The Land of Midian, by Richard F. Burton

Chapter IV.

Notices of Precious Metals in Midian — the Papyri and the Mediæval Arab Geographers.

In my volume on “The Gold–Mines of Midian,” the popular Hebrew sources of information — the Old Testament and the Talmud — were ransacked for the benefit of the reader. It now remains to consult the Egyptian papyri and the pages of the mediæval Arab geographers: extracts from the latter were made for me, in my absence from England, by the well-known Arabist, the Rev. G. Percy Badger.44 I will begin with the beginning.

Dr. Heinrich Brugsch–Bey, whose “History of Egypt”45 is the latest and best gift to Egyptologists, kindly drew my attention to an interesting passage in his work, and was good enough to copy for me the source of his information, tile Harris Papyrus (No. 1) in the British Museum.

The first king of the twentieth Dynasty, born about B.C. 1200, and residing at Thebes, was Rameses III., whose title, Ramessu pa-Nuter (or Nuti), “Ramses the god,” became in the hands of the Greeks Rhampsinitos. This great prince, ascending the throne in evil days, applied himself at once to the internal and external economy of his realm; he restored the caste-divisions, and carried fire and sword into the lands of his enemies. He transported many captives to Egypt; fortified his eastern frontier; and built, in the Gulf of Suez, a fleet of large and small ships, in order to traffic with Pun and the “Holy Land,”46 and to open communication with the “Incense-country” and with the wealthy shores of the Indian Ocean.

“Not less important,” says our author (p. 594), “for Egypt, which required before all things the copper applied to every branch of her industry, was the sending of commissioners, by land (on donkey back!) and by sea, to explore and exploit the rich cupriferous deposits of ‘Atháka (in the neighbourhood of the ‘Akabah Gulf?). This metal, with the glance of gold, was there cast in brick-shape, and was transported by sea to the capital.

“The king also restored his attention to the treasures of the Sinaitic Peninsula, which had excited the concupiscence of the Egyptians since the days of King Senoferu47 (B.C. 3700). Loaded with rich presents for the sanctuary of the goddess Hathor, the protectress of Mafka-land, chosen employés were despatched on a royal commission to the peninsula, for the purpose of supplying the Pharaoh’s treasury with the highly prized blue-green copper-stones (Mafka, Turkisen?48).”

These lines were published by Dr. Brugsch–Bey before he had heard of my discoveries of metals and of a modern turquoise-digging in the Land of Midian. He had decided that “‘Atháka” lay to the east of Suez, chiefly from the insistence laid upon the shipping; sea-going craft would certainly not be required for a sail of three or four hours. Moreover, as I have elsewhere shown, Jebel ‘Atakáh, the “Mountain of Deliverance,” at the mouth of the Wady Musá, was referred to the Jews at some time after the Christian era, and probably during the fourth and fifth centuries, when pilgrimages to the apocryphal Mounts Sinai became the fashion.

During the summer of 1877, Dr. Brugsch–Bey was kind enough to copy and to translate the original document, upon which he founded his short account of the “‘Atháka” copper-mines. I offer it to the reader in full.

The order of the alphabet is that adopted by Dr. Brugsch–Bey. It relies for the first letter upon the authority of Plutarch, who asserts that the Egyptian abecedarium numbered the square of five (twenty-five); and that it opened with —[Greek] — which also expresses the god Thoth; — this is the case with —[hieroglyph]— the leaf of some water-plant. The sequence of the letters has been suggested by a number of minor considerations: we begin with the vowels, and proceed to the labial, the liquids, and so forth.49

The sense of the highly interesting inscription, in its English order, would be:—

“I have sent my commissioners to the land ‘Atháka; to the (those)50 great mines of copper (or coppers)51 which are in this place (‘Atháka); and their (i.e. the commissioners’) ships52 were loaded, carrying them (the metals); while other (commissioners were sent and) marched on their asses. No! one never (ter-tot) had heard, since the (days of the olden) kings, that these (copper) mines had been found.53 The loads (i.e. of the ships and the asses) carried copper; the loads were by myriads for their ships, which went thence (i.e. from the mines) to Egypt. (After) happily arriving, the loads were landed, according to royal order, under the Pavilion,54 in form of copper-bricks;55 they were numerous as frogs (in the marsh),56 and in quality they were gold (Nub) of the third degree.57 I made them admired (by) all the world as marvellous things.”

The following lines upon the subject of Midian are from the notes (p. 143) of Jacob Golius in “Alferganum” (small 4to. Amsterdam, 1669), a valuable translation with geographical explanations. Ahmad ibn Mohammed ibn Kathír el-Fargháni derived his “lakab” or cognomen from the province of Farghán (Khokand), to the north-east of the Oxus; he wrote a work upon astronomy, and he flourished about A.H. 184 (= A.D. 800).

“Ibidem ([Arabic] Madyan) Medjan sive Midjan, Antiqui nominis oppidum in Maris Rubri littore, sub 29 degrees grad. latitudine; ad ortum brumalem deflectens à montis Sinæ extremitate: ubi feré site Ptolemæi Modiana, haud dubié eadem cum Midjan. A Geographorum Orientalium quibusdam ad Ægyptum refertur; à plerisq; omnibus ad Higiazam: quod merito et recté factum. Nullus enim est, qui Arabibus non annumeret Madianitas; et Sinam, quæ Madjane borealior, montem Arabiæ facit D. Paulus Gal. iv. Midjan autem fuit Abrahami ex Kethura filius: unde tribus illa et ab hac urbs nomen habent. Quam quidem tribum coaluisse, sedibus ut puto et affinitate in unam cum Ismaëlitis, innuere videntur Geneseos verba. Nam conspirantibus in Josephi exitium fratribus dicuntur supervenisse Ismaëlitae; transivisse Midjanite; ipse v ditus ab Ismaëlitis. Ceterum urbem Midjan Arabes pro ea habent, quæ in Corano vocatur ([Arabic] Madínat Kúsh): Xaib58 enim illis idem est, qui Jethro dicitur Exod. iii. cujus filiam Sipporam Moses uxor duxit, cum ex Ægpto profugisset in terram Midjan; ubi Jethro princeps erat et Sacerdos. Autonomosia illa Arabibus familiaris. Ita Hanoch ([Arabic] Aknúkh) appelatus, Abraham (El–Khalíl), Rex Saul ([Arabic] Tálút), etc., licet eorundem propria etiam usurpentur nomina. Et in ipsis Sacris Libris non uno nomine hic Jethro designatur. Loci illius puteum59 Scriptores memorant fano circum extructo Arabibus sacrum, persuasis Mosem ibi Sipporam et sorores à pastorum injuriis vindicasse; prout Exod., cap. ii., res describitur. Sed primis Muhammedici regni bellis universa fere, quae rune extabat, urbs vastata fuit.”

El–Fargháni is followed by the Imám Abú ‘Abbás Ahmed bin Yáhyá bin Jábir, surnamed and popularly known as El–Balázurí, who flourished between A.H. 232 and 247 (= A.D. 846 to 861), and wrote the Futú‘h el-Buldán, or the “Conquests of Countries.” His words are (pp. 13–14, M. J. de Goeje’s edition; Lugduni Batavorum, 1866)—“It was related to me by Abú Abíd el-Kásim bin Sallám; who said he was told by Ishák bin Isa, from Malík ibn Anas and from Rabíat, who heard from a number of the learned, that the Apostle of Allah (upon whom be peace!) gave in feoff (Iktá‘at) to Bilál bin el-Háris el-Muzni, mines (Ma’ádin, i.e. of gold) in the district of Furú’ (variant, Kurú’). Moreover, it was related to me by Amrú el-Nákid, and by Ibn Saham el-Antáki (of Antioch), who both declared to have heard from El–Haytham bin Jamíl el-Antáki, through Hammád bin Salmah, that Abú Makín, through Abú Ikrimah Maulá Bilál bin el-Háris el-Muzni, had averred ‘The Apostle of Allah (upon whom be peace!) enfeoffed the said Bilál with (a bit of) ground containing a mountain and a (gold) mine; that the sons of Bilál sold part of the grant to one ‘Umar bin ‘Abd el-‘Azíz, when a (gold) mine or, according, to others, two (gold) mines were found in it; that they said to the buyer, Verily we sold to thee land for cultivation, and we did not sell thee (gold) mining-ground; that they brought the letter of the Apostle (upon whom be peace!) in a (bound) volume: that ‘Umar kissed it and rubbed it upon his eyes, and said, Of a truth let me see what hath come out of it (the mine) and what I have laid out upon it.’ Then he deducted from them the expenses of working and returned to them the surplus. . . . And I was told by Musa’b el-Zubayri, from Malik ibn Anas, that the Apostle of Allah (upon whom be peace!) gave in feoff to Bilál bin Háris mines in the district of Fara’ (sic). There is no difference of opinion among our learned men on this subject, nor do I know any of our companions who contradicts (the statement) that the (gold) mine paid one-fourth per ten (= 2 1/2 per cent.) royalty (to the Bayt el-Mál, or Public Treasury). Musa’b further relates, from El–Zahri, that the (gold) mine defrayed the Zakát or poor-rate: he also said that the proportion was one-fifth (= 2 per cent.); like that which the people of El–Irák (Mesopotamia) take to this day from the (gold) mines of El–Fara’ (sic), and of Nejrán, and of Zúl-Marwah, and of Wady El–Kura60 and others. Moreover, the fifth is also mentioned by Safáin el-Thauri, and by Abú Hanífah and Abú Yúsuf, as well as by the people of El-‘Irák.”

Follows on my list the celebrated Murúj el-Dahab, or “Meads of Gold,” by El–Mas’údi, who died in A.H. 346 (= A.D. 957), and whose book extends to A.H. 332 (= A.D. 943). Unable to find the translation of my friend Sprenger, I am compelled to quote from “Maçoudi. Les Prairies d’Or,” texte et traduction par C. Barbier de Meynard et Pavet de Courteille. Société Asiatique, Paris, 1864, vol. iii. pp. 301–305.

“Les théologians ne sont pas d’accord sur la question de savoir à quel peuple appartenait Choâïb (Shu’ayb), fils de Nawil, fils de Rawaïl, fils de Mour, fils d’Anka, fils de Madian, fils d’Abraham, l’ami de Dieu, quoiqu’il soit certain que sa langue était l’arabe. Les uns pensent qu’il appartenait aux races arabes éteintes, aux nations qui ont disparu, à quelque une de ces générations passées dont nous avons parlé. Suivant d’autres, il s’agirait ici des descendants d’el-Mahd, fils de Djandal, fils de Yâssob, fils de Madian, fils d’Abraham, dont Choâïb etait frére par la naissance. De cette race sortit un grand nombre de rods qui s’étaient dispersés dans des royaumes contigus les uns aux autres ou sépare’s. Parmi ces rods il faut distinguer ceux qui étaient nommés Aboudjed, Hawaz, Houti, Kalamoun, Çafas et Kourichat,61 tous, comme nous venons de le dire, fils d’el-Mahd, fils de Djandal. Les lettres de l’alphabet sont représentées précisément par les noms de ces rois, oú l’on retrouve les vingt-quatre lettres sur lesquelles roule l’Aboudjed.62 Il a e’te’ dit beaucoup d’autres choses à propos de ces lettres, comme nous l’avons fait remarquer dans cet ouvrage; mais il n’entre pas dans notre sujet de rapporter ici tous les systèmes contradictoires imaginés pour l’expliquer la signification des lettres.63 Aboudjed fut roi de la Mecque et de la partie du Hédjaz qui y confine. Hawaz et Houti régnérent conjointement dans le pays de Weddj (El–Wijh), qui est le territoire de Tayif, et la portion du Nedjd qui lui est contigue. Kalamoun exerçait la suzeraineté sur le royaume de Madian; il y a même des auteurs qui pensent que son autorité s’étendait conjointement sur tous les princes et les pays que nous venons de nommer. Le châtiment du jour de la nuée (Koran, xxvi. 189) eut lieu sous le re’gne de Kalamoun. Choâïb appelant ces impies à la pénitence, ils le traitèrent de menteur. Alors il les mena,ca du châtiment du jour de la nuée, à la suite de quoi une porte du feu du ciel fut ouverte sur eux. Choâïb se retire, avec ceux qui avaient cru, dans l’endroit connu sous le nom d’el Aïkah, qui est un fourré dans la direction de Madian. Cependant, lorsque lcs incrédules sentirent les effets de la vengeance céleste, et que, consumés par une chaleur terrible, ils comprirent enfin la vérité, ils se mirent à la recherche de Choâïb et de ceux qui avaient cru en lui. Ils les trouvérent abrités sous un nuage blanc, doucement rafraichi par le zéphire, et ne ressentant en rien les atteintes de la douleur. Ils les chassèrent de cet asile, s’imaginant qu’ils y trouveraient eux-mêmes un refuge contre le fléau qui les poursuivait. Mais Dieu changea cette nuée en un feu qui se précipita sur leurs têtes. Mountassir, fils d’el-Moundir el-Médéni, a parlé de ce peuple et a déploré son triste sort dans des vers où il dit:

“Les rois des enfants de Houti et de Çafas, qui vivaient dans l’opulence, et ceux de Hawaz, qui possédaient des palais et des appartements somptueux,

“Régnaient sur la contrée du Hédjaz, et leur beauté était semblable à celle des rayons du soleil ou à l’éclat de la rune;

“Ils habitaient l’emplacement de la maison sainte, ils adoucissaient les moeurs de leurs compatriotes et gouvernaient avec illustration et honneur. . . .

“Rien de plus curieux que l’histoire de ces rois, le ré‘cit de leurs guerres, de leurs actes, de la manière dont ils s’emparèrent de ces contrées et établirent leur domination, apres en avoir exterminé les premières possesseurs. Ceux-ci étaient des peuples dont nous avons parlé dans nos précédents ouvrages, en traitant ce sujet; nous appelons l’attention dans ce livre sur nous premiers écrits, et nous engageons le lecteur à les consulter.”

The next in order of seniority is the well-known Idrísí (A.H. 531 = A.D. 1136). Dr. Badger’s Arabic copy not being paged, he has forwarded to me extracts from the French translation by M. P. Amadée Jaubert (Paris, 1836), having first compared them with the original:—

Tome 1 p. 5: “De cette mer de la Chine dérive encore le golfe de Colzoum (Kulzum), qui commence à Bab el-Mandeb,64 au point ou se termine la mer des Indes. Il s’étend au nord, en inclinant un peu vers l’occident, en longeant les rivages occidentales de l’Iemen, le Téháma, l’Hédjaz, jusqu’au pays de Madian, d’Aila (El-‘Akabah), et de Faran; et se termine à la ville de Colzoum, dont il tire son nom.”

P. 142: “Les districts fortifiés, dependents de la Mecque, sont . . . Ceux qui sont sous la dépendance de Médine sont . . . Madyan.”

P. 328: “Pour aller de Misr (Cairo) à’ Yetrib (sic pro Yathrib), on passe par les lieux suivants, Aïlah (Aylah) Madian,” etc.

P. 333: “Sur les bords de la mer Colzoum est la ville de Madian (in orig. Madiyan) plus grande qui Tabouk (Tabúk), et le puits ou Moïse (sur qui soit le salut!) abreuva le troupeau de Jethro (E1Shu’ayb). On dit que ce puits est (maintenant) à sec [Note at foot: Je lis Mu’attilah comme porte le MS. B., et non Mu’azzamah,65 leçon donnee par le MS. A.]; et qu’on a élevé audessus une construction. L’eau nécéssaire aux habitants provient de sources. Le nom de Madiyan (sic) de’rive de celui de la tribu à laquelle Jethro appartenait. Cette ville offre trés peu de ressources et le commerce y est misérable.”

The following notice of Madyan is taken from the Kitáb el-Buldán (“Book of Countries”),66 by Ahmed ibn Abí Ya’kúb bin Wádhih, surnamed El–Ya’kúbí and El-Kátib (the writer); according to the Arabic colophon it was completed on the morning of Saturday, Shawwál 21, A.H. 607 (= A.D. 1210). The author gives (p. 129, T. G. J. Juynboll, Lugduni Batavorum, 1861) a description of the route from Misr (Egypt, here Cairo) to Meccah. The first ten stages are — 1. Jubb el-‘Umayrah; 2. El–Kerkirah (variant, Karkírah); 3. ‘Ajrúd, the well-known fort on the direct Suez–Cairo line; 4. Jisr el-Kulzum, where the Gulf was crossed; and, lastly, six Desert marches (Maráhil) to Aylah.67 The latter station is described as a fine city upon the shore of the Salt Sea, the meeting-place of the pilgrim-caravans from Syria,68 Egypt, and the Maghrib (West Africa). It has merchandise in plenty, and its people are a mixed race (Akhlát min el-Nás).69 Here also are sold the fine cloaks called Burdu habaratin, and also known as the Burd of the Apostle of Allah70 (upon whom be peace!). He resumes, “And from Aylah you march to Sharaf el-Baghl, and from the latter to Madyan, which is a large and populous city, with abundant springs and far-flowing streams of wholesome water; and gardens of flower-beds. Its inhabitants are a mixed race (Akhlát min el-Nás).71 The traveller making Meccah from Aylah takes the shore of the Salt Sea, to a place called ‘Aynúná (variant, ‘Uyún, plural of ‘Ayn, an eye of water, a fountain): here are buildings and palm clumps, and seeking-places (Matalib: see Lane for the authorities), in which men search for gold.” Dr. Badger draws my attention to the last sentence, which seems also to have been noticed by Sprenger (Alt. Geog. p. 32).72

The following is from the Kitáb Asár el-Bitad (“Book of the Geographical Traditions of Countries”), by the far-famed Zakariyyá bin Mohammed bin Mahmúd, surnamed El–Kazwíní, who died A.H. 653 = A.D. 1255:—“Madyan” (p. 173, edidit. F. Wustenfeld, Göttingen, 1848) “is a city of the tribe (Kaum) of Shu’ayb upon whom be peace!): it was founded by Madyan, son of Ibrahim, the Friend (of Allah), the grandfather of Shu’ayb. It exports the merchandise of Tabúk between El–Medinah and El–Shám (Damascus). In it is the well whence Musá (upon whom be peace!) watered the flocks of Shu’áyb, and it is said that the well is of great depth; and that over it is a building visited by (pious) men. This settlement Madyan is subject to the district of Tabaríyyah (Tiberias); and near it is the well, and at it a rock which Moses uprooted,73 and which remains there to the present day.”

The Imám Abú‘l-Abbás Ahmed ibn ‘Ali Takiyy el-Dín, better known as “El–Makrízi,” wrote his book El–Mawáiz w’el-I’tibár fi’ Zikr el-Khitat w’el-‘Asár (“The Admonition and Examples in Commemorating Habitations and Traditions”) in A.H. 825 (= A.D. 1421), during the latter part of the second Mamlúk dynasty; and he brings down the history to the reign of Kansu Ghori, whose fort we shall see at El-‘Akabah. He tells us (edition of Gottingen, 1848, Sahífah 48), “The loftiest mountain in Madyan is called Zubayr.74 . . . It is also related that amongst the settlements of the (Madyanite) tribe are the villages of Petræa ([Arabic]), namely, the Kúrat (circuit) of El–Tor, and Fárán (Pharan), and Ráyeh, and Kulzum, and Aylah (El-‘Akabah) with its surroundings; Madyan with its surroundings; and Awíd and Haurá (Leukè-Kóme) with their surroundings, and Badá75 and Shaghab.”76 He speaks of many ruined cities whose inhabitants had disappeared: forty, however, remained; some with, and others without, names. Between El–Hejaz and Egypt–Syria were sixteen cities, ten of them lying towards Palestine. The most important were El–Khalasah,77 with its idol-temple destroyed by Mohammed, and El–Sani’tah, whose stones had been removed to build Ghazzah (Gaza). The others were El–Mederah, El–Minyah, El-A’waj, El–Khuwayrak, El-Bírayn, El-Máayn, El–Sebá, and El–Mu’allak.78

The Marásid el-Ittílá ‘alá Asmá el-Amkanat w’el-Buká’ (“Observations of Information on the Names of Places and Countries”), which contains two dates in the body of the work, viz. A.H. 997 ( = A.D. 1589) and A.H. 1168 (A.D. = 1755), and which is probably compiled from El–Kazwíní, says sub voce Madyan, after giving the “movement” of the word: “It is a city of the tribe of Shu’ayb, opposite Tabúk, and upon the sea of El–Kulzum, six stages (Maráhil) separating the two. It is larger than Tabúk, and in it is the well whence Moses watered the flocks of Shu’ayb.” Finally, it repeats that Madyan is under the district of “Tabariyyá” or Tiberias79 (vol. iii. p. 64, edidit. T. G. J. Juynboll, Lugduni Batavorum, 1854, e duobus Codd. MSS.).

I conclude this unpopular chapter with some remarks by Dr. Badger concerning the apparent connection of Jethro and El–Medínah:80 “It struck me when studying ‘Madyan,’ which is the name of a place as well as of a man,81 that ‘Yáthrib,’ the ancient term of al-Madínah, might have served the same double purpose. At all events, it was singular to find a Yáthrib somewhere near Madyan, and that the word was not far removed from the [Hebrew] (Yithro), the name given in Hebrew to Moses’ Midianite father-inlaw. I also note that the Septuagint renders the Hebrew Yithro by [Greek] Peshito by [Arabic] (Yathrûn), which the new Arabic version of the Bible, published at Bairu’t (Syria), follows; making it [Arabic] (Yáthrûn). The name in Hebrew (Exod. iv. 18) is also written [Hebrew] (Yether).

“My theory is this. Firstly, there is no dependence to be placed on the Masoretic points, especially when affixed to names of places. Secondly, we have no certain knowledge of the language used by the Midianites in those ancient times. Their territory extended northwards towards Palestine, and from their very intimate relations with the Israelites, as friends and as enemies, both nations appear to have understood each other perfectly. May not their language, then, have been a dialect of the Aramean?82 If so, the [Hebrew] (Yithro) of the Bible might have been [Hebrew] (Yithrab, Yathrib, etc.). Instances of the apocopated [Hebrew] (b) are common in the Chaldean or Syro–Chaldaic at the present day; e.g. [Arabic] (Yáheb Alaha) is pronounced Yáu-Alaha; [Arabic] (Yashuá’-yaheb) becomes Yashuá-yau, etc., the final Beth [Arabic] (b) or the [Arabic] (heb) being converted into a [Arabic] (w). Hence why may not [Hebrew] (Yithro) have been originally [Hebrew] (Yithrab or Yathrib)? Of course, this is only a conjecture of mine.”

Mr. E. Stanley Poole (loc. cit.) says that the Arabs dispute whether the name “Medyen” be foreign or Arabic; and whether “Medyen” spoke Arabic. He considers the absurd enumeration of the alphabetical kings (El–Mas’údi, quoted above) to be curious, as possibly containing some vague reference to the language of Midian. When these kings are said contemporaneously to have ruled over Meccah, Western Nejd, Yemen, “Medyen,” Egypt, etc., it is extremely improbable that Midian ever penetrated into Yemen, notwithstanding the hints of Arab authors to the contrary. Yákút el-Hamawi (born A.H. 574 or 575 = A.D. 1178–79, and died A.H. 626 = A.D. 1228), in the Mu’jam el-Buldán (cited in the Journ. of the Deutsch. Morgen. Gesellschaft), declares that a South Arabic dialect is of Midian, and El–Mas’údi (apud Schultens, pp. 158–159) inserts a Midianite king among the rulers of Yemen. The latter, however, is more probable than the former; it may be an accidental and individual, not a material occurrence.

The following list of ruins, some cities, others towns, were all, with two exceptions (Nos. 2 and 18), visited or explored by the second Khedivial Expedition. The Mashghal, ateliers or subsidiary workshops, were in cases learned only by hearsay:—

1. Old ‘Akabah (Aylah) Mashghal, up Valley el-Yitm. 3.

2. El–Hakl (pronounced “Hagul”), the [Greek] of Ptolemy: it was seen from the sea, and notes were taken of its ruins and furnaces.

3. Nakhil Tayyib Ism, in mountain of the same name: its ruined dam (?) and buildings were surveyed by Lieutenant Amir.

4. Makná. Twice visited.

5. Magháir Shu’ayb. Two ateliers inspected, and one heard of on the Jebel el-Lauz: total, 3.

6. ‘Aynúnah. In Jebel Zahd (ruins and furnaces). 1.

7. Sharmá. An atelier on the Jebel Fás, and another on the Jebel Harb, both high up: total, 2.

8. Tiryam. An atelier in the Wady Urnub. 1.

9. Abu Hawáwít, near El–Muwaylah. Scoriæ found about the fort of El–Muwaylah and near Sharm Yáhárr. 2.

10. Zibayyib in Wady Surr. Atelier Sayl Umm Laban (Wady Sadr). 1.

11. Khulasah.83 Saw specimens of worked metal from Wady Kh’shabríyyah, and the upper Wady Surr; also ruins in the Sayl Abú Sha’r, south-west and seawards of the Shárr block.

12. Ma’ el-Badá, alias Diyár el-Nasárá, in the upper Wady Dámah.

13. Shuwák, the [Greek] of Ptolemy. Atelier in Jebel el-Sání. 1.

14. Shaghab, another large city mentioned by El–Makrízi.

15. Ruins of El–Khandakí. Broken quartz, and made road at El–Kutayyifah; two other ateliers in Wady Ruways to the west: total, 3.

16. Umm Amil. Near it an atelier still called El–Dayr, or the Convent. 1.

17. Ziba’, old town; Umm Jirmah to the north. 1.

18. Majirmah (pronounced M’jirmah), one day’s march south of Zibá. Large ruins, supposed to have been the classical Rhaunathos.

Thus, besides a total of eighteen ruins, more or less extensive, twenty ateliers were seen or heard of; making up a total of thirty-eight — not far removed from the forty traditional settlements of the mediæval Arab geographers.

In the plateau of New Red Sandstone called El–Hismá, ruins and inscriptions are said to be found at the Jebel Rawiyán, whose Wady is mentioned by Wallin (p. 308); at Ruáfá, between the two hills El–Rakhamatayn; and at sundry other places, which we were unable to visit. Beyond the Hisma’ I also collected notices of El–Karáyyá, large ruins first alluded to by Wallin (p. 316).84

During our exploration of the region below El–Muwaylah (my Southern Midian), and our cruise to El–Haura’, the following sites were either seen or reported:—

1. Ruins in the Wady Dukhán, south of the Wady el-Azlam: north of El–Wijh.

2. El–Nabaghah, in the Wady el-Marrah: north of El–Wijh.

3. Ruins, furnaces and quartz-strews, in the Fara’t Lebayyiz.

4. El–Wijh, the port of Strabo’s “Egra” (?).

5. Inland fort of El–Wijh; an old metal-working ground.

6. The great mine and ruins, Umm el-Karayya’t, everywhere surrounded by ateliers.

7. El–Kubbah, a small isolated ruin to the east of No. 6.

8. El–Khaur, a working-place to the west of No. 6.

9. The large works called Umm el-Hara’b, with two ruined ateliers near them.

10. Aba’l-Gezáz, a working-place in the watercourse of the same name, an upper branch of the Wady Salbah.

11. The fine plain of Bada’, with the Mashghal el-‘Arayfát heard of to the north.

12. Marwát, ruins on a ridge near Badá, and signs of a settlement in the valley. In the Wady Laylah, remains also spoken of.

13. Aba’l-Marú, probably the Zu’l-Marwah of Bilázurí; extensive remains of buildings; a huge reef of quartz, carefully worked, and smaller ruins further down the valley.

14. The classical temple or tomb on the left bank of the great Wady Hamz, dividing Southern Midian from El–Hejaz in the Turkish dominions.

15. Large remains, in two divisions, at El–Haurá.85

Concerning the ateliers, details will be found in the following pages. Many of them suggest a kind of compromise between the camps and settlements of the Stone Age, where, e.g. at Pressigny and Grimes’ Graves, the only remnant of man is a vast strew of worked silexes; and the wandering fraternity of Freemasons who hutted themselves near the work in hand. And I would here lay special stress upon my suspicion that the ancestors of the despised Hutaym may have been the Gypsy-caste that worked the metals in Midian.

For the date of the many ruins which stud the country, I will assume empirically that their destruction is coeval with that of the Christian Churches in Negeb, or the South Country,86 that adjoins Midian Proper on the north-west. It may date from either the invasion of Khusrau Anúshírawán, the conquering Sassanian King Chosroes (A.D. 531–579); or from the expedition, sent by the Caliph Omar and his successors, beginning in A.D. 651. But, as will appear in the course of these pages, there was a second destruction; and that evidently dates from the early sixteenth century, when Sultán Selim laid out his maritime road for the Hajj-caravan. Before that time the Egyptian caravans, as will be seen, marched inland, and often passed from Midian to El–Hijr.

44 All the useful matter has already been borrowed from Abulfeda. Dr. Badger tells me that he looked through his Jarídat el-‘Ajáib, wa Farídat el-Gharáib, by Siráj el-Din Umar ibn el-Wardí, A.H. 940 (= A.D. 1533 — 1534), where he expected to find, but did not find, notices of Madyan.

45 Geschichte Ægyptens unter den Pharaonen. Nach den Denkmählern bearbeitet, von Dr. Heinrich Brugsch–Bey. Erste deutsche Ausgabe. Leipzig: Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung, 1877. Already the Première Partie had appeared in French, “Histoire d’Égypte, Introduction — Histoire des Dynasties i. — xvii.;” published by the same house with a second edition in 1875. An English translation of this most valuable compendium, whose German is of the hardest, is now being printed in London.

46 Pun, or Punt, the region on both sides of the Red Seamouth, including El–Yemen and Cape Guardafui, was made holy by the birth of Osiris, Isis, and Horus. Dr. Brugsch–Bey shows that one of the titles of the he-god was Bass, the cat or the leopard (whence our “Puss”); whilst his wife, Bast (the bissat or tabby-cat of modern Arabic), gave her name to Bubastis (Pi–Bast, the city of Bast). From the Osiric term (Bass) the learned Egyptologist would derive Bacchus and his priests, the Bacchoi and the Bacchantes, whose dress was the leopard’s skin. Could Osiris have belonged to the race whose degenerate descendants are the murderous Somal of modern days?

47 Vulg. Snefrou, “he who makes it good;” the ninth of the third Dynasty; the twenty-fourth successor of Mena (Menes) in the papyri, and the twenty-sixth according to Manetho the priest. He conquered the “Mafka-land,” as the Sinaitic Peninsula was then called; and Wady Maghárah still shows his statue, habited in warrior garb, with the proud inscription, “Vanquisher of Stranger Races.” This campaign lends some colour to my suspicion that Sináfir Island, at the mouth of the Gulf el-‘Akabah, may preserve his name.

48 The German Türkis, and the English and French Turquoise, are both evidently derived from Gemma Turcica, Western Turkistan being considered tile source of the finest stones.

49 The accompanying lithograph gives a list of the letters and the syllabic signs which occur in the inscription. {not included in this e-text}

50 The article “Ná” is emphatic, the with the sense of that or those.

51 “Khomet” signifies, 1. Copper, 2. Metal generally, as argent, etc.

52 “Mensh” is always applied to sea-going ships, as opposed to Bari, Uáu, Kerer, etc., riverine craft.

53 “Kemi” signifies, 1. Found, 2. Found out, discovered.

54 That is, the royal pavilion at Thebes.

55 The word “Deb” (brick) still survives in the Arabic Tob, and, perverted to the Iberian Adobe (Et-tob) it has travelled to Mexico.

56 “Hefennu,” as is shown by the ideograph to the right over the three perpendiculars denoting plurality, may be either a frog or a lakh (one hundred thousand).

57 The Egyptians divided gold into four qualities — 1, 2, 3, and two-thirds. But it is not known whether No. 1 was the best, and we can only guess that two-thirds alluded to some alloy.

58 The same as the Shu’ayb of my pages.

59 For a notice of “Moses’ Well,” now quite forgotten by the Arabs, see Chapter VI.

60 For an account of these diggings, see “The Gold–Mines of Midian,” Chap. IX.

61 This strange legend will be found copied into many subsequent authors.

62 El–Abjad, the oldest existing form of the Arabic alphabet; to judge from its being identical with the Hebrew. It is supposed to date from after the beginning of the Christian era, when the Himyaritic form fell into disuse, and it is now used in chronograms only.

63 L’auteur est doublement inexact en avanc, ant que l’Aboudjed se compose de vingt-quatre lettres seulement, d’abord parce que les six mots qu’il énumère ne renferment que vingt-deux lettres, et en second lieu, parce qu’il oublie de citer les deux derniers mots techniques, [Arabic] et [Arabic], lesquels complétent les vingt-huit lettres prises comme valeurs nume’riques (“Voyez l’Exposé des signes de numération chez les Orientaux,” par M. Pihan, p. 199 et suiv.). To this I may add that the French translators have sadly corrupted the words which should be Abjad, Hawwaz, Hutti, Kalaman, Sa’fas, and Karashat; whilst Sakhiz and Zuzigh are not found in the Hebrew and cognate dialects.

64 The “Gate of Lamentation,” vulgarly and most erroneously written, “Babelmandel.”

65 That is, “spoiled,” dry; instead of “honoured,” respected. The difference of the words is in the “pointing” of the third letter, and the change of m and l.

66 Not to be confounded with a cosmography of the same name by Ahmed ibn Yahyá el-Shá‘ir. Cf. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. xx. of 1850, p. 343.

67 This route, from Suez to El-‘Akabah, probably one of the oldest in this world, has been traversed perfunctorily by Burckhardt and by Beke. It still wants a detailed survey, and even hieroglyphic inscriptions may be expected. Beke’s map marks Hawáwit (“ruins”) near one of his nighting-places, but apparently the remains were not visited.

68 The Syrian Hajj no longer pass through El-‘Akabah to Makná, but inland or eastward of it. The reason is made evident in Chap. VII.

69 Thus the Khálú or Khárú of the old Egyptians, meaning a “mixed multitude,” were originally Phoenicians and domiciled from earliest ages about Lake Menzálah. So the “mixed multitude,” or mingled people, which followed Israel from Egypt would be a riff-raff of strangers. D’Herbelot says (sub voce Midian): “Quoyque les Madianites soient reputez pour Arabes, neanmoins ils ne sont pas du nombre des Tribus qui partageoient l’Arabie, et dont les Auteurs nous ont rendu un compte exact dans leur Histoire et dans leurs Genealogies; de sorte qu’il passe pour un peuple étranger qui s’est établi parmi eux.” Yet, as we have seen by the foregoing extracts, Madyan was reckoned within the territory of El–Medi’nah, i.e. the Hejaz.

Caussin de Perceval (“Essai sur l’Histoire des Arabs avant l’Islamisme”) regards the old Midianites as one of the “Races éteintes;” and he makes them (vol. i. p. 23) descendants of Céthura, Abraham’s second wife. In vol. ii. p. 232, he brings the Banu–Djodha’m (Juzám) from El–Yemen, and settles them in the country of the ancient Midianites. He adds: “La region sur laquelle ils étaient répandus avec leurs frères les Benou–Lakhm, et, je crois aussi, avec les families Codhaites, de Bali (Baliyy) et de Cayn, touchait par l’ouest à la Mer Rouge, par le nord au pays que les Romains appelaient troisième Palestine, par le sud aux déserts . . . par l’est, enfin, au territoire de Daumat–Djandal sur laquelle campaient les Benou–Kelb, tribu Codhaïte, alors Chrétienne, et alliée ou sujette des Romains.” In vol. iii. p. 159, he recounts from the Táríkh el-Khamísí, and the Sírat el-Rasúl, how Zayd made an expedition against the “Djodhám (Juzám) established at Madyan on the coast of the Red Sea.” The warrior captured a number of women and children who were exposed for sale, but the “Prophet,” hearing the wails of the mothers, ordered that the young ones should not be sold apart from the parents.

70 The “Burd,” or “Burdah,” was worn by Mohammed, as we know from a celebrated poem, for which see D’Herbelot, sub voce “Bordah.”

71 Michaud (“Hist. des Croisades,” ii. 27) says: “Une fois qu’il (Saladin) fût maitre de la capitale (Damascus); son armée victorieuse et l’or pur appelé Obreysum (Ubraysun ou Hubraysum) qu’il tirait de l’E’gypte, lui soumirent les autres cités de la Syrie.” The question is whether this gold was not from Midian: my friend Yacoub Artin Bey, who supplied me with the quotation, thinks that it was.

72 The most curious form, perhaps, which the ancient Midianitic tradition has assumed, was in the thirteenth century, when the Russians believed that the Tartars, “with their four-cornered faces,” were the ancient Midianites coming in the latter days to conquer the world. Lieutenant C. R. Conder, R.E. (“Tentwork in Palestine,” Bentley, 1878), has done his best to rival this style of ethnology by declaring that “the hosts of Midian” were, no doubt, the ancestors of the modern Bedawin.

73 Alluding to the legend that the shepherds, after watering their flocks, rolled a great stone over the mouth of the well, so that the contents might not be used by Jethro’s daughters. Musá waxed wroth, and, weak as he was with travel, gave the stone such a kick that it went flying full forty cubits from the spot. See “Desert of the Exodus,” Appendix, p. 539.

74 A name now unknown to the Bedawin of Madyan. The culminating peak is now supposed to be either the Shárr, the Jebel el-Lauz, or the Jebel Zánah.

75 The Badais of Ptolemy, which we shall presently visit.

76 A large ruin east of Zibá, also visited.

77 For a notice of El–Khalasah, also called El–Khulusah, El–Khulsah, or Zu’l-Khalasah, consult the art. “Midian,” Smith’s “Dict. of the Bible,” by E. S. Poole, vol. ii. p. 356. For the Khalasah of the Negeb, “where Venus was worshipped with all the licentious pomp of the Pagan ritual,” see Professor Palmer’s “Desert of the Exodus,” p. 385. The text, however, alludes to a ruin called El–Khulasah, one march from El–Muwaylah to the east (Chap. VIII.).

78 El–Mederah is possibly Hasíyat el-Madrá, which, like El-A’waj, El-Bírayn, and Ma’ín, is now included in Syria. El–Mu’allak may be Jebel Yalak — at least, so say the Bedawin.

79 In the last remark, also found in El–Kazwíní, the Madyan of El–Shu’ayb is referred to the district of Tiberias. Thus it would belong to Syria, whilst the majority of geographers refer it to the Hejaz, and a minority to El–Yemen.

80 Alluded to in a note to p. 331 of “The Gold Mines of Midian,” etc.

81 This means only according to Hebrew and Arabic tradition, neither of them being, in this case, of much value. As I remarked before (“The Gold–Mines of Midian,” p. 177), the hieroglyphic name of the land is Mádí, in the plural Mádí-án or Mádí-ná; on the other hand, we have no information concerning the origin and derivation of Mádí, except that it is not Egyptian.

82 None of the tribes or families now inhabiting Midian represent the ancient Midianites; and all speak the vulgar half-Fellah Arabic, without any difference of accent or vocabulary from their neighbours.

83 See the preceding notes on El–Makrízi.

84 The Ma’ázah spoke of Kanátir (arches, i.e. aqueducts) and Bibán (doors or catacombs).

85 I inquired in vain concerning the ruins near Sharm Burayttah, south of Yambú’ in the Harb country. Wellsted, who visited the site (11. xi.), conjectures them to be Niebuhr’s “El-Jár.” He makes that near the point “as large as Yembo, extending about a mile in length, and half that space in breadth, with a square fort in the vicinity, the remains of which have towers at the corners and gates.” Near the middle on either side, the tall walls are six feet thick, strong enough where artillery is unknown. At the landing-place are a quay paved with large hewn stones, and a jetty of solid masonry in ruins. The sailors dug and found only shapeless fragments of corroded copper and brass; coloured glass, as usual more opaque than the modern, and earthenware of the kind scattered about Egyptian ruins. About one mile from the fort were other remains, built of coral, now much blackened by exposure; and similar constructions on the further side of the Sharm could not be examined, as the Harb Bedawin were jealous and hostile.

86 The name is from Gen. xx. 1, and it signifies the country lying to the south of Palestine. See “The Negeb,” by the late Rev. E. Wilton (London, 1863), and vol. ii. “The Desert of the Exodus,” so often alluded to in these pages.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:51