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i^''.'^- vi; #^'Syiftj»i^»,---'k?a 

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"ACRhS C'F BCi' .K /■ 

140, PACIFI«J AV. NUb 







Author of a Visit to " Bashan and Argob." &c., 




4, stationers' hall COL'RT, k.c. 








" Ye are intrcated .... to read with favour and 
attention, and to pardon us, if in any parts of what we 
have laboured to interpret, we may seem to fail in 
some of the phrases," .... for " A slip on a 
pavement is l)etter than a slip with the tongue." — The 
Wisdom of Jesus tJie Son of Sirach. 



Arrival at Jt'rusaleni — Start for Moab — The goinrr up 
to Adumniin — The Brook Cherith — Oreb and 
Zeeb — The Jordan Valley — Abel-Shittim — Tell 
Kafrein — Dolmens — The Fountains of Pisgah — 
Nebo and Pisgah — Stone Disc — The Plains of 
Moab - - 15 


Medeba - Hameid(>h Kscort — BaaUmeon - Bedouin 
Doctoring — Wady Zerka Main -Jcbel Attarus — 
Attaroth — Machacrus Kiriathaim WadyW'aleh 
— Dibon ...----- 34 


Aroer — The River Arnon — The Road of Arnon — 
Umm Rasas — Aniouskera — Macadeben Nasr Allah 
— Karyet Felha — Wady Waleh— Pariah Dogs — 
Bcrforniini; (loat Medeba - Ostrich h-ggs — 
Nettil — Ancient Khan at I inin \\\'lid -rmni 
I'xier — Ant-lion- ------ 40 



Heshbon Elealeh — The Fish Pools of Heshbon — 
Bedouin Shepherds — Forest Country — Arak el 
Emir, the Prince's Cliff, and the Palace of Hyr- 
canus — The Sons of Tobiah — \\'ady es Sir — 
Columbarium cut in live rock- . _ . 



Circassian Village of Es Sir — Rabbath of Ammon — 
Siege of Rabbath by Antiochus — Source of the 
River Jabbok — Sassanian Building — Dolmens and 
Menhirs — Rock-cut Tomb ----- 6S 


Es Salt— Jebel Osha^El Bukeia— The River Jabbok 
— Peniel — Jerash — Magnificent Ruins — Absence 
of Hassan -Inscriptions — A Bedouin Present — 
Hassan's Return — A Dangerous Experience — 
Sarcophagi --------84 


A quiet Sunday — Mizpeh in Gilead — The land of 
Tob — Jephthah — Remtheh — Remtheh Mizpeh - 
Ramoth Gilead — Beni Sahr Camels — Whirlwinds 
— Syrian Goats — A disturbed Night — The Haj 
Road — Ancient Aqueduct — Harvest Scene — 
Edrei — El Mezarib — Strolling Players — Damascus 
Meiselun — Lebanon — Bevrout - . - . joj 



author's koltf. map to face p. I 








PALACE OF H\RCANUS . . - - - 51 

ARAK EI. EMIR ------ ,,52 


COLUMH \kir\I, WADV ES SIR - - - .-57 

- - - -, 59 

KJWER \\\ WW. \<\\\:\< JA15B(JK, RAHHAIH 

OF A.MMON - - - - - - ,, 64 

TEMI'Ll-. R ABBA III OF AM.MON - - - ,,66 



FORUM, JI-.RASH ------ ,,76 


rivMPl.F (II I HI". SUN, JERASH - - - ,, Si 



Arrival at Jerusalem — Start for Moab — The [^oini;' up to 
Adummin — The Brook Cherith — Oreb and Zeeb — 
The Jordan Valley — Abel-Shittim — Tell Kafrein — 
Dolmens — The Fountains of Pisgah — Nebo and 
Pisrah — Stone Disc — The Plains of Moab. 

T-TAVING in previous years travelled throug-h 
Palestine and Syria, we determined to, if 
possible, complete our knowledge of the general 
aspect of the land of the Israelites by a tour 
embracing the country from the river Anion to 

Leaving England towards the end of April, 
we arrived at Jaffa, May 5th, 1895, and awoke 
next morning to find ourselves again in our much- 
loved camp. After the horrors of the night during 
the providentially short passage between Port 


Said and Jaffa, and the heat, discomfort, and 
weariness of the tedious raih'oad journey here, it 
was delicious to find one's self in a clean, com- 
fortable bed, gazing through the widely- flung 
back tent door at daylight breaking on the City 
of Jerusalem. Our camp is delightfully pitched 
among the olive trees in the Greek Patriarch's 
Ground, on the hill-side facing the Bab-el-Khalil, 
the Jaffa gate. 

What a fascination this city exercises on all 
men. Though this is our third visit, we feel its 
influence as strongly as ever. " Always the 
object of tender pity and reverence, always the 
centre of some conflict, the scene of some 
religious contention. Frequent as were the sieges 
of the city in the olden days, they have been 
more frequent since. Titus took Jerusalem, 
Barcochebas took it, Julius Severus took it, 
Chosroes, Heraclius, Omar, the Charezmians, 
Godfrey, Saladin, Frederick, all took it by turns, 
all after hard fighting, and with much slaughter. 
There is not a stone in the city but has been 
reddened with human blood ; not a spot but where 
some hand to hand conflict has taken place ; not 
an old wall but has echoed back the shrieks of 
despairing women. Jew, Pagan, Christian, 
Mahommedan, each has had his turn of triumph. 


occupation, and defeat ; and were all those 
ancient cemeteries outside the city emptied of 
their bones, it would be hard to tell whether Jew, 
or Pagan, or Christian, or Mahommedan would 
prevail. For Jerusalem has been the represen- 
tative sacred place of the world ; there has been 
none other like unto it, or equal to it, or shall be, 
while the world lasts ; so long as men go on 
believing that one spot of the world is more 
sacred than another, because things of sacred 
interest have been done there, so long Jerusalem 
will continue the Holy City."* The roadway on 
the far side of the ravine now began to be 
occupied by strings of laden mules, and camels 
with burdens pitching on their backs, as if meeting 
a long ground swell, as they paced with soft, 
silent, leisurely steps towards the gate. Turkish 
soldiers were on active duty taking something for 
themselves from each peasant's load of merchan- 
dise for the city, even from the humble bundle of 
roots dug up for fuel. 

After a pleasant visit to our old friends, the 
Dickson's, we called on His Excellency Ibrahim 
Pasha, Mutesarif of Jerusalem, who amused me 
by saying there were only two ways of escaping 
fever in this treacherous climate ; one way was to 

* The History of Jcrusalrm, bvW. Besanl and K. Palmer. 


take quantities of (juinine, and ruin your digestion, 
and the other, always to wear more clothes than 
you could possibly support. The Pasha was 
perfectly right. The second the sun disappears, 
the chill that ensues is especially baneful to the 
tourist, dressed so that he may not feel the heat 
of the tropical noon-day. 

After re-visiting that most interesting site, the 
temple area, we rode down to the new excava- 
vations made by Dr. Bliss, showing the lines of the 
ancient wall by Siloam, and so back to camp. 

Tuesday, May 7th. We left Jerusalem about 
one p.m., our party consisting of my wife, my 
youngest son, and myself, the camp and servants 
having preceded us, and skirting round the walls 
past the Damascus Gate, crossed the Kedron 
near Gethsemane, and followed the carriage road 
towards Jericho. The sun was very hot, but at 
our backs, and umbrellas were very necessary. 
On arriving at Bethany we were joined by the 
so-called Bedouin escort. It is wise to engage 
them, otherwise they, very naturally, arrange that 
your tents shall be, if possible, robbed by them- 
selves, to demonstrate the necessity of employing 
them. The road, like many others in the I^ast, 
is excellent at starting and well constructed, but 


falls off sadly as you descend, until, towards the 
foot of the hills, it becomes unsafe, and finally 
impassable for carriages with any one in them. 

At the traditional Khan of the Good Samaritan 
we stopped for a cup of coffee and a glass of 
good Pilsner beer, and were much amused by a 
large party of Germans, of all ages except youth, 
who were coming, under the charge of one of the 
worst class of dragomen, to see Jericho, Jordan, 
and the Dead Sea. There must have been about 
thirty of them, and all being obviously quite 
unaccustomed to riding, were prostrate with 
fatigue and heat, some of the older ones being so 
exhausted that they had to be absolutely lifted 
off their horses at the Khan. The rest of the 
ride was cooler, the sun beginning to sink below 
the Judean hills at our back, and the scenery was 
finer; we descended the " going up to Adummin," 
the boundary between Benjamin and Judah. The 
Brook Cherith on our left, with deep precipitous 
sides, ran some 500 feet below us ; the bottom, 
where the water is, covered with vegetation ; 
what looked like the line of a goat-track against 
the far side was being followed by a loaded mule, 
the faint sound of the muleteer's song floated 
across the ravine, and beyond us, bathed in pink 
and violet light, lay our promised land, the little- 


known hills of Aloab. As we descended we saw 
Ellsha's fountain, and then to the northward the 
hills " Osh-el-Ghoreb" and " Tuweil-edh-Dhib," 
Oreb and Zeeb — The Raven's Nest and The 
Wolf's Peak. By the inhabitants of the former 
place, the " People of the Raven," Elijah was no 
doubt supplied with " bread and flesh in the 
morning", and bread and fiesh in the evening," till 
the brook dried up. 

The heat in the Ghor, as the Valley of Jordan 
is called, was great, the depression being, I 
believe, the greatest known on the earth's surface 
— the Dead Sea level being 1 3 1 2 feet below the 
Mediterranean Whilst at dinner in our tent, we 
heard, after he had left, that an old German 
gentleman, lost from the party we had passed, 
had come to our tents. Najm, our dragoman, 
sent a muleteer with him to conduct him to his 
own party, half-an-hour away. The muleteer 
reported his ultimate safe arrival, totally ex- 
hausted. We started at 6 a.m., after a sleepless 
night from the heat, with an escort of 'Adwan, 
crossed Jordan by the rough wooden bridge, and 
riding through the tangled brake and vegetation 
lining its borders, came out on the plain, bare of 
everything except a few thorny bushes. The 
land looks excellent and rich, but here and there 


is covered with an alkaline efflorescence. Two 
hours' ride brought us to cultivated ground, with 
fine crops of barley, ripe for harvest, which the 
'Adwan were busily cutting; rills of running 
water shewed the means by which the land had 
been rendered fertile, as in the old days, when 
the City of Palms stood in the luxuriant plain 
described by Josephus. This, without question, 
must be " the Plain of Moab by Jordan near 
Jericho," where the Children of Israel "pitched 
by Jordan, from Beth-Jesimoth even unto Abel- 
Shittim (or the Plains of the Acacias) in the 
Plains of Moab." We tried to imagine the then 
fertile plain covered with the thousands of Israel. 

They had been taught by Hobab, the 
Midianite, how to encamp,* and their black 
Bedouin tents, like flocks of the black kids of 
Syria,t ranged away as far as the eye could 
reach. To the North, commanded by Ahiezer, 
Pagiel, and Ahira, under the Eagle Standard of 
Dan, 157,600 men of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali. 
To the East, led by Nashon, Nethaneel, and 
Eliab, under the Lion Emblem of Judah, 186,400 
men of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulon. To the 
South, under Elizer, Shelumial, and Eliasaph, 
and the Ensign the figure of a Man, the Emblem 

* Numbers x., 31. f I. Kings xx., 27. 


of Reuben, 151,450 men of Reuben, Simeon, and 
Gad. To the West, under the Orders of EHshama, 
Gamaliel, and Abldan, beneath the Ox Standard 
of Ephraim, 108,100 men of Ephraim, Manasseh, 
and the war-like tribe of Benjamin, with their 
war-cry, " After thee, Benjamin." 

The tabernacle in the centre, with the Sons of 
Gershon on its immediate West ; the Sons of 
Kohath on the South ; and the Sons of Merari on 
the North ; and on the East that marvellous 
Leader, Moses, — trained as he was, Josephus 
tells us, a general of the Egyptian Armies,* and 
Aaron and his sons. 

Consider the drill, the method, and order of 
moving this vast mass of 603,550 fighting-men, 
their women and children, waggons, tents, flocks, 
and herds. Imagine the silver trumpet's alarm, 
and Judah, Issachar, and Zebulon moving off, 
followed by the Sons of Gershon and Merari, 
carrying the structure of the Tabernacle, ready 
to have it set up again to receive the Ark and 
Holy Things ; a second trumpet call, and the 
Army Corps of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad take 
up the march. 

* Josephus Ant., Book II., Chap. 10. 


Moses pronounces the invocation, " Rise up, 
Lord, and let Thine enemies be scattered, and let 
them that hate thee flee before Thee." 

And then the Kohathites bear forward the Ark 
of the Covenant of God, and Altar, and Sacred 
objects wrapped in blue and other coloured linen, 
and covered with their waterproof coverings of 
seal-skins, by Aaron and his Sons ; a third 
echoing blast — Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin 
leave their ground; Dan, Asher, and Naphtali 
standing to their arms, to form the rear-guard of 
the colossal procession. 

On our way, an 'Adwan Sheik came up, and 
was presented to us as Sheik Fa-ad, the well- 
known Sheik Goblan's son. We halted at Tell 
Kafrein, under the foot hills of the mountains, 
near a stream brilliant with flowering oleanders, 
with which our servants decorated our dining tent. 
In the afternoon we rode out, and ascended the 
low hills, and after some search were successful 
in finding some extremely perfect dolmens. I 
cannot presume to give an opinion as to their 
original purpose. They may have been used for 
the worship of Chemosh. They, and we have 
seen since a great many, have rather disappointed 
me as to size ; they are great stones, but not 

10 jMoab, ai\imon, and gilead. 

colossal ; and they are grouped frequently 
together, giving one at first the idea of ancient 
graves, rather than altars for any worship. 

But burials, in the proper sense, that is, of 
putting the body under ground, they can not have 
been used for, as all these dolmens were built on 
the bare live rock. Some of them are like the 
Giants' Graves at Rolde, in Friesland, supposed 
to be alluded to by Tacitus, as shewing the past 
o-randeur of the Cimbri.* From thence to our 
tents. A second stifling night, and no sleep, 
made us all, servants included, suffer much ; how- 
ever, before daylight, we were in the saddle, 
ascending into the delicious cool air of the 
mountains of Moab, and about eleven o'clock 
arrived at Ayun JMusa, the Wells of Moses (the 
old Fountains of Fisgah), at the head of a delight- 
fully cool ravine. We decided to wait for our 
camp, and get the rest we all needed, under the 
shadow of a great rock — with the sound of water, 
and of wind through a fig-tree, and the calling of 
'Adwan shepherds as they arrived with their 
charges, in an endless string to water at these 
picturesque and copious springs. A curious 
horizontal double-strata of rock dams the head- 
waters of this spring : the rock is hollowed out 

* Tacitus Germ. 37. 


into a cave below, and the double-strata looks 
exactly like courses of mason's work. Here we 
camped ; and after thoroughly enjoying a good 
night, with the cool mountain air, sent our tents 
and baggage direct to Madeba — the ancient 
Medeba — with an escort of Bedouin, whilst we 
ourselves went on under the guidance and protec- 
tion of Sheik Ali. The ascent from the Springs 
is steep and stony at first, but improves as you 
get higher. There are two distinct summits — one 
called by the Bedouin, Neba, with a dolmen, not 
a good specimen, near its summit ; the other 
called Siaghah, with remains of the ruins of a 
considerable temple. Neba is of course Nebo, 
and Siaghah, Pisgah. 

We first ascended Neba, and then Pisgah. 
The view from the latter is, even as we saw it 
with the Judean hills faint with mist, magnificent, 
and if the Scriptural word "unto"' is translated 
"towards"* exactly describes the vista; a deep 
valley to the South separates Siaghah and Neba 
from the range called El Maslubiyeh, with its 
ridge Minyeh projecting towards the Dead Sea. 
This range Conder identified with the first point 
Balak took Balaam to, " the High places of Baal," 
when he brought him here to curse Israel. Nebo 

* Deut. xxxiv., i, 2, 3. 


was his second point. And the ridge Minyeh, 
from Meni, the wife of Peor ; " Peor that looketh 
towards Jeshimon," the last place from whence 
he saw the uttermost part of Israel, and standing 
near the seven altars (Conder discovered traces 
of sacred rings here)*' uttered that marvellously 
beautiful prophesy ; for when Balak's anger was 
kindled, and he smote his hands together, Balaam 
said, " I shall see him, but not now, I shall behold 
him, but not nigh ; there shall come a star out of 
Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel and 
shall smite the corners of Moab."j* Imagine the 
view he saw when "he lifted up his eyes" and 
saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their 

What a belief Balak must have had in 
Balaam's supernatural power. He had twice sent 
his lords all the way to summon him from the 
far-distant Euphrates. Widely spread traditions 
identify Balaam with Lokman, the magician, the 
^sop of the East, perhaps ^sop himself. That 
he was only a wizard compelled by God to bless 
when he would have cursed, is certainly not the 
case. Balaam knew and confessed Jehovah when 
the ambassadors of Balak first came to him.ij: He 

* "Heth and Moab," by C. R. Condor, R.E, p. 136. 
t Numbers xxiv., 17. X Numbers xxii., 8. 


describes himself as one who "heard the words 
of God," had the knowledge of the most High," 
" saw the vision of the Almighty."* Undoubtedly 
there still lingered near the Euphrates some 
remnants of the ancient religion of Terah and his 
ancestors ; that true religion for the sake of which 
Abraham left his father's house when he saw that 
its purity was being smothered by the early priest- 
craft that began to represent the attributes of the 
Almighty under figures understood by them, but 
kept secret from the uninitiated. 

On the summit of Pisgah are some Byzantine 
ruins; rude and much worn columns lie about, the 
entrance has been to the east, some caves have 
been excavated below, and there are two caves — 
now inhabited by wild pigeons — between the 
summits of Nebo and Pisgah. A wolf ran across 
our track as we ascended ; the surrounding hills 
are rocky, wild, and steep, but arrived at the 
summit we found we were on the elevated edge 
of a lofty table land. The land stretching back 
from Nebo is still called Sufa, the field of Zophim.f 
We followed an easy undulating track of slightly 
grassed country, and passing many 'Adwan 
camps, came out on the big rolling plateau of the 

* Speaker's Corny. Note on Numbers xxii., 5. " Balaam, 
the Son of Boor." f Numbers xxiii., 14. 


upper plains of Moab ; the summits of the higher 
waves of ground are covered with ruins, and full 
of caves, underground reservoirs, and cisterns. 
At the ruins of a village called by Sheik AH, 
Garb El Kefeir, stands a large circular stone 
like an enormous mill stone, standing on its edge 
and half buried in the soil. 

Conder notices these disc stones; and mentions 
one close in this neighbourhood at Kufeir Abu 
Bedd, a ruined site North of Nebo. Had this not 
been so I should have thought the one we saw at 
the Garb-el-Kefeir, East of Nebo, was the one he 
describes. He thinks they may be the Hammanim 
or " sun images," which were destroyed by 
Josiah.* While the name of Diblathaim or 
"Two Discs" applying to a town in Moab, as 
well as Diblaterf may be thought to have some 
connection with these disc stones. | Then past the 
caves and ruins of another village, and Madeba — 
the ancient Medeba of the Bible — came in view ; 
it stands on the summit of a lofty mound, and from 
its having some modern buildings on its summit, 
as well as from the fact that it is inhabited, presents 
an imposing appearance. All round, as far as the 
eye could reach, the land was waving with golden 

* II. Chron. xxxiv., 4. t Ezck vi., 14. 

X "TIeth and Moab," p. 2G2. 


barley and green wheat, broken here and there 
by the deep crimson madder of the upturned soil 
laying fallow for next year's sowing. 

The ancient rich inheritance of Reuben, "all 
the plain by Medeba."* When the Israelites 
under Moses first came to this country, all the 
plain country from Aroer on the edge of the 
precipice of the river Arnon as far North as Mount 
Gilead seems to have been held, and had been at 
no distant date conquered by Sihon, king of the 
AmoriteSj from a '^ former king of Moab." 

* Josh, xiii., 16. 


Medcba — I lamcidch Escort — Baal-meon — Bedouin Doctor- 
ing — Wady Zerka Main — Jebel Attarus — Allaroth— 
Machaerus — Kiriathaim— Wady Waleh — Dibon. 

We camped on the North-Western side of the 
town, which we find is inhabited entirely by 
Christians of the Latin and Greek Orthodox 
Churches. The Sheiks of the Greek church 
called on us, and on our making enquiries as to 
antiquities, informed us that the town had been 
but recently inhabited by Christians from Kerak ; 
that in digging to find stones for building they 
had found columns, capitals, and some mosaic 
pavement, and offered to take us to see them, 
which we gladly accepted. In the meanwhile our 
'Adwan guard informed us that they could take 
us no farther South, the country towards Kerak 
belonging to the tribe of the Hameideh. So a 
messenger was sent to summon their Sheiks. 
Accompanied by Sheik AH we rode out to the 
ruins of a large village aljove two miles away, 
called Sheik el Kefcir. Here their are ruins of 


larger buildings. Prostrate columns and a {q.\n 
debased capitals lay about ; one column yet stands 
erect, many caves and underground grain store- 
houses and water cisterns, the latter shewing signs 
of having been carefully cemented to make them 
watertight. Some of the buildings now under- 
ground (but I think made so by the accumulation 
of debris) have been carefully arched over with 
stone, but all now is desolation ; a fox bolted 
from before us in one ruin, to take refuge in 

In the number of caves and caverns, not 
dotted over the country, but grouped together on 
rising ground, we think we see the dwellings of 
the Horites — the Troglodytes — the dwellers in 
caves, who were dispossessed by the Moabites and 
Amorites, who built their towns and villages over 
the caves and used these underground chambers 
for storehouses and stables ; then came the 
Israelites who destroyed and rebuilt, but the caves 
would remain, some perhaps covered in and lost, 
others re-opened and re-used as granaries and 
stables ; lastly came the carrying away of Israel 
by Sargon, King of Assyria.* 

* The commencement of the siege of Samaria was 
undertaken by Shalamanezcr, II, Kings xv., 13, but the 
city was captured in the reign of Sargon, according to 
his inscription. 


The country was then re-occupied by Moab. 
Chapters 15 and 16 of Isaiah, written as they 
must be after that re-occupation by the Moabites, 
foretell the Moabite downfall : " jMoab shall howl 
over Nebo, and over Medeba;" and Jeremiah, 
also prophesying afterwards, uses a simile that 
strikes us much after seeing these numberless 
caves and reservoirs and cisterns, all inhabited by 
pigeons: '' O ye that dwell in Aloab, leave the 
cities and dwell in the rock, and be like the 
dove that maketh her nest in the sides of 
the hole's mouth."* Cornelius Palma, the 
Emperor Trajan's general, annexed the great 
province of Arabia from the Nabatheans, who held 
all this country as far as Damascus under their 
kings, who seem all to have been designated by 
the name or title of Aretas.f Bosra, Gerasa 
(Jerash), and Philadelphia (Rabbath of Amnion), 
and Petra became Roman cities. + Roads were 
constructed and mile stones were put up ; 
temples, theatres, and vast public buildings were 
erected, reservoirs and water storage seen to, and 
the plundering Bedouins suppressed by the 
disciplined legionaries. Thus under the Roman 
Empire prosperity re-commenced. Christianity 

* Jcr. xlviii., 2S. 

t Josc'phus Ant., 13, 15, 2. IL Corinthians xi., \^2. 

X Animian IMarccll, 14 — 8 


spread widely over the country. Then the whole 
country, East of Jordan from Batanieh to Aroer, 
must have been rich, and covered with fine towns 
and public buildings, churches, and towers. Huge 
public works had been completed in making the 
extensive system of large open reservoirs of water, 
storing the winter rains that ran down the wadys 
and the land must have been a garden. Then 
came the invasion of Chosroes II., followed by 
that of the Mohammedans, which, like a monster 
blight; destroyed all it found, till now more than 
two-thirds of the land is desert waste and the 
other third totally inadequately cultivated ; whilst 
piles of stones and the old names — still clung to 
by the tenacious conservatism of the Eastern — 
alone indicate the great cities of Heshbon, Dibon, 
Attarus, and Aroer, and till recently, Medeba. 

On returning from Sheik el Kefeir, we went 
into Medeba and met the Sheik who kindly 
shewed us where the inhabitants had been 
excavating for stone for their new houses on the 
northern side of the town. About three feet 
below the surface there appears to be an}-^ quantity 
of foundations, and the lower floors of buildings 
of the Roman time What looks like the founda- 
tion of one of the town gateways lies to the North, 
and near here is a little Greek church built on old 


foundations, and havlni;- an ancient pavement of 
stone mosaic, the principal colours of which are 
red, yellow, a blackish blue, and white. The 
pavement was very good. The Sheik told me 
they had found much mosaic pavement here, and 
then shewed me some Corinthian capitals, some 
mouldings, etc. ; but they simply use these old 
buildings as a quarry, and four men were at work 
breaking up and squaring the fine old-faced 
stones into convenient little squares to build their 
new houses. Riding on to the N.E., the Sheik 
shewed us more foundations, which he said had 
belonged to a gate in the old town wall, and then 
took us to a house built of stone arches covered 
with stone rafters, with a beautiful mosaic floor 
in almost perfect preservation. The women of 
the house wetted the floor and wiped it to shew 
it well. It is a really beautiful piece of work, 
and more perfect than we have seen anywhere; 
the colours are quite bright, and the geometrical 
pattern of simple leaves is much like the one at 
the Greek Church before mentioned. In the 
centre of the room is a circle of double ribbons 
contained in two squares enclosing an inscription 
in Greek.* An inscription in the same character 

* " \\\ gazing upon the Virgin Mary, Mother of 
God, and upon Him ^^■hom She hrought forth, Christ the 
Sovereign King, only Son of the only God, be thou pure in 
mind, and ilesh, and deeds, in order thai ihou mayest, 
by thy pure prayers, find (jod Himself men^ful." 

Quarterly Statement Palestine Exploration I'und, 
July, 1895. p. 209. 


is in one corner of the room under an arch. 
My son tried to copy this last but only managed a 
portion, the rest having been built over ;* and so to 
camp, to watch the flocl^s and herds, and camels of 
the people of Medeba streaming home to be safely 
housed for the night. Next day the Sheiks of the 
Hameideh arrived, and long and earnest bargain- 
ings and negociations followed. Sheik AH, whose 
twelve-foot long spear stands stuck in front of our 
tents — and under whose protection we remained 
until a bargain was struck with the Hameideh — 
played a great hand. He demanded a present 
from the Hameideh for having brought us to 
them. Finally Najm came and asked me to see 
the Bedouin Sheiks and explain to them where 
we wanted to go. So in they trooped into our 
tent, and after gravely shaking hands I told them 
I wished to see as many of the old ruins as 
possible, and to go via Main, Attarus, M'Kaur, 
Kurieyut, Wady Waleh, etc., etc. They then 
retired, and after more talk, noise, gesticulation, 

* "The very beautiful mosaic work of this sanctuary, 
and of the holy house of the altogether pure Sovereign 
Mother of God (has been made) by the care and the zeal 
of this town of Medeba for the salvation and the reward of 
the well-doers dead and (living) of this sanctuary, Amen, 
Lord. It was accomplished by the aid of God, in the 
month of February, in the year 674, indiction 5." 

This Seleucidan year would correspond to 362 A.D. 
Quarterly Statement Palestine Exploration Fund, July, 
1895. P- 209. 


whispered asides, and conferences tlian one could 
imagine to be got out of the subject, a price was 
settled, and they agreed to safely conduct us to 
where we wanted to go in their country, and 
back to Medeba where we were to be met again 
by the 'Adwan. So we started, and making a 
short ride arrived at a Hameideh camp, where 
we were ceremoniously treated to a quarter of a 
cup of the usual bitter coffee, and thence winding 
on through a net work of shallow wadys, emerged 
under the Hill of Main, the Baal Meon of the 
Bible. Riding to the sunimit of the hill we found 
the same caves and the same heaps of stones, 
only here we found some carved crosses, some 
broken columns, etc. The view from the summit 
is very fine. Our camp was pitched at the foot 
of the hill near some old wells, or rather old 
reservoirs, that still hold water. 

Baal Meon was included in the towns given 
to Reuben, Dibon, and Bamoth-baal, and 
Beth-baal-meon.* Ezekiel, who prophesied Circa 
B.C. 579, mentions Baal-meon amongst the cities 
of Moab on which judgment will be executed, 
shewing it had been re-occupied by Moab after 
the Israelites' captivity.! Here we rested Sunday. . 

*Jos. xiii., 17. t Kzck. xxv., <). " 'r]-i('r(>forc, 
behold, 1 will open the shoukltT of Moab Irom the cities, 
from his cities which are on his frontiers, the glory of the 
country Beth-Jeshimoth, Baal-nieon, and Kiriathaim." 


The barley harvest was in full swing, the reapers 
joining in a monotonous chant at intervals to 
encourage each other to work hard as they cut 
the little handfuls of corn, leaving about eight 
inches of straw below the ear. 

In the afternoon a Hameideh Arab came to 
me to be doctored for continual pain in the 
stomach. I said I was not a Hakkim, but would 
try to help him. I found that according to Arab 
custom he had burnt himself severely with a red 
hot iron over the seat of the pain. I advised 
him to discontinue the hot iron treatment, and, 
as the Bedouins all eat very fast, directed him 
to eat very slow and wait between the mouthfuls, 
and gave him some antibilious pills. He took 
them, and departed without a word. Next day, 
however, he came back and thanked me, saying 
he was much better. Then a Christian from 
Kerak -was brought to me to see. He took off 
his head-dress and showed me three frightful 
looking wounds in his head, all healed up. One 
on the top of the head from a sabre that 
must have cut deep into the skull, an awful 
looking long scar on his left breast, another 
on his right arm, and a spear stab on his 
back close to the spine. All these wounds 
he said he had got fighting with the Bedouins. 


How he could have survived such injuries 
seemed marvellous. However, he appeared very 
proud of them. Then another Bedouin came to 
me to have his knee doctored. He also had 
treated his knee to the fiery process. I told him 
a knee was beyond my powers : that I possessed 
a sick knee of my own and couldn't cure it. 

Monday we started riding in a South-Westerly 
direction. At first we wound through a network 
of shallow wadys, in one of which we were stopped 
at a Bedouin camp, and made to dismount, and 
were presented with the usual coffee in one of 
the low black tents. Here a small Bedouin child 
screamed with terror at our pale faces, and 
would not be comforted. Then we crossed some 
deeper valleys, and finally began to ascend the 
slopes of Jebel Attarus. We passed the head of 
the wady Zerka Main, at the bottom of which 
are the hot springs of Callirrhoe, where Herod 
went as a last resort in his illness. The view 
was magnificent as we looked deep down into 
this magnificent gorge. It has been suggested 
that this may be the valley in the land of Moab, 
over against Beth-peor, where it is said the Lord 
buried Moses : " But no man knoweth of his 
sepulchre unto this day." From here we ascended 
Jebel Attarus, finding some terebinth trees at the 


summit, and a large cairn of loose stones. There 
are some wells here holding rain water just below 
the cairn. Thence we descended still in a South- 
westerly direction for the town of Attarus, which 
is only a mass of stones and ruins. This is the 
site of the ancient Ataroth, one of the towns 
asked for by the Reubenites and Gadites, the 
land being suitable for their cattle, and granted 
to them on condition that the fighting men should 
go on with the rest of Israel " over Jordan before 
the Lord, until He hath driven out His enemies 
from before Him."* The Gadites then re-built 
Ataroth and Atroth (possibly the site of the 
latter is marked by the heaps of stones on the 
summit of Jebel Attarus. It seems probable 
there was a town here from the existence of the 
wells I mentioned). King Mesha, in his account 
of his partly successful rebellion against Israel, 
in Jehoram, the son of Ahab's reign, writes : 
" The men of Gad dwelt in the country of 
Ataroth from ancient times." (M. Clairmont 
Ganneau, translation of the Moabite stone.) 

After a rise, curving to the Eastwards, to make 
a detour round the head of a deep wady, we 
turned due west, and in about an hour and a half 
reached the ruins of M'Kaur, the old Machaerus 

* Numbers xxxii, 21. 


below which was a small camp of Bedouins, who 
immediately they caught sight of our cavalcade 
galloped to warn their shepherds, the women and 
children running to the tents and disappearing. 
They were evidently in a great state of trepidation, 
and certainly thought we had come for no good 
object. An extensive piece of ground, covered 
with ruins, mark the old town. The remains of 
the fortress stand on a small hill, separated from 
the town by a valley, little but foundations and 
some underground buildings. 

Josephus relates that Alexander Janneus was 
the first who built a citadel here about b.c. 94. 
This was afterwards demolished by the Roman 
Pro-Consul A. Gablnius, when he made war 
against Aristobulus, younger brother of Hyrcanus, 
B.C. 57, but when Herod the Great was king he 
rebuilt it, ''as it was near the Arabian frontier, and 
surrounded a large space of ground with walls 
and towers, and built a city there, out of which 
city was a way up to the citadel, on the top of the 
mountain, which he surrounded with a wall with 
towers at the corners, of an hundred and fifty 
cubits high, in the middle of which he built a 
beautiful palace, and made many reservoirs that 
there might be no lack of water, and stored it with 
engines of war," Lucilius Bassus, the Roman 


Leg-ate, captured It from the Jews after the taking- 
of Jerusalem by Titus. Here Josephus also 
distinctly states that John the Baptist was beheaded, 
and that the murder created so much consternation 
among the Jews that they considered Herod 
Antlpas' subsequent defeat by Aretas, King of 
the Nabatheans, as being a judgment for John's 
murder, " For all men counted John as a 
Prophet." Aretas had declared war against Herod 
because he had put away Aretas' daughter to 
marry Herodias, his brother Philip's wife,* and 
John had boldly said " it is not lawful for thee to 
have her," which had excited Herodias' utmost 
anger and spirit of revenge. Surely Josephus, 
writing at comparatively so short a time after the 
event, should be more likely to be correct than 
modern theories, that Samaria, then called Sebaste, 
was the scene of the tragedy. The sacred account 
does not even say that Herod was keeping his 
birthday at the same place where John was im- 
prisoned ; simply "he sent, and beheaded John 
In the prison, and his head was brought in a 
charger and given to the damsel, and the damsel 
gave It to her mother." No great journey to 
accomplish from Sebaste, even if Herod was 
holding court there, to Machaerus and back in 

* Josephus Ant : Book xviii., Chapter v. 


those days, for a messenger of death sent by an 
absolute tyrant. St. John the Baptist was not 
allowed to see again the magnificent view and 
lovely colouring of the hills and Dead Sea, as 
we saw it from the fortress of Machaerus, but he 
was murdered in the dungeon. Herod seems 
himself to have been frightened of his work, for 
did he not afterwards say of our Lord, *' This is 
John the Baptist : He is risen from the dead, and 
therefore mighty works do show forth themselves 
in Him." Whilst thinking over these things, 
up came four truculent wild-looking Bedouins 
from the camp near, armed to the teeth, who at 
once began to ask our guard why they had brought 
us there without their leave, to which Hamdan 
answered that as Sheik, he asked no leave of the 
Hameideh to take us where he chose in his own 
country. Words ran high, but we were the more 
numerous and best armed party, and so we left 
with nothing more than words. 

Retracing our steps for some two or three miles 
we turned to the S.E., and passing some wells, 
Beer-el Moughov, with large flocks of goats and 
sheep near them, climbed to the top of the two hills 
on which the ruins of Kurieyut stand, and found 
many Hamiedeh camped there, and at the foot 
of the hill found our own camp pitched, our men 


having come the short journey direct from Main. 
Kurieyut is probably the ancient Kiriathaim, or 
Kirjathaim. Here " Amraphel King of Shinar, 
Arioch King of Ellaser, Chedorlaomer King of 
Elam and Tidal King of Nations," (or Eri-Aku, 
King of Larsa, Tud-khula son of Gazza, and 
Kudur-laga-mal King of Elam, whose names Mr. 
Pinches found associated together on a broken 
cuneiform tablet), ''smote the Emins (the abori- 
ginal race of great stature, whom the Moabites 
subsequently turned out) in Shaveh (or the plains of) 
Kiriathaim. Afterwards with Ataroth, Kiriathaim 
belonged to the tribe of Gad. The ruins consist 
principally of buildings of a much later date, 
constructed on the same principle as the smaller 
buildings in Bashan. Stone rafters, supported on 
stone arches, formed the upper floors and roofs. 
That evening there was much talk amongst our 
Bedouins of some stone with writine on it, 
possessed by a Bedouin of this place, and much 
haggling went on as to what I was to pay to see 
it. Visions of prospective Moabite stones floated 
in our minds, and next day we were told that on 
payment of a certain sum I should see and copy 
the stone. I offered half, and finally this was 
agreed to. Then more Bedouins came up, and 
said unless they were paid too, I should not see 

30 MOAB, Ai\li\rON, AND GTLEAD. 

the stone. So, telling- Najm that he must drive 
the best bargain he could, we mounted, and, 
wishing them good-bye, rode slowly off. The 
idea of losing all was too much for them, and we 
were desired to return by loud calls that they 
would shew the stone anrl let it be copied as 
agreed. So back we came, and were taken to 
the mouth of an old reservoir, closed with stones, 
some of which being removed, three men dis- 
appeared into the hollow. Many Bedouins had 
now collected, and there was much excitement. 
Some delay occurred as the original hider, who 
was represented in his absence by a most vocifer- 
ously shrill, excitable, and dirty old Bedouin lady, 
had so carefully concealed the stone that it could 
not be easily found. Finally, with the help of a 
rope, the stone was extracted and brought to me, 
and I was at once surrounded by an anxious 
crowd. One glance, and my visions faded, it 
was an Arabic inscription — Najm said a portion 
of the Koran. However, as I had paid to copy 
it, I got the squeeze paper out and, wetting it, 
began to apply the brush. Then a row began : 
I was going to take the writing off, said one; I 
was going to steal the inscription, said another; 
I was robbing them, I was robbing them, they 
screamed together. At last the noise and the 
jjushing got insupportable. \\\ front, the Bedouin 


who had been paid^ with the money in his hand, 
was gesticulating- wildly; Sheik Hamdun snatched 
it from him, returned it quickly to Najm, and 
tearing off the squeeze paper, threw it in their 
faces, shouting they should not cheat me. A 
dash was made at Najm to get back the money, 
but our Bedouin escort closed in, and as we 
mounted the noise was deafening. Sheik Ham- 
dun, with his keffiyeh half off, pulled one man, 
while another pulled him ; another gentleman, 
with a fluent flow of language, and few clothes, 
was held back from doing someone else a serious 
injury by two other men who held him by his 
arms ; the Bedouin women raised shrill cries, 
and more people started to run down the hill. 
With a glance at me, Sheik Hamdun shook clear, 
mounted, and we moved off close together. We 
had not gone a hundred yards before they began 
calling to us to come back. " Give them the 
money, and we could copy as we liked ; Come 
back! Come back!" Sheik Hamdun and our 
escort rose to the occasion ; they burst out into a 
torrent of invective, under cover of which we 
took our last glimpse of the gentle inhabitants of 
Kurieyut. A detour round a hill brought us to 
the edge of the Wady Waleh, with deep precipi- 
tous sides ; far down below us, the faint pink line 
of oleanders marked the course of the stream of 


water. The track downwards wound in and out 
of the precipices, and was so bad at times as to 
force us all to dismount. It seems to be considered 
quite a point of honour amongst the Bedouins 
never to dismount as long- as it is possible to 
ride. Half way down two ibex bounded away 
scared by the rattle of stones, displaced by our 
descending party. An hour's steady descent 
brought us to the bottom, and forcing our way 
through the oleanders we came to the clear 
quickly-running stream of the Wady Waleh. 
Here we halted under the shade for luncheon, 
and my son and I walked a slight distance up 
stream to enjoy the delights of a bathe in 
tunning water. The stream teemed with fish, 
who, directly we lay quiet in the water, sur- 
rounded us on every side, darting away at any 
motion we made. We were re-dressing leisurely 
on the bank when through the oleanders pushed 
a herd of black goats, followed by a nearly 
naked wild-looking Hameidch herdsman, who 
was startled nearly out of his senses by suddenly 
coming on two Englishmen dressing. However, 
one of our escort immediately came up, and 
matters were explained. But I have seldom 
seen a man look more badly scared ; his eyes, 
as he clutched his knob stick, fairly started out 
of his head. After luncheon a steep climb of 


an hour and a half brought us to the level of 
the opposite plateau. We found some ruins on 
our right, and then rode straight South-East for 
Dibon, which we reached in a couple of hours, 
Dibon, or Diban as it is now called, is a mass 
of shapeless ruins on the summit of two hills. 
There are remains of large reservoirs, now 
useless and dry, in the valleys to the North-West 
of the town. To the Westward and Northward the 
ascent to the town is very steep. A strong wall 
has surrounded the city ; but of the buildings one 
could make but little, though we rode most 
carefully round the ruins and clambered amongst 
them for some time. What remains we saw 
seemed to indicate that the dwelling houses had 
been built of arches, that supported long rafters 
of stone. We found the part of a stone door 
constructed in same fashion as the better-made 
doors in the mountain of Bashan. Water here 
was very scarce, but our guard had pitched our 
camp near a cistern, with whose Bedouin owner 
our men had a long haggle as to the price 
to be paid for the water. All this tract of 
country that we passed through to-day is being 
eaten up by locusts. The Bedouins say that 
when there is a plague ot locusts there is always 
cholera amongst the pilgrims returning from 
Mecca. The Haj is due in about four week's time. 


T enquired whether the locusts usually came 
when there was a scarcity of water, and they 
said that was so. So I imagine that the real cause 
of the cholera is the lowness, and consequently 
the increased impurity of the water in the cisterns 
that are never cleaned out. Flocks and herds 
collect round their well-like openings to be watered, 
and the next rain that comes all the manure and 
filth is naturally carried into the cistern. They are 
all ancient, and have been carefully cemented 
round inside. In those instances where the cement 
has cracked or broken off, the cistern leaks and is 
useless. Dibon seems to be especially badly off 
for water. As Jeremiah prophecied, the daughter 
that did inhabit Dibon, has indeed " come down 
from her glory and sits in thirst." King Baldwin 
I St, Circa A.D., i loo, founded a stronghold that he 
named Montreal, on the ancient site of Diban in 


Aroer — ^The River Arnon — The Road of Arnon — Umm 
Rasas — ^Amouskera — Macadeben Nasr Allah — Karyet 
Felha — Wady Waleh — Pariah Dogs — Performing 
Goat — Medeba — Ostrich Eggs — Nettil — Ancient Khan 
at Umm Welid— Umm Uxier — Ant-lion. 

Ordering our camp to go to the upper waters 
of the Wady Waleh, we, with two of the Hameideh, 
rode South for Aroer, which we reached in about 
an hour and a half, the old town and fortress, now 
little more than heaps of stones, stands on the very 
edge of the precipice that forms the side of the 
valley of the river Arnon, which like the Wady 
Waleh has been cut deep down by the action of 
the water. Here, as elsewhere, on this side of 
Jordan, the Arnon is fringed with oleanders now 
covered with blossom. The track down to the 
river and ascending on the Southern sides zigzags 
backwards and forwards, and seems only fit for 
goats to use. The old fortress stands at the top of 
this track. Looking Westwards along the valley 


of the Arnon (here about two miles across from the 
top of one precipice to the summit of the other), 
the pink fringe of oleander winds amongst the red 
and amber coloured rocks to the far-off deep blue 
of the Dead Sea. To the Eastwards, the river 
divides into three sources, each descending its own 
valley. " The brooks of Arnon," " The stream of 
the brooks that goeth down to the dwelling of Ar, 
and lieth upon the border of Moab."*' Aroer was 
rebuilt by the Gadites. But King Mesha writes 
Circa 872 B.C., on the Moabite stone, " It is I who 
have built Aroer and made the road of Arnon," the 
precipitous track I have mentioned, but doubtless 
kept in a better condition then, the boast of 
having made the road of Arnon, shews the difficulties 
that had to be surmounted, for whilst Mesha claims 
to have built (rebuilt ?) nearly all the cities of 
Moab, constructed fortresses, ordered his people 
to dig wells, and made cisterns himself, the road 
of Arnon is the only road mentioned. Striking out 
in a North-Easterly direction from Aroer, we cantered 
over an undulating plain country, sparsely covered 
with thin grass and desert bushes, a fox surprised 
in his mid-day nap, broke away and ran to ground 
a short distance away. After about three hours 
ride we saw the walls of our destination, Umm 

* Numbers xxi, 14, 15. 


Rasasappearon the horizon. Ourescort kept a sharp 
look out, for we were now near the boundary of the 
Hameideh, and the relations between them and 
their neighbours, the Beni Sahr, were apparently 
strained about the usual matter ; the Beni Sahr 
having appropriated certain camels belonging to 
the Hameideh. Presently, a string of camels 
appear in the distance, but our Bedouins said they 
were laden, therefore not a marauding party. We 
now came to the remains of a very large system 
of reservoirs, made to catch the surface water from 
the numerous little valleys, the overflow from one 
reservoir filling those below it, but all entirely broken 
down and useless. Another quarter of an hour 
brought us to the walls of Umm Rasas (the Mother 
of Lead). The town enclosed by walls, is an oblong 
of about 600 by 400 yards, the shorter side laying 
to the East and West. There is an arched gate- 
way on the Eastern side, and a gate on the 
Northern. There has been a considerable suburb 
outside the walls on the Northern side, which has 
had several large buildings ; the arches supporting 
the upper floors or roofs are in some places still 
standing. Here a big cistern or underground 
reservoir for water has partly fallen in, showing the 
openings of the subterranean stone drains that led 
the water into it. At a distance of 200 yards to 
the East of the town is a small hill or mound, that 


has been hollowed and opened out semi-circularly 
to the Southward, forming apparently an Amphi- 
theatre, but we could find no stone work visible. 
Excavation could alone make its original purpose 
certain. To the Southward of this Theatre, is a 
very large tank cut out of the solid rock and built 
up with masonry towards the top ; steps run into it 
at its South-West angle. Openings of stone drains 
that conducted water into it are visible ; it is about 
50 feet deep and 150 feet long, but not quite so 
broad ; there was no trace of its having recently 
held water. The town itself has towers in the wall 
at its four angles. To the East and West the wall 
is strengthened by four smaller towers or buttresses. 
On the North and South by five. Inside the town at 
the Eastern side, and built against the wall, are the 
semi-circular ends of a building that appears to have 
been a temple ; otherwise the town, with the excep- 
tion of arches that have withstood the overthrow 
is a mass of ruins, the masonry has been strong 
and the stones large, no cement or mortar has 
been used. We found a cross carved on a fallen 
lintel; the line of a street running East and West 
near the Southern side is easily distinguished. At 
about half to three-quarters of a mile to the 
Northward is another system of reservoirs and 
tanks with the remains of a building that appears 
to have been a bath. 500 yards to the North-West 
stands a tall, well-built, graceful, square tower, with 



a cross enclosed in a circle carved on each of its 
four sides ; the patterns of the crosses vary, some 
being of the shape known as St. Andrew's and 
some St. George's. There has been a way leading 
up the tower, but the entrance is choked with 
rubbish, and some of the steps have fallen and 
filled up the staircase. The top of the tower has 
been open and decorated with semi-columns at 
the four sides ; near the tower is a large building 
that has apparently been a Christian Church. 
A cross is carved over a window. There has been 
an inscription in Greek over the door, but it is 
quite illegible, and is scratched all over, as indeed 
all the ruins are, with Bedouin tribal marks. 
Close to the Church, and excavated out of the 
rock, is another series of reservoirs, connected 
with each other by subterranean ducts. I 
questioned our Bedouins as to what they knew 
about the town, but could get no information, 
nor any reason for its curious name, " The 
Mother of Lead " — they could only tell me that 
their fathers had always called it so. They said 
the Hameideh tribe had not originally held this 
district, but they had captured it from the 
Jellawin tribe. It seems strange that a walled 
town with such considerable buildings should have 
entirely slipped into oblivion. Najm's horse fell 
with him whilst crossing some ruins, getting a 


forefoot fast between two stones; he luekily got off 
with some bruises. From here we struck off 
North-West for the upper fords of Wady Waleh, 
we cantered and walked aUernately over the 
rolhng plains, passing about a mile from Umm 
Rasas another large series of broken reservoirs 
and dams, and in about three hours arrived at a 
camp of Hameideh near some ruins on a mound, 
called by the Bedouins " Amoushkera." It is 
simply a huge mass of squared stones tumbled in 
inextricable confusion on each other. The valleys 
now became more marked, and winding down one 
of them we came again to large broken dams that 
once stored the water that must run down this 
valley in the rainy season, and not far from it the 
ruins of Macadeben Nasr Allah — heaps of stones 
like Amoushkera. Riding through a perfect 
network of small valleys, we arrived at another 
shapeless mass of ruins called Karyet Felha, here 
the ground commenced to be again cultivated in 
patches, and we saw a good many partridges. 
On over the plain we cantered, and then got into 
a valley descending rapidly to the Wady Waleh, 
at the bottom of which we found our camp on a 
level piece of ground near the water, with its 
fringe of oleanders, whose blossoms our servants 
had gathered to decorate our tents with. We 
were sitting outside our tents, waiting for dinner, 


when three horsemen rode up who turned out to 
be Circassians, the governor of Amman and two 
soldiers on their way to Kerak, where there is 
trouble and fighting. We asked him to dinner, 
which he gratefully accepted, and he and his men 
camped near us that night, starting on their way 
before daylight. The night in this valley was very 
hot and oppressive ; mosquitoes disturbed the 
little sleep we could snatch, so we were glad to be 
in the saddle at daylight ascending the Northern 
bank of the valley. From here we rode back to 
Madeba, and camped in the same place as before. 
The manners of the Pariah dogs are very amusing 
to watch. I noticed a young dog had set some- 
thing of no earthly importance under a rock, 
probably a lizard. The turn of his neck, his 
rapt attention, and the doubly-waved line of his 
gently wagging tail, attracted the prompt attention 
of a big old dog, who said as plain as a dog could 
speak, " Hullo, what's he got ? I'll just see," and 
down he came to enquire. The young dog not 
having seen the presumed lizard for some time, 
had by this time tired of setting, and seeing the 
old big dog coming, danced light-heartedly out 
and whisked round and round him barking, which 
frivolous conduct was rebuked by a snarling 
growl from his senior, whose bristles went up like 
a bottle brush. Arrived at the stone the elder 


enquired with his nose what was the object of 
attraction, and finding that the whole thing was 
drivelhng folly, and that it was a case of " has 
been a lizard," felt that his dignity was likely to be 
impaired by having evinced curiosity as to anything 
a fool of a young dog could smell ; so drawing 
himself up so stiff that he stood on his tip-toes, he 
growled and scratched up the sand with his hind 
feet right into the young dog's face, who was 
cavorting idiotically near, and then stalked off 
slowly with increased dignity : very much like some 
old gentleman, who having advanced a statement 
that he cannot see his way to defend, gives a 
pompous cough in order that by inspiring reverence, 
argument may not be brought against him, and his 
dignity in consequence may suffer no loss. One 
of the Sheiks at Medeba offered me an ostrich's 
^gg- ^6 saw a good many in the town, and 
smelt one that had just been blown. The one 
presented to me was said to be a fresh one, but 
we did not venture to try it : the reminiscence of 
the one that had been emptied was too freshly 
(that word is hardly descriptive) with us. Seeing 
these eggs made me enquire where they were found, 
and we were told they had been picked up some 
little distance East of Medeba, and that the 
birds were occasionally seen. Three men with 
a performing bear, monkey, and goat came to our 


tents and amused us ; the goat was very clever, 
mounting on short pieces of stick put one above 
the other, and arranging its feet and balance so 
cleverly as each fresh piece was added. We here 
discharged our Hameideh escort and paid them. 
After thanking us, and getting a small additional 
present, they set to work to quarrel frantically 
among themselves as to the division of the money. 
A messenger was sent off to obtain an escort from 
our old friends the 'Adwan, whose territory we 
were now going to re-enter. Finding that neither 
'Adwan nor Hameideh would escort us for a day's 
ride East of Medeba, we secured the services of a 
Christian, who knew the country, and of a Zaptieh, 
and early in the morning we cantered off East- 
South-East across the desert from Medeba. The 
cultivated ground soon ceased, and we crossed 
undulating plains of scanty grass. Three hours 
ride brought us to the ruins of Nettil. This has 
been a town of some importance, the remains of 
the wall that surrounded it are visible in several 
places : there are the wrecks of old reservoirs in its 
vicinity, and several wells. The buildings have 
been entirely built of stone, the floors and roofs 
resting on lines of parallel arches. We found 
numerous crosses, inside circles, carved on the 
lintels of the doors ; many of the lower rooms still 
remain intact. The ruins are scratched all over 


with Bedouin tribal marks. From here we rode 
East for an hour and a half, and arrived at Umm 
Welid (the Mother of the Children). The ruins of 
this town are on the sunnnit of a small hill, and 
are of the same description as Nettil ; but to the 
South-West of the liill is a square-walled, strongly- 
built enclosure with rooms round the four walls on 
the inside ; the court in the centre being left open. 
The gateway into this building is in the middle of the 
Southern side. The building is 40 yards square 
outside measurement ; the rooms, some of which 
open from one into the other, and others direct into 
the central yard, are 24 feet broad. The outer walls 
5 feet thick. On the South there are three rooms 
on either side of the gateway ; on the East and 
West sides there are five rooms, not counting the 
corner ones ; on the North side, eight rooms down 
its entire length. The Christian from Medebatold 
me it was a palace ; I think, however, that there 
cannot be much doubt that it was built for a Khan, 
and constructed with stones from the older ruins 
near it, especially as on the Eastern wall we found 
a drafted stone, corresponding with similar stones 
we saw in the town on the hill; a solitary drafted 
stone would not, I think, have been used in a wall, 
had not the stone have come ready cut from else- 
where. The ruins on the hill are of the same character, 
built on stone arches, but of greater extent than 


those of Nettil. From hence a North-North-West 
course brought us in about an hour to the ruins of 
Umm Uxier. This also stands on a mound. It 
resembles generally the towns of Nettil and Umm 
Welid. On the highest ground is a solidly-built 
square tower, measuring about 40 feet square, it 
had apparently no entrance from the level of the 
ground, but must have been entered from a door 
on the upper floor approached by a ladder ; there 
are no traces of an outer staircase. It has 
evidently been designed for defence, and such a 
building, when the ladder had been drawn up, would 
obviously afford great security to its defenders. 
Having climbed to the top of the tower, we found 
that there had been a way inside down to chambers 
on the ground floor. We had left our rifles at the 
foot of the tower, whilst we ascended, and while 
we were still at the top, had the mortification of 
seeing a herd of Gazelles appear out of a dip in 
the ground not far from the tower, and catching 
our wind, go off at a gallop. My son and I 
scrambled down, and getting our horses, made a 
wide detour in hopes of getting a shot, but did not 
see them again ; it was a forlorn hope, as having 
once thoroughly got our wind, they were not likely 
to stop again soon. Here we rested for luncheon, 
and whilst we were eating it, and well hid, possibly 
luckily, by the ruins, we saw a large party of Beni 


Sahr on camels pass Southwards about five miles 
from us. When they had disappeared, remo unting, 
we road back West for Medeba, passing on our 
way a site covered with heaps of stones marking 
another town, called El Howareh. On our return 
to camp, we found our 'Adwan escort had arrived, 
and so arranged to start the following morning. 

We watched an ant-lion, who had made his 
conical pit near the door of our dining tent. He 
lay at the bottom concealed under the sand with 
only his formidable mandibles shewing. An ant 
in a great hurry, they always seem to have no spare 
moments, passed that way; he would go straight 
across the pit, instead of taking two seconds longer 
to go round, the sand slipped and down he went to 
the bottom, to be immediately seized by those cruel 
mandibles, and battered to death by rapid strong 
blows against the sand, and then dragge d below 
the surface to be devoured at leisure. In its perfect 
stage this insect developes into a beautiful sort of 
Moth, not unlike a Dragon-fly. 


Heshbon — Elealeh — The Fish Pools of Heshbon — Bedouin 
Shepherds — Forest Country — Arak el Emir, the 
Prince's Cliff and the Palace of Hyrcanus — ^The 
Sons of Tobiah — Wady es Sir — Columbarium cut in 
live rock. 

I ordered the camp to go to the Ain Hesban, 
the Springs of Hesban, probably mentioned in 
Solomon's Song as the Fishpools of Heshbon, and 
I wished to make a detour Eastwards to see if we 
could find any more ruins, and my son was keen 
to get a shot at a gazelle ; but the 'Adwan would 
not go with us so far to the East, they said it 
was out of their country, and in a word it was 
evident that they were afraid of the Beni Sahr, so 
we had to give this up and rode direct for Heshbon. 

We rode in a Northerly direction across waving 
plains till we came to the Ruins of Heshbon, which 
are on the summits of two low hills. The town 
appears to have been of some extent ; originally it 
belonged to the Moabites, from whom it was 
captured by the Amorite king, Sihon, who in his 


turn was dispossessed by the Children of Israel 
under Moses. The fact that it belonged to Moab is 
preserved in that curious old ode, " Come into 
Heshbon, let the city of Sihon be built and pre- 
pared, for there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a 
flame from the city of Sihon ; it hath consumed Ar 
of Moab, and the lords of the high places of 
Arnon. Woe to thee Moab, thou art undone O 
people of Chemosh ; he hath given his sons that 
escaped and his daughters into captivity unto 
Sihon, King of the Amorites." Then bursts in the 
Hebrew triumphant verse, " we have shot at them, 
Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon, and we 
have laid them waste even unto Nophah, which 
reacheth (or, with fire) unto Medeba."* This 
ancient song is quoted by Jeremiah, f and it clearly 
shows that the claim of the Ammonites in Jephtha's 
time that Israel had taken away from them all the 
land between Arnon and Jabbock was incorrect. | 
The absolute ruin and desolation of the country 
is marvellously foretold by Jeremiah. Dibon, now 
the waterless, then supplied with an abundance 
of reservoirs and wells, is to come down from 
her glory and sit in thirst. Aroer, by the way of 
the going down to Arnon, is to " stand by the way 

* Numbers xxi., 27, 17, &c. t Jcrciniali xKiii., 45, 46. 
X Judges xi., 13. 


and espy and say what is done ; " " and I have 

caused wine to fail from the wine presses, none 
shall tread with shouting, their shouting shall be 
no shouting. From the city of Heshbon even 
unto Elealeh,"* the ruins of which, now called El 
Al,we passed on, leaving Heshbon about a mile to 
the North. Then turning down a wady, we 
descended to Ain Hesban, the Fishpools of 
Heshbon mentioned in Solomon's song, where he 
likens the prince's daughter's eyes to the " Fish- 
pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Beth-rabbim."t 
There are no pools there now, but the springs are 
abundant and the cool clear water makes it the 
favourite watering place of the Bedouin sheep and 
goat herds. In constant succession all day long 
they passed our camp leading their flocks to water. 
It looked as if the separate flocks would mix in 
hopeless confusion, but no, like two packs of hounds 
who run together in a hunt, at the conclusion of 
the chase divide to the call of their own huntsmen, 
so the individuals of the flock walked quietly off 
after watering to the calls of their own shepherds 
leading them to the pastures. 

Najm contrived a most excellent bathing place 
for us by erecting a small tent over a deepish pool 
some little distance below the springs, where we 

* Jeremiah 48. f Solomon's Song vii., 4. 


had the most delightful cool plunges greatly to the 
dismay of the Terrepin turtles and frogs. Ain 
Hesban, while we were there, was suffering from a 
plague of earwigs, they over-ran everything in our 
tents in hundreds, and were most objectionable. 
Here we rested all Sunday, and early next morning 
we started up the valley, and turning to the left 
took a Northerly direction. The country now 
suddenly altered, instead of the bare rocks we 
came to a well - wooded tract of mountainous 
country covered thickly with evergreen oaks, some 
of which were fine trees with big gnarled trunks ; 
it was perfectly delicious riding in the shade they 
afforded. Crossing the head waters of the Wady 
Naaur, we turned more Westerly, and crossed 
Wady el Bahhath, where we surprised a party of 
Bedouin children playing in the oleander scrub 
bordering its banks ; some ran away, but one little 
fellow who was sitting on a rock in the middle of 
the brook, finding escape impossible, sat immov- 
able with terror, staring at our white faces ; the 
rapidly running water, the thick background of 
oleander bushes covered with blossoms, and the 
bronze statue-like figure of the child on the rock 
in the foreground, making one of the prettiest 
pictures imaginable. We wound up the hill 
through a Bedouin camp with no one but women 
and children at home, and finally arrived at Wady 


es Sir and saw the cliff of Arak el Emir and the 
palace of Hyrcanus immediately in front of us. 
We first rode to the palace, built by Hyrcanus 
about 180 B.C. It is almost surrounded by a 
moat, which has been filled with water led from a 
higher level of the Wady es Sir; two large animals, 
perhaps lions, are carved above the cornice at both 
ends of the Eastern wall ; some of the stones are 
very large, but, though long and high, are not so 
broad as is mostly the case in ancient stone work. 
One measures 20ft. by loft. by 2ft. 2in. Remnants 
of columns lay about ; the capitals are partly Ionic 
and partly Egyptian. There is a steepish narrow 
path leading from the Eastern gate up to a large 
artificially-raised plateau under the Prince's cliff. 
This path has upright stones in pairs, one on each 
side of it, at intervals of about twenty yards, four 
feet from each other ; they have holes bored 
through them near the top, which holes are larger on 
the higher or Northern side than on the Southern 
or lower (Conder, in " Heth and Moab " thinks 
that the presence of a very large stone laying near 
one pair indicates that these stones were used 
to pass ropes through to haul large stones to 
the palace). To my mind they looked as if they 
formed the uprights of a balustrade or guard rail to 
the path — the distance is long, but it occurred to 
us that the rail need not have had only these stone 


uprights, there may have been wooden uprights, 
one or even two pairs between every two pairs of 
stone ones. If the holes -had been cut in these 
curious stones to reeve ropes through, surely they 
would have been cut of the same size throughout, 
and bevelled off at the edges — but this is not so. 
On arriving at the top of the plateau, we found it 
triangular in shape, with remains of a wall on the 
Eastern and Southern sides, and some ruins at the 
South-East angle ; on the Northern side of this 
plateau stands the Prince's cliff. A gallery has 
been cut along the face of the cliff about 50 feet 
from the ground ; this gallery passes sometimes 
through tunnels, but for the greater part of its 
extent is open to the South ; very small doors cut 
into the rock open into large caverns, both from 
the gallery and also from the ground level beneath, 
thus forming two sets of caves, one above the 
other ; the length of the gallery is about 600 
yards. At the Western end of the gallery a large 
rock has been quarried out, its Eastern face carved 
with rows of holes. Many of these artificial caves 
have rows of mangers in them, and we found in 
these some holes cut in the rock, evidently to 
fasten halters to. Hyrcanus seems to have had a 
very large stable-full of horses, plundered no doubt 
from the Bedouins. Cave after cave we entered, 
some stables, some without the mangers, till, 



. -^- ,/ 


passing through a tunnel, we came to a causeway 
descending to the lowest caves. We here found 
a very large cave with a regular doorway cut into 
it; entering it, we found a very handsome "room" 
— that is the only word that expresses it ; it was 
oblong in shape, and lit only by one window over 
the door, the ceiling was smooth and fiat with a 
cornice all round it, but the floor was irregular, 
probably from accumulated debris, and goat's 
dung — the caves being, apparently, a favourite 
haunt of the Bedouin goat-herds. Outside, at 
some distance up on the right of the window, 
is a Hebrew inscription, which I photographed ; I 
find, through Sir Edward Maunde Thompson's 
kindness, this is to be read either as A obeh or 
Tobeh, a proper name. I would suggest that, as 
Hyrcanus and his brothers were always called the 
" sons of Tobiah " (really grandsons of Tobiah), 
it seems to me most probable that these carefully 
carved Hebrew characters outside the principal 
cave in the Prince's cliff, indicate simply Hyrcanus' 
family name. There can be no question that in these 
caves Hyrcanus had the most delightful retreat in 
hot weather, the coolness of the atmosphere inside 
contrasting strongly with the burning heat out. 
That these remains are the veritable Tyrus, the 
palace of Hyrcanus, there can I think, be no doubt, 
Josephus so exactly describes them. Hyrcanus 


was the son of Joseph, who lived when Ptolemy 
Euergetes, King of Egypt, and his wife Cleopatra, 
daughter of Antiochus, reigned over Celesyria, 
Samaria, Judea, and Phenicia. Josephus writes : 
" But upon the death of Joseph, the people grew 
seditious on account of his sons, for whereas the 
elders made war against Hyrcanus, who was the 
youngest of Joseph's sons, the multitude was 
divided, but the greater part joined with the elders 
in this war, as did Simon the high priest by reason 
he was of kin to them. However, Hyrcanus 
determined not to return to Jerusalem any more, 
but seated himself beyond Jordan and was at 
perpetual war with the Arabians, and slew many of 
them and took many of them captives. He also 
erected a strong castle and built it entirely of white 
stone to the very roof, and had animals of a 
prodigious magnitude engraven upon it. He also 
drew around it a great and deep canal of water. 
He also made caves of many furlongs in length by 
hollowing a rock that was over against him, and 
then made large rooms in it, some for feasting and 
some for sleeping and living in. He introduced 
also a vast quantity of waters which ran along it, 
and which were very delightful and ornamental in 
the court. But still he made the entrances at the 
mouth of the caves so narrow, that no more than 
one person could enter by them at once, and the 


reason why he built them after that manner was a 
good one ; it was for his own preservation, lest he 
should be besieged by his brethren, and run the 
hazard of being caught by them. Moreover, he built 
courts of greater magnitude than ordinary, which 
he adorned with vastly large gardens, and when he 
had brought the place to this state, he named it 
Tyre. This place is between Arabia and Judea, 
beyond Jordan, not far from the country of Heshbon, 
And he ruled over those parts for seven years, even 
all the time that Seleucus was King of Syria. But 
when he was dead, his brother Antiochus, who was 
called Epiphanes, took the kingdom. Ptolemy 
also, the King of Egypt, died, who was besides 
called Ephiphanes. He left two sons, and both 
young in age ; the elder of which was called 
Philometor and the younger Physcon. As for 
Hyrcanus, when he saw that Antiochus had a 
great army, and feared lest he should be caught by 
him, and brought to punishment for what he had 
done to the Arabians, he ended his life, and slew 
himself with his own hand ; while Antiochus seized 
upon all his substance."* 

Hyrcanus must have have been very wealthy, 
for when Heliodorus, treasurer to Seleucus IV., 

* Josephus Ant. Book 12, Chap. 4, Par. 11. 


made the first attempt to secure the treasury of 
the temple, which included many private deposits. 
Onias III., the high priest, declared that " there 
was much money laid up for the relief of widows 
and fatherless children, and that some of it be- 
longed to Hyrcanus, son of Tobias, a man of 
great dignity, and not as that wicked Simon had 
informed, the sum whereof in all was 400 talents 
of silver and 200 talents of gold."* How Heli- 
odorus was foiled of his booty ; terrified by a 
vision of a horse with a terrible rider, and two 
young men "notable in strength, who stood by him 
on either side and scourged him continually, and 
gave him many sore stripes," till he fell down and 
was carried off, having taken nothing — may be read 
in the rest of the same chapter. Truth and fiction 
closely blended. Whatever his fate, it failed to 
deter Antiochus the Great, who carried away from 
the temple a thousand and eight hundred talents, 
Hyrcanus' fortune included. It is possible that 
Antiochus may have made Hyrcanus' palace, 
Tyrus, his residence for a time, and that the 
Greek games were there performed before him. 
The Sons of Tobias claimed some sort of descent 
from the House of David. Hyrcanus was the son 
of Joseph, the son of Tobias. 

* II. Maccabees iii., lo and II. 



It must indeed have been a lovely place then, 
with the vast quantity of waters led from the 
Wady es Sir through the gardens; it is very beauti- 
ful now. From here we rode up the Wady es Sir in 
a North- Easterly direction, and had almost arrived 
at the place where our camp — which had come by 
a shorter route — was pitched, when an exclamation 
from Meshadi made us look up, and on the cliff on 
our right hand peeping through the trees we saw 
the front of a house with latticed windows cut in 
the rock. Crossing the stream we rode up as far as 
we could, and then had a stiff climb on foot. On 
reaching the house we found the cliff had been 
cut back about twelve feet, so as to leave a 
smooth perpendicular face, a plateau in front, a 
projection on either side, and a cornice above it ; 
it has three stories, ground, first, and second; 
the original floors must long ago have gone, but 
the goat-herds have put some poles across covered 
with brushwood, making a very insecure platform. 
A doorway exists leading into the ground fioor, 
but it has obviously been cut into it at a later 
period, it is only a rough hole broken through, 
quite different to the carefully carved windows and 
doorway on the first floor — pivot holes in the rough 
doorway shew that a door has been fitted to it, 
and there is a hole for a bolt. Entering this we 
found two chambers on the ground floor 8 feet 


high, 12 feet broad, '^6 feet long, united by square 
doorways shewing the division wall 5 feet thick, 
both walls and doorways covered with equilateral 
triangular pigeon-holes arranged in rows ; each 
pigeon-hole 4 inches deep, its sides 8 inches. In 
the ground floor walls are six rows of holes, above 
which is a stone shelf to support the beams or floor 
joists of the room above. At the back of the left 
room as you enter are the remains of a staircase 
much broken, the whole cut out from the live rock. 
We climbed on to the first floor by the aid of a 
rough tree laid to the doorway, which is between 
two latticed windows (the original means of 
entrance must have been a ladder) ; the lattice 
work is one foot thick. The plan of the two rooms 
on the first floor is the same as the ground floor, 
but there are seven rows of pigeon-holes. The 
remains of the staircase continue in the left hand 
room leading to the upper room ; climbing up the 
pigeon-holes inside my son and I got on the second 
floor. The plan is the same, but there are eight 
rows of pigeon-holes and two windows in each 
chamber, the two central windows on this floor 
being latticed with work one foot thick ; the two 
outer ones have been closed with shutters, as 
indicated by pivot and bolt holes. The floors have 
apparently been made of timber, but all else is cut 
out of the live rock. Il must have been constructed 



in the Roman time for a columbarium for the ashes 
of the dead ? We looked very carefully round, but 
could find no remains of cinerary urns. Our camp 
was pitched, a rifle shot off, in this lovely valley. 

I find the Bedouins call the Columbarium 
Deir es Sir, or the Convent es Sir. It seems 
curious to have excavated a Columbarium here 
at so considerable a distance from the great 
Roman centres of Rabbath and Jerash, unless the 
Wady was considered sacred. Many Columbaria 
were the common property of several families; 
but the heads of great houses sometimes had 
their own private ones for themselves, their 
families, and slaves. 

There was a charming view from our camp 
looking South-West. The trees, the bright 
green of the grass near the water, the 
Columbarium against the hillside, and a ruined 
aqueduct that had conducted the water over 
arches to a long, long ago ruined mill. It would 
have made a most enchanting picture. Would 
that one could photograph colour. 


Circassian Village of Es Sir — Rabbath of Amnion — Siege 
of Rabbath by Antiochus — Source of the River 
Jabbok — Sassanian Building — Dolmens and Menhirs 
— Rock-cut Tomb. 

Our road on the following- day continued up 
the lovely Wady es Sir. On our right hand we 
passed another chamber with a window and bed 
or bench cut out in the rock. Arrived at the 
head of the stream we ascended to the Circassian 
village of Es Sir. This is the dwelling- place of 
a colony of Mohammedan Circassians, who emi- 
grated from Russia at the time of the Crimean 
war. They do not bear a good character for 
honesty ; but their village was — from an Eastern 
point of view — clean, and it certainly was pretty. 
Leaving the village we emerged on the plain, 
where we passed many Bedouins of the 'Adwan 
with camels, goats, sheep, and donkey. The 
country was — like all the high ground of Moab — 
rolling undulating plain, which as we approached 


Rabbath of Ammon (now called Amman) began 
to fall towards the Eastward, towards the head 
waters of the Jabbok, the water-shed of this side 
of the plateau. We descended the track to the 
city, the ancient capital of the Ammonites, where 
the sarcophagus of Og, the king of the Amorite 
tribe who held Bashan. possibly still remains. 
Og himself was a survivor of the Rephaim, who 
with Zuzims or Zamzummims and Emins, sons of 
the giants, held part of this country from the 
plain of Kiriathaim to Ashtaroth Karnaim. They 
were conquered with the Horites who lived in 
Mount Seir — down South of the Dead Sea — by 
the confederation of kings : Chedorlaomer, king 
of Elam ; Amraphel, king of Shinar ; Arioch, 
king of Elessar; and Tidal, king of Nations, in 
the days of Abraham. The races of the giants 
seem to have been succeeded in these plains by 
the Moabites and Ammonites, descended from 
the daughters of Lot. But the warlike tribe of the 
Amorites — the sons of Canaan, the mountaineers, 
who in later times were under two kings to the 
East of Jordan, Sihon and Og, and five kings in 
the hill country of Judea — seem to have lived 
here from early time. Both Amorites and 
Rephaims are mentioned in God's prophecy to 
Abraham : "Unto thy seed have I given this 


land."* When Rabbath is first mentioned in the 
Biblef it is as the capital of the Ammonites. \% 
is mentioned by Joshua to identify the Northern 
Aroer, whose site is unknown, from the Southern 
Aroer, on the river Arnon.:}: When Hanun, king 
of the sons of Ammon, or, as it would be said 
now, of the Beni Amman, insulted- David's 
ambassadors, (feeling sure that war must result) 
he hired troops — Syrians — to the number of 
32,000, and the king of Maachah marched down 
from the lava wastes of Argob with a thousand 
more, a total force of 33,000 men, who came and 
pitched before Medeba ; and to them trooped the 
sons of Ammon from Rabbath and their other 
cities, and garrisoned Medeba, whilst the mercen- 
aries were camped on the level plain outside. 
Against them marched Joab at the head of the 
host of the mighty men of Israel, and attacked 
the Syrians with a picked force led by himself in 
person ; whilst the remainder, under Abishai, 
threatened the Ammonites drawn up before the 
gate of Medeba. The Syrians were defeated, 
and with the Ammonites fled into the city, 
and satisfied with this qualified success Joab 
returned to Jerusalem. Then Hadarezer, or 

* Genesis xv., v. 18 to 21. t n<'ut. iii., v. 2. 

X Josh, xiii., V. 25. 


Hadadezza, the son of Rehob king of Zobah 
(an Aramean kingdom situated between Damascus 
and the Euphrates) who had before been defeated 
and spoiled by David, sent for reinforcements 
from beyond Euphrates, who marched out under 
Shobach, or Shophach, captain of Hadarezer's 

This fresh formidable army brought David 
himself on the scene, for gathering all Israel 
together, he passed over Jordan, and came upon 
them somewhere in the plains near Medeba and 
utterly defeated them. Shobach, the captain of the 
host, being among the slain. After an interval, 
Joab was sent with all Israel to besiege Rabbah ; 
the ark of the covenant of God probably going 
with them. Rabbah, from its strong position, 
made a stout defence, Uriah the Hittite being 
killed under its walls with some of the people of 
the servants qf David, too loyal, perhaps, to their 
gallant comrade to obey the cold-blooded order : 
" Retire ye from him, that he may be smitten and 
die." Joab captured the lower city by the 
Jabbok, the city of waters, and sent to David to 
come to take the citadel on the hill " Lest I take 
the city and it be called after my name," who, 
arriving with reinforcements, stormed and seized 
the citadel, sacking it, and finding great spoil, 


including the crown of Malcham or Melcom, the 
national god of Ammon, weighing between lOO 
and I25lbs. weight of solid gold ; and, after 
torturing the wretched inhabitants, returned with 
all the people to Jerusalem. It fell again into 
the hands of the children of Ammon. Jeremiah 
writes: "Concerning the Ammonites thus saith 

the Lord Howl, O Heshbon, for Ai is 

spoiled ; cry, ye daughters of Rabbah, gird you 
with sackcloth ; lament and run to and fro by the 
hedges, for iVIelcom shall go into captivity and 
his priests and his princes together. Wherefore 
gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley, 
O back-sliding daughter."* One of the striking 
features of Rabbah is its flowing valley, the Wady 
Zerka, the ancient Jabbok, teeming with shoals of 
fish. The town received the name of Philadelphia 
from Ptolemy II. Philadelphus, that Ptolemy, who 
caused the Hebrew scriptures to be translated into 
Greek by six elders from each Israelite tribe. It 
was captured by Antiochus III., the Great, after a 
long siege, from Ptolemy IV. Philopator, B.C. 217. 
For on Antiochus " hearing that a strong force of 
the enemy were concentrated at Rabbatamana, in 
Arabia, and were pillaging and over-running the 
territory of those Arabians who had joined him, 

* Jerem. xlix., v. i, 3, 4. 


he threw everything' else aside, and started thither, 
and pitched his camp at the foot of the high 
ground on which that city stands. After going 
round and reconnoitring the hill, and finding that 
it admitted of being ascended only at two points, 
he led his army to them, and set up his siege 
artillery at these points. He put one set of siege 
works under the care of Nicarchus, the other 
under that of Theodotus, while he superintended 
both equally, and observed the zeal shown by the 
two respectively. Great exertions were accordmgly 
made by each, and a continual rivalry kept up as 
to which should be the first to make a breach in 
the wall opposite their works, and the result was 
that both breaches were made with unexpected 
rapidity, whereupon they kept making assaults 
night and day, and trying every means to force 
an entrance without an hour's intermission. But 
though they kept up these attempts continuously, 
they failed to make any impression, until a 
prisoner showed them the underground passage 
through which the besieged were accustomed to 
descend to fetch water. They broke into this, 
and stopped it up with timber and stones, and 
everything of that sort, and when this was done, 
the garrison surrendered for want of water."* 

*Shuckburgh's Hist, of Polybius, vi., v. 16. 


Here, when the city was held by Zeno Cotylas, fled 
Ptolemy, the son of Abubus, after his treacherous 
murder of his father-in-law, Simon, the High 
Priest, son of JNlattathias, at Docus, and the 
torture and murder of Simon's wife and sons at a 
fortress above Jericho called Dagon. He was 
chased from the country by Simon's third son, 
John Hyrcanus, who was made High Priest in 
his father's room, B.C. I35.t it was taken from 
the Nabatheans by Cornelius Palma, governor of 
Syria, in the Emperor Trajan's time, A.D. io6. 

In later times it was the seat of a Christian 
Bishop. Now it is a heap of ruins, with a small 
Circassian colony, living in houses built with stones 
taken from temples, theatres, and other buildings. 
Amman must have been a very beautiful town 
under the Romans. The principal ruins are the 
great Theatre on the South side of the river, 
partly cut out of the hill, that is calculated would 
have held 3,000 spectators, and a small odeum 
immediately Kast of it. On the North side of the 
river, a street with columns on either side, running 
Kast and West, or parallel to the river, a short 
distance North of the centre of this street, are the 
remains of a temple, and Westward the ruins of a 

t J(js(j)li Ant., I')()()k xii., (hap. 7, I'ara. 4. 
Maccabees i., Chap. 16. 



bath, a basilica, and another building- with 
Corinthian columns. The citadel is built on the 
hill to the North of the river, and surrounded by 
a very strong wall. At the summit are bases of 
some large columns that have been part of a large 
temple, and a beautiful Sassanian building. 
Conder has so fully described Rabbath of Ammon* 
that I feel that the only addition I can make are 
the photographs that I took of the more interesting' 
ruins. We rode all round the town, and then 
turning West followed the course of the river up 
to its source, a strong spring about a mile and a 
half from Amman. Here we found our camp 
pitched, and were glad to sit under the shade of 
our tent, the day having been exceedingly hot. 
Big cut stones and part of a pavement at this 
spring, shew that there has been a large building 
here. The Circassian Kaimakan of Amman pro- 
vided us with .some of his men as guards for the 
night. Making a start before sunrise on the 
following day, we again rode round Rabbath of 
Ammon, seeing on the West and North of the 
town .some very fine dolmens and menhirs. South- 
West of the town on the top of the adjoining hill, 
we found a rock -cut tomb that had been covered 
by a large stone nine feet long. The tomb was cut 

* Heth and Moab, by C. R. Conder, R.E. 


Straight down into the rock that here cropped up 
to the surface ; at a depth of some twelve feet 
from the surface it opened out into a burial 
chamber to the East. 


Es Salt — Jebel Osha — El Bukeia — The River Jabbok — 
Peniel — Jerash — Magnilicent Ruins — Absence of 
Hassan — Inscriptions — A Bedouin Present — Hassan's 
Return — A Dangerous Experience — Sarcophagi. 

From Rabbath, of Ammon, we rode across the 
plain in a W.N. Westerly direction, the Bedouins 
and their flocks and herds and camels had passed, 
and the plains were deserted as far as the eye 
could reach, an absolutely treeless country, and a 
burning sun made us very glad when we scrambled 
down a steep track and plunged into the vineyards 
and gardens near the town of Es Salt. How 
delicious it was to listen to the music of many 
rills of water led amongst the gardens from the 
bright stream running down the valley through 
the middle of the town, and the sound of the 
breeze through the shade-giving leaves of the fig 


trees. How it makes one understand the peace- 
fulness of the expression of how the Israelites in 
the ancient days " sat each man under the vine " 
overshadowing- his door, and "the li<^- tree" in 
his garden. Tliere is an English Mission here, 
and we called at the house and asked leave to 
rest there until our baggage arrived. We were 
most hospitably received and made welcome by 
a native servant, but were sorry to find that the 
missionary, the Rev. Mr. Sykes, in charge, was 
away on leave. "The Saltus Hieraticus," men- 
tioned among episcopal towns in the fifth century, 
appears, as Dr. Grove points out, to be probably 
Es Salt. In the twelfth century Salt was a strong- 
hold of Saladin, and its fortress, destroyed by the 
Mongols, was re-built in the thirteenth century 
by the famous Bibars* ; the fort has been repaired 
and is now held by the Turks. 

The view from the window of the Mission 
perched up on the side of the hill is very pretty, 
overlooking the modern town, and with a view 
right down amongst the vineyards and fig and 
pomegranate trees. In the foreground stands the 
minaret of a mosque from the top of wliich a 
muezzin was calling the faithful to prayer with 
sonorous cry — " Allah is great ; I testify that 

Heth and Moab, by Conder. 


there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is the 
prophet of Allah, come to prayer." Uneasy 
vag-ue reports have reached us of a stirring 
of fanaticism among the Mussulman population, 
of Christians being attacked and ill-used, of the 
Druses having made forays on the villages of the 
Hauran, of depredations of the Turks on the 
Beni Sahr, and vice versa. When our camp had 
arrived, we saw a large number of camels, some 
hundreds, driven to water past our tents by 
Turkish soldiers, and we were told that these had 
been captured from the Beni Sahr by the Turks. 
How much of all this was truth it was impossible 
to find out. We sent up to the Kaimakan to ask 
for the usual guards for our camp during the 
night, and our messenger was roughly refused, 
the Kaimakan saying, that he, the messenger, 
"should know that everywhere in the Sultan's 
territory we were perfectly safe without guards," 
a statement we took leave to doubt, and told off 
a guard from our 'Adwan escort for the night. 
It has been endeavoured to identify Salt with 
Ramoth Gilead and again with Mahanaim, the 
latter seems more probable, yet I think the 
grounds are not sufficient to give any certainty ; 
at about an hour's distance from Salt rises Jebel 
Osha with the reputed grave of the prophet 
Hosea. Next day we wound through the valley 


among the vineyards, and taking- a North East 
route emerged into the curious valley or plain of 
El Bukeia surrounded by stony hills ; the plain 
looks with its dark crimson soil exactly as if it 
had once been a lake ; the soil is rich, and it is 
cultivated in small patches by the Bedouins. 
Ascending the hills on its Northern side, we 
followed a little valley for a long distance down, 
till we came to the spring forming the head 
waters of the Wady Umm Rumman. Here were 
a large party of Turcomans with camels, so we 
moved on farther to Ain Ruiba, an excellent 
small spring by a large terebinth overlooking the 
deep Wady of the Jabbok. Under its shade we 
rested till our baggage came up, and the tents 
were pitched, and as the black blue night of the 
East settled on us, with the stars hanging like 
lamps in the firmament (not like pinholes of light 
shewing through a black paper), we could see the 
fires at the Bedouin camps twinkling out on the 
hills on the far side of Jabbok. A very steep 
track led us down to Jabbok next day ; it is, or 
was when we crossed, a clear, quickly running 
stream, about thirty yards across and two feet 
deep, with a gravel bed thickly bordered on 
either side with oleanders in full bloom. It was 
at this river (where the ford was who can tell), at 
a place afterwards called Peniel (the face of God), 


that the mysterious incident in the life of Jacob 
took place. On the eve of meeting his brother 
Esau, a powerful chief whom he had deprived of 
his birth-right, and having sent his people and 
possessions across the river at night, he "was left 
alone, and there wrestled a man with him until 
the breaking of the day, and when he saw that he 
prevailed not against him he touched the hollow 
of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was 
out of joint as he wrestled with him." And he 
said, "Let me go for the day breaketh." And 
he said, " I will not let thee go except thou bless 
me." And he said, " What is thy name? " and 
he said "Jacob." And he said, "Thy name 
shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel ; for as a 
Prince hast thou power with God and with men, 
and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked Him and said, 
" Tell me, I pray Thee, Thy name." And He said, 
" Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after My 
name? And He blessed him there. And Jacob 
called the name of the place Peniel ; for I have 
seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. 
And as he passed over Penuel, the sun rose upon 
him, and he halted upon his thigh. Therefore the 
Children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, 
which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this 
day; because He touched the hollow of Jacob's 
thigh in the sinew that shrank," Genesis xxxii. ; 


and in the Speaker's Comineiilarv notci on the same 
Chapter, and Verse 32, " The eustoni prevaihng 
among the Jews to this day, of abstaining 
rehgiously from eating this sinew, (/V., the sciatic 
nerve), " seems a lasting monument of the 
historical truth of this wonderful event in the life 
of Jacob." This river was the ancient frontier line 
between Sihon's and Og's Kingdoms. Ascending 
the hills on the other side we finally swept round 
the side of a hill, and came in full view of the 
magnificent ruins of the city of Jerash. The view 
was most striking. A magnificent Roman Trium- 
phal Arch stood in front of us ; further off, a 
circular forum, surrounded by columns, from which 
rows of columns stretched as far as we could see. 
On the left, through the oleander bushes, we caught 
glimpses of an old Roman Bridge, and the water 
of the Wady ed Deir falling in cascades on its way 
to join the Jabbok. Jerash, the ancient Gerasa, 
was a town belonging to the Decapolis of Peroea. 
Josephus writes — Book I., Chap iv., Para. 8, of 
"The Jewish War"—" But Alexander (Janneus), 
when he had taken Pella, marched to Gerasa 
again, out of the covetous desire he had of 
Theodorus's possessions, and when he had built a 
triple wall about the garrison, he took the place by 
force." It was taken by Trajan's lieutenant, 
Cornelius Palma, A. 13. 106; and what remains in 


the present town is wholly Roman, and the ruins 
are of great buildings of the period of the second 
century of our era. It undoubtedly must have 
been a great and most beautiful town, well watered 
both by the Wady ed Deir, and a very strong and 
excellent spring near the Northern end of ruins, on 
the right hand side of the valley. In the time of 
King Baldwin II., cousin of Baldwin I., mention 
is made of Gerasa, where " the King of Damascus 
had caused a castle to be built." 

We rode up to the Gateway. It is probably a 
triumphal arch, as it stands a long way outside the 
clearly marked city walls, that are still sufficiently 
Intact to enable one exactly to follow their lines. 
The arch is triple, one large central and two small 
arches, one on either side. The side farthest from 
the town has four fine columns with bases carved 
with acanthus leaves, in the Corinthian manner. 
Doubtless the capitals (which have gone) were 
similarly carved. The side arches look as if they 
had been constructed for the passage of foot 
passengers, and the central one for wheeled traflfic 
and horses. Over the side arches are square- 
headed niches, perhaps for statues. 

Immediately to the left of the Archway is a 
very fairly preserved Naumachia, for water shows. 
The channel conducting the water into it is 


well preserved, though now dry. At the end 
nearest the town the seats are still intact, and 
here is a wreath carved. 

Proceeding straight on from the Triumphal 
Arch, we came to the line of the town walls, where 
a gateway must once have stood. Before us stood 
a semi-circle of columns, with Ionic capitals, 
supporting an entablature that connected them. 
From this semi-circle runs a long, straight street, 
with columns on either side. The street must 
have been narrow, and the side walks for the foot 
passengers were between the columns and the 
houses, most probably forming a covered colonnade 
right through the centre of the town. It is 
likely that a gallery ran above the colonnade. 
This street of columns is cut at right angles by 
another, also with its colonnade. At the point 
where they cross each other are the ruins of a 
Tetrapylon, with carved, shell-shaped niches for 
statues. Further on, along the main street, we 
came to some large buildings, both on the right 
and left, with many columns, mostly fallen. We 
found the remnants of two large red granite 
columns, that had evidently been polished, in the 
right hand building. Looking towards the river 
from here, we saw the approach leading up from 
the ruins of a bridge. Between two standing 


Corinthian columns on the left side of the street is 
a beautiful ruin, richly carved. On either side of 
a central circular window are square windows, now 
walled in, and semi-circular headed niches, probably 
for statues ; above these a rich cornice with 
pediments, that above the central window being 
triangular, and those over the niches circular. 
Below are more niches with the remains of 
pediments above them. Further on, to the left, 
are ruins of another richly-decorated building ; the 
carvings, columns, huge stones, and capitals lie 
heaped up in inextricable confusion. The capitals 
of the columns to this point since leaving the semi- 
circle have been Corinthian. Now, as we continue 
down the main street, passing a theatre on the 
left, and the baths on the right, the capitals are 
Ionic. The heat had, by this time, got almost 
unendurable, and we entered with gratitude the 
delicious shade of the massive, vaulted, central 
chamber of the baths, with its four arches that had 
opened into the rest of the building, which having 
fallen, gave us a view over the small Circassian 
settlement to the East of the Wady, to the North 
towards the Northern Gate, and to the West over 
the columns that formed the entrance to the 
theatre for gladiatorial combats. Shortly after, 
we saw our baggage arrive, and our men set to 
work to pitch the tents ; but the Bedouin escort 


with them, instead of as usual hanging dawdHng 
round the tents, came up to where we were, and 
sat silently outside in the shade of the baths. I 
noticed that something was wrong, and on our 
coming to the camp, was told that Hassan, one of 
the muleteers, had not turned up. In an hour or 
two, Hassan being still absent, I made enquiries, 
and after the usual amount of lying, elicited the 
fact that Hassan had lagged behind the baggage 
animals, and that passing a patch of Bedouin corn, 
had stopped, rubbed out some of the grain in his 
hands, and lit a small fire to parch it. In an 
instant the corn had caught fire. Directly the 
escort saw what had happened, they pricked the 
baggage animals into a gallop with their spears, and 
away the whole lot had ridden, and they had not 
seen Hassan again. But they had seen Bedouins 
galloping and running from every direction towards 
the fire. The 'Adwan Sheik told nie the penalty 
for setting fire to standing corn, accidentally or 
not, was death, and that if they had seen the 
baggage animals near, and had attributed the fire 
to one of our party, they would certainly have 
attacked them, but there were so many feuds 
between themselves, tliat it they had not caught 
Hassan, they would attribute the fire to some of 
themselves. I wanted to go back to try and get 
Hassan, but both our dragomen and the sheik 


begged me not, saying if he was killed he was 
dead, and it was his own fault, that I could do 
nothing, and should only make it clear he belonged 
to our party, and there would be trouble, and if he 
had escaped he would come in after dark ; anyhow, 
it was most unadvisable to do anything that day, 
as it was late. The Circassian Bey came and 
called on us in the evening, and told off guards to 
the tents as usual, and walked with us in the cool of 
the evening through the ruins. His son, a very in- 
telligent lad of about eighteen, came with us, and 
when I asked about inscriptions, he said he knew 
of several, one on a stone that had been just got 
up out of the way in a patch of ground that they 
had been ploughing. Leading us up out of the 
upper gate, he took us to a monument quite 
recently unearthed. The red soil was sticking all 
over it, and after cleaning it we found that it was 
a monument erected to a Procurator of the 
Province of Arabia, and Sabina his wife. Below, 
in the town, we found some Greek verses, which I 
copied, though much defaced. Sir Edward 
Maunde Thompson, on my return, told me that 
they record the conversion into a Christian church 
of an old temple, which had fallen into neglect, 
and had become polluted by animals. This was 
done by a priest named Aeneas. We then 
descended to camp, and talked to a fine old 


Circassian, who spoke bitterly of their expatriation 
from the Caucasus, which he evidently considered 
an earthly paradise. Our 'Adwan escort now 
came to wish us good-bye, as they had arrived at 
the frontier of their country. I took the sheik 
aside, and he promised me, if he had the oppor- 
tunity, to help Hassan, about whom I was very 
anxious. We had many parting compliments from 
our escort, and were quite sorry to wish them good- 
bye. From here on to Mezarib we shall take an 
escort of Circassians. One of the Bedouins on 
going, presented my son with his spear, and I gave 
him a return present. But the trying thing was 
when our sheik led his beautiful chestnut mare up, 
and putting the halter into my hand, made me a 
present of her, saddle and bridle, and all. Of 
course it was not meant, so with many thanks I 
returned her. How I should like to have kept her. 
She was so sure-footed and gentle, with speed and 
courage, and the sense of a dog ; she sorely tried 
my innate covetousness. Still no Hassan. Early 
in the morning, as he was still absent, I sent for 
my dragoman, and told him that we must now take 
steps to search for him. He begged me to order 
the camp to be struck, that we might travel on at 
once, or trouble would be sure to ensue. Hassan 
was dead, and we should embroil ourselves with 
the Bedouins. I have no doubt he was quite right, 


but it goes against one to leave one of the servants 
behind, even though it was the idiot's own fault, so 
I declined to move, and asked the Circassian Bey 
to give me a man to guide and escort one of my 
men to find a man who had been left behind. I 
obtained the Circassian guard, who carried a 
perfect arsenal of arms, and the head muleteer 
started. In an hour and half they came back, 
Hassan on the muleteer's horse, which the lattter 
was leading There was great joy in the camp, 
where Hassan seems to be a general favourite. 
However, such dangerous stupidness could not be 
easily passed over, so sending for the dragoman I 
summoned Hassan before me, and questioned him 
as to the cause of his absence, which had detained 
me. He said at first that he had had a violent 
attack of colic and cramp, but on my telling him 
not to lie, as it was useless, and I knew all about 
it, he confessed that he had lit the fire to parch 
some corn, that a puff of wind had made the corn 
catch, that he had tried with all his might to beat 
the fire out, but that it had spread too quickly for 
him. Hearing the shouts of the Bedouin he ran 
down the steep hill for the Jabbok, closely followed 
by two Bedouins. Whilst running for his life down 
the steep descent he had fallen over some rocks, 
but had jumped up and got into the thick jungle 
of oleander bushes before his would-be captors. 


Dodging at once to one side, he had L'un down mo- 
tionless amongst their thick tangled branches, while 
the Bedouins hunted for him, calling more men 
down to help them. He could hear them looking for 
him, and vowing they would kill him if they caught 
him. Finally they gave up the hunt, but he was too 
frightened to move, and so lay till night came on, 
and then he was afraid of missing our trail, but 
before daylight he had started off, and my men 
met him, and he was lame, and very tired. I told 
him his carelessness had risked the whole party, 
and then inflicted a smart punishment on him, and 
let him go. That evening, on my return to camp, 
Hassan came and knelt before me, and, attempting 
to kiss my riding boots, presented me with a large 
bouquet of oleander blossoms, and declared that I 
was his father and protector. We spent all day 
again amongst the ruins, visiting first the theatre 
near the baths, that probably was used for wild 
beasts and gladiatorial combats. This theatre is 
very fairly preserved ; there are passages and 
rooms under the seats. Columns standing in front 
appear to have been part of the proscenium ; their 
capitals are Corinthian. From here we ascended to 
the Great Temple. This is a most imposing building, 
and has been enclosed by huge columns, with exqui- 
sitely carved capitals, the acanthus leaves feathering 
out beautifully lightly. These capitals as we saw 



from the fallen ones were fair carving, not 
jointed on with metal plugs, as is the case with 
many Corinthian capitals at Rome, especially at 
the baths of Caracalla. At the Western side, the 
building faces East, is a passage with a small room 
on either side. It was probably dedicated to the 
Sun, and is certainly the most beautiful building in 
Jerash. From here, passing out through the 
Northern gate, we emerged on the hill above the 
city, and at a distance of a quarter of a mile from 
the gate w^e came to what has evidently been the 
cemetery of the town. Here, on the top of the 
ground, are numbers of sarcophagi. We counted 
fifty where we stood. They are all oblong stone 
coffins, with lids, and are decorated much in the 
same way. A riband ring, the ends floating down, 
and tied in a reef knot ; a crescent-shaped 
ornament with a three-pointed device in the centre, 
in some instances inside the riband ring, variations 
of Solomon's seal. These ornaments were on the 
sides of the sarcophagi — the ends were usually 
decorated by variations of Solomon's seal. All 
these had been dug up and ransacked by 
the Circassians in the hope of finding treasure. 
I bought from them some perfect glass Khol 
jars that they had taken from here, one with the 
bronze spatula in it for applying the khol to the 
eyes. Thence we descended into the town to the 


large theatre at the Southern side. Its back is 
against the town wall. The seats are well preserved; 
a gallery divides the upper and lower tiers of seats. 
In this gallery are small chambers ; this gallery 
communicates with a passage running under the 
upper seats. The proscenium is entirely ruined, 
but fallen columns shew it had been much 
ornamented. Then to another temple near the 
ruined South gate by which we entered. The roof 
has entirely fallen in, but the thick stone walls yet 
outlive the destruction. They have windows and 
niches for statues, with semi-circular tops. The 
bases of the columns that formed the portico stand 
in their places, but the columns with their 
Cormthian capitals lie in confusion below. The 
square pillars that decorated the beautifully made 
wall have also Corinthian capitals. From here we 
descended to the forum, and riding up the street of 
columns to the tetrapylon where the cross street 
cuts it, turned down the hill to the right till we 
came to the ancient bridge that here spans the 
stream. It has five arches, one large central one 
over the river, and two smaller ones on either side 
to bring the roadway up to the level of the street. 
The bold arch of this bridge with the oleanders 
and the rapidly running water below is very 
picturesque. It is very necessary to be careful in 
scrambling about these ruins, as snakes are not 
uncommon. One large one glided away from 
under a sarcophagus I was engaged in examining. 


A quiet Sunday — Mizpeh in Gilead^The land of Tob — 
Jephthah — Remtheh — Remtheh Mizpeh — Ramoth 
Gilead — Beni Sahr camels — Whirlwinds — Syrian 
Goats — A disturbed Night — The Haj Road — Ancient 
Aqueduct — Harvest Scene — Edrei — El Mezarib — 
Strolling Players — Damascus — Meiselun — Lebanon— 

The Circassian Bey came again to our tents 
this evening, and had coffee. He has arranged 
to send his son, and the son of one of the 
principal men here, on with us when we leave, as 
guides and guards ; they are both intelligent 
lads of about nineteen. The heat has become so 
great that we arranged to go straight to Mezarib 
via Remtheh. Water, we hear, is very scarce 
and bad. Next day being Sunday we, as usual, 
rested, and had chairs and a table taken to the 
Baths. We were deliciously cool, the thick vaulted 
roof giving us " the shadow of a great rock." I 
had, as I often do when I can get it, ordered a 
sheep from the Circassians, and given it to my 


men for their Sunday dinner. We were much 
amused when the head muleteer came up with 
salaams to know if Hassan was to have any. I 
said "yes, of course." He had done very wrong 
and risked the lives of the whole party, but I had 
punished him for it, and the matter was finished. 
Reading service and writing occupied us till the 
evening, when we rode round the walls on the 
Eastern side of the town. They enclose a space 
nearly as large as on the Western side, and are 
much more perfect ; but the town on this side — 
being a convenient quarry for the Circassian 
settlement that lies by the river — is a shapeless 
mass of ruins. There is a gate on the East side, 
from which a street led straight down to the 
remains of the upper bridge, and on straight 
towards the Temple of the Sun. The view from 
here, when the city was at its zenith, must have 
been magnificent. Taking the precaution to take 
as much water as possible with us from the cool 
and copious springs, we started with our two 
young guards, who were loaded with weapons : 
swords, pistols, and guns, and dressed in black 
Astrakan lamb's skin caps and black long skirted 
coats, with rows of silver cartridge cases on 
their breasts. Keeping on the right of the 
stream for about a mile from the town, we 
then turned to our right and ascended the hills 
till we could see away to Suf, which Conder 


considers is Mizpeh in Gilead, where Jephthah 
had his house (Heth and Moab, p. 176) ; and the 
land of Tob, the same high authority says, 
"survives in the modern name, Taiyibeh, which 
applies to a village in this direction, and which is 
radically the same with the Hebrew, signifying 
'goodly' or 'fruitful.'" There then probably 
took place that terribly dramatic incident of 
Jepthah's life, told in the end of the xi. Chapter 
of Judges. Jephthah, the son of the Aramean 
"strange woman" of Tob. having fled to his 
mother's people from his brothers, his father's 
sons, was brought back again by the elders of 
Gilead, on the condition that " if the Lord 
delivered the Ammonites into his hand he should 
be their head." He then makes the fatal vow to 
God, that " If Thou shalt without fail deliver the 
children of Ammon into mine hands, then it shall 
be that whatsoever (or " whosoever," see Note in 
Speaker's Commentary on Judges xi. verse 31). 
Cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet 
me, when I return in peace from the children of 
Ammon shall surely be the Lord's, and I will 
offer it up for a burnt offering." 

He smites Ammon from Aroer to Minnith 
(Minnith is identified by Eusebius with Maanith, 
four miles from Rabbath) even twenty cities, and 


into Abel-Ceramim (identified with an Abel that 
was situated amongst vineyards seven miles from 
Rabbath) (see Note, Speaker's Commentary on 
verse 33 of same chapter). Triumphant and 
happy he returns to his home, the acknowledged 
head of Gilead above his brothers, who had 
taunted him with his origin, and forced him from 
his father's house, and meets his daughter, his 
only child, coming to welcome her father with 
timbrels and dances. And after her touching 
submission : " My father, if thou hast opened thy 
mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that 
which hath proceeded out of thy mouth," which 
must have added to his torture ; he, after the 
two month's respite granted, as the sacred 
historian (abstaining from dwelling on the 
terrible deed) writes: "Did with her according 
to his vow which he had vowed." That is, he 
offered her up for a burnt offering. 

We now descended into a large plain, with 
some patches of corn, and followed the remains 
of a Roman road. Then we rode through a 
narrow gorge, ascending into the Jebel Kafkafa, 
from the top of which there is an extensive view 
over the desert Descending on the other side, 
we followed the old road down the dry course of 
the Wady Warran till we emerged on the Mauran 


plain, at first uncultivated, but on getting near 
Remtheh, covered with standing corn that had 
been ravaged by locusts, in which countless herds 
of camels belonging to the Beni Sahr were quietly 
feeding, then Remtheh itself: an extensive mound, 
on the top of which are the low, fiat-roofed 
houses of the present occupants Remtheh has 
been identified as possibly Ramath Mizpeh of 
Joshua xiii., 26 (Heth and Moab, p. 175) As to 
the question whether it is the site of Ramoth 
Gilead, we feel that it is strongly probable. 
Jerash could without doubt have been reached 
from the Jordan valley by chariots following the 
course of the Jabbok, as Conder very truly writes ; 
and that a chariot could have been easily driven 
from Jerash to Remtheh we had the best 
possible proof, from the distinct tracks of a 
Circassian cart that had preceded us along this 
very road : a wheeled track being so remarkable 
a thing in this country that we all noticed it. 
Conder also writes " that the later Jews connect 
Ramoth Gilead with Jerash," and there is un- 
doubtedly a Roman road between Remtheh and 
Jerash, which most likely followed the line of a 
more ancient one. The battle field before 
Ramoth Gilead, according to the account in 
I. Kings, xxii. chapter, demands a site where 
chariots shall take the leading part of the action : 


" The King of Syria commanded his thirty and 
two captains that had rule over his chariots 
saying : Fight neither with small nor great, save 
only with the King of Israel." Ahab, King of 
Israel, is wounded and dies in his chariot, and 
the chariot with the King's corpse is driven back 
to Samaria. It is also probable that Ramoth in 
Gilead was an important frontier town that was 
taken by Benhadad's father from Omri, the father 
of Ahab. By the terms of Ahab's covenant with 
Benhadad, Ramoth in Gilead should have been 
restored long ere this to Israel. For Benhadad 
said : " The cities which my father took from thy 
father I will restore" (I. Kings xx., 34). Hence the 
strength of the claim expressed in Ahab's words: 
" Know ye not that Ramoth in Gilead is ours? " 
that is of right, though the Syrians still hold 
possession of it. (Speaker's Commentary, Note 
on verse 3 of I. Kings, xxiii. chapter.) Ramoth 
Gilead was also the seat of government of Gilead 
and Bashan. For when Solomon divided his 
kingdom into twelve provinces, each under its 
own officer, we read that he appointed " Ben- 
Geber, in Ramoth Gilead ; to him pertained the 
towns of Jair, the son of Manasseh, which are in 
Gilead ; to him also pertained the region of 
Argob, which is in Bashan, three-score great 
cities with walls and brasen bars."* 

* I. Kings, Chap, iv., v. 13. 


It appears to us that Remtheh fulfils all these 
conditions. It undoubtedly was a frontier town of 
Gilead, and the vast plains round it offer a perfect 
field for a chariot battle. As to the route taken 
by Ahab's chariots in coming- to the assault from 
Samaria, that is a more difficult question to 
answer definitely, though there are several roads 
that he may have taken. It is also a most 
convenient site to govern Gilead and Bashan 
from. I think with all deference to other opinions, 
that Remtheh is the probable site of Ramoth 
Gilead. The extent of the mound at Remtheh 
denotes the large size of the ancient town, and 
the great number of wells and ancient reservoirs 
round indicate the importance of the site. Most 
of these wells still hold water, but at the time of 
our visit there was a great scarcity, and we had 
much bargaining before we could obtain it for 
our animals. Pitching our light tent that we took 
with us for luncheon on the side of the tell in this 
absolutely shadeless place, we lay panting under 
its semi-shelter. Countless herds of camels with 
their Beni Sahr owners kept filing by in detach- 
ments, to water at the continuation of the Wady 
Warran, West of us, where there was, we were 
told, a pool or water-hole still holding water. 
Great giants, in the shape of columns of lurid red 
dust, stalked across the plains from West to East. 


One sweeping round the Hill of Remtheh seized 
our tent, and tore it from our heads, smothering 
us with dust and dirt. My wife's gauntlet gloves 
that she had taken off were blown into space, and 
never recovered. Finally our baggage arrived, 
and to our great relief the tents begun to be 
pitched, when upon us came another circular dust 
storm, and all was laid flat and in confusion again. 
Finally the camp was set up, and all was secured, 
and sitting under the shadow of the door of our 
tents we watched the herdsmen bringing in their 
flocks of black goats with pendulous ears, and 
sheep to water. Some of these black goats are 
excessively handsome animals The colour is by 
no means a dead black, but a colour largely 
combined with red, so that the stomach is quite 
a russet colour. They have straight backs, good 
shoulders, and are what you would call in a 
foxhound "good to follow." There is favouritism 
in all flocks. We noticed that some of the 
handsomer old nannies pushed their way in and 
had their first drink, and that they then waited 
close to the shepherd, who, when the flock was 
watered, turned to these good-looking ladies, and 
talking to them, drew them an extra bucketful. 
Even amongst a flock of Syrian goats, good looks 
are useful. The scarcity of water seemed much 
felt here, for we saw some poor women come out 


to beg for water ; one being refused, and having 
a copious flow of invective, delivered it in a shrill 
scream at the top of her voice. I thought it must 
end in blows, but no, irritated I suppose beyond 
bearing, the man pushed her away. She there- 
upon threw away her goat-skin water bag, and sat 
down and screamed. No one paid her the slightest 
attention, and discovering this she picked up her 
property again and walked off to another well, 
with what results we could not see. Now came 
round the pariah dogs to lick the puddles in the 
ancient stone troughs left by the goats and sheep. 
Poor beasts ! they must know what thirst is. And 
then came the wished-for sunset, but with no 
apparent alteration of temperature. The sole 
change was that the mosquitoes began. Finally 
dozing off to sleep we were awoke by the bang of 
a gun close to our tents. One of our guards had 
seen a wolf, or so he said, and had shot at it Just 
as likely his gun had gone off accidentally. After 
arranging this matter with the guard satisfactorily, 
and confident that it would not happen again that 
that night, I lay down, and after an interval got 
to sleep, when I was woke by my wife calling out 
the tent was on fire. There was a big blaze as I 
sprang to my feet, but it was only the large paper 
lantern that hung on a pole outside the door of 
our tent had caught fire, and made a brilliant flare 


up. It was a nig-ht of heat, mosquitoeSj and — as 
Shakespeare has it — " alarms and excursions." 
However, we tried to sleep again. I failed at 
first, but taking refuge in my pipe, dozed off, and 
was brought to consciousness by the dragoman — 
" Four o'clock, gentlemen, coffee ready ; Hamed 
ready with water outside." So stepping outside 
our tents, my son and I had two large jars of cold 
water poured over each of us, and then dressed 
and had coffee. After we had breakfasted, we 
mounted, and riding round the West side of 
Remtheh found the whole population sleeping out 
on the ground and on the threshing floors outside 
the town It was just before dawn, and they were 
beginning to stir ; I never saw such a sight. We 
were thankful we were in the saddle, which is 
beyond the height of the most active hopper of 
the myriads which must obviously have abounded. 
In all kinds of clothes, in all kinds of colours, in 
their day drf ss (the cJiemise de nuii is unknown to 
the Eastern), they lay all over the ground on 
their quilts or mattresses, surrounded by pariahs, 
fowls, camels, horses, and mules ; and so passing 
on we struck the great Haj Road, marked here 
and there by a pile of stones indicating the last 
resting place of a pilgrim who had succumbed 
on the very eve of his return, in sight of the 
last camp of the Haj, El Mezarib. The road 


itself is a series of ruts like the buffalo trails of 
North America, worn by the countless feet of 
pilgrims for centuries. For the black stone at 
Mecca, with the red one which was removed by 
Mohammed were important centres of worship in 
the " times of ignorance," that is before the 
*' coming of the sword of Islam." We crossed the 
Kanatir Fironi, the old Roman aqueduct leading 
from the lake El Khab to Gadara, thence passing 
the Tell with the mud huts of Turraon its summit, 
from which men, women, and children had just 
poured down to harvest the gold-coloured wheat 
crops below. The men with their loins girt, 
cutting the straws with sharp quick strokes of the 
sickle, sometimes breaking into a monotonous 
song, the women binding the corn into sheaves, 
again others with children following gleaning, and 
lastly the herds of goats feeding on what remained 
on the cleared plain, and kept in their places by 
deftly thrown stones from the herdsmen, over all the 
ownersittingon his mareencouragingand directing 
the operations, and the jars with drink to refresh 
the labourers standing under the shade of any 
bush they could find. It was a pretty cheerful 
sight, and we agreed must be a very accurate 
representation of the harvest in the old Bible days. 
It brought the story of Ruth vividly before one. 
Surely that kind looking sheik might well be 


Boaz. One could imagine him so easily saying 
to one of the gleaning girls, " Hearest thou not 
my daughter ? Go not to glean in another field, 
neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my 
maidens. Let thine eyes be on the field that they 
do reap, and go thou after them. Have I not 
charged the young men that they shall not touch 
thee ? and when thou art athirst, go unto the 
vessels, and drink of that whicli the young men 
have drawn." Then Boaz sleeping at the 
threshing floor, as we saw apparently all Remtheh 
doing this morning. We now passed Ed Deraah 
at some distance East of us, probably the Edrei 
of the Bible, where Og made his stand against 
Israel and was defeated. On along the Haj road 
with its long furrows, where camel after camel and 
pilgrim after pilgrim have followed each other on 
their homeward bound route often ill, cholera 
haunted, fever sticken, death after death deci- 
mating the Haj, each dyini:;- devotee entirely borne 
up by the full faith that Paradise was won, and 
that death on this awful, shadeless, treeless road, 
was only the portal to never ending bliss in the 
gardens of the Houris. The fort at El Mezarib 
now came in view, and turning over a bridge of 
that order that makes one consider whether it is 
better to chance the bridge and avoid th(^ mud, 
or to chance the mud and avoid the bridge ; 


another turn, and we see a brick and tiled 
building with square headed glass windows, 
the railway station of El Mezarib, the terminus of 
the steam train -line that was to run from Damascus 
to Piaifa through the Hauran. Entering, we found 
the station master, a Syrian, with his wife and two 
children, a clerk, and a Zaptieh, who lived here 
under continual terror of the Bedouins. All, 
except the Zaptieh, spoke French. They gave 
us chairs to sit in the shade inside the station 
looking out on the lake and the island with flat- 
roofed, low houses that stand on it. The island 
is connected to the main land by an artificial 
causeway. iMadame, the station master's wife, 
was full of complaints as to the horrors of 
El Mezarib, which she said should properly be 
called El Miserable. Fever was constant, the 
heat was terrible ; the water in the lake, she 
averred, even rotted clothes if she washed with it. 
Then she was in terror of the Bedouins, and her 
children, she said, were always ailing. Drinking 
water and all necessaries of life were brought 
them by the one daily train from and back 
to Damascus. Some itinerant players of no 
nationality, and dressed in gay-coloured rags, 
here came up and asked to be allowed to perform 
before us. The instruments were curious, and of 
odd tones ; the tunes still stranger. Finally, an 


old hag commenced dancing before us with the 
usual odd swayings and shakings, this I had to 
stop, and, giving them some small coins, they 
departed. We lazily watched the Chef de Gare 
and his clerk most leisurely moving one or two 
cases of luggage, till the clerk got his finger 
pinched, this stopped all further pretence of work 
until the interest displayed in my bandaging up 
the injured finger had subsided. Madame's 
children, little girls of about five and six with 
great black eyes like sloes, had been playing 
round us, and talking to us all this time merrily 
enough ; but then the youngest child went and 
lay down on a box and got very dull, and in an 
hour a pink flush came all over the child's cheeks : 
it was an attack of fever. Madame took the child 
off, and laid it on its bed ; it was too hot, poor 
little thing, to put it in it I offered castor oil 
and quinine, but the poor woman thanked me and 
said they always had them —they could not exist 
at Mezarib without them Finally in came the 
train, carrying, as far as we could see, little else 
but a cask of water and a few necessaries from 
Damascus for the station. The guard was so 
kind to poor madame and so sympathetic about 
" la petite," and then in about half an hour we 
rolled off from El Miserable, leaving poor madame 
with tears in her eyes, and Monsieur, and the 


clerk, and the Zaptieh all waving their hands to 
us. One's heart quite went out to the poor 
station master and his wife and their little 
children left at this most odious of feverish holes. 
So from the midst of Bedouins and Circassians, 
from Ramoth Gilead and Roman remains, and 
ancient sites, we are rolling away in a clean, but 
awfully hot, first-class carriage to Damascus, with 
our two dragomen and cook safely stowed in a 
second-class compartment behind us. Our heavy 
luggage was sent on with the mules, and arrived 
two days and a half after us. These plains 
were certainly getting too hot to be pleasant. 
Slowly — but certainly not steadily — we steamed 
along with many jolts and jars past old-world, 
ruined, walled towns on the plain to the watered, 
willow - waving Kl Kisweh, and thence at an 
increased pace down to Damascus through the 
thick foliage of gardens, till we arrived at the 
station, where odd carriages with much odder 
pairs (if the word is not mis-applied) of horses 
took us to the shelter of Besraoui's Hotel, all, 
especially my son, well tired out. Next day we 
called on Mr. Eyres at the Consulate, and were 
very sorry to find him laid up, and Mrs. Eyres 
away in England. In the evening, walked 
through the cool bazaars. On the day following 
my son had a slight attack of fever, but Dr. 


Smith soon put him fairly right. There has been 
and is, for some unknown reason, considerable 
ferment amongst the Mussulman population here 
against the Christians : they had gone to the 
lengths of calling a meeting to know whether 
they should not assist the Government by rising 
and killing the Christians. Some of the older 
heads recommended the meeting to remember what 
was the result of the massacre of the Christians 
in i860, and wiser counsels prevailed. But it is 
obvious, and even marked in the streets, that 
fanaticism, whatever may be the cause, has gained 
ground since we were here last year. We sent 
our train with tents and baggage on to Meiselun, 
and drove after it in the evening in a good 
carriage hired at Damascus. The cutting for the 
new railway is finished in the gorge, and has 
much spoilt the beauty of that lovely place. 
Crossing the little Zahr (or Sahara) above, we 
saw an antelope about 500 yards off, and 
stopping the carriage, my son and I tried a 
simultaneous long shot with no result beyond 
sending a skip of sand up on each side of him, 
and making him go off at a gallop. Next day 
being Sunday we rested; — a real rest in the 
delicious cool mountain air, and the day following 
rode during the cool, and then drove when the 
sun got hot to Shtaura where we camped, and 


then rode up to the top of Lebanon, and had the 
glorious view over the Western sea. Then 
entering our carriage we drove into Beyrout, 
where we found the English fleet, seventeen sail, 
anchored in the roads ; and I was delighted to 
meet my old shipmate, Admiral Domville, who is 
second in command. We put up as usual at 
the Hotel Oriental. After packing and giving 
presents to our servants, who on these occasions 
having divested themselves of their travelling kit, 
in which they look like a veritable set of brigands, 
and arrayed themselves in silken robes, so that 
(with clean hands and faces, and newly-shaved 
cheeks and heads — to say nothing of the princely 
garments), one hardly knows them, we in the 
evening embarked on board the Austrian Lloyd 
steamer "Aurora," bound to Jaffa and Port 
Said, thankful that we have again been allowed to 
achieve our journey in health, and with safety. 

Bennio.n, Hornk, Smallman, & Co., Limitkp, 
Market Drayton, Newport, Shifnal, and Stone. 




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