National Geographic : 1956 Dec
National Geographic Map Traces Bible History 760 on a Modern Background HUMAN history, from Noah to the na tionalization of the Suez Canal, lies charted and annotated on the new map, Lands of the Bible Today, sent to Na tional Geographic Society members all over the world with this issue of their Magazine.* Along this corridor linking three continents man first moved from Stone Age to Bronze Age, from caves to houses. Here have been born wars, religions, and ideas that shaped civilization from its earliest beginnings. Historical notes locate such antiquities as the earliest known coins (Sardis), the first true writing (Sumer), and the world's oldest continuously inhabited city (Damascus). Within the map's borders lie all Seven Won ders of the Ancient World, located by an index at the left margin. A note at Kale, Turkey, marks the home of the original Santa Claus-3,700 miles from the North Pole. Another points to desolate Khirbet Qumran, in the Wilderness of Judah, where Bedouin shepherds in 1947 found the 2,200-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls-a cache of Biblical manu scripts hailed by scholars as the most im portant discovery of Holy Land archeology. Yet these historical notes are presented against an up-to-date geographical back ground. For example, a note about the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus "rebuked the winds and the sea," straddles a line marking a 1,068 mile-long pipe carrying oil from Saudi Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea. Border Guards Bar Route of Exodus Saints and heroes of the Old and New Tes taments stalk the map from edge to edge. Near Memphis, Egypt, in the southwest, is the probable birthplace of Moses, who was rescued from bulrushes along the Nile and educated in Pharaoh's court. An inset of the Exodus traces the tortuous 40-year journey by which he led the Israelites out of Egypt to Canaan. On the main map a modern highway from 'Aqaba to 'Amman in Jordan replaces the ancient highway of kings, over which Moses begged permission to lead his people through Edom in one of the most plaintive appeals in history: "Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy coun try: we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go by the king's high way, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders" (Numbers 20:17). Their plea was refused. The Israelites, braving the wilderness again, passed between Edom and Moab on their way to the Prom ised Land. A modern traveler following Moses would meet a similar rebuff. In fact, should he try to follow the route of the Exodus, he would be stopped ten times by armed guards at the modern national boundaries that divide the Bible Lands. Notes on Palestine and Jerusalem recount the recent history that produced the strained truce now maintained along Arab-Israel frontiers. Crossroads of the Ancient World At this world crossroads, inevitably, are found the footprints of some of history's greatest travelers, notably St. Paul (page 707) and Marco Polo, eastward bound from Venice to China in the 13th century. Another was Ibn Batuta, a remarkable Moslem born in Tangier, whose insatiable thirst for new sights carried him from Africa to what are today Russia, India, Ceylon, China, and Sumatra. Trade routes still cross the Bible Lands through the Suez Canal, opened in 1869 and nationalized by Egypt in July, 1956. Egypt's move had world repercussions-for reasons plainly visible on the map. Tower-shaped symbols marking oil fields stud the land around the Persian Gulf from Saudi Arabia to Iran. In this part of the world lie some 70 to 75 percent of the world's known oil reserves. Europe is the biggest consumer of this petro leum, and more than half of it reaches there by tanker through the Suez Canal. Throbbing pipelines crossing the Syrian Desert supplement the canal route. Tankers pick up oil from the longest pipeline near Saida, the Biblical Sidon, where Jesus once visited the Mediterranean coast. * Members may obtain additional copies of the map, Lands of the Bible Today (and of all standard maps published by The Society), by writing to the National Geographic Society, Washington 6, D. C. Prices, in the United States and elsewhere, 50 each on paper; $1 on fabric. Indexes to place names, available for this and most other maps, 25¢ each. All remittances payable in U. S. funds. Post paid.