- Armenian Literature, History, Religion in in Russian

Edwin Munsell Bliss


Note from the administration of the page numbering is preserved, so the book can be used for quoting. Also we did our best to keep the layout as close to the original as possible.

[page 85]



Legend of the Serpents — Connected with the Medes — Tribal Organization — Nomad Life — Saladin and the Crusaders — After the Russo-Turkish War — The Hamidieh Cavalry — Brutal Treatment of Christians — Arabs — Circassians and other Moslem Subjects — The Nusairiyeh — Yezidis and Druzes.

The passion for legend is illustrated in no better way than in the statements as to the origin of the oriental races. Even the wildest tribes share in this, and there have come down, through their famous story-tellers, narrative after narrative, to be taken not as authentic history, and yet as giving after all the kernel of authentic history. The Kurdish people are no exception to this rule. According to the story that is told in their camps and castles, extending all the way from the eastern end of the Black Sea to the very borders of the Persian Gulf, and from the mountains of Western Persia along the mountain ranges of Asiatic Turkey, they owed their origin to one of those acts of cruelty familiar to all Eastern history.

In the capital of Persia, in the ages long past, there was a king famous even there for his cruelty. Through many years his crimes went unavenged. At last the gods found them too severe, and in punishment sent two serpents to take up their abode, one in each shoulder. These serpents preyed upon his flesh, which yet was constantly renewed by a miracle of divine retribution, so that each morning found the body still unimpaired. The torture of the day brought to the

[page 86] DRAWING LOTS.

king’s mind a suggestion of relief. Reasoning that his own flesh was no sweeter than that of his nobility, and that the younger the flesh the more dainty the morsel it furnished, he sent out among the wealthy families of his kingdom, and gathered in all the young men. Every morning lots were cast, and two of these were taken and fed to the serpents, that so they might be diverted from the body of the king. Naturally terror reigned throughout the kingdom. Fear and anger assisted the subjects to discover a way of cheating, both the king and the serpents, just as the king had hoped to cheat his tormentors. They reasoned that when the first taste of the serpents was sated, an ordinary sheep would satisfy their hunger. Accordingly each morning, lots were drawn between the two victims, one escaped and fled to the mountains, while his comrade suffered. This was carried on, for how long the legend does not say, long enough, however, to result in the gathering of a large number of these escaped members of the nobility in the mountains of Demavend, banded together to avenge the wrong upon them and upon their kindred against the king and all his forces.

This, according to the legend, was the origin of the Kurdish people. More authentic tradition states that a race variously called Gutu (warrior), Gardu, and Karu (whence Kardukas, Charduchi), occupied the mountainous eastern border of the Assyrian empire in the time of its glory. These were of Scythian origin, but were conquered by a tribe of Kermanj descended from Madai (Mede), the son of Japhet. In any case their mountain fastnesses furnished a sort of cave of Adullam, to which every man who had a grievance came, and a rude sort of feudal government arose. In some cases the men were followed by the women of their families; in others they


gathered wives from the plain in their raids. Thus there grew up a race in the mountains whose hand was against every man and every man’s hand against them. Occupying a position on the border of several kingdoms, it was natural that they should become a thoroughly heterogeneous community, owing their origin to no one race and taking their characteristics from many. Still, whether due to the method of their life or to the dominant influence of some racial element, there resulted a very marked race, unity governing the diversity. Thus, while the Kurds of the North are in many respects essentially different from those of the far South, both in general appearance and even in language, there are certain characteristics of both that mark them all as being of one race.

Probably no absolute distinction can be drawn between the different sections. In general, however, it is legitimate to accept the classification of some of those who have made careful study of them. About the only published authorities are the Kurdish history, “Shereef Na’ameh,” published in St. Petersburg, a report to the British Government prepared by Major Henry Trotter, British Consul for Kurdistan, and monographs by the American missionaries. Considerable information has been given by individual Kurds, for they have furnished not a few scholars, and upon the basis of this information they may be divided according to race, religion, government and mode of life, the lines of separation not being always clear, but sufficient to furnish the basis for classification.

Taking up first the question of race, there appear to be two general divisions, each with two subdivisions. First comes the great Jaff race, divided into Kermanj and Goran or


Kuran; second, the Wend tribes, divided between the Wends and the Lurs. The Jaff race includes those tribes occupying the country from the eastern end of the Black Sea as far south as Kerkuk in Turkey and Hamadan in Persia and throughout the mountains of Asia Minor. The Kermanj are by far the most numerous and include the entire population as far as the vicinity of Mosul and throughout Asia Minor, with the exception of a comparatively small number of tribes. The remainder are Goran. Of the Wends, the distinctive Wend tribe has its origin in Afghanistan and extends through Persia into Southern Mesopotamia. The Lurs occupy a section of Luristan southwest of Hamadan. If the total Kurdish population be estimated at three and a half millions, fully two millions belong to what may be called the Northern Kermanj tribes; about 400,000 to the Southern tribes, and about the same number (400,000) to the Goran tribes; while the Wends number in all about 700,000.

In religion all are Moslems, the great majority being Sunnis or orthodox; a comparatively small portion aside from the Wend tribes being Shiahs. They are in the main very scrupulous in their observations of religious rites, thoroughly enthusiastic and intensely loyal Moslems, looking upon all Christians with the most utter contempt. They are very largely under the influence of Dervishes, many of their leaders belonging to the different Dervish sects which abound far more in Eastern Turkey and Persia than in Western Turkey.

The general form of government is tribal, corresponding very closely to that of the clans of Scotland and such as is natural to all mountainous sections of country. As a rule, the chieftainship is hereditary, and in some families it has remained for a long time; in others the democratic element

[page 89 - illustration]

Kurdish Sheikh

[caption] KURDISH SHEIKH, from the region north of Harput. Many of the Kurds of that section were originally of Armenian origin. A great many of them are man of considerable force of character and ability, generally kindly in their disposition, and living for the most part on good terms with their Christian fellow-subjects.

[page 90 - illustration]

Group of Xeibecks

[caption] GROUP OF XEIBECKS; a tribe of mountaineers inhabiting the mountain section inland from Smyrna. They are bold, reckless, rather brutal men, famous for their marauding expeditions, in which they plunder indiscriminately Moslem as well as Christian villages. In the Russo-Turkish war, numbers of them were taken into Bulgaria, where they committed the most atrocious outrages.

[page 91] MANNER OF LIFE.

seems to rule, and there are frequent changes. In the chieftainship among the Wend tribes that position is held according to custom by the man whose prowess marks him as the leader. There are, however, considerable sections in which the tribal organization is practically disappearing. These mostly include the Lurs of Persia and some of those found in Mesopotamia and through Asia Minor. This loss of the tribal character is due chiefly to the contact into which they have come with the dominating power of the Persian and Turkish Governments.

Perhaps the most apparent division of the Kurdish people is according to their manner of life, nomad or sedentary. The distinction between these is not always easily drawn. In many cases the tribes are at one season of the year nomad and at another sedentary; thus some of the wildest clans of the mountains who spend their summers upon the plains wandering back and forth with their tents, are in the winter confined within their villages and have all the general aspects of a settled population. It is doubtless true that the general tendency has been from the nomad to the sedentary life, and many tribes whose ancestors a half century ago knew practically no abiding place, are now found year after year within the same geographical territory. But one of these divisions can fairly be said to have retained absolutely its nomad character, and that is the Wend tribe. They live on horseback, with comparatively few flocks or herds, and prey upon whatever country they happen to enter.

The great mass of the Kermanj are partially nomad, while the Lurs are almost entirely sedentary. The development of city life has had its effect, and there are a number of cities along the Persian border, including Kerkuk, Suleimanieh,


Rowandiz and Bitlis, where the entire Moslem population is Kurdish. In some cases these have retained a certain tribal form of organization though not of government, but in not a few instances that has disappeared, and to the traveler the Kurd appears to be an ordinary Turkish citizen.

The general characteristics of the Kurds vary somewhat according to these general divisions. The nomads, whether Kermanj or Wend, are lawless and often brutal to the last degree. The sedentary Kurds are in the main sturdy, but quiet and unaggressive. On the other hand there is a marked distinction between the sedentary Lur on the plains of Persia and his kinsman in the city of Bitlis. In general the Kermanj are the most aggressive; the Gorans show the most character; the Wends are the wildest, and the Lurs the most peaceful. Comparatively few have come into contact with any form of civilization, although some of the Goran chiefs, and even men of no particular position, have manifested ability of high order. One of the most successful ministers that the present Sultan has ever had, who has not only been ambassador to Germany, but has held the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs and even that of Grand Vizier at Constantinople, is a Kurd from Suleimanieh. The editor of one of the most successful papers at the capital, before the present intense censorship was established, was a Kurd from the same section; and one of the most efficient assistants in the preparation of the version of the Bible in the Turkish language was a Kurd who had no education in foreign languages, simply what he had obtained from Arabic, Persian and Turkish literature. No one can travel through the mountains of Kurdistan, south of Van, without coming in contact with men whose personal dignity of character and whose wide information astonish him. Not


a few who have known of these people have thought that possibly with them lay the solution as to the ultimate rule of that whole section.
Authentic history of the Kurdish people dates back not much more than three centuries. Before that time they were simply a collection of tribes with some racial unity, developing the idea expressed by the legend of their origin. Occasionally chieftains made themselves a wider reputation. Sala-din, the famous Ameer of the time of the Crusades, was a Kurd whose nomad instincts and ability placed him at the head of the Moslem foes of the European kings. In the middle of the sixteenth century they came under the power of the Ottoman and Persian rulers, though the fealty that they rendered was perhaps scarcely worth the name. Until the latter part of the. last century they confined themselves chiefly to the mountain ranges bordering Turkey and Persia, spreading out upon the plains merely for occasional pasturage, but within the last half century the tribes have spread east and west, but principally west. Little by little they occupied the whole of the mountain section of Eastern Turkey; then the mountain ranges skirting the Black Sea; then the Taurus, until to-day they are found in varying numbers and with some modified characteristics, yet still evidently of the same race, even as far west as the borders of the Salt Plain of Western Asia Minor.
The Kurds first came into prominence as an essential or at least important element in the problems affecting the Turkish Government, about the time of the Russo-Turkish war in 1876. Hitherto they had been looked upon chiefly as an element of disturbance, but not of dread. Whenever the government became more impatient than usual with their

[page 94] SIEGE OF ERZRUM.

raids, a strong hand was put forth and they were speedily brought to terms. There was no apparent thought on their part of any united action, or on the part of the Turks that they could be in any way made use of.

The siege of Erzrum and attending battles on the border first brought the Kurds into contact with the more advanced methods of western warfare. They had seen something of it at Kars in 1856, but there had not then been the advance made in the weapons used which characterized the conflicts of twenty years later, and it seems to have made little impression. On this latter occasion the Kurdish chiefs with their men hung on the outskirts of both armies pillaging each with scrupulous impartiality. They had no love for either Sultan or Czar, and looked upon the soldiers, whether wounded or dead upon the battlefield, chiefly as furnishing material for their own better arming. Two results followed. There was a marvelous distribution of modern arms throughout the Kurdish mountains, and a perfect revelation as to the methods. of modern warfare and the power that even they might exert. More than this, however, there was borne in upon the Kurdish mind that neither Sultan nor Czar was omnipotent. The sudden arrest of the Russian advance and the subsequent evacuation of Erzrum could not in their mind be attributed to the power of the Turk. There must be other influences more mighty than he. In one way or another there came reports of the great Queen of England, the Emperor of Germany and his wonderful minister.

The author was lunching one day in a Kurdish village, not far from Arbela, when he had a call from a Kurdish Sheikh, who asked him to read the inscription on a magnificent pistol. He read, “ Providence Tool Company, Providence, Rhode

[page 95] OPEN WAR.

Island.” The Sheikh would say nothing as to where and how he gained possession of this weapon, but it did not require much shrewdness to identify him with one of the leaders, who brought terror to the stragglers, both Turks, and Russians, in the war that had only ceased two years before. More significant, however, were the questions he asked about Gladstone, Bismarck, Queen Victoria, the Czar, etc., and especially those in which he tried to sound the visitor as to the relations between those men and the Sultan and Shah. He did not get much satisfaction, but his talk came very vividly to mind a few weeks later, when a messenger from the most powerful chief of the mountains came to the same traveler to ask, in a strictly private way, how he could best come into communication with the Queen of England, whom he desired to recognize as his suzerain. It was easy to refer him to an English Consul, with the explanation that Americans had nothing to do with Oriental politics.

The first fruit of this was manifest two years later, when the chief who sent this last question declared open war on the Shah, and started on an expedition that for a time threatened ruin to the two large cities in Northern Persia. Sheikh Obeidullah was one of the finest specimens of the Kurdish chief. A man of wide acquaintance, shrewd judgment, boundless ambition, and fine bearing, he was evidently fitted to inaugurate a Kurdish kingdom. He was connected, too, with the Nakshibendi order of Dervishes, and could bring to his support the mighty influence of that, the most powerful order in Western Asia. When he started out from the fastnesses of the mountains north of Rowandiz there was terror everywhere, and not a few felt that not merely had a new element entered the conflict, but one whose power was beyond com-


putation. He traversed the plain south of Lake Urumia, appeared before the city, and even threatened Tabriz. He doubtless made his first attack on Persia, as the weaker of the two empires, planning, in case of success there, to measure strength with the Sultan. He doubtless hoped also to make such an impression as to attract the attention of Europe. He was disappointed, however. His followers, with no discipline or morale, proved absolutely unmanageable when it came to meeting even the play troops of the Persian army, and the tumbledown walls of Urumia. They soon became disheartened, feared lest they should lose the plunder already collected, and the army of many thousand men melted away like dew.

As a Turkish subject the Sheikh, under the representations from Teheran, was taken as a captive to Constantinople. He was confined for a time in an apartment of the palace, but managed to escape in the form of a green dove, as the nursery stories went. He was found, however, back in his old home, and again seized and sent into exile in Arabia, where in due time he died.

This experience, however, had its lessons for the Turkish Government. It was evident that there was an element of danger in the mountains of Kurdistan, which, added to the other dangers menacing the Sultan, from the activity of the Armenians, the pressure from the European powers, and the general hostility to his Caliphate among the Arabs, might easily prove very serious. Were the Kurds to join the Arabs, Turkish rule in Eastern Turkey and Mesopotamia would be at an end. Were they to join the Armenians the result would be equally disastrous. Such a thing may seem absurd, and yet it was not so absurd as might appear. The one power that seemed to Sheikh Obeidullah and doubtless to his friends


as the one to be courted, was England. England was well understood to be the patron of the Armenians. The Kurds had little hostility to the Armenians themselves. They were glad to plunder them when they could, and very ready to raise the Moslem cry if it served their turn; but in the main Kurdish and Armenian mountaineers had gotten along to gether fairly well. It was the villages of the plain that had the most to fear. Both alike suffered from the Turkish Gov ernment, both alike dreaded Russia. It is by no means in conceivable that the two should have united forces against both governments.

Whether this fear came to the Turkish authorities or not, it is certain that they took the most effective way to prevent such a union.

The two things that appeal most to a Kurd are plunder and finery. If he can appropriate other people’s sheep and goods and dress himself in showy colors he is happy. With true Oriental shrewdness the Turkish Government took advantage of this and sent word to the chiefs to organize a portion of their men into a sort of irregular cavalry. They were to be provided with uniforms and arms, were to be honored with the Sultan’s own name, Hamid, and called the Hamidieh Cavalry. At first there was some dismay, for it is the unvarying rule of the Turkish Government to send its soldiers far away from their own homes for active service. That rule was broken in this case. The Hamidieh were especially favored and permitted to remain in their own mountains, where they were authorized to act as police. The effect of this was to give them absolutely unlimited opportunity for plunder. The slightest defense on the part of the Armenians against a raid was sufficient pretext to warrant their punishment for open in-

[page 98] KURDS AS DEMONS.

surrection, and this was what happened throughout Eastern Turkey and even to the west, wherever the Kurds extended. The result has been to bring out into bold relief the worst elements in the Kurdish character. The atrocities committed by them have been horrible beyond description. They have showed no mercy to any. They have become so identified with robbery, murder and outrage, that not merely have the Armenians come to dread them as demons, but the Turks themselves often look upon them as the most dangerous allies. At the same time their innate cowardice as well as their weakness have been made most apparent. In every case where they have carried devastation to places of any size or strength it has been with the aid of Turks, and whenever the Turkish Government has really sought to ward off their attacks it has done so with perfect ease. In defenseless villages they have proved a perfect tornado of devastation, but in not a single city have they unaided been able to accomplish anything. In the attack on Harput, where the houses of the American missionaries were destroyed, they were assisted by the Turkish rabble from the city itself and by Turkish soldiers in disguise; but when, as at Mardin, they sought alone to attack the city, they were easily driven back.

The term Arab is applied in popular use to all the Moslem subjects of the Sultan who use the Arabic language, and they are found in Syria, Mesopotamia and Arabia. In fact a large number of these are not Arabs at all. In both Northern Syria and along the Lebanon, the great mass are Syrians who early accepted Islam, and are of the same race as their Christian fellows of the Jacobite and Chaldean Churches. Thus, in the cities of Aleppo, Mardin and Mosul there are comparatively few pure Arabs, although genuine Arab tribes

[page 99] THE ARABS.

press very closely upon the borders of all these places. Arabia itself, being practically independent, with the exception of the provinces of Hejaz and Yemen, has comparatively little to do with Turkish history, and notwithstanding that the Bedouin tribes of Mesopotamia partake frequently of the general characteristics of the mountain Kurds, they still have come into little antagonism with Christians. They prefer the free life of the plains and are not feared by the villagers as are the rougher Moslems to the East. The chief interest for Turkish history connected with the Arabs arises from the control Turkey has held, ever since the conquering of Egypt, of the provinces of Arabia, where the Moslem religion has its center. The Arabs of Mecca and Medina, and also those of the province of Yemen, have always hated the Turk. The Moslem law says that the caliph should be a member of the tribe of Koreish, and to have that high honor, so dignified by the rulers of Bagdad and their followers, assumed by a Tartar from Central Asia is a standing grievance with the descendants of the Prophet and his kinsmen. Hence the Turkish hold upon those provinces has always been very slight, scarcely more than its hold upon any of the interior sections. Revolts in Yemen have become so common a phrase that they scarcely attract any special attention. The whole province is in a chronic state of disturbance, and almost at any time, were Arabs really to exert themselves, or could they unite, they could throw off the Ottoman rule. More important in many ways than the regular Arabs are the Syrians. They are shrewd, proud, ambitious, love display and manifest the peculiar characteristics of a race which for centuries was subject and then assumed the ascendancy.


The Circassians, who are found in numbers in Asia Minor, from Constantinople to Sivas, along the shores of the Black Sea, and also to a considerable extent in European Turkey, are mostly the followers of Schamyl, the famous leader who was defeated by the Russians in 1859. They are bold and daring, far more fearless and aggressive than the Kurds and are also of a higher type of ability and character. The Sultan listened to their appeal for protection and gave them a cordial welcome into his domains. He appropriated to them certain lands and then practically left them to claim possession and to extend their claim wherever they could. As a result, for a number of years they were a terror to all, Moslem and Christian. Gradually, however, they settled down and then their industry manifested itself and the Circassian communities in many cases attained a good degree of prosperity. Naturally they brought more or less of their brigand style of life and of dealing with them, and even the settled communities included not a few who relied for their subsistence upon plunder. One thing may be said in their favor. They brought their wagons with them from the Caucasus, and have done more perhaps than any others to change the method of transportation. Accustomed to rough roads in their old home, the absence of roads in Turkey did not terrify them and they set to work to make some, and to them perhaps more than to almost any other influence was due the gradual disappearance in certain sections of carriage by horse and mule caravan. Akin to the Circassians are the Lazes, found chiefly in the region of Trebizond. They, however, are of a lower grade, more brutal and less reliable, more easily led into outrage and violence of the lower order. Their


work is especially seen in the massacres in the region of Trebizond, Baiburt and Erzrum.

In Western Asia Minor, in the mountains back of Smyrna and throughout the generally rough country as far east as Angora, there are numerous Moslem tribes passing under one name or another according to the location — Xeibecks, Av-shars, Yoruks, etc. They are a wild, lawless, brutal lot, a terror to everyone in the whole region. They know no restraint of any kind and put at defiance all law. Occasionally, when their depredations upon the plains or villages have become too severe, the Turkish Government has sent out some troops, but ordinarily they have held their own in the mountain fastnesses and plundered the villages and towns and carried into exile prominent citizens, holding them for heavy ransom. In this respect they have vied with some of the well-known Greek brigands, until it was scarcely safe for foreigners to ride out an hour’s distance from the cities of Smyrna, Manisa or Aidin.

Ordinarily associated with Moslems and classed in a sense as Moslems by the Turkish Government, yet not belonging to them really, are three strange communities in Syria and Mesopotamia; the Nusairiyeh and Druzes in Syria and the Yezidis in Mesopotamia. The Nusairiyeh have their headquarters in the cities of Adana, Tarsus and Latakia, and number perhaps 300,000. Their origin is lost in obscurity. Some claim that they are descended from the Persians; others that they are the remnant of the tribes that Joshua drove out of Palestine. Their religious practices, which are held very secret, sustain the theory of their descent from the ancient heathen tribes of Palestine. They receive their name from a renowned leader and teacher, and their religious system was

[page 102] THE NUSAIRIYEH.

brought to perfection by one of his descendants. They claim to be followers of Mohammed, but are really pagans, the claim being a diplomatic one, chiefly for the purpose of avoiding the terrible oppression of the Moslem rule. They hold to special mysteries into which none are initiated under eighteen years of age, and each applicant must bring twelve men as security, and these must each be secured by two others. He is then required to swear by all the heavenly bodies never to reveal the mysteries under penalty of having hands, feet and head severed from his body. It is, as a consequence, almost impossible to learn anything from them, and one of their number at Adana, who revealed their mysteries in part, disappeared shortly afterwards, and undoubtedly suffered the penalty. They worship fire, the wind, the waves of the sea — anything that manifests power; are hearty believers in the transmigration of souls, and occasionally have a strange mixture of paganism and Islam. They have numerous feasts, and some of their religious rights are said to be most vile. They are revengeful and practice blood atonement. They are thievish and tricky to the very last degree, and their general morality is very low. At the same time many of them manifest elements of character of great interest, and their shrewdness makes conversation with them almost fascinating. Their relations to the Turkish Government have always been uncertain. They have been heavily oppressed and have been called on to furnish tributes, but are such adepts in the art of deception that even the government has found it impossible to carry out all its designs with them.

The Yezidis are popularly known as devil worshippers, though this is probably incorrect and due partly to the secrecy of their rites, and partly to their idea of propitiating the powers

[page 103] THE YEZIDIS.

of evil. They belong to those Arabs who refused to accept Islam, and gathered in a loose organization under a certain sheik from the region of Damascus, in the early part of the twelfth century. Under Moslem rule they have in a certain way accepted Mohammedanism, at least in outward appearance, though they entertain a deep-seated hatred for Moslems, whether Arabs or Kurds, and are in return treated by them with contempt. They are found both in the mountains to the east of the Tigris and also in the Sinjar Hills west of Mosul, as well as in the vicinity of that city itself. Those in the mountains use the Kurdish language, but those on the plains use Arabic as well. They are an agricultural people, live in villages, and as a rule are neater and cleaner in their dress than either the. Arabs or the Kurds. In the main they are quiet and industrious, but in the northern sections among the mountains they are given to highway robbery, and in the Sin-jar Hills, where they are in the great majority, they are restive and hostile to the Turkish Government. Their religious belief is very confused. They believe in God as the Supreme Deity, but have nothing to do with Him in the way of worship or service. They believe in an emanation from God who is eternal, the Melek Taoos, or King Peacock, who became incarnate as Lucifer, deceived Adam and Eve as Satan, and is one of the seven gods who in turn ruled the world for ten thousand years. They also worship the Sheik to whom they owe the organization of their religious system, and various other gods. They hold to the transmigration of souls and give a qualified reverence to the Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments. They have a religious oligarchy composed of six orders; the Ameer, Sheiks, and priests, who are Nazarites, having taken vows of celibacy. They worship the

[page 104] THE DRUZES.

sun and fire, and once a year perform the service before the emblem of the Peacock, which is carried to the different villages. They have no liturgy and observe several feasts. Their relations to the Turkish Government have been not unlike those of the Nusairiyeh, except that they have suffered more severely than that community. In the early part of the present century there was a terrible massacre in which thousands of them were put to death.

More notable than either of these previous classes, although much smaller in numbers, is the sect or race of the Druzes, living in Northern Syria, along the slopes of the Lebanon. They have about one hundred and twenty towns and villages, and are estimated at a total population of 65,000. Their chief town is Deir-el-Kamar, about fifteen miles southeast of Beirut. Like the Nusairiyeh, they are generally supposed to have descended from the pagan peoples of the land, especially the Cuthites, who re-peopled Samaria; or perhaps partly from the Mardis, brought to Lebanon by Constantine, with an element of the Arabs and possibly something of the Crusaders. Their own traditions indicate a widely extended knowledge, and in their conversation and manners they show a certain refinement which is in marked contrast to the other Syrian races. The reputed author of their peculiar religion, which is held in secret by them, was a caliph of Egypt at the close of the tenth century, who was undoubtedly insane, but who left the impress of his ferocity upon the people. They do not acknowledge the claims of any other religion, but allow the profession of any religion according to expediency, and unite with the Moselm in many of his services. So also they at times will sprinkle with holy water in the Maronite churches. Far from being fatalists as the Moslems, they recognize

[page 105] MASSACRES OF 1860.

absolutely the freedom of the human will. Ordinarily they are quiet and peaceable, but on occasion are stirred to terrible ferocity, as was seen in the massacres of 1860, when they killed so many Maronites, and at the present time they furnish the Turkish Government with not a little cause for uneasiness. A threatened revolt in the winter resulted in calling out the reserves of the Turkish army, and for a time there was fear of a general outbreak. This, however, was averted and quiet was restored.


Table of Contents | The Cover, Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright Notice, etc.
Introduction | Preface | Turkey in Asia (map) | Table of Contents (as in the book)
List of Illustrations | 1. The Turkish Empire | 2. Population and Languages | 3. Religions
4. The Turks | 5. The Kurds | 6. The Armenians | 7. The Greeks | 8. Other Oriental Churches
9. Rise and Decline of Ottoman Power | 10. Turkey and Europe | 11. Russia and Turkey
12. Mahmud II | 13. Reform and Progress | 14. Treaties of Paris and Berlin
15. Condition of the Christians | 16. The Turkish Government | 17. Protestant Missions in Turkey
18. The Armenian Question | 19. General Situation in 1894 | 20. The Sassun Massacre
21. Politics and Massacre at Constantinople | 22. Massacres at Trebizond and Erzrum
23. Massacres in Harput District | 24. Aintab, Marash and Urfa | 25. Character of the Massacres
26. Religious Persecution | 27. Relief Work | 28. Partition of Turkey | 29. America and Turkey
30. General Survey | Alphabetical Index


Source: Bliss, Rev. Edwin Munsell . Turkey and the Armenian Atrocities. Edgewood Publishing Company , 1896
Provided by: Aram Arkun, Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center
Scanned by: Karen Vrtanesyan
OCR: Irina Minasyan

See also:

J. Rendel Harris & B. Helen Harris, Letters from the Scenes of the Recent Massacres in Armenia
Helen Davenport Gibbons, The Red Rugs of Tarsus
Maj. General James G. Harbord Conditions in the Near East: Report of the American Military Mission to Armenia

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