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interest, being the old Land of Bashan (of which Batanæa of the Romans was a part), the country of that most remarkable people, the Rephaim,' who occupied this land long before Abraham crossed the Desert, and among whom, in later times, Og, the king of Bashan, was one of the greatest chiefs."* Mr Graham states, at the present day, the Druzes, who are of the same stock as those in the Lebanon, " are the settled inhabitants of Bashan. They live in the very cities out of which, more than 3000 years ago, the Rephaim were expelled, through the help of God, by the victorious Israelites." He much esteems them for their great kindness and hospitality; and he reckons the entire number of the men only who dwell in the Haurân at 7000.
But other portions, lying mostly to the east and north of Gebel Haurân, as they were unvisited before the year 1857 by modern European travellers, and were only imperfectly known by the rough descriptions afforded by Arab guides, shall now be briefly noticed. And I may mention that, as Mr Porter had in the year 1854 kindly favoured me with the unpublished Greek inscriptions, which he had copied in his tour through the Haurân, and which I edited in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature in the following year; so Mr Graham very handsomely intrusted me last year with the publication of about forty more Greek inscriptions, which he met with in that country, and which have appeared only a few weeks ago in this year's Part of the Transactions of the same Society. They are also accompanied with some notes, which I have incorporated in the present communication.
Mr Graham passed from Shuhba, at the south-eastern border of the Lejah (Trachonitis), through Wadi Nimreh (i.e. 'Valley of the Panthress') and several ancient towns, the most considerable of which was Malkyeh," near the edge of the Desert. "On the wall," he says, " of a public building there, I found a Greek inscription, from which it appears the Greek name was likewise Malkaia," or probably Malcova. The word on the inscription itself, according to Mr Graham's transcript,
* See Mr Graham's "Explorations in the Desert of the Haurân, and in the Ancient Land of Bashan," p. 228, in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. xxviii. Lond. 1859.
looks more like MAAKOTHNOY, "of an inhabitant of Malcova." As yet, however, I have not been able to find such a name in any work on ancient geography.
Proceeding to the east, Mr Graham came to the southern extremity of the Safah, from which the chain named Telle' Safah rises. It is an insulated volcanic district, which is elevated above the Desert. Here were found inscriptions in an unknown Shemitic character, accompanied with representations of palm-trees and other figures roughly cut in large blocks of basalt. On the east side of the Safah were some ruins of towns, similar to the ancient cities of Bashan, though remaining in a less perfect condition. The hills rising from the Safah are described as at distances which vary from four to ten miles from the border.
Continuing in a south-easterly course, the traveller crossed a tract of country called El Harrah, which Mr Graham says is probably derived from Harr, "heat." Now, the word Harr, I find, is still more indicative of the actual nature of that district, inasmuch as it strictly means, "heat reflected from the ground." This entire tract is thought to extend five days' journey in length, and perhaps a day and a quarter's journey in width. At length he came to a wadi, known as El Warran (The Lizard), where were more ruins and Shemitic inscriptions. Turning westward, he passed close to Tell Ozda, a solitary hill on the east of Tell-e' Nemareh (The Hill of the Panthers), and then entered a broad wadi. Indeed, at this latter spot, Mr Graham found the greatest number of inscriptions on the basalt stones that he had met with anywhere." The characters of these Shemitic inscriptions, he thinks "most nearly approach to those of the Himyaritic ;" and he states that they are to appear in the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society. It was at first supposed, and in fact Mr. Porter in his letter to me from Damascus, in January 1858, announcing the discovery of these remarkable inscriptions, mentioned expressly that they resembled the Sinaic inscrip
*See an Explanation for thus writing E' Safah, in note. p. 194, vol. xlviii. Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, to my former Memoir on the Geography and Geology of the Sinaic districts.
tions, but I think there is nothing to warrant such conclusions.
Mr Graham observes, "The absence of all Greek inscriptions," except four found at Nemâreh, "seems to argue that this country (ie., I suppose the whole of it) never came under the dominion of the Greeks," or of the Romans; and he adds, "whether this country once was tributary to Phoenicia, or whether we have on these stones inscriptions of a far earlier period-traces perhaps left by the old Rephaim themselves, who first occupied this land,-is at present mere matter for speculation."*
In the centre of this broad wadi, or river-bed, is E'Nemâreh, where, on a high mound, are situated some ancient buildings. "These, again, closely resembled those old houses of Bashan, with the beams of stone, and doors still perfect."
E'Nemâreh appears to me to derive its name from a female saint, whose shrine is there, and who is called by the Arabs "Nimreh bint e' Nimur," which means, "panthress, daughter of panthers." It would be extremely interesting if we could trace this saint, or goddess, who has been for long venerated by the Arabs, to the worship of the ancient Phoenicians; for it seems not improbable that this "Panthress" might bear an allusion to the great Phoenician deity, Ashtoreth, who was identical with Astarte, whom the best Grecian authorities accounted no other than Diana, the goddess of hunting; and indeed, at an early period, most of the Syrian races, as well as the Arabians, previous to the age of Mahomet, worshipped the famous goddess Ashtoreth. This suggestion may hereafter be more fully investigated, when the unknown oriental inscriptions which are so numerous near Nemâreh shall have been interpreted.
From the ruins of E' Nemâreh-Mr Graham being unable to explore the desert any further to the east, which he describes as "a vast plain bounded only by the horizon, and which reaches, it seems, without a single break to the Euphrates"returned to Shuhba, near the northern base of Gebel Haurân.
He then visited the ruins of several towns situated on the east and south of the Gebel Hauràn range, being much of it new * Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. xxviii. p. 241.
country, namely Nimreh, an old town built on a hill just above the Wadi Nimreh; there he noticed a Roman temple, but not any inscription; also Bshennef, Busân, Sali, and Sehwet El Khudr. The first, or Bshennef, "is beautifully situated on the borders of a wild glen which leads into the great plain below." He thinks that Bshennef must have been a place of much importance, not only judging from the house-doors, which were more than usually ornamented, but also from a beautiful temple which he saw there.
The second-whose name Busân has no connection, as one might naturally suppose, with that of Basan or Bashan, but it is thought to be abbreviated from Abu Sân, or "Father Sân" -is a large town, "its streets are very regularly built, its stone houses perfect, and it commands an extensive view of the desert."
The third, Saleh, or Sali, is "another very large town on the mountain," and possesses many fine springs, to which the Arabs bring their flocks and camels to drink. Sehwet El Khoudr (or St George) was, I believe, first visited by Burckhardt. This portion of Bashan Mr Graham describes as "very beautiful," and covered with forests of oak. Below the picturesque and conical peak El Kuleib ("the little heart") lies on the south the ancient city named Kufr—“ the town gates of which, composed of two large slabs of stone nearly 9 feet high and a foot or more in thickness, are still standing uninjured.". Afineh, Hejmar, and Ari, possessed nothing remarkable.
From Bozrah, now called Busrah, Mr Graham went south, and passed through several remains of ancient cities, and was fortunate in reaching the extensive ruins of Um El Jemâl, considered most probably the Beth Gamul of Scripture. I will not here describe these places, as they are beyond the proposed bounds of the present communication. Afterwards he came to Orman, which had been identified by Burckhardt, from some Greek inscriptions which he had found there, as "Philippopolis," a city founded by the Roman Emperor Philip, who was a native of Busrah in this portion of Syria, which is often styled in ancient authors Arabia. Proceeding thence eastward, he arrived at a still more important place, named
Malah, the former name of which he could not determine, and following an ancient road, he made Deir E' Nasrani, signifying "Convent of the Christians," the limit of his excursion to the eastern desert.
This enterprising traveller "has no doubt that the towns in this country, like those of Bashan, are of the highest antiquity," and that these were "the cities of the giant Rephaim.” This people being naturally of a gigantic size; the word "Rephaim," which strictly meant the Nation, was used in time to signify any giants; and it has sometimes created, as he observes, a "confusion in our translation of the Old Testament." In the third chapter of Deuteronomy, v. 11, our version has translated that Og was "of the remnant of giants," and not, as is clearly more correct to read, "of the remnant of the Rephaim," "ha Rephaim" being the original in the Hebrew text. So the Septuagint translation has in the same verse, τῶν ̔Ραραΐν, and the Alexandrine, τῶν ̔Ραφαειν; but the Latin Vulgate makes the like mistake as the English Bible, in rendering it "gigantum." At a later period the Romans colonized, enlarged, and beautified most of those strong and "walled cities" which are still remaining in good preservation, although long ago abandoned and uninhabited; they thus prove, in a remarkable manner, the fulfilment of Jeremiah's prophecy, "The spoiler shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape;" and "the cities thereof shall be desolate. without any to dwell therein."
Next, I will more particularly describe the region to which I am referring, and then add a few notes on the chief geographical and geological features of the portion of Syria or Northern Palestine included in it. The region comprises a district from Busrah about 36° 26′ 45′′ to 37° 45' nearly longitude east from Greenwich, and from Salkhad and E' Deir south of Busrah, about 32° 30', to nearly the supposed centre of Bahret Hijâneh, the southernmost of the three lakes in the territory of Damascus, in 33° 20′ north latitude. And I may here remark, that the most recent maps of Syria do not agree as to the exact positions of Damascus and Busrah; for in Mr Porter's first map, which I had the pleasure of communicating to the Royal Geographical Society in Novem