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(Madrid, 1799), Don Josef Antonio Conde speaks of the Berbers in a
note -

"Masmuda, one of the five principal tribes of Barbaria; the others are
Zeneta, called Zenetes in our novels and histories, Sanhagha which we
name Zenagas; Gomêsa is spelt in our histories Gomares and Gomeles.
Huroara, some of these were originally from Arabia; there were others,
but not so distinguished. La de Ketâma was, according to tradition,
African, one of the most ancient, for having come with Afrikio.

"Ben Kis Ben Taifi Ben Tebâ, the younger, who came from the king of the
Assyrians, to the land of the west.

"None of these primitive tribes appear to have been known to the Romans,
their historians, however, have transmitted to us many names of other
aboriginal tribes, some of which resemble fractions now existing, as the
Getules are probably the present Geudala or Geuzoula. But the present
Berbers do not correspond with the names of the five original people
just mentioned. In Morocco, there are Amayeegh and Shelouh, in Algeria
the Kabyles, in Tunis the Aoures, sometimes the Shouwiah, and in Sahara
the Touarichs. There are, besides, numerous subdivisions and admixtures
of these tribes."

[15] Monsieur Balbi is decidedly the most recent, as well as the best
authority to apply to for a short and definite description of this most
celebrated mountain system, called by him "Système Atlantique," and I
shall therefore annex what he says on this interesting subject,
"Orographie." He says - "Of the 'Système Atlantique,' which derives its
name from the Mount Atlas, renowned for so many centuries, and still so
little known; we include in this vast system, all the heights of the
region of Maghreb - we mean the mountain of the Barbary States - as well
as the elevations scattered in the immense Sahara or Desert. It appears
that the most important ridge extends from the neighbourhood of Cape
Noun, or the Atlantic, as far as the east of the Great Syrte in the
State of Tripoli. In this vast space it crosses the new State of
Sidi-Hesdham, the Empire of Morocco, the former State of Algiers, as
well as the State of Tripoli and the Regency of Tunis. It is in the
Empire of Morocco, and especially in the east of the town of Morocco,
and in the south-east of Fez, that that ridge presents the greatest
heights of the whole system. It goes on diminishing afterwards in height
as it extends towards the east, so that it appears the summits of the
territory of Algiers are higher than those on the territory of Tunis,
and the latter are less high than those to be found in the State of
Tripoli. Several secondary ridges diverge in different directions from
the principal chain; we shall name among them the one which ends at the
Strait of Gibraltar in the Empire of Morocco. Several intermediary
mountains seem to connect with one another the secondary chains which
intersect the territories of Algiers and Tunis. Geographers call Little
Atlas the secondary mountains of the land of Sous, in opposition to the
name of Great Atlas, they give to the high mountains of the Empire of
Morocco. In that part of the principal chain called Mount Gharian, in
the south of Tripoli, several low branches branch off and under the
names of Mounts Maray, Black Mount Haroudje, Mount Liberty, Mount
Tiggerandoumma and others less known, furrow the great solitudes of the
Desert of Lybia and Sahara Proper. From observations made on the spot by
Mr. Bruguière in the former state of Algiers, the great chain which
several geographers traced beyond the Little Atlas under the name of
Great Atlas does not exist. The inhabitants of Mediah who were
questioned on the subject by this traveller, told him positively, that
the way from that town to the Sahara was through a ground more or less
elevated, and slopes more or less steep, and without having any chain of
mountains to cross. The Pass of Teniah which leads from Algiers to
Mediah is, therefore, included in the principal chain of that part of
the Regency.

[16] Xenophon, in his Anabasis, speaks of ostriches in Mesopotamia being
run down by fleet horses.

[17] Mount Atlas was called Dyris by the ancient aborigines, or Derem,
its name amongst the modern aborigines. This word has been compared to
the Hebrew, signifying the place or aspect of the sun at noon-day, as if
Mount Atlas was the back of the world, or the cultivated parts of the
globe, and over which the sun was seen at full noon, in all his fierce
and glorious splendour. Bochart connects the term with the Hebrew
meaning 'great' or 'mighty,' which epithet would be naturally applied to
the Atlas, and all mountains, by either a savage or civilized people. We
have, also, on the northern coast, Russadirum, the name given by the
Moors to Cape Bon, which is evidently a compound of _Ras_, head, and
_dirum_, mountain, or the head of the mountain.

We have again the root of this word in Doa-el-Hamman, Tibet Deera, &c.,
the names of separate chains of the mighty Atlas. Any way, the modern
Der-en is seen to be the same with the ancient Dir-is.

[18] The only way of obtaining any information at all, is through the
registers of taxation; and, to the despotism and exactions of these and
most governments, we owe a knowledge of the proximate amount of the
numbers of mankind.

[19] Tangier, Mogador, Wadnoun, and Sous have already been described,
wholly, or in part.

[20] In 936, Arzila was sacked by the English, and remained for twenty
years uninhabited.

[21] According to Mr. Hay, a portion of the Salee Rovers seem to have
finally taken refuge here. Up the river El-Kous, the Imperial squadron
lay in ordinary, consisting of a corvette, two brigs, (once
merchant-vessels, and which had been bought of Christians), and a
schooner, with some few gun-boats, and even these two or three vessels
were said to be all unfit for sea. But, when Great Britain captured the
rock of Gibraltar, we, supplanting the Moors became the formidable
toll-keepers of the Herculean Straits, and the Salee rivers have ever
since been in our power. If the Shereefs have levied war or tribute on
European navies since that periods it has been under our tacit sanction.
The opinion of Nelson is not the less true, that, should England engage
in war with any maritime State of Europe, Morocco must be our warm and
active friend or enemy, and, if our enemy, we must again possess
ourselves of our old garrison of Tangier.

[22] So called, it is supposed, from the quantity of aniseed grown in
the neighbourhood.

[23] Near Cape Blanco is the ruined town of Tit or Tet, supposed to be
of Carthaginian origin, and once also possessed by the Portuguese, when
commerce therein flourished.

[24] El-Kesar is a very common name of a fortified town, and is usually
written by the Spaniards Alcazar, being the name of the celebrated royal
palace at Seville.

[25] Marmol makes this city to have succeeded the ancient Roman town of
Silda or Gilda. Mequinez has been called Ez-Zetounah, from the immense
quantities of olives in its immediate vicinity.

[26] Don J. A. Conde says - "Fes or sea Fez, the capital of the realm of
that name; the fables of its origin, and the grandeur of the Moors, who
always speak of their cities as foundations of heroes, or lords of the
whole world, &c., a foible of which our historians are guilty.
Nasir-Eddin and the same Ullug Beig say, for certain, that Fez is the
court of the king in the west. I must observe here, that nothing is less
authentic than the opinions given by Casiri in his Library of the
Escurial, that by the word Algarb, they always mean the west of Spain,
and by the word Almagreb, the west of Africa; one of these appellations
is generally used for the other. The same Casiri says, with regard to
Fez, that it was founded by Edno Ben Abdallah, under the reign of
Almansor Abu Giafar; he is quite satisfied with that assertion, but does
not perceive that it contains a glaring anachronism. Fez was already a
very ancient city before the Mohammed Anuabi of the Mussulmen, and
Joseph, in his A. J., mentions a city of Mauritania; the prophet Nahum
speaks of it also, when he addresses Ninive, he presents it as an
example for No Ammon. He enumerates its districts and cities, and says,
Fut and Lubim, Fez and Lybia, &c.

[27] I imagine we shall never know the truth of this until the French
march an army into Fez, and sack the library.

[28] It is true enough what the governor says about _quietness_, but the
novelty of the mission turned the heads of the people, and made a great
noise among them. The slave-dealers of Sous vowed vengeance against me,
and threatened to "rip open my bowels" if I went down there.

[29] The Sultan's Minister, Ben Oris, addressing our government on the
question says, "Whosoever sets any person free God will set his soul
free from the fire," (hell), quoting the Koran.

[30] A person going to the Emperor without a present, is like a menace
at court, for a present corresponds to our "good morning."

[31] _Bash_, means chief, as Bash-Mameluke, chief of the Mamelukes. It
is a Turkish term.

[32] This office answers vulgarly to our _Boots_ at English inns.

[33] Bismilla, Arabic for "In the name of God!" the Mohammedan grace
before meat, and also drink.

[34] Shaw says. - "The hobara is of the bigness of a capon, it feeds upon
the little grubs or insects, and frequents the confines of the Desert.
The body is of a light dun or yellowish colour, and marked over with
little brown touches, whilst the larger feathers of the wing are black,
with each of them a white spot near the middle; those of the neck are
whitish with black streaks, and are long and erected when the bird is
attacked. The bill is flat like the starling's, nearly an inch and a
half long, and the legs agree in shape and in the want of the hinder toe
with the bustard's, but it is not, as Golins says, the bustard, that
bird being twice as big as the hobara. Nothing can be more entertaining
than to see this bird pursued by the hawk, and what a variety of flights
and stratagems it makes use of to escape." The French call the hobara, a
little bustard, _poule de Carthage_, or Carthage-fowl. They are
frequently sold in the market of Tunis, as ordinary fowls, but eat
something like pheasant, and their flesh is red.

[35] The most grandly beautiful view in Tunis is that from the
Belvidere, about a mile north-west from the capital, looking immediately
over the Marsa road. Here, on a hill of very moderate elevation, you
have the most beautiful as well as the most magnificent panoramic view
of sea and lake, mountain and plain, town and village, in the whole
Regency, or perhaps in any other part of North Africa. There are besides
many lovely walks around the capital, particularly among and around the
craggy heights of the south-east. But these are little frequented by the
European residents, the women especially, who are so stay-at-homeative
that the greater part of them never walked round the suburbs once in
their lives. Europeans generally prefer the Marina, lined on each side,
not with pleasant trees, but dead animals, sending forth a most
offensive smell.

[36] Shaw says: "The rhaad, or safsaf, is a granivorous and gregarious
bird, which wanteth the hinder toe. There are two species, and both
about and a little larger than the ordinary pullet. The belly of both is
white, back and wings of a buff colour spotted with brown, tail lighter
and marked all along with black transverse streaks, beak and legs
stronger than the partridge. The name rhaad, "thunder," is given to it
from the noise it makes on the ground when it rises, safsaf, from its
beating the air, a sound imitating the motion."

[37] Ghafsa, whose name Bochart derives from the Hebrew "comprimere,"
is an ancient city, claiming as its august founder, the Libyan
Hercules. It was one of the principal towns in the dominions of
Jugurtha, and well-fortified, rendered secure by being placed in the
midst of immense deserts, fabled to have been inhabited solely by
snakes and serpents. Marius took it by a _coup-de-main_, and put all
the inhabitants to the sword. The modern city is built on a gentle
eminence, between two arid mountains, and, in a great part, with the
materials of the ancient one. Ghafsa has no wall of _euceinte_, or
rather a ruined wall surrounds it, and is defended by a kasbah,
containing a small garrison. This place may be called the gate of the
Tunisian Sahara; it is the limit of Blad-el-Jereed; the sands begin now
to disappear, and the land becomes better, and more suited to the
cultivation of corn. Three villages are situated in the environs, Sala,
El-Kesir, and El-Ghetar. A fraction of the tribe of Hammand deposit
their grain in Ghafsa. This town is famous for its manufactories of
baraeans and blankets ornamented with pretty coloured flowers. There is
also a nitre and powder-manufactory, the former obtained from the earth
by a very rude process.

The environs are beautifully laid out in plantations of the fig, the
pomegranate, and the orange, and especially the datepalm, and the
olive-tree. The oil made here is of peculiarly good quality, and is
exported to Tugurt, and other oases of the Desert.

[38] Kaemtz's Meteorology, p. 191.

[39] This is the national dish of Barbary, and is a preparation of
wheat-flour granulated, boiled by the steam of meat. It is most
nutritive, and is eaten with or without meat and vegetables. When the
grains are large, it is called hamza.

[40] A camel-load is about five cantars, and a cantar is a hundred

[Transcriber's Note: In this electronic edition, the footnotes were
numbered and relocated to the end of the work. In ch. 3, "Mogrel-el-Aska"
was corrected to "Mogrel-el-Aksa"; in ch. 4, "lattely" to "lately"; in
ch. 7, "book" to "brook"; in ch. 9, "cirumstances" to "circumstances".
Also, "Amabasis" was corrected to "Anabasis" in footnote 16.]

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Online LibraryJames RichardsonTravels in Morocco, Volume 2 → online text (page 13 of 13)