Layard’s Visit to Mangeshi,1846
By: Francis K. Khosho
Austen Henry Layard was a famous archaeologist born in Paris, France in 1817. Layard had a diverse education spanning across much of Europe, including France, Italy, England and Switzerland. As an archaeologist, he was responsible for presiding over the excavation of Kuyunjik and Nimrud, the ancient Assyrian cities located in Nineveh (Mosul), Iraq. He both uncovered and worked on preserving these important Biblical sites.
Throughout his life, he published eleven books and was respected as an extraordinary man and admirable author. His discoveries are among those in history that serve much greater interest and importance.
I recently read his book entitled “Nineveh and Its Remains” which is presented in two volumes and was published in 1854. These two volumes have been and continue to be studied by scholars interested in the original Bible narrative, and by all who are desirous of catching the scattered glimpses we can now attain of the state and position in which the patriarchs of the human race dwelt.
Volume one contains a personal account by Layard of a visit to the Chaldean Christians of Kurdistan, and the Yezidis. It also presents much inquiry into the manners and arts of the ancient Assyrians. Here is what he wrote about his stop in the village of Mangeshi in August 1846: “We stopped for the night in the large Catholic Chaldean village of Mangayshi, containing above forty Christian houses, a new church, and two priests. The inhabitants carry on a considerable trade with Mosul in raisins, and their vineyards are extensive and well cultivated. They complained bitterly of the governor of Daoudeeya, who had plundered them, they said, of everything; and they also had sent a deputation to the Pasha.” (see Layard, Austen Henry. Nineveh and Its Remains, Volume 1, Sixth Edition, London: John Murray, 1854, Page: 228). I was struck immediately by the way he spelled Mangeshi, as it seemed to be pieced together by mere phonetics, rather than an approved representation by those from the location.
In 1994, Dr. Mekhel Abdulla translated chapters six and seven of Volume one from English to Arabic in a Poland edition entitled: Ninwy W Poszukiwaniu, 1983 (Searching for Nineveh البحث عن نينوى ). On page 57 of his translation, the word Mangayshi was translated as: مونقايش. My dear friend, Ishak Bafroo, who writes wonderful essays about Mangeshi, uses the same translation منوقايش. Google translates the word Mangayshi as: مونجايشي. For a man using the English language, Mr. Layard surely used phonetics in his spelling of the word Man gay shi – the way it sounded to him as he heard those in the village pronounce it. Myself, I have always written it the way it sounded to me since my childhood in Mangeshi. The actual syllables as transcribed by English phonetics and letter sounds.
Austen Henry Layard mentioned in his preface page X: “In spelling Eastern names I have followed no uniform system—having endeavored to write them the best way I could covet the mode of their pronunciation by the people of the country.” So, by his own admission, the words منوقايش, مونقايش, and مونجايشي are incorrectly translated.
These volumes are well worth the read and present a very important account of a direct personal observation of our hometown Mangeshi. Austen Henry Layard had a first-hand view of the turmoil that wracked the region in those days. The text is worth the read by those in our community who are passionate about our history and the context of our civilization and I encourage you all to make it part of your reading list.
As always, many blessings my friends.
Francis K. Khosho, California