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by the Arabs; Capt. Holford, therefore, by the help of a map, which our Author had drawn up when he navigated the Arabian gulph, was the first who arrived at Suez, without touching at any Arabian port.
The account of the Hindous and their religion is of some consequence; but the description of the ruins of the Pagoda, on the inand Elephanta, is very long and dry. Except their antiquity, and the Indian architecture, there is nothing remarkable in these remains. We wondered at the patience of Mr. Niebuhr in copying so many infignificant and monstrous figures, but we see in them nothing pleasing nor instructive. We are of opinion that by far the greater part of them are rather offsprings of the irregular fancy of a sculptor, than religious representations. It is, therefore, a question with us, whether these figures were altogether understood, or could be explained, even at that diftant time when this Pagoda was built.
What is said about the Parsi will be read with pleasure by those who have no opportunity of consulting larger works on this subject. In reading one passage, we could not help reflecting on the whims which different people adopt about death, and the fate of the body, after the flame of life is extinguished. Most European nations with for a decent burial, but the Parfi have different notions. They have, says Mr. Niebuhr, in Bombay, a kind of round tower, on a hill, at some distance from the town, which is floored on the top with boards. expose their dead, and after the birds of prey have picked the flesh from the bones, they gather them to be deposited within the tower; the bones of men and women in different apartments,
Mr. Niebuhr, through the complaisance of Father Medard, a Capuchin, who was intimately acquainted with the chief of the priests among the Parsi at Bombay, got a copy of their alphabets, which are given here on a copper-plate. One is the alphabet Pelwi, in which their holy books are wristen ; the other is the alphabet Dsjan-chân, or that which they use in common. 'We have compared them with the alphabets of the Shanscrit and Bengal language, published lately in the code of Gentoolaws, but we cannot discover any similarity. The names of fome letters in the common alphabet of the Parfi are, as it ap.pears to us, much like some in the Hebrew.
At Bombay Mr. Cramer, the physician, who was one of this travelling society, died. Mr. Niebuhr was now the only person left. He went, in an English fhip, to Surat, where, acfording to his account, our East-India Company enjoy, at present, the preference before all European nations, being even in poffeffion of the castle, which the Company hold under the 3
authority of the Great Mogul. The Mohammedans at Surat are not, by far, so strict as they are in Arabia, or in other Turkish countries; nor are the distinctions of the tribes among the Indians who reside here, strictly observed. These Indians are a set of very industrious, sober people, and of a most surprising honesty. Mr. Niebuhr is, accordingly, lavish in their praises. He tells us, further, that the Indian women at Surat affift their husbands in earning their bread, and keep themselves so clean, that the European women, who come to India, are obliged to follow their example, or run the risk of losing their husband's affections. As to the religious ceremonies of these Indians, we thall translate the following passage : “ When a child is-born, a Bramin is to declare, by astrological rules, whether the child is come into the world in a lucky hour or not. This done, he hangs a thin string over the shoulder of a boy, who wears this distinctive mark of his nation all his life-time. If a Banian, or common Indian, intends to give his child in mare, riage, which is done when the child is about fix or eight years old, a Bramin is likewise to fix the times when the father is to ask for the bride, and when the wedding is to be celebrated. In the mean while the children remain in the houses of their parents till they arrive at the age of maturity. The Bramins order and announce also the holy-days. Every Banian is obliged, every morning, after washing and bathing himself, to have a kind of feal imprefled on his forehead, by a Bramin; though this is the office of inferior Bramins only. I saw one morning a great number of them fit on the river fide, under the castle, where a number of girls and women resorted to bathe, and to say their morning prayers. Every one of them gave the clean cloaths, which they intended to wear for that day, to one of these priests, and then went into the river. They afterwards exchanged their wet cloaths for the dry ones, publicly on shore, but with such a dexterity, that the most curious observer could see nothing inconsistent with decency. The Bramin, afterwards, dipped his thumb into some red colour, and impressed it on the forehead of the women, who reciprocally marked the priest again, though fightly, left the face of the priest should be daubed all over, by the great number of markers. Lastly, the person that is signed, and in this manner confecrated for the day, keeps the colour-box in one hand, says a short prayer, gives the Bramin one or two handfuls of rice, and then, with her wet cloaths in the other hand, returns home.”
From Surat our Author went, in another English ship, to Maskât, an Arabian town, in the province of Omân, at the entrance of the Persian gulph. The inhabitants of this province are Mohammedans, but of a sect not sufficiently known. They
are a good sort of people ; we should call them Mohammedan' Quakers. These Mohammedans, says Mr. Niebuhr, acknowledge the Koran to be their principal code of laws; but they are of a le&t called Abádi or Bejasi, which is well known among Arabian writers; but, as far as I know, not noticed by European travellers. The Sonnites, as well as Shiites, call them Chawaredsji. But this is a nickname, which is as odious in Omân, as the name of Rafedi in Persia, or the word heretic among the Chriftians. Abulfaragius * mentions these Chawaredsji, and I do not doubt that they are the fame who are called by Sale t, and other writers, Kharejites. Their tenets are much the fame with those which are attributed to the Kharijites: the principal of them is, that the posterity of Mohammed or Ali have no prerogatives above other ancient Arabian families. I do not know any Mohammedans, who live with to little fplendor and with so much fobriety as these Bejafi. They do not smoak tobacco, they even do not drink coffee, much less strong liquors. The man of fortune has no distinction of dress, except that, perhaps, his turban, his sabre, or bis knife, is fomething finer. They are very feldom overcome by pason ; they are civil to strangers, and permit them to live at Maskât undifturbed, according to their own laws. In Yemen the Banians are forced to bury their dead, but here they are at liberty to burn them, according to their own custom. The Jews in other Mohammedan countries are obliged to diftinguish themselves in their dress from other nations, but here they may dress like Arabs. If in those countries, where the Sonnites prevail, a Banian, a Jew, or a Christian, is discovered in an intrigue with a Mohammedan woman, he is obliged either to turn Mohammedan, or to pay a large fine. The Bejalites and their government at Mafkåt do not trouble themselves about such matters, if strangers make their addresses to women that are known to prostitute themselves for money to Mohammedans. The police of this town is in general so excellent that no theft is heard of, notwithstanding the goods of merchants lie oftentimes, for weeks together, before the houses. Nobody is to walk in the street at night without a lanthorn ; and, left the government should be defrauded of the duty, no boat is permitted, after fun-fet, to come afnore, or even to go from one fhip to another."
From Maikat Mr. Niebuhr went to Shiras in Perfia, to see the ruins of Persepolis, and other remains of antiquity in this part of the world. During this voyage he made several inte
• S. Pocockii Specimen Hiftor. Arabum, p. 26. 269.
+ Sale's Preliminary Difcourse, p. 173. Ricaur's Kftory of the Ottoman Empire, p. 227.
íresting observations relating to the Kurds and Turkomans, which are nations that have no fixed fettlements, but go from one place to another where they can best subsist with their cattle. He met a Persian army which desolated the country; and the account he gives of the war in Persia, which is carried on ben tween the different pretenders to the crown, is melancholy enough. The description of Shiras, and particularly of the ruins of Persepolis, take up a great part of the book. We cannot see any thing very interesting in the long detail given here of these remains of antiquity. The plates annexed to this defcription are by far too numerous, and must of course enhance the price of the book, without much neceffity. The meaning of those figures which are copied from the walls, and fill many of the plates, will, perhaps, never be explained ; and if it nould happen that something could be made out, we think the pains taken about it would never be sufficiently rewarded. We have, however, discovered from these, as it seems, hieroglyphical figures, that wigs are a very ancient part of dress ; for those ans cient Persians who are here represented, appear to have worn a kind of bobwigs, resembling those which were in fashion among us, about twenty years ago, and are ftill very common among seafaring people. We must leave it to the gentlemen of the Antiquarian Society to decide upon that important question, whether these wigs were constructed upon the plan of our modern wigs, or whether they are only a kind of cap, made of lambskin, with the wool on the outside ?
The representations and figures on the fepulchral monuments of Nakshi Radsjab and Nakshi Rustam, are, perhaps, the only ones that might be explained, if the lamp of Eastern hifa tory should dart some rays of light upon these obscure walls; but we think it impoffible, from the fameness of the letters (if they are intended for such) for a decypherer to make any thing of that inscription which we find upon the 31st plate.
In the neighbourhood of Shiras Mr. Niebuhr found several monuments, worthy the inspection of a curious traveller. Among others he saw the monument of Shech Sade (a famous man of learning among the Persians) in a molk, which is in a ruinous condition. The inscriptions here were in the modern way of the Persians, viz. of letters, made of potter's earth, burnt like bricks, and glazed over with various colours. These are pue together in mortar, on a wall, so as to form an inscription. They look better than those that are cut out in marble at Perse· polis ; but, the mortar being very liable to drop off, these inscriptions are not very durable.
After a stay of about four months in Persia, Mr. Niebuhr went to the island of Charedsh in the Persian gulph, which was at that time in the possession of the Dutch. The account given
of this island may serve as a supplement to what we have read in Mr. Ives's voyage to India.
The Author is exceedingly prolix in his account of a little trifling war which was carried on between two Arabian Shechs, in the gulph, whilst he was at Charedfh. One of these Shechs made himself afterwards master of this island, and the Dutch did not think it worth their while to be at the expence of recovering it. Our East India Company, a few years ago, made an attempt to fubdue it, but in vain. , The Arabian Shech, Mir Mahenna, who took it from the Dutch, was an old cruel ty, rant, and was afterwards flain by the Persians, who are at prefent masters of Charedh.
Some travellers have told us that the Beduins, or Indian Heathens, on their travels through the defart, make use of the compass; but Mr. Niebuhr found that this instrument was entirely unknown to them. They are, indeed, so well acquainted with the desarts that they are not in want of this help, and at night they are probably directed by the stars. The Arabs, who. have not been at fea, are, likewise, strangers to the compass, except fome of their learned men, who want it for pointing out the place where the Kebla * in their mosks is to be built. At Cairo Mr. Niebuhr saw a compafs at the house of a learned Mohammedan, who called it El Magnatis, from which he thinks it might be inferred that the compass came from Europe into this part of the globe.
The observations on Bafra, and a}l the country up to Baga dad, on the sides of the Euphrates and Tiger, show at once the wretchedness of the Turkith government, and the happy climate, and the fertility of the soil in these countries. pulousness and flourishing condition of these extensive provinces, in ancient times, though now abounding in desarts, appears from Mr. Niebuhr's account, and from a pallage quoted from Arrian, relating to these countries,
That polygamy is not altogether consistent with human happiness, may be seen from the following conversation which Mr. Niebuhr had with a Molla, or Turkish priest, at Rumahie, 4 town in the road to Bagdad. This Molla had four wives. Every one of them had a house and a garden of her own, though he himself had none, being always, as he said,
with either one or other of them. Mr. Niebubr was sitting, in the evening, before the door of the house, and among other things
* The Kebla is an opening built with great exactness in the wall of a mosk, to which the Mohammedans direct their faces when they pray, that they may look in a straight line towards the Kaba, or tomb of Mohammed, at Mecca. Thus'the Jews turned their faces to the temple of Jerufalem, which was their Kebla, Kings viii. 44• Dan, vi.. ID
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