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Harran

  • Seton Lloyd, William Brice and C. J. Gadd
Extract

The great interest and importance attaching to the ruins of Harran, particularly in relation to the city's age-old association with the Mesopotamian moon-cult, has never been in doubt. The remarkable degree to which, during the past generation, they have escaped the attention of archaeologists has been due entirely to their geographical inaccessibility. So many references to Harran, either under its own name or in the classical guise of Carrhae, occur throughout the length of Mesopotamian, Roman and mediaeval Arab literature, that it has acquired a strong historical personality, almost without reference to its material remains.

In fact, the few and brief investigations of the site so far accomplished by archaeological explorers, have failed to throw any light whatsoever on the outstandingly important matter of local topography in relation to the several religious shrines for which the city was famous during nearly three millennia. In the middle of the last century, it was successively visited by members of Chesney's Euphrates Expedition and the English missionary, G. P. Badger.

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page 77 note 1 Chesney, R. C., An Expedition for the Survey of the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates, London 1850, Vol. I, p. 115.

page 77 note 2 The Nestorians and Their Rituals, London 1852.

page 77 note 3 Sachau, E., Reise in Syrien und Mesopotamien, p. 220.

page 77 note 4 Preusser, Conrad, Nordmesopotamische Baudenkmäler, p. 59.

page 77 note 5 Creswell, K. A. C., Early Muslim Architecture, Vol. I, p. 406.

page 77 note 6 Bell, G. L., The Palace and Mosque at Ukhaidir, p. 152.

page 77 note 7 Strzygowski, J., Amida, p. 321.

page 77 note 8 Oriental Assembly, pp. 12 ff.

page 78 note 1 Creswell, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 408.

page 78 note 2 Compare Lawrence, op. cit., p. 17.

page 79 note 1 The building of the mosque is generally attributed to the ‘Umayyad period, and the city is known to have been a favourite residence of Marwân II.

page 82 note 1 Genesis 12, 7; cf. Acts 7, 5.

page 82 note 2 The construction of one of these houses is described by Dönmez, and Brice, in Man, 48, 155.

page 83 note 1 Not to be confused with Jacob's Well at his burial place at Sychem in Samaria (John 4, 5–6). The water of the well near Harran is still approached by the inclined shaft which Rebekah went down to draw water for Abraham's servant (Gen. 24, 45), and from which Jacob rolled the stone for Rachel (Gen. 29, 10). It was photographed by Lawrence (Oriental Assembly, plate XI to the diary; see also p. 17) in its old condition; the entrance has now been protected by a concrete platform.

page 86 note 1 The ruins of the Great Mosque of Harran, first visited by Badger, (The Nestorians, etc., I, 341 f) have been thoroughly charted and described by Creswell, K. A. C. (Early Muslim Architecture, I, 406).

page 87 note 1 DrChwolsohn, D., Die Ssabier und der Ssabismus, 2 vols., St. Petersburg 1856.

page 87 note 2 The Travels of Ibn Jubeir, by Wright, Will., Leyden 1852, p. 247 f.

page 87 note 3 It is, however, just possible that Dimashqi's qal‘at is the high hill of Harran, and that the temple of the moon he refers to must be looked for on it, possibly near the socalled Aran's or Abraham's House. Dimashqi, , Nochbah-ed-Dahr-fi-‘Agaib-el-Barr-w-el-B’ahr, VII, 8 (Chwolsohn, II, 412).

page 87 note 4 Dossin, Georges, Benjamites dans les Textes de Mari, in Mélanges Syriens présentés à M. Dussaud, text (10) on page 986. Dossin compares the incursion of the Benê-iamina with the appearance of other invading Amorite tribes about the same time and links it with the Biblical story of Abraham's migration to Harran (Gen. 11, 31; 12, 1).

page 88 note 1 Smith, Sidney, Babylonian Historical Texts, p. 39; Weidner, E. F., Politische Dokumente aus Kleinasien, I.

page 88 note 2 Luckenbill, D. D., Ancient Records of Assyria, p. 267; Weidner, , A.f.O., VIII, pp. 17 f.

page 88 note 3 Sidney Smith, op. cit., p. 40.

page 88 note 4 Sidney Smith, op. cit., p. 41; Gadd, C. J., The Fall of Nineveh, p. 22.

Other points of interest to the excavator which Sidney Smith deduces from the Nabonidus chronicle are that Nabonidus' reconstructed statue of Sin had the head-dress proper to a god, and a beard of lapis lazuli, while before him were representations of the flood and the wild bull; that the gods reinstated at Harran were Sin, Ningal his consort, Nusku (the fire god) and Sadarnunna his consort, and also probably the following gods (known from unpublished texts), Ashur, Shamash, Ea and Marduk; that the temple τέμενος probably included a sacred grove and a house for the priestesses; that Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus both placed in É. ḪÚL. ḪÚL. figures representing all kinds of monstrous reptiles and beasts, typifying the spawn of Tiamat and the other primeval gods; that the god was probably represented by a baetyl, possibly carrying a ladder device; and that there was probably also at Harran a bit akiti or New Year's festival house (possibly the Kadha mentioned by Abu Sa‘id Wahb).

page 88 note 5 Sidney Smith, op. cit., p. 39.

page 88 note 6 Art., Harran in Encyc. Brit. (XIth ed.).

page 89 note 1 L. W. Waterman, Royal Correspondence, No. 923; R. H. Pfeiffer, State Letters of Assyria, No. 248; Olmstead, , History of Assyria, p. 380.

page 89 note 2 Plutarch's Life of Crassus.

page 89 note 3 Herodian, IV, 13.

page 89 note 4 Spartian, Caracalla, c. 6; Dio Cassius, however, states (LXXVIII, 5) the date of his death as 8th April. See Chwolsohn, I, pp. 396–399.

page 89 note 5 Amm. Marc., XXIII, 3. The goddess was “highly reverenced in those parts” (religiose per eos colitur tractus).

page 89 note 6 Quoted by Duval in his Mémoire sur l'Histoire d'Édesse, Journ. Asiatique, Vol. 18 (1891), p. 29.

page 89 note 7 Hom. V, § 23 (Chwolsohn, I, 400).

page 89 note 8 Vol. I, p. 72 (Chwolsohn, II, 508).

page 90 note 1 Uπὲρ τῶν ἱερῶν, ed. Reiske, , p. 192 (Chwolsohn, I, 431).

page 90 note 2 XVIII, 7, 3.

page 90 note 3 Procopius, De aedif.

page 90 note 4 Beladhori, Livre des conquêtes des pays (quoted by Duval, , J. Asiat., 19, 1892, 56.

page 90 note 5 See also Margoliouth's article Harranians in Hasting's Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, especially for the origin of the word “Sabian”.

page 90 note 6 Kitab-el-Iqalim, p. 47, Mordmanns Uebersetzung (Chwolsohn, II, 546–7).

page 90 note 7 Ouseley, , The Oriental Geography of Ebn-Haukal, p. 57 (Chwolsohn, II, 547).

page 90 note 8 Geography, Jaubert's, edition, II, 153 (Chwolsohn, II, 548).

page 90 note 9 Geography, ed. Reinaud, & Slane, , under Mesopotamia–Harran, p. 277 (Chwolsohn, II, 552–3).

page 90 note 10 Gihan-Numah, p. 444 of Constantinople edition of 1145 (1732) (Chwolsohn, II, 554).

page 90 note 11 Travels of Ibn Jubeir, by Wright, Will., Leyden 1852, p. 246 (Chwolsohn, I, 407). le Strange, G. (Lands of the Eastern Caliphate, p. 103) places this mashhad three leagues to the south of Harran.

page 91 note 1 Travels of Ibn Jubeir, by Wright, Will., Leyden 1852, p. 247 (quoted by Creswell, op. cit.).

page 91 note 2 Travels of Ibn Jubeir, by Wright, Will., Leyden 1852, p. 246

page 91 note 3 Travels of Ibn Jubeir, by Wright, Will., Leyden 1852, p. 249.

page 91 note 4 Morug-el-Dseheb, Chap. 64 (Chwolsohn, II, 368–371).

page 91 note 5 So Chwolsohn, but Margoliouth (Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, s.v. Harranians) construes Mas‘udi’s word as a reminiscence of Μεγάλη Θεά, the “Great Goddess.”

page 91 note 6 Mohammed ben Ish'aq an-Nadim, Fihrist-el-U‘lum, Chap. V (Chwolsohn, II, 23–25).

page 91 note 7 Chwolsohn, II, 34.

page 91 note 8 Chwolsohn, II, 37.

page 91 note 9 Leroy Waterman, Royal Correspondence of the Assyrian Empire, part I, letter 134.

page 92 note 1 Fihrist, Chap. VI (Chwolsohn, II, 39–41).

page 92 note 2 Yaqut, , Marassid el-Itthila', ed. Juynboll, , Bat., Lug., 1852, Vol. I, p. 438 (Chwolsohn, II, 630). The published texts of an-Nadim use the form Kadi, but there is no doubt that he and Yaqut are referring to the same building.

page 92 note 3 Yaqut, , Moa'ggem-el-Boldan (Chwolsohn, II, 551).

page 92 note 4 Yaqut's etymology is here very dubious. The name more probably means “Full Moon”. cf. Smith, Sidney, Babylonian Historical Texts, p. 79, for some pertinent comparisons with the stele of Taima and its divine names.

page 92 note 5 Yaqut, , Marassid el-Itthila', op. cit., p. 450 (Chwolsohn, II, 630).

page 92 note 6 Dimashqi, , Nochbah-ad-Dahr, Bk. I, Chap. 10 (Chwolsohn, II, 397).

page 92 note 7 Dimashqi, op. cit., Bk. VII, Chap. 8 (Chwolsohn, II, 412–413).

page 92 note 8 Haikal, which in its Assyrian form means “palace” rather than “temple.

page 92 note 9 le Strange, Guy, Lands of the Eastern Caliphate, p. 103.

page 93 note 1 Chwolsohn, I, pp. 403 ff.

page 93 note 2 Chwolsohn reads significance into the syllable Sin of Sinnaca. It may be noted that Ainsworth recognizes Crassus' Sinnaca at the ruined site of Koh Hisar, East of Harran. This is Sinna, or Judaeorum, Syna (Travels in Asia Minor, II, p. 112, and A Personal Narrative of the Euphrates Expedition, I, p. 209).

page 93 note 3 The general festival mentioned by Abu Sa‘id Wahb.

page 93 note 4 For this observation we are indebted to the Rev. Dr. John Gray, of Manchester University.

page 94 note 1 Though see footnote 3 p. 87.

page 94 note 2 See Prof. Mallowan's description of ‘Ain-el-‘Arus in Iraq, VIII, 12. The name means “The Spring of the Betrothed”, and is connected with the stories of the betrothal of Rebekah and Rachel.

page 94 note 3 An-Nadim, op. cit., Chap. VI (Chwolsohn, II, 40).

page 95 note 1 Chesney, F. R., An Expedition for the Survey of the Rivers Euphrates and Tigris, Vol. I, p. 48.

page 95 note 2 Although Chwolsohn refers to Abu Sa‘id Wahb’s story of the Idol of the Water both in his account of Deir Kadhi (I, 498) and in that of adh Dhahbaniyah (I, 500), the idea of identifying the two places as one does not seem to have occurred to him.

For further references to ‘Ain-adh-Dhahbaniyah see Chwolsohn, I, 481; Le Strange, , Lands of the Eastern Caliphate, p. 103; and Dussaud, , Topographie Historique de la Syrie, p. 481. Dussaud links the name with the village Dabana of Not. Dign., XXXV, 17. Procopius, (De aedif, II, 18) also uses the name, and the castra praesidiaria of Davana, at the source of the Balikh, mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus (XXIII, 3, 7) may correspond with the present fort of Tel Abyad.

page 95 note 3 Which may be given geological backing (p. 83).

page 95 note 4 Regling, , Klio, I, p. 443, quoted by Dussaud, op. cit., p. 481 (footnote). Dussaud's reference here to von Oppenheim is erroneous, as the latter refers to the other and more famous Ra's-al-‘Ain, at the source of the Khabur.

page 95 note 5 cf. Gordon, C. H., Ugaritic Handbook, text 77, which deals with the marriage of y r h and n k l.

page 96 note 1 The mention of Sin on the stele from Aşaǧı Yarimca, while not corroborating this conclusion, does not render it invalid.

page 96 note 2 But cf. Note 3, p. 87.

page 96 note 3 No mention has been made of the site of Eski Harran to the north-east of Harran, where Pognon found the memorial inscription to a parent of Nabonidus (S. Smith, op. cit., pp. 36–38), and which Sidney Smith suggests (op. cit., p. 38) may have been the site of the Assyrian city of Harran. Chwolsohn also (see above, p. 93) places Deir Kadhi in the old city, to the east. Against this it may be said first that Deir Kadhi is identified elsewhere; second, that (although we did not visit the place) the mound of Eski Harran seems to be too small to represent the important fortress that Harran obviously was in Assyrian times; third, that Pognon's inscription, even if found in situ, is funerary and does not necessarily belong to a temple; and fourth, that the high mound, the lion reliefs, and the architecture of the castle south-east gate are all signs of pre-classical occupation at Harran. The whole question of the connexion of Nabonidus and his parent with Harran has been recently discussed at length by Dhorme, , Rev. Ass., XLI, 1947, 121.

page 97 note 1 Possibly another Σελήνη temple. It may perhaps be identified with the second or third moon temples described above, though the mention of the Rakkah Gate is a difficulty with the second.

page 97 note 2 There are ruins near Imam Bakir, about two miles east of Harran.

page 104 note 1 In this photograph, also, the negative is reversed, as shown by the sculpture itself.

page 108 note 1 MrsVan Buren, E. D., Symbols of the Gods (Analecta Orientalia, 23), pp. 62, 64, 90 ff, gives many examples of discs and crescents, both alone and mounted upon poles.

page 108 note 2 von Luschan, F., Ausgrabungen in Sendschirli, IV, Tafel LX b. On Bar-Rakkab and his worship of the emblem of Harran as a supreme compliment to his Assyrian overlord, upon whom he bestows such obsequious flattery by word and imitation, see Landsberger, B., Sam'al, pp. 46, 68 ff.

page 109 note 1 MissRoes, A., in a recent paper contributed to the Révue des Études Anciennes, LII, 10, has noticed this appearance, but her suggestion that it is in the main a sun symbol cannot be reconciled with its known relation to the Moon-God of Harran.

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