Travels In Syria And The Holy Land By John Lewis Burckhardt


























































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V. Beni Waszel [Arabic], about fifteen families, who live with the
Mezeine, and are usually found in the neighbourhood of - Page 709
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V. Beni Waszel [Arabic], About Fifteen Families, Who Live With The Mezeine, And Are Usually Found In The Neighbourhood Of Sherm.

They are said to have come originally from Barbary.

Some of their brethren are also settled in Upper Egypt.

These five tribes are comprised under the appellation Towara, or the Bedouins of Tor, and form a single body, whenever any foreign tribe of the northern Bedouins attacks any one of them; but sometimes, though not often, they have bloody quarrels among themselves. Their history, according to the reports of the best informed among them, founded upon tradition, is as follows:

At the period of the Mohammedan conquest, or soon after, the peninsula of Mount Sinai was inhabited exclusively by the tribe of Oulad Soleiman, or Beni Selman, together with the monks. The Szowaleha, and Aleygat, the latter originally from the eastern Syrian desert, were then living on the borders of Egypt, and in the Sherkieh or eastern district of the Delta, from whence they were

[p.559] accustomed to make frequent inroads into this territory, in order to carry off the date-harvest, and other fruits.[Some encampments of Szowaleha are still found in the Sherkieh.] Whenever the inundation of the Nile failed, they repaired in great numbers to these mountains, and pastured their herds in the fertile valleys, the vegetation of which is much more nutritious for camels and sheep than the luxuriant but insipid pastures on the banks of the Nile. After long wars the Szowaleha and Aleygat succeeded in reducing the Oulad Soleiman; many of their families were exterminated, others fled, and their feeble remains now live near Tor, where they still pride themselves upon having been the former lords of this peninsula.

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