Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/27

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PERSIA.

northern part of Khorasan, they have small portable wooden huts instead of tents. They subsist chiefly on the produce of their flocks and herds, pay of course very little attention to agriculture, and are almost utter strangers to the mechanic arts, though they make cloth and various other articles for their own use.

The wandering tribes collectively are divided into four great classes, according to the language which they speak, and from which they are denominated.

1. The Turkish language is the most numerous: it comprises 41 families or branches, and 428,000 persons. The Afshars and the Cadjars are the most powerful of these tribes. The former are spread over all Persia, but especially in Adherbijan, and amount to about 28,000 souls. The Cadjars dwell in Mazanderan, at Teheran, at Meru in Khorasan, at Erivan, and at Guindjeh: their number is estimated at 40,000. Feth Ali Shah, the reigning sovereign of Persia, is of this tribe, to which most of the great officers of the empire also belong.

2. The Courd language embraces nine families, and numbers about 79,000 individuals. To this class belonged the celebrated Kerim Khan, whose tribe, the Zends, has been almost exterminated since the tragical end of Lootf Ali; the few survivors being in some measure proscribed by the reigning dynasty, and bring concealed, or out of the kingdom.

3. The Louree language has six families, and comprises 84,500 persons. The numerous tribes of the Faeelees and Bakhtiarees form part of it. The latter supply the army with the best infantry, but inhabiting, like the former, a mountainous tract bordering on Turkey and Persia, they live independent of both powers.

4. The Arab language. The tribes of this division are of Arabian extraction. Time, and a long residence in a foreign country, have caused them to lose much of the language of their forefathers; so that they now speak a very corrupt Arabic, mixed with a great number of Persian words. This division comprehends eight families, and 93,500 souls.

Thus the total population furnished by the different families here enumerated, amounts to about 685,500 persons; but in this estimate are included only the tribes that are best known, while many others, concerning which we have no positive information, are wholly omitted.

Each of the principal tribes is divided into several tiraz, or branches, all having their respective chiefs, subordinate to the supreme chieftain of the tribe. These chiefs are, as to birth and the power they possess, the highest personages of the state; hence the king is anxious to keep them about him, by giving