« AnteriorContinuar »
yards, or, as the roofs of houses in the East are fat, upon the house-tops, exposed to the open air, from the end of May, to the middle of September, without suffering any inconvenience from it. The severity of winter lasts but forty days, from the 12th of December to the 20th of January, during which time, the air is excessively piercing.
• As February advances, the fields, which were partly green before, now, by the springing up of the later grain, become entirely covered with an agreeable verdure; and tho' the
trees continue in their leafless wintry state, till the end of & this month, or the beginning of March, yet the almond, « when latest, being in blossom before the middle of February,
and quickly succeeded by the apricot, peach, &c. gives the
gardens an agreeable appearance. The spring now becomes s extremely pleasant, and has no defect but its short duration ; • for as March brings it on with rapidity, fo April advances (with like haste towards summer, and the gay livery that the < fields wore in those two months, and indeed most of the 6 winter, fades before the middle of May; and before the < end of this month the whole country puts on so parched and
barren an aspect, that one would scarce think it was capable • of producing any thing but the very few robust plants which « ftill have vigour enough to resist the extreme heats. From
this time not so much as one refreshing shower falls, and
scarce a friendly cloud appears to shelter us from the excel6 five heat of the sun, till about the middle of September, (when generally a little rain falling, either in Aleppo, or in • the neighbourhood, refreshes the air greatly.
From these first rains till the fecond, an interval of at least between twenty and thirty days, the weather is tempe
rate, serene, and extremely delightful; and if the rains « have been at all plentiful, tho' but of a few hours duration, • the country soon assumes a new face; after the second rains
the weather becomes variable, and winter approaches by degrees, not with so swift a pace as the summer, for the
greater part of the trees retain their leaves till the middle • of November; the most delicate never make fires till about " the end of this month, and some pass the whole winter o without them.'
From the 16th to the 48th page, our Author is employed in giving his readers an account of the vegetable productions near Aleppo. Some of the most curious plants are engraved from the drawings of the ingenious Mr. Ehret: several forts of Onobrychis, Thlapsi, an Allium sylvestre, with large white
Howers; Lotus Græca maritima folio glaucio et velut argentebi tragacantha; a particular species of the ilex; two sorts of phlomis.
There are no metals found near Aleppo, nor, as far as our Author knows, in all Syria. They have no clay fit for the potter's use, but what is brought from Damascus and Sidon. Within a journey of fix hours from Aleppo, is found a sort of fuker's earth, which the inhabitants use in bathing instead of soap, and for cleansing women's hair; for which reason it is prepared with rose-leaves, and kept in balls. The natives call it babyloon. They have a white gritty stone in great plenty about the town, which being easily cut, and growing hard afterwards, ferves them for common buildings. For pillars and pavements to their best edifices, they make use of a yellow marble, the produce of their country, and which admits of a pretty good polish. By rubbing this marble with oil, and putting it into an oven, moderately heated, for some hours, it becomes red. The partition walls they build of a coarse chalk, of which they have great plenty to the northward of the city, as they have of limestone: and not far from Aleppo is found, but in small quantities, the gypsum, of which is made plaister of Paris, for cementing water-pipes, and other purposes, in their best buildings. About eighteen miles from the city is a large plain, called by the English, the Valley of Salt, forming a natural bason, which keeps the rains as they descend from low rocky hills, that inclose it. The water soon evaporates, and leaves a cake of salt about half an inch thick. In August it is gathered, and is good in quality, and for quantity sufficient to supply all that part of the country:
After this follows an account of animals, of beasts, birds, and fishes, with some copper-plates of such as are more curious and uncommon.
Page 77, Dr. Russel discourses of the inhabitants of Aleppo, whose number he computes to be about 235,000, of whom 200,000 are Turks, 30,000 Christians, 5000 Jews.
“The people in general are of a middle stature, rather lean • than fat, indifferently well made, but not either vigorous or .active. Those of the city are of a fair complection; but the
peasants, and such as are obliged to be much abroad in the < sun, are swarthy. Their hair is commonly black, or of a « dark chesnut colour; and it is
other than black eyes amongst them. Both sexes are tolerably hand' fome, when young; but the beard soon disfigures the men;
• and the women, as they come early to maturity *, fade ( also as soon, and in general look old by the time they reach
thirty. The greater part of the women are married from • the age of fourteen to eighteen, and often sooner. The • tender paffion of love can have very little share in pro• moting matrimony among them, for the young folks never « see one another till the ceremony is performed. A flender s waist, far from being admired, is, on the contrary, rather
looked on as a deformity in the ladies of this country; so • that they do all they can to make themselves plump and lusty.
! The men are girt very tight round the middle with a fash: « The womens girdles are not only very slight and narrow, « but loosely put on; which, with the warmth of the climate, o and frequent use of the bagnio, is probably one principal
reason why their labours are much easier than those in Bri« tain; the most delicate being seldom confined above ten or • twelve days, and those of the villages are rarely hindered « from going about their usual employments the next day. 6 Women of all conditions suckle their own children, and fel- dom wean them, till either the mother is again with child, or they arrive at the age of three, or sometimes four years.
• The people of distinction in Aleppo may justly be esteemSed courteous and polite, if allowance is made for that supe
riority which the Mohammedan religion teaches those who • profess it to assume over all who are of another faith. And • as this prejudice is observed to increase among the people, « in proportion to their vicinity to Mecha, the natives of
Aleppo have still a much greater proportion than those of • Constantinople, Smyrna, and other parts, at a greater dif
tance ; tho' even here it has greatly declined within these « few years, insomuch that several bashaws have conferred
many public honours and civilities on the Europeans, that formerly would have caused great popular discontent. As
to the common people, an affected gravity, with some share < of diflimulation, is too much their characteristic. And tho' « few in the world are more given to harsh language and quar
relling, yet none are less guilty of fighting. One can sel• dom pass a few yards in the street, without being witness to « fome noisy broil; yet in many years you may perhaps never o see one blow struck, except the person who gives it is very ( well assured that it will not be returned. But tho’they are so
* " Their M-- begin from the age of twelve to fourteen, and continue till forty, sometimes forty-five. In most they retura once in four weeks, and continue from three to seven days.
prone to anger upon the most trifling occasions, yet no peo.
ple in the universe can be more calm, when it is their inte• rest fo to be. This, I am forry to say it, is but too generally
a true representation: but it would be very ungrateful, as well as unjust in me, not to acknowlege, that there are many
amongst them, of all sects, who deserve a much better cha"racter, and whom I know, from repeated experience, to be
persons of the utmost honour and integrity.'
Their usual bread is of wheat flour, not well fermented, made into flat thin cakes, and eat foon after it is baked. Cofa fee, without milk or sugar, and made very strong, is in great esteem. This, and conserve of red-roles, acidulated with lemon-juice, and a pipe of tobacco, is their usual entertainment at a visit. Opium is not so much used here as at Conftantinople and other places. The practice is not so general in Turky as is commonly apprehended. There are a great many public bagnios in Aleppo, frequented by people of all fects and conditions. Some few are only for the men, as others are appropriated only to the women; but in general they admit both sexes at different times; men in the forenoon, women in the afternoon.
They have no notion of the benefit of exercise, and if they ride or walk to the gardens once or twice a week, at the proper seasons, it is as much exercise as they chuse to take for diverfion. However many of the people of distinction, and their dependents, are very active on horseback, and dexterous in darting the jareed, or javelin. Having no coaches, they ride on horseback, with a number of servants walking before them. The ladies, of whatever condition, walk on foot, except when they go long journies, and then they are carried on mules, in a litter closely covered. The natives go to bed in time and rise early. They sleep in drawers and one or two waistcoats, on a matrass covered with a sheet, and in winter with a carpet. They smoak their pipe on this matrass, and if of rank and fashion, are lulled to sleep by music and Arabian tales. In their coffee-houses, frequented only by the vulgar, is a concert of music, a story-teller, and in time of Ramadan, a puppet-show. And these are all their public diversions. Within doors they play at chess and draughts, and divert themselves with guesling under which of many coffee-cups a ring is bid. The parties that win, black the faces of their antagonists, and puts fools caps on their heads.
The military music of this country consists of a zumr, or hautboy, shorter and thriller than ours ; large drums, trumpets, and cymbals. A Vizir Bashaw has nine of these large
drums, which are beat with a heavy drumstick on the upper end, and with a small switch on the bottom. A Bafhaw of two tails has but eight. Their chamber-music consists of a dulcimer, guittar, flute; Arab fiddle, a couple of small drums, and the diff, the true tympanum of the antients. It is a hoop with pieces of brass fixed in it; to make a jingling; over which a piece of parchment is diftended. It is beat with the fingers, and accompanies the voice, which, Dr. Russel says, is the ( worst of all their music, for they bellow fo hideously, that ¢ it spoils what without it would be, in some degree; har: įmonious.
Page 95, is a representation of a Turkith concett, drawn from the life.
Whatever figure the inhabitants of this country made for merly in literature, at present they are very ignorant. There are a great number of colleges, but little taught in them. No branch of phyfic is learned there. There are many practitioners, and well esteemed, but they are chiefly Christians, and a few Jews.
P. 100, are two prints, exhibiting the dress of the men and women of Aleppo. 'The women black the inside of their eyes lids, with a preparation of lead and oil of almonds, called lsmed, and tinge their feet and hands with alhenna, which makes them look of a dirty yellow. Many of them wear a large silver or gold ring; through the external cartilage of their right noftril. The mothers find out wives for their fons. When they think they have found one that will be agreeable, the price to be paid for her is agreed on, and a licence procured from the Kadè. Proxies appointed by the young people attended by several of the male relations, meet the Inaum, and he asks the one if he is willing to buy the bride for the sum agreed on, and the other proxy if satisfied with that sum? Having answered in the affirmative, the Imaum joins their hands, and the money being paid, the bargain is concluded with a prayer out of the Koran. The money paid for the bride is laid out in furniture for a room, and in cloaths, and jewels, and ornaments for her; whose father makes some addition, according to his circumstances, which are sent to the bridegroom's house three days before the wedding. The bride, on the day appointed, is conducted to the bridegroom's house, by her mother and female relations, and each sex make merry in separate apartments, till night, when the bride is brought half way down stairs, veiled with a piece of red gause; and if
young, her forhead and cheeks covered with leaf-gold, cut into various forms: the bridegroom meets her, conducts REVIEW, Aug. 1756.