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CHERSONESE—CHERUBIM

and mastic, but there are scarcely any large trees. There is a scarcity of springs, and the houses are generally furnished with cisterns for rain water. In the centre of the island is an interesting lake called the Vrana or Crow’s Lake, situated at an altitude of 40 ft. above, the level of the sea, 3¾ m. long, 1 m. wide and 184 ft. deep. This lake is in all probability fed by subterranean sources, The chief town of the island is Cherso, situated on the west coast. It possesses a good harbour and is provided with a shipwright’s wharf.


CHERSONESE, Chersonesus, or Cherronesus (Gr. χἐρσος, dry, and νῆσος, island), a word equivalent to “peninsula.” In ancient geography the Chersonesus Thracica, Chersonesus Taurica or Scythica, and Chersonesus Cimbrica correspond to the peninsulas of the Dardanelles, the Crimea and Jutland; and the Golden Chersonese is usually identified with the peninsula of Malacca. The Tauric Chersonese was further distinguished as the Great, in contrast to the Heracleotic or Little Chersonese at its S.W. corner, where Sevastopol now stands.

The Tauric Chersonese[1] (from 2nd century A.D. called Cherson) was a Dorian colony of Heraclea in Bithynia, founded in the 5th century B.C. in the Crimea about 2 m. S. of the modern Sevastopol. After defending itself against the kingdom of Bosporus (q.v.), and the native Scythians and Tauri, and even extending its power over the west coast of the peninsula, it was compelled to call in the aid of Mithradates VI. and his general Diophantus, c. 110 B.C., and submitted to the Pontic dynasty. On regaining a nominal independence, it came more or less under the Roman suzerainty. In the latter part of the 1st century A.D., and again in the succeeding century, it received a Roman garrison and suffered much interference in its internal affairs. In the time of Constantine, in return for assistance against the Bosporans and the native tribes, it regained its autonomy and received special privileges. It must, however, have been subject to the Byzantine authorities, as inscriptions testify to restorations of its walls by Byzantine officials. Under Theophilus the central government sent out a governor to take the place of the elected magistrate. Even so it seems to have preserved a measure of self-government and may be said to have been the last of the Greek city states. Its ruin was brought about by the commercial rivalry of the Genoese, who forbade the Greeks to trade there and diverted its commerce to Caffa and Sudak. Previous to this it had been the main emporium of Byzantine commerce upon the N. coast of the Euxine. Through it went the communications of the empire with the Petchenegs and other native tribes, and more especially with the Russians. The commerce of Cherson is guaranteed in the early treaties between the Greeks and Russians, and it was in Cherson, according to Ps. Nestor’s chronicle, that Vladimir was baptized in 988 after he had captured the city. The constitution of the city was at first democratic under Damiorgi, a senate and a general assembly. Latterly it appears to have become aristocratic, and most of the power was concentrated in the hands of the first archon or Proteuon, who in time was superseded by the strategus sent out from Byzantium. Its most interesting political document is the form of oath sworn to by all the citizens in the 3rd century B.C.

The remains of the city occupy a space about two-thirds of a mile long by half a mile broad. They are enclosed by a Byzantine wall. Foundations and considerable remains of a Greek wall going back to the 4th century B.C. have been found beneath this in the eastern or original part of the site. Many Byzantine churches, both cruciform and basilican, have been excavated. The latter survived here into the 13th century when they had long been extinct in other Greek-speaking lands. The churches were adorned with frescoes, wall and floor mosaics, some well preserved, and marble carvings similar to work found at Ravenna. The fact that the site has not been inhabited since the 14th century makes it important for our knowledge of Byzantine life. The city was used by the Romans as a place of banishment: St Clement of Rome was exiled hither and first preached the Gospel; another exile was Justinian II., who is said to have destroyed the city in revenge. We have a considerable series of coins from the 3rd century B.C. to about A.D. 200, and also some of Byzantine date.

See B. Koehne, Beiträge zur Geschichte von Cherronesus in Taurien (St Petersburg, 1848); art. “Chersonesos” (20) by C. G. Brandis in Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyclopädie, vol. iii. 221; A. A. Bobrinskoj, Chersonesus Taurica (St Petersburg, 1905) (Russian); V. V. Latyshev, Inscrr. Orae Septentr. Ponti Euxini, vols. i. and iv. Reports of excavations appear in the Compte rendu of the Imperial Archaeological Commission of St Petersburg from 1888 and in its Bulletin. See E. H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks (Cambridge, 1907).  (E. H. M.) 


CHERTSEY, a market town in the Chertsey parliamentary division of Surrey, England, 22 m. W.S.W. from London by the London & South-Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 12,762. It is pleasantly situated on the right bank of the Thames, which is crossed by a bridge of seven arches, built of Purbeck stone in 1785. The parish church, rebuilt in 1808, contains a tablet to Charles James Fox, who resided at St Anne’s Hill in the vicinity, and another to Lawrence Tomson, a translator of the New Testament in the 17th century. Hardly any remains are left of a great Benedictine abbey, whose buildings at one time included an area of 4 acres. They fell into almost complete decay in the 17th century, and a “fair house” was erected out of the ruins by Sir Nicholas Carew of Beddington. The ground-plan can be traced; the fish-ponds are complete; and carved stones, coffins and encaustic tiles of a peculiar manufacture are frequently exhumed. Among the abbots the most famous was John de Rutherwyk, who was appointed in 1307, and continued, till his death in 1346, to carry on a great system of alteration and extension, which almost made the abbey a new building. The house in which the poet Cowley spent the last years of his life remains, and the chamber in which he died is preserved unaltered. The town is the centre of a large residential district. Its principal trade is in produce for the London markets.

The first religious settlement in Surrey, a Benedictine abbey, was founded in 666 at Chertsey (Cerotesei, Certesey), the manor of which belonged to the abbot until 1539, since when it has been a possession of the crown. In the reign of Edward the Confessor Chertsey was a large village and was made the head of Godley hundred. The increase of copyhold under Abbot John de Rutherwyk led to discontent, the tenants in 1381 rising and burning the rolls. Chertsey owed its importance primarily to the abbey, but partly to its geographical position. Ferries over the Redewynd were subjects of royal grant in 1340 and 1399; the abbot built a new bridge over the Bourne in 1333, and wholly maintained the bridge over the Thames when it replaced the 14th century ferry. In 1410 the king gave permission to build a bridge over the Redewynd. As the centre of an agricultural district the markets of Chertsey were important and are still held. Three days’ fairs were granted to the abbots in 1129 for the feast of St Peter ad Vincula by Henry III. for Holy Rood day; in 1282 for Ascension day; and a market on Mondays was obtained in 1282. In 1590 there were many poor, for whose relief Elizabeth gave a fair for a day in Lent and a market on Thursdays. These fairs still survive.

See Lucy Wheeler, Chertsey Abbey (London, 1905); Victoria County History, Surrey.


CHERUBIM, the Hebrew plural of “cherub” (kěrūb), imaginary winged animal figures of a sacred character, referred to in the description of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings vi. 23-35, vii. 29, viii. 6, 7), and also in that of the ark of the tabernacle (Ex. xxv. 18-22, xxvi. 1, 31, xxxvii. 7-9). The cherub-images, where such occur, represent to the imagination the supernatural bearers of Yahweh’s throne or chariot, or the guardians of His abode; the cherub-carvings at least symbolize His presence, and communicate some degree of His sanctity. In Gen. iii. 24 the cherubim are the guards of Paradise; Ezek. xxviii. 14, 16 cannot be mentioned here, the text being corrupt. We also find (1 Sam. iv. 4; 2 Sam. vi. 2) as a divine title “that sitteth upon the cherubim”; here it is doubted whether the cherubim are the material ones in the temple, or those which faith assumes and

  1. In Pliny “Heraclea Chersonesus,” probably owing to a confusion with the name of the mother city.