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BED' WEEN BROTHERHOOD.
the East, and who was familiar with the covenant of blood in its more common form, as already described, told me of a practice somewhat akin to it, whereby a bandit-chieftain would pledge his men to implicit and unqualified life-surrendering fidelity to himself; or, whereby a conspirator against the government would bind, in advance, to his plans, his fellow conspirators,by a ceremony known as Sharb el-ahd (ell pü),
Drinking the covenant." The methods of such covenanting are various; but they are all of the nature of tests of obedience and of endurance. They sometimes include licking a heated iron with the tongue, or gashing the tongue, or swallowing pounded glass or other dangerous potions; but, in all cases, the idea seems to be, that the life of the one covenanting is, by this covenant, devoted-surrendered as it were-to the one with whom he covenants; and the rite is uniformly accompanied with a solemn and an imprecatory appeal to God as witnessing and guarding the compact.
Dr. J. G. Wetzstein, a German scholar, diplomat, and traveler, who has given much study to the peoples east of the Jordan, makes reference to the binding force and the profound obligation of the covenants of brotherhood in that portion of the East; although he gives no description of the methods of the covenant-rite. Speaking of two Bed'ween-Habbâs and
Hosayn-who had been "brothered" (verbrüdert), he explains by saying: "We must by this [term] understand the Covenant of Brotherhood (Chuwwat el-Ahěd [ Agell ]), which is in use to-day not only among the Hadari [the Villagers], but also among the Bed'ween; and is indeed of pre-Muhammadan origin. The brother [in such a covenant] must guard the [other] brother from treachery, and [must] succor him in peril. So far as may be necessary, the one must provide for the wants of the other; and the survivor has weighty obligations in behalf of the family of the one deceased." Then, as showing how completely the idea of a common life in the lives of two friends thus covenanted-if, indeed, they have become sharers of the same blood-sways the Oriental mind, Wetzstein adds: "The marriage of a man and woman between whom this covenant exists, is held to be incest."2
There are, indeed, various evidences that the tie of blood-covenanting is reckoned, in the East, even a closer tie than that of natural descent; that a "friend" by this. tie is nearer and is dearer, "sticketh closer," than a "brother" by birth. We, in the West, are accustomed to say that "blood is thicker than water"; but the Arabs have the idea that blood is thicker than milk, 1 See "Brothers of the Covenant," p. 6, supra.
2 Sprachliches aus den Zeltlagern der syrischen Wüste, p. 37.
BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WATER.
than a mother's milk. With them, any two children nourished at the same breast are called "milk-brothers," or "sucking brothers";2 and the tie between such is very strong. A boy and a girl in this relation cannot marry, even though by birth they had no family. relationship. Among even the more bigoted of the Druzes, a Druze girl who is a "sucking sister" of a Nazarene boy is allowed a sister's privileges with him. He can see her uncovered face, even to the time of her marriage. But the Arabs hold that brothers in the covenant of blood are closer than brothers at a common breast; that those who have tasted each other's blood are in a surer covenant than those who have tasted the same milk together; that "blood-lickers," as the blood-brothers are sometimes called, are more truly one than "milk-brothers," or "sucking brothers"; that, indeed, blood is thicker than milk, as well as thicker than water.
This distinction it is which seems to be referred to in a citation from the Arabic poet El-A'asha, by the Arabic lexicographer Qamus, which has been a puzzle to Lane, and Freytag, and others. Lane's transla1 See Redhouse's Turkish and English Dictionary, s. vv. sood and soot. 2 See Lane, and Freytag, s. vv. rada 'a, and thady.
3 See reference to Ibn Hishâm, 125, in Prof. W. Robertson Smith's Old Test. in Jewish Church, Notes to Lect. XII. See, also, p. 59, infra. Smith's Old Test. in
* See Lane, and Freytag, s. v. sahama; also Jewish Church, Notes to Lect. XII.
tion of the passage is: "Two foster-brothers by the sucking of the breast of one mother, swore together by dark blood, into which they dipped their hands, that they should not ever become separated." In other words, two milk-brothers became blood-brothers by interlocking their hands under their own blood in the covenant of blood-friendship. They had been closely inter-linked before; now they were as one; for blood is thicker than milk. The oneness of nature which comes of sharing the same blood, by its inter-transfusion, is rightly deemed, by the Arabs, completer than the oneness of nature which comes of sharing the same milk; or even than that which comes through having blood from a common source, by natural descent.
3. THE PRIMITIVE RITE IN AFRICA.
Travelers in the heart of Africa, also, report the covenant of "blood-brotherhood," or of "strong-friendship," as in vogue among various African tribes, although naturally retaining less of primitive sacredness there than among Semites. The rite is, in some cases, observed after the manner of the Syrians, by the contracting parties tasting each other's blood; while, in other cases, it is performed by the inter-transfusion of blood between the two.
The first mention which I find of it, in the writings of modern travelers in Africa, is by the lamented hero
BROTHERHOOD IN BLOOD AND BEER.
missionary, Dr. Livingstone. He calls the rite Kasendi. It was in the region of Lake Dilolo, at the watershed between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic, in July, 1854, that he made blood-friendship, vicariously, with Queen Manenko, of the Balonda tribes.1 She was represented, in this ceremony, by her husband, the ebony "Prince Consort"; while Livingstone's repre
sentative was one of his Makololo attendants. man's right to rule—when she has the right—seems to be as clearly recognized in Central Africa, to-day, as it was in Ethiopia in the days of Candace, or in Sheba in the days of Balkees.
Describing the ceremony, Livingstone says: "It is accomplished thus: The hands of the parties are joined (in this case Pitsane and Sambanza were the parties engaged). Small incisions are made on the clasped hands, on the pits of the stomach of each, and on the right cheeks and foreheads. A small quantity of blood is taken off from these points, in both parties, by means of a stalk of grass. The blood from one person is put into a pot of beer, and that of the second into another; each then drinks the other's blood, and they are supposed to become perpetual friends, or relations. During the drinking of the beer, some of the party continue beat
1 See Livingstone's Travels and Res. in So. Africa, pp. 290–296.
2 Ibid., p. 525.