and Sabbas who were badly hurt. Isaiah died while Sabbas
lamented that he was not in the company of the saints. But he died four
days later (on the last day of the year).”

They were lamenting his death when an Ishmaelite brought the news that
the fathers who dwelt at Elim (Raithou) had been raided also. Raithou
is described as “a level plain, situated at a distance of about twelve
miles, with mountains to the east like a wall, which those only could
cross who were familiar with the country. To the west was the Red Sea,
which extended to the ocean.” The words correctly describe the district
about Tur.

The settlement here was attacked by the Blemmyes, a nomad race of
Nubia, of whom we now hear in Sinai for the first time. Psoes, a
fugitive hermit, who arrived in the wake of the Ishmaelite, gave
Ammonius particulars regarding the hermits at Raithou, and their
message. He had lived 20 years at Raithou himself, he said; others
had lived there 40, 50, and 60 years. There was Abba Moses of Pharan,
who had the power of exorcising demons, and who had cured Obedianus,
a sheykh of the Ishmaelites, which led to many conversions. There was
also Sabbas, of whom Psoes was a disciple, but the way of living of
Sabbas was so hard that Psoes left him. Again, there was Joseph from
Aila, who built himself a cell with his own hands at a distance of two
miles from the springs.

Forty-three hermits dwelt near Raithou, to which place the news was
brought that the Blemmyes had seized an Egyptian boat which was bound
for Clysma, and were coming across the sea. The men of Raithou at once
collected their camels, their women and children, while the hermits
sought refuge in the church. The barbarians spent the night on the
shore, and then bound the sailors to the boat which they left in charge
of one of themselves, and came across the mountain to the springs where
they were met by the men of Raithou. But the invaders were the more
skilful archers, and killed 140 men, the rest fled. Then they seized
the women and children, and rushed to the tower or church, expecting to
find treasures, and went round it screaming and uttering threats in a
barbarous language while the hermits inside prayed and lamented.

Paul of Petra, who was the superior of the settlement, uttered words
which were full of dignity, and concluded with saying: “O athletes of
God, do not regret this good conflict; let not your souls be faint,
and do nothing unworthy of your cowl, but be clothed with strength and
joy and manliness, that you may endure with a pure heart, and may God
receive you into His kingdom.”

In the meantime the barbarians, encountering no resistance, heaped
tree-trunks against the wall from outside, broke open the door of the
church, and rushed in, sword in hand. They seized Jeremiah, who was
sitting on the door-sill, and commanded him through one who acted as
interpreter, to point out the superior. When he refused, they bound
him hand and foot, and tearing off his clothes, used him for a target.
“He was the first to gain the crown” (of martyrdom). Then the superior
Paul came forward declaring his identity, and they bade him reveal his
treasures. In his usual gentle voice he replied: “Forsooth, children,
I own nothing but this old hair-cloth garment that I am wearing.” And
he held it out, displaying it. But the barbarians hurled stones at him,
shouting: “Out with your treasures,” and, after ill-using him, cleft
his head in twain with a sword.—“Then I, miserable sinner,” continued
Psoes, “seeing the slaughter and the blood and the viscera on the
ground, bethought me of a hiding place. A heap of palm branches lay in
the left-hand corner of the church. Unnoticed by the barbarians, I ran
to it, saying to myself, If they find me, they can but kill me, which
they are sure to do, if I do not hide.”

From his hiding place he saw the barbarians cut down the hermits who
were in church. He saw them seize the youth Sergius, whom they would
have dragged away with them, but he snatched a sword from a barbarian
and hit him across the shoulder, whereupon he was cut down himself.
The barbarians after killing the hermits, searched for treasures not
knowing that the saints own nothing here on earth, their hope being of
the world to come. Finally they rushed off intending to embark. But the
man who was left in charge of the boat, being a Christian, had cut the
rope, so that the boat ran ashore and foundered; he himself escaped to
the mountain. The barbarians, who were at a loss what to do, murdered
the women and children, and then lit a fire and cut down and burnt
nearly all the palm trees of the place.

In the meantime the Ishmaelites from Pharan, some six hundred in
number and all of them expert archers, drew near at dawn and attacked
the barbarians, who, seeing no chance of escape, met them bravely and
perished, to a man. Of the men of Pharan eighty-four were killed,
others were wounded. The hermits were all dead except Andrew, who was
wounded and recovered, Domnus, who died of his wounds, and Psoes, who
was left to tell the tale. The men of Pharan left the dead enemies to
the beasts of the earth and the fowls of the air. They buried their
own dead at the foot of the mountain above the springs, and made a
great wailing. Then, led by the sheykh Obedianus, they brought costly
garments, in which, with the help of Psoes and Andrew they buried the
saints. Psoes himself then left Raithou, which was deserted, for the
Bush, where he begged to be allowed to stay with Doulas, a request
which was readily granted. The account concludes with saying that
Ammonius wrote all this down after his return to Memphis, and the words
are added in one MS., “I, presbyter John, found this account written in
Coptic in the cell of a hermit near Naukratis, and, knowing Coptic, I
translated it into Greek.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The attacks made on the hermits were part of a wider movement. History
relates that Mavia (or Mania), the widow of the phylarch or king of
the Saracens, collected her forces and led them in person against
Palestine and Egypt. The Romans, because they had to do with a woman,
expected to quell the disturbance without difficulty. But the advantage
was on her side, and the expedition was celebrated in song among the
Saracens. Mavia proffered peace to the Romans on condition that Moses,
a converted Saracen, should be consecrated bishop of Pharan, and Moses
went to Alexandria under a military escort. But here a new difficulty
arose. The patriarch Peter II (372-380), the same to whom Ammonius
referred, was still absent. The Arian prelate Lucius (_c._ A.D. 378)
occupied his see, and Moses refused to be ordained by him. The story
was told by Sozomenus († 443), and by Socrates († _c._ 478), both of
whom lived soon after the event.

“I account myself indeed unworthy of the sacred office,” Moses said,
“but if the exigencies of the state require my bearing it, it shall
not be by Lucius laying his hand on me, for it has been filled with
blood.” When Lucius told him that it was his duty to learn from him the
principles of religion and not to utter reproachful language, Moses
replied, “Matters of faith are not now in question: but your infamous
practices against the brethren sufficiently prove that your doctrines
are not Christian. For a Christian is not a striker, reviles not, does
not fight, for it becomes not a servant of God to fight. But your deeds
cry out against you by those who have been sent into exile, who have
been delivered up to the flames. These things which our own eyes have
beheld are far more convincing than what we receive from the report of
another.” As Moses expressed these and like sentiments, his friends
took him to the mountain, that he might receive ordination from the
bishops who lived in exile there. Moses having been consecrated, the
Saracen war was terminated, and so scrupulously did Mavia observe the
peace thus entered into with the Romans that she gave her daughter in
marriage to Victor the commander-in-chief of the Roman army. Such were
the transactions in relation to the Saracens.”[162]

The fame of Moses continued. In the _Itinerary of Willibald_ (_c._ 750)
we read that, after his return from Palestine, he was received by Pope
Hadrian in Rome at a time when St. Boniface was asking for help on his
mission to evangelise the Germans. The Pope, in his desire to persuade
Willibald to undertake the task, referred to Moses the hermit, famous
for innumerable miracles in the desert, “who was torn away from the
solitary life he was leading at the request of Queen Mania to the Roman
emperor, and placed as bishop over the nation of the Saracens, and in a
short time he won to Christ that most fierce nation, and clothed them
in the fleece of lambs.”[163] The name of Moses was inscribed in the
Roman Martyrology on Feb. 27. “In Egypt the feast of Moses, a venerable
bishop, who at first lived a solitary life in the desert, and then,
at the request of Mauvia, queen of the Saracens, being made bishop,
converted that most ferocious nation in great part to the faith, and
made glorious by his merits rested in peace.”[164]

Moses was followed in the see of Pharan by Natyr, a disciple of
Silvanus, who was a strict ascetic.



THE writings of the hermits from the fifth century onwards throw light
on the aspirations and the attitude of mind of these men of the desert,
to whom the interests of ordinary mankind were as nothing.

Foremost among these writings are those of Nilus, a man of learning
who, after occupying a high position at Constantinople, visited the
hermits, with whom he remained. His _Narrationes_ contain valuable
information on heathen sacrifice at the time.[165]

About the year 420 Nilus decided to separate from his wife in order to
visit the “Bush at the foot of the holy mountain on which God conferred
with the people,” taking his youthful son with him. The barbarians,
he tells us, dwelt from Arabia to Egypt, from the Red Sea to the
Jordan, ever ready to draw the sword, hunting wild beasts, attacking
travellers, and making use of their camel-dromedaries for sacrifices
which they devoured with dog-like voracity. They had no regard for God,
but adored the Morning Star (Lucifer, ἄστρον πρωϊνόν), to which they
sacrificed the best product of the chase, or boys of comely appearance,
on an altar of rough stones. Failing these, they took a fattened white
camel without blemish which they made to kneel. They encircled it
three times to the sound of chanting, whereupon the sheykh who acted
as leader, made a thrust at the beast’s neck, and all of them hastily
drank of the blood that gushed forth.

The whole band then fell upon the victim, and each person hacked off
and devoured a piece of the beast’s flesh and skin. It was the rule of
the rite that the whole victim with body, bones, blood and entrails,
was done away with before the rays of the sun appeared above the
horizon (p. 613).

In contrast to this life was that of the hermits who dwelt in huts
and rock shelters within call of one another, removed from the claims
of the tax-gatherer, and emulating Moses and Elijah in their fasting
and humility, some cultivating corn for bread, while others lived on
vegetables and green meat, coming together once a week on a Sunday.
Nilus was among them, having come down from the holy mountain with his
son on a visit to the hermits who dwelt near the Bush. They happened
to be in church, when a barbarian horde swept down on them like a
whirlwind, seized the food which they had stored in their cells against
the winter, and then called to the hermits to come out of church,
to strip and to stand according to age. They cut down the priest
Theodulos, and slew the fathers Paulus and John, and then seized the
young men, bidding the older ones be gone. Many rushed up the mountain,
“which they generally avoid since God stood upon it and conferred with
the people” (p. 631). Nilus stood irresolute, when his son Theodulos,
whom the barbarians had seized, signed to him to be gone. “O why,” he
exclaimed, “did not the ground open and swallow them like the sons of
Korah? Why had the miracles of Sinai ceased, and no thunder rolled, no
lightning flashed to scare them in their wickedness?”

When the barbarians had gone, Nilus helped to bury the dead, and was
presently joined by one of the youths who had been carried off but
escaped. He described how the barbarians erected an altar, collected
wood as a preparation for sacrificing to Lucifer. This he was told by
a fellow captive who understood their language. The youths lay bound
ready for sacrifice, but he escaped by wriggling away on the ground
like a snake. His account filled Nilus with apprehension as to the fate
of his son, but in his misery he was upheld by the courage of a woman
of Pharan, whose son had actually been murdered.

As there had been other outrages, it was decided in the council (βουλή)
at Pharan to lodge a complaint with the phylarch or king of the
barbarians (p. 663). His relation to the Roman empire was apparently
that he must keep the peace and safeguard those who passed through
his territory, in return for which he received a grant (_annonæ_). On
much the same basis, the sheykhs of Sinai under British rule, are
responsible for keeping the peace, in return for which they receive a
grant in money which they must call for in person at Suez.

Envoys were therefore despatched to the phylarch. They carried bows
and arrows, and a stone for striking fire, which would enable them to
live by killing and roasting game, “for there is wood in abundance
that serves as firewood, since no one fells trees in the desert” (p.
663). During their absence Nilus and others went the round of the
neighbouring settlements, where the hermits had been attacked. At
Bethrambe (or Thrambe) they buried Proclus; at Salael[166] they buried
Hypatius; Macarius and Marcus they found dead in the desert; Benjamin
had been slain at Elim; Eusebius was still alive at Tholas; in Adze
they found Elias dead (p. 663).

The envoys on their return brought word that King Ammanus was anxious
to maintain his relations with the empire, and was prepared to make
good the losses which had been incurred. He bade those who had claims
to appear before him. Nilus and others accordingly sallied forth. On
the eighth day Nilus, who was looking for water, actually caught sight
of the encamped Saracens; on the twelfth day of journeying they reached
the end of their journey, (which may have been Petra). Here Nilus heard
that his son was alive and had been sold into slavery at Elusa. On the
way thither, he met a man who had actually seen him, and on going into
the church at Elusa, he found his son Theodulos, who had been made
doorkeeper of the church by the bishop of the place. Theodulos told his
father how he and others lay bound on the ground all night near the
altar with a sword, a bason, a phial and incense beside them. But the
barbarians drank heavily at night and overslept themselves, and the
sun stood above the horizon when they awoke, so the occasion for the
sacrifice was forfeited. They therefore moved on to Souka (perhaps a
village, perhaps market, Arabic _suk_), from where they sold Theodulos
into slavery. Nilus and his son now decided to settle permanently among
the hermits looking forward to a pleasant life. After being ordained by
the bishop of Elusa they returned to Sinai where they apparently ended
their days. Their memory there continues to be kept to this day. Their
bodies were raised together with those of others in the reign of the
emperor Justinus Junior (565-578), and were translated to the Church of
the Holy Apostles at Constantinople.[167]

In the course of the fifth century the dispute regarding the dual
nature of Christ entered a further stage when Nestorius, who had been
under the influence of Theodore of Mopsuestia, and was promoted to
the see of Constantinople, raised objection to the term God-bearer,
Θεοτόκος, as applied to the Virgin. By doing so he raised a storm of
dissent, the veneration of the Virgin being widespread and deep-seated,
partly owing to having been engrafted on an earlier mother-cult.

Pope Celestinus (422-432) called upon Nestorius to recant, but he
refused, and a Church Council therefore met at Ephesus in 431 to
discuss the matter. Among the two hundred bishops who declared against
Nestorius were Hermogenes of Rhinocorura, Abraham of Ostracine,
and Lampetius of Casium.[168] The outcome of the dispute was that
Nestorius, in the year 435, went into perpetual banishment. Hermogenes
of Rhinocorura was praised as a man of moderation and humility, by
Isidorus († 449), a monk and prolific letter-writer of Pelusium.[169]

After the Council at Ephesus, Hermogenes went on a mission to Rome
with Lampetius of Casium, and was succeeded in his bishopric by Zeno,
who was succeeded by Alphius.[170] It was, perhaps, this Alphius who
sided with Lampetius (possibly the bishop of Casium) in the difficulty
regarding the vagrant ascetics called Massaliani or Euchites, men and
women, who gave themselves to prayer and lived by begging, refusing
to work. They were censured at the synod of Ephesus,[171] and their
condemnation henceforth acted as a deterrent to the wanderings of
hermits generally. In consequence of his course of action Alphius
was obliged to resign his see. He was succeeded by Ptolemæus of
Rhinocorura, who acted in concert with Timothy, patriarch of Alexandria.

A further difficulty was created when the Church Council met at
Chalcedon under the auspices of the empress Pulcheria and her husband
Marcian, and in 451 laid down articles as to the nature of Christ which
remain to this day the standard of the Catholic faith. Of the bishops
of the sees in Sinai only Beryllus, bishop of Aila, set his signature
to the declaration.[172] And when Juvenal, bishop of Jerusalem
(451-458), returned to his see and declared his intention of abiding
by the decision, the fanatical monks seized the city, turned him out
and set the Egyptian monk Theodosius in his place. It was in vain that
Juvenal sought to settle the matter by leniency. Theodosius ruled in
Jerusalem during twenty months. When he was finally expelled he fled
to Sinai. The emperor Marcian hereupon addressed a letter to Bishop
Macarius and the monks of Sinai, warning them against Theodosius, who
“went from place to place spreading heresy, and who is now in Mount
Sinai (ἐν τῷ Σινᾷ ὄρει) where there are monasteries which are dear to
you and which have our respect, in which he is working against the true
belief.”[173] The emperor also wrote to Juvenal saying that he had
written about Theodosius and his adherents to “the most worthy bishop
Macarius, to the archimandrite and to the monks,” warning them of his
false arguments, and asking them to eject him and hand him over with
his satellites to the prefect of the province.[174] It is unknown what
became of it.

Other writings of the hermits give an insight into the speculative zeal
and boundless credulity of these devotees to a simple life, to whom
everything surprising appeared in the light of a miracle. Collections
of _Sayings of the Fathers_ (Verba Seniorum), and incidents in their
lives, were a favourite branch of literature at the time. Anastasius
(_c._ 561-614), a monk of Sinai, John Climacus († 609), who dwelt
at Tholas, and then at the convent, and John Moschus († 619), who
habitually dwelt in Jerusalem, but went about visiting, were among
those who collected anecdotes and sayings regarding Sinai.

Pillar saints at this time were attracting attention near Antioch.
There was an older Simeon who died in 460, and a younger Simeon who
died in 596. A monk of Raithou went to Simeon hoping to be relieved
of a demon. But Simeon bade him return to Raithou, and there seek the
assistance of Father Andrew, who had the power of expelling demons.
Andrew spoke to Moschus of his power to do so, which he attributed
to Simeon Stylites.[175] Again, Mena, also of Raithou, deserted his
post and sought the pillar saint, who, aware of his failing, bade
him return, as Abbas Sergius told Moschus (no. 118). There was also
Eusebius who was accosted by a man in monkish garb, who asked to be
admitted into the community. Eusebius bade him utter the word Trinity,
and he vanished (no. 119). Those who dwelt in remote districts often
died unattended. Some fishermen were borne by contrary winds to
Pteleos where they found in a cell the bodies of two hermits, which
they carried to Raithou for burial (no. 120). Again, two hermits
dwelt on an island in the Red Sea, from which they went on shore
for water. They lost their boat, and were found dead on the island,
one of them having set down in writing that his comrade lived for
twenty-eight days without drinking, when he died, while he himself
had lasted thirty-seven days at the time of his writing (no. 121).
There was growing, at this time, a feeling that the devotees to a
simple life should remain stationary. John Cilix, abbot of Raithou,
who wrote comments on some of the chapters of John Climacus’ _Ladder
of Paradise_, praised a monk who continued at Raithou for seventy
years, living on green meat and dates. He had been there himself for
seventy-six years, and he admonished the brethren in words recorded
by Moschus, “not to foul the place which the fathers had cleared of
demons,” and always to remain in residence (no. 115).

The collection of anecdotes of Anastasius, a monk of Sinai, mentions
several hermit settlements which have been located in wadis near
the convent, where ruins of huts and garden walls remain to this
day. According to a tradition preserved at the convent, the monks
in the peninsula at one time were between six and seven thousand in

Among these settlements was Malocha, perhaps situated in the Wadi
Malga, north of Ras Safsaf. This was at one time the home of
Epiphanius, who was so devoted to ascetic practices that he had
the power of seeing demons (no. 21).[177] Malocha at another time
harboured Stephen, whose plantation was ravaged by animals, here called
χορογρύλλοι, _i.e._ porkers, possibly they were hyænas. But Stephen
reared a leopard (probably a panther) from a cub whom he set to guard
his plantation (no. 13). This Stephen originally occupied a cell near
the cave of Elijah, which he left for Sidde, “situated about seventy
miles from the tower,” perhaps in Wadi Sidreh, a lower reach of the
Wadi Umm Agraf. He then returned to his cell where he found his two
disciples and died from exhaustion.[178] His body was conveyed to
the convent, where it was set up at the entrance to the crypt. The
_Perigraphe_ of 1817 stated that “he is still at the convent, not
confined by coffin or sarcophagus, but standing upright with crossed
hands and bowed head.”[179] And there the shrivelled figure wearing
hermit clothing remains standing to the present day.

At Sidde we also hear of a hermit who was walking one day in the desert
and saw a Saracen approaching, whereupon he “transformed himself into
a palm tree.” It was only another hermit, and so he returned to his
natural appearance.

Many stories were told of John the Sabaite who dwelt for a time at
Malocha. He was walking one day across the desert with the imperial
ruler (_archiater_) Demetrios, when they came upon the footmarks of a
dragon. Demetrios proposed that they should fly, but John said they
would pray, whereupon the “dragon,” was carried aloft and was thrown
back to the ground shattered to pieces (_Anast._, no. 14). Another
story told of John the Sabaite shows how the imaginary world was to
these men the greater reality. He was dwelling in “the most distant
desert,” when a fellow monk came to see him, who, in reply to his
question how other monks fared, replied, They are well, thanks to your
prayers. He then asked after a monk who had a bad reputation, and heard
that there was no change in his behaviour. Afterwards he fell asleep
and had a vision of the crucified Christ, and himself kneeling. But
Christ called to His angels and thrust him forth, since he had passed
judgment on a fellow monk, thus anticipating divine judgment. As he was
thrust forth, his cowl caught in the gate and he lost it. He awoke,
but the thought of his cowl lost in his dream, showed him that God had
withdrawn from him, and he wandered in the desert seven years, eating
no bread, sleeping in the open and speaking to no one, until he had
another dream in which the Lord restored his cowl to him (_Anast._, no.

John the Sabaite also dwelt at Arselao (a place not identified), where
he was approached by a female porker (or hyæna) who laid her blind
young at his feet. He mixed his spittle with earth and applied it to
the eyes of the creature which became seeing. On the following day the
mother-beast reappeared dragging an enormous cabbage which she laid at
the feet of the old man. But he smiled, charging her with stealing it
from another man’s garden, and bade her take it back, a command which
she forthwith obeyed (_Anast._, no. 15).

Arselao was the home also for a time of a certain George, who was
fetched to the convent to pray for oil, as the store had given out, and
“the road to Palestine was held by the barbarians.” His prayers brought
oil to the cask, like Elijah’s to the widow’s cruse, and like that of
the cruse, it never failed. The cask was placed under the protection
of the Virgin (_Anast._, no. 9). The need of oil led the monks to
cultivate the olive in their gardens, which they did with considerable
success, olives being among their produce which attracted the attention
of the Arab writers.

At Tholas, which was mentioned in the earlier accounts, John Climacus
dwelt for forty years, at the conclusion of which he became head of the
convent. The Wadi Tla’ah is one of the few valleys which has preserved
its character. Prof. Palmer described it in glowing terms in the
Ordnance Survey.

Another hermitage was at Gonda, situated fifteen miles from the Holy
Bush (_Anast._, no. 31). John the Sabaite was living here with Stephen
of Cappadocia, when Father Martyrios arrived with a youthful disciple,
who was John Climacus. John the Sabaite, having the gift of foresight,
recognised the future superior of the convent in him (_Anast._, no. 6).

This Stephen of Cappadocia told John Moschus that he was once in the
church at Raithou when two men entered, who were without clothes.
No one saw them but himself. He followed them out and begged to be
allowed to accompany them. But they bade him stay where he was, and he
saw them walk away across the Red Sea (_Moschus_, no. 122).

There was also the monk Sisoeis, who dwelt in the hermitage of St.
Anthony between the Red Sea and Egypt, where he was visited by a monk
of Pharan who told him that it was ten months since he had seen a human
being. To which Sisoeis replied that it was eleven months since he had
seen one himself.

The hermit life in Sinai was at its height when the lady Etheria
visited the peninsula, intent on identifying the sites of which she had
read in the Bible. Her eagerness seems to have stirred the imagination
of the monks, and led to decisions as to localities which were accepted
as authentic for centuries to come. The account of Etheria calls for a
few words of comment.

The MS. of her journey was discovered in the library of Arezzo by
Gamurrini in 1883. It was incomplete and its author was not named.
Gamurrini provisionally claimed it for St. Silvia of Aquitaine, and
dated the journey between 378 and 383. But the abbé Férotin[180] has
since pointed out that Valerius (_c._ 650), abbot of a monastery near
Astorga in Spain, wrote a letter “In praise of the blessed Etheria,” in
which he described how this nun “with a bold heart undertook a journey
across the world.” He mentioned details of her journey which establish
beyond a doubt that the writer of the Arezzo account was meant.[181] A
German writer, Karl Meister, on the internal evidence of the account,
hereupon dated the journey between 534 and 539. But he overlooked the
fact that Etheria, in connection with her visit to Seleucia, mentioned
by name her dear friend, the _diaconissa_ Martbana, who is named also
as one of the distinguished women of the place by Basileus, bishop of
Seleucia who died in the year 456.[182] There were convents in the
south of France before the close of the fifth century, as we know from
the rules drafted by Cæsarius, bishop of Arles (501-573); the date of
Etheria may be about 460.

The MS. account discovered at Arezzo was incomplete. But the account,
in its complete form, was apparently in the hands of Peter the Deacon
when he compiled his little book _On the Holy Places_, about the year
1157, for Guidobaldo, abbot of Monte Cassino. In this book Peter cited
passages found in the account that was discovered at Arezzo together
with others which seem to be taken from the part of the work which is
wanting. In the account which follows, the initial passages are quoted
from the book of Peter on the assumption that they were taken from the
account of Etheria.

Etheria and her party entered and left Sinai from Egypt.

“Before you reach the holy Mount Syna, stands the fort Clesma on the
Red Sea which the Israelites passed dryshod. The marks (_vestigia_)
of the chariot of the Pharaoh are visible in the ground to this day.
But the wheels are farther apart than those of the chariots (_currus_)
of our days as they are seen in the Roman empire, for between wheel
and wheel is a space of twenty-four feet or more, and the wheelruts
(_orbitæ_) are two feet wide. These marks of the Pharaoh’s chariot lead
down to the shore where he entered the sea when he wanted to seize the
Israelites. On the spot where the Pharaoh’s wheelruts are visible, two
signs are set up, one on the right, and one on the left, like little
columns (_columella_).[183]

Orosius (_c._ 400) in his _History of the Universe_, also mentioned
the marks of the chariot wheels of the Pharaoh, which were still
visible.[184] Cosmas Indicopleustes about the year 550 referred to
them as “a sign to unbelievers.”[185] The consensus of opinion of
these writers suggests the existence of some feature that attracted
attention. The word _Clysma_ itself signified beach or jetty. Perhaps
the ruts were the marks made by the keels of the boats that were hauled
in, in which case the little columns were perhaps the bollards on which
the ropes were worked.

“Beyond the place of crossing lay the desert Shur and Mara with its
two wells that were sweetened by Moses (probably the Ayun Musa). Three
days’ journey lay Arandara, the place called Helim, where the river, in
places, disappeared in the ground and where there was much herbage and
many palm trees. From the crossing of the Red Sea near Sur there was no
pleasanter place.” The description and the name Arandara point to the
present Wadi Gharandel.

Etheria was bent on seeing all the sites, including the place where
it rained manna, the cells with Hebrew writing, the desert of Pharan
“where there were neither fields nor vineyards but water and palm
trees,” the place Faran, where Amalek opposed the Israelites, the place
where the Israelites called for water, and the place where Jethro met
Moses, his son-in-law, “the spot where Moses prayed while Joshua fought
Amalek, is a high, steep mountain above Pharan, and where Moses prayed
there is now a church” (Petrus, ed. Geyer, p. 118). This was probably
the church mentioned above which was founded by Julian Sabbas.

From Pharan Etheria’s party moved to a place where the mountains opened
themselves out, and found a great valley beyond which appeared “Syna,
the holy Mount of God,” which is united with the place where are the
Graves of Lust (_i.e._ Kibroth Hata-avah). The guards said that it was
customary to offer prayers. “So then we did.” From here to the Mount
of God it was perhaps four miles altogether, the length of the valley
being sixteen miles (c. 31) The plain was presumably the present plain
of Er Raha.

According to Etheria the Israelites waited in this plain when Moses
went up into the Mount of God—there was also the place where the calf
was made—it was the valley at the head of which was the place where
holy Moses was when he fed the flocks of his father-in-law when God
spoke to him from the Burning Bush. But as their route was first to
ascend the Mount of God at the side from which they were approaching
because the ascent was easier, and then to descend to the head of
the valley where the Bush was, thence retracing their steps so as
to see the places mentioned in Scripture, they spent the night at a
certain monastery where kindly monks dwelt and where they were all
well received. There was a church there and a priest (this place has
not been identified). It was the night preceding the Sabbath, and
early on the following morning they made the ascent of the mountains
one by one with the priests and the monks that lived there. “And you
must go straight down each mountain until you arrive at the foot of
the central one, which is strictly called Sinai. And so, Christ our
God commanding us, and encouraged by the prayers of the holy men who
accompanied us, although the labour was great, for I had to ascend on
foot because the ascent could not be made in a chair (_sella_), yet I
did not feel it.” At the fourth hour they reached the peak of Sinai
where the Law was given, the place where the majesty of God descended
on the day when the mountain smoked, and then they found a church,
small because the summit of the mount where it stood was small, but
with a large measure of grace. They were joined by the priest of the
monastery who served the church, for no one permanently lived on the
mountain where was the cave and the church where holy Moses was (c.
33). Passages were read of the book of Moses, the party communicated
and received a present of first fruits (_pomis_) from the monks, and
Etheria asked questions about the various sites, including the cave
where Moses was when he ascended the mountain a second time to receive
the tables and “other sites, both those which we asked to see, and
those about which they themselves knew. But this I would have you know,
ladies, venerable sisters, that the mountains which we had at first
ascended without difficulty, were as hillocks compared with the central
one on which we were standing. And yet they were so enormous that I
thought I had never seen higher, did not this central one overtop them
by so much. Egypt and Palestine, the Red Sea and the Parthenian (_i.e._
Mediterranean) Sea, which leads to Alexandria, also the boundless
territories of the Saracens, we saw below us, hard though it is to
believe; all which things these holy men pointed out to us” (c. 34).
As a matter of fact, the Red Sea is not visible from the Gebel Musa,
but from the Gebel Katrîn. Etheria’s mention of a church on the height,
however, shows it was the Gebel Musa she ascended.

From the Mount of God they descended to the mountain joined to it
called Horeb, where there was a church and where they saw the cave
where Elijah hid and the stone altar (_sic_) which he built. This
description and the later account of Antoninus Martyr (cf. below)
show that at this period Horeb was accounted a different height from
the Mount of the Law. After seeing a great rock with a flat surface
on which stood Aaron and the seventy elders when Moses received the
Law—“and in the middle there is a sort of altar made of stones”—the
party began the descent at about the eighth hour and at the tenth hour
they reached the Bush; “it is alive to this day and puts forth shoots.”
Here there were many cells, a church, and a garden with the Bush,
and the party partook of a light meal in the garden and remained the
night (c. 35). On the next day they explored and saw the following:
the place of the camp of the Israelites,—the place where the calf was
made, “a great stone is fixed in that place to this day,”—the spot
from which Moses watched the Israelites dancing,—the rock on which
the tables were broken,—the dwelling places of the Israelites “of
which the foundations made in circular form remain to this day,”—the
place where the Israelites ran from gate to gate,—also the place
where the calf was burnt, and the stream out of which the Israelites
drank,—the place where the seventy received the spirit of Moses (Num.
xi. 25),—the place where the Israelites lusted (Num. xi. 34),—the
place where the camp took fire (Num. xi. 2), and the place where it
rained manna and quails. The reader is aware that according to the
Biblical account, these latter sites were far removed from the spot
where the Law was given. “Thus having seen all the places which the
sons of Israel visited both going and returning,” Etheria and her party
started back to Pharan, distant thirty-five miles. They then stayed
at a station (_mansio_) in the desert of Pharan; then near the coast,
and then at Clysma (near the present Suez), where they rested, “for we
had stoutly made our way through the soil of the desert.” Etheria had
previously passed through Goshen on her way from Egypt into Sinai; but
she now decided to follow up the places visited by the Israelites. So
she journeyed to Migdol “with its fort and an officer commanding the
soldiery in accordance with Roman discipline,” and passed Epauleum (LXX
for Pihahiroth) on the further side of the water; and another fort
“Balsefon”; also “Othon” (LXX for Etham), Succoth and Pithom. “The
present Pithom is now a fort,” she wrote, and reached Hero, ancient
Heroöpolis. Here the party entered the borders of Egypt leaving behind
the territories of the Saracens (c. 39), and moved on to the city of
Rameses, described as a “come” (_i.e._ κώμη) situated near the present
Tell er Rotab. Finally they reached “the city of Arabia,” and met its
bishop. Probably the ancient Per-Sopd, later Phacusa, the capital
of the nome, is meant. A bishop of Phacusa is mentioned.[186] From
here the road went “from the Thebaid to Pelusium by way of Tathnis,”
probably the Greek Daphne, the Tahpanhes of Jeremiah, following the
course of an arm of the Nile to Pelusium. Etheria had been before on
her way to Alexandria. She now journeyed along the coast “passing
several stations,” and then entered Palestine (_c._ 40).

The detailed account by Etheria and her location of the various holy
sites in Sinai was the first of its kind, and apparently remained the
only one for centuries to come. Before her pilgrimage we only hear
of a church built above the valley of Pharan which commemorated the
struggle between Moses and the Amalekites, while the Bush, Horeb, and
Elim were names of settlements which had been chosen by the monks in
remembrance of Moses and Elijah whom they accepted as their patrons. On
the same basis a monastery or laura near Jerusalem, mentioned as the
abode of John Moschus, was called Pharan. The names which were given to
settlements in Sinai may have caused these places to be looked upon as
those that were actually visited by Moses and Elijah.

The “Bush” was mentioned without further comment by Ammonius (_c._
372) as a settlement. It was described as the “Bush at the foot of the
mountain where God conferred with the people” by Nilus (_c._ 449).
About the same time Etheria (_c._ 450) spoke of “a church in the place
where the Bush is, which Bush is alive to this day,” while Procopius,
the secretary of Justinian, remarked (_c._ 550) in a more cautious
strain, “here it was that Moses was said to have received the Laws
from God and proclaimed them.” It was Etheria who claimed to have seen
during a single day all the places visited by the Israelites including,
in the plain below, Taberah, the place of Burning (Num. xi. 2) and
Kibroth Hata-avah (Num. xi. 34), where the Israelites stayed long after
they left the holy mountain.

The monkish settlement Horeb or Choreb was mentioned also by Ammonius
(_c._ 372), and, judging from his description, it was quite separate
from that of the Bush. As a height, Horeb was also held separate from
the Mountain of the Law both by Etheria and by Antoninus. But Etheria,
and others after her, looked upon Horeb not only as the site to which
Elijah fled after crossing the desert, but as identical with the place
where he set up the great altar at which he confounded the prophets of

Elim, again, was mentioned as a monkish settlement by Ammonius (_c._
372), and his description leaves no doubt that Raithou near the present
Tur on the coast, two days’ journey from the Bush, is meant. This
settlement retained its name, Elim, till recent times. Some of the
mediæval pilgrims looked upon it as the actual Elim of the Bible. Thus
the Ritter von Harff, who visited it in 1497, held that the Israelites
here left the Red Sea, and asserted that bones that lay on the shore
were those of the pursuing Egyptians. But Etheria and Cosmas (_c._ 550)
with a better appreciation of possibilities, located the passage of the
Israelites near Clysma (near the present Suez), and sought Elim of the
Bible, not at Raithou, but at Arandara, the present Wadi Gharandel.



FROM the reign of the emperor Justinian (527-563) dates the
fortification of the hermit settlement known as the Bush, which
was thereby transformed into a convent, and as such, braved the
vicissitudes of many centuries. The fortification was apparently part
of a wider scheme by which the emperor used the peninsula of Sinai as a
bulwark against the invasion from the east. Movements among the Eastern
people were threatening the frontier line of the Roman empire at the
time, and its internal organisation was by no means secure.

The care which was bestowed on the convent itself may have been due to
the favour which the monophysite form of belief found for a time with
Justinian, and more especially with his wife, the empress Theodora (†
548). It was owing to her influence that Anthimus I was raised to the
see of Constantinople, but a synod convened in the year 536 deposed
him. At this synod there were present Paulus II, bishop of Aila,[187]
and Theonas, who described himself as “presbyter of Holy Mount Syna,
and legate of the church of Pharan and the hermitage of Raithou.”[188]
Theonas apparently acted as legate owing to the age and infirmity of
Photius, bishop of Pharan. His appointment shows the close connection
that existed at the time between the three chief hermit settlements
in Sinai proper. The presence of Theonas at Constantinople no doubt
furthered, if it did not originate, the idea of fortifying the convents
of Sinai.

The building activity of Justinian began about the year 535. Procopius,
his secretary, wrote an account of his relations with Sinai and
described the life of the monks as “a careful study of death.” They
therefore sought the solitude that was dear to them. The emperor, he
says, built a church for them which was dedicated to the Theotokos, so
that they might spend their life in continual prayer in the service of
God, not on the summit of the mountain, but below it, for on the summit
thunder and other heavenly phenomena were heard at night, which made it
impossible to spend the night there. Here it was that Moses is said to
have received the Laws of God and proclaimed them. At the foot of the
mountain Justinian built a military station, so that the Saracens might
not unawares attack Palestine.[189]

A later age produced a decree of Justinian dated to 551, which declared
the independence of the foundation. The decree is no doubt a forgery,
but the independent standing of the convent was generally accepted. The
terms of the alliance which secured the safety of the settlement were
first set forth by Said ibn Batrick, otherwise Eutychius, patriarch of
Alexandria (933-40), to whom we owe a full account of the building of
the convent.

“The monks of Sinai,” he wrote, “hearing of the piety of Justinian, and
the delight that he took in building churches and monasteries, went to
him and described how the Ishmaelite Arabs harmed them by plundering
their food stores, invading and emptying their cells, and entering
their churches where they devoured the eucharist. When the emperor
enquired into their wishes, they said: We beg for a monastery in which
we shall be safe. For at that time there was no convent building in
which the monks could congregate. They dwelt scattered in the mountains
and along the valleys near the Bush from which the Lord spoke to Moses,
having only a large tower above the Bush which is standing to this day,
and a church dedicated to the Virgin, where they sought protection when
those approached whom they dreaded. The emperor despatched with them
a legate with full authority to the prefect of Egypt, asking that he
should be supplied with building materials, with men and provisions
in Egypt. He was charged to build a monastery at Kelzem (Clysma), and
a monastery at Raya (Raithou), and one on Mount Sinai, this to be so
fortified that no better could be found.” After building the church
of St. Athanasius at Clysma, and the monastery at Raithou, the legate
came into Sinai, where he found the Bush in a narrow valley with the
tower near it, also bubbling springs and the monks scattered along
the valleys. He intended building the monastery on the summit of the
mountain, leaving the Bush and the tower below, but he altered his plan
because of the lack of water on the mountain, and built the monastery
near the Bush enclosing the tower, and a church on the summit of the
mountain where Moses accepted the Law. The name of the superior was
Doulas. But the change of plan so annoyed the emperor that it cost the
legate his life.

[Illustration: Fig. 16.—View of the Convent. (Petrie: _Researches in

In order to safeguard the building, Roman slaves were brought from
the Black Sea (traditionally from Wallachia), a hundred in number,
and transferred to Sinai with their wives and children, together with
a hundred men with their wives and children from Egypt. Dwellings
were erected for them in Mount Sinai so that they might safeguard the
monastery and the monks; they received their supplies from Egypt. Their
settlement was known as the Deir Abid (_i.e._ monastery of slaves),
and their descendants continued there till the spread of the Moslim
faith. Moreover the Benu Saleh were appointed to act as _ghafirs_ or
protectors to the monks, that is, they were responsible for those
moving to and fro across the desert, in return for which they received
largess in the form of food.[190] The same terms were mentioned by
Makrizi († 1441) in his _History of the Copts_,[191] and by the
_Perigraphe_ in its Arabic translation of the year 1710.[192] According
to this the Benu Saleh, the Saidi and the Halig (Aleyat) were attached
to the service of the convent which, in return, supplied them with food.

The importance which the agreement attached to the Benu Saleh, was in
keeping with the ancient establishment of this tribe in the peninsula,
and their association with rites of religious importance in close
vicinity to Gebel Musa and on Gebel Musa itself. The tomb of Nebi Saleh
lies in the Wadi Sheykh at a distance of a few miles from the convent.
It is the scene of an annual tribal festival which concludes with a
pilgrimage half-way up the Gebel Musa, where a sheep is sacrificed over
a natural hole in the rock. This is looked upon as a footprint of the
holy camel, no doubt originally of the Naga, which was the creation of
Nebi Saleh.

Early references and the nature of the festival leave no doubt as to
its antiquity.

Thus, the writer Antoninus Martyr, who, about the year 530, entered
Sinai from Gaza, journeyed by way of Elath (Elusa), “at the beginning
of the desert that goes to Sinai,” and mentioned a festival that was
about to take place. The people who entered the greater desert were in
number twelve thousand (c. 36). On the eighth day after leaving Gaza,
he reached the place where Moses brought forth water from the rock, and
came to Horeb, which, in his estimation, was distinct from Sinai.

“Mount Syna,” he wrote, “is stony, and there is little earth, and in
its neighbourhood are many cells of men who serve God, the same in
Horeb. And in this part of the mountain the Saracens have an idol of
marble white as snow. A priest (_sacerdos_) of theirs dwells there,
who wears a dalmatica and a linen cloak (_pallium_). And when the
time of their festival comes previous to the appearance of the moon
(_præcurrente lunæ_), before it appears on the festive day, the marble
begins to change its colour, and when they begin to adore it, the
marble is black as pitch. The time of the festival being over, it
returns to its former colour. At this I wondered greatly.”[193]

The rites that are accounted holy in this neighbourhood are associated
with different prophets. Prof. E. H. Palmer († 1882) remarked that
the Bedawyn “often fail to discriminate between Nebi Saleh, Moses and
Mohammad. Thus, the footprint of the camel which was venerated at the
conclusion of the festival of Nebi Saleh, has been incorporated in a
tradition regarding Mohammad, who after death was carried aloft by a
camel of so prodigious a size that it stood with one foot in Damascus,
one in Cairo, one in Mecca, and one in Sinai.”[194]

The monk Antoninus Martyr made a short stay at the convent, and wrote
that “the days of the festival of the Ishmaelites were drawing to a
close, and the order went forth that no one should remain in the desert
through which we had come, so some returned to the Holy City (_i.e._
Jerusalem) through Egypt, others through Arabia” (c. 39).

The work of feeding the Arabs who came to the convent was no mean
undertaking. Anastasius, the monk, wrote that the Armenians more
especially came there,—“it was their custom as it was the custom
of every one.” There were six hundred of them on one occasion, and
a man among them who waited on them and then disappeared. In the
estimation of Anastasius this was “Moses himself, who came to receive
his visitors” (no. 7). The number of pilgrims at this time (_c._ 600)
was less, he remarked, than thirty years before, when as many as eight
hundred came and ascended the holy mountain, where they saw a vision of
God and a miracle, the summit of the mountain appearing enveloped in
fire (no. 38). The appearance of fire on the mountain had previously
been mentioned by Ammonius about the year 372. It may have formed part
of a system of signalling adopted by the Bedawyn.

This confusion between the different prophets is reflected in a
statement in the _Perigraphe_ in the Arabic translation of 1710, which
described Saleh as a Christian who had his tomb not far from the
monastery.[195] This tradition should be compared with one current
in the Middle Ages that Mohammad the Prophet was the disciple of a
Christian monk.

The tomb of Saleh in the Wadi Sheykh was noticed by Bishop Pococke in
1726 (i. 141), and Burckhardt, in 1816, mentioned the celebration held
here which took place in the last week in May (p. 489). This festival
was described in detail by Tischendorf who saw it in 1846,[196] and by
Prof. E. H. Palmer, who witnessed it in June of 1870.[197]

The festival took place at the time when the dates ripened, and lasted
three days. Tribes from all parts of the peninsula, including women and
children, assembled in the Wadi Sheykh near the insignificant-looking
tomb which consisted of a domed chamber cemented over, with an empty
coffin standing inside. Pieces of cloth, ostrich eggs, tassels and
other parts of camel equipment were brought as offerings and suspended
from the roof. The first step in the festivity consisted in renovating
and whitewashing the tomb. In a large tent erected outside forty to
fifty men assembled and sat in a circle, while the first of all the
sheykhs barefoot and wearing the white garment (_Imam_) and a white
turban over his red fez, sat near the fire. A procession headed by the
women encircled the tomb. The young men then brought out fifty to sixty
lambs which were cut on the forehead, and blood was drawn before they
were slaughtered, skinned and cut up. While the food was boiling a
camel race took place, four to six camels racing at a time. Four to six
persons then sat around each lambskin which was spread on the ground,
and on it their share of boiled lambs’ flesh was poured out, which
they ate using their fingers. Besides the flesh there were meal-cakes
(_bilaw_), and water to drink. A dance followed in which men and women
took part, and which was timed to singing and clapping of hands.
Besides this, two women danced figures outside the group. Men and women
remained conversing in couples till late at night. The celebration
struck Tischendorf as dignified. At its conclusion some of the Bedawyn
repaired to the summit of the Gebel Musa, where there stood a small and
highly revered mosque (mentioned as early as 1335), which they entered,
wearing the _Imam_ or white garment. Over the natural hole, called the
footprint of the prophet’s she-camel, they sacrificed a sheep.

A further festivity took place in former days near the summit of
the Gebel Musa which we hear of in the sixteenth century only and
not again. Early writers agree that no hermit or monk ever spent a
night on the summit of the mountain. Nilus (_c._ 400) remarked that
the height was generally avoided “since God conferred there with the
people,” while Etheria and Antoninus Martyr simply noted that no hermit
spent the night there. This fact Procopius (_c._ 550) connected with
“heavenly phenomena.” At a later date the hermit Simeon, for a time,
dwelt “on the summit of Mount Sinai, where the Law was given, a place
deserted because of the restless Arabs.”

This avoidance of the mountain-top at night by the Christians finds
its explanation in the account of Gregor, prior of the Carthusian
house of Gaming, who came into Sinai with Martin Baumgarten and
others in the year 1507. The party decided to spend the night on the
Mount of the Law, where the building that was close to the summit was
the scene of a Saracen festivity of so noisy a character, that the
Christian pilgrims hardly slept all night. It included “a bestial
service in the belief that those who were here conceived were endowed
with a holy and prophetic spirit” (proles enim hic concepta, sancto et
prophetico spiritu plena ab eis æstimatur).[198] The spot chosen seems
to have been a cave between the chapel of Moses and the small mosque.
Similar unions led, from the same belief according to Tobler, to the
desecration at one time of the holy cave at Bethlehem.[199] This cave,
according to a statement of Jerome, was connected with the cult of
Adonis in ancient times. Perhaps the hold which the Saracens had on the
Gebel Musa in early days was another reason why the convent builder
chose the lower site.

No further mention is made of the church of St. Athanasius which the
emperor Justinian had constructed at Clysma. The monastery which he
built or fortified at Raithou frequently served as a refuge to the
monks of the convent in times of stress. Its church was dedicated
to St. John the Baptist, and continued till the period of Turkish
domination when it was destroyed.

The convent of the Bush alone continued. It had an independent
standing, perhaps owing to its being originally merged with the
bishopric of Pharan. The head of the house was chosen from its inmates,
and he called himself bishop. Later he assumed the title of archbishop.
Owing, however, to his peculiar standing he was referred to as
archbishop at a time when he called himself bishop only, as we shall
see later.

The convent at first served as the nucleus of the numerous hermitages
in southern Sinai. Later, as these disappeared, it continued in proud
isolation. In addition to the house at Raithou, it acquired property
and built priories in many outlying districts, and rose to a position
of importance that was in every way exceptional.

The convent retains to this day its original appearance. It is enclosed
by walls built of well-dressed blocks of grey granite forming an
irregular quadrangle, 280 feet at its greatest length, and 250 ft. at
its greatest breadth. The walls enclosed the old tower, a church, and
the convent buildings, with the cells for the monks, a guest-house,
bakeries, stables, and a library. Adjoining these buildings was the
garden, which extended on one side, along the valley about 200 feet,
with several springs of good water, and plantations of fruit trees,
including olive, pomegranate, almond and peach, pear and apple trees.
The produce of these remained famous throughout the Middle Ages.

The church was a basilica in the Byzantine style. It was lighted by
five windows on either side, and the entablature of the nave rested on
round arches which were supported by six pairs of granite columns with
leafy capitals. The roof was of cypress wood covered with lead, and
contained three contemporary inscriptions. One of these commemorated
“our holy king, Justinian the Great;” another was devoted to the
memory of Theodora, who died in 548; the third called a blessing on
the builder, Stephanos and his family. “Lord God, who didst appear on
this spot, save and bless thy slave Stephanos, the builder of this
monastery, from Aila, and Nonna (his wife), and give rest to the souls
of their children, George, Sergius, and Theodora.”[200]

The church was dedicated to the Virgin, as we learn from Eutychius,
whose statement was confirmed by Magister Thietmar in 1217, and by
the Papal Bull of 1226. In the Middle Ages it was sometimes spoken
of as the church of St. Katherine, and later still as the church
of the Transfiguration. The latter name was due to a great mosaic
representation on the apse which is shown by its style to belong to the
seventh or eighth century. The mosaic was first drawn and described
by Laborde and Linant.[201] On this mosaic the youthful Christ was
represented soaring towards heaven, with Elijah on one side pointing to
Him, while Moses on the other side stands with hand upraised. John is
seen kneeling, James also is represented kneeling, Peter is prostrate.
Each figure is named. This scene is framed by thirty medallions, which
represent the Twelve Apostles, Paul, the superior of the convent, who
is not named, and sixteen prophets. Above, to the right, Moses is seen
kneeling before the Bush; to the left, he is represented holding the
Tables. Below, are two angels with extended wings and two further
portraits of which the one shows a bearded man with flowing locks, the
other a woman with close-fitting head-dress. They are sometimes pointed
out as Constantine and Helena, sometimes as Justinian and Theodora, but
their identity remains unknown. Below, stand the words in Greek, “In
the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the whole of this
work was executed for the salvation of those who contributed towards it
by Longinus, most holy priest and superior (τοῦ ὀσιωτάτου πρεσβυτέρον
καὶ ἡγουμένου).”[202] The floor was covered with a mosaic which was
torn up by the Arab treasure seekers in the fifteenth century, but
restored by Bishop Anastasius (1583-1592).

Two crypts inside the convent walls served to house the bones of the
dead. Their corpses were first laid for two or three years on an iron
grating in a cellar; the skull was then transferred to one crypt and
the bones to the other. The bones were sorted and added to the piles of
corresponding bones, so that the femurs, the tibias, etc., lie piled
together. The archbishops’ corpses were, however preserved intact, and,
wearing their robes,[203] were placed in mummy coffins. The use of the
iron grating and the crypts dates back to the earliest days of the
convent, for among the stories collected by Anastasius, one described
how two corpses were laid side by side on the grating, but the one,
disliking the proximity of the other, repeatedly moved, throwing it out
of place, until it was officially adjured not to do so.

The convent included a hostel for the aged and for pilgrims, built by
a certain Isaurus (_quodam Isauro_). It attracted the attention of
Pope Gregory the Great (592-604), who, hearing of it, forwarded to
John Climacus, who was superior at the time, woollen coverings and
bedding for fifteen beds, together with money wherewith to purchase
feather-beds. At the same time he wrote to Father Palladius, to whom
he forwarded a cowl or tunic. The Pope had previously written to John
Climacus, complimenting him on having reached a harbour of safety while
others were tossing on a sea of religious difficulties.[204] He seems
to have made a permanent grant to the convent. A pilgrim of 1341
mentioned that the day of St. Gregory was kept at the convent, since he
had bestowed on it alms out of the treasury of the Church, by which the
number of convent inmates was raised to four hundred.

The interest which Pope Gregory took in the convent was probably
connected with a pilgrimage made by the Roman patrician lady
Rusticiana. In the year 592 she took her daughter, who was ill, to
Sinai in the hope of effecting a cure. The husband of the daughter was
also of the party. They started from Constantinople and returned sooner
than was expected. This we learn from a letter which Rusticiana wrote
to Pope Gregory.[205]

In Sinai the monk Anastasius recorded the visit of a patrician lady who
came with her daughter and wished to consult Father Orontius, “who was
so filled with divine fire that he could hold his hand in the flame,
and burn incense on the palm of his hand.” On one occasion, however, he
lost a finger by burning. But Orontius refused to see the ladies, he
sent them some grapes instead. When the demon who was in the daughter,
saw the grapes, he cried out: Father Orontius, why do you come here?
And he departed out of her (no. 18). It was doubtless the same hermit,
in this case called Orontos, who once came into church with his cowl
all awry. When his attention was drawn to it, he said that all things
being awry in the church, his cowl was in keeping with them. If they
would set things straight there, he would see to his cowl.

A great feature of the convent of Sinai was its library, where
the monks amassed books and manuscripts, and added to the world’s
literature by copying and writing. The place was a polyglot centre.
Antoninus Martyr found three Fathers there who spoke Latin, Greek,
Syriac, Egyptian (Coptic), and Bessam (Persian), and many interpreters
in each language (c. 37). The hermit Simeon, who came into Europe about
the year 1025, spoke Egyptian, Syriac, Arabic, Greek and Roman (_i.e._

The contents of the library, in spite of losses incurred at different
times, are still considerable. Among its most notable treasures was
the _Codex Sinaiticus_, dated to about the year 400, which helped
to revise the text of most of the Greek Old Testament, of the New
Testament, and of some important early Christian works, including
the _Shepherd of Hermas_. Attention was attracted to this _Codex_ by
Tischendorf, who came to the convent in 1844 to inspect the MSS., and
having identified some of its pages, returned in 1853, in 1854, and
in 1859, when he finally acquired it for Petrograd, a facsimile copy
being deposited at the convent. A few leaves are at Leipzig. Another
notable treasure was a Syriac _Codex_ of the Gospels of a very early
date, which was discovered as a palimpsest and photographed by the
sisters, Mrs. Smith-Lewis and Mrs. Gibson, in 1893. Again, there was
the _Evangeliarium Theodosianum_, a collection of passages from the New
Testament written in gold lettering on parchment, which was seen and
described by Burckhardt in 1816, and is dated to about the year 1000.

The Greek MSS. that are in the library were recently examined
and catalogued by Prof. Gardthausen of Oxford. The list contains
1230 entries of MSS. that are all of a religious character. Prof.
Gardthausen noted the names of over two hundred scribes, and other
details which show that some of the MSS. came from Crete, Cairo, and
Cyprus.[206] The Syriac and Palestinian-Syriac MSS. were catalogued
by the ladies Smith-Lewis and Gibson. They are over three hundred
in number. The Christian Arabic MSS. catalogued by the same ladies,
amounted to six hundred and eighty entries.[207]

The importance which was secured to the convent reacted on the standing
of the bishopric of Pharan, the representative of which seems to have
removed to the convent. When Peter, patriarch of Jerusalem, (524-544)
summoned his bishops to a synod in 538, Photius, bishop of Pharan, who
was close upon seventy years of age, was “unable to leave Mount Sinai,”
which suggests that he lived there. Stephen of Cappadocia, mentioned
above, Dulcetius and Zosimus were deputed to represent him. We again
hear of Zosimus as one of three monks of Sinai, whom Apollinaris, the
orthodox or Melkite patriarch of Alexandria (550-568), summoned to
Alexandria. Of these he consecrated Theodor bishop of Leontopolis,
an unnamed monk, bishop of Heliopolis, and Zosimus bishop of Babylon
(Cairo). But Zosimus had no taste for the episcopate, and soon
returned to his cell in Sinai.[208]

Likewise do we hear that Gregorius, who had presided over the monks in
Sinai, was chosen to succeed Anastasius, bishop of the see of Antioch
who was evicted in the year 569. According to information provided by
Evagrius (593), he had there been besieged by the Kenite Arabs.[209]
The country generally seems to have been at the mercy of the Arabs,
which resulted in the abandonment of the hermitages, while it added to
the prestige of the convent.

About this time the convent became the home of a young monk who was
always silent. He was the only surviving son of the emperor Maurice,
and was saved by his nurse when all the other sons were put to death by
Phocas (602-608).[210] When he died his body disappeared. “Perhaps it
was carried by God to the realms of the living,” was the verdict of the
monk Anastasius (no. 29).

The last bishop of Pharan we hear of was Theodor, who proposed the
so-called monothelite modification of the monophysite doctrine, hoping
thereby to secure re-union with the Church. In its interest he went to
Constantinople, where he was honourably entertained by the patriarch
Sergius (610-638), who impressed Pope Honorius (625-638) in Theodor’s
favour. Objection was, however, raised to the new doctrine by the monk
Sophronius, who later became patriarch of Jerusalem (634-638), and
disapproval of it was expressed by the Lateran Synod of 649,[211] and
by the Sixth General Council of Constantinople in 681.

In the Wadi Feiran lie the ruins of a convent and a church of some
importance which were described by the _Ordnance Survey_ (i. 210), and
are without doubt the remains of the episcopal seat of Pharan.



THE collapse of the Roman power in the East prepared the way for the
Moslim conquest of Sinai and Egypt. During the lifetime of Mohammad
changes were effected along peaceful lines. The efforts of the Prophet
were directed, in the first place, against standing abuses and obsolete
customs in Arabia itself. But the strong desire for expansion westwards
among the Arabs drew his attention outside the limits of Arabia proper,
and we hear of his entering into relation with neighbouring centres.
Thus it is said that Tahhieh Ibn Robah of the port of Aila, waited on
the Prophet when he was staying at Tarbuk, and that he received from
him a woollen garment in return for paying a poll-tax. Ibn Ishak cited
by Makrizi († 1441) stated that thus _firmân_ was dated to the ninth
year of the Hegira, _i.e._ 530-531, and assured protection to Tahhieh,
the people of Aila, the bishop and all on land and water. “And the city
did not cease to prosper.”[212]

The garment which Makrizi called a cloak of the Prophet, was
subsequently purchased by the Caliph of the Benu el Abbas. Aila
continued to flourish, and Mukaddisi (_c._ 985) described “Wailah”
as “a populous and beautiful city among many palm trees with fish in
plenty, and the great port of Palestine and emporium of the Hedjaz,”
but the true Aila lies near by it and is now in ruins.[213]

A later age claimed that the convent of Sinai also secured a _firmân_
under the hand of the Prophet. It was alleged that Mohammad, on one
of his journeys with Ali, alighted under the wall of the convent, and
that Ali penned the _firmân_, to which Mohammad, who could not write,
set the mark of his blackened hand. The monks told Burckhardt that
the Ottoman Sultan Selim, after the conquest of Egypt (A.D. 1517),
appropriated it and carried it off to Constantinople, but that a copy
of it remained with the monks. This he was shown, but declared it
to be a forgery.[214] Bishop Pococke also saw another copy of it in
Cairo, which he copied, and of which he published a translation in the
appendix to his book. It claims to have been written in the second
year of the Hegira, and granted protection to the Nazarenes, declaring
that the places where the monks dwelt should be protected; also that
they were exempt from paying the poll-tax, and should receive tithes,
and that the Christians generally should not be called upon to pay a
poll-tax exceeding ten drachmæ.[215]

The followers of the Prophet, after overrunning Syria, attacked Egypt.
They seized Damietta which was governed by Abu Thour, a Christian Arab,
and were opposed by an army of 20,000 men. But Abu Thour was seized,
and the invaders spread into Egypt. The descendants of Abbas, the uncle
of the Prophet, now reigned over large possessions, of which Egypt was
part, from the year 750 to 868. After a break the old line of rulers
returned from 905 to 969.

Under the Moslim system of administration the whole of Sinai was
included in the province Hedjaz, which comprised Tur, Faran, Raya
(_i.e._ Raithou), Kolzoum (_i.e._ Clysma), Aila, Midian, and its
territory, El Oweid, El Hamr (or El Hour), Beda and Shaghb.[216]
The Christians were declared a tolerated sect, but they were sorely
oppressed under Abd-el-Melek ibn Merwan (705-708), and by Qurrah Sherig

During the reign of Abd-el-Melek (705-708) an attack was directed
against the convent of Sinai, where many of the slave population, who
had been settled there by Justinian, were slain, others fled, others
became Moslim,—“whose descendants to this day remain in the monastery
and are called Benu Saleh, being reckoned their descendants,—from them
sprang the Lachmienses.” The monks themselves destroyed the houses of
the slaves, lest anyone should dwell there and they are in ruins at the
present day (_c._ 930).[217]

It is related in an appendix to the stories of Anastasius how the
Christian Saracens, who dwelt near the tower of Pharan and the Holy
Bush, sought refuge in the holy mountain, but could not resist the
numerous invaders, and therefore decided to accept the faith of the
Prophet. One man was about to fly, when his wife begged him to kill her
and the children rather than leave them at the mercy of the barbarians.
He did so, and then fled to Horeb, where, like Elijah, he dwelt with
wild beasts till he felt the approach of death. Then he repaired to
the Holy Bush, where he lay in the guest-house, and where “some of the
monks, still among the living,” saw him and heard him describe the
shining figures which he saw approaching as he lay on the point of
death. “They were, I believe, the angelic bands of the martyrs who came
forth to greet him” (no. 45).

In Egypt itself, the Christians continued to be oppressed. A government
survey, undertaken by the minister of finance, Obeidallah Ben Hab-Hab,
resulted in a poll-tax being levied on them in addition to the usual
land-tax. Again, Osanna ben Said el Tanuchi confiscated the property
of the Christians, branded each monk with a sign on the hand, and he
who had no sign forfeited his hand. Hence the Copts of Egypt to this
day are marked with a cross on the hand. Moreover, every Christian who
had no legitimation papers was mulcted ten dinars. In 737, in 750, and
again in 831 or 852 the Copts of Egypt were in revolt.[218]

In spite of the Arab conquest, Sinai, like Jerusalem and Rome,
continued to stand out as a goal of Christian pilgrimage. According
to the account of a monk of Redon in Brittany, a certain Fromont and
his brother, men of high standing, went there. They had murdered their
uncle, an ecclesiastic, and repented, and went before King Lothair
(855-859). His bishops decreed that the brothers should be chained and
bound together and should do penance by going to Rome, Jerusalem and
Sinai. In Rome they were received by Pope Benedict III (858-888), who
gave them his blessing, and they took boat for Jerusalem, where they
spent several years. From there they went into the Thebaid, where they
fasted with the monks, and they finally reached Sinai, where they spent
three years. Still wearing the chains that bound them together, they
returned by way of Rome to Rennes, where the one brother died. Fromont
then went to Redon, and once more started for Rome. But he returned to
Redon where, his penance being at an end, his chain was taken from him,
and where he died.[219] Bishop Pococke was shown a cell some way up the
Gebel Musa where two brothers dwelt who were chained together.[220] The
brothers from Rennes are probably meant.

Another account which seems to date from the first half of the ninth
century described the Houses of God, and thus described Sinai. “In holy
Mount Sina there are four churches, one where the Lord spoke to Moses
on the summit of the mountain; one dedicated to St. Elijah; another
dedicated to St. Elisæus; and a fourth in the monastery of St. Mary.
The abbot is Elias, who has under him thirty monks. The steps that lead
up and down the mountain are 7700 in number.”[221]

A list of the “archbishops” of Sinai was compiled at the convent in
the seventeenth century, which begins with Marcus, whose date is
given as 869.[222] But the official report of the Fourth Synod held
at Constantinople, in 869-870, contains the signature of Constantine,
bishop of Syna.[223] Another bishop was Jorius, who died and was
enshrined in Bethune in Belgium in the year 1033. A hymn there written
in his honour described him as “bishop of Sinai.”[224] He was probably
travelling for the purpose of collecting alms for his convent.

From the historian Rodolfus Glaber (_c._ 900-1044) we hear that the
dukes of Normandy, more especially Duke William (927-942) and his
successors, were liberal in their gifts to churches and convents, and
that monks from Mount Sinai came every year to Rouen, from where they
departed loaded with gifts (_exenia_) in gold and silver.[225] It was
in connection with these grants that the fame of St. Katherine of
Alexandria spread to Europe in the course of the eleventh century.

The cult of St. Katherine, virgin saint and martyr, is among the
curious developments of legendary history, for her name appears for the
first time about three hundred years after her reputed existence. She
is first named in the _Life of Paulus Junior_ († 956), who was called
a Latro from Mons Latrus, where he dwelt. The account of his life was
written by a contemporary.[226] It describes how three hundred monks
from Sinai and Raithou sought refuge in Mount Latrus in Karia from the
persecutions of the Saracens (C. 8).

The monks continued in close connection with Sinai. Gabriel sang the
Psalms of David as he had done at the Bush, and when a pilgrimage
was undertaken to pray for rain, Gabriel obtained the desired result
(C. 18). The fame of the monks of Sinai as rain-makers was noted by
Robinson and by Prof. Palmer.[227] Paulus himself was devoted to
various saints, among whom was the martyr Aekatherina; the thought of
her filled him with joy, and gave him a special power. One day the
monks were sitting down to a meal in the open air when a rain cloud
came up. Paulus bade them remain seated, and not a drop of rain fell
until they had finished their meal, when it poured.

Direct information on St. Katherine, in this case called Aekatherina,
stands in the _Menology of Basileus_ which is dated between 957-1027.
It stated that the saint dwelt at Alexandria, and was the daughter of
a wealthy king. She was dignified in appearance and learned in Greek
letters, philosophy, and language. After witnessing a festival of the
Greeks, she approached the emperor Maximianus (A.D. 307) and blamed him
for ignoring the living God and adoring lifeless idols. The emperor
summoned fifty learned men to meet her in argument, threatening them
with death if they failed to confound her. But the learned men were
convinced by the lady and accepted baptism, whereupon they were put to
death. Aekatherina was beheaded.[228]

A detailed account of the martyrdom was written by Simeon Metaphrastes
(† _c._ 956), with discussions between the learned men and the lady,
and with further incidents including the conversion of the general,
Porphyrios; the interest which the Augusta took in Katherine; the
fashioning of spiked wheels for torturing the saint, which broke
of their own accord; the flow of milk instead of blood when she was
beheaded, a proof of her virginity; and the taking up of the body of
the saint after death by angels who carried her to Mount Sinai.[229]

On turning to the writers who lived about the time alleged, we find
that Emperor Maximianus, as recorded by Eusebius (_c._ 320), actually
visited Alexandria, where he seized high-born women for adulterous
purposes. Among them was a most distinguished and illustrious lady who
overcame his intemperate and passionate soul. “Honourable on account of
wealth and parentage, she esteemed all things inferior to chastity, and
the emperor, who could not bring himself to put her to death, punished
her with exile and confiscated her property.”[230] Eusebius did not
mention the lady’s name, but the details of his story fit the legend
and may underlie it.

The name Aekatherina (_i.e._ the pure one) was rendered in Latin as
Katherina or Catherina. Her association with Sinai added the cult of a
Christian saint to that of Saleh, Moses and Mohammad. It was chiefly
the veneration of St. Katherine which brought pilgrims to Sinai during
the Middle Ages. According to Giustiniani certain knights, as early
as 1063, banded together in a semi-religious order to guarantee safe
conduct to these pilgrims in Sinai, in the same way as the Knights of
the Holy Sepulchre protected the pilgrims to Jerusalem.[231] The date
mentioned seems rather early and may need revision.

A great impetus was given to the cult of St. Katherine in Europe by the
visit to Rouen of the hermit Simeon about the year 1026. His journey
was described in an account by Eberwein, abbot of St. Martin’s at
Trèves, who knew him,[232] and in the _Translation of the Relics of St.
Katherine to Rouen_, which was written soon after the event.[233]

From these accounts we learn that Simeon was from Constantinople, and
went to Bethlehem and then to Sinai, where he served for several years
in the convent before he became a hermit near the Red Sea. But here he
was so much disturbed by the sailors and others who came for the oil (?
petroleum), that flowed from the rock near his cell, that he removed
first to the summit of Mount Sinai, where the Law was given, a place
deserted because of the restless Arabs, and then to the convent itself.
It was the time of the great famine in Egypt, (probably that of 1017),
but in the convent there was plenty of food for the brethren and for
the Arabs who crowded there with their wives and children.

From the _Chronicle_ of Hugo of Flavigny (_c._ 1096) we learn that it
was customary for the monks at the convent to take turns in ascending
the mountain on the sabbath, in order to celebrate mass at the shrine
of St. Katherine and collect the oil that flowed from the bones.[234]
This shows that the body of the saint at this time lay enshrined on
a mountain which was probably the Gebel Musa itself. For an ancient
prayer contains the words “Lord, who didst give the Law to Moses on
the summit of Mount Sinai, and who, on the same spot, didst deposit,
through thy holy angels, the body of the blessed Katherine, virgin
and martyr.”[235] At a later date we hear of bodies of saints lying
enshrined in the small church that stood on the summit of the Gebel
Musa. The fact that oil flowed from the bones is told of many saints.
Contrary to the usually accepted belief, the scientific explanation is
probably as follows. The body lay in a coffin of cedar wood or other
wood that is naturally charged with oil. If the heat generated in the
coffin is great, it would cause the oil to ooze and collect on the
bones or any other cold substance, forming into drops.

The monk Simeon was serving his turn at the shrine, and drawing off the
oil that had collected into a glass phial, when three small (finger)
bones of the saint came loose and were carried down with it. Simeon
took charge of them as a priceless treasure. As an envoy was needed
to go to Normandy to collect the usual alms, he started, carrying
the relics with him. He travelled by way of Egypt, but the Italian
galley in which he sailed was seized by pirates. He escaped by jumping
overboard and eventually reached Antioch, where he fell in with a band
of pilgrims, with whom he journeyed to Normandy by way of Belgrad and
Rome. In the meantime, Duke Richard III, duke of Normandy (993-1026),
had died, but an abbey was in course of construction near Rouen, and
Simeon deposited the relics with the abbot Isambert before he left for
Verdun and for Trèves. The relics worked wonders. Isambert suffered
from toothache and was divinely directed to the oil which brought him
relief. Other miraculous cures followed. And the Abbey of the Trinity
near Rouen gained such renown that it came to be known as the Abbey of
St. Katherine.[236]


  [_Photo: Exclusive News Agency._

Fig. 17.—Chapel on Gebel Musa.]

A wave of enthusiasm for St. Katherine now swept across Europe. Her
name was inscribed on the local Norman Kalendar,[237] her story was
written and re-written in Latin and in the vernacular, in prose and in
verse. A Latin version was the work of Amandus, a pupil of Isambert of
Trèves, and a semi-Saxon version was written during the reign of Henry
II. An early French version of about 1200 was perhaps the work of a
nun. There were a host of others, many of which are in MS. and await
tabulation.[238] All accounts conclude with the translation of the body
to Sinai; the earlier ones dwell on the oil, a cure for all ills. And
the story was not only read. In 1119 Geoffroy of Gorham came from Paris
to Dunstable and wrote a _Ludus de Katerina_, which was performed by
his scholars, on which occasion the clothes that had been borrowed,
took fire and were burnt.

Churches and chapels were now built and placed under the protection of
the saint. In 1148 Queen Matilda founded the hospital and church of
St. Katherine near the Tower which continued till 1825, when it was
destroyed to make room for the docks. In 1229 King Louis of France
built a church of St. Katherine in Paris, which had been vowed by his
knights at the Battle of Bouvines. First the University of Paris, and
then the University of Padua, accepted St. Katherine as its patron
saint, and in the year 1307 the Doge Pietro Gradenigo founded the
_Festa dei Dotti_ in Venice, in honour of her. The numerous incidents
in her story supplied pictorial art with a new cycle of subjects. The
scene of the martyrdom and translation to Sinai were first represented
on small pictures of a great panel painted by Margaritone d’Arezzo
(1216-93), which is now in the National Gallery.

In Sinai itself the importance of St. Katherine was more tardily
recognised. We look in vain for mention of her in the account of the
_Anonymous Pilgrim_ of the eleventh century, and in the booklet _On the
Holy Places_, which Fretellus, archdeacon of Antioch, wrote for the
Count of Toulouse about the year 1130. It is not till the year 1216,
when Magister Thietmar visited Sinai that we hear of the exhibition to
a pilgrim of the relics which had now been translated from the height
of the mountain to the convent church.



VARIOUS circumstances combined to raise the convent of Sinai to great
prosperity during the early Middle Ages. On the one side it received
regular contributions in money from Europe; on the other it attracted
the attention of the pilgrims owing to the increasing fame of St.
Katherine. Further it secured the direct protection of the Moslim
rulers of Egypt owing to a development in trade.

When the Arabs conquered Egypt, the desire arose for a direct
communication by water to Arabia, and the fresh-water canal which
connected the Nile with the Red Sea was cleared. Corn was now shipped
on the Nile for Djar, the port of Medina, where goods coming from India
and China were disembarked and re-shipped for Egypt. But owing to a
dispute between the ruler of Egypt and his uncle at Medina, in the year
775, the port of Djar was closed to the Egyptians. The ships bearing
Eastern goods for Egypt for a time landed at Roman Clysma, near Suez,
which secured a new lease of life as Arabic Kolzoum. But Kolzoum like
Arsinoë, silted up, while Suez as a port was not yet in being. On the
west coast of the peninsula of Sinai lay Raithou, near which a landing
stage offered the advantages of a natural harbour. Ships therefore
landed near Raithou, called Raya by the Arabs, where the goods were
transferred to camel-back for conveyance to Cairo and Alexandria.

The monks of the convent of Sinai were in direct connection with the
monks at Raithou, who owned large palm groves, and doubtless controlled
the landing stage. For the place which here grew up came to be known as
Tur, an Arabic word signifying height, which was first applied to the
convent of Sinai. Mukaddisi (_c._ 985) mentioned Tur Sina and noted
that the Christians had a convent there, and some well-cultivated
fields, and olive trees of great excellence.[239] The Christians called
it Porta Santa Katerina or simply Santa Katerina (1383). The use of Tur
as a port brought the Sultan of Egypt into relation with the monks, and
acted as a safeguard to the convent.

In 1010 the Saracens bore down on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
at Jerusalem and destroyed it. They then moved on to Sinai with the
intention of destroying the convent also, but they were warned off by
seeing the mountain aglow with fire. The chronicler, Ademar, stated
that when the report of the proposed attack reached the Sultan, he and
his Saracens repented.[240] An attack on the port of Aila may have
caused a further deviation of trade to Tur. Makrizi († 1441) recorded
that Aila was pillaged by Abd Allah ben Edirs ben Dgofair, governor of
El Korah, with the help of the Benu el Garrah.[241] This put a stop
to the transit of goods via Aila to Damascus, and the Eastern goods
for Syria as well as those for Egypt were now disembarked at Tur.
This change is reflected in the fact that Tur, sometime between 1020
and 1050 took the place of Kolzoum as a customs station, although it
remained for some time so poor a place that the appointment there was
considered equal to a disgrace.

The rule of the Moslim until now had brought endless burdens and
oppression to the Christians in Egypt. The churches had been robbed,
the convents had been mulcted and their inmates had been disgraced
by the emir who acted for the Sultan. But a change now took place.
Bononius, a Benedictine monk from Bologne, came to Cairo in 1025,
having obtained an interview with the Sultan to request that the
Christian prisoners should be set at liberty. Bononius also visited
Sinai and Jerusalem.[242] In 1045 the patriarch who had hitherto dwelt
at Alexandria, removed to Cairo, and we now hear, in the sparse annals
of the convent, of direct relations between the monks and the Sultan.

In the year 1069 John the Athenian, bishop of Sinai, was killed during
his stay in Egypt under circumstances that are not recorded. He was
canonised at the convent. In the year 1103 the bishop Zacharias was
mentioned in a _firmân_ (εἰς ἕνα ὁρισμόν) of Emir Elmoumne, a term
explained as _imperator fidelium_; perhaps it was Amir Abu Mansur
(1101-1130). The next bishop, George, was also recognised by the Sultan
in 1133. His successor at the convent named Gabriel, who was mentioned
in 1146, was learned in Arabic, and wrote sermons as is shown by an
Arabic book in the convent. He was in touch with the Sultan “Kaim
Impnes Rhaila,” who was perhaps Zafir Abu el Mansur Ismael (1149-1151).
The next prelate was John, whose date is fixed at 1164 by an Arabic
letter which he addressed to the monks at Raithou. The next bishop was

[Illustration: Fig. 18.—El Arish. (_Times History of the War._)]

Of the religious life of the cities along the Mediterranean coast
little is known at this period. The last bishop of Ostracine known by
name was Abraham, of the year 431. At Rhinocorura called El Arish by
the Moslim, later bishops were Ptolemæus and Gregorius. Lequien made
the mistake of identifying Rhinocorura with Farma, and mentioned the
Jacobite prelates of Farma as prelates of Rhinocorura. Farma, famous
for its palm groves, was near the ruins of the ancient Pelusium.
El Arish continued an important city under Moslim rule, but its
architectural features were not respected. Abu Saleh, the Armenian, who
wrote an account of the churches and monasteries of Egypt about the
year 1071, mentioned El Arish or Rhinocorura. “In this region there
are two large churches which have stood from ancient times and are now
in ruins, but their walls remain up to our time; and the wall of the
city which ran along the side of the Salt Sea, is still existing. It is
said that of all the marble and columns which are to be found at Misr
(_i.e._ Cairo) the greater part and the largest specimens came from El
Arish.”[244] (Fig. 18.)

The connection of the monks and the Sultan attracted the attention
of Arab writers to the convent. Edrizi (_c._ 1153), Ibn Zobeir (_c_.
1183), mentioned its existence in general terms. Benjamin of Tudela,
the Jewish rabbi who acted for a time as vizier to Adid († 1171), the
last of the Fatimite rulers, held that it was occupied by Syrian monks,
who were subject to the Sultan. He also remarked that at the foot of
the mountain lay Tur Sina, a large town, the inhabitants of which spoke
the language of the Targum (_i.e._ Syriac). It was close to a small
mountain and five days’ journey from Egypt.[245]

The trade via Tur naturally brought the monks into contact with the
Further East. Fretellus of Antioch (_c._ 1130) declared that the monks
of Sinai, “from the confines of Ethiopia to the utmost bounds of the
Persians, were venerated in every tongue, possessing their property
freely and quietly among themselves. They had cells throughout Egypt
and Persia, around the Red Sea and Arabia, from which all they required
flowed most liberally.”[246] In addition to this, grants were made to
them by the Crusaders in the lands which they conquered.

The Pope, from the first, had favoured the Crusades as a means of
extending the influence of Latin Christianity. When Jerusalem was
conquered in 1099, the Greek patriarch happened to be absent. He
was passed over and a Latin patriarch was appointed in his stead.
The authority of this prelate was extended with the advance of the
Crusaders. Godfrey was proclaimed king of Jerusalem in 1099. He was
succeeded by Baldwin, who, in 1115, made an expedition to “Mount Oreb,
commonly called Orel,” _i.e._ Mount Hor near Petra, the present Gebel
Haroun. “Starting from here, Baldwin overcame the desert places and
vast solitudes by conveying a quantity of food on mules, and reached
Aila, which he found deserted, and of which he took possession.
Here he heard of the monks, who dwelt in Sinai, and served God, and
he desired to go to them across the mountain in order to pray. But
he was prevented by a message from the monks who feared that their
Moslim master might be annoyed by the king’s visit, so he gave up
the idea.”[247] He turned back, and on his way to Syria he conquered
Petra, near which he erected the fortress of Monreale. He then moved
along the shores of the Mediterranean as far as Farma, where he died in
1117. According to Makrizi he burnt down the mosque and perished in its
flames. Roger of Sicily in 1155 completed the work of destruction by a
descent on Farma, which he set on fire and pillaged.

When Baldwin, disappointed of his visit to Sinai, seized Petra,
this became a Latin bishopric, and the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem
eventually had under him four bishops, of Tyre, Cæsarea, Nazareth,
and Petra.[248] The name of the Latin bishop of Petra is not
preserved.[249] According to Jacques of Vitry († 1244) the bishop
of Petra had one suffragan, _i.e._ “the bishop of Sinai, superior
to the convent of St. Katherine the Virgin, and the monks of that
convent.”[250] In Sinai itself no record of a Latin prelate was
preserved. But irregularities in the succession suggest that the Latin
bishop of Sinai was Simeon, who advocated the cause of the monks with
the Pope.

On the other side of the peninsula, the appropriation of Aila by the
Crusaders called for interference. Saladdin, in 1170, had a fleet
built, with which he sailed around the peninsula, and attacked and
retook Aila. But the enterprising Renaud de Chatillon (the Alaïris of
Makrizi) collected material for ships on the Dead Sea, conveyed them to
the Gulf of Akaba on camel-back, and seized Aila from where he pillaged
the coast, and made piratical descents on the shipping for over a year.
The small island, Iotabe, later Emrag, the present Zigiret el Faraun,
lies at a short distance from Aila. It has no harbour, but is almost
entirely built over by a castle with squared towers in the mediæval
style. The work was probably begun in Roman times, but was added to by
Renaud de Chatillon. But in 1184 Melek el Adel (Abu Bakr, 1199-1218),
the brother of Saladdin (1171-1193), came with a fleet to Aila and
attacked and finally routed the Franks. Advancing across the country he
re-conquered Petra, which henceforth remained under Moslim rule.

In the meantime the monks were profiting by the good graces of
neighbouring prelates. In 1203 the archbishop of Crete, described as
“a lover of St. Katherine, the Virgin,” bestowed on the monks of Sinai
property in Crete which represented an annual income of four hundred
ducats,[251] whereupon Simeon, bishop of Sinai went into Crete, where
he built a priory (μετόχιον). In 1204 the Venetians acquired the whole
island of Crete by purchase from Boniface, marquis of Montferrat, and
Simeon went to Venice where losses incurred by the monks, were made
good to him.[252] A letter is extant of the Doge Pietro Ziani of 1211,
in which he confirmed the ruler of Mount Sinai in the possessions which
he held in Crete. It describes the ruler as “archbishop,” which seems
to be the earliest use of this title. Crete remained in the power of
the city of Venice till 1645, and letters are extant from successive
doges which confirm the rights held by the monks in the island.[253]

From Venice Simeon probably went to Rome, where a general synod was
convened by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) in 1211. Its purpose was to
discuss the state of the Holy Land, “where the son of the bondswoman
(_i.e._ Hagar), the most detestable Agarenes, hold our Mother of
all the faithful in bondage.”[254] A sermon in Arabic, written by
Simeon, “bishop of Sinai,” is among the MSS. of the Vatican.[255] In
the _Regesta_ of Pope Honorius III (1216-27) we come across repeated
mention of Simeon, bishop of Sinai. A grant of 1217 gave the protection
of St. Peter to the Monastery of the Virgin at the foot of the mountain
and to its possessions; another confirmed the bishop of Sinai and his
chapter in those possessions which they held at the time of the great
synod (of 1211) or had acquired since; others advised the bishop of
Crete to respect the monks and hold them exempt from paying tithes
on the property which they held in Crete.[256] In the year 1226 Pope
Honorius granted a bull to Simeon and the monks of Sinai, “of the order
of St. Basil.” It is difficult to procure the text; its wording was
probably much the same as that of a bull granted in confirmation of
it by Pope Gregory IX (1221-41), of which a copy was preserved at the
convent. This bull enumerated the possessions which the convent held in
those countries over which the Pope claimed authority by virtue of the
conquests made by the Crusaders.


  [_Photo: Exclusive News Agency._

Fig. 19.—Zigiret el Faraun.]

The bull[257] first named Roboe, Fucra, Luach, places that have not
been identified. Mention was then made of Rayton (_i.e._ Raithou),
with its palm groves and property; of houses and property near the
city of Egypt (_i.e._ Cairo); land on the Red Sea; property and palm
groves in Faran; rights (_obedientia_) in the church of St. Michael in
Alexandria, and liberty of transit by land and water; vineyards and
olive groves in the valley of Moses (_i.e._ near Petra); in Monreale,
houses, a mill, vineyards and olive groves; property in Croce (not
identified); in Jerusalem, rights in the church of St. Michael, houses
and a bakehouse; in Jaffa, houses and land; near Acre, houses and
the church of St. Katherine; in Laodichea (near the sources of the
Orontes), the hospital of St. Demetrios and a house; in Damascus,
the church of St. George, houses and property; at Odaverosa (not
identified), houses, land and vineyards; near Antioch, a house and a
bakehouse; near Constantinople, rights in the church of St. George of
Mangana; in Crete, extensive property, including several churches with
land pertaining thereto, several mills, vineyards, etc.; in the island
of Cyprus, houses, vineyards, woods, rights of pasture and of trading.

Simeon, who secured the Papal recognition to these rights, was bishop
of Sinai from 1203 to 1253, according to Gregoriades. But the list of
bishops which was compiled at the convent by Nectarius named Euthymius
in 1223; Macarius (I) in 1224; Germanus in 1228; Theodosius in 1239;
and Macarius (II) in 1248, who was named also in an ancient Arabic
MS.[258] In the year 1258 the ruler was again Simeon. Some writers hold
that this was the same Simeon who went to Europe, and possibly he was
the suffragan of the Catholic bishop of Petra. The statements regarding
him are difficult to reconcile. According to Gregoriades, the monks of
Sinai, owing to the liberality of the Crusaders, owned property also in
Tripoli and Gaza, and the produce of these places and that of Damascus
was so plentiful as almost to supply their entire needs.

In the year 1216 a truce was concluded between the Sultan of Egypt and
the Christians, which restored freedom of movement to the pilgrims.
Magister Thietmar,[259] who was in the Holy Land, availed himself of
it “to carry out his fervent wish to visit the body of the blessed
St. Katherine which exuded the sacred oil” (c. 8). In order to do so
with impunity he adopted the appearance of a Georgian monk (c. 28),
and journeyed by way of Mount Abarim, where Moses died, Mount Neb,
Mount Phasga (Pisgah) and Mount Phagor in the land of the Moabites and
Midian. By way of Roba he reached Crach and Petra, in Gallic Monreal,
in Saracenic Scobach, where there was a great fortress that belonged
to the Sultan of Babylon, and where Christians and Saracens dwelt in
the suburbs. Here a Gallic widow gave him advice and provided him with
food, and the Boidiwinos (Bedawyn) undertook to take him to Mount Sinai
along a road that was known to none but themselves and to bring him
back dead or alive. Leaving Kadesh Barnea on the right, he crossed the
desert of Pharan, and reached the Red Sea and a fort (Aila), where
captive Franks, English and Latins lived on fishing (c. 17). Three days
later he reached Mount Sinai, “which the Saracens called Tur Sin.” He
was much impressed by the church of the Virgin which was resplendent
with marble, and roofed with lead, and contained many hanging lamps.
The monks were Greeks and Syrians, and their food included fish which
was brought from the Red Sea and many things from Babylon (Cairo). The
original Bush of Moses being no longer in existence, a golden bush
(_aureus rubus_), hung with golden images of the Lord and of Moses, had
taken its place. Small stones, engraved with a bush, were cut or dug up
(_effodiantur_) which served against all infirmities. When the Sultan
(probably Melek el Adel, 1199-1218) came there, he took off his shoes
before entering the chapel (c. 20).

In the convent church stood the tomb of St. Katherine, a small chest of
white marble. The bishop, hearing of the arrival of Thietmar and his
wish to see the relics, approached the chest with prayer and incense,
and had the cover removed. Thietmar saw the relics of St. Katherine and
kissed her bared head. The limbs still hung together and were steeped
in oil, which “exuded from the bones, not from the sarcophagus, like
drops of sweat.”

“When I inquired about her translation from the mountain to the
church,” wrote Thietmar, “I was told that a certain hermit who dwelt
in another part of Mount Sinai from that on which the body of St.
Katherine was laid by the angels, frequently saw, by day and by
night, a light of great brightness in or near the place where the
body lay. Wondering what it was, he went to the church at the foot
of the mountain, and described the sight that he saw and the place
where he saw it. The monks, after fasting, ascended the mountain,
in a procession that was led by him. When they found the body, they
greatly wondered whose it was, whence it had come, and how it was taken
there. As they stood there wondering, an aged hermit from Alexandria
declared, like Habakkuk the prophet who spoke to Daniel, that the body
had been brought to Sinai by the grace of God, and he assured those who
doubted, that it was the body of the blessed Katherine, and had been
carried there by angels. At his instigation, the bishop and the monks
translated the body to the church because the place where it lay was
quite inaccessible (c. 19).

Thietmar then asked to be taken to the height on Mount Sinai, where
Moses received the Law, and on his way thither he saw the chapel
where the Virgin met the monks who, on account of the lack of food,
and the verminous condition of the convent, were about to leave,
but she bade them turn back (c. 22). He also saw the spot where the
Virgin promised the monks a plentiful supply of oil for their lamps;
likewise the chapel of Elijah on Horeb; the imprint on the rock of
the body of Moses; and the place where the body of St. Katherine was
laid by the angels (c. 23). Before leaving the convent he received
some of the precious oil (c. 27). His home and the place to which he
went are unknown. An account of the Moslim faith which he added to his
narrative, reflects a liberal spirit, and, taken together with his
Latinity, indicates a man of learning and understanding.

The call of Pope Innocent III, in 1211, stirred up anew the spirit
of the Crusaders, but efforts were now directed, in the first place,
against the Sultan in Egypt. Damietta, which lay on the Tanitic mouth
of the Nile, where the Moslim had a fort, was the scene of many
struggles. From January, 1218, to November, 1219, it was occupied by
the Franks. In the meantime, the emperor Frederick invaded Palestine
on his own account, and in 1229 secured a truce by which the Christian
pilgrims were once more enabled to travel to Jerusalem. The advantages
which he received were forfeited, however, owing to quarrels among
the Christians themselves. The Sultan marched on Gaza in 1244,
and attacked Jerusalem, which was finally lost to the Christians.
It was in vain that the French king Louis IX, in 1249, occupied
Damietta and pillaged Ostracine, which altogether disappeared. But
Louis was taken prisoner and the restoration of Damietta was part of
his ransom. Changes among the Moslim rulers hurried on events. The
Mongols, pressing in from the East, overthrew the Caliph of Baghdad
and destroyed the Syrian kingdom. A descendant of the true Prophet
was established on the throne of Egypt as a nominal ruler, while
the general, Bibars († 1277), with the title of Sultan, extended
his authority over the greater part of Arabia and Syria. Bibars
successfully led the campaign against the Crusaders. Antioch fell in
1268, Tripoli in 1289, Acre in 1291. By these losses the spirit of the
Crusaders was broken.

Of the bishops of Sinai during this period, little is known. In
succession to Simeon (I or II), John III ruled from 1265 to 1290, and
was followed by Arsinius, who was a book lover. Several books in Greek
which are now in the convent library were written at his instigation,
and one of them was owned by him.[260] The next bishop was Simeon (II
or III), who ruled from 1306 to 1324, and was followed by Dorotheus
(1324-1333), who secured a _firmân_ from the Sultan,[261] and a bull
from Pope John XXII, who was at Avignon at the time. In this bull,
dated 1328, the pope called upon Hugh, king of Cyprus, to respect the
rights which former kings of Cyprus had granted to the monks of Sinai.
He also recognised their right of burial in the church of St. Simeon at
Famagusta in Cyprus, and granted one year’s indulgence to pilgrims who
visited the shrine of St. Katherine in Mount Sinai.

It was presumably Bishop Dorotheus who received Duke Henry II of
Brunswick in Sinai in 1330, who came bearing a letter from the Greek
emperor to his “dear relatives,” the Greek prelates. According to the
German record, the “archbishop of Sinai” received the duke in person,
and bestowed on him, among other relics, a thorn from the crown of
Christ, which he had himself received from the king of France to whom
he was sent as envoy. Duke Henry received also oil, and perhaps a bone,
from the shrine of St. Katherine, which, together with the thorn, he
deposited in the church of the monastery of Walkenried after his return
to Germany.[262]

The ruler in succession to Dorotheus was Germanus III, and he was
followed by Marcus who is named in an Arabic MS., and went to Rome in
1376 to collect alms for his convent. It was probably owing to his
influence that a bull had been granted to the monks by Pope Innocent VI
in 1360.[263]

Later bishops included Job, whose name appears in an inscription in
the convent church, and the following, who were named in a Arabic MS.
without record of their date: Athanasius (I); Sabbas; Abraham; Gabriel
(II); Michael; Silvanus; Cyrillus. Mention is also made of one Solomon,
whose name is not otherwise recorded.



A KEEN interest in the Near East was aroused in Europe by the Crusades.
At their conclusion travellers of every kind, more especially pilgrims
and merchants, started for Palestine and Sinai, eager to visit the
holy places, and to see some of the marvels of which the Crusaders
had brought back accounts to their homes. The movement was for a time
hindered by the difficulties which were raised by the Sultan, who
suspected a further alliance between the “Franks” and the Tartars. But
the princes of Europe interfered on behalf of the pilgrims, and Sultan
Melik el Nasir, who ruled with some interruptions from 1293 to 1341,
was a man of wider outlook, who entered into diplomatic relations with
the Pope, the king of Aragon, and the king of France. He did his utmost
to protect the pilgrims. Crowds of them now started for the Holy Land,
a certain number extending their voyage to the shrine of St. Katherine
in Sinai, a visit to which formed part of the so-called Long Pilgrimage.

The flow of pilgrims was naturally influenced by the social and
political events of the day. Of those who took the Long Pilgrimage,
six,[264] between the years 1331 and 1346, wrote an account of their
journey, and made mention of Sinai. After this there was a break, no
doubt attributable to the Black Death which swept across Europe in
1348-49, and to the war which Peter, king of Cyprus, waged on Egypt,
which led to the sack of Alexandria in 1365. Towards the close of
the century pilgrims again became numerous, and six further accounts
between the years 1384 and 1397 describe a visit to St. Katherine.[265]
Again, during the first half of the fifteenth century visitors to St.
Katherine were relatively few, whereas large parties of pilgrims sought
the convent between 1460 and 1497, several members of the same party
sometimes writing a description of their journey.

The pilgrims, for the most part, sailed from a port in Italy, more
especially from Genoa or Venice, in galleys, which were timed to meet
the caravans which brought the produce of the East to Alexandria
and Jaffa. From Alexandria they went to Babylon (Cairo), where they
procured a _firmân_ from the Sultan which established their peaceful
intentions in the eyes of the Bedawyn (Baldensel, p. 343; Frescobaldo,
1384, p. 99, etc.). Or they went to Jaffa and Jerusalem where those
who wished to extend their pilgrimage to Sinai proceeded on mule-back
to Gaza, where camels were chartered for crossing the desert. Travel
was facilitated at the time by the permanent foothold which the
Franciscans, following in the wake of St. Francis himself (1226), had
secured at Jerusalem and at Gaza, and by the establishment, in various
cities, of consuls whose chief duty it was to befriend and protect the
pilgrims. The cities of Florence, Venice, Genoa, and the Catalans each
had a consul in Alexandria in 1384 (Frescobaldo, p. 72). Venice had a
consul in Jaffa in 1413, and one in Jerusalem in 1415.[266] There was
a house or hostel set apart for the use of pilgrims in Cairo in 1384
(Sigoli, p. 16), where food was given to poor pilgrims who were on
their way to St. Katherine (Martone, p. 596).

Among the earlier accounts was that of the friar Antoninus of Cremona,
who set out from Cairo to Sinai with seven Latin pilgrims in 1331,
going on to Jerusalem by way of Gaza. The wish to visit the shrine of
St. Katherine was aroused in him by paintings, representing her story,
which were a gift to his city by a merchant of Piacenza (p. 170).
Again, there was the Italian notary, Jacopo of Verona, who, after a
stay in the Holy Land in 1335, proceeded to Gaza, which he left on
August 28, arriving at the convent on September 10. Jacopo mentioned as
stopping places between Gaza and the convent, Nocale (Kala’at en Nakhl)
“in our language called Phurfur” (? bran), and Colebmaleo. At Nocale
at the Fountain of the Sultan (_Puteus Soldani_) he met over twelve
thousand pilgrims with six thousand camels, who were on their way back
from Mecca, and who moved in bands according to the countries to which
they belonged, an arrangement which greatly impressed Jacopo (p. 228).
At the _Puteus Soldani_ the Seigneur d’Anglure who was on his way
from Gaza to the convent in October of 1395, met ten thousand Moslim
pilgrims (p. 45).

Another pilgrim, Wilhelm de Baldensel, in the summer of 1336, rode on
horseback from Cairo to the convent in ten days, much to the surprise
of the monks. From here he went on to Jerusalem (p. 344). Again, Ludolf
of Sudheim, during the thirteen years which he spent travelling in the
East visited the convent some time between 1336 and 1341, and Sir John
Maundeville was there some time in the course of his twenty-five years
of travel. These pilgrims, like Thietmar, in 1216 found the relics of
St. Katherine enshrined in a marble chest or sarcophagus which stood in
the convent church, and were allowed to see them after they had been
the usual round of the sights (Ludolf, p. 840).

The relics of St. Katherine consisted of the head and some of the
limbs. Jacopo stated that, besides these, the monks had bones stored
away in another chest or _arca_ (p. 230). Maundeville writes he saw
“the head of St. Katherine rolled in a bleeding cloth, and many other
holy and venerable relics, which I looked at carefully and often with
unworthy eyes” (p. 60). Wilhelm de Baldensel first noted a silver scoop
or spoon which was used for taking up the drops of oil which exuded
“not from the sarcophagus, but from the bones” (p. 344), and which was
given in small glass phials to the pilgrims (Jacopo, p. 230). This use
of a scoop shows that the oil flowed less plentifully than at the time
when the chest that contained the bones stood on the height, where it
was “drawn off” by Simeon.

The view was now held that the body of the saint was originally laid
by the angels, “not on the Mount of the Law, but on the Mount of St.
Katherine,” as we learn from Antoninus. Here the impress made by the
body on the stone was shown, which induced the pilgrims to make the
ascent of the Gebel Katrîn. The impress of the body was seen also by
Rudolf von Fraymansperg, who visited Sinai in 1346 (p. 359), by Simone
Sigoli in 1384 (p. 84), and by others. According to different accounts,
the body lay exposed on the height two or three or four or five hundred
years before it was brought to the convent.

Other legends are related by the pilgrims. Antoninus stated that
about a hundred “ravens” were fed every day at the convent kitchen in
memory of Elijah, who was fed by ravens (p. 167). Sir John Maundeville
improved on this statement by relating that “all ravens, choughs and
crows of the district flew once a year in pilgrimage to the convent
bearing a branch of bay or olive” (p. 59). In connection with these
legends, both the story of Elijah, and the “ravens” that flocked to the
convent, it is well to bear in mind that the words for raven and Arab
sound alike in Arabic.

Many hanging lamps were now kept burning in the convent church, the
number of which Jacopo estimated as three hundred. Sir John held that
they indicated the presence of as many monks, and he added that when
the prelate of the abbey died, his lamp went out and lit again of its
own accord, if his successor were worthy (p. 60).

On the Mount of the Law stood the small church which at one time
contained the relics of St. Katherine, and which continued to contain
bodies of saints as late as 1384. Near it was the cavern in which Moses
stood when the Lord passed (Sigoli, p. 82; Maundeville, p. 62). Beyond
it was the small mosque which the Saracens sought in pilgrimage, and
which to Antoninus was “an idol of abomination” (p. 168).

[Illustration: Fig. 20.—Sketch of convent surroundings about 1335.]

The relative position of these buildings and sites is shown on the
topographical sketch made by Jacopo, which is here reproduced (Fig.
20). On it we note the convent church with its tower, and we are told
that inside the convent walls there “stood likewise a mosque with a
tower of its own, from which the _cazes_, or priest of the Saracens,
proclaimed the Mohammedan faith, a proceeding to which the _kalogeri_
or monks could raise no objection, since they were under the dominion
of the Sultan who would have it so” (_c._ 1335, p. 321). This mosque
of the _maladetta fede_ was noticed also by the party of distinguished
Italians who came to Sinai from Cairo in 1384. These included Leonardo
dei Niccoli Frescobaldo from Florence, Simone Sigoli from Venice, and a
certain Giorgio di Messer Gucci di Dino, each of whom was attended by
his serving man.

The sketch of Jacopo further shows the path leading up from the convent
to the Mount of the Law “where the law was given to Moses,” with the
chapel “where the Blessed Mary appeared;” the church of St. Elijah; and
the mosque of the Saracens. There is also a garden with a fountain, and
a zigzag path leading up to a higher mountain where “lay the body of
the Blessed Katherine.” From the summit of this mountain Jacopo saw the
Red Sea, and watched the ships that carried pepper, ginger, cinnamon,
and other spicery from India. He also went the two days’ journey to
Tur, which he called Elim, where he bathed in the Red Sea. Here he saw
the place where the Israelites came out of the water, and remains of
the Pharaoh, apparently bones, lying on the sea shore. In the belief
that this was Elim of the Bible, he noticed that there were here, not
seventy palm trees as stated, but ten thousand date palms, the produce
of which the monks sold at a high price at Cairo (p. 237). From an
Arabic source we hear that special attention was given to Tur in the
year 1378, by Salah ed Din Ibn Gourram, grand vizier of Egypt.[267]

The number of pilgrims from Europe who visited Sinai is difficult to
estimate. The guide who was engaged to conduct the Italians from Cairo
to the convent in 1384, had taken pilgrims along this route seventy-six
times (Sigoli, p. 15). The knights who wished to be enrolled as Knights
of the Order of St. Katherine, hung up their arms in the convent church
(Tafur: “_dexe mis armis_”), and received a badge which showed a broken
wheel that was pierced by a sword. Some pilgrims noted the names and
scutcheons of earlier ones, which, together with coats of arms, were
scratched on the wall spaces.

The zeal of the pilgrims was responsible for further developments in
the story of St. Katherine. Ludolf of Sudheim in 1341 sought the spot
outside Alexandria where the saint was beheaded (p. 827); the Italians
of 1384 identified the prison in which she was confined, the columns
on which were placed the spiked wheels that broke of their own accord,
and her dwelling place “where now stands the palace of the lamelech,”
_i.e._ the emir of the Sultan (Sigoli, p. 90; Frescobaldo, p. 82).
The columns which were of red porphyry were noticed also by Thomas of
Swynburne, an Englishman and mayor of Bordeaux at the time, who paid
a hurried visit to Egypt and Sinai in 1392, of which his companion,
Briggs, wrote a short account.

And more than this. The oldest account of Katherine claimed for her
royal descent. The _Speculum_ of Vincent of Beauvais (_c._ 1190-1264)
gave her father’s name as Costus. Another line of tradition called
him Constantius and made him into a king of Cyprus, where the monks
of Sinai had possessions in the year 1216. A chapel dedicated to St.
Katherine situated near “Salamina” or Constantia in Cyprus, was visited
by Ludolf in 1341 (p. 826). In the year 1394 Niccolo de Martone, the
Italian notary from Carniola, whose desire “to reach the dominion
of the blessed Virgin in Sinai” took him to the East, went from
Famagusta in Cyprus to Constantia, which in his estimation was built
by Constantius, the father of St. Katherine. Here he saw the palace
and the chamber, “now in ruins,” where St. Katherine dwelt, and near
it her chapel, which many persons sought in pilgrimage (p. 632). From
Famagusta he visited an island to which St. Katherine went at the
suggestion of her mother, in order to consult a hermit regarding her
marriage. His advice was that she should wed Christ, and in the night
an angel appeared, who gave her a ring (p. 633). This is the first we
hear of the mystic marriage of St. Katherine, which henceforth formed
an incident in her legend and was further developed. The _History of
St. Katherine_, which was written by the Augustinian monk Capgrave
about the year 1430, described how a hermit named Adrian was sent to
Alexandria by the Queen of Heaven. He took the maid into the desert
where Christ appeared to her in a dream and gave her a ring.[268] This
incident does not appear in the story of St. Katherine as told in the
_Legenda Aurea_ of Jacopo of Voragine, which was written about the
year 1255. But the English version of the _Golden Legend_, which was
printed by the Caxton Press about the year 1483, described the gift of
an actual ring, further developing the story. For according to this
account Costus, king of Cyprus and the father of the saint, was the
son of Constantius, king of Armenia, whose second wife was Helena,
the daughter of King Cole of Britain, and the mother of the emperor
Constantine. Thus St. Katherine was linked up with the kings of Britain
on the one side, and with the emperors of Rome on the other!

In the convent of Sinai no attention was given to these developments,
and the _Life of St. Katherine_ that was read in the convent confined
itself to the facts related by Simeon Metaphrastes.

The convent reached the high-water mark of its prosperity during
the fourteenth century. It drew a large income from its outlying
possessions, it received gifts from the Sultan and from the pilgrims,
it levied tribute on the goods that were unshipped at Tur. The basis of
this arrangement is not directly stated, but the writer Piloti, about
the year 1440, declared that the tax levied on the goods at Tur was 10
per cent. of their value,[269] and the Ritter von Harff, about the year
1497, held that the monks went shares with the Sultan in the profit
made on the goods.[270]

The Italians who visited the convent in 1384 found two hundred monks in
residence, of whom one hundred and fifty served the convent chapels,
and fifty the chapels on the Mount of the Law. There were besides a
very large number of Moslim, who dwelt inside the convent precincts
(Frescobaldo, p. 121).

Food was cooked in the convent kitchen every day for four hundred
persons, in huge cauldrons that came from Venice, and were conveyed
across the desert on camel-back (Frescobaldo, p. 167). Largess was
distributed daily to a thousand Arabs of the desert (_Ibid._, p. 121).
In the year 1393 the monks and their dependents were two hundred and
eighty in number, and two loaves were given daily to each pilgrim and
to every Arab and mariner, of whom large crowds applied for food at the
convent (Martone, p. 608).

Some of the pilgrims supply information on the Saracens or Bedawyn,
who all through showed an independent spirit. During the whole of
the Mameluk dynasty (1250-1517), they were complete masters of Suez.
Wilhelm de Baldensel, calling them Ridelbim, stated that they lived
on their camels and goats, neither sowing nor reaping, and eating
such bread as they procured in Syria and Egypt. They were brown,
fleet-footed, and carried a shield and a spear, rode on camels, wrapped
themselves in linen, and acknowledged the authority of the Sultan,
who, however, gave them presents since they could easily expel him and
occupy Syria and Egypt (p. 345). Antoninus in 1331 also remarked that
the Arabs had no fear of the Sultan (p. 165), and Ludolf held that the
Sultan lavished on them gifts and flattery, since they could easily
subjugate his territory (p. 89).

The attitude of these Bedawyn in matters of religion was perplexing to
the Europeans, who began with looking upon Mohammad the Prophet as the
incarnation of all wickedness, and then realised that his followers
had a standard of dignity and hospitality which were by no means
despicable. Ludolf, in 1341, noted that the Saracens did homage to St.
Katherine (p. 66), and Frescobaldo remarked that the Saracens held the
mountains of Sinai in veneration. “And be it known,” he continued,
“that the Saracens reverence the Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist, St.
Katherine, and all the patriarchs of the Old Testament and hold that
Christ was the great prophet previous to Mohammad; also that Christ was
not born of the flesh, but that the Divine Father, through the lips of
an angel, sent the Divine Word, and that in many ways they approximate
our faith” (pp. 91, 101).

An English poem of about the year 1425 is extant, which describes the
chief sites of pilgrimage at the time. They included the shrine of St.
James of Compostella in Spain, the city of Rome, Jerusalem, and Mount
Sinai. The poem is about 1500 lines long, of which about thirty deal
with Mount Sinai, and are as follows (the spelling is modernised):

  In that mount up high
  Is a minster of our Lady:
  The minster of the Bush, men call it,
  Wherein the body of St. Katherine was put.
  Also behind the high altar
  Is where Jesus did appear
  In that church to Moses,
  When he kept Jethro of Midian’s sheep truly.
  In the midst of that hill is a place
  Where did penance the prophet Elijah;
  On the height of that hill, by Clerk’s saws,
  God gave to Moses both the Laws
  Written in tables, without miss.
  Plenary remission then it is.
  A garden there is at no distance
  Where Onorius (_i.e._ Onophrius) did his penance.
  Another hill also is there,
  To which angels did bear
  The blessed body of St. Katherine,
  She was a holy virgin.
  Under that hill trust thou me,
  There runneth the Red Sea.
  At each of these places, that I told,
  Is VII years, and VII “lentonez,”[271] be thou bold.
  Thus from Sinai would I skip
  And tell of the pilgrimage of Egypt; etc.[272]



THE war of retaliation, which the Sultan waged against the king of
Cyprus, interrupted the flow of pilgrims to the East in the first
half of the fifteenth century. Moreover, the sultans, more especially
Bursbai (1423-38), began to squeeze the Christian merchants. Their
grievances raised the ire of Emmanuel Piloti, a native of Crete, who
spent twenty-five years in Egypt and Syria, and acquired considerable
insight into affairs generally. He was moved to compose a missive which
he addressed to Pope Eugenius IV (1431-47). In this he spoke of the
achievements of the Crusaders, insisting that Mohammad had called for
toleration of the Christians, a call that was disregarded by Sultan
Bursbai, who oppressed them grievously. The resources of the Sultan
were enormous. He ruled from Mecca to India, and had full control of
the spicery that was unshipped at “Torre, as the port of St. Katherine
is now called.” He levied 10 per cent. on the value of these goods, not
once, but several times over, as they passed through his dominions.
Why, asked Piloti, did not the head of all Christendom arise in defence
of the Christians, sally forth like the Crusaders, conquer Cairo, and
supplant the Sultanate? In doing so, he would have the support of the
Arabs of the desert.

The Church of Rome, however, was bent on propaganda along more peaceful
lines. After the Crusades the Franciscans, starting from Jerusalem,
penetrated into Tartary and China. The plan was now formed of securing
a foothold in Sinai as a stepping-stone on the way to India. With this
end in view Pope Calixtus III (1455-58) addressed a letter to the
Franciscans urging that they should secure further sites, including one
on Mount Sinai (“concedimus ut nova loca etiam in Monte Sina capere
possitis”).[273] The direct steps that were taken are not known, but in
the course of the fifteenth century we hear of Franciscans, popularly
known as Cassis, moving to and fro between Gaza where they had a house,
and the convent, where at first a room and later a chapel was reserved
for the celebration of a Roman Catholic service.

The desire to penetrate to India and beyond was very general. Thus,
Pero Tafur, a Castilian nobleman, arrived at the convent in the year
1435 on his way to Tur, where he hoped to embark for India. But at Tur
he met Niccolo da Conti, for many years a resident in India, who was
on his way to Cairo, where he intended to lodge a complaint with the
Sultan (Bursbai), because of the indignities to which he was exposed.
His account made Pero Tafur give up the thought of his journey.

Tafur found only about fifty to sixty monks at the convent, which had
fallen on evil days. The Turk was advancing. In the year 1453 he took
possession of Constantinople. As he advanced on Sinai, he laid a heavy
hand on the convent, from which he claimed an annual tribute of three
hundred ducats. Jacob, the patriarch of Jerusalem († 1482), hereupon
despatched a monk of Sinai to the princes of Europe, with a letter
asking for help. This monk, besides the letter, carried with him some
valuable relics, including a tooth of St. Katherine.[274] His appeal
met with a ready response. King Louis XI of France (1463-83) made an
annual grant to the convent of two thousand ducats,[275] which was
still paid by King Charles VIII in 1497 (Harff, p. 122). Queen Isabella
of Spain (1481-1504) gave five hundred ducats a year, a sum which was
still paid by King Phillip in 1558.[276] The emperor Maximilian I
(1493-1517) and the king of Hungary gave money (Fabri, ii. 623).

Unrest, however, now spread to the Bedawyn. A German pilgrim named
Leman in the year 1472 sailed from Beirut to Alexandria in the largest
galley of the time, which carried two hundred and sixty Christians
and nine hundred Moslim. He was bent on going to the convent, but was
prevented from entering Sinai owing to the hostile attitude of the
Bedawyn.[277] However, matters again improved, and the pilgrims and
the accounts of voyages multiplied. The most notable accounts which
describe a visit to the convent are enumerated below.[278]

Among these pilgrims the Flemish knight Anselm Adornes and his party
were advised by the monk of Sinai who acted as their guide from Egypt,
to adopt the appearance of monks in order to travel with safety. They
reached the convent where there were about forty monks in residence,
who told them that the Arabs frequently invaded the convent (p. 162).
On one of their raids they entered the sanctuary and broke open the
marble chest which contained the relics of St. Katherine but, instead
of the expected treasures, they found a few bones (Gregor, p. 504).

Towards the close of the century the accounts of pilgrims show that
these now came in large parties. In 1479 the Nürnberg patricians Hans
Tucher and Sebald Rieter, went to Gaza where they entered into an
agreement with a dragoman that was set down in writing to convey them
to the convent or Cairo. This agreement is worded exactly in the same
way as these agreements are worded at the present day. They travelled
with seven Franciscan friars, and on their arrival at the convent
Latin mass was celebrated (Tucher, p. 365). Again, in 1483 two parties
of Germans, numbering twenty persons in all, visited Palestine and
Syria. They included Bernhard von Breydenbach († 1493), of the Chapter
of Mayence, who came east with the artist Rewich of Utrecht, whose
drawings served to illustrate his patron’s account of his journey.
The other party included Felix Fabri, who acted as chaplain to the
young Count Solms. Fabri became a friar in 1452 “out of love of St.
Katherine, his spouse.” On the arrival at the convent of their party
mass was also celebrated in the chapel set apart for Latin use (Fabri,
ii. 547).

Another pilgrim was Jan van Aerts of Malines, who sailed from Venice
for the East in 1484, with a party of twenty Franciscan friars
travelling with a Portuguese whom Jan referred to as the _grand
facteur_. It was customary at the time for each visitor to deposit two
ducats in the chest of St. Katherine. In addition to this, the grand
facteur gave a thousand ducats to the monks. From the convent he and
his party proceeded to Tur, where they took boat for India. But at the
port of Medina they were forced to turn back owing to the enmity of the
Arabs. The desire to penetrate to the far East was increasing. Mynher
Joos van Ghistelles visited the convent in 1485, and went on to Tur,
where he met the Venetian Bonajuto del Pan (Albani) and the Milanese
Benedetto da Navara, who were on their way to Ormuz on the Persian
Gulf, in order to visit the coral and pearl fisheries (Joos, p. 227).
In 1487 the two Portuguese, Pedro da Cavillan and Alfonso da Paiva,
came from Cairo to Tur, from where they sailed for Aden, Alfonso on his
way to Ethiopia, the lesser India, in search of Prester John; Pedro
on his way to the coast of Malabar, in order to see the spice-growing
districts and to collect information on Madagascar and Calicut, which
he laid before his king.[279] In 1489 Joannes de Hese passed through
the convent and Tur on his way to India. The Ritter von Harff went from
the convent with a letter of introduction to the monks at the convent
of St. John in Tur, where he left for Mecca and Madagascar, returning
to Egypt by way of the Mountains of the Moon and the course of the
Nile. Von Harff illustrated the account of his journeys with many cuts,
of which the one here reproduced shows the knight before St. Katherine
(Fig. 21). These various writings supply information on the cost and
routes of travel at the time. According to the English _Information for
Pilgrims_ of about 1450, the cost of going from Venice to the Holy
Land and back was 50 ducats.[280] One party of pilgrims of 1483 paid 42
ducats each on the understanding that they were allowed full time to
see the Holy Places, and received two meals a day; the other party paid
45 ducats each, their meals including wine. The party of twenty persons
in 1484 paid a thousand ducats, _i.e._ 50 ducats for each person. Half
the money was paid at Venice before starting, the other half on arrival
at Jaffa. A certain Zülnhart fell ill at Venice after paying his 25
ducats, and as he was unable to sail, his money was forfeited.[281]

[Illustration: Fig. 21.—Ritter von Harff before St. Katherine.]

From Jaffa the pilgrims visited Jerusalem, where he had the option
of returning home _via_ Jaffa or going on to Sinai and Cairo. If he
decided on this course he was allowed ten ducats on his return fare,
and was provided by the Franciscans with an escort to Gaza. The charge
for the round was twenty-three ducats, half of which was paid at
Jerusalem, the other at Gaza. An agreement was drawn up in writing by
the dragoman, the wording of which is much the same as the one that is
drawn up at the present day. In the course of the fifteenth century Noe
Bianchi, a Franciscan, wrote a guide book called _The Way from Venice
to the Holy Sepulchre and Mount Sinai_, which contained practical
advice for pilgrims. It estimated the cost of going the round from
Venice to Jerusalem, Gaza, the convent, Cairo and back to Venice at two
hundred ducats, _i.e._ one hundred for general expenses, fifty to serve
in case of sickness, fifty for the sea-voyage. The pilgrim was advised
to carry a mattress (_strapontino_), a barrel for water, a barrel
for wine, and he was warned against discussing matters of faith with

The chief danger which threatened the pilgrims was sickness. Many died
on the way. The Italians in 1384, between Cairo and the convent, met
nine Frenchmen; eleven out of their party of twenty had died on the
way. In 1483 there was so much sickness in Gaza that many pilgrims gave
up the thought of going to the convent; and the young Count Solms died
on the way back (Fabri, ii. 446). There were other dangers. Arnold
von Harff in 1497 saw the effect of a sandstorm which had cut off a
caravan; the corpses of six hundred camels and of fifty men, mauled
and rotting, strewed the roadside (p. 120). The pilgrims were often in
dread of the Bedawyn, who swooped down on them clamouring for food,
and calling for the payment of dues for crossing their territory. The
shortage of food at the time was aggravated, no doubt, by the curtailed
largess at the convent. The pilgrims of 1483 carried three times as
much bread as they needed for themselves in order to meet all possible

The routes followed by the pilgrims were the ordinary caravan routes,
subject to some variation. Thus the pilgrims of 1479, mindful of the
raiding of a caravan by some Catalans between Gaza and Tur, left Gaza
by “a route that had not been followed for twenty years;” they went
by “Rappa” (Rafa), “Makati Nockra” (low-lying ground), where there
were many gazelles and entered the “Wadi el Arish” (Rieter, p. 91).
The pilgrims of 1483, after leaving “Gaza,” stopped at “Lebhem,” where
there was a mosque, crossed a sandy plain to “Chawatha,” “called Cades
by the Latins,” where it rained, and where there were large cisterns
in ruins (Fabri, ii. 494), Ain Kadeis of the present day. Here they
entered the “Wadi Gayan” (“Gyon” of Joos, p. 147), the present Wadi
el Jain, and stopped in the “Wadi Wadalar,” the scene of the Catalan
outrage (Fabri, ii. 502; Breydenbach, p. 187), with the “Wadi Magdabee”
or “Mahgaby” and the “Gebel Hallel,” the present Gebel Hellal. They
then camped near “Magara,” a name signifying holes, where Fabri,
setting out from the camp, ascended a hill on which he found piles
of stones and fluttering rags which he thought were intended to work
magic, so he tore them down and set up a cross, but he well-nigh
missed his way going back to the tents. The next stopping place was
“Hachsene,” an important watering station, where the party of the
year met many Arabs, and where the pilgrims stored water for three
days. This was doubtless the present Bir Hassana, for they were moving
over white ground (noted as white chalk mounds on the modern map)
to “Minshene” (Fabri, ii. 515), modern Minshera, where they entered
the “Wadi el Arish,” camping at “El Harock” or “Barak” (Fabri, ii.
510), the “Wadi Torcko” or “Borricko” of the travellers of 1479 (p.
697). Here they must have been near Nakhl. After passing the white
mountain “Chalep” or “Calpio” (perhaps the Colebmaleo of Jacopo), they
reached the white “Wadi Meshmar” (Mesmar of Joos), where silver and
gold had been worked in the mines as was shown by the smelting. The
name corresponds to modern Gebel Megmar. Following the “Hallicub,”
where the water was bad, they crossed the wilderness “Elphogaya,”
and then entered the red sandstone district of “Rackani” (or “Rochi”
or “Roachyne”), where they encamped in an exposed situation. On the
following day they descended along the steepest gorge Fabri had
ever seen, the modern Naghb el Racki. At its foot they camped in
_Ramathaym_, _i.e._ bushes, and saw a star at night which, they were
told, stood above the convent of St. Katherine. Later stopping places
were “Scholie” or “Schoyle,” “Abelharock,” and “Magara” (or “Mackera”
or “Mackasea”), where the road branched off to Tur.

The pilgrims of 1479 and 1483 noted the place where Moses pastured his
flocks near “Wackya,” probably the present El Watiyeh, which is still
associated both with Nebi Saleh and with Moses.[282] On the twelfth day
after leaving Gaza, the pilgrims arrived at the convent.

Here they were taken the usual round of the churches and chapels, and
ascended the Mountain of the Law, access to which was now forbidden to
the Jews. They repaired to the convent of the Arbaïn from which they
made the ascent of Gebel Katrîn. They saw the stone in the shape of a
Golden Calf, about which Fabri had his doubts (ii. 594); the stone on
which the Tables were broken; the convent of St. John Climacus; the
convent of SS. Cosmas and Damianus, with its well-kept garden; the
spot where Dathan and Abiram disappeared (ii. 590); the boulder with
twelve channels of water, one for each of the twelve tribes. Finally,
they were shown the relics of St. Katherine, lying in their chest,
into which they dropped two ducats each, and were allowed to touch
the relics with trinkets they had brought for this purpose (ii. 600).
The flow of sacred oil had ceased. There was none available in 1483;
in 1489 it was collected at the rate of three drops a week (Joannes
de Hese, p. 181). This is the last we hear of it. Pilgrims received,
instead, a piece of cotton wool or of silk which was taken out of
the chest of St. Katherine, and steeped in the oil of the lamps. The
cessation of oil was attributed to the desecration of the shrine by the

From the convent some of the pilgrims went on to Cairo by way of “El
Phat,” and the white hills of “Lacrara,” where they joined the caravan
road coming from Tur. Further stations along the road were “Enaspo”
(Wadi Nasb), “Horenden” or “Dorenden” (Wadi Gharandel), “Werdachii”
(Werdan), and “Marath” or “Merach,” perhaps the old Mara, and the
present Ayun Musa. These stopping-places are the same as those chosen
by pilgrims and travellers at the present day.



THE size of the caravans that plied between Sinai and Egypt were a
source of wonder to the mediæval pilgrim. This development of trade
received a check in the sixteenth century, through the discovery of
the sea-route to India by the Portuguese. Prince Henry of Portugal (†
1460) brought the west coast of Africa within reach of his country.
In the year 1487 Bartholomew Diaz sailed from Portugal to the Cape of
Good Hope, which Vasco da Gama doubled ten years later, sailing on to
Calicut. Every year a fleet now left Lisbon for India, where spicery
was shipped direct for Portugal.

This trade detracted from the resources of the Sultan, and spelt ruin
to the seaports of Italy. In 1503 the Sultan addressed a letter to the
Pope in which he threatened destruction to the Holy Places, including
the Holy Sepulchre and the convent of Sinai, if the Portuguese were
not interfered with. But King Manuel of Portugal induced the Pope to
ignore the letter, and, on his side, offered spicery free of duty to
the Venetians, if they fetched it at Lisbon, instead of Alexandria.
But the Venetians, averse to the change, persuaded the Sultan to
set up a direct communication by boat between Suez and India, and a
tower was accordingly built to fortify Suez. Tur was passed over; its
days as a port on the way to India were drawing to a close, for the
Portuguese were determined to monopolise the trade with India. They
seized a boat coming from Egypt with the 24,000 ducats it contained.
They fitted out a war fleet (1504) which enforced their superior claims
in India, and attacked all other shipping. In 1509 they entered the
Red Sea with their war fleet, and interfered with the pilgrims to
Mecca. It was in vain that the Venetians, whose annual turn-over at
Alexandria fell from 600,000 to 100,000 ducats in 1511, pleaded with
the Sultan to diminish the tax on Eastern goods, so as to enable them
to compete with the Portuguese. The Sultanate was at the mercy of
short-sighted and intriguing emirs, and was weakening. The conquering
Ottoman Turk was steadily gaining ground. There had been rejoicing at
Cairo when Constantinople, in 1453, fell to the power of Islam, but
the struggle for supremacy soon afterwards began between the Egyptian
and the Ottoman Sultanate. In 1516 the Ottoman Sultan Selim († 1520)
occupied Damascus, and in the following year he advanced along the road
of El Arish with wheeled transport. After defeating the Mameluks at
Radunieh in 1517, he led his disciplined janissaries into Cairo, where
he appropriated the sacred banner of Islam and the relics, which he
removed to Constantinople.

In the meantime the shipping languished even at Suez. Odoardo Barbosa,
who was sent to Egypt to report on matters of navigation to the
merchants of Italy in 1516, mentioned Suez as the station for spicery,
but added that the traffic had almost ceased.[283] Certainly the
Ottoman Sultan, roused to the needs of the hour, made the attempt
to facilitate the transit of Eastern goods by cutting through the
isthmus of Suez. He also built a castle at Suez in order to defend
himself against the Portuguese. But the centre of the Ottoman rule was
no longer Cairo, but Constantinople, to which the wealthy more and
more migrated. Egypt was placed under a pasha, who was appointed at
Constantinople, and who was frequently changed so as to anticipate any
scheme on his part of making himself into an independent ruler. Cairo
retained its university and remained a centre of learning; its halcyon
days as a centre of art and luxury were at an end.

The Suez canal was still in course of construction in 1529, but
was never finished,[284] and no term was set on the advance of the
Portuguese. In 1541 Dom John (João) de Castro, who bore the proud title
of viceroy of India, sailed up the Red Sea with a fleet, intending to
attack Suez, but when he espied the fort and the ships at anchor there,
he turned back. In sailing up the Gulf of Suez, and again in sailing
down, Dom John stopped at Tur, where he communed with a monk of Sinai,
who told him that the convent was occupied by monks of the order of
Montserrat (_sic_), and that the body of St. Katherine had been removed
to Cairo. Another informant denied all knowledge of this fact. Dom John
was a man of some pretensions, who identified Suez as Heroöpolis, and
Tur as Aelana of classic times. His observations were laid down in a
_Description of the Lands bordering on the Red Sea_, which Sir Walter
Raleigh considered of such importance, that he had it translated into

Throughout this period we hear little of pilgrims and of the convent.
The spirit of the Reformation was abroad, and the thought of St.
Katherine was losing its hold on the imagination of Europe. Gregor,
prior of the Carthusian house at Gaming, who came to the convent in
1507 together with Martin Baumgarten, stated that the monks were
miserable owing to the clamorous Arabs, who occupied the mosque and
kept their festival on the Mount of the Law as already related. In
the estimation of Gregor, the monks of Sinai professed the order of
St. Basil, but, he declared, they would be glad to be taken under the
protection of Rome (p. 498). About the year 1546 the learned Belon
of Mans, who travelled in the interest of science and archæology,
visited Sinai, which he mentioned in his _Observations de certaines
singularités_, etc., a work that reflects the spirit of the new age.
Belon remarked on the Franciscan settlement at Gaza, the arsenal at
Suez, and the canal of thirty miles’ length. In the convent he found
about sixty monks.[286]

Of the bishops at this period we know very little. There was an
interregnum of about thirty years before 1540, which may be connected
with the rule of Sultan Selim. According to information preserved at
the convent, he abstracted the original _firmân_ which was supposed
to have been given to the convent by Mohammad. Sultan Selim was
responsible for the fortified stations along the route for pilgrims
from Egypt to Mecca, of which one was built at Ajrud near Suez, the
second at Nakhl, on the high desert, and the third at Akaba, which was
situated east of the ancient Aila. These stations were reckoned about
three days’ journey from one another, and the road continued in use
till recent times. But whatever the reason, the bishop of Sinai at this
time incurred the displeasure of the surrounding prelates. Marcus, the
Cyprian, who was appointed in 1540, perhaps owing to some fault of his
own (Nectarius called him κάκος),[287] was deposed by a synod held in
Egypt under the auspices of the patriarchs of Alexandria, of Cairo, and
of Jerusalem, and the bishopric of Sinai was declared abrogated.[288]

But a new protector to the monks now arose in the Tsar of Muscovy,
who, when Constantinople fell to the Turks, took it upon himself to
protect the orthodox. In the year 1547 Gregorius, a monk of Sinai,
visited Moscow, where he complained of the tax which the Turk levied
on the convent. The Tsar at the time was Ivan the Terrible (1533-84),
who forthwith arranged that Gennadius, archdeacon of St. Sophia, at
Novgorod, together with the merchant Posniakow and another should visit
the patriarch of Alexandria and the archbishop (_sic_) of Sinai, and
present them with 1000 ducats each. At the convent, after praying at
the shrine of St. Katherine, they spread over it a covering of gold
brocade, a gift of the Tsar. Posniakow, to whom we owe an account of
the embassy, looked upon the monks as connected with St. Basil, and
described the mosque inside the convent as originally a church of St.

The Muscovite further arranged that a caravan bearing food should be
annually despatched from Cairo to the convent, at his expense, as we
learn from the account of the German pilgrim Wormbser, who went from
Egypt to the convent in the year 1561 (_Reissbuch_, 1609, p. 396 ff.).
His companion, Count Loewenstein, on his return to Alexandria, there
asked for an official attestation of having been the Long Pilgrimage,
which he included in the account of his journey (_Ibid._, p. 393).
These travellers in 1561 found between thirty and forty monks at the
convent, but were told that these sometimes left the place altogether
because of the clamorous Arabs (Loewenstein, p. 369). It had recently
stood empty four or five years (_Ibid._, p. 369). Another party of
Germans, who reached the convent in 1565, actually found it empty and
its gates walled up. They were met outside by a monk who, apprized of
their coming, hurried over from Tur to act as their guide. From the
height of the Mount of the Law they looked down on the empty convent
with its deserted garden (_Ibid._, Helfferich, p. 726).

Owing to Muscovite influence a change was effected. A letter is
extant drafted by Jeremiah II, patriarch of Constantinople (1572-78),
which bears the signature of the patriarch of Antioch, the patriarch
of Jerusalem, and others by which the bishopric of Sinai was
restored.[290] The decision was based on the decree of Justinian which
is dated to the year 551 and is preserved at the convent, but which
is looked upon as a forgery. Anyhow, a prelate was reinstated in the
person of Eugenius (1565-83), who, in the capacity of “bishop of Sinai
and Raithou,” wrote to Emperor Maximilian II (1564-76), declaring that
the monks were called upon to pay 5000 ducats to the Turkish Sultan,
which were they unable to raise. The outcome of the appeal is not
recorded. They probably made an appeal also to King Henri III of France
(1574-89).[291] In the year 1579 Eugenius of Sinai was in Jerusalem,
where the patriarch Germanus abdicated because of old age.[292]

Direct intercourse with Russia continued. We hear of one Korobeïnikoff
who was in Sinai in 1583, and again in 1593. It was, perhaps, with the
help of the Muscovite that Bishop Anastasius I (1583-92) laid down the
mosaic pavement in the convent church, which had been destroyed by Arab
treasure-seekers. Anastasius was succeeded by Laurentius (1592-1617),
but Melitos, patriarch of Alexandria, objected to his appointment,
whereupon he appealed to Sophronios VI, patriarch of Jerusalem
(1579-1606), who ratified his appointment.[293] Perhaps the gates of
the convent were walled up in connection with these difficulties,
and anyone wishing to enter was now hauled up by means of a rope and
a pulley. Henri Castale who visited Sinai in 1600, was the first to
describe the arrangement, which continued till the British occupation
of Egypt. Castale, in the account of his journey, enlarged on the
starving men and women in the desert. He found one starving monk in the

But things now improved under Bishop Joasaph, who ruled from 1617 to
1658, and travellers gave a better account of the convent.

The thought of the “inscriptions of the children of Israel” brought
Neitzschitz into the desert about the year 1639. He was a Lutheran
to whom “many of the stories were fables.” He was received by the
“archbishop Joasaph” and found twenty-three monks at the convent, who
distributed food daily to between fifty and a hundred Arabs.[295] The
thought of the inscription was prominent also in the mind of Balthazar
de Monconys, who, in 1647, visited the convent. Here he remarked on
the tunic of gold brocade embroidered with pearls and on the splendid
tiaras, presents of the Muscovite, that were worn by Joasaph.[296]
Again, Thévenot came to the convent in 1658, and saw a silver chest,
a gift from the empress Anna of Russia, in which the relics of St.
Katherine were now enshrined. Thévenot related that on some days as
many as 150 Arabs, on others as many as 400, clamouring for food,
assembled outside the convent. He also related that the Turks had
destroyed the church which the monks owned at Tur (perhaps that of St.
John the Baptist), in order to make room for a fort where an _aga_ was
stationed, who had the command of cannon.[297]

A papal bull, apparently the last, was granted to the convent by
Pope Urban VIII (1623-37). It confirmed the monks in their various
possessions, and has the additional interest that it enumerated the
popes who previously granted bulls to the monks. They were Honorius
III (1216-27), Gregory IX (1227-41), Paul II (1458-64), Innocent
VIII (1484-92), Julius II (1503-13), Leo IX (1513-19), and Paul III

During the rule of Joasaph, Nectarius, a Cretan by birth and a man of
considerable ability, came to the convent, the interests of which he
furthered in various ways. The Vaivode Basil (1634-61), of Moldavia,
was encouraging the establishment of Greek schools in his dominion.
Nectarius visited Athens, Bukarest, and Jassy, where the monks of
Sinai now built priories and secured a lasting foothold. It was
probably Nectarius who definitely secured the title and standing of an
archbishop to the ruler of Sinai. The title had been applied to Simeon
as early as 1211 by the doge of Venice in connection with the property
which the convent held in Crete, but the rulers continued to style
themselves bishop. However, the title once claimed was retrospectively
applied. Nectarius, after his return to the convent, compiled an
_Epitome of history from the earliest times_, with special chapters
on the convent and a list of its rulers. They are all designated as
archbishops. It was probably due to Nectarius, also, that many MSS.
were brought from Crete and elsewhere and added to the convent library.
At the convent itself literary activity was resumed, and we hear of a
gift of paper to the monks that was conveyed there on camel-back.[298]

At the death of Joasaph, Nectarius was chosen as his successor. He
was in Gaza on his way to Jerusalem to seek confirmation of his
appointment at the hands of the patriarch Païsios, when he was met
by delegates from Jerusalem, bearing the news that Païsios was dead,
and that Nectarius was chosen patriarch. As Joasaph died in 1658, and
the meeting happened in April 1660, the intercourse between the sees
seems to have been attended with difficulty. The rule at the convent
therefore devolved on Ananias (1658-68), who was followed by Joannicus

According to Lacroix, the Muscovite fell out with the patriarch of
Constantinople in 1671, and summoned to Moscow several prelates, among
them “Antoninus, bishop of Sinai.” He dared not refuse, and was kept in
Moscow for over a year.[299] But no prelate of this name appears in the
list of the bishops.

About this time the Papacy made renewed efforts at propaganda, with
the help of the Franciscans. Pope Innocent XI (1675-89) entered into
correspondence with the patriarch of Cairo with a view to winning over
the Copts of Egypt to the Roman Catholic faith, and Francesco Maria of
Salerno spent several years in Cairo where he established a school. He
also visited Sinai, but the Copts found it impossible to accept the
declaration of faith that was submitted to them, and nothing came of

Joannicus, in 1672, was in Bethlehem where he subscribed to a
declaration against Calvin, in which the Maronites, the Copts and the
Armenian Christians joined. In 1675 he went on an embassy to Turkey.
He also engaged in correspondence with Ignatius, archbishop of Ochrida
in Serbia, on the _firmân_ which had been granted to the monks of
Sinai by the emperor Justinian. A visit to Moldavia resulted in the
gift of the property called Rimineke to the monks of Sinai by Vaivode
Brancovan († 1719). The traveller Poncet, who visited the convent about
the year 1699, coming from Sherm, was received by Joannicus, who was
in his ninety-third year and paralytic. Like other travellers Poncet
was hauled into the convent by means of the seat attached to a rope. He
was treated to some of the liqueur called _arac_, which was made by the
monks out of the fermented juice of the date.[301]

The prelate in succession to Joannicus was Cosmas I of Chalcedon, who
became patriarch of Constantinople within a year of his election, but
he soon abdicated and returned to the convent where he spent the rest
of his days under Athanasius II of Bari (1706-18). The next prelate
was Joannicus II of Mytilene (1718-22), during the term of whose rule
Jeremiah, patriarch of Constantinople, was deposed by the vizier and
exiled to Sinai. He was staying there at the time of Bishop Pococke’s
visit (i. 150).

It was probably Athanasius of Bari who received the Franciscan prefect
Claude Sicard of the mission _De Propaganda Fide_, wearing an exquisite
crown. The Franciscan prefect wrote a short account of his visit which
attracted the attention of Bishop Pococke and was translated into
English by Bishop Clayton in 1753. This translation was addressed to
the Society of Antiquaries in London, and Bishop Clayton offered the
sum of £500, spread over five years, to assist in an exploration of
Mount Sinai. But no definite step was taken in the matter, its chief
result being to add to the Biblical explorers of the peninsula.

Chief among these was Bishop Pococke, whose _Description of the East_,
first published in 1743, attained considerable celebrity. Several
chapters were devoted to an account of Sinai and the progress of the
Israelites. It contains a careful description of the monastic buildings
with several plans. Bishop Pococke, like other travellers before and
since, accepted the sites pointed out by the monks as the actual spots
mentioned in the Biblical narrative, regardless of the impossibilities
implied. He only questioned the spot where Dathan and Abiram were
swallowed, remarking that when this happened they had left the desert
of Sinai (i. 145).

Owing to the difficulties of dealing with the claims of the Bedawyn,
the prelates of Sinai now found it preferable to take up their
residence in one of the dependencies of the convent.

Nicephorus Mortales, surnamed Glaukos (1729-49), was from Crete, to
which he returned and where he died. His body was conveyed to the
convent for interment. The next prelate was Constantius (1749-59), who
resided for the most part in Moldavia under Vaivode Michael, paying an
occasional visit to Sinai. On one occasion he was accompanied by Khalil
Sabag, who wrote an account of his visit. The next prelate Cyrillus II
(1759-90) dwelt in Smyrna, Jerusalem and Moldavia. He was in contact
with Carsten Niebuhr, who visited Sinai in 1762, where he was the first
European to visit and describe the great ravines at Serabit. Cyrillus
was in relation also with the traveller Volney, who visited the convent
in 1783, where he found fifty monks.

It was owing to the efforts of Cyrillus II that the standing of the
convent of Sinai as an independent centre was definitely established.
A synod met in Constantinople in 1782, which declared in favour of its
autonomy. The archbishop is elected by a council of the monks, who
manage the affairs of the convent in Sinai and its branch establishment
in Cairo. The archbishop is always selected from the priests of the
monastery. He is consecrated as bishop by the patriarch of Jerusalem
in consequence of the ancient connection, and he becomes one of the
four independent archbishops of the Greek Church, the others being at
Cyprus, Moscow and Ochrida.[302]

Cyrillus II was the last prelate who paid a visit to the convent for
over a hundred years. The reason was that large sums and gifts had to
be presented to the Arabs by the new prelate on his installation. These
were so considerable that the monks, in their impoverished state, were
unable to raise them. Perhaps owing to this difficulty, there was an
interregnum of four years, between the death of Cyrillus in 1790 and
the establishment as prelate of Dorotheus of Byzantium (1794-96), after
whose death there was again an interregnum of eight years.



THE close of the eighteenth century witnessed events in Egypt which
directly affected the conditions of life in Sinai; they further reduced
the man of the desert in his resources.

Since the conquest of Egypt by the Turks in 1517 the country
was administered by a pasha who was appointed by the Sultan at
Constantinople. But the order of the Sultan to Ali Bey to join in a
war against Russia in 1769 met with a direct refusal; the Egyptian saw
his chance of proclaiming his independence. The revolt of the pasha of
Egypt gave Bonaparte an ostensible reason for occupying Alexandria in
1796. Bonaparte’s imagination was fired by the thought of incorporating
Egypt, the land of antiquity, in his world dominion. As part of this
wider scheme he addressed a letter as _général en chef_ to the monks
of Sinai in 1798, in which he took them under his protection, “to
the end,” as he said, “that they should hand on to future races the
tradition of his conquest, as he was filled with respect for Moses
and the Jews, and because the monks were learned men living in the
barbarity of the desert.” He further decreed that henceforth the Arab
Bedawyn had no claim whatever on the monks, that they should be left to
devote themselves unmolested to the claims of their religion, that they
should be exempt from paying tribute or tax on imports or exports on
the produce of their property in Schio (_i.e._ Chios) and Cyprus, that
they should freely enjoy their rights in Syria and in Cairo, and that
their ruler should be independent of the patriarch.[303]

At the order of Bonaparte the gentlemen Coutelle and Rosières were
sent on a tour of inspection to collect material for the work which he
planned. On this tour they came to the convent of Sinai in 1800, where
they found six monks and twenty-two lay brothers in residence. The
east wall of the convent, built by Justinian, had collapsed. By order
of General Kléber at Cairo, the monk Hallil, with forty-two masons
and a hundred and fifty camels, were dispatched from Cairo to do the
necessary repair. The camels were furnished by the Towarah.[304]

In the meantime Nelson, scouring the seas in search of the French
fleet, came upon it near the coast of Egypt, and attacked and
scattered it at the Battle of the Nile (Oct., 1798). The Turks, aware
that Bonaparte’s descent on Egypt was prompted by his desire for
self-aggrandisement, felt called upon to declare war on the French in
Egypt (1799). Hereupon Bonaparte, with nearly the whole of his army,
marched along the desert road to Gaza and took Jaffa by assault, but a
few months later he was in full retreat. A Turkish army soon afterwards
reached Aboukir and joined forces with the British fleet, but Bonaparte
inflicted a crushing defeat on them. He then left Egypt leaving his
army in charge of General Kléber. But a further expedition was launched
by the Turk, one detachment of troops was landed at Damietta, another
under Yussuf Pasha approached by the El Arish road. They were defeated
by the French, but General Kléber soon afterwards was assassinated
(June, 1808). The English now effected a landing at Aboukir (March,
1801), and the French, after some struggles, evacuated the country.

In Egypt itself confusion reigned. The Mameluks were regaining their
influence, when Mehemed Ali († 1849), the leader of an Albanian corps,
secured the adherence of the sheykhs and claimed the Pashalik with the
support of the French. An expedition made by the British to oppose him
in 1807 miscarried. In 1811 he caused a massacre of the Mameluks and
extended his influence by carrying war into Arabia and invading Syria.
The interference of the English reduced, but did not break, his power.
In 1841 he secured the hereditary sovereignty of Egypt.

The period of upheaval naturally reacted on the desert and rendered
travelling unsafe. Seetzen visited the convent under Russian orders
and found the road dangerous. There were twenty-five monks in the
convent, who longed for the end of the Turkish government and the
establishment of European influence in Cairo.[305] Seetzen was murdered
in Syria on a later journey. Again the traveller Boutin was in Serabit
in 1811, where he scrawled his name on a stone in the temple where
Rüppell found it. Boutin also was murdered in Syria. Burckhardt
travelled in the disguise of a Bedawyn and repeatedly visited Sinai,
and the convent (1816, 1822). Both Rüppell and Burckhardt travelled in
the interest of geography.

With the return of more settled conditions travellers became more
numerous. Lord Prudhoe and Major Felix (1827) were among those who
visited the ruins of Serabit. The account of their journey was lost,
but Lord Prudhoe, after inspecting the temple ruins, was the first
and, as far as I am aware, the only traveller to whom it occurred
that this might be the sanctuary that was visited by the Israelites.
The fact was recorded by Edward Robinson who came into Sinai in the
interest of Biblical research in 1838 and 1852 (i. 79) and who was
himself immensely impressed by the ruins at Serabit. Other travellers
who made a prolonged stay were Laborde and Linant (1828), to whom we
owe the first detailed and illustrated account of the convent church,
its architecture, its great mosaics and its numerous side chapels;
Tischendorf, who secured the famous MS. for Petrograd, as mentioned
above; Bartlett, whose rapid visit in 1839 established interesting
geological facts, more especially with regard to the lie of the land
between Sinai and Syria; and Lepsius, who came into Sinai in 1845 for
the express purpose of copying the hieroglyph inscriptions at Maghara
and Serabit, which he incorporated in his _Denkmäler_ (1860).

Under the rule of Mehemed Ali safety was restored to the _hadj_ route
across Sinai by the rebuilding of the forts at Adjrud (near Suez),
Nakhl and Akaba. The settlement of a garrison brought regularity of
transport which reacted favourably on the Bedawyn who undertook it.
Mehemed Ali, also, was favourably disposed towards the convent. His
nephew, Abbas Pasha, who succeeded him in 1849, visited Sinai in
1853, and formed the plan of building himself a summer residence on
Mount Horeb. A road was therefore planned leading up from Tur on the
coast, which crossed the desert and then led through the relatively
luxurious valley of Hebron, with its many streams and the tamarisk
grove of Solaf. It was partly completed in 1854, when the Pasha was
assassinated. His successor Said Pasha (1854-63), was in friendly
relations with Ferdinand Lesseps, whom he zealously supported in the
scheme for constructing a canal through the Isthmus of Suez. The
enterprise was financed by French and Turkish subscriptions, and was
at the outset worked by means of forced labour, later with the help of
modern engineering appliances. The canal was completed under Ishmael
Pasha (1863-79) in 1869, and the British Government became a large
shareholder. Ishmael Pasha was an Oriental despot who depleted the
treasury and robbed the people, but who modernised Egypt by building
schools, laying down railways, and setting up telegraph communications.
In return for a large annual tribute he was raised to the rank of
Khedive, or viceroy, of Egypt by the Sultan in 1867. But the financial
difficulties, in which he became involved, were such that France and
England brought pressure to bear on him and finally deposed him. He was
succeeded by his son Tewfik Pasha (1879-92).

Among the visitors to the peninsula in 1845 was Major Macdonald, who
came to inspect the turquoise that was left, and who settled near the
mines at Maghara in 1855, where he remained ten years. His mining was
done with the help of Bedawyn labour. He took considerable interest
in the great inscriptions, and it was not he, but a French engineer,
who took up the work after he left, who destroyed by blasting a large
number of valuable rock inscriptions, including those of King Khufu
and of the Pharaohs of the Sixth Dynasty. The general interest taken
in the peninsula led to the sending out an expedition under General
Wilson in 1868, who engaged in a survey of Sinai, _i.e._ the mountains
of the south, under the auspices of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
The work was published in 1871 and contains text, maps and a number
of photographic views. Among those working on the Survey was the Rev.
F. W. Holland, who had previously stayed in Sinai in 1861 and 1867;
and the distinguished Arabic scholar, Prof. E. H. Palmer, who made
the acquaintance of Sir Richard Burton on this occasion, and who was
brought into prolonged contact with the Bedawyn. Prof. Palmer published
in 1871 a special account that deals with the story of the Israelites
in Sinai under the title _The Desert of Exodus_. Another visitor to the
peninsula was the Egyptologist, Prof. Ebers, who published his work
_Durch Gosen zum Sinai_ in 1872. The interest in geography now caused
travellers to journey along different routes and to explore different
parts of the peninsula, but, in spite of the work accomplished then
or undertaken since, the central part of the peninsula is still
insufficiently known.

[Illustration: Fig. 22.—Sulyman abu Sīlm, a Bedawy.]

From these writers we gain a further insight into the state of things
at the convent, and the attitude of the Bedawyn.

The number of monks at the convent remained much the same. Seetzen
found twenty-five monks there and a “guardian” who acted for the
absentee bishop (i. 73); Edward Robinson found twenty monks in
residence (i. 131); Lepsius in 1845 found twenty-five; Ebers in 1871
found twenty-eight. In 1890 there were between twenty and thirty.

Of the property that is at present owned by the monks I fail to find
a complete list. At different periods mention is made of priories in
Alexandria, Jerusalem, Tripoli, Gaza, Constantinople, Crete and Cyprus,
besides the house owned at Cairo.[306] Wolff, in 1839, mentioned
property held by the monks at Constantinople, Cyprus, Belgrad,
Bukarest, Jassy, Athens, India and Calcutta;[307] Robinson mentioned
houses at Bengal, Golconda, Crete and Cyprus (p. 549). According to
Burckhardt the monks received their supplies from Gaza and Cairo.

After an interregnum of eight years Constantius II ruled as archbishop
from 1804 to 1859, and was succeeded by Cyrillus III (1859-67). The
next archbishop, Callistratus (1867-85), was the first prelate who
returned to the convent in 1872, but his installation was attended by
difficulties. His successor, Porphyrius, fell out with the patriarch
of Alexandria, who caused him to be expelled from Cairo. He was in
residence at the convent in the winter of 1905-6.

Modern accounts give a further insight into the temper of the men of
the desert.

The pilgrims of the Middle Ages generally dreaded the Bedawyn who were
apt to swoop down on them, clamouring for dues, as they passed from
the territory of one tribe into that of another, but we hear of few
excesses committed by them. Burckhardt, Prof. Palmer and Sir Richard
Burton gave an account of the different tribes.

The Bedawyn of southern Sinai are collectively known as Towarah from
Towa, Arabic for mountain, as distinct from the Tiyaha, or Bedawyn of
the Plain and the tribes who hold the northern districts.

Among the Towarah Prof. Palmer included (1) the Sawaliheh, who are
divided into three clans or families, of which each has its sheykh, so
that there are three sheykhs to each tribe. In 1870 the sheykhs of the
Sawaliheh were Fatir, Kadir Ibn Simhan and Abu Farh, of whom Fatir was
_agyd_ or commander-in-chief of all the military operations undertaken
by the Towarah generally. Burton spoke of the Salihi (_i.e._ Sawaliheh
or Benu Saleh) as the principal tribe of the Sinaitic Bedawyn.

The next tribe, included among the Towarah, were (2) the Auled Said,
who include several families. The sheykhs in 1870 were Hasan Ibn ’Amir
and Embarek ed Dheiri.[308]

The next tribe mentioned were (3) the Garrasheh, who are principally
found in the neighbourhood of Wadi Feiran. Their chief sheykh, Ibn
Nasir, was made responsible to the Egyptian government for the good
conduct of the Towarah. He had died when the expedition returned to
England. Husein Abu Ridhwan was the only remaining sheykh in 1870,
Mansur Ibn Gormah also having recently died.

Another tribe were (4) the Aleyat (or Aliki), whose district was the
neighbourhood of the (western) Wadi Nasb. Their sheykhs were Suleiman
Ibn Emdakkhal, Juma Abu Shawish, and Amdan Abu Ukri. This tribe was
described as not numerous by Prof. Palmer.

There were further, (5) the Emzeineh, (Muzaineh) the descendants of
an illustrious tribe who are regarded by the Towarah as comparative
strangers, though not excluded from the right of intermarriage. They
roam over the eastern coast of the peninsula and are said to have come
into Sinai from the Hedjaz in comparatively recent times. According to
Sir Richard Burton five persons, ancestors of the Muzaineh, were forced
by a blood feud to fly from their native country and landed at Sherm,
where they were received by the Aleyat. With these they jointly own the
palm trees at Dahab, and the rights of transporting the people landing
at Dahab and Sherm. “Anyone who knows the Bedawyn,” wrote Sir Richard,
“can see that the Muzaineh are pure blood. Their brows are broad, their
faces narrow, their features regular, and their eyes of moderate size,
whereas the other Towarah clans are as palpably Egyptian. They are of
an impure race, Egypto-Arabs, whereas their neighbour, the Hedjazi, is
the pure Syrian or Mesopotamian.”

Besides these tribes Prof. Palmer named (6) the Auled Shahin as the
branch of the Towarah, who occupy the country immediately around Tur
and the mountain which borders on the plain of El Kaa; they are,
properly speaking, a branch of the Aleyat.

There are also, (7) the Gebeliyeh, the so-called serfs of the
convent, who are held to be the lineal descendants of the four
hundred Wallachian and Egyptian slaves whom the emperor settled in
the peninsula. Their district comprises the Wadi esh Sheikh and the
immediate neighbourhood of the convent. Their chief sheykhs in 1870
were Awwad Ibn Atiyeh, Eid Ibn Suad and Suleiman Ibn Ghanaim.

Of these tribes the Saidi and the Aleyat are the recognised _ghufara_,
or protectors of the convent. The MS. account of 1710 calls them Waled
Sahin, three tribes, the sons of Saleh, _i.e._ the Selim, the Saidi and
the Haliq (Aleyat). These met at the annual festival at the tomb of
Nebi Saleh.

The fluctuations of the tribes are insufficiently known. In
Burckhardt’s days Harun Ibn Amer, sheykh of the Saidi, was accounted
one of the most powerful sheykhs of the Towarah (p. 594).

Of the Towarah generally, Sir R. Burton wrote that in the reign of
Mehemed Ali no governor of Suez dared to flog or lay hands on a Turi,
whatever offence he might have committed in the town of Suez. Later
the wild man’s sword was taken from him before he was allowed to enter
the gates. In his estimation “the most good-humoured and sociable of
men, they delight in a jest and may readily be managed by kindness
and courtesy. Yet they are passionate, nice on the point of honour,
revengeful and easily offended when their peculiar prejudices are
misunderstood. I have always found them pleasant companions, and
deserving of respect, for their hearts are good and their courage is
beyond a doubt” (p. 102).

In distinction to the Towarah or men of the mountain, the Bedawyn
further north are known as Tiyaha, or men of the plain, who go south as
far as Nakhl. They have for their neighbours the Terrebin, a powerful
tribe, whose territory extends from about forty miles south-east of
Suez on the Sinai road as far as Gaza in the north. There are also
the Heiwatt occupying the land between Akaba and Nakhl, who have a
bad reputation for raiding, and their neighbours the Anazeh, whose
pasture grounds extend from about Medina in Arabia to Palmyra in Syria,
including the Arabah. Another wealthy tribe are the Howeitat who can
raise as many as twelve hundred camels.

The difficulty of dealing with the Bedawyn, was shown by the events
that attended the rising of Arabi in Egypt, in 1880. When Tewfik
became Khedive in 1879 dissatisfaction reigned. A military revolution
broke out in Cairo, and Arabi Bey, a fellah officer, arose determined
to diminish European influence. When rioting began at Alexandria the
Khedive sought the protection of the British Fleet, and Sir Garnet
Wolseley occupied the Suez Canal, whereupon Cairo surrendered. But the
dread of Arabi’s influence among the men of the desert led the British
Government to request Prof. Palmer to bring his influence to bear on
the Bedawyn of Et Tîh. His work in the Ordnance Survey had brought him
into friendly relations with many of the sheykhs, and he was instructed
to prevent them from joining the Egyptian rebels. With a _firmân_
signed by Tewfik, Prof. Palmer left Jaffa as Abdallah Effendi, and
crossed the peninsula to Suez, being conducted by Hamdan, the head man
of the Tiyaha, and on his way met the great sheykh of the Heiwatt. His
plan was to raise 10,000 of the Tiyaha and Terabin to fight Arabi. From
Suez he therefore departed carrying the sum of £3000 in gold in order
to buy camels, and arranged for a great meeting of the sheykhs. It was
in vain that Sheykh Ode Ismaileh of the Aleyat, and Umdakhl, a minor
sheykh, advised him not to go. He and his three companions were lured
into an ambush in the Wadi Sudr, and were murdered, August, 1882.[309]

Following upon the mission of Prof. Palmer to Sinai was the expedition
to the Sudan for which General Gordon volunteered. He was killed in
1885, whereupon General Kitchener set out to reconquer the Sudan
and occupied Khartoum. In 1892 Tewfik in Egypt was succeeded by
Hussein Kamel. A misunderstanding with Turkey in connection with the
Sinaitic frontier caused a passing difficulty in the year 1906-7. The
Turco-Egyptian frontier was drawn from Rafa, now in Egypt, to the Gulf
of Akaba, Akaba itself being included in the domain over which Turkey
claimed supremacy. At this it stood at the outbreak of the Great War.

The population of the whole of the peninsula at the time was estimated
as below 40,000 persons, including the settled inhabitants of El Arish,
the Gebeliyeh (400-500), and the rest of the Bedawyn. From a military
point of view these were looked upon as of small importance, except
as possible secret agents and scouts, and no effort was apparently
made to organise them. Although Sinai was politically an Egyptian
dependency, with the frontier line between Rafa and Akaba, the Suez
Canal was chosen as the means of defending Egypt, and bridgeheads
were constructed along it, chief of which was the one at Kantara. The
peninsula was therefore open to the Turks, who advanced across it along
three routes, _i.e._ along the coast, along the pilgrim road from Akaba
by way of Nakhl, and by a route half-way between the pilgrim route and
the Mediterranean. Nakhl became a Turkish military centre. The attacks
made at different points along the canal were defeated. The Turk, from
the first, engaged the help of the Bedawyn of the eastern desert, but
he failed to raise much enthusiasm among them. Only the Terabin, the
Ayayme, and some of the sub-tribes of the Howeitat supplied irregular
lines, the Ruala and the Anazeh promised to defend Syria, other tribes
failed altogether. When a raiding party of Turks advanced from Nakhl on
Tur, they were joined by some Bedawyn from Midian and Sinai, who were
tempted by the promise of loot. On the way, they requisitioned food at
the convent, but they found Egyptian troops in occupation of Tur and
were repulsed.

The advance along the shore of the Mediterranean, and expeditions
from the bridgeheads and secured posts, engaged the Allied forces in
1916. Ayun Musa was fortified and connected with Suez by means of a
light railway, and a railway was constructed along the Mediterranean.
In the course of this progress the walls and water cisterns on which
the enemy depended were naturally destroyed, and one does not wonder
to find the Bedawyn acting in concert with the Turk in their defence.
It was not till January, 1917, that Rafa was captured, and the Turk
swept out of northern Sinai. Along the eastern frontier the Arabs were
prepared to side with the Allies. As early as 1916 Prince Hussein of
Mecca organised his forces to resist the Turk, but his progress was
indifferent, when he was sought out by Capt. Lawrence, who urged him to
advance and persuaded Auda Ibn Tayyi, the great sheykh of the Howeitat,
to act in concert with him. The result was a camel charge on the fort
of Akaba, which wiped out the Turkish battalion stationed there, and
freed the Arab and the Allies from a centre of enemy plotting. By their
action the Arabs made a further step in realising themselves as a

[Illustration: Fig. 23.—Map of the Peninsula.]

In the light of these recent events, one is set wondering how they will
affect the chances of well-being of the men of the Sinai desert, and
what future may be in store for the convent.


  Aahmes, 42, 54

  Aaron, 67

  Abbas Pasha, 186

  Abd-el-Melek, 135

  Abraham of Ostracine, 109, 149

  Abraham of Sinai, 154

  Abu Saleh, writer, 146

  Actisanes, 91

  Ad Dianam, 80, 94

  Ademarus, writer, 144

  Adites, 48, 49

  Adornes, writer, 167

  Adze, settlement, 108

  Aekatherina. _See_ Katherine.

  Aerts, writer, 167

  Agatharcides, writer, 83

  Aila, city, 48, 80, 81, 94, 99, 110, 134

  Ain en Nuêbeh, 5

  Ain Hudhera, 78

  Ain Kadeis, 79, 170, _also_ Kadesh.

  Akaba, 5, 51, 175, 185

  Akhen-aten. _See_ Amen-hotep IV.

  Albert of Aix, writer, 147

  Al Biruni, writer, 10, 76

  Aleyat, tribe, 124, 189

  Alfonso da Paiva, 168

  Al Lat, divinity, 24

  Alphius of Rhinocorura, 109

  Alvarez, Francesco, 168

  Amalekites, 2, 44 ff., 72, 99

  Amen-em-hat I, 34, 35, 43

  Amen-em-hat II, 36, 38

  Amen-em-hat III, 16, 25, 37 ff., 57, 59

  Amen-em-hat IV, 18, 40

  Amen-hotep I, 54

  Amen-hotep II, 42, 57

  Amen-hotep III, 58 ff.

  Amen-hotep IV, 42, 60, 65

  Ammanus, phylarch, 44, 105

  Ammonius, writer, 100 ff., 119, 125

  Amu-anshi, sheykh, 43, 44

  Ananias of Sinai, 179

  Anastasius of Sinai, 130, 177

  Anastasius, writer, 110, 112

  Anazeh, tribe, 190, 192

  Andrew, monk, 111

  Anglure, writer, 156, 157

  Ankhab, 35

  Antoninus Martyr, writer, 98, 99, 125, 127

  Antoninus of Cremona, writer, 155, 157

  Antoninus of Sinai, 179

  Anu, people, 15, 33, 39, 41

  Arandara, 115, 120

  Arbaïn, settlement, 99, 172

  Aretas I and III, 86

  Ariston, 83, 84

  Arius, 99, 100

  Arselao, settlement, 113

  Arsinius of Sinai, 153

  Arsinoë, city, 83, 87, 92, 94

  Artapanus, writer, 10, 65 ff.

  Athanasius I of Sinai, 154

  Athanasius II of Sinai, 180

  Athanasius, patriarch, 100

  Athos, 10

  Atika, 63

  Aud, divinity, 47-8

  Aulon, 78

  Avaris, 48

  Ayayme, tribe, 192

  Ayun Musa, 70, 71, 84, 115, 172

  Ba-alat, divinity, 24, 52

  Baal-zephon, 70, 118

  Baboons, 11

  Badiet Tîh, 2, 46, 78, 191

  Baedeker, guidebook, 95, 171

  Balaam, 45, 79

  Baldensel, writer, 155, 157, 163

  Baldwin, king, 147

  Barbosa, writer, 147

  Barhebræus, writer, 65, 67

  Bartlett, writer, 4, 185

  Barton, writer, 10

  Basil, Vaivode, 178

  Basileus, Menology, 97, 138

  Basileus of Seleucia, writer, 114

  Baumgarten, writer, 127, 187

  Bedawyn, 165, 188 ff.

  Belon, writer, 175

  Benedict III, Pope, 136

  Benjamin of Tudela, writer, 146

  Besant, writer, 191

  Beryllus of Aila, 110

  Bethrambe. _See_ Thrambe.

  Bianchi, writer, 170

  Bibars, Sultan, 153

  Birch, S., writer, 8, etc.

  Bir Hassana, 171

  Bir Shaweis, 78

  Bir Themed, 51, 78

  Bishops and Archbishops of Sinai, vii

  Bishops of Pharan, vii

  Blemmyes, people, 102

  Bliss and Macalister, writers, 28

  Bonajuto del Pan, 168

  Bonaparte, 183

  Bononius, 144

  Boutin, traveller, 185

  Brancovan, Vaivode, 180

  Breasted, _History_, 30, 31

  Breasted, _Records_, ix, 25, 32, etc.

  Breydenbach, writer, 167 ff.

  Briggs, writer, 156

  Brugsch, _Dict. Geog._, 93

  Brugsch, _Religion_, 26

  Bulls, Papal, 149, 178

  Burckhardt, _Notes_, 189

  Burckhardt, _Travels_, 44, 99, 111, etc.

  Burning Bush, 67, 69

  Bursbai, Sultan, 165

  Burton, writer, 82, 186, 189

  Bush, settlement, 98, 100, 106, 119, 123, 128, 136

  Calixtus III, Pope, 166

  Callistratus of Sinai, 188

  Capgrave, writer, 161

  Casium, city, 92, 93, 109

  Castale, writer, 177

  Castro, Don John de, 174

  Caussin de Perceval, 48, 50

  Chabot, writer, 149

  Charles VIII of France, 166

  Cheikho, writer, vii, 124, 150

  Choreb, settlement. _See_ Horeb.

  Clayton, Bishop, 180

  Clédat, writer, 86, 92

  Clesma or Clysma, 94, 115, 122, 143, _also_ Kolzoum.

  Codar or Kedar, settlement, 101

  Constantine of Sinai, 137

  Constantius I of Sinai, 181

  Constantius II of Sinai, 181

  Convent, building of, 121 ff.

  Convent, property of, 148-50

  Copper, 3, 63

  Cosmas and Damianus, 98, 172

  Cosmas Indicopleustes, 88, 115, 120

  Cosmas of Sinai, 180

  Crusades, 143 ff.

  Cyrillus I of Sinai, 154

  Cyrillus II of Sinai, 181

  Cyrillus III of Sinai, 188

  Dadkara, 33, 34

  Dahab, 5, 189

  Dating of Egyptian Dynasties, v

  Dating of the Exodus, 64

  Delitzuch, writer, 51

  Demetrius, writer, 65

  Den-Setui, 31, 41

  Desher, 46

  Diodorus Siculus, writer, 51, 83, etc.

  Dionysius of Alexandria, 95

  Dizahab, 78

  Djundu, king, 50

  Dobschütz, writer, 177

  Dorotheus of Petra, 147

  Dorotheus of Sinai, 153

  Dorotheus II of Sinai, 182

  Doughty, writer, 24, 50, 70

  Doulas, monk, 101, 104

  Doulas, Superior, 124

  Dulcetius, monk, 132

  Ea, divinity, 10, 15

  Ebers, writer, 46, 187

  Eberwein, writer, 139

  Edom, 5, 43, 47, 79

  Edrizi, writer, 146

  Egyptians in Sinai, 30 ff., 52 ff.

  El Arish, city, 91, 145, 146

  El Kaa, desert, 4, 189

  El Markha, plain, 3, 17, 18

  El Paran, 41, 45, 72, _also_ Pharan.

  El Ramlah, 50

  Elias, monk, 108

  Elias, Superior, 137

  Elijah, prophet, 94, 117, 137

  Elim, 70, 120

  Elim, settlement, 102, 108, _also_ Raithou.

  Elusa, city, 79, 108, 125

  Epiphanius, monk, 111

  Epiphanius, writer, 25, 65, 100

  Episteme, 98

  Esau, 47

  Etham, 70, 118

  Etheria, writer, 88, 90, 114 ff.

  Eucherius, writer, 95

  Eugenius of Sinai, 177

  Eusebius, monk, 108, 111

  Eusebius, writer, 10, 66, 79

  Euthymius of Sinai, 150

  Euting, writer, 89

  Eutychius, writer, 82, 122, 124, 129

  Evagrius, writer, 133

  Eziongeber, 80

  Fabri, writer, 166, 167

  Faran, 81, _also_ Pharan.

  Farma, city, 145, 147

  Férotin, writer, 114

  Franciscans in Sinai, 156, 165

  Fraymansperg, writer, 155, 158

  Frescobaldo, writer, 156, 162

  Fretellus, writer, 142, 146

  Fromont, 136 ff.

  Gabriel I of Sinai, 145

  Gabriel II of Sinai, 154

  Gala̭ction, monk, 97

  Gamurrini, writer, 114

  Gardiner, Alan, 24

  Gardthausen, writer, 132, 153

  Garindeans, people, 84

  Garrasheh, tribe, 189

  Gebbet er Ramleh, 2

  Gebel el Ejneh, 2

  Gebel Emreikah, 2

  Gebel er Raha, 46

  Gebel Hammam Farann, 46

  Gebel Haroun, 147, _also_ Hor.

  Gebel Hellal, 171

  Gebel Katrîn, 4, 158, 171

  Gebel Mukattab, 89

  Gebel Musa, 4, 124, 127, 141

  Gebel Thebt, 4

  Gebel Umm Iswed, 4

  Gebel Umm Riglên, 3

  Gebel Umm Shomer, 4

  Gebeliyeh, tribe, 189, 191

  George, monk, 113

  George of Sinai, 145

  Germanus I and II of Sinai, 150

  Germanus III of Sinai, 154

  Gerra, city, 92, 93, 97

  Gethrabbi. _See_ Thrambe.

  Giustiniani, writer, 139

  Giziret el Faraun, 46, 149

  Glaber, writer, 137

  Goshen, 10, 26, 28, 73, 83, 118

  Gouda, settlement, 113

  Gregor von Gaming, writer, 127-8, 167

  Gregoriades of Rhinocorura, 145

  Gregoriades, writer, 148-50, 166

  Gregorius, Superior, 133

  Gregory I, Pope, 130

  Gregory IX, Pope, 149, 178

  Gubernatis, writer, 180

  Hallil, 184

  Ha-Sela. _See_ Petra.

  Hardwick, writer, 141

  Harff, Ritter von, 120, 162, 169

  Harnakt, 36

  Hathor, divinity, 22 ff., 35 ff., 56 ff., 83

  Hatshepsut, queen, 26, 53, 56-7

  Havilah, 2, 45, 47

  Hazeroth, 78

  Hedjaz, province, 45, 135

  Heiwatt, tribe, 190, 192

  Helena, empress, 99

  Helfferich, writer, 177

  Henri III of France, 177

  Henry II of Brunswick, 153

  Hermits, 94 ff.

  Hermogenes of Rhinocorura, 109

  Heyd, writer, 156

  High Places, 20, 27, 58, 67

  _Hima_, 6, 18

  Hobab, 78

  Holland, Rev., 5, 186

  Honorius III, Pope, 149, 178

  Hor, Mount, or Gebel Haroun, 68, 79

  Horeb, 67

  Horeb, or Choreb, settlement, 101, 117, 125, 136

  Hor-em-heb, 91

  Horites, 41

  Hormah, 80

  Horoura, 38

  Hughes, writer, 29, 75

  Hugo of Flavigny, writer, 140

  Hull, Ed., writer, 1

  Hume, W. F., writer, 4

  Hyksos, 42, 48

  Hypatius, monk, 108

  Ibn Ishak, writer, 134

  Ibn Zobeir, writer, 146

  Innocent VI, Pope, 154

  Innocent VIII, Pope, 178

  Innocent IX, Pope, 179

  Irby and Mangles, writers, 92

  Isabella of Spain, 166

  Isaiah, monk, 101

  Isaurus, monk, 130

  Ishmael, 46, 47

  Ishmaelites, 47, 95, _also_ Saracens.

  Isidorus, writer, 109

  Israelites in Sinai, 64 ff.

  Jacopo, writer, 155, 158

  Jacques of Vitry, writer, 147

  Jastrow, writer, 10

  Jeremiah of Constantinople, 180

  Jethro, 67, 74, 78, 81, 116

  Joannes de Hese, writer, 167, 168

  Joannicus I of Sinai, 179, 180

  Joannicus II of Sinai, 180

  Joasaph of Sinai, 178 ff.

  John Cilix, writer, 111

  John Climacus, 110, 112, 130, 172

  John, monk, 107

  John Moschus, 110 ff.

  John I of Sinai, 144

  John II of Sinai, 145

  John III of Sinai, 153

  John the Sabaite, 112, 113

  Joos van Ghistelle, writer, 167, 171

  Jorius of Sinai, 137

  Joseph, monk, 102

  Josephus, writer, 41, 65, etc.

  Joshua, 22, 80

  Julian Sabbas, monk, 98, 116

  Julius II, Pope, 178

  Justinian, emperor, 121 ff., 177

  Kadesh, 68, 151, _also_ Ain Kadeis.

  Kantara, 86, 92

  Katherine, St., 134 ff., 151, 154 ff.

  Katia, 86, 92

  Kedar, settlement, 101

  Keduma or Aduma, 43

  Kenites, 68

  Khalesa. _See_ Elusa.

  Khalil Sabag, writer, 181

  Khalu or Kharu, 42

  Khent, queen, 35

  Khenti-hotep, 36

  Khufu, 14, 15, 33, 41, 186

  Kibroth-Hata-avah, 78, 119

  Knust, writer, 142

  Kolzoum, 81, 143, 144, _also_ Clesma.

  Koran, 18, 24, 49, 50, 81, 92

  Korobeïnikoff, writer, 177

  Labbé, writer, 109, etc.

  Laborde and Linant, writers, 129, 185

  Lachmienses, people, 135

  Lammens, writer, 166

  Lampetius of Casium, 109

  Laurentius of Sinai, 177

  Leman, 167

  Le Nain de Tillemont, 97

  Lepsius, writer, 4, 46, 185, 187

  Lequien, writer, 99, etc.

  Leukokome, 85 ff.

  Loewenstein, writer, 176

  Longinus, Superior, 130

  Louis IX of France, 142, 153

  Louis XI of France, 166

  Lua or Levi, 36

  Ludolf of Sudheim, 155, 157

  Macarius of Pharan, 110

  Macarius I and II of Sinai, 150

  Macdonald, Major, 186

  Maderus, writer, 154

  Madian. _See_ Midian.

  Mafkat. _See_ Turquoise.

  Magan or Maganna, 8

  Maghara. _See_ Wadi Maghara.

  Makrizi, writer, 45, 80, 85, 124

  Malchos I, 86

  Malocha, settlement, 111, 112

  Manetho, 65

  Mann, writer, 149

  Manna, 6, 72, 78

  Marah, 70, 115

  Maraneans, 84

  Marcian, emperor, 110

  Marcus I of Sinai, 137

  Marcus II of Sinai, 154

  Martone, writer, 156, 161

  Martyrios, monk, 113

  Massah, 72

  Masudi, writer, 44, 82

  Maundeville, writer, 155, 158

  Mavia or Mania, queen, 104, 105

  Maximilian I, emperor, 166

  Maximilian II, emperor, 177

  _Mazzeboth_, 22, 34, 49, 75

  Mehemed Ali, 184, 185, 190

  Meister K., writer, 114

  Melas of Rhinocorura, 100

  Melik el Nasir, Sultan, 155

  Mena, monk, 70

  Men-kau-hor, 42

  Mentu, people, 26, 33, 34, 39, 42

  Mentu-hotep, 34

  Meren-ptah, 62

  Meribah, 72, 78

  Merytamen, 54

  Meryt-aten, 66

  Michael of Sinai, 154

  Midian or Madian, 81, 82

  Milukhkha, 3, 8, 45

  Miriam, 78

  Moab, 80, 81

  Mohammad, prophet, 134 ff.

  Monconys, writer, 178

  Monreale, 147, 151, _also_ Petra.

  Mons Latrus, settlement, 138

  Moon-cult, 8 ff.

  Moses of Pharan, 102, 104, 105

  Moses, prophet, 41, 60, 64 ff., 98, 99, 116, 117

  Mosque on Gebel Musa, 127, 160

  Mukaddisi, writer, 134, 144

  Muralt, writer, 148

  Murray, guidebook, 27

  Nabat and Nabateans, 83 ff.

  Naghb el Racki, 171

  Nakhb, 5

  Nakhl, Kala at en, 2, 51, 171, 175,

  185, 190

  Natyr of Pharan, 105

  Nawamis, 90

  Nectanebo, 93

  Nectarius, writer, 95, 99, 129, 178

  Neitzschitz, writer, 178

  Nestorius, 109

  Nicephorus of Sinai, 181

  Niebuhr, writer, 17, 89, 181

  Nielssen, writer, 77

  Nilus, writer, 106 ff.

  Nitocris, queen, 82

  Normandy, dukes of, 137, 141

  Obedianus, sheykh, 100, 104

  Oil, holy, 140, 152, 153, 157, 172

  Onophrius, hermit, 95, 164

  Ordnance Survey, ix, 1, 6, 125, 126, 184, 189

  Orontios, monk, 131

  Orosius, writer, 115

  Ostracine, 92, 100, 109

  Pa-kesem, 10, 26

  Palladius, monk, 130

  Pa-qahert. _See_ Pihahiroth.

  Palmer, E. H., 1, 89, 125, 126, 191

  Palmer, H. S., writer, 6

  Paphnutius, monk, 95, 96

  Passover, 70, 71, 77

  Paul of Petra, 102

  Paul II and III, Popes, 178

  Paulus a Latro, 138

  Paulus II of Aila, 121

  Paulus, monk, 107

  Pedro da Cavillan, 168

  Pepy I and II, 33

  Perigraphe, 109, 112, 124

  Per-Sopd, 26, 83, or Pa-kesem.

  Peter of Aila, 99

  Peter of Alexandria, 101, 104

  Peter of Jerusalem, 132

  Petra, city, 44, 49, 79, 86, 90, 92, 108, _also_ Monreale.

  Petrie, Prof.: _Abydos_, 12;
    _Egyptian Tales_, 26, 32, 43;
    _History_, 42, 43;
    _Researches_, ix, 18, etc.

  Petrus Diaconus, 115, 116

  Peutinger Table, 93, 94

  Phacusa, 119, _also_ Per-Sopd or Pa-kesem.

  Pharan, city, 44, 94, 104, 116, etc.

  Phillip of France, 166

  Philo, writer, 65, 67

  Photius of Pharan, 132

  Pietro della Valle, 89

  Pietro Ziani, Doge, 148

  Pihahiroth, 70, 118

  Pilgrims, 155 ff.

  Piloti, writer, 162, 165

  Pithom, 118

  Pliny, 46, 92

  Pococke, Bishop, 98, 126, 135, 181

  Polybius of Rhinocorura, 100

  Pompey the Great, 93

  Poncet, writer, 180

  Posniakow, 176

  Postumianus, 96

  Proclus, monk, 108

  Procopius, writer, 122, 127

  Property of convent, 149, 150, 180

  Prudhoe, Lord, 185

  Psamtek I, 83

  Psoes, monk, 102, 104

  Ptahwer, 39, 42

  Pteleos, 111

  Ptolemæus of Rhinocorura, 109, 145

  Ptolemy, geographer, 44, 46, 49, 51

  Puteus Soldani, 2, 157

  Qasr Ghait, 86

  Raamses, city, 65

  Ra-en-user, 33, 42

  Rafa, _also_ Raphia, 1, 44, 93, 170, 191

  Raguel. _See_ Reuel.

  Raha or Rahan, 46, 116

  Raithou, 48, 102, 111, etc.

  Raleigh, Sir W., 175

  Rameses, city, 65, 70, 118

  Ramessu I, 60

  Ramessu II, 62, 64

  Ramessu III, 43, 62

  Ramessu IV and V, 63

  Ramessu VI, 63, 83

  Raphia. _See_ Rafa.

  Ras Fartak, 5

  Ras Mohammad, 4, 5, 46

  Ras Safsaf, 4, 111

  Ra-smenkh-ka, 66

  Reissbuch, 155, 167, 176

  Renaudin, Dom, writer, 183

  Renaudot, writer, 136

  Rephaim, 41, 44

  Retennu, people, 36, 42

  Reuel or Raguel, 67, 78

  Rewich, 168

  Rhinocorura, 11, 100, 109, etc.

  Rieter, writer, 167

  Robinson, writer, 78, 130, 185,187, 188

  Roehricht, writer, 167

  Ruala, tribe, 192

  Rüppell, writer, 56, 185

  Rusticiana, 131

  Sabbas, monk, 101, 102

  Sabbas of Sinai, 154

  Safed, 27, 28

  Sahura, 33

  Said Pasha, 186

  Saidi, tribe, 124, 189

  Saladdin, 147

  Salael settlement, 108

  Saleh, prophet, 49, 50

  Saleh, Benu, or Sawaliheh, 49, 124, 135, 188

  Sanekht, 32

  Saracens, 95, 125, 163

  Sarbut el Khadem. _See_ Serabit.

  Sawaliheh. _See_ Saleh, Benu.

  Sayce, Prof., 8, 17

  Sebat, princess, 35

  Sebek-her-heb, 38

  Seetzen, writer, 17, 184, 185, 187

  Selim, Sultan, 135, 174, 175

  Semerkhet, 14, 31

  Sen-usert I, 26, 34, 35, 43

  Sen-usert II, 26, 36

  Sen-usert III, 36

  Serabit, 3, 12, 17 ff., 83, etc.

  Serapion of Ostracine, 83

  Serbal, 4, 7

  Serbonian Bog, 92

  Sergius, Abbas, 111

  Sergius, monk, 103

  Set-nekht, 62

  Sety I, 43, 60

  Sety II, 62

  Severus, writer, 96

  Shaddad, king, 48

  Shahin, Auled, tribe, 189

  Sherm, 5, 189

  Shoeib, 81, 82

  Shophet, 28

  Shur, 2, 45, 70, 93, 115

  Sicard, Prefect, 180

  Sidde, settlement, 112

  Sigoli, writer, 156

  Silvanus, monk, 96

  Silvanus of Pharan, 154

  Silvia of Aquitaine, 114

  Simeon Metaphrastes, 97, 138, 162

  Simeon, monk, 127, 139

  Simeon of Sinai, 148, 153

  Sin, moon-god, 8

  Sin, wilderness, 2, 8, 70

  Sisoeis, monk, 114

  Smith-Lewis, Mrs., 100, 132

  Smith, Robertson, 20, 24, 41, 42, 48

  Sneferu, 13, 32, 34, 57

  Socrates, writer, 105

  Solms, Count, 168, 170

  Solomon of Sinai, 154

  Solon, monk, 100

  Song of Deborah, 8, 68

  Sopd or Sopdu, 25, 39, 56, 59, 67

  Sozomenus, writer, 95, 97, 100

  Sprenger, writer, 49, 95

  Stephanos, builder, 129

  Stephen Martyr, 66

  Stephen, monk, 112

  Stephen of Cappadocia, 113, 132

  Strabo, 84, 87, 92

  Succoth, 70, 118

  Syllæus, general, 87

  Taberah, 78, 119

  Tafur, writer, 148, 166

  Tahhieh ibn Robah, 134

  Tahutmes I, 43, 54

  Tahutmes II, 54

  Tahutmes III, 42, 43, 56, 57, 62

  Tahutmes IV, 58

  Tarfat el Gidaran, 7

  Tartir ed Dhami, 3

  Ta-usert, 62

  Tell er Rotab, 70, 118

  Tell es Safi, 27

  Terrebin, tribe, 190, 192

  Tewfik Pasha, 186

  Thamudites, 48-51

  Theoctistes of Ostracine, 100

  Theodor of Pharan, 133

  Theodora, empress, 121, 129

  Theodoret, writer, 98

  Theodosius, monk, 110

  Theodosius of Sinai, 150

  Theodulos, monk, 107, 108

  Theonas, monk, 121

  Thévenot, writer, 178

  Thietmar, writer, 129, 142, 150-2

  Tholas, settlement, 98, 108, 110, 113

  Thomas of Swynburne, 161

  Thoth, divinity, 10, 14, 15

  Thrambe or Bethrambe or Gethrabbi, settlement, 101, 108

  Thuku, 70, _i.e._ Succoth.

  Thyi, queen, 60, 61

  Tischendorf, writer, 89, 126, 185

  Tiyaha, tribe, 188 ff.

  Tobler, writer, 128

  Tor. _See_ Tur.

  Towarah, tribe, 184, 188 ff.

  Trajan, emperor, 90

  Trumpet, 75

  Tucher, writer, 167

  Tur, city, 5, 95, 120, etc., 186

  Turquoise, 3, 23, 32, 34, 38, 56, 63

  Tut-ankh-amen, 66

  Urban VIII, Pope, 178

  Uz, land of, 47

  Valerius, writer, 114

  Volney, writer, 181

  Wadi Aleyat, 90

  Wadi Baba, 3, 6, 17

  Wadi Bateh, 17

  Wadi Beda, 3

  Wadi Dhaba, 17, 52, 54, 74

  Wadi el Arabah, 5, 190

  Wadi el Arish, 2, 5, 49, 91, 170, 171

  Wadi el Jain, 171

  Wadi el Watiyeh, 171

  Wadi eth Themed, 101 n.

  Wadi Feiran, 5, 6, 46, 133, 189

  Wadi Gharandel, 5, 70, 84, 116, 172

  Wadi Hafera, 78

  Wadi Hebran, 101

  Wadi Jarf, 2

  Wadi Khalig, 3, 40

  Wadi Layan, 99

  Wadi Maghara, 14, 30 ff., 185

  Wadi Malga, 111

  Wadi Nasb, 3, 6, 17, 30, etc.

  Wadi Seneb, 3, 112

  Wadi Serbal, 4, 6

  Wadi Sheykh, 50

  Wadi Sidreh, 3

  Wadi Sigilliyeh, 108

  Wadi Suweig, 17

  Wadi Tla’ah, 98

  Wadi Umm Agraf, 3, 5, 18, 67, 112, 113

  Wadi Werdan, 172

  Wadi Wutah, 90

  Weil, writer, 66

  Weill, Capt., writer, 1, 17, 33, 101, 160

  Wilkinson, writer, 26

  William of Tyre, writer, 147

  Wilson and Palmer, ix, 1, etc.

  Wormbser, writer, 176

  Yahveh, 68, 77

  Zacharias, monk, 97

  Zacharias of Sinai, 145

  Zeher, Pharaoh, 93

  Zeno of Rhinocorura, 109

  Zeser, Pharaoh, 32

  Zigiret el Faraun, 148, 149

  Zin, 8, 72

  Zosimus, monk, 132



[1] Wilson and Palmer: _Ordnance Survey_, 1870-71; Hull, Ed.: _Mount
Seir, Sinai and Western Palestine, 1885, with geological map_; Weill,
R.: _La presqu’île de Sinai_, 1908.

[2] Lepsius: _Reise nach Sinai_, 1846, p. 19 ff.

[3] Bartlett, W. H.: _Forty Days in the Desert_, 1849, p. 88.

[4] Hume, W. F.: _Topography and Geology of the South-eastern Portion
of Sinai_, 1906.

[5] _Ordnance Survey_, i. 226.

[6] In this and other passages of the Bible, the word that stands as
coal should be understood as charcoal.

[7] Palmer, H. S.: _Sinai from the Fourth Dynasty_, revised by Prof.
Sayce, 1892, p. 47.

[8] Birch, S.: _Records of the Past_. New Series. Edit. Sayce, I. 41.

[9] _Ibid._, II, 75, 83.

[10] Birch, S.: _Records of the Past_, XI. 148.

[11] Jastrow, M.: _The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria_, 1898, p. 76.

[12] Al Biruni (Muhammad Ibn Ahmad): _Chronology of Ancient Nations_,
transl. Sachau, 1879, p. 187.

[13] Cited Eusebius, _Evang. Præp._, bk. ix. c. 18, c. 23.

[14] Barton, G. A.: _A Sketch of Semitic Origins_, 1902, p. 198.

[15] Birch, _Rec. Past_, N.S., I. 145.

[16] Such tablets are in view in the British Museum.

[17] Petrie, W. M. Fl.: _Hierakonpolis_, I. 1900, p. 129.

[18] Petrie, W. M. Fl.: _Abydos_, I. 1902, p. 25.

[19] On the dating of the dynasties of the Egyptian kings, see p. v.

[20] Cf. Weill, R.: _La presqu’île de Sinai_, 1908, p. 302.

[21] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, p. 72 ff.

[22] Smith, W. Robertson: _The Religion of the Semites_, Ed. 1901, p.

[23] _Ibid._, p. 490.

[24] Hastings: _Dictionary of the Bible_, art. “High Places.”

[25] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, p. 99.

[26] Hastings: _Dictionary of the Bible_, art. “Gilgal.”

[27] Gardiner, Alan: _Journal of Egyptian Archæol._, 1916, vol. 3, p. 1.

[28] Smith, W. Robertson: _Lectures and Essays_, 1912, p. 554.

[29] Wellhausen: _Reste Arabischen Heidenthums_, 1897, pp. 30, 39.

[30] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, p. 133.

[31] _Ibid._, p. 134.

[32] _Hær._ 79 in Migne: _Patr. Græc._, xlii, 742.

[33] Breasted, J. H.: _Ancient Records of Egypt_, i. 722.

[34] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, fig. 98.

[35] Petrie: _Egyptian Tales_, I. 1895, p. 116.

[36] Brugsch, H.: _Religion u. Mythologie der alten Egypter_, 1888, p.

[37] Wilkinson: _Ancient Egypt_, ed. 1878, vol. 3, 234-6.

[38] Murray: _Palestine and Syria_, 1903, p. 259.

[39] Birch: _Rec. Past_, ii, p. 111.

[40] Bliss, F. G., and Macalister, R.: _Excavations in Palestine_, 1902.

[41] Hughes, Th.: _Dictionary of Islam_, 1845, art. “Masjid.”

[42] Petrie, W. M. Flinders: _Researches in Sinai_, 1906.

[43] Breasted, J. H.: _A History of Egypt_, 1909, p. 597.

[44] Breasted: _A History_, fig. 26, p. 42.

[45] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, fig. 49.

[46] Breasted: _Rec._, i. 731.

[47] Petrie: _Egyptian Tales_, I. p. 18.

[48] Weill, R.: _Recueil des Inscriptions_, 1904, 120 ff.

[49] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, p. 52.

[50] _Ibid._, p. 123.

[51] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, p. 124.

[52] Breasted: _Rec._, i. 713, 717-8.

[53] Breasted: _Rec._, i. 735-6.

[54] _Ibid._, pp. 725-7.

[55] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, p. 66.

[56] Breasted: _Rec._, i. 728; Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, p. 156.

[57] Breasted: _Rec._, i. 716.

[58] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, p. 27.

[59] Smith, W. Robertson: _Lectures_, p. 471.

[60] Petrie: _Hist._, ii. 105.

[61] _Ibid._, ii. 22.

[62] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, p. 118.

[63] Petrie: _Egyptian Tales_, i. 97-127.

[64] Petrie: _Hist._, ii. 101; iii. 3.

[65] Breasted: _Rec._, iv. 28.

[66] Burckhardt: _Travels in Syria_, ed. 1822, p. 544.

[67] Birch: _Rec. Past_, vii. 26.

[68] Masudi: _Prairies d’Or_, c. 4, trad. _Société Asiatique_, vol. i.
p. 98.

[69] Makrizi: _Description de l’Egypte_, 1900, ii. 27, p. 543.

[70] Ebers: _Durch Gosen zum Sinai_, 1872, p. 288.

[71] Lepsius: _Denkmäler_, ii. 150, a. 12.

[72] Keith Johnson: _General Atlas_.

[73] Hastings: _Dict. Bible_, art. “Esau.”

[74] Masudi: _Prairies_, c. 3, vol. i. p. 77.

[75] Smith, W. Robertson: _Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia_, 1885,
p. 260.

[76] Masudi: _Prairies_, c. 37, vol. 3, p. 78.

[77] Caussin de Perceval, A. P.: _Essai sur l’historie des Arabes avant
l’Islam_, 1847, i. 13.

[78] Makrizi: _Descrip._, ii. 21, p. 523.

[79] Sprenger: _Alte Geographie Arabiens_, 1875, no. 207, p. 144.

[80] Makrizi: _Descrip._, ii. 27; _De la ville d’Eilah_, p. 530.

[81] Doughty: _Travels_, ed. 1888, i. p. 81, etc.

[82] Caussin: _Essai_, i. 26.

[83] Masudi: _Prairies_, c. 38, vol. 3, p. 90.

[84] Delitzsch: _Wo lag das Paradies_, 1881, p. 304.

[85] Sprenger: no. 314, p. 192.

[86] Diod. Siculus: _Bibliotheca_, iii. 3, trans. 1814, p. 185.

[87] Caussin: _Essai_, i. 27.

[88] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, p. 127.

[89] _Ibid._

[90] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, p. 151.

[91] Breasted: _Rec._, iv. 404-9.

[92] Hastings: _Dict. Bib._, art. “Hexateuch.”

[93] _Chron. Liber_ III. Migne: _Patr. Græc._, xix. 374.

[94] _Hær._, 78 in Migne: _Patr. Græc._, xlii. 745.

[95] Barhebræus: _Chronicon_, 1789, p. 14.

[96] Cited Eusebius: _Evang. Præp_., bk. ix. 27.

[97] _Chronicon Paschale_ in Migne: _Patr. Græc._, xcii. 200.

[98] Weil, G.: _Biblical Legends of the Moslim_, 1846, p. 100.

[99] Eusebius: _Evang. Præp._, bk. ix. c. 27.

[100] Barhebræus: _Chron._, p. 79.

[101] Doughty: _Travels_, p. 8.

[102] Petrie: _Res. Sinai_, p. 211.

[103] _Encyclopædia Brit._, art. “Sinai.”

[104] Hughes: _Dict. of Islam_, art. “Azan.”

[105] “Ramadan, the time when the heat commenced and the soil was
burning hot.” _Al Biruni_ (c. a.d. 1000), c. 19, 1879, p. 321.

[106] Nielssen, D.: _Altarabische Mondreligion_, 1904, p. 276.

[107] Robinson, E.: _Biblical Researches in Palestine_, ed. 1867, vol.
i. p. 157.

[108] Comp. Hastings: _Dict._, art. “Dizahab.”

[109] _Vita_, c. 25 in Migne: _Patr. Lat._, xxiii. p. 39.

[110] Robinson: ii. 175.

[111] Eusebius: _Onomastikon_, ed. Lagarde, 1887, p. 291.

[112] Makrizi: _Desc._, ii. 24, p. 530, “De la ville d’Eilah.”

[113] Makrizi: _Desc._, ii. 25, p. 540.

[114] Burton, Sir R.: _The Golden Mines of Midian_, 1878.

[115] Eutychius: _Annales_ in Migne: _Patr. Græc._, cxi. 930.

[116] Masudi: _Prairies_, c. 47, vol. iii. p. 305.

[117] Breasted: _Rec._, iv. 956.

[118] Diodorus Sic.: iii. 3, transl. 1814, I. p. 183.

[119] Strabo, xvi. 4, 18; 776.

[120] Josephus: _Antiq._, i. 12, 4.

[121] Birch: _Rec. Past._, N. S., v. 120; vi. 85.

[122] Birch: _Rec. Past._, N. S., v. 120; vi. 85.

[123] Birch: _Rec. Past._, i. 26, 93, etc.

[124] Makrizi: _History of the Copts_, transl. Wüstenfeld, 1845, p. 1.

[125] Diod. Sic.: xix. 6, transl. 1814, I. p. 398.

[126] Clédat, J.: _Fouilles_ in _Memoires_, xii. 1913, p. 145-168,
Institut français d’Archéologie orientale.

[127] Strabo: xvi. 4, 22; 780.

[128] Birch: _Rec. Past_, i. 98.

[129] Cosmas Ind.: _Christian Topography_, transl. McCrindle, 1897, p.

[130] Cf. Weill: _La Presqu’île_, p. 288.

[131] Tischendorf: _Voyage en terre sainte_, 1868, p. 33.

[132] Euting, J.: _Nabataeische Inschriften aus Arabien_, 1885.

[133] Euting, J.: _Sinaitische Inschriften_, 1891.

[134] Diod. Sic.: I. 5, transl. 1814, I. 64.

[135] Strabo: xvi. 4, 23; 780

[136] Irby and Mangles: _Travels in Egypt_, etc., ed. 1844, p. 54.

[137] Brugsch: _Dict. Geog._, 1879, p. 52, 1105.

[138] Sprenger: _Alte. Geog._, nr. 326, p. 199.

[139] Eucherius: _Epist._, ed. Geyer, _Itiner. Hier._, 1908, p. 122.

[140] Sozomenus: _Hist._, vi. 38.

[141] Dionysius: _Ep. ad Fabium_. Migne: _Patr. Græc._, x. 1306.

[142] Nectarius: _Epitome of Holy History_, 1805, p. 75.

[143] Baedeker: _Lower Egypt_, 1895, p. 270.

[144] Paphnutius: _Vita St. Onophrii_, Migne: _Patr. Græc._, lxxiii.

[145] _De Vita Patrum_, vi. 11, Migne: _Patr. Lat._, lxxiii. 1009.

[146] Severus: _Dialogue_, i. 17, Migne: _Patr. Lat._, xx. 199.

[147] Sozomenus: _Hist._, vi. 32.

[148] Le Nain de Tillemont: _Memoires pour servir à l’histoire
eccles._, x. p. 448-451.

[149] Nov. 5. Migne: _Patr. Græc._, cxvii. 143.

[150] _Vita S. Galactionis_, Migne: _Patr. Græc._, cxvi. 94.

[151] Pococke, Bishop: _A Description of the East_, 1743, i. 147.

[152] Theodoret: _Religiosa Historia_, Migne: _Patr. Græc._, lxxxii.

[153] Antoninus Martyr: _Itinerarium_, c. 40, ed. Greyer, p. 186.

[154] Nectarius: _Epit._, p. 95.

[155] Burckhardt: p. 544.

[156] Lequien: _Oriens Christianus_, 1740, iii. 759.

[157] Epiphanius: _Hær._, 73, 26. Migne: _Patr. Græc._, xlii. 454.

[158] Lequien: _Or. Chr._, ii. 545.

[159] Sozomenus: _Hist._, vi. 31.

[160] Nectarius: _Epit._, p. 73-93; Smith-Lewis, Agnes: _The Forty
Martyrs of Sinai_ in _Horæ Semit._, no. 9, 1912.

[161] Weill located this in the Wadi Eth Themed, the upper part of the
Wadi Hebran. 1908, p. 198.

[162] Socrates: _Hist._, iv. 36.

[163] _Itinerary_, transl. Pal. Pilg. Soc., vol. 3, p. 52, 1891.

[164] _Acta SS. Boll._, Feb. 7, ii. p. 45.

[165] Nilus: _Narrationes_, Migne: _Patr. Græc._, lxxix. pp. 590-693.

[166] Weill located Salael in the present Wadi Sigilliyeh, p. 195.

[167] _Perigraphe of Holy Mount Sinai_ (first issued by the
archimandrite Jeremiah in 1768), ed. 1817, p. 173.

[168] Labbé: _Concilia_, ed. Mansi, v. 615-17.

[169] Isidorus: _Epistol. liber_, v. 358, 448, etc., in Migne: _Patr.
Græc._, lxxviii.

[170] Lequien: _Or. Christ._, ii. 543.

[171] Labbé: _Conc._, iv. 1477.

[172] Labbé: _Conc._, vi. 567.

[173] _Ibid._, vii. 483.

[174] Lequien: _Or. Christ._, iii. 751.

[175] Joannes Moschus: _Pratum Spirituale_, no. 117, in Migne: _Patr.
Græc._, lxxxvii. pars. 3.

[176] Burckhardt: p. 546.

[177] Anastasius: _Récits inédits_, F. Nau, 1902.

[178] Joh. Climacus: _Scali Paradisa_, no. 7 in Migne: _Patr. Græc._,
lxxxviii. 814.

[179] _Perigraphe_, p. 164.

[180] Férotin: _La veritable auteur de la Pereginatio Silviæ_, 1903.

[181] Valerius: _De B. Etheria_ in Migne: _Patr. Lat._, lxxxvii. 422.

[182] Basileus: _De Vita et Mir. S. Teclæ_. Migne: _Patr. Græc._,
lxxxv. 618.

[183] Petrus Diaconus: _Liber de locis sanctis_, p. 115 in Geyer:
_Itinera Hieros._, 1898.

[184] Orosius: _Hist._, i. 10, Migne: _Patr. Lat._, xxxi. p. 717.

[185] Cosmas Ind.: v. p. 193.

[186] “Moses in Phacusis.” Lequien: _Or. Hist._, ii. 546.

[187] Lequien: _Or. Christ._, iii. 759.

[188] Labbé: _Conc._, viii. pp. 884, 889.

[189] Procopius: _De Ædific._, v. 8, transl. Pal. Pilg. Soc., ii. 1897,

[190] Eutychius: _Annales_, 1071.

[191] Makrizi: _History of the Copts_, p. 116.

[192] Cheikho: _Les archévèques du Sinai_, in _Mélanges de la faculté
orientale de St. Joseph_, ii. 1907, p. 408, ff.

[193] Antoninus Martyr, c. 38. According to another text printed by
Geyer: “Quando etiam venit tempus festivitatis ipsorum recurrente luna,
antequam egrediatur luna, ad diem festum ipsorum incipit colorem mutare
marmor ilia” (ed. 1898, p. 184, 213).

[194] _Ord. Survey_, i. 67.

[195] Cheikho: p. 411.

[196] Tischendorf: _Voyage_, 1868, p. 55.

[197] _Ord. Survey_, i. 209.

[198] Gregor von Gaming: _Ephemeris peregrinationis_, in Pez:
_Thesaurus Anecdot._, ii. part 3, p. 498.

[199] Tobler: _Golgotha_, ed. 1849, p. 139.

[200] Nectarius: _Epit._, p. 159. Another reading is “Stephanos, son of
Martyrios, builder and architect, from Aila.”

[201] Laborde et Linant: _Voyage de l’Arabie Pétrée_, 1830.

[202] Nectarius: _Epit._, p. 159.

[203] Robinson, E.: _Researches_, vol. i. 99.

[204] Gregorius: _Epist. Liber_ in Migne: _Patr. Lat._, lxxvii. xi. 1,
p. 1118; xi. 2, p. 1119; ii. 23, p. 562.

[205] Gregorius: _Epist._, v. 49, p. 719.

[206] Gardthausen, Victor: _Catalog. Cod. Græc. Sin._, 1886.

[207] Smith-Lewis, Agnes: _Sinaitic Studies_, nr. 1, nr. 3.

[208] Moschus: _Pratum_, no. 123-4, 127.

[209] Evagrius: _Hist. Eccles._ Migne: _Patr. Græc._, lxxxvi. 2, p.

[210] Eutychius: _Annales_, p. 1082.

[211] Labbé: _Conc._, x. 1071.

[212] Makrizi: _Desc._, ii. 25, trad. 1900, _De la ville d’Eilah_, p.

[213] _Description of Syria_, transl. Pal. Pilg. Soc., 1892, vol. 3, p.

[214] Burckhardt: p. 546.

[215] Pococke: i. p. 258.

[216] Makrizi: _Descrip._, 1895, i. 25, p. 209.

[217] Eutychius: _Annales_, p. 1072.

[218] Renaudot, E. S.: _Hist. Patriarch. Alex._, 1713, p. 841.

[219] De Frotomundo, in Mabillon: _Acta Ord. St. Benedicti._, vol. ii,

[220] Pococke: i. 146.

[221] _Commemoratorium_, a MS. of the 9th or 10th _century_, edit.
Tobler: _Descriptiones Terræ Sanctæ_, 1874, p. 139.

[222] _Perigraphe_, p. 152.

[223] Labbé: _Conc._, vol. xvi. p. 194.

[224] Lequien: _Or. Chris._, iii. 754.

[225] Glaber: _Hist. Lib. Quinque_, in _Collection pour servir à
l’histoire_, 1886.

[226] Vita Pauli Jun., in _Analecta Boll._, xi. 1892, p. 1-74, 136-182.

[227] Robinson: i. p. 132; _Ord. Surv._, i. 60.

[228] Nov. 25. Migne: _Patr. Græc._, cxvii. 179.

[229] _Martyrium St. Catherinæ_ in Migne: _Patr. Græc._, cxvi. 275-302.

[230] _Hist. Eccles._, viii. 34.

[231] Giustiniani, Bern.: _Hist. cronol. dei ordini militari_, ed.
1672, i, p. 188.

[232] _Vita St. Symeon_ is in _Acta SS._ Boll. June 1, pp. 89-95.

[233] _Translatio et Miracula St. Kath._ in _Analecta Bolland._, 1902,
vol. 22, pp. 423-39.

[234] _Chronicon_, ii. 26 in Migne: _Patr. Lat._, cliv. 25.

[235] Canisius, H.: _Thesaurus Mon. Eccles._, iv. 1725, p. 345.

[236] _Translatio_, p. 423, footnote.

[237] Hardwick: _Historical Enquiry_, etc., 1849.

[238] Knust: _Geschichte der Legenden der heil. Katharina von Alex._,

[239] Mukaddisi: 3, 65.

[240] Ademarus: _Chronicle_, 3, 47, ed. 1897, p. 170.

[241] Makrizi: _Descrip._, ii. 24.

[242] _Vita_ in _Acta SS._ Boll., Aug. 30, p. 627.

[243] Nectarius: _Epitome_, p. 211; _Perigraphe_, p. 153.

[244] Abu Saleh: _Churches, etc._, trans. Butler, 1895, p. 167.

[245] Benjamin of Tudela: _Itinerary_, trans. Adler, 1907, p. 77.

[246] Fretellus: _Jerusalem_, etc., Pal. Pilg. Soc., 1892, vol. 5, p.

[247] Albert of Aix: _Hist._, xii. 21 in Migne: _Patr. Lat._, clxvi. p.

[248] William of Tyre, _Hist._, xxi. 3 in Migne: _Patr. Lat._, cci. p.

[249] Lequien: iii. 727, mentioned that “Dorotheos, bishop of Petra,”
was present at the Council of Bethlehem in 1672.

[250] Jacques of Vitry: _Histoire des Croisades_, transl. Guizot, iii.

[251] Tafur, P.: (1435-39): _Andances et Viajes_, ed. 1874, p. 94.

[252] Muralt: _Essai de Chron. Byz._, p. 312.

[253] Gregoriades: _Holy Mount Sina_, p. 98.

[254] Mann, H. K.: _Lives of the Popes_, vol. 2, p. 293.

[255] Assemanni: _Bibl. Orientalis_, ii, p. 511.

[256] Honorius, Pope: _Regesta_, 1888, i. 123; ii, 178, 391, 394, 396.

[257] Chabot: _A propos du convent_ in _Revue de l’Orient. Chrétien._,
vol. v., 1900, p. 495.

[258] Nectarius: _Epit._, p. 211; Cheikho: p. 418.

[259] Thietmar, Magister: _Peregrinatio_, ed. Laurent, 1857.

[260] Gardthausen: nos. 94, 657, 662, 670.

[261] Nectarius: _Epit._, p. 212.

[262] Maderus: _Antiquitates Brunvicenses_, 1661, p. 267.

[263] Bulls in _Archives de l’Orient Latin_, 1881, i. 274, 283.

[264] Antoninus of Cremona (_c._ 1331): _Itinerarium_ in _Zeitschrift
des deutsch. Palestin. Vereins_, vol. xiii. year 1890; Jacopo of
Verona (_c._ 1335): _Liber Peregrinationis_, ed. 1895, in _Revue de
l’Orient Latin_, iii. p. 163-302; Wilhelm de Baldensel (_c._ 1336):
_Hodoeporicon_, ed. 1725, in Canisius: _Thesaurus_, vol. iv.; Ludolf
of Sudheim or Rudolf de Suchen (_c._ 1336-41): _Reise_, ed. 1609, in
Feyerabend: _Reissbuch_, 1610, p. 803, ff.; Sir John Maundeville (_c._
1340): _Travels_, ed. Halliwell, 1866; Rudolf von Fraymansperg (_c._
1346), ed. 1725 in Canisius: _Thesaurus_, vol. iv. pp. 358-60.

[265] Sigoli, Simone (1384): _Viaggio al Monte Sinai_, ed. Piroti,
1831; Frescobaldo, Lionardo (1384): _Viaggio_, ed. 1818; (Gucci:
_Viaggio_ in Gargiolli: _Viaggi in terra santa_, 1862;) Martone, Nic.
(1393): _Liber Pereg. ad loca sancta_ in _Revue de l’Orient Latin_,
iii. 1895; Briggs (1392) in _Archives de l’Orient Latin_, 1884;
Anglure, Ogier d’ (_c._ 1395): _Le saint voyage_, ed. Bonardot et
Legnon: _Soc. des anciens textes français_, 1878.

[266] Heyd, W. von: _Gesch. des Levanthandels_, 1879, vol. 2, 466.

[267] Weill: _Presqu’île_, p. 93.

[268] Ed. 1893, p. 247.

[269] Piloti: _Tractatus_, in _Monuments pour servir à l’histoire_;
Brussels, vol. iv. p. 357.

[270] Harff, A. von: _Pilgerfahrt_, ed. 1860, p. 133.

[271] The meaning of this word may be Lenten pardons.

[272] In Purchas: _His Pilgrims_, reprint, vii. 566.

[273] Lammens: _Mélanges_ in _Revue de l’Orient Chrétien_, vii., 1902,
p. 503, ff.

[274] Lequien: _Or. Chr._, iii. 515.

[275] Gregoriades: p. 95.

[276] _Ibid._, pp. 101-107.

[277] Röhricht: _Deutsche Pilgerreisen_, 1880, p. 104.

[278] Adornes, Anselme (1470): _Voyage au Mt. Sinai_, 1893, in
_Annales de la Société d’Emulation_, Ser. v. tom. 4; Tucher, Hans
(1479): _Beschreibung der Reise_ in Feyerabend: _Reissbuch_, 1609, p.
652-99; Rieter: _Reissbuch_, 1884; Bernhard v. Breydenbach (1483):
_Pilgerfahrt_ in Feyerabend: _Reissbuch_, pp. 91-229. ed. with Rewich’s
woodcuts, 1486; Felix Fabri (1483): _Wanderings_, i., ii., transl.
Pal. Pilg. Soc., vols. 7-10; Jan van Aerts (1484), cf. Neefs: _Revue
Catholique_, vol. ix. 1873, p. 566; Joos van Ghistelle: _Tvoyage_, ed.
1572; Joannes de Hese (1489): _Reise_ in appendix to Oppert: _Presbyter
Johannes_, 1864; Ritter von Harff (1496-99): _Pilgerfahrt_, ed. 1860;
Martin Baumgarten (1507): _Peregrinatio_, 1594; Gregor von Gaming
(1507): _Ephemeris Peregrinationis_, in Pez: _Thesaurus_, 1721, ii.

[279] Francesco Alvarez: _Voyage_ in Ramusio: _Primo volume delle
Navigazioni_, 1588, p. 236.

[280] Ed. 1824, Roxburgh Club.

[281] Röhricht: p. 311

[282] Baedeker: 1895, p. 276.

[283] Barbosa: Letter in Ramusio: _Delle Nav._, 1888, p. 291.

[284] Heyd: _Levanthandel_, ii. 540.

[285] Ed. Purchas: _His Pilgrims_, reprint 1905, vii. 236-310.

[286] Belon: _Observations de certaines singularités_, 1554, p. 126.

[287] Nectarius: _Epit._, p. 212.

[288] _Perigraphe_, p. 153.

[289] _Voyage_, ed. 1889 in Khitowo: _Itinéraires russes en Orient_, p.

[290] _Perigraphe_, pp. 156-160.

[291] Lammens: _Mélanges_, p. 503.

[292] Lequien: _Or. Chr._, iii. 517.

[293] Cf. Dobschütz: _Sammelhandschrift_ in _Byz. Zeitschrift_, vol.
15, 1906, pp. 247-51.

[294] _Le saint voyage_, 1619, p. 564.

[295] Neitzschitz: _Siebenjahr Wanderung_, ed. 1674, p. 544.

[296] Monconys: _Journal de Voyage_, ed. 1665, p. 164.

[297] Thévenot, Jean de: _Voyages_, 1689, vol. v. p. 532.

[298] Monconys: _Journal_, p. 203.

[299] Lacroix: _Le Turchie Chrétienne_, 1695.

[300] Gubernatis (Dom. de) Orbis Seraphicus: _Historia de Tribus
Ordin._, 1888, ii. 293, 310.

[301] Poncet, C. J.: _Journey_ in Pinkerton: _Voyages_, vol. 15, 1814,
p. 105.

[302] Robinson: i. p. 130.

[303] Renaudin, Dom: _Le monastère de Ste. Catherine_ in _Revue de
l’Orient Chrétien_, 1900, p. 319-21.

[304] _Ord. Survey_, i. 200.

[305] Seetzen: _Reisen_, 1807, vol. 3, on Sinai.

[306] Gregoriades: pp. 88-117.

[307] Cited Weill: _Presqu’île_, pp. 250, footnote.

[308] Palmer, Prof. in _Ord. Survey_, I, p. 456, ff.; Burton:
_Pilgrimage_ (1855), ed. 1879, p. 100, ff.; Burckhardt: _Notes on the
Bedouin_, 1830.

[309] Besant, W.: _Edward Henry Palmer_, 1883.

[310] _Times History of the War_, parts 48, 128.

                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

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