Sidor som bilder

from that of the ordinary amanuensis. That peculiarity, as appears from the epithet (nikos) in our epistle, was the size of the written characters or letters, for which (ourW ypapw) he was well known.1 Whether Paul wrote the whole epistle with his own hand, or the last verses only; whether he wrote in so peculiar a way from want of practice, and hence with awkwardness; and whether he alludes to the matter because he would authenticate the letter, or to remind the Galatians of his earnestness and painstaking in their behalf, are questions which do not affect the translation, and need not be considered here.

1 The ground for this inference falls away of course, if Wieseler's singular opinion be correct, that Paul wrote the concluding verses (vi. 11-18) in large letters or capitals, because he would emphasize the contents of that paragraph as peculiary important. There is no evident reason for making such a destinction between this part of the letter and other parts.



1. DESCRIPTION OF THE ANCIENT TOWN OF AMADIA IN ASSYRIA, by Rev. Justin Perkins, Missionary at Oroomiah, Persia.

ABOUT fifty or sixty miles to the northeast of the ancient town of Elkoosh, the home of Nahum the prophet, in Old Assyria, is the remarkable town of Amadia, among the Koordish mountains. This stronghold of the Koords has been known and noted from time immemorial. Some modern travellers have supposed it to be the Ecbatana of ancient history; but the Persian town of Hamadan, far to the eastward of Amadia, lays much better claim to that distinction. I visited Amadia on the same journey when I visited Elkoosh. My notices of it will best be conveyed in extracts from my journal, penned on the spot.

First, however, we may remark for a moment on the name Amadia, which seems to be synonymous with castle or stronghold, being derived from the word amadh, in Hebrew 72, in Arabic, and in Syriac, to stand; the last syllable of the name being local. This word, by the way, has been an apple of discord in modern times, being the one used in Syriac for baptism. It is, and has been, used by the Nestorians, in Syriac, from time immemorial, for that purpose. Our good Baptist brethren tell us that it means to take a standing position in the water, for baptism; but the Nestorians and their ancestors seem to have known only infant baptism. Good authorities hold that this term was adopted in the early centuries for baptism, when that rite, as applied to adults and their households, was, in a sense, synonymous with a public profession of Christianity, or taking a firm stand in favor of it. But I have too much esteem for my Baptist brethren to enter the lists of controversy with them; and I could only wish that, like the Baptists in England, they would open their communion to their Pedo-baptist brethren, and few would then object to their adherence to their form of a rite. So much for the name "Amadia."

May 26. We started a little after sunrise. Our course, the first half of the stage, was northeast, through a delightful valley containing several villages with many wheatfields and vineyards and a heavy growth of gallnut oaks. We gradually ascended, passing near a large brook, till we reached the head of the valley, which is considerably elevated, where a small party of nomadic Koords had their encampment. Much of the mountain bounding this valley on the southeast is red sandstone, with a superincumbent crust of limestone; while the whole of the opposite ridge, on the

northwest, is limestone. The pass at the head of this valley introduced us to the great valley of Amadia, stretching, in a transverse direction of the one we had followed, far away to the east and the west, reaching and passing the river Zab in the former direction, and extending to the Tigris in the latter. This valley is from six to ten miles broad, and contains a great number of villages, much cultivation, and a rich growth of the gallnut oak. Near the top of this pass, on the north side, is a pure spring of fine water, with a spacious pool built below it for bathing. The tall poplars around it reminded us of Oroomiah. This valley may rather be called a low region of ravines and ridges, these succeeding each other, crosswise of the valley, in almost endless succession, though they are not so rocky or rough as to prevent cultivation.

We wound our way down the high range in a northeast direction. We had now entered the district of Supua, which includes Amadia, the general name of the country thence to Mosul being Baden. The town of Amadia soon appeared in the valley, far to the eastward, perched on a high, isolated hill, resembling at this distance a truncated cone. One of our companions inquired of our Koordish muleteer the distance. He replied, eight hours The Nestorian questioned the truth of this statement (the town appearing near), which the Koord strongly resented; and we soon had occasion to change our opinions, as we descended, and our course turned toward the east, leading down the steep ravines and again up them for many a weary league.

[Passing the incidents of the Sabbath, May 27th, spent in a village in this valley, the journal is renewed on Monday morning]. May 28. We again started with the rising sun. Our course now lay a little to the south of east, and in four hours we reached Amadia. Passing near the base of the northern mountain range, our road was less uneven than it would have been in the centre or lower part of the valley, where theʼravines are deeper and the ridges higher. Most of the small streams of the ravines, rising in the mountains on the north side of the valley, run toward the south. These ravines and ridges continued in quick succession all the way to Amadia.

On reaching the town we found its situation to be just what it had appeared in the distance, when we caught our first view of it on descending into the great valley. It is a truncated cone of rock, somewhat higher than the countless ridges of the valley, and thus commanding a grand view of them. We crossed a small river, by an arched stone bridge, near the base, and then wound our way, by a zigzag course, up the cone. Its sides are strown with loose, isolated rocks, and at the top it is strongly guarded by a perpendicular rim of solid rock, from forty to seventy feet high, frowning defiance on every side. This cone, capped with the town, is on the north side of the valley and separated from the mountain range only by the deep ravine of the small river. It would require no great stretch

of imagination to suppose Amadia a favorite resort of Nimrod, the mighty hunter.

Near the top of the ascent we passed a beautiful spring, which supplies the town, the water being carried into it by skins. We entered the town through a natural break in the cliff, by a strong gateway of beautifully hewn stone, with iron sheeted doors. The even plane of the town is about three fourths of a mile in diameter. The northern half is covered with buildings and ruins, and the rest is a grassy plot, mostly covered with a great graveyard, and a fort on the southern brink of the cliff. The town is still much in ruins, having been taken and sacked by the famous Mohammed Pasha of Ravendooz, and more recently having been besieged and subdued by the Turks. It is naturally very strong; yet it may be so readily commanded from the mountain side, the plane of the town being on a level with the top of the natural wall, or rocky rim or hoop, that it cannot stand before ordnance, though so impregnable to the weapons of ancient warfare, or small arms.

The valley had gradually narrowed as we proceeded from the west; but it stretched still far to the eastward of the town, running into broken ranges, which send their waters on toward the Zab.

There are now in Amadia only about two hundred families, where there were formerly fifteen hundred. Sixty of these two hundred families are Jews, who speak the Syriac. A company of Turkish soldiers are there to guard the town and aid in governing the district. Amadia has no bazaar worthy of the name, though that name is applied to a few shabby shops among the ruins.

We lodged at the house of Kasha Mando, a Nestorian priest. He was himself at the village of Davia (Monastery) or Mar Abd Esho, three miles from the town, where he spends the summer. There are in the town only twenty Nestorian families. In the district there are many villages of Nestorians, most of whom have been converted by Papists. Priest Mando came towards evening. He was a pleasant, intelligent man, about fifty years old. He told us that formerly there were one hundred Nestorian families in Amadia, four fifths of whom have scattered. He related to us, in a graphic manner, the circumstances of the capture of the town by the Turks, a few years before, from the rebellious Koords; how the balls and bombs suddenly came rattling down upon the houses, most terrifically, in a manner altogether new and strange in these regions.

There is a mosque in Amadia, which has a very tall minaret of hewn stone, of almost unequalled beauty of structure and proportions. Tradition says that it was built two hundred years ago, by an Armenian, who was so perfect a workman that the Koordish chief of the town ordered his hands to be cut off when he had finished this structure, that he might never build another elsewhere, to rival it.

May 29. We passed over the plain of Amadia, and followed the cliff

half around the fortress. We found the graveyards to be of great extent -quite as large as the inhabited part of the town - which would indicate its antiquity. The waters of the Zab are visible from Amadia, about twelve miles to the southeast. The trees and grassy patches in the cultivated dales below appeared very beautiful as viewed from the rocky height.

Priest Mando had quite a collection of ancient Syriac manuscripts. We were anxious to purchase a Baet Mootwee (a portion of the Old Testament) to aid us in preparing a copy for the press; but he declared that he would much sooner part with his head than the book; and no importunity on the part of our helpers could induce him to change his decision. When told that we only wished it to aid us in printing correct copies of the scriptures, he said: "Our people would not hear us read from one of your printed copies; they would say: 'these are not the books of our fathers, and will lead us astray.""

Toward evening we walked out and sat down among the ruins on the brink of the rocky rampart. Within a few feet of us was a tank cut into the solid rock, perhaps a hundred feet deep, as a reservoir of rain water, to provide for the contingency of a seige, when the springs without would be inaccessible. Nature seems to have formed this remarkable place for stormy scenes and bloody men; and art has somewhat improved on nature's work. None but an ardent mountaineer could describe, as priest Mando did, the falling and bursting bombs, among families and social circles, when the town was in a state of seige.

In wide contrast with our associations of war and blood, suggested by the ruins and the rampart, lay the sweet, smiling dell, on the stream far below us, filled with thrifty walnut and many other trees, and skirted by little cultivated patches, spreading out a miniature paradise of rural simplicity and quiet, and presenting, by the side of the frowning height on which we sat, a striking peace scene. Our eyes also wandered over the almost endless succession of ridges and ravines, looming, like vast furrows, across the valley, westward far toward the Tigris, now strikingly contrasting bright sunny streaks with alternate shade, under the last rays of the setting sun; the varied shapes of those ridges and ravines also presenting myriads of diamond forms, and different hues, from the emerald grass and trees, to white, bare earth, brown sterile rock, and vermilion sandstone the whole being an assemblage of nature's freaks on a magnificent scale, such as I had never seen before, and all the more interesting as associated with this primitive land.

May 30. We went out three miles to the east of Amadia, to the village and ancient church of Mar Abd Esho, which has long been considered a Christian appendage to the town. We crossed the deep ravine that sweeps around the town on the north, by a natural, level, rocky pass, a few feet wide a remarkable formation, as though struck out by the Creator's hand, on purpose for a highway from the lofty fortress to the country, VOL. XXII. No. 85.


« FöregåendeFortsätt »