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A name so frequently mentioned in Scripture, around which history, commerce, and prophecy are grouped, cannot but possess great interest for us, on whom the ends of the world are come; and we turn, with unusual pleasure, to the answer of the questions, where and what was Tarshish ?—Was it a single city, the emporium of Eastern and Western luxuries? Was it a series of colonies, each possessing maritime dignity and splendour ? Or was it a name conferred, from some unknown reason, on all commercial enterprizes carried on by the intervention of fleets and navies? We think it probable, that we shall be able to answer all these questions from Scripture and from history in the affirmative. The first mention of the word Tarshish in Scripture occurs in Gen. x. 4, in the genealogy of the post-diluvian patriarchs. Tarshish is there said to be the son of Javan, the grandson of Noah. Josephus says, that he settled in Cilicia, and built the city of Tarsus, in Cilicia, afterwards so celebrated in Scripture story as the birth-place of the great Apostle of the Gentiles. No doubt Josephus gives us the opinion of the learned among his own nation, and there is no reason for supposing that Tarsus might not owe its origin to this son of Javan; but it is certain that it is not the Tarshish which renders his name so famous, as it has no connexion with maritime enterprise. Javan, or Ion, the Father of Tarshish, after leaving a colony in Asia Minor, which still bears his name, seems to have settled in Greece. The Ionian Sea carried most probably the earliest vessels which were constructed after the Deluge ; and hence I take it, the origin of the phrase so common in Scripture, of styling a fleet “ships of Tar
shish." Italy, according to old tradition, (which, when it does not contradict the word of God, is always entitled to respect) was the home of Japheth, when God 'gave the signal for the re-peopling of the desolated earth. The first king of Italy was Japetus, whose mild reign was dignified by the title of the Golden age. He was afterwards deified under the name of Janus, the two-faced God, who had looked upon two worlds, and bore on the reverse of his coins the nave of a ship. Modern researches have thrown great light upon ancient history, and shown to us, that much which we have always styled ancient, is, compared with “ things of old,” comparatively new. Rome, with her proud pretensions and lofty claims to antiquity, has become a modern city, since the monuments of Etruria have been opened to us ; and Greece, with her romancing Mythology, is now being cast aside for the claims of the really ancient kingdoms of Scripture, “populous No,” and Babylon the Great. It shall not be so with Tarshish; for not only is she great in the past, but her destiny is written in the calendar of prophecy : and, as connected with the “ancient people,” she shall be great in the future. We have mentioned Etruria as probably the earliest settled part of Italy. It has been the fashion of late, (an Egyptian mania having come over literature.) to suppose that Etruria was colonized from Egypt ; an opinion to which the many undoubtedly Egyptian articles found in Etrurian tombs, &c., gave considerable weight. The Etrurians themselves say, that they came from Asia Minor: I take leave to believe their own traditions, especially as they are corroborated by the. Etrurian style of architecture, which resembles that recently-discovered in the monumental remains of Lydia. That the Etrurians were not Egyp
tians, nor had been closely connected with Egypt, I gather from the following differences between the two nations.
1st. The religious ceremonies of the Etrurians differed entirely from those of the Egyptians. The Etrurians were not addicted to astrology ; their divination was not conducted by the stars, but by the flight of birds, a reason for which may probably be the tradition of the assistance afforded to Noah by the flight of the raven and the dove from the ark, as recorded in Genesis. The Etrurian mode of delivering their auguries was, by conducting lightning, a mode unknown in Egypt, whose cloudless skies were seldom ruffled by the lightning's flash : nor do we read of any of those mysterious ceremonies in Etruria, which were so common in the land of magic.
2nd. The mythology, or fabulous history, of the two nations, differed essentially. The Etrurians had no hawk-headed Deity, no Amnon, no Thoth, no Osiris ; nor, as it seems, was there any of the horrible worship introduced by Ham and his sons into the countries which they peopled, known to the earliest settlers in Italy.
3rd. The civil polity of the two nations differed entirely. It would be too long in such a mere sketch to detail these differences, but any reader may discover them for himself, by comparing Niebuhr and Mrs. Hamilton Gray's Etruria with Wilkinson's Ancient Egypt.
4th. The Etrurians had no hieroglyphics.
I think the mention of these differences sufficient to justify my opinion, that Italy was not peopled from Egypt. The only two circumstances in favour of their being an Egyptian colony, are their similar forms of
burial, which may indeed have been borrowed from the common ancestors of both, and the presence in their tombs and ruins, of articles exactly resembling those discovered in similar situations in Egypt. This, I think, may be accounted for by supposing that these articles were actually Egyptian, stolen or purchased from Egypt, or that they were the work of Egyptian slaves captured and brought into Italy by those notorious pirates and mariners, the Etrurians. Having thus disposed of their Egyptian origin, we may next remark, that the only word, I believe, as yet discovered in the real Etruscan lauguage, is “Turseis,' which seems to signify a fortified place, and is by many supposed to be the origin of their name: this, coupled with their early traditions of Japheth and his government, of their arrival by sea from Asia Minor, and with their freedom from Hamite idolatry, make me conclude, that the Etrurians were a branch parted early from the great human stem, and that they came with Javan and Tarshish from the land of Armenia. The Etruscan style of architecture is traced in Sardinia, Ithaca, Cephalonia, and along the shores of Greece ; and, according to the author of • Etruria Celtica,' their language is Celtic, and nearly identical with the modern Irish. But, whatever may be thought of the hypothesis, that ancient Italy was peopled by Tarshish, (and as there is no scriptural proof of it, the fact is not material to the present paper,) we can have no doubt that, in crossing the Mediterranean to the coast of Africa, we come to a colony founded by or from Tarshish; for Tyre, the crowning city, is expressly called by Isaiah the “daughter of Tarshish” (chap. xxiii. 10). Passing along the Mediterranean to the Straits of Gibraltar, or, as they were then styled, the pillars of Hercules, we come to Tartessus, supposed
by most commentators to be the ancient Tarshish. Geographers have not agreed what was the exact spot on which Tartessus was fixed, but this is not material, as Strabo states that all the neighbourhood of Calpe, or Gibraltar, was called Tartessis.* Here, therefore, we certainly meet with Tarshish again. But we must not stay our inquiries even here ; for, throughout Scripture, Tarshish is linked with an isle ; “ Pass ye over to Tarshish ; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle,” says the prophet (Isa. xxiii. 6). Tyre, indeed, has become a mere rock in the sea, a place for fishermen to spread their nets upon. Tartessus has passed from history. Tarsus, in Cilicia, has become an unhealthy village. Etruria is known chiefly by her ruins, but Tarshish must still be in existence : its navies must still navigate the globe ; for the sure word of prophecy has said, and who shall gainsay it ? that ships of Tarshish shall bring back the Jews (Isa. lx. 9), and that the kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents to Messiah. Where then is this highly-favoured island, whose power is to be so great as to stop with its young lions the march of Gog ? (Ezek. xxxviii. 13). History tells us, that the Phænicians traded very early to Britain for their metals, and that before the era of profane history, the western parts of England were called Cassiterrides, or islands of tin. Scripture tells us that Tyre traded with Tarshish, for silver, iron, tin, and lead (Ezek. xxvii. 12), all of which articles, as Dr. Clarke observes, might be brought from Britain. Can we doubt then, for a moment, who the maritime people are,—who are now the actual owners of the Spanish
* One of the stones in the Jewish High Priest's breastplate was * Tarshish,” a sea-green stone supposed to be the Topaz brought from Spain.