The author begs to acknowledge his great obligations, especially, to the following living writers: M. Patkanian, M. Jules Mohl, Dr. Haug, Herr Spiegel, Herr Windischmann, Herr Mordtmann, Canon Tristram, Mr. James Fergusson, and Mr. E. Thomas. He is also largely beholden to the works of M. Texier and of mm. Flandin and Coste for the illustrations, which he has been able to give, of Sassanian sculpture and architecture. The photographic illustrations of the newly-discovered palace at Mashita are due to the liberality of Mr. R. C. Johnson (the amateur artist who accompanied Canon Tristram in his exploration of the “Land of Moab"), who, with Canon Tristram’s kind consent, has allowed them to appear in the present volume. The numismatic illustrations are chiefly derived from Longperier; but one or two have been borrowed from other sources. For his frontispiece the author is indebted to his brother, Sir Henry Rawlinson, who has permitted it to be taken from an original drawing in his possession, which he believed to be a truthful representation of the great Sassanian building.
Canterbury: December 1875.
GENERAL VIEW OF THE COUNTRY.
“Behold the land of the Chaldaeans.”—Isaiah xxiii. 13.
The broad belt of desert which traverses the eastern hemisphere, in a general direction from west to east (or, speaking more exactly, of W. S. W. to N. E. E.), reaching from the Atlantic on the one hand nearly to the Yellow Sea on the other, is interrupted about its centre by a strip of rich vegetation, which at once breaks the continuity of the arid region, and serves also to mark the point where the desert changes its character from that of a plain at a low level to that of an elevated plateau or table-land. West of the favored district, the Arabian and African wastes are seas of sand, seldom raised much above, often sinking below, the level of the ocean; while east of the same, in Persia, Kerman, Seistan, Chinese Tartary, and Mongolia, the desert consists of a series of plateaus, having from 3000 to nearly 10,000 feet of elevation. The green and fertile region, which is thus interposed between the “highland” and the “lowland” deserts, participates, curiously enough, in both characters. Where the belt of sand is intersected by the valley of the Nile, no marked change of elevation occurs; and the