1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Anah

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ANAH, or ‛Āna, a town on the Euphrates, about mid-way between the Gulf of Alexandretta and the Persian Gulf. It is called Hanat in a Babylonian letter (about 2200 B.C.), and An-at by the scribe of Assur-naşir-pal (879 B.C.), Άναθω (Isidore Charax), Anatha (Ammianus Marcellinus) by Greek and Latin writers in the early Christian centuries, ‛Āna (sometimes, as if plural, ‛Ānāt) by Arabic writers. The name has been connected with that of the deity Anat. Whilst ‛Āna has thus retained its name for forty-one centuries the site is variously described. Most early writers concur in placing it on an island; so Assur-naşir-pal, Isidore, Ammianus Marcellinus, Ibn Serapion, al-Istakri, Abulfeda and al-Ķaramāni. Ammianus (lib. 24, c. 2) calls it a munimentum, Theophylactus Simocatta (iv. 10, v. 1, 2) τὸ Άναθων φρούριον, Zosimus (iii. 14) a φρούριον, opp. Φαθυσαι, which may be the Βεθ(θ)ινα of Ptolemy (v. 19).[1] Leonhart Rauwolff, in A.D. 1574, found it “divided . . . into two towns,” the one “Turkish,” “so surrounded by the river, that you cannot go into it but by boats,” the other, much larger, on the Arabian side of the river.[2] G. A. Olivier in the beginning of the 19th century describes it as a long street (5 or 6 m. long), parallel to the right bank of the Euphrates—some 100 yards from the water's edge and 300 to 400 paces from the rocky barrier of the Arabian desert—with, over against its lower part, an island bearing at its north end the ruins of a fortress (p. 451).

This southernmost town of Mesopotamia proper (Gezīra) must have shared the chequered history of that land (see Mesopotamia). Of ‛Āna’s fortunes under the early Babylonian empire the records have not yet been unearthed; but in a letter dating from the third millennium B.C., six men of Hanat (Ha-na-atK1) are mentioned in a statement as to certain disturbances which had occurred in the sphere of the Babylonian Resident of Suhi, which would include the district of ‛Āna. How ‛Āna fared at the hands of the Mitanni and others is unknown. The suggestion that Amenophis (Amenḥotep) I. (16th century B.C.) refers to it is improbable; but we seem to be justified in holding ‛Āna to be the town “in the middle of the Euphrates” opposite (ina put) to which Assur-naşir-pal halted in his campaign of 879 B.C. The supposed reference to ‛Āna in the speech put into the mouth of Sennacherib's messengers to Hezekiah (2 Kings xix. 13, Is. xxxvii. 13) is exceedingly improbable. The town may be mentioned, however, in four 7th century documents edited by C. H. W. Johns.[3] It was at ‛Āna that the emperor Julian met the first opposition on his disastrous expedition against Persia (363), when he got possession of the place and transported the people; and there that Ziyād and Shureiḥ with the advanced guard of 'Ali's army were refused passage across the Euphrates (36/657) to join 'Ali in Mesopotamia (Ţabari i. 3261). Later ‛Āna was the place of exile of the caliph Qaim (al-Qāim bi-amr-illāh) when Basīsīri was in power (450/1058). In the 14th century ‛Āna was the seat of a Catholicos, primate of the Persians (Marin Sanuto). In 1610 Della Valle found a Scot, George Strachan, resident at ‛Āna (to study Arabic) as physician to the amīr (i. 671-681). In 1835 the steamer “Tigris” of the English Euphrates expedition went down in a hurricane just above ‛Āna, near where Julian's force had suffered from a similar storm. Della Valle described ‛Āna as the chief Arab town on the Euphrates, an importance which it owes to its position on one of the routes from the west to Bagdād; Texeira said that the power of its amīr extended to Palmyra (early 17th century); but Olivier found the ruling prince with only twenty-five men in his service, the town becoming more depopulated every day from lack of protection from the Arabs of the desert. Von Oppenheim (1893) reported that Turkish troops having been recently stationed at the place, it had no longer to pay blackmail (huwwa) to the Arabs. F. R. Chesney reported some 1800 houses, 2 mosques and 16 water-wheels; W. F. Ainsworth (1835) reported the Arabs as inhabiting the N.W. part of the town, the Christians the centre, and the Jews the S.E.; Della Valle (1610) found some sun-worshippers still there.

Modern ‛Āna lies from W. to E. on the right bank along a bend of the river just before it turns S. towards Hīt, and presents an attractive appearance. It extends, chiefly as a single street, for several miles along a narrow strip of land between the river and a ridge of rocky hills. The houses are separated from one another by fruit gardens. ‛Āna marks the boundary between the olive (N.) and the date (S.). Arab poets celebrated its wine (Yāqūt, iii. 593 f.), and Mustaufi (8/14th century) tells of the fame of its palm-groves. In the river, facing the town, is a succession of equally productive islands. The most easterly contains the ruins of the old castle, whilst the remains of the ancient Anatho extend from this island for about 2 m. down the left bank. Coarse cloth is almost the only manufacture.

Bibliography.—In addition to the authorities cited above may be mentioned: G. A. Olivier, Voyage dans l'empire othoman, &'c., iii. 450-459 (1807); Carl Ritter, Erdkunde von Asien, vii. b., pp. 716-726 (1844); W. F. Ainsworth, Euphrates Expedition, i. 401-418 (1888). For a map see sheet 5 of the atlas accompanying Chesney's work.

(H. W. H.)

  1. Steph. Byz. (sub Τύρος) says that Arrian calls Anatha Τύρος.
  2. Texeira (1610) says that “Anna” lay on both banks of the river, and so Della Valle (i. 671).
  3. Ass. Deeds and Doc. nos. 23, 168, 228, 385. The characters used are DIŠTU, which may mean Ana-tu.