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chain of 150 fathoms attached to it, brought off across the heavy stream to the vessel. We now thought the heaving off certain, and were congratulating ourselves on our success, when the chain snapped in two and the vessel swung round with a heavy crash, as if her bottom was stove in, her head down and the starboard broadside now receiving the whole weight of the stream. Tried in vain to connect our chain again during a heavy squall of thunder, lightning and rain, and desisted for the night. During the night the stream forced the lee-side of the vessel higher up on the bank, while the weather-side heeled over to starboard, into deep water, occasioned by the heavy current acting against the vessel, cutting or abrading away the bank below us. At daylight the port side of the vessel was nearly dry, while the water was within 18 inches of the starboard scuttles, and had we remained much longer in this position she might have turned over or perhaps filled when the water reached them ; at day dawn, however, we were again at work and happily succeeded in connecting the chains. From this time till lh. 20m. P. M. on the 7th we had at intervals a heavy strain, by which the vessel righted and eventually came off the ground by allowing the stream to catch her on the opposite quarter. Employed the remainder of the afternoon, after securing in a good berth, in picking up our anchors and cables. Had we grounded on the lower Tigris a few minutes would have sufficed to have again set us in motion, but on the upper Tigris and Euphrates, it is the labour of hours, if not of days.

Part of the Shammar Arabs under Nijiris are roaming about this part of the country, as are the Al Bu Hamed. Large herds of their camels are grazing around and enjoying the rich grass which abounds every where at this season. Some of the tribe approached the vessel when aground, and a Bedoin I have with me was sent to them, to offer no molestation to our crew, while burying the anchors on shore. Two of the party were present at the affray in which Suliman Mirza lost his life, and in which our friend Timour was severely wounded by a spear through his lungs. They inform us that the person who slew Suliman Mirza by severing his head from his body at one blow, met his death a few days afterwards from an Ajail Arab, when they attacked a caravan. They also profess to regret the circumstances attending the attack on the princes, and say they have not known “good” since. “ Their chiefs have been killed and their children have died; their

favorite mares are barren and suffering from disease, and happiness has left their homes." Some English iron, I believe belonging to Messrs. Lynch and Co. of Baghdad, was offered to us for sale, for a mere nothing. This had been plundered from a caravan a few nionths previously, and a common bottle taken from some of Suliman Mirza's party was tendered for the exorbitant price of two Ghazees.* The former offer, I replied, I could not accept, as I too, had iron for sale, and pointed to the 9lb. shot, which Syed told me caused some amusement. The latter, I did not want and offered them as many as they wished for, which soon lowered the price of their commodity. These people appear to be the terror of the Jezira from their lawless habits. The Shammar, though feared, are much less dreaded.

April 8th.—River rose three inches last night ; weighed at 6h. with cloudy weather and a south wind which, should it freshen, may assist us. At 7-17 Ashik bore west three quarters of a mile distant, Cha'afel Kelbt some high mounds south of Ashik 201t. Sammariah 137t. Mahirgeh 129t. with the mounds of Máshúk nearly in a line with it, Khalifa 112t. The river from this bends more to the N. E. for a short distance along the cliffs, forming the east boundary of the valley of the Tigris, thence north to Shinas, some modern ruins which extend a considerable distance to near Abri Delif, a miniature resemblance of the Maluryeh, which we passed at Uh. a moderate south wind materially assisting our progress. At lh. 10m. arrived opposite the mounds of Mehjir and the Kantarat el Resásá, or main branch of the Nahrwán already alluded to. The former is the scene of a great action fought by Omar, Pasha of Baghdad, against the large tribe of Majainmah (Dr. Ross's Journal Roy. Geo. Society, Vol. IX.) on the east side of the Tigris, about two miles inland from this, to the eastward is the

« Sidd” or

“ band” across the Mahrwan, constructed of large masses of stone, held together by leaden clamps From this it derives its name Kantarat el Resásá, literally signifying " the bridge of lead,” and although not actually a bridge in our acceptation of the term, but a dam to confine the water in the low season, it might have answered both purposes, or with more probability, the name may be modern and come into use only since the decay of the canal,

* About 8 shillings.

Mounds of the Seven Sleepers and their Dog.

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Passed many encampments of the Shammar on the right bank near Haweisilat. They extend nearly up to Mosul. These people are however, migrating towards Baghdad, as Suffok, the chief Sheikh, advances to the south. The parties of Nejiris and Suffok, are now not on friendly terms owing to Nejib, Pasha of Baghdad, having invested the former as Sheikh of the tribe, while the latter claims it as a right. Ahmed el Kode (a connection by marriage of Suffok) informed me this morning that the Abeid once possessed the whole of Northern Mesopotamia, and that the present Shammar usurped the country in rather an original way,

but nevertheless adopted even by more civilized nations than the predatory Arab races. He says “ Two Shammar families with their tents originally wandered from Nejd, and after some time encamped with the Abeid. Among the chattels of the new comers a wooden bowl of extraordinary dimensions was observed, but it excited no further curiosity until the strangers invited some of the then holders of the soil to a feast, when the bowl was set before the guests, filled with the carcasses of sheep, butter, and the usual ingredients of Arab-fare. The dinner was duly discussed and the Abeid on returning to their tents were talking of the munificence of the strangers and the unusual dimensions of the wonderful bowl. A grey-beard of the tribe, who had not been at the feast, listened in silence for some time, and starting up to the dismay of his friends, demanded that the newly arrived strangers should be immediately put to death, adding with the air of a prophet, that the famous bowl told a story in itself, and that ere long, many strange fingers would be dipped into it. It literally happened as the old man had foretold. His voice was overruled in the assembly and the strangers' lives were spared. A few months afterwards, Shammar after Shammar arrived and feasted from the much dreaded bowl. A few years sufficed for the total expulsion of the Abeid, and from being lords of the soil, that once powerful tribe became fellahs and slaves to the formidable Shammar.” Such was Ahmed's account of the origin of the Shammar in Mesopotamia, but nevertheless the Abeid are still powerful enough to render themselves obnoxious to the Government. They at present occupy the country opposite Tekrit and, I believe, now never cross into Mesopotamia. At 3 hours 15 minutes the tomb of Imam Mahomed Dur at Dur*

Dura was a fortified place in the wars of Antiochus against the rebels of Media and Persia. Note in Gibbon from Polybius, Vol. 3, page 226.

bore east.

In shape it is a cone similar to that of the tomb of Zobeidi in Baghdad, on a square base. The village is a collection of miserable houses on the undulating mounds forming the east margin of the valley of the Tigris, and boasts of a small minaret. Rich appears to identify this spot with the “plains of Dura” of Scripture. The river opposite the village is disposed into numerous channels, much contracted, through which it flows at a very rapid pace.* Having with difficulty ascended beyond the numerous islands, came to an anchor above the village about one mile to receive our fuel which is piled on the bank awaiting us.

The inhabitants soon collected. The Pasha's letter was presented and received with every mark of respect. After a short consultation, a boisterous fellow was called for, with hands stained with indigo, and who followed the calling of a dyer as well as Moollah and teacher to the "young ideas” of Dur. The letter was handed to him to read aloud for the satisfaction of his auditors, who formed a circle around. Diving his right hand into his pocket, which was capacious enough to hold any one of his scholars, he produced a pair of barnacles, and fixing himself in a commanding position, vociferated forth the contents of the missive, at the full pitch of his stentorian voice. When he concluded a buz of applause signified the approbation of the assembly, and their willingness to act in any way I might require.

To the east of Dur, about one and half miles, a high tumulus named Tel Benatt or the “girl's mound" is situated. It is similar to the Tel

On the fourth night after the death of Julian the army under Jovian encamped at this place, and experienced much difficulty in vain attempts to cross the Tigris. The ignominous treaty between Sapoor and Jovian was here concluded. The impregnable fortress of Nisibis and the stronghold of Singara, were acquired by the Persians in a single article and a disgraceful peace of thirty years' duration consented to by the "obscure domestic," as Gibbon terms the newly elected emperor. Gibbon, Vol. 3, page 228. Great difficulty would no doubt be met with at the present time in crossing a large army at this particular spot. The River is here more than usually rapid from the great declivity of its bed.

+ This resembles Tel Alij in appearance. It is about the same height, and evidently of equal antiquity ; much care has been taken in its construction and the remains of a ditch and covered way are still discernable. The "tumulus" is no doubt of Roman origin, and copper coins bearing Roman characters but too much corroded to render them decypherable, were found in its neighbourhood. We know that both the Greeks and Romans erected conspicuous mounds or piles over the ashes of their celebrated Generals, and it is presumed they would have resorted to this mode of burying their illustrious

Alij, and can be seen some distance off from its isolated position on the plain. Between it and the village are many lime kilns. Lime is here found in great quantities, and Baghdad is chiefly supplied from this place. It is conveyed in rafts down the Tigris.* I remarked that the

dead in a country where stone is not available for monuments. The sacred nature of the tomb amongst the nations of antiquity which preserved these structures in violate in former ages, has equally defended them from the ruthless hand of the superstitious Arabs. Time also, instead of demolishing adds to a fabric of this nature, as every blast of wind that sweeps over ihe desert, carries with it clouds of dust which accumulates on and enlarges the original structure, rendering it the most durable and imperishable of all monuments.

If Tel Alij be admitted as the tomb of the ill-fated Julian, we may conclude that Tel Benat covers the remains of the legionaries who fell in the repeated attacks made by Persians, and of the many who lost their lives in the ill-conducted attempts to cross the Tigris at this spot.

* The rafts in use on the Tigris at the present day have in no wise altered since the days in which Herodotus, the author of the Analysis, and the Historian of the Emperor Jovian, compiled their works. They are composed of the branches of trees supported on the inflated skins of sheep, and are capable of carrying a load of from 30 to 40 tons. These rafts are admirably adapted for the descent of the upper Tigris. Possessing but a small draft of water, they are enabled to float over the numerous dikes and shallow spots met with in its course to Baghdad. Floating with the stream, two or four paddles, according to the size of the raft, are capable of retaining it in the fair channel, and accidents therefore very rarely occur. On the raft being unladen at Baghdad the timber it is composed of is sold for what it will fetch, and the skins after being dried are conveyed back to either Tekrit or Mosul by land. In this manner the whole of the immense blocks comprising the Khorsabad marbles lately excavated from a village of that name in the neighbourhood of Mosul, by Monsieur Batia, the French vice-consul, at the expense of his Government, were conveyed to Baghdad and there shipped into native boats for Basra, where the national brig Cormorant was in readiness to receive and finally convey them to France.

Travelling by raft as a matter of convenience, is far preferable than by the land journey from Mosul to Baghdad. A tolerable-sized tent sufficient to protect one from the sun can be pitched on this original conveyance, and a few books, with the varying scenery, will tend to while away the few days, (not exceeding six and sometimes only two) that may be occupied in the descent of the river. It is however not at all times a safe route, for when the Arabs are in a disorganized state, consequent generally on some ill-timed measures resorted to by the Government for their coercion, they fail not in stopping and plundering any rafts or passengers that may chance to come within reach of them ; indeed, I am informed, that on one occasion, a British officer happened to be journeying in this manner and was thus wa ylaid ; my informant added that notwithstanding the over-confident individual was arıned to the teeth, and had hinted a determination not to be taken alive, he was stripped of every thing he possessed, even to his nether garments. I have since met some of the party who helped to denude the unfortunate traveller. It was both ludicrous and amusing to witness the delight with which they imitated his piteous supplications to be allowed to retain only his shoes.

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