The Land of Midian (Revisited).
1. The word is explained in my "Itineraries," part ii. sect. 3.
2. See Appendix IV. "Botanical Notes."
3. "Opens," i.e. the door for a higher price: it is the usual formula of refusing to sell.
4. Chap. XVI.
5. The Saturday Review, in a courteous notice of my first volume (May 25, 1878), has the
following remarks:--"The Arabs talk of some (?) Nazarenes, and a 'King of the Franks,' having
built the stone huts and the tombs in a neighbouring cemetery ('Aynúnah). But there can be no
local tradition worth repeating in this instance." Here we differ completely; and those will agree
with me who know how immutable and, in certain cases, imperishable Arab tradition is. The
reviewer, true, speaks of North Midian, where all the tribes, except the Beni 'Ukbah, are new. Yet
legend can survive the destruction and disappearance of a race: witness the folk-traditions of the
North-Eastern Italians and the adjacent Slavs. Here, however, in South Midian we have an ancient
race, the Baliyy. And what strengthens the Christian legend is that it is known to man, woman,
and child throughout the length and breadth of the land.
6. In Sinai "Shinnár" is also applied to a partridge, but I am unable to distinguish the
species--caccabis, Desert partridge, (Ammoperdix heyi, the Arab Hajl), or the black partridge
7. Chap. IX. has already noticed Ptolemy's short measure.
8. Chap. XVII.
9. Helix desertorum (Forsk.) and Helix (sp. incert.)
10. See "The Gold Mines of Midian,'' Chap. II.
11. So in Moab the ruins of "Méron" or Mérou of the Greeks has degenerated into Umm
Rasás, "the Mother of Lead."
12. Their names will be given in Chap. XIII.
13. A. G., p. 24. See "The Gold-Mines of Midian," Chap. XI. Sprenger spells the word either
with a Zád or a Zá: I have discussed the question in my "Itineraries," part ii. sect. 4.
14. See the end of this Chapter for a list.
15. See Chap. XIV.
16. "Irwin's Voyage," 1777.
17. This was probably a misprint originally, but it has been repeated in subsequent editions.
Hence it imposed upon even such careful workmen as the late Lieutenant Henry Raper, "The
Practice of Navigation," etc., p. 527, 6th edition.
18. See an excellent description of the phenomenon in that honest and courageous work,
"Through Bosnia and the Herzegovina on Foot," by Arthur J. Evans, B.A., F.S.A. London:
19. There is, however, nothing to prevent its being eaten.
20. See Chap. X.
21. Chap. X.
22. Not to be confounded with the luguminous "Tanúb" mentioned by Forskâl ("Flora," etc.,
23. The word classically means the cypress or the juniper-tree: in Jeremiah, where it occurs
twice (xvii. 6 and xlviii. 6), the Authorized Version renders it by "heath." It is now generally
translated "savin" (Juniperus sabina), a shrub whose purple berries have a strong turpentine
flavour. When shall we have a reasonable version of Hebrew Holy Writ, which will retain the
original names of words either untranslatable or to be translated only by guess-work?
24. In Cairo generally called Espadrilles, and sold for 1.25 francs. Nothing punishes the feet
at these altitudes so much as leather, black leather.
25. The explorers laid this down at a few hundred feet. But they judged from the eye; and
probably they did not sight the true culmination. Unfortunately, and by my fault, they were not
provided with an aneroid.
26. See Chap. V.
27. For the usual interpretations see Chapter I. The Egyptians, like other nations, often apply
their own names, which have a meaning, to the older terms which have become unintelligible.
Thus, near Cairo, the old goddess, Athor el-Núbí ("of the Gold"), became Asr el-Nabi ("the
Footprint of the Apostle").
28. "The Gold-Mines of Midian," Chap. XI.
29. See Chap. XI.
30. Chap. XII.
31. Chap XV.
32. Chap. XV.
33. Vol. ii. Chap. X. I have also quoted him in "The Gold-Mines of Midian," Chap. VI.
34. My "Pilgrimage" (Vol. I. Chap. XI.) called it "Sherm Damghah": it is the "Demerah" of
Moresby and the "Demeg" of 'Ali Bey el-'Abbási (the unfortunate Spaniard Badia).
35. See "The Gold-Mines of Midian," Chap. VII.
36. The old being the classical <Greek> (Iambia Vicus), in north lat. 24°.
This is Yambú' el-Nakhil, in Ptolemy's time a seaport, now fifteen miles to the north-east (north
lat. 24° 12' 3"?) of the modern town. The latter lies in north lat. 24° 5' 30" (Wellsted, ii. II), and,
according to the Arabs, six hours' march from the sea.
37. Vol. I. pp. 364, 365.
38. "The Gold-Mines of Midian," Chap. IX.
39. Chap. VI. describes one of the sporadic (?) outcrops near Tayyib Ism; and Chap. IX
notices the apparently volcanic sulphur-mount near El-Muwaylah.
40. See Chap. IX.
41. "The Gold-Mines of Midian," Chap. XII.
42. See "The Gold-Mines of Midian," Chap. VIII.
43. "Pilgrimage," Vol. I. Chap. XI.
44. In "The Gold Mines of Midian" (Chap. IV.) I unconsciously re-echoed the voice of the
vulgar about "the harbour being bad and the water worse" at El-Wijh.
45. This style of writing reminds me of the inch allah (Inshallah!) in the pages of a learned
"war correspondent"--a race whose naive ignorance and whose rare self-sufficiency so completely
perverted public opinion during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78.
46. Not Shaykh Hasan el-Marábit--"Pilgrimage," Vol. I. Chap. XI.
47. "Pilgrimage," Vol. I. Chap. XI., where it is erroneously called "Jebel Hasan;" others prefer
Hasa'ni--equally wrong. Voyagers put in here to buy fish, which formerly was dried, salted, and
sent to Egypt; and, during the Hajj season, the Juhaynah occupy a long straggling village of huts
on the south side of the island.
48. There are now no less than three lines of steamers that connect the western coast of
Arabia with the north. The first is the Egyptian Company, successively called Mejidíyyah,
Azízíyyah, and Khedivíyyah, from its chief actionnaire: the packets, mostly three-masted screws,
start from Suez to Jeddah every fortnight. Secondly, the Austro-Hungarian Lloyd which, with the
subvention of £1400 per voyage, began in 1870 to ply monthly between Constantinople, Port
Sa'íd, Suez, Jeddah, and Hodaydah: it has been suspended since the beginning of the
Russo-Turkish war. Thirdly, the British India Steam Navigation Company sends every three
weeks a ship from London viâ the Canal to Jeddah, Hodaydah, and Aden. A fourth is proposed;
Bymen's (Winan's?) steamers are establishing a London-Basrah (Bassorah) line, in whose
itinerary will be Jeddah.
49. The observation was taken on board the Sinnár, by the first lieutenant Násir Effendi
Ahmed: of course I am not answerable for its correctness, although the latitude cannot be far out.
Thus the difference of parallel between it and El-Wijh (north lat. 26° 14') would be sixty-eight
direct geographical miles.
50. Beni Kalb: so the Juhaynah were called in the Apostle's day.
51. The site was probably near the Shaykh's tomb, where there are wells which in winter
52. This is the volume which I have translated: see also Dr. Beke's papers in the Athenæum
(February 8 and 15, 1873).
53. See "Mount Sinai a Volcano" (Tinsleys). For a list of Yakut's volcanoes, see Dr. Beke,
"Sinai in Arabia," Appendix, p. 535.
54. Vol. II. p. 187.
55. "The Gold-Mines of Midian," p. 213.
56. As regards these and similar graffiti see (Athenaeum, March 16, 1878) an excerpt from
the last Comptes Rendues of the Acad. des Inscript. et B. Lettres, Paris. The celebrated M. Joseph
Halévy attacked in their entirety (about 680) the rock-writings in the Safá desert, south-east of
Damascus. The German savants, mostly attributing them to the Sabá tribes, who immigrated from
Yemen about our first century, tried the Himyaritic syllabaries and failed. M. Halévy traces them
to the Beni Tamúd (Thamudites), who served as mercenaries in the Roman army, and whose
head-quarters we are now approaching. They contain, according to him, mostly proper names,
with devotional formulae, similar to those of the Sinaitic inscriptions and the Kufic and later
epigraphs which we discovered. For instance, "By A., son of B., in memory of his mother; he has
accomplished his vow, may he be pardoned." The language is held to be intermediate between
Arabic and the northern Semitic branches. Names of the Deity (El and Loo or La'?) are found
only in composition, as in Abd-El ("Abdallah, slave of El"); and the significant absence of the
cross and religious symbols remarked in the Syrian inscriptions, denotes the era of heathenism,
which lasted till the establishment of Christianity, about the end of the third century. "At that
time," M. Halévy says, "Christianity became the official religion of the Empire; doubt and
scepticism penetrated amongst those Arabic tribes which were the allies of Rome, and amongst
whom, for a certain time, a kind of vague Deism was prevalent until the day when they
disappeared, having been absorbed by the great migrations which had taken place in those
57. Some call it so; others Umm Karáyát: I have preferred the former--"Mother of the
Villages," not "of Villages"--as being perhaps the more common.
58. See Chap. XIX.
59. Vol. II. Chap. X.
60. This rock, assayed in England, produced no precious metal. As has been said, gold was
found in its containing walls of quartz.
61. This is the valley confounded by Wallin and those who followed him (e.g. Keith Johnston)
with the Wady Hamz, some forty miles to the south.
62. See the illustration, "Desert of the Exodus," p. 306.
63. Vol. II. Chap. X.
64. Described in "The Gold-Mines of Midian," Chap. XII.
65. Chap. XVIII.
66. The barbarous names, beginning from the west, are Jebels Sehayyir, 'Unká ("of the
griffon"), Marákh (name of a shrub), Genayy (Jenayy), El-Hazzah, El-Madhanah, Buza'mah, and
67. Dr. C. Carter Blake examined the four brought home, and identified No. 1, superior
pharyngeal bone and teeth (Scarus); No. 2, inferior bone and teeth of a large fish allied to Labrus
or Chrysophrys; No. 3, left side, pre-maxillary, possibly same species; and No. 4, lower right
mandible of Sphœrodon grandoculis, Rüppell.
68. The MS. of this geographer was brought to light by Professor Sprenger, and Part I. has
been published by Professor de Goeje in his "Bibliotheca Geographarum Arabicorum," here
69. We have seen (Chap. II.) that the Arabs of Midian mistake iron for antimony; and the
same is the case in the Sinaitic Peninsula.
70. Ahmed Kaptán's solar observation.
71. Written in pleasant memory of two visits to Uriconium, the favourite "find" of poor
Thomas Wright, under the guidance of our steadfast and hospitable friend, Mr. Henry Wace, of
72. The capital was also transported to Cairo; it could not have been voluted as there were
only two projections.
73. Lib. xvi. c. iv. § 24. The MSS. differ in the name of the "village situated on the sea;" some
call it Egra, others Negra, after the inland settlement; and the commentator Kramer remarks, Mire
corrupta est hœc ultima libri pars.
74. North lat. 26°, which would correspond with that of the Abá'l-Maru' ruins.
75. My friend Sprenger strongly protests against Ælius Gallus, begging me to abandon him, as
the Romans must long have held the whole coast to El-Haurá, their chief settlement.
76. For a specimen of the superficiality which characterizes Lane's "Modern Egyptians," and
of the benefits which, despite the proverbial difficulty of changing an old book into a new one, an
edition, much enlarged and almost rewritten, would confer upon students, see Vol. III. Chap.
XXI. Instead of a short abstract of all this celebrated story, we have only popular excerpts from
the first volume.
77. On the maritime road between Meccah and El-Medínah, celebrated for the apostolic battle
which took place in A.H. 2.
78. The names marked with interrogations are unknown to all the Arabs whom I consulted :
they are probably obsolete.
79. Identified by Niebuhr and Wellsted with certains ruins south of Yambú'. See Chap. IV.
80. The straight path, the highway to Egypt or Cairo.
81. Elsewhere called Sukyat Yezíd, a name now forgotten.
82. I have remarked that the name of the Patriarch Jacob is no longer connected with the Badá
83. Schweinfurth (the Athenæum, July 6, 1878) speaks of a "Wadi Abu Marwa ('Quartz
Valley')" south of the Galalah block.
84. Chap. IX.
85. A paper describing our "finds" was read before the Anthropological Section of the British
Association Meeting at Dublin on August 21, 1878, and subsequently before the Anthropological
Institute of London (December 10, 1878).
86. The following was the announcement offered to the public:--
"La collection minéralogique et archéologique rapportée par le Capitaine Burton, de sa seconde
Expédition au pays de Midian, est exposée dans les salles de l'Hippodrome, avant d'être envoyée
à l'Exposition Universelle de Paris, sous la direction de M. G. Marie, inge'nieur des mines.
"La salle du sud renferme les croquis et les aquarelles faits par M. E. Lacaze.
"La partie du nord commence avec Akabah, point extrême atteint par l'Expédition; elle contient
les résultats du premier voyage de l'Expédition, c'est-à-dire: Shermá, Djebel el-Abiat, Aynouneh,
Moghair-Schuaib, Mokna et Akabah.
"Le mur de l'est contient tout ce qui se rapporte à la seconde exploration, c'est-à-dire l'Hismá et
le grand massif du Shárr.
"Le mur du sud contient les principaux points de vue pris au sud du pays de Midian: Wedje, la
forteresse, la montagne de Omm-el-Karáyát, travaillée par les anciens, la mine de Omm el-Hárab,
le temple antique, etc., etc.
"Sur la table sont les médailles et la collection anthropologique fait par le Capitaine Burton.
"La salle du nord contient la collection géologique et minéralogique faite par M. G. Marie; les
minéraux sont classés suivant l'ordre des pays parcourus, c'est-à-dire en commencant à Akabah et
finissant au Ouadi Hamz, frontière du Hedjaz.
"Tout autour de la salle sont rangées les vingt caisses contenant des échantillons que Son Altesse
le Khédive envoie en Angleterre pour y être analysés. Près de la porte de l'est sont placés les
restes du temple de l'Ouadi Hamz, les moulins pour écraser le quartz, les briques réfractaires, et
enfin les inscriptions Nabathéennes.
"Dans les loges de l'Hippodrome, derrière les deux salles, sont déposés environ quinze tonnes
d'échantillons, destinès a être analysés par une Commission locale, nommée par Son Altesse le
87. M. Marie, £35 12s.; Haji Wali, £23; M. Philipin, £12 4s.; M. Lacaze, £3 16s.
88. Starting with a hundred camels and three Shaykhs.
89. For all hands.
90. Includes "bakhshísh."
91. Sixty-one camels, four Shaykhs.
92. For all hands.
93. Fifty camels, three Shaykhs.
94. For all hands.
95. Got from Mukhbir.
96. Fifty-eight camels, three Shaykhs.
97. For all hands.
98. Includes "bakhshísh."
99. Six months' pay.
100. Four months.
101. Four months and a half.
102. Employed on special service.