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246 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

and from this point onward the volume of water in the channel is greatly reduced by canals

and reservoirs, into which it was distributed. Though thus diminished, the stream

maintains its course to the Gulf, which it enters after a winding route of two hundred

miles. This river, after its junction with the Abi Zard, is navigable for boats of

considerable burden, its breadth being over a hundred yards.

Much larger than either of the streams just described is the KURAN. Like the preceding, it

is made up of two branches, the Kuran proper and the DIZFUL. The former stream takes its

rise in the Yellow Mountains, bordering Persia, and after a tortuous course breaks through

the Zagros and turns in a south-westerly course to Shuster. Here the stream divides into

two channels, to be reunited just above the junction with the Dizful. From its fountains

to this junction the Kuran is two hundred and ten miles in length, and the Dizful, before

the waters of the two streams are joined, has flowed a distance of two hundred and eighty

miles. Below the confluence the Kuran is a majestic river, equaling or surpassing in

volume either the Tigris or the Euphrates. The mouth of this great stream is in the Shat-

el-Arab, about twenty miles below the city of Busra. The whole length of the Kuran is

about four hundred and thirty miles.

A longer but less important river belonging to the same region is the KERKAH--the Cloaspes

of the ancients. Its volume is made up from three principal tributaries, all of which flow

down from the slopes of the Zagros. After the union of the three branches the river takes

a westerly course, passing the city of Behistun and the ruins of Rudbar. At the last-named

place the channel finds its way out of the mountainous district, and after its confluence

with the Abi-Zal, flows into the plain. With its left margin it washes the ruins of Susa,

and thence turning to the south-west falls, after a course of more than five hundred

miles, into the Shat-el-Arab. The Kerkah is navigable for large-sized boats.

Of the two great rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris, without which Ghaldaea,

Assyria, Babylonia had never been, a full description has already been given in Books

Second and Third. In like manner the course and character of most of the Mesopotamian

streams have been sufficiently delineated. If we pass beyond the Euphrates to the west,

however, we shall find a great number of important streams not hitherto described or

noticed. Beginning at the north, the first of these is the SAJUR, a tributary of the

Euphrates. It is a stream about sixty-five miles in length, navigable in its lower course

for boats of the smaller sort. The waters are gathered from the spurs and foot-hills of

the Amanus range and are borne along by the ruin-crowned hill, Tel Khalid, to join the

parent river inlatitude 36 37' N.

The second river of this region is the KOWCIK, called by the Greeks the Chalis. Its

sources are in the hills of Ain-Tab, and its channel is first directed towards the

Euphrates. Nature, however, has put barriers in this direction. In the plain near Aleppo a

large tributary from the north deflects the course of the stream to the south, and so, for

sixty miles, the river flows on through the sandy plain. At this point in its route it

meets the hills and is turned eastward for a short distance, where it enters and is lost

in the great brackish marsh called El Melak.

In that remarkable valley between the ranges Libanus and Antilibanus rises the ORONTES,

the finest river of Syria. The waters of this great stream are gath ered from the slopes

of the Antilibanus. Its upper fountain is seven miles north of the ruins of Baalbek. The

course of the river is first in a north-westerly direction, but after a sudden turn to the

north-east the stream flows along the foothills of the Antilibanus to Lebweh, where it is

deflected over to the plains of Lebanon. From this quarter the volume of water is

increased by many tributaries, and the river finds its way along the base of the Lebanon

range. Further on it flows through the Lake of Hems, and issuing, makes a detour around

the extreme of the mountains, turning towards the Mediterranean. In this part it

traverses, the valley of Antioch,