), an inland town of Arabia Felix, mentioned by Ptolemy (6.7.31
), which there is no difficulty in identifying with the ancient name of the renowned El-Medineh,
” as it is called by emphasis among the disciples of the false prophet. Its ancient name, Yathrib, still exists in the native geographies and local traditions, which, with the definite article el
prefixed, is as accurately represented by Lithrippa as the Greek alphabet would admit. “Medineh
is situated on the edge of the great Arabian desert, close to the chain of mountains which traverses that country from north to south, and is a continuation of Libanon.
The great plain of Arabia in which it lies is considerably elevated above the level of the sea.
It is ten or eleven days distant from Mekka,
and has been always considered the principal fortress of the Hedjaz,
being surrounded with a stone wall.
It is one of the best-built towns in the East, ranking in this respect next to Aleppo,
though ruined houses and walls in all parts of the town indicate how far it has fallen from its ancient splendour.
It is surrounded on three sides with gardens and plantations, which, on the east and south, extend to the distance of six or eight miles. Its population amounts to 16,000 or 20,000--10,000 or 12,000 in the town, the remainder in the suburbs.” (Burckhardt, Arabia,
321--400; Ritter, Erdkunde, vol.
i. p. 15, ii. pp. 149, &c.)