PHCENICIA AND LEBANON. 7
Melkarth at Tyre, for in the temple of Jerusalem (an exact reproduction of its arrangements),
in order to efface all vestiges of a symbolism so contrary to the spirit of the worship of Jehovah,
they were replaced by the two columns with bronze capitals, Jachin and Boaz. Three
monoliths of the same type are still to be seen among the ruins of Marothus ('Amrlt)."
It is probably impossible for one in our day to imagine the depth of immorality and
abominable licentiousness which was inwrought in the very spirit and fibre of the old Phoenician
" . . . . Baal next, and Ashtaroth,
And ali the idolatries of heathen round,
Besides their other worse than heathenish crimes."
Around their religious system gathered, in the external and public worship, a host of
frightful debaucheries, orgies, and prostitutions in honour of the deities, such as accompanied all
the naturalistic religions of antiquity. Creuzer, as quoted by Lenormant, says, " This religion
silenced all the best feelings of human nature, degraded men's minds by a superstition
alternately cruel and profligate, and we may seek in vain for any influence for good it could
have exercised on the nation." Their human sacrifices to Baal Moloch were followed by
feasts in which deep sorrow and frantic joy alternated. The Phoenicians are described by
ancient writers as both unruly and servile, gloomy and cruel, corrupt and ferocious, selfish and
covetous, implacable and faithless. It is well for us to have these peculiarities of the old Baal-
worship in mind as we are proceeding on our journey south through the maritime cities, the
Lebanon strongholds, and the characteristic temples of the ancient Phoenicians.
Just to the north of the three conical symbolic shafts of 'Amrit is the extraordinary rock-
hewn temple of "'Ain el Haiyeh," or Serpent Fountain. The name is appropriate to the place,
for no part of Syria is more infested with venomous serpents than these cretaceous hills along
the coast of the Arvadites. On every journey in this region we hear stories of their ravages.
While riding ahead of my companions near this very temple I heard a sudden rustling in the
wheat stubble ; my horse started back, and I saw a repulsive-looking snake about two feet in
length, of a dark yellow hue, and about as thick as my wrist from head to tail, floundering along
towards a rejmeh, or stone heap. The boy with us exclaimed, " Beware, a serpent!" It
was of the most venomous character. Michaud relates, in the history of the eighteenth
Crusade, that when the Christian army remained three days on the banks of the river
Eleuctera (Nahr el Kebir), fifteen miles south of' Amrit, they were assailed by serpents called
tarenta, whose bite produced death. The Crusaders were stricken with terror, but the remedy
proposed by the natives surprised them even more. It was of a nature so vile as to remind
one of the abominable rites of the ancient Baal-worshippers of the same plains.
On the north-east of the fountain is an excavation a quarter of a mile long, cut in the rock,
ninety feet wide at the top, descending in steps to the bottom. The rock-hewn temple consists
of a court one hundred and fifty feet square, cut nine feet deep from the ledge of rocks, smoothly
hewn on the floor, the north side being cut away to form an opening towards the stream. In
the middle of the northern opening a square block of the native rock is left, sixteen and a