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RICI'S RESEARCHES IN KOORDISTAN AND NINEVEN.*
The portion of the globe which is the formation requisite for such a task. subject of our author's book, and where Intimate acquaintance with remote hishe had taken up his residence for a tory, and familiar knowledge of ancient considerable time, is certainly the most tongues, are not supposed to be the eninteresting spot on the surface of the dowments of traders or couriers, and earth, and connected with recollections the labour and minute investigation of of the deepest and most solemn import existing localities, as illustrating ancient to mankind. It was here the first inan descriptions, cannot be enjoyed by men saw the light of heaven-it was here he whose only object is a rapid progress. passed his happy days before his fali- It has therefore happened that this it was here sin entered the world, and spot is perhaps less known than any by sin death, and so death and sin have other almost on the habitable globe, passed upon all men--it was here the and that the centre, if it may be so germ of society was laid, and from this called, of the earth's surface, where the point it expanded over the surface of human race beyan, and from whence ihe earth—it was here the remnant of a it expanded on every side, is actually people were saved till they again re- involved in as much obscurity as the plenished the world—it was here the remotest polar regions, to which the first city was built, which founded the human race has not yet found its way. first mighty empire, to last 1000 years, That Mr. Rich, however, was one of and be the parent and model of every the favoured few who enjoyed the opother. With this place, in fact, is con- portunity of enquiring, and had the nenected all that revelation has commu- cessary qualifications to profit by it, will nicated, and history detailed, of the appear by a brief sketch of his history. first state of man, consequently involv- Mr. Rich was a native of Dijon, in ing in its consideration whatever con- Burgundy, and was born in 1787, but at a cerns the future period of his existence. very early age was brought to Bristol,
To investigate the present state of where he was educated. He evinced an this place, however, requires opportuni- extraordinary and early propensity to the ties which few men enjoy, and qualifica- study of oriental languages. At the age tions which still fewer possess. This of eight years he accidentally saw some cradle of the human race is now its Arabic manuscript with a gentleman of tonib—this surface of magnificent cities that town, and he immediately applied is now a solitary desert. Nineveh and himself to master them. By the simple Babylon, and all their inhabitants, help of a borrowed grammar and dictowns of 60 miles in circumference, and tionary, he learned to read, write, and populations of countless millions, have speak the language with fluency and left no more visible traces behind them correctness, and by similar aids he was than if they had never existed, and the equally master of Hebrew, Syriac, Pertraveller who now visits these places, sian, and Turkish, at the early age of meets nothing but solitary plains and 15. We remember a friend who thought pestiferous swamps; and if he be so ro- himself such a proficient in foreign bust as to escape pestilential disease languages, as to undertake to be an inin the latter, he can hardly hope to structor ; but when he came to accost avoid the equally dangerous encounter a stranger in his own tongue as he of the only living things now to be met thought, he was politely told by him, with in the former-the lurking serpent he was sorry he did not understand or the wandering robber. To describe English, for such he supposed was the such places as they have been, requires language in which he was addressed.an ability and acquisition which the Not so Mr. Rich. He met a Turk in casual visitor who hurries through these Bristol, who could not make himself regions cannot be said to possess. The understood, but when addressed by only persons who resort thither are men Mr. Rich, he expressed his pleasure and engaged in commercial speculations, or surprise at hearing his own language travellers who hastily pass from India. correctly spoken in a strange country, They have neither the time nor the in- and this was the foundation of an ac
A Narrative of a Residence in Koordistan, &c. By the late Claudius James Rich. 2 vols. 8vo. London. 1836.
quaintance, which was afterwards re- 6000 inhabitants in a few days. Every newed, when they met by chance in the one of the upper classes who survived, east, in an interesting manner.
fled from the infected town; but Mr. This proficiency and capability re- Rich refused to abandon the poor. commended him to Sir James Mack- His whole time was employed in visitintosh, by whose interest he was ap- ing the sick and dying ; administering pointed to a situation which gave him to al medicine and consolation. To an opportunity of visiting countries in these benevolent exertions he himself the East, and confirming and soon fell a victim. On leaving the larging his self-acquired knowledge, by bath one morning, he was seized with actual experience. He was finally ap- symptoms of the fearful disease, which, pointed, as the most qualified person, before the next morning hurried him to the situation of the Honourable East away, notwithstanding every care.-India Company's resident at Bagdad, Like another Howard, he perished in at the age of 24, and having married the the sacred duty of visiting the sick in daughter of his patron, he proceeded a foreign country; like him also, he lies thither, with his amiable wife in 1808. buried in the scene of his philanthropy, Here he spent six years with no other and a monument erected to his memory European society than her's, except that on the spot, marks the grave of another of the surgeon of the residence, and in Englishman, who devoted his life in the the intervals of his diplomatic labours, cause of a stranger ; but more extended he engaged with ardour in more con- in his objects than his benevolent pregenial pursuits. He gathered mate- cursor, he has left behind him curious rials for a history and geographical ac- and interesting memorials of the past count of Bagdad-hc examined all the and present state of the people. remains of antiquity, particularly those The present work is one of the of ancient Babylon-he spared no la- many he had been preparing, and it bour and cost to procure oriental adds much to its interest that it is MSS., and he formed an extensive col- edited by his amiable widow, who was lection of medals, coins, and gems, his constant and intelligent companion, found at Nineveh, Bahıylon, Ctesiphon, in all his journeys. Like Mrs. Heber, and Bagdad.
Lady Railles, Mrs. Kennedy, and other Having felt his constitution greatly gifted women, who accompanied their impaired in this insalubrious climate, he husbands on their frequent wanderings, in 1813, was compelled to leave it, and it was her lot, as it was theirs, to witproceeded to Constantinople with Mrs. ness his death, and to record his chaRich, who accompanied him in all his racter as well as his journeys—the one excursions, and making a tour from appears to have been as amiable as it thence round Europe, he returned again was intellectual, and the others add to his residence and duty, having added more information on those countries, much to his knowledge of other oriental and from a more qualified man, in some countries, and increased his numismatic points, than has ever yet appeared becollection by Greek, Parthian, and fore the public. Sassanian coins, but particularly those Mr. Rich set out with a numerous curious ones, Babylonian cylinders, and cortege befitting our resident in a foamong other places he visited some of reign land, from Bagdad to Sulimania, the churches of the Catholic Chaldean in the mountains of Koordistan, to Christians, and obtained, among other pass some time in the purer air of that MSS. valuable Chaldean versions of elevated region, and repair a constituthe Scriptures.
tion injured by the heats and swamps But while he meditated other tours, of the plains of the Euphrates. In and other encrease of knowledge, his passing through the low land, every career of usefulness was arrested by an thing he meets reminds us of the forunexpected enemy. He was at Schiraz, mer state of that country, as recorded examining the ruins of Persipolis, and by various ancient writers. Mr. Rich the tomb of Cyrus, when the cholera, does not always notice those coincitravelling from India, suddenly ap- dences, but they must strike every peared in that city, and swept away classical reader. Strabo* and Justint
* Γιγνεται δε εν βαβυλωνια η ασαλτος πιλλη κ.τ.λ.-Lil. 26.
say that Babylonia abounded in naphtha traces of ancient names and customs. wells and bitumen. Our traveller One of the most remarkable personages found it every where bubbling out of the which he met on entering Persian earth. It mixed with the soil in such a Koordistan, was a prince named Khosway as to render it fit for building, and roo Bey, who was doubtless a descenthe houses were erected with bricks dant of the ancient dynasty. Khosroo baked from it.* Mr. Rich found the was a celebrated name in the former present edifices built of the same ma- state of this country. It is found on terials, the bitumen still adhering to the coins, and is recorded by the histhe bricks. Strabo remarks the expe- torians. Lucian has immortalized one dients they had recourse to in building of them. In his directions for composin order to remedy the want of wood.t ing history he tells of a fulsome writer Wood is still so scarce at Babylon that who occupied whole pages in describing it sells at an enormous price, floated how a hero of this name swam across down from the mountains to the plain the Tigris. below, where various expedients are The most distinguishing characteristic used in building, to supply its defi- of the former natives, was their addiction ciency. Inundations were so frequent to astrology, a propensity mentioned by and copious, that it was necessary to Daniel, Cicero, and other writers, both guard against them by trenches and sacred and profane. When our author canals, to draw off the water. Our arrived at the gates of Sulimania, he was travellers were constantly in contact with met by Osman Bey, an intelligent man, canals, and saw in some places inunda- anda distinguished character in the countions covering the face of the country. try. Like the king in Daniel, || he Xenophon's account accords in many “ called for the astrologers to point of these particulars; the scantiness of out the most lucky moment for Mr. wood, the abundance of water in the Rich and his suite to enter the place. places through which the Grecian army He looked at his watch several times marched, various trenches and canals in- in the course of the interview, and tersecting the country.I But the histo- seemed anxious that we should not miss rian also mentions another circumstance the precise time of mounting. At last ofcurious coincidence. After passing the when they told him it was the appointed Euphrates, they entered into a vast instant, we rose together and set forward.” plain like the sea, covered with worm- Among the usages that have rewood, the odour of which was mained unaltered from time immemo. powerful, that every plant in the coun- rial, is the manner of passing rivers. try seemed to be aromatic. Our tra- In crossing the Euphrates at Thapsavellers met nearly the same productions, cus, the natives used rafts made of and felt the same effects. The country skins stuffed with dry hay, and then was covered with wormwood, and in drawn tight together; and on these some parts with origanums, which sent they transported themselves and proforth a refreshing and agreeable odour. visions from side to side.** Our tra
Among the evidences of the usages vellers embarked on the river on their and manners of the people, are a few return to Bagdad on a raft called a killek,
Προς τας οικοδομας ηπιτιδειαι τας δια της οπτης πλινθου-κ.τ.λ.-Ι. ή Δια την αξυλιαν ψιλη γαρ χωρα-κ.τ.λ.
- Ib. + Πλημoρει γαρ ο Ευφρατης ωςτε αναγκη λιμναζειν κ.τ.λ.-Ιυ. $ Δενδρον δε ουδεν ενην κ.τ.λ.- -Anab. lib. 1. Η Πηδιον απαν ομαλον ωσπερ θαλαττα αψινθεουδε πληρες --απαντα δε ησαν ευωδη κ.τ.λ.-
-Ib. Dan. v. 7.
Διφθερας επιμπλασαν χορτου κουφου ειτα συνηγον και συνεσπων ως μη απτισθαι της tapons to vong 171 TOUTWY orsbervor.— Xenoph. Anab. lib 1.
The same contrivance is recorded by Arrian, as practised by Alexander in crossing the Hydaspes.-Ar. lib. v. c. 12.
Connected with the soil is the climate, the peculiarities of which still exist unchanged from the remotest antiquity. The easterly wind then, as well as now, was the cause of intolerable annoyance. The prophet Jonas sheltered himself by a gourd, which was struck by a worm, so ihat it withered and afforded no more protection to his head : “ And God prepared a fervent east wind," (Jonah, iv. 8,) which so affected the prophet that “he wished to die.” This wind is still dreaded in the country. It is called sherké, and is hot, dry, stormy, and singularly, relaxing,
similarly constructed with goat-skins; no tradition, except that they were of but instead of being stuffed with dry extreme antiquity. No sculpture is hay, they were inflated, and formed so now to be seen, but some years ago a many bladders.
remarkable bas-relief, representing inen But besides these, and similar coinci- and other animals, covering a grey dences, there was litile artificial left in stone of the height of two men, was the country to designate its former state. dug out. All the people of Mousul The muddy materials of which the edi- went to see it, and every one taking fices were built hadcrumbled away. With away a small piece, left to our traveller the exception of some traces of walls and no remnant of it. The walls, in many fretwork, which could give no satis- places, were ten or twelve feet high, factory explanation, nothing remained and the angles of bastions were still to indicate the ancient state of the traceable, though no towers seemed to people-even the coins were a source have crowned ihem. In the foundaof confusion. At one place four were tions appear to have been laid large brought to Mr. Rich, and they were all blocks of stone, and in many concrete of different æras
masses, even among bricks cemented to“ As if,” said he, “purposely designed gether by bitumen. In some places, they to obscure and confuse; one being Ar- were nothing more than conglomerate sacian, another Sassanian, a third Cufic, mounds of pebbles, united together by and a fourth an intaglio of a Roman some intermediate substratum, and so victory."
worn down into mounds as to reseinble But there still exist some artin natural hills. The area which the ficial remuants wbich mark the most remnant of the walls included, did not remote antiquity. Our travellers seem to be more than one mile by two mention some indications, not only and a-half. This would but faintly of Nineveh but of Ninrod. The resemble a city which Diodorus Sicuformer is situated on the Tigris, near lus says, was 150 stadia long, and 90 Mousul, from whence Mr. Rich visited broad; which, supposing a stadium to the remains of the ancient city. They be about a furlong, or the eighth part first came to a large rampart, then a of a mile, would give a circumference hollow, like a ditch, and then another of 58 miles. But Mr. Rich justly rampart, which the Mousul Turks calle supposes that the present remains visible ed the beginning of Nineveh. They include only the citadel, or royal presoon passed another ditch and wall
, cincts, or probably both, as the pracwhich seemed to indicate that Nineveh tice of fortifying the residence of an had a double wall. He then crossed oriental sovereign is of very ancient an area, which led to a Turkish village date. So it certainly is at Constanticalled Nebbi Yanus, and so traversed nople, at the present day, the sethe centre of the celebrated town. raglio occupies the whole space of On excavating about the modern ancient Byzantium; and among the Turkish town of Nebbi Yanus, frag- more than half Asiatic Russians, the ments of brick, whole bricks, and Kremlin, in Moscow, is of similar expieces of gypsum, covered with in- tent and structure. scriptions in the Cuneiform character, But the most remote city, to which are found ; one of which, four inches the human mind can go back, is that thick, is deposited in the British Mu- of Nimrod,--built by that son of seum. Among the traditions of places Cush“ who was a mighty hunter bestill existing, is the tomb of Jonah, fore the Lord.” The supposed site of over which was erected, at first, a this ancient place is four hours' jourChristian church,—not from the sup- ney from Mousul. The first intimaposition that he was buried there, but tion the travellers had of this primæval the circumstance of his having preach- architect was, a voice crying from the ed there. It is now converted into a waters. This was caused by a dam Turkish mosque, as the Mohaminedans run across the river, over which the also recognize Jonas as a preacher stream rushed with the rapidity of a against the Ninevites. Within the cataract, and caused a loud roaring, area were sundry dark passages, which heard at a considerable distance. This seemed to belong to catacombs, or se- mound the inhabitants universally atpulchres, but of which the people had tributed to Nimrod.
around was highly cultivated, and vil. this region also. They are called tepe, lages appear in sight every where, probably a corruption of the Greek thickly scattered. The principal re- rapos, a tomb, to which use they are gemains found at the spot assigned as nerally assigned. But the great extent the site of this city was, a pyramidal of surface which they cover, in varimount, at the N. W. angle of a raised ous regions of Asia and Europe, renplatform, round which were scattered der it doubtful if they were always apthe remnants of ruins, like those which plied to that purpose. Those seen at a place of the remotest antiquity the entrance of the Dardanelles, on would be likely to leave, after the lapse the supposed plains of Troy, are uni. of countless centuries. About a quar- versally supposed to be the tombs of ter of a mile from these debris is a the heroes who fell in that war ; but large modern village, called Nimrod at they expand every where over the this very day: This is a remarkable plains of Thrace, on the opposite instance of the permanency of tradi- shore, and from thence all the way tion among the inhabitants of a place. along the steppes of Tartary, where The name of Memphis, Troy, and Dr. Clarke found them so abundant other cities, are altogether unknown to that he could not reckon the number the people who live on the spot on that appeared at once above the horiwhich they stood ; but here the name They are found likewise, as apis as recognized as when it was first pears from Mr. Rich, in great numbers imposed, immediately after the flood ; on the plains of Mesopotamia, and thus and the villagers consider this "mighty they are seen in various places within a hunter” as the architect of the place circle of many thousand miles in cirthey inhabit, and certain village story- cumference, in different quarters of the tellers entertain the inhabitants at globe, and among all varieties of peonight, by reciting tales of him, from a ple—the most refined as well as the book called Kisseh Nimrod, or “le- most barbarous. Mr. Rich conjectures gends of Nimrod.”
that “they were probably royal staThe remains of the old town resem- tions, marking the progress of an army; ble those of Nineveh; concrete masses perhaps of that of Xerxes, or Darius of pebbles, and brick, in which the Hystaspes." It is certain that the latter were covered with similar Cu- Turks, in their march to besiege Buda, neiform character, and thicker than did erect some of them in modern those of Babylon. The pyramid was times, for this purpose, which are menrounded at the angles, by time, but tioned by Cantemir. Dr. Walsh, on bis sufficient remained of it to ascertain return from Constantinople, saw several its original shape. The heiglit was on the plains of Thrace, erected to one hundred and forty-four feet, and mark the place where the imperial the circumference, at the base, seven ensign was stuck up. One of them is hundred and seventy-seven.
The still called Buyuk Sanjak Tepé, or coincidence of this form of edilice “the Great Hill of the Standard.” with those in Egypt is worthy of no- From the alluvial soil of the Tigris tice. But it was further observed, and Euphrates, our party ascended the that in the composition of the bricks highlands. The face of Koordistan of this region, there was not the slight- formed a strong contrast to the plains est trace of straw having been used as of Babylon and Mesopotamia. Lofty a material. In another place, bricks mountains and verdant valleys, were an were found impressed with the form of agreeable contrast to arid plains or a man's hand." These Mr. Rich refers stagnant swamps, particularly to an into the Sassanian, or some recent pe- valid, changing his residence in search riod. It is a remarkable fact, how- of health. Nor did he find the people
Mohammed sometimes those robbers that most travellers apsigned his documents by the impres- prehend, and with reason, who have sion of a hand, and these bricks might occasion to pass through the country. have some conuexion with this Moslem The state of the population resembled signature.
that of parts of Europe a century ago, Among the artificial objects which divided iutoserts and feudal barons. The attract attention here, are the mounds, former are the cultivators of the soil, or tuinuli, which are scattered over and seem a distinct race from the