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filled with Muslems, who had been driven by the soldiers from their villages in the western plain, and who were still vowing vengeance against the power that had stripped them of their property and had forced them to desert their homes. Their fierce fanatical spirit, not disposed even in peaceful times to tolerate the presence of infidels, would now delight in avenging their wrongs on such unhappy stragglers as might fall in their way. Under present circumstances, and in such a place as Dâma, they would not be restrained by any feelings of fear as to the consequences ; and even should they hesitate to make an open attack, unseen hands could deal deadly blows from behind inaccessible rocks. When I questioned Mahmûd, therefore, about the practicability of going to Dâma, he only replied, “If they give us such a reception in Busr beside the plain, what may we expect in Dâma in the very centre of the rocks?” I then remarked that, if the people of Edhr'a were like those of Busr, we had better continue our course to the Christian village of Khūbab. He said there were Christians in Edhrả, and that among them there was no danger. I only wish his words had proved true.
Our course now lay along a fine plain extending westward and southward far as the eye could see, with only the dark masses of ruins, and an occasional conical mound, to break the uniformity. On our right the border of the Lejah, sweeping round in a circle, formed a kind of bay, and its side was as clearly defined as a rocky shore-line. Small square towers occur at intervals along its rugged border, and traces of massive walls are here and there visible. The lofty buildings of Edhr’a appeared in front, extending along the summit of a projecting tongue of rocks, and also running some distance toward the interior. Crossing the wady Kunawât on the eastern side of this promontory, and ascending the ridge by a winding rugged path, on which it was with difficulty our careful horses kept their feet, we surmounted the exterior barrier and had before us a little level spot, comparatively free from stones and rocks. Beyond this on a rising ground stand the ruins of Edhr’a, stretching away far to the right. We entered the south-eastern part of the city, and dismounted in the court of the Christian sheikh.
The projecting tongue of the Lejah, on which Edhr'a stands, is about a mile and a half wide at the broadest part, and is nearly two miles long. On its extremity is a small ruined village. The situation is a strange one for a city of such magnitude—without water, without access except over rocks and through defiles that are all but impracticable. All other advantages, however, seem to have been sacrificed to security and strength. An extensive view is obtained from the roofs of the houses, over the great plain to the south and the wilderness of rocks northward. Shortly after our arrival we ascended to the terrace of the sheikh's residence to enjoy the view and obtain some general idea of the extent and character of the ruins.?
? From this spot I took a series of very important bearings, calculated to connect the Jebel Haurân, and my line of route along their eastern base, with this S.W. corner of the Lejah and the Haj road. Tell Khalediyeh, Tell Sheihân, Shủhba, Suweideh, and the Kuleib, were all visible, and their relative bearings accurately noted. The positions of several towns to the westward were also pointed out to me, such as Eshmiskin, Mezarib, and Năwa. These bearings, when con. nected with the numerous others I had taken, and with my itineraries, were highly important in the construction of a map; but they were
The appearance of the city from this spot was far from inviting ; the huge masses of shattered masonry could scarcely be distinguished from the savage rocks by which they are everywhere encompassed ; and the whole is black, as if scathed by lightning. A few square towers rise up at intervals from the heaps of ruins, and some buildings of a better class still exist. The private houses that remain are low, massive, and gloomy, and many of them are encumbered by the fallen ruins of Roman structures. They are similar in every respect to those found in the ancient cities among the mountains. On a few of these private dwellings I observed short Greek inscriptions, which prove that they are, at least, as old as the Roman age. The ruins of the ancient city cover an irregular oblong ridge about a mile in length by two-thirds of a mile in breadth. The present inhabitants reside in the ancient dwellings, selecting the apartments best fitted for comfort and security.
There are some circumstances which render the certain identification of this ancient site a matter of considerable difficulty ; but I am inclined, after a careful consideration of the whole arguments, to regard this city as the modern representative of the ancient EDREI. The reasons that have led me to form this conclusion are chiefly its position, the manifestly remote antiquity of some of its private dwellings, and its subsequent history. It is probably well known to many of my readers that almost all geographers maintain that the modern Der'a, a ruined town nearly unfortunately all lost. I have, since that time, been able in some degree to make up for this misfortune; and the map of Fezy Beg, which as usual I compared on the spot with my observations, was much more accurate here than farther to the east.
ten miles southward, is identical with Edrei; and they advance strong arguments in favour of their opinion. Either name agrees equally well with the Hebrew Edrei;8 and no argument can of course be drawn from the analogy of the names in favour of one more than the other.
The situation of Edhr’a is such as would naturally be selected for the site of a city in early and troublous times, and by the rulers of a warlike nation. The principles of fortification were then but little known, and the towns and villages were consequently placed in positions strong by nature—such as on the summits of hills and steep cliffs, and in the midst of rocky fastnesses. The advantageous position of Edhr’a in this latter respect has already been alluded to: and besides, while it thus occupied an almost impregnable site, it lay in the midst of a plain of unrivalled richness. These considerations weigh strongly in my mind in favour of the supposition that this city is identical with the ancient Edrei. Der'a, on the other hand, lies in the open plain on the banks of a little wady, and has no natural advantages; so that I cannot believe such a site would have been selected for a royal city by the warlike Rephaims. Its buildings, besides, have not those evidences of remote antiquity which appear in the houses of Edhr’a. Yet Eusebius, under the word Astaroth, says that Adraa is six miles distant from it, and twenty-five miles from Bostra ;9 and in the Peutinger • Dr. Smith writes the name of the one city Ejal,
and the name of the other ls yd; but I believe the radical letters are identical in them both; and the latter ought to be Le These correspond with the radical letters in the Hebrew name '7778. See Bib. Res., vol. iii. App. p. 152, note 1, and p. 155, note 5.
9 Onomasticon, 8. v. Astaroth, p. 28.
Tables the distance between Bostra and Adraha is given at twenty-four Roman miles. Now, there can be no doubt that the city here mentioned by Eusebius and in the Peutinger Tables is the modern Der'a, whose distance from Busrah, as laid down upon my map, will be found exactly to correspond to the statements of these authorities, and there are still traces of a fine Roman road running between them. Edhr'a is upwards of thirty Roman miles from Busrah. It cannot be questioned, however, that both these cities existed in the days of Eusebius,” that both of them were large and opulent, and that their names were very nearly the same; it is not remarkable, therefore, if they should have been confounded. I do not by any means consider the statement of Eusebius as of equal weight with the evidence derived from the nature of the position and the character of the ruins. Der'a was probably better known to him as lying on a great line of road leading to the metropolis of this province, and he may thus have hastily identified it with the Edrei of Scripture.
It was on the plain near this city that the great decisive battle was fought between the Israelites and the armies of Og king of Bashan, in which the latter was slain.3 Edrei fell into the hands of the conquerors, and was given by Moses, with the whole kingdom of Bashan, to the halftribe of Manasseh. It probably did not remain long in
· Reland, Pal., p. 421.
2 The inscriptions found upon the ruins prove this; but it is evident that Edhr’a must have been much larger and more opulent than Der'a. Dr. Smith, who visited both places, says that the ruins of the latter will not compare at all with those of the former (see Bib. Res., vol. iii. App. p. 152). 3 Num. xxi. 33; Deut. iii. 1-4.
4 Josh. xiii. 31.