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at this spot.

day the mirage was peculiarly striking and afforded a deal of amusement by the singular scenes which it occasionally presented to our sight, and which it broke up again sometimes with the rapidity of a revolving kaleidoscope. Our hilarity was still more excited when we came up to some insignificant object-a bush-often a mere stone, which had for many minutes previously been creating the most varied surmises as to whether it was a man, a camel, some great ruinous edifice, a whole forest turned topsy-turvy, or the same reflected in the bosom of a calm lake.

At length, amidst a variety of perplexing images, the houses of Ahwaz were positively made out, and to our infinite satisfaction we also soon afterwards perceived the steamer Euphrates lying a little below the town whither it had been brought in safety by Lieut. Cleaveland.

This town of Ahwaz on the Karun or Pasitigris is a site of great interest, both from its antiquity, its peculiar position on the river, at a point where a range of hills and rocks have ever presented a natural obstacle to the navigation, and from some peculiar features in its history, more especially the once extensive and prosperous cultivation of the sugar-cane

Aginis is noticed by Strabo as a village of Susians on the Pasitrigris, situated at a point where boats had to unload and the goods to be carried a certain distance by land. This intimation of a natural obstruction on the river serves to identify the ancient Aginis satisfactorily with the modern Ahwaz.

The same place under its modern denomination of Hawaz, or Ahwaz, which is another form of the Arabic Huz “a body of people,” was formerly, as we learn from Abu-l-fadah, the name of a district, one of the largest and most prosperous in Khuzistan, and the town was called Suk al Ahwaz. This district, we also further learn from the “ Tohfat ul Alim," a modern work composed for the information and at the desire of the celebrated Mir Alem, of Hyderabad, by Mir Abdul Latif, a learned relative, and a native of Shuster, the present capital of Susiana, and a translation from which, relative to Ahwaz, was communicated by Colonel Taylor to Captain Robert Mignan, comprised all that portion of the country which is watered by the Karun from Ahwaz, upwards to Band-i-Kir, and the band, or dyke, partly natural, and partly artificial, of Ahwaz, restrained the waters so that they completely overflowed the land, and, “ not a drop was lost to the purposes of cultivation."

The city and district attained the zenith of its prosperity at the time of the first Khalifs of the Abbasside dynasty. Abu-l-fadah describes the river of Ahwaz, as that portion of the river Karun was then called which flowed between Band-i-Kir and Ahwaz, as having its banks adorned with gardens and pleasure houses, and enriched by extensive plantations of sugar-cane and other valuable productions of the vegetable kingdom.

“ The city of Ahwaz,” says Mir Abdul Latif, and allowance must here be made for Oriental exaggeration, “was one of the largest cities of Khuzistan, or indeed in the other kingdoms of the world few are to be seen equal to it in size and extent. What are now thick and impervious woods were once extensive plantations of sugar-cane. Large vats and manufactories of sugar were also in existence, and mill-stones and other implements of the art of the sugar-baker, are even now so profusely scattered over the ancient site, that it is impossible to number them.

“During the dynasty of the Abassides, the city was at the height of its prosperity. Its extent in breadth is supposed to be forty parasangs, throughout which ruins and remains of magnificent edifices, baths, caravanserais, and mosques are strewed.* The khalifs within whose dominions was comprehended most of the habitable world, named this city “the source of food and wealth,' the inhabitants of which in their riches and luxury, excelled the rest of the world.”

As, however, to use the words of the Oriental philosopher, “wealth is the parent of pride and insubordination," the people of Ahwaz revolted from the khalifs, and Abi ebn Mohammed, the astrologer, surnamed “ Prince of the Zanghis” from his having recruited his army among the Zanghis or Nubian slaves, who were apparently employed in the sugar factories, took the field with a powerful force, and contended for years against the monarchs of the house of Abbas.

But the Prince of the Zanghis was ultimately defeated and obliged to surrender his person and his state to the discretion of the khalif, and Gibbon, who gives to the prince the euphonious name of Harmozan, has related at length the interview of the prisoner with the triumphant khalif, as illustrative of the manners of the time.

Ahwaz, however, never recovered this blow. The rebellious spirit of the people had so disgusted the khalifs, that they ceased to favour the place. The slaves were unwilling to return to their labours, and the remaining population fell into private feuds and bickerings. Anarchy and oppression ensued ; the weaker fled, industry ceased, and with it the production of wealth and the usual resort of merchants.

According to Samaani (Kitab ul Ansad, article Ahwaz) already in the twelfth century of our era, the pristine fame and prosperity of this place no longer existed, any more than its proud palaces, and learned luxurious and wealthy citizens. The last poor remnant of this once prosperous popu. lation ultimately abandoned their plantations and the other sources of their riches and destructive pride, and sank into desolation-the abundant mill-stones noticed by the Oriental historians almost alone remaining in the present day to attest to the former great sugar produce which, according to the same writers, was conveyed from hence all over the world.

Ahwaz is now only a small village of about a hundred houses, inhabited by Sabæans or Tsabians, whose chief, Sheikh Madhkur, is subject to the Shiekh of the Cha'bs. Many of the inhabitants own small bagalahs which trade and carry pilgrims between Mohammerah and Shuster.

The most interesting objects of antiquity to be found in the neighbourhood, are the numerous great flat circular mill-stones, used in the former sugar-factories, many of which are from four to six feet in diameter, and are met with in abundance. They attest to the existence of a branch of industry at this place, as before historically shown, which may yet be revived in happier times. Immediately behind the town are traces of a bridge and of a canal of irrigation formerly drawn from the Karun, and the ground is strewn with fragments of hewn stone, burnt brick tiles, and) pottery, Kufic coins in gold and silver, intaglios on cornelian and onyx, and other gems are occasionally met with.

Flights of hewn steps are plainly discernible on the rocks of supracetaceous sandstone which rise out of the plain immediately beyond the village, where are also many sepulchral grottoes, and some rock-hewn cisterns for water. The north-eastern face of this sandstone ridge is precipitous and cavernous. Observing a flock of pigeons wend their way into one of these caves one day that I was exploring the hills without any one with me, I descended the acclivity on that side very stealthily and cautiously, that I might get a shot at them. The result of this proceeding was, that I stood confronted at the entrance of the cave with two jackals, apparently little expecting such a visitor. They bounded, however, quickly into the dark recesses of the cave, while a fox stole away at the same moment round the outer corner. This animal liveli. ness did not, however, prevent my getting both barrels discharged into the flock of pigeons as they dashed in a body out of the cave, and three of their number fell victims to the onslaught. Human bones are, also, met with in these caves, where porcupines and scorpions also abound, as well as other strange things. The latter noxious creatures are particularly frequent at Ahwaz, from the great summer heats and numerous hiding-places amid rocks and stones. The “ Tohfat ul Alim” alludes to the excessive heats of summer at this place, and the Samm, or Simoon, is both frequent and pernicious.

It is impossible to pass over in silence one of the most extraordinary mistakes that I have ever seen made by a traveller. Captain Robert Mignan, who visited Ahwaz in 1826, and the account of whose visit is printed in the second volume of the “ Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society," actually mistook the range of sandstone hills at Ahwaz, for ruins of the city of olden time! After speaking of the remains of a bridge that are still visible behind the town, he says,

“ Here, too, commences the whole mass of ruins, extending, at least, ten or twelve miles in a south-easterly direction.

I could not find any person who had been to the end of these ruins. According to the inhabitants, their extent would occupy a journey of two months !"

What must the natives have thought of such an inquirer ? That these passages can only refer to the rocks is further manifest from other observations. Speaking of another so-called mound, he says, “it extended so far that his eye could not comprehend its limits.” And further on he adds :

Several mounds of masonry form one connected chain of rude unshapen, flaked rock, lying in such naturally-formed strata, that the very idea that any part of the materials had been accumulated by human labour, from a distant site, is scarcely admissible. The soil on which these ruins rest is peculiarly soft and sandy: the country does not become rocky until the immediate vicinity of Shuster ; and even water-carriage thence is attended with considerable toil and expense. Yet the height of these mountainous ruins and misshapen masses, induces me to think, that the site must have been by nature elevated at the time the city was built ; although, from the flatness of the surrounding country, I should be inclined to oppose such a conjecture; more particularly as there are no mountains between the Shat el Arab and the Backtiyari chain, which is seen hence running north-west and south-east.

Let me not be supposed to exaggerate, when I assert that these piles of ruin, irregular, craggy, and in many places inaccessible, rival in appearance those of the Backtiyari, and are discernible from them and for nearly as many miles in an opposite direction.

It is the more necessary to instance this extraordinary case of misconception on the part of an otherwise intelligent observer, as the traveller in question upbraids Colonel Macdonald Kinneir, for having visited the same districts under the auspices of our ambassador, and yet neglected to

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investigate ruins of such vast extent and magnitude! And that, therefore, without such an explanation, the same oversight and neglect might be attributed to ourselves. No wonder that Captain Mignan should state that the natives quarry the hewn stone without exhausting the material, and that as large a city as any now existing might be built from the ruins that he saw. The simple fact of the case is, that the ruins he saw were those of nature, the walls he explored were stratified beds of rock, and the “mountainous misshapen masses” were neither more nor less than portions of the same outlying ridge of hills, which in places called the Hamrim, extend, with slight interruptions in their continuity, from the head of the Persian Gulf to the Tigris, beyond Tekrit, a distance of upwards of six hundred miles. This

range of sandstone hills crosses the river in four distinct ledges of rock, two of which are, however, covered during a portion of the year. The remains of the well which was built across the chief of these ledges, in the prosperous days of Ahwaz, to turn the waters into the canal, are also distinctly visible. The river is at this point about three hundred yards in width with an island in the centre. On the one side the waters fall over the rocks and massive inasonry like a cataract, but on the western side they have worn away the bank so as to have made a deep channel, varying at different seasons of the year from twenty to forty yards in width, and through which Lieutenant Selby took the Assyria steamer.

Lieutenant Selby has laid much stress upon this exploit (see “ Journal of the Royal Geographical Society," vol. xiv., p. 219, et seq.), and the spirit and perseverance manifested in the undertaking, fully merit every possible encomium. But such success cannot be fairly contrasted with the movements of the Euphrates steamer. No attempt was made by those in command of that vessel to surmount the difficulty. The Euphrates is also, I believe, a larger vessel, with greater draught of water than the Assyria. Lieutenant Selby did not himself succeed on his first ascent of the Karun in June, 1841, or in what he terms “the lowest season.” Now with all deference, the river is still supplied by melting snows in June, and as there is little or no rain from June to November, it would appear that

every month between the two the waters must be getting lower and lower. Lieutenant Selby succeeded in March when the waters are at the highest.

The discussion, however, is of trifling importance ; honour be to where it is due. Lieutenant Selby did take the Assyria up the Karun beyond Ahwaz, while the Euphrates steamer remained below the celebrated Band, and a party was made, consisting of the same persons who visited the Sheikh of the Cha'bs, to ascend the river in a native boat. On this expedition, the boat being propelled but slowly up the river, the banks appeared to be peculiarly monotonous and uninteresting. Few natives were to be seen, now and then a miserable-looking woman of the Bawi tribe, coming down to get water on the left bank, or a stray wanderer of the Anafijah on the right. These Anafijah occupy the right bank of the Karun, below Band-iKir. They possess large ficcks of sheep and camels, and are entirely I’liyat, or wandering. The first town or village met with was Wais, which contains about three hundred houses, and is thirty-five miles from Ahwaz by the river, and from this point to Band-i-Kir, the river extends in one uninterrupted reach nearly due north and south. This very remarkable

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circumstance has led both Layard and Lieutenant Selby to believe, that this portion of the actual channel is an artificial cut, the continuation of the canal

, called Ab-i-Gargar, cut by Shapur from Shuster, and which is said to have been prolonged to Ahwaz. We left Ahwaz on the 26th of November, and arrived at Band-i-Kir on the 29th, after three days' tedious journey. Three noble streams, the river Dizful, the Karun, and the Ab-iGargar, unite at this point, only by a strange mistake, which has been since corrected, the natives described that which is a canal to us as a river, and the river as a canal.*

Whatever discussion there may still arise with regard to certain other points in reference to the extraordinary light that has been thrown upon that most curious and interesting subject--the hydrography of Susiana by the researches of Colonel Chesney, Major Rawlinson, Mr. Layard, and Lieutenant Selby, it still appears that we were the first to determine the point of junction of the three rivers, and that we also obtained on this occasion the first notice of the existence of the Shawur or Shapur, on which are the ruins of the renowned Shushan or Susa.

The statement made by Arrian that Nearchus ascended the Pasitigris to Susa, and that Alexander descended from that city to the Persian Gulf, by the Eulæus, leave little doubt that both names were alike applied to the Karun. At the same time it also appears that when Diodorus Siculus describes Eumenes as crossing the Pasitigris to attack Antigonus, who retreated to the Eulæus, that by that name the Shawur or Shapur is meant, and which river passing immediately through Sus, is also more particularly the Ulai of Scripture. Most of the difficulties in the ancient hy. drography of Susiana are cleared up by admitting, as I argued in my Researches, &c., and as is admitted by Mr. Layard, that the Shawur, as a tributary to the Karun, is the Ulai of Daniel and the Eulæus of Diodorus Siculus, and that the united waters of the Shapur, the Dizful, and the Karun, were also known by that name, as well as by the name of Pasitigris.

Professor Long in the “Journal of the Royal Geographical Society” (vol. xii., p. 105), insists upon this being his original theory. I can only say that as far as the Shapur is concerned, when we first heard of it as a river flowing through Shush, we naturally at once felt that that river was the same as the Ulai and the Eulæus; and it is so recorded in the parliamen. tary report of the labours and proceedings of the expedition, which report was also printed in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society," and before which time the existence of such a river as the Shapur was not, I believe, known in Europe.

The boatmen took up their stations in the Ab-i-Gargar, as it was our intention to proceed upwards to Shuster, but this was prevented by a series of untoward incidents. The Arabs of Band-i-Kir not only demanded tribute or customs to allow us to pass onwards, but that to an amount which was quite out of the question. Many loud and vociferous conferences were held upon the subject, to induce them to diminish their exorbitant demands, but without success. The more they were pacifically reasoned with, the more confident and imperious they became. At length

* “ The Arabs about Shuster," says Mr. Layard (“ Journal of the Royal Geographical Society," vol. xvi. p. 60), “ still fall into the same error, and call the Ab-i. Gargar the Karun, and the main body of the river Shateil, or little stream. This exactly tallies with the information we received."

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