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Bani Hamida A pastoral-nomadic clan that controlled a large proportion on the land East of the Dead Sea before the establishment of the emirate of Jordan. In 1869 members of the Bani Hamadi shattered the recently discovered Mesha Stele into pieces by lighting a fire under it and then pouring cold water over it. The stele had been found on Bani Hamadi land and in the dispute over ownership several Bani Hamadi were killed. Though many of the fragments were later retrieved, the full text, one of the earliest Hebrew related scripts, is only preserved through a hurried copy made under difficult conditions.[1] At this time the Bani Hamadi had a reputation for breading horses: "the best blood horses in Moab" according to explorer Charles M. Doughty.[2] In 1882 Claude R, Condor describes various small tribes with no superior chief, know collectively as Hameidi, living South of Zerka M'ain. He writes that they were dependents of the Beni Sakhr and allied to "the notorious" sheikh Mujelli of Kerak. To avoid being "pillaged" Condor recommends only travelling with an escort from the Beni Sakhr and comments that the only hold an explorer might have is the fact that the Hamaidi often carried corn to Jerusalem and they "may be detained by the Turks as hostages". He also calls them "a very degraded and turbulent set". [3] F.J. Bliss who visited in March 1895 writes that "the sheikhs of the Hamideh were very civil and anxious to show us all the torn stones which is their phrase covering inscriptions and ornamentation." He was travelling with permission from the Ottoman authorities who in December 1893 had installed a Governor in Kerak improving security for travellers.[4] Gray Hill Esq and his wife, also travelling in 1895, met the Hameideh south of Madeba. This was his fourth attempt to visit Petra. Five year's earlier the tribe had "harassed" and tried to stop them. In 1891 the Beni Sakhr were fighting the Keraki, in 1893 with the Aenezeh. This time their guide Abu Seyne could not continue due to a blood feud. Hill describes travelling in beautiful spring weather through country green with young corn. At Wadi Waleh they found a "sweet little stream amongst the oleanders" from which their cook caught fish by throwing something into the water which "made them insensible for a brief period". One day's travel from Madeba brought them to Dhiban where there was a military camp. Here the Sheikh of the Hameideh, "who had troubled us in 1890", offered to show an inscription "up a winding valley". After walking "a long way in the hot sun" Hill was shown a flat stone "on which three or four Greek (?) letters appeared". The following night while camped halfway on their journey to Kerak their tents were fired on by members of the Mujelli tribe. About twenty shots were fired but no-one was hurt. Hill speculates that the attack was to deter them from making claims against the Mujelli for compensation for "their robbery and detention of us in 1890".[5] References ^ Doughtey, Charles M. (1888), Travels in Arabia Deserta. Cambridge University Press. Jonathan Cape edition (1936) Volume I, pages 65,66. ^ Doughty, Vol II page 51. ^ Conder, Claude Reignier (1885), Heth and Moab : explorations in Syria in 1882. ^ Palestine Exploration Fund (1895) Quarterly Statement. Pages 203 & 214. ^ Palestine Exploration Fund Magazine (1896). Quarterly Statement, January, 1896. Pages 38-40.