The book of (Genesis 4:17,20,22) appears to divide mankind into two great characteristic sections, viz., the "dwellers in tents" and the "dwellers in cities." To the race of Shem is attributed (Genesis 10:11,12,22; 11:2-9) the foundation of those cities in the plain of Shinar, Babylon Nineveh and others. The Israelites were by occupation shepherds, and by habit dwellers in tents. (Genesis 47:3) They had therefore originally, speaking properly, no architecture. From the time of the occupation of Canaan they became dwellers in towns and in houses of stone. (Leviticus 14:34,45; 1 Kings 7:10) The peaceful reign and vast wealth of Solomon gave great impulse to architecture; for besides the temple and his other great works, he built fortresses and cities in various places, among which Baalath and Tadmor are in all probability represented by Baalbec and Palmyra, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. But the reigns of Herod and his successors were especially remarkable for their great architectural works. Not only was the temple restored, but the fortifications and other public buildings of Jerusalem were enlarged and embellished. (Luke 21:5) The town of Caesarea was built on the site of Strato's Tower; Samaria was enlarged, and received the name of Sebaste. Of the original splendor of these great works no doubt can be entertained; but of their style and appearance we can only conjecture that they were formed on Greek and Roman models. The enormous stones employed the Assyrian Persepolitan and Egyptian buildings find a parallel in the substructions of Baalbec and in the huge blocks which still remain at Jerusalem, relics of the buildings either of Solomon or of Herod.
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