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Devil-Worshippers: Their Beliefs and Their Sacred Books Author(s): Alphonse Mingana Source: Journal of the Royal Asiatic

Society of Great Britain and Ireland, (Jul., 1916), pp. 505-526 Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 24/10/2013 14:27
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By T710R I because life. (1) Yezidi standing narrative some know I have The time ALPHONSE I have MINGANA to set forth what Devil-worshippers, of studying their parts: criticism; (2) out final portion of the documents. into two

felt constrained the Yezidis, or

about had

present under books features deals with of

special opportunities is divided article the the light sect. The of

some newly



The chief as editions follows E. G. of :? the Yezidi books niaj7 be summarized 1. Professor

iu 1895, the Browne, published * in an appendix of an Arabic text translation to Mr. 0. H. book Six Months ioi a Syriaoi This Parry's Mooiastery. to which Professor Robertson text, formerly belonged Smith, is said to have been written by a native of Mosul,2

and consists of the Yezidi Book of Revelation

and of two other afterwards Black Book. J. B. Chabot edited3 a 2. Mr.

iSA\ c-^Ui

the greater accounts, part of which was the in a second Yezidi book called embodied

text from the Syriac same sources, which to with slight variations, corresponds, loc. of Browne the second account cit., pp. 380-3), (Parry, and seems to be a simple translation of it (Chabot, ibid , p. 100).
from a Garshuni in Bibliotheque copy preserved 306 and 325), v. infra. (Fonds Syriaquc, 2 be revealed. Ibid., p. 356 ; his name will presently 3 In Journal ser. ix, t. vii, pp. 100 ff., 1896. Asiatique, 1 Transcribed Xationale

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506 3. Mr. S. Giamil an Italian


a Syriac text in Rome, 1900, a from translation, manuscript preserved " of Dame des Sentences", in the Monastery Notre of " un the title Monte di under Storia Alkosh, Singar; This deals with the Yezidis, MS. Ignoto". Popolo a Syrian the statement named to of according priest with Isaac, who had dwelt among The better than others did. form them book in order is often and to knqwr written into of God them in the ten and

and answers, of questions treat respectively sections, which His abode

is divided

of the works

of Adam and Eve (p. 8), the (p. 3), the Creation the God Yezid deeds of wonderful (p. 16), the Yezidi Holy the Year New Men Customs (p. 32), Marriage (p. 27),

(p. 40), Death

Sheikh Sheikh

and Burial

(p. 53), the Pilgrimage


and Gatherings at 'Adi's shrine (p. 67), the Feasts 'Adi (p. 80), the Yezidi Kings (p. 87). at Chicago, in tho American 4. Dr. I. Joseph published


1909, (vol. xxv, January, Languages of Semitic an Arabic more text containing pp. 112 ff.), completely books of the Yezidis, i.e. Book of Revelation the religious In this (^>. <*_Ls^*). a long are followed by a certain by compiled scholars have

(LLfih c?>\z?) and the Black Book the two sacred books publication narration


Yezidi that these


think been


is texts of all these The author a native 'Ain of Jeremias Shamir, probably Kawa in Adiabene, from the Monastery of and a deserter a at ten advanced who died Alkosh, very years ago age. We of an eye-witness, quote about him the testimony possibly misled. Shammas Mr. O. H. Parry (loc. cit., pp. 252-3)? *' There is an old man, well known to the few Englishmen of the who have visited Mosul, once an East Syrian monk a He has bo of R. Hormuzd. which would history Monastery for he has been if ho wrote it himself; worth writing, especially a traveller, with the manner of an Englishman, and the heart of

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a Syrian;











in the country changes before all things he is a gossip

But to Mosul. from Erzingan ; if there is news from Stamboul,

third is the first to retail it; for is not his wife's Shammas cousin third division clerk in tho telegraph office ? Has the run off with a Mullah's was at the Mufti Shammas wife? bottom of it, and probably supplied from his own stud (for he is a bit of a dealer in horse flesh) the requisite barb. He deals too, in Manuscripts
once some on a time books,

and ancient
over-reached I was which

books, Persian,
himself examining, in he

Arabic, Syriac
this pursuit. me showed one

; and
Among more

so shamelessly Its actual personality especially commendable. belied its decent age and virtue as described by Shammas that he drew forth a request that even if he loved gold, he should
spare my folly. . . . Truly these people have a strangely


sense of straightness,

or more


than books

they get can be





by external find

the Yezidi concerning and internal evidence.1 Proofs this

External I. Can we lucubrations rest them a copy of all

of the epoch All preceding on a Syriac to and two Arabic As writings. the Syriac document in it the of Alkosh, kept Monastery cannot the year 1865 A.D. I examined it very precede carefully, and my (Jouomal Asiatique, sur les MSS. S3'riaques Couvent Cod. Let order drawn above
1 We 2 "

long string of Jeremias?

of Yezidi

opinion Mai-Juin


by A. Scher and Juillet-Aoftt: "Notices la Bibliotheque Seinences," 1906, p. dans du 76, In is

it is shared

conserves des

de Notre turn


144). us now

of date we up from mentioned.


to the puzzling Arabic documents. first to Parry's text. Its account of

the MSS. Here

the Bibliotheque Nationale, is what wc read in the report of them (Cod. 300).

J. B. Chabot,2


has catalogued

refer to the Asiatic Journal of Chicago. sur les MSS. Notice de la Bibliotheque Syriaques : JA., ser. ix, t. viii, 1896. 1876" depuis


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508 "

DEVIL-WORSHIPPERS extracts from fol. the book of

(iii, 2e, 346, we are by 'Abdul 'Aziz in the year and fol. Cod. 12, 1889, 164, tells us 323, p. it for the Subdeacon 'Abdul 'Aziz, wrote that the copyist, fol. 926, informed of the colophon p. 7). By that this MS. has been written the deacon I know time Jeremias. the Subdeacon Abdul for 'Aziz; he has since that at the Jacobite community by the name of Kas 'Aziz.

some Again we will write entitled the Yezidis Djalwah,

the Black


been ordained priest and he is now known Mosul; and the date of the MS. the provenance In considering wre notice that it is still more at Chicago, published recent. Arabic of our Yezidi Its MS. editor, Dr. I. Joseph, simpty was here presented printed by my friend Daoud As-Saigh, tells to us "The ine before

I left Mosul

as a memento

of ".l The oldest, then, of this string friendship a.d. can scarcely to and back MSS. 1865, go were of mould in the all fashioned them of probably





of all who




the Yezidis, read or write. only enjoys From tion. the

they are prohibited This I ascertained the

of privilege we infer: this fact must

how to from knowing One family for myself. an elementary educa having be (1) The in the sacred books of of this

custod3' naturalty community in the village i.e., if these books are, for instance, famity, as on the stated of Kasr 'ez-Eddin, p. 248, family must case. live there ; but this is not the also (2) If these be read in the annual assemblies books exist, they must and Moslem but of the Yezidis ; spectators many Christian that there have declared of these assemblies categoricalty was not

no such reading. The books, then, have been written in many of their Yezidis The to be read. (3) mingle in others that are and Moslems with Christians ; villages a non-Yezidi is found close to them; village purety Yezidi
1 Ibid., p. 111.

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DEVIL-WORSHIPPERS been how, then, have these Kurds of their books during 1,400 years ? not suspect their existence Internal I. These betray 'Ain Kawa which was that books contain able

509 to make a secret do

so that


Proofs some modern which thoughts Shamir. from Being and thought in it also. are some sentences

their author

is Jeremias

he spoke vulgar Syriac, In the Arabic text of these books there suggest that their author,

in Arabic, though writing in thinking Syriac. 1. (p. 119.) "to make understand <U*-$J /X*Jtj +isot <?1 never and to teach his people". The Arabic language a means a of dative-accusative is the which expresses J, by (niVnvV Such *?iijo ^H?Qjj). are ajLvcJI i?<sr "alms an a expression translation can of

case in Syriac special sign of this ^^ 2. (p. 130.) >J>yA\ v??>\ due to the souls of the dead ". hardly the Syriac 3. be Arabic, Jc*.c being ZoL used in similar

evidently sentences.

she conceived ?*^L^? "and (p. 128.) L^*i ^^jj forth our god ". The same remark and brought applies, as that of No. 1. The and in a more accentuated manner,

Syriac would be .OL^l^2^0

4. will own (p. 128.) ^$1 attract after nation ". <-r^j ^^ you a nation

<ul l-jss!L> i'wV=Jj which will withstand coined verb l?Jib' " You my from


the newly

the Syriac ^n\y seem exhibit II. These documents which expressions are some the to have a Christian words ; origin following term Beelzebub Testament instances: tbe New (p. 125), the evangelical "The Prince of \jj* JU!1 expression ^J, tbe this world" Evil and the One, (p. 119), meaning of the two castes clergy and distinction laity, the latter " of known under The Worldly" the name ^r-jULJ\ (pp. 131-2).

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510 An attentive that

DEVIL-WORSHIPPERS the conveys whose object the Yezidis were, and to practise. of the books beliefs and

impression was to declare not

of these books perusal a man are of the work they

to a foreigner what to know what to learn and for a Yezidi Jeremias some of appended interesting to the sacred about records

III. Yezidis customs the


The quasi-identity the Devil-worshippers. of en and la onise scioie this later narration, style are so which it with the sacred books themselves, joins to to assign both pieces that we are tempted striking of a some peculiarities We which author. subjoin single but characterize such coincidences both ; compositions our space we will cull only a few numerous too for being and from from four pages of the Book of the Revelation four other verb pages of the Jeremian narration. tongue, plural, uses which the is b3' his mother inspired a in the subject plural preceding :? the Arabic syntax absolutely against Book of Revelation, .j^-1 ^^U!i written 1. Jeremias,

Ifi^uj ^\ and


the outsiders call evils"(p. 119). ^Ju^r*^ *W?^^t^^

"although they were by prophets *^J do" (p. 120). l^U-M do not know what Jeremian Kotchaks (j*AJl &jjAj U^L^U the foreigners ^5 (p. 122). apostles" "because you

Narration. scour the not

cib "and

"The ^^L-Jb uiCj-ly3i uj^*M " U? Sanjaks (p. 137). <^J *y?Jj as other people put it on" (p. 137).

to them "(p. 130). "the Sheikhs proclaim J^\jH^\ a^J iojyv, about in both writings similar mistakes notice 2. We in identical article called the of the position u_?jjxJ\ J\

Book the


Revelation. things" 121).

h*\&\jy*\ (p. 120). ^Jl j-r*^



I move next facts

necessary (p. ...

worlds" which"

^jA\ j-^lij (p. 119)."

"in the A\j*j the "in all

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Jeremian Narration.
"and ^jc^j ^U-tflj of gifts to Sheikhs <U*J ^zj jLeV\ (j)tji\ 3. The same mistake the letter ^




ti\ u^^

that by a great number the}' think and to idols the\' shun" (p. 133). " was he called the yellow vessel".

proposition, a when they are governed by particle occurs in both pieces :? tense,

of dealing with the right position in verbs and nouns when they are subjects of the or the of tbis ^ in these words suppression requiring tbe jussive

those +* ment

of Revelation.
"I .. %> show them accept

l>*Jik> . ,.j UAJb >. j who


^jJJ ^.Wo
wonders ask


%L*fe~+ j^jjS^jJuj of the worlds and

JU*M ^jIjJ^ the change of Kl

to miracles " for them (p. 121), " and the govern their governors are



settled by me" (p. 121). ^^joJ " do not recall my name nor my

t<*^ ^u^jJil ^'li*^ " lest ye repent attributes,

(p. 122).
Jc^ Jeremian Narration. ;^i\ U^Jbj *j^jJ1 &}***? " . . . in the Emir of the house they gather money *$Ji? and they apportion it among them" <M l_^=< (p. 137). " it is that should necessary go up the they JLjs.^ ^JutAj "' " and hill (p. 137). fchtt *j1jLjj i^JLr^ u))**sr CJ\ut>j which out to the there they gather wood, carry they " Sheikh (p. 137). IV. The Black and so many make it go


modern back

such grave inconsequences is to that it conceptions, impossible the middle of the nineteenth before constitutes must the third


1. On sanjak money. till the


p. 129 we (ind that Russia or district where the Kawwals Now


since Russia of not


first quarter could

go did not conquer Transcaucasia was over, the nineteenth century

as being under the Russian

to collect


(Jovernment in the middle

be made and


of that century,

by this man

a man

living is Jeremias.

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512 2. It is told near


in the Black Book (p. 127) that Noah's Ark the from Mosul stopped village of 'Ain Sefni, distant on to give and about five parasangs, p. 131 it is enjoined mone3' Roman does Mosul to not that the Kotchaks, they may of the The foundation soldiers. withstand town the of Mosul


century, anachronism

domination. to the time of Roman go back till the later part of the seventh its suburbs, " were This Tower of the Hebrews".1 styled may be explained of Jeremias. not criticize it is not observe the by the restricted relation drawn historical

knowledge need We priest sacred

an integral part in it the following inconsistency: but to have been a Jacobite, Isaac is believed by Jeremias and in the middle of the book our mouk forgets himself, own the he mentions books of his liturgical thinking Isaac, since books. We

up by the of the Yezidi

and the Gazza. viz. the Iladhra Brevianr, S3'i*o-Oriental the first part of our inquiry b3' remarking We conclude that every thing that we do not wish our readers to believe some records for they contain is wrong, in these books of the habits and customs of the Yezidis that and formed which are true; incontestabty who put them into a sacred the Yezidis what practised oral legislation sanctioned by going handed but wre maintain book, it wras Jeremias into a code

to an instinctively according from father to son and down with years. an aureole of


author^ religious back four hundred


is surprising of the Yezidis, spoken Nestorian historians, I. It among


ever has S3Triac waiter in spite of the fact that Syrian were and Jacobite alike, alwa3rs that no of Theodore
et Carmina, vol.



11th Book

ii, ad in

the Dialogue

Xarsai Ilomilue Cf. A. Mingana, and Elija. of the Angel


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DEVIL-WfORSHIPPERS Scholial Christian, the Yezidis, another book gives contains notices he had

513 all the Pagan, did not mention them with

interesting sects. and Gnostic it was The us because ninth


If Theodore

identified of John about



chapter information

divinities, about


and Western,



Bar-Penkaye's all the Pagan dumb is utterly is in

his neighbours.2 the Yezidis, a derivative of The word Yezidi, Joj:? Yezid, ^^Ji our da3' onty hy Arabic-speaking the Yezidis of to applied the vulgar-S3rriac Muhammadans; speaking Christians the villages that near Mosul call them J?* t ?? or Does or followers of Bardesanes.


Daisaoiites3 show

this name

of the famous astrologer they are the partisans in the second centuryT, played Bardesanes of Edessa who, a role in the histoiy ? so important of S3'riac literature

The daity worship which these Yezidis direct to the stars,

to the light books where sun and the moon, on this " When his appellation. they see the Sun fall; its may It perhaps is written throw in a vay of the Yezidi

the moon

ra3^s first first casts


the place rise, they kiss also kiss the the3' spot where one and the last which ra3's information ". a Some about consider the it to




precise origin be a derivative countiy formed in from

no good therefore, " of the name Yezidi of Yazid or Yazd,

of Mazdaisin

opposition which suggests

town in Iran, tbe or a relative and Parsiism,4 adjective noun j\j Yazd," the Persian the good spirit," to Ahriman, the evil principle.5 A fact the Iranian origin of the Yezidis
Khouabir. tbe i. p. p. Golf, second 111. 10, and New

is that
Paris, part.

1 des coupes de Mandaitcs H. Pognon, Inscriptions 10!) II*. 1889. He Partie, ii, pp. app. 2 Sources Syriaqncs, vol. i, p. vii of Cf. A. Mingnna, 3 Cf. Badger, The Nestorians and Jlitnals, vol. 4 Past William Persia and Jackson's Present, International (art. Yezidis). Encyclopedia 5 zum Persischen Cf. Oppenheinis Vom Millet meer 1900.

ii, 148, etc.,

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514 all

devil-worshippers i.e. a Medo-Persian Kurdish, if the following taken passage, has historical Ash-Shahristani, any It is found ivan-nihal


provincial from the Arab

to-day dialect.

speak But


could not be maintained. value, this opinion in Curetons of Kitab edition id-Milal (pt. i, p. 101). " The Yezidis that he would

are the followers of Yezld

ben Unaisa who


before keep friendship with the first Muhakkama, the Azarika; he separated himself from those who followed after them, with the exception of the Abfuliyah, for with these he was He believed that God would send an apostle from friendly. among the Persians, and would reveal to him a book that is in Heaven, and would reveal the whole (book) to already written him at one time, and as a result he would leave the religion of God bless and save him!? the Chosen One?may Muhammad, in the Kur'an. and follow the religion of the Sabians mentioned These are not the Sabians who aro found in Harran and Wasit. But Yezid associated himself with the People of the Book who the Chosen One as a Prophet, even though they did not recognized his (Mohammad's) religion. And he said that the followers accept are among those who agree with him; but of the ordinances infidels and give companions to God, and that every sin, small or great, is idolatry." a preponderant It would be rash to attribute authority that others to Ash-Shahristani, Yezidis of our day. a mania
can count,



if tbis

Muhammadan back

to the refers quotation writers have sometimes to Islam


for bringing
even in our


; and



Khan's time of Muhammadan invasions have been a Moslem above after Sheikh. the Moreover, seems somewhat to the mention unlikely, owing problematic Therefore,
from " Theodore Les sectateurs

renamed account of the Persia. a passage


pseudo-prophet having we can quote Ash-Shahristani

Bar-Kewani1:? de cette religion avaient un chef





de la famille des Klilayes,

1 Edition


de Gaoukai.
ibid., pp. 221-2.

Ce Papa avait un

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esclave soustraire

nomme a

Battai, l'esclavage,

qui, et

a cause se cacha


sa paresse, parmi les

s'enfuit Juifs.

pour De

se chez

les disciples de Manes, recueillit et mit en ordre quelques-uns de leurs discours et quelques bribes de leurs et, a Tepoque du roi Firouz, mysteres lorsque un magiques, decret fut rendu contre les idoles et leurs pret res ordonnant que la religion des Mages seule subsisterait, Battai, voyant que sa eux il se rendit chez religion




les Mages
feu, et

et adora

les astres.



son nom de Battai, II changea et pris celui de " il vient ". dieux 11 des Yazdani, qui signifie emprunta aux Juifs la defense de manger de la viande du pore, au Pentateuque le signe de la croix le nom du Seigneur Dieu, et aux Chretiens demeures. Ses adherents qu'il jetait sur l'epaule gauche de ses auditeurs. disent que la croix est le secret de la limite entre le pere de la
grandeur et la terre inferieure."

This studied.







be deepty

The Yezidis and

discussion has been great this has not it but name, origin a of the The in clear solution resulted problem. ly pothesis more the is that to writer which appears present probable honours. raised about the of this name a falsification who considers of Dr. Lidzbarski,1 of the name of the god Tamuz. Dr. Joseph (ibid., p. 250) objects that it is not certain that a wdw. several

tithes, divine present

cany with them, in order to collect mone3' a cock of metal to which called Tdous they A

in Kurdish


letter mini is not this


This objection instances where

Here are a few

sometimes changes there sound, because of

oiaone : jU for A}

to are


?>i-im to wdw
; jU

^Ui ^-3; ^\^ our of the Yezidis 1)3' are to from those Dr. different Taous, rejoins day Joseph, are to Tamuz. what But attributed that the ancients
1 ZDMG., i, 592.

eoje for *l>- from ^>etc. The characteristics

; ^

halflov attributed


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516 these we characteristics have and and

DEVIL-WORSHIPPERS ? Before we answer this


fuller about To

Yezidis, affected of observances

objection of the knowledge origin transformations the great that have about the their their religious of Jewish, unequal amalgam even Muhammadan and conceptions, they are beliefs, some by Sassanid religion beliefs and in their the course

overturned us seem to be an


Christian, pagan, and wre are tempted on this ground to say that a survival ancient Chaldeo-Mazdean from the greatly aberrations We influenced in the second century that, people of Gnostic a historical there Persia, called Tamuz. century, our

have of

thought. tradition were John in the

in the who

empire a divinity for the eighth not vol. shows yet i, pt.

Bar-Penkaye ninth chapter Sources

worshipped affirms this of his book


century) of Tamuz the worship prevalent in the valley of the Tigris in the but also not only which to the of the Beit-Arabaye, corresponds territory as the mountain of Sinjar far as surrounding territory are We chief centre of this occult religion. Nisibin?the unable Taous. Christians to identify Tamuz the name Persia with Moreover, in Sassanid than any other name was even Tamuz borne hy the Patriarch of Seleucia (cf.

ii, p. 7). clearly that

(cf. publication Bar-Kewani Theodore


(sixth was

I saw a Christian called Tamnza). of the fourth century of Sheranesh called Marcos from the village (Kurdistan) son of Tamuz, and another from the village of Karepshesh I give a passage (ibid.) whose name was Tamuz Yalda. as reproduced in the masterly from Theodore Bar-Kewani, book of M. Pognon (Inscriptions Semitiques, Paris, 1907, pp. 181-2):? " Ce Tamuza etait, dit on, un berger, et il aimait une femme Elle etait de Pile de celebre, et van tee a cause de sa beaute.
Chypre et se nommait Balthi, son pere se nommait Heracles,

sa mere


et son mari





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du Li car

ban. a cause

Tamuza, que Ton


dans aussi le

les montagnes planete Venus,

C'est de

elle sa


corruption, pleura
Janvier ce pain

son pere
fit cuire les du

lui avait
sur on


ce nom.

; on que

jours pendant
pain paiens, chez

le mois

de Tenet,
terre, appelle

pere la est mois le de qui Son

le mangea, et encore c'est la


galette suivit dans tua, mais

prostituee, mourut

de la maison

son mari, la pour Hephaistos, du Liban, Tamuza les le rencontra et le montagnes lui aussi mourut dechire par un sanglier. Cette de Tebet.
suite de sur l'amour son cadavre. qu'elle Son avait pere, pour en Tamuza, apprenant

par de


institua un deuil au mois de juillet, et, de leur cote, les de Tamuza le pleurerent. Tels furent les pleurs que parents sur des Tamuza repandirent impies que le peuple hebreu imita. sa mort,
Nous ajoutons encore que Heracles, le pere de cette malheureuse,

fit son image, en y employant beaucoup d'or, et que comme il 6tait le chef du pays, il forca tout le monde a l'adorer. A la sa se tous les fin, pour que reputation repandit davantage dans roi du pays d'Arab, de fondre une image pays, il forea Hamor, de la planete de Venus,
meme, aussi. Ce Hamor

et la lui envoya
la recut et

pour qu'il
la remit a

un de


Mouna, pour qu'il veillat sur elle; quelque on la lui vola et, dans sa terreur, il raconta a son apres temps maitre que l'image de femme avait ete mecontante, qu'elle s'etait envolee, et etait allee resider dans l'etoile elle-meme. Hamor se leva a l'aube, dressa une tente, crea un pretre de la serviteurs c'est la fete que planete Venus, et fit de grandes rejouissances; celebraient chaque anneo les habitants du pays d'Arab. Quant
a ce serviteur, craignant qu'il no fut reconnu que l'image de


pas allee dans l'etoile, il s'enfuit, vint sur le Tigre, prit du bois de chene . . ." is this Tamuz under the figure of Why represented a bird ? In the excavations in Assyria made many n'etait of representations Sir Henry Layard " bird-like writes deities about them have as been follows:? found.


The Ynges, or sacred birds, belonged probably also to the Assyrian religion.
demons who exercised a peculiar

to the Babylonian and They were a kind of

over mankind,


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of the Zoroastrian system. The oracles describe them as powers animated by Their images, made of gold, were in the palace of the God. of Babylon, king (lib. i, cap. 25, and according to Philostratus lib. vi, cap. 2). It is They were connected with magic. in a bas-relief from possible that the birds borne by warriors
the centre l palace may represent the Ynges."

resembling the ferouhcr to Zoroaster attributed


The worship of sacred birds which in Assyria flourished also known to the Israelites. We read in Deut. iv, " Lest make and 16, 17, ye you corrupt yourselves, a graven . . . the likeness fowl of any winged image, that ilieth in the air." not be the image of Taous Majr of the old Babylonian come to the third religion ?

a survival We Anastase claims now

Marie, to have has

a Carmelite discovered

Father part of our study. in monk, missionary Baghdad, in Jebel Sinjar the original

manuscript Jeremias written they were

of the Yezidi


in Arabic

that these sacred books were proved tbe discovered text shows that ; newly in Kurdish, worded which no one has hitherto some literature, apart from to that this propose discovery suggest in too man}' be criteria to considered literary any ancient among
? "

to have supposed tribal songs. We is deficient as scientifically 1. We meet

" Qu'est-ce


irrefragable. with European ideas of offices Father Anastase asks?

qui vous a poussc a vous faire


convert and hero of this episode answers : J'ai ?te domestique et en memo temps bibliothecaire chez lo chef religieux de ma secte pendant sept ans." Is it possible that the most secret can be given to a servant, and of the Yezidis employment to an Eastern one, who may stay with me in the especially and live with This event my enemy in tho evening? morning
1 Xinereh 2 "La and d6eouverte 1911, its Remains, vol. ii, p. 4G2. recente des deux livrcs pp. 1-30), par le Pere to this article. Atuistase sacres Marie. des We Yezidis'' refer in




(Anlhropos, the following


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took place in 1898. On p. 8 we read tbe following lines: " Vers la fin du Juin, 1904 (tbe hero of Fr. Anastase was already dead), j'ai quittc Mossoul pour me rendre a Borne, pur et voie du desert, en passant par Sinjar, Dcrezzor, Alep, . . . a En arrivant Beyrouth Sinjar je suis alle voir lc Sheikh. C'etait
venir me

un grand

et je

. . . J'avais
lui ai proinis


le bibliothecaire


le soir,

We the two

do not


recognize he had never person of them convert, about ?

how to answer narration, How could Father Anastase (1) questions: so easily the librarian of a town whom country know, from


met before, and who was such a secretive one Have the Yezidis, then, two librarians, (2) the village of Father Anastase's living at Bozi, in Jebel and the other from it distant Sinjar,

? This contra fact is wholly days' journey was who this But of the Yezidis chief dictory. religious to whom the hero of Father living in the village of Bozi was a librarian ? ? Wras he Was he Anastase Sheikh a Kawwal This that have civil death ? Was he a Kotchak ? Was he a Peer ?[ because it is hardly credible point is very important one of the obscure members of the Yrezidi sect should a librarian. chief of It is well known that the the Yezidis, the religious and of life and power


over his co-religionists, in the family of of heredity village of Ba'adri, Father Anastase these tells

having on the is appointed principle 2 'Ali Beg and resides at the in the district of Shcikhan, near Mosul. us that he was who fortunate became in a Yezidi

a finding through a divine vision. The who reader Christian, guided by at hand will be glad to hear has not a copy of Anthrojws :? the beginning of the vision books
" Je bien dormais par these un suite sacred jour des ranks profondement, luttes of que the Yezidis j'ai le eu soir a d'une sou journee re and agitee, all ten ir cont op. Agha cit.,

1 For Browne 2 He Safar

see Badger,

in Parry's work, pp. has been killed three ; his son 1916. succeeded 34 him.

301-3. years ago by a Muhammadan named


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le sommeil, je me vis dans un jardin arrose dont et les arbres etaient splendide, abondamment sous le poids de leurs fruits. Les fleurs de tous genres courbes ce paradis de delices. Voulant et de toutes couleurs emaillaient contempler ii loisir la beaute de la nature, je m'assis a rombre Pendant

d'un grand arbre, plusieurs fois seculaire et dont les branches etaient couvertes de petits oiseaux chanteurs qui semblaient se " disputer la palme de la melodie (p. 2). the divine to discuss purpose inspirations can lavish upon His but that the Holy Ghost servants; wc cannot help wondering of at the literary proficiency It in his description father. by his spiritual 7 to from in last my During January journey Turkey, near Sinjar. I asked I wras passing March 17 of 1913, but of Sinjiir, this discovery, about friends, Yezidis many even or were answer to to unable my questions, they understand my doubts I communicated I reached Mardin, the to the Rev. A. N. Andrus, veteran American them. When wrho for our Kurd, who piously assisted awakens a suspicion that he has been is not our


these assisted forty years effectively at in the British Constantinople Embassy devil-worshippers trials which the frightful through they endured during

and of Mosul, of the governors attitude the intolerant more than 4,000 to 1912, distributed 1908 from who, in their utmost and Yezidis to Christians Ottoman pounds that such a man need. Our readers will easily imagine Now must have certain consideration among the Yezidis. I found that he, like me, had been shocked by the strange and that he had undertaken of Father Anastase, discovery a journey in 1912 this story. verify on the information chief of from April He passed 17 in order to 5 to May and sought by Ba'adri the spiritual and temporal and country, and the Yezidis, which was interrogated but only received undertaken

spot from to Sinjar and went the Yezidis, of that small lvhodar Alias, the sheikh astonishment answers. His among excursion,

aroused negative

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521 so far as


for other new

purposes, was





alleged 2. The 1904,

discovery books discovered

concerned. in Anastase Marie by Father him in 1911 in the review the Book and of Revelation to Father Anastase into Arabic sect. We by cannot


Anthropos, the Black

published by are the same as

tongue two objections to this: (1) We are not told help raising did what the Yezidis in translating utility experience As all the Yezidis them. this translation Kurdish, speak would Black (p. be useless Booh 127, that to God them. ?. it is said in the Moreover, in Kurdish to the Yezidis spoke then, wiry, for that of should their they have ? persecutors Yezidi who

Book, (p. 7), have been a Yezidi versed

which, according translated from Kurdish in the of the

to congratulate this learned ought a text which would so easily translate into Arabic and Semitic scholars. puzzle the best Turanian in which The script, too, these books are presented is no less strange. It has nothing in common with hiero could nor Syriac, nor Aramaic, ; it is not cuneiform, glyphics nor Hebrew, nor Kufic, nor nor nor Mandaite, Mongolian, nor Ural-Altaic, nor Arabic, nor Cypriote, Ugro-Tartaric. and where When has this writing ? The been developed did not books, though writing, on stone, the Avant to be read; and since the inscriptions are mute the nature about papyri, and the vellum MSS. is it likely and origin of this writing, that a newly in the mountain book of Sinjar reveal discovered would its secret The under years existence ? of Sinjar formed of Beit under bishop the a Nestorian 'Arabaye, and bishopric for many of Tagrit. mountain first author of these Yezidi

changed (2) We

ed.); Chicago this language

the Metropolitan a Jacobite see a Nestorian

Probably inroads. of their

The Monopbysites the Henanites, allies,

Maphrian there till the Mongol with the assistance attempted, resided from the seventh

to the

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522 ninth


to supplant the Nestorian ; but century, community the ephemeral succeeded but their efforts only during and the of Gabriel the Nestorians time Drusbed, deadly It happened about the fourteenth their inasteiy.1 regained century that Christians a horrible of to subjected these years villages pagan, of these dwelling massacre on this mountain Khans. were In the by Tartar

many inhabiting people who had till then remained in the neighbourhood, raids from the diurnal there to seek shelter went barbarous hitherto or Christian, the presence hordes found of of on the plains. All this mountain so far as the ancient are either


monuments Assyrian betrays invasion. Yezidis fifteenth

and, the Yezidis

I know, nothing the Tartar before

of Sinjar the occupation Therefore, by the a can scarcely to before back the go period An earlier date is not suggested either century. or by the character villagers of any is rapine them of

of the mountain by the history extant monument. occupation There plunder. a centre, and religious and The chief of is no

these Yezidi shadow

amongst go there ordinarily simple Kawwals of Bal.ishika and Bahzani, north-east from the villages use could there be for books in villages What of Mosul. to any so rude, and whose do not belong inhabitants caste ? privileged

residing of the

is the religious and political Chief of the Yezidis,

in his fact palace that his at Ba'adri, near

Mosul, ignorant books ? sacred possesses religion If he be aware of it, how can he allow thern to be kept by ? Why does he not in Sinjar robbers uneducated living over his his enhance subjects by adorning fairy j>restige his own 3. The gloomy books seen, rooms with recentty the same



found as

1 pp.

Cf. 217 J. 6eq.

are, as by Father Anastase those discovered thirty years

dans VEmpire Perse, 1904,



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523 two men Book are we


But which by Jeremias. finished to believe? Anastase changed


these and

his Black

the sixth this a

sentence, conclusion to

gives to his.

into atmosphere"; us six pages of Which of

by "and after Jeremias, as fine Arabic writing, discoverers of in has the its


dared Yezidis

hand on these relics lay a sacrilegious is more moderate ? The text of Anastase more educated and and concise in

and details, the ears of a text shortened Fr. Anastase's For

so ancient

people. so secret

that might shock places Can anyone how explain has been and lengthened,

as is clearly the case when changed, ? that of Dr. Joseph is collated with edition

was the following it because instance, was passage offensive from the to pious ears that it has been deleted ? (edition Black Book in Anastase's edition Jeremias, p. 223) :? " Now it came to pass, after the creation of Eve and ali the over the question that Adam and Eve quarrelled animals, whether the human race should descend from him or from her, This quarrel originated for each wished to be its sole begetter. in their observation of the fact that among animals both the male and the female were factors in the reproduction of their After a long discussion, Adam and Eve respective species. agreed to this: each should cast his seed into a jar, close it, and seal it with his own seal, and wait for nine months. When they opened
in Adam's two our jai' sect,

two the

jars at
children, Yezidis,

the end of
male are and descended.

this period,
female. In Now Eve's

from jar

these they

And found nought but rotten worms, emitting a foul odour. God caused nipples to grow on Adam, that he might suckle the
children has that came out of his jar. This is the reason why man nipples." There are also many anecdotes of a somewhat eccentric







in Anastase's


We mention only the following (p. 223):? " And know that, besides the flood of Noah, there was another . . . Now our sect, the Yezidis, are descended flood in this world.

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from No'mi, an honoured person, king of peace. We call him Melik Miran. The other sects are descended from Ham, who despised his father. . . . The ship rested at a village called *Ain The cause of about five parasangs. Sifni, distant from Mosul the first flood was the mockery of those who were without, Jews, Christians, ... Eve to pass that after some time God sent scorpions upon MuYuviah, which bit him, causing his face to break out with poison. lest Physicians urged him to marry, an he die. Hearing him old this, he consented. They brought Moslems, It came and others descended from Adam and

woman, eighty years of age, in order that no child might be born. Mu'ilwiah knew his wife, and in the morning she appeared a woman of twenty-five, by the power of the great God." What dooms these Jeremio-Anastasian to con books demnation For work but is the strange of similar narratives. transposition one passage about how God continued the instance, of Creation the scribe is placed of Anastase's after the Creation ; by Jeremias that the place text, noticing it in his narrative logical, put Here is the beginning of that

to it was not assigned before the story of the Creation.


41 None



of us is allowed
it, such as Satan,

to utter his name, nor anything

cord, evil, river, or any word


these aro forbidden to us out of So lettuce is debarred. We do not eat it, for respect for him. it sounds like the name of our prophetess Hassiah. Fish is Likewise deer; for prohibited in honour of Jonah the prophet. sound. All
deer are the sheep of one of our prophets."

a similar

About a


flagrant whereas Jeremias assigns a to near it village (p. 248) and the Book of Revelation to the house of Mulla Haidar Anastase (p. 247), Father on them mountain of the both The latter puts Sinjar. discoverer assures us that dire access to these upon the slightest allowed. Here is what he says:? consequences sacrosanct will pieces follow being

holy contradiction




rest there books is our for discoverers, or to Semalo the Black Book


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chef divin (nous) a assures dans plus d'une occasion que si les livres sont voles on doit detruire imm&liate ment l'endroit ou la boite avait repose. Bi la boite est restee apres la disparition des feuillots qui y etaient contenus, on doit, Le meme
aussitot qu'on s'en apercoit, livrer aux flammes la petite caisse,

et detruire
divines autre, apres done leur ont de

le lieu sacre ou elle etait cachee ; et si enfin les pages

ete copiees a ou etre jeter pour reproduites connues tout au feu tout du d'une public, ... maniere on Ils pourrait doit ou d'une maniere appris, ecrits aussitot

l'avoir leurs compte."

sacre. ce qu'on

detruiraient dire sur


We It


our that

article the and of

is proved

by Arabic all other the

following could language


remark not have in the because

supplanted of valley

Syriac the Tigris


tongues spoken ninth century,

it is the the Umayyad empire, capital a.d. that acts directed about official who, 714, no and in be drawn in Greek.1 should Arabic, up longer The text of these books, since they contain many Arabic in Damascus, Caliph Walid expressions, we conceive Oriental cannot that letters, man were and Occidental, fixed, some unknown us in these perplexing could write letters which make ? is to not back times it Further, very go prehistoric to believe that a thoroughly improbable tongue vulgar should suddenly have and regular grammar I shall be told documents too to subject ? orthography I have that treated become I answer the these laws Yezidi through If the of go back to the tenth century. all the in that century, when Can

severely, conviction that they were my conclusion that I have reached

it was that a mere swindle.

is wrong, I shall be proud a to think that by raising I have prepared the controversy of their genuineness. way for a better recognition While the present article was being prepared for the was I recent able to examine the work of Professor press,
1 Barliebroeus, Chron. Syr., ed. Bedjan, p. 115.

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526 of M. Bittner, latest discovery

DEVIL-WORSHIPPERS of Vienna, books.1 With

the University of the Yezidi

the editor has published enterprise side by side with a new Arabic text from the texts previously known. the book has been

the concerning a praiseworthy the Kurdish original

differing considerably The Kurdish part of

of the alphabet by means deciphered exhibited Anastase himself Father in the number of by the Anthropos referred to above. Tbis work I had myself carried numerous to the ago, but owing of the authenticity against objections abandoned is I definitely It these pieces researches. my will render still to be hoped that the learned Orientalist to the Yezidis service further every doubt by removing years raised hitherto very has made any serious access to their precarious.
der Jeziden and oder Teufelsanbeler annotations, (pt. 1-98; pp. of 14 plates). der Wissensch. iv contains and pt. Vienna, in Wien. v

out more



1Die the




translation, transcription, the original Kurdish contains 1913, in the series Denkschr.

script, consisting der Kaiserl. Akad.

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