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Primitive telescope — Tower-tombs

Druze revenge

Ruins of ’Atîl -Singular monument — Description of Suweideh and its extensive ruins — Greek inscriptions and dates — Sheikh Wâked el-Hamdân, the Druze chief — An evening party - History of Suweideh — Plain of Auranitis — Tell Kuleib — Visit to 'Ary – Druze hospitality Errors in Burckhardt's map — The Kings of Ghussân — Approach to BOZRAH – Ancient cities Rhose of the Pentinger Tables identified – Plan and description of the ruins of Bozrah — Site of Beth-gamul

- Beautiful theatre Boheira the monk, and Mohammed the Prophet.

HISTORY OF BOZRAH.-- The Bozrah of Moab distinct from that of Edom The ancient gigantic inhabitants — The Bustrian era. WHILE I stood waiting upon horseback till the baggage

all arranged, my friend the sheikh came to me with an old telescope, and asked what such an one would cost when new. On examining the instrument I was no little surprised at the originality of its construction, and inquired how he came by it. He said he had taken it from an


officer of Ibrahîm Pasha's army during the Druze war, but that it had been bruised and broken in the conflict. He, however, having carefully studied its shape and length, took out the glasses and made a new tube of paper. Time and rough usage had now dimmed and scratched the glasses, and he wished to obtain another like it. He said he was short-sighted, and it would be of great service to him if he could see as well as his neighbours. I promised to try and procure one for him if he would come to me at Damascus.

Nikôla now endeavoured to persuade him to accept of some remuneration for the expense he had been put to in feeding ourselves, our servants, and our horses; but he absolutely refused to take a single para! We resolved not to leave without paying for our entertainment in some way, and, when the sheikh refused, Nikôla gave the bakhshish to the old man who presided at the coffee.

At 1-30 we left Kunawât, and, sending our servants by the direct road, we rode up to the left to revisit the ancient tower-tombs. The buildings are square, and are divided by string-courses into two and three stories. The doors and windows are very small, and within are stone recesses for bodies, similar to those at Palmyra. It is remarkable that Burckhardt found in this city an inscription in the Palmyrene

character. Our path was narrow and tortuous, winding among dense thickets of oaks, with ruins here and there shooting up their heads over the foliage. Soon after falling into the regular road we overtook our servants, and here again observed the traces of the ancient Roman highway

8 Travels in Syria, p. 84.


As we rode on at a fast walk over the stony path, we overtook a Druze, with his gun upon one shoulder and a little child mounted astride upon the other.' Mahmûd, on coming up, lifted up the child beside him upon his horse. It is one pleasing trait in the character of these people that they are united together, one and all of them, by the closest ties of brotherhood. They have seldom disputes among themselves, and in war they are never divided, but fight as one man. In their dealings with each other they are, so far as I have been able to ascertain, honest and honourable. It may serve to illustrate the strong feelings they entertain on this point, if I here record an anecdote which Mahmûd related to me as I entered Kunawat. When passing over the bridge that spans the torrent, he directed my attention to a flat table-like rock overhanging the valley, on which a conical heap of loose stones was piled up. Two Druzes, he said, some time ago were going to Damascus, one of whom had a large sum of money on his person. His companion, as they went along, forgetting the ties of brotherhood, attempted to rob him; he resisted, but fell pierced to the heart by a dagger. When intelligence of the fearful crime was conveyed to Kunawât, a little band went out in pursuit of the murderer, and after months of careful search they found him lurking amid the wild glens of Libanus. He was conveyed in chains to his native village, and there, upon that rock, was


9 This is the ordinary mode of carrying children practised univer: sally in Syria and Palestine. As soon as they are able to sit up they are placed upon the shoulder, and there eling with their hands to the veil or turban. This illustrates the words of Isaiah xlix, 22, “ They shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders."


bound; a heap of wood and brush was piled round him, a torch applied, and he was burned to ashes in the presence of his people! This is an illustration, not of the way in which Druzes will punish crime, simply as such, but of the signal vengeance they are sure to take on that man who dares to break the holy ties of brotherhood. Another circumstance came under my notice while staying at Kunawât, which shows that the Druzes look lightly on murder when the victim is of another religion. I observed in the sheikh's house a Druze from Shuweifât, in Libanus, whose name Nikôla at once recognised, and it recalled to my mind an event that had occurred more than two years before, while on a visit at Shumlân. An unoffending Christian was murdered near that village, his only offence being that he was a member of a family with whom a sect of the Druzes had a blood feud. The murderers fled, and had little difficulty in evading the law. We now recognised in this respectable-looking man the chief actor in that deed of blood. Those among whom he lives treat him with all respect, though in the eye of Heaven he is no less guilty than he whom they burned on the rock in the valley.

As we rode along, the town of 'Atîll was some distance on our right. This place was visited by both Burckhardt




| All that is known of this ancient town may be found in Burckhardt, Travels in Syria, pp. 221-24; Buckingham, Trav. among Arab Tribes, pp. 248-50 ; and Ritter, Paläst, und Syrien, ii. 925-6. The latter has, with his usual industry, collected everything interesting respecting the state, age, and history of the ruins, so far as the researches of travellers have enabled him. It will be observed that the principal buildings were erected shortly after those of Kunawât. The ancient name of the place has not yet been discovered, though it appears in a mutilated form on one of the inscriptions, and is, as Ritter conjectures, something like Vossthu.

and Buckingham, and views of some of its ruins are given by Laborde. It is of considerable extent, being larger than Suleim, and it contains the remains of two fine temples. One of these, on the north side of the town, is nearly perfect, the portico alone having fallen. The inscription upon it throws no light on its age or history. On the south side of the town is another smaller temple of fine workmanship, erected, according to an inscription copied by Burckhardt, in the fourteenth year of the Emperor Antonine, A.D. 151. From another inscription found in this place we learn that a certain tutelary god, called Thyandrites, was worshipped in this place. This inscription is of the time of M. Aurelian, A.D. 161-180, and there is another under the Emperor Caracalla, A.D. 211-217.

After an hour's ride from Kunawât we emerged from the oak forest upon an open and stony slope, and saw the large city of Suweideh before us on the summit of a low ridge. A deep ravine separated us from its extensive ruins, on reaching the brow of which I gave our letter of introduction to Mahmûd, to deliver it to the sheikh, and thus inform him of our arrival, while we galloped down to examine an isolated building on the right. In two minutes we were beside one of the most singular monuments I have seen in this country. It is a solid cubical structure of fine masonry, about twelve yards on each side, and nearly thirty feet high. On each side are six Doric semi-columns, supporting a plain frieze and cornice, and between them are coats-of-mail, shields, and helmets sculptured in relief. On the north side, near the eastern angle, about six feet from the ground, is an inscription

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