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belles lettres. After having obtained his idjazet, or diploma, he assumed the title of Shehab ed din, "the abode of faith," which, whilst it attested to his university degree, also upheld his religious faith. Enfranchised by his master and associated by him in his business, which was chiefly devoted to the sale of books, he made several long journeys. He visited the north of Persia, and remained some time at the island of Kish, which was at that epoch one of the most important commercial emporia between India, Egypt, Syria, and Europe. Upon the death of his master, he dwelt successively at Damascus, Aleppo, and Mosul; he traversed the north of Irak Ajemi and of Khorasan, and he remained for three years at Merv, the capital of ancient Margiana, and where his literary tastes and knowledge of books brought him into connexion with several remarkable persons. Merv was at that epoch one of the most flourishing centres of Mussulman civilisation: the vast libraries that it possessed, and of which he has left us a detailed list, the hospitable reception that he met with there, and perhaps certain religious sympathies-for Yakut has been accused of Shiah tendencies-had decided him to spend the remainder of his days there, in study and devotion, when the approach of the formidable hosts of Jenghiz Khan obliged him to precipitately abandon the home of his predilection. Notwithstanding the dangers to which he exposed himself, he took the less direct road back, in order to visit Kharezm and Azarbaijan. On his return to Mosul, he did not find in that city, threatened by the Mongols, the calm essential to his literary pursuits, so he transported himself first to the Sinjar, and finally to Aleppo, where he died in the year 1229.

It was whilst living at Merv, in the year of the Hejra 615 (A.D. 1218), that Yakut conceived the idea of writing his Geographical Dictionary. He was one day in company with several learned men at the house of Fakir ed din, Abd er Rahim, son of the learned jurisconsult Semani, when conversation fell upon the name of a place mentioned in the traditions. A discussion having arisen upon the point, it attained so much warmth that Yakut determined to collect all the testimonies that were to be found in existing treaties of geography in favour of his opinion. With this view he consulted the different libraries in the city, and read all the best works, and in doing so he was first struck with the infinite difficulty presented to such researches by the want of order and method that existed in all. He henceforward determined to save posterity from the same ungrateful task as he had imposed upon himself, by embodying all that he could collect in so vast a field in one great work, and that arranged in alphabetical order. The last ten years of his life were devoted to this labour and to the revision of the documents collected by him during his travels, and he appears, in addition to his great dictionary, to have edited a little work called "Merasid el Ittila; or, Fields of Observation," a treatise on geographical synonyms named "Moshtarek," and several other books that have been lost.

Of all the mighty empires which have flourished in the East, that of Persia is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable and the most celebrated. Enduring through a succession of vicissitudes almost unparalleled for more than two thousand five hundred years-by turns the prey of foreign enemies and the sport of internal revolution, yet ever subjected to despotic rule-alternately elevated to the summit of glory and prosperity and

plunged into misery and degradation,-she has from the earliest period of her existence either been the throne of the lords of Western Asia, or the arena on which monarchs have disputed for the sceptre of the East. Poor and comparatively limited in extent, the more warlike of her sovereigns enriched themselves and enlarged their dominions by the most brilliant conquests; while under timid and pacific princes, not only did her acquisitions crumble away, but her own provinces were frequently subdued by bolder and more rapacious neighbours. Thus her boundaries were continually fluctuating with the character of her monarchs. In the time of the Greeks, the Persian empire embraced Lesser Asia, and its capital was at Babylon, the seat of empire in the East. In the time of the Romans, the capital, Ctesiphon, was on the other side of the Tigris; and when the power of the khalifs arose in what had so long been a Persian province, Persians were expelled beyond the long mountain ranges of Kurdistan, and have with some exceptions (as in Khuzistan, or Susiana, and in Azarbaijan) remained so circumstanced ever since.

Proneness to civilisation, and hereditary capabilities and susceptibilities for education, probably handed down from a remote antiquity, when the Kayanian and Sassanian dynasties were among the most glorious on the face of the earth, still characterise the Persian. He is in this respect a very different being from the more solid and obtuse Turk, who has expelled him from Western Asia; but quick, intelligent, impressionable, and even polished as the Tajik may be, he is far less candid, less enduring, and less courageous than the Turk. Crossing the frontier from Mosul, or ancient Nineveh-the abode of predilection of Yakut-a marked difference. is at once perceived. The traveller, after fighting his way across the giant snow-clad heights of the Gordyæn, or Kurdish Alps, descends upon the open, populous, and cultivated plain of Urimiyah, with city, lake, and islands. There is not much difference perceptible in the outward aspect of things. The Persian loves seclusion, and most of the better class of houses are built in detached garden-plots, hemmed in by dreary mud-walls, but the people themselves are civil and communicative. They will congregate round a traveller resting beneath a tree, and while away his time by conversation and songs. Within, the same differences are at once perceptible. Looking-glasses, paintings, tables, and chairs, a pair of snuffers or of spectacles, at once tell a tale of a people more familiar with comforts and conveniences than the Turk-we mean the Turk near Persia, naturally not at Constantinople or Smyrna.

Yakut says of Lake Urimiyah that it was called Kebukhan, and that there was on it an island, with a rock fortress and four villages, the inhabitants of which lived by piracy on the shores of the lake. This appears to have been a state of things that lasted a long time, for it is alluded to by other and subsequent writers. Masudi, in his "Golden Meadows," calls the lake Kendewan, and Hamd Allah Mustofi calls it Khajent, and says that certain Mongolian kings were buried on the rock fortress which Abulfeda calls Tala. Of the city he says little, save that its original name is Urmui, or Urmedji, and that it is asserted to have been the home of Zaradusht (Zoroaster), and to have been founded by the fire-worshippers. Several learned men are also noticed as natives of this place, one of whom, Yunis, was chief secretary to the Khalif Nasir lid din Allah. Close by is Selmas, a city of Sunnis, with a cool

climate, abundant fruit and water, but perpetually at war with the Kurds, and which, although protected by a wall eight thousand paces round by the Vizir Khadjeh, was even in Yakut's time already half ruined. Also Dih Khirdjan, also called Kharrakhan, an important town which took its name from Khirdjan, the treasurer of Khosroes. A still more interesting region presents itself in the mountain districts on the way from Urimiyah to Irbil, and called by Rawlinson Ushnei, but by Yakut written Ushnuh. Some copies of the "Nuzhet," M. Meynard tells us, have it Ushnuyeh; but Yakut's orthography is countenanced by Ibn Haukal. Its learned men were named after the place, Ushnani, Üshnuhi, and Ushnaii. This district contains some hundred villages of Sunnis, is well watered, productive in corn, grass, vines, and fruits. The pears are celebrated. A colony of Chaldean Christians has been established in this region for several centuries, and on the mountain-pass is a monument of the times of Darius.

To the north is Khoï, or Khuï, the circumference of whose walls is equal to six thousand five hundred paces, on a tributary to the Araxes. The people are so fair, that this district has been termed the Turkistan of Persia. It comprises eighty villages, and is rich in fruit as well as cereals. Stuffs are also manufactured here, known as Khoidji. Two learned Orientals are also quoted by Yakut as natives of this otherwise favoured spot.

To the east is Tabriz, or Tebriz-Abu Sa'ad and Abu Zakaria give the latter orthography-the capital of Azarbaijan-the country of the fireworshippers. Yakut says that this city was only a village when Er Rewad al Azdi established himself there after the conquest of Azarbaijan; but Hamd Allah Mustofi, in his "Nuzhet," attributes its foundation to Zobaidah, the wife of Harun ar Rashid, in 175. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 244, and rebuilt by Motewekkel, but once more tumbled down by similar causes in 434. The Kadi Roku ed din states in his work, "The Record of the Possessors of Provinces," that this disaster was predicted by the astronomer Abu Thaher, of Shiraz. Forty thousand inhabitants are said to have perished under the walls, although many, warned by the prediction, had fled the city. It was, according to Mustofi, at this epoch that the city was rebuilt by Ibn Muhammad Revadi (Rewad of Yakut) al Azdi, whose children, according to Yakut, erected a castle and surrounded it with walls. Tabriz became the capital of all Persia under the Mongols, and its population increased so, that vast suburbs arose round the walls, six thousand paces in circumference, and to which access was given by ten different gateways. Ghazan Khan included a portion of these, with the mounts Velian and Sendjan, within another wall, five thousand paces in circumference, and having six gates. Ghazan also founded a necropolis, with a magnificent mausoleum for himself. The minister Khadjeh Rashid ed din built another suburb on Mount Velian, and the Vizir Tadj ed din erected the grand mosque in the quarter called Naremian, whose court was larger than that of the palace of Khosroes, at Ctesiphon. The city escaped the ire of the Tartars in 608, and, according to Ahmed Razi, that of the Turks under Sulaiman in 939; but the author of "Zinet al Medjalis" deplores the devastation of the city by the Osmanlis.

Tabriz, with its vast suburbs and innumerable public buildings, churches,

and mausoleums, still rivals any other city of Persia. Its inhabitants are fair, chiefly Sunnis or Shafites, and the epigrams of poets declare the men to be frivolous and deceitful, and the women cross-tempered. Fruits abound, and are delicious. Yakut says he never tasted anything like the apricots of Tabriz, and the exquisite silks and satins known as the etabi, siklathun, and khitabi, are manufactured there. The list of learned, pious, and worthy men, natives of the place, or buried there, is, as may be imagined, very considerable. The city is watered by the Mehran Rud, which has its sources in Mount Sahund, and is divided into innumerable branches, in order to irrigate the surrounding country.

Ardebil, situated nearer the Caspian, was the capital of Azarbaijan before Islamism. Yakut says that, according to local tradition, this city was founded by King Firuz, who called it Nadan Firuz, and Abu Sa'ad conjectures that it is indebted for its name to Ardebil ben Irmini ben Lafthi ben Yunan, but the Nuzhet records that it was founded by Kai Khosru (the Chosroes of the Romans). Firdusi also relates in the "Shah Nameh" that when Kai Khosru, and Firiburz, son of Kai Kaus (Cyrus of the Romans), disputed the throne, it was agreed that it should belong to he who could reduce the renowned stronghold of Behmen Diz, on the neighbouring mountains of Silan, and that Kai Khosru succeeded. Ardebil suffered much from the Tartars, as did also Seraw, between it and Tabriz, whose inhabitants were all massacred by the Mongols in 617. "May God curse them!" adds Yakut.

Another capital of Azarbaijan was Meraghah, on the Safi Rud, a tributary to Lake Urimiyah. Yakut calls it the greatest and most celebrated city of Azarbaijan, but it was most celebrated for its observatory, erected by Khadjeh Nasir ed din Thusi, by order of Hulagu Khan. The Ilkhanian tables of Mongolian origin are known to astronomers. Yakut says its olden name was Emdadha Rud; others relate that Sehr ben Kethir encamping in the neighbourhood in the time of the conquests of Mirwan, the chief said to his troops, "Here is a neighbourhood rich in pasturage;" whence the expression "al Meraghah" remained to it -a tradition which is confirmed by Makrizi.

Myaneh, or Miana, celebrated for its deadly bugs, lies half way between Meraghah and Tabriz, whence its name, which signifies in Persian "the middle." Yakut says its original name was Myandji, and Mustofi writes Myanedj; and curious enough, he adds that the air is unwholesome, and that mosquitoes and other insects abound. It is easy to understand how the bites of insects, acting upon a person afflicted at the same time by malaria, may have given origin to the modern reports of the deadly nature of the bug-bites of Myaneh.

South of Myaneh, and in the hilly district (for Myaneh is in the valley of the Safi Rud, the great tributary to the Caspian from Azarbaijan), is the once great town of Zendjan, or Zenjan of the Persians, whose inhabitants, like those of Meraghah, speak a dialect of the Pehlvic. Abu'l Kazim Sa'ad ez Zendjani, a sheikh so celebrated that the imams of the Holy Kabah used to consider a day lost when he was not visited, used to say, "Avaricious as an Ahwazian, stupid as a Schirazian, and talkative as an inhabitant of Ray." We shall hope to arrive at Ahwaz in the course of our peregrinations, but, in the mean time, Ray, a once renowned city of Azarbaijan, and which has been identified in modern times with the

Rhages and Rhazes of the Greeks and Romans, deserves a moment's notice at our hands. Yakut describes it as being one of the largest cities of the world, and says it is recorded in the ancient chronicles of Persia that King Kai Kaus, or Cyrus, had a wheel constructed, with the necessary mechanism, by which to raise himself to heaven. God permitted the winds to carry him as high as the clouds, and then abandoned him to his fate, and he fell into the sea of Jordan. Was this a primitive balloon? When Kai Khosru ascended the throne, he is said to have had this machine repaired, and to have made use of it to go to Babylon, and, arrived at the place where is now Ray, gave orders to build a city there, Ray signifying in Persian a wheel.

The antiquity of Ray is attested by many Oriental writers, who designate it as Umm al bilad," the mother of cities," but they do not agree among themselves as to the founder. Some attribute it to Raz, son of Isfahan; others, to Huschang, the Pishdadian. It seems to have attained the zenith of its opulence under the Khalif Mehdi, and seldom has the spirit of hyperbole and exaggeration, so characteristic of Orientals, been pushed so far as by Ahmed Razi, the author of the "Seven Climates," who makes it the rival of Baghdad in the number of its mosques, colleges, monasteries, and other public edifices. It was ruined by religious dissensions, earthquake, and the Mongols, who put more than seven hundred thousand of its inhabitants to the sword. Yakut relates how the Shiites, the Shafites, and the Hanefites, or followers of Abu Hanifah, used also to exterminate one another within its walls with religious fervour; and he adds, what is more curious, that Obaïd Allah ben Zaid ("may he be cursed in eternity!") offered the government of Ray to Omar ben Sa'ad ben Abi Wakas, on condition that he would lead his army against Hussain. This alone is sufficient to attest Yakut's stout Shiah partisanship. He adds, that when Ahmed ben Ismail, the Samanide, coming from Daïlam, encamped outside the city, he would not enter into it. "I will not govern that fatal city," he said, "which was the cause of the murder of Hussain, son of Ali; it is a Daïlamian city, always in enmity with God, and placed under the constellation of the scorpion." Veramin and Teheran having successively become the favourite abodes of the Suffavian dynasty, Ray fell into decline, and there remains in the present day nothing but a heap of ruins and a picturesque village, where reposes, beneath a dome of lapis-lazuli, the Shah Zadeh Abd al Azim, one of the last descendants of the house of Ali.

On the road from Myaneh to Teheran, we have, first, Zendjan, before noticed. Higher up the same river that waters Zendjan, the Shah Rud, and which is itself a tributary to the Safi Rud, is the town of Sulthanyeh, founded by the Mongol sultan, Arghun Khan, and which, from its rich pasturages, good waters, and fertile soil, has continued to enjoy prosperity. Still higher up the Shah Rud is Rud Bar, a common name in Persia, signifying, as it does, simply a station on a river. This particular town is not, however, noticed by Yakut, but it is in the "Nuzhet," which speaks of it as a district comprising fifty fortresses, among which is Alah Amut (corrupted into Alamut), the Eagle's-nest, the renowned fortress of the Ismaelians, or Assassins, so called from Hassan, son of Sabbah, who seized the place in 483, after its first foundation by Hassan ben Zaid Bakari in 246. This castle was sacked by Hulagu Khan. Next comes a city of ancient re

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