Postcard from the Ancient City of Samaria
My grandfather Arthur Muller arrived in Palestine in 1920 as a soldier in the British Army. Whilst he was there he bought this postcard featuring the ruins of the ancient city of Samaria.
Arthur Muller’s Arrival in the Holy Land
The postcard of two camels resting in a scene from the Holy Land is one of several that my grandfather Arthur Muller took home to England in the 1920s. Having joined the Somerset Light Infantry on 22 February 1917, he fought in the front lines in France before being shipped out to Palestine via India, arriving there on the 1st February 1920. (Click on images for higher quality scans.)
Ancient City of Samaria
The ancient city of Samaria was located in the land of Israel. According to the Bible, the city was built by king Omri around 870 BC. He bought the land from its owner for two silver talons. During the 9th and 8th centuries BC it was the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel.
‘The Site of the Ancient City of Samaria. The remains of the ancient city are on the olive-clad hill to the left, the modern village with minarets marking the site of the ruined Church of St. John the Baptist (12th Century). It is seen on the lower slope of the hill to the right”
The postcard is clearly marked as an official publication with the Royal Coat of Arms appearing near the top left. Printed in England, it can be assumed that the cards were mass produced in the UK and then shipped to the Holy Land for consumption by the large numbers of military personnel stationed there at the time.
Arthur Muller leaves Palestine
Having served some time in Palestine, Arthur was moved to Cairo and then on to India where he was stationed for two years, returning to the UK, his family, and civilian life in 1922.
Some seventy-seven years later a friend and I took a trip to Cyprus which included a whistle stop, weekend cruise, first to Egypt and then to Israel. We spent a day in each country, visiting the cities of Cairo, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem. Seeing these places and being able to match photographs I took at the time against some of these 1920’s postcards of my grandfathers was fascinating and gave me a connection to a man who died while I was very young and that I only have faint memories of.