TURKEY IN ASIA may be taken to include Syria, Mesopotamia, parts of Armenia, Asia Minor proper, and the Arabian peninsula. These regions are occupied by three distinct races,—the Ural Altaic, the Aryan, and the Semitic.
The Ural Altaic, in addition to a few Kazzilbash, comprise twelve millions of Turk who speak Turki, and are Muhammadans ; also three millions of the Turkoman tribes who speak a Turk tongue.
The Aryan races are the Hellenes or Greeks, the Armenians, and the Kurd. The Armenians, three millions in number, are of the Orthodox and United Armenian sect, and speak the Armenian tongue ; the Hellenes, two millions in number, speak the modern Greek, and are of the Orthodox and United Greek Church ; and the Kurd, one million in number, speak the languages of the Kurd and Zaza, and are chiefly Muham madan in faith.
The Arab 11 millions, the Maronite 300,000, and the Druse 40,000, are the races of Semitic origin who speak Arabic, but the Arab are Muhammadans, the Maronite are of the United Syrian Church, and the Druse are pagan.
The Anatolian Turk are a lusty, stalwart race, of rude manners and harsh utterance, but frugal, patient, much enduring, kindly, hospitable, and tolerant in religious matters. They have an earnest, taciturn temperament, with much sound understanding and shrewd observation, but are defective in foresight and business habits. Hence they make, as a rule, indifferent merchants, and most of the wholesale trade has thus fallen into the hands of the rival races. In the country dis tricts they are agriculturists and stock breeders, and in the towns, dealers in smallwares or crafts men. Military service weighs heavily on them, and with polygamy prevents their increase.
The Greeks or Hellenes are industrious traders, shrewd, calculating merchants, excellent seamen, intelligent agriculturists, and monopolise the learned professions. The Creek race in modern times everywhere displays a praiseworthy zeal for the spread of education.
The Armenians still exist as a distinct nation ality in the N.H. highlands of Anatolia, and are parsely diffused throughout Southern Asia, from Constantinople to Ultra-India. They are con stitutionally timid and reserved ; rarely appealing to arms in self-defence, they yield submission to the strongest. But they are, intellectually, almost on a level with the Greeks, outrivalling them in commercial enterprise, ruling the money market, and are keen, perhaps cunning, traders. They habitually speak Turkish like a second mother tongue, their own language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Aryan family.
Armenia has no political existence. Its ancient bounds were between lat. 36° 50' and 41' N., and long. 36° 20' and 48° 40' E., but it is now divided between Persia, Russia, and Turkey. The people live in good houses, are industrious traders, and its peasantry are powerful and robust.
' Their women are on equality with the men. On marriage, the women are silent till the birth of a child. They became Christians in the 4th century, but separated from the Greek Church in A.D. 526,
• and are now under a Catholicus or Patriarch. 6 Their language, the Haik, is written with an ancient and modern character.
The Kurd highlanders are the descendants of the fierce Carduchi of Xenophon. They belong to the Iranian branch of the Aryan stock, and linguistically approach nearer to the Persian than to the Armenian subdivision. They are un doubtedly brave, but restless and unruly, often treacherous, lawless, and bloodthirsty. Half savage Kurd tribes occupy the uplands about the head-streams of the Tigris and Euphrates. They form a disturbing element in Asiatic Turkey, which is continued from Kurdistan southwards to Arabia by the restless nomade Bedouin Arabs of the Syrian desert, and of the plains watered by the Tigris and Euphiates. Nominally they are subjects of the Sultan of Turkey, but the Shamara, the Beth Lam, and other powerful tribes maintain an ill-disguised standing feud with the authorities, If often disturbing the right bank of the Euphrates, from about the parallel of Aleppo all the way to the Persian Gulf. If united, they might easily from ten to twenty thousand formidable mounted warriors into the field, but tribal dis sensions neutralize their power, and enable the to keep them under.
Yezdi or Dasseni and Jacobites, a religious sect in Armenia, but chiefly in the Basheka pro vince, in the pashalik of Musal and the Sinjar Hills. Their religion is a mixture of devil worship, with the doctrines of the Magi, Chris tians, and Muhammadans. Their greatest saint is Shaikh Adi, who is supposed to have lived about the 13th century, and is believed to have written • a sacred book, ' Aswad,' or the ' Black.' They consider the devil the chief agent in executing the will of God. They reverence Moses, Jesus, and Mahomed, as also th4Christian and Muham madan saints and prophets. They adore the sun as symbolical of Jesus. On the 10th of the moon On August they hold a meeting at the tomb of ltiShaikh Adi for a day and a night. All men and married women are present, and the intercourse is said to be promiscuous. At the village of Shaikh Adi is the brass figure of a peacock, which they call Malik Taus, king peacock, and they venerate it as representing David and Solomon. They circumcise on the eighth day. They place the body of their dead on its feet, touch the neck and shoulders, and strike with their palm the palm of the deceased, Ara - Bihisht,' Away to paradise.
Tiari, a tribe, about Sulamary, of Nestorian Christians, with about 10,000 men.
Mendajaha, disciples of John, a religious sect in small communities in Basra, Kurnah, Mahamra, and Shaikh - ul - Shayok. Their religion is a mixture of paganism, Hebrew, Christian, and Muhammadan. They have a book called Sidra, and also the Psalms of David. They respect the town of Mecca, and more so one of the pyramids, beneath which they say their great progenitor, Saba son of Seth, is buried. The priests baptize, and use the Chaldee language in all their ceremonies.