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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 334



most gross act of perjury in invading Egypt on pretence of Shawer's disloyalty. But lie was punished for it by the destruction of the fairest dream of conquest that ever man had. For one thing the present writers must, at least, be thankful to him. He it was who instigated William of Tyre to write that admirable history from which a large part of these pages are taken. In 1163 the city of Jerusalem was visited by the Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela. He tells the following curious story concerning the tombs of the kings. " On Mount Sion are the sepulchres of the house of David, and those of the kings who reigned after him. In consequence of the following circumstance, however, this place is at present hardly to be recognised. Fifteen years ago, one of the walls of the place of worship on Mount Sion fell down, and the patriarch commanded the priest to repair it. He ordered stones to be taken from the original wall of Sion for that purpose, and twenty workmen were hired at stated wages, who broke stones from the very foundation of the walls of Sion. Two of these labourers, who were intimate friends, upon a certain day treated one another, and repaired to their work after their friendly meal. The overseer accused them of dilatoriness, but they answered that they would still perform their day's work, and would employ thereupon the time while their fellow-labourers were at meals. They then continued to break out stones, until, happening to meet with one which formed the mouth of a cavern, they agreed to enter it in search of treasure, and they proceeded until they reached a large hall, supported by pillars of marble, encrusted with gold and silver, and before which stood a table, with a golden sceptre and crown. This was the sepulchre of David, king of Israel, to the left of which they saw that of Solomon in a similar state, and so on the sepulchres of all the kings of Juda, who were buried there. They


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