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The northern provinces, however, have a good soil. Wheat is the most common grain in Persia, but rice is also a principal article of food. Barley, millet, and some rye, are cultivated. The plow used in Persia is small, and drawn by lean oxen, harnessed by the breast, instead of the head, in which lies the chief strength of the ano. mal. Great use is made of pigeon's dung, which lies two years to meliorate before it is used. In the north west, vines are covered with earth during winter.
802. Manufactures and Commerce. Persia has been noted for its manufactures of cloth, silk, lether and iron. The carpets are esteemed excellent, many of which passing to Europe through Turkey, are called Turkey carpets. The bows of the Persians were formerly in high estimation, and their sabers are damasked in a manner not to be imitated. Their manufactures of cotton and wool, and those of goat's and camel's hair, with their silks, brocades and velvets, are of superior excellence. The trade of Persia is with Hindoostan, Russia and Turkey, while some of its manufactures pass to Africa and Europe by the Persian Gulf.
803. Situation and Extent. Arabia, the south western point of Asia, lics between the 12th and 30th degrees of north latitude, and between the 35th and 60th degrees of east longitude. Its length is at least 1400 miles, and its medial bredth about 800. Arabia is bounded by the Turkish dominions on the north, but on the other sides, is inclosed by the gulf of Persia and the Ocean on the east and south, and by the Red Sea, or Arabian Gulf, on the west.
804. Face of the Country. The center of Arabia presents the aspect of a vast plain of barren sand and gravel, dotted with spots of soil which produce some grass and shrubs. The shores of the sea, however, offer some fertile land, as do some of the mountainous regions. The chief mountains which are known, run nearly parallel to the Red Sea, at the distance of 50, IOO or 150 miles. Among these are Sinai and Horeb, famous in Jewish history. Through the center of Arabia runs a
vast desert called Neged; and in all this extensive country, there is no considerable river. 805. Inhabitants. The Arabians are regarded as the descendants of Ishmael, who, it was predicted, would be at enmity with all other nations. They are dispersed over a barren country, which is incapable of cultivation, and of course will not support inhabitants in large communities. Hence they must live a scattered, wandering life, destitute of the arts and civilization which spring from a settled, populous state of society, and without any well regulated government to restrain their natural propensities. They have never been subdued except partially, nor can they be, for no army of enemies can long subsist in their country. Hence the more roving tribes of Arabs are addicted to robbery and a lawless course of life ; but in the southern parts of Arabia, where the land is fertile, the Arabs are an honest, hospitable people. 806. Religion. The ancient religion of Arabia was idolatry, and human beings were sacrificed to idols. Afterwards Sabianism, consisting in the worship of the sun, moon and stars, and of fire, was introduced from Chaldea. This is the worship of the “ host of heaven,” which is interdicted in scripture. In the 7th century, Mahomet, an impostor, proclaimed himself the prophet of God, and established a new religion, which was carried with fire and sword over Arabia, Egypt and Barbary ; over Turkey, Persia, and into Hindoostan ; and this system of faith remains in all those countries. 807. Government. Arabia is subject to numerous petty chiefs, called imams, emirs, or sheiks, who are considered as the vicars of Mahomet, and are strictly ecclesiastics. Under these chiefs are the fakis and dolas, or governors of provinces. The dola corresponds with the Turkish pashaw. The magistrate of a town is called emir, or commander; the cadi is, as in Turkey, a judge in both civil and ecclesiastical affairs. But nuinerous tribes of Arabs, inhabiting the deserts, and calfed oedoweens, rove about for plunder, and are little subject to any established authority.
808. Manners and Customs. The Arabs, like all the inhabitants of the northern coast of Africa, are of a dark complexion, of a middle stature, with thin meager bodies. The more civilized Arabians, in Yeman, are polite and hospitable. When they salute each other, they lay the right hand upon the heart, and a superior raises his hand in token of respect. Their chief food is durra, a kind of millet, mixed with camel's m?ik, oil, butter or fat, and little flesh is used. Food is set on tables a foot high, on a mat, on which the people sit. The chief drink is coffee. Strong liquors, tho forbid by the koran, are not wholly neglected. Tobacco is smoked, and also a plant resentbling hemp, which produces intoxication. Polygamy is permitted, but is confined to the rich. 809. Dress and Arms. The Arabs, like other oriental nations, wear loose dresses, as well adapted to a warm climate, consisting of a shirt and large trowsers, with a girdle of lether, in which they carry a dagger and knife. Over the shoulder is worn a large piece of linen, and the head is burdened with bonnets of linen or cotton, often richly embroidered with gold, around which is a sash of muslin, with fringes of silk or gold hanging down behind. This thick covering for the head seems intended to defend the Arabians from the fatal effects of the sun’s rays, in their scorching climate. Some shave the head, and the feet are generally bare. The females wear a similar loose dress, and in Yemen they wear rings, bracelets, and necklaces of false pearls. Sometimes a ring in the nose is worn, as in Hindoostan and among the natives of America. The nails are stained red, the feet and hands a yellowish brown, and the eye-lashes are darkened with antimony. 810. Language and Literature. The Arabic is derived from the same root as the Hebrew, Assyrian and Egyptian, but is now divided into a great variety of dialects. The characters or letters are different from those of any language of Europe. The Arabians were formerly distinguished for their literature and cultivation of science, and to this day the rich maintain instructors to teach their children. In the chief citics are colleges for teaching astronomy, astrology, philosophy and medicin,
and near every mosk is a common school, for the poor as well as the rich, supported by legacies. The study of the koran occupies a great portion of their attention, for the language of it is now obsolete, and must be learnt as latin is with us. 811, Chief Towns. Mecca. The most important city in Arabia is Mccca, which is held so sacred, that no person except a musselman is permitted to approach it. It is situated in a plain, at the foot of three barren mountains, on a rocky soil. The houses are of mud or stone, but the temple is a large open square, encompassed with a colonnade, and ornamented with minarets. In the center is the Kaba, or house of God, a square structure, covered with silk, in which is a black stone, which is the object of mahometan veneration. To this place thousands of pilgrims resort annually to pay their devo110hs. 812. Medina. Medina, about 200 miles north of Mecca, is celebrated as the burial place of Mahomet. It is at the foot of a mountain, a day's journey from the Red Sea, a small city, with brick walls. There are some palaces of burnt bricks, but the houses in general are of bricks dried in the sun, or of stone. In one corner is a square edifice, with great windows and brazen gates, inclosing the tomb of Mahomet, which is encompassed with curtains, and the place is lighted with numerous Hamps. This city is also sacred ground. There are a few other places of some magnitude, as Mocha, which gives name to the best species of coffee, and Maskat, a considerable town, both which ports are visited by ships from Hindoostan and Europe. 813. Productions. The products of Arabia are coffee, the balm of Mecca, aloes, myrrh, frankincense, cocoa, pomegranates, dates, figs, apricots, peaches, almonds and tamarinds, with other fruits. Agriculture is employed in producing excellent wheat, maiz, durra, barley, beans, lentils, rape, indigo, cotton, with some other plants. In that country, almost destitute of rivers, and enjoying the benefit of rain only in particular places, a part of the X*, much labor is exerted to water the fields, with such streams as can be found. Forage is cut with the sickle, and grain torn up by the roots. Wheat sown in December is ripe in March or April. 8 I 4. Manufactures and Commerce. The Arabs are an ingenious people, but their manufactures are few, consisting in some works in gold and silver, coarse linens, arms of mean execution, and the like. Grain is pounded in mortars, for the Arabs have neither watermills nor wind-mills. Formerly a great trade was carried on through Arabia to Hindoostan, but since the discovery of the navigation to India by the Cape of Good Hope, that trade has declined. But from Yemen, the southern part of Arabia, are exported coffee, aloes, myrrh, oliban, senna, ivory and gold, from Abyssinia. From Europe, the Arabians receive iron, steel, cannon, lead, tin, cochineal, knives, sabers, cut glass, and false pearls. 815. Animals and Mode of Travelling. Arabia produces the finest breed of horses in the world, and the roving Arabs are constantly on horseback, or by the sides of their horses. The best horses are purchased to improve the breeds in Europe. They will bear incredible fatigue, and live, to use the Arabian metaphor, on air. The Arabians, however, are not barbarous enough to clip the ears of their horses. Camels and dromedaries abound in Arabia, and seem adapted, by their form and powers, to travel over burning sands. . They will pass several days without water, and with only browsing on coarse grass and shrubs, while their feet consist of a hard fleshy substance, to resist the heat of the sands. The commerce of Arabia, and the travel are conducted in caravans, large troops of camels laden with merchandize, water and provisions, accompanied with merchants, travellers and pilgrims, who go in large bodies, to defend themselves from the Bedoweens, or plundering Arabs. - W 2