Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/8

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viii
PREFACE.

the sun and the planets, at heart, though the first profess a kind of bastard Islamism, and the latter, since about the year 1762, a mongrel Christianity. These pseudo-Sabians dwelt in the land of Harran, and their descendants have become familiar to us by the narratives of Layard and Southgate, and some recent discussions as to the site of the well of Harran in the Athenæum.

In collecting together and examining his materials for this important work, Professor Chwolson necessarily had to dip deeply into the sources of old Babylonian or Nabathæan literature, greatly encouraged in the pursuit by the previous labours of M. Quatremère;[1] and men, who were fully competent to judge of his high linguistic attainments, began to look anxiously for-

  1. Mémoire sur les Nabatéens, in the Journal Asiatique, 1835; reprinted in the Mélanges d'Histoire et de Philologie Orientale.