Page images

no reason to complain of want of population ; a mass of dirty wretches render his road almost impassable; with some difficulty he jostles through a succession of narrow cloistered passages, traversing each other at right angles; the light, which is admitted by holes a foot in diameter from the top, gives to the sallow features of the crowd below, a truly consumptive appearance, agreeing well with the close, hot, fulsome smell of bad ventilation., The traveller, by this time, ha seen sufficient to cure him of the dreams of earlier life; and, on arriving at his destination, he makes a woful comparison between the reality of the scenes and the picture imagination had drawn. Such, or nearly such, was the impression first made by my arrival in Bagdad.'

The gardens, which commence within half a mile of the walls of the town, extend four or five miles along the water's edge: they are separated from each other by mud walls, and present, like most oriental gardens, a confused assemblage of shrubs and fruit-trees. A small door opens from each enclosure towards the river, which is represented as affording a dangerous facility for intrigue.

• In Constantinople, Englishmen who have engaged in this description of adventure, have disappeared, and never been heard of afterwards. In Bagdad, there does not appear to be so much danger. We heard of some of our own countrymen having escaped, even after detection, though, in some instances, the female, and some of the principal abettors of the intrigue, bave fallen victims to their imprudence.'

We regret that our countrymen should find no better employment in foreign countries, than engaging, in adventures of so disreputable and criminal a description, in which the life of at least one party is the forfeit of detection—the female.' This seems rather a favourite word with our Author, who speaks again and again of the Bagdad females,' &c. We are astonished that any well educated man should fall into this Cockney vulgarism of applying to the loveliest part of creation, the phrase of the zoologist in speaking of the brutes. Had he spoken of the Bagdad males, we should have known at once that dogs, cats, or donkeys were intended. In the name of propriety and decency, let man be man, and woman woman,τα συκα συκα, την σκαφην σκαφη» λεγων,

Our Author's visit to Babylon was very short. They breasted the Mujillebe at eight o'clock on the morning of the 26th., and left the field of ruins on the morning of the 28th., having spent half the intermediate time in Hillah. At Mumliheh, they had been at a loss for tools to dig with : here, they had instruments, but wanted inclination. A living dog,' the wise man says,

• is better than a dead lion;' but every rule has its exceptions; and a stone lion from Babylon is worth all the living dogs in Bagdad. Our Travellers were on the right scent; they scratched for about two hours at the Hanging Gardens, and turned out a black marble lion striding over a man, which, our Author ventures to suggest, might have refer

ence to Daniel in the lion's den. Had they persevered with the like tact and good fortune, who knows but they might have discovered the identical idol of Bel and the dragon, the equestrian statue of Semiramis herself, the Sub-amnian tunnel, and all the rest of it. But they wanted--time! Why, then, did they stay so long at Bussorah and Bagdad, where there was little to be seen and nothing to be done? We hate these flying visits. Babylon was overturned three and twenty centuries ago : we should now like it to be upturned ; and think that the public money might be quite as well employed in sending out a commission of savans for that purpose, as in sending poor fellows out in search of the nearest way to the North Pole, to be drawn over the ice by dogs for six weeks, and find their way back as they may; Surely, Mr. Barrow, or Mr. Gilbert Davis Giddy, would rather lift a brick laid by Nimrod, who shook hands with Noah, whose grandfather could remember Adam,—than sledge it through ice and snow, to swing a stick on Boreas's spindlepoint, eat seal's fish-flesh, and drink whale's milk, and return, re infectâ, frost-bitten and pennyless, with nothing for their pains but permission to publish another insipid quarto of adventures and peradventures.—Let us be thankful, however, for what these gentlemen have presented to us. Besides a wood-cut representation of the statue of the said lion, and of the solitary cedar still standing on the site of the Hanging Gardens,-the only trec of the kind, but one, throughout Irak Arabia, -we have drawings (we presume by Capt. Hart) of devices on three cylinders, brought from Babylon, and presented by Capt. Keppel to the British Museum. They are spirited and curious. Similar ones have been found in the mound erected over the Persians who fell at Marathon, and they are supposed to have been worn as amulets. The character of these devices is decidedly Persian, resembling that of the sculptures at Takht-e-Jemsheed. One man has the winged circle at his back, but the ferooher, or spirit, has fled,---whether through the dilapidation of time or the carelessness of the artist, we cannot tell. A few more such specimens would enable us to form some competent idea of the state of ancient art in Babylonia, of which, as contra-distinguished from Persian art, we as yet know nothing.

On their return to Bagdad, our Travellers fell in with Mr. Wolf, the Missionary to the Jews, who had just arrived from Aleppo after a long and arduous journey across the desert. Capt. Keppel says:

• We were much interested in our new acquaintance, who, in the course of conversation, evinced an inexhaustible fund of anecdote, and shewed such enthusiasm in the laborious and perilous office in which he is employed, that, though we may not agree with hia in the efficacy of his mission, few can help admiring his unaffected piety and the sincerity of his religious zeal.'

On the 8th of April, our Author had the satisfaction of finding himself outside the walls of Bagdad, on the road to Kermanshah, and after traversing for five hours a barren waste, reached Benee Sad. The advanced guard of Mohummud Ali Meerza, the late prince of Kermanshah, marched as far as this place on their road to Bagdad; and they had left striking

proofs of their visit in the ruinous and desolate state of the • town. The head quarters of the prince were established for some time at Bacoubah, which our Travellers reached the second night, and which they found also in ruins. The cholera morbus, breaking out among the troops, occasioned the precipitate return of the army to Kermanshah, where the prince died shortly after. The time he wasted at this station, saved the pashalik.. · Had he marched imediately to Bagdad,' remarks Capt. Keppel,' it is the general opinion, that he would • have obtained possession of it;' so great was the terror produced by his previous successes. Seven miles E. of Bacoubah, the party came upon ruins which our Author considers to be those of Artemita, the favourite residence of Chosroes. D'Anville places it near a town called Descara, and Kioneir at Kisra Shereen, a ruined city in the Hamerine mountains. At the former place, after the most careful investigation, no traces of an ancient site could be discovered ; and the latter, it is remarked, is at too great a distance from Ctesiphon, and in too elevated a situation, to admit of being identified with Destagerda. The third night, they reached Shehreban, a place of considerable extent, which had been recently sacked and ruined by the Coords. Here, they wandered through the desolate streets for some time without finding a single inhabitant, till they came to a caravanserai, where they found a solitary individual, who informed them that all the inhabitants bad fed.

• This town was, not many months back, one of the most populous and thriving in the pashalik of Bagdad: now, the whole population consists of about three families. The mosque, which is very large, has been spared by these marauders, probably from a religious feel. ing. The same inducement has made them leave the caravanserai untouched, for the use of their countrymen on a pilgrimage to the tomb of their saint. Whatever may have been the motive, the effect of these three buildings in preservation, only serves to complete the picture of desolation by the contrast they bear to the rest of the city.

We examined the fortifications and outer works. Some of these are almost level with the ground. Those that remain standing, every where pierced with cannon shot, have left ample traces of its destructive powers. Here, the action must have been desperate. The point of attack being on the eastern side of the city, it must have been necessary for the besiegers to escalade the garden walls, after having carried the outworks. We could distinctly trace the several breaches that had been made.'

On the 12th, our Travellers proceeded over the plain of the Diala, which they crossed at a ferry, to visit an excavated rock and obscure site, called the palace of Shereen. They were

rather astonished' to hear the Arabs relate the well known tradition mentioned by Herodotus, that, in consequence of one of the horses dedicated to the sun having been lost in this river, Cyrus vowed that he would make it shallow enough for a lady to pass over without wetting her tunic. On leaving the plain, , they entered the lowest range of Mount Zagros, the ancient boundary between the Assyrian and Median kingdoms, and which still divides the Arabian Irak from Irak Ajem. For five hours, they pursued a very rugged road over a succession of rounded limestone hills, and then traversing for three more a rich and well cultivated plain, arrived, almost worn out, at the caravanserai of Khizil Rubaut. To the S. W. of the village of Baradan, two hours from their halting place, is

. a mound little inferior to the tower of Babel. It consists of a raised platform 200 yards square, and 30 feet high. From this mass rises a quadrangular tower, 90 yards long, 50 yards wide, and 80 feet high. The whole consists of earth mixed with rounded pebbles : a portion to the N.E. which has recently fallen down, exhibits its structure of successive layers. From the quantity of broken bricks, it has evidently, like the Babylonian ruins, been coated with them. The centre of the mound is much injured; huge ravines being formed on three sides of it by the rain. We found numerous fragments of broken pottery, &c. Near the top of the upper mass, we saw a vessel containing the bones of animals. The appearance of this mound corresponds to the accounts given by Strabo and Pausanias of some Firetemples, which, on account of their being situated on large mounds of earth, they call 2000s mapouidens (usoloedens). Diodorus states, that Semiramis erected a number of them in Assyria. From the reverence in which these places of worship were held, and from their capability of defence, they became repositories of treasure. Strabo mentions, that in this country (Assyria), there was one called Azara, which was plundered by the Persians of ten thousand talents.'

In the general character of this monument, there seems to be a near approach to that of the pyramid of Meduun, commonly called the False Pyramid, the most southerly of the groupe of Dahshour; and there can be little doubt that, like the temple of Belus itself, it combined the temple and the sepulchre. The most ancient form of tumulus was a mound (xwpce) surmounted with a a pillar (onan), cone, or tower; and in the case of sepulchres erected to monarchs and sacred or heroic personages, the tomb was surmounted with a temple. The prevalence of the custom of raising temples, altars, or shrines over tombs, with a view to secure a greater degree of reverence for the depositories of the dead, is indicated by the remarkable language of Athenagoras, who calls the temples of the ancients, Tamong tombs. This name was afterwards retorted by the Pagan writers upon the Christians, when they began to practise the custom of burying the bones of martyrs in their churches. In some instances, the sepulchre was encompassed with an outer wall

, and became, as the churches were often made in feudal times, a fortified sanctuary. And as places at once of the greatest sanctity and security, they were also employed as treasuries; so that the appellation of the Treasury of Atreus, applied to what is now believed to be the Tomb of Agamemnon, near Mycenæ, may not be altogether a misnomer. We are strongly inclined to believe, that the Great Pyramids of Memphis were in like manner intended to subserve, in subordination to their sacred character as sepulchres, the purpose of treasuries; that, with this view, they were rendered disguised fortresses; that the professed and known entrance was closed after the reception of the soros, a secret entrance being reserved, which was known only to the priests; and that the notion of the Mohammedan conquerors, which led them to force open these ancient monuments in the expectation of finding concealed treasure, rested upon the well-known fact, that tombs were often used for such a purpose, or originated in actual discoveries of concealed treasure in other ancient monuments.

On the 14th of April, our Travellers left Khizil Rubaut, and travelling in a N. E. direction over a succession of sand-stone hills, reached, at the end of five hours, the frontier town of Khanaki, situated on the Diala.

• Khanaki, which is of reputed antiquity, defines the frontier of the Pashalick of Bagdad, and has met with a fate natural to its unfortunate position between two rival powers. About two years ago, it was taken by Mohummud Ali Meerza, and must at that time have had its share of the calamities of war. Upon the retreat of the Prince into Kermanshah, he left behind him a garrison of three hundred Coords, who were surprised by the Pasha of Bagdad, and, without exception, put to the sword. This catastrophe occurred only six months back.

« The works of devastation here, are even more marked than at any place we have yet seen. The fruit-trees in the gardens appeared to

« PreviousContinue »