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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Gate, Door, the entrance to enclosed grounds, buildings, dwelling-houses, towns, etc. Thus we find mentioned—

Gates of cities, as of Jerusalem, its sheep-gate, fish-gate, etc. (; ; ; ); of Sodom (); of Gaza ().

Gates of royal palaces ().

Gates of the Temple. The temple of Ezekiel had two gates, one towards the north, the other towards the east; the latter closed (), the other must have been open.

Gates of tombs ().

Gates of prisons. In , mention is made of the iron-gate of Peter's prison (). Prudentius speaks of gatekeepers of prisons.

Gates of caverns ().

Gates of camps (; see ). The camps of the Romans had generally four gates. The camp of the Trojans is also described as having had gates.

We do not know of what materials the enclosures and gates of the temporary camps of the Hebrews were formed. In Egyptian monuments such enclosures are indicated by lines of upright shields, with gates apparently of wicker, defended by a strong guard.

Gates of Towns

As the gates of towns served the ancients as places of security [FORTIFICATIONS], a durable material was required for them, and accordingly we find mentioned—

1. Gates of iron and brass (; ; ). It is probable that gates thus described were, in fact, only sheeted with plates of copper or iron; and it is probably in this sense we are to interpret the hundred brazen gates ascribed to the ancient Babylon. Thevenot describes the six gates of Jerusalem as covered with iron, which is probably still the case with the four gates now open. Other iron-covered gates are mentioned by travelers, such as some of the town gates of Algiers, and of the towers of the so-called iron-bridge at Antioch. The principal gates of the great mosque at Damascus are covered with brass. Gates of iron are also mentioned by Hesiod and by Ovid.


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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Gates'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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