Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:44 am


The first of the two Arabic manuscripts of which I have spoken, page 85, is numbered 786. It seems to have been composed around the year 1620, by a lawyer, the chaik Merèï, son of Yousef the Hanbalite.

It is a kind of chronicle in the manner of the Orientals, which traces in succession, but without coherence of speech, the salient events of the reigns of the princes, their accession to the throne, their wars, their pious foundations, their death and some features of their character. The author leads the series from the first Kaliphs, under which the conquest of Egypt was made, to the Turkish Pasha who in his time was viceroy of the Sultan of Constantinople there. A detailed extract of this work would be both foreign to my subject and too long. It will suffice for me to give the main results which are - that, since the invasion of Amrou, lieutenant of Kaliph Omar, Egypt was ruled by the viceroys of the Kaliphs, his successors, whose seat was first in Damascus, then in Baghdad. — That theMaimoun ) having made up a guard of Turkmen slaves, this soldiery ended up invading all the military posts of the empire, and the government of the provinces. — That a son of these slave soldiers, named Ahmed-Ben-Touloun, made itself independent in Egypt around 872, and formed an empire which extended from Rahbe, near Moussel, to Barbary. Haras d'Ahmed) —That after 30 years, Egypt returned to the Kaliphs, who were not more careful. — That in 934, a soldier of fortune, named Akchid, declared himself again independent, and maintained until 400,000 men. — That at his death, a black slave, called Kafour, seized the scepter and reigned with a transcendent talent. — That after him, in 968, the descendants of Fatima and Ali, recognized for caliphs in Barbary, seized Egypt, where they reigned under the name of Fatimites. — That one of them founded in 969 the city of current Kaire. — That this family reigned until 1200 in a suite of princes who, according to Merei's remark, they were all mad or stupid. — Under them, Egypt fell into a pit of calamities, pestilences and famines, one of which lasted 7 years. The author on this occasion identifies famines and pestilences, and finds 21 from 635 until 1440.

The kaliphs of Egypt, like those of Baghdad, having formed a guard of foreigners, like them became its victims. Selah-el-din, Kurdish extraction, vizier of the last Fatimite, deposes his master, and founded the so-called Aioub dynasty, named after his father. — It was he who had the well with snail staircase, called Josef well. His army was mainly made up of horsemen named in Serrâdjin Arabic, whose crusaders made their word Saracens. This dynasty reigned 85 years under 10 sultans.

The army, then composed of Mamlouks Turkmans, having killed the last Aioubite, a Turkman, named Ibek, seizes the scepter, and establishes the dynasty of the Turkman Mamlouks. — Under the short reign of the son of Ibek, Holagou-Kan and his Moguls destroy Baghdad and the Kaliphate in 1258. — The tenth Turkman sultan, Qalaoun, having formed a guard of 12,000 Cherkass Mamlouks, bought in the markets of Asia, this militia becomes the mistress, elects the princes, deposits them, strangles them, etc. — A chief of this body, named Barqouq, is elected and opens the dynasty of the Cherkass Mamlouks; he left in currency 25,000,000 14,000,000 tournaments and in meubles.-23 Eof this dynasty was attacked by Selim II, who, having killed him in a battle fought near Aleppo, pursued his successor Toumâmbek in Egypt, in whom ended the first empire of the Mamlouks. — Summarizing the series of these princes, he is found that 48 sultans, including 24 Turkmans and 24 Tcherkasses, reigned only 263 years: that of the 24 Turkmans, 11 were assassinated and 6 deposed: only on the 24 Cherkassus, 6 were assassinated and 11 deposed, and many of them reigned only a few months: that all these princes knew only to make war, to plunder, to ravage, and then to make pious foundations of mosques, d schools, etc.: that under the 11 th race turkmane, it was the time to divert the Nile to the Red sea, the foot of Mount Mokattam, and that the costs were evaluated 2,250,000 fr. Finally, Merèi gives the series of pashas, ​​which is of little interest, and ends with the principles of Muslim government, which are purely despotism by divine right.

The second manuscript, number 695, is a mirror or picture of the empire of the Mamluks, the sultans of Egypt, composed by Kalil, son of Shahin El Zaher, vizier of Sultan Malek-el acheraf (8 th of tcherkasse dynasty).

This work, of a genre of which I know of no example among the Arabs, is a sort of statistic of the empire of the Mamlouks, at the time of the writer; one would say, on reading it, that he described the court of Louis XIV. The table of chapters alone will give an idea capable of making it appreciated, and I will add to it some of the details which have seemed to me the most curious and the most instructive.

After a very emphatic preface, according to Moslem usage, after having attested that there is only one God, that Mohammed is his only prophet, Châhin describes the eminent qualities which must compose the character of every mortal to whom the feather of fate has traced a glorious career on its indelible tables; he warns that having first made a large book, he then found it wiser to reduce it and make it very small (which is worthy of imitation), and he proceeds to the methodical table of chapters.

Chapter I st. Titles which assure Egypt the superiority over the other empires of the earth. — Of its places of devotion and pilgrimage. — Of its marvelous monuments, both ancient and modern. — Of its limits. — Of its cities. From Its Frontiers. — From the provinces and countries where its domination extends.

Chapter II. Of Sovereign Power. — Of Qualities Necessary To A Sultan. — Of His Duties. — Gala Days and public ceremonies. — Uniform clothes of each class of officers attached to the Sultan.

Chapter III. Of the commander of the faithful; of his rank; of his state. — Of the great qâdis (judges) to whom belongs to bind and to loose. — Of the imâms. — People of the law and particular qâdis.

Chapter IV. Of the vizier, at the same time prime minister and superintendent of finances of the house of the sultan. — Of the treasury of the sultan and of its administrators. — Of the secretaries of state, having the department of the chamber and of the dispatches. — Of the inspector general of the armies. — From the speaker (or great advocate) of the divan (council).— From the first master of the mouth (butler) of the sultan, having the administration of the private treasury and of the domain, and generally of all offices established for financial administration.

Chapter V. Of the children of the reigning sultan, and of the princes of the royal blood. — Of the regent. — Of the vicar of the empire. — Of the master of the stables (or constable). - Of the emirs commanding 1,000 Mamlouks. — Of the emirs of war music, commanding 40 Mamlouks; and lower emirs, commanding 20, 10 and 5 Mamlouks.

Chapter VI. Grand officers of the crown, and generally of all those who fulfill public and particular functions with the sultan. — Kavani officers and Khasseki officers, drawn from the freed Mamlouks, and doing in the palace the office of chamberlains and guards of the corps. — Of their services and of the garrison places in which they are established. — Of the dovecotes assigned to the maintenance of the messenger pigeons. — Of the transport of snow from Syria to Egypt, and of the royal posts established throughout the country. empire.

Chapter VII. Of the houses of the princesses, and of the sub-steward of the harems. — Of the eunuchs and free servants, doing the service of the seraglio. — Of the furniture storage of the crown. — Of the hall of arms. — Of the sultan's stores. "Of the two great royal granaries, and of all that relates to this administration, as much for the entry as for the exit of the grain.

Chapter VIII. Palace officers. — From the kitchen.—Stables. — Falconry. — Sultan's hunting parties, and places used for storing nets and housing birders for hunting aquatic birds.

Chapter IX. Inspectors of the land, charged with building and repairing bridges, digging canals, raising dikes and causeways, and presiding over all public works during the rising and diminishing waters of the Nile. — Governors of the provinces of Egypt. — Particular commanders. — People in place in towns and villages, and of the regime established for the collection of taxes.

Chapter X. Viceroys in charge of the government of the eight provinces of Syria. — Grand qadis. — Emirs. — Administrators and other officers employed in the capitals of these provinces. — Of the number of giundis and halqâ who are there in garrison, and particular commanders of the towns and castles spread throughout this empire.

Chapter XI. Arab emirs and sheiks. — Turkmen and curd emirs, in the service of the state. — Military expeditions. — Flying camps. — Of the conquest of Yemen, Diarbekr and the island of Cypra, during the reign of Sultan Malek-el-Acheraf.

Chapter XII. Collection of some historical facts which it is appropriate for each one to know and to meditate, to draw from them principles of conduct. This chapter ends with a few pieces of moral poetry, composed by Malek-el-Kiâmel, sovereign prince of the fortress of Heifa; and by a response from Malek-el-Acheraf to Mirza-Chah-Rok (son of Tamerlan.)

Chapter I st. Section V. Limits of Egypt. —In the south, the boundaries of Egypt start from the shores of the Sea of Qolzum (Red Sea), near the town of Aidab, and embracing the land of the Haribs of Nubia, which begins at the Great Cataract, behind Mt. Djenadel, they extend to the mountains of Aden and the rocks of Habeche (Abissinie). To the east, its landmarks are the Red Sea, whose coast is arid and full of rocks. From Suez, this coast widens towards the east. Its greatest width is from the Gorandel pond to the Tih. There is the border of Syria.

To the north, it is bounded by the sea, from the towns of Zàqat, Refah and Amedj, better known under the name of el-Arich, border of Syria on the Gulf of Gaze.

To the west, it includes the territory of Alexandria, the country of Loïounet and el-Amidain, up to Acabé inclusively (formerly Catabathmus magnus, or the great descent); there, turning away and tightening the two Oases, the line approaches Said (upper Egypt), to join the southern borders.

The Nile takes its source at the foot of the mountains of the Moon. — During 60 days of march, it flows in inhabited countries. — For 10 others, in sterile lands. — Arrived in Nubia, it flows 60 days, then it spends 120 days in deserts; finally, it enters fertile land as far as the sea, where it flows through the two mouths of Damietta and Rosette.

Section VII. From Kaire and its suburbs. —The new Kaire (Masr-el-Qâhera) is 12 miles (or 4 leagues) long, from Târ-el-nabi, to Sebààt-oudjouh. This space includes the old Kaire ( Masr-el-Qadim ), and 7 large suburbs. The author goes into long details of colleges, mosques, palaces, parks, and he compares each suburb to a great city of the empire; one is equivalent to Aleppo; another, in Alexandria; a third, in Hems; a fourth, in Acre: and it concludes 700,000 souls of population (which seems to me the origin of the opinion which has subsisted since; but times are very changed.)

Old Kaire is the port of Upper Egypt. Under Sultan Nadjm-el-din, there were 1,800 boats.

Section IX. Division of Egypt. —Egypt is divided into 14 provinces: 7 in the south, and 7 in the north. Each province has 360 villages and several towns.

Miniet is the general name for the ports and approaches to the Nile.

Monfalout, territory detached from the province of Ousiout, with 30 villages, made of superb indigo (in 1442). The tribute of this province is deposited there, which amounts to 1,150,000 ardeb of grains (the ardeb of 192 pounds.)

3 days west of Ousiout, through a sandy and stony desert, is el-Ouah (oasis), so named from its capital.

Another middle oasis has 2 villages, called el-Qasr, and el-Hindan.

A third oasis, closer to upper Egypt, is called Dakilé (interior), and has 2 villages whose inhabitants live on barley, corn and dates.

Section XI. From the city of Alexandria. —Alexandria is the most frequented port for foreigners; the Frankish nations have consuls there, distinguished people, who serve as hostages to the Sultan. When one of these nations does wrong to Islamism, one takes to part its representative, and one obliges it to repair the evil. — The customs return 1,000 dinars. Outside the city can be seen the famous column called el-Saouâri, or the main mast. (Abulfeda said the same thing; and it is this word Saouâri that some have taken for Severus, emperor.) I heard that a person had found a way to climb on it and sit on his marquee.

Chapter IV. Of the vizier or grand minister. —The vizier is a minister who has preeminence over all the great officers. — He is of divine institution. Aaron was the vizier of Moses.

The vizier watches over all parts of the government, all the agents of the administration; he establishes and deposits them; punishes and rewards them.

He keeps the state revenue and expenditure register; he increases its income, not by tyranny, but by wisdom and economy.

The income of the empire consists of fixed income, casual income, and seigneurial rights over cultivators. Fixed income is the cash tax on productive land; customs, 10 percent in kind, on import and export trade; the tribute of the conquered peoples, the poll tax of non-Muslims known as karadje; monopoly farms, known as paltes; tithes on the fruits of the earth; the charges on factories and shops, and 5 th part of legal plunder.

The casual earnings are 20 th on the collateral inheritances; the fines; the price of blood spilled; extraordinary taxes and investitures; the right of windfall; shipwrecks; the treasures discovered; the tithe on grazing and passing herds, and not on domestic animals.

The seignorial rights on the cultivators are: 1. right of survey; 2. the right to share land bequeathed to various coheirs; 3. right to increase land and pastures by the effect of the Nile; 4. right of demarcation, or property limits; 5. right on the water machines, raised on the Nile for watering.

Here are the legal revenues: they are raised according to fixed uses, and they have a useful destination for the state, so that the Sultan is only the depositary.

Just as the vizier supervises the officers, the sultan must supervise the vizier; and the vizier advise the sultan, warn him and even take him back.

Section II. The royal treasury is a department responsible for a host of revenue large and small.

1. Rights on the border of Egypt towards Syria.

2. Entrance fees on everything that enters Kaire and Egypt, except on what is attributed to the private treasury.

3. Bargain on the estates of foreigners.

4. Regies and farms of Kaire, such as butcher's shops, leathers, oil and sugar mills; rights on the entry of edibles.

Rights to the natrons of Terrâné.

Monfalout right.

Investiture rights and royalties from leased fiefdoms or protected countries.

Right of cleaning of the canals which must make several provinces.

Produces sugar cane and colqâz, cultivated on behalf of the sultan.

Produced from the sultan's farms and gardens, enriched by wheel wells.

Out of this income the treasury pays and defrayed:

1. Barley from the Sultan's stables.

2. Food for couriers' stables.

3. The palace table.

4. Repairs to royal houses.

5. Meat and all the cooking of the Sultan's Mamlouks; that of all his servant.

6. The maintenance of its offices.

7. Charity pensions assigned to the windfall.

8. The maintenance of the oxen of the smallholdings. — The transport of clovers and straws for the stables.

Under Sultan Barqoûq, all these costs amounted per month to 50,000 dinars or 7-pound sequins.

The treasury is governed by a chief and a number of subordinates. This department has for ushers and henchmen a company of Moors who carry orders and carry them out.

Section III. From the first secretary of state, head of dispatches and of the chancellery. "He is an important officer, who has all the confidence of the Sultan; he must know how to quote the Qoran, the anecdotes of kings, the sentences of wise men, the beautiful verses of poets, etc.

His art is to make the Sultan speak in all his writings with nobility, grandeur, wit, grace; he must make rhyming and pompous sentences; he sends the acts of alliance of the kaliphs and sultans; the installation of qâdis and governors, commissions for military benefits in favor of emirs and djondis, etc., and finally letters from the sultan.

These letters have a form full of art, according to the rank of the people. Those to subjects are called mokâtebât; those to foreigners, morâselât.

The highest title for foreigners is el maqâm, el àâli.

The lesser is el madjlas or megeles, el àâli.

For subjects, the highest title is el-maqarr, el-karim (your grace).

Then maqarr-el-àâli (excellence).

Then djenâb-el-kerim (magnificent courtyard).

Then djenâb-el-àâli (very high court); finally sadr-el-adjal (august presence); hadrat (simple presence).

Section VI. Private treasure. The private treasury is governed by a great officer who administers the lands allocated to the pay of the Sultan's Mamlouks, and several branches of income, the bulk of which is called the private treasury. These officers often acquired immense wealth.

From this department depend 160 villages, to which must be added several countries of protection and farms. The only villages of Menzalé and Faraskout, near Damietta, each return 30,000 dinars per year: more, the investiture rights provincial governors, field inspectors, town and village commanders, police commissioners. — Educated people assured me that all this treasure amounted to 400,000 dinars, and 300,000 ardebs of wheat, barley and beans.

The expense consists of the pay and maintenance of the Sultan's Mamlouks; barley for their horses; maintenance of the princesses and the harem; balance and maintenance of the entire palace service, etc.

Section VII. From the Domain. The domain is the Sultan's own income; He understands:

1. The Alexandria customs on the Frankish trade.

2. The rights on groceries from India.

3. The sale of muges and poutargues from Damiette.

4. The rights on the arts, crafts, cabarets, dancers and public girls.

5. Rights over brokers and interpreters.

6. Produces brickyards.

7. Camel farm for transport from Alexandria to Rosetta.

8. Customs of the goods of India, placed in el Tor.

9. Rights to Damietta on many objects, and among others on the sugar refinery.

10. The quint of the legal booty.

11. Farm of Lake Semanaoui and other ponds.

12. Rights over Foua, warehouse of the Franks when the Alexandria Canal was navigable, which ceased for 120 years (1320).

13. Rights on the lands of Broulos, Nesterouh, the port of Rosette.

14. Customs of Saïd (upper Egypt) on the Abissins who bring black slaves, gold dust, etc., and paltes (monopolies) of sené and breakage.

15. Rights of protected countries and countries leased to Arabs.

Produced from the many smallholdings and lands of the domain, watered by wheels.

The rent of Fondouq-el-Kerim, located in old Kaire.

Succession of all the great who, in Egypt, die without legitimate heirs.

Profits from the Mint.

Right of the city of Bairout.

Customs of Indian goods, transported to Bedr, Honain, Bouaib-el-aqabé.

Now here are the charges:

1. Ammunition of war for any expedition.

2. Expenses of the caravan and the feast of the sacrifice.

3. Distribution of victims to large and small officers.

4. Expenses of the Easter feast, the banquet and the celebrations.

5. Renewal of the harem wardrobe and furniture.

6th Idem, clothing of the Mamlouks.

7. Jacket honor the great officers, qadis, the emirs of 1 st class, the kâchefs. (In Bairam, all Muslims dress in new clothes, them and their house; this is called kesoué.)

8. Complete maintenance of the employees for the tax.

9. Supply of the harem and serai, in sweets, jams, sorbets, fruits, etc.

10. Presents to give to sovereigns.

11. Vest of honor (or annual caftan) to all people in place of the empire (in all Islamism places are only for the current year; the dressed pays a donation or price of slippers: the richest takes it away). Each of these jackets differs in shape, color, richness, according to the rank (in general the garment is very expensive, especially for pelisses.)

Section V. The great advocate of the council. —When for a major affair the sultan assembles the council (diouân), he summons the prince of believers, the 4 grand qâdis, the vizier, the emirs of 1,000 horsemen, and the constable.

Before the session, the Sultan explains his intentions to a confident and eloquent man, who is responsible for presenting the case and answering all objections. The Sultan is silent.

We imagined this officer, so that the sultan is never compromised, and that we can make objections freely, any error falling on the lawyer or rapporteur.

Chapter V. The children of the sultans are brought up with care in the harem. It is an old custom to shut up all those who exist on the accession of a prince. Malek-el-acheraf gave freedom to 40; but they died in the plague of the year 1429, which took up to 10,500 heads per day.

When a prince is a minor, there is a regent who is called nezâm-el-molk (the one who puts order in the kingdom). When the sultan is absent, there is a vicar nâïeb-el-molk.

The chief of the emirs, or àtabek-el-àsâker, is a kind of constable.

Emirs are divided into several classes.

Those of the 1 st have 100 Mamlouks, and order at 1,000: they should be 24.

Those in the 2 e have 40 Mamluks: they should be 40. The martial music played on the door of their hotels in the ASR (or time of 3 e prayer); it is composed of timpani, drums and clarinets. These latter instruments are of recent date.

The emirs of 3 th class should number 20: they each have 20 Mamluks.

The emirs of 4 th class should be 50, and 10 each have Mamluks.

Finally the 5 th and last class is of 30 emirs, who each have 5 Mamlouks for their procession.

Among these emirs, some have employment in the state, others have only their title and rank.

The army is divided into several corps. Karabal Couli, Tartar prince, having, several years ago, sent to ask for a tribute, under penalty of sending against Egypt 20 toumans of horsemen (200,000), the then sultan sent him for any response the following state of his troops:

1. The djendis el halqa, or escort of the sultan. - ( King's house. ) 24,000 riders.
2. Mamlouks of the Sultan. 10,000
Mamlouks of the emirs. 8,000
Gendarmes in Damascus. 12,000
Mamlouks of the emirs of Damascus. 3,000
Gendarmes in Aleppo. 6,000
Mamlouks of the emirs of Aleppo. 2,000
Gendarmes of Tripoli. 4,000
Mamlouks of the emirs. 1,000
Gendarmes of Safad. 1,000
Mamlouks of the emirs. 1,000
Garrisons in the castles of Syria, including the Mamlouks. 60,000
132,000 cavalieres.
Arab subjects.

Bâli-fadl tribe, children of Nouèïr. 24,000
Arabs of Hejaz. 24,000
Tribe of el-Aâli. 2,000
Arabs of Irâq. 2,000
—Of Yemen. 2,000
—De Djezire. 2,000
—From Metrouq. 1,000
—From Djarm. 1,000
—Beni-oqbé and Beni-mehdi. 1,000
—El-Omara. 1,000
—From Hindam. 1,000
—Aïd. 1,000
—Fezàrât. 1,000
—Mohârib. 1,000
—Qarîl. 1,000
—Qattâb. 1,000
—Of Egypt together. 3,000
—Haouâra. 24,000
Turkmans scattered in hordes or camps
on the lands of Syria and Diarbekr,
recorded in the number of 180,000
The Ochran (we do not know what it is,
if not other Turkmans) divided into
35 districts, each with 1,000 horsemen. 35,000
Kurds. 20,000
Militias of Egypt, at the rate of 33,000
villages and 2 cavaliers per village:
total 66,000
In all 526,000 riders.

Sultan's stores and granaries. —The Sultan has stores where all the products in kind of his customs are stored, pepper, cinnamon, groceries, sugars, timber.

It also has 2 attics which are wonders.

In one, named Chiouân, are stored grains, wheat, rice, wood, straw, etc., for the use of the palate.

In the other, called Hirâ, grains are deposited which are only touched in case of necessity; sometimes the exit is prohibited. This granary fills up and provides for food shortages. This is where the alms come from. In one year the profit from the sale amounted to 300,000 dinars (10 lb. 3 s.).

There were 26 pestilences and famines in Egypt in 800 years; sometimes 3 in 25 years; and this always in times of trouble and bad government.

Chapter IX. § 1 st. Inspectors of arable land, Kochâf el Torâb.-field inspectors are selected from the emirs of the 1 st class; they are sent every year at the beginning of spring, to all the provinces of Egypt, to have the necessary work carried out for the maintenance of the canals, the raising of dikes and causeways, and all that is related to the rising and falling waters of the Nile.

The department of the royal treasury is responsible, on the fees it collects, to dig some public canals, which facilitate the flow of water. But all that relates to the dikes and causeways necessary for the solidity of the bridges, must be done by chores and contributions distributed on each village, because of the extent and the fertility of its territory. When the Nile begins to overflow, one cannot be too careful about the conservation of the dikes, causeways and bridges, until the land is sufficiently watered; for if they were carried away, the waters, flowing forthwith, would leave entire countries without watering.

When the Nile decreases, on the contrary, it is necessary to facilitate the flow, in order to sow the land in time.

As for the bridges established for the local utility of certain villages, it is up to the owners of property to maintain them. The inspectors have nothing to do with it.

§ II. Kasks, or Inspectors of the Provinces. — The governors, known as kasks, of Egypt, were formerly 3 in number.

One commanded from the confines of Gizah exclusively to Genadel. He appointed 7 emirs, who administered under his immediate orders the 7 southern provinces (Heptanomis and Thebais).

The second ruled the northern part (Delta), also having under him 7 emirs.

The third ruled the province of Gizah only. This was sometimes an emir of the 1 st class, head of 1,000 horsemen, like the first two; sometimes an emir of war music.

For some time now three coworkers have been established for the south; one at Faïoum, the other at the lower Saïd, the third at the upper Saïd. Likewise, the north was divided into 3 kachefliks. One contains the eastern provinces (Charqié); the other that of the west (Garbîe); the third, Béhiré, or Lake Province, which has always been a private government.

But, if I may say my opinion, these provisions are less favorable to good order.

By dividing the places, one attenuated the power and the influence which, formerly united in a few hands, allowed the commanders to deploy this apparatus and this magnificence always so imposing to the multitude.

Above, when a kaskf from Saïd or from the north was making his rounds, calm preceded his steps, and his retinue of 1,000 cavalry caused a circulation of species which revived commerce and agriculture.

Among the subordinate emirs, a few are still appointed by the kasks; but the great number fell with the appointment of the administrator of the private treasury (oustadar), who sells these places and paralyzes the power of the coworkers.

§ III. Officials in each village and tax collection. —In each city and main village there is a qâdi, a tax collector for the royal treasury, another for the private treasury, another for the estate; plus, a royal commissioner of navigation (of the Nile), an officer military for the police, a successful farmer, a canal inspector, and trustees or old mayors.

Formerly the tax was only levied in kind, now and for a long time everything has been leased out, and the adjudicating farmers of the villages keep such an opulent house state, that many petty rulers of Asia live with less splendor..

The farmers of Menzalé and Faraskour, each return to the estate 36,000 dinars[153].

The other villages, several of which return 12 to 20,000 dinars, are also leased for sums which do not vary.[154].

The lands assigned to the prerogative of the djendis are divided by kirats; and each kirat is valued at 1,000 dinars, approximately 11,000 pounds.

Chapter X. Administration of the provinces.

1. Province of Damascus.

2. Karak.

3. Halab (Aleppo.)

4. Tarâbolos (Tripoli.)

5. Homs (Hems.)

6. Safad.

7. Gazzah (Gaze.)

The first and most important province of Syria is that of Damascus.

His viceroy (kafil) has an apparatus equal to the sultan he represents. He has at his discretion all the civil and military places of his government.

The great military officers Emir generalissimo of the troops, the head of the gatekeepers, 12 emirs of 1 st class emirs 20 2 e class, emirs and 60 to 10 and 5 Mamluks.

The court of justice is composed of 4 great qadis of the 4 orthodox schools or sects, and each of them appoints substitutes in Damascus and in the other cities of the province, to judge in civil and criminal matters.

The great plume officers (mobâcherin) are the secretary despatches, the great inspector of the army, the oustadar or head of the private treasury, that of the domain, that of the royal treasury, and the vizier.

The executive agents (arbâb-el-ouazaïef) are 2 inspectors titled kachefs making their rounds in turn; the emirs of the generalities, the commanders of places, the grand marshal of the houses, the tribune of the army, etc., almost as in Kaire.

The castle of Damascus is entrusted to the lieutenant of the sultan and to 7 officer-porters (capidjis).

As for the garrison djendis in the province, they should number 12,000, including 2,000 near the viceroy; the remainder near the emirs, by squadron of 500 men and not of 1000 men, as in Egypt.

Karak holds the second rank in the province. One writes to one's viceroy on red paper, because one of Selâheldin's successors, having given his 3 children his empire, namely: to one Egypt; on the other, Syria, from Bisan to Diarbekr; to 3 e the rest of Syria and Karak, the label of these sultans spent their viceroys.

For some time now Karak has only had two capidjis as governor; for court, that 2 qadis; for garrison, only a few Mamlouks and Babrites (people of the navy), with an Arab prince who commands all the tribes of the spring.

The 5 other governments are administered on the same plan as that of Damascus, but with less pomp and expense: that of Hama was therefore ruined.

There are forts and castles which have particular emirs. Their garrison is made up of a lieutenant of the sultan, a corps of freedmen-babrites, a round chief, a tribune of the army, some Mamlouks of the sultan, gatekeepers, and a few soldiers. of the country who stand guard.

The author does not know whether he should regard Malatié as a castle or as the capital of a province. It was there that Doqmaq commanded, of whom Malek-el-acheraf sultan was slave (master of the vizier author).

Chapter XI. Emirs and chaiks, Arabs, Turkmans and Kurds.—The Arabs spread over the lands of Egypt and Syria are divided into tribes, each of which has its emir. This emir has under him chaiks responsible for maintaining order and levying contributions which they are farmers, each in their respective district.

§ I. Military expeditions. —We distinguish two kinds of expeditions (tedjarid), one against the foreigner, the other against the rebel subject. In either case, the army is made up of horsemen and archers on foot, in numbers capable of crushing the enemy who dares to compete.

We make flying camps, either to reinforce a place, or to keep a post, to observe an enemy, etc.

The invariable order of the camps is that the superior's tent is always posted behind that of his subordinate, so that the sultan's is at the tail of all the others.

(Here follow 2 articles on the conquest of Yemen by order of Malek-el-acheraf, and of the island of Cypre, which followed it shortly after. In all these facts we only see butcheries of men, without reason, and without instruction for the reader).

Chapter XII. It contains, in 3 sections, historical anecdotes and Arab maxims which can be summed up to say, 1. that the princes are overthrown by those they raise; 2. that fatality governs everything, and that we must be patient and resigned; 3. that inconstancy and bad faith are the basis of the human heart. And the conclusion is a letter from Malek-el-acheraf to Châh Rok, son of Timour (Tamerlan), in which the Egyptian sultan responds with gross insults to the Tatar sultan.

Ouqâfs, or Foundations in Egypt. — The Ommiad and Abbasid kaliphs often gave alms; but they took the sums out of their treasury; and it does not appear to me that they have ever allocated land in perpetuity.

In Egypt it was Malek el-Sahel, 16 th qualaounide, which affected the first two villages maintenance Mahmals founded by Bibars.

Today the land rents in favor of Mekke and Medina are so multiplied in Turkey, that, without the waste management, these 2 cities would be the richest in the world. The reason is that we often bequeath our property to these cities to keep it in usufruct to its race, while preserving it from the greed of the government. On the other hand, the princes and the rich make pious and expiative bequests to the ministers of the rich and poor in these cities. Egypt alone is burdened with it, according to Mohammad-ben-eshâq, namely, 6 great main legacies, called dechîchet-el-kobra, or large semolina.

1. The legacy of Djaqmaq, 10 th Sultan circus.
2. The legacy of Qâiet-baï[155], 17 e circus.
3. De Tenâm, rich emirs of the time of the Tcherkasses.
4. De Kâouend, rich emirs of the time of the Tcherkasses.
5. From Selim 1 st.
6. From Soliman his son.
The lands affected by these bequests are, namely:

For the first, 6 villages in the Kalioûb.
For the second, 5 villages in Monoûf.
For the third, 6 villages and an island in Garbié.
For the fourth, 9 villages in Daq-Halié, near Charqîé.
For the fifth, 2 villages in the Béhairé.
For the sixth, 5 villages in the Foua district.
7. In that of Djizah, 3 villages.
8. In the Faïoum, 2 villages.
9. In the Behensaoûîé, 7 villages.
10. In the Saïd, 7 villages: total, 52 villages and the island.
In a common year, the product of all these lands, in wheat, barley, beans, lentils, chickpeas, rice, is 48,880 ardeb (the ardeb weighing 192 pounds).

The same lands give more in pecuniary royalties 70 scholarships (87,000 fr.).

To this sum are added other parts of land rents, founded in various places by sultans, pashas, ​​individuals, as much on land as on houses and shops; this is called el sourer. These alms amount, according to Mohammad-ben-ezhâq, to ​​164 scholarships (205,000 fr.). But the account details only offer 141.

To which must be added similar legacies made in Natolia (Roum-ili), Aleppo, Damascus, and all the other Muslim countries; which constitutes an enormous wealth for Mekke and Medina.

Soliman has also founded 80 camels for poor people who want to make the pilgrimage.

Doves of message pigeons. These dovecotes are established in towers built at intervals over the whole extent of the empire, with the intention of watching over public safety and tranquility.

It was in Moussel that we began to use pigeons to carry letters[156]. When the Fatmites invaded Egypt, they established these air posts there, and they attached such a keen interest to them, that they assigned funds of their own to a special authority for this purpose. Among the registers of this office was one in which were classified the breeds of pigeons recognized as the cleanest. The virtuous Madj-el-dîn Abd-el-Dâher composed on this subject a curious book, entitled Tamâîm-el-Hàmâïm, Amulets of the pigeons.

For a long time the dovecotes of Saïd have been destroyed as a result of the disturbances which have ruined the country; but those of lower Egypt remain (in 1450), and here is the state as well as for Syria.

NB The distances were added by the translator, according to d'Anville and according to his own knowledge.

§ I st. Correspondence between Kaire and Alexandria.

Castle of the Mountain (in Kaire) 0
Monouf-el-ouliâ 39
Damanhour-el-ouâhech 45
Skanderié (Alexandria) 36
120 miles.

§ II. From Kaire to Damietta.

Castle of the Mountain 0
Tower of Beni òbaid 36
Echmoun-el-rommân 36
Doumiât 30
102 miles.

§ III. From Kaire to Gazzah.

From Kaire to Bilbais 27
From Bilbais to Saléhié 27
From Saléhié to Qâtia 42
From Qâtia to Ouarrâdé 48
From Ouarrâdé to Gazzé[157] 81
225 miles.

§ IV. From Gazzé to Jerusalem, 1 dovecote 81
in Nablous, 1 dovecote 36
117 miles.

From Gazzé to Habroun 30
in Sâfié, on a stream of that name 45
in Karak 48
123 miles.

§ V. From Gazzé to Safad.

in El-qods (Jerusalem) 48
in Djenîn 30
in Bisan 24
in Safad 24
126 miles.

§ VI. From Gazzé to Damascus, 7 dovecotes.

From Gazzé to Jerusalem, 1 dovecote 48
in Genin 30
in Bisân 24
in Tâfés. 30
in el-Sânemain 24
in Damascus. 30
186 miles.

From Damascus to Balbek, 1 dovecote 48 miles.

From Damascus to Halab, 7 dovecotes.

in Damascus, 1 dovecote.
to Cara. 45
in Hems. 36
in Hama 24
in Màrra. 30
in Kan-tounâm. 30
in Halab. 28
193 miles.

From Halab to Behesna, 4 dovecotes.

in Halab.
at el-Biré, on the east bank of the Euphrates. 66
in Qalàt-el-Roum. 27
in Behesna. 45
138 miles.

From Halab to Rahâbé, 4 dovecotes.

in Halab.
in Qàbâqib. 75
in Tadmour (Palmyra). 75
at el-Rahâbé. 108
258 miles.

From Damascus to Tarâbolos (Tripoli), 5 dovecotes.

in Damascus[158]
in Saida. 63
in Bairout 24
at Terbelé. 30
in Tarâbolos. 24
141 miles.
Such are the dovecotes maintained in the empire for the speed of dispatches. Each loft has its director and watchmen, who take turns waiting for the arrival of the pigeons: there are also servants and mules at each loft for the respective exchange of pigeons. The total expense does not stop being considerable.

Snow transport, and hedjin relays for this purpose.

Before Sultan Barqouq, the snow came from Damascus to Kaire by boats which left from Saïd and Bairout for Damiet, where smaller boats relayed them to Boulâq. There, camels transported it to the castle, where it was deposited in cisterns. Under Barquq, and for him it was shipped by hedjines (camel riders) which he made 70 starts since 1 st June to 30 November.... one every 54 hours.

Every 2 days he leaves Damascus with 5 loaded hedjines, guided by an expert man and by a courier carrying orders to the relay. In each relay we maintain 6 hedjines.

The relays are as follows:

From Damascus to el-Sânemain. 30
at Tafés. 24
at Erbed. 18
in Djenîn. 36
in Qàqoun. 18
in Loudd. 18
at Gazzé. 36
180 miles.
in el-Arich. 57
in Ouarrâdé. 24
in Moutailem. 24
in Qâtiê. 24
in Salèhié 42
in Bilbeis 24
at Kaire castle 27
222 miles.
Horse posts, say barîd.

The government established posts on the main roads of the empire, here they are:

(You should know that by barîd (race) we mean a space of 2 to 4 leagues (a relay).

The league is 3 miles; the mile of 3,000 cubits, measure of el-Hachîm, one of the first Arab tribes.

The cubit is 24 fingers; the finger of 6 barley grains across; and the grain of 6 horsehair from the tail of a mule.

Route from Kaire to Saïd.

From Kaire to Gizah, crossing the Nile 15
in Bernecht 15
in Minîet-el-Qâïd 18
in Ouena 18
in Siâtem 18
in Dehrout 15
in Iqlosena 18
to Minîet Ebukasib 18
in Achmounain 15
in Dehrout-el-Cherif 12
to Menhi 12
in Manfalout 12
in Ousiout 13
to Tima 21
in Maragat 12
in Belensoun 12
in Djirdgé 12
in Belienet 15
to Hou 21
in Qôm-el-Ahmar 12
in Derenbe 15
in Kous, crossing the Nile 12
from Kous to Hedjré 15
in Edoua 15
at Esna, double post 24
385 miles.
There the relays end. To go further, horses are rented from private individuals.

From Esna we go to Aïdab on the Red Sea, warehouse of Yemen and Habach (Abissinie).

From Kaire to Scanderié, there are two routes; one by the Delta in the middle of the villages, the other by the desert to the left of the river;

By the Delta, there is Kaire 0
in Kalioub 9
in Monouf 18
in Mohallet-el-Marhoum 24
in N'hararîé 24
in Turkmânié 24
in Scanderié 24
123 miles.
By the desert or dry path, there is Kaire in Djaziret-el-Qît 18
in Ouardan 12
in Terrâné 12
in Zàouiet-el-Mobarek 12
in Damanhour 21
in Louqîn 18
in Skanderié 24
117 miles.
From Kaire to Doumiât.

From Kaire to Kalioub. 9
in Bilbais 18
in Salehîé 24
to Sadîé 12
in Bainounet 12
in Achmoun-el-Roumman 12
in Faraskour 21
in Doumiât 9
117 miles.
From Kaire to Gazzé.

From Kaire to Sâdié above 63
in Gorâbi 18
in Qâtié 12
in Màân 12
in Motâilem 12
in Seouâdé 12
in Ouarrâdé 12
in Bir-el-Qâdi 12
in el-Arich 12
in Karrîobé 12
in Sâàqa 12
to Refah 9
in Salqa 12
in Gazzé 12
222 miles.
From Gazzé to Karak.

From Gazzé to Belaqis 12
in Habroun 18
in Djenba 12
in Zouair 18
in Safié 15
in Kafar 24
in Karak 21
120 miles.
From Karak to Choubak, the northern end of Arabia Pétrée, there are only 3 relays for about 90.

From Gazzé to Damascus.

From Gazzé to Djenîn 12
in Bait-Derâs 12
to Loudd 12
in el-Oudjaâ 6
in dash 6
in Qâqoun 6
in Fâmié 9
in Djenin (in Safad) 9
in Hettin 6
in Zerîn 6
in àïn-Djalout 6
in Bisan 6
in Erbed 12
in Tâfes 18
in Râs-el-Mâ 12
in el-Sânemain 12
in Gàbâgib 12
in Kesoué 9
in Damascus 9
180 miles.
From Damascus to el-Biré on the Euphrates.

From Damascus to Kousair in the north 9
in Qatifé, to the east 12
in Efterâq, to ​​the north 6
in Kastel 9
in Qara 9
in Gasoulé 12
in Semsin 12
in Hems 12
in Rousten 12
in Hama 12
in Latmîn 9
in Djerabolos 9
in Marra 12
at Ebad 12
in Emâr 12
in Kinesrin 9
in Halab 12
to el-Bab 30
in Bait-Beré 30
in el-Biré 15
255 miles.
From Damascus to Djabar, boulevard of the empire on the Euphrates.

From Damascus to Homs; see above 81
From Homs east to Masnà 24
in Qarnain 18
in el-Baida 24
in Tadmour 24
in Kerbe 24
to Sakné 18
in Qabqab 18
in Kaouamel 24
in Rahàbé 24
in Djabar 110
389 miles.
From Damascus to Safad.

From Damascus to Bouraid, north-west 12
in Qoulous 12
in Orainbé 18
in Nouran 12
to Djabb Yousef 18
in Safad 12
84 miles.
From Damascus to Bairout.

From Damascus to Kan-Maiseloun 12
in Harin, on the Qasmîe 18
to Saïd, through Lebanon 33
in Bairout 24
87 miles.
From Damascus to Balbek.

to Zebdani 15
in Boura 12
in Balbek 13
40 miles.
From Damascus to Tarâbolos.

From Damascus to Gazoubé. (See road to Halab) 55
in Qadis 18
in Aqmar 21
in el-Akra 18
in el-Arqâ 12
in Tarâbolos 15
139 miles.
From Damascus to Karak.

From Damascus to al-Qatibé 12
in Barâdié 18
in Bordj el-Abiad 18
in Hosbân 18
in Qanbes 24
in Dibiân 24
in Qâtè-el-Modjeb 24
in Safra 24
in Karak 24
186 miles.
From Halab to Behesna and Qaïsarié (Cézarée),
border of the empire in Armenia.

From Halab to el-Semoûqa 12
in Istidra 12
in Bait-el-Fâr 18
in Antab 12
in Dair-Koûn 9
in Qoûna 12
in Arban 12
in Behesna 9
in al-Qaïsarïé 120
216 miles.

Since the year 1412, the government has ceased to maintain relays from Behesna to Qaisarïé.

The author then deals with Syria in Sections XII and XIII, in an extensive and interesting manner, but which it would take too long to copy: it will suffice to say that he divides, with the Muslim geographers, Syria into 5 countries:

1. Palestine, from el-Ariche to Lajdoun, near the Qarmel.

2. Le Haurân, a varied country of plains and mountains, the capital of which is Tabarié.

3. The Goutâh (or hollow country) whose main cities are Damascus, Tripoli, Safad, Balbek.

4. The land of the Hems, where we see neither scorpions nor snakes.

5. The Kinesrin, whose capital is Halab, and for dependencies Antioch, Ama, Serbin, etc.

In the administration of the empire, Syria is divided into 6 provinces which take their names from their capitals.

The first is called Gaza province, a city located in a fertile plain. The district of Karak, also called Moab, is detached from it, and extends from Oula, in Arabia Petrea, to the Zizalé stream, which falls into the Jordan: it is a space of 20 days of camels (at 6 leagues a day). The country has many villages; but there is scarcity of water on the roads, and a great number of defiles between rocks where a single man can stop 100 horsemen. — Karak is one of the strongest citadels known; we never took it by force.

The second is called Safad province, and contains more than 1,200 villages. The city is situated very pleasantly on Lake Tabarié, and has an excellent fortress. Sour (Tire), which depends on it, is only a hamlet.

The third, known as the province of Damascus, is the richest in all kinds of productions and in villages. The author counts more than eighteen hundred, and omits those from various districts.

The fourth, known as the province of Tripoli, contains more than 3000 villages: Hesn-el-akrad, fortified castle, forms its limit to the east.

The fifth, known as Hama province, is rich in villages and strong castles: that of Hama was destroyed by Tamerlan.

The sixth, called the province of Halab, is very extensive and very rich. The castle of Halab is made by hand, (he means the mound that carries the castle).

From Halab depend Antioch on the Orontes; Djabar on the Euphrates; Rahbé south of Djabar, on the eastern bank of the same river; Located in Armenia, populated by Christians; Tarsous by the sea in front of Cypre; Bire on the Euphrates, where there is a bridge of boats and a very large number of castles and important towns which the author describes in detail. (So ​​that at this time we cannot estimate Syria to have less than 20,000 towns and villages: and assuming them, one carrying the other, to contain 300 heads, that would be 6,000,000 inhabitants; state very different from the present, and I think very inferior to the old, in the time of Titus and Vespasian.

(I end this notice with some ideas from Vizier Châhin on the principles of sovereignty).

Chapter II. Section I re. - Sovereign power. Sovereign power is a ray of divinity. It is by a miraculous effect of the sacred character imprinted on the forehead of the despot ( sultan, absolute master ), that good order subsists, that revolt and license are punished, etc.

The aim of supreme power is the preservation of individuals and the increase of the public good through just government. The sultan must use with wisdom the saber which God has placed in his hands to defend the empire, to make religion flourish, and to ensure that divine and human laws are observed.

( Merèï, the lawyer historian quoted above, often repeats that the principles of the law are to make war against infidels. — That in conquered cities they should not be allowed to build or repair their temples. — That even they should be destroyed without exception).

At the same time that God orders the sultan to work for the happiness of the subjects, he orders the subjects to blindly obey the sultan, to carry out his orders without examination, because he is the depositary of the law of God and of the prophet.

The prophet received from God the universal empire of the world; his power, as regards the laws and the priesthood, has been transmitted to his successors from hand to hand until this day and to the Emir el-Moumenin, who gives the sultan the investiture of consent of great judges, doctors of the law, great crown officers and commanders of the army (which modifies the grace of God, almost as in Europe).

By this sanction the elected sovereign becomes the master of the state treasury, the generalissimo of the troops, the governor of the places, the administrator of all the affairs of the empire; and each must place his glory in obeying him.

Section II. Duties of the despot. - (This chapter is a real treatise on Christian morality. The sultan must be pious, practice acts of religion before the people; he must reject pride, presumption, avarice, lies; repress his anger, have a dignified, silent, imposing demeanor; to be patient, just, and in a word to have the good qualities of mind and heart which, in any kind of government, make up the art one of governing, as to the individual, but not as to the bases of the social contract.)

Section IV. Duties of subjects. —The duties of the subjects consist in the deep respect for the Sultan, in the blind execution of his orders, dedication to his service, good advice for his success.

The great point of government is that each class, each individual, stay within the limits assigned to them.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:54 am


FIRST CHAPTER. Geography and Natural History of Syria.

On leaving Egypt by the isthmus which separates Africa from Asia, if one follows the shore of the Mediterranean, one enters a second province of the Turks, known among us under the name of Syria. . This name, which, like so many others, has been transmitted to us by the Greeks, is an alteration of that of Assyria, introduced among the Ionians, who frequented the coasts, after the Assyrians of Nineveh had reduced this region to province of their empire [159]. For this reason, the name of Syria did not first have the extension that it then took. Neither Phenicia nor Palestine was understood there. The present inhabitants, who, according to the constant usage of the Arabs, did not adopt the Greek nomenclature, ignore the name of Syria [160]; they replace it by that of Barr-el-Châm [161], which means country of the left; and by that they designate all the space comprised between two lines drawn, one from Alexandretta to the Euphrates, the other from Gaze in the Arabian desert, having as its boundary on the east this same desert, and to the west the Mediterranean. This denomination of country of the left, by its contrast to that of Yamîn or country of the right, indicates as chief town an intermediate local, which must be Mekke; and by its allusion to the cult of the sun [162], it proves both an origin prior to Mahomet, and the existence already known of this cult at the temple of the Kîabé.

§ I. Aspect of Syria.

When we cast our eyes on the map of Syria, we observe that this country is in a way only a chain of mountains, which from a main branch are distributed to the right and to the left in various directions: the view of the terrain is analogous to this talk. Indeed, either that one approaches by the sea, or that one arrives by the immense plains of the desert, one always begins to discover from very far the horizon bordered by a nebulous rampart which runs north and south, as long as the sight can extend: as one approaches, one distinguishes graduated piles of summits, which, sometimes isolated, and sometimes united in chains, will terminate in a principal line which dominates on all. We follow this line without interruption, from its entry from the north to Arabia. OfAlexandrette and the Orontes; then, after giving way to this river, it resumes its route to the south, deviating a little from the shore, and by a series of continuous summits, it continues as far as the sources of the Jordan, where it divides into two branches, to enclose, as in a basin, this river and its three lakes. During this journey, it is detached from this line, as from a main trunk, an infinity of branches which are going to be lost, some in the desert, where they form various basins, such as that of Damascus, of Hauran, etc., the others towards the sea, where they sometimes end in rapid falls, as it happens at Carmel, at Nakoure, at Cap Blanc, and at almost all the land between Bairout[163] and Tripoli. More commonly they retain gentle slopes which end in plains, such as those of Antioch, Tripoli, Tire, Acre, etc.

§ II. Mountains.

These mountains, changing levels and places, also change a lot of shapes and appearance. Between Alexandrette and Oronte, the firs, larches, oaks, box trees, laurels, yews and myrtles which cover them, give them an air of life which cheers up the traveler saddened by the nakedness of Cypre[164]. He even meets on a few slopes of huts surrounded by fig trees and vines; and this sight softens the fatigue of a road which, by rough paths, leads him incessantly from the bottom of the ravines to the top of the heights, and from the top of the heights brings him back to the bottom of the ravines. The lower branches, which go to the north of Aleppo, on the contrary offer only bare rocks, without greenery and without soil. In the south of Antioch and on the sea, the slopes lend themselves to olive trees, tobacco and vines.[165]; but on the desert side, the summit and the slope of this chain are but an almost continuous series of white rocks. Towards Lebanon, the mountains rise, and yet in many places are covered with as much land as is necessary to become cultivable by dint of industry and labor. There, among the rockeries, stand the not so magnificent remains of the vaunted cedars[166], and more often firs, oaks, brambles, mulberries, fig trees and vines. On leaving the country of the Druze, the mountains lose their height, their roughness, and become more suitable for plowing; they rise again in the south-east of Carmel, and cover themselves with groves which form rather beautiful landscapes; but advancing towards Judea, they strip themselves, narrow their valleys, become dry, rugged, and end up being on the Dead Sea nothing but a heap of wild rocks, full of precipices and caves[167]; while to the east of the Jordan and the lake, another chain of taller and more spiky rocks offers an even more dismal prospect, and announces in the distance the entrance of the desert and the end of the habitable land.

The sight of the place shows that the highest point in all of Syria is Lebanon, south-east of Tripoli. No sooner do you leave Larneca, in Cyprus, than already, 30 leagues away, you can see its nebulous point on the horizon. Moreover, the same fact is markedly indicated on the maps, by the course of the rivers. L ' Oronte, which from the mountains of Damascus will be lost under Antioch; the Qâsmie, which from the north of Balbek goes towards Tire; the Jordan, which its slope pours to the south, prove that the general summit is at the location indicated. After Lebanon, the most salient point is Mount Aqqar: you can see it right out of Marra in the desert, like a huge cone crushed, which one does not cease for 2 days to have in front of the eyes. Nobody until this day has had the leisure or the faculty to carry the barometer on these mountains to know their height; but we can deduce it from a natural measure, snow: in winter, all the summits are covered with it from Alexandretta to Jerusalem; but as of March, it melts everywhere, except Lebanon: however it persists there all year round only in the highest sinuosities, and in the north-east, where it is sheltered from sea winds and the sea. action of the sun. This is how I saw her at the end of August 1784, when I was suffocating in the heat in the valley of Balbek. Now, being known that the snow at this latitude requires an elevation of 15 to 1600 toises, we must conclude that Lebanon reaches this height, and that it is therefore much inferior to the Alps, and even to the Pyrenees.[168].

The Lebanon, whose name must extend to the entire chain of Kesraouân and country of Druze, this whole spectacle of the great mountains. We find there at every step these scenes where nature deploys, sometimes pleasure or grandeur, sometimes weirdness, always variety. Do you arrive by sea, and do you descend to the shore: the height and speed of this rampart, which seems to close off the earth, the gigantic masses that soar in the clouds, inspire astonishment and respect. If the curious observer then transports himself to these summits which limited his view, the immensity of the space he discovers becomes another subject of his admiration: but to fully enjoy the majesty of this spectacle, it is necessary to place oneself on the very summit of Lebanon or Sannine. There, on all sides, stretches a boundless horizon; there, on a clear day, the view wanders over the desert which borders on the Persian Gulf, and on the sea which bathes Europe: the soul thinks it embraces the world. Sometimes the glances, wandering over the successive chain of mountains, carry the spirit, in the twinkling of an eye, from Antioch to Jerusalem; sometimes, getting closer to what surrounds them, they probe the distant depth of the shore. Finally, the attention, fixed by distinct objects, examines in detail the rocks, the woods, the torrents, the hillsides, the villages and the towns. We take a secret pleasure in finding these small objects that we have seen so large. We look with complacency at the valley covered with stormy clouds, and we smile at hearing under his feet that thunder which rumbled so long over one's head; we like to see at his feet these summits, once threatening, which have become in their lowering, similar on the furrows of a field, or on the steps of an amphitheater; one is flattered to have become the highest point of so many things, and a feeling of pride makes them regard them with more complacency.

When the traveler traverses the interior of these mountains, the roughness of the paths, the rapidity of the slopes, the depth of the precipices begin to frighten him. Soon the skill of the mules carrying him reassures him, and he examines at his ease the picturesque incidents which follow one another to distract him. There, as in the Alps, he walks whole days, to arrive in a place which, from the start, is in sight; it turns, it goes down; he rubs shoulders, he climbs; and in this perpetual change of sites, one would say that a magic power varies with each step the decorations of the scene. Sometimes they are villages that are almost slipping on rapid slopes, and so arranged that the terraces of a row of houses serve as a street for the row which dominates them. Sometimes it's a convent placed on an isolated cone,in the Tigre Valley. Here, a rock pierced by a torrent has become a natural arch, as in Nahr-el-Leben[169]. There, another rock cut to a peak, looks like a high wall; Often, on the hillsides, the stone benches, stripped and isolated by the water, resemble ruins that art has laid out. In several places, the waters, finding inclined layers, have undermined the intermediate earth, and formed caves, as in Nahr-el-Kelb, near Antoura: elsewhere, they have formed underground courses, where streams flow. during part of the year, as in Mar-Eliâs-el-Roum, and in Mar-Hanna[170]; sometimes these picturesque incidents have become tragic. We have seen through thaws and earthquakes, rocks lose their balance, to fall on the neighboring houses, and to crush the inhabitants; It was about 20 years ago that a similar accident buried itself, near Mardjordjôs, a village that has left no trace. More recently and near the same place, the ground of a hill loaded with mulberry trees and vines was detached by a sudden thaw, and slipping on the slope of rock which carried it, came, like a vessel that one launch of the building site, to settle all in one piece in the lower valley. This resulted in a bizarre, albeit fair, lawsuit between the owner of the native land and the owner of the emigrated land, and it was brought to Emir Yousef's court, which made up for the losses. It would seem that these accidents must have cast disgust on the habitation of these mountains; but, besides being rare, they are compensated by an advantage which makes their stay preferable to that of the richest plains; I mean by security against the annoyances of the Turks. This security seemed so precious to the inhabitants that they deployed in these rocks an industry that one would seek in vain elsewhere. By dint of art and work, they have forced rocky soil to become fertile. Sometimes, to take advantage of the waters, they lead them by a thousand detours on the slopes, or they stop them in the valleys by causeways; sometimes they support lands ready to collapse, by terraces and walls. Almost all the mountains or they stop them in the valleys by causeways; sometimes they support lands ready to collapse, by terraces and walls. Almost all the mountains or they stop them in the valleys by causeways; sometimes they support lands ready to collapse, by terraces and walls. Almost all the mountains thus worked, present the aspect of a staircase or an amphitheater, of which each step is a row of vines or mulberry trees. I counted them on the same slope up to 100 and 120, from the bottom of the valley to the top of the hill; I forgot when I was in Turkey, or if I remembered it, it was to feel more keenly how powerful is even the slightest influence of freedom.

§ III. Structure of mountains.

The framework of these mountains is formed by a bench of hard limestone, whitish and ringing like sandstone, arranged in beds at various angles. This stone is represented almost the same throughout the whole of Syria; sometimes it is naked, and it has the appearance of the peeled rocks of the coast of Provence: such is the chain which borders the road from Antioch to Aleppo to the north, and which serves as a bed for the upper course of the stream which flows in this last city. Ermenâz, a village located between Serkin and Kaftin, has a parade that brings together perfectly those we pass on the way from Marseille to Toulon. If we go from Aleppo to Hama, one constantly encounters the veins of the same rock in the plain, while the mountains which run on the right, there are piles of them that represent great ruins of towns and castles. It is again this same stone which, in a more regular form, composes the mass of Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon, the Druze mountains, Galilee, Carmel, and extends to the south of Lake Asphaltite.; everywhere the inhabitants build their houses and make lime out of it. I have never seen or heard that these stones hold petrified shells in the high parts of Lebanon; but there is between Bâtroun and Djebaîl in Kesrâouan, a short distance from the sea, a quarry of schistose stones, the blades of which bear the imprints of plants, fish, shells, and especially sea onions. The torrent of Azqâlan, in Palestine, is also paved. of a heavy, porous and salty stone, which contains many small volutes and bivalves from the Mediterranean. Finally Pocoke found a quantity of it in the rocks bordering the Dead Sea.

In minerals, iron alone is abundant; the mountains of Kesrâouan and Druze are full of them. Each year, the inhabitants exploit it during the summer of the mines which are simply ocher. Judea must not be lacking, since Moses observed over 3,000 years ago that his stones were made of iron. There is talk of a copper mine in Antabès, north of Aleppo; but she is abandoned: I was also told among the Druze, that in the landslide of this mountain of which I have spoken, a mineral had been found which gave back lead and silver; but as such a discovery would have ruined the canton, by attracting the attention of the Turks, they hastened to stifle all clues.

§ IV. Volcanoes and tremors.

The south of Syria, that is to say the basin of the Jordan, is a country of volcanoes; the bituminous and sulfur sources of Lake Asphaltite, the lavas, the pumice stones thrown on these banks, and the hot bath of Tabarié, prove that this valley has been the seat of a fire which is not yet extinguished. We observe that the lake often escapes smoke, and that new crevices are made on its shores. If conjectures in such matters were not liable to be too vague, one might suspect that the whole valley is due only to the violent subsidence of land which once poured the Jordan into the Mediterranean. It seems at least certain that the accident of the 5 struck cities, had for cause the eruption of a volcano then set ablaze. expressly[171], that the tradition of the inhabitants of the country, that is to say of the Jews themselves, was that once the valley of the lake was populated with 13 flourishing towns, and that they were swallowed up by a volcano. This account seems to be confirmed by the ruins which travelers still find in large numbers on the western shore. The eruptions have long since ceased; but the earthquakes which supplement it are still sometimes seen in this canton: the coast in general is subject to it, and history cites several examples which have changed the face of Antioch, Laodikea, Tripoli, Béryte, of Sidon, of Tire, etc. Nowadays, in 1759, one has happened which has caused the greatest devastation: it is claimed that he killed in the valley of Balbek more than 20,000 souls, whose loss has not been repaired. For 3 months, its tremors worried the inhabitants of Lebanon, to the point that they abandoned their houses, and remained in tents. Recently (December 14, 1783), when I was in Aleppo, there was a commotion in that city which was so strong that it rang the bell of the French consul. It has been observed in Syria that tremors almost never occur except in winter, after the autumn rains; and this observation, consistent with that of the doctor Chá (Shaw), in Barbary, would seem to indicate that the action of the waters on the earth and the dried up minerals is the cause of these convulsive movements. It is not out of place to note that Asia Minor is also subject to it.

§ V. Grasshoppers.

Syria shares with Egypt, Persia, and almost all of the south of Asia, another no less formidable scourge, the swarms of locusts of which travelers have spoken. The quantity of these insects is an incredible thing for anyone who has not seen it for himself: the earth is covered with them for a space of several leagues. We can hear from afar the noise they make as they graze on the grasses and trees, like an army stealthily foraging. It would be better to have to deal with the Tartars than with these small destructive animals: it seems that the fire follows in their footsteps. Wherever their legions go, greenery disappears from the countryside, like a curtain being folded; trees and plants, stripped of leaves, and reduced to their branches and stems, make succeed in the blink of an eye look at the hideous spectacle of winter with the rich scenes of spring. When these swarms of locusts take flight to overcome some obstacle, or cross more quickly a deserted ground, one can say, literally, that the sky is obscured by it. Fortunately, this plague is not repeated too often; for there is none that so surely brings famine, and the diseases that follow it. Residents of Syria have made the double point that the locusts only occur after winters that are too mild, and that they always come from the Arabian desert. With the help of this remark, one explains very well how the cold having spared the eggs of these insects, they multiply so suddenly, and like the grasses coming to be exhausted in the immense plains of the desert, there are some. suddenly so many legions emerge. When they appear on the border of the cultivated country, the inhabitants try to divert them, by opposing them with torrents of smoke; but they often lack the grass and wet straw: they also dig pits where many are buried; but the two most effective agents against these insects are southerly and southeasterly winds, and the bird calledsamarmar: this bird, which closely resembles the oriole, follows them in numerous troops, like those of starlings; and not only does he eat his fill, but he kills all that he can kill: also the peasants respect him, and he is never allowed to be taken out. As for the southerly and south-easterly winds, they forcefully drive away the clouds grasshoppers on the Mediterranean; and they drown them in so great a quantity, that when their corpses are thrown back on the shore, they infect the air for several days at a great distance.

§ VI. Soil qualities.

It is easy to assume that in a country as large as Syria, the quality of the soil is not the same everywhere: in general the land in the mountains is rough; that of the plains is plump, light, and announces the greatest fertility. In the territory of Aleppo, as far as Antioch, it resembles very fine crushed brick, or Spanish tobacco. The Orontes, however, which crosses this district, has its waters tinted white; what comes from the white lands which they took charge towards their source. Almost everywhere else the soil is brown, and looks like excellent garden soil. In the plains, such as those of Hauran, Gaze and Balbek, it is often difficult to find a pebble. The winter rains make deep mud there, and when summer returns, the heat causes there, as in Egypt,

§ VII. Rivers and lakes.

The exaggerated ideas, or, if you will, the great ideas which history and relationships like to give to distant objects, have accustomed us to speak of the waters of Syria with a respect which flatters our imagination. We like to say the Jordan River, the Orontes River, the Adonis River. However, if we wanted to keep names the meaning assigned to them by custom, we would hardly find anything but streams in this country. The Orontes and the Jordan, which are the most considerable, hardly have 60 canal pitches.[172]; the others do not deserve to be talked about. If, during the winter, the rains and the melting of the snows give them some importance, the rest of the year one recognizes their place only by the rolled pebbles or the blocks of rock with which their bed is filled. They are only cascading torrents, and we can imagine that the mountains which provide them are only a stone's throw from the sea, their waters do not have time to assemble in long valleys, to to form rivers. The obstacles that these same mountains oppose in several places at their exit, formed various lakes, such as that of Antioch, Aleppo, Damascus, Houlé, Tabarié, and that which one decorated with the name of Morte or Asphaltite lake. All these lakes, except for the latter, are freshwater, and contain several species of foreign fish.[173] to ours.

The only Asphaltite lake does not contain anything living or even vegetating. One sees neither greenery on its banks, nor fish in its waters; but it is wrong that its air is so fouled that birds cannot cross it with impunity. It is not uncommon to see swallows flying on its surface, to take the water necessary to build their nests. The real cause of the absence of plants and animals is the acrid salinity of its waters, infinitely stronger than that of the sea. The land which surrounds it, also impregnated with this salinity, refuses to produce plants; the air itself, which takes care of it by evaporation, and which still receives the vapors of sulfur and bitumen, cannot be suitable for vegetation: hence that aspect of death which reigns around the lake. Besides, its waters do not present a swamp; they are limpid and incorruptible, as befits a solution of salt. The origin of this mineral is not ambiguous; for on the southwest shore there are rock salt mines, samples of which I have brought back. They are situated in the sides of the mountains which reign on this side, and they supply from time immemorial for the consumption of the Arabs of these cantons, and even of the city of Jerusalem. Pieces of bitumen and sulfur are also found on this shore, in which the Arabs do a small business; hot fountains, and deep crevasses, which are announced from afar by little pyramids that have been built on the edge. There is still a kind of stone that exhales, rubbing it, a foul odor, burns like bitumen, polishes like alabaster, and serves to pave the courtyards. Finally, we see, from space to space, shapeless blocks, which prejudiced eyes take for mutilated statues, and which ignorant and superstitious pilgrims regard as a monument to the adventure of Lot's wife, although it is not said that this woman was turned into stone like Niobe, but into salt, which must have melted the following winter.

Some physicists, embarrassed by the waters that the Jordan keeps pouring into the lake, have assumed it had underground communication with the Mediterranean; but, besides that we do not know of any sinkhole that can confirm this idea, Hales has demonstrated by precise calculations that the evaporation was more than sufficient to consume the waters of the river. It is in fact very considerable; often it becomes sensitive to the sight, by mists with which the lake seems completely covered at sunrise, and which are then dissipated by the heat.

§ VIII. Of the climate.

We are generally in the opinion that Syria is a very hot country; but this idea, to be exact, requires distinctions: 1 ° at the rate of latitudes which do not fail to differ by 150 leagues from strong to weak; in the second place, due to the natural division of the land in low and flat countries, and in high or mountainous countries: this division causes much more noticeable differences; because, while the thermometer of Réaumur reaches 25 and 29 degrees on the seashore, hardly in the mountains does it rise to 20 and 21[174]. Also in the winter, the whole chain mountains are covered with snow, while the lower lands never have any, or only keep it for a moment. We should therefore establish two general climates: one very hot, which is that of the coast and the interior plains, such as those of Balbek, Antioch, Tripoli, Acre, Gaze, Hauran, etc.; the other temperate and almost similar to ours, which reigns in the mountains, especially when they take a certain elevation. The summer of 1784 passed among the Druze for one of the hottest we can remember; however, I found nothing in her comparable to the heat of Saïde or Bairout.

In this climate, the order of the seasons is almost the same as in the middle of France: winter, which lasts from November to March, is lively and severe. No years pass without snow, and often they cover the earth there with several feet, and for whole months; spring and autumn are mild there, and summer is nothing unbearable. In the plains, on the contrary, as soon as the sun returns to the equator, one suddenly passes into oppressive heat, which does not end until October. As a reward, winter is so temperate, that orange trees, date palms, bananas and other delicate trees, grow in the ground: it is a picturesque spectacle for a European, in Tripoli, to see under his windows, in January, orange trees laden with flowers and fruits, while on his head Lebanon is bristling of frost and snow. It should nevertheless be noted that in the northern parts, and to the east of the mountains, the winter is more severe, without the summer being less hot. In Antioch, in Aleppo, in Damascus, we have several weeks of ice and snow every winter; what comes from the landslide, even more than from the latitudes. Indeed, the whole plain east of the mountains is a country very high above sea level, open to dry north and north-easterly winds, and sheltered from humid westerly winds and from southwest. Finally, Antioch and Aleppo receive from the mountains of Alexandretta, which are in sight, an air which the snow with which they are long covered, cannot fail to render very sharp.

By this arrangement, Syria unites under one sky different climates, and brings together in a narrow enclosure the pleasures that nature has dispersed elsewhere at great distances of time and place. With us, for example, she separated the seasons by months; there, we can say that they are only so for hours. Are we annoyed in Saïde or Tripoli by the heat of July, six hours of walking transport on the neighboring mountains, at the temperature of March. Conversely, are we tormented in Becharrai by the frosts of December, a day brings us back to the shore among the flowers of May[175]. So the Arab poets have said that the Sannîne carried winter on its head, spring on its shoulders, autumn in its bosom, while summer slept at its feet. I knew for myself the truth of this image during my eight-month stay at the monastery of Mar-Hanna[176], seven leagues from Baîrout. I had left in Tripoli, at the end of February, the new vegetables in high season, and the blooming flowers: arrived in Antoura[177]; I found the herbs only emerging; and in Mar-Hanna, everything was still in the snow. The Sannîne was only stripped of it at the end of April, and already in the valley which it dominates, the roses were beginning to be buttoned. The prime figs had passed to Baîrout when we were the first to eat, and the silkworms were there in cocoons, when among us we had only stripped half of the mulberry trees. To this first advantage, which perpetuates pleasures by their succession, Syria adds a second, that of multiplying them by the variety of her productions. If art came to the aid of nature, we could bring together in a space of twenty leagues those of the most distant countries. In the present state, despite the barbarity of a government hostile to all activity and all industry, one is astonished at the list provided by this province. In addition to the wheat, rye, barley, beans and cotton plant which are cultivated everywhere there, one still finds there a host of useful or pleasant objects, appropriate to various places. Palestine abounds in sesame proper to oil, [178]. Maize thrives in the light soil of Balbek, and rice itself is grown successfully on the edges of Haoulé Marsh. It has only recently been thought of to plant sugar cane in the gardens of Saïde and Baîrout; there they equaled that of the Delta. Indigo grows without art on the banks of the Jordan in the land of Bisân; and it only requires care to acquire quality. The slopes of Lataqîé produce smoking tobacco, which is the basis of trade relations with Damiâ and Kaire. This culture is now widespread in all the mountains. In trees, the olive tree of Provence grows in Antioch and Ramlé, at the height of beeches. The white mulberry is the wealth of all the country of the Druze, by the beautiful silks that it provides; and the vines raised in stakes, or climbing on oaks, give there red and white wines which could equal those of Bordeaux. Before the ravages of the last troubles, Yâfa saw in his gardens two seedlings of the cotton-tree of India, which were growing visibly; and this city has not lost its silts or its enormous poncires[179] nor his watermelons, preferred to those of Broulos[180] same. Gaze has dates like Mekke, and pomegranates like Algiers. Tripoli produces oranges like Malta; Baîrout, figs like Marseille, and bananas like Saint-Domingue; Aleppo has the exclusive privilege of pistachios, and Damascus justly boasts of bringing together all the fruits of our provinces. Its stony soil is also suitable for apples from Normandy; with plums from Touraine, and peaches from Paris. There are twenty species of apricots, one of which contains an almond which is sought after throughout Turkey. Finally, the cochineal plant which grows all over the coast, perhaps already feeds this precious insect as in Mexico and Santo Domingo[181]; and if we take care that the mountains of Yemen, which produce such a precious coffee, are a continuation of those of Syria, and that their soil and temperature are almost the same[182], one will be led to believe that Judea, above all, could appropriate this commodity from Arabia. With these numerous advantages of climate and soil, it is not surprising that Syria has always been considered a delicious country, and that the Greeks and Romans have placed it among their most beautiful provinces, in the even equal to Egypt. Also, in recent times, a pasha who knows them both, being questioned to which he gave preference, replied: Egypt, no doubt, is an excellent farm; but Syria is a charming country house[183].

§ IX. Air qualities.

I must not forget to talk about the qualities of air and water: these elements offer in Syria some remarkable phenomena. On the mountains, and in all the high plain which reigns in their east, the air is light, pure and dry; on the coast, on the contrary, and especially from Alexandretta to Yâfa, it is humid and heavy: thus Syria is divided in its entire length into two different regions, of which the mountain range is the term of separation, and even cause; because by opposing by its height to the free passage of the westerly winds, it causes in the valley the accumulation of the vapors which they bring from the sea; and as the air is light only as long as it is pure, it is only after having discharged itself of all foreign weight, that it can rise to the top of this rampart, and cross it. The health effects are that theLataqîé or in Saïde the Europeans threatened by pulmonia. This advantage of the air from the coast is compensated for by more serious disadvantages, and we can say that in general it is unhealthy, that it foments intermittent and putrid fevers, and the eye infections of which I have spoken on the occasion of the Delta. The evening dews and sleep on the terraces are followed by accidents which take place all the less in the mountains and inland the farther away from the sea; which confirms what I have already said in this regard.

§ X. Qualities of water.

The waters have another difference: in the mountains, those of the springs are light and of very good quality; but in the plain, either to the east or to the west, if there is no natural or artificial communication with the springs, there is only brackish water. It becomes all the more so, as we advance further into the desert, where there is no other. This inconvenience makes the rains so precious to the inhabitants of the frontier that they have always endeavored to collect them in wells and hermetically sealed underground passages; therefore, in all ruined places, cisterns are always the first object that presents itself.

The state of the sky in Syria, mainly on the coast and in the desert, is in general more constant and more regular than in our climates: rarely the sun veils there two days in a row; during the whole summer one sees few clouds and even less rains: they do not begin to appear until the end of October, and then they are neither long nor abundant; the ploughmen desire them to sow what they call the winter harvest, that is to say, wheat and barley[184]; they become more frequent and stronger in December and January, where they often take the form of snow in the high country; a few still appear in March and April; we take advantage of it for the summer seeds, which are sesame, doura, tobacco, cotton, beans and watermelons. The rest of the year is uniform, and there are more complaints of drought than humidity.

§ XI. Winds.

As in Egypt, the march of the winds has something periodic and appropriate to each season. Around the September equinox, the northwest begins to blow more often and harder; it makes the air dry, clear, pungent; and it is remarkable that on the coast it gives a headache as in Egypt the north-east, and this more in the northern part than in the south, not in the mountains. It should also be noted that it most often lasts three consecutive days, like the south and the southeast at the other equinox; it lasts until November, that is to say about fifty days, alternating mainly with the east wind. These winds are replaced by the northwest, west and southwest, which prevail from November to February. These last two are, to use the expression of the Arabs, the fathers of the rains; in March appear the pernicious winds from the southern parts, with the same circumstances as in Egypt; but they weaken as they advance north, and they are much more bearable in the mountains than in the flat country. Their duration each time is usually twenty-four hours or three days. The easterly winds which lift them, continue until June, when a northerly wind establishes itself which allows sailing to and from the entire coast; it even happens in this season that the wind circles the horizon every day, and passes with the sun from east to south, and from south to west, to return from the north to start the same circle again. Then there also reigns during the night on the coast a local wind, called land wind; it rises only after sunset, it lasts until sunrise, and extends only two or three leagues at sea.

The reasons for all these phenomena are undoubtedly interesting problems for physics, and they deserve our solution. No country is more suited to observations of this kind than Syria. It seems that nature has prepared there all the means to study its operations. We, in our hazy climates, sunk in vast continents, we can seldom follow the great changes which occur in the air; the narrow horizon which limits our sight, also limits our thought; we only discover a small scene; and the effects which take place there show themselves only altered by a thousand circumstances. There, on the contrary, an immense scene is open to view; the great agents of nature are brought together there in a space which makes it easy to understand their reciprocal games. VS' east to the west, the vast liquid plain of the Mediterranean; to the east is the desert plain, so vast and absolutely dry: in the middle of these two plateaus rise mountains, the peaks of which are so many observatories from which the view extends to thirty leagues. Four observers would span the entire length of Syria; and there, from the summits of Casius, Lebanon and Tabor, they could grasp everything that happens in an infinite horizon: they could observe how, at first clear, the region of the sea is veiled in vapors; how these vapors intersect, share, and, by a observatories from which the view extends to thirty leagues. Four observers would span the entire length of Syria; and there, from the summits of Casius, Lebanon and Tabor, they could grasp everything that happens in an infinite horizon: they could observe how, at first clear, the region of the sea is veiled in vapors; how these vapors intersect, share, and, by a observatories from which the view extends to thirty leagues. Four observers would span the entire length of Syria; and there, from the summits of Casius, Lebanon and Tabor, they could grasp everything that happens in an infinite horizon: they could observe how, at first clear, the region of the sea is veiled in vapors; how these vapors intersect, share, and, by a constant mechanism, climb and rise on mountains; how, on the other hand, the region of the desert, always transparent, never generates clouds, and only carries those it receives from the sea: they would answer Michaélis' question[185], if the desert produces dews, which the desert having water only in winter after the rains, it cannot give off vapors until this period. Seeing at a glance the heat-scorched valley of Balbek, while the head of Lebanon whitened with ice and snow, they would feel the truth of the now established axioms: that the heat is greater, as we approach the plane of the earth, and less, as we move away from it; so that it seems to be only an effect of the action of the rays of the sun on the earth. Finally, they could successfully attempt the solution of most of the problems relating to the meteorology of the globe.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:56 am

CHAPTER II. Considerations on the phenomena of winds, clouds, rains, fogs and thunder.

While waiting for someone to undertake this work with the details it deserves, I will briefly set out some general ideas that the sight of objects has given me. I have spoken of the relationship that the winds have with the seasons; and I indicated that the sun, by the analogy of its annual march with their accidents, announced itself to be the main agent: its action on the air which envelops the earth, seems to be the first cause of all the movements that happen on our head. To clearly conceive of its mechanism, it is necessary to take the chain of ideas from its origin, and to remember the properties of the element put into action.

1. Air, as we know, is a fluid of which all the parts, naturally equal and mobile, constantly tend to be level, like water; so that if we suppose a chamber six feet in all directions, the air which we introduce will fill it everywhere equally.

2. A second property of air is to expand or contract, that is to say, to occupy a larger or smaller space, with the same given quantity. Thus, in the example of the supposed chamber, if we empty two thirds of the air which it contains, the remaining third will extend in their place, and will still fill all the capacity; if, instead of emptying the air, we add to it double, triple, etc., the chamber will also contain it; which does not happen to the water.

This property of expanding is especially put in action by the presence of fire; and then the heated air gathers in an equal space less parts than the cold air; he becomes lighter than him, and he is pushed upwards. For example, if a stove full of fire is introduced into the supposed room, the air that will be affected will immediately rise to the floor; and the air which was nearby will take its place. If this air is still heated, it will follow first, and there will be a current from bottom to top,[186] by the influx of side air; so that the warmer air will spread in the upper part, and the less hot in the lower part, both continuing to seek to balance themselves by the first law of fluidity.[187]

If we now apply this game to what is happening on a large scale on the globe, we will find that it explains most of the phenomena of winds.

The air which envelops the earth may be considered as a very fluid ocean, the bottom of which we occupy, and the surface of which is at an unknown height. By the first law, that is to say by its fluidity, this ocean constantly tends to put itself in equilibrium and to remain stagnant; but the sun, making the law of dilation act, excites a disorder which keeps all parts of it in perpetual fluctuation. Its rays, applied to the surface of the earth, produce precisely the effect of the stove supposed in the room; they establish there a heat by which the neighboring air expands and rises towards the upper region. If this heat were the same everywhere, the general play would be uniform; but it is varied by an infinity of circumstances which become the reasons for the agitations which we observe.

First, it is a fact that the earth heats up all the more as it gets closer to the perpendicular to the sun: the heat is zero at the pole; it is extreme below the line. It is for this reason that our climates are colder in winter, hotter in summer; and it is also here that in the same place and under the same latitude, the temperature may be very different, according to whether the ground, inclined to the north or to the south, presents its surface more or less obliquely to the rays of the sun.[188]

In the second place, it is still a fact that the surface of water produces less heat than that of the earth: thus, on the sea, on lakes and on rivers, the air will be less heated at the same latitude. than on the continent; everywhere even humidity is a principle of freshness, and it is for this reason that a country covered with forests and filled with marshes, is colder than when marshes are dried up and forests felled.[189]

3. Finally, a third equally important consideration is that the heat decreases as one rises above the general plane of the earth. The fact is demonstrated by the observation of the high mountains, the peaks of which, below the same line, carry eternal snow, and attest the existence of a permanent cold in the upper region.

If we now realize the combined effects of these various circumstances, we will find that they fulfill the indications of most of the phenomena which we have to explain.

Firstly, the air of the polar regions being colder and heavier than that of the equinoctial zone, this must result, by the law of equilibria, a pressure which constantly tends to cause the air to run from the two poles towards the equator. And in this, the reasoning is supported by the facts, since the observation of all travelers finds that the most ordinary winds in the two hemispheres, the austral and the boreal, come from the quarter horizon whose pole occupies the middle, that is to say, between the north-west and the north-east. What is happening in the Mediterranean in particular is quite similar.

I have noticed, while speaking of Egypt, that on this sea the northern rumbs are the most usual, so that over twelve months of the year there are nine. This phenomenon is explained in a very plausible manner, by saying: the shore of Barbary, struck by the rays of the sun, heats the air which covers it; this dilated air rises, or takes the route inland; then the air of the sea finding less resistance on this side, goes there incontinently; but as it warms itself up, it follows first, and gradually the Mediterranean empties; by this mechanism, the air which covers Europe having no further support on this side, flows into it, and soon the general current is established. It will be all the stronger the colder the northern air; and hence the impetuosity of the winds greater in winter than in summer: it will be all the weaker the more equality there is between the air of the various countries; and hence that progress of the winds more moderate in the fine season, and which, even in July and August, ends in a kind of general calm, because then the sun, closer to us, almost equally warms the whole hemisphere. up to the pole. This uniform and constant course that the northwest takes in almost equally warms the entire hemisphere up to the pole. This uniform and constant course that the northwest takes in almost equally warms the entire hemisphere up to the pole. This uniform and constant course that the northwest takes in June, comes from the fact that the sun, brought closer to the parallel of Asouan and almost of the Canaries, establishes behind the Atlas a similar and regular aspiration. This periodic return of the easterly winds, following each equinox, no doubt also has a geographical reason; but to find it, it would be necessary to have a general picture of what is happening in other places on the continent; and I admit that by that it escapes me. I also do not know the reason for this duration of three days, which the southerly and northerly winds affect to observe each time they appear in the time of the equinoxes.

Sometimes, in the general course of the same wind, differences arise from the conformation of the terrain; that is to say, that if a wind meets a valley, it takes the direction of it in the manner of sea currents. From this undoubtedly comes that on the Adriatic gulf one knows almost only the north-west and the south-east, because such is the direction of this arm of the sea: for a similar reason, all the winds become on the Red Sea north or south; and if in Provence the north-west or mistral is so frequent, it must be only because the air currents which fall from the Cévennes and the Alps, are forced to follow the direction of the valley of the Rhône.

But what becomes of the mass of air pumped by the African coast and the torrid zone? This is what we can explain in two ways:

1. The air arriving at these latitudes forms a great current known as the easterly trade wind, which reigns, as we know, from the Canaries to America[190]: arrived there, it seems that it is broken there by the mountains of the continent, and that diverted from its first direction, it returns in a contrary direction to form this westerly wind which reigns under the parallel of Canada; so that by this return, the losses of the polar regions are repaired.

2. The air which flows from the Mediterranean to Africa, expanding by heat, rises in the upper region; but as it cools down to a certain height, it happens that its first volume is infinitely reduced by condensation. One could say that having then regained his weight, he should fall again; but besides that in approaching the earth, it warms up and returns to dilation, it still experiences from the lower air a powerful and continuous effort which sustains it; these two layers of the upper cooled air and the lower expanded air are in a perpetual effort towards each other. If the equilibrium breaks, the upper air obeying its weight, can melt in the lower region to the ground: it is to accidents of this kind that we owe these sudden torrents of icy air, known under the name of hurricanes or squallswhich seem to fall from the sky, and which bring in the hottest seasons and regions, the cold of the polar zones. If the surrounding air resists, their effect is limited to a short space; but if they encounter currents already established, they increase their strength, and they become storms of several hours. These storms are dry when the air is clean; but if it is laden with clouds, they are accompanied by a deluge of water and hail which the cold air condenses as it falls. It may even happen that a continuous waterfall is established at the site of the rupture, to which the surrounding clouds will resolve; and it will result in these columns of water, known as waterspouts and typhoons[191]; these waterspouts are not uncommon on the coast of Syria, towards Cape Ouedjh and towards Carmel; and we observe that they take place especially at the time of the equinoxes, and by a stormy sky covered with clouds.

The mountains of a certain height provide usual examples of this fall of the cooled air in the upper region. When winter approaches, their summits are covered with clouds, it emanates impetuous torrents that sailors call snow winds. They say then that the mountains are defending themselves, because these winds push them back, from whatever side one wants to approach them. The Gulf of Lyons and that of Alexandretta are famous in the Mediterranean for circumstances of this kind.

The phenomena of these coast winds, commonly called land winds, are explained by the same principles. The observation of the sailors notes on the Mediterranean, that during the day they come from the sea; during the night, from the earth; that they are stronger near high coasts, and weaker near lower coasts. The reason is that the air, sometimes dilated by the heat of the day, sometimes condensed by the cold of the night, rises and descends alternately from the land to the sea, and from the sea to the earth. What I have observed in Syria makes this effect palpable. The face of Lebanon which looks at the sea, being struck by the sun during the course of the day, and especially since noon, it is excited there a heat which expands the layer of air which covers the slope. This air, becoming lighter, ceases to be in equilibrium with that of the sea; he is in a hurry, driven upstairs: but the new air which replaces him, warming up in its turn, soon follows him; and step by step a current is formed similar to what we observe along the stove or chimney pipes[192]. When the sun goes down, this action ceases; the mountain cools, the air condenses; as it condenses, it becomes heavier, it falls back, and from then on forms a torrent which flows along the slope to the sea: this current ceases in the morning, because the sun has returned to the horizon, begins again the game of Eve. It only advances to sea two or three leagues, because the impulse of its fall is destroyed by the resistance of the mass of air into which it enters. It is because of the height and the rapidity of this fall, that the course of the land wind is prolonged; it is more extensive at the foot of Lebanon and the northern chain, because in this part the mountains are higher, faster, closer to the sea. It has violent and sudden gusts to theQâsmîé[193]; by that the deep valley of Bèqâà, gathering the air in its narrow channel, throws it out like a pipe. It is less on the coast of Palestine, because the mountains are lower there, and between them and the sea there is a plain of four or five leagues. It is null in Gaze and on the shore of Egypt, because this flat ground does not have a sufficiently marked slope. Finally, everywhere it is stronger in summer, weaker in winter, because in this last season, the heat and expansion are much less.

This respective state of the air of the sea and of the air of the continents is the cause of a phenomenon observed for a long time: the property which the lands in general, and especially the mountains, have of attracting clouds. Anyone who has seen various beaches, has been able to convince himself that the clouds always created on the sea, then rise by a constant march towards the continents, and preferably go to the highest mountains there. Some physicists wanted to see in this a virtue of attraction; but besides that this occult cause is nothing clearer than the ancient horror of the void., there are material agents here which give a mechanical reason for this phenomenon; I mean the laws of fluid equilibrium, by which the masses of heavy air push the masses of light air upwards. Indeed, the continents being always, at equal latitude and level, more heated than the seas, it must result a habitual current which carries the air, and consequently the clouds, from the sea to the earth. They will go there all the more as the mountains will be more heated, more inhaling: if they find a flat and united country, they will slide on it without stopping there, because this ground being also heated, nothing there. condenses; it is for this reason that it never rains, or very rarely, during the summer, in Egypt and in the deserts of Arabia and Africa. The air of these countries, heated and dilated, pushes back the clouds, because they are a vapor, and that all vapor is constantly raised by hot air. They are forced to float in the middle region, where the prevailing current carries them towards the higher parts of the continent, which act as a sort of chimney, as I have already said. There, further from the plane of the earth, which is the great focus of heat, they are cooled, condensed, and, by a mechanism similar to that of capitals in expansion, their particles are resolved into rain or snow; in winter, the effects change with the circumstances: while the sun is far from the countries of which we speak, the earth no longer being so heated, the air takes there a state close to that of the high mountains; it becomes colder and denser; vapors are no longer removed so high; clouds form lower; earth, where we see them as and in the form of mists. At this time, accumulated by the westerly winds, and by the absence of the currents which carry them during the summer, they are forced to settle on the plain; and hence the explanation of this problem:[194] Why is the evaporation being stronger in summer than in winter, there are however more clouds, fogs and rains in winter than in summer? Hence again the reason for this other fact common to Egypt and Palestine:[195] That if there is a continuous and gentle rain, it will be done at night rather than by day. In these countries, it is generally observed that clouds and mists approach the earth during the night, and move away from it during the day, because the presence of the sun still excites sufficient heat to push them away: I I had frequent proofs at Kaire, in the months of July and August 1783. Often at sunrise we had fog, the thermometer being at 17 degrees; 2 hours later, the thermometer being at 20, and rising to 24 degrees, the sky was covered and strewn with clouds which ran to the south. Returning from Suez at the same time, that is to say from July 24 to 25, we had not had any fog during the two nights we had slept in the desert; but having arrived at the dawn of day in sight of the valley of Egypt, I saw it covered with a lake of vapors which seemed to me stagnant: as the day dawned, they took movement and elevation; and it was not 8 o'clock in the morning, when the earth was uncovered, and the air had nothing more than scattered clouds which went up the valley. The following year, being among the Druze, I observed almost similar phenomena. First, at the end of June there reigned a series of clouds which were attributed to the overflow of the Nile on Egypt.[196], and which indeed came from this part, and passed to the northeast[197]. After this first eruption, at the end of July and in August a second season of clouds occurred. Every day, around 11 o'clock or noon, the sky was cloudy, often the sun did not appear all evening; the peak of Sannin was loaded with clouds; and many, climbing on the slopes, ran among the vines and the firs: often when they were hunting they enveloped me in a white mist, humid, warm and opaque, to the point of not seeing at 4 paces. Around 10 or 11 at night, the sky was unmasked, the stars sparkled, the night passed serene, the sun rose brilliantly, and towards noon the effect of the previous day began again. This repetition worried me all the more, as I was less aware of what was happening to all this sum of clouds. Part, in truth, passed the Sannin chain, and I could assume that she was going on Anti-Lebanon or in the desert; but the one who was on the way down the slope, when the sun was setting, what became of her, especially leaving neither dew nor rain capable of consuming her? To find out the reason, I imagined going up for several days in a row, at dawn in the morning, to a neighboring summit, and there, plunging over the valley and the sea by an oblique line of about five leagues, 'examined what was going on. At first I saw only a lake of vapors which veiled the waters, and this maritime horizon seemed dark to me, while that of the mountains was very clear: as the sun shone on it, I could distinguish clouds by the reflection of its rays; they seemed very low to me at first, but as the heat increased, they separated, went up, and always took the road to the mountain, to spend the rest of the day there, as I have said. So I assumed that these clouds that I saw thus rise, were largely those of the day before who, not having completed their ascent, had been seized by the cold air, and thrown into the sea by the land wind. I thought they were held there all night, until the sea wind picking up, carried them over the mountain, and made them pass partly over the top, to go and resolve themselves on the other dewy side, or water the thirsty desert air.

I said that these clouds brought us no dew; and I have often noticed that when the weather was so overcast it was less than when the sun was clear. At all times the dew is less abundant on these mountains than on the coast and in Egypt: and this is very well explained by saying that the air cannot raise to this height the excess of humidity which he takes charge; for the dew is, as we know, that excess of moisture which the heated air dissolves during the day, and which, condensing by the cool of the evening, falls with all the more abundance, as the place is closer to the sea[198]: hence the excessive dews in the Delta, less in the Thebaid and in the interior of the desert, as I have been told; and if humidity does not fall when the sky is veiled, it is because it has taken the form of clouds, or because these clouds intercept it.

In other cases, the sky being serene, one sees clouds dissipating and dissolving like smoke; other times to form visibly, and first of all, to grow into immense masses. This happens especially on the tip of Lebanon, and sailors have found that the appearance of a cloud over this peak was an infallible omen of the west wind. Often at sunset, I saw these fumes attach to the sides of the rocks of Nahr-el-Kelb, and grow so rapidly that in an hour the valley was but a lake. The inhabitants say they are vapors from the valley; but this valley being all of stone and almost without water, it is impossible that they are emanations; it is more natural to say that it is the vapors of the atmosphere, which, condensed at the approach of night, fall in an imperceptible rain, the accumulation of which forms the smoky lake that we see. The fogs are explained by the same principles; there is none in hot countries far from the sea, nor during the summer droughts, because in these cases the air has no excess moisture. But they show themselves in the fall after rains, and even in was after the showers of storms, because then the earth received a matter of evaporation, and assumed a degree of coolness suitable for condensation. In our climates they always start on the surface of grasslands, in preference to plowed fields. Often at sunset we see a sheet of smoke forming on the grass, which soon increases in height and extent. The reason for this is that damp and cool places combine, more than powdery places, the qualities necessary to condense the falling vapors. There are, moreover, a host of considerations to be made on the formation and nature of these vapors, which, although the same, take on land the name of fogs, and in the air, that of clouds.. By combining their various accidents, we find that they follow those laws of combination, dissolution, precipitation, and saturation, which modern physics, under the name of chemistry, is occupied in developing the theory. To deal with it here, I would have to go into details which would take me too far from my subject: I will limit myself to one last observation relating to thunder.

The thunder takes place in the Delta as in Syria; but there is this difference between these two countries, that in the Delta and the plain of Palestine, it is infinitely rare in summer, and more frequent in winter; in the mountains, on the contrary, it is more common in summer, and infinitely rare in winter. In the two countries, its real season is that of the rains, that is to say the time of the equinoxes, and especially that of autumn; it is still remarkable that it never comes from parts of the continent, but from those of the sea: it is always from the Mediterranean that thunderstorms arrive on the Delta[199] and Syria. Their preferred moments during the day are in the evening and in the morning;[200] they are accompanied by violent downpours and sometimes hail which cover the countryside of small lakes for an hour of time. These circumstances, and above all this perpetual association of clouds with thunder, give rise to the following reasoning: if thunder is constantly formed with clouds, if it has an absolute need for their interlude in order to manifest itself, it is therefore the product of a few -one of their elements. Now, how are clouds formed? By the evaporation of water. How is evaporation done? By the presence of the element of fire. Water by itself is not volatile; it needs an agent to raise it: this agent is fire, and hence the fact already observed, that evaporation is always due to the heat applied to the water. Each water molecule is made volatile by a fire molecule, and probably also by an air molecule which combines with it. We can look at this combination as a neutral salt, and comparing it to nitre, we can say that water represents alkali, and fire represents nitrous acid. The clouds thus composed float in the air, until proper circumstances come to dissolve them; if an agent appears which has the faculty of suddenly breaking the combination of molecules, a detonation occurs, accompanied, as in nitre, by noise and light; by this effect, the matter of the fire and the air being suddenly dissipated, the water which was combined with it, returned to its natural gravity, falls precipitously from the height to which it had risen: from there, those violent downpours which follow great thunderclaps, and which preferably arrive at the end of thunderstorms, because then the matter of the fire being combined only with the air alone, it bursts like nitre; and this is undoubtedly what produces these flashes that we call horizon lights. But is this fire matter distinct from electrical matter? Does it follow, in its combinations and its detonations, particular affinities and laws? This is what I will not undertake to examine. This research cannot be suitable for a travel report: I must confine myself to the facts, and it is already a lot to have added some explanations which flowed naturally from it.[201]
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:59 am


FIRST CHAPTER. Residents of Syria.

LIKE Egypt, Syria has long suffered revolutions which have mixed the races of its inhabitants. For 2500 years, one can count ten invasions which introduced and made succeed foreign peoples. First it was the Assyrians of Nineveh who, having crossed the Euphrates around the year 750 BC, in sixty years seized almost all of the land north of Judea. The Chaldeans of Babylon having destroyed this power on which they depended, succeeded as by right of inheritance to its possessions, and completed the conquest of Syria, the only island of Tire excepted. The Chaldeans succeeded the Persians of Cyrus, and the Persians the Macedonians of Alexander. Then it seemed that Syria was going to cease to be a vassal of foreign powers, and that, according to the natural law of each country, she would have a government of her own; but the peoples, who found in the Seleucids only harsh and oppressive despots, reduced to the necessity of bearing a yoke, chose the least heavy, and Syria became, by the arms of Pompey, a province of the empire of Rome.

Five centuries later, when the children of Theodosius shared their immense patrimony, it changed metropolis without changing masters, and it was annexed to the empire of Constantinople. Such was its condition, when the year 622 the tribes of Arabia, gathered under the standard of Mahomet, came to possess it or rather to devastate it. Since that time, torn by the civil wars of the Fatmites and the Ommiads, withdrawn from the Kaliphs by their rebel lieutenants, ravished from them by the Turkman militias, disputed by the Crusader Europeans, taken over by the Mamlouks of Egypt, ravaged by Tamerlane and its Tartars, it finally remained in the hands of the Ottoman Turks, who, for 268 years, have been its masters.

From the turmoil of so many vicissitudes has remained a deposit of population, varied as the parts from which it was formed; so that the inhabitants of Syria should not be regarded as one and the same nation, but as an alloy of different nations.

We can make three main classes:

1. The posterity of the people conquered by the Arabs, that is to say, the Greeks of the Late Empire.

2. The posterity of the conquering Arabs.

3. The dominant people today, the Ottoman Turks.

Of these three classes, the first two require subdivisions on account of the distinctions which have arisen therein. So we must divide the Greeks:

1. In clean Greeks, commonly called schismatic, or separated from the communion of Rome.

2. In Latin Greeks, united in this communion.

3. In Maronites or Greeks of the sect of the monk Maron, formerly independent of the two communions, today united in the last.

It is necessary to divide the Arabs, 1. into proper descendants of the conquerors, who mixed their blood a lot, and who are the most considerable portion.

2. In Motouâlis, distinct from these by religious opinions.

3. In Druze, also distinct for a similar reason.

4. Finally in Ansârié, which are also derived from the Arabs.

To these peoples, who are the agricultural and sedentary inhabitants of Syria, we must also add three other wandering and pastoral peoples : namely, 1. the Turkmans ; 2. the Kurds; and 3. the Bedouin Arabs.

Such are the races which are widespread on the ground comprised between the sea and the desert, from Gaze to Alexandretta.

In this enumeration, it is remarkable that the ancient peoples did not have sensible representatives; their characters were all merged with that of the Greeks, who, in fact, by a stay continued since Alexander, had time to identify with the ancient population: the land alone, and some features of manners and customs., preserve vestiges of remote centuries.

Syria has not, like Egypt, refused to adopt foreign races. All naturalize there equally well; blood follows nearly the same laws as in the south of Europe, observing the differences which result from the nature of the climate. Thus, the inhabitants of the southern plains are darker than those of the north, and these much more than the inhabitants of the mountains. In Lebanon and the country of the Druze, the complexion does not differ from that of our provinces in the middle of France. The women of Damascus and Tripoli are praised for their whiteness, and even for the regularity of the features: on this last article we must believe the fame, since the veil they constantly wear does not allow anyone to make general observations.. In several cantons, peasant women are less scrupulous, without being less chaste. In Palestine, for example, we almost uncovered married women; but misery and fatigue have left no pleasures in their face; the eyes alone are almost always beautiful everywhere; the long drapery which makes the general clothing, allows the movements of the body to disentangle its form; it sometimes lacks elegance, but at least its proportions are not altered. I do not remember having seen in Syria and even in Egypt, two hunchbacked or counterfeit subjects; It is true that we know little about these strangled sizes that we are looking for: they are not appreciated in the East; and young girls, in agreement with their mothers, early use even superstitious recipes to acquire plumpness: luckily nature, by resisting our whims, has put limits in our way,

Syrians are generally of medium stature. They are, as in all hot countries, less plump than the inhabitants of the North. However, one finds in the cities a few individuals whose belly proves, by its magnitude, that the influence of the regime can, to a certain point, balance that of the climate.

Moreover, Syria has no disease of its own, except the Aleppo button, which I will speak about. in dealing with this city. The other diseases are dysentery, inflammatory fevers, intermittent, which come after the bad fruits with which the people gorge themselves. Smallpox is sometimes very deadly there. The general and usual inconvenience is stomach pain; and we can easily see the reasons, when we consider that everyone abuses it of unripe fruits, raw vegetables, honey, cheese, olives, strong oil, sour milk and bad bread. fermented. These are common foods for everyone; and the acidic juices which result from it, give acridity, nausea, and even vomiting of bile quite frequent. Also the first indication in any disease is almost always emetic, which however is known only to French doctors. The bleeding, as I said before, is never very necessary or very useful. In less urgent cases, cream of tartar and tamarinds have the most success.

The general idiom of Syria is the Arabic language. Niebuhr reports, on hearsay, that Syriac is still used in some mountain villages; but although I have questioned religious on this subject who know the country in great detail, I have learned nothing of the like: only I was told that the towns of Maloula and Sidnâïa, near Damascus, had an idiom so corrupt that it was very difficult to hear it. But this difficulty proves nothing, since in Syria, as in all Arab countries, the dialects vary and change in each place. We can therefore consider Syriac as a dead language for these cantons. The Maronites, who have preserved it in their liturgy and in their Mass, do not hear it for the most part when reciting it. Greek is in the same case. Among the schismatic or Catholic monks and priests, there are very few who understand it; they must have made a particular study of it in the islands of the Archipelago: we also know that modern Greek is so corrupted that it is no more sufficient to hear Demosthenes than Italian to read Cicero. The Turkish language does[202]. Some natives learn it for the need of their business, as the Turks learn Arabic; but the pronunciation and the accent of these two languages ​​have so little analogy that they always remain foreign to each other. Turkish mouths, accustomed to nasal and pompous prosody, seldom manage to imitate sounds acrid and strong aspirations of Arabic. This language makes such repeated use of vowels and guttural consonants that when you hear it for the first time, it looks like people gargling. This character makes it painful to all Europeans; but such is the power of habit, that when we complain to the Arabs about its roughness, they accuse us of failing to hear, and dismiss the accusation on our own idioms. Italian is their favorite, and with some reason they compare French to Turkish, and English to Persian. Between them they have almost the same differences. The Arabic of Syria is much rougher than that of Egypt; the pronunciation of lawyers in Kaire is regarded as a model of ease and elegance. But, according to the observation of Niebuhr, that of the inhabitants of Yemen and the southern coast is infinitely softer, and gives the Arab a flow of which one would not have believed it susceptible. We have sometimes wanted to establish analogies between climates and the pronunciations of languages; it has been said, for example, that the inhabitants of the north speak more about lips and teeth than the inhabitants of the south. This may be true for some parts of our continent; but to make it a general application would require more detailed and extensive observations. We must be reserved in these general judgments on languages ​​and their characters, We have sometimes wanted to establish analogies between climates and the pronunciations of languages; it has been said, for example, that the inhabitants of the north speak more about lips and teeth than the inhabitants of the south. This may be true for some parts of our continent; but to make it a general application would require more detailed and extensive observations. We must be reserved in these general judgments on languages ​​and their characters, We have sometimes wanted to establish analogies between climates and the pronunciations of languages; it has been said, for example, that the inhabitants of the north speak more about lips and teeth than the inhabitants of the south. This may be true for some parts of our continent; but to make it a general application would require more detailed and extensive observations. We must be reserved in these general judgments on languages ​​and their characters, because we always reason according to his own, and consequently according to a customary prejudice which greatly detracts from the correctness of the reasoning.

Among the people of Syria of whom I have spoken, some are spread indifferently in all parts, others are confined to particular places which it is appropriate to determine.

The clean Greeks, the Turks and the peasant Arabs are in the first case; with this difference, that the Turks are found only in the cities, where they exercise the war and magistracy jobs, and the arts. The Arabs and Greeks populate the villages, and form the class of plowmen in the countryside, and the lower classes in the towns. The country with the most Greek villages is the Pachalic of Damascus.

The Greeks of the communion of Rome, much less numerous than the schismatics, are all withdrawn in the cities, where they exercise the arts and the trade. The protection of the Franks has earned them, in the latter genre, a marked superiority wherever there are trading posts in Europe.

The Maronites form a body of nation which occupies almost exclusively all the countries included between Nahr-el-kelb ( river of the dog ) and Nahr-el-bared ( cold river ), from the top of the mountains to the east, to the Mediterranean to the west.

The Druze are adjacent to them, and extend from Nahr-el-kelb to near Sour (Tire), between the Beqââ valley and the sea.

The land of the Motouâlis included above the valley of Beqââ as far as Sour. But this people, for some time now, has suffered a revolution which has almost annihilated it.

With regard to the Ansârié, they are widespread in the mountains, from Nahr-âqqar to Antâkié: they are distinguished in various tribes, such as the Kelbié, the Qadmousié, the Chamsié, etc.

The Turkmans, the Kurds and the Bedouins do not have fixed abodes, but they wander incessantly with their tents and their herds in limited districts of which they regard themselves as the owners: the Turkman hordes preferably camp in the plain of Antioch; the Kurds, in the mountains, between Alexandretta and the Euphrates; and the Arabs all over the border of Syria adjacent to their deserts, and even in the interior plains, such as those of Palestine, Beqââ and Galilee.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 2:03 am

CHAPTER II. Pastoral or wandering peoples of Syria.

§ I. Of the Turkmans.

THE Turkmans are one of those Tartar peoples who, during the great revolutions of the Kaliph empire, emigrated from the east of the Caspian Sea, and spread across the plains of Armenia and Asia Minor. Their language is the same as that of the Turks. Their way of life is quite similar to that of the Bedouin Arabs; like them, they are pastors, and consequently obliged to cover large spaces to support their numerous flocks. But there is this difference, that the countries frequented by the Turkmans being rich in pastures, they can feed more, and disperse less than the tribes of the desert. Each of their ordous or camps recognizes a leader, whose power is not determined by statutes, but only directed by usage and circumstances; it is seldom abusive, because society is tight, and the nature of things maintains enough equality between the members. Every man able to bear arms hastens to bear them, because it is on his individual strength that his consideration and his safety depend. All goods consist of cattle, such as camels, buffaloes, goats and especially sheep. Turkmans feed on the dairy, butter and meat that abound in their homes. They sell the superfluous in the towns and in the countryside, and they are almost alone enough to supply the butcher's shops. They take in return weapons, clothes, money and grain. Their wives spin wool, and make carpets, the use of which has existed in these countries from time immemorial, and thereby indicates the existence of a state always the same. As for the men, their whole occupation is to smoke the pipe and to watch over the management of the herds: constantly on horseback, the lance on the shoulder, the sword curved to the side, the pistol in the belt, they are vigorous riders and tireless soldiers. Often they have discussions with the Turks, who dread them; but as they are divided among themselves from camp to camp, they do not gain the superiority which their united forces would assure them. We can count about 30,000 Turkmans wandering in the Pashalic of Aleppo and that of Damascus, which are the only ones they frequent in Syria. A large part of these tribes spend in summer in Armenia and Caramania, where they find more abundant grasses, and return in winter to their accustomed quarters. Turkmans are considered Muslims, and quite commonly they wear the main sign, circumcision. But the care of religion occupies them little, and they have neither the ceremonies nor the fanaticism of sedentary peoples. As for their customs, one would have to have lived among them to speak of them knowingly. Only they have the reputation of not being thieves like the Arabs, although they are neither less generous than themselves nor less hospitable; and when we consider that they are well-off without being rich, exercised by war, and hardened by fatigue and adversity, we judge that these circumstances must remove from them the corruption of the inhabitants of the towns and the degradation of those campaigns.

§ II. Kurds.

The Kurds are another body of a nation whose divided tribes have also spread throughout Lower Asia, and have taken, above all, for the last hundred years, a fairly large extension. Their original country is the mountain range from which the various branches of the Tigris depart, which enveloping the upper course of the great Zab, passes to the south to the borders of Iraq-Adjami or Persian[203]. In modern geography, this country is referred to as Kourd-estan. It is very fertile in grains, in flax, in sesame, in rice, in excellent pastures, in gall-nuts, and even in silk. We collect a soft acorn, 2 or 3 inches long, from which we make a kind of bread. The oldest traditions and stories of the East have mentioned it, and have placed there the scene of several mythological events. The Chaldean Berosus, and the Armenian Mariaba, cited by Moïse de Chorène, report that it was in the Gord-ouée mountains[204] that Xisuthrus approached, escaped from the flood; and the circumstances of position which they add, prove the identity, moreover sensitive, of Gord and Kourd. These are the same Kurds that Xenophon cites under the name of Kard -uques, who opposed the retreat of the 10,000. This historian observes that, although hemmed in on all sides in the empire of the Persians, they had always defied the power of the great king, and the arms of his satraps. They have changed little in their modern state; and although apparently tributary to the Ottomans, they show little respect for the orders of the grand seigneur and his pashas. Niebuhr, who passed in 1769 in these cantons, report that they observe in their mountains a species of feudal government which seems to me similar to what we will see among the Druze. Each village has its chief; the whole nation is divided into three main and independent factions. The quarrels natural to this state of anarchy separated from the nation a great number of tribes and families, who took the wandering life of Turkmans and Arabs. They spread in the Diarbekr, in the plains of Arzroum, Erivan, Sivas, Aleppo and Damascus: it is estimated that all their peoples together spend 140,000 tents, that is, 140,000 armed men. Like the Turkmans, these Kurds are pastors and vagabonds; but they differ from it in a few mores. The Turkmans endow their daughters to marry them: the Kurds only deliver them at a cost of money. The Turkmans pay no attention to this ancient extraction that we call nobility: the Kurds value it above all. The Turkmans do not steal: the Kurds go almost everywhere for brigands. They are feared for this reason in the country of Aleppo and Antioch, where they occupy, under the name of Bagdachlié, the mountains east of Beilam, as far as Klés.. In this pachalic and in that of Damascus, their number passes 20,000 tents and huts, for they also have sedentary dwellings; they are supposed to be muslims, but they do not concern themselves with dogmas or rites. Several among them, distinguished by the name of Yazdié, honor the Chaitân or Satan, that is to say, the enemy genius (of God): this idea, preserved especially in the Diarbekr and on the borders of Persia, is a trace of the ancient system of the two principles of good and evil, which, under alternately Persian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim forms, has never ceased to reign in these regions. It is customary to regard Zoroaster as its first author; but long before this prophet, Egypt knew Ormuzd and Ahrimane under the names of Osiris and Typhon. It is also wrong to believe that this system was not widespread until the time of Darius, son of Hystaspe, since Zoroaster, who was his apostle, lived in Media at a time parallel to the reign of Solomon.

The language, which is the main indicator of the brotherhood of peoples, has among the Kurds some dialect diversity, but the background is Persian, mixed with a few Arabic and Chaldean words. Their alphabetic letters are purely Persian; propaganda has made print in Rome a vocabulary composed by Maurice Garzoni, which furnishes satisfactory information on this subject. It is to be desired that governments encourage this branch of research. For some time now Doctor Pallas has published a large number of vocabularies compared: unfortunately they are in Russian characters, and it is difficult to believe that the Russian nation leads all of Europe to admit its characters, in preference to the Romans.

§ III. Arabs-Bedouins.

A third people wandering in Syria are these Arab-Bedouin whom we have already found in Egypt. I spoke of them only lightly on the occasion of this province, because having seen them only passing by and without knowing their language, their name reminded me of few ideas; but having known them better in Syria, having even made a trip to one of their camps near Gaze, and lived with them for several days, they now provide me with facts and observations which I will develop in some detail.

In general, when we speak of Arabs, we must distinguish whether they are farmers or if they are pastors; for this difference in the way of life establishes so great a difference in manners and genius that they become almost strangers to each other. In the first case, living sedentary, attached to the same soil, and subject to regular governments, they have a social state which brings them very close to us. These are the people of Yemen; and such again the descendants of the ancient conquerors, who form, in whole or in part, the population of Syria, Egypt and the Barbary states. In the second case, holding on to the land only by a passing interest, constantly transporting their tents from one place to another, not being constrained by any laws, they have a way of being that is neither that of civilized peoples, nor that of savages, and which therefore deserves to be studied. Such are the Bedouins or inhabitants of the vast deserts which extend from the borders of Persia to the shores of Morocco. Although divided by independent societies or tribes, often even enemies, we can nevertheless consider them all as a single body of nation. The resemblance of their languages ​​is a clear indication of this brotherhood. The only difference which exists between them, is that the tribes of Africa are of a more recent formation, being posterior to the conquest of these countries by the kaliphs or successors of Mahomet; while the tribes of the desert proper to Arabia go back, by uninterrupted succession, to the most remote times. It is with these especially that I will treat, as belonging more closely to my subject: it is to them that the usage of the East appropriates the name of Arabs., as being the oldest and purest race. We joins in synonym that of Bedâoui, which, as I observed it, means man of the desert; and this synonym seems to me all the more exact, as in the ancient languages ​​of these countries, the term Arab properly designates a solitude, a desert.

It is not without reason that the inhabitants of the desert boast of being the purest and best preserved race of the Arab peoples: in fact they have never been conquered; they did not even mingle in conquering; for the conquests which are honored to their name in general, really only belong to the tribes of Hedjâz and Yemen: those of the interior did not emigrate during the revolution of Mahomet; or if they took part in it, it was only through a few individuals that motives of ambition detached them: also the prophet, in his Qôran, he treats the Arabs of the desert of rebels, of infidels; and time has changed them little. We can say that they have preserved in all respects their original independence and simplicity. What the oldest stories relate of their customs, their manners, their languages ​​and even their prejudices, is still found almost in all the same; and if we add that this unity of character preserved in the remoteness of time, also subsists in the remoteness of places, that is to say that the most distant tribes are infinitely alike, we will agree that it is curious to examine the circumstances which accompany such a particular moral state.

In our Europe, and especially in our France, where we do not see wandering peoples, we have difficulty in conceiving what can determine men to a kind of life which repels us. We even have difficulty in conceiving what a desert is, and how a land has inhabitants if it is barren, or is not better populated if it is cultivable. I experienced these difficulties like everyone else, and, for this reason, I believe I should insist on the details which made these facts palpable to me.

The wandering and pastoral life that several peoples of Asia lead is due to two main causes. The first is the nature of the soil, which refusing to cultivate, forces recourse to animals which are satisfied with the wild grasses of the earth. If these grasses are thinly sown, a single animal will exhaust a lot of land, and large areas will have to be covered. Such is the case of the Arabs in the desert proper to Arabia and in that of Africa.

The second cause could be attributed to habits, since the land is cultivable and even fertile in several places, such as the border of Syria, Diarbekr, Anadoli, and most of the townships frequented by the Kurds and Turkmans. But by analyzing these habits, it seemed to me that they were themselves only an effect of the political state of these countries; so that the root cause must be attributed to the government itself. Daily facts support this opinion; for whenever the hordes and wandering tribes find in a canton peace and security combined with sufficiency, they get used to it, and pass imperceptibly to the cultivating and sedentary state. In other cases, on the contrary, when the tyranny of the government pushes the inhabitants of a village to their limits, the peasants desert their houses, withdraw with their families in the mountains, or wander in the plains, with the attention of change homes often so as not to be surprised. Often it even happens that individuals, who have become thieves to escape the laws or tyranny, meet and form small camps which are maintained by armed force, and become, by multiplying themselves, new hordes or new tribes. We can therefore say that in arable land, the wandering life is only due to the depravity of the government,

With regard to the Arabs, they seem condemned in a special way to wandering life by the nature of their deserts. To paint these deserts, imagine, under a sky almost always ardent and without clouds, immense plains and as far as the eye can see, without houses, without trees, without streams, without mountains; sometimes the eyes wander over a horizon as low and even as the sea. In other places the ground curves in undulations, or bristles with rocks and rocks. Almost always equally bare, the earth offers nothing but scattered woody plants, and scattered bushes, whose solitude is only rarely disturbed by gazelles, hares, grasshoppers and rats. Such is almost the whole country which stretches from Aleppo to the Arabian Sea, and from Egypt to the Persian Gulf, in a space six hundred leagues long and three hundred wide.

In this area, however, we must not believe that the soil has the same quality everywhere; it varies by veins and by canton. For example, on the Syrian border, the land is generally fat, cultivable, even fertile: it is still such on the banks of the Euphrates; but as it advances inland and towards the south, it becomes chalky and whitish, as on the line of Damascus; then rocky, as in Tîh and Hédjâz; then finally a pure sand, as in the east of Yemen. This difference in the qualities of the soil produces some nuances in the condition of the Bedouins. For example, in sterile cantons, that is to say badly furnished with plants, the tribes are weak and very distant: such are the desert of Suez, that of the Red Sea, and the interior part of the great desert, which is called the Nadjd.[205] When the ground is better furnished, as between Damascus and the Euphrates, the tribes are less rare, less isolated; finally, in the cultivable cantons, such as the pachalic of Aleppo, the Hauran and the country of Gaze, the camps are numerous and close together. In the first cases, the Bedouins are purely pastoralists, and live only on the produce of the herds, on a few dates and fresh or sun-dried flesh, which is reduced to flour. In the last, they sow some fields, and join the wheat, the barley and even the rice, to the flesh and to the milk.

When we realize the causes of the sterility and the lack of culture of the desert, we find that they come mainly from the lack of fountains, rivers, and in general the lack of water. This lack of water itself comes from the layout of the land, that is to say, being flat and deprived of mountains, the clouds slide over its heated surface, as over Egypt: they do not stop there only in winter, when the cold of the atmosphere prevents them from rising, and resolves them into rain. The nakedness of this land is also a cause of drought, in that the air covers it, heats up more easily, and force the clouds to rise. It is likely that a change in climate would be produced if the whole desert were planted with trees, for example, fir trees.

The effect of the rains which fall in winter, is to occasion in the place where the soil is good, as on the border of Syria, a culture rather similar to that of the interior even of this province; but as these rains do not establish any lasting springs or streams, the inhabitants experience the disadvantage of being without water during the summer. To obviate this, it was necessary to employ art, and to construct wells, reservoirs and cisterns, in which an annual supply is amassed. Such works require advances of funds and labor, and are still exposed to many risks. War can destroy in one day the work of several months, and the resource of the year. A case of drought, which is all too frequent, can cause a crop to fail, and even water scarcity. It is true that when digging the earth, it is found almost everywhere from 6 to 20 feet deep; but this water is brackish, as in all the Arabian and African desert[206], often even it dries up: then the thirst and famine occur; and if the government does not provide assistance, the villages are deserted. We feel that such a country can only have a precarious agriculture, and that under a regime like that of the Turks, it is safer to live as a wandering pastor than a sedentary plowman.

In the cantons where the soil is rocky and sandy, as in Tîh, Hedjâh and Nadj, these rains germinate the seeds of wild plants, revive the bushes, buttercups, absinthes, qalis, etc., and in the shallows form lagoons where reeds and grasses grow: then the plain takes on a rather cheerful aspect of greenery; it is the season of abundance for the flocks and for their masters; but when the heat returns, everything dries up, and the ground, dusty and greyish, offers nothing but stems dry and hard as wood, which neither horses, nor oxen, nor even goats can graze. In this state, the desert would become uninhabitable, and we would have to leave it, if nature had not attached an animal of such a harsh and frugal temperament as the soil is ungrateful and sterile, if it had not placed it there. camel. No animal is analogous so marked and so exclusive in its climate: it looks like a premeditated intention s' on those of the other. Wanting the camel to live in a country where it would find little food, nature spared matter in all its construction. She did not give him the fullness of the forms of the ox, nor of the horse, nor of the elephant; but limiting it to the narrowest necessary, she placed a little head without ears, at the end of a long neck without flesh. She has removed from her legs and thighs all muscle useless to move them; finally, she only granted her dried-up body the vessels and tendons necessary to bind the framework. She provided it with a strong jaw to crush the hardest food; but lest he consume too much, she constricted his stomach, and made him ruminate. She has furnished her foot with a mass of flesh which, sliding on the mud, and not being fit to climb, makes it practicable only a dry soil, smooth and sandy like that of Arabia; finally, she visibly destined him for slavery, denying him all defenses against his enemies. Deprived of the horns of the bull, of the hoof of the horse, of the tooth of the elephant, and of the lightness of the stag, what can the camel do against the attacks of the lion, the tiger, or even the wolf? So, to preserve its species, nature hid it in the heart of vast deserts, where the scarcity of plants attracted no game, and from where the scarcity of game repelled voracious animals. It took the saber of tyrants drove man out of the habitable land, so that the camel might lose its freedom. Passed to the domestic state, it became the means of dwelling of the most ungrateful earth. He alone provides for all the needs of his masters. Its milk nourishes the Arab family, in the various forms of curd, cheese and butter; often we even eat its flesh. We make shoes and harnesses from his skin, clothes and tents from his hair. Heavy loads are carried by its means; finally, when the earth refuses the horse fodder so precious to Bedouin, the camel provides food for the famine with its milk, without costing, for so many advantages, anything other than a few stems of brambles or wormwood, and crushed date stones. Such is the importance of the camel for the desert, that if we took it away,[207].

These are the circumstances in which nature has placed the Bedouins, to make them a unique race of men in moral and physical terms. This singularity is so sharp that their neighbors, the Syrians themselves, regard them as extraordinary men. This opinion takes place especially for the tribes of the depths of the desert, such as Anazé, Kaibar, Taï and others, who never approach the cities. When, in the time of Dâher, riders came to Acre, they made the same sensation there as the savages of America would make among us. These men were regarded with surprise, smaller, thinner and darker than any known Bedouin: their lean legs had only tendons without calves; their stomachs were glued to their backs; their hair was crimped almost as much as that of negroes. For their part, everything astonished them; they did not conceive how houses and minarets could stand, nor how one dared to live below, and always in the same place; but above all they were ecstatic at the sight of the sea, and they could not understand this desert of water. They spoke to them of mosques, prayers, ablutions; and they asked what it meant, what it was that Moses, Jesus Christ, and Muhammad, and why the inhabitants, not being separate tribes, followed opposing leaders.

We feel that the Arabs of the frontiers are not so novices; there are even several small tribes, which living within the country, as in the valley of Beqââ, in that of the Jordan, and in Palestine, approach the condition of the peasants; but these are despised by others, who regard them as bastard Arabs, and rayas or slaves of the Turks.

In general, the Bedouins are small, thin and tanned, more however in the heart of the desert, less on the border of the cultivated country, but even there, always more than the ploughmen of the neighborhood: the same camp also offers this difference, and I noticed that the chaiks, that is to say the rich and their servants, were always taller and more fleshy than the people. I've seen some that go 5 feet 5 and 6 inches tall, while the overall height is only 5 feet 2 inches. We can only attribute the reason to food, which is more abundant for the first class than for the last.[208]. We can even say that the common Bedouin live in the usual poverty and famine. It will seem unbelievable among us, but it is nonetheless true that the ordinary sum of food of most of them does not pass 6 ounces a day: it is especially among the tribes of Nadj and the Hedjâz, that abstinence is brought to its height. Six or seven dates soaked in melted butter, a little sweet or curdled milk, are enough for a man's day. He thinks he is happy if he adds a few pinches of coarse flour or a ball of rice. The flesh is reserved for the greatest feast days; and it is only for a marriage or a death that a kid is killed; it is only for the rich and generous chaiks that it belongs to slaughter young camels, to eat rice cooked with meat. In his scarcity, the vulgar, always hungry, do not disdain the basest food: hence the custom of Bedouins to eat grasshoppers, rats, lizards and snakes grilled on brushwood; hence their plunder in the cultivated fields, and their thefts on the roads; hence also their delicate constitution, and their small and lean body, more agile than vigorous. There is this remarkable thing for a doctor, in their temperament, that their losses of all kinds, rather agile than vigorous. There is this remarkable thing for a doctor, in their temperament, that their losses of all kinds, rather agile than vigorous. There is this remarkable thing for a doctor, in their temperament, that their losses of all kinds, even in sweats, are very weak; their blood is so stripped of serosity that only the great heat can maintain it in its fluidity. This does not prevent them from being healthy enough, and diseases being rarer among them than among the inhabitants of the cultivated country.

According to these facts, one will not judge that the frugality of the Arabs is a virtue purely of choice, nor even of climate. Doubtless the extreme heat in which they live facilitates their abstinence, by depriving the stomach of the activity which the cold gives it. Doubtless also the habit of the diet, by preventing the stomach from dilating, becomes a means of supporting it; but the main and first motive of this habit, is, as for all other men, the necessity of the circumstances in which they find themselves, either on the part of the soil, as I have explained, or on the part of their social condition that must be developed.

I have already said that the Arab-Bedouin were divided by tribes, which constitute as many particular peoples. Each of these tribes appropriates land which forms its domain; they differ in this respect from agricultural nations, only in that this ground requires a vaster extent, to provide for the subsistence of the herds during the whole year. Each of these tribes makes up one or more camps which are spread over the country, and which successively travel through the parts of the country. as the herds exhaust them: hence it happens that over a large area there are never inhabited except a few points which vary from day to day; but since the entire space is necessary for the annual subsistence of the tribe, whoever encroaches upon it is supposed to violate property; which does not yet differ from the public law of nations. So if a tribe or its subjects enter foreign land, they are treated as thieves, enemies, and there is war. Now, as the tribes have affinities between them by blood alliance or by convention, leagues ensue which make wars more or less general. The manner of proceeding is very simple. When the crime is known, we mount our horses, seek the enemy, meet, negotiate; often we pacify ourselves, otherwise the we attack by platoons or by horsemen; we approach each other belly to the ground, lance lowered; sometimes it is darted, despite its length, on the fleeing enemy: victory is rarely disputed; the first shock decides her; the vanquished flee at full speed over the low desert plain. Usually the night steals them from the victor. The tribe below breaks camp, moves away at a forced march, and seeks asylum among the allies. The satisfied enemy pushes the herds further, and the fugitives return to their domain. But, the murder of these fights, there remain motives of hatred which perpetuate the dissensions. the first shock decides her; the vanquished flee at full speed over the low desert plain. Usually the night steals them from the victor. The tribe below breaks camp, moves away at a forced march, and seeks asylum among the allies. The satisfied enemy pushes the herds further, and the fugitives return to their domain. But, the murder of these fights, there remain motives of hatred which perpetuate the dissensions. the first shock decides her; the vanquished flee at full speed over the low desert plain. Usually the night steals them from the victor. The tribe below breaks camp, moves away at a forced march, and seeks asylum among the allies. The satisfied enemy pushes the herds further, and the fugitives return to their domain. But, the murder of these fights, there remain motives of hatred which perpetuate the dissensions. The interest of common safety has long since established among the Arabs a general law, which requires that the blood of every man killed be avenged by that of his murderer; this is called the tar or talion: the right is vested in the next of kin of the deceased. His honor before all the Arabs is so compromised, that if he neglects to take his retaliation, he is forever dishonored. As a result, he spies on the opportunity for revenge; if his enemy perishes from foreign causes, he is not satisfied, and his vengeance passes on to the nearest kinsman. These hatreds are transmitted as an inheritance from the father to the children, and do not cease until the extinction of one of the races, unless the families do not. redeeming the blood for an agreed price in money or in herds. Apart from this satisfaction, there is no peace, no truce, no alliance between them, or even sometimes between the reciprocal tribes: there is blood between us, we say to each other in all matters; and this word is an insurmountable barrier. The accidents having multiplied by the lapse of time, it has happened that most of the tribes have quarrels, and that they live in a usual state of war; which, together with their way of life, makes the Bedouins a military people, without their being nevertheless advanced in the practice of this art. The layout of their camps is a round enough irregular, formed by a single line of tents more or less spaced. These tents, woven with goat or camel hair, are black or brown, unlike those of the Turkmans, which are whitish. They are stretched over 3 or 5 stakes, only 5 to 6 feet high, which gives them a very squashed air; in the distance, such a camp only appears like black spots; but the keen eye of the Bedouins is not mistaken. Each tent, inhabited by a family, is shared by a curtain in two sections, one of which belongs only to women. The empty space of the large circle is used to park the herds every evening. There is never an entrenchment; the only forward guards and patrols are dogs; the horses remain saddled, and ready to mount at the first alarm; but as there is neither order nor distribution, these camps, already easy to surprise, would be of no defense in the event of an attack: so it happens every day accidents, kidnappings of cattle; and this marauding war is one of those which occupies the Arabs more.

The tribes who live in the vicinity of the Turks, have an even more stormy position: indeed, these foreigners arrogating, by way of conquest, the property of the whole country, they treat the Arabs as rebellious vassals, or enemies. worried and dangerous. On this principle, they never stop waging a hidden or open war against them. The pashas make a point of taking advantage of every opportunity to disturb them. Sometimes they contest with them a piece of land which they have rented to them; sometimes they demand a tribute which has not been agreed upon. If ambition or interest divides a family of chaiks, they take turns rescuing both parties, and ultimately ruining them both. Often they poison or assassinate leaders whose courage or spirit they fear, even if they are their allies. For their part, the Arabs, looking at the Turks as usurpers and traitors, only seek opportunities to harm them. Unfortunately the burden falls more on the innocent than on the guilty: it is almost always the peasants who pay for the crimes of the people of war. At the slightest alarm, their harvests are cut, their herds are taken away, communications and commerce are intercepted: the peasants cry out to thieves, and they are right; but the Bedouins claim the right of war, and perhaps they are not wrong. However that may be, these depredations establish between the Bedouins and the inhabitants of the cultivated country, a misunderstanding which makes them mutually enemies.

Such is the situation of the Arabs abroad. It is subject to great vicissitudes, depending on the good or bad behavior of the leaders. Sometimes a weak tribe rises and grows, while another, at first powerful, declines or even annihilates; not that all its members perish, but because they are incorporated into one another; and this is due to the internal constitution of the tribes. Each tribe is made up of one or more main families, whose members bear the title of chaiks or lords. These families fairly well represent the patricians of Rome, and the nobles of Europe. One of these chaiks is in charge of all the others; he is the general of this little army. Sometimes he takes the title of emir, which means commanderand prince. The more parents, children and allies he has, the stronger and more powerful he is. He joins there servants whom he attaches in a special way, providing for all their needs. But in addition, he lines up around this head of small families which, not being strong enough to live independently, need protection and alliance. This meeting is called qâbilé or tribe. It is distinguished from another by the name of its head, or by that of the commanding family. When we speak of his individuals in general, we call them children of so and so, although they are not really all of his blood, and he himself is a long dead man. So we say: beni Temîn,; the children of Temîn and Taï. This way of expressing oneself has even passed by metaphor to the names of countries; the ordinary sentence to designate the inhabitants, is to say the children of such and such a place. Thus the Arabs say oulâd Masr, the Egyptians; oulâd Châm, the Syrians; they would say oulâd Fransa, the French; oulâd Mosqou, the Russians; which is not without importance for ancient history.

The government of this society is at the same time republican, aristocratic and even despotic, without being definitely one of these states. He is a republican, because the people have a primary influence in all affairs, and nothing is done without the consent of a majority. He is aristocratic, because the families of the chaiks have some of the prerogatives that force gives everywhere. Finally he is despotic, because the chaikprincipal has an indefinite and almost absolute power. When he is a man of character, he can carry his authority to the point of abuse; but in this very abuse there are limits which the state of things makes quite narrow. Indeed, if a leader committed a great injustice; if, for example, he killed an Arab, it would be almost impossible for him to avoid the pain: resentment of the offense would have no respect for his title; he would suffer retaliation; and if he did not pay for the blood, he would infallibly be assassinated; which would be easy, given the simple and private life of the chaiks in the camp. If he tires his subjects with his harshness, they abandon him and move on to another tribe. His own parents take advantage of his faults to depose him and settle in his place. He has not against them the resource of foreign troops; his subjects communicate with each other too easily, for him to be able to divide them of interest and to form a subsisting faction. Besides, how to bribe her, since he does not withdraw from the tribe any kind of tax; that the majority of his subjects are limited to the most just necessary, and that he himself is reduced to fairly mediocre properties and already charged with great expense?

Indeed, it is the main chaik who, in any tribe, is responsible for defraying the comings and goings; it is he who receives visits from allies and from anyone who has business. On the extension of his tent, is a large pavilion which serves as a hospice to all foreigners and passers-by. This is where the frequent assemblies of chaiks and notables are held, to decide on encampments, settlements, peace, war, quarrels with the Turkish governors and the villages, trials and quarrels between individuals, etc.. To this crowd which succeeds one another, it is necessary to give coffee, bread baked in ashes, rice and sometimes the roast kid or camel; in short, you have to keep the table open; and it is all the more important to be generous, that this generosity relates to objects of primary necessity. Credit and power depend on this: the starving Arab places before all virtue the liberality which nourishes him; and this prejudice is not unfounded; for experience has proved that avaricious chaiks were never men of great views: hence the proverb, as just as it is precise: Hand tight, heart narrow. To meet these expenses, the chaikonly has its flocks, sometimes sown fields, the occasional pillaging with road tolls; and all this is limited. The one to whom I went at the end of 1784, in the country of Gaz, was considered the most powerful of the cantons: however it did not appear to me that his expense was greater than that of a large farmer: his furniture, consisting of a few pelisses, carpets, arms, horses and camels, cannot be valued at more than 50,000 pounds; and it should be observed that in this account, four purebred mares are brought to 6,000 pounds, and each head of a camel to 10 louis. When it comes to Bedouins, therefore, we should not attach our ordinary ideas to the words of prince and lord.: one would come much closer to the truth by comparing them to the good farmers of the mountainous countries, of which they have the simplicity in the clothes as in the domestic life and in the manners. Such a chaik, who commands 500 horses, does not disdain to saddle and restrain his own, to give him barley and chopped straw. In his tent, his wife makes the coffee, beats the dough, and cooks the meat. His daughters and relatives wash the clothes, and go, the jug on the head and the veil on the face, draw water from the fountain: this is precisely the state depicted by Homer, and by Genesis in the story of Abraham. But we must admit that it is difficult to get a fair idea of ​​it, when we have not seen it with our own eyes.

The simplicity, or, if you like, the poverty of the common Bedouin, is proportionate to that of their leaders. All the possessions of a family consist of furniture, of which the following is roughly the inventory: some male and female camels, goats, chickens, a mare and her harness, a tent, a thirteen foot long lance, a curved saber, a rusty flintlock or spinning-wheel rifle, a pipe, a portable mill, a cooking pot, a leather bucket, a coffee-roasting pan, a mat, a few clothes, a black woolen coat; finally, for all jewelry, a few glass or silver rings that the woman wears on her legs and arms. If none of this is missing, the household is rich. What the poor lack, and what he most desires, is the mare: indeed, this animal is the great means of fortune; vs' It is with the mare that the Bedouin goes in a race against the enemy tribes, or in marauding in the countryside and on the roads. The mare is preferred to the horse, because she does not neigh, because she is more docile, and because she has milk. which, on occasion, quenches the thirst and even the hunger of its master.

Thus restricted to the narrowest necessary, the Arabs have as little industry as they have needs; all their arts are reduced to weaving rough tents, to making mats and butter. Their whole trade consists in exchanging camels, kids, male horses and dairy products, for weapons, clothing, some rice or wheat, and for money which they bury. Their sciences are absolutely zero; they have no idea of ​​astronomy, geometry, or medicine. They have no books, and nothing is so rare, even among the chaiks, as knowing how to read. All their literature consists of reciting tales and stories, in the genre of the Thousand and One Nights. They have a particular passion for these narratives; they fill a large part of their leisure, which is very long. In the evening they sit on the ground at the door of the tents, or under their cover, if it is cold, and there, ranged in a circle around a small fire of dung, pipe in their mouth, and legs crossed., they begin by dreaming in silence, then, suddenly, someone begins with a there was in the past tense, and he continues until the end the adventures of a young chaik and a young Bedouine: he tells how the young man first saw his mistress on the sly, and how he fell head over heels in love with her; he portrays the young beauty, feature by feature, praises her black eyes, large and soft like those of a gazelle; his melancholy and passionate gaze; her eyebrows bent like two ebony bows; his straight and supple waist like a spear: he does not omit his gait as light as that of a young foal, his eyelids blackened with kohl, his lips painted blue, his nails dyed with golden henna, nor his throat like a couple of pomegranates, nor his words sweet as honey. It tells of the martyrdom of the young lover, who is consumed with so many desires and love, that his body no longer gives any shade. Finally, after having detailed his attempts to see his mistress, the obstacles of the parents, the kidnappings of enemies, the captivity that occurred to the two lovers, etc., he ends, to the satisfaction of the audience, by bringing them back together and happy to the paternal tent; and each to pay to his eloquence the ma cha allah[209] he deserved. The Bedouin also have love songs, which have more naturalness and feeling than those of the Turks and the inhabitants of the towns; undoubtedly because those having chaste manners, know love; while these, given over to debauchery, know only enjoyment.

Considering that the condition of the Bedouins, especially in the interior of the desert, resembles in many respects that of the savages of America, I have sometimes wondered why they did not have the same ferocity; why, experiencing great famine, the use of human flesh was unheard of among them; why, in short, their manners are gentler and more sociable. Here are the reasons given to me by the analysis of the facts.

It would seem first that America being rich in pastures, in lakes and in forests, its inhabitants must have had more facility for the pastoral life than for any other. But if we observe that these forests, by offering an easy refuge to animals, withdraw them from the power of man, we will judge that the savage was led by the nature of the soil, to be a hunter, and not a pastor. In this state, all his habits have combined to give him a violent character. The great fatigue of the hunt hardened his body; extreme hunger, followed suddenly by an abundance of game, made him voracious. The habit of shedding blood and tearing his prey apart, familiarized him with murder and the spectacle of pain. If hunger persecuted him, he desired the flesh; and finding that of his fellow man within his reach, he must have eaten it; he was able to resolve to kill it to feast on it. The first test done, it has become a habit; he became cannibalistic, bloodthirsty, atrocious; and his soul has taken on the insensibility of all his organs.

The Arab's position is quite different. Thrown over vast level plains, without water, without forests, he could not, for lack of game and fish, be a hunter or fisherman. The camel determined its life to the pastoral kind, and all its character was made up of it. Finding light food at hand, but sufficient and constant, he acquired the habit of frugality; content with his milk and his dates, he did not desire the flesh, he did not shed blood: his hands were not accustomed to murder, nor his ears to cries of pain: he retained a human and sensitive heart.

When this savage pastor knew the use of the horse, his condition changed a little. The facility of quickly traversing large spaces made him vagabond: he was greedy by famine, he became a thief by greed; and such remained his character. A looter rather than a warrior, the Arab has no bloodthirsty courage; he attacks only to strip; and if he is resisted, he doesn't think a little booty is worth getting killed. You have to shed your blood to irritate it; but then we find him as obstinate in avenging himself as he was prudent in compromising himself.

The Arabs have often been reproached for this spirit of plunder; but, without wanting to excuse it, we do not does not pay enough attention that it takes place only for the foreigner deemed to be an enemy, and consequently it is founded on the public law of most peoples. As for the interior of their society, there reigns a good faith, a disinterestedness, a generosity which would do honor to the most civilized men. What could be nobler than this right of asylum established among all the tribes! A stranger, even an enemy, has he touched Bedouin's tent, his person becomes, so to speak, inviolable. It would be cowardice, eternal shame, to satisfy even just revenge at the expense of hospitality. If Bedouin agreed to eat bread and salt with his host, nothing in the world can make him betray it. The power of the sultan would not be able to remove a refugee[210] of a tribe, unless you exterminate it as a whole. This Bedouin, so greedy outside his camp, did not set foot there sooner than he became liberal and generous. Whatever little he has, he's always ready to share it. He even has the delicacy of not waiting for someone to ask him: if he takes his meal, he affects to sit at the door of his tent, in order to invite passers-by; his generosity is so true that he does not regard it as merit, but as a duty: also he takes over the property of others the right that he gives them over his own. To see the way in which the Arabs use it among themselves, one would think that they were living in community of goods. However, they know the property; but it does not have among them that harshness which the extension of the false needs of luxury has given it among agricultural peoples. One could say that they owe this moderation to the impossibility of greatly increasing their enjoyments; but if the virtues of the crowd of men are due only to the necessity of circumstances, perhaps the Arabs are none the less worthy of esteem: they are at least happy that this necessity establishes among them a state of affairs which appeared to the wisest legislators the perfection of the police, I mean a sort of equality or reconciliation in the division of property and the order of conditions. Deprived of a multitude of pleasures that nature has lavished on other countries, they have less means to corrupt and degrade themselves. It is less easy for their chaiks to form a faction that enslaves and impoverishes the mass of the nation. Each individual being able to be self-sufficient, keeps his character and his independence better; and particular poverty becomes the cause and the guarantor of public liberty. Each individual being able to be self-sufficient, keeps his character and his independence better; and particular poverty becomes the cause and the guarantor of public liberty. Each individual being able to be self-sufficient, keeps his character and his independence better; and particular poverty becomes the cause and the guarantor of public liberty.

This freedom extends even to matters of religion: there is this remarkable difference between the Arabs of the towns and those of the desert, that while the former bear the double yoke of political and religious despotism, those live in absolute frankness of both: it is true that on the frontiers of the Turks, the Bedouins keep Muslim appearances by policy; but they are so loose, and their devotion is so relaxed, that they are generally taken for infidels, lawless and prophets. They even say quite willingly that the religion of Mahomet was not made for them: "For," they add, "how can we perform ablution, since we have no water? How to give alms, since we are not rich? Why fast in Ramadan, since we fast all year round? And why go to the Mekke, if God is everywhere? " Rest, each one acts and thinks as he wishes, and the most perfect tolerance reigns among them. She paints herself very well in a remark that one of their chaiks, named Ahmed, son of Bâhir, chief of the Ouahidié tribe. "Why, " said this chaik to me, "do you want to go back to the Franks?" Since you have no aversion to our customs, since you know how to carry a spear and run a horse like a Bedouin, stay with us. We will give you pelisses, a tent, an honest and young Bedouin, and a good purebred mare. You will live in our house.... But do you not know, I replied, that born among the Franks, I was brought up in their religion? How will the Arabs see an infidel, or what will they think of an apostate ?... And you yourself, he replied, do you not see that the Arabs live without concern for the prophet and the book? (the Qôran)? Each of us follows the path of our conscience. Actions are before men; but religion is before God. ” Another chaik, conversing with me one day, inadvertently addressed me the trivial formula: Hear, and pray over the prophet; instead of the ordinary answer, I prayed; I replied with a smile: I 'm listening. He noticed her mistake, and smiled in turn. A Turk from Jerusalem who was present took it more seriously. “O chaik,” he said to him, “ how can you address the words of true believers to an infidel? The tongue is light, replied the chaik, although the heart is white (pure); but you who know the customs of the Arabs, how can you offend a foreigner with whom we have eaten bread and salt? Then turning to me: Are all these people of Frankestan that you told me about, who are outside the law of the prophet, are they more numerous than the Muslims? We think, I replied, that they are 5 or 6 times more numerous, even counting the Arabs.... God is just, he continued, he will weigh in his scales[211]. "

It must be admitted, there are few civilized nations which have a morality so generally estimable as the Bedouin Arabs; and it is remarkable that the same virtues are found almost equally among the Turkman hordes, and among the Kurds; so that they seem attached to pastoral life. It is, moreover, singular that it is in this kind of men that religion has the least external deformities, to the point that we have never seen in the Bedouin, the Turkmans, or the Kurds, neither priests, nor temples, nor regular worship. But it is time to continue the description of the other peoples of Syria, and to focus our considerations on a social state quite different from the one we are leaving, on the state of the agricultural and sedentary peoples.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

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Part 1 of 2

CHAPTER III. From the agricultural peoples of Syria.

§ I. Des Ansârié.

THE first agricultural people to be distinguished in Syria from the rest of its inhabitants, is that which is called in the country of the plural name of Ansârié, given on the maps of Delisle by that of Ensyrians, and on those of d'Anville by that of Nassaris. The land occupied by these Ansârié is the mountain range which extends from Antâkié to the stream called Nahr-el-Kébir, or the Great River. Their origin is a little known historical fact, and yet quite instructive. I will relate it as quoted by a writer who drew on primitive sources [212].

In the year of the Greeks 1202 (that is to say, 891 AD), there was in the vicinity of Koufa, in the village of Nasar, an old man whom his fasting, his assiduous prayers and his poverty made pass for a saint: several commoners having declared themselves his supporters, he chose among them 12 subjects to spread his doctrine. But the commandant of the place, alarmed by his movements, had the old man seized, and put him in prison. In this setback, her condition touched a slave girl of the jailer, and she offered to deliver him. Soon an opportunity presented itself which she did not fail to seize. One day when the jailer had gone to bed drunk and was sleeping a deep sleep, she gently took the keys he was holding under her pillow, and after opening the door for the old man, she came to put them back in place, without that his master noticed: the next day, when the jailer came to visit his prisoner, he was the empty place, that he saw no trace of violence. He then believed that the old man had been delivered by an angel, and he hastened to spread this report to avoid the reproof he deserved. For his part, the old man told the same thing to his disciples, and he gave himself up more than ever to the preaching of his ideas. He even wrote a book in which one reads among other things: I such a, from the village of Nasar, I saw Christ, who is the word of God, who is Ahmad, son of Mohammad, son of Hanafa, of the race Ali, who is also Gabriel; and he said to me: You are the one who reads (with understanding);you are the man who speaks the truth; you are the camel that keeps the faithful from anger; you are the beast of burden that bears their burden; you are the (holy) spirit, and John, son of Zechariah. Go, and preach to the men that they make 4 genuflections while praying; namely, two before sunrise, and two before sunset, turning the face towards Jerusalem; and let them say three times: Almighty God, Most High God, Most Great God; that they only observe the 2 nd and 3 rd feast; that they fast only two days a year; that they do not wash their foreskin, and that they do not drink beer, but wine as much as they want; finally, that they This old man having gone to Syria, spread these opinions among the people of the countryside. and the people, who believed him in a multitude; and after a few years, he escaped, without anyone knowing what became of him ”.

Such was the origin of these Ansârians, who happened, for the most part, to be inhabitants of these mountains of which we have spoken. A little more than a century after this time, the Crusaders carrying the war in these cantons, and marching from Marrah by the Orontes towards Lebanon, encountered these Nasireans, of whom they killed a great number. William of Tire[213], who reports this fact, confuses them with assassins, and perhaps they had some common features. As for what he adds that the term assassins was used among the Franks as among the Arabs, without being able to explain its origin, it is easy to resolve the problem. In the vulgar use of the Arabic language, Hassâsin[214] means night thieves, people who kill in ambush; this term is still used today in this sense in Kaire and in Syria: for this reason it suited the Batenians, who killed by surprise; the Crusaders who found it in Syria when this sect made the most noise, had to adopt its use. What they told of the old man from the Mountain, is a bad translation of the phrase Chaik-el-Djebal, which must be explained lord of the mountains; and by that, the Arabs designated the chief of the Batenians, whose main seat was in the east of Kurdestan, in the mountains of ancient Media.

The Ansârié are, as I said, divided into several tribes or sects; one distinguishes there the Chamsiés, or worshipers of the sun; the Kelbîé, or dog worshipers; and the Quadmousié, who are assured of special worship of the organ which, in women, corresponds to Priapus[215]. Niebuhr, who has been told the same stories as I have, could not believe them, because, he says, it is not likely that men will degrade themselves to this point; but this way of reasoning is belied, and by the history of all peoples, which proves that the human mind is capable of the most extravagant deviations, and even by the present state of most countries, and especially of those of the East, where one finds a degree of ignorance and credulity suitable for receiving what is most absurd. The bizarre cults of which we are speaking are all the more credible among the Ansârié, as they seem to have been preserved there by a continuous transmission of the ancient centuries in which they reigned. Historians[216] note that in spite of the neighborhood of Antioch, Christianity penetrated only with the greatest difficulty in these cantons; there were few proselytes there, even after the reign of Julian: from there, until the invasion of the Arabs, he had little time to settle; for it is not always the case with revolutions of opinion in the countryside as in the towns. In these, easy and continuous communication spreads ideas more quickly, and decides their fate in a short time by a fall or a marked triumph. The progress that this religion was able to make among these coarse mountain dwellers only served to level the roads for Mohammedanism, more analogous to their tastes; and there resulted from ancient and modern dogmas a shapeless mixture to which the old man of Nasar owed his success.Mohammad-el-Dourzi having in his turn made a sect, the Ansârians did not admit its main article, which was the divinity of the Caliph Hakem: for this reason, they remained distinct from the Druze, although they had moreover various features of resemblance to them. Several of the Ansârié believe in metempsychosis; others reject the immortality of the soul; and in general, in civil and religious anarchy, in the ignorance and coarseness which reign among them, these peasants form such ideas as they deem fit, and follow the sect which they like, or do not follow it. not at all.

Their country is divided into 3 main districts, kept firm by chiefs called Moqaddamim. They report their tribute to the Pasha of Tripoli, from whom they receive their title every year. Their mountains are commonly less steep than those of Lebanon; they are consequently more suitable for culture, but also they are more open to Turks; and it is for this reason doubtless that with a greater fertility in grain, in smoking tobacco, in vines and in olives, they are however less populated than those of their neighbors the Maronites and the Druze, of whom we must to occupy.

§ II. Maronites.

Between the Ansârié in the north, and the Druzes in the south, lives a small people known for a long time under the name of Maouârné, or Maronites. Their first origin, and the nuance which distinguishes them from the Latins, whose communion they follow, have been discussed at length by ecclesiastical writers; what is clearer and more interesting in these questions, can be reduced to what follows.

On the end of the sixth century the church, when the hermit spirit was still in the fervor of novelty, lived on the banks of the Orontes a named Mâroun, who, by his fasts, his solitary life and his austerities, won the consideration of the people around. It appears that in the quarrels which already reigned between Rome and Constantinople, he used his credit in favor of the West. His death, far from cooling his supporters, gave new strength to their zeal: the rumor spread that he was doing miracles near his body: and on this noise, he assembled Kinesrin, Aouâsem and others places, people who trained him, in Hama, a chapel and a tomb; soon even a convent was formed there which acquired great celebrity in all this part of Syria. However, the quarrels between the two metropolises heated up, and the whole empire shared the dissensions of priests and princes. The cases were at this point when the end of the 7 th century, a monk of Hama convent named John the Maronite, succeeded, with his talent for preaching, to be considered as one of the firmest supporters of the cause of the Latins or supporters of the Pope. Their adversaries, the partisans of the emperor, named for this reason Melkites, that is to say royalists, were then making great progress in Lebanon. To successfully oppose it, the Latins resolved to send John the Maronite there; consequently, they presented him to the Pope's agent at Antioch, who, after having consecrated him bishop of Djebail, sent him to preach in these regions. Jeans was not long in rallying his supporters and increasing their number; but crossed by intrigues and even by open attacks from the Melkites, he deemed it necessary to oppose force to force; he gathered all the Latins together, and he settled with them in Lebanon, where they formed an independent society for both civil and religious status. This is what a historian of the Lower Empire indicated[217], in these terms: “Year 8 of Constantine Pogonat (676 of Jesus Christ), the Mardaïtes having gathered, seized Lebanon, which became the refuge of vagabonds, slaves and of all kinds. of people. They strengthened themselves there to the point that they stopped the progress of the Arabs, and that they forced the Caliph Moâouia to ask the Greeks for a truce of 30 years, under the obligation of a tribute of 50 purebred horses, 100 slaves, and 10,000 gold pieces. "

The name of Mardaïtes which the author uses here is a Syriac term which means rebel, and by its opposition to Melkite or royalist, it proves both that the Syriac was still in use at that time, and that the schism which was tearing apart the empire was as much civil as religious. Moreover, it appears that the origin of these two factions and the existence of an insurrection in these regions, predate the alleged period; because from the first time of Mohammedanism (622 of Jesus Christ) mention is made of two small private princes, one of whom, named Youseph, commanded at Djebail; and the other, named Kesrou, ruled the interior of the country, which took from him the name of Kesraouân. Another is cited after them, who made an expedition against Jerusalem, and who died very old at Beskonta.[218], where he made his residence. Thus, even before Constantine Pogonat, these mountains had become the asylum of the malcontents or the rebels, who fled the intolerance of the emperors and their agents. It was undoubtedly for this reason, and by an analogy of opinions, that John and his disciples took refuge there; and it was by the ascendancy that they took there, or that they already had there, that the whole nation gave itself the name of Maronites, which was not insulting like that of Mardaïtes. However that may be, John having established among these mountain people a regular and military order, having given them arms and chiefs, they employed their liberty to fight the common enemies of the empire and of their small estate; soon they took possession of almost all the mountains as far as Jerusalem. The schism which occurred among the Muslims at this time, facilitated their success: Moâouia revolted in Damascus against Ali, caliph in Koufa, saw himself obliged, not to have two wars together, to make (in 678) an expensive treaty with the Greeks. Seven years later, Abd-el-Malek renewed it with Justinian II, however demanding that the emperor deliver him from the Maronites. Justinian had the imprudence to consent to it, and he added to it the cowardice of having their leader assassinated by an envoy whom this too generous man had received in his house under the auspices of peace. After this murder this agent employed seduction and intrigue so happily that he took 12,000 men out of the country; which left a free career for the progress of the Muslims. Soon after, another persecution threatened the Maronites with complete ruin; for the same Justinian sent troops against them under the leadership of Marcian and Maurice, who destroyed the monastery of Hama, and slaughtered 500 monks there. From there they came to bring the war to Kesraouân; but fortunately, in the meantime Justinian was deposed, on the eve of carrying out a general massacre in Constantinople; and the Maronites, authorized by his successor, having attacked Maurice, cut his army to pieces in a combat in which he himself perished. Since that time, we lose sight of them until the invasion of the Crusaders, with whom they sometimes had alliances and sometimes quarrels: in this interval, which was more than three centuries, part of their possessions escaped them, and they were restricted, tore his army to pieces in a fight in which he himself perished. Since that time, we lose sight of them until the invasion of the Crusaders, with whom they sometimes had alliances and sometimes quarrels: in this interval, which was more than three centuries, part of their possessions escaped them, and they were restricted, tore his army to pieces in a fight in which he himself perished. Since that time, we lose sight of them until the invasion of the Crusaders, with whom they sometimes had alliances and sometimes quarrels: in this interval, which was more than three centuries, part of their possessions escaped them, and they were restricted, towards Lebanon, at the current limits; undoubtedly they even paid tributes when there were Arab or Turkmen governors strong enough to demand them. They were in this case vis-à-vis the Kaliph of Egypt Hakem-B'amr-Ellah, when around the year 1014 he ceded their coast to a Turkman prince of Aleppo. Two hundred years later, Selah-eldînhaving driven the Europeans from these cantons, it was necessary to bow under his power, and to buy peace by contributions. It was then, that is to say around the year 1215, that the Maronites made a reunion with Rome from which they had never been removed, and which still exists. William of Tire, who reports the fact, observes that they had 40,000 men able to bear arms. Their condition, fairly peaceful under the Mamlouks, was disturbed by Selim II; but this prince, occupied by the greatest care, did not take the trouble to subjugate them. This neglect emboldens them; and in concert with the Druze and their emir, the famous Fakr-el-dîn, they encroached day by day on the Ottomans; but these movements had an unfortunate outcome; for Amurath III having sent against them Ibrahim, pasha of Kaire,

Since that time, the pashas, ​​jealous of extending their authority and their plunder, have often tried to introduce Maronites into the mountains. their garrisons and their agas; but still rejected, they were forced to stick to the first surrender. The subjugation of the Maronites is therefore limited to paying a tribute to the Pasha of Tripoli, to whom their footsteps depend; every year he gives the farm to one or more chaiks[219], that is to say, to notables who distribute it by districts and villages. This tax is levied almost entirely on mulberry trees and vines, which are the main and almost the only objects of culture. It varies in addition and in less, according to the resistance which one can oppose to the pasha. There are also customs established at the maritime edges, such as Djebail and Bâtroun; but this object is not considerable.

The form of government is not based on express conventions, but only on uses and customs. This inconvenience would doubtless have had unfortunate effects for a long time, if they had not been prevented by several happy circumstances. The first is religion, which putting an insurmountable barrier between Maronites and Muslims, prevented the ambitious from joining forces with foreigners to enslave their nation. The second is the nature of the country, which everywhere offering great tusks, has given each village, and almost each family, the means of resisting by its own strength, and consequently of stopping the extension of a single power; finally, we must count for a third reason, the very weakness of this society, which from its origin, surrounded by powerful enemies, could only resist them by maintaining the union between its members; and this union takes place, as we know, only as long as they abstain from the oppression of one another, and reciprocally enjoy the security of their persons and their properties. It is thus that the government has maintained itself in a natural balance, and that customs taking the place of laws, the Maronites have been preserved until this day of the

We can consider the nation as divided into two classes, the people and the chaiks. By this word is meant the most notable of the inhabitants, to whom the seniority of their families and the ease of their fortune give a more distinguished status than that of the crowd. All of them live scattered in the mountains in villages, in hamlets, even in isolated houses; which does not take place in the plain. The whole nation is agricultural; each one asserts with his own hands the small domain which he owns or maintains. Even the chaiks live like this, and they are distinguished from the people only by a bad coat, a horse, and some slight advantages. in food and accommodation: all live frugally, without much enjoyment, but also without much deprivation, given that they know few luxury items. In general, the nation is poor, but no one lacks what is necessary; and if one sees beggars there, they come rather from the towns of the coast than from the country itself. Property is as sacred there as in Europe, and one does not see the spoliations or the insults so frequent among the Turks. We travel night and day with a security unknown in the rest of the empire. The foreigner finds hospitality there as among the Arabs; however, we observe that the Maronites are less generous, and that they have the defect of skimping a little. In accordance with the principles of Christianity, they have only one wife, whom they often marry without having seen her, always without having frequented her. Against the precepts of this same religion, they accepted or preserved the Arabic use oftalion, and the next of kin of every murdered man must avenge him. By a habit founded on mistrust and the political state of the country, all the men, chaiks or peasants, march incessantly armed with the gun and the dagger; this may be a downside; but the result is this advantage, that they are not new to the use of arms in necessary circumstances, such as the defense of their country against the Turks. As the country does not maintain no regular troops, each is obliged to march when there is war; and if this militia were well conducted, it would be better than many troops in Europe. The censuses which we have had occasion to make in recent years, bring to thirty-five thousand the number of men able to handle rifles. In ordinary reports, this number would assume a total population of about 105,000 souls. If we add a number of priests, monks and nuns, distributed in more than 200 convents; more, the people of the maritime cities, such as Djebail, Bâtroun, etc, one will be able to bring the whole to 115,000 souls.

This quantity, compared to the surface of the country, which is about 150 square leagues, gives 760 inhabitants per square league, which does not fail to be considerable, considering that a large part of Lebanon is made up of uncultivable rocks, and that the ground, even in cultivated places, is rough and not very fertile.

For religion, the Maronites depend on Rome. Recognizing the supremacy of the Pope, their clergy continued, as in the past, to elect a leader who has the title of Batraq or Patriarch of Antioch. Their priests marry as in the early days of the Church; but their wife must be a virgin and not a widow, and they cannot go on to a second marriage. They celebrate mass in Syriac, most of whom do not understand a word. The gospel alone can be read aloud in Arabic so that the people will hear it. Communion is practiced in both species. The host is a small round loaf, not lifted, thick with the finger, and a little larger than a six-pound shield. The top bears a stamp which is the celebrant's portion. The rest is cut into small pieces, which the priest puts in the chalice with the wine, and which he administers to each person, using a spoon which is used by everyone. These priests have no assigned benefits or annuities, as among us; but they live in part on the product of their Masses, on the gifts of their listeners, and on the work of their hands. Some have trades; others cultivate a small estate; all of them occupy for the support of their family and the building up of their flock. They are somewhat compensated for their distress by the consideration they enjoy; they constantly experience flattering effects on vanity: whoever approaches them, poor or rich, big or small, hastens to kiss their hand: they do not forget to present it; and they do not see with pleasure the Europeans abstaining from this mark of respect, which is repugnant to our customs, but which costs nothing to natives accustomed from childhood to lavish it. Moreover, the ceremonies of religion are not practiced in Europe with more publicity whoever approaches them, poor or rich, big or small, hastens to kiss their hand: they do not forget to present it; and they do not see with pleasure the Europeans abstaining from this mark of respect, which is repugnant to our customs, but which costs nothing to natives accustomed from childhood to lavish it. Moreover, the ceremonies of religion are not practiced in Europe with more publicity whoever approaches them, poor or rich, big or small, hastens to kiss their hand: they do not forget to present it; and they do not see with pleasure the Europeans abstaining from this mark of respect, which is repugnant to our customs, but which costs nothing to natives accustomed from childhood to lavish it. Moreover, the ceremonies of religion are not practiced in Europe with more publicity and freedom than in Kesraouân. Each village has its chapel, its minister, and each chapel has its bell; something unheard of in the rest of Turkey. The Maronites take pride in it; and to ensure the duration of these franchises, they do not allow any Muslims to live among them. They also arrogate to themselves the privilege of wearing the green turban, which, beyond their limits, would cost the life of a Christian.

Italy has no more bishops than this small canton of Syria; they have preserved there the modesty of their primitive state: we often meet them on the roads, mounted on a mule, followed by a single sacristan. Most live in convents, where they are clothed and fed like ordinary monks. Their most ordinary income does not exceed 1,500 pounds; and in this country, where everything is cheap, this sum suffices to procure them even ease. Like the priests, they are drawn from the class of monks; their title, to be elected, is commonly a preeminence of knowledge: it is not difficult to acquire, since the vulgar of religious and priests know only the catechism and the Bible. However, it is remarkable that these two subordinate classes are more edifying in their manners and in their conduct; that on the contrary the bishops and the patriarch, always given over to cabals and disputes of preeminence and religion, never cease to spread the scandal and trouble in the country, under the pretext of exercising, according to the old custom, ecclesiastical correction: they mutually excommunicate themselves and their members; they suspend priests, forbid monks, inflict public penances on lay people; in a word, they have preserved the muddled and bothering spirit which was the scourge of the Lower Empire. The court of Rome, often annoyed by their debates, tries to pacify them, to maintain in these countries the only asylum which its power preserves there. Some time ago she was obliged to intervene in a singular affair, the picture of which can give an idea of ​​the spirit of the Maronites.

Around the year 1755, there was in the vicinity of the Jesuit mission, a Maronite girl, named Hendîé, whose extraordinary life began to attract the attention of the people. She fasted, she wore the hair shirt, she had the gift of tears; in short, she had all the exterior of the ancient hermits, and soon she had the reputation of it. Everyone regarded her as a model of piety, and many considered her to be holy: from there to miracles the passage is short; and soon indeed it was rumored that she was performing miracles. To fully understand the impression of this noise, we must not forget that the state of minds in Lebanon is almost the same as in the first centuries. So there were no unbelievers or jokers, not even doubters. took advantage of this enthusiasm for the execution of its projects; and apparently modeled on her predecessors in the same career, she desired to be the founder of a new order. The human heart does all it can; in whatever form he disguises his passions, they are always the same: for the conqueror as for the cenobite, it is always also the ambition of power; and the pride of preeminence shows itself even in the excess of humility. To build the convent, funds were needed; the foundress solicited the piety of her partisans, and alms abounded; they were such that it was possible to erect in a few years two vast freestone houses, the construction of which must have cost 40,000 crowns. The place, named the Kourket, is a hill back north-west of Antoura, dominating to the west, over the sea which is very close to it, and discovering to the south as far as the bay of Baîrout, four leagues distant. The Kourket soon became populated with monks and nuns. The current patriarch was the director general; other jobs, large and small, were conferred on various priests or candidates, who were established in one of the houses. Everything was successful: it is true that many nuns died; but the fault was blamed on the air, and it was difficult to imagine the real cause. Hendîé had been reigning in this small empire for nearly twenty years, when an accident, impossible to predict, turned everything upside down. In summer days, a messenger coming from Damascus to Baîrout, was surprised by the night near this convent: the doors were closed, the hour undue; he did not want to disturb anything; and content to have a heap of straw for a bed, he lay down in the outer courtyard, waiting for daylight. He had been sleeping there for a few hours when a clandestine noise of doors and bolts awoke him. From this door, three women came out, holding pickaxes and shovels; two men followed them, carrying a long white package, which seemed very heavy. The troop moved towards a nearby ground full of stones and rubble. There, the men put down their burden, dug a hole where they put it, covered the hole with earth which they trod, and after this operation, returned with the women who followed them. Men with nuns, an outing made at night with mystery, a package deposited in a hidden hole, all this made the traveler think. Surprise had held him in silence at first; soon the reflections gave birth to anxiety and fear, and he slipped away at dawn to go to Baîrout. He knew a merchant in the city who for some months had placed his two daughters inKourket, with a dowry of 10,000 pounds. He went to find him still hesitating, and yet burning with impatience to relate his adventure. We sat down cross-legged, lit the long pipe, and had coffee. The merchant makes travel questions; the man replies that he spent the night near the Kourket. We ask for details; he gives some: finally he pours himself out, and tells what he has seen in the ear of his host. The first words astonish this one; the earthen bundle worries him; soon thought comes to alarm him. He knows that one of his daughters is ill; he observed that many nuns died. These thoughts torment him; he does not dare to admit suspicions that are too serious, and he cannot reject them; he rides a horse with a friend; they go to the convent together; they ask to see the two novices: they are sick. The merchant insists, and wants them to be brought; he is rejected with humor: he is obstinate; one persists: then his suspicions turn into certainty.Dair-el-Qamar, Saad, kiâya[220] of Prince Yousef, commander of the mountain. He exposes the fact and all its accessories to him. The kiâya is struck by it; he gives him cavaliers and an order to open voluntarily or by force: the qâdi joins the merchant, and the affair becomes legal; first one searches the ground, and one finds that the deposited package is a dead body, which the unfortunate father recognizes for his youngest daughter: one enters the convent and one finds the other in prison and almost expire. She revealed abominations which made one shudder, and from which she went, as his sister, become the victim. We seized the saint, who supported her role with constancy; the priests and the patriarch were activated. His enemies united to destroy him and take advantage of his remains: he was suspended, deposed. The case was brought in 1776 to Rome; the Propaganda informed, and we discovered infamous debauchery, cruelty and horrors. It was found that Hendîékilled her nuns, sometimes to profit from their spoils, sometimes because she found them rebellious to her will; that this woman not only received communion, but even consecrated and said mass; that she had holes under her bed through which perfumes were introduced, when she claimed to have ecstasies and visits from the Holy Spirit; that she had a faction that preached her and advertised that she was the mother of God, come back to earth, and a thousand other extravagances. Despite this, she retained a party powerful enough to oppose the harshness of the treatment she deserved: she was locked up in various convents, from which she often escaped. In 1783, she was at the visitation of Antoura, and the brother of the Emir of the Druze wanted to deliver her. Many still believe in his holiness; and without the accident of the traveler, his present enemies would believe it as well. What to think of reputations, if there are any which are due to so little?

In the small space that makes up the land of Maronites, there are more than 200 convents of men or women. Their rule is that of Saint Anthony; they practice it with an exactitude reminiscent of times past. The monks' clothing is a coarse, brown woolen cloth, quite similar to the capuchin robe. Their food is that of the peasants, with the exception that they never eat meat. They have frequent fasts, and long prayers day and night; the rest of their time is spent cultivating the land, breaking up rocks to form the walls of the terraces which support the vines and mulberry plants. Each convent has a brother shoemaker, a brother tailor, a brother weaver, a brother baker; in short, an artist of every necessary trade: one almost always finds a convent of women next to a convent of men; and yet it is rare to hear of scandals. These women themselves lead a very laborious life; and this activity is undoubtedly what guarantees them from the boredom and disorders which accompany idleness: also, far from harming the population, one can say that these convents have contributed to it, by multiplying by the culture the foodstuffs in a proportion greater than their consumption. The most remarkable of the houses of the Maronite monks, is by multiplying foodstuffs in a proportion greater than their consumption by cultivation. The most remarkable of the houses of the Maronite monks, is by multiplying foodstuffs in a proportion greater than their consumption by cultivation. The most remarkable of the houses of the Maronite monks, isQoz-haîé, 6 hours east of Tripoli. It is there that one exorcises, as in the early days of the church, the possessed of the devil. There are still some in these cantons: a few years ago our merchants in Tripoli saw one who exercised the patience and the knowledge of the religious. This man, healthy on the outside, had sudden convulsions which made him enter into a fury, sometimes dull, and sometimes brilliant. He tore, he bit, he foamed; her usual phrase was: The sun is my mother, let me worship her. They showered him with ablutions, they tormented him with fasting and prayers, and they succeeded, it is said, in driving the devil away; but from what enlightened witnesses report, it appears that these possessed people are nothing other than men struck with madness, mania and epilepsy; and it is very remarkable that the same Arabic word designates bothobsession[221].

The court of Rome, by affiliating with the Maronites, gave them a hospice in Rome, where they can send several young people who are brought up there for free. It would seem that this means should have introduced among them the arts and ideas of Europe; but the subjects of this school, limited to a purely monastic education, bring back to their country only Italian, which becomes useless to them, and a theological knowledge which leads them to nothing; so they do not take long to enter the general class. Three or four missionaries that the Capuchins of France maintain in Gâzir, Tripoli and Baîrout, have not effected more changes in the spirits. Their job is to preach in their church, teach the children Sunday school, Imitation, and Psalms, and teach them to read and write. Ci-devant the Jesuits had two at their house in Antoura; the Lazarists took their place and continued their mission. The most solid advantage that resulted from these apostolic works is that the art of writing has become more common among the Maronites, and as such, they have become in these cantons what the Copts are. in Egypt, that is to say that they seized all the places of writers, managers and kiâyas among the Turks, and especially among the Druze, their allies and their neighbors.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 2:27 am

Part 2 of 2

§ III. Druze.

The Druze or Derouz, whose name made some noise in Europe in the late 16 th century, are a small people who, for the kind of life, the form of government, language and customs, looks much the Maronites. Religion is their main difference. For a long time that of the Druze was a problem; but finally we have pierced the mystery, and now we can make a fairly accurate account, as well as their origin, to which it is linked. To fully understand its history, it is advisable to take the facts back to their earliest sources.

Twenty-three years after the death of Mahomet, the quarrel between Ali his son-in-law and Moâouia, governor of Syria, had caused in the Arab empire a first schism which still subsists; but to take it well, the scission only concerned power; and Muslims, divided on the representatives of the prophet, remained in agreement on the dogmas[222]. It was only in the century that the reading of Greek books aroused among the Arabs a spirit of discussion and controversy, until then foreign to their ignorance. The effects were such as one might expect; that is to say, reasoning on matters which were not susceptible of any demonstration, and guided by the abstract principles of an unintelligible logic, they divided themselves into a host of opinions and sects. At the same time, the civil power fell into anarchy; and religion, which draws from it the means to keep its unity, followed its fate: then it happened to the Muslims what the Christians had already experienced. The peoples who had adopted the system of Mahomet, added their prejudices to it, and the old ideas spread in Asia, were brought to light in new forms:two principles of good and evil, and the resurrection at the end of 6,000 years, as Zoroaster had taught it: in the political and religious disorder of the state, each inspired became an apostle, leader of a sect. There were more than 60 of them, remarkable for the number of their supporters; all differing on some points of dogma, all of them accusing themselves of heresy and mistakes. Things were at this point when in the beginning of 11 th century, Egypt became the scene of one of the most bizarre spectacles that history offers this kind. Let's hear from the original writers[223]. "The year of hedjire 386 (996 AD), says El-Makin, succeeded to the throne of Egypt at the age of 11, the 3 th Caliph of the race of Fâtmites named Hakem- b'amr-ellah. This prince was one of the most extravagant that the memory of men has remembered. First he had the first Kaliphs, companions of Mahomet, cursed in the mosques; then he revoked the anathema: he forced the Jews and Christians to renounce their worship; then he allowed them to take it back. He forbade making shoes for women, so that they could not leave their houses. To relieve himself, he burnt half of Kaire, while his soldiers pillaged the other. Not content with these fury, he forbids the pilgrimage to the Mekke, the fast, the 5 prayers; finally, he carried the madness to the point of wanting to pass himself off as God. He caused a register to be drawn up of those who recognized him as such, and it was found up to the number of 16,000: this idea was supported by a false prophet who had then come from Persia to Egypt. This impostor, named Mohammad-ben-Ishmael, taught that it was useless to practice fasting, prayer, circumcision, pilgrimage, and to observe the festivals; that the prohibitions on pork and wine were absurd; that the marriage of brothers, sisters, fathers and children was lawful. To be welcome from Hakem, he maintained that this Caliph was God himself incarnate; and instead of his name Hakem-b'amr-ellah, which means ruling by the order of God, he called it Hakem-b'amr-eh, which means ruling by his own order. Unfortunately for the prophet, his new God did not have the power to protect him from the fury of his enemies: they killed him in a riot at the very feet of the Caliph, who soon after was also massacred on Mount Moqattam, where he maintained, he said, trade with angels. "

The death of these two leaders did not stop the progress of their opinions: a disciple of Mohammad-ben-Ishmael, named Hamz-ben-Ahmad, spread them with indefatigable zeal in Egypt, in Palestine and on the coast. from Syria, to Sidon and Béryte. It seems that his proselytes suffered the same fate as the Maronites, that is to say that, persecuted by the reigning communion, they took refuge in the mountains of Lebanon, where they could better defend themselves; at least it is certain that shortly after that time, they were found there established and forming an independent society like their neighbors. It would seem that the difference in their cults should have made them enemies; but the pressing interest of their common safety forced them to tolerate each other; and since then they were almost always united, sometimes against the Crusaders or against the sultans of Aleppo, sometimes against the Mamlouks and the Ottomans. The conquest of Syria by the latter did not initially change their condition. Selim I, who on his return from Egypt meditated no less than the conquest of Europe, did not deign to stop before the rocks of Lebanon. Soliman II, his successor, ceaselessly occupied with important wars, sometimes against the Knights of Rhodes, the Persians or the Yemen, sometimes against the Hungarians, the Germans and Charles V, Soliman II n ' had no more time to think of the Druze. These distractions emboldened them; and not content with their independence, they often descended from their mountains to plunder the subjects of the Turks. The pashas tried in vain to suppress their incursions: their troops were always beaten or pushed back. It was not until 1588 that Amurat III, tired of the complaints that were brought to him, resolved, at whatever cost, to reduce these rebels, and had the good fortune to succeed. His general Ybrahim Pasha, party of Kaire, attacked the Druze and the Maronites with such skill or their troops were always beaten or pushed back. It was not until 1588 that Amurat III, tired of the complaints that were brought to him, resolved, at whatever cost, to reduce these rebels, and had the good fortune to succeed. His general Ybrahim Pasha, party of Kaire, attacked the Druze and the Maronites with such skill or their troops were always beaten or pushed back. It was not until 1588 that Amurat III, tired of the complaints that were brought to him, resolved, at whatever cost, to reduce these rebels, and had the good fortune to succeed. His general Ybrahim Pasha, party of Kaire, attacked the Druze and the Maronites with such skill or of vigor, that he succeeded in forcing them into their mountains. Discord arose among the chiefs, and he took advantage of it to draw a contribution of more than a million piastres, and to impose a tribute which has continued to this day.

It seems that this expedition was the time of a change in the very constitution of the Druze. Until then they had lived in a kind of anarchy, under the command of various chaiks or lords. The nation was mainly divided into two factions, which are found among all Arab peoples, and which are called the Qaisi party and the Yamâni party.[224] To simplify the rule, Ybrahim wanted that there was only one chief who was responsible for the tribute, and in charge of the police. By the very nature of his employment, this agent soon obtained a great preponderance, and under the name of governor he almost became the king of the republic; but as this governor was drawn from the nation, there resulted an effect which the Turks had not foreseen and which failed to be fatal to them. This effect was that the governor, gathering in his hands all the powers of the nation, could give his forces a unanimous direction which made their action much more powerful. It was naturally turned against the Turks, because the Druze, by becoming their subjects, did not cease to be their enemies. Only they were obliged to take in their attacks the detours which saved appearances, and they waged a silent war, more dangerous perhaps than a declared war.

It was then, is to say that in the first years of the XVII th century, the power of the Druze acquired its greatest development: she had the talent and ambition of the famous emir Fakhr-al-Din, vulgarly called Fakar-dîn. No sooner did this prince see himself head and governor of the nation, than he applied all his care to diminish the ascendancy of the Ottomans, to increase even at their expense; and he put into it an art of which few commanders in Turkey have offered an example. First he won the confidence of the Porte by all the demonstrations of devotion and fidelity. The Arabs infested the plain of Balbek, and the lands of Sour and Acre; he made war against them, delivered the inhabitants thereof, and thus prepared the minds to desire his government. The city of Baîrout was at his decorum in that it opened up communication with foreigners, and among others with the Venetians, natural enemies of the Turks. Fakr-el-dîn took advantage of the wrongdoings of the aga, and expelled it: he did more; he was able to take credit for this hostility to the divan, by paying a more considerable tribute. He used the same manner with regard to Saïde, Balbek and Sour; finally, from 1613, he saw himself master of the country as far as Adjaloun and Safad. The pashas of Damascus and Tripoli did not see these encroachments calmly. Sometimes they opposed it openly, without being able to stop Fakr-el-dîn; sometimes they tried to lose him at the Porte by secret instigations; but the emir, who also kept spies and protectors there, always eluded the effect. However, the divan ended up being alarmed by the progress of the Druze, and made the preparations for an expedition capable of crushing them. Either political or fearful, Fakr-el-dîndid not see fit to wait for this storm. He maintained relations in Italy on which he based great hopes: he resolved to go himself and seek the help that was promised him, convinced that his presence would warm the zeal of his friends, while his absence would cool the anger. of his enemies: as a result, he embarked at Baîrout, and after having handed over the affairs in the hands of his son Ali, he went to the court of the Medici in Florence. The arrival of a prince from the East in Italy did not fail to arouse public attention: people asked who his nation was, and the origin of the Druze was sought. The historical facts and the characters of religion were found to be so equivocal that it was not known whether the they had to be made Muslims or Christians. We are recalled the Crusades, and it was supposed that a people who had taken refuge in the mountains and were enemies of the natives, must have been a race of Crusaders. This prejudice was too favorable to Fakr-el-dîn for him to discredit him; on the contrary, he had the address to claim pretended alliances with the House of Lorraine: he was seconded by the missionaries and the merchants, who promised themselves a new theater of conversions and commerce. In the vogue for an opinion, everyone is pushing for evidence. Scientists with origins, struck by the similarity of names, wanted Druzes and Dreuxwere one and the same thing, and on this foundation they built the system of a so-called colony of French crusaders, which, under the leadership of a Count de Dreux, would have established itself in Lebanon. The remark that was made later, that Benjamin de Tudèle cites the name of Druzes before the time of the Crusades, struck a blow at this hypothesis. But a fact which should have ruined it from its inception is the idiom which the Druze use. If they had descended from the Franks, they would have preserved at least some traces of our languages; for a society withdrawn in a separate canton where it lives isolated, does not lose its language. However, that of the Druze is a very pure Arabic and does not have a word of European origin. The true etymology of the name of this people had been in our hands for a long time without our being able to suspecting. It comes from the very founder of the sect, from Mohammad-ben-Ismaël who was called by the nickname el-Dorzi, and not el-Darari, as our printed matter. The confusion of these two words, so diverse in our writing, is due to the figure of the two Arabic letters r and z, which differ only in that the z has a point, which has very often been omitted or erased in manuscripts[225].

After nine years of stay in Italy, Fakr-el-dîn returned to take over the government of his country. During his absence, his son Ali had pushed back the Turks, calmed the spirits, and kept affairs in fairly good order. All that remained for the emir was to use the enlightenment he had had to acquire, to perfect the internal administration and to increase the well-being of his nation; but instead of the serious and useful art of governing, he gave himself up entirely to the frivolous and expensive arts for which he had taken a passion in Italy. He builds pleasure houses on all sides; he built baths and gardens. He even dared, without regard for the prejudices of the country, to adorn them with paintings and sculptures banned by the Qôran. The effects of this conduct were not long in manifesting themselves. The Druze, whose tribute continued as in the midst of the war, became indisposed. The Yamâni faction awoke; they murmured against the prince's expenses: the pomp he displayed rekindled the jealousy of the pashas. They wanted to increase the contributions: they recommenced hostilities. Fakr-el-dîn repulsed them: they took the opportunity of his resistance to make him odious and suspect to the Sultan himself. The violent Amurat IV was offended that one of his subjects dared to compare with him, and he resolved to lose him. As a result, the Pasha of Damascus was ordered to march with all his forces against Baîrout, the ordinary residence of Fakr-el-dîn.. On the other hand, forty galleys had to invest this city by sea, to prevent it from getting any help. The emir, who counted on his fortune and on assistance from Italy, resolved at first to face this storm. His son Ali, who was in command at Safad, was tasked with stopping the Turkish army; and indeed, he dared to fight against it, in spite of a great disproportion of forces; but after two combats in which he had the advantage, having been killed in a third attack, affairs suddenly changed face, and turned into decay. Fakr-el-dîn, frightened at the loss of his troops, grieved at the death of his son, even weakened by age and by a life voluptuous, Fakr-el-dîn lost advice and courage. He no longer lives as a resource except in peace; he sent his second son to solicit her aboard the Turkish admiral, trying to seduce him with gifts; but the admiral, withholding the presents and the envoy, declared that he wanted the prince himself. Terrified Fakr-el-dîn fled; the Turks, masters of the countryside, pursued him; he took refuge in the steep place of Niha; they besieged it there. After a year, seeing their efforts in vain, they let him free; but shortly afterwards, the companions of his adversity, weary of their misfortunes, betrayed him and delivered him to the Turks. Fakr-el-dîn, in the hands of his enemies, conceived a hope of forgiveness, and allowed himself to be led to Constantinople. Amurat, flattered to see such a famous prince at his feet, had at first for him that benevolence which comes from pride in superiority; but soon returned to the more lasting feeling of jealousy, he yielded to the instigations of his courtiers; and in a fit of his violent temper, he had him strangled around 1632.

After the death of Fakr-el-dîn, the posterity of this prince continued to possess the command, under the good pleasure and the suzerainty of the Turks: this family having come to lack of male line at the beginning of this century, the authority was deferred, by the election of the chaiks, to the house of Chebak, which still governs today. The only emir of this house which deserves some memory, is the Emir Melhem, who reigned from 1740 until 1759. In this interval, he managed to repair the losses that the Druze had suffered inside, and to To restore to them abroad the consideration which they had fallen since the reverse of Fakr-el-dîn. At the end of his life, that is to say around 1745, Melhem became disgusted with the worries of the government, and he abdicated to live in a religious retreat, in the manner of the Oqqâls. But the disturbances which arose brought him back to business until 1759, when he was generally regretted. He left 3 young sons: the eldest,Yousef was to succeed him, according to custom; but as he was still only eleven years old, the command was devolved to his uncle Mansour, by a fairly general provision of the public law of Asia, which requires that the peoples be governed by a man of age of reason. The young prince was little fitted to support his pretensions; but a Maronite named Sad-el-Kouri, to whom Melhem had entrusted his education, took charge of this care. Aspiring to see his ward a mighty prince, to be a mighty visir, he worked with all his might to raise his fortune. First he retired with him to Djebail, to Kesraouân, where Emir Yousefowned large estates; and there he took it upon himself to become affectionate the Maronites, by seizing every opportunity to serve individuals and the nation. The large revenues of his ward, and the modesty of his expenses, provided him with powerful means. The Kesraouân farm was divided between several chaiks with whom we were not very happy; Sad made a deal with the Pasha of Tripoli, and made himself the sole contractor. The Motouâlis of the valley of Balbek had made encroachments on Lebanon for several years, and the Maronites were alarmed by the neighborhood of these intolerant Muslims. Sad bought permission from the Pasha of Damascus to wage war on them, and he expelled them in 1763. The Druze were still divided into two factions.[226]: Sad linked his interests to that which upset Mansour, and he secretly prepared the plot which was to lose the uncle, to raise the nephew.

It was then the time that the Arab Dâher, master of Galilee, and residing in Acre, worried the Porte by its progress and its claims: to oppose a powerful obstacle, it had just united the pachalics of Damascus, Saïde and Tripoli, in the hands of Osman and his children, and it was clear that she had the design of an open and imminent war. Mansour, who feared the Turks without daring to brave them, used ordinary politics in such a case; he pretended to serve them, and favored their enemy. This was a reason for Sad to take the opposite route: he leaned the Turks against Mansour's faction, and he maneuvered with enough skill or happiness, to have this emir deposed in 1770, and to carry Yousef in his place.. The following year broke out Ali-Bek's war against Damascus. Yousef, called by the Turks, entered into their quarrel; however, he did not have the credit of driving the Druze out of their mountains to go and swell the Ottoman army. Besides the reluctance they have at all times to fight outside their country, they were on this occasion too divided inside to leave their homes, and they had reason to applaud it. The battle of Damascus began, and the Turks, as we have seen, were completely defeated. The Pasha of Saïde, escaped from the rout, did not believe himself safe in his city, and came to seek asylum in the house of the Emir Yousef.. The moment was not favorable; but Mohammad-Bek's flight changed the face of affairs. The emir believing Ali-Bek dead, and not judging Dâher strong enough to support his quarrel alone, openly decided against him. Saïde was threatened with a siege; he detached 1,500 men from his faction there to guarantee it. He himself, determining the Druze and the Maronites to follow him, went down with 25,000 peasants in the valley of Beqâa; and in the absence of Motouâlis who served at Dâher, he set everything on fire and blood, from Balbek to Sour ( Tire ). While the Druze, proud of this feat, marched in disorder towards this last city, 500 Motouâlis, informed of what was happening, rushed from Acre, seized with fury and despair, and swooped down so suddenly on this army, that ' they threw it into the most complete rout: such were the surprise and confusion of the Druze, that believing themselves attacked by Dâher himself, and betrayed by one another, they killed each other in their flight. The rapid slopes of Djezîn, and the fir woods which were found on the route of the fugitives, were strewn with dead, very few of whom perished at the hand of the Motouâlis. Emir Yousef, ashamed of this failure, fled to Dair-el-Qamar. Soon after, he wanted to take his revenge; but having still been beaten in the plain which reigns between Saïde and Sour, he was forced to give his uncle Mansour the ring, which, among the Druze, is the symbol of command. In 1773, a new revolution replaced it; but it was only at the cost of civil war that he could maintain his power. It was then that to ensure Baîroutagainst the opposing faction, he called for the help of the Turks, and asked the Pasha of Damascus for a leading man who knew how to defend this city. The choice fell on an adventurer who, by his subsequent fortune, and the role he plays today, deserves to be made known. This man, named Ahmad, was born in Bosnia, and has Sclavon as his natural language, as the captains of Ragusa assure him, with whom he converses preferably with all the others. It is claimed that he was banished from his country at the age of 16, to avoid the consequences of a rape he wanted to commit on his sister-in-law; he came to Constantinople; and there, not knowing how to live, he sold himself to the slave traders to be transported to Egypt. Arrived in Kaire, Ali-Bek bought it, and placed it among his Mamlouks. Abmad soon distinguished himself by his courage and skill. His boss employed him on several occasions in dangerous assassinations, such as the assassinations of beks and kasks whom he suspected. Ahmad fulfilled these commissions so well thatslaughterer. As such, he enjoyed Ali's favor when an accident troubled her. This shady bek having judged it advisable to proscribe one of his benefactors, named Sâléh-Bek, instructed Djezzâr to cut off his head. Either remorse or secret interest, Djezzâr repelled; he even made representations. But learning the next day that Mohammad-Bek had fulfilled the commission, and that Ali was saying something, he considered himself lost; and to avoid the fate of Sâleh-Bek, he escaped clandestinely, and reached Constantinople. He asked for proportionate jobs to the rank he had held; but finding there this influx of competitors who besieged all the capitals, he drew up another plan for himself, and came as a private soldier to seek service in Syria. Chance made him pass among the Druze, and he received hospitality in the very house of the kiâya of Emir Yousef. From there he went to Damascus, where he soon obtained the title of Aga, with a command of 5 flags, that is to say of 50 men: it was in this post that fate came to seek him to make it. the commander of Baîrout. No sooner did Djezzar see himself established there than he seized it for the Turks. Yousef was confused by this setback. He demanded justice in Damascus; but seeing that even his complaints were laughed at, he dealt out of spite with Dâher,Râs-el-aên, near Sour. Immediately Dâher united with the Druze, came to besiege Baîrout by land, while two Russian frigates, whose service was purchased for 600 purses, came to cannon it by sea. It was necessary to give in to force. After a fairly vigorous resistance, Djezzâr returned his person and his city. The chaik, charmed with his courage, and flattered at the preference he had given him over the Emir, took him to Acre, and treated him with all kinds of kindness. He even thought he could entrust him with a small expedition to Palestine; but Djezzar arrived near Jerusalem, returned to the Turks, and returned to Damascus. Mohammad-Bek's war occurred: Djezzâr presented himself to the capitan-pasha, and gained his confidence. He accompanied him to the siege of Acre; and when the admiral had destroyed Dâher, seeing no one better suited than Djezzâr to fulfill the views of the Porte in these regions, he appointed him Pasha of Saïde. Become suzerain by this revolution of the Emir Yousef, Djezzâr has all the less forgotten his insult, as there is reason to accuse himself of ingratitude. By a truly Turkish conduct, feigning gratitude and resentment by turns, he has fallen out and reconciled with him by turns, always demanding money as the price of peace or as compensation for war. This trick was so successful for him, that in the space of 5 years, he drew from the emir about 4,000,000 of France, sum all the more astonishing, that the farm in the country of the Druze did not then amount to 100,000 francs. In 1784, he made war against him, deposed him, and put in his place the Emir of the Land ofHasbêya, called Ishmael. Yousef having redeemed his good graces again, returned at the end of the year to Dair-el-Qamar. He even carried his confidence so far as to go and find him in Acre, from where it was not believed he would return; but Djezzâr is too clever to shed blood, when there is still hope of money: he ended up releasing the prince, and sending him away even with demonstrations of friendship. Since then, the Porte has appointed him Pasha of Damascus, where he resides today 'hui. There, retaining the suzerainty of the Pachalic of Acre and of the country of the Druze, he seized Sâd, kiâya of the emir, and under the pretext that he is the author of the last troubles, he threatened to make him pay with his head. The Maronites, alarmed for this man they revere, offered 900 scholarships for his ransom. The Pasha is a merchant, and will have 1,000; but if, as it is probable, gold is exhausted by so many contributions, woe to the minister and the prince! The fate of so many others awaits them; and one could say that they deserved it; because it is the ineptitude of the one and the ambition of the other, which, by involving the Turks in the affairs of the Druze, brought to the peace and to the safety of their nation, an attack of which it will be long -time to get up, if it follows only the natural course of events.

Let us return to the religion of the Druze. What we have seen of the opinions of Mahommad-ben-Ismaël, can be regarded as the definition. They do not practice circumcision, prayers, or fasting; they observe neither prohibitions nor festivals. They drink wine, eat pork, and marry sister to brother. Only we no longer see in them a public alliance between children and fathers. From this, it will be concluded with reason that the Druze have no cult: however we must except a class which has marked religious uses. Those who compose it are to the rest of the nation what the initiates were to the laymen, they give themselves the name of Oqqâls, which means spiritual, as opposed to the vulgar that they call Djâhel ( ignorant ). They have various degrees of initiation, the highest of which requires celibacy. We recognize them by the white turban which they affect to wear, as a symbol of their purity; and they pride themselves on this purity that they believe themselves to be soiled by the touch of every profane. If one eats from their dish, if one drinks from their vase, they break them, and hence the fairly widespread use in the country, of a kind of tap vessel from which one drinks without wear your lips there. All their practices are shrouded in mysteries:, always placed on high places, and they hold secret assemblies there, where women are admitted. It is claimed that they perform some ceremonies there in the presence of a small statue representing an ox or a calf; and we wanted to deduce from this that they were descended from the Samaritans. But besides this fact is not proven, the cult of the ox could have other origins. They have one or two books which they hide with the greatest care; but chance deceived their jealousy; for in a civil war which occurred six to seven years ago, the Emir Yousef, who is Djâhel, found one in the looting of one of their oratories. People who have read it claim that it contains only mystical jargon, the obscurity of which makes doubt the price for followers. We speak of the Hakem B'amr-eh, by which they designate God incarnate in the person of the Caliph: there is mention of another life, a place of sorrows and a place of happiness, where the Oqqâlswill have, of course, the first place. We can distinguish various degrees of perfection which we arrive at by successive trials. Moreover, these sectarians have all the arrogance and all the scruples of superstition: they are uncommunicating because they are weak; but it is probable that if they were powerful, they would be promulgating and intolerant. The rest of the Druze, foreign to this spirit, are quite heedless of religious matters. Christians who live in their country claim that many admit metempsychosis; that others worship the sun, the moon, the stars: all this is possible; because, as well as among the Ansârié, each delivered to his senses follows the route that pleases him; and these opinions are those which present themselves most naturally to simple minds. When they go to the Turks, they affect Muslim outsiders; they enter mosques and perform ablution and prayers. If they go to the Maronites, they follow them to church and take holy water like them. Several, annoyed by the missionaries, were baptized; then solicited by the Turks, they let themselves be circumcised, and ended up dying without being neither Christians nor Muslims; they are not so inconsistent in political matters.

§ IV. From the government of the Druze.

Like the Maronites, the Druze can be divided into two classes: the people, and the notables designated by the name of chaiks and by that of emirs, that is to say descendants of the princes. The general condition is that of a cultivator. Either as a farmer or as an owner, each lives on his inheritance, working on his mulberry trees and his vines: in some townships tobacco, cottons and some grains are added, but these objects are not very considerable. It seems that in the beginning, all the lands were, as formerly among us, in the hands of a small number of families. But to put them in value, the big owners had to make sales and arrears; this subdivision has become the main motive for the strength of the state, in that it has multiplied the number of those interested in public affairs; however, traces of the first inequality remain, which still have pernicious effects today. The great possessions that some families keep, give them too much influence on all the proceedings of the nation. Their particular interests carry too much weight in the balance of public interests. What happened in recent times has given examples made to serve as a lesson. All the civil or foreign wars that have troubled the country have been aroused by the ambition and personal views of a few main houses, such as the Lesbeks, the Djambelats, the Ishmaels of Solyma, etc. The chaiks of these houses, which have alone the 10 th of the country have made their creatures by their money, and they eventually cause the rest of the Druze in their dissension. It is true that it is perhaps to this conflict of different parties that the whole nation owed the advantage of not being enslaved by its leader.

This chief, called hakem or governor, and also emir or prince, is a kind of king or general who brings together in his person the civil and military powers. His dignity sometimes passes from father to children, sometimes from brother to brother, according to the law of force much more than according to agreed laws. Women, in any case, can not make claims by way of inheritance. They are already excluded from succession in civil status; all the more reason will they be in the political state. In general, the states of Asia are too stormy, and the administration there necessarily requires too much military talent, for women to dare to interfere. Among the Druze, when the male line is lacking in the reigning family, it is the man of the nation who obtains the most votes and means, passed by authority. But above all, he must obtain the approval of the Turks of which he becomes the vassal and the tributary. It even happens that because of their suzerainty, they can name the hakem against the will of the nation, as practiced by Djezzar in the person of Ishmael de Hasbêya; but this state of constraint lasts only as long as it is maintained by the violence which establishes it. The functions of the governor are to watch over public order, to prevent emirs, chaiks and villages from going to war; he has the right to repress them by force, if they disobey. He is also head of justice, and appoints the qadis, while reserving to himself the right of life and death; he receives the tribute, of which he pays the pasha an agreed sum each year. This tribute varies according to whether the nation knows how to be feared: at the beginning of the century, it was 160 purses (200,000 pounds). Melhem forced the Turks to reduce it to 60. In 1784, Emir Yousef paid 80, and promised 90. This tribute, which is called miri, is imposed on mulberry trees, on vines, on cottons and on the grains. Any sown land pays for its extent; each mulberry tree is taxed 3 medins, that is to say 3 sous 9 deniers. The hundred of vines pays a piastre or 40 medins. Often the enumeration rolls are redone; in order to maintain equality in taxation. The chaiks and emirs have no privilege in this respect, and one can say that they contribute to the public funds in proportion to their fortune. Collection is almost free of charge; each one pays his contingent to Dair-el-Qamar, if it pleases, or to collectors of the prince who roam the country after the silks harvest. The benefit of the tribute is for the prince, so that he is interested in reducing the demands of the Turks: he would also be interested in increasing the tax; but this operation requires the consent of the notables, who have the right to oppose it. Their consent is also necessary for war and for peace. In these cases, the emir must call general meetings, and explain to them the state of affairs. All chaikand any peasant who, by his spirit or his courage, has some credit, has the right to give his voice to it; so that one can regard the government as a moderate mixture of aristocracy, monarchy and democracy. It all depends on the circumstances: if the governor is a leader, he is absolute; if it is missing, it is nothing. The reason for this vicissitude is that there are no fixed laws; and this case, which is common to all Asia, is the radical cause of all the disorders of its governments.

Neither the principal emir, nor the private emirs maintain troops: they only have people attached to the domestic service of their house, and a few black slaves. If it is a question of waging war, every man, chaik or peasant, able to bear arms, is called upon to march. Each then takes a small bag of flour, a gun, a few bullets, some powder made in the village, and goes to the place designated by the governor. If it is a civil war, as it sometimes happens, the servants, the farmers, the friends each arm themselves for their boss, or for their head of the family, and line up around him. Often in such a case one would think that heated parties are going to fall into the last disorders; but rarely do they go on to assault, and especially murder: mediators always intervene, and the quarrel subsides all the more quickly, as each boss is obliged to maintain his supporters with food and ammunition. This regime, which has happy effects in troubled civilians, is not without abuse for wars abroad: that of 1784 proved it. Djezzâr, who knew that the whole army lived at the expense of the Emir Yousef, affected to temporize; the Druze, who found it pleasant to be fed without doing anything, prolonged the operations; but the emir was bored of paying, and he concluded a treaty the conditions of which were unfortunate both for him, and by consequence for the nation, since it is common ground that the true interests of the prince and the subjects are always inseparable. army lived at the expense of Emir Yousef, affected to temporize; the Druze, who found it pleasant to be fed without doing anything, prolonged the operations; but the emir was bored of paying, and he concluded a treaty the conditions of which were unfortunate both for him, and by consequence for the nation, since it is common ground that the true interests of the prince and the subjects are always inseparable. army lived at the expense of Emir Yousef, affected to temporize; the Druze, who found it pleasant to be fed without doing anything, prolonged the operations; but the emir was bored of paying, and he concluded a treaty the conditions of which were unfortunate both for him, and by consequence for the nation, since it is common ground that the true interests of the prince and the subjects are always inseparable.

The uses which I witnessed in these circumstances represent quite well those of ancient times. When the emir and the chaiks had decided the war in Dair-el-Qamar, town criers climbed in the evening on the summits of the mountain; and there they began to cry out with a loud voice: To war, to war; take the gun, take the pistols; noble chaiks, ride your horse; arm yourselves with the lance and the saber; meet tomorrow at Dair-el-Qamar. Zeal for God! zeal for fighting! This appeal, heard from neighboring villages, was repeated there; and as the whole country is but a heap of high mountains and deep valleys, the cries passed in a few hours to the frontiers. In the silence of the night, the accent of the cries and the long echoing of the echoes, joined to the nature of the subject, had something imposing and terrible about it. Three days later there were 15,000 rifles at Dair-el-Qamar, and operations could have been started on the spot.

It is easy to see that troops of this kind do not resemble our military in Europe at all; they have no uniforms, no prescriptions, no distribution; it is a crowd of peasants in short jackets, bare legs and rifles in hand. Unlike the Turks and the Mamlouks, they are all on foot; the emirs alone and the chaiks have horses of relatively little service, given the harsh and rugged nature of the terrain. The war that can be waged there is purely a post war. The Druze never risk themselves in the plains; and they are right: they would bear the shock of the cavalry all the less there, since they do not even have bayonets on their rifles. Their whole art consists in climbing on the rocks, in slipping among the brush and the stone blocks, and making a rather dangerous fire out of it, in that they are under cover, that they draw at their ease, and which they have acquired by hunting and by games of emulation, the habit of shooting accurately. They understand quite well the sudden bursts, night surprises, ambushes and all the hand-to-hand attacks where one can approach the enemy promptly and melee. Eager to push their successes, quick to be discouraged and to regain courage, bold even in temerity, sometimes even ferocious, they have above all two qualities which make excellent troops: they obey their leaders exactly, and are of a sobriety and vigor of health henceforth unknown among civilized nations. In the campaign of 1784, they spent three months in the open air, without tents, and their only furniture was sheepskin; yet there were no more sick and dead than if they had been in their homes. Their provisions consisted, as in all other times, of rolls baked under ashes or on a brick, raw onions, cheese, olives, fruit and a vigor of health henceforth unknown in civilized nations. In the campaign of 1784, they spent three months in the open air, without tents, and their only furniture was sheepskin; yet there were no more sick and dead than if they had been in their homes. Their provisions consisted, as in all other times, of rolls baked under ashes or on a brick, raw onions, cheese, olives, fruit and a vigor of health henceforth unknown in civilized nations. In the campaign of 1784, they spent three months in the open air, without tents, and their only furniture was sheepskin; yet there were no more sick and dead than if they had been in their homes. Their provisions consisted, as in all other times, of rolls baked under ashes or on a brick, raw onions, cheese, olives, fruit and some wine. The table of the chiefs was almost as frugal, and one can assure that they lived 100 days, in which the same number of French and English would not live 10. They do not know neither the science of the fortifications, nor the artillery, or encampments, in short, nothing that makes up the art of war. But if there were a few men among them who had the idea, they would easily take a liking to it, and become a formidable militia. It would be all the easier to train, since the mulberry trees and the vines are not enough to occupy them all year round, and they have a lot of time left.[227] that could be used in military exercises. In the latest censuses of armed men, there were nearly 40,000; which supposes for the total of the population about 120,000 souls: there is little to add to it, because there are no Druze in the towns of the coast. The surface of the country being 110 square leagues, the result for each league is 1,090 souls; which equals the population of our best provinces. To feel how strong this proportion is, we will observe that the ground is rough, that there are still many uncultivated peaks, that we do not collect not in grains enough to eat 3 months a year, that there is no manufacture, that all exports are limited to silks and cottons, the scale of which hardly surpasses the entry of Hauran wheat, oils from Palestine, rice and coffee from Bairut. So where does this influx of men come from in such a small space? Any analysis done, I can only see the cause of the ray of freedom that shines there. There, unlike the country of Turkey, everyone enjoys their property and their life in safety. The peasant is no better off there than elsewhere; but he is quiet: he is not afraid, as I have heard it said several times, that the aga, the quâiemmaquâm, or the bacha will send djendis[228] looting the house, kidnapping the family, caning, etc. These excesses are unheard of in the mountains. Security was therefore a primary means of population there, by the attraction that all men find in multiplying wherever there is ease. The frugality of the nation, which consumes little of all kinds, was a second equally powerful means. Finally a third is the emigration of a crowd of Christian families who daily desert the Turkish provinces to come and settle in Lebanon; they are welcomed there by Maronites by religious fraternity, and Druze by tolerance and by the interest of course to multiply in their country the number of cultivators, consumers and allies. All live in peace; but I must say that Christians often show an indiscreet and worrying zeal, calculated to disturb her.

The comparison that the Druze often have to make of their lot with that of other Turkish subjects, gave them an advantageous opinion of their condition, which, by a natural gradation, reflected on their persons. Free from the violence and insults of despotism, they regard themselves as men more perfect than their neighbors, because they are fortunate enough to be less degraded. From there was formed a more proud, more energetic, more active character, a true republican spirit. They are cited throughout the Levant for being restless, enterprising, bold and brave to the point of temerity: they have been seen in broad daylight melting into Damascus, numbering only 300, and spreading disorder and carnage there. It is remarkable that with an almost similar regime, the Maronites do not have these qualities to the same degree: I I once asked the reason for it in an assembly where it was observed, on the subject of some recent past events; after a moment's silence, an old Maronite man, pushing his pipe away from his mouth, and rolling the end of his beard in his fingers, replied: Perhaps the Druze would fear plus death, if they believed in what follows. They also do not accept the morality of forgiving insults. No one is as touchy as they are on the point of honor. An insult, said or made to this name and to the beard, is immediately punished with kandjar or rifle shots, while among the people of the cities it only results in cries of insults. This delicacy caused in the manners and the words a reserve or, if you will, a politeness which one is surprised to find among the peasants. It even goes so far as to concealment and falsehood, especially in leaders, which greater interests require greater caution. Caution is necessary for all,, which I mentioned. The use may seem barbaric to us; but it has the merit of supplying regular justice, always uncertain and slow in troubled and almost anarchic states.

The Druze have another Arab point of honor, that of hospitality. Anyone who comes to their door as a supplicant or a passenger is sure to receive accommodation and food in the most generous and least affected manner. I have seen in several meetings simple peasants give the last piece of bread from their house to the hungry passer-by; and when I pointed out to them that they were lacking in prudence: God is liberal and magnificent, they replied, and all men are brothers. So no one thinks of keeping an inn in their country, any more than in the rest of Turkey. When they contract with their host the sacred commitment of bread and salt, nothing can subsequently make them violate it: traits are cited which do the greatest honor to their character. A few years ago, an aga of janissaries, guilty of rebellion, fled from Damascus, and retired to the Druze. The Pasha knew it and asked it of the Emir, on pain of war; the emir asked the chaik Talhouq who had received it; but the indignant chaik replied:Since when have we seen the Druze hand over their hosts? Tell the emir that as long as Talhouq keeps his beard, he will not fall a hair from the head of his refugee. The emir threatened to take him by force; Talhouq armed his family. The emir, fearing a riot, took a course customary as legal in the country; he told the chaik that he would cut 50 mulberry trees a day, until he returned the aga. They cut off 1,000, and Talhouq remained steadfast. In the end, the other indignant chaiks took up the cause, and the uprising was to become general, when the aga, reproaching itself for causing so much disorder, escaped without even Talhouq's knowledge.[229].

The Druze also have the Bedouin prejudice on birth: like them, they attach a a great price to the seniority of the families: however one cannot say that this results in essential disadvantages. The nobility of the emirs and chaiks does not exempt them from paying tribute, in proportion to their income; it does not give them any prerogative, neither in the possession of land, nor in that of jobs. We do not know in the country, nor in all of Turkia, neither hunting rights, nor soil, nor seigniorial or ecclesiastical tithes, nor francs-fiefs, nor lods and sales: everything is, as they say, in francs -aleu: each, after having paid his miri, his farm or his rent, is master at home. Finally, by a particular advantage, the Druze and the Maronites do not pay for the redemption of successions, and the emir does not assume, like the sultan, land and universal property: nevertheless there is an abuse in the law of inheritance. which has unfortunate effects. Fathers have, as in Roman law, the faculty of favoring such of their children as they please; and from there it happened, in several families of chaiks, that all the goods were gathered on the same subject, which used it to intrigue and cabal, while his parents remained, as they say, princes olives and cheese; that is to say, poor as peasants.

As a result of their prejudices, the Druze do not like to ally themselves outside their families. They always prefer their relative, however poor, to a rich foreigner; and we have seen more than once simple peasants refuse their daughters to merchants from Saïde and Baîrout, who possessed 12 and 15,000 piastres. They also retain to a certain extent the custom of the Hebrews, which wanted the brother to marry the widow of the brother; but it is not peculiar to them, and they share it, as well as many others of this ancient people, with the inhabitants of Syria, and in general with the Arab peoples.

In short, the peculiar and distinctive character of the Druze is, as I said, a sort of republican spirit which gives them more energy than other Turkish subjects, and a carelessness of religion which contrasts very much with zeal. Muslims and Christians. Moreover, their private life, their customs, their prejudices are those of other Orientals. They can marry several wives, and repudiate them when it pleases them; but, with the exception of the Emir and a few notables, the cases are very rare. Busy with their rural work, they do not feel these artificial needs, these exaggerated passions which idleness gives to the inhabitants of the cities. The veil that their wives wear is itself a preservative of these desires which disturb society. Every man knows no woman's face except that of his own, his mother, his sister and his sister-in-law. Each one lives within his family and does not spread much outside. The women, even those of the chaiks, knead the bread, burn the coffee, wash the linen, cook, in a word, do all the domestic work. The men cultivate vines and mulberry trees, build supporting walls for the land, dig and drive, watering canals. Only in the evening they sometimes assemble in the courtyard, the threshing floor or the house of the head of the village or of the family; and there, seated in a circle, cross-legged, pipe in mouth, dagger in belt, they speak of the harvest and the labors, of famine or of abundance, of peace or of war, of the conduct of the emir, the quantity of the tax, the facts of the past, the interests of the present, the conjectures of the future. Often the children, tired of their games, come to listen in silence; and we are amazed to see them, at 10 or 12 years old,Djezzâr declared war on Emir Yousef, how much the prince spent on scholarships, how much the miri will be increased, how many rifles there were in the camp, and who had the best mare. They had no other education: they were not made to read the psalms, as with the Maronites, or the Qôran, as with the Muslims; the chaiks hardly know how to write a note. But, if their mind is empty of useful or pleasant knowledge, at least it is not preoccupied with false and harmful ideas; and doubtless this ignorance of nature is well worth the stupidity of art. It is at least there has been an advantage, which is that minds being all more or less equal, the inequality of conditions has not been made so noticeable. In fact, one does not see among the Druze that great distance between the ranks which, in most societies, degrades the small without improving the large. Chaiks or peasants, all treat each other with that reasonable familiarity which is neither license nor servitude. The great emir himself is not a man different from the others: he is a good country gentleman, who does not disdain to make the simplest farmer sit at his table. In short, they are the customs of ancient times, that is to say, the customs of rural life, with which every nation has been obliged to begin; so that we can establish that any people among whom we find them do not

§ V.

Des Motouâlis.
To the east of the country of the Druze, in the deep valley which separates their mountains from those of the country of Damascus, lives another small people known in Syria under the name of Motouâlis. The character that distinguishes them from other inhabitants of Syria is that they follow Ali's party, like the Persians, while all the Turks follow that of Omar or Moâouia. This distinction, based on the schism which, in the year 36 of the Hedjira, divided the Arabs over the successors of Mahomet, maintains, as I said, an irreconcilable hatred between the two parties. The followers of Omar, who regard themselves as only orthodox, call themselves Sonnites, which has the same meaning, and call their opponents Shiites, that is to say followers (of Ali). The word motouâli has the same meaning in the dialect of Syria. The followers of Ali, who take this name in bad part, substitute that of Adlié, which means supporters of justice (literally vigilantes); and they took that denomination as a consequence of a doctrine which they raised against the belief of the sonnites. Here is what a small Arabic work has to say about it, entitled: Theological fragments on the sects and religions of the world[230].

"They call ADLIE or Avengers, sectarian who claim that God acts only by the principles of justice in accordance with reason men. God cannot, they say, propose an impracticable worship, nor order impossible actions, nor oblige to things out of reach: but by ordering obedience, he gives the faculty, he removes the cause of the evil, he allows the reasoning; he asks what is easy, and not what is difficult; he does not make responsible for the fault of others; he does not punish for a foreign action; he does not find bad in man what he himself has created in him, and he does not demand that he prevent what destiny has decreed over him, because that would be an injustice and a tyranny of which God is incapable by the perfection of his being. " To this doctrine, which diametrically shocks that of the Sonnites, the Motouâlis add external practices which maintain their mutual aversion. For example, they curse Omar and Moâouia as usurpers and rebels: they celebrate Ali and Hosain as saints and martyrs. They start ablution with the elbow, instead of starting with the fingertip, like the Turks; they consider themselves soiled by the touch of strangers; and, against the general practice of the Levant, they do not drink or eat from the vessel which has served a person who is not of their sect, they do not even sit at the same table.

These principles and customs, by isolating the Motouâlis from their neighbors, made them a distinct society. It is claimed that they have existed for a long time as a body of nation in this country; however their name did not appear before this century in the books; he is not even on the cards de d'Anville: La Roque, who spoke of their country less than a hundred years ago, refers to them only by that of Amédiens. However that may be, they have in recent times fixed the attention of Syria by their wars, their brigandage, their progress and their setbacks. Before the middle of the century, they only had Balbek, their capital, and a few cantons in the valley and in Anti-Lebanon, where they seem to originate. At that time we find them governed like the Druze, that is to say, shared under a number of chaiks having a main chief, drawn from the family of Harfouche. After 1750, they extended to the top of Beqââ, and entered Lebanon,Becharrai. They even inconvenienced them by their brigandage, to the point that Emir Yousef was obliged to attack them with open force and to drive them away. On the other hand, their progress had led them along their river to near Sour (Tire). It was under these circumstances, in 1760, that Dâher had the address to tie them up. The pashas of Saïde and Damascus demanded tributes which they neglected to pay them; they complained of various damages caused to their subjects by the Motouâlis: they would have liked to punish them; but revenge was neither sure nor easy. Dâher intervened; he made himself surety for the tribute, promised to watch the depredations, and by this means, he acquired allies who could, it was said, arm ten thousand cavalry, all resolute and feared. Soon after, they seized Sour(Tire), and they made this village their maritime warehouse: in 1771, they usefully served Ali-Bek and Dâher against the Ottomans. But during their absence, Emir Yousef having armed the Druze, came to sack their country. He was in front of the castle of Djezîn, when the Motouâlis returning from Damascus, learned the news of this invasion. At the tale of the barbarities which the Druze had committed, an advanced body of only 500 men was so seized with rage that it immediately pushed towards the enemy, resolved to perish in revenge. But the surprise and the disorder they threw, and the discord which reigned between the factions of Mansour and Yousef, favored this desperate maneuver, to the point that the whole army, composed of twenty-five thousand men, suffered the rout. more complete. In the following years, the affairs of Dâher having taken an unfortunate turn, the Motouâlis grew cold for him; finally they abandoned him in the catastrophe in which he lost his life. But they bore the penalty for their imprudence under the administration of the pasha who succeeded him. Since the year 1777, Djezzâr, master ofAcre and Saïde, did not stop working towards their downfall. His persecution forced them in 1784 to reconcile with the Druze and to make common cause with Emir Yousef, to resist him. Although reduced to fewer than 700 rifles, they did more in this campaign than the 15 to 20,000 Druze and Maronites assembled under Dair-el-Qamar. They alone removed the stronghold of Mar-Djêbaa, and passed over the sword 50 to 60 Arnautes[231] who guarded him. But the misunderstanding of the Druze chiefs having aborted all operations, the pasha ended up seizing the whole valley and the city of Balbek itself. At that time, there were no more than 500 Motouâlis families who took refuge in Anti-Lebanon and in the Lebanon of the Maronites; and henceforth proscribed from their native soil, it is probable that they will end by annihilating themselves, and by taking with them the very name of this nation.

These are the particular peoples who find themselves within the confines of Syria. The rest of the population, which forms the largest mass, is, as I said, made up of Turks, Greeks, and the Arab race. It remains for me to make a table of the geographical distribution of the country, according to the Turkish administration, and to add to it some general considerations on the result of forces and revenues, on the form of government, and finally on the character and manners. of these peoples.

But before moving on to these objects, I believe I should give an idea of ​​the movements which have failed in recent times to cause an important revolution, and to create in Syria an independent power: I mean the insurrection of the Chaik Daher, which for several years has attracted the attention of politicians. A brief account of its history will be all the more interesting since it is new, and what we have learned from the public news of it has been little calculated to give a fair idea of ​​the state of affairs in these distant countries.

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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 2:47 am

Part 1 of 2


[1] Vulgò, snowshoe, cochineal tree.

[2] The most common calculation in Alexandria puts the height of the shaft, including the capital, at 96 feet, and the circumference at 28 feet 3 inches.

[3] Ras el-tin: pronounce, tîne.

[4] Pronounce kalidge.

[5] In Arabic el qali, from which the name of al-kali salt has been made.

[6] These shells are mostly hedgehogs, volutes, bivalves, and a lentil-shaped species. See Doctor Shaw, Voyage to the Levant.

[7] This one is gray, spotted with black and sometimes with red.

[8] Each tribe has its own roads, to avoid disputes.

[9] Besides, there are not ten trees in this desert, and it seems incapable of producing any.

[10] They call it holy, blessed, sacred; and during the new waters, that is to say the opening of the canals, we see the mothers plunging the children into the current, with the prejudice that these waters have a purifying and divine virtue, as the ancients supposed it to all rivers.

[11] For this purpose, bitter almonds are used, and the vase is rubbed, and then it is really light and tasty. But there is only thirst, or prevention, that can put it above our fountains and our great rivers, such as the Seine and the Loire.

[12] Herod., lib. II, p. 105, ed. Wesseling, in-fol.

[13] Letters on Egypt, tom. 1, p. 16.

[14] Geogr. Strabonis, interpret. Casaubon. edits. 1707, lib. XVII. p. 1152.

[15] See the excellent Memoir of d'Anville on Egypt, in-4º, 1765, p. 77.

[16] Odyssey, liv. IV.

[17] Herod., lib. II, p. 106 and 107.

[18] It is only 1,300 toises from it.

[19] Homer can be reproached for not being exact when he says that the Lighthouse was opposite the Nile; but to excuse him, we can say that, speaking of Egypt as the end of the world, he must not have piqued himself with strict precision. In the second place, the Canopic branch used to go through the lakes to open near Abouqir; and if, as the view of the land reminds me, it once passed to the very west of Abouqir, which would have been an island, Homer was able to say, with reason, that the Lighthouse was opposite the Nile.

[20] See Voyage en Arabia, by C. Niebuhr, in-4º, which must be distinguished from the Description of Arabia, by the same, 2 vol. in-4º.

[21] Lib. II, p. 123.

[22] See Picturesque Voyage of Greece, tom. II.

[23] This position is very suitable for Bolbitine.

[24] Letter 1, p. 12.

[25] Herod., lib. II.

[26] Indeed, one would be more inclined, on the inspection of the map, to believe that this was formerly the course of the river; as for the petrification of masts and entire vessels of which Siccard speaks, they would need, to be believed, to be observed by travelers more enlightened than this missionary.

[27] Pag. 12 and following.

[28] Letter 1, p. 12.

[29] Lib. II, p. 109.

[30] Lib. XVII.

[31] I measured several of them with a copper pied-de-roi, but I found that they all varied from one to three lines. The drââ Stambouli has 28 fingers, or 24 inches minus a line.

[32] In Arabic, meqiâs, measuring instrument, measurer.

[33] Doctor Pocoke, who made several good observations on the Nile, was completely lost in the explanation of the text of Kâlkâchenda: he believed, on a suspicious first passage, that the nilometer of time of Omar was only twelve cubits; and he has built upon this error an edifice of false conjecture. Pocoke trip, tom. II, p. 278.

[34] Voyage to Arabia, tom. 1, p. 102.

[35] On May 17, the column was eleven feet above the water, on June 3 it was eleven and a half; therefore in seventeen days there was half a cubit. Pocoke trip, tom. II.

[36] The bed of the river raised itself like the rest of the land.

[37] In the lower Delta, water is watered by means of the wheels, because the water is flush with the ground; but in the upper Delta, it is necessary to establish chains on the wheels, or to raise the water by mobile gallows. We see many of them on the road from Rosetta to Kaire, and we will be convinced that this painful work has a very limited effect.

[38] Herod., lib. II. This anecdote greatly saddens modern chronologists, who place Sesostris before Moses, at the time of which the chariots still existed; but it is not Herodotus' fault that we have not heard his system of chronology, the best of antiquity.

[39] It would be curious to see in what proportion it continues until Asouan. Copts whom I questioned on this subject assured me that it was infinitely higher in all of Said than in Kaire.

[40] Herod., lib. II.

[41] This quantity of channels is a reason which can vary the degrees of the flood: because if there are many, and they are deep, the water will flow more quickly, and will rise. less; if there are few, and they are superficial, the opposite will happen.

[42] Since the publication of this trip, I have been informed of a memoir by Fréret (Acad. Des Inscrip., Tom. XVI ), in which these questions happen to have been debated as early as 1745. In this memoir, this learned critic, attacking head-on the account of Herodotus and the testimony of the Egyptian priests, claims that the Delta has not undergone any change since the most remote centuries: he bases his reasons against its increase, on the position of the cities of Tanis, de Damiât and Rosette, but the facts he cites are vague, and the difference of Niebuhr's measure in excess over that of Herodotus, is a peremptory argument against his sentiment. With regard to its heightening, it proves by more authors than I have cited, that from Moeris until the end of the fifteenth century, the flood has not ceased to be the same: this It is only since that time that travelers have spoken of a flood of 22 and 23 cubits. Prince Radzivil was the first to mention it in the year 1583. Fréret, rejecting his testimony and that of others, maintains that the flood is always the same, and that the difference between the ancients and the moderns is that the some count from the bottom of the water, while others count only from the surface of low water. He relies on the observations of Shaw and Pocoke; but by supporting its consequence, they contradict its explanation: indeed, according to these observations, the rise of the Nile above the lowest waters was in 1714 of 10 cubits 26 fingers, which, joined at 5 cubits and a few fingers qu 'had already the river, give 16 cubits and a few fingers above the bottom: in 1715 the flood above the low water was 10 cubits, which, joined to 6 cubits that the waters already had, form 16 cubits: in 1738 it was 11 cubits 15 fingers, which, joined to 5 that the river had, make 16 cubits, and not 20, as Fréret says, p. 353. So the ancients counted like us from the bottom, and the condition remains the same as ever. By being mistaken in this regard, Fréret reports a fact which, if it is true, is the crux of the enigma; for he says he saw a cubit of the nilometer which is only 15 inches 8 lines of France; or 22 cubits of 15 inches 8 lines is 344 inches 8 lines, while 16 cubits is 328, leaving only a foot 4 inches difference; so that it would be possible that this new cubit was an innovation of the Turks, and that the meqias carried several kinds of cubits. Moreover, he did not understand the alteration of Omar, cited byKâlkâchenda; and he is far from solving the 8 cubits of Moeris, by saying that they come from the derivation of Soulac. Thus, without derogating from the respect due to Fréret, I persist in my conclusions.

[43] It is assigned to June 19 precisely, but it would be difficult to determine the first moments as rigorously as the Copts want to do.

[44] However, Democritus had guessed it. See the History of Diodorus of Sicily, liv. II. I am even led to believe that Homer was aware of it; for the epithet which it gives to the Nile ( diipetès, drawing its origin from the sky) is a sensitive allusion to the rains: and I conclude that the ancient Egyptian priests had amore extensive physique than one thinks; and that the traditions which prevailed in Greece were only an emanation of their sacred books.

[45] When it rains in Egypt and Palestine, it is a general joy on the part of the people; he gathers in the streets, he sings, he fidgets and shouts at the top of his mind, Ya, allah! ya mobârek! that is to say: O god! oh blessed! etc.

[46] In Arabic, kamsîn; but the k represents theSpanish jota, orGerman ch.

[47] The Arabs of the desert call them semum or poison; and the Châmyele or Syrian WindTurks, from whom the Samiel wind was made.

[48] Astronomer Beauchamp often observed 37 and 38 degrees at Basra, and this heat occurs on most of the beaches of Persia, Arabia, and India. — Thirty-two and 33 degrees, which are the heat of the blood, are very frequent in Florida and Georgia (of America). Thus Egypt can only be classified in the countries of average heat.

[49] However, it should be observed that the air on the coast is infinitely less dry than when it comes up inland; therefore, iron cannot be left in the air for 24 hours in Alexandria and Rosetta, until it is completely rusty.

[50] In Arabic, Magârbe, plural of magrebi, man of garb, or sunset: these are our Barbaresques.

[51] In Arabic, bedâoui, formed of bîd, desert, land without dwellings.

[52] All the better as we find them in Saïde before Diocletian; and that it appears that the Saïde was less filled by the Greeks than the Delta.

[53] Indeed, I observe that the figure of the negroes represents precisely this state of contraction which our face assumes when it is struck by the light and by a strong reverberation of heat. Then the brow furrows; the apple of the cheeks rises; the eyelid tightens; the mouth pouted. Could this contraction of the moving parts not have been able and due in the long run to influence the solid parts, and to mold the very framework of the bones? In cold countries, the wind, the snow, the brisk air operate almost the same effect as the excess of light in the hot countries: and we see that almost all savages have something of the head of the negro; then come the customs of molding the heads of children, and even the kind of hairstyle, which, for example, among the Tartars being a high cap, which tightens the temples and raises the eyebrow, seems to me the cause of the goat's eyebrow. that one notices among the Chinese and the Kalmouks: in temperate zones and among peoples who live under roofs, these various circumstances not taking place, the features are lengthened by the rest of the muscles, and the eyes head, because they are protected against the action of air.

[54] Lib. II, p. 150.

[55] This observation which, at the time of the publication of this voyage, in 1787, seemed rather new and pungent than founded in truth, is today made evident by facts themselves as piquant as they are decisive. Blumenbach, very distinguished professor of anatomy at Gottingue, published in 1794 a memoir from which it results:

1º That he had the opportunity to dissect several Egyptian mummies.

2 ° That the skulls of these mummies belong to three different races of men, namely: one, the Ethiopian race characterized by high cheeks, thick lips, wide and flat nose, protruding pupils; so, he adds, that Volney represents the Copts of today to us.

The second race which bears the character of the Hindus, and the third which is mixed and participates in the first two.

Doctor Blumenbach also cites, as proof of the first race, the sphinx engraved in Norden, to which the most learned antiquarians had not paid attention until then. I add in this edition as a new witness, the same sphinx drawn by one of the most distinguished artists of our time, M. Cassas, author of the Picturesque Voyage of Syria, Egypt, etc. One will notice there, in addition to gigantic proportions, an arrangement of lines which establishes more and more what I have advanced.

[56] See the Dict. Coptic, by Lacroze.

[57] It wasn't until the learned Pocoke who, explaining books so well, could never do without an interpreter. Recently, Vonhaven, an Arabic teacher in Denmark, could not even hear the salam alai kom (hello), when he came to Egypt; and his companion, the young Forskal, at the end of a year, was more advanced than he.

[58] To make these differences felt when reading, you have to call up the letters one by one.

[59] Not in all cases, but after the o and the u, as in buch, a book.

[60] When the French travelers who are currently touring the world return, we will see the confusion that the variety of English and French spellings will bring to their accounts.

[61] The curious reader of this kind of study can consult a work which I published to fill the object which I indicate here. It is titled Simplification of Oriental Languages, in-8º, and can be found at Bossange frères, booksellers, rue de Seine, nº 12, in Paris.

[62] Estân is a Persian term meaning country, and ultimately applies to proper names; thus we say Arab-estân, Frank-estân, etc.

[63] In 834.

[64] Who is pleased in God.

[65] This difference from t to s, comes from the fact that the original letter is theEnglish th, which foreigners sometimes translate t, sometimes s.

[66] In 1239, Holagou-kan, descendant of Djenkiz, abolished the kaliphate in the person of Mostâzem.

[67] Or 972, according to d'Herbelot.

[68] Commander by order of God.

[69] Our elders made it into Soldan and Sudan, by frequently changing from ol to or; crazy, crazy; soft, soft.

[70] Mamlouk, passive participle of malak, to possess, means the man possessed in property; what has the meaning of slave; but this species is distinguished from domestic slaves, or blacks, called abd.

[71] The history of this first empire of the Mamlouks, and in general that of Egypt since the invasion of the Arabs, has left a gap in our knowledge to this day: nevertheless there are two manuscripts in the national library. Arabs capable of satisfying our curiosity in this regard. The discovery is due to M. Venture, interpreter of oriental languages, who today accompanies General Buonaparte, and who in our relations of friendship and esteem has shown me an almost completed translation. It is to be hoped that it will one day be published; but as the moment still seems to be behind me, I believe I am doing something agreeable to letters and friendship, by inserting a notice of these manuscripts which the reader will find at the end of the article on Egypt.

[72] Chaik properly means an old man, senior populi; it has taken on the same meaning in the East as among us; and it designates a lord, a commander.

[73] The women of the Mamlouks are, like them, slaves transported from Georgia, from Mingrelie, etc. We always talk about their beauty, and we must believe in the faith of fame. But a European who has only been in Turkey does not have the right to bear witness to it. These women are even more invisible there than the others, and it is undoubtedly to this mystery that they owe the idea that we have of their beauty. I had the opportunity to ask for news from the wife of one of our merchants in Kaire, to whom the trade in stripes and fabrics of Lyon opened all harems.. This lady, who has more than one right to judge well, assured me that out of 1,000 to 1,200 elite women she saw, she did not find 10 who were truly beautiful.; but the Turks are not that difficult; provided a woman is white, she is beautiful; if it is fat, it is admirable. Her face is like the full moon; her hips are like cushions, they say to express the superlative of beauty. We can say that they measure it to the quintal. They also have a remarkable proverb for physicists: Take a white one for your eyes; but for fun, take an Egyptian. Experience has shown them that women in the North are really colder than those in the South.

[74] Hippocrates, lib. de Aere, Locis and Aquis.

[75] This country has always been a nursery for slaves: it supplied them to the Greeks, Romans and ancient Asia. But is it not singular to read in Herodotus that Colchis (today Georgia) once received black inhabitants of Egypt, and to see that today it gives him so different?

[76] The military corps of janissaries, azâbs, etc., were commanded by kiâyas, who, after a year of exercise, resigned their jobs, and became veterans, with voice in the diouân.

[77]I had written this article a long time ago, when Savary published two new volumes on Egypt, in one of which is the life of this same Ali-bek. I expected to find there stories suitable to verify or correct my own; but what was my astonishment to see that we have hardly anything in common! This diversity was all the more disagreeable to me, since not having already found myself not of the same opinion on other objects, it may seem to many readers that I have taken on the task of upsetting this traveler. But, apart from the fact that I do not know Savary's person, I protest that such partialities do not enter into my character. So by what accident does it happen that having been on the same places, having had to see the same witnesses, our accounts are so diverse? I admit that I do I don't really see the reason: all I can assure is that during the 6 months that I lived in Kaire, I carefully questioned those of our merchants and Christian merchants to whom a long residence and a wise spirit seemed to me to give a more authentic testimony. I found them to agree on the main facts, and I had the advantage of hearing their accounts confirmed by a Venetian merchant (C. Rosetti), who was one of Ali-bek's intimate advisers., and the promoter of his links with the Russians, and of his plans for Indian trade. In Syria, I found a host of eyewitnesses to events common to Chaik Dâher and Ali-bek, and I was able to judge the level of education of my authors from Egypt. During eight months that I lived among the Druze,Ibrahim-Sabbâr, was frequently in his house. In Palestine, I lived with Christians and Muslims who commanded troops from Dâher, made the first siege of Yâfa with Ali-bek, and supported the second against Mohammad-bek. I saw the scene, I heard the witnesses; I have received historical notes from the agent of Venice in Yâfa, who suffered his share of all the troubles. These are the materials on which I wrote my narration. It's not that I haven't found some variationsof circumstances: what facts do not? Doesn't the battle of Fontenoi have ten different versions? It suffices to obtain the main results, to admit the greatest probabilities, and I was able to learn for myself, on this occasion, how difficult it is to establish the strict truth of historical facts.

Nor is it that I haven't heard some of Savary's tales; and he himself cannot be accused of having imagined them; for its narration is, word for word, that of an English book printed in 1783, and entitled Precis de la revolte d'Ali-bek *, although there are only forty pages devoted to this subject, and the remainder deals only with commonplaces, customs and geography. I was in Kaire when the public papers gave an account of this work; and I remember well that when our merchants heard of a Marie, wife of Ali-bek; of a Greek Dâoud, father of this commander; grateful like Joseph's, they looked at each other with astonishment, and ended up laughing at the stories that were being told. Thus the English postman, who was in Egypt in 1771, may claim the authority of Ali-bek's kiâya and of a crowd of beks that he consulted without knowing Arabic, we cannot regard him as well. educated. I suspect him all the more of error, since he begins with an unforgivable mistake, by saying that the country of Abaza is the same thing as Amasée, since one is a country of the Caucasus, by pulling towards the Kuban, and the other a city in ancient Cappadocia or modern Natolia.

* An account of the history of the revolt of Ali-bek, etc. London, 1783, 1 vol. in-8º.

[78] The Turks first estimate the Tchercasse or Circassian slaves, then the Abazans; 3 ° the Mingreliens; 4º the Georgians; 5 ° the Russians and the Poles; 6º the Hungarians and the Germans; 7º blacks; and finally the last of all are the Spaniards, the Maltese and other Franks, whom they despise as being drunkards, debauched, mutineers and of little work.

[79] At the time of its ruin, its piastres lost twenty percent, because it was claimed that they were overloaded with alloy. A merchant passed 10,000 of them to Marseilles, and they returned a considerable profit to the cast.

[80] C. Rosetti; his brother Balthasar Rosetti was to be a Jeddah customs officer.

[81] Shortly after, the inhabitants of Mekke drove out the Mamlouks from the port and the city, and re-established the sheriff who had been dispossessed.

[82] The people of Dâher bore this name, because the original seat of the state of Dâher was in Safad, a village in Galilee.

[83] Pronounce Sède; it is the city which succeeded Sidon.

[84] Due to the pilgrimage, whose two large caravans leave from Kaire and Damascus.

[85] Such as Sâlêh-bek.

[86] Dagger worn on the belt.

[87] Ali-bek, going into exile (for he was exiled up to three times), was encamped near Kaire, having a period of 24 hours to pay his debts: one named Hasan, janissary, to whom he owed 500 sequins (3,750 lb), came to find it. Ali, believing he was asking for his money, began to apologize; but Hasan, drawing another 500 sequins, said to him, You are in trouble, take these again. Ali, confused by this generosity, swore, by the head of the prophet, that if he returned, he would make this man an unparalleled fortune. In fact, on his return, he made him his general supplier of provisions; and although he was warned of Hasan's scandalous concussions, he never repressed them.

[88] Sabbâr by grasseyant l ' r, which means dyer; withordinary r this word would mean sounder.

[89] In the month of June 1776.

[90] That is to say, of which he had been the patron: among the Mamlouks, the freedman passes for the child of the house.

[91] 2,625,000 lbs.

[92] The deposition formula consists of this word: Enzel; that is to say, get off the castle.

[93] I say old, because today we no longer manufacture steel there.

[94] See, Voyage, tom. II, Political State of Syria, chap. III, the note relating to shawls.

[95] European merchants, who have taken a liking to this luxury, do not believe they have a decent wardrobe when it does not spend 12 or 15,000 francs.

[96] When I was in Kaire, the Mamlouks kidnapped the wife of a Jew who was crossing the Nile with her. This Jew having made complaints to Mourâd, this bek replied in his carter's voice: Hey, let these young people frolic! In the evening, the Mamlouks sent word to the Jew that they would give him back his wife if he counted 100 piastres for their pains, and he had to go through that. It is remarkable that in the customs of the country, the article of women is a thing more sacred than life itself.

[97] We remember that Egypt is a bare and woodless country.

[98] In Turkia, the tombs, according to the usage of the ancients, are always outside the towns; and as each tomb usually has a large stone and a small masonry, there results almost a second city, which one could call, as formerly in Alexandria, Necropolis, the city of the dead.

[99] They have superstitious prejudices against this use.

[100] In Arabic qâiem maqâm, word for word in lieu, which has been made caimacan.

[101] Indeed, most ancient and modern peoples who have displayed great activity happen to be mountain people. The Assyrians, who conquered from the Indus to the Mediterranean, came from the mountains of Atouria. The Kaldeans came from the same regions; the Persians of Cyrus came out from the mountains of Elymaid, the Macedonians from the Rhodope mountains. In modern times, the Swiss, the Scots, the Savoyards, the Miquelets, the Asturians, the inhabitants of the Cévennes, always free, or difficult to submit, would prove the generality of this rule, if the exception of the Arabs and the Tartars n 'indicated that there is another moral cause which belongs to the plains as to the mountains.

[102] When a man is killed by another, the family of the deceased demands a retaliation from that of the murderer, the pursuit of which is transmitted from race to race, without ever forgetting it.

[103] When a man has undergone this torture without detecting his money, it is said of him: He is a man, and this word indemnifies him.

[104] Often, on suspicion, they slaughter them; and this prejudice also takes place in Syria. When I was in Ramlé, a peasant walked around the market for several days, having his coat stained with the blood of his daughter, which he had thus slaughtered; the great number approved it: Turkish justice does not interfere in these things.

[105] This caravan comes by land along the Nile; it was with her that Bruce, an Englishman, returned in 1772 from Abissinia, where he had made the most daring journey that has been attempted in this century. While crossing the desert, the caravan ran out of food, and lived for several days only on gum.

[106] I saw in Kaire several blacks arrived by this caravan, who came from the land of the Foulis, in the north of Senegal, who said they had seen Franks in their regions.

[107] Species of boats that carry a huge Latin sail striped in blue and brown like ticking.

[108] In 1784, Egypt consumed two and a half million of our food, and gave us back three million. However, this branch being at least the fifth of all its trade, it cannot be estimated at more than 15 million active in total.

[109] The ancients thought that the Red Sea was higher than the Mediterranean; indeed, if we observe that, from the channel of Qolzoum to the sea, the Nile still has a slope for the space of 30 leagues, we will not believe this idea so ridiculous, although it seems that the level had to be established by the Cape of Good Hope. Add that it is a fact that continuous winds from the same side raise the waters on the opposite shores: thus easterly winds raise the sea level by 12 to 18 inches in the ports of Toulon, Marseille and from Catalonia; and the southern monsoon must produce a similar effect in the long and narrow channel of the Red Sea: but conversely the northern monsoon must produce the opposite effect; in all cases the experience of the elders has to be started over.

[110] Strabo, lib. XVII: the Trojan War, according to calculations which are specific to me, corresponds to the time of Solomon. See a Memoir on ancient chronology, inserted in the Journal des savants, January 1782; and in the Encyclopedia in order of subject matter, tom. III of Antiquities.

[111] Lib. XVII.

[112] She remained assembled for more than 40 days, postponing her departure for various reasons, among others because of the unfortunate days of which the Turks are superstitious like the Romans. Finally she left on July 27, and arrived at Suez on the 29th, having walked 29 hours by the Haouatas road, 1 league further south than the Lac des Pèlerins.

[113] This is the name that the Provencals give to the dahler of the Empire, after the Arabs, who call him Riâl oboutâqà, or father of the window, because of his escutcheon, which, according to them, looks like at a window. The dahler is worth 5 livres 5 sous in France.

[114] In May 1783, the Jeddah fleet, consisting of 28 sails, including 4 vessels pierced for 60 guns, brought nearly 30,000 packages of coffee, which, at the rate of 370 pounds per package, made a total weight of 11,100,000 pounds., or 101,000 quintals; but it should be noted that the requests this year were a third higher than usual. Thus we must count 60 to 70,000 quintals per year. The file paying 216 pounds of duty at Suez, the 30,000 files returned to the customs 6,480,000 livres tournois.


In Moka 16 liv.
In Suez 147
More 69
Total rights 232
Purchase 236
Total 468
To which including freight, losses, waste, we should not be surprised if mocha coffee sells for 45 and 50 cents a pound in Egypt, and 3 francs in Marseille.

[116] In general, Orientals have an aversion to European customs, which keeps them away from any idea of ​​emigration.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

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Part 2 of 2

[117] The news of the time spoke a great deal about this plunder, on the occasion of M. de Saint-Germain, of the island of Bourbon, the disaster of which caused noise in France. The caravan was made up of English officers and passengers and a few French prisoners, who had come on 2 vessels to disembark at Suez, to cross to Europe via the Kaire route. The Bedouin Arabs of Tôr, informed that these passengers would be accompanied by a rich load, resolved to plunder them, and indeed plundered them five leagues from Suez. The Europeans, stripped naked as the hand, and dispersed by fear, divided themselves into two bands. Some returned to Suez; the others, 7 in number, believing they could reach Kaire, plunged into the desert. Soon fatigue, thirst, hunger and the ardor of the sun, made them perish one after the other. M. de Saint-Germain alone resisted all these evils. For 3 days and 2 nights, he wandered in this arid and bare desert, frozen by the north wind during the night (it was in January), scorched by the sun during the day, with no other shade than a single bush, where he plunged his head among the thorns, with no other drink than his urine. Finally, on the third day,Berket-el-Hadj, he tried to get there; but he had already fallen from weakness three times, and no doubt he would have remained at his last fall, if a peasant, mounted on his camel, had not seen him from a great distance. This charitable man transported him to his home, and nursed him there for three days with the greatest humanity. At the end of this term, the merchants of Kaire, informed of his adventure, had M. de Saint-Germain brought to the city; he arrived there in the most deplorable state. Her body was just a wound; his breath was that of a corpse, and all he had left was the breath of life. However, by dint of care and attention, Charles Magallon, who had received him in his house, had the satisfaction of saving him, and even of restoring him. Much has been said in the past about the barbarism of the Arabs, who, however, killed no one; today we must blame the imprudence of the Europeans, who in this whole affair behaved like madmen. There was the greatest discord among them, and they had been so negligent that they did not have a working pistol. All the weapons were at the bottom of the boxes. Moreover, it seems that the Arabs did not act of their own accord: well-educated people assure that the affair had been prepared in Constantinople by the English company of India, which viewed with a bad eye that private individuals entered. in competition with it for the flow of Bengal goods; and what happened in the course of the prosecution proved the truth of this assertion. imprudence of the Europeans, who behaved like mad in all this matter. There was the greatest discord among them, and they had been so negligent that they did not have a working pistol. All the weapons were at the bottom of the boxes. Moreover, it seems that the Arabs did not act of their own accord: well-educated people assure that the affair had been prepared in Constantinople by the English company of India, which viewed with a bad eye that private individuals entered. in competition with it for the flow of Bengal goods; and what happened in the course of the prosecution proved the truth of this assertion. imprudence of the Europeans, who behaved like mad in all this matter. There was the greatest discord among them, and they had been so negligent that they did not have a working pistol. All the weapons were at the bottom of the boxes. Moreover, it seems that the Arabs did not act of their own accord: well-educated people assure that the affair had been prepared in Constantinople by the English company of India, which viewed with a bad eye that private individuals entered. in competition with it for the flow of Bengal goods; and what happened in the course of the prosecution proved the truth of this assertion. and they had been so negligent that they didn't have a working pistol. All the weapons were at the bottom of the boxes. Moreover, it seems that the Arabs did not act of their own accord: well-educated people assure that the affair had been prepared in Constantinople by the English company of India, which viewed with a bad eye that private individuals entered. in competition with it for the flow of Bengal goods; and what happened in the course of the prosecution proved the truth of this assertion. and they had been so negligent that they didn't have a working pistol. All the weapons were at the bottom of the boxes. Moreover, it seems that the Arabs did not act of their own accord: well-educated people assure that the affair had been prepared in Constantinople by the English company of India, which viewed with a bad eye that private individuals entered. in competition with it for the flow of Bengal goods; and what happened in the course of the prosecution proved the truth of this assertion. case had been prepared in Constantinople by the English company of India, which saw with evil eye that private individuals entered into competition with it for the flow of the goods of Bengal; and what happened in the course of the prosecution proved the truth of this assertion. case had been prepared in Constantinople by the English company of India, which saw with evil eye that private individuals entered into competition with it for the flow of the goods of Bengal; and what happened in the course of the prosecution proved the truth of this assertion.

[118] Wheat is prohibited, and Pocoke noted in 1737 that this had harmed the crop.

[119] A species of grain quite similar to lentils, which grows in tufts, on a reed 6 to 7 feet high: this is Linnaeus' holcus arundinaccus.

[120] They observed that these insults go, in a common year, to 63,000 pounds tournaments.

[121] This name of Masr has the same consonants as that of Mesr -aïm, alleged by the Hebrews; which, due to its plural form, seems to properly designate the inhabitants of the Delta, while those of the Thebaid were called Benikous or children of kous.

[122] Sultan Selim had assigned boats to carry them constantly to the sea; but this establishment was destroyed to divert the funds.

[123] It is called karadj; k here is theSpanish jota.

[124] D'Anville has known two lists of the villages of Egypt: one, from the last century, has 2,696 towns and villages; the other, from the middle of it, 2,395, including 957 in Saïd, and 1,439 in the Delta (which makes however, as Anville also observes, 2,396). The summary I give is for the year 1783.

[125] The turtledoves, of which there are a prodigious number, make their nests in the houses, and even the children do not touch them.

[126] It should be noted that the blind from the villages come to settle at the Mosque of Flowers ( el-Azhar ), where they have a kind of hospital. Lazaret seems to me to come from there.

[127] However, history observes that several of the Faraons died blind.

[128] They practice it by inserting a thread into the flesh, or by breathing or swallowing dried pimple powder.

[129] We can cite in evidence the Mamlouks, who, by means of good food and a diet of course, enjoy the most robust health.


Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos.
[131] We often see in Egypt hanging over the faces of children, and even that of grown men, small pieces of red cloth, or twigs of coral and colored glass; their use is to fix, by their color and their movement, the first glance of the envious, because it is that, they say, that strikes.

[132] The Egyptians and the Turks in general have a passion for the steam bath that is difficult to conceive in a country as hot as theirs; but it seems to me to come less from sensations than from prejudices. The law of Qôran, which orders men a strong ablution after the conjugal duty, is itself a very powerful motive; and the vanity which they attach to carrying it out becomes another which is no less effective. For women, he joins these reasons, 1º that the bath is the only place of assembly where they can show off their luxury and feast on melons and fruits, pastry and other sweets; 2º that they believe, as Prosper Alpin observed, that the bath gives them that plumpness which passes for beauty. As for foreigners, their opinions differ as their feelings. Several traders from Kaire love the bath, others have been mistreated by it, and I looked like them. It gave me dizziness and knee tremors which lasted for 2 days. I admit that too complacent masseurs.

[133] The next day he always gives an enema to evacuate this kina.

[134] Prosper Alpin, a Venetian physician, who wrote in 1591, also says that the plague did not originate in Egypt; that she comes from Greece, Syria, Barbary; let the heat kill her, etc. See Medicina Ægyptiorum, p. 28.

[135] In Kaire, it has been observed that the water carriers, constantly sprinkled with fresh water which they carry in a skin on their back, are never attacked by the plague: but here it is lotion, and not humidity; on the other hand, the astronomer Beauchamp observes me, in a letter written from Baghdad, that the plague which preceded 1787 harvested all the water carriers of the city. Even the Europeans, in spite of their vinegar lotions, did not escape, and yet one of them who drank whole glasses of it escaped. Beauchamp also makes the curious remark that the plague never passes through Persia, whose climate is generally more temperate, and the soil is hilly and covered with plants.

[136] Last year is proof of this, since a plague broke out in Tunis as violent as ever. It was brought in by ships coming from Constantinople, which corrupted the guards and entered in fraud without making quarantine.

[137] When I was writing this in 1786, I was not familiar with Amrou's letter to Caliph Omar, which deals with precisely the same subject in the same way. The reader can only be grateful to me for quoting this curious piece of oriental eloquence.

Letter from Kaliph Omar ebn-el-Kattâb, to Amrou, his
lieutenant in Egypt.

O Amrou, son of el-Aas, what I want from you, upon receipt of this letter, is that you paint me a picture of Egypt that is accurate and vivid enough for me to imagine myself seeing with my own eyes this beautiful country. Hi.

Amrou's response.

O prince of the faithful! paint yourself an arid desert, and a magnificent countryside in the middle of two mountains, one of which has the shape of a sand hill, and the other of the belly of a stingy horse or the back of a camel: this is Egypt! All its productions and all its riches, from Asouan (Syene) to Menchâ, come from a blessed river which flows with majesty in the midst of it. The moment of the rising and the retreat of its waters is as regulated as the course of the sun and the moon; there is a fixed period in the year when all the sources of the universe come to pay this king of the rivers the tribute to which Providence has subjected them to him. Then the waters increase, come out of its bed, and cover the whole face of Egypt to deposit a productive silt there. It does

When the moment arrives when its waters cease to be necessary for the fertility of the soil, this docile river returns within the limits that fate has prescribed for it, to allow the treasure it has hidden in the bosom of the earth to be collected..

A people protected from the sky, and which like the bee seems destined only to work for others, without profiting itself from the price of its sweats, slightly opens the bowels of the earth, and deposits there seeds which it expects the fruitfulness of the benefit of this beingwhich causes the harvests to grow and ripen. — The germ develops, the stem rises, the ear is formed by the help of a dew which makes up for the rains, and which maintains the nourishing juice with which the soil is imbued. The most abundant harvest suddenly succeeds sterility. So it is, O prince of the faithful! that Egypt offers in turn the image of a powdery desert, of a liquid and silvery plain, of a black and silty swamp, of a green and undulating meadow, of a flowerbed adorned with various flowers, and with a quill covered with yellowing harvests: blessed be the creator of so many wonders!

Three things, O prince of the faithful! contribute essentially to the prosperity of Egypt and the happiness of its inhabitants. The first, not to adopt lightly projects invented by fiscal greed, and tending to increase taxes; the second, to use a third of the revenues for the maintenance of canals, bridges and dikes; the third, to levy tax only in kind, on the fruits that the earth produces. Hi.

[138] There was a very violent one among others in the year 1112.

[139] One can, on this subject, consult the plates of Norden, which make this state sensitive.

[140] Multum mentitur qui multum vidit

[141] No one has fewer subjects of humor against Egypt than I: I experienced there from our merchants the most generous and honest reception; I have never had any disagreeable accident, not even dismounting in front of the Mamlouks. It is true that most often, and despite the shame attributed to it, I only walked on foot in the streets.

[142] The view of the pyramids, which I enclose with this edition, and which is missing from the first ones, is not taken from the edge of the river itself, which is too distant from it, but from the edge of the canal which is in the plain before to arrive at the rock, and which is not filled until the time of the flood. The talent of the artist seems to me to have given in this circumscribed drawing the most extensive and exact idea of ​​these prodigious monuments.

[143] To the list of these differences, alleged by Savary, we must add the recent measurement of Niebuhr which gives the great pyramid 480 feet perpendicular height.

[144] I do not mean the only pyramids of Djizé, but all in general. Some, like that of Bayamont, have no rocks either below or in the vicinity. See Pocoke.

[145] Nevertheless, I do not dispute the property which the ingenious and learned Dupuis discovered in the largest of the pyramids.

[146] She is 13 paces long by 11 paces wide, and about the same height.

[147] The great pyramid itself is one; but if it is found that the side of its base is just equivalent to 1 Alexandrian stage (684 feet 9 inches 60 hundredths), and happens to be exactly the 500-degree part of the earth's circle, as we ourselves know; if, as the ingenious and learned Dupuis observes, its sides are arranged at an angle such that at the entry of the sun into the equinoctial signs its disc appears to be placed at the top for the spectator kneeling at the base, it is necessary agree that in the construction of this one we have combined other motives. Besides, these questions will soon be clarified by the scholars who are in Egypt.

[148] Here is the progress of this etymology. The French word pyramide is the Greek pyramis, idos; but in ancient Greek, it was pronounced or; so we must say for friends. When the Greeks, after the Trojan War, frequented Egypt, they were not to have the name of this new object in their language; they had to borrow it from the Egyptians. Pouramis is therefore not Greek, but Egyptian. Now, it seems common ground that the dialects of Egypt, which were varied, had great analogies with those of neighboring countries, such as Arabia and Syria. It is true that in these languages pis an unknown pronunciation; but it is also a fact that the Greeks, by adopting barbaric words, almost always altered them, and often confused a sound with another more or less similar. It is also a fact that, in known words, p is constantly taken for b, which hardly differs from it. In this data, pouramis becomes bouramis. However, in the dialect of Palestine, bour means any excavation in earth, a cistern, a properly underground prison, a sepulcher. See Buxtorf,Lexicon hebr. Remain friends, where the final s seems to me an ending substituted for the t, which was not in the Greek genius, and which made the oriental, a-mit, of the dead; bour a-mit, vault of the dead; this substitution of s for t has an example in atribis, well known to be atribit: it is for the connoisseurs to judge whether there are many etymologies which meet as many conditions as this one.

[149] This prince, he said, reigned fifty years, and he employed twenty of them in building the pyramid. A third of Egypt was employed, by drudgery, in cutting, transporting and raising stones.

[150] It is remarkable that if we wrote the Egyptian name alleged by the Greeks, in Phoenician characters, we would use the same letters that we pronounce pharao; thefinal o in Hebrew is an h, which at the end of words very often becomes t.

[151] I don't know of anything more apt to represent the pyramids in Paris than the Hôtel des Invalides, seen from Cours-la-Reine. The length of the building being six hundred feet, precisely equals the base of the great pyramid; but to figure out its height and solidity, we must suppose that the face mentioned rises in a triangle whose point exceeds the height of the dome by two thirds of this same dome (it is 300 feet): moreover, that the same face must be repeated on 4 sides in a square, and that all the resulting massif is full, and only offers an immense slope on the outside, arranged in steps.

[152] I have this fact from the merchants of Acre, who tell it on the faith of a captain from Marseilles, who, at the time, loaded rice in Damiât.

[153] About 437,000 pounds. In 1780, Mourad-bek withdrew from Faraskour 100,000 pataques or 525,000 pounds.

[154] This is why everything prospered, because the variable property tax each year kills industry and loses states. ( Note from Volney ).

[155] Baï in Turkman means rich; it is theTunisian bey. Daï or dey means brave.

[156] These letters, called bàtaïq, contained the pure and simple opinion; they were attached under the wing: they were dated by the place, by the day, by the hour. They sent in duplicate: when the bird arrived, the sentry took it to the Sultan himself, who detached the writing. Well-trained pigeons were overpriced. These establishments were very expensive, but very useful. The pigeons were called the angels of kings.

[157] The translator believes that a dovecote in el-Arich has been forgotten, based on the too great inconvenient distance for transporting pigeons.

[158] We assume here the omission of a dovecote on the mountains.

[159] That is to say around the year 750 before Jesus Christ. This is why Homer, who wrote at the beginning of that century, did not quote it, although he made mention of the inhabitants of the country: he used the oriental name Aram, altered in Arimeén, and Erembos.

[160] Geographers however sometimes quote it, writing it Souria, according to the perpetual translation of y into or Arabic.

[161] Pronounce châm and not kâm; and, as a general rule in the Arabic words I quote, pronounce ch as in charm, even if it is at the end of the word. D'Anville writes shâm, because it follows the English spelling, in which sh is our ch: El-Châm alone is the name of the city of Damascus, deemed capital of Syria. I don't know why Savary made it El-Chams, city of the sun.

[162] In antiquity, the peoples who worshiped the sun, paying homage to it at the time of its rising, always assumed their face turned to the east. The north was the left, the south the right, and the setting the rear, called, in eastern, acheron and akaron.

[163] The old Béryte.

[164] All the vessels which go to Alexandretta touch in Cypre, the southern part of which is a bare and ravaged plain.

[165] We must except Mount Casius, which rises above Antioch like an enormous peak. But Pliny passes the hyperbole, when he says that from his point we discover at the same time dawn and dusk.

[166] There are only 4 or 5 of these trees that have any appearance.

[167] This is the land called the Engaddi Caves, where vagabonds have always retreated. There are some who would hold 1,500 men.

[168] Mont Blanc, the highest in the Alps, is estimated to be 2,400 toises above sea level; and the Pic d'Ossian in the Pyrenees, 1900.

[169] The Lait river, which flows into Nahr-el-Salib, also called the Bairout river; this arcade is over 160 feet long by 85 wide, and nearly 200 feet of elevation above the torrent.

[170] These underground streams are common throughout Syria; there are some near Damascus, at the sources of the Orontes, and at those of the Jordan. That of Mar-Hanna, a Greek convent, near the village of Chouaîr, opens with a chasm called el-Bâlouè, that is to say the engulfer; it is a mouth about 10 feet wide, located at the bottom of a funnel. At 15 feet deep is a kind of first bottom; but it only masks a very deep lateral opening. It was closed a few years ago, because it had been used to conceal a murder. The winter rains having come, the waters accumulated and made a rather deep lake; but a few streams of water having emerged among the stones, they were soon stripped of the earth which bound them: then the mass of water making an effort, the obstacle suddenly burst with an explosion similar to a blow. of thunder; the reaction of the compressed air was such that it spurted a waterspout more than 200 paces on a neighboring house.

[171] Lib. XVI, p. 264.

[172] It is true that the Jordan is deep; but if the Orontes were not stopped by multiplied bars, it would remain dry during the summer.

[173] Lake Antioch abounds especially in eels and a species of poor quality goldfish. The Greeks, who are perpetual fasters, consume a lot of it. Lake Tabarié is even richer; it is mostly filled with crabs; but as its surroundings are populated only by Muslims, it is little fished.

[174] All over the Syrian coast, and particularly in Tripoli, the lowest thermometer degrees in winter are 9 and 8 degrees above the ice; in summer, in well-closed apartments, it goes up to 25 and a half and 26. As for the barometer, it is remarkable that, in the last days of May, it is fixed at 28 inches, and does not vary until October.

[175] This is practiced by several of the inhabitants of this canton, who spend the winter near Tripoli, while their houses are buried in the snow.

[176] Mar- Hanna el- Chouair; that is to say Saint-Jean near the village of Chouair. This monastery is in a valley of rockeries, which flows into that of Nahr-el-Kelb, or torrent of the Dog. The religious are Greek-Catholics, of the order of Saint Basil: I will have the opportunity to speak about it more fully.

[177] Former Jesuit house, now occupied by the Lazarists.

[178] I have never seen buckwheat in Syria, and oats are rare there. Horses are given only barley and straw.

[179] I have seen some that weighed 18 pounds.

[180] Broulos, on the coast of Egypt, has better watermelons than in the rest of the Delta, where the fruits are generally too watery.

[181] It has long been believed that the insect of the cochineal belonged exclusively to Mexico; and the Spaniards, to ensure their ownership, forbade the export of the living cochineal, under pain of death; but Thierri, who succeeded in kidnapping it in 1771, and who transported it to Saint-Domingue, found that the nopals of this island had it before his arrival. It seems that nature almost never separates insects from the plants that are appropriate for them.

[182] The layout of the land in Yemen and Tehama has a lot of analogy with that of Syria. See Niebuhr, Voyage to Arabia.

[183] To complete the natural history of Syria, it should be said that it produces all our domestic animals; but she adds to it the buffalo and the camel, the usefulness of which is so well known. In wild animals, one finds there in the plains gazelles which replace our roe deer; in the mountains and the marshes, a number of wild boars, smaller and less ferocious than ours. The stag and the fallow deer are not known there; the wolf and the real fox are very few; but there is a prodigious quantity of the middle species called jackal (in Syria or calls it ouâoui, by imitation of its cry; and in Egypt dîb or wolf). The jackals live in troops in the neighborhood of the cities, of which they eat the carrion; they never attack anyone, and only know how to defend their lives by flight. Every evening they seem to give each other the word to howl, and their cries, which are very dismal, sometimes last a quarter of an hour. There are also in remote places hyenas (in Arabic daba ) and ounces, falsely called tigers (Némr). Lebanon, the country of the Druze and Nâblous, Mount Carmel and the surroundings of Alexandretta, are their main stays. As a reward, one is exempt from lions and bears; waterfowl is very abundant; that of land is only by cantons. The hare and the big red partridge are the most common; the rabbit, if there is one, is infinitely rare; the francolin is not at Tripoli, and near Yâfa. Finally, do not forget to observe that the species of the hummingbird exists in the territory of Saïd. MJ-B. Adanson, formerly a performer in this city, which cultivates natural history with as much taste as success, found one which he presented to his brother the academician. It is, with the pelican, the only very remarkable bird of Syria.

[184] The sowing of the winter harvest, which is called chetâouîé, does not take place throughout Syria until the arrival of the autumn rains, that is to say around All Saints' Day. The time of this harvest then varies from place to place. In Palestine, and in Haurân, wheat and barley are cut from the end of April and during May. But the further north you go, or the higher you go in the mountains, the harvest is delayed until June and July.

The sowing of the summer or saîfi harvest is done in the spring rains, that is to say in March and April, and their harvest takes place in the months of September and October.

The harvest, in the mountains, takes place at the end of September; the silkworms hatch there in April and May, and make their cocoons in July.

[185] See the questions of Michaélis, proposed to the travelers of the king of Denmark.

[186] It is the mechanism of the chimneys and the baths of ovens.

[187] There is, moreover, an effort of the dilated air against the barriers which imprison it; but this effect is indifferent to our object.

[188] This is why, as Montesquieu very well observed, Tartary, under the parallel of England and France, is infinitely colder than these countries.

[189] This explains why Gaul was colder in the past than it is today.

[190] Franklin thought that the cause of the easterly trade windheld to the rotation of the earth; but if so, why is the east wind not perpetual? How, moreover, to explain in this hypothesis the two monsoons of India, so arranged that their alternatives are marked precisely by the passage of the sun in the equinoctial line; that is, westerly and southerly winds prevail during the 6 months that the sun is in the boreal zone, and easterly and northerly winds during the 6 months that it is in the zone southern. Doesn't this report prove that all wind accidents depend solely on the action of the sun on the earth's atmosphere? The moon, which has such a marked effect on the ocean, can also have it on the winds; but the influence of the other planets seems a chimera which only suits

[191] Franklin gives the same explanation.

[192] He is often sensitive to sight; but it is made even more evident by bringing a frayed silk or the flame of a small candle near the pipes.

[193] These gusts are so sudden that they sometimes capsize the boats. I hardly had the experience of it.

[194] See article on Egypt.

[195] I observed this in Palestine in the months of November, December and January 1784 and 85. The plain of Palestine, especially towards Gaze, is in roughly the same climatic circumstances as Egypt.

[196] It is worth noting that the Nile then established a current over the entire coast of Syria, which carries Gaze in Cypre.

[197] It seems to me that this is the same column of which Baron de Tott speaks. I have likewise noticed the vaporous state of the horizon of Egypt, which he mentions.

[198] This solves a problem that was offered to me in Yâfa: to know, why one sweats more in Yâfa on the seashore than in Ramlé which is three leagues inland. The reason is that the air of Yâfa being saturated with humidity, pumps only slowly the emanation of the body, while at Ramlé the more greedy air pumps the faster. It is also for this reason that in our climates the breath is visible in winter, and not in summer.

[199] I do not know what is happening in this regard in Upper Egypt: as for the Delta, it seems that it sometimes receives clouds and thunder from the Red Sea. On the day that I left Kaire (September 26, 1783), at nightfall, a thunderstorm appeared in the south-east which soon gave several thunderclaps, and ended with a violent hail the size of round peas in the strong species. It lasted 10 to 12 minutes, and we had time, my traveling companions and I, to collect enough from the boat to fill two tall glasses, and say that we had ice-cream in Egypt. It is also good to observe that this was the time when the southern monsoon begins on the Red Sea.

[200] Niebuhr also observed in Moka and Bombai that thunderstorms always came from the sea.

[201] It also seems that the flying stars are a particular combination of fire matter. The Maronites of Mar-Elias assured me that one of these stars that fell 3 years ago on two mules of the convent, killed them with a noise similar to a pistol shot, without leaving more traces than thunder.

[202] Alexandrette and Beilan, who is a neighbor, speak Turkish; but one can regard them as the frontiers of Caramania, where Turk is the vulgar language.

[203] Adjam is the name of the Persians in Arabic. The Greeks knew it and expressed it by achemen-ides.

[204] Strabo, liv. II, says that the Niphate and its chain are said to be Gordonæi.

[205] Pronounce Najd.

[206] This saline quality is so inherent in the soil that it passes into the plants. All those of the desert abound in soda and Glauber's salt. It is remarkable that the dose of these salts decreases on approaching the mountains, where it ends up being almost zero; and, all things considered, this saline quality must be the real cause of the sterility of the desert.

[207] I know of four distinct species of camels: the 1 st, the camel as I just described, and which is properly the Arab camel, carrying burdens, having a bump and very little hair on the body.

The 2 e is the camel rider called hedjin in Cairo, more slender in all its forms, having a bump; it is the real dromedary of the Greeks. We now have two in Paris, which we saw at the Champ-de-Mars festivals. These two species are widespread from Morocco to Persia.

The 3 e species is the camel Turkman, widespread Aleppo to Constantinople and northern Persia. He only has one bump; it is lower than the Arab camel; he has shorter, thicker legs, a stockier body and infinitely better covered with hair. The neck one hangs down to the ground and is usually brown.

The 4 th is the camel tartare or Bactrian, widespread throughout China and Tartary. This one has two bumps. Only these are seen in Peking, while they are so rare in Lower Asia, that I would cite a crowd of travelers, even Arabs, who, like me, have never seen any there. “Buffon totally confused these species.

[208] This cause is also evident in the comparison of Arab camels to Turkmen camels, because the latter, living in countries rich in fodder, have become a species stronger in limbs, and more fleshy than the former.

[209] Exclamation of praise, as if to say, admirably well.

[210] The Arabs make a distinction between their hosts, as a Mostadjir host, or begging for protection; and as a matnoub host, or who sets up his tent among the others, that is to say, who becomes naturalized.

[211] Niebuhr reports in his Description of Arabia, tome II, page 208, Paris edition, that for 30 yearsa new religionhas arisen in the Najd, the principles of which are analogous to the dispositions of mind with which I speak. “These principles are,” said this traveler, “that God alone should be invoked and worshiped as the author of everything; that no prophet should be mentioned when praying, because that touches on idolatry; that Moses, Jesus Christ, Mahomet, etc., are indeed great men, whose actions are edifying; but that no book was inspired by the angel Gabriel, or by any other celestial spirit. Finally, that vows made in a threatening danger are of no merit or obligation.

“I don't know,” adds Niebuhr, “how far one can count on the report from Bedouin who told me these things. Maybe it was his very way of thinking; for the Bedouins say they are indeed Mohammedans, but they usually do not bother with either Mohammed or the Qôran. "

This insurrection had for authors two Arabs, who, after having traveled, for commercial business, in Persia and Malabar, formed reasonings on the diversity of the religions which they saw, and deduced this general tolerance from it. One of them, named Abel-el-Ouaheb, had formed an independent state in Najd in 1760: the second, called Mekrâmi, chaik of Nadjerân, had adopted the same opinions, and by its value he was raised to a fairly great power in those countries. These two examples make me even more probable a conjecture which I had already formed, that nothing is easier than to carry out a great political and religious revolution in Asia.

[212] Assemani, Oriental Library.

[213] Liv. XX, chap. 30.

[214] The root Hass, by amajor H, means to kill, to assassinate, to listen to surprise; but the Hassas compound is lacking in Golius.

[215] It is said that they have nocturnal assemblies, where after a few readings they turn off the light, and mingle like the ancient Gnostics.

[216] Oriens Christ., tom. II, pag. 680.

[217] Cedrenus.

[218] Village of Kesraouân.

[219] In the mountains, the word chaik properly means a notable, a country lord.

[220] Name of the ministers of the little princes.

[221] Kabal and Kabat. The K here is the Spanish jota.

[222] The root cause of all this great quarrel was the aversion that Aisha, wife of Mohammed, had conceived against Ali, on the occasion, it is said, of an infidelity which he had revealed to the prophet: she could not forgive him for this indiscretion; and after having given him three times exclusion from the Kaliphate by her intrigues, seeing that he was winning in the fourth, she resolved to lose him by open force. For this purpose, she raised against him various Arab leaders, and among others Amron, governor of Egypt, and Moâouia, governor of Syria. The latter had himself proclaimed caliph or successor in the city of Damascus. Ali, to dispossess him, declared war on him; but the nonchalance of his conduct destroyed his business. After some hostilities, where the advantages were balanced, he perished, in Koufa, by the hand of an assassin or Batenien. His supporters elected his son Hosain in his place; but this young man, little suited to circumstances as thorny as those in which he found himself, was killed in an encounter by the partisans of Moâouia. This death made the two factions irreconcilable. Their hatred became a reason to no longer agree on the Qoran's comments.. The doctors of the two parties took pleasure in opposing each other, and from then on the division of the Muslims into two sects, which mutually treat each other as heretics. The Turks follow the one who regards Omar and Moâouia, as the legitimate successors of the prophet. The Persians, on the contrary, follow Ali's party.

[223] El-Makin, lib. I, Hist. Arab.

[224] These factions are distinguished by the color they assign to their flags; that of the Qaisis is red, and that of the Yamânis white.

[225] This discovery belongs to a Michel Drogman, barataire of France in Saïde his homeland; he wrote a Memoir on the Druzes, of which he gave the only two copies he had, one to the Chevalier de Taulès, consul at Saïde, and the other to Baron de Tott, when he passed in 1777 for inspect this scale.

[226] The Qaisi partyand the Yamâni, which today bear the name of the two families who are at the head, the Djambelats and the Lesbeks.

[227] Because of this hobby, when the silks are harvested in Lebanon, many peasants leave, who, like our Limousins, go to harvest in the plain.

[228] People of war.

[229] I found in a manuscript collection of Arab anecdotes another feature which, although foreign to the Druze, seems too good to be omitted.

"In the time of the Kaliphs," said the author, "when Abdalah the blood- shipper had slain all he could get of the descendants of Ommiah, one of them, named Ebrahim, son of Soliman, son of Abd -el-Malek, had the good fortune to escape, and fled to Koufa, where he entered disguised. Not knowing anyone in whom he could confide, he entered at random under the portico of a large house, and sat down there. Shortly after the master arrives, followed by several servants, dismounts from his horse, enters, and, seeing the stranger, he asks him who he is. I am an unfortunate, replies Ebrahim, who asks you for asylum. God protect you, said the rich man; come in, and be at peace. Ebrahim lived in this house for several months, without his host asking him any questions. But he himself, astonished to see him going out and back on horseback every day at the same time, one day ventured to ask him the reason. I have heard, replied the rich man, that a named Ebrahim, son of Suleiman, is hiding in this city: he has killed my father, and I am looking for him to take my retaliation. Then I knew, said Ebrahim, that God had brought me there on purpose; I adored his decree, and resigning myself to death, I replied: God has taken up your cause; offended man, your victim is at your feet. The astonished rich man answered: O stranger! I see that adversity weighs on you, and that bored with life, you are looking for a way to lose it; but my hand is tied for the crime. I am not deceiving you, said Ebrahim: your father was such; we met in such and such a place, and the affair turned out so and so. Then a violent tremor seizes the rich man; his teeth clashed like a man frozen with cold, his eyes sparkled with fury, and filled with tears. He remained thus for some time with his gaze fixed on the ground; finally, looking up to Ebrahim: Tomorrow fate, he said, will join you to my father; and God will have taken my retaliation. But, me, how to violate the asylum of my house? Unhappy stranger, flee from my presence; here are 100 sequins; get out promptly; and that I will never see you again. "

[230] Abârât-el-Motka lamin fi mazâheb oua Dianât-el-Dònia.

[231] Name that the Turks give to the Macedonian soldiers and the Epirots.
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