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THE BARON DE BODE'S “TRAVELS IN LÚRISTÁN AND

ARABISTÁN.".

Although there is nothing very new or very attractive in these volumes, they contain a good portion of information of a geographical and an antiquarian character, which, if not communicated for the first time, is neither stale nor uninteresting. Few districts of Persia have been altogether unexplored by European travellers, but much remains to be accurately investigated there in all the departments of archæological science,-history, antiquities, philology, as well as regarding the settlements or migrations of the early families of mankind. The discovery, partial and limited as it is, of a key to the interpretation of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, has opened a vast field for retrospective research into the records of remote ages which have been thus secured from the ravages of time, and skill or accident may light a torch (if it be not done already) that shall reveal to us the secrets of the cuneiform inscriptions. The attention of able investigators and profound scholars have been of late years directed to the latter object, and if once a clue be gained, we need not despair of ultimate success. The Arian characters, decyphered by the late Mr. James Prinsep, were once as mysterious as the arrow-headed, and it is understood that Major Rawlinson has succeeded in reading some of the latter.+

The Baron de Bode has had the advantage (for so we collect) of having resided some time in Persia ; he is, therefore, not a raw traveller,-one who rattled through the country merely for the purpose of saying he had been there, and manufacturing a book from the labours of others, with slender and equivocal aid from his own crude notes. He appears to be a man of observation, learning, and judgment, and to have written this book not for the sake of mere distinction, but in the interest of science.

The Baron assumes,-justly enough, we have no doubt, that, “with the exception of those who have travelled in the East, or who have made geography their particular study," there are not many readers who will know where Lúristán is situated, or who will not confound Arabistan with Arabia ; and he accordingly describes the former as embracing the greater portion of the mountainous country of Persia, extending from the Turkish frontier on

* Travels in Lüristan and Arabistán. By the Baron C. A. DE BODE. Two vols. London, 1845. Madden and Co.

† We learn that Major Rawlinson has very recently made some important discoveries in the extensive inscriptions found at Bisutum, which are said to contain a portion of the history of ancient Persia, under the Kyanian dynasty.

east;

the west, to the limits of Isfahán and Fars on the east and south

and the latter as the low country lying to the south of this chain of mountains (the Bakhtiyari range), commonly called Khusistan, but denominated Arabistán from its including the stán, or 'country,' of the Chá’b Arabs. These regions, which now offer, in general, the melancholy spectacle of decay and desolation, in former times teemed with an industrious population ; this fact is attested not only by history and tradition, but by the vestiges of ruined towns. The country south of the great chain is supposed to be the site of the Elam of Scripture (the Elymais of profane history), a nation in the time of Abraham. “Ahwaz, the winter capital of the Arsacidæ, or Parthian kings, is a heap of ruins; the plough is levelling with the soil the only remaining mounds which point to Joudi-Shapúr, while Susa, the rival of Babylon and Ecbatana, the vernal residence of the king of kings, hides its ancient ruins under thick grass and waving reeds."

The Baron de Bode left Teheran, towards the close of the year 1840, on a visit to the ruins of Persepolis, a journey of 450 miles. At Isfahán, he took up his residence under the hospitable roof of M. Eugene Boré, “who has willingly given up his worldly prospects, the comforts and pleasures of his native land, to toil, the cross in hand, for the spiritual regeneration of his benighted brethren in the East.” M. Boré, it appears, has established a school at Julfa (a suburb of Isfahán), in which Musulmans are received, who are taught by a Persian moollah, though the majority of the scholars are Armenian Christians. The fact of Musulmans sending their children to a Christian institution at Isfahán, the seat of Moslem orthodoxy, argues, as the Baron remarks, tolerance in religious matters, of which even the chief priest set an example. Other causes have likewise influenced the Musulman clergy; namely, the progress of Sufeeism, which is now openly professed; the predominance which the secular power has gained over the clerical, and especially the blow inflicted upon the Lutis, a band of unprincipled men, which has materially weakened the Isfahán clergy.

In his progress to Persepolis, the Baron examined the antiquities known as the Takht-i-Suliman, or Throne of Solomon ; the Zindan, or Fire-Altar, and the Tomb of Cyrus. The former, he thinks, with Sir William Ouseley, represents the throne of the ancient kings of Persia, or at least the place where they used to sit in public. He mentions the discovery by a Catholic missionary of the Propaganda of some hieroglyphics among the marble slabs on the Tomb of Cyrus; but not being aware of the fact at the period of his visit, he did not verify it. The Baron gives a short account of the sculptures at Nakshi-Rustam, and of the royal tombs, which he explored with some risk, and bestows a passing remark upon the kosti, or cincture, of the fire-worshippers, with relation to the action of the figures in the sculptures.

The appearance of the remains of Persepolis gratified him beyond his expectations ; “the nearer we approached,” he says,

“ the more majestic the relics rose before us.” When he had ascended the platform, by the magnificent staircase of black marble, the sight of the ruins filled him with a kind of rapture.

"I moved from one group to another, like one under the influence of wine ; my head felt quite giddy; not that each separate monument was a master-piece by itself; it was the tout-ensemble which kept the mind and the imagination in a continual state of excitement." The feelings which took possession of him were inspired by the associations connected with the solemn scene, as well as its aspect :

The chaste simplicity of the monuments, beautifully harmonizing with their gigantic proportion; the Titanic rocks of marble and granite, evidently piled up with the presumptuous thought of struggling with Time, as to who should have the mastery; and although nearly vanquished by the latter, the lofty columns still rearing their proud heads toward the skies. The mystery attached to the origin and design of Persepolis ; the isolated position it now occupies; the awful silence that breathes around it; the generations of men and empires which have rolled over its head, and sunk into oblivion; the events it has witnessed; the vicissitudes undergone; the noise and bustle of which once it must have been the centre, compared with the unearthly quiet which at present pervades its clustered pillars and pilasters, were all fit subjects for meditation, and capable of raising the soul above its ordinary level of indifference and apathy. Nor could the eye, while gazing on these memorials of past grandeur, help casting a look up to the Throne of Omnipotence, where all was immutable and eternal. The pure, bright sky of the East, which had smiled upon the birth of Persepolis, and witnessed its pristine glory, was the same which now looked down on its fallen grandeur,—still pure, bright, and serene as the Spirit which dwells there !

At Shiraz, the Baron made preparations for the journey to the Bakhtiyari country; before leaving that city, he visited the tomb of Madame La Marinièrre, an eccentric French lady of a noble family, of whom some of our readers may not have heard :

This French lady had resided for a number of years in Persia. She was rather an eccentric woman; and the fact alone of baving come to this country by herself, would be sufficient to stamp her character with originality; but though singular, she had many excellent qualities, with a warm and generous heart, which few were aware of, and therefore knew not how to appreciate her worth. Among some of her oddities, I may mention the following:

Whilst in the service of Abbas Mirza, the Naïb Sultan, or heir-presumptive, in the quality of governess and teacher of the French language to his sons, Madame de La Marinièrre had contrived to cast the moulds of the wrists and ankles of all those young women of his and his sons' harems who were most remarkable for their slender forms, and carried them about wherever she went. Had this curious collection been preserved, it might have formed an interesting study of this branch of the human form, but unfortunately the Persian chalvadars, or muleteers, who are no respecters of persons' limbs, on unloading their animals one fine morning, flung down on the ground the chest which contained these precious relics, and the cover being opened, lo! they presented one sad heap of desolation. At the time the cholera raged in Persia, Madame de La Marinièrre shewed much courage and self-abnegation in attending on the sick, and ministering to their wants as much as lay in her power, although she was just herself recovering from the same complaint. The death of Madame de La Marinièrre is ascribed to her own imprudence. She had already once performed the journey from Tabriz to Shiraz, and had written a description of her travels, with an account of the remains of Persepolis, in Persian, which she presented to the Shah, together with many sketches of the ruins drawn by a native artist, whom she had engaged to accompany her to Takhti-Jemshid for that purpose. In the spring of 1841, being at Isfahan, she formed the project of exploring Fesa and Darabjird, notwithstanding the weighty objections that were raised by her friends to dissuade her from undertaking the journey, or, at least, to engage her to postpone it during the unhealthy summer season in these hot districts. But Madame de La Marinièrre was not a woman to be easily dissuaded when she had once made up her mind, and found to her cost, when it was too late, that the warning she had received was well-grounded. She had not been long in those parts before she was attacked by the prevailing fever of the country, which put an end to her existence on her return to Shiraz.

He left Shiraz 18th January, 1841, and notices cursorily the sculptures at Shahipúr, so fully described by preceding travellers, and which have been recently visited by MM. Flandin and Coste, whose delineations of the ancient monuments of Persia are expected with impatience. He explored a cave, which we do not remember to have been before noticed, in which was a prostrate colossal statue of Shapúr.

He now entered the country of the Mamaseni tribes, professional robbers, and from thence into that of the Koghilú. The former are divided into four principal sections, or clans, and are said to exceed

4,000 families.

The Khogilú tribes, as wild and lawless as the Bakhtiyari mountaineers, consist of five great clans, numbering in the aggregate 14,000 families. The Khogilú, the Mamaseni, and the Bakhtiyari clans, belong to the great family of Lurs, who, with the Leks and Kurds, are supposed to be the oldest settlers, if not the aborigines, of Irán. Mirza Kumo, the governor of Behbehán, whilst in power, ruled the Khogilú tribes, who are, however, under the immediate control of their own petty chieftains, and some had thrown off his authority altogether.

The rapid progress which the Baron was obliged to make through the country of these advocates of the “simple plan” of property,

That they should take who have the power,
And they should keep who can;-

did not permit him to investigate their manners and customs. They dwell in tents, and outwardly profess Mahomedanism, but have a very faint idea of religion. They are a hardy race; their chief occupation consists in tending their flocks of sheep and goats, like the other wandering tribes of Persia. Their usual food is cakes made of the flour of acorns, or the paste eaten raw.

At Behbehán, the Baron had learned from Mirza Kúmo that there were some curious sculptures and inscriptions about twenty-six miles off, in the Behmie mountains, at a place called Tengi-Saulek, whither Europeans had not yet penetrated. The sculptures turned out to be bas-reliefs carved on isolated rocks, accompanied by inscriptions. The Baron de Bode observes that in their style the basreliefs (of which he has given plates) appear different from those of Persepolis, Nakshi-Rustam, Shapúr, and other places; and that the character of the inscriptions differs from the arrow-headed. In fact, the copies exhibited by him shew that the characters have no sort of affinity to what are called “arrow-headed,” and resemble the old letters met with in Southern India. M. Boré asserts that they belong to an alphabet “having affinities with the Pehlevi, the Sabæan, also called the Mendean, presenting at the same time analogies with the graphical system of the Chaldeans and Phænicians." From this list of analogies, we infer that M. Boré can know little upon the subject. It is curious, however, to find a new character in a country identified with the ancient Elymais.

From the Bakhtiyari country, our traveller determined to proceed by a new route to Isfahán; but he found the mountain chiefs very uncourteous,---ruder, indeed, than the rude Mamaseni. In Asiat.Journ.N.S. VOL.IV.No.21.

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