Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/380

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SOLOMON ISLANDS

of Hadadezer, king of Zobah, to the north of Palestine (see David's war, 2 Sam. viii. 3 sqq., x. 6 sqq.), deserted his lord, raised a band of followers and eventually captured Damascus, where he established a new dynasty. Like Hadad, " he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon " (xi. 23–25). To these notices must also be added the cession of territory in north Palestine to Hiram, king of Phoenicia (ix. 11). It is parenthetically explained as payment for building materials, which, however, are otherwise accounted for (v. 6, 11); or it was sold for 120 talents of gold (nearly £750,000 sterling), presumably to assist Solomon in continuing his varied enterprises—but the true nature of the transaction has been obscured, although the consequences involved in the loss of the territory are unmistakable. If these situations can with difficulty find a place in our picture of Solomon's might, it is clear that some of them form the natural introduction to the subsequent history, when his death brought internal discontent to a head, when the north under Jeroboam refused allegiance to the south, and when the divided monarchy enters upon its eventful career by the side of the independent states of Edom, Damascus and Phoenicia.

It is now generally recognized in histories of the Old Testament that a proper estimate of Solomon's reign cannot start from narratives which represent the views of Deuteronomic writers, although, in so far as late narratives may rest upon older material more in accordance with the circumstances of their age, attempts are made to present reconstructions from a combination of various elements. Among the recent critical attempts to recover the underlying traditions may be mentioned those of T. K. Cheyne (Ency. Bib., art. " Solomon ") and H. Winckler (Keilinschr. u. d. Alte Test., 3rd. ed., pp. 233 sqq.). But, in general, where the traditions are manifestly in a later form they are in agreement with later backgrounds, and it is questionable whether earlier forms can be safely recovered when it is held; that they have been rewritten or when the historical kernel has been buried in legend or myth. It is impossible not to be struck with the growing development of the Israelite tribes after the invasion of Palestine, their strong position under David, the sudden expansion of the Hebrew monarchy under Solomon, and the subsequent slow decay, and this, indeed, is the picture as it presented itself to the last writers who found in the glories of the past both consolation for the present and grounds for future hopes. But this is not the original picture, and, since very contradictory representations of Solomon's reign can be clearly discerned, it is necessary in the first instance to view them in the light of an independent examination of the history of the preceding and following periods where, again, serious fluctuation of standpoint is found. Much therefore depends upon the estimate which is formed of the position of David (q.v.). See also Jews: History, § 7 seq ; Palestine: Old Testament History.

On Solomon's relation to philosophical and proverbial literature, see Proverbs. Another aspect of his character appears in the remarkable " Song of Solomon," on which see Canticles. Still another phase is represented in the monologue of Ecclesiastes (q.v.) In the Book of Wisdom, again, the composition of an Egyptian Hellenist, who from internal evidence is judged to have lived somewhat earlier than Philo, Solomon is introduced uttering words of admonition, imbued with the spirit of Greek philosophers, to heathen sovereigns. The so-called Psalter of Solomon, on the other hand, a collection of Pharisee psalms written in Hebrew soon after the taking of Jerusalem by Pompey, and preserved to us only in a Greek version, has nothing to do with Solomon or the traditional conception of his person, and seems to owe its name to a transcriber who thus distinguished these newer pieces from the older " Psalms of David " (see Solomon, Psalms of).  (S. A. C.) [1]


SOLOMON ISLANDS (Ger., Salomoinseln), an archipelago of the Western Pacific Ocean, included in Melanesia, and forming a chain (in continuation, of that of the Admiralty Islands and New Mecklenburg in the Bismarck Archipelago) from N.W. to S.E. between 154° 40' and 162° 30' E., 5° and 11° S., with a total land area of 17,000 sq. m. (For map, see Pacific Ocean.) A comparatively shallow sea surrounds the islands and indicates physical connexion with the Bismarck Archipelago and New Guinea, whereas directly east of the Solomons there are greater depths. The principal island at the north-west end of the chain is Bougainville (3900 sq. m.), and that at the south-east San Cristoval or Bauro. Between these the chain is double, consisting (from the north-west) of Choiseul (2260 sq. m.), Isabel (Ysabel, of about the same area as Choiseul) and Malaita (2400 sq. ni.) to the north, and Vella Lavella, Ronongo, Kul- ambangra, Kausagi, Marovo (New Georgia or Rubiana) and the Hammond Islands, and Guadalcanar[2] or Guanbata (2500 sq. m.). Between and around these main islands there are many smaller islands. Ongtong Java, a coral reef of many islets, lies considerably north of the main group to which, geographically, it can hardly be said to belong.[3] Bougainville, the largest of the group, contains Mt Balbi (10,170 ft.), and two active volcanoes. In Guadalcanar is Mt Lammas (8000 ft.), while the extreme heights of the other islands range between 2500 and 5000 ft. The islands (by convention of 1899) are divided unequally between Great Britain and Germany, the boundary running through Bougainville Strait, so that that island and Buka belong to Germany (being officially administered from Kaiser Wilhelm's Land), but the rest (South Solomons) are British. The islands are well watered, though the streams seem to be small; the coasts afford some good harbours. All the large and some of the small islands appear to be composed of ancient volcanic rock, with an incrustation of coral limestone showing here and there along the coast. The mountains generally fall steeply to the sea. There is some level land in Bougainville, but little elsewhere. Deep valleys separate the gently rounded ridges of forest-clad mountains, lofty spurs descend from the interior, and, running down to the sea, terminate frequently in bold rocky headlands 800 to 1000 ft. in height, as in San Cristoval (north coast). On the small high island of Florida there is much undulating grass-land interspersed with fine clumps of trees; patches of cultivated land surround its numerous villages, and plantations on the hill-sides testify to the richness of its soil. The whole chain of islands appears to be rising steadily. Some of the smaller islands are of recent calcareous formation. Barrier and fringing reefs, as well as atolls, Occur in the group, but the channels between the islands are dan- gerous Chiefly from the strong currents which set through them..

The climate is very damp and debilitating. The rainfall is unusually heavy. Fever and ague prevail on the coast. The healthiest portions are the highlands, where most exposed to the south-east trades. The dry season, with north-west winds, lasts from December to May. Vegetation is luxuriant; magnificent forests clothe the mountains, and sandalwood, ebony and lignum vitae, besides a variety of palms, are found in them. Mangrove swamps are common on the coasts. The probable geological connexion with New Guinea would account for the Papuan character of the fauna of the Solomons, which form the eastern limit of certain Papuan types. The existence of peculiar types in the Solomons, however, points to an early severance. Mammals are not numerous; they include the cuscus, several species of bat, and some rats of great size. There are various peculiar species of frogs, lizards and snakes, including the great frog Rana Guppyi, from 2 to 3 ℔ in weight. Of birds, several parrots and other genera are characteristically Papuan and are unknown east of the Solomons.

Population.—The Solomon islanders are of Melanesian (Papuan) stock, though in different parts of the group they vary considerably in their physical characteristics, in some islands approaching the pure Papuan, in some showing Polynesian crossings and in others resembling the Malays. As a race they are small and sturdy, taller in the north than in the south. Projecting brows, deeply sunk dark eyes, short noses, either straight or arched, but always depressed at the root, and moderately thick lips, with a somewhat receding chin, are general characteristics. The mesocephalic appears to be the preponderant form of skull; though this is unusual among Melanesian races. In colour the skin varies from a black-brown to a copperish hue, but the darker are the most common shades. The hair is naturally dark, but is often dyed red or fawn, and crisp, inclining to woolly. The islanders of the Bougainville Straits have lank, almost straight, black hair and very dark skins.

To strangers the natives have long had the reputation of being

treacherous. They are cannibals, infanticide is common, and head

  1. Some sentences from W. R. Smith's article in Ency. Brit., 9th ed., have been retained and in places modified.
  2. Guadalcanal of the Spanish discoverers.
  3. This group, so named by Abel Tasman in 1643, is also called Leucnewa or Lord Howe, and is densely inhabited by natives said to be of Polynesian, origin.