The Land of Midian, by Richard F. Burton

Chapter XIX.

The Wady Hamz — the Classical Ruin — Abá‘l-Marú, the Mine of “Marwah”— Return to El–Wijh — Résumé of the Southern Journey.

Before describing the Palace of Sa’íd the Brave, I must devote a few lines to a notice of the Wady Hamz. The Wady Hamz, which has been mentioned as the southern frontier of Egyptian Midian, and the northern limit of the Ottoman Hejaz, is the most notable feature of its kind upon the North–Western Arabian shore. Yet Wallin has unjustifiably described and inscribed it “Wady Nejd,” confusing it with a northern basin, whose mouth, the Salbah (Thalbah), we passed before reaching Sharm Dumayghah. He appears to identify it with the classical Wady el-Kura. Sprenger clean ignores the name, although he mentions its branches; and of course it is utterly neglected by the Hydrographic Chart. This main approach to the Arabian interior is not a fissure, like the vulgar Wadys, but rather an opening where the Gháts, or maritime chain, break to the north and south. Distant one long or two short marches from El–Wijh, its mouth is in north lat. 25° 55’; and it is said to head fifteen days inland, in fact beyond El–Medínah, towards which it curves with a south-easterly bend. It receives a multitude of important secondary valleys; amongst which is the Wady el-‘Uwaynid, universally so pronounced. I cannot help thinking that this is El-‘Aúníd of El–Mukaddasi, which El–Idrísí (erroneously?) throws into the sea opposite Nu’ma’n Island. If my conjecture prove true, we thus have a reason why this important line has been inexplicably neglected. Another branch is the Wady el-‘Is, Sprenger’s “Al-‘Ys” (pp. 28, 29), which he calls “a valley in the Juhaynah country,” and makes the northern boundary of that tribe.

Ethnologically considered, the lower Wady Hamz is now the southern boundary of the Balawíyyah (Baliyy country), and the northern limit of the Jahaníyyah, or Juhaynah-land: the latter is popularly described as stretching down coast to Wady Burmah, one march beyond Yambú’ (?). Higher up it belongs to the Alaydán-‘Anezahs, under Shaykh Mutlak — these were the Bedawin who, during our stay at the port, brought their caravan to El–Wijh. Both tribes are unsafe, and they will wax worse as they go south. Yet there is no difficulty in travelling up the Hamz, at least for those who can afford time and money to engage the escort of Shaykh Mutlak. A delay of twelve days to a fortnight would be necessary, and common prudence would suggest the normal precaution of detaining, as hostage in the seaboard settlement, one of his Alaydán cousins. Water is to be found the whole way, and the usual provisions are to be bought at certain places.

The following notes upon the ruins of the Wady Hamz were supplied to me by the Baliyy Bedawin and the citizens of El–Wijh. Six stages up the lower valley, whose direction lies nearly north-east, lead to El-‘Ilá, Wallin’s “Ela,” which belongs to the ‘Anezah. Thence a short day, to the north with easting, places the traveller at Madáin (not Madyan nor Medínat) Sálih —“the cities of Sálih.” The site is described to be somewhat off the main valley, which is here broken by a Nakb (?); and those who have visited both declared that it exactly resembles Nabathæan Magháir Shu’ayb in extensive ruins and in catacombs caverning the hill-sides.

Also called El–Hijr, it is made by Sprenger (p. 20) the capital of Thamuditis. This province was the head-quarters of the giant race termed the “Sons of Anak” (Joshua xi. 21); the Thamudeni and Thamudæ of Agatharkides and Diodorus; the Tamudæi of Pliny; the Thamyditæ of Ptolemy; and the Arabian Tamúd (Thamúd), who, extinct before the origin of El–Islam, occupied the seaboard between El–Muwaylah and El–Wijh. Their great centre was the plain El–Badá; and they were destroyed by a terrible sound from heaven, the Beth–Kol of the Hebrews, after sinfully slaughtering the miraculously produced camel of El-Sálih, the Righteous Prophet (Koran, cap. vii.). The exploration of “Sálih’s cities” will be valuable if it lead to the collection of inscriptions sufficiently numerous to determine whether the Tamúd were Edomites, or kin to the Edomites; also which of the two races is the more ancient, the Horites of Idumæa or the Horites in El–Hijr.

And now to inspect the Gasr. The first sensation was one of surprise, of the mental state which gave rise to the Italian’s —

“Dear Columns, what do you here?
‘Not knowing, can’t say, Mynheer!’”

And this incongruous bit of Greece or Rome, in the Arabian wild, kept its mystery to the last: the more we looked at it, the less we could explain its presence. Not a line of inscription, not even a mason’s mark — all dark as the grave; deaf-dumb as “the olden gods.”

The site of the Gasr is in north lat. 25° 55’ 15”;228 and the centre of the Libn block bears from it 339° (mag.). It stands upon the very edge of its Wady’s left bank, a clifflet some twenty-five feet high, sloping inland with the usual dark metal disposed upon loose yellow sand. Thus it commands a glorious view of the tree-grown valley, or rather valleys, beneath it; and of the picturesque peaks of the Tihámat-Balawíyyah in the background. The distance from the sea is now a little over three miles — in ancient days it may have been much less.

The condition of the digging proves that the remains have not long been opened: the Baliyy state less than half a century ago; but exactly when or by whom is apparently unknown to them. Before that time the locale must have shown a mere tumulus, a mound somewhat larger than the many which pimple the raised valley-bank behind the building. A wall is said to have projected above ground, as at Uriconium near the Wrekin.229 This may have suggested excavation, besides supplying material for the Bedawi cemetery to the south-west. The torrent waters have swept away the whole of the northern wall, and the treasure-seeker has left his mark upon the interior. Columns and pilasters and bevelled stones have been hurled into the Wady below; the large pavement-slabs have been torn up and tossed about to a chaos; and the restless drifting of the loose yellow Desert-sand will soon bury it again in oblivion. The result of all such ruthless ruining was simply null. The imaginative Nájí declared, it is true, that a stone dog had been found; but this animal went the way of the “iron fish,” which all at El–Muwaylah asserted to have been dug up at El–Wijh — the latter place never having heard of it. Wallin (p. 316) was also told of a black dog which haunts the ruins of Karáyyá, and acts guardian to its hidden treasures. Years ago, when I visited the mouth of the Volta river on the Gold Coast, the negroes of Cape Coast Castle were pleased to report that I had unearthed a silver dog, at whose appearance my companion, Colonel de Ruvignes, and myself fell dead. But why always a dog? The “Palace” is a Roman building of pure style; whether temple or nymphæum, we had no means of ascertaining. The material is the Rughám or alabaster supplied by the Secondary formation; and this, as we saw, readily crumbles to a white powder when burnt. The people, who in such matters may be trusted, declare that the quarries are still open at Abú Makhárír, under the hills embosoming Abá‘l-Marú. We should have been less surprised had the ruin been built of marble, which might have been transported from Egypt; but this careful and classical treatment of the common country stone, only added to the marvel.

It must have been a bright and brilliant bit of colouring in its best days — hence, possibly, the local tradition that the stone sweats oil. The whole building, from the pavement to the coping, notched to receive the roof-joists, is of alabaster, plain-white and streaked with ruddy, mauve, and dark bands, whose mottling gives the effect of marble. Perhaps in places the gypsum has been subjected to plutonic action; and we thought that the coloured was preferred to the clear for the bases of the columns. The exposed foundations of the eastern and western walls, where the torrent has washed away the northern enceinte, show that, after the fashion of ancient Egypt, sandstone slabs have been laid underground, the calcaire being reserved for the hypaethral part. The admirable hydraulic cement is here and there made to take the place of broken corners, and flaws have been remedied by carefully letting in small cubes of sound stone. There are also cramp-holes for metal which, of course, has been carried off by the Bedawin: the rusty stains suggest iron.

The building is square-shaped, as we see from the western wall, and it evidently faced eastward with 25° (mag.) of southing. This orientation, probably borrowed from the Jews, was not thoroughly adopted in Christendom till the early fifth century, when it became a mos. The southern wall, whose basement is perfect, shows everywhere a thickness of 0.95 centimetre, and a total length of 8 metres 30 centimetres. At 2 metres 87 centimetres from the south-western corner is a slightly raised surface, measuring in length 2 metres 15 centimetres. Mr. James Fergusson supposes that this projection, which directly fronts the eastern entrance, was the base of the niche intended for the image. On each side of the latter might have been a smaller colonette, which would account for the capital carried off by us to Egypt. Thus, adding 2 metres 87 centimetres for the northern end swept into the valley, we have a length of 7 metres 89 centimetres; and the additional half thickness of the east wall would bring it to a total of 8 metres 30 centimetres.

The shrine was not in antis, and the site hardly admits of a peristyle; besides which, excavations failed to find it. That it might have had a small external atrium is made probable by the peculiarity of the entrance. Two rounded pilasters, worked with the usual care inside, but left rough in other parts because they could not be seen, were engaged in the enceinte wall, measuring here, as elsewhere, 0.95 centimetre in thickness. Nothing remained of them but their bases, whose lower diameters were 0.95 centimetre, and the upper 0.65; the drums found elsewhere also measured 0.65. The interval between the lowest rings was 1 metre 63 centimetres; and this would give the measure of the doorway, here probably a parallelogram. Lying on the sand-slope to the north, a single capital showed signs of double brackets, although both have been broken off:230 the maximum diameter across the top was 0.60 centimetre, diminishing below to 0.50 and 0.44, whilst the height was 0.40. The encircling wall was probably adorned with pilasters measuring 0.62 centimetre below, 0.45 above, and 0.11 in height: they are not shown in the plan; and I leave experts to determine whether they supported the inside or the outside surface. Several stones, probably copings, are cut with three mortice-joints or joist-holes, each measuring 0.15 centimetre, at intervals of 0.14 to 0.15.

In the tossed and tumbled interior of this maison carrée the pavement-slabs, especially along the south-western side, appear in tolerable order and not much disturbed; whilst further east a long trench from north to south had been sunk by the treasure seeker. The breadth of the free passage is 1 metre 92 centimetres; and the disposal suggested an inner peristyle, forming an impluvium. Thus the cube could not have been a heroön or tomb. Four bases of columns, with a number of drums, lie in the heap of ruins, and in the torrent-bed six, of which we carried off four. They are much smaller than the pilasters of the entrance; the lower tori of the bases measure 0.60 centimetre in diameter, and 0.20 in height (to 0.90 and 0.25), while the drums are 0.45, instead of 0.65. It is an enormous apparatus to support what must have been a very light matter of a roof. The only specimen of a colonette-capital has an upper diameter of 0.26, a lower of 0.17, and a height of 0.16.

Although the Meccan Ka’bah is, as its name denotes, a “cube,” this square alabaster box did not give the impression of being either Arab or Nabathæan. The work is far too curiously and conscientiously done; the bases and drums, as the sundries carried to Cairo prove, look rather as if turned by machinery than chiselled in the usual way. I could not but conjecture that it belongs to the days of such Roman invasions as that of Ælius Gallus. Strabo231 tells us of his unfortunate friend and companion, that, on the return march, after destroying Negrán232 (Pliny, vi. 32), he arrived at Egra or Hegra (El-‘Wijh), where he must have delayed some time before he could embark “as much of his army as could be saved,” for the opposite African harbour, Myus Hormus. It is within the limits of probability that this historical personage233 might have built the Gasr, either for a shrine or for a nymphæum, a votive-offering to the Great Wady, which must have cheered his heart after so many days of “Desert country, with only a few watering-places.” Perhaps an investigation of the ruins at Ras Kurkumah and the remains of Madáin Sálih may throw some light upon the mystery. In our travel this bit of classical temple was unique.

Mr. Fergusson, whose authority in such matters will not readily be disputed, calls the building a small shrine; and determines that it can hardly be a tomb, as it is hypæthral. The only similar temple known to him is that of “Soueideh” (Suwaydah), in the Haurán (De Vogüé, “Syrie Centrale,” Plate IV.). The latter, which is Roman, and belonging to the days of Herod Augustus, has a peristyle here wanting: in other respects the resemblance is striking.

M. Lacaze photographed, under difficulties such as bad water and a most unpleasant drift of sand-dust, the interior of the building, the stones lying in the Wady below, and the various specimens which we carried off for the inspection of his Highness the Viceroy. Meanwhile we “pottered about,” making small discoveries. The exposed foundations of the north-western wall, where the slabs of grit rest upon the sands of the cliff, afforded signs of man in the shape of a jaw-bone, with teeth apparently modern; and above it, in the terreplein, we dug down upwards of a yard, without any result beyond unearthing a fine black scorpion. The adjoining Arab graveyard, adorned with the mutilated spoils of the classical building, gave two imperfect skulls and four fragments. We opened one of the many mounds that lie behind the Gasr, showing where most probably stood the ruined town; and we found the interior traversed by a crumbling wall of cut alabaster — regular excavation may some day yield important results. A little to the south-west lies a kind of ossuary, a tumulus slightly raised above the wavy level, and showing a central pit choked with camels’ bones: at least, we could find no other.

And here I was told the Arab legend by the Wakíl; who, openly deriding the Bedawi idea that the building could be a “Castle,” opined that it was a Kanísah, a “Christian or pagan place of worship.” Gurayyim Sa’íd, “Sa’íd the Brave,” was an African slave, belonging to an Arab Shaykh whose name is forgotten. One day it so happened that a razzia came to plunder his lord, when the black, whose strength and stature were equal to his courage and, let us add, his appetite, did more than his duty. Thus he obtained as a reward the promise of a bride, his master’s daughter. But when the day of danger was past, and the slave applied for the fair guerdon, the Shaykh traitorously refused to keep his word. The Brave, finding a fit opportunity, naturally enough carried off the girl to the mountains; solemnly thrashed every pursuing party; and, having established a “reign of terror,” came to the banks of the Wady Hamz, and built the “Palace” for himself and his wife. But his love for butcher’s-meat did not allow him to live happily ever after. As the land yielded little game, he took to sallying out every day and carrying off a camel, which in the evening he slew, and roasted, and ate, giving a small bit of it to his spouse. This extravagance of flesh-diet ended by scandalizing the whole country-side, till at last the owner of the plundered herds, Diyáb ibn Ghánim, one of the notables celebrated in the romance called Sírat Abu’ Zayd,234 assembled his merry men, attacked the Gurayyim, and slew him. Wa’ s’ salám!

Here Egypt ends. We have done our work —

“And now the hills stretch home.”

I must, however, beg the reader to tarry with me awhile. The next march to the north will show him what I verily believe to be the old gold-mine lying around El–Marwah. It acquires an especial interest from being the northernmost known to the mediaeval geographers.

El–Mukaddasi (vol. I. p. 101), in an article kindly copied by my friend, the Aulic Councillor, Alfred Von Kremer, says, “Between Yambú’ and El–Marwah are mines of gold;” adding (“Itinerary,” vol. i. p. 107) the following route directions: “And thou takest from El–Badr (‘the New Moon’)235 to El–Yambú’ two stages; thence to the Ras el-‘Ayn (?),236 one stage; again to the mine (subaudi, of gold), one stage; and, lastly, to El–Marwah, two stages. And thou takest from El–Badr to El-Jár237 one stage; thence to El–Jahfah (?), or to El–Yambu’, two stages each. And thou takest from El–Jiddah (Jedda) to El-Jár, or to El–Surrayn (?), four stages each. And thou takest from El–Yasrib (Jatrippa or El–Medínah) to El–Suwaydíyyah (?), or to Batn el-Nakhil (?), two stages each; and from El–Suwaydíyyah to El–Marwah, an equal distance (i.e. four marches); and from the Batn el-Nakhil to the mine of silver, a similar distance. And if thou seek the Jáddat Misr,238 then take from El–Marwah to El–Sukyá239 (?), and thence to Badá Ya’kúb,240 three marches; and thence to El-‘Aúníd, one march.” Hence Sprenger would place Zú‘l-Marwah “four days from El–Hijr, on the western road to Medina;” alluding to the western (Syrian) road, now abandoned.

And now for our march. On the finest possible morning (April 9th), when the world was all ablaze with living light, I walked down the Wady Hamz. It has been abundantly supplied with water; in fact, the whole vein (thalweg) subtending the left bank would respond to tapping. The well El–Kusayr, just below the ruin, though at present closed, yielded till lately a large quantity: about half a mile to the westward is, or rather was, a saltish pit surrounded by four sweet. Almost all are now dry and filled up with fuel. A sharp trudge of three-quarters of an hour leads to the Bir el-Gurnah (Kurnah), the “Well of the Broad,” in a district of the same name, lying between the ruin and the shore. It is a great gash in the sandy bed: the taste of the turbid produce is distinctly sulphurous; and my old white mule, being dainty in her drink, steadfastly refused to touch it. The distinct accents of the Red Sea told us that we were not more than a mile from its marge.

We then struck north-east, over the salt maritime plain, till we hit the lower course of the Wady Umm Gilifayn (Jilifayn). It heads from the seaward base of the neighbouring hills; and its mouth forms a Marsá, or “anchorage-place,” for native craft. A little to the north stands the small pyramidal Tuwayyil el-Kibrít, the “little Sulphur Hill,” which had been carefully examined by MM. Marie and Philipin. A slow ride of eight miles placed us in a safe gorge draining a dull-looking, unpromising block. Here we at once found, and found in situ for the first time, the chalcedony which strews the seaboard-flat. This agate, of which amulets and signet-rings were and are still made, and which takes many varieties of tints, lies in veins mostly striking east-west; and varying in thickness from an inch to several feet. The sequence is grey granite below, the band of chalcedony, and above it a curious schistose gneiss-formation. The latter, composing the greater part of these hills, is striped dark-brown and yellow; and in places it looks exactly like rotten wood. The small specimens of chalcedony in my private collection were examined at Trieste, and one of them contained dendritic gold, visible to the naked eye. Unfortunately the engineer had neglected this most important rock, and only a few ounces of it, instead of as many tons, were brought back for analysis.

A short and easy ascent led to a little counter-slope, the Majrá Mujayrah (Mukayrah), whose whitening sides spoke of quartz. We rode down towards a granite island where the bed mouths into the broad Wady Mismáh, a feeder of the Wady ‘Argah. Here, after some ten miles, the guide, Na’ji’, who thus far had been very misty in the matter of direction, suddenly halted and, in his showman style, pointed to the left bank of the watercourse, exclaiming, “Behold Abá‘l-Marú!” (the “Father of Quartz”). It was another surprise, and our last, this snowy reef with jagged crest, at least 500 metres long, forming the finest display of an exposed filon we had as yet seen; but — the first glance told us that it had been worked.

We gave the rest of the day to studying and blasting the quartz-wall. It proved to be the normal vein in grey granite, running south-north and gradually falling towards the valley-plain. Here a small white outlier disappears below the surface, rising again in filets upon the further side. The dip is easterly: in this direction a huge strew of ore-mass and rubbish covers the slope which serves as base to the perpendicular reef. The Negro quartz, which must have formed half the thickness, had been carried bodily away. If anything be left for the moderns it is hidden underground: the stone, blasted in the little outlier, looked barren. Not the least curious part of this outcrop is the black thread of iron silicate which, broken in places, subtends it to the east: some specimens have geodes yielding brown powder, and venal cavities lined with botryoidal quartz of amethystine tinge. In other parts of the same hills we found, running along the “Mará,” single and double lines of this material, which looked uncommonly like slag.

The open Wady Mismáh showed, to the east of our camp, the ruins of a large settlement which has extended right across the bed: as the guides seemed to ignore its existence, we named it the Kharábat Abá‘l-Marú. Some of the buildings had been on a large scale, and one square measured twenty yards. Here the peculiarity was the careful mining of a granitic hillock on the southern bank. The whole vein of Negro quartz had been cut out of three sides, leaving caves that simulated catacombs. Further west another excavation in the same kind of rock was probably the town-quarry. The two lieutenants were directed next morning to survey this place, and also a second ruin and reef reported to be found on the left bank, a little below camp.

We have now seen, lying within short distances, three several quartz-fields, known as — Marwah, “the single Place or Hill of Maú’” (quartz); Marwát, “the Places of Quartz;” and Abá‘l-Marú, the “Father of Quartz;” not to speak of a Nakb Abú Marwah241 further north. The conclusion forced itself upon me that the name of the celebrated Arab mine Zú‘l Marwah or El–Marwah, the more ancient [Greek] (Mochura), which Ptolemy places in north lat. 24° 30’, applied to the whole district in South Midian, and then came to denote the chief place and centre of work. To judge by the extent of the ruins, and the signs of labour, this focus was at Umm el-Karáyát (the “Mother of the Villages”), which, as has been shown, is surrounded by a multitude of miner-towns and ateliers. And the produce of the “diggings” would naturally gravitate to El–Badá, the great commercial station upon the Nabathæan “Overland.”

Thus El–Marwah would signify “the Place of Marú,” or “Quartz-land,” even as Ophir means “Red Land.” A reviewer of my first book on Midian objects to the latter derivation; as Seetzen, among others, has conclusively shown that Ophir, the true translation of which is ‘riches,’ is to be looked for in Southern Arabia.” Connu! But I question the “true translation;” and, whilst owning that one of the Ophirs or “Red Lands” lay in the modern Yemen, somewhere between Sheba (Sabá) and Havilah (Khaulán), I see no reason for concluding that this was the only Ophir. Had it been a single large emporium on the Red Sea, which collected the produce of Arabia and the exports of India and of West Africa, the traditional site could hardly have escaped the notice of the inquiring Arabian geographers of our Middle Ages. The ruins of a port would have been found, and we should not be compelled theoretically to postulate its existence.


And now nothing remained but to escape as quickly as possible from the ugly Wady Mismáh; with its violent, dusty wester, or sea-breeze, and its sun-glare which, reflected and reverberated by the quartz, burned the grass and made the trees resemble standing timber.

April 10th saw the last of our marches, a hurry back to the stable, a sauve qui peut. The camel-men, reckless of orders, began to load and to slip away shortly after midnight. Ali Marie, who, as usual, had lost his head, when ordered to enjoin silence gave the vain and vague direction, “Tell the Arabs to tell the camels not to make so much noise.” Even the bugler sounded the “general” of his own accord; and the mules, now become painfully intelligent, walked as if they knew themselves to be walking homewards. Our last stage lay over the upper skirts of the maritime plain which has already been noticed. At 10.15 am., after riding five hours and thirty minutes (= seventeen miles), we found ourselves once more upon the seaboard. Our kind host, Captain Hasan Bey, came to meet us in his gig: the quarter-deck had been dressed with flags, as for a ball; and before twelve bells struck, we had applied ourselves to an excellent breakfast in the gun-room of our old favourite, the Sinnár. The auspicious day of course ended with a fantasia.

Résumé of Our Last Journey.

We had left the Sharm Yáhárr on March 21st, and returned to it on April 13th; a total of twenty-four days. Our actual march through South Midian, which had lasted thirteen days (March 29 — April 10), described a semicircle with El–Wijh about the middle of the chord. The length is represented by 170 miles in round numbers: as usual, this does not include the various offsets and the by-paths explored by the members; nor do the voyages to El–Wijh and El–Haurá, going and coming, figure in the line of route. The camels varied from fifty-eight to sixty-four, when specimens were forwarded to the harbour-town. The expenditure amounted to£92 13s., including pay and “bakhshísh” to the Baliyy Shaykhs, but not including our friends the Sayyid, Furayj, and the Wakíl Mohammed Shahádah.

This southern region differs essentially from the northern, which was twice visited, and which occupied us two months, mostly wasted. Had we known what we do now, I should have begun with the south, and should have devoted to it the greater part of our time. Both are essentially mining countries; but, whilst the section near Egypt preserves few traces of the miner, here we find the country carefully and conscientiously worked. The whole eastern counterslope of the outliers that project from the Ghát-section known as the mountains of the Tihámat-Balawíyyah, is one vast outcrop of quartz. The parallelogram between north lat. 26 degrees, including the mouth of the Wady Hamz, and north lat. 27°, which runs some fifteen miles north of the Badá plain, would form a Southern Grant, sufficiently large to be divided and subdivided as soon as judged advisable.

If the characteristics of North Midian (Madyan Proper) are its argentiferous, and especially its cupriferous ores, South Midian worked chiefly gold and silver, both metals being mentioned by the mediaeval geographers of Arabia. Free gold in paillettes was noticed by the Expedition in the micaceous schists veining the quartz, and in the chalcedony which parts the granite from the gneiss. The argentiferous Negro quartz everywhere abounds, and near the ruins of Badá lie strews of spalled “Marú,” each fragment showing its little block of pure lead. Saltpetre is plentiful, and a third “Sulphur hill” rises from the maritime plain north of the Wady Hamz.

The principal ruins and ateliers number five; these, beginning from the north, are the Umm el-Karáyát, the Umm el-Haráb, the Bújat-Badá, the Kharábat Abá‘l-Marú, and the old Nabathean port, E1-Haurá. Amongst them is not included the gem of our discovery, the classical shrine, known as Gasr Gurayyim Sa’íd, nor the minor ateliers, El–Kubbah, Abá‘l-Gezáz, and the remains upon the Marwát ridge. Good work was done by the Egyptian Staff-officers in surveying the fine harbour of El–Dumayghah, so well fitted as a refuge for pilgrim-ships when doing quarantine; and I venture upon recommending, to the English and Egyptian Governments, my remarks concerning the advisability of at once re-transferring the station to El–Wijh. It is now at Tor; and, as has been said, it forms a standing menace, not only to the Nile Valley, but to the whole of Europe.

Whilst abounding in wood, the Southern Country is not so well watered as are Central and Northern Midian On the other hand, the tenants, confined to the Baliyy tribe, with a few scatters of the despised Hutaym, are milder and more tractable than the Huwaytát. As I have remarked, they are of ancient strain, and they still conserve the instincts of their predecessors, or their forefathers, the old mining race. It will be necessary to defend them against the raids and incursions of the Juhaynah, or “Sons of Dogs,” who border upon them to the south, and from the Alaydán-‘Anezah to the south-east; but nothing would be easier than to come to terms with the respective Shaykhs. And the sooner we explore the Jaww, or sandstone region in the interior, with its adjacent “Harrahs,” the better for geography and, perhaps not less, for mineralogy. The great ruins of Madáin Sálih upon the Wady Hamz still, I repeat, await the discoverer.

228 Ahmed Kaptán’s solar observation.

229 Written in pleasant memory of two visits to Uriconium, the favourite “find” of poor Thomas Wright, under the guidance of our steadfast and hospitable friend, Mr. Henry Wace, of Brooklands, Shrewsbury.

230 The capital was also transported to Cairo; it could not have been voluted as there were only two projections.

231 Lib. xvi. c. iv. § 24. The MSS. differ in the name of the “village situated on the sea;” some call it Egra, others Negra, after the inland settlement; and the commentator Kramer remarks, Mire corrupta est h?c ultima libri pars.

232 North lat. 26°, which would correspond with that of the Abá‘l-Maru’ ruins.

233 My friend Sprenger strongly protests against Ælius Gallus, begging me to abandon him, as the Romans must long have held the whole coast to El–Haurá, their chief settlement.

234 For a specimen of the superficiality which characterizes Lane’s “Modern Egyptians,” and of the benefits which, despite the proverbial difficulty of changing an old book into a new one, an edition, much enlarged and almost rewritten, would confer upon students, see Vol. III. Chap. XXI. Instead of a short abstract of all this celebrated story, we have only popular excerpts from the first volume.

235 On the maritime road between Meccah and El–Medínah, celebrated for the apostolic battle which took place in A.H. 2.

236 The names marked with interrogations are unknown to all the Arabs whom I consulted: they are probably obsolete.

237 Identified by Niebuhr and Wellsted with certains ruins south of Yambú’. See Chap. IV.

238 The straight path, the highway to Egypt or Cairo.

239 Elsewhere called Sukyat Yezíd, a name now forgotten.

240 I have remarked that the name of the Patriarch Jacob is no longer connected with the Badá plain.

241 Schweinfurth (the Athenæum, July 6, 1878) speaks of a “Wadi Abu Marwa (‘Quartz Valley’)” south of the Galalah block.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/burton/richard/b97m/chapter19.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:36