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allude to the tradition that Cain slew his taken and sacked by Sennacherib, Nebubrother Abel on this spot. The devout chadnezzar, the generals of Alexander the Christians ascribe the almost unchanged Great, and Judas Maccabæus. Metellus and prosperous state of the city to the and Lælius seized it during the war of protective agency of the innocent blood Pompey against Tigranes, B.c. 65; and it of Abel, which unceasingly beseeches remained under the power of the Romans Heaven in its behalf; and they take until the Saracens, under Caled and great pains to point out a small square Aboo-Obeidah, took possession of it, in monument, called Nebi Abel, which they the eleventh year of the Hegira, about assert is built on the very spot where the year of Christ 633. the fratricide was committed.
Heraclius, emperor of the East, who It would ill become me to question the was at Antioch, sent his general Callus, authenticity of the places pointed out by with 5,000 men to defend the city against certain devout Christians to travellers, the Saracens ; but, not being a match for and it would signify little whether they the crafty Caled, he was suddenly atwere the sites or not-suffice it to say, tacked by the impetuous Saracen during we were conducted to the house of Ana- a parley, and taken prisoner. Caled then nias, which is a mean, dirty-looking changed his horse, and dashed headlong house, having two arched cellars, with a into the midst of the battle, while the shrine at the upper extremity; the cave Saracens shouted Allah acbar! Allah of Jeremiah; the tomb of St. George, acbar! and followed him. The Damasnear to the Christians' burial-ground; cenes, under their old governor, Izrafil, and the field out of which the Lord took charged the Saracers, but Caled, clapping earth and made Adam !
spurs to his horse, set upon the old man, “ The Mouth of Mecca," as the city is and, striking the legs of his horse, sometimes called, has often been captured brought him to the ground, and made and demolished, but has always risen him prisoner. The two leaders, Callus again to its former splendour, and main- and Izrafil, on being asked to embrace tained its character for beauty and luxury; the Mohammedan religion, and refusing, so much, indeed, has its beauty and fer- were instantly beheaded, and their heads tility been celebrated, that the Moham- thrown into the city in order to intimi. medans reckon the Plain, or El Ghútah, date the Damascenes. After this several of Damascus, as one of the four paradises, skirmishes took place, but without any which are the most excellent of the beau- advantage to either party, so that the tiful places of the earth. They are the inhabitants at last resolved to keep Ghůtah of Damascus, the Sheab of Bau- within the city, and hold a council of war wân, the river Ubelleh, and Soghd of —the result of which was that they let Samarcand; but the Ghůtah excels the down a trusty messenger from the walls other three.
in the middle of the night, who was According to Josephus, Hadad was the charged with a letter to the emperor imfirst person who took the title of king of ploring his assistance. Damascus, but he was vanquished A.M. Heraclius, in consequence of this ap2964, by David, king of Israel, who peal, collected an army of 70,000 men, placed garrisons in it, and dedicated the composed, for the most part, of chosen golden quivers and armour of the guards cavalry; and placing them under the of Hadad to God, at Jerusalem, after command of one of his generals, named slaying two-and-twenty thousand men. Werdan, they advanced upon Aiznadín, (2 Sam. viii. 5, 6.) Towards the latter where they were reconnoitred by Derar, part of the reign of Solomon it revolted, a Saracen chief, who was despatched for and was governed by its own prince. that purpose by Caled; but being discoIn the reign of Ahaz it was taken by vered by Heraclius's general, a party of Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria, who thirty cavalry were sent to seize him : slew the king, and transported the inha- such, however, was his prowess and coubitants beyond the Euphrates. It was I rage that he unborsed seventeen of them,
and then returned to the camp, where he / serts of Arabia Petræa. The request was was reprimanded by Caled for fighting granted: the army collected, and marched against orders.
against Damascus; the horse, to the Werdan laid a trap for Caled, with in- number of 9,000, under the command of tent to take him prisoner, but the plot Amrou Ebno'l Aas, advancing first; then being revealed to the Saracen chief, he 2,000 under Abu Sophyan : Serjabil Ebn resolved to turn it to his own advantage. Hasanah, and Omar Ebn Rebijah followAn ambuscade was laid, and a conference ing, while Caled brought up the rear, demanded, to form a treaty, but the with the standard of the black eagle, and crafty Caled despatched Derar to surprise arranged, and gave orders to the several the ambuscade, and cut the men to pieces. officers. Derar was ordered to survey Derar arranged his men, and when he the camp continually, and had 2,000 approached the spot he made them stand horse for that purpose. still; then removing his clothes, he crept The Damascenes, under the command along until within a short distance of the of a brave and experienced Greek named soldiers, and finding that they were Thomas, sallied out and attacked Sersnoring, and their arms under their jabil's party, who were placed at St. heads, he returned to his men, brought Thomas's Gate, and nearly carried the them with him, and despatched the whole day; for Thomas, being an excellent party, who were drunk and asleep: archer, shot a poisoned arrow and morDerar's followers stripped the bodies, tally wounded one of the chiefs, who, dressed in their clothes, and took their drawing out the arrow, soon afterwards places.
expired. The wife of the Saracen chief, The Saracen army was drawn up in having buried her husband, rushed into battle array at dawn, and prepared to the battle intending to revenge him, and attack the Christians; but Werdan, first shot the Christian standard-bearer having sent a messenger to them respect- in the hand, who dropped the standard, ing the conference, Caled went to meet which the Saracens bore off. him, and commenced it by the most Thomas, observing the loss of the insulting epithets; then seizing the standard, slaughtered the enemy right Christian general, swore that if he did and left, which the wife of the deceased not turn Moslem or fight him, that it Abân perceiving, she levelled an arrow would be worse for him, and shook him and shot him in the eye, so that he was so violently, that Werdan called to his obliged to retreat into the city, and was supposed followers to assist him. The soon followed by the Damascenes, who Saracens, headed by Derar, soon made lost 300 men in their retreat. their appearance; and having upbraided Thomas, smarting under the injury to Werdan with treachery, stripped and be his eye, vowed vengeance, and having headed him on the spot, and then bore harangued the chiefs and armed all the his head upon a lance towards his own men, made a sally at midnight; but army, who, as soon as they observed that the wary Caled was on the alert, and their general was slain, gave way, and giving his orders to another chief, were slaughtered to the number of 50,000 rode with 400 men to attack the Eastern by the furious Saracens, who plundered Gate. them of a goodly quantity of gold and A desperate encounter between the silver, crosses, banners, and silken tent- Saracens and Damascenes took place, in furniture.
which the latter were forced to retreat, Caled sent news of the victory to the leaving the field strewn with thousands Caliph, who, having informed those about of their slain. They now held a council him of it, the Arabs begged to be allowed of war, and finding Thomas obstinate, to march against Damascus and take it, some of them sent messengers to treat so that they might live amid bubbling with Aboo Obeidah, who received them fountains, and delicious gardens, cooled courteously, and promised all they desired. by balmy breezes, instead of in the de- On the faith of this, they, therefore,
admitted him and a hundred of his fol- | tudes, notwithstanding its prosperity lowers into the city.
generally. Caled, unconscious of what was going On the destruction of the Ommiades on at the other part of the city, was by Abdallah, Damascus ceased to be the furiously assaulting the Eastern Gate, seat of the Caliphate, which was removed and it is doubtful if he would have car. to Bagdad, where the Caliphs reigned for ried it, had not a treacherous priest five centuries, imitating the splendour introduced his followers into the city, and luxury of the Persian monarchs. where they slaughtered old and young, After the sway of the Abassides, the males and females, rich and poor, and reins of government were transferred to were filling the city with groans and the Fatimites, and ultimately into the blood, until they met the party of Aboo hands of the wild pastoral hordes of the Obeidah walking quietly along.
Seljukian Turks, whose chief styled himCaled, on seeing them surrounded by self “Sultan of Damascus." priests and monks, was furious, and a The Sultan Noor-ed-deen (Noureddin), fierce altercation ensued, but Aboo Obei- the father of the poor, and terror of the dah departed not from his word, inas- unjust and great, reigned twenty-nine much as he allowed the Damascenes to years, during which time he improved the depart with as much as they could carry, city, and defeated Louis VII. the young and each one armed, although Derar and king of France, and Conrad, the third Caled were much enraged at him. emperor of Germany, and Baldwin III.
An apostate Damascene, who loved a Salah-ed-deen (Saladin, Salvation of fair maid in the fugitive band, urged the Religion), having deposed Ismael, the furious Caled to pursue them, and having young son of Noor-ed-deen, made a grand chosen 4,000 of the flower of the cavalry, entry into the city, where he was warmly who were dressed as Christians to avoid welcomed by the inhabitants. He rediscovery, Caled fell upon the fugitives, formed all the abuses that existed, and slew their leader Thomas, cut off his after a glorious reign died in the old head, and fixed it upon the point of the castle. standard of the cross, which so terrified In 1401, Timur Lenk (Timur the Lame, the poor Damascenes, that they were Tamerlane, or Timur the Tartar), bethrown into confusion, and all slaughtered sieged Damascus, and having deceived except the women, and one man who the inhabitants and once gained admisescaped.
sion, he tortured, butchered, and reduced The very day that Damascus was to slavery all the inhabitants, set the city taken, Caliph Abubeker died, and Omar, on fire, and carried into captivity the who sncceeded him, appointed the bene- most able of the artizans, especially the volent and humane Aboo Obeidah, instead manufacturers of the celebrated swords, of Caled, who he condemned for his cru- in order to enrich his capital, Samarcand. elty, rashness, and persecution of the In 1517, it was taken by Selim, the fugitives.
emperor of the Turks, who defeated the After the capture of Damascus, the Mamelukes at Aleppo. Saracens overran the whole of Syria, and The city underwent various changes of under the guidance of the Ommiades, government and vicissitudes until 1804, who reigned as “ commanders of the when Ibrahim Pasha, who had been faithful” for ninety-one years, (from the secretly appointed by the Porte, entered year 32 to 132 of the Hegira,) the Da- into Damascus. mascenes extended their conquests to the In 1833, Mr. Farren, the first British shores of the Black Sea in the north, to Consul of Damascus, made his public the banks of the Ganges in the east, to entry, amid a large assemblage of excited France and Spain in the west, and to and turbulent Turks and Damascenes, Nubia in the south; so that during this who looked with horror upon the innoperiod it became the capital of the Moslem vation world, and underwent many vicissi- ) It would have been bad taste, and unsuited to my inclination at least, to have prince took a fancy to him, and promised left the city without visiting all the him bis daughter in marriage, if he would antiquities, gates, and promenades, or turn Mohammedan.
The Florentine, environs; and, indeed, like most English- blind with love, and ambitious withal, men, it was my desire to see everything accepted the offer, married the lady, and good, bad, or indifferent.
became a great man. The prince died, Enlisting another of the party in the and the son-in-law succeeding him, encause, I set out for the street called compassed the city with the present wall, “Straight,” which extends from one end built the Babel-Jabie, and caused the of the city to the other, or from the gate lion, being the arms of the city of Flocalled Babel Hadji, to the great bazaar. rence, to be carved upon it. When he The house of Judas, where Saul of Tarsus died he had a mosque erected to his melodged, is shown near to it.
mory, and was worshipped as a saint. The most ancient remains, without Babel-Espahi, where the horse furnidoubt, are the lower portions of the walls ture is sold. This looks to the west, and of the city, built of square stones, united is oftentimes called the Seraglio Gate, without cement, and measuring six to because it is opposite the Seraglio. eight or ten feet, by four, six, or eight. Babel-Tooma, or St. Thomas' Gate, Many of them are covered with Arabic which looks to the north, is named after and Saracenic inscriptions.
the brave Christian champion who fought The castle, although very old, has been so nobly against the Saracens. destroyed and rebuilt many times, yet Babel-Islamah, or Salem, “the Gate of near the foundation there are some very Peace," looks to the north, and derives large and ancient blocks of stone, and a its name from the exemption of all passbroad ditch, built of rustic Roman ma- ing through it from dues. sonry, which surrounds the castle. The
Babel-Fardis, or “the Gate of Paracastle, which is very extensive, contains dise," looks between the west and north, within it the remains of crumbling walls, and is a large gloomy-looking archway, ruined courts, fountains, and gloomy leading to one of the bazaars. dungeons; within its circuit are eleven Babel-Paboutch also looks between the bastions, guarded and mounted with west and north ; it is the place where cannon, but too defective to withstand a shoes are sold—whence its name. smart attack of artillery.
Tired of wandering through bazaars The chief gates of the city are the and narrow streets, we bestrode our Eastern gate, which is called Babel horses, and trotted outside the walls of Charki, and looks on the south side, on the city, to view the environs, with their the walls that are opposite the east; it is perpetual verdure, and cool refreshing also called St. Paul's Gate, because it is shade, where near the spot where the Apostle was let “ The sighing gale, whose murmurs lull to rest down in a basket. It appears to be
The busy tumult of declining day" nearly in the same state as when the city was rendered fragrant by the citron, was taken by the Saracens-composed of orange, and minosa—where the walnut, Grecian architecture, with Doric pilasters the pomegranate, the olive, the ash, thé on either side of the arch; but it is now plane, weeping-willow, and white poplar,
waved their leaves in the wind to fan the Babel-Tchiaour looks to the south.
truant European, or lull the Moslem to Babel-Jabie looks to the west, but sleep with Nature's music. Here dwarf somewhat southward, and is sometimes trees, flowering shrubs, and creepers called St. Mark's Gate. There is a story luxuriate; aromatic herbs run wild, and connected with this gate which is inte. purling brooks peep from the luxuriant resting
foliage, to greet the thirsty traveller, and A wise and wealthy merchant of Flo- enliven the scene; while the bulbul, or rence went to Damascus to reside, and Eastern nightingale, delights the rambler became in time a favourite at court. The with his song.
Donkeys, laden with water-melons, columns. On the left, in places that grapes, pomegranates, and figs, pass by, seem perfectly inaccessible, are five or with their one-eyed drivers; and strings six chambers, cut in the scarped face of of dromedaries or camels wind along the the rock, which are ascribed to the road to Bagdad, with their owners: an Christians. encampment of black tents is seen yonder, We now crossed the bridge, and came and here are some of the people coming upon a flat open country, called Ard Zebinto the city to purchase provisions. dani ; and after a brisk gallop across the
Space will not permit me, and the plain arrived at Baroudj, which is about reader is tiring, so I must bid adieu to half an hour from Zebdani. Here we Damascus; would that I could linger dined, and then pushed on for Zebdani, awhile to gaze on its other beauties—to which is a considerable village, with a ramble over its holy ground, and sketch tolerable population, three-fourths of the picturesque inhabitants !
whom are Moslems, and the remainder The total population is said to be about Christians. They breed silkworms, rear 150,000, of whom 12,000 are Christians cattle, and carry on dyeing. of different sects and denominations, but After leaving Zebdani, the road we chiefly belonging to the Latin Church ; had to travel was in the midst of exten3,000 are Jews, and the remainder Mo- sive mulberry plantations, and vineyards hammedans, who are grossly ignorant luxuriant with juicy grapes, which far and bigoted.
exceed what the inhabitants require; so The chief productions and exports of that the surplus is converted into a thick the country are raw silks, manufactured syrup, which is used instead of sugar, the silks (called Damasks, from the city), more especially as wine is not made madders, gum, galls, opium, rose-water, from it. extracted from the famous damask roses, Night advancing, we stopped at a fruits, and wine. The imported goods village on the side of a high piece of are indigo, iron, tin, hardware, West ground, but the abode was horrible; I India produce, muslins, cotton-yarns, and could not rest, and at last, furious with white and printed goods.
being tormented all night by the numeEarly in the day we bade adieu to our rous inmates of a black sheep-skin, which kind friend Mr. Wood, the British Con- formed my bed, I rushed into the air to sul, and left the “nobilissima civitas;” as cool myself, and gaze on the surrounding Justyn styled it, for Baalbec.
country. Away we dashed; and pausing only Oh, what a delightful scene! How for a minute to cast a last and lingering sublime the surrounding magnificence of look on the city, from Salâhyèh, we rode Nature! Such scenes as we never can along the edge of a ravine through which behold in England, were ever presenting the Pharpar takes its course, amid plea- themselves ; each peep, a picture-every sant woods and dirty khans. At last we turn of the road, a study—and the disarrived at the Djissr Dumar, where we tant prospects grand in the extreme. halted to refresh both man and beast; The lofty and cultivated mind, that and then pressing on through Wady loves to contemplate Nature's miracles, Barrada, arrived at El Souk, where we and the grandest of God's works, delights slept in an old uninhabited house. in such scenes, where-all hushed and
Near this the Barrada forms some serene, away from the world's busy pretty cascades, and the wild and rugged throng, who only think, from morn till mountains, approaching one another on eve, of gold, gold, sordid gold-it muses either side, form an extremely pic-o'er those works that prove the omnipreturesque pass.
sence of the Deity. On the right-hand side there are some The barren rocks, channeled by the inscriptions cut in the rock, with some mountain torrents, or riven by Nature's niches, and the remains of an ancient convulsions; the verdant summits of the road, and fragments of Corinthian hills, covered with venerable olive-trees