The Mandaeans are found in the marshy lands of South Babylonia (al-bataih), particularly in the neighbourhood of Basra (or Bussorah), and in Khuzistan (Disful, Shuster).
2 The existence of the Mandaeans has been known since the middle 'of the 17th century, when the first Christian missionaries, Ignatius a Jesu and Angelus a Sancto, began to labour among them at Basra; further information was gathered at a somewhat later date by Pietro della Valle' and Jean de Thevenot 5 (1633-1667), and in the following century by Engelbrecht Kaempfer (1651-1716), Jean Chardin (1643-1713) and Carsten Niebuhr.
Wearing a jewelled crown, he stands before Abathur's door at the gate of the world of light; the Mandaeans accordingly invariably pray with their faces turned northward.
The earth is conceived of as a round disk, slightly sloping towards the south, surrounded on three sides by the sea, but on the north by a high mountain of turquoises; behind this is the abode of the blest, a sort of inferior paradise, inhabited by the Egyptians who were saved from drowning with Pharaoh in the Red Sea, and whom the Mandaeans look upon as their ancestors, Pharaoh himself having been their first high priest and king.
Two hundred and forty years after the appearing of the false Messiah there came to the world sixty thousand saints out of Pharaoh's world to take the place of the Mandaeans, who had been completely extirpated; their high priest had his residence in Damascus.