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The author of their religion is understood to be Sheik Adi, one of the Merwanian caliphs, who is interred at a place called by his name in the vicinity of Mosul, and which was formerly a Christian church dedicated to St. Thaddeus. Their enemies accuse them of worshipping Satan, whom they invoke by the name of Chelebee or Lord. Others maintain that they venerate the sun and fire, and praetise horrible ceremonies. It is said they pay regard to sundry images of animals; to that of the serpent, in memory of the seduction of Eve by that reptile, and to that of the ram, in remembrance of the obedience of Abraham. Once a year, also, they worship the figure of a cock, which is called Mellek Taous, placed before the assembly upon a sort of candlestick.

The Yezidee religion appears to be a compound of many others strangely jumbled together. Niebuhr, indeed, remarks, that when asked regarding their faith, they themselves declare it to have part of the Christian, Mussulman, and Jewish. Mr. Rich observes that they have something approaching to Christianity. They admit both baptism and circumcision, the first of which is performed by dipping three times in one of their sacred springs; and they never enter a Christian church without kissing the threshold and pulling off their shoes. Buckingham* says that when they come to Mardin and other places, they kiss the hands of the priests, and receive the sacrament from them, suffering not a drop of the wine to fall to the ground, or even on their beards, while drinking it.

They fast three times in the year, and make one pilgrimage to the shrine of Sheik Adi. They believe in the metempsychosis, and never say "such a one is dead," but "he is changed." Like the Druses, they always choose Mohammedan names.

Their principal place of burial is at Bozan, at the foot of the mountain of Rabban Hormuzd; but the great scene of pilgrimage is Sheik Adi, where is the church already mentioned, and in which each tribe has its separate compartment. The priest or sheik reads prayers, and every one, at intervals, exclaims Amen! At this station there is a spring of water, which falls into a basin, and is used as one of their baptismal fonts, Niebuhr mentions that they

* Travels in Mesopotamia, vol. i., p. 470.

are in the habit of throwing into it gold and silver in honour of the sheik; a practice which, being discovered by a Nestorian in the neighbourhood, he contrived one night to enter the enclosure in pursuit of these treasures. The daughter of the keeper, having accidentally gone thither to draw water while the thief was searching the reservoir, conceived it could be no other than Sheik Adi himself come to inspect the offerings, and retired immediately to tell the extraordinary news. The Dawassinis were enchanted with the honour done them by their saint, while the Nestorian took care to keep his secret and the money.

There is said to be a similar basin at Sinjar, which is applied to the same uses. This came to the ears of the celebrated Solyman Pacha of Bagdad, who, thinking he could turn the sheik's treasure to better account, visited the place with a powerful force; but, though he succeeded in dispersing the tribes of Sinjarlis, and put many to the torture of the bastinado, he failed in discovering the treasury.

The Yezidees are said to be a lively, brave, and hospitable people, good-humoured, well made, and comely. Those of Sinjar may be divided into fixed and roving inhabitants. The former cultivate the village grounds, and resemble the Fellah Arabs, as the mountaineers do the Bedouins. The latter, who are the plunderers, are the terror of caravans on this road; and who, permitting their hair and beard to grow, wear an aspect as uncouth as their manners are savage. No one is suffered to approach their haunts except a few Jews, who live in the town Khatuniyah, situated on an island in a lake of that name, and who act as brokers in disposing of the goods that are taken by the marauding parties.

In reference to the origin of the Yezidees, or, as they are sometimes called in the East, Shaitan purust-Worshippers of Satan-we are tempted to mention a curious legend which exists in Seistan, an eastern province of Persia, among the inhabitants of which are not only many fireworshippers or ghebres, but a considerable number of these Shaitan purust, and of another pagan sect called Chirag Koosh, or Light-extinguishers, who seem to be but a modification of the former, as both venerate or deprecate Satan. The account is as follows:

In former times there existed, they say, a prophet named Hanlalah, whose life was prolonged to the measure of

1000 years. He was their ruler and benefactor; and as, by his agency, their flocks gave birth to young miraculously once a week, though ignorant of the use of money, they enjoyed all the comforts of life with much gratitude to him. At length, however, he died, and was succeeded by his son, whom Satan, presuming on his inexperience, tempted to sin by entering into a large mulberry-tree, from whence he addressed the successor of Hanlalah, and called on him to worship the Prince of Darkness. Astonished, yet unshaken, the youth resisted the temptation. But the miracle proved too much for the constancy of his flock, who began to turn to the worship of the devil. The young prophet, enraged at this, seized an axe and a saw, and prepared to cut down the tree, when he was arrested by the appearance of a human form, who exclaimed, "Rash boy, desist! turn to me, and let us wrestle for the victory. If you conquer, then fell the tree."

The prophet consented, and vanquished his opponent, who, however, bought his own safety and that of the tree by the promise of a large weekly treasure. After seven days, the holy victor again visited the tree to claim the gold or fell it to the ground; but Satan persuaded him to hazard another struggle, on promise that, if he conquered again, the amount should be doubled. The second rencounter proved fatal to the youth, who was put to death by his spiritual antagonist; and the result confirmed the tribes over whom he had ruled in their worship of the tree and its tutelary demon.

In this legend, the leading doctrine of all these Eastern religions-the constant contention between the powers of good and evil-is plainly shadowed forth, with the additional moral, that as long as he was actuated by a disinterested zeal for religion, the young prophet was victorious over the spirit of evil, but failed so soon as that zeal gave place to a sordid cupidity for earthly treasure.

This legend becomes still more interesting when compared with the following passage, which is taken from Assemani,* in the part where he treats of the religions of Mesopotamia and Assyria: "According to the natives of the country, the Yezidees were at one time Christians, who, however, in the course of ages, had forgotten even

* Vol. iii., p. 493.

the fundamental principles of their faith. I am, nevertheless, not inclined to believe this their origin; for I am of opinion that the word Yezidee is derived from Yezid, which in the idiom of Persia signifies God. Yezidee, therefore, the plural of Yezid, indicates the observators of superstitious doctrines (as may be seen from Antonio Gyges, Tesoro della Lingua Arabrica). Yezid was, in fact, the name of the idol which Elias, bishop and missionary of Mogham, overthrew with three blows of an axe; and this fact sustains the opinion I have advanced. Monseignore Tommaso, bishop of Marquise, who lived in the commencement of the ninth century, relates that when this Elias, after having been chosen Bishop of Mogham, a city on the frontiers of Persia, and near the Caspian Sea, proceeded to enter on the duties of his diocese, he found it occupied by a barbarous people immersed in superstition and idolatry.

"The bishop, however, commenced his instructions, and his flock confessed that they received them with pleasure, were convinced of their truth, and were inclined to return to the true God, but that they were terrified at the thought of abandoning Yezid, the object of religious veneration of their ancestors. This idol, they said, conscious of approaching rejection and contempt, would not fail to revenge itself by their total destruction. Elias desired to be led to this object of their adoration. They conducted him to the summit of a neighbouring hill, from whence a dark wood extended into the valley below. From the bosom of this rose a plane-tree of enormous height, majestic in the spread of its boughs and deep obscurity of its shade; but, transported with holy zeal, he demanded a hatchet, and rushing to the valley, sought the idol, whom he found lowering with a dark and menacing aspect. Nothing daunted, however, he raised the axe, smote down the image of the Prince of Darkness, and continued his work till not only was the mighty tree laid prostrate, but every one of the numerous younger shoots, termed by the barbarians the children of Yezid, were likewise demolished." The similarity of these two legends, coming from such opposite quarters, is very remarkable, and can scarcely be quite accidental.

In addition to the religious sects already mentioned, we must not omit to mention that of the Ali Ullahis, who take their name from one of their tenets, which taught that the Spirit of God has appeared on earth in a succession of in


carnations, one of which was in the person of Ali, the sonin-law of Mohammed; in other words, that Ali was God, as the term signifies. Of the other articles of their faith we are but ill informed, as they, like the Yezidees, being regarded with ill-will by the dominant sect of the Mohammedans, maintain great secrecy on all matters that respect their religious opinions. By some they are held to be the same with the Chirag Koosh, who have some abominable rites and customs. But this is certainly not the case; and some of the most powerful tribes of Kermanshah and Mount Zagros, as the Gouran, and Zengenah, and Kelhore, are Ali Ullahis.

Natural History.

Introduction. GEOLOGY.-FIRST DISTRICT-Primary Rock.-Kebban Silver and Lead Mines.-Copper Mines.-Carbonaceous Marls and Sandstones.-Coal.-SECOND DISTRICT-Supercretaceous Deposite. -Limestone Deposite.-Compact Chalk.-Plutonic Rocks.-Formations near Orfa and Mosul.-Marble.-Sulphur Springs.-Mines.Hills of Kurdistan.-Calcareous Gypsum.-Hill of Flames.-Kufri Hills. Hamrine. - Formation of Euphrates.-Gypseous.-Plutonic Rocks.-Marls,-Hills of Denudation.-Sand Hills.-Naphtha Springs. -THIRD DISTRICT-Limits.-Moving Sand Hills.-Salt Efflorescences.-Marshes.-Water Country. BOTANY.-FIRST or MOUNTAIN DISTRICT-Forest Trees.-Cultivated Plants.-Gallnuts.-Gum Arabic.-Manna.-SECOND DISTRICT-Plains of Assyria.-Spring Flowers.-Summer.- Common Plants.-Potherbs. Fruits. Cultivated Plants. Vegetables. - THIRD DISTRICT Alluvial. Succulent Plants.-Grasses.-Sedges.-Babylonian Willow.-Limit between the Land and the Water.-Mariscus Elongatus. ZOOLOGY.-MAMMALIA of First District-Plantigrade Carnivora.-Felines.-Rodents.-Ruminants.-Angora.-Taurus.-Goat.-Other Districts-Bats.-Insectivora. Carnivora. — Lions. — Tigers.- Chaus.- Lynx. - Hyenas.Wolves, &c.-Domestic Cats.-Dogs.-Turkoman Dog.-Rodents.Pachydermata.-- Boar.- Horse.- Ass.- Ruminants.- Dromedary.Camels.-Gazelle.-Sheep.- Bovida.-ORNITHOLOGY - Raptores.Vultures.-Eagles.- Owls. - Incessores.- Cranes. Nightingale.Larks.- Sparrows.- Bee-eaters, &c.- Game-birds.-Grouse.-Partridges. Cursores.-Ostrich.-Grallatores.-Palmipedes.- REPTILES

-Tortoises.-Lizards.-Frogs, &c.-FISHES.-INSECTS.

THE limited sources of information regarding the natural history of Assyria and Mesopotamia, and the incompleteness of such as do exist, instead of leading us to dismiss

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