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now setting in, it required some exercise of ingenuity to escape the torrent which descended into my apartment. I usually passed the night on these occasions crouched up in a corner, or under a rude table which I had constructed. The latter, having been surrounded by trenches, to carry off the accumulating waters, generally afforded the best shelter. My Cawass, who was a Constantinopolitan, complained bitterly of the hardships he was compelled to endure, and I had some difficulty in prevailing upon my servants to remain with me.
The present inhabitants of Selamiyah, and of most of the villages in this part of the Pashalic of Mosul, are Turcomans, descendants of tribes brought by the early Turkish Sultans from the north of Asia Minor, to people a country which had been laid waste by repeated massacres and foreign invasions. In this portion of the Ottoman Empire, there is scarcely, except in Mosul and the Mountains, a vestige of the ancient population. The great tribes which inhabit the Desert were brought from the Jebel Shammar, in Nedjd, within the memory of man. The inhabitants of the plains to the east of the Tigris are mostly Turcomans and Kurds, mixed with Arabs, or with Yezidis, who are strangers in the land, and whose origin cannot easily be determined. A few Chaldæan and Jacobite Christians, scattered in Mosul and the neighboring villages, or dwelling in the most inaccessible part of the mountains, their places of refuge from the devastating bands of Tamerlane, are probably the only descendants of that great people which once swayed, from these plains, the half of Asia.
The Yuz-bashi, or captain of the irregular troops, one Daoud Agha, a native of the north of Asia Minor, called upon me as soon as I was established in my new quarters. Like most men of his class, acknowledged freebooters *, he was frank and
* The irregular cavalry, (Hytas as they are called in this part of Turkey, and Bashi-bozuks in Roumelia and Anatolia,) are collected from all classes and provinces. A man known for his courage and daring is named Hytabashi, or chief of the Hytas, and is furnished with teskérés, or orders for pay and provisions for so many horsemen, from four or five hundred to a thousand or more. He collects all the vagrants and freebooters he can find to
but the first stroke of the pick on the opposite side, disclosed the top of a bas-relief. The Arabs were no less excited than myself by the discovery; and notwithstanding a heavy fall of rain, working until dark, they completely exposed to view two slabs. *
On each slab were two bas-reliefs, divided by an inscription. In the upper compartment of the largest was a battle scene, in which were represented two chariots, each drawn by richly caparisoned horses at full speed, and containing a group of three warriors, the principal of whom was beardless and evidently an eunuch. This figure was clothed in a complete suit of mail of metal scales, embossed in the centre, and apparently attached to a shirt of felt or linen. This shirt was confined at the waist by a girdle. On his head was a pointed helmet, from which fell lappets, covered with scales, protecting the ears, lower part of the face, and neck, the whole head dress resembling that of the early Normans. His left hand grasped a bow at full stretch, whilst his right drew the string, with the arrow ready to be discharged. The left arm was en circled by a guard, probably of leather, to protect it from the arrow. His sword was in a sheath, the end of which was elegantly adorned with the figures of two lions. In the same chariot were a charioteer urging on the horses with reins and whip, and a shield-bearer who warded off the shafts of the enemy with a circular shield, which, like those of Solomon, and of the servants or shield-bearers of Hadad-ezer, king of Zobah, may have been of beaten gold.f The chariots were low, rounded at the top, and edged by a rich moulding or border, probably inlaid with precious metals or painted. To the sides were suspended two highly ornamented quivers, each containing, beside the arrows, a hatchet and axe. The wheels had six spokes. The end of the pole, formed by the head of a bull, was attached to the fore part of the chariot by a singular contrivance, of which neither the use nor the
* Nos. 1 and 2, wall f, plan 1. † i Kings, x. 17. ; 2 Sam. viii. 7.
material can be determined from the sculptures. It appears to have been intended both as an ornament and as a support for the pole, and to have been a light frame-work, covered with linen or silk ; its breadth almost precludes the idea of its having been of any other material. It was elaborately painted or embroidered with sacred emblems and elegant devices. The chariot, which was probably of wood and open behind, was drawn by three horses, whose trappings decorated with a profusion of tassels and rosettes, must have been of the most costly description. They may have been of the looms of Dedan, whose merchants, in the days of old, supplied the East with “ precious clothes for chariots.”* The archer, who evidently belonged to the conquering nation, was pursuing a flying enemy. Beneath the chariot wheels were scattered the conquered and the dying, and an archer, about to be trodden down, was represented as endeavoring to check the speed of the advancing horses. The costume of the vanquished differed entirely from that of the Assyrian warriors. They wore short tunics descending to their knees, and their hair was confined by a simple fillet round the temples.
I observed with surprise the elegance and richness of the ornaments, the faithful and delicate delineation of the limbs and muscles, both in the men and horses, and the knowledge of art displayed in the grouping of the figures, and in the general composition. In all these respects, as well as in costume, this sculpture appeared to me not only to differ from, but to surpass, the bas-reliefs of Khorsabad. I traced also, in the character used in the inscription, a marked difference from that on the monument discovered by M. Botta. Unfortunately, the slab had been exposed to fire, and was so much injured that its removal was hopeless. The edges had, moreover, been cut away, to the injury of some of the figures and of the inscription; and as the next slab was reversed, it was evident that both had been brought from another building.
* Ezekiel, xxvii. 20.