The Lands of Gilead, Assigned by Mose to the Tribe of Manasseh .
Fine example of the map of the lands of the Tribe of Manasseh, one of the Territories of ancient Holy Land, from Van Adrichom's Theatrum Terrae Sanctae, first publshed in 1590.
The map shows the lands assigned to half the tribe of Manasseh by Moses. This territory on the east side of the River Jordan is sometimes called "the land of Gilead," or "on the other side of Jordan." It embraced the whole of Bashan and was bounded on the south by Mahanaim, and extended north to Lebanon.
The Tribe of Manasseh was one of the twelve tribes of Israel, named after Manasseh, one of the two sons of Joseph, a biblical patriarch. When the Israelites entered Canaan, the Tribe of Manasseh received a large territory that extended from the Jordan River to the west and into the eastern desert. Notably, the tribe was divided into half, with one residing on the west of the Jordan and the other on the east, which the map specifically depicts.
Van Adrichom's map showcases a myriad of significant places, many of them steeped in biblical history. One such location is the "Mare Galilaeae" or the Sea of Galilee, a freshwater lake in Israel known for its biblical significance and its rich biodiversity. Another is "Aquae Meron," possibly referring to the springs near Meron, a high mountain in the Upper Galilee region.
Other regions include the "Geffuri Regio", "Gaulonitis Regio", "Batanaea Regio", and "Regio Gamaliticia," depicting areas under different biblical tribes and settlements. "Via Trachomitidis" likely represents an ancient route or path, providing a glimpse into the transportation and trade routes of the time.
"Bosra," likely the city of Bostra, one of the most important Roman cities in the eastern empire, is also featured. In the Old Testament, Bostra was a refuge city within the territory of Manasseh. The map further includes references to "Tabernacula Cedar", possibly indicating nomadic settlements of the tribe of Cedar. "Desertum Bethsaidae" could refer to the desert region near Bethsaida, an ancient town in Galilee, while "Regio Gerasenorum" possibly corresponds to the area around Gerasa, an ancient city in the region.
The map identifies several mountainous regions, namely, "Galaad Mons", and "Hermon Mons qui et Sanir," referring to the mountains of Gilead and Hermon, respectively. Both of these mountains have significant biblical connotations. The inclusion of "Iabes Galaad," perhaps the town Jabesh-Gilead, and "Damascus," a historic city in Syria, speaks to the geographical scope and diversity of the Tribe of Manasseh's territories.
In summary, Van Adrichom's map of the region of the Tribe of Manasseh is a captivating document that weaves together biblical history and geography. With its intricate detailing of the various regions, cities, and landmarks, it serves as an invaluable resource for understanding the historical context and territorial complexities surrounding one of Israel's twelve tribes.