Sivut kuvina

to interpret the expression of Yezdem domus, as the habitations of the Yezeedis, or worshippers of Yezdan, the peculiar name of God in their language; more particularly, as it is applied to several villages on the domain of an ancient Persian Queen, Parysatis, the mother of the younger Cyrus. If this be admitted, it will correspond with the actual, as well as the former, state of the country here; for we had ourselves seen a village of these Yezeedis, who trace their descent from the Koords and ancient Persians, now guarding the pass of the greater Zab. By them, we were assured of there being other villages, peopled by Yezeedis, similar to themselves, both in their immediate neighbourhood, and between them and the lesser Zab.* Here, too, upon this last stream itself, we learnt that there were still other villages, scattered over the parts through which it passed, before it reached the Tigris; and that these were the very people who now interrupted the navigation of the stream, and prevented our descending to Bagdad on rafts by the river.†

As we smoked our evening pipes with the Aga, and the principal residents of the town, who had collected imperceptibly, to inquire

* Of the Lesser Zab, Otter says: "Nous passames le 25, (Avril, 1734,) Altoun Soui, (the Golden Water,) qu' Ebul-Feda appelle Zab-al-asgar, c'est-à-dire, le petit Zab, quoiqu'il soit fort grand. Le Géographe Turc dit qu'il vient du pays de Diar bekr, et qu'il se jette dans le Tigre à un endroit nommé Tendge-Bogazi, où il y a des hauteurs, des arbres et des roseaux, qui servent de retraite aux lions. Le même prétend que la ville d'Açour étoit située au confluant du petit Zab et du Tigre; mais il n'en reste aucun vestige aujourd'hui."-Tome i. p. 149.

Rauwolff speaks of the existence of this mode of conveyance in his day. "The thirtieth we went from thence, and about noon we came to a town called Presta, which is chiefly towards the river whereon it lieth, very well fortified, but what the inhabitants call that river I do not remember, but according to its situation, it must be that which Ptolemy called Gorgus, which runs below into the Tiger. In this place they make floats, which, although they are not very big, nor have much wood in them, yet they have abundance of bucks and goat skins blown up, hung, or fixed underneath the bottom, without doubt, by reason that they may load the more upon them, and also because the river is rapid, that they may have the less fear or danger. On these floats they carry several sorts of merchandizes, but chiefly fruit, viz. figs, almonds, cibebs, nuts, corn, wine, soap, &c. a great part whereof goeth farther into the Indies."pp. 163, 164.

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the news from the City of the Faith, or Islamboul, as Constantinople is called among the Mollahs and Muftis of the Turks, we were all alarmed by the passage through the town of a multitude of Arab horsemen, most of them so muffled up about the face, that their eyes could scarcely be seen, all of them armed with lances and swords, and most of them galloping by, without answering the questions put to them, or even returning the salute of peace. Neither the name, the station, nor the destination of these troops could at first be learned, until one of the sons of the Sheikh, who followed in the rear, alighted at the Aga's dwelling; by which we learnt, that it was a friendly tribe going out to the northward, on an expedition against another tribe, who had encroached on their rights, and were now indeed encamped on the eastern border of their territory.

As it was said by all, that advantage had been taken of this tumult, by robbers, who are never wanting here, to infest the roads with impunity, a guard of ten of this friendly tribe was solicited from the Sheikh's son, by the Aga, to protect us as far as the danger was thought to extend. This, the young lad, though still a boy of little more than fourteen years of age, had the authority to grant, and nothing could more plainly mark the high degree of respect in which the authority of Arab chiefs is held, than the promptitude with which, at least, a hundred horsemen assembled at the orders of this child. He himself now mounted a high blood mare; and his furniture being costly, and his dress and arms of the very best kind in use among the Arabs, nothing could be more interesting than the figure he made, as he galloped through the crowd of his own followers, poising his lance, and giving it the fine tremulous motion of which it is capable when well balanced, calling out to his tried men by name, and ordering them to follow him as he rode.* All the

* This will remind the reader of Xenophon, of the description given by that beautiful writer of the youthful conduct and accomplishments of the elder Cyrus, who, at an age little exceeding that of the young Arab chief, was distinguished by equal skill in horsemanship, and by a degree of prudence which excited the wonder of the Median monarch.-See the Cyropædia, book i.

Arabs are exceedingly fond of this display of horsemanship, and skilful management of arms; and it must be confessed, that when the animals are of a high cast, the accoutrements good, and the riders firmly possessed of their seat, there are few exhibitions which shew either the skill or vigour of the man, or the fire and the beauty of the horse, to greater advantage.

When the ten chosen guards were selected out for us, the young leader headed his troop and left us, to hasten towards the rest of the tribe whom we had met on their march in the morning. We prepared also to depart, and about nine o'clock we left the town of Altoun Kupree, going out over the southern bridge, and continuing our way in close order.

We went now on a course of south-east, over a 'generally level country, with detached patches of cultivation, and a few small villages scattered in different directions near our road. We travelled in so complete a silence, that not a sound, except that of the tramping of our horses, was heard for several miles; and though we often set out on a gallop as if by one impulse, and drew up again together to ease the horses over bad ground, not a word was exchanged throughout our whole party; even midnight coming upon us, without a single voice having broken silence since our first setting out. Every one, indeed, seemed too intent on looking around him for an expected attack from enemies, to think of any thing beyond preparation for his own defence.

JULY 9th.-Soon after midnight, we came among ridges of stony hills, which, in some places, pointed up the sharp edges of their strata perpendicularly to the horizon, and in other places were of an undulating or wavy form in their outline.

We continued among these for about three hours, our rate of travelling being slower here, on account of the badness of the road, and on leaving them, we came out on a wide and level plain.

Here our Arab escort quitted us, as we were considered to be clear of all the reported danger of the road; they returned to over

take the rest of their tribe to the northward, and we continued our way more southerly over the plain, till we came at day-light to the town of Kerkook, having galloped about thirty-five miles since leaving Altoun Kupree, and in a general direction of south-south


After reposing from the fatigues of the night, we all arose before noon, and I went out, as was my usual custom, with some one of the inhabitants as a guide, to see as much as I could of the town during our halt here. It is composed of three distinct portions, each of a considerable size.* In the principal one of these, is a high and extensive mound, artificially shaped on the inclined slope, like that of Arbela, before described. On this, stands a fortified town, rather than a castle, within the walls of which are included a great number of dwellings, and the minarets of three mosques are seen to rise above the rest of the buildings from below. In this, it was said, none but Moslems were privileged to reside, and the number of these was considered to be five or six thousand, but probably overrated.

The second portion, though inferior, in consequence, as to the rank of those who reside in it, and its importance as a place of defence, is yet by far the most extensive and the most populous of the three. This is spread out on the plain around the foot of the citadel, as the elevated portion is called, and in it are the principal khans, coffee-houses, bazārs, &c.; though the minarets of only two mosques are seen, as the inhabitants are not all Mohammedan, but contain a mixture of Armenians, Nestorians, and Syrian Christians. The population of this portion amounts to about ten thousand souls, and the burying-ground below is as extensive, in the space which it covers, as a moderate-sized village.

* Rauwolff speaks of it thus: "After the Sabbath of the Jews, my companions, was over, we went on again, and came the twenty-sixth of December to Carcuck, a glorious fine city, lying in a plain, in a very fertile country; at four miles distance is another that lieth on an ascent, whither we also travelled, my companions having business in both of them, and so we spent two days in them before we were ready to go on again.” -p. 162.

The third portion is distant half a mile from the two former ones, and it was at a house in this that we had halted to sleep away the burning heat of the day. This is smaller and more scattered than either of the other parts of the town, and cannot add more than a thousand to the gross number of the population of Kerkook, which may, therefore, upon the whole, be nearly fifteen thousand. This was the first place at which we had seen any trees since leaving Mousul, and here the date-tree was more numerous than any other. I heard a great deal, at this place, of the springs of naphtha, which are in the neighbourhood of Kerkook, and of the earth from which issues flames, which are both looked on by the inhabitants as prodigies, known nowhere else in the world, and marks of God's peculiar favour to their soil. They are said to be chiefly among the rocky hills through which we had passed at midnight on our way from Altoun Kupree to this place, so that I had no opportunity of seeing them.

In the examination of the countries bordering on the Tigris and Euphrates, after passing the Zab, and still speaking of the course of the latter towards the sea, D'Anville says, the country adjoining to the left or eastern bank is called Garm, in which he thinks it is plain to discover that of Garamæi, which is the name of a country placed by Ptolemy in Assyria, near the middle of its whole extent from north to south.* In my inquiries after this name, I could gain no satisfactory assurance of its being applied to the country here, though those of whom I made such inquiries could only inform

* "Le pays adjacent à la rive gauche, ou orientale, est appellé Garm, et ce nom conserve evidemment celui de Garamæi, que Ptolomée place dans l'Assyrie, vers le milieu de son étendue du nord au midi. Dans M. Assemani, Garm est un district dependant de Maphrein, residant à Tekrit, et il est fait mention d'un metropolitain de Garm-cette metropole est appellé Beth so loce (sive Seleucia) autrement Kark; et Carcha, dans le recit de la marche de Jovien, par Ammien; Carcha dans Simocatte, dont la leçon est préférable, et qui se lit de même à l'egard d'une ville située egalement en Assyrie, mais voisine de Ninive, comme il en est parlé dans Masius, in libro Mosis de Paradiso, et dont Ortelius fait mention.”—D'Anville sur l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 95.

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