p.247 /



April 28—May 10

    THE city of Môsul has a turbulent record which has lost nothing of its quality during the past few years. It lies upon the frontier of the Arab and the Kurdish populations, and the meeting between those two is seldom accompanied by cordiality or good-will on either side. Upon the unhappy province of Môsul hatred and the lust of slaughter weigh like inherited evils, transmitted (who can say?) through all the varying generations of conquerors since first the savage might of the Assyrian empire set its stamp upon the land. The town is distracted by the ambitions of powerful Arab families who ruled, until less than a century ago, each over his estate in undisputed sovereignty. These lordlings have witnessed, with an antagonism which they are scarcely at the pains to hide, the hand of the Turk tightening slowly over the district; nowhere will the Arab national movement, if it reaches the blossoming point, find a more congenial soil, and nowhere will it be watered by fuller streams of lawless vanity. Cruel and bloody as Ottoman rule has shown itself upon these remote frontiers, it is better than the untrammelled mastery of Arab beg or Kurdish âghâ, and if the half-exterminated Christian sects, the persecuted Yezîdîs, the wretched fellahîn of every creed, who sow in terror crops which they may never reap, are to win protection and prosperity, it is to the Turk that they must look. He, and he only, can control the warring races of his empire, and when he has learnt to use his power impartially and with rectitude, peace will follow. But it is yet far from Môsul, and seldom has it seemed further than in the beginning of the year 1909.
p.248 /
     Except inasmuch as a greater distance from Constantinople and Salonica meant a thinner trickle of western ideas, I do not believe that there existed in Môsul a more definite opposition to the new order than in other places, though there, as elsewhere in Asiatic Turkey, the forces of reaction were numerous and strong. But Môsul has always been against the government, whatever form it should happen to assume; the begs have always played with the authorities as you play with a fish on the hook, and the fact that they were now constitutional authorities gave an even better zest to the sport and barbed the hook yet more sharply. The affairs of the Committee had been ill managed. The local committee, which had formed on the proclamation of the constitution, had received with open arms the delegates who were sent from Salonica to instruct it in its duties — indeed the whole town had gone out to meet them, with the Vâlî and other notables at its head. But the delegates had been unfortunately chosen. Both were ignorant and tactless; one was a native of Kerkûk, the bitter rival of Môsul, and he had, besides, anything but an unclouded personal reputation. The local committee lost rather than gained by their coming, and when they left, they rode unescorted across the bridge, and no one took notice of their departure. With them vanished the slender hopes of improvement which the proclamation of liberty, fraternity and equality had excited, and the begs were left with a clear field. To their ears the words had sounded like a knell. Universal liberty is not a gift prized by tyrants, and equality stinks in the nostrils of men who are accustomed to see their Christian fellow citizens cower into the nearest doorway when they ride through the streets. They had no difficulty in causing their dissatisfaction to be felt. The organization of discord is carried to a high pitch of perfection in Môsul. The town is full of bravos who live by outrage, and live well. Whenever the unruly magnates wish to create a disturbance, they pass a word and a gratuity to these ruffians; the riot takes place, and who is to be blamed for it? The begs were all in their villages and could have had no hand in the matter; it was Abu'l

Illustration opposite p.248 ]

FIG. 167.—MÔSUL.   (enlargement)

Illustrations opposite p.249 ]

Mosul, Marirjis

Mosul, Mar Tuma

MÔSUL   p.249 / Kâsim, the noted bandit, it was Ibn this or Ibn that. As for the opportunity, it is never far to seek, and upon this occasion it occurred on the last day of the feast of Bairam, January 1, 1909. The people were out in the streets, dressed in their best, as is proper to a festival, when a man of the Kurdish mule corps from Kerkûk insulted (so it is said) a Moslem woman of Môsul. In an instant arms were out, the Arab soldiery attacked the Kerkûkî sowwârs, a fight ensued that lasted many hours, and in the confusion several Mohammadan women, holiday-makers, who had not had time to seek refuge in their houses, were killed and wounded, a most unusual disaster. Meantime, the Vâlî sat trembling in the serai and lifted not a finger to restore order. Late at night the Kerkûkîs retired to their own barracks, surrendered at discretion to the government, and gave up their arms. This episode might be dismissed as a natural ebullition of racial animosities, but the events of the following day can scarcely be explained except on the assumption that they were instigated by the begs. In the morning a rabble assembled before the serai and cried out for vengeance on the Kerkûkî sowwârs, who were awaiting judgement at the hands of the government. The Vâlî hesitated, and the ringleaders called upon the crowd to arm. The people executed this order with the alacrity of the forewarned, shops and private houses barred their doors and the town was thrown into a state of civil war.
     There lived at that time in Môsul a certain Kurdish holy man, a native of Suleimânîyeh on the Persian frontier. Some years earlier Sheikh Sayyid had fallen foul of the Turkish authorities — his own influence having swelled into too great a force — and had received a summons, which was regarded as implying the blackest misfortune, to present himself in Constantinople. It happened, when he arrived in the capital, that a favourite son of the Sultan was lying sick, and since the sheikh had a great reputation for sanctity, his punishment was delayed while he put up an intercession on behalf of the child. It was effectual : the boy recovered, and the sheikh returned in honour to his native place, with p.250 / a chaplet of priceless pearls about his neck and a celebrity immensely enhanced. He was old and had long been harmless, but his sons traded upon his position and presently made Suleimânîyeh too hot to hold them. The whole family was under the direct protection of 'Abdu'l Hamîd; it was considered advisable to remove them to a spot where they would be equally directly under the eye of his deputy, the Vâlî, and they were brought to Môsul. They came in like princes on a triumphal progress. The streets were choked with the mules that carried their possessions, and a house opposite the serai was assigned to them as a lodging.
     No sooner had the rioters reassembled with arms on January 2, than they were directed to the house of the Kurdish family. Sheikh Sayyid was a man of eighty-five, but he had the courage of his race. When he heard the mob storming at his doors, he took the Kurân in his hand and clothed in years and sanctity stepped out into the street, intending to take refuge in the serai. Its door was opposite his own, and the Vâlî from a window watched the scene. The rabble gave way before the venerable figure clasping the holy book, but before he could reach the serai, it closed in upon him, he was cut down and hacked to pieces. His house was then sacked and seventeen of his descendants were murdered. If the leaders of the reactionary party had wished to embarrass the government and to show up its weakness, they were more than commonly successful. During the six weeks that elapsed before the arrival of troops from Diyârbekr and elsewhere, Môsul was in a state of complete anarchy. Christians were openly insulted in the streets, the civil and military authorities were helpless, and no less helpless was the local committee of Union and Progress. When the troops came some degree of order was restored, but the reactionary movement was not arrested. The formation of the League of Mohammad, which was designed as a counterblast to the Committee of Union and Progress, went on apace. It appealed to Moslems of the old school, who had a genuine dread of the effects of the new spirit upon the observance of the laws of Islâm; it appealed to the ignorant, MÔSUL   p.251 / to whom the conception of the equality of Christian and Moslem is incomprehensible, and it was eagerly welcomed by all who were opposed to constitutional government on grounds more or less personal to themselves. One great magnate went through the bazaars collecting the signatures of adherents to the Muhammadîyeh, and for a time the situation was exceedingly critical. It was however significant that the Nakîb of Môsul, the leading doctor of Islâm, steadily refused to sign the papers or to have anything to do with the League. Meanwhile a new and capable Vâlî had been appointed to the province, but he had gone straight to Kerkûk, where matters were in a still more parlous state, and lawlessness walked abroad unchecked in the streets of Môsul. At length the Vâlî realized the dangers that threatened the province through its capital, and being a man of action he travelled post haste to Môsul, and set about the restoration of order. He arrested and imprisoned a number of persons and administered severe rebukes to the leading Moslems, together with assurances that the government would protect the rights of the Christians. These warnings were repeated in strong language the day after the accession of Muhammad Reshâd when the first rumours of a massacre of Armenians at Adana reached the bazaars.
     The fall of 'Abdu'l Hamîd set an immediate term to the agitation. In all likelihood the counter revolution of April 13 had caused no surprise to the organizers of the League of Mohammad, but the swift action of the Salonica committee had not been foreseen. The story ran that after the flight of the deputies from Constantinople the Vâlî had received a telegram bidding him obey no orders from the capital of the empire — I cannot vouch for the truth of the tale, but it is not in itself improbable. The Vâlî was backed by an unwontedly large body of troops (those who had been sent in to quell the disturbances which had arisen out of the murder of Sheikh Sayyid), and all over Turkey the troops stood loyal to the constitution. The city waited with a growing apprehension as day by day telegrams arrived reporting the advance of the Salonica army on Constantinople, nor was p.252 / it unknown that a message from Baghdâd, offering instant help to the constitutional party, had passed through Môsul. Then on a sudden came word that 'Abdu'l Hamîd had been deposed, and, except to the country folk and to me upon the high road, it had been half expected. So it was that when I came to Môsul I found the town, which is one of the worst conducted in the Ottoman empire, submissive and quiet. In the week during which I remained there we had no further intelligence save the vague rumour of an outbreak at Adana; even the assurance that Muhammad V was sultan in his brother's place we accepted from Turkish official sources, neither had we any means of ascertaining whether he had been recognized by the Powers of Europe. Turkish official sources are apt to be tainted, and few regions can be further removed than Eastern Turkey from the pure fountain of the truth; nevertheless the British Embassy in Constantinople did not see fit to acquaint its vice-consuls in Asiatic Turkey with the accession of a new sovereign. I leave this observation without comment. But if we in Môsul were uncertain as to the turn events had taken in Europe, we had valuable opportunities of gauging local conditions. In Môsul not a voice was raised against the second triumph of the new order. With the entire lack of initiative which characterizes the Asiatic provinces, men resigned themselves to a decree of Fate which was substantially backed by the army. Whether this second victory was to prove more decisive and more permanent than the first was open to question; the doubt kept people to their houses and affected the attitude of some of the most powerful of the begs, who, being lords of great possessions which they desired to enjoy in peace, would have given a whole-hearted support to the new Sultan, but held back lest his government should not prove strong enough to defend them against their ill-conditioned brethren. In vain the Vâlî filled the prisons to overflowing with noted malefactors; if he brought them to trial he knew that no one would dare to advance evidence against them, and in the meantime the gaols were growing more dangerously crowded every day. There was undoubtedly some personal feeling for MÔSUL   p.253 / 'Abdu'l Hamîd, but it was rare. I made the acquaintance of a citizen of Môsul, a splendid type of the old school, for whom it was impossible not to feel sympathy, even though I know him to have been one of the instigators of the murder of Sheikh Sayyid : this man watched from a room in the serai the proclamation of Muhammad V, and when he saw the soldiery tear down and trample under foot edicts which were signed with 'Abdu'l Hamîd's name, he, being alone but for one other, who was my informant, threw himself upon the ground and wept. "The dogs!" he cried. "Yesterday they would have been proud if their name had been mentioned in the same breath with his." To me he was more guarded; moreover he had had time to recover his balance. But he predicted wreck and ruin, bloodshed, revolution and all other evils for his country.
     "Is there no remedy?" said I.
     "If the source is pure the whole stream is pure," he answered enigmatically.
     "Was the source pure ?" I asked.
     He hesitated a moment, and then replied: "No, by God and the Prophet! A king should go about among his subjects, see them and hear them. He should not sit imprisoned in his house, listening to the talk of spies."
     I know another, poles asunder from the first, one of the richest men in the town and one of the most evil: a slave by birth, he might not sit in the presence of his former master, although the master, great gentleman as he was, could scarcely outmatch the wealth of the liberated slave. Him I asked whether there was any strength behind the Arab movement.
     "The Khalîfah should be of the tribe of the Kureish," he answered significantly.
     "Who would be Khalîfah if he were chosen from out of the Kureish?" I asked.
     "The Sherîf of Mecca is of that blood," he answered. "The Arabs would govern themselves."
     He left me to reflect upon his words, for I was well aware that if he chose to support them with force, all the rogues p.254 / with whom the city abounds were at his command, and all the plots and counterplots of the vilayet were familiar to him.
     I sat long in the guest chamber of a third acquaintance, the head of the greatest family in Môsul. So stainless is his lineage that his sisters must remain unwed, since Môsul cannot provide a husband equal to them in birth. His forebears were Christians who migrated from Diyârbekr two hundred years ago. The legend runs that his Christian ancestor, soon after he had come to Môsul, went out in the morning to be shaved, but when he reached the barber's shop it was filled with low-born Moslems and the barber kept him waiting until the heads of the Faithful had been trimmed. "Shall a man of my house wait for such as these?" he cried, and forthwith abjured the creed of slaves. His descendant was one of those who would gladly have seen the new order triumph and give peace to the land. He called down vengeance upon the head of Ahmed 'Izzet Pasha, one of the worst of the late Sultan's sycophants, and upon that of his brother, Mustafâ, sometime Vâlî of Môsul. "If he had stayed two years more he would have ruined the town," said he. But his hatred of 'Izzet Pasha had not blinded him to the dictates of honour. It happened that by those methods of persuasion of which 'Izzet was master, he had induced my friend to present him with a valuable piece of land. Two months later 'Izzet fell and fled in terror of death from Constantinople, but the beg would not revoke a gift which the disgraced favourite was powerless to exact from him. Noblesse oblige.
     I had also the advantage of conversing with several bishops. Now there are so many bishops in these parts that it is impossible to retain more than a composite impression of them. They correspond in number to the Christian sects, which are as the sands of the sea-shore, but as I was about to journey through districts inhabited by their congregations, I made an attempt to grasp at least the names by which their creeds are distinguished from one another. As for more fundamental distinctions, they depend upon the word- MÔSUL p.255 / ing of a metaphysical proposition which I will not offer to define, lest I should fall, like most of my predecessors, into grievous heresy. The most interesting, historically, of these several denominations are the people of Mâr Shim'ûn, some of whom I had met upon the road. They are currently known as Nestorians, though, as Layard has observed, this title is misapplied. The followers of Mâr Shim'ûn are the representatives of the ancient Chaldæan Church, and their race is probably as near to the pure Assyrian stock as can be expected in regions so often conquered, devastated and repeopled. Their church existed before the birth of Nestorius, and was not dependent upon him for its tenets;1

   1 I believe it is generally admitted by the learned in these matters that Nestorius was not guilty of the heresies for which he was condemned in 431, at the second œcumenical council held at Ephesus. I remember to have heard a distinguished English Catholic, who was also an acute historian, express his definite opinion that Nestorius was in the right, for all his expulsion beyond the pale of western Christianity. An excellent account of the rise of the Eastern Churches is contained in Wigram's recently published book, The Assyrian Church.

its doctrines are those of primitive Christianity untouched by the influence of Rome, and its creed, with unimportant verbal differences, is that of Nicæa. After the Council of Ephesus, in 431, the members of the Chaldæan Church separated themselves from those who acknowledged the authority of the Pope. Politically they were already a separate community, for they lived, not under the Byzantine, but under the Sassanian empire. Their missionaries carried Christianity all over Asia, from Mesopotamia to the Pacific. Their patriarch, whose title was, and still is, Catholicos of the Eastern Church, was seated first at Ctesiphon; when Baghdâd became the capital of the khalifate, the patriarchate was removed thither, and upon the fall of the Arab khalifs it was transferred to Môsul. During the sixteenth century a schism took place which led to the existence of two patriarchs, one living at the monastery of Rabbân Hormuzd near Alkôsh, and one at Kochannes in the mountains south of Vân. The first, with his adherents, submitted two centuries ago, to the Pope; they are known as the Chaldæans, p.256 / and they are said to bear the yoke of Rome very unwillingly. The second is now the only patriarch of the old independent church, which has been dubbed Nestorian. The office may be termed hereditary; it passes from uncle to nephew in a single family, for the patriarch is not permitted to marry; the holder of it is always known as Mâr Shim'ûn, the Lord Simeon. It is generally believed that if the new government were to succeed in establishing order, so that the protection of a foreign Power should cease to be of vital importance, the Chaldæan converts would return in a body to their former allegiance to the Catholicos of the East.
     A similar division exists among the Jacobites, the Syrian monophysites, who were condemned in 451 by the fourth œcumenical council, held at Chalcedon. A part of this community has submitted to Rome and is known as the Syrian Church, while those who have retained their independence have retained also their old title of Jacobites. To this pious confusion Protestant missionaries, English and American, have contributed their share. There are Syrian Protestants and Nestorian Protestants — if the terms be admissible — though whether the varying shades of belief held by the instructors are reflected in the instructed, I do not know, and I refrained from an inquiry which might have resulted in the revelation of Presbyterian Nestorians, Church of England Jacobites, or even Methodist Chaldæans.
     None but the theologian would essay a valuation of the relative orthodoxy of converted and unconverted, but the archæologist must hold no uncertain opinion as to their merits. The unification, so far as it has gone, of the two ancient Churches with Rome is an unmitigated misfortune. The Chaldæans and the Syrians, instigated perhaps by their pastors, have been so eager to obliterate the memory of their former heterodoxy that they have effaced with an unsparing hand all, or nearly all, Syriac inscriptions older than the date of their regeneration, and in Môsul it is rare to find any written stone earlier than the end of the seventeenth century. This is the more provoking as several of the churches are of great architectural interest, and it is much to be regretted MÔSUL p.257 / that the epigraphic record of their history should not have been preserved. So far as I could judge, the oldest parts of the oldest churches may probably be dated in the twelfth or thirteenth centuries. All have been considerably remodelled; some were entirely rebuilt after the siege of Môsul by Nâdir Shah in 1743 and others have been rebuilt in recent years.1

   1 I am relying upon local tradition, upon comparison with churches in the country districts, and upon the character of the ornament compared with Moslem ornament in Môsul which can be dated with tolerable accuracy.

Moreover there are several which would seem to have been first founded as late as the eighteenth century. But whatever may be their date, they all exhibit the same simple plan, a plan which I believe to be essentially Mesopotamian and more ancient by many centuries than the existing churches. It is that of the barn church, the church with two aisles and a nave, covered by parallel barrel vaults so equal in height as not to admit of a clerestorey.2

   2 The barn church is more fully defined in The Thousand and One Churches, published by Sir W. Ramsay and myself, p. 309.

The nave and aisles are invariably cut off from the sanctuary by a wall — it is too substantial to be called an iconostatis — broken by three large doors. This complete separation is not typical of primitive ecclesiastical architecture; it results, as a rule, from a development of the ritual; but it appears to be here a part of the original plan. The sanctuary is almost invariably divided into three parts, corresponding to the nave and aisles, and, as a rule, the central altar is covered by a dome set upon squinch arches. The church of Mâr Ahudânî will serve as a typical example (Fig 168); it is now in the hands of the Chaldæans. A flight of steps leads down to it from the street, and the fact that it lies so far below the modern level is one of the indications of its antiquity. The stair opens into a small atrium with a cloister to east and west. The church is to the south of the atrium and there is no means of approach to it from any other side. The present atrium is comparatively modern and the church shows many signs of reconstruction and repair. The doorway from the nave to the sanctuary is richly decorated with Arabic inscriptions, with p.258 / mouldings and entrelac, Mohammadan in character, and I should say not far removed from the early thirteenth century in date. There are also motives which are repeated with variations upon all the churches of a like epoch, grotesque lions and the cross-legged figure which has been described upon one of the gates of Baghdâd. The building was so dark that my photographs were not successful, but an outer doorway of Mâr Girjis gives an adequate idea of the

Mar Ahudani

scheme of decoration (Fig. 169). The straight arch, which serves here as lintel, is a universal characteristic; so, too, are the ornaments pendant from the voussoirs. The doorways in the cloister that lies to the west of Mâr Tûmâ, the episcopal church of the Syrians, exhibit beautiful variants of the same theme (Fig. 170).1

   1 There is a description of Mâr Tûmâ in Rich: Residence in Koordistan, Vol. II. p. 118.

In this church the door leading from the nave to the sanctuary is framed by an entrelac enclosing in its windings the figures of Christ and the Twelve Apostles.

Illustrations opposite p.258 ]

Mosul, Mar Tuma

Mosul, Mar Shim'un

Mosul, plaster work in Kal'at Lulu

Illustration opposite p.259 ]

Mosul, tomb of the Imam Yahya
FIG. 174.—MÔSUL, TOMB OF THE IMÂM YAHYÂ.   (enlargement)

MÔSUL p.259 / Three extra aisles have recently been added to the original building, and I understood the church to be shared between the Syrians and the Chaldæans. If the Christian architects continued to make use of a primitive Oriental plan, it is even more certain that they continued to be dependent upon Eastern artists for their decorative schemes, and were in no way linked with the West. Their decoration is the same as that which is to be found in contemporary Mohammadan buildings. For instance, a lintel which now lies in the atrium of Mâr Shim'ûn, a church which has been almost entirely rebuilt, is carved with an entrelac unmistakably Mohammadan (Fig. 172). Over one of the doors of Mâr Tûmâ there is a band of ornament which may perhaps have been taken from a Mohammadan building, though it is more probable that it formed part of the original Christian work (Fig. 171).1

   1 All the doors in the atrium of Mâr Tûmâ look as if they had been patched together out of older materials, but I suspect that these materials came from the church itself and that the patching is due to repair.

The style of this deeply undercut relief is so marked that it imprints itself upon the memory. I saw other examples of it in the beautiful tomb of the Imâm Yahyâ which, according to an inscription, was built by the Sultan Lûlû (Fig. 174).2

   2 Badr ed Dîn Lûlû, 1233-1259, according to Lane Poole: Mohammadan Dynasties, p. 163; Ritter, following Desguignes, makes him regent from 1213-1222, and an independent sovereign from 1222-1259.

A mosque for the Friday prayers existed in the time of Ibn Batûtah close to the Tigris, and this is in all probability the building which is praised by Mustaufî, who says that "the stone sculptured ornament is so intricate that it might stand for wood carving."3

   3 Le Strange: Lands of the Eastern Caliphate, p.89.

This particular kind of stone relief, which is to be found both in Moslem and in Christian buildings, does in fact closely resemble wood carving, and the Christian examples cannot be of a different date from the Moslem. The first recorded mosque in Môsul was built by Marwân II, the last of the Omayyad khalifs (744-750), not far from the Tigris, according to Ibn Haukal; so far as I know, no trace of it has survived. Nûr ed Dîn, the Atabeg p.260 / (1146-1172), built a second Friday mosque in the bazaar, and this must be the great mosque with the leaning minaret which stands in the centre of the town, but how much of the original work remains I could not determine, for Mohammadan feeling was running high when I was in Môsul, and at such times it is wiser not to ask for admittance into mosques.1

   1 Oppenheim, Vom Mittelmeere zum persischen Golf, Vol. II. p. 176, gives a short description of it.

Finally a third Friday mosque was erected near the Tigris (represented, as I conjecture, by the tomb of the Imâm Yahyâ), and to Lûlû's day belongs also the ziyârah of 'Abdullah ibn Hassan in the heart of the town. The entrelac round the door of this ziyârah is very similar to the decoration of the sanctuary door in Mâr Tûmâ, except that the figures are absent. In the interior there is a band of deeply-cut stone relief of the wood-work type. The fluted cone-like roof with which the ziyârah is covered is found in all the Moslem tombs of Môsul. There is another fragment of Lûlû's handiwork which, ruined though it be, is of great architectural importance, the Kal'at Lûlû on the Tigris bank, not far from the tomb of the Imâm Yahyâ.2

   2 De Beylié has given a good photograph of the general view: Prome et Samarra, p. 49.

Only the eastern end of two vaulted halls is standing, but in one of these remains of stucco ornament still cling to the walls (Fig. 173). The ornament consists of a band of inscription and a band of tiny arcades, each arch containing the representation of a nude human figure, depicted from head to waist.3

   3 This decoration is curiously akin to some of the Buddhist Græco-Bactrian work.

Below this band there has been another design of larger arches covered with rinceaux which are adorned with flowers and birds. The town walls are comparatively modern, but the Sinjâr Gate, on the west side, is worthy of note. It resembles the gates of Aleppo, and like them it bears a blazonry of lions.
     One other memory of the days at Môsul stands very freshly in my mind. There exists in the town a small and indigent Jewish community — neither too small nor too poverty-stricken NINEVEH p.261 / to have attracted the watchful care of the Alliance Juive.1

   1 In the middle ages it was more numerous. Benjamin of Tudela found a colony of 7,000 Jews at Môsul: Ritter, Vol. X. p. 254.

Under their auspices, M. Maurice Sidi, a courageous and highly cultivated Tunisian, has opened a school for the children, and by precept and example he imparts the elements of civilization, letters and cleanliness, to young and old. The English vice-consul, who had witnessed his efforts with great sympathy and admiration, invited him to bring a deputation of his co-religionists to the consulate while I was there, and a dignified body of bearded and white-robed elders filed one morning into the courtyard. We returned their visit at the school, where we were received by a smiling crowd, dressed in their best, who pressed bunches of flowers upon us. The class-rooms were filled with children proudly conscious that their achievements in the French, Arabic and Hebrew tongues had called down honour upon their race. The scholars in the Hebrew class, who were of very tender years, were engaged in learning lists of Hebrew words with their Arabic equivalents, Hebrew being an almost forgotten language among the Jews of Môsul. M. Sidi drew forward a tiny urchin who stood unembarrassed before us, and gazed at him expectantly with solemn black eyes.
     "What do you know?" said the master.
     The black-eyed morsel answered without a shadow of hesitation: "I know Elohim." And while I was wondering how much of the eternal secret had been revealed to that small brain, he began to recite the first list in the lesson-book, which opened with the name of God: "Elohim, Allah" — I do not remember how it went on, neither did he remember, without M. Sidi's prompting. Elohim was what he knew.
     Over against Môsul lies Nineveh. The pontoon bridge that spans the Tigris had been swept away by the floods; the masonry arches on the further side stood out into the river, but where the causeway dips down to meet the bridge of boats it met nothing but the swiftly-flowing stream. We crossed therefore by a ferry, and so rode up to the mound of Kûyûnjik, where Xenophon saw the ruins of Nineveh and p.262 / thought them to be a city of the Medes. His description of the immense area they covered scarcely seemed incredible as we stood upon the mound. The line of the walls ran out far to the north, far, too, to the south, embracing the neighbouring mound of Nebî Yûnus, which is the site of one of Jonah's many tombs. The corn grew deep on Kûyûnjik, and the blue bee-eaters flew in and out of Layard's excavation pits; across the fertile plain rose the towers of Môsul; the broad Tigris ran between, which Saladin sought to turn from its bed when he laid siege to Nûr ed Dîn. His imperious folly is as forgotten as the splendours of Sennacherib—

"And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass
      Never was!
Such a carpet as this summer time o'erspreads
      And embeds
Every vestige of the city .  .  ."

     Had the poet been dreaming of Nineveh when he wrote Love Among the Ruins?

"Shut them in
With their triumphs and their glories and the rest .  .  .  ."

     We rode from Nineveh through blazing heat for four hours across a plain where the peasants were harvesting the barley while the locusts harvested the green wheat, which was not ripe enough to save. The sun beat so fiercely upon us that I sought refuge in the house of the village sheikh at 'Amrkân, and ate in his guest-chamber a lunch which was made more palatable by the sour curds which he set before us. An hour and a half further we came to Mâr Behnâm, and found the tents pitched upon the slopes of a mound above a deep round pool. On the one side of our camp lay the monastery of Mâr Behnâm, on the other the shrine that covers his grave.1

   1 An account of Mâr Behnâm has been published by Pognon: Inscriptions de la Mésopotamie, p. 132. He believes that the existing church is due to a reconstruction that took place in the twelfth century, but its original form seems to him to be the same as that of Mâr Gabriel of Kartmin in the Tûr 'Abdin, a church which I should date not later than the sixth century. The history of Mâr Behnâm would therefore offer an exact analogy to that of the churches of Môsul, according to my theory; MÂR BEHNÂM p.263 / it is a mediæval building following the lines of a very early structure. Pognon gives a good illustration of the altar niche in the tomb (Pl. VIII), which is dated the year of the Seleucid era corresponding to 1306 A.D. The superstructure he takes to have been a baptistery.

The monastery has the appearance of a small fort. Its outer walls have been many times ruined and repaired, and the interior buildings, all except the beautiful church, are modern. The doorways leading from the porch into the church and from the nave and aisles into the sanctuaries are covered with lacework patterns, interspersed with small figures of angels, lions and snakes, together with Arabic and Syriac inscriptions. In the porch, between the two doors, there is a small niche worked with arabesques, the very counterpart of a Moslem mihrâb. There are square chambers leading out of the aisles, roofed with pointed domes which are elaborately worked with stucco ornaments. Upon the east wall and on one of the piers of the nave are two stucco plaques, one representing St. George on horseback, the other a full-length figure of a saint. On both there are traces of colour.1

   1 They must be dated before 1550, according to Pognon's reasoning. He speaks of them with great contempt, and they are not very remarkable works of art, though they seemed to me to be of considerable interest. The Moslems call the monastery Deir el Khidr, Khidr being the Mohammadan counterpart of St. George. The village close at hand is known as El Khidr.

I paid my respects to the saint's tomb in company with a number of pilgrims from Môsul who were spending the night in the monastery. At dusk the villagers assembled under the mound, which marks the spot as some small suburb of Nineveh, and watered their flocks at the pool; I watched them from my tent door and thought that the scene must have changed but little in the past three thousand years.2

   2 The following notes on the decorations of the church are perhaps worth recording. S.W. door in porch: on lintel, a pair of birds on either side of a cross; over lintel, two snakes, tail to tail, with open jaws turned to what looks like a piled-up cup; in the corners, lions with tails ending in the head of a snake; band of entrelac and round it a band of Syriac inscriptions surrounding the door. N.W. door in porch: on lintel, an angel on either side of a cross; over lintel, small crosses with a boss between, two circles with a star in each; at either corner the figure of a saint; entrelac and inscriptions. Door from nave into p.264 / apse; on lintel, a lion's head forming a central boss, on either side St. George and the Dragon. Door into S.E. chapel: on lintel a cross; round door, small niches formed by an interlacing rope (cf. the sanctuary door of Mâr Tûmâ at Môsul), the niches alternately filled with a saint and a decorated cross; above the door two of the niches are filled with representations of: (1) the baptism in Jordan; (2) the entry into Jerusalem, with an ass and palms in the background. The spandrils between the upper niches are filled in with dragons' heads with open jaws.

     We rode next day in two and a half hours to Karakôsh, where there are no less than seven churches. Three of them stand outside the village, each surrounded by its fortress wall, which usually encloses one or two small living-rooms besides the church. They reminded me forcibly of the walled Coptic monasteries of Egypt, but the monastic buildings were smaller. Between them stretched fields of barley wherein the villagers, standing in line, were pulling up the crops to the strains of the bagpipes. The churches were oriented almost at haphazard, and provided with the smallest doors, and windows to correspond. The interiors were so dark that I abandoned all hope of photographing the ornaments upon the inner doors,1

   1 Pognon found inscriptions of the thirteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries at Karakôsh (op. cit., p.129), but the inscriptions inside the churches have not, so far as I know, been recorded.

though I made a rapid sketch of the lintel

Karakosh, decoration on lintel of Mar Shim'un


over the sanctuary door of Mâr Shim'ûn (Fig. 175). Above it was a slab bearing a floral Persian pattern incised upon the stone. Inside the town several of the churches had recently been repaired, or were in process of reparation. A young priest, Kas Yûsef, showed me the work, and gloried in the replacing of old and ruined churches by new and brand-new KARAKÔSH p.265 / edifices. New lamps for old, but it was the old lamp that could summon the genius, and I realized the sound moral of the fairy story as I watched the refurbishing of ancient walls at Karakôsh; but I did not impart my impression to the Syrian priest, whose ardour it would have been unkind to damp. The Syrians have annexed most of the larger churches, so said the worthy Jacobite father who brought me the key of Mâr Shim'ûn, and he told his tale not without a touch of bitterness. Yet it would have been folly to blink the fact that he was no match for Kas Yûsef, who was young and eager, and had been trained in a French school at Môsul. Twenty minutes beyond Karakôsh we came to the ruined church of Mâr Yuhanna Deleimoyya (St. John the Deleimî), which no one has troubled to repair, though it had beautiful curved lintels and domes adorned with plasterwork. Thence we rode for an hour through cornlands to Bârtallâ, and saw Bâ'ashikâ at the foot of the hills. They were real hills which lay before us, not the bare desert ridges which were all the heights we had seen since we crossed over Lebanon on the way to Aleppo. Here were the buttresses of mightier ranges than Lebanon, the alps of Kurdistân which end the land of the two rivers. As we climbed upwards, the corn grew greener, the grass deeper, the flowers more brilliant along the edge of trickling streams. But my companions paid no heed to these marvels. Jûsef's thoughts were busy with the great cities he had seen since he set forth on his travels, and especially with Môsul, last and therefore fairest in his memory. He rehearsed its advantages to the Môsul zaptieh, and 'Abdullah was well pleased to listen to such talk.
     "Not even in Aleppo," said Jûsef magnanimously, "do you find better bread."
     "However many places there may be in the world," pronounced 'Abdullah, "there is none where the bread is so good."
     "It is sweet," assented Jûsef.
     "And if you take tobacco from Môsul to Baghdâd," 'Abdullah pursued, "it rots there. The air of Baghdâd is not like the air of Môsul."

p.266 /

     "Wallah, no!" said Jûsef the much-travelled, weighing city against city in the finest judicial manner.
     We rode through exquisite meadows, and in about five hours and a half from Karakôsh crossed a mountain stream that rippled between banks rosy with oleander — Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed in robes so softly flushed. Beyond it my camp was pitched upon a swelling slope below the steep rocks of Jebel Maklûb, wherein, placed high among the hills, stood the monastery of Mâr Mattai, a grey wall hanging over a precipice. I left my horse at the camp, and taking 'Abdullah with me, set out on a half-hour's climb up a narrow gorge, full of the western sun, which was golden now, and clement. Every crevice between the stones was gay with a small starry campanula, gentian-blue, mountain-blue, the full clear colour of an upland flower; and thrusting their strong roots under the rocks, the terebinths hung glossy foliage over the path — I found myself, as I looked once more upon the divine curves of leafy twig and bough, heaping contempt upon the recollection of that leggy vegetable, the palm. A ragged boy opened the monastery gate and conducted us by a long stair to a terrace from which the bishop had watched our progress up the gorge. He bade me go quickly, while the sun still shone, to see the church and the tombs of Mâr Mattai and of Bar Hebræus, but the church had been rebuilt, the inscriptions on the tombs were already known, and my desire turned towards the bishop, and the coffee which he was preparing for us, and the room on the terrace where the cushioned windows opened on to the Assyrian plain. The bishop was old and very garrulous; the monastery, high set above the world, was beyond the reach of mundane intelligence, the only monk had gone down to Môsul, and in the Jebel Maklûb men were still uncertain under which lord they served. Was it still true, asked the bishop, that Muhammad Reshâd was Sultan of Turkey ? and he rejoined greatly when we confirmed the rumour. But his thoughts wandered back to older histories, and hearing that we had come from Mâr Behnâm, he began to instruct us in matters pertaining to that shrine.

MÂR MATTAI p.267 /

     "My daughter, listen," said he, and I lay back upon the cushions and watched the light redden and fade over the plains of Assyria, while the sweet mountain silence fell more closely in the gorge, and the bishop's rambling tale filled the idle hour like some voice out of the past. 'Abdullah sat cross-legged upon a pile of carpets at the end of the room, rolling cigarettes and nodding his head in approval as the venerable weaver of romance unfolded his chronicle. "Senherib, king of Assyria, king of kings," he began, "to him a son was born whose name was Behnâm. And it happened upon a day that the Amîr Behnâm was hunting, and he lost his gazelle and night came upon him while he pursued her. And being weary with the chase he fell asleep beside a fountain. Then in his sleep an angel appeared unto him and bade him hearken to one whom he should meet next day upon the road. And when he had journeyed but a little way he met Mâr Mattai. And Mâr Mattai stopped him and said: 'Oh prince, why do you worship idols that have eyes that see not, ears that hear not, lips that speak not, instead of worshipping the living God, who made heaven and earth, al ins w'al jins w'al jami?' — mankind and different kinds and all kinds. And Behnâm answered: 'Give me a sign.' Then said Mâr Mattai: 'What sign shall I give you?' And he said: 'Heal my sister who is sick.' And they went on their way towards Nineveh, and as they went, Behnâm was full of fear, for he dared not take the saint into his father's city. But when they reached Bârtallâ, Mâr Mattai was weary and could walk no further. And he said: 'If I make water to gush out of the rock, will you believe?' And Behnâm answered: 'I will believe.' And the water gushed forth. Then Behnâm returned to Nineveh, and he refused to worship idols that have eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear and lips that cannot speak."
     "It is true," said 'Abdullah.
     "Neither would he worship the sun," pursued the bishop, "nor the moon, nor the stars, nor anything but the living God, who created heaven and earth, mankind and different kinds and all kinds."

p.268 /

     "It is written in the book," said 'Abdullah.
     "My son," said the bishop, "it is written." And Christian and Moslem met on the common ground of scripture. "Then Senherib put him and his sister to death. But the king was old and sick unto death, and he repented of what he had done, for he had no heir to inherit the kingdom. Therefore he sent for Mâr Mattai and entreated him to bring his son to life. And Mâr Mattai answered: 'Oh king, I will raise him from the head if you will build me a monastery in the Jebel Maklûb.' And Senherib built the house wherein we sit," concluded the bishop.
     "And who built Mâr Behnâm?" said I, anxious to prolong the recital.
    "My daughter," he replied, "the house of Mâr Behnâm was built by Ishâk the merchant. For Ishâk was journeying to Baghdâd, and upon the road he fell ill, and Mâr Behnâm appeared to him and healed him. Verily the Assyrians were idolators, but they came to know the true God. So the world changes." The bishop broke off abruptly at this confusing point in the narrative, for even he felt that it would be an anachronism to assert that the Assyrian empire was Christian. But the historical sequence of events was nothing to 'Abdullah.
     "God is great," he assented. "The world changes." And he rolled another cigarette.1

   1 The bishop had not perhaps retained a clear memory of his facts — if facts they can be called; but Rich seems to have found the history of Mâr Mattai and Mâr Behnâm scarcely less involved than I did: Residence in Koordistan, Vol. II. p. 75. See, too, Pognon, op. cit., p. 132, note 1.

     We ran down the path in the dusk and found my dinner-table spread under the moon. Round the camp-fire sat al ins w'al jins w'al jami' and watched the boiling of Hâjj 'Amr's rice-pot.
     However many countries there may be in the world there are none so rich in faiths as the mountain frontiers of eastern Turkey. Beliefs which have been driven out with obloquy by a new-found truth, the half-apprehended mysticism of the p.269 / East, echoes of Western metaphysics and philosophy, illusive memories of paganism — all have been swept together into these hills, where creeds that were outlined in the childhood of the world are formulated still in terms as old as themselves. Islâm, with the lash of its simple, clear-cut doctrine, has herded them into remote places. Cowering there under centuries of persecution they have hidden their sacred things from the eyes of the spoiler, in silence they endure the reproach which dogs the most innocent practices of a secret cult, and each sect awaits, though ages of misery, the reward and the redeemer which its peculiar revelation has promised. These outcast communities make a potent appeal to the imagination and to the sympathy. I have no desire to pry into that which they choose to conceal, neither have they any wish to take me into their special confidence; but their hospitality is unfailing, and whenever I find myself among them I find myself among friends.
     We were now entering the country which is the headquarters of the Yezîdîs, who, from their desire to conciliate or to propitiate the Spirit of Evil, are known to Moslem and Christian as Devil Worshippers. By Moslem and by Christian they have been placed beyond the bounds of human kindness, and while the Mohammadan has been unremitting in his efforts to bring them, by methods familiar to dominant creeds, to a sense of their short-comings, the Christian has regarded the wholesale butchery which has overtaken them from time to time as a punishment justified by their tenets. I had journeyed before among Yezîdî villages, in the mountains of north Syria, and had been struck by the clean and well-ordered look of the houses, and by the open-handed friendliness of the people, as well as by their courage and industry. The Mesopotamian Yezîdîs I knew only through the descriptions contained in Layard's enchanting books, but I carried a letter to 'Alî Beg, the head of the sect, and proposed to visit him in his village of Bâ'adrî and to see, if he would permit, the most sacred of all Yezîdî shrines, Sheikh 'Adi. 'Abdullah, when he learnt my intention, expressed his entire approval of 'Alî Beg as a man, but he would hear p.270 / nothing of his religious convictions because they were not founded upon a book.
     "Effendim," he said, "Moslems and Jews and Christians have a book; it is only the infidels which have none, and the Yezîdîs are infidels. They worship the Sheitân."
     "You must not speak of him while we are at Bâ'adrî," said I, for the Yezîdîs never take the name of the Devil upon their lips and to mention him in their presence is a shameful insult.
     "God forbid!" replied 'Abdullah.
     We rode over flowery foot-hills that were bright with hollyhock and gladiolus, borage and mullein, and in an hour and a half from our camping-ground we reached the village of Jezarân.
     "These are Shabbak," observed 'Abdullah.
     "What are Shabbak?" I asked.
     "They are not true Moslems," he replied. "God knows what they believe. They resemble the Shî'ahs. Effendim, they came with the armies of the 'Ajam, and after the 'Ajam departed, they remained." The 'Ajam are the Persians, or, roughly speaking, any barbarians.1

   1 I fancy that 'Abdullah's explanation was not far from the truth. Layard, who is the best of all authorities on this country, makes the following remarks about the Shabbak: "Though strange and mysterious rites are as usual attributed to them" (i.e. as is usual with regard to a secret creed), "I suspect they are simply the descendants of Kurds who emigrated at some distant period from the Persian slopes of the mountains, and who still profess Sheeite doctrines. They may, however, be tainted with Ali-Illahism, which consists mainly in the belief that there have been successive incarnations of the Deity, the principal having been in the person of Ali, the celebrated son-in-law of the prophet Mohammad. The name usually given, Ali-Illahi, means 'believers that Ali is God.' Various abominable rites have been attributed to them, as to the Yezidis, Ansyris, and all sects whose doctrines are not known to the surrounding Mussulman and Christian population." Nineveh and Babylon, p. 216.

      We went down into a lovely valley where the storks waded wing-deep through grass and buttercups — Chem Resh is its Kurdish name, Wâdî Aswad in Arabic, and both mean the Black Valley. Everywhere I was now given a Kurdish as well as an Arabic name for the villages, and the mother-tongue of the inhabitants was Kurdish, though, as a rule, they BAVÎAN p.271 / spoke Arabic also. Three hours from the camp we crossed a stream in the Wâdî 'Ain Sifneh, and half-an-hour beyond it we rode through the first Yezîdî village, Mukbil. The Yezîdîs, being of Kurdish race, do not differ in appearance from the rest of the population, except in one particular of their attire: they abhor the colour blue and eschew it in their dress, but red they regard as a beneficent hue, and their women are mostly clothed in dark-red cotton garments. The valley in which Mukbil lies is of uncommon fertility. Rice is cultivated here, and cotton; the emerald green of the grass indicated the presence of swampy ground, and the heavy air was full of the perfume of growing things. I lunched under a fig-tree near a Yezîdî hamlet; the village elders brought me curds and bread unasked, and refused to take payment. Having climbed a green ridge, we dropped into the valley of Baviân, crossed a deep river and rode up its bank till we came, four hours from Mukbil, to the famous rocks which are carved with Assyrian reliefs and inscriptions. Under them we pitched out tents, and a more exquisite camping-ground you might go far to seek. Fattûh knew the place. He had been here with one of whom he spoke as Meesterr Keen. This legendary personage appears frequently in Fattûh's reminiscences, and I suspect him to be no other than Mr. King, of the British Museum. "He gazed long upon the men and animals," observed Fattûh, with indulgent recollection, "and many times he photographed them. And then, wallah! he climbed up the rocks, and all the writing he took down in his book. Not many of the gentry are like Meesterr Keen, and your Excellency need not trouble to copy the writing once more."
     I troubled not at all, but looked in amazement at the great figures of gods mounted on lions, and kings standing in adoration which Shalmaneser II had carved upon the cliff (Fig. 176). Behind some of the groups rock-cut chambers have been hollowed out in a later age, their doorways breaking through the figures of the reliefs, and the stream eddies round the feet of winged beasts and bearded men, walking in procession, cut upon huge boulders which have been dislodged p.272 / from the face of the hill 1

   1 A full description of the reliefs is contained in Layard's Nineveh and Babylon, p.207. Mr. King is so kind as to inform me that the smaller panels at Baviân were carved in the reign of Sennacherib, between the dates 689 B.C. and 681 B.C. The larger sculptures are to be assigned to Shalmaneser II (860-825 B.C.).

When I had seen these wonders I wandered up the valley to a point where the cliff bends round and holds the river in the curve of its arm. Here lay a deep still pool, the banks of which were starred with daisies and poppies and the rocks with campanulas and orchids. The water, dyed to a ruddy brown by recent rains, was like a disk of polished bronze in a setting of green and white and scarlet enamel. I sat for a little and listened to the birds singing about their nests in the cliffs, and the river breaking over the stones below the pool, and then I swam in the warm brown water and went upon my way rejoicing.
     A fortunate chance sent other travellers to visit the reliefs that day, Dominican fathers from the monastery of Mâr Ya'kûb, two days' journey to the west of Baviân. They gave me much valuable information before they rode away on their mules, and I only hope that they enjoyed my tea half as much as I enjoyed their conversation. They were bound for Sheikh 'Adî, and hearing that I also was on my way thither, they told me of the underground chambers of the shrine, now seldom shown to strangers, and of the spring that runs through them from basin to basin; of the Yezîdî adoration of fountains, and of the baptismal rites which they practise, ceremonies which they borrowed from another Mesopotamian sect, the Mandæans, who are called the Christians of St. John. So sacred is the element of water that a Yezîdî will nto enter a Moslem bath, nor will he eat of fish, which is born of water. They spoke too of the religions of dualism, of which the Yezîdî faith is one, though it is probably derived, through Manichæanism, from an ancient Babylonian source, rather than directly from Zoroaster, since it preserves the reverence for the sun which sprang from Mani's identification of light with the Principle of Good; and out of their wide experience of local customs they drew parallels

Illustration opposite p.272 ]

Assyrian reliefs at Bavian
FIG. 176.—ASSYRIAN RELIEFS AT BAVIÂN.   (enlargement)

Illustrations opposite p.273 ]

'Ali Beg
FIG. 177.—'ALÎ BEG.

The Khatun at the door of Sheikh 'Adi

BÂ'ADRÎ p.273 / from the Christian sects, whose observances reflect those of primitive cults, and told me of Christians who, like the Yezîdîs, turn to the sun to pray. Then they left me with the birds and the river and the Assyrian gods, to reflect upon the unchanging persistence of human beliefs.
     It is a five-hours' ride from Baviân to Bâ'adrî, and during the course of it I began to learn something of the terrible lawlessness which turns the beautiful Kurdish mountains into a hell upon earth. We passed upon our way a small Kurdish settlement, of which the houses burrowed into the hill-side like the lairs of wild animals. It is the winter quarters of one Hassan Jângîr, a robber chief of the Kochars, the nomad Kurds. Two days before it had been raided by the government, in retribution for innumerable outrages, and such of the population as yet lived had fled into the hills. The feudal lord of Hassan Jângîr is Sheikh Hajjî, who was at that time, to the satisfaction of the whole country-side, imprisoned in Môsul, but his liegeman had joined forces with another redoubted malefactor, Sheikh Nûrî, and it was rumoured that the pair with their followers had been encamped the previous night on the heights above Baviân. It was not without reason, as I now perceived, that the Vâlî of Môsul had insisted on providing me with four zaptiehs instead of the customary two.
     The village of Bâ'adrî clings to the green slopes of the foot-hills, and 'Alî Beg's whitewashed house stands over it like a miniature fortress. The beg, who is the descendant of the other 'Alî to whom Layard stood godfather (with some misgivings as to what might be the duties of the sponsor of a devil-worshipping baby), received me in his divan with the utmost cordiality. He is a man of middle age with a commanding figure and a long beard, light brown in colour, that curls almost to his waist. He was dressed from head to foot in white, and as we sat together in the divan, I thought that I had seldom drunk coffee in more remarkable company. I told him that I knew his people in the Jebel Sim'ûn and that they had spoken of him as the ruler of all.
     "The ruler of us all," he replied gravely, "is God."

p.274 /

     In the courtyard were a pair of peacocks, in honour, no doubt, of the Angel Peacock, who rules the age of 10,000 years in which we live, and is the symbol of him who must not be named. His bronze effigy is carried by the Kawwâls, the higher priesthood of the Yezîdîs, when they journey among the scattered communities of the sect, and to whatever dangers they may be exposed, it is said that the image has never been allowed to fall into the hands of infidels.1

   1 It has been described and drawn by Layard: Nineveh and Babylon, p. 48.

The Yezîdî women are neither secluded nor veiled, and when 'Alî Beg took me to see his wife we found her in the midst of her household, male and female, giving orders for my entertainment. She was a handsome woman dressed in a robe of purple cotton, with a black velvet cap placed over the muslin veil which was wrapped about her head and under her chin, but did not conceal her face. On her wrists she wore heavy gold bracelets set with turquoises. She talked nothing but Kurdish, so that my greetings and my gratitude were conveyed to her through the beg's secretary, a Chaldæan from Alkôsh. Few Yezîdîs can either read or write, such knowledge being forbidden to them, and I doubt whether the beg himself had any acquaintance with letters. In the women's quarters I knitted an instant friendship with 'Alî Beg's small son, Sa'îd Beg, and though we had no common language in which to express our feelings, our intimacy advanced silently by leaps and bounds while he sat upon the largest of my camp-chairs and watched me eat the sumptuous meal with which his father had provided me. When I had finished there was enough and to spare of rice and mutton, bread and semolina pudding and sour curds to satisfy all my servants and soldiers. Meantime the beg had made preparations for my visit to Sheikh 'Adî, whither two Yezîdî horsemen and all my four zaptiehs were ordered to accompany me, lest we should meet with Kurdish robbers in the hills. 'Alî Beg with a dignified retinue of elders, one of whom was a kawwâl who had that day returned from

Illustration opposite p.274 ]

Sheikh 'Adi
FIG. 179.—SHEIKH 'ADÎ.   (enlargement)

Illustrations opposite p.275 ]

FIG. 180.—ZÂKHÔ.   (enlargement)

Bridge over the Khabur
FIG. 181.—BRIDGE OVER THE KHÂBÛR.   (enlargement)

SHEIKH 'ADÎ p.275 / the Jebel Sinjâr, watched our departure (Fig. 177). Their fine grave heads and flowing beards gave them a singular resemblance to the kings and gods upon the rocks of Baviân, and perhaps the likeness was not merely fanciful, for the higher dignitaries of the Yezîdîs intermarry with none save those of their own rank, and who knows what ancient flood may flow from generation to generation through their veins?1

   1 In the photograph 'Alî Beg is seated and the kawwâl stands to the right of him. The figure on the left is the Christian secretary, and the close-shaven man behind the beg is Fattûh.

We rode into the folds of the hills by a path so stony that we were forced at times to dismount and lead our horses. Bushes of flowering hawthorn grew among the rocks, oak-trees, in newly opened leaf, were scattered over the steep slopes, and the grass was full of poppies and the last of the scarlet ranunculus. The Yezîdîs hold the ranunculus in high esteem, its bright-red colour being of good omen in their eyes, and I regard it with no less favour, though perhaps for more superficial reasons. After a climb of close upon two hours, we reached the summit of the hill and the path dipped down, through sturdier oak woods, into a secluded valley, out of the heart of which rose the fluted spires of Sheikh 'Adî, a sanctuary and a tiny village embosomed in planes and mulberries and ancient fig-trees (Fig. 179). We sat down by the edge of a clear fountain while one of my Yezîdî guides went forward to announce our arrival to the khâtûn, the sister of 'Alî Beg. She came to meet me in the outer court of the shrine, a tall and slender woman wrapped in white robes, with a black cap upon her head and a heavy linen veil thrown over it and drawn tightly under her chin. She took me by the hand, and bidding me welcome in the few words of Arabic which she had at her command, led me past the booths where the hucksters spread out their wares during the days of the great yearly festival — they stood empty now under the mulberry branches. We passed through a doorway into a small paved court, still and peaceful and half-shaded by mulberries. The further side was bounded by the wall of the shrine, which opens into the court by a single p.276 / door. Upon the wall near the door a snake is carved in relief upon the stones and painted black (Fig. 178). With a singular magnetic attraction it catches and holds the eye, and the little court owes to its presence much of the indefinable sense of mystery which hangs over it as surely as hang the spreading branches of the mulberry-trees. I took off my shoes and followed the khâtûn as she stepped softly over the grass-grown pavement. At the door she paused, touched with her lips the stone, and murmured a Kurdish prayer in which I heard the frequent repetition of Sheikh 'Adî's name. In her white robes and heavy veil she looked like some strange priestess: the sibyl of the Delphic shrine might have stood so, robed in white, and kissed the marble gateway of the sun-god's house. A cool darkness and the murmur of water greeted us as we entered. We found ourselves in a large oblong chamber lying, as near as I can guess, from east to west, and divided into two vaulted aisles, of about the same width, by a row of seven piers. From under the wall on our left hand flowed a streamlet of clear water that ran into a square tank, and out of it down the length of the southern aisle. In the north aisle there was a tomb covered over with coloured cloths: "Holy man's grave," whispered the khâtûn as we passed it. But we had not yet reached the sanctuary which holds Sheikh 'Adî's bones. The eastern end of the north wall is broken by a door which leads into a dark chamber containing a second tomb. This chamber is covered by the smaller of the two spires. To the west of it is a second square room, bigger than the first, and here Sheikh 'Adî's tomb stands under the larger spire. It was totally dark: the wick floating in a saucer of oil carried by the khâtûn did little to illuminate it, and I lighted a coil of magnesium wire, to the delight of my guide, who interrupted her prayers to Sheikh 'Adî to utter ejaculations of pleasure each time that the white flash leapt up into the dome. For my part I would as soon study by the flame of a will-o'-the-wisp as by the uncertain brilliance of magnesium wire, coupled as it is with the assurance that the burning tendril will ultimately expend itself upon my skirt, and I got no SHEIKH 'ADÎ p.277 / more profit from the display than the gratification of the khâtûn and the knowledge that the high cone was set over the angles of the chamber on squinch arches — a construction which I could have predicted while it was still wrapped in darkness. Beyond the tomb chamber, and parallel with the north aisle, lies a long vaulted room, pitch dark like the other, and filled with oil jars. "For Sheikh 'Adî," said the khâtûn, and kissed the well-oiled door as we entered.1

   1 Layard mentions that the oil for the lamps is provided out of the funds of the shrine: Nineveh and its Remains, Vol. I. p. 291.

Still further west we came to a vaulted gallery, running along the north side of the court; it, too, was dark except where the light shone through a few cracks in the wall. We went back through the two domed rooms, and when we reached the smaller tomb-chamber the khâtûn turned to me, saying, "Come." Up to this point we had been accompanied by the zaptiehs and by the Yezîdîs from Bâ'adrî; to these she pointed the way into the aisled hall, and taking my hand she led me to a low door in the eastern wall of the tomb-chamber. She bent her slender figure and passed through it, holding up her lamp to light my path. I followed her down half-a-dozen steps into a small chamber, dimly illumined by faint rays that struggled through chinks in the masonry of the south wall. The north wall was, so far as I could see, cut out of the solid rock; from under it gushed a spring which is said to take its source in the well Zemzem at Mecca. As in the upper building, the water flowed into a small square basin and through a hole in the wall at the eastern end of the room, but it flowed at its own pleasure, or perhaps the well Zemzem had been overfilled by the rains and the stream was greater than is usual, for it covered the floor to the depth of several centimetres. I stood doubtfully upon the lowest step and then decided that the wisest course would be to pull off my stockings — bare feet take no harm from a watery floor, though feet accustomed to be shod will tread unsteadily upon the sharp pebbles with which the spring has plentifully bestrewn the pavement. the khâtûn p.278 / was much distressed to see me reduced to this plight: "Bîchâreh!" she said, "poor one." We splashed across the chamber and into a low passage which turned at right angles and conducted us into a second room. The stream came with us and was caught in yet another basin. In the dim twilight my companion turned quickly towards me and laid her hand upon my arm.
     "Are you not afraid?" she whispered.
     "I looked up into the white and gentle face, wrapped round with the whiter veil, on which the burning wick cast a ghostly light, and because of my deep ignorance I was much perplexed.
     "No," I answered.
     "I am afraid," said she. And then I understood that if I had known how holy was the ground whereon we trod, not even the sharp pebbles would have prevailed over my mind against its awe-inspiring shades.
     The stream gushed out under the east wall, the khâtûn opened a small door beside its mouth, and we passed out, blinking, into a sunny courtyard, half filled with piles of firewood, which I believe to be the wood used in the annual sacrifice of the white bull to Sheikh Shems, who is the sun.1

   1 Layard pointed out the connection between the white bull offered annually to the Yezîdî solar saint and a similar sacrifice in the Assyrian ritual: Nineveh and its Remains, Vol. I. p. 290.

We returned round the south of the building, past the house which is occupied by the khâtûn and by 'Alî Beg when he comes to the festival, and rejoined the zaptiehs in the inner court. There we sat long under the trees, eating freshly-baked bread and drinking bowls of milk with which the khâtûn provided us. It was with difficulty that I persuaded her not to kill a lamb and add it to the meal, which she considered far too modest for our merits or for her reputation as a hostess.
     Little is known of the saint whose tomb is the central shrine of the Yezîdî faith. He is variously reported to have sprung either from the regions near Aleppo, or from the Haurân, and he died in the year A.D. 1162. He was one SHEIKH 'ADÎ p.279 / of a number of illuminators of whom the Sûfî mystic, Mansûr el Hallâj, was another — he who suffered martyrdom for asserting the permeation of all created things by the Deity with the phrase: "I am God."1

   1 This doctrine is, however, older than the Sûfîs; it was held by the Mandæans and is part of the Asiatic heritage of religious ideas out of which the Yezîdî creed has been formed. The transmigration of souls, another Mandæan tenet, is also professed by the Yezîdîs.

The Angel Jesus is a third — not the phantom Jesus whose death is recorded in the New Testament, but the spirit whose place that other had usurped;2

   2 This, too, is an article of the Mandæan faith.

and many of the Jewish prophets are revered in the same manner. There is a tradition that the building which is now Sheikh 'Adî's tomb was once a Christian church, but though I looked sharply for evidences that might confirm this report, I could not be sure that they existed. It is certain that there were earlier edifices upon the present site, and the building has been so often destroyed and restored that its original form must have been almost obliterated.3

   3 The late Lord Percy, who visited Sheikh 'Adî in 1897, found nothing but the outer shell and the roof intact. It had been wrecked by a Turkish general who had made a resolute attempt to convert or exterminate (the two expressions are practically synonymous) the Yezîdîs: Notes from a Diary, p. 184.

Round the doorway there are re-used stones covered with the net-like patterns which are to be found in the churches at Karakôsh. An Arabic inscription, built into the same wall, bears the date 1115, but this date undoubtedly refers to the Mohammadan era, and the inscription is therefore barely two centuries old. Below it a second representation of a serpent is carved upon the wall, not painted like the one near the doorway, and lying parallel with the ground instead of standing upright. What the black snake signifies I do not know, neither did I ask for an explanation which would not have been accorded. Layard says that the Yezîdîs repeatedly assured him that it was without significance, and I should have been given no other answer.4

   4 Nineveh and Babylon, p. 83.

'Abdullah, who knew as little as I, volunteered the p.280 / information that a Yezîdî will never kill a black snake, but when I asked whether there were many such reptiles in the hills, he replied that so far as he knew there were none, and his testimony as to the practices of the Yezîdîs when confronted with them did not seem to me to be of much value. Before I left Bâ'adrî I received an invitation to be present at the summer festival. Of the ceremonies performed at this time Layard has left two wonderful descriptions,1

   1 Nineveh and its Remains, Vol. I. p. 280, and Nineveh and Babylon, p. 81.

and if ever I find myself at Môsul in the height of the summer I shall not forget 'Alî Beg's proffer of hospitality.
     It was near sunset when we reached Bâ'adrî. After night had fallen Sa'îd Beg came to fetch me to his mother's quarters. We held converse through the Christian secretary, and our talk was mostly of the child who sat beside me smoking one cigarette after another.
     "In my country children may not smoke," said I. "Oh Sa'îd Beg, little children like you should be asleep at this hour."
     The khâtûn smiled at him tenderly. "We can deny him nothing," said she.
     And the secretary added: "The 'arak they give him is worse for him than the cigarettes." Sobriety is not, I fear, to be numbered among the Yezîdî virtues.
     I left next morning at an early hour, and the secretary saw to the comfort of my departure and received my thanks for the kindness which had been shown to us, but neither he nor any other of 'Alî Beg's people would accept a reward. As I was about to mount, he said that the beg would ask a favour of me.
     "Upon my head and eyes," said I.
     "Will you leave with us some of your fire ribbon. He would light the tomb with it at the next festival." I broke off half the roll, and by this time the fame of magnesium wire must have spread to the Jebel Sinjâr, or even to the Jebel Sim'ûn, and in the skirts of many a pious person a hole has doubtless been burnt.


     Having breakfasted with Devil Worshippers, I lunched with the prior of Rabbân Hormuzd. The monastery, which is a very ancient and famous Nestorian house, once the seat of a patriarch, now belongs to the Chaldæans, that is, to the Catholic Nestorians. It lies high up in the hills above Alkôsh, a village four hours to the west of Bâ'adrî. When we reached Alkôsh I sent my caravan forward, and with Jûsef and 'Abdullah climbed for half-an-hour up a narrow rocky valley by a winding path which led us to a postern in the wall. In the flourishing Nestorian days innumerable hordes of monks lodged in caves among the rocks; many of these caves are still extant (though many have crumbled away with the crumbling of the stone) but few are tenanted. Rich, who has left an interesting account of Rabbân Hormuzd,1

   1 Residence in Koordistan, Vol. II. p. 91.

was of the opinion that the amphitheatre of cliffs, honeycombed with caves, was an ancient Persian burial-place converted into a Christian monastery. Traditions differ as to the history of the tutelary saint; some say that he was martyred in the persecution of Yazdegird, king of Persia, and some in that of the emperor Diocletian. The date of the foundation of the monastery is generally given as falling within the fourth century, though the prior, Kas Elyâs, told me that it was founded in the seventh century. Exceedingly little of the original monastery remains, and Rich relates that at the time of his visit it had recently undergone a comprehensive restoration. The present buildings (and no doubt the ancient buildings were much the same) climb in tier above tier up the precipitous hill-side. The house of Kas Elyâs stands highest of all, and there I sat in the window-seat and gossiped with the jolly prior. We brought him news of the accession of Muhammad V, on the hearing of which he bubbled over with satisfaction, and declared that Salonica was the saviour of the empire and that all his allegiance was given to the Young Turks, and all his hopes depended upon them. Even in the last six months order had been foreshadowed in the Kurdish hills, and with Muhammad V upon the throne p.282 / and Sheikh Hajjî in prison, who could predict how far it might not be carried? It was encouraging to listen to views so optimistic, even though I knew that the prophecies of Kas Elyâs must be slow of fulfilment. I began to forget the weariness caused by the heavy steaming heat of the plain, and half-an-hour in the prior's lofty house, together with a lunch of omelettes and honey and sour curds, completed the cure. Thus restored, I followed him into the church. The main part of it, according to him, is about four hundred years old, but a chapel (which is obviously later in date) was, said he, erected about a hundred years ago. For English eyes it has an interest out of all proportion to its age, for upon the doorway are carved the names of James and Mary Rich, with the date 1820, and of Henry Layard, with the date 1846. An age of splendid achievement in travel was that which saw Rich and Layard, Chesney and Ainsworth and Rawlinson; for much of our knowledge of the remoter parts of Asia we depend still upon the bountiful information with which their learning and their courage supplied us. To the south of the church a passage is hollowed out of the cliff. It leads into a tiny rock-cut chamber, to the ceiling of which two iron rings are fastened. "From these," observed the prior, "Rabbân Hormuzd suspended himself when he fell into meditation, and here it is the custom for pilgrims to make their offerings." The hint, I need hardly say, was effectual. The baptistery lies south-west of the church; it is built of masonry and covered by a dome on squinches. To it, and to the vaulted chamber adjoining it, I should give an earlier date than to the rest of the edifice.
     Much cheered in mind and body, and laden with roses from the monastery garden, we rode down into the insufferable heat of the low ground. Shortly after leaving Alkôsh our path turned into the hills to the right, climbed by a charming valley with a rushing stream in its depth, crossed a low pass and led us out into the broad green plain which lies between the Jebel Alkôsh and the Jebel Dehûk. Flowering grasses brushed our stirrups as we rode, but, in spite of its fertility, the plain is almost uncultivated. The few MALTHAI p.283 / villages, Moslem and Christian, are harried by the robber bands of Sheikh Nûrî, and whenever the miserable peasants have gathered together such modest wealth as their resources permit, the nomad Kurds fall upon them with rifle and with firebrand. Thus it is that long tracts of land are unpeopled and the hamlets that exist are more than half in ruin. One we passed that had been looted and left a smouldering heap of ashes two years earlier, but the newly aroused hopes of firmer government had induced the peasants to return to it, and the houses were springing up again. The deep grass through which we journeyed, both on this day and on the next, is looked upon as a sore peril, since it tempts the Kurds down into the lowland pastures. To avoid this annual reign of terror, the peasants are wont to set it on fire as soon as it ripens, leaving but a small patch round each village. For a week the plain is wrapped in flame and smoke, and the stifling heat of the burning rises up to the hill-top monastery of Mâr Ya'kûb, where the Catholic priests are witnesses to the appalling destruction of what might have been a rich harvest, and to the bitter oppression which turns the bounty of nature into a recurring threat. Jûsef, whose imagination is not to be roused except by considerations of a soundly practical character, cast his eye over the fields and observed thoughtfully: "The muleteers of Baghdâd must starve this year to buy fodder for their cattle, yet here is enough to feed all the Jezîreh." Heaven send peace to this fair country.
     We camped near the small village of Grê Pahn (Arabic: Tell' Arîd = the Broad Mount), where we found our tents pitched. It had taken us three and a half hours to reach it from Alkôsh, but the caravan time had been somewhat longer. Upon the following day we had a hard march; the caravan was ten hours upon the way and I, with 'Abdullah and Jûsef, considerably more, for we began the day with an excursion from the road to the Assyrian reliefs above Malthai. We turned to the right, up the valley that leads to Dehûk, and leaving our horses at the foot of the hill under the care of Jûsef, 'Abdullah and I climbed up and sought for the sculp- p.284 / tures. It was rough going and we had been insufficiently directed, so that for long we sought in vain. At last in despair I sent 'Abdullah back to fetch a guide and sat down to wait for him under a rock. Clumps of flowering saxifrage covered the stones; campanula pyramidalis lifted its tall spires out of the crevices, the wide green valley lay below, its sparsely scattered villages each clustering about an ancient mound, and beyond it rose the mountain chains of Kurdistân. The air was full of the fragrance and the freshness of the hills and alive with the sound of their waters. To all the high places of the world I have given allegiance — all exercise a like authority and confer like privileges, and in these distant solitudes I claimed and was accorded an old-established right of mountain citizenship.
     'Abdullah's mission came abruptly to a successful termination. We had climbed high above the reliefs, and his keen eye espied them as he made his way down. They are four in number, and on each precisely the same scene is depicted. A king stands in adoration before a procession of seven gods, six of whom are mounted upon the backs of beasts, while one is seated upon a throne borne by a lion. Another, or perhaps the same, king follows the company of gods on foot. A tomb or cell has been broken through one of the reliefs, as at Baviân. In subject and in style the reliefs in both places are closely alike, and though there are no inscriptions at Malthai, the learned have concluded that the work there must be of the same epoch as that at Baviân, and have dated it in the reign of Shalmaneser II (860-825 B.C.).1

   1 Layard: Nineveh and its Remains, Vol. I. p. 230. See, too Perrot and Chipiez: Histoire de l'Art, Vol. II. p. 642.

They have yet to solve the difficult problems connected with the interchange of religions and artistic conceptions between the Assyrians and the Hittites, whose sculptures show, at a far earlier date, the same strange motive of a divinity standing upon the back of a wild animal.
     For the rest of the day we journeyed along the foot of the hills by the Môsul high road. In the middle of the afternoon 'Abdullah observed conversationally:

KOLEH p.285 /

     "That is the house of a bandit," and he nodded his head towards a small white fort under the hills. The bandit was at that period imprisoned at Môsul, but his empty dwelling served 'Abdullah as a peg whereon to hang a denunciation of the Kurds, root and branch.
     "As God is almighty," said he, "they fear not God nor the Sultan. They take the load and the camel with it. Allah al wakîl! they fire at the soldiers of the government; they seize the load and the mule."
     "Where do they buy arms?" I asked.
     "From Ibn Sabbâh of Kuweit," he replied. "They travel down the Tigris to the Gulf in keleks, and there they buy a rifle for three Ottoman pounds, and sell it here for ten pounds — with a rich merchandise, wallah! they return from the Gulf of Persia. And how can we prevail against them when 'Abdu'l Hamîd showed them favour? Sheikh Hajjî was a shepherd in the hills — a shepherd with a shepherd's staff guarding the sheep — till 'Abdu'l Hamîd made him a beg. Praise God he is now in the Môsul prison — may God curse him!"
     "God strengthen the new government," said I.
     "Please God," he answered.
     After five hours' quick riding from Malthai the post-road turned to the right, over the hills. We did not follow it, but rode straight on for another forty minutes to our camp at the Kurdish village of Koleh. I had heard of a fortress which lay upon the western slopes of the Jebel el Abyad, half-an-hour beyond Koleh, and thither I went next morning. It proved to be the ruins of a fortified town of which nothing but the outer wall was standing. The spurs of the Kurdish mountains are covered with fortress ruins, outlying strongholds of the highland races against the inhabitants of the plains, or else defences serving to protect the fruitful lowlands from the inroads of the tribes. They date, so far as I can judge, from every period, from the Assyrian to the Ottoman, but the majority are undoubtedly Kurdish, robber fastnesses of the marauding chiefs who have spread terror over the countryside for many a century. In this last cate- p.286 / gory I should not, however, place Za'ferân. The wall is built of fine masonry; it is about 1.70 metres thick, the outer and the inner faces being of dressed stones, the core of rubble and mortar. It runs up to the top of a rocky bluff which has been divided from the area of the town by a cross wall. The rock forms a natural citadel, but I could see no signs of masonry, othe than the wall, upon its summit — indeed the ground falls so sharply that there is little room for building. From this elevated position the town wall can be seen stretching out in an irregular, elongated semicircle, and the plain slopes down from it towards the Tigris, which lies two or three miles to the south. In the centre of the town there is a large mass of ruin near which are some rock-hewn sarcophagi. Two clearly marked streets cross the enclosed area at right angles to one another, the one passing by the central ruin and running down to a gate in the south wall, the other running from east to west and probably from gate to gate — the eastern gate is visible, but the western part of the wall is so much ruined that the position of its gateway is not to be determined. The lintel and door jambs of the south gate are standing, the width of the opening is only two metres, and the lintel here and in the east gate (where it has fallen to the ground) is unadorned and uninscribed. The character of the masonry and the existence (as is proved by the lines of street and ruin heap) of a town carefully planned upon an ordered system, point to a date prior to the Mohammadan conquest, and I am inclined to seek for a Byzantine origin for Za'ferân. Perhaps it may be a relic of the triumphant, though brief, re-occupation by Heraclius of the provinces cede to the Persians by Jovian.
     I followed my caravan back to the Môsul highway and so across the hills to Zâkhô. We climbed up the pass by as good a road as any in Turkey, but while we were rejoicing over its excellence, it broke off short and left us to find our way down the opposite side of the pass as best we might along a bridle-path strewn with boudlers. So we came down into the valley of the Khâbûr and saw before us the snowy wall of the Kurdish Alps (Fig. 180). At the gate of the pass ZÂKHÔ p.287 / stands Zâkhô, "old and isolated," as Ainsworth says, and it would be difficult to better the phrase.1

   1 Travels in the Track, p. 144.

The more ancient part of the village is built upon an island in the Khâbûr. The right arm of the river is spanned by a masonry bridge, the left arm washes round the castle, a fortress which must have had a long and checkered history, though I can find no record of it.2

   2 Zâkhô must be the place known to the Arab geographers as Hasanîyeh (I see that Hartmann comes to the same conclusion: Bohtân, Mitt. der Vorderas. Gesell., 1896, II. p. 39), but their information is, as usual, exceedingly meagre and the castle is mentioned by none. Mukaddasî, in the tenth century, says that it is a day's journey from Ma'lathâyâ (Malthai) to Hasanîyeh (ed. de Goeje, p.149), and notes the bridge over the Khâbûr above the town (p. 139). Yâkût, in the thirteenth century, observes that it is two days from Môsul on the road to Jezîret ibn 'Umar. Ainsworth conjectures it to be the spot described by Xenophon as "a kind of palace with several villages round it," which was reached by the Greeks in five days' march from Mespila-Nineveh, but it must be admitted that Xenophon's description is not exactly suited to Zâkhô. Ritter thinks that a memory of the people called by Strabo Saccopodes may be retained in the name Zâkhô (Vol. IX. p. 705). With regard to the name Hasanîyeh it is perhaps preserved in Hasanah, a small village on the opposite side of the Khâbûr valley.

The masonry is of many different periods. The finest and probably the oldest part is an octagonal tower which juts out into the stream on the south-east side. The outer walls are all fairly well preserved and make an imposing appearance, but the interior is terribly ruinous. In the upper part of the building there is a large hall with windows opening on to the river. The engaged columns which support the interior pointed arches of these windows are covered with a delicate tracery of carving very like Seljuk work of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. This part of the castle cannot be dated later than the fourteenth century, but the foundations and the octagonal tower must be considerably older. Last of all the Turkish garrison has supplemented the ancient work with wretched structures of rubble and mortar, and these, too, have fallen into ruin and have been given over to the storks, who nest contentedly among them. In Zâkhô lies buried the first missionary to Kurdistân, the Domincan Soldini, who died here in 1779. The quarter that p.288 / stands upon the right bank of the Khâbûr is mainly Christian and contains, I believe, two small churches of no very great age, but my curiousity was quenched before I reached them, by a violent thunderstorm which drove me back to my tents. It swept down the valley from Amadîyeh, and rolling away, left the mountains so magically beautiful that I could give no further thought to any architecture but that of their white pinnacles and spires.