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the Walls of the Antelopes. A great part of the old city, fortified at proper distances with small square turrets, is still remaining; the whole of which, it is conjectured, could not exceed six furlongs in circumference. Of this place, once important as a military station, Tacitus has given a very good description ; for it was erected upon a small plat of level ground, everywhere surrounded with bare hills and gloomy forests, inspiring the mind of the traveller with the profoundest melancholy.*
Advancing towards the Sahara, we become acquainted with the names of various clans who feed their flocks on its borders, and of several hills which define their boundaries, or prove a landmark to their scattered dependances. The most distant, and in some respects the most savage, are the Beni Mezzab, whose chief employment is the slaughter of animals for the markets of Algiers. It has been observed of these sons of Mezzab, that they are in general of a more swarthy complexion than the Getulians, who dwell farther to the north ; and, as they are separated from them by a wide inhospitable desert, they may probably be found to be a branch of the Melano-Getuli, or Black Getulians, so little known in the modern systems of geography. +
The province which divides Algiers from Morocco bears the name of Tlemsan, the Moorish corruption of the ancient term Tremezen, and comprehends several towns that, from their historical importance rather than their actual condition, are not undeserving of a short description. The capital, known by the same appellation as the surrounding district, stands upon a rising ground below a range of precipices stretching from the Atlas Mountains. In the western part of the city there is a large basin, the work of the natives, which receives the numerous rills that trickle down from the elevated land towards the south, affording an ample supply of water for the beautiful gardens and plantations in the neighbourhood. Most of the walls of Tlemsan have been built, or rather moulded, in frames—a method which was
* Nec multo post adfertur Numidas apud castellum semiru. tum, ab ipsis quondam incensum, cui nomen Auzea, positis mapalibus consedisse fisos quia vastis circum saltibus claudeba tur.-Tacit. Annal., lib. iv.
+ Shaw, vol. i., p. 99.
used by the Africans and Spaniards so early as the days of Pliny. The mortar of which they consist is made up of sand, lime, and gravel, and has, by being well tempered, acquired all the strength and durability of stone. The dimensions of these fraines can still be determined; some of which must have been 100 yards in length and two yards in height and thickness. About the year 1670, Hassan, the Dey of Algiers, laid most of this town in ruins, as a punish
for the disaffection of the inhabitants; so that there is not now remaining above one sixth of the old metropolis, which, when entire, appears to have been at least four miles in circuit. In the dilapidated parts of the more ancient city are to be seen shafts of pillars and other relics of Roman magnificence; and Dr. Shaw observed in the walls of a mosque, constructed of the original materials, a number of altars dedicated to heathen gods.*
Still farther south are discovered, in a variety of situa, tions, the vestiges of Roman towns; which, however, convey no information beyond the simple fact, that a civilized people, powerful in arms, were once masters of the country. The ruins of Arbaal, Memon, EI Herba, Maliana, and Aquæ Calidæ Colonia, forcibly recall the descriptions of classical authors. In the vicinity of the station last r.amed, are several tombs and coffins of stone, containing, if the narratives of the inhabitants might be believed, skeletons and armour of a much larger size than could belong to men of modern times. The usages of the Goths and Vandals, who not unfrequently buried the horse and the rider in one grave, may account for the huge bones and long swords still found in that section of Africa, and at the same time illustrate the fine, verses of the poet.
“ Agricola incurvo terram molitus aratro,
Exesa inveniet scabra rubigine pila :
Virg. Georg., lib. i., v. 494.
* Travels in Barbary, vol. 1, p. 69.
The country around, possessed by various tribes, presents a succession of exceedingly rugged hills and deep valleys, very difficult and even dangerous to pass over. the best of our travellers, this danger and fatigue are amply compensated by visiting the delightful plains of the Hadjoute and Metijah, which lie beyond them ; those of the latter being nearly fifty miles long and twenty broad, and watered in every part by numerous springs and rivulets.*
Ascending to the coast, and turning towards Algiers, we arrive at the celebrated town of Oran, the possession of which was so long contested between the Spaniards and the Moors. It is described as being built upon the declivity, and near the foot of a mountain, which overlooks it from the north and west. On the high ground are two castles, which command the city on the one side, and the Marsa-Kebir on the other; while, on a lower level, are two forts, separated from the houses by a deep winding valley, which serves as a natural trench on the south. Hence it is manifest that this seaport is capable of an easy defence, and might be held by a small European garrison in spite of the utmost exertions of the natives.
This description, given on the authority of Shaw, is confirmed by the details of M. Rozet, who spent some time at Oran after the conquest of Algiers. The town, according to him, occupies two elongated platforms, separated from each other by a steep valley, in which runs a stream sufficiently strong to turn several mills, and to supply the inhabitants with abundance of water. The annexed view, taken by him on the spot, will assist the imagination of the reader in forming an idea of this remarkable station.
When the French army advanced to take possession of Oran, all the occupants of the town, with the exception of 300 or 400, saved themselves by flight, carrying with them their property, wives, and children. The Jews alone remained, and have proved faithful to their new masters ; showing, on various occasions, not less attachment to their cause than military talent in defending it. Rozet conjectures that the population, before this dispersion, must have amounted to between 5,000 and 6,000, consisting of Moors, Arabs, Negroes, Turks, Jews, and Koulouglis, whose habits, he
* Shaw, vol. i., p. 81