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Assyrian empire, by "a lion with eagle's wings;" denoting their ferocious strength and cruelty, and the rapidity of their conquests. Dan. vii. 4.
ST. PAUL'S VOYAGE FROM CÆSAREA TO PUTEOLI.
The course of this voyage related, Acts xxvii. in which the Apostle was shipwrecked on the Island of Melite, Acts xxviii. 1. has been much mistaken by the first Geographers and Commentators; and their maps of it erroneously constructed, in consequence of the vulgar error, that the island in question was the African Melite, or Malta; instead of the Adriatic Melite, or Meleda. This correction of the received Geography, we owe to the sagacious Bryant; and it has recently been established with much learning and ability, by a Layman, in a Dissertation on this Voyage, Oxford, 1817.-the ingenious Dr. Falconer, the Physician at Bath, who has also furnished a correcter map of the voyage. From his Dissertation chiefly, the following remarks are extracted, explanatory of the narrative.
Acts xxvii. 1, 2. St. Paul, with other prisoners, under the care of a Centurion of Augustus' band, embarked at Cæsarea, on board a ship of Adramyttium, intending to coast along Asia Minor to that place, which lay opposite to the Isle of Lesbos, in the Ægean sea, and still retains its name Adramyttor.
Ver. 3. Next day they reached Sidon, about a degree northward of Cæsarea, where they remained some days; the centurion Julius obligingly permitting St. Paul to visit his friends there.
Ver. 4. On their loosing from Sidon, they were compelled, by contrary winds, to relinquish their intention of coasting Asia Minor, and obliged to sail under Cyprus, (vπεtλevoaμev) or on the south-side of the island, instead of the north-side, as they had at first proposed.
Ver. 5. Crossing the Cilician and Pamphylian sea, they arrived at Myra, a sea-port on the coast of Lycia.
Ver. 6. There they found an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy, laden with corn, on board which they embarked.
Ver. 7. After several days of slow sailing, they came over against Cnidus, a maritime city of Caria; but were driven by a contrary wind, probably from a northern quarter, under Crete, over against its eastern cape, Salmone.
Ver. 8. This they with difficulty weathered, (uodis πapaɣevo
μɛvo) and arrived at a place, on the southern side of the same Island, called Fair havens: there being no good ports on the northern side. Δυσλίμενος ἡ Κρητη προς βορραν. Eustath. ad Odyss. T.
Ver. 9. They did not reach fair havens, till the Fast was already past, and sailing already dangerous. The fast alluded to was the Jewish fast of expiation, which was observed on the tenth of the month Tisri, or the 25th of September, the day on which the Autumnal equinox was then computed to fall, after which stormy weather was usual. The repetition of non," already," intimates that a good while had elapsed after the autumnal equinox; St. Paul, therefore, advised them not to proceed
Ver. 10. On the voyage, at the risque of the cargo, and of the ship, and of their own lives also.
Vers. 11, 12. But the haven not being commodious to winter in, the pilot and the owner of the ship, and the majority of the crew, preferred the sailing from thence, and endeavouring to reach Phenice, a haven on the western coast of Crete, and there to winter. And the centurion followed their advice in preference to the Apostle's.
Ver. 13. Taking the opportunity of the south wind blowing softly; they weighed anchor, (apavreç) and coasted along Crete; probably about the middle of November.
Ver. 14. But not long after, a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon, drove forcibly against it, (the Island) (εẞaλε Kar' αυτης ανεμος τυφωνικος ὁ καλουμενος Ευροκλυδων). This word is compounded of Eupos, "the south-east wind," and kλvdwv, "a wave." And it is described by Virgil as raising innumerable waves:
Aut ubi navigiis violentior incidit Eurus,
It seems to be the wind called " Hellespontine" by Herodotus, which shattered and dispersed the fleet of Xerxes, in the Persian war, B. vii. 188. now called by mariners a Levanter, Rennel, Herod. p. 119. and was prevalent at this season of the year, as we learn from Columella, who reckons the fifth of the Ides of November, (Nov. 9.) the beginning of winter, when the south-east wind blows; and (Nov. 11.) the seas dangerous to sail on."
Ver. 15. And when the ship was hurried away with it,
(συναρπασθέντος) and not able to face the wind, (αντοφθαλμειν To aveμg) they let her drive.
Vers. 16, 17. And running under a little island called Clauda, nearly opposite to Phenice, they were scarcely able to come by the boat which, taking up, or rather drawing close to the vessel, they made use of braces, undergirding the ship; or binding it round under the keel or bottom, with cables, to prevent the ship from splitting, and foundering, by the violence of the An expedient alluded to by Horace,
Ac sine funibus
Vix durare carinæ
Possint imperiosius æquor.-Hor. Od. i. 14.
and practised in modern time. See Anson's Voyage. And now, the mariners, not knowing where they were, as neither sun nor stars had been visible for several days, ver. 20. and as these violent Levanters are apt to change their direction, (Shaw's Travels, p. 331.) fearing that they might be cast on the Syrtis [major,] dangerous quicksands on the coast of Africa, lying to the south-west of Phenice, in Crete, they lowered their sails, (xaλaoaνTES TO OKƐVOC) and so were driven, according to the nautical expression, under bare poles, at the mercy of the elements.
Vers. 18, 19. The tempest continuing, the next day they lightened the ship; and the third day they cast out, with their own hands, the furniture of the ship, (σkɛuŋy tov λοιν) and at length, after the tempest had affected them for several days, they lost all hopes of safety.
Vers. 21-26. In this distress, St. Paul blamed them for not following his advice; but encouraged them with assurance of being saved, in consequence of a divine vision; but foretold that they should be cast away upon a certain island.
Ver. 27. At length, on the fourteenth night after they had left Crete, they discovered that they were driven into the Adriatic Sea; perhaps from some abatement of the gloom, and some knowledge of the coast at its entrance, where it was narrowest.
The limits or boundaries of the Adriatic Sea, are accurately marked by the Ancient Geographers. Strabo says expressly, that it is bounded at its mouth by Panormus, and the port of Oricum; or by the Japygian Promontory of Calabria, and the
Ceraunian mountains of Epirus, which lie in about 40 degrees of north latitude, and upwards of 4 degrees to the north of Malta. And Ptolomy, so far from reckoning Malta to be an island of the Adriatic Sea, reckons it to be a part of Africa. And Mela speaks of Corcyra (half a degree to the south of the Ceraunian mountains) as being situate in the neighbourhood, [vicina] not in the Adriatic Sea.
Ver. 28. After much tossing about in this Sea, they apprehended at last that they were approaching the land, although the darkness of the night did not permit them to discover it. They, therefore, sounded repeatedly, and from the decrease of the depth, they judged that their apprehensions were well founded.
Ver. 29. Fearing, therefore, that they might fall on the rocks during the darkness of the night, when few or none could escape, they cast four anchors from the stern of the ship, and waited anxiously for the appearance of day. It is the oriental custom to cast anchors from the stern of the ship, not from the prow, as with the Romans, and with us. St. Paul's ship had two anchors on each side of the stern.
Vers. 30, 31. In this distress, the mariners anxious to save themselves, by quitting the ship, lengthened or loosened the rope at the stern that towed the boat, under colour of bringing it round to the prow of the vessel, so as to cast anchors from thence; and it was probably their attempting to do what was so unusual in the navigation of that age, that led St. Paul to suspect their real design, which he communicated to the Centurion and the soldiers, and they accordingly prevented, by cutting the towing-line of the boat, and setting her adrift.
Vers. 33-37. And while the day was approaching, St. Paul exhorted them all to partake of food; after fourteen days of abstinence, during which they had no regular meals, and were put to short allowance, on account of the long continuance of the storm, and the great number of passengers, as noticed before, verse 21. The whole number of persons on board was 276 persons. The Alexandrian corn vessels were very large. Lucian describes one of 180 feet in length, more than 45 feet wide, and 43 deep. The tonnage of such a ship, according to the usual mode of calculation, would be 1938 tons, English feet measure. The vessel in which Josephus was shipwrecked, on his voyage Hh 2
to Rome, and in the midst of the Adriatic sea likewise, carried about 600 souls. Vita § 3.
Ver. 38. And when they were satiated with food, (KOOEGEVTES TE TOоons) they lightened the ship by casting out the wheat into the sea; which they had spared before.
Vers. 39, 40. And when the day came, they saw, but knew not the land; and discovered a creek with a strand, into which they wished, if possible, to thrust the ship, thereby to facilitate their escape. In consequence of this intention, they weighed their anchors, committed the ship unto the sea, loosed the rudder bands which directed the helm, to let it play freely, hoisted their main-sail to the wind, and made toward the shore.
Ver. 41. In the attempt to run the ship aground, she fell into a place where two seas met; by which we are to understand an eddy, or surf, which beat on the stern of the vessel, while the head remained fast aground, in which situation the ship soon fell to pieces; but the nearness of the shore, and the assistance afforded by the broken pieces of the wreck, providentially brought them all safe to land.
xxviii. 1. When they had reached the shore in safety, they found that the Island on which they were cast, was named Melita.
That this island was Meleda, near the Illyrian coast, not Malta, on the southern coast of Sicily, may appear from the following considerations.
1. It lies confessedly in the Adriatic sea, but Malta a considerable distance from it.
2. It lies nearer the mouth of the Adriatic than any other island of that sea; and would, of course, be more likely to receive the wreck of any vessel driven by tempests towards that quarter. And it lies N.W. by N. of the south-west promontory of Crete; and came nearly in the direction of a storm from the south-east quarter.
3. An obscure island called Melite, whose inhabitants were "barbarous," was not applicable to the celebrity of Malta at that time, which Cicero represents as abounding in curiosities and riches, and possessing a remarkable manufacture of the finest linen. Orat. in Verrem, iv. § 18, 46. And Diodorus Siculus more fully : "Malta is furnished with many and very good harbours, and the inhabitants are very rich; for it is full