THE peninsula of ARABIA, for so it is called by the eastern Geographers, has the gulf of Persia on the north-east, and the sea of Ommán on the south, whence the province, that lies between them, took the name of Bahrein, or, The Two Seas; it is bounded on the west by the Bahar Al Yemen, or Red Sea, which has also the name of Colzom, taken from a town of Egypt, now entirely ruined; on the north it has Shám or Syria. The triple division of Arabia into Yemen, or the Happy, Hejáz, or the Desert, and Hajar, or the Stony, is well known to every reader; yet it will not be useless to add a short description of those three provinces.

YEMEN*, a delightful country, which had its Arabick name from the advantages of its situa­tion, is divided from Hejáz by high mountains and vast deserts; it produces the finest incense, and other valuable perfumes: the sweetness of its fruits, the refreshing shade of its woods, and the coolness of its rivers, which flow perpetually down the mountains, make ample amends to its inhabitants for the heat of the climate, which must needs be very intense, as the city of ADEN is but eleven degrees from the Line. Its other principal cities are, 1. SANAA, which was the seat of the Tobáï’s, or ancient kings of Yemen. 2. ZEBID, nearly in the same latitude, a com­mercial city, known to the merchants, who sail from Ethiopia or India. 3. Máreb, or Saba, the city of the Arabian Princess who visited Solomon, situated in a fertile territory called HADHRAMUT, the Hadramytene of Ptolemy. We must not omit, that the entrance into the Red Sea is called by the Arabians the gate of tears*, because that part of the ocean is extremely dan­gerous.

HEJAZ, or the Desert, is principally celebrated for its two cities, MECCA, the birth-place of Mahomed, renowned over all Asia for its Câaba, or Square Temple, which the old Arabians used to decorate with the most beautiful compositions of their poets, written in golden characters on the silky paper of Egypt; and YATREB, or Teiba, called also, by excellence, ALMEDINA, or The City, in which the Arabian lawgiver was buried.

The chief city of HAJAR is YAMAMA, which gives its name to the territory around it: this was the country of the ancient people called Thamúd*; who were extirpated, according to the traditions of Arabia, for refusing to break their idols at the command of the prophet Sáleh.

SHAM*, or Syria, has Hajar on the south, and part of the lower Asia on the north; its eastern and western limits are the Euphrates and the Mediterranean. This country is so well known to our historians, ancient and modern, and to all our travellers and merchants, that very little needs be said of it in this place; there is scarce a city in it, which has not had its particular history, written in several volumes by authors, who seemed to forget how small a part of the globe they inhabited, compared with the vast Empires described in the proceding pages. The two principal cities of Syria are, 1. DAMASHC, or Damascus, near which is a valley or plain represented by the Arabians as a most charming spot, and one of the four paradises of Asia. 2. HOLAB, or Aleppo, where the learned Pocock acquired so perfect a knowledge of the Arabick language. 3. JERUSALEM, or Alcods, The Holy, which is still held sacred by the Mahomedans, who, whatever may be said to the contrary, are certainly a sect of Christians; if, indeed, they deserve the name, while they follow the impious heresy of Arius.

RUM*, or the Roman provinces, which are also called Anatolia, have the Empire of Iran on the east, and are bounded on the other sides by the Black Sea, the Archipelago, and the Mediterranean; this is the country so justly famed for producing many of the great poets and fine writers of the ancient world, so that, whatever may be said of the Persian and Arabian compositions by those who are unable to read them, it cannot be denied even by them, that Asia has given birth to men of the brightest parts, and the most exalted genius. The Thracian Bosphorus, so frequently mentioned in the fictions of the old poets, separates this part of Asia from the city of CONSTANTINOPLE, which was made the seat of the Turkish Sultans in that memorable period, when learning revived in Italy, and the art of printing, which was then invented, served to promote and to fix it; when our apartments were first adorned with the vases of China and the silks of India; when a new world was discovered and subdued; when the light of reason and liberty was spread over part of Christendom, and delivered it from the worst of oppression, the tyranny of superstition and imposture.