VISITS TO THE LIBANUS, THE TULÚL EL SAFÁ,
THE ANTI-LIBANUS, THE NORTHERN LIBANUS, AND THE `ALÁH
BY RICHARD F. BURTON AND CHARLES F. TYRWHITT DRAKE
IN TWO VOLUMES
LONDON : TINSLEY BROTHERS, 18 CATHERINE ST. STRAND,
CONTENTS OF VOLUME II.
CHAPTER I. A RECONNAISANCE OF THE ANTI-LIBANUS – FROM B’LUDAN VILLAGE TO THE APEX OF THE ‘EASTERN MOUNTAIN – AND RETURN MARCH THROUGH THE ANTI-LIBANUS TO B’LUDAN. PART I. FROM B’LUDAN VILLAGE TO THE APEX OF THE‘EASTERN MOUNTAIN’ PART II. RETURN MARCH THROUGH THE ANTI-LIBANUS TO B’LUDAN
CHAPTER II. NOTES ON THE NORTHERN SLOPES OF LEBANON CHAPTER III. AN EXPLORATION OF THE ‘ALAH OR ‘HIGHLAND’ OF SYRIA. THE ‘ALAH
NOTE I. ON SOME RUINS IN JEBEL EL ZOWI
[NOTE] II. ON THE ARTIFICIAL ORIGIN OF THE HUMS LAKE
I. ANTHROPOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS FROM THE HOLY LAND.
II. SUGGESTIONS OF READINGS FOR THE GREEK INSCRIPTIONS NOT IN M. WADDINGTON.[NOT INCLUDED]
III. PLANTS FROM THE LEBANON IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM HERBARIUM.[NOT INCLUDED]
A RECONNAISANCE OF THE ANTI-LIBANUS – FROM B’LUDAN VILLAGE TO THE APEX OF THE ‘EASTERN MOUNTAIN’ - AND RETURN MARCH THROUGH THE ANTI-LIBANUS TO B’LUDAN.
MANY readers, even professional geographers, will think that we are to pass over trodden ground, and that in describing the Anti-Libanus we can do nothing but fill up with details the broad outlines traced by predecessors. The contrary is positively the case. I expected great things from ‘L’Anti-Liban,’ par Gérard de Rialle (Bulletin de la Société de Géographie, tome xvi. 1868), and found that it had covered only the well-known lower altitudes. He passes by Zebadání, over the ‘Pont Romain,’ of which mention has been made, to Ba’albak; he then ‘does’ the Cœlesyrian Valley from Anjar to Homs, and returns to Damascus by the eastern road, viâ Hasyah, Kárá, and Yabrúd. Surprising as it may appear, it is still true, that the best and most modern maps do not name a single valley north-east of Zebadání, nor a single summit, except the ‘Jebel el Halímah, an utter misnomer. They show merely the long conventional caterpillar, flanked by the usual acidulated drops and seamed with the normal cobweb of drainage: when they have disposed all this parallel with the Libanus, they have apparently done their duty. Thus they neglect to show, amongst other things, the important change in the chain, whose northern half becomes exceptionally arid and barren, whilst the southern is remarkably fertile: this is also true of the Libanus, but to a lesser extent. The traveller in Syria and Palestine is also kept ignorant of the fact, that the general aspect of the range is far superior to that of the maritime sierra; that the colouring of the rocks is richer, the forms are more picturesque -often indeed ‘weird, savage, grand, almost magnificent, like parts of Moab;’ that the contrasts of shape and hue are sharper; and that the growth in places assumes the semblance of a thinned forest. Of the Anti-Libanus we may say, of the Libanus we may not, that ‘ravines of singular wildness and grandeur furrow the whole mountainside, looking in many places like huge rents;’ whilst the views from the summit are far superior in extent of range and in variety of feature. Moreover, the chain, which is thus in many points richer and more remarkable than its western sister, has the attractions of novelty: it may fairly be called a section of new ground in an old land.
During my twenty-three months of service - perhaps it might be called servitude - at Damascus I had twice inspected the most interesting features of this Jebel el Sharkí (the Eastern Mountain), the modern equivalent for the ancient Hebrew ‘Lebanon towards the sunrising.’ In August 1870 I had ascended successively the Haláim (or Paps) of Kárá, Kurrays, Zammarání, and El Kabú, taking angles, laying down their altitudes, and building Kakurs (or old men), to serve for a theodolite survey. Poor Jiryus Kátibah, father of the young schoolmasters who have been stationed by the Irish-American Presbyterian Mission at Yabrúd and Nabk, together with his ‘’Asús,’ will not readily forget one day’s work. In November 1870 we had pushed up the Nabi Bárúh block, but the snow had begun to fall before the work was finished: it was in Ramazan, and the little party of fasting Moslems, Shaykh Sálih, and others who accompanied us from ‘Assál el Ward, will long remember that walk and ride. Finally, on July 31, 1871, taking advantage of a visit from Mr. C.F. Tyrwhitt Drake, I resolved to connect the two excursions by a march along the backbone from Jebel el Shakíf to the northern end. My fellow-traveller had, as usual, sole charge of the mapping and of the route-sketching, whilst the humbler task of keeping the journal fell to my lot.
The Anti-Libanus proper begins in north latitude 33° 30', at the north-western flank of the Hermon, which I am disposed to place in a separate orine system. The modern French road, as it traverses the gorge Wady el Harír, the level upland Sahlat Judaydah, the ravine Wady el Karn, the arête ‘Akabat el Tín - the basaltic link between the two chains - the descent Daurat el Billán (Camel-thorn Zigzag), and finally the unpopulated Saharat el Dímás - Wild of (Saint?) Dimas - before plunging into the Barada Valley, accurately defines the southern limit. About north latitude 34° 28' it falls into the Hasyah-Hums plain, whose altitude is in round numbers 1600 feet; and the total length is thus fifty-eight geographical miles, and the lay is north-easterly (38° Mag.). The breadth varie: the maximum – from the eastern mouth of Wady Zammarání to the Fíkah settlement - may be assumed at fourteen direct geographical miles, and the mini-mum - from Ba’albak to the ‘Assál el Ward village, without including the rolling eastern outliers
-would be eleven miles and a half. The northern-most section is bounded eastward by the upland plains of Kárá and ‘Assál el Ward, and westward by the lowlands of Ba’albak, the northern prolongation of the Buká’a or Cœlesyria. Southward the mountain is flanked by extensive buttresses, and even by lateral chains. For instance, about Zebadání,[FN#2] the Buká’a is broken on the east by a line of detached upheavals, called after the settlements Kafr Zabad, Nabi Zaúr, and so forth; whilst still farther east is a rugged mass of highland, with crest scarped towards the rising sun, and known as the Jurd or upland of Zebadání, of Ayn Haur, of Sargháyá, and of the other villages occupying its flanks. This great outlier is bounded on the north-east by the Wady Yahfúfah, and south by the Wady el Harír, through which runs the French road between the capital of Syria and Bayrut its port.
Our preparations were easily made. We carried with us the few necessaries for a bivouac, not forgetting the indispensable water-skins, and two mules were lightly loaded with all our belongings. They were driven by old Ahmad Khálid, who grumbled that he was being taken away from his plums - locally called Khokh - as they were full ripe for market, and by the youth Hasan Khazzá Abú Zirs, who insisted upun bestriding a diminutive donkey up and down the stiffest of slopes. The extra hand was Mohammed of B’lúdán, whose profession was partly that of a Shikari, a hard-working laddie, who knows every hole and corner in his own beat. I can safely recommend him to all who would follow in our steps. The point de départ was B’lúdán, a little Christian village, Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic, which clings to the eastern flank of the Zebadání Valley, bearing 285° from that important town. The valley is well known to travellers, because it leads from Damascus to Ba’lbak: in it we found the official sources of the Barada,[FB#3] or River of Damascus, and the pool from whose head it pumps lies at an angle of 239° Mag. from Mr. Consul-general Wood’s summer quarters. The geographical or true source must be sought some five miles to the north-east; it is called Ayn Haur (Poplar Fountain), from the little valley of the same name, and it is fed in winter by the Sayl or torrent of Jebel el Shakíf. The water flows down a broken but clearly-defined valley, divided into sections, every one, as usual amongst these ungeneralising races, with its distinctive term; e.g. Wady el Kabír, Wady Ayn Haur,[FN#4] and Wady Dillah. In summer, however, its precious supply is drawn off for the fields; hence it has not the honour of being popularly known as the Barada-head. The mythological source is the Júrah or swallow-hole in the western block which separates the valley of Zebadáni from the Cœlesyrian Vale: this sink was, until late years, used as a Tarpeian rock, the offenders being of the sex formerly sacked at Damascus and Stambul.
B’lúdán lies about 1000 feet above the Marjat Khan el Funduk, in the vale of the Wady Zebadáni. Its site is a bulging shunt of fertile red humus, secondary limestone, iron-clay, red-black sandstone-grit, here and there a bit of basalt. The general slope is 9°, and the rhumb 285° (Mag.). Although neither striations nor burnish are now retained by the easily-degraded rock, it has all the appearance of an old moraine, deposited by glaciers that once debouched from the uplands upon the Zebadáni Valley, and which hollowed a passage for the Barada through the heart of the Anti-Libanus. Similar features are found in the Cedar Valley; in the red ground north and south of the Zahlah gap, which blushes so beautifully to the evening sun; and, without mentioning others, in the heaps at the gorge-mouths to the east and the north-east of Iskandarún (Alexandretta). This moraine is bounded north by the depression called Arz el Zahlát, and south by the Wady Már Iliyás, a ruined temple converted into a Byzantine church and monastery, to which the modern hamlet faces.
The upper section of the B’lúdán Valley is a complicated bit of ground bearing 41° from below, wheeling suddenly to 60°. It is walled on the east by a continuous line of heights, which here form the crest of the Anti-Libanus, and which appear from afar like a bending spine. As usual, every section has its own name. The mountain immediately behind B’lúdán is known as Jebel Rahwah; then come Jebel Rizmah; Jebel Ayn el Ghanim; Jebel Talláját bú Halláwi, Jebel el Ahhyár (which the people compare with Hermon), and the somewhat lower bluff (the aneroid showing a difference of 0.14)
known as the Shayyár Ayn el Nusúr. Murray’s Handbook, repeated by M. Gérard de Rialle and by Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible (Lebanon), makes this B’lúdán Block a ‘few miles north of the site of Abila,’ the ‘highest summit of Anti-Lebanon,’ and assigns to it an inadequate altitude of 6800 instead of 7730 feet. It is bounded south by the gorge of the Barada; while northwards the rough and rugged apex of bare castellated and creviced lime-rock, showing on almost the highest part three Jurahs or sinks, is prolonged by a lower ridge to the cliff-spine of the farther Anti-Libanus. The B’lúdán Valley on the
)[FN#5] or west,and to the east theWadyand the SahlatofBísán, andtheHakl(
Wady el Anjásah (Pear-tree Ravine), complete its limits: the latter is the northernmost of the three westerly forks of the great Jayrúd or Palmyra depression which end in the Fijj or gorges of Minnín and Ma’araba.
The deep snows render the ridge impassable during the winter: in fine weather it commands a noble view of the northern Libanus from the Cedar Block to the ‘Twins of Níhá,’ of the luxuriant Cœlesyrian Vale, of the B’lúdán range, and of the Zebadání Jurd and Valley - the latter spoon-formed, its handle being the upper Wady Dillah. This shape is not rare; we see it, for instance, in the Wady Hammánah, to the left of the French road going to Damascus where the handle is the gorge below. To the south and south-east the eye can detect the three great lateral gradients which form gigantic steps, each averaging 700 to 900 feet above its neighbour, and leading from the Padan-Dammasak (upland Plain of Damascus) to the Oriental base of the true Anti-Libanus. The highest, is the ‘Assál el Ward terrace, with its picturesque edging, the Jebel Marmarún or Danhá (Dinhá), near Yabrúd, huge crested rock-waves, of which we can count from four to seven, looking as if about to break upon the plain below, and flowing south instead of north, the usual lay: they are prolonged by the Kurún Rankús;[FN#6] pearl-coloured nipples, twins, horns, towers, and high-crested walls projecting from red breasts of decom- posed limestone. The middle gradient is that of Kárá-Nabk, ending west in the Jebel Fakhúkh[FN#7] (the Palisades of Helbon); and the lowest is the Saidnáyyá-Jayrúd, which runs almost without a bend to Palmyra. The other remarkablc features are the hogsback of Hermon, the blue wall of the Jebel Durúz Haurán, the Tulúl el Safá, including Jebel Dakwah and the range which overlooks the desert of the Euphrates. The slope of the strata forming the wall of El Ahhyár, the highest point, and striking north, is upwards inclined, and disposed at angles of 13° and 17° rising to 70º; the beds are not always conformable, and sometimes they dip 70º to 80º, looking as though they were reversed.
This B’lúdán block is fronted on the west by the Jebel el Shakíf, or Mountain of Cliffs with gaps and gorges, a name sometimes erroneously applied to the higher elevations on the east. The word is commonly used in the Sinaitic group, and there is a Jebel Shakíf near Jebel Usdum, south of the so-called ‘Dead Sea.’ The celebrated Kala’at Shakíf (Belfort of the Crusaders) is the Castle of the Cliff, upon whose majestic brow it stands; and the huge slice of perpendicular rock pierced with caves and south of Safet is the Shakíf el Ahkáf (Cliff of Tunnels). Shakíf is also in Syria still the popular name for a door-jamb: I can only suggest that it is borrowed from the Persian Shikáf. These Jurassic waves, with jagged edges like the Dolomites of Titian’s Cadore, seem as if ready to burst into a spray of stone which will overwhelm the valley 1500 feet below them. Three principal buttresses are seen, towering like Titanic steps in the clear blue air, by those who take the French diligence from Bayrut to Damascus; east of them lies the upland valley of B’lúdán, green and gay with corn and wine; it is bounded on the other side by the winding spur which culminates in the apex El Ahhyár, and it is backed by the solitary head of El Horayrah, so con- spicuous to those who approach Damascus from the south, viâ Sa’sa’ and the ‘Awaj River. Their scarped faces form the eastern flank of the Wady Dillah and its continuations - the Arázi el Nahás and others -to the Wady Sargháyá. Their broad backs represent the western part of the B’lúdán Valley. The first or lowest of the buttresses is the Ma’abúr Ayn el Daulah, bounded on the south by the gap of the Daulah and the Saraymah fountains, which combine to form the Wady Arz el Zahlát. No.2 is separated from No.1 by a Fiumara called the Wady Kharrád; and it bears the name of Dayr Nabi Yunán, from ruins picturesquely situated upon the tilted field of gray limestone whose perpendicular face looks down upon the Wady el Kabír.
The ruins are connected by the people, who will gather together as many biblical names as possible, with the prophet Jonah: they are most easily approached by the Shu’abat el Mu’allakah, a deep gorge with a pathway to the Ayn el Haur village, and separating No. 2 from No. 3 buttress. A red track creeps up the limestone, and leads to the first pile situated upon an eastern eminence and facing towards the rising sun. It has evidently been a Ba’al temple, as is shown by a stone with rosettes and beam-ends, pilaster caps, bases of columns, straight round mouldings, cut corner-stones, large lintel, and in two instances the marginal draft and boss miscalled a bevel, which is, however, shallow and much worn. It then became a Christian place of worship, evidenced. by a
Greek cross ✠ upon a block near the well to the south-west; the latter, some sixteen feet deep, has long been dry. Finally, smaller stones, cut as usual from the more ancient material, prove that, like the opposite Kasr el Banát (‘Maidens’ Castle’), it ended life as the watch-tower of some robber baron. Although M. de Rialle had warned us ‘là, point de traces de monuments grecs ou romains,’ we found two inscriptions, both mutilated. One lay to the south-west of the wall, and had originally two long lines and two short; the right half of the whole length, however, was missing, and the left reads as follows:
ΚΡΑΤΕΡΩΝ (Ω?) ΟCΕΒΙ∆ΟΥΑΟ (C or O?) CΥΝΤ ΖΥΓΟΟ (C or O?)
The other, farther to the south-west, appeared to be upon an altar, which suggested a projecting cornice at the top and bottom, like that which we brought from Kanawát. Originally it had also four lines, of which the upper and lower had been defaced, and about a finger-length on the right had been chipped away. We could only read:
Descending a slope to the west, and passing a small cave which points to the north, we found in a dwarf depression a huge block, which might have served in Syro-Hellenic days for a sacrifice-table; the surface was streaked with crystals of lime resembling chisel- marks. The long or northern wall measured 28 feet 5 inches, and the shorter eastern 22 feet 5 inches; whilst there was a sign of the peribolos to the south, distant 6 feet 5 inches from the fane.
Beyond the great buttress Jebel Dayr Nabi Yunán is No. 3, generally known as the Khashshá el Shakíf (‘rough ground of the Shakíf’), and it right well deserves its name.
) pro-The guides call thesouthern part ofthis split and jagged ground Oz[FN#8](
nounced Osh) el S’núní, denoted by a single Za’arúr or hawthorn, and divided from the other part, the Shakíf el Kháshi’a, by the Wady Fawwár (the Spouting Ravine), which drains after showers to the Ayn el Haur. These crests are well grown with the Lizzáb, a juniper which has almost disappeared from the lower altitudes; and here, whilst the Hummus (Cicer arietinum, the East-Indian ‘gram,’ i.e. grāo) lasts, is the favourite home of the bear. Farther north, the last rock-waves sink into the Wady el Manshúrah (Gorge of the sawn Stone), a deep gash falling into the western lateral Wady about the Sargháyá village, where there is a change of watershed. The southern part of the valley drains to the Barada; the northern discharges through the Saradah and the Yahfúfah gorges into the Buká’a, eventually feeding its main artery, the Litáni or River of Tyre.
Such are the interesting blocks of mountain which form the eastern and the western walls of the upland valley of B’lúdán. The vale itself is not less complicated, and there is the usual lavish expenditure of proper names, every hillock, field, and tree-clump having its own. The lower part, Arúzí el Zahlát, is layed out in vineyards, plantations, and orchards of hazels, poplars, and mulberries, of almonds, apricots, and walnuts, which weigh down the trees; of apples shredded and sun-dried for winter, when they will be eaten with Dibs or grape-syrup, and of plums, figs, and greengages; whilst most precious of all is the vine. The natives are already preparing for their vendange by frightening away wild beasts with the ‘Ar’ár or Nakkárah, a pot and clapper, whose monotonous sound becomes familiar as the owl-like cry with which the people shout to one another at a distance. Their principal enemies are the jackals and foxes.[FN#9]
Higher up we reach the fields fed by little streams which everywhere issue from the slopes. Here the surface, like that of the Zebadání Valley, is mottled with port-wine marks standing out against the limestone of French gray. In places it becomes reddish-brown, blackish-red, and dull lavender, like the Tauá of the Brazil, parted by natural and artificial lines of calcaire. The hedgerows are unusually comely for Syria, the principal growths being the ‘Allayk, locally called Tás, a tasteless kind of black-berry; the olivecoloured Zayzafún; the bright green Mughílán (Umm Gháylán, Mother of Thickets); and the white and red Saraymah (dog-rose), whose haws are of the largest. Here upland wheat flourishes, and the land is kindly to Dukhn or holcus. We pass the Kala’at el Safá, a dwarf bluff of yellow limestone, with a smaller feature to the south-east: between the former and rock-wave No.1 lies the Arz el Mushakkakah, or split and cracked land; and between the two ‘forts’ rises the little water Naba’ Abú Zayd.
After one direct geographical mile from B’lúdán we pass out of the limestone into a band of pure sandstone, which somewhat differs from that of the Libanus; it alternates with iron-revetted clay, slag-like masses, and purple grit, degrading into a blackish humus. Here, with its Khirbat or ruined village to the south is the fine fountain Ayn el Daulah, the first of the chalybeate waters. They are bright bubbling streams, whose margins are green with the Anjayl grass, good for fodder; the unedible Zu’záí, resembling a watercress; the Kurrays nettle; the Sú’ad or common rush; and the Haba’, a blueflowered catmint, eaten by the peasant with bread. The limonite water is strong enough to be called mineral, and, like the ale-wells of the north, if imprudently used will affect the head: the badauds of the capital, who begin to make the place a picnic-ground, complain that it is exceptionally heavy, and all my Damascus servants suffered from it during the first few weeks. To the left is the Ayn el Saraymah, which drains the western Wady Anjásah: it shows traces of compact black basalt, probably a continuation of the Dayr el Asháyir basin, and of the iron which outcrops on the French road at Akabat el Tín (‘Col of the Mud’). Here is one of the few places where we found signs of igneous formation upon the Anti-Libanus, and it is possibly a projection from the north-western flank of the Hermon.
About this point ends the scatter of secular trees, six walnuts and one wild pear; the highest three are called the Jauzát bú Abbás, and the winds will not allow such growth in the altitudes above them. The features of the iron region now become less compli- cated, forming three distinct torrent-valleys. The eastern is the Wady Ayn el Ghánim, which feeds the Ayn el Daulah bed; the central is the Sayl Arz el Anjásah, leading above to the Sayl Arz el Mu’allakah, a ‘hanging ground’ of dark humus and white lime; whilst the Wady Kharrád, whose upper part becomes the Wady el Shakíf, is the western drain. The most important feature is the Arz el Mu’allakah, which might indeed be assumed as a name for the whole of the B’lúdán upland valley.
After two hours (equal to three and one-sixth di- rect geographical miles) we pass a rock-gorge known as the Mujarra, and reach the Marjat Ayn el Nusúr (Plainlet of the Vultures’ Spring). Here are some twenty fountains, the Ayn el Gharrám, the Bighur[FN#10] el Fawwár, and others of less importance, which keep the ground green throughout the year. Though there is sandstone in situ, we found lime all around, disposed in regular courses, and often capped with the remnants of a course. We picked up fine blocks of gypsum, and bits of red porphyry with white paillettes, doubtless brought from the Zebadání Jurd, in which it has been quarried for the Ba’albak pillars since time immemorial.
Resting at the Marj el Baghl, we heard from the garde champêtre dreadful tales of the wild hogs and bears, that use the night to destroy the measures of Hummus vetch raised upon this fertile dark land. In the summer of 1870 I was shown the pelt of a full-grown male, and a cub that had been killed to the great distress and anger of its dam: in 1871 a second peasant was mauled by a hungry Bruin, whose meal he had unwittingly interrupted. The result was, that guards with fire-locks passed the night amongst the crops; but they were very careful not to wound; in fact, they hold with our old songster that
‘Married men should bide at home From the hunting of the bear.’
They divide the beasts into two kinds: the Akish or vegetarian, and the Lahhám or meat-eater, who often takes a fancy for a lamb or a kid. They all agree that the bear hybernates during the Marba’níyyah, or forty days following the winter solstice, and that the best season for sport is in early September, when the ripe grapes bring him down from his hidden and distant haunts.
We turned to the left over the Khashshá el Shakíf in search of a Bruin, but with little better luck than usual. Large footlike spoor (the bear’s is that of a man, and the porcupine’s that of a child) may be found on almost every path; and traces of the animals had been left in many of their sleeping-places. Suddenly one started up, and scrambled round the corner so fast that neither of us could get a shot; and we regretted it the more, as the big gray stern showed him to be a veteran dweller in the land. They will soon be almost as rarely seen as the Gibraltar ape, which, according to the British sailor, passed over by submarine tunnel from Ape’s Hill (Calpe). I suppose the tales of ursine ferocity to be much exaggerated, except when Bruin is suffering from intense hunger, or if frightened suddenly, or when the maternal feelings are roused; and with a fort-night’s leisure I should not despair of making a bag, especially about the southern and the eastern slopes of the Hermon. Some writers argue, from the fact of bears being found in a wood between Jericho and Bethel (2 Kings ii. 24), that the country was then better wooded than it is now; but they are thinking of the northern bear, which prefers the warmth of dense forests. A very small clump of trees in Palestine is here found sufficient for shelter; and in most places (as the Hermon and the Anti-Libanus) to which the beasts are now driven they take refuge in rock caves. Upon the Khashshá we followed coveys of Greek partidges, which seemed, however, to walk faster than we could. The Perdrix Saxatilis is a fine strong-flying and game bird; the same can hardly be said of the smaller species (Caccabis Heyi). The land was evidently bear-haunted, abounding in fine cool caves and in deep sinks, often several lying side by side. The limestone, in which we found water-worn sandstone embedded, was streaked with crystals like petrified coral, and dotted with the usual Biz or kidney-formed bits of chert, in some cases coprolites (?). Crystal-lined geodes lay about, and in places the rock was a conglomerate of fossils, encrinites, and nummulites. The blanched ‘horse-bone limestone’ and the perforated calcaires were common features; and we picked up scallops (pectines), gryphæas, echini, and fossil oysters.[FN#11]
The Marjat Ayn el Nusúr, a bit of true Alpine pasturage, is divided into the Barráníyyah (exterior), and the Juwwáníyyah (the interior) which lies higher up. Here is a second versant, the northern waters escaping through the Wady el Manshúrah into the Cœlesyrian Vale. A stiff descent then leads to Júrat Birkat el Mudawwarah, at the head of the Manshúrah; a copy of the B’lúdán upland valley, except that this is only half a basin, whereas that is whole. After one direct mile from the Vultures’ Spring we halted (11 A.M.) at an excellently cold pond, ‘the round tank.’ Here the horses became Mamghus or Maryúh (affected with colic), and we could hardly wonder at it, when the temperature of their drink was 54° Fahr., and that of the air 65° Fahr. My companion collected a variety of water-beetles, which he judged to be new; and we spent part of our time fighting with Abú Fás (the Father of a Hatchet), a large fly whose bite makes it formidable. According to Mr. G.R. Crotch, the water-beetles ‘are, from the arid nature of the country, rare, but abundant when found:’ several received by him from Mount Sinai appeared peculiar to that place. They were described in 1832 by Klug in the Symbolœ Physiceœ of Ehrenberg, a work replete with information concerning the Syrian fauna, and whose illustrations leave little to be desired.[FN#12]
A little before noon, when the cloud-pack coming up rendered the air of les hauts delightfully fresh, we rounded a dark sandstone hill, and found in its folds the Ayn el Naháif, loved of goats and bears. It is one of the many south-western feeders of the Wady Manshúrah, another being the Hill Jurábak (Open your Scrip!), so called because none may resist eating after having drunk of it: therefore it is a great favourite with the picnicker. A long and sharp ascent led to a sandstone ridge overlooking the gorge: the latter can be ridden down, and it shows a big square block of limestone, the Hajar el Manshárah, split not by contraction and expansion, but by Zú’l Fikár, the irresistible sabre of Caliph Ali: hence the name of the gorge. We afterwards saw several of these ‘Cloven Stones,’ but this was the only one with a legend attached to it; unlike the Sinaitic rocks, upon so many of which Hazrat Músa (Moses) has left marks. The sandstone was here capped by long lines of lime-cliff, where the abundant junipers had been scorched by the goatherds’ fires: apparently this process makes them flourish the more, like the leathery-skinned growth of the Brazilian ‘campo.’ Upon the Col or pass we picked up a bit of red oxide of iron, which was mistaken, as Burckhardt did near Hasbeyyá for cinnabar,[FN#13] and a scatter of stones richer in copper than those of the old Wady Magharah diggings; whilst the characteristic formation was a bright red and yellow calcaire in distinct layers. I have heard of two places in Syria where copper has been found. The first is in the Balka, where, by the advice of Mr. Acting-consul Charles Wood, the Governor-general sent an English engineer to report upon its value; Mr. Barker, I believe, did not recommend its being worked. The other was mentioned to me by the Rev. William Wright of Damascus: about 30' south of Jenín, at the border of the Esdraelon plain, he found traces of an old mine with a short shaft and sundry tunnels, some of them one hundred yards long, and with a roof supported by piers. On our north-west a field of yellow limestone lay like a Cyclopean pavement: similar flat strata are to be seen from the French diligence near El Rawaysát in the Libanus. To the southward (137º Mag.) rose the Hajar Bísán, a castellated fragment commanding its hill: the valley, a counterscarp of the Manshúrah, is known as Wady el Hossá (Hasá); and its head, the Marj el Khanzír (Plain of the Wild Hog), shows several Makíl (‘bughts’ or folds), dry stone enclosures for protecting goats in summer. The hog, like the buffalo, I may remark, would never, like the rest of the animal kingdom, be converted to El Islam; he still remains a Kafir and a fast friend to the Christian.
Another rough ascent, leading round the southern lip of the Manshúrah Valley, placed us upon a conspicuous summit: it is called the Ra’as Zahr Abú’l Hin (Head of the Ridge of the Father of Henna -that is, of the wren); a name as sensible as Shrimps’ Mountain (Camarones), applied to one of the tallest volcanoes in inter-tropical Africa. The Ra’as, numbering 8330 feet, is the apex of an arc forming the Manshúrah Valley, which resembles that of the Cedars, but upon a small scale; the slope of the ramp is precipitous, but there are various ledge-steps and over-falls of bare rock, which support goat-paths. A north-eastern fountain, the Ayn el Bátí, attracts larks and partridges, hobby-hawks and griffons; the latter are numerous, but they generally tower like specks in the blue air; and when descending they sweep past as condors do, so unexpectedly that it is no easy matter to shoot an eligible specimen.
The wintry winds must rage furiously upon this Zahr. The Lizzáb (juniper), often bare and bleached to the south and south-west, with the tops eaten away, is blown to the north and north-east: a few young shoots show that even the goats spare the place; and in the elder growths the wood is ridiculously out of all proportion to the foliage. The height of a tree girthing some twelve feet at twenty inches above the ground will perhaps be ten feet; whilst the roots, peculiarly strong and long, will contain double the timber of the bole. The bilberry throws itself prostrate upon the nearest stone, and clings to it, as though fearing to be blown away into space. And all the rest of the vegetation, especially the rose and the thistle, is exceptionally stunted, when the actual altitude is considered.
From the Ra’as Abú’l Hin we could see to the north-east, and divided by a water-parting, another steep valley flanked by the axis of the Anti-Libanus, and resembling the Manshúrah, and the Arz el Mu’allakah or upland-valley of B’lúdán. The eastern and higher lip is the normal crest of palisaded limestone cliffs (Hawálís), above which the goat-paths run, and it is capped by rounded summits of red-yellow humus scattered with stone. On the west, rock-waves and crag ‘islets,’ the Ilheos (Loo rocks) of Portuguese geographers, separated by torrent-beds, which, like those of the Jebel el Shakíf, drain the surface into the Ma’arabún gorge below, add to the resemblance; and the unusual quantity of vegetation, especially juniper, that finds a footing in the jagged limestone, gives this view the most pleasing aspect.
The chord of our second valley runs 33° 30' towards the Ra’as Rám el Kabsh, far away on the N.N. East. As usual in these lands, the whole lacks generic name; it is sectionally called after its springs, which patch the surface with nettles and green weeds, Wady Ayn el Báridah, Wady Ayn el Sakhrah, Wady Ayn el Za’arúr, and so forth. From above, the floor appeared smooth and easy; but experience proved it to be otherwise. The material was sandstone, alternating with lime in detached blocks and in sections of pavement: plots of wheat and tobacco, which never pay tax nor tithe, grew in sheltered places; but at times, when rain is wanting, the seed refuses, it is said, to sprout. In this part of the highlands such growths will extend to 6000-7000 feet above sea-level, and perhaps higher: the wheat is horny and stunted, and the people declare that grazing animals will not allow barley to be reaped. Burckhardt mentions the eagerness with which the wild swine feed upon Shaír Arabí or common barley.
We descended some 800 feet by the Wady Juwar el Akkúb (Sinks of the Artichoke), and we struck the No.3 valley, where the ‘Akibat el Hamrá (the red Col) is traversed by the Sargháyá-Rankús road. We passed successively on the left the Wady Laulabi, the Wady Ayn el Za’arúr, and the Wady el Naháir, the latter headed by a large cornfield. A few goat-herds were there to give us the names, and we found a yeoman from Mu’azzamíyyah in the Jayrud-Palmyra Valley, an ursine biped rendered truly ridiculous by a huge turban of white wool, normal wear derived of old from Christian ancestry. After a rugged ride, crossing the eastern crest of the Anti-Libanus, we fell about sunset into the Wady Ayn el Durrah (of Maize), a slope well sheltered from the biting draughts of the passes, and shedding from the western sierra to the Jauz Durrah and the Ra’as el Ayn in the ‘Assál el Ward upland to the east. It has a fine fountain, which waters horses and neat cattle, and which feeds a Hímah (trenched field) of Hummus or grain. The owner was a Rankús man, who with his two shirtless and sharp-witted lads occupied the place during summer: being elevated 6580 feet, it is too cold for permanent settlement. He passed his nights in shouting and in firing random shots, to scare away plundering bears.
As the mountain air began to nip and the last rays disappeared from the hill-tops the slopes were dotted with goats, two large flocks which hailed from Haush ‘Arrah or Haush ‘Assál. We had no difficulty in procuring milk and in buying a kid: the driver took fifty-five piastres, bluffly remarking, ‘That is the way I sell them!’ Our men spent the early night in cooking and eating the unusual delicacy: the animals on the Jurd, covered with fat about an inch deep, contrast wonderfully with their lean dry brethren of the plain. Mohammed the Shikari anointed his slippers with the adipose tissue, which, despite all his bonne volonté, he was unable to consume.
After a cool night we were in the saddle at 5.20 A.M. on Tuesday, August lst, and traversing the Wady Ayn el Durrah,[FN#14] we ascended the direct mountain-road from Mu’arrá to Ba’albak. Then rounding the head of a parched valley, the Wady el Maksam, in which, as the name denotes, the high-way anastomoses, we passed a group of old round graves, rough heaps and circles of stones, called the Kubúr el Turkomán (Turkomans’ tombs), from the tent-dwellers who winter upon the Ba’albak plain. Certain travellers speak of ‘Turkoman Arabs,’ the latter word being used, I presume, as in our modern ‘City Arabs.’ Here probably in days of old was a Mazár or place of pious visitation. On our left lay a dwarf depression, separated by a watershed from valley No.
3: it is apparently the north-eastern end of the lateral basins which subtend the crest of the Anti-Libanus.
A ride of fifty minutes (equal to one and one-third direct geographical miles) placed us at the head of the Wady el Hawá (‘Fiumara of the Wind,’ meaning that which points to windward[FN#15]). This long depression, leading from the chain to the south- western part of the ‘Assál el Ward plain, contains the Ayn Hassíní; and some way down it is said to be a ruin, called Kabr el Shátir (of the Rascal? or the Running Footman?), with a ‘Hebrew’ inscription, probably some insignificant marks in the stone. We walked up the crest on our left, a prolongation of the Abu ‘l Hin ridge, which gave us a fine front and back view. Here we picked up a fragment of old glass much irisated, and we found the calcareous strata of leaf-thickness: as at Abú ‘l Hin, the limestone in situ was so regularly placed, that it suggested the foundations of walls. From that point travelling along a knife-board with a succession of Júrahs (sinks or swallow-holes) to the right, we headed the Wady el Marhalah, in which were goats and goat-herds; and threading huge cubes like Cyclopean masonry, we ascended the south-eastern flank of the Ra’as Rám el Kabsh, ‘Head of the High Place of the (wild) Ram,’ or Mouflon (Ovis musimon. The people call it Ra’as Rám el Jábil, their ‘Doric’ for Jebel.
Here the regular cliff-like crest, which we had followed on our left or westward from B’lúdán, apparently ends, but presently to reappear as a central spine. We could see nothing in front (35° Mag.) but a long perspective of lateral ridges running parallel but palpably detached, with broken ranges streaked with trees, and evidently parted by the deepest gorges. The general direction is somewhat south of east (80º-100º), towards the ‘Assál el Ward plain, and the drainage eventually feeds the waters of Yabrúd. Their names we afterwards learned are: 1. the Wady Bir Sahrij, which lay at our feet; 2. the Wady Bir el Washil,[FN#16] which anastomoses with the lower course of the former; 3. the Wady Zuwayyik (the Narrowish), said to contain two or three Mihrábs or praying niches of the normal size and fronting in the usual direction, but without inscriptions; and 4, 5, and 6. the Wadys Batrah, Za’arúr, and Bir el Khashabah, the latter rounding the southern base of Nabi Bárúh, whose hogsback arose in the distance. The ‘Prophet’ was backed by a cone, which we afterwards learned to call Tala’at Musa; whilst far on the north-eastern horizon appeared the Haláim Block. Evidently we might have kept our course along the western ridge, by rounding the valleys for some six miles, which would have brought us to cultivated ground. But we wanted a guide, and our horses were threatened with thirst as well as with hunger; so, being merciful men, we resolved to follow the nearest long depression, which we knew must lead to the ‘Assál el Ward village.
Before leaving the Rám we examined the country, and we found a wild currant (a Ribes rubrum, not the currant or Corinth of trade, which is a small and luscious grape):
): likethe gooseberry shrub, it hasapparently never beenMohammed called it Lok (
cultivated in these parts. We also saw for the first time upon the Anti-Libanus huge specimens of the wild honeysuckle (Díshár, pronounced Dayshawr), which in a stunted state we had met on Mount Tabor and on the Kulayb cone of the Jebel Durúz Haurán. We afterwards observed it in many high places, chiefly in basins, like the Wady el Fatlí, sheltered from direct exposure to the winds. An average specimen gave six feet of circumference to eleven feet of height; the flower was stunted, and the old bark was white and reticulated, whilst the young twigs were red. This tree probably comes from a northern region, or it could not thus prefer the barren Jurd. The Wady Bir Sahríj may be called the Honeysuckle Fiumara, as the growth far preponderates over all others, and we observed that the greater number of trees grew upon the western face. This is the windward, and consequently the rainward side. In the lower lands trees mostly affect the north flanks of rising ground, to avoid the heat of the sun, and thick scrub and undergrowth often interrupt an extensive view from the surveyor. So throughout Judea, in early spring the northern hill-fronts are green with grass and bright with flowers, whilst the southern slopes are still burnt and brown. And let it be remembered that the vernal is ever the worst season for the archaeologist: the outlines of ancient buildings and remains of antiquity are deep buried in tall gramens and in thistle-barrens rivalling the growth of the South-American Pampas.
Descending into the Fiumara-head at a point made remarkable by a broken line of curious sausage-shaped stones, whose well-weathered conglomerate abounds in fossils, we struck the excellent road of natural macadam which threads the gorge. Here we observed only one new shrub, the barbary or prickly pepperidge, locally called Barbarus
)[FN#17]andKaukabán: the elongatedberries of this frutexare used to cure (
stomach pains, and its wood makes the best of pipe-stems. The heights on both sides became, as we descended, more precipitous, and concentrated upon us an uncomfortable amount of caloric.
After two hours down the Fiumara we struck the Bir Sahríj, an old and solidly-built well twelve feet deep, with the usual adjuncts, swarms of flies, which appear in the most unlikely as well as in the most likely places, rough tree-trunks, and hollowed stones. The water, though muddy, was sweet cool. Continuing our course, we passed on the right what appeared to be the fragment of a road, and we saw cresting the tall ridge to our left broken and detached rocks perfectly imitating ruins. Here was the anastomosis of the Wady Bir el Washil, whose water-pit is also never dry. The heights lower down were seamed with paths; wood-cutters, charcoal-burners, and goatherds presently appeared; and finally cultivation marbled the gentler slopes. Mortally long seemed the rest of the way: after a ride of ten and a half direct geographical miles down the ‘Quebrada,’ it was 11 A.M. before we debouched upon the plain of Assál el Ward. The Wady Bir Sahríj evidently divides the comparatively well-watered southern section of the Anti-Libanus from the parched and dusty northern half. We can only suggest that here the limestone formation becomes more deeply fissured and less able to retain the springs,[FN#18] which directly disappear underground. The same rule holds good in the Libanus, where the northern is less fertile than the southern and lower half. But M. Girard de Rialle gives (loc. cit. p. 226) an exaggerated idea of the northern Anti-Libanus when he declares that it must be travelled on foot, and asserts: ‘Cette contrée est même si sauvage, qu’il est impossible de trouver un guide pour y pénétrer.’
It is now time to notice the wild vegetation through which we have passed. The chief characteristic is the great variety of thistles and thorns. The former do not, however, attain the stature of Palestine; but they are typical of the land as of Caledonia. We find the Shauk Azrak, or blue thistle; the Dardáriyyah, likest to our common Scotch species; and several that are more or less edible. The Shindáb is sledged for animals, like Tibn or crushed straw. The Shauk ‘Urs’anní, called Arba’aniyyah in the Libanus, is also an azure kind, eaten in Salátahs (soured milk with cucumber and other vegetables); the Shauk el Dabbús, or knob-stick thistle, contains in its large lavender-coloured head an edible kernel; the Murrár and the ‘Akkúb[FN#l9] are remarkable for ball and spikes with a leaf broader than usual; whilst the latter is much prized, especially by the Jews of Tiberias and Safet. It is, in fact, a wild artichoke, and far superior in flavour to the cultivated species. Of spiny plants we meet with the Ausaj, often mispronounced Aswaj, which makes the
), a cushioned spine with reddish flower; modern crown ofthornsat Jerusalem; the Tar (
the Billán or Tabbán, of many names; the Básit, like the Tabbán, but with a longer thorn, a mimosa leaf, and seed covered with white cotton; the Kabáb or Shibri, with white-gray and white-pink flower parted into four rays; and finally the dwarf red rose, which is as the Pyrenean compared with the Covent-garden strawberry. About the lines of water which streak the slopes with green grow the perfumed Na’na’ el Mayyah (water-mint); the yellow-flowered Hindibah, with edible leaf like the lettuce (an endive?); the Maddaydah bariyyah, a pink-coloured convolvulus with a colocynth leaf; the ‘Antírísa or dandelion; the two poppies known as Sha’rarí and Sha’rarí el Hamír; the Shukaylí, a grass with a bushy ear like that called Zayl el Kadísh or nag’s-tail; and the Hurbú barrí, a crow's-foot with red and yellow papilionaceous flower, pounded and externally applied to unclean wounds. Upon the higher and drier spots we find the rock cistus, pink and yellow; the Hallúb barrí, a euphorbaceous plant, glaucous below and gold above, the latter sometimes becoming a dull puce; the Zallúa’, whose gum is the reverse of fragrant; the wild rhubarb, the Funduk barrí, or wild filbert; the Tuffáh barrí, a miniature apple, whose pome is not eaten, although not considered poisonous; the Ajram or ‘Unnayb, an edible bilberry; and the Suwwayd, resembling a blackthorn, which is the largest of undergrowth. The latter is also found in the high plains, like the Hurmul plant, resembling the liquorice, whose seeds are considered medicinal. The growths most familiar to us are the Ishbat Mayyah, or buttercup; the Ward Kuttá or Ward el Wakíl the homely daisy; the Nafal or Náfilah, a white clover with a pinkish flower; the Khubbayzah Khitaní or Khuwaytmi, a wild hollyhock with pink and white blossom; the Kurt, or trefoil; the Uzn Jady, a big burdock with a blue flower; the pimpernel; the anemone (large and small); the wild pink, whose oat-like calyx grows upon every mountain, and is called by certain of the people Hashíshat Hamrá (near Tiberias, Humhum); and the chamomile, stored by the people for remedial use in winter. Of the latter there are two species, the Bábúnaj or white, and the Kahwán, also called Kaysún, the yellow. The Khubbayzah (a malva) follows the footsteps of man, and is found only about the villages and ruins; it is extensively used by the peasantry in years of dearth. This malva must not be confounded with the ‘Jew’s Mallow’ (Corchoris olitorius, in Hindustani Bhendi, and in Arabic Mulukhiyyah), which is so much cultivated in Egypt and Syria. There is in the richer grounds an abundance of the mountain sorrel (Oxyria reniformis), which Dr. Hooker found upon the Libanus, and which he regards as the typical representative of an Arctic and North-Alpine flora. Less familiar kinds are the Habbíyyah, a broom-like salsolacea;
), ayellow-theBawwál el Kalb, with a white bloomand a leaf like sage; the Ghazá (
blossomed artemisia or absinthe, whose wood is said to burn like holm-oak; the Kh’maysah, with whose caustic juice women blacken their hands; the Murrayr, a sage which smells like lemon thyme; the pink flower known as Katá el Wasl, or the jointed; and two yellow-flowered bulbs, one large, the other small, both called Kubá el Ráhib (friars’ caps), and eaten at Damascus. Finally, the slopes are over-grown with the Sha’ir barrí or wild barley, a true oat, which shows that here, as in India, the civilised species can be introduced: it is a plant of many names - Shúfán, Kháfúr, Salaysalah, and Sasaybán. Hence the Ghor el Saysabán to the north-east of the Dead Sea, one of the multifarious sections of the Jordan Valley. The Avena will grow in the hottest parts; for instance, upon the Ghuwayr (Little Ghor), north of Tiberias.
We halted within sight of the large bluish-gray ash-heaps and hillocks upon which ‘Assál el Ward is built, and of the dozen poplars that garnish its upper spring. My old friend Shaykh Sálih came out, and gave us the usual hospitable welcome; here the people, uncorrupted by travellers, are always civil in the extreme. The men, Shafei Moslems all, may muster some 250 guns; they are more than usually intelligent, especially in topographical matters, and they are never unwilling to fight. The coffee-pot was at once placed upon the fire, and the hungry and thirsty horses ate and drank their fill, whilst we were led to the cool divan: this was my second visit, and I shall long remember the little Syrian village in the uplands.
In the days when Syria was the Land of Roses, ‘Assál el Ward, as its name suggests, supplied the flower to the ottar-makers of Damascus. The harvest of sixty to seventy Kuntars has been reduced to one or one and a half by the domestic animals, chiefly the large flocks of goats, which being placed under no wise restraint as in the classical days, now work an incalculable amount of damage to Syria and Palestine. An old record in the Tower of London admits the claims of certain manor farms to turn their live stock into the forest, bidentibus exceptis; and in these days it is a truism to say, that whilst agriculture and manufactures multiply population, herding stock of all kinds diminishes it. Yet the people under present circumstances must sacrifice much for an animal which supplies them with milk, butter, and cheese, hair for clothing, and skins for the market.
The neighbouring village, Rankús, also produces a small quantity of roses, but all is called the produce of ‘Assál el Ward. Tolerable ottar is still made in the Ma’asumíyyah quarter of Damascus; but the distillers import the flower from every direction, even from Meccah. ‘Assál (of the Rose) is a well-to-do place; and the cold keen air, which compels the houses to be built like those of ancient Dun-Edin, almost without windows, and the rooms to be vaults rivalling those of Jerusalem, reddens the fat cheeks of the children, and preserves the fresh complexions of the graybeards. This settlement is of olden date, as fragments of columns and large cut stones prove.
On the next day (August 2) we set out betimes, accompanied by my good friend Shaykh Kásim, our host’s brother, who was bent upon guiding us the whole way. Passing the lower pond, which I had last seen frozen, we found an animated picture of village life in Syria: flocks and herds being driven to pasture; bullocks being yoked, and children taking their stations upon the tribula that here act as flail and thrashing instruments; while the adults were busied in the genial morning sun with pro- specting the grain-heaps which lay upon the floors. We took the southern or upper road to the hogs-back, a little Hermon known as Jebel Nabi Bárúh (pronounce Bárawh), of Baruch the Scribe. There is a northerly line, viâ, the Wady el Maghárah, where a large cave, said to contain two springs, long sheltered the Harfúsh Amírs, especially Emir Mohammed and his kerns, after these Desmonds of Syria were driven from the Arází Tufayl. The exploits of the Metawali (Shiah) chiefs, the last of the feudal barons, have supplanted in the popular mind the sad tale of the Druze Fakhr el Din Ma’an, and they are to Syria what the adventures of William Wallace and the Bruce were to the country-folk of North Britain.
Passing through the vineyards, whose vines have been brought from the village of Hám, we plucked the green grapes, to serve as a remedy against thirst, without the Nátúr or guardian daring to slang us from his leafy nest. Mixed with a little Raki, they form a very cooling drink. Dismounting beyond the vineyards, we walked up a stiff slope lying nearly north-east from ‘Assál el Ward, and we inspected the Maghárat Taht el Karnah[FN#20] (‘Under the Horned Hill’). This cavern is partly natural, partly artificial; the low entrance leads to a basin full of water, and beyond this appears a dark tunnel, into which people have crept for some dist- ance. [Memorandum. Never forget in these regions to carry a wax-candle in pocket.] Formerly a wild almond-tree marked the spot; now it has been cut down. The summit of the same hill is a long dorsum falling bluff to the east; and this, the most commanding site, conspicuous from the low-lands around, is capped by the ruins which the people call Dayr Taht el Karnah or Dayr Nabi Bárúh. They bear 5° from ‘Assál el Ward, and 34° from the Bárúh Mountain.
The remains are evidently those of a Sun-temple before they became a convent. The pronaos fronts eastward, with the altar to the west, and the dimensions of the cellar are 26 feet north to south, and 23 feet 10 inches east to west.[FN#21] The western wall, the least ruinous, or possibly the last repaired, measures 114 feet; and one of the stones is 11 feet in thickness, by 4 feet 6 inches broad and 3 feet 6 inches high: it is pierced for the entrance, a simple impost upon cut blocks, some of which show a well-raised bossage. To the north and south the peribolos or enceinte could hardly be traced, whilst there are vestiges of later building around, probably the remnants of the monkery. East of these ruins lies a large broken silo of exaggerated soda-water-bottle shape, and well built with stone and lime. The cliff beyond is riddled with sundry small caves like those of the adjacent hills, and the guides pointed them out as burial-places: they may have been larger before falling away with the wear and tear of time. We descendcd the north-eastern hill-slope by a spine showing traces of a paved causeway to a little knoll below, which looks like an outwork of the temple and the convent. Bits of old and iridescent glass were picked up, but the people with us knew nothing about coins. This Ba’al temple is unhappily built of rough conglomerates, the common stone of the valley, some of them prettily coloured and variegated as those which I admired in the diamond regions of Brazilian Minas Geraes. It is, however, a heterogeneous formation, alternately hard and soft, and thus easily degrading when exposed to severe weather. The ‘Convent under the Horned Hill’ is ruinous in the extreme; but it gave both my companion and myself the idea of being perhaps the most ancient which we had seen throughout Syria and Palestine.
Resuming our ride towards the mountain, we entered its eastern outliers, rough ground with abruptly-capped eminences of stone, and we passed on the left the mouth of Wady Za’arúr, up which there is a footpath to Ba’albak. The world was dotted over with black goats, the property of Jubbah, a small but turbulent village dependent upon ‘Assál el Ward. Thence riding over a rough hill-spur, we fell into the bend at the south-eastern base of Jebel Bárúh, and we visited the (eastern) Bir el Khashabah, which gives its name to this Wady. The well, known by its outlying lines of rough stone, is a cistern sunk ten feet in the conglomerate rock, and entered by a rude ladder: it is fed partly, they say, by a spring; but apparently it is more dependent upon the rains. As these had been scanty during the last winter, it gave only a little muddy water; but doubtless a thorough cleaning out would increase the valuable supply.
From the Bir el Khashabah my friend walked up the western slope of the hogsback, whilst I followed the south-western path, which my party had taken in November 1870. The latter, beginning through cultivation, zigzags over broken ground, which here and there causes all to dismount, and leads after some fifty minutes to the Makám Nabi Bárúh. This visitation-place is a rude circle of dry-stone wáll, some four feet high, and stuck over with rags, clubs, camel-sticks (the Muhajjin or Mas’hab[FN#22]), and similar rustic offerings. It was built by the well-known Rúfá’í family of Yabrúd, descended from the great Sufi Ahmad of Baghdad, and apparently it is utterly modern. No one pretends that Baruch[FN#23] the Scribe actuálly visited this wild spot in the Anti- Libanus; but a dream or a vision always suffices to create a place of holy visitation: the latter answers the popular demand, and none cares to inquire too curiously into the sources of the supply.
The view afforded a novel aspect of the Anti-Libanus. At this point a section of the breadth from east to west gives the outliers of the main crest, the dorsum itself, a rolling outline here and there broken by cliff and crag; and westward the Arází el Khashshá’ (‘Lands of the Rough Country’), a high and wavy expanse of reddish ground, remarkable for long and regular lines of trees, juniper all, which look black in the clear blue air. Farther would be the lower and western mountain crest, fronting the Cœlesyrian Valley; and beyond that the Cedar Block, still streaked and patched with snow, forms the horizon. In this section the eastern watersheds are uncommonly short, and the western are proportionably long.
In the distant south-west we could see the Ra’as Akhyár, the Ra’as Abu 'l Hin, and their adjacent blocks, all forming fine bold landmarks; whilst nearer we traced the long gray-white line of the Rám el Kabsh ridge. To the S.S. West (220° 30'), the pearly back of the Jebel Bísán, which during the first day’s march we had left on our right, fell into the upland plain; and the latter was bounded by the ‘palisades’ of Jebel Fakhúkh, cliffing to the west above the Helbon village. On the southern horizon the Hermon hogsback, whose ‘eternal snows’ had now nearly disappeared, lay athwart the line of the Anti-Libanus. North-west of us (296° 30') arose a prominent mass of tree-clad rock,
)el Jubáb: we shall presently visitwhich our guides erroneously called Kala’at or Oz (
the true Jubáb. Far to the S.S. East lay the blurred white blot denoting the northern Damascus Swamp, the Bahrat ‘Utaybah; and by its side, bearing 143° 13', rose the familiar pyramid Jebel Dakwah.
We resumed our way to the north-eastern peak, upon which, eight months before, I had built a Kákúr (bench-mark or cairn). Passing a large Jurah on the left, we reached the higher eastern vertebra, below which is a double sink. The characteristic stone of this mountain, which also extends to the eastern outliers that rise above the conglomerates of the plain, is a calcaire more than usually crystalline with a white fracture, in fact almost marble. This would represent the white stone (λίθός λευκός) of Josephus, and the Hebrew Shesh, which we translate ‘marble:’ of the latter I have never found throughout Palestine and Syria a true specimen in situ. The fine stone formerly used for the decoration of buildings came probably from Egypt and Greece; now it is imported from Marseille.
The apex of the Bárúh Block gave us a view to the north-east, before concealed: here rose straight before us the Shaykh el Jebál (Le Roi de la Montagne), the very summit of the Anti-Libanus. It is variously called, from its component parts, Tala’at Mus’a, Jebel el ‘Awaj, from a valley and a village; Jebel Fatlí, after a deep Wady in the mountains; and Jebel el ‘Uyún, from certain unnamed springs. We have distinguished it as the Fatlí Block, supplementing the absence of a general term amongst the natives; when asking for it, however, the traveller must call it Jurd Mu’arrat el Bashkurdí. He must also carefully distinguish it from the Ra’as Rafí’a or the Rafí’a Mu’arrá, a reddish block or buttress to the north-east (46° Mag.) of the Fatlí Proper by a Col with two remarkable nicks, which prove to be natural gateways, with piers or buttresses of rock.
After resting under a juniper, we set out along the crest, rounding on the left the head of the Wady bayn el Kala’atayn (Between the Two Forts), a name, I have said, locally given, like Husn, to lone and castellated blocks of limestone. The abrupt gorge is curiously disposed, devious as the Niger, trending through West, S. West, and South to East, instead of striking off directly to the latter. Here, some twenty years ago, the last Wa’il[FN#24] or ibex was killed. Beyond lay the upland wheat-fields belonging to the Mu’arrániyyín, or people of Mu’arrá. We travelled easily over crests and bridges between big sinks; but after one hour’s march we came suddenly upon the southern brink of the Wady el Fatlí. Here the gorge which divides the Nabi Bárúh Block from the apex of the Anti-Libanus, and which trends towards Lebwah in the Cœlesyrian Plain, forms a southern bulge or bay, yawning some 700 feet deep. The perpendicular rock-wall has a Mizáb or central gully for drainage; but that part is impracticable. Horses and laden mules, which find it a serious matter, must descend the abrupt slopes, broken with bare strata of stone, and strewed with moraine and humus. Here, in addition to the wild honeysuckle, we found a growth new to us, the Tin el Dubb,[FN#25] or Bear’s Fig, which others called ‘Anab el Marrán, because it bears a berry loved by birds. Reaching without accident the Bir el Fatlí, a well sunk ten feet in the chalky ground, and supplying icy-cold water, we sat upon the shady rock-shelves, which were composed of nummulitic limestone with encrinites (or nerineæ?), of which specimens were brought home: these fossils are useful, because they establish a precise age to the rocks. The stone was so hard, as almost to baffie the hammer. Here we listened to the echo, which distinctly said, ‘b’a ‘arifhum’ (I know them); and we were provided with Laban by the two wives of the civil goatherd As’ad ibn Yusuf, who wore a green turban in token of appertaining to the Holy House, Bayt el Rufá’í.
Resuming our way, we crossed the noble rock-walled gorge Wady el Fatlí by a ‘Darb el Khashabah’ (wood-road), whose natural metalling had been rollered by deep snows, by fierce winds, and by drag- ging heavy juniper-trunks: up this part at least a lady might have driven her pony-phaeton. We then breasted the summit of the AntiLibanus by an easy incline, a shallow Wady known as Tala’at Músá, the ‘Ascent of (a?) Moses;’ and after some forty-five minutes (equal to one and a half miles), we reached the rock-capped head. The escarpment was rich in ammonites and pectens, whilst the eastern counter-scarp was of bright ochre-coloured limestone, looking as if a certain ‘curious juice’ had lately been poured over it.
From this commanding site upon the great central knot we could effectually study the apex of the Anti-Libanus, which viewed from below, and indeed from almost every quarter, assumes the appearance, not inappropriate, of a mural crown. It forms a regular circlet of ridge surmounted by three peaks, and broken only to the east: here it is drained by the lesser Wady el ‘Awaj (the Crooked Gorge), whose mouth we shall pass tomorrow. The ‘Fatlí Block’ is bounded north by the greater Wady el ‘Awaj, and south by the Wady el Fatlí. The highest point (Ra’as el ‘Awaj), that caps the crest and bears N.N. East (18° 30' Mag.) from the summit of Tala’at Músá, was shown by a small clinometer with spirit-level to be some twenty feet higher than that upon which we stood. Eastward rose another point, dotted with juniper: this third head was decidedly lower. The aneroids corrected by the mercurial barometer-tubes gave 22·06; the temperature was 75° Fahr., showing that the Tala’at Músá cannot number less than 8740 feet - about the height assigned by Lieut. Warren to the Hermon.
Thus the apex of the Anti-Libanus, from which the Cedar Block bears 311° 30' (Mag.), is not at the south, where Mr. Porter has placed it, nor at the extreme north, where Lieut. Van de Velde has located it. The true position of the central Massif is at the head of the second third beginning from the Hermon. The correspondence of the highest altitudes in the Anti-Libanus and the Libanus is unusually regular. The Haláim reflect the Jurd Akkár, the Fatlí the Cedar Block, and the Ahhyár and Shakíf summits, the Jebel Sannín bearing from it 307° 30'; whilst the heights about the Horayrah village imitate the Kunaysah above Zahlah and the Jebel Kafr Salwán.
Descending the eastern slope of Tala’at Músá, we followed the eastern ridge leading to the red buttress, the Rafí’a Mu’arrá, whose expressive name, the ‘Cabo Delgado’ of the old Portuguese navigators, is derived from the thinness of its crest. We heard when too late, that to the south-west of the ‘Lean Mountain,’ on an eminence in the Wady Rasáil, there is a ruin called Husn Idrísí,[FN#26] which the people described as a look-out tower. Our way was rough, along the Col with two nicks - one a small, the other a large gap, looking from afar like hollow roads running between towers of rock, which not a little resembled the heads or buttresses of broken bridges. The guides and muleteers preferred descending into the Wady el ‘Uyún, a northern bay of the great Fatlí gorge, and there they found a good supply of water.
We rejoined the party by winding down the southern flank of the Rafí’a Mu’arrá into the valley below. Thence a short ascent and a very long descent over the western rim led us through vine-yards and fig-yards to the little old settlement Mu’arrat[FN#27] el Bashkurdi (of the Head Kurd). The peasants insist upon dignifying it with the title of Bash-Karriyah (the head village); a bastard term, half Turkish, half Arabic, and preferred only because it cuts off all connection with Carduchian foreigners. Like Jubbah and Falítah, neighbouring settlements, it is so hidden that the traveller is in its streets almost as soon as he sees them. It hugs the bed of a narrow Wady, defending it from the winds that sweep this bleak and barren upland: on the north rises the Ra’as el Muhaddad, and to the south are the Arází Mu’arrá, both being the lowest folds of the Anti-Libanus apex, the tail-end of Ra’as Rafí’a, whose outliers break in many directions the regularity of the ‘Assál el Ward plain.
The gorge-sides are both cut away, and in places are honeycombed with caverns; on the left bank, hard above where the settlement begins, is a long smoke-blackened and wagon-vaulted tunnel, with smaller piercings high up on both flanks. The former, known as the Husn (Fort) Mu’arrá, was probably the church of an old Laura or monastery: the smaller caverns show by the window above each door that they are hermitages; and the soft chalky rock has scaled off, till scanty traces are left of the steps leading up to the cells. The caves on the right hand are probably part of the normal extra-mural necropolis, which from Bayrut to Palmyra forms the invariable approach to all the classical settlements. And whilst the ancients hid their dead in the rocks, the moderns place them in whitewashed tombs of surprisingly different shapes upon some exposed hill-side.
Mu’arrat el Bashkurdí contains some two hundred houses, a number limited by the single little fountain which, traversing the settlement, flows off under a dwarf slab-bridge to feed the fields and orchards below. It is, as usual, filthily dirty, and the people have allowed their doors to be almost blocked up by the growth of offal. All are Moslems except a brace of ignoble Christians from Yabrúd, temporarily employed on tithe business for government, and not a few wear the green turban of the Rufá’í. The women are peculiarly hard-featured and ill-favoured.
In this out-of-the-way place, rarely visited by the tourist, we were of course hospitably received; as amongst the ancient Irish, with their Brehon law commanding that no Rath or residence should break up suddenly, lest the traveller be disappointed in his reception. The Shaykhs, who, according to custom, number half a dozen, contended for the honour of lodging us, and Shaykh Sa’íd carried off the prize almost by force. The reception in such places is almost always the same, supposing that the traveller has the sense to avoid a village of Nazarenes. The head or heads, accompanied by the notables, who, if ceremony is necessary, should be forewarned with a message, meet the stranger and his escort at a short distance beyond the houses, and the farther they go the greater the honour. As the two parties meet he reins in his horse and touches hands, snatching his away with a jerk if they attempt to kiss it, and reproachfully ejaculating, ‘Astaghfir Ullah!’ (I beg pardon of Allah, i.e. God forbid). If he allow the osculation, they kiss and compare him with a Khurí, or prete di casa, who delights in such outward and visible taken of homage, and who is kissed and ridiculed accordingly. Then, guided by the Shaykhs, each in strict precedence, he rides leisurely onwards, not hastening the pace lest he cause his hosts to run; and he dismounts at the door, whilst the chiefs and half a dozen notables rush to hold his horse, his stirrup, and his back under the shoulders. He should always, if possible, ride into the courtyard, no matter how broken be the gate threshold or how slippery the pavement; otherwise men will suspect that he is a born ‘Zalamah,’ or man afoot. He is then led to the Salamlik[FN# 28] (drawing-room) in winter, or in summer to the verandah under which the divan is placed; but he must not enter till the women who have been sweeping and sprinkling the floor have made themselves scarce. He sits down, doubling his legs a little - it is highly uncivil to present the boot-soles, like looking-glasses as the people say - whilst the party of graybeards and honoratioren forms a semicircle upon humbler rugs before him. Each salams and is salam’d to as he takes his place, squatting ceremoniously on his shins till the visitor says, ‘Khuz ráhatak’ (Take your ease), thus suggesting a more pleasant posture. If he fail in this act of decorum, they will after a decent interval change the seat; and if disposed to be impertinent, they will stretch out their shanks and require a rough reproof.
Water, pipes, sherbet, or lemonade, and lastly coffee, are brought; after which, if the Shaykh be ‘Insán’ - that is to say, a man opposed to ‘Wahsh,’ a wild beast - he will temporarily retire, expressly recommending repose to his guest, and he will proceed to hurry the ‘culinary department,’ especially if the good wife be a gossip or a gad-about. A breakfast, generally of cheese, soured milk, grape-syrup, raw green onions, boiled rice, wheaten scones, and eggs fried in clarified butter, is served shortly before noon. The stranger may drink his own wine, and produce cold meat from his saddle-bags; but the latter proceeding is not complimentary to his Amphitryon. At sunset flesh is usually added to the noonday material: a kid is a prime sign of honour; but the wayfarer may fall asleep before it is cooked. At both meals one of the family stands up, holding a metal pot full of drinking-water. Pipes, and coffee with or without sugar, conclude, as they commence, every movement. The sympathetic traveller will compel the Shaykh and the chief notables to sit at meat with him; and the followers and retainers will eat from the tray when removed to another part of the room. Signs of repletion, once so common, are now going out of fashion. At night there will be a Samrah or palaver, in which the state of the country generally, and of the village in particular, is discussed; grievances are quoted; the usurer and creditor are complained of; the governor and government are roundly abused; local legends are told; and the traveller can sometimes gather an abundance of topographical details, which he will be careful to verify in person. He is always invited to rest through the following day, and his excuses are received with respectful and regretful unwillingness.
Before leaving next morning, the stranger finds out the price of barley - he has of course taken measures to know that his animals fed well - and drops into the hand of a child or a woman the equivalent of his night’s entertainment. This, privately done, will not be objected to by any villager, however rich; yet, as a rule, all subscribe to entertain the guest. I made a point of paying for such entertainment the more strictly, as it was impossible for me to repay it in kind at Damascus. Shaykh Mohammed was impossible: he could not be asked to dine, to sit upon a divan, or even to occupy an outhouse, when mats and rugs, pillows and coverlets, were necessary. My usual plan was to place him in the house of some dependent, paying his expenses at the same time; but this necessary precaution is not looked upon as complimentary.
Probably the women of the family, even if Moslems, will, before the guest’s departure, offer excuses for their poor fare, beginning with ‘Lá tawákhizná (Don’t be offended with us); and he will hasten with many ‘Astaghfir Ullahs’ to express, however unsa- tisfied, his supreme satisfaction. He mounts cere- moniously as he dismounted; and preceded by his escort, he reins in at times, dismissing them with ‘Arja’u ya Masháikh!’ (Return, O Shaykhs!) They persist in walking to the last house, and even farther if extra civility is to be shown; here they again try to kiss his hand, which he pulls away, as before; and thus the visit ends. The visited then retire home, and debate about, primo, what has caused the event; secundo, what will be the best way of utilising it.
Shaykh Sa’id, to whose house we went, told off two of his relations, Sa’id and Táhir, to guide us on the next day. The contrast between these men, Syrian villagers pure and simple, and between Shaykh Kásim, who had seen Jerusalem and Hebron, Bayrut and Jaffa, is highly unfavourable to the former. They accompany the traveller not because they know the road, but apparently to honour him, and really to receive pay - say ten piastres or two francs per diem; consequently he soon finds himself obliged to guide his guides. They are gentlemen, who ride mules, carry guns, and wear embroidered jackets. Their feelings are hurt if they are asked to collect firewood; they are ever aristocratically fatigued; and they openly wonder at the Orsonism which prefers the Jurd, abode of bears and other beasts, to the hovels of civilised man. Their screaming voices and perpetual directions, ‘Ta’ál haw-aw-awn!’ (Come this way), affect the nerves. Their brains are the brains of children. They will undertake to pilot anywhere; yet presently, after set- ting out, comes a hint that they have seen the line once, perhaps twelve or fourteen years ago. Though they have been told for hours what is the object of the day’s march, they will ask, especially if they dislike the trip, ‘Do you really wish to see such-and-such a place?’ When they have transparently dodged from dawn till noon to prevent a pull up a mountain or a scramble into a Wady, and have failed, they will inquire, ‘And why did you not say where you wanted to go?’ -thus throwing all blame upon the employer. If they lag behind for a sleep, and allow the misguided one to toil on alone, they will, when twitted with idleness, boldly blurt out the lie direct: ‘You told me to halt there!’ Should any question concerning details, of which they are utterly ignorant, be put to a chance goatherd, they will cry out, ‘Yah! the Ma’áz knows nothing;’ and yet five minutes afterwards - such is their inconsequence – ‘Had we not better engage the Ma’áz to show the way?’ Meeting a brother peasant, they will clamour for his being taken as an extra guide: ‘Mohammed Falítah knows every span of the mountains;’ concerning which they are sure that he is profoundly ignorant. But they rely upon the European being a stranger
-ergo a fool. Consequently they are ever trying to circumvent him: they privily tell his escort not to show him interesting places, which may waste time; and they deter him from trouble, which they deem useless, by exaggerating distances, by sinking enormous ravines, and by sending hosts of Bedawin to scour the land. In this matter they equal the craftiest Dragoman, and even the Consular Kawwás (Janissary), of all travelling companions the least satisfactory. Yet they yield to pressure as readily as they ‘dodge;’ perhaps remarking, ‘The English always will have their own way!’
[FN#1] It is difficult to understand why Murray’s Handbook (passim) insists upon retaining the bastard Latin and Greek term ‘Anti-Lebanon,’ Libanus is found in Psalm
xxix. 5. Anti-Libanus we may derive from the Greek with Eusebius (Onom. sub voce Anti-Libanus), and it has, moreover, the merit of being legitimate. [FN#2] Burckhardt writes, after the Syrian mispronunciation, Zebdéni for Zebadéní, and Ainette for Aynata; but in the same page we find such barbarisms as Moya (water), and Argile (for Nargílah) a waterpipe, and elsewhere Djebel es Sheykh for Esh Shaykh. M. Gérard de Rialle prefers Zebdany and Bludân. [FN#3] This word is variously written by Arab geographers, nor can any savant in Damascus explain the meaning. Yákút (Báb el Bá) gives Barada and Baradíyyá;
), makingit spring inthe Zebadáni plain. Thereis no Firozabadi, Baradat or Barada (
such word in classical Arabic as Baradah, which English writers have attempted to connect with hail, sleet, tempest. The vulgar, however, sometimes use Baradah in the sense of Mabrad, a file.
[FN#4] In classical Arabic the white poplar is Hawar, plural Húrán; but Syrians always corrupt it to Haur. [FN#5] Literally rich arable land, here generally applied to narrow cultivated lowlands. Similarly in classical Arabic ‘Fajj’ is a broad way especially between two mountains: here it is pronounced Fijj, and applied to a cluse, gap, or narrow gorge. [FN#6] The name is popularly derived from ‘Dakk’ el Nákús (the bell struck): it was a Christian village with a large convent. Marmarun (from Marmar, being angry) is suggested by the murmurings of those who had to climb its stiff sides. [FN#7] In classical Arabic Fakhukh would be Fakhkh, a gin or snare. [FN#8] I can only suggest that the word is a Syrian corruption of the classical Arabic Kuz
), a round heap or hill. Other debased pronunciations areGhánimfor Ghanam, Jábil (
for Jebel, Hossa for Hasa (pebbles), and so forth. [FN#9] The Ta’lab, also called Abu Husayn (Father of the Little Fort), is the fox, in Morocco termed Akkáb; while Tálib Yusuf and Wa’wi are the jackal. Arabs do not say ‘jackal,’ although the Hebrews have Shu’al and the Persians Shaghál (not Shagul); nor do they confound Dhub (Dib, a wolf) with the fox (pp. 85-6 of Dr. Tristram’s Natural History of the Bible; London, 1860: a book which would be valuable, were it subjected to many corrections). [FN#10] Baghr in classical Arabic means a heavy sudden shower of rain, that moistens the earth and waters the land. [FN#11] Mr. Pengelly, F.R.S. (Quarterly Journal of Science, July 1871, pp. 328-29), explains the fact that fossil oysters and limpets are common, whilst cockles are rare, by the suggestive discovery of Mr. Sorby. The latter in 1862 pointed out that the carbonate of lime in the oyster, the limpet, and certain other mollusks, took the form or condition of calcite, whose molecules are in stable equilibrium; whilst the cockle-shells and their allies are of the unstable arragonite. [FN#12] Quoted from an able paper upon the Coleopterous fauna of Palestine, by the assistant-librarian of the University of Cambridge. [FN#13] Burckhardt (p. 487), however, afterwards saw cinnabar in the Sinaitic Peninsula. It was called Rásúkht by the Arabs, who usually found small pieces about the size of a pigeon’s egg, especially in the gneiss formation. [FN#14] Mr. Porter (p. 311, 2d edition, Five Years in Damascus), when travelling from the capital to Ba’albak, crossed the ‘backbone or Anti-Lebanon,’ and lunched at the ‘fountain or Dura.’ But where he found the basalt above the water I am unable to guess. Possibly it may exist; but more probably ‘basalt’ is a confusion with ferruginous sandstone. The latter, indeed, at times so well imitates the igneous formation, that the two cannot be distinguished by the ‘geologist on horseback’ – as poor Mr. Schoolcraft had it. [FN#15] Hence in Syrian towns the Bab el Hawa is the gate that faces to winward. [FN#16] In the singular Washlah, or water-pit, a term common in these mountains. In classical Arabic, Washal (plural Aushál) wou1d mean a small quantity of water, especially running or dripping from a height. Sahrij, though not given in the common dictionaries, is a fountain; hence the ‘Chafariz,’ for which the Portuguese are so much derided by the Spaniards. [FN#17] Here never pronounced Barbaris, the Arabic form given in our derivative lexicons.
[FN#18] Thus, to mention no other cases, the Kaldá River in Iceland, after an impetuous run of a short two miles, entirely disappears beneath the lava-fields. [FN#19] Burckhardt (p. 333) miswrites the word Khob. [FN#20] Karnah is a corner; also the horn, extremity, or projection of a thing (e.g. spear or mountain). [FN#21] I find in my note-book a genera1 remark, that the altar is usually a quarter length of the whole temple, not including the portico. Unfortunately, however, I left Syria before this cou1d be verified by a sufficient number of measurements. [FN#22] This article appears to be universal in the nearer East: we find it in the old frescoes of Egypt and in the hands of the modern Peloponnesan. In the Morea it is one of the principal relics of Moslem rule, the others being the fez, the bagged breeches (which are waxing rare), the nargilah, the papooshes, and the ‘seal of Solomon’ on the walls and doors. [FN#23] The Baron d’Anglure (Le Saint Voyage de Jerusalem, A.D. 1395; Paris, Rue Caumartin, 1858) calls Bayrut ‘Baruch.’ [FN#24] Evidently the Hebrew Ya’êl, the climber. It is a beast of many names: Wa’il (not Wa’al), in the plural Wu’úl, often corrupted by the Bedawin and others to Mu’ál; Tays el Jebel (mountain he-goat); Widád in parts of Africa, and in Morocco Taytát. About Mount Sinai it is known as Badan (plural Budun), meaning primarily a body, and secondarily applied to fat cattle, camels, and horses. The remarkably knobby and imperfectly ringed horns of the Syrian Wa’il suggest that it is a different species from the Sinaitic. About the hills of the Palmyra-Jayrúd Valley large flocks of ibex abound, and the country people bring in the meat for sale. It is of a remarkably dark colour, and heating, though well flavoured: the chief fault, when we tasted it, was its excessive leanness. Burckhardt compares it with the Steinbock or Boquetin of the Swiss and Tyrol Alps, and tells us that in his day the horns were worked into handles for swords, daggers, and knives. [FN#25] This may be the Khokh el Dubb, or Bear’s Plum, found by Burckhardt on Mount Hermon. [FN#26] We also were afterwards told of a mountain Abú Idrís, pronounced Daris. Its Hurúf (bounding hills) are alluded to when describing the view from the Halímat el Kabú. [FN#27] It must not be confounded with Mu’arrá near Saidnáyá, as was done by our guide to the Cedar Block, Fáris Rufáil (chap. i. part i.). [FN#28] A modern writer who has been many years in the country confuses this word, half Arab, half Turkish, with ‘Salám Aleik’ (‘Alayk), Peace be upon thee! - vulgarly ‘Salem Allicum.’
RETURN MARCH THROUGH THE ANTI-LIBANUS TO B’LUDAN.
AFTER a sleep in the moonlight, which did us no good, we left dirty hospitable Mu’arrat el Bashkurdí at the late hour of 8 A.M. (August 3): these villagers are by no means, like Hindus, early risers, which may partly be accounted for by the temperature and the altitude of their village - 5680 feet. Rounding the rough northern hill, Ra’as el Muhaddad, and leaving to our right the shallow vine-clad valley, Zábih el Ráhib, we watered at the
),a stone-lined well sunksometwenty feet inthe Fiumara. We afterwards Bir Bir’ad (
travelled along the western foot of the Zábih el Makábir (Dwarf-hill of the Cemeteries), whose slopes bore frequent stone-heaps. Of this place the people have preserved many traditions that date from the crusading days: how Jemál el Dín Abú Shíhah, jester of the mighty Malik el Dáhir, penetrated disguised as a monk into the fortified convents of Mu’arrá and Már Ya’kúb near Kárá, and opened their doors to his master; how the mob of Cœnobites and soldiers was massacred; and how in a mighty battle between Moslem and Christian, the latter peopled these slopes with their slain.
We then emerged upon the upland plateau, which farther north falls into that of Kárá. It is a rolling expanse, disposed in regular ridges by shallow Wadys, the lower courses of torrent-beds that drain the ‘Eastern Mountain;’ and at this season it is all barrenness, except where some perennial fountain greens a patch of field, or feeds a few poplars. The wintry cold is extreme, when biting winds blow snow and sleet, explaining the native saying:
‘Bayn Kárá wa Nabki
Banát el Mulúk tabki.’
‘Twixt Kárá and the Steep[FN#l] Kings’ daughters (i.e. fur-clad women) oft must weep (for cold).’
Close by our left ran the long line of the northern Anti-Libanus, and it showed well the Fatlí Block drained by the lesser Wady el ‘Awaj, and separated from its northern neighbours by the greater gorge of the same name. At either jaw of the latter rose a regular cone: the northern pap was known to our guides as the Halímat Subbah, or Kasírah. Beyond it, after a line of insignificant heights, the Karnat or Sadr el Wayrik
)displayedits regular pyramid, with the anglessharply defined by the golden lights (
and the purple shades of morning; whilst farther still appeared successively the Halímats Wady Zummarání, Kurrays, Kar’á, and El Kabú. The Wadys dividing these features are,
); the Wady el Maghárah; thegoing from south tonorth, the Wady el Makhnaf (
Wady el Harík, which has a double mouth, northern and southern; the Wady el Wayrik; the Wady Zummarání; the Wady Khirbat el Bárúd; the Wady el Mál; the Wady Mar-Tobíyá; and lastly the Wady el Kárin, where the large blocks fall with four principal undulations into the plain of El Hasyah, which the Turks call Iki-Kapu-li, or the Two-gated.
The Wady Zummarání, by the people pronounced Zummarawni, with the a (of father) broadened into the aw (of yawn), means the ‘Piping Fiumara;’ so called from the violence of the wintry winds which sweep it.[FN#2] The course is a little south of west (Mag.), and from its mouth the town of Kárá bears 85° (Mag.). It is the southern limit of
), inthe the Haláimproperly socalled.The classical Arabic word would be Hilmah(
plural Halmát, nipples, here corrupted to Halímah and Haláim. The word corresponds with the two hills called the Paps in the Lake Region of Southern Ireland, of which a traveller in the last century tells us, ‘They are smoothly formed to the fairest portion, imitating in the closest manner the beautiful outline of a woman’s bosom.’ Burckhardt also proposes to translate Beteddin, the seat of the Libanus Pashalik, by the Syriac ‘two teats, from the similarity of two neighbouring hills, upon one of which the village is built.’ Usually it is considered to be a corruption of Bayt el Din, from a religious house which once existed there.
Viewed from the eastern heights - for instance, above Már Músá el Habashí, the eastern limit of the Kárá Plain, and the western wall of the Palmyran Valley -this northernmost block of the Anti-Libanus seems to consist of a range ending north and south with two giant buttresses, supporting a broken sky-line of paps and cones somewhat inferior in elevation. The eye also can hardly determine which is the higher, the Fatlí Block or the Halímah; but the aneroid readily decides. The four greater Haláim, running from north to south, are:
), the ‘bald pap;’ similarly Mount Casius, near the Gulf ofHalímat Kar’á ( 3.
Antioch, is called in the masculine Akra’ (Jebel Okra), the Bare Mountain. The reason in both cases is the comparative want of trees. This Halímat is a round and lumpy eminence, presenting to the eastern plain two large and sundry smaller shields of lime-rock, whose strata are almost perpendicular. Upon the Cedar Block we heard it called Jebel Kárá, from the large town which is nearest to it; and the peasantry would naturally prefer the well-known
) has beenidentified withComochara,a bishopric ofname to Kar’á. Kárá (
the Second Phœnicia, under the Metropolitan of Damascus and the Patriarch of Antioch: the Greek name is a corruption from the Arabic Kumm Kárá[FN#3] (the Mound of Kárá).
called par ), of theCovered Cisternor vault,[FN#4]Halímat el Kabú ( 4.
excellence El Halímah (the Pap), but not ‘Jebel el Halímah’ (Mountain of the Pap). From the eastern plain it appears a small saddleback, topping the Kar’á (No.3), and hardly to be distinguished as a separate feature, although divided from it, and indeed from each neighbour, by a deep and toilsome gorge. The Cedar Block shows it standing boldly up, and claiming to be the King of the Mountains. Seen from between Hasyah and Hums, it rises during the winter a tall snowy peak with two foregrounds, the farther blue-brown, and the nearer brown. North of Jebel el Shakíf, it is the only feature given by Van de Velde (Stanford’s edition); and he declares it to be the ‘highest top’ of the Anti-Libanus, which it is not.
Bending towards the northern block, we passed on the left the Khirbat el Bughúl, one of many ruins in a classical land, and we crossed the well-trodden path leading to the Baydár - not thrashing, but sledging floor – of the Falítah village. The settlement, which lurks deep hid from the rude winds in the Wady el Fusúkh, is known by its rock-crowned cone, the Husn Falítah. After filling our water-skins at the Bir el Abyaz, we struck the eastern feet of the Anti-Libanus, upon whose folds were patches of ploughed field, particularly affecting the bays and short shallow valleys not much subject to Sayls or torrents. The Wady el Makhnaf, which lay upon our path, showed signs of lately having rolled three feet deep of water: rain, unusual at this season, had been remarkably heavy in the Anti-Libanus. Beyond it lay two wells, the Masna’ el Atrúbah, both dry, and the Maghárat Hájj ‘Umar, a large cave at the mouth of the Wady Wayrik.
Here we should have stood in full sight of the Kárá plain, had it not been partially obscured by the ‘smokes,’ where the salsolaceous Sinán is burnt for alkali. Knowing the place well, we could trace its several features: on our right, the Zábil el Kasr, a castellated hill forming the northern terminus of a sub-range, which the Rafí’a Mu’'arrá projects into the plain and its prolongation of low mounds, behind which are the well and the ruined village El Jarájír, so called from the gurgling of the rain-torrents. The trees and fields of Kárá and its outlying monastery, of Dayr ‘Atiyah, and of Nabk, pleasantly variegated the brown upland; and on the eastern sky-line, far over the range of Már Músá el Habashí, rose the ‘Abd and ‘Abdah (Slave and Slavess), the cone and conelet which cap the eastern outliers of the Palmyran Valley.
At the mouth of the Wady el Mál, the very jaw of a mountain gorge, and the next in importance to the Zummarání, we bent west towards the nearest water: the northern Fiumara, Wady Khirbat el Bárúd, would have been a nearer way to the Kabú summit. The Col was remarkably easy, and here once more we breathed the light brisk air of the Jurd: the sensation of a cloak falling from the shoulders much reminded me of the atmosphere of Brazilian Sāo Paulo after the damp horrors of rusty and mildewed Santos. Hence a descent and a dwarf rise led us to the Washlat Kurrays, near the southern end of the western ‘nettle-pap:’ it lies at the head of the great Wady Fárih, similar in name to that of the Jurd Ba’albak, and also draining to the Cœlesyrian Plain. The water, bubbling down a short conduit of cut stone, pours into a little pool surrounded by a dry wall, and, like the Biyá-Gorá or night-flowing stream of the Somali Country, it is notably more copious during the cool dark hours. It supplies thirsty travellers on the way from Ba’albak to ‘Assál el Ward, reapers (Hassádín) of the upland crops, and large flocks of white and light gray goats. Mr. Tristram (The Land of Israel, p. 608) says that upon the Libanus any other colour than black is rarely met with. We ever found the contrary to be the case: the goat, like the negro, as a general rule, waxes fairer in the higher, and consequently the less heated, altitudes. At this well we first saw the Zaghzaghán Abú Masáh (or Sweeper, i.e. with its tail), a true magpie; and we afterwards met it singly and in pairs on the Jurd, to the south-west, and in the Wadys Bir el Khashabah and Jubáb. Many have observed it upon the Libanus as well as on the Anti-Libanus, and in places it is numerous as in the Western Morea.
We rested at the well and water-pit of Kurrays, which lies five hours’ ride (equal to about twelve and a half direct geographical miles) from, and almost due north of Mu’arrat el Baskurdí: after feeding we started, despite the remonstrances and the prognosti- cations of the goatherds and the guides, to visit the highest of the Haláim Block, El Kabú. In order to save time, we were led ‘cross country by a short cut, which, as usual, proved itself the longer way, necessitating the descent of a deep valley smaller than, but not unlike, the Wady el Fatlí. Thence we fell into the Sultani or high-road from
, St. Tobias),Fíkah to Kárá,which runsupand down theWadyMárTobíyá(
pronounced ‘Mártábyá.’ Passing sundry bays in the great Halímah, which promised short but sharp ascents, we dismounted at the Pass, and turning suddenly to the left, we ascended in. forty minutes the long eastern spine. On the way were two large outcrops of the hard limestone rock which, resisting degradation, forms knobs on the sides, cliffs at the faces of the hills, and everywhere good copies of ruined walls and towers. The upper fourth of the mountain is revetted with this substance, compelling horses to go round by the north: in the latter direction it caps the lower heights, like platforms or tables. This calcaire breaks into the usual cubes and cubelets: its characteristic colour is yellow banded with pink, in many variegated and contrasted lines and meanders, doubtless caused by unequal distribution of the colouring oxide of iron. I have seen it cut into pillars, which when new and polished are highly ornamental.[FN#5] It is often met with in large thin plates, which are easily broken. This stone is found not only all over the Haláim Block, but also on the eastern and parallel range of Már Músá el Habashí. My companion picked up a brown striated stone, which seemed to be coarse alabaster, like that found about the Dead Sea; and I remarked a nodule of the snow-white chalk, set in a framing block of yellow chert, which reminded me of Jebel Sannín. Upon these heights the thistle, five to six feet high below, and seven to nine feet tall in the Jordan Valley, dwindles to two to three inches. A drab-coloured field-cricket was frequently seen.
The Kákúr, or stone man, which I had planted upon the summit had been overthrown: though frail, these structures are protected by the snows from the power of the winds. But unfortunately it had been placed at the edge of a dwarfpit in which Makhbáyá, or hidden hoards of gold and silver (the native disease of Syria seems to be Buried Treasure on the Brain), is said to be Marsúd or magically guarded; and the visit of a Frank had of course caused a fresh search. Here, as upon the Fatlí Block, swarms of ladybirds -less prettily termed by us lady-cows, by the Christians Dellálah, and by the Moslems Umm ‘Isa - nestled under the stones, as in the chinks of St. Paul’s dome, and the hollows were scattered with their last winter’s dead. The elytra were of buff yellow rather than red, each wing had three (?) spots, and they reminded me of the Coccinella described from the ‘Rob Roy specimens’ by Mr. F. Smith of the British Museum. My fellow-traveller brought away a boxful for maturer investigation. According to Mr. Crotch, before quoted, the ladybirds or Coccinelladæ of Palestine are not abundant nor remarkable; the common seven-spotted species appears to occur there without change, and is in fact spread over half the world.
An east to west section of this the northernmost line of the Anti-Libanus gives - 1. the outliers of the main ridge, such as the Jebel Kar’á and its dependencies, called the Hurúf (points or peaks) of Már Tobíyá; 2. the Halímat el Kabú, which is the eastern apex of the main ridge, and bounding a large valley opening and draining to the west; 3. an upland plain of rolling ground, broken and treeless, but not wholly uncultivated, shedding towards Cœlesyria - we shall ride down it to-morrow; and 4. the western ridge of rough and barren hill which forms a right bank for the head valley of the Orontes.
The Halímat el Kabú stands at an altitude of 8257 feet above sea-level, 464 feet below the Fatlí Summit, and 52° feet above the Ahhyár or Southern Block. From its summit we enjoyed a view at once extensive and picturesque; far superior, indeed, to anything seen in the Libanus. Southwards, where is the finest sight, appear in lengthened perspective, and differently tinted by distance, the several planes of ridge, separated by their respective gorges. Below the vertical precipice under our feet, and beyond the skirts of the Halímah, rise the two parallel lines of the Kurrays; steep savage hills, flat-topped, and disposed like dykes, their sides banded with stony outcrops and dotted with the darkest juniper. Farther off in the bluer air stand the waving Hurúf of Abú Idrís, backed by the Sadr el Bostán and the Hurúf Ayn Sharkíyín, the ‘salient points of the Fount of the Easterns,’ a labyrinth of range and chasm. Farthest upon the azure horizon is the diademed head of the Fatlí Summit, still showing three points, and connected by the narrow ridge with its subject height the Ra’as Rafí’a Mu’arra. Contrasting with these bold altitudes lies the south-eastern plain of ‘Assál el Ward, an upland which here appears a lowland: its billow-like edging, the Jebel Marmarún or Danhá, and the stone-breakers of Rankús, part it from the eastern or lower gradient, the Kárá-Nabk terrace, whose boundary is the long low lump, Már Músá el Habashí. To the west, beyond the valley of the Orontes, where the white patch of the Hurmul village and its decaying pillar are conspicuous, rises the lumpy dome, reddish-yellow and tree-dotted, known as the Sha’arah of Ba’albak. Above these outworks of the highest Libanus towers the long bald chine of the Cedar Block, on which still linger long lines and large spots of snow, which glow like amethysts in the evening light. On the Libanus, the Anti-Libanus, and the Hermon, as on the part of the Atlas lately visited by Dr. Hooker, ‘all the snow that falls annually on fairly-exposed surfaces melts in the same year.’ The three summits of nearly equal altitude fret the sky-line, and the ‘Uyun Urghush buttress is set off and detached from the wall-like surface by the shadow which it casts upon the long and regular ridge that backs it. Farther north, the apex of the Libanus falls into the Jurd of Tarábulus (Tripoli), speckled with black points and dotted with cones; while farther still, the mountains are absorbed by the valley of the Nahr el Kabir, the Eleutherus River. To the west there is a gleam of distant sea, adding another glory to the view; whilst almost melting into a blue cloud of hill, the Jebel el Húlah, or southernmost heights of the Jebel Kalbíyyah, the haunts of the mysterious Nusayri. Between the N.N. West and the N.N. East, the glance, passing beyond the foreground of ever-decreasing ridges and hollows, falls upon the Orontes Lake and thready stream; upon the rich cultivation of Hums and Hamáh, one of the gardens of Syria; upon the tiny clumps of trees, each denoting a settlement; upon the ridge of Salámiyah, that outpost of ancient Tadmor, and upon the unknown steppe, El ‘Aláh, and the Bedawin-haunted tracks which sweep up to the Jebel el Abyaz; whilst on the clearest days the Castle of Aleppo bounds, it is said, the septentrional horizon.
After making sketches and taking angles we descended the Halímat on the N.N. West flank, guided by a civil goatherd in the service of the now super- annuated Agha Mohammed Suwaydán of Kárá. He told us that the Kabú, which gives its name to the Pap, was not far down; but we were somewhat unpleasantly surprised, as the sun was falling low, to find that it was at the very base of the mountain. At the foot of a shallow shunt lay a plentiful supply of cold sweet water; a deep well, a reservoir, a conduit of cut stone, and an independent spring discharging into a dwarf pool, showed traces of old and solid work. A few paces to the north-west lay the ruins of a small and rustic Sun-temple, facing east, and retaining remains of antæ. The North-South walls of the cella (?) measured inside seven and a half feet; and ten feet to the north lay the tracings of the peribolos or enceinte, which almost always accompanies these buildings. Farther to the north-west stood the Kabú, a dry cistern with heavy masonry, in the lower courses rudely arched over, and broken down towards the east: this might be of any age, as the experience of my companion in the true Moabitic region suggested. Finally, the ruins were bounded on the west by a single line of tall stone wall, composed of big and small blocks, some drafted and bossed, others plain; evidently old materials put together at a later date, and apparently of no use whatever.
From the Kabú we had a weary ride back to the Kurrays fountain. We rounded, despite the shouts of the guides, who struck up-hill, the western flanks of the Halímah, whose folds and ridges, separated by Fiumaras, shallow at this low altitude, seemed to grow as we advanced, and though the natural road was excellent, we had to spare our animals for the next day. The only signs of animate life that drew our attention were the scratchings of the partridge upon the hill-sides; a large burrow, evidently occupied by the badger of Syria (Meles Taxus, by the people called Gharárah[FN#6]); and two gazelles, whose gray coats glinted white through the shades, as they paced towards their resting-place leisurely, and with frequent halts to turn back and stare - the Singhavalokan[FN#7] of the Hindu. Here as in Arabia, and indeed in the tropics generally, the best stalking time is the earliest dawn, when animals are far more intent upon feeding than on suspecting danger. During the midday they seek refuge from the sun in places where they can rarely be found; and in the evening they are wild and scared, keeping a sharp look-out whilst they make ready for the night: at such times they will run to considerable distances.
It was a long time before we fell into the Fíkah-‘Assál el Ward road, traversing the mountains to the Wady el Mál; and we saw with pleasure, through the darkening air, its white thread stretching over the red-brown hills. The cross-country track proved itself in places uncommonly rough and slabby, the ground having been bared to the bone, and the bone broken by the use of centuries, which had never seen it repaired. Mohammed the Shikarí, Shaykh Sa’íd the guide, and his companion, fell far behind; in fact, they did not come in till a good hour after us. After a single ‘purchase of pigs,’ as the Brazilians call losing the path, we hit the right-hand rim of Wady Fárih, and thence a long and rough ascent, crossing the ground-waves which formed its head, placed us at the camp. It was the only occasion during my travel in Syria and Palestine when I felt thoroughly tired; my Rahwán, though a Kurd nag, trembled with weakness; and had it not been for the advice of my fellow-traveller, I should have spent the night upon the hill-side. The youth Habíb had built a glowing fire, the beds were spread, tea was brewed, and presently the arrival of a kid restored all to the best of humours. Our day had given us fifteen hours of hard work, and we uncommonly enjoyed the fine cool night, illuminated by the first annual fall of ‘shooting stars.’ Is M. Chapelas right in his theory of double meteoric currents -the higher constant, and the lower variable?
On the next morning, Friday, August 4th, we resolved upon returning to ‘Assál el Ward by a long circuit to the south-west; thus we should be able to prospect the third part of the East-West section of the northern Anti-Libanus, including the Ba’albak Crest, which we had missed by travelling down the Wady Bir Sahríj. Nothing would then be wanting for the route map but a ride up the Cœlesyrian Valley, so as to fill-in the bearings of the western Wady-mouths. We had forage for our beasts; water was promised along the whole way; and we were excited by hearing of inscriptions and ruins.
Our course began down the long Wady Fárih, near whose mouth we found a small troop of horses at grass. We then passed on the left the Wadys el Dubb (the Bear) and of Zummarání (the Piper). At this elevation, the Fiumaras, whose mouths are so deeply cut and precipitous where they debouch upon the ‘Assál el Ward gradient to the east, disappear in the upland plain of rolling ground which bounds the main ridge on the west. We afterwards found the same to be the case at the Ba’albak Crest, and it became at once apparent why the gorges of the Anti-Libanus opening east and west bear different names. In Arabia generally Wadys are seldom called the same on both sides of a water-shed: here, moreover, there is no connection between them, and the lines of road, as well as the valleys, traverse, as it were, neutral ground.
The Sahlat or plainlet at the head of the Zummarání was cultivated with upland wheat, a pigmy growth of a few inches, and on one of them we counted eight heads bearing a small horny grain too hard for man’s teeth. A few sickles were afield, but they did not prevent our men from somewhat abusing the privilege of gleaning; and we met a party of peasants going to their homes at the Cœlesyrian village ‘Arsál - they were absolutely ignorant of everything that lay to the right and left of their path. The country was well grown with the Lauz barrí, a wild almond bearing a stunted bitter fruit rich in Prussic acid; it is an article of trade at Damascus, where it is pressed for hair and body oil. Burckhardt (Syria, p. 112) speaks of Birittan, evidently confounding the Butm or terebinth with the ‘bitter almond, from the fruit of which an oil is extracted, used by the people of the country to anoint their temples and forehead as a cure for colds.’ There was a quantity of wild pear at this season, small and berry-like; it ripens about the ‘Id el Salíb, the Festival of the Invention of the Cross (o.s. September 14), a holiday of distinctly astronomical origin, and here the popular date for the beginning of autumn: it is known even to Moslems, who, as well as other peoples, require certain luni-solar dates. The wild pear is preferred for comfits on account of its superior flavour, and a score of them with a scone or two of wheat is many a stout carle’s meal. The abundance of Kaykab or maple suggested that the sugar-tree of Southern Italy and Canada might here be made valuable.
Presently we struck up a large and well-defined Fiumara, which, as usual, rejoices in as many names as a Portuguese Grandee; its clear blonde sands and its avenued trees reminded me of Somaliland. At this point it is the Wady Khírbat Yonayn (Yunín), a settlement apparently of the old Troglodytes, Terrigenæ, and Antricolæ, some thirty caves, many of them broken, a few blocked up, and some converted with adjuncts of dry wall and juniper roof into cool and comfortable quarters for the ubiquitous goatherd. There were remnants of shattered walls built apparently without plan. Yunín, which must not be confounded with a flourishing village of the same name between Ba’albak and Lebwah, hugs the left bank of the torrent-bed; and a large cave in a towering mass of rock on the opposite side is called the Husn el Khírbah, the castle of these ancient Horites. Farther on to our right was a similar feature, but smaller, and both were approached by a multitude of foot-tracks.
Beyond this point we fell into a regular road running north-east to south-west with sundry windings, and separating the Bilád el Sharkí (East Countries) about Kárá from the western, the Bilád al Gharbí, whose headquarters are Ba’albak. The valley is hemmed in and protected on both sides by hill and mountain, mostly stone-lined and cliff-topped, its armoury agaiust wind and weather: over the narrow sole are scattered ploughed fields, and with the assistance of tanks and cisterns it might once more become a land of plenty. Now it depends wholly upon the rains, which at these altitudes are even more precarious than the snows. In olden days this barren upland was doubtless a fertile plain, girt by rises well grown with wood: it wants only a Brigham Young to order the planting of a round million of trees. This reforesting, which must be preceded by abating the goat-nuisance, will give a new life to the old country. The employés of the Palestine Exploration Fund remarked, when travelling over the trans-Jordanic regions, that while they were on the barrens the sky was brass; where- as in the beautifully wooded tracts about Jarash the atmosphere at once became damp, and they observed clouds constantly forming a screen from the solar rays, whilst they could see at a distance the painful splendours which glared over the treeless ground. So little is this matter at present known in Syria and Palestine, that the wood-cutters and charcoal-burners are allowed to ply their trades in the very valley of the Barada, which supplies the capital with the prime necessary of Oriental life; I ventured to recommend the Australian ‘gum-trees’ with as much success as the underpinning of the columns at Ba’albak.
Presently we came upon the western Bir el Khashabah, a masonry-lined pit ten feet deep, which gives its name to the southern prolongation of this long line. It is a Jama’ or cistern for shower-water, opposed to a Naba’ or spring; and deep in its parched jaws we saw for the first time the Hart’s-tongue fern (?). Sundry rough Maráhs, evidently used for goats, suggested soured milk and butter; but the only human being, a woman in Bedawi attire, took the first opportunity of disappearing.
We then rode up the Wady el Hikbán, which continues that of the Bir el Khashabah; it becomes more irregular, closing in and flaring out; and near a bulge larger than usual we passed a group of old Arab graves. Beyond them begins the Wady el Ruhwah, bending to the westward and becoming a Via Mala, in places only ten to twelve feet wide. The precipitous sides are profusely grown with fine old juniper; the sole is encumbered with strews of rocks, some whole, others fissured, which have fallen from the perpendicular cliffs; and the white limestone of the path has been polished like glass by the myriad little hoofs of goats and sheep - how many generations must have trodden it? The sun, which in the lower valley had scorched us, and had made our muleteers very quarrelsome, was now tempered by the cool brisk atmosphere of the heights, and the novelty of the scenery was charming to our eyes - we congratulated each other on not having missed it.
At length traversing a small black circus, a rond point where charcoal had been burnt, we debouched upon the Wady el Biyárá (of the Wells). As usual it is a widening in the Fiumara, a meeting-place of four shallow passes: it now takes the name Wady Katnín, pronounced ‘’Atnayn;’ and its south-eastern branch is known as the Wady el Turkoman. The slightly inclined sole is strewed with natural macadam and with the droppings of goats and sheep; it is girt on all sides by Kala’ats or tall bristling rocks, in which caves are numerous. There are three waters, apparently independent: El Ayn (the Spring), a shallow unclean pool to the south-east of the hollow; on the south-west the Bir el Tahtání, a lower well; and higher up the Bir el Faukáni, both containing pure cool water sheltered by a dark dense bed of nettles. The goats were all of the short-eared variety - there are some four or five kinds in the mountains - and wore the normal light coats; whilst the sheep, invariably black, and of the ‘five-quarter’ species, used one another for shade against the mildest of suns: the two races show neither companionship nor aversion, affection nor jealousy, doubtless not knowing the preferences and prejudices pro and con of mankind.
The goats usually prefer the more difficult and venturesome places, whilst the sheep browse in the lower lands; yet I could never perceive that one took the lead of the other: au reste, the goat is curious and somewhat impudent; he will go out of the way to stare and to sneeze at you: he is a ‘polisson, calidus juventa.’ The sheep is far more staid and respectable; he may be compared with the curious biped called a ‘good young man.’
We had travelled four hours and fifty minutes, representing some ten direct gcographical miles from the Wasllat Kurrays. This suggested a rest and a pleasant sleep, strati sub umbrâ, in a pair of dwarf caves. As the flocks began to gather we resumed our way to the north-west, exchanging the Wady el Biyárá for a succession of stony ridges which led to the Wady Barbarús (of the Barberry), alias the Wady el Jamrá (?). In this shallow slope we found two wells, the lower scanty, the upper full. Many goatherds, all more or less armed were here watering their charges, and their aspect, gestures, and manners - one fellow kept bawling, with brawling, bullying voice, that he could not wait for us, as his flock had a long way to travel - showed that a fight at the well is as easily managed now as in the days of Abraham and Lot. The Ma’áz or goatherd, almost always a hired servant, is a type in these mountains: we have just met one who wore the green turban of a Holy House; and we shall presently meet a retired soldier of the line, easily known by his superior civility and docility, who had fought in the Crimean War. The ‘good shepherd’ of the lowlands will often wear a billycock hat, and apparently passes his time not in leading, but in pelting stones at, his muttons. Here he dresses in picturesque rags, like an ‘apple-gatherer of the country of Perche:’ he is always accompanied by shaggy dogs, said to be of Kurdish breed, but certainly of various origin, which show the greatest antipathy to strangers until admitted ‘within the lines:’ the finest variety with cropped ears, large head, brindled coat, rough hair, and bushy tail; often too they are not smaller than a St. Bernard’s, and they wear an appearance uncommonly ursine. I educated one of these Kurdís taken from a Bedawi’s tent: ‘Kasrawán,’ of course docked to ‘Cuss, began to play watchman from his earliest puppy-hood, and to lead the horses by their halters; grown to dog’s estate, he would hardly allow a native to pass along the road at night. He wrangled with and he made love to my English bull-terriers with all his might, and like the Scotchman’s collie he appeared to be sorely oppressed with the seriousness of life, and could never get fighting enough. He died young, of a grain of strychnine, rendered necessary probably by a needle having been thrust into his meat, the favourite style of revenge with a Fellah who has been once bitten and who does not care to be bitten again; and he was honourably buried in the garden at B’ludán as a dog who had done his duty.
The mountain goatherd leads a hard life, especially in the cold season. During the summer he emigrates to the Jurd, where he lives mostly on wheaten scones and soured milk, drinking coffee ‘when he can come by it.’ He passes his spare hours in smoking, in dozing, and in playing upon the scrannel pipe; only one man was seen by me spinning yarn. If exceptionally honest he will refuse, without his master’s leave, to sell a kid, even for tobacco: usually, however, he tells you that he will be contented with what is given to him. On the other hand he is no beggar - I was never asked for ‘bakhshish’ by a Ma’áz. At early dawn he drives, or rather pelts, to pasture his charges with couthless screams which seem to have been originally derived from them, and he slowly works up hill till about noon, when all gather at the well. Here the masters allow themselves two or three hours of what is chat or dispute, as the case may be, and the one subject of conversation is the Girsh or piastre. In England they have two, beer and money; in Normandy also two, money and lawsuits; and so forth. The flock, after resting crouched under the shade of rocks whilst the sun shows midday, is now gathered for the afternoon, and is again driven down, feeding, struggling, fighting, and being pelted together, till the Maráh built in some sheltered valley is reached before sunset. The animals are milked, if it be the season for Laban and cheese; and before spending the night in the slumbers of the just the old flintlock is looked to, in case that some bandit bear has set heart upon a meal of savoury meat. All these men are fond of weapons, and a ready way to win their hearts is to explain to them the use of some such marvel as a revolver.
With the first cold breath of winter the goatherd exchanges the Jurd for the Wusút, the milder middle regions: here he finds circles of dry walls and caves, which partially protect him as he cowers under his sheepskin before his bit of fire from the blast, the sleet, and the pouring rain. When in the lower lands he will often be joined by his family, which remains in the nearest village whilst the goats are being pastured amongst the upper crags. The best of air is some set-off against the hardships of an out-of-doors life, and the result is that his leathery brown skin is well lit-up about the cheeks; whilst his hard-featured wife and his chubby urchins, when old enough to accompany him aloft, rejoice in physiognomies of the apple order, like the French pomme d’apis.
At the Bir Barbarús we vainly endeavoured to hire a guide; all refused to leave their charges. ‘Eothen’ need not wonder at the ignorance of Bedawin: these men, when asked about the length of our march, denied all cognisance of Sa’át (hours): some said that we should reach our destination long before evening, others late on the next day. They pointed, however, vaguely to the south-west as we resumed our way up the Wady. Travelling for thirty minutes over a down-like country with gentle waves of grassy ground, and for twenty minutes across upland cultivation, we crossed a short divide of limestone ready cut by Nature’s hand, like the old red sandstone of the Orkneys, into self-faced slabs. Here and there it was piled up in landmarks, to show where the flocks might and might not go: the stranger will every- where find in Syria and Palestine these primitive contrivances, which, however, cannot be removed privily, as every neighbour knows every inch of his own ground. Presently we sighted to the left, or east-south-east, the lofty walls of the Wady el Fatlí, and here the soldier goatherd gave us exact directions. The guides declared that he was sending us a long way round, but we preferred his certainty to their uncertainties: they afterwards took to themselves great credit that we reached the goal at all.
We then passed into El Khashshá’a, the ‘rough’ red region, lined with trees which we had seen bearing westward from Nabi Bárúh: apparently this outcrop is a central spine, which continues the cliff-crest facing to west between the Jebel el Shakíf and the Ra’as Rám el Kabsh. It is a goatherd’s paradise; a succession of the hardest limestone crests and ridges, bristling with bare rock and crag that shelter tufty vegetation, and divided by such a continuation of grassy Jurahs that he could find no better name for it than ‘Sinkland.’ The swallow-holes are here rarely round, mostly of the long narrow order; now they are single, then a huge pair will be parted by a natural bridge. I afterwards remarked them when visiting at Bulstrode, near Slough, a chalky country: the people declare them to be old gravel-pits, but some are apparently natural. The English Júrah, unlike the Syrian, is well grown with timber, which it protects from the wintry gales.
The junipers are mostly large and patriarchal, but in some places we saw young shoots; clumps are rare, and the branches invariably grow so low that nowhere could we have ridden under their shade. All distinctly form single lines, but indifferently on the ridge-crests as in the gorges, avoiding, however, the reservoirs where rain lies: the growth is doubtless directed by the nature of the strata, by the direction of the wind, and by the underlay of the water. The road of polished stones and steps, with sidings in the worst places, leading from the ‘Assál el Ward plain to Ba’albak, was distinctly bad: in most parts a horse could hardly have travelled off the path; and each tongue of ground, however well covered with humus on the top, was bounded on the sides by falls of stone which the rains, snows, and winds had stripped naked.
After one hour and ten minutes of slow riding to the west we passed out of the Khashshá’a Proper. The country again became a counterpart of the down-land above the Wady Bir el Barbarús, although in places it was scattered over with vertebræ from the main spine. The hollows contained mud, the result of the heavy showers which had fallen between the 26th and the 29th of July, and the limestone again changed from rough lumps to thin slabs. Another forty minutes upon the high road, spanning shallow rises and falls, placed us at the head of the Wady Jammálah, where the watershed changes, and the path drops westward into the Cœlesyrian plain.
Here, turning a few paces to the right, we found in a swallow-hole the Hajar el Mukattab, or the Written Stone, of which every goatherd had spoken to us. It was a block of cretaceous calcaire, whose depth measured one foot eight inches, including the edge chipped off by the treasure-seeker; the length was four feet six inches, and the width was two feet. The mortuary legend read as follows:
ΕΤΟΥC ∆ΙCΙΟ ΜCΡΟ (O?) ΑΙ∆ΑΙΑ ΚΑΙΚΑΜ (Α? ΚΑΜΑΤΟC?) TOCYIOC ANEΘH KAN
Upon the summit of the Júrah’s western lip lay another ‘written stone;’ the inscription, however, was too much defaced to be worth copying. About it was strewed a shapeless scatter of ruins; some of the blocks were of considerable size, but there was nothing to tell whether the site had been that of a temple or of a townlet.
From the Hajar el Mukattab we rode a short distance down the head of the Wady Jammálah, which, as is here usual, appeared to become narrow and gorge-like as it descended. We then struck abruptly to the south-east across country over sun-dry sinks and divides, the latter mostly overgrown with an asphodel, whose onion-like leaves are refused by horses and cattle, and whose tall, thin, upright stem, garnished with pink-white flowers, has obtained for it the name of ‘Asáyat el Rá’í (the Shepherd’s Staff), and near the Dead Sea ‘Asáyat Sayyadna Musa (of our Lord Moses). According to Burckhardt, the powdered root of the asphodel mixed with water forms a good glue, ‘superior to that made with flour, as it is not attacked by worms.’ After fifty minutes we reached the Khirbat Ayn el Shams (Fountain of the Sun), which is included in the Jurd of Ba’albak: its title bears a significant resemblance to Heliopolis. On the north of the ruins is a larger Júrah; while to the south a deeply tunnelled cave with a fragmentary ceiling and a dry sole may of old have represented the solar ‘eye.’ The Khirbah is evidently a little rustic Sun-temple roughly oriented, and mostly composed of uncut stones set in cement: the dilapidation of the whole affair rendered a plan impossible. Of course we heard the old tale of treasure trove in the ruin: the trover was, as usual, a Maghrabí or Moor, a race celebrated throughout Eastern Africa and Western Asia for magic and unholy arts, as were the Germans of the middle ages in Europe.
We then rode north-westward up a dwarf eminence to the deserted Dayr or monastery, a rude little hermitage built of the slabby limestone scattered all around it. After this our course lay south-westward in the direction of the Kala’at Jubáb, the high cliff defining the left jaw of the Fiumara, so named from its wells. It is no exception to the general rule which makes the western Wadys of the two Libani better forested and more fertile than those opening eastward -the effect of the damper sea-winds. After crossing the usual succession of divides, we struck in twenty minutes the right side of the picturesque ravine, and descending by a goat-path into its sole, we reached the upper well[FN#8] in twenty-five minutes. The bottom was the usual excellent travelling, and the drainage of the spacious bulge in which the water lay was derived from three large and three small torrent-beds. Closely-cropped grass still carpeted the ground, and semicircles of dry stone opening to the west defended travellers from the raw eastern land breeze which at night pours down the gap. In places the blocks had been ornamented by the Turkomans with spots and dabs, with patches and fretted lines, somewhat resembling the wooden key of Syria in profile; the paint was the ruddle which the tent-dwellers apply to their sheep. After the usual tow-row about fetching firewood, we were not sorry to rest and to warm in the genial blaze limbs somewhat cramped by nine hours and thirty minutes of hard walking and slow riding The guides insisted upon retreating to a side-bay, beyond reach of the high road, and declared that the people of the Jubbah are mighty Harámís or highway robbers. The only sound which disturbed our sleep in the cold damp air was the singing of some lively traveller upon his lone march who had no reason to fear thieves.
At dawn on the next morning (Saturday, August 5) we dismissed our muleteers at their own request, and gave them pay, presents, and provisions for their way home direct to B’lúdán. Mohammed the Skikarí accompanied them: he had declared last night that he meant to be the robber, not the robbed; we were anxious to take him with us, but intending a rapid move, we could not travel with a man on foot. At 5 P.M. mounting to the tune of many benedictions and valedictions in chorus, the former permanent, the latter temporary, we rode gaily to the south-east up the Wady Jubáb. The upper part soon breaks into Júrahs, and reaching the counterslope after twenty minutes we fell again into the Khashshá’a, which we had crossed diagonal1y on our last march. This rough ground again severed all connection between the gorges opening into the eastern and the western lowlands. Sundry paths struck to the north or left, and an error in the bearing of a mountain made us cut across for the direct track leading due east to Mu’arrat el Bashkurdí, which we particularly desired to avoid. This was, however, hardly so bad as the case of the naval man, who after surveying up a certain West African river grounded his ship on the way down.
Presently, guided by the well-known hogsback of rugged old Bárúh, we fell into the comfortable Wady which prolongs the Bayn el Kala’atayn gorge into the eastern Fiumara of the (eastern) Bir el Khashabah. Our horses were starving, and the loosening of their fore-plates threatened to lame them; this untoward state of things prevented our seeing the Hajar el Manshúr (or sawn stone) known as ‘Abid el Rumád: it is said to lie in a lateral cañion north of the Wady Jubáb. After a total of three hours thirty minutes direct from the nighting-place we found ourselves once more in our former quarters at ‘Assál el Ward. The whole march had taken a somewhat longer time. I was anxious to find a level path leading from the village to the south-eastern slope of Bárúh, and obeying my memory I miserably failed. Here it is easy to get off the road; but the process of returning to it is not always satisfactory.
That day ended with a gallop of some sixteen to seventeen miles to the market-town of Yabrúd, where we were anxious to inspect certain skulls and mortuary lamps lately found in a tomb near the settlement, and kept for us by the energetic young schoolmaster Ibrahim Kátibah.[FN#9] He was absent at Nabk, but he did not fail punctually to forward everything to Damascus. Early on the next day we returned once more to ‘Assál el Ward, where Khwájah Yusuf, a Greek of Zahlah, domiciled at Damascus, and here employed by the impeached employé Osman Bey Mardum Bey in collecting village debts and in buying up lands, had offered us a picnic.
All the Shaykhs donned their gayest attire and spear in hand, mounted their best mares to show us the Arz el Jauzah, which I had visited in November 1870. Taking a south-westerly direction from ‘Assál el Ward, we skirted the eastern foot of the Anti-Libanus, and we passed a once-flooded hollow, the Birkat el Ruz: this tank receives after rains the drainage of the Wady Bir Sahríj, and discharges it north-eastwards to Yabrúd after the general norm of the plain. A huge Za’azafún-tree,[FN#10] which the Syro-European translates ‘Camomilla,’ and a dwarf hill crowned with a natural stele, led us to the Khirbat Tufayl. This was a Metáwali or Shiïte village, which, after a century of battle and murder with all its Sunnite neighbours, was laid waste a few years ago. The site is doubtless classical. Below the settlement which faces east is a fine old well containing excellent water; frusta of columns and large hewn stones lie strewed about the hill-top - unfortunately the material, like that of the Dayr Naby Bárúh, is a loose conglomerate whilst huge wine-vats, the Yekeb of the Jews, as opposed to the Gath or press, excavated in the live rock show that where not a single vine now lingers Lyæus had once been profuse in his boons.
Resuming our way we passed the Wady Maghárat el Sábi, also with a deserted village; the Wady Ayn Hasíni, of which we had heard in the Wady el Hawá; the rich red lowlands called El Wáti; the Wady Safrá and the Wady Sá’úrah, both the latter draining the Rám el Kabsh Block. From the eminences we could sight in front of us the tall hill Jebel Washil, which contains the Fount of Sabná. To the right rose the Khatm (or ‘Signet Ring’) Ayn el Jauzah, so called from its cabochon of stone, a noble Saracenic dome and drum of limestone rock, falling abruptly into gentler earth slopes: it is the typical site of a Hindu hill-fort.
After a ride of two hours we ascended the Valley Ayn el Jauzah, and came upon the well of the same name. The water flows through a conduit of masonry, and is said to pass into a large underground cistern below; around the ample stone troughs are scattered fragments of columns. The Temple is known as Kasr Namrúd (Nimrod’s Palace), and the traveller in Syria and Palestine will soon find that Namrúd and ‘Antar represent the Devil and Julius Cæsar of Western Europe. The venerable building lies to the south-west of the well, on the right side of the valley, which bearing 295° runs high up the Jebel Washil. Like the large ruined temple or Nymphæum of Ayn Fíjah in the gorge of the Barada, which Mr. E.H. Palmer believes to have been of similar use, and the famous Temple of Apollo Epikourios (the Helper) at Bassæ, it fronts north; the line running a little south of the spring to whose god it may have been dedicated. The material is rough limestone; the style peripteral and rude Doric, unlike the Stylobate system so common in the Anti-Libanus; it was approached probably on the northern front by a flight of steps: now, like the interior, a mere pile of ruins; the southern back is built against the hill-slope, under which appears the chalky mouth of a cavern said to be of large dimensions. The whole building shows the ravages of time, aided perhaps by an occasional earthquake, but not requiring the assistance of man. No modern settlement has existed in this lone bleak spot, otherwise the injury done would have been much greater.
The long sides of the Temple are formed of eight columns, including the corners, and of these three are fallen. The circumference of the shafts is three feet six inches, and they are composed of several frusta, mostly three. The total length from the outsides of the pillars is fifty-five feet. The shorter sides, representing thirty-two feet five inches from end to end, had five columns, not including those at the angles. The full-length pillars to the north or down-hill measure, from the top of the capital, fifteen feet nine inches, nearly doubling those which rest upon the southern slope, these being only eight feet high. The inter-columniation is classical, although the peristyle does not, according to the Attic canon of Doric, number 13 pillars x 6 - hence its solid look. The circumference of the columns in the Temple of Jupiter at Ba’albak is eighteen feet six inches, and the inter-columniation nine feet. Thus the interval is only one and a half diameter, the least allowed by the canon of archi tecture, rare in the best style: and it has generally been observed that the inter-columnar distances of ancient Jewish synagogues follow the same rule. At the Kasr Namrúd the diameter of the pillars is two feet two inches, and the inter-columniation is four feet four and a half inches. The pillars support a flat and plain architrave-cornice, without interposition of frieze.[FN#11] The imposts appear chiefly to the south; on the west there are two fragments; eastward, only one remains. Architrave and cornice are simply and chastely ornamented with raised horizontal bands; the lowest is three inches deep, the second is four inches, and the upper five inches, whilst the cornice measures nine inches in depth.
Of the solid cella, only the western wall, forty-four feet long, is standing; and that, shaken and bulging outwards, is likely to fall with the first shock. It is revetted with cut but not large stones, whilst the interior is lime-set rubble. The inner dimensions of the long walls from north to south measure thirty-six feet, and the short walls twenty, whilst the partition separating pronaos from cella is fifteen feet ten inches. At the south-west corner there are traces of a double cornice and pilaster-capital, a plain moulded capital subtending the true cornice; below this is a space of masonry; and lastly the pilaster-capital, similar to the isolated, or rather dependent, false cornice, one horizontal line moulded below the other. This ornament appears the stranger and the less called for, as corresponding shafts do not exist. Large stones, bevelled evidently for joists, and cumbering the interior, show that the roof was of wood.
Adjoining the north-eastern pillar, and subtending the eastern side of this temple, there is a curious wing or outwork, measuring some eighteen feet by ten, and best shown in the plan. The foundations can still be traced, and the south-eastern extremity abuts upon the seventh pillar of the eastern peristyle. This adjunct does not extend to other parts; and it is hard to guess what may have been its use, unless indeed it was a sacellum, a temenos, or a treasury, attached to the main fane, like the unroofed rectangle below the temple crowning the Hermon head. Possibly it was added when the old fane was converted to Christianity. Two inscriptions were here found; the more ancient is upon an ornamented stone, evidently half of the broken lintel, measuring two feet nine inches in length, and lying near the north-west angle of the cella. It bears in clear and well-cut characters (third century?) –
ΤΩ ΘΕ (Ω?) The other is a rough Syriac inscription, perpendicularly cut or scratched on the eastern face of the north-eastern pillar; and below it are two well-cut Greek crosses of archaic type. Mosheim, it will be remembered, informs us that heathen worship was tolerated in Syria and Palestine till A.D. 420. In A.D. 407 the Emperor Theodosius the younger finally decreed the destruction of all temples dedicated to the gods, in default of being used by the disciples of the new faith. An instance of a temple converted into a Christian church, and bearing date A.D. 410, is still found at Izra’a. We could hardly agree with Professor Donaldson: ‘If you were to draw a line across the country from Sebaste to Jerash, you would find that all the Roman works are to the north of that line. At Jerusalem there are no Roman works (Hadrian’s Arch); they are rather Greek than Roman.’ But early Christianity was Greek rather than Latin, and the former still lords it over the latter. Thus we both came to the conclusion that the Kasr Namrúd was originally a Grecian and pagan fane dedicated ‘to Theo,’ to the local deity of the mountain or the spring; the principal reasons being its classical architecture, and its wild and isolated position. The crosses show that it was afterwards appropriated by the Christians, who were, however, not likely to build in such a place, or with such an orientation. We saw nothing of the vault said to support the cella, as in the well-known temple of Habbáríyyah (Burckhardt’s Hereibe), on the western slopes of the Hermon.[FN#12]
The picnic under the shade of this venerable building passed off happily enough. The Kabábs of kid, skewered instantly after the sudden death, were excellent; the soured milk and the goats’ cheese were perfection; and the Zahlah wine had but one fault - it wanted a demijohn instead of a demi-bouteille. It was late in the afternoon before we shook hands for the last time with our good hosts, and mounted en route for Talfítá. It is pleasant to think back upon happy partings - I never saw them again.
Our line, a short cut, bearing nearly due south, did not on this occasion become a detour. During my previous visit I had ridden down through the castled rocks of the Ghayzah Wady, which debouches northwards upon the rich lands of that name. Now we passed straight across the hills, and nearly due south (Mag.) to the same terminus, the ‘Assál el Ward upland, which here runs from south-west to north-east. We passed two wells, the Ayn Sarár (Sureir of Mr. Porter) and the Burák, before reaching the short ascent and the long descent which falls into the Palmyra Valley. This Col is especially easy. A little to the south is a difficult line viâ the Karnat el Hamrá, upon which are the ruins of a Dayr, and still farther south is an even more troublesome zigzag. Before reaching it on the north-west are the ruins called Malkatá, evidently a Christian village with its necropolis. The remnants of the settlement are scattered upon a gentle rise in the valley, and present nothing remarkable. The cemetery on the sides and at the mouth of the abrupt little Wady which leads to it shows arched caves, with and without supporting pillars and niches cut for mortuary lamps: these are also sarcophagi sunk in the ground rock and facing in all directions, whilst the northern wall of one of the largest displays a rude crucifix. Still farther south is said to be a ruined Dayr, at a place called El Sajarát, Syrian and Syriac for El Shajarát - the trees. This and the Karnat el Hamrá I did not visit - the traveller soon tires of ruined convents.
It was late before we sighted the whitewashed dome which covers the remains of Shaykh Mohammed el Na’ana’awi, the patron saint of Talfítá. We were received with all the honours by the Shaykh el Balad Mahfúz and by his villagers, who had long been my clients: half their pauper houses had been destroyed and the rest were threatened with ruin by certain villanous money-lenders under British protection. On the next morning we rode into Damascus viâ the well-known Wadys of Minnín, Ma’araba, and Barzah, rich and well-watered gorges, whose dark green lines in the barren yellow hills are miniatures of the typical Barada Valley.
Our excursion had lasted eight days, between July 31st and August 7th, 1871. We had seen in a range supposed to be impracticable, four temples, of which three are probably unvisited. We had prepared for local habitation on the map of Syria and Palestine the names of five great mountain blocks: Abu’l Hín, Rám el Kabsh, Naby Bárúh, the Fatlí Apex, and, to mention no others, the curious Haláim. We had traced out the principal gorges: the Wady el Manshúrah, on whose upper lip an outcrop of copper was found; the Wady el Hawá; the Wady Bir Sahríj; the Wady Zummarání; the Wady el Mál; and the Wady Már Tobiyá, - all before absolutely unknown to geography. Finally, we had determined the disputed altitudes of the Anti-Libanus, and we had proved that the caterpillar and the acidulated drops of the best and most modern maps are as worthy of study as, and are more worthy of inspection than, the much vaunted Libanus.
[FN#1] Nabk in classical Arabic means a sharp-topped and red-coloured hill, like that upon which this little settlement is, or rather was, built. Kárá is derived from the root Karr, denoting coldness: ‘Kárat,’ however, also means a small hill detached from the others. [FN#2] The root is Zamr, performing on the pipe or flute. [FN#3] We recognise the word Kumm, which radically means ‘a dusting’ or ‘sweeping,’ in the word ‘Kumámat;’ sweepings, rubbish; kitchen-midden, a heap: the term is applied by Moslems to the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem in opposition to the Christians, who know it as El Kiyámah, the Resurrection. In Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin (Messrs. Besant and Palmer), we find (p. 73) the Holy Sepulchre called in the days of ‘Omar ‘El Camâmah, dung; which is explained a little farther on to be a designed corruption of the word Caiyâmah, “Anastasis.” [FN#4] Kabú, literally building (an edifice), and resembling Kubbat, a dome, is the modern term applied to the two great parallel tunnels which support the platform of Ba’albak, and to the underground passages under the Jami’ (Mosque) el Aksá at Jerusalem.
[FN#5] The small specimen brought home by me was much admired by Dr. Percy, Mr. Reeks, and the other officers of the Jermyn-street Museum, to whose courtesy I am indebted for the classification of our geological specimens. [FN#6] From Gharr, literally meaning being white (the face), or having a white spot (the forehead). [FN#7] The ‘looking back of the lion.’ The word is picturesquely employed to denote the action of refreshing the memory by glancing over the books which the student has read. [FN#8] Our guides mentioned a lower Jubb or well: it may exist, but we did not see it. [FN#9] See Appendix No. I in this Volume. [FN#10] The Syrians borrow a proverb from this tree, ‘Like the Za’azafún, which bears flowers, but no fruit.’ [FN#11] In the Stylobate temples of Syria we sometimes find the architrave and frieze in one piece (Palestine Exploration Fund, No. V. p.193). The frieze was decorated in Ionic, but not in Early Doric. [FN#12] Murray’s Handbook (p.433) thus informs his readers: ‘Another peculiarity of this building’ (the Rakhlah ruin) ‘is that it faces Hermon. It is a curious fact that the temple at Hibbârîyeh also faces the mountain, though on the opposite side. Can it be that the mountain was regarded as holy – a Kiblah to which the worshippers in the surrounding country turned in prayer?’ This idea was first suggested by Dr. Robinson. But Rakhlah, as any compass bearing will show distinctly, does not face the mountain. Habbáriyyah, because situated upon the eastern slopes, fronts as usual the Orient sun. On the other hand, the large ruin at Hínah (Ina), not to mention half a dozen other instances, being built on the east of the Hermon, turns its back upon the ‘Kiblah’ above proposed.
Since these lines were written, I have had the opportunity of reading (in the Palestine Exploration Fund, pp. 184-199, No. V.) an interesting paper by that able and conscientious traveller, Captain Warren, R.E., upon the orientation of temples in the Holy Land. Casually remarking that the entrances of the ancient heathen were to the west, enabling the worshippers to face eastwards, and that this was the case with the Temple of Jerusalem, whereas the synagogues in Galilee are entered by the south, with the back to the Holy City, he observes (p. 187): ‘In Syria [better say Cœlesyria], where the temples, as they exist at present, do not appear to be earlier than B.C. 100, and to range up to A.D. 300, the entrances, as far as I know, are in all cases. to the east.’ He instances the fanes of ‘Thalthatha, also called na’bi Sufa,’ lying east and west, the entrance towards the east, the side bearing due east (90°) by compass, and with a bearing to the Hermon summit of 136°; of Hibbaríyyah, whose entrance is towards the east, the magnetic bearing of the side being 101º, and therefore out of line with the Hermonsummit, being considerably to the north of east; of Ayha, whose entrance apparently was towards the east, the bearing of the temple-side being 78° 30', while that of the Hermon summit is 195°, and that of Jebel Sannin is 353°; of Dayr el Ashayir, overlooking a pleasant prospect towards the east; and of Rakhlah, ‘originally a temple with entrance to east, and afterwards turned into a church with entrance to west,’ the bearing of the sides being north-west or south-east (307° and 127°), while that of the Hermon is 231°. He justly remarks: ‘This is a very important point, as it is probable that the finding of this temple with entrance to west, while temples west of Hermon have their entrances to east, may have first given rise to the idea of the Hermon being the Kiblah of these temples.’ The direction of the Burkush temple is difficult to find in its jumble of different epochs. That of Zakwah, unlike Rakhlah, lies north-east and south-west. Kasr Naba’ lies east and west, the entrance to east; the magnetic bearing of the side being 81°, while the bearing to Ba’albak is 69° 30'. The temple of Niha had an entrance to the east, but the bearing of the side was not booked. Husn Niha lies east and west, the magnetic bearing of the side being 83° 30'. The temple of Ayn Harshah faces due east (90°), while the bearing to the summit of Hermon is 134°. The same is the case with the temples lying east of the Hermon, e.g. at ‘Arnah.
The traveller cannot but be struck by the similarity of plan which connects the heathen temple with the modern Christian church: the pronaos being the body, whilst the cella, separated by a transverse wall, is the Iconastasis of the Greeks, the stone sarcophagus became the altar of the Basilica, containing the relics of the saint or saints under whose invocation the building was placed. In most cases the fanes had underground buildings, store-rooms, or perhaps hiding-places for the priests; these are our crypts and vaults. We can hardly wonder that St. Augustine so readily accepted the Pagan temple, and that a sprinkle of holy water so easily effected the conversion.
NOTES ON THE NORTHERN SLOPES OF LEBANON.
I HAVE been compelled by unforeseen circumstances to write the following Notes very shortly, hurriedly, and far from books of reference. The only maps I chance to have with me are those of Murray (1856), Van de Velde (1865), Tristram (1866), Murray (1868), and Porter (Five Years in Damascus, 1870). All of them show an equally bold disregard for watersheds and mountain ridges; the same faults of nomenclature run through all; and though in the open country they are of some use, in the mountainous regions they prove valueless. Let us hope that the surveying party sent out by the Palestine Exploration Fund, which has just landed at Jaffa, may be enabled to complete not only the map of Palestine, but that of Syria. No country in the East has been or will be so much trodden by travellers, and yet the maps we have of it are one and all full of blunders.
A somewhat severe attack of fever has prevented my visiting Mount Hermon, which has hitherto been only very superficially examined. To my great disappointment, too, I have been obliged to give up a long-projected visit to the Harreh, a dry quicksand some distance in this desert to the south-east of the Hauran. It has been described to me by many Bedawin who have seen it as a circular plain of sand, having a black peak of rock rising from the centre. All the Arabs agree in saying that if camels, gazelles, or any animals set foot on it, they are straightway engulfed. Though many absurd and exaggerated stories are told of this place, yet I believe the main facts to be true. I have myself met with a somewhat similar phenomenon in the desert, though on a small scale: suddenly in the centre of a large plain the soil gave way beneath the camels, and they floundered nearly up to their bellies; such was their terror that they became stupefied, and were with difficulty extricated, and then stood trembling and unwilling to move. The men who were walking passed over this place without sinking in at all. I examined the soil, and found it to be the very finest and driest sand, into which I could bury a stick four feet long. The surface had become caked by the rain to the depth of three or four inches, and thus supported the weight of a man.
Damascus, Nov. 1871. C.F.T.D.
I. THE NORTHERN SLOPES OF LEBANON.
CONSIDERING that the Lebanon has frequently been visited even by scientific men, it is curious to see how great are the discrepancies in the heights assigned to the range, from Tristram (Land of Israel, p. 628), who gives 10,000 feet, to the map executed by French Engineer officers in 1862, who by some unaccountable blunder put it at 6063 metres.[FN#1]
These differences of altitude showed such evident traces of guess-work, that I was hardly surprised, when I visited the mountain in company with Captain Burton and Mr.
E.H. Palmer in July 1870, at finding that the aneroids, uncorrected for temperature, gave a reading of barely 9000 feet. The peak, or rather hillock, on the top of the range, called Dhahr el Kodhíb, is commonly considered the highest; but in reality it is 300 feet lower than the double-crested summit to the north-north-east by east, which the goatherds know by the name of Tiz Marún. Feeling, however, that aneroid readings, are always unsatisfactory,[FN#2] I determined to ascertain the exact altitude by means of barometrical readings. Various circumstances hindered me from doing this till October 1871; on the second of which month, accompanied by my servant Habib Jemayyil, and by two Zabtiyahs (policemen) whom I took at the request of the native government, I left Damascus, with the intention of crossing the Anti-Libanus by the direct road to Ba’albak, and of taking certain observations necessary to complete the sketch-map of that range which I had begun in August, in company with Capt. Burton. This road, though the shortest way to Ba’albak, is never used by travellers: Mr. Porter (Five Years in Damascus, p. 310 et sq.) rode over it, but curiously enough missed the Kasr Nemrúd, which stands at little more than half a mile to the north of the path. Though the architecture of this temple is somewhat base, yet the fair state of preservation in which it stands renders it an interesting building.
Our route from Damascus lay through the orchards and fields - the term ‘gardens’ as applied to them being purely poetical license - to the hamlet of Barzeh; thence past the villages of Ma’árabah, Hornah, and El Tell to Menin, which stands on a mound at the head of and overlooking the fertile though narrow Wady, whose sides, as high as the water can be brought, are covered with fig, apricot, and pomegranate trees, beneath whose shelter maize, corn, and various vegetables are cultivated. The lower part of the valley is thickly grown with poplar (of two kinds, Ar. Hawr), oriental plane, and walnut trees of considerable size. The poplar-wood is very valuable, being invariably demanded in and near Damascus, as the only suitable wood for rafters. It is also made into the boxes used by muleteers for the transport of fruits and other goods liable to damage if packed in bags. Though possessing but little arable land, the inhabitants of Menin are among the richest of the Fellahin: their proximity to the mountains enables them to keep large flocks of sheep and goats: the wool and hair are spun by the women, who in summer take their primitive spinning-wheels, and sit all day in the shade of their trees, guarding their fruit - a necessary precaution in this land, where walls and fences are rare, and the distinction between meum and tuum practically ignored.
On the summit of the hills to the north-east of the village are several interesting ruins and excavations; but I could find no inscription to give a clue to their date. The hillside is of that peculiar whitened earth, thickly strewn with fragments of pottery and a few morsels of glass, which always points out the site of ancient dwellings. At the point where the soil ceases I observed two chambers cut in the rock, with a thin partition-wall between them. The doorways faced the south, and a niche, as if for a statue, occupied the northern end. A little higher up are the foundations of a temple, forty feet by seventy-five feet, having the remains of a portico and flight of steps to the south. A portion of the northern wall is hewn from the living rock, and drafted on the outside in imitation of large blocks of stone. A few yards to the north of this ruin are two rock-hewn caves opening westwards. The northern of these has a square doorway, surmounted by a cornice of regular and somewhat conventional acanthus leaves and vine tendrils: a broad ornament of thistles (?) and fruit surrounds the entrance. The southern cave is also hewn out of the rock; but the centre of the roof has been cut away, thus leaving it open to the sky. At the east end is a wedge-shaped recess some three feet wide at bottom, and fining off to nothing at the height of twelve feet. At the western end a flight of steps cut in the rock, and surmounted by a row of columns, can still be traced. Some 250 feet below these remains, and a quarter of a mile to the west, is a spring which pours out an abundant stream, and fertilises the valley as far as Barzeh, being eventually lost in irrigating part of the Damascus plain near that settlement. From Menin an hour and a quarter’s ride brought us to the small village of Telfita, whose altitude by aneroid (only) was found to be 4845 feet. It is built at the foot of the long step outlying the Anti-Libanus, and extending from Helbon to Yabrúd, showing an abrupt, and in places precipitous, face towards the east, and sloping gradually down into the upland plain which stretches from Yabrúd to Helbon, and contains, amongst others, the villages of ‘Assál el Ward, Mu’árrat el Beshkurdi (vulgarly Besh Kyria, which would have no meaning), and Jubbeh. The water drainage from Ma’álulah, Akawber, and Towáneh runs in a north-easterly direction, while that of Saidnayya and Mu’árra runs into the Menin valley. Crossing the above-mentioned step by the pass called Ka’ábet el Kalkas, from some barely traceable ruins in the Wady below, we descended slightly into the plain El Wati’í, on which ‘Assál el Ward stands. This was traversed in an hour; and ascending Wady Tumm el Ghaytah, we passed about three-quarters of a mile to the south of Kasr Nemrúd, described in the last chapter. Our road then lay across a most intricate series of small Wadys, running north and north-east to join the main Wady, which runs eastward. I know of no mountains so full of surprises as the Anti-Libanus: the drainage, by means of the ‘sinks,’ causes unexpected breaks in a seemingly regular range of hills, and makes the convolutions of the Wadys assume most eccentric forms.
We reached Ain Durah soon after sunset, and found the same man from Rankús whom we had met two months before. He was lodged with his two boys in a circular enclosure some eight feet in diameter, formed of a loose stone wall three feet high, and partly covered in by a few sticks and a bit of old matting, which had suffered severely from the teeth of the half-dozen privileged sheep who shared the mansion with their owner. This man had been living here for three months, and would remain till his Indian corn was fit to eat: he complained bitterly of the damage done by the bears to his ‘hummus.’
The next morning a four hours’ ride brought us into Ba’albak. I was surprised to find how much basalt was strewn on the western slopes of the Anti-Libanus: it is of the same hard compact formation that we found above Bludan, near Zebdany and at Sarghayya. A short distance below the village of Sh’áibeh, which stands above Wady Shábát, are the foundations of a small ruined temple called Dayr Ain el Libníyeh. It measures forty-five feet by twenty-five feet outside. The cella is very small, and the door is turned to the north-east. The stones, though not of any great size, are well hewn, and the fragments of the cornice show that it was very plain, but in good style. On the west side of Wady Shábát, opposite the bold bluff round which the Wady winds, are the remains of a small temple, and of a building which was probably a Roman roadside-station to command the valley. At fifty minutes from this place are the ruins of Harfesh; and between them and Ba’albak - an hour and a half’s ride - the whole country shows traces of vineyards and cultivation in the ruined walls and heaps of stones, which occur at regular intervals.
The afternoon was spent in strolling through the well-known ruins of the great Sun-temple, whose magnificence and grandeur make themselves more appreciated at every visit.
Riding across the Buka’a, and passing through the village of Ya’ád, in an hour and a half we reached the foot of a small spur of the Libanus, shooting out between the villages of Shellifah and B’teddár. The ruins at its eastern base are called Harf, and on the summit is an enclosure formed by a wall of hewn masonry, some eighty yards by fifty yards. At the south-west corner of this court is a collection of ruined chambers, evidently composed of materials still older. In the centre of these is a building thirty-five feet by twenty-four feet outside, and about fourteen feet high. An elaborately moulded cornice runs outside. The doorway originally faced east, was protected by a portico, and was approached by a flight of steps, but is now quite ruined as is the west end. To the east of this building I found a quantity of burnt earth, and two large beehive-shaped cisterns cut in the solid rock, and carefully cemented inside. Between the ruined chambers and the temple I traced the semicircular apse of an early Christian church. The ruin itself is called Dayr Mar Liaut - the Convent of St. Leontes.
At the foot of the hill, just above the ruins of the town, is a rock-hewn cistern, with two circular cup-shaped drinking-troughs, somewhat tastefully cut, below it.
Passing on to B’teddár, I stopped a short time to breakfast with the native Greek priest. This village, though now consisting only of a few houses, evidently stands on the site of an ancient town of some importance, as may be seen by the traces of ruins round the Wely’s tomb, which stands a short distance up the hill at the mouth of Wady Dabbus. Soon after entering this valley, I came upon a broken milestone, with some thirteen or fourteen lines of Greek inscription. These, however, are so weather-worn, that I could not decipher more than the name of the Emperor Antoninus Pius. The mountain-sides were, for this country, thickly wooded with wild pear (Najás barri), a kind of sloe, a wild plum (Khokh ed Dubb, the bear’s plum), bearing a pretty red and yellow fruit, having when dead-ripe a not unpleasant acrid taste; the wild almond (Lóz barri), Sindian (Quercus pseudo-coccifera), maple (Kykab), oak (‘Afs); Berberús, with a long purple berry; Kokolán, a kind of juniper; Shohát, a honey-suckle tree, which attains the height of twelve to fifteen feet, while the trunk is as much as two feet in girth.
On the maple I noticed mistletoe with white berries, similar to that of Europe. I had frequently seen a variety in the south of Palestine, especially on the olive-trees, but bearing a coral berry. As we advanced up the valley, the growth of trees became scantier and shorter, and at last ceased entirely on the watershed of the outlying ridge, separated from the main chain of Lebanon by the series of enormous ‘sinks,’ which, beginning with Yammúneh, extend as far as Merj Ahín. On the crest of the ridge I found a small ruined temple, thirty-six feet by twenty-eight feet outside, containing a cella eight feet by five feet. The door opened to the south-west, and a short Greek inscription, in a square tablet with circular ears, has fallen down in front, but is so defaced that I could only make out the name of Diom(edes?).
From this point I gained my first view of El Yammúneh, and was surprised to see an expanse of dry white mud, in place of the fair blue lake that I had pictured to myself, and of which I had caught a glimpse from Aináta the previous year. On descending to the shores of the lake the phenomenon was explained. The men from the village of El Yammúneh had discovered the principle of this great sink, and were hard at work removing the mud at the south-east edge of the lake, where it was thinner than elsewhere, and only covered the substratum of pebbles to a depth of two or three feet. Immediately this was done, the water poured off into the unknown depths of the mountain; and thus the river, which rises at the old ruined temple below the Neba’ el ‘Arbaín, though some twenty-five feet wide by one and a half deep, only flows a quarter of a mile, and is then swallowed up. The place where the men were digging was close to a great hollow, evidently the natural sink for the waters of the lake. If at any period the tank had an outlet into the Buka’a, it must have been at the south-eastern end of the basin, about three miles from Aináta. Unless the flow of water chokes up the work of these wise men of Yammúmeh, the whole bed of the lake, where they intend to plant Indian corn, will be an arid waste, parched and valueless. This great sink, at whose south-west end the true basin of the lake lies, is about three and three-quarter miles long by one broad. To the northwest of the lake-bed is the Neba’ el ‘Arbaín - spring of the Forty (Martyrs).
On the 9th day of Adáv (March), the Feast of the Forty Martyrs, the spring begins to flow, and continues to do so till the last day of Tammuz (July), when it ceases.[FN#3] All the neighbouring natives agree in saying that it keeps to these dates within a day, or perhaps two. I climbed up about one hundred feet to the point where it issues from the hill-side, and found a cave some twenty feet deep with a dam of ancient masonry in front of it, and a small aqueduct leading from it to one of the mills below. The course taken by the water is clearly marked by the thick black moss, now dried and tough, covering all the stones over which this intermittent stream flows. When the spring knocks off work, the water rises on the edge of the plain only a few feet above what used to be the ordinary level of the lake. This water leaves a black deposit on the stones near the sources, which nearly surround the Kala’ah or Fort, as the Temple is called. The exterior enclosure or ‘peribolos’ of this building is irregular in shape, being about ninety yards on the northern and eastern sides, and on the western and southern rather longer. The temple itself is raised upon a platform, and measures forty-nine feet by thirty-four feet. The doorway, as usual, with its portico and flight of steps, opens eastwards. At the west end I observed a piece of the frieze and a broken corner of the pediment lying half buried; but the dilapidated state of the ruin was explained by a limekiln which I espied close by, in which many a stone had been burnt. I remarked one stone with a rope ornament built into the walls of this anti-archæological institution.
Riding up to Aináta, it was noticeable how far the old vineyard walls extended up the mountain-sides, while now only a few grapes are grown on the level ground below. But the stones preach the same sermon of former prosperity not only from Dan to Beersheba, but from Petra to Aleppo, telling us at the same time that the ruin is of comparatively late date. Will England ever look upon Syria as anything else than a land for tourists to amuse themselves in, and see that a pied-à-terre there would secure her not only an uninterrupted passage to India, but wealth incalculable in mineral and agricultural produce? - for both may yet be drawn from this fertile land, whose soil needs no manure and whose mountains teem with ores.
Though Aináta is more than five thousand feet above sea-level, all the villagers were sleeping out in their vineyards, and so warm was the air, that I found even the covering of a blanket superfluous in the kind of verandah where I passed the night. Soon after midnight I was awoke by a sudden crash of falling walls. On starting up, I saw one of my horses standing in the centre of the courtyard, looking with a most comical air of pleased astonishment and satisfaction at the ruin he had caused; but directly the men began to stir he walked off, and unconcernedly pretended to eat straw beside the other horse. It seems that he had been tied to a large stone at the bottom of the loose stone wall which formed one side of an outhouse, and by pulling at his halter had brought down the whole affair, roof and all, to the ground. A few piastres, however, more than compensated the old woman whose property it was.
As my intention was to leave the road at the top of the Pass overlooking the Cedars, and to ride along the ridge or Jurd of the Lebanon to its northern extremity, and then descend to the nearest village, I of course wished for a guide to tell me the names of its various summits and Wadys. After some trouble I found a man who professed to know every yard of the mountain, and as he maintained that he had been a goatherd for several years, I fondly trusted to his representations and engaged him; but, alas! no more than half an hour had we quitted the road at the Col than I found that my ruffian was at the length of his tether, and though I had only once been along the Jurd as far as Tiz Marún one misty day fifteen months before, from that moment I found the conduct of the party devolve upon myself.
Ascending to the top of Dhahr el Kodhíb,[FN# 4] I took out my barometer tubes, and after having the misfortune to break one, I succeeded in getting most satisfactory readings. We then rode in a north-north-east direction, and passing close by the base of Tiz Marún I halted the party, and went to take observations on this the highest point of the Lebanon; the day, however, was so far advanced that I was obliged to content myself with aneroid readings. All the springs which I had noted in July 1870 on the Jurd had dried up this year, and only three or four small patches of snow remained on the whole range; thus men and horses had been since early morning without water. The clouds too were beginning to come up for the first time, being unusually late this year, and I felt myself compelled to descend. From the summit I looked in vain for the island of Cyprus which I saw three consecutive evenings from B’hamdún in September - but a thick mist hung over the sea. The vegetation on the mountain-top - except Turmus barri, a kind of wild lupin - was dried up. No birds were visible but a few ravens and kestrils, and small parties of the Persian horned lark (Otocoris pencillata, Gould). The goatherds were already beginning to seek the lower slopes, and had I come one day later I should have been unable to have done anything; for the very next day the mountain-tops were covered with thick clouds, which did not lift for three weeks, at the end of which period, as I was returning from Aleppo one morning at sunrise, I saw the Lebanon shining in a mantle of virgin snow.
Dismounting from our horses at the base of Tiz Marún, we led them down a Wady running in a north-west direction, and in two hours found that we had descended 3000 feet, and reached the edge of Sahlet el Jubab - the ‘Plain of the Sinks’ - which separates the Lebanon Block proper from its outliers. Here we found some goatherds from Kirmil, camped under the Lizzab trees in rude compounds, which were shared by goats, dogs, and children, on a footing of perfect equality, and from them we learned that the nearest water was at Merj Ahín, whence they daily brought it themselves, distant about an hour and a quarter. Leaving the goatherds we skirted the Sahleh, putting up many partridges and a hare from the bushes of Berberús, which is very abundant here, and soon after sunset reached Merj Ahín, the most northern of the great sinks, and watered our thirsty horses at a spring which irrigates a considerable tract of fertile soil. Taking care to fix upon a camping ground sufficiently raised above the marsh not to be chilled by the cold fog which rose from it, we picketed our horses, and were soon sound asleep rolled up in our blankets around a blazing fire of Lizzab branches.
The next morning I questioned my trusty guide, and found that he had once before been to Merj Ahín, but had come from Aináta by the lower or direct road. When I asked him whether he had never been farther to the north, he exclaimed in pious horror, ‘O no; that’s the country of the Metawileh!’ So I dismissed this brave youth, who, though armed with a double-barrelled gun, a pair of pistols, and a knife, evidently did not relish the prospect of the four hours solitary walk that lay before him.
On descending to the spring we found the cold intense, and our fingers became quite numbed, though at an elevation of some fifty feet above the water we had not suffered at all during the night. A number of the small magpies (Ar. Bouzerái), which I have never seen except in the Libanus and Anti-Libanus, were hopping merrily about in search of the ‘early worm.’
Taking a direction nearly north by west, as being the most likely to bring us to some village, we left the insignificant ruins of Merj Ahín to our left, and crossing a small pass where an outcrop of sandstone occurs, we found ourselves at the head of a large Wady called El Nakrah running westward. We now entered upon the prettiest scenery I have yet seen in the Lebanon: wild deep gorges, overhung by fantastic rocks and in some places thickly wooded, are alternated by open grassy Alps, contrasting well with the deep rich purple of the basalt, and the yellow sandstone which was never far from it. In one or two places I observed porphyritic greenstone cropping out.
In about two hours all traces of the path disappeared, and the hill-side began to be thickly covered with trees, while a tangled growth of brambles and fern grew luxuriantly in their shade. At this point a lad came up with us, driving two unladen camels down from their mountain pasturage. From him we learnt that there was a village called Fenaydir in the valley beneath us. The long spine of the Lebanon which runs northwards is termed Jebel el Abiadín, and, as I afterwards learned, has a ruin on its crest called Kalá’at el Rúbeh, which from the description given me of it seems to have been a large temple.
Descending into Wady Ayyun el Diab (the Wolves’ Fountain), we found ourselves in a wood composed or Shuah (? P. halepensis), a pine usually growing with two or three leaders, and reaching the height of sixty feet, while the branches begin close to the ground; the Scotch fir; a few scattered and gnarled cedars; the common oak, and the species bearing the edible acorn, which, however, remains bitter till the rains have begun; the wild or barren Sinawbar, a stone pine whose seeds are useless, while those of the true Sinawbar are an important article of food to the Lebanon mountaineers; the ‘bear’s plum,’ before mentioned; Kokolan, Lízzáb, and willow-trees, as well as ivy, clematis, bracken, and many other plants which recalled the woodlands of Northern Europe. The scenery was so pretty, that one of the soldiers who accompanied me, a stolid Turk, whose general idea of earthly bliss was sitting in a coffee-house at Damascus, smoking a narghileh at some friend’s expense, actually went into ecstasies and said that since he had left his native mountains near Diarbekir he had never seen anything so lovely.
The Moslem village of Fenaydir is surrounded by magnificent walnut-trees, and I was soon seated in the shade of one of these, discussing with a mountain appetite a breakfast of hot maize cakes, Burghul (prepared corn), and fried eggs, which the Shaykh brought me. Afterwards all the village worthies and an old merchant on a pedlar’s excursion from Tripoli gathered round me, to examine my breech-loading guns and revolvers. One man, thinking to make a munificent offer, said that the Shaykh would give me five hundred walnuts for one of the latter; but I turned the laugh against him, by saying that I accepted if they were all as large as the tree we were seated under: the word for the tree and the nut being the same in Arabic. Near the village is a spring issuing from a cave, which is said to be of great extent, but can only be entered by swimming.
Taking leave of the hospitable Shakyh, who scouted the idea of receiving any backshish ‘for entertaining the stranger,’ we crossed over a low range of hills to the north of the village, and found ourselves at the head of Wady Mimnah and overlooking the ‘Entrance to Hamath’ - the comparatively level tract that stretches from Tripoli to Hums, and divides the Lebanon from the Jebel Nusayri. Our glimpses of this district were, however, but momentary, as the clouds began to surround us: I could see that the sides of the Wady we were descending were terraced, and grown with maize on the lower parts, while the upper portion was rugged and covered with brushwood. Leading our horses, we scrambled down a broken staircase of rock which did duty for a path, and after slipping and stumbling for an hour and three-quarters, we emerged from the clouds on the edge of a circular plain enclosed by hills, near a clump of trees on a mound which marked the tomb of the Wely Maritna.
The vegetation in Wady Mimnah was distinct from that of the upper regions, and consisted of the large-leafed arbutus (A. andrachne), Butm or terebinth, Spanish broom, and a few plants of butcher’s broom. About half way down the Wady on the left-hand side I noticed some ruins overgrown with brushwood, and a small tower built of drafted stones with large bosses.
Half-an-hour’s ride across the plain brought us to Bayno, where I determined on stopping for the night, as some of the horses had lost shoes in scrambling down the mountain. Finding that the village was a Christian one, I began to repent my decision, but too late. My reception was anything but encouraging: the Shaykh seemed to think that he was doing me a great favour in allowing me to enter his house; there was none of that ready dignified courtesy and evident wish to please that so distinguishes the Moslem in his reception of guests. Among the Christians an ill-bred prying curiosity, which if not repressed would be mixed with insolence, a disobliging manner, a greed for piastres - I had almost said exceeding that of the Hebrews - take their place. All the Christians that I have ever been among in this country are equally bad, with the exception of the Jacobites of Sadad, who are even more brave and dignified, more hospitable and courteous, than the generality of Moslems. It is a curious speculation as to what is the cause of this inferiority of the Christians, who, though often richer than their Mohammedan neighbours, are niggardly and churlish, avaricious, and, with very few exceptions, arrant cowards. I cannot help thinking, that in the peculiarly constituted native mind religion has something to do with it. The Syrian is to a European an unintelligible creature: bodily he not unfrequently suffers, from hysteria and other maladies peculiar to the weaker sex; mentally he unites the cunning of a Macchiavelli with the stupidity of an Essex chawbacon; he learns to lie before he can lisp, and if he ever speaks the truth by mistake, he forthwith experiences the bitter stings of remorse. The Moslem fights bravely, for he feels sure that when he falls he will, as a True Believer, go straight to his Paradise: the Christian, on the other hand, especially a susceptible nervous subject like the Syrian, priest-ridden and steeped in superstition, unless he can die en règle, feels the utmost uncertainty as to his destination. These and similar causes, added to long years of oppression, to which he has submitted with a fawning, cringing hypocrisy, concealing the bitterest hatred not only to Moslems, but to all sects differing from his own, have tended to make the Syrian Christian the wretched creature that he is. Unlike a Mohammedan, he does not consider hospitality a sacred duty, but a means of extorting so many miserable piastres; and in the bazaars it is almost impossible for a European to buy from Christian shopkeepers, so extortionate and unscrupulous are they.
Taking a guide the next morning, I started for ‘Akkar; and though this gentleman managed to lose his way two or three times, we arrived there in two hours. ‘Akkar is situated on the east side of Wady Lustwán, a pretty gorge, densely overgrown with brushwood, and watered by a rushing stream full of excellent fish. A sort of island-peak rises in the middle of the Wady, and is crowned by a castle - partly, at all events - of Roman work, called Kalá’at Nusayr el Nimr. The town has been of considerable importance in early Saracenic times; and some of the vaults on which the houses are built are Roman. As I was riding through the village, two or three servants came down from Mohammed Agha, the chief of the place, a man of old family, who still keeps up a sort of feudal state, inviting me to breakfast, and would take no refusal. Finding that I could not get off, and being quite prepared to do justice to a good feed after my treatment by the Christians of Bayno, I rode up to the house, and was received by Mohammed Agha and his uncle Mahmúd, a cheery old man with a long white beard. After the usual talk about the state of Syria and a glance at European politics, a most excellent breakfast of meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, and grapes made its appearance and received ample justice from all. Then, taking leave of our hospitable hosts, we started for Kalá’at el Husn, or, as it is sometimes called, Husn el ‘Akrád. Keeping along the right side of Wady Lustwán, we passed, at the outskirts of the village, a ruined Saracenic khan, built in good style with alternate courses of limestone and basalt. Beyond this was the burial-ground, with the usual grove of trees over the grave of the patron Shaykh.
Our road from this point wound among the hills, and after three hours and a half we had descended some 1700 feet, and reached the edge of the Bukay’ah - Little Buká’a as the plain between the Nusayri Mountains and the Lebanon is called. The basalt begins to crop out at the village of Antakit, which is almost entirely built of this stone, about an hour south of the plain. Half an hour before reaching this village we passed through El Abeyyat, which is separated into two distinct portions, and boasts of a Jesuit convent. The whole of this district, which has an average elevation of 2000 feet above the sea is very fruitful; the olives are much esteemed; and were the silk-trade fostered, it would be exceedingly remunerative both to the government and to the grower.
At the edge of the Bukay’ah the basalt is in situ, and the soil of the plain itself is exceedingly rich. After halting for a few minutes beside a stream fringed with oleanders, and abounding in small fish, we rode on to the Jisr el Aswad, a half broken-down bridge over the Nahr el Kebír, which, rising to the west of Hums Lake, runs into the sea between Tripoli and Tartús. The plain was covered with the tents of Turkomans, and mongrel Arabs, who, belonging to no particular tribe, are known by the general name of Ráyyan (shepherds), from their acting in that capacity to the neighbouring Fellahin. Passing a circular mound of worn basaltic stones, with a crater-like depression in the centre, surmounted by a few trees sacred to some local Shaykh Mohammed, an hour and a half’s ride brought us to the foot of the spur on which the Kala’at el Husn is built: a steep climp of forty minutes brought us to the small village nestling beneath the castle, and we were soon installed in the Shaykh’s house, as comfortably as his limited means -continually drawn upon by the lawless irregular cavalry of the Turkish Government, then quartered in the château - would permit.
The castle itself has been often described; and though Murray (Handbook, ‘Syria and Palestine,’ p. 543, ed. 1868) states that the first mention of it is in A.D. 1101, when it was attacked unsuccessfully by Raymond de Toulouse, yet I think that there can be no doubt of its being originally a Crusading fortress. All the Arabic inscriptions on the walls
- except perhaps the almost, if not quite, illegible ones over the entrance - are of a date posterior to this. The great square tower in the southern wall, near the aqueduct, which, supported on four arches, supplied the castle with water from the upper part of the hill, is known by the name of Burj Melek el Dhahir (who reigned about the end of the twelfth and beginning of the thirteenth century A.D.).[FN#5]
On the side of one of the trefoil windows of the cloister which lies to the east of the chapel and hall, in the centre of the castle, is a Latin inscription half broken away, and beginning –
The walls are built of basalt-rubble and faced with limestone: the stones at the north-west corner are drafted, as are some in the keep. Externally the machicolation is continuous on the south, on the north-west walls the openings are in threes, and to the south-west in fours.
The irregular cavalry, who some sixty in number live with their wives and families in the holes and corners of the castle, like rats in an old barn, excited the wrath and contempt of my Zabtiyehs. ‘The idea of long ruffians like those Kurds,’ they said, ‘with such kedishes’ (pack-horses) ‘and such arms receiving the same pay as we do, and having many more opportunities than us for picking up waifs and strays!’ pointing at the same time with pride to their own trim well-fed little mares. Every man in the Turkish irregular cavalry provides his own horse and weapons, and consequently no two are mounted or armed alike; some have a pair of pistols only, while some sport double-barrelled gun, sword, and pistols.
Bidding adieu to the Shaykh, whose wife could with difficulty be persuaded to accept the modest backshish I offered her, saying that it was too much, and that it would be ‘shame’ for her to take it, we rode down to the village of Howwash, and thence into the plain, leaving an old mill seemingly coeval with the castle on our right. Passing the Tells Ala’yik and ‘Addi, in two hours we reached the eastern edge of the Bukay’ah, near Shaykh Mohammed, over whose tomb is the usual grove and a few pillars and capitals.
We then ascended some low hills, and passing the village of Khoz el Khuz we came to Tell el Koshúf -distant an hour from the plain - and found ourselves on the rolling plateau extending nearly to Hums, and some six hundred feet higher than the Bukay’ah. At this mound I tried to get some information out of a knot of shepherds and herds-men collected there for their midday meal, but it was labour lost: like all the surrounding population, they were sojourners in the land, not earth-born, and neither knew nor cared anything about it if it had no reference to the material necessities of grass and water for their cattle. They knew the name of the volcanic-looking Tell we stood on, and its neighbour – Kaslaghir -to the south-east, and the little village of Waybili some fifteen minutes distant, but no more.
An old paved road runs directly across this plateau, whose formation is entirely basaltic, to Hums -probably from Tripoli and Antaradus. In three hours and a half we came in sight of Hums, thoroughly drenched, cold, and not over well-pleased, having been overtaken by a furious thunderstorm, which burst down from the Lebanon, and having missed the road to Liftayeh, whence I had intended visiting the Hums Lake. At
3.30 P.M. I tried to restore my equanimity by procuring some breakfast at a miserable hamlet of half a dozen huts, and was thankful to get a small millet cake and an onion.
An hour and a half’s slight descent over an execrable road of basalt boulders, brought us to the ‘Asy (River Orontes), and a sharp gallop of five-and-twenty minutes through the gardens landed me safely at Hums.
[FN#1] These points have been fully discussed in Chap. I. - Ed. [FN#2] In the Sinai survey of 1868-9, conducted by Captains Palmer and Wilson of the Royal Engineers, several aneroids were tested at various heights by comparison with a barometer, and it was discovered that the error was never constant: thus, an aneroid which at 3000 feet would perhaps be a few hundredths too low, was found at 5000 feet to read too high. The truest instrument used by this expedition was a small one made by Mr. Cary of the Strand, and the property of the Royal Geographical Society, who afterwards kindly lent it to me. During the explorations of Mr. E.H. Palmer and myself in the Desert of the Tih in 1869-70, I found it a most reliable little instrument, and have since tested it at various times with barometers. The table of heights given in the Appendix are taken from its readings. [FN#3] A similar intermittent spring, ‘El Mambaj,’ has been noticed near the hills in Wady Bayt Jann, to the south of Jebel el Shaykh (the Hermon). [FN#4] The ‘Zahr el Kazíb’ of chap. i. Ed. [FN#5] See pp. 433-435 in Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin, by Messrs. Besant and Palmer; London, Bentley, 187l. Burckhardt (Syria, p. 158) found over the gate the arms of the Counts of Toulouse, like the lions on the Burj el Subá’a at Tripoli. He justly determines the Husn to be a mediæval and Crusading building. Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake’s sketch has already appeared.
AN EXPLORATION OF THE ‘ALAH OR ‘HIGHLAND’ OF SYRIA.
THIS district lies to the north-east and south-east of Hamah, and is bounded by most strictly defined limits, on which all the neighbouring people agree. The reason of this unity of opinion is self-evident: the whole of the ‘Aláh is basaltic, while the country to the north and west is limestone. Mr. Porter has fallen into the curious mistake (Murray’s ‘Palestine and Syria,’ ed. 1868, p. 583) of giving the name Jebel el ‘Ala to Jebel el Zowí, as the mountains between Jebel Kalbíyeh[FN#1] and Jebel Sim’án are invariably called.
The boundary of the ‘Aláh is at Salámiyeh to the south, and running westward it encloses the plateau overhanging the Orontes; the villages of Kefr Ra’a, Duwayr, Temányeh, Jirjinnaz, and Maáseran are built on its extreme limits to the west and north; while to the east it is bounded by the edge of the hills which slope down to the great marsh extending from Tell Tokan to Tell el ‘Ays, known by the name of Matkh el ‘Ays.
All the ruins in this tract are of basalt, with the exception of the Burj el Abiadh (White Tower), which has received its name from the colour of the unusual material of which it is built. The ruins in Jebel el Zowí - which have been explored by M. le Comte de Vogüé - are invariably limestone; and from being built with blocks of a size impossible to bring into general use in a basaltic region, on account of the specific gravity of this latter material being so much greater than that of limestone, they are in good preservation, and contrast strongly with the remains in the ‘Aláh, which have evidently been ruined and rebuilt, in many cases more than once: this is clearly proved by finding - as in the Hauran - inscriptions and fragments of ornamentation built into the walls of houses.
The Arabs all agree in declaring that there are three hundred and sixty-five ruined towns in the ‘Aláh; for they say that ‘a man might formerly have travelled for a year in this district, and never have slept twice in the same village.’ Judging from the number of ruins that fell under my own observation, I can quite believe that this assertion is but little, if at all, exaggerated. Curiously enough, the very existence of these ruins seems to have been quite unknown, even to European residents in this country, till within the last eighteen months. M. Prosper Bambino, nephew to M. F. Bambino, Vice-consul de France at Hamah, then heard of them for the first time from a native hunter, who used to go there in the spring and catch jackdaws to sell to children. Captain Burton, in company with the former, made a brief reconnaissance of the western region, and satisfied himself that it contained valuable matter; but as he was Consul at Damascus, his time was necessarily limited. The number of Bedawin too who infest this region has been sufficient to keep strangers at a respectful distance; and this, with the want of water, the loose basaltic soil, so tiring to horses, and want of reliable information, has probably been the reason why this district has never been explored.
The only difficulties I experienced were the natural ones above mentioned, and the impossibility of making the greedy but not over valorous horsemen, sent to escort me by a too-obliging government, venture their precious selves in the ‘Chol’ or desert, which is as great a bugbear to them as the haunted belfry of an outlying church would be to a ten-year-old urchin in some unmodernised English village. As soon, however, as I had freed myself from these vampires, difficulties vanished as if by magic.
On arriving at Hums I sent to the Kaimakam, or Military Governor, requesting him to tell off two horsemen to act as guides to Salámiyeh. Soon afterwards I received a visit from this functionary, who opened the conversation by depicting in vivid colours the dangers and useless inconvenience of such a journey. Satisficd at last of the impossibility of convincing me of these horrors, and consequently of making me change my mind, he went away, saying that he would see what could be done. After receiving many messages from him, to which I invariably replied that I only wanted two horsemen, or, better still, one, I thought the matter concluded; but next morning I found eight mounted Zabtiyehs awaiting me with a message from the Kaimakam, to say that he had received orders from the Pasha of Hamah not to let me go with less. Feeling annoyed at this imposition, which, as I well knew, was only for the purpose of drawing upon my purse, I said that of course I cou1d not prevent him if he chose to send a regiment with me on his own responsibility, but that I only required two men.
This valiant troop would have made the fortune of any theatre as a gang of bandits in a burlesque: there were horses of all sizes and colours, some with bridles, some with halters; pistols that would never go off, and swords that took five minutes to tug from their scabbards; one of the men, a short-bodied long-legged fellow, was mounted without stirrups on a year-old colt, his only arm being a lance some sixteen feet long, which made him look like nothing but a monkey armed with a broomstick and riding a small dog.
Followed at a respectful distance - for their half-starved horses were not equal to too much exertion - by this imposing escort, we rode through the village of Dayr Ba’albi, and crossing Wady el Aswad, reached in one hour and forty minutes Sohún el Aswad, where a few Arab tents were pitched on a patch of grass beside some shallow pits of water. Forty minutes farther brought us to Khirbet el Meshrifeh (the Look-out), and I then discovered that the small village of El Meshrifeh was built at the corner of a large earthwork, which upon examination proved to be an entrenched camp, measuring some six hundred and fifty to seven hundred yards square. The embankment is still nearly sixty feet high in some parts, and the fosse is well marked. During this journey I found several of these fortified camps, but none so large as that at El Meshrifeh, except perhaps the one known by the name of Tell el S’fínet Núh - the Mound of Noah’s Ark -which lies between Tell Nebi Mand[FN#2] and the southern end of the Hums Lake.
Passing Ain Hosayn, a small spring which serves to irrigate a few acres of Indian corn, in two hours we reached the little village of ‘Azz el Din, which has been rebuilt by a colony of Circassians, to whom the Government has assigned a tract of land. Unless these somewhat unruly foreigners are sharply looked after by the Turks, they may, before many years are over, prove a source of considerable annoyance. Hardy, brave, and well-armed mountaineers, they will scarcely rest content in the open plains where they have been placed; and if once the different colonies unite and establish themselves in the mountains, they will become virtually independent. I hear that one party has already discontented with their lot - gone up into Jebel Sulayb, and, ousting the rightful owners, taken possession of a village of the Nusayri.
Leaving ‘Azz el Din, where I noticed the first outcrop of basalt east of Hums, we reached the edge of the plain, in the middle of which Salámiyeh stands, in an hour and a quarter. Sending on some of the men to warn the Shaykh of my coming, I turned off to visit the Castle of Shemmamit, which stands on an isolated Tell some 250 feet high. The summit of the mound, 115 yards in diameter, has been built upon; then the rock has been scarped perpendicularly for twenty feet, and below this a fosse has been excavated to the same depth. The outer edge of this moat, which is not visible till the mound has been scaled, is only a few yards in width. On the southern side I noticed ruins of a drawbridge leading to the principal gateway: to the north is a small postern. With some difficulty I made my way up to the ruin, and found that part of the building was Roman; but even that was patched with fragments of a more ancient edifice. The greater part of this fort as it now stands I consider to be early Saracenic. In the corner to the east of the great gate I found a well, which, by carefully marking the length of time taken by a stone to reach the bottom, I judged to be somewhat over 300 feet in depth. The formation of the Tell is similar to that of the neighbouring hills, and is shown to advantage by the artificial section. The upper part, to a depth of from twelve to fifteen feet, consists of basalt, compact above, but fissured and somewhat friable beneath. Below this stratum of basalt lies the limestone, slightly bituminous, and abounding in dark yellow and brown flints. On a neighbouring hill to the east are some unimportant ruins; and here the Moslems have built a small mosque, which is named Makam el Khadhr, or, as we might translate it, the Station of St. George.
Salámiyeh, mentioned in the Antonine Tables as Salamias, and placed at a distance of eighteen Roman miles from Hemisa (Hums), has but few relics of antiquity. Two or three rude Greek inscriptions, some stones ornamented with crosses and grape patterns, and several coarse granite columns, are all that it can boast of. Two Cufic inscriptions, the one over the door of the bath, the other at the mosque, are seemingly of the fifth century of the Hejra. The village is still a flourishing one, and can bring 300 muskets and 100 horsemen into the field. The chief of the place, Emir Ismail, a patriarchal old gentleman with a flowing white beard, received me with great hospitality in the Kala or Fort, as the natives call the old Saracenic Khan, which, built of basalt, rises proudly above the conical-roofed mud-huts peculiar to North Syria. These dwellings are built of sun-dried brick, and are often of considerable size. The base is square, sometimes measuring thirty feet each way; and the roof is formed of thin bricks, laid with their edges overhanging inwards; and thus a cone of fifteen to twenty feet in height is formed. Once every year this is plastered outside, and camel-bones are fastened into it at intervals, to enable men to reach the top for that purpose.
About midnight I was awakened by the arrival of several horsemen; and from the conversation of the new-comers, I gathered that nine men and a Yuzbashi had been sent off by Holo Pasha, Governor of Hamah, to escort me to that place. With a hearty growl at the meddling officiousness of the Government, I pulled my blanket over my head, and was soon fast asleep again. In the morning the men from Hums took their backshish and went off; but when I explained to that valiant lieutenant, Mohammed Agha, my intention of striking across to Khan Shaykh Hun[FN#3] by the desert road, he began to make so many objections, that I found nothing would induce him - accompanied by only eleven armed men, of whom two, viz. myself and servant, had twenty-nine consecutive shots between us - to peril his precious life in the ‘Chól.’ I then tried to get a guide from the young Emir Mohammed; but the evident disinclination of the soldiers to take the desert road compelled him, though evidently against the grain, to say that he could not find a man to go with me.
With an inward vow to rid myself at the first opportunity of my impracticable following, I took leave of the Emir, and started with the horsemen, on the distinct understanding that I was not going to Hamah. In an hour we reached Ain Burbah, at the northern edge of the plain on which Salámiyeh stands: several of the Haddidïín Arabs were camped beside it. Forty minutes farther brought us to Ain Zagharín; and close beside it I found coarse gray granite, or rather syenite, in situ. This explained the number of columns hewn out of this stone which are found at Salámiyeh, Hums, Hamah, and the neighbouring towns. Though I have hitherto been unable to find the red granite - called by the natives Dak or concrete - I have little doubt of its existence in some part of Syria.
Leaving Ain Zagharín, half-an-hour’s ride brought us to Kalaat Rubbeh, an oval fortification of rude construction on an isolated hill, at the base of which are some insignificant ruins. Near this place we met a large number of the Haddidïín coming southward in search of pasturage, and accompanied by large flocks of sheep and goats and numbers of donkeys; I observed that the shepherds in this district always ride on one of these long-suffering animals when wandering about in charge of their flocks. Notwithstanding that the sheep and goats are continually on the move from sunrise to sunset, and that the pasturage consists only of scattered stalks of withered grass, these animals are ever fat, owing, I imagine, to the perfect way in which their food is digested. At midday they are usually taken to water; and if this is not done, numbers of them die in consequence.
The hills of the ‘Aláh have unmistakably the outlines of a limestone formation; but this is easy to understand when we know that - as shown at Shemmamít - the basalt is merely a deposit of a few feet in depth overlying the limestone. The soil is exceedingly rich, but, as in the Hauran, peculiarly tiring to horses, from the fact of its continually giving way beneath their weight, and letting them sink in to the hock. On these upland plains I noticed a few large bustards (Otis habara) and small flights of Kata or sandgrouse, and on the lower grounds the large flocks of larks are remarkable. Descending from the plateau near Tell Arúneh, we left Surán at a short distance to the west, and reached Múrik at sunset. At Bezzam I remarked an entrenched camp similar to, but smaller than, that at El Meshrifeh.
At Múrik there are two Tells, one of which, surmounted by the tomb of Shaykh Mohammed el Halebi, forms a conspicuous landmark. After dinner at the Shaykh’s house a young Arab, Shahir by name, who stated that he was the son of the late Shaykh Mohammed of the Liab division of the Hasayneh, volunteered to enter my service as guide; and glad of any pretext to dispense with the farther services of the horsemen, I told him that he might come with me. A couple of days, however, with this gentleman, who was happily described by a Fellah as ‘Dam-hu Khafif’ (‘Light-blooded’), made me glad to get rid of him; for he combined great ignorance with excessive vanity, and whenever I asked the name of a village which he did not know -and this was of very frequent occurrence - his invariable answer in Bedawi dialect was ‘Wallahi ya Bayj háda jedíd’ (By the Lord, O Bey, that is newly built). This soon became monotonous, as did a few conversations like the following: ‘Shahir (loq.): You see that white Tell over there? D. I see five or six (the horizon being studded with them): which do you mean? S. That one -th-e-r-e. D. Which? on this side of the plain, or beyond it? S. I don’t know. That one. D. Do you mean the one about half an hour distant, or the one three hours off? S. I don’t know. That one (pointing vaguely with his finger). D. Do you mean the one near that black hill? S. I don’t know. That one.’ And so on ad infinitum, every time emphasising more strongly the ‘that’ in the peculiar way the Bedawi have of expressing distance by drawling out the syllables to an almost indefinite length. After a long time, however, it proved that the brilliant youth wished to draw my attention to a mound about a mile distant.
From Múrik I rode through Khan Shaykh Hún, a considerable village, boasting of a large Khan, a Hammam, and a Birket, to Mo’árrat el No’amán, where I found a quarantine for travellers from Baghdad established in a large Khan, known as that of Saíd Yusuf, to the south of Khan el Tekiyeh. Into this establishment a number of Turkish soldiers wished to put me, malgré moi; but my replies were sufficiently forcible to make them fall back and quickly apologise; but too late, for on reaching Aleppo I made my complaint to Suraya Pasha the Governor, and had the satisfaction on my return to Mo’árrah of seeing the principal offenders put in prison. They had of course hoped that I should pay them a few piastres to be let off quarantine, as a native would have done to avoid a disturbance; but they will in future treat English travellers with more courtesy and respect. This quarantine is a source of considerable revenue to whoever farms it; for not only are all travellers from north, south, east, and west impounded, but even the townspeople, if they venture two hours distant from their homes, are either put in limbo, or made to pay 100 piastres (20 francs), on returning. The quarantine lasts ten days, and the charges are, for every man ten piastres, a camel five, a mule three, and a donkey two, and for every load two piastres additional per diem. As might be expected, an incubus like this has nearly ruined the town of Mo’árrah, and business of all kinds is at a standstill.
The road I was now travelling is the ordinary one from Hamah to Aleppo, that mentioned by Murray (ed. 1868) as passing through El Barah and Rihah being one-third longer, and seldom, if ever, used. The old road passed from Hamah to Kefr Ra’a, across the plain to Burj el Abiadh and Ma’áserán or Tárútin el Tujjar, and thence direct to Aleppo, which would thus be reached in eighteen or nineteen hours’ ordinary riding. Leaving the extensive ruins of Danah, with the curious pyramidal roofed tomb at their northern end, to the left, I reached in an hour the ruins of Babíleh, which show that an important town formerly stood here. Parts of the city wall can still be traced, and numbers of large well-hewn stones and columns attest the grandeur of its buildings. I noticed a few Greek letters on one stone, but time had rendered the inscription illegible. As is usual in all the ruins in this district, there are numbers of rock-hewn cisterns and a quarried tank.
At a little more than a mile from these ruins we crossed the Jorf el Ahmar (the Red Bank), from which a Wady running north-eastwards from Mo’árrah takes its name. Three-quarters of an hour farther brought us to Khan Sebil, to the south-south-east of which are three pyramidal-topped tombs, distant about two miles and situated on the open plateau towards Ma’áserán. Khan Sebil is one of the many instances in this district of the village being called after the Khan around which it sprang up. The Fellahin here were the most discourteous boors I ever met with, and I afterwards learnt that they have the worst name in all the country-side: though I offered to pay them their own price for a chicken, eggs, or milk, they refused to bring me anything but a few small cakes of bread. The men were not poor, their houses were good, they were well dressed and looked well fed, and I saw one of them pull out his purse and pay away seventy piastres; so that their conduct must be attributed to simple churlishness, not to poverty. Soon after sunset three blind men came in, who said that they were tramping to Aleppo; and they too complained bitterly of the abuse heaped upon them by the Fellahin of the place, simply because they came to sleep in the mosque; a resting-place always open to pilgrims and way-faring men of the faith of Islam.
Early next morning we left this inhospitable den and rode on half an hour to Mo’arrat el Dubsi where we had difficulty in escaping the Shaykh’s pressing invitation to breakfast; but it was too early, and we had a long day before us. Near this village as at Khan Sebil, the old quarries were cut to serve an ulterior purpose, namely that of tanks, and it is curious that this inexpensive way of obtaining water-storage was not more often resorted to. Passing through a considerable olive-grove, we reached Tell Merthíkh in half an hour, and there I found an earthwork differing essentially in construction from those I had already seen. The sides of a Tell had been cut away, while the centre was left, and round this a rude hexagonal embankment had been heaped up measuring from 250 to 300 yards on each side. The village of Merthíkh lies about a mile to the north, and from this point we began to descend to the Matkh el ‘Ays. An hour and a half’s toilsome plodding over rich arable land, where all traces of path had disappeared under the plough, brought us to Tell Shaykh Mansúr; and a little farther we came to a well and small encampment of Haddidïín at Rasáfat Khalayf. Crossing Wady ‘Alú, we found the Arabs busily watering their flocks at a well called Jubb Juseh. The wells in this district are of great depth, usually varying between 100 and 150 feet: the method of raising the water is the same as that employed in central Morocco. A horse is attached to the end of the rope, which works over a roller, and trotting away, brings the leathern bucket to the surface; sometimes, if the well be not very deep, a couple of women take the place of the animal.
A section of the soil is well shown in Wady ‘Alú: the surface consists of rich red earth to a depth of four feet; below this a stratum of waterworn stones five feet in thickness rests upon the limestone rock. Passing a few huts collected round the wells at Taláfeh and Howwéyyir, we came in two hours and fifty minutes to El Háthir, a considerable village to the north of the Matkh el ‘Ays. This marsh has been now dry for two years, but abounds with a peculiarly large and troublesome horsefly, whose bite is so severe that the horses’ necks were soon streaming with blood. Beyond El Háthir the ground gradually rises and becomes stony. A tedious hour and a half’s ride brought us to the village of Abú Tin, where we stopped for the night: the water - an unusual occurrence in this district - is brackish and unpalatable.
The next morning an hour’s ride took us to Ain Mellahieh, a spring which irrigates a small patch of land belonging to Abú Tin, on which water-melons and some tobacco are cultivated. The tomb of Shaykh Mohammed, which forms a conspicuous landmark, lies to the north-north-west; and close beside the spring are some small ruins, amnong which I noticed a sarcophagus cut out of a block of basalt.
Striking over the basalt-capped hills which divide the Matkh el Ays from the Sabbákhah (or Salt-pan), which lies near Safíreh, at the western edge of this great plain, extending in an east-south-east direction to the Euphrates, we passed the village of Sufayri, and reached the eastern edge of the hills in one hour and forty-five minutes. We then passed through the ruins of Abú Tubbeh, and leaving the modern village of El Hetáneh to the left, reached Safíreh in one hour and twenty minutes. The present village is built a third of a mile to the north of the site of the ancient town, amongst whose ruins I noticed several basaltic columns and a few large blocks of limestone; it consists of the usual conical mud huts, it is of considerable size, and it is inhabited by a thriving population. The Salt-pan, or lake as it becomes during the winter months, is a source of considerable revenue to the Government, and soldiers are stationed at El Haklah - in Bedawi parlance Haglah or Hajlah -to prevent contraband trade: the chief stores of salt are at Jabúl, on the east of the lake. At this season of the year, though there is not a drop of water, the refraction from the crystals of salt induces such a mirage, that at even a very short distance it is almost impossible to believe that one is not looking upon a pellucid unruffled lake, in which both the houses of Jabúl and the outlines of an insular Tell are clearly reflected. by the mirage.
Next morning we rode in a southerly direction along the foot of the plateau west of Safíreh, the northern portion being called Jebel Shaykh Abú Sa’adi, the central Umm Kayrín; and this is separated from Jebel Abú ‘l ‘Ashti by Wady Zinyan. A headland called Búz el Khanzir, on the summit of which is a ruined fort known as El Bab, projects towards the southern extremity of the Salt-pan. The range then takes a south-westerly bend, and after passing Kanásir, trends to the north-west as far as the Matkh el ‘Ays, thus making an isolated plateau similar in formation to that of the ‘Aláh.
An hour’s ride along the plain brought us to some small ruins called Shaykh Ibrak, where the wells are in good condition and the water sweet, though not more than two miles away from the Salt-pan. A short distance up Wady Zinyan, which runs N.N.East, brought us to ruins bearing the same name as the valley. On the hill-top to the east is a circular entrenchment, with remains of masonry within it. Forty minutes farther we came to ‘Akrabeh, which, judging from the extent of ground over which the now nearly obliterated ruins are spread, must have been a place of importance. It is situated near the head of Wady Zinyan, on the western side of Sahel el Jefrah, an oval basin some four miles long, draining into the Sabbákhah by Wady Tat, the valley which divides Jebel Abú ‘1 ‘Ashti from Búz el Khanzir. Leaving our blankets in charge of some mongrel Arabs who were encamped at ‘Akrabeh, and taking one of them as a guide, we rode a couple of miles in a south-east direction over the Sahel, and gaining the plateau by a steep path at the mouth of Wady Kurdi, another mile brought us to the small basaltic ruins of El Burj at the head of the Wady. A well-defined road leads eastwards from this point to the ruins of Abú Jallus; cutting this at right-angles, we soon struck the road to Kanásir, and left the ruins of El Hajib and Kefr Hút to our right. Keeping a little to the south of our original course, we came to the head of Wady Jubb Antash, between the Rusm Amwayik and the Rusm Shokan. The ruins of Salhíyeh lay a mile and a half to
W.S. West, and distant from El Burj about three miles. Our route then lay for an hour along the crest of a ridge overhanging Wady Washshash. The ruins of Howwiyith, remarkable only for the number of rock- hewn cisterns and grain-pits, lie near the top of the steep descent called El Derrajeh (the Steps), from an old basalt-paved road built in broad steps, which leads down to Bir Ain el Derrajeh, a well of muddy but sweet water, situated in a small Wady opening out into the plain on which the ruins of Kanásir stand. Murray (Syria and Palestine, p. 580, ed. 1868) calls it -seemingly on the authority of Pococke – ‘a village named Kinneserín;’ but the Arabs invariably call it Ganásir, and there is no appearance of any habitation having stood there for centuries. Neither is it (as stated in loc. cit.) on the shortest road from Aleppo to Hamah: from Kanásir it would be necessary to pass between Hammam - where there are hot springs - and Zerka, past the Sabbákhah of that name, and then by Tell Tokan through the centre of the ‘Aláh, thus making a considerable bend to the south. I have already shown the ancient highway past Burj el Abiadh to be by far the shortest.
The ruins of Kanásir cover a somewhat irregular oblong, measuring 400 yards by 1200; the outer walls and those of the houses are razed to the ground; but where a pit has been dug I noticed coarse flooring-tiles in situ at a depth of four feet. The foundations of a large church with a triple apse stand near the middle of the town. The place is crowded with old Arab graves, for the headstones of which a large number of basaltic and a few limestone columns have been used. I remarked several large blocks of basalt, one in particular near the northern gate of the city measuring fourteen feet by three feet wide, and the same in depth; outside the walls are the remains of a massive building sixty feet square. A fortress, now an almost indistinguishable heap of ruins, occupies the summit of a low mound at the south-west corner of the town; there are several wells, but the water is slightly bitter.
Returning by the same road, we arrived at ‘Akrabeh a couple of hours after sunset. The soil on the rolling uplands we crossed was of the usual loose rich red earth, strewn in places with blocks of basalt, and thinly covered with tussocky grass. I saw here for the first time, though I have since found them near Kharayeh, a kind of hawthorn (Arabic Zar’úr),[FN#4] bearing a yellow fruit which sometimes grows as large as a Morella cherry; it contains three seeds, and has a pleasant acrid taste: quantities of this berry were for sale in the Aleppo markets when I was there. The steep hill-sides in this region are frequently covered with lines and heaps of stones - to which, in the desert of the Tíh, the Arabs give the name of Telaylat el ‘Aneb, or Grape-mounds - marking the site of ancient vineyards. No vines, however, are now cultivated, except a few at Safíreh; but the water-melons of the Aleppo district are justly celebrated both for size and flavour. At Damascus the natives term them batíkh; but the Aleppines call them jebes, and only apply the former word to the ordinary melon.
Our road to Aleppo lay down Wady Tat, so called from the ruins at its mouth, distant one hour from ‘Akrabeh; another hour brought us to Abú Jerayn, a small village near the edge of the Salt-pan, passing the insignificant ruins of Johrah half way. A small stream, called Nahr el Dahab, falls into the northern end of the Sabbákhah; the water from Ain el Safíreh is all used up for irrigation, and this supply not being sufficient, many of the gardens have a sakia or water-wheel, similar to those used in Egypt. In the light soil of this district I saw a plough with a double share being drawn by a single yoke of oxen; and thus the work of two ordinary ploughs was gone over in a day.
An interesting ride of three hours and a quarter past Tell ‘Aran, Tell Hásil, Jibrin, and Nayrom, over a slightly-undulating country, brought us to the gate of Aleppo, the last mile of our ride being through olive and pistachio groves.[FN#5]
It is not my intention to enter into any description of the town of Aleppo, but merely to touch upon one or two points which perhaps have not before been noticed. To any one well acquainted with Hums and Hamah, the resemblance borne by the mounds on which the castles were built, at those places, to that of Aleppo is most striking. The latter is the largest, but in shape, outline, and construction of its fosse, it is almost identical with the other two.
The overlying Saracen revetments at Hums and Aleppo doubtless conceal much of interest; but at Hamah, where nearly every stone has been carried away for building purposes, we find monuments of the greatest possible value. History is silent about the construction of these three sister castles - for I cannot but so regard them; but I believe that the five blocks of basalt at Hamah, covered with hieroglyphs in excellent preservation, may be the opening page to a new chapter in history.[FN#6] These inscriptions were found in the Kala, and are now scattered about the town; they were brought first to the notice of Mr. E.H. Palmer and myself in August 1870 by Mr. L.M. Johnson, U.S. Acting Consul-general, Beyrout, who showed us copies made by some American missionaries. In the spring of this year Captain Burton made other copies during his visit to Hamah, and later on I took squeezes of them. It appears that some European made a large offer for one of them about two years ago; had he proposed a twentieth part of the sum, he would in all probability have obtained it; but now the owners have such exalted ideas of their value, that fabulous prices are asked. At Aleppo I stumbled upon a connecting link in the history of these castles. In the south wall of the Jami’a el Kákán is a block of basalt, with an inscription similar to those at Hamah; though much defaced, I made out nineteen characters (including repetitions), identical with the above-mentioned. The door-step of a house to the north-west of the mosque is made of another piece of basalt, on which I could trace sufficient to feel sure that it also had been covered with inscriptions. The key to these characters must, I believe, be looked for in beth, the house, kaf, the hand, gimel, the camel, ain, the eye, &c., of the Semitic alphabets. Hands, flowers, teeth, and other unmistakable signs occur in these inscriptions; and I feel convinced that these stones will be sufficient to contradict the assertion of certain Hebraists, who maintain that the oldest forms were the simplest. If the existing apathy with regard to these unique relics, cut in the hardest basalt, and belonging to an age which, if my supposition prove correct, will make the well-known Moabite stone appear modern when put beside them, continues in England, we may expect to see these remarkable monuments deposited in the Louvre or the St. Petersburg Museum; and after the steed is stolen, there will be the usual gnashing of teeth à l’Anglaise, as in the case of the Moabite stone, but, as then, too late.
In entering the Castle of Aleppo, the iron-work of the gates is remarkably good; the pattern is of small square sunken panels, in the centre of which a horse-shoe, and beneath it a wedge, fastened on with large-headed nails, stand out in relief. The upper gate bears the name of Melek el Dhaher, and the date 605 A.H.
In the centre of the Kala is an immense vault, partially cut in the solid rock; the roof is supported by four columns of masonry seven feet square; it is entered by a steep staircase, to arrive at the head of which it is necessary to creep on hands and knees for some distance through a hole barely large enough to allow a man’s body to pass. The tradition is that this was a Christian church; but judging from the cement on the walls, and from its position, I imagine that its original use, was a cistern.
At the north-west corner of the Kala are two old cannon, formed of bars and rings of iron soldered together with lead; four rings are attached, by which to lift this wonderful field-piece; and there is a long but now illegible Arabic inscription above the touch-hole.
In one of the vaults beneath the castle a quantity of arrows are stored away, and I procured a few; they are from thirty to thirty-one inches in length; the wood is seemingly pine; the head is iron, and about an inch long by one-third in thickness, and somewhat diamond-shaped. I had heard it stated that there were bows also in the same place; but a careful inquiry has convinced me that there are none.
Having been officially informed that ‘the mosques of Aleppo cannot be entered by any Christian,’ I thought that it would be worth while to examine them, as something interesting might be found. The Jamiet Aysafia at once suggests ‘Αγία Σοφία (in modern Greek Ayya Sofía), and doubtless occupies the place of a Christian church with that dedication; it stands a short distance to the south-west of the Kala.
The Jamiá el Hallaywiyyah is opposite the north-western door of the great mosque, and its arrangement will be best understood by referring to the plan. The pillars are surmounted by florid acanthus capitals, in some of which the leaves run straight up, while in others they are volute, and considerably overlap, running upwards from left to right. The cornice too is of the same pattern, and traces of colour are distinguishable both upon it and upon the pillars.
In the great mosque, the Jami’a el Amawi, a Cufic inscription on the Madneh gives the date 482 A.H. This tower is about 170 feet in height, and stands at the northwest corner of the courtyard, which is large, and contains small chambers for the servants of the mosque, who are seventy-two in number, under the colonnades on three sides: the body of the mosque occupies the south end, and - a rather unusual arrangement - it is divided lengthwise by a wooden lattice, thus leaving an outer passage, which is used at ordinary prayer-times, the inner and larger portion being reserved for Fridays and special occasions. A gorgeously embroidered pall covers the tomb of, it is said, Zachariah, the father of St. John the Baptist (the head of the latter is buried both at Damascus and Hums, which fact I can answer for, having seen both the tombs).[FN#7] On the top of the tomb, which is protected from the vulgar touch by a handsome gilt iron lattice, is a large Koran, said to be written in Cufic.
During the two visits I made to this mosque, I was followed by a gaping, staring, but perfectly respectful crowd; and the Shaykhs were only anxious to give me all the information they could, and gratefully received the modest backshish I offered them on leaving. But enough of the fanatical Aleppines, who still keep up the old system of madhouses, though happily there are but few lunatics to put them in. I visited the Maristán Khan el Kadi, and saw the one occupant - a pitiful creature, from which every trace of intelligence had fled - sitting chained on a miserable rug: food was sent it daily from the Seraï. This Maristán contained some twenty-five cells, vacant and falling to ruin; two or three of the larger rooms being occupied by the family of a man in charge of the building.
On October 21st I left Aleppo and crossed the Nahr el Kowwayyik, which, instead of running twenty or thirty miles to the south of Aleppo, as depicted in the maps, loses itself at a distance of two hours and a half from the city. The view, looking back upon the town from Ain Sara, a small village lying on the west side of the river, is pretty, but the monotonous outline of the hills and dreary bareness of the soil detract much from the picturesqueness of the buildings. At the end of two hours we reached Khan Tumán, a small village near two large ruined Khans close by the Nahr Tumáneh. As we rode up we found that a row was going on between some Kurdish shepherds and the Fellahin of the place: these shepherds bring sheep down from Mesopotamia and Diarbekr by easy stages, and sell them at Aleppo, Damascus, and the seaports, whence they are shipped to Egypt. The Fellahin have a great dislike to these itinerant pastors, and sometimes make pitfalls covered with twigs and earth for the sheep to fall into, and otherwise annoy them. In the present instance they accused them of letting their sheep eat the Indian corn, which the shepherds denied: words waxed high, and at last a Fellah drew his knife, which was promptly appropriated by a soldier who just then rode up, and by this simple means the disturbance was quieted. Perhaps if the policemen of civilised England were backed up by the powers that be in the same way that the Zabtiyeh is protected in barbarous Turkey, we might hear less of Fenians, Bradlaugh, Beales, Park-rioters, and treasonable demagogues.
A little south of Khan Tumán we entered upon a rich plain dotted with villages and specked with flocks and herds; most of the soil, however, is untilled for want of hands; and I imagine that a population at least seven times as large as the existing one might be maintained. Crossing this fine upland, which lies at an elevation of 1200 feet above the sea, and passing the villages of Zerbí and Shaykh Ahmed, we arrived at Serákib about sunset, having been seven and a half hours from Aleppo.
The Fellahin here, though differing in dress and dialect from their congeners of Palestine, have one great characteristic in common - the impossibility of two or more of them meeting together and not beginning an animated conversation bearing on fulús, money, directly - or indirectly, either by discussing prices, or by disputing over their private transactions. In this they form a striking contrast to the Bedawi, who delights in listening to or telling stories of travel and adventure, or smokes his pipe in placid enjoyment whilst one of the party sings an endless romance to the stirring tones of a one-stringed fiddle.
Four hours’ ride from Serákib brought us to Mo’arrat el No’aman, from which point I visited some of the very interesting ruins in Jebel el Zowí; but, as this country has been worked by an accomplished scholar and patient investigator, M. le Comte de Vogüé, whose work, however, I have not been fortunate enough to see, I shall merely insert a few notes on these ruins at the end of this paper.
After some consideration, I determined upon making the village of Jirjinnaz my head-quarters for a few days, and after visiting such of the ruined cities of the ‘Aláh as were within reach, to move on to Temányeh; and I soon found that I could not have made a better choice. The Shaykh at the former village was obliging and sufficiently intelligent; but having once got the idea into his head that I had come to buy some of the waste lands, nothing would induce him to believe that I had no such intention, and in order to get at the information I wanted about the ruins, I had to talk farming with him. But happily in this land subsoil, ploughing, phosphates, monster turnips, and wire fences are unknown, and the simplicity of agricultural operations is remarkable, being confined to ploughing, sowing, and reaping: clearing the land, manuring it, or suchlike work, is quite unheard of. The natural features of the ‘Aláh and the character of its ruins are similar throughout the district, which consists of a rolling plateau, varying from 1300 feet at the northern and eastern portions to 1600 feet above sea-level at the south-western part; at this latter point the Wadys are deeper and more precipitous, while towards the north they are broad and shallow. The formation is basalt, overlying a stratum of crumbly calcareous limestone, which, at a depth of some twenty feet, changes into a harder and more compact stone. When the basaltic soil runs to any depth, the earth is loose and treacherous, fatiguing to traverse in summer and impassable in winter; but if, as is sometimes the case on the crests of the ridges, the limestone approaches the surface, then the ground is firm and pleasant to ride over, but of comparatively little value for cultivation. The water is without any unpleasant taste, but strongly diuretic. The vegetation is scanty, and consists chiefly of grass growing in scattered tussocks, and the shíh, an aromatic wormwood, attaining only a few inches in height, which, with the exception of camel-chips and dried cow-dung, is the only fuel obtainable in the country. One may travel from the edge of the Damascus plain to Aleppo, and only meet with trees near a few favoured villages whose supply of water is sufficient to irrigate a patch of land; but the timber so grown is of course too valuable to burn, and this accounts for the piles of ‘patent fuel,’ sometimes as large as the huts themselves, which one sees in every village of North Syria. The Fauna of the ‘Aláh, like its Flora, is very scanty. I saw but two or three hares and as many great bustards; ‘sand-grouse,’ though common in the plains, are rare upon the uplands. Gazelles, which are said to abound during the summer, had already migrated eastwards; the wild boar, so numerous throughout the winter, had not yet arrived, as rain had not fallen in quantities sufficient to soften the ground, and to render their search for bulbs an easy task.
The first ruin I visited in the ‘Aláh was that of Abú Mekkeh, and I was immediately struck with the resemblance it bore to the uninhabited cities of the Hauran and Lejah: the same incongruous heaping together of stones to form a shelter, without much reference to their former use; lintels used as pillars, stone doors as lintels, ornamented cornices and bits of inscriptions built in wherever they fitted best. Here and there a tower or some solid piece of masonry, with perhaps a Greek inscription in situ, had defied the ravages of time and showed the original style of architecture. The use of the arch, with one or two exceptions, was confined to the interior of the buildings, where one or more were thrown across to support the stone beams forming the flooring of the upper story. At Abú Mekkeh I noticed a sarcophagus, half buried in the soil and covered on one side with a Greek inscription, placed beside the well and used as a drinking-trough. This and a large broken sarcophagus at Ajaz are the only sepulchral relics excepting the mortuary inscriptions, which were never in situ - observable throughout the district. The variety of tombs, sarcophagi, and burial-caves so remarkable in Jebel el Zowí, are wanting here, though I remarked that they extended to within a short distance of Ma’áserán and Jirjinnaz, that is to say to the extreme limits of the ‘Aláh. The ruins of Surr ‘Amán are a mere collection of rude shelters piled up with old materials; even the tower which stands in the centre, the lower half being built of basalt and the upper of limestone, is of comparatively modern construction. Near these ruins stands an old oil-press hewn out of two blocks of basalt; the upper stone measures four feet nine inches in diameter by four feet in height, while the nether stone is six feet three inches in diameter.
As we rode towards the ruins of Kursenti,[FN#8] which proved to be insignificant, we were overtaken by a heavy thunder-shower, which continued till we reached Jirjinnaz at sunset: the wind being west and piercingly cold, I found it difficult to sympathise with the delight of the Fellahin, to whom early and plentiful rain foreshows an abundant harvest.
The Tell near the ruins of Surr ‘Amán shows traces of having been squared and formed into a rude earthwork, as if for a mere temporary camp. The tower at S’káyyah is constructed with oblong blocks of basalt set as bricks are in England, with this difference, that those laid endwise are made to project an inch and a half, and thus form a kind of boss between the long stones; a small retreating cornice marks the position of the different stories on the outside. I observed that this style of construction was invariably adhered to in the case of these watch-towers, one of which stands in the centre of nearly every ruined town. The setting of the masonry will be best understood by the following section.[not included] The ruins of Ajaz are of considerable size, being about one-third of a mile square; the houses around the central tower have as usual been rebuilt, but the rest of the town is razed to the ground, or rather buried, as was proved to me by finding at Tarútín el Tujjar an unbroken exterior staircase, the top step being even with the present level of the soil. The ruins of Tarútín el Tujjar are nearly thrice as large as those of Ajaz, and seemingly the most important in the ‘Aláh; many of the buildings are a now indistinguishable heap of basaltic pillars and cornices, but these are enough to show that much time and labour had been expended on their construction. The largest ruins are towards the east of the town; but I found more inscriptions and the houses in a better state of preservation towards the north, where the watch-tower is situated, bearing an inscription which gives us the name of the patriotic individual who built it and the date of its construction. A Khan, which must have been kept in repair while the rest of the town was allowed to fall to ruin, stands in the south-west corner: it is chiefly remarkable for the arch of the outer gateway, and two or three others which are semicircular and double, the outer row of stones being much larger than the inner, and having no regular keystone. As in the Hauran and Jebel el Zowí, I found that the arches in the ‘Aláh were built indifferently with and without a central keystone.
Having examined the ruins I returned to the Khan, where the Shaykh of Jirjinnaz and one or two of his friends had been comfortably smoking their pipes. On asking for the water-jar, which I had taken the precaution to bring, knowing that we should not find water till late in the afternoon, I was told that it was empty. This was rather annoying, but experience has taught me that it is utterly useless to abuse a Fellah -hard names run off him like water from a mackintosh coat; but being exceedingly vain, like all Syrians, he is very thin-skinned, and sarcasm is a weapon which touches him to the quick - its novelty too takes him by surprise.
A quietly expressed hope that they had enjoyed their drink, and a regret that I had not brought them a roasted sheep or two, a tent to shelter them from the sun, &c. &c., soon made them so ashamed that they behaved to me like lambs ever after, but had a serious quarrel amongst themselves in trying to lay the disgrace of their conduct on one another’s shoulders.
Riding through the ruins of Burayyah, we passed on to Sharrah, situated in Wady el Arayb, and here we found wells of good water beside the ruins, which are almost obliterated: thence we went on to an isolated Tell called Rasm el Cott (the Cat’s Cairn), and a little before sunset reached the village of Harrákeh, which was repeopled four or five years ago. It had been deserted for many years for fear of the Badawin, and the villagers had migrated to the east of Aleppo; but at last they summoned up courage and returned to their homes, and rather to their astonishment have been unmolested by the predatory Arabs, whose tents are never at any great distance. Here I was informed by the Shaykh as a startling fact, that a Franji (a European) had visited the place a few years before and copied two Greek inscriptions: happily these Fellahin have not the organ of destructiveness so fully developed as their brethren in Palestine. None of the inscriptions I saw had been purposely defaced: some were broken by the fall of the buildings to which they belonged, and others were somewhat obliterated by time; but of wilful damage such as I had noticed in the Hauran I saw no trace. I generally, however, took the precaution of translating inscriptions, to prevent these men imagining that they either referred to concealed treasure or were in any way connected with the tenure of the land, in which case their destruction would be certain.
Riding the next day to Burj el Abiadh, I observed 'ruins of considerable extent surrounding the ‘white tower,’ from which they are named. This building is constructed with large bevels of soft limestone placed upon a foundation of five courses of basalt, which were originally revetted with the same material.
Passing on to Kufayr, I found a ruined tower of two stories in height: the arch of the gateway and those of the windows are round-topped with central keystones; close beside it is a similar arch leading into a building having a double row of seven columns on the left hand, while those on the right are nearly destroyed. This building is similar in general appearance to those I afterwards saw at Tell Dumm and at Atshán in proximity to the towers there which leads to the conclusion that they were the guard-houses or barracks; especially as the word φύλαξ occurs in the building at Tell Dumm.
The number of cisterns found in these ruins shows that the inhabitants depended chiefly upon rain for their water-supply; but little labour is required to repair and make them again fit for use. Some of the beams of basalt at Kufayr are of a size unusual in this region; I measured one that was nine and two-thirds feet by two feet by one and one-third feet. At Tell Dumm, to the mutual surprise of both, we suddenly came upon a party of four or five old men from Tell Minas, who had walked over here on a pigeon-catching and general foraging expedition: they were busily engaged in sun-drying the flesh and livers of the birds they had captured in the old cisterns, whither large numbers resort to roost. These old gentlemen were very anxious that I should invest in land here, considering, I suppose, that any settler, especially a European, would act as a sort of buffer between them and Bedawi plunderers. At Tell Tineh the stone door of the tower is still in situ, and covered with curious rude ornaments in the panels. On the lintel is an illegible Greek inscription, and barbarous representations in slight relief of two unknown animals at the sides, with a central panel containing a cross, above the arms of which two doves are depicted, and the usual Alpha and Omega below.
The tower and ruins at El Fárajeh are of the usual type, excepting that the former is of more solid construction than is generally the case, some of the stones being nearly six feet long. At El Ikhwayn good water is supplied by a well which, like the generality of those found in the ‘Aláh, is not more than forty or fifty feet deep. It is dug in front of a Khan built of old materials taken from the ruins close at hand; over the gateway is a half-defaced Greek inscription; and on the lintels of the doors in the north- east and south-east corners are the usual Christian monogram and the date - ro, pi, psi - in Greek characters. The ruins from which these stones have been taken stand a couple of hundred yards off to the south-west, and cover a considerable extent of ground. Some thirty of the houses have been very rudely rebuilt by the men of Kefr Omar, a village lying to the west-south-west of Mo’arrat el No’amán, who come down every year to sow and reap a portion of the adjacent plain. Watering our horses at Jubb Erk’í, which, with the exception of a few pits for the collection of rain-water and surface-drainage, is the only water-supply on which the villagers of Temányeh can depend, we rode on to that village, which is situated on the hill above the well, and about a mile distant.
When Ibrahim Pasha came into this part of the country, he found that Temányeh had lain in ruins for sevety or eighty years, and rebuilt it. The men, however, whom he settled there did not remain more than two or three years, and again the village was deserted; and it is only two years ago that the present inhabitants migrated from Khan Shaykh Hún. The change seems to have been much to their advantage, for they take close beneath their village as much of the rich plain, which receives all the drainage from the land as far as Burj el Abiadh, as they can manage to plough, and in this light soil the feddan, or plot of land which can be worked by one yoke of oxen, is of considerable extent.
The houses of Temányeh are built with a rude groined roof, like those at Jerusalem and other places in the south of Palestine; but in Northern Syria it is very rare, the usual form being conical, as I have before mentioned; at Hamah, and other places where timber is procurable, the simple flat roof is immediately reverted too.
Taking a guide, I started the next morning for Atshán, passing the mounds and pillars which mark the site of S’kayk el Rubíyet en route. All the ruins in this district are so much alike that – as on any English railroad - if one knows one of the small stations, one knows them all. I naturally walked up to the tower, and copied the pious inscription I felt sure was inscribed over its door, as if the place was familiar to me. The guard-house I have already mentioned, but I may remark that it is called the Seraï or Government House by the natives. In addition to the pigeons large flights of jackdaws, to all appearance identical with the English species, inhabit the ruins and cisterns. Big flocks of Kata (sandgrouse) too passed over my head soon after sunrise, on their way to the Orontes; for these birds invariably fly to water in the morning, and usually in the evening also. Some of the flights that I saw must have numbered several thousand individuals, and the ‘swishing’ sound of their wings was audible at a great distance.
The next ruin I visited was El Ma’án, which can boast of the largest guard-house in the ‘Aláh, built, as, we are informed by a well-cut raised inscription on the lintel of the great gateway, by Justinian: this stone is now fallen and broken into three pieces, but its original size was eleven and a half feet by two and a half feet, and two and two-thirds feet deep. The building itself measures one hundred and twenty by sixty feet. A few small mounds stand near this fort, but the ruins of the town are of inconsiderable size. Of the ruins of Duwaylíb but little has been left, the greater part of the stones having been carried off to Surán and Hamah for building purposes.
Obtaining water for our thirsty horses at the shallow wells of Arúneh, beside which a considerable number of Mowayleh were encamped, we rode through the ruins of Kefr Raa, and then descended into the valley of the Orontes to Hamah, where the hospitality of M. F. Bambino, Vice-consul de France, soon made me forget the hardships of my ride.
[FN#1] Jebel Kalbíyeh is the northern, Jebel Sulayb the central, and Jebel Nusayri the southern portion of the mountain range extending from Kalaat el Husn to Antákia (Antioch). [FN#2] I found it called Mindau or Mindoh and that it contained the tomb of Nabi Benyamín (Benjamin!). - R. F .B. [FN#3] I found this word pronounced Shaykhún, R.F.B. [FN#4] Burckhardt (Syria) mentions the Za’arúr, bearing fruit about the size of a small cherry, with much of the flavour of a strawberry. He found it in Syria, not in Egypt.
R.F.B. [FN#5] Burckhardt found wild pistachios (?)growing in the Belka. R.F.B. [FN#6] See Appendix, Vol. I., No. IV. R.F.B. [FN#7] My friend might have added, that he also saw the burial-places of Zachariah and John the Baptist at Samaria. R.F.B. [FN#8] The distances between the different ruins being shown on the map, I shall omit mention of time.
I. ON SOME RUINS IN JEBEL EL ZOWI.
II. ON THE ARTIFICIAL ORIGIN OF THE HUMS LAKE.
I. RIDING from Mo’arrat el No’amán in a W.S.W. direction, I kept along the line of an old paved road, and in fifty minutes reached some ruins called Khan Atín. A small building on the top of the hill seems to have been the station or post-house; below this are several ruins and tombs. One house is in good preservation, but not so perfect as some of those I afterwards saw at Serrájib, whither the paved road led in fifty minutes.
A description of one of these houses, which from the ornamentation are clearly shown to be Christian, will suffice, with slight alterations, for all. The masonry consists of large oblong blocks of limestone, carefully fitted and piled up without mortar. The arrangement of the ground-floor and the upper story is the same: a broad portico runs the length of the house, and is supported by two sets of columns, generally circular but occasionally square, those on the ground-floor being usually less ornamented than those on the upper story. At the back is a room running the length of the house, sometimes divided into two or three rooms; an arch thrown lengthwise supports the floor of the room above. The house has gable-ends, and the central roof is pitched at an angle of from 35° to 40°; that covering the front verandah, and in some cases a set of rooms at the back, is laid at about 25°. In all cases the roof, and sometimes the central flooring, was constructed of timber, as shown by the sockets in the masonry made to receive the beams. At Serrájib the bath-house is still in excellent preservation; beneath it is a cistern some thirty feet deep, supported on arches; and in one corner of the building I noticed a rockhewn bath twenty feet long. The ornamentation on the houses and sarcophagi is in most cases a more or less artistic elaboration of the simple cross, the upright of which is usually a pastoral staff, combined in a circle with the Alpha and Omega. These circular ornaments are mostly three in number on the lintels of the doors, and two or three above the windows when these are flat-topped, some of the upper windows, especially in the gable-ends, being arched. A niche, as if for the reception of a statuette, is usually placed at each side of the doors, and sometimes of the windows also.
Just at the edge of the ruins I found several sarcophagi, whose contents had long since been scattered to the winds. They were cut out of a single block of limestone, and rang with a clear bell-like tone on being struck with a hammer. The dimensions of two of them are as follow:
The lid is ridged, and fourteen inches high in the centre. They are placed due east and west, the feet turned to the former point.
In a pyramidal-roofed tomb at El Barah, which is an hour distant from Serrájib, the sarcophagi - as is usually the case with loculi in rock-hewn tombs - were placed to suit the building. Thus the door opens southwards, and the two sarcophagi on either hand as one enters run north and south; and one only, which is placed across the northern end runs east and west. The cornices of this building are sufficietly curious to deserve notice, those at the south-west and south-east corners differing entirely from those at the northwest and north-east. The roof of these curious sepulchral monuments is built of massive stones, open inside up to the apex; on the outside most of the stones have one or two triangular brackets, whose use is difficult to imagine, unless it be for the support of funereal lamps, such as we find in tombs throughout Palestine and Syria.
In the centre of the town is a. large tomb measuring thirty-one feet square outside
- whose pyramidal roof has fallen in. This building is overburdened with ornament, having two acanthus cornices outside, as well as one over the door; a plain cornice halfway up the wall, with acanthus capitals to the pilasters at the corners, which are thus divided into three divisions, each headed by a florid capital. A cornice in the same style of carving as the exterior runs round the inside of the building. Two round-topped windows with plain mouldings open to every side except the east, where the door is placed.
One rock-hewn cave that I visited contained six loculi, five and a quarter feet long by three and a quarter feet deep, and two and a quarter feet wide, with semicircular arches above them. The front of a small portico at the entrance consisted of two circular pillars, supporting rounded arches. On one of the rounded pillars I remarked that two crosses had been obliterated, and that only part of the first word (Euseb-) of a short Greek inscription had been left.
To the south-west of the ruins is a large building, probably a private house of importance, but differing in no material point from those I have already described. Part of its west wall has been thrown down by an earthquake, and the masonry, unconnected by mortar or any fastening, lies in regular lines upon the ground inside the building. An outer wall to the east has suffered the same fate, but the curious thing is the perfect regularity in which the fallen stones lie. The whole town has suffered severely from an earthquake, which, judging from the appearance of the ruins, must have taken place long ago; and none of the natives could remember the ruins in a more perfect state, nor had they, as far as I could ascertain, any tradition about the earthquake.
I entered the lower story of one house, and found it still perfect. In one corner was an oil-press. I noticed that the breadth of the arches, supporting the slabs to form the floor of the room above, was equal to the width of the spaces between the arches. Every available piece of ground among the ruins is planted with vines and olive-trees, which thrive right well in the rich soil of the old city.
A roundabout road, owing to the stupidity of a guide, took us to Kefr Omar, where I observed a ruined monumental column built of circular stones upon a square base, standing on the top of a low hill opposite the village. A short distance below this pillar are nine or ten rock-hewn tombs, with round arched entrances. An old half-ruined bridge, built with solid piers and huge slabs, or rather blocks between, crosses the Wady, which communicates a few yards lower with a deep rock-hewn Birket (tank), which would thus be filled if any ‘sayl’ or flood comes down the valley.
Thirty-five minutes’ ride brought us to Hass, a small village round which is a slight scattering of basalt. Ten minutes to the west of the houses is an isolated building running east and west. The south wall is still standing, and is pierced by four round-topped windows, at the east end; then by a door, then three windows, followed. by a second door, and two more windows. A square tower stands in the east corner, and is entered by two doors on the ground-floor, one opening south and the other north. The first story has one round-topped window opening northwards, and another southwards; and an oblong window to the west. The second story has small oblong windows to east and south, and the third story one only turned to the north. In the north-west corner of the tower is a pilaster with an acanthus capital, forming probably the commencement of the semicircular apse of the church; for such, I doubt not, was the original use of the building. Part of the west wall is still standing, and is pierced by two small door-ways.
The old cemetery lies to the north of the village of Hass, and is peculiarly interesting from the variety of forms of sepulchre. The two-storied tomb, from the cornice of which I copied the inscription given in the Appendix, is much dilapidated in its upper portion, and the four sarcophagi there deposited are all more or less broken up. The ground-floor is entered by a door facing east, and surmounted by an acanthus cornice. The interior is partly hewn in the rock, and contains three loculi sunk into the walls, with round arches above them.
A little lower down the valley is an excavated set of loculi, covered in by an arch of rude masonry, supported by smaller arches, as shown in the sketch. Near this are two pyramidal-roofed tombs, similar to those at Barah; and between these and the village are six cave tombs, fronted by porches. I noticed also some caves - as at Khan Atin, &c. - excavated in the level rock, having recesses on either side containing loculi. Over the narrow oblong entrance to these tombs a ridged cover, like that of a sarcophagus, with bosses at each corner and in the centre, is laid. All the tombs, however, whatever their construction, have long since been rifled. The number of ruined villages in this district is surprising; from many points during the day’s ride I could count five or six, and on one occasion eight. The distances too between them are very trifling, often not exceeding half or three-quarters of a mile.
A quarter of a mile to tbe west of Mo’arrat el No’amán is a castle similar in many respects to that which I have already described as existing near Salámiyeh. A small rise in the ground has been taken advantage of, and the earth cleared away to a distance. Thus the top of the rock on which the castle wall is built rises some ten feet above the head of a man standing on the opposite side of the moat. The building itself is now much dilapidated. It is considerably larger than Kala’at Shemmamit, having originally had eleven square towers projecting at intervals of about fifty yards. The moat too is deeper and more precipitous; the bottom of it is now planted with fig-trees and a few vegetables by the families who live like rats among the ruins of the old fort.
An hour’s ride brought us to Danah, where the ruins are of great extent. One building, called by the natives El Kiníseh - the Church -much resembles that which I have described in the neighbourhood of Hass; the tower, however, is placed in the northeast corner, and its second story is open, having pillars at the corners surmounted by capitals of smooth leaves. A pyramidal tomb like those at Barah goes by the name of the Hammam or Bath, from the sarcophagi within, and a cistern beneath it. I found a fragment of Greek inscription on the moulding of a florid acanthus cornice, but nothing legible. The stones used in buildings here commonly run five or six feet long by two wide, and as many deep, which is rather larger than the generality of those I had seen before.
Outside the town are a number of the usual bossed sarcophagus-lids covering sepulchral caves; all however, have been lifted to one side to allow ingress to the tomb. The Shaykh told me that the last had been opened some twenty years before; and that a small gold image, a sword and a dagger, together with some little glass and pottery vessels, had been found. I noticed here that one or two of the tombs were built of masonry, ill imitation of rock-hewn sepulchres.
The architecture of this limestone region is incomparably better and more interesting than that found in the ‘Aláh, and the ornamentation, though this may be partly accounted for by the difference of material, is much more tasteful. The almost utter absence of inscriptions in Jebel el Zowí and their comparative abundance in the ‘Aláh seems to point to the conclusion that these two districts were inhabited by distinct races. The former, as being mountainous, was probably the home of the native Syrian, civilised by intercourse with Greek and Roman art and luxuries. The latter would seem to have been the most northerly district colonised by the Beni Ghassan, to whom, as owners of flocks and herds, the plains and uplands were suitable for pasturage. The style of inscriptions too bears considerable resemblance to that of the Hauran, though sufficiently separated from it by peculiarities of its own.
I am fully persuaded that excavations in the ruined cities of Jebel el Zowí would thoroughly repay any one who possesses time and opportunity to make them. It is probable too that much of interest would be found in the ‘Aláh, as the towns doubtless stand upon very ancient sites, and many of them must always have been places of considerable importance. The difficulties of travelling are now so much lessened in Syria, that we must hope for something farther being done in this interesting region.
II. Being curious to examine the Bahret Hums -Hums Lake - whose position, considering the rapid fall of the Orontes Valley, had always been somewhat of a puzzle to me, we left the town of Hums on October 30th, and in half an hour passed through the little village of Bab ‘Amr. Thirty minutes farther I remarked ‘Asun and Barábu on our right hand, the former on the east and the latter on the west bank of the ‘Asy (Orontes), which we crossed two miles higher up by the mill-dam, a short distance below Saddi. A little to the south-west of the village is the tomb of Shaykh ‘Ali Jeríd, conspicuous by the pieces of a large column piled on his grave. Arrived at this point, I came in sight of the dam of masonry, nearly twenty feet high in the centre and five hundred yards in length, built across the northern end of the lake. A small square tower called Burj el Abiadh stands at the western end of this embankment, which, though patched and repaired in places, is originally composed of some of the hardest concrete I have anywhere seen, mixed up with, and faced by, blocks of basalt. The upper part is somewhat broken away, and the water leaks through in several places, but yet the dam looks as if it would stand many a century longer. Even at this season, when the level of the lake is four or five feet lower than in winter, the surface of the water is about twelve feet higher than the river at the base of the dam, and several feet higher than the housetops at Saddi. Were this barrage ever to give way, the destruction of life and property down the valley of the Orontes would be terrible.
Mr. Porter (Five Years in Damascus, p. 325, ed. 1870) visited this place; but the fact, that were it not for this dam the lake would have no existence or be at most a small marsh, seems never to have struck him; but such is undoubtedly the case.
The base of the tower above mentioned is old, but the upper part is more modern: I copied a rude Greek inscription from the stone which does duty for the lintel of a window. Riding along the western side of the lake, I found the soil, to a depth of sometimes three and even four feet, composed of little else than dead shells (Neritina sp.? Lymnœa? and a small fresh-water mussel). During the day I observed a large number of coots (Ar. Gharryyeh), several pelicans (Ar. Bejá), snipe, ducks, buff-backed herons, dabchicks, a grebe (sp. ?), cormorants, sandpipers, and quails. Large numbers of geese and ducks come, I was told, in the winter. Otters (Ar. Kelb el Moya, water-dog) are common, and their skins now seldom fetch more than twenty piastres (four francs), unless taken from an old animal, in which case they are large, nearly black, and much more valuable: formerly an ordinary skin used to be worth eighty piastres.
Half an hour brought us to Khirbet el Saudá (the Black Ruin), a miserable collection of huts thatched with reeds, and built of the loose basaltic boulders, which come down to within a few yards of the lake, the intermediate space being occupied by turf and rushes. Passing Abú K’ryyeh a similar village, thirty-five minutes distant; we came in twenty-five minutes more to Zayti. Here a large arm of the lake, covered with a dense thicket of reeds, and now (October) more than half dried up, stretches a mile to the north. Crossing this water two-thirds of the way up, and observing a Tell with small ruins on its summit half a mile from the edge of the marsh, we reached the little village of ‘Amari in fifty minutes. Keeping along an old paved road for half an hour, the ruins of Wajh el Hajar next presented themselves to my notice, but afforded little of interest: the inhabited village of the same name lies half a mile to the north-west. Leaving the villages of Tibbín and Nayáin to the right, and some insignificant ruins called Kefr ‘Abd to the left, an hour and a half brought us to Tell Nebi Mand, called in various maps Tell Min Dhau, Mindau, or Mindoh - a conspicuous mound, so called from a prophet whose Makam or station exists here. The native Moslems have an idea that this personage was in some way related to the patriarch Joseph;[FN#1] but I have been unable to gather any information about him. There are traces of a very large town here; on the mound itself I was shown a fine piece of tessellated pavement; and on the plain below are many fragments of columns and hewn stones, as well as earthwork embankments, to the west of Nahr Tannurín, a stream which runs into the ‘Asy a little lower down. Here too I saw a rude piece of sculpture, which had lately been dug up, representing two figures seated side by side, and draped in flowing robes; the heads were broken off. At the edge of the stream is the foundation of a square building, constructed with flat bricks and good cement, containing several sarcophagi laid nearly due east and west.
The idea of Mr. Porter, that Tell Nebi Mand represents the ancient Laodicea and Libanum, is in all probability correct.
Tell el Tin is a large mound standing at the south-western extremity of the lake, and separated from the mainland by nearly two miles of marsh. Ruins of a Dayr or monastery are said to exist on its summit, but I had not time to visit them. At south-east end of the lake is a large ruin, which I regretted not to have heard of sooner called Kasr Sitt Belkís - Queen Belkís’ Castle - and described as a massive building standing at the water’s edge; it is clearly visible from Tell Nebi Mand, to the north- east of which, about two miles distant, is an entrenched camp some 400 yards square, and known as Tell S’finet Núh - the Mound of Noah’s Ark. This was probably a Roman post of observation to guard the entrance of the Buká’a. From Tell Nebi Mand three days’ riding brought me to Damascus.
[FN#1] I visited it, entered the building, and was assured by the Shaykh that the tomb was of holy Benyamín (Benjamin): the statement was at once disputed by my compagnon de Voyage, M. Zelmina Füchs. R.F.B.
APPENDIX TO VOLUME II.
ANTROPOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS FROM THE HOLY LAND.
AT the meeting of the Anthropological Institute for November 20, 1871, the following papers were read:
On anthropological Collections from the Holy Land. By Richard F. Burton (late her Majesty’s Consul at Damascus). With Notes on the Human Remains. By Dr. C. Carter Blake, F.G.S.
Mr. President and Gentlemen, before proceeding to the business of the evening, I may perhaps be allowed a few words of personal explanation, and briefly render to you all an account of my stewardship as your representative during the last two years in Syria and Palestine, the so-called Holy Land. Firstly, allow me to express my satisfaction at finding myself again standing in this room,
Where, girt by friend or foe, A man may speak the thing he will.
But the two years have brought with them many a change. I miss an old familiar face and the cheery presence of the Founder and President of the Anthropological Society, my energetic and indefatigable friend, the late Dr. James Hunt. The newspaper press throughout the world has borne such testimony to his efforts in the cause of anthropology, that nothing remains to add to his fame. Secondly, I must congratulate you upon what the Court Journal, when announcing a marriage à la mode, is apt to term the uniting of two ancient families -in other words, the amalgamation of two societies which always should have been one. This happy union has been successfully effected, and now it remains only for us, by extending and by maturing our system of establishing local secretaries and collectors over the globe, to take that position which the high importance of our studies claims. It is, perhaps, not generally known, even in this room, that the Brazilian coast, from Rio Janeiro to the southern province, Rio Grande de Sul, is fringed with a mighty line of ‘kitchen-middens:’ these have been found even in the Bay of Rio, upon the shores of the Ilha Grande; whilst from my pleasant and salubrious station, Santos, one of the S’a Leones of the Brazil, I sent home to this society specimens of the hatchets used by the Tupy race for opening shell-fish, and mostly of the class denominated palæolithic or archaic. I use the words generally, not confining ‘palæolithic’ to the Drift period or ‘archaic,’ as has been proposed for the Cave implements; whilst ‘prehistoric’ is limited to those of the Tumuli, and ‘neolithic’ to the finished and polished Celt specimens. A pluralist as regards employment, I can hardly find time at present for working up my long notes upon this subject; but I shall be most happy to place them in the hands of any brother member who has leisure and inclination to attempt the task.
Since we last met in this room, I have had two years of service in Syria and Palestine; and I may assure you, gentlemen, that I have not found the Holy Land a bed of roses. Without entering into political or official matters, which would here be out of place, I may, in a few words, assure you that my post was one of great difficulty and of greater danger. I have been shot at by some forty men, who, fortunately, could not shoot straight; I have been wounded on another occasion; and lastly, my excellent friend and fellow-traveller Charles F. Tyrwhitt Drake and I were pursued by a party of about three hundred Bedawin assassins, placed upon our track by a certain Rashid Pasha, late Wali or Governor-general of Syria. On the other hand, my friend and I have been able to explore the highly interesting volcanic region lying immediately to the east of Damascus, and to bring home a plan of the giant cave, which seems to have been mentioned by Strabo. We have also surveyed the whole of the Anti-Libanus, a region far less known than the heart of the Andes, the best proof being that upon the best maps the name of only one peak is given, and even that is given incorrectly. Our notes upon the subject are reserved for the Royal Geographical Society, whose actual president, the world-famed Sir Henry Rawlinson, has, in his opening address of Monday, November 13th, made courteous allusion to our labours: it is sufficient for me here to state that our joint publication will alter the map of Northern Syria. And, neglecting all details concerning the peculiar circumstances which led to my leaving Syria, I may briefly assert, that the action taken by the authorities has led to a result which I hardly expected: it has made my name historical in the Holy Land. The Moslems of Damascus gathered in thousands at the great Amawi, or Cathedral Mosque, of that once imperial capital, and prayed publicly for my return; whilst Mrs. Burton was compelled to quit the city privately, in order to avoid a demonstration which might have been dangerous. You will excuse me if I have made these personal details too personal; but I feel it due to you and to myself that my unexpected appearance in this room should be honourably accounted for.
Before proceeding with the business of the evening, I will read a note addressed to me by my friend Mr. Fred. Collingwood:
‘November 15, 1871.
‘My dear Capt. Burton, I am directed, on behalf of the Publication Committee, to ask what illustrations you wish should accompany your papers on Collections from the Holy Land; and whether we can help you in the preparation of diagrams for our evening meetings. - I am yours faithfully,
‘J. FRED. COLLINGWOOD.’
The wishes of your Council should have been consulted upon this and other matters; and, indeed, without illustrations it is almost useless to describe a great variety of articles, especially silex implements. Unfortunately, however, time is wanting; and the delightful hospitalities of an English country life have, I fear, considerably modified the rugged energy that results from wild travelling.
The wishes of your Council should have been consulted upon this and other matters; and, indeed, without illustrations it is almost useless to describe a great variety of articles, especially silex implements. Unfortunately, however, time is wanting; and the delightful hospitalities of an English country life have, I fear, considerably modified the rugged energy that results from wild travelling.
It has been suggested to me that a few words of explanation concerning a report now made public by the press, may be desirable, as certain persons may be expecting me to lecture upon a man fourteen feet long. The fact is, that Capt. Murray, R.N., a Fellow of the Royal Society, lately informed me that, when excavating at Ramlah, near Alexandria, he came upon some ancient catacombs; that he found a skeleton measuring eleven feet long; that he carried off sundry ribs and vertebræ, and that he still possesses one of the latter. He has promised me the loan of it; and, should the article be forthcoming, its first appearance shall be in this room.
In offering you this instalment of a catalogue raisonné of an anthropological collection made in Syria and Palestine between April 15th, 1870, and August 6th, 1871, I purpose, with your permission, to read out a list of the articles lying upon the table; to illustrate the position of the finds by certain topographical remarks, which I beg leave to say will not be found in the guide-or hand-books; and finally, to refer the matter to Dr.
C. Carter Blake. My friend has kindly volunteered to supply my deficiencies in comparative anatomy and zoology; and we shall both feel grateful for all suggestions and additional information, especially concerning the mummy-cloths and the tesseræ, which may be offered by learned members of our Institute. In conclusion, we owe the loan of the map to the kindness and courtesy of Mr . Secretary Bates and Captain George, R.N ., of the Royal Geographical Society.
Catalogue Raisonné of an Anthropological Collection made in Syria and Palestine between April 15, 1870, and August 6, 1871.
No.1 LOT. The following is a list of the articles which were collected at Palmyra, during a tour which lasted between April 5th and April 21st, 1870:
7 skulls; 3½ jaws, and sundry fragments; 1 hand, perfect; 1 ditto (minus thumb), and fragment; 1 foot.
1 parcel of bones; namely, 2 thigh-bones, a foot nearly perfect, a back and ilium of a mummied child, 3 spinal vertebræ; various fragments of skulls, ribs, spine-bones, and tibiæ, with odds and ends of bone.
1 parcel of common mummy-cloth, mostly cotton (?), including a hand.
1 parcel of coloured ditto, yellow with purple edging being the most common; a bit of blue stuff (linen ?).
2 fragments of bitumen cup (?), like those made at Kabr Musá (Moses’ tomb, west of Jericho).
3½ mortuary lamps.
4 fragments of rough old stone pottery, like our gray-beards.
A remnant of shoe-leather (?).
Specimen of mummied hair, stained yellow. Of this stained hair that distinguished physiologist Dr. Barnard Davis remarks: ‘The specimens of light hair have certainly not been raddled. The colour may be natural, or the true colour may have been discharged by lime or other bleaching application. We know that the Romans used such appliances. It is most probable that this hair has belonged to some Palmyrene beauty.’ ‘The dark specimen appears to come from a mummified body.’ ‘If one of the two small locks of Palmyrene hair could be spared, I should be glad to add it to my collection as a great curiosity. I never could anticipate getting a lock of ancient hair from Palmyra, and certainly not bleached by art;’ and it is evidence of the civilisation prevailing at the court of Zenobia.
l oblong tessera, with Palmyrene inscription.
9 circular tesseræ, one inscribed.
7 oval and square tesseræ.
2 pyramidal ditto.
1 circular pebble, apparently worked.
25 coins of little importance. These we picked up everywhere at Palmyra: we never walked out without finding some.
1 glass coin, apparently of the same kind offered for sale at Tyre. None of the Palmyran collections which I have inspected contained any glass coins. In the eighteenth century, glass money for local currency, like the Hebrew banknotes of Tiberias and Safet, was made at Hebron.
26 date-stones, 1 peach (?) stone, and 1 apricot-stone, taken from mummy heads. No skull was found without them. At Shakkah (Saccæa), in the Jebel Durúz Haurán, the succedaneum is an almond-shell with the sharp end cut off, and forming a diminutive cup.
1 coin, Leon and Castile.
6 fragments of pottery.
1 mutilated figure (Virgin and Child ?).
1 bloodstone, engraved with figures of two horsemen.
1 scalloped bead.
1 Egyptian figure (?).
1 larger figure (Egyptian?).
1 smaller figure.
The skulls, bones, and mummy-cloths, are evidently those of the ancient and pagan population of the Palmyrene; the tomb-towers, whose age is known from Palmyrene inscriptions to bear date 314-414 of the Seleucidan era, corresponding with our A.D. 2 and 102, have evidently, however, been restored, and this perhaps fixes the latest restoration. It is highly probable that the heathen practice of mummification declined under Roman rule, or after A.D. 130, when the great half-way house between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean became Adrianopolis. Still vestiges of the old custom are found extending deep into the second century, when, it is believed, the Himyarite Benú Ghassán (Gassanides) of Damascus had abandoned their heathen faith for Christianity. Corpse cremation, I may here remark, went out of fashion in the days of the Antonines. Always a Greek exotic, it frequently made way for burying, the habit of republican Rome and of the Jewish and Christian world.
Our short visit of five days allowed me only a day and a half to try the fortune of exploration at Palmyra. It is easy there to hire a considerable number of labourers at two and a half piastres a head per diem - say sixpence - when in other places the wages would be at least double.[FN#1] I secured forty-five coolies, who had nothing but diminutive picks and hoes, grain-bags and cloaks, which they converted into baskets for removing sand and rubbish. Operations began (April 15th, 1870) at the group of tomb-towers marked ‘cemetery’ in the Handbook, and bearing W.S.West from the great Temple of the Sun. It is one of the two Viæ Appiæ, which enter, or rather which entered, Palmyra: this is upon the high-road to Damascus; Whilst the other, to the north-west of the official or monumental city, was doubtless the main approach from Hums and Hamah. Both are lined on each side with the monuments which here take the place of the Egyptian pyramids; and their squat, solid forms of gloomy and unsquared sandstone contrast remarkably with the bastard classical Roman architecture, meretricious in all its details, and glittering from afar in white limestone.
I chose the south-western group, because it appeared to be the oldest of the series. The Fellahs know it as Kusúr Abú Sayl, the Palaces of the Father of the Torrent; and they stare when told that these massive buildings are not Kusúr, but Kubúr (tombs). ‘I daresay it is all one (kulluh wahid) to the owner,’ said a Voltairian hand, when the words of truth were announced to him. Here the loculi in the several stages were easily cleared out; they had been ransacked before, and they supplied only a few bones and shreds of mummy-cloth. A calvaria (No.1), however, and the larger thigh-bone, with attachments of dried muscles, were found in the upper story by one of the Fellahs. From another and a neighbouring tomb-tower they brought calvaria No.2, which evidently belongs to an elderly and masculine person, of decidedly unpleasant propensities. He is, in fact, a fit companion for No.1.
The rest of the collection came from the adjacent ruins. Calvaria No.3, pierced near the suture, contained a greater number of olive-stones than the rest: can this peculiar process have been adopted in order to show the extent of the owner’s possessions? No.4 is the head of a young girl displaying all the peculiarities of the modern Syrian cranium it can hardly have been buried many years ago. No.5 looks as if it had been compressed behind after burial; but it is distinctly of the old Syrian type, whilst even the solidity cannot be considered abnormal. As a rule, in these countries the oldest calvariæ are the thickest, and similarly the largest building-stones are the most ancient. No.6 is also evidently distorted by pressure to the proper right. No.7 is apparently modern, and its fragility contrasts with No.5; the peculiarity about the orbits of the eyes is not to be noticed in other heads.
I then applied the hands to a plain mound, lying about a hundred yards to the south of the largest tomb-tower. It offered a tempting resemblance to the undulations of ground which cover the complicated chambered catacombs already laid open, and into one of which, some few years ago, a camel fell, the roof having given way. Three shafts were sunk in the slopes of the barrow, and four men were told off to each. The first four feet passed through hardened surface-soil, and a loose conglomerate of pebbles rolled down from the Jebel Mintár (the Look-out Mountain), upon whose lowest folds we stood. Then came lumps of snow-white gypsum-mortar, which gradually formed a stratum also four feet deep. It appeared to be artificial, but all the hands agreed that it was not. This fouille was abandoned, as time pressed us hard.
The third attempt was made at a spot to the north of and next to the largest tomb-tower. Here a skeleton square of large blocks, containing an area that corresponded with the nearest building, and ranged in line with it, suggested something below. After three feet of the usual surface-soil, the pick struck three large unworked stones, firmly embedded in mortar, and disposed in tripod shape. The labourers declared that we had come upon the foundations of a house: we persevered, however, to a total of nine feet six inches, and presently, on the west of the tripod, appeared a semicircle of cut stone, like the curb of a well. The contents were pure sand -in fact, the Desert drift, mixed with fragments of coarse and heavy pottery, some light brown, others yellowish, with lumps of gypsum-lime and bits of well-preserved charcoal. The colour of the arenaceous matter was at first pale ruddy, as if affected by damp; but after ten minutes’ exposure to sun and air, it became dull white, and it was easily sprayed by the wind like that around us. The shape of the hollow below the half rim was that of a Florence flask - in fact, the Algierian silos and Moroccan matamors, which are extensively found in this part of Syria, and which, in places like the Tell Shaykh Abdullah, near Hasyah, and the Khan Shamsín,[FN#2] between it and Hums, occupy the greater part of a hill. None, however, are equal to the immense excavations near Bayt Jibrin and Dayr i Dubbán, which, despite their Greek crosses and Cufic inscriptions, were believed by many travellers to be ‘Horite dwellings.’ But, judging from its position, this was probably an old cistern, filled by the drainage of the roof. Ancient Palmyra, which I estimate to have been at least nine miles in circumference, without including the outlying tomb-towers extending in a broken line from the north-east to the south-west, could not have been adequately supplied by the two streamlets of a water resembling that of Harrogate, or by such an aqueduct as that whose ruins are still visible. The Wady el Sayl (Valley of the Fiumara), which separated the monumental from the popular city, is a mere nullah, generally bone-dry, sometimes a raging torrent; and the disforesting of the hills to the north and west has doubtless reduced it to its present state. The depressed site of the great dépôt, upon the very threshold of the Dau, or Wilderness, upon the shore-edge where the sandy sea breaks against the farthest headlands off-setting from the Anti-Libanus, suggests the extensive use of cisterns and wells. And these will be required again - the world has not yet heard the last of Palmyra as a half-way house between the Mediterranean and Hindustan.
My fourth and last attempt was to pierce into a heap to the west of No.3. Here I directed the men to sink a shaft five feet deep, and then to tunnel under the loose stones which lay upon the surface. The dirt was, as usual, superficial alluvium and gypseous lime. Presently, however, during our absence, the workmen came upon two oval slabs of soft limestone, almost like chalk, each with its kit-cat in alt-relief. One was a man, with straight features, short curly beard, and hair disposed, as appears to have been the fashion for both sexes, in three circular rolls; it might have been a priest had there been a sign of tonsure - I have, however, been unable to determine the period at which tonsure prevailed throughout these regions. The style of coiffure is frequently seen in heads brought from Palmyra. The other was a feminine bust, with features of a type so exaggerated as to resemble the negro: both being too debased to deserve transport, they were left upon the ground. A third and similar work of art was brought, but the head had been removed.
On the next day the villagers exhibited a fourth slab of the same kind, but they would not show the place of their trouvaille. This specimen had a double inscription, the incised characters being stained with a red vivid as vermilion, and between them was a larger head, with a smaller on its proper left. This hideous work of art was secured for M. Peretié, Dragoman of the French Consulate-general, Bayrut. That well-known collector has a bust, which possibly represents Zenobia: the material is terra-cotta; the ornaments are numerous and peculiar; and the general style of the workmanship will be understood from the illustration, the latter taken from a photograph.[FN#3]
The remnants of statuary which we found at Palmyra were of two styles: the one above described native and barbarous; the other classical, or rather subclassical. The type may be judged from the tesseræ, and most of the tomb-towers probably had over the entrance, or in niches disposed at various altitudes, the full-length figure reclining upon a couch, and propped upon the left elbow. In all cases the heads have been knocked off by the iconoclastic barbarians who conquered the land; but sufficient of the members and of the drapery remains to show that the workmanship was far superior to the indigenous articles. Specimens of Palmyran art are to be found almost everywhere in Northern Syria. More than one figure is rare. I have seen, however, several groups: the most remarkable was that of a woman carrying a well-grown child upon the left shoulder. Both are clad in the plaited clothing, which also appears to have been à la mode, and the mother’s front hair is dressed in three horizontal lines, with the rest pulled back. One of the most pleasing figures is an alt-relief in the house of my kind friend, M. F. Bambino, Viceconsul of France for Hums and Hamah. In the adjoining illustration the hair is drawn off the face, and the features are somewhat Grecian.
This semi-barbarism of art seems to be characteristic of Syria and Palestine generally; Cyprus, on the other hand, as General Cesnola and Mr. Lang have proved, yields terra-cottas, mostly heads, busts, and full-length figures, which in beauty and expression are purely Grecian. A marble Cupid, sent to Paris before the war, showed the finest chiseling. Unfortunately, the savage who disinterred it at Bayrut smashed the features; and when told that he had spoilt his property, proposed to restore it by means of a stone-cutter from the bazar. The marble statue of a woman, in high relief, and double the size of life,[FN#4] seated upon a throne, with a sphynx at her left, still lying in a back street of Ba’albak, is also Greek in style and dress, but the proportions are poor; in fact, the finest Greek art never seems to have strayed far from the shores of the Mediterranean.
Umar Bey, a Hungarian officer, who was stationed for some months at Palmyra, in command of the troops, made a large collection of clay tesseræ, which here seem to represent our ‘tokens.’ He kindly allowed me to take notes of them. I did not, however, copy the inscriptions, knowing that he intended them for his father-in-law, M. Mordtmann, the archæologist.
The forms greatly vary, being square, round, oblong, crescent-shaped, semicircular, triangular, pyriform, rhomboid, and jug-shaped. Some have three plain lines, and the fourth or uppermost a waving outline. They are mostly of plain yellowish clay; some bear traces of a purple colour; and one circular tessera is half red, half black.
The characteristic obverse is the reclining woman before mentioned, raised in tolerable relief and facing to the left. Sometimes there are two, three, and even four figures, resting upon a couch more or less solid. Those with inscriptions below are rare, and, of course, more valuable. On the proper right of the figure there is often a vine, realistically or conventionally treated, either with leaves or with mere whorls like exaggerated tendrils. Some have a bird placed above the figure; others a sacellum showing a human shape, in an oval raised upon a circle. That the figure enclosed in the sacellum represents the Yoni, I have no doubt whatever. Let it be compared with Layard’s Egyptian seal (Nineveh and Babylon, p. 156), representing the god Horus, by the Greeks mis-called Harpocrates, seated upon the mystic lotus, in adoration of ‘Havah,’ the Great Mother of all living.
The reverses of these tesseræ are treated in many ways. The following are the principal:
Two persons reclining upon a couch (as in the obverse).
Two figures kneeling before a smaller, with a vase above the pair.
Two figures, one tall, the other short.
Two figures with a sacrificial altar between: there are many specimens of this reverse; sometimes there is a bust enclosed in an oval above them, at other times this is wanted.
Two figures, with one large and one small vase.
One figure standing.
Two or three busts with the tall head-dress, a very common form; sometimes two stars are disposed about the busts.
A head, with two sacella and Yoni, each inverted upon a column.
A wreath (of ghár or laurel?), a bust, and two sacella, like the above.
A spreading tree, not unlike the alphabet, called El Mushajjar, which resembles a palm-branch more or less stripped, and planted upright.
A wreath enclosing a sacellum.
A trefoil-shaped ornament.
The Ba’al figures are, of course, common, especially the following
Head and spike-like rays. R. Couchant bull, facing to right.
Ditto, with crescent and star under it.
Head and wavy hair, like the sculptured head at Rakhlah ruin. R. Sacellum and standing figure.
Ba’al and Ashtarah, artistically treated. R. Head of woman.
Two bulls’ heads meeting at an angle of 45°, with a star above and below, and a crescent opposite the horns.
Bull’s head, and ball (sun or star?) between the horns. R. Eagle.
Bull’s and horse’s heads. R. Inscription.
Bull with high hump like the zebu. R. Wheel and eight spokes.[FN#5]
Man facing right; head crowned with seven spike-like rays. R. Bust.
Standing figure. R. Sun and stars (lozenge-shaped tessera).
Head and crown of rays facing right, under it eagle. R. Serpent (tessera half red and half black).
Two figures on throne and two standing. R. Three pine-cones (?); eagle and star below.
Spread eagle. R. Umbo and inscription. - N.B. This umbo is a phallic emblem, which appears sometimes on one side, sometimes on both. It is, in fact, the Kamos or Priapic idol of Moab, a ‘gerundert stein.’ This well-known figure naturally leads me to notice the last work by my learned friend Dr. Beke (The Idol in Horeb: Evidence that the Golden Image at Mount Sinai is a Cone and not a Calf ; London, Tinsleys, 1871). Dr. Beke (p. 4) is distinctly of opinion that the golden cone was an image of the flame seen by Moses in the burning bush, and of the fire in which the Eternal had descended upon Sinai; and he rejects the allegations of a correspondent (p. 34), which make him impute to the Israelites the ‘obscene phallic worship.’ I cannot, however, but believe that, like cannibalism, infanticism, and perhaps sati (suttee), the adoration of the Yoni-Lingam has been, at varions ages of the world, universal, typifying by a gross material image the reproductive powers of Nature. The subject is far too extensive for anything but casual mention in these pages; but no one will forget the Crux Ansata of Egypt, or the Yoni-Lingam of Ancient and Modern India; and upon this subject I venture to recommend an excellent work by Dr. Thomas Inman, Ancient Faiths embodied in Ancient Names (London, Trübner, 1868). It abounds in information of the highest interest; and, probably on account of its freedom from prejudice, it has been damned with faint praise by the many who reviewed it.
Eagle not spread. R. A tick resembling the Brazilian carrapato. - N.B. One of the leaden coins bears a bust and a carrapato on the reverse.
Human figures are, perhaps, the most common; e.g.
Bust with tall coiffure, facing to right. R. Standing figure.
Head between two garlands on crescent-shaped tessera. Bust. R. plain.
Bust. R. Sun (circle) and stars (lozenge-shaped tessera). Head and two stars on quarter moon. R. plain.
Bust facing to front. R. Ladder of five rungs and stars. This R. also occurs on pyriform tesseræ.
Vase and hand.[FN#6] R. Flower-pot (?) and inscription.
Head. R. Head and sceptre.
Head. R. Head (pyxiform tessera).
Head of Roman type facing left. R. Inscription.
Standing figure of man. R. plain.
Woman and vine. R. plain (pyriform).
Hand in square. R. Four cones joined at bases.
There are various figures of animals; e.g.
Two horses. R. Two fishes.
Gazelle. R. Small Genius and two stars. - N.B. The gazelle often Occurs upon the smaller Palmyran coinage.
Ibex. R. (?)
Lion pulling down gazelle. R. One figure sitting upon a chair, the other standing.
Lion. R. Bee on flower (?).
Winged griffin. R. Two bulls and inscription.
Scorpion on rhomboidal tessera. R. Lyre-shaped figure. The other figures are chiefly:
Cornucopia. R. plain.
Vine-leaves. R. plain.
Large and small circles. R. plain.
Two vases and two stars. R. Inscription.
Two vases, one large, the other small. R. plain.
Eccentric figure found upon many. The inscribed character is a contraction of ‘bar,’ son of - . I presume that the object denotes an altar.
Depressed sacellum and figure inside. R. plain.
Two large stars, and one small. R. Sacellum.
Semicircle and star. R. Inscription.
Wheel on conical seal (Agathe Tykhe?).
The principal beads are:
Long oval with eleven or twelve ribs; the colours, green, blue, and white, appear at both ends.
Coarse blue glazed china bead.
Glass, red on white ground.
Fine purple glass, like garnet.
Blue glass; bright and good.
Long oval black glass, with three lateral and deeply indented white bands.
Agate beads; small.
Bead of pink madrepore (unbored).
Imitation shell bead.
Bead in shape of phallic umbo.
The collection also contained a small stone weight, and many coins, some of them lead. The most curious were those which bear Moslem inscriptions, with heads of men and of lions.
Mr. Charles F. Tyrwhitt Drake also made a collection of Palmyran antiquities, which he will himself describe to you after his return home. There is no better field for inquiry than these grand old ruins. As has been shown, labour is plentiful and cheap; and I will answer for the civility and kindness of Shaykh Fáris, who now protects the British Baghdad post. A month might be spent to great advantage at Tadmor. Future travellers are advised to carry with them a crowbar, a rope-ladder, a plank or two, and cords with hooks, so as to explore the upper stories of the tomb-towers, which may hitherto have escaped ransacking; and I should advise them to dig, not at the south-west of the ruins where we did, but to the north-east, where a large blot of dark ashen ground, scattered over with dwarf tumuli, denotes, according to our Fellahin informants, the Siyaghah, or gold and silver smiths’ bazar. When searching ruins, the explorer will do well to remember General Cesnola’s rule, namely, to dig along the inner walls, not in the centre. The result, in Cyprus at least, left nothing to be desired.
I will now make way for my friend Dr. Carter Blake, who requires no introduction from me. And I have the honour to return my best thanks for the patience and perseverance with which you have listened to a somewhat dull paper.
Notes on Human Remains from Palmyra. By C. Carter Blake, Doct. Sci., F.G.S., Hon. Mem. A.I., Lecturer on Comparative Anatomy and Zoology, Westminster Hospital. With an 1llustration by George Busk, F.R.S., President of the Royal College of Surgeons.
CAPTAIN BURTON has done me the honour to place in my hands for description some of the valuable human remains which he has derived from Palmyra. The fact that these relics have only been in my possession since the tenth of the month will, I hope, induce the members of the Institute to grant me some indulgence in the description.
In order that the ancient skulls from Palmyra may be carefully considered, I shall commence my description with a short conspectus of the characters of the typical modern Syrian skull of the present day, marked No.4 on the specimen.
Skull No.4. It is ovately orthocephalic, its greatest length being 16·5, and its greatest breadth 12·7, the cephalic index being consequently ·76. With largely-rounded parietal tubers, not so prominent, however, as in the young Hindu of the same age (about nine years), the frontal region is remarkably square, and well developed; the jaws are orthognathic, and the malar region is delicate. An equable curved line extends from a spot at about one-third of the longitudinal diameter of the frontal bone, to the median portion of the supraoccipital. The lower portion of the occipital bone is largely developed, and proceeds gently to the foramen. Whilst there is no indication of probole, the transverse union of the supraoccipital bones are well shown. The base of the skull exhibits few points of muscular attachment. The jagular foramen is largest on the left side. The teeth in place are, are or have been througout life, incisors [x] can. [xxx] p. [xxx]. The first molar, as such it may be called, is in the alveolus, and would have proceeded to cut the gum sooner on the left than on the right side. The remarkably small and delicate palate would, in after-life, have left but little room for the adequate development of the premolar and molar series. While slight and gracefully-arched pterygoid processes extended laterally, the junction between the basioccipital and basisphenoid bones is not nearly closed. The nasal spine is prominent, and the nasal bones well developed and slightly arched. The suborbital foramina are normal. The mastoids are very small, and there are no traces of paroccipital (jugular) or of pneumatic processes.
Generally it may be said that the present skull, with its graceful contours, is one of the ‘prettiest’ that the comparative anthropologist might examine; and that, in its general form and shape, it can be pronounced to be as distinct in form from the archaic or prehistoric Palmyrene skulls as it is possible to conceive. That these characters are not such as are merely dependent on sex and age, it will be the object of the comparison I am about to institute conclusively to show; and I believe that this comparison will be borne out by the investigation of another and larger series of Syrian skulls, which, through the kindness of Captain Burton, and with your permission, I propose this session to describe.
The consideration of Syrian and so-called Phœnician skulls is a subject which will always be attended with some difficulty. The dearth of literature on the subject enables me to refer to comparatively few authorities. Of these I shall briefly mention Nott and Gliddon, Indigenous races of the Earth, p. 314 (part written by Dr. J. Aitken Meigs); Marichard and Pruner Bey, Les Carthaginois en France, 8vo, Montpellier, 1870; Barnard Davis, Thesaurus Craniorum, (description of No.1174, p. 86); Nicolucci, Di un antico cranio fenico rinvenuto nella Necropoli di Tharros in Sardegna, 4to, Turin, 1863; and the comprehensive and elegant memoir of the last-named author in Bulletins de la Société d’Anthropologie, v. 703. A perusal of these works shows that the characters of the so-called Phœnician or Syrian branch of the Semitic race have been adequately discussed by far more eminent anthropologists than myself,and I therefore have ventured to presuppose your thorough acquaintance with them. I shall adopt the system of measurement of Barnard Davis (with Busk’s instrument), and the nomenclature of Professor Huxley.
I now turn to the description of the skulls from Palmyra, the gisement of which has been already described by Captain Burton.
Skull No.1. This remarkably thick calvaria comprehends the whole frontal bone and large portions of the parietals and nasals. The frontal suture has been open until a late period of life, as is shown by traces near the coronal suture and also on the glabella. The coronal suture is deeply denticulated, the greatest amount of serration being at the spot common in most Negro and some ancient British skulls, across the insertion of the temporalis muscle. The size of the individual must have been enormous. The nasal bones, or what little remains of them, do not indicate that the nose was large, and the supranasal notch is remarkably shallow. The calvaria is equally arched. It is subject of regret that the point of junction between the parietal and supraoccipital bones does not exist by reason of the fractured condition of the parietals. The transverse diameter across the frontal bone could not have been less than 12·5 centimetres, and the degree to which the frontal arch is vaulted corresponds to this enormous dimension. Part of this great breadth is possibly due to the partially open condition of the frontal suture; but I think that this will scarcely account for more than the breadth. The frontal bone measures in circumference along the periphery, from the nasal to the coronal suture, 12·5 centimetres. The orbits were, well arched, and the development of the superciliary ridges was slight. The skull, in fact, appears to have belonged to a very large and fine dolichocephalic individual; and it will be a subject of much regret that so little of the skull is presented to us, and that I am consequently unable to include its precise dimensions in the table of measurements.
Skull No.2. This extremely large mecistocephalic skull accords in its chief characters, as Captain Burton informs me, with those of the existing Phœnician. With a cephalic index of ·70, it shows traces of having belonged to an exceptionally strong and powerful male, as shown by the largely developed superciliary ridges and mastoid processes, and by the general heavy and athletic contours of the cranium.
Comparison of this skull with those of the Sémite Phénicien figured in plate ii. of Marichard and Pruner Bey’s memoir shows agreement in nearly every essential aspect; and the characters which my excellent friend (now, I believe, still in ill health in Switzerland) has pointed out as distinctive of the Phœnician Semite skull are here strikingly manifest. For he says: ‘Le palais est parabolique, et excessivement profond, sans évasement.’
This character of the deeply vaulted and capacious palate is perhaps the most striking fact connected with the present skull. The large pterygoid and hamular processes; the extraordinary development of the occipital region, and especially of the probole; the peculiar flattening of the skull at the parietal bones above and behind the mastoid region; the prominent parietal tubers, and the generally ‘long drawn out’ aspect of the skull, remind the student at first sight almost of the Negro calvarium. Possibly, on the application of Rokitansky’s law, some of this great absolute length might have been due to the early and premature closing of the coronal suture. I am far from denying this theory (which I have elsewhere strongly supported[FN#7]), and which would probably receive the advocacy of Dr. Barnard Davis;[FN#8] but I would point out, that the obliteration of all the sutures has proceeded to nearly the same extent all over the skull, and that the coronal, sagittal, lambdoid, sphenoidal, and temporal sutures are all nearly closed to the same degree. The head, as in skull No.1, is equably and ovoidly curved from the forehead to the lambdoid suture, from whence, after a manifest bulge of the upper part of the supraoccipital bone, the occiput shelves towards the foramen in a line which may be roughly said to be parallel.with the alveoli. The foramen is large, broad, and rounded; the condyles are normal. The post-condyloid depressions are remarkably deep, with slight exostosis on the left side. The glenoid cavities are deeply excavated. There are small but well-developed paroccipitals, but no ‘pneumatic’ processes. The orbits are squared and depressed at the outer inferior angles. The supranasal notch is deep; the superciliaries prominent; and the forehead singularly flat towards the external angle. The teeth in position are only those of the molar and premolar series. The powerful malar bones must have rendered the physiognomy of the individual exceedingly severe. The teeth are large and strong, and do not indicate much caries or wear; they have dropped out since death. The alisphenoido-parietal suture is exceedingly long.
It will be a question whether the extreme length of this skull is a character of race or an individual character. The conformation of one of the lower jaws I shall show to you, however, appears conclusively to demonstrate that one other individual, at least, possessed the character of extreme cranial length and of great narrowness. In the skulls figured by Professor Busk (Platycnemic Men in Denbighshire, Trans. Ethno. Society, 1870, p. 467), ‘the absolute horizontality of the place of the subinial portion of the occipital bone’ is pointed out as a character of one of the skulls from Cefn, and to a certain extent in the Borris skull of Professor Huxley (Prehistoric Remains of Caithness,
p. 125, figs. 60, 61). The same character is present in this Palmyrene skull to a great extent; but the latter has no relation whatever to these ‘tapinocephalic’ skulls in its measurements. The researches of Dr. Aitken Meigs on the form of the occiput illustrate how the same features of the occiput are often presented by a Negro, an Australian, a ‘River-Bed,’ or, as in the present case, a Syrian skull.
The extremely brachycephalic character of some of the more modern Syrian skulls which Captain Burton has brought from other districts, when contrasted with the length and peculiar aspect of the present specimen, leads the observer to two conclusions at least. The present skull accords with those of the Phœnicians, as figured by Pruner Bey, and differs toto cœlo from the skulls of much of the population of Syria at the present day, and within the last thousand years. There are also slight resemblances at least between this skull and those of some of the Guanches exhaustively described by Dr. Barnard Davis (Thesaurus Craniorum, pp. 189-193). How far the Phœnicians and Atlantean races were connected, I shall not now inquire, farther than to refer to the opinions of Dr. Gustave Kombst; and I would merely at present adhere to the verdict of Dr. Barnard Davis and myself, that the Guanches of Teneriffe appear to be sui generis (Journ. Anthrop. Soc. ii. 233).
Skull No.3. The calvarium before us is one which probably has belonged to an aged individual, as shown by the closing of the sutures; whilst it differs entirely from No.2 in proportions, it presents characters which recall some of its proportions. The occiput, however, is full and round. The coronal suture is slightly denticulated, but is nearly closed; the sagittal is entirely so, with a tendency to the formation of a slight rainure on its hinder portion. The superciliary ridges are absent; the supranasal notch has not been deep; and the forehead is fairly arched and fully rounded. It is, of course, to be regretted that the facial bones are entirely absent. The malar bone on the left side has apparently been cut through, probably since death. The aperture in the parietal bone is also a ‘pick-mark.’ The mastoids are small, and there are no traces of paroccipital or of pneumatic processes. The basisphenoid bone is large and broad. It is possible this skull may have belonged to a female of middle or advanced age; but this is only a conjecture.
Skull No.4. This skull has been already described above.
Skull No.5. This calvaria is merely the occipital and parietal bones of a large dolichocephalic individual, closely resembling No. 3 in general contour. The sutures are all open and highly denticulated. The occipital bone shows a large, elongated, and well-developed probole. The ridges for the attachment of muscles are not pronounced excessively. The greatest breadth has been fourteen centimetres.
Skull No.6. This is a large and fractured calvaria, of which the broken condition precludes that any accurate measurements could be taken. The coronal suture (since death) has slightly bulged, probably owing to the presence of mud or other moist matter in the skull after death. The frontal sinuses have been large, and the superciliary ridges prominent. The frontals are equably arched, and there are distinct and large frontal bosses. The contour is ovoid as far as the edge of the lambdoid suture. The alisphenoidoparietal suture is large and wide. The skull is broad at the parietal bones; with an equable rate of bulging over its whole surface, with the exception of the coronal suture. The auditory foramina are large. The arterial impressions on the inner table of the skull are remarkably deep and profoundly excavated. It is, of course, impossible to measure this calvaria accurately.
Skull No.7. The calvaria of a young individual, probably about seven years old. The present specimen can be advantageously compared with the modern Syrian girl’s skull (No.4). More prognathous than it, it is less ovate in its contour, and does not present that equable tournure of physiogonomy which characterises the existing inhabitants of the district. The malar bones are remarkably small and weak, and the aperture for the temporal muscle very small compared with the typical Syrian, with the European of similar age, and with the Negro. The present skull exhibits many points which illustrate widely different race distinctions which even in the young can be easily estimated. The maxillary bone is fairly prognathous; the palate is deeply vaulted, and the molar series, as indicated by their alveoli, are large; the palatal and traces of the intermaxillary sutures are present. The suture between the basioccipital and basisphenoid is perfectly open.
Skull No.8. This is merely a broken fragment of frontal bone, which appears to present some singular characters. Its fragmentary condition, of course, precludes any elaborate description of such a broken specimen. The superciliary ridges have been large; to a greater extent, in fact, than any of the other specimens. The edge of the frontal bone at the coronal suture has been preserved, and shows deep denticulations. The frontal bone appears to have been singularly depressed and low. The frontal sinuses have been large. It is to be regretted that, the junction of the sagittal and coronal sutures being absent, it is impossible to predict the size and shape of this very low frontal bone.
The three lower jaws, marked respectively α, β, γ, are all those of large and powerful males. In α and γ, many teeth are in place; while in β, which has belonged to an older individual, the teeth have been shed during life, and the alveolus, answering to m. 1 and m. 2, on the right-hand side, is absorbed. All these jaws exhibit the same characters of largely developed coronoid processes, with shallow sigmoid notches in β and γ, whilst in α the more normal formation exists. The degree of wearing of the molar teeth appears to denote a hard diet, and might be accounted for on the assumption of the much consumption of parched corn by the Badawi Arabs. The equable periphery and vertical widely exserted condyles of the jaw marked by γ, appear to denote that it belonged to a type of skull wholly distinct from those labelled α and β. The latter, with their comparatively greater amount of obtuseness in the angle of the jaw, appear to have belonged to shorter-headed individuals than the jaw γ; and I have little hesitation in affirming that the laws of correlation entitle us to affirm, although none of these jaws was found in juxtaposition with a skull, that the jaw γ belonged to an individual having the same cranial type as that which belonged to the mecistocephalic owner of skull No.2.
Femur. This very long bone measures 51·50 centimetres in length; it is covered with integument which prevents more precise measurement.
Tibia. This measures 41·0 centimetres long. The proportion of tibia to femur, taking the latter as = 100, was 79. These figures are sufficient to show the stature of the present race.
A very large mass of scattered bones is also preserved in the present collection. These chiefly consist of young individuals, among which there are accidentally strewn a few bones of the gazal (Antilope dorcas). There are numerous dorsal and some cervical vertebræ, also many fragments of lumbar vertebræ and one young child’s lumbar region, with iliac bones attached.
There are two mummy hands, one left, which exhibits four fingers open, the thumb being broken away, the other on which the right fingers are contracted. In both these cases the fingers are delicate, tapering, and long, and the nails have been slender. There is also a right and left foot, one nearly complete in the case of mummy-cloth, and one in which there are preserved five metatarsal bones alone. These feet are of small and delicate size. None of these bones of extremities accord in dimensions with those of the larger skulls, and they are most probably those of females.
That a very large and exceptionally tall race of men existed at Palmyra at an early period of history, there can now be little doubt. How far the legends of gigantic inhabitants of Syria may have originated from the evident fact that the prehistoric Palmyrans were of stature probably far exceeding that of the comparatively small Hebrews, I must leave to the student of Semitic history. It is my duty merely to describe the evidences which are now upon the table; but I cannot resist calling your attention to the fact that amongst the relics now discovered, I see none which accords in cranial characters with the features of the Hebrew race, as they have been described to us by comparative anthropologists. The peoples who inhabited the oasis of Tadmor at the period when these mummies were interred do not appear to have been of Jewish origin. At least the negative evidence must stand for the present.
P.S. On Dec. 22d I received a note from M. A. de Quatrefages, Professor of Anthropology at the Paris Museum, in which he suggests to me that the Palmyrene skulls, or some at least of them, may belong to the Chaldean stock. ‘This is in part characterised by the absence of the occipital lame and crests, and by the continuity of the curve above and below the latter.’ This hint may be of value, but at present the materials for comparison are very small.
Mr. Avery wished to inquire what was the probable eize of the persons whose remains had been remarked upon, and whether they exceeded the ordinary stature of man. Races of men of enormous size were said to have been found in Syria at the time of the Hebrew invasion; and Porter had professed to find remains of their dwellings in what was ancient Bashan. Are any remains of these races now in existence? He also inquired whether the present inhabitants of the ancient Palmyra, or the surrounding district, appeared to be the descendants of those who built that city. It was a curious fact that spasmodic civilisation had in that part of Asia arisen, flourished for a while, and then utterly disappeared. He should like to know if there be among the now existing races any apparent fitness for, or endeavours after, a higher state of civilisation than they now enjoyed, or whether the ancient civilisers had entirely passed away.
Captain Burton replied in a few words. He did not attach the least importance to the modern legends about gigantic races in ancient Syria and Palestine; of the size of ancient tombs he would treat elsewhere. Mr. Porter’s theories and assertions have long ago been disposed of. The present tenants of Palmyra are simply Fellahin, reclaimed Bedawin. Finally, although the ancient civilisation had passed away, he believed that the present race is capable, under favourable circumstances, of taking a high standing.
The meeting then separated.
AT the meeting of the Anthropological Institute for December 4, 1871, the following paper was read:
On Anthropological Collections from the Holy Land. No. II. By Richard F. Burton, F.R.G.S., late H.M’s Consul at Damascus.
Mr. President and Gentlemen, I propose this evening, with your permission, to resume the description which was begun during our last meeting; and I may open with remarking upon the favourable reception given to it by the press and the public. This is at once proof and earnest that our study, Anthropology , is growing, and will grow, in general esteem; and we are encouraged to hope that within a reasonable time it will take rank as the most interesting of all studies. The great problems reserved for Geography to resolve are now few: the Polar Seas; parts of China and Japan; the islands of the Indian Ocean; and a white patch in Africa, which I would willingly darken. But these done, only details will remain, and details can hardly be expected to arouse enthusiasm. With us it is very different; and the field of discovery is practically unlimited. Every few years open up another chapter of prehistoric lore: with the clue in our hands we can safely thread the labyrinths of antiquity, and we must thus reverse Palgrave’s eloquent words: ‘That speechless past has begun to speak; the lost is no longer the utterly lost; the gone is not gone for ever.’
No.2 LOT. List of Mr. Rattray’s Collection presented to the Anthropological Institute.
28 fragments of skull-bones, remarkably thick, and therefore presumed to be of old date.
1 jaw-bone and part of a skull. This appears to be comparatively modern, and may come from the neighbouring Moslem cemetery.
9½ old copper bracelets (Aswár).
1 copper pin.
1 fragment of brass bracelet.
2 bits of arm fibulæ.
Part of a buckle.
3 small coins.
15 bits of lachrymatories, the glass being highly iridescent,[FN#10] and of almost the consistency of talc.
4 pieces of old Syrian majolica, the usual type of what was made at Damascus by the Tartars from Kashan, who accompanied the several invading hordes. Hence the fine ‘Persian tiles’ are still called ‘Hajar Kishání’ (for ‘Kashani’), stone-ware. They may generally be divided into three qualities, according to their age, which in no case can date before A.D. 1400: 1. the best, are easily recognised by the bright colours and the glazing, which looks like a plate of glass; 2. the middle class, is inferior, but still good; and 3. the worst, is the modern, showing poor colours and a weak attempt at vitrification. The specimen from the Harem of Jerusalem, which I now exhibit, seems to be of the second class.
1 bead of cornelian (Akík).
1 roundish bead of gum, probably Sandarus of the Sinaubar (P. Pinea?).
1 black bead.
1 green bugle.
1 double bead.
3 blue bugles. These beads should be submitted to some West-African merchant of long experience, who can compare them with the ‘Popo,’ so highly prized in Western Africa. This spindle-shaped or double-cone specimen is ground.
4 beads of sorts.
Mr. John S. Rattray built a house at a place where the eastern slope of the LibanuB falls into the Cœlesyrian Vale, called Sáhib el Zamán (Lord of the Age). In January and February 1870 he happened to open a hollow to the south, which proved to be an artificial cavern, with a shaft or airhole above, and containing five loculi; two only are shown in the accompanying sketch by Mrs. Rattray. Subjoined is a ground-plan of the cave, which faces towards the Buká’a, or Cœlesyria. The corpse farthest to the west enjoyed a loculus to itself; three compartments had their greater length disposed nearly due north and south, whilst the two others ran from east to west. The heads or feet of those occupying the latter would, therefore, have fronted Meccah, showing that they could not have been Moslems; on the other hand, they may have been Jews, who make the feet front Jerusalem, so that, on arising, the dead may face the Holy City. Each body was deposited within six slabs of cut stone. The bones crumbling when exposed to the light, were reburied; but I persuaded Mr. Rattray to dig them up, and to continue his interesting researches. In one of the skulls a tooth was found; but that disappeared.
The Sáhib el Zamán represents, according to some, Hezekiah, who is commonly supposed to sleep with his forefathers at Jerusalem. The tomb is in a ruinous state; but it is still visited by votaries, who, wishing to be cured of ague and fever, the plague of Cœlesyria, bring with them a little frankincense and an abundance of faith, pass one night here, and return to their homes whole. The cemetery around is doubtless of high antiquity, and many skeletons have been thrown up when digging the adjacent fields.
A few yards in front of Mr. Rattray’s house, and nearer the valley, lies the little village of Kerak Nuh,[FN#11] the ruin of Noah; and a ‘splendid ruin’ Noah’s is. It is inhabited by one family of Roman Catholics, with sundry Maronites and a majority of Metawalis (Shiah Moslems), who are kept in pretty strict order by Christian Zahlah. This sleepy little Rip-van-Winkle place, with stone houses, and without trees - they cannot survive the ants and worms -contains the tomb of Noah, which does not, however, bring in as much revenue as its size entitles it to claim. The dimensions are one hundred and four feet ten inches long by eight feet eight inches wide, and three feet three inches high.[FN#12] The venerable votary of the vine was, therefore, of ninepin shape, and hardly so well proportioned as Sittná Hawwá (Our Lady Eve) at Jeddah. The sharp-ridged grave is of masonry, covered honoris causâ with the usual ragged green cloth; and the dimensions of the little room, whose length is filled up by the tomb, are ten feet two inches in breadth by eight feet three inches high. Evidently the section of an old aqueduct has been pressed into doing duty as a patriarchal grave. Outside there is a small paved court, with a ‘Mihrab’ (prayer niche) and a domelet. The place commands a fine view of the luxuriant valley, and is a favourite with those who wish to ‘smell the air.’ In the dark store-room of an adjacent house lying south-west of the tomb, Mr. Rattray found the following Latin mortuary inscription, which speaks well for the longevity of the man with many names:[FN#13]
CN. IVLIVS L. F. FAB.
RYFVS P. P.
HIC. SITVS EST. VIX. ANNOS L XXXIV.
Half an hour west of Karak Núh lies Mu’allakah, meaning the ‘dependency’ - that is to say, suburb (of Zahlah); the word is, in fact, the ‘hanger,’ as applied to hanging woods. It is new, as Kerak is old, having been built and colonised by the Amír Bashír Shiháb, when that peremptory personage was offended by the Sectarians who reposed under the shadow of the patriarchal wings; and its mud-huts might have sprung up like fungi in a night. The lower part suffers severely from ague and fever, the effect of poplar groves, of superabundant water, and of the barber: the latter sometimes bleeds his two dozen a day, till the place looks as if, after a heroic defence, it had just been taken by storm.
Description of Portions of Skulls from Sáhib el Zamán (the so-called Cave-tomb of Hezekiah), from Mr. Rattray’s Collection. By C. Carter Blake, Doct. Sci., F.G.S., Hon. Mem. A.I., Lecturer on Comparative Anatomy, Westminster Hospital.
THe specimens presented by Mr. Rattray, extracted from the tomb of the reputed Hezekiah, belong to at least three individuals, all being large and powerful athletic men. The occipital bones are indicative of the existence of three separate individuals, one of whom was large and powerfully athletic, as shown by the enormously hypertrophied condition of the bones, the great thickness of which indicates the existence of a man of large stature, and, to judge by the fractured frontal bone, of low forehead and dolichocephalous skull. That these remains are probably Jewish, the method of interment seems to indicate. That one of the three skulls can be identified with the remains of the Jewish king, or any other especial individual, is, of course, a matter of widest conjecture; but that they indicate the débris of some ancient king, patriarch, or other person of consequence, there can be no doubt.
The lower jaw of a young negro and a fragmentary occipital bone are also found in the Rattray collection. These indicate an individual of about twelve years of age, but in which the negro characters are markedly prominent. The large portion of animal matter still present in the bones shows that they have not long been interred; and the individual was probably alive twenty years ago. The occipital bone is, by its degree of ossification, probably referable to the same individual as the lower jaw belonged to.
No.3 LOT. Bones found at Ma’alúlah.
1 jaw-bone, with chin much cloven: this ‘Red Indian’ type might belong to a Patagonian.
1 lower jaw and part of calvaria (in two pieces); the distance from the eye orbit to the upper jaw appears abnormally small.
29 fragments of calvariæ.
1 rag of old stuff, apparently everywhere used for sepulture.
The site of this find (Sept. 26, 1870) was at the upland village of Ma’alúlah, distant three hours from the large Greek convent of Saidnáyá. On the left side of the Wady, just below the junction of the Fijj or gorge of Santa Tekla, is the site of a large old necropolis, wayside as usual, upon the lower road to Yabrúd, distant two hours. The tall cliffs of reddish-gray stone, breaking into a chalky white substance, stand perpendicularly at the sky-line, the débris below assuming the natural angle; and at the base of the latter are disposed immense masses, shaken down probably by earthquakes. Several of them are pierced for sarcophagi, disposed at different angles, one containing as many as eight; another has rude steps running up to the tomb; whilst a third shows two carved niches, each with two busts and the remnants of an inscription, ENAIIAKEIENI, which should be read in a better light. The bones and rag were found covered with a layer of earth in a boulder fronting to the south-east, and with a profile somewhat suggesting a huge faceless head. On the right side of the Ma’alúlah Valley are also four large fallen rocks pierced for sarcophagi and resting upon the conglomerate.
The situation of Ma’alúlah is peculiar, even in Syria. The tall caverned cliff-ridge of Marmarún and Dinha, and the nipples of Rankus - a caricature of the Cintra Mountain-outline viewed from the sea - are here prolonged west; and the line is split by two Fijj (cluses), deep transverse gorges caused by fracture at right angles to the strike or direction of the chain. The Fijj el Sharki (Eastern), which should be called Northern, bears from the junction 15°; the Fijj el Gharbi (Western), 273°. The town, with its streets like mountain torrents, stands between them, at the south-eastern base of the bluff, which the two gashes insulate from the rest of the cliff-ridge; it runs up the lower slopes precipitous as Safet or Baylán, and above it, at the sky-line, is a perpendicular palisaded reef, much weathered, but showing marks of old carvings. Below the settlement is the great Wady of glaring white chalk, with its ribbon of cool deep shady green, the result of dense walnuts, tall poplars, and abundant water, which refresh the eyes like a bath. The peculiarity of the Ma’alúlah Valley is, that it produces the Fistuk (pistachio), a tree here unknown: a specimen was shown to us at Mukhtara in the Libanus, but it was a fancy growth. The pistachio, whose fruits are the ‘nuts’ of the A.V. (the Hebrew Botnim), flourishes chiefly in the district about A1eppo; it is extremely rare in Palestine proper, although a few, evidently transplanted, have been found near Jerusalem and Bayrut. All the trees scattered in the lower part of this valley, several of them showing more than one trunk supported by the same roots, are old, from afar much resembling venerable figs, but with fleshy ovate leaves attached to a red stalk. I did not see a single young specimen. The green pistachio is a luxury, but this year (1870) all are Háil or barren, and they will not produce till the next. The same is the case in many parts of Syria with the olive. Does it show that the growth is not quite at home?
It is worth the traveller’s while to thread the two Fijj, in order to understand the lay of the land. Beginning at the western, and passing up the roughest of streets, the path strikes the left bank high up. On the right is a cavern, with a breast-work of rough stones, and the remains of a ladder with sixty rungs. In this Husn or fort the Christians hid their women and children during part of July and August of the massacre year of 1860; and they were aided against the Moslems of the adjacent country places, who repeatedly attacked them, of course under order of the local government, by their Moslem fellow-villagers. This is one case out of many showing how well the two faiths can live together, were it not for the intrigues and the divisions bred for their own selfish objects by the authorities. It is as if, in order to hold India, we systematically fomented all manner of disturbances between Hindu and Moslem. Beyond El Husn, the gorge becomes wild; the torrents, which descend from four places to the west, must now be shallow, but they show a high old watermark, and a few trees are growing in one place by its side. The path then appears to be a stone staircase, with deep holes for the horses’ hoofs. Reaching the summit in 15', and turning north, with the Sultani or modern high-road to Damascus on the left, the traveller finds the monastery of Már Sarkís, St. Sergius, a dome of common plaster supported by stone walls, with horizontal beams of wood let in, the custom of Persia as well as of Syria. Around it, to south-east and north-west, is a scatter of mortuary caves. The largest and best contains a niche with scallop-shell arch; another niche surmounted by a triangle containing a circle; an eagle with spread wings fronting west; and a similar figure upon the roof. All the inscriptions were defaced, and I could read only the familiar beginning ETOYC.
The people, who were sledging Sumach, pointed out to me, above Már Tekla, the place where Mir Mohammed el Harfushi, escorted only by twenty to twenty-five horsemen, finding himself pursued by a detachment of five hundred Turkish cavalry, rode up the slope, dismounted, and deliberately pushed his favourite mare backwards over the cliff, dashing her to pieces rather than allow his enemies to boast having captured her. He then attempted to scale on foot the left flank of the valley; but he was seized and led away to Damascus. At the beginning of the present century, he would have learned the use of the bowstring; but in these tempi più leggiadri e men’ feroci he was merely exiled to Broussa. After a time, he fled disguised as a priest, obtained pardon at Damascus, and died at Sargháyá - I am acquainted with his son Mir Ta’an. Mir Mohammed is described as a man with red hair and blue eyes, whose look suggested the cut-throat; he was, however, a fluent speaker, and the peasantry, who did not like him, but who have learned to like the Turkish rule less, now speak of him with regret.
I descended the right side of the ‘Eastern Gorge’ by a precipitous path down a rock-face lined with caverns. The large natural arch of stone which spanned it fell some forty years ago. At the bottom is a little rill, trickling from the upper gardens of the Convent, and by its shady side grows the Sha’ar Már Tekla (hair of Sta. Tecla), the maiden-hair fern. It will be remembered that when she was flying from her idolatrous father, this Fijj opened for her a passage. I followed her steps to the convent which bears her name, mounted a multitude of stairs, passed up and down a variety of passages, and was shown a dripping of water which afforded her drink, and which still covers the rock with green. People ply the metal cup for Tabarruk - in order to receive a blessing. At right angles to the place of the spring is the saintly cell, now a chapel. After so much of pious reminiscence, it was a change to meet the inmates, who kindly gave us coffee and lemonade; one of them speaking English and showing an English dog, whilst all talked the latest politics, certainly not six months old.
Ma’alúlah can muster some six hundred muskets; the Catholics number three-quarters of the whole; the Greek Rayyáhs one-eighth; and the Moslems, under their civil Shaykh Diyáb Hammud, about the same. The ‘Sulutiyyah,’ as they are termed without reason in official documents, are a fine, tall, and stout race, more like mountaineers than lowlanders; and the brown-red complexions of the girls are pleasing to look at after the yellow and rouge of Damascus. All are, however, unnsually unclean, partly being Christians, and au reste dwellers in a cold climate. Their houses avoid windows and ventilation as much as possible, and are capped by real chimney-pots; whilst cow-chips are dried, as in Sind, for fuel upon the roofs. Substantial walls are easily built with the freestone lying all around them, and the softer material composes their lime and whitewash. Almost every terrace has its plot of a strong-smelling yellow flower, called Ward Asfar or Karanful and of perfumed Rayhán, or herb basil (Ocymum basilicum), in which they seem to delight as much as Hindus. There is no such thing as a Suk, or bazar and I had trouble in buying a bottle of vinegar, unjustly entitled wine. Yet the people applied to me for a school: they were referred to my friends Messrs. Wright and Scott, of the Irish Presbyterian Mission at Damascus, and I only hope that they will succeed.
Bilinguals, but rather Bœotians than Tyrians, all at Ma’alúlah, Moslems as well as Christians, speak Syriac, which they profess to have derived from their ancestry (Jaddán Ajdád). There are only three hamlets in the country where this lingers, the others being Jubb ‘Adín[FN#14] and Bak’háa. The old tongue is excessively corrupted, but it is still unintelligible to foreigners. Dr. Socin, a young Swiss traveller, whom I met at Damascus, and who has lately made a hit by discovering, at the Chaldean monastery of Mardin, the Kalilag ve Damnag, a complete translation of the original Panchatantra, spent two months with a friend in the Sarkís Convent, and learned all that he required. The following is a specimen of the half Arabic Syriac now spoken at Ma’alúlah:
Bohr, the sea (A., Bahr).
Bohrata, a tank (A., Buhayrah, Birkah).
Dayrá, a monastery (A., Dayr).
Ghauzta, a walnut tree (A., Jauzeh).
Hosoná, a horse (A., Hosan).
Humúra, an ass (A., Himár).
Huwwa, white (A., Howareh, chalk).
Lahmah, bread. (This is the Hebrew form, e.g. Beth- lehem; in A., Lahm signifies flesh).
Paytá, a house (A., Bayt).
Shinna, a tall fort-like rock.
S’jartá, a tree. (A., Shajar: hence the modern Syrian says ‘Sajar,’ upon the same principle which makes some of us prefer ‘srimps’ to ‘shrimps.’
Tsalja, snow (A., Talj).
Tutshá, a mulberry tree (A., Tut).
Torá, a mountain (A., Tur).
The words are evidently harsher than the corresponding Arabic; and we find the elements of the ‘Iltiká el Sákinayn,’ the meeting of two quiescent consonants, which is so contrary to the spirit of the Koranic dialect, and which, especially at the beginning of words- e.g. ‘Bráhím for Ibráhím - where it is most easily remarked, first strikes the ear of the Arabist landing at Bayrut.
Description of Skulls and other Remains from Ma’alúlah, Syria, discovered by Captain Burton. By C. Carter Blake, Doct. Sci., F.G.S., Hon. Mem. A. I., Lecturer on Comparative Anatomy, Westminster Hospital.
The remains before us are of two descriptions, one white and bleached, and one which has been exposed for years to the erosive influences of interment. The first two specimens described belong to the first category.
sinuses and prominent frontal bosses. The bones are very thin. 5, 6, 7. Portions of parietal bones, the one marked 7 being thicker than the other two.
8. Left mastoid process and petrous bone of a large and athletic male. The mastoid groove is deep, and the auditory foramen large. 9, 10. Portions of brim of ilium.
11. Molar tooth, not referable to the mandible above described. If we endeavour to obtain any definite race-characters from the present remains, we can only conclude that they belong to not more than three individuals, and that there is not the slightest resemblance with any of those, described elsewhere, from Palmyra. They do not appear to have belonged to what is called the Phœnician type. Of he probable age of the interment, I can only say that the condition of the bones indicates considerable antiquity.
No.4 LOT. From the Dayr Már Músá el Habashi.
Two bangles of twisted glass, blue and white banded, called Dumluj, not Aswár (metal bracelets), and worn upon the arm, often till rolls of flesh are formed above and below them. The larger is much oxidised. It was bought from a girl, who had picked it up in a cemetery near Nabk where the gravediggers were at work; all the rest were broken. The material of both resembles Hebron work, but is of better manufacture than the modern. They are, therefore, locally called Dumluj Akik (carnelian), to distinguish them from the ordinary Dumluj Kizáz.
Five calvariæ, probably of priests; one has the mouth stuffed with wool.
These relics were found (September 28th, 1870) in the Wady Már Músá el Habashi. This rocky Fiumara, a bare line of white and reddish limestone, in places curiously streaked and banded, appears, from the great number of mortuary caves, large and small, which riddle its right bank, to have been the conventual cemetery. Some of the pigeon-holes are at considerable elevations, and the stone has fallen away so as to render them almost inaccessible. The bodies were placed within loculi of cut slabs, after the ancient custom of the country (as in Mr. Rattray’s cavern), and they are mostly sitting, still the ecclesiastical position. One skeleton was wrapped in the Mas’h, a coarse canvas which touches the flesh, with silk outside. Amongst them women appear to have been buried. I collected in this gorge five skulls, and I might easily have collected fifty. The children of Nabk, Dayr Atiyah, and other neighbouring villages, are, however, in the habit of passing their holidays in skylarking amongst the graves, and they have already done (anthropologically speaking) considerable damage.
The Fiumara in question drains to the east the upland massif which divides the Kara-Nabk terrace from the great Jayrud-Palmyra Valley.[FN#16] The range is locally known as the Jebel el Sharkí, or Eastern Mountain, which must not be confounded with the true Anti-Libanus, from which it is separated by two great steps. The name of the highest point, however, Jebel Kházim, from which the Halímat el Kabú bears 317° (Mag.) and Jayrúd 205° (Mag.), might be applied to the whole block. It is a long, lumpy, and uninteresting line, averaging 5500 feet in height. When viewed from the west, a shallow bulge in the centre, denoting the Wady Sha’ab, which opens opposite the Dayr el Atiyah village, divides it into two sections, northern and southern. Seen from the eastern and lower gradient, the Palmyran Valley depressed about 1000 feet, it becomes a far more picturesque feature, walling in the long narrow plain which runs from Jayrúd to Karyatayn. The monastery is perched on the left side of its gorge, and here the bridle-path, a narrow ledge and ladder of slippery stone, ends abruptly; the good monks preferred keeping a precipice of some 500 feet in front of them, in order to ward off the Bedawin who ride the lowlands. We exchanged a shot or two with some fifteen of these gentry, mounted, evidently for business, on mares and dromedaries, but more for bravado on both sides than with the intention of doing work. It is strange that of all those who have passed, when en route for the Zenobian city, almost under the walls of this conspicuous and commanding building, not one appears to have noticed it: they were probably too much occupied with the material hardships and the physical discomforts of the journey to look out for themselves, and they certainly had no guides who would look out for them.
Már Músá el Habashi (St. Moses the Abyssinian) was a hermit from the land of ‘Prester John,’ who lived upon this mountain, and who died here in the odour of sanctity. The first monastery, distant about an hour and a half of slow riding, or six miles, from Nabk town, was built, according to priestly tradition, over his remains by the Emperor Heraclius, A.D. 610 to 641, and it has, they say, been four times destroyed by sectarian hatred. Its annual pilgrimage was well attended until the last five or six years; but since that time the incursions of the Nomades have been an effectual bar to pious visitation. The holy man’s thumb is kept in a silver box, and is kissed by wives who would become the joyful mothers of children. I managed here to secure an interesting ‘Mabkharah,’ a brass thurible for burning incense, whose art shows the extreme of quaintness. It is now passed round for inspection.[FN#17]
The western face of the building is in two compartments; and, as is still the custom, wooden beams are disposed horizontally about the masonry; the wall is battlemented, so as to sweep the only approach; at the south, however, an active scaling party, with some mechanical aid, might command an entrance. Over the single low door of iron, which is not easily moved, even with a key, there is a Syriac inscription. A passage, with a well or cistern on the right hand, leads to the church. The latter is in the rudest Græco-Syrian style, with the vilest of daubs upon the iconastasis and the walls. From the court a flight of steps runs up to a rickety terrace, which commands a fine view of the Palmyran Valley; and an inscription -half Arabic, half Syriac - acknowledges the piety of a certain Matran (Bishop) Matta, who restored the building in A.D. 1799. Here we can distinctly see the White Mountain and the dark mound that form the Báb, or gate of Palmyra; the Sabkhah, or Malláhah, a succession of salt-pans, north-east of Jayrúd, which every one mistakes for ruins; and the ranges to the south-east, the Jebel Wustani, Jebel Zubaydah, and Jebel el Afa’í, which culminate in the tall horizon-wall supporting the Abd wa Abdah (Slave and Slavess), and ending the Anti-Libanus in the direction of the Desert.
Retracing our steps to the head of the Wady, and bending first to the north and then to the north-east, we pass the highest ledge of the range, Jebel el Kházim, before mentioned. From this point, striking the Wady el Mudakhkhan (Smoky Valley), and descending some 400 or 500 feet to the south-east, we presently reach El Mudakhkhanah (the Smoker). Here the stone is rough and cracked into cubes, which farther weathering converts into plates, and these plates break as easily as mica. Scattered amongst the rocks are a dozen cracks and crevices, with lips blackened, and the vegetation around them parched and charred. Apparently, however, there is thorough combustion, as no trace of brimstone remains. That some of these apertures are deep, the sound of dropped stones told us; at this season they are rather cold than hot, but all the people assured me that a dense vapour issues from them after rains. The guides spoke of a large pit, but could not find it. I made them build a cairn for the benefit of future travellers, who will, it is hoped, be more fortunate.
Description of Remains from the Dayr Már Músá el Habashi. By Dr. C. Carter Blake.
The five skulls before us belong to two broad divisions, to the first of which appertain skulls 1, 2, 4; and to the second one 3 and 5. Only one of these skulls possesses the lower jaw attached.
Skull 1. This large and powerful brachycephalous skull, supposed by Captain Burton to have belonged to a priest, is remarkable for the characters of extreme height and shortness. It is asymmetrical, there being a slight flattening on the right side. All the sutures are open, with the exception of the lower part of the coronal, and there is a large Wormian bone separating the alisphenoid from the parietal on the right side. On the left, the junction between the alisphenoid and parietal has been so short, that the frontal and temporal bones have almost joined. The coronal suture is not very completely denticulated. The distance between the orbits is large, and the higher portion of the nasal bones is comparatively flattened. The orbits are large, and depressed at their external superciliary borders. The superciliary ridges are undeveloped. The forehead is high; the coronal region dome-shaped; and the superoccipital bone vertical from above the greater semicircular ridge. The mastoids are remarkably small. There is a slight paroccipital on the right side. The temporal squama is small, and the zygomata weak, producing aphænozygism. The malar bones are however large and forwardly developed. The nasal spine is large. The palate is shallow and flat. The teeth are absent. The foramen occipitale is large and rounded. There is slight exostosis on its anterior border. The form of the forehead and general contour of the skull may be figuratively said to resemble, though it is larger than, the ordinary extreme brachycephalous type found at Pachacamac, in Peru, and amongst the Malays. As with the other skulls of this series, the measurements are appended at the end of the present decription.[not included]
Skull 2. Of smaller dimensions than the preceding, this elegant young female, with graceful aquiline nose, repeats most of the characters previously indicated. It is very asymmetrical, the flattening on the left side being proved to have taken place through life, by the existence of a largeWormian bone in the left half of the lambdoid suture. The age of the individual was not more than eighteen. The coronal suture is deeply denticulated, and the alisphenoido-parietal suture is long. The coronal region is carinated transversely along the direction of the suture, in concomitance with the forward compression of the parietal bones by the artificial pressure which has taken place since birth. I regard this to have been entirely due to a ‘suckling board.’ This is, however, not the cause of the absolute and natural brachycephalyof the skull, which appears to have existed without any adventitious aid from the mother or nurse. The second molar on both sides is in place. It is normally quadrate, and does not show marks of erosion. The canine and first premolar also are in situ; the former being acuminate. The nasal bones are large, arched, and curved. The orbits are small and rounded.
Skull 3. Vide infra.
Skull 4. Another brachycephalous calvarium from the same locality, in which the facial bones are entirely absent. The present specimen exhibits a greater globate and rounded character of the frontal region than skulls 1 and 2. The coronal suture has been partially obliterated on the right side towards its lower region, and the junction with the alisphenoid bone is not clear. There is a slight probole. The occipital foramen is very small. The lambdoid suture is closed and almost obliterated at its apex. The mastoids are large, and the supramastoid ridge is thick.
All the above skulls belong to the same race.
Skull 3. The resemblances which exist between the skulls of the Phœnician branch of the Semitic race and the negroids of Abyssinia are so great, that the chief point of interest in the description of the present and following skulls will lie in the discussion to which race they belong. The resemblances which the present specimen exhibits to the large mecistocephalic skull from Palmyra are great, yet comparison with some of the skulls from Eastern Africa will show, according to my opinion, more strongly marked points of likeness. It is in the frontal region where these are most manifest. The present long orthocephalic skull, which is nearly perfect, with whitened condition, manifestly distinguishing it from the other four, and pointing to the existence of a greater lapse of time to which it has been exposed in a clear dessicating atmosphere, is well curved above and behind its retrocedent frontal bone, whence it arches gently along the parietals, across the superoccipital squama to the inion. The occiput thence shelves gently down to the narrow and small foramen magnum. The age of the individual has not been above twenty-three, as shown by the condition of the wisdom teeth. The palate is high and deep, but not, as in the Phœnicians, excessively so. The second molar shows the condition of partial quadricuspidation to which in some controversial remarks[FN#18] I have called attention, as being rare in the negro races. The first molar is large and eroded. Only the molar series on the left, and the second and first molars and first premolar on the right, are in place, the right dens sapientiæ not having been developed beyond the alveolus, and the remaining teeth having fallen out since death. All the alveoli are in good condition. The basisphenoid bone is thin and narrow, the glenoid cavities deep and broad, and there is a slight paroccipital process. The mastoids are large; the condyles as large as may be expected from the size of the skull. The norma verticalis shows a small narrow forehead with ovoid parietal bones. The coronal suture, which is deeply serrated, but not complexly denticulated, is more closed on the left than on the right side; yet the cranial contour is symmetrical. The zygomatic arches are thin, and the malar prominence, instead of being forward, as in the brachycephalous skulls of the present series, is lateral. The nasal bones are forwardly produced, not arched as in the other series, and there is no deep supranasal notch. The superorbital foramen is converted into a notch on both sides. The maxillary is slightly prognathic. Whilst the sutures in the forward part of the skull are tolerably closed, the lambdoid suture, and especially the additamentum mastoidalis, are open and highly denticulated. The supraciliaries are slight, and the glabella forwardly produced and prominent. The measurements of the present skull will, perhaps, show best its points of distinction from the Phœnician type.
Skull 5. The ‘priest’s skull, with skull and mouth stuffed with wool,’ of Captain Burton exhibits so many points of interesting accordance with skull 3, that it is much to be regretted that its semi-mummified condition, with so much of the integument remaining, precludes exact comparison with it. Nevertheless, as it affords evidence of the
manner of interment of the ancient monastic residents at Dayr Már Músá el Habashi, I do not think it necessary to remove the wool and integument in order to prove my assertion. The lambdoid suture is the only one visible, and shows deep and complex denticulations. The lower jaw is large and powerful, with deep sigmoid notch. The angle is exserted. Some of the cervical vertebræ are attached by the integument; and the base of the skull is in a condition which precludes accurate measurement. The canine teeth are acuminate, the incisors, with one exception, having fallen out. The molar teeth are not much eroded. The palate is broad, not deep or high, but angular. The supracanine notch is deep. The frontal bone has not been as low as in the skull No. 3. The probole is large and long. The mentum is mesepicentric, and the mandible shows strong dental prognathism.
The question will be of interest to what race the three brachycephalous skulls appertain. On this subject the opinion of Captain Burton will necessarily be of more value than my own speculation. He says: ‘The Már Músá skulls may be Osmanli, or rather Tartars, for the convent has been inhabited during the last century.’
We therefore have two entirely discordant types, one in which the cranial index ranges from ·74 to ·76, and which I associate with the Eastern African negroid type, and not with the Semite of Syria, and the other with a proportionate diameter between ·80 and ·90, which appears to be identical in cranial conformation with the existing Turkish race. It may be generally said, therefore, that three of the skulls from Dayr Már Músá el Habashi are Turanian and two negroid.
A friend furnishes me with the following notes about St. Moses the Abyssinian: ‘Before Mousa was a Mar, he was a robber. There is an abstract of his life written by Palladius early in the fifth century. It does not at all follow that because the skulls were found within the precincts of the monastery, that they were therefore priests’ skulls; for in the East, in the large monasteries, containing sometimes fifteen hundred monks, there were very often no more than three priests. Mar Moses was ordained very late in life. He was a tremendously muscular Christian, having on one occasion taken four of his former companions on his back to his monastery; in the Historia Lansiaca he is spoken of as being an Abyssinian.’
No.5 LOT. Collected at Hums.
Broken skull. Fragments of face-bones.
The skull and bones were picked up (February 25th, 1871) at the ancient Roman baths, lying to the north-west and outside of Hums, Emesa of old. Excavations were going on for the sole purpose of removing the stones; the fine mosaic spoken of by travellers had already disappeared, and in a few years the place will be a mound of earth. This Hammám was probably outside the old city, which, however, extended far to the north, and was fed by the Sákiyat el Balad, or town-conduit, which sets off from the Orontes a little below the bridge at Bábá Amru. Just before my arrival, a votive altar, with illegible inscription, had been dug up a couple of hundred yards beyond the gate. Hums is still liberally supplied with well-water; but whilst that to the east is sweet, all to the west and north, especially about the suburb containing the tomb of Sayyidna Khalid, is brackish. Beyond the Sákiyat stands the noble ruin known as Burj el Sauma’ah, Tower of the Oratory, and supposed to have been a prison or castle. The square pyramidal top has wholly disappeared, and the western part is now strewn upon the ground. There are no traces of the Greek inscription seen by Belon, which proved the Hums ruin to have been a cenotaph of Caius Julius (Cæsar), buried in the Mausoleum of Augustus. Pococke (chap. xiii.) describes it when still comparatively well preserved, being forty feet square and thirty within, double-storied, and with five pilasters on each side, Doric below and Ionic above. Now nothing remains but a fragment of the northern wall, and smaller sections of the eastern and western flanks. The material, like that of the Balnea, is of flat Roman brick, set in concrete hard as stone; it is faced with basaltic squares, each about four inches, forming, with alternations of white limestone, diaper-work of rough mosaic. To the north, there are traces of five pilasters, but only the two central appear, and it is lined with five shallow cornice-bands of the same black material. Viewed from the south side, the building seems to have had two vaulted stories, if not more. The inside of the western front shows a rude arch, with imperfect keystone,[FN#19] like the massive vaulting in the lower part of the Sidon Castle. To the north and south of this cenotaph is a large modern burial-ground: indeed, the cemeteries of Hums are more extensive than the city, and probably this has been so used from the most ancient times.
The mortuary lamp was taken from one of the cemeteries to the south of the great mound which bore the Temple of the Sun. To the south-west is the graveyard Jabbánat el Asi: here I was shown a solid basaltic door, like those of the Haurán, the Jebel Durúz, and the ‘Aláh, with an iron ring soldered into the outside. On the south-east is the tomb ignorantly supposed to lodge Ja’afar el Tayyár; it may have been tenanted by his descendants: around it lie the graves of the Jenádilah Shaykhs, descended from the celebrated Sufi, Ahmad el Rufai of Baghdad. Near the south-west angle of the moat is supposed to lie the poet Ka’ab el Ahbár; and in this part many of the graves, lined and roofed with slabs of basalt, have yawned open, exposing their inmates. All, however, appearing to be modern and Moslem, the bones were left in peace.
Hums is one of the most interesting towns in Syria, not only on account of its past history, but for its present remains; and being somewhat out of the reach of tourists, it is still a fair field for the collector. A certain Konstantin Khuri bin Daud, whose name has already been mentioned, possesses a book in which he has entered for his own use, more or less correctly, 398 inscriptions of sorts - at least that was the number he gave me -existing in and about Hums, chiefly Greek, a few Latin, and some flowery Cufic.According to him, the eastern regions between Hums and Palmyra abound in ruins, basaltic all, like those of the ‘Aláh; and for the small sum of five hundred piastres per month he volunteered, provided I would supply him with a guard, to bring back a rich store of ‘written stones’ and ’antikát. Of late, however, the Sublime Porte has adopted the highly invidious measure of forbidding all antiquities to be exported, under the pretext that they are wanted for a home collection. Were this the case, no complaint could be made; the step has been taken by civilised powers. But here it means simply a bakhshish ad valorem to the local governor, and the place for housing such valuables is yet in nubibus. It will be time to enforce the order when the museum, for which a Greek Rayyah has obtained a firman, comes into existence. Meanwhile interesting remains are left in the streets to be broken by boys; and foreigners are subject to all manner of annoyance. The Custom-house at Constantinople seized a collection made by Messrs. Drake and Palmer when en route from Athens; it was not without difficulty and loss of a month that the plunder was recovered by their agent Mr. Lawson; nor were their expenses paid.
The most interesting question concerning Hums is the site of the gorgeous Sun Temple, from whose priestly servant proceeded four Cæsars and four Augustæ. Modern and perfunctory visitors, ‘our blind travellers,’ as they are characterised by Gibbon when lauding Volney, have, of course, taken scanty interest in the matter; it is, however, curious to see that even Pococke and Maundrell,[FN#20] writers of a very different stamp, have equally neglected it.
Yet the local traditions speak clearly enough. The Right Rev. the (Greek) Bishop Dionysius of Trebizond, who now occupies the throne of Silvanus the Martyr, in answer to my inquiries, at once pointed to the Kala’at, or great mound. All declare that it was formerly in the centre of the city, which has now clustered to the north, leaving on the south only ruins and cemeteries. The old enceinte was pierced with six gates, bearing the names of the planets, the sun being in the centre; and we find this number perpetuated in the modern town.[FN#21] It is added that the Christians, after establishing their faith upon the ruins of paganism, converted the Sun Temple into a cathedral. Hums was captured, some fourteen years after the Hijrah, by the fiery and fighting Khálid bin Walid, whose mortal remains were certainly interred in the northern faubourg, and the destruction of life and property was, according to local legend, terrible. In A.D. 1098, the Crusaders became masters of it; and finally they were driven out, after eighty-nine years’ tenure (1187), by the Kurdish Sultan Saláh el Dín -the latter, according to Pococke, probably fortified the Temple of the Sun.
It was, therefore, with more than usual curiosity that I proceeded to inspect the mound, which is still crowned with a tiara of torn and rent towers, some of them imposing even in the sadness of decay. The material is a hard yellow clay, which, when tunnelled into, stands without supports: this may be seen at the southern talus, where a passage about a hundred paces long is used by the thread-spinners. Ascending by the easy zigzag from the Turkoman Gate, the perpendicular height is found by aneroid to be 120 feet. The summit is an uneven broken oval, apparently covering a mass of ruins; the greater axis, from north-west to south-east, is 435 feet, and the conjugate, from north-east to south-west, is 375. I counted three wells sunk in the waving ground.
When ‘Saladin’ took the place, he seems to have thrown a revetment of masonry from the top of the hill to the bottom; many traces of it remain, especially on the northern, the eastern, and the south-eastern sides. The angle of this glacis was 45°, so as to prevent scaling, and the scarp now descends to the bottom of the fosse, which is sixtytwo feet broad, and provided with a perpendicnlar counterscarp of masonry some twenty feet high; moreover it is not connected with the town moat. The material of scarp and counterscarp is basalt, set in a concrete of mortar and limestone, and the blocks become notably larger as they descend. In places where the hard clay has been washed from under, it stands up like piecrust, outside black and white inside, allowing free passage like a covered way; in parts, also, it is bound together by older pillars of basalt disposed horizontally, as ties or thorough-bonds. Labour is unspared, and the masonry evidently dates from the same time as that of Cæsarea Palestina (Strato’s Tower), and the outer western works of the tower of David, near the Khalil gate of Jerusalem. Traces of this same kind of revetment may be found on the Tells of the ‘Aláh; at Tahúnat el Hawá, the northern point of Mount Girízim; at Santa Hanná, near Bayt Jibrin; at Baysán (Scythopolis); and at the celebrated Tell el Kazi (Dan) - to mention no others. The walls of Hums, although made of the same material as that which protected the mound, are apparently of much later date.
This immense revetment formed round the rim of the mound a regular crest, varying from two to seven feet broad, whilst below it is ten or twelve; the rim is broken by towers and bulwarks within easy bowshot of one another. Of these ‘Burj’[FN#22] there are now seven important remains. The long meurtrières intended for archers, not for matchlock men, the arches and the domed casemates, prove its date; whilst the old basaltic pillars horizontally couched in the solid masonry, the large blocks of white stone, the imposts of snowy marble, and the columns of fine Syenite and gray Egyptian granite, show what has become of the Sun Temple’s splendid remains. After several days spent chiefly in searching about this mound, I was fortunate enough to find near the sixth Burj, beginning at the round white tower above the Turkoman Gate, a place where the stone revetment and the modern débris had fallen away. Here, facing the north-east country, stood, apparently in situ, a Doric pilaster, which seemed to have supported an arch: it was about six feet below the actual level of the plateau, and the descent, which is still used by the silk-spinners, looked as if it had anciently served as a ramp or approach. Before Mr.
C.F. Tyrwhitt Drake made his excursion to Hums and Hamah, I gave him details about the position of what I cannot but believe to be a remnant of the great shrine, and requested him to verify my observations: he searched everywhere without finding it, and he came to the conclusion that it had been covered by an earthslip, or had been broken up for building material. In these North Syrian towns, the destruction of old buildings is unpleasantly rapid: scores of old basaltic rafters, torn from the ‘Aláh ruins, may be seen in the streets of Hamah. I would willingly offer a plan of this most interesting site; but it is far better left to the regular survey of Palestine, which will doubtless take the opportunity of making excavations.
Description of Remains from Hums (Emesa). By C. Carter Blake, Doct. Sci., F.G.S., Hon. Mem. A.I., Lecturer on Comparative Anatomy, Westminster Hospital.
The brachycephalous skull from the ancient Roman bath at Hums is in two pieces, but sufficient remains to show that it appertained to the short-headed variety of the Romano-Latin stock. In fact, it is indistinguishable from the majority of skulls found in Roman sepulchres and belonging to the unmixed conquering race. The owner was a woman not of advanced age (as shown by the open condition of the sutures), but in which the dental series must have decayed early, as inferred from the absorbed condition of the alveoli. The nose was, in life, fine, delicate, and sharp; the brow ridges prominent; and the orbits large. The forehead is evenly and regularly bombate; and the lambdoid sutures are open, the latter not being completely denticulated, and there being one very small Wormian bone in the left half of the lambdoid. The occiput is strongly marked. The bones of the skull are thin and delicate. It is difficult precisely to compute the proportions of the present specimen; but I estimate the length to have been 166 mm., and the breadth 133 mm., giving a cranial index of ·80.
The occurrence of a skull of the Roman type amongst the remains from Hums was an event to be anticipated, and the skull is interesting, as it affords a specimen to compare with the other skulls of Phœnician, Jewish, Negroid, and Tartar origin brought by Captain Burton from Syria.
No.6 LOT. Collection of Flint Implements from near Bethlehem.
1 Round flat hammer of porous basalt, shaped somewhat like the clay spindle of Inner Intertropical Africa, and remarkable because wanting depressions for the grip of thumb and forefinger; nor is it grooved as in the Aztec specimens.
1 brass or copper needle with the central eye.
1 bone[FN#23] spicula (showing that copper or brass, bone and iron, were used at the same time).
2 fragments of bone and a human tooth, found with the flints.
6 fragments of arrow-piles or spear-heads.
11 fragments of knives, flakes of silex, mostly three-planed above and with single plane below.
2 specimens marked doubtful, probably unfinished chippings.
This find took place in 1866-67, at Bayt Sahúr, a village about twenty minutes’ ride to the east of Bethlehem, well known to travellers, because it is on the way to a favourite place of visitation. At the distance of an easy walk below the hill lies the Shepherds’ Cave, a tunnel in the ruined Greek monastery Dayr el Ra’iyán (de’i Pastori), where the angel appeared; and here also is the valley where David is supposed to have kept his father’s flock. The scenery of this Beulah is certainly remarkable in the bleak and barren high-lands of Judea: the valley whose background is the mountain wall of Moab shows extreme fertility; its broad slopes of wheatfields are dotted and clumped with olives struggling down to the large square shrubbery about the Shepherds’ Cave; the extensive vineyards produce the sweetest grapes; whilst the many convents to which the stone causeway led have fallen into picturesque ruins.
The site of the find is a ledge of chalky limestone, with a drop of rock and a bed of garden-stuff to the north; whilst behind, or southwards, are steps of higher ground, over which runs the rugged road to Bethlehem. The chalk, as usual throughout the country, abounds in silex; but the material is not homogeneous; it occurs in lumps striated white and brown, or white and black, and it nowhere shows the buff colours of the flint implements now exhibited to you. The latter, therefore, are of a different formation -possibly from the Moab plateau, and even farther south. The only material positively identical with these is that brought by the late Major Macdonald from the turquoise mines of Mount Sinai, and exhibited at the Jermyn-street Museum, No. 46, principal floor, labelled ‘Flint flakes found near some ancient ruins in Arabia Petræa.’ Of the ten composing the total, three are like many of my specimens, three-planed above and buff- coloured, on this point differing from the reddish silices of the Wady Magharah, collected by the same traveller, and shown to me by Mr. John Evans, of Nash Mills. One of them bears traces of the original patina. These ancient mining tools are well described in ‘Notes on a Geological Reconnaissance made in Arabia Petræa in the Spring of 1858,’ by
H. Bauerman, Esq., F.G.S., Assoc. Roy. School of Mines (the Geological Journal, xxv. 1869). It may be added to this study, that Mr. C.F. Tyrwhitt Drake is convinced that the inscriptions of Wady Mukattab, which are not the ‘Voice of Israel from Mount Sinai,’ were cut with flint implements. The gloss and polish of these Bethlehem implements arise, I presume, from their having been brought from their beds of silicious or chalky sands; and one of them appears to be partly incrusted with carbonate of lime. The darker colours found in Major Macdonald’s collection arise from ochreous sands, which would stain yellow, and from ferruginous sands and soils; the red-brick earth would give a brown tinge.
Sundry silo-like holes had been pierced in the soft rock, and of these not a few had been broken at the sides. Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake descended into one, and brought up fragments of human bone, mostly split for marrow (?), suggesting that here also, within cannon-shot of Bethlehem, lived and died a people of cannibals, and adding another instance to the long list of anthropophagous tribes who, at different ages, I believe, composed the sum of humanity. We can here reply satisfactorily to the triumphant rejoinder, ‘Why don’t you find the bones of the men as well as their implements?’ (Quarterly Journal of Science, July 1871, p. 327.) Scattered around the well-mouths were silex chippings so coarsely shaped, that they had been thrown away as useless by the makers. This mine is probably far from being worked out, and a careful examination of the ridge to the west may be rich in results.
The highway begins at Bethlehem with a vile descent of slippery limestone, all steps, holes, and ridgelets, the Caldeirōes of the Brazil; but here they are stone, not mud, whilst the sheets of rock severely try the horses’ legs. Presently we reached (April 12, 1871) Bayt Sahúr, a filthy little hamlet, containing some fifteen hundred Greek Rayyáhs, three hundred Moslems, and a hundred and sixty Catholics. Large bossed stones prove that the place has seen, like almost all in this land, better days. We dismounted at the little monastery, begun twelve years ago, still unfinished, and already named the (Latin) Church and Convent of the Shepherds. The principal, M. l’Abbé Moratin,[FN#24] whom we afterwards met at Nablus on return from his wild ride, was engaged on missionary duty at Salt, the second chef-lieu of the Belka Mutessariflik; and the honours were done by his locum tenens the curate, M. Simeon Kajabejow, originally, I believe, a Circassian, and educated by the Propaganda.
After the normal pipes and coffee, the good curate led the way to the little museum, an outhouse to the west of the convent, where the collection from the silos was strewed about table and floor. It represented a score or so of large jars of coarse pottery, and classical in shape; mortuary lamps, none of them inscribed so as to be interesting; a few medals; two fine brass (bronze?) hatchets; some bone-points for spears or arrows; two round flat stone hammers for chipping the silex; and about two hundred flint implements.
The importance of this discovery can hardly be exaggerated. Flint implements in Syria and Palestine were, before the days of M. Louis Lartet, almost as rare as Hebrew weapons - far rarer than Hebrew shekels, although traditionally known to have been used amongst the ancient Persians and the Greeks. The late Duc de Luynes, a man who devoted a noble fortune to scientific, linguistic, and artistic pursuits, was, I believe, the first to find a few, when ‘cave- hunting’ at the mouth of the Nahr el Kalb, or Lycus River. During twenty months’ residence in Syria I had seen but one specimen, in the possession of M. Peretié, of Bayrut. Since my return to England, I have been more fortunate; and Mr. Augustus W. Franks, F.S.A., kindly forwarded to me the following notes (with illustrations) of the Lebanon Collection given by M. Lartet to the late Mr. Christy.
The curate Kajabejow allowed us to carry off a few specimens, which were presently forwarded for the inspection of the Anthropological Institute, refusing payment and referring us to the proprietor. He was of opinion, like those around him, that they were flint knives used by the Jews in circumcision; and I did not care to contradict him. Of this more hereafter. We have since then, through my friend, Mr. Noel T. Moore, her Majesty’s Consul for Jerusalem, made an offer to purchase the whole collection from M. l’Abbé Moratin, and we are awaiting somewhat impatiently the result.
Amongst the company was a Syrian in a Zouave dress of the military, not the fancy pattern, who answered to the name of ‘Brahim Hanna Saíd. A native of Bayt Sahúr, he had accompanied the Anglo-Abyssinian expedition, and he had been wounded and invalided during the earlier stage of the Franco-Prussian war. He declared that similar instruments were to be found at Bayt Bassah, and at the complicated caves of Khoraytún (the old Laura of St. Chariton), so long supposed to be those of Adullam, till M. Ganneau, of whom more presently, pointed out the true site farther east, at the Khirbat Adalmiyyah, pronounced by the people ‘Aíd el Miyyeh, and given in M. Guérin’s map as Aïd el Mia, at a short distance from the well-known Bayt Natif. Jebel Furaydis (of the Garden), alias the Frank Mountain, alias the Herodeon, a word now known to the ragged sons of the Ta’ámirah Bedawin and other neighbouring sites, were also, he declared, to the full as rich as Bayt Sahúr. Though we vehemently distrusted his promises of sarcophagi, bone-breccia, human skulls, and many similar curios, we advanced him sixteen francs. He repaid us by bringing a few bad lamps and worse flints, with many promises of better things. These promises not having been realised, we commend him to the attention of future travellers.
This find gave us spirit to search for more; and in early June (1871) my fellow-traveller, when riding about the ruins of El Maksurah, near Dhumayr, the north-easternmost settlement of the Damascus Plain, picked up an undoubted arrow-head and two specimens of flaked flints.
Since my return to England, my attention has been drawn to a paper, entitled ‘De l’Antiquité de l’Homme,’ by M. l’Abbé Richard,[FN#25] with comments by M. l’Abbé Moigno. The part referring to the discoveries of flint instruments in Egypt and upon Mount Sinai is hardly to the point; but I will quote textually, and comment upon what regards Palestine:
‘Vinrent ensuite plusieurs instruments trouvés en Palestine, a Elbireh, a Tibériade, et entre le mont Thabor et le lac de Tibériade; sur un plateau élevéde plus de 250 mètres au dessus du Jourdain, dans un champ cultivé, une hache semblable, quand à la nature du silex et à sa forme, à celles de la Somme (France). Mais les instruments qui méritent, je pense, la plus grande attention sont ceux que j’ai trouvés sur les bords du Jourdain, à Galgal, lieu où d’après la Bible, Josué reçut l’ordre de Dieu de circoncire le peuple d’Israël, et dans le tombeau que la science archéologique regarde au- jourd’hui comme le tombeau de Josué. J’ai trouvé ces instruments, soit dans le tombeau même de Josué, dans la chambre sépulcrale intérieure, soit dans le vestibule, mêlés à des débris de poterie, à de la terre, &c. J’en ai trouvé aussi dans le champ qui est devant le tombeau et jusque sous un grand chêne vert éloigné de la tombe de Josué d’environ 70 à 80 mètres; ils auraient ainsi été disséminés quand on a fouillé et violé le tombeau. C’est la forme communément appelée couteaux, qui domine dans ces instruments; quelques-uns comme on peut s’en convaincre, sont encore tres-tranchants. Il y a cependant des scies, des pièces plates et arrondies, &c. La plupart sont du silex; il y en a aussi en calcaire blanchâtre qui semble avoir passé au feu.
‘J’ai l’espoir, continue M. l’abbé Richard, que ces instruments du tombeau de Josué et ceux dont j’ai parlé d’abord intéresseront les amateurs si nombreux et si éclairés de l’archéologie humaine, que l’Association compte dans son sein; et en les soumettant a votre appréciation, je viens vous apporter, non pas des idées préconçues, non pas des théories, mais des faits, de simples faits historiques et archéologiques. C’est un fait historique que la fabrication de couteaux de pierre pour la circoncision des enfants d’Israël à Galgal, non loin des bords du Jourdain. C’est un fait historique que le tombeau de Josué,[FN#26] élevé non loin de Sichem, longtemps oublié ou perdu, a été retrouvé, été que ses restes ont été vus et décrits par MM. de Saulcy, Guérin, &c. C’est un fait historique, attesté par la version authentique des Septante, qu’un certain nombre de couteaux de pierre de Galgal ont été projetés dans le tombeau de Josué au moment de sa sépulture.
‘M. de Saulcy, dans son voyage en Palestine, n’avait pas hésité à dire dans sa confiance absolue au récit des Livres saints, que ces couteaux de pierre devaient exister encore dans le tombeau retrouvé de Josué. M. l’abbé Moigno, mon illustre ami, dans son journal Les Mondes, avait rappelé l’affirmation de M. de Saulcy, et m’avait vivement pressé d’aller, pendant que j’étais en Palestine, chercher ces silex. J’y suis allé et je les ai trouvés.
‘Quant aux conclusions que l’on peut tirer de mes instruments, aux arguments qu’ils peuvent apporter, ou aux objections qu’ils fourniront contre les théories mises en avant par les diverses écoles anthropologiques ou biologiques modernes, je les laisse de côté.
‘Si mes silex historiques ressemblent à s’y méprendre, par leur nature et leur forme, aux silex que l’on veut être essentiellement préhistoriques, je pourrai le regretter au point de vue des illusions que cette coïncidence peut faire évanouir, mais la vraie science doit accepter les faits et reconnaître l’identité des silex préhistoriques et des silex historiques.
‘Si j’ai découvert, non-seulement dans des terrains récents, mais à la surface du sol, des silex taillés que l’on croyait caractéristiques des terrains miocène, pliocèe, éocène et quaternaires, ce n’est pas ma faute (applaudissements et rires approbatifs), et il faudra se résigner à revenir sur des conclusions par trop hâtives.
‘En résumé, messieurs, si les instruments trouvés par moi et mis sous vos yeux contrarient les jugements et les conclusions de plusieurs des honorables membres de l’Association britannique, je leur en demande pardon, mais le vieil adage l’a dit: Il n’y a rien de plus inexorable que les faits.’
J’ai cru devoir prendre aussi la parole et je me suis exprimé en anglais, à peu près dans ces termes:
‘Je tiens essentiellement à ajouter un mot à ce que vous a dit mon ami M. l’abbé Richard, et à la discussion que les silex taillés apportés par lui vont soulever.
J’ai employé les neuf mois des douloureux et périlleux loisirs que la guerre prussienne et civile nous ont faits dans Paris, à étudier à fond la question grave, solennelle de l’antiquité indéfinie ou très-reculée de l’homme, en tant que démontrée par la découverte de restes humains ou d’industrie humaine trouvés dans le sol à des profondeurs plus ou moins grandes. J’ai lu attentivement, ou plutôt j’ai étudié de la maniere la plus approfondie, tout ce qui a été publié sur ce sujet: les ouvrages ou les mémoires de Lyell, de Sir John Lubbock, de M. J. Evans, de Prestwich, de Pengelly, de Buchner, de Vogt, de Desor, de Mortillet, de l’abbé Bourgeois, &c. D’ailleurs, déja, depuis longues années, je me tenais parfaitement au courant de tout ce qui était écrit sur ces matières; or, je me fais un devoir d’honnête homme, de savant et de chrétien, de déclarer solennellement, après cette courageuse et patiente étude, qu’aucune des découvertes, qu’aucun des faits mis en avant, souvent avec beaucoup de passion, n’ont la portée qu’on leur attribue; que non-seulement l’existence de l’homme dans les âges pliocène, éocène, miocène, comme M. le docteur Evans l’a déja affirmé avec tant d’autorité, n’est nullement démontrée; mais que les terrains quaternaires dans lesquels on a trouvé des débris humains ou des restes d’industrie humaine, sont certainement des terrains de transport, ou des terrains meubles sur pente, comme l’affirme notre illustre géologue M. Elie de Beaumont; que le sol des cavernes à stalagmites, comme la célebre caverne de Torquay, qui préoccupe tant l’attention de l’Association britannique, a été remanié par les eaux ou par d’autres agents naturels, de telle sorte que les couches de limon primitives naturellement et primitivement superposées aux stalagmites aient glissé sous les stalagmites, &c.; mais encore que la géologie devrait rester entièrement étrangère à l’archéologie ou à la palontéologie humaine, parce que son œuvre avait cessé quand l’homme est apparu sur la terre.
‘J’ajoute, en priant qu’on me pardonne mon excès de liberté ou de hardiesse, que la question de l’antiquité de l’homme, dans ses rapports avec la géologie et la palontéologie, en est juste au point ou se trouvait cette même question d’antiquité: premièrement dans ses rapports avec l’histoire de l’astronomie indienne telle que la faisait l’infortuné Bailly, au moment où Laplace éclaira d’une lumière si brillante les rêveries de son illustre confrère; secondement, dans ses rapports avec la découverte des zodiaques de Denderah et d’Esné, sur lesquels notre immortel Champollion, émule glorieux et continuateur heureux de Thomas Young, lut le nom de Cæsar Autocrator. La valeur apparente des arguments en faveur de l’existence de l’homme, de longs siècles avant l’époque assignée par la Sainte Bible à la création d’Adam, époque que, du reste, il est impossible de fixer, et que l’on peut faire remonter peut-être à huit mille ans, est aujourd’hui à son maximum; elle diminuera de plus en plus jusqu’à s’évanouir. Alors, et ce bienheureux moment est appelé, j’en suis sûr, par les vœux ardents de l’immense majorité de l’Association britannique et des savants de l’Ecosse, la science, devenue adulte et vraie, sera parfaitement d’accord avec la Révélation; la raison se déclarera non pas vaincue, mais illuminée et soumise par la foi.
‘Je tiens à ajouter que je n’entends nullement retarder la science dans ses é lans; je lui laisse toute sa liberté. La foi sincère n’a jamais cessé de lui dire: Vous êtes une sœur, croissez et progressez sans cesse. Personne ne l’a plus aimée que moi et n’a plus encouragé ses progès. Je lui rappelle seulement ce qui lui est déja arrivé; je lui prédis ce qui lui arrivera encore. C’est-à-dire que, lorsqu’elle aura assez grandi, que la lumière se sera faite pour elle entièrement, qu’elle sera arrivée à l’état de science complete, elle sera d’elle-même en accord parfait avec la Révélation.’
Je suis heureux de pouvoir dire que ces paroles si nettes ont été couvertes d’applaudissements, elles étaient un des buts principaux de mon voyage. C’était un grand chagrin pour moi que de voir la libre-pensée se faire jour de plus en plus au sein de l’Association britannique. F. MOIGNO.
The learned Abbés would, I think, unduly limit the use of the flint instruments brought from the tomb of Joshua to one purpose, making them all cultelli circumcisionis. But how many implements of this nature would be required, even by a considerable body of people, for a couple of generations? It is also evident that more than one of my specimens is the pile of an arrow.
The traditional tomb of Joshua, according to the Moslems and Druzes, is, I may remark, very far from Tibnah. We visited Nabi Yusha’a on May 16th, 1871. The large mass of building is picturesquely situated upon the western highlands which border the southern extremity of Cœlesyria, where the great valley (Arz el Húlah) is merged into the waters of Merom. The country here belongs to the Metawali sectaries, and until the last few years no Christian has been allowed entrance. The result has been a little loss of prestige to the shrine, but a great advance in the cause of toleration.
Entering the strong enceinte of stone and lime by a diminutive door, and passing through the large hypæthral court, we found two whitewashed domes at the farther end. The tomb is covered by the western cupola; it faces south-east, or roughly towards Meccah; and it measures in length one fathom and two spans. Under the eastern dome is the Makam Hammad Bey el Asa’d, a Metawali chief, buried here in A.H. 1280, and evidently quite new. We found the only care-taker to be a Fellahah, whose husband was absent, and she did the honours without in any way objecting to such unusual guests.
The following note was read:
Note on the Implements from Bethlehem.
Dear Captain Burton, in accordance with your request, I send you a few notes on the antiquities found in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem, which you were so good as to leave with me for examination.
The materials of which they consist are bone, bronze, and stone; but it is mainly with the latter that I have to concern myself. Besides some fragments of human teeth, the bones are only two in number, being portions of the same bone of the right and left leg, possibly of the same animal, and split longitudinally, at what time, or with what intention, it seems hard to divine.
The only bronze object is about two inches and three-quarters long, and one-eighth of an inch in diameter, with a perforation apparently punched through it at one inch and three-quarters from one of its ends, which is blunt and rounded. The other end appears to have been broken, so that it is impossible to determine what may have been its original length or form - whether that of a hair-pin, or of a kind of needle for sewing purposes. I am not aware of the circumstances under which it was discovered; but it appears to me to belong to another, and probably later, date than that of the stone antiquities next to be described.
These are twenty-one in number, and, with one exception, formed of flint; the exception being a hammer-stone, formed apparently of a heavy basalt. This instrument is of discoidal form, about two inches in diameter, and about five-eighths of an inch in thickness; the edges appear to have been considerably worn away by hammering, and at one place a splinter has been broken off. Of the two faces of the disc, one is rather flatter than the other; but on neither is there any shallow cup-shaped depression such as so commonly occurs on the ‘knapping-stones’ of Scandinavia, and more rarely on those of British origin. Even on the hammer-stones of North America and Southem Africa the same kind of hollows are often worked, and afford an instance of the way in which similar wants and similar experiences lead to similar results in countries remote from each other, and at very distant intervals of time. It was probably found that if the stone were held tightly, the hand was jarred by the blow; while, if held loosely so as to avoid the jar, it was liable to be driven away from between the finger and thumb, if there were no depressions in the faces of the stone in which to place them.
Many, however, of the hammer-stones of flint and quartzite, such as have been found in England and France, are, like this Syrian specimen, left without any depressions on their faces, and were probably held between the thumb and middle finger when in use, with the forefinger passing over a portion of the periphery.
Among the worked flints that on the manufacture of which the greatest amount of labour has been bestowed is a rather thick leaf-shaped blade, chipped all over both faces, about three inches and a quarter long, and one inch wide in its broadest part. The outline is not quite symmetrical, one edge being flatter than the other, and neither end is brought to a well-defined point. I am inclined, therefore, to regard it as a knife rather than a lance-head. I have some flint knives of much the same shape and size from the Yorkshire wolds. In a larger and thinner blade of the same character, found in Suffolk, and also in my own collection, the more curved edge has been made blunt by grinding, so as to convert it into the back of the knife.
The remaining objects are flakes and splinters of flint, some of them mere fragments, though of undoubtedly artificial origin. Some of the flakes, however, are very fine specimens of the kind, being skilfully and artistically made. One flat flake especially, two inches and seven-eighths in length and about five-eighths in width, is perfectly symmetrical; and the core from which it was struck would seem to have been as regular in outline as those found in the Indus, which I have described in the Geological Magazine (vol. iii. p. 433). The material is also of much the same character and colour. One of its edges is somewhat notched, and the surface near it polished, as if it had been used as a saw. A short flake, one inch and three-eighths long, has one edge more carefully serrated and its surface more highly polished. One end of it and the other edge have been chipped square, possibly to make it a scraping tool as well as a saw. It appears adapted for working in bone. The edges of several other flakes show signs of having been used for sawing and scraping, and in one or two instances have been worked to a right angle, either to produce a square scraping edge, or by wear in use.
The flint from which the instruments have been made varies in its character, and appears to have been derived from different sources. One broad flake is of black, nearly opaque flint, not unlike that from some oolitic beds; other flakes are of brown flint; but the bulk are of a buff colour, and in character much like the flakes found in the neighbourhood of the ancient copper workings of Wady Magharah, and brought to this country by Major Macdonald, Mr. Bauerman, and others. None of them, however, present the worn and blunted ends and sides so common on the Wady Magharah flakes. One fragment is whitened in consequence of having been burnt; but the others, with the exception of the knife, have been little altered in colour or in structure. The knife has become whitened over nearly the whole of its surface, but to a very slight depth. As to the period to which these relics are to be assigned, we seem to have little to guide us, most of the forms being such as may have remained in use after the introduction of metal for some cutting purposes. On the other hand, we find the same forms among the refuse-heaps of the Cave-dwellers of the south of France. Unless the associated fauna prove that such cannot be the case, they are doubtless of Neolithic age, and probably of much the same date as the instruments of similar character from Sinai.
Believe me, dear Captain Burton, yours very truly,
(Signed) JOHN EVANS. Nash Mills, Hemel Hempsted, November 1871.
Mr. Avery ventured to express a doubt whether some at least of the flints exhibited were the work of man, or were not rather natural and accidental. On the hill behind Ventnor, in the Isle of Wight, a visitor would easily find any number of flints of similar appearance, which were obviously of natural origin. The use of flint implements was regarded as marking a certain stage of civilisation; and it was a curious question what race of mankind now occupied that position. He had some doubts whether implements of so imperfect a nature had ever been very long or very extensively employed.
Mr. H.W. Jackson: The last speaker has been more fortunate than I have been. I have resided for many years in a gravel district, and I must say that I have never yet found any stone whatever which it was possible to mistake for any of the many forms of implement manufactured by man. With regard to the quantity of animal matter in old bones, I should like to tell a short story. Many years ago, at one of the British Association dinners of the renowned ‘Red Lions,’ the late Dr. Buckland was appointed caterer for the occasion. So he decided to give his scientific brethren -a treat. He procured a large quantity of fossil bones - those of the Cave lion were, I think, among them - and he had some soup prepared from them. All the Red Lions partook of the soup, but all thought that the flavour was peculiar, and while some said that the soup was rather thin, others fancied that it was somewhat gritty. When the Doctor gave his explanation of the thinness and grittiness and peculiar flavour of the soup, I believe that some of the diners were not well pleased.
Mr. Lewis, referring to Captain Burton’s statement that his fellow-traveller had been able to cut inscriptions upon some of the rocks on which ancient inscriptions were found, with flint implements found on the spot, showing thereby that the older inscriptions might have been cut with those implements, asked what kind of rocks they were, and what character the ancient inscriptions were cut in.
Sir Duncan Gibb inquired of Dr. Carter Blake his reasons for saying that some of the bones he described were not more than twenty years old.
Captain Burton replied. He declined to enter into elementary discussion about flint implements. This was not the place for such trials of strength. The inscriptions alluded to by Mr. Lewis were the celebrated Sinaitic epigraphs.
1 calvaria (imperfect).
1 frontal bone (two pieces).
1 lower jaw.
These bones were chosen from a pair of large whitened heaps, lately (April 23, 1871) thrown out of two pits sunk in the western slopes of the Mount of Offence, the high ground above Kafr Salwan. No one at the modern representative of the Biblical Siloam could supply us with any legend concerning the event which led to this unusual style of sepulture; and we could only guess that it had been necessitated by a pestilence, by a massacre, or by some accident like the falling of the Siloam Tower.
There is no place in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem more interesting than Kafr Salwán, nor is there any that offers a better field for the collector and the explorer. The existence of an Egyptian sepulchre and of a Hebrew inscription in Phœnician characters[FN#27] suggests that here may have been the head-quarters of the colony upon a small scale which would have accompanied Solomon’s dusky daughter of Pharaoh. Instead of locating the strangers from the banks of the Nile around his palace, and making the Golden House, a little Egypt, or an Egypt in Jewry, the wise king wisely brought them out of the house of David, and settled them upon the farther side of the Valley of Many Names. The Moabitish wives were probably placed with the temple of ‘Chemosh,’ their Scandal or god (1 Kings xi. 1, 7, 33; 2 Kings xxiii. 13), upon the Mount of Olives, described as being the high place on the right side of the Mount of Offence, and the hill that is over against Jerusalem. The Bámah, high place or fane, endured for four centuries, till destroyed by Josiah (2 Kings xxiii.13).
A few words concerning the Valley of Many Names. The Arabs divide what we simply term the valleys of Jehoshaphat and the ‘Brook Kedron’ into seven different sections. The highest versants, the counterslope of the Mediterranean water-shed, form a fork, the northern branch being the Wady el Jauz, and the western Wady Liftah. These slight depressions combine to form the Wady Sulaym, crossed by the road to Aynata. It then becomes Wady Sitt Maryam, so called from the Fountain of the Virgin. Farther down it is Wady Far’aun -not of Pharaoh, as it is popularly translated, but of the king (Ha-Malik), a tradition dating from the days of the ‘King’s Gardens.’[FN#28] The sixth section is the Wady Bir Ayyúb: the term Wady Jahannum, applied to the part opposite the south-eastern angle of the Temple, is known only to the learned, who here place the ‘Bridge of El Sirát.’ It is very old, if we assume the Authorised Version of Jeremiah (xix. 2): ‘Go forth into the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate.’
Mr. S. Sharpe, however (pp. 31,32, Palestine Exploration Fund, Jan. 1872), reads the ‘Pottery Gate,’ and suggests that it may be the Dung Gate of Nehemiah (iii. 14). After junction with the ‘pleasant Valley of Hinnom,’ that grisly western gorge of barren rock, the Kedron ravine becomes precipitous, with broken floor and jagged sides; and it assumes the name of Wady el Nar (of Fire), which it preserves as far as the so-called ‘Dead Sea.’
In Captain Wilson’s Survey of Jerusalem, the upper part of this important feature is perfunctorily laid down, and I think it as well to append the rectification by Mr. C.F. Tyrwhitt Drake. It also proposes a new emplacement for the important site known as Scopas or Scopus.
M. Ganneau and I being dissatisfied with the position at present assigned to the ‘Look-out,’ proceeded, on April 9, 1871, to examine the country north of Jerusalem. Scopas is usually identified with Sha’afát, which would bear the same signification; others find it in the Jebel el Mintár, a teat of rock which rises conspicuously from its bulging base; whilst Dr. Pierotti places it upon the western slope of Olivet. After leaving behind us the north-eastern angle of the city and crossing the upper Jehoshaphat (Wady Sulaym), we asked the peasants who were flocking to the bazar with their sour milk and fowls for the name of a remarkable cairn-topped hill. To our great satisfaction, all called it El Meshárif, or the Look- outs. A second visit to it, in company with Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake, showed us that it lies about 1300 direct yards N.N.E. of the north-eastern corner of the city wall, and north with a little westing of the mosque which crowns the Mount of Olives. It is also east of, and not far distant from, the ‘street’ or road which, from the remotest ages, has connected Jerusalem with Nablus.
The bone-heaps were pointed out to us by M. Ganneau, a young Orientalist, whose laborious and conscientious studies are likely to do much good by striking out a path beyond and beside the beaten tracks of Oriental and Biblical investigation. The English public has learned to appreciate such new blood after reading the two highly interesting letters which he published in the Athenæum of March 12th and May 7th, 1870.[FN#29] His acuteness and penetration have been shown by identifying the ‘Zahwaylah’ Rock, which overhangs the Siloam Valley, with the Scriptural Zoheleth (1 Kings i. 9). He thus disposes of certain Talmudic glosses, which make the Stone of Zoheleth an instrument of Jewish gymnastic exercises, like the ‘large spherical boulder of marble, which it is the custom of Indians to try their strength by lifting,’ as described by Captain Musters at Amakaken. He also sets right the veteran ‘numismathe’ M. de Saulcy, who (vol. ii. p. 115) concludes an egregious mis-description of the Zoheleth Stone with the triumphant words, ‘Inutile, je pense, de dire que je suis ravi d’avoir constaté ce fait.’ Moreover, this discovery brings with it the important conclusion that the veritable En Rogel must be sought at the Virgin’s Fountain (distant some sixty metres); not at Bir Ayyúb (700 metres), nor at the Piscina of Siloam (400 metres). We read that the boundary-line between Judah and Benjamin passed Zoheleth to En Rogel, and thence up the Valley of Hinnom, which evidently identifies the Kedron and Hinnom (still called in Moslem books Wady Johannum). Afterwards it must have turned westward, leaving the Haute Ville or citadel and the Holy of Holies in the hands of Benjamin; whilst Judah claimed the lower town, and the southern part of the Temple.
One of the most interesting feats performed by M. Ganneau is deciphering the text of a votive inscription belonging to the Franciscan Convent at Jerusalem. Out of a few stumps and odds and ends of letters he has succeeded in reading –
LEG· X· FR· (etensis?) (Ju) LIUS· SABINUS (Centur) IO· PRINCEPS (Ej) YSDEM· D· D·
He thus connects it with Cæsar’s celebrated Decuman Legion stationed by Titus upon the Mount of Olives (Josephus, Bell. Jud. v. vii. 5), left as a garrison in the conquered city, and probably quartered there under Hadrian and his successors.
The following is but a small specimen of the changes which M. Ganneau proposes to make in the topography of Jerusalem and its environs. 1. He would find the Tyropæon of Josephus (which we would rather call the Valley of the ‘Tyrian Merchants’ than of the Cheese-makers, a caste which in Oriental countries prefers to work out of town) in Ge ben Hinnom (corrupted to Gebennon), and thus turn the Valley of Hinnom, as laid down in our plans, into the Valley of the Rephaim,[FN#30] on the Bethlehem-road. 2. He would make the so-called Holy Sepulchre the ‘Monument of the High-priest’ (το του αρχιερέως µνηµειον), the fifth after the return from the Captivity, popularly known as John son of Judas, but called in Nehemiah (xii. 11) Jonathan son of Joiada (Johaida). He was the grandson of Eliashib, the third high-priest; and his son Jaddua, the sixth dignitary, received Alexander the Great at Jerusalem. ‘John’ has left a sorry name in local history: he murdered his brother Jesus; consequently, when Bagoses, the general of Artaxerxes II., profanely entered the sanctuary by force, he cried out to the priests who would hinder him, ‘Am I not purer than the man who slew another in your Temple?’ The monument, which dates from the fourth century B.C., is often spoken of in the Siege of Titus (Bell. Jud. v. 6, 2: v. 9, 1: vi. 2, 10). It was the easiest point of attack, as here the first enceinte was low, and disconnected with the second wall: hence the challenge of the bully Jonathes (Bell. Jud. vi. 2, 10) took place at this site. 3. He makes the Temple of Herod occupy, not the south-western angle, the centre and the northern part, nor the southern portion, but the whole of the present Haram Enclosure, extending to the Birkat Israil. It will be remembered that shafting showed the northern extremity of the eastern wall to be apparently in situ, extending to the great tank (p. 133, No. V. Palestine Exploration Fund). Together with Captain Warren (p. 341, No. VI.), he contends, and I think successfully, that the 400 cubits (600 feet) of Josephus (Antiq. xv. xii., 4, and xx. x. 7) apply not to the Temple of Herod, but to the Court of the Solomonic fane. Thus, unlike other translators, he would explain, by the squaring away of the north-west angle, still visible, the prophecy concerning the destruction of the Temple, current before the birth of Jesus and referred to by the latter. 4. The Pool of Bethesda is not the traditional Birkat Israil, but an underground piscina lately discovered within the enceinte of Sta. Anna (‘Hanná’ in Arabic meaning compassion, and thus forming a suitable name for a hospital); and here he would expect to trace the five Stones of the προβατίκη. This theory is, I believe, also upheld by the learned architect M. Mauss. 5. The Ecce Homo Arch is of the Ælia Capitolina period, erected probably in commemoration of the decisive defeat over Bar Cochebas, and the third systematic destruction of the city. 6. He cleverly
[FN#31], both meaning low ground, to and the Arabic compels the Hebrew
interpret the ΄Ακκα which Josephus explains by την κάτω πόλιν. This would make the Acropolis of Jerusalem a depression in notable contrast with the Acrocorinth. 7. He finds the so-called Tombs of the Kings - which must be sought for about Sion, the city of David, and thence to Siloam - to be a monument of the later Asmoneans. 8. He makes the curious crypt, popularly known as the ‘Tombs of the Prophets,’ to be an early Christian cemetery, probably serving for one of the numerous monasteries founded at the earliest ages upon the Mount of Olives. This he proves by showing crosses over the loculi, and by a dozen or so of Greek graphitæ, mostly proper names of men and women, and belonging to ‘a period as far back as the first year of official Christianity, that is to say, not far from Constantine.’[FN#32] 9. Rachel’s Tomb, shabbily rebuilt by Sir Moses Montefiore, and lately quoted as the spot where the Jewish colony of Jerusalem offered up their prayers for the recovery of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales,[FN#33] he believes to be the grave of Archelaus. 10. The village Bahurím, connected with David’s flight, he denies to be Robinson’s Wady Ruwaby. He points it out as Ahayl’t Fákhúrí, an uninhabited spot between Siloam and the Mount of Olives, Bethany and Abú Dís; and he remarks that ‘Fákhúrí’ corresponds letter for letter with Bahurím, lacking the plural termination. 11. The Ethnic term Phœnician is still preserved in the popular word ‘Finish.’ 12. El Dajjál, the Mohammedan Antichrist, is the idol Dagon of Lydda, the dragon of St. George. 13. The long-sought Gazara of the Maccabees is found at Tell el Jezeri, near Abu Shushah.[FN#34] 14. He has found, I have said (p. 340), the traditional Cave of Adullam at Adul Miyyah. 15. He compares Dibon with Rome, the Karhah with the Roman Capitol (Caput), and the Bamat of Kamos with the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. 16. Shicron, the north-western landmark of Judah (Joshua xv. 11), is the modern Z.rnúka. 17. The great Abel or meadow, the ‘field of Joshua the Bethshemite’ (1 Sam. vi. 18), is actually Dayr Abán. 18. The stone of Bohan or Bohen (‘the thumb’) is represented, etymologically and topographically, by the Arab Hajar el Usbú (of the finger’, lying on the flat strip to the north-west of the Dead Sea.
This batch of a dozen and a half is but an échantillon of the work done by M. Ganneau. He lately informed me that he has made some important discoveries in those remarkable Arenaria and Quarries, the ‘Royal Caverns’ of glacial memory; such as an unexplored branch on the right of one entering, that displays characteristic traces of human labour, rock-rings for hanging lamps, and very ancient graffiti, representing rudely but exactly the man-headed, bearded and winged Assyrian bull. The tail is trumpet- shaped, proving that the caricaturesque instinct dates from all ages, and is well shown in fantaisie d’ouvrier.
M. Ganneau is careless in communicating, as he is careful in constructing, his theories; and I strongly advised him to establish his rights of discovery, upon which some unscrupulous traveller might not hesitate to trespass, by publishing an outline of them, however sketchy. He took, it is said, my advice, and sent home a goodly paper of notes, which has, however, unfortunately been lost: perhaps, an orthodox regard for those who hate the shock and disturbance of new things and theories may have led to the accident which I deplore.
No Biblical student will regret the expenditure at Jerusalem, by which the Palestine Exploration Fund has rendered such valuable services to topography and archæology; and all will be ready to praise the serious and honest work done, in a thorough and conscientious manner round the Haram, by Captains Wilson and Warren. The ‘Holy City’ must ever be the main point of interest; and the very centre is the Haram. The money sunk in shafts, and the precious time and labour expended upon underground investigations, was by no means wasted; and although Jerusalem and even the Haram nay, the minutest sections of it, as the so-called Palace of Solomon, are a work of decades rather than of years - cannot by any means be said to be “recovered,” a sturdy step has been taken in the right direction. As Mr. Fergusson justly remarks, the question of ancient topography in the Holy City must now be settled by that ultima ratio the spade. But the Committee which manages the Palestine Exploration Fund should temper solid researches by lighter adjuncts, such as the collection of inscriptions and of materials for a museum, which would add greatly to the popularity, and consequently to the means, of a Society which has not adequately been supported. Such explorers as M. Ganneau, who will devote their acquirements and their leisure to excavation, provided that their bare expenses are paid, deserve to be looked upon as prizes. All around Siloam - at the Zuhura
, the ‘slopes of MountMoriah’), where CaptainWarren cameupon the i.e. (Ophel?
greater portion of the glass-work, the pottery, and other antiquities, including the ‘Seal of Haggai,’ the only relic bearing a Hebrew inscription as yet found at Jerusalem, sent home by him; from the Tomb of Zacharias to the Tombs of the Prophets; in the different Necropolises, and especially in the villages to the north of Jerusalem - there is an ample harvest for so active a reaper as M. Ganneau. I have lately taken the liberty of proposing him as one of the coadjutors of exploration; and I have only to add that the small sum of 200l. per annum, applied to such a purpose, would be laid out at the best interest.[FN#35]
This subject naturally leads to what has made M. Ganneau’s name historical in Europe - the interpretation of the celebrated Moabite Stone, concerning which I have been kindly permitted by the Editor of the Athenæum to publish the following letter:
THE MOABITE STONE.
Your article headed ‘Moabite Stones’ (Athen. No. 2310) induces me to request that you will insert this paper, whose object is not so much controversial as explanatory. A few hints may teach future discoverers to avoid mistakes, which, amongst Bedawin and other bandits, too often lead to catastrophes.
Possibly some of your readers may not object to a short résumé of what has been stated by others, bien entendu, not by myself, concerning the Moabite Stone, that ‘peerless triumphant pillar,’ ‘the very oldest Semitic lapidary record of importance,’ that ‘giant page of a previously unknown tongue,’ the ‘first fragment of Moabite literature,’ which, ‘like a lucky actress, or singer, took the world of 1870 by storm.’
Students do not differ much about the date of our ‘Eben-ezer,’ which may roughly be placed before B.C. 900. The Count de Vogüé (extract from the Times, Feb. 22, on the Count’s pamphlet) remarks, ‘If my conjectures are well founded, the pillar was engraved in the second year of the reign of Ahaziah, king of Israel; that is, following the chronology usually adopted, the year 896 before the Christian era.’ Prof. Wright (p. 29, North British Review, October 1870) prefers about the second year of Ahaziah’s reign, or at the beginning of that of his brother Jehoram, B.C. 896-894; Prof. D.H. Weir, of Glasgow (Athen. No. 2221), about the beginning of the reign of Jehu, B.C. 884. Thus numbering upwards of two millenniums and a half, our ‘memorial’ or monumental stone is senior to Homer and Hesiod, who are supposed to have composed circa B.C. 850-76, writing being unknown to Greece before the first Olympiad(?). It dates between two and three centuries before the inscribed sarcophagus of Asmunazar, circa B.C. 600, long held to be the most ancient specimen of Phœnician epigraphy. It is the only præ-Maccabean document in a language almost identical with Biblical Hebrew; and its style has been pronounced to be older than two-thirds of the entire Old Testament, and purer than that of the other third. Finally, it shows us the very characters in which possibly the Law was written, and in which probably appeared the Psalms of David and the correspondence of Solomon with Hiram.
We cannot be surprised if this ‘bulletin of victory’ has, as our neighbours say, ‘made epoch,’ when we consider that it is at present unique and unrivalled. But the importance attached to it by continental scholars contrasts strangely with the comparative indifference of English students. Let me quote but two: Sir Henry Rawlinson and the Dean of Westminster. The former, who, it will be remembered was the first in England to identify the Omri of the Diban inscription with the king whose name appears upon the famous black obelisk now in the British Museum, warns me in vain ‘not to take an exaggerated view of the Moabite Stone.’ The latter thinks that the special value of the discovery is its promise that ‘there are more Moabitish and Jewish stones than this which has been found at Dhiban.’
The stele becomes, I believe, a point de départ in ‘Semitic’ palæography, which will serve as a standard to calculate approximately the dates of any similar monuments that may be found. It converts into mere theory the old ‘fact,’ that the ‘more primitive the characters, the more complicated they were, in consequence of derivation from some pictorial prototype’ (Mr. Deutsch, Times, March 3d, 1870). The ‘oldest epigraphic document in this species of writing’ suggests that the short vowel points which appear in parts of the inscription,[FN#36] and which are popularly supposed to be a far later invention, were then known. It establishes the fact, that from the earliest days the four vowel. consonants, or matreslectionis (the mnemonic ‘Ehevi’ of Hebrew grammar), were
the now obsolete practice of writing continuâ serie became prevalent, it separates, as does the Citium inscription, words by points, and sentences by vertical strokes or bars. The same system appears in certain Cuneiform, Phœnician, and Himyaritic inscriptions; whilst I found the hexameters and pentameters upon the Tower of Bassus, near Shakkah (Saccæa) similarly divided.[FN#37]
There are certain shades of accidence in this chapter of Moabite history which are real acquisitions to ‘Semitic’ lexicography. The vau conversivum, once generally regarded as peculiar to Hebrew, evidently existed in the sister dialects. The dual termination ‘-im’ (if correctly read in line 15) connects the Moabitish with the Phœnician and the Hebrew. In other places it appears to become ‘-an.’ The plural ending in ‘-an’ for ‘-in’ approaches it, like the Himyaritic, to the Aramean (or Syrian) and to the Neo-Arabic tongues. Other Arabisms are Madaba for Medeba, Neba for Nebo, and Máb for Moab modifications still preserved by the Bedawin. ‘Máb’ (Meáb?), personified like Israel and Judah, was, it has been observed, probably changed to Moab (Mu-ab, i.e. ‘from the father,’ or ‘water of the father,’ Gen. xix. 37) by one of those opprobrious distortions of national and tribal names to which the Orientals are still so much addicted. Again, we
t,of theMassorah) and sometimes neglected , orcriptio plenasometimes used(s ), the final being general, and the internalrare. Long agesbefore, orcriptio defectiva(s insteadof Hithpael, and the eighth a true find the fifth Arabicconjugation a veritable . The terminalPhœnician andArabic ‘T’ isalso common. Hence I would suggest thatnor ‘pendant lanuit,’ , must not be translated, with Ganneau, , Arabic in line 15
with Wright, ‘by night,’ but ‘in a (single) night,’ holding the ‘h’ to be that technically called in Arabic grammar Há el Wahdah.
I venture to affirm, with continental scholars that the smallest details of the Stone are deeply interesting; that it is a gain to palæography, philology, and linguistic studies, to theology and mythology, to history, geography, and anthropology, whilst the general considerations which it suggests are of the highest importance.
This specimen of a new dialect, the Moabitish, introduces us to a syllabarium, the ‘prototype of modern writing,’ which was probably the only cursive character[FN#38] then known to the ‘Semitic’ world. It has been remarked, that there is no sensible difference between it and the alphabet used on the metal weights and the clay tablets of Assyria, whilst it resembles the letters acting masons’ marks lately found upon the stones at the north-eastern and south-eastern angles of the Jerusalem Haram. Prof. Rawlinson (Contemporary Review, August 1870) has shown its identity with the alphabet of Assyrian tablets and gems (ab. B.C. 750-650); with the Asmunazar alphabet (ab. B.C. 600), and with the ordinary Phœnician -which Mr. Deutsch would call Cadmean alphabet of the Persian, Greek, and Roman times. Evidently dating in Phœnicia and Canaan from at least B.C. 1000, it proves the unity of the alphabet common to the ‘Semitic’ populations, extending from Egypt to the foot of the Taurus, from Nineveh westward over the Mediterranean basin, and bounded only by the colonies of Tyre and Sidon, of Greece and Carthage.
In its presence, the views of Aristotle and Pliny, before universally received, concerning the eighteen or sixteen Cadmi[FN#39] nigellæ filiæ become obsolete as Palamedes with his four extra characters, his art of besieging, and his invention of dice and discus, of measures, scales, and lighthouses. All the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabetical Psalms and the book of Lamentations are here embalmed. Many of them, especially the A, D (a perfect delta), H, K (or Q), L, M, N, O, R, T, V (Vau, i.e. U and O), so resemble the Archaic Greek and Roman forms that we at once see the origin of our modern writing. And this is, indeed, the great palæographical value of the inscription ‘it takes us nearer to the fount and origin of our written characters than any other document or monument that has as yet been found.’
The style of this ‘unparalleled relic’ is not its least peculiarity. It proves that the Koranic high diction was common to the Moabites, and possibly to the Ammonites as to the Hebrews; it was known to the Phœnicians, as we learn from one of the most pathetic of epitaphs, the Asmunazar inscription. In it we see the oratio directa and indirecta, perhaps the prophetic perfect. It is startling to find the hyperbole, the parallelism, and the symmetry of sense which form the true Biblical style. Let us compare ‘And Kamos drove them out’ with Gen. iii. 24; ‘Before the face of Kamos’ with 1 Kings xiii. 6; ‘I will oppress Moab’ (line 6) with Ezekiel vi. 3, and many others; ‘And I built this high place (Bamat) for Kamos’ (line 3) with ‘Then did Solomon build all high place for Chamosh’ (1 Kings xi. 7); ‘And Kamos was angry with his land’ (line 5) with a multitude of places alluding to the anger of the Lord, as 2 Macc. viii. 5.
It names Yahvah (Jehovah) without a trace of mystic reticence, showing that the superstitious belief about the Tetragrammaton, whose utterance afterwards doomed men to death in this world and in the next, was then unknown to the people of Israel and Judah as to the Moabites. Jehovah here becomes a local god, bearing the same relationship to the Jews (Israelites) as Kamos bore to the Moabites, Moloch (Milchom) to the Ammonites, and Baal to the Phœnicians. The men of Ataroth,[FN#40] probably a great religious and strategic centre of trans-Jordanic Israel, are killed by way of repréailles for the well-pleasing of Kamos (lines 11-13), a wrathful and vindictive deity, jealous and powerful. Kings were hewed to pieces before Jehovah; men, women, and children were ‘consecrated;’ the men and wives of Jabosh-Gilead, and the men of Jericho and Ai, of Makkeda and Libnah, were sloughtered, and generally warriors taken with arms in their hands were doomed to death. We have improved of late, despite the danger of balles explosives being adopted. The inscription speaks familiarly, as a contemporary might, of ‘Arial,’ - M. Ganneau assured me that he had found the word in the inscription, -the mysterious Ariel, or Lion of God, usually supposed to mean the altar of burnt-offering. The Kali Yahvah, or ‘vessels of Jehovah,’ captured by the Moabite, may either prove, with Dr. Ginsburg, that the trans-Jordanic Hebrew tribes, Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh, had a separate and complete ritual, or simply that the altars, knives, brass musical instruments, and articles used in slaughtering victims, and adapted for camp purposes, were in those early days carried with the armies when taking the field. It mentions the deity Astar (masculine), apparently the Athtar of the Himyaritic inscriptions, but evidently not Astarah, Sam-(Sham-) Baal, ‘name’ or ‘glory’ of Ba’al of the Phœnicians, nor the classical Astarte. Finally, it suggests that human victims offered to the Sun-god were slain as well as burned in Asia, whereas in Peru, Mexico, and Polynesia they were simply blood-offerings.
Geographically speaking, our ‘memorial’ revives with curious clearness the familiar Biblical names of Medeba, Baal-Meon (Baal-Meon, Numbers xxxii. 38, and Beth Baal-Meon, Joshua xiii. 17), Kiriathaim, Ataroth, Nebo, Dibon, Beth Diblathaim (Jeremiah xlviii. 22), Horonaim, and Beth-Bamoth, the Biblical Bamoth-Baal, or Baal-Bamoth, ‘Sun-god of the high places.’
The interest of the inscription culminates in the fact that king Mesa, or Mesha, the Dibonite, breaks new ground. This regulus ruled a country not so large as our county of Huntingdon, and the re-subjugation of Moab under the rule of Omri (B.C. 924-919, or 610 years), after the seven days’ reign of Zimri (ob. B.C. 930-929), made him the vassal of intolerable masters. Omri imposed upon Mesa a tribute as exorbitant as that of Brian Boroimhe, who compelled the Danes to contribute a yearly quotum of 365 tuns of claret. Omri himself, the founder of the third Samarian dynasty, may be compared with the king of Anglesea, or with the mighty rulers of Essex, Wessex, and so forth.
Mesa, the ‘sheep-master,’ recounts in balanced speech and in the most dignified terms, almost rhythmic and poetical, how, after forty years of spoiling and oppression, the hour of deliverance was brought to Moab by the almighty, but long-forgotten Kamos.
1. He begins by making a high place (Bamat) in gratitude to his God. 2. He relates how Omri tyrannised over Moab. 3. He records the wrath of Kamos against his land. 4. He relates how Omri and his son, the unfortunate Ahab, who ruled twenty-two years (B.C. 919-897), and his son’s son, Ahaziah (B.C. 896-895), took the land of Moab and occupied it forty years. He neglects or despises, however, the names of Ahab and of Ahaziah, whose two years’ reign completed the forty years,[FN#41] and of course he says nothing of Jehoram, son of Ahab (B.C. 896-884). 5. He describes his campaign against the house of Omri, and perhaps Ahaziah (lines 18-19). 6. He enumerates his public works, - how he founded and rebuilt fortified cities, threw a road over the Arnon river, and generally improved the country. We observe that in those days the palace contained its prison, like the Serai of Damascus in the present age, and that every house had its rain-cistern; the same is now the case at Jerusalem, and I found an ancient well when excavating in the ruins of Palmyra. 7. He records his campaign against the Horonaim (Isaiah xv. 5) , or Edomites, who had united themselves to invade Moab with Jehoram of Israel, and with his vassal, Jehosaphat of Judah.
We thus obtain a view of sacred history almost identical in terms, but in tenor very different from that offered by 2 Chronicles xx., by 2 Kings i. 1; and especially by 2 Kings iii. It is not merely an ‘interesting comment,' but an explanation and a new version. I wonder when I read, - ‘The differences between the two narratives are such as might be expected in two records of the same events emanating from two hostile parties, and are far less striking than the conflicting descriptions given by the English and French of the battle of Waterloo; by the English, French, and Russians of the capture of Sebastopol; by the Prussians and Austrians of the battle of Sadowa; or by the French and Germans of the battle of Woerth’ (Ginsburg). Nor can I agree with Mr. Wright (p. 36) – ‘That it’ (the Stone), was not set up after the joint expedition of Jehoram and Jehosaphat is certain (the italics are mine), because in that case it would inevitably have contained a paragraph referring thereto. Mesha would assuredly have told how his foes besieged him in Kir Moab; how he sacrificed his first-born unto Kamos; and how his god, thus propitiated, dispersed his enemies, and made them flee again to their own land.’ The inscription, fairly read, means that Mesa was not besieged in Kir Moab, and did not make a holocaust of his son.
The stele emphatically relates events which are far too euphemistically treated by the sacred writers. The apparently causeless departure of the hated Israelites [FN#42] and their return to their own country is shown to have been not an act of humanity and pity (pity from a Jew for a Gentile!), as the Jew Josephus explains (Antiq. Jud. 9,3,§2), but simply an ignominious flight. The absolute defeat of the allied host, the sacrifice of their soldiers and citizens, and the capture of their women and children, must have been sore blows to the worshippers of Yahvah. Hence, in the reigns of Uzziah, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, the so-called Isaiahnic writings (B.C. 808-697) deal freely in threats which are enlargements of Numbers xxi. 27-30. We read of the pride, haughtiness, and wrath of Moab (xvi. 6), of the ‘burden of Moab’ (xv. 1-9), and of the bringing down of Moab (xv. 11). The latter, together with the captivity of Moab and Kamos in the later days, is evidently copied in the imprecations of Jeremiah (chap. xlviii.), who wrote between B.C. 638 and 586, when Jerusalem and Judah fell under Nebuzadan the Chaldæan.
On the other hand, we hear nothing, as might be expected, about the devoting of Mesa’s son to Kamos, which, by the bye, suggests the unconsummated sacrifice of Isaac and Jephthah’s horrid vow; nor do the Moabites mistake for the blood of the allies who had slain one another, the water miraculously supplied to Elisha. Do we not freely own to our desire for a supply of that ‘double evidence which so often tantalises the student of ancient history,’ especially in one of the most ancient of all histories? We sorely long for more Moabite Stones which will cry out to us audi alteram partem. It is only the conflicting version that can explain such legends as that of Lot and his daughters, possibly, as in the case of Ammon, the result of some blood feud, and that of Balaam, which may have been borrowed from a Moabitish chronicle. We would willingly also see the test of an altera lectio applied to the raid of David against the Moabites so laconically told (2 Sam. viii. 2, and 1 Chron. xviii. 2); an apparently causeless onslaught upon a people connected with him through Ruth by blood-ties, and to whom his father Jesse owed so much gratitude.
To measure the amount of difference, let us compare the statements found in 2 Kings iii. with the Moabite Stone, this chapter of realistic local history; the collation will prove how much the latter corrects and supplements the former.
|2 Kings III.||STELE.|
|4. And Mesha king of Moab was a sheep-||Lines 4 and 5 mention only despoilers,|
|master, and rendered unto the king of Israel||enemies, and Omri, his son and his|
|an hundred thousand lambs, and an||grandson, the oppressors and destroyers.|
|hundred thousand rams, with the wool.|
|6-9. And king Jehoram went out of||Lines 7 and 10 mention only Israel and the|
|Samaria the same time, and numbered all||men of Gad.|
|And he went and sent to Jehosaphat the|
|king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab|
|hath rebelled against me; wilt thou go with|
|me against Moab to battle? And he said, I|
|will go up; I am as thou art, my people as|
|thy people, and my horses as thy horses.|
|And he said, Which way shall we go up?|
|And he answered, The way through the|
|wilderness of Edom.|
|So the king of Israel went, and the king of|
|Judah, and the king of Edom; and they|
|fetched a compass of seven days’ journey.|
|17. For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see||No mention of this miraculous water-|
|wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that||supply.|
|valley shall be filled with water, that ye|
|may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and|
|22-24. And they rose up early in the||No mention of this phenomenon, which is|
|morning, and the sun shone upon the water,||recounted as if the semi-nomade Moabites|
|and the Moabites saw the water on the||had never seen a mirage. It is like the|
|other side as red as blood:||mirage which may deceive a European, but|
|And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another; now therefore, Moab, to the spoil. And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them. ... 25. And they beat down the cities, and on every good piece of land cast everyman his stone, and filled it; and they stopped all the wells of water; and felled all the good trees: only in Kir-haraseth left they the stones thereof: howbeit the slingers went about it, and smote it. 26. And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through even unto the king of Edom: but they could not. 27. Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt-offering upon the wall. And there was great indignation against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to their own land. No mention of this terrible loss to the tribe of Gad. No mention of this terrible loss to the Israelites. Ditto. Ditto.||not a Bedawi eye; and it reminds us of the bodies of the host of Ngatno lying heaped up in the cooking-places. (Polynesian Mythology, the Curse of Manaia. Sir George Grey. London, Murray, 1855.) No mention of the barbarous tactics referred to by the sacred writer. No mention of a failure more glorious to a warrior-king than many a victory. No mention of this sacrifice. Lines 11-12. Storming of Ataroth by Mesa, slaughter of the warriors, dedication of the spoils to Kamos, and re-colonisation by the Moabites. Lines 14-18. Capture of Nebo, slaughter of 7000 men, women, maidens, and vessels of Jehovah devoted to Astar-Kamos. Lines 19-20. Capture of Jahaz, which had been fortified by the king of Israel. 32. Attack upon the Horonaim, allies of the Israelites.|
The ‘strong remark’ that the Moabite Stone reads like a page of the Bible might have been made stronger. It is evident that in the book of Kings we tread upon enchanted ground, whereas in the stele we find a chapter of realistic, local, and contemporary chronicle. The former offers, in a single chapter, a ‘prophet,’ a miracle, and a phenomenon so inexplicable as to be quasi-miraculous; the latter deals throughout with the world as we still know it. And the unprejudiced will find no difficulty in answering the question, Which is history, and which is the romance of history?
The literature of the Moabite Stone threatens to become extensive.[FN#43] It was introduced by M. Charles Clermont Ganneau, Drogman-Chancelier du Consulat intérimaire du Consulat de France à Jérusalem, in a fac-simile and a letter to the Comte de Vogüé, ‘La Stèle de Mesa, roi de Moab, 896 avant J.-C.,’ dated from his post, Jan. 16, 1870, with a terminal note by M. de Vogüé, Paris, Feb. 5. The owner followed up his announcement by articles in the Revue Archéologique (Nos. 3 and 4, for March and June 1870) with a second and more valuable fac-simile. Finally came ‘La Stèle de Dhiban,’ a brochure of sixty pages, with fac-simile and a useful ‘Carte pour l’Intelligence des Campagnes de Mesa’ (Paris, 1870) completing the third recension. Meanwhile, a number of studies, exegetical and multilingual, appeared in the literary world. In France, M. Renan contributed a short article to the Journal des Débats (Feb. 25, 1870), which did not add laurels to his crown. Next appeared a notice of M. Ganneau’s first pamphlet, by M.J. Derenbourg, in the Journal Asiatique (January-February 1870), and a longer article by the same scholar (April 8), based upon M. Ganneau’s second and revised copy. The first of the German scholars to take the field was Prof. Schlottmann, of Halle (March 15); he published his translation in the Times (May 5), and corrected it in the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft (xxiv. Bund 8, and 11 Heft, May 13): a third recension afterwards appeared. Meanwhile, the inscription had been discussed by Prof. Ewald (Göttingische Gelehrte Anzeigen, April 20); and Dr. Neubauer, in the April number of Frankel and Grätz’s Monatschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums, attempted a complete translation, which agreed closely with one that appeared in the Times of March 27. Rabbi Geiger, of Berlin, also discussed the subject in the Zeitschrift of May 15. Next appeared Prof. Land, of Amsterdam; Prof. Nöldeke, of Kiel (April 16), a treatise followed by a short notice in the Göttingische Gelehrte Anzeigen (May 4); Prof. Haug, of Munich (Beilage zur Allgemeinen Zeitung, April 16); Prof. Schrader, of Giessen (Theologisches Litteraturblatt, June 1), and Dr. Abraham Halévy (Kakkud ha-Libnun, Nos. 13, 14, and 15, of 1871). The United States are represented by Scribner’s Monthly (April 1871), and by the Rev. Howard Crosby (Palestine Exploration Society, July 1871). England has spoken through Capt. Warren and others in the Palestine Exploration Fund (Quarterly Statements, Nos. V. VI. January 1 to March 31,1870, and March 31 to June 30, 1870); through Mr. Deutsch (the Times, March 3,1870); through Prof. D.E. Weir, of Glasgow (Athenæum, May 21, 1870); through Prof. Rawlinson[FN#44] (loc. cit.), and through Prof. W. Wright, of Cambridge (North British Review, No.1, October 1870-January 1871). Other notices are by the author of the anonymous article (‘Capts. Wilson and Warren’s Recovery of Jerusalem,’ p. 496); by Dr. Ginsburg (‘The Moabite Stone,’ Longmans, 1870); by the Journal of Anthropology (vol. i. No. 3, January 1871); by the Evangelical Review (No. 1, February 1871); by the Quarterly Journal of Science, and by various others of minor importance.[FN#45]
And the literature on the discovery of the Stone is also gaining size. The controversy will be found in the Athenæum (May 7, 1870), of which a copy was kindly forwarded to me by the Editor; in the Quarterly Statements of the Palestine Exploration Fund (No. V. of 1870, and No. III. of August 1871); and in the speech of Sir Henry Rawlinson at the annual meeting of the Royal Geographical Society, for May 1871. And in presence of the statement put forth by Dr. H. Petermann in the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft (part iv. for 1870), and of the sentences concluding the report addressed by the North German Consulate at Jerusalem to the Chancellor of the Union (April 29, 1870), it is time that the whole case should be stated dispassionately and impartially. We read with some surprise, -‘The ordinary rules of discretion would seem to have demanded that nobody should have interfered with the transaction until it had been regularly brought to a conclusion or broken off.’ It will be seen that the rules of discretion were repeatedly violated by those who advance the charge, and that the transaction, having been avowedly broken off, had come to a conclusion.
The relic was found at Diban, or Dhiban, the Moabitish Dibon, a capital city in the days of Mesa. I can understand why M. Clermont Ganneau, Prof. E.H. Palmer, and
),butitis hard to see why the Dr. Ginsburg write this evidentlydual word Dhiban(
latter should also adopt Dibhân (p. 29) as well as Dibân (p. 10). It may be simply a clerical slip, as in line 3 of the stele we read Karaha, and in lines 21, 24, 25, Karcha; whereas in the original the words are identical. The relic lay at the feet of and between two monticules, still cumbered with extensive ruins. Prof. E.H. Palmer heard them called ‘two háris,’ properly meaning a ploughman, but here applied to these hillocks, and throughout the country to every eminence surmounted by ruined sites. Thus he was enabled cleverly to explain the name of Moab’s ancient capital, Kir Haraseth, now Karak, meaning the ‘city of the hill’ par excellence.[FN#46] The memorial escaped the notice of Irby and Mangles, in 1809; but in later days it had probably been heard of at Jerusalem. At last it was shown to the Rev. F.A. Klein, ‘a Prussian gentleman,’ not ‘travelling for his pleasure in Palestine.’ A professional matter took him from Jerusalem, and as he was en route from Salt to Karak, on Augu8t 19, dawned the great discovery of the year 1868, an annus mirabilis in the history of Palestine exploration. Mr. Klein is French-born, employed and salaried by the English mission, and full of Prussian sympathies. His own statement reads as follows (letter to G. Grove, Esq., published in the Pall Mall Gazette, April 19, 1870, and republished in No. VI. Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund): ‘On my return to Jerusalem, I showed my sketch and parts of the inscription to Dr. Petermann, of Berlin, who ... immediately took the necessary steps to acquire the Moabite monument for the Berlin Museum.’ He thus showed himself, in a cosmopolitan sense, much below Capt. Warren, who frankly and honourably stated that it was to him a matter of utter indifference whether the relic, provided that it was secured intact for the civilised world, adorned the museum of Berlin, of Paris, or of London.
Evidently, as is owned by his friends, the discoverer did not understand the value of the find, or, instead of sketching and measuring the slab, and copying a few characters, he would, even at the cost of a little delay and personal inconvenience, have made a transcript of the whole inscription. And I am convinced that he might have done more. In such cases the best plan is at once to say, ‘I want that stone,’ and, without other formalities, to bargain down ‘friends and protectors’ for the hire of camels: this distracts their attention, and thus they will often allow a valuable antika to be taken away and repaid by a few pounds of gunpowder. The Shaykh Ahmad bin Tarif expressed the true Bedawi feeling when he said to Messrs. Tyrwhitt Drake and Palmer: ‘If you Franks had come down here twelve months ago, and offered us a pound or two, you might have taken all the stones you chose, the Dhibán one included; but now you have taught us the worth of written stones, and the Arabs are awake to their importance at last.’ His Grace the Archbishop of York must have suspected something of the kind when he stated at the annual general meeting of the Palestine Exploration Fund (May 16, 1870), ‘I may say, had Capt. Warren been on the spot, or if Mr. Klein had adopted a different mode of operation, a more satisfactory result would have been obtained.’
But Mr. Klein went his ways - mistake No. 1. Arrived at Jerusalem, this ‘agent of the English mission’ thought proper to neglect the claims of the country which gave him birth, and of that which gave him bread. As has been seen, he reported the find only to the Prussian official, who, of course, declares it natural that ‘a German preacher should lay his discovery before a German Consulate.’ There are those who view the matter differently.
Consultations, telegraphs, and correspondence delayed, with a tardiness characteristically Teutonic, all movement till the latter part of September 1868, when Dr. Petermann sent ‘a teacher named Bahnam,’ the ‘able assistant of Mr. Klein,’ with a letter addressed by the reverend gentleman to Shaykh Findi el Faiz, the wrong man, an Arab completely under Turkish influence. This was mistake No. 2; and thus the Bedawin learned the value of their treasure, whilst no attempt to obtain a copy of the whole inscription was taken by way of precautionary measure. Had this been done, and had a cast made from a photograph been shown to the Arabs, they wonld again have parted with the monument for a lira or two. The next delay was of nearly six months; in March 1869 a second Christian, Saba Kawar, of Salt, was dispatched on the same errand. It is generally believed that the ‘young clever Arab’ applied to Shaykh Goblan (Kabalán), of the Adwán, instead of going directly to the tribe that owned the monument. This was not, as stated in the ‘Recovery of Jerusalem’ (p. 498), the Benú Hamídah, a small clan living to the north and north-west of the Dead Sea, but the wild Benú Humaydah, the Beni Hamíde of Mr. Klein, and the Beni Hamedy of the North German Consulate at Jerusalem. The two are, of course, not confounded by Prof. E.H. Palmer (p. 321, No. VI. Palestine Exploration Fund), who attributes to their opposition ‘the lamentable destruction of the celebrated monument of Meshá.’ However, this was mistake No. 3, which, by the bye, can hardly have been accidental on the part of so ‘clever’ a ‘young Arab.’ At any rate Mr. Saba Kawar returned with a demand for 1000 instead of 100 napoleons, made by the Bedawin non-owners, reporting at the same time that the Ishmaelites had buried the stone, and ‘treated it as being the shrine of an evil spirit, whose power would vanish with the taking of a squeeze.’ This tale is fit only for telling to the stolid Frank, and even Goldsmith’s Mr. Burchell would have answered it with a ‘Fudge!’
Dr. Petermann now saw ‘no means of acquiring the stone but through the medium of the Turkish government.’ Mistake No. 4, and crowning error! The Benú Humaydah, who appear to be veritable descendants from the ancient Moabites, and who deserve especial study, are the most savage and intractable tribe of the Belka. They roam freely about this fine region, which the Romans termed, from the nature of its climate, ‘Palestina Tertia sive Salutaris,’ and of which the Arabs say, in their rhyming style,
‘Misl el Belka ma taltaka.’ Naught to be found like Belka ground.
The tract extends southwards from the Jebel Ajlun (Mt. Gilead) and the Northern Zerka, or Jabbok river, to Moabitis Proper. This Araboth Moab was originally occupied by the Emim, Anakim, and Horim (Deut. ii. 10-12); subsequently the northern portion, namely, above the Arnon, was seized by the Amorites (Numbers xxi. 13-26); and lastly, before the death of Moses, it was allotted, together with Bashan, farther north, to the small tribes, Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh (Joshua i. 12 and 13, 15-29). Bounded on the north by the Wady Mujib, the ancient Arnon river, a ‘frontier of Moab,’ which divided it from the Amorite country, it extended southwards to a parallel of latitude projected from the lower extremity of the Dead Sea, which was the border of the Edomites. To this Moabitis Proper the Moabites were relegated, and about its centre was
ofthe built their capital, Kir Haraseth, the modern Karak, aname found in the
Chaldean Talmud, the Charax Omanorum[FN#47] (Ammon) of the Romans; in the χαρακµωβα (i. e. Karak Moab, baldness or bald place of Moab), in Ptolemy, and in the Rabbath Moab of Eusebius. In 1812 it was explored by Burckhardt, who there noticed two peculiarities: the men were forbidden, under pain of infamy, to sell Samn, or clarified butter; and to sleep under the same blanket with their wives.
The Benú Humaydah had just suffered from the ‘Belka Expedition,’ led in person by Rashid Pasha, then Wali, or Governor-general of Syria; and, perfectly knowing what a ‘dragonnade’ meant, they were in paroxysms of terror at the idea of another raid. The Prussian Consul was grossly deceived by Ali Pasha, the late Grand Vizier, who, true to his well-known policy of thwarting and cozening Europeans, addressed a Vizierial letter, worthless as was the wont of such instruments, to the Pasha of Jerusalem, well aware at the time that it should have been sent to the Governor-general of Syria, for transmission to Mohammed Said, then Pasha of Nablus. Nor was Rashid Pasha inferior to his patron, Ali Pasha: he asserted falsely, as usual, that he ‘could do nothing in the matter, since the exhibition of the stone to strangers’ (only one stranger had ever seen it!) ‘was a source of income to the Beni Hamedi, the loss of which might, not improbably, cause a new revolt.’ We are assured that the Governor-general was ‘completely deceived upon this point.’ No! such men are deceivers; the deceived were the gentlemen of the North German Consulate, especially the Chancelier, Dr. Meyer. Those who well know that Mohammed Said, of Nablus, was a mere creature of Rashid Pasha, cannot read without admiration, - ‘Der Pascha von Nablus, in December, durch einen von uns ausgewirkten Firman vom Wali zu Damascus beordet, den Stein in unsere Hände zu schaffen - für 100 nap. d’or forderte der Beni Hamedi auf, den Stein herauszugeben.’
Meanwhile, in the spring of 1869, - matters are not precipitated at Jerusalem, - the Rev. Dr. Barclay, then chief of the English mission to the Jews, having heard Mr. Klein report the discovery, suggested that time for action was come to Capt. Warren, R.E., who had been informed of the discovery by a man of Karak, only a few weeks after Mr. Klein had left Diban, and to M. Ganneau, who was notably ‘the first to recognise the immense importance of the monument.’ The former, knowing that the Prussians had obtained a Firman from the authorities, and were still acting in the matter, declined to interfere until they failed. However, in the following June (1869), before leaving for the Libanus (July), he called, with Dr. Barclay, upon Mr. Klein, when a long conversation took place: the reverend ‘discoverer’ was offered all manner of assistance, in the shape of squeeze-paper, instruments, and so forth, but he declared himself quite able to look after the matter single-handed. About that time Dr. Petermann left Jerusalem, after personally assuring
M. Ganneau that the whole affair had fallen through. In his own published statement we read, ‘It was not until after my departure, and when the Prussian Consulate took no farther interest in the matter, ... that the matter came to the ears of M. Ganneau.’ These words make it abundantly evident that the ‘ordinary rules of discretion’ should not have been invoked in an extraordinary case, and that the field had been left clear for M. Ganneau. The latter has been freely condemned by Dr. Ginsburg for his ‘unwise measures,’ and for ‘hasty and precipitate action.’ On the other hand, Mr. Klein (March 23, 1870) ‘cannot too highly praise the zeal, energy , and tact of M. Ganneau and Capt. Warren;’ whilst Capt. Warren (No. V. Palestine Exploration Fund) attributes the success of the squeezes to the entente cordiale between himself and M. Ganneau, recording with pleasure his acknowledgment of his fellow-labourer’s honourble and upright conduct in this delicate matter, as far as he had been concerned in it.
But Herr von Alten, successor to Dr. Petermann, did take ‘further interest in the matter,’ and, as has been seen, made matters worse with Rashid Pasha. Between July and November 1869 Capt. Warren sought health for himself and his party in the Libanus. M. Ganneau, after waiting patiently for a whole year, offered to advance 200 Majidis out of a total of 400[FN#48] to Shaykh Id el Faiz, if the latter would put the Stone into his hands. At length he obtained two squeezes of the inscription, in situ, the first by ‘Yaquob Caravacca,’ in the shape of seven lambeaux fripés et chiffonés; the second in November 1869,[FN#49] a valuable work in four sheets, by an Arab, Shaykh Jemíl, whom he had taught to use the brush; and the third in January 1870, showing the two large and sundry small fragments. These three, put together, form ‘l’unique représentation de l’ensemble du monument.’ The German Consular report is hardly correct when it asserts that M. Ganneau and Capt. Warren ‘obtained, through an Arab, a squeeze of the two chief portions, as well as of some of the smaller pieces:’ they obtained much more. And Dr. Ginsburg neglects the most important item when he declares (p. 11) – ‘The materials from which the restoration was effected are: 1. A squeeze of the whole Stone, as it was first discovered, in very bad condition; 2. Two very excellent squeezes of the two larger fragments, which represent about half of the entire surface; 3. Capt. Warren’s second squeeze of the larger fragments; 4. M. Ganneau’s rubbings of the lower fragments, obtained independently, which supplement each other; and 5. A number of small pieces of the Stone itself.’
Then came the catastrophe. The wild Benú Humaydah knowing, doubtless, that the ‘delivery of the Stone to the German Consulate had been ordered by the Turkish government,’ and finding that the Mudir (sous-préfet) of Salt was about to put pressure upon them, in agonies of fear made a bonfire round and below the precious relic, threw cold water upon it, and broke it to pieces with boulders. According to Capt. Warren, ‘the bits were distributed among the different families to place in the granaries and act as blessings upon the corn, for they say that without the Stone (or its equivalent in hard cash) a blight will fall upon their crops.’
All local authorities agree in describing the Benú Humaydah as almost pure Bedawin, whose ‘granaries’ are mud-coated baskets, whilst their villages number more tents than huts. At once, however, they destroyed or buried every other fragment of antiquity in their neighbourhood. The later travellers report that the surrounding tribes men whom Semitic cupidity has driven mad about ‘written stones’ -have led them long walks and rides out of the path, occasionally entailing a night in the open, without other rations but a dry crust and the tainted contents of a water-skin, in order to see a bit of frieze, a scrap of key pattern, a broken Ionic capital, or, at best, a fragment of Nabathean inscription.
The Franco-Prussian war tended not a little to embitter antiquarian rivalry in the matter of the Moabite Stone. Dr. Ginsburg, whilst freely owning that the young French savant has performed his task in a most scholarly, careful, and conscientious manner, charges him - it appears hardly just -with ‘precipitate and hasty action,’ and with jealousy and want of candour in not mentioning the ‘real or original discoverer’ of the Stone. Were I Mr. Klein, I should certainly decline the honour of being mentioned. Later in the same year, the German Consulate at Jerusalem virtually charged the French Drogman-Chancelier with indiscretion. The latter, on the other hand, complains (No. V. Palestine Exploration Fund) of a ‘regrettable omission’ on the part of Mr. Deutsch, who, after using his labours, had not referred to them.
Very unsatisfactory is the present state of our knowledge concerning the Stone itself. The reductions of the fac-similes published by M. Ganneau, Dr. Ginsburg, and others, show 34 lines, of which 6 only are perfect, each averaging 10 words, or 30 characters. This would give us a grand total of 340 words or l122 letters. Of the latter, which M. Ganneau reduces (why?) to ‘about a thousand,’ he has obtained from his 20 fragments - two of them large and 18 small - 613 characters, namely 358 and 150 from the first and second sizes, 38 from the biggest of the little pieces, and one from the smallest. Captain Warren has 56 from 18 fragments, part of the broken stone having been placed in his hand by a Bedawi employé as he was returning from the Libanus to Jerusalem (November 1869). Thus a total of 669 characters has been preserved out of a total in round numbers of 1100. The other 430 are not, however, lost: the ‘déplorables lacunes’ of 35 entire words, 15 half words, and 18 letters, or a little less than one-seventh, can be restored by M. Ganneau, whose four-sheet squeeze, though somewhat injured, is still exceedingly valuable. The best plan would be to make from a perfect estampage a fac-simile plaster-cast of the stele, coloured like nature, and upon it to photograph and to incise the inscription.
Curious to say, however, we are still doubtful about the number of lines, about the size, and about the shape of the stele’s lower part. Mr. Klein’s sketch rounds off the bottom on both sides. M. Ganneau, from his squeezes, makes it square, and in this he is followed by Captain Warren. Professor Rawlinson holds fast by the square, Dr. Ginsburg adopts the round, and, whilst he offers a ‘fac-simile of the original inscription,’ he has not, I believe, seen certain portions of it. In May 1871 M. Ganneau assured me that he had found in it the word ‘Davidah’ as well as ‘Arial,’ words which nowhere appear in the copies hitherto published. Possibly Mr. Klein supplies the explanations (Pall Mall Gazette, April 19, 1870): ‘in the lower corner there are not so many words missing as would be the case if it were square at the bottom.’ Moreover, all the rubbings of the smaller fragments have not yet, I believe, been published. And again, whilst M. Ganneau, measuring his squeezes, makes the stone 1 metre high by 0·60 broad by about 0·60 thick, Mr. Klein, from actual measurement of the Stone, proposes 1·13 by 0·70 by 0·35.
Evidently in the latter there is room for a 35th line. Surely it is full time that this mystery should now be cleared up.
Meanwhile, all who do not exclaim with M. l’Abbé Vertot, mon siège est fait, must fervently hope that we shall not lose the opportunity of securing for England a memorial of such importance. During the next few years many will set out to search for other Moabite stones; the find is uncertain, but the stele of Mesa is a positive gain to all critical students of Early-Hebrew history. M. Ganneau is ready to part with it; but there are complications with M. de Vogüé; moreover, having, as he says, cohabited with it for so many years, he makes a point of setting it up and of publishing the whole inscription himself. Hence the remark in your pages – ‘While the public at large have got some vague idea that, after all, the Moabite Stone may have been only a myth, the exhaustive labours of the learned on Moab and all that concerns it (together with a few new readings and suggestions) have ceased; and, worst of all, M. Ganneau’s stanchest defender (Professor Schlottmann) and upholder against those few who prefer the text au naturel to that periodically furnished forth with the latest corrections by M. Ganneau.’ I venture to suggest, that by disposing of his treasure he will consult its safety, and he may secure the wherewithal to continue his interesting excavations. My best wishes are with him that he may hit upon another trouvaille as valuable if possible as the Moabite Stone.
RICHARD F. BURTON.
P.S. Since these lines were penned I have heard from the Holy Land that the Rev. Dr. Tristram, Dr. Ginsburg, and party landed there on the last day of the last year. They expected hard work before they could ever hope for success; and they found it harder than they expected. The people of Karak imprisoned them, and demanded a ransom of 500 napoleons, reduced, I am told, to 50 napoleons. We are assured by Messrs. Tyrwhitt Drake and Palmer, that there does not exist another Moabite Stone above ground. But the ruined and buried cities of the trans-Jordanic region, showing vestiges far more venerable than those actually existing at Jerusalem, may be expected to yield, under systematic excavation, a peculiarly abundant harvest. The first discovery must always be looked upon as a distinct promise of future revelation. We are assured by the highest authority now living that the Assyrians, like the Portuguese in their golden age, were in the habit of erecting ‘padrões,’ that the Phœnicians inscribed their sarcophagi, and that even the Jews, perhaps, set up trophies for themselves. With him, we find the ‘inference inevitable, that this was the general custom amongst the Semitic nations inhabiting the country between the Mediterranean and Syria, and that, if we are to examine the countries adjoining Palestine and Syria, the country of the Ammonites and the country of the Moabites, we shall find similar monuments.’
The first fiasco took the shape of the ‘Medaba Stone,’ which was announced (Nov. 30), with some pomp and circumstance, in the Times, and which. despite the indorsement of M. Shapira, - who should have known better, - was at once detected by Mr. Deutsch. The affair will do good, by putting the unlearned on their guard, and by making them suspect the ‘highest authorities’ when the price of ‘Moabite Stones’ is applied to Nabathean inscriptions. The second is the Karak affair, which is bringing Dr. Ginsburg home, and which threatened a little campaign in the Holy Land. What may be the third it is hard to say, unless a little more savoir faire and prudence be used.
Description of Remains from Siloam. By C. Carter Blake, Doct. Sci., F.G.S., Hon. Mem.
A. I., Lecturer on Comparative Anatomy, Westminster Hospital.
Any remains which are brought from the ‘by no means prepossessing’[FN#50] locality of Siloam must be of interest to the student of Shemitic tradition. The present reliques deserve our careful examination:
On account of the broken condition of these bones, I do not attempt measurements. An examination of them leads, however, to the conclusion that they appertain to the race which has been called ‘Jewish’ by comparative anthropologists. That this race inhabited the neighbourhood of Jerusalem at the time of the deposition of the present remains is, therefore, a conclusion which rests not on hypothesis or tradition, but on comparison of the osteal evidences now before us.
Description of Skull from Deir-es-Sinne, near Siloam, from one of the graves in the necropolis termed Mághárat 'Isá (‘Tomb of Jesus’). By O. Carter Blake, Doct. Sci., F.G.S., Hon. Mem. A.I., Lecturer on Comparative Anatomy, Westminster Hospital.
The specimen before us is probably that of a small but adult individual, possibly female, and belonging to the (Osmanli) Turkish race. Its turreted aspect gives it some resemblance to the skull No. 1, from Dayr Már Músá el Habashi, and, like it, it has been asymmetrical, the depression having existed on the right side. The forehead is retrocedent in relation with the extreme height of the skull. The orbits are squared and laterally elongated. The nasal orifices are short, and round the nasal bone broad. There is slight maxillary prognathism. The first and second molars on the left side, and the first molar on the right, are in place, and show signs of erosion. The palate is moderately broad, without any excessive depth being shown.
The norma verticalis shows phœnozygism; but the zygomatic arches are slight. A large portion of the right half of the cranium has been broken off since death, and at a comparatively recent period. The sutures in the region of the alisphenoid and temporal bones are entirely closed, and the suture is serrated, but not deeply so. The sagittal and lambdoid sutures are in the same condition. The supra-occipital bone is deeply concave just behind the foramen.
It is impossible to estimate the precise breadth of the skull. The length has been 15·5 cent., and the height 10·0 cent.; the proportion of height to length, taking the latter as=100, being 64.
The race to which the individual belonged was certainly Turkish, and the date of interment cannot be precisely estimated.
Thirty-three fragments of skulls (big and small).
),This parcel ofbones was taken (April25, 1871) from the Kala’at el Marad (
‘of the Rebel,’ that is to say of Namrúd (Nimrod); upon our maps it is usually written Mird. A tomb was found open on the western edge of the mound upon which the ruins stand: its shape is square, and the entrance is by a shallow pit at the southern angle. The rhumb of the cemetery is N.N. West. and S.S.East. In the former and in the latter direction there are four loculi faced with masonry, the two sets being separated by a transverse passage which may also have been a loculus. The N.N. Western receptacle measures 6 feet 7' in length by 2 feet 9' 6" in breadth by 2 feet 3' in depth, and the whole is covered over with a rude vaulting. No other graves were found amongst the ruins.
After a visit to the Greek monastery of Mar Sábá, ‘la coza la mas atrevida en el mundo,’ that can be imagined, said my Spanish colleague Conde de Caza Fiel, we rode along the slippery ledge of white chalky rock, well garnished with slides and holes, which, following the right bank of the Wady el Nár, a continuation of the Kedron, forms the Sultani or high-road to Jerusalem. The winding gorge that begins about a mile above, and ends some two miles below the convent, must have lodged an army of Cœnobites. The perpendicular faces of the rock are everywhere pigeon-holed with their dens, some mere caves, others roughly built up; these at low, those at high levels approached by paths which now would not tempt a goat, and showing every possible difference of size and shape. Instead of seeing Cæsar triumphing and hearing Tully perorating, I should prefer to behold the great Laura of the Fiery Valley restored, and gaze at its old tenantry creeping like beetles about the cliffs, and affording a touching lesson of what asceticism can do for the species homo sapiens. Reaching the shallower bed we crossed to the right
), so called froma well of that name.As we side, and struckup the Wady elBakkúr (
rose above the low level, Jebel Furaydis began to peep like Scylla in a storm above the long succession of huge ground-rollers. After an hour’s ride from our tents at Mar Sábá,
), which we reached the divide, and began the descent of the Wadyel Bakay’eh(
leads to the plain so called. Here only a hundred years ago the country was covered with vines; now there are but the ruins of vine-yards, grape-terraces, and swathes of stone like those about Ma’in of Moab, the Haurán Valley, and the Jebel Durúz Haurán. The dark glaze upon the silex and the calcaire reminded me of what I had noticed in the Congo, the Sāo Francisco, and the Uruguay, and what I had read of in the Rivers Orinoco, the Zambeze, and the Yang-Tse-Kiang (Captain Blakistone).
Some fifteen minutes from the summit down the Fiumara led us to a watercourse which of old was evidently intended to feed a number of cisterns; the guides called it Kanát el Marad, and all declared that it was fed by the Bir Ayyub, popularly supposed to represent En Rogel at the confluence of the so-termed Valley of Hinnom with the so-termed ‘Brook Kedron.’ Little value can be attached to these vague legends, but there are mysteries about the ‘Well of Job’ which will not be cleared up without difficulty. Another quarter of an hour placed us at a dyke partly natural, partly artificial, with rude stone set in mud instead of lime or concrete: it spans, or rather it spanned, a torrent-bed, damming up the precious water supply. Thence we ascended the Tell Marad by a path winding amongst broken walls and heaps of superior masonry. The hill-top was by aneroid 140 perpendicular feet above the valley; the Jordan mouth bore from it 77°, and the opening of the Wady Zerka Ma’in (Callirrhoe) 123°. The steepest part is to the southwest, and here the angle measures 31°. The southern rim was of natural rock, and the whole surface seems to have been vaulted over with arches mostly round: on the east was a well, and near it stood two tanks of cut stone. We found tessellations, in fact these are picked up at the least likely places, for instance upon the hill of Dayr i Dubban.[FN#51] I have remarked that the tesseræ are of two kinds: the small and carefully finished, like those about Sidon, and in the Dayr el Musallabah, the Convent of the Cross near Jerusalem; and the large and coarse, which are scattered all over the country. The former are evidently classical Græco-Roman, whilst the latter may be Saracenic imitations. At the southern mole of Kaysariyyah (Cæsarea Palestina) I observed masses of tessellated work on both sides of the concrete blocks, suggesting that they were party-walls.
Description of Human and Animal Remains from Marad, Syria. By C. Carter Blake.
The fractured condition of the human remains from Marad precludes any very precise consideration of their race characters. They may be comprised as follows:
|Scapulæ and ilia||4|
|Bones of extremities||7|
|Horn-cores of sheep||2|
The bones appear to have belonged to four individuals at least, one of whom was large and robust, and one was a young child of probably about a year old. Some of the parietal bones are rather thick.
One of the axis vertebræ is heavily ossified.
It is impossible to arrive at any conclusion as to the race to which these individuals appertained.
The fragments of frontal bone of young Syrian sheep accompanying them appear to be of the same age as the human remains.
No.9 LOT. From Tower of Bassus.
Skull nearly perfect; a portion of bone fallen from the walls.
Part of calva.
Skull perfect, wanting only jaw-bone.
Back part of calva.
Front of calva (part of bone polished).
Three pieces of calvaria fitting together.
Two femoral bones, right and left.
One ilium; one calcareum.
Rag of mummy-cloth.
Fragment of coffin.
An almond cut off at the top (this has already been alluded to).
The greater part of the skulls was found in the upper story of the Tower called of Bassus at the Druze village of Shakkah (Saccæa): of these, six fragmentary skulls were taken from the tower, and three fragments from the monastery.[FN#52] The rest came from the basement, whose northern entrance we opened by the simple process of clearing away the rubbish with which it had long been blocked up.
The tower in question is called by the people El Burj: it is a square of nineteenfeet measured outside, and it had apparently three stories. The base-course slopes with abevel, and falls perpendicularly upon a foundation of good masonry: the entrance to the first overground story is to the east, and the large impost has bold bosses at each end. The interior shows a curious complication, being supplied with a cornice running all round, as if taking the place of corbels to support the stone beams; a portion of the northern andsouthern walls is pierced, as if to admit joists for floor and ceiling, and these holes are found in only one half of the building. The two upper cornices are evidently new, and the stones do not belong to the same style of masonry. Besides two skulls we saw scattered about this floor a number of human bones which could not have been those of Druzes, the present occupants of the village, or they would have been deposited in the adjoining cemetery.
With some trouble we persuaded a pair of fainéants to fetch a pick and a basket,and disregarding their eternal appeals, ‘How much will you give us?’ and ‘What very hard work it is!’ we made them open a passage into the basement. Creeping inside we found the space heaped with earth, but showing three loculi to the west, 6 feet 6 incheslong by 3 feet wide, and beginning at 1 foot 18 inches from the entrance. Close above ourheads was a slab and a layer of loose stones, with jammed mummies, calvariæ, bones, and cerements of all kinds; it was necessary to remove those required with caution, asthere was a risk of bringing the whole of the human breccia bodily down. It was evident that our basement opened up only the north-eastern third of the lowest story: we expectedto find adits on the west and the south sides, and we had promised ourselves a renewal of exploration, which was, however, prevented by untoward circumstances.
We also met with remnants of skulls and bones in the western tower of the Dár el Sharkiyyah, a large church and monastery lying outside, and, as its name denotes, to the east of Shakkah: they are probably the mortal dépouilles of the reverend men. The upper part of the northern face is evidently of more modern date than the others. On the bossedstones of the lower face appear deeply-cut circles, probably masons’ marks. The toweropens east, and opposite the entrance is a loculus nine feet long: the interior also shows four solid corbels calculated to support a very heavy roof. Climbing up to the secondstory , we observed older stones built into the more modern masonry; the area was divided by a party-wall, and the eastern half had two arches spanning it from north tosouth, the lower being larger than the upper: the stone shutter of the window was still in place. The fine cream colour of the older basalt showed long exposure, whilst the more recently quarried stones were black. The church to the south-east was composed of anauditorium or nave, and two ambulatoria (aisles), with the rounded apse (Haykal) which in the Hauran and the Southern Desert always characterises the most ancient architecture, ecclesiastic and Christian. We found in and about the pile a number of incised crosses,some inscriptions, and a headless feminine figure, with the loose dress looped up like thatof a modem Bedawiyyah -possibly, as in Cyprus, all the heads, the fronts of offence,were buried by the Moslems in one spot.
Shakkah, near the north-western edge of the Jebel Durúz Haurán, is one of themost interesting and important which the mountain can show. The traveller will do wellcarefully to examine the fine Pagan temple El Kaysariyyah, with the old Suk, or bazar,and its outwork El Akadah; the house of Damathos and other ‘Kusur’ (palaces), theJámi’a or Madrasah to the north, and the adjacent tomb-tower. The northern face of the latter shows only three stories, with a few broken stones above the upper cornice; thelowest, pierced with an arch and quadrangular door, has five courses, mostly modern, asevidently appeared from repair; the second, with a single window, has ten, and the third has eight courses; the lintel of the window being supported by two corbels. The whole face is divided by cornices slightly projecting, and of the same shape and size as thatabove. Entering by the south we find an underground story, a second story seven feethigh, and a third -probably two thrown into one - raised twenty feet; the flooring issupported by ponderous corbels built into the masonry, here and there two tiers withinthree feet of each other. The masonry shows an abundance of interior rubble. The houses of most ancient date prove that then, as now, the want of timber was supplied by archesbuilt from three to four and even five feet apart; large stone beams being laid across to
form the upper story floor.
)which, liketheBeyond thispoint the traveller will inspect El Kísán (
Kaysariyyah, has been supplied with a vast variety of crosses; one of them forked at thefour ends, and chiselled over an ancient inscription with so shallow a cut as not to
obliterate it: of this we also brought home a copy. The building, however, rich in architectural details, appears to have been a town-hall in the Græco-Roman city. Thehuge ruins called the Dayr, and its two important Kabús (cisterns) to the north, exhaust the objects of interest above ground.
Description of Remains from Bassus’s Tower at Shakkah. By Dr. C. Carter Blake.
ALL the remains described in the present lot show characters identical with a Græco-Roman race of varying dimensions, and exhibiting various conditions of postmortem interment, which have affected the exact measurements of the skulls. They are in an exceedingly fragmentary condition.
No.1. This large brachycephalous skull, of which the frontal portion has become detached, shows traces of occipitofrontal flattening on the right side, which has led to the aplatissement of the right parietals and the right supraoccipital bone. The sutures beingall open at the period of death has led to this abnormal process being more effectual thanit would have been in those skulls (e.g. the ‘Louth’) in which the sutures having been closed early in life, the post-humal compression has produced a greater amount ofdeformation than in the present case. The sagittal, coronal, and lambdoid sutures havebeen open during life. There is no doubt that the individnal was brachycephalous. The frontal bone is round and bombate, the nasal bones having been wide. The supraorbitalforamina have been converted into notches on both sides. All the sutures are deeply denticulated, the lambdoid excessively so, and the latter shows traces of at least six large Wormian bones. The supraoccipital bone is small, and beneath the superior semi-circularcurved line the occiput rapidly curves towards the foramen. This is round and large. There are very slight traces of paroccipital processes on both sides, and the post condyloid foramina are deep. The facial bones are entirely absent. The auditory foramen(on the left side) is small and the mastoids are large. The additamentum mastoidalis is ossified throughout the whole of its course. Although the post-mortem compression onthe right side has been great, it is possible that during life a great flattening of theparietals and occipitals existed, due either to a ‘suckling-board’ or to the natural brachycephaly of the race. The points for muscular attachment on the skull are slightly marked, and it is probable that the individual did not exceed thirty years of age.
No.2. Facial bone of young individual with rounded orbits, and exhibiting slightartificial (post-mortem) depression of the frontal bone on the left side. The facies has been orthognathic. The age of the individual was probably about seven or eight, the second dentition being just descending from the alveoli. This shows in place the two median top incisors, four premolar and molar teeth on each side in position, the last of the series being in the alveolus. The nasal spine has been large. The condition of all the sutures is such as indicates the extreme youth of the specimen.
No.3. This very small female skull exhibits the frontal suture entirely open and elevated along its length. The sagittal suture is open as well as the lambdoid, which shows an enormous triquetral ‘Wormian’ dismemberment of the supraoccipital bone. Thetemporal is small. The palate is broad and shallow, the molar series having been entirely absorbed in the alveoli. The retrocedent frontal bone slopes rapidly back to the coronal suture, whence the curve is equable to the middle of the sagittal suture, and rapidly falls in an almost vertical line to the inion, beneath the ‘Os Incæ’ above mentioned, and shelves rapidly down to the foramen, which is round. The mastoids are small. The orbits are rounded. The supraorbital foramina have been converted into notches; the caninefossa is almost obliterated. The post condyloid foramina are large. The nasal bones are large and broad, and the surface for the attachment of cartilage has been great. The skull has been immersed in soft humal mud, a large portion of which is adherent to it.
No.4. The posterior portion of a very large cranium, broken off a little in front of the coronal suture, and probably having been brachycephalous. The proportions generally accord with those of No.3, though the skull is much larger. This character is very distinguishable on the posterior surface of the parietal and occipital bones, which areasymmetrically flattened, the greatest depression being on the right side. There is a slightparoccipital process on this side. The condyles are proportionately small, and the foramenmagnum is rounded. There has been a large triquetral bone cutting off the upper half ofthe supraoccipital, due no doubt to the use of the ‘suckling-board’ in youth.
No.5. The fractured frontal bone of a young individual, in which the frontal suture has been to a great extent retained, and showing open and large frontal sinuses. The orbitshave been rounded. The nasal bones are produced forwardly, and the forehead is fairly bombate.
No.6. In three pieces. This portion of a brachycephalous cranium is much eroded and worn. The frontal bone is in a very shattered condition, the supraciliaries having beenlarge, but broken away. The lambdoid suture is the only one which can be said to bepartially open, and deeply denticulated. The superior semicircular curved line is large,and the inion prominent.
The skulls from Bassus’s Tower are both male and female, and undoubtly belongto one race, and probably to one family.
No.7. Right femur, measuring 44 centimetres.
No.8. Right femur, measuring 42 centimetres.
No.9. Left iliac bone.
No.10. Twenty fragments of parietal and other bones of great thickness.
No.11. Calcaneum, probably female.
From the monastery at Shakkah are derived three specimens:
A. Hyperostotic frontal bone of great thickness and weight, with prominent nasal bones and large orbital elevations. The forehead has not been unusually depressed.
B. Frontal bone fragmentary on right side, with large frontal sinuses. The bonesare thick, dense, and highly polished. The individual was smaller than A.
C. Supraoccipital bone very thick and dense, probably belonging to the individual numbered A, with whose character it agrees. The superiorsemicircular curved line is large and produced, and the occiput has been shelving. The lambdoid suture has been deeply denticulated.
All these bones contrast, in their osseous condition, very much with those from Bassus’s Tower.
Twenty-two fragments of bone (remarkably thick).
Being often obliged to visit the Dhumayr village, the north-easternmost settlementon the Damascus Plain, when the Bedawi dromedary-rider brings the English post-bagsfrom Baghdad, I had long resolved to try the fortunes of excavation at one of two likely places. The first lies close to the streamlet which rises in a fine spring at the Ra’as el Ayn,a little below the Ruhaybah village: it flows through a ribbon of grass down a deep gorge, and receiving the Mukabrit, or Sulphur Water, at the gorge of the same name, it passes, after turning six mills, through the western end of the settlement by a well-defined river valley; finally, when not absorbed by the fields, it finds the Birket ‘Utaybah, or NorthernStagnum of Damascus. The right bank of this ‘Nahr Dhumayr,’ as it is here called, raisedfifty feet high, and composed of soft breccia, conglomerate, and limestone, shows a scatter of mortuary caves deeply cut in the stone floor and facing in all directions: some are partially covered with huge boulders, of which many have been broken up for building purposes, others are open, and all are more or less choked with rubbish.
On the east of the modern townlet, after passing out of the lanes cumbered withdead donkeys, camel bones, and offal, there is a precisely similar formation upon the raised right bank of the Mayyat Maksurah, which also forms a distinct river valley,accommodating washerwomen and irrigating the fields. To the north of this line, still showing a large Sorus or sarcophagus, with pillow to receive the head and monolithiccovering slab, is one of the modern cemeteries - the more extensive graveyard is to the west of the town - and indeed the whole arc extending round the Mayyat Maksurah to the Nahr Dhumayr may have been the ancient necropolis.
Wishing to visit the Bayt and Ayn el Ráhib (of the Monk), some seven milesdistant to the eastward of Dhumayr, we left orders (June 6, 1871) for half-a-dozen Fellahin labourers to clear out one of the catacombs on the east of the Dhumayr River. Unable to be in two places at once, and unwilling to separate in this rendezvous ofplundering Bedawin, we could not superintend our excavation. Consequently the fellowscleared out only one, instead of half-a-dozen. Visiting the fouille about sunset, we found a heap of bones, including a quantity of the powder which has lately got the name of‘Egyptian guano,’ selling for 7l. to 81. per ton, disposed about the mouth of the pit, in which one labourer was working hard at doing nothing, whilst the rest were reposing after a similar toil. The cave was approached by six steps - the number greatly varies -and it showed three inner bays or alcoves, each made to accommodate six corpses. The latter were disposed in frames of cut stone, open at the top - the coverings had probably been removed by the treasure-seeker. This was also the case with all those which I hadpreviously visited and had found empty; in some, however, the form of the cavern wascircular, instead of being quadrangular; and I remarked that the conglomerate contained basalt.
Dhumayr has suffered from maps and guide-books as much as comports with its insignificancy. Van de Velde places it a little to the west of its streamlet, whereas the latter passes through the western extremity of the settlement, and both he and Murray’s Handbook and map confound it with El Maksúrah, a place distant one short hour’s ride to the east. The Sun-temple -converted into a church, and afterwards to a fort - has often been described; but sufficient attention has not been given to the cornice, with cinquefoils in compartments carried all round the exterior, as bearing upon its original date. Seenfrom inside also the apex of the pediment is formed by a flat stone supported by three oneither side; whilst the arched Hellenic portal, now filled up, reminds us of Mr. Hamilton’s gateway at Kerasunt, the ancient Pharnacia (Travels in Asia Minor, i. 264). A hideous bonnet de nuit of comparatively modern stones, with crenelles at the corners, has been run over the coping, and will contribute much towards bringing down the edifice: when something shall have been done for Ba’albak, it will be time to press for the suppression of this evil. One line of the Greek inscription upon the stones at the north-east angle has been carefully effaced - we found these erasures even in the Jebel Durúz Haurán - and we can only conjecture that the object was to obliterate some Christian expressionantagonistic to Monotheism. In sundry cases the obliteration was not complete enough to prevent our deciphering the obnoxious words.
The Fellahs here, as elsewhere, have their own traditions about the Kasr or Kala’ah, which, surrounded by their clay huts, likest to wasps’ nests, appears to be suchan anomaly. It was built by one Hanna bin Manna, who lived a thousand years, and ‘enjoyed himself in no manner (wa má tamanná):’ the same thing, however, is said ofmany other places, and it has passed into a popular dictum more concise, although lesseloquent, than Gibbon’s reflection. They account for the Nahr Yezid, an old aqueductwhich passes north of the settlement upon the Barada rim, by telling the tale of a king who, of course, inhabited the Kasr, and whose daughter was sought in marriage by two suitors, Yezid and Awáján. The father promised the prize to him who should first bring water from Damascus, and the name of the conduit shows who won ‘that young person.’
Thelsea is evidently to be sought at El Maksúrah -the ‘broken down,’ the ruin upon the plain which is still one of the stations on the direct road to Karyatayn and Palmyra. It looks much in the condition in which I had seen Arica, and the extrados and voussoirs of the half-arch to the west are worthy of Mendoza. The building has evidentlya square peribolos, and four cross roads meeting in the centre; the grooves for heavy doors, the well-carved cornice, and the massive masonry of large blocks, showing aninside stuffing of small stones and lime, are sub-classical. The impost under the arch reminds us of Mr. Hamilton’s vignette (vol. i. p. 450), which he judges to be Byzantian Christian, destroyed by the Saracens and Seljukians of Iconium. A subseqnent age
fortified the north wall with six round towers placed near together, for the benefit of
), or coarse marblylimestone, on the bowmen.A large coarsely-built pile ofKartah(
sonth-east, unprovided with an apse, shows upon its western wall a rude inscription of
seven lines, the lower part being hardly legible; in the second, however, we easily readΑΥΡΗΛΙΟC, in the fourth ΚΑΙ ΚΑΝ∆Ι∆ΑΤΟC, and the whole is framed in a simple Lauh, or cartouche à oreillettes: everything here suggests the monastery. The Moslemappears in the loop-holed wall and in the remnants of a mosque. The large jar-shapedsilo, the vaulting, and the alcove shaped like a Mihrab, but fronting eastward, may belongto almost any age.
The stations between El Maksúrah and the Khan el Hallábát, which is the nearest to Palmyra, were given to me as follows, by Da’ás Aghá, chief of Jayrúd:
Before, however, the traveller attempts to ride this road, I should advise him tocontract for a strong party with the strongest ruffian nearest at hand, say Mohammed elDukhi, chief of the Wuld ‘Ali.[FN#53]
No.11 LOT (Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake’s).
8 skulls, fragmentary.
13 skulls, fragmentary.
20 mortuary lamps.
The place where this fine lot was found is at the northern extremity of the Ra’as el Kúz (‘Pitcher-Head,’ Kúz being here synonymous with ‘Ibrik’), the glaring white mound of chalk near Yabrúd. From afar it appears of a fine pearl-gray: the perpendicular heightby aneroid is 200 feet, and the head and shoulders are covered with a natural macadam offlakey chalk, like that of the Libanus and of Jebel Sannin. The whole of the lower part isa cemetery, evidently dating from ancient, and probably exclusively Christian times;whilst the upper slopes are occupied by the Bawádír or sledging floors, which gives it the appearance of being divided into giant steps.
In Sept. (27th, 1870), accompanied by the young school-master Ibrahim Kátibah,by whom, under the direction of the Rev. Mr. Crawford, the present collection was made,I visited the place, and was shown where a tomb-cavern had lately been opened, close tothe Nabk or Eastern road. The shape of the pit, sunk in the soft chalk and conglomerate, was a parallelogram, from which set off three low bays or arched receptacles for corpses. There was a niche for a mortuary lamp upon the left to one facing it, and over the centralvault there was a small Lauh (cartouche or tablet), with an inscription which had beendestroyed. My guide could remember only the letters N O; but he believed that it was a Scriptural quotation in Greek. In front of the arch a pigeon was rudely carved. Humanbones and several pottery jars full of ashes (Sajwal) had also been found; but these ofcourse had disappeared. To the east of this cemetery was the commencement of another set of graves; but it had not been half finished.
On August 6th, 1871, Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake and I, having heard from the Rev. Mr. Crawford of another and a fresh find, arrived at Yabrúd, and were at once led to a place a few yards above the three-vault grave. Here a round arch facing to the north had been opened in the loose stratification of the hill-side, and the entrance showed signs of having been closed with a slab. The interior consisted of a parallelogram subtended by three arches, shaped exactly like some of the pits which I had inspected at Dhumayr. The length of the three loculi[FN#54] was five feet, and the upper stories showed ‘reveals’ orgroovings, sunk round the margins, to receive the monolithic covering slabs. There weremany little side ledges, upon which the lamps had been disposed. According to our informant, a relative of the young schoolmaster, a whole skeleton was brought to light, and was wantonly broken up. My fellow-traveller paid a piastre to a boy for a bit of green bone, which had evidently been long in contact with some metallic substance.
Yabrúd, an episcopal (Greek) town, is still a place of some importance. The people derive its name from the cold (Bard) of the winters; and if this be correct, the Jabruda of Ptolemy is right, whilst the later Christian name Yambruda has unduly addeda letter to the root. Its western approach is remarkable. The traveller riding along the upland plain of ‘Assál el Ward, with the great limestone waves El Marmarún[FN#55] on his right, and to the left a fine profile view of the Anti-Libanus, with its crown-shapedFatlí summit and its northernmost paps and pyramids El Haláim, passes through the mean village Ra’as el Ayn, and entering a short narrow Fijj (cluse), with a broken stonytrack,finds himself descending towards the second gradient, the Kárá-Nabk Plain. Here is the ancient pagan necropolis; and the olden dead looked out upon a pleasant plot of greensward, like the Rabwat el Minshár,[FN#56] where the gorge of the Barada opens upon the Damascus Plain, with trees and orchards, and a bright spring bubbling fromunder the rock at the farther side. The tall limestone walls on the right of the valley are pierced with a multitude of caverns, for which the moderns find no better name thanDakkákín (shops), declaring it to be the ancient Suk or bazar. And that the element ofwonder, so necessary to the Syrian mind, may not be wanting, here the Malik Bardawil[FN#57] stretched a chain across the valley, and hung to it a bell. It served as theIrishman’s traditional jacket at Donnybrook; any one who wanted a fight had only to ringfor it. And it will appear from the sequel that the combative monarch fought once too often.
A rough and rocky path, with the fields and orchards of the town on one side, and on the other a prolongation of the old pagan necropolis, leads to the town. In one place the path winds round a large boulder in situ, with a sarcophagus sunk in the summit. The Marmarún cliffs tower grandly over the diminutive Ra’as el Kúz, whose pallid browcontrasts with their warm red faces; and they gradually edge off to the north in smallerwaves, like a sea tired of flowing. The city boasts of being able to turn out its 2500 to3000 guns; and the number of houses, about 1000, would represent a population of not less than 8000.[FN#58] Of these, some one-fifth are Christians, mostly Greek, but already contributing a quotum to the Reformed Faith; the rest are Moslems, and there isapparently no angry rivalry between the religions. Of this I have spoken before: itsuggests the total absence of religious strife between Catholic and Protestant farmers in Ireland, when neither squire nor parson bids angry passions rise. The Yabrudites are a well-to-do race, driving a thriving trade in madder, and slaughtering some twenty sheep aday - in this land an unfailing test of prosperity. Orderly, like almost all comfortable communities, they are managed by eight policemen. It is only fair to confess, however, that during my second visit we found the women, Moslem as well as Christian, thrashing the Kázi: the reverend man had, by the extreme freedom of his propos, richly merited the castigation.
The two lions of Yabrúd are the ‘Castle’ and the Cathedral. The latter rises to the north of the town, based upon an outcrop of hard limestone, up which leads a rugged path. The whole monticule shows traces of classical architecture; but the new walls of the modern buildings conceal everything except the remains of the eastern portico. Of fourshafts only one half survives, the southern with two, the northern with three frustra, considerably shaken out of the perpendicular; and in both the capitals are wanting.Behind them is a single tall jamb of a fine gateway, adorned with egg pattern and with the honeysuckle. The natives call this building Kasr Bardawíl; and here lived that pugnacious king, till slain one fine day by Abu Jayd el Halálah, a companion of Antar, who flourished circa A.D. 550. These people have minds utterly uncorrupted by chronological studies.
The Cathedral, now, of course, in the hands of the Greek Church, is attributed to Constantine and Helena. If they be its builders, either the pile was erected in the mostcareless and even barbarous style, or, what is far more probable, we now see a modernrestoration. The stones of the northern wall belong to many systems of masonry. Some ofthe blocks are plain; others bear a single boss and draft; whilst in some the boss is double. There are several round arches, now blocked up, originally opening under imposts; and a kind of clerestory gives an archaic type to the whole. The interior is evidently modern,the nave and aisles being separated by four square piers, whilst over the door is the usual cage for the women bodies.
To Constantine and Helena also are attributed the watch-towers, which are planted at regular distances upon little eminences in the Kárá-Nabk Plain, and which extend north-ward to Hums. Having been told that a Karshúni inscription was to be found over the doorway, I examined that upon the Tell near Kara. The character was simplylong Sulsí and the interior was a vault, with groinings which sprang from the four corner piers. Similarly on the shore-road from Bayrut to Sidon, the Burj Khuldah, usuallysupposed to be the Mutatio Heldua of the ‘Jerusalem Itinerary,’ and evidently one of themany Roman guard-houses which studded the fine causeway subtending the whole coast. A square, measuring outside twenty-three feet, and faced both ways with large stonescontaining rubble, is universally supposed by the natives to have been a kind of telegraph station, by means of which the momentous intelligence that the true cross had been‘invented’ might be instantly conveyed to Constantinople from that persevering old North-countrywoman who now bears the title of St. Helena.
Description of Remains from Yabrúd. By C. Carter Blake, Doct. Sci., F.G.S., Hon. Mem. A.I., Lecturer on Comparative Anatomy, Westminster Hospital.
PART I. CAPTAIN BURTON’S COLLECTION.
ALL the equably ovoid skulls contained in the present collection appear to appertain to one race, and that one which presents the modern Syrian type of skull.
Skull No.1. A large high dolichocephalous skull, with very slight superciliaryridges and flattened forehead: the present specimen is more like the young Syrian skullfrom Palmyra, previously described and figured, than any skull which has yet come under my examination from the ‘Holy Land.’ The contour forms an even curve throughout its whole fronto-occipital length. It is slightly asymmetrical, probably owing to the influences of interment.
The wisdom-tooth on the left side has been shed during life, and the alveolus is absorbed. The foramen magnum is small and round. The palate is rather high and vaulted,especially in its posterior portion. The nasal bones have been forwardly produced, arched,and the nose has been aquiline.
The sutures are all open, the alisphenoido-parietal suture on the right side being smaller than on the left. The coronal suture is very slightly serrated, and the denticulations on the sagittal and lambdoid are not excessive. There are no Wormian bones, nor the slightest traces of jugular eminences on either side. The supramastoid ridge is large and heavy, but although the individual has probably been an adult male, the mastoid processes are small. Supraorbital foramina exist on both sides. The frontal region is large, though the frontal bone is retrocedent. The ridges for the attachment of muscles are not pronounced. The age of the individual was probably about thirty or forty. As thenext skulls for description accord closely with it in nearly all its distinctive characters, the description of this first one will nearly suffice for all. The mandible which probablyappertains to this skull is low and narrow, the coronoid process being scarcely elevated,and the angle slightly exserted. The condyle being broken away, gives the sigmoid notcha greater appearance of shallowness than is really the case. All the teeth have dropped outsince death. The sockets have been small, and those of the molar series are of the size in the Indo-European race.
Skull No.2. With larger superciliary ridges than skull 1, the present agrees with itin nearly all essential characters. The sutures are all nearly closed, with the exception ofthe lambdoid. The result has been that the superior portion of the occipital bone above the semicircular line is posteriorly developed. The supramastoid ridges are prominent and themastoid processes large, there being a great depth between the supramastoid ridge and the apex of the mastoid process. The digastric fossæ are deep, and cleave the mastoid processes on each side into two portions, each of which shows cancellous structure.There are, however, no paroccipital or pneumatic processes. The auditory foramina arelarge. The palate is shallow and flat. The molar teeth in place are small. The orbits are depressed at their inferior and external margins.
Skull No.3. Like the preceding, the present specimen belongs to the ‘long oval type.’ The dextral portion of the facial bones has been broken away since death. Thebones are slender. The sutures are not deeply denticulated. The mastoid processes are small, and there are very slight paroccipitals. The molar teeth in place are not much worn, and exhibit the characters of the ‘white’ races of mankind. The jugular foramen is largest on the right side, where its size is disproportionately great.
Skull No.4. In friable condition, this large quasi-brachycephalous calvaria, withopen frontal suture, shows indications of having belonged to a large and powerful male. The sagittal suture is deeply denticulated with large Wormian bone at the confluence of itwith the lambdoid.
Skulls labelled Nos. 5 and 6 belong to one person - a young child, with bombate forehead and rounded orbits. The skull has been broken off through the basisphenoidbone. The nasal bones are well developed and arched. The nasal spine is prominent. Theparietal bones are smoothly curved to the probole, which is much produced. The mastoid processes are very small, and the squamosal bone is small. The alisphenoido-parietal suture is broad.
Skull No.7. The three broken fragments of parietal and occipital bones thus labelled do not call for especial remark, other than to note the fact, that they belong to alarge adult individual, in which the sutures have been deeply denticulated.
Skull No.8. This fractured portion of calvaria merely comprises the frontal and portions of the parietal bones. The sutures are open. The frontal sinuses have been large,but the supraciliary ridges are not excessively developed. The skull has probably beenless dolichocephalous than those previously described from the same locality.
Skull No.9. A fragmental calvaria of a young dolichocephalous individual, inwhich the frontal sinuses have not been much developed, and the bone is thin. The coronal suture shows a tendency to close early.
Description of Remains from Yabrúd.
PART II. MR. TYRWHITT DRAXE'S COLLECTION.
Skull No.1. This large prognathic brachycephalous individual exhibits characters which indicate that it was of probably the Turanian or Turkish (Tatar) race, whichoccupied a large portion of Syria. The sutures are all open. The coronal is very slightlydenticulated, and the sagittal shows signs of a large Wormian bone in its posteriorportion. The large supraoccipital bone extends above a markedly-produced superiorsemicircular line, and stands out as a well-marked probole in relief from the rest of the bone. There are no paroccipitals. Traces exist of the original division between the basioccipital and basisphenoid bones. The palate is broad, but not deep, and the molar teeth have all either dropped out or become broken off since death. Oxide of iron hasproduced a chemical alteration in the dentine of some of the broken teeth yet in place. The supranasal notch is deep, and the nasal bones are curved forwardly. The maxillarybone is prognathic to a very great extent. The orbits are small, and the supranasalforamina have been converted into notches on either side. The surface of the skull around the coronal suture has bulged apparently since death, by the swelling of moist intercranialsubstance; and there also exists a slight carination along the length of the sagittal suture.The frontal bone is equably bombate. The individual has probably been adult.
Skull No.2. A long dolichocephalous skull, which in some of its characters reminds us of the large mecistocephalic skull from Palmyra (No.2), before described. Much more prognathic, however, than the Palmyrene, it possesses the same character oflarge and long occipital region. The mastoid processes are small, and there are no paroccipitals. The palate is broad and shallow. The teeth have all been broken out sincedeath. The cerebellar cavity has been large, as is shown even by the inspection of the outside of the occipital bone. The orbits are small and rounded. The temporal squama is unusually flat on both sides.
Skull No.3. Smaller than the preceding. The same characters are repeated in it, so that the description of No.2 will apply mutatis mutandis to the present specimen. The coronal suture has been early closed. The nasal bones are forwardly arched. Only one tooth, m 1, is in place on the left side. There has been broken off ‘a process of Halbertsma,’ which has formed evidently a small condylus tertius, but the friable condition of the bones has made it impossible precisely to measure the size of this abnormal ossification. The mastoids are small.
Skull No.4. This large, almost brachycephalous skull, with prominent inion, differs in type from Nos. 2 and 3, and scarcely accords with that of No.1. It is difficult to determine its race, and it may have been a mixed breed between the Syrian of Yabrúd and the Osmanli Turk. An adult male, the frowning beetle brows of the supraciliary ridges overhanging an aquiline hooked nose, and with an enormous development of the occipitalregion of the skull, give it a physiognomy at once robust and repulsive. The height of the skull appears comparatively great. The occipital condyles are broken away. The palate isflat and only slightly excavated. The teeth on the right side have chiefly been shed during life. The zygomatic arches are large, though the skull is not phœnozygous. The occipital foramen is large and round, concomitant with the large size and brachycephalous character of the skull. The maxillaries are orthognathic.
It may be possible that the present skull may belong to the Jewish race, as itaffords no characters contradictory of this conclusion; but, as I have said, it is extremelydifficult to predict the precise race to which it belonged.
Skull No.5. Fractured left parietal and occipital bones of a young dolichocephalous individual, with very thin osseous texture. The attachments for the muscles are not marked.
I have not seen the skull, which probably was labelled No.6, from Yabrúd.
Skull No.7. Occipital and fractured parietal bones, right side of a large, adult, brachycephalous man, in whom the bones are remarkably thick and strong. The mastoid processes are large. There are no paroccipitals. The lambdoid and coronal sutures havebeen entirely obliterated. The processes for muscular attachment are not so marked as might have been expected from a skull otherwise so robust. The tips of the asymmetricalcerebral lobes have projected far beyond the cerebellum.
And now, Mr. President and gentlemen, I would again express my gratitude for the kindness and courtesy with which you have allowed me to read and print this somewhat lengthy catalogue raisonné, and to hope that you are not disappointed by theefforts of your representative in Syria and Palestine during the last two years. You willcharitably remember that it was mainly a labour of love, undertaken amidst a variety ofoccupations, interrupted by business of a public as well as a private nature, and intended chiefly to supplement the geographical studies and explorations which occupied thegreater part of my spare time.
In conclusion, I offer my thanks to my brother members of the Anthropological Institute who have enriched these papers with their valuable notes and illustrations; especially to Dr. C. Carter Blake, to Professor Busk, to Mr. John Evans, and to Mr. Augustus W. Franks. My friend Mr. F. Collingwood has also laid me under a heavy loadof obligation by the energy and heartiness with which he has invariably assisted me.
[FN#1] The labourer’s hire throughout Palestine would now be five or six piastres, a little more than one shilling. In the time of the New Testament money must have been nearly as dear again; for we find a denarius (sevenpence-halfpenny) paid as the established price of a day’s work. [FN#2] The maps are in the habit of calling this place ‘Shimsán.’ [FN#3] It forms the frontispiece of Volume I. [FN#4] M. Gérard de Rialle (p. 243) believes it to be d’une bonne époque Romaine. It was bought and abandoned to the boys of Ba’albak by M. Achille Joyeau, who had been sent to study old Heliopolis by the Minister of ‘Beaux Arts.’ [FN#5] I found this emblem well carved on basalt at Sanamayn, south of Damascus, and believe it to allude to the local deity, Agathe Tykhe - in fact, the wheel of fortune. [FN#6] This may be Jewish; the hand and the manna-cup, especially the former, are favourite emblems. [FN#7] Memoirs of the Anthropological Society of London, ii. 79. [FN#8] Thesaurus Craniorum, p. 49. [FN#9] [missing] [FN#10] For an analysis of Syrian glass, see Palestine Exploration Fund, p. 31, Jan. 1872.
[FN#11] There are many Keraks in the country: the most celebrated, perhaps, is that which occupies the site of Kir, an ancient capital of the Moabites, near the lower extremity of the Dead Sea. It has been suggested that Kir is the ‘Karhah’ of the Moabite stone - of which much has been said. [FN#12] The size of tombs is evidently proportioned to fame. Burckhardt found that of Hosea (Nabi Osha), near Salt, 36 ft. long by 3 ft. wide, and 3 ft. 5 in. high. [FN#13] Mr. Rattray also copied, at the tomb of Nabi Shays (Seth, son of Adam), the fragmentary VETTIVS BAGATAE VIXIT ANN., which shows that that part of the Anti-Libanus was also occupied by the Romans. The stone, I believe, has lately been destroyed. [FN#14] Jubb, often corrupted to ‘Jibb:’ is a common prefix to Syrian villages; it means a well (Jubb Yusuf), pit, or water-hole, with or without surrounding vegetation. I have not visited Jubb ‘Adín, and can only repeat the information picked up at Ma’alúlah; the three Syriac-speaking villages are usually said to be Ma’alúlah, Bak’há’a, and Ayn el Tiniyyah. Since the above lines were written, Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake writes to me: ‘Syriac is spoken only at Jubb ‘Adín, Ma’alúlah, and Bak’há’a: they understand it a little, but do not regularly speak it, at Ayn Tiniyyah.’ [FN#15] Anthropological Review, vol. v. 1867, p. 296. [FN#16] These three gradients have been already described. [FN#17] At the suggestion of Colonel Lane Fox it was exhibited, as well as the Kanawat altar, on Thursday, March 14, 1872, before the Society of Antiquaries. [FN#18] Reader, March 1864. [FN#19] I am at pains to imagine how the popular opinion about the Romans ignoring the true keystone was formed. The utmost that can be said of classical arches in Syria is, that the keystone is not an invariable feature; generally there is but one, more rarely we find two. The massive remains of the semi-circus in Baysán (of old, Scythopolis), in the Ghor or Jordanic valley, may be quoted as one of the best instances. [FN#20] Maundrell does not appear to have visited it, or, perhaps, to have published anything about it. [FN#21] The modern gates are; 1. Bab el Suk, to the north, showing on each side traces of ancient walls; 2. on the north-east, Bab Tudmur (Palmyra), with large blocks of limestone to the south, like those in the enceinte of Damascus; 3. south-east, Bab el Durayb, leading to Karyatayn; 4. south, Bab el Subá’a, showing on the jamb ancient carvings of grapes and leaves; 5. south-west, Bab el Turkoman, because the tent- dwellers used to camp opposite it; and 6. Bab Húd, corrupted from Bab el Yahúd (of the Jews), whose quarter was here till they were expelled the city. Now the ‘tribe of the Emesani’ do not allow, as is said of the New Englander, a Jew to live and thrive amongst them. [FN#22] The Arabic equivalent - I will not attempt to argue the priority question - of the Greek πύργος. [FN#23] Mr. Boyd Dawkins, a high authority, pronounces the bone to be ‘metacarpal of sheep or goat’ - these animals not being distinguishable except in certain parts. [FN#24] He is called Moratain by M. de Saulcy, to whom he gave, on December 11th, 1863, six small couteaux-scies, found when digging the foundations for his church: the French traveller writes, ‘Je suis ravi de posséder ces reliques des temps anté-historiques de la Judée.’
[FN#25] Archéologie: Découverte d’instruments de pierre en Egypte, au Sinai et au tombeau de Josué. Par M. l’Abbé Richard. P. 540. 1871. Deuxième semistre. Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Séances de l’Académie des Sciences. Par MM. les Secrétaires Perpétuels. Tome lxxiii. No. 9 (28 Août 1871). Paris: Gauthier-Villars. [FN#26] M. V. Guérin, envoyé en Palestine par le Gouvernement Français en 1863, retrouva ce tombeau longtemps oublié ou perdu, et en établit l’authenticité dans un rapport addressé à l’Académie en 1865. M. de Saulcy, dans son Voyage en Palestine (t. ii.
p. 233 et suiv.), confirme les caractères d’authenticité du tombeau de Josué, et dit que les couteaux doivent y exister encore. Etant, l’année dernière, en Palestine, je suis allé visiter à Tibneh le tombeau, et j’y ai trouvé un grand nombre d’instruments, généralement des couteaux. Quelques-uns même, comme on peut le voir, sont encore tres-tranchants. Il y a aussi des scies, des pieces plates, allongées ou arrondies. [FN#27] I am informed (July 29, 1871) by my friend Mr. Noel T. Moore, her Majesty’s Consul for Jerusalem, that the now well-known ‘Siloam inscription’ has been secured by him for the British Museum at an expense of 25l. - a small sum well laid out. [FN#28] As M. Charles Clermont Ganneau (Dragoman -Chancelier du Consulat intérimaire du Consulat de France a Jérusalem) justly observes (Athenæum, No. 2211, March 12, 1870), the Arabs apply the p.n. Pharaoh to any ancient king, non-Egyptian as well as Egyptian: so in France every Roman encampment becomes for the vulgar ‘Cæsar’s Camp.’ [FN#29] A third letter, dated Jerusalem (May 30, 1871), is reprinted in the Palestine Exploration Fund, new series, August 1871. It briefly announces an important discovery, which will form the subject of a special mémoire - the trouvaille being ‘one of those tablets which in the Temple reconstructed by Herod forbad strangers, as Josephus tells us, from passing the sacred enclosure.’ It is boldly affirmed that this Greek inscription in seven lines is ‘not only the most ancient, but also the most interesting in all its bearings which Jerusalem has yet produced.’ [FN#30] Amongst the Canaanites meaning ‘Manes,’ the Hebrew Ghosts, and the Πέκυες or Dead, the Autochthones who preceded the modern settlers. Zamzummim may be an onomatopæa ridiculing the jargon of hideous reduplications which the aboriginal language of Palestine might have presented to more civilised ears. [FN#31] Mr. Charles F. Tyrwhitt Drake finds in part of Palestine the word used to signify the scorched country or waste. I never heard it so applied. [FN#32] They may be compared with the graffiti, the sport of the Vigiles or Fire Brigade in idle hours, found in 1867 at their station below the street level of Trastevere. (Mr. C.I. Hemans, Athenæum, No. 2309, Jan. 27, 1872.) [FN#33] ‘We also sent a congregation of pious and learned men to pray the whole night at the tomb of our mother Rachel (may her merit protect us!), while at the same time we ordered a congregation of equally pious and learned men to call upon our God before the western wall of the ancient Temple, from which spot, we are told by our ancestors, the Divine glory never departed.’ - Jerusalem, Tebet 2, A.M. 5632=Dec. 18, 1871. [FN#34] This conjecture has since been confirmed by Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake in January 1872 (Palestine Exploration Fund, April 1872, p. 40):
‘Gezer - A border town of Ephraim, from which the Canaanites were not driven out: it was afterwards given to the Levites. Destroyed by Pharaoh, it was rebuilt by his son-in-law Solomon. Battles with the Philistines are recorded as having taken place at it, and according to the marginal reading, it is made the same as Gob.
‘I feel inclined to identify Tell Jezar with this Gezer. Eusebius mentions a village of Gazara, distant four miles from Nicopolis (Emmas, now Amwas), and northwards from it, εν βορείοις. Now Tell Jezar lies W.N.W. of Amwas, and is a little more than four miles distant. This answers to the somewhat loose deseription, ενβορείοις.
‘The tomb of a shaykh named Mohammad-el-Jezari, or more commonly “El Jezari” simply, makes a conspicuous landmark on the summit of a long high Tell, at the southern end of which lies the village of Abu Shushah.
‘This Tell is somewhat in the shape of a figure 8, being narrowest in the middle. The eastern side is scarped and faced with large roughly-hewn stones in steps, many of which are still in situ; to the west it is terraced with three steep banks.’ [FN#35] Since these lines were written, M. Ganneau has been transferred, temporarily I hope, to Constantinople by M. de Vogüé, ambassador of France. [FN#36] For instance, over the last word of line 1, and in the beginning of line 37, I offer this remark with great hesitation, nor is it advisable to pursue the subject until we shall have received facsimiles of the whole stone. The dots may prove mere flaws instead of being short vowel points; but, if any approximation to the latter be established, all our theories on the modern origin of this refinement must be scattered to the winds. [FN#37] Burckhardt copied one of the three inscriptions, and five lines of the second, but he or his editor has neglected to insert the bars. [FN#38] The square Hebrew character did not exist even in any modified form until the return of the Jews from their captivity (Palestine Exploration Fund, Quarterly Statement, No. VI. p. 349). On the other hand, Mr. Hyde Clarke, who has long studied the subject, asserts ‘the Phœnician alphabet with Hebrew names is relatively modern; and strangely enough the square Hebrew is in its origin much more ancient.’ [FN#39] ‘Cadmos,’ it is well known, means either ‘the Ancient’ or ‘the East.’ [FN#40] I cannot explain how Dr. Ginsburg (p. 35) tells us that at Ataroth, ‘every one was destroyed, men, women, and children, also property.’ The inscription (lines 11-12) suggests only the warriors of the wall, being killed, and the spoil being removed -probably to Dibon. Nor is it likely in those days and in such places that a large town like Nebo, the head-quarters of Baalphegar and of Kamos worship, should be left unfortified. [FN#41] ‘The occupation of Medeba by Omri and his house would thus coincide with the duration of the dynasty of Omri, which, calculated from the close of the war with Tibni, extended, according to the received chronology, exactly forty years.’ (Winer, B.C. 924884). [FN#42] Why does M. Ganneau (p. 15) translate ‘Against the Israelites’ ‘Parmi les Israëlites’? [FN#43] The first part of the list is borrowed from Professor Wright (loc. cit.). I should hardly have thought this reference necessary in a mere compi1ation, as this paper has been owned to be, had not the Academy (vol. iii. No.47) ill-naturedly charged me with ‘borrowing without acknowledgment.’ Nor will I plead guilty to the following uncalled-for charge: ‘The author then examines one by one the statements of Dr. Petermann, in the German Oriental Zeitschrift for 1870, with a fullness and authority which would carry conviction, were it not for his undisguised anti-German bias.’
[FN#44] His distinguished brother has not, I believe, published any study upon the Moabite Stone, except in the Athenæum, No. 2209. [FN#45] This list might be enlarged, but all the principal authorities are quoted above. [FN#46] Since these lines were first published, Dr. Beke has kindly supplied me with the following note on Professor E.H. Palmer’s explanation of the name Kir-Haraseth, in Athenæum, No. 2321, April 20, 1872, p. 498, col. 3:
“Dr. Beke suggests that these eminences derived their name from their conical
to plough, to cut maysignify notonly ,,shape. InHebrew the kindred roots,
in, to engrave, generally, but also to cut to a point, to make pointed, especially. As, then, the hharitim of 2 Kings v. 23, translated “purses or bags for money,” are “so called from their long and round shape, perhaps like an inverted cone;” and, as Dr. Beke contends, in his recently-published work The Idol in Horeb, that the hhereth of Exodus xxxii. 4 was, in like manner, a conical receptacle, in which Aaron cast the golden image usually supposed to have been in the form of a calf; so he considers the hhariths (hharitin?) on which the towns of Moab were built to have been so called from their conical shape. See the Jewish Chronicle of September 8, 1871.’ [FN#47] Thus distinguished from another ‘Charax’ at the confluence of the Tigris and the Eulæus. [FN#48] It would be interesting to know how Dr. Ginsburg discovered that 200 ‘Medshidjis’ (Majidis) are ‘about 375l.’ Usually the Majid is worth a fraction under twenty-three piastres, or less than five francs. [FN#49] I am somewhat doubtful about this second squeeze. [FN#50] Dr. Thompson, The Land and the Book, pp. 359-60. [FN#51] M. de Saulcy (Voyage en Terre Sainte, vol. ii. p. 93; Paris, Didier, 1865) seems to attach an archæological importance to this kind of grosse mosaïque. [FN#52] My friend and fellow-traveller has kindly lent his own collection for description by Dr. Blake. [FN#53] Since this was written, Mohammed el Dukhi, accused of such peccadilloes as peculation, brigandage, and destruction of life as well as property, haa come to most merited grief. Suffice to say that he was a friend of Rashid Pasha, late Governor-general of Syria. [FN#54] I willingly follow the distinction adopted by Captain E.W. Wilson, R.E. (‘Remains of Tombs in Palestine,’ Palestine Exploration Fund, No. III. p. 66): ‘The term “loculus” (θηκη, or chamber) is always applied to the actual resting-place of the body; a “sunk loculus” is an excavation made in the surface of the rock much after the manner of a modern grave; while a “deep loculus” is an excavation driven into the face of the rock, like a small tunnel or a large pigeon-hole.’ The arco-solium is an arched loculus, a form common in Roman catacombs. And to these four I wou1d add a fifth, namely, the ‘built loculus,’ a local Kist-Vaen, when, as is most commonly the case, microlithic slabs of cut, not rude, stone contain the body. And evidently the sepulchre may be unilocular, bilocular, or multi-locular. [FN#55] The word means troubling, annoying, on account of the difficulty of the ascent. It must not be confounded with the Aryan root Mar (whence murmur and myriad), which implies the rush of water drops.
[FN#56] The ‘Green Plainlet of the saw: so called because trees are here cut into planks. Some prefer - erroneously I believe - Rabwat wa’l Manshar, or where linen is spread to dry. [FN#57] This personage is perfectly capable of being King Baldwin the Crusader. Up the Wady el Samak, east of the Sea of Galilee, there is a ruin still known as Kasr Bardawin, or Bardawil, the Palace of Baldwin. In modern Syrian Arabic the ‘n’ may take the place of the ‘l;’ for instance, the word Ishmael is always pronounced by the unlearned Ismain, and not Ismail. [FN#58] The Handbook of 1868 gives, ‘Population about 3000.’