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Title: Amurath to Amurath
Author: Bell, Gertrude Lowthian
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Amurath to Amurath" ***

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                          AMURATH TO AMURATH


            By H. HESKETH PRICHARD, author of “Through the Heart of Patagonia,”
            etc. Illustrated in Colour and Black-and-white by E. G. CALDWELL,
            Lady HELEN GRAHAM, and from numerous Photographs. In one Volume.
            Crown 4to, price 15_s._ net.


            By HERBERT WARD. With many Illustrations. In one Volume. Demy 8vo,
            price 10_s._ net.


       (_Popular Edition._)

            By Sir ERNEST SHACKLETON, C.V.O. Fully Illustrated with Coloured
            and Black-and-white Illustrations, and a Map. In one Volume. Crown
            8vo, price 6_s._ net.


            By GABRIELLE M. VASSAL. With many Illustrations from Photographs.
            In one Volume. Demy 8vo, price 10_s._ net.


           [Illustration: THE MONASTERY OF RABBÂN HORMUZD.]

                              TO AMURATH


                        GERTRUDE LOWTHIAN BELL

              _Author of “The Desert and the Sown,” &c._


                       [Illustration: colophon]

                       LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN


            _Copyright London, 1911, by William Heinemann_

                        [Illustration: arabic]

    We wither away but they wane not, the stars that above us rise;
    The mountains remain after us, and the strong towers when we are gone.

                                    Labîd ibn Rabî’ah.



When I was pursuing along the banks of the Euphrates the leisurely
course of oriental travel, I would sometimes wonder, sitting at night
before my tent door, whether it would be possible to cast into shape the
experiences that assailed me. And in that spacious hour, when the
silence of the embracing wilderness was enhanced rather than broken by
the murmur of the river, and by the sounds, scarcely less primeval, that
wavered round the camp fire of my nomad hosts, the task broadened out
into a shape which was in keeping with the surroundings. Not only would
I set myself to trace the story that was scored upon the face of the
earth by mouldering wall or half-choked dyke, by the thousand vestiges
of former culture which were scattered about my path, but I would
attempt to record the daily life and speech of those who had inherited
the empty ground whereon empires had risen and expired. Even there,
where the mind ranged out unhindered over the whole wide desert, and
thought flowed as smoothly as the flowing stream--even there I would
realize the difficulty of such an undertaking, and it was there that I
conceived the desire to invoke your aid by setting your name upon the
first page of my book. To you, so I promised myself, I could make clear
the intention when accomplishment lagged far behind it. To you the very
landscape would be familiar, though you had never set eyes upon it: the
river and the waste which determined, as in your country of the Nile,
the direction of mortal energies. And you, with your profound experience
of the East, have learnt to reckon with the unbroken continuity of its
history. Conqueror follows upon the heels of conqueror, nations are
overthrown and cities topple down into the dust, but the conditions of
existence are unaltered and irresistibly they fashion the new age in
the likeness of the old. “Amurath an Amurath succeeds” and the tale is
told again.

Where past and present are woven so closely together, the habitual
appreciation of the divisions of time slips insensibly away. Yesterday’s
raid and an expedition of Shalmaneser fall into the same plane; and
indeed what essential difference lies between them? But the
reverberation of ancient fame sounds more richly in the ears than the
voice of modern achievement. The banks of the Euphrates echo with
ghostly alarums; the Mesopotamian deserts are full of the rumour of
phantom armies; you will not blame me if I passed among them “trattando
l’ombre come cosa salda.”

And yet there was a new note. For the first time in all the turbulent
centuries to which those desolate regions bear witness, a potent word
had gone forth, and those who had caught it listened in amazement,
asking one another for an explanation of its meaning. Liberty--what is
liberty? I think the question that ran so perplexingly through the black
tents would have received no better a solution in the royal pavilions
which had once spread their glories over the plain. Idly though it fell
from the lips of the Bedouin, it foretold change. That sense of change,
uneasy and bewildered, hung over the whole of the Ottoman Empire. It was
rarely unalloyed with anxiety; there was, it must be admitted, little to
encourage an unqualified confidence in the immediate future. But one
thing was certain: the moving Finger had inscribed a fresh title upon
the page. I cannot pretend to a judicial indifference in this matter. I
have drawn too heavily upon the good-will of the inhabitants of Asiatic
Turkey to regard their fortunes with an impartial detachment. I am eager
to seize upon promise and slow to be overmastered by disappointment. But
I should be doing an equivocal service to a people who have given me so
full a measure of hospitality and fellowship if I were to underestimate
the problems that lie before them. The victories of peace are more
laborious than those of war. They demand a higher integrity than that
which has been practised hitherto in Turkey, and a finer conception of
citizenship than any which has been current there. The old tyranny has
lifted, but it has left its shadow over the land.

The five months of journeying which are recounted in this book were
months of suspense and even of terror. Constitutional government
trembled in the balance and was like to be outweighted by the forces of
disorder, by fanaticism, massacre and civil strife. I saw the latest
Amurath succeed to Amurath and rejoiced with all those who love justice
and freedom to hear him proclaimed. For ’Abdu’l Ḥamîd, helpless as he
may then have been in the hands of the weavers of intrigue, was the
symbol for retrogression, and the triumph of his faction must have
extinguished the faint light that had dawned upon his empire.

The confused beginnings which I witnessed were the translation of a
generous ideal into the terms of human imperfection. Nowhere was the
character of the Young Turkish movement recognized more fully than in
England, and nowhere did it receive a more disinterested sympathy. Our
approval was not confined to words. We have never been slow to welcome
and to encourage the advancement of Turkey, and I am glad to remember
that we were the first to hold out a helping hand when we saw her
struggling to throw off long-established evils. If she can win a place,
with a strong and orderly government, among civilized states, turning
her face from martial adventure and striving after the reward that waits
upon good administration and sober industry, the peace of the world will
be set upon a surer basis, and therein lies our greatest advantage as
well as her own. That day may yet be far off, but when it comes, as I
hope it will, perhaps some one will take down this book from the shelf
and look back, not without satisfaction, upon the months of revolution
which it chronicles. And remembering that the return of prosperity to
the peoples of the Near East began with your administration in Egypt, he
will understand why I should have ventured to offer it, with respectful
admiration, to you.


_Rounton, Oct. 1910._


The greater part of Chapter IV appeared in the _Quarterly Review_, and
half of Chapter VIII in _Blackwood’s Magazine_; I have to thank the
editors of these journals for giving me permission to reprint my
contributions to them. I am indebted also to the editor of the _Times_
for allowing me to use, in describing the excavations at Babylon and at
Asshur, two articles written by me which were published in the _Times_.
The Geographical Society has printed in its journal a paper in which I
have resumed the topographical results of my journey down the Euphrates.
The map which accompanies this book is based upon the map of Asiatic
Turkey, recently published by that society, and upon a map of the
Euphrates from Tell Aḥmar to Hît which was drafted to illustrate my

Mr. David Hogarth, Mr. L. W. King, Mr. O. M. Dalton and Professor Max
van Berchem have furnished me with valuable notes. To Sir Charles Lyall,
who has been at the pains to help me with the correcting of the proofs,
I tender here my grateful thanks for this and many another kindness.


CHAP.                                                               PAGE

I    ALEPPO TO TELL AḤMAR                                              1

II   TELL AḤMAR TO BUSEIRAH                                           35

III  BUSEIRAH TO HÎT                                                  77


IV   HÎT TO KERBELÂ                                                  115

THE PALACE OF UKHEIḌIR                                               147

V    KERBELÂ TO BAGHDÂD                                              159

VI   BAGHDÂD TO MÔṢUL                                                198

THE RUINS OF SÂMARRÂ                                                 231

VII  MÔṢUL TO ZÂKHÔ                                                  247

VIII ZÂKHÔ TO DIYÂRBEKR                                              289

IX   DIYÂRBEKR TO KONIA                                              327

INDEX                                                                361



THE MONASTERY OF RABBÂN HORMUZD                            _Frontispiece_

ALEPPO, THE CITADEL                                         _To face_ 10

ALEPPO, HITTITE LION IN CITADEL                                       10

BASALT EAGLE IN THE FRENCH CONSULATE                                  10

ALEPPO, JÂMI’ ESH SHAIBÎYEH, CORNICE                                  11

FIRDAUS, MEDRESSEH OF EL MALIK EẒ ẒÂHIR                               11

ALEPPO, JÂMI’ EL ḤELAWÎYEH                                            12

FIRDAUS, A TOMB                                                       12

ALEPPO, A MAMLÛK DOME                                                 13

ALEPPO, A MAMLÛK DOME                                                 13

KHÂN EL WAZÎR                                                         14

KHÂN ES SABÛN                                                         14

WINDOW OF A TURBEH, FIRDAUS                                           15

GATE OF CITADEL, ALEPPO                                               15

ALEPPO, THE GREAT MOSQUE                                              26

TELL AḤMAR FERRY                                                      26

TELL AḤMAR                                                            27

CARCHEMISH FROM THE BIG MOUND                                         27

TELL AḤMAR, HITTITE STELA                                             30

TELL AḤMAR, EARTHENWARE JAR                                           30

SERRÎN, NORTHERN TOWER TOMB                                           31

SERRÎN, SOUTHERN TOWER TOMB                                           31


INSCRIPTION IN CAVE NEAR SERRÎN                                       40

WIFE AND CHILDREN OF A WELDEH SHEIKH                                  46

PLAN OF MUNBAYAH                                                      45

MUNBAYAH, WATER GATE                                                  47

NESHABAH, TOWER TOMB                                                  47

MAḤALL ES ṢAFṢÂF                                                      49

ḲAL’AT JA’BAR                                                         50

ḲAL’AT JA’BAR, MINARET                                                50

ḲAL’AT JA’BAR, HALL OF PALACE                                         51

ḲAL’AT JA’BAR, BRICK WALL ABOVE GATEWAY                               51

ḤARAGLAH                                                              53

ḤARAGLAH, VAULT                                                       52

RAḲḲAH, EASTERN MINARET                                               52

RAḲḲAH, PLAN OF MOSQUE AND SECTIONS OF PIERS                          57

RAḲḲAH, MOSQUE FROM EAST                                              53

RAḲḲAH, ARCADE OF MOSQUE, FROM NORTH                                  53

RAḲḲAH, CAPITALS OF ENGAGED COLUMNS, MOSQUE                           56

RAḲḲAH, PALACE                                                        56

RAḲḲAH, DETAIL OF STUCCO ORNAMENT, PALACE                             57

RAḲḲAH, DOMED CHAMBER IN PALACE                                       57

RAḲḲAH, BAGHDÂD GATE FROM EAST                                        58

RAḲḲAH, INTERIOR OF BAGHDÂD GATE                                      58

RAḲḲAH, BAGHDÂD GATE RECONSTRUCTED                                    59

ḤALEBÎYEH                                                             59

IRZÎ, TOWER TOMB                                                      83

IRZÎ, TOWER TOMB                                                      84

NAOURA OF ’AJMÎYEH                                                    84

THE INHABITANTS OF RAWÂ                                               85

’ÂNAH FROM THE ISLAND OF LUBBÂD                                       94

’ÂNAH, A FISHERMAN                                                    95

HÎT, PITCH-SPRING                                                     95

HÎT                                                                  104

HÎT, THE SULPHUR MARSHES                                             104

MINARET ON ISLAND OF LUBBÂD                                          105

MINARET AT MA’MÛREH                                                  105

MADLÛBEH                                                             105

MA’MÛREH, MINARET                                                    106

HÎT, THE BITUMEN FURNACES                                            108

THE EUPHRATES AT HÎT                                                 108

THE WELL AT KEBEISAH                                                 109

’AIN ZA’ZU                                                           109

ḲAṢR KHUBBÂZ AND RUINS OF THE TANK                                   118

ḲAṢR KHUBBÂZ, THE GATEWAY                                            118

ḲAṢR KHUBBÂZ, A VAULTED CHAMBER                                      119

THEMAIL                                                              119

ḲAṢR KHUBBÂZ                                                         120

THEMAIL                                                              130

MUḤAMMAD EL ’ABDULLAH                                                134

KHEIḌIR, MA’ASHÎ AND SHEIKH ’ALÎ                                     134

BARDAWÎ                                                              136

BARDAWÎ FROM SOUTH-WEST                                              135

BARDAWÎ, EAST END OF VAULTED HALL                                    135

SHETÂTEH, SULPHUR SPRING                                             138

ḲAṢR SHAM’ÛN, OUTER WALL                                             138

UKHEIḌIR FROM NORTH-WEST                                             139

UKHEIḌIR, INTERIOR FROM SOUTH-EAST                                   139

UKHEIḌIR, GROUND PLAN                                                149

UKHEIḌIR, THE BATH                                                   150

UKHEIḌIR, SECOND STOREY                                              152

UKHEIḌIR, THIRD STOREY                                               152

UKHEIḌIR, NORTH-EAST ANGLE TOWER                                     142

UKHEIḌIR, STAIR AT SOUTH-EAST ANGLE                                  142

UKHEIḌIR, INTERIOR OF SOUTH GATE                                     142

UKHEIḌIR, CHEMIN DE RONDE OF EAST WALL                               143

UKHEIḌIR, NORTH GATE, FROM OUTSIDE                                   143

UKHEIḌIR, FLUTED DOME AT A                                           146


UKHEIḌIR, GREAT HALL                                                 147

BLOCK                                                                148

UKHEIḌIR, VAULT OF ROOM I                                            149

UKHEIḌIR, ROOM I                                                     149

UKHEIḌIR, CUSPED DOOR OF COURT S                                     150

UKHEIḌIR, CORRIDOR Q                                                 150

UKHEIḌIR, VAULTED END OF P, SHOWING TUBE                             150

UKHEIḌIR, VAULTED CLOISTER O´                                        150

UKHEIḌIR, GROIN IN CORRIDOR C                                        151

UKHEIḌIR, SQUINCH ARCH ON SECOND STOREY                              151

UKHEIḌIR, NORTH SIDE OF COURT M                                      152

UKHEIḌIR, SOUTH-EAST ANGLE OF COURT S                                152

UKHEIḌIR, WEST SIDE OF B^{3}                                         153


BABYLON, THE LION                                                    170

BABYLON, ISHTAR GATE                                                 171

BABYLON, ISHTAR GATE                                                 171

CTESIPHON, FROM EAST                                                 180

CTESIPHON, FROM WEST                                                 180


GUFFAHS OPPOSITE THE WALL OF SELEUCIA                                184

BAGHDÂD, THE LOWER BRIDGE                                            184

BAGHDÂD, TOMB OF SITT ZOBEIDEH                                       185

BAGHDÂD, INTERIOR OF SPIRE, SITT ZOBEIDEH                            185

BAGHDÂD, BÂB EṬ ṬILISM                                               190

BAGHDÂD, DETAIL OF ORNAMENT, BÂB EṬ ṬILISM                           190

BAGHDÂD, MINARET IN SÛḲ EL GHAZL                                     191

WÂNEH, IMÂM MUḤAMMAD ’ALÎ                                            202

WÂNEH, IMÂM MUḤAMMAD ’ALÎ                                            202

ḲÂDISÎYAH FROM SOUTH-EAST                                            202

SÂMARRÂ, RUINED MOSQUE FROM SOUTH                                    203

SÂMARRÂ, FROM MALWÎYEH                                               203


ABU DULÂF, FROM EAST                                                 212

ABU DULÂF, INTERIOR, LOOKING NORTH                                   212

NAHRAWÂN CANAL                                                       213

IMÂM DUR                                                             213

IMÂM DUR                                                             215

TEKRÎT FERRY                                                         216

COFFEE-MAKING, SHEIKH ’ASKAR                                         216

TEKRÎT, THE ARBAÎN                                                   217

KHÂN KHERNÎNA, MIḤRÂB                                                217

KHÂN KHERNÎNA, DETAIL OF FLAT VAULT                                  218

KHÂN KHERNÎNA, VAULT, SHOWING TUBE                                   218

KHÂN KHERNÎNA, SETTING OF DOME                                       219

TELL NIMRÛD                                                          219


SÂMARRÂ, MOSQUE                                                      232




SÂMARRÂ, RUINED MOSQUE, WINDOW IN SOUTH WALL                         232

SÂMARRÂ, MOSQUE, DETAIL OF PIER, SOUTH DOOR                          233


SÂMARRÂ, EL ’ASHIḲ, WEST END OF NORTH FAÇADE                         233

EL ’ASHIḲ                                                            236

SÂMARRÂ, EL ’ASHIḲ FROM NORTH                                        238

SÂMARRÂ, EL ’ASHIḲ FROM SOUTH                                        238

EL ’ASHIḲ, DETAIL OF NICHING ON NORTH FAÇADE                         238

ṢLEBÎYEH                                                             239

SÂMARRÂ, ṢLEBÎYEH                                                    239

SÂMARRÂ, ṢLEBÎYEH, SETTING OF DOME                                   239

SÂMARRÂ, BEIT EL KHALÎFAH                                            240

SÂMARRÂ, BEIT EL KHALÎFAH                                            240




MARBLE                                                               241


STUCCO DECORATIONS, SÂMARRÂ                                          242

SÂMARRÂ, STUCCO DECORATION                                           242

SÂMARRÂ, STUCCO DECORATION                                           242

SÂMARRÂ, FRAGMENT OF POTTERY                                         242

SÂMARRÂ, FRAGMENT OF POTTERY                                         242

ABU DULÂF                                                            244

ABU DULÂF, ARCADE                                                    243

ABU DULÂF, NICHED PIER OF NORTHERN ARCADE                            243

MÔṢUL                                                                248

MÂR AHUDÂNÎ                                                          258

MÔṢUL, MAR JIRJIS                                                    249

MÔṢUL, MÂR TÛMÂ                                                      249

MÔṢUL, MÂR TÛMÂ                                                      258

MÔṢUL, MÂR SHIM’UN                                                   258

MÔṢUL, PLASTER WORK IN ḲAL’AT LÛLÛ                                   258

MÔṢUL, TOMB OF THE IMÂM YAḤYÂ                                        259


ASSYRIAN RELIEFS AT BAVIÂN                                           272

’ALÎ BEG                                                             273

THE KHÂTÛN AT THE DOOR OF SHEIKH ’ADÎ                                273

SHEIKH ’ADÎ                                                          274

ZÂKHÔ                                                                275

BRIDGE OVER THE KHÂBÛR                                               275

ḤASANAH, ASSYRIAN RELIEF                                             290

SHAKH, ASSYRIAN RELIEF                                               290

NOAH’S ARK                                                           291

JEZÎRET IBN ’UMAR, GATE OF FORTRESS                                  296

JEZÎRET IBN ’UMAR, BRIDGE                                            296

JEZÎRET IBN ’UMAR, FOUNTAIN OF MOSQUE                                297

JEZÎRET IBN ’UMAR, RELIEFS ON BRIDGE                                 297

PARTHIAN RELIEF, ḲAṢR GHELLÎ                                         289

PARTHIAN RELIEF, FINIK                                               298

THE HILLS OF FINIK                                                   299

STELA AT SÂREH                                                       306

ḲAL’AT ḤÂTIM ṬÂI, CHAPEL                                             306

MÂR AUGEN                                                            307

THE BISHOP OF MÂR MELKO                                              314

KHÂKH, THE NUN                                                       314

NARTHEX OF MÂR GABRIEL                                               315

KHÂKH, CHURCH OF THE VIRGIN                                          315

KEFR ZEH, MÂR ’AZÎZÎYEH; PARISH CHURCH                               315

ṢALÂḤ, MÂR YA’ḲÛB; MONASTIC TYPE                                     316

KHÂKH, CHURCH OF THE VIRGIN                                          318

KHÂKH, CHURCH OF THE VIRGIN, CAPITALS                                318


THE CHELABÎ                                                          319

FORDING THE TIGRIS BELOW DIYÂRBEKR                                   319

DIYÂRBEKR, MARDÎN GATE                                               322

DIYÂRBEKR, YENI KAPU                                                 322

DIYÂRBEKR, CHEMIN DE RONDE, NORTH WALL                               323

DIYÂRBEKR, COURT OF ULU JÂMI’                                        323

ARGHANA MA’DEN                                                       328

GÖLJIK                                                               328

KHARPÛT, THE CASTLE                                                  329

IZ OGLU FERRY                                                        329

MALAṬIYAH ESKISHEHR                                                  336

VALLEY OF THE TOKHMA SU                                              336

TOMB AT OZAN                                                         337

OZAN, TOMB                                                           341

THE GORGE AT DERENDEH                                                340

TOMB NEAR YAZI KEUI                                                  340




SHAHR, DOORWAY OF SMALL TEMPLE                                       346

FATTÛḤ                                                               347

ON THE ROAD TO SHAHR                                                 347


SHAHR, TEMPLE-MAUSOLEUM                                              348

SHAHR, THE CHURCH ON THE BLUFF                                       348

AVSHAR ENCAMPMENT                                                    349

ḲAIṢARÎYEH, THE CITADEL                                              349

MOUNT ARGAEUS FROM NORTH-WEST                                        354

NIGDEH, TOMB OF HAVANDA                                              355

NIGDEH, TOMB OF HAVANDA, DETAIL OF WINDOW                            355

TOMB OF HAVANDA                                                      356

MAP OF TURKEY IN ASIA                                                370




_Feb. 3--Feb. 21_

A small crowd had gathered round one of the booths in the saddlery
bazaar, and sounds of controversy echoed down the vaulted ways. I love
to follow the tortuous arts of Oriental commerce, and moreover at the
end of the dark gallery the February sun was shining upon the steep
mound of the citadel; therefore I turned into the saddlers’ street, for
I had no other business that afternoon than to find the road back into
Asia, back into the familiar enchantment of the East. The group of men
round the booth swayed and parted, and out of it shouldered the tall
figure of Fattûḥ.

“May God be exalted!” said he, stopping short as he caught sight of me.
“It is well that your Excellency should witness the dealings of the
saddlers of Aleppo. Without shame are they. Thirty years and more have I
lived in Aleppo, and until this day no man has asked me to give two
piastres for a hank of string.” He cast a withering glance, charged with
concentrated animosity, upon the long-robed figure that stood, string in
hand, upon the counter.

“Allah!” said I warily, for I did not wish to parade my ignorance of the
market value of string. “Two piastres?”

“It is good string,” said the saddler ingratiatingly, holding out what
looked like a tangled bundle of black wool.

“Eh wah!” intervened a friend. “’Abdullah sells nought but the best

I took a seat upon a corner of the counter and Fattûḥ came slowly back,
shaking his head mournfully, as one who recognizes but cannot amend the
shortcomings of mankind. The whole company closed in behind him, anxious
to witness the upshot of the important transaction upon which we were
engaged. On the outskirts stood one of my muleteers like a man plunged
in grief; even the donkey beside him--a recent purchase, though acquired
at what cost of eloquence only Fattûḥ can know--drooped its ears. It was
plain that we were to be mulcted of a farthing over that hank of string.

Fattûḥ drew a cotton bag out of his capacious trousers.

“Take the mother of eight,” said he, extracting a small coin.

“He gives you the mother of eight,” whispered one of the company
encouragingly to the saddler.

“By God and the Prophet, it cost me more! Wallah, it did, oh my uncle!”
expostulated the saddler, enforcing his argument with imaginary bonds of

Fattûḥ threw up his eyes to the vault as though he would search heaven
for a sign to confound this impious statement; with averted head he
gazed hopelessly down the long alley. But the vault was dumb, and in all
the bazaar there was no promise of Divine vengeance. A man touched his

“Oh father,” he said, “give him the mother of ten.”

The lines of resolution deepened in Fattûḥ’s face. “Sir, we would
finish!” he cried, and fumbled once more in the cotton bag. The suspense
was over; satisfaction beamed from the countenances of the bystanders.

“Take it, oh father, take it!” said they, nudging the saddler into
recognition of his unexampled opportunity.

The hank of string was handed over to Ḥâjj ’Amr, who packed it gloomily
into the donkey’s saddle bags, already crammed to overflowing with the
miscellaneous objects essential to any well-ordered caravan on a long
journey. Fattûḥ and Ḥâjj ’Amr had been shopping since dawn, and it was
now close upon sunset.

I climbed down from the counter. “With your leave,” said I, saluting the

“Go in peace,” he returned amicably. “And if you want more string Fattûḥ
knows where to get it. He always deals with me.”

The crowd melted back to its avocations, if it had any, and the
excitement caused by our commercial dealings died away.

“Oh Fattûḥ,” said I, as we strolled down the bazaar with the donkey.
“There is great labour in buying all we need.”

Fattûḥ mopped his brow with a red handkerchief. “And the outlay!” he
sighed. “But we got that string cheap.” And with this he settled his
tarbush more jauntily, kicked the donkey, and “Yallah, father!” said he.

If there be a better gate to Asia than Aleppo, I do not know it. A
virile population, a splendid architecture, the quickening sense of a
fine Arab tradition have combined to give the town an individuality
sharply cut, and more than any other Syrian city she seems instinct with
an inherent vitality. The princes who drew the line of massive masonry
about her flanks and led her armies against the emperors of the West,
the merchants who gathered the wealth of inner Asia into her bazaars and
bartered it against the riches of the Levant Company have handed down
the spirit of enterprise to the latest of her sons. They drive her
caravans south to Baghdâd, and east to Vân, and north to Konia, and in
the remotest cities of the Turkish empire I have seldom failed to find a
native of Aleppo eager to provide me with a local delicacy and to gossip
over local politics. “Here is one who heard we were from Aleppo,” says
Fattûḥ with an affected indifference. “His brother lives in the next
street to mine, and he has brought your Excellency some apples. But they
are not like the apples of Aleppo.” Then we exchange a greeting warm
with fellow-citizenship and the apples are flavoured with good-will,
even if they cannot be expected to vie with the fruit of our own

It was at Aleppo that I made acquaintance with the Turkey which had come
into being on July 24, 1908. Even among those whose sympathies were
deeply engaged on behalf of the new order, there were not many Europeans
who, in January 1909, had any clue to public opinion outside
Constantinople and Salonica. The events of the six stirring months that
had just elapsed had yet to be heard and apprehended, and no sooner had
I landed in Beyrout than I began to shed European formulas and to look
for the Asiatic value of the great catchwords of revolution. In Aleppo,
sitting at the feet of many masters, who ranged down all the social
grades from the high official to the humblest labourer for hire, I
learnt something of the hopes and fears, the satisfaction, the
bewilderment, and the indifference of Asia. The populace had shared in
the outburst of enthusiasm which had greeted the granting of the
constitution--a moment of unbridled expectation when, in the brief
transport of universal benevolence, it seemed as if the age-long
problems of the Turkish empire had been solved with a stroke of the pen;
they had journeyed back from that Utopia to find that human nature
remained much as it had been before. The public mind was unhinged; men
were obsessed with a sense of change, perplexed because change was slow
to come, and alarmed lest it should spring upon them unawares. The
relaxation of the rule of fear had worked in certain directions with
immediate effect, but not invariably to the increase of security. True,
there was a definite gain of personal liberty. The spies had disappeared
from official quarters, and with them the exiles, who had been condemned
by ’Abdu’l Ḥamîd, on known or unknown pretexts, to languish helplessly
in the provincial capitals. Everywhere a daily press had sprung into
existence and foreign books and papers passed unhindered through the
post. The childish and exasperating restrictions with which the Sultan
had fettered his Christian subjects had fallen away. The Armenians were
no longer tied to the spot whereon they dwelt; they could, and did,
travel where they pleased. The nâmûsîyeh, the identification
certificate, had received the annual government stamp without delay, and
without need of bribes. In every company, Christian and Moslem, tongues
were unloosed in outspoken criticism of official dealings, but it was
extremely rare to find in these freely vented opinions anything of a
constructive nature. The government was still, to the bulk of the
population, a higher power, disconnected from those upon whom it
exercised its will. You might complain of its lack of understanding just
as you cursed the hailstorm that destroyed your crops, but you were in
no way answerable for it, nor would you attempt to control or advise it,
any more than you would offer advice to the hail cloud. Many a time have
I searched for some trace of the Anglo-Saxon acceptance of a common
responsibility in the problems that beset the State, a sense the germs
of which exist in the Turkish village community and in the tribal system
of the Arab and the Kurd; it never went beyond an embryonic application
to small local matters, and the answers I received resembled, _mutatis
mutandis_, that of Fattûḥ when I questioned him as to the part he had
played in the recent general election. “Your Excellency knows that I am
a carriage-driver, what have I to do with government? But I can tell you
that the new government is no better than the old. Look now at Aleppo;
have we a juster law? wallah, no!”

In some respects they had indeed a yet more laggard justice than in “the
days of tyranny”--so we spoke of the years that were past--or perhaps it
would be truer to say a yet more laggard administration. The dislocation
of the old order was a fact considerably more salient than the
substitution for it of another system. The officials shared to the full
the general sense of impermanence that is inevitable to revolution,
however soberly it may be conducted; they were uncertain of the limits
of their own authority, and as far as possible each one would shuffle
out of definite action lest it might prove that he had overstepped the
mark. In the old days a person of influence would occasionally rectify
by processes superlegal a miscarriage of the law; the miscarriages
continued, but intervention was curtailed by doubts and misgivings. The
spies had been in part replaced by the agents of the Committee, who
wielded a varying but practically irresponsible power. How far the
supremacy of the local committees extended it was difficult to judge,
nor would a conclusion based upon evidence from one province have been
applicable to another; but my impression is that nowhere were they of
much account, and that the further the district was removed from the
coast, that is, from contact with the European centres of the new
movement, the less influential did they become. Possibly in the remoter
provinces the local committee was itself reactionary, as I have heard it
affirmed, or at best an object of ridicule, but in Syria, at any rate,
the committees existed in more than the name. Their inner organization
was at that time secret, as was the organization of the parent society.
They had taken form at the moment when the constitution was proclaimed,
and had undergone a subsequent reconstruction at the hands of delegates
from Salonica, who were sent to instruct them in their duties. I came
across one case where these delegates, having been unwisely selected,
left the committee less well qualified to cope with local conditions
than they found it, but usually they discharged their functions with
discretion. The committees opened clubs of Union and Progress, the
members of which numbered in the bigger towns several hundreds. The club
of Aleppo was a flourishing institution lodged in a large bare room in
the centre of the town. It offered no luxuries to the members, military
and civilian, who gathered round its tables of an evening, but it
supplied them with a good stock of newspapers, which they read gravely
under the shadow of a life-sized portrait of Midhat Pasha, the hero and
the victim of the first constitution. The night of my visit the newly
formed sub-committee for commerce was holding its first deliberations on
a subject which is of the utmost importance to the prosperity of Aleppo:
the railway connection with the port of Alexandretta. To this discussion
I was admitted, but the proceedings after I had taken my seat at the
board were of an emotional rather than of a practical character, and I
left with cries of “Yasha Inghilterra!” (“Long live England!”) in my
ears. I carried away with me the impression that whatever might be the
future scope of its activities, the committee could not fail, in these
early days, to be of some educational value. It brought men together to
debate on matters that touched the common good and invited them to bear
a part in their promotion. The controlling authority of the executive
body was of much more questionable advantage. Its members, whose names
were kept profoundly secret, were supposed to keep watch over the
conduct of affairs and to forward reports to the central committee: I
say _supposed_, because I have no means of knowing whether they actually
carried out what they stated to be their duties. They justified their
position by declaring that it was a temporary expedient which would
lapse as soon as the leaders of the new movement were assured of
official loyalty to the constitution, and arbitrary as their functions
may appear it would have been impossible to assert that Asiatic Turkey
was fit to run without leading-strings. But I do not believe that the
enterprise of the committees was sufficient to hamper a strong governor;
and so far as my observation went, the welfare of each province
depended, and must depend for many a year to come, upon the rectitude
and the determination of the man who is placed in authority over it.

Underlying all Turkish politics are the closely interwoven problems of
race and religion, which had been stirred to fresh activity by exuberant
promises. Fraternity and equality are dangerous words to scatter
broadcast across an empire composed of many nationalities and controlled
by a dominant race. Under conditions such as these equality in its most
rigid sense can scarcely be said to exist, while fraternity is
complicated by the fact that the ruling race professes Islâm, whereas
many of the subordinate elements are Christian. The Christian population
of Aleppo was bitterly disheartened at having failed to return one of
their own creed out of the six deputies who represent the vilayet. I
met, in the house of a common friend, a distinguished member of the
Christian community who threw a great deal of light on this subject. He
began by observing that even in the vilayet of Beyrout, though so large
a proportion of the inhabitants are Christian, the appointment of a
non-Moslem governor would be impossible; so much, he said, for the boast
of equality. This is, of course, undeniable, though in the central
government, where they are not brought into direct contact with a Moslem
population, Christians are admitted to the highest office. He complained
that when the Christians of Aleppo had urged that they should be
permitted to return a representative to the Chamber, the Moslems had
given them no assistance. “They replied,” interposed our host, “that it
was all one, since Christians and Moslems are merged in Ottoman.” I
turned to my original interlocutor and inquired whether the various
communions had agreed upon a common candidate.

“No,” he answered with some heat. “They brought forward as many
candidates as there are sects. Thus it is in our unhappy country; even
the Christians are not brothers, and one church will not trust the

I said that this regrettable want of confidence was not confined to
Turkey, and asked whether, if they could have commanded a united vote,
they would have carried their candidate. He admitted with reluctance
that he thought it would have been possible, and this view was confirmed
by an independent witness who said that a Christian candidate, carefully
chosen and well supported, would have received in addition the Jewish
vote, since that community was too small to return a separate

As for administrative reform, it hangs upon the urgent problem of
finance. From men who are overworked and underpaid neither efficiency
nor honesty can be expected, but to increase their number or their
salary is an expensive business, and money is not to be had. How small
are the local resources may be judged from the fact that Aleppo, a town
of at least 120,000 inhabitants, possesses a municipal income of from
£3,000 to £4,000 a year. Judges who enjoy an annual salary of from £60
to £90 are not likely to prove incorruptible, and it is difficult to see
how a mounted policeman can support existence on less than £12 a year,
though one of my zaptiehs assured me that the pay was sufficient if it
had been regular. In the vilayet of Aleppo and the mutesarriflik of Deir
all the zaptiehs who accompanied me had received the arrears due to them
as well as their weekly wage, but this fortunate condition did not
extend to other parts of the empire.

The plain man of Aleppo did not trouble his head with fiscal problems;
he judged the new government by immediate results and found it wanting.
I rode one sunny afternoon with the boy, Fattûḥ’s brother-in-law, who
was to accompany us on our journey, to the spring of ’Ain Tell, a mile
or two north of the town. Jûsef--his name, as Fattûḥ was careful to
point out, is French: “I thought your Excellency knew French,” he said
severely, in answer to my tactless inquiry--Jûsef conducted me across
wet meadows, where in spring the citizens of Aleppo take the air, and
past a small mound, no doubt artificial, a relic perhaps of the
constructions of Seif ed Dauleh, whose palace once occupied these
fields. Close to the spring stands a mill with a pair of stone lions
carved on the slab above the door, the heraldic supporters of some
prince of Aleppo. They had been dug out of the mound together with a
fine basalt door, like those which are found among the fourth and fifth
century ruins in the neighbouring hills; the miller dusted it with his
sleeve and observed that it was an antîca. A party of dyers, who were
engaged in spreading their striped cotton cloths upon the sward, did me
the honours of their drying-ground--merry fellows they were, the typical
sturdy Christians of Aleppo, who hold their own with their Moslem
brothers and reckon little of distinctions of creed.

“Christian and Moslem,” said one, “see how we labour! If the
constitution were worth anything, the poor would not work for such small

“At any rate,” said I, “you got your nâmûsîyeh cheaper this year.”

“Eh true!” he replied, “but who can tell how long that will last?”

“Please God, it will endure,” said I.

“Please God,” he answered. “But we should have been better satisfied to
see the soldiers govern. A strong hand we need here in Aleppo, that the
poor may enjoy the fruits of their toil.”

“Eh wah!” said another, “and a government that we know.”

Between them they had summed up popular opinion, which is ever blind to
the difficulties of reform and impatient because progress is necessarily
slow footed.

We passed on our return the tekîyeh of Abu Bekr, a beautiful Mamlûk
shrine with cypresses in its courtyard, which lift their black spires
proudly over that treeless land. The brother of the hereditary sheikh
showed me the mosque; it contains an exquisite miḥrâb of laced stone
work, and windows that are protected by carved wooden shutters and
filled with old coloured glass. Near the mosque is the square hall of a
bath, now fallen into disrepair. Four pendentives convert the square
into an octagon, and eight more hold the circle of the dome--as fine a
piece of massive construction as you would wish to see. The sheikh and
his family occupied some small adjoining rooms, and the young wife of my
guide made me welcome with smiles and lemon sherbet. From the deep
embrasure of her window I looked out upon Aleppo citadel and
congratulated her upon her secluded house set in the thickness of
ancient walls.

“Yes,” she replied, eagerly detailing the benefits of providence, “and
we have a carpet for winter time, and there is no mother-in-law.”

Aleppo is the Greek Berœa, but the town must have played a part in the
earlier civilizations of North Syria. It lies midway between two Hittite
capitals, Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Cadesh on the Orontes, in the
heart of a fertile country strewn with mounds and with modern mud-built
villages. The chief town of this district was Chalcis, the modern
Kinnesrîn, a day’s journey to the south of Aleppo, but with the
development of the great Seleucid trade-route between Seleucia on the
Tigris and Antioch on the Orontes, which Strabo describes as passing
through Hierapolis, Aleppo, being on the direct line to Antioch, must
have gained in importance, and it was perhaps for this reason that the
little Syrian village saw the Seleucid foundations of Berœa. The Arabic
name, Ḥaleb, retains a reminiscence

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--ALEPPO, THE CITADEL.]





of the original local appellation, which never slipped out of memory and
finally conquered the Greek Berœa. Mohammadan tradition recognizes the
fact that Ḥaleb was the ancient name of the city in the foolish tale
which connects it with the cows of Abraham, the root of the word Ḥaleb
being the verb signifying to milk, and the Emperor Julian knew that
Berœa was the same as Chaleb. Aleppo is not without evidences of a
remote antiquity. Every archæologist in turn has tried his hand at the
half obliterated Hittite inscription which is built, upside down, into
the walls of the mosque of Ḳiḳân near the Antioch gate; among the ruins
of the citadel are two roughly worked Hittite lions (Fig. 2; Mr. Hogarth
was the first to identify them), and I found in the French Consulate a
headless eagle carved in basalt which belongs to the same period (Fig.
3). The steep escarpment of the castle mound is akin to the ancient
fortified sites of northern Mesopotamia. Julian mentions the acropolis
of Berœa. It was protected in a later age by a revetment of stone slabs,
most of which were stripped away by Tîmûr Leng when he overwhelmed the
town in 1401 and laid it in ruins. I know of only one building in Aleppo
the origin of which can be attributed with certainty to the
pre-Mohammadan period, the Jâmi’ el Ḥelâwîyeh near the Great Mosque
(Fig. 6). It has been completely rebuilt; the present dome, resting on
pendentives, with a tambour broken by six windows, belongs to one of the
later reconstructions, but the beautiful acanthus capitals must be
ascribed to the fifth century on account of their likeness to the
capitals in the church of St. Simeon Stylites, a day’s journey
north-west of Aleppo. The great school of architecture which they
represent affected the builders of Islâm through many a subsequent age,
and you will find the Mamlûks still flinging the leaves of the
wind-blown acanthus about the capitals in their mosques. In the tenth
century Aleppo was the chief city of the Ḥamdânid prince Seif ed Dauleh,
a notable patron of the arts. It was he who built the south gate in the
walls, the Bâb Kinnesrîn, and rebuilt the Antioch Gate after its
destruction by Nicephorus Phocas; he repaired the citadel, set the
shrine of Ḥussein upon the hill-side west of the town, and erected his
own splendid dwelling outside the walls to the north. His palace was
ravaged before his death, his gates and mosques have been rebuilt, and
there remains for the period before Saladin little or nothing but the
mosque inside the citadel, built in 1160 by Nûr ed Dîn, the greatest of
the Syrian atabegs, and the Jâmi’ esh Shaibîyeh near the Antioch Gate,
which, in spite of its ruined condition, is one of the loveliest
monuments of the art of Islâm in the whole town of Aleppo (Fig. 4).[1]
Along the top of the wall and carried uninterruptedly round the square
minaret, runs a Cufic inscription, cut in a cavetto moulding. Below it
is a band of interlacing rinceaux, unsurpassed in boldness and freedom
of design, and above it a heavy cymatium, borne on modillions and
adorned with rinceaux. The classical outline of the cornice, together
with the exquisite Oriental decoration, give it a singular hybrid
beauty. This mosque apart, the finest buildings are due to the Ayyûbids,
and chiefly to El Malik eẓ Ẓâhir, the son of Saladin, who ruled in
Aleppo at the end of the twelfth century. Beyond the walls to the south
of the city, in the quarter of Firdaus, the descendants of Saladin held
their court, and though their palaces have disappeared--how much more we
should know of Mohammadan architecture if each successive conqueror had
not ruined the house of his predecessor!--the suburb is still
resplendent with mosques and tombs. Here stands the Medresseh of El
Malik eẓ Ẓâhir, with an arcade borne on capitals that retain a
reminiscence of classical form though they are hung with a garland of
leaves that are closer to the Sasanian than to the Greek (Fig. 5).[2]
Near it is the mosque of Firdaus built by the king’s widow when she was
regent for her son. Over the miḥrâb of this mosque is a bold entrelac
decoration which is to be found also in the shrine of Ḥussein, a
building that

[Illustration: FIG. 6.--ALEPPO, JÂMI’ EL ḤELAWÎYEH.]

[Illustration: FIG. 7.--FIRDAUS, A TOMB.]

[Illustration: FIG. 8.--ALEPPO, A MAMLÛK DOME.]

[Illustration: FIG. 9.--ALEPPO, A MAMLÛK DOME.]

owes its present form to El Malik eẓ Ẓâhir.[3] The mosque of Eṣ Ṣâliḥîn
shelters a gigantic footprint of Abraham, and about it lie the tombs of
the pious who sought a resting-place near the site sanctified by the
patriarch--tombstones worthy of a museum, carved with Cufic inscriptions
and with vine scrolls and bunches of grapes. And falling now into
unheeded decay are other memorials of the dead, their walls covered with
delicate tracery and their windows filled with an exquisite lacework of
stone (Fig. 7). They were great builders these princes of Islâm, Ayyûbid
and Mamlûk, and in nothing greater than in their mastery of structural
difficulties. The problem of the dome, its thrust and its setting over a
square substructure, received from them every possible solution; they
bent the solid stone into airy forms of infinite variety (Figs. 8 and
9). Their splendid masonry satisfied the eye as does the wall of a Greek
temple, and none knew better than they the value of discreet decoration.
The restraint and beauty of such treatment of the wall surface as is to
be found in the Khân el Wazîr (Fig. 10) or the Khân es Sabûn (Fig. 11)
bear witness to a master hand. The grace and ordered symmetry of these
façades are as devoid of monotony as are the palace walls of the early
Venetian renaissance, to which they are closely related, and here as in
Venice the crowning beauty of colour is added to that of form and
proportion. But it is colour of the sun’s own making; the sharp black
outline of a window opening, the half tones of a carved panel lying upon
the smooth brightness of the masonry soberly enhanced by the occasional
use of a darker stone, either in courses or in alternate voussoirs. If
you are so fortunate as to have many friends in Aleppo, you will find
that the domestic architecture is no less admirable, and drinking your
coffee under panelled ceilings rich with dull golds and soft deep reds,
you will magnify once again the genius of the artificers of Asia.

The walls and gates of the city, though they are not so well preserved
as those of Diyârbekr, are fine examples of mediæval fortification. To
the north a prosperous quarter lies beyond the older circuit and the
heraldic lions of the Mamlûks look down upon streets crowded with
traffic. Armorial bearings played a large part in the decorative scheme
of the Mohammadan builders. The type characteristic of Aleppo is a disk
projecting slightly from the wall, carved with a cup from the base of
which spring a pair of leaves. Upon the cup there are strange signs
which are said to have been imitated from Egyptian hieroglyphs, a motive
introduced by the Mamlûks; but I have noticed a variety of coats of the
same period, such as the whorl which fills the disk upon the Bâb el
Maḳâm, and the pair of upright pot-hooks, set back to back, upon the
Jâmi’ el Maḳâmât in the Firdaus quarter. These disks, together with
bands of inscriptions, are the sole ornaments placed upon the city

The sombre splendour of the architecture of Aleppo is displayed nowhere
better than in the Bîmâristân of El Malik eẓ Ẓâhir, which was built as a
place of confinement for criminal lunatics and is still used for that
purpose. The central court terminates at the southern end in the lîwân
of a mosque covered with an oval dome; before it lies the ceremonial
water-tank, if any one should have the heart to wash or pray in that
house of despair. A door from the court leads into a stone corridor, out
of which open rectangular stone chambers with massive walls rising to a
great height, and carrying round and oval domes. Through narrow window
slits, feeble shafts of light fall into the dank well beneath and shiver
through the iron bars that close the cells of the lunatics. They sit
more like beasts than men, loaded with chains in their dark cages, and
glower at each other through the bars; and one was sick and moaned upon
his wisp of straw, and one rattled his chains and clawed at the bars as
though he would cry for mercy, but had forgotten human speech. “They do
not often recover,” said the gaoler, gazing indifferently into the sick
man’s cell, and I wondered in my heart whether there were any terms in
which to reckon up the misery that had accumulated for generations under
El Malik eẓ Ẓâhir’s domes.

[Illustration: FIG. 10.--KHÂN EL WAZÎR.]

[Illustration: FIG. 11.--KHAN ES SABÛN.]

[Illustration: FIG. 12.--WINDOW OF A TURBEH, FIRDAUS.]

[Illustration: FIG. 13.--GATE OF CITADEL, ALEPPO.]

Like the numismatic emblem of a city goddess, Aleppo wears a towered
crown. The citadel lies immediately to the east of the bazaars. A
masonry bridge resting on tall narrow arches spans the moat between a
crenelated outpost and the great square block of the inner gatehouse.
Through a worked iron door, dated in the reign of El Malik eẓ Ẓâhir, you
pass into a vaulted corridor which turns at right angles under an arch
decorated with interlaced dragons (Fig. 13), and ends at another arched
doorway on which stand the leopards of Sultan Baybars, who rebuilt the
castle in the thirteenth century. Above the entrance is a columned hall,
grass-grown and ruined; passages lead down from it into vaulted chambers
which would seem to have been repaired after Tîmûr had sacked Aleppo.
Some of the blocks used in the walls here are Jewish tombstones dated by
Hebrew inscriptions in the thirteenth century, and since it is scarcely
possible that Baybars should have desecrated a cemetery of his own day,
they must indicate a later period of reconstruction. The garrison was
supplied with water from a well eighty metres deep which lies near the
northern edge of the castle mound. Besides the well-hole, a stair goes
down to the water level, near which point vaulted passages branch out to
right and left. Tradition says that the whole mound is raised upon a
substructure of masonry, but tradition is always ready with such tales,
and the only inscription in the passages near the well is Cufic. At the
northern limit of the enclosure stands a high square tower, up which, if
you would know Aleppo, you must climb. From the muedhdhin’s gallery the
town lies revealed, a wide expanse of flat roof covering the bazaars,
broken by dome and minaret, by the narrow clefts of streets and the
courts of mosque and khân. The cypresses of Abu Bekr stand sentinel to
the north; from that direction Tîmûr entered through the Bâb el Ḥadîd.
In the low ground beyond the Antioch Gate, the armies of the Crusaders
lay encamped; the railway, an invader more powerful than Baldwin, holds
it now. Turn to the east, and as far as the eye can see, stretch rolling
uplands, the granary of North Syria, and across them wind the caravan
tracks that lead into inner Asia. There through the waste flows the
Euphrates--you might almost from the tower catch the glint of its
waters, so near to the western sea does its channel approach here.

I have never come to know an Oriental city without finding that it
possesses a distinctive personality much more strongly accentuated than
is usually the case in Europe, and this is essentially true of the
Syrian towns. To compare Damascus, for example, with Aleppo, would be to
set side by side two different conceptions of civilization. Damascus is
the capital of the desert, Aleppo of the fertile plain. Damascus is the
city of the Arab tribes who conquered her and set their stamp upon her;
Aleppo, standing astride the trade routes of northern Mesopotamia, is a
city of merchants quick to defend the wealth that they had gathered
afar. So I read the history that is written upon her walls and impressed
deep into the character of her adventurous sons.

At Aleppo the current of the imagination is tributary to the Euphrates.
With Xenophon, with Julian, with all the armies captained by a dream of
empire that dashed and broke against the Ancient East, the thoughts go
marching down to the river which was the most famous of all frontier
lines. So we turned east, and on a warm and misty February morning we
passed under the cypresses of Abu Bekr and took the road to Hierapolis.
It was a world of mud through which we journeyed, for the rains had been
heavy, and occasionally a shower fell across our path; but rain and mud
can neither damp nor clog the spirit of those who are once more upon the
road, with faces turned towards the east. The corn was beginning to
sprout and there were signs too of another crop, that of the locusts
which had swarmed across the Euphrates the year before, and after
ravaging the fields had laid their eggs in the shallow earth that lies
upon the rocky crest of the ridges between cornland and cornland.
Whenever the road climbed up to these low eminences we found a family of
peasants engaged, in a desultory fashion, in digging out the eggs from
among the stones. Where they lay the ground was pitted like a face
scourged with smallpox, but for every square yard cleared a square mile
was left undisturbed, and the peasants worked for the immediate small
reward which the government paid for each load of eggs, and not with any
hope of averting the plague that ultimately overwhelmed their crops. It
comes and goes, for what reason no man can tell, lasting in a given
district over a term of lean years, and disappearing as unaccountably as
it came: perhaps a storm of rain kills the larvæ as they are hatching
out, perhaps the breeding season is unfavourable--God knows, said Ḥâjj
’Alî, the zaptieh who accompanied me. The country is set thick with
villages, of which Kiepert marks not the tenth part--and even those not
always rightly placed. We passed his Sheikh Najar, and at Sheikh Ziyâd I
went up to see the ziyârah, the little shrine upon the hill-top, but
found there nothing but a small chamber containing the usual clay tomb.
We left Serbes on the right--it was hidden behind a ridge--and took a
track that passed through the village of Shammar. Not infrequently there
were old rock-cut cisterns among the fields and round the mounds whereon
villages had once stood. At Tell el Ḥâl, five hours from Aleppo, a
modern village lies below the mound, and by the roadside I saw part of
the shaft of a column, with a moulded base, while several more fragments
of columns were set up as tombstones in the graveyard. An hour before we
reached Bâb we caught sight of the high minaret of the ziyârah above it.
It is a flourishing little place with a bazaar and several khâns, in one
of which I lodged. The heavy rain-clouds that had hung about us all day
were closing down as evening approached, but I had time to climb the
steep hill to the west of the village, where a cluster of houses
surrounds the ziyârah of Nebî Ḥâshil--so I heard the name, but Abu’l
Fidâ calls it the Mashhad of ’Aḳil ibn Abî Ṭâlib, brother of the Khalif
’Alî[4]--an old shrine of which the lower part of the walls is built of
rusticated stones. The tomb itself was closed, but I went to the top of
the minaret and had a fine view of the shallow fruitful valley of the
Deheb, which, taking its source near Bâb and the more northerly Tell
Batnân, runs down to the salt marshes at the foot of Jebel el Ḥaṣṣ.
Across the valley there is a notable big mound with a village at its
foot, the Buzâ’â of the Arab geographers, “smaller than a town and
larger than a village,” said Ibn Jubeir in the twelfth century. The
ancient Bathnæ where Julian rested under “a pleasant grove of cypress
trees” is represented by Buzâ’â and its “gate” Bâb. He compares its
gardens with those of Daphne, the famous sanctuary of Apollo near
Antioch, and though the gardens and cypresses have been replaced by
cornfields, it is still regarded by the inhabitants of Aleppo as an
agreeable and healthy resort during the hot months of summer. Perhaps we
may carry back its history yet earlier and look here for the palace of
Belesys, the Persian governor of Syria, at the source of the river
Dardes, which Xenophon describes as having “a large and beautiful garden
containing all that the seasons produce.”[5] Cyrus laid it waste and
burned the palace, after which he marched three days to Thapsacus on the
Euphrates; but the Arab geographers place Bâlis (which some have
conjectured to have occupied the site of the Persian palace) two days
from Aleppo, and the position of Thapsacus has not been determined with
any certainty. If it stood at Dibseh, as Moritz surmises,[6] Cyrus could
well have reached it in three marches from Bâb, and I am inclined to
think that Xenophon’s account identifies the satrap’s pleasaunce with
the garden of Bathnæ. In Kiepert’s map the relative distances between
Aleppo and Bâb and Bâb and Manbij are not correct. I rode the two stages
in almost exactly the same time (seven and a quarter hours), and the
caravan took nine hours each day, whereas the map would have the march
to Manbij a good two hours longer than the march to Bâb.[7]

A stormy wind, bringing with it splashes of rain, swept us next morning
over the wet uplands. About an hour from Bâb we were joined by a
Circassian wrapped in a thick black felt cloak, which, with the white
woollen hood over an astrachan cap, skirted coat with cartridges ranged
across the breast, and high riding-boots, is the invariable costume of
these emigrants from the north. His name was Maḥmûd Aghâ. His father had
left the Caucasus after the Russians took the country and had gone with
all his people to Roumelia, where they settled down and built houses.
And then the Russians seized that land also, and again they left all and
came to Manbij, and the Sultan gave them fields on his own estates. “But
if the Russians were to come here too,” he concluded, with the anxious
air of one who faces an ever-present danger, “God knows where we should

“Their frontier is far,” said I reassuringly.

“Please God,” said he.

I asked him about the recent elections and found that he took a lively
interest in the politics of the day. He knew the names of the deputies
who had been returned for the vilayet of Aleppo, and said that a
thousand people had given their votes in the Manbij district, though
there should have been many more if all had been on the register. But
they would not trouble to have their names placed upon it.

“Wallah, no,” observed Ḥâjj ’Alî. “Do you think that the fellaḥîn of all
these villages wish to vote? If they knew that their name was written
down by the government, they would take to their heels and flee into the
desert, leaving all that they have. So great would be their fear.”

This was a new view of the duties and privileges of citizenship, and
once more I had to shift my ground and look at representative
institutions through the eyes of the Syrian peasant.

“Then none of the Arab vote?” I asked, when I had accomplished this
revolution of the mind. The Arab are the Bedouin.

“God forbid!” replied Ḥâjj ’Alî. “Where is Aleppo and where their

“We are all equal now before the law,” said Maḥmûd Aghâ inconsequently
(but he was thinking of townsfolk, not of the Arab), “and all will be
given an equal justice. We shall not wait for months at the door of the
serâyah before we are given a hearing--and then only with bribes.”

“I have heard that all are equal,” said I, “and that Christian and
Moslem will serve together in the army. What think you?”

“Without doubt the Christians may serve,” he answered, “but they cannot

In three and a half hours we reached the village of Arîmeh, where there
are two Roman milestones that have been copied by Mr. Hogarth. He dates
them A.D. 197, in which year the Emperor Septimius Severus, whose name
is inscribed upon them, probably completed the road. I suspect that it
followed the Seleucid trade route mentioned by Strabo. There are not
more than a dozen houses at Arîmeh, but the ancient settlement was more
important. Cut stones lie about the modern hovels, and behind them are
ruined foundations, among which we found the fragment of a bas-relief, a
pair of shod feet and another foot beside them: I did not judge it to be
earlier than the Roman period. A large stone block built into the wall
of one of the courtyards bore a much worn foundation inscription of El
Malik eẓ Ẓâhir, his name and the words “he built it” being alone
decipherable. We rode on to Hierapolis across a hollow plain, all
cultivated, the sacred domain of the Syrian goddess “whom some call
Nature herself, the cause that produces the seed of all things.”[8] When
we passed over the ground it was still a chiflik, the private property
of ’Abdu’l Ḥamîd, wrested by him bit by bit during the last thirty years
from its owners, the half-settled Arabs. With all the rest of his landed
estates it was appropriated after his deposition in April by the State,
and if it is put up for sale there will be no lack of customers in
Aleppo, for the merchants are eager to lay field to field, and I have
heard them complain of the difficulty of buying land near home, since
all was held by the Sultan. We rode between the air-holes of underground
canals, of which there were a great number bringing water to Hierapolis.
The old line of the city walls is clearly marked, though the Circassian
colony, which grows in numbers and prosperity in spite of the antagonism
of the neighbouring Arabs, is rapidly digging out the stones and using
them in the construction of houses. Just within the walls, as we
approached from the west, is a large pond, surrounded by masonry, the
remains of the stairs by which the worshippers descended into the pool
of Atargatis that they might swim to the altar in its midst. Lucian
declares that the pool wherein were kept the sacred fish was over 200
cubits deep, but his informants must have exaggerated, inasmuch as
Pocock, who visited Hierapolis in 1787, mentions that the pool was dry,
and does not speak of so remarkable a hole as Lucian’s estimate would
imply. Maundrell, who saw it in 1699, describes it as a deep pit
containing a little water, but choked by the walls and columns of great
buildings that had stood all about it. East of the pool there is a
modern mosque erected by ’Abdu’l Hamîd on the site of a foundation of El
Malik eẓ Ẓâhir. Nothing remained of the earlier building, I was told,
but a ruined minaret,[9] which has now gone. In the ṣaḥn, the court, I
saw three inscriptions of El Malik eẓ Ẓâhir which had belonged to his
mosque. Below the pavement of the ṣaḥn, said the guardian of the mosque,
a second pavement had been found which he believed to have been that of
a Christian church; there were one or two columns lying about here, and
an acanthus capital which was certainly pre-Mohammadan and probably
pre-Christian. Manbij was at one time a bishopric; the earlier
travellers mention several ruined churches which have now vanished, and
Ibn Khurdâdhbeh, one of the first of the Arab geographers, remarks that
“there is no wooden building fairer than the church at Manbij, for it
has arches of jujube wood”[10]--an observation which is repeated with
wearisome iteration by many of his successors.

The pool and the mosque stand for the two periods of former splendour,
the pagan and the Mohammadan. Bambyce--to give it the classicized form
of its ancient local name[11]--must have been a shrine of some
importance when the Seleucids rechristened it Hierapolis, but, as at
Aleppo, the older word was never forgotten, and Strabo in the first
century calls it by both names. His account is suggestive of the
conditions that prevailed in the Seleucid empire. “The road for
merchants,” says he, “going from Syria to Seleucia and Babylon, lies
through the country of the Scenitæ and through the desert belonging to
their territory. The Euphrates is crossed in the latitude of Anthemusia,
a place in Mesopotamia.[12] Above the river, at a distance of four
schœni, is Bambyce, where the Syrian goddess Atargatis is worshipped.
After crossing the river the road runs through a desert country on the
borders of Babylonia, to Scenæ. From the passage across the river to
Scenæ is a journey of five-and-twenty days. There are on the road owners
of camels who keep resting-places which are well supplied with water
from cisterns, or transported from a distance. The Scenitæ exact a
moderate tribute from merchants, but do not molest them: the merchants
therefore avoid the country on the banks of the river and risk a journey
through the desert, leaving the river on the right hand at a distance of
nearly three days’ march. For the chiefs of the tribes living on both
sides of the river are settled in the midst of their own peculiar
domains, and each exacts a tribute of no moderate amount for
himself.”[13] It is evident that the Alexandrids never succeeded in
subduing the Arab tribes, who pushed up in a wedge along the Euphrates
between their Mesopotamian and their Syrian provinces, and Strabo has
here left us a description of the pre-Parthian line of traffic. Where it
crossed the river it would be hazardous to pronounce. The two most
famous passages of the middle Euphrates were at Birejik and at
Thapsacus: at the former Seleucus Nicator built a bridge,[14] and
Crassus, in the first century before Christ, found a bridge at Birejik
and crossed with all the omens against him, even the eagle of the first
standard turning its head backwards when it was brought down to the
river. But between these two points the Euphrates can easily be crossed
in boats at many places,[15] and in the numerous Roman expeditions
against the Sasanians, when Hierapolis came to be used as a convenient
starting-point for eastern campaigns, the passage seems usually to have
been made lower down than Birejik, more nearly opposite Hierapolis, and
the Mesopotamian road ran thence by Thilaticomum and through the desert
to Bathnæ in Osrhœne.[16] Julian marching from Hierapolis presumably
took this shorter road, for he was anxious to reach Mesopotamia before
intelligence of his movements should have come to the enemy,[17] and it
has been conjectured that he threw his bridge of boats across the river
from Cæciliana, a place mentioned in the Peutinger Tables and identified
tentatively with Ḳal’at en Nejm.[18] There is, however, a ferry just
below the mouth of the Sajûr river which during the last few years has
been used regularly by caravans and carriages going to Urfah, the
ancient Edessa, in preference to the longer road by Birejik. This route
had long been abandoned on account of the insecurity of the deserts
through which it passes. Before the granting of the constitution some
advance had been made towards order, and since the overthrow of Ibrahîm
Pasha, the Kurd, in the autumn of 1908, it has become as safe as can
reasonably be expected. The landing-place on the east bank is at Tell
Aḥmar, a tiny hamlet which has inherited the site of a very ancient
city. Here perhaps Strabo’s road crossed the river;[19] here Julian may
have constructed his pontoon bridge, and it is not improbable that for
the first four or five hundred years of the Christian era it was the
customary point of passage for travellers from Hierapolis to Edessa.[20]
Thapsacus, which lies lower down than Cæciliana-Ḳal’at en Nejm, was of
earlier importance. Xenophon crossed there, and nearly a hundred years
later, Darius, fleeing headlong eastwards with his broken army after the
battle of Issus, with Alexander headlong at his heels, passed over the
river at Thapsacus.[21]

Julian saw Manbij in the last days of its pagan glory, and for him, as
for Crassus before him, the omens of Hierapolis were unfavourable, for
as he entered the gates of “that large city, a portico on the left fell
suddenly while fifty soldiers were passing under it, and many were
wounded, being crushed beneath the vast weight of the beams and
tiles.”[22] A couple of hundred years later its estate was so much
diminished that no attempt was made to defend it against Chosroes, who
held it to ransom, and then treacherously sacked it. Procopius says that
the space enclosed by the wide circuit of the walls was at that time a
desert, and since it was far too large to be defended by the scanty
remnants of the population, Julian drew in the walls to a smaller
compass.[23] After the Mohammadan conquest, Hârûn er Rashîd made Manbij
one of the fortresses of his frontier province, el ’Awâṣim, the
Strongholds; it passed from hand to hand in the wars carried on by the
Greek emperors and the Crusaders against the khalifs, and finally
remained in the possession of the latter. Under the house of Saladin it
enjoyed a second period of prosperity, and the inscriptions near the
mosque show that El Malik eẓ Ẓâhir, that great builder, must have
expended some of his skill upon it. Ibn Jubeir found it rich and
populous, with large bazaars and a strong castle. But its fortifications
could not protect it against Hûlâkû, who took and sacked it in 1259, and
sixty years later Abu’l Fidâ found most of its walls and houses in
ruins. It never recovered from this disaster, but sank gradually into
the featureless decay from which the Circassian colony is engaged in
rescuing it.

The khânjî and all others interested in our arrival being happily
engaged in receiving the news of the day from Fattûḥ, I slipped away
alone and walked round the western and southern line of the ruined city
wall. The space within is covered by shapeless heaps of earth, with cut
stones and fragments of columns emerging from them. Towards the
north-east corner, where the ground rises, the hollow of the theatre is
clearly marked just inside the wall, and beyond it a large depression
probably indicates the site of the stadium. The rain-clouds scudded past
upon the wind; little and solitary, a Circassian shepherd boy came
wandering in over the high downs, driving his flock of goats across the
ruins of the wall and through the theatre, where they stopped to graze
in shelter from the furious blast. I followed them half across the
wasted city and turned aside to pay my respects to the tomb of a holy
man, a crumbling mosque, with the graves of the Faithful about it. The
Circassian who has his dwelling in the courtyard hastened to open the
shrine and to relate the story of Sheikh ’Aḳil. He lived in the days of
Tîmûr Leng, and enjoyed so great a reputation that when the conqueror
was preparing to besiege the town, he thought fit to warn the sheikh of
his intentions. Sheikh ’Aḳil begged him to hold aloof for three days,
and having obtained this respite, he counselled the inhabitants to
destroy all that might tempt to pillage. They followed his advice, and
Tîmûr, finding nothing but smoking ruins, passed the city by, while the
populace escaped with their lives. So ran the Circassian’s tale: I give
it for what it is worth. Meantime the baggage had come in and the horses
were being watered at the sacred pool, amid anxious cries from the
muleteers, who had heard rumours of its fabulous depth: “Oh father, look
to yourself! may God destroy your dwelling! no further!” Besides Ḥâjj
’Amr, who had travelled with me before, Fattûḥ had engaged two others,
both Christians, Selîm and Ḥabîb, the latter a brother of his own. These
three, with Jûsef, accompanied me during all the months of the journey,
and I never heard a word of complaint from them, neither had I cause to

I had intended to ride next day to Carchemish, sending the caravan
across the ford to Tell Aḥmar, where I meant to join it in the evening,
but the khânji and Maḥmûd Aghâ, who had dropped in to see that we were
comfortably lodged, dissuaded me, saying that if the wind rose, as it
had done that evening, the ferry boats would not come over from Tell
Aḥmar and I should be left on the river bank with my camp on the
opposite side. I was reluctant to give up my scheme, and Fattûḥ backed
me with the observation that the passage was easy and need not be taken
into account.

“Oh my brother,” Maḥmûd admonished him, “it is the Euphrates!” And we
were all silenced.

Early in the morning, I left Manbij with Jûsef and Ḥâjj ’Alî, and rode
past a bewildering number of villages unmarked by Kiepert (I noted
Mangâbeh and Wardâna on our left hand, and after them ’Ain Nakhîleh on
our right) to the

[Illustration: FIG. 14.--ALEPPO, THE GREAT MOSQUE.]

[Illustration: FIG. 15.--TELL AḤMAR FERRY.]

[Illustration: FIG. 16.--TELL AḤMAR.]


Sajûr valley, which we reached near Chat. We had left the carriage track
and now followed the windings of the Sajûr by a path narrow at best and
none the better for the recent rains. A man on a donkey jogged along
behind us, and I caught fragments of his conversation with Ḥâjj ’Alî. He
asked the meaning of the word ḥurrîyeh (liberty), a question to which he
received no very definite answer. He did not press the point, but
remarked that for his part he knew nothing of the new government, but
this he knew, that no one in these villages had done military service (I
suppose on account of the exemption that was extended to all who dwelt
upon the Sultan’s domains) and no one was written down “‘and el ḥukûmeh”
(on the official register). He prayed God that this fortunate estate
might not suffer change. In three hours from Manbij we reached
Osherîyeh, turned a bit of rising ground and came in sight of the
Euphrates, flowing beneath white cliffs. If I had been instructed in the
proper ceremonies I should have wished to offer up a sacrifice or raise
a bethel stone, but failing these I paid the only tribute that can be
accorded in an ungracious age and photographed it. Ḥâjj ’Alî drew bridle
and watched the proceeding.

“I see it for the first time,” said I apologetically.

“Eh yes,” he replied, “this is our Euphrates,” and he turned an
indulgent eye upon the rolling waters that are charged with the history
of the ancient world.

The path dropped down into the valley and ran under cliffs which are
honeycombed with chambered caves, made, or at least deepened, by the
hand of man. The water was low at this season, and where we joined the
river it was divided into two arms by a long island. Half-an-hour
further down the arms met, and lower still another little island, which
is covered after the snows begin to melt in the northern mountains, was
set in the wide stream. Here was the ferry (Fig. 15). A company of
bedraggled camels and camel-drivers waited on the sands while the
cumbrous boats were dragged up from the point to which they had been
washed by the current. The ferrymen had been weatherbound at Tell Aḥmar,
and the caravans had spent a weary two days by the river’s edge. They
had eaten misery, sighed the camel-drivers; wallah, no bread they had
had, no fire and no tobacco; but with the patient deference of the East
they stood aside when the first boat came lumbering up and observed that
the Consul Effendi had best cross while the air was still. We drove our
horses into the ferry boat, and by a most unnautical process, connected
with long poles, our craft was run ashore upon the island, over which we
ploughed our way and found a second boat ready to take us across the
smaller channel. We landed in Mesopotamia at the village of Tell Aḥmar,
which takes its name from the high mound, washed by Euphrates, under
which it lies (Fig. 16). Jûsef spread out my lunch on the top of the
tell, and we watched the caravan embark from the opposite bank and were
well pleased to have accomplished the momentous passage in good order,
with all our eagles pointing the right way.

I lingered on the mound, making acquaintance with a world which was new
to me, but immeasurably old to fame. The beautiful empty desert
stretched away east and north and south, bathed in the soft splendour of
the February sun, long gentle slopes and low bare hills, and the noble
curves of the Euphrates bordering the waste. Near the river and
scattered over the first two or three miles of country to the east of
it, there are a number of isolated mounds which represent the site of
very ancient settlements.[24] Of these Tell Aḥmar is by far the most
important. The ridge of silted earth which marks the line of the walls
encloses three sides of a parallelogram, the river itself defending the
fourth side. Strewn about the village are several stone slabs carved in
relief with Hittite figures; outside one of the gates in the east wall
are the broken remains of a Hittite stela, and before the second more
southerly gate lie two roughly carved lions with inscriptions of
Shalmaneser II.[25] By the time I had finished lunch Ḥâjj ’Alî had
selected a villager to serve me as guide to the wonders of Tell Aḥmar,
and we set off together to inspect the written stones. My new friend’s
name was Ibrahîm. As we ran down to Shalmaneser’s lions he confided to
me that for some reason, wholly concealed from him, wallah, he was not
beloved of the Ḳâimmaḳâm of Bumbuj, and added that he proposed to place
himself under my protection, please God.

“Please God,” said I, wondering to what misdeeds I might, in the name of
my vassal, stand committed.

The fragments of the Hittite stela were half buried in the ground, and I
sent Ibrahîm to the village, bidding him collect men with picks and
spades to dig them out. The monument had been a four-sided block of
stone with rounded corners, covered on three sides with an inscription
and on the fourth with a king in low relief standing upon a bull (Fig.
18). When we had disengaged the bull from the earth the villagers fell
to discussing what kind of animal it was, and Ibrahîm took upon himself
to pronounce it a pig. But Ḥâjj ’Alî, who had been tempted forth from
the tents to view the antîca, intervened decisively in the debate.

“In the ancient days,” said he, “they made pictures of men and maidens,
lions, horses, bulls and dogs; but they never made pictures of pigs.”

This statement was received deferentially by all, and Ibrahîm, with the
fervour of the newly convinced, hastened to corroborate it.

“No, wallah! They never made pictures of pigs.”

The whole village turned out to help in the work of making moulds of the
inscriptions, those who were not actively employed with brush and paste
and paper sitting round in an attentive circle. There is little doing at
Tell Aḥmar, and even the moulding of a Hittite inscription, which is not
to the European an occupation fraught with interest, affords a welcome
diversion--to say nothing of the prospect of earning a piastre if you
wait long enough. But on the third day, wind and rain called a halt, and
guided by the sheikh of the neighbouring village of Ḳubbeh I explored
the river-bank. Half-an-hour below Tell Aḥmar, among some insignificant
ruins, we found a small Hittite inscription cut on a bit of basalt, and
close to it a block of limestone carved with a much effaced relief. A
few minutes further to the east a lion’s head roughly worked in basalt
lay upon a mound. The head is carved in the round, but we dug into the
mound and uncovered a large block on which the legs were represented in
relief. We rode on to Ḳubbeh, where the inhabitants are Arabic-speaking
Kurds, and found in the graveyard the fragment of a Latin inscription in
well-cut letters--

  C  O  M  F
  L  O  N  G
      H  F  R
  V  I  A  S

We left the hamlet of Ja’deh a little to the right, and an hour further
down passed the village of Mughârah, beyond which the eastern ridge of
high ground draws in towards the river. In a small valley, just before
we reached the slopes of the hill, I saw the remains of some
construction that looked like a bridge built of finely squared stones,
and on the further side a graveyard with a couple of broken stone
sarcophagi in it. The sheikh said that after rain he had found glass and
gold rings here. He insisted on my inspecting some caves by the water’s
edge where he was positive we should find writing, and I went
reluctantly, for a series of disillusions has ended in destroying the
romantic interest that once hung about caves. These were no better than
I had expected, and the writing was a cross incised over one of the
entrances. The rain had stopped and we rode on to the big mound of Ḳara
Kazâk (Kiepert calls it Kyrk Kazâk), at the foot of which there is a
considerable area covered with cut and moulded stones, and massive
door-jambs still standing upright with half their height buried in the
earth. I should say that it was the site of a town of the Byzantine
period. When we returned to

[Illustration: FIG. 18.--TELL AḤMAR. HITTITE STELA.]

[Illustration: FIG. 19.--TELL AḤMAR. EARTHENWARE JAR.]

[Illustration: FIG. 21.--SERRÎN, NORTHERN TOWER TOMB.]

[Illustration: FIG. 22.--SERRÎN, SOUTHERN TOWER TOMB.]

camp Ibrahîm brought me two fragments of a large earthenware jar
decorated round the top with a double line raised and notched in the
clay (Fig. 19). In the band between were set alternately a head in high
relief and a semi-circle of the notched clay. The heads were finely
worked, the eyes rather prominent and the cheeks round and full--a type
which recalled that of the stone heads carved upon the walls of the
Parthian palace at Hatra. Whether it were Parthian or not, the jar was
certainly pre-Mohammadan.

The night closed in cloudless and frosty, and I resolved to risk the
caprices of the river and ride up next morning to Carchemish, for it is
impossible to lie within half-a-day’s journey of a great capital and yet
make no effort to see it. Before dawn we sent a messenger up the river
and charged him to bring us a boat to a point above the camp, that we
might land on the west bank of the Euphrates above its junction with the
Sajûr, a river which we were told was difficult to cross. In
half-an-hour Fattûḥ and I reached Tell el ’Abr (the Mound of the Ford),
where there is a small village, and on going down to the river found, to
our surprise, that the boat was there before us--but not ready; that
would have been too much to expect. I left Fattûḥ to bale out the water
with which it was filled and went off to inspect Tell el Kumluk, a
quarter of an hour away if you gallop. Here there was no village, but
only a large graveyard with broken columns used as tombstones. By the
time I returned to the river the boat had been made more or less
seaworthy, but a sharp little wind had risen, the swift current of the
Euphrates was ruffled, and the boatmen shook their heads and doubted
whether they would dare to cross. We did not leave the decision to them,
but hurried the horses into the leaking craft and pushed off. The stream
swept us down and the wind held us close to the east bank, but with much
labour and frequent invocation of God and the Prophet we sidled across
and ran aground on the opposite shore. Our troubles were not yet over,
for our landing-place turned out to be a big island, and there was still
an arm of the river before us. The stream had risen during the rain of
the previous day and was racing angrily through the second channel, but
we plunged in and, with the water swirling round the shoulders of our
horses, succeeded in making the passage. We shook ourselves dry and
turned our faces to Carchemish. The road under the bluffs by the
river-side was impassable, and we climbed up a gorge into the rocky
country that lies along the top of the cliff. At one point we saw a mass
of ruins, door-jambs and squared stones, which Kiepert--I know not on
what ground--calls Kloster Ruine. In that bare land we met a cheerful
old man driving a donkey and carrying a rifle. “Whither going in peace?”
said he. “To Carchemish,” we answered (only we called it Jerâblus), and
I fell to considering how often the same question had met with the same
answer when the stony path was full of people from the Tell Aḥmar city
going up and down to learn the news of the capital and bring back word
of the movements of Assyrian armies and the market price of corn.
Fattûḥ, elated by the conquest of the river, bubbled over with talk,
simple tales of his beloved Aleppo, of the ways of its inhabitants great
and small, and of his many journeys to Killîz and ’Ain Tâb, Urfah,
Diyârbekr, and Baghdâd.

“Your Excellency knows that I was the first man to take a carriage to
Baghdâd, for there was no road then, but afterwards they made it. And as
for my carriage, Zekîyeh has lined it inside and filled it with
cushions, so that the gentry may lie at ease while I drive them. And
have I told you how I got Zekîyeh?”

“No,” said I mendaciously; I have travelled with Fattûḥ before, and have
not been left unaware of the episodes that led to his betrothal, but
reminiscences that take the listener into the heart of Eastern life bear
repetition. The lady of Fattûḥ’s choice was fourteen when he first set
eyes on her; he went straight to her father and made a bid for her hand,
but the girl was very fair and the father asked a larger dowry than
Fattûḥ could give. “Fortunately,” continued Fattûḥ ingenuously, “he had
an illness of the eyes, and I said to him: ‘There is in Aleppo a doctor
who loves me, and will cure you for my sake.’ But he answered: ‘God give
you wisdom! none can cure me save only God.’ And I mounted him in my
carriage, and drove him to that doctor, and look you, he healed him so
that he saw like a youth. Then he said, ‘There is none like Fattûḥ, and
I will give him my daughter even without a dowry.’ So I bought her
clothes and a gold chain and all that she desired, for I said, ‘She
shall have nought but what I give her.’ And since we married I have
given her gold ornaments and dresses of silk, and when we return from
this journey I will take her on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. And indeed
she loves me mightily, and I her,” said Fattûḥ, bringing his idyll to a
satisfactory conclusion. I have seen Zekîyeh in all the bravery of her
silk gowns and gold ornaments, and I do not think she has ever had cause
to regret the day when Fattûḥ mounted her father in his carriage.

We rode fast, and in a couple of hours came down to the Euphrates again,
and so over the low ground for another hour till we reached a tell by
the river with a village close to it. This village and tell, as well as
the large mound half-an-hour away to the north-west, and the farm near
it, are all called Jerâblus,[26] and probably local tradition is right
in drawing no distinction between the widely separated mounds, the whole
area between them having been, in all likelihood, occupied by the houses
and gardens of the Hittite capital. Until you come to Babylon there is
no site on the Euphrates so imposing as the northern mound of Carchemish
(Fig. 17). It was the acropolis, the strongly fortified dwelling-place
of king and god. At its north-eastern end it rises to a high ridge
enclosed on two sides in a majestic sweep of the river. From the top of
this ridge you may see the middle parts of the strategic line drawn by
the Euphrates from Samosata to Thapsacus, strung with battlefields
whereon the claims of Europe and Asia were fought out; while to the west
stretch the rich plains that gave wealth to Carchemish, to Europus, and
to Hierapolis. They are now coming back into cultivation as the
merchants of Aleppo acquire and till them, or enter into an agricultural
partnership with their Arab proprietors, and if the Baghdâd railway is
brought this way, as was confidently expected, the returns from them
will be doubled or trebled in value. The northern mound is covered with
the ruins of the Roman and Byzantine city, columns and moulded bases,
foundations of walls set round paved courtyards, and the line of a
colonnaded street running across the ruin field from the high ridge to a
breach that indicates the place of a gate in the southern face of the
enclosing wall. A couple of carved Hittite slabs, uncovered during
Henderson’s excavations and left exposed at the mercy of the weather,
bear witness to the antiquity of the site. It has long been desolate,
but there is no mistaking the greatness of the city that was protected
by that splendid mound.

Fattûḥ had ordered the boatmen to pull or punt the boat over to the west
bank during our absence; the river was rising and the arm that we had
crossed with difficulty in the morning might have been impassable by
nightfall. The boat was surrounded when we arrived by every one in the
district who happened to have business on the opposite bank, and
recognized in our passage an unusually favourable opportunity for
getting over for nothing. As soon as we had embarked, some twenty
persons and four donkeys hustled in after us and were like to swamp us,
but Fattûḥ rose up in anger and ejected half of them, pitching the lean
and slender Arab peasants over the gunwales and into the water at
haphazard until we judged the boat to be sufficiently lightened. Those
who were allowed to remain earned their passage, for when we presently
ran aground on the head of the island--as it was obvious to the most
inexperienced eye that we must--they leapt out and wading waist high in
the stream, pushed us off. So we galloped home beside the
swiftly-flowing river, aglint with the sunset, and found the camp fire
lighted and the cooking pots a-simmer, and Tell Aḥmar settling down to
its evening meal and to rest.



_Feb. 21--March 7_

The water of the Euphrates is much esteemed by the inhabitants of its
banks. It is, I think, an acquired taste; the newcomer will be apt to
look askance at the turgid liquid that issues from the spout of his
teapot and to question whether a decoction of ancient dust can be
beneficial to the European constitution. Fattûḥ, being acquainted with
my idiosyncrasies in the matter of drinking water, accepted without a
murmur the sacrilegious decree that that which was destined for my flask
must be boiled; whereby, though we did not succeed in removing all solid
bodies, we reduced them to a comparative harmlessness. But if it cannot
be described as a good table river, the Euphrates is the best of
travelling companions, and the revolution of the seasons will never
again bring me to the last week of February without setting loose a
desire for the wide reaches of the stream and the open levels of the
desert through which it flows, the sharp cold of nightfall, the hoar
frost of the dawn, and the first long ray of the sun striking a
dismantled camp. “There is no road,” said Fattûḥ, “like the road to
Baghdâd: the desert on one hand and the water on the other.”

Our way next morning took us past Ḳubbeh to Mughârah, which we reached
in three hours. Here we left the river and climbing the low, rocky hill
to the east, found ourselves in a stony and thinly populated country
bounded by another ridge of eastern hill. After twenty-five minutes’
riding we saw the hamlet of Ḳayyik Debû about half-a-mile to the left of
the track, and in another quarter of an hour we reached a few deserted
houses. Four hours from Tell Aḥmar


we pitched camp on the further bank of a small stream near the village
of Serrîn, for I wished to examine two towers which stand upon the crest
of a high ridge about half-an-hour to the east. They are called by the
Arabs the Windmills, but in reality they are tower tombs. The more
northerly, which is the best preserved, is 4·20 m. square and two
storeys high (Fig. 20). The walls of the lower storey rise in solid
masonry to a height of about six metres and are crowned by a plain
course of projecting stones, which serves as cornice (Fig. 21). On the
east and west sides, just below the cornice, there is a pair of
gargoyles, much weathered. They represent the head and fore-quarters of
lions. A little below the pair of heads on the west side is a Syriac
inscription, dated in the year 385 of the Seleucid era, _i. e._ A.D. 74,
which states that the tomb was built by one Manu for himself and his
sons.[27] The second storey is decorated with fluted engaged columns,
four on either side, the outer pair forming the angles. The bases of
these columns rest upon a course of masonry adorned with three fasciæ:
it is to be noted that the mouldings are not carried straight through to
the angles, but are returned one within the other like the mouldings of
a door lintel. The Ionic capitals carry a plain Ionic entablature
consisting of an architrave with fasciæ, which are here taken through to
the corners, a narrow frieze and a cyma of considerable projection.
Probably the whole was surmounted by a stone pyramid. There are two
burial chambers, one in each storey. The lower chamber can be entered by
a door in the east wall which was originally closed by a large block of
stone. The entrance to the upper chamber, high up in the east wall
between the columns, was closed in the same fashion, and the block of
porphyry which sealed it is still intact.[28] Pognon, who has given the
best description and illustrations of the monument, mentions five other
examples of tower tombs crowned with pyramids, one of them being the
southern tower at Serrîn. The well-known tower tombs of Palmyra and the
Ḥaurân are not capped by a pyramid, nor is the face of their walls
broken at any point by engaged columns. I believe the type illustrated
at Serrîn to be compounded of the simple tower tomb and the canopy, or
cyborium, tomb.[29] The cyborium tomb exists in an infinite number of
variations in Syria, in the mountain district near Birejik (whence M.
Cumont has supplied me with four examples, three of them as yet
unpublished[30]), in Asia Minor and in the African Tripoli. Sometimes
the columns stand free,[31] sometimes they are engaged in the walls,[32]
sometimes they are represented only by engaged angle piers,[33]
sometimes by free standing angle piers,[34] and occasionally column and
pier have dropped away and the plain wall alone remains,[35] but the
pyramidal roof is an almost constant feature, which, even in the
simplest of these tombs, recalls the original canopy type. In the hill
side near the tower I noticed several rock-cut mausoleums, now
half-choked with stones and earth, and the hill was no doubt the
necropolis of a town lying in the low ground that stretches down to the
modern village by the stream.[36] The second tower, of which only the
south wall remains, is situated on the southern end of the ridge,
half-an-hour’s ride from the first (Fig. 22). It differs slightly in
detail from the other. In the lower storey a shallow engaged pier stands
at either angle, while in the upper storey, in place of the porphyry
block, there is an arched niche between the two central engaged columns.
The fasciæ returned at the corners reappear, but the columns are not
fluted. The hill top commands a wide view over country which appears to
be entirely desert. My guide, who was a Christian from Aleppo, an agent
of the Liquorice Trust for the Serrîn district, said that there was no
settled population to the east of us, and that the few Arab encampments
which were visible upon the rolling steppe were those of the Benî Sa’îd,
a subdivision of the Benî Faḥl. As we sat in the sunshine under the
tower, Jirjî related tales of his neighbours, the Arab sheikhs, for whom
he entertained, as the townsman will, feelings that ranged between
contempt and fear--contempt for their choice of a black tent in the
desert as a dwelling-place, and fear inspired by the authority which
they wielded from that humble abode. But chiefly his simple soul was
exercised by the swift downfall of Ibrahîm Pasha, who for so many years
had been, as the fancy prompted him, the scourge or the mighty protector
of all the inhabitants of northern Mesopotamia, a man with whom the
government had to make terms, while the great tribes stood in awe of him
and the lesser tribes fled at the whisper of his name. Jirjî, like many
another, refused to believe that he was dead, and entertained us with
wild surmises as to the manner of his possible return from the unknown
refuge where he lay in hiding. “God knows he was a brave man,” said he.
“Oh lady, do you see Ḳal’at en Nejm yonder?” And he pointed west, where
across the Euphrates the walls and bastions of the fortress crowned the
precipitous bank. “There he forded, he and eight hundred men with him,
when he hastened back from Damascus to his own country, hearing that the
government was against him. They swam the river with their horses and
rested that night at Serrîn. But the Pasha was grave and silent: God’s
mercy upon him, for he befriended us Christians.” Ḥâjj ’Alî shook his
head. “He wrecked the world,” said he. “Praise God he is dead.”
Somewhere between the two opinions lies the truth. I suspect that though
the way in which his overthrow was accomplished left much to be desired,
the Millî Kurds, of whom he was the chief, had gained under his bold
leadership a pre-eminence in lawlessness which no government was
justified in countenancing. But since he is dead, peace to his memory,
for he knew no fear.

We could not see the river from Serrîn, but next morning I rode down to
it and looked across to the splendid walls of Ḳal’at en Nejm. The
castle, seated upon a rocky spur, encloses the steep slopes with its
masonry until it seems like a massive buttress of the hill, as ageless
and no less imperishable than the rock itself. We turned away from this
stern ghost of ancient wars and rode from the Euphrates up a bare valley
wherein we came upon a great cave, inhabited by a few Arabs. It
contained three large chambers,


the opening of which had been fenced in by the latest inhabitants with
screens made of rushes. Upon one of the walls I found a curious
inscription written in characters not unlike those seen by Sachau in a
cave near Urfah[37] (Fig. 23). The Arab women with their children in
their arms clamoured round me, and I distributed among them what small
coins I had with me, without satisfying the claims of all. One scolding
wench ran after us up the valley vociferating her demand that ten paras
should be given to her swaddled babe. We had not ridden far before
Jûsef’s horse slipped and fell upon a smooth stone, dismounting his
rider, who was at no time too certain of his seat. “Allah!” ejaculated
Ḥâjj ’Alî; “it was the woman’s curse that brought him down.” But the
malediction had missed fire, or perhaps it was only ten paras’ worth of
damnation, for Jûsef and his horse scrambled up together unhurt. At the
head of the valley we came out on to a green sward. The rains on this
side of the river had been scanty and the grass had scarcely begun to
grow, but already there were a few encampments of the Faḥl in sheltered
places which later in the season would be set thick with the black tents
of the ’Anazeh, who do not come down to the river until the rain pools
are exhausted in their winter quarters. The thin blue smoke of the
morning camp fires rose out of the hollows and my heart rose with it,
for here was the life of the desert, in open spaces under the open sky,
and when once you have known it, the eternal savage in your breast
rejoices at the return to it. As we rode near the tents a man galloped
up to us and begged for a pinch of tobacco. He was clothed in a ragged
cotton shirt and a yet more ragged woollen cloak, but Ḥâjj ’Alî looked
after him as he turned away and observed, “His mare is worth £200.”

In three hours from Serrîn we caught up the baggage animals at the last
village we were to see until we reached Raḳḳah. Mas’ûdîyeh is its name.
On a mound close to the river Oppenheim found three mosaic pavements,
parts of which are still visible, but the most beautiful of the three
has been almost destroyed and nothing remains of it but a simple
geometrical border of diagonal intersecting lines.[38] Beyond Mas’ûdîyeh
we crossed a long belt of sand, lying in a bend of the river; we left a
small mound (Tell el Banât) a mile to the east, climbed a ridge of bare
hill and dropped down into a wide stretch of grass country, empty,
peaceful and most beautiful. It was enclosed in a semicircle of hills
that stood back from the river, and from out of the midst of it rose an
isolated peak known to the Arabs as Ḳuleib. This land is the home of the
Weldeh tribe, and not far from the Euphrates we found a group of their
tents pitched between green slopes and the broad reaches of sand which
give the spot its name, Rumeileh, the Little Sands. It was the
encampment of Sheikh Ṣallâl, and no sooner had we arrived than the
sheikh’s son, Muḥammad, came out to bid us welcome and invite us to his
father’s tent. The two zaptiehs and I took our places round the hearth
while Muḥammad roasted and pounded the coffee beans, telling us the
while of the movements of the great tribes, where Ḥâkim Beg of the
’Anazeh was lying, and where Ibn Hudhdhâl of the Amarât, and similar
matters of absorbing interest. Sheikh Ṣallâl was in reduced
circumstances by reason of a recent difference of opinion with the
government. His brother had been enlisted as a soldier and had
subsequently deserted, whereupon the government had seized Ṣallâl’s
flocks and clapped the sheikh into gaol, and finally he had sold “the
best mare left to us, wallah!” for £T37 and with the money procured his
own release.

“Eh billah!” said Ḥâjj ’Alî, shaking his head over the confused tale in
which, as is usual in these episodes, the wrongdoing seemed to be shared
impartially by all concerned. “Such is the government!”

“And now, oh lady,” pursued the sheikh, “we have neither camels nor
sheep, for the government has eaten all.”

“How do you live?” said I, looking round the circle of dark, bearded
faces by the camp fire.

“God knows!” sighed the sheikh, and turning to Ḥâjj ’Alî he asked him
what was this new government of which he heard, and liberty, what was

“Liberty?” said Ḥâjj ’Alî, evading the question; “how should there be
liberty in these lands? Look you, they talk of liberty, but there is no
change in the world. In Aleppo many men are murdered every week, and who
knows what they are doing, those envoys whom we sent to Constantinople?”

In spite of his misfortunes Sheikh Ṣallâl designed to entertain me at
dinner and had set aside for that purpose an ancient goat. My attention
was attracted to it by the sound of bleating in the women’s quarters and
I was just in time to save its life, expending myself, however, in
protestations of gratitude. Muḥammad ibn Ṣallâl took me round the
encampment before the light failed and pointed out the foundations of a
number of stone-built houses. Behind my tents the summits of some grassy
mounds were ringed round with circles of great stones, of the origin of
which he knew nothing. I counted five of them; in the largest lay
foundations of small rectangular chambers.

As we walked back to the tents Muḥammad said reproachfully:

“Oh lady, you have not laughed once, not when I showed you the ruins,
nor when I told you the name of the hills.”

I hastened to amend my ways, and thus encouraged he enumerated a string
of ruined sites in the neighbourhood and accepted an invitation to serve
us as guide next morning. He prepared himself for the journey by
slipping on four cartridge belts, one over the other, although our
whole road lay in the Weldeh country, and the worst enemy we
encountered was a raging wind which sent the Euphrates sands whirling
about us and obscured the landscape near the river. In about an hour we
climbed up on to the higher ground of the grass plain at a point called
Shems ed Dîn, where among a heap of cut stones I found fragments of an
entablature carved with dentils and palmettes. Perhaps the ruins were
the remains of a tower tomb. At Tell eẓ Ẓâher, an hour further south, we
saw heaps of unsquared building-stones. Above this site stood Sheikh
Sîn, a steep hill which we ascended, but found no trace of construction
on it. I sent my zaptieh down to stop the baggage and bid Fattûḥ camp at
the mound of Munbayah near the river, and with Muḥammad turned inland to
a hill called by him Jernîyeh, some five miles to the east. Muḥammad
rode across the downs at a hand gallop in the teeth of the wind, and I
behind him, too much buffeted by the storm to call a halt. The immediate
reason for our haste, as I presently discovered, was a couple of pedlars
from whom he desired to buy soap, a commodity of which he stood in great
need. The two men were Turks; they greeted me with effusion as a fellow
alien in those wastes, and at parting pressed upon me a handful of
raisins with their blessings. We galloped on faster than before and
arrived breathless at Jernîyeh which lifts its solitary head a hundred
feet or more above the surrounding plain. On the summit are three large
mounds into which the Arabs had dug and uncovered fine cut stones; I
conjecture that there may have been here watch towers or tower tombs
belonging to the town of which the ruins lie below, to the south of the
hill. These ruins comprise a large low mound ringed round with a wall
and a ditch, and a considerable area covered with remains of buildings
made of unsquared stones. Occasionally the plan of house or court was
marked out upon the grass and Muḥammad showed me several deep
cisterns--altogether a very remarkable ruin field though it is not named
on Kiepert’s map. On our way back to the river we climbed Tell el Ga’rah
and found the foundations of a fort on the top of it. Here we picked up
a much-weathered Byzantine coin and a quantity of sherds of glazed Arab
pottery, blue and green and purple. Munbayah, where my tents were
pitched--the Arabic name means only an elevated spot--has been
conjectured to be the Bersiba of Ptolemy’s catalogue of place names. It
is an irregularly-shaped double enclosure, resting on one side on the
river (Fig. 25). The line of the walls is marked by high grass mounds,
but here and there a bit of massive polygonal masonry, large stones laid
without mortar, crops out of the soil. The outer enclosing wall is not
continued along the north side, but ends in a heap of earth and stones
which looks like the ruins of a tower or bastion. To the south there is
a clearly-marked gate in the outer wall, corresponding with a narrower
opening in the inner line of fortification; another gate leads out to
the north, and facing the river there are traces of a broad water gate,
protected on either side by a wall that drops down the slope towards the
stream (Fig. 26). Twenty minutes further down the bank lies another
mound, Tell Sheikh Ḥassan. There are vestiges of construction by the
water’s edge between the two mounds, and south of Tell Sheikh Ḥassan the
ground is broken by a large stretch of ruin mounds, among which I saw a
rude capital. In another half-hour down stream, at ’Anâb, there is again
an enclosure of grassy heaps strewn with stones. For a distance of about
three miles, therefore, the left bank of the river would seem to have
been inhabited and guarded, though possibly at different dates. Jernîyeh
and Munbayah are by far the most interesting sites which I saw on the
little-known stretch of the river between Tell Aḥmar and Ḳal’at Ja’bar;
it is useless to conjecture in what way, if at all, they were connected
with each other, but in both places I should like to clear away the
earth and see what lies beneath.

If it had been possible to cross the Euphrates I would have examined the
high tell of Sheikh ’Arûd which had been all day the fixed point for my
compass, but though there was a boat to be had, the intolerable wind
continued till nightfall and made the passage impracticable. The mental
exasperation produced by wind when you are living and

[Illustration: PLAN of the Mounds of MUNBAYAH

_Stanford’s Geog^{l} Estab^{t}, London_

FIG. 25.]

trying to work out of doors, passes belief. The blast seizes you by the
hand as you would hold your compass steady, dances jigs with your camera
and elopes with your measuring tape, and when after an exhausting
struggle you return vanquished to your tent, it is only to find your
books and papers buried in sand. Moreover, commissariat arrangements
were complicated by the interruption of communications with the opposite
side of the river. Fortunately I had foreseen that there would be little
food for man or beast on the left bank, where no travellers pass, and
contrary to my habits had laid in a provision of tinned meats, for which
we had reason to be thankful. The baggage animals were lightly loaded
and could carry four days’ corn besides their packs; when this ran short
Fattûḥ went foraging in every Arab encampment, but occasionally the
horses were without their full allowance, for at this time of the year
the Arabs themselves are very scantily supplied. We soon learnt to place
no reliance on assurances, however emphatic, that the next sheikh down
the river would be well furnished, and as our road led us into regions
that had suffered more and more severely from the lack of rain, we gave
up all hope of ekeing out our corn with the grass which never grew that
year. The corn, too, became dearer, until at Baghdâd it touched famine
prices. On the upper parts of the river there is no fuel and we carried
charcoal for cooking purposes; but when the tamarisk bushes began to
appear, about a day’s march north of Raḳḳah, the muleteers boiled their
big rice pot over a fire of sticks and the zaptiehs warmed their hands
in the sharp chill of the early morning at the heap of embers that had
been kept alive all night. The zaptiehs are supposed to feed themselves,
but except on the rare occasions when we were on a high road, they
shared the meals of my servants. I would find them sitting in the dark
round the steaming dish served up by Ḥâjj ’Amr, and with them the Arab
who had been our guide that day, or one who had dropped in towards
supper time to give us information of the road, or any aged person
considered by Fattûḥ to be worthy of our hospitality. We held many a
frugal feast


[Illustration: FIG. 26.--MUNBAYAH, WATER GATE.]

[Illustration: FIG. 28.--NESHABAH, TOWER TOMB.]

under the stars where the waters of the Euphrates roll through the wild.

During the next day’s ride we followed the course of the river closely,
save where the grassy edge of the desert was separated from the water by
a tract of sand and stones covered in time of flood, and therefore
devoid of all trace of settled habitation. The tents of the Weldeh were
scattered along the banks and occasionally a small bit of ground had
been scratched with the plough and sown with corn. At one point we saw
the white canvas tent of a man from Aleppo who was engaged in
negotiating an amicable partnership with the Weldeh sheikhs. The
majestic presence of the river in the midst of uncultivated lands,
which, with the help of its waters, would need so little labour to make
them productive, takes a singular hold on the imagination. I do not
believe that the east bank has always been so thinly peopled, and though
the present condition may date from very early times, it is probable
that there was once a continuous belt of villages by the stream, their
sites being still marked by mounds. Half-an-hour from ’Anâb we passed
Tell Jifneh, with remains of buildings about it; in another hour and a
half there were ruins at Ḥallâweh, and forty minutes further we came to
a big mound called Tell Murraibet. From this point the grass lands
retreated from the Euphrates, leaving place for a wide stretch of sand
and scrub opposite Old Meskeneh. Kiepert marks two towers on some high
ground to the east, but they must have fallen into ruin since Chesney’s
survey, for I could not see them. Six hours from Bersiba we reached in
heavy rain the tents of Sheikh Mabrûk and pitched our camp by his, so
that we might find shelter for our horses under his wide roof. We were
about opposite Dibseh, which was perhaps the famous ford of Thapsacus.
Mabrûk told me that in summer, when the water is low, camels can cross
the river just above Dibseh; at Meskeneh a ferry boat is to be had, but
at no other point until you come to Raḳḳah.

Next morning a young man from the sheikh’s tent, cousin to Mabrûk (all
the unmarried youths of the sheikh’s family are lodged in his great
house of hair) rode with us to Ḳal’at Ja’bar. He told me of a ruin
called Mudawwarah (the Circle), an hour and a half away to the east: it
may represent one of Kiepert’s towers, but according to Ibrahîm’s
account nothing is now to be seen but a heap of stones. We rode out of
the camp with a troop of women and children driving donkeys into the
hills, where they collect brushwood.

“Last year,” said my companion, “they dared not stray from the tents,
lest the horsemen of Ibrahîm Pasha should attack them and seize the
donkeys. Wallah! the children could not drive out the goats to pasture,
and every man sat with his loaded rifle across his knees and watched for
the coming of raiders. For indeed he took all, oh lady; he robbed rich
and poor; he held up caravans and killed the solitary traveller.”

“Eh wah!” said the zaptieh, “and the soldiers of the government he
killed also. He was sultan in the waste.”

“But now that he is gone,” continued Ibrahîm, “we are at rest. And as
soon as we heard of his death we blessed the government, and all the men
of the Weldeh rode out and seized the flocks that he had captured from
us, and more besides. And behold, there they pasture by the river.” And
he pointed to some sheep grazing under the care of a couple of small

“Then all the desert is safe now?” said I.

“Praise God!” he answered, “for the ’Anazeh are our friends. We have no
foes but the Shammar, and their lands are far from us.”

Before we reached Ḳal’at Ja’bar we galloped up into the low hills to see
a rock-cut tomb. Through a hole in the ground we let ourselves down into
a chamber 5·10 m. × 7·00 m., with nine arcosolia set round it, each
containing from four to six loculi (Fig. 27). On one of the long sides
there was a small rectangular niche between the arcosolia. Ibrahîm
called the place Maḥall es Ṣafṣâf and assured me that it was the only
cavern known to him in these hills. From here he took me down to a mound
named Tell el Afrai, which lies about a quarter of a mile from the
river. On the landward side

[Illustration: FIG. 27.--MAḤALL ES ṢAFṢAF.]

it is protected by a dyke forming a loop from the Euphrates. At one time
the water must have filled this moat, but the upper end has silted up
and the channel is now dry. Out of the mound, which is unusually large,
the rains had washed a number of big stones, some of them squared. We
were now close to the two towers of Ḳal’at Ja’bar, one being a minaret
that rises from the centre of the fortress, while the other, known to
the Arabs as Neshabah, stands upon an isolated hill to the
north-west[39] (Fig. 28). Of the Neshabah tower nothing remains but a
rectangular core of masonry (unworked stones set in thick mortar)
containing a winding stair which can be approached by a doorway about
four metres from the ground. Below the door there is a vaulted niche
which looks like the remains of a sepulchral chamber. All the facing
stones have fallen away, but the core is ridged in a manner that
suggests the former existence of engaged columns, and I believe that
Neshabah is a tower tomb older than the castle, rather than the outlying
watchtower of an Arab fort.[40] The buildings at Ḳal’at Ja’bar are
mainly of brick, though some stone is used in the walls and bastions
that surround the hill-top (Fig. 29). The entrance is strongly guarded;
from the outer gate-house a long narrow passage, hewn out of the rock,
leads into the interior of the castle. Among the ruins within the walls
are a vaulted hall and parts of a palace composed of a number of small
vaulted chambers. The construction of the small vaults struck me as
having stronger affinities with Byzantine than with the typical
Mesopotamian systems, and I should not assign to them a very early date.
The palace had also contained a hall of some size, but only the south
wall is standing (Fig. 31). It is broken by a deep recess, possibly a
miḥrâb, with a doorway on either side, and the upper part is decorated
with a row of flat trifoliate niches. In the centre of the castle a
round minaret rises from a massive square base (Fig. 30). Towards the
top of the minaret there is a double band of ornamental brickwork with a
brick inscription between. I could not decipher the inscription, owing
to its great height, but the characters were not Cufic, and the round
shape of the minaret makes it improbable that it should be earlier than
the twelfth century. Beyond the minaret is a vaulted cistern. The
shelving north-west side of the hill is defended by a double ring of
brick towers, but on the south-east side, where the rocks are
precipitous, there is little or no fortification. The brick walls of the
buildings above the gate-way are decorated with string courses and bands
of diamond-shaped motives, the diamonds set point to point or enclosed
in hollow squares (Fig. 32).

The history of the castle is not easy to disentangle from the accounts
left by the Arab geographers. An earlier name for it was Dausar, but
even this does not seem to have been applied before the seventh century,
though Idrîsî, writing in the twelfth century, ascribes its foundation
to Alexander. He is the first author who mentions Dausar and he gives no
authority for his statement as to its origin. Opposite Dausar, on the
right bank of the Euphrates, stretches the battlefield of Ṣiffîn, where
in A.D. 657 the Khalif ’Alî met the forces of the Umayyad Mu’âwiyah.
Tradition has it that ’Alî entrusted his ally Nu’mân, a prince of the
house of Mundhir, with the defence of these reaches of the Euphrates,
and that a servant of the latter, Dausar by name, built the castle which
was called after him. It took its present name from an Arab of the
Ḳusheir, from whose sons it was wrested (in A.D. 1087)

[Illustration: FIG. 29.--ḲAL’AT JA’BAR.]

[Illustration: FIG. 30.--ḲAL’AT JA’BAR, MINARET.]

[Illustration: FIG. 31.--ḲAL’AT JA’BAR, HALL OF PALACE.]


by the Sultan Malek Shah, the Seljuk.[41] It was held by the Franks of
Edessa during the first Crusade and captured by the Atabeg Nûr ed Dîn
towards the middle of the twelfth century. It passed into the hands of
the Ayyûbids, and in Yâḳût’s time (1225) was held by Ḥâfiẓ, the nephew
of Saladin. Benjamin of Tudela says that he found a colony of 2,000 Jews
settled at Ja’bar, which was then a much-frequented ferry.[42] I did not
observe any signs of habitation outside the castle, except a few caves
in the rocks to the south; but half-an-hour further down the river, on a
bluff called Kahf (Chahf in the Bedouin speech) ez Zaḳḳ, there are
traces of houses which may represent the Jewish settlement. In Abu’l
Fidâ’s day (fourteenth century) the castle of Ja’bar was ruined and
abandoned. The greater part of the existing buildings might well have
been erected by Nûr ed Dîn, and failing further evidence it is to him
that I should ascribe them.

Under Kahf ez Zaḳḳ we found the tents of Ḥamrî, one of the principal
sheikhs of the Weldeh, a sturdy white-bearded man in the prime of age,
with the fine free bearing of one long used to command. He sat in the
sunshine and watched the pitching of our camp, ordering the young men of
the tribe to bestir themselves in our service, one to gather brushwood,
another to show the muleteers the best watering-place on the muddy
river-bank, a third to fetch eggs and sour curds, and when he had seen
to our welfare, he strode back to his tent and bade me follow. The
coffee was ready when I arrived, and with the cups the talk went round
of desert politics and the relation of this sheikh with that all through
the Weldeh camps. The glow of sunset faded, night closed down about the
flickering fire of thorns, a crescent moon looked in upon us and heard
us speaking of new things. Even into this primeval world a rumour had
penetrated, borne on the word Liberty, and the men round the hearth fell
to discussing the meaning of those famous syllables, which have no
meaning save to those who have lost that for which they stand. But
Sheikh Ḥamrî interposed with the air of one whose years and experience
gave him the right to decide in matters that passed the common

“How can there be liberty under Islâm?” said he. “Shall I take a wife
contrary to the laws of Islam, and call it liberty? God forbid.” And we
recognized in his words the oldest of the restrictions to which the
human race has submitted. “God forbid,” we murmured, and bowed our heads
before the authority of the social code.

On the following day a dense mist hung over the valley. An hour from
Kahf ez Zaḳḳ the path left the Euphrates at a spot called Maḥârîz where
there are said to be ruins, but owing to the fog I could see nothing of
them.[43] Three-quarters of an hour later we returned to the river and
rode under low cliffs in which there were caves; my guide called the
place Ḳdirân, which is, I suppose, Kiepert’s Ghirân. Here again we left
the water’s edge, and half-an-hour later the fog melted away and
revealed a monotonous green plain with the camels of the Weldeh
pasturing over it. In summer it is a favourite camping-ground of the
’Anazeh. At Billânî, three and a half hours from our starting-point, we
rejoined the Euphrates. Billânî is visible from afar by reason of a
number of bare tree-trunks set in the ground to mark the Arab graves
which are grouped about the resting-place of some holy man. The ancient
sanctity of the place is still attested by numerous shafts of columns
among the graves, but seventy years ago Chesney could make out a small
octagonal temple.[44] It was a fine site for temple or for tomb. The
river comes down towards it through many channels in the shape of a
great fan, gathers itself into a single stream, broad and deep, and so
sweeps under the high bank on which the fragments of the shrine are
scattered, and beyond it round a wide bend clothed with thickets of
tamarisk and thorn and blackberry. Through these thickets we rode for
two hours and a half, and

[Illustration: FIG. 34.--ḤARAGLAH, VAULT.]

[Illustration: FIG. 35.--RAḲḲAH, EASTERN MINARET.]

[Illustration: FIG. 37.--RAḲḲAH, MOSQUE FROM EAST.]


then camped under a mound called Tell ’Abd ’Alî, not far from a couple
of very poor tents of the Afâḍleh, with the river a mile away. The night
was exquisitely still, but from time to time an owl cried with a shrill
note like that of a shepherd-boy calling to his flocks.

[Illustration: FIG. 33.--ḤARAGLAH.]

Our camp proved to be but two hours’ ride from Raḳḳah. A little more
than half-way between the two places we reached the enigmatic ruin which
is known to the Arabs as Ḥaraglah, a name which may be a corruption of
Heraclea. It consists of a rectangular fortress, almost square, with a
series of small vaulted chambers forming the outer parts of the block
and, as far as I could judge, larger vaulted chambers filling up the
centre (Fig. 33). At the four angles there are round towers. The
building as it now stands is merely a substructure, a platform resting
on vaults, on which stood an upper storey that has disappeared. The
masonry is mostly of unsquared stones laid in a bed of very coarse
mortar mixed with small stones, but the vaults are of brick tiles, and
it is noticeable that these tiles are not laid in the true Mesopotamian
fashion, whereby centering could be dispensed with (_i. e._ in narrow
slices leaning back against the head-wall), but that the double ring of
tiles is treated like the voussoirs of a stone arch and must have been
built on a centering (Fig. 34). This structure would be enough to show
that the work does not belong to the Mohammadan period. The fortress is
ringed round by an outer wall, now completely ruined. Beyond it to the
south runs a dyke, and beyond the dyke, some 500 m. south-east of the
central fort, there is another mound on which I saw cut stones larger
than the stones used at Ḥaraglah. Still further to the south lies a
third mound, Tell Meraish, with a second dyke to the south of it. The
two dykes appeared to be loop canals from the Euphrates and must
therefore have formed part of an extensive system of irrigation;
probably there had once been a considerable area of cultivation under
the protection of the fortress.[45]

So we came to Raḳḳah and there joined forces with the army of Julian,
who had marched down from Carrhæ and the head waters of the Belîkh 1,500
years ago and more--the account of the march given by Ammianus
Marcellinus is, however, irreconcilable with the facts of geography, for
he says that Julian reached Callinicum in one day from the source of the
river Belias, whereas it is at least a two days’ journey. Callinicum was
not the earliest town upon the site of Raḳḳah, though the record of
history does not go back further than to its immediate predecessor,
Nicephorium, which some say was founded by Alexander and others by
Seleucus Nicator. When Julian stopped there to perform the sacrifice due
at that season to Cybele, Callinicum was a strong fortress and an
important market. Chosroes, a couple of hundred years later, finding it
insufficiently guarded, seized and sacked it. Justinian rebuilt the
fortifications, but in A.D. 633, according to Abu’l Fidâ, it fell to the
Mohammadan invaders. In A.D. 772 the Khalif Manṣûr strengthened the
position with a second fortified city, Râfiḳah (the Comrade), built, it
is said, upon the same round plan as Baghdâd, which was another city of
his founding. Hârûn er Rashîd built himself a palace either in Raḳḳah or
in Râfiḳah, and used the place as his summer capital. In the subsequent
centuries the older foundations fell into ruin and the Comrade, which
continued to be a flourishing town, usurped its name, so that in Yâkût’s
day (1225) the original Raḳḳah had disappeared, but Râfiḳah was known as
Raḳḳah. Here is fine matter for confusion among the Arab geographers,
and they do not fail to make the most of it. White Raḳḳah, Black Raḳḳah,
Burnt Raḳḳah, and no less than two Middle Raḳḳahs figure upon their
pages, and it is impossible to determine whether any or none of these
titles stands for Râfiḳah, or which of them denotes the old Raḳḳah. But
by 1321 when Abu’l Fidâ wrote, all the Raḳḳahs were reduced to
uninhabited ruin (perhaps by the Mongol hordes of Hûlâgû), and it only
remains for the traveller to collect the names of sites, which his Arab
guide will furnish with an alacrity that runs ahead of accuracy, and
apply them as he thinks best to the list of recorded towns. And lest I
should fail to add my quota to the tangled nomenclature, I will hasten
to state that at a distance of an hour and ten minutes east of the ruins
that lie about the modern village, I rode over a large stretch of ground
on which there were traces of habitation and was told that its name was
Brown Raḳḳah--(Raḳḳat es Samrâ)--and on further inquiry I learnt that
nearer to the Euphrates there was a similar area called Red
Raḳḳah--(Raḳḳat el Ḥamrâ)--but as I neglected to visit the spot I need
not do more than mention that Kiepert marks Black Raḳḳah--(Raḳḳat es
Saudâ)--at about the place where it must be.

To come to matters less controvertible, the modern Raḳḳah consists of
two villages, of which the westernmost has recently been erected by a
Circassian colony upon high broken ground that certainly indicates the
existence of an older settlement. Beyond it to the east there is a large
semi-circular enclosure, the straight side turned towards the Euphrates
and lying at a distance of about a mile from that river. The walls are
built of sun-dried brick alternating with bands of burnt brick, and set
at regular intervals with round bastions. There are clear traces of a
moat or ditch and of a second, less important, wall beyond it. The Arab
village lies in the south-west corner of this enclosure, near the centre
are the ruins of a mosque with a round minaret, on the east side the
remains of a large building, probably a palace, and at the south-east
corner part of a gate called the Baghdâd gate. Still further east there
is yet another ruin field. Towards the middle of it rises a square
minaret standing in a rectangular space which has been enclosed by walls
of sun-dried brick, no doubt a mosque (Fig. 35). The minaret is of
brick, but it rests upon a square base formed of large blocks of
marble. The brickwork is broken by six horizontal notched rings, the
uppermost surmounting a wide band of ornamental brick. The notches in
the brick were obviously intended to contain some other material,
possibly wood, which has now perished. There are numerous fragments of
columns in the neighbourhood of the minaret. The only other buildings
are, north of the minaret, a small domed ziyârah, which local tradition
would have to be the tomb of Yaḥyâ el Barmakî, who, as well as his more
famous son Ja’far, was vizir to Hârûn er Rashîd, and not far from the
Baghdâd gate a similar shrine, known as the Ziyârah of Uweis el Ḳaranî.
Uweis fell in A.D. 657 in one of the engagements fought on the Euphrates
between ’Alî and Mu’âwiyah, but his tomb is of no great interest except
in so far as it is composed of older materials. Over the doorway is an
inscription which states that “this fortress and shrine were repaired by
Sultan Suleimân, son of Selîm Khân,” who reigned from 1526-1574.[46] It
is obvious that the stone must have been brought from elsewhere, since
the inscription cannot refer to the insignificant structure on which it
is placed. In the adjoining graveyard there are many fragments of
columns, presumably taken from the mosque, and some much battered
capitals, one of them worked with acanthus leaves. I saw, too, a small
marble double column of the type so common in the early Christian
churches of Asia Minor.

It is tempting to suppose that in the eastern ruin field we have the
site of the oldest city, Nicephorium-Callinicum-Raḳḳah, that the columns
were derived from Hellenistic or Byzantine buildings and re-used in a
mosque of which nothing now remains but the square minaret.[47] I think
it not


[Illustration: FIG. 40.--RAḲḲAH, PALACE.]




improbable that the semi-circular enclosure represents Manṣûr’s
foundation, Râfiḳah, though it does not follow that any of the existing
ruins, except perhaps parts of the wall, belong to his time. They are
nevertheless of great importance in the history of Mohammadan art. The
mosque is surrounded by a wall of sun-dried brick broken by round
bastions (Fig. 36). In the centre of the ṣaḥn, or court, there is a
small ziyârah recently rebuilt, and in the north-east corner the round
brick minaret springs from a square stone base composed of ancient
materials (Fig. 37). The upper part of the minaret is decorated with
bands of brick dog-tooth ornament. One of the great arcades which
enclosed the ṣaḥn still stands on the south side (Fig. 38).[48] An
inscription over the central arch states that the mosque was repaired by
the Atabeg Nûr ed Dîn in 1166, and I conjecture that the minaret is of
his building.[49] The mosque is of the true Mesopotamian type, of which
the most famous examples are the two mosques at Sâmarrâ and the mosque
of Ibn Ṭûlûn at Cairo. With all these it shows the closest structural
affinities, and it may be assumed that Nûr ed Dîn retained the original
plan when he repaired the building. The stucco capitals of the engaged
columns on the piers belong to the same family as the elaborate stucco
ornaments of Ibn Ṭûlûn, which date from the latter half of the ninth
century, and in both cases the decorative motives employed are probably
Mesopotamian in origin (Fig. 39). Stucco decorations are also the main
feature of the group of palace ruins near the east wall. The most
noticeable of these is a rectangular tower-like structure (Fig. 40),
where the chamber on the ground-floor shows bold stucco ornament on
which are traces of colour (Fig. 41). On the walls of another chamber of
the palace, which was covered with a dome set upon squinch arches, there
is a row of arched niches, the arch being cusped on the inside. Below
the niches is a brick dog-tooth string-course (Fig. 42). The squinches
contain a primitive stalactite motive. There are two other small rooms,
both of which are roofed with an oval dome (3·87 m. × 3·32 m.



[Illustration: FIG. 46.--ḤALEBÎYEH.]

and 4·02 m. × 2·03 m.); in both cases the dome is very shallow and the
rectangular substructure is adapted to the oval by means of wooden beams
laid across the angles. Everywhere wooden beams were used in conjunction
with brick, and it is to be borne in mind that though the country round
Raḳḳah is now entirely devoid of trees, all the Arab geographers speak
of the well-wooded gardens and groves of fruit-trees that surrounded the
town. In the tower-like building and in the Baghdâd gate bands of wood
were laid in the face of the wall, but the wood has perished, leaving
the space it occupied to tell of its former presence, as in the eastern
minaret. The cusp motive can be seen in the blind arcade on the exterior
of the Baghdâd gate (Fig. 43). In the interior there is a bay to the
south which appears to have been covered by a barrel vault, and may have
been balanced by a similar bay to the north of the doorway, for the
blind arcade on the outside of the gatehouse breaks off abruptly at the
northern end and must certainly have been carried further (Fig. 44).
This would allow for a northern bay corresponding to the bay that still
appears south of the door. The vaulting of the gate has fallen, but from
the indications that are left it appears certain that while the south
bay was covered by a barrel vault the central space was occupied by a
groin (Fig. 45).[50]


The whole of the two areas of ruin are strewn with potsherds of the
Mohammadan period, and over the greater part of the walled city the
ground is honeycombed with irregular holes and trenches, the excavations
of peasants in search of the now celebrated Raḳḳah ware. A few years ago
their labours were rewarded by a large find of unbroken pieces, many of
which made their way through the hands of Aleppo dealers to Europe, and
though such a stroke of good fortune is rare, perfect specimens are
occasionally unearthed, and I saw a considerable number, together with
one or two fragments of exquisite glass embossed with gold, during the
two days I spent at Raḳḳah. In some instances the original factories and
kilns have been brought to light, and it is not unusual to see bowls or
jars which have been spoilt in the baking and thrown away by the potter.
No exhaustive study of Raḳḳah ware has as yet been made, though it is of
the utmost importance in the history of the arts of Islâm. The
fabrication of it must have reached a high state of perfection during
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, to which period the pieces which
have been preserved are usually assigned.

At Raḳḳah matters fell out in a way which, if they had not been handled
firmly, might well have wrecked my plans, for a telegram arrived from
the Vâlî of Aleppo directing all whom it might concern to put a stop to
my progress down the left bank of the Euphrates, on account of the
disturbed condition of the desert. The Vâlî commanded that I should be
turned back across the river and conveyed carefully from guardhouse to
guardhouse along the high road. It was the Mudîr of Raḳḳah who was
ultimately responsible for the execution of these orders, and he, honest
man, was much perplexed when he discovered that one side of the
Euphrates was not the same to me as the other, nor was he helped to a
better understanding when I explained that I preferred the Jezîreh, the
Mesopotamian bank, because no one travelled there. The Shâmîyeh, the
Syrian bank, he hastened to assure me, was also chôl (wilderness), if
that was what I desired, and he begged me to believe that I should find
the guardhouses most commodious. Thereupon I took up the question on a
different issue, and called his attention to the fact that the Vâlî, who
was newly appointed to Aleppo, could not have heard how peaceful the
desert had become since the death of Ibrahîm Pasha. The Mudîr admitted
the truth of this observation, and we compromised by sending a telegram
to the Vâlî, asking him to reconsider his decision. But the telegraphic
system of the Turkish empire leaves an ample margin for the exercise of
individual discretion in emergencies, and since upon the third day no
reply had been received, I was spared from showing a direct disregard of
official dictates, while the Mudîr, seeing my caravan set out towards
the Belîkh, wisely made the best of a bad business and sent a couple of
zaptiehs with me. One of them was a Circassian who had little Arabic,
but the other, Maḥmûd by name, proved an agreeable and intelligent
fellow-traveller, well informed, and a keen politician.

It is exactly two hours’ ride from Raḳḳah to the Belîkh. Our path lay
between stretches of marsh, which must always have existed hereabout,
for the word Raḳḳah means a swamp. Where we crossed the Belîkh it was a
muddy brook, almost all the water having been drawn off for irrigation
purposes, and the bridge was merely a few bundles of brushwood laid upon
some poles. I sent the caravan down the bank of the Euphrates and taking
one of my zaptiehs with me, turned slightly inland towards a group of
hills called Jebel Munâkhir, the Nebs. In about two hours we reached a
small outlying limestone tell on the top of which there were traces of
masonry. Jebel Munâkhir, a mile or so from the tell, is an extinct
volcano, and the lava beds extend almost to the tell. We climbed to the
summit of the mountain and found the crater to be a distinctly marked
basin with broken sides. On one of the peaks there is a ziyârah, a
square enclosure made of undressed stones piled together without mortar,
and a small tomb-chamber of the same construction. I looked carefully
for any trace of ancient work, but my search was rewarded only by
finding clumps of pale blue irises growing among the rocks. The west
massif of Jebel Munâkhir, on which we were standing, rises several
hundred feet above the level of the plain, and we had an extensive view
over the unknown desert to the north. About three miles to the east lay
another but smaller block of hill called Jebel Munkhar esh Sharḳî, the
Eastern Neb, and on the horizon, almost due north, we could see some
rising ground which my guide, an Arab of those parts, stated to be Jebel
’Uḳala.[51] Below it there are wells, and another well, Abu Tuṭah, lies
between it and the Belîkh. Between Jebel Munâkhir and Jebel ’Abdu’l
’Azîz (which I could not see) there is a low ridge of hill, Jebel Beiḍâ.
All through this desert country there are small wells of water (jubb is
the Arabic word) sufficient to supply the ’Anazeh, who pasture their
flocks here during the spring; I saw a few of their encampments, but the
greater part of the tribe was still in winter quarters further to the
east and south. The tents along the river were those of the
’Afaḍleh--’Ajeil el Ḥamrî is the chief sheikh of the tribe, but I did
not happen to meet him. An hour’s ride from the hills we reached a large
encampment at a spot called Ḳubûr ej Jebel, near the Euphrates. The name
means the Graves of the Mountain, but I could not hear of any tombs in
the neighbourhood. Our own tents were pitched an hour further down on
some grassy mounds by the river far from any Arabs; Meiḍa, my guide
called the place. In the low ground between Ḳubûr ej Jebel and Meiḍa,
but above flood-water level, we crossed an area ringed round with a
notable deep ditch. Somewhere near my camp Julian must have received his
Arab reinforcements. On leaving Nicephorium, he marched along the bank
of the Euphrates, “and at night he rested in a tent, where some princes
of the Saracen tribes came as suppliants bringing him a golden crown and
adoring him as master of the world, and of their own nations.... While
he was addressing them,” pursues Ammianus Marcellinus,[52] “a fleet
arrived as large as that of the mighty lord Xerxes; ... they threw a
bridge over the broadest part of the Euphrates. The fleet consisted of
one thousand transports bringing provisions and arms, and fifty ships of
war, and fifty more for the construction of bridges....” At this point a
hubbub arose in the servants’ tents; the golden crowns and the
battleships went tumbling on to the grass, and I ran out just in time to
see a troop of little shadowy forms hurrying in the moonlight across the
sands by the water’s edge. They were wild pig, the only herd we

It is essential to have a local man by you if you would ascertain local
names (even then the nomenclature is apt to be confusing), and
accordingly I took an Arab with me next morning. We rode in five minutes
to a grassy mound by the river, Khirbet Hadâwî, in another quarter of an
hour to Khirbet ed Dukhîyeh, and in twenty minutes more to Jedeideh. At
none of these places did I see any trace of construction, but at Abu
Sa’îd, ten minutes further, there is an ’Anazeh mazâr with graves round
it marked by fragments of columns and small basalt mills for grinding
corn. It would be interesting to know from what period these mills date;
I saw quantities of them in the burial-grounds between Munbayah and Tell
Murraibet, but none of the Arabs know what they are, and when they find
them they use them as tombstones. At Abu Sa’îd we turned away from the
river and rode inland in a north-easterly direction. The great bare
levels were more than usually enchanting that morning; the hot sun beat
upon them, a sharp little wind, the very breath of life, swept across
them, and all the plain was aromatic with sweet-scented plants.
Presently we passed a few ’Anazeh tents, and I stopped and gave the
aristocracy of the desert a respectful salutation. An inmate of the
tents, hearing my greeting, picked up his spear, mounted his mare and
bore us company for a mile or two; I do not know what dangers he
expected to encounter or whether the spear was merely for sheref
(honour), but when time hangs as heavy as it does in an Arab tent, you
may as well put in the hours by carrying a spear about the countryside
as in any other manner. We engaged in an exceedingly desultory
conversation, in the course of which he called out to me:

“Lady, my mare is sick.”

“God cure her,” said I.

“Please God!” he returned. “It is her mind--her mind is sick.” But I
could suggest no remedy for that complaint, whether in man or beast.

When he left us, the zaptieh and I began to talk of the prospects of
good administration under the new order. Maḥmûd was by birth a Turk, a
native of Kars, whence he had migrated when it fell into the hands of
the Russians. His long acquaintance with the Arabs had only served to
enhance in his estimation the Turkish capacity for government, and the
granting of the constitution had raised it yet higher. “The Turks
understand politics,” said he, “and look you, the constitution was from
them. But as for the Arabs, what do they know of government?” He placed
great confidence in the Young Turks, and said that every one except the
effendis was in favour of the dastûr (the constitution). “The effendis
fear liberty and justice, for these are to the advantage of the poor.
But they, being corrupt and oppressors of the poor, set themselves in
secret against the dastûr, and because of this we have confusion
everywhere. And if one of them is sent to Constantinople as a deputy his
work will not be good, for he will work only for himself. And in the
vilayets there will be no justice unless the English will send into each
province an overseer (mufattish) who will look to it that the dastûr is
carried out. Effendim, do you see my clothes?” I examined his ragged
nondescript attire; save for the torn and faded jacket it would have
been difficult to recognize in it a military uniform. “Twice a year the
government gives us clothes, but they never reach us at Raḳḳah. The
officers in Aleppo eat them, and with my own money I bought what I wear

“Are you paid?” I inquired.

“The government owes me twenty-four months’ pay,” he answered.

I asked what he thought of the scheme for enlisting Christians.

“Why not?” said he. “The Christians should help the Moslems to bear the
burden of military service.” And then he added, “If there be no

There was no need to ask him what he meant by the last phrase. I had
heard too often from the lips of Christians the expression of a helpless
fear that the new régime must founder in blood and anarchy, after which
the nations of Europe would step in, please God, and take Turkey for
themselves. This forecast was not by any means confined to the
Christians, but they, of all others, should have refrained from putting
it into words, for it did not encourage patriots like Maḥmûd to believe
in their loyalty.

We reached our goal, Tell esh Sha’îr, in two hours and forty minutes
from Abu Sa’îd, but the time in this case represents about twelve miles,
since we were not riding at caravan pace. There were no buildings on the
tell, but a number of large stones had been dug out of it and set up as
a landmark--rijm, the Arabs call such guiding stone heaps. Two shepherds
of the ’Anazeh joined us while we were at lunch, much to their material
advantage, for we shared our provisions with them; from them I learnt
that there had once been a well here, but that it was now choked up.
They knew of no ruins in the desert beyond, and my impression is that
there has never been any settled population in this region, away from
the Euphrates. We struck back to the river in a south-easterly
direction, and in three hours came to our camp, pitched by some Afaḍleh
tents on a mound of which I have not recorded the name. It is the
boundary between the kazas of Raḳḳah and of Deir, and lies about an
hour’s march below a site called by Kiepert the Khân. From our camp we
rode in an hour to the ruins of Khmeiḍah, where there were vestiges of a
considerable town, squared stones, baked brick walls and a stone
sarcophagus. An Arab on a broken-down mare joined us here, and as we
rode together Maḥmûd described to me the nature of the authority
exercised by the government over the tribes, and particularly the
incidence of the sheep-tax.

“Effendim,” said he, “you must know that the government levies the
sheep-tax from each sheikh.” Four piastres per head of sheep is the
amount. “And the scribe having computed the number of sheep that belong
to those tents, he calls upon the sheikh to make good the sum due, and
perhaps the sheikh will have to pay 2,000 piastres. Then he levies from
the men of his tents 3,000 piastres, and to the government he gives

“True, true,” said the Arab beside us. “Wallah, so it is.”

“And then,” pursued Maḥmûd, “another man is sent out by the government,
with his clerk and half-a-dozen of us zaptiehs. And all this costs much
money. And the sheikh levies another 500 piastres, and pays 150
piastres; and so it goes on till the sum is found, but the expenses of
collection are heavy. And as for the tax on cultivated land, the owner
gives a bribe to him who is sent to value it, and he estimates the
produce at less than half the real amount. And so it is with the
sheep-tax. Effendim, do you think that all the sheep are counted? No,
wallah! Last year the cornlands of the Shâmîyeh between Raḳḳah and Deir
paid only £800, and the sheep-tax in the Jezîreh was no more than

“Eh yes,” said the Arab, “but the government takes much.”

“The sheikhs take much,” returned Maḥmûd. “Oh Ma’lûl, is it not true
that they levy a tax for themselves on every tent?”

“Eh wallah!” said the Arab.

“But if the men of the tents make complaint, the sheikh attacks them and
slays them.”

“Allah, Allah! he knows the truth,” cried Ma’lûl in vociferous approval.

“And they have no protection,” concluded Maḥmûd.

“Eh wah!” responded the Arab, “who is there to protect us?”

So the ancient tyrannies bear sway even in the open wilderness.

Three-quarters of an hour from Khmeiḍah we passed another mound strewn
with potsherds, and thirty-five minutes further down we came upon the
ruins of Abu ’Atîḳ. They lie upon high rocky ground that drops steeply
into an old bed of the Euphrates from which the river has retreated into
a new bed a few hundred yards away. The whole area is covered with stone
and brick foundations, some of them built of great blocks of hewn
basalt, and the site must represent a city of no small importance. Below
it the river is forced into a narrow defile where it flows between steep
hills. A little valley, Wâdî Mâliḥ, joins the main stream half-an-hour
from the ancient town, and it was here that we were overtaken by a
breathless zaptieh from Raḳḳah who was the bearer of the answer to my
telegram to the Vâlî of Aleppo. It was a refusal, politely worded, to
my request that I should be permitted to travel down the left bank of
the Euphrates, and with it came a covering letter from the Mudîr of
Raḳḳah saying that if I did not return he would be obliged to recall the
zaptiehs he had sent with me. I fear that even those who cannot properly
be numbered among the criminal classes catch an infection from the
lawless air of the desert, but whatever may be the true explanation of
our conduct, we never contemplated for a moment the alternative of
obedience, and bidding a regretful farewell to friend Maḥmûd, we went on
down the defile. Maḥmûd came galloping back to give us a final word of
advice. “Ride,” said he, “to Umm Rejeibah, where you will find a ḳishlâ
(a guardhouse), but do not camp to-night in a solitary place, for this
is the country of the Baggârah, and they are all rogues and thieves.”

The Euphrates, gathered into a single channel, flows very grandly
through the narrow gorge. At first the hills slope down almost to the
water’s edge, but afterwards they draw back and leave room for a tract
of level ground by the stream. An hour and a half from Wâdî Mâliḥ the
valley widens still more, and on the opposite bank the great castle of
Ḥalebîyeh lifts its walls from the river almost to the summit of the
hill, a towered triangle of which the apex is the citadel that dominates
all the defile (Fig. 46).[53] Twenty minutes lower down, the
Mesopotamian bank is crowned by the sister fortress of Zelebîyeh. It is
a much less important building. The walls, set with rectangular towers,
enclose three sides of an oblong court; the fourth side--that towards
the river--must also have been walled, and it is probable that the
castle approached more nearly to a square than at present appears, for
the current has undermined the precipitous bank and the western part of
the fortifications has fallen away. The masonry is of large blocks of
stone, faced on the interior and on the exterior of the walls, while the
core is mainly of rubble and mortar. There are six towers, including
the corner bastions, in the length of the east wall, and between the two
central towers is an arched gate. On the north and south sides there is
now but one tower beyond the corner. Each tower contains a small
rectangular chamber approached by an arched doorway. The court is
covered with ruins, and on either side of the gate there is a deep
arched recess. Under the north side of the castle hill there are
foundations of buildings in hewn stone, but the area of these ruins is
not large.

The name Zelebîyeh carries with it the memory of an older title; in the
heyday of Palmyrene prosperity a fortress called after Zenobia guarded
the trade route from her capital into Persia, and all authorities are
agreed that the fortress of Zenobia described by Procopius is identical
with Ḥalebîyeh. Procopius states further that Justinian, who rebuilt
Zenobia and Circesium, refortified the next castle to Circesium, which
he calls Annouca. The Arab geographers make mention of a small town,
Khânûḥah, midway between Ḳarḳîsîyâ (Circesium) and Raḳḳah,[54] and the
probable identity of Annouca and Khânûḳah has already been observed by
Moritz.[55] But I think it likely that the flourishing mediæval Arab
town was situated not in the confined valley below Zelebîyeh but at Abu
’Atîḳ, where the ruin field is much larger. It may be that there was a
yet older settlement at Abu ’Atîḳ, and that the stone foundations there
belonged to the town of Annouca which stood at the head of the defile,
while the castle of the same name guarded the lower end.

We struck across the barren hills and so came down in an hour and half
to Ḳubrâ, a ziyârah lying about a quarter of a mile from the river.
There were no tents to be seen, whether of the Baggârah or of any other
tribe, and no man from whom we could ask the way; by misfortune we
happened to be that day without an Arab guide, and mindful of Maḥmûd’s
parting injunctions, we began to look eagerly ahead for the ḳishlâ.
Some way lower down, the Euphrates swept close under a low ridge which
we were obliged to climb, and once on the top we espied Ḳishlâ el
Munga’rah nestling under the further side of the slope. It had taken us
two and a half hours to reach it from Zelebîyeh. The ḳishlâ, which was
built ten years ago and is already falling into ruin, was garrisoned by
eight soldiers. They gave us an enthusiastic welcome and helped us to
pitch our tents under the mud walls of the guardhouse; visitors are
scarce, and the monotony of existence is broken only by episodes
connected with the lawless habits of the Baggârah. I never came into
contact with the tribe, but I was told that, alone among the river
Arabs, they had been the allies of Ibrahîm Pasha and were consequently
gôm (foes) of the ’Anazeh and their group. Enmities of this kind are
usually accompanied by overt acts, and the Baggârah had their hand
against every man.

It would be difficult to exaggerate the isolation of the guardhouses
which are scattered through remote parts of the Turkish empire. The
garrisons receive but a scanty allowance of their pay, and a still
scantier of clothing; frequently they are left unchanged for years in
the midst of an ungrateful desert where the task assigned to them is too
heavy for them to perform--eight men, as the soldiers at Munga’rah
observed, cannot keep a whole tribe in check--and where there is no
alternative occupation. Often enough I have contemplated with amazement,
in some lonely ḳishlâ or ḳarâghôl, the patient Oriental acceptance of
whatever fate may be allotted by the immediate or the ultimate
authority; and many an hour has passed, far from unprofitably for the
understanding of the East, while a marooned garrison has shown me, with
a pitiful and childlike eagerness, its poor little efforts to while away
the weary days--here a patch of garden snatched from the wilderness,
where only a hand-to-hand struggle with the drifting sand can keep the
rows of wizened onions from total extinction; there a desultory
excavation in a neighbouring mound, in which if you dig far enough a
glittering treasure must surely lie; a captive quail for snaring,
warmly pressed upon me for my evening meal, or the small achievements in
what may, for want of an exacter term, be called carpentry, with which
the living-room is adorned. If you will reckon up the volume of
unquestioning, if uninstructed, obedience upon which floats the ship of
the Turkish State, you will wonder that it should ever run aground.

The relaxation of the men of Munga’rah was taken among the ruins that
covered the top of the hill. Umm Rejeibah is a large area enclosed in a
wall, clearly marked by mounds, with a ditch beyond it. On the north
side an old channel of the river sweeps under the hill, and before the
water left this course, it had carried away a part of the ground on
which the city stood. The walls break off abruptly where the hill has
fallen away, and it is therefore difficult to determine the exact shape
of the enclosure. It appears to have been an irregular octagon. Towards
its northern extremity the hill-top is seamed by the deep bed of a
torrent draining down to the present channel of the Euphrates; it cuts
through the ruins and reveals in section what is elsewhere hidden by an
accumulation of soil. On the slope of its bank the soldiers had observed
traces of masonry, and by digging a little way into the hill had
disclosed a small circular chamber with brick walls and a white
tesselated pavement. Just above the ḳishlâ, in an Arab graveyard, there
are fragments of columns and basalt flour mills.

The oldest, raggedest and most one-eyed of the garrison accompanied us
to Deir: I had not the heart to refuse his proffered escort, since it
would enable him to spend a night in the local metropolis. The road was
entirely without interest. About an hour from Deir cultivation began on
the river bank in patches of cornland irrigated by rude water-wheels;
jird is the Arabic word for them. We reached the ferry in six hours. The
road from Aleppo to Môṣul crosses the Euphrates at Deir, and some ten
years ago it was proposed to replace the ferry by a bridge. The work was
actually put in hand and has advanced at the rate of one pier a year,
according to my calculations; but it can scarcely be expected that this
rate of progress will be maintained, since the point has been reached
where the piers must be built in the bed of the stream, and construction
will necessarily be slower than it was when the masons were still upon
dry ground. We pitched our camp upon the left bank and there spent
thirty-six hours, resting the horses and laying in provisions. The
bazaars are well supplied, but Deir is not in other respects remarkable.
It is first mentioned by Abu’l Fidâ, in A.D. 1331,[56] and contains, so
far as I know, no vestiges of older habitation. It is built partly upon
an island; the gardens of this quarter, exactly opposite my camp, were
rosy with flowering fruit-trees. None but the richer sort, and such as
have flocks to bring over, cross the river in the ferry boats; more
modest persons are content with an inflated goat-skin. I had not seen
this entertaining process, except on the Assyrian reliefs in the British
Museum, and I watched it with unabated zest during the greater part of
an afternoon. You blow out your goat-skin by the river’s edge, roll up
your cloak and place it upon your head, tuck your shirt into your
waistcloth and so embark, with your arms resting upon the skin and your
legs swimming in the water. The current carries you down, and you make
what progress you can athwart it. On the further side you have only to
wring out your shirt, don your cloak and deflate your goat-skin, and all
is done.

The Mutesarrif of Deir had recently been removed and the new man had not
yet arrived, but I paid my respects to his vicegerent, the Ḳâḍî, a
white-bearded old Turk, who did not regard my visit as an honour, though
he promised me all I wanted in the matter of zaptiehs. The interview
took place while he was sitting in the seat of judgment and was
presently interrupted by a case. It was a dispute concerning a debt
between a merchant and an Arab Sheikh. The sheikh came in dressed in the
full panoply of the desert, black-and-gold cloak, black kerchief and
white under-robe; his skin was darkened by the sun, his beard
coal-black. The merchant was a shaven, white-faced townsman in a
European coat. The pair were, to my fancy, symbolic of the East and the
advancing West, and I backed the West, if only because the merchant had
the advantage of speaking Turkish, and the Ḳâḍî was anything but
proficient in Arabic. After a few moments of angry recrimination they
were both dismissed to gather further evidence; but the Ḳâḍî called the
sheikh back and shook his finger at him. “Open your eyes, oh sheikh,”
said he. Asia, open your eyes!

I have some friends in Deir, Mohammadan gentlemen of good birth and
education; to them I went for information as to passing events, no news
from the outer world having reached me for a fortnight. They told me
that the Grand Vizir, Kiamil Pasha, had fallen, which was true; and that
the Mejlis had quarrelled with the Sultan and were about to depose him,
which was only prophetic. They made me realize how different an aspect
the new-born hopes of Turkey wore on the Bosphorus, or even on the
Mediterranean, from that which they presented to the dwellers on the
Euphrates: I had already passed beyond the zone that had been quickened
by the enthusiasm of European Turkey into some real belief in the advent
of a just rule. One of my friends had received an invitation to join the
local committee, but he had refused to do so. “I am lord over much
business,” said he, “but they are the fathers of idle talk.” All
thinking men in Deir were persuaded that a universal anarchy lay before
them; the old rule was dead, the new was powerless, and the forces of
disorder were lifting their heads. “Yes,” said another, “revolution
means the shedding of blood--and the land of the Ottomans will not
escape. Then perhaps the nations of Europe will come to our aid and we
shall all have peace.” I replied that the only substantial peace would
be one of their own making, and that good government takes long to
establish. “What benefit have I,” he protested, “if my children’s
children see it?” I asked whether they had heard any rumours of an Arab
movement, and they answered that there was much wild writing in the
newspapers of a separate Arab assembly, and that words like these might
stir up trouble and revolt. “But where is unity? Aleppo hates Deir, and
Deir hates Damascus, and we have no Arab nation.” The financial
position, both public and private, they pronounced to be hopeless. “I
know a man,” said one, “who has land on the Euphrates that might be
worth £15,000 and is worth as many piastres. He dares not put money into
irrigation because he could not get protection against the tribes and
his capital would bring him no return. But indeed there is not enough
capital in all Deir to develop the land.” He complained that the best
land was chiflik, the private property of the Sultan, and this I mention
because it is a grievance that has already been remedied--may it be of
good omen! The conversation left me profoundly discouraged, there was so
much truth in all that I had heard, together with so complete an absence
of political initiative. Thus it is through all the Asiatic provinces,
and the further I went the more convinced did I become that European
Turkey is the head and brains of the empire, and that if the difficult
task of reform is to be carried out in Asia it can only be done from
western Turkey. I believe that this has been recognized in
Constantinople, for the provincial governors appointed under the new
régime have been almost invariably well chosen.

On March 6 we took the road again, still following the left bank of the
Euphrates. The country down these reaches of the river is, as Xenophon
says, exceptionally dull: “the ground was a plain as level as the sea.”
Below Deir the Euphrates has left its original channel and now runs
further to the west, and there was generally a stretch of low ground, an
older bed, between our road and the stream. This alluvial land is thinly
populated and partly irrigated by water-wheels. Along the higher ground,
which had once been the bank but is now touched only by the extreme
points of the river loops, there were occasional mounds representing the
villages of an earlier age. The baggage animals travelled in six and
three-quarter hours to Buseirah, which lies in the angle formed by the
Khâbûr and the Euphrates. The site is very ancient. Xenophon when he
arrived at the Araxes (the Khâbûr) found there a number of villages
stored with corn and wine, and the army rested for three days collecting
provisions. Diocletian made Circesium the frontier station of the Roman
empire. He fortified it with a wall, says Procopius, terminating at
either end on the Euphrates in a tower, but he did not protect the side
of the town along the Euphrates. The stream sapped one of the towers,
the walls were allowed to fall into decay, and Chosroes in his first
expedition had no difficulty in taking possession of the fortress.
Justinian repaired the ruined tower with large blocks of stone, built a
wall along the Euphrates, and added an outer wall to that which already
existed, besides improving the baths in the town. Under the name of
Karḳîsîyâ, Circesium continued to be a place of some importance during
the Middle Ages. Iṣṭakhrî (tenth century) praises its gardens and
fruit-trees, but the later geographers describe it as being smaller than
its neighbour Raḥbah, on the opposite side of the Euphrates, and with
this it fades out of history.

Extensive though not very scientific excavations were being carried on
when I was at Buseirah. The peasants were engaged in digging out bricks
from the old walls, ostensibly to provide materials for a bridge over
the Khâbûr. I was therefore able to see more of the ruins than was
revealed to former travellers, and my conviction is that I saw nothing
that was older than the time of Justinian, while most of the work
belonged to the Arab period. The excavations were so unsystematic that
it was never possible to make out a ground plan, but in one place the
peasants had dug down at least 5 m. below the upper level of the ruin
heaps, and had cleared some small chambers near the northern
fortification wall. The materials used in these buildings were square
tiles in two sizes (42 × 45 × 3 cm. and 21 × 21 × 3 cm.) laid in mortar
as wide as the tiles themselves, and small roughly-squared stones also
laid in thick mortar. The lower parts of the chambers were of large
tiles, the upper parts of stone. From the traces left upon the walls,
the rooms would seem to have been roofed over with barrel vaults, and
there were some remains of brick arched niches below the stonework.
Above these rooms, which were possibly only a vaulted substructure,
there were foundations of upper rooms constructed of the smaller tiles.
The face of the tile walls had been covered with plaster. There were
simple patterns moulded in the broad sides of tiles: [Illustration] At
the south-east angle of the enclosing wall stands a tower, round and
domed and built entirely of the smaller tiles. The dome is slightly
flattened and I believe the structure to be Mohammadan work. The
Euphrates flows at a distance of about a mile from the city enclosure,
but in all probability its course was once immediately under the wall,
and the bed has made the same change here as it has done immediately
above Circesium. The modern Buseirah must be the site of the ancient
city, and I conclude that in Diocletian’s time the Euphrates flowed
under the mound and that this was the side which was not fortified until
Justinian’s day.

In the Arab village, which has sprung up near the south-west corner of
the ruins, there are portions of a large building which the natives call
the church. It is surrounded on three sides by a very thick wall,
roughly built of brick and rubble, with round towers at the angles.
Within the wall there are remains of a niched structure which, so far as
I could judge, consisted of two domed octagonal chambers. The masonry is
of brick and rubble, plastered over, and both this ruin and the outer
wall seem to have been built out of older materials pillaged from other
parts of the town and mixed indiscriminately together. Finally there is
a substructure of brick, octagonal in plan and covered by a much
flattened brick dome. The flattened dome is typically Mohammadan: I do
not remember any instance where it can be assigned with certainty to an
earlier period, and I am therefore led to the conclusion that the whole
building cannot be older than the time of the khalifs. The area of the
city is strewn with potsherds, by far the greater proportion being
unmistakably Arab and closely related to the coarser sorts of Raḳḳah
ware. Almost all the coins that were brought to me were Arab.

My tents were pitched outside the city wall, at the extreme limit of the
Roman empire, a frontier line which you must travel far to find. Did
Julian, with the ominous news from Gaul in his hand, feel any misgiving
when he ordered the building of the bridge over which his army was to
pass to the irrevocable destruction that Sallust predicted in his
letters? “No human power or virtue,” says Ammianus Marcellinus, “can
prevent that which is prescribed by Fate.” Impending disaster, long
since fallen, leapt again from his pages and stood spectral upon the
banks of the Khâbûr.



_March 7--March 18_

At Buseirah we were confronted with one of the difficulties that awaits
the traveller in the Jezîreh. Since there is no traffic along the left
bank of the river, there are no zaptiehs to serve as escort; my two
zaptiehs from Deir were to have been relieved at Buseirah, but there was
only one available man there, and he feared the return journey alone,
and was therefore extremely reluctant to come with us. We solved the
question by carrying off Muṣṭafâ, one of the men from Deir, whereupon
Ḥmeidî, the Buseirah zaptieh, consented to bear him company. Both were
to return from Abu Kemâl, three days’ journey lower down. This plan
suited Ḥmeidî well, for he was a doubly married man, and while one of
his wives remained at Buseirah, the other dwelt at Abu Kemâl. His beat
was between the two places. “And so,” he explained, “I find a wife and
children to welcome me at either end.”

“That is very convenient,” said I.

“Yes,” he replied gravely.

We crossed the Khâbûr in a ferry-boat so badly constructed that loaded
animals could not enter it, and in consequence all the packs had to be
carried down to the river and re-loaded on the other side. I pitied
Cyrus from the bottom of my heart, and regarded Julian’s bridge with
feelings very different from those that had been conjured up by the moon
of the previous night. The level ground on the opposite side was covered
with potsherds, most of them blue and green glazed wares, and all, so
far as I saw, Mohammadan. An hour later we passed over another small
area strewn thickly with the same pottery, and while I was acquainting
Ḥmeidî with the nature of the evidence it supplied, I took occasion to
confide to him my belief that the ruin at Buseirah which they call the
church dates from the Mohammadan period.

“Effendim,” he replied, “what you have honoured us by observing is quite
correct. The origin of that church is Arab. It was doubtless built by
Nimrod, who lived some years before Hârûn er Rashîd.”

“That is true,” said I, with a mental reservation as to parts of the

Between the Khâbûr and the Euphrates, Kiepert marks an ancient canal and
names it the Daurîn. According to the map it leaves the Khâbûr at a
point opposite to the village of Ḥöjneh and joins the Euphrates opposite
Ṣâliḥîyeh.[57] The existence of the canal cutting is well known to all
the inhabitants of these parts (they call it the Nahr Dawwarîn), but
they affirm that its course is much longer than is represented by
Kiepert, and that it touches the Euphrates at Werdî. My route on the
first day lay between the canal and the Euphrates, at a distance that
varied from an hour to half-an-hour from the river, and though I did not
see the Dawwarîn, its presence was clearly indicated by the line of
Ḳanâts (underground water conduits) running in a general southerly
direction--NNW. to SSE. to be more accurate--across ground that was
almost absolutely level. The whole of this region must once have been
cultivated, and it had also been thickly populated.[58] Twenty-five
minutes’ ride beyond the potsherds where Ḥmeidî had sketched for me the
history of Buseirah, we passed some foundations constructed out of the
smaller sort of tiles which I had observed in the town. A quarter of an
hour further there was a low mound called Tell el Kraḥ, covered with
tiles and coloured pottery--indeed the pottery was continuous between
the one patch of broken tiles and the other, and Nimrod had evidently
been very busy here. The villages represented by these remains had been
supplied with water from the Dawwarîn. In another hour and five minutes
we reached a considerable mound, Tell Buseyiḥ; it formed three sides of
a hollow square, the side turned towards the river being open. We were
now close to the Euphrates and could see, about half-a-mile away, a long
tract of cultivation and the village of Tiyâna on the water’s edge. We
turned slightly inland from Buseyiḥ and in fifty minutes came to the
mounds of Jemmah where, so far as identification is possible on a hasty
survey, I would place Zeitha. “Here,” says Ammianus Marcellinus, “we saw
the tomb of the Emperor Gordian, which is visible for a long way off.”
Jemmah consists of a large area surrounded by a wall and a deep ditch;
beyond the ditch lies broken ground where, at one point, the Arabs had
scratched the surface and revealed what looked like a pavement of solid
asphalt; still further away there is an Arab graveyard strewn with
fragments of the smaller tiles. Except in the graveyard there are no
tiles and very little pottery, none of it characteristically mediæval
Mohammadan. The ditch had been fed by a water channel coming from the
north-east, no doubt an arm of the Dawwarîn if it were not the canal
itself. We rode from Jemmah to the Euphrates in an hour and ten minutes
and found the camp pitched immediately below the village of Bustân. The
baggage animals had been six hours on the march from the Khâbûr. The
climate was changing rapidly as we journeyed south. The last cold day we
experienced was March 2, when I had ridden out to Tell esh Sha’îr; on
March 7 when we camped at Bustân the temperature at three o’clock in the
afternoon was 70° in the shade, but the nights were still cold.

A strip of irrigated land and numerous villages lay along the river for
the first two hours of the succeeding day’s march. We were forced to
ride outside the cornfields that we might avoid the water conduits, but
I do not think we missed anything of importance, for every twenty or
thirty years the Euphrates rises high enough to submerge the
cultivation, and the floods must have destroyed all vestiges of an older
civilization. The low-lying fields cannot have been, within historic
times, a former bed of the stream, as was the case above Buseirah; an
occasional mound near the river showed that the bank had long been
inhabited. We passed on the high ground a tell that looked like the site
of an ancient village which had received its water from the Nahr
Dawwarîn. An enormous amount of labour is expended upon the irrigation
of the cornfields; sometimes there is a double system of jirds, those
nearest the river watering the lowest fields and filling deep channels
whence the water is again lifted by another series of jirds to the
higher level. In the lower ground the peasants grow a little corn and
clover for early pasture and sow a second crop when the spring floods
have retreated. After two hours’ riding we entered a long stretch of
sand heaped up into little hills which were held together by tamarisk
thickets; it is apt to be submerged when the river is high, and we saw
more than one overflow channel filled with pools of stagnant water. On
the Syrian side the Euphrates is hemmed in here by hills whereon stands
the castle of Ṣâliḥîyeh. In this wilderness we came upon some Arabs who
were ploughing up a desolate spot in search of locusts’ eggs.

“Are there many locusts here?” said I, for locusts are not accustomed to
lay their eggs in sand.

“No,” they answered, “there are none here; but, as God is exalted! there
are thousands lower down.”

“Then why do you plough here?” I asked, with the tiresome persistence of
the European.

“The government ordered it,” said they, and resumed their task.

In another hour we reached Tell ech Cha’bî (el Ka’bî?) where there is an
Arab cemetery, the graves covered with unglazed potsherds. Ḥmeidî told
me that when the Arabs bury their dead in such places they dig into the
mound and extract broken pottery to strew upon the graves; the Bedouin
use no pottery, their water-vessels being of copper or of skin. While we
sat upon the top of the tell lunching and waiting for the caravan, which
was delayed for nearly an hour in the loose sand, Ḥmeidî gave me his
views on politics.

“Effendim,” said he, “we do not care what sultan we have so long as he
is a just ruler. But as for ’Abdu’l Ḥamîd, he keeps three hundred women
in his palace, and, look you, they have eaten our money.” Wherein he
wronged the poor ladies; it was not they who scattered the revenues of
the State.

In thirty minutes we came to Tell Simbal, a small sandy mound; in one
hour and fifteen minutes more to Tell el Hajîn, with a village by the
river, and after another hour and twenty minutes to Tell Abu’l Ḥassan,
where we camped, seven and a quarter hours from Bustân. Abu’l Ḥassan is
marked in Chesney’s map as “mound.” It is a very striking tell rising
fifty feet above the river; upon the summit are Arab graves strewn with
coarse pottery and with undressed stones dug out of the hill, and for a
distance of a quarter of an hour’s walk to the north and east there are
fragments of brick upon the ground. The graves are those of the Jebbûr,
who, said Ḥmeidî, left this district thirty years ago and migrated to
the Tigris, where I subsequently saw them. Nearly all the Silmân have
also gone away, and though their camping grounds are marked by Kiepert
on the Euphrates, their present quarters are on the Khâbûr. The Deleim
and the Ageidât, a base-born tribe, together with the Bu Kemâl, now
occupy the Euphrates’ banks, and the ’Anazeh come down to the river in
the summer. There was no living thing near our camp except an enormous
pelican, who was floating contentedly on the broad bosom of the stream.
Our advent roused in him the profoundest interest, and as he floated he
cast backward glances at us, to see what we were doing in his

A pleasant four hours’ march, mostly through tamarisk thickets that were
full of ducks, pigeons and jays, brought us to the ferry opposite Abu
Kemâl. When we had pitched our tents near the reed-and mud-built village
of Werdî, Fattûḥ and Selîm went across to buy corn and Ḥmeidî to report
our arrival and ask for fresh zaptiehs. The village of Abu Kemâl has
recently been removed to a distance of about a mile from the right bank,
because the current has undermined the foundations of the original
village, which now stands deserted and in ruin. But it is chiefly on the
left bank that the river has played tricks with the land. Within the
circuit of a great bend in the channel, the ground for three miles or so
is extremely low, and is partially submerged when the stream comes down
in flood. The low ground is bounded on its eastern side by a rocky ridge
which crosses the desert from a point a little to the south of the
Khâbûr, passes behind what I suppose to be the course of the Dawwarîn,
and terminates in the bold bluffs of Irzî above the Euphrates, at the
lower limit of the Werdî bend. When the river is exceptionally high it
covers the whole area up to the hills; my informant, one ’Isâ, an Arab
of the Bu Kemâl, remembered having once seen this occur; but in ordinary
seasons it merely overflows a narrow belt and fills a canal that lies
immediately under the eastern hills. The canal is fed by two branch
canals from the river and joins the Euphrates under the bluff of Irzî.
The river rises “at the time of the flowering of pomegranates,” said
’Isâ, “for unto all things is their season,” that is, about the middle
of April; but the big canal under the hills was still half full of water
when I saw it in March, and the crops were irrigated from it by jirds.
It is known locally as the Werdîyeh, but I was informed that it was in
fact the lower end of the Dawwarîn which joins the Euphrates here and
not at Ṣâliḥîyeh.[59] The site of Werdî is generally believed to be that
of Xenophon’s Corsote, “a large deserted city which was entirely
surrounded by the Mascas.” The river Mascas was a plethron (100 ft.) in
breadth; the army of Cyrus stayed there three days and the soldiers
furnished themselves with provisions.[60] By the Mascas, Xenophon is
understood to have meant a loop canal, and I think it probable that the
canal was not merely a small loop enclosing the bend of the river, but
that it is represented to this day by the Dawwarîn and the irrigation
system connected with it.

[Illustration: FIG. 47.--IRZÎ, TOWER TOMB.]

But if Werdî be the descendant of Corsote, at least one other town must
be placed between these two in the genealogical table. The bluff at the
lower end of the river bend is covered with the ruins of Irzî, which
have been remarked by every traveller who has passed by, either on the
river or on the west bank. Balbi, who descended the Euphrates in 1579,
says that the ruins occupied a site larger than Cairo and appeared to be
the massive walls and towers of a great city. So far as I know no one
has examined them closely, and when I climbed up the hill I found, not
the bastioned walls that I had expected, but a number of isolated tower
tombs. They stand in various stages of decay round the edge of the bluff
and over the whole extent of a high rocky plateau which cannot be seen
from below. There are no traces of houses, nor any means of obtaining
water from the river, nor any cisterns for the storage of rain. Balbi’s
city is a city of the dead; it is the necropolis of a town that stood,
presumably, in the irrigated country below. The towers were all alike
(Fig. 47). They are built of irregular slabs of stone, the shining
gypsum of which the hill is formed, laid in beds of mortar. Each tower
rests upon a square substructure, about 1·70 m. high; in this
substructure are the tombs, hollowed out of the solid masonry, irregular
in number and in position. In the best preserved of the towers I could
see but one tunnel-like grave opening on the west side (Fig. 48), while
there were two or three to the north and east. The tombs are covered by
a small vault made of two stones leaning against one another. Above the
substructure the walls are broken by corner piers of small projection,
with two engaged columns between them. The columns are crowned by
capitals made of a single projecting slab, above which a slightly
projecting band of plaster forms an entablature. Then follows a plain
piece of wall about a metre high upon which stands an upper order of
engaged columns, half as large as those below, so that there was place
for five between the corner piers, if these were repeated on the upper
part of the tower. A door between the corner pier and one of the engaged
columns opens on to a winding stair which leads to the top of the tower.
No rule was observed as to the direction of the compass in which the
doors were placed. The towers cannot be as old as Xenophon’s time; they
are more likely to date from the first or second century of the
Christian era; therefore the town to which they belonged must have been
later than Corsote, and Corsote, it will be remembered, was deserted
when he saw it. It is easy to understand that a city lying in the low
ground might have been destroyed by inundations, and to imagine that a
region so favourably situated for purposes of cultivation, and provided
with an elaborate system of irrigation, should have been repopulated in
a later age. And this is the explanation which I offer.[61]

The practice of burying the dead above “the common crofts, the vulgar
thorpes,” is still observed by the Arabs. All their graves lie loftily
upon the nearest height, even if it should be only a mound by the river.
From my camp I watched one of their funeral processions making its slow
way from the village of Abu Kemâl towards some barren hills. Three or
four miles the dead man was carried across the desert to find his
resting-place among the graves of his ancestors, and no tribesman would
have been content to lay him at the village gates, like a Turk or a town
dweller. They carried him to the hills and so performed, as in the days
of the Irzî city, their final service.

Fattûh and Selîm returned after nightfall, and reported the zaptieh
problem to be still unsolved. Even at Abu Kemâl there was but one man,
and we were forced once again to commandeer Muṣṭafâ, who saw himself
dragged further and

[Illustration: FIG. 48.--IRZÎ, TOWER TOMB.]

[Illustration: FIG. 49.--NAOURA OF ’AJMÎYEH.]

[Illustration: FIG. 50.--THE INHABITANTS OF RAWÂ.]

further from his home at Deir. We promised that he should return from
Ḳâyim with ’Abdullah, the zaptieh from Abu Kemâl, and Muṣṭafâ agreed
with alacrity to this arrangement. All zaptiehs of my acquaintance enjoy
travelling, with its contingent advantage of a regular daily fee from
the effendi whom they escort. But neither he nor ’Abdullah knew the way
along the left bank. “We have never heard of any one who wished to go by
this road, wallah!” Moreover, they stood in considerable fear of the
tribes whom we might encounter. I therefore engaged as guide ’Isâ, the
affable, ragged person who had conducted me to Irzî, but since we were
fully loaded with corn, we could not mount him and he marched smilingly
for seven hours through a temperature of 83° in the shade. We rode over
the Irzî bluffs and dropped by a steep and rocky path into the plain on
the farther side, between the hills and the meandering river. To the
right the village of Rabâṭ, with a long stretch of corn, lay near the
water’s edge, and though our path lay only through tamarisk thickets,
traces of numerous irrigation canals showed that the ground must once
have been under cultivation. The plain is known as the Ḳâ’at ed Deleim,
the land of the Deleim, and the tents of that tribe were to be seen on
the banks of the Euphrates. It did not take me long to discover that we
should reach Ḳâyim, or rather the point opposite to it, for it lies on
the right bank, in about five hours from Werdî, and my heart sank to
contemplate another long delay while we crossed and changed zaptiehs;
therefore I refused to go down to the Euphrates and cut straight across
a bend over high stony ground. So it happened that we never went near
Ḳâyim, and the two kidnapped zaptiehs were embarked before they knew it
on the road to ’Anah. We touched the river again seven hours from Werdî,
where we found an encampment of the Jerâif, and since we were completely
ignorant of what lay ahead, we pitched our tents there, opposite an
island which Kiepert calls Ninmala. I found it almost impossible to get
at any names for the numerous islands in these reaches of the Euphrates.
The generic word for them is khawîjeh, and they bear no other title in
the local speech. The Jerâif or Jerîfeh is a tribe which belongs
properly to the right bank, but a few tents had come over on account of
the terrible drought, there being always more pasture in the Jezîreh
than in the Shâmîyeh. They are usually, so ’Isa explained, gôm to his
tribe, the Bu Kemâl, but a truce had recently been patched up and he was
received as hospitably as any of us.

There lies below ’Ânah and to the west of the Euphrates a region of
desert through which few travellers have passed. The track of Chesney’s
journey of 1857 skirts it to the west; Thielmann crossed it nearly forty
years later a little further to the east; Huber, following the Damascus
post-road, touched its northern edge. So said Kiepert, and with this
meagre information as a base I questioned that night the Arabs gathered
round Fattûḥ’s cooking fire as to the north-west corner of the Sasanian
Empire. Among them was an aged man who had been to Nejd, in Central
Arabia, and had brought back thence a bullet which was still lodged in
his cheek; he knew that country, and if I would give him a horse he
would take me to all the castles therein, Khubbâz, ’Amej, Themail,

“Where is Kheiḍir?” said I, for the name was unknown to me or to

“Beyond Shetâteh,” answered a lean and ragged youth. “I too know it,

“Is it large?” I asked.

“It is a castle,” he replied vaguely, and one after another the men of
the Jerâif chimed in with descriptions of the road. The sum total of the
information offered by them seemed to be that water was scarce and raids
frequent, but there were certainly castles; yes, in the land of Fahd Beg
ibn Hudhdhâl, the great sheikh of the Amarât, there was Kheiḍir. I made
a mental note of the name.

The region which we had now entered is particularly lawless. The
government makes no attempt to control the Bedouin, and according to
their custom they are occupied exclusively in raiding one another and in
harrying the outlying property of the inhabitants of Rawâ, the town
opposite to ’Ânah. In addition to the depredations of the local tribes,
the country is swept by armed bands of the Shammar from far away to the
east, and of the Yezîdis, whom the Mohammadans call Devil Worshippers,
from the Jebel Sinjâr. Accordingly when we asked for a guide, we were
told that there was no one who would come with us alone, lest he should
be attacked on his solitary return by blood enemies from half the world
away. We took with us, therefore, two horsemen, ’Affân, of the sheikhly
house, and Murawwaḥ, the one armed with a rifle and the other with a
rusty sword, and for the better part of the day we discussed the
observance of blood feud. The old man with the bullet in his cheek, who
was on his way to Baghdâd and proposed to travel with us as far as
possible, served as an illustration of the text. It had a purely
objective interest, for in spite of the fears exhibited by the Jerâif,
there was very small risk of our meeting with a foe; the season for
raiding is the summer, but the spring is a close time. ’Affân was
eloquent in describing the long rides across the desert in the burning
heat: “Lady, I have ridden four days with no water but what I could
carry; that was when we bore off cattle and mules from the Jebel

“Eh billah!” asseverated Murawwaḥ, and felt for the hilt of his rusty

We had not gone far before my mare shied out of the path and there swung
up beside us a jovial personage mounted on a blood camel with his
serving-man clinging behind him. He proved to be a sheikh of the Amarât,
who are a branch of the ’Anazeh, and indeed he was own brother to Fahd
ibn Hudhdhâl. His appearance suited his high birth. He was wrapped in a
gold-bordered cloak, a fine silk kerchief was bound about his head, and
his feet were shod with scarlet leather boots; he was tall and well
liking, as are few but the great sheikhs among the half-fed Bedouin. He
related to me the business which had brought him so far from his own
people. One of the Jerâif had murdered a man of the Amarât, and the two
tribes being on friendly terms, Sheikh Jid’ân (such was his name) had
crossed the river to demand the summary execution of the murderer or the
payment of blood money. He was hunting the man down through the Jerâif

“Shall you find him?” I asked.

“Eh wah!” he affirmed and laughed over his task.

Him too I questioned concerning Kheiḍir. “Go forward to ’Ânah,” he said,
“and there any man will take you to Kheiḍir. And if you come to my
tents, welcome and kinship.” So we parted.

In thirty-five minutes from the camp we passed the mound of Balîjah with
Arab graves upon it; then for three hours we saw nothing of interest
until we came to the mazâr of Sultan ’Abdullah, a small modern shrine.
Somewhere near it are the ruins of Jabarîyeh, but they must lie closer
to the mazâr than Kiepert would have them. I rode on looking for them
for half-an-hour, and when I questioned ’Affân he replied: “Jebarîyeh?
It is under the mazâr. When you turned away I thought you did not wish
to see those ruins.” It was too hot to go back. We were now opposite
Ḳal’at Râfiḍah, a splendid pile upon the right bank of the Euphrates,
and here we left the caravan with Murawwaḥ to guide it and followed the
course of the river to Ḳal’at Bulâḳ, which the Arabs call Retâjah, an
hour and a quarter’s ride in blazing sun. We found there a small square
fort with round towers at the angles, the whole built of sun-dried
brick. Though it is in complete ruin, I believe it to be modern,
probably a Turkish ḳishlâ, but I saw some fragments of stone and mortar
building which are, at any rate, older than the mud fort, and the site
is so magnificent that it can scarcely have been neglected in ancient
times. The hill on which the ruins stand is all but converted into an
island by an abrupt turn of the river, which washes the precipitous rock
on three sides. The current is gradually undermining the high seat of
Retâjah and the greater part of the older stone building has fallen into
the stream. We had a hard gallop to catch up the caravan, and a long
pull over rocky ground before we sighted the river again, flowing in
wide and tranquil curves under the sunset. On either side the banks were
lined with naouras, the Persian water-wheels. The quiet air was full of
the rumble and grumble of them, a pleasant sound telling of green
fields and clover pastures, but there were no villages or any other sign
of man. As I looked, I knew that we had passed over an unseen frontier;
whether the geographers admitted it or no, this was Babylonia.

We rode down wearily to the first naoura and there threw ourselves from
our horses. The river turned the wheel, the wheel lifted the water, the
water raced down the conduit and spread itself out over a patch of corn
and round the roots of a solitary palm-tree, and all happened as if it
were a part of the processes of nature, like the springing of the palm
tree and the swelling of the ears of corn. But it was nature in
leading-strings, and the lords of creation, in a very unassuming guise,
surged up from a hole in the ground roofed with palm fronds and bade us
welcome to their domain--two men and a little boy who watched over the
crops on behalf of a Rawâ merchant. The place has a name, ’Ajmîyeh, and
a history, if only I could have deciphered it in the cut stones and
fragments of wall which the river slowly washed bare and then washed
away. But the immediate present was of greater importance. Before the
moon was up, supper was spread by the naoura, and the watchmen, the boy,
the Arabs and the old man with the bullet were sharing with my servants
and zaptiehs an ample meal of rice. We had marched ten hours.

In the morning I saw that quantities of pottery were washed out of the
bank together with the stones. Much of it was glazed with black upon the
inside, some was the usual coloured Mohammadan stuff, and there were
pieces of the big pointed jars, unglazed, which belong to every age.
Beyond the corn lay masses of similar potsherds; the river bank must
once have been strewn with small villages. When we had ridden for
half-an-hour we met three horsemen of the Jerâif, and ’Affân declared
that he would return with them to his tents, and as for Murawwaḥ he
might cross with us to ’Ânah and go home along the right bank. I had no
objection to raise, and as Murawwaḥ did not demur to the scheme ’Affân
was allowed to leave us. Murawwaḥ was a small man and a lean, mounted
on a half-starved mare, himself half starved, with naked feet, a ragged
cotton cloak thrown over his head to protect him from the sun, and a
rusty sword by his side to defend him from his enemies. We had struck up
a wordless friendship and now that ’Affân was gone we fell into talk. I
asked him whether he had heard of liberty.

“Eh wah!” he answered, “but we know not what it means.”

“It means to obey a just law,” said I, seeking for some didactic
definition. But Murawwaḥ knew nothing of obedience nor yet of just rule.

The zaptieh ’Abdullah took up my word. “Oh Murawwaḥ,” said he, “when
there is liberty in this land, there will be no more raiding and the
Arabs will serve as soldiers.”

“No wallah!” returned Murawwaḥ firmly.

’Abdullah laughed. “Slowly, slowly,” he said, “the government will lay
hands on the desert, and the Arabs will be brought in, for they are all

Murawwaḥ drew himself up on his hungry mare. “Thieves!” he cried.
“Thieves are dogs. How can you compare the Arabs with them? We will not
bow our heads to any government. To the Arabs belongs command.” And he
slashed the air defiantly with his tamarisk switch as he proclaimed the
liberties of the wilderness, the right of feud, the right of raid, the
right of revenge--the only liberty the desert knows.

Three hours and a half from ’Ajmîyeh we stopped at a naoura, Natârîyeh,
to water our horses, and just beyond it we were overtaken by
half-a-dozen angry men from Rawâ, mounted and carrying rifles. The cause
of their ride and of their anger they were not slow to make known to us.
The watchman at their naoura had sent in word to Rawâ that the Deleim
had come down and were pasturing their mares in the corn. “And we went
to the Ḳâimmaḳâm and asked for soldiers to drive them off, and the
Ḳâimmaḳâm answered, ‘Go ask the Vâlî of Baghdâd, for I have none.’ As
God is exalted! there were but two soldiers in the ḳishlâ of Rawâ. And
we took our rifles and mounted our mares and rode out alone, and all
last night we hunted them through the desert until we were so far from
the river that we dared not go on. We are six men, look you, and the
Deleim are counted by thousands. So we returned, and a curse upon the
government that cannot protect our property, and may all Arabs burn in

At this point one of them perceived Murawwaḥ, who was riding in discreet
silence by my side. “Listen, you! dog son of a dog,” he cried. “We lay
out our capital and you take the interest; we sow and you gather the
harvest, yes, without reaping, and we may starve that you and your
accursed brothers may fatten. I have a mind to take you as hostage to
Rawâ and hold you till we get our due.” Murawwaḥ, though for a free
child of the desert he was unfortunately placed between zaptiehs and
angry citizens, was not alarmed by the threat. We had changed parts as
soon as we neared civilization, and he now edged nearer to me, knowing
that he was safe under my protection, but for which he would not have
ventured into Rawâ where there were too many reckonings scored up
against the tribes.

We were not to escape without ourselves taking a lesson in the elements
of raiding. Half-an-hour or so from Natârîyeh, Jûsef came riding up from
the caravan, which was behind us, to ask if we had seen anything of the
donkey, the unrivalled donkey purchased in Aleppo, and to our
consternation we discovered that he was missing. There had been a few
Arabs at Natârîyeh, and while we were engaged in watering the baggage
animals, the donkey had strayed away to make acquaintance with some
low-born Bedouin donkeys and had remained behind. Fattûḥ and ’Abdullah
rode back and speedily found him (he was twice the size of the others),
but his pack saddle and other trappings were gone. Thereupon Fattûḥ,
like the merchants of Rawâ, took the law into his own hands, drove off
an Arab donkey together with our own, and declared that unless the Arabs
restored our property to us that night at ’Ânah he would sell theirs in
the open market and keep the money. Thus it was that we turned raiders
like every one else who lives in the desert. Fattûḥ caught me up two
and a half hours later opposite the island of Ḳarâbileh, where I had
stopped to lunch, and we sent Murawwaḥ back to reclaim the pack saddle,
bidding him join us at ’Ânah. He was exceedingly loth to obey this
order, saying that he dared not enter ’Ânah alone, and I never expected
to see him again, in spite of the fact that he had not received his
bakhshîsh. In another twenty minutes we were riding through the fruit
gardens and palm groves of Rawâ--the fruit-trees were all in flower, a
delectable sight for travellers in the wilderness. While the ferry-boats
were being brought up I climbed the hill to the modern citadel (Rawâ, so
far as I am aware, has no ancient history) and thence looked down upon
the long thin line of ’Ânah, houses and palm-trees folded between the
hills and the river, and afar the island that was ancient Anatho,
floating upon the broad waters. The population of Rawâ swarmed up the
hill after me, watching my every movement with strained attention, and
before we were fairly embarked I registered a vow that no caravan of
mine should ever again pass through the town, so exasperating it is to
find two hundred people in your path whichever way you would turn (Fig.
50). When once we had crossed the river we fell into a merciful
obscurity; the post-road runs through ’Ânah, and it matters not a para
to anybody but the khânjî whether one European more or less comes down
it. The khânjî, a friend of Fattûḥ’s, was unfeignedly glad to see us,
and his khân looked good, but better still the patch of ground behind
that stretched down to the water’s edge. Here with the consent of mine
host we pitched our tents, in full view of an exquisite little island,
green with corn and shaded by palm-trees; and whatever love you bear the
desert there can be no doubt that green growing things are pleasant to
the eye, and that the spirit rests comfortably upon the assurance that a
good dinner, not tinned curry, will shortly be forthcoming. Just as it
was ready, behold Murawwaḥ, obedient to the call of hunger--minus his
sword indeed, for he had left it in pawn to the ferryman, but bringing
with him the owner of the donkey we stole, together with the goods that
had been stolen from us. And every one came to his own again. But the
episode has never faded from Fattûḥ’s memory, and in the hour of
reminiscence he is wont to say, “Your Excellency remembers how we raided
the Arabs? May God be exalted! We have travelled much in the desert, and
the only raid we ever saw was one of our own making.”

There was another arrival at our camp that night. Late in the evening
Jûsef inquired whether I would receive a soldier, and thinking it was
to-morrow’s zaptieh, I consented. A grizzled man appeared at the tent
door and sat down on his heels.

“Peace be upon you,” said he.

“And upon you peace,” I answered.

“Effendim,” he said, “I am a man advancing in years.” He made the
gesture of one who strokes a venerable beard, although his chin was
bare. “And for long I have prayed for a son. Praise be to God, this
night God has granted my request.”

“Praise be to God,” said I.

“God give you the reward,” he rejoined. “Effendim, in honour of this
exceptional occasion, will you kindly help with the expenses?”

Now it happened somewhere about the year 1300 B.C. that Hattusil, King
of the Hittites, wrote to the King of Babylon, and among other matters
of international interest, he observed that the reason for the
interruption of diplomatic relations with the court of Babylonia was the
uncertainty of travel caused by the movements of the Bedouin. No other
consideration, he said, should have prevented him from dispatching his
ambassador to the son of so excellent a father. The conditions described
in Hattusil’s letter hold good until to-day. The Bedouin are still
masters of the desert road, and established order is helpless before the
lawless independence of the tribes. The truth is that nomad life and
civilization are incompatible terms: the peaceful cultivator and the
merchant cannot exist side by side with the sheikh, and either the
settled population must drive the Bedouin from out their borders, or the
Bedouin will put progress and the accumulation of wealth beyond the
power of the most industrious. Until we drew near to ’Ânah, our road
had led us through regions which the Arabs hold in undisturbed
possession. No caravans pass down the east bank of the Euphrates; no
towns are built there; save for the spasmodic labours of the half
settled tribes, no fields are cultivated. But with the first naoura of
the Rawâ townsmen the conditions were altered, and when we crossed the
river we plunged into the struggle that has been waged for all time
between the nomad and the State. For four days we followed the high road
to Baghdâd--unwillingly enough, since I was ever looking for a door into
the Syrian desert--and I had opportunity to study the oldest problem of

The town of ’Ânah has been lengthening steadily ever since the sixteenth
century, for Rauwolff says that it is one hour long, and della Valle
two, and I know that it is three. But it was and remains a single street
wide, a Babylonish mud-built thoroughfare, green with palms, murmurous
with naouras and lapped by the swift current of the Euphrates (Fig. 51).
From the hilltop of Rawâ I had already caught sight of the only vestiges
of antiquity that ’Ânah can boast, the ruined castle and tall minaret
upon the island of Lubbâd at the lower end of the town. Here stood the
fortress which, “like many others in that country, is surrounded by the
Euphrates.”[62] Julian, seeing the difficulties of a siege, came to
terms with the inhabitants, who surrendered to him and were treated with
all kindness. But the fortress he burnt. I was determined not to leave
’Ânah without visiting the island, and having settled with Fattûḥ the
length of the day’s march, I left him to buy provisions and load the
caravan, and rode down to a ferry opposite the island. The boat was
commonly used to transport stones from the castle, and when we arrived
it was in course of being loaded on the other side. Much shouting at
length attracted the attention of the ferryman, and we went into a
neighbouring coffee-house to await his coming. A party of citizens had
gathered together over the morning cup; we joined the circle and shared
in the coffee and the

[Illustration: FIG. 51.--’ÂNAH FROM THE ISLAND OF LUBBÂD.]

[Illustration: FIG. 52.--’ÂNAH, A FISHERMAN.]

[Illustration: FIG. 53.--HÎT, PITCH-SPRING.]

talk. The men in the coffee-house entertained no hope that the
constitutional or any other government would succeed in establishing

“Ever since the days of the Benî Ghassân,” said one (and I could have
added “ever since the days of the Hittites”), “the Arabs have ravaged
the land, and who shall stop them? The government does nothing and we
can do nothing. We have no power and all of us are poor.”

“In the last six years,” said another, “we have had fourteen Ḳâimmaḳâms
at ’Ânah. Not one of these gave a thought to the prosperity of the town,
but he extorted what money he could before he was removed.”

“There is a new Ḳâimmaḳâm on his way here,” I observed.

“True,” he replied. “When the telegram came last summer telling of
liberty and equality, the people assembled before the serâyah, the
government house, and bade the Ḳâimmaḳâm begone, for they would govern
themselves. Thereat came orders from Baghdâd that the people must be
dispersed; and the soldiers fired upon them, killing six men. And we do
not know what the telegram about liberty and brotherhood can have meant,
but at least the Ḳâimmaḳâm was dismissed.”

My zaptieh broke in here. “Effendim,” said he, “it fell out once that I
was in Bombay--yes, I was sent from Baṣrah with horses for one of the
kings of India. And there I saw a poor man whose passport had been
stolen from him, and he carried his complaint to the judge. Now the
judge was of the English, and he fined the thief and cut off two of his
fingers. That is government; in India the poor are protected.”

“Allah!” said one of the coffee-drinkers in undisguised admiration.

I knew better than to question the validity of the anecdote, and, with
what modesty I could assume, I accepted the credit that accrued from it.

“But even the English,” pursued another, “cannot hold the tribes.
Effendim, have the Afghans submitted to you? Wallah, no.”

He had laid his finger upon a knotty point, and I took up the question
from a different side.

“Have not you men of ’Ânah sent a deputy to the mejlis?” I asked.

“Eh wallah!” they answered.

“Let him make known in Constantinople the evils under which you suffer,
that the government may seek for a remedy.”

The suggestion was received in silent perplexity.

“For what purpose did you pay the deputy to go to Stambûl?” I pursued.

“The order came,” replied one of my interlocutors. “We do not know why
the deputy was sent. Doubtless he has his own business in Stambûl and he
is not concerned with ’Ânah.”

“His business is yours,” I said; “and if he will not see to it, at the
next election you must choose a better man.”

“Will there be another election?” said they, and I found all ’Ânah to be
under the impression that their representative held a life appointment.

The island is a little paradise of fruit-trees, palms and corn, in the
middle of which is a village of some thirty houses built in the
heaped-up ruins of the castle. From among the houses springs a tall and
beautiful minaret, octagonal in plan (Fig. 56). Its height is broken by
eight rows of niches, each face of the octagon bearing in alternate
storeys a double and single niche, all terminating in the cusped arch
which is employed at Raḳḳah. Some of the niches are pierced with windows
to light the winding stair. The tower rises yet another two storeys, but
the upper part is of narrower diameter, and the windows and niches are
covered with plain round arches. At the northern end of the island the
walls and round bastions of the fortress stand in part, but they are not
very ancient. Ibn Khurdâdhbeh, who is the first of the Mohammadan
geographers to mention ’Ânah, says only that it is a small town on an
island;[63] in Abu’l Fidâ’s time it was still confined to the
island;[64] Rauwolff (1564) notices the town on the island and the town
on the right bank;[65] Yâḳût (1225) speaks of the castle, but the walls
which I saw cannot be as old as his day. The minaret may belong to a
different period, and de Beylié places it in the earliest centuries of
Islâm.[66] I think that there was probably a fortress on the island long
before the first written record which has come down to us, but I was
close upon a generation too late to see the remains of it. From two
informants in ’Ânah I heard that there had been big stone slabs at the
northern end of the island “with figures of men upon them and a writing
like nails,” but they had fallen into the water within the memory of the
older inhabitants and had been washed away or covered by the stream.
This tale of cuneiform inscriptions would not in itself be worth much,
but while I was examining the minaret, a villager brought me a fragment
of stone covered with carving in relief which was unmistakably Assyrian.
I asked him whence it came, and he replied that it had formed part of a
big stone picture which had fallen into the river. I bought from him a
broken bowl inscribed with Jewish incantations of the well-known

The island was once connected with both banks by bridges. There are some
traces of the section that led across to the Jezîreh, and many piers of
the Shâmîyeh bridge stand in the river. Though these piers no longer
serve the purpose for which they were intended, they are still put to
use, for the inhabitants of the island spread nets between them, and the
fish swimming down with the current are entangled in the meshes and so
caught (Fig. 52). We pulled up one of the nets as we passed, and it
produced two large fish which I bought for a few pence. It is curious
that the Bedouin neglect the ample supply of food with which the river
would furnish them; in spite of frequent inquiries we had never found
fish in their tents.

Just below the houses of ’Ânah on the Shâmîyeh bank there were mounds
by the river from which, said my zaptieh, the people get antîcas after
rain, and sometimes small gold ornaments are washed out of them. On the
opposite bank I could see ruins for a distance of an hour’s ride from
’Ânah; they ended at a big mound called Tell Abu Thor, which appeared to
be a natural outcrop of the rock, though there were many small,
seemingly artificial, mounds about it.[68] An hour and a half from ’Ânah
we passed another rocky hill, also called Tell Abu Thor, but I could see
no traces of ruins round it. From the summit of the tell there was a
fine view of the little fortified island of Tilbês, the island castle of
Thilutha, whose inhabitants refused to surrender to Julian. I could see
the bastions of masonry on the upper end of the island, together with
the ruins of a castle on the Jezîreh bank, and if there had been any
possibility of crossing the river I should have gone down to it; but
there was no ferry nearer than ’Ânah. I did not follow the winding
course of the Euphrates from ’Ânah to Hît. Many of the ruins marked in
Chesney’s map deserve a careful survey, but my mind was now set upon
another matter, and we rode on from stage to stage hoping each day that
the next would provide us with a guide into the western desert. My
zaptieh, Muḥammad, lent a sympathetic ear to the scheme which I
developed to him as we rode. The arm of the law, weak enough on the
Euphrates, does not reach into the wilderness, and his duties had taken
him but a little way west of the road; the main difficulty to be
encountered was the lack of water, a difficulty much enhanced by the

“God send us rain!” he sighed. “Effendim, at this time of the year I am
used to stay my mare at such places as these” (he pointed to the hollows
in the barren ground), “and while I smoke a cigarette she will have
eaten her fill of grass. But this year there is no spring herbage, and
in the season of the rains, forty days have passed without rain. All the
waterpools in the Shâmîyeh are exhausted, and the Arabs are crossing to
the Jezîreh lest they die, for their flocks can give no milk.”

Presently we met a train of thirsty immigrants driving their goats to
the Euphrates. Muḥammad called to them and asked if they would give us a
cup of leben, sour milk. A half-starved girl shouted back in answer:

“If we had leben we should not be crossing to the Jezîreh.”

“God help you! ” cried Muḥammad. “Cross in the peace of God.”

A little further we passed through a number of newly-made graves,
scattered thickly on either side of the road. “They are graves of the
Deleim,” said Muḥammad. “A year ago a bitter quarrel arose within the
tribe, and here they fought together and seventy men were slain. They
buried them where they fell, the one party on one side of the road, and
the other on the other side.”

We travelled fast and in five hours from ’Ânah came down to the river at
Fḥemeh, where we found our tents pitched near a ḳishlâ. The guardhouse
is the only building here, the village of Fḥemeh being in the Jezîreh
about half-an-hour up stream. About the same distance lower down lies
the island of Kuro, which is perhaps Julian’s Akhaya Kala, but I saw it
only from afar and do not know whether there are still ruins upon it. We
had parted at ’Ânah from Cyrus and from Julian; they marched with their
armies down the Jezîreh bank, and our road lost much of its charm in
losing the shadowy pageants of their advance.

We were tormented during the next three days by an intolerable east
wind. It blew from sunrise to sunset, and, for aught we could tell, it
might have issued from the mouth of a furnace, so scorching was its
dust-laden breath. I heard of ruins at Sûs, a place where the Jerâif own
cornfields; but it lay at the head of a peninsula formed by a great bend
of the stream, and I had no heart to go so far out of the way.[69] We
reached Ḥadîthah in six hours from Fḥemeh and camped there, partly
because we were weary of the wind and dust, and partly because Muḥammad
had advised me to seek there for a guide into the desert. The nearer we
came to that adventure, the more formidable did it appear, and I was
beginning to realize that it would be folly to take a caravan across the
parched and stony waste, and to revolve plans for sending the muleteers
to Kerbelâ and taking only Fattûḥ with me to Kheiḍir. At Ḥadîthah we met
an aged corporal, who declared that nothing would be easier than to go
straight thence to Ḳaṣr ’Amej, and for water we should find every night
a pool of winter rain. He had crossed the desert two years ago and there
had been no lack of water.

“But this year there has been no rain,” I objected; “and all the Arabs
are coming down to the river because of the great drought. Where, then,
shall we find the pools?”

“God knows,” he answered piously, and I put an end to the discussion and
turned my attention to the ruins of Ḥadîthah.

The village, like all the villages in these parts, lies mainly upon an
island, though a small modern suburb has sprung up upon the right bank.
At the upper end of the island are the ruins of a castle, not unlike the
ruins at ’Ânah. A bridge had been thrown over both arms of the river,
and a straight causeway across the island had connected the two parts.
Needless to say, the bridge has fallen. Still more remarkable, and quite
unexpected, was a large area of ruins some way inland on the Shâmîyeh
side, hidden from the river village by a ridge of high ground. It must
have been the site of a big town. In one place I saw four columns lying
upon the ground, no doubt pre-Mohammadan, though upon one of them were
four lines of a much-defaced Arabic inscription of which I could read
only a few words.[70] Nearer to the river, and visible from it, are a
number of small mazârs, remarkable only because their pointed dome-like
roofs show the same construction that is to be seen in the famous tomb
of the Sitt Zobeideh at Baghdâd.

From ’Ânah the river landscape is exceedingly monotonous: a few naouras
and a patch or two of cultivation, each with its farmhouse, a small
domestic mud fortress with a tower; an occasional village set in a grove
of palm-trees on an island in midstream. The houses were of sun-dried
brick, the walls sloping slightly inwards, and crowned with a low mud
battlement--line for line a copy of their prototypes on the Assyrian
reliefs. This world, which was already sufficiently dreary, was rendered
unspeakably hideous by the east wind. River, sky and mud-built houses
showed the universal dun colour of the desert, and even the palm-trees
turned a sickly hue, their fronds dishevelled by the blast and steeped
in dust.

An hour and a half from Ḥadîthah we crossed the Wâdî Ḥajlân, in which
there is a brackish spring. Just opposite its mouth are the remains of a
castle on an island, Abu Sa’îd, but the greater part of the island, and
with it the castle, has been carried away by the stream. Below it is the
palm-covered island of Berwân. Twenty minutes further we passed over a
dry valley, Wâdî Fâḍîyeh, where I left the high road and crossed the
desert to Alûs, which we reached in an hour and forty minutes. Kiepert,
following Chesney, calls it Al’ Uzz, but I doubt whether this spelling
can be justified; the Arab geographers knew it as Alûs or Alûsah, and
the name has not changed until this day. The village stands on an
island, but there is also a ruined castle on the right bank of the
river. We rode straight from Alûs to Jibbeh in two hours, though the
zaptiehs reckon it three for a caravan. There was nothing to encourage
us to loiter, inasmuch as our path lay over a horrible wilderness,
stony, waterless and devoid of any growing thing. Rather more than
half-way across we came to the ’Uglet Ḥaurân, a valley which is said to
have its source in the Ḥaurân mountains south of Damascus. At the point
where we crossed it, it was dry, but my zaptieh told me that there were
springs higher up and that in wet years the water will flow down it from
the Ḥaurân to the Euphrates. The wind was so strong that I could not row
over to the village which stands on the island of Jibbeh, though I was
tempted by the tall round minaret that rises from among the palm-trees.
As far as I could see through my glasses, it bears an inscription on its
summit and a brick dog-tooth cornice. On the Jezîreh bank there is a
large and well-preserved fortress. We reached the solitary khân of
Baghdâdî a few minutes later; the caravan was there before us, having
accomplished what is reckoned to be a nine-hours’ stage in eight hours
sixteen minutes. The village of Baghdâdî is an hour’s march lower down,
and the khân by which we camped was only four months old; “Before that,”
said Fattûḥ, “we used to sleep under the sky, and there was no one but
us and the jackals.” I had heard that Fadh Beg Ibn Hudhdhâl had a garden
at Baghdâdî, and I cherished a hope that we might meet there one of his
family who would help us on the way to Kheiḍir; but when we passed by
the garden a solitary negro was in charge, and as the palms were not yet
three feet high, I could not blame Fadh Beg for not having elected to
dwell among them. There was nothing to be done but to ride on to

From Baghdâdî the road climbs up into the barren hills. It is no better
than a staircase cut out of the rock, and Fattûḥ admitted that carriage
driving is not an easy matter here. He added that the stage from
Baghdâdî to Hît is less secure than any other, by reason of its being
infested by the Deleim who exact a toll from unguarded caravans. We had
found two zaptiehs at the khân and had taken one on with us when we sent
the Ḥadîthah man back, leaving the khân protected by a single zaptieh,
so limited is the number of soldiers posted along the road. If you are
not a person of sufficient consequence to claim an escort, you must wait
until a body of travellers shall have collected at Baghdâd or Aleppo, as
the case may be, and set forth in their company, since it is not safe
to venture singly over the Sultan’s highroad. We met that morning a
large caravan of people driving, riding in panniers, and walking. No
matter what their degree, all wore the singularly abandoned aspect to
which only the Oriental on a journey can attain, and the shapelessness
of their baggage enhanced their personal disqualifications. About
half-an-hour after the caravan had passed, we came upon five or six
ragged peasants, who stopped us and lifted their voices in lamentation.
They had been held up by five Deleimîs in the valley below; their cloaks
had been taken from them, and the bread that was to have sufficed them
till they reached ’Ânah: “We are poor men,” they wailed. “God curse
those who rob the poor!”

“God curse all the Deleim!” cried Fattûḥ. “Why did you linger behind the
caravan in this part of the road?”

“We were weary and one of us had fallen lame,” they explained. “But have
a care when you reach the valley bottom; five men with rifles are
lurking among the sand-hills.”

Their tale filled me with a futile anger, so that I desired nothing so
much as to catch and punish the thieves, and without waiting to consider
whether this lay within our power, I galloped on in the direction
indicated by the peasants, with Fattûḥ, Jûsef and the zaptiehs at my
heels. We were all armed and had nothing to fear from five robbers. The
valley was a sandy depression with a sulphur stream running through it.
We searched the sand-hills without success, but when we came down to the
Euphrates, there were five armed men strolling unconcernedly along the
bank as though they would take the air. Now, you do not wander with a
rifle in your hand in unfrequented parts of the Euphrates’ bank for any
good purpose, and we were persuaded that these black-browed Arabs were
the five we sought. Probably they had intended to reap a larger harvest,
but finding the caravan too numerous they had contented themselves with
the stragglers. Unfortunately we had no proof against them: the bread
was eaten and the cloaks secreted among the stones, and though we spent
some minutes in heaping curses upon them, we could take no steps of a
more practical kind. The zaptieh, for his part, was in an agony of
nervous anxiety lest we should propose to relieve them of their rifles.
He looked forward to a return journey alone to Baghdâdî, and it is not
good for a solitary man to have an outstanding quarrel with the Deleim.
Finally I realized that we were wasting breath in useless bluster and
called Fattûḥ away. If we were to concern ourselves with the catching of
thieves, we might as well abandon all other pursuits in Turkey.

The town of Hît stands upon an ancient mound washed by the Euphrates
(Fig. 54). Among the palm-trees at the river’s edge rise columns of inky
smoke from the primitive furnaces of the asphalt burners, for the place
is surrounded by wells of bitumen, famous ever since the days when
Babylon was a great city.[72] Heaps of rubbish and cinders strew the
sulphur marshes to the north of the town, and a blinding dust-storm was
stirring up the whole devil’s cauldron when we arrived. It was
impossible to camp and we took refuge in the khân, where we were so
fortunate as to meet with an English traveller on his way back from
India, the first European whom I had seen since we left Aleppo. The
dust-storm rose yet higher towards evening, and though we closed the
shutters of the khân--there was no glass in the windows--the sand blew
in merrily through the chinks, and we ate a gritty supper in a
temperature of ninety-three degrees.

Hît was the last possible starting-point for the Syrian desert, and no
sooner had we arrived than I summoned Fattûḥ and presented him with an
ultimatum. We had failed to get any but the most contradictory reports
of wells upon the road to Kheiḍir and I would not expose the caravan to
such uncertain chances, but if we went alone we could carry enough water
for our needs. It only remained to dispatch

[Illustration: FIG. 54.--HÎT.]

[Illustration: FIG. 55.--HÎT, THE SULPHUR MARSHES.]

[Illustration: FIG. 56.--MINARET ON ISLAND OF LUBBÂD.]

[Illustration: FIG. 57.--MINARET AT MA’MÛREH.]

[Illustration: FIG. 59.--MADLÛBEH.]

the muleteers along the highway and to find a guide for ourselves.

“Upon my head!” said Fattûḥ blandly. “Three guides wish to accompany
your Excellency.”

“Praise be to God,” said I. “Bid them enter.”

“It would be well to see each separately,” observed Fattûḥ, “for they do
not love one another.”

We interviewed them one by one, with an elaborate show of secrecy, and
each in turn spent his time in warning us against the other two. Upon
these negative credentials I had to come to a decision, and I made my
choice feeling that I might as logically have tossed up a piastre. It
fell upon a man of the Deleim, a tribe to whom we were not well
disposed, but since the country through which we were to pass was mainly
occupied by their tents, it seemed wiser to take a guide who claimed
cousinship with their sheikhs. He was to find an escort of five armed
horsemen and to bring us to Kheiḍir in return for a handsome reward, but
we undertook to engage our own baggage camels. One of the drawbacks to
this arrangement was that no camels were to be got at Hît, and I felt
the more persuaded that we had struck a bad bargain when Nâif came back
and said:

“How do I know that you will keep your word? Perhaps to-morrow you will
choose another guide.”

“The English have but one word,” said I; it is a principle that should
never be abandoned in the East. We struck hands upon it and Nâif left us
“in the peace of God.”

Fattûḥ needed a day to complete his preparations, and I to see the pitch
wells of Hît which lie some distance from the town. I did not see them
all, but from the accounts I heard they would appear to be five in
number. The largest is called the Marj (the Meadow); it is an hour and a
quarter north-east of Hît and is said to be inexhaustible. The pitch is
better in quality here than elsewhere, and the peasants can, when they
choose, get 2,000 donkey-loads from it daily. The next in importance is
at Ma’mûreh, but it is not worked. The pitch flows out over the desert
and dries into an asphalt pavement about half-a-mile square. Further
south is a small spring, Lteif, from which they get twenty loads a day,
and near the town there is a fourth well which yields fifty loads a day
(Fig. 53). The fifth well is on the other side of the Euphrates, at
’Atâ’ut; the average yield from it is twenty loads a day.

Near the asphalt beds of Ma’mûreh, about an hour south-west of Hît, lie
the ruins of a village clustered round a minaret (Fig. 57). All the
buildings were constructed of small unsquared stones set in mortar; the
minaret was plastered on the outside and seemed to have been built of
large blocks of stone and mortar, firmly welded together before they had
been placed in position. The round tower, narrowing upwards and
decorated at the top with a zigzag ornament, was placed upon a low
octagonal structure which in turn rested upon a square base (Fig. 58). I
climbed the winding stair that I might survey the country through which
Nâif was to take us. It was incredibly desolate, empty of tent or
village save where to the west the palm-groves of Kebeisah made a black
splash upon the glaring earth. The heavy smoke of the pitch fires hung
round Hît, and the sulphur marshes shone leprous under the sun--a
malignant landscape that could not be redeemed by the little shrines
which were scattered like propitiatory invocations among the gleaming

[Illustration: FIG. 58.--MA’MÛREH, MINARET.]

About a mile from Ma’mûreh there is a still more remarkable ruin known
as Madlûbeh. It is a large, irregularly shaped area marked off from the
desert by heaps of stones half buried in sand. Standing among these
heaps, and no doubt in their original position, there are a number of
large monolithic slabs placed as if they were intended to form a wall
(Fig. 59). Many of these must have fallen and been covered with the sand
if the enclosure were at any time continuous, and perhaps the heaps are
composed partly of buried slabs. Two stand in line with a narrow space
between like a door (one of them was 5 m. long × 1·3 m. thick, and it
stood 2 m. out of the ground); in another there was a small rectangular
cutting that suggested a window-hole on the upper edge (it was 10 m.
long × 1·3 m. thick, and stood about 3 m. out of the ground). The stones
were carefully dressed on all sides. They may have formed the lower part
of a wall of which the upper part was of sun-dried brick or rubble, but
at what age they were placed in those wilds a cursory survey would not

When I returned to the khân, Fattûḥ greeted me with the intelligence
that the Deleimî had broken his engagement. Nâif admitted that for
ordinary risks the money we had offered would have been sufficient, but
Kheiḍir lay in the land of his blood enemies, the Benî Ḥassan, and he
would not go. Perhaps he hoped to force us to a more liberal proposal,
but in this he was disappointed. A bargain is a bargain, and we fell
back upon my boast that the English have but one word. In this dilemma
Fattûḥ suggested that he should see what could be done with the Mudîr,
and having a lively confidence in Fattûḥ’s diplomacy, I entrusted him
with my passports and papers, of which I kept a varied store, and gave
him plenipotentiary powers. He returned triumphant.

“Effendim,” said he, “that Mudîr is a man.” This is ever the highest
praise that Fattûḥ can bestow, and my experience does not lead me to
cavil at it. “When he had read your buyuruldehs he laid them upon his
forehead and said, ‘It is my duty to do all that the effendi wishes.’ I
told him,” interpolated Fattûḥ, “that you were a consul in your own
country. He will give you a zaptieh to take you to Kebeisah, and if you
command, the zaptieh shall go with you to Ḳal’at Khubbâz, returning
afterwards to Hît. And it cannot be that we shall fail to find a guide
and camels at Kebeisah, which is a palm-grove in the desert; for all the
dwellers in it know the way to Kheiḍir. As for the caravan, another
zaptieh will take it to Baghdâd.”

“Aferîn!” said I. “There is none like you, oh Fattûḥ.”

“God forbid!” replied Fattûḥ modestly. “And now,” he proceeded, “let me
bring your Excellency an omelet, for I am sure that you must be hungry.”
But I understood this exaggerated solicitude to be no more than a covert
slur upon the culinary powers of Mr. X.’s servant, who had provided us
with an abundant lunch during Fattûḥ’s absence, and not even so
voracious a consul as I could face a second meal. Fattûḥ retired in some
displeasure to inform the muleteers that they would journey to Baghdâd
and Kerbelâ and there rejoin us, please God.

We explored the village of Hît before nightfall, and a more malodorous
little dirty spot I hope I may never see. “Why,” says the poet,
concerning some unknown wayfarer, “did he not halt that night at Hît?”
and it is strange that Ibn Khurdâdhbeh, who quotes the question, should
have been at a loss for the answer. Possibly he had no personal
knowledge of Hît. On the top of the hill there is a round minaret,
similar in construction to the minaret of Ma’mûreh, but I saw no other
feature of interest. The sun was setting as we came down to the
palm-groves by the river. The fires under the troughs of molten bitumen
sent up their black smoke columns between the trees (Fig. 60);
half-naked Arabs fed the flames with the same bitumen, and the Euphrates
bore along the product of their labours as it had done for the
Babylonians before them. So it must have looked, this strange factory
under the palm-trees, for the last 5,000 years, and all the generations
of Hît have not altered by a shade the processes taught them by their
first forefathers.


The only modern record of the road along the left bank of the Euphrates
from Raḳḳah to Deir is the rather meagre account given by Sachau; Moritz
travelled down the left bank from Deir to Buseirah, but I know of no
published description of the road from Buseirah to ’Ânah. It has not

[Illustration: FIG. 60.--HÎT, THE BITUMEN FURNACES.]

[Illustration: FIG. 61.--THE EUPHRATES AT HÎT.]

[Illustration: FIG. 62.--THE WELL AT KEBEISAH.]

[Illustration: FIG. 63.--’AIN ZA’ZU.]

therefore been possible hitherto to attempt to place in any continuous
sequence the sites given by ancient authorities. Of these the fullest
list is that of the Parthian stations furnished by Isidorus of Charax
(_Geographi Græci Minores_, ed. by Müller, Vol. I. p. 244). It begins
with the fixed point of Nicephorium (Raḳḳah) and ends with another fixed
point, that of Anatho (’Ânah). Between these two lies Nabagath on the
Aburas. The Aburas may safely be assumed to indicate the Khâbûr, and
Nabagath is therefore Circesium-Buseirah. The following comparative
table shows my suggestions for the remaining stations, combined with
those which have already been made by Ritter and others. The times given
are the rate of travel of my caravan; between Raḳḳah and Deir I had the
advantage of comparing them with Sachau’s time-table. No two caravans
travel over any given distance at exactly the same pace, but the general
average works out without any grave discrepancy. I have often tried to
reckon the speed at which my caravan travels and have come to the
conclusion that it is very little under three miles an hour, say about
two and seven-eighths miles an hour. Isidorus computes his distances by
the schœnus. According to Moritz 1 schœnus = 5·5 kilometres. From
Buseirah to ’Ânah I travelled over Isidorus’s road at the rate of 1
schœnus in 1 hr. 7 min., which would bring the schœnus down to 5·166
kilometres. The section from Raḳḳah to Buseirah is not so easy to
calculate because Isidorus has in two places omitted to give the exact
distance between the stations, but my rate of travel was not far
different here from that noted in the other sections. So much for the
average. The individual distances do not tally so exactly, and in
attempting to determine the sites, the evidence that can be gathered
from the country itself seems to me to weigh heavier in the scale than
the measurements given by Isidorus, especially as his inexactitude is
proved by the fact that the sum of the distances he allows from station
to station do not coincide with the total distances, from the Zeugma
(Birejik) to Seleucia, and from Phaliga to Seleucia, as he states them.
In both cases the sum of the small distances comes to a larger figure
than that which he allows for the totals--

  Zeugma to Seleucia     171 sch.

total of distances between stations 174 sch., without the two omitted by

  Phaliga to Seleucia    100 sch.

total of distances between stations 120 sch. without one omitted by him.

As regards the second section, Kiepert believed that a copyist’s error
of 10 sch. too much had been made in Isidorus’s table between
Izannesopolis and Aeipolis (the modern Hît), but even this correction
will not bring the totals together (Ritter, Vol. XI. p. 738). The road
from the Zeugma to Nicephorium does not follow the river, and I am
therefore unable to control the statements of Isidorus above Raḳḳah; nor
do I know the section between Hît and Seleucia. I need scarcely say that
my table is of the most tentative character; it begins with the ninth
station of Isidorus, Nicephorium.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first remarkable site which I saw on the river below Raḳḳah was the
large area surrounded by a ditch, half-an-hour above my camping-ground.
Isidorus’s tenth station from Zeugma is Galabatha. Ritter (Vol. XI. p.
687) observes that it must be above Abu Sa’îd, and the area enclosed by
the ditch fulfils that condition. The eleventh station is Khubana which
I put at Abu Sa’îd, where there are fragments of columns and other
evidences of antiquity. The twelfth station is Thillada Mirrhada; I have
placed it at Khmeiḍah (squared stones, brick walls, a broken
sarcophagus), but the claims of Abu ’Atîḳ are considerable, the extent
of the ruin field at the latter place being much larger than at
Khmeiḍah. But Abu ’Atîḳ is 7 hrs. 5 min. from Abu Sa’îd, and the caravan
time between Khmeiḍah and Abu Sa’îd (6 hrs. 5 min.) is already rather
long for the 4 sch. allowed by Isidorus. The thirteenth station is
Basilia with Semiramidis Fossa. Ritter long ago pointed to the
probability of its having been situated at Zelebîyeh (Vol. XI. p. 687).

           Isidorus            |           |               |
  --------------+--------------+ Schœni    | Modern Sites  | Time
     Stations   | Description  |           |               |
                |              |           |               | hrs.
                |              |           |               |  min.
  9.            | Greek town   |     --    | Raḳḳah         |  --
  Nicephorium   | founded by   |           |               |
                | Alexander    |           |               |
  10.           | Deserted     |     4     | Ditch         |  6 15
  Galabatha     | village      |           |               |
  11. Khubana   | Village      |     1     | Abu Sa’îd     |  1 30
  12.           |              |           |               |
  Thillada      | Royal        |     4     | Khmeiḍah       |  6  5
  Mirrhada      | station      |           |               |
  13. Basilia   | Temple of    |           |               |
                | Artemis      |     ?     | Zelebîyeh     |  3 40
                | built by     |           |               |
                | Darius,      |           |               |
                | village      |           |               |
                | surrounded   |           |               |
                | by wall      |           |               |
    Semiramidis | Euphrates    |           |               |
    Fossa       | dam          |           |               |
  14. Allan     | Walled       |     4     | Umm Rejeibah  |  3
                | village      |           |               |
  15. Biunan    | Temple of    |     4     | Near Deir     |  6
                | Artemis      |           |               |
  16. Phaliga   | Village      |     6     |     ?         |  --
  17.           | Walled       | Near      |               |
  Nabagath      | village on   | Phaliga   | Buseirah      |  7
                | Aburas       |           |               |
  18. Asikha    | Village      |     4     | Jemmah        |  5 10
  19. Dura      | Town founded |     6     | Abu’l         |  8 20
  Nicanoris     | by           |           | Ḥassan        |
                | Macedonians, |           |               |
                | called       |           |               |
                | Europus by   |           |               |
                | Greeks       |           |               |
  20. Merrhan   | Castle and   |     5     | Irzî          |  6 30
                | walled       |           |               |
                | village      |           |               |
  21. Giddan    | Town         |     5     | Jabarîyeh?    |  --
  22.           |     --       |     7     | Ḳal’at        |  9 25
  Belisibiblada |              |           | Bulâḳ         |
  23. Island    |     --       |     6     | Ḳarâbileh?    |  --
  24. Anatho    | Island       |     4     | Lubbâd,       | 11 50
                |              |           | island        |
                |              |           | opposite      |
                |              |           | ’Ânah         |
  25. Olabus    | Island,      |    12     | Ḥadîthah      | 12
                | Parthian     |           |               |
                | treasure-    |           |               |
                | house        |           |               |
  26.           |     --       |    12     | Chesney’s     |  --
  Izannesopolis |              |           | Ḳaṣr           |
                |              |           |               |
  27. Aeipolis  | Bitumen      |    16     |  Hît          | 17 30
                | wells        |    (6?)   |               |

           Isidorus            |             |             |
  --------------+--------------|  Xenophon   |    Pliny    |
     Stations   | Description  |             |             |
                |              |             |             |
                |              |             |             |
  9.            | Greek town   |     --      | Nicephorium
  Nicephorium   | founded by   |             |             |
                | Alexander    |             |             |
  10.           | Deserted     |     --      |     --      |
  Galabatha     | village      |             |             |
  11. Khubana   | Village      |     --      |     --      |
  12.           |              |             |             |
  Thillada      | Royal        |     --      |     --
  Mirrhada      | station      |             |             |
  13. Basilia   | Temple of    |             |             |
                | Artemis      |      --     |     --      |
                | built by     |             |             |
                | Darius,      |             |             |
                | village      |             |             |
                | surrounded   |             |             |
                | by wall      |             |             |
    Semiramidis | Euphrates    |             |             |
    Fossa       | dam          |             |             |
  14. Allan     | Walled       |      --     |     --      |
                | village      |             |             |
  15. Biunan    | Temple of    |      --     |     --      |
                | Artemis      |             |             |
  16. Phaliga   | Village      |      --     | Phaliscum   |
  17.           | Walled       |             |             |
  Nabagath      | village on   | Villages    |     --      |
                | Aburas       | on Araxes   |             |
  18. Asikha    | Village      |      --     |     --      |
  19. Dura      | Town founded |      --     |     --      |
  Nicanoris     | by           |             |             |
                | Macedonians, |             |             |
                | called       |             |             |
                | Europus by   |             |             |
                | Greeks       |             |             |
  20. Merrhan   | Castle and   | Corsote     |     --      |
                | walled       |             |             |
                | village      |             |             |
  21. Giddan    | Town         |      --     |     --      |
  22.           |     --       |      --     |     --      |
  Belisibiblada |              |             |             |
  23. Island    |     --       |      --     |     --      |
  24. Anatho    | Island       |      --     |     --      |
                |              |             |             |
                |              |             |             |
                |              |             |             |
  25. Olabus    | Island,      |      --     |     --      |
                | Parthian     |             |             |
                | treasure-    |             |             |
                | house        |             |             |
  26.           |     --       |      --     |     --      |
  Izannesopolis |              |             |             |
                |              |             |             |
  27. Aeipolis  | Bitumen      |      --     |      --     |
                | wells        |             |             |

           Isidorus             |            |             |         |
  --------------+-------------- |  Ptolemy   |  Ammianus   | Zosimos |Herodotus
     Stations   | Description   |            | Marcellinus |         |
                |               |            |             |         |
                |               |            |             |         |
  9.            | Greek town    |Nicephorium | Callinicum  |   --    |    --
  Nicephorium   | founded by    |            |             |         |
                | Alexander     |            |             |         |
  10.           | Deserted      |    --      |      --     |   --    |    --
  Galabatha     | village       |            |             |         |
  11. Khubana   | Village       |    --      |      --     |   --    |    --
  12.           |               |            |             |         |
  Thillada      | Royal         |    --      |     --      |   --    |    --
  Mirrhada      | station       |            |             |         |
  13. Basilia   | Temple of     |            |             |         |
                | Artemis       |    --      |     --      |   --    |    --
                | built by      |            |             |         |
                | Darius,       |            |             |         |
                | village       |            |             |         |
                | surrounded    |            |             |         |
                | by wall       |            |             |         |
    Semiramidis | Euphrates     |            |             |         |
    Fossa       | dam           |            |             |         |
  14. Allan     | Walled        |    --      |     --      |   --    |    --
                | village       |            |             |         |
  15. Biunan    | Temple of     |    --      |     --      |   --    |    --
                | Artemis       |            |             |         |
  16. Phaliga   | Village       |    --      |     --      |   --    |    --
  17.           | Walled        |            |             |         |
  Nabagath      | village on    |Khabura     | Circesium   |   --    |    --
                | Aburas        |            |             |         |
  18. Asikha    | Village       |Zeitha      | Zeitha      |   --    |    --
  19. Dura      | Town founded  |Thelda      |     --      |   --    |    --
  Nicanoris     | by            |            |             |         |
                | Macedonians,  |            |             |         |
                | called        |            |             |         |
                | Europus by    |            |             |         |
                | Greeks        |            |             |         |
  20. Merrhan   | Castle and    |    --      | Dura        |    --   |    --
                | walled        |            |             |         |
                | village       |            |             |         |
  21. Giddan    | Town          |    --      |      --     |    --   |    --
  22.           |     --        |Bonakhe     |      --     |    --   |    --
  Belisibiblada |               |            |             |         |
  23. Island    |     --        |    --      |      --     |    --   |    --
  24. Anatho    | Island        |Bethauna    | Anatha      |    --   |    --
                |               |            |             |         |
                |               |            |             |         |
                |               |            |             |         |
  25. Olabus    | Island,       |    --      |      --     |    --   |    --
                | Parthian      |            |             |         |
                | treasure-     |            |             |         |
                | house         |            |             |         |
  26.           |     --        |Idicara     |      --     |    --   |    --
  Izannesopolis |               |            |             |         |
                |               |            |             |         |
  27. Aeipolis  | Bitumen       |    --      |      --     | Sitha   | Is
                | wells         |            |             |         |

Semiramidis Fossa was no doubt a canal; Chesney saw traces of an ancient
canal below Zelebîyeh. The distance from Thillada to Basilia is not
given by Isidorus. Ritter would allow 5 sch. and Herzfeld 7 sch.
(_Memnon_, 1907, p. 92); according to my reckoning both these distances
are too long. I marched from Khmeiḍah to Zelebîyeh in 3 hrs. 40 min.,
which implies a distance of not more than 3 sch. For the fourteenth
station, Allan, Umm Rejeibah is the only possible site I saw. It is true
that I reached it in 3 hrs. from Zelebîyeh, whereas Isidorus puts it 4
sch. from Basilia, but I cut straight across the hills, and if I had
followed the river (_i. e._ from the mouth of the canal, Semiramidis
Fossa) the time needed would have been considerably longer. The
fifteenth station, Biunan, was conjectured by Ritter to lie opposite
Deir. I saw no traces of ruins upon the left bank, though Sachau speaks
of the remains of two bridges (_Reise_, p. 262), and I should be more
inclined to look for Biunan at a nameless site mentioned by Moritz (_op.
cit._, p. 36). The difference is not in any case of importance, for the
site seen by Moritz is immediately below Deir. He would have it to be
Phaliga, which is doubtless Pliny’s Phaliscum, but that suggestion is
difficult to reconcile with Isidorus’s 14 sch. from Basilia to Phaliga,
which brings Phaliga much nearer to Circesium. Moreover, Isidorus states
that Nabagath is near Phaliga--so near that he does not trouble to give
any other indication of the distance between the two stations--and as
Nabagath on the Aburas cannot be other than Buseirah, Phaliga too must
be close to the Khâbûr mouth. I did not see the site mentioned by Moritz
because I neglected to follow the river closely immediately below Deir;
if it be, as I suppose, Biunan, I cannot attempt to identify the site of
Phaliga. The seventeenth station, Nabagath, is, as has been said,
Circesium-Ḳarḳîsîyâ-Buseirah. The eighteenth, Asikha, I would identify
with the Zeitha of Ptolemy and Ammianus Marcellinus, and with the mounds
I saw at Jemmah. For the nineteenth station, Dura, I know no other site
than the very striking tell of Abu’l Ḥassan, the biggest mound upon
this part of the river. Müller has suggested that the mound may
represent Ptolemy’s Thelda (in his edition of _Ptolemy’s Geography_, p.
1003). Ammianus Marcellinus also mentions “a deserted town on the river”
called Dura. The army of Julian reached it in two days’ march from
Zeitha, at which place the emperor had made an oration to his soldiers
after sacrificing at Gordian’s tomb. Now two days’ march from
Zeitha-Jemmah would bring the army to Werdî-Irzî, which is no doubt the
place called by Xenophon Corsote and described by him as “a large
deserted city.” It is perhaps worthy of observation that, in spite of
its being deserted, Cyrus provisioned his army at Corsote and that
Julian’s army found at Dura, though it too was deserted, “quantities of
wild deer, so that the soldiers and sailors had plenty of food.” My own
impression on the spot was that Ammianus Marcellinus’s Dura must be
Irzî. The tower tombs were certainly erected before the middle of the
fourth century, therefore they were in existence when Julian passed;
moreover, they were far more numerous and conspicuous than they are at
present, since almost all of them have now fallen into ruin. It is
difficult to see how Irzî could have failed to attract the attention of
Ammianus Marcellinus, and Dura is the one place mentioned by him between
Zeitha and ’Ânah. But the Dura of Isidorus, the nineteenth station, has
to be placed at Abu’l Ḥassan, not at Irzî, since his twentieth station,
Merrhan, necessarily falls at Irzî, and I can only conjecture that, as
in Julian’s time both places were ruined and deserted, Ammianus
Marcellinus made a confusion between them, or was wrongly informed, and
transferred the name of Dura (Abu’l Ḥassan) to Merrhan (Irzî). For the
twenty-first station, Giddan, I can offer no suggestion. Jabarîyeh will
scarcely fit, as it is but 13 hrs. 15 min. from ’Ânah, and Giddan was 17
sch. from Anatho, but it must be admitted that all the distances between
the stations from Merrhan to ’Ânah seem to be too long according to my
caravan time. The twenty-second station, Belesibiblada, was placed by
Chesney at Ḳal’at Bulâḳ, and I saw no better site for it, though I took
only 9 hrs. and 25 min. to reach it from Irzî, and the distance given
by Isidorus is 12 sch. Ritter would place at Ḳal’at Bulâḳ Ptolemy’s
Bonakhe. I do not see any way of identifying with certainty the island
station, the twenty-third, which was 4 sch. from ’Ânah. There are many
islands in the stream above ’Ânah. One of them, Ḳarâbileh, is reported
to have ruins upon it; it was about four hours’ journey from ancient
’Ânah, and may therefore be identical with the twenty-third station,
which is placed at a distance of 4 sch. from Anatho. Anatho, the
twenty-fourth station, Isidorus expressly states to be on an island; it
was therefore the successor to the Assyrian fortress which I believe to
have existed on the island of Lubbâd. Xenophon does not mention it; nor
does Ptolemy, unless his Bethanua may be taken for ’Ânah as Ritter
believed (Vol. XI. p. 716). Rawâ may possibly be the Phathusa of
Zosimos, but I would rather place Phathusa on the left bank, opposite
and below the island of Lubbâd, where there are many mounds and ruins. I
did not follow the river below ’Ânah very closely, but the ruins I saw
near Ḥadîthah help to justify the presumption that Olabus was situated
there. Chesney wished to identify Izannesopolis with the ruins of a
castle between Baghdâdî and Hît. I did not go to the spot, and my
caravan time between Ḥadîthah and Hît is therefore rather misleading,
for if I had followed the river so as to visit the ḳaṣr, the journey
would have taken more than the seventeen and a half hours which I have
recorded. Isidorus’s 16 sch. from Izannesopolis to Aeipolis can scarcely
be correct, and Kiepert’s emendation (6 instead of 16) may well be



_March 18-March 30_

History in retrospect suffers an atmospheric distortion. We look upon a
past civilization and see it, not as it was, but charged with the
significance of that through which we gaze, as down the centuries shadow
overlies shadow, some dim, some luminous, and some so strongly coloured
that all the age behind is tinged with a borrowed hue. So it is that the
great revolutions, “predestined unto us and we predestined,” take on a
double power; not only do they turn the current of human action, but to
the later comer they seem to modify that which was irrevocably fixed and
past. We lend to the dwellers of an earlier day something of our own
knowledge; we watch them labouring towards the ineluctable hour, and
credit them with a prescience of change not given to man. At no time
does this sense of inevitable doom hang more darkly than over the years
that preceded the rise of Islâm; yet no generation had less data for
prophecy than the generation of Mohammad. The Greek and the Persian
disputed the possession of western Asia in profitless and exhausting
warfare, both harassed from time to time by the predatory expeditions of
the nomads on their frontiers, both content to enter into alliance with
this tribe or with that, and to set up an Arab satrap over the desert
marshes. Thus it happened that the Benî Ghassân served the emperor of
the Byzantines, and the Benî Lakhm fought in the ranks of the Sassanian
armies. But neither to Justin II nor to Chosroes the Great came the news
that in Mecca a child was born of the Ḳureish who was to found a
military state as formidable as any that the world had seen, and nothing
could have exceeded the fantastic improbability of such intelligence.

I had determined to journey back behind this great dividing line, to
search through regions now desolate for evidences of a past that has
left little historic record, calling upon the shades to take form again
upon the very ground whereon, substantial, they had played their part.
So on a brilliant morning Fattûḥ and I saw the caravan start out in the
direction of Baghdâd, not without inner heart-searchings as to where and
how we should meet it again, and having loaded three donkeys with all
that was left to us of worldly goods, we turned our faces towards the
wilderness. I looked back upon the ancient mound of Hît, the
palm-groves, and the dense smoke of the pitch fires rising into the
clear air, and as I looked our zaptieh came out to join us--a welcome
sight, for the Mudîr might well have repented at the eleventh hour. Now
no one rides into the desert, however uncertain the adventure, without a
keen sense of exhilaration. The bright morning sun, the wide clean
levels, the knowledge that the problems of existence are reduced on a
sudden to their simplest expression, your own wit and endurance being
the sole determining factors--all these things brace and quicken the
spirit. The spell of the waste seized us as we passed beyond the sulphur
marshes; Ḥussein Onbâshî held his head higher, and we gave each other
the salaam anew, as if we had stepped out into another world that called
for a fresh greeting.

“At Hît,” said he, and his words went far to explain the lightness of
his heart, “I have left three wives in the house.”

“Mâshallah!” said Fattûḥ, “you must be deaf with the gir-gir-gir of

“Eh billah!” assented Ḥussein, “I shut my ears. Three wives, two sons
and six daughters, of whom but two married. Twenty children I have had,
and seven wives; three of these died and one left me and returned to her
own people. But I shall take another bride this year, please God.”

“We Christians,” observed Fattûḥ, “find one enough.”

“You may be right,” answered Ḥussein politely; “yet I would take a new
wife every year if I had the means.”

“We will find you a bride in Kebeisah,” said I.

Hussein weighed this suggestion.

“The maidens of Kebeisah are fair but wilful. There is one among them,
her name is Shemsah--wallah, a picture! a picture she is!--she has had
seven husbands.”

“And the maidens of Hît?” I asked. “How are they?”

“Not so fair, but they are the better wives. That is why I choose to
remain in Hît,” explained Ḥussein. “The bimbâshî would have sent me to
Baghdâd, but I said, ‘No, let me stay here; the maidens of Hît do not
expect much.’ Your Excellency may laugh, but a poor man must think of
these things.”

We rode on through the aromatic scrub until the black masses of the
Kebeisah palm-groves resolved into tall trunks and feathery fronds.[73]
The sun stood high as we passed under the village gate and down the
dusty street that led to the Mudîr’s compound. We tied our mares to some
mangers in his courtyard and were ourselves ushered into his
reception-room, there to drink coffee and set forth our purpose. The
leading citizens of Kebeisah dropped in one by one, and the talk was of
the desert and of the dwellers therein. The men of Kebeisah are not
’Arab, Bedouin; they hold their mud-walled village and their 50,000
palm-trees against the tribes, but they know the laws of the desert as
well as the nomads themselves, and carry on an uneasy commerce with them
in dates and other commodities, with which even the wilderness cannot
dispense, the accredited methods of the merchant alternating with those
of the raider and the avenger of raids. There was no lack of guides to
take me to Khubbâz, for the ruin is the first stage upon the post-road
to Damascus, and half the male population was acquainted with that
perilous way.

“It is the road of death,” said Ḥussein Onbâshî, stuffing tobacco into
the cup of his narghileh.

“Eh billah!” said one who laid the glowing charcoal atop. “Eight days’
ride, and the government, look you, pays no more than fifteen mejîdehs
from Hît and back again.”

An old man, wrapped in a brown cloak edged with gold, took up the tale.

“The government reckons fifteen mejîdehs to be the price of a man’s
life. Wallah! if the water-skins leak between water and water, or if the
camel fall lame, the rider perishes.”

“By the truth, it is the road of death,” repeated Ḥussein. “Twice last
year the Deleim robbed the mail and killed the bearer of it.”

I had by this time spread out Kiepert.

“Inform me,” said I, “concerning the water.”

“Oh lady,” said the old man, “I rode with the mail for twenty years. An
hour and a half from Kebeisah there is water at ’Ain Za’zu’, and in four
hours more there is water in the tank of Khubbâz after the winter, but
this year there is none, by reason of the lack of rain. Twelve hours
from Khubbâz you shall reach Ḳaṣr ’Amej, which is another fortress like
Khubbâz, but more ruined; and there is no water there. But eighteen
hours farther you find water in the Wâdî Ḥaurân, at Muḥeiwir.”

“Is there not a castle there?” I asked. Kiepert calls it the castle of

“There is nought but rijm,” said he. (Rijm are the heaps of stones which
the Arabs pile together for landmarks.) “And after nine hours more there
is water at Ga’rah, and then no more till Dumeir, nine hours from

If this account is exact, there must be four days of waterless desert on
the road of death.

The springs in Kebeisah are strongly charged with sulphur, but half-way
between the town and the shrine of Sheikh Khuḍr, that lifts a conical
spire out of the wilderness, there is a well less bitter, to which come
the fair and wilful maidens night and morning, bearing on their heads
jars of plaited willow, pitched without and within (Fig. 62). We did not
fill our water-skins there when we set out next day for Ḳaṣr Khubbâz,
but rode on to ’Ain Za’zu’, where the water is drinkable, though far
from sweet (Fig. 63). There are


[Illustration: FIG. 66.--ḲAṢR KHUBBÂZ, THE GATEWAY.]


[Illustration: FIG. 68.--THEMAIL.]]

two other sulphurous springs, one a little to the north and one to the
south, round each of which, as at ’Ain Za’zu’, the inhabitants of
Kebeisah sow clover, the sole fodder of the oasis in rainless years like
the spring of 1909; so said Fawwâz, the owner of the two camels on which
we had placed our small packs. Fawwâz rode one of them and his nephew,
Sfâga, the other, and they hung the dripping water-skins under the
loads. We followed the course of a shallow valley westwards, and before
we left it sighted a train of donkeys making to the north with an escort
on foot--Arabs of the Deleim. They looked harmless enough, but I
afterwards found that they had caused Fawwâz great uneasiness; indeed
they kept him watchful all through the night, fearing that they might
raid us while we slept. I was too busy observing the wide landscape to
dwell on such matters. The desolate world stretched before us, lifting
itself by shallow steps into long, bare ridges, on which the Arab rijm
were visible for miles away. The first of these steps--it was not more
than fifty feet high--was called the Jebel Muzâhir, and when we had
gained its summit we saw the castle of Khubbâz lying out upon the plain.
To the north the ground falls away into a wâdî, a shallow depression
like all desert valleys, in which are traces of a large masonry tank
that caught the trickle of the winter springs and held their water
behind a massive dam (Fig. 64). The tank is now half full of soil and
the dam leaks, so that as soon as the rains have ceased the water store
vanishes. It had left behind it a scanty crop of grass and flowers,
which seemed luxuriant to us in that dry season; we turned the mares and
camels loose in what Fattûḥ called enthusiastically the rabî’ah (the
herbage of spring), and pitched my light tent in the valley bottom,
where my men could find shelter among the rocks against the chills of
night. I left all these arrangements to Fattûḥ, and with Ḥussein and
Fawwâz to hold the metre tape, measured and photographed the fort till
the sun touched the western horizon.

The walls of Khubbâz are built of stones, either unworked or very
roughly squared, set in a thick bed of coarse mortar.

[Illustration: FIG. 65.--KHUBBÂZ.]

In form the fort is a hollow square with round bastions at the angles,
and except on the side facing towards Kebeisah, where the centre of the
wall is occupied by a gate, there is also a round bastion midway between
the angle towers (Fig. 65). All these bastions are much ruined and I may
be wrong in representing them as if unequal size. Before the door there
has been a vaulted porch, among the ruins of which lies a large block of
stone which looks as if it had served as lintel to the outer door; I
could see no moulding or inscription upon it (Fig. 66). The existing
inner door is arched, the arch being set forward in a curious fashion.
It opened into a vaulted entrance passage which communicated with an
open court in the centre of the building. The court was surrounded by
barrel-vaulted chambers, some of which showed traces of repair or
reconstruction, though the old and the new work are now alike
ruined.[74] All the vaults are set forward about three centimetres
beyond the face of the wall (Fig. 67). Above the outset the first few
courses of stones are laid horizontally, inclining slightly inwards, but
where the curve of the vault makes it impossible to continue this method
without the aid of centering beams, the stone is cut into narrow slabs
which are set upright so as to form slices of the vault, and each slice
has an inclination backwards, the first resting against the head wall
and every succeeding slice resting against the one behind it. This is
the well-known Mesopotamian system of vaulting without a centering,
which is as old as the Assyrians.[75] It is best adapted to brick, but
it can be carried out in stone when the span of the vault is not large,
provided that the stones be cut thin, so as to resemble as nearly as
possible brick tiles. On the south side, which is the best preserved,
there are traces of an upper storey, or possibly of an upper gallery or
_chemin de ronde_. A doorway led from it into a small chamber hollowed
out of the thickness of the central bastion: I imagine that there was a
similar outlook chamber in the other bastions, but in all these the
upper part is ruined. I could find no inscriptions; the Arab tribe marks
(awâsim) were scratched upon the plaster with which the inner side of
the walls had been coated. I do not doubt that Khubbâz belongs to the
Mohammadan period, nor that it is a relic of the great days of the
khalifate when the shortest road from Baghdâd to Damascus was guarded by
little companies of soldiers stationed at Khubbâz and ’Amej, and perhaps
at other points. The plan is that of many of the Roman and Byzantine
lime fortresses upon the Syrian side of the desert,[76] of the
Mohammadan forts and fortified khâns scattered over Syria and
Mesopotamia,[77] and of the modern Turkish guardhouse; the structural
details are Mesopotamian, dictated by the conditions of the land.

At the pleasant hour of dusk I sat among the flowering weeds by my tent
door while Fattûḥ cooked our dinner in his kitchen among the rocks,
Sfâga gathered a fuel of desert scrub, Fawwâz stirred the rice-pot, and
the bubbling of Ḥussein’s narghileh gave a note of domesticity to our
bivouac. My table was a big stone, the mares cropping the ragged grass
round the tent were my dinner-party; one by one the stars shone out in a
moonless heaven and our tiny encampment was wrapped in the immense
silences of the desert, the vast and peaceful night. Next morning, as we
rode back to Kebeisah, Fattûḥ and I, between intervals devoted to
chasing gazelle, laid siege on our companions and persuaded them to
accompany us in our further journey. Fawwâz avowed that he was satisfied
with us and would come where we wished (and as for Sfâga he would do as
he was told) as long as Ḥussein would give a semi-official sanction to
the enterprise by his presence. It was more difficult to win over
Ḥussein, who had received from the Mudîr no permission to absent himself
so long from Hît; but Fattûḥ pointed out that, when you have three
wives, with the prospect of a fourth, to say nothing of six daughters of
whom but two are married, you cannot afford to neglect the opportunity
of earning an extra bakhshîsh. This reasoning was conclusive, and before
we reached ’Ain Za’zu’ we had settled everything, down to the quantity
of coffee-beans we would buy at Kebeisah for the trip. But when we got
to Kebeisah we were greeted by news that went near to overturning our
combinations. There had been alarums and excursions in our absence; the
Deleim had attacked a party of fuel-gatherers two hours from the oasis,
in the very plain we were to cross, and had made off with eight donkeys.
One of the donkeys belonged to Fawwâz; he shook his head over the
baleful activity of the tribe and murmured that we were a small party in
the face of such perils. Moreover, in the Mudîr’s courtyard there stood
a half-starved mare which had been recaptured in a counter-raid from the
seventh husband of the famous Shemsah. He too was of the Deleim. We
gave the mare a feed of corn--her gentle, hungry eyes were turned
appealingly on our full mangers; but to Shemsah I was harder hearted,
though her eyes were more beautiful than those of the mare. She came
suppliant as I sat dining on the Mudîr’s roof at nightfall and begged me
to recover her husband’s rifle, which lay below in the hands of the
government. Her straight brows were pencilled together with indigo and a
short blue line marked the roundness of her white chin; a cloak slipping
backwards from her head showed the rows of scarlet beads about her
throat, and as she drew it together with slender fingers, Fattûḥ,
Ḥussein and I gazed on her with unmixed approval, in spite of the
irregular course of her domestic history. But I felt that to return his
rifle to a Deleimî robber was not part of my varied occupations, though
who knows whether Shemsah’s grace, backed by what few mejîdehs she could
scrape together, did not end by softening the purpose of Ḥussein and the
Mudîr, “the Government,” as in veiled terms we spoke of them?

With the exercise of some diplomacy we induced Fawwâz to hold to his
engagement, but the Mudîr took fright when he heard of our intentions,
and threatened our guides with dire retribution if they led us into the
heart of the desert. I think the threat was only intended to relieve him
of responsibility, for Ḥussein shrugged his shoulders, and said it would
be enough if we rode an hour in the direction of Ramâdî, on the
Euphrates, and then changed our course and made straight for Abu Jîr, an
oasis where we expected to find Arab tents. We set off next morning in
the clear sunlight which makes all projects seem entirely reasonable,
and dropped, after three-quarters of an hour, into a little depression.
When we had crossed the sulphur marsh which lay at the valley bottom, we
altered our direction to the south-west and rode almost parallel to a
long low ridge called the Ga’rat ej Jemâl, which lay about three miles
to the west of us. Four hours from Kebeisah we reached a tiny mound out
of which rose a spring of water, sulphurous but just drinkable. The top
of the mound was lifted only a few feet above the surrounding level,
but that was enough to give us a wide view, and since in all the world
before us there was no shade or shelter from the sun, we sat down and
lunched where we could be sure that a horseman would not approach us
unawares. And as we rested, some one far away opened a bottle into which
Solomon, Prophet of God, had sealed one of the Jinn. Up sprang a
gigantic column of smoke that fanned outwards in the still air and hung
menacingly over the naked, empty plain. I waited spellbound to see the
great shoulders and huge horned head disengage themselves from the
smoke-wreaths that rolled higher and--

“’Ain el ’Awâsil burns,” said Fawwâz. “A shepherd has set it alight.”

There was a small pitch-well an hour away to the south-east, and if
springs that burn when the tinder touches them are more logical than
spirits that issue from a bottle when the seal is broken, then the
explanation of Fawwâz may be accepted. But at that moment I could not
stay to think the problem out, for if it was hot riding, sitting still
was intolerable, and we were not anxious to linger when every
half-hour’s march meant half-an-hour of dangerous country behind us.
From noon to sunset the desert is stripped of beauty. Hour after hour we
journeyed on, while the bare forbidding hills drew away from us on the
right, and the plain ahead rolled out illimitable. We saw no living
creature, man or beast, but an hour from ’Ain el ’As[.]fûrîyeh, where we
had lunched, we came upon a deep still pool in an outcrop of rock, the
water sufficiently sweet to drink. This spot is called Jelîb esh Sheikh;
it contains several such pools, said Fawwâz, and he added that the water
had appeared there of a sudden two years before, but that now it never
diminished, nor rose higher in the rocky clefts. Just beyond the pool we
crossed the Wâdî Muḥammadî, which stretched westwards to the receding
ridges of the Gar’at ej Jemâl, and east to the Euphrates; it was dry and
blotched with an evil-looking crust of sulphur. Fawwâz turned his
camel’s head a little to the east of south and began to look anxiously
for landmarks. We hoped to find at Abu Jîr an encampment of the Deleim,
and, eagerly as we wished to avoid the scattered horsemen of the tribe
by day, it was essential that we should pass the night near their tents.
The desert is governed by old and well-defined laws, and the first of
these is the law of hospitality. If we slept within the circuit of a
sheikh’s encampment he would be “malzûm ’aleinâ” (responsible for us)
and not one of his people would touch us; but if we lay out in the open
we should court the attack of raiders and of thieves. Two hours from the
Wâdî Muḥammadî we reached a little tell, from the top of which we
sighted the ’alâmah (the landmarks) of Abu Jîr, a couple of high-piled
mounds of stones. An hour later they lay to the east of us, and we saw
still farther to the south-east the black line of tamarisk bushes that
indicated the oasis. But it was another hour before we got up to it, and
the sun was very low in the sky when we set foot on the hard black
surface that gives the place its name. There was no time to lose, and we
embarked recklessly on the “Father of Asphalt,” only to be caught in the
fresh pitch that had been spread out upon the wilderness by streams of
sulphurous water. We dismounted and led our animals over the quaking
expanse, coasting round the head-waters of the springs--there are, I
believe, eight of them--and experimenting in our own persons on
half-congealed lakes of pitch before we allowed the camels to venture
across them. The light faded while we were thus engaged, and seeing that
too much caution might well be our undoing, I shouted to Fattûḥ to
follow, and struck out eastwards. Fattûḥ was half inclined to look upon
our case as a result of premeditated treachery on the part of Fawwâz,
but I had noted unmistakable signs of fear and bewilderment in the
bearing of the latter, and at all hazards I was resolved not to sleep in
a pool of tar. We made for a line of tamarisk bushes behind which lay a
thin haze of smoke, and as we broke through the brushwood we beheld a
black tent crouching in the hollow. We rode straight up to the door and
gave the salaam.

“And upon you peace,” returned the astonished owner.

“What Arabs are you, and where is your sheikh’s tent?” said I, in an
abrupt European manner.

He was taken aback at being asked so many questions and answered
reluctantly, “We are the Deleim, and the tent of Muḥammad el ’Abdullah
lies yonder.”

We turned away, and I whispered to Fattûḥ not to hasten, and above all
to approach the sheikh’s tent from in front, lest we should be mistaken
for such as come upon an evil errand. He fell behind me, and with as
much dignity as a tired and dusty traveller can muster, I drew rein by
the tent ropes and gave the salaam ceremoniously, with a hand lifted to
breast and lip and brow. A group of men sitting by the hearth leapt to
their feet and one came forward.

“Peace and kinship and welcome,” said he, laying his hand on my bridle.

I looked into his frank and merry face and knew that all was well.

“Are you Muḥammad el ’Abdullah, for whom we seek?”

“Wallah, how is my name known to you?” said he. “Be pleased to enter.”

Ḥussein Onbâshî, when he appeared with the camels a quarter of an hour
later, found a large company round the coffee-pots, listening in
breathless wonder (I no less amazed than the rest) while the sheikh
related the exploits of--a motor!

“And then, oh lady, they wound a handle in front of the carriage, and
lo, it moved without horses, eh billah! And it sped across the plain, we
sitting on the cushions. And from behind there went forth semok.” He
brought out the English word triumphantly.

“Allah, Allah!” we murmured.

Ḥussein took from his lip the narghileh tube which was already between
them and explained the mystery.

“It was the automobile of Misterr X. He journeyed from Aleppo to Baghdâd
in four days, and the last day Muḥammad el ’Abdullah went with him, for
the road was through the country of the Deleim.”

“I saw them start,” said Fattûḥ the Aleppine. “But the automobile lies
now broken in Baghdâd.”

Muḥammad paid no heed to this slur upon the reputation of the carriage.

“White!” said he. “It was all painted white. Wallah, the Arabs wondered
as it fled past. And I was seated within upon the cushions.”

That night Fattûḥ and I held a short council. We had won successfully
through a hazardous day, but it seemed less than wisdom to go farther
without an Arab guide, and I proposed to add Muḥammad el ’Abdullah to
our party, if he would come.

“He will come,” said Fattûḥ. “This sheikh is a man. And your Excellency
is of the English.”

Muḥammad neither demurred nor bargained. I think he would have
accompanied me even if I had not belonged to the race that owned the
carriage. Our adventure pleased him; he was one of those whose blood
runs quicker than that of his fellows, whose fancy burns brighter, “whom
thou, Melpomene, at birth” ... upon many an unknown cradle the Muse
sheds her clear beam.

“But if we were to meet the raiders of the Benî Ḥassan?” I asked,
mindful of the unsuccessful parleyings at Hît.

“God is great!” replied Muḥammad, “and we are four men with rifles.”

There was once a town at Abu Jîr, guarded by a little square fort with
bastioned angles like Ḳaṣr Khubbâz. It was, however, much more ruined;
of the interior buildings nothing remained, while the outer walls were
little better than heaps of stones. But below this later work there were
remains of older foundations, more careful masonry of larger materials,
and outside the walls traces of a pavement, composed of big slabs of
stone, accurately fitted together. All round the fort lay the
foundations of houses, stone walls or crumbling mounds of sun-dried
brick, not unlike the ruins of Ma’mûreh. There must have existed here a
mediæval Mohammadan settlement, if there was nothing older, and the
discovery was sufficiently surprising, for Abu Jîr now lies far beyond
the limits of fixed habitation. The Deleim still turn the abundant water
of the oasis to some profit, planting a few patches of corn and clover
in the low ground below the ruins, but the insecurity of the desert
forbids all permanent occupation. We had not gone far on our way next
morning before Muḥammad stopped short in the ode he was singing and bent
down from his saddle to examine some hoof-prints in the sandy ground.
Two horsemen had travelled that way, riding in the same direction that
we were taking.

“Those are the mares of our enemies,” he observed.

“How do you know?” I asked.

“I heard that they had passed Abu Jîr in the night,” he answered and
resumed his song. When he had brought it to an end, he called out--

“Oh lady, I will sing the ode that I composed about the carriage.”

At this the camel-riders and Ḥussein drew near and Muḥammad began the
first ḳaṣîdah that has been written to a motor.

    “I tell a marvel the like of which no man has known,
      A glory of artifice born of English wit.”

“True, true!” ejaculated Fawwâz ecstatically.

“Eh billah!” exclaimed Ḥussein.

    “Her food and her drink are the breath from a smoke-cloud blown,
      If her radiance fade bright fire shall reburnish it.”

“Allah, Allah!” cried the enraptured Fawwâz.

    “On the desert levels she darts like a bird of prey,
       Her race puts to shame a mare of the purest breed;
     As a hawk in the dusk that hovers and swoops to slay,
       She swoops and turns with wondrous strength and speed.”

“Wallah, the truth!” Ḥussein’s enthusiasm was uncontrollable.

“Eh wallah!” echoed Fawwâz and Sfâga.

    “He who mounts and rides her sits on the throne of a king....”

“A king in very truth!” cried Fawwâz.

    “If the goal be far, to her the remote is near....”

“Near indeed!” burst from the audience.

    “More stealthy than stallions, more swift than the jinn a-wing,
      She turns the gazelle that hides from her blast in fear.”

“Allah!” Fawwâz punctuated the stanza.

    “Not from idle lips was gathered the wisdom I sing....”

“God forbid!” exclaimed Fawwâz, leaning forward eagerly.

    “In the whole wide plain she has not met with her peer.”

“Mâshallah! it is so! it is the truth, oh lady!” said Ḥussein.

“I did not quite understand it all,” said I humbly, feeling rather like
Alice in Wonderland when Humpty Dumpty recited his verses to her.
“Perhaps you will help me to write it down this evening.”

So that night, with the assistance of Fawwâz, who had a bowing
acquaintance with letters, we committed it to paper, and I now know how
the masterpieces of the great singers were received at the fair of ’Ukâẓ
in the Days of Ignorance.

“The truth! it is the truth!” shouted the tribes between each couplet.
“Eh by Al Lât and by Al ’Uzzah!”

Three hours from Abu Jîr we cantered down to the Wâdî Themail and saw
some black tents pitched by a tell on the farther side. Flocks of goats
were scattered over the plain; the shepherds, when they perceived our
party, drew them together and began to drive them towards the tents. At
this Muḥammad pulled up, rose in his stirrups, and waved a long white
cotton sleeve over his head--a flag of truce.

“They take us for raiders,” said he, laughing. “Wallah, in a moment we
should have had their rifles upon us.”

The mound of Themail is crowned by a fort built of mud and unshaped
stones (Fig. 68). It has a single door and round bastions at the angles
of the wall, like Khubbâz, but the figure described by the walls is far
from regular, and there is no trace of construction within. The existing
building looked to me like rough Bedouin work, though I suspect that it
has taken the place of older defences (Fig. 69). A copious sulphur
spring rises below it and flows into the cornfields of the Deleim. With
a supply of water so plentiful Themail must always have been a place
worth holding. We stayed for an hour to lunch, Muḥammad’s kinsmen
supplementing our fare with a bowl of sour curds. Fawwâz was all for
spending the night here, for there would be no tents at ’Asîleh, where
we meant to camp, and the noonday stillness was broken by a loud
altercation between him and the indignant Fattûḥ. I paid no attention
until the case was brought to me for decision--the final court of appeal
should always be silent up to the moment when an opinion is
requested--and then said that we should undoubtedly sleep at ’Asîleh.

[Illustration: FIG. 69.--THEMAIL.]

“God guide us, God guard us, God protect us!” muttered Muḥammad as he
settled himself into the saddle. He never took the road without this
pious ejaculation.

Four hours of weary desert lie between Themail and ’Asîleh, but Muḥammad
diversified the way by pointing out the places where he had attacked and
slain his enemies. These historic sites were numerous. The Deleim have
no friends except the great tribe of the ’Anazeh, represented in these
regions by the Amarât under Ibn Hudhdhâl. To the ’Anazeh he always
alluded as the Bedû, giving me their names for the different varieties
of scanty desert scrub as well as the common titles. Even the
place-names are not the same on the lips of the Bedû; for example El
’Asîleh is known to them as Er Radâf.

“Are not the Deleim also Bedû?” I asked.

“Eh wah,” he assented. “The ’Anazeh intermarry with us. But we would not
take a girl of the Afâḍleh; they are ’Agedât” (base born).

The friendship between the Amarât and the Deleim is intermittent at
best, like all desert alliances. As we neared the Wâdî Burdân, Muḥammad
called our attention to some tamarisk bushes where he and his raiding
party had lain one night in ambush, and at dawn killed four men of the
Amarât and taken their mares.

“Eh billah!” said he with a sigh of satisfaction.

The very rifle he carried had been taken in a raid from Ibn er Rashîd’s
people. He showed me with pride that the name of ’Abdu’l ’Azîz ibn er
Rashîd, lately Lord of Nejd, was scratched upon it in large clear

“I did not take it from them,” he explained. “I found it in the hands of
one of the Benî Ḥassan.” I fell to wondering how many midnight attacks
it had seen, and how many masters it had served since Ibn er Rashîd’s
agents brought it up from the Persian Gulf.

The Wâdî Burdân is one of three valleys that are reputed to stretch
across the Syrian desert from the Jebel Ḥaurân to the Euphrates. The
northernmost is the Wâdî Ḥaurân, which joins the river above Hît, and
the southernmost the Wâdî Lebai’ah, on which stands Kheiḍir. When the
snow melts in the Ḥaurân mountains water flows down all three, so I have
heard, but later in the year there is no water in the Wâdî Burdân,
except at ’Asîleh, though Kiepert marks it “quellenreich.” Muḥammad
declared that there was no permanent water west of ’Asîleh save at
Wîzeh, a spring which has often been described to me. It rises
underground, and you approach it by a long passage through the rock,
taking with you a lantern, my informants are careful to add. At the end
of the passage you come to a shallow pool where the mud predominates,
though it is always possible to quench your thirst at it. ’Asîleh is an
autumn camping-ground of the ’Anazeh. The deep fine sand of the valley
is bordered by a fringe of tamarisk bushes, covered, when we were there,
with feathery white flower. Their roots strike down into the water,
which rises into cup-shaped holes scooped out in the sand, and the
deeper you dig the clearer and the colder it is. For four days we had
found no water that was sweet, and the pools under the tamarisk bushes
tasted like nectar. It was a delightful solitary camp. The setting sun
threw a magic cloak of colour and soft shadows over the sandhills of the
Wâdî Burdân, and under the starlight my companions lingered round the
camp fire, smoking a narghileh and telling each other wondrous tales.
When I joined them Fattûḥ was holding forth upon the evil eye, a
favourite topic with him. I knew by heart the tragedy of his three
horses who died in one day because an acquaintance had looked at them in
their stable.

“And if your Excellency doubts,” said Fattûḥ, “I can tell you that there
is a man well known in Aleppo who has one good eye and one evil. And
this he keeps bound under a kerchief. And one day when he was sitting in
the house of friends they said to him, ‘Why do you bind up the left
eye?’ He said, ‘It is an evil eye.’ Then they said, ‘If you were to take
off the kerchief and look at the lamp hanging from the roof, would it
fall?’ ‘Without doubt,’ said he; and with that he unbound the kerchief
and looked, and the lamp fell to the ground.”

“Allah!” said Fawwâz. “There is a man at Kebeisah who has never dared to
look at his own son.”

“At ’Ânah,” observed Ḥussein, letting the narghileh relapse into
silence for a moment, “there is a sheikh who wears a charm against

But Muḥammad knew as much as most men about the ways of bullets, and he
thought nothing of this expedient.

“Whether the bullet hits or misses,” he remarked, “it is all from God.”
He poured me out a cup of coffee. “A double health, oh lady,” said he.

The sun had not risen when we left ’Asîleh, but it fell upon us as we
climbed the sandhills, and gave to every little thorny plant a long
trail of shadow.

“God guide us, God guard us, God protect us!” murmured Muḥammad.

The desert was unbearably monotonous that morning. The ground rose
gradually, level above level in an almost imperceptible slope which was
just enough to prevent us from seeing more than a quarter of an hour
ahead. A dozen times I marked a bush on the top of the rise and promised
myself that when we reached it we should have a wider prospect; a dozen
times the summit melted away into another slope as featureless as the
last. We were journeying in a south-easterly direction, straight into
the sun, and as I rode, with eyes downcast to avoid the glare, I noticed
that the ground was strewn with yellow gourds larger than an orange.

“It is ḥanẓal,” said Muḥammad. “It grows only where the plain is very
dry, and best in rainless years. Wallah, so bitter is the fruit that, if
you hold dates in your hand and crush the ḥanẓal with your foot, they
say you cannot eat the dates for the flavour of the ḥanẓal. God knows.”

His words set loose a host of memories, for though I had never before
seen the bitter colocynth gourds, the great singers of the desert have
drawn many an image from them, and I drifted back through their world of
heroic loves and wars to where Imru’l Ḳais stood weeping, as though his
eyelids were inflamed with the acrid juice.

Five hours from ’Asîleh we dipped into the Wâdî el ’Asibîyeh, where the
marshy bottom still bore footprints of horses and camels that had come
down to drink before the pools had vanished. A steep bank on the south
side gave us a rim of shadow in which we stretched ourselves and
lunched, and from the top of the bank we sighted the palm-trees of
Raḥḥâlîyeh, an hour and a half to the south; we had seen them three
hours earlier from the summit of a little mound and then lost them
again. The oasis is surrounded by stagnant pools that lie rotting in the
sun; at the end of the summer the evil vapours marry with the fresh
dates, with which the inhabitants are surfeited, and breed a horrible
fever that will kill a strong man in a few hours. The air was heavy with
the rank smell of the marsh, and I warned my people to drink no water
but that which we had brought with us from the clear pools of ’Asîleh.
There are sixteen thousand palm-trees at Raḥḥâlîyeh and, buried in their
midst, a village governed by a Mudîr, to whom I hastened to pay my
respects. He gave me glasses of tea while my tent was being pitched--may
God reward him! We camped that night in a palm garden, where we were
entertained by a troop of musicians playing on drums and a double flute,
to which music one of them danced between the sun and shade of the palm
fronds. Their faces were those of negroes, though they had the clear
yellow skin of the Arab, and I noticed that most of the population of
Raḥḥâlîyeh was of this type. “They have always been here,” said Ḥussein
contemptuously, “they and the frogs.” In spite of the flickering shade
of the palm-trees it was stifling hot, and I looked with regret over the
broken mud wall of our garden into the clean stretches of the open
desert. But the splendours of the sunset glowed between the palm trunks;
in matchless beauty a crescent moon hung among the dark fronds, and we
lay down to sleep with the contentment of those who have come safely out
of perilous ways.

The Mudîr had given me useful information concerning some ruins that lie
between Raḥḥâlîyeh and Shetâteh. Next day I sent Fattûḥ and the camels
direct to the second oasis, and, taking with me Ḥussein and Muḥammad,
with a boy for guide, set out to explore the site of an ancient city.
Fawwâz objected loudly to this arrangement, and on reflection I am
inclined to think that we overrated the security

[Illustration: FIG. 70.--MUḤAMMAD EL ’ABDULLAH.]

[Illustration: FIG. 71.--KHEIḌIR, MA’ASHÎ AND SHEIKH ’ALÎ.]

[Illustration: FIG. 73.--BARDAWÎ FROM SOUTH-WEST.]


of the road, though no harm came of it. About an hour to the south of
Raḥḥâlîyeh, on the northern edge of low-lying marshy ground, rich in
springs, stands the shrine of Sayyid Aḥmed ibn Hâshim, and near it to
the north and west are vestiges of what must have been a large town. We
followed for at least a quarter of a mile the foundations of a fine
masonry wall 150 centimetres thick. Between this wall and the low ground
the surface of the plain is broken by innumerable mounds and heaps of
stone; here, said the boy, after rain, the women of the two oases find
gold ornaments and pictured stones. I saw and bought some of the
pictured stones at Shetâteh; they are Assyrian cylindrical seals; but
without knowing in what quantities and with what other objects they
appear, it would be rash to decide that the site is as old. There was
undoubtedly a mediæval Arab city there; all the ground was strewn with
fragments of Arab coloured pottery, and at the western limit of the ruin
field there are remains of the usual four-square fort; Murrât is its
present name.[78] It is built of uncut stone and unburnt brick; the
doorway in the north wall is covered with a flattened pointed arch that
suggests the thirteenth century or thereabouts.[79] My own belief is
that the town to which this castle belonged stood on the site of an
older city, and I place here ’Ain et Tamr, an oasis that was famous in
the days of the Persian kings. Yâḳût describes it as having lain near
Shetâteh, and observes that Khâlid ibn u’l Walîd took and sacked it in
the year 12 A.H., but he says nothing about a later town on the same
spot, to which the evidence of the ruins points. Perhaps it was absorbed
in Shetâteh.

The interest of these speculations had caused me to forget that we were
still in the desert. Our guide caught us up at Murrât, whither we had
galloped recklessly, and explained that he had had some difficulty in
allaying the suspicions of a small encampment of the Amarât half-hidden
in the valley. The men, seeing us hurrying past, had taken us for
robbers and were preparing to shoot at us. At a soberer pace we turned
back along the valley. It was marshy in places, intersected by little
streams from the springs, and covered with a white crust of
salts--sabkhah, the Arabs call such regions--on which nothing grew but a
malignant-looking thorny shrub, thelleth, useless to man and beast. The
water of the springs was “heavy,” Muḥammad told me, like the water of
Raḥḥâlîyeh. Half-an-hour’s ride down the valley we crossed the
Raḥḥâlîyeh-Shetâteh road at a point where there were traces of good
masonry. Another half-hour ahead stood the mound of Bardawî, our
objective. Being in good spirits we devoted the interval to song.
Muḥammad gave us his ode to the motor, and I obliged with “God save the
King,” translated into indifferent Arabic for the benefit of the

[Illustration: FIG. 72.--BARDAWÎ.]

“The words are good,” said Muḥammad politely, “but I do not care about
the air.”

So we came to Bardawî, a striking tell with an oval fortress standing
upon it (Fig. 72). There had been at least three storeys of vaulted
rooms lifting the strange tower-like structure high above the level of
the desert (Fig. 73). It suggests a watchtower guarding the eastern
approaches to the city, but I am not prepared to affirm that the present
edifice is earlier than the Mohammadan period. A substructure and the
remains of an upper floor are standing, the ground plan of both being
the same. A small vaulted hall, with three vaulted chambers on either
side, occupied the centre of the building; the door, with traces of a
porch or ante-room, lay to the west; while to the east there were two
much-ruined chambers, which communicated with the hall by means of a
narrow door. The masonry is of undressed stones laid in mortar. The
vaults of the side chambers seem to have been built over a rude
centering; they are much flattened and so irregularly constructed as to
approach in form to a gable roof. These rooms were lighted by a small
round hole in the outer wall, under the apex of the vault. The vault of
the hall springs with a double outset from the wall and terminates at
the eastern end (the west end is ruined) in a semi-dome which was
adjusted to the rectangular corners by means of squinch arches (Fig.
74). The partition walls are carried up above the level of the upper
vaults, apparently for another storey. The lower part of a strong facing
of masonry is still in existence on the south side, and I conjecture
that it was continued originally to the top of the tower. Having
photographed and planned this singular building, we dismissed our guide,
whose services we no longer needed, and set out over broken sabkhah in
the direction of Shetâteh. We were jogging along between hummocks of
thorn and scrub, Muḥammad as usual singing, when suddenly he broke off
at the end of a couplet and said:

“I see a horseman riding in haste.”

I looked up and saw a man galloping towards us along the top of a ridge;
he was followed closely by another and yet another, and all three
disappeared as they dipped down from the high ground. In the desert
every newcomer is an enemy till you know him to be a friend. Muḥammad
slipped a cartridge into his rifle, Ḥussein extracted his riding-stick
from the barrel, where it commonly travelled, and I took a revolver out
of my holster. This done, Muḥammad galloped forward to the top of a
mound; I followed, and we watched together the advance of the three who
were rapidly diminishing the space that lay between us. Muḥammad jumped
to the ground and threw me his bridle.

“Dismount,” said he, “and hold my mare.”

I took the two mares in one hand and the revolver in the other. Ḥussein
had lined up beside me, and we two stood perfectly still while Muḥammad
advanced, rifle in hand, his body bent forward in an attitude of
strained watchfulness. He walked slowly, alert and cautious, like a
prowling animal. The three were armed and our thoughts ran out to a
possible encounter with the Benî Ḥassan, who were the blood enemies of
our companion. If, when they reached the top of the ridge in front of
us, they lifted their rifles, Ḥussein and I would have time to shoot
first while they steadied their mares. The three riders topped the
ridge, and as soon as we could see their faces Muḥammad gave the salaam;
they returned it, and with one accord we all stood at ease. For if men
give and take the salaam when they are near enough to see each other’s
faces, there cannot, according to the custom of the desert, be any
danger of attack. The authors of this picturesque episode turned out to
be three men from Raḥḥâlîyeh. One of them had lent a rifle to the boy
who had guided us and, repenting of his confidence, had come after him
to make sure that he did not make off with it. We pointed out the
direction in which he had gone and turned our horses’ heads once more in
the direction of Shetâteh.

“Lady,” said Muḥammad reflectively, “in the day of raids I do not trust
my mare to the son of my uncle and not to my own brother, lest they
should see the foe and fear, and ride away. But to you I gave her
because I know that the heart of the English is strong. They do not

“God forbid!” said I, but my spirit leapt at the compliment paid to my
race, however lightly it had been evoked.

The incident led to some curious talk concerning the rules that govern
desert wars. You do not invariably raid to kill; on the contrary, you
desire, as far as possible, to avoid bloodshed, with all its tiresome
and dangerous consequences of feud.

“Many a day,” explained Muḥammad, “we are out only to rob. Then if we
meet a few horsemen who try to escape from us, we pursue, crying, ‘Your
mount, lad!’ And if they surrender and deliver to us their mares, their
lives are safe, even if they should prove to be blood enemies.”

It is usual to hold in small esteem the courage called forth by Arab
warfare, and I do not think that the mortality is,

[Illustration: FIG. 75.--SHETÂTEH, SULPHUR SPRING.]

[Illustration: FIG. 76.--ḲAṢR SHAM’ÛN, OUTER WALL.]

[Illustration: FIG. 77.--UKHEIḌIR FROM NORTH-WEST.]


as a rule, high; but I have on one or two occasions found myself with an
Arab guide under conditions that might have proved awkward, and I have
never yet seen him give signs of fear. It is only to town-dwellers like
Fawwâz that the wilderness is beset with terrors.

Shetâteh is an oasis of 160,000 palms. The number is rapidly
diminishing, and on every side there are groups of headless trunks from
which the water has been turned off. This is owing to the iniquitous
exactions of the tax-gatherers, who levy three and four times in the
year the moneys due from each tree, so that the profits on the fruit
vanish and even turn to loss. The springs are sulphurous, but very
abundant. The palm-trees rise from a bed of corn and clover; willows and
pomegranates edge the irrigation streams, and birds nest and sing in the
thickets. To us, who had dropped out of the deserts of the Euphrates, it
seemed a paradise. The glimmering weirs, the sheen of up-turned willow
leaves, the crinkled beauty of opening pomegranate buds were so many
marvels, embraced in the recurring miracle of spring, that grows in
wonder year by year.

Through these enchanted groves we rode from our camp to the castle of
Sham’ûn, the citadel of the oasis. Its great walls, battered and very
ancient, tower above the palm-trees, and within their circuit nestles a
whole village of mud-built houses (Fig. 76). There is an arched gateway
to the north, but the largest fragment of masonry lies to the east, a
massive, shapeless wall of stone and unburnt bricks, seamed from top to
bottom by a deep fissure, which the khalif, ’Alî ibn Abi Tâlib, said my
guide, made with a single sword cut. Among the houses there are many
vestiges of old foundations, and a few vaulted chambers, now
considerably below the level of the soil. It was impossible to plan the
place in its present state; I can only be sure that it was square with
bastioned corners. My impression is that it is pre-Mohammadan, repaired
by the conquerors, and local tradition, to which, however, it would be
unwise to attach much value, bears out this view. Possibly Sham’ûn was
the main fortress of ’Ain et Tamr before the Mohammadan invasion.

At Shetâteh I parted from Ḥussein, Muḥammad, and the camel riders.
Kheiḍir was reported to be four hours away, a little to the south of the
Kerbelâ road. The Ḳâimmaḳâm could supply me with two zaptiehs, and
Fattûḥ had hired a couple of mules to carry our diminished packs. The
four men intended to travel back together, making a long day from
Raḥḥâlîyeh to Themail so as to avoid a night in the open desert. They
started next morning in good heart, fortified by presents of quinine, a
much-prized gift, and other more substantial rewards. Muḥammad would
gladly have come with us to Kerbelâ, but we remembered the Benî Ḥassan
and decided that it would be wiser for him to turn back, though before
he left we had laid plans for a longer and a more adventurous journey to
be undertaken another year, please God! We had not gone more than an
hour from Shetâteh before we met a company of the Benî Ḥassan coming in
to the oasis for dates, a troop of lean and ragged men driving donkeys.
They asked us anxiously whether we had seen any of the Deleim at

“No, wallah!” said Fattûḥ with perfect assurance, and I laughed, knowing
that Muḥammad was well on his way to Raḥḥâlîyeh.

We had ridden to the south-east for about three hours, through a most
uncompromising wilderness, when, in the glare ahead, we caught sight of
a great mass which I took for a natural feature in the landscape. But as
we approached, its shape became more and more definite, and I asked one
of the zaptiehs what it was.

“It is Kheiḍir,” said he.

“Yallah, Fattûḥ, bring on the mules,” I shouted, and galloped forward.

Of all the wonderful experiences that have fallen my way, the first
sight of Kheiḍir is the most memorable. It reared its mighty walls out
of the sand, almost untouched by time, breaking the long lines of the
waste with its huge towers, steadfast and massive, as though it were, as
I had at first thought it, the work of nature, not of man. We approached
it from the north, on which side a long low building runs out towards
the sandy depression of the Wâdî Lebai’ah (Fig. 77). A zaptieth caught
me up as I reached the first of the vaulted rooms, and out of the
northern gateway a man in long robes of white and black came trailing
down towards us through the hot silence.

“Peace be upon you,” said he.

“And upon you peace, Sheikh ’Alî,” returned the zaptieh. “This lady is
of the English.”

“Welcome, my lady Khân,” said the sheikh; “be pleased to enter and to

He led me through a short passage and under a tiny dome. I was aware of
immense corridors opening on either hand, but we passed on into a great
vaulted hall where the Arabs sat round the ashes of a fire.

“My lady Khân,” said Sheikh ’Alî, “this is the castle of Nu’mân ibn

Whether it were a Lakhmid palace or no, it was the palace which I had
set forth to seek. It belongs architecturally to the group of Sassanian
buildings which are already known to us, and historically it is related
to the palaces, famous in pre-Mohammadan tradition, whose splendours had
filled with amazement the invading hordes of the Bedouin, and still
shine with a legendary magnificence, from the pages of the chroniclers
of the conquest. Even for the Mohammadan writers they had become nothing
but a name. Khawarnaḳ, Sadîr, and the rest, fell into ruin with Ḥîrah,
the capital of the small Arab principality that occupied the frontiers
of the desert, and their site was a matter of hearsay or conjecture.
“Think on the lord of Khawarnaḳ,” sang ’Adî ibn Zaid prophetically--

                    “---- eyes guided of God see clear--
    He rejoiced in his might and the strength of his hands, the encompassing
        wave and Sadîr;
    And his heart stood still and he spake: ‘What joy have the living to
        death addressed?
    For the open cleft of the grave lies close upon pleasure and power
        and rest.
    Like a withered leaf they fall, and the wind shall scatter them
        east and west.’”

But for all its total disappearance under the wave of Islâm, the Lakhmid
state had played a notable part in the development of Arab culture. It
was at Ḥîrah that the desert came into contact with the highly organized
civilization of the Persians, with the wealth of cultivated lands and
the long-established order of a settled population; there, too, as among
the Ghassânids on the Syrian side of the wilderness, they made
acquaintance with the precepts of Christianity which exercised so marked
an influence on the latest poets of the Age of Ignorance, some of whom,
like ’Adî ibn Zaid himself, are known to have been Christians, and
prepared the way for the Prophet’s teaching.[80] So little have the
eastern borders of the Syrian desert been explored that except for the
ruin field of Ḥîrah, a town which was destroyed in order to furnish
building materials for the Moslem city of Kûfah, and a cluster of
mouldering vaults, said to represent the castle of Khawarnaḳ,[81] not
one of the famous pre-Mohammadan sites has been identified, and it is
possible that important vestiges of the Lakhmid age may lie unsuspected
within a few days’ journey from regions familiar to travellers and even
to tourists. Meanwhile Kheiḍir (the name is the colloquial abbreviation
of Ukheiḍir = a small green place) is the finest example of Sassanian
architecture which has yet been discovered. Its wonderful state of
preservation is probably due to the fact that it was some distance
removed from the nearest inhabited spot. Shetâteh is separated from it
by three hours of naked desert; the canals that feed Kerbelâ are yet
further away, and the water supply of Ukheiḍir, derived from wells in
the Wâdî Lebai’ah, is too small to have tempted the fellaḥîn to
establish themselves there. Nowhere in the vicinity, so far as I could
learn, are






there more abundant springs, and the palace has therefore been allowed
to drop into a slow decay, forgotten in the midst of its wildernesses,
save when a raiding expedition brings the Bedouin into the neighbourhood
of Shetâteh.

Most of us who have had opportunity to become familiar with some site
that has once been the theatre of a vanished civilization have passed
through hours of vain imaginings during which the thoughts labour to
recapture the aspect of street and market, church or temple enclosure,
of which the evidences lie strewn over the surface of the earth. And
ever, as a thousand unanswerable problems surge up against the
realization of that empty hope, I have found myself longing for an hour
out of a remote century, wherein I might look my fill upon the walls
that have fallen and stamp the image of a dead world indelibly upon my
mind. The dream seemed to have reached fulfilment at Ukheiḍir. There the
architecture of a by-gone age presented itself in unexampled perfection
to the eye. It was not necessary to guess at the structure of vaults or
the decorative scheme of niched façades--the camera and the
measuring-tape could register the methods of the builder and the results
which he had achieved. But it was evident that no satisfactory record of
Ukheiḍir could be made within the limits of the day which I had allowed
myself for the expedition. We had exhausted our small stock of
provisions, and the materials necessary for carrying out so large a
piece of work as the planning of the palace were at Kerbelâ with the
caravan. Fattûḥ disposed of these difficulties at once by declaring that
he intended to ride into Kerbelâ that night and bring out the caravan
next day. The truth was that he yearned for the sight of the baggage
horses, and for my part I longed for a bed and for a table more than I
could have thought it possible. I was weary of sleeping on the stony
face of the desert, of sitting in the dust and eating my meals with a
seasoning of sand--so infirm is feminine endurance. An Arab called
Ghânim, clean-limbed and spare, like all his half-fed tribe, offered
himself as guide, and ’Alî assured us that he knew every inch of the
way. But when the zaptiehs heard that one of them was to accompany the
expedition they turned white with fear. To ride through the desert at
night, they declared, was a venture from which no man was likely to come
out alive. I hesitated--it requires much courage to face risks for
others--but Fattûḥ stood firm, ’Alî laughed, and the thought of the bed
carried the day. They started at eight in the evening, and I watched
them disappear across the sands with some sinking of heart. All next day
I was too well occupied to give them much thought, but when six o’clock
came and ’Alî set watchers upon the castle walls, I began to feel
anxious. Half-an-hour later Ma’ashî, the sheikh’s brother and my
particular friend, came running down to my tent.

“Praise God! my lady Khân, they are here.”

The Arabs gathered round to offer their congratulations, and Fattûḥ rode
in, grey with fatigue and dust, with the caravan at his heels. He had
reached Kerbelâ at five in the morning, found the muleteers, bought
provisions, loaded the animals, and set off again about ten.

“And the oranges are good in Kerbelâ,” he ended triumphantly. “I have
brought your Excellency a whole bag of them.”

It was a fine performance.

The Arabs who inhabited Kheiḍir had come there two years before from Jôf
in Nejd: “Because we were vexed with the government of Ibn er Rashîd,”
explained ’Alî, and I readily understood that his could not be a
soothing rule. The wooden howdahs in which the women had travelled
blocked one of the long corridors, and some twenty families lodged upon
the ground in the vaulted chambers of princes. They lived and starved
and died in this most splendid memorial of their own civilization, and
even in decay Kheiḍir offered a shelter more than sufficient for their
needs to the race at whose command it had been reared. Their presence
was an essential part of its proud decline. The sheikh and his brothers
passed like ghosts along the passages, they trailed their white robes
down the stairways that led to the high chambers where they lived with
their women, and at night they gathered round the hearth in the great
hall where their forefathers had beguiled the hours with tale and song
in the same rolling tongue of Nejd. Then they would pile up the desert
scrub till the embers glowed under the coffee-pots, while Ma’ashî handed
round the delicious bitter draught which was the one luxury left to
them. The thorns crackled, a couple of oil wicks placed in holes above
the columns, which had been contrived for them by the men-at-arms of
old, sent a feeble ray into the darkness, and Ghânim took the rebâbah
and drew from its single string a wailing melody to which he chanted the
stories of his race.

“My lady Khân, this is the song of ’Abdu’l ’Azîz ibn er Rashîd.”

He sang of a prince great and powerful, patron of poets, leader of
raids, and recently overwhelmed and slain in battle; but old or new, the
songs were all pages out of the same chronicle, the undated chronicle of
the nomad. The thin melancholy music rose up into the blackness of the
vault; across the opening at the end of the hall, where the wall had
fallen in part away, was spread the deep still night and the unchanging
beauty of the stars.

“My lady Khân,” said Ghânim, “I will sing you the song of Ukheiḍir.”

But I said, “Listen to the verse of Ukheiḍir”--

    “We wither away but they wane not, the stars that above us rise;
     The mountains remain after us, and the strong towers when we are gone.”

“Allah!” murmured Ma’ashî, as he swept noiselessly round the circle with
the coffee cups, and once again Labîd’s noble couplet held the company,
as it had held those who sat in the banqueting-hall of the khalif.

One night I was provided with a different entertainment. I had worked
from sunrise till dark and was too tired to sleep. The desert was as
still as death; infinitely mysterious, it stretched away from my camp
and I lay watching the empty sands as one who watches for a pageant.
Suddenly a bullet whizzed over the tent and the crack of a rifle broke
the silence. All my men jumped up; a couple more shots rang out, and
Fattûḥ hastily disposed the muleteers round the tents and hurried off to
join a band of Arabs who had streamed from the castle gate. I picked up
a revolver and went out to see them go. In a minute or two they had
vanished under the uncertain light of the moon, which seems so clear and
yet discloses so little. A zaptieh joined me and we stood still
listening. Far out in the desert the red flash of rifles cut through the
white moonlight; again the quick flare and then again silence. At last
through the night drifted the sound of a wild song, faint and far away,
rhythmic, elemental as the night and the desert. I waited in complete
uncertainty as to what was approaching, and it was not until they were
close upon us that we recognized our own Arabs and Fattûḥ in their
midst. They came on, still singing, with their rifles over their
shoulders; their white garments gleamed under the moon; they wore no
kerchiefs upon their heads, and their black hair fell in curls about
their faces.

“Ma’ashî,” I cried, “what happened?”

Ma’ashî shook his hair out of his eyes.

“There is nothing, my lady Khân. ’Alî saw some men lurking in the desert
at the ’aṣr” (the hour of afternoon prayer), “and we watched after dark
from the walls.”

“They were raiders of the Benî Ḍafî’ah,” said Ghânim, mentioning a
particular lawless tribe.

“Fattûḥ,” said I, “did you shoot?”

“We shot,” replied Fattûḥ; “did not your Excellency hear?--and one man
is wounded.”

A wild-looking boy held out his hand, on which I detected a tiny

“There is no harm,” said I. “Praise God!”

“Praise God!” they repeated, and I left them laughing and talking
eagerly, and went to bed and to sleep.

Next morning I questioned Fattûḥ as to the events of the night, but he
was exceptionally non-committal.

“My lady,” said he, “God knows. ’Alî says that they

[Illustration: FIG. 88.--UKHEIḌIR, FLUTED DOME AT A.]


[Illustration: FIG. 90.--UKHEIḌIR, GREAT HALL.]

were men of the Benî Ḍafî’ah.” Then with a burst of confidence he added,
“But I saw no one.”

“At whom did you shoot?” said I in bewilderment.

“At the Benî Ḍafî’ah,” answered Fattûḥ, surprised at the stupidity of
the question.

I gave it up, neither do I know to this hour whether we were or were not
raided in the night.

Two days later my plan was finished. I had turned one of the vaulted
rooms of the stable into a workshop, and spreading a couple of
waterproof sheets on the sand for table, had drawn it out to scale lying
on the ground. Sometimes an Arab came in silently and stood watching my
pencil, until the superior attractions of the next chamber, in which sat
the muleteers and the zaptiehs, drew him away. As I added up metres and
centimetres I could hear them spinning long yarns of city and desert.
Occasionally Ma’ashî brought me coffee.

“God give you the reward,” said I.

“And your reward,” he answered gravely.

The day we left Kheiḍir, the desert was wrapped in the stifling dust of
a west wind. I have no notion what the country is like through which we
rode for seven hours to Kerbelâ, and no memory, save that of the castle
walls fading like a dream into the haze, of a bare ridge of hill to our
right hand and the bitter waves of a salt lake to our left, and of deep
sand through which we were driven by a wind that was the very breath of
the Pit. Then out of the mist loomed the golden dome of the shrine of
Ḥussein, upon whom be peace, and few pious pilgrims were gladder than I
when we stopped to drink a glass of tea at the first Persian tea-shop of
the holy city.


I do not propose to enter here into a detailed account of the palace of
Ukheiḍir, which must be reserved for a subsequent publication, but it is
well to give a short elucidation of the plan, and to consider briefly
the theories which have been formed with regard to the origin of the

The palace consists of a rectangular fortification wall set with round
bastions, with larger round bastions at the angles, and of an oblong
building surrounded on three sides by a court, together with a small
annex in the eastern part of the court (Fig. 79). That part of the
oblong building which adjoins the northern fortification wall is three
storeys high; the remainder of the palace is one storey high. Outside
the enclosing fortification wall there is a structure composed of
fourteen vaulted parallel chambers, with a small open court at the
southern end. To the west of the small court and of the first five
chambers lies a larger court with round bastions on its western side.
Between each of these bastions there is a door and either one or two
groups of windows, each group consisting of three narrow lights. I
noticed foundations of masonry which ran down from near the northern end
of this


[Illustration: FIG. 92.--UKHEIḌIR, VAULT OF ROOM I.]

[Illustration: FIG. 93.--UKHEIḌIR, ROOM I.]

[Illustration: FIG. 79.--UKHEIḌIR, GROUND PLAN.]

out-building towards the valley. To the N.W. of the palace there is
another small detached building called by the Arabs the Bath (Fig. 80).
Near it the surface of the ground is broken by low mounds which may
indicate the presence of ruins. The Arabs assured me that by digging
here brackish water could be obtained; there is also a well of brackish
water in the western part of the palace court, but it is not used for
drinking purposes. The water supply of Ukheiḍir is derived from the Wâdî
Lebai’ah. It is obtained by digging holes in the sandy bed of the

[Illustration: FIG. 80.--UKHEIḌIR, THE BATH.]

The fortification wall is arcaded without and within up to two-thirds of
its height. These blind arcades support the walls of the _chemin de
ronde_. The outer arcade serves the purpose of a machicoulis, a narrow
space between its arches and the outer face of the main wall enabling
the defenders in the _chemin de ronde_ to protect with missiles the foot
of the wall below them (Fig. 83). The _chemin de ronde_ could be reached
from the uppermost floor of the three-storeyed block of the palace, as
well as by means of four staircases, one in each of the angles of the
court (Fig. 84). Two of these staircases have now fallen completely. The
_chemin de ronde_ had been covered by a vault (Fig. 86). Arched doorways
led into outlook chambers hollowed in the thickness of the bastions.
Arched windows open on to the court. In the centre of each side of the
fortification wall there is a gate (Fig. 85), that which stands on the
northern side being the most important, since it communicates directly
with the palace (Fig. 87). It opens into a passage with a guard-room on
either side. The passage leads into a small rectangular chamber, A in
the plan, covered with a fluted dome (Fig. 88). From this chamber an
arched doorway communicates with a vaulted hall, B, which runs up to a
height of two storeys and is the largest room in the palace (Fig. 90).
The vault, borne on projecting engaged piers, spans seven metres. Beyond
the hall vaulted corridors, C C C C, C´ C´ C´ C´, surround an open



[Illustration: FIG. 96.--UKHEIḌIR, CORRIDOR Q.]

[Illustration: FIG. 97.--UKHEIḌIR, VAULTED CLOISTER O´.]

[Illustration: FIG. 98.--UKHEIḌIR, GROIN IN CORRIDOR C.]


court, D, as well as a block of rooms lying to the south of the court.
The court D is set round with engaged columns forming vaulted niches
(Fig. 91). At the S.E. corner the vault of one of these niches is fluted
(Fig. 89). The bracketed setting of these small semi-domes over the
angles is to be noted. The block of chambers south of court D is more
carefully built than any other part of the palace. It consists of an
oblong antechamber, E, leading into a square room, F. On either side of
the antechamber there are a pair of rooms, the walls and vaults of those
lying to the west, G´ and H´, being finished with stucco decorations and
small columned niches. On either side of the square chamber, F, is a
room containing four masonry columns which support three parallel barrel
vaults (Figs. 92 and 93). South of room F stretches a cloister, J, which
was covered with a barrel vault, now fallen. It opens into an unroofed
court, K. The corridor C C´ runs to the south of court K, and still
further to the south is another open court, L, with vaulted rooms round

To east and west of the corridor C C, C´ C´, lie four courts, M M´ and N
N´. To north and south of each of these courts there are three vaulted
rooms, but in M and M´ small antechambers in the shape of a narthex
separate the rooms from the court, whereas in N and N´ the rooms open
directly on to the court. In every case there are traces of a vaulted
cloister, O O and O´ O´, between the court and the outer wall (Fig. 97).
Behind each block of rooms there is a rectangular space, P P P P and P´
P´ P´ P´, two-thirds of which are vaulted, while the central part is
left open (Fig. 95). Similar open spaces are left in the corridor C C,
C´ C´, which would otherwise be exceedingly dark.

To return to the north gate. On either side of the small domed chamber,
A, long vaulted corridors, Q Q´, lead to the outer court (Fig. 96). A
door on the south side of corridor Q communicates with a small court, R,
with chambers to north and south of it and vaulted cloisters to east and
west. A group of vaulted chambers is placed between court R and the
great hall B. West of hall B there is a smaller group of vaulted
chambers. In the south wall of corridor Q´, two doors lead into an open
court surrounded on three sides by a vaulted cloister, the vault of
which has now fallen except for fragments in the south-east and
south-west corners. These fragments are adorned with stucco decorations.
I have suggested (in the _Hellenic Journal_, loc. cit.) that this court
may be a mosque of a primitive type. (See, too, _Der Islâm_, vol. i.
part ii. p. 126, where Dr. Herzfeld points out that a chamber somewhat
similarly placed in the palace of Mshatta may also be a mosque.)

[Illustration: FIG. 81.--UKHEIḌIR, SECOND STOREY.]

[Illustration: FIG. 82.--UKHEIḌIR, THIRD STOREY.]

No difficulty will be found in following on the plan the arrangement of
the upper floors in the northern part of the palace. In the second
storey, the space marked B^{2} is occupied by the vault of the great
hall B (Fig. 81). At A^{2} three windows open into the hall from the
room in the second storey. R^{2} and S^{2} correspond with the two
courts R and S. In the third storey the rectangular space A^{3} is
unroofed, and the space B^{3}, below which lies the vault of the great
hall, is also unroofed (Fig. 82). The eastern part of this storey is
completely ruined, but there would appear to have been rooms

[Illustration: FIG. 100.--UKHEIḌIR, NORTH SIDE OF COURT M.]


[Illustration: FIG. 102.--UKHEIḌIR, WEST SIDE OF B^{3}.]


round R^{3} similar to the rooms round R^{2}. The _chemin de ronde_, T
T´, is on a level with this storey.

Between the main palace block and the eastern fortification wall there
lies a group of rooms which is clearly an addition to the original
scheme. It is interesting to observe that these rooms are in all
essentials of their plan a repetition of the group of rooms to the south
of court D. Room U corresponds with the antechamber E; room V with the
square room F; W with the cloister J; X, Y, and Z to G, H, and T. But
the columns in I I´ are not repeated in the small rooms, Z Z´; room V is
covered with a groined vault instead of the barrel vault of F, and the
court A is not closed with a wall like the court K. I make no doubt that
both these groups of rooms, which are so strikingly similar in
arrangement, were intended for the same purposes, and I conjecture that
they were ceremonial reception rooms. Herzfeld has compared E and F with
the throne room of Mshatta (_Der Islâm_, loc. cit.).

All the rooms and corridors of the palace are vaulted. Some of the finer
vaults are built of brick tiles (for example, over the great hall B and
over rooms E, F, I, and I´), but as a rule the vaults are constructed
with stones set in mortar, the stones being cut into thin slabs so as to
resemble bricks as closely as possible. (_Cf._ the Sassanian palace of
Firûzâbâd, Dieulafoy, _L’Art Ancien de la Perse_, vol. iv.) All the
vaults, whether of brick or stone, are built without centering, and all
are set forward slightly from the face of the wall. (The same
construction is found at Ctesiphon, see below, Fig. 109.)[83] The
groined vault occurs seven times in the corridor C C´ (Fig. 98), and it
is also found in room V. (See my article in the _Hellenic Journal_ above
cited.) The fluted dome over room A is bracketed across the corners of
the rectangular substructure (Fig. 88). In several cases where a barrel
vault terminates not against a head wall, but against another section of
barrel vault, it is adjusted to the angles of the substructure by means
of squinch arches (Fig. 99). A noticeable feature of the vault
construction of Ukheiḍir is the presence of masonry tubes running
between the parallel barrel vaults (Fig. 100). The structural purpose of
these tubes is to diminish the mass of masonry between the barrel
vaults. Whenever two barrel vaults lie parallel to one another, a tube
will be found between them, and similar tubes exist between the vault of
the cloister O O and O´ O´ and the outer wall. (See too Fig. 95, which
shows a tube between a barrel vault and a straight wall.) Over the
vaults of the rooms of the annex in the eastern part of the court, and
also over the vaults of the fourteen parallel chambers outside the
enclosing wall to the north, a false roof is laid (Fig. 103). It serves
as a protection against the heat of the sun. Under the eastern annex
there are some much-ruined subterranean chambers. A staircase at the
south-eastern angle of court D leads down into similar cellars

The arches over the doorways are usually of an ovoid shape, sometimes
slightly pointed. When the door-jambs take the form of engaged columns,
the capitals of the columns, roughly blocked out in masonry, carry an
arch slightly narrower in width than the opening of the doorway beneath
it. But when the door-jambs are formed merely by the straight section of
the wall, the span of the arch is wider than the opening of the doorway
(Fig. 102 illustrates both types). This set-back of the arch was
doubtless employed in order to facilitate the placing of centering
beams. Three wide doorways with round arches, b b´ and c, lead from the
main block of the palace building into the surrounding court. The arches
are usually characterized by double rings of voussoirs (_cf._ Ctesiphon
and other buildings of the Sassanian and early Mohammadan period), the
inner ring laid so as to show the broad face of the stones or tiles,
while the narrow end shows in the outer ring. (See the arch in Fig.
102.) The arch construction in the eastern annex is, however, much
rougher in style. The outer ring of voussoirs is omitted there, nor is
it invariable in other parts of the palace.

The niche plays a large part in the decoration of Ukheiḍir. A row of
narrow niches runs along the top of the outer face of the northern
enclosing wall, but very little of it is now left (Fig. 87). The
southern face of the three-storeyed block bears an elaborate niche
decoration (Fig. 91). Here the lowest row of niches forms part of the
series already mentioned which runs round court D. Above these, on the
second storey, are remains of another row of arched niches, each of
which contains three small niches. So far as I know, this feature of a
large niche enclosing groups of smaller niches has not yet been observed
in Sassanian architecture. It is found, however, in a certain well-known
type of early Christian church (see, for instance, Ala Klisse, published
by me in the _Thousand and One Churches_, p. 403). On the third storey
of the palace the face of the wall has been left blank, but above the
windows there are still traces of a third order of small niches. Pairs
of niches flanked by engaged columns are to be seen in room G´. They are
set high up in the wall between the transverse arches. On these
transverse arches there is a plaster decoration, the same in character
as that which occurs in the semi-domes at the ends of the vault in Court
S (Fig. 101). The motives there used are the flute (in the squinch arch
and in the conical segment of the semi-dome above it), and a pattern
which resembles a tiny battlemented motive. Upon the transverse arches
the battlemented motive is doubled so as to form diamond-shaped
patterns. In the centre of each of these diamonds, and in the centre of
the tiny arched niches at the bottom of the vault, and also between
those niches, there are small funnel-shaped motives formed of concentric
rings. Between the transverse arches there is a boldly worked ribbing.
The arch round the eastern of the two doors that leads into corridor Q´
is surrounded by cusps (Fig. 94). (_Cf._ Ctesiphon, Dieulafoy, _op.
cit._, vol. v. plate 6.) A blind arcade, borne by pilasters, is to be
seen in courts M M´ and N N´. In the antechamber U there are shallow
niches on either side of the doors.

With regard to the date of Ukheiḍir there are three possible hypotheses.
It may belong--

1. To the Sassanian or Lakhmid period prior to the Mohammadan conquest.

2. To the 150 years after the Mohammadan conquest.

3. To the Abbâsid period, _i. e._ after A.D. 750.

1. In defence of the first theory can be urged the close relationship
between Ukheiḍir and other places of the Sassanian age, not only in plan
(_cf._ Ḳaṣr-i-Shîrîn, de Morgan, _Mission Scientifique en Perse_, vol.
iv., part 2), but also in the technique of brick and stone masonry and
in the principles of vault construction (_cf._ Ctesiphon, Firûzâbâd, and
Sarvistân, Dieulafoy, _op. cit._). But since it is certain that the arts
of the early Moslem era were dominated in Mesopotamia by Sassanian
influence, these affinities do not offer a convincing proof of a
pre-Mohammadan date. Even if Ukheiḍir belonged to the early Moslem age,
it might, and probably would, have been built by Persian workmen. At the
same time certain architectural features, such as the groined vault and
the fluted dome, have not hitherto been observed in any Sassanian
building. The earliest Mesopotamian example of the groined vault known
to me, besides the groins of Ukheiḍir, is that of which fragments can be
seen in the Baghdâd Gate at Raḳḳah.

There is, further, a passage in Yâḳût’s Dictionary which might help to
support the theory of a pre-Mohammadan origin (vol. ii., p. 626, under
Dûmat ej Jandal). In the accounts given by the Arab historians of the
invasion of Mesopotamia in 12 A.H. (A.D. 633-4), by Khâlid ibn u’l
Walîd, frequent mention is made of ’Ain et Tamr, which Yâḳût expressly
states to be the same as Shefâthâ (Shetâteh is the modern colloquial
form of the name). When Khâlid ibn u’l Walîd had taken the oasis, which
was inhabited by Christian Arabs, and appears to have been the one place
that offered him serious resistance (Teano: _Annali dell’Islam_, vol.
ii., p. 940), he is said to have marched on Dûmat ej Jandal, which he
captured, putting to death its defender, Ukeidir ’Abdu’l Malik el
Kindî.[84] It is generally admitted that the name Dûmat ej Jandal in
this account is an error, and that the fortress which was taken by the
Mohammadans in the year 12 A.H. was Dûmat el Ḥîrah. (For the reasons
for substituting Dûmat el Ḥîrah for Dûmat ej Jandal in Ṭabarî’s text,
see Teano, _op. cit._, vol. ii., p. 991.) Now Yâḳût gives two
conflicting traditions concerning the foundation of Dûmat el Ḥîrah, but
he expresses no uncertainty as to its position. It was near to ’Ain et
Tamr, and its ruins were known in Yâḳût’s day (thirteenth century).
According to the first tradition given by Yâḳût, the Prophet sent Khâlid
ibn u’l Walîd in the year 9 A.H. against Ukeidir, who was lord of Dûmat
ej Jandal. Khâlid captured Dûmat ej Jandal and made a treaty with
Ukeidir, but after the death of Mohammad, Ukeidir broke the treaty,
whereupon the Khalif ’Umar expelled him from Dûmat ej Jandal. He retired
to Ḥîrah and built himself a palace near to ’Ain et Tamr, which he
called Dûmah. This Dûmah, near ’Ain et Tamr, is no doubt Dûmat el Ḥîrah
which Khâlid besieged and took in the year 12 A.H. The second tradition
is substantially the same as the first as far as the Mohammadan invasion
is concerned, but Yâḳût here implies that Ukeidir dwelt in the first
instance at Dûmat el Ḥîrah, and was accustomed to resort to Dûmat ej
Jandal for the purposes of the chase, and he adds that Ukeidir named
Dûmat ej Jandal after Dûmat el Ḥîrah. Prince Teano (_op. cit._, vol. ii.
p. 262) has exposed the improbabilities which attend this explanation,
and he concludes that both traditions are equally untrustworthy, and
doubts the authenticity of any part of the story of Ukeidir. It does,
however, appear to me to be possible that the ruins of Dûmat el Ḥîrah
which were standing in Yâḳût’s day were no other than the abandoned
palace of Ukheiḍir, though it is not necessary to accept either of
Yâḳût’s versions of the story of its foundation.

2. If the palace is to be ascribed to the period immediately succeeding
the conquest, it would be a Mesopotamian representative of the group of
pleasure palaces which were built upon the Syrian side of the desert by
the Umayyad princes (Lammens: _La Badia et la Ḥîra, Mélanges de la
faculté orientale_, Beyrout, vol. iv., p. 91). But whereas it was
natural that the Umayyad khalifs should have constructed hunting
palaces in that part of the desert which lay on the direct road between
their capital of Damascus and the spiritual capitals of their empire,
Mecca and Medina, it is difficult to see why they should have selected a
site so far from any of their habitual residences as Ukheiḍir. It is
true that the Khalif ’Alî made Kûfah his capital for five years. He was
assassinated there in A.D. 661. But during those years he was
ceaselessly occupied in quelling rebellions, and I dismiss the
possibility that he should have found leisure to build or to use the
palace of Ukheiḍir.

3. I am not disposed to place Ukheiḍir as late as the Abbâsid period.
The Abbâsid princes had lost the habit of the desert which was so strong
a characteristic of their Umayyad predecessors. When they moved away
from their capital of Baghdâd they built themselves cities like Raḳḳah
and Sâmarrâ. Moreover, the architectural features of Ukheiḍir, both
structural and decorative, present marked differences from those of the
ruins at Raḳḳah and at Sâmarrâ, and on architectural as well as on
historical grounds I am inclined to ascribe Ukheiḍir to an earlier age.

Whether that age be immediately before the Mohammadan conquest, or
whether it fall shortly after the conquest, during the Umayyad period, I
do not think we are as yet in a position to determine. It is to be borne
in mind that the ruins of the palace bear witness to two different dates
of building. The eastern annex and probably the edifice outside the
enclosing wall to the north are an addition to the original plan and
must be of a slightly later date.



_March 30--April 12_

To travel in the desert is in one respect curiously akin to travelling
on the sea: it gives you no premonition of the changed environment to
which the days of journeying are conducting you. When you set sail from
a familiar shore you enter on a course from which the usual landmarks of
daily existence have been swept away. What has become of the march of
time? Dawn leads to noon, noon to sunset, sunset to the night; but night
breaks into a dawn indistinguishable from the last, the same sky above,
the same sea on every side, the same planks beneath your feet. Is it
indeed another day? or is it yesterday lived over again? Then on a
sudden you touch the land and find that that recurring day has carried
you round half the globe. So it is in the desert. You rise and look out
upon the same landscape that greeted you before--the contour of the
hills may have altered ever so slightly, the hollow that holds your camp
has deepened by a few yards since last week, the limitless sweep of the
plain was not hidden a fortnight ago by that little mound; but here are
the same people about you, speaking of the same things, here is the same
path to be followed, yes, even the seasons are the same, and the dusty
face of the desert is too old to flush at the advent of spring or to be
wreathed in autumn garlands of gold and scarlet. Yet at the end of a
long interval composed of periods recurrent and alike, you look round
and see that the whole face of the universe has changed.

When we reached Kerbelâ we passed into a world of which the aspect and
the associations were entirely new to me. I had set out from an Arab
town in North Syria, and I emerged in a Persian city linked historically
with the Holy Places, with the first struggles and the only great
schism of Islâm. At Kerbelâ was enacted the tragedy of the death of
Ḥussein, son of ’Alî ibn abi Tâlib; the place has grown up round the
mosque that holds his tomb, and to one half of those who profess the
Mohammadan creed it is a goal no less sacred than Mecca. But it was not
the golden dome of Ḥussein, though it covers the richest treasure of
offerings possessed by any known shrine (unless the treasure in ’Alî’s
tomb of Nejef touch a yet higher value), nor yet the presence of the
green-robed Persians, narrow of soul, austere and stern of
countenance--it was not the wealth and fame of the Shî’ah sanctuary that
made the strongest assault upon the imagination. It was the sense of
having reached those regions which saw the founding of imperial Islâm,
regions which remained for many centuries the seat of the paramount
ruler, the Commander of the Faithful. Within the compass of a two-days’
journey lay the battlefield of Ḳâdisîyah, where Khâlid ibn u’l Walîd
overthrew at once and for ever the Sassanian power. Chosroes with his
hosts, his satraps, his Arab allies--those princes of the house of
Mundhîr whose capital was one of the first cradles of Arab
culture--stepped back at his coming into the shadowy past; their cities
and palaces faded and disappeared, Ḥîrah, Khawarnaḳ, Ctesiphon, and many
another of which the very site is forgotten; all the pomp and valour of
an earlier time fell together like an army of dreams at the first
trumpet-blast of those armies of the Faith which hold the field until
this hour. Then came the day of vigour; the adding of dominion to
dominion; the building of great Mohammadan towns, Kûfah, Wâsiṭ, Baṣrah,
and last of all Baghdâd, last and greatest. And then decline, and
finally the transference of authority. This was the story that was
unfolded before me as I stood upon the roof of a Persian house and gazed
down into the gorgeously tiled courtyard of the mosque of Ḥussein, in
which none but the Faithful may set foot. When I lifted my eyes and
looked westward I saw the desert across which the soldiers of the
Prophet had come to batter down the old civilizations; when I looked
east I saw the road to Baghdâd, where their descendants had cultivated
with no less renown, the arts of peace. The low sun shone upon the
golden dome; the nesting storks held conversation from minaret to
minaret, with much clapping of beaks and shaking out of unruffled wings;
the Spirit of Islâm marched out of the wilderness and seized the
fruitful earth.

There were other lesser things which aroused a more personal if not a
keener interest. The oranges were good at Kerbelâ, as Fattûḥ had said.
The shops were heaped with them and with pale sweet lemons: I fear I
must have astonished my military escort, for I stopped at every corner
to buy more and yet more, and ate them as I went along the streets,
hoping to satisfy the inextinguishable thirst born of the desert. Side
by side with the oranges lay mountains of pink roses, the flowers cut
off short and piled together; every one in the town carried a handful of
them and sniffed at them as he walked. After night had fallen I was
invited to a bountiful Persian dinner, where we feasted on lamb stuffed
with pistachios, and drank sherbet out of deep wooden spoons. And there
I heard some talk of politics.

Under the best of circumstances, said one of my informants,
constitutional government was not likely to be popular in the province
of ’Irâḳ. Men of property were all reactionary at heart. They had got
together their wealth by force and oppression; their title-deeds would
not bear critical examination, and they resented the curiosity and the
comments of the newly-fledged local press. Nor were the majority of the
officials better inclined--how was it possible? To forbid corruption,
unless the order were accompanied by a rise in salary corresponding to
the perquisites of which they were deprived (and this was forbidden by
the state of the imperial exchequer) meant for them starvation. A judge,
for example, is appointed for two and a half years and his salary is
£T15 a month, not enough to keep himself and his family in circumstances
which would accord with his position. But over and above the expenses of
living he must see to the provision of a sum sufficient to engage the
sympathies of his superiors when his appointment shall have expired;
otherwise he might abandon the hope of further employment. Most probably
he would have to defray the heavy charges of a journey to
Constantinople, to enable him to push his claim, not to speak of the
fact that he might spend several unsalaried months in the capital before
his request was granted. “And so it is that out of ten men, eleven take
bribes, and, as far as we can see, nothing has come of the constitution
but the black fez” (this because of the boycott on the red fez, made in
Austria), “free speech and two towers, one at Kerbelâ and one at Nejef,
to commemorate the age of liberty.” Under the new régime Kerbelâ had
received a mutesarrif whose story was a good example of the mistakes
which men were apt to commit when first the old restraints were relaxed.
He was of the Aḥrâr, the Liberals, and had begun his career as secretary
to the Vâlî of Baghdâd. The people of Baghdâd raised a complaint against
him, on the ground that in the fast month of Ramaḍân he had been seen to
smoke a cigarette in the bazaar between sunrise and sunset, which showed
clearly that he was an infidel, and he was dismissed from his post; but
since he was one of the Aḥrâr and had friends in Constantinople, he was
presently appointed to Kerbelâ. Now Kerbelâ, being a holy place
inhabited mostly by Persian Shî’ahs, is one of the most fanatical cities
in the Ottoman Empire, and a mutesarrif who brought with him so
unfortunate a reputation could do nothing that was right. Some of his
reforms were in themselves reasonable, but he was not the man to
initiate them, nor was Kerbelâ the best field for experiments. The town,
owing to blind extortion on the part of the government and to neglect of
the irrigation system, is growing rapidly poorer and yields an ever
diminishing revenue. This revenue is burdened by a number of pensions,
and the mutesarrif, looking for a way of retrenchment, found it by
depriving all pensioners of their means of livelihood. The pensioners
were holy men, sayyids, whose duty it was to pray for the welfare of the
Sultan. Some were old and some were deserving, some were neither, but
all were holy, and the feelings that were aroused in Kerbelâ when they
were left destitute baffle description.

“Yet,” continued my host, “the Turks understand government. There was
once in Baṣrah an excellent governor; his name was Ḥamdî Bey. When he
came to Baṣrah it was the worst city in Turkey; every night there were
murders, and no one dared to leave his house after dark lest when he
returned he should find that he had been robbed of all he possessed.”

“So it is now in Baṣrah,” said I, for the town is a by-word in

“Yes, so it is now,” he returned, “but it was different when Ḥamdî Bey
was governor. For a year he sat quiet and collected information
concerning all the villains in the place; but he did nothing. Now there
was at that time a harmless madman in Baṣrah whom the people called
Ḥajjî Beiḍâ, the White Pilgrim; and when they saw Ḥamdî Bey driving
through the streets, they would point at him and laugh, saying: ‘There
goes Ḥajjî Beiḍâ.’ But at the end of a year he assembled all the chief
men and said: ‘Hitherto you have called me Ḥajjî Beiḍâ; now you shall
call me Ḥajjî Ḳara, the Black Pilgrim.’ And then and there he cast most
of them into prison and produced his evidence against them. And after a
year’s time the town was so peaceful that he ordered the citizens to
leave their doors open at night; and as long as Ḥamdî Bey remained at
Baṣrah no man troubled to lock his door. And at another time there was a
Commandant in Baṣrah, and he too brought the place to order. For when he
knew a prisoner to be guilty, yet failed to get the witnesses to speak
against him, he would put the man to death in prison by means of a hot
iron which he drove into his stomach through a tube. Then it was given
out that the man had died of an illness, and every one rejoiced that
there should be a rogue the less.”

I made no comment, but my expression must have betrayed me, for my
interlocutor added a justification of the commandant’s methods. “In
Persia,” said he, “they bury them alive.”

“My soldiers have told me,” said I, not to be outdone, “that in Persia
they cut off a thief’s hand, and I think they regard it as the proper
sentence, for they generally add: ‘That is ḥukm, justice.’”

“It is the sherî’ah,” he replied simply, “the holy law,” and he recited
the passage from the Ḳurân: “If a man or woman steal, cut off their
hands in retribution for that which they have done; this is an exemplary
punishment appointed by God, and God is mighty and wise.”

I had intended to go straight from Kerbelâ to Babylon, but I was
reckoning without full knowledge of the Hindîyeh swamp. The history of
this swamp is both curious and instructive. A few miles above the
village of Museiyib, north-east of Kerbelâ, the Euphrates divides into
two channels. The eastern channel, the true bed of the river, runs past
Babylon and Ḥilleh and discharges its waters into the great swamp which
has existed in southern ’Iraḳ ever since the last days of the Sassanian
kings. The western channel is known as the Nahr Hindîyeh; it waters
Kûfah, now a miserable hamlet clustered about the great mosque in which
the khalif ’Alî was assassinated, and flowing through the great swamp
re-enters the Euphrates some way above the junction of the latter with
the Tigris.[85] The dam on the Euphrates which regulated the flowing of
its waters into the Hindîyeh canal has been allowed to fall into
disrepair; every year a deeper and a stronger stream flows down the
Hindîyeh, and matters have reached such a pass that during the season of
low water the eastern bed is dry, the palm gardens of Ḥilleh are dying
for lack of irrigation, and all the country along the river-bank below
Ḥilleh has gone out of cultivation. The growth of the Hindîyeh has
proved scarcely less disastrous. The district to the west of the canal,
in which Kerbelâ lies, is lower than the level of the stream, while the
increasing torrents, bringing with them the silt of the spring floods,
yearly raise the bed of the canal and add to the difficulty of keeping
it within bounds. The Hindîyeh has become an ever-present danger to the
town of Kerbelâ, and indeed in one year, when the stream was unusually
high, the water flowed into the streets. It was the duty of the owners
of the land, a duty prescribed by immemorial custom, to keep up the
dykes, in order to save the cultivated country, and incidentally the
town, from inundation. Needless to say they neglected to do so. A large
part of the land--and here the story takes a very Oriental turn--had
been bought up by a rich Mohammadan who proposed to do a good office by
the holy city and to take the charge of the dykes upon himself. But as
the canal silted up the charge became heavier, until at last the pious
benefactor wearied of his task and refused to do another hand’s turn in
the matter. Thereupon the mutesarrif sent for him and ordered him to
perform his lawful duty. But the landowner was an Indian and a British
subject (at this point I realized that I had come once more into the net
of our vast empire) and he refused to be bullied by a Turkish official.
He pointed out that the floods were largely due to the negligence of the
Arab tribes, who draw from the Hindîyeh ten times as much water as they
need and let it go to waste upon the land, where it helps to form the
redoubted swamp; and since, said he, the swamp was caused not by the
will of God, but by the conduct of the Sultan’s subjects, the government
would do well to remedy the evil by applying to the dykes the forced
labour which it has the right to exact from every man during four days
in the year.[86] The mutesarrif replied that the Indian had not
cultivated his land for four years and that it was therefore forfeit to
the State;[87] the Indian countered him with the rejoinder that the land
had been under pasture and had paid a regular tithe. So the matter stood
in the spring of 1909; the town of Kerbelâ might at any time be flooded
if the river rose, the Hindîyeh swamp was growing day by day, and the
road to Babylon was impassable. No one seemed to regard these perils and
inconveniences as otherwise than inevitable, and I with the rest bowed
my head to the inscrutable decrees of God and took my way to Museiyib.

Museiyib, as I have said, lies on the Euphrates above the point where
the Hindîyeh canal branches off from the river. For the last half of the
day’s journey we skirted the swamp. It was in reality much more than a
swamp: it was a shallow lake extending over a vast area. It had invaded
even the Museiyib road, which is the direct road from Kerbelâ to
Baghdâd, and we, together with all other travellers, had to make a long
détour through the desert. The other travellers were mainly Persian
pilgrims, men, women and children riding on mules in panniers. It is the
ardent wish of every pious Persian to make the pilgrimage to Kerbelâ
once during his lifetime, and still more does he desire to make it once
again after his death, that his body may lie in earth hallowed by the
vicinity of Ḥussein’s grave. Countless caravans of corpses journey
yearly from Persia to Kerbelâ, and the living should bear in mind that
the khâns of the towns are insalubrious, to say the least, owing to the
fact that they are packed with dead bodies awaiting their final burial.
The close connection between Kerbelâ and Persia has been during recent
years of considerable political significance. The large Persian
community, rich, influential and safely placed under the protection of
the Turkish government, has more than once tendered advice to the
struggling factions of its native country, and more than once the advice
has been in the nature of a command. The European is not accustomed to
think of the Ottoman Empire as a haven of refuge for the oppressed, but
the Persian, comparing Turkish administration with his own, regards it
as an unattainable standard of tranquillity and equity. Turkey must be
judged by Asiatic, not by European, possibilities of achievement, and I
tried to keep my thoughts fixed upon the pilgrims jogging sadly home to
their intolerable anarchy; but it was difficult not to notice the bands
of peasants who came wading through the shallow waters of the Hindîyeh
floods, their fields submerged, their crops devastated, their houses
reduced to mud-heaps and their possessions scattered over the swamp. Six
hours from Kerbelâ we reached the Euphrates, a river much smaller than
the one we had left at Hît, since a great part of its waters had been
drawn off into irrigation canals. To my amazement it was provided with a
practicable bridge of boats, by which we crossed, glorifying the works
of man. It was the first, and I may add the only bridge over the
Euphrates that I was privileged to see. We pitched camp on the further
side just beyond the village of Museiyib.

On the following day we turned southwards to Babylon. For two hours we
continued to do battle with the waters, not, however, with untamed
floods, but with the almost equally obtrusive irrigation canals and
runnels which the industrious fellâḥ conducts in all directions across
his fields, regardless of road and path and of the time and temper of
the wayfarer. At length we reached the high road from Baghdâd to Ḥilleh,
beyond the belt of cultivation, and made the rest of the stage
dry-footed. We crossed the Naṣrîyeh canal by a bridge near a ruined
khân, and five hours from Museiyib we came to the village of Maḥawîl on
a canal of the same name, also bridged. There I lunched under
palm-trees--there are no other trees in these regions--and so rode on,
catching up the caravan and crossing many another canal, now dry, now
bringing water to villages far to the east of us. It was a very barren
world, scarred with the traces of former cultivation, and all the more
poverty-stricken and desolate because it had once been rich and peopled;
flat, too, an interminable, featureless expanse from which the glory had
departed. I was almost immersed in the rather jejune reflections which
must assail every one who approaches Babylon, when, as good-luck would
have it, I turned my eyes to the south and perceived, on the edge of the
arid, sun-drenched plain, a mighty mound. There was no need to ask its
name; as certainly as if temple and fortress wall still crowned its
summit I knew it to be Bâbil, the northern mound that retains on the
lips of the Arabs the echo of its ancient title. I left the road, hoping
to find a direct path across the plain to that great vestige of ancient
splendours, but the deep cutting of a water-course, as dry and dead as
Babylon itself, barred the way. My mare climbed to the top of the high
bank that edged it and we stood gazing over the site of the city. A
furtive jackal crept out along the bank, caught sight of Fattûḥ and fled
back into the dry ditch.

“The son of retreat,” said Fattûḥ in the speech of the people.

“Chaḳâl,” said I, searching dimly for some familiar swell of sonorous
phrases which the word seemed to bring with it. And suddenly they rolled
out over the formless thought: “The wolves howl in their palaces and the
jackals in the pleasant places.”

For the past twelve years a little group of German excavators has lived
and worked among the mounds of Babylon. To them I went, in full
assurance of the hospitality which they extend to all comers. The
traveller who enters their house, sheltered by palm-trees, on the banks
of the Euphrates, will find it stored with the best fruits of
civilization: studious activity, hard-won learning and that open-handed
kindness which abolishes distinctions of race and country. As he watches
the daily task of men who are recovering the long-buried history of the
past, he will not know how to divide his admiration between the almost
incredible labour entailed by their researches and the marvellous
culture which their work has laid bare. “Only to the wise is wisdom
given, and knowledge to them that have understanding.”

Within the largest of the mounds, the Ḳaṣr, or castle, as the Arabs call
it, lie the remains of Nebuchadnezzar’s palace. Another eight or ten
years’ work will be needed to complete the ground plan of the whole
structure, but enough has been done to show the nature of the house
wherein the king rested. It is built of square tiles, stamped with his
name and bound together with asphalt. The part which has been excavated
consists of an immense irregular area enclosed by thick walls. One of
these (it forms the quay of a canal) is called by the workmen “the
father of twenty-two,” _i. e._ it is twenty-two metres across; another
reaches the respectable width of seventeen metres, but usually the royal
builder was content with five or six metres, or even less. Within the
enclosure lies a bewildering complexity of small courts and passages
with chambers leading out of them--the more bewildering because in many
cases the bricks have disappeared, and the walls must be traced by means
of the spaces left behind. For more than a thousand years after the fall
of Babylon no man building in its neighbourhood was at the pains to
construct brick-kilns, but when he needed material he sought it in
Nebuchadnezzar’s city. Greek, Persian and Arab used it as a quarry, and
as you climb the stairs of the German house you will become aware of the
characters that spell the king’s name upon the steps beneath your feet.
The small courts and chambers, which were no doubt occupied by retinues
of officials and servants of the palace, formed a bulwark of defence for
the king. His apartments lay behind a wide paved court. From the court a
doorway leads into a large oblong chamber, in the back wall of which is
a niche for the throne. This is believed to be the banqueting hall where
Belshazzar made his feast, and on a fragment of wall facing the throne
you may see, if you please, the fingers of a man’s hand writing the
fatal message. How this hall was roofed is an unsolved problem. No
traces of vaulting have been found, yet the width from wall to wall is
so great that it is doubtful whether it could have been covered by a
roof of beams. If there were indeed a vault it would be the earliest
example of such construction on so big a scale. Behind the banqueting
hall are the private chambers, and behind all a narrow passage leading
to an emergency exit, by means of which the king could escape to his
boat on the Euphrates in the last extremity of danger.

Nebuchadnezzar’s father, Nabopolassar, had built himself a smaller, but
still very considerable, dwelling which occupied the western side of the
mound. This Nebuchadnezzar destroyed; he filled up the walls and
chambers with rubble and masonry and laid out an extension of his own
palace above it. The plan both of the upper and of the lower palace has
now been ascertained. Above the Babylonian walls are the remains of
Greek and Parthian settlements, each of which has to be carefully
planned before it can be swept away and the lower strata studied. I saw
work being carried on in a mound which formed one of the most ancient
parts of the city; the excavation pits had been sunk twelve or fifteen
metres deep to dwelling-houses of the first Babylonian Empire. They
passed through the periods of the Parthian and of the Greek, through the
age of Nebuchadnezzar and that of the Assyrians, and each stratum was
levelled and planned before the next could be revealed. Add to this that
the most ancient walls were constructed of sun-dried brick, scarcely
distinguishable from the closely-packed earth, and some idea can be
obtained of the extreme difficulty of the work. The oldest Babylonian
houses which have been uncovered rest themselves on rubbish-heaps and
ruins, but deeper digging is impossible owing to the fact that
water-level has been reached. The Euphrates channel has silted up
several metres during the last six thousand years and the primæval
dwellings are now below it. While we were standing at the bottom of a
deep pit, a workman struck out with his pick a little heap of ornaments,
a couple of copper bracelets and the beads of a necklace which had been
worn by some Babylonian woman in the third millennium before Christ and
were restored at last to the light of the sun.

The northern part of the palace mound is as yet almost untouched. Here
can be seen a sculptured block which used to lie among the earth-heaps
until a French engineer built a pedestal for it and set it up above the
ruins (Fig. 104). It is carved in the shape of a colossal lion standing
above the body of a man who lies with arms uplifted. The man’s head is
broken away and the whole group is only half finished, but the huge
beast with the helpless human figure beneath his feet could not have
been given an aspect more sinister. It is as though the workmen of the
Great King had fashioned an image of Destiny, treading relentlessly over
the generations

[Illustration: FIG. 104.--BABYLON, THE LION.]

[Illustration: FIG. 105.--BABYLON, ISHTAR GATE.]

[Illustration: FIG. 106.--BABYLON, ISHTAR GATE.]

of mankind, before they too passed into its clutches. All along the east
side of the palace stretches the Via Sacra, contracting at one point
only its splendid width that it may pass through the gate that stands
midway between the house of Nebuchadnezzar and the temple of the goddess
Ishtar. The Ishtar gate--its name is attested by a cuneiform
inscription--is the most magnificent fragment that remains of all
Nebuchadnezzar’s constructions. Four or five times did he fill up the
Via Sacra and raise its level, and each time he built up the brick
towers of the double gateway to correspond. The various levels of the
pavements can now be seen on the sides of the excavation trench, while
the towers, completely disclosed, rear their unbroken height in
stupendous masses of solid masonry. They are decorated on every side
with alternate rows of bulls and dragons cast in relief on the brick;
the noble strength of the bulls, stepping out firmly with arched neck,
contrasts with the slender ferocious grace of the dragons, and the two
companies form a bodyguard worthy of the gate of kings and of gods
(Figs. 105 and 106). Along the walls of the Via Sacra marched a
procession of lions, fragments of which have been found and pieced
together. They, too, were in relief, but covered with a fine enamel in
which the colours were laid side by side without the intermission of
cloissons. This art of enamelling is lost, and no modern workman has
been able to imitate the lion frieze.

On the east side of the gate stands the little temple of Ishtar, raised
on a high platform and commanding the city below. The temple is built of
sun-baked brick, probably in accordance with hieratic tradition, which
held to the ancient building material used in an age when the architects
were unacquainted with the finer and more durable burnt brick. Small
courts with side chambers lead into an inner holy of holies, where in a
niche stood the symbol or effigy of the goddess. Behind the sanctuary
there is a narrow blind passage where the priests could lurk behind the
cult image and confound the common folk with mysterious sounds and
hidden voices. The Via Sacra pursues from the gate its stately way,
skirting along the edge of an immense open court that lay between the
palace and the temple of the god Marduk, the patron divinity of Babylon.
The mound in which the temple lies has not as yet been completely
excavated, but a pit sunk in its centre has laid bare the walls of the
entrance court. It will be no easy matter to continue the work here. The
mound was thickly inhabited during the Greek and Parthian periods, and
its upper levels consist chiefly of refuse-heaps. When the workmen cut
down through them to reach the temple gate, the stench of the old
rubbish-heaps, combined with the stifling heat of the pit, was so
intolerable that their labours had to be interrupted for several days
until a breeze arose and made it possible to continue them.

The excavations are carried on all through the summer heats, but the
director, Professor Koldewey, was at the time of my visit paying a
penalty for his tireless energy. He had been ill for some months owing
to his exertions during the previous summer, and to my permanent loss I
was unable to see him. I retain notwithstanding the most delightful
memory of the days at Babylon, of the peace and the dignified simplicity
of life in the house by the river, of the little garden in the courtyard
where Badrî Bey, the delegate from the Constantinople museum, coaxed his
roses into flower and his radishes into red and succulent root; of long
and pleasant conversations with Mr. Buddensieg and Mr. Wetzel, wherein
they poured out for me their knowledge of the forgotten things of the
past; of quiet hours with books which they brought for me out of their
library--and books were a luxury from which I had been cut off since I
left Aleppo. When I rode out of an afternoon one of the zaptiehs of
Babylon was detailed to accompany me. He knew the ruin-field well,
having been the fortunate occupier of a post at the Expeditionshaus for
several years. I would find him waiting in the palm-grove where my
horses were stabled, alert, respectful and less ragged than his brothers
in arms whose pay does not come to them through the hands of European
excavators. One day I asked him to take me to the Greek theatre,
wondering a little whether he would understand the request.

“Effendim,” he said, “you mean the place of Alexander.”

The great name fell strangely among the palm-trees, and from out of the
horde of ghosts that people Babylon strode the Conqueror at the end of
his course. So we rode to the place of Alexander, the theatre near the
city wall, ruined almost beyond recognition, but preserving in the
popular nomenclature the memory of the most brilliant figure in the
history of the world.

And once the clouds gathered as we were riding through the palm-groves
by the river. “Praise God!” said the zaptieh, “maybe we shall have
rain.” He shouted the good tidings to a peasant who drove the oxen of a
water-wheel: “Oh brother, rain, please God!” But it was dust that was
heralded by the darkness, and as we hastened to the great mound of Bâbil
the wind bore down upon us and the parched earth rose and enveloped us.
We left our horses standing with downcast heads under the lee of the
mound and picked our way up the sides between the trial trenches of the
excavators. In a few moments the dust-storm swept past, and we saw the
wide expanse that was Babylon, embraced by gleaming reaches of river and
the circuit of mound and ditch which marks the line of the city wall.

“Effendim,” said the zaptieh, “yonder is Birs Nimrûd,” and he pointed to
the south-west, where, in the heart of the desert, rose the huge outline
of a temple pyramid, a zigurrat. Legend has given it a notable place in
the story of our first forefathers: it was believed to be no other than
the impious tower that witnessed the confusion of speech.

I heard at Babylon some hint of the state of unrest, bordering on
revolution, into which the province of ’Iraḳ had fallen. The German
excavators had been sucked into the outer edges of the whirlpool. Their
workpeople, drawn from different tribes (they had relinquished nomad
life, but the tribal system still held good among them), had caught the
infection of hatred and turned from the excavation pits to the settling
of ancient scores--so effectually that many a score had been settled for
ever, and the debtor came back to his place in the trench no more. Most
of the survivors had been clapped into gaol by a justly incensed civil
authority, and what with death and the serving out of sentences,
Professor Koldewey and his colleagues had suffered from a scarcity of
labour. This was nothing, as I was to learn at Baghdâd, to the confusion
that reigned in other parts of ’Iraḳ, and it was fortunate that I had no
intention of going south from Babylon; at that time it would have been

On the way to Baghdâd I was resolved to visit Ctesiphon, but we were
obliged to follow, during the first day’s journey, the Baghdâd road,
re-traversing for some hours the line of our march from Museiyib. Ever
since we had left Kebeisah the temperature had been exceedingly high,
and from Babylon to Baghdâd we travelled through a heat wave very
unusual at the beginning of April. The early morning was cool and
pleasant, but by about ten o’clock the scorching sun became almost
unbearable, even for people so well inured to heat as my servants and I.
As long as we were moving, it was tempered by the breath of our
progress, but if we stood still it burnt through our clothes like a
flame. There was not a leaf or any green thing upon the plain, and the
only diversion in a monotonous ride was caused by a peasant who caught
us up with lamentations and laid hold of my stirrup.

“Effendim!” he cried, “you have soldiers with you; bid them do justice
on the man who stole my cow.”

“Where is the man?” said I in bewilderment.

“He is here,” he answered, weeping more loudly than before, “but a
quarter of an hour back upon the road. An Arab he is; and while I was
driving my cow to Museiyib, he came out of the waste and took her from
me, threatening me with his rifle.”

“The effendi has nought to do with your cow,” said one of the zaptiehs
impatiently--and indeed the sun withered us as we stood. “Go tell the
Ḳâḍî at Museiyib.”

“How shall I get justice from the Ḳâḍî?” wailed the peasant. “I have no

The rejoinder struck me as correct, and I sent one of the zaptiehs back
with the lawful owner of the cow, telling him to catch the thief if he
were still upon the road and I would give a reward. The zaptieh
re-joined us while we were lunching at the khân of Ḥasua, but he had
not seen the cow, nor yet the thief, and perhaps it was unreasonable to
expect that the latter should keep to the high road with stolen goods
trotting before him. The khân at Ḥasua is large and built on the Persian
plan for Persian pilgrims. We ate our lunch in the shadow of its
gateway, and when we came out the sun struck us in the face like a
sword. There was nothing to be done but to try and forget it; I summoned
Fattûḥ and drew him into conversation.

“Oh Fattûḥ,” said I, “is there any justice in the land of the Ottomans?”

“Effendim,” replied Fattûḥ cautiously, “there is justice and there is
injustice, as in other lands. Have I not told you of Rejef Pasha and the
thief who stole from me £T28?”

“No,” said I, settling myself expectantly in the saddle.

“It happened one year that I was in Baghdâd,” Fattûḥ began, “for your
Excellency knows that I drive the gentry back and forth between Aleppo
and Baghdâd in my carriage, and so it is that I am often in Baghdâd.”

“I know,” said I. “Once you sent me some blue and red belts embroidered
with gold that you had bought in the bazaars.”

“It is true,” said Fattûḥ. “One I gave to Zekîyeh, and the others I sent
by the post for you and for their Excellencies your sisters. Please God
they rejoiced to have them?” he inquired anxiously.

“They rejoiced exceedingly,” I assured him for the fiftieth time; a
present that has to be sent by the post is no small thing, and it would
be matter for consternation if it did not please. “But what of Rejef

“Rejef Pasha was Mushîr of Baghdâd,” Fattûḥ picked up his tale. “And God
knows he was a just man. Now I had sold my carriage to one who needed it
and gave me £T28 for it, which was a good price, for it was old. And as
I was walking in the bazaars a thief stole the money from me, and when I
put my hand into my pocket, lo, it was empty.”

“Wah, wah!” commiserated the zaptieh.

“Eh yes,” said Fattûḥ. “Twenty-eight Ottoman pounds. Now I had heard
men speak of Rejef Pasha that he was famed for justice, and I went to
him where he sat in the serâyah and said: ‘Effendim, I am a man of
Aleppo, a stranger in Baghdâd; and a thief has stolen from me £T28. And
there are many here who can speak for me.’ Then Rejef Pasha sent into
the bazaars and all the thieves he arrested.”

“Did he know them all?” I asked.

“Without doubt,” replied Fattûḥ. “He was Mushîr. And some he questioned
and let them go, and others he caused to be beaten upon the soles of
their feet with rods, and them too he released, until only three men
remained, and then only one. And Rejef Pasha said: ‘This is the thief.’
Then they cast him upon the ground and beat him many times, and every
time when they had beaten him till he could bear no more, he cried out:
‘Cease the beating, and I will give back the money.’ But when they
ceased he said he had not so much as a mejîdeh. Then one of the soldiers
caught him by the leg to throw him to the ground, and the man’s garment
tore in his hand, and out of it fell £T26 and rolled upon the floor. But
two pounds he had eaten,” explained Fattûḥ. “And Rejef Pasha cast him
into prison. And when I was next in Baghdâd he was still in prison, and
I visited him and lent him £T1, for he was very poor. And we ate

“Did you see him again?” said I, deeply interested in this simple

“Eh, wallah!” replied Fattûḥ. “I met him in Deir, and there I feasted
him in the bazaar. And now he lives in Deir, and I go to his house
whenever I pass through the town, for we are like brothers. But he has
not returned me the pound I lent him while he was in prison,” added
Fattûḥ regretfully.

“Mâshallah!” said the zaptieh. “Rejef Pasha was a good man.”

“But I will tell you another tale of Rejef Pasha, better than the last,”
pursued Fattûḥ, drawing, with the perfect art of the narrator, upon yet
choicer stores of his memory--or was it of his imagination? “Effendim, I
had a friend, and he hired from me one of my carriages that he might
drive a certain daftardâr from Aleppo to Baghdâd. Now at Ramâdî the
daftardâr spent two nights in the house of the son of his uncle, and
when they reached Baghdâd the daftardâr searched in his box for the gold
ornaments of his wife, and, look you, they were missing. And they cost
£T60. Then the daftardâr said that the carriage driver had stolen them,
and he caused him to be imprisoned for a period of three years. And soon
after, I came to Baghdâd and inquired concerning my carriage; and a man
in the bazaar told me that which had befallen, but I did not believe
that my friend had stolen the gold ornaments of the daftardâr’s wife.
And the man in the bazaar said: ‘You are his friend, and moreover you
are a walad melîḥ, a good lad, and he has a wife and two little children
in Aleppo. You will not let him starve in prison.’ And when I heard him
call me a walad melîḥ and thought upon the children in Aleppo, I went
away and sold my two carriages for £T60, and set my friend free. And
then,” Fattûḥ continued his gratifying reminiscences, “I went to a
scribe in the bazaar and gave him half a mejîdeh. And your Excellency
knows that a scribe charges one piastre. And I said: ‘Take this half
mejîdeh and write a letter to Rejef Pasha that shall be worthy to be
sent to the Sultan and explain to him the whole matter.’ So the scribe
wrote the letter, and I took it to the serâyah. Then Rejef Pasha called
me before him, for he had not forgotten me, nor the £T28 that were
stolen by the thief. And he said: ‘My son, do not fear. I will get back
your money if I have to pay from the treasury of our Lord the Sultan.’
And he sent for the daftardâr and rebuked him for committing a man to
prison without evidence, for he said that without doubt the gold
ornaments had been stolen at Ramâdî. And the daftardâr paid me back
£T60. Never was there a pasha like Rejef Pasha,” concluded Fattûḥ. “He
feared none but God. God give him peace--he died a year ago.”

Late in the afternoon we came to Maḥmûdîyeh. The baggage got in
half-an-hour afterwards, and found me established in the upper room of a
khân which Jûsef had noted down as he passed through on his way to
Kerbelâ as “the very place for our effendi.” The room was cooler than a
tent, and to sit in the shade and drink tea seemed to me to be the
consummation of earthly happiness. My lodging opened on to a flat roof
on which I dined, and realized that the more intolerably blasting the
day, the more perfect was the soft and delicate night. The khânjî, when
he heard that we were bound for Ctesiphon, declared that the Tigris was
in flood and the road under water. We stood aghast, seeing a second
enemy flow into the field just as we had circumvented the first, but a
Kurdish zaptieh (his name was ’Abdu’l Ḳâdir) stepped up with a smart
salute and bade us take courage, for he would lead us to Ctesiphon. He
was as good as his word; there was, in fact, no water on the road. We
reached the mounds of Seleucia in three hours, and in another half-hour
camped by the Tigris under the ruined wall of the Greek city. The
Tigris, where we came to it, was a mighty stream and a well-conducted.
It flowed solemnly between its low banks, which it did not attempt to
overstep, in spite of the fact that the snows were beginning to melt in
the Kurdish hills and the river was in flood. A belt of cultivation ran
like a narrow green ribbon beside it, intersected by a network of
irrigation canals which were fed by a regiment of jirds along the bank.
The whole area of Seleucia was covered with corn, but half-a-mile inland
the relentless desert resumed its rule, for the crops that had been sown
beyond the irrigation streams, in expectation of the usual sprinkling of
winter rain, had never sprouted. Out of the cornfields rose the mounds
of Seleucia, the capital of the Seleucid empire, which for two hundred
years after the death of Alexander embraced Mesopotamia, North Syria and
a varying part of Asia Minor. Of all cities in Turkey, Seleucia is
perhaps the one which would yield most to the spade of the excavator.
The Greek civilization of the Diadochi has given up few of its secrets
in any of the regions where the generals of Alexander cut their empires
out of the fruits of his victories, but in Mesopotamia we are completely
ignorant of what the Greek conquest may have meant in the history of
architecture and the lesser arts. We know only that at the end of the
period of Greek rule the arts emerged profoundly modified, and thus
modified governed the late antique and the early Christian world.

I had no sooner appointed a camping-ground than I embarked on the broad
waters of the Tigris in a basket. The craft that navigate that river are
known in Arabic as guffahs, but I have applied to them the correct
English word (Fig. 110). They are round with an incurving lip, like any
other basket, made of plaited withes and pitched without and within to
keep them water-tight. Their size and the pitch alone differentiate them
from their fellows in the European market, and I readily admit that when
first you are invited to cross a deep and rapid stream in a guffah you
feel a shadow of reluctance. But for all their unpromising appearance
they are stout and trustworthy vessels, and when you have crossed once,
you and your zaptieh and your mares all in the same guffah, and
accustomed yourself to its peculiar mode of progression, you come to
feel a justifiable confidence in it. The guffah cannot make headway
against stream; it must be pulled up the river to a distance
considerably above the point you design to touch on the opposite
bank--the two guffahjîs push off, the basket spins upon its axis, and so
spinning advances, on the principle of the moon’s advance across space,
or, for that matter, of the earth’s; the guffahjîs paddle with a genteel
nonchalance, first on one side and then on the other, and at the end of
all you reach your goal.

My goal was Ctesiphon (Fig. 107). The huge fragment of the palace, which
is all that remains of the Sassanian capital, successor and heir to
Seleucia, lies about half-a-mile from the river on the edge of a
reed-grown marsh. No more of it is standing than the central vaulted
hall (and here half the vault has fallen) and the east wall of one of
the wings (Fig. 108). The second wing has disappeared, and nothing is
left of the rooms on either side of the hall[88] (Fig. 109). Even in
this condition Ctesiphon is the most remarkable of all known Sassanian
buildings and one of the most imposing ruins in the world. The great
curtain of wall, the face of the right wing, rises stark and gaunt out
of the desert, bearing upon its surface a shallow decoration of niches
and engaged columns which is the final word in the Asiatic treatment of
wall spaces, the end of the long history of artistic endeavour which
began with the Babylonians and was quickened into fresh vigour by the
Greeks. Tradition has it that the whole wall was covered with precious
metals. The gigantic vault, built over empty space without the use of
centering beams, is one of the most stupendous creations of any age. It
spans 25·80 metres: the barrel vaults of the basilica of Maxentius in
the Roman Forum span 23·50 metres; the barrel vault that covered the
aula of Domitian’s palace on the Palatine spanned 30·40 metres, but it
has fallen. The Roman vaults were built over centering beams, not over
space on the Mesopotamian system, and the latter, what with the appeal
which it makes to the imagination and the high ovoid curve which it
involves, gives a result incomparably more impressive. In this hall
Chosroes held his court. It must have lain open to the rising sun, or
perhaps the entrance was sheltered by a curtain which hung from the top
of the vault down to the floor. The Arab historian, Ṭabarî, gives an
account of a carpet seventy cubits long and sixty cubits broad which
formed part of the booty when the Mohammadans sacked the city. It was
woven into the likeness of a garden; the ground was worked in gold and
the paths in silver; the meadows were of emeralds and the streams of
pearls; the trees, flowers and fruits of diamonds and other precious
stones. Such a texture as this may have been drawn aside to reveal the
Great King seated in state in his hall of audience, with the light of a
thousand lamps, suspended from the roof, catching his jewelled tiara,
his sword and girdle, illuminating the hangings on the walls and the
robes and trappings of the army of courtiers who stood round the throne.

The pages of the historian who relates the Mohammadan conquest of
Ctesiphon ring still with the triumph of that victory. The Sassanian
capital comprised both the old Greek

[Illustration: FIG. 107.--CTESIPHON, FROM EAST.]

[Illustration: FIG. 108.--CTESIPHON, FROM WEST.]


foundation on the west bank of the river and the later Persian town with
its palaces on the east bank.[89] Sa’d ibn abi Waḳḳâṣ, the leader of the
army of Islâm, had little to fear from the last of the Sassanian kings,
Yazdegird, a boy of twenty-one, and having entered the western city
(known to the Arabs as Bahurasîr) without striking a blow, he assembled
his troops and, Ḳurân in hand, pointed to the fulfilment of prophecy:
“Did ye not swear aforetime that ye would never pass away? Yet ye
inhabited the dwellings of a people that had dealt unjustly by their own
souls, and ye saw how we dealt with them. We made them a warning and an
example to you.”[90] “And when the Moslems entered Bahurasîr, and that
was in the middle of the night, the White Palace flashed upon them. Then
said Ḍirâr ibn u’l Khaṭṭâb: ‘God is great! the White Palace of Chosroes!
This is what God and his Prophet promised.’”[91]

But the fording of the Tigris was a serious matter, and some days passed
before Sa’d announced to the army that he had resolved to make the
venture. “And all of them cried: ‘God has resolved on the right path for
us and for thee; act thou.’ And Sa’d urged the people to the ford and
said: ‘Who will lead, and guard for us the head of the ford that the
people may follow him?’ And ’Âṣim ibn ’Amr came forward and after him
six hundred men. And he said: ‘Who will go with me and guard the head of
the passage that the people may ford?’ And there came forward sixty.
And when the Persians saw what they did, they plunged into the Tigris
against them and swam their horses towards them. And ’Âṣim they met in
the forefront, for he had neared the head of the ford. Then said ’Âṣim:
‘The spears! the spears! aim them at their eyes.’ And they joined in
contest and the Moslems aimed at their eyes and they turned back towards
the bank. And the Moslems urged on their horses against them and caught
them on the bank and killed the greater part of them; and he who
escaped, escaped one eyed. And their horses trembled under them until
they broke from the ford. And when Sa’d saw ’Âṣim at the head of the
ford he said: ‘Say: We call upon the Lord and in Him we put our trust
and excellent is the Entrusted; there is no power nor strength but in
God, the Exalted, the Almighty.’ And when Sa’d entered Madâin and saw it
deserted, he came to the hall of Chosroes and began to read: ‘How many
gardens and fountains have they left behind, cornfields and fair
dwellings and delights which were theirs; thus we dispossessed them
thereof and gave their possession for an inheritance unto another
people.’ And he repeated the opening prayer and made eight prostrations.
And he chose the hall for a mosque; and in it were effigies in plaster
of men and horses and they heeded them not but left them as they were,
though the Mohammadans do not so. And we entered Madâin and came to
domed chambers filled with baskets; and we thought them to be food, and
lo, they were overflowing with gold and silver. And they were divided
among the people. And we found much camphor and thought it to be salt,
and kneaded it into the bread, until we perceived the bitterness of it
in the bread. And Zuhrah ibn u’l Ḥawîyeh went out with the vanguard and
pursued the fugitives till he reached the bridge of Nahrwân; and the
fugitives crowded upon it and a mule fell into the water, and they
struggled round it greedily. And Zuhrah said: ‘Verily, I believe,
billah, that the mule bears something precious.’ And that which it bore
was the regalia of Chosroes, his robes and his strings of pearls, his
girdle and his armour covered with jewels, in which he was wont to sit,
vaingloriously attired.” ...

In the grey dawn I returned to Ctesiphon. The moon was setting in the
west and as we floated down the river the sun rose out of the east and
struck the ruined hall of the palace.

“Allah, Allah!” murmured ’Abdu’l Ḳâdir, moved to wonder as he watched
the vast walls, in their unmatched desolation, take on the glory of
another day.

We rode up to Baghdâd along the edge of the Tigris, and as we went,
Fattûḥ, who thought little of ruins except as a divertisement for the
gentry, dilated upon the splendours that we were to witness. Especially
was he anxious that I should not fail to see the famous cannon which
stands near the arsenal, chained to the ground lest it should fly away.
“For,” said Fattûḥ, “the people of Baghdâd relate that in a certain year
there was a great battle at a distance of many days’ journey. Now the
soldiers of Baghdâd were giving way before the enemy when one looked up
and saw the cannon flying through the air to their help. And without the
aid of hands it fired at the army of the foe and drove them back. Then
they brought the cannon back with them and chained it by the arsenal,
for they prized it mightily. So I have heard in Baghdâd.”

“And what do you think of the story?” I asked.

“My lady,” said Fattûḥ with a fine show of contempt, “the people of
Baghdâd are very ignorant. They will believe anything. But we in Aleppo
would laugh if we were told that a cannon had flown through the air.”

Every few hundred yards we came upon the deep cutting of an irrigation
canal and our road passed over it airily, borne on the most fragile of
bridges. At first I could scarcely control my alarm as I saw rider and
baggage animals suspended above the gulf, but the horses made light of
it and no one can keep up a fear that is unshared by his comrades. We
were fortunate in finding all the bridges intact, but our good luck
deserted us in the middle of the day, and when we came to Garârah, where
we hoped to cross the Tigris by a bridge of boats, we found that the
bridge had been swept away and the keeper of the toll-house seemed
surprised to learn that we had expected it to stand firm in time of
flood. So we turned wearily round an immense bend of the Tigris and
entered Baghdâd by the Ḥilleh road (Fig. 111). Here the pontoon bridge
had been mercifully spared; it was crowded with folk, and as we pushed
our way slowly across it I had time to offer up a short thanksgiving for
the first stage of a journey successfully accomplished, new roads
traversed, unvisited sites explored, another web of delightful
experiences woven and laid by. At the end of the bridge we found
ourselves in the bazaars and made our way to the British Residency. It
is a pleasant thing to be English and to see the Sikh guard leap to the
salute at the gateway of that palace by the Tigris which is our
much-envied Consulate General. My thanksgiving must certainly have
broken into a hymn of praise when I found that the hospitable Resident
and his wife were expecting my arrival and had prepared for me a room
almost as spacious as the hall of Chosroes.

At Baghdâd I learnt that the rumours of a revolt which had reached
Babylon fell far short of the truth. Two of the Tigris tribes were up in
arms and had effectually blocked all communication with Baṣrah and the
Persian Gulf. They were holding up five steamers at Amârah, together
with a couple of gunboats, which had been sent down to clear the
channel, and over two thousand soldiers. Among the passengers was Sir
William Willcocks, who was at that time engaged on the irrigation
survey, and the disturbance had therefore become a matter of grave
concern to the Resident and to all others who had the interests of
Turkey at heart. During the few days which I spent in Baghdâd, I saw
many people and heard much talk concerning the state of affairs that
prevailed in the delta, and I came to the conclusion that the government
were garnering the ripe fruit both of their inaction and of their
action. On the one hand, the Arab tribes had been allowed to reach an
alarming excess of insubordination. For three years the boats of the
Turkish and of the Lynch Company had been exposed to perpetual danger of
attack, and in 1908 one of the steamers of the Lynch


[Illustration: FIG. 111.--BAGHDÂD, THE LOWER BRIDGE.]

[Illustration: FIG. 112.--BAGHDÂD, TOMB OF SITT ZOBEIDEH.]


Company had been fired upon and several persons had been killed or
wounded. Nevertheless no attempt has been made to bring the sheikhs to
justice. In remoter districts, even where the land was under
cultivation, the fiction of established government had been for all
practical purposes abandoned. Where the tax-gatherers still ventured to
put in an appearance they were bribed by the Arabs, and little money
flowed through their hands into the imperial treasury, while not
infrequently they did not dare to breathe the name of taxes. “The very
shepherds are armed with rifles,” said one, “and if I were to ask them
to pay the aghnâm, the sheep tax, they would raise their guns to their
shoulders, saying: ‘Take the aghnâm.’” On the other hand, the
authorities had sought to cover their weakness by setting one sheikh
against another and thus fostering disorder. Individual officials had
been guilty of methods of extortion almost unparalleled in the Ottoman
empire, and a well-known sheikh had declared with some reason that to
pay in the arrears which had been scored up against him would be little
better than an act of madness, since the receipt given by one man would
be pronounced invalid by the next and the whole sum would be demanded of
him a second time. While I pondered over these tales, my interlocutor
would generally add: “Wait till you see Môṣul. The vilayet of Môṣul is
worse governed than the vilayet of Baghdâd.”

The one ray of hope for the future sprang from the labours of the
irrigation survey whose leader was lying imprisoned in midstream at
Amârah. “He who holds the irrigation canals, holds the country,” is a
maxim which can be applied as well to Mesopotamia as it was to Egypt,
and it was generally admitted that an irrigation system, justly
administered, would be a better means of coercion than an army corps.
The Arabs depend for their existence upon the river-side crops; the
control of the water and the possibility of turning it off at any moment
would prove an effective check on revolt. Moreover the man who has
something to lose is never on the side of anarchy; prosperity is the
best incentive to orderliness, and prosperity might in time be brought
back to districts which had been for many ages the richest in the world.
The native of ’Irâḳ, gazing upon the empty desert which now meets his
eye, is accustomed to allude proudly to the days when “a cock could hop
from house to house all the way from Baṣrah to Baghdâd,” and the saying
illustrates the fundamental truth that the present poverty-stricken
condition of the land is due not to the niggardliness of nature, but to
the destructive folly of man. The forerunner of effective reform must
always be honest administration, and how was that to be attained where
corruption was as natural as the drawing in of the breath? Even to this,
perhaps the most critical of all the questions that beset the new
government, there seemed to me to exist the germs of an answer in the
growth and free expression of popular opinion. In Baghdâd the public
mind was on the alert and the public tongue was no longer to be
silenced. One day when I went down into the bazaars I heard on every lip
the rumour that a noted Arab from one of the rebellious tribes had
arrived in the town, his hands filled with gold which he was prepared to
transfer to those of a certain high military authority. The next day the
tale was in the local papers, the official was mentioned by name, and if
it were indeed true that the Arab had been sent on the mission with
which he was credited, his distinguished patron would have found it hard
to accept the money intended for him and impossible to carry out his
part in the proposed bargain. But the press, though it was as yet
inefficient enough, was the best asset of the new order. Not even the
most optimistic could assert that constitutional government had taken
deep root in Baghdâd. The local committee was a negligible quantity, and
men of all creeds were persuaded that the revolution was still to come
and that it would come with bloodshed. But it must be added that when
the news of the counter-revolution in Constantinople reached Baghdâd,
not a finger was lifted nor a voice heard to support anything that would
approach to a return to the old régime, and the military authorities of
Baghdâd were among those who telegraphed to the Committee with offers of
assistance when the fate of the latter hung in the balance.

Here as elsewhere the chief bar to progress was the political fatalism
of the people themselves. But amid the universal scepticism there was
one section of the community which showed a desire to profit by the
advantages which had been promised. The Jews form a very important part
of the population, rich, intelligent, cultivated and active. One example
of their attitude towards the new order will be enough to show their
quality. It had been given out that all the subjects of the Sultan would
ultimately be called upon to perform military service; the law (which
has since been passed) had not yet assumed a definite shape and many
were of the opinion that it would be found impossible to frame it. Not
so the Jews of Baghdâd. As soon as the idea of universal service had
been conceived, a hundred young men of the Jewish community applied for
leave to enter the military school so that they might lose no time in
qualifying to serve as officers. The permission was granted, and I trust
that they may now be well on the road to promotion. The Christians
showed no similar desire to take up the duties of the soldier. On the
contrary, all those who were in arrears with the payment of their
exemption money hastened to make good the sum due, that they might show
that they had fulfilled their obligations under the old system and claim
acquittal from those imposed by the new.

I heard these tales by snatches as I explored Baghdâd and tried to
reconstitute the city which had been for five centuries the capital of
the Abbâsid khalifs, a period during which it had witnessed a
magnificence as profuse and destruction as reckless as any others on the
pages of history. Of the original Mohammadan foundation, Manṣûr’s Round
City, built in A.D. 762 on the right bank of the Tigris, no vestige
remains.[92] The site of the great quarters which sprung up to north and
south of the Round City are marked only by the tomb of Sheikh Ma’rûf
and the celebrated Shi’ah sanctuary of Kâẓimein. The west bank is at
present occupied by a small modern quarter, about and below the pontoon
bridge which we crossed when we arrived. As early as Manṣûr’s time a
palace had been built on the east side of the river and the eastern city
gradually eclipsed the western in importance. But it did not occupy the
site of modern Baghdâd; it lay to the north of the present town and the
sole relic of it is the shrine of Abu Ḥanîfah in the village of
Mu’aẓẓam, which is now situated some distance to the north of Baghdâd.
Finally the existing town grew up round the palaces of the later
khalifs, and its walls and gates are the same as those which were seen
and described by Ibn Jubeir in the twelfth century. It no longer fills
the circuit of those walls; between them and the modern houses there are
large empty spaces which were once occupied by streets and gardens. I
drove out one windy morning to the village of Mu’aẓẓam and gazed
respectfully from a house-top at the tiled dome which covers the tomb of
the Imâm Abu Ḥanîfah. He was the founder of the earliest of the four
orthodox sects of the Sunnis and he aided Manṣûr in the building of
Baghdâd. Even in Ibn Jubeir’s time the city had retreated from the
shrine and he describes it as lying far outside the walls, as it does
to-day. We then crossed the Tigris by an upper bridge of boats and
visited the Kâẓimein. Here too a village has sprung up round the
sanctuary which shelters the remains of the seventh and ninth Shî’ah
Imâms.[93] The place is now purely a Shî’ah shrine, though its original
sanctity was due to the fact that somewhere in this region stood the
tomb of Ibn Ḥanbal, the founder of the last of the four orthodox Sunni
sects. His tomb still existed when Ibn Baṭûṭaḥ visited Baghdâd in 1327,
but it fell subsequently into ruin and has now disappeared. No infidel
is permitted to enter a Shî’ah mosque, and it is well not to linger with
too great a show of interest at the gates, so as to avoid the ignominy,
which you are helpless to avert, of being hustled out of the way by a
fanatical crowd. I went therefore to a neighbouring building, the tomb
of Sir Iḳbâl ed Dauleh, brother to the king of Oudh, and begged the
wakîl to allow me to look upon the Kâẓimein from his roof. The wakîl,
the guardian of Sir Iḳbâl’s tomb, was a charming and cheerful mullah,
dressed in long robes and a white turban. He turned a friendly eye upon
me, partly out of the innate sociability of his character, and partly in
view of the fact that I was a fellow subject of his departed master. Not
only did he grant my request, but he presented me with a bunch of
pomegranate flowers and entertained me with coffee and sherbet.

“Why,” said he, “do you travel so far?”

I replied that I had a great curiosity to see the world and all that lay

“You are right,” he answered. “Man has but a short while to live, and to
see everything is a natural desire. But few have time to accomplish
it--what would you? we are but human.” And he drew his robe round him
and sipped contentedly at the sherbet, repeating as he did so his elegy
on the race: “Insân! we are human.”

With that he turned his attention to the things of this brief world and
gave me his opinion of a high official of the empire. “He is mad,” he
declared, “majnûn.”

“He is a man of books rather than of deeds,” said I, for I knew the
official in question and held him in respect.

“That is what I call majnûn,” replied the mullah sharply.

When I had finished the sherbet I took my leave and went to the tomb of
Sheikh Ma’rûf, who was a contemporary of Hârûn er Rashîd and by origin a
Christian, but having professed Islâm he became noted as the ascetic of
the age and the imâm of his time. He was one of the four saints who by
their intercessions protected Baghdâd, however inadequately, from the
approach of evil. The existing tomb, though it has frequently been
repaired, probably covers the very site of the earliest shrine. It is
surrounded by a large cemetery in which stands a building known as the
tomb of the Sitt Zobeideh, the wife of Hârûn er Rashîd (Fig. 112). The
attribution does not appear earlier than 1718 and is undoubtedly
erroneous. The Princess Zobeideh was buried in the Kâẓimein, her tomb
has long been destroyed and its exact site forgotten.[94] A very cursory
inspection of the architecture is enough to prove that the building near
the tomb of Ma’rûf cannot date from the ninth century.[95] It has been
in great part reconstructed and contains nothing of architectural
interest except the form of its cone-like roof, narrowing upwards by a
series of superimposed alveolate niches or squinches (Fig. 113). I have
never seen any roof of this kind which could be dated as early as the
ninth century.

In the city on the east bank, the modern Baghdâd, by far the most
interesting relic of the age of the khalifs is the line of the enclosing
wall with its gates. The wall itself is largely destroyed, but its
position is marked by a mound and a deep ditch; of the gates the two on
the eastern side are the best preserved. One of these, the Bâb eṭ
Ṭilism, is dated by a fine inscription of the Khalif Nâṣir in the year
A.H. 618 (A.D. 1221) (Fig. 114). It is a splendid octagonal tower, but
the door has been walled up ever since the Sultan Murâd IV, the Turkish
conqueror of Baghdâd, rode through it in triumph in the year 1638. Round
the top of this closed gateway runs a remarkable decoration consisting
of a pair of dragons with the wreathed bodies of serpents (Fig. 115).
They confront one another with open jaws above the summit of the pointed
arch and between them sits cross-legged a small figure with a hand
outstretched into each gaping mouth. The serpent motive is not unknown
in the decoration of Islâm; it appears, as has been said, upon the
gateway of the citadel of Aleppo, where the inscription in dated in the
year 1209. I have seen it upon

[Illustration: FIG. 114.--BAGHDÂD, BÂB EṬ ṬILISM.]


[Illustration: FIG. 116.--BAGHDÂD, MINARET IN SÛḲ EL GHAZL.]

many a lintel of the churches in and near Môṣul, which are generally to
be dated in the thirteenth century and owe their decorative motives
entirely to the arts of Islâm. There the snakes are sometimes combined
with the cross-legged figure, precisely as at Baghdâd, and frequently
the figure appears seated between a pair of rampant lions. I am inclined
to regard the whole snake-and-figure or lion-and-figure scheme as Inner
Asiatic, possibly it is due to Chinese influence. The seated figure, as
has been noticed by de Beylié,[96] bears a curious resemblance to the
Buddha type, and at Môṣul the affinities with early Buddhist motives are
even more strongly accentuated in the art of the thirteenth century. The
second of the eastern gates, the Bâb el Wusṭânî, consists also of a
domed octagonal chamber outside the wall, connected with the city by a
low bridge, with walls on either hand, that leads across the moat. The
dome, set on eight niches, is a fine piece of construction.

Within the town the traces of the Baghdâd that existed before the Mongol
invasion are woefully scanty. There is a beautiful minaret in the Sûḳ el
Ghazl (Fig. 116) which is dated by an inscription of the Khalif
Mustanṣir in the year 1236,[97] and at the end of the lower pontoon
bridge stand considerable remains of the Mustanṣirîyeh College,
completed by the Khalif Mustanṣir in the year 1233 and now used as a
custom house. A splendid inscription of Mustanṣir runs along the wall
facing the river to the north of the bridge. Behind the wall there are
parts of a court with ruined chambers round it, and to the south of the
bridge I was conducted through another series of chambers which look as
if they had belonged to a bath. The mastery of structural problems shown
by the architects of Islâm in the thirteenth century is nothing short
of amazing. Every trace of decoration has disappeared from the walls of
these buildings, yet the admirable quality of the brick masonry and the
feats performed in the vaulting make the half-ruined halls as beautiful
as a palace. The octagonal rooms are covered by very shallow brick domes
set over the angle on squinch arches of patterned brick.[98] Square
chambers are invariably roofed with four-sided domes, and over long
rectangular halls the four-sided dome again appears, the two extremities
being parted by a span of absolutely flat brick roof which depends for
its solidity upon the excellence of the mortar.[99] Not far from the
custom house is a twelfth-century khân, Khân Orthma,[100] and in the
Khâṣakî Jâmi’ there is a very beautiful miḥrâb cut out of a single block
of stone.[101] Beyond these there was but one other place which I
desired to see. I had read[102] that there existed in the arsenal some
fragments of one of the palaces of the khalifs, beautifully decorated
with stucco, and accordingly I set out in all innocence to visit them.
The arsenal lies at the extreme north end of the bazaar, not far from
the northern gate, and to reach it I passed by the khân where my
servants and horses had found a lodging. Fattûḥ and Jûsef were standing
at the entrance and they gave me a cordial greeting.

“Please God,” said Fattûḥ, “your Excellency has seen the cannon which is
chained to the ground?”

I confessed that I did not know where it was to be found.

“But it is here in the Maidân, close at hand,” exclaimed Fattûḥ, and
hurried out to conduct me to the spot. There it was, sure enough, a
rusty piece of artillery and an ancient, chained to the ground under a
big tree. Fattûḥ gazed upon it with an interest that was not unmixed
with contempt.

“In Aleppo,” said he, “we do not chain our cannon.”

At the arsenal I was received by a polite officer to whom I explained my
errand. He asked me whether I had brought with me a letter from the
English Resident, and I replied that I had not, but that I could easily
obtain one.

“Good,” said he. “If you will return to-morrow with the letter you shall
see all that you will.”

On the following day I returned, letter in hand. I gave it to a sentry
and desired him to convey it to the Commandant, to whom it was
addressed. After a due interval an officer descended the stairs below
which I was sitting; he regretted, said he, that I could not be shown
the palace of the khalifs, it must be for another day. Upon this the
hasty European blood, which no amount of sojourning in the East can
bring to subjection, rose in revolt, and brushing aside (I blush to
relate it) the officer and the sentry, I sprang up the stairs, drew back
a heavy leather curtain and burst unannounced into a room filled with
distinguished military men. They were, I suppose, the Mesopotamian
equivalent for an army council, and if I am not mistaken they were
composing themselves to slumber--the hour was the somnolent hour of noon
and the day was hot. But my advent galvanized them into wakefulness.
They listened with the greatest courtesy to my tale, and when I had
finished, one who sat behind a green baize table pronounced judgment.

“The letter,” said he, “is addressed to the Commandant and may be opened
by none but he.”

“Effendim,” said I, “could it not be given to the Commandant?”

“Effendim,” he replied, “the Commandant Pasha is in his house, asleep,
but if you wish I will send the letter.”

I thanked him and begged him to do so, saying that I would go with it.

The Commandant’s house was a stone’s throw from the arsenal. I was
greeted by a smiling major-domo who said that the Commandant should be
informed of my arrival, and meantime would I please to look at the lions
upon the roof. I agreed to this suggestion--as who would not?--and
together we climbed up to the housetop, where a pair of Mesopotamian
lions, thin, poor beasts, and ill-conditioned, were confined in an
exiguous cage. And they too were spending the midday hour in the
approved fashion. After we had succeeded in rousing them, I was
conducted into the Commandant’s reception-room, where the Commandant in
full uniform awaited me. We exchanged salutations and sat down.

“Effendim,” said the Commandant, “I trust you were satisfied with the

I expressed complete satisfaction, mingled with astonishment at finding
them upon his roof.

“They are now rare,” said the Commandant. “I had them captured in the
swamps near Amârah while they were yet young.”

“Effendim,” said I, “I have seen them pictured upon the ancient stones
of the Assyrians.”

“Indeed!” he replied. “They were no doubt more plentiful in the days of
the Assyrians.” At this point coffee was handed to us, and I ventured to
put forward my request.

“Effendim,” I said, “I would now gaze upon the rooms of the khalifs in
the arsenal, if your Excellency permit.”

The Commandant took a moment for reflection and then gave me his answer.
It was in three parts. He said, firstly, that those rooms were much
ruined and not worth seeing, secondly, that they were full of military
stores, and thirdly, that they did not exist. I recognized at once that
I had lost the game, and having thanked the Commandant for his kindness,
I bade him farewell. So it came about that I never set eyes on what
remains of the palace of the khalifs, but I did not realize till
afterwards that the clue to the whole situation had been the military
stores, the most jealously guarded of all the treasures of the Turkish
empire. And upon reflection my sympathies are with the Commandant, the
lions and the military council.

Besides the great shrines at the Kâẓimein and Mu’aẓẓam, there is a
much-frequented place of pilgrimage which lies within the area of the
modern city. It is the mosque and tomb of ’Abdu’l Ḳâdir, the founder of
the Ḳâdirîyeh sect of dervishes, a widespread order which has many
votaries in India. ’Abdu’l Ḳâdir died in Baghdâd in 1253; his tomb was
erected a few years before the Mongol invasion, and is therefore one of
the last of the buildings that fell within the days of the Abbâsid
Khalifate. Connected with the mosque is a large tekîyeh, a house for the
lodging of pilgrims, richly endowed and visited by the pious from all
parts of the world. The ordering of this establishment, the distribution
of its funds and the cares of its maintenance rest upon the descendants
of ’Abdu’l Ḳâdir. The head of the family, who is known by the name of
the Naḳîb, a title of honour applied to the chief of a tribe, is an
important person in Baghdâd, lord of great possessions and still greater
sanctity--important, too, to us, since his tekîyeh is the resort of many
subjects of our empire. As I was strolling through the streets I
happened to pass by the gateway of his house opposite to the tekîyeh.
The Residency ḳawwâs, who was my guide (and very efficient he proved
himself), stopped short and said, “Does not your Excellency wish to
visit the Naḳîb?” Before I could answer he had addressed himself to the
gatekeeper and informed him that a beg who was staying with the Resident
stood at the door, and in another moment I was ushered into the garden
and into the presence of its master. The Naḳîb was taking the air under
his orange-trees. He received me with cordiality and appeared to regard
the introduction of the ḳawwâs as a sufficient basis for acquaintance.
After compliments had passed between us, he gathered his cloak round
him, mounted the stairs and led me into a cool upper chamber furnished
with a divan. “Bismillah!” said he as we sat down upon the cushions, “in
the name of God.” Conversation came easily to the Naḳîb, and the two
hours which I spent with him passed lightly away. Hearing that I was
interested in antiquities he gave me a short sketch of the history of
the world, beginning with the days of Hammurabi and ending with our own
times, during the course of which he proved that all human culture had
originated in Asia. He then turned to a review of the English rule in
Egypt, and I pricked up my ears, for it is not often that a high
dignitary of Islâm will give his impartial opinion on such subjects. He
had nothing but good to say of our administration, and he deplored the
unpopularity into which it had fallen. According to him this
unpopularity dated from the Denshâwî incident. He detailed the events
that had taken place at Denshâwî in the version under which they have
become known to Asia, a version irreconcilable with the facts, though it
was repeated by the Naḳîb in all good faith and with implicit
confidence. He said that the whole Mohammadan world had been outraged by
the story and had learnt from it to distrust the character of the
English. “When you conquered India you won it by love and gentleness”
(oh shade of Clive and Warren Hastings!), “thus showing how excellent
was your civilization; but when we heard that at Denshâwî you had shot
down women and children, we knew that you had fallen from your lofty
place.” I did not attempt to answer these charges; it would have been
useless, for the Naḳîb would not have believed me--and had not some of
my country-people brought similar accusations against their own
officers?--but I would point here a simple moral. It is that Islâm is
like a great sounding board stretched across Asia. Every voice goes up
to it and reverberates back; every judgment pronounced in anger, every
misrepresentation, comes down from it magnified a thousandfold. At the
end of the interview the Naḳîb sent one of his servants with me to show
me the tekîyeh. It is a very remarkable sight. Thousands of pilgrims can
be lodged in the two-storeyed rooms which surround the broad courts, and
men of every nationality were washing at the fountain and strolling
under the arcades. Such foundations as these are the meeting places of
Islâm; here news is circulated from lip to lip, here opinions are
formed, here the Mohammadan faith realizes its unity.

The day before I left Baghdâd was Easter Sunday, Yaum el Âzirah as it
is popularly called, the Day of the Silk Mantles, on account of the
gorgeous garments worn by the Christian women. They walked through the
streets dressed in cloaks of every soft and brilliant hue, woven in
exquisitely contrasting colours. The Greek Catholic church, where I went
to Mass, looked like a garden of tulips, but one of the priests, an
Austrian by nationality, whom I met as I came away, deplored the scene
and said that his congregation thought of nothing but clothes and
adornments. The Catholic community is increasing, so he told me; when he
came to Baghdâd eleven years ago it numbered but 4,000, and now he
reckoned it at 10,000. He proposed that I should see the school, which
was close at hand, and accompanied me thither to introduce me to one of
his colleagues, a French father. It was an exalted moment at the school;
the black-eyed children were sitting in rows upon the floor and eating
their Sunday breakfast. Usually this breakfast consists of the simplest
fare, but on the Day of the Silk Mantles there are bowls of steaming hot
crushed grain and succulent chunks of meat, a feast to satisfy the
children of kings.

With this I returned to the roses and green lawns of the Residency
garden, to dream of brightly-robed women and far-travelled pilgrims, of
the clash and contest of creeds, and of truth, which lies somewhere
concealed behind them all.



_April 12--April 28_

We left Baghdâd on the wings of a strong south wind. My kind host
mounted and rode with me for the first half-hour, and we parted in a
dust-storm at the upper bridge. When he was gone, I joined my servants,
who welcomed me with solicitous inquiries as to how I had passed my time
in the city of Baghdâd. I replied that I had passed every moment
enjoyably, and that I trusted that they had been equally well pleased.
Fattûḥ hastened to satisfy me on this head. His friends had vied with
one another in providing entertainments, and he and the muleteers had
been plunged into a vortex of luncheon and dinner parties.

“And last night,” concluded Fattûḥ, “we supped at the Kâẓimein.”

“You had far to go,” said I. “How did you get back in the darkness?”

“Effendim,” began Fattûḥ--but I cannot remember his exact words, for
they were at once absorbed into the recollection of a more famous
utterance; the upshot of his explanation was, that the rule laid down by
Mr. Jorrocks is observed in Baghdâd, with one exception. Where you dines
you sleeps, but you do not have breakfast; you rise at 4 a.m. and hurry
home, since it would be an infringement of the social law to appear to
expect that your host should provide the morning meal.

We were riding by a narrow path along the top of the ṣidd, the steep
embankment of the Tigris, and as we went, the wind grew more and more
violent and the difficulty of preserving a foothold on that knife-edge
of a road greater and greater. The loaded pack animals were ever
struggling away from an imminent brink, towards which the following
wind buffeted them, first on one side and then on the other, according
to the windings of the path. During the course of the day one of the
horses, unwarily presenting a full flank to the blast, was swept off its
feet and rolled into a cornfield, but by good luck this accident
occurred after we had descended from the ṣidd on to level ground. The
dust was so intolerable that we welcomed the heavy raindrops which
presently came driving down upon the storm; but they could not pacify
the unruly earth, and dust and rain together formed an atmospheric mud
ocean, churned by the wind into whirlpools and breakers. Never have I
ridden through such a hurricane. Six hours from the bridge we reached
the khân of Musheidah[103] where we had intended to pitch camp. No tent
ropes would have held for half-an-hour in that wind, if it had been
possible to unfurl the tents, which it was not, and we rode into the
khân to seek a lodging. But the khân provided only for the needs of pack
animals and contained not a single room for their masters. Fattûḥ looked
gloomily down the long vaults of the stables into which the rain was
beginning to penetrate, and still more gloomily he returned to the gate
and eyed the maddened universe. There was one small edifice besides the
khân; the khânjî, being interrogated, informed us that it was the
barracks, whereupon Fattûḥ strode resolutely out into the rain and beat
upon the door. We waited some time for an answer; the howling blast,
which could not keep the soldiers awake, prevented us from rousing them.
At length one stumbled to the door and led us into a muddy courtyard,
unpromising in appearance. The barracks (perhaps it should only be
dignified with the name of guardhouse) consisted of a small stable with
two rooms above it. Without any hesitation, Fattûḥ took possession of
one of these last, piled into a corner the hay with which it was half
filled, swept it out, and garnished it with my camp furniture. Meantime
the soldiers busied themselves with coffee making, and I, being warm and
dry and well fed, mocked at the storm that battered against the mud
walls, and spent the evening with the books which had served as guides
down the Euphrates.

It was not to those red-bound volumes which we are accustomed to
associate with travel that I turned, but to the best of all guide-books
to Mesopotamia, the Anabasis and Ammianus Marcellinus. In a moment I was
back in the ranks of the Ten Thousand and of the Roman Legions, but what
a change had come over them since we parted from them at ’Ânah! Cyrus
had fallen in the disastrous confusion of Cunaxa, which, but for his
fatal wound, might have crowned his campaign with victory. Julian,
misled by omens, had turned away from Ctesiphon, where Sapor awaited him
in terror; he had thrown his army across the Tigris and had met with his
end on the further side, venerating the everlasting God that he should
die with honour fairly earned in the midst of a career of glory. And by
a “blind decision of fortune,” as Ammianus Marcellinus relates, the
timid Jovian had been elected to his place. The Roman army continued its
retreat along the east bank, and I did not fall into the line of its
march until I crossed the Tigris, but Xenophon and the Ten Thousand
passed close to Musheidah and came down to the river at Sitace, where
they found a bridge of boats. There they crossed and marched four days
up the river to Opis.[104] The topography of this country is difficult
to grasp. The Tigris changed its course during the Middle Ages and now
runs considerably to the east of its former channel. Besides the old bed
of the river, there is also the cutting of a great canal, the Dujeil of
the era of the khalifs, which has long been devoid of water except in
its upper reaches.[105] Each of these dry channels is set thickly with
the ruins of towns and villages belonging to Mohammadan as well as to
earlier times. The northern reaches of the Dujeil still bring water from
the Tigris, and here villages and cultivation continue to exist; but the
canal is much smaller than it was originally, and it no longer rejoins
the Tigris at the lower end of its course.

The soldiers of Musheidah, though they were unexceptionable as hosts,
were inefficient as guides. When I announced that I wished to ride by
the old Tigris bed they exclaimed in horror that it was unsafe to leave
the high road. At this Fattûḥ laughed outright, and remarking that we
had travelled over many a worse desert, laid hands upon a peasant who
happened to be listening to the discussion, and engaged him to accompany
me for the day. The peasant (his name was Ḳâsim) was an Arab of the Benî
’Amr, and he was full of the recent history of the land. All this
district had been granted by the Sultan Murâd to the Ma’amreh, the Benî
’Amr, to have and to hold in perpetuity, “and we possess his ’Irâdeh
signed by his hand,” said Ḳâsim. But about twenty years ago, ’Abdu’l
Ḥamîd, seeing it to be valuable property, ousted the Arabs, sold half
the land to a man of Baghdâd and turned the other half into Senîyeh
(royal estates).[106] The Benî ’Amr were thus left destitute, “and by
God who created the heavens and the earth,” declared Ḳâsim, “I have

[Illustration: FIG. 117.--WÂNEH, IMÂM MUḤAMMAD ’ALÎ.]

but the mercy of God.” When the constitution was granted and it was made
known that the Senîyeh would be handed over to the State, the men of the
Benî ’Amr, like many others who had suffered in a like manner, began to
speculate as to whether their rights would meet with acknowledgment, but
how the matter has been settled I do not know. We rode from Musheidah to
a number of ruined sites lying somewhat to the west of the present
Tigris channel, and I could see, still further to the west, the line of
mounds which mark the lower course of the Dujeil, now waterless; Ḳâsim
gave me their names as Sagr, Tâṣir, Bisheh and Baghût. In an hour and a
half we came to a series of big mounds called Mdawwî, which lie upon the
banks of the old Tigris bed. In time of flood the river overflows the
land as far west as Mdawwî. From here we crossed a plain, all of which
must have been inhabited, for it was scattered with mounds and covered
with fragments of Mohammadan coloured pottery, blue and green, yellow
and purple, and in three-quarters of an hour we reached Tell Bshairah,
where there were quantities of potsherds and bits of burnt brick. The
land round it is watered in flood time by canals from the Tigris, and at
that time sown with summer crops. The mounds of ’Ukbarâ[107] lie an hour
further to the north. A little to the west of these mounds is a small
ruin known as Kahf ’Alî consisting of two chambers of baked brick, one
of which had been covered by a dome set on squinch arches. I suppose
that it was a shrine or tomb of the late Abbâsid period. Thence we rode
up the dry

[Illustration: FIG. 118.--WÂNEH, IMÂM MUḤAMMAD ’ALÎ.]

[Illustration: FIG. 119.--ḲÂDISÎYAH FROM SOUTH-EAST.]


[Illustration: FIG. 121.--SÂMARRÂ, FROM MALWÎYEH.]


bed of the old Tigris to the tomb of the Imâm Muḥammad ’Alî lying among
mounds that mark the site of the village of Wâneh (Fig. 117). The tomb
is built of fine burnt bricks measuring 20 × 20 × 6 c., pale in colour,
nearing to yellow, like the bricks I had previously seen scattered over
the mounds. It is a square-domed building, but the dome rests on an
interior octagon and is set at each of the eight angles on a shallow
pointed squinch arch (Fig. 118). Pointed arched niches occupy seven of
the sides; in the eighth is the door. There is a system of niching on
the façade which has been considerably destroyed by the addition of a
rude porch of sun-dried brick. The mazâr is a typical example of the
small Mohammadan memorial shrine, and from the excellence of its
workmanship and the character of the brick I should place it within the
Abbâsid age.[108] From Wâneh we rode in an hour to Sumeikhah, where we
found our tents pitched in a charming palm garden. Sumeikhah is a modern
village lying on the Dujeil at a point where a little water still flows
down the canal from the Tigris, enough to satisfy the inhabitants and
keep their palm gardens in a flourishing condition. Like all Senîyeh
villages it has a prosperous appearance. The peasants are well to do,
having been exempted under the old régime from the greater part of the
ordinary taxes and from military service. With the memory of the
previous night of storm freshly in our minds we felt that we had reached
an agreeable haven. The temperature had fallen by an average of ten
degrees after the rain; the palm garden was a delicious camping-ground,
which we shared in all amity with a family of storks who had built their
nest on the angle of the enclosing wall. And we knew as little as they
of the counter-revolution which had overwhelmed Constantinople that very

Next morning I left my caravan to follow the straight road and turned
again to the east. In an hour we reached Tell Hir, where there had been
a considerable town on the old Tigris; thirty-five minutes further there
was a similar mound, Tell Ghazab, and in thirty-five minutes more we
came to Tell Manjûr. From Tell Manjûr to Tell edh Dhahab, three-quarters
of an hour to the north, a large area, stretching down to the Tigris, is
completely covered with mounds and strewn with pottery. The pottery is
not coloured or glazed, but ornamented with roughly scratched patterns
and narrow raised bands, a Mohammadan ware with which I was to become
very familiar at Sâmarrâ. The whole site must therefore have been
inhabited in the Mohammadan period, but in all probability it was
occupied by a city of earlier fame. On the east bank of the Tigris,
above the point where it is joined by the river ’Aḍêm, and therefore
exactly opposite the mounds which I saw on the west bank, Ross
discovered a great stretch of ruins and believed them to be the ruins of
Opis.[109] The Tigris, when it changed its course, must have cut through
the area of Opis, so that one half of its mounds now lie to the east of
the river and one half to the west. Opis is mentioned by Xenophon[110]
and by Herodotus.[111] It was the most important city of Babylonia after
Babylon. Alexander’s ships touched there on their voyage up the Tigris,
and Strabo observes that the river was navigable up to that point.[112]
But in Strabo’s time it was no more than a village, and Pliny does not
mention it, unless his Apamea is a later name for Opis.[113] The mounds
and pottery continued uninterruptedly almost up to the Mazâr of Sayyid
Muḥammad, which we reached in an hour from Tell edh Dhahab. The mazâr is
a mosque with a fine great dome decorated with coloured tiles; and near
the mosque is a large khân. I do not know whether there was an older
shrine here; the present mosque is dated by an inscription: A.H. 1310,
_i.e._ A.D. 1893. An hour from the mazâr we came to Balad, a large
village on the Dujeil. It existed in the thirteenth century for it is
mentioned by Yâḳût, but it can scarcely have been more flourishing then
than it is now, with its walled gardens filled with fruit-trees, its
well-laid roads and well-bridged irrigation canals. There was no need to
ask who was landlord here, so clearly did the place bear the stamp of
the Senîyeh estates, nor is it necessary to point out that if the
irrigation system were restored to its old perfection, the country from
Baghdâd to Balad might again be as thickly populated as it was in the
Abbâsid age.[114]

We rode down to the Tigris ferry in two and a half hours, and the way
was beguiled by the conversation of an Arab of the Mujamma’, who
happened to be going in our direction. He gave us the news of the
desert, telling us of Kurdish raids on the east bank of the river
(commonly called the Khawîjeh) and of jealousies between the ’Anazeh and
the Shammar on the west bank, the Jezîreh. We breathed a familiar air,
even though the Kurds were a new element in desert politics. The Arab
did not hold these episodes to be of great account, in spite of the fact
that the Kurds had completely blocked the post-road from Baghdâd to
Kerkûk; “Ghazû mazû!” he said, using an expressive Turkish locution,
“raids maids.”[115] We found the caravan in the act of crossing at the
ferry. I sat down upon the bank to wait for the return of the ferry-boat
and fell into talk with the owner of a pair of performing monkeys.

“Where are you going?” I asked, after I had fed the monkeys.

“Ila’l wilâyah,” he replied vaguely, “to the capital,” and I gathered
that he was making his way to Môṣul. But he thought better of it when he
got to the other side of the river, and for that night he interrupted
his journey that he might enjoy our company. He was wise, since he and
the monkeys were invited to share our supper, but I fear it was not the
man who moved me to hospitality. As we crossed the Tigris the ferrymen
composed and sang a piece at my intent. It was of a purely utilitarian
character and ran thus--

    Jenâh es Serkâr: Ḥôsh, ḥôsh!
    Fi khidmat: Ḥôsh, ḥôsh!
    Bakhshîsh: Ḥôsh, ḥôsh!

    Her Excellency the Governor: draw together!
    In her service: draw together:
    A gratuity: draw together!

There were many more verses, but the gist of all was the same. From our
camp by the water’s edge we could see the famous spiral minaret of
Sâmarrâ, the Malwîyeh, and watch the keleks going down from Diyârbekr to
Baghdâd. Now a kelek is a raft made of logs or brushwood laid over
inflated skins, and it carries all the merchandise of the Tigris.

We were lying within the dry cutting of a canal dug by Hârûn er Rashîd,
and now called the Nahr el Ḳâim. It is connected with the Tigris by
several cross-cuttings, over one of which we passed a quarter of an
hour from the camping-ground, and found upon the further side the ruins
of Ḳâdisîyah[116] (Fig. 119). They are nothing but a crumbling wall of
sun-dried brick enclosing an octagonal area, but whether this space was
ever covered with buildings it is difficult to determine[117]; I
noticed, however, that the surface of the ground was piled into low
mounds such as are left by the decay of sun-dried bricks. The octagon is
far from regular. I paced the eight sides of the enclosing walls and
found them to vary considerably from interior angle to interior angle,
the smallest side being 565 paces, the largest 725 paces. Each angle is
provided with an exterior round bastion, and at intervals of from
twenty-eight to twenty-nine paces smaller round bastions project from
the face of the wall. Six of the sides are broken by three gates apiece,
one by four gates and one by two. The double-gated wall is the northern
side of the octagon, and in the middle part of its length, between the
two gates, there is a series of ten small vaulted chambers (3.55 m. wide
by 3.65 m. deep) set against the interior face of the wall. The barrel
vault of some of these chambers is still fairly well preserved. It is
built of sun-dried brick laid in slices against the head wall on the
Mesopotamian system, by which centering was avoided. Round the interior
of the octagon, at a distance of thirteen paces from the wall, runs a
shallow ditch, ten metres wide, having on its inner side a low mound
which occupies a space about seventeen metres wide. The mound is no
doubt the remains of a wall. Opposite each of the doorways in the outer
wall, a causeway has been laid across the ditch. A wall and ditch upon
the inner side of a strong fortification such as the enclosing wall of
Ḳâdisîyah are singular features. They can scarcely have been intended
for defence, indeed I am not certain that they extend round the whole
enclosure. The ditch may have been a canal bringing water to the palace
or fortress.

We rode out of one of the western gates of Ḳâdisîyah and in a little
over an hour reached the enigmatic tower of Ḳâim. It stands in the angle
formed by the Tigris and the channel of the Nahr el Ḳâim, which has
silted up so that no water runs down it from the river. The tower is a
truncated cone composed of pebbles and concrete; there is no chamber
inside it and no means of climbing to the top of it. It looks as if it
had received some sort of facing, and in that case the existing cone is
only the core of the tower, but whether it was intended merely to mark
the opening of the canal, or whether it is, as Ross supposed, a relic of
remoter antiquity, it would be impossible to determine, though I incline
to the view that it is ancient. Having crossed the Nahr el Ḳâim, we
found ourselves almost immediately among vestiges of the immense city of
Sâmarrâ, of which the bazaars and palaces stretched uninterruptedly
along the east bank of the Tigris for a distance of twenty-one miles.
This city, which was during the brief time of its magnificence the
capital of the Abbâsid empire, sprang into existence at the bidding of
the Khalif Mu’taṣim and was inhabited by seven of his successors, who
added market to market, palace to palace and pleasure-ground to
pleasure-ground. After a period of forty years (836-876 A.D.) the Khalif
Mu’tamid removed the seat of his government back to Baghdâd; with his
departure the walls of Sâmarrâ crumbled back into the desert from which
they had arisen, and like the rose-scented clay of Sa’dî’s apologue when
the fragrance had vanished, became once more the dust they had been. A
glory so dazzling, so abrupt a decline, can scarcely be paralleled on
any other page of history. Encompassed by a league-long expanse where
the surface of the waste is tumbled into confused masses of mounds or
marked off by the vast rectangular enclosures of palace and garden,
stands the modern town of Sâmarrâ, no better than a walled village,
except that above its mean roofs hang the incomparable domes of the
Shî’ah sanctuary, one a-glitter with gold, the other jewelled with
precious tiles. And behind the town the huge Malwîyeh, the spiral tower
of Mutawakkil’s mosque, lifts its head high over the wilderness.[118]

Mu’taṣim’s choice of Sâmarrâ as the site of his new capital when Baghdâd
had become distasteful to him was, according to the Arab historians,
determined by the purest hazard. Ya’ḳûbî, writing at the close of the
ninth century when Sâmarrâ had recently been abandoned, relates that
Mu’taṣim fixed first upon Ḳâṭûl, a point lower down the river, but that
the site did not prove satisfactory.[119] And upon a certain day he rode
out to the chase; “and he continued upon his way until he came to a
place called Surra man raa” (who sees it rejoices), “which is a desert
of the Tîrhân district; there were no buildings in it, and no
inhabitants, except a Christian monastery. And he stopped at the
monastery and spoke with those who were in it, and said: ‘What is the
name of this place?’ And one of the monks said: ‘We find in our ancient
books that this place is called Surra man raa, and that it was a city of
Shem son of Noah.’” Mu’taṣim accepted the good omen, together with other
prophetic matter related by the monks, and chose the place for his
capital. The etymology was, however, as fortuitous as was the khalif’s
selection; the name Sâmarrâ has in reality nothing to do with the Arabic
phrase. A town had existed on the Tigris bank long before Arabic was
spoken there; it was called in Aramaean Sâmarrâ, and Ammianus
Marcellinus alludes to it as Sumere.[120]

Half-way between Ḳâim and the modern Sâmarrâ we came to the first of the
palace enclosures, a large oblong space surrounded by a ruined wall of
sun-dried bricks set with round bastions. The remains of a gateway
decorated with niches led into another enclosure similar to the first,
and both stretched down to the river-bank. From this point the surface
of the ground is seamed with ruin mounds, and just before we reached
Sâmarrâ (about an hour from Ḳâim) we passed another clearly-marked
enclosure by the river. My camp had gone on while I was examining
Ḳadsîyeh, and Fattûḥ had pitched the tents on the brink of the high bank
that overhangs the Tigris. When I saw it I rejoiced, like Mu’taṣim, for
the position could not have been bettered; and moreover the modern town
of Sâmarrâ stands somewhat back from the river, so that we did not
molest its Shî’ah inhabitants, neither did they disturb us.

There is only one way of appreciating the extent of the Abbâsid city,
and that way lies up the spiral path of the Malwîyeh tower (Fig. 121).
It is seldom that the desert offers so wide an expanse to the eye, since
nowhere else is the gazer mounted upon a lofty steeple in its very
midst. Below the minaret lies the enclosure of the great mosque, a
massive brick wall with round bastions; but the colonnades that
protected the worshippers from sun and rain have all vanished and are
indicated only by even trenches, marking the place from which the
columns or piers have been removed. In the central court, surrounded by
the colonnades, lies the shadowy outline of a fountain, and beyond the
walls a long low mound shows that the precincts must have been bounded
by an outer enclosure.[121] South of the mosque, in open hummocky
ground, the little town of Sâmarrâ with its glittering domes is set down
like a child’s toy upon the waste--a toy half broken and thrown away.
All round it the uneasy desert has rolled in over the city of the
khalifs, covering but not obliterating the streets and courts, of which
the walls are dimly apparent, as though they struggled through a veil of
silted sand. To the north are the shattered walls and bastions of a
great rectangular enclosure, Madaḳḳ eṭ Ṭabl the Arabs call it (the Place
of the Beating of Drums), and about it the parallel streets of the city
are drawn upon the surface of the earth, ruled out by the pencil of a
giant artist. Still further north the three halls of the palace of the
khalifs stand amid an immense area of shapeless mounds, and far away a
second spiral tower, the minaret of Abu Dulâf, lifts its head out of the
plain. The waters of the Tigris bring no colour to the vast landscape;
the dead and silent world is like a battlefield, wherein men fought out
the secular contest with the wilderness, and lost, and left it empty of
all but ruins.

I came down from the tower and set to work upon the mosque.

To measure a wall would not seem to be a complicated business, yet I do
not care to remember how many hours I spent upon the mosque. Its great
size is no advantage when seen over the edge of a metre tape, and the
action of the wind upon its masonry has been fatal to accuracy. The face
of the brick is destroyed higher than a man can reach by the constant
scrub and wear of the heavier sorts of desert dust, which makes the
exact noting of angles exceedingly difficult. The buildings on the west
bank of the river, among which I spent the two succeeding days, were
even more disfigured, and the palace of the khalifs, except for its
three vaulted halls, a crowning confusion of mounds and rock-cut
subterranean chambers. It was not until I had made acquaintance with all
these that I found time to visit the modern town. I had been spending a
few final hours in the great mosque and was beginning to wonder whether
a metre tape and a camera are advantageous additions to the equipment of
travel, a doubt which was shared by the zaptieh and Jûsef, whose duty
it was to stretch the one and carry the other over weary acres of
crumbling ruin. When at last we turned our horses’ heads to the little
town lying out upon the plain, we felt that there was a great deal to be
said for prejudices which forbid the measuring and photographing of
mosques that cover the bones of saints. The town walls have recently
been rebuilt, for the acquisition of merit, by a pious Persian; he
neglected, however, to turn his attention to that which they enclose,
and the first few hundred yards of sacred Sâmarrâ is a vacant
desolation, the home of dust and dirt. Having crossed this area we
plunged into mean and narrow streets. All the windows facing outwards
had been blocked up, and within or without there was no living soul to
be seen as we rode down the silent ways. But when we drew near the
mosque we became aware that Sâmarrâ was not quite uninhabited. Grave
Persians and ragged Arabs sat at the tea-shops before the gateway; they
gave me the salute as I passed, and I was careful not to gaze too
curiously through the arch where the big chain hangs across the entrance
of the shrine. Inside, under a dome of priceless tiles, are the tombs of
the tenth and eleventh Shî’ah Imâms, while the smaller dome of gold
covers the cleft into which vanished the Mahdî, who will appear again
when the time is ripe. Therefore when you see black ensigns, black
ensigns coming out of the east, then go forth and join them; for the
Imâm of God will be with those standards, and he will fill the world
with equity and justice.

We left Sâmarrâ early in the morning and rode through almost continuous
ruin-heaps to Shnâs, which we reached in an hour and forty minutes. It
is nothing but a great enclosure, the walls and towers built of
sun-dried brick, and consequently much ruined. The towers are placed
astride the wall instead of upon one side of it only.[122] A few minutes
further north lies an oblong enclosure nearly a third of a mile across,
with a walled triangle to the north of it, in

[Illustration: FIG. 123.--ABU DULÂF, FROM EAST.]


[Illustration: FIG. 125.--NAHRAWÂN CANAL.]

[Illustration: FIG. 126.--IMÂM DÛR.]

which is a small square enclosure near the river, with foundations of
burnt brick. Still further north are some ruin-heaps which are said to
represent the tomb of a holy man. This group of ruins is known as Eskî
Baghdâd, but the name is applied loosely to the whole area round Abu
Dulâf. We crossed a dry watercourse and rode on over mounds for another
hour and a half, when we came to the mosque of Abu Dulâf (Fig. 123). Now
Abu Dulâf is brother and complement to the mosque at Sâmarrâ, for
whereas at Sâmarrâ the arcades have fallen and the outer wall stands, at
Abu Dulâf the arcades stand and the outer wall is ruined. I looked in
vain for traces of a water-basin in the centre of the court, but being
no true antiquarian, I was well consoled for its absence by finding a
tall borage plant where the fountain should have been. It lifted its
blue flowers gaily out of the dust, and every time I crossed the court I
made a circuit that I might look into its clear eye. It was the first
flower that we had seen upon the face of the desert for many weeks, and
it heralded the end of the region wherein the drought had wrought such
havoc. Late in the afternoon I got down to my camp by the Tigris. Fattûḥ
had sought a lodging for the night inside the enclosing walls of a
palace, and whatever prince it was who housed us, he gave us a lavish
hospitality as regards sunset and rising stars and gleaming curves of

Half-an-hour’s ride brought us on the following morning to the northern
limit of Sâmarrâ. In the angle between the Tigris and the Nahrawân canal
lie the remains of Mutawakkil’s tragic palace, built in a year,
inhabited for nine months, destroyed and deserted, together with all the
quarter round it, when Muhammad el Muntaṣir caused the khalif his father
to be murdered within its walls. Immediately beyond it we crossed the
dry channel of the Nahrawân, which was cut by the Sassanian kings in
order to bring water to the fertile regions below Sâmarrâ (Fig. 125). At
the point where our path crossed it are the brick foundations of a
bridge, below a large artificial mound.[123] The dry bed of the canal,
hewn for scores of miles, straight as a Roman road, through the solid
rock, is as impressive as the most magnificent of ruins; for the king
who could bid rivers to flow and crops to spring in the barren
wilderness was indeed lord of the earth.

As we reached the village of Dûr, an hour further to the north, we met a
number of the inhabitants coming out along the road, and all were armed
with rifles. We stopped and asked them whither they were bound, and they
in turn inquired of us whether we had seen anything of a caravan of
merchandise from Sâmarrâ. It was due to arrive at Dûr that morning and
they felt some anxiety as to its safety, since the desert was much
disturbed. There are no soldiers posted on the left bank of the Tigris,
and every man must protect his own property. But we, having come only
from Abu Dulâf, could not reassure them. On the outskirts of Dûr the
plain is once more tossed into ruin-mounds, probably of the Mohammadan
period. The village stands upon an old site; Dûr is mentioned by
Ammianus Marcellinus in his account of Jovian’s retreat. It is
remarkable only for the shrine of the Imâm Dûr (Fig. 126), Muḥammad ibn
Mûsa ibn Ja’far ibn ’Alî ibn Ḥussein--his genealogy goes back to a
respectable Shî’ah ancestry, and I read it on an inscription cut upon a
marble slab by the door. Moreover, while we waited for the mullah to
appear with the key, one of the villagers busied himself with scraping
away the whitewash which covered the lower part of the inscription, and
we deciphered the date, 871 of the Hijrah, which is 1466 A.D.[124] While
we were thus engaged the

[Illustration: FIG. 127.--IMÂM DÛR.]

mullah joined us, a rubicund old man in a spotless turban. The
reluctance which he displayed on being invited to unlock the door was
terminated by the zaptieh, who took him aside and explained that I was
employed by the government as a surveyor; upon which the mullah, with
perhaps a silent reflection on the laxity of the age in the matter of
official appointments, threw open the door and bade me enter (Fig. 127).
The shrine is a high square tower of fine brickwork, laid at the top so
as to form patterns, and, on the north side, inscriptions. Above this
tower rises a conical roof constructed, like the roof of the Sitt
Zobeideh at Baghdâd, by means of a series of alveolate niches or
squinches. In the interior this pointed dome is covered with plasterwork
of a character totally different from the stucco decorations of Raḳḳah
and Sâmarrâ, to which it stands in the same relation as baroque to
cinque cento work. It cannot belong to the same period as the brick
walls of the chamber, for it blocks the windows, and my impression is
that the whole roof is considerably later than the lower part of the
shrine. The mullah, in full assurance of my distinguished position, and
sustained by lively hopes of a sufficient reward, looked on with
benignant interest while Jûsef and I measured the shrine; but his hopes
were to prove as ill-founded as his assurance, for when I opened my
purse, prior to departure, it contained nothing but three piastres. I
had emptied it the night before on behalf of an obliging person who had
accompanied us to Abu Dulâf, and had forgotten to replenish it. To crown
all, the money-bags were with the caravan, and the caravan was a full
two hours ahead on the road to Tekrît. I do not know who was the more
disconcerted by this unlucky accident, but the mullah bore it with the
greater dignity. After I had confounded myself in explanation and
apology, he nodded his head, folded his hands into his sleeves and
dismissed me smilingly.

“Naṣîb!” he said, “a misfortune. Go in peace.”

The subsequent events of the day must have been intended as a judgment
upon me. By the time we came down to the river bank opposite Tekrît,
three hours from Imâm Dûr, a strong wind had arisen, and we found the
caravan standing dejectedly at the water’s edge while Fattûḥ called upon
God to hasten the movements of the ferrymen. His prayers were far from
efficacious (moreover, he had forgotten to put up a supplication for a
water-tight boat), and the crossing was longer and more tiresome than
any we had experienced (Fig. 128). It was near sunset before we got into
camp on the high ground behind Tekrît, and the last of the muleteers did
not come in with the riding horses until after dark.

No sooner were the tents pitched than a messenger waited upon me to ask
whether I would receive Ḥmeidî Beg ibn Farḥân. I returned an answer
couched in respectfully cordial terms, since no one who has travelled in
the desert is ignorant of the name of Farḥân, who was the Sheikh of
Sheikhs of all the northern Shammar. Since the death of Ibrahîm Pasha,
the Shammar and the ’Anazeh share, without amity, the lordship of
Mesopotamia, as they did before the Kurd rose into power. The road from
Tekrît to Môṣul is in Shammar territory, so far as it can be said to be
in the territory of any one. Not a caravan passes up and down but it
pays tribute to Mejwal ibn Farḥân, a beshlik (three piastres) on every
mule, and half a beshlik for a donkey, unless the travellers happen to
be escorted by a zaptieh as I was. Muleteers cannot afford zaptiehs, and
when they see two spearmen of the tribe upon the road, they pay and
lodge no complaint in deaf ears. Sheikh Mejwal, who is the strongest of
Farḥân’s fourteen sons, levies a tax from all the Jebbûr, the tribe that
camps along the river, and I was told that whereas the Jebbûr

[Illustration: FIG. 128.--TEKRÎT FERRY.]

[Illustration: FIG. 129.--COFFEE-MAKING, SHEIKH ’ASKAR.]

[Illustration: FIG. 130.--TEKRÎT, THE ARBAÎN.]

[Illustration: FIG. 131.--KHÂN KHERNÎNA, MIḤRÂB.]

had once been breeders of horses, now they breed none, finding it an
unprofitable labour with the Shammar sheikhs alert to seize every likely
mare. Ḥmeidî is said to be the mildest of Farḥân’s brood. He is a
handsome man of middle age, with deepset eyes and a gentle, rather
indolent expression. He had come to Tekrît on some business connected
with sheep stealing, and hearing of my arrival he hastened to bid me
welcome to these deserts and to make me free of the Shammar tents. I
asked him news of his cousins in Nejd, where the Shammar princes of the
Benî Rashîd hold with much bloodshed a hazardous authority, and when he
had spoken of these matters he gave me a piece of news which he thought,
and rightly, might be of no less interest. It was rumoured that the
Sultan had dismissed the deputies, but how or why no one knew, though
the counter-revolution was now more than a week old.

Tekrît is the birthplace of Saladin. It is seen to the best advantage
from the other side of the Tigris, where the bold bluffs and steeply
falling banks to which its houses cling are imposing to the eye. The
distant promise is not fulfilled; the modern town is devoid of interest
and little remains of the mediæval town but ruin-heaps, the line of a
wall and part of the lower gateway of the citadel. Tekrît was the seat
of a bishopric; Ibn Ḥauḳal, writing in the tenth century, states that
most of the inhabitants were Christians, and Rich speaks of the remains
of ten churches.[125] Beyond the ruins of the old town, which extend far
to the west of modern Tekrît, there lies the Moslem shrine of the
Arba’în, the Forty, much dilapidated, though two small chambers covered
with domes are still intact. These chambers, and the ruined precincts
adjoining them, are decorated with stucco of the same character, and I
should say of the same date, as the ornaments of Imâm Dûr (Fig. 130).

We set out from Tekrît with a large and unusually nondescript company,
or perhaps it would be truer to say that they set, out with us, a
European and a couple of zaptiehs being valuable assets on the Môṣul
road. Half-a-dozen Kurds from above Mardîn and as many Nestorians from
the mountains south of Lake Vân marched with my pack-animals, and
presently we fell in with the Father of Monkeys, as Fattûḥ called him,
who had not made much haste on his way to the capital. There was also a
young sayyid, white-turbaned and somewhat forbidding of aspect; with him
too I made friends after I had conquered the distaste born of his
over-godly looks. “I love thieves and pigs,” murmured one of the
muleteers, “Yezîd and Druze, but I do not love sayyids or mullahs.” This
particular descendant of the Prophet addressed me systematically as
Queen, and I experienced a not unnatural gratification at being raised
to royal rank, though whether it is higher than that of consul I cannot
be sure. With the Nestorians I was immediately on terms of intimacy.
They were sturdy, bearded mountaineers of a type which it is impossible
not to appreciate, even at first sight, and they marched cheerfully
through dust and heat with no possessions but a water-flask and a crust
of bread. Their pointed felt caps and close-fitting cotton trousers
formed a costume which was new to me, and as they walked beside my mare
I asked them who they were and whence they came.

“We are the people of Mâr Shim’ûn,” said one, naming the hereditary
patriarch of their faith. “Effendim, we have no friends but the
English--Islâm, Armenians, all are our foes.”

A struggling sect is the ancient community of Mâr Shim’ûn, harassed by
the Kurds in their mountain fastnesses, but if they may be judged by
their brave and independent looks, they do not turn the other cheek to
the striker.

We rode for three hours through monotonous country, a barren and stony
wilderness raised high above the river. When we dropped down to the
water’s edge we found the land to be partly cultivated by the men of
Tekrît, but the Tigris is eating away the right bank and in places field



[Illustration: FIG. 134.--KHÂN KHERNÎNA, SETTING OF DOME.]

[Illustration: FIG. 135.--TELL NIMRÛD.]

path have been destroyed by the depredations of the stream.[126] We
camped that night six and a half hours from Tekrît, near a ḳishlâ which
has recently been built at the expense of a very beautiful khân. The
ḳishlâ represents a spasmodic attempt on the part of the government to
control the tribes; it holds from forty to fifty foot soldiers, who,
since they are unmounted, cannot pursue or punish the marauding Arabs.
The walls of Khân Khernîna, a magnificent Mohammadan building of the
finest period, have therefore been laid low to no purpose, and the
soldiers lead a miserable and useless existence in the ḳishlâ, which has
been erected out of its bricks. The khân is now so much ruined that I
did not attempt to plan it. It is a rectangular enclosure with round
bastions in the walls, and fine gateways covered with pointed arches.
Along the south side stretches a vaulted corridor, interrupted towards
the middle of its length by a chamber which has served as a mosque. This
chamber contains a miḥrâb decorated with exquisite arabesques in stucco;
of the inscription which was placed beneath the pointed arch only a few
letters remain (Fig. 131). The barrel vaults of the corridor, corbelled
slightly forward from the wall and built without centering, are splendid
examples of Mesopotamian brick construction. The roof of a small chamber
at the south-east angle, and the four-sided dome of the mosque, show the
singular arrangement which I had noticed at Baghdâd of a flat piece of
masonry laid over the summit of the vault (Fig. 132). A square chamber
near the mosque had been covered with a dome, and in one corner a
squinch arch, decorated with a tiny ornamental arcade, is still standing
(Fig. 134). On the flanks of the barrel vaults I observed the same
system of tubes which exists at Ukheiḍir (Fig. 133). The masonry and the
plan of the building are closely akin to thirteenth-century work in
Baghdâd, and to that period I should assign it.[127]

There is another guard-house thirty minutes further up the Tigris,
Sheramîyeh is its name. Here we stopped on the following morning to
water our horses, for our road now led us far from the river. A low line
of rocky hills, the Jebel Ḥamrîn, borders the west bank for several
hours’ journey. It runs crosswise over the desert and the river cuts
through it by the Fetḥah gorge. The hills drop sheer into the stream,
leaving no space for a path, and caravans are obliged to skirt the
western slopes, where there is little water and no settled population,
though we saw a few encampments of the Deleim far out in the desert. The
cups and hollows of the plain were filled with a scanty growth of grass.
We rejoiced over the unwonted sight as if each blade were a separate
benediction, and Fattûḥ began to calculate the sums we might save on
provender when the horses could be pastured every evening on fresh

“God is great,” said the zaptieh, “but it has been a year of ruin for
poor men. We have not known where to look for food for our horses, and
more than that, I have received no pay for six months.”

“Please God the new government will give you your pay,” said I.

“Please God,” he answered. “But when it comes the ḍâbiṭs” (officers)
“eat it. Effendim, once I travelled with a ḍâbiṭ who received £T18 a
month, wallah! And my pay was 100 piastres a month. Yet whenever he
drank coffee he left me to defray the expense. Where is eighteen pounds
and where a hundred piastres!”

“God exists,” said the sayyid. “Oh Queen, He exists.”

“Wallah, He exists,” said the zaptieh hopefully.

We camped that night six hours from Sheramîyeh in a sheltered place
among the hills beside a spring of which the waters were bitter with
sulphur and not unmixed with pitch; our companions drank of it, but my
servants and I quaffed royally from the flasks which Jûsef had filled
at the Tigris. While the tents were being pitched I walked to the top of
the hills, and on the banks of watercourses that had but recently run
dry I found flowers, blue larkspurs and purple gentians and a wide
selection of the thistle family. A bowl of larkspurs was set upon my
dinner-table, and Jûsef was very loath to throw them away when we struck
camp, so rare and delicate a possession did they seem to us. But I
assured him that the German professors at Ḳal’at Shergât would have
flowers fairer than these. A more wonderful sight was in store for us on
the next day’s march. We had travelled barely two hours when we splashed
into a pool of rain-water, and then into another; there was grass round
them, green, abundant grass: “More than we have seen all the way from
Aleppo!” exclaimed Jûsef. The region of the drought was over, and when
our path led us to the top of the Jebel Ḥamrîn, here sunk to a low hog’s
back, I was scarcely surprised to see the slopes down to the Tigris red
with poppies. But even the poppies could not withhold the eye from the
great mound of Ḳal’at Shergât by the river’s edge, the mound of Asshur,
crowned with the crumbling mass of a huge zigurrat, the temple pyramid
of the tutelary god of the Assyrians. With the general aspect of the
first capital of Assyria I was already familiar, thanks to the excellent
photographs published by the German Orient-Gesellschaft, but I was not
prepared for so magnificent a prospect. The Tigris in high flood washed
the foot of the temple mound; far away to the north ran the snow-clad
barrier of mountains whence its waters flow--a barrier which Nature
planted in vain against the valour of the Assyrian armies; and across
the river the fertile plain stretched away in long undulations to where
Arbela lies behind low hills. Bountiful gods had showered their gifts
upon the land.

We rode down into the ruin-field and found one of Dr. Andrae’s
colleagues at work in the trial trenches. He directed us to the house
set round with flowers, as I had predicted, wherein the excavators are
lodged. There Dr. Andrae and Mr. Jordan made me so warmly welcome that I
felt like one returning after absence into a circle of life-long
friends. They had grave news to give me, news which was all the more
disquieting because it was as yet nothing but a rumour. Constitutional
government had foundered suddenly, and it might be for ever. The members
of the Committee had fled from Constantinople, the Liberals were
fugitive upon their heels, and once more ’Abdu’l Ḥamîd had set his foot
upon the neck of Turkey. So we interpreted the report that had reached
Asshur, but since there was no means of allaying or of confirming our
anxieties we turned our minds to more profitable fields, and went out to
see the ruins.

A site better favoured than Ḳal’at Shergât for excavations such as those
undertaken by Dr. Andrae and his colleagues could scarcely have been
selected. It has not given them the storied slabs and huge stone
guardians of the gates of kings with which Layard enriched the British
Museum; they have disappeared during the many periods of reconstruction
which the town has witnessed; but those very reconstructions add to the
historic interest of the excavations. Asshur was in existence in the
oldest Assyrian period, and down to the latest days of the empire it was
an honoured shrine of the gods; there are traces of Persian occupation;
in Parthian times the city was re-built, walls and gates were set up
anew, and the whole area within the ancient fortifications was
re-inhabited. Valuable as are the contributions which Dr. Andrae has
been able to make to the history of Assyria, the fact that he is
bringing into the region of critical study a culture so shadowy as that
of the Parthians has remained to us, in spite of its four hundred years
of domination, adds greatly to the magnitude of his achievement. His
researches in this direction have been pursued not only at Asshur, but
at the Parthian city of Hatra, a long day’s journey to the west of the
Tigris, where the famous palace is at last receiving the attention it

The temple of the god Asshur, of which the zigurrat is the most notable
feature of Ḳal’at Shergât, goes back to the earliest Assyrian times, but
the greater part of it is occupied by a Turkish guard-house, and has not
yet been excavated (Fig. 136).




The court between temple and zigurrat lies open; in a later age the
Parthians adorned it with a splendid colonnade, and it is here that Dr.
Andrae has succeeded in piecing together large fragments of Parthian
architectural decoration which throw a new light both upon the arts of
Parthia and upon the succeeding era of the Sassanians. Fortunately there
exist upon the mound other temples of the Assyrian period which he has
been better able to study. Chief of these is the double shrine of the
gods Anu and Adad, lords of heaven and of the thunderstorm, the
excavation of which cost him many months of difficult work. The temple
was finished by Tiglathpileser at the end of the twelfth century before
Christ, but in the course of some three hundred years it fell into
complete decay; Shalmaneser II, he who received the homage of Jehu, as
is recorded on the Black Obelisk in the British Museum, filled in the
ruins of the earlier shrine and set a new edifice upon them, preserving
almost exactly the plan of the old. No Assyrian temple has hitherto been
studied accurately, save one of Sargon’s at Khorsabâd, later by more
than a century than the second temple of Anu and Adad; it was therefore
necessary to get an exact record of both the periods at Asshur, and in
order to leave Shalmaneser’s work undisturbed, Dr. Andrae was compelled
to trace that of Tiglathpileser by means of a system of underground
tunnels. “I have never,” he observed, as he surveyed his handiwork,
“done anything so mad.” But the results have more than justified the
labour. The scheme of the Assyrian temple has now been established by
examples ranging over a period of four hundred years, and it is
conclusively proved that it differed in a remarkable degree from the
Babylonian temple plan, and was related to the plan adopted by Solomon.
In Babylonia the chambers are all laid broadways in respect of the
entrance; that is to say, the door is placed in the centre of one of the
long sides, so that he who enters has only a narrow area in front of
him, and must look to right and left if he would appreciate the size of
the hall. At Jerusalem and in Assyria the main sanctuary ran lengthways,
an immense artistic advance, inasmuch as the broadways-lying hall was at
best a clumsy contrivance which could never have given the sense of
space and dignity conveyed by the other. To the genius of what builders
are we to attribute this masterly comprehension of spatial effect? The
question cannot as yet be answered, but Dr. Andrae is inclined to seek
outside Syria and Mesopotamia for the prototypes of Asshur and
Jerusalem. In the palaces, be it noted, the lengthways hall was never
adopted, but palace architecture is not well illustrated at Asshur,
those buildings having been the first to suffer at the hands of the

The walls to the north of the temples are perhaps the most impressive
part of the excavations. The mound on which the city is built reaches
here its greatest elevation, and the gigantic masses of the
fortifications rear themselves up from its very base. Time after time
the kings of Assyria renewed these bulwarks, setting them forward
further and further against the river, which once washed their
foundations--its bed runs now a little more to the east, where the
stream still flows under the eastern quays of Asshur. The upper parts of
the walls are of unburnt brick, but the lower, as Xenophon observed at
Nimrûd, are cased in massive stone. The stonework was not in reality as
durable as the brick, for the Assyrians had no binding mortar, and the
stones, being set together with mud, could not resist a pressure from
behind, such as that which was offered by the mound itself. A mortar of
asphalt is sometimes used in sun-dried brick, but binding mortar seems
to have been a discovery of the age of Nebuchadnezzar, since it is first
found in constructions of his time at Babylon. The fortifications sweep
round southwards to the Gurgurri Gate, well known in inscriptions, and
identified by epigraphic evidence. Between the gate and the temple and
palace area, a great part of the ground is covered with a network of
streets and houses belonging to a late Assyrian period. The larger
houses consist of an outer court with rooms for servants and dependents,
roughly floored with big cobblestones and traversed by a pathway of
smaller cobbles whereon the masters could cross to the inner paved court
round which their chambers lay. Every house, however small, is provided
with a bath-room. The whole complex has the appearance of another
Pompeii, though it is more ancient than the Italian Pompeii by six or
seven hundred years. Down in the plain, outside the city walls, stood a
magnificent building which has been christened by the excavators the
Festhaus. It is a fine open court, surrounded on two sides by a
colonnade, while on the side opposite to the gate there is a raised
platform of solid masonry. The court must have had the aspect of a
formal garden, for at regular intervals there are holes in the hard
conglomerate of the floor which the excavators conjecture to have been
filled with earth and planted with shrubs. In this colonnaded garden was
celebrated the spring sacrifice, the annual festival in honour of the
fruitful earth. The plan of the building is not Assyrian--the column
itself is a non-Mesopotamian feature--but whence it was derived it would
be impossible as yet to say.

Throughout the area of the city a series of deep trial trenches have
been dug, cutting through the Parthian period, through the late
Assyrian, and down to the earliest times. These trenches afford
materials for the most fascinating studies. One of the earliest cities
that stood upon the mound of Asshur is, curiously enough, the easiest to
trace. The houses are in an unusually perfect state; their walls,
preserved not infrequently to a height of several feet, enclose little
cobbled courtyards with narrow cobbled streets between. These worn and
ancient ways, emerging from under the steep sides of the trench and
disappearing again into the earth at its furthest limit, give the
observer a sense as of visualized history, as though the millenniums had
dropped away that separate him from the busy life of the antique world.
It is probable that the city to which they belong was destroyed by some
overwhelming catastrophe, laid desolate, perhaps by an onslaught of the
Mitanni kings of northern Mesopotamia or of the Babylonians from the
south, and so left in age-long ruin until a later generation completed
the filling up of court and street which had been begun by time,
levelled the whole and built their dwellings upon foundations of the
past. The Assyrians were content to leave their story inscribed on clay
cylinder or on stone; they did not, like the Egyptians, rear for their
dead enduring monuments, but each man in turn was thrust into a clay
sarcophagus or sepulchral jar lying immediately below the floor of his
own dwelling--we counted as many as fifteen burials in one of the
smaller houses--or placed, with a slightly greater regard for the
comfort of the living, in an adjoining subterranean chamber vaulted with

As Dr. Andrae led me about the city, drawing forth its long story with
infinite skill from wall and trench and cuneiform inscription, the
lavish cruel past rushed in upon us. The myriad soldiers of the Great
King, transported from the reliefs in the British Museum, marched
through the gates of Asshur; the captives, roped and bound, crowded the
streets; defeated princes bowed themselves before the victor and subject
races piled up their tribute in his courts. We saw the monarch go out to
the chase, and heard the roaring of the lion, half paralyzed by the dart
in its spine, which animates the stone with its wild anguish. Human
victims cried out under nameless tortures; the tide of battle raged
against the walls, and, red with carnage, rose into the palaces.
Splendour and misery, triumph and despair, lifted their head out of the

One hot night I sat with my hosts upon the roof of their house. The
Tigris, in unprecedented flood, swirled against the mound, a waste of
angry waters. Above us rose the zigurrat of the god Asshur. It had
witnessed for four thousand years the melting of the Kurdish snows,
flood-time and the harvest that follows; gigantic, ugly, intolerably
mysterious, it dominated us, children of an hour.

“What did they watch from its summit?” I asked, stung into a sharp
consciousness of the unknown by a scene almost as old as recorded life.

“They watched the moon,” said Dr. Andrae, “as we do. Who knows? they
watched for the god.”

I have left few places so unwillingly as I left Ḳal’at Shergât.

We rode northwards for eight hours and camped at Tell Gayârah, near to
which there are some small pitch springs. The land of Assyria grew ever
more fertile as we journeyed up into it, and that night the horses were
picketed knee-deep in grass, to the boundless satisfaction of the
muleteers. I was anxious on the following day to visit Nimrûd, the
Assyrian city mentioned in Genesis as Calah, but in order to do so it
was necessary to find a ferry across the Tigris, which was a doubtful
undertaking. Even if it were found, the flood might make ferry-boats
unprofitable vessels, therefore I detached Fattûḥ from the caravan and
bade him ride with the zaptieh and me, Fattûḥ being master of a thousand
wiles with which to baffle difficulty, and possessor foreby of a
remarkably strong right arm. We rode in two hours to Mangûb, where there
are a few ruined huts. On the opposite bank of the Tigris a number of
mounds mark the site of ancient villages. The grass grew thick by the
river, and on the higher ground it had also sprouted abundantly, though
it was now withered. Presently we spied upon the path in front of us an
effendi on horseback, who carried a big umbrella to protect himself from
the sun. His state was further enhanced by the presence of a few

“He is coming to Gayârah,” said my soldier. “They have sent him from
Môṣul to judge a dispute about the crops. Four men were murdered last
week at Gayârah, and ten are lying fatally wounded.”

This was news to me. I had been peacefully unconscious of the dead and
dying as I watched my horses knee-deep in the grass. The effendi, when
he came up to us, addressed me as follows:

“Bonjour, Madame. Comment aimez vous le désert?”

“Mais beaucoup,” said I, somewhat astonished to hear the French tongue
spoken in it. And then I added quickly: “What tidings have you from

The effendi drew his brows together.

“We hear that troops from Salonica have entered the town and captured
two barracks.”

“Did they take them without difficulty?” I asked.

“We do not know,” he returned.

“Please God!” said I.

“Adieu,” he replied hurriedly, and rode upon his way. In those days of
uncertainty it was not wise to be drawn into a definite expression of

Our road took us up a ridge, and when we came to its crest I drew
bridle, for the history of Asia was spread out before my eyes. Below us
the Great Zâb flowed into the Tigris; here Tissaphernes murdered the
Greek generals, here Xenophon took over the command, and having crossed
the Zâb at a higher point, turned and drove back the archers of
Mithridates. To the north the mound of Nimrûd, where the Greeks saw the
ruins of Calah, stood out among the cornfields; eastward lay the plain
of Arbela, where Alexander overthrew Darius. The whole world shone like
a jewel, green corn, blue waters, and the gleaming snows that bound
Mesopotamia to the north; but to my ears the smiling landscape cried out
a warning: the people of the West can conquer but they can never hold
Asia, no, not when they go out under the banners of Alexander himself.

We rode up the bank of the Tigris, and when we came opposite to Tell
Nimrûd there, by good fortune, was a ferry-boat, plying across the river
with the men and flocks of the Jebbûr. The cause of their migration to
the left bank was hopping about our feet--locusts, newly issued from the
rocky ground and swarming over every blade of grass and corn.

“In two days there will be no pasture, and our flocks will die,”
explained an aged shepherd. “Let the consul cross!” he shouted, as the
ferry-boat drew up beside the bank and half the tribe clambered into it.

We ejected two calves, a mare and a few goats and installed ourselves in
their place. The ferry-boat was as tightly packed as the ark and the
passengers nearly as varied; they all talked, whinnied, baa-ed and
bleated at once as we pushed out into the swift stream. I climbed on to
the back of my mare, which seemed the cleanest and the roomiest spot,
and we busied ourselves in catching locusts and throwing them into the
water, for, alas! they had embarked with us by the hundred.

The mound of Nimrûd, when I saw it, lay in a waving sea of corn. The
holes and pits of Layard’s diggings were filled to the brim with grass
and flowers, and the zigurrat of the war god Ninib reared its bare head
out of a field of poppies. But except for the flowers, Nimrûd, whence we
obtained many of the treasures of our museum in London, is a pitiful
sight for English eyes. Its neglected state stands in sharp contrast
with the pious care which the German excavators are expending upon the
ruins of Asshur. Carved and inscribed blocks have been left exposed to
the malicious attacks of Arab boys,[128] who hold it a meritorious act
to deface an idol, and to the even slenderer mercy of the winter rains
and frosts. In one place a stone statue projects head and shoulders out
of the ground, the face of the king or god which it represents being
already terribly battered (Fig. 135). The number of Assyrian statues
known to us is exceedingly small--not more than seven or eight have been
brought to light--yet this splendid example is allowed to fall into
decay for want of a handful of earth wherewith to cover it. The city of
Calah is associated with some of Layard’s most memorable triumphs; for
the sake of our own honour it would be well that we should take steps to
preserve the works of art that remain in it, and that, if we cannot find
money to transport them to the museum at Constantinople, we should at
least employ a few men to re-bury them until more enthusiastic
archæologists turn their attention to Nimrûd.

Sheikh ’Askar of the Jebbûr, who had accompanied me from his tents by
the river, listened sympathetically while I lamented over the statue,
and volunteered to bury it under the earth as soon as his men should
have brought over their flocks from the west bank. I applauded the
suggestion and encouraged it with bakhshîsh, but unless I am much
mistaken, the sheikh’s resolve has not yet reached the point of
execution. We sat in his tent while we waited for the ferry-boat, and
with eager hospitality he set before us coffee, bread, and a mess of
apricots--it was the last Arab coffee fire that was to be lighted in our
honour (Fig. 129). So we ferried back, climbed a bluff alive with
locusts, and cantered through sweet-smelling crops to the sulphur
springs of Ḥammâm ’Alî. A few minutes beyond the village our tents were
pitched in deep luxuriant grass.

We struck camp next morning with an agreeable sense of excitement. Môṣul
was only four hours away, and the advantages of city life--consulates,
rest from travel, news of the outer world--shone very brightly before
us. The rising sun, the dewy cornfields, the flowering grass, lent their
enchantment to our breakfast, and gaily we stepped out upon the road.
Before us lay a little ridge that separated us from Môṣul; we had
journeyed towards it for half-an-hour when there fell upon our ears a
sound that made our hearts stand still. It was the boom of cannon.

Said Fattûḥ: “What is that?” But none of us could answer.

We went on through the smiling sunny landscape and the green corn, where
the peasants stood by the irrigation trenches, their work suspended,
their faces turned towards that ominous sound, and presently we met an
old man. He too listened.

“Why are they firing cannon in Môṣul?” I asked.

“God knows!” he answered, and wrung his hands together. “Perhaps it is
news from Stambûl. One man says one thing and one another, and God knows
what is true.”

A little further a ragged pair came down the road toward us.

“When did you set out from Môṣul?” said Fattûḥ.

“At the first dawn,” they answered, and fear was in their eyes.

“What was happening there?” asked Fattûḥ.

“Nothing,” they replied. “When we set out, wallah! there was nothing.”

We left them standing in the road with anxious faces turned towards the
town. And still the cannon boomed over the hill.

“Môṣul is an evil city,” said Fattûḥ to the zaptieh.

“It is evil,” he answered. “Blood flows there like the water of the

After a few minutes two Arabs galloped up behind us on their mares, and
one carried a great lance.

“Whither going?” cried Fattûḥ.

“To Môṣul,” they shouted.

“What is your business?” he called out.

“We heard the cannon,” they replied, and galloped up the hill. The
zaptieh went with them.

“He will be little use if Môṣul is up,” observed Fattûḥ.

At this moment the cannon ceased, and we saw a party of four or five
soldiers riding over the brow. The Arabs and my zaptieh stopped to speak
to them, and then turned back with them, coming slowly towards us down
the ridge.

“These know,” said Fattûḥ.

They stopped when they reached us, and the moment was big with Fate.

“Peace be upon you,” they said.

“And upon you peace,” I returned. “What is the news?”

And one answered: “Reshâd is Sultan.”

“God prolong his existence!” said I.

Upon this we parted, and they went down the hill, and we in silence to
the top of the ridge. The silver Tigris and the green plain lay before
us, and in the midst the city of Môṣul, which had published the
accession of another lord.

“Praise God!” said I, looking down upon that fair land.

“To Him the praise!” echoed Fattûḥ.

And then the zaptieh gave voice to his thought.

“All the days of ’Abdu’l Ḥamîd,” he said, “we never drew our pay.”


The ruined mosque at Sâmarrâ has an interior measurement of 240 × 157·60
m., the greater length being from

[Illustration: FIG. 137.--SÂMARRÂ, MOSQUE.]






north to south (Fig. 135). The four angle towers are larger in diameter
than those which are set along the walls. The intermediate bastions are
perfectly regular in size and shape except the two on either side of the
southern gate, from which a segment is cut off by the door openings, and
the bastion immediately to the west of the same gate which has a small
addition to the western part of its curve, an addition which I do not
believe to be later in date though the brickwork is of a slightly
different character. The southern gate is a triple opening in the middle
of the wall where it would be natural to look for the miḥrâb (Fig. 138).
There are remains of mouldings round the inner face of the central
opening (Fig. 139). The upper part of the south wall is pierced by
twenty-four windows, two of them being placed over the smaller openings
of the central gateway (Fig. 122). These windows, together with the
trenches in the interior of the mosque which mark the line of the
columns, determine the number of the colonnades; there must have been
twenty-four, each one ending against the wall between the windows. The
central aisle which terminated at the main gate and was wider than the
rest, was not provided with a window. The space between the colonnades
was undoubtedly roofed with beams; the holes into which the large
cross-beams were fitted can still be seen on the inner side of the south
wall. The windows, placed with regard to the aisles, bear no relation to
the position of the round bastions on the exterior of the wall. They
break into them at haphazard, frequently impinging upon their sides,
while in one instance a window is cut straight through a tower (Fig.
120). On the inner face the windows are covered by a cusped arch (Fig.
142). The east and west walls are broken by numerous doors. Beginning
from the southern end there is first a small entrance, 1·25 m. wide,
close to the angle bastion (Fig. 141). A wall about a metre in length
projects from the main wall to the south of the door opening and has
been connected with the top of the main wall by a section of vaulting.
Immediately beyond this postern there is a large gateway 4·55 m. wide,
and then another which is still larger, being 4·75 m. wide. The next
door is 3·85 m.; the fifth, which is only 2·62 m., is found in the west
wall alone. Then follows another of the larger doors, about 4 metres
wide, beyond which there is, in the west wall only, a door 2·62 m. wide;
then on both sides a large door 4·05 m. wide and a small door 1·50 m.
wide. The north wall is broken by five gates, the two at the outer ends
averaging 1·50 m. and the other three 4 metres in width. All the smaller
doors exhibit an exceedingly curious piece of construction (Fig. 140).
The brickwork of the wall runs uninterruptedly over the door opening
without the intermission of arch or lintel. It is as if the door had
been cut out of the wall with a knife, and the bricks above it, so far
as they keep their place, do so only by reason of the excellence of the
mortar. The wall above the larger doors has in every case fallen away,
but there is evidence of the former existence of some kind of lintel or
arch strengthened by wooden beams, the round holes for the beams being
visible in the existing masonry (Fig. 143). I incline to the theory of a
lintel; the faced wall above the holes leaves no room for an arch. Above
this lintel there would seem to have been a row of small arched windows
two or three in number (_cf._ the two side openings of the south gate
where there is a single window above the arch). Along the top of the
east, west, and north walls runs a brickwork decoration consisting of a
series of recessed squares, each of which contains the recessed segment
of a sphere. The walls are seamed from top to bottom with narrow
runnels, which were no doubt connected with the drainage system of the
roof. There is no unanimity of opinion among those who have planned the
mosque concerning the number of the colonnades in the interior. As I
have already said, it seems to me evident that there were twenty-four
rows of columns or piers, from east to west, at the northern and
southern ends of the mosque. I made out the colonnades to be ten deep
upon the south side and three deep upon the north, while upon the east
and west sides I counted four rows of columns.[130] The supports of the
arcades must have been either columns or small piers. From the absence
of any structural remains, such as might have been expected if the
supports had taken the form of brick piers, I incline, with Herzfeld, to
the view that the roof must have been carried on columns. Their total
disappearance may possibly be accounted for by the fact that they were
of wood,[131] though Muḳaddasî, writing at the end of the tenth century,
relates that the mosque of Sâmarrâ was built upon marble columns and his
evidence cannot be wholly dismissed. In the centre of the open court was
placed, in all probability, the famous stone basin called the Kâs i
Fir’aun (Pharaoh’s Cup), which is described by Mustaufî.[132] The
minaret, with its singular spiral path, stands to the north of the
mosque. The summit, though somewhat ruined, still retains a decoration
of niches. There can be little doubt that the mosque is that which was
erected by Mutawakkil (A.D. 847-861) to replace Mu’tamid’s Friday
mosque, but Yâḳût asserts that the minaret is a relic of Mu’tamid’s
foundation. Yâḳût, however, wrote in 1225 when Sâmarrâ had long been in

Next in importance to the mosque is the castle or palace on the opposite
bank of the Tigris, known as the ’Ashiḳ (Fig. 145).[133] The first time
I visited it we crossed in a guffah from a point a little below the town
where there is usually a bridge of boats. The bridge had been swept away
by the floods and the guffah landing was very bad. It was a full hour’s

[Illustration: FIG. 145.--EL ’ASHIḲ.]

ride up the river to El ’Ashiḳ, but I was rewarded for my trouble by
finding indubitable traces of a masonry bridge in the low ground almost
exactly opposite a curious little building called Ṣlebîyeh. My attention
was called to the bridge by seeing men digging out the brick piers and
arches for building material. The peasants told me that when the river
is low, piers can be seen in the bed of the stream and that the bridge
ran in the direction of the Beit el Khalîfah. I give this information
for what it is worth. Ya’ḳûbî mentions a bridge of boats (ed. de Goeje,
p. 263); it is not impossible that pontoons may have been thrown across
the deepest and swiftest part of the river and connected with the high
ground on the west bank, which is at some distance from the stream, by a
series of masonry arches of which I saw the remains. The piers and
arches would therefore have stood on ground which was under water in
time of high flood. This is exactly the arrangement of the modern bridge
at Môṣul. The castle of the ’Ashiḳ consists of a great enclosure, 123
metres from north to south and 85 metres from east to west, surrounded
by a wall with round bastions which are set upon a rectangular base
(Fig. 146). All the buildings that may have stood within the wall have
vanished, but adjoining the north wall there are remains of a gatehouse
consisting of five parallel chambers opening on to a corridor or
platform. The chambers and the corridor are built upon a substructure of
vaults. Under the corridor the vaults run from east to west, except in
the central part where the vault running from north to south is a
continuation of the vault under the central chamber. Under the five
chambers all the vaults run from north to south.[134] The vaults are
built of flat tiles laid in slices against the head-wall without
centering. They have the usual small set forward from the wall, but in
one case, perhaps in more than one, there is a slight divergence from
the customary arrangement. From the spring of the vault the tiles are
laid horizontally for the first sixteen or seventeen courses, projecting
forward so as to form a shallow curve;


above these horizontal courses the tiles are laid upright and in slices;
they form an ovoid curve more abrupt than the curve of the lower part of
the vault. The fourth of the upper chambers, reckoning from east to
west, is the best preserved. It shows the remains of a doorway, 1·85 m.
wide, covered on the same principle as the small doors of the mosques,
_i.e._ without lintel or arch. A moat or trench runs all round the
castle and passes to the north of the gatehouse. A bridge, of which
small trace remains, connected the gatehouse with a rectangular outpost.
To the north and east of this outpost there are fragments of a wall and
towers which encompassed a rectangular area.[135] The most interesting
feature in the ruins is the niche decoration between the bastions of the
north wall (Fig. 148). The niches have been in part filled up--no doubt
they were found to be too dangerous a weakness to the wall--but their
scheme is clearly apparent (Fig. 144). Each niche consisted of a high
cusped arch above a rectangular recessed panel which enclosed in turn a
smaller arched niche. High up on the wall, near the western angle tower,
there are traces of an upper order of niches. There is some indication
that the niches were continued in the first north bay of the west wall,
but the remainder of this wall, together with the whole of the east
wall, is completely ruined. The disadvantage of these deep niches is
evident in the south wall where the niche has been broken through at its
weakest point and has now the appearance of a door. In the two central
towers on this side there seemed to have been small flat-roofed chambers
(Fig. 147). The building materials used in the castle are burnt and
sun-dried brick. The foundations of the

[Illustration: FIG. 146.--SÂMARRÂ, EL ’ASHIḲ FROM NORTH.]

[Illustration: FIG. 147.--SÂMARRÂ, EL ’ASHIḲ FROM SOUTH.]

[Illustration: FIG. 150.--SÂMARRÂ, ṢLEBÎYEH.]


walls and towers, the vaulted substructures, the niched face of the
north wall and its towers, together with what remains of the south wall
and towers are of burnt brick, but all the rest of the structure,
including the partition walls of the gatehouse, are of sun-dried brick,
and the same material is used to fill up the niches in the north wall.

[Illustration: FIG. 149.--ṢLEBÎYEH.]

I rode northwards from the ’Ashiḳ for exactly an hour to the ruins of
Ḥuweiṣilât where there are traces of a wall set with towers. One tower
alone stood to any height; it appeared to mark the north-west corner of
a rectangular enclosure, in the centre of which was a mound covered with
fragments of tiles, but the east side of the enclosing wall was so
completely destroyed that I could not make out the line of it. One
important point is to be noted: the wall and towers were not built of
brick, but of pebbles set in concrete, exactly similar to the masonry of
the Ḳâim tower, and I think it possible that both Ḳâim and Ḥuweiṣilât
may belong to an age prior to the Abbâsid period. It must, however, be
added that the gateway of the castle at Tekrît, which is undoubtedly
Mohammadan, is built of the same materials. South of the ’Ashiḳ is the
ruin known as Ḳubbet es Ṣlebîyeh (Fig. 149). It consists of a small
square central chamber, octagonal upon the exterior, encompassed by an
octagonal corridor (Fig. 150). The central chamber had been covered by a
dome which was set on a simple bracket over the angles of the
substructure (Fig. 151); the corridor had been barrel vaulted. Fragments
of the transverse arches that helped to carry the vault are still in
place. Ṣlebîyeh was built of sun-dried brick covered with plaster.

When I went to the ’Ashiḳ for the second time I sent a guffah up the
river to above Lekweir and dropped down-stream to the ruins of the
castle, whence we floated down to the camp. On this most pleasant
expedition I took occasion to examine Lekweir. It lies about an hour’s
ride above Sâmarrâ, and unlike all the other ruins, it is in the low
ground by the water’s edge. Its complete destruction is perhaps due to
its having been at the mercy of the flooded river. Great blocks of
fallen brickwork lie upon the bank and in the stream, while a massive
brick wall forms a sort of quay. A large building must have adjoined
this quay, for the ground is tossed into mounds for a considerable
distance and the mounds are strewn with broken brick and with fragments
of thin marble slabs, pink, green and greyish-white in colour.

[Illustration: FIG. 152.--SÂMARRÂ, BEIT EL KHALÎFAH.]

The only other edifice which has escaped complete destruction is the
Beit el Khalîfah (the House of the Khalif) (Fig. 152).[136] It is a
triple-vaulted hall standing above the Tigris (Fig. 153.)[137] The
central hall was no doubt the audience chamber of the palace; it
corresponds to the great hall at Ctesiphon. The two wings are divided
into a small ante-chamber, covered with a semi-dome set on squinches
(Fig. 154), and a larger room roofed with a barrel vault. The vaults are
all slightly pointed and all are built on the

[Illustration: FIG. 153.--SÂMARRÂ, BEIT EL KHALÎFAH.]






Mesopotamian system, without centering and with a small corbelling
forward from the wall. Under this outset there are a series of square
holes as if for beams, though it is scarcely conceivable that beams can
have been laid across the halls at this point. Round wooden poles were
certainly used in the body of the walls; the wood has perished leaving
the round hole which it occupied. The windows (or doors?) of the
chambers on either side of the triple hall were covered without lintel
or arch in the manner already described. The decoration of the palace
must have been mainly of stucco, worked in relief or frescoed. Lying
upon the ground were small fragments of plaster bearing a frescoed
pattern of a simple kind, a row of circles outlined in red and yellow; a
small piece of moulded stucco is still attached to the inside of the
arch over the opening of the central chamber (Fig. 155) and I picked up
other pieces (Fig. 158). While I was at work a peasant came to me and
inquired whether I would like to see a picture which he had just
unearthed. I went with him to a trench close at hand, where he had been
digging for bricks, and found a beautiful piece of plaster work adhering
to a wall (Fig. 156). It was doomed to instant destruction that the
bricks behind it might be removed. I inquired whether such decorations
were frequently discovered, and promised a reward for any piece that was
brought to me, with the result that before I left I had been provided
with four other examples. Three showed variants of a continuous pattern
(Figs. 159 and 160), while the third was worked with a fret motive (Fig.
161). To the east of the triple hall there are some underground chambers
hollowed out of the rock. They have been explained in various manners
and fully described by Viollet. Here as elsewhere in Sâmarrâ the rock
begins immediately below the surface of the ground. It is a conglomerate
of pebbles in a bed of lime, exceedingly hard to work and covered with
so thin a layer of earth that no cultivation is possible. The
cornfields and vineyards of the Abbâsid Sâmarrâ lay on the opposite bank
of the Tigris in the low alluvial soil beneath the ridge on which stand
Ḥuweiṣilât, the ’Ashiḳ and Ṣlebîyeh. Near the underground chambers of
the Beit el Khalîfah there are considerable mounds, and in some places
fragments of building which appertained to the palace. The walls are of
sun-dried brick and the rooms have been covered with domes and
semi-domes resting on squinch arches.


Almost due east of the Beit el Khalîfah there rises out of the middle of
the plain a large artificial mound, Tell ’Alîj.[138] It is surrounded by
a moat, and beyond the moat there are traces of a circular wall. A
little to the east of north a raised causeway leads down from the top of
the tell, crosses the moat by what must once have been a bridge and runs
straight as an arrow over the space between moat and wall

[Illustration: FIG. 160.--SÂMARRÂ, STUCCO DECORATION.]

[Illustration: FIG. 161.--SÂMARRÂ, STUCCO DECORATION.]

[Illustration: FIG. 162.--SÂMARRÂ, FRAGMENT OF POTTERY.]

[Illustration: FIG. 163.--SÂMARRÂ, FRAGMENT OF POTTERY.]

[Illustration: FIG. 165.--ABU DULÂF, ARCADE.]


(Ross made it 110 paces) and across the plain for about half-a-mile. It
ends at a low mound where Ross found remains of brickwork. On either
side of the point where the causeway reaches the outer edge of the
ditch, a low mound, fanning out from the causeway, stretches from ditch
to rampart. These mounds are the remains of walls that protected the
causeway. Local tradition says that the moat was fed with water by a
canal from the Tigris; Ross adds that the ḳanât, or cut as he calls it,
brought water from a channel (he uses the word tunnel, by which he
probably means ḳanât, underground conduit) which ran from the Jebel
Ḥamrîn to Sâmarrâ. What this singular fortified mound can be I do not
know, but I should be surprised if it did not belong to a period earlier
than the days of the Abbâsids.

All the area of the city is strewn with Mohammadan potsherds, but the
pottery is markedly different in character from that of Raḳḳah. Coloured
ware, though it is not entirely absent, is rare; by far the greater
number of pieces are unglazed and ornamented only with incised patterns
which are frequently divided into zones by raised notched bands. I saw,
too, a few fragments of a better class of pottery with beautiful
patterns or inscriptions in relief, worked with the utmost care. When
the peasants discovered that the patterned clay excited my interest they
brought basket loads of broken pots to my tents and I drew and
photographed innumerable examples, two of which I here reproduce (Figs.
162 and 163).

In the mosque of Abu Dulâf (Fig. 164)[139] the arcades are carried on
massive brick piers and the effect of the long, half-ruined aisles is
very imposing (Fig. 165). The area embraced by the outer wall of
sun-dried brick is slightly smaller than at Sâmarrâ (213·20 × 136·50 m.)
and the arcades are more widely spaced, but the type of plan is the
same, even to the spiral minaret to the north. Although the enclosing
wall is no better than a crumbling mound, it is possible to make out

[Illustration: FIG. 164.--ABU DULÂF.]

gateways, inasmuch as the jambs, which were built of burnt brick, stand
more or less intact. The arcades and their returns against the wall are
also of burnt brick, and so are the remains of the three bastions which
are all that can be seen in the south wall. In the centre of this wall
there is another fragment of burnt brick which might be the curve of a
miḥrâb but is more probably a door leading into a small building or
vestibule,[140] of which the shapeless mounds can be distinguished
immediately to the south of the wall. There is a space of 10·40 m.
between the outer wall and the southernmost row of piers, and the ruins
give no indication of its having been roofed over. But if this transept
were open to the sky it is unlikely that the miḥrâb should have been
placed in it, and I should therefore place a door in the centre of the
south wall as at Sâmarrâ. The space between the arcades at the northern
and southern ends of the mosque averages 6·20 m., but the alley which
conducts to the central door at either end measures 7·33 m. in width.
Similarly the alley conducting to the central doors leading into the
court from east and west is 4·90 m. wide, whereas the average width of
the intercolumniation of the east and west arcades is 4·15 m. The plan
exhibits everywhere noticeable irregularities; the arcades vary in
width, sometimes by as much as ten centimetres. The small piers in the
ḥaram average 2·10 × 1·73 m., the greater length being from north to
south. The piers of the arcades to east and west of the ṣaḥn average
4·03 × 1·57 m.; the small piers of the northern arcades 2·18 × 1·52 m.
All the piers bordering the central court are adorned upon the face
which is turned towards the court with a brick niche covered with a
cusped arch and placed high up on the pier (Fig. 166). There is also a
decoration of small niches upon the north side of the base of the
minaret; the other sides are too much ruined to have retained the trace
of it. The north wall of the mosque is the best preserved, and shows in
places the same drainage runnels that were described at Sâmarrâ.

The ruins of which I have here given a brief account are of the first
importance for the elucidation of the early history of the arts of
Islâm. They can all be dated within a period of forty years falling in
the middle of the ninth century, and are therefore among the earliest
existing examples of Mohammadan architecture. They bear witness to the
Mesopotamian influences under which it arose. The spiral towers of
Sâmarrâ and Abu Dulâf[141] are an adaptation of the temple pyramids of
Assyria and Babylonia which had a spiral path leading to the summit; the
technique of arch and vault was invented by the ancient East and
transmitted through Sassanian builders to the Arab invaders; the
decoration is Persian or Mesopotamian and almost untouched by the genius
of the West.[142] In the palaces and mosques of Sâmarrâ, we can see the
conquerors themselves conquered by a culture which had been developing
during thousands of years on Mesopotamian soil, a culture which had
received indeed new elements into its composition, which had learnt from
the Greek and from the Persian, but had maintained in spite of all
modifications its distinctive character. Side by side with Sâmarrâ stand
the ruins at Raḳḳah, where the mosque repaired by Nûr ed Dîn probably
preserves a plan which can be dated even earlier than the two mosques on
the Tigris; and finally the scheme and decoration of the Mesopotamian
mosque is reproduced with certain variations in the latter half of the
ninth century by Ibn Ṭûlûn, and the last descendant of the Babylonian
zigurrat is the minaret of his mosque at Cairo.[143]



_April 28--May 10_

The city of Môṣul has a turbulent record which has lost nothing of its
quality during the past few years. It lies upon the frontier of the Arab
and the Kurdish populations, and the meeting between those two is seldom
accompanied by cordiality or good-will on either side. Upon the unhappy
province of Môṣul hatred and the lust of slaughter weigh like inherited
evils, transmitted (who can say?) through all the varying generations of
conquerors since first the savage might of the Assyrian empire set its
stamp upon the land. The town is distracted by the ambitions of powerful
Arab families who ruled, until less than a century ago, each over his
estate in undisputed sovereignty. These lordlings have witnessed, with
an antagonism which they are scarcely at the pains to hide, the hand of
the Turk tightening slowly over the district; nowhere will the Arab
national movement, if it reaches the blossoming point, find a more
congenial soil, and nowhere will it be watered by fuller streams of
lawless vanity. Cruel and bloody as Ottoman rule has shown itself upon
these remote frontiers, it is better than the untrammelled mastery of
Arab beg or Kurdish âghâ, and if the half-exterminated Christian sects,
the persecuted Yezîdîs, the wretched fellaḥîn of every creed, who sow in
terror crops which they may never reap, are to win protection and
prosperity, it is to the Turk that they must look. He, and he only, can
control the warring races of his empire, and when he has learnt to use
his power impartially and with rectitude, peace will follow. But it is
yet far from Môṣul, and seldom has it seemed further than in the
beginning of the year 1909.

Except inasmuch as a greater distance from Constantinople and Salonica
meant a thinner trickle of western ideas, I do not believe that there
existed in Môṣul a more definite opposition to the new order than in
other places, though there, as elsewhere in Asiatic Turkey, the forces
of reaction were numerous and strong. But Môṣul has always been against
the government, whatever form it should happen to assume; the begs have
always played with the authorities as you play with a fish on the hook,
and the fact that they were now constitutional authorities gave an even
better zest to the sport and barbed the hook yet more sharply. The
affairs of the Committee had been ill managed. The local committee,
which had formed on the proclamation of the constitution, had received
with open arms the delegates who were sent from Salonica to instruct it
in its duties--indeed the whole town had gone out to meet them, with the
Vâlî and other notables at its head. But the delegates had been
unfortunately chosen. Both were ignorant and tactless; one was a native
of Kerkûk, the bitter rival of Môṣul, and he had, besides, anything but
an unclouded personal reputation. The local committee lost rather than
gained by their coming, and when they left, they rode unescorted across
the bridge, and no one took notice of their departure. With them
vanished the slender hopes of improvement which the proclamation of
liberty, fraternity and equality had excited, and the begs were left
with a clear field. To their ears the words had sounded like a knell.
Universal liberty is not a gift prized by tyrants, and equality stinks
in the nostrils of men who are accustomed to see their Christian fellow
citizens cower into the nearest doorway when they ride through the
streets. They had no difficulty in causing their dissatisfaction to be
felt. The organization of discord is carried to a high pitch of
perfection in Môṣul. The town is full of bravos who live by outrage, and
live well. Whenever the unruly magnates wish to create a disturbance,
they pass a word and a gratuity to these ruffians; the riot takes place,
and who is to be blamed for it? The begs were all in their villages and
could have had no hand in the matter; it was Abu’l

[Illustration: FIG. 167.--MÔṢUL.]

[Illustration: FIG. 169.--MÔṢUL, MÂR JIRJIS.]

[Illustration: FIG. 170.--MÔṢUL, MÂR TÛMÂ.]

Ḳâsim, the noted bandit, it was Ibn this or Ibn that. As for the
opportunity, it is never far to seek, and upon this occasion it occurred
on the last day of the feast of Bairam, January 1, 1909. The people were
out in the streets, dressed in their best, as is proper to a festival,
when a man of the Kurdish mule corps from Kerkûk insulted (so it is
said) a Moslem woman of Môṣul. In an instant arms were out, the Arab
soldiery attacked the Kerkûkî sowwârs, a fight ensued that lasted many
hours, and in the confusion several Mohammadan women, holiday-makers,
who had not had time to seek refuge in their houses, were killed and
wounded, a most unusual disaster. Meantime, the Vâlî sat trembling in
the serai and lifted not a finger to restore order. Late at night the
Kerkûkîs retired to their own barracks, surrendered at discretion to the
government, and gave up their arms. This episode might be dismissed as a
natural ebullition of racial animosities, but the events of the
following day can scarcely be explained except on the assumption that
they were instigated by the begs. In the morning a rabble assembled
before the serai and cried out for vengeance on the Kerkûkî sowwârs, who
were awaiting judgment at the hands of the government. The Vâlî
hesitated, and the ringleaders called upon the crowd to arm. The people
executed this order with the alacrity of the forewarned, shops and
private houses barred their doors and the town was thrown into a state
of civil war.

There lived at that time in Môṣul a certain Kurdish holy man, a native
of Suleimânîyeh on the Persian frontier. Some years earlier Sheikh
Sayyid had fallen foul of the Turkish authorities--his own influence
having swelled into too great a force--and had received a summons, which
was regarded as implying the blackest misfortune, to present himself in
Constantinople. It happened, when he arrived in the capital, that a
favourite son of the Sultan was lying sick, and since the sheikh had a
great reputation for sanctity, his punishment was delayed while he put
up an intercession on behalf of the child. It was effectual: the boy
recovered, and the sheikh returned in honour to his native place, with
a chaplet of priceless pearls about his neck and a celebrity immensely
enhanced. He was old and had long been harmless, but his sons traded
upon his position and presently made Suleimânîyeh too hot to hold them.
The whole family was under the direct protection of ’Abdu’l Ḥamîd; it
was considered advisable to remove them to a spot where they would be
equally directly under the eye of his deputy, the Vâlî, and they were
brought to Môṣul. They came in like princes on a triumphal progress. The
streets were choked with the mules that carried their possessions, and a
house opposite the serai was assigned to them as a lodging.

No sooner had the rioters reassembled with arms on January 2, than they
were directed to the house of the Kurdish family. Sheikh Sayyid was a
man of eighty-five, but he had the courage of his race. When he heard
the mob storming at his doors, he took the Ḳurân in his hand and clothed
in years and sanctity stepped out into the street, intending to take
refuge in the serai. Its door was opposite his own, and the Vâlî from a
window watched the scene. The rabble gave way before the venerable
figure clasping the holy book, but before he could reach the serai, it
closed in upon him, he was cut down and hacked to pieces. His house was
then sacked and seventeen of his descendants were murdered. If the
leaders of the reactionary party had wished to embarrass the government
and to show up its weakness, they were more than commonly successful.
During the six weeks that elapsed before the arrival of troops from
Diyârbekr and elsewhere, Môṣul was in a state of complete anarchy.
Christians were openly insulted in the streets, the civil and military
authorities were helpless, and no less helpless was the local committee
of Union and Progress. When the troops came some degree of order was
restored, but the reactionary movement was not arrested. The formation
of the League of Mohammad, which was designed as a counterblast to the
Committee of Union and Progress, went on apace. It appealed to Moslems
of the old school, who had a genuine dread of the effects of the new
spirit upon the observance of the laws of Islâm; it appealed to the
ignorant, to whom the conception of the equality of Christian and
Moslem is incomprehensible, and it was eagerly welcomed by all who were
opposed to constitutional government on grounds more or less personal to
themselves. One great magnate went through the bazaars collecting the
signatures of adherents to the Muḥammadîyeh, and for a time the
situation was exceedingly critical. It was however significant that the
Naḳîb of Môṣul, the leading doctor of Islâm, steadily refused to sign
the papers or to have anything to do with the League. Meanwhile a new
and capable Vâlî had been appointed to the province, but he had gone
straight to Kerkûk, where matters were in a still more parlous state,
and lawlessness walked abroad unchecked in the streets of Môṣul. At
length the Vâlî realized the dangers that threatened the province
through its capital, and being a man of action he travelled post haste
to Môṣul, and set about the restoration of order. He arrested and
imprisoned a number of persons and administered severe rebukes to the
leading Moslems, together with assurances that the government would
protect the rights of the Christians. These warnings were repeated in
strong language the day after the accession of Muḥammad Reshâd when the
first rumours of a massacre of Armenians at Adana reached the bazaars.

The fall of ’Abdu’l Hamîd set an immediate term to the agitation. In all
likelihood the counter revolution of April 13 had caused no surprise to
the organizers of the League of Mohammad, but the swift action of the
Salonica committee had not been foreseen. The story ran that after the
flight of the deputies from Constantinople the Vâlî had received a
telegram bidding him obey no orders from the capital of the empire--I
cannot vouch for the truth of the tale, but it is not in itself
improbable. The Vâlî was backed by an unwontedly large body of troops
(those who had been sent in to quell the disturbances which had arisen
out of the murder of Sheikh Sayyid), and all over Turkey the troops
stood loyal to the constitution. The city waited with a growing
apprehension as day by day telegrams arrived reporting the advance of
the Salonica army on Constantinople, nor was it unknown that a message
from Baghdâd, offering instant help to the constitutional party, had
passed through Môṣul. Then on a sudden came word that ’Abdu’l Ḥamîd had
been deposed, and, except to the country folk and to me upon the high
road, it had been half expected. So it was that when I came to Môṣul I
found the town, which is one of the worst conducted in the Ottoman
empire, submissive and quiet. In the week during which I remained there
we had no further intelligence save the vague rumour of an outbreak at
Adana; even the assurance that Muḥammad V was sultan in his brother’s
place we accepted from Turkish official sources, neither had we any
means of ascertaining whether he had been recognized by the Powers of
Europe. Turkish official sources are apt to be tainted, and few regions
can be further removed than Eastern Turkey from the pure fountain of the
truth; nevertheless the British Embassy in Constantinople did not see
fit to acquaint its vice-consuls in Asiatic Turkey with the accession of
a new sovereign. I leave this observation without comment. But if we in
Môṣul were uncertain as to the turn events had taken in Europe, we had
valuable opportunities of gauging local conditions. In Môṣul not a voice
was raised against the second triumph of the new order. With the entire
lack of initiative which characterizes the Asiatic provinces, men
resigned themselves to a decree of Fate which was substantially backed
by the army. Whether this second victory was to prove more decisive and
more permanent than the first was open to question; the doubt kept
people to their houses and affected the attitude of some of the most
powerful of the begs, who, being lords of great possessions which they
desired to enjoy in peace, would have given a whole-hearted support to
the new Sultan, but held back lest his government should not prove
strong enough to defend them against their ill-conditioned brethren. In
vain the Vâlî filled the prisons to overflowing with noted malefactors;
if he brought them to trial he knew that no one would dare to advance
evidence against them, and in the meantime the gaols were growing more
dangerously crowded every day. There was undoubtedly some personal
feeling for ’Abdu’l Ḥamîd, but it was rare. I made the acquaintance of
a citizen of Môṣul, a splendid type of the old school, for whom it was
impossible not to feel sympathy, even though I know him to have been one
of the instigators of the murder of Sheikh Sayyid: this man watched from
a room in the serai the proclamation of Muḥammad V, and when he saw the
soldiery tear down and trample under foot edicts which were signed with
’Abdu’l Ḥamîd’s name, he, being alone but for one other, who was my
informant, threw himself upon the ground and wept. “The dogs!” he cried.
“Yesterday they would have been proud if their name had been mentioned in
the same breath with his.” To me he was more guarded; moreover he had
had time to recover his balance. But he predicted wreck and ruin,
bloodshed, revolution and all other evils for his country.

“Is there no remedy?” said I.

“If the source is pure the whole stream is pure,” he answered

“Was the source pure?” I asked.

He hesitated a moment, and then replied: “No, by God and the Prophet! A
king should go about among his subjects, see them and hear them. He
should not sit imprisoned in his house, listening to the talk of spies.”

I know another, poles asunder from the first, one of the richest men in
the town and one of the most evil: a slave by birth, he might not sit in
the presence of his former master, although the master, great gentleman
as he was, could scarcely outmatch the wealth of the liberated slave.
Him I asked whether there was any strength behind the Arab movement.

“The Khalîfah should be of the tribe of the Ḳureish,” he answered

“Who would be Khalîfah if he were chosen from out of the Ḳureish?” I

“The Sherîf of Mecca is of that blood,” he answered. “The Arabs would
govern themselves.”

He left me to reflect upon his words, for I was well aware that if he
chose to support them with force, all the rogues with whom the city
abounds were at his command, and all the plots and counterplots of the
vilayet were familiar to him.

I sat long in the guest chamber of a third acquaintance, the head of the
greatest family in Môṣul. So stainless is his lineage that his sisters
must remain unwed, since Môṣul cannot provide a husband equal to them in
birth. His forebears were Christians who migrated from Diyârbekr two
hundred years ago. The legend runs that his Christian ancestor, soon
after he had come to Môṣul, went out in the morning to be shaved, but
when he reached the barber’s shop it was filled with low-born Moslems
and the barber kept him waiting until the heads of the Faithful had been
trimmed. “Shall a man of my house wait for such as these?” he cried, and
forthwith abjured the creed of slaves. His descendant was one of those
who would gladly have seen the new order triumph and give peace to the
land. He called down vengeance upon the head of Aḥmed ’Izzet Pasha, one
of the worst of the late Sultan’s sycophants, and upon that of his
brother, Muṣṭafâ, sometime Vâlî of Môṣul. “If he had stayed two years
more he would have ruined the town,” said he. But his hatred of ’Izzet
Pasha had not blinded him to the dictates of honour. It happened that by
those methods of persuasion of which ’Izzet was master, he had induced
my friend to present him with a valuable piece of land. Two months later
’Izzet fell and fled in terror of death from Constantinople, but the beg
would not revoke a gift which the disgraced favourite was powerless to
exact from him. _Noblesse oblige._

I had also the advantage of conversing with several bishops. Now there
are so many bishops in these parts that it is impossible to retain more
than a composite impression of them. They correspond in number to the
Christian sects, which are as the sands of the sea-shore, but as I was
about to journey through districts inhabited by their congregations, I
made an attempt to grasp at least the names by which their creeds are
distinguished from one another. As for more fundamental distinctions,
they depend upon the wording of a metaphysical proposition which I will
not offer to define, lest I should fall, like most of my predecessors,
into grievous heresy. The most interesting, historically, of these
several denominations are the people of Mâr Shim’ûn, some of whom I had
met upon the road. They are currently known as Nestorians, though, as
Layard has observed, this title is misapplied. The followers of Mâr
Shim’ûn are the representatives of the ancient Chaldæan Church, and
their race is probably as near to the pure Assyrian stock as can be
expected in regions so often conquered, devastated and repeopled. Their
church existed before the birth of Nestorius, and was not dependent upon
him for its tenets;[144] its doctrines are those of primitive
Christianity untouched by the influence of Rome, and its creed, with
unimportant verbal differences, is that of Nicæa. After the Council of
Ephesus, in 431, the members of the Chaldæan Church separated themselves
from those who acknowledged the authority of the Pope. Politically they
were already a separate community, for they lived, not under the
Byzantine, but under the Sassanian empire. Their missionaries carried
Christianity all over Asia, from Mesopotamia to the Pacific. Their
patriarch, whose title was, and still is, Catholicos of the Eastern
Church, was seated first at Ctesiphon; when Baghdâd became the capital
of the khalifate, the patriarchate was removed thither, and upon the
fall of the Arab khalifs it was transferred to Môṣul. During the
sixteenth century a schism took place which led to the existence of two
patriarchs, one living at the monastery of Rabbân Hormuzd near Alḳôsh,
and one at Kochannes in the mountains south of Vân. The first, with his
adherents, submitted, two centuries ago, to the Pope; they are known as
the Chaldæans, and they are said to bear the yoke of Rome very
unwillingly. The second is now the only patriarch of the old independent
church, which has been dubbed Nestorian. The office may be termed
hereditary; it passes from uncle to nephew in a single family, for the
patriarch is not permitted to marry; the holder of it is always known as
Mâr Shim’ûn, the Lord Simeon. It is generally believed that if the new
government were to succeed in establishing order, so that the protection
of a foreign Power should cease to be of vital importance, the Chaldæan
converts would return in a body to their former allegiance to the
Catholicos of the East.

A similar division exists among the Jacobites, the Syrian monophysites,
who were condemned in 451 by the fourth œcumenical council, held at
Chalcedon. A part of this community has submitted to Rome and is known
as the Syrian Church, while those who have retained their independence
have retained also their old title of Jacobites. To this pious confusion
Protestant missionaries, English and American, have contributed their
share. There are Syrian Protestants and Nestorian Protestants--if the
terms be admissible--though whether the varying shades of belief held by
the instructors are reflected in the instructed, I do not know, and I
refrained from an inquiry which might have resulted in the revelation of
Presbyterian Nestorians, Church of England Jacobites, or even Methodist

None but the theologian would essay a valuation of the relative
orthodoxy of converted and unconverted, but the archæologist must hold
no uncertain opinion as to their merits. The unification, so far as it
has gone, of the two ancient Churches with Rome is an unmitigated
misfortune. The Chaldæans and the Syrians, instigated perhaps by their
pastors, have been so eager to obliterate the memory of their former
heterodoxy that they have effaced with an unsparing hand all, or nearly
all, Syriac inscriptions older than the date of their regeneration, and
in Môṣul it is rare to find any written stone earlier than the end of
the seventeenth century. This is the more provoking as several of the
churches are of great architectural interest, and it is much to be
regretted that the epigraphic record of their history should not have
been preserved. So far as I could judge, the oldest parts of the oldest
churches may probably be dated in the twelfth or thirteenth centuries.
All have been considerably remodelled; some were entirely rebuilt after
the siege of Môṣul by Nâḍir Shah in 1743 and others have been rebuilt in
recent years.[145] Moreover there are several which would seem to have
been first founded as late as the eighteenth century. But whatever may
be their date, they all exhibit the same simple plan, a plan which I
believe to be essentially Mesopotamian and more ancient by many
centuries than the existing churches. It is that of the barn church, the
church with two aisles and a nave, covered by parallel barrel vaults so
equal in height as not to admit of a clerestorey.[146] The nave and
aisles are invariably cut off from the sanctuary by a wall--it is too
substantial to be called an iconostasis--broken by three large doors.
This complete separation is not typical of primitive ecclesiastical
architecture; it results, as a rule, from a development of the ritual;
but it appears to be here a part of the original plan. The sanctuary is
almost invariably divided into three parts, corresponding to the nave
and aisles, and, as a rule, the central altar is covered by a dome set
upon squinch arches. The church of Mâr Ahudânî will serve as a typical
example (Fig 168); it is now in the hands of the Chaldæans. A flight of
steps leads down to it from the street, and the fact that it lies so far
below the modern level is one of the indications of its antiquity. The
stair opens into a small atrium with a cloister to east and west. The
church is to the south of the atrium and there is no means of approach
to it from any other side. The present atrium is comparatively modern
and the church shows many signs of reconstruction and repair. The
doorway from the nave to the sanctuary is richly decorated with Arabic
inscriptions, with

[Illustration: FIG. 168.--MÂR AHUDÂNÎ.]

mouldings and entrelac, Mohammadan in character, and I should say not
far removed from the early thirteenth century in date. There are also
motives which are repeated with variations upon all the churches of a
like epoch, grotesque lions and the cross-legged figure which has been
described upon one of the gates of Baghdâd. The building was so dark
that my photographs were not successful, but an outer doorway of Mâr
Girjis gives an adequate idea of the scheme of decoration (Fig. 169).
The straight arch, which serves here as lintel, is a universal
characteristic; so, too, are the ornaments pendant from the voussoirs.
The doorways in the cloister that lies to the west of Mâr Tûmâ, the
episcopal church of the Syrians, exhibit beautiful variants of the same
theme (Fig. 170).[147] In this church the door leading from the nave to
the sanctuary is framed by an entrelac enclosing in its windings the
figures of Christ and the Twelve Apostles.

[Illustration: FIG. 171.--MÔṢUL, MÂR TÛMÂ.]

[Illustration: FIG. 172.--MÔṢUL, MÂR SHIM’UN.]

[Illustration: FIG. 173.--MÔṢUL, PLASTER WORK IN ḲAL’AT LÛLÛ.]

[Illustration: FIG. 174.--MÔṢUL, TOMB OF THE IMÂM YAḤYÂ.]

Three extra aisles have recently been added to the original building,
and I understood the church to be shared between the Syrians and the
Chaldæans. If the Christian architects continued to make use of a
primitive Oriental plan, it is even more certain that they continued to
be dependent upon Eastern artists for their decorative schemes, and were
in no way linked with the West. Their decoration is the same as that
which is to be found in contemporary Mohammadan buildings. For instance,
a lintel which now lies in the atrium of Mâr Shim’ûn, a church which has
been almost entirely rebuilt, is carved with an entrelac unmistakably
Mohammadan (Fig. 172). Over one of the doors of Mâr Tûmâ there is a band
of ornament which may perhaps have been taken from a Mohammadan
building, though it is more probable that it formed part of the original
Christian work (Fig. 171).[148] The style of this deeply undercut relief
is so marked that it imprints itself upon the memory. I saw other
examples of it in the beautiful tomb of the Imam Yaḥyâ which, according
to an inscription, was built by the Sultan Lûlû (Fig. 174).[149] A
mosque for the Friday prayers existed in the time of Ibn Baṭûṭah close
to the Tigris, and this is in all probability the building which is
praised by Mustaufî, who says that “the stone sculptured ornament is so
intricate that it might stand for wood carving.”[150] This particular
kind of stone relief, which is to be found both in Moslem and in
Christian buildings, does in fact closely resemble wood carving, and the
Christian examples cannot be of a different date from the Moslem. The
first recorded mosque in Môṣul was built by Marwân II, the last of the
Omayyad khalifs (744-750), not far from the Tigris, according to Ibn
Ḥauḳal; so far as I know, no trace of it has survived. Nûr ed Dîn, the
Atabeg (1146-1172), built a second Friday mosque in the bazaar, and
this must be the great mosque with the leaning minaret which stands in
the centre of the town, but how much of the original work remains I
could not determine, for Mohammadan feeling was running high when I was
in Môṣul, and at such times it is wiser not to ask for admittance into
mosques.[151] Finally a third Friday mosque was erected near the Tigris
(represented, as I conjecture, by the tomb of the Imâm Yaḥyâ), and to
Lûlû’s day belongs also the ziyârah of ’Abdullah ibn Ḥassan in the heart
of the town. The entrelac round the door of this ziyârah is very similar
to the decoration of the sanctuary door in Mâr Tûmâ, except that the
figures are absent. In the interior there is a band of deeply-cut stone
relief of the wood-work type. The fluted cone-like roof with which the
ziyârah is covered is found in all the Moslem tombs of Môṣul. There is
another fragment of Lûlû’s handiwork which, ruined though it be, is of
great architectural importance, the Ḳal’at Lûlû on the Tigris bank, not
far from the tomb of the Imâm Yaḥyâ.[152] Only the eastern end of two
vaulted halls is standing, but in one of these remains of stucco
ornament still cling to the walls (Fig. 173). The ornament consists of a
band of inscription and a band of tiny arcades, each arch containing the
representation of a nude human figure, depicted from head to waist.[153]
Below this band there has been another design of larger arches covered
with rinceaux which are adorned with flowers and birds. The town walls
are comparatively modern, but the Sinjâr Gate, on the west side, is
worthy of note. It resembles the gates of Aleppo, and like them it bears
a blazonry of lions.

One other memory of the days at Môṣul stands very freshly in my mind.
There exists in the town a small and indigent Jewish community--neither
too small nor too poverty-stricken to have attracted the watchful care
of the Alliance Juive.[154] Under their auspices, M. Maurice Sidi, a
courageous and highly cultivated Tunisian, has opened a school for the
children, and by precept and example he imparts the elements of
civilization, letters and cleanliness, to young and old. The English
vice-consul, who had witnessed his efforts with great sympathy and
admiration, invited him to bring a deputation of his co-religionists to
the consulate while I was there, and a dignified body of bearded and
white-robed elders filed one morning into the courtyard. We returned
their visit at the school, where we were received by a smiling crowd,
dressed in their best, who pressed bunches of flowers upon us. The
class-rooms were filled with children proudly conscious that their
achievements in the French, Arabic and Hebrew tongues had called down
honour upon their race. The scholars in the Hebrew class, who were of
very tender years, were engaged in learning lists of Hebrew words with
their Arabic equivalents, Hebrew being an almost forgotten language
among the Jews of Môṣul. M. Sidi drew forward a tiny urchin who stood
unembarrassed before us, and gazed at him expectantly with solemn black

“What do you know?” said the master.

The black-eyed morsel answered without a shadow of hesitation: “I know
Elohim.” And while I was wondering how much of the eternal secret had
been revealed to that small brain, he began to recite the first list in
the lesson-book, which opened with the name of God: “Elohim, Allah”--I
do not remember how it went on, neither did he remember, without M.
Sidi’s prompting. Elohim was what he knew.

Over against Môṣul lies Nineveh. The pontoon bridge that spans the
Tigris had been swept away by the floods; the masonry arches on the
further side stood out into the river, but where the causeway dips down
to meet the bridge of boats it met nothing but the swiftly-flowing
stream. We crossed therefore by a ferry, and so rode up to the mound of
Ḳûyûnjik, where Xenophon saw the ruins of Nineveh and thought them to
be a city of the Medes. His description of the immense area they covered
scarcely seemed incredible as we stood upon the mound. The line of the
walls ran out far to the north, far, too, to the south, embracing the
neighbouring mound of Nebî Yûnus, which is the site of one of Jonah’s
many tombs. The corn grew deep on Ḳûyûnjik, and the blue bee-eaters flew
in and out of Layard’s excavation pits; across the fertile plain rose
the towers of Môṣul; the broad Tigris ran between, which Saladin sought
to turn from its bed when he laid siege to Nûr ed Dîn. His imperious
folly is as forgotten as the splendours of Sennacherib--

    “And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass
           Never was!
     Such a carpet as this summer time o’erspreads
           And embeds
     Every vestige of the city....”

Had the poet been dreaming of Nineveh when he wrote _Love Among the

    “Shut them in
     With their triumphs and their glories and the rest....”

We rode from Nineveh through blazing heat for four hours across a plain
where the peasants were harvesting the barley while the locusts
harvested the green wheat, which was not ripe enough to save. The sun
beat so fiercely upon us that I sought refuge in the house of the
village sheikh at ’Amrḳân, and ate in his guest-chamber a lunch which
was made more palatable by the sour curds which he set before us. An
hour and a half further we came to Mâr Behnâm, and found the tents
pitched upon the slopes of a mound above a deep round pool. On the one
side of our camp lay the monastery of Mâr Behnâm, on the other the
shrine that covers his grave.[155] The monastery has the appearance of
a small fort. Its outer walls have been many times ruined and repaired,
and the interior buildings, all except the beautiful church, are modern.
The doorways leading from the porch into the church and from the nave
and aisles into the sanctuaries are covered with lacework patterns,
interspersed with small figures of angels, lions and snakes, together
with Arabic and Syriac inscriptions. In the porch, between the two
doors, there is a small niche worked with arabesques, the very
counterpart of a Moslem miḥrâb. There are square chambers leading out of
the aisles, roofed with pointed domes which are elaborately worked with
stucco ornaments. Upon the east wall and on one of the piers of the nave
are two stucco plaques, one representing St. George on horseback, the
other a full-length figure of a saint. On both there are traces of
colour.[156] I paid my respects to the saint’s tomb in company with a
number of pilgrims from Môṣul who were spending the night in the
monastery. At dusk the villagers assembled under the mound, which marks
the spot as some small suburb of Nineveh, and watered their flocks at
the pool; I watched them from my tent door and thought that the scene
must have changed but little in the past three thousand years.[157]


We rode next day in two and a half hours to Ḳaraḳôsh, where there are no
less than seven churches. Three of them stand outside the village, each
surrounded by its fortress wall, which usually encloses one or two small
living-rooms besides the church. They reminded me forcibly of the walled
Coptic monasteries of Egypt, but the monastic buildings were smaller.
Between them stretched fields of barley wherein the villagers, standing
in line, were pulling up the crops to the strains of the bagpipes. The
churches were oriented almost at haphazard, and provided with the
smallest doors, and windows to correspond. The interiors were so dark
that I abandoned all hope of photographing the ornaments upon the inner
doors,[158] though I made a rapid sketch of the lintel over the
sanctuary door of Mâr Shim’ûn (Fig. 175). Above it was a slab bearing a
floral Persian pattern incised upon the stone. Inside the town several
of the churches had recently been repaired, or were in process of
reparation. A young priest, Kas Yûsef, showed me the work, and gloried
in the replacing of old and ruined churches by new and brand-new
edifices. New lamps for old, but it was the old lamp that could summon
the genius, and I realized the sound moral of the fairy story as I
watched the refurbishing of ancient walls at Ḳaraḳôsh; but I did not
impart my impression to the Syrian priest, whose ardour it would have
been unkind to damp. The Syrians have annexed most of the larger
churches, so said the worthy Jacobite father who brought me the key of
Mâr Shim’ûn, and he told his tale not without a touch of bitterness. Yet
it would have been folly to blink the fact that he was no match for Kas
Yûsef, who was young and eager, and had been trained in a French school
at Môṣul. Twenty minutes beyond Ḳaraḳôsh we came to the ruined church of
Mâr Yuhanna Deleimoyya (St. John the Deleimî), which no one has troubled
to repair, though it had beautiful carved lintels and domes adorned with
plasterwork. Thence we rode for an hour through cornlands to Bârtallâ,
and saw Bâ’ashikâ at the foot of the hills. They were real hills which
lay before us, not the bare desert ridges which were all the heights we
had seen since we crossed over Lebanon on the way to Aleppo. Here were
the buttresses of mightier ranges than Lebanon, the alps of Kurdistân
which end the land of the two rivers. As we climbed upwards, the corn
grew greener, the grass deeper, the flowers more brilliant along the
edge of trickling streams. But my companions paid no heed to these
marvels. Jûsef’s thoughts were busy with the great cities he had seen
since he set forth on his travels, and especially with Môṣul, last and
therefore fairest in his memory. He rehearsed its advantages to the
Môṣul zaptieh, and ’Abdullah was well pleased to listen to such talk.

“Not even in Aleppo,” said Jûsef magnanimously, “do you find better

“However many places there may be in the world,” pronounced ’Abdullah,
“there is none where the bread is so good.”

“It is sweet,” assented Jûsef.

“And if you take tobacco from Môṣul to Baghdâd,” ’Abdullah pursued, “it
rots there. The air of Baghdâd is not like the air of Môṣul.”

“Wallah, no!” said Jûsef the much-travelled, weighing city against city
in the finest judicial manner.

We rode through exquisite meadows, and in about five hours and a half
from Ḳaraḳôsh crossed a mountain stream that rippled between banks rosy
with oleander--Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed in robes so
softly flushed. Beyond it my camp was pitched upon a swelling slope
below the steep rocks of Jebel Maḳlûb, wherein, placed high among the
hills, stood the monastery of Mâr Mattai, a grey wall hanging over a
precipice. I left my horse at the camp, and taking ’Abdullah with me,
set out on a half-hour’s climb up a narrow gorge, full of the western
sun, which was golden now, and clement. Every crevice between the stones
was gay with a small starry campanula, gentian-blue, mountain-blue, the
full clear colour of an upland flower; and thrusting their strong roots
under the rocks, the terebinths hung glossy foliage over the path--I
found myself, as I looked once more upon the divine curves of leafy twig
and bough, heaping contempt upon the recollection of that leggy
vegetable, the palm. A ragged boy opened the monastery gate and
conducted us by a long stair to a terrace from which the bishop had
watched our progress up the gorge. He bade me go quickly, while the sun
still shone, to see the church and the tombs of Mâr Mattai and of Bar
Hebræus, but the church had been rebuilt, the inscriptions on the tombs
were already known, and my desire turned towards the bishop, and the
coffee which he was preparing for us, and the room on the terrace where
the cushioned windows opened on to the Assyrian plain. The bishop was
old and very garrulous; the monastery, high set above the world, was
beyond the reach of mundane intelligence, the only monk had gone down to
Môṣul, and in the Jebel Maḳlûb men were still uncertain under which lord
they served. Was it indeed true, asked the bishop, that Muḥammad Reshâd
was Sultan of Turkey? and he rejoiced greatly when we confirmed the
rumour. But his thoughts wandered back to older histories, and hearing
that we had come from Mâr Behnâm, he began to instruct us in matters
pertaining to that shrine.

“My daughter, listen,” said he, and I lay back upon the cushions and
watched the light redden and fade over the plains of Assyria, while the
sweet mountain silence fell more closely in the gorge, and the bishop’s
rambling tale filled the idle hour like some voice out of the past.
’Abdullah sat cross-legged upon a pile of carpets at the end of the
room, rolling cigarettes and nodding his head in approval as the
venerable weaver of romance unfolded his chronicle. “Senherib, king of
Assyria, king of kings,” he began, “to him a son was born whose name was
Behnâm. And it happened upon a day that the Amîr Behnâm was hunting, and
he lost his gazelle and night came upon him while he pursued her. And
being weary with the chase he fell asleep beside a fountain. Then in his
sleep an angel appeared unto him and bade him hearken to one whom he
should meet next day upon the road. And when he had journeyed but a
little way he met Mâr Mattai. And Mâr Mattai stopped him and said: ‘Oh
prince, why do you worship idols that have eyes that see not, ears that
hear not, lips that speak not, instead of worshipping the living God,
who made heaven and earth, al ins w’al jins w’al jami?’--mankind and
different kinds and all kinds. And Behnâm answered: ‘Give me a sign.’
Then said Mâr Mattai: ‘What sign shall I give you?’ And he said: ‘Heal
my sister who is sick.’ And they went on their way towards Nineveh, and
as they went, Behnâm was full of fear, for he dared not take the saint
into his father’s city. But when they reached Bârtallâ, Mâr Mattai was
weary and could walk no further. And he said: ‘If I make water to gush
out of the rock, will you believe?’ And Behnâm answered: ‘I will
believe.’ And the water gushed forth. Then Behnâm returned to Nineveh,
and he refused to worship idols that have eyes that cannot see and ears
that cannot hear and lips that cannot speak.”

“It is true,” said ’Abdullah.

“Neither would he worship the sun,” pursued the bishop, “nor the moon,
nor the stars, nor anything but the living God, who created heaven and
earth, mankind and different kinds and all kinds.”

“It is written in the book,” said ’Abdullah.

“My son,” said the bishop, “it is written.” And Christian and Moslem met
on the common ground of scripture. “Then Senherib put him and his sister
to death. But the king was old and sick unto death, and he repented of
what he had done, for he had no heir to inherit the kingdom. Therefore
he sent for Mâr Mattai and entreated him to bring his son to life. And
Mâr Mattai answered: ‘Oh king, I will raise him from the dead if you
will build me a monastery in the Jebel Maḳlûb.’ And Senherib built the
house wherein we sit,” concluded the bishop.

“And who built Mâr Behnâm?” said I, anxious to prolong the recital.

“My daughter,” he replied, “the house of Mâr Behnâm was built by Isḥâk
the merchant. For Isḥâk was journeying to Baghdâd, and upon the road he
fell ill, and Mâr Behnâm appeared to him and healed him. Verily the
Assyrians were idolaters, but they came to know the true God. So the
world changes.” The bishop broke off abruptly at this confusing point in
the narrative, for even he felt that it would be an anachronism to
assert that the Assyrian empire was Christian. But the historical
sequence of events was nothing to ’Abdullah.

“God is great,” he assented. “The world changes.” And he rolled another

We ran down the path in the dusk and found my dinner-table spread under
the moon. Round the camp-fire sat ’al ins w’al jins w’al jami’ and
watched the boiling of Ḥâjj ’Amr’s rice-pot.

However many countries there may be in the world there are none so rich
in faiths as the mountain frontiers of eastern Turkey. Beliefs which
have been driven out with obloquy by a new-found truth, the
half-apprehended mysticism of the East, echoes of Western metaphysics
and philosophy, illusive memories of paganism--all have been swept
together into these hills, where creeds that were outlined in the
childhood of the world are formulated still in terms as old as
themselves. Islâm, with the lash of its simple, clear-cut doctrine, has
herded them into remote places. Cowering there under centuries of
persecution they have hidden their sacred things from the eyes of the
spoiler, in silence they endure the reproach which dogs the most
innocent practices of a secret cult, and each sect awaits, through ages
of misery, the reward and the redeemer which its peculiar revelation has
promised. These outcast communities make a potent appeal to the
imagination and to the sympathy. I have no desire to pry into that which
they choose to conceal, neither have they any wish to take me into their
special confidence; but their hospitality is unfailing, and whenever I
find myself among them I find myself among friends.

We were now entering the country which is the head-quarters of the
Yezîdîs, who, from their desire to conciliate or to propitiate the
Spirit of Evil, are known to Moslem and Christian as Devil Worshippers.
By Moslem and by Christian they have been placed beyond the bounds of
human kindness, and while the Mohammadan has been unremitting in his
efforts to bring them, by methods familiar to dominant creeds, to a
sense of their short-comings, the Christian has regarded the wholesale
butchery which has overtaken them from time to time as a punishment
justified by their tenets. I had journeyed before among Yezîdî villages,
in the mountains of north Syria, and had been struck by the clean and
well-ordered look of the houses, and by the open-handed friendliness of
the people, as well as by their courage and industry. The Mesopotamian
Yezîdîs I knew only through the descriptions contained in Layard’s
enchanting books, but I carried a letter to ’Alî Beg, the head of the
sect, and proposed to visit him in his village of Bâ’adrî and to see, if
he would permit, the most sacred of all Yezîdî shrines, Sheikh ’Adi.
’Abdullah, when he learnt my intention, expressed his entire approval of
’Alî Beg as a man, but he would hear nothing of his religious
convictions because they were not founded upon a book.

“Effendim,” he said, “Moslems and Jews and Christians have a book; it is
only the infidels which have none, and the Yezîdîs are infidels. They
worship the Sheitân.”

“You must not speak of him while we are at Bâ’adrî,” said I, for the
Yezîdîs never take the name of the Devil upon their lips and to mention
him in their presence is a shameful insult.

“God forbid!” replied ’Abdullah.

We rode over flowery foot-hills that were bright with hollyhock and
gladiolus, borage and mullein, and in an hour and a half from our
camping-ground we reached the village of Jezarân.

“These are Shabbak,” observed ’Abdullah.

“What are Shabbak?” I asked.

“They are not true Moslems,” he replied. “God knows what they believe.
They resemble the Shî’ahs. Effendim, they came with the armies of the
’Ajam, and after the ’Ajam departed, they remained.” The ’Ajam are the
Persians, or, roughly speaking, any barbarians.[160]

We went down into a lovely valley where the storks waded wing-deep
through grass and buttercups--Chem Resh is its Kurdish name, Wâdî Aswad
in Arabic, and both mean the Black Valley. Everywhere I was now given a
Kurdish as well as an Arabic name for the villages, and the
mother-tongue of the inhabitants was Kurdish, though, as a rule, they
spoke Arabic also. Three hours from the camp we crossed a stream in the
Wâdî ’Ain Sifneh, and half-an-hour beyond it we rode through the first
Yezîdî village, Mukbil. The Yezîdîs, being of Kurdish race, do not
differ in appearance from the rest of the population, except in one
particular of their attire: they abhor the colour blue and eschew it in
their dress, but red they regard as a beneficent hue, and their women
are mostly clothed in dark-red cotton garments. The valley in which
Mukbil lies is of uncommon fertility. Rice is cultivated here, and
cotton; the emerald green of the grass indicated the presence of swampy
ground, and the heavy air was full of the perfume of growing things. I
lunched under a fig-tree near a Yezîdî hamlet; the village elders
brought me curds and bread unasked, and refused to take payment. Having
climbed a green ridge, we dropped into the valley of Baviân, crossed a
deep river and rode up its bank till we came, four hours from Mukbil, to
the famous rocks which are carved with Assyrian reliefs and
inscriptions. Under them we pitched out tents, and a more exquisite
camping-ground you might go far to seek. Fattûḥ knew the place. He had
been here with one of whom he spoke as Meesterr Keen. This legendary
personage appears frequently in Fattûḥ’s reminiscences, and I suspect
him to be no other than Mr. King, of the British Museum. “He gazed long
upon the men and animals,” observed Fattûḥ, with indulgent recollection,
“and many times he photographed them. And then, wallah! he climbed up
the rocks, and all the writing he took down in his book. Not many of the
gentry are like Meesterr Keen, and your Excellency need not trouble to
copy the writing once more.”

I troubled not at all, but looked in amazement at the great figures of
gods mounted on lions, and kings standing in adoration which Shalmaneser
II had carved upon the cliff (Fig. 176). Behind some of the groups
rock-cut chambers have been hollowed out in a later age, their doorways
breaking through the figures of the reliefs, and the stream eddies round
the feet of winged beasts and bearded men, walking in procession, cut
upon huge boulders which have been dislodged from the face of the
hill.[161] When I had seen these wonders I wandered up the valley to a
point where the cliff bends round and holds the river in the curve of
its arm. Here lay a deep still pool, the banks of which were starred
with daisies and poppies and the rocks with campanulas and orchids. The
water, dyed to a ruddy brown by recent rains, was like a disk of
polished bronze in a setting of green and white and scarlet enamel. I
sat for a little and listened to the birds singing about their nests in
the cliffs, and the river breaking over the stones below the pool, and
then I swam in the warm brown water and went upon my way rejoicing.

A fortunate chance sent other travellers to visit the reliefs that day,
Dominican fathers from the monastery of Mâr Ya’ḳûb, two days’ journey to
the west of Baviân. They gave me much valuable information before they
rode away on their mules, and I only hope that they enjoyed my tea half
as much as I enjoyed their conversation. They were bound for Sheikh
’Adî, and hearing that I also was on my way thither, they told me of the
underground chambers of the shrine, now seldom shown to strangers, and
of the spring that runs through them from basin to basin; of the Yezîdî
adoration of fountains, and of the baptismal rites which they practise,
ceremonies which they borrowed from another Mesopotamian sect, the
Mandæans, who are called the Christians of St. John. So sacred is the
element of water that a Yezîdî will not enter a Moslem bath, nor will he
eat of fish, which is born of water. They spoke too of the religions of
dualism, of which the Yezîdî faith is one, though it is probably
derived, through Manichæanism, from an ancient Babylonian source, rather
than directly from Zoroaster, since it preserves the reverence for the
sun which sprang from Mani’s identification of light with the Principle
of Good; and out of their wide experience of local customs they drew

[Illustration: FIG. 176.--ASSYRIAN RELIEFS AT BAVIÂN.]

[Illustration: FIG. 177.--’ALÎ BEG.]


from the Christian sects, whose observances reflect those of primitive
cults, and told me of Christians who, like the Yezîdîs, turn to the sun
to pray. Then they left me with the birds and the river and the Assyrian
gods, to reflect upon the unchanging persistence of human beliefs.

It is a five-hours’ ride from Baviân to Bâ’adrî, and during the course
of it I began to learn something of the terrible lawlessness which turns
the beautiful Kurdish mountains into a hell upon earth. We passed upon
our way a small Kurdish settlement, of which the houses burrowed into
the hill-side like the lairs of wild animals. It is the winter quarters
of one Ḥassan Jângîr, a robber chief of the Kochars, the nomad Kurds.
Two days before it had been raided by the government, in retribution for
innumerable outrages, and such of the population as yet lived had fled
into the hills. The feudal lord of Ḥassan Jângîr is Sheikh Ḥajjî, who
was at that time, to the satisfaction of the whole country-side,
imprisoned in Môṣul, but his liegeman had joined forces with another
redoubted malefactor, Sheikh Nûrî, and it was rumoured that the pair
with their followers had been encamped the previous night on the heights
above Baviân. It was not without reason, as I now perceived, that the
Vâlî of Môṣul had insisted on providing me with four zaptiehs instead of
the customary two.

The village of Bâ’adrî clings to the green slopes of the foot-hills, and
’Alî Beg’s whitewashed house stands over it like a miniature fortress.
The beg, who is the descendant of the other ’Alî to whom Layard stood
godfather (with some misgivings as to what might be the duties of the
sponsor of a devil-worshipping baby), received me in his divan with the
utmost cordiality. He is a man of middle age with a commanding figure
and a long beard, light brown in colour, that curls almost to his waist.
He was dressed from head to foot in white, and as we sat together in the
divan, I thought that I had seldom drunk coffee in more remarkable
company. I told him that I knew his people in the Jebel Sim’ûn and that
they had spoken of him as the ruler of all.

“The ruler of us all,” he replied gravely, “is God.”

In the courtyard were a pair of peacocks, in honour, no doubt, of the
Angel Peacock, who rules the age of 10,000 years in which we live, and
is the symbol of him who must not be named. His bronze effigy is carried
by the Ḳawwâls, the higher priesthood of the Yezîdîs, when they journey
among the scattered communities of the sect, and to whatever dangers
they may be exposed, it is said that the image has never been allowed to
fall into the hands of infidels.[162] The Yezîdî women are neither
secluded nor veiled, and when ’Alî Beg took me to see his wife we found
her in the midst of her household, male and female, giving orders for my
entertainment. She was a handsome woman dressed in a robe of purple
cotton, with a black velvet cap placed over the muslin veil which was
wrapped about her head and under her chin, but did not conceal her face.
On her wrists she wore heavy gold bracelets set with turquoises. She
talked nothing but Kurdish, so that my greetings and my gratitude were
conveyed to her through the beg’s secretary, a Chaldæan from Alḳôsh. Few
Yezîdîs can either read or write, such knowledge being forbidden to
them, and I doubt whether the beg himself had any acquaintance with
letters. In the women’s quarters I knitted an instant friendship with
’Alî Beg’s small son, Sa’îd Beg, and though we had no common language in
which to express our feelings, our intimacy advanced silently by leaps
and bounds while he sat upon the largest of my camp-chairs and watched
me eat the sumptuous meal with which his father had provided me. When I
had finished there was enough and to spare of rice and mutton, bread and
semolina pudding and sour curds to satisfy all my servants and soldiers.
Meantime the beg had made preparations for my visit to Sheikh ’Adî,
whither two Yezîdî horsemen and all my four zaptiehs were ordered to
accompany me, lest we should meet with Kurdish robbers in the hills.
’Alî Beg with a dignified retinue of elders, one of whom was a ḳawwâl
who had that day returned from

[Illustration: FIG. 179.--SHEIKH ’ADÎ.]

[Illustration: FIG. 180.--ZÂKHÔ.]

[Illustration: FIG. 181.--BRIDGE OVER THE KHÂBÛR.]

the Jebel Sinjâr, watched our departure (Fig. 177). Their fine grave
heads and flowing beards gave them a singular resemblance to the kings
and gods upon the rocks of Baviân, and perhaps the likeness was not
merely fanciful, for the higher dignitaries of the Yezîdîs intermarry
with none save those of their own rank, and who knows what ancient blood
may flow from generation to generation through their veins?[163] We rode
into the folds of the hills by a path so stony that we were forced at
times to dismount and lead our horses. Bushes of flowering hawthorn grew
among the rocks, oak-trees, in newly opened leaf, were scattered over
the steep slopes, and the grass was full of poppies and the last of the
scarlet ranunculus. The Yezîdîs hold the ranunculus in high esteem, its
bright-red colour being of good omen in their eyes, and I regard it with
no less favour, though perhaps for more superficial reasons. After a
climb of close upon two hours, we reached the summit of the hill and the
path dipped down, through sturdier oak woods, into a secluded valley,
out of the heart of which rose the fluted spires of Sheikh ’Adî, a
sanctuary and a tiny village embosomed in planes and mulberries and
ancient fig-trees (Fig. 179). We sat down by the edge of a clear
fountain while one of my Yezîdî guides went forward to announce our
arrival to the khâtûn, the sister of ’Alî Beg. She came to meet me in
the outer court of the shrine, a tall and slender woman wrapped in white
robes, with a black cap upon her head and a heavy linen veil thrown over
it and drawn tightly under her chin. She took me by the hand, and
bidding me welcome in the few words of Arabic which she had at her
command, led me past the booths where the hucksters spread out their
wares during the days of the great yearly festival--they stood empty now
under the mulberry branches. We passed through a doorway into a small
paved court, still and peaceful and half-shaded by mulberries. The
further side was bounded by the wall of the shrine, which opens into the
court by a single door. Upon the wall near the door a snake is carved
in relief upon the stones and painted black (Fig. 178). With a singular
magnetic attraction it catches and holds the eye, and the little court
owes to its presence much of the indefinable sense of mystery which
hangs over it as surely as hang the spreading branches of the
mulberry-trees. I took off my shoes and followed the khâtûn as she
stepped softly over the grass-grown pavement. At the door she paused,
touched with her lips the stone, and murmured a Kurdish prayer in which
I heard the frequent repetition of Sheikh ’Adî’s name. In her white
robes and heavy veil she looked like some strange priestess: the sibyl
of the Delphic shrine might have stood so, robed in white, and kissed
the marble gateway of the sun-god’s house. A cool darkness and the
murmur of water greeted us as we entered. We found ourselves in a large
oblong chamber lying, as near as I can guess, from east to west, and
divided into two vaulted aisles, of about the same width, by a row of
seven piers. From under the wall on our left hand flowed a streamlet of
clear water that ran into a square tank, and out of it down the length
of the southern aisle. In the north aisle there was a tomb covered over
with coloured cloths: “Holy man’s grave,” whispered the khâtûn as we
passed it. But we had not yet reached the sanctuary which holds Sheikh
’Adî’s bones. The eastern end of the north wall is broken by a door
which leads into a dark chamber containing a second tomb. This chamber
is covered by the smaller of the two spires. To the west of it is a
second square room, bigger than the first, and here Sheikh ’Adî’s tomb
stands under the larger spire. It was totally dark: the wick floating in
a saucer of oil carried by the khâtûn did little to illuminate it, and I
lighted a coil of magnesium wire, to the delight of my guide, who
interrupted her prayers to Sheikh ’Adî to utter ejaculations of pleasure
each time that the white flash leapt up into the dome. For my part I
would as soon study by the flame of a will-o’-the-wisp as by the
uncertain brilliance of magnesium wire, coupled as it is with the
assurance that the burning tendril will ultimately expend itself upon my
skirt, and I got no more profit from the display than the gratification
of the khâtûn and the knowledge that the high cone was set over the
angles of the chamber on squinch arches--a construction which I could
have predicted while it was still wrapped in darkness. Beyond the tomb
chamber, and parallel with the north aisle, lies a long vaulted room,
pitch dark like the other, and filled with oil jars. “For Sheikh ’Adî,”
said the khâtûn, and kissed the well-oiled door as we entered.[164]
Still further west we came to a vaulted gallery, running along the north
side of the court; it, too, was dark except where the light shone
through a few cracks in the wall. We went back through the two domed
rooms, and when we reached the smaller tomb-chamber the khâtûn turned to
me, saying, “Come.” Up to this point we had been accompanied by the
zaptiehs and by the Yezîdîs from Bâ’adrî; to these she pointed the way
into the aisled hall, and taking my hand she led me to a low door in the
eastern wall of the tomb-chamber. She bent her slender figure and passed
through it, holding up her lamp to light my path. I followed her down
half-a-dozen steps into a small chamber, dimly illumined by faint rays
that struggled through chinks in the masonry of the south wall. The
north wall was, so far as I could see, cut out of the solid rock; from
under it gushed a spring which is said to take its source in the well
Zemzem at Mecca. As in the upper building, the water flowed into a small
square basin and through a hole in the wall at the eastern end of the
room, but it flowed at its own pleasure, or perhaps the well Zemzem had
been overfilled by the rains and the stream was greater than is usual,
for it covered the floor to the depth of several centimetres. I stood
doubtfully upon the lowest step and then decided that the wisest course
would be to pull off my stockings--bare feet take no harm from a watery
floor, though feet accustomed to be shod will tread unsteadily upon the
sharp pebbles with which the spring has plentifully bestrewn the
pavement. The khâtûn was much distressed to see me reduced to this
plight: “Bîchâreh!” she said, “poor one.” We splashed across the chamber
and into a low passage which turned at right angles and conducted us
into a second room. The stream came with us and was caught in yet
another basin. In the dim twilight my companion turned quickly towards
me and laid her hand upon my arm.

“Are you not afraid?” she whispered.

I looked up into the white and gentle face, wrapped round with the
whiter veil, on which the burning wick cast a ghostly light, and because
of my deep ignorance I was much perplexed.

“No,” I answered.

“I am afraid,” said she. And then I understood that if I had known how
holy was the ground whereon we trod, not even the sharp pebbles would
have prevailed over my mind against its awe-inspiring shades.

The stream gushed out under the east wall, the khâtûn opened a small
door beside its mouth, and we passed out, blinking, into a sunny
courtyard, half filled with piles of firewood, which I believe to be the
wood used in the annual sacrifice of the white bull to Sheikh Shems, who
is the sun.[165] We returned round the south of the building, past the
house which is occupied by the khâtûn and by ’Alî Beg when he comes to
the festival, and rejoined the zaptiehs in the inner court. There we sat
long under the trees, eating freshly-baked bread and drinking bowls of
milk with which the khâtûn provided us. It was with difficulty that I
persuaded her not to kill a lamb and add it to the meal, which she
considered far too modest for our merits or for her reputation as a

Little is known of the saint whose tomb is the central shrine of the
Yezîdî faith. He is variously reported to have sprung either from the
regions near Aleppo, or from the Ḥaurân, and he died in the year A.D.
1162. He was one of a number of illuminators of whom the Sûfî mystic,
Manṣûr el Ḥallâj, was another--he who suffered martyrdom for asserting
the permeation of all created things by the Deity with the phrase: “I am
God.”[166] The Angel Jesus is a third--not the phantom Jesus whose death
is recorded in the New Testament, but the spirit whose place that other
had usurped;[167] and many of the Jewish prophets are revered in the
same manner. There is a tradition that the building which is now Sheikh
’Adî’s tomb was once a Christian church, but though I looked sharply for
evidences that might confirm this report, I could not be sure that they
existed. It is certain that there were earlier edifices upon the present
site, and the building has been so often destroyed and restored that its
original form must have been almost obliterated.[168] Round the doorway
there are re-used stones covered with the net-like patterns which are to
be found in the churches at Ḳaraḳôsh. An Arabic inscription, built into
the same wall, bears the date 1115, but this date undoubtedly refers to
the Mohammadan era, and the inscription is therefore barely two
centuries old. Below it a second representation of a serpent is carved
upon the wall, not painted like the one near the doorway, and lying
parallel with the ground instead of standing upright. What the black
snake signifies I do not know, neither did I ask for an explanation
which would not have been accorded. Layard says that the Yezîdîs
repeatedly assured him that it was without significance, and I should
have been given no other answer.[169] ’Abdullah, who knew as little as
I, volunteered the information that a Yezîdî will never kill a black
snake, but when I asked whether there were many such reptiles in the
hills, he replied that so far as he knew there were none, and his
testimony as to the practices of the Yezîdîs when confronted with them
did not seem to me to be of much value. Before I left Bâ’adrî I received
an invitation to be present at the summer festival. Of the ceremonies
performed at this time Layard has left two wonderful descriptions,[170]
and if ever I find myself at Môṣul in the height of the summer, I shall
not forget ’Alî Beg’s proffer of hospitality.

It was near sunset when we reached Bâ’adrî. After night had fallen Sa’îd
Beg came to fetch me to his mother’s quarters. We held converse through
the Christian secretary, and our talk was mostly of the child who sat
beside me smoking one cigarette after another.

“In my country children may not smoke,” said I. “Oh Sa’îd Beg, little
children like you should be asleep at this hour.”

The khâtûn smiled at him tenderly. “We can deny him nothing,” said she.

And the secretary added: “The ’araḳ they give him is worse for him than
the cigarettes.” Sobriety is not, I fear, to be numbered among the
Yezîdî virtues.

I left next morning at an early hour, and the secretary saw to the
comfort of my departure and received my thanks for the kindness which
had been shown to us, but neither he nor any other of ’Alî Beg’s people
would accept a reward. As I was about to mount, he said that the beg
would ask a favour of me.

“Upon my head and eyes,” said I.

“Will you leave with us some of your fire ribbon. He would light the
tomb with it at the next festival.” I broke off half the roll, and by
this time the fame of magnesium wire must have spread to the Jebel
Sinjâr, or even to the Jebel Sim’ûn, and in the skirts of many a pious
person a hole has doubtless been burnt.

Having breakfasted with Devil Worshippers, I lunched with the prior of
Rabbân Hormuzd. The monastery, which is a very ancient and famous
Nestorian house, once the seat of a patriarch, now belongs to the
Chaldæans, that is, to the Catholic Nestorians. It lies high up in the
hills above Alḳôsh, a village four hours to the west of Bâ’adrî. When we
reached Alḳôsh I sent my caravan forward, and with Jûsef and ’Abdullah
climbed for half-an-hour up a narrow rocky valley by a winding path
which led us to a postern in the wall. In the flourishing Nestorian days
innumerable hordes of monks lodged in caves among the rocks; many of
these caves are still extant (though many have crumbled away with the
crumbling of the stone) but few are tenanted. Rich, who has left an
interesting account of Rabbân Hormuzd,[171] was of opinion that the
amphitheatre of cliffs, honeycombed with caves, was an ancient Persian
burial-place converted into a Christian monastery. Traditions differ as
to the history of the tutelary saint; some say that he was martyred in
the persecution of Yazdegird, king of Persia, and some in that of the
emperor Diocletian. The date of the foundation of the monastery is
generally given as falling within the fourth century, though the prior,
Kas Elyâs, told me that it was founded in the seventh century.
Exceedingly little of the original monastery remains, and Rich relates
that at the time of his visit it had recently undergone a comprehensive
restoration. The present buildings (and no doubt the ancient buildings
were much the same) climb in tier above tier up the precipitous
hill-side. The house of Kas Elyâs stands highest of all, and there I sat
in the window-seat and gossiped with the jolly prior. We brought him
news of the accession of Muḥammad V, on the hearing of which he bubbled
over with satisfaction, and declared that Salonica was the saviour of
the empire and that all his allegiance was given to the Young Turks, and
all his hopes depended upon them. Even in the last six months order had
been foreshadowed in the Kurdish hills, and with Muḥammad V upon the
throne and Sheikh Hajjî in prison, who could predict how far it might
not be carried? It was encouraging to listen to views so optimistic,
even though I knew that the prophecies of Kas Elyâs must be slow of
fulfilment. I began to forget the weariness caused by the heavy steaming
heat of the plain, and half-an-hour in the prior’s lofty house, together
with a lunch of omelettes and honey and sour curds, completed the cure.
Thus restored, I followed him into the church. The main part of it,
according to him, is about four hundred years old, but a chapel (which
is obviously later in date) was, said he, erected about a hundred years
ago. For English eyes it has an interest out of all proportion to its
age, for upon the doorway are carved the names of James and Mary Rich,
with the date 1820, and of Henry Layard, with the date 1846. An age of
splendid achievement in travel was that which saw Rich and Layard,
Chesney and Ainsworth and Rawlinson; for much of our knowledge of the
remoter parts of Asia we depend still upon the bountiful information
with which their learning and their courage supplied us. To the south of
the church a passage is hollowed out of the cliff. It leads into a tiny
rock-cut chamber, to the ceiling of which two iron rings are fastened.
“From these,” observed the prior, “Rabbân Hormuzd suspended himself when
he fell into meditation, and here it is the custom for pilgrims to make
their offerings.” The hint, I need hardly say, was effectual. The
baptistery lies south-west of the church; it is built of masonry and
covered by a dome on squinches. To it, and to the vaulted chamber
adjoining it, I should give an earlier date than to the rest of the

Much cheered in mind and body, and laden with roses from the monastery
garden, we rode down into the insufferable heat of the low ground.
Shortly after leaving Alḳôsh our path turned into the hills to the
right, climbed by a charming valley with a rushing stream in its depth,
crossed a low pass and led us out into the broad green plain which lies
between the Jebel Alḳôsh and the Jebel Dehûk. Flowering grasses brushed
our stirrups as we rode, but, in spite of its fertility, the plain is
almost uncultivated. The few villages, Moslem and Christian, are
harried by the robber bands of Sheikh Nûrî, and whenever the miserable
peasants have gathered together such modest wealth as their resources
permit, the nomad Kurds fall upon them with rifle and with firebrand.
Thus it is that long tracts of land are unpeopled and the hamlets that
exist are more than half in ruin. One we passed that had been looted and
left a smouldering heap of ashes two years earlier, but the newly
aroused hopes of firmer government had induced the peasants to return to
it, and the houses were springing up again. The deep grass through which
we journeyed, both on this day and on the next, is looked upon as a sore
peril, since it tempts the Kurds down into the lowland pastures. To
avoid this annual reign of terror, the peasants are wont to set it on
fire as soon as it ripens, leaving but a small patch round each village.
For a week the plain is wrapped in flame and smoke, and the stifling
heat of the burning rises up to the hill-top monastery of Mâr Ya’ḳûb,
where the Catholic priests are witnesses to the appalling destruction of
what might have been a rich harvest, and to the bitter oppression which
turns the bounty of nature into a recurring threat. Jûsef, whose
imagination is not to be roused except by considerations of a soundly
practical character, cast his eye over the fields and observed
thoughtfully: “The muleteers of Baghdâd must starve this year to buy
fodder for their cattle, yet here is enough to feed all the Jezîreh.”
Heaven send peace to this fair country.

We camped near the small village of Grê Pahn (Arabic: Tell’ Arîḍ = the
Broad Mound), where we found our tents pitched. It had taken us three
and a half hours to reach it from Alḳôsh, but the caravan time had been
somewhat longer. Upon the following day we had a hard march; the caravan
was ten hours upon the way and I, with ’Abdullah and Jûsef, considerably
more, for we began the day with an excursion from the road to the
Assyrian reliefs above Malthai. We turned to the right, up the valley
that leads to Dehûk, and leaving our horses at the foot of the hill
under the care of Jûsef, ’Abdullah and I climbed up and sought for the
sculptures. It was rough going and we had been insufficiently directed,
so that for long we sought in vain. At last in despair I sent ’Abdullah
back to fetch a guide and sat down to wait for him under a rock. Clumps
of flowering saxifrage covered the stones; campanula pyramidalis lifted
its tall spires out of the crevices, the wide green valley lay below,
its sparsely scattered villages each clustering about an ancient mound,
and beyond it rose the mountain chains of Kurdistân. The air was full of
the fragrance and the freshness of the hills and alive with the sound of
their waters. To all the high places of the world I have given
allegiance--all exercise a like authority and confer like privileges,
and in these distant solitudes I claimed and was accorded an
old-established right of mountain citizenship.

’Abdullah’s mission came abruptly to a successful termination. We had
climbed high above the reliefs, and his keen eye espied them as he made
his way down. They are four in number, and on each precisely the same
scene is depicted. A king stands in adoration before a procession of
seven gods, six of whom are mounted upon the backs of beasts, while one
is seated upon a throne borne by a lion. Another, or perhaps the same,
king follows the company of gods on foot. A tomb or cell has been broken
through one of the reliefs, as at Baviân. In subject and in style the
reliefs in both places are closely alike, and though there are no
inscriptions at Malthai, the learned have concluded that the work there
must be of the same epoch as that at Baviân, and have dated it in the
reign of Shalmaneser II (860-825 B.C.).[172] They have yet to solve the
difficult problems connected with the interchange of religions and
artistic conceptions between the Assyrians and the Hittites, whose
sculptures show, at a far earlier date, the same strange motive of a
divinity standing upon the back of a wild animal.

For the rest of the day we journeyed along the foot of the hills by the
Môṣul high road. In the middle of the afternoon ’Abdullah observed

“That is the house of a bandit,” and he nodded his head towards a small
white fort under the hills. The bandit was at that period imprisoned at
Môṣul, but his empty dwelling served ’Abdullah as a peg whereon to hang
a denunciation of the Kurds, root and branch.

“As God is almighty,” said he, “they fear not God nor the Sultan. They
take the load and the camel with it. Allah al wakîl! they fire at the
soldiers of the government; they seize the load and the mule.”

“Where do they buy arms?” I asked.

“From Ibn Sabbâḥ of Kuweit,” he replied. “They travel down the Tigris to
the Gulf in keleks, and there they buy a rifle for three Ottoman pounds,
and sell it here for ten pounds--with a rich merchandise, wallah! they
return from the Gulf of Persia. And how can we prevail against them when
’Abdu’l Ḥamîd showed them favour? Sheikh Ḥajjî was a shepherd in the
hills--a shepherd with a shepherd’s staff guarding the sheep--till
’Abdu’l Ḥamîd made him a beg. Praise God he is now in the Môṣul
prison--may God curse him!”

“God strengthen the new government,” said I.

“Please God,” he answered.

After five hours’ quick riding from Malthai the post-road turned to the
right, over the hills. We did not follow it, but rode straight on for
another forty minutes to our camp at the Kurdish village of Koleh. I had
heard of a fortress which lay upon the western slopes of the Jebel el
Abyaḍ, half-an-hour beyond Koleh, and thither I went next morning. It
proved to be the ruins of a fortified town of which nothing but the
outer wall was standing. The spurs of the Kurdish mountains are covered
with fortress ruins, outlying strongholds of the highland races against
the inhabitants of the plains, or else defences serving to protect the
fruitful lowlands from the inroads of the tribes. They date, so far as I
can judge, from every period, from the Assyrian to the Ottoman, but the
majority are undoubtedly Kurdish, robber fastnesses of the marauding
chiefs who have spread terror over the countryside for many a century.
In this last category I should not, however, place Za’ferân. The wall
is built of fine masonry; it is about 1·70 metres thick, the outer and
the inner faces being of dressed stones, the core of rubble and mortar.
It runs up to the top of a rocky bluff which has been divided from the
area of the town by a cross wall. The rock forms a natural citadel, but
I could see no signs of masonry, other than the wall, upon its
summit--indeed the ground falls so sharply that there is little room for
building. From this elevated position the town wall can be seen
stretching out in an irregular, elongated semicircle, and the plain
slopes down from it towards the Tigris, which lies two or three miles to
the south. In the centre of the town there is a large mass of ruin near
which are some rock-hewn sarcophagi. Two clearly marked streets cross
the enclosed area at right angles to one another, the one passing by the
central ruin and running down to a gate in the south wall, the other
running from east to west and probably from gate to gate--the eastern
gate is visible, but the western part of the wall is so much ruined that
the position of its gateway is not to be determined. The lintel and door
jambs of the south gate are standing, the width of the opening is only
two metres, and the lintel here and in the east gate (where it has
fallen to the ground) is unadorned and uninscribed. The character of the
masonry and the existence (as is proved by the lines of street and ruin
heap) of a town carefully planned upon an ordered system, point to a
date prior to the Mohammadan conquest, and I am inclined to seek for a
Byzantine origin for Za’ferân. Perhaps it may be a relic of the
triumphant, though brief, re-occupation by Heraclius of the provinces
ceded to the Persians by Jovian.

I followed my caravan back to the Môṣul highway and so across the hills
to Zâkhô. We climbed up the pass by as good a road as any in Turkey, but
while we were rejoicing over its excellence, it broke off short and left
us to find our way down the opposite side of the pass as best we might
along a bridle-path strewn with boulders. So we came down into the
valley of the Khâbûr and saw before us the snowy wall of the Kurdish
Alps (Fig. 180). At the gate of the pass stands Zâkhô, “old and
isolated,” as Ainsworth says, and it would be difficult to better the
phrase.[173] The more ancient part of the village is built upon an
island in the Khâbûr. The right arm of the river is spanned by a masonry
bridge, the left arm washes round the castle, a fortress which must have
had a long and checkered history, though I can find no record of
it.[174] The masonry is of many different periods. The finest and
probably the oldest part is an octagonal tower which juts out into the
stream on the south-east side. The outer walls are all fairly well
preserved and make an imposing appearance, but the interior is terribly
ruinous. In the upper part of the building there is a large hall with
windows opening on to the river. The engaged columns which support the
interior pointed arches of these windows are covered with a delicate
tracery of carving very like Seljuk work of the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries. This part of the castle cannot be dated later than
the fourteenth century, but the foundations and the octagonal tower must
be considerably older. Last of all the Turkish garrison has supplemented
the ancient work with wretched structures of rubble and mortar, and
these, too, have fallen into ruin and have been given over to the
storks, who nest contentedly among them. In Zâkhô lies buried the first
missionary to Kurdistân, the Dominican Soldini, who died here in 1779.
The quarter that stands upon the right bank of the Khâbûr is mainly
Christian and contains, I believe, two small churches of no very great
age, but my curiosity was quenched before I reached them, by a violent
thunderstorm which drove me back to my tents. It swept down the valley
from Amadîyeh, and rolling away, left the mountains so magically
beautiful that I could give no further thought to any architecture but
that of their white pinnacles and spires.



_May 10--June 4_

The Babylonians, and after them the Nestorians and the Moslems, held
that the Ark of Noah, when the waters subsided, grounded not upon the
mountain of Ararat, but upon Jûdî Dâgh. To that school of thought I also
belong, for I have made the pilgrimage and seen what I have seen. The
snows that gleamed upon us from under the skirts of the thunderstorm
when we camped at Zâkhô were the springtime wreaths of Jebel Jûdî, and
resisting all other claims, we turned our faces towards them on the
following day. Selîm, the muleteer, gloried in this decision. He was a
native of the hills above Killiz, and like all mountain people his
spirits rose with the rising ground. Above Zâkhô the Khâbûr is spanned
by a masonry bridge of four arches (Fig. 181), but when we came to
Durnakh, we found the Ḥeizil Sû innocent of bridge or ferry-boat. The
river, which is the principal affluent of the Khâbûr, ran deep and swift
by reason of the melting snows. In midstream its waters touched the top
of my riding-boots and buffeted my mare, so that I thought she would
certainly fall; indeed she would have fallen but for two of the
inhabitants of Durnakh who, with garments rolled round their waists,
held bravely up her chin. Another pair was attached to each of the
baggage animals, the muleteers joined in the sport, and we reached the
further side without loss. Four hours and a half from Zâkhô we passed by
Tell Kobbîn, an ancient mound with a village of the same name a little
further to the north,[175] and in two hours more we entered the
foothills and lunched in an oak grove near the village of Gerik. Our
path led us over rising meadows to Geurmuk and Dadar, and so into the
mouth of a gorge where Ḥasanah nestles under rocky peaks. The clouds
gathered over the mountains and thunder came booming through the gorge
as we pitched our tents by the edge of the stream, nine hours from
Zâkhô. Ḥasanah is a Christian village inhabited partly by Nestorians and
partly by the converts of American missionaries. The pastor of the
Protestant Nestorians, if I may so call him (when I asked him what was
his persuasion, he replied that he was Prôt), came at once to offer his
respects, coupled with a bunch of pink roses from his garden, and I,
being much attracted by his sturdy figure and simple open countenance,
asked him to guide me next day through the hills. Over and above his
personal charms, Kas Mattai had the advantage of a knowledge of Arabic.
He spoke besides Kurdish and Syriac, but his native tongue was Fellâḥî
(the Peasant Language), which is no other than Assyrian. His brother
Shim’ûn, who accompanied us on all our expeditions (he climbed the rocks
like a cat or a Grindelwalder), had nothing but Fellâḥî and Kurdish and
a cheerful face, but with one or the other, or all three, he made his
way deep into my affections before we parted. We walked up the narrow
valley, where flowers and flowering shrubs nodded over the path in an
almost incredible luxuriance, and climbed the steep wooded hill-side to
a point where the rock had been smoothed to receive the image of an
Assyrian king, though none had been carved upon it. Above it rose a
precipitous crag clothed on one side with hanging woods through which
zigzagged a very ancient path, lost at times among fallen rocks and
trees, while at times its embankment of stones was still clearly to be
traced. On the summit of the crag were vestiges of a small fortress. The
walls were indicated by heaps of unsquared stones, many of which had
fallen down the hill, where they lay thickly strewn; the evidence
afforded by them, and by the carefully constructed path, made it certain
that we were standing upon the site of some watch-tower that had guarded
the Ḥasanah gorge. On the opposite side rises a second crag whereon,

[Illustration: FIG. 182.--ḤASANAH, ASSYRIAN RELIEF.]

[Illustration: FIG. 183.--SHAKH, ASSYRIAN RELIEF.]

[Illustration: FIG. 184.--NOAH’S ARK.]

Kas Mattai, are ruins of the same description. That the valley was held
by the Assyrians there can be no doubt, for it is signed with their
name. Below and to the west of the crag to which we had climbed there is
another smoothed niche in the rock (Fig. 182), and here the work has
been completed and the niche is carved with the figure of an Assyrian
king, wearing a long fringed robe and carrying a sceptre.[176] At a
later age, the mountains had been occupied by Christians. Kas Mattai
showed me at the foot of the crag a few vaulted chambers which he
declared to be the ruins of a Nestorian monastery, and walking westward
for an hour or more along the wooded ridges, we came to a second and
larger monastic ruin, with a garden of fruit-trees about it, and groves
of tall blue irises which had escaped from the cemetery of the monks and
wandered over the hill-side.

In the high oak woods I forgot for a few hours the stifling heat which
had weighed upon us ever since we had left Môṣul. Each morning we had
promised one another a cooler air as we neared the mountains; each
evening the thermometer placed in the shade of my tent registered from
88° to 93° Fahrenheit. The heavy air was like an enveloping garment
which it was impossible to cast off, and as I walked through the woods I
was overmastered by a desire for the snow patches that lay upon the
peaks--for one day of sharp mountain air and of freedom from the lowland
plague of flies. Sefînet Nebî Nûh, the ship of the Prophet Noah, was
there to serve as an excuse.

Accordingly we set out from camp at four o’clock on the following
morning. Kas Mattai and Shim’ûn in their felt sandals, raishîkî, a
proper footgear for the mountaineer, Selîm, whom Providence had marked
out for the expedition, ’Abdu’l Mejîd, a zaptieh from Zâkhô, who had
been ordained as pointedly to walk upon flat ground, and the donkey. “As
for that donkey,” said Fattûḥ, “if he stays two days in the camp eating
grass, Selîm will not be able to remain upon his back.” He was Selîm’s
mount, and Selîm, who knew his mind better than any other among us, was
persuaded that he would enjoy the trip. The donkey therefore carried
the lunch. We climbed for two hours and a half through oak woods and
along the upper slopes of the hills under a precipitous crest. But this
was not what I had come out to see, and as soon as I perceived a couloir
in the rocks, I made straight for it and in a few moments stepped out
upon an alp. There lay the snow wreaths; globularia nudicaulis carpeted
the ground with blue, yellow ranunculus gilded the damp hollows, and
pale-blue squills pushed up their heads between the stones and shivered
in the keen wind. Selîm had followed me up the couloir.

“The hills are good,” said he, gathering up a handful of snow, “but I do
not think that the donkey will come up here, nor yet ’Abdu’l Mejîd.”

We returned reluctantly to the path and walked on for another half-hour
till Kas Mattai announced that the Ark of Noah was immediately above us.
Among asphodel and forget-me-nots we left the zaptieh and the donkey;
Selîm shouldered the lunch-bags, and we climbed the steep slopes for
another half-hour. And so we came to Noah’s Ark, which had run aground
in a bed of scarlet tulips (Fig. 184).

There was once a famous Nestorian monastery, the Cloister of the Ark,
upon the summit of Mount Jûdî, but it was destroyed by lightning in the
year of Christ 766.[177] Upon its ruins, said Kas Mattai, the Moslems
had erected a shrine, and this too has fallen; but Christian, Moslem and
Jew still visit the mount upon a certain day in the summer and offer
their oblations to the Prophet Noah. That which they actually see is a
number of roofless chambers upon the extreme summit of the hill. They
are roughly built of unsquared stones, piled together without mortar,
and from wall to wall are laid tree-trunks and boughs, so disposed that
they may support a roofing of cloths, which is thrown over them at the
time of the annual festival. To the east of these buildings there is an
open court enclosed by a low stone wall. The walls both of the chambers
and of the court are all, as I should judge, constructions of a recent
date, and they are certainly Mohammadan, since one of the chambers
contains a miḥrâb niche to the south, and in the enclosing wall of the
court there is a similar rough niche. Further to the west lie the ruins
of a detached chamber built of very large stones, and perhaps of an
earlier date. Beneath the upper rocks upon which these edifices stand,
there is a tank fed by the winter snows which had not entirely
disappeared from the mountain-top. Still further down, upon a small
plateau, are scattered fragments of a different architecture, carefully
built walls, stone doorposts, and lintels showing above the level of the
soil. Here, I make little doubt, was the site of the Nestorian

The prospect from the ziyârah was as wild, as rugged and as splendid as
the heart could desire, and desolate beyond measure. The ridge of Jûdî
Dâgh sinks down to the north on to a rolling upland which for many miles
offers ideal dwelling-places for a hardy mountain folk. There were but
four villages to be seen upon it. The largest of these was Shandokh, the
home of a family of Kurdish âghâs whose predatory habits account for the
scantiness of the population. To the east of it lay Heshtân, which is in
Arabic Thamânîn (the Eighty), so called because the eighty persons who
were saved from the Deluge founded there the first village of the
regenerated world when they descended from Jebel Jûdî.[178] Further to
the north an endless welter of mountains stretched between us and Lake
Vân. They rose, towards the east, into snowy ranges, and very far to the
south-east we could see the highest snow-peaks of Tiyârî, where the
Nestorians, grouped under a tribal system, defend their faith with their
lives against the Kurdish tribes--a hereditary warfare, marked with
prodigies of valour on the part of the Christians, and with such success
as the matchlock may attain over the Martini rifle.

Because the light air breathed sharply off the snows, and because the
vista of mountains was a feast to the eye, we lay for several hours in
the sanctuary of the Prophet Noah. There can be no manner of doubt that
I ought to have completed the pilgrimage by visiting his grave, but it
lay far down upon the southern slopes of Jûdî Dâgh, and I was making
holiday upon the hill-tops; therefore when we turned homewards, we bade
Shim’ûn conduct the donkey and ’Abdu’l Mejîd to Ḥasanah and ourselves
kept to the crest of the ridge. Half-an-hour from the summit we met some
Kurdish shepherds near a small heap of ruins, concerning which they
related the following history: Once upon a time there was a holy man who
took a vow of pilgrimage to the ship of Noah, and for a month he
journeyed over hill and vale until he reached the spot on which we
stood. And there he met the Evil One, who asked him whence he came and
whither he was going. The holy man explained that he was bent on a
pilgrimage to the ship of Noah. “You have still,” said the Devil, “a
month’s journey before you.” Thereat the pilgrim, being old and weary,
lost heart, and since he could not return with his vow unfulfilled, he
built himself a hut and ended his days within sight of the goal, if his
eyes had not been too worn to see. The presence of the shepherds upon
Mount Jûdî was not to be attributed to any pious purpose. They had come
up from the villages below to escape from the sheep tax which was about
to be levied for the second time within a twelvemonth, once for last
year’s arrears, and once for this year’s dues. Their lawless flocks
skipped among the boulders and the snow-wreaths as light-heartedly as
the wild goat, which no government can assess, but the owners lived in
anxiety, and when, half-an-hour further, we encountered a second
company, they took us for soldiers and greeted us with rifle shots. Kas
Mattai grasped the situation and shouted a justification of our
existence, which was not received without hesitation. I was standing,
when the shots began, in the middle of a _névé_, and thinking that I
must offer a fine mark, I stepped off the snow and sat down upon a grey
rock to await developments. But as soon as we had made it clear that we
were simple people with no official position, we were allowed to pass.
“It was well,” observed Kas Mattai, as we clambered down the crags,
“that ’Abdu’l Mejîd was not with us. They would have killed him.”

At the foot of the rocks we sat down to rest beside a bubbling spring.

“Have you suffered at the hand of the government?” I asked my guide.

“We suffer from the Kurds,” he replied, “and there is no one to protect
us but God. Effendim, the âghâwât from Shandokh come over the pass and
claim hospitality from us. We are poor men--in all Ḥasanah there is not
one who is ignorant of hunger; how shall we feed the âghâwât, and their
mares, and the followers they bring with them? And how shall we refuse
when they are armed with rifles?”

“Have you no arms?” said I.

“We have no money to buy rifles,” he answered; “and if we bought them,
the Kurds would take them from us. And when we have killed our last
sheep that we may entertain them, they seize upon all we possess before
they leave us.”

“Oh Merciful!” ejaculated Selîm.

“Sir,” said Kas Mattai, “last year they took my bed, and that which was
too worthless to carry away they broke and threw upon the fire. But if
we resisted they would burn the village.”

We ran down through the oak woods and got into camp at four in the

“God prolong your existence!” cried Fattûḥ. “Have you seen the ship of
the Prophet Noah?”

“Oh Fattûḥ,” I replied, “prepare the tea. I have seen the ship of the
Prophet Noah.” So it is that I subscribe in this matter to the wisdom of
the Kurân: “And immediately the water abated and the decree was
fulfilled and the Ark rested upon the mountain of Jûdî.”

Next morning the camp was sent straight to Jezîreh, which it reached
after a six-hours’ march, but I, with Shim’ûn as guide, followed the
line of the hills. We rode for two hours through the oak woods, and then
crossed a gorge wherein lies the Moslem village of Evler. The
incomparable beauty of these valleys passes belief. Evler was buried in
a profusion of pomegranate and walnut, fig, almond and mulberry trees;
the vines were wreathed from tree to tree, the ground beneath was deep
in corn, and the banks of the stream aglow with oleander. An hour
further we reached the Nestorian village of Shakh, where a ruined castle
protects the entrance of the gorge. The walls climb up the hillside
towards a citadel placed upon a high peak; above the village two deep
valleys run up into the mountains, and each has been walled across, so
that Shakh was guarded from attack on every side. I should judge these
fortifications to be Kurdish, but there are traces of an older
civilization on the rocks above them (Fig. 183). Of the four Assyrian
reliefs that are reported to exist, I saw only three, the fourth being
cut upon the face of the cliff and unapproachable except with ropes.
Each of the three niches which I was shown (after an hour’s climb in the
hottest part of the day) contained a single figure, like that of
Ḥasanah; each had been covered with cuneiform inscriptions, but in two
cases both the figure and the inscriptions had all but weathered away.
We left Shakh at midday, stopped for half-an-hour to lunch by the
stream, and reached Jezîret ibn ’Umar at four o’clock. The camp was
pitched upon a high bank overhanging the Tigris, but the bridge of boats
which should have connected us with the town was broken, and I crossed
by a ferry on the following day.

Jezîret ibn ’Umar is built upon an island formed by the Tigris and a
small loop canal. It is called after a certain Ḥassan ibn ’Umar of the
tribe of Taghlib, who lived in the ninth century.[179] Upon the river’s
edge stands a much-ruined


[Illustration: FIG. 186.--JEZÎRET IBN ’UMAR, BRIDGE.]



castle of which the masonry is mostly of alternate bands of black basalt
and white limestone. Over one of the doors are carved a couple of rudely
executed lions (Fig. 185). The town walls still exist in part and belong
to the same date as the castle; so too does the fragment of a masonry
bridge which spanned the Tigris about half-an-hour’s ride below the town
(Fig. 186). On our way to it we forded the moat which was at that time
quite shallow. One of the bridge piers is decorated with a key pattern
of black and white stone, and with some curious reliefs representing the
signs of the zodiac, of which the work is similar in character to that
of the lions upon the castle gate (Fig. 188). Each relief bears an
inscription in Arabic naming the zodiacal sign which it depicts.[180] As
we came back through the town we stopped at the principal mosque, which
has a pair of fine bronze doors, with bronze knockers worked in a design
of intertwined dragons. A small dome, set upon columns that may have
been taken from an earlier building, covers the fountain in the
courtyard (Fig. 187).[181] Jezîret ibn ’Umar has a bad reputation for
the fever which is bred in its marshy moat; moreover it was stifling
hot. I hurried through a cursory sight-seeing and ferried back to the
opposite bank, where I found the baggage animals loaded and ready to
start. Having followed the Tigris bank for half-an-hour, I left the
caravan to pursue its way to Finik and turned up the valley of the Risür
Chai. In less than two hours from Jezîreh we came to a ruined Kurdish
fort, standing on either side of the stream and blocking effectually the
passage of the gorge; and carved upon the rocks of the left bank there
is a more ancient guardian of the pass, a warrior armed, and mounted
upon a bounding horse (Fig. 189). His companion, who went on foot, has
fallen into the stream, and I know no other record of him than Layard’s
woodcut.[182] The figure of the horseman is much defaced by time. The
winter rains have worn thin his armour, the spring floods have
undermined the rock on which he stands, but shadowy though his image may
be, it marks the triumph of a European civilization, and its prototypes
are to be sought not among the bearded divinities and winged monsters of
Assyria, but in the work of Western sculptors. The Parthian, who was the
bitter enemy of the Roman empire, carved it upon the rocks of Ḳaṣr
Ghellî, and bore witness with his own hand to the overmastery of Roman

We cut across the hills back to the Tigris, and rode by a memorably
inadequate path--equally memorable for the profusion of oleanders
through which it ran--up the bank to Finik. The high ground on either
side of the valley falls sharply to the water, and the river bursts here
through the last barrier of mountain which divides it from the
Mesopotamian plain. Finik has been from all time the key of the ravine.
Before we reached the side-gorge in which the village lies, we passed a
great enclosure of ruined walls and towers, and below it, among the
ricefields that occupy a cape jutting into the stream, there are remains
of similar fortifications. Beyond the gorge of Finik we rode under a
crag which is crowned by the most commanding of the many castles, and
less imposing fortress ruins are clustered about its foot. We made our
way through groves of pomegranate down to the camp, pitched in clover
pastures by the river. A ferry-boat was drawn up upon the bank, and with
its help we designed to convey ourselves next morning to the further
side, but the boat was ancient and the stream swift, and I suspected
that the passage would be a long business. Therefore I left Fattûḥ to
cope with the ferrymen and went up, while he did

[Illustration: FIG. 189.--PARTHIAN RELIEF, ḲAṢR GHELLÎ.]

[Illustration: FIG. 190.--PARTHIAN RELIEF, FINIK.]

[Illustration: FIG. 191.--THE HILLS OF FINIK.]

so, to the village. A tumbling stream and masses of oleander fill the
gorge; the greater part of the inhabitants of Finik are lodged in caves,
preserving, no doubt, the customs of their remotest ancestors whose
rock-cut dwellings they have inherited.[183] We climbed up to the castle
by a winding path and entered it on the side furthest from the Tigris,
the face of the hill turned towards the river being a precipitous rock.
The castle wall is partly of masonry and partly of the natural rock, and
the gate is tunnelled through the cliff and flanked by small rock-cut
chambers. Within the enclosure there are a number of underground
chambers, and on the highest peak the rooms are rock-hewn and vaulted
with masonry. How old the rock cutting may be I cannot tell; the masonry
is not very ancient, some of it may be modern, while none could safely
be dated earlier than the Middle Ages. But the position overhanging the
Tigris is superb, and it is difficult to think that the Phœnice which
Sapor overthrew stood on any other crag. The rolling plateau of the Ṭûr
’Abdîn stretched away to the south-west, and since I observed that the
ferrying of my caravan was taking as long a time as I had anticipated, I
sat down and made a comfortable survey of the country we were about to
traverse. We returned to the village by the way we had come (there is no
other) and climbed the rocks on the opposite side of the valley, where
Layard found a much-effaced Parthian relief. It depicts the figures of a
man and a woman, clad in short tunics which hang in heavy folds over
loosely-fitting trousers (Fig. 190). Above the man’s head are traces of
an inscription which even in Layard’s day was indecipherable. Our guide
hurried back to the village while I was examining the tablet, and when
we came down we found him spreading a meal of omelets and bread and
bowls of irân (a most delectable drink made of sour curds beaten up in
water) under the shade of some mulberry-trees--a welcome sight to those
who have breakfasted early and climbed over many rocks. A less pleasing
surprise awaited us when we reached the Tigris; not half the horses had
crossed, and the ferry-boat was engaged in intricate and lengthy
manœuvres on the opposite side. There was nothing to be done but to wait
for its return, and I lay down among the clover under a hawthorn-bush.

It was here that we were to bid a final farewell to the Greeks who had
accompanied us from the outset of the journey (Fig. 191). “When they had
arrived at a spot where the Tigris was quite impassable from its depth
and width, and where there was no passage along its banks, as the
Carduchian mountains hung steep over the stream, it appeared to the
generals that they must march over those mountains, for they had heard
from the prisoners that if they could cross the Carduchian heights they
would be able to ford the sources of the Tigris in Armenia.”[184] They
turned north, therefore, and fought their way through the land of the
Carduchi, which are the Kurds, until they reached the sea, while we,
having a ferry-boat at our disposal and a smaller force to handle,
passed over the Tigris into the Ṭûr ’Abdîn. So at length we parted, and
Cheirosophus in advance with the light-armed troops scaled the hills of
Finik and led slowly forward, leaving Xenophon to bring up the rear with
the heavy-armed men. Their shields and corselets glittered upon the
steep, they climbed, and reached the summit of the ridge, and

“Effendim!” Fattûḥ broke into my meditations. “Effendim, the boat is

“Oh Fattûḥ,” said I, “the Greeks are gone.”

Fattûḥ looked vaguely disturbed.

“The Greeks of old days, who marched with us down the Euphrates,” I

The history of the Ten Thousand is not included in the Aleppine
curriculum, and since Fattûḥ can neither read nor write, he is debarred
from supplementing the acquirements of his brief school-days, but he
searched his memory for fragments of my meaningless talk.

“Those?” he said. “God be with them!”

We had more reason to invoke the protection of the Almighty on our own
behalf. The ferry-boat was packed with our baggage animals, standing
head to tail; the current was very swift. We shot down it, heading
aslant, until we neared the further shore; the ferrymen thrust their
long poles sharply into the water, and the boat heeled round until the
gunwale touched the level of the stream. Thereat the horses tumbled over
like ninepins, one upon the other, and I, sitting high in the stern, was
saved by the timely clutch of a zaptieh from plunging headlong into the
stream. “Allah, Allah!” cried the ferrymen, and we ran aground upon the

The Ṭûr ’Abdîn, which we now entered, is a lofty plateau that stretches
from Finik on the east to Mardîn and Diyârbekr on the west, and south to
Nisîbîn. The Tigris embraces it to north and east; on the south side the
heights of the plateau fall abruptly into the Mesopotamian deserts
which, interrupted only by the long hog’s back of the Jebel Sinjâr,
extend to the Persian Gulf. The Mount of the Servants of God--such is
the meaning of its beautiful name--was known to the ancients as Masius
Mons and Izala Mons, Mount Izala occupying the eastern end of the
plateau.[185] This country lay upon the confines of the Roman and the
Persian empires, and in the confused accounts of the campaigns of
Constantius, Justinian and Heraclius the frontier fortresses of Izala
and Masius play a conspicuous part. While war raged round Amida, Marde,
Dara and Nisibis, the secluded valleys of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn were falling
peacefully into the hands of the Servants of God. The Mount was a
stronghold of the Christian faith; monastery after monastery rose among
the oak woods, the rolling uplands were cleared and planted with
vineyards, and the ancient communities of the Eastern Church multiplied
and grew rich in their almost inaccessible retreat.[186] Very little has
been published concerning the architectural remains of the district, but
I had happened to see in Môṣul some photographs which had awakened my
curiosity, and the Dominican fathers whom I met at Baviân had raised it
still higher.[187]

The morning was half spent before we landed on the west bank of the
Tigris. Our path climbed up on to the plateau and led us over downs
sweet scented with clover and very thinly populated: during the five
hours’ journey from the Tigris to Azakh we saw only three villages.[188]
Azakh, where we camped, is inhabited mainly by Jacobites, some of whom
have modified their creed under the influence of American missionaries.
The Protestant pastor paid me a visit and brought disquieting news.
While we were still at Môṣul we had heard rumours of a massacre of the
Christians which had taken place at Adana. The Ṭûr ’Abdîn was full of
these reports. It was impossible to make out whether the events which
were related to us were past or present, how serious the massacre had
been or whether it were now at an end, and it was not until I reached
Cæsarea that I learnt the truth with regard to the double outbreak in
Cilicia. For a month we were greeted wherever we went with details of
fresh calamities that were in part the reverberation of those of which
we had already heard, and everywhere these histories were accompanied by
the assurance that a deliberate attempt had been made from without to
stir up massacres in the districts through which we passed. No direct
proof of this statement was offered; I never met the man who had set
eyes on the reported telegram, nor any one who could tell me what
signature it bore. But in the East, conviction does not wait upon
evidence. I learnt to realize the evil power of rumour, and experience
taught me how hard it is to keep the mind steadily fixed upon the
proposition that two unsupported statements (or the same often repeated)
will not make a certainty. The atmosphere of panic which surrounded us
is the true precursor of disaster, and I found good reason to respect
the statecraft of the Turkish officials whose firmness saved the
population from the consequences of their own loudly expressed
suspicions. I bear testimony to the fact that all that I saw or heard of
the agitation which attended the events of April 1909 led me to the
conviction that the local authorities had set their face against
bloodshed, and by so doing had averted it.

Next morning we rode for six hours to Bâ Sebrîna, over wide uplands
almost entirely uncultivated and covered with small oak-trees. The
country was so like the swelling, thinly wooded hills that lead out of
the Belḳâ towards the Syrian Desert that at times I could have sworn
that we were riding from Gilead into Moab.[189] The characteristic
feature of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn is the absence of streams; even when we
crossed a deep valley, as we did twice during the course of the morning,
there was no running water in it. The water supply of the villages is
derived from pools which are fed by the winter rains and snows. In the
second valley we found the ruined monastery of Mâr Shim’ûn, placed among
thickets and deep herbage, but, to my disappointment, it was of little
architectural interest. The village of Bâ Sebrîna is wholly Christian.
It has been an important place, and though it has now fallen to the
estate of a small hamlet, it contains innumerable monasteries. Several
of these are beyond the limits of the town. They lie, each in its own
enclosing wall, like small forts upon the hills, and each is garrisoned
by a single monk. The monastic buildings are exiguous, and I doubt
whether they can have been intended for more than one or two persons;
perhaps they should be regarded as clerical rather than as monastic
foundations,[190] and the living-rooms were intended for the lodging of
those who served the shrine. The first monastery which we reached upon
the outskirts of Bâ Sebrîna was of this character. Its high and rather
tapering rectangular tower, and strong walls, gave it from afar a
striking appearance, but the vaulted chapel and the rooms set round a
tiny court were rudely built of undressed stones, almost totally dark,
and devoid of decorative features. I looked at several of the monastic
houses within the village, and always with the same results: they had no
pretension to architectural interest and were without ornament or
inscriptions by which to determine their date. But at the monastery of
Mâr Dodo I found a clue to the history of Bâ Sebrîna. The church, which
is the largest in the place, stands upon the north side of a walled
court round which are placed insignificant living-rooms, store-rooms and
stables. The church consists of a closed narthex running along the south
side of a vaulted aisleless nave, with a single apse to the east. On the
east side of the court, south of the church, there is an exedra covered
by a semi-dome and provided with a stone reading-desk on which to set
the holy books. All the masonry is rude and unskilful, and the carved
capitals and moulded arch of the exedra bear no sign of great antiquity,
while the engaged capitals in the church are merely blocked out. Now
this scheme of a single-chambered church, with a narthex to the south
and an external exedra, filled me with amazement, for it was unlike any
that I had seen, but I was subsequently to learn that it is one of the
oldest ecclesiastical plans of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn, and its combination at Bâ
Sebrîna with rough masonry and late decorative details is explained by a
Syriac inscription above the porch which states that the church was
built in the year 1510 of the Seleucid era, _i.e._ A.D. 1200. Whether
this be the date of the first foundation or of a fundamental
reconstruction upon an older site I cannot be certain, though from the
absence of all trace of early work I incline to the former alternative,
and I conclude that the old architectural scheme of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn was
adhered to closely at a later date, when a second period of building
activity saw the foundation of the churches and monasteries of Bâ
Sebrîna. But since I did not then know that these edifices were exact
copies of more ancient work, their recent date was a rude shock, and I
began to wonder whether the Mount would prove to be as fruitful a field
as I had hoped. Bâ Sebrîna, at any rate, had been drawn blank, and we
rode down for three-quarters of an hour through vineyards to the village
of Sâreh. As soon as we had settled upon a camping-ground--no easy
matter on account of the interminable vineyards--I walked down to the
village to examine the church. The âghâ of Sâreh belongs to one of the
leading Kurdish families of these parts. I found him in an open space
near the church, entertaining friends who had ridden over from a
neighbouring village. They too were âghâs of a noble house, and they
were tricked out in all the finery which their birth warranted. Their
short jackets were covered with embroidery, silver-mounted daggers were
stuck into their girdles, and upon their heads they wore immense
erections of white felt, wrapped round with a silken handkerchief of
which the ends stuck out like wings over their foreheads. They pressed
me to accept several tame partridges which they kept to lure the wild
birds, and while we waited for the priest to bring the key of the
church, they exhibited the very curious stela (Fig. 192) which stands
upside down in the courtyard.[191] Meantime the village priest had
arrived, and I followed him unsuspiciously into the church. But I had
not stood for more than a minute inside the building than I happened to
look down on to the floor and perceived it to be black with fleas. I
made a hasty exit, tore off my stockings and plunged them into a tank of
water, which offered the safest remedy in this emergency.

“There are,” said the priest apologetically, “a great many, but they are
all swept out on Sunday morning. On Sunday there are none.”

I confess to a deep scepticism on this head.

The incompleteness of the maps and the absence of trustworthy
information led us far astray upon the following day. I had heard of a
very ancient monastery that lay upon the outer edge of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn:
upon the way thither I proposed to visit the castle of Ḥâtim Ṭâi.
Accordingly I spread out Kiepert, and drawing a bee-line across the
blank paper, told Fattûḥ to take the camp to Useh Dereh (Kiepert calls
it Useden), and provided him with a zaptieh and a guide. Another
villager accompanied Jûsef and me and the second zaptieh, and undertook
to guide us via the castle to Useh Dereh. We set forth from Sâreh at
5.30 and rode through uninhabited oak woods till 8.10, when we reached a
ruined village from which we could see the castle of Ḥâtim Ṭâi standing
up boldly on the opposite side of a deep valley. There was no road by
which to reach it--not so much as a bridle path. We struggled down
through the woods, dragging our horses over rocks and fallen trees, and
by the special mercy of Providence reached at 9.15, and without
accident, the foot of the castle hill. A path led round it to the Yezîdî
village of Gelîyeh, and thither I sent Jûsef and the zaptieh with the
horses, while the man of Sâreh climbed the hill with me. Ḥâtim Ṭâi was a
renowned sheikh of the Arab tribe of the Ṭâi, but the castle which is
called after him has a far longer history. The summit of the hill is
enclosed in a

[Illustration: FIG. 192.--STELA AT SÂREH.]

[Illustration: FIG. 193.--ḲAL’AT ḤÂTIM ṬÂI, CHAPEL.]

[Illustration: FIG. 194.--MÂR AUGEN.]

double line of fortification following the contours of the slopes. The
lower ring is provided with towers at the angles of the wall, and with
round bastions of very slight projection. Within the inner enclosure
stands the citadel, now completely ruined and bearing evidences of
frequent reconstruction. The oldest parts are unmistakably of Byzantine
masonry, and contain a chapel of which the apse is well preserved (Fig.
193). The castle must have been rebuilt during the Mohammadan period,
and then again rebuilt, for in one of the walls of the citadel there is
a fragment of an Arabic inscription, which is not in its original
position, neither is the inscription complete.[192] The Yezîdîs declare
that the castle was one of their strongholds until it passed into the
hands of the Ṭâi, and this might account for a reconstruction of the
citadel at a late period. The only other inscription which I could find
is also Arabic. It is apparently a name, with no date or further
qualification, cut upon the main gate of the outer wall.[193] In the
space between the two walls there are a number of small rock-hewn
cisterns, some of which were probably intended to hold corn and other
provisions. The main water supply was drawn from a large cistern in the
citadel. So far as I could judge, the ruins, therefore, exhibit Yezîdî
or Arab work (or both) upon Byzantine foundations, and I think it
exceedingly likely that the castle of Ḥâtim Ṭâi is that Rhabdium which,
according to Procopius, was fortified by Justinian. It lay, says he, on
a steep rock upon the frontiers of the Roman and the Persian empires,
two days from Dara. Below it was the Ager Romanorum, which has been
identified with the plain between Môṣul and the Ṭûr ’Abdîn. Since there
was no water near it (there is none, as I have said, in the Ṭûr ’Abdîn),
Justinian was obliged to cut a number of cisterns.[194] The whole of
this description exactly fits the castle of Ḥâtim Ṭâi, and the presence
of Byzantine masonry among the ruins is strongly in favour of the
identification. The position of the fortress is exceedingly fine. The
hills drop down sharply from its very walls into the Mesopotamian plain,
where the long line of the Jebel Sinjâr, a mountain occupied almost
exclusively by the Yezîdîs, alone breaks the desolate expanse.

A cruel disillusion awaited us when we reached the valley. The Yezîdîs,
who were feasting Jûsef and the zaptieh on bread and bowls of milk,
declared that there was no getting to Useh Dereh except by taking the
path down into the plain and climbing up into the hills again by a pass
at Ḳal’at ej Jedîd. Even the direction from which we had come was
blocked to us, for we refused to contemplate a return through the woods
down which we had pushed our way with so much difficulty. The Yezîdîs,
who had heard from Jûsef that we had recently visited ’Alî Beg, begged
us to stay the night in their caves (the village of Gelîyeh is all
underground), and offered to kill a sheep for us, and when I was obliged
to decline this eagerly proffered hospitality, one of their number
accompanied us for some distance to show us the way. Riding through oak
woods where the bees had hived in every hollow trunk we came to a small
and dilapidated Yezîdî shrine, where my guide paused to kiss the largest
of the trees. “It belongs to the ziyârah,” he said in answer to my
question. “We do not collect the honey out of any of these trees; all
the wood here belongs to the ziyârah.” We left Gelîyeh at 10.30 and in
two hours found ourselves in the familiar Mesopotamian landscape, an
interminable flat strewn with big mounds, each with its village near it.
The climate, too, was familiar, and we rode wearily through a burning
heat to which we had not thought to return. At 11.30 we passed near
Kalka; at 12.30 we came to Kinik, where we spent half-an-hour trying to
re-shoe one of our horses. But the farrier was dead, so we were
informed, and though we had the shoe with us the whole village could not
produce a single nail. When once the Yezîdî was gone none of our party
had any special knowledge of the way, but Kiepert (upon whom be praise!)
served us well, and with his help we hit off the valley which led up to
Ḳal’at ej Jedîd, and at five o’clock we found ourselves, tired and
hungry, under its towers. It soared above us, no less splendidly placed
than Ḳal’at Ḥâtim Ṭâi, and guarded this second pass just as Ḥâtim Ṭâi
had guarded the other. If we had been certain that we should reach our
camp before nightfall I should have climbed up to it, but in the
mountains no one can make a sure calculation of distances, and we dared
not stay. I know nothing, therefore, of Ḳal’at ej Jedîd but its
magnificent outer aspect, and it remains in my memory as a vision of
wall and tower and precipitous rock rising into the ruddy sunset light
above a shadowy gorge, a citadel as bold and menacing as any that I have
seen.[195] We led our horses up the rugged gorge, and at 6.40 regained
the plateau of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn. A little village, Bâ Dibbeh, stood at the
head of the pass, and before us stretched a rolling, thickly wooded
country. We stopped at the village pool to inquire our way, and were
given the general direction of Useh Dereh, coupled with a vague
assurance that it was not far. The paths were too stony for riding, and
to walk was a relief after so many hours of the saddle; I left my
companions to bring on the horses and turned into the darkening oak
woods. For close upon an hour I followed the course of a shallow winding
valley; the trees, standing close about the path, obscured all view; a
brooding silence, unbroken by man or beast, hung over the forest, the
dark deepened into cool, sweet-smelling night, and still the narrow
rocky path wound on between wooded banks. And just as I was wondering
whether it had any end, the trees fell back round an open patch of corn
and vine, and the lights of my camp shone out upon the further side.

If we had travelled far in the body upon that day, we travelled further
in the spirit upon the next. There lies upon the lip of the hills,
overlooking the wide desolation of Mesopotamia, a monastery which is
said to be the mother house of all the Ṭûr ’Abdîn. Into these solitudes,
according to the tradition of the mountain, wandered at the beginning of
the fourth century a pupil of St. Antony, whose name was St. Eugenius.
He had learnt from his master the rule of solitude and had overcome with
him the devils that people the Egyptian sands; among the rocks of Mount
Izala he laid down his pilgrim’s staff, gathered disciples about him and
founded the monastery that still bears his name. It was at first no more
than a group of cells hollowed out of the cliff, but as its fame
increased, the monks built themselves a church upon a narrow shelf
between precipice and precipice, and helped out the natural defences of
the mountain by a strong wall of masonry. The cave cells increased in
number until the rocks were honeycombed on every side, and disciples of
the first founder led forth companies of monks to raise fresh
monasteries over the Ṭûr ’Abdîn.[196] The Jacobite priest of Useh Dereh,
when he heard that we proposed to visit Mâr Augen, offered to accompany
us, saying that he wished to pay his respects to the bishop who lived
there (this was a figure of speech, for the bishop is not to be seen of
any man), and he guided us for an hour through the woods to the southern
edge of the hills.[197] The path to the monastery was a rock-cut
staircase, but we succeeded in dragging the horses down it and left them
by the gate (Fig. 194). Under the crag stands the church with its tiny
cloister and walled court, and it did not take long to discover that, in
spite of many rebuildings, the tradition as to its age could not be far
wrong. A church must have stood here in the sixth century, if not in the
fifth; some of the old capitals have been re-used at a later time, and
the ancient plan is preserved in church and cloister. Ten monks are
lodged in the rock-cut cells of their remote forerunners--I met with one
of them in the cloister and he carried intelligence of my arrival to the
prior, who came in haste to do the honours of his church. He was a man
of some thirty years of age, with melancholy eyes. We sat together in
the shadow of the cloister, while he explained to me the rule under
which he and his brethren lived, and as he spoke I felt the centuries
drop away and disclose the ascetic life of the early Christian world.
They spend their days in meditation; their diet is bread and oil and
lentils; no meat, and neither milk nor eggs may pass their lips; they
may see no woman--

“But may you see me?” I asked.

“We have made an exception for you,” explained the prior. “Travellers
come here so seldom. But some of the monks have shut themselves into
their cells until you go.”

The cell of St. Eugenius stands apart from the others, hollowed out of
the cliff to the west of the church. The prior had spent a lonely winter
there, seeing no one but the brother who brought him his daily meal of
bread and lentils. As we stood in the narrow cave, which was more like a
tomb than a dwelling-place, I looked into the young face, marked with
the lines drawn by solitude and hunger.

“Where is your home?” I asked.

“In Mardîn,” he answered. “My father and my mother live there yet.”

“Will you see them again?” said I.

“Perhaps not,” he replied, but there was no regret in his voice.

“And all your days you will live here?”

He looked out calmly over rock and plain. “Please God,” he said. “It
seems to be a good place for prayer.”

It is the habit of the monks to let no traveller depart without food, a
habit well known to the neighbouring Kurds who claim more hospitality
than the monastery can well afford. While I worked at the church, the
prior betook himself to the cave kitchen and prepared an ample meal of
eggs and bread, raisins and sour curds for me and for my men. When we
had eaten I asked whether it would not be seemly to thank the bishop for
the entertainment which had been offered to us.

“You cannot see him,” said the prior. “He has left the world.”

“The kas from Useh Dereh came to-day to visit him,” I objected.

“He came to gaze upon his cell,” answered the prior, and with that he
led me out of the church and pointed to a cave some fifty feet above us
in the cliff. Three-quarters of the opening had been filled with
masonry, and I could see that it was approached by a stair of which the
lower part was cut out behind a gallery and the upper on the face of the
rock. An active novice might have thought twice before attempting the
path to the bishop’s cell.

“Is he old?” said I.

“He is the father of eighty years,” replied the prior, “and it is now a
year since he took a vow of silence and renounced the world. Once a day,
at sunset, he lets down a basket on a rope and we place therein a small
portion of bread.”

“And when he dies?” I asked.

“When he is sick to death he will send down a written word telling us to
come up on the next day and fetch his body. Then we shall see his face

“And you will take his place?” said I.

“If God wills,” he answered.

We walked across the hills for half-an-hour to Mâr Yuhannâ, a monastery
founded by a disciple of St. Eugenius. It is neither so finely placed
nor so interesting architecturally as Mâr Augen, though the rough walls
of church and monastic building, which cling to the rocky slopes, are
not without a certain wild beauty. The bishop who rules over the house
of Mâr Yuhannâ is less exclusive than the prelate at Mâr Augen, for he
shares a tower with his four monks, but he was still too exclusive to
receive my visit. The aged prior was all for serving us with a meal, but
I could not undertake to dispose of another omelet, nor did I realize
that my refusal would be regarded as a shocking breach of the social
code. The prior was so deeply hurt that he would not bid us farewell,
and we left under the cloud of his displeasure. We climbed back to the
summit of the hills and rode home to Useh Dereh, and if any one should
wonder why a recluse from Egypt should have sought so distant a
dwelling-place as Mount Izala, I can give a sufficient answer. It was
because he found Iris Susiana growing among the rocks. The great grey
flowers lift their heads in every open space between the oak-trees,
gleaming silver in the strong sun, and so perfect are they in form, so
exquisite in texture, that I stood amazed at the sight of them, as one
who gazes on a celestial vision.

It is just an hour’s ride from Useh Dereh to Mâr Melko,[198] which
stands fortress-like upon the top of a hill. The bishop (for there was a
bishop here also--the number of prelates in the Ṭûr ’Abdîn is scarcely
to be reckoned) was singularly unlike his colleagues of the other
monasteries. He carried sociability to so high a point that I doubted
whether I should be allowed to proceed that day upon my journey, but
with the regrettable incident at Mâr Yuhannâ fresh in my memory, I put
force upon my appetite and ate the second breakfast upon which his
hospitality insisted, while the zaptieh and Jûsef, who were not in the
habit of counting breakfasts, did fuller justice to the remains of it.
The monastery is a rambling building with a chapel upon an upper floor
and a crypt containing the tombs of priors. The tomb of the patron saint
is in the church itself. Over it hangs a rude picture of Mâr Melko with
the devil beside him: upon inquiry the bishop explained that the saint
had been renowned for his power of casting out devils, and he pointed to
a collar and chain attached to the wall and observed that men who were
afflicted with fits or madness came here to be cured, and all went away
sound, no matter what their creed.[199] The buildings bore evidences of
frequent reconstruction, and parts of the church were still in the state
of ruin in which a recent Kurdish raid had left them. It is almost
impossible to date architecture of this kind, for the new work and the
old have much the same character, but the plan of the church is the
ancient monastic scheme, as I learnt at Mâr Gabriel and at Ṣalâḥ, and in
all probability Mâr Melko is to be counted among the oldest foundations
of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn. Like Mâr Gabriel it is some distance removed from the
nearest village, and depends for its security upon its own strong walls.
After we had passed through Kharabah ’Aleh, which contains the ruins of
a church, we wandered among the rolling, wooded hills, and had gone
needlessly far to the north before we caught sight of the monastery of
Mâr Gabriel standing upon an eminence, with my tents pitched beside it.
The inevitable bishop was away and I could not regret his absence, since
it implied a relaxation of the social duties which I should otherwise
have been obliged to fulfil, and permitted me to give my whole attention
to the building.

The house of St. Gabriel of Kartmîn was, during the Middle Ages, the
most famous and the richest of Jacobite establishments. It is said to
have been founded in the reign of Arcadius (395-408) and rebuilt under
Anastasius (491-518), and I see no reason to doubt that the great church
of Mâr Gabriel is, as it now stands, a work of the early sixth century.
There are two other churches within the existing monastic precincts, one
dedicated to the Virgin, the other to the Forty Martyrs, but neither of
these is as old as that which is dedicated to the tutelary saint (Fig.
197). A large area of ruins beyond the walls gives some indication of
the former magnificence of the monastery which gained, as early as the
days of Justinian, a reputation for holiness second only

[Illustration: FIG. 195.--THE BISHOP OF MÂR MELKO.]

[Illustration: FIG. 196.--KHÂKH, THE NUN.]

[Illustration: FIG. 197.--NARTHEX OF MÂR GABRIEL.]

[Illustration: FIG. 200.--KHÂKH, CHURCH OF THE VIRGIN.]


to Jerusalem. It bore at that period the name of St. Stephen; St.
Gabriel was bishop of the monastery during the reign of Heraclius. When
the Arab invaders drove out the forces of the Byzantine empire, he
obtained from the Khalif ’Umar ibn u’l Khaṭṭâb rights of jurisdiction
over all Christians in the Ṭûr ’Abdîn, for which reason the monastery is
sometimes called after him, Deir Mâr Gabriel, and sometimes after the
khalif, Deir ’Umar. It was despoiled by Tîmûr towards the close of the
fourteenth century, and many a harrying it must have endured from the
Kurds before it sank into its present state of poverty and decay. One
monk and a single nun, well stricken in years, were its sole occupants
at the time of my visit. The church of Mâr Gabriel is built upon a plan
which I conjecture to be monastic as distinguished from parochial. The
two types, which are quite unlike each other, are also unlike all
churches known to me outside the Ṭûr ’Abdîn. The parish church (Fig.
198), which has no domestic buildings attached to it, or nothing but a
few chambers for the lodging of clerks, follows invariably the plan that
I have described at Bâ Sebrîna; at Mâr Gabriel, and in the other
monastic churches (Fig. 199), the atrium and narthex lie to the west,
the vaulted nave is placed with its greater length running from north to
south, and three doors in the east wall communicate with a triple
sanctuary. From what prototypes did the Christian architects of the Ṭûr
’Abdîn derive the singular feature of the nave lying with its greater
length at right angles to the main axis of the building? I can only
suggest that they may have preserved the ancient scheme of the
Babylonian temple and palace hall, which was retained by the Assyrians
in their palaces, but not in their temples; and if this be so, the
monastic churches of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn are the last representatives of the
oldest Oriental architecture. The walls and vault of the nave of Mâr
Gabriel are devoid of ornament, but the vault of the central sanctuary
is adorned with mosaics. The accumulated soot of centuries of
candle-smoke has not entirely obscured the glory of its golden ground,
of the great jewelled cross laid over the centre of the vault, and the
twisted vine scrolls with which it is encircled. It is said that similar
mosaics once covered the whole church and were destroyed by the soldiers
of Tîmûr.

[Illustration: FIG. 199.--ṢALÂḤ, MÂR YA’ḲÛB; MONASTIC TYPE.]

We rode next morning into Midyâd,[200] and camped beside the ruined
church of Mâr Philoxenos which, since it has not been recently repaired,
is of greater interest than any other in the town.[201] The task of
planning it was a labour of hatred. The population of Midyâd, men, women
and children, stationed themselves upon the ruined walls, and for them
it was no doubt the most entertaining afternoon which they had spent for
many a long week, but for me, and for the patient bearers of the
measuring tape, the hours were charged with exasperation. The Ḳâimmaḳâm,
when he appeared upon this agitated scene (Midyâd is the seat of
government in the Ṭûr ’Abdîn), succeeded in clearing the ruins for a few
moments, but as soon as he had turned his back, the hordes reassembled
with a greater zest than before.

My Christian servants returned in the evening from the bazaar gravely
disquieted by the gossip which was current there. It was rumoured that
the wave of massacre had spread to Aleppo and they trembled for the fate
of their wives and families. The news which was causing us so much
anxiety was in fact nearly a month old, but we did not learn until we
reached Diyârbekr that Aleppo had escaped with a week of panic.

The next day was devoted to three churches which I visited and planned
on the way to Khâkh, Mâr Yâ’ḳûb at Ṣalâḥ, Mâr Kyriakos at Arnâs and Mâr
’Azîzîyeh at Kefr Zeh. I doubt whether there exists anywhere a group of

[Illustration: FIG. 201.--KHÂKH, CHURCH OF THE VIRGIN.]

more precious to the archæologist than these three churches and the
little domed shrine of the Virgin which stands almost perfect among the
ruins of Khâkh (Fig. 201). It is close upon a miracle that in this
forgotten region, long subjected to the tyranny of the Kurds, such
masterpieces of architecture should have escaped destruction; the
explanation is probably to be found in the rugged mountain frontiers of
the Ṭûr ’Abdîn. Even though it lay upon the edge of country which was
for over a hundred years the battle-ground of the Persian and the
Byzantine, war seems to have penetrated but little into its heart. The
Christian communities, from their rock-cut cells in the crags of Mount
Izala, must have listened to the rumours of advance and flight and
siege; they could almost witness the encounter of armies in the plain
below. But “the lofty mountain, precipitous and almost inaccessible,” as
Procopius describes it, was a sure refuge, and Procopius himself can
scarcely have been acquainted with the wooded uplands and fertile
valleys where already in his time stood the churches and monasteries of
Ṣalâḥ and Arnâs, Kefr Zeh and Khâkh. The Arab conquerors left the
Christians undisturbed; they bowed the head and suffered under the
fierce blast of Tîmûr’s invasion and under the secular persecution of
the Kurds; but decimated and stripped of their wealth, they held firmly
to the bare walls of their religious houses, and the meagre, ragged
choirs still chant their litanies under vaults which have withstood the
assault of fourteen centuries. Into this country I came, entirely
ignorant of its architectural wealth, because it was entirely
unrecorded. None of the inscriptions collected by Pognon go back earlier
than the ninth century; the plans which had



[Illustration: FIG. 204.--THE CHELABÎ.]


been published were lamentably insufficient and were unaccompanied by
any photographs. When I entered Mâr Yâ’ḳûb at Ṣalâḥ and saw upon its
walls mouldings and carved string courses which bore the sign manual of
the Græco-Asiatic civilization I scarcely dared to trust to the
conclusions to which they pointed. But church after church confirmed and
strengthened them. The chancel arches, covered with an exquisite
lacework of ornament, the delicate grace of the acanthus capitals, hung
with garlands and enriched with woven entrelac (Fig. 200), the
repetition of ancient plans and the mastery of constructive problems
which revealed an old architectural tradition, all these assure to the
churches of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn the recognition of their honourable place in
the history of the arts.

It was evening when we rode over the last of the wooded hills and saw
the village of Khâkh lying upon a green knoll in the midst of a fertile
plain. The rays of the setting sun touched the dome of the church of the
Virgin, the tower of Mâr Sobo and the terraced houses; they flashed upon
the pool below the village, by the edge of which my camp was pitched,
and were mercifully unrevealing of poverty and ruin. It seemed to me
that I had ended the most wonderful day since that which had brought me
to Ukheiḍir by dropping into a village of the fifth century, complete
and prosperous in every part. The searching light of morning disclosed a
different picture. The houses were mere hovels, and except for the
church of the Virgin, not one of the ancient buildings but had fallen
into the extremity of decay. That church is, however, the jewel of the
Ṭûr ’Abdîn (Figs. 200, 202, 203). It has suffered scarcely any change
since the builders completed it, and it points a way to the solution of
many a problem of Byzantine architecture. Its plan suggests a memorial
rather than a monastic type; the domestic buildings near it are small
and modern and I saw no trace of an ancient monastic house. A nun and
the village priest occupied the rooms that now stand to the north of the
courtyard. The nun was young and personable, and she found the religious
life very much to her taste. Her sacred calling gave her the right to
come and go as she pleased, to mix in male society and even to put forth
her opinion in male councils. Moreover it provided her with an excuse
for claiming audience of me on the evening of my arrival.

“I have come to see my sister,” I heard her announce. “Does she speak
Arabic?” And before Fattûḥ could answer, she had presented herself at
the tent door. The object of her visit was to ask me for a revolver.

“What do you want with a revolver?” I said.

“We are afraid,” she replied. “We are all afraid of massacre.”

The little community of Jacobites snatch their daily bread from field
and vineyard which lie at the mercy of marauding Kurds, whose practices
were not, unfortunately, to remain for us a matter of hearsay. The
second night at Khâkh was marked by the only misadventure that has
befallen me in Turkey. We had intended to leave the village early on the
following morning and everything was prepared for our departure; even my
saddle-bags, duly packed with note-books and camera, were lying ready in
my tent. In the middle of the night I was awakened by a rustling noise,
and starting up I saw the figure of a man crouched in the doorway. We
had grown careless with months of safe journeying in dangerous places,
and neither Fattûḥ nor I had taken the trouble to set a guard over the
camp. The thieves had found us an easy prey; before the servants and
zaptiehs were roused, they had made off into the night and we were left
to reckon up our loss. What money I had with me had been taken out of my
tent, the servants had been robbed of all their spare clothing, and
various other small objects were missing, but the real disaster was the
disappearance of the saddle-bags which contained my note-books. We stood
helpless, gazing into the darkness into which had vanished the results
of four months’ work. A rifle shot fired by Selîm had awakened the
priest, who came hurrying down to inquire into our case. Deeply
distressed was he, poor man, to hear of our misfortune, for we were the
guests of the village, and he feared that ill might fall upon him and
his flock for suffering us to come to harm. I listened to a great deal
of divergent advice, and finally decided to send for the Chelabî, who is
the feudal chief of the Kurdish tribes in the Ṭûr ’Abdîn. Accordingly at
the first dawn Fattûḥ and a zaptieh were dispatched across the hills to
bear him the news. A certain village lay under suspicion, a little
robbers’ nest situated in the depths of a wild and rocky valley a few
miles to the east. The people of Khâkh were well used to the
depredations of the men of Zâ’khurân, and during the course of the day
we were provided with more positive evidence against them. It chanced
that the thieves had carried off a parcel of my gloves, and these they
shed along the path as they ran. Gloves lying upon the rocky ways of the
Ṭûr ’Abdîn are exceptional objects, and the path by which they were
found was that which led to Zâ’khurân. Evening brought the Chelabî,
pacing sedately upon his mare with twenty men behind him, all dressed in
white garments and armed with rifles (Fig. 204). I went out to welcome
them and brought their leader to my tents, where he listened to my tale
over a cup of coffee and gave me many assurances of redress. This done,
he repaired with great dignity to the roof of the priest’s house,
converted for the time into a court of justice, and received, until late
into the night, deputations from the neighbouring villages. Next day the
judgment seat was removed to Zâ’khurân, and Fattûḥ went with it as
witness to the crime and representative of the plaintiff; at dusk he
returned and reported that the Chelabî had arrested four men, selected,
so far as could be ascertained, by empirical methods from among the
inhabitants of the district, but that no clue had been found to the
missing note-books. It was now time to invoke a higher power, and I
entrusted a zaptieh with a letter to the Ḳâimmaḳâm of Midyâd and with a
telegram which was to be sent from Midyâd to the Vâlî at Diyârbekr. The
Ḳâimmaḳâm entered into the business like a man. On the following evening
ten zaptiehs arrived from Midyâd, and next morning fifty foot soldiers
marched into our camp. The nature of evidence is not clearly grasped in
the East, and by the third day after the robbery there was no person in
the country-side, except, I believe, myself, against whom a charge of
complicity had not been raised, but there continued to be no further
proof than that which we had had from the beginning, and it pointed to
Zâ’khurân. To Zâ’khurân, therefore, the miniature army took its way,
leaving me divided between regret for the disturbance which my own
carelessness had brought about, and gratitude for the good-will
displayed on every side. So difficult, however, had it become to protect
the innocent, that but for the notebooks I should have left the guilty
in peace. My servants were plunged in grief; their honour was
gone--indeed whose honour was left intact?--and in sackcloth and ashes
we passed the day. And then ... in the grey dawn we were wakened by a
voice shouting from the hills: “Your goods are here! your goods are
here!” Every man in the camp leapt up and ran in the direction of the
sound, and there, lying upon a rock among the oak scrub, was all that we
had lost. Nothing had been injured, nothing was missing, except some
money, which was subsequently refunded to me by the Ottoman government,
at the instance of the British Vice-Consul in Diyârbekr--and it may well
be questioned whether any other government would have recognized a like
liability. The villagers of Khâkh assembled round the tents and shed
tears of thankfulness over the recovered objects, and I mounted in haste
and rode off to Zâ’khurân to set a term to the pursuit of criminals. The
cause of the restitution was there apparent. The village was deserted;
men, women and children had fled into the hills taking with them all
that they possessed, and it was reported by a picket that the Chelabî
and the soldiers were engaged in capturing the flocks of the community.
I sent a messenger after them and rode myself to Midyâd to ask for a
universal amnesty. Revenge is not so sweet as it is said to be, nor is
it so easy when wrong is afoot to determine who is the more wronged.

Two days and a half of journeying brought us to Diyârbekr. The way was
without interest, except for that which was supplied by the dragoman of
the British Consulate, who had

[Illustration: FIG. 206.--DIYÂRBEKR, MARDÎN GATE.]

[Illustration: FIG. 207.--DIYÂRBEKR, YENI KAPU.]


[Illustration: FIG. 209.--DIYÂRBEKR, COURT OF ULU JÂMI’.]

come to Midyâd to help me out of difficulties. A cheerful travelling
companion he proved, and a well-informed. We camped on the second
evening under the mound of Karkh, not far from the Tigris, and shortened
our way next day by fording the river, which was now a shallow stream,
and cutting across a wide bend (Fig. 205). This route had the advantage
of giving us a first view of Diyârbekr under its finest aspect. It
stands upon the high crest of the Tigris bank, a great fenced city built
of basalt--“black are the dogs and black the walls and black the hearts
of black Amid,” says the proverb. Since the days when Ammianus
Marcellinus look part in the desperate resistance to Sapor, and watched
from the towers of Amida the Persian hosts “collected for the
conflagration of the Roman world,” the din of battle has never been far
from Diyârbekr. The town passed to and fro between the Byzantine and the
Sassanian. Constantius fortified it and lost it to Sapor; Anastasius
recaptured it and lost it to Kobâd and won it back; Justinian rebuilt
the fortifications, but it fell with Mesopotamia to the Moslem invaders.
The Kurdish Marwânds made it their capital, and after them the Turkmân
Ortuḳids; Tîmûr burst through the famous walls and put the inhabitants
to the sword, and finally the Turk conquered it in A.D. 1515 and holds
it still. But there is no peace for the lawless capital of Kurdistân.
Warring faiths struggle together as fiercely as rival empires, and the
conflict is embittered by race hatreds. The heavy air, lying stagnant
between the high walls, is charged with memories of the massacres of
1895, and when I was in Diyârbekr the news from Cilicia had rekindled
animosity and fear. Moslem and Christian were equally persuaded that the
other was watching for an opportunity to spring at his throat. Tales of
fresh outbreaks in different parts of the empire were constantly
circulated in the bazaars, and the men who listened went home and
fingered at their rifles. If there had been any sign of further
disturbance at Constantinople, Diyârbekr would have run with blood.

With the population in this temper it would have been futile to inquire
into the prospects of constitutional government. I spent a day among
ancient churches;[202] and a day upon the walls, which are as fine an
example of mediæval fortification as any that exists. They hang, upon
the south and south-east sides, high over the Tigris--it was from this
direction that Sapor’s troops effected an entry through a hollow passage
that led down to the water’s edge. On the south-west they crown a slope
set thick with gardens of mulberry and vine, and towards the north the
wall bends round to join the curve of the river. Four great gateways
break this circuit. The Mardîn Gate commands the terraced gardens, and
the road that passes through it runs down to an ancient bridge over the
Tigris (Fig. 206). To the north-west and north the Aleppo or Mountain
Gate and the Kharpût Gate open on to a fertile plain, and the Yeni Kapu,
the New Gate, stands above the precipitous southern bank (Fig.
207).[203] The lie of the ground makes it certain that the oldest
fortifications of the city must have occupied much the same position as
those which still surround it, and though the latter are proved by
numerous inscriptions to be Mohammadan work of different periods, I
should judge them to be built mainly upon ancient foundations. The north
wall with its round towers is perfectly preserved; even the domed
chambers inside the towers, together with the stairs that gave access to
the _chemin de ronde_, are intact. All the arches and domes in the
interior of the towers are of brick. Between the Kharpût and the Aleppo
Gates a small aqueduct brings water to the town, the few springs within
the walls being unpleasantly brackish. The citadel commands the
north-east angle above the river; most of the space surrounded by its
enclosing wall is occupied by modern buildings and by a mound whereon
stood the castle of the first Mohammadan princes. The domed arsenal is
said to have been a Christian church, but remembering my unsuccessful
attempts to visit the arsenal at Baghdâd, I did not ask permission to
enter it.[204] From a postern gate in the north wall a road leads down
to the river, passing under a cliff out of which gushes a sulphurous
spring. As I watched the soldiers of the garrison washing their clothes
in its waters, I tried to reconcile it with “the rich spring, drinkable,
indeed, but often tainted with hot vapours,” which Ammianus Marcellinus
describes as rising under the citadel, and to see the men of the 5th
Parthian Legion in the ragged groups standing about it.[205] From the
citadel we walked to the Mardîn Gate along the _chemin de ronde_, a fine
course, lifted high above the close air of the city and swept by the
breezes that come down from Taurus (Fig. 208). Between the Aleppo Gate
and the Mardîn Gate stand two huge round towers, larger than any others
and later in date.[206] Near the Mardîn Gate the _chemin de ronde_ is
for some distance vaulted over and lighted only by small loop-hole
windows on the inner side. To the south of the Mardîn Gate the wall runs
out abruptly, and the salient angle thus formed holds a great hall of
which the vault is borne on columns. The two main streets lie from gate
to gate, intersecting each other at right angles, and since this is in
accordance with an ancient scheme of city planning, the line of the
streets may be as old as the first foundation of the town. Not far from
the point of intersection stands the Ulu Jami’ with its famous
courtyard, enclosed to east and west by a two-storeyed portico, which
has been conjectured to be either the remains of a church built by
Heraclius or a Byzantine palace (Fig. 209). The buildings need a more
exhaustive study than the fanaticism of the Mohammadan population will
at present admit, and the correct plan of mosque and court has yet to be
made. The older part of the work is closely related to the ancient
architecture of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn.

Even this hasty survey of Diyârbekr was sufficient to convince me that
the treasures which it contains are still unexplored. Of its many
mosques only the Ulu Jami’ has been so much as photographed, though the
square minarets scattered over the town are probably an indication of an
early date. Once or twice as I walked in the bazaars I looked through
gateways into the courts of splendid khâns, where the walls were
decorated with contrasted patterns in limestone and basalt, and stripes
of black and white masonry are used in many of the houses and mosques.
The final history of Amida must wait upon a much more careful
investigation of the town than any which has yet been undertaken.



_June 4--July 1_

The frontier between the Arabic and the Turkish-speaking peoples is not
sharply defined. Through the southern parts of the Kurdish hills it is
common to find men acquainted with one or both languages in addition to
their native Kurdish; among the Christians of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn a knowledge
of Syriac is not rare; in Diyârbekr, where there is a considerable Arab
population, Arabic, Turkish and Kurdish are spoken about equally, but
north of Diyârbekr Arabic ceases to be heard, and as we journeyed along
the road from Kharpût to Malaṭiyah, Kurdish died out also. Fattûḥ, in
addition to many other qualifications for travel, speaks Turkish
fluently, though in a manner peculiar to himself; the muleteers who were
with me had some knowledge of the language, and I have enough to wish
that I had more of that singularly beautiful and flexible tongue. Thus
equipped we set out to make our way across Taurus and Anti-Taurus on to
the Anatolian plateau.

As far as Malaṭiyah we followed the high road which led us at first
across a fertile plain celebrated for its gardens ever since the days of
Ammianus Marcellinus. Outside the village of Tarmûr[207] we spent the
night somewhat uneasily by reason of certain wedding festivities which
were there in progress. Not only did the merry-makers keep up their
rejoicings until close upon dawn, but the inhabitants of a neighbouring
village judged the occasion to be propitious for mule-lifting, and were
driven off with rifle shots. Peace was restored by daybreak, and the
marriage procession conveying the bride to her husband’s house set off
to the strains of fife and drum. We passed it upon the road, a motley
crowd, mounted and afoot. The bride was enveloped in a silken cloak of
vivid magenta, which will not, I fear, be needed again for many a long
day, if her opportunities for the wearing of finery may be measured by
the aspect of her future home, for a more poverty-stricken collection of
hovels than the bridegroom’s village it would be difficult to picture.
We left her in her brief glory to take up her daily task of preventing
her husband’s roof from falling about her ears, and rode on to the hill
of Arghana, a bold spur of the Taurus mountains, with a village perched
among its crags. I sent the baggage animals along the carriage road and
climbed with a zaptieh to the village, and thence by a steep path to the
Armenian monastery of the Virgin, which stands on the summit of the
rocks.[208] We were rewarded by a magnificent view and by a pleasant
talk with the prior who informed me, as I drank his excellent coffee,
that the monastery was founded in the first century of the Christian
era, a tradition which calls for weightier confirmation than any which
he advanced. Be that as it may, the existing house must have been
largely rebuilt in the Middle Ages, perhaps towards the fourteenth
century--I hazard this date on the evidence supplied by the decoration
of the church which had the character of Mohammadan work of about that
period. We led our horses down the north side of the hill, by a stony

[Illustration: FIG. 210.--ARGHANA MA’DEN.]

[Illustration: FIG. 211.--GÖLJIK.]

[Illustration: FIG. 212.--KHARPÛT, THE CASTLE.]

[Illustration: FIG. 213.--IZ OGLU FERRY.]

path that ran between bramble hedges enclosing fruit gardens, rejoined
the carriage road and crossed the Ma’den Chai, which is the local name
for the main arm of the Tigris, by a bridge near Kalender Khân. We had
now fairly entered into the mountains, and our road took us over high
bare ridges and down again to the Ma’den Chai at the village of Arghana
Ma’den, the mines of Arghana. On a shelf of the opposite hill-side the
smoke drifted perpetually from the smelting furnaces of the richest
copper mines in Turkey (Fig. 210). The metal, smelted on the site, is
cast into disks, two of which go to a camel load, and sent across the
hills to Diyârbekr and Cæsarea, Sivâs and Tokat. The valley of the
Ma’dan Chai, where the village lies, is so narrow that it offers no
camping-ground; we lodged, therefore, in a charming khân above the
village by the water’s edge--but for the fact that it was innocent of
furniture I could have fancied myself in an English country inn by the
side of a rushing trout stream. The rain fell heavily in the night, and
we rode for the greater part of the next day through an alternate
drizzle and downpour, and were unable to determine which we enjoyed the
most. The river cuts here through a deep rocky gorge, and the road
climbs up by the side of the stream. The mists, clinging to the
precipitous slopes, added to the sombre grandeur of a pass which opened
at its upper end on to an exquisite little fertile plain, set like a
jewel among the hills. Through its cornfields the infant Tigris, a
rippling brook, wandered from willow clump to willow clump; we parted
from it two hours from its source, and set our faces towards the hills
which divide it from its mightier brother, the Euphrates. At their foot
lies the Little Lake, Göljik, encircled by peaks, of which the northern
slopes were white with snow patches (Fig. 211). It is slightly brackish,
and its waters have no outlet. We turned aside from the carriage road
and took a bridle path along the northern side of the lake, and up the
hills beyond it. Before we reached the crest of the slopes we struck the
road again and by it crossed the water parting, and saw below us the
rich and smiling plain of Kharpût bounded by mountains, through which
wound the silver streak of the Euphrates. We camped that night at the
foot of the pass in the Armenian village of Keghvank, our tents being
advantageously placed in a grove of mulberry-trees, loaded with ripe
fruit.[209] Kharpût, or rather the lower town, Mezreh,[210] which is the
seat of government of the vilayet of Ma’mûret el ’Azîz, lies three hours
from Keghvank. The plain between is exceedingly fertile; it is scattered
over with villages about half of which are inhabited by Armenians, who
suffered cruelly in the massacres of 1895. At Kezerik, half-an-hour to
the south-east of Mezreh, two finely-cut inscriptions, commemorating the
expedition of Domitius Corbulo in A.D. 65, are built into the walls of a
ruined church. They are well known, but I, coming from far beyond the
limits of the Roman empire, turned aside with pious enthusiasm and read
the high-sounding titles of Nero, as one who glories in their
achievements of his own people: Nero Claudius Cæsar Augustus Germanicus
Imperator Pontifex Maximus, the words rang out with greater splendour
from those remote stones than from any lying within the walls of Rome.

Kharpût is set upon the summit of the hills beyond Mezreh. The castle,
standing upon the highest crag, guards a shallow ravine wherein is
stretched the greater part of the town, but the houses climb up on to
the rocky headlands overhanging the plain and, from below, the mountain
seems to be crowned with a series of fortresses (Fig. 212). The streets
are so narrow that a cart can hardly pass along the cobbled ways; very
silent and peaceful they seemed, the shops heaped with cherries, the
cool breezes stirring the vine tendrils that wreathed together overhead.
The castle, for all its frowning walls and bastions, is nothing but a
heap of ruins within. I looked in vain for the dungeons in which Sukmân,
the son of the Turkman officer Ortuḳ, founder of the Ortuḳid dynasties,
imprisoned Baldwin of Edessa and Jocelyn of Courtney in the early years
of the twelfth century. The Crusaders, gathering together their forces,
seized the fortress in 1123 and held it until Balak, Ortuḳ’s grandson,
recaptured it and threw the garrison over the battlemented rock into the
plain below.[211] On an inner wall, not far from the gate, there are
traces of an Arabic inscription, together with two stones carved in
relief, the one bearing a lion and the other a ram, memorials, I make no
doubt, of the Ortuḳid rule. The walls are of many periods of building.
The masonry of one of the eastern towers is laid in alternate stripes of
red and white stone. The eastern side of the hill drops steeply into a
deep valley filled with houses which are terraced one above the other.
Here there is a Jacobite church of ancient origin, its plan repeating
the old scheme of the parochial church of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn. The priest
assured me that it dated from the first century, and in proof of his
assertion showed me a couple of curious oil paintings, a Crucifixion and
a Virgin and Child, Byzantine in type, so far as I could make out
through the dust of ages.[212]

My tents were pitched on the plain near Mezreh. There in the evening I
received the Vâlî, a cheerful Cretan, and the Mu’âvin Vâlî,[213] and
after they had departed, several other visitors. Their conversation left
me groping my way through the intricate labyrinths of the Oriental mind,
and even more bewildered than usual. Kharpût and Mezreh and the villages
of the plain had felt yet more sharply than Diyârbekr and the Ṭûr ’Abdîn
the wave of panic that had emanated from Cilicia. Three days after the
first outbreak at Adana, the Kurdish peasants had trooped into the
Christian villages and announced their intention to kill, while in
Mezreh the Vâlî was besieged by demands that he should give the signal
for massacre. To his credit be it recorded that he held out against
these appeals, though the abject terror of the Armenians did much to
increase the danger of the situation. When the news of ’Abdu’l Ḥamîd’s
deposition reached the vilayet, the agitation went out like a candle in
the wind; the Kurds returned peaceably to their houses, and the fears of
the Christians were allayed. This was strange enough, but that which
followed was stranger still. The district had suffered during the spring
from lack of rain and the drought became at length so serious that the
whole harvest was threatened. The leading mullah of Mezreh called upon
the people to assemble in a neighbouring village, where there was a
much-respected Mohammadan shrine, that they might raise a common
supplication for rain. The population answered his call to a man;
Christian and Moslem, who but five weeks before had with difficulty been
restrained from leaping at each other’s throats, stood side by side and
listened to the sermon which the mullah delivered to them. All, said he,
were brothers, all were children of one God, all alike were in danger of
perishing from the drought, and it behoved all to pray together for the
beneficent rain which would save them from famine. His eloquence reduced
the assembled audience to tears, and for three days their united orisons
rose to heaven. And then the miracle came to pass. The rain fell
abundantly, that same rain over which we had rejoiced in the Tigris
gorge, without knowing that we owed it to the prayers of the Moslems and
Christians of Kharpût, nor yet how many fevers it was assuaging, more
fatal than the sun-fever in our veins; for it was admitted that this
most fortunate coincidence would do more to bring about amity than the
fall of many sultans.

I sat long into the night and gazed upon the shattered crags of Kharpût
and the hollow plain, clothed in abundance of fruits, and sheltered by
its ring of noble hills. What is it that leads to massacre? whence does
that sudden frenzy spring, whither vanish? Like a tornado it bursts over
the peaceful earth, blots out the daily life of town and village,
destroys, uproots and slays--and passes. My thoughts were still busy
with these unanswerable problems when we rode upon our way next morning.
One of my muleteers was a Moslem, a ḥajjî, a Mecca pilgrim. I had known
him for many years and he had served me well during months of hard
travel. When the road was long he had not wearied; when the sun was hot
he had not complained; when the wind blew cold he drew more closely
about him the duffle coat which I had given him in Aleppo, and every
evening after the tents were pitched and the horses picketed, I had seen
him building up the fire under the big rice-pot and stirring the savoury
mess on which my camp was to sup. To-day as I looked into his simple
honest face, I wondered what unexpected ferocity lay behind its familiar

“Ḥâjj ’Amr,” I said, “in the day of slaughter, would you kill me?”

“My lady, no,” he replied, “not you. I have eaten your bread.”

“Would you kill Fattûḥ and Selîm and Jûsef?” I asked.

“No, no,” said he, “not them. We are brothers.”

“But other Christians you would slay?”

“Eh wallah!” he answered; “in the day of slaughter.”

I ceased my questionings and rode on, but the subject was to come up
again. It happened in this manner.

We had journeyed over the plain to Khân Keui and climbed on to a low
spur of the hills. Having crossed it, we rode down a long valley with
high hills on either hand.[214] It chanced that Fattûḥ and I and a
zaptieh were on ahead, and as we went we fell into talk. Now Fattûḥ is a
Catholic Armenian, and in the old days we have experienced many a
difficulty over his teskereh, owing to the ominous word Armenian which
is inscribed upon it. At the end of the last journey he had vowed that
he would change his faith, which does not sit very heavy upon
him--Fattûḥ being a philosopher touching the finer distinctions of
creed--and I now asked him whether he had carried out this

“Effendim,” he replied, “two years ago, when I returned to Aleppo, I
told the bishop that I would become Brotestant or Latîn (Protestant or
Roman Catholic). And he argued with me and said he would send a priest
to pray with me. But I said No, for I and my family are Brotestant.”

“And are you a Protestant?” said I.

“God knows,” replied Fattûḥ. “On my teskereh I am still written down a
Catholic Armenian, but that I cannot be, for I refused to let the priest
come into my house to pray. Therefore I belong to no religion but the
religion of God.”

“We all belong to that religion,” said I.

“True, wallah,” said the zaptieh.

Presently there came up the road towards us a train of loaded camels.

“These are men of Ḳaisarîyeh,” said Fattûḥ. “I know them by their
dress.” And as the first string of camels drew near, he shouted to the
man sitting half-asleep upon the leading animal: “Are you from the port,
the port of Beilân?”

“Evvet, evvet,” he answered drowsily, and his body rocked with the long
rocking of the camel’s stride as they plodded past.

“Nasl Kirk Khân?” cried Fattûḥ. “How does Kirk Khân?”

Kirk Khân is a Christian village at the foot of the Beilân Pass, between
Aleppo and Alexandretta.

The next cameleer had come up with his string and he answered the

“The giaour are all killed,” he answered, taking Fattûḥ for a Moslem.

“And how are the houses, the houses of the giaour?” Fattûḥ called out.
The leader of the next string answered--

“They are all burnt.”

“Praise God,” said Fattûḥ, and the zaptieh laughed.

When the camel-train had passed I said:

“Why did you call the people of Kirk Khân infidels?”

“Because the camel-driver called them so,” Fattûḥ replied.

“And why did you praise God?”

“Effendim, they praised God when they saw Kirk Khân in ashes, and they
rejoiced to tell the tale--what else should I say?” He rode on silently
for a few minutes, and then he added: “All the men of Kirk Khân were my
friends. Every time I drove my carriage from Aleppo to Alexandretta, I
stopped to eat with them, and they, when they were in Aleppo, came to my
house. Now they are dead--God have mercy on them.”

His sorrowful acceptance of an outrage which the Western mind,
accustomed to regard the protecting of human life as the first
obligation of society, refused to contemplate, revealed to me the
magnitude of the gulf which I had been attempting to bridge, and as I
followed the channel of Fattûḥ’s thought, I saw Fate, in the likeness of
a camel-train, moving, slow and heavy-footed, towards the inevitable

Our road climbed over a bluff and dropped again into a ravine at the
lower end of which stands Kömür Khân, an old, red-roofed caravanserai,
stately in decay. Near to it flows the Murad Su, which is the Euphrates,
and though we were now far from its Mesopotamian reaches, it was already
a great river whose waters had received the tribute of many snows. Below
Kömür Khân it enters a narrow gorge where the hills fall sheer into the
water, and above the khân, carved upon a slab of rock, a Vannic
inscription bears witness to the high antiquity of the road.[215] The
ferry is a couple of hours further up stream, but we reached it late in
the afternoon and were too weary to cross that night. We pitched our
tents on the bank--it was our last Euphrates camp--opposite the village
and great mound of Iz Oglu.

The next day’s ride took us over hill and dale to Malaṭiyah.[216] The
road was planted with mulberry-trees that dropped their ripe fruit at
our feet; the swelling slopes were deep in corn, and water-loving
poplars stood in the meadows at the valley bottoms--I do not think that
we broke the record of travel upon this stage: there were too many
temptations urging us to loiter. Modern Malaṭiyah occupies the site of
Azbuzu, a village which was once the summer quarters of the parent city.
In 1838, during the war between Turkey and Egypt, Azbuzu became the
head-quarters of the Turkish general, Ḥâfiẓ Pasha. Old Malaṭiyah, which
is situated about two hours to the north-west, was at that time in great
part destroyed for the enlarging of Azbuzu, and has since lain deserted
and almost uninhabited. Moltke, who joined the Turkish army in 1838 and
remained with it for a year, describes the wonderful luxuriance of the
gardens of Azbuzu in his enchanting volume of letters, the most
delightful book that has ever been written about Turkey, with the sole
exception of _Eothen_. The gardens are no less exquisite now than they
were in his time, and as we rode down the hill-side the houses were
scarcely to be seen through their screen of fruit-trees. Even upon a
nearer view the walnuts and mulberries are far more striking than the
buildings of Malaṭiyah, which are constructed, as Moltke says, out of
exactly the same material as that with which the swallows make their
nests. We camped in the midst of poppy-fields by one of the many streams
for which Malaṭiyah is famous, and I spent the afternoon exploring the
town, but could find nothing of interest in it, except some Hittite
reliefs which had been brought from Arslân Tepeh.[217] I had already
determined to visit old Malaṭiyah, and the sight of these stones sent me
round by the mound from which they had come. We rode for half-an-hour
through gardens to Ordasu, itself buried in gardens, and thence to a
ruined monastery, a quarter of an hour up the hill-side. A small chapel
has been patched together in the north aisle of the original church.
Slabs carved with Latin crosses, or

[Illustration: FIG. 214.--MALAṬIYAH ESKISHEHR.]

[Illustration: FIG. 215.--VALLEY OF THE TOKHMA SU.]

[Illustration: FIG. 216.--TOMB AT OZAN.]

with the Greek cross encircled by a victor’s wreath, lay about among the
ruins or were built into the walls, and upon the piers of the old nave
the capitals were roughly carved with acanthus. None of this work seemed
to me to be earlier than the eighth or ninth centuries, but I saw in the
grass-grown court finely-moulded column bases which were of earlier
date. They may have been brought from the city of Melitene, which was
the forerunner of old Malaṭiyah.[218] An hour’s ride from the monastery
stands the big mound of Arslân Tepeh surrounded by gardens and
poppy-fields. Without the evidence of the reliefs it might have been
conjectured to represent a Hittite city. The wide fertile valley in
which it is placed, the backing of hills, the open plain stretched out
beyond it, combine to make Arslân Tepeh one of the typical sites chosen
by the old people, and excavation might prove it to be the mother-city
of the townships, represented by mounds, which were scattered over the
lower ground. From Arslân Tepeh we rode for fifty minutes to Old
Malaṭiyah, which has moved rapidly towards complete decay since it was
deserted seventy years ago (Fig. 214). The walls and bastions are
dropping piecemeal into the poppy-fields that fill the moat; of the
streets little or nothing remains: the ruined mosques and tall minarets
rise out of a sea of silvery poppy flowers. The Ulu Jâmi’ is still used
for prayer, but its door was locked and the key was not to be procured.
I climbed by its carved and half-ruined gateway on to the roof, and
peering through the windows of the dome, saw that the interior was
beautifully decorated with tiles and inscriptions. A rich store of fine
Mohammadan work remains to be studied there.

It was a five hours’ ride across the plain to Elemenjik, where our camp
was pitched.[219] Elemenjik is a great breeding farm, the property of
the late Sultan, who owned most of the pasture lands about Malaṭiyah.
The population were in some distress at the prospect of a change of
masters and the abolition of the privileges attached to a royal estate,
and the government was confronted with a difficult problem with regard
to the disposition of these domains. Few private persons could afford to
pay the full price for the large breeding stables on the Sultan’s farms,
and the properties will lose much of their value when they lose the
military guard that watched over the security of the royal mares. The
solitude that will be a drawback when Elemenjik comes into the market,
was a delightful advantage to our camping-ground, and the people of
Kharpût must have been at their prayers again, for the rain fell in
refreshing torrents and, clearing away, left the broad plain and the
unexplored peaks of the Dersîm mountains shining in the sunset.

Next morning we passed by another of the Sultan’s farms, nestled among
poplar-trees in the midst of carefully hedged fields, and in three hours
we came to Arga, where we called a halt while we changed zaptiehs. I was
well pleased at the delay, for it gave me opportunity to examine some
elementary excavations which had been carried out by the Turkish
government. They had uncovered the foundations of a church with a
tesselated marble pavement, fragments of round columns and moulded bases
of excellent workmanship; that it was indeed a church I took on trust
from the zaptieh, who acted as showman, for the aims of the excavators
had not included the revelation of a plan; but the slabs carved with
crosses bore out the official view.[220] When he had exhibited all that
was to be seen, he handed me over to one of his colleagues, who was to
accompany us to Derendeh, with the parting injunction that he was to
guide me to every ruin in the hills. “This khânum,” he observed, “likes

“Effendim, olour,” replied his interlocutor, “it shall be.”

But it was not. Perhaps there are no ruins where we crossed the Akcheh
Dâgh, or perhaps in the excitement of the road the zaptieh forgot them
as completely as I did. Our path would have done credit to the most
sensational of journeys. It led us over wild and rocky hills and down
into gorges incredibly deep and narrow, and when we stopped to draw
breath at the bottom of one of these breakneck descents, we saw the
track in front of us climbing mercilessly up the opposite precipice. We
came to the bottom of the first valley at 11.45, about an hour from
Arga; Deveh Deresi is its name. At the top of the next ridge the
splendid gorge of the Levandi Chai opened at our feet. With many warning
cries to the baggage animals and much tugging at the taut bridles of our
own mounts (for these passages had to be performed on foot) we reached
the stream at 1.20 near to the Kurdish village of Levandiler. A steep
climb brought us in another hour to the high village of Chatagh; a
quarter of an hour beyond it we topped the pass and rode down by easy
gradients to Levent. Here, surrounded by magnificent rocky hills, we
pitched camp. Our hosts were men of the Kizil Bâsh, a sect whose
head-quarters are in the Dersîm. Their creed, which is much contemned by
the Moslems--and not in words alone--is said to waver between Paganism,
Christianity, Manichæanism and Shî’ism, touched with some memories of
ancient Anatolian cults. I did not attempt to unravel these mysteries
during the evening I spent at Levent, but contented myself with inviting
the headmen of the village to a coffee-party, on which simple human
basis relations of the most cordial nature were established. The night
was sharply cold, and we set out next morning, with numb fingers, to
scramble down into the valley below Levent and up to the opposite ridge,
which we reached in one hour. Above us towered the rocky plateau of the
Ḳal’ah Dâgh, flanked on every side by cliffs, and below lay the wide and
fertile valley of the Tokhma Su (Fig. 215). The caravan pursued its way
westward, but I turned east, by Kurd Keui and Saman, and touched the
river at Ozan, four hours from Levent, where my zaptieh had promised me
a ruin. “Ishté bu,” said the headman of the village, pointing across the
poppy-fields, “here it is;” and he turned away to gather us a dish of
ripe mulberries, while I stood in amazement before the Ionic columns and
carved garlands of a little tomb that might have graced the Appian Way
(Figs. 216 and 217). There are no inscriptions upon it, nor anything to
tell whose bones were laid within the vaulted chamber; I sent a greeting
across the ages to the shade of him who had brought

[Illustration: FIG. 218.--THE GORGE AT DERENDEH.]

[Illustration: FIG. 219.--TOMB NEAR YAZI KEUI.]



into this remote and inaccessible valley the arts of the West, and
journeyed on.

[Illustration: FIG. 217--OZAN, TOMB.]

In four hours’ ride, by an easy path up the right bank of the Tokhma Su,
we reached our camp, pitched near the village of Kötü Ḳal’ah, which
takes its name from a small ruined fort on the rock above it,[221] and
another four hours brought us next morning to Derendeh.[222] The town is
scattered among gardens for close upon an hour’s ride along the valley.
Towards the upper end a ruined castle stands upon a bold promontory of
rock overhanging the stream.[223] A staircase, hewn in the precipice,
gave the defenders access to the water; on the further side the hill
slopes down more gently, and the ruins of a former Derendeh lie about
its foot. We marched three hours further and camped at Yazi Keui, upon
the grassy margin of the stream. The bare valley, with its ribbon of
cultivation along the water’s edge, gave us delightful travelling, but
of archæological interest there was nothing to be found, and when a
native of Yazi Keui brought us information of ruins at some distance
from our path, I engaged him joyfully to conduct us thither on the
following morning. He led us into the hills to the north of the river by
a fairly good road (it is the direct caravan road from Sivâs to
Albistân, and much frequented) and on to a wide pasturage, an hour and a
half from Yazi Keui. The snows of Nurshak Dagh, south-east of Albistân,
were visible from the huts of this alpine yaila. At its northern end we
found a considerable quantity of shapeless ruins, mere heaps of
unsquared stones, and among them three small tombs, half-buried in the
earth (Fig. 219). They varied from 2 to 2·50 m. in length, by 1·20 to
2·20 m. in width, and were built of carefully dressed stones. Each had a
door in one of the short sides, and each had been covered by a stone
vault. In another hour and a half we came down to the Tokhma valley
opposite the village of Tikmin; we passed through Telin and reached the
khân of Görün in two hours more. There we halted to pick up fresh
zaptiehs, and were greeted by the news that the zaptiehs were not ready
and that the caravan had gone on unescorted. I had no mind to be parted
from my tents upon an unknown road, and, abandoning my intention of
visiting a Hittite inscription in the gorge above Görün, I posted after
the muleteers with Jûsef at my heels. The path leaves the valley here
and crosses some high ground, upon which, after an hour’s hard riding,
we caught up the caravan and were ourselves caught up, while we paused
to lunch, by the zaptiehs. After we had passed a large chiflik belonging
to the Sultan, we descended once more into the valley of the Tokhma Su
at Osmândedelî.[224] We pitched camp above the village in a flowery
meadow, through which hurried the Tokhma Su, a tiny flashing brook. On a
rocky point above us were the ruins of a fort with a Greek cross in a
wreath cut upon the fallen lintel of its door.

We had now before us the roughest stage of our journey, for we had
reached the hills that part the waters tributary to the Euphrates, from
those that are tributary to the Saiḥûnthe Persian Gulf from the
Mediterranean. I cannot recommend the way we took across them, except
for the beauty of the high and desolate pass.[225] As soon as we had
climbed out of the valley of Osmândedelî we found ourselves on a wide
upland, swept by cold airs and ringed about with mountains. The wheat
was scarcely up, the grass sodden with newly melted snow, the peaks all
white. In the midst of these fields lay Küpek Euren, a small hamlet near
a mound which was covered with the building stones of an earlier time,
while upon the slopes that closed the western end of the plateau was the
village of Bey Punar. Having passed the latter, we climbed into the
hills by a shallow gorge down which flowed the head-waters of the Tokhma
Su. Our way was decked with flowers. Daphne and androsace, veronica and
dianthus grew among the rocks, and purple primulas edged the channel of
the stream. The gullies were still full of snow. So we came to the water
parting, 2,040 to 2,070 metres above sea-level, according to Kiepert,
and bidding farewell to the last source of the Mesopotamian rivers, rode
down into the basin of the Mediterranean. The long gently-sloping
meadows were rich in grass, but no flocks grazed there, and no summer
villages were to be seen among the juniper-bushes. The lonely beauty of
these alpine pastures, where nature spreads out her fairest bounty, _e
beata si gode_, fell upon us like a benison, and once again I offered up
praise to all mountains. The water-runnels gathered together into a
small clear stream which rippled away from its birthplace in the green
hollows and plunged, we following it, into a pine-clad valley. The path
grew steeper and more rocky as we descended, the valley narrower, until
there was no place left free from pine and berberis and juniper but the
boulder-strewn bed of the river. At length we were able to pull our
horses up an exceedingly steep track through the pine-woods, by which we
emerged on to a grassy hill-side. Here by good fortune we found a party
of Circassians, who were hauling their bullock wagons, heavily loaded
with timber, over ways which we reckoned to be hard going even for our
baggage animals. They directed us to Boran Dereh Keui. Before we had
gone far we rounded a spur and the snowy peaks of Mount Argæus swam into
our ken, set in the midst of the Anatolian plateau.

Boran Dereh Keui is a Muhâjir village, that is to say, it is peopled by
Circassian immigrants from the Caucasus. They have filled the valley of
the Zamantî Su, and though they are not liked by the indigenous
population, their coming has raised very sensibly the level of
civilization. Forty years ago the Zamantî valley was innocent of any
settled habitation; the nomad Avshars drove their flocks up to it in the
summer, sowed scanty crops, and left before the first winter snows. Now
it is all under the plough, and the Circassian villages, with their
osier beds and neat vegetable gardens, are scattered thickly along it.
Nomad life dies out in a cultivated country, and the Avshars are
settling into villages, though their houses are not so well built, nor
their gardens so well kept as those of the Circassians. The chief town
of the district is ’Azîzîyeh. There we changed zaptiehs, and I sat in
the konak while the necessary arrangements were being made and drank
coffee with the officials. Presently there appeared one who was half a
negro and told me his tale in the strong, guttural Arabic of the desert.
He was a native of the Ḥejâz; he had wandered up into this country
before there were any villages in it and had remained as a merchant.

“It is very beautiful here,” said I.

“Yes,” said he, “but the desert is different. I have not seen it for
forty years.” And I understood what was in his heart.

Behind the konak a plentiful spring bursts out from under the cliffs. I
walked up to it and saw men digging up old walls in quest of cut stones.
Fragments of columns and rude mouldings pointed to the former presence
of a church, and perhaps an earlier shrine hallowed, in true Anatolian
fashion, the abundant source.[226] From ’Azîzîyeh we turned our faces
to Mount Argæus and travelled along a well-laid road to Ekrek.[227]
Among the hills at some distance to the right of the road stands the
castle of Maḥmûd Ghâzî, magnificently placed upon a peak. My zaptieh
told me that in spite of its name it was a Christian fortress, for he
had seen crosses carved upon the lintels, and only the distaste for
further excursions that follows upon long stages of mountain travel,
prevented me from going up to it. I have a shrewd suspicion that it must
be the Tsamandos of the Byzantine historians.[228] Ekrek, where we
pitched camp, is built in the bottom of one of the deep valleys which
are typical of the district about Argæus. The lava with which the plain
is covered forms a sharp cliff on either lip of these gorges, and in
places the formation of the volcanic beds is so distinct that the lava
can be seen lying like a solid pavement upon the soil, broken off at the
edges of the valley and scattered down the slopes in huge slabs. Before
I got into camp I turned off to see a small ruined church of no very
great interest, and within the town there are several larger churches,
all remodelled by the Armenian inhabitants.[229] The early Christian
architecture of the eastern side of Cappadocia was unknown to me except
from books, and finding myself in St. Basil’s own country, I seized the
opportunity of visiting some of the buildings which sprang up with the
monastic impulse which he implanted. Instead of making straight for
Cæsarea I rode next day under the slopes of the Köleteh Dâgh to the
ruins of the Panagia above the village of Köpekli,[230] and so to
Tomarza, where there is one of the finest of the Cappadocian ruins
(Fig. 220). Both these buildings exhibit the Anatolian type of the domed
cruciform, which was already familiar to me, but the decorative details,
the engaged pilasters upon the outer walls, the elaborate mouldings, the
string-courses carved over doors and windows, are not to be found in the
churches that lie further to the west. I sat that night in the Armenian
monastery where I was lodged, and pondered over the artistic tradition
which these things revealed, and the mingling of occidental with
oriental themes which they implied. Not far to the south-east of Tomarza
stands among the hills the famous shrine of Comana, sacred to the
goddess Ma. With its ancient Asiatic cult and its temples constructed or
reconstructed in the Imperial period, Comana was one of the great
meeting-places of the culture of East and West; its buildings must have
exercised a strong influence over the architecture of eastern
Cappadocia, and I determined to seek among its ruins evidences of the
age that had preceded the early Christian.

The Armenian priest, whose guest I was, was eager to relate to me the
anxieties through which he and his congregation had passed during the
last two months. Tomarza lay just beyond the zone of the recent
outbreak, but at Shahr, the village which occupies the site of Comana,
there had been a “masaleh” (an incident), though he did not enter into
particulars as to its character. It was evident that he regarded my
interest in antiquities as a mere cloak wherewith to cover a political
purpose, and since I was not at the pains to undeceive him--if indeed it
had been possible to make my aims clear to him--the announcement of my
intention to visit Comana gave him yet stronger grounds for his
conviction. By all Tomarza I was regarded as an itinerant missionary
collecting evidence with regard to the massacre. The proximity of
missionary schools was attested in varying degrees by the acquirements
of the population. As I walked through


[Illustration: FIG. 223.--SHAHR, DOORWAY OF SMALL TEMPLE.]

[Illustration: FIG. 224.--FATTÛḤ.]

[Illustration: FIG. 225.--ON THE ROAD TO SHAHR.]

the streets I was met by a young man who accosted me in French.

“Vous parlez français?” said he.

“Mais oui,” said I.

“Vous parlez bien?” he continued.

“Très bien,” I answered unblushingly, and he was obliged to take my word
for it, for when I inquired whether he were a native of Tomarza, he
could not understand until I repeated the question in Turkish.

My next interlocutor was a boy who spoke English, which he had learnt,
and learnt well, in an American college where he had taken his degree.
He asked if he might know my name, and when I had obliged him in this
particular, he begged that he might be told my object in coming to
Tomarza. But I, being at the moment too busy with the ruins of the
church to answer so many questions, replied that I had no object, and
reduced him to a discomfited silence. The springs of action are
different in American colleges.

We left Tomarza at ten o’clock and journeyed into the hills by way of
Suvagen, which we reached at 12.40. Almost immediately after we had left
the village, we entered a gorge, and our path climbed up through the
pine-woods to Kokur Ḳayâ, a small yaila near the top of the pass known
as Ḳara Bel. Here we pitched camp at five in the afternoon, close under
the snow-wreaths that clung to the northern side of a rocky chain of
peaks. Until sunset the clear fresh notes of a cuckoo filled the alp,
and all that he had to say was worth hearing; but I wondered whether he
enjoyed the society of his brother the kite, whose thin rippling cry
dropped down from the rocks above him. I did not take my camp over the
pass to Comana, but set out next day with Fattûḥ and a zaptieh and such
simple provisions as might enable us to spend a night away from our
tents if we found it necessary. Before we started I covenanted with the
zaptieh, who was unusually pious, that prayers should be suspended for
the day, the previous day’s journey having been seriously upset by the
occurrence of the ’aṣr (the hour of afternoon prayer), though every one
knows that there is a special dispensation with regard to travellers.


The long grassy pass opens on to a confused prospect of desolate
mountains and hardly less deserted valleys; the gnarled and twisted
pine-woods clinging to the rocks, the flowering hawthorn and regiments
of yellow mullein that lined the lower course of the stream, gave to our
road a memorable beauty, and if the going was not so good as might have
been desired, why, we had seen worse. In the midst of these wild
solitudes, five hours from Kokur Ḳayâ, we came upon a ruined shrine. It
was a temple-mausoleum, and in this respect the true forerunner of the
memorial churches of the Anatolian plateau (Fig. 226); nor did the
connection between the Christian and the Pagan work cease here. The
shallow engaged pilasters, broken by a moulding into two storeys, which
are found in the churches, were present in the temple; if the
string-courses did not yet form a continuous band over the window
arches, it was easy to see how obvious the transition to the later type
would be, and the character of the profiles was the same here as in the
churches (Fig. 227). The lower part of the temple contained a vault
filled with loculi; the eastern end of the upper floor was ruined and
overgrown with thick brushwood, but I have no doubt that it could be
disengaged and planned without difficulty. Some clearing away of earth
and shrubs would be required before it would be possible to make out the
nature of a building, indicated by masses of dressed stones and broken
columns, which was placed immediately to the south of the temple, but
the ruins standing above ground were an exceedingly instructive link in
the chain of Cappadocian architecture, and I rode down to Shahr full of
hope. The village lies in the heart of a valley cut out by the Gök Su, a
tributary of the Saiḥûn. Its sheltered fields were covered with corn,

[Illustration: FIG. 227.--SHAHR, TEMPLE-MAUSOLEUM.]

[Illustration: FIG. 228.--SHAHR, THE CHURCH ON THE BLUFF.]

[Illustration: FIG. 229.--AVSHAR ENCAMPMENT.]

[Illustration: FIG. 230.--ḲAIṢARÎYEH, THE CITADEL.]

gardens planted with fruit-trees, but the streets and houses were no
less ruined than the temples of the Great Goddess. The hot breath of
massacre had passed down the smiling vale and left Shahr a heap of
ashes. I found the inhabitants huddled together on a bluff where
half-a-dozen of their dwellings had escaped destruction. A young
school-master from the American college of Tarsus told me the story in
my own tongue. He was himself a native of Shahr, and chance had brought
him back to his home shortly before the outbreak at Adana and Tarsus. Of
this disaster, which began upon April 14, the people of Shahr had
received no information until, on April 20, the Kurds, Turks and
Circassians from the neighbouring Moslem villages appeared in arms and
announced that they did not intend to leave a single Christian alive.
The villagers of Shahr had eighty rifles among them. Thus armed they
defended the bluff, on which stand the ruins of the chief shrine of Ma,
for nine days, at the end of which time tardy help arrived from
’Azîzîyeh. They had not lost a life, but they had been powerless to
prevent the destruction of the village in the valley. Every house was
looted and burnt; of the bazaars nothing remained but blackened
foundations; the charred beams of the bridge had fallen into the stream,
and the only wall that yet stood in the low ground was a splendid
fragment of ancient masonry facing the river.

“Why,” said I, gazing upon the ruin heaps that had once been the
school-master’s house, “did they spare the fruit-trees and the corn?”

“They thought that we should be dead before the corn was ripe,” he
answered, “and they meant to reap it for themselves. Also the
fruit-trees they looked on as their own. Besides these we have nothing
left, and we are so much troubled by hunger.”

They were as much troubled by the thought that they could not offer me a
fitting hospitality. The oda (the village guest-chamber) was in ashes,
and the few houses on the bluff were crowded with women and children.
But there was nothing to detain me. The ancient buildings had suffered
with the modern; the inscribed stones and acanthus capitals, relics of
a golden past, which had decked the streets of the bazaar, lay
blackened and half buried among the ruins, and after I had made a brief
survey of the site, I handed over to the school-master the little money
that was in my purse, and turned back across the hills.[231] The dusk
gathered about us as we climbed up to the pass, but the road that we had
followed so gaily in the morning was full of darker shadows than those
of night. “Nature, red in tooth and claw with ravine,” cried out from
riven crag and blasted pine; mountain and valley joined in her chorus,
strophe to antistrophe. Mercilessly she creates and destroys; the fury
of the storm, the sharp blade of the frost, the senseless passions of
mankind, are alike of her ordering.

The ruins of Shahr were the sole evidence which I saw with my own eyes
of the far-reaching havoc wrought by the outbreak at Adana, but before I
reached Konia I had opportunity to judge of its lasting effect. In
Cæsarea trade was paralyzed by the economic annihilation of the rich
province of Cilicia, as well as by the fear of further disturbances. The
massacres had struck terror into the heart of Moslem and of Christian;
they extinguished for a time the new-born hopes of peace, and roused
once more the hatred between creed and creed which the authors of the
constitution had undertaken to allay. Every section of the community
suffered from a destruction of confidence which is even more disastrous
than the destruction of wealth, though the Armenians suffered
incomparably the most. But the fact that they bore a penalty out of
proportion to their fault does not acquit them of blame. They had helped
to bring upon themselves the calamity that overwhelmed them; by wild
oratory they had laid themselves open to the accusations of conspiracy
which were brought against them; they had kindled the flames of discord
by preaching in their churches the obligation of revenge. The criminal
folly of their utterances stirred up vague alarms in the breasts of an
ignorant and fanatical population, and from whatever side came the
incitement to outrage, it came to ears sharpened by anxiety. But it must
be remembered that in several instances catastrophe was averted by the
prompt action of the officials who controlled the threatened districts.
In Cæsarea the Mutesarrif, rather than allow a repetition of the Adana
tragedy, ordered his soldiers to fire upon the Moslem crowd, who
clamoured about the serai for arms on the plea that their lives were in
danger from the Christians, and his uncompromising attitude brought the
town to order; the Ḳâimmaḳâm of Eregli patrolled the streets night after
night during a week of panic; the Mutesarrif of Kozan drove back the
armed bands of Circassians who had marched down from the mountains bent
on slaughter. Wherever it became evident that the government was not on
the side of disorder, disorder was nipped in the bud, and I heard of one
example where a handful of Turkish soldiers held in check many hundreds
of Kurds, and the Christian village which they had assembled to destroy
escaped untouched. I believe that no great massacre has taken place in
Turkey without the encouragement of the central authority, or a
passivity which amounts to connivance on the part of the local
officials; a strong Vâlî backed by an enlightened government would keep
peace in the most fanatical province of the empire.

On our way back to Tomarza we passed a large encampment of Avshars. The
tents of these Turkish nomads are of a pattern which is common to nearly
all the tribes of central Asia, but entirely different from that of the
Arabs (Fig. 229). They are round, with a domed roof of felt supported on
bent withes, and the sides are of plaited rushes over which a woollen
curtain is hung when the nights are cold.[232] We did not sleep a second
night at Tomarza, but marched a couple of hours further upon the road to
Cæsarea, and camped at the village of Mardîn, which lies in a cleft of
the lava beds under the twin peaks of Mount Argæus. Next day we skirted
the flanks of the great volcano, passing by the ruined Sarî Khân and
under the small peak of ’Alî Dâgh, which is (so I was credibly informed
by my zaptieh) nothing but a stray boulder dropped by ’Alî ibn abi Tâlib
when he was engaged in helping the Prophet to pile up the huge mass of
Argæus.[233] Not only the geographical features of the land, but also
the physical and moral qualities of the inhabitants of Cæsarea came
under our consideration as we rode.

“If a serpent bites a man of Ḳaiṣarîyeh,” observed Fattûḥ, “the serpent

“Jânum!” exclaimed the zaptieh (who was not a Cæsarean). “My soul! they
can outwit the devil himself. Have you not heard the tale?”

“I have not heard,” said Fattûḥ.

“This it is,” said the zaptieh. “Upon a day the devil came to
Ḳaiṣarîyeh. ‘Khush geldi,’ said the people, ‘a fair welcome,’ and they
showed him the streets and the bazaars of the city, the mosques and the
khâns, all of them. When he was hungry they set food before him till he
was well satisfied, but when he rose to depart, he looked for his cloak
and belt and they were gone. The devil is not safe from the thieves of

“God made them rogues,” said Fattûḥ.

“What can we do?” observed the zaptieh philosophically. “Dunya bîr,
jânum--the world is all one.”

“Great travelling they make,” continued Fattûḥ. “In every city you meet

The zaptieh was ready with historic evidence on this head also.

“There was a man,” said he, “who lived some time in Cæsarea, and having
had experience of the people, he found them to be all pigs. Therefore he
resolved to journey to the furthest end of the earth, that he might
escape from them. And he went to Baghdâd, which is a long road.”

“It is long,” admitted Fattûḥ.

“And then he entered the bath and demanded a good ḥammâmjî to knead the
weariness out of his bones. And the owner of the bath called out: ‘Bring
the lame Cæsarean!’ Then said the traveller: ’A Cæsarean here and he
lame!’ and he fled from Baghdâd.”

Fattûḥ is innocent of any sense of humour. “Oh Merciful,” said he

I do not know whether it was the effect produced by these


[Illustration: FIG. 233.--NIGDEH, TOMB OF HAVANDA.]


tales which prevented me from lodging in Ḳaiṣarîyeh, or whether the
prospect of two days spent in the society of people of my own speech and
civilization would not have proved too strong a temptation, even if the
Cæsareans had shone with every virtue; at any rate I went no further
than Talas, and there remained as a guest in the hospital of the
American missionaries. And if I saw little of the famous city of
Cæsarea, I passed many hours in the hospital garden at the feet of men
and women whose words were instinct with a wise tolerance and weighted
by a profound experience of every aspect of Oriental life.

Ḳaiṣarîyeh was the end of the caravan journey. In two days we had sold
our horses (“One for us to sell and one for them to buy,” said Fattûḥ),
and packed our belongings into the carts which were to take us to the
railway at Ereglî. I rode down from Talas to conclude these arrangements
and to visit the citadel which stands on Justinian’s foundations. The
interior is now packed with narrow streets, the houses being built
partly of ancient materials (Fig. 230). The fragments of columns and the
weather-worn capitals which are imbedded in the walls of the houses were
derived either from the early Christian town which occupied the site of
modern Ḳaiṣarîyeh, or from ancient Cæsarea, which lay upon the lower
slopes of Mount Argæus. A few foundations outside the limits of the
present town are all that remain of the churches that adorned the
greatest ecclesiastical centre of the Anatolian plateau, the birthplace
of St. Basil, but the memory of the Seljuk conquerors, who gave it a
fresh glory during the Middle Ages, is still preserved in many a
decaying mosque and school.

We set out from Ḳaiṣarîyeh a diminished party, Ḥâjj ’Amr and Selîm
having found work with a caravan of muleteers and returned with them
across the mountains to Aleppo. The first day’s drive took us round the
foot of Argæus to Yeni Khân, a solitary inn, not marked in Kiepert,
which lies two hours to the north of Ḳaraḥiṣâr. The mighty buttresses of
Argæus, rising out of the immense flats of the Anatolian plateau, are as
imposing as the flanks of Etna rising from the

[Illustration: FIG. 232.--TOMB OF HAVANDA.]

sea, and its height, over 13,000 feet, is scarcely less from base to
summit than that of the Sicilian volcano.[234] The second day brought us
to a khân by the roadside, half-an-hour from the village of Andaval;
upon the following morning we reached, after three-quarters of an hour’s
drive, the church of Constantine, of which the foundation is attributed
by legend to the Empress Helena,[235] and in two hours more we came to
Nigdeh, where I halted for a few hours to see the Seljuk mosques and
tombs for which the town is famed. Of these the most beautiful is the
so-called mausoleum of Havanda, the wife of ’Ala ed Din.[236] It is in
ground plan an octagon, but above the windows the number of faces is
doubled, the additional angles being built over projecting brackets,
finely worked with stalactite ornaments (Figs. 232 and 233). The
spandrils above the windows are decorated with pairs of sphinxes (Fig.
234), and the door is framed in a delicate tracery of lace-like
patterns. Beyond Bor we came into a well-known country dominated by the
twin peaks of Ḥassan Dâgh, the Lesser Argæus, which I greeted with a
respect mingled with the familiarity born of an intimate acquaintance
with its rocks. Three hours from Nigdeh we reached Emîr Chiflik, where
there is a khân unnamed by Kiepert, and next morning we drove into
Bulgurlû, the present terminus of the Baghdâd railway. But the art of
modern travel accords ill with the habits of the East; the baggage
wagon missed the daily train and we were obliged to wait for it at

“Your Excellency does not wish to see the pictures of the Benî Hît?”
said Fattûḥ suspiciously as we stepped out upon the platform. We had
never before passed through Ereglî without visiting the great Hittite
relief in the gorge of Ivrîz. But I reassured him: we had seen enough.

One more expedition lay, however, between us and Konia. It was to be
accomplished in light order; indeed, we might have ridden up to the Ḳara
Dâgh without possessions, for there was no man in all the mountain who
would not have been proud to offer us a lodging. Fattûḥ and I shone
there with a reflected glory that radiated from the Chelabî, whose fame
is not confined to the Ḳara Dâgh, though few perhaps of his colleagues
in the Scottish Academe which he adorns would recognize him under his
Anatolian title. Had we not spent weeks under his direction in grubbing
among old stones, to the delight and profit of all beholders? Had we not
consumed innumerable hares and partridges at twopence a head, and
offered a sure market for yaourt and eggs? And when the regretted hour
of departure arrived, what store of empty tins and battered cooking pots
was left behind to keep our memory green! Our renown extended even to
Ḳaramân, where we alighted from the train on the following evening. The
khânjî was a trusted friend, the shopkeepers pressed gifts of rose jam
upon us, and when the hiring of horses presented a difficulty, I had
only to step out into the streets and explain our needs to the first
acquaintance whom I met. He happened to be a ḥammâl (a porter) who had
done a couple of days’ work for us in the Ḳara Dâgh, and he was intimate
with an arabajî (a carriage driver), who would without doubt place his
horses at our disposal; and if I would come in and drink a cup of coffee
the matter should be settled. I accepted the invitation and was
introduced triumphantly to the ḥammâl’s wife: “This is the maid I told
you about--she who worked with the Chelabî.” On our way back to the khân
we chanced to pass by the exquisite Khâtûnyeh Medresseh,[237] and since
the mullah was standing under the carved gateway, I stopped to bid him a
good-evening. In the tomb chamber that opens out of the cloistered
courtyard I remembered to have seen fragments of a fine inscription of
blue tiles: scarcely a tile was left upon the walls and I knew how they
had vanished, for I had found one of them in the hands of a Konia dealer
and bought it from him. This incident I related to the mullah.

“You did very wrong,” said he. “You have stolen one of our tiles and
carried it away.”

“I did not steal it,” I pleaded weakly. “I found it at Konia.”

“It is all one,” he replied. “You should give it back.”

But as we went out through the cloister I noticed that the columns which
supported it were double columns of a type peculiar to Christian
architecture. They had in all probability been removed from a church.

“Mullah Effendi,” said I, “we are equal. I have taken a tile out of your
Moslem tomb, and you the columns from our Christian church.”

The mullah’s indignation vanished in a flash. “Âferîn!” he cried, with a
jolly laugh. “Bravo!” and he clapped me on the back.

The ḥammâl’s confidence in the arabajî had not been misplaced; we set
out next morning for the Ḳara Dâgh, and every mile was full of
delightful reminiscence. The yellow roses dropped their petals in
familiar fashion over the mountain path, mullein and borage spread their
annual carpet of blue and gold between the ruins, and the peak of
Mahalech, on which I had found a Hittite inscription and a Christian
monastery, stood guardian, as of old, over the green cup wherein had
lain an ancient city. The sturdy Yuruks came striding down from their
high yailas to bid us a joyful coming and a slow departure; many were
the greetings that passed round the camp fire, and it was well that
Fattûḥ had laid in a good provision of coffee at Ḳaramân.

So on a hot morning we struck our last camp and rode down the northern
slopes of the mountain to rejoin the railway by which we were to travel
to Konia. And as we crossed the level plain Fattûḥ observed with

“The cornland has increased since two years ago. Effendim, there is
twice as much sown ground.”

“Praise God!” said I. “It is the doing of the railway.”

“Wherever it passes the corn springs up,” said Fattûḥ. “Mâshallah! Konia
will become a great city.”

“It has grown in our knowledge,” said I. “But this year we shall find it
much changed, for all our friends have left.”

“Where have they gone?” inquired Fattûḥ.

“Riza Beg is in Salonica,” said I, mentioning one who had eaten out his
heart in exile for ten weary years. “He has gone back to his wife and

“He would make haste to join them,” assented Fattûḥ.

“And Meḥmet Pasha is in Constantinople. I saw his name among those who
helped to depose the Sultan.”

“He has risen to high honour,” said Fattûḥ. Meḥmet Pasha was another of
the proscribed.

“And Suleimân Effendi is deputy for Konia, where he was so long in
exile. Oh Fattûḥ, we shall be strangers there now that our friends have

“Your Excellency will meet them in other cities,” said Fattûḥ. “And they
will be free men.”


Abbâsid Sâmarrâ, 242

Abu ’Atiḳ, ruins of, 66, 68, 110

Abu Bekr, tekîyeh of, 10, 15

Abu Dulâf, minaret of, 211, 213, 214;
  mosque of, 243 _and note_^{1-46}, 246 _note_^{1}

Abu Ḥanîfah, shrine of, 188

Abu Jîr, ruins of, 123, 124, 125, 127

Abu Kemâl, village of,  77, 81-82, 84, 85

Abu’l Ḥassan, tell of, 81, 111, 112-13

Abu Sa’îd, 63, 65, 101, 110, 111

Abu Tuṭah, 61

Aburas (Khâbûr), the, 109

Adana, massacre of Christians at, 251, 252, 302-3, 331-32, 349

’Aḍêm, the, 204 _and note_^{5}

Aeipolis (Hît), 110, 111, 114

Afâḍleh, the, 53

Ager Romanorum, the, 307

’Ain el ’Aṣfûrîyeh, 124

’Ain el ’Awâsil, 124

’Ain et Tamr, oasis of, 135, 139;
  history, 156, 157

’Ain Nakhîleh, village of, 26

’Ain Tâb, 32

’Ain Tell, Spring of, 9

’Ain Za’zu’, spring at, 118-19, 122

’Aiwir, ruin of, 118

Ajmîyeh, 89, 90

Akcheh Dâgh, the, 339 _and note_^{1}

Akhaya Kala, island of, 99

Ala Klisse, decoration in, 155

Albistân, 342

Aleppo, saddlers of, 1-3;
  politics and religion, 3-8;
  municipal income, 8-9;
  works of Seif ed Dauleh, 9, 11-12;
  Christians of, 9-10;
  antiquity of, 10-11;
  the Jâmi’ el Ḥelâwîyeh, 11;
  mosque of Firdaus, 12;
  the Jâmi’ esh Shaibîyeh, 12;
  shrine of Ḥussein, 12-13;
  architecture, 13-14;
  the Bîmâristân El Malik eẓ Ẓâhir, 14;
  the citadel, 15-16;
  the road to Baghdâd, 126;
  gateway of the citadel, the serpent motive, 15, 190;
  news of massacre, 317;
  distances from, 334, 335

Alexandretta, port of, 334, 335

’Alî Dâgh, 353

’Alḳâmî, the, 164 _note_^{1}

Alḳôsh, 274, 281, 282

Allan, 111, 112

Alûs, 101

Al’ Uzz (Kiepert), 101

Amadîyeh, 288

Amârah, 184, 194

’Amej, castle of, 86, 121

’Amr, mosque of, Cairo, 56 _note_^{2}

’Amrḳan, 262

’Anâb, 44, 47

’Ânah, 85, 87, 88, 89, 113;
  the road to, 92-93;
  the castle and minaret, 94-96;
  history, 96-98

Anatho (’Anah), 92, 109, 111, 114

Andaval, village of, 356

Anderîn, barracks at, 121 _note_^{2}

Annouca, castle of, 68

Anthemusia, 22

Anti Taurus, 327

Antioch Gate, Aleppo, 11, 15

Antioch on the Orontes, 10

Anu and Adad, temple of, 223

Apamea (Strabo), 204

Arabissus, 339 _note_^{1}

Ararat, mountain of, 289

Araxes, the (the Khâbûr), 73

Arba’, village of, 303 _note_^{1}

Arba’în, shrine of the, Tekrît, 217

Arbela, 221, 228

Arca, _see_ Arga

Arga, 338, 339 _note_^{1-40}

Argæus, Mount, 344, 345, 353-54, 355

Argæus the Lesser, 356

Arghana, the monastery of the Virgin, 328 _and note_^{1}

Arghana Ma’den, Khân of, 328 _note_^{1}, 329, 330 _note_^{1}

Ariarathia, 344 _note_^{1}

Arîmeh, village of, 20

Ark of Noah, 291-95

Arnâs, 317-18

Arslân Tepeh, mound of, 336, 337

Artemis, Temple of (Darius), 111

’Ashiḳ, the, Sâmarrâ, 235 _and note_^{4-39}, 242

Asia Minor, tower tombs, 37

Asikha, 111, 112

’Asîleh, 130, 132

Asshur, mound of, 221, 222;
  temple of, 222-24, 229

Assyrian temples, construction, 223

Atargatis, pool of, 21-22

’Atâ’ut, pitch well at, 106

Atesh Gah of Jur, 246 _note_^{2}

Awânâ, _see_ Wâneh

Aywân Kisrâ, the, 181 _note_^{3}

Azakh, 302-3

Azbuzu, 336

’Azîzîyeh, 339 _note_^{1}, 344 _and note_^{1}, 345 _note_^{2}

Bâ’adrî, village of, 269-70, 273;
  ’Alî Beg, 273-74;
  Sa’îd Beg, 274, 280;
  the summer festival, 280;
  underground village near, 299 _note_^{1}

Bâ’ashikâ, 265

Bâ Dibbeh, 309

Bâ Sebrîna, village of, 303 _and note_^{1-4};
  monasteries of, 304-5;
  construction in, 315

Bâb, 17, 18 _and note_^{3}

Bâb el Ḥadîd, Aleppo, 15

Bâb el Maḳâm, Aleppo, 14

Bâb el Wuṣṭânî, 191

Bâb eṭ Ṭilism, Baghdâd, 190

Bâb Kinnesrîn, the, Aleppo, 11

Bâbil, mound of, 168, 173

Babylon, 22, 164;
  Palace of Nebuchadnezzar, work of excavation, 168-71;
  temple of Ishtar and the Ishtar Gate, 171;
  the Via Sacra, 171-72;
  temple of Marduk, 172;
  the theatre, 172-73;
  mound of Bâbil, 173;
  construction in, 223

Baghdâd, 3, 32, 46, 54;
  the railway, 34, 356;
  the road to, 94, 160, 167;
  tomb of the Sitt Zobeideh, 100;
  justice in, stories of Rejef Pasha, 175-77;
  story of the cannon, 183, 192-93;
  entry by the Ḥilleh road, 184;
  the British Residency, 184;
  the irrigation system, 185;
  the new régime in, 185-87;
  the Jews and military service, 187;
  Manṣûr’s Round City, 187 _and note_^{1-88};
  the Kâẓimein, 188-90, 198;
  tomb of Sheikh Ma’rûf, 189-90;
  Bâb eṭ Ṭilism, 190-91;
  traces of the ancient city, 191;
  the Bâb el Wuṣṭânî, 191;
  Mustanṣirîyeh College, 191-92;
  the Khâṣakî Jâmi’, 192;
  Khân Orthma, 192;
  the arsenal, 193-94;
  mosque and tomb of ’Abdu’l Ḳâdir, 195;
  a visit to the Naḳîb, 195-96;
  the tekîyeh for pilgrims, 195-96;
  Catholics in, 197;
  road to Kerkûk, 206;
  mosque of Manṣûr, 235 _note_^{2};
  stories, 354

Baghdâdî, 102, 114

Baghût, 202

Bahurasîr, 181 _and note_^{2}

Baisampse, 38 _note_^{4}

Balad, village of, 205

Balîjah, mound of, 88

Bâlis, 18, 24 _note_^{2}

Bambyce, 22

Bar Hebræus, tomb of, 266

Barâd, tower tombs of, 38 _note_^{2}

Barbalissos, 24 _note_^{2}

Bardawî, mound of, the fortress, 136-37

Bârtallâ, 265, 267

Basilia, 110, 111, 112

Baṣrah, 95, 160, 163

Bathnæ, 18

Bathnæ in Osrhœne, 23

Baviân, valley of, 271-72;
  rock carvings and rock cut chambers, 272 _note_^{1}, 275

Bazaar Euren, 345 _note_^{1}

Beilân Pass, 334

Beit el Khalîfah, Sâmarrâ, 237, 240 _and note_^{1-42}

Belesys, palace of, 18

Belias River, the, 54

Belîkh, the, 54, 61

Belisibiblada, 111, 113

Belḳâ, the, 303

Bergland Tulaba (Kiepert), 61 _and note_^{1}

Berœa, 10; acropolis of, 11

Bersiba (Munbayah), 44, 47

Berwân, island of, 101

Bethauna, 111, 114

Bêtmanîn, 293 _note_^{1}

Bey Punar, 343 _and note_^{1}

Beyrout, 4; vilayet of, 7

Bezabde, 296 _note_^{1}

Billânî, graves of, 52

Bîmâristân of El Malik eẓ Ẓâher, Aleppo, 14

Birejik, bridge at, 22-23;
  tower tombs, 37;
  distances from, 109

Birs Nimrûd, 173

Bisheh, 202

Biunan, 111, 112

Bombay, justice in, 95

Bonakhe, 111, 114

Bor, 356

Boran Dereh Keui, 343 _note_^{1}, 344

British Museum, Assyrian reliefs, 71;
  the Black Obelisk, 223

Bulgurlû, 356

Buseirah, 111, 112;
  excavations at, 73-75;
  the ruined church, 75-76, 78

Buseyiḥ, Tell of, 79

Bustân, 79, 81

Buzâ’â, 18

Cadesh on the Orontes, 10

Cæciliana, 23, 24

Cæsarea, 302, 329;
  caravan road, 335 _note_^{1};
  effect of the massacre in, 352-53;
  stories of, 354

Cairo, examples of leaf motives, 12 _note_^{2};
  mosque of Ibn Ṭûlûn, 58, 246 _and note_^{3}

Calah (Nimrûd), 227, 228;
  city of Calah, 229

Callinicum, 54, 111

Cappadocia, 345

Carchemish on the Euphrates, 10, 26, 31;
  the northern mound, 33-34

Carduchian Mountains, 300

Chaghullah, 333 _note_

Chalcedon, œcumenical council of, 256

Chalcis, 10

Chaleb (Aleppo), 11

Charcha (Ammianus Marcellinus), 212 _note_^{1}

Chat, 27

Chatagh, 340

Chem Resh, valley of, 270

Cholak Ushagî, 333 _note_^{1}

Cilicia, the outbreak in, 302-3, 323, 331, 352

Circesium, 68, 74, 75, 109, 111, 112

Cloister of the Ark, 292

Comana, shrine of, 346;
  inscriptions, 350 _note_^{1}

Constantine, Church of, 356

Constantinople, situation in, 73, 96, 186, 204, 217, 222, 227;
  justice in, 162;
  the museum, 229;
  accession of Muḥammad V, 251-54, 359

Corsote, 82, 84, 111, 113

Ctesiphon, 200, 255;
  (construction at), 153 _and note_^{1}, 154, 155, 156, 160, 180;
  the road to, 174-75;
  foundations, 179 _and note_^{1};
  Mohammadan conquest, 180;
  the White Palace of Chosroes, 181;
  the hall, 240

Cunaxa, battle of, 200 _and note_^{1}

Cyrrhus, the ziareh of Khoros, 37 _note_^{3}

Dadar, 290

Dalanda, 341 _note_^{2}

Damascus, 16, 101;
  the post road to, 117, 121

Dandaxina, 339 _note_^{1}

Daphne, 18

Dâr el ’Ammeh, the, 240 _note_^{1}

Dara, 301, 307

Dardes, the, 18

Daurîn, _see_ Dawwarîn

Dauser, Castle of, 50-51

Dawwarîn, the, 78, 79, 80;
  junction with the Euphrates, 82

Deheb, valley of the, 17

Dehûk, 283

Deir, mutesarriflik of, 8;
  boundary, 65;
  the ferry, 70-71;
  bazaars, 71;
  the Ḳâḍî, 71-72;
  passing events, 72-73;
  the road to Buseirah, 108

Deir Bar Sauma, 303 _note_^{1}

Deir el ’Amr, 313 _note_^{1}

Deir el Kahf, 121 _note_^{2}

Deir el Khiḍr, 263 _note_^{1}

Deir Mâr Gabriel, 315

Deir Mâr Shim’ûn, 303 _note_^{1}

Deir ’Umar, 315, 316 _note_^{1}

Denshâwî, the incident at, 196

Dereh Gechid Chai, 327 _note_^{1}

Derendeh (Dalanda), 339 _and note_^{1}, 341 _and note_^{2}

Dersîm, the, 338, 340

Deveh Deresi, 340

Devil Worshippers, 269

Diacira, Castle of, 102 _note_^{1}

Dibseh, 18;
  the ford at, 47

Diyârbekr, 32, 206, 250, 301, 317, 327 _note_^{1}, 329;
  gates of, 13, 324 _and note_^{2};
  the Vâlî at, 321;
  the situation in, 321-24, 331;
  arsenal, 324-25;
  the Ulu Jâmi’, 325-26;
  language in, 327

Domitian, palace of, on the Palatine, 180

Dujeil, the, 201 _and note_^{1}, 203;
  lower course, 202

Dûmat ej Jandal, 156-57

Dûmat el Ḥîrah, 156-57

Dumeir, 118

Dûr, village of, 190 _note_^{2}, 214;
  shrine of the Imâm Dûr, 214-16

Dûr ’Arabâyâ, 212 _note_^{1}

Dura, 111, 112, 113

Dura (Isidoris), 113

Dura Nicanoris, 111

Durnakh, 289

Edessa [now Urfah], 23, 24

Egypt, English rule in, 196

Ekrek, 339 _note_^{1}, 345

El ’Awâṣim, province of, 25

El Khiḍr, 263 _note_^{1}

El Malik eẓ Ẓâher, Medresseh of, 12

Elemenjik, the situation in, 338

Emergal, 345 _note_

Emîr Chiflik, 356

Ephesus, council of, 255 _note_^{1}

Ephesus, caravan road to, 335 _note_^{1}

Er Radâf (El ’Asîleh), 131

Ereglî, 353, 355, 357

Eṣ Ṣâliḥîn, mosque of, 13

Eskî Baghdâd, 212 _note_^{4}, 213

Eskî Serûj, 22 _note_^{2}

Eskishehr, 338 _note_^{1}

Eugenius, St., monastery of, 310-12

Euphrates, passages of the, 22-23, 24 _note_^{2}, 27-28, 31-32, 47;
  waters of the, 35;
  the Jezîreh and the Shâmîyeh, 60-61, 66, 77;
  Julian’s march, 62;
  the river at Wâdî Mâliḥ, 67;
  below Deir, 73-74;
  inundations, 79-82;
  tribes on the, 81;
  islands, 85-86;
  the piers of the bridge at ’Ânah, 97;
  ’Ânah to Hît, 98;
  landscape at ’Ânah, 101;
  the road from Buseirah to ’Ânah, 108-9;
  the division above Museiyib, 164 _and note_^{1};
  bridge of boats near Kerbela, 167;
  the Murad Su, 335;
  tributaries, 342-43

Europus, 24 _note_^{2}, 33, 111

Evler, village of, 296

“Father of Asphalt,” the, 125

Festhaus, the, at Ḳal’at Shergat, 225

Fetḥah gorge, the, 220

Fḥemeh, village of, 99, 100

Finik, 296 _note_^{1}, 301;
  castles, 297-98;
  rock dwellings, 298-99

Firdaus, mosque of, Aleppo, 12-13

Firûzâbâd, Sassanian Palace of, 153, 156

Galabatha, 110, 111

Ga’rah, 118

Garârah, 183

Ga’rat ej Jemâl, 123, 124

Gelîyeh, village of, 306, 308

Gerik, village of, 290

Geurmuk, 290

Ghazil, the, 293 _note_^{1}

Ghirân (Kiepert), 52

Giddan, 111, 113

Gilead, the road to Moab, 303

Gök Su, the, 348

Göljik, 329, 330 _note_^{1}

Gordian, tomb of, 113

Görün, 339 _note_^{1}, 342 _note_^{1};
  khân of, 342

Grê Pahn (Tell ’Arîḍ), 283

Great Zâb, the, 204 _note_^{3}, 228

Günesh, 343

Gurgurri Gate, Ḳal’at Shergat, 224

Ḥadîthah, ruins of, 99, 100 _and note_^{1}, 111, 114, 190

Ḥaleb (Aleppo), 10-11

Ḥalebîyeh, Castle of, 67

Ḥallâweh, ruins at, 47

Ḥammâm ’Alî, sulphur springs of, 230

Ḥandak, 302 _note_^{3}

Ḥaraglah, ruin of, 53-54, 54 _note_^{1}

Ḥarnik, 333 _note_^{1}

Ḥarrân (Carrhæ), 24 _note_^{2}

Ḥasanah, village of, carved relief, 287 _note_^{2}, 290-91, 294

Ḥasanîyeh, _see also_ Zâkhô, 287 _notes_^{1-2}, 293 _note_^{1}

Ḥassan Dâgh, 356

Ḥasua, the khân of, 175

Ḥâtim Ṭâi, Castle of, 306-8

Hatra, Parthian Palace at, 31;
  work of Dr. Andrae, 222

Ḥaurân, the, tower tombs, 37

Havanda, mausoleum, 356

Ḥeizil Sû, the, 289, 293 _note_^{1}

Ḥejâz, 344

Heshtân, 293

Hierapolis, _see also_ Manbij, 10, 16, 20, 24;
  the pool of Atargatis, 21;
  mosque of ’Abdu’l Ḥamîd, 21-22;
  history, 23, 24;
  shrine of Sheikh ’Aḳil, 25-26

Ḥilleh, 164, 167

Hindîyeh swamp, the, 164-65;
  canal, 164 _note_^{1};
  the Nahr Hindîyeh, 164 _and note_^{1}

Ḥîrah castle, 141, 142 _and note_^{1}, 160

Ḥiṣn Keif, rock-hewn chambers, 299 _note_^{1}

Hît, the town of, 102, 104, 111, 114, 201 _note_^{1};
  pitch wells, 104-6;
  the minaret, 108;
  distances from, 110;
  women of, 116-17

Ḥöjneh, village of, 78

Ḥussein, mosque of, Aleppo, 12-13;
  tomb of, Kerbela, 160

Ḥuweiṣilât, ruins of, 239, 242

Ibn Ḥanbal, tomb of, 188

Ibn Ṭûlûn, mosque of, Cairo, 58

Idicara (Ptolemy), 102 _note_^{1}, 111

Imâm Dûr, shrine of, 214-16

Imâm Yaḥyâ, tomb of, 259, 260

Irmez, 303 _note_^{1}

Irzî, 111, 113, 114;
  ruins of, 49 _note_^{2}, 83-84;
  bluff of, 82, 85

Is, 104 _note_^{1}, 111

Ishtar Gate, Babylon, 171

Island, 111, 114

Ispileh, 353 _note_^{2}

Ivrîz, gorge of, 357

Iz Oglu, mound of, 333 _note_^{1}, 335 _and note_^{2}

Izala, Mount, 301 _and note_^{1};
  monastery of Mâr Augen, 310-17

Izannesopolis, 102 _note_^{1}, 110, 111, 114

Jabarîyeh, ruins of, 88, 111, 113

Ja’deh, hamlet of, 30

Jâmi’el Ḥelâwîyeh, the, Aleppo, 11

Jâmi’el Ḳaṣr, Baghdâd, 191 _note_^{2}

Jâmi’el Maḳâmât, Aleppo, 14

Jâmi’ esh Shaibîyeh, the, Aleppo, 12

Jebel ’Abdu’l ’Aziz, 62

Jebel Alḳôsh, 282-83

Jebel Beiḍâ, 62

Jebel Dehûk, 282-83

Jebel el Abyaḍ, ruined fortress, 285

Jebel el Ḥamrîn, the, 220-21, 243

Jebel el Ḥaṣṣ, 17-18

Jebel Ḥaurân, 131

Jebel Jûdî, 289

Jebel Maḳlûb, 266, 268

Jebel Munâkhir, 61, 62

Jebel Munkhar esh Sharḳî, 61

Jebel Muzâhir, the, 119

Jebel Sim’un, 273, 280

Jebel Sinjâr, the, 87, 275, 280, 301, 308

Jebel ’Uḳala, 61

Jedeideh, 63

Jelîb esh Sheikh, 124

Jemmah, mounds of, 79, 111, 112

Jerâblus, 24 _note_^{2}, 32, 33 _and note_^{1}

Jernîyeh, hill of, 43

Jerusalem, tomb of Absalom, 37 _note_^{5};
  construction in, 223

Jezarân, village of, 270

Jezîreh, the, 295, 296 _note_^{1}, 297

Jezîret ibn ’Umar, 287 _note_^{2}, 296-97

Jibbeh, island of, 101

Jisr Manbij, 24 _note_^{2}

Jôf in Nejd, 144

Jonah, tombs of, 262

Jûdî Dâgh, ridge of, 289, 291 _note_^{1}, 293

Jûdî, Mount, the Cloister of the Ark, 291-95

Ḳâ’at ed Deleim, 85

Kadi Keui, 328 _note_^{1}

Ḳâdisîyah, battlefield of, 160, 201 _note_^{1}, 204 _note_^{5},
  207 _note_^{1};
  ruins of, 207-8, 210

Kahf ’Alî, 202

Kahf ez Zaḳḳ [Sheikh Ḥamri], 51-52

Ḳâim, town of, 208, 210;
  tower of, 239

Ḳaindîjeh, 343 _note_^{1}

Ḳaiṣarîyeh, 334, 354, 355

Ḳal’ah Dâgh, plateau of the, 340

Ḳal’at Abu Rayâsh, 219 _note_^{1}

Ḳal’at Bulâk (Retâjah), 88, 111, 113-14

Ḳal’at ej Jedîd, pass at, 308-309, 309 _note_^{1}

Ḳal’at en Nejm, 23, 24 _note_^{2}, 39

Ḳal’at Ḥâtim Ṭâi, 309 _and note_^{1}

Ḳal’at Ja’bar, 44, 48, 51;
  towers of, 49 _and notes_-50

Ḳal’at Khubbâz, 107

Ḳal’at Lûlû, Môṣul, 260

Ḳal’at Râfiḍah, 88

Ḳal’at Shergât, work of Dr. Andrae, 221, 222;
  temple of Asshur, 222-23;
  the fortifications, 224-26

Kalender Khân, 329

Kalender Koprüsi, 328 _note_^{1}

Kalka, 308

Ḳara Bel, the, 347, 350 _note_^{1}

Ḳara Dâgh, 357-58

Ḳara Kazâk, mound of, at Tell Aḥmar, 30

Ḳara Khân Chai, 327 _note_^{1}

Ḳarâbileh, island of, 92, 111, 114

Ḳaraḥiṣâr, 355

Ḳaramân, 357, 358

Ḳarkh, mound of, 212 _note_^{1}, 323

Ḳaraḳôsh, inscriptions, 264 _note_^{1};
  the seven churches, 264;
  Mâr Shim’ûn, 264-65;
  churches of, 279

Ḳarḳîsîyâ (Circesium), 68, 74

Karnak, inscriptions at, 104 _note_^{1}

Kars, 63

Kâs i Fir’aun at Sâmarrâ, 235

Ḳâsim Khân, 330 _note_^{1}

Ḳaṣr ’Amej, 100, 118

Ḳaṣr el Abyaḍ, 121 _note_^{2}

Ḳaṣr et Tâj, Baghdâd, 191 _note_^{2}

Ḳaṣr Ghellî, rock carvings, 298

Ḳaṣr-i-Shîrîn, 156

Ḳaṣr Khubbâz, 118

Ḳasṭal, 121 _note_^{2}

Ḳâṭûl, 207 _and note_^{2}, 209

Ḳâṭûl-Nahrawân, the, 205 _note_^{5}

Kavak, _see_ Köpekli

Kayden Keui, 328 _note_^{1}

Ḳâyim, 85

Kayyik Debû, hamlet of, 35

Kâzimein, Shi’ah sanctuary, Baghdâd, 188-90, 194

Ḳdirân, 52

Kebeisah, 106, 107, 116-17, 117 _note_^{1}, 122;
  sulphur springs, 118

Kefr Zeh, 315, 317-18

Keghvank, 330 _and note_^{1}

Kerbelâ, 100;
  the road, 140, 206;
  distances from, 142;
  the caravan at, 143-44;
  impressions, 159-60;
  tomb of Ḥussein, 160;
  shops, 161;
  appointment of officials, 161-62;
  the mutesarrif, 162;
  the tower, 162;
  the Hindîyeh swamp, 164-66;
  pilgrims to, 166-67

Kerkûk, 251

Kernaz, 313 _note_^{1}

Kevak Euren, 342 _note_^{1}

Kezerik, inscriptions, 330

Khâbûr, the, 73, 74, 76, 112;
  the ferry, 77, 78 _note_^{1};
  tribes of the, 81;
  valley of, 286, 287 _and note_^{2}, 288;
  the bridge above Zâkhô, 289

Khabura, 111

Khâkh, ruins of, 317-19;
  the Church of the Virgin, 319-20;
  the robbery at, 320-22

Khân, 328 _note_^{1}

Khân, the (Kiepert), 65

Khân Keui, 333 _and note_^{1}

Khân el Wazîr, Aleppo, 13

Khân es Sabûn, Aleppo, 13

Khân eṭ Ṭarniyeh (Kiepert), 199 _note_^{1}

Khân ez Zebîb, 121 _note_^{3}

Khân Khernîna, 192 _note_^{2}, 219 _and note_^{2}

Khân Orthma, Baghdâd, 192

Khânûḥah, town of, 68

Kharabah ’Aleh, 313 _note_^{1}, 314

Khâranî, 121 _note_^{3}

Kharpût, 327;
  plain of, 329-30;
  the Castle, 330-31;
  the panic in, 331-33

Khâṣakî Jâmi, Baghdâd, 192

Khâtûnyeh, 338 _note_^{1}

Khâtûnyeh Medresseh, the, 357-58

Khawarnaḳ, 141;
  Castle of, 142, 160

Khawîjeh, the, 85, 205

Kheiḍir, _see_ Ukheiḍir

Kherâb, 135

Khirbet ed Dukhîyeh, 63

Khirbet Hadâwî, 63

Khmeiḍah, ruins of, 65, 66, 110, 111, 112

Khorsabâd, temple of Sargon, 223

Khubana, 110, 111

Khubbâz, Castle of, 86, 117-21, 127, 129

Ḳiḳân, mosque of, Aleppo, 11

Killîz, 32, 289

Kinik, 308

Kinnesrîn, _see_ Chalcis

Kirk Khân, massacre of, 334-35

Ḳizil Khân, 345 _note_^{1}

Kloster Ruine (Kiepert), 32

Kochannes, 255

Kôdakh, village of, 302 _note_^{3}

Kokur Ḳayâ, 347, 348

Koleh, 285

Kôleteh Dâgh, the, 345

Kolosina (Ptolemy), 99 _note_^{1}

Kömür Khân, 333 _note_^{1}, 335

Konia, 3, 352, 359

Köpekli, ruins of the Panagia, 345 _and note_^{4-46}

Kötü Ḳal’ah, village of, 341 _and note_^{1}

Kozan, massacre, 353

Ḳubbeh, village of, 30, 35

Ḳubbet es Ṣlebîyeh, 239

Ḳubrâ, 68

Ḳubûr ej Jebel, 62

Kûfah, Mohammadan town, 142, 160;
  mosque of, 164

Ḳuleib, 41

Küpek Euren, 343 _and note_^{1}

Kurd Keui, 340

Kurdistân, mountain chains of, 265, 284, 285, 286

Kuro, island of, 99

Ḳuṣeir el Ḥallâbât, 121 _note_^{2}

Ḳusheir, the, 50

Ḳûyûnjik, mound of, 261-62

Lekweir, 240

Levandi Chai, 340

Levandiler, village of, 340

Levent, 340

Lubbâd, island of, 94, 96, 111, 114

Madaḳḳ eṭ Ṭabl, Sâmarrâ, 211

Madâin, 182

Ma’den Chai, the, 328 _note_^{1}, 329

Madlûbeh, ruin of, 106-107

Mahalech, peak of, 358

Maḥall es Ṣafṣâf, 48

Maḥârîz, 52

Maḥawîl, village and canal, 167

Maḥmûd Ghâzî, Castle of, 345 _and note_^{2}

Maḥmûdîyeh, 177

Ma’lathâyâ (Malthai), 287 _note_^{2}

Malaṭiyeh, 327;
  the modern city, 335 _and note_^{1-36};
  Old Malaṭiyeh, 337-38

Malthai, the Assyrian reliefs, 283-84

Malwîyeh, the, Sâmarrâ, 209 _and note_^{1}, 210

Ma’mûreh, asphalt beds and minaret, 106;
  ruins, 127

Ma’mûret el ’Azîz, vilayet of, 330

Manbij [Hierapolis], 18, 19;
  ancient churches, 21, 22 _note_^{1};
  history, 24-25

Mangâbeh, 26

Mangûb, 227

Manṣûr, founder of Kafiḳah, 54;
  Round City of, 187 _and note_^{1-88};
  mosque of, Baghdâd, 235 _note_^{2}

Mâr Ahudânî, Church of, 257

Mâr Augen, monastery of, 302 _note_^{1}, 310-12

Mâr ’Azîzîyeh at Kefr Zeh, 315, 317-18

Mâr Barsauma, 316 _note_^{2}

Mâr Behnâm, 262 _and note_^{1-63}, 263 _note_^{2}, 268 _and note_^{1}

Mâr Cosmo, 324 _note_^{1}

Mâr Dodo, 304-5

Mâr Gabriel of Kartmîn, 262  _note_^{1}, 314-16

Mâr Girjis, 258

Mâr Hôbel, 316 _note_^{2}

Mâr Ibrahîm, 316 _note_^{2}

Mâr Kyriakos at Arnâs, 317-18

Mâr Mattai, monastery of, 266;
  story of Mâr Mattai, 267-68

Mâr Melko, 313 _and note_^{1-14}

Mâr Musa el Habashi, 316 _note_^{2}

Mâr Philoxenos, 316-17

Mâr Shim’ûn, Bâ Sebrîna, 303-4

Mâr Shim’ûn, 218, 259;
  Ḳaraḳôsh, 264-65

Mâr Shim’ûn, Midyâd, 316 _note_^{2}

Mâr Sobo, 319

Mâr Tûmâ, 258 _and note_^{1-59}, 259 _note_^{1}, 260, 263 _note_^{2}

Mâr Yâ’ḳûb, Church of, Ṣalâḥ, 316-19

Mâr Yâ’ḳûb, monastery of, 272, 283

Marde, 301

Mardîn, 218, 301, 311, 353 _and note_^{2}

Mascas, the, 82

Ma’shûk, the, _see_ ’Ashiḳ, the

Masius Mount, 301

Masnik, 335 _note_^{2}

Mas’ûdîyeh, 41

Maxentius, basilica of, 180

Mazâr of Sultan ’Abdullah, 49 _note_^{1}

Mazâr of Sultan Selîm, 49 _note_^{1}

Mdawwî, mounds, 202

Mecca, 158;
  the well Zemzem, 277

Medâin, 181 _note_^{2}

Medina, 158

Meiḍa, 62

Melekjân, 333 _note_^{1}

Melitene, 337 _and note_^{1}

Merrhan, 111, 113

Meskeneh, 24 _note_^{2};
  the ferry, 47

Mesopotamia, antiquities of, 11;
  fortified khâns, 121 _and note_^{2-22};
  history, 156

Mespila-Nineveh, 287 _note_^{2}

Mezîzakh, 316 _note_^{1}

Mezreh, 330 _and note_^{2}, 331, _note_^{1}

Middo, 303 _note_^{1}

Midyâd, Mâr Philoxenos, 316-17

Midyâd, Ḳâimmaḳâm of the, 321

Môṣul, 70, 185, 206, 230-31, 265, 302;
  the modern bridge, 237;
  the situation in, 247-49;
  the affair of 1st January 1909, 249-50;
  murder of Sheikh Sayyid, 249-50;
  the League of Mohammad formed, 250-51;
  fall of ’Abdu’l Hamîd, 251-54;
  the Church in, 254-57;
  Church of Mâr Ahudânî, 257;
  first recorded mosque, 259;
  tomb of the Imâm Yaḥyâ, 259, 260;
  the Ḳal’at Lûlû, 260;
  the Sinjâr Gate, 260;
  the Jews of, 260-61, 261 _note_^{1};
  the high road, 284, 286, 287 _note_^{1}

Mshatta, Palace of, 152, 153

Mu’aẓẓam, village of, 188

Mudawwarah, ruin of, 48

Mügdeh, 341 _note_^{2}

Mughârah, 30, 35

Muḥammad ’Alî, tomb of, at Wâneh, 203

Mukbil, village of, 271

Mullah ’Alî Shehr, 341 _note_^{1}

Munbayah, mound of, 43-44;
  basalt mills, 63

Munga’rah, Ḳishlâ el, 69

Murad Su, the, 335

Murrât, ruin of, 135

Museiyib, village of, 164, 166-67

Musheidah, 200;
  the khân of, 199;
  the Senîyeh, 201-2

Mustanṣirîyeh  College, Baghdâd, 191-92

Mutawakkil, mosque of, Sâmarrâ, 209;
  Palace of, 213

Nabagath on the Aburas, 109, 111, 112

Nahr el Ḳâim, the, 206-8

Nahrawân canal, 213 _and note_^{1}

Nahrwân, bridge of, 182

Naṣrîyeh canal, the, 167

Natârîyeh, 90-92

Nebî Ḥâshil, ziyârah of, 17

Nebî Yûnus, mound of, 262

Nebuchadnezzar, Palace of, work of excavation, 168-71

Nejd, 86, 217

Nejef, ruins, 160, 162

Neshabah tower, the, 49 _and note_^{1}

Nicephorium, 54, 62, 109, 110, 111

Nigdeh, Seljuk mosques, 356

Nimrûd, 224, 227;
  mound of, 228-29

Nineveh, ruins of, 261-66;
  story  of Mâr Mattai, 267

Ninmala, island of, 85

Nisîbîn, 301

Nisibis, 301

Nu’mân ibn Mundhir, the castle of, 141, 142

Nûr ed Din, 262

Nurshak Dâgh, 342

Obbanes, 24 _note_^{2}

Olabus, 100 _note_^{1}, 111, 114

Old Meskeneh, 47

Opis, 200 _and note_^{1}, 204 _and note_^{5}

Ordasu, 336

Osdara, 339 _note_^{1}

Osherîyeh, 27

Osmândedelî, 339 _note_^{1}, 342 _and note_^{1}, 343 _and note_^{1}

Osrhœne, 23

Ozan, 339 _note_^{1};
  tomb at, 340-41, 341 _note_^{1}

Palanga, 341 _note_^{1}

Palmyra, tower tombs of, 37

Parenk, 343 _note_^{1}

Parux Malkha, 102 _note_^{1}

Pehlevî, 305 _note_^{1}

Persia, justice in, 163-64

Persian Gulf, gun-running, 285

Phaliga, 109, 110, 111, 112

Phaliscum, 111, 112

Phathusa, 114

Phœnice-Finik, 296 _note_^{1}, 299

Physcus, the (Xenophon), 204 _note_^{5}

Polat Ushagha, 341 _note_^{1}

Pünoz, Khân of, 330 _note_^{1}

Rabâṭ, village of, 85

Rabbân Hormuzd, monastery of, 255, 281-82

Râfiḳah, history of, 54-55, 57

Raḥbah, 74

Raḥḥâlîyeh, oasis of, 134, 138;
  water of, 136

Raḥḥâlîyeh-Shetâteh road, the, 136

Raḳḳah, 41, 46, 53, 65, 68, 111;
  the ferry, 47;
  history, 54-55, 158;
  the modern Raḳḳah, 55;
  shrines, 56 _and note_^{2};
  Raḳḳah ware, 59-60, 75-76;
  distances, 108-10;
  the Baghdâd Gate, 135 _note_^{2}, 156

Ramâdî, 123, 176, 177

Rawâ, 86-87, 90-92, 94, 114

Retâjah (Ḳal’at Bulâḳ), 88

Rhabdium, 307, 309 _note_^{1}

Risür Chai, 297

Round City, Baghdâd, 187 _and note_^{1-88}

Rumeileh, 41

Sadîr, 141

Sagr, ruin, 202

Saiḥûn, the, 342, 348

St. Simeon Stylites, Church of, 11

Sajûr river, the, 23, 31;
  the valley, 27

Ṣalâḥ, 314, 316-19

Salakûn, 303 _note_^{1}

Ṣâliḥîyeh, 78, 80, 82

Salonica, 4, 6, 227, 359;
  the committee, 251;
  the accession of Muḥammad V, 281

Saman, 340

Saman Keui, 338 _note_^{1}

Sâmarrâ, the mosque of, 58, 231-35, 243 _and note_^{1-46}, 246 _note_^{1};
  ruins, 158, 188 _note_^{1};
  Mohammadan ware, 204;
  the Malwîyeh, 206, 209 _and note_^{1}, 210;
  the choice of Mu’taṣim, 207 _note_^{2}, 209-10;
  the bazaars, 208;
  decline of, 208-9;
  the minaret, 211, 235;
  Madaḳḳ eṭ Ṭabl, 211;
  the Kâs i Fir’aun, 235;
  the palace of the ’Ashiḳ, 235 _and note_^{4-39}, 242;
  Ṣlebîyeh, 237, 239, 242;
  ruins of Ḥuweiṣilât, 239, 242;
  Beit el Khalîfah, 240 _and note_^{1-42};
  the Tell ’Alîj, 242-43;
  Sâmarrâ ware, 243

Samosata, 33

Sapha, 296 _note_^{1}

Saphe, 296 _note_^{1}

Sapolar, 333 _note_^{1}

Sargon temple, Khorsabâd, 223

Sâreh, village of, 305;
  the Church, 305-6

Sarî Khân, 353 _and note_^{2}

Sarifah (Chesney), 99 _note_^{1}

Sarvistân, 156

Sayyid Aḥmed ibn Hâshim, shrine of, 135

Sayyid Muḥammad, Mazâr of, 205

Scaphe (Ptolemy), 200 _note_^{1}

Scenæ, 22

Scenitæ, country of the, 22

Sefînet Nebî Nûh, 291-95

Seleucia  on the  Tigris, 10, 22, 109, 110, 179, 181 _note_^{1};
  mounds of, 178

Semiramidis Fossa, 110, 111, 112

Serbes, 17

Serrîn, tower tombs of, 36-39

Shabyan, 330 _note_^{1}

Shahr, 346;
  the temple-mausoleum, 348;
  story of the massacre, 349-50

Shakh, village of, 296

Shammar, village of, 17

Sham’ûn, castle of, 139

Shandokh, 293, 295

Shawa Keui, 328 _note_^{1}

Shefâthâ (’Ain et Tamr), 156

Shehna Khân, 338 _note_^{1}

Sheikh ’Adî, shrine of, 269, 272;
  description, 274-78;
  account of the Saint, 278-79;
  Yezîdî practices, 279-80

Sheikh Khuḍr, shrine of, 118

Sheikh Najar, 17

Sheikh Sîn, hill of, 43

Sheikh Ziyâd, 17

Shems ed Dîn, 43

Sheramîyeh, 220

Shetâteh, 86, 140;
  Assyrian remains, 134, 135;
  palms of, 139;
  distances from, 142;
  Bedouin of, 143

Shilbeh, 327 _note_^{1}

Shnâs, 212

Ṣiffîn, battlefield of, 50

Sinjâr Gate, Môṣul, 260

Sisara, _see_ Sisaurana

Sisaurana (Procopius), 309 _note_^{1}

Sitace, 200 _and note_^{1};
  position, 204 _note_^{5}

Sitha, 111

Sitt Zobeideh, tomb of, 100, 190 _and note_^{2}, 215

Sivâs, 329, 342

Ṣlebîyeh, 237, 239, 242

Sophene, 331 _note_^{2}

Stambûl, 96, 230

Suleimânîyeh, 249, 250

Sumeikhah, village of, 203 _and note_^{1}

Sûs, ruins at, 99

Suvagen, 347

Syria, fortified khâns, 121 _and note_^{2}

Takhtalî, 345 _note_^{1}

Talas, 353 _note_^{2}, 355

Tarandah, 341 _note_^{3}

Tarmûr, village of, 327 _and note_^{1}

Tarsus, American College, 349

Tâṣir, 202

Taurus Mountains, 325, 327, 328

Tekrît, Ḥmeidî Beg ibn Farḥân, 216-17;
  the road to Môṣul, 216-17;
  the castle, 239

Telin, 342

Tell ’Abd ’Alî, 53

Tell Abu Thor, 98

Tell Aḥmar, 23, 24 _note_^{1}, 26-28, 34, 44;
  the Hittite stela, 29-30

Tell ’Alîj, 242-43

Tell ’Arîḍ, 283

Tell Bada’ah, 28 _note_^{1}

Tell Batnân, 17

Tell Bshairah, 202

Tell ech Cha’bî, 80

Tell edh Dhahab, 204, 205

Tell el ’Abr, 31

Tell el Afrai, 48-49

Tell el Banât, 41

Tell el Ghânah, 28 _note_^{1}

Tell el Ga’rah, 43

Tell el Hajîn, 81

Tell el Ḥâl, 17

Tell el Kraḥ, 78

Tell el Kumluk, 31

Tell esh Sha’ir, 65, 79

Tell eẓ Ẓahir, 43

Tell Gayârah, 226, 227

Tell Ghazab, 204

Tell Hir, 204

Tell Jifneh, 47

Tell Kobbîn, mound and village, 289

Tell Maḥmûd, 333 _note_^{1}

Tell Manjûr, 204

Tell Meraish, 54

Tell Murraibet, 47, 63

Tell Sheikh ’Arûd, 44

Tell Sheikh Ḥassan, 44

Tell Simbal, 81

Thamânîn (Heshtan), 293 _and note_^{1}

Thapsacus on the Euphrates, 18, 22, 24, 33, 47

Thelailah, 302 _note_^{3}

Thelda, 111, 113

Themail, castle of, 86;
  mound of, 129-30

Thilaticomum, 23

Thillada Mirrhada, 110, 111, 112

Thilutha, island Castle of, 98

Tigris, the, junction with the Euphrates, 164;
  in flood, 178, 226;
  the guffahs, 179;
  bridges on, 183-84;
  the ṣidd, 198-99;
  the old bed, 201, 204;
  the Dujeil, 201;
  the Khawîjeh, 205;
  the Jezîreh, 205;
  the ferry, 205-6, 302 _note_^{3};
  the keleks, 206;
  the Nahr el Ḳâim, 206-7;
  the bazaars of Sâmarrâ, 208;
  bridge piers near Jezîret ibn ’Umar, 297;
  castles of Finik, 297-99;
  crossing at the Ṭûr ’Abdîn, 300-301;
  source, 329

Tikmin, 342

Tilbês, island of, 98

Tîmûr, 316

Tîrhân district, the, 209

Tiyâna, village of, 79

Tiyârî, peaks of, 293

Tokat, 329

Tokhma Su, the, 339 _note_^{1}, 340, 341 _note_^{2}, 342-43

Tolek village, 327 _note_^{1}

Tomarza, 345

Tomisa-Iz Oglu, 339 _note_^{1}

Tozeli, 341 _note_^{1}

Tripoli (African) tower tombs, 37

Tsamandos, 345 _and note_^{2}

Tuba, 121 _note_^{3}

Tulkhum, 328 _note_^{1}

Ṭûr ’Abdîn, 262 _note_^{1}, 299, 300-302;
  absence of streams, 303;
  Mar Shim’ûn, 303-4;
  construction in, 304-5;
  monasteries of the, 310-17

Turkey, use of the vote in, 19-20

Tutli Keui, 333 _note_^{1}

Uch Keui, 327 _note_^{1}

’Uglet Ḥaurân, 101-2

’Ukâẓ, 129

’Ukbarâ, 201 _note_^{1};
  mounds of, 202 _and note_^{1};
  position, 203 _note_^{1}

Ukheiḍir, the journey to, 86, 88, 100, 131, 140, 141, 142;
  the Benî Ḥassan, 107;
  a first sight of, 140-41;
  water supply, 142, 150;
  architecture, 143-44, 219;
  inhabitants of, 144-45;
  Palace of ---- plans, 146-47;
  architecture, 147-54;
  decoration, 154-55;
  date of the building, 155-58

Ulu Jâmi’, Diyârbekr, 325-26

Ulu Jâmi’, Malaṭiyah, 338

Umm Rejeibah, 67, 70, 111, 112

Urfah, 23, 32;
  caves at, 40

Useden (Kiepert), 306

Useh Dereh, 306, 308, 309, 310, 313

Vân, 3, 255

Vân, Lake, 218, 293

Wâdî ’Ain Sifneh, the, 271

Wâdî Aswad (Chem Resh), valley of, 270

Wâdî Burdân, 131-32

Wâdî el ’Asibîyeh, 133

Wâdî Fâḍîyeh, 101

Wâdî Ḥajlân, the, 101

Wâdî Ḥaurân, 118, 131

Wâdî Lebai’ah, 131, 141, 142, 150

Wâdî Mâliḥ, 66, 67

Wâdî Muḥammadî, 124, 125

Wâdî Themail, 129

Wâneh, village of, tomb of Muḥammad ’Alî, 203 _and note_^{1}

Wardâna, village of, 26

Wâsiṭ, 159

Weldeh Country, the, 43, 47, 51

Werdî, 78, 81-83, 85

Werdî-Irzî, 113

Werdîyeh, the, 82

White Palace of Chosroes, 181 _and note_^{3}

Wîzeh, 132

Yaḥyâ el Barmakî, tomb of, 56

Yamachlî, 353 _note_^{2}

Yazi Keui, 341, 342

Yeni Khân, 355

Yezîdî villages, 269

Za’ferân, 286

Zâkhô, position, 286-87, 287 _note_^{2};
  grave of the Dominican Soldini, 287-88

Za’khurân, 321-22

Zamantî Su, the, 344

Zeitha, 79, 111-13

Zeitha-Jemma, 113

Zelebîyeh, fortress of, 67-68, 110, 111, 112

Zemzem, the well, at Mecca, 277

Zenobia, fortress of, 68

Zeugma (Birejik), the, 109, 110

Ziyârah of Uweis el Ḳaranî, 56

_Richard Clay & Sons, Limited, London and Bungay._

       *       *       *       *       *


 [1] It is dated in the year 545 A.H., _i. e._ A.D. 1150.

 [2] The Persian influence had probably filtered through Egypt, for
 similar leaf motives are to be found in Cairo, for example in a fine
 bit of woodwork in the Museum: Herz Bey, _Catalogue Raisonné_, fig.
 24. The prototype must be looked for in the plaster decorations of Ibn

 [3] M. Saladin believes this entrelac to be of Damascene origin.
 _Manuel d’Art Musulman_, i. p. 115.

 [4] Ed. Reinaud, p. 267. He wrote in A.D. 1321.

 [5] Anabasis, Bk. I. ch. iv, 10.

 [6] _Zur antiken Topographie der Palmyrene_, p. 31.

 [7] Mr. Hogarth also noticed that Bâb is marked out of its true place:
 _Annual of the British School at Athens_, XIV. p. 185.

 [8] Plutarch: _In Crass_.

 [9] Sachau saw it: _Reise in Syrien und Mesopotamien_, p. 148.

 [10] Ed. de Goeje, p. 162. He wrote in A.D. 864.

 [11] Manbij is the name used in literary Arabic, but it is noticeable
 that in the colloquial the word approaches more nearly to the earliest
 form, being pronounced Bumbuj.

 [12] Eskî Serûj according to Chapot: _La frontière de l’Euphrate_, p.

 [13] _Geography_, Bk. XVI. ch. i. 27.

 [14] Ritter: _Erdkunde_, Vol. VII. p. 961.

 [15] Procopius makes the same observation: _De Bell. Per._, II. 20.

 [16] It is so given in the Antonine Itinerary:

 [17] Ammianus Marcellinus, Bk. XXIII. ch. ii. 7.

 [18] Chapot, _op. cit._ p. 281.

 [19] Chapot believes that the passage was effected at a point north of
 Cæciliana, which would fit in with Tell Aḥmar: _op. cit._ p. 254, note

 [20] Mr. Hogarth suggests that the Abbess Ætheria crossed at Tell
 Aḥmar on her way to Edessa: _loc. cit._ p. 183.

 [21] Birejik and the Tell Aḥmar passage (whatever may have been its
 ancient name) and Thapsacus do not exhaust the number of recorded
 routes, for Chosroes, in his first expedition against Justinian,
 crossed at Obbanes, somewhere about the modern Meskeneh, and on his
 third expedition he built a bridge of boats near Europus, which
 is perhaps the modern Jerâblus. (Mr. Hogarth doubts the accepted
 identification of Jerâblus with Europus: _Annals of Arch. and
 Anthrop._, Vol. II. p. 169.) During the Mohammedan period other
 points are mentioned. Ibn Khurdâdhbeh, writing in the ninth century,
 makes the road from Aleppo to Babylon cross at Bâlis, the ancient
 Barbalissos (ed. de Goeje, p. 74), but Iṣṭakhrî, a hundred years
 later, says that Bâlis, though it was once the Syrian port on the
 Euphrates, had fallen into decay since the days of Seif ed Dauleh, and
 was little used by merchants (ed. de Goeje, p. 62). In the twelfth
 century, and perhaps earlier, its place had been taken by Ḳal’at en
 Nejm, where Nûr ed Dîn, who died in 1145, built a great fortress,
 famous during the wars against the Crusaders. The bridge there was
 called Jisr Manbij (“the bridge of Manbij”), but it cannot have been
 constructed by Nûr ed Dîn, for Ibn Jubeir, writing about the year
 1185 a description of his journey from Ḥarrân (Carrhae) to Manbij,
 says that he “crossed the river in small boats, lying ready, to a
 new castle called Ḳal’at en Nejm” (Gibb Memorial edition, p. 248).
 In Yâḳût’s day (circa 1225) the caravans from Ḥarrân to Syria always
 crossed here.

 [22] Ammianus Marcellinus, Bk. XXIII. ch. ii. 6.

 [23] _The Buildings of Justinian_ (Palest. Pilgrims’ Text Society), p.

 [24] A few of these may have preserved a certain importance in a
 later age: Tell el Ghânah, directly to the east of Tell Aḥmar, has
 been conjectured to be Thilaticomum (possibly incorrectly: Regling,
 _Beiträge zur alten Geschichte_, 1902, Vol. I. p. 474) and Tell
 Bada’ah to be Aniana, the first being mentioned in the Antonine
 Itinerary and the second by Ptolemy.

 [25] Mr. Hogarth (at whose request I visited Tell Aḥmar) has published
 the carved slabs and the stela in the _Annals of Archæology and
 Anthropology_, Vol. II. No. 4. He saw them when he was at Tell Aḥmar
 in 1908.

 [26] Jerâblus or Jerâbîs, the names are used indiscriminately.
 The former is thought by Nöldeke to be an Arabic plural of Jirbâs
 (mentioned by Yâḳût as opposite Ḳinnesrin, Dictionary, Vol. II. p.
 688) and the latter as Arabicized from Europus.

 [27] The inscription is given by Pognon: _Inscriptions de la
 Mésopotamie_, p. 17. The tomb was visited by Oppenheim, and is
 mentioned by him in _Tell Halaf_ (1st number, 10th year of Der alte
 Orient), and in his _Griechische und lateinische Inschriften_.
 (_Byzantinische Zeitschrift_, 1905, p. 7.)

 [28] Oppenheim thought it was the end of a sarcophagus, but Pognon’s
 guide climbed into the upper chamber and found it to be nothing but a
 block of stone closing the entrance.

 [29] For the cyborium tomb, see Heisenburg: _Grabeskirche und
 Apostelkirche_, Vol. I. ch. xvi.

 [30] A photograph of the fourth, the Ziareh of Khoros at Cyrrhus, was
 published by Chapot in _Le Tour du Monde_, April 8, 1905, p. 162.

 [31] Mylasa: published by the Dilettanti Society; Tripoli: _Nouvelles
 Archives des Missions_, Tome XII. fas. 1; Dana: De Vogüé, _La Syrie
 Centrale_, plate 78.

 [32] Tomb of Absalom, Jerusalem.

 [33] Gereme: Rott, _Kleinasiatische Denkmäler_, p. 171; El Bârah: De
 Vogüé, _op. cit._ pl. 75.

 [34] M. Cumont’s monuments are of this type and I have seen a fine
 example at Barâd in N. Syria, also as yet unpublished except for a
 photograph given by me in _The Desert and the Sown_, p. 287.

 [35] Maden Sheher: published by Sir W. Ramsay and myself in _The
 Thousand and One Churches_, p. 230.

 [36] The name which has been suggested for the site is Baisampse, a
 place mentioned by Ptolemy. There are a considerable number of cut
 stones on the mound near the village.

 [37] It was re-copied by Pognon and published by him in _Inscrip. de
 la Mésopotamie_, p. 82. The similarity between some of the characters
 in the two inscriptions is striking.

 [38] It appears in the extreme right-hand top corner of his Fig. 22,
 _Inschrif. aus Syrien und Mesopot_.

 [39] I could not reconcile the topography here with Kiepert’s map. He
 marks a northern tower, which he calls Nesheib (doubtless my Neshabah)
 and places there the Mazâr of Sultan ’Abdullah. He has a second
 tower further to the south-east, and finally the castle itself. The
 second tower is non-existent, or else it represents the minaret in
 the castle. The only mazâr which I saw or heard mentioned is that of
 Sultan Selîm, a small modern building between Neshabah and the castle.

 [40] It resembles the tower tombs at Irzî, which will be described

 [41] This is Abu’l Fidâ’s account, ed. Reinaud, p. 277. He wrote in
 A.D. 1321. Yâḳût, a century earlier, gives the same story.

 [42] Quoted by Ritter, _Erdkunde_, Vol. X. p. 241.

 [43] Ainsworth believed this to be the site of Benjamin of Tudela’s
 Jewish settlement (_Euphrates Expedition_, Vol. I. p. 269), and he
 speaks of a monastic ruin here.

 [44] It is so described in his map.

 [45] Sachau thought that Ḥaraglah was of Hellenistic origin (_Reise
 in Syrien und Mesopotamien_, p. 245); Sarre believes that it may be
 Parthian, and the circular outer fortification gives colour to the
 suggestion (_Zeitschr. der Gesell. für Erdkunde zu Berlin_, 1909, No.

 [46] Sachau (_op. cit._ p. 243) gives the inscription, and my copy
 tallied with his.

 [47] Just as the first mosque in Cairo, that of ’Amr, was built
 entirely on columns taken from earlier buildings, Muḳaddasî describes
 one of the Raḳḳah mosques as [Illustration: Arabic script]; it would
 be satisfactory to imagine that he referred to the columned arcades of
 the mosque round the square minaret, but the phrase cannot reasonably
 be twisted into that or any other meaning. The square minaret is
 the ancient Syrian tower type; Thiersch has recently published an
 exhaustive study of it in his _Pharos_.

 [48] I saw traces of two such arcades on the E., N. and W. sides of
 the court, and, judging from the vestiges that remain, the arcades
 must have been three deep to the south. The bricks of the vanished
 arcades have been dug out and carried away for building purposes. The
 outer walls are so much ruined that I could not determine the position
 of the gates with certainty.

 [49] Professor van Berchem has published the inscription in his
 _Arabische Inschriften_, a chapter appended to the work of Professor
 Sarre and Dr. Herzfeld entitled _Reise in Euphrat-und Tigris-Gebiet_.
 But the publication has appeared too late for me to do more than refer
 to it.

 [50] M. Viollet has published a short description of these ruins
 (_Publications de l’Académie des Inscrip. et Belles-Lettres_, 1909,
 Vol. XII. part 2). He believes the palace to have been erected by
 Hârûn er Rashîd.

 [51] I expect that this is Sachau’s Bergland Tulaba--see Kiepert’s map.

 [52] Bk. XXIII. ch. iii. 8.

 [53] It was visited and planned by Sarre and Herzfeld in 1907; Sarre,
 _Reise in Mesopotamien_, in the _Zeitschrift der Gesch. für Erdkunde
 zu Berlin_, 1909, No. 7, p. 429. Sarre pronounces the greater part of
 the ruins to date from the time of Justinian.

 [54] Ibn Ḥauḳal is, I think, the first to speak of it. Idrîsî says
 that it had busy markets and that much traffic went through it. They
 wrote respectively in the tenth and twelfth centuries.

 [55] _Zur antiken Topographie der Palmyrene_, p. 39.

 [56] The reference is not, however, certain: Moritz, _op. cit._ p. 35.

 [57] Sachau travelled up the left bank of the Khâbûr, and should
 therefore have crossed the course of the canal, but he makes no
 mention of it.

 [58] I should conjecture that on the Euphrates as on the Tigris the
 disappearance of the settled population dates from the terrible
 disaster of the Mongol invasion.

 [59] I looked carefully for any trace of a big canal opposite
 Ṣâliḥîyeh and saw none.

 [60] _Anabasis_, Bk. I. ch. 5, 9.

 [61] With the doubtful contribution made by Ammianus Marcellinus to
 the question, I have dealt in the Appendix to this chapter.

 [62] _Amm. Mar._, Bk. XXIV. ch. i. 6.

 [63] Ed. de Goeje, p. 233.

 [64] Ed. Reinaud, p. 286.

 [65] Quoted by Ritter, Vol. XI. p. 717.

 [66] De Beylié: _Prome et Samarra_, p. 68. See, too, Viollet’s memoir
 presented to the Acad. des Inscrip. et B.-Lettres, quoted above.
 He, too, was shown the fragment of Assyrian relief and gives an
 illustration of it, for which reason I do not trouble to publish my

 [67] Pognon: _Inscriptions mandaïtes des coupes de Khouabir_.

 [68] Chesney notices that the ruins of the old town lie on the left
 bank below the present ’Ânah. Quoted by Ritter, Vol. XI. p. 724.

 [69] It is, I suppose, Chesney’s Sarifah, which has been conjectured
 to be the Kolosina of Ptolemy: Ritter, Vol. XI. p. 730.

 [70] These ruins give additional weight to Ritter’s suggestion that
 Ḥadîthah was the Parthian station of Olabus: Vol. XI. p. 731. The Arab
 town of Ḥadîthah is first mentioned by Ibn Khurdâdhbeh, ed. de Goeje,
 p. 74.

 [71] Julian crossed the Euphrates at Parux Malkha, which cannot be far
 from Baghdâdî, and captured the castle of Diacira. This castle must
 have stood at the southern end of the great bend made by the Euphrates
 below Baghdâdî. Chesney saw the ruins of a fortress there. It is
 perhaps Ptolemy’s Idicara and the Izannesopolis of Isidorus: Ritter,
 Vol. XI. p. 737.

 [72] Herodotus mentions the bitumen wells and calls the town Is. It
 has been identified with the Ihi of the Babylonian inscriptions, the
 Ahava of Ezra, and with the Ist from which a tribute of bitumen was
 brought to Thothmes III, according to an inscription at Karnak.

 [73] Yâḳût mentions Kebeisah as the oasis four miles from Hît upon
 the desert road. There are, he says, a number of villages there, the
 inhabitants of which live in the extreme of poverty and misery, by
 reason of the aridity of the surrounding waste.

 [74] The central division wall in the long south chamber is a later

 [75] Described by Choisy: _L’Art de bâtir chez les Byzantins_, p. 31.

 [76] For example Ḳasṭal (Brünnow and Domaszewski: _Provincia Arabia_,
 Vol. II. pl. xliv.); Ḳaṣr el Abyaḍ (de Vogüé: _La Syrie Centrale_,
 Vol. I. p. 69); Deir el Kahf, founded in A.D. 306 (Butler: _Ancient
 Architecture in Syria_, Section A, Part II. p. 146); Ḳuṣeir el
 Ḥallâbât, dated A.D. 213 (ditto, p. 72); barracks at Anderîn, dated
 A.D. 558 (ditto, Section B, Part II. pl. viii.).

 [77] Ṭuba with a triple court (Musil: _Ḳuṣeir ’Amra_, Vol. I. p. 13);
 Kharânî (ditto, p. 97); Khân ez Zebîb (_Provincia Arabia_, Vol. II. p.

 [78] The whole area of ruins is known as Kherâb = ruin.

 [79] It is not necessarily so late, for the Baghdâd Gate at Raḳḳah has
 the same arch, and it is certainly earlier.

 [80] See Rothstein: _Die Dynastie der Lakhmiden in al Ḥîra_, p. 25. He
 gives reasons for believing that the art of writing Arabic was first
 practised at Ḥîrah. The population was largely Christian (the ’Ibâd of
 the Arab historians); Ḥîrah was the seat of a bishopric, and frequent
 allusion is made to churches and monasteries in and near the town.

 [81] Meissner: “Ḥîra und Khawarnaḳ”, _Sendschriften der D. Orient
 Gesell._, No. 2.

 [82] I have already published the plan in the _Hellenic Journal_ for
 1910, Part I., p. 69, in an article on the vaulting system of the
 palace. Ukheiḍir was visited in the year 1907 by M. Massignon, though
 this fact was unknown to me until I returned to England in July 1909.
 He has published an account of it, together with a sketch plan made
 under circumstances of great difficulty, in the _Bulletin de l’Acad.
 des Inscr. et Belles-Lettres_ of March 1909, in the _Gazette des Beaux
 Arts_ of April 1909, and in the _Mémoires de l’Institut français
 du Caire_, vol. xxviii. (The last named has not yet appeared, but
 he has been so kind as to let me see an advance copy.) Neither to
 M. Massignon nor to me belongs the honour of discovery; an unknown
 Englishman had visited the palace in the eighteenth century, and his
 brief report is given by Niebuhr (_Reisebeschreibung_, vol. ii., p.
 225, note): “Ich habe in dem Tagebuch eines Engländers, der von Haleb
 nach Basra gereist war, gefunden, dass er 44 Stunden Südfost nach
 Osten von Hit, eine ganz verlassene Stadt in der Wüste angetroffen
 habe, wovon die Mauer 50 Fuss hoch und 40 Fuss dick war. Jede der
 vier Seiten hatte 700 Fuss, und in der Mauer waren Thürme. In dieser
 Stadt oder grossem Castell, findet man noch ein kleines Castell. Von
 eben dieser verlassenen Stadt hörte ich nachher, dass sie von den
 Arabern El Khader genannt werde, und nur 10 bis 12 Stunden von Meshed
 Ali entfernt sei.” I cannot feel any doubt that the “forsaken town”
 referred to in the diary, the existence of which was confirmed by
 the Arabs, who spoke of it to Niebuhr under the name of Khader, is
 our Ukheiḍir. So far as I have been able to discover, the nameless
 Englishman was the first modern traveller to visit the site.

 [83] I wish to call special attention to the presence of this
 construction at Ctesiphon because Dr. Herzfeld has stated erroneously
 that it does not exist in Sassanian buildings. (_Der Islâm_, vol. i.
 part ii. p. 111.)

 [84] The name Ukeidir can have no connection with the name Ukheiḍir.
 The two words are differently spelt in Arabic.

 [85] The history of Mesopotamian rivers is exceedingly complicated
 owing to the frequency with which they change their beds. Mr. Le
 Strange (_Lands of the Eastern Caliphate_, p. 70 _et seq._) believes
 that the Nahr Hindîyeh, which is probably identical with the ’Alḳâmî
 of Ḳudâmah and Mas’ûdî, was considered in the tenth century to be the
 main stream of the Euphrates, though even at that time it was not so
 broad as the Ḥilleh branch. Writing in 1905 Mr. Le Strange speaks
 of the Ḥilleh branch as being undoubtedly the main stream in modern
 times, but in 1909 nearly all the water, as I shall describe, flowed
 down the Kûfah branch (the Hindîyeh canal) and the Ḥilleh branch
 lay dry all the winter. This, however, will, it is to be hoped, be
 rectified by the new irrigation schemes on which Sir William Willcocks
 is at present engaged.

 [86] It is known as the ’Amalîyeh Mukallifeh.

 [87] This applies, I believe, only to lands leased from the State,
 arḍîyeh amîrîyeh.

 [88] The foundations were, however, traced by Dieulafoy, who has
 indicated them in his plan: _L’Art ancien de la Perse_, Vol. V. When
 he first visited Ctesiphon, the east wall of both wings and all the
 vault of the hall were perfect.

 [89] It was founded by Anushirwân the Just after he had taken Antioch
 of Syria in 540. He transported the inhabitants of Antioch to the
 Tigris and settled them opposite Seleucia in a new city which is said
 to have been built on the plan of Antioch. Le Strange: _Lands of the
 Eastern Caliphate_, p. 33.

 [90] _Sûrah_, XIV. vs. 46. The Arabs called the double town Medâin,
 the cities, but Ṭabarî uses the name for the eastern city and
 describes the western as Bahurasîr. I have abridged Ṭabarî’s account
 of the siege from the text of de Goeje’s edition, Vol. V., Prima
 Series, under the years 15 and 16 A.H.

 [91] The White Palace is not represented by the existing ruin on the
 east bank, which was known to the Arabs as Aywân Kisrâ, the hall of
 Chosroes. The White Palace was also on the left bank, but about a mile
 higher up. It had disappeared by the beginning of the tenth century.
 Le Strange, _op. cit._, p. 34.

 [92] Bricks stamped with Nebuchadnezzar’s name have been found along
 the quays, and there was a flourishing Persian Baghdâd on the west
 bank of the Tigris towards the end of the Sassanian period. The chief
 authority for the history of Baghdâd is Mr. Le Strange’s admirable
 book, _Baghdâd during the Abbâsid Caliphate_, which has made it
 possible to understand the very complicated topography of the town.

 [93] It is perhaps unnecessary to explain that the Shî’ahs regard ’Alî
 ibn abî Tâlib, who lies buried at Nejef, as the only lawful khalif.
 He and his eleven immediate heirs are known as the Twelve Imâms, the
 twelfth being Muḥammad III al Mahdî, who is credited with having been
 concealed in a cave at Sâmarrâ whence he will emerge at the end of
 days and re-establish the true faith.

 [94] The whole argument is given by Le Strange, _Baghdâd_, p. 160 _et
 seq._, and pp. 351-2.

 [95] From its relation to similar buildings (for instance at Ḥadîthah
 on the Euphrates and at Dûr on the Tigris) in places which probably
 flourished until the time of the Mongol invasion, _i.e._ towards the
 end of the thirteenth century, I should, however, place the tomb of
 Sitt Zobeideh earlier than 1200.

 [96] See de Beylié: _Prome et Samara_, p. 34.

 [97] Mr. Le Strange gives good reasons for believing that Mustanṣir
 did not found the mosque to which this minaret belongs, but that it is
 no other than the Jâmi’ el Ḳaṣr, built by the Khalif el Muktafî (A.D.
 902) as a Friday Mosque adjoining the palace of his father Mu’taḍid.
 The palace was known as the Ḳaṣr et Tâj, the Palace of the Crown:
 _Baghdâd_, p. 269.

 [98] These are exactly copied in the domes over the carrefours in the
 bazaars, which are certainly much later in date.

 [99] I have been able to give an illustration of this system from Khân
 Khernîna; the chambers at Baghdâd were so dark that photography was
 almost impossible.

 [100] Some admirable photographs of it are given by De Beylié, _op.
 cit._, p. 33 _et seq._

 [101] A good photograph has been given by Viollet: _Le Palais
 de Al-Moutasim, Mémoires présentés à l’Acad. des Inscrip. et
 Belles-Lettres_, Vol. XII. Part II. Viollet believes it to have come
 from a church. See too Herzfeld: “Die Genesis der islamischen Kunst,”
 in _Der Islâm_, Vol. I. Part I.

 [102] De Beylié, _op. cit._, p. 30. He gives several illustrations.

 [103] Kiepert calls it Khân eṭ Ṭarniyeh.

 [104] Sitace cannot be placed with certainty. Ritter (Vol. X. p. 21)
 conjectures that the bridge must have lain about four hours above
 Baghdâd. After the battle of Cunaxa, a field of which the site is not
 determined, the Greeks pursued the Persians to a village on a mound
 where they passed the night. Here they learnt that Cyrus was dead.
 Next day they joined Ariæus and marched in one day to some unnamed
 Babylonian villages. They then marched through fertile country for
 a space of time not specified, probably a day, to well-supplied
 villages, where they stayed twenty-three days. In three days from
 these villages they reached the Median Wall, under the guidance of
 Tissaphernes, who must have led them by a tortuous course across
 Mesopotamia, and in two days more they came to Sitace, which was a
 populous city lying on an island formed by the Tigris and a canal.
 Sitace is perhaps Pliny’s Sittace (Bk. VI. ch. xxxi.), though his
 confused statement would seem to place it on the left bank of the
 Tigris. Ptolemy mentions a place called Scaphe, which Müller is
 inclined to connect with the Sablis of the Tab. Peut., but it appears
 to have been some distance to the east of the Tigris (_Ptolemy_, ed.
 Müller, p. 1006). The placing of Sitace depends upon the position of
 Opis, which is not satisfactorily determined.

 [105] There was an earlier Dujeil which started from the Euphrates
 a little below Hît, crossed Mesopotamia and joined the Tigris above
 Baghdâd, but by the tenth century its eastern end had silted up. The
 later Dujeil was a loop canal from the Tigris; it left the river
 opposite Ḳâdisîyah and rejoined it at ’Ukbarâ. These complicated
 questions may easily be understood by referring to the first map in
 Mr. Le Strange’s _Baghdâd_.

 [106] The term is the equivalent of the northern Chiflik. The latter
 is a Turkish word signifying merely farm, but it designates especially
 a farm belonging to the Sultan.

 [107] ’Ukbarâ was a well-known place in the days of the Khalifate.
 Muḳaddasî (ed. de Goeje, p. 122.) It lay on the east bank of the
 Tigris, _i.e._ on the east bank of the old channel. Le Strange, _Lands
 of the Eastern Caliphate_, p. 50.

 [108] Kiepert marks Wâneh to the south of ’Ukbarâ, whereas I should
 place it a little to the north. We rode to Sumeikhah in about an hour
 from the Imâm Muḥammad ’Alî, which would have been impossible from
 Kiepert’s Wâneh, or for that matter from his ’Ukbarâ. I am relying,
 however, for the names upon the not too certain testimony of Ḳâsim.
 Both ’Ukbarâ and Wâneh are mentioned by Muḳaddasî, but he gives no
 indication of their relative position. He provides us with no more
 information about Wâneh than its name (ed. de Goeje, pp. 54 and 115),
 which he spells Aiwanâ. The customary mediæval spelling is Awânâ, and
 other authorities place the town on the west bank of the old Tigris
 bed, while ’Ukbarâ lay opposite to it on the east bank (Streck: _Die
 alte Landschaft Babylonien_, p. 227). This would correspond fairly
 well with my itinerary. I rode from ’Ukbarâ in a north-westerly
 direction and reached Wâneh in forty-five minutes.

 [109] _Journal of the Geog. Soc._, Vol. XI. p. 124.

 [110] _Anabasis_, Bk. II. ch. iv. 25.

 [111] Bk. I. 189.

 [112] Bk. XVI. ch. i. 9.

 [113] Bk. VI. ch. xxxi. Though I believe that the ruins on the east
 bank seen by Ross and the extensive ruin field on what is now the west
 bank of the Tigris must represent Opis, the locating of the city is
 complicated by the fact that Xenophon took four days to reach Opis
 from Sitace. Now if Sitace is anywhere near Baghdâd it is strange
 that the Greeks should have marched four days and got no further
 than a town situated immediately to the north of the ’Aḍêm. The
 Physcus, which Xenophon crossed by a bridge of boats before coming
 to Opis, may be the ’Aḍêm, but some have supposed it to be the great
 Ḳâṭûl-Nahrawân, a loop canal on the east bank of the Tigris. I do
 not know, however, that there is any record of a canal here before
 the Sassanian period (Le Strange: _Lands of the Eastern Caliphate_,
 p. 57). Chesney tried to solve the difficulty of Xenophon’s march by
 placing Opis higher up the river at Ḳadsîyeh, but that would leave
 the great ruin field lower down unidentified, and would, besides,
 leave too long a time for the march from Opis to the Great Zâb, which
 occupied the Greeks eleven days. For the site of the Babylonian Opis,
 see King: _Sumer and Akkad_, p. 11.

 [114] It is probably one of the districts which were ruined by the
 Mongol invasion.

 [115] _i.e._ “raids and so forth”; the second word is merely a
 repetition of the first with the initial letter _r_ changed to _m_.
 This convenient form is very common in Turkish.

 [116] This Ḳâdisîyah must not be confounded with the battlefield near
 Ḥirah where Khâlid ibn u’l Walîd overthrew the Sassanians.

 [117] Sarre thinks it was empty, and holds that the town was never
 finished or inhabited. He would therefore place here Ḳâṭûl, the site
 first fixed upon for his capital by the Khalif Mu’taṣim when he left
 Baghdâd. Finding Sâmarrâ to be better placed, he abandoned Ḳâṭûl
 before the work there was completed: _Ya’ḳûbî_, ed. de Goeje, p. 256.
 Sarre: _Reise in Mesop. Zeitsch. der Gesell. fûr Erdkunde zu Berlin_,
 1909, No. 7, p. 437. Schwartz, however, suggests that Ḳâṭûl may have
 lain to the north of Sâmarrâ: _Die Abbâsiden-Residenz Sâmarrâ_, p. 5.
 Ross thought that Ḳâdisîyah was Sassanian, but I am persuaded that he
 was in error. (A Journey from Baghdâd to Opis, _Journal of the Geog.
 Soc._, Vol. XI. p. 127.) Jones gives a plan: _Memoirs_, p. 8.

 [118] The Malwîyeh can scarcely be any other than the minaret
 described by Balâdhurî among Mutawakkil’s buildings: _Futûḥ ul
 Buldân_, p. 306, Cairo edition of 1901. The ruins of Sâmarrâ have not
 yet received the detailed study which they deserve, but Professor
 Sarre and Dr. Herzfeld are about to begin an exhaustive examination
 of the site. Sketch plans have been published by De Beylié (_Prome et
 Samarra_), and at about the same time Herzfeld brought out a small
 monograph entitled Sâmarrâ. I had this monograph with me, and finding
 the plans to be incorrect and the drawings inexact (for example,
 the ornament drawn in fig. 5 gives little idea of the original), I
 measured and photographed all the ruins over again. Meantime Viollet
 has published a short account of his journey in Mesopotamia, in which
 he has given plans of the ruins of Sâmarrâ: _Le Palais de Al Moutasim,
 etc., Mémoires of the Acad. des Inscrip. et Belles-Lettres_, Vol. XII.
 Part II. His attempt to reconstruct the ground plan of the palace of
 which the Beit el Khalîfah forms part, is of great interest.

 [119] Ed. de Goeje, p. 256.

 [120] _Lands of the Eastern Califate_, p. 53. Am. Mar., Bk. XXV. ch.
 vi. 4.

 [121] This is marked in Viollet’s plan.

 [122] Herzfeld, _Sâmarra_, p. 61, places the old quarter of Karkh
 at Shnâs and Dûr ’Arabâyâ at Eskî Baghdâd. Karkh is the Charcha of
 Ammianus Marcellinus.

 [123] Mutawakkil began a new canal from the Tigris to the Nahrawân,
 the latter having silted up by the ninth century, but the labour of
 cutting through the hard conglomerate was found to be too great and
 the work was abandoned. I do not know whether the canal I crossed was
 of his making, but I fancy it was the Nahrawân itself, perhaps cleared
 and deepened by him. Ross (_op. cit._, p. 129) speaks of bridge
 foundations formed of large “artificial stones” (concrete?) “joined
 together by iron clamps and melted lead.” I saw nothing but brick,
 but Ross’s bridge may well be, as he conjectured, earlier than the
 Mohammadan period, since it probably spanned the Sassanian canal. I
 thought the artificial mound to be pre-Mohammadan.

 [124] There is some doubt about this inscription. Professor Sarre
 copied it without noticing the date, which was covered with whitewash;
 he gave it to Professor van Berchem, who decided that the shape of
 the letters pointed indubitably to the ninth century. Professor van
 Berchem’s authority in such matters is not to be questioned, but the
 date must be accounted for. Perhaps it was a later addition, put in
 when the shrine was repaired.

 [125] _A Residence in Koordistan_, Vol. II. p. 147. The book was
 published in 1836.

 [126] Kal’at Abu Rayâsh, which is marked in Kiepert’s map, has almost
 disappeared, the high ground on which it stands having fallen away and
 carried the walls and towers with it.

 [127] Khân Khernîna is not mentioned by Ibn Jubeir nor by Ibn Baṭûṭah,
 who both travelled by this side of the Tigris from Tekrît to Môṣul,
 the one at the end of the twelfth century, and the other in the middle
 of the fourteenth century.

 [128] Not, I believe, by Layard, who was always careful to cover what
 he did not remove.

 [129] Dr. Herzfeld has been so good as to send me the chapter of his
 forthcoming work (written in conjunction with Professor Sarre), in
 which he gives a further account of Sâmarrâ. When it reached me my
 description of the ruins was already printed, and I can do no more
 than acknowledge, with gratitude, his kindness.

 [130] Viollet puts them ten deep to the south, four deep to the north
 and five deep to east and west.

 [131] In Manṣûr’s mosque at Baghdâd, the roof was borne by wooden
 columns. See Le Strange, _Baghdâd_, p. 34.

 [132] _Lands of the Eastern Califate_, p. 56.

 [133] Its original name is doubtful. In the twelfth century it was
 called the Ma’shûk, for Ibn Jubeir alludes to it under that name in
 the twelfth century, and so does Ibn Baṭûṭah in the fourteenth century.

 [134] Viollet has given a section of them, pl. xviii.

 [135] Viollet’s plan, pl. xvii, is here more complete than mine.

 [136] I give a plan of the three vaulted halls, but Viollet has made
 a sketch plan of the ground behind which furnishes indications of the
 whole scheme of the palace. The Beit el Khalîfah is perhaps the Dâr
 el ’Ammeh, the first palace built by Mu’taṣim upon the site of the
 monastery: Herzfeld, _Sâmarrâ_, p. 63.

 [137] Ross distinguished in 1834 a substructure of “arches” (_op.
 cit._, p. 129) by which he must mean vaults like those at the ’Ashiḳ.

 [138] An account of it, together with a sketch plan, was given by
 Ross, _op. cit._, p. 130.

 [139] Viollet has given a plan of Abu Dulâf. Herzfeld did not publish
 it in his _Sâmarrâ_, for he had not at that time visited it, but he
 has since published a plan: _Zeitschr. für Gesch. der Erdkunde zu
 Berlin_, 1909, No. 7, pl. viii. My plan differs considerably from his,
 but only a re-examination of the mosque can prove which of us is right.

 [140] This vestibule is present opposite the south gate of the Sâmarrâ
 mosque. Herzfeld has made an attempt to reconstruct the vestibule of
 Abu Dulâf. Viollet has given a bare indication of it, and this is all
 that exists. Viollet has also marked the line of an outer wall, which,
 as at Sâmarrâ, enclosed the precincts of the mosque.

 [141] Abu Dulâf was probably built by Mutawakkil when he erected a
 whole new quarter three farsakhs north of Shnâs: Ya’ḳûbî, ed. de
 Goeje, p. 266.

 [142] The spiral tower occurs also in Sassanian architecture, witness
 the Atesh Gah of Jur, Dieulafoy: _L’Art ancien de la Perse_, Vol. IV.
 p. 79.

 [143] Thiersch has indicated the true relation of Ibn Ṭûlûn’s minaret
 both to the zigurrat of Mesopotamia and to the pharos of Alexandria.
 His objections to Herzfeld’s theory that the Cairo minaret is purely
 Hellenistic in origin are conclusive. Thiersch: _Pharos_, p. 112.

 [144] I believe it is generally admitted by the learned in these
 matters that Nestorius was not guilty of the heresies for which he was
 condemned in 431, at the second œcumenical council held at Ephesus.
 I remember to have heard a distinguished English Catholic, who was
 also an acute historian, express his definite opinion that Nestorius
 was in the right, for all his expulsion beyond the pale of western
 Christianity. An excellent account of the rise of the Eastern Churches
 is contained in Wigram’s recently published book, _The Assyrian

 [145] I am relying upon local tradition, upon comparison with churches
 in the country districts, and upon the character of the ornament
 compared with Moslem ornament in Môṣul which can be dated with
 tolerable accuracy.

 [146] The barn church is more fully defined in _The Thousand and One
 Churches_, published by Sir W. Ramsay and myself, p. 309.

 [147] There is a description of Mâr Tûmâ in Rich: _Residence in
 Koordistan_, Vol. II. p. 118.

 [148] All the doors in the atrium of Mâr Tûmâ look as if they had been
 patched together out of older materials, but I suspect that these
 materials came from the church itself and that the patching is due to

 [149] Badr ed Dîn Lûlû, 1233-1259, according to Lane Poole:
 _Mohammadan Dynasties_, p. 163; Ritter, following Desguignes, makes
 him regent from 1213-1222, and an independent sovereign from 1222-1259.

 [150] Le Strange: _Lands of the Eastern Caliphate_, p. 89.

 [151] Oppenheim, _Vom Mittelmeere zum persischen Golf_, Vol. II. p.
 176, gives a short description of it.

 [152] De Beylié has given a good photograph of the general view:
 _Prome et Samarra_, p. 49.

 [153] This decoration is curiously akin to some of the Buddhist
 Græco-Bactrian work.

 [154] In the middle ages it was more numerous. Benjamin of Tudela
 found a colony of 7,000 Jews at Môṣul: Ritter, Vol. X. p. 254.

 [155] An account of Mâr Behnâm has been published by Pognon:
 _Inscriptions de la Mésopotamie_, p. 132. He believes that the
 existing church is due to a reconstruction that took place in the
 twelfth century, but its original form seems to him to be the same
 as that of Mâr Gabriel of Kartmîn in the Ṭûr ’Abdîn, a church which
 I should date not later than the sixth century. The history of Mâr
 Behnâm would therefore offer an exact analogy to that of the churches
 of Môṣul, according to my theory; it is a mediæval building following
 the lines of a very early structure. Pognon gives a good illustration
 of the altar niche in the tomb (Pl. VIII), which is dated the year
 of the Seleucid era corresponding to 1306 A.D. The superstructure he
 takes to have been a baptistery.

 [156] They must be dated before 1550, according to Pognon’s
 reasoning. He speaks of them with great contempt, and they are not
 very remarkable works of art, though they seemed to me to be of
 considerable interest. The Moslems call the monastery Deir el Khiḍr,
 Khiḍr being the Mohammadan counterpart of St. George. The village
 close at hand is known as El Khiḍr.

 [157] The following notes on the decorations of the church are perhaps
 worth recording. S.W. door in porch: on lintel, a pair of birds on
 either side of a cross; over lintel, two snakes, tail to tail, with
 open jaws turned to what looks like a piled-up cup; in the corners,
 lions with tails ending in the head of a snake; band of entrelac and
 round it a band of Syriac inscriptions surrounding the door. N.W. door
 in porch: on lintel, an angel on either side of a cross; over lintel,
 small crosses with a boss between, two circles with a star in each;
 at either corner the figure of a saint; entrelac and inscriptions.
 Door from nave into apse; on lintel, a lion’s head forming a central
 boss, on either side St. George and the Dragon. Door into S.E. chapel:
 on lintel a cross; round door, small niches formed by an interlacing
 rope (_cf._ the sanctuary door of Mâr Tûmâ at Môṣul), the niches
 alternately filled with a saint and a decorated cross; above the door
 two of the niches are filled with representations of: (1) the baptism
 in Jordan; (2) the entry into Jerusalem, with an ass and palms in the
 background. The spandrils between the upper niches are filled in with
 dragons’ heads with open jaws.

 [158] Pognon found inscriptions of the thirteenth, fifteenth, and
 sixteenth centuries at Ḳaraḳôsh (_op. cit._, p. 129), but the
 inscriptions inside the churches have not, so far as I know, been

 [159] The bishop had not perhaps retained a clear memory of his
 facts--if facts they can be called; but Rich seems to have found the
 history of Mâr Mattai and Mâr Behnâm scarcely less involved than I
 did: _Residence in Koordistan_, Vol. II. p. 75. See, too, Pognon, _op.
 cit._, p. 132, note 1.

 [160] I fancy that ’Abdullah’s explanation was not far from the truth.
 Layard, who is the best of all authorities on this country, makes the
 following remarks about the Shabbak: “Though strange and mysterious
 rites are as usual attributed to them” (_i.e._ as is usual with regard
 to a secret creed), “I suspect they are simply the descendants of
 Kurds who emigrated at some distant period from the Persian slopes
 of the mountains, and who still profess Sheeite doctrines. They may,
 however, be tainted with Ali-Illahism, which consists mainly in the
 belief that there have been successive incarnations of the Deity, the
 principal having been in the person of Ali, the celebrated son-in-law
 of the prophet Mohammad. The name usually given, Ali-Illahi, means
 ‘believers that Ali is God.’ Various abominable rites have been
 attributed to them, as to the Yezidis, Ansyris, and all sects whose
 doctrines are not known to the surrounding Mussulman and Christian
 population.” _Nineveh and Babylon_, p. 216.

 [161] A full description of the reliefs is contained in Layard’s
 _Nineveh and Babylon_, p. 207. Mr. King is so kind as to inform
 me that the smaller panels at Baviân were carved in the reign of
 Sennacherib, between the dates 689 B.C. and 681 B.C. The larger
 sculptures are to be assigned to Shalmaneser II (860-825 B.C.).

 [162] It has been described and drawn by Layard: _Nineveh and
 Babylon_, p. 48.

 [163] In the photograph ’Alî Beg is seated and the ḳawwâl stands to
 the right of him. The figure on the left is the Christian secretary,
 and the close-shaven man behind the beg is Fattûḥ.

 [164] Layard mentions that the oil for the lamps is provided out of
 the funds of the shrine: _Nineveh and its Remains_, Vol. I. p. 291.

 [165] Layard pointed out the connection between the white bull offered
 annually to the Yezîdî solar saint and a similar sacrifice in the
 Assyrian ritual: _Nineveh and its Remains_, Vol. I. p. 290.

 [166] This doctrine is, however, older than the Sûfîs; it was held by
 the Mandæans and is a part of the Asiatic heritage of religious ideas
 out of which the Yezîdî creed has been formed. The transmigration of
 souls, another Mandæan tenet, is also professed by the Yezîdîs.

 [167] This, too, is an article of the Mandæan faith.

 [168] The late Lord Percy, who visited Sheikh ’Adî in 1897, found
 nothing but the outer shell and the roof intact. It had been wrecked
 by a Turkish general who had made a resolute attempt to convert or
 exterminate (the two expressions are practically synonymous) the
 Yezîdîs: _Notes from a Diary_, p. 184.

 [169] _Nineveh and Babylon_, p. 83.

 [170] _Nineveh and its Remains_, Vol. I. p. 280, and _Nineveh and
 Babylon_, p. 81.

 [171] _Residence in Koordistan_, Vol. II. p. 91.

 [172] Layard: _Nineveh and its Remains_, Vol. I. p. 230. See, too,
 Perrot and Chipiez: _Histoire de l’Art_, Vol. II. p. 642.

 [173] _Travels in the Track_, p. 144.

 [174] Zâkhô must be the place known to the Arab geographers as
 Ḥasanîyeh (I see that Hartmann comes to the same conclusion: _Bohtân,
 Mitt. der Vorderas. Gesell._, 1896, II. p. 39), but their information
 is, as usual, exceedingly meagre and the castle is mentioned by none.
 Muḳaddasî, in the tenth century, says that it is a day’s journey from
 Ma’lathâyâ (Malthai) to Ḥasanîyeh (ed. de Goeje, p. 149), and notes
 the bridge over the Khâbûr above the town (p. 139). Yâḳût, in the
 thirteenth century, observes that it is two days from Môṣul on the
 road to Jezîret ibn ’Umar. Ainsworth conjectures it to be the spot
 described by Xenophon as “a kind of palace with several villages
 round it,” which was reached by the Greeks in five days’ march from
 Mespila-Nineveh, but it must be admitted that Xenophon’s description
 is not exactly suited to Zâkhô. Ritter thinks that a memory of the
 people called by Strabo Saccopodes may be retained in the name Zâkhô
 (Vol. IX. p. 705). With regard to the name Ḥasanîyeh it is perhaps
 preserved in Ḥasanah, a small village on the opposite side of the
 Khâbûr valley.

 [175] Ainsworth thinks that it may mark the site of the village at
 which the Greeks camped on the second day from Zâkhô: _Travels in the
 Track_, p. 146. Xenophon mentions neither the Khâbûr nor the Ḥeizil.

 [176] Mr. King, who has visited Jûdî Dâgh, tells me that all the
 reliefs are of Sennacherib and were carved in the year 699 B.C.

 [177] Ritter, Vol. XI. p. 154.

 [178] So said Kas Mattai, but the Arab geographers would seem to place
 it to the south of Jûdî Dâgh, not to the north. For example, Muḳaddasî
 says that Thamânîn, the village of the eighty who were saved from the
 flood, stand on the river Ghazil (the Ḥeizil Sû), a day’s march from
 Ḥasanîyeh (Zâkhô), ed. de Goeje, pp. 139 and 149. Sachau, however,
 speaks of Bêtmanîn as being behind Jûdî Dâgh, _i.e._ he bears out my
 information: _Reise_, p. 376.

 [179] It has been identified with the Bezabde of Ammianus Marcellinus,
 the Saphe of Ptolemy (ed. Müller, p. 1005), and the Sapha of the
 Peutinger Tables. Ammianus Marcellinus is generally supposed to have
 confused Bezabde-Jezîreh with Phœnice-Finik, saying that the two
 names are applied to the same place. In his account of the capture of
 Bezabde by Sapor II, in A.D. 360, his description applies better to
 Finik than to Jezîreh (Bk. XX. ch. vii. 1. See, however, Hartmann:
 _Bohtân_, Part II. p. 98). He relates further that Constantius
 attempted in vain to re-capture Bezabde (Bk. XX. ch. xi.), but in this
 passage he must mean Jezîreh. I can find little in the history of
 Jezîreh except the mention of sieges: by Tîmûr for example (Ritter,
 Vol. IX. p. 709), and by the emirs of Bohtân (Rich: _op. cit._, Vol.
 I. p. 106). When Moltke visited it in 1838 it was a heap of ruins
 (_Briefe aus der Turkei_, Berlin, 1893, p. 251), and it was not much
 more when I saw it.

 [180] Sachau notices these reliefs. In his opinion the inscriptions
 are of no great age: _Reise_, p. 379.

 [181] Ibn Baṭûṭah, in the fourteenth century, mentions an old mosque
 in the market place, which is probably the same as the one I saw,
 though it has undergone many alterations and reparations since his day.

 [182] _Nineveh and Babylon_, p. 55.

 [183] The caves are carefully excavated and I should say that they
 are ancient. Layard (_Nineveh and Babylon_, p. 54) speaks of them as
 tombs and some may have been intended as burial-places, but I do not
 doubt that many were from all time used by the living. The troglodyte
 habits of the dwellers in these mountains are still strongly marked.
 Above Bâ’adrî I saw an underground village; at Ḥiṣn Keif, higher up
 the Tigris, the people live in rock-hewn chambers.

 [184] _Anabasis_, Bk. IV. ch. i.

 [185] Ammianus Marcellinus, when he speaks of Izala, evidently intends
 the name to cover the whole Ṭûr ’Abdîn: Bk. XVIII. ch. vi. 11, and Bk.
 XIX. ch. ix. 4.

 [186] The Jacobites and the Syrians (_i.e._ Jacobites who have
 submitted to Rome) have now ousted the Nestorians, who must have been
 the first to occupy the Ṭûr ’Abdîn. When this change took place I do
 not know, but the Nestorians were in possession of the monastery of
 Mâr Augen as late as 1505: Pognon, _op. cit._, p. 109.

 [187] Pognon’s account of the churches, and his publication of the
 inscriptions, is the best work on the subject (_Inscriptions de la
 Mésopotamie_); Parry (_Six Months in a Syrian Monastery_) gives a
 short description of the churches and some sketch plans.

 [188] Tigris ferry 9.25; Handak (Christian) 9.45; Thelailah (Moslem)
 10.40; Kôdakh--marked in Kiepert--we saw at 12.15, a little to the
 south of our route.

 [189] Our itinerary was as follows: 5.30 Azakh; 6.30 a ruined site
 (marked in Kiepert); 7.5 Salakûn (Kiepert: Salekon Kharabe), a small
 Moslem village; 8 Middo (marked in Kiepert), a Christian village on
 the further side of a deep gorge (here we got into the oak woods); 9
 Irmez, about a mile to the south of our road; 9.25 Arba’, a Christian
 village also about a mile south; 9.45-10.45 Deir Mâr Shim’ûn, a ruined
 monastery; 11.30 Deir Bar Sauma, the first monastery of Bâ Sebrîna.

 [190] Monasteria clericorum. See _The Thousand and One Churches_, p.

 [191] Pognon: _op. cit._, p. 108. The stela has not, as Pognon
 feared, been destroyed. The script is in an unknown alphabet, which
 Pognon believes to be the prototype of Pehlevî. He gives excellent
 photographs of the two inscriptions; my photograph shows the relief on
 the third side. The fourth side is much weather-worn.

 [192] I sent the photograph to Professor van Berchem. The inscription
 is merely a date: 630 (= A.D. 1232-3), or possibly 639.

 [193] The name itself is unintelligible.

 [194] _The Buildings of Justinian_ (Palestine Pilgrims’ Text Society),
 p. 51.

 [195] I would suggest that Ḳal’at ej Jedîd may occupy the site of the
 Sisaurana of Procopius, which was destroyed by Belisarius. Sisaurana,
 however, lay three miles from Rhabdium, and even as the crow flies the
 distance between Ḳ. Ḥâtim Ṭâi and Ḳ. ej Jedîd must be greater. But the
 important position of Ḳ. ej Jedîd on one of the few passes up from
 the plain suggests that the spot must have been fortified in ancient
 times. Sisaurana is no doubt the Sisara of Ammianus Marcellinus: see
 Ritter, Vol. XI. p. 150 and pp. 400-401.

 [196] Though tradition links these foundations with Egypt, it is quite
 possible that they may have had a yet closer connection with Syria,
 where in the fourth century monasticism and the solitary life had
 already taken a strong hold. Duchesne: _Histoire de l’Eglise_, Vol.
 II. p. 516.

 [197] Kiepert marks a “Gr. Cœnobium von Izala,” which is, I imagine,
 intended for Mâr Augen, but its position relatively to Ḳ. ej Jedîd
 and Useh Dereh, as marked in the map, cannot be correct. Mâr Yuhannâ,
 which lies to the east of Mâr Augen, approaches more nearly to
 Kiepert’s site. I have published a short account of these and other
 monasteries and churches of the Ṭûr ’Abdîn in _Amida_ (Strzygowski and
 Van Berchem).

 [198] Kiepert places Mâr Melko too far from Useh Dereh. My itinerary
 was as follows: Useh Dereh to Mâr Melko, 1 hr.; Mâr Melko to Kharabah
 ’Aleh, 30 min.; Kharabah ’Aleh to Kernaz, 2 hrs. 15 min.; Kernaz to
 Deir el ’Amr, 1 hr. 15 min. All these places are marked in the map.

 [199] Niebuhr heard that Mâr Melko was famed for the curing of
 epilepsy: _Reisebericht_, Vol. II. p. 388. Not having penetrated into
 the Ṭûr ’Abdîn, he thought that the report that there were seventy
 monasteries in the hills must be an exaggeration, but I expect that it
 was not far from the truth.

 [200] Deir ’Umar, 5.30; Mezîzakh, 8.15; Midyâd, 9.15.

 [201] I visited inside the town Mâr Shim’ûn, which is in process of
 being rebuilt, and Mâr Barsauma, which has been completely rebuilt.
 Outside the town is the monastery of Mâr Ibrahîm and Mâr Hôbel. It
 has recently been repaired, but much of the masonry is ancient. The
 two churches, dedicated to the two patron saints, belong to the
 monastic type of Mâr Gabriel; the mouldings round the doors, and the
 cyma cornice are old. There is also a small chapel, dedicated to the
 Virgin; it is square in plan and covered by a dome on squinches, but
 it appeared to me to be of later date. I was shown in this monastery
 a very remarkable silken vestment. The ground is of green satin
 covered with a repeated pattern in gold, silver and coloured silks,
 representing a woman in a red robe seated in a howdah upon the back
 of a camel. A man naked to the waist is seated upon the ground with
 his head bowed upon his hands. A variety of animals and floral motives
 are scattered round the principal figures. The subject is no doubt
 taken from the story of Leila and Majnûn. The date of this brocade is
 probably somewhere between 1560 and 1660. A fragment showing a like
 pattern is in the possession of Dr. Sarre. The monastery possesses
 besides a small bronze thurible, of which I succeeded in procuring a
 counterpart. A similar thurible exists in the British Museum (No. 540
 in the catalogue of Early Christian and Byzantine Antiquities); it
 is said to have come from Mâr Musa el Habashi, between Damascus and
 Palmyra. The Kaiser Friedrich Museum has obtained several in Cairo and
 Trebizond (Wulff: _Altchristliche Bildwerke_, Teil I, nos. 967-970).
 These are ascribed to the sixth and seventh centuries. Mr. Dalton, to
 whom I owe this information, gives me references to two others, one in
 the Bargello collection at Florence (No. 241 in the catalogue of the
 Carraud Collection, published in 1898) and one published in the _Echos
 d’Orient_, VII., 1904, p. 148.

 [202] I have published photographs and plans of the Jacobite church of
 the Virgin and the Greek Orthodox church of Mâr Cosmo in _Amida_: Van
 Berchem and Strzygowski.

 [203] The Yeni Kapu differs in plan from the other three. It has
 square bastions, whereas they are protected on either side by massive
 round towers. The round towers extend all along the northern parts of
 the wall; on the other sides the towers are rectangular.

 [204] A sketch plan, made by De Beylié, is published in _Amida_.

 [205] His phrase “under the citadel but in the very heart of Amida” is
 difficult to understand. It does not seem to imply a spring outside
 the walls, yet there is no place “under the citadel” and within the

 [206] One is known by inscriptions to have been erected by the Ortoḳid
 Sultan Malek Shah in the year A.D. 1208-1209, and the other must
 belong to the same period. The inscriptions have been published by
 Van Berchem, see Lehmann-Haupt: _Materialen zur älteren Geschichte
 Armeniens und Mesopotamiens_, p. 140. They are more fully published
 in _Amida_, but that work has not appeared in time for me to make any
 accurate reference to it.

 [207] Our itinerary was as follows: Diyârbekr, 7; Shilbeh, 8; Uch
 Keui, 9.5; Dereh Gechid Chai, a deep valley once noted for brigands,
 10.45; Tolek, a village on the opposite side of this valley, 11. Here
 followed 35 minutes’ halt during which the caravan caught us up and
 passed us, but we came up with it again before we reached Ḳara Khân
 Chai, a small river, at 1 o’clock. We got to Tarmûr at 2.45. I give
 these hours since Kiepert’s map is frequently mistaken as to relative

 [208] The day’s march was Tarmûr, 6; Kayden Keui, 6.30; Shawa Keui,
 6.50 (both these villages lay about three-quarters of an hour to the
 right of the road); Tulkhum, a mile to the left of the road by a big
 mound, 7.10; we climbed a low ridge and dropped into a little plain in
 which we crossed a stream at 8.15; Kadi Keui to the right, 8.30; road
 up to Arghana, 9; monastery, 10.10-10.55; crossed the Ma’den Chai by
 Kalender Koprüsi at 1; Khan above Arghana Ma’den, 3; the caravan had
 arrived a few minutes before us.

 [209] The day’s march was as follows: Khân of Arghana Ma’den, 6.20;
 Khân of Pünoz, at upper end of gorge, 9.40 (the village of Pünoz lies
 up a rocky valley to the right); Ḳâsim Khân, at further side of plain,
 10.55-11.30--there is no village here; Göljik, 11.55; Shabyan, a small
 village near the water parting, 1.40; Keghvank, 4.

 [210] Mezreh is perhaps Ptolemy’s Mazara (ed. Müller, p. 945), and it
 bears the same name in the Peutinger Tables.

 [211] The garrison consisted of 65 men and 80 beautiful ladies, a
 proportion of the sexes which may have contributed to Balak’s victory.

 [212] Kharpût has been identified with Carcathicerta, which was the
 royal city of Sophene, according to Strabo.

 [213] Since the outbreak of 1895 a Christian governor has been
 appointed in all vilayets which contain a large proportion of
 Armenians. The Mu’âvin Vâlîs are nominally co-rulers with their Moslem
 colleagues, but report, I know not with how much justice, credits them
 with little influence and less initiative.

 [214] Mezreh, 6.5; Khân Keui, 9.25; Tell Maḥmûd, left of road, 9.45;
 Chaghullah, left of road, 9.55; Sapolar (left), 10.5; Harnik (right),
 10.20; Melekjân (about a mile to the right), 10.35; Cholak Ushagî,
 where there is a khân, 11-11.45. Here we crossed a ridge into a valley
 which runs down to the Euphrates. Tutli Keui (left), 2.5; over another
 ridge and down to Kömür Khân at 3.35; Iz Oglu, 5.45.

 [215] It is probably the ancient caravan road from Cæsarea and Ephesus
 to Babylon.

 [216] Iz Oglu (on the west bank of the Murad Su), 8; Masnik, 10.15; a
 big chiflik of which I do not know the name, 12-12.30; we climbed a
 long hill, reaching the summit at 2.15, and got to Malaṭiyah at 2.45.

 [217] They had been published, but not very satisfactorily. I gave
 my photographs to Mr. Hogarth, who published them in the _Annals of
 Archæology and Anthropology_, Vol. II. No. 4.

 [218] Melitene does not appear to have been in existence in Strabo’s
 time, for he says that there were no towns in the fruitful plain,
 but only strongholds upon the mountains (Bk. XII. ii. 6). Procopius
 states that it was raised by Trajan to the dignity of a city, whereas
 before it had been nothing but a square fortification on low ground
 (Palestine Pilgrims’ Text Society Edition, p. 82). Diocletian made it
 the capital of Armenia Secunda (Ramsay: _Historical Geography_, p.
 313); it was the centre of the military roads guarding the frontiers
 of the Roman empire towards the Euphrates, and the standing camp
 of the XII Legion, Fulminata (_id._ p. 55). With this increase of
 importance it outgrew, according to Procopius, its former limits, so
 that the people built over the plain “their churches, the dwellings
 of their magistrates, the market-place and the shops of their
 merchants, the streets, porticoes, baths and theatres, and all the
 other ornaments of a large city.” Melitene was thus composed mostly
 of suburbs until Justinian surrounded it with a wall. There must,
 however, have been cities in the plain, of which Strabo knew nothing,
 long before Trajan’s time, as is proved by existing mounds, and Pliny
 seems to have preserved a dim memory of these when he speaks of
 Melitene as having been founded by Semiramis (Bk. VI. ch. iii.).

 [219] Malaṭiyah Eskishehr, 9.45; Khâtûnyeh (a quarter of a mile to
 the left), 10.20; a chiflik (name unknown), 11.45-12.15; Saman Keui,
 a village near a big mound, 12.55. In a graveyard near here I noticed
 two fragments of round columns. At 1.25 we crossed a deep valley
 and saw the village of Shehna Khân about half-a-mile to the right;
 Elemenjik, 3.10. Not all these villages are marked in Kiepert and some
 are wrongly placed. There is cultivation round each village, but the
 plain between is usually untilled.

 [220] Arga has been identified with Arca, where there was a Roman
 station (Arca was also the seat of a bishopric: Ramsay, _Hist. Geog._,
 p. 314), and with Ptolemy’s Arcala (ed. Müller, p. 888). The great
 road mentioned by Strabo which led from Babylon to Ephesus, crossing
 the Euphrates at Tomisa-Iz Oglu, passed through Arca (according to
 Sir W. Ramsay’s suggestion, _op. cit._, p. 273) and ran through
 Dandaxina and Osdara to Arabissus and thence through the mountains
 to Cæsarea. Kiepert places Dandaxina immediately to the south of the
 Tokhma Su and Osdara in the same latitude; Ramsay puts both places
 further south, and Sterritt’s evidence supports Ramsay’s conclusions.
 Between Arga and Ekrek my route did not touch the Roman road as laid
 down by Ramsay, but ran further to the north, and where I crossed
 the mountains, between Osmandedeli and ’Azîzîyeh, I saw no trace of
 an ancient road, nor can I think that wheeled traffic can ever have
 followed that line. Ainsworth travelled down the Tokhma Su from Görün
 to Derendeh, but he came over the Akcheh Dâgh between Derendeh and
 Arga, whereas I crossed it further east from Arga to Ozan. Ainsworth
 observes that there were never more than two roads from Derendeh to
 Malaṭiyah, one following the line he took, and one the valley of the
 Tokhma Su down to the plain (_Travels and Researches_, Vol. I. p.
 247). I do not feel inclined to dispute that opinion, for though I
 found a third way from Malaṭiyah to Derendeh, it cannot be called a
 road. The mouldings and capitals which I saw at Arga pointed to a date
 not later than the sixth century.

 [221] Ozan, 10.30; Mullah ’Alî Shehr, 11.5-40; Polat Ushagha, 12.35;
 Tozeli, some distance to the left, 12.55; a ruined khân marked by
 Kiepert, 1.20. Here we saw up a valley to the north the village of
 Palanga, marked by Kiepert. Above the khân the river flows through a
 gorge, and on the rocks above it are the ruins of a small fort, which
 we reached at 2.20; Kötü Ḳal’ah village, 2.45.

 [222] We passed upon the way only one village, Mügdeh, where we
 crossed the Tokhma Su. Kiepert has suggested that Derendeh may
 represent the site of ancient Dalanda; for objections to this view,
 see Ramsay, _op. cit._, p. 309.

 [223] The existing ruins are probably mediæval. Ainsworth (_Travels
 and Researches_, Vol. I. p. 246) reports an illegible inscription,
 presumably Arabic or Turkish, over the gate. I do not remember to have
 seen it. The fortress of Ṭarandah is mentioned as early as the year
 A.D. 702, when it was in the hands of a Moslem garrison. In the ninth
 century it was held by the Paulicians, a sect of Eastern Christians
 whose beliefs were mingled with Manichæanism. (Le Strange: _Lands of
 the Eastern Caliphate_, p. 120.)

 [224] Görün, 12; summit of hill, 1.15 (but we had ridden considerably
 faster than our usual pace); Kevak Euren, to the left, 3.10; chiflik,
 4.30; Osmândedelî, 5.

 [225] Osmândedelî, 6.25; Kaindîjeh, 7.10; there is a better road from
 here, but it makes a long circuit by Günesh and Parenk, and I declined
 to take it. Küpek Euren, 8.20; Bey Punar, 9.45; water parting, 11.10;
 Boran Dereh Keui, 5.10.

 [226] ’Azîzîyeh is the ancient Ariarathia and its foundation dates
 from the second or third century B.C.: Ramsay, _op. cit._, p. 310.

 [227] ’Azîzîyeh, 10; Emergal, an Avshar village on the left, 12;
 Takhtalî, on the right across the river, 12.20; Ḳizil Khân, 1.35. (See
 Ramsay, _op. cit._, p. 298. It is perhaps Strabo’s Erpa “on the road
 to Melitene.”) Bazaar Euren, 2.25. Between Ḳizil Khân and Bazaar Euren
 there is a small khân with ruins near to it, among them a carved door
 jamb. Ekrek, 5.

 [228] Ramsay, _op. cit._, p. 289, places Tsamandos at ’Azîzîyeh, but
 he had not seen Maḥmûd Ghâzî when he wrote.

 [229] The Armenians of this district are Muhâjir, immigrants, no
 less than the Circassians, though their coming dates from an earlier
 time. They were forced out of northern Armenia in the tenth century
 by the Seljuks, who drove them southward into what was then still the
 Byzantine empire.

 [230] Kavak was the name I heard given to the site of the church;
 Rott has published it under the name of the Panagia of Busluk Ferek
 (_Keinasiatische Denkmäler_, p. 188). He has also published Tomarza,
 p. 183.

 [231] In the low ground there are remains of a theatre, a fine bit of
 stone wall decorated with good mouldings, and part of a vaulted brick
 building, possibly a gymnasium. All these are upon the left bank of
 the stream. The temple upon the bluff was converted at an early date
 into a church, which has long since fallen into decay, though it has
 been patched up in recent times by the Armenians (Fig. 228). Along
 the edge of the bluff there are remains of a columned portico. In the
 ruined bazaar I saw a couple of beautiful funnel capitals, cracked
 and broken by fire. They should probably be dated in the early sixth
 century. At the entrance of the valley that leads up to the Kara Bel
 are the ruins of a small temple with a finely carved doorway (Fig.

 Mr. Hogarth sends me the following note:--

 Miss Bell has submitted to me five inscriptions found on a temple site
 at Comana Capp. They are, she thinks, unpublished, and certainly were
 not seen by me on either of my visits to Comana in 1890 or 1891. Miss
 Bell sent me good photographs of nos. 1 and 2; but for the others, I
 have only her hand-copies to go upon.

 No. 1 is a commonplace epitaph, intended to be hexametrical; but the
 necessary proper names would not accommodate themselves to the metre,
 and the versifier has had to leave ll. 1 and 3 partly prose. In l. 2
 he or the lapicide has made the mistake of leaving the ε before ἡδ
 unelided. The most interesting point in the inscription, the second
 name of the dedicator, is, unfortunately, obscured by a breakage of
 the surface. The lettering is very clear on the photograph except on
 the right edge.

 No. 2 is broken top and right, and the names of the son and mother
 cannot be restored.

 No. 3, the epitaph of a slave set up by his master, offers an instance
 of the distinction of slaves by the name of the master with a Roman
 gentile prefix. Either Αὐρ. or Αἰλι. is concealed in Miss Bell’s copy
 of l. 2. Another slave seems to have appropriated the grave afterwards
 for his wife, and added a note to that effect.

 No. 4 is without points of interest. No. 5 adds to other Oriental
 names found at Comana _Pharnaces_ and the name of his father, which,
 in Miss Bell’s copy, reads _Giris_.

 1. Altar-stela with wreaths in relief on the front and sides. The
 inscription is in careful lettering of about the 4th cent. A.D. Words
 are in some cases divided by points. Square and round forms are used
 indifferently, and ligature is frequent. Worn badly on right edge:--

 [Illustration: Greek]

 2. Altar-stela with wreath in relief below the inscription. Broken top
 and right top. Finely-cut lettering of 3rd cent. A.D.:--

 [Illustration: Greek]

 Ἀσύνκριτος: for the use of this epithet at Comana see _J. H. S._
 xviii. p. 318, no. 29, and also no. 4 below.

 3. Altar-stela:--

 [Illustration] The lines 6-8 may conceal the name Βαιβία borne by
 the wife of Aur. Heliodorus in an epitaph of Comana published by
 Waddington from copies by Clayton and Ramsay, _Bull. Corr. Hell._,
 vii. p. 137, no. 19.

 4. On the rock inside tomb:--

 [Illustration: Greek]

 5. On a small stone with rude pediment:--

 [Illustration: Greek]

 [232] “Their houses are circular,” says Marco Polo of the Tartars
 of inner Asia, “and are made of wands covered with felts”: Yule’s
 edition, Vol. I. p. 252.

 [233] Mârdin, 6.30; Yamachlî, to right, 7.30; Sarî Khân, 8.45;
 Ispileh, to right, 10.30; Talas, 11.30.

 [234] The plateau is here about 3,500 feet above sea level.

 [235] It has been well published by Rott: _Kleinasiatische Denkmäler_,
 p. 103.

 [236] ’Ala ed Din reigned from 1219 to 1236, but the tomb is dated by
 an inscription in the year 1344.

 [237] It was built in 1381-2 by the wife of ’Ala ed Dîn, Prince of
 Ḳaramân. See Sarre: _Denkmäler Persischer Baukunst_, p. 135.

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