« ElőzőTovább »
and the Assyrian origin of the ruin proved by the inscription on the bricks, which contained the name of the Khorsabad king. I rode to Nimroud on the 17th of January, having first engaged a party of Nestorian Chaldaeans to accompany me. The change that had taken place in the face of the country during my absence, was no less remarkable than that in the political state of the province. To me they were both equally agreeable and welcome. The rains, which had fallen almost incessantly from the day of my departure for Baghdad, had rapidly brought forward the vegetation of spring. The mound was no longer an arid and barren heap; its surface and its sides were covered with verdure. From the summit of the pyramid my eye ranged, on one side, over a broad plain enclosed by the Tigris and the Zab ; on the other, over a low undulating country bounded by the snow-capped mountains of Kurdistan; but it was no longer the dreary waste I had left a month before; the landscape was clothed in green, the black tents of the Arabs chequered the plain of Nimroud, and their numerous flocks pastured on the distant hills. The Abou-Salman had recrossed the Zab, and had sought their old encamping grounds. The Jehesh and Shemutti Arabs had returned to their villages, around which the wandering Jebours had pitched their tents, and were now engaged in cultivating the soil. Even on the mound the plough opened its furrows, and corn was sown over the palaces of the Assyrian kings. Security had been restored, and Nimroud offered a more convenient and agreeable residence than Selamiyah. Hiring, therefore, three huts, I removed to my new dwelling place. A few rude chairs, a table, and a wooden bedstead, formed the whole of my furniture. My Cawass spread his carpet, and hung his tobacco pouch in the corner of a hovel, which he had appropriated, and spent his days in peaceful contemplation. The servants constructed a rude kitchen, and the grooms shared the stalls with the horses. Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, the brother of the British Vice-Consul, came to reside with me, and under
took the daily payment of the workmen and the domestic arrangements. My agent, with the assistance of the chief of the Hytas, had punctually fulfilled the instructions he had received on my departure. Not only were the counterfeit graves carefully removed, but even others, which possessed more claim to respect, had been rooted out. I entered into an elaborate argument with the Arabs on the subject of the latter, and proved to them that, as the bodies were not turned towards Mecca, they could not be those of true believers. I ordered the remains, however, to be carefully collected, and to be reburied at the foot of the mound. Since my last visit, a sculptured slab, divided into two compartments, had been discovered in the S. W. ruins.” The upper bas-relief had been destroyed; the lower contained four figures, carrying supplies for a banquet, or spoil taken from the enemy. The object carried by the foremost figure could not be determined; the second bore either fruit or a loaf of bread; the third a basket and a skin of wine; the fourth a similar skin, and a vessel of not inelegant shape. The four figures were clothed in long fringed robes, descending to the ankles, and wore the conical cap or helmet before described. The slab had been reduced in size, to the injury of the sculpture, and had evidently belonged to another building. It had on either side the usual inscription, and had been so much injured by fire that it could not be moved. My labors had scarcely been resumed when I received information that the Cadi of Mosul was endeavoring to stir up the people against me, chiefly on the plea that I was carrying away treasure; and, what was worse, finding inscriptions proving that the Franks once held the country, and upon the evidence of which they intended immediately to resume possession of it, exterminating all true believers. These stories, however absurd they may appear, rapidly gained ground in the town. Old Mohammed Emin Pasha brought out his Yakuti, and confirmed, by that geographer's account of treasures anciently found at Khorsabad, the allegations of the Cadi. A representation was ultimately made by the Ulema to Ismail Pasha; and as he expressed a wish to see me, I rode to Mosul. He was not, he said, influenced by the Cadi or the Mufti, nor did he be. lieve the absurd tales which they had spread abroad. I should shortly see how he intended to treat these troublesome fellows, but he thought it prudent at present to humor them, and made it a personal request that I would, for the time, suspend the excavations. I consented with regret; and once more returned to Nimroud, without being able to gratify the ardent curiosity I felt to explore further the extraordinary building, the nature of which was still a mystery to me. The Abou-Salman Arabs, who encamp around Nimroud, are known for their thievish propensities, and might have caused me some annoyance. Thinking it prudent, therefore, to conciliate their chief, I rode over one morning to their principal encampment. Sheikh Abd-ur-rahman received me at the entrance of his capacious tent of black goat-hair, which was crowded with relations, followers, and strangers, enjoying his hospitality. He was one of the handsomest Arabs I ever saw ; tall, robust, and well-made, with a countenance in which intelligence was no less marked than courage and resolution. On his head he wore a turban of dark linen, from under which a many-colored kerchief fell over his shoulders; his dress was a simple white shirt, descending to the ankles, and an Arab cloak thrown loosely over it. Contrary to the custom of the Arabs, he had shaved his beard; and, although he could scarcely be much beyond forty, I observed that the little hair which could be distinguished from under his turban was grey. He received me with every demonstration of hospitality, and led me to the upper place in the tent, which was divided by a goat-hair curtain from the harem. The place of reception for the guests was at the same time occupied by two favorite mares and a colt. A few camels were kneeling on the grass around, and the
* No. 12, wall k, plan 1.
horses of the strangers were tied by their halters to the tentpins. From the carpets and cushions, which were spread for me, stretched on both sides a long line of men of the most motley appearance, seated on the bare ground. The Sheikh placed himself at the furthest end, as is the custom in some of the tribes, to show his respect for his guest ; and could only be prevailed upon, after many excuses and protestations, to share the carpet with me. In the centre of the group, near a small fire of camel's dung, crouched a half-naked Arab, engaged alternately in blowing up the expiring embers, and in pounding the roasted coffee in a copper mortar, ready to replenish the huge pots which stood near him. After the customary compliments had been exchanged with all around, one of my attendants beckoned to the Sheikh, who left the tent to receive the presents I had brought to him, - a silk gown and a supply of coffee and sugar. He dressed himself in his new attire and returned to the assembly. “Inshallah,” said I, “we are now friends, although scarcely a month ago you came over the Zab on purpose to appropriate the little property I am accustomed to carry about me.” “Wallah, Bey,” he replied, “you say true, we are friends; but listen: the Arabs either sit down and serve his Majesty the Sultan, or they eat from others, as others would eat from them. Now my tribe are of the Zobeide, and were brought here many years ago by the Pashas of the Abd-el-Jelleel.” These lands were given us in return for the services we rendered the Turks in keeping back the Tai and the Shammar, who crossed the rivers to plunder the villages. All the great men of the Abou-Salman perished in encounters with the Bedouin f, and Injeh Bairakdar, Mohammed Pasha, upon whom God has had mercy, acknowledged our fidelity and treated us with honor. When that blind dog, the son of the Cretan, may curses fall upon him came to Mosul, I waited upon him, as it is usual for the Sheikh; what did * The former hereditary governors of Mosul.
f The father, uncles, and two or three brothers of Abd-ur-rahman, besides many of his other relations, had been slain as he described.
he do? Did he give me the cloak of honor? No; he put me, an Arab of the tribe of Zobeide, a tribe which had fought with the Prophet, into the public stocks. For forty days my heart melted away in a damp cell, and I was exposed to every variety of torture. Look at these hairs,” continued he, lifting up his turban, “they turned white in that time, and I must now shave my beard, a shame amongst the Arabs. I was released at last; but how did I return to the tribe 2–a beggar, unable to kill a sheep for my guests. He took my mares, my flocks, and my camels, as the price of my liberty. Now tell me, O Bey, in the name of God, if the Osmanlis have eaten from me and my guests, shall I not eat from them and theirs?” The fate of Abd-ur-rahman had been such as he described it; and so had fared several chiefs of the desert and of the mountains. It was not surprising that these men, proud of their origin and accustomed to the independence of a wandering life, had revenged themselves upon the unfortunate inhabitants of the villages, who had no less cause to complain than themselves. However, the Sheikh promised to abstain from plunder for the future, and to present himself to Ismail Pasha, of whose conciliatory conduct he had already heard. It was nearly the middle of February before I thought it prudent to make fresh experiments among the ruins. To avoid notice I employed only a few men, and confined myself to the examination of such parts of the mound as appeared to contain buildings. My first attempt was in the S.W. corner, where a new wall was speedily discovered, all the slabs of which were sculptured, and uninjured by fire, though they had, unfortunately, been half destroyed by long exposure to the atmosphere.” On three consecutive slabs was one bas-relief; on others were only parts of a subject. It was evident from the costume, the ornaments, and the general treatment, that these sculptures did not belong either to the same building, or to the same period as those previously discovered. I recognised in them the style of Khorsabad, and in the inscriptions certain characters, which