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times. It was founded by the Mohammedans about one hundred years after Mohammed's death, or A. D. 762. This city became famous for its learning, and supported a great university and library. Its inhabitants established a system of laws based on their holy book, the Koran, though they borrowed many points from the law of Moses. For four hundred years these people surpassed Europe in methods of agriculture and in the growth of new varieties of fruits and flowers. They also excelled in metal work and in the manufacture of fine textiles. Bagdad was a city five miles wide and was supposed to have contained two million people in the ninth and tenth centuries, when it was the most magnificent as well as the richest city in the world.
The city has lost much of its former splendor and now contains less A SUBURBAN STREET LINED WITH GARDENS, than one fourth of a million people. Turks, Arabs, Armenians, Persians, Syrians, Africans, Hindus, and Bedouins crowd the bazaars in narrow shopping streets, which are arched with bricks to keep out the heat. Men and veiled women stand in front of the tiny stalls bargaining with the Jew or Arab trader. Many foods are seen in the markets, such as strips of fat from the fat-tailed sheep, goat sausages, manna, gourds, pomegranates, dates, figs,
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and mutton. The larger bazaars are full of European and Turkish goods, manufactured silk and cotton stuffs, red and yellow leather, and beautiful carpets. Fine rugs are thrown in the filth of the street to be trampled upon to make them look "old" so they will bring a higher price.
Many articles of hammered brass are made in Birmingham, England, and sold here by the traders as “genuine antiques.”
"New" Bagdad.—The station for the Bagdad Railway will be situated in the western or old part of the city. It is connected with the eastern or newer portion by an old pontoon bridge. This "new" Bagdad contains the government offices, barracks, and a factory where uniforms, blankets, and other supplies for soldiers were made during the War. The foreign consuls and the few representatives of business firms from other parts of the world live here. This “foreign colony" will increase. The completion of the irrigation barrages and the Bagdad Railway now under construction, together with the development of the rich oil fields in the vicinity, is bound to bring much business and many tourists to this wonderful region. The British have improved the sanitary conditions. They have constructed sewerage and whenever possible drained marshes and opened clogged ditches to prevent the spread of malaria. Health departments are doing effective work in Bagdad and other places. I. Make in class a list of the noted places you will visit if you
ever go to Bagdad. Remember as you do this that Hillah, the site of ancient Babylon and Basra, are within easy
motoring distance. 2. On your map locate the places in Mesopotamia that we have
studied. Make a list of the important facts connected with each place.
PERSIA AND ITS PEOPLE
We have reached the "farthest east” station on our journey and are to visit Persia, the land which about B. C. 500 extended from the Indus River in India to the banks of the Danube in Europe. Persia to-day is about one thousand miles long by eight hundred miles wide, and is greater in area than California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, and Washington combined. It is a backward country and has only extensive ruins to remind it of its ancient glory.
A SCHOOL OF LONG AGO Let us first put away our books and visit a boys' school. The sun has just risen and we are standing in a large field a mile or two outside the great city from which the pupils walked to school. We see boys five or six years old armed with slings and stones while all the older ones carry a bow and quiver of arrows. The master, a tall, strong-looking man with piercing eyes and very dark hair, goes in and out among the groups of boys watching their movements carefully. He posts no lesson and uses no books, but pupils know the course of study by heart. It is, “To ride, to shoot with the bow, and to speak the truth.”
Some unusual classes.—The young boys have had their class in hurling the sling shot and in running, and now fall away into groups. Some go to gather stones, others to far corners of the field for more practice. Some watch the older ones as they stand in a row each holding a javelin in his right hand. Their eyes turn toward a gate at one end of the field. Soon we see horses with loose bridles and flowing manes coming out at full run. Each boy must mount one of these galloping horses. This is no easy task, and the successful boys ride swiftly about the field till every one of their classmates is mounted. As he passes at a gallop, each one must hit with his spear a target which is fastened to a tree. At times the boys use bows and arrows instead of spears. No pupil passes into a higher class until he can strike the target with unerring aim.
After the riding is over, the boys gather in rows and stand reverently in front of the master. He talks to them about their prophet Zoroaster, whose doctrines are written in their ZendAvesta (or Bible). The teacher tells them this book teaches that there are two forces in the world, the good represented by the light and the evil by darkness. He asks his pupils to choose one of these spirits to guide them in all their thoughts, words, and deeds. The boys repeat after him this lesson: "Be good, not base. The good is holy, true; to be honored through truth, through holy deeds. You cannot serve both."
After this the smaller boys go to their homes and the larger ones start off for an antelope hunt. They will ride for miles over the plain and sleep under the starry sky at night. The only food they will get is what they can find in the country.
The results of good training.-Herodotus visited these schools and spoke in praise of the manly training the Persians gave their boys. Perhaps it was this drill that enabled their armies to conquer most of the ancient world and govern it for about two hundred years. 1. Look in your Bible for the story of the boy who performed a
great service for his people by the use of the sling. Tell the
story to the class in your own words. 2. Read 1 Sam. 20. 17–39 to see how David and Jonathan used
arrows as signals. You remember the Indians used them too to send messages.
THE LARGEST ANCIENT ASIATIC EMPIRE
Much of Persia's art and civilization were borrowed from Babylon. The Persians were soldiers and rulers, and gave the world a better government than had existed anywhere before their time. Under Darius, the Persian empire was divided into twenty provinces. Palestine was one of these divisions. The affairs in each province were conducted by a satrap, or governor, who had a military commander with an army and a royal secretary to assist him. There was a commissioner called the “King's Eye,” who went occasionally to each province to inquire into affairs. This officer arrested the satrap if he was not doing his duty.
An empire builder.-King Darius built post roads connecting his four capitals, Babylon, Susa, Ekbatana, and Persepolis, with distant parts of his empire. He constructed good inns at certain stations and ferries or bridges for crossing streams. Relays of horses were provided to be used by the royal couriers. One of the principal roads ran between Sardis in Asia Minor and Susa, or Shushan. Nehemiah probably traveled over part of this road when King Artaxerxes allowed him to go back to Jerusalem to help his people rebuild the city walls (Neh. 2).
Before this event, however, King Cyrus made a decree (Ezra, chapter 1) which allowed those of the Hebrews who wished to do so to return to Palestine under Zerubbabel. They were to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, and Cyrus returned to them 5,400 vessels of gold and silver · which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from it when he conquered Jerusalem (Ezra 1. 7-11).
Two noble Hebrews.-Esther, the beautiful Jewish queen of King Ahasuerus, or Xerxes, as he is often called, probably lived in the wonderful palaces in both Babylon and Shushan (Esth. I. 1-6). In one of them she gave the celebrated banquet to the king and Haman and saved the Jewish people from destruction (Esth. 7. 1-7 and 8. 1-17).
Daniel, of whom we have heard in another lesson, lived most of his days in Babylon, and was there when it fell into the hands of the Medes. Darius their king made him one of the chief rulers of his kingdom (Dan. 6. 1, 2).