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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

36.3795989, 41.718468

Sun. Ap 9 [9 April 1911] Fine sunrise but cold and dewy. At 5.30
Temp 48, Bar 29.25. After sunrise thick mist but I photographed the
heads on the north walls and the acanthus under the archways. It
reminds me dimly of Byz. work but the overhang[?] of the leaves is of
course heavier, the arrangement of the members is pretty mad and
the double row of leaves which sometimes occurs, is like an acanthus
capital in a nightmare. The Eros figure on the arch is very classical.
The griffons Flavian and Trajanic, but may they not rather spring from
a common source with the Roman? Of the heads one is a Medusa,
another like a wild bearded Jupiter or Tiber. The placing of them is
quite barbaric. All sorts of vaulting - Hauran system of slabs on
arches and in all the smaller rooms a set forward. The temple square
is covered by a big barrel vault. No true dome. Sort of Apollo heads
(but they seem to be winged) on the temple lintel. In the French
diggings S of palace broken columns. All the houses seem to have
been rooms round a central hosh. Remember the knotted dragon on
the faÁade and the rinceaux with tiny putti figures in the doorway of the
closed room - cf Santa Costanza. When I had done my work I
photographed artillery and cavalry. Off at 9.30. Ismail Beg, Mehmed
Mehdi (riding a fine Arab horse without a saddle) Hajj 'Arif (he is from
Khankin [Khanaqin[?]] and a relation of Mustafa Pasha) Nazif Beg, the
cavalry officer, and one other Turkish officer rode out with me for an
hour over the downs. Our true direction shd have been NW but we
rode NNW. There is a great stretch of salt to the W. All the Arabs get
salt from there. Crossed a valley at 11.15 with salt water pools in it
and a smaller valley with some salt pools at 12.30 when I lunched. At
1 two valleys came in from the NW, the second being the W. Metyaha.
Near its junction with the Tharthar [Tharthar, Wadi ath] was a fresh
water pool and we sent back Muhammad to fill a girbeh. We had
come near the Tharthar at 1 below the junction of the valleys. Above
the Metyaha it takes a wide bend to the E. We rode N. At 2.30 saw
Hatra [Hadr, Al] SSE, J Sinjar [Sinjar, Jabal], highest point NW on
road N. We rejoined the Tharthar at 3.20 and turned up it NNW. Lots
of tents and flocks of the Hadidiyin and a few Abu Muhammad, both
belonging to the Mosul [Mawsil, Al] district. Shortly after met a very
good looking Turkish officer riding to Hatra and told him the distance
before him. He came from Tell 'Afar [Tall 'Afar]. The desert too
delicious; grass and flowers and some big tells by the Tharthar 3/4
hour to N of one of them camped by the Tharthar among grass at
5.30, about a mile from some Hadidiyin. Sent up our zaptieh,
'Abdullah (of the Abu Muhammad) to get leben and shenineh.
Another zaptieh joined us coming up from the S. The baggage
horses wd not drink the Tharthar water it was so salt. Delicious
moonlight night, cool and still. Fattuh had neuralgia.

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