Imágenes de páginas

that from north to south. It is a multitude of small rooms in ruins, all built of round pieces of sandstone, with which the country is covered. There are some other edifices, similar in fabric and character, but meriting no minute description. Mr. Rich considers this, as well as the Kasr Shireen, to have been one of the monarch's many huntingseats and parks, but observes that neither these, nor anything else that he had seen of Sassanian erection, are calculated to give any high idea of their taste or magnificence. "When richly painted, gilded, and ornamented, they might have been worth seeing: in their present state of ruins they are certainly not imposing." Assuredly, except the arch and hall at Ctesiphon, there are no Sassanian remains that convey to the beholder any idea of much magnificence and taste; and though, doubtless, the sculptures on the rocks at Shapoor, Naksh e Roostum, Tauk e Bostam, and Bessittoon, are curious, they dwindle into insignificance when compared with the stupendous structures of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, or even with the venerable remains of Persepolis.

These are the principal vestiges of antiquity in this district; others are mentioned, but of less importance, and therefore need not be more particularly noticed. Kelwatha, a heap of extensive mounds at the confluence of the Diala and Tigris, has been already alluded to. Among these eminences was picked up a small, thin brick, of nearly four inches long, on which was impressed a figure, tolerably well executed, of a female arrayed in the Babylonish dress, with a flower in one hand, and an animal of some sort in the other. The dress is flounced up to the waist, and the hair falls back in long curls.

In describing the River Diala, mention has already been made of the pachalic or district of Zohab, which occupies a triangle at the foot of the ancient Zagros, bounded on the northwest by the course of the current, there called the Shirwan, on the east by the mountains, and on the south by the stream of Hulwan. Although forming one of the ten pachalics dependant on Bagdad, it was wrested from that government about thirty years ago by the Persian prince of Kermanshah, and has never since been restored. It presents an irregular surface of hills and plains, much of it being capable of culture, but is at present, for

the most part, overrun by the Eeliaut tribes of Gouran and Sinjabee, and some other Kurdish and Arabian clans.

In the plain of Hurin in this pachalic, at the foot of a lofty summit called the Sartak, Major Rawlinson found the remains of a city, apparently of the most remote antiquity. The foundations, composed of huge masses of stone unhewn, and walls of most extraordinary thickness, are now all that can be seen; and that gentleman inclines to refer them to the Babylonian ages. Two fursucks south of Hurin, in a mountain gorge, the seat of a village named Sheikhan, there is a small tablet sculptured on the rock, exhibiting the same sort of device as is seen in the Babylonish cylinders; an armed figure stands upon a prostrate foe, while another kneels with hands fastened behind, as if praying for mercy; an upright quiver of arrows is placed by the victor king; and the tablet is closed by a cuneiform inscription, written in that complicated character which is nowhere seen except on bricks and cylinders. The tablet is only five feet long by two broad, and rather rudely executed.

A remarkable mountain, projecting from the lofty range of Dalahu, rises to the height of 2000 feet, so close behind the town of Zohab as quite to overhang it. This in ancient times was converted into a fortress which might be deemed impregnable. On three sides the hill ascends with a very abrupt slope from the plain to within 500 feet of the summit, the rest being a perpendicular scarp, which has been farther strengthened by building. On the fourth side, where it is united to the larger mountain, a wall, which, to judge by the part now remaining, must have been fifty feet high by twenty thick, and flanked at regular intervals by bastions, together with a ditch of most formidable dimensions, has been drawn across from scarp to scarp, a distance of above two miles, thus enclosing a space of ten square miles. At the northeast angle the scarp rises in a rocky ridge to join the Dalahu range; and the pass here, which conducts to the fort, is farther strengthened by a wall and two formidable castles. This is the stronghold of Holwan or Hulwan, where Yezdegerd, the last of the Sassanians, retreated after the capture of Ctesiphon by the Arabs, and it is called Banyardeh or Kalah Yezdegerd. Near the little village of Zardeh there are the remains of two palaces, the Harem and the Diwan Khaneh of the

same sovereign, both resembling in material and architecture the Sassanian buildings at Kasr Shireen and Haoosh Kerek.

Zohab has by some been regarded as the representative of Hulwan, the ancient Calah and the Halah of the Israelitish captivity. But Major Rawlinson denies the correctness of this conjecture, and attributes that honour to the town of Sir e Pool e Zohab, which is eight miles south of the present Zohab, and situated at a point where the river bursts through the rocks which bound on the southwest the valley of Bishiwah. This, he asserts, is the Chala of Isidore of Charax, which gave its name to the district Chalonitis. On the authority of Assemanni,* it was called indifferently Calah, Halah, and Hulwan by the Syrians, who established a metropolitan see at this place in the third century, while to the Arabs and Persians it was known by the last of those titles. But we must refer to Major Rawlinsont himself for the proofs on which he founds his conclusions, and pass on to a short notice of the antiquities found there. In the gorge through which the Hulwan forces its current, there are several sculptured tablets of Sassanian origin; but over one of these, on the rocks to the left, there is a bold and well-executed bas-relief of the Kayanian times-that is, of the age of Persepolis and Bessittom. A mile and a half from the gorge is seen a line of broken mounds, resembling those at Nineveh and Babylon, and therefore probably belonging to the Chaldean ages, as well as a vast assemblage of such eminences, which appear to mark the sites of the principal edifices of the ancient city. One of these is upward of fifty feet in height; and in several places brickwork, of the peculiar Babylonian character, is exposed to view. But the most remarkable monument is a royal sepulchre at the corner of the upper gorge, two miles distant from the sculptures, and precisely resembling in character the tombs of Persepolis. At the top of an artificial scarp, seventy feet in height, has been excavated a quadrangular recess, six feet deep, eight high, and thirty wide. In the centre of it is the opening into the tomb, the interior of which is rude, containing on the left hand the place for depositing the dead, with niches

* Bibliotheca Orientalis, vol. iii., p. 346; vol. iv., p. 753.

Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. ix., part i., p. 35,

London, 1839.

for lights, as usual, but no carving nor ornament of any sort. At the entrance are two broken pillars, which have been formed out of the solid rock, one on either side; the base and a small piece of either shaft appear below; and the capitals still adhere to the roof. On the smooth face of the scarped rock is an unfinished tablet, representing the figure of a Mobid, or high-priest of the Magi, clothed in his pontifical robes, wearing the square-pointed cap, and lappets over his mouth, which is the most ancient dress of the period of Zoroaster. This tomb is called Dookani Daood, or David's Shop; the Jewish monarch being supposed by the Ali Ullahis, and, indeed, by other Orientals, to have followed the calling of a smith or armourer. There are several other Sassanian ruins and spots consecrated by local tradition near this place, and many objects in the neighbourhood interesting to the comparative geographer and antiquary. At Deira, Gilan, and Zarna, along the foot of the Zagros range, Major Rawlinson discovered vestiges either of Babylonian or Sassanian cities; but to describe these would prove inconsistent with our limits. Of the rest of the country at the base of the hills, all the way to the borders of Khuzistan, little can be said in addition to what we have already observed, namely, that it is swampy and uncultivated, and occupied either by the Lour tribes of Pushtikoh, or by the Beni Lam Arabs.



Modern Babylonia.

Bagdad.-Its Origin, Position, and History.-Walls-Gates-Mosques and Shrines.-Impressions on entering the City from Persia.-Banks of the Tigris.-Boats.-Bazars.-Market-places.-Sketch by Buckingham.-Private Houses.-Domestic Habits.-Women.-Georgians and Arabs. Population.-Establishment of Daood Pacha.-Plague in Bagdad. Its rapid Progress.-Exposure of Infants.--Inundation.-Condition of the Pacha.-Instances of sweeping Mortality.-Fate of Caravans and Fugitives. Subsequent Calamities.-Present Population.-Costume.-White Asses and black Slaves.-A Battle within the Walls.Insubordination at Kerbelah and Nejeff Ali.-Sketch of a March in Babylonia.-Camp of the Zobeid Sheik.-His Tent-And Entertainment.-Expenditure of an Arab Chief.-March towards Sook el Shiook.-Arab Bravado.-Hospitality.-Madan Arabs.-Their Houses— And Flocks of Buffaloes.-The Montefic Arabs.-Their Reed Huts.Sook el Shiook.-Interview with the Sheik of the Montefic.

We must now take a glance at Modern Babylonia; and the first object in it which attracts attention is Bagdad, the City of the Caliphs, and the present capital of the pachalic. The Persians, as we learn from D'Herbelot,* claim for their Mahabadian kings the honour of founding this city, and attribute it to Zohauk; an obvious confusion of their own traditions with the Scriptural account, which assigns Babylon to Nimrod. They add that it was enlarged by Afrasiab, who called it Bagdad, or the Garden of Dad-the idol whom he worshipped. But there is little doubt that, in point of fact, the true founder was Almansor, second caliph of the Abbassides. That prince, disgusted with his former abode at Hashemiah, near Cufa, began, A.D. 760, to build the metropolis in question; but it was not finished until four years afterward, when he bestowed on it the name of Dar ul Salam, the Dwelling of Peace.

It appears to have been erected on the left bank of the river,t of a circular shape, enclosed by two walls, which were flanked by towers; and in the centre there was a

*Bibliothèque Orientale. See the word Bagdad.

Kinneir says the western side, in which he differs from D'Herbelot Geographical Memoir of the Persian Empire, London, 1813, p. 246.

« AnteriorContinuar »