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inhabitants here generally appear sickly, and sore eyes seem to afflict the greater part of the community. Some of the women were very pretty and fair, and evinced no alarm at coming near the vessel.
Having completed wooding by 7h. 45m. April 9th, we continued our ascent. The river above this is new to us, the vessel not having reached beyond Dur when we attempted the ascent in 18-13. Indeed,
This was however denied, and he was compelled to walk barefooted through the prickly camel thorn from the encampment back to the raft. His gait and gestures under this indignity were inimitably personified by his ruthless captors. I have since heard that had it not been for the vaunting display of so many weapons by a single individual, that he would have met with better treatment, and been allowed to retain bis habiliments instead of being forced to appear" in puris naturalibus."
The display and injudicious use of arms in a case like this cannot be too strongly reprobated : a single pistol or a sword is sufficient to intimidate a few petty robbers, but with the lawless tribes of the desert, who attack generally in overpowering numbers, the exhibition of offensive weapons by a disparity of force, serves only to irritate and is likely to lead to bloodshed which the Arab in most cases wishes to avoid. Blood however being once drawn, the result is easily conceived. The fate of Messrs. Taylor, Asperiall and Bowater, is fortunately I believe a solitary instance recorded of massacre having followed the rash act of injudiciously using arms, amongst Europeans; but such occur. rences are frequently heard of as happening to the natives of the country, and indeed the “law of blood” universally admitted in the Arab code, in some measure sanctions the indiscriminate taking of life as an indemnification for the loss of either friends or relatives by strife or feud. This law, though possessing its disadvantages, is morally a good one amongst the barbarous tribes of Arabia, for murders would become of more frequent occurrence did not the fear of revenge tend to restrain the animal passions. A family having what is termed “Durn” or “ blood" on its hands, is generally shunned by the rest of the tribe, who dread being involved in its consequences. The same rule affects individuals. The penalty however of "blood for blood” can be commuted for a sum of money paid by the offender to the tribe of the injured party, only a part of which the latter shares. It is collected from the whole tribe to which the culprit belongs. provided he is too poor to pay it himself, and the offence is not of a very aggravated nature. The“ price of blood" varies in different parts, and is moreover not at all times accepted. In the towns, a small sum, according to the degree of the party, suffices, and may be reckoned as about £20 to 30. Among the desert tribes it is much more, amounting in some cases to nearly double these sums, paid partly in coin, and partly in camels, oxen, or sheep. On settling these affairs a good deal of form is gone through. 1 he heads of the tribe and the relations of the parties concerned assemble at a fixed spot, and after payment of the penalty, witnesses are called to gwear on the Koran to the nature of the settlement; a hole is then dug in the ground, in which the feud is considered to be buried. It is then filled up and a curse pronounced on the head of any party who might happen to revive the quarrel. The parties then separate. This contract is not however at all times binding ; in a few cases a thirst for revenge predominates, and whole tribes are then involved by the breach of faith of a single man.
had we not been favored with a strong south wind, I fear our present attempt would have been attended with the like disappointment. At 10h. 50m. a small enclosure in the Ilawi on the left bank bore east two miles. It is called Khán Jozani, and affords protection to the cultivators when threatened by plundering parties of the Abeid or Shammar. The tomb in Dur bore at the above time 157°. The river from Dur to this is known by the name of the Khán, and is much cut up into islands, rendering the main channel extremely sinuous. Our ascent to this has been one continued struggle against a heavy stream, and a rapid every half mile, which the vessel barely manages to over
Progressing steadily against the difficulties, arrived opposite Sheri at el Aouja, a landing place formed by a gap in the clifts on the west side of the Tigris. From this Dur bore 1490. Caravans here halt
At the time of our passing, a Ghazu or plundering party of the Shammar were lying in wait for any opportunity that might present itself, of enriching themselves at the expense of others. Long before we reached Tekrit, the inhabitanis had turned out and the adults of the population even met us several miles below. At four P. M. anchored at Tekrit, and received a visit from its Governor, Mustafa Effendi, who put the resources of the town at our disposal, and rendered us much service by placing at our command several Cavasses without which we could scarcely hope to complete the vessel with fuel, the crowd around being so great.
in the evening, I walked to the top of the cliff on which the old citadel stood. It bears evidence of former strength and, being naturally nearly inaccessible, must have been entirely so when fortified. The front facing the river is quite perpendicular, and exhibits horizontal strata of stiff clay, red earth, fine sand and conglomerate in successive layers from the water's edge to its summit; indeed, this is the general formation of the cliffs bounding each side of the valley of the Tigris from Samarrah to Tekrit. This isolated cliff is about 130 yards long by 70 broad, and in height 86 feet* from the water's edge, but the debris of the former buildings scattered over its summit increase it to a hundred in its highest part. Large massive bastions of lime and pebbles faced with solid brickwork, abut around the cliff, between which the
Rich, in his work, estimates the height at 200 feet; he is however in error, for I bestowed some care on its measurement.
wall once stood. On the south face between the citadel and the modern town, and half way down the cliff, two buttresses of the same formation as the bastions, point out the situation of the gate-way. The bricks which faced them have been carried away for other buildings. A deep ditch about 30 yards in breadth, but now filled up with rubbish, conveyed the waters of the Tigris around the base of the citadel, thus completely insulating and rendering it impregnable, before cannon came into use. South of this on another isolated hill, stands the modern town, formerly girt in by a wall which has fallen to decay. It contains at present about 300 miserable houses and 1000 inhabitants, but the space formerly occupied by the ancient town is of great extent. Some ruins, called the Kanisah, or “ Church,” are still shown. A few years ago, when Suffok, the Shammar Sheikh, invested the town, a trench was dug by the inhabitants for defence. From it
curious urns of pottery and sepulchral vases were exhumed, one of which, in the possession of a Moollah Rajib, spoken of by Dr. Ross in his journal, I with difficulty procured from the owner. It is surrounded with figures of men and birds, of a curious, but rude execution, and is probably Babylonian.* The modern town has two mosques but no minarets. The streets are kept free from filth, and altogether bear an aspect of cleanliness and order seldom seen in eastern towns.
I am told on an emergency 400 matchlocks and guns can be collected for the defence of the place, and am inclined to believe this is rather under, than above, the true amount. It is however, certain, that the Tekriths have maintained their position against the Arabs, and even compelled the powerful Sheikh of the Shammar to relinquish his intended assault on the place by the menacing attitude they assumed.
Mr. Rich, in speaking of this place in the flourishing times of Daood Pasha, states that it was then farmed for 22,000 conl. Piastres annually, and that it boasted at that time of 600 houses. I presume this must be a mistake, for at present, though its dwellings are but half that number, and its population proportionably small, from the effects of the plague and other causes, the proprietor or farmer, pays yearly to the
* It is now in the possession of Major Rawlinson, C. B., the Political Agent in Turkish Arabia, and the learned and indefatigable author of a work which is now in the press on the cuneiform inscriptions of the East. To his other and varied accomplishments he adds, that of a keen and persevering antiquarian.
Government of Bagdad a sum three times as large as that mentioned by Mr. Rich. For 68,000 conl. Piastres, or a sum equal to about £600, it is farmed this
The Hakim or Governor is Mustafa Agha, an Agent or Vakeel of the proprietor, who resides in Baghdad. I paid him a visit at his house, if such a wretched dwelling can be
He received me very politely, and taking my seat among the elders of the place, various topics were discussed. The Governor paid us the utmost attention, and to show his breeding and knowledge of the world before the motly assembly seated around, asked if I preferred coffee after the European mode, with milk and sugar or “ Al’aral.” Not to put him to any trouble, I mentioned the latter, but he would not be gainsaid, and after many instructions and lessons on the art of making it, his servants produced a tolerable beverage. Great complaints are made by the Tekrith against the Government, and at the present unsettled state of this part of the country. Fear of the Shammar on the one side, and the Abeid on the other, have prevented the townspeople from extending their cultivation to its usual limits, and the consequence is, the rich land laying between Tekrit and the Hamrin, is now a perfect waste. The inhabitants are all Mahomedans with the exception of one solitary Jew, who is on the staff of the Governor, and whose life is not to be envied. To the question of what have you in Tekrit? “One barren date tree and an infidel Jew,” was the reply
During the night obtained a meridian altitude of a Scorpii from which I deduced the latitude 340 35' 45" N.; and from the citadel* I obtained the following bearings. True bearing of the tomb at Dur S. 27° 8'
* I have searched in vain for any ancient notice of Tekrit. Naturally strong and rendered in a measure impregnable by artificial works whose remains are still plainly distinguishable, it is not a little curious that it has as yet, I believe, remained unidentified with some of the strongholds of antiquity. Both Rich and Fraser, though frequently mentioning it in connection with the geographical description of upper Mesopotamia, fail to attach any historical record to this locality. In an old atlas I observe Birtha is marked as situated on this spot and having no works in my possession that allude to it, I am compelled unwillingly to remain in ignorance. Birtha is however generally regarded as identical with the modern Bir, or Birehjik, a small town occupying an ancient site on the upper Euphrates; and the near resemblance of the ancient to the modern name would seem to justify the conclusion.
I am inclined to regard it as having been at one time a Christian town. The Arabs have a tradition to that effect, and the term “ Khanisah” only used to denote a “church,"
E. Magnetic bearing of the same S. 2 1° 30' E. making the variation 2? 38' W. Tel Benat near Dur, 150°, Khán Jozani 118°, Arnin, on the opposite side of the river, called Kamsah, 110,0 opening in the lamrin, where the Tigris breaks through, called “ El Tet'bha,” 318). A ruin of an ancient nunnery termed Darel Benat* or the “ Girl's Residence,” stands about one and half miles to the S. W. of the citadel.
Having obtained observationst for the chronometer and despatched a messenger to Mosul with letters to the Vice-Consul, and with instructions to communicate with Suffok, to whom I addressed a complimentary epistle, we left Tekrit at 9-40, A. M. A new Pilot, or rather an old one (for I believe he is upwards of 70 years of age) was shipped for the river above this ; in fact he is the same individual who conducted the Euphrates under Lynch seven years since. He declared after having been on board an hour and witnessed the performance of the vessel against the current, that she could not pass the rapids which the Euphrates found difficulty in ascending ; indeed, what he says I fear will prove true, for our progress to-day has been considerably slower than yesterday, and in many places amounted to almost a stand-still. At 4-15, P. M. having a long reach full of difficulties ahead and no hope of passing them before night comes on, brought to an anchor in the only secure spot to be met with in the neighbonrhood.
From Dur, the principal channels appear to be confined to the western part of the valley of the Tigris, but below that place the main body of the stream attaches itself to the western cliffs.
The latitude was observed this evening by a meridian altitude of Dubhe 31° 11' 52'', thus making our whole day's progress of 6 hours' steaming equal to 6' 7" of northing only. I
would warrant the supposition. Three ancient editices in the modern town and a ruin on the opposite bank of the Tigris, are thus designaterl.
Since writing the above note, I observe that Mr. Ainsworth, in his Asia Minor includes Tekrit (Tageit) in his list of Chaldean Bishopries, Vol. II. p. 276, froni a Catalogue published by Amru in the twelfth century.
The existence of Babylonian relics amongst its ruins, however, would refer its origin to a date anterior to christianity, but under what appliation it was known by, or trom whence it derived its present name, I am at a loss to conjecture.
* Probably a nunnery when Tekrit was a Christian Bishopric. + These observations place Tekrit 42' 16" west of Baghdari. A singular care in the cliff forming the right nargin of the river, is just below our