Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/7

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vii
PREFACE.

from the Hebrew word {{{2}}}‎, ‘to dip,’ and it was applied to the followers of El-Hasaih in reference to their frequent ablutions. Their present representatives are the Mendaïtes, Gnostics, Nazoreans, or, incorrectly, Christians of St. John, so called from their frequent lustrations with water, who dwell in the swamps on the banks of the Tigris near Bassora.

Besides the Sabians, there were others who took the name, about the year 830 of our era, to escape the persecutions of the Chalifs, particularly of El-Ma’mún, who threatened them with extermination; assuming at the same time something of the dress and forms of the persecuting Mussulmans. These pseudo-Sabians are represented by the modern Yesidis and the Shemsiya, both of whom are fire-worshippers, or perhaps, rather, worshippers of