228 PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
Frankish name has survived ; perhaps because the town was founded by the Franks, and
had no other title. Fetellus informs us that during the First Crusade, Raymond, fourth Count
of Toulouse, " dit de Saint Gilles," advanced by this road, and camped at a certain casale on
the night before he reached the Holy City. The distances given show that this casale—by
which word William of Tyre tells us was meant an open village of one hundred houses,
paying a tax of one bezant each to the seigneur—was near the Robbers' Spring, and we
can have no hesitation in recognising the name of Casale Saint Gilles in the modern Sinjil,
a place which, with Turmus 'Ayya (the Thormasia of the Talmud), became church property
at a later period.
The region between Bethel and Shechem, belonging to the tribe of Ephraim, is yet
more rugged than that round Jerusalem ; the valleys are deeper, the mountains steeper and
more rocky, and the character of the watershed different—broad, open vales and small
plateaux, like that of Turmus 'Ayya, existing close to the central ridge. The country near
Jufna is also remarkable for the extent of its cultivation, it being generally observable in
Palestine that the Christian villages flourish better than those of the Moslems, partly because
the Christians can claim protection from foreign powers, which the Moslems do not enjoy,
being left, without any protector, to the tyranny of the Turks. But another reason for the
greater prosperity of Christian districts is no doubt to be found in the helpless fatalism and
indolent resignation of the Moslems, contrasted with the energy and enterprise of the
villagers educated by the Greek and Latin priests.
On the stony ascent near Sinjil, and in other parts of the road, the traces of the ancient
Roman pavement are visible. A fence of stone was made along the sides of the highway
and huge polygonal blocks of stone were carefully fitted together to form the roadway,
as in the streets of Pompeii. From the narrow saddle which is now reached the first view
of Gerizim is obtained, a long ridge rising to a blunt summit, with a steep eastern shoulder,
not unlike that of Helvellyn seen from near Dunmail Raise. At its feet is the brown
plain of the Mukhnah, and Hermon closes the view in the extreme distance; while in the
foreground, at the foot of the steep stony winding descent, is the ruined inn and the
beautiful spring of Khan Lubban.
The mountains of Ephraim—long spurs covered on the west with thickets of mastic
and dwarf pine—are drained by two main watercourses, valleys so steep as to be almost
impassable by horsemen, and each indicating an ancient political boundary. The most
southern of these—one of the longest valleys in the country- is formed by the junction
of Wady Lubban with a more northern affluent which rises north of Sawieh, a place hereafter
to be described. The great valley runs down beneath the cliff on which the Byzantine
monastery called Deir-el-Kul'ah, "convent castle," is perched (see page 226), and passes
through the low chalky hills to Ras-el-'Ain, the ancient Antipatris, the Crusaders' Mirabel.
The northern valley, rising at the foot of Gerizim, and flowing south-west, is scarcely less
formidable. The southern watercourse formed the ancient boundary between Judaea and