In the valley of the Khabour, the chief affluent of the Euphrates, LAYARD found volcanoes whose activity seemed only to have been extinguished at a very recent epoch. Long streams of lava projected from their sides into the plain. Discoveries, p. 307.
The region south of the Khabour and the Sinjar he seems to regard as inhabited entirely by Arabs. Ptolemy has, in lieu of the Mygdonia of Strabo, a district which he calls Gauzanitis; and this name is on good grounds identified with the Gozan of Scripture, the true original probably of the "Mygdonia" of the Greeks.
According to some, the Sinjar here terminates; but perhaps it is best to regard it as rising again in the Abd-el-aziz hills, which, intervening between the Khabour and the Euphrates, run in the same south-west direction from Arban to Zelabi. If this be accepted as the true course of the Sinjar, we must view it as throwing out two important spurs.
It is a small stream throughout its whole course, which may be reckoned at 100 or 120 miles. The Khabour is a much more considerable river. It collects the waters which flow southward from at least two-thirds of the Mons Masius, and has, besides, an important source, which the Arabs regard as the true "head of the spring," derived apparently from a spur of the Sinjar range.
The country inundated by the Tigris is chiefly that on its lower course, between the 32d and 31st parallels, the territory of the Beni Lam Arabs. The territory which the Euphrates floods is far more extensive. As high up as its junction with the Khabour, that stream is described as, in the month of April, "spreading over the surrounding country like a sea."
His present site, however, is richer in archæological remains, and is important, as they are undoubtedly Assyrian, and prove the extent of that empire. Two winged bulls and other fragments are described as very remarkable, the meadows as rich in herbage, and the banks of the Khabour as literally gemmed with flowers; and Mr.
In order to complete our survey, we may therefore proceed to inquire what are the chief vegetable products of the region at the present time. In the south the date-palm grows well as far as Anah on the Euphrates and Tekrit on the Tigris. Above that latitude it languishes, and ceases to give fruit altogether about the junction of the Khabour with the one stream and the Lesser Zab with the other.
Fragments of basalt in many places strew the plain; and near the confluence of the two chief branches of the Khabour, not only are old craters of volcanoes distinctly visible, but a cone still rises from the centre of one, precisely like the cones in the craters of Etna and Vesuvius, composed entirely of loose lava, scorim, and ashes, and rising to the height of 300 feet.
The surrender of these places necessarily involved that of the country which they commanded, and can scarcely imply less than the withdrawal of Rome from any claim to dominion over the region between the Tigris and the Khabour.
The Phoenician trade with Babylonia and Assyria was carried on probably by caravans, which traversed the Syrian desert by way of Tadmor or Palmyra, and struck the Euphrates about Circesium. Here the route divided, passing to Babylon southwards along the course of the great river, and to Nineveh eastwards by way of the Khabour and the Sinjar mountain-range.