The hemalee carries, upon his back, a vessel (called “ibreek”) of porous grey earth. This vessel cools the water. Sometimes the hemalee has an earthen kulleh of water scented with “móyet zahr” (or orange-flower-water), prepared from the flowers of the “náring” (a bitter orange), for his best customers; and often a sprig of náring is stuck in the mouth of his ibreek.
Interior of a Mosque
To form a proper conception of the ceremonials of the Friday-prayers, it is necessary to have some idea of the interior of a mosque. A mosque in which a congregation assembles to perform the Friday-prayers is called “gámë’.” The mosques of 68Cairo are so numerous, that none of them is inconveniently crowded on the Friday; and some of them are so large as to occupy spaces three or four hundred feet square. They are 69mostly built of stone, the alternate courses of which are generally coloured externally red and white. Most commonly a large mosque consists of porticoes surrounding a square open court, in the centre of which is a tank or a fountain for ablution. One side of the building faces the direction of Mekkeh, and the portico on this side, being the principal place of prayer, is more spacious than those on the three other sides of the court.
The dress of a large proportion of those women of the lower orders who are not of the poorest class consists of a pair of trousers or drawers (similar in form to the shintiyán of the ladies, but generally of plain white cotton or linen), a blue linen or cotton shirt (not quite so full as that of the men), a burko’ of a kind of coarse black crape, and a dark blue tarhah of muslin or linen. Some wear over the shirt, or instead of the latter, a linen tób, of the same form as that of the ladies. The sleeves of this are often turned up over the head; either to prevent their being incommodious, or to supply the place of a tarhah.
The lower orders in Egypt, with the exception of a very small proportion, chiefly residing in the large towns, consist of Felláheen (or Agriculturists). Most of those in the great towns, and a few in the smaller towns and some of the villages, are petty tradesmen or artificers, or obtain their livelihood as servants, or by various labours. In all cases, their earnings are very small; barely sufficient, in general, and sometimes insufficient, to supply them and their families with the cheapest necessaries of life.
The dress of the men of the middle and higher classes consists of the following articles.
First, a pair of full drawers of linen or cotton, tied round the body by a running string or band, the ends of which are embroidered with coloured silks, though concealed by the outer dress. The drawers descend a little below the knees, or to the ankles; but many of the Arabs will not wear long drawers, because prohibited by the Prophet.
Next is worn a shirt, with very full sleeves, reaching to the wrist; it is made of linen, of a loose, open texture, or of cotton stuff, or of muslin or silk, or of a mixture of silk and cotton, in stripes, but all white. Over this, in winter, or in cool weather, most persons wear a “sudeyree,” which is a short vest of cloth, or of striped coloured silk and cotton, without sleeves. Over the shirt and sudeyree, or the former alone, is worn a long vest of striped silk and cotton (called “kaftán,” or more commonly “kuftán”), descending to the ankles, with long sleeves extending a few inches beyond the fingers’ ends, but divided from a point a little above the wrist, or about the middle of the fore-arm; so that the hand is generally exposed, though it may be concealed by the sleeve when necessary, for it is customary to cover the hands in the presence of a person of high rank. Round this vest is wound the girdle, which is a coloured shawl, or a long piece of white figured muslin. The ordinary outer robe is a long cloth coat, of any colour (called by the Turks “jubbeh,” but by the Egyptians “gibbeh”), the sleeves of which reach not quite to the wrist.Some persons also wear a “beneesh,” or “benish,” which is a robe of cloth, with long sleeves, like those of the kuftán, but more ample
One of the most novel and interesting sights which attracts the traveller's attention when he first arrives in Egypt is the syce running before the horses as they go through the narrow, closely packed streets. How the crowd scatters, and the donkey-boys hustle their meek property out of the way as one of those runners comes bounding along, shouting, in the strange Arabic tongue, "Clear the way!" The sun shines upon his velvet vest, glittering with its spangled trimmings, the breeze fills the large floating sleeves till they wave backward like white wings.
The life of a farmer in Syria and Palestine is very different from the life of a farmer in England. He does not live in an isolated farmhouse, in the midst of a number of enclosed fields, which he owns or rents, and which he cultivates at his own cost and for his own profit alone. The country is much too unsettled to permit families to dwell alone, and so they cluster in little villages for their common safety and defence. The cultivated lands of the villagers lie outside the village, and the most fertile ground is sometimes a mile or two away from the houses. The villagers are too poor to enclose each a farm for himself, and the farms are simply cultivated plots lying unenclosed in a great waste, which belongs, perhaps, to the Government, or to some great feudal lord.
The ploughs used by these Syrian cultivators are little more than a bent wooden stock, having a long bar, by which it may be drawn. The lend of the stock is in shape somewhat like that which is formed by a human foot and leg, the foot being the 'share,' which scratches up the soil. That part which corresponds to the leg is prolonged upwards into a long handle, with the help of which the ploughman guides the plough. The bar by which the plough is drawn is attached to the inner or fore side of the bend, at the ankle, as it were. Two oxen of a small kind are, as a rule, attached to each plough.
Jewish Rabbis refer their use to Genesis. xxii. 13
Unfortunately we possess no exact descriptions of the Persian and Arabian instruments between the tenth and fourteenth centuries, otherwise we should probably have earlier accounts of some instrument of the violin kind in Persia. Ash-shakandi, who lived in Spain about A.D. 1200, mentions the rebab, which may have been in use for centuries without having been thought worthy of notice on account of its rudeness. Persian writers of the fourteenth century speak of two instruments of the violin class, viz., the rebab and the kemangeh. As regards the kemangeh, the Arabs themselves assert that they obtained it from Persia, and their statement appears all the more worthy of belief from the fact that both names, rebab and kemangeh, are originally Persian. We engrave the rebab from an example at South Kensington.
The engraving, taken from a Persian painting at Teheran, represents an old Persian santir, the prototype of our dulcimer, mounted with wire strings and played upon with two slightly curved sticks.
An interesting representation of a Turkish woman playing the harp sketched from life by Melchior Lorich in the seventeenth century, probably exhibits an old Persian chang; for the Turks derived their music principally from Persia. Here we have an introduction into Europe of the oriental frame without a front pillar.
The Turkish way of making love
A Turkish cigarette girl
A Turk standing beside an urn with a woman in the background
From Anselmi Banduri Imperium orientale, tome II., p. 448. 2 vols. folio. Parisiis, 1711.
Ferdinand de Lesseps
The conveyance of a Persian official traveling in disgrace to Teheran at the call of the shah
View of Jerusalem
The Moslem Empire 750 AD
They came by diverse routes from France, Normandy, Flanders, England, Southern Italy, and Sicily, and the will and power of them were the Normans. They crossed the Bosphorus and captured Nicæa, which Alexius snatched away from them before they could loot it. They then went on by much the same route as Alexander the Great, through the Cilician Gates, leaving the Turks in Konia unconquered, past the battle-fields of the Issus, and so to Antioch, which they took after nearly a year’s siege. Then they defeated a great relieving army from Mosul. A large part of the Crusaders remained in Antioch, a smaller force under Godfrey of Bouillon (in Belgium) went on to Jerusalem. “After a little more than a month’s siege, the city was finally captured (July 15). The slaughter was terrible; the blood of the conquered ran down the streets, until men splashed in blood as they rode. At nightfall, ‘sobbing for excess of joy,’ the crusaders came to the Sepulchre from their treading of the wine-press, and put their blood-stained hands together in prayer. So, on that day of July, the First Crusade came to an end.”
Haroun-al-Raschid died in 809. At his death his great empire fell immediately into civil war and confusion, and the next great event of unusual importance in this region of the world comes two hundred years later when the Turks, under the chiefs of the great family of the Seljuks, poured southward out of Turkestan, and not only conquered the empire of Bagdad, but Asia Minor also. Coming from the northeast as they did, they were able to outflank the great barrier of the Taurus Mountains, which had hitherto held back the Moslems. They were still much the same people as those of whom Yuan Chwang gave us a glimpse four hundred years earlier, but now they were Moslems, and Moslems of the primitive type, men whom Abu Bekr would have welcomed to Islam. They caused a great revival of vigour in Islam, and they turned the minds of the Moslem world once more in the direction of a religious war against Christendom.
Asia Minor, Syria, and Mesopotamia
The wandering Arabs subsist almost entirely upon bread, wild herbs, and milk. It is rather strange that they should eat so much bread, because they never remain sufficiently long in one place to sow wheat and reap the harvest from it. They are compelled to buy all their corn from the people who live in towns, and have cultivated fields. When these townsmen and villagers have gathered in their harvests, the Arabs of the desert draw near their habitations, and send messengers to buy up corn for the tribe, and perhaps also to sell the 'flocks' of wool which they have shorn from their sheep.
The commonest of these machines is the shadoof. It is a sort of balance, with a weight at one end and a cord and bucket at the other. The arm of the balance rests upon a bar of wood, which is supported by two wooden posts, the whole resembling the horizontal bar of a gymnasium. The posts are about five feet high and two or three feet apart, and they are set up on the top of a bank, close to the edge, so that the end of the arm which bears the bucket may project over the water. This arm is made out of a slender branch of a tree, and is fastened to the horizontal bar by loops of cord. Its thicker end is loaded with a large, round ball of mud, while the other carries a long cord, or even a slender stick, at the end of which is the bucket, or bowl, in which the water is raised.
Another machine used for the same purpose [irrigation] is the sakiyeh, or draw-wheel. It consists of a horizontal axle, with a wheel at each end. One of these wheels overhangs the water of a river, a canal, or a well, and over it there passes a long, hanging loop of cords, to which a number of earthen pots are fastened. As the axle and the wheel go round, the pots on the cords are drawn over the wheel, and made to move in a circle like the buckets of a dredging-machine. The lower end of the loop of pots dips in the water, and each pot, as it passes through the water, is filled. It is then slowly drawn up by the turning wheel, and as it passes over the wheel, and is tilted over, it empties the water into a tank, or spout, and passes on downwards, empty, to the river again to take up a new supply.
is impressed during his first days in Cairo with the spectacle of runners in front of carriages to warn people to get out of the way. These fellows have a picturesque dress and muscular legs, and their duty is to clear the way, by keeping a few yards in advance and warning people that a carriage is coming. An appendage of this sort is called a syce, and formerly it was necessary that he should be a native born Egyptian, but at present a Nubian may aspire to the position, and it is not unusual to see syces of the complexion of charcoal in front of elegant carriages.
Beyrout and the Mountains of Lebanon
A few years ago some Greek and Italian scoundrels “put up a job” to plunder one of the mosques at Constantinople. They were weeks at work, perfecting their plans, and managed to get their plunder safe on board a schooner which was waiting in the sea of Marmora, a mile or two from shore. They sailed away in triumph, but the electric telegraph, which has brought so many scoundrels to justice, caused them to be overhauled at the Dardanelles.
The schooner was captured and brought back to Constantinople; the property was returned to the mosque, and the enterprising gentlemen who removed it without authority received the polite attentions of a Turkish headsman. Not only they, but the entire crew of the schooner down to the cook and cabin boy—also a cat and two kittens—were decapitated, without fear or favor.
“Bismillah!” (in the name of God) shouted the executioner each time he swung his sword. “Inshallah!” (God is willing) responded the attendant, as he gathered up the heads one by one and stowed them away in a sack.
Moslems at Prayer
An Arab school is a curiosity. The pupils study their lessons aloud, and make the place about as noisy as a political meeting, and how they can learn, any thing is a surprise to a person from the Occident, where silence is considered desirable in a school-room.
The body consists of a wooden frame, over which a parchment is stretched. One string of white horse-hair.
The case is in the shape of a fork, and is intended to rest on the ground.
Persian Costume of 6th to 5th Century BC
The two Frenchmen had preluded their discoveries by an excursion to the oasis of Siwâh. At the end of 1819 they left Fayum with a few companions, and entered the Libyan desert. In fifteen days, and after a brush with the Arabs, they reached Siwâh, having on their way taken measurements of every part of the temple of Jupiter Ammon, and determined, as Browne had done, its exact geographical position.