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Title: A history of art in Chaldæa & Assyria, Vol. II (of 2)
Author: Chipiez, Charles, Perrot, Georges
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A history of art in Chaldæa & Assyria, Vol. II (of 2)" ***

                           A HISTORY OF ART


                         CHALDÆA AND ASSYRIA.

                               A HISTORY


                       Art in Chaldæa & Assyria

                            FROM THE FRENCH
                            GEORGES PERROT,
                           CHARLES CHIPIEZ.


                     _IN TWO VOLUMES.---VOL. II._

                       TRANSLATED AND EDITED BY
                    WALTER ARMSTRONG, B.A., OXON.,
                   AUTHOR OF “ALFRED STEVENS,” ETC.


                  London: CHAPMAN AND HALL, LIMITED.
                  New York: A. C. ARMSTRONG AND SON.

                      R. CLAY, SONS, AND TAYLOR,
                          BREAD STREET HILL.


                              CHAPTER I.


    § 1. General Character of the Mesopotamian Palace and
           History of the Excavations                            1–8

    § 2. The Palace of Sargon                                   9–32

    § 3. Other Palaces of Mesopotamia                          32–53

    § 4. Towns and their Defences                              53–77

                              CHAPTER II.


    § 1. The principal themes of Chaldæo-Assyrian Sculpture   78–109

    § 2. Materials                                           109–125

    § 3. The Principal Conventions of Chaldæo-Assyrian
           Sculpture                                         125–142

    § 4. On the Representations of Animals                   142–173

    § 5. Chaldæan Sculpture                                  173–202

    § 6. Assyrian Sculpture                                  203–243

    § 7. Polychromy                                          243–250

    § 8. Gems                                                251–280

    § 9. The General Characteristics of Chaldæo-Assyrian
           Sculpture                                         281–291

                             CHAPTER III.

    PAINTING                                                 292–297

                              CHAPTER IV.

                         THE INDUSTRIAL ARTS.

    § 1. Ceramics                                            298–308

    § 2. Metallurgy                                          308–313

    § 3. Furniture                                           313–324

    § 4. Metal Dishes and Utensils                           324–343

    § 5. Arms                                                343–349

    § 6. Instruments of the Toilet and Jewelry               349–363

    § 7. Textiles                                            363–372

    § 8. Commerce                                            372–374

                              CHAPTER V.

    COMPARISON BETWEEN EGYPT AND CHALDÆA                     375–400

    ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS                                401–404

    INDEX                                                    407–420

                        LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


       I. Royal statue, found by M. de Sarzec        _To face page_ 126

      II. Two Chaldæan heads, found by M. de Sarzec         „       128

     III. Lion, from Nimroud                                „       130

      IV. Winged bull, from Khorsabad                       „       136

       V. Assurbanipal in his chariot                       „       138

      VI. Bronze lion, from the palace of Sargon            „       154

     VII. Fragment from the Balawat gates                   „       212

    VIII. Enamelled brick, from Nimroud                     „       294

      IX. {Enamelled brick, from Nimroud               }
          {Fragment of painting on stucco, from Nimroud}    „       294

       X. Decoration in enamelled brick, from the harem
         at Khorsabad                                       „       294

    FIG.                                                        PAGE

      1. Map of Nineveh and its neighbourhood                        6

      2. The mound and village of Khorsabad before the
         commencement of the excavations                           9

      3. Plan of Sargon’s palace in its present state               12

      4. Longitudinal section through the palace of Sargon          13

      5. South-eastern gateway of Sargon’s palace at Khorsabad      17

      6. Plan of the harem in Sargon’s palace                       21

      7. Harem court in the palace of Sargon at Khorsabad           25

      8. A hanging garden                                           30

      9. Plan of a palace at Warka                                  33

     10. Plan of chambers at Mugheir                               34

     11. Plan of chambers at Abou-Sharein                          34

     12. Plan of chambers at Abou-Sharein                          34

     13. General view of Nimroud                                   38

     14. Plan of the north-western palace at Nimroud               39

     15. Assurnazirpal offering a libation to the gods after
           his victory over a wild bull                            41

     16. Plan of the south-western palace at Nimroud               43

     17. Upper chambers excavated at Nimroud                       44

     18. Map of the site of Nineveh                                45

     19. Plan of the mound of Kouyundjik                           46

     20. Part plan of the palace of Sennacherib                    47

     21. Sennacherib at the head of his army                       49

     22. Town besieged by Sennacherib                              54

     23. Siege of a city                                           60

     24. Plan of one of the ordinary gates at Khorsabad            66

     25. Restoration in perspective of one of the ordinary
           gates of Khorsabad                                      67

     26. State gateway at Khorsabad                                68

     27. Longitudinal section through the archway of one of
           the city gates, Khorsabad                               69

     28. Fortified wall; from the Balawat gates                    73

     29. Siege of a fort                                           74

     30. An attack by escalade                                     75

     31. Chariot for three combatants; from the palace of
          Assurbanipal                                            76

     32. The demon of the south-west wind                          81

     33. Head of a winged bull of Assurbanipal                     83

     34. Cone of chalcedony                                        85

     35. Izdubar and Lion                                          86

     36. Winged genius                                             87

     37. Carrying the gods; from the palace of Sennacherib         90

     38. Istar and the sacrificing priest                          90

     39. Istar between two personages                              90

     40. Lapis-lazuli cylinder                                     91

     41. 42. Fragments of an ivory statuette                       92

     43. Merodach- or Marduk-idin-akhi                             95

     44. Captives on the march; from the palace of Sennacherib     97

     45. Sargon before the sacred tree                             99

     46. Assyrian standard                                        102

     47. Sennacherib before Lachish                               105

     48. Procession of captives                                   107

     49. One face of the obelisk of Shalmaneser II.               111

     50. Statuette of a priest                                    114

     51. Dagon                                                    114

     52. Head of a lioness                                        115

     53. Canephoros                                               117

     54. Man driving goats and sheep; from the Balawat gates      118

     55. Lion carved in wood                                      119

     56. Ivory seal                                               119

     57. Ivory tablet in the British Museum                       120

     58. Ivory fragment in the British Museum                     121

     59. Ivory tablet in the British Museum                       122

     60. Statue of Assurnazirpal                                  123

     61. Statue of Shalmaneser II.                                127

     62. Pair of warriors                                         129

     63. Prisoners; from the palace of Sennacherib                130

     64. Vassal bringing monkeys                                  133

     65. Head of a eunuch                                         136

     66. Assyrian soldier                                         137

     67. Fragment of a Chaldæan bas-relief                        141

     68. Head of a cow                                            143

     69. Terra-cotta tablet                                       144

     70. Cylinder of black marble                                 145

     71. Terra-cotta dog                                          146

     72. The hounds of Assurbanipal                               147

     73. Chariot horses                                           150

     74. Wild ass; from the hunt of Assurbanipal                  151

     75. Embroidery on the king’s robe                            153

     76. Fight between a man and an ostrich                       153

     77. Lion and lioness in a park                               155

     78. Lion coming out of his cage                              156

     79. Wounded lion                                             157

     80. Wounded lioness                                          161

     81. Niche decorated with two lions                           163

     82. Sword and scabbard                                       164

     83. Combat between a lion and a unicorn                      165

     84. Lion’s head, in enamelled earthenware                    165

     85. Recumbent goat ditto                                     166

     86. Dog, in terra-cotta                                      167

     87. Fantastic animal                                         168

     88. Man-lion                                                 169

     89. Winged horse                                             171

     90. Griffins seizing a goat                                  171

     91. Human-headed bird                                        172

     92. Inscription engraved on one of the seated Chaldæan
           statues                                                175

     93. Fragment of a stele; from Tello                          177

     94. Fragment of a stele; from Tello                          179

     95. Fragment of a stele; from Tello                          181

     96. Statue; from Tello                                       182

     97. The hands of a statue; from Tello                        183

     98. The large statue from Tello                              185

     99. Female statuette                                         187

    100. Statuette; from Tello                                    188

    101. Fragment of a relief; from Tello                         189

    102. Fragment of a relief; from Tello                         191

    103. Head; from Tello                                         191

    104. Stone pedestal; from Tello                               192

    105. Chaldæan statuette                                       193

    106. Statuette of a priest                                    195

    107. Statuette of a woman                                     195

    108. Terra-cotta statuette                                    196

    109. Head; from Tello                                         197

    110. The Caillou Michaux                                      199

    111. The Caillou Michaux, obverse                             200

    112. The Caillou Michaux, reverse                             201

    113. Assurnazirpal offering a libation                        205

    114. Tree on a river-bank                                     207

    115. Detail from the royal robe of Assurnazirpal              209

    116. Stele of Samas-vul II.                                   211

    117. Two fragments from the Balawat gates                     215

    118. Bas-relief; from Khorsabad                               221

    119. Marsh vegetation                                         223

    120. The great bas-relief at Bavian                           227

    121. Fountain                                                 230

    122. Assyrian bas-relief in the Nahr-el-Kelb                  231

    123. The bas-reliefs of Malthaï                               233

    124. Chaldæan cylinder                                        237

    125. Assyrian cylinder                                        237

    126. Wild goats                                               239

    127. The feast of Assurbanipal                                241

    128. Terra-cotta statuette                                    242

    129. River pebble which has formed part of a necklace         252

    130. River pebble engraved                                    252

    131. Concave-faced cylinder                                   254

    132. Cylinder with modern mount                               254

    133. Tablet with impression from a cylinder                   256

    134. Cylinder with ancient bronze mount                       257

    135. Cylinder and attachment in one                           257

    136. Chaldæan cylinder                                        257

    137. Impression from the same cylinder                        257

    138. Engraved shell                                           260

    139. Chalcedony cylinder                                      261

    140. Cylinder of black jasper                                 261

    141. Assyrian cylinder                                        262

    142. Chaldæan cylinder; marble or porphyry                    264

    143. Chaldæan cylinder; green serpentine                      266

    144. Chaldæan cylinder; basalt                                267

    145. Chaldæan cylinder; basalt                                267

    146. Chaldæan cylinder                                        268

    147. Chaldæan cylinder; basalt                                269

    148. Chaldæan cylinder; black marble                          270

    149. Chaldæan cylinder of veined agate                        271

    150. Archaic Assyrian cylinder                                272

    151. Assyrian cylinder; serpentine                            273

    152. Assyrian cylinder; serpentine                            273

    153. Assyrian cylinder                                        273

    154. Chaldæan cylinder dating from the second monarchy;
           black jasper                                           275

    155. Impression of a cylinder on a contract                   275

    156. Cylinder with Aramaic characters                         276

    157. Cone                                                     277

    158. Cone                                                     277

    159. Amethyst cone                                            279

    160. Agate cone                                               279

    161. Assurbanipal attacked by lions                           283

    162. Figure of a goddess                                      290

    163–165. Chaldæan vases of the first period                   299

    166–168. Chaldæan vases of the second period                  299

    169. Chaldæan vase                                            300

    170–173. Assyrian vases                                       301

    174–176. Goblets                                              301

    177. Ewer                                                     301

    178–180. Amphoræ                                              302

    181. Alabastron                                               302

    182. Fragment of a vase                                       302

    183. Fragment of a vase                                       303

    184, 185. Fragments of vases                                  303

    186. Goblet                                                   304

    187. Fragment of a vase                                       304

    188, 189. Fragments of vases                                  305

    190. Glass vase or bottle                                     307

    191. Glass tube                                               307

    192. Iron mattock                                             310

    193. Fragment of a throne                                     315

    194. Fragment of a throne                                     316

    195. Bronze foot of a piece of furniture                      316

    196. Capital and upper part of a small column                 317

    197, 198. Fragments of bronze furniture                       317

    199. Footstool; from a bas-relief                             318

    200. Stool                                                    318

    201. Ivory panel                                              321

    202. Dagger-hilt; ivory                                       322

    203. Bronze tripod                                            324

    204, 205. Metal vases                                         325

    206. Metal bucket                                             325

    207. Applied piece                                            326

    208. Bronze platter                                           327

    209. Bronze platter                                           330

    210–214. Columns or standards figured upon a bronze cup       331

    215. Bronze platter                                           332

    216. Part of a bronze cup or platter                          333

    217. Bronze cup                                               334

    218. Bronze cup                                               342

    219. Border of a cup                                          343

    220, 221. Chariot poles                                       344

    222, 223. Sword scabbards                                     345

    224. Bronze cube damascened with gold                         346

    225. Votive shield                                            347

    226. Knife-handle                                             348

    227. Comb                                                     350

    228. Comb                                                     351

    229. Comb                                                     352

    230, 231. Bronze fork and spoon                               353

    232, 233. Bracelets                                           354

    234. Ear-drop                                                 354

    235–237. Necklace and ear-drops                               355

    238. Necklace                                                 356

    239. Royal necklace                                           356

    240. Bracelet                                                 357

    241. Bracelets                                                358

    242. Ear-drop                                                 358

    243, 244. Ear-drops                                           358

    245. Necklace                                                 359

    246, 247. Moulds for trinkets                                 361

    248, 249. Gold buttons                                        359

    250. Part of the harness of a chariot-horse                   361

    251, 252. Ear-pendents                                        362

    253. Embroidery on the upper part of the king’s mantle        365

    254. Embroidery upon a royal mantle                           367

    255. Embroidered pectoral                                     369

    256. Detail of embroidery                                     370

    257. Detail of embroidery                                     370

    258. Detail of embroidery                                     371

    259. Detail of embroidery                                     372

    260. Egyptian mirror                                          387

    261. Egyptian mirror                                          391

                           TAIL-PIECES, &c.

    Fore-quarters of a lion, glazed earthenware (Louvre)           77

    Standard, from a relief                                       291

    Flower, from a relief                                         297

    Head of a ram, ivory (Louvre)                                 374

    The sacred tree, from a relief                                400

    Ornament from a royal tiara                                   404

                           A HISTORY OF ART


                          CHALDÆA AND ASSYRIA

                              CHAPTER I.


 § I. _General Character of the Mesopotamian Palace and History of the

As every student of Assyro-Chaldæan art has remarked, the best
preserved of its monuments are the palaces. They alone are represented
by ruins in such a condition that restorations may be successfully
attempted, not only so far as their general arrangements are concerned
but even in minor details. The preponderant part played by the ruins of
palaces in the history of Assyrian architecture is thus acknowledged by
all, but it has sometimes been explained by reasons that will not bear
examination. “Less religious or more servile than the Egyptians and the
Greeks, they made their temples insignificant in comparison with the
dwellings of their kings, to which indeed the temple is most commonly
a sort of appendage. In the palace their art culminates---there every
effort is made, every ornament lavished. If the architecture of the
Assyrian palaces be fully considered, very little need be said on the
subject of their other buildings.”[1]

History contradicts any such theory. The asserted inequality did not
exist. The piety of Chaldæans and Assyrians was no less lively and
profound than that of the Egyptians. A Seti or a Rameses, the cherished
son and visible image of Amen, the prince who became a god after his
life was done, was no less powerful and venerable at Memphis and Thebes
than were Sargon and Nebuchadnezzar at Nineveh and Babylon.

The differences to which we have pointed are to be explained by other
and more simple reasons. In Egypt the temple has survived the palace
because it was a dwelling built for an immortal occupant, and therefore
the most durable materials, stone and granite, were used; while the
palace, being no more than the resting-place of a day, a shelter raised
among waving palms and flowing streams for the passenger through
this life to the next, had to be content with brick and timber. In
Mesopotamia, on the other hand, the same materials were used for the
dwellings both of gods and kings; and the same system of construction,
a system dictated by the climate, was applied to both classes of
buildings. It is not true that one group was neglected for the other,
that Mesopotamian civilization took less trouble for Marduk, for Istar
and Assur, than for its conquering princes; it is inaccurate to say
that her palace architecture was all that Assyria had to show. The tomb
was larger and more important in Egypt than in Mesopotamia, but in
the latter country the temple was the object of as much care, both in
construction and decoration, as the palace. Its arrangement was more
interesting and far more original, and its outward decoration no less
rich. In Babylon, at least, the inscriptions in which the kings recount
their exploits for the admiration of posterity, speak oftener and
with more pride of temples than of palaces. The remains of the latter
are more complete simply because their chief development was over the
surface of the ground, while that of the temples was toward the sky.
With materials such as those of which both the one and the other were
built it was inevitable that tall buildings should come to ruin before
low ones. Moreover, their most interesting parts were on the exterior
and more especially about their summits. Ramps and sanctuaries with
their surface decorations must have begun to disappear as soon as daily
care ceased to be lavished upon them. The solid interior alone would
be preserved, and, before many years were over, the degradation of
its substance would make it a shapeless heap of clay. The palace, of
course, burnt-in the first place and then abandoned to the slow action
of time, can have met the forces of destruction with no better effect
than buildings of marble and granite did elsewhere; but it inclosed
great empty spaces, wide quadrangles, long galleries, and spacious
chambers. In their fall ceilings and the heads of walls filled up these
voids and buried their inclosing walls to a considerable height in a
deep bed of protecting rubbish. This had only to be taken away to lay
bare the whole plan of the building and much of its ornamentation. We
can thus become much more intimately acquainted with the palace than
with the temple, but we have no right thence to conclude that the
former was the favourite work of the Chaldæan architects, or that it
contained the last word of their talent and taste.

In any case it was the Assyrian palace that, about forty years ago,
began to reveal to us an early civilization to which modern research
is now awarding its proper place in the history of the ancient world.
About the commencement of the present century criticism had succeeded
in fixing approximate dates for the few kings of Assyria and Chaldæa
mentioned in the Bible and by classic authors. It was suspected that
the tales of Ctesias included many a fable, and painful efforts
were made to disentangle what was true from what was false, but the
language, the literature, and the arts of those peoples were as yet
entirely unknown. The sites of Babylon and Nineveh had been ascertained
with some degree of certainty; it was known that ruins existed in
the plains of Mesopotamia which had been used by the natives as open
quarries for century after century, and that the towns and villages
that now stud the country were built from the materials thus obtained;
but nothing had been learnt as to the form and arrangement of the
buildings hidden under those heaps of _débris_. Travellers spoke
of seeing statues and bas-reliefs among the ruins, but they could not
bring them away, and they made no drawings which could be depended on
for accuracy. European museums could boast of nothing beyond small
objects, fragments of pottery, stones and terra-cotta slabs covered
with strange symbols and undecipherable inscriptions. Most of these
were cones and cylinders which proved that the Mesopotamians understood
how to cut and engrave the hardest stones. Such objects excited a kind
of hopeless curiosity. They were sometimes pointed out to the attention
of scholars, as by Millin in his paper on the _Caillou Michaux_,
a sort of Babylonian landmark that has belonged to the _Cabinet des
Antiques_[2] in Paris ever since 1801.

But no attempt was made to define the style of the school of art by
which such things were produced, and not the faintest suspicion was
felt of the influence exercised by Chaldæan productions over distant
races whose genius for the plastic arts was universally acknowledged. A
single writer, the historian Niebuhr, seems by a kind of intuition to
have divined the discoveries at which a new generation was to assist,
and to have anticipated their consequences. As early as the year 1829
he wrote, “When at Rome I heard from a Chaldæan priest who lives near
the ruins of Nineveh, that colossi are there found buried under huge
masses of building rubbish. When he was a child one of these statues
was discovered by a mere accident, but the Turks at once broke it up.
Nineveh is destined to be a Pompeii for Western Asia. It will be an
inexhaustible mine for those that come after us, perhaps even for our
own children. The Assyrian language will also have its Champollions.
You who can do so should prepare the way by the study of Zend for the
decipherment of the cuneiform inscriptions.”[3]

Here Niebuhr showed himself a true prophet, but he was denied the joy
of seeing his prophecy fulfilled. He died in 1831, and it was not
till the 20th March, 1843, that the French consul at Mossoul sent
his first batch of labourers to Khorsabad. The date better deserves
to be remembered than that of many a battle or royal accession. His
first reports to the _Academic des Inscriptions_ were scientific
events.[4] Funds were placed at his disposal, and a clever draughtsman,
M. Flandin, was sent out to help in measuring plans and copying
bas-reliefs. In June, 1845, the first Assyrian sculptures of any size
that had ever left their native place for Europe were set afloat upon
the Tigris, and in December, 1846, they arrived in France. In 1847 de
Longperier was the first to read upon the Khorsabad remains that name
of Sargon which is mentioned by none of the classic authors and only
once by the Bible.[5] This discovery was of the greatest importance;
it at once gave a date to remains whose age had been previously a mere
matter of guess. The most divergent hypotheses had been started--some
believed the sculptures to have belonged to the remote times of
Ninus and Semiramis, others thought them no more ancient than the
Sassanids;[6] it was a great point gained to make sure that their true
date was the eighth century before our era.

These first discoveries excited so much attention that they were sure
to attract many to the task begun with such unhoped-for success by
Botta. England especially, by whom all that has the slightest bearing
on Jewish history is so passionately followed up, was sure to take her
part. In November, 1845, Mr. Layard began to excavate at Nimroud; he
carried on his work there and at Kouyundjik, until the year 1847. The
adjoining map (Fig. 1) will-give an idea of the relative position of
the sites we shall so often have to mention. The beauty and variety
of the monuments sent home by Mr. Layard, decided the authorities of
the British Museum to intrust him with a new mission, and from 1849
to 1851 he was again busy at Nimroud; he cleared some more rooms
in the great palace on the Kouyundjik mound, and he undertook some
explorations on the sites of several Chaldæan cities. The objects he
collected form the true foundation of the Assyrian collection in the
British Museum, which is, at present, by far the richest in existence.

  [Illustration: FIG. 1.--Map of Nineveh and its
  neighbourhood; from Oppert.]

In 1851, France decided to resume the excavations at Khorsabad, which
had been abandoned on the departure of Botta. M. Place, his successor
at Mossoul, continued and completed the excavations, which had been
little more than begun. His labours lasted till 1855, but unhappily
most of the sculptures recovered by him are now at the bottom of the
Tigris. The great work in which he was helped by the skill of Felix
Thomas is the most precious result of his enterprise.

The era of heroic explorations seems to have closed with Layard and
Place, but during the last thirty years there has always been some
English agent sounding the flanks of the Assyrian mounds. Under the
surveillance of Sir Henry, then Colonel, Rawlinson, the East India
Company’s resident at Bagdad, many discoveries were made by Mr. Hormuzd
Rassam, Sir Henry Layard’s collaborator, and by the late William
Kennett Loftus. Finally, we must mention George Smith, who died at
Aleppo in 1876, on the eve of his third journey into Assyria. He had
visited that country for the first time in 1873, at the expense of the
_Daily Telegraph_, which had placed a sum of one thousand guineas
at his disposal, and had afterwards presented all the objects he had
sent home to the British Museum.

We have enumerated all these dates with some dryness, and without any
attempt to write a taking narrative, because we wished to impress upon
our readers how recent these discoveries are, how they have followed
closely one upon another, and well within the lifetime of a single
man. The difficulty of our task will thus be evident. We are making
a first attempt to bring the results of all these explorations into
a connected form, and to present them systematically to the reader.
There is one thing that stands out very strongly in the whole inquiry.
The monuments, by which the art of a great vanished civilization
is represented in our museums, come mainly from the ruins of royal
dwellings. The chief idea suggested by the words Khorsabad, Nimroud
and Kouyundjik, is the excavation of the magnificent palaces raised
by the Assyrian monarchs within a period of something more than three
centuries. Following a custom still in vogue with the native rulers
of Egypt and India, of Persia and Turkey, each prince signalized his
accession by the commencement of a palace which should be entirely his
own.[7] To establish himself in the dwelling which had seen the death
of his predecessor would have seemed an invitation to misfortune, and
his pride would have been wounded at seeing the walls of his house
given up to celebrating the exploits of any one but himself. Finally,
each king hoped to surpass all those who had gone before in the extent
and luxury of the edifice to which his name would be thenceforward
attached. Sometimes he took dressed masonry from abandoned seraglios;
sometimes he raised at his doors winged bulls which had already done
duty elsewhere, changing, of course, their inscriptions; sometimes
he lined his chambers with alabaster slabs bearing reliefs in which
the conquests of his fathers were narrated; in that case he turned
the sculptured side to the wall, and caused his own prowess to be
celebrated upon the new surface thus cheaply won.[8] Whether old
materials were used or new, the palace was always personal to the king
who built it. Thus it is that the remains of some ten palaces have been
found in the mounds already attacked, although that of Khorsabad is the
only one that has been completely explored.

We cannot attempt to describe the ruins of so many palaces. No one
of them is an exact copy of any other; their dimensions, and many of
their arrangements have much variety, but nevertheless, we may say
that they all follow the same general plan. The only way to avoid
continual repetition is to take, as a type of all, the example that has
been most completely studied. Our choice of such a type is soon made.
The palace of Sargon, at Khorsabad, may be neither the largest of the
Assyrian palaces nor that in which the best sculptors were employed
upon the decorations, but it is certainly that in which the excavations
have been most systematically carried on. Except at a few points the
explorers have only held their hands when the flat summit of the mound
was reached. The whole has been cleared except the centres of some of
the quadrangles and a few unimportant outbuildings. Nowhere else can
the general arrangement be so clearly followed, or the guiding spirit
of an Assyrian plan so easily grasped.





  The restoration by F Thomas]

  [Illustration: FIG. 2.--The mound and village of
  Khorsabad before the commencement of the excavations; from Botta.]

                     § 2.--_The Palace of Sargon._

The mound in which the remains of Sargon’s palace had lain concealed
for so many centuries bore on its summit, before the excavations began,
a small village called Khorsabad (Fig. 2). It rises about nine miles
north-north-east of Mossoul on the eastern bank of the Khausser, an
affluent of the Tigris, and in the neighbourhood of the mountains which
begin to draw in towards the left bank of that river not far above the
site of Nineveh. Botta was induced to begin his excavations at this
point on account of the numerous fragments of cuneiform inscriptions
which were found there by the peasants of the village. He sent a number
of workmen to Khorsabad under the superintendence of his confidential
servant, Charles Michel, who, twenty years afterwards, was my dragoman
in Asia Minor.[9] How often during our long marches through forests
and across barren steppes he entertained me with the story of how he
discovered Nineveh, as, like his master Botta, he always called it, my
readers may guess. “We arrived at Khorsabad towards evening, and after
exploring the village I was rather puzzled as to what I should find for
my men to do--we had already been so often deceived. At Kouyundjik we
had raised no end of dust and found hardly anything. While turning over
this question in my mind I had my supper before the door of one of the
houses, and after the meal was over, I was idly scratching the ground
by the side of the mat on which I was lying, with my knife. Suddenly I
felt the blade strike against something very hard; I withdrew it, and
thrusting my finger into the hole, I felt a stone. Working away with
the knife I soon enlarged the hole, and then saw that the stone was
worked and chiselled with great care. Next morning I brought my workmen
to the spot, and watched them closely to see that they advanced with
sufficient precaution. A few strokes of the pick-axe brought to light
the head of one of the bulls. Off I went at full gallop to Mossoul, and
came back next day with M. Botta.”

Whether this be a truthful narrative or not I cannot say. Michel was
born in the Levant, of French parents, and I always forgot to ask
whether, by any chance, his father was a Gascon. In any case, it
was to Botta’s honour that he understood the value and significance
of a discovery due, in the first place, to the idle scratchings of
a subaltern, and that he pushed on his explorations in the face of
Turkish ill-will and pecuniary difficulties, and that before he had
received any encouragement from Paris.

Botta soon recognized the true character of the building, even although
he clung to the erroneous notion that he had disinterred the historical
capital of Assyria, the Nineveh of classic writers and Hebrew
prophets.[10] The excavations of his successor and the decipherment
of the cuneiform texts have clearly proved his mistake. The monument
found and partly excavated by Botta, was never included in Nineveh,
vast though that city may have been. It was part of what may be called
a caprice of Sargon’s put into execution between the years 722 and 705
B.C. That prince was not content with founding a new dynasty;
he determined to pass the intervals between his campaigns in a palace
and city which should be entirely his own creation, and should bear
his name. That town and palace, with its situation a few miles from
the great political and commercial capital, was the Versailles of an
Assyrian _grand monarque_.

The connection between town and palace was very close. The fortified
walls of the former inclosed a large rectangular parallelogram (Vol. I.
Fig. 144), while the lofty platform on which the structures composing
the king’s dwelling were reared, was placed, as it were, astride of the
wall on its north-western face. Its pavement was on a level with the
summit of the wall.[11] Thus attached to the _enceinte_ the palace
esplanade shared the protection of its parapet and flanking towers,
while it stood boldly out, like an enormous bastion, from the stretch
of wall of which it formed a part. From three of its faces it commanded
a view of the plain, the river, and the neighbouring mountains, so
that the requirements of health and pleasure were remembered at the
same time as those of safety. As for placing the king’s dwelling, as
it might have been placed by a modern architect, at some distance from
the town, and upon the summit of some gentle height, such a notion was
quite outside Assyrian ideas. A country site would have been too easily
accessible to the numerous enemies of the Assyrian kings--those eastern
Attilas, who could only feel themselves safe when sheltered by the
impenetrable walls of dwellings perched upon an artificial hill, from
which the whole surrounding country could be watched.

  [Illustration: FIG. 3.--Plan of Sargon’s palace in its
  present state; from Place.]

We must refer those who wish to study the arrangements of Sargon’s
palace in detail to the plans and letterpress of Place. Botta
discovered fourteen apartments; Place cleared one hundred and
eighty-six. A few more were suggested by him on his restored plan at
points where symmetry seemed to demand their existence. His plan,
therefore, includes in all, two hundred and nine apartments of various
sizes.[12] The adjoining plan, which shows the actual state of the
ruins, is sufficient to show the general arrangement (Fig. 3).[13]
The longitudinal section (Fig. 4) is taken through the central axis
of the building, the position of the staged-tower showing that it is
the western half of the palace that has been chosen for reproduction.
A good idea of the general physiognomy of the whole may be obtained
from our Plate V. This is not a mere reduction from Thomas’s
restoration;[14] several details have been sensibly modified. Thus, on
the principal façade, barrel vaults have been substituted for domes
as being on the whole more probable; battlements have been placed on
the parapet of the double ramp, and the perspective, which is very
imperfect in Thomas’s plate, has been corrected. Our view is supposed
to be taken at some sixteen hundred feet above the ground and at a
considerable distance south-east of the platform.

  [Illustration: FIG. 4.--Longitudinal section through the
  palace of Sargon; compiled from Thomas.]

We shall here confine ourselves to showing how the Assyrians understood
the plan and general arrangement of a royal palace. The buildings of
which it was composed were grouped upon a platform shaped like a T.[15]
Each of the two parts of this platform was a rectangle. The larger of
the two--that within the town walls--had a superficial measurement
of about 68,500 square yards, the smaller one of about 40,000 square
yards; so that the palace as a whole covered between twenty-four and
twenty-five acres of ground, and the brick employed in building it may
be put at about 1,750,642 cubic yards. The imagination is oppressed
by such figures, especially when we remember that all this mass of
material was carried to its place in baskets on men’s shoulders. This
we know from those reliefs in which the construction of a palace is

At the first glance the labyrinth of chambers, corridors and courts
presented by the above plan seems to offer a hopeless task to one
anxious to grasp the principle of its arrangements and to assign its
right use to each apartment. Place and Thomas tell us that such was
their feeling when they first began to open up the palace, but as the
work advanced they grew to understand its combinations. In certain
parts of the building objects were found that cast a flood of light
upon the original purposes of the rooms in which they occurred; the
character and richness of the decoration varied greatly between one
part of the palace and another. The arrangement of the side entrances,
the rarity or multiplicity of passages, also had their significance.
Thanks to the observations made on all these points during the progress
of the work we can now understand the economy of the building with some

Its general arrangements were suggested to the architect by those
conditions of life in the east which have changed so little during so
many centuries. From this point of view it was soon perceived that
the palace was divided into three distinct groups of apartments,
groups corresponding exactly to the three great divisions into which
every palatial residence of modern India, Persia, or Turkey may be
divided. There is the Seraglio, or palace properly speaking, the rooms
inhabited by the men, and the sélamlik, in which visitors are received.
Then comes the Harem containing the private apartments of the prince
with those of his wives and children, who are guarded by eunuchs and
waited on by a crowd of female slaves and domestics. Finally there
is the Khan, a collection of service chambers that we should call
_offices_. The analogy is so absolute that in our ignorance of the
Assyrian names for the three divisions of the palace, we are tempted
to make use of those employed throughout the Levant, to designate
the different parts of such houses, as, thanks to the wealth of their
masters, are provided with all their organs.

It is possible that the palace had some direct outlet to the open
country, so that its inhabitants could escape, unknown to the
population of the city, in time of tumult, or could make a nocturnal
sortie upon an enemy encamped beneath the mound. If there were any such
arrangement it must have consisted of staircases contrived in the mound
itself and closed, perhaps, at their inferior extremities with heavy
bronze doors. No traces of such passages have been found. But even on
the side towards the city, the side on which lay the natural approach
to the palace, there is no sign of any ramp or staircase by which the
forty-six feet of difference between the levels of the platform and the
soil upon which the city was built, could be overcome. The palace had
two great monumental façades, each pierced with three large openings
flanked by winged bulls. One of these façades (that in front of the
hall lettered I on the plan) formed one side of a spacious rectangular
court (H) and faced towards the north-east. Some of the buildings
surrounding this court have entirely disappeared (see plan), but it is
certain that it communicated with the platform of the city walls and
that of the palace itself by one opening or more. On the north-eastern
side Thomas has placed a wide and easy inclined-plane by which horses
and other beasts of burden could mount to the platform, so that the
king’s chariot could deposit him at the very door of his apartments,
and the heavily laden mules and bullocks could deliver their loads in
the store rooms which occupied the whole eastern angle of the mound.[17]

The other façade occupies the middle of the south-eastern face and is
turned towards the town. It forms a majestic propylæum (Fig. 5) through
which the largest of the courts is reached (A on the plan). In the more
stately of the city gates foot prints may be traced, while in those
that are less ornamental there are marks of wheels, suggesting that
some entrances were reserved for pedestrians and others for carriages.
It is likely enough that a similar arrangement obtained in the palace,
and that in front of this south-eastern gateway there was a flight of
steps instead of a continuous ramp. We find such an arrangement at
Persepolis where both steps and balustrade, being cut in the rock,
are still in good preservation; at Khorsabad, however, there is now
no vestige of such a staircase. If the steps have not been carried
away they must lie entombed at the very bottom of the _débris_.
We cannot say then that our restoration is, in this particular,
beyond contention, but it is both probable in itself and entirely in
the spirit of Assyrian architecture. These steps must have been the
shortest way from the town to the palace. Horsemen, chariots, convoys
of provisions had to make a détour and reach both the palace platform
and that of the city walls by the south-eastern ramp.

Let us, too, make use of that approach, and, when we have gained the
summit of the incline, turn to our left and pass through the first
doorway. This must have been carefully fortified and guarded, for it
led directly to the heart of the royal dwelling. It has now entirely
disappeared with the northern corner of the mound on which it stood,
but we need not hesitate to restore it, with a whole suite of buildings
inclosing what must have been the chief court of the palace, so far,
at least, as dignity was concerned (H on the plan).[18] West and
south-west of this quadrangle there is a group of chambers excavated by
Botta, to which we have given the name of the seraglio.

The seraglio contained ten courts and no less than sixty rooms or
passages, intimately connected by the doors pierced through their
walls. M. Place divides this great collection of chambers into two
distinct parts, which, he thinks, had different duties to fulfil.

He calls the first part, that in which the courts marked I, J, K,
L occur, the _sculptural part_.[19] It contained the sélamlik
proper, consisting of the largest and most splendidly decorated halls.
The narrow gallery separating court I from court J is 150 feet long
and 19 feet wide. The other rooms opening out of court J are 106 feet
long by 26½ feet wide. This court J is the real centre of the sélamlik;
it is almost exactly square, with a superficial measurement of about
11,236 square feet. The eight doors that open upon it give access to
every part of the palace. Four of these doorways are supported by
bulls; they were all vaulted, and their arches decorated with bands
of enamelled brick. As for the walls themselves, their lower parts
were cased with bas-reliefs coloured in sober tints. It is quite
possible that this court was used for ceremonial purposes, as it could
be easily protected from the sun by stretching between the summits of
its walls, those rich stuffs the Babylonians knew so well how to weave.
By covering the ground with carpets a saloon would be formed in which
large numbers of people could be brought together, and one whose noble
decorations would be in complete harmony with the stateliest pageants.

  [Illustration: FIG. 5.--South eastern gateway of
  Sargon’s palace at Khorsabad; compiled from Thomas.]

We cannot attempt to describe the seven great chambers that surrounded
the courtyard. They were all decorated with sculptured slabs and
enamelled brick; the doors that led from one to the other were flanked
by colossi. At one point (looking towards the court marked L) the
spectator could look down a vista of no less than eight of these arched
and decorated doorways.

All these large rooms opening from a single court made up a combination
in which everything was calculated for show. Their size alone made
such rooms uninhabitable, and, as life has everywhere much the same
requirements, M. Place found to the south of these state apartments a
collection of smaller and less richly ornamented chambers in which the
king could sleep, eat, and receive in private audience, and in which
the officers of his chancellery and his personal attendants could be
lodged within easy call. These are the rooms about the courts marked M,
M´, N, O, P in our plan. They contain a few sculptures. The walls as a
rule are coated with a coloured stucco, and sometimes decorated with
fresco paintings. There are in all forty-nine of these rooms, covering,
with their courts, about 6,000 square yards.

A short study of the plan is enough to make its presiding idea clear
to us. “Each court, taken by itself and with the chambers radiating
from it, forms a distinct group of apartments communicating with other
groups only on one side and often only by a single door.”[20] Each
of these groups must have afforded lodgings for the personnel of one
department of the king’s household. Ctesias says that fifteen thousand
officers and domestics found board and lodging in the palace of the
King of Persia, and although he may be here guilty, as in so many
other instances, of some exaggeration, we are willing to accept this
figure as being comparatively near the truth. Travellers who visited
Constantinople in the days of the Solimans and Amurats, tell us that
the walls of the old seraglio crave shelter to thousands of individuals
who were fed from the kitchens of the sultan.

Before quitting this part of the palace we must point out several
other buildings that belong to it both by position and character.
In the first place, our readers will see that the northern angle is
occupied by a group of chambers abutting on one corner of the seraglio
but not communicating directly with it. This group opens on the state
quadrangle and upon the external platform. “This building was decorated
in the most splendid fashion. It contained eight vast halls and a few
smaller chambers. It was like a second seraglio attached to the first
and rivalling it in magnificence. What could have been its destination?
We can hardly answer that question with certainty, but we may hazard
the suggestion that, in the lifetime of Sargon, his son Sennacherib was
already a great personage and must have had his own particular palace,
or suite of apartments, in the house of the king, his father.”[21]

In the western angle of the platform stands the isolated and
irretrievably ruinous building taken by Botta for a temple, and
restored by Thomas as a throne room.[22] In either case it played its
part in the official and public life of the king. We may say the same
of the building near the centre of the south-western face of the mound,
in which we have recognized a temple, although we have not scrupled to
make use of the title given to it by M. Place. The chief sanctuary of
the town that lay so far below its summit, it must have been the scene
after each campaign, of the royal homage to Assur; the observatory of
the astrologers, it must have had constant and intimate relations with
the palace, where the bulletins issued from it must have been awaited
with anxiety whenever the propitious moment for any great enterprise
was sought.

At the southern angle of the seraglio and to the south-east of the
_Observatory_, there is an almost completely separate building.
Its isolation, the few points of access and the way they are arranged,
the style of its decorations, their richness, and the disposition of
its chambers, all combine to suggest that this part of the palace
was the royal harem. An inscription upon the threshold of one of the
rooms confirms this conjecture; it prays for the blessing of fertility
upon the royal alliances.[23] In our Fig. 6 we give a large scale plan
on which its arrangements may be more easily followed. The total area
of the harem was about 10,912 square yards.

  [Illustration: FIG. 6.--Plan of the harem in Sargon’s
  palace; from Place.]

In the walls inclosing all this space there were but two openings;
one in the south-western façade, facing the city, the other leading
into the great court of the palace. The first opening was a narrow
passage leading to a small square chamber, which must have been a
eunuch’s guard-room. The passage from it into the main court of the
harem is at right angles with the first named passage, so that no
glimpse of the inside could be caught from the external platform, or
_vice-versâ_. The second entrance also leads to this same court
(Q on plan) which thus acts as a kind of vestibule to the rest of the
harem. This entrance leads from the southern angle of the large court
(A on first plan) into a rectangular guard-room like that already
mentioned. This guard-room has four doors. One leading through a small
square vestibule into the large court, two sides of which were taken
up with stables, workshops, and store-rooms; a second leading, as we
have seen, into the harem court; a third into the first of several
rectangular chambers that surround this court on the south-east; and
the fourth into a kind of corridor that runs between the harem wall (U)
and that of the great quadrangle, ending finally on the platform round
the _Observatory_. By this last named entrance the king could
reach his wives’ apartments by a route which, though longer, was far
more private than that through the great quadrangle. The passage may,
perhaps, have been covered by a wooden gallery, allowing it to be used
in all states of the weather.

The harem had three courts, around which were distributed a number of
small rooms and several large halls, destined, no doubt, for use on
festive occasions. There were no bas-reliefs on the walls, which were
decorated merely with a coat of white stucco crossed at the foot by a
black dado thirty-two inches high. Unlike the floors of beaten earth
in the seraglio, most of those in the harem were paved with bricks or
stone slabs.

The heart of the harem was the court marked U in our plan. Its
decorations were rich in the extreme. On at least one side the foot
of the wall was decorated with a sort of mosaic of enamelled brick
surmounted by groups of semi-columns (Fig. 101 and Plate XV.). The
doors were flanked by statues and by tall timber shafts cased in metal,
carrying on their summits tufts of palm leaves in gilded bronze, giving
a free rendering of the tall stem and graceful head of the date-tree.
We have restored one part of this court in perspective (Fig. 7)
introducing nothing conjectural but the upper parts of the wall.[24]

In this woodcut an arrangement may be noticed (it is still more clearly
shown in the plan) which is encountered nowhere else. The area of the
brick-paved court was intersected by two lines of stone slabs crossing
each other in the centre and standing slightly above the general level
of the pavement. These paths lead to three bedrooms in three corners of
the quadrangle and to a small unimportant-looking room in the fourth
corner. The three bedrooms were exactly similar to each other and
unlike anything to be found in the rest of the palace. They were large
oblong rooms; about a third of their area was occupied by a kind of
daïs twenty-four inches above the rest of the floor, and approached
by five brick steps. In the centre of the end wall there was a kind
of alcove, the floor of which was again four feet three inches above
that of the daïs. This alcove was decorated with grooves and surmounted
by an arch of enamelled brick (Fig. 90, Vol. I.). Its dimensions were
nine feet wide by three feet four inches deep, or just a convenient
space for a bed, which might be reached by movable steps. Thomas has
not hesitated to introduce one into his restoration. The bas-reliefs
furnished him with a model.[25]

  [Illustration: FIG. 7.--Harem court in the palace of
  Sargon at Khorsabad; compiled from Thomas.]

Observe that the courts of the harem give access to three main groups
of chambers, and that those groups have no direct communication with
each other. Each of the three has its own separate entrance. Observe
also that the three bed chambers we have mentioned have no entrances
but those from the inner court; that they are all richly decorated,
and that nothing in their shape or arrangement admits of the idea
that they were for the use of attendants or others in an inferior
station---oriental custom having at all times caused such persons to
sleep on carpets, mats, or mattresses, spread on the paved floors at
night and put away in cupboards during the day--and you will allow that
the conclusion to which those who have studied the plan of Sargon’s
harem have arrived, is, at least, a very probable one. Sargon had
three queens, who inhabited the three suites of apartments; each had
assigned to her use one of the state bedrooms we have described, but
only occupied it when called upon to receive her royal spouse.[26] On
other nights she slept in her own apartments among her eunuchs and
female domestics. These apartments comprised a kind of large saloon
open to the sky, but sheltered at one end by a semi-dome (T, X, and
especially Z, where the interior is in a better state of preservation).
Stretched upon the cushions with which the daïs at this end of the
room was strewn, the sultana, if we may use such a term, like those
of modern Turkey, could enjoy the performances of musicians, singers,
and dancers, she could receive visits and kill her time in the dreamy
fashion so dear to Orientals. We have already given (Vol. I. Fig. 55,)
a restoration in perspective of the semi-dome which, according to
Thomas, covered the further ends of these reception halls.[27]

Suppose this part of the palace restored to its original condition; it
would be quite ready to receive the harem of any Persian or Turkish
prince. The same precautions against escape or intrusion, the same
careful isolation of rival claimants for the master’s favours, would
still be taken. With its indolent and passionate inmates a jealousy
that hesitates at no crime by which a rival can be removed, is common
enough, and among: the numerous slaves a willing instrument for the
execution of any vengeful project is easily found. The moral, like
the physical conditions, have changed but little, and the oriental
architect has still to adopt the precautions found necessary thirty
centuries ago.

We find another example of this pre-existence of modern arrangements
in the vast extent of the palace offices. These consist of a series
of chambers to the south-west of the court marked A, and of a whole
quarter, larger than the harem, which lies in the south-eastern corner
of the mound, and includes several wide quadrangles (B, C´, C, D, D´,
F, G, &c.).[28] We could not describe this part of the plan in detail
without giving it more space than we can spare. We must be content
with telling our readers that by careful study, of their dispositions
and of the objects found in them during the excavations, M. Place has
succeeded in determining, sometimes with absolute certainty, sometimes
with very great probability, the destination of nearly every group
of chambers in this part of the palace. The south-west side of the
great court was occupied by stores; the rooms were filled with jars,
with enamelled bricks, with things made of iron and copper, with
provisions and various utensils for the use of the palace, and with the
plunder taken from conquered countries; it was, in tact, what would
now be called the _khazneh_ or treasury. The warehouses did not
communicate with each other; they had but one door, that leading into
the great court. But opening out of each there was a small inner room,
which served perhaps as the residence of a store-keeper.

At the opposite side of the court lay what Place calls the _active
section of the offices_ (_la partie active des dépendances_),
the rooms where all those domestic labours were carried on without
which the luxurious life of the royal dwelling would have come to a
standstill. Kitchens and bakehouses were easily recognized by the
contents of the clay vases found in them; bronze rings let into the
wall betrayed the stables--in the East of our own day, horses and
camels are picketed to similar rings. Close to the stables a long
gallery, in which a large number of chariots and sets of harness could
be conveniently arranged, has been recognized as a coach-house. There
are but few rooms in which some glimpse of their probable destination
has not been caught. In two small chambers between courts A and B, the
flooring stones are pierced with round holes leading to square sewers,
which, in their turn, join a large brick-vaulted drain. The use of such
a contrivance is obvious.[29]

We may fairly suppose that the rooms in which no special indication of
their purpose was found, were mostly servants’ lodgings. They are, as a
rule, of very small size.

On the other hand, courts were ample and passages wide. Plenty of
space was required for the circulation of the domestics who supplied
the tables of the seraglio and harem, for exercising horses, and for
washing chariots. If, after the explorations of Place, any doubts could
remain as to the purpose of this quarter of the palace, they would be
removed by the Assyrian texts. Upon the terra-cotta prism on which
Sennacherib, after narrating his campaigns, describes the restoration
of his palace, he says, “the kings, my predecessors, constructed the
office court for baggage, for exercising horses, for the storing of
utensils.” Esarhaddon speaks, in another inscription, of “the part
built by the kings, his predecessors, for holding baggage, for lodging
horses, camels, dromedaries and chariots.”[30]

We have now made the tour of the palace, and we find ourselves again
before the propylæum whence we set out. This propylæum must have
been one of the finest creations of Assyrian architecture. It had no
fewer than ten winged bulls of different sizes, some parallel, others
perpendicular, to the direction of the wall. There were six in the
central doorway, which was, in all probability, reserved for the king
and his suite. A pair of smaller colossi flanked each of the two side
doors, through which passed, no doubt between files of guards, the
ceaseless crowd of visitors, soldiers, and domestics. The conception of
this façade, with its high substructure, and the ascending: lines of
a double flight of steps connecting it with the town below, is really
grand, and the size of the court into which it led, not much less than
two acres and a half, was worthy of such an approach.

The huge dimensions of this court are to be explained, not only by the
desire for imposing size, but also by the important part it played in
the economy of the palace. By its means the three main divisions, the
seraglio, the harem, and the khan, were put into communication with
each other. When there were no particular reasons for making a détour,
it was crossed by any one desiring to go from one part to another. It
was a kind of general rendezvous and common passage, and its great size
was no more than necessary for the convenient circulation of servants
with provisions for the royal tables, of military detachments, of
workmen going to their work, of the harem ladies taking the air in
palanquins escorted by eunuchs, and of royal processions, in which the
king himself took part.

As to whether or no any part of the platform was laid out in gardens,
or the courts planted with trees and flowers, we do not know. Of course
the excavations would tell us nothing on that point, but evidence is
not wanting that the masters for whom all this architectural splendour
was created were not without a love for shady groves, and that they
were fond of having trees in the neighbourhood of their dwellings.
The hanging gardens of Babylon have been famous for more than
twenty centuries. The bas-reliefs tell us that the Assyrians had an
inclination towards the same kind of luxury. On a sculptured fragment
from Kouyundjik we find a range of trees crowning a terrace supported
by a row of pointed arches (Vol. I., Fig. 42); another slab, from the
same palace of Sennacherib, shows us trees upheld by a colonnade (Fig.
8). If Sargon established in any part of his palace a garden like
that hinted at in the sculptured scene in which Assurbanipal is shown
at table with his wife (Vol. I., Fig. 27), it must have been in the
north-western angle of the platform, near the temple and staged tower.
In this corner of the mound there is plenty of open space, and being
farther from the principal entrances of the palace, it is more quiet
and retired than any other part of the royal dwelling. Here then, if
anywhere, we may imagine terraces covered with vegetable earth, in
which the vine, the fig, the pomegranate and the tall pyramid of the
cypress, could flourish and cast their grateful shadows. The existence
of such gardens is, however, so uncertain, that we have given them no
place in our attempts at restoration.

  [Illustration: FIG. 8.--A hanging garden; from Layard.]

For the service of such a building a liberal supply of water was
necessary. Whence did it come? and how was it stored? I have been
amazed to find that most of those who have studied the Assyrian palaces
have never asked themselves these questions.[31] One might have
expected to find the building provided, as is usual in hot countries,
with spacious cisterns that could be easily filled during the rainy
season; but neither at Khorsabad, Kouyundjik, nor Nimroud, have the
slightest traces of any such tanks been found. With the materials at
their disposal it would, perhaps, have been too difficult for the
Assyrian builders to make them water-tight. Neither have any wells
been discovered. Their depth must have been too great for common use.
We must remember that the height of the mound has to be added to the
distance below the ordinary surface of the country at which watery
strata would be tapped. It is, on the whole, probable that the supply
for the palace inmates was carried up in earthenware jars, and that
the service occupied a string of women, horses, and donkeys, passing
and repassing between the river, or rather the canal, that carried the
waters of the Khausser to the very foot of the mound, and the palace,
from morning until night.[32]

       *       *       *       *       *

We have now concluded our study of the arrangements of an Assyrian
palace, and we may safely affirm that those arrangements were not
invented, all standing, by the architect of Sargon. They were suggested
partly by the nature of the materials used, partly by the necessities
to be met. The plan of an Assyrian palace must have grown in scale and
consistence with the power of the Assyrian kings. As their resources
became greater, and their engineers more skilled, increased convenience
and a richer decoration was demanded from their architects. We have
dwelt at length upon Khorsabad, because it affords the completest and
best preserved example of a type often repeated in the course of ten
or twelve centuries. In some respects, in its constructive processes
and the taste of its decorations, for instance, the Assyrian palace
resembled the other buildings of the country; its chief originality
consisted in the number of its rooms and the principles on which they
were distributed.

The method followed in the combination of these countless apartments
is, as M. Place has said, “almost naïve in its simplicity.”[33] The
plan is divided into as many separate parallelograms as there were
departments to be accommodated; these rectangles are so arranged that
they touch each other either at an angle or by the length of a side,
but they never penetrate one into the other, and they never command one
another. They are contiguous, or nearly so, but always independent.
Thus the palace contains three main divisions, the seraglio, the harem,
and the khan. Each of these is a rectangle, and each lies upon one side
of the great common square marked A on our plan. The same principle
holds good in the minor subdivisions. These consist of smaller
rectangles, also opening upon uncovered courts, and without any lateral
communication with each other. Examine the plan and you will see the
system carried out as rigidly in the seraglio as in the harem. Thus the
various sections of the palace are at once isolated and close together,
so that their occupants could live their lives and perform their duties
in the most perfect independence.

The methodical spirit by which these combinations were governed was all
the more necessary in a building where no superposition of one story
upon another was possible. The whole palace was one vast ground floor.
To arrange on one level more than thirty courtyards and more than two
hundred halls and chambers, to provide convenient means of access from
one to the other, to keep accessory parts in due subordination, to give
each room its most fitting place in the whole--such was the problem
put before the Assyrian constructor. Profiting by a long experience he
solved it with the utmost judgment, and proved himself to be wanting
neither in forethought, skill, nor inventive power.

                 § 3. _Other Palaces of Mesopotamia._

The type of palace we have studied at Khorsabad, is, like the staged
towers, a development from Chaldæan structures whose leading lines were
established many centuries before the princes of Calah and Nineveh
began to raise their sumptuous houses. The sites of the ancient cities
of Lower Chaldæa inclose buildings that seem to date from a very remote
epoch, buildings in which we may recognize the first sketch, as it
were, for the magnificent dwellings of Sargon and Sennacherib.

The most important of these buildings, and the most interesting, is
the ruin at Warka, which Loftus calls _Wuswas_ (Fig. 172, Vol.
I., letter B on the plan).[34] Unfortunately his explorations were
very partial and his description is very summary, while his plan of
the ruin only gives a small part of it (Fig. 9). There is, however,
enough to show the general character of the structure. The latter stood
upon a rectangular mound about 660 feet long and 500 wide. In spite
of the enormous accumulation of rubbish, Loftus succeeded in making
out an open door in the outer wall, and several chambers of different
sizes communicating with a large court. There was the same thickness
of wall and the same absence of symmetry as at Khorsabad; the openings
were not in the middle of the rooms. In the long wall, decorated with
panels and grooves, which still stands among the ruins to a height of
about twenty-four feet and a length of about 172 feet, the posterior
façade, through which there was no means of ingress and egress, may be
recognized. We have already copied Loftus’s reproduction of this façade
for the sake of its decoration (Fig. 100, Vol. I.).

  [Illustration: FIG. 9.--Plan of a palace at Warka; from

The building at Sirtella (_Tello_) in which M. de Sarzec
discovered such curious statues, was less extensive; it was only
about 175 feet long by 102 wide. The faces of the parallelogram were
slightly convex, giving to the building something of the general form
of a terra-cotta tub (Fig. 150, Vol I.). Here the excavations were
pushed far enough to give us a better idea of the general arrangement
than we can get at Warka. A great central court, about which numerous
square and oblong apartments are arranged, has been cleared; there is
a separate quarter, which may be the harem; at one angle of the court
the massive stages of a _zigguratt_ may be recognized. The walls
are entirely of burnt brick. They are decorated only on the principal
façade, where the ornaments belong to the same class as those of
Wuswas--semi-columns mixed with grooves in which the elevation of a
stepped battlement is reproduced horizontally.

In none of the ruins of habitations found in this district by the
English explorers, were the chambers other than rectangular. Taylor
cleared a few halls in two buildings at Mugheir (Fig. 10) and
Abou-Sharein (Figs. 11 and 12) respectively. Both of these stood on
artificial mounds, and it is difficult to believe that they were
private dwellings. The walls of several rooms at Mugheir seemed to have
been decorated with glazed bricks; at Abou-Sharein there was nothing
but roughly painted stucco. In one chamber the figure of a man with a
bird on his fist might yet be distinguished.

  [Illustration: FIG. 10.--Plan of chambers at Mugheir;
  from Taylor.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 11.--Plan of chambers at
  Abou-Sharein; from Taylor.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 12.--Plan of chambers at
  Abou-Sharein; from Taylor.]

It is in Babylon that we ought to have found the masterpieces of this
architecture, in that capital of Nebuchadnezzar where the Chaldæan
genius, just before it finally lost its autonomy, made the supreme
effort that resulted in the buildings attributed by the travelled
Greeks to their famous Semiramis. We have no reason to disbelieve
Ctesias when he says that there were two palaces in Babylon, one on
the left and another on the right bank of the Euphrates. “Semiramis,”
says Diodorus, following his usual guide, “built a double residence for
herself, close to the river and on both sides of the bridge, whence she
might at one and the same time enjoy the view over the whole city, and,
so to speak, keep the keys of the most important parts of the capital
in her own power. As the Euphrates runs southward through Babylon, one
of these palaces faced the rising, the other the setting, sun. Round
the palace that faced westwards, she built a wall sixty stades in
circumference, &c.”[35]

The larger and more richly decorated of the two palaces was that on the
left bank.[36] Its opposite neighbour has vanished and left no trace.
The Euphrates has been gradually encroaching on its right bank ever
since the days of antiquity, and has long ago disunited and carried
away the last stones and bricks of the western palace. The eastern
palace is on the other hand still represented by one of the great
mounds that dominate the plain; this mound is called the Kasr, or
castle (Fig. 183, vol. i.). Its circumference is now not far short of a
mile.[37] Its form is that of an oblong parallelogram, with its longest
side next the river and parallel to it. The flanks of the mound have,
however, been so deeply seamed by searchers for treasure and building
materials that no vestige of its arrangements is now to be traced. The
bricks employed in the building all bore the name of Nebuchadnezzar.

South of the Kasr there is another mound, rising about one
hundred feet above the plain and very irregular in shape. This is
_Tel-Amran-ibn-Ali_, or _Tell-Amran_, (Fig. 183, vol. i.). It
is agreed that this contains all that remains of the hanging gardens,
a conjecture that is confirmed by the numerous tombs dating from the
Seleucid, the Parthian, and the Sassanid periods, which have been
found in its flanks whenever any excavation has been attempted.[38]
Tell-Amram seems to have been a far more popular depository for corpses
than either Babil, the Kasr, or the Birs-Nimroud, a preference which is
easily explained. Whether we believe, with Diodorus, that the gardens
were supported by great stone architraves, or with Strabo, that they
stood upon several stories of vaults, we may understand that in either
case their substructure offered long galleries which, when the gardens
were no longer kept up and the whole building was abandoned to itself,
were readily turned into burial places.[39] The palace and temple
mounds did not offer the same facilities. They were solid, and graves
would have had to be cut in them before a corpse could be buried in
their substance. The Kasr was a ready-made catacomb into which any
number of coffins could be thrust with the smallest expenditure of

Excavations in the Kasr and at Tell-Amran might bring many precious
objects to light, but we can hardly think that any room or other
part of a building in such good preservation as many of those in the
Assyrian palaces would be recovered. To the latter, then, we shall
have again to turn to complete our study of the civil architecture of

If we have placed the edifices from which the English explorers have
drawn so many precious monuments in the second line, it is not only
because their exploration is incomplete, but also because they do not
lend themselves to our purpose quite so readily as that cleared by MM.
Botta and Place. At Khorsabad there have never been any buildings but
those of Sargon; city and palace were built at a single operation,
and those who undertake their study do not run any risk of confusion
between the work of different generations. The plan we have discussed
so minutely is really that elaborated by the Assyrian architect to whom
Sargon committed the direction of the work. We can hardly say the same
of the ruins explored by Mr. Layard and his successors. The mounds of
Nimroud and Kouyundjik saw one royal dwelling succeed another, and
the architects who were employed upon them hardly had their hands
free. They had, to a certain extent, to reckon with buildings already
in existence. These may sometimes have prevented them from extending
their works as far as they wished in one direction or another, or even
compelled them now and then to vary the levels of their floors; so that
it is not always easy for a modern explorer to know exactly how he
stands among the ruins of their creations, or to clearly distinguish
the work of one date from that of another.[40]

It was at Nimroud that this perplexity was chiefly felt, until the
decipherment of the inscriptions came to enable different periods and
princes to be easily distinguished. This name of Nimroud, handed down
by the ancient traditions collected in Genesis, has been given to a
mound which rises about six leagues to the south of Mossoul, on the
left bank of the Tigris, and both by its form and elevation attracts
the attention of every traveller that descends the stream. The river
is now at some distance from the ruins, but as our map shows (Fig.
1), it is easy to trace its ancient bed, which was close to the foot
of the mound. The latter is an elongated parallelogram, about 1,300
yards in one direction, and 750 in the other (see Vol. I., Fig. 145).
Above its weather-beaten sides, and the flat expanse at their summit,
stood, before the excavations began, the apex of the conical mound in
which Layard found the lower stories of a staged tower (Fig. 13). Calah
seems to have been the first capital of the Assyrian Empire and even
to have preserved some considerable importance after the Sargonids
had transported the seat of government to Nineveh, and built their
most sumptuous buildings in the latter city. Nearly every king of any
importance, down to the very last years of the monarchy, left the mark
of his hand upon Nimroud.[41]

Of all the royal buildings at Calah that which has been most
methodically and thoroughly cleared is the oldest of all, the
north-western palace, or palace of Assurnazirpal (885–860). It has
not been entirely laid open, but the most richly decorated parts,
corresponding to the seraglio at Khorsabad, have been cleared. The
adjoining plan (Fig. 14) shows arrangements quite similar to those of
Sargon’s palace. A large court is surrounded on three sides by as many
rectangular groups of apartments, each group forming a separate suite,
with its own entrances to the court.

  [Illustration: FIG. 13.--General view of Nimroud; from

The chief entrance faces the north. Two great doorways flanked by
winged and human-headed lions, give access to a long gallery (4 on
plan). At the western end of this gallery there is a small platform
or daïs raised several steps above the rest of the floor. Upon this,
no doubt, the king’s throne was placed on those reception days when
subjects and vassals crowded to his feet. Some idea of what such a
reception must have been may be gained from an Indian _Durbar_,
or from the Sultan of Turkey’s annual review of all his great
functionaries of state at the feast of _Courban-Baïram_. I
witnessed the latter ceremony in the Old Seraglio in 1857, and when
those great officers, like the mollahs and sheiks of the dervishes,
who had preserved the turban and floating robes of the East, bent to
the feet of Abd-al-Medjid, I was irresistibly reminded of the pompous
ceremonials sculptured on the walls of Nineveh and Persepolis.

  [Illustration: FIG. 14.--Plan of the north-western
  palace at Nimroud; from Layard.]

The walls of this saloon were entirely lined in their lower parts
with reliefs representing the king surrounded by his chief officers,
offering prayers to the god of his people and doing homage for the
destruction of his enemies and for successful hunts (Fig. 15). The
figures in these reliefs are larger than life. A doorway flanked by two
bulls leads into another saloon (2 on plan) rather shorter and narrower
than the first. In this the ornamentation is less varied. The limestone
slabs are carved with eagle-headed genii in pairs, separated by the
sacred tree (Vol. I., Fig. 8). The inner wall of this saloon is pierced
with a fine doorway leading into the central court (1), while in one
corner there is a narrower opening into a third long hall (6), which
runs along the eastern side of the court. It was in this latter room
that the finest sculptures, those that may perhaps be considered the
masterpieces of the Assyrian artists, were found. Behind this saloon
there was another, rather longer, but not quite so wide (7); then five
chambers, completing the palace on this side. To the south of the great
court there were two large halls (3 and 5) similar in arrangement to
those already mentioned but less richly decorated, and several smaller
rooms opening some into the halls, others into the passages on the
west of the court. As to whether the latter was inclosed or not on the
west by buildings like those on the other three sides we cannot now
be certain, as on that side the mound has been much broken away by the
floods of the Tigris, which once bathed its foot. There is nothing to
forbid the hypothesis of a grand staircase on this side leading up from
the river bank.[42]

In the _central_ and _south-western_ palaces, built by Shalmaneser II.
and his grandson Vulnirari III. the excavations have not been carried
far enough to allow the plans to be restored. The explorers have been
content to carry off inscriptions and fragments of sculpture in stone,
ivory, and metal.[43]

The _south-western palace_, or palace of Esarhaddon, has been the
scene of explorations sufficiently prolonged to give us some idea of
its general arrangements (Fig. 16). A curious circumstance was noticed
by the English explorers. While the works of Assurbanipal bore the
strongest marks of care and skill, those of Esarhaddon showed signs of
having been carried out with a haste that amounted to precipitation,
and his palace was never finished. Nearly all the alabaster slabs were
taken from older buildings.[44] Most of these were fixed with their
original carved surfaces against the wall, but a few were turned the
proper way. Doubtless, had time served, these would have been smoothed
down and reworked. Nothing was finished, however, but the bulls and
sphinxes at the doors (Vol. I. Fig. 85) and a few reliefs in their
immediate neighbourhood.[45] Esarhaddon died, no doubt, before the
completion of the work, which was never continued.

  [Illustration: FIG. 15.--Assurnazirpal offering a
  libation to the gods after his victory over a wild bull. British
  Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

And yet his architect was by no means lacking in ambition. Upon the
southern face of the building he intended to build the largest hall,
which, so far as we know, was ever attempted in an Assyrian palace.
This saloon would have been about 170 feet long by 63 feet wide. As
soon as the walls were raised he saw that he could not roof it in.
Neither barrel vault nor timber ceiling could have so great a span.
He determined to get over the difficulty by erecting a central wall
down the major axis of the room, upon which either timber beams or
the springers of a double vault could rest. This wall was pierced by
several openings, and was stopped some distance short of the two end
walls. It divided the saloon into four different rooms (marked 1, 2,
3, 4 on our plan) each of which was by no means small. Even with this
modification the magnificence of the original plan did not entirely
disappear. The two colossal lions opposite the door were very wide
apart, and all the openings between the various subdivisions were large
enough to allow the eye to range freely over the whole saloon, and to
grasp the first thought of the architect in its entirety.

  [Illustration: FIG. 16.--Plan of the south-western
  palace at Nimroud; from Layard.]

As to the buildings on the other sides of the court and the total
extent of the palace, we know very little; towards the west the walls
of several saloons have been recognized, but they have been left
half cleared. On the east, landslips have carried away part of the

Between the palace of Assurnazirpal and that of Esarhaddon Layard found
what seemed to him the remains of the second story of some building,
or at least of a new building erected over one of earlier date (Fig.
17). Impelled, no doubt, by the rarity of the circumstance, he gives
a plan of these remains, and goes so far as to express his belief that
the arrangements shown in the plan were repeated on the three other
faces of a tower of which he encountered the summit, still partly

Although Calah was never abandoned, it fell, after the accession of the
Sargonids, from the first place among Assyrian cities; on the other
hand Sargon’s attempt to fix the seat of government in his own town of
Dour-Saryoukin does not seem to have met with permanent success. From
the eighth century to the end of the seventh the Assyrian kings appear
to have made Nineveh their favourite place of residence.

The site of this famous city has been much discussed,[48] but at last
the question appears to be settled. Nineveh was built on the left
bank of the Tigris, opposite to the site occupied by modern Mossoul.
Two great mounds rising some five-and-thirty feet above the level of
the plain, represent the substructures upon which the royal homes
of the last Assyrian dynasty were raised; they are now famous as
_Kouyundjik_ and _Nebbi-Younas_. Like the mound of Khorsabad
these two artificial hills were in juxtaposition with the city walls,
which may still be traced in almost their whole extent by the ridge of
earth formed of their materials (Fig. 18).

  [Illustration: FIG. 17.--Upper chambers excavated at
  Nimroud; from Layard.]

The mound of Nebbi-Younas has so far remained almost unexplored. It is
fortified against the curiosity of Europeans by the little building
on its summit and the cemetery covering most of its surface. The
inhabitants of the country, Mussulman as well as Christian, believe
that Jonah lies under the chapel dome, and they themselves hope to rest
as near his body as possible. Some slight excavations, little more than
a few strokes of the pick-axe, have been made in the scanty spots where
no graves occur, but enough evidence has been found to justify us in
assuming that Nebbi-Younas also hides its palaces. They too will have
their turn. Thanks to the prestige of the prophet they are reserved for
excavations to be conducted perhaps in a more systematic fashion than
those hitherto undertaken on the site of Nineveh.

  [Illustration: FIG. 18.--Map of the site of Nineveh;
  from Oppert.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 19.--Plan of the mound of
  Kouyundjik; from Rassam’s _Transactions_.]

At Kouyundjik, on the other hand, no serious obstacle was encountered.
The village transported itself to the plain; it was not necessary to
persuade the inhabitants to quit it, as it had been at Khorsabad. When
Botta, who had begun certain inquisitions at this spot, abandoned his
attempts, the English explorers were left free to sound the flanks
of the artificial hill at their leisure, and to choose their point
of attack. If they had gone to work in the same fashion as Botta and
Place, they might have laid bare palaces excelling that of Sargon in
the scale and variety of their arrangements. Of this we may judge from
Mr. Rassam’s plan (Fig. 19). But after the departure of Mr. Layard the
excavations, frequently interrupted and then recommenced after long
intervals, aimed only at discovering such objects as might figure in a
museum. A trench was opened here and another there, on the inspiration
of the moment. The explorers often neglected to measure the buildings
in which they were at work, so that we have only partial plans of the
two principal buildings of Nineveh, those palaces of Sennacherib and
Assurbanipal from which so many beautiful monuments have been taken to
enrich the British Museum.

  [Illustration: FIG. 20.--Part plan of the palace of
  Sennacherib; from Layard.]

The mound of Kouyundjik in its present state is an irregular pentagon.
Its circumference is rather more than a mile and a half. The palace of
Sennacherib occupies the south-western corner, and forms a rectangle
about 600 feet long by 330 wide. The two chief entrances were turned
one towards the river, or south-west, the other towards the town,
or north-east. The latter entrance was flanked by ten winged bulls.
The four central ones stood out beyond the line of the façade, and
were separated from each other by colossal genii.[49] About sixteen
halls and chambers have been counted round the three courtyards. As
at Khorsabad, some of these are long galleries, others rooms almost
square. The fragmentary plan shown in our Fig. 20 brings out the
resemblance very strongly. It represents a part of the building
explored in Layard’s first campaign. In the rooms marked 2, 3, and 4,
small niches cut in the thickness of the walls may be noticed. They are
not unlike the spaces left for cupboards in the modern Turkish houses
of Asia Minor. The hall marked 1 in the plan is about 124 feet long
and 30 wide. In another part of the palace a saloon larger than any of
those at Khorsabad has been cleared. It measures 176 feet long by 40
wide. The average size of the rooms here is about one-third more than
in the palace of Sargon, suggesting that the art of building vaults
and timber ceilings made sensible progress during the reign of that
king. As in the case of the Khorsabad palace, the explorers believed
they could distinguish between the seraglio and the harem; but the
plan given by Layard has too many blanks and leaves too many points
uncertain for the various quarters to be distinguished with such ease
and certainty as at Khorsabad.[50] The walls were everywhere covered
with rich series of reliefs, from which we have already taken some of
our illustrations (Vol. I., Figs. 151 and 152), and shall have to take
more. The military promenade figured upon page 49 will give a good idea
of their general character (Fig. 21).

Assurbanipal, the grandson of Sennacherib, built his palace towards
the north of the mound. The excavations of Mr. Rassam have been the
means of recovering many precious bas-reliefs from it, but we may see
from the plan (Fig. 19) that a very small part of the building has been
cleared. Much more must remain of a palace so richly decorated and with
rooms so large as some of those explored in the quarter we have called
the sélamlik. One of these saloons is 145 feet long and 29 wide. The
plan of its walls suggests a very large building, with spacious courts
and a great number of rooms.[51]

  [Illustration: FIG. 21.--Sennacherib at the head of
  his army. Height 38 inches. British Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme

In many other mounds of Assyria, such as those of _Arvil_,[52] of
_Balawat_,[53] of _Kaleh-Shergat_,[54] of _Karamles_,[55] and in
the valley of the _Khabour_,[56] the explorers have encountered the
remains of buildings and of ornamental figures that must have formed
parts of royal palaces, or at least of the dwellings of great nobles.
We shall not stop to notice all these discoveries. None of the mounds
in question have been explored with sufficient care and completeness
to add anything of importance to what we have learnt by our study of
Khorsabad. The chief thing to be gathered from these widely scattered
excavations is that during the great years of Assyria there was no
town of any importance in which the king did not possess a habitation,
arranged and decorated in the same spirit as the great palaces at Calah
and Nineveh, and differing from these chiefly in the size of their
courts and chambers.

No doubt the pavilions sprinkled about the park, or paradise, as
the Greek writers called it, in which the king sought amusement by
exercising his skill as an archer upon the beasts that roamed among
its trees, were ornamented in the same fashion, although in all
probability, wood and metal played a more important part in their
construction. As for the dwellings of the great officers of the crown
and of vassal princes, they must have reproduced on a smaller scale the
plan and ornamentation of the royal palace.

Of the house properly speaking, the dwelling of the artizan or peasant,
whether in Assyria or Chaldæa, we know very little. We are unable to
turn for its restoration to paintings such as those in the Egyptian
tombs, which portray the life of the poor with the same detail as that
of the rich or even of the monarch himself. The Assyrian bas-reliefs,
in which the sieges of towns are often represented, always show them
from the outside (Fig. 22), nothing is to be seen but the ramparts and
the towers that flank them. The only bas-relief in which we can venture
to recognize one of the ordinary houses of the country belongs to the
series of pictures in which Sennacherib has caused the transport of
the materials and colossal bulls for his own palace to be figured.
We there see two very different types of edifice, one covered with
hemispherical or elliptical domes, the other with flat roofs supporting
a kind of belvedere[57] (Vol. I., Fig. 43).

This latter type may be found several times repeated in a relief
representing a city of Susiana (Vol. I., Fig. 157). Here nearly every
house has a tower at one end of its flat roof. Was this a defence,
like the towers in the old Italian towns and in the Greek villages of
Crete and Magnesia? We do not think so. The social conditions were very
different from those of the turbulent republics of Italy, where the
populace was divided into hostile factions, or of those mountainous
districts whose Greek inhabitants live in constant fear of attack
from the Turks who dwell in the plains. The all-powerful despots of
Assyria would allow no intestine quarrels, and for the repulse of a
foreign enemy, the cities relied upon their high and solid lines of
circumvallation. We think that the towers upon the roofs were true
belvederes, contrivances to get more air and a wider view; also,
perhaps, to allow the inhabitants to escape the mosquitoes by rising
well above the highest level reached by the flight of those tiny pests.

It was, then, between these two types, as Strabo tells us, that the
civil buildings of Mesopotamia were divided. They all had thick
terraced roofs but some were domical and others flat.[58] At Mugheir
Mr. Taylor cleared the remains of a small house planned on the lines of
an irregular cross; it was built of burnt brick and paved with the same
material. In the interior the faces of the bricks were covered with a
thin and not very adhesive glaze. Two of the doors were round-headed;
the arches being composed of bricks specially moulded in the shape of
voussoirs; but the numerous fragments of carbonized palm-wood beams
which were found upon the floors of each room, showed that the building
had been covered with a flat timber roof and a thick bed of earth.
Strabo justly observes that the earth was necessary to protect the
inmates of the house against the heats of summer. As a rule houses must
have been very low. It was only in large towns such as Babylon, that
they had three or four stories.[59]

       *       *       *       *       *

We need say no more. We have studied the palace in detail, and the
palace was only an enlarged, a more richly illustrated edition of
the house. It supplied the same wants, but on a wider scale than was
necessary in the dwelling of a private individual. To complete our
study of civil architecture it is only necessary to give some idea of
the fashion in which palaces and houses were grouped into cities, and
of the means chosen for securing those cities against hostile assault.

                   § 4. _Towns and their Defences._

Of all barbarian cities, as the Greeks would say, Babylon has been the
most famous, both in the ancient and the modern world; her name has
stirred the imaginations of mankind more strongly than any other city
of Asia. For the Greeks she was the Asiatic city _par excellence_,
the eternal capital of those great oriental empires that were admired
and feared by the Hellenic population even after their political
weakness had been proved more than once. In the centuries that have
passed since the fall of the Greek civilization the name and fame of
Babylon have been kept alive by the passionate words of those Hebrew
prophets who filled some of the most eloquent and poetic books of the
Old Testament with their hatred of the Mesopotamian city, an ardent
hate that has found an echo across the ages in the religion which is
the heir of Judaism.

  [Illustration: FIG. 22.--Town besieged by Sennacherib.
  Height 86 inches. British Museum.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

There is, then, no city of the ancient world in which both our
Christian instincts and our classic education would lead us to
take a deeper interest, or to make more patient endeavours towards
the recovery of some knowledge of its passed magnificence by the
interrogation of its site and ruins, than this town of Babylon. At
the same time it happens, by a strange series of chances, that of
all the great cities of the past Babylon is the least known and the
most closely wrapped in mystery. The descriptive passages of ancient
writers are full of gaps and exaggerations, while as for the monuments
themselves, although the size of their remains and the vast extent
of ground they cover allow us to guess at the power and energy of
the people to whom they owed their existence, there are no ruins in
the world from which so little of the real thoughts and ideas of
their constructors is to be learnt. Not only has the ornamentation
of palace and temple disappeared, the ruling lines and arrangements
of their plans are no longer to be traced. It is this no doubt that
has discouraged the explorers. While the sites of Calah, Nineveh,
and Dour-Saryoukin have been freed of millions of cubic yards of
earth, and their concealed buildings explored and laid bare in every
direction, no serious excavations have ever been made at Babylon. At
long intervals of time a few shafts have been sunk in the flanks of the
Kasr, of Babil and the Birs-Nimroud, but they have never been pushed
to any great depth; a few trenches have been run from them, but on no
connected system, and only to be soon abandoned. The plain is broken
by many virgin mounds into which no pick-axe has been driven, and yet
they each represent a structure dating from some period of Babylonian
greatness. It would be a noble undertaking to thoroughly explore the
three or four great ruins that rise on the site itself, and to examine
carefully all the region about them. Such an exploration would require
no slight expenditure of time and money, but it could not fail to add
considerably to our present knowledge of ancient Chaldæa; it would
do honour to any government that should support it, and still more
to the archæologist who should conduct the inquiry to completion,
laying down on his plan the smallest vestige remaining of any ancient
detail, and allowing himself to be discouraged by none of the numerous
disappointments and deceptions that he would be sure to encounter.

Meanwhile it would be profitless to carry our readers into any
discussion upon the topography of Babylon. In the absence of
ascertained facts nothing could be more arbitrary and conjectural than
the various theories that have been put forward as to the direction
of the city walls and their extent. According to George Smith the
only line of wall that can now be followed would give a town about
eight English miles round. Now Diodorus says that what he calls the
_Royal City_ was sixty stades, or within a few yards of seven
miles, in circumference.[60] The difference between the two figures is
very slight. “In shape the city appears to have been a square with one
corner cut off, and the corners of the walls of the city may be said
roughly to front the cardinal points. At the north of the city stood
the temple of Belus, now represented by the mound of Babil; about the
middle of the temple stood the royal palace and hanging-gardens.”[61]

The _Royal City_ was the city properly speaking, the old city
whose buildings were set closely about the great temple and the palace,
the latter forming, like the _Old Seraglio_ at Constantinople, a
fortified town in itself with a wall some twenty stades (4043 yards)
in circumference. A second wall, measuring forty stades in total
length, turned the palace and the part of the city in its immediate
neighbourhood into a sort of acropolis. Perhaps the nobles and priests
may have inhabited this part of the town, the common people being
relegated to the third circle. In the towns of Asia Minor at the
present day the Turks alone live in the fortified inclosures, which are
called _kaleh_, or citadels, the rest of the town being occupied
by the _rayahs_ of every kind, whether Greek or Armenian.

There is, then, nothing in the description of Diodorus at which we need
feel surprise. Our difficulty begins when we have to form a judgment
upon the assertion of Herodotus, who speaks of an inclosure 120 stades
(13 miles 1385 yards) square.[62] According to this the circumference
of Babylon must have been nearly 55¼ English miles, which would make it
considerably larger than what is called Greater London, and more than
three times the size of Paris. Here, strangely enough, Ctesias gives a
more moderate figure than Herodotus, as we find Diodorus estimating the
circumference of the great _enceinte_ at 360 stades (41 miles 600

We can hardly read of such measurements without some astonishment.
It seems difficult, however, to doubt the formal statement of such a
careful eye-witness as Herodotus. Although the Greek historian was
quite ready to repeat the fantastic tales he heard in the distant
countries to which his travels led him--a habit we are far from
wishing to blame--modern criticism has never succeeded in convicting
him of falsehood or exasperation in matters of which he could judge
with his own eyes. Our surprise at his figures is diminished when we
remember with what prodigious rapidity buildings of sun-dried bricks
could be erected. The material was at hand in any possible quantity;
the erection of such a length of wall was only a question of hands.
Now if we suppose, with M. Oppert, that the work was undertaken by
Nebuchadnezzar after the fall of Nineveh, that prince may very well
have employed whole nations upon it, driving them into the workshops
as the captive Jews were driven. In such a fashion the great wall that
united into one city towns which had been previously separated--such
as the original Babylon, Cutha, and Borsippa--might have been raised
without any great difficulty. It is certain that the population of such
a vast extent of country cannot have been equally dense at all points.
A large part must have been occupied by royal parks, by gardens,
vineyards, and even cultivated fields. Babylon must, in fact, have been
rather a vast intrenched camp than a city in the true sense of the word.

At the time when Herodotus and Ctesias visited Babylon, this
wall--which was dismantled by the Persians in order to render revolt
more difficult--must have been almost everywhere in a state of ruin,
but enough of it remained to attract curious travellers, just as
the picturesque fortifications of the Greek emperors are one of the
sights of modern Constantinople. The more intelligent among them,
such as Herodotus, took note of the measurements given to them as
representing the original state of the great work whose ruins lay
before their eyes and confirmed the statements of their guides.[64]
The quarter then still inhabited was the _Royal City_, the true
Babylon, whose great public works have left such formidable traces
even to the present day. Naturally no vestige of the tunnel under the
Euphrates has been found; we may even be tempted to doubt that it ever
existed.[65] But we cannot doubt that the two sections of the town were
put in communication one with another by a stone bridge; the evidence
on that point is too clear to admit of question.[66] The descriptions
of the structure give us a high idea of the engineering skill of the
Chaldæans. To build such a bridge and insure its stability was no small
undertaking. The river at this point is about 600 feet wide, and from
twelve to sixteen deep at its deepest part.[67] We need hardly say that
for many centuries there has been no bridge over the Euphrates either
in the neighbourhood of Babylon or at any other point in Mesopotamia.
As for the quays, Fresnel found some parts in very good preservation in
1853.[68] At the point where this discovery was made the quay was built
of very hard and very red bricks, completely covered with bitumen so as
to resist the action of the water for as long as possible. The bricks
bore the name of Nabounid, who must have continued the work begun by

The description given by Herodotus of the way in which Babylon was
built and the circulation of its inhabitants provided for must also
be taken as applying to the Royal City. “The houses are mostly three
and four stories high; the streets all run in straight lines, not only
those parallel to the river, but also the cross-streets which lead to
the waterside. At the river end of these cross-streets are low gates in
the fence that skirts the stream, which are, like the great gates in
the outer wall, of brass and open on the water.”[69]

We may perhaps form some idea of Babylon from the appearance of certain
parts of Cairo. Herodotus seems to have been struck by the regularity
of the plan, the length of the streets, and the height of the houses.
In these particulars it was very different from the low and irregularly
built Greek cities of the fifth century B.C. The height of the
houses is to be explained partly by the necessity for accommodating
a very dense population, partly by the desire for as much shade as

The decadence of Babylon had begun when Herodotus visited it towards
the middle of the fifth century before our era;[71] but the town was
still standing, and some of the colossal works of its later kings
were still intact. The last dynasty had come to an end less than a
century before. We are ready, therefore, to believe the simple and
straightforward description he has left us, even in those particulars
which are so well calculated to cause surprise. The evidence of
Ctesias, who saw Babylon some half century later, seems here and there
to be tainted with exaggeration, but on the whole it agrees with that
of Herodotus. Supposing that he does expand his figures a little,
Ctesias is yet describing buildings whose ruins, at least, he saw with
his own eyes, and sometimes his statements are borne out by those of
Alexander’s historians.[72]

The case of Nineveh is very different. Of that city Herodotus hardly
knew more than the name; he contents himself with mere passing
allusions to it.[73] Ctesias is trammelled by fewer scruples. When
he wrote his history Nineveh had ceased to exist for more than two
centuries; the statements of Xenophon[74] prove that at the time of
the famous retreat its site was practically deserted and its name
almost forgotten in the very district in which its ruins stood. But
the undaunted Ctesias gives us a description of the Assyrian capital
as circumstantial as if he had lived there in the days of Sennacherib
or Assurbanipal. According to his account it formed an elongated
rectangle, the long sides being 150 stades (17 miles 380 yards), and
the shorter 90 stades (10 miles 595 yards), in length, so that the
total circumference was 480 stades (55 miles 240 yards).[75] The whole
of this space was inclosed by a wall 100 Greek feet (103 feet English)
high, and with towers of twice that height.

It is hardly necessary to show that all this is pure invention. To find
room for such a Nineveh we should have to take all the space between
the ruins opposite Mossoul and those of Nimroud. But all the Assyrian
texts that refer to Nineveh and Calah speak of them as two distinct
cities, each with an independent life and period of supremacy of its
own, while between the two sites there are no traces of a great urban
population. The 1,500 towers on the walls were the offspring of the
same brain that imagined the tower of Ninus nine stades (5458 feet)
high. We can scent an arbitrary assertion in the proportion of two
to one given to the heights of the towers over that of the wall. In
the fortified walls of the bas-reliefs the curtain is never greatly
excelled in height by its flanking towers (see Vol. I. Figs. 51, 60,
76, and 158, and above, Fig. 23).

  [Illustration: FIG. 23.--Siege of a city; from Layard.]

Ctesias has simply provided in his Nineveh a good pendant to Babylon.
Being quite free to exercise his imagination, he has laid down even
a greater circumference than that of the city on the Euphrates. The
superiority thus ascribed to the northern city is enough by itself
to arouse our suspicions. We cannot point to any particular text,
but contemporary history as a whole suggests that Babylon was more
populous than Nineveh, just as Bagdad is now more populous than
Mossoul. Nineveh, and Calah before it, were the capitals of a soldier
nation, they were cities born, like Dour-Saryoukin, of the will of man.
Political events called them into life, and other political events
caused them to vanish off the face of the earth. Babylon, on the other
hand, was born of natural conditions; she was one of the eternal cities
of the world. The Turks do their best to make Hither Asia a desert,
but so long as they do not entirely succeed, so long as some light of
culture and commerce still flickers in the country, it will burn in
that part of Mesopotamia which is now called _El-Jezireh_ (_the
island_), where the two streams are close together, and canals
cut from one to the other can bring all the intermediate tract into

Sennacherib speaks thus of his capital: “Nineveh, the supreme city, the
city beloved of Istar, in which the temples of the gods and goddesses
are to be found.”[76] With its kings and their military guards and
courts, with the priests that served the sanctuaries of the gods, with
the countless workmen who built the great buildings, Nineveh must have
been a fine and flourishing city in the days of the Sargonids; but
even then its population cannot have equalled that of Babylon under
Nebuchadnezzar. The latter was something more than a seat of royalty
and a military post; it was the great entrepôt for all the commerce of
Western Asia.[77]

All the travellers who have visited the neighbourhood of Mossoul are
agreed that, on the left bank of the Tigris, there is no trace of any
wall but that which forms a rather irregular parallelogram and embraces
the two mounds of Nebbi-Yonnas and Kouyundjik (Fig. 18).[78] According
to M. Oppert this wall was about ten thousand metres (nearly 6¼ miles)
in circumference, which would make it cover about one-eleventh of the
ground covered by modern Paris. There is nothing here that is not in
accord with our ideas as to the character and importance of Nineveh. If
we add to the town inclosed within such a wall suburbs stretching along
the right bank of the river on the site of modern Mossoul, we shall
have a city capable of holding perhaps two or three hundred thousand

In the northern part of the inclosure, not far from the north-western
angle, Sir Henry Layard made some excavations that brought one of
the principal gates of ancient Nineveh to light.[79] The passage was
probably vaulted, but its upper part had disappeared. The gateway,
which was built by Sennacherib, had a pair of winged bulls looking
towards the city and another pair looking towards the country outside.
The limestone pavement in the entrance still bears the mark of wheels.
Two great chambers are hollowed out of the thickness of the walls and
open into the entrance passage. The walls must be here about 116 feet
thick, judging from the proportion, in Layard’s plan,[80] between them
and one of the two chambers, which has a diameter, as we are told by
its finder, of 23 feet. We need say no more of this doorway. The town
attached to the palace of Khorsabad will give us a better opportunity
for the study of a city gate.

The “town of Sargon,” _Dour-Saryoukin_ or _Hisr-Sargon_,
according as we follow one or the other method of transcribing the
Assyrian name, was far smaller than Babylon, was smaller even than
Nineveh. It formed a parallelogram two sides of which were about 1,950
yards, the other two about 1,870 yards long, which would give a surface
of considerably more than a square mile. This city is interesting not
for the part it played in history, for of that we know nothing, and
it is quite possible that after the death of Sargon it may have been
practically abandoned, but because, of all the cities of Assyria, it
is that whose line of circumvallation has been best preserved and most
carefully studied (Vol. I. Fig. 144).

Like all inhabited places of any importance Dour-Saryoukin was
carefully fortified. Over the whole of Mesopotamia the words town
and fortress seem to have been almost convertible terms. The nature
of the soil does not lend itself to any such distinctions as those
of upper and lower city, as it does in Italy and Greece; there was
no _acropolis_, to which the inhabitants could fly when the
outer defences were broken down. In case of great need the royal
palace with its massive gates and cincture of commanding towers might
be looked upon as a citadel; while in Babylon and some other towns
several concentric lines of fortification made an attack more arduous
and prolonged the defence. But, nevertheless, the chief care of the
Mesopotamian engineers was given to the strengthening of the external
wall, the _enceinte_, properly speaking.

At Khorsabad this stood on a plinth three feet eight inches high, above
which began the sun-dried brick. The whole is even now nowhere less
than forty-five feet high, while in parts it reaches a height of sixty
feet. If we remember how greatly walls built of the materials here used
must have suffered from the weather, we shall no longer be astonished
at the height ascribed by Herodotus to the walls of Babylon: “These
were, he says, 200 royal cubits (348 feet) high.”[81] This height was
measured, no doubt, from the summit of the tallest towers into the
deepest part of the ditch, which he adds, “was wide and deep.” It
is possible that the interpreters who did the honours of Babylon to
the Greek historian exaggerated the figures a little, just as those
of Memphis added something to the height of the pyramids. That the
exaggeration was not very great is suggested by what he says as to the
thickness of the wall; he puts it at fifty royal cubits, or eighty-six
feet six inches. Now those of Khorsabad are only between six and seven
feet thinner than this, and it is certain that the walls of Babylon,
admired by all antiquity as the masterpieces of the Chaldæan engineers,
must have surpassed those of the city improvised by Sargon both in
height and thickness.

Far from abusing our credulity, Herodotus is within the mark when he
says that on the summit of the wall “enough room was left between the
towers to turn a four-horse chariot.”[82] As for Ctesias, he speaks of
a width “greater than what is necessary to allow two chariots to pass
each other.”[83] Such thicknesses were so far beyond the ideas of Greek
builders that their historians seem to have been afraid that if they
told the truth they would not be believed, so they attenuated rather
than exaggerated the real dimensions. If we give a chariot a clear
space of ten feet, which is liberal indeed, it will be seen that not
two, but six or seven, could proceed abreast on such walls.

The nature of the materials did not allow walls to be thin, and in
making them very thick there were several great advantages. The
Assyrians understood the use of the battering-ram. We see it employed
in several of the bas-reliefs for opening a breach in the ramparts of
a beleaguered town (Vol. I. Fig. 60 and above, Fig. 23). They also dug
mines, as soon as they had pierced the revetment of stone or burnt
brick.[84] To prevent or to neutralize the employment of such methods
of attack they found no contrivance more effectual than giving enormous
solidity to their walls. Against such masses the battering-ram would
be almost powerless, and mines would take so much time that they would
not be very much better. Finally, the platform at the summit of a wall
built on such principles would afford room for a number of defenders
that would amount to a large army.

Throughout the circumference of the _enceinte_ the curtain
was strengthened by rectangular flanking towers having a front of
forty-five, and a salience of rather more than thirteen feet.[85]
These were separated from each other by intervals of ninety feet,
or double the front of a tower. Only the lower parts of the towers
are now in existence, and we have to turn to the representations of
fortresses in the reliefs before we can restore their super-structures
with any certainty. In these sculptures what we may call the head of
the tower equals on an average from a fourth to a fifth of the height
of the curtain. By adopting an elevation half way between these two
proportions, M. Place has given to his towers a total height of 105
feet to the top of their crenellations, a height which is near enough
to the 100 Grecian feet attributed by Diodorus to the Nineveh walls.
The description borrowed by that writer from Ctesias, is, as we have
shown, in most respects quite imaginary, but it may have contained this
one exact statement, especially as a height of about 100 feet seems to
have been usually chosen for cities of this importance.

The parapets of the towers were corbelled out from their walls and
pierced with loopholes, as we know from the reliefs. Each doorway was
flanked by a pair of towers, the wall between them being only wide
enough for the entrance. Our Plate V. will give a very exact idea of
the general appearance of the whole _enceinte_. Including those of
the palace mound, it has been calculated that the city of Sargon had
one hundred and sixty-seven towers. Was there a ditch about the wall
like that at Babylon? We are tempted to say yes to this, especially
when we remember the statement of Herodotus that the earth taken from
the ditch served to afford materials for the wall. Moreover such a
ditch could have been easily kept full of water by means of the two
mountain streams that flow past the mound. But the explorers tell us
they could find no trace of such a ditch.[86] If it ever existed it has
now been so completely filled up that no vestige remains.

Upon each of its south-eastern, south-western and north-eastern faces
the city wall was pierced with two gates. One of these, decorated
with sculptures and glazed bricks, is called by Place the _porte
ornée_, or state entrance, the other, upon which no such ornament
appears, he calls the _porte simple_. On the north-western face
there is only a _porte simple_, the palace mound taking the place
of the state gateway. The plinth and the lower courses of burnt brick
are continued up to the arches of these gates; the latter are also
raised upon a kind of mound which lifts them about eight and a half
feet above the level of the plain.

In size and general arrangement these gateways were repetitions of
each other. Our Figs. 50 in the first volume, 24 and 25 in this, show
severally the present condition, the plan and the restored elevation of
a _porte simple_.

  [Illustration: FIG. 24.--Plan of one of the ordinary
  gates at Khorsabad; from Place.]

The entrance was covered by an advanced work, standing out some
eighty-three feet into the plain. Each angle of this sort of barbican
was protected by a low tower, about forty feet wide. Through the centre
of the curtain uniting these towers there is a first vaulted passage,
leading to a large courtyard (A in Fig. 24), beyond which are the space
(B) between the great flanking towers of the gate proper and the long
vaulted passage (C--G) which gives access to the town. This passage is
not a uniform tunnel. The mass through which it runs is 290 feet thick,
and in two places it is crossed at right angles by transepts wider
than itself (D and F). The tunnel ends in a kind of open vestibule
interposed between the inner face of the wall and the commencement of
the street. All these courts, passages and transepts are paved with
large limestone slabs except the small chamber that opens from one end
of the outer transept (I). This small apartment was not a thoroughfare,
but it has been thought that signs of a staircase leading either to
upper rooms or to the battlements could be traced in it. We have seen
that the Egyptian pylons had such staircases and upper chambers.[87]
It would be curious to find the arrangement repeated here, but we
cannot certainly say that it was so. On the other hand the situation
of the doors by which the entrance into the city was barred is very
clearly marked. At the point where the passage C opens into the
transept D the sockets in which the metal feet of the door pivots were
set, are still in place.[88]

  [Illustration: FIG. 25.--Restoration in perspective of
  one of the ordinary gates of Khorsabad; from Place.]

The state doorways are distinguished from their more humble companions,
in the first place by a flight of eleven brick-built steps which have
to be mounted before the court A can be reached from the outside; in
the ordinary gateways a gentle inclination of the whole pavement of
the court makes such steps unnecessary. A second difference is of more
importance. At the entrance to the passage marked C on our plan the
state doorways have a pair of winged bulls whose foreparts stand out
a little from the wall while their backs support the arch. The latter
is decorated with the semicircle of enamelled bricks of which we have
already spoken at length in our chapter upon decoration (Vol. I., Figs.
123 and 124, and below, Fig. 26). Behind the bulls there are two winged
genii facing each other across the passage and about thirteen feet high
(Fig. 27).

  [Illustration: FIG. 26.--State gateway at Khorsabad.
  Elevation; from Place.]

That these monumental doorways with their rich decorations were
reserved for pedestrians, is proved by the flight of steps. It was
not thought desirable to subject their sculptures to the dangers of
vehicular traffic. In the _portes simples_ the marks of wheels can
be distinctly traced on the pavements.[89]

Each of these gateways, whether for carriages or foot passengers, was a
complicated edifice, and the arrangement of their 10,000 square yards
of passage and chamber could scarcely have been explained without the
use of plans. Military necessities are insufficient to explain such
elaborate contrivances. The existence of barbican and flanking towers
is justified by them, but hardly the size of the court and the two
great transepts. We cease to be surprised at these, however, when we
remember the part played by the city gates in the lives of the urban
populations of the Levant.

  [Illustration: FIG. 27.--Longitudinal section through
  the archway of one of the city gates, Khorsabad; from Place.]

In the East the town gate is and always has been what the _agora_
was to the cities of Greece and the _forum_ to those of Italy.
Doubtless it was ill-adapted to be used as a theatre of political
or judicial debate, like the public places of the Græco-Roman world.
But in the East the municipal life of the West has never obtained a
footing. The monarchy and patriarchal _régime_ have been her two
forms of government; she had no need of wide spaces for crowds of
voters or for popular tribunals. Nothing more was required than a place
for gossip and the retailing of news, a place where the old men could
find themselves surrounded by a circle of fellow townsmen crouched
upon their heels, and, after hearing plaintiffs, defendants and their
witnesses, could give those awards that were the first form of justice.
Nothing could afford a better _rendezvous_ for such purposes than
the gate of a fortified city or village. Hollowed in the thickness of a
wall of prodigious solidity it gave a shelter against the north wind in
winter, while in summer its cool galleries must have been the greatest
of luxuries. Husbandmen going to their fields, soldiers setting out on
expeditions, merchants with their caravans, all passed through these
resounding archways and had a moment in which to hear and tell the
news. Those whom age or easy circumstances relieved from toil or war
passed much of their time in the gates talking with all comers or sunk
in the sleepy reverie in which orientals pass so much of their lives.

All this is painted for us with the most simple fidelity in the Bible.
“And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot seeing them, rose
up to meet them.”[90] When Abraham buys a burying place in Hebron he
addresses himself to Ephron, the owner of the ground, “and Ephron the
Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even
of all that went in at the gate of his city.”[91] So too Boaz, when
he wishes to marry Ruth and to get all those who had rights over the
young Moabitess to resign them in his favour, “went up to the gate, and
sat him down there ... and he took ten men of the elders of the city,
and said, sit ye down here. And they sat down.”[92] And these old men
were called upon to witness the acts of resignation performed by Ruth’s
nearest relatives.[93]

So too, in later ages, when the progress of political life led kings to
inhabit great separate buildings of their own, the palace gates became
for the courtiers what the city gates were for the population at
large. At Khorsabad they were constructed on exactly the same plan as
those of the town; they are even more richly decorated and the chambers
they inclose are no less spacious. In them servants, guards, military
officers, foreign ambassadors and wire-pullers of every kind could
meet, lounge about, and await their audiences. Read the book of Esther
carefully and you will find continual allusions to this custom. “In
those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s
chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were
wroth, and sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus.”[94] The gates
of the palace must have been open to all comers for a man of despised
race and a butt for the insults of Haman, like Mordecai, to have been
enabled to overhear the secret whispers of the king’s chamberlains. In
the sequel we find Mordecai hardly ever moving from this spot.

    Assis le plus souvent aux portes du palais,

as Racine says, he thence addresses to Esther the advice by which
she is governed. He did not stand up, as he must have done in a
mere passage, for Haman complains that he did not rise and do him

This use of gates has not been abandoned in the East. At Mossoul, for
instance, the entrances to the city are buildings with several rooms
in them, and in the gate opening upon the Tigris M. Place often saw
the governor of the province seated among his officers in an upper
chamber and dispensing justice.[96] In the same town the doorways
of a few great private houses are frequented in the same fashion by
the inhabitants of the quarter. This was the case with the French
Consulate, which was established in a large house that had been the
ancestral home of a family of independent beys, now extinct. At the
entrance there was a chamber covered with a depressed cupola and
surrounded by stone benches. Right and left were four lodges for
porters, and on one side a staircase leading to four upper rooms built
over the vault. One of these served as a divan. All this was separated
by a large courtyard from the dwelling place proper, and even after
the building had become a part of France, the neighbours kept up their
habit of coming to sit and gossip under its dome.[97]

The word _porte_ has thus acquired a significance in every
European language that could hardly be understood but for the light
thrown upon it by such customs as those illustrated by the remains of
Assyrian architecture, and alluded to so often in the sacred writings.
Every one who has visited Stamboul, has seen in the first court of the
Old Seraglio, that arched doorway (_Bab-i-Houmaioun_) in whose
niches the heads of great criminals and rebellious vassals used once
to be placed; it formerly led to the saloons in which the Ottoman
sultans presided at the great council, listened to the reports of
their officers, and received foreign ambassadors. The doorway through
which the august presence was reached ended by representing in the
imagination of those who passed through it; first, the whole of the
building to which it belonged, and secondly, the sovereign enthroned
behind it. The decrees in which the successors of Mohammed II. made
known their will ended with these words: “_Given at our Sublime
Gate, at our Gate of Happiness_.” In later years the Old Seraglio
was abandoned. The different public departments were removed into a
huge edifice more like a barracks than an eastern palace, but the
established formula was retained. In the Constantinople of to-day “to
go to the Porte” means to go to the government offices, and even the
government itself, the sultan, that is, and his ministers, are known
in all the chancelleries of Europe as _the Porte_, _the Sublime
Porte_, _the Ottoman Porte_.

It was, no doubt, by a metonomy of the same kind that the capital of
ancient Chaldæa, the town into which the principal sanctuaries of the
national gods were gathered, was called _Bab-ilou_, the _Gate of
God_, which was turned by the Greeks into Βαβυλών, or Babylon.

After our careful description of the remains left by the city of
Sargon we need enter into few details as to the other fortified
_enceintes_ that have been explored in Mesopotamia. The same
rectangular plan, the same thick walls and carefully arranged gateways
are to be found in them all. With the Assyrians as with their
neighbours, every town was fortified. The square form seems to have
been universally employed for the flanking towers. It is quite by
exception that we find in one of the pictures of a siege on the Balawat
gates, tall and slender towers that appear to be round on plan and to
be much higher than the curtain they defend (Fig. 28). Besides these
town walls there were, no doubt, at the mouths of the valleys opening
into the basin of the Tigris, strong forts and isolated towers, perched
upon some abrupt rock or ridge: the siege of such a fortress seems
to be going on in the relief figured on the next page (Fig. 29). The
platform at the top of the tower seems to be raised and strengthened
by a structure of wood, which stands out beyond the crenellations and
is protected by a row of shields, like the bulwarks of a Roman galley.
This contrivance resembles those _ourdeys_ of which the military
engineers of the middle ages made such constant use. The garrison still
show a bold front from behind their defences, but the women and old
men, foreseeing the fall of their stronghold, are decamping while there
is yet time.

  [Illustration: FIG. 28.--Fortified wall; from the
  Balawat gates. British Museum.]

The military successes of the Assyrians are partly to be explained by
their engineering skill. In all that concerned the attack and defence
of places they seem to have left the Egyptians far behind. In addition
to mines and battering rams they employed movable towers which they
pushed forward against such walls as they wished to attack point blank,
and thought either too high or too well lined with defenders to be open
to escalade (Vol. I., Fig. 26). In the relief partly reproduced on page
75, the defenders have not ceased their resistance, but in the lower
section, in what we may call the _predella_ of the picture, we
see a long band of prisoners of both sexes being led off by soldiers.
These we may suppose to be captives taken in the suburbs of the
beleaguered city, or in battles already won.[98]

  [Illustration: FIG. 29.--Siege of a fort; from Layard.]

The Assyrians not only understood how to defend their own cities, and
to destroy those of their foes, they were fully alive to the necessity
for good carriage roads, if their armies and military machines were
to be transported rapidly from place to place. How far these roads
extended we do not know, but Place ascertained the existence of paved
causeways debouching from the gates of Dour-Saryoukin,[99] and unless
they stretched at least to the frontiers, it is difficult to see
how the Assyrians could have made such great use as they did of war
chariots. Not one of their series of military pictures can be named in
which they do not appear, and they are by no means the heavy and clumsy
cars now used in some parts both of European and Asiatic Turkey. Their
wheels are far from being those solid disks of timber that are alone
capable of resisting the inequalities of a roadless country. They have
not the lightness of a modern carriage with its tires of beaten steel,
but the felloes of their wheels are light and graceful enough to prove
that the roads of those times were better than anything the Mesopotamia
of to-day can show. The spokes, which seem to have been fitted with
great care and nicety, are, as a rule, eight in number (Figs. 21 and

  [Illustration: FIG. 30.--An attack by escalade; from

In the interior of the town--we are still speaking of the town of
Sargon--these same causeways formed the principal streets. They were
about forty feet wide. Their construction was, of course, far inferior
to that of a Roman road. There were no footpaths, either within or
without the cities; the stones were small, irregular in shape, and not
of a very durable kind. They were placed in a single layer, and the
pavement when finished looked like a mere bed of broken stones. All
Mesopotamia, however, cannot now show a road that can be compared to
these ancient ways. Wherever the traveller goes, his beasts of burden
and the wheels of his carts sink either into a bed of dust or into
deep and clinging mud, according to the season. It is no better in the
towns. Whoever has had the ill luck to be out, in the rainy season, in
the sloughs and sewers that the Turks call streets, will be ready to
acknowledge that the civilization of Assyria in the time of Sargon was
better furnished than that of Turkey in the days of Abdul-Hamid.

  [Illustration: FIG. 31.--Chariot for three combatants;
  from the palace of Assurbanipal. Louvre. Height 16 inches. Drawn
  by Bourgoin.]

At Khorsabad, where the main streets must, like those of Babylon, have
intersected each other at right angles, how were the buildings, public
and private, arranged? We might have had an answer to this interesting
question had M. Place been in command of enough time and means to
clear the whole interior of the _enceinte_. Even as it was he
found enough to justify him in asserting that the great inclosure of
some eight hundred acres was not, as we might be tempted to imagine
at first sight, a royal park attached to the palace, but a city. He
sunk trenches at three points where low mounds suggested the presence
of ruins, and all his doubts soon disappeared. Several yards below
the present level of the ground he found the original surface, with
the pavements of streets, courtyards and rooms; doorways with their
thresholds and jambs; walls covered with stucco, cut stone and even
alabaster slabs; potsherds, fragments of brick and utensils of various
kinds--decisive evidence, in fact, that one of those agglomerations of
civilized human beings that we call towns, had formerly occupied the


                              CHAPTER II.


      § 1.--_The principal themes of Chaldæo-Assyrian Sculpture._

The Egyptian notions as to a future life had much to do with the
rapidity with which the art of sculpture was developed during the
early years of their history. There was a close relation between their
religion and the rites it implied, on the one hand, and the peculiar
characteristics of the most ancient Memphite sculptures on the other.
We cannot say the same of Chaldæa. So far as our present knowledge
extends, we have no reason to suppose that the first efforts of the
Mesopotamian sculptor were directed to providing the _umbra_, the
immaterial inhabitant of the tomb, with a material support which should
resemble as closely as possible the body of flesh and bones that,
in spite of every precaution, would sooner or later end in dust and
nothingness. No monument has come down to us in which we can recognize
a portrait image executed for a sepulchre.[100]

And yet the basis of the Chaldæan religion was similar to that of
Egypt. Taken as a whole, the beliefs as to a posthumous life were
the same in both countries. Why then had they such different effects
upon the arts? For this we may give several reasons. The first is the
comparatively small importance forced upon the Chaldæan tomb by the
nature of the soil. In mere coffins of terra-cotta, and even in those
narrow brick vaults that are met with at certain points, at Mugheir
and Warka for instance, there is no room for a single statue, still
less for the crowds of images held by a Gizeh or Sakkarah mastaba. Add
to this that stone was rare and dear, that it had to be brought from
a great distance, and we shall comprehend why funerary rites and the
worship of the dead exercised no appreciable influence over Chaldæan

Here the beginnings of art are more obscure than in Egypt. In the first
place we cannot trace them back nearly so far, in the second both
statues and bas-reliefs are much less numerous. In spite of recent
discoveries, to which we owe much, Egypt still remains unrivalled
both by the prodigious antiquity into whose depths she allows us to
catch a glimpse, and by the ever-increasing multitude of monuments and
tombs that are found in her soil. The night that hides the birth of
civilization is darker in Mesopotamia than in the Nile valley; it does
not allow us to perceive how the plastic faculty was first awakened,
and why it took one direction more than another; we cannot tell why the
modeller of Lower Chaldæa set himself to handle clay, or carve wood
and stone into the shape of some real or fantastic creature. On the
other hand, when we study Chaldæan sculpture in the oldest of those
works that have come down to us, we are struck by the fact that, even
in the remote centuries to which those carvings belong, Chaldæan art
interested itself in all the aspects of nature and in every variety
of living form. It had nevertheless its favourite themes, namely, the
representations of royal and divine personages.

When first called upon to suggest the ideas of divine power and
perfection, art had no other resource but to borrow features and
characteristics from those mortal forms that must always, in one point
or another, seem incomplete and unfinished. Of all undertakings that
could be proposed to it, this was at once the most noble and the most
difficult. To find a real solution of the problem we must turn to the
Greeks. Of all ancient peoples they were the first to perceive the
unrivalled nobility of the human form; they were the first to decide
that the notion of divine superiority, of a divine principle, could
be best suggested in all its infinite varieties, through that form.
We shall see them obtain the results at which they aimed by giving to
man’s body and features a charm, a grandeur, a purity of line--in a
word, a perfection, to which no single living member of the race can
attain. The Chaldæans had no sufficiently clear idea of such a system,
and, more especially, they never acquired enough familiarity with
the nude, to rival the grace and dignity given by the Greeks to their
divine types; but their art was more frankly anthropomorphic than that
of Egypt, and, as we shall have occasion to show, it created many types
that were transmitted to the Mediterranean nations, and soon adopted by
them. These types were perfected, but not invented, by the Greeks.

We have already given more than one example of how the Chaldæan
intellect set about the manifestation of its ideas as to gods and
demons, how it expressed their characteristics by heterogeneous forms
borrowed from various real animals. The powers of evil were first
embodied in this fashion (Vol. I. Figs. 6, 7, 161, 162). The sculptor
went far afield to find the elements of ugliness that he wished to
combine in a single being; this is nowhere to be better seen than in
a bronze statuette belonging to the Louvre (Fig. 32). Here too we are
better informed than usual. An inscription engraved on the back tells
us that this is the demon of the south-west wind, the most scorching
and generally unpleasant of the winds that visit Mesopotamia. The ring
in the head served to hang it up in front of the window or doorway
of a house. Thanks to such a precaution, the inhabitants of that
dwelling would be protected against the ill effects of the parching
breath of the desert. The sculptor has wished to make this tyrant of
the atmosphere as hideous and repulsive as possible, and he has only
succeeded too well. One can hardly imagine anything more frightful
than his grinning, quasi-human countenance, resembling a death’s head
in some of its lines; the great round eyes and goat’s horns with which
it is surrounded add to its deformity. Its meagre body has some hints
at hair on its right side. The hands are large and flat, the fingers
short and blunt, while the feet are a curious combination of human
extremities with the talons of a bird of prey.

On the other hand this mixture of forms is by no means repulsive in the
case of certain personages who appear to belong either to the class
of beneficent genii or to that of the great deities of the Chaldee
pantheon. The combination is especially well managed in the winged
bulls. The head is that of a man, but about the tiara with which it
is crowned several pairs of horns are bent. These horns are among
the attributes of the beast by whose nature this complex being is
dominated. They are part of the offensive armament of the one animal
which enjoys in popular esteem an equal reputation for strength with
the lion. The body and limbs, too, are those of a bull, while the curly
main recalls that of the king of beasts. The whole is completed by a
pair of large wings borrowed from the eagle.

  [Illustration: FIG. 32.--The demon of the South-West
  Wind. Louvre. Actual size.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Nothing could be clearer than the governing idea of this conception.
The artist has wished to unite in a single being the highest powers
of life and nature--the bull, the lion, the eagle: these are types of
physical force differently applied. Patient and tenacious in the bull,
who drags the plough and transports the heaviest burdens; violent
and impetuous in the lion, while in the king of birds the formidable
strength of beak and talons add to the fear inspired by his lightning
flight. Finally, the head and countenance are those of a man, the
impersonation of intelligent force, of will governed by reflection,
before which every living thing has to bow.

The root of this conception is the same as that by which the Egyptian
sphinx was suggested. The chief differences lie in the greater
complexity of the winged bull and in its less quiescent attitude. The
sphinx combines but two elements, the man and the lion; its pose is
easier and perhaps more natural than that of the Assyrian animal. It is
extended on the ground, its paws stretched idly before it, an attitude
that could be preserved without fatigue for an indefinite time, and
therefore in complete accordance with its governing idea, and with the
function it had to fill at the gates of a palace or temple. That idea,
for the bull as well as the sphinx, was force in repose. But the bull
stands upright, and, when looked at from one side, seems to walk. We
feel that if he did complete his stride he would bring the structure
that stands on his loins down about our ears.

Here, as in most cases where comparison is possible, the advantage
remains with Egypt. But yet the Assyrian type is by no means without
a certain nobility and beauty of its own. In spite of their colossal
dimensions, in spite of the supernatural vigour of their limbs and
the exaggerated energy and salience of their muscles, there is a kind
of robust grace in the leading lines and proportions of these figures
to which we cannot be indifferent, and their effect is increased by
the wings that lie along their backs and furnish so happily the upper
part of the huge alabaster slabs, above which nothing rises but the
horned tiara. Finally, the face with its strongly marked features, with
its frame of closely curled hair and beard arranged in the strictest
symmetry, is still more remarkable than all the rest (Fig. 33). The
expression is grave and proud, and sometimes almost smiling. It is in
fine harmony with the general idea that led the Chaldæans to create
these mysterious but kindly beings, and to endow them with their mighty
frames of stone.[101]

  [Illustration: FIG. 33.--Head of a winged bull of
  Assurbanipal. British Museum. Height 38 inches.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

These bulls have only been actually found in Assyria, but numerous and
precise texts have been deciphered by which their existence at the
gateways of Chaldæan temples and palaces has been proved.[102] They are
not now to be met with in the country of their origin, because their
material was too rare in the lower part of the great basin to escape
the attacks of spoilers. Soft or hard, volcanic or calcareous, stone
was there precious and difficult to find. Sooner or later such objects
as these would be dragged from their ancient sites and broken up to be
used anew. If chance had not so willed that the Assyrian palaces were
preserved for us by entombment in their own ruins, we should now have
known nothing of a type that played a great part in the decoration
of Mesopotamian buildings, and, by its originality, made a great
impression upon neighbouring peoples; or at least we should only know
it by reproductions on a very small scale, like those we meet with on
the cylinders, or by imitations vastly inferior to the originals, like
those of the palaces at Persepolis.

  [Illustration: FIG. 34.--Cone of chalcedony. In the
  National Library at Paris. Actual size.]

Instead of a human head on the body of a beast, we sometimes find the
process reversed, but always with an amount of taste and reserve to
which we are compelled to render due praise. We may, of course, quote
instances in which the head of an eagle is put upon a human body (Vol.
I. Fig. 8), or the shoulders of a man concealed under a fish’s scales
(Vol. I. Fig. 9, and above, Fig. 34); but even then the sculptor has
succeeded in giving to the characteristic lines and attitudes of the
human figure the predominance that belongs to them, and, as it were,
has made them cast an air of nobility over the whole composition.

  [Illustration: FIG. 35.--Izdubar and lion. Double the
  actual size. From a cylinder in the British Museum.]

It is thus with a curious type to which our reader’s attention should
be drawn; we mean that of the personage called Izdubar by some
Assyriologists, and Hea-bani by others. Whichever name we may choose,
the person in question was “a mighty hunter,” like the Nimrod of
Genesis, a hero distinguished for his valour and for the difficulties
he overcame. So that he might be free in his movements and ready for
every work of activity and vigour, he is naked. Even under the dry
method of the Chaldæan gem engraver we can appreciate the amplitude
of his form and the power of his muscles. He is also distinguished by
the size of his face, which is always fully seen, and seems to be the
result of a compromise between the features of a man and those of a
lion. This deliberately exaggerated head is enframed in long shaggy
hair. Upon some cylinders we see Izdubar in a state of repose, behind
the throne of a god to whom he acts as acolyte or guard of honour (Vol.
I., Fig. 17), elsewhere he is seen in the exercise of his functions,
if we may call them so, accomplishing some such task as those that
made the fame of the Greek Hercules, whose ancestor he may perhaps have
been. We find him on a cylinder in the British Museum carrying off a
slain lion on his shoulders (Fig. 35).

  [Illustration: FIG. 36.--Winged genius. Louvre. Height
  10 feet. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

We again find the human form predominant in those great winged genii
for which Chaldæan art had so strong a predilection (Figs. 4 and 29).
The two pairs of wings are very happily allied to the body, and both
Greek and modern art has had recourse to the type thus created, the
former for the figures of certain minor divinities, especially for that
of Victory, and Christian art for its angels. In both these instances,
however, we find but a single pair of wings. The artists of Assyria,
especially in their rare attempts to treat the figure from a front
view, have used the two pairs of wings with great felicity to furnish
the background, against which the human form stands out in all the
vigour of its robust muscularity. Our readers may judge of this from
our reproduction of one of the reliefs brought to the Louvre from
Khorsabad (Fig. 36).

These winged men serve as a kind of transition between the complex
beings noticed above, and the sculptures in which the human form is
treated without any supernatural additions. So far as we can guess in
our present uncertainty as to the ranks of the celestial hierarchy
of Chaldæa, it would appear that the forms and features of men and
women were alone thought worthy to represent the greatest of their
divinities. Take the statue of Nebo, figured on page 81 of our last
volume, take the gods introduced into the ceremonies we have already
figured (Vol. I., Figs. 13 and 14), after reliefs from Nimroud and
Kouyundjik (Fig. 37).[103] In this last-named work the god, Raman or
Marduk, holds a flower. At Nimroud there is a god with horned forehead
who grasps an axe in one hand and a thunderbolt in the other. In the
female figure, twice repeated with slightly different attributes, that
precedes the god, Istar has been recognized. See also the statue of
Istar in Vol. I., Fig. 16, and the image of that Chaldæan Venus so
often repeated on the cylinders (Figs. 38 and 39). In form Istar is but
a woman, and the artist would have made her beautiful if he had known
how. She is shown naked, against the general custom of an art that
everywhere else hid the human body under ample draperies. This nudity
must have been intended to suggest those feminine charms by which
desire is awakened and life preserved on the world.

  [Illustration: FIG. 37.--Carrying the gods. From the
  palace of Sennacherib; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 38.--Istar and the sacrificing

  [Illustration: FIG. 39.--Istar between two personages.

  Hague Museum.]

The supreme gods, the Bels or Lords, were treated in the same way when
all the majesty of their station had to be suggested. Each of these
had his domicile in one of the principal sanctuaries of Chaldæa and
Syria. At Sippara it was Samas, or the sun personified (Vol. I., Fig.
71); upon the seal of Ourkam (Vol. I., Fig. 3), upon another cylinder
on which there are many curious and inexplicable details (Fig. 17),
and upon a last monument of the same kind which dates from the early
centuries of Chaldæan civilization (Fig. 40), it is a Bel whose name
escapes us;[104] but in all the theme is the same, and the type almost
exactly similar. We can hardly be mistaken in recognizing a god in the
personage seated on a richly decorated throne, towards whom two or
three figures, sometimes of smaller size than himself, advance in an
attitude of respectful homage. He is crowned with a lofty tiara, a long
beard flows over his breast, a robe of fine plaited stuff enwraps his
whole body and falls to his feet. He is a man in the prime of life; his
air and costume must have been taken from those of the king. May we not
look upon him as the first sketch for the Greek Zeus, the Zeus of Homer
and Phidias?

This type is never disfigured by any of those attempts, of which the
Chaldæans were so fond, to add to the significance of the human figure
by endowing it with features borrowed from various lower animals.
It should be noticed, however, that on one of the cylinders we have
figured (Vol. I., Fig. 17) there is a personage with two faces, like
the Roman Janus. But this is not the seated god. It is not the great
deity before whom the other actors in the scene stand erect, it is
one of the secondary personages, one of the inferior divinities who
bring offerings or receive instructions, in short, one of those genii
whose numerous and complex attributes first suggested these fantastic

  [Illustration: FIG. 40.--Lapis-lazuli cylinder. In the
  French National Library.]

We find then that when the Chaldæans set themselves to search for the
most suitable way of figuring their gods, they ended by thoroughly
appreciating the excellence of the human form; with a few exceptions,
they abandoned the idea of correcting and perfecting it; they
were content to copy it sincerely and unaffectedly, to render the
characteristic features of the maid and the mother, the youth and the
man of mature age to whom years have lent dignity without taking
away vitality. These forms they covered as a rule with ample drapery,
but for certain types, those, for instance, of the goddess of love
and fecundity, and the demi-god whom we have compared to the Greek
Hercules, they had recourse to all the frankness of nudity. How was
it that under such conditions they never succeeded in endowing their
goddesses with grace, or their gods with nobility of form? Can it be
denied that the few nude figures they have left us are far inferior,
not only to those the Greeks were afterwards to design with so sure
a hand, but even to the hundreds and thousands of human forms with
which the Egyptians had already peopled their bas-reliefs and funerary

  [Illustration: FIGS. 41, 42.--Fragments of an ivory
  statuette. British Museum. Actual size.]

Their first fault lay in an exaggerated striving after fidelity. They
insisted blindly on certain details which are elsewhere suppressed or
dissimulated, in obedience to a compromise which has been so generally
accepted that it must surely be founded on reason. We may judge of this
by two ivory fragments chosen from among those that were found in such
numbers at Nimroud. They are, in all probability, statuettes of Istar
(Figs. 41 and 42). The sculptor had noticed that the female pelvis
was larger than the male, but he exaggerates its size and that of the
bosom. The deep folds of the abdomen indicate an exhausted vitality,
that of a woman who has been many times a mother, and other details of
this region are rendered with a clumsy insistance.[105]

There is no evidence in Chaldæan art of the feeling for proportion
which distinguishes Egyptian sculpture. Its renderings of the human
figure are nearly always too short and thickset; even those works
which by their general facility and justness of movement most strongly
attract our admiration, are not free from this fault. Its effects may
be estimated very clearly from the stele representing Marduk-idin-akhi,
a king of Babylon (Fig. 43), whose date is placed in about the
twelfth century B.C. It is true that the defect in question
is more conspicuous in this relief than, perhaps, in any other work
of the school to which we can point; but in all it is more or less
perceptible. In Assyria, under the later Sargonids, sculptors made an
effort to correct it, but even their comparatively slender figures have
a certain heaviness. Assyrian sculpture has many good points, but it
is never elegant. The Assyrian and Chaldæan sculptors were discouraged
from acquiring a complete knowledge of the human form by the fact that
it was not demanded by their patrons. The public who judged their
works did not perceive their shortcomings in that respect. There was
nothing in their daily life, or in the requirements they laboured to
fulfil, which either assisted them to make good their deficiencies, or
compelled them to do it for themselves. They seldom beheld the nude
form, still more seldom did they have to introduce it into their works.
The Greek writers speak of it as a peculiarity of “the barbarians,”
whether Syrians or Chaldæans, Lydians or Persians, that they were
ashamed to be seen naked, the men as much as the women. Such a scruple,
especially in the male, would seem hardly comprehensible to the Greek
accustomed to the nudity of the gymnasium.[106]

The origin of such a notion is to be sought, perhaps, so far as
Mesopotamia is concerned, in a wise hygiene and in the rapid changes
of an uncertain climate. The difference between the extremes of summer
and winter temperature is far greater than in Egypt or on the Ionian
coasts, and precautions had to be taken at one time against a scorching
sun, at another against the cold of the nights. However this may
have been, it is certain that these people, although they lived in
a hot country, went about in a costume that covered their bodies as
completely as that of modern Europe. It consisted of a long tunic, a
_tunica talaria_ (?) as the Romans would call it, and a mantle.
The tunic left nothing exposed but the head and neck, the forearms, and
the feet and ankles. It must have been of linen or hempen cloth;[107]
when worn by a rich man it was embroidered and decorated about the
foot with a sort of gimp fringe. The tunics of the poor were short and
plain, often coming hardly lower than the knee. They were also looser
and better fitted to work in; but they are never wanting altogether,
even to the men of the _corvée_, the slaves and prisoners of war
whom we see employed in the construction of the royal buildings (Vol.
I. Figs. 151 and 152). Women were dressed in chemises coming down to
their feet (Vol. I. Fig. 30), resembling the long robe of coarse blue
cotton which still forms the only garment of the peasant women of Egypt
and Syria. Sometimes we find a sort of cape thrown over the tunic (Vol.
I. Fig. 31, and below, Fig. 44).

  [Illustration: FIG. 43.--Merodach or Marduk-idin-akhi.
  From a basalt stele in the British Museum. Height 24 inches.
  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

As for the mantle, it was a fringed shawl, and, like the Greek _peplos_
or the Roman _toga_, could be arranged in many different ways. In
the painting at Beni-Hassan which shows us the arrival in Egypt of a
band of Asiatic emigrants,[108] it leaves one shoulder and both arms
uncovered, and forms a kind of frock round the body, which it entirely
conceals. In the old Chaldæan statues from Sirtella the arrangement
is more graceful (see Plate VI.); the piece of cloth is folded double
and carried obliquely round the body so as to cover the left arm and
shoulder and leave the right bare. The end is simply passed under
the first fold, by which it is tightly held.[109] There is no trace
of a tunic. In Assyria the mantle was variously arranged. It always
left one shoulder free, which was covered, however, by the tunic. As
a rule it reached to the feet (Vol. I. Fig. 22), but sometimes it was
so contrived as to leave one leg exposed from the knee downwards. The
robes of Sargon praying before the sacred tree are thus arranged (Fig.

  [Illustration: FIG. 44.--Captives on the march. From the
  palace of Sennacherib.]

As for the women’s dress, it was still more impenetrable than that of
the men. In the Assyrian bas-reliefs there are very few figures of
women on any considerable scale. We can hardly point to an instance,
except in the slab where Assurbanipal and his queen are shown feasting
in a garden (Vol. I. Fig. 28). In this carved picture the queen is
robed in a tunic and mantle, over which the embroiderers needle
has thrown a profusion of those rosettes that are so popular in
Mesopotamia!! art. We are allowed to glean no hint of the personal
charms of the favoured sultana, who must have been young and beautiful.
They are entirely masked by the envelope in which she is wrapped.

In all this we are far enough from the semi-nudity of the Egyptian
sculptures, to say nothing of the frank display of the Greeks. On the
banks of the Nile, where the climate had no violent changes and the
air was deliciously dry and limpid, both poor and rich, both the king
and his subjects, were contented with the white drawers, which were
carefully plaited and knotted about the hips. On great occasions,
when, as we should say, they wished to dress themselves, they put on
long, bright-coloured, and elegantly embroidered robes; but those robes
were of a fine linen tissue, every contour of the body could be easily
followed through them, the age and character of every form could be
distinctly appreciated.

The artist, even when he had to represent the wives and daughters of
Pharaoh or the most august of the female deities, showed under their
draperies the contours of their breasts, their hips, and the insertions
of their limbs.[110] Still more transparent were the robes in which
the dancing and singing women who occur so often in the tomb pictures
were draped.[111] The calculated indiscretions of this sort of _coa
vestis_ invited the painter and sculptor to do justice to the
elegance of the female form.

How different and how much less favourable were the conditions under
which the Assyrian sculptor exercised his art! For him the contours
of the body and the attachments of the limbs were hidden behind heavy
tunics covered with embroidery, and shawls often folded double. If by
chance he caught a passing glimpse of the forms beneath, to what use
could he put it? Two or three at the most of the divine types upon
which his skill was most frequently employed involved a very partial
nudity; most of the gods, and nearly all the men, were draped. In a few
very rare instances we find an Assyrian stripped of his clothes and
crossing a river by means of an inflated skin.[112] But these figures,
though fairly well drawn, are very small in scale, and occupy but a
subordinate place in the bas-relief where they occur.[113]

  [Illustration: FIG. 45.--Sargon before the sacred tree.
  Louvre. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Corpses stripped naked by the victor on the battle-field are of more
frequent occurrence; but these, being the bodies of despised and hated
enemies, are treated in very summary fashion.[114] We may say the same
of the prisoners whom they behead and flay alive.[115] The mutilated
statue of a nude female, rather less than life, which bears a votive
inscription of Assurbilkala, the son of Tiglath-Pileser, and is now
in the British Museum, is a great rarity. It is believed to represent
Istar. The execution is careful, but the forms are clumsy and the
proportions bad; the bust is a great deal too short.[116]

By his failure to appreciate living form for its own sake, for its
beauty of line and harmony of proportion, the Mesopotamian sculptor
put a voluntary limit to his ambition. He renounced, in advance, the
only means within his reach of borrowing from the human figure the
elements for a representation of the deity which should preserve a
character of indefinite existence, of natural and sovereign excellence.
But this abstention, or, if you like, this impotence, did not prevent
Assyrian artists from fulfilling, in the most brilliant fashion, the
other part of the task to which they were called by the habits and
requirements of the society for which they laboured. The sculptors were
mainly employed by the king; their chief business was to multiply his
images; they were charged to commemorate the sovereign in every act of
his life, in every one of the many parts involved by his indefatigable
activity as builder, chief-justice, hunter, commander-in-chief, and
supreme pontiff. From the king himself to the last of his soldiers or
prisoners, every one who had his own marked place in a picture was
draped; the sculptor could reproduce every episode of the royal life
in the truest and most animated fashion, without ever having learnt to
draw the nude. In fact, he was not called upon, like the Greek artist,
to procure for the æsthetic sense the pure joys that are given by
the sight of noble forms or movements well rendered; his duty was to
commemorate by a series of clear and lively images those events that
were celebrated in words in the text inscribed upon the very alabaster
slabs beneath his hand.

Assyrian sculpture had this documentary character in the very highest
degree; its creations, in the intention of those by whom they were
commissioned, were less works of art than records.[117] The long
inscriptions and the endless series of pictures with which the palace
walls were covered were no more than an illustrated book.

And in what class of literature should that book be placed? It has
been called an epic illustrated by sculptors--a description that seems
hardly just. For in every epic worthy of the name the marvellous
occupies an important place, while in these reliefs it scarcely has a
place at all. With few exceptions the belief in a superior and divine
world makes itself felt in Assyrian art only in those effigies of gods
and demons we have already described. And such images have their places
rigidly fixed by tradition; they stand at the palace gates, but are
scarcely ever found within its saloons, and are entirely absent from
the marches, battles, and sieges. Here and there among such pictures,
but at long intervals, we find some feature that reminds us of the aid
that Assur and the other national gods afforded their worshippers;
now it is an eagle floating over the king’s chariot;[118] now the god
himself, surrounded by a winged circle, draws his bow and launches
his formidable shafts against the enemies of his people.[119] He is
thus represented mounted on a galloping bull in the ring by which the
standards of the Assyrian legions were surmounted.

  [Illustration: FIG. 46.--Assyrian standard; from Layard.]

All these details were small in scale and unobtrusive. The _rôle_
played by the architect was similar to that of the draughtsmen and
photographers who sometimes accompany princes and generals on a modern
campaign. The programme placed before him was as narrow as it could
well be; he was required to be faithful and precise, not to give proof
of inventive power.

The sculptor was, in a way, the editor of the military bulletins; his
work was the newspaper of the day, explaining the political events
of his time to those who could understand no other writing. There is
complete coherence between his figures and the inscribed texts they
accompany. Look, for instance, at the series of slabs from the Palace
of Sennacherib, in which his Jewish campaign is retraced.[120] The
final scene is thus described in words within a cartouche above the
heads of the figures: “Sennacherib, king of Assyria, seated upon his
throne of state, causes the prisoners taken in the town of Lachish to
pass before him,”[121] In order to show the details of the magnificent
chair upon which the king is seated we have reproduced only the two
principal actors, in the sovereign and his grand vizier (Fig. 47). If
we had been able to place the whole composition before our readers they
would have seen how thoroughly the inscription describes it. Behind
the general who is presenting the vanquished to the king, appear the
prisoners, some prostrate, others kneeling or standing upright, but all
turned towards their conqueror with gestures of supplication.

The spaces to be covered were vast, but the warlike kings of Assyria
cut out enough work for their sculptors to keep them always busy.
Every campaign, and every battle, every siege or passage of a river,
seemed to them worthy of commemoration by the chisel. Those to whom
the work was given were forced therefore to multiply figures; the task
was complicated and yet had to be finished with extreme rapidity.
The sovereign was in a hurry to enjoy the spectacle he had promised
himself, he wished to inhabit for as many years as possible the
dwelling whose walls, like so many magic mirrors, would reflect his own
prowess and glory. And so the sculptor had to produce much and produce
fast; we can therefore understand how it was that his creations never
lost a certain look of improvisation. They had the good qualities of
such a mode of work; namely, force, vitality, and _abandon_, but
combined with all its defects, inequality, incoherence, and frequent

In order to cover the surface abandoned to the sculptor as quickly as
possible, the work had to be divided; every one who was thought to
be capable of wielding a chisel had to be pressed into the service.
Sculptors of established fame who had already helped to decorate more
than one palace, mediocre artists with more age and experience than
talent, young apprentices entering the workshops for the first time,
all were enlisted, and each received his share of the common task.
Under such conditions, and especially when the utmost expedition was
required, the collective work could not help showing signs of the
many and variously skilled hands that had been employed upon it. Even
with the Greeks, and even, which is still more to the point, with the
Athenians of the age of Pericles, something of the same kind is to be
noticed. The frieze of that temple of Pallas, which is, perhaps, the
most carefully wrought creation of human hands, is not all equally fine
in execution. Some parts show the work merely of a skilful carver,
while before others we feel that here has been the hand of the great
master himself, that the play of the chisel has been governed by
the brain that traced the original sketch and thought out the whole
marvellous conception.

And these differences are still more obvious in the great compositions
turned out so rapidly by Assyrian sculptors. Examine at your leisure
the long series of pictures from a single palace that hang on the
walls of the British Museum--the only place where such a comparison
is possible--and you will be astonished at the inequality of their
execution. Among those taken from a single room some are far better
than others. Here and there we find figures that seem to have been
touched upon and corrected by an experienced artist, while their
immediate neighbours are treated in a soft and hesitating fashion.
Curiously enough the figures representing enemies are, as a rule, very
roughly modelled; sometimes they are hardly more than blocked out. It
seems as if they wished, from the beginning, to have no mistake as
to relative dignity between the soldiers of Assur and those men of
inferior race whom they condescended to slay.[122]

  [Illustration: FIG. 47.--Sennacherib before Lachish,
  British Museum. From an unpublished drawing by Félix Thomas.]

A hurried artist repeats himself deliberately. Repetition spares him
the fatigue of reflection and invention. The Assyrians loved to
represent processions. Sometimes these consist of the king’s servants
carrying the ensign of royalty behind him (Vol. I. Figs. 22, 23, and
24); sometimes of priests carrying the images of the gods (Vol. I.
Figs. 13 and 14); but more often of war chariots, cavalry, and infantry
(Fig. 15), or bands of prisoners conducted by foot soldiers (Fig. 48).
To groups and single individuals progressing in long succession the
sculptor gave a certain rhythm that is not without its dignity, but yet
his treatment of such themes is deficient in variety. The same fault
occurs in Egyptian dealings with similar subjects; the figures seem
all to reproduce a single type, as if they had been stencilled. The
designer has made no real effort to avoid monotony; he has no suspicion
of those skilful combinations by which the Greek sculptor would succeed
in reconciling the unity of the whole with variety of detail; he makes
no attempt to make those slight changes between one group and another
that please and amuse the eye without hurting the general symmetry, or
breaking those great leading lines by which the general character and
movement of the composition is determined.[123]

  [Illustration: FIG. 48.--Procession of captives; from

The necessity for haste accounts for another defect of the same art. It
was because he had no time that the sculptor did not choose and select,
like the Greeks. The size of our page prevents us from reproducing
one of those pictures in which the triumphs of Sennacherib are
commemorated,[124] but some idea of that great military chronicle may
be formed from the assault on page 30 (Fig. 30). There is nothing like
a central group in which the episodes and incidents of the conflict
could, as it were, be gathered up and epitomized. The sculptor exhausts
himself in striving after the confused wealth of reality; our eye loses
itself among the groups of combatants who seem to be sown broadcast
over the field of the relief. The historian may find in it many curious
details, but he who looks only for aesthetic enjoyment is soon bored.
The whole composition is as confused as a real hand-to-hand fight.

In spite of all these defects, or perhaps owing to their existence,
the realistic sculpture of Assyria must have had a strong attraction,
not only for the kings, to whom it was a sort of apotheosis, but for
their subjects, their officers, and for the soldiers who fought in the
campaigns and brought off their share of the glory and spoil. We may
well find these battle panoramas not a little wearisome; but if we put
ourselves in the place of those who were actors in the scenes they
portray, of those who could search among their countless, and, to us,
often ambiguous incidents, and find, or think they found, their own
deeds and persons introduced by the sculptor into his crowded pages,
how great will be the change. The fatigue we feel will be changed into
the interest that never palls of fighting one’s battles over again,
and into the natural pride aroused by the pages of a history that
chronicled no defeat, that spoke of nothing but the long sequence of
victories won by the legions of Assyria over every nation that had the
temerity to oppose her arms.

Such a spectacle had its eloquence and could not fail to react strongly
upon those who gazed upon it, to incite them to new triumphs and to the
renewed spoliation of their neighbours. In spite of its shortcomings,
such an art had, then, one great merit; it was, in the highest degree,
national; it was frankly inspired by the most universal passion of the
people among whom it was born, by the ideas it suggested it helped to
keep that passion alive and to add to its force, and so contributed not
a little to develop the habits and sentiments in which the power and
originality of a violent, fanatical, and warlike race consisted.

                           § 2. _Materials._

If the national dress and social _régime_, as well as the natural
conditions of the country had their effect upon Mesopotamian art, so
too had the materials employed. In our study of Egyptian sculpture we
endeavoured to show how greatly the artist depended on his material,
and what a strongly modifying effect the latter had upon the nature of
the interpretation he could give to his thought.[125]

The monuments of Assyria especially invite the same remark. The
Chaldæans seem to have made use, as a rule, of very hard rocks for
their sculptures, rocks similar to those used by the later Egyptians
for their more important works. In Chaldæa a stone statue was a rare
object. On the few occasions when a Chaldæan prince, or even private
individual, indulged in such a luxury, he did not spare expense; once
in a way the cost did not matter; it was of far greater moment that
the work should be durable, and blocks were brought from any distance
that might be necessary to ensure that result. Thus it is that nearly
all the monuments that have been recovered in the lower valley of the
Euphrates are of basalt, diorite, or dolerite. The difference between
the styles of the Egyptian and Chaldæan sculptures was not caused,
then, by the materials employed, but by something far less easily
defined--by the peculiar genius of the two peoples. They neither saw
nature with the same eyes nor interpreted it in the same spirit.

The situation was rather different in Assyria. There a plentiful supply
of easily-cut stone, alabaster, and several varieties of limestone
of more or less hardness was to be had. These facilities had a
double consequence: they led the Ninevite artist to make lavish use
of sculpture in the decoration of buildings, and they had no little
influence upon their habits of design and upon the executive processes
they adopted. The most peculiar, the truly characteristic feature of
their bas-reliefs so far as execution is concerned, is the combination
of incisiveness and looseness in their handling. We feel that the
chisel, in spite of the haste with which it worked, has been strongly
driven. It is not so in the case of other countries; as a rule where
work is rapid it is also slight and superficial. This apparent anomaly
is to be explained by the qualities of the material. The alabaster
used at Khorsabad and Kouyundjik is so soft that we can scratch it
with the finger-nail, and even the limestone preferred by the artists
of Assurbanipal is not much harder.[126] How this tempts the hand!
Whether one tries to or not one writes boldly with a goose quill, and
here the docility of the material becomes a danger. The carver’s tool,
when it meets with no real resistance, runs away with the hand, and the
sculptor is insensibly led on to over-accent his intentions, and to
exaggerate his effects.

  [Illustration: FIG. 49.--One face of the obelisk of
  Shalmaneser II. British Museum. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

Sometimes the Assyrians attacked the harder stones, which they obtained
from certain districts of Kurdistan and the neighbourhood of the
extinct volcanoes of the Sinjar, between the valleys of the Tigris
and the Khabour;[127] we shall be content with quoting as examples a
basalt statue found at Kaleh-Shergat and the obelisk of Shalmaneser
II., in the British Museum, which is cut from the same material (Vol.
I. Fig. 111, and below, Fig. 49).[128] It deals with the homage done
and the tribute offered to the king by five conquered nations. Among
the offerings are several strange animals.[129] The small building
at Khorsabad which has been called sometimes a throne-room and
sometimes a temple, was decorated with reliefs in basalt,[130] but the
use of these hard rocks was always very rare in Assyria. The habits
of the northern artists were formed in cutting the softer stones,
and their use of such materials explains not only their prodigious
fecundity but certain qualities and defects of their style.

Both Chaldæa and Assyria made too constant and skilful use of plastic
clay in their architecture for it to have been possible that they
should overlook its capabilities as a material for the sculptor,
especially in the production of small objects like sepulchral
statuettes. Both nations have transmitted to us a vast quantity of such
figures. In both cases they are solid; those of Chaldæa are stamped in
a mould in a single piece; their reverse is flat and roughly smoothed
by the hand; the clay is fine and close-grained, and so hard and well
fired that it cannot be scratched with a metal point (Fig. 50).[131]
The execution of the Assyrian figures is more simple. They are solidly
modelled in clay, and without the use of a mould, although we often
find a series made after one pattern and giving a high idea of the
Assyrian modeller’s skill (Fig. 51). The coarseness of the material
however is surprising; it is a dark grey earth, unequal, knotty,
without any mixture of sand, but marked with cross hatchings left
by the straw with which it seems to have been mixed. The body is so
friable that it crumbles in the hand, but as it resists water it must
have undergone a gentle burning.[132]

Examples are also to be found of objects in earthenware or terra-cotta
coated with a vitreous glaze, like those that the Egyptians
manufactured in such enormous quantities.[133] In these cases the
figure is cast in a mould, and the enamel is either blue or green, as
in Egypt (Fig. 52).[134]

  Illustration: FIG. 50.--Statuette of a priest. Louvre;
  from Heuzey.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 51.--Dagon. British Museum. Actual

Clay was used for other things besides these small statuettes; it
seems to have been employed in the first sketches from which the
sculptor chiselled the alabaster slabs, at least when he attacked
the more important and complex groups. We can hardly refuse to
recognize such a purpose in a fine fragment brought from the palace of
Assurbanipal to the British Museum. It is all that is left of a relief
in terra-cotta. The grain is much finer and the colour far redder
than in statuettes from the same place. In its present state this
slab is about a foot high, and mutilated as it is, its subject may be
recognized as an incident in the royal hunt, the rest of which helps
to fill the Assyrian basement room. The larger part of the principal
figure is wanting, but enough of him remains to leave no doubt as to
the character of the scene; it represents a king attacked on two sides
by lions, and defending himself with his lance. The firm and precise
execution of the lions’ paws and of the king’s body should be noticed.
According to the scale obtaining in the sculptures preserved this model
was carried out on a half scale. So little of the group is left that
we cannot make sure whether the reliefs now in London contain the
episode of which this is the original sketch or not.[135] So far as
we can tell, however, the exact passage executed after this model is
not in the museum, but we must not forget that a large number of the
sculptures were left in the palace where they were found; Mr. Rassam
only removed the finest and those in the best condition.

  [Illustration: FIG. 52.--Head of a lioness. Louvre.
  Actual size.]

The small winged bull carved in the finest limestone, which Mr. George
Smith brought from Nimroud, was, no doubt, a model of the same sort
(see Vol. I. Figs. 83 and 84). Its execution is of the most careful
description, and yet it can hardly have had any other use. We may say
the same of the square slab of terra-cotta just mentioned; its figures
are too small for the decoration of palace saloons, and the material
is too common to have formed a part of those rich schemes of ornament
whose existence is attested by the texts as well as by the remains. We
can suggest no more plausible explanation of these little monuments, or
one in more complete accord with the necessities of rapid production.
We have already shown that a vast number of hands were required for the
prompt execution of these great sculptural works, and the provision of
such models, whether in stone or terra-cotta, would do much towards
preventing the evil consequences of employing so many different and
variously gifted journeymen. The master produced the model, and
nothing was required from the carvers who copied it but skill in
enlarging and in the handling of their tools.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the earliest times of which any remains have come down to us the
Chaldæans understood how to make use of all the different materials
that offer facilities to the artist for the rendering of living form.
Until bronzes dating from the times of the pyramid builders were
found,[136] it was thought that they had anticipated the Egyptians
in the art of making that precious alloy and casting it in earthen
moulds.[137] This conjecture was suggested by the discovery, near
Bagdad, of a metal statuette, which is now in the Louvre (Fig. 53). It
is what the Greeks called a _canephoros_. A young woman carries
a basket on her completely shaven head, keeping it in place with her
hands. From her waist upwards she is nude, but the lower part of her
figure is wrapped in a kind of narrow skirt, on which is engraved a
votive inscription containing the name of a king Kourdourmapouk, who is
believed to have flourished in the sixteenth century before our era.
The casting is solid.

The bronzes inscribed with the name of Gudea (Vol. I. Figs. 146–148)
are perhaps still more ancient. The motive of one is identical with
that of this canephoros. Metal working cannot have begun with such
objects as these; it is pretty certain that forging metals was
everywhere an earlier process than casting them. Before learning to
prepare the mould and to force the liquid copper into its farthest
recesses, men must have commenced by beating it into plates upon the
anvil. When they had gathered sufficient skill to make these plates
very thin and pliant, the next thing they attempted was to ornament
them, which they first did by hammering one of their sides, and so
producing reliefs on the other which could be brought to sufficient
perfection by repeating the process with varying degrees of strength
and delicacy, and by chasing. This is what is called _repoussé_

  [Illustration: FIG. 53.--Canephoros. Louvre. Height 10½

There is no doubt that these processes were invented in the southern
cities. The oldest of the Warka tombs show that metals were abundant
from a very ancient period, and that their use was well understood;
but we do not possess any important examples of _repoussé_ work
dating from the early days of Chaldæa. It is otherwise with Assyria.
The exploration of her palaces has brought to light numerous fragments
of ornamental sheathing in bronze; plaques and bands, sometimes curved,
sometimes straight, according to the surface to which they were
applied, were covered in some cases with mere ornamental designs, in
others with numerous figures. Only within the last few years have we
learnt to how high a pitch the sculptors of Mesopotamia had carried
this art, and how well they understood that the rough form left by the
hammer should be completed and defined with the burin and chisel. The
most important discovery of the kind was made as recently as 1878, by
Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, who found the bronze gates to which we have already
more than once alluded, in the mound of Balawat.[138] Shalmaneser
II., who built the palace to which these gates belonged, caused his
victorious campaigns and his sacrifices to the gods to be represented
upon them. We have already reproduced many of these curious reliefs
(Vol. I., Figs. 51, 68, 73, 158; and above, Fig. 28); a last example
will help to show the facility of the Assyrian artist and the boldness
of his rendering of animals and men (Fig. 54). He played with bronze as
he did with alabaster; in both his handling was firm and rapid and his
modelling at once broad and strongly felt.[139]

  [Illustration: FIG. 54.--Man driving goats and sheep.
  From the Balawat gates. British Museum.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 55.--Lion carved in wood. Louvre.
  Length 4 inches. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 56.--Ivory seal. Louvre. Actual
  size. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 57.--Ivory tablet in the British
  Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

This peculiar handling, at once free and a little hard, is to be found
in all the works of these people. It may be recognized in a wooden
lion, unfortunately much mutilated, which belongs to the Louvre (Fig.
55), and in those carvings upon the shells of pearl oysters that have
been found in such numbers, especially in Lower Chaldæa.[140] The
ivories alone are, sometimes at least, without this peculiar character.
They display a certain harshness in which the distinguishing mark
of Chaldæan origin has been recognized. We may give as an instance
the small object thus described in the catalogue of the Louvre: “Lion
devouring a wild goat, of which only the head and neck are visible.
This group ornaments one face of a small object, rounded above and
with a flat base. There is an oblong slit in the latter. The object is
apparently a seal” (Fig. 56).[141] On the other hand, although most of
the ivory carvings that were used for the handles of walking-sticks and
daggers and such purposes, show the characteristics we have mentioned,
it must be acknowledged that the ivory tablets from Nimroud are free,
for the most part, from the style we have attempted to define as that
proper to Chaldæa and Assyria. The treatment is lighter and more
elegant, reminding us of Egypt. Must we believe that when the Assyrians
attacked this beautiful material they changed their confirmed habits
and gave a refinement to their touch it had never known before? Such an
idea seems very improbable. We know that their ornamentists borrowed
certain motives from the Egyptians, such as the winged globe, the
lotus-garland, the sphinx; but in doing so they stamped them with
their own personal and independent taste. It seems likely, therefore,
that the more carefully wrought of these ivories were imported from
abroad, either from Egypt itself, or from its imitator, Phœnicia. In
the fragments we have already figured (Vol. I. Figs. 129 and 130) the
features and head-dresses are easily recognized as Egyptian. This
character is still more marked in another tablet from Nimroud, of which
there are several repetitions in the British Museum (Fig. 57). Two
women are seated opposite to each other. They are Egyptian in every
detail. Their attitudes and symmetrical arrangement; their robes and
head coverings; the action of their hands, one raised in adoration,
the other holding the hare-headed staff; the _crux ansata_ under
their chairs, all are continually found in the monuments of the Nile
valley. A still more decisive feature is the oval surmounted by two
ostrich plumes in the centre of the plaque. This is not inscribed with
hieroglyphs taken at random, as in the small objects of Phœnician
origin on which those characters are used merely as decoration, but
with a royal name, Auben, or Auben-Ra.[142] It is true that no such
name has as yet been encountered on any other monument, but it may
very well have been that of one of those petty monarchs who swarmed
in the Delta towards the time of the Ethiopian conquest. Most of them
left very slight traces; not a few are known only by a single text.
This tablet may have been carved, then, either in Egypt, or in Phœnicia
after an Egyptian model. In any case, it seems clear to us that it is
not the work of an Assyrian or Chaldæan. Other objects in the same
material do not, like this, bear an irrefutable mark of their origin,
but they are so like it in treatment that we are tempted to say they
must have been produced under the same influence. Look at this fragment
of a winged sphinx (Fig. 58). Its general physiognomy, the head-dress,
the peculiar rendering of the wing-feathers, are none of them Chaldæan,
but we often find them in Phœnicia and Cyprus. We may say the same of
the fine piece in which two fantastic animals standing upon a peculiar
and elaborate capital are surrounded by gracefully designed flowers and
leafage (Fig. 59).

  [Illustration: FIG. 58.--Ivory fragment in the British
  Museum. Actual size. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

In attempting to give a clear idea of Chaldæo-Assyrian sculpture we
must, therefore, put aside the more artistic among the numerous ivory
carvings found in the ruins at Nimroud, and especially in the palace
of Assurbanipal. It would seem that such things were imported from
abroad when something better than the ivory knobs and handles made in
the country was required. When we come to speak of metal cups we shall
have to repeat this remark.

  [Illustration: FIG. 59.--Ivory tablet in the British
  Museum. Actual size. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 60.--Statue of Assurnazirpal. Height
  41 inches. British Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

It may be said that we should have postponed our notice of these
objects, and, if they had all borne as incontestable a mark of their
origin as the tablet with the royal oval, we should have done so, we
should have reserved both the carved ivories and the engraved cups of
metal until we reached those pages of our history in which the arts of
Phœnicia will be treated. But, unfortunately, when we come to details
it is not always easy to establish the distinction between objects of
foreign manufacture and those productions of the same kind that were
made at home; in many cases it requires the tact and instinct of the
archæologist to know one from the other. Such faculties are always, in
some degree, liable to err, while in many cases it is very difficult
to give reasons for the conclusions arrived at by their exercise. The
simplest way out of the difficulty has seemed to us to describe these
remains at the same time as the main compositions to which they were
formerly attached. But while we do so we keep their doubtful character
in mind; in our definition of the style of Chaldæo-Assyrian sculpture
we shall only have recourse to them under great reserve, especially as
the style in question is to be amply studied without their help.

    § 3. _The Principal Conventions of Chaldæo-Assyrian Sculpture._

The art of Mesopotamia, like that of Egypt, had its conventions, some
of which were peculiar to itself, while others are common to all
nations that have arrived at sovereign power and maturity of knowledge.

Like all those who attempt plastic figuration by the light of nature,
the artists of Mesopotamia began with profiles. In speaking of Egyptian
sculpture we had occasion to show how this method of representation
is always followed by first beginners,[143] as it is the simplest and
easiest of all. The Chaldæo-Assyrian artists, unlike those of Egypt and
Greece, were unaccustomed to the nude, and were therefore without the
incentive it supplies to fight against nature and to make her live in
all her variety of aspect, a variety which work in the round is alone
able to grasp without the aid of convention. One consequence of this
is that almost exclusive love of the bas-relief in which Mesopotamian
art is unlike that of any other people. In its very beginning it
seems to have made a vigorous and promising effort to rise to the
production of statues in the round, but discouragement appears to
have rapidly followed, and in later years but a very few attempts,
and those attended with no great success, were made. The salience of
figures was increased or diminished according to their place and the
part they played, but the idea of detaching them altogether from the
background and giving them an independent existence of their own, was
soon abandoned. Under the first Chaldæan empire, real statues, round
which we can walk, were modelled (see Plates VI. and VII.). In several
of these, although the forms are not so round as in nature, the back is
as carefully treated as the front. On the other hand, the few Assyrian
statues that have come down to us are all too thin from front to back,
while their backs are hardly more than roughly-dressed stone. You feel
at once that they were made to stand against a wall, and you think of
children and of those whose limbs are so infirm that they cannot stand
without support. Before such things, we are far enough, not only from
the grace, vitality, and freedom of the Greeks, but even from the proud
repose of the Egyptian colossi. Although our figures show, of course,
only the front view, this impression is very striking in the statues of
Nebo (Vol. I. Fig. 15) and Assurnazirpal (Fig. 60), which have migrated
from Nimroud to the British Museum. The latter was found by Layard at
the entrance of one of the temples whose plans we have given (Vol. I.
Fig. 189). It is cut from a very hard and close-grained limestone,
and stands upon a pedestal that is nothing but another block of the
same material. We have been compelled, in order to keep our figure
sufficiently large, to reduce this block to the dimensions of a shallow
plinth. In reality it is a cube thirty-one inches high and twenty-one
and three-quarter inches wide.[144]





  J. Bourgoin, del. Imp. Ch. Chardon Sulpis, sc.]

The statues of Nebo and Assurnazirpal are standing figures, but,
at Kaleh-Shergat, Layard found a seated figure of Shalmaneser II.
(Fig. 61).[145] It is in black basalt and has no head. It is of
great interest because it recalls the very oldest Chaldæan statues
both in material and attitude. It has suffered so much, however,
and its workmanship seems to have been so sketchy, that even in the
original itself the details of modelling and costume are hardly to be
recognized. We give a slight sketch of it merely to show its pose.

These statues, if they deserve such a name, show the work of the
Assyrians at its feeblest; the plastic genius of the people must not be
judged from them, but from the _genre_ in which they were most at
home, from the long lines of figures that stand out in various salience
from the palace walls. Among the productions of this latter class that
have come down to our time we find every degree of relief, from the
bas-relief strictly speaking, to what is but little removed from the

  [Illustration: FIG. 61.--Statue of Shalmaneser II.
  Height 58 inches. British Museum.]

Let us begin with the bas-relief. It is with sculptures executed on
this principle that the walls of temples and palaces were covered,
as if with a stone tapestry. The Assyrian process is identical in
principle with that afterwards adopted by the Greeks, as, on the whole,
the most convenient for the purpose in view. We find no examples of
the Egyptian fashion of defining the outlines of figures by a deep
groove cut with the point, nor of those figures that were, so to speak,
let into and modelled within the surface of the wall.[146] In both
Chaldæa and Assyria the figure stands out from the bed of the relief
from two or three millimetres to a centimetre, according to its size.
The bed is nowhere hollowed, it is one even surface, except that where
the figures are very small, and consequently of very slight relief,
the sculptor has reinforced them with an incised outline one or two
millimetres deep. This artifice must be examined on the monuments
themselves; it could hardly be shown in reproductions on a reduced

Most of the great bas-reliefs have but one plane, and to this they owe
the simplicity that gives them a certain nobility in spite of their
monotonous design (see Vol. I. Figs. 4, 5, 6, 8, 13, 22, 23, 24, &c.).
Examples of two planes, in which the figures are grouped in couples,
the nearest to the spectator in each couple covering a large part of
his companion, are by no means rare (see Fig. 62); we may say the
same of those in which a background of trees is introduced beyond the
figures (Fig. 63). This arrangement is especially frequent in the more
complicated pictures, where the figures are small and numerous; but
even in the last century of the Assyrian monarchy, when the sculptor
showed an ever-increasing desire to draw attention and excite interest
by the introduction of these picturesque details, he never quits his
hold of a right instinct for the true conditions of the bas-relief.
Unlike the Roman sculptors, and even those of the Renaissance, he shows
no hankering after those effects that seem to get rid of the bed; he
never destroys the clarity of his conception by unduly multiplying the
planes. He did not understand how to put objects in perspective or
manage foreshortening, and this ignorance served him well; it preserved
him from the temptation into which more skilful artists are so prone to
fall; it prevented him from forgetting “that the design best suited to
the bas-relief is purely geometrical in its essentials.”[147]

The relief, of course, becomes higher as the size of the figures
increases. It is as much as from eight to ten inches in the winged
genii (Figs. 27 and 34) that accompany and divide the bulls on the
decorated façades and in the gateways. Even when it is highest the
salience does not go beyond what is called _mezzo-relievo_; that
is to say, no part of the principal or accessory figure, of the genius
himself or of the lion, stands out from the wall in the round, as, for
instance, do the heads and limbs in the metopes of the Parthenon.



  J. Bourgoin, del. Ramus sc.

  Imp. Ch. Chardon

  [Illustration: FIG. 62.--Pair of warriors. Louvre. Drawn
  by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

The same remark holds good of the colossal figures of lions (Plate
VIII.) and winged bulls (Plate IX.) which acted as guardians of the
palace. We have already explained the ideas attached to these monsters
by the Assyrians,[148] we shall here dwell upon some peculiarities of
their execution. In these images there is a compromise between “the
round” and the bas-relief of a very original and peculiar character.

Looked at from in front these lions and bulls seem to be independent
statues; the head, the chest, the legs stand out with as much freedom
and amplitude of development as in nature; but step a little to one
side, to the right or the left as the case may be, and their aspect
will change. You will then see that only the fore-part of the animal
is disengaged from the block of alabaster or limestone in which it is
cut, the rest of the body remains imprisoned in its substance. The
contours alone are indicated, in low relief, on the two sides of the
ponderous slab. Thus we have half, or rather a quarter, of the statue
standing out from sixteen to twenty inches in front of the slab on
which the sides are shown in silhouette. It looks as if the image had
made an effort to shake itself clear of the mass of stone and had only
partially succeeded. We find ourselves wondering whether, if Nineveh
had not perished and the development of her art had gone on without
interruption, these great beasts would not have ended by conquering
their liberty and winning for themselves an existence independent of
the walls to which they were attached. But the nature of the material
employed says no--alabaster is too soft, and the legs of the lions and
bulls could not support their massive bodies without assistance.

  [Illustration: FIG. 63.--Prisoners. From the palace of
  Sennacherib; from Layard.]



  British Museum

  Saint-Elme Gautier del etsc Imp. Ch. Chardon]

There are other peculiarities in these images. Looked at from in front
they appear stationary, their two fore-feet being on the same plane and
close together; any other arrangement would have been awkward. But
if we look at them from the side they appear to be walking, in which
attitude alone would all the four legs be visible and clear of each
other. In most cases the bulls were not parallel to the façades they
decorated, but perpendicular to them;[149] they faced the visitor as he
approached the gate, and it was not until he entered the passage that
he got a side view of their bodies stretching along its walls (Figs.
26 and 27). Some contrivance was sought by which their figures should
appear complete from both points of view, and the following expedient
was hit upon. As soon as you had entered the passage between the bulls,
you could, of course, no longer see more than the fore-leg nearest
you; the other was hidden by it. The latter was then repeated by the
sculptor and thrown back under the body of the animal, which, in the
result, had five legs.

The idea is a better one than we are at first inclined to believe.
More than once, perhaps, at the Louvre or the British Museum, you have
paused before these colossal images, you have measured their height
with your eye and admired their tranquil majesty. But have you ever
noticed the artifice I have just described? To see it clearly you must
choose a standpoint on the right or left front, as our draughtsman
has done (Plates VIII. and IX.). If no chance has led you to such a
standpoint in the first instance, if you have, as is most likely,
looked at the figure first in front and then from the side, you have
probably never suspected the sort of trick that the sculptor has played
upon you. This contrivance is one of the distinguishing marks of
Ninevite art;[150] it occurs nowhere else, unless in monuments such as
those of Cappadocia, which are more or less feeble copies of Assyrian

The conventions that remain to be noticed will not detain us so long.
They are such as have been practised in all imperfect schools of
art,--in all, in fact, that preceded the art of the Greeks.

Even in the greatest and most perfect schools of sculpture, the
bas-relief, as if influenced by a souvenir of its origin, prefers
figures in profile to those in full face. In those exceptional
instances in which the Assyrians abandoned this preference, as, for
example, in the decoration of entrances, they were visibly embarrassed.
They did not understand how to foreshorten the feet, therefore they put
the lower part of the figure in profile while the upper part faced the
spectator (see Fig. 34).[152] This puts the figure in a painful and
awkward attitude which could not be imitated by a living man without
a violent effort, or retained for more than a second or two. It is
the same when they wish to make a figure turn; the movement of the
shoulders and neck is so clumsily rendered that the sculptor seems to
have put on the head the wrong side foremost.[153] In general, however,
the ample draperies help the artist out of his difficulties. Thanks to
the veil which hides his ignorance of the attachment of limbs and the
play of muscles, he succeeds in avoiding those dislocations that are so
frequent in the Egyptian bas-reliefs and sometimes result in obvious

When he had to render the human countenance the sculptor of Babylon or
Nineveh fell into the same fault as he of Memphis; he placed a full, or
nearly a full, eye in his profiles, and for the same reason.[155] This
defect is not always so conspicuous as in a bas-relief from Nimroud
representing a tributary of Assurnazirpal bringing two apes, one of
which stands on his master’s shoulders while the other leaps before his
feet (Fig. 64); but it is never absent altogether.

  [Illustration: FIG. 64.--Vassal bringing monkeys. Height
  8 feet. British Museum.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

If in its fidelity to habits that we may call childish the sculpture
of Mesopotamia bears a strong resemblance to that of Egypt, it is
nevertheless far inferior to it in other respects. The artist never
seems to have looked closely enough or with a sufficiently awakened eye
to perceive the differences that distinguish one individual or even
one race from another; at least if he saw them he did not understand
how to reproduce them; he did not even try to do so. From the very
beginning--so far as we know it--the art of the Nile valley turned
out portraits both of Pharaoh and of private individuals that are
astonishing in their truth and life.[156] Even in those executed in a
more summary fashion and not in any way to be classed as masterpieces,
we find a singular aptitude in seizing and noting those peculiarities
which make of every human face an unique creation, a medal of which
but one example has been struck. Ethnic characteristics are given with
no less truth; we have seen elsewhere how many faithful portraits they
have left of the races with whom they entertained long and unbroken

Very few traces of this talent or disposition are to be found in the
monuments of Mesopotamia. Of course in a draped school of sculpture
we could hardly expect to find any great preoccupation with the
various beauties of the human body. Given the Assyrian costume, it was
impossible that the Assyrian artist should aspire to bring out those
beauties. In many works from the Nile valley the influence of the sex,
the age, and even the profession upon the development of the muscles,
upon, if we may be allowed the expression, the physiognomy of the
flesh, is skilfully shown in the modelling.[158] But faces were not
concealed by the Assyrian draperies; why then were their distinctive
marks of individuality so consistently ignored? The sculptor should
have concentrated his attention upon them all the more, and so arrived
at a faithful portrait. He did not do so however. Neither Assyrian
nor Chaldæan had any such ambition. By a process of selection and
abstraction they arrived at a kind of mean, at a certain ideal of manly
beauty which served them to the end. That ideal is characterized by
the abundance and symmetrical arrangement of the hair and beard, by a
low forehead, heavy and strongly-arched eyebrows, a hooked and rounded
nose, a small mouth with full but not too heavy lips, a strong, rounded
chin, and limbs whose muscular development betrayed their vigour.

  [Illustration: FIG. 65.--Head of a eunuch; from Layard.]

The universal acceptance of this type is proved chiefly by the
Assyrian sculpture. The fact is that among all the thousands of figures
it produced there are but two heads, the one with, the other without, a
beard. We have already encountered the first in all the scenes in which
the king, his ministers, his officers or his soldiers appear. It is
also used for the gods (Vol. I. Figs. 13 and 15) and the winged bulls,
whose heads, perhaps, like the Egyptian sphinxes, were supposed to be
reproductions of the royal features. The beardless variety seems, in
the royal processions, to be confined to those eunuchs who have always
played such an important part at Oriental courts (Vol. I. Figs. 23 and
24, and Vol. II. Plate X.); the fleshy heaviness of their cheeks and
necks (Fig. 65) has been thought to confirm this idea. But we should be
mistaken if we recognized these miserable beings in all the beardless
figures. The latter are so numerous in some compositions that no such
explanation is admissible. In many instances they seem to represent
people of the lowest class, peasants, labourers, and slaves (see Vol.
I. Figs. 45, 151, 152, and Vol. II. Figs. 44 and 48). As the oldest
sculptures of Chaldæa suffice to prove, the habit of wearing the hair
and beard long did not date from the earlier years of that country. In
those sculptures we find heads completely shaved. It is possible that
the ancient custom was changed when the formidable army to which
Assyria owed its power and fortune was created. The beard may then have
become, as the moustache used to be with us, a sign of the military
caste. We never find soldiers or their officers without it;[159] but
their hair and beards are shorter than those of the king and his
ministers (Fig. 66); they do not fall upon the chest and shoulders
in several rows of curls carefully arranged.[160] In the reliefs the
amplitude and length of the beard are always a sign of the highest rank.

  [Illustration: WINGED BULL



  [Illustration: FIG. 66.--Assyrian soldier; from the
  Louvre. Height of slab 2 feet.]

The temples, the forehead, and the nape of the neck were lost under
this abundant hair, while the beard covered all below the cheek-bones
and the tiara the top of the head. Beyond the nose and eyes there was
hardly anything left by which one individual could be distinguished
from another. Now the Assyrian race was a race in the proper sense of
the word; it was homogeneous and pure-blooded. Between one member and
another of the aristocracy that reigned and fought, these two features
would vary little. All their noses were more or less aquiline, all or
nearly all their eyes large and black. The national fashion of wearing
the hair would suppress many of the characteristics by which we know
one man from another. From all this it results that the crowd of
kings and nobles who furnished the sculptor with his favourite theme
are vastly like each other. This similarity or rather uniformity was
ill calculated to awaken the sense of portraiture in the artist. The
features that distinguished one king from another are slurred over by
the sculptor simply because they were in reality so lightly marked that
he hardly perceived their existence.



  J.Bourgoin del. Imp.Ch.Chardon. J.Sulpis.sc.




We know that this opinion is not shared by all those who have busied
themselves with the Assyrian monuments. It has been said and, in the
belief of some, proof has been given, that we possess the elements of
an Assyrian iconography, that the images of the kings, in the steles
and on the palace walls, are true and faithful portraits.[161] We
believe this to be a mistake. No doubt the proportions of the body,
the expression of the face, and the general lines of the profile, are
not the same for Assurnazirpal, Sargon, and the sons and grandsons of
that prince. But what must we conclude from that? Only that Assyria
did not escape, any more than Egypt, from the action of that law of
change which is the very condition of life; that from one century and
one reign to another the taste and execution of the Assyrian sculptors
were modified, though in a very feeble degree. Thus figures are
shorter and more thickset in the north-western palace at Nimroud than
at Khorsabad or Kouyundjik; they are finer in their proportions, more
graceful, and altogether better in their art under Assurbanipal than
under his grandfather, the founder of the dynasty. Art, as we shall
bring abundant evidence to prove, followed the same path at Nineveh as
everywhere else. This is not to be denied; but before the hypothesis
against which we contend can be accepted, its advocates must show
that, in each series of monuments, the king is to be distinguished
by his personal features from the people about him. You must not take
the evidence of drawings or even of photographs; you must examine
the originals themselves. This I have done with the most scrupulous
attention both in the British Museum and the Louvre. I have carefully
examined and compared the four great series of royal bas-reliefs that
have come down to us, belonging respectively to Assurnazirpal, Sargon,
Sennacherib, and Assurbanipal. If such an examination be made without
prejudice, I am satisfied that only one conclusion can be come to. In
all the pictures dating from one reign the king himself differs not at
all from his officers and nobles; he is only to be recognized by his
lofty tiara, an ornament that he alone had the right to wear, by his
sceptre or some other attribute of the kind, by his richer costume,
and, finally, by his greater stature. The sculptor always makes him
taller than his subjects, still more than his enemies and captives
(Vol. I. Fig. 22, and Fig. 15 above). This latter proceeding seems
childish, but it is so natural, and is found in so many countries,
that it is not at all astonishing. The sculptor has counted upon all
these attributes to show, at a glance, which is the king; and they are,
in fact, of a nature to prevent any chance of a mistake. He has not
troubled himself to seek in his royal features for something by which
he might be distinguished from the people about him. Winged genii, king
and viziers, all have the same eye, the same nose and the same mouth.
One would say that for each group of bas-reliefs the original designer
only drew one head, which was repeated by tracing or some other process
as often as there might be heads in the composition, and that it was
afterwards carved and modelled in the alabaster by the chisel of the

No, in spite of all that has been said, the Assyrians made no
portraits. They did not even attempt to mark in any precise fashion,
those physical characteristics by which they themselves were so
sharply divided from many of the races by whom they were surrounded.
Among the numerous peoples that figure in the sieges and battles that
cover the palace walls, although some, like the Chaldæans, the Jews,
and the Syrians, were near relations of their own, others belonged
either to the Aryan or Turanian family; but any one who will examine
the reliefs as we have done, will see that all the prisoners of
war and other vanquished enemies have the same features as their
conquerors.[162] The only exception to which we can point is in the
case of certain bas-reliefs of Assurbanipal in which the episodes of
an expedition into Susiana are retraced. There we can perceive in some
of the figures--by no means in all--an endeavour on the part of the
sculptor to mark the difference of race otherwise than by details of
costume and head-dress. Here and there we find a head that suggests a
negro;[163] but his characteristics are never as clearly marked as in
Egypt. This may be merely the result of caprice on the part of some
individual artist who has amused himself by reproducing with the edge
of the chisel some head which had struck his fancy; but even here we
only find one profile several times repeated. The modelling is far from
searching, but wherever the work is in fair condition and the scale not
too small the character we have described may be easily distinguished.
The only differences over which the Assyrian sculptors naturally
troubled themselves were those of costume and equipment; thus we find
them recording that the people subdued in one of the expeditions of
Sennacherib wore a crown or wreath of feathers about their heads (Fig.
48).[164] So, too, in the relief of a man with apes, the foot-covering,
a kind of buskin with upturned toes (Fig. 64), should be noticed. But
the lines of his profile remain unchanged; and yet there can be no
doubt that the sculptor here meant to represent a man of negro race,
because, as Layard, who dug up the monument, tells us, traces of black
paint might be distinctly perceived upon the faces of this man and his
companions.[165] On a Babylonian stele that we have already figured
(Fig. 43), some have attempted to recognize a Mongol type, and thence
to confirm the hypothesis that would make a Turanian race the founders
of the Chaldæan civilization. This, too, we think a mistake.[166]

At first sight this curious monument surprises those who are accustomed
to Assyrian art, but the nature of the material has not a little to do
with that. The hardness and darkness of basalt affect the treatment
of the sculptor in quite a different way from a gypseous stone like
alabaster. Add to this that the proportions are quite unlike those of
the Ninevite reliefs. This Marduk-idin-akhi is a work of the ancient
school, which made its figures far shorter than those of such Assyrian
reliefs as have come down to us. Finally the head-dress should be
noticed. In place of being conical it is cylindrical, a form which
overweights the figure and shortens its apparent proportions. On the
whole, any one looking at this stele without bias on one side or the
other, will, we think, acknowledge that the type it presents is the
same as the figures at Nimroud, Khorsabad, and Kouyundjik. It is,
moreover, identical with that we see in monuments even older than this
royal Babylonian stele, such as the fragmentary relief found by M. de
Sarzec at Sirtella (Fig. 67).

  [Illustration: FIG. 67.--Fragment of a Chaldæan
  bas-relief. Louvre. Limestone. Height 3¾ inches.]

The type which crops up so often in the pages of this history was
fixed, in all its main features, in the earliest attempts at plastic
art made by the Chaldæans. By them it was transmitted to their
scholars, the Assyrians, and during long centuries, until the fall of
Nineveh and Babylon, the painters and sculptors of Mesopotamia, from
the shores of the Persian Gulf to the foot of the mountains of Armenia,
did not cease to reproduce and perpetuate it, I might say to satiety;
they reproduced it with infinite patience, and, so far as we can see,
without once suspecting that the human visage might sometimes vary its
lines and present another aspect.

               § 4. _On the Representations of Animals._

In the preceding pages our chief aim has been to determine the
nature and the mode of action of the influences under which the
Assyro-Chaldæan sculptor had to do his work. We have explained how
certain conditions hampered his progress and in some respects arrested
the development of his skill.

The height to which the plastic genius of this people might have
carried their art had their social habits been more favourable to the
study of the nude, may perhaps be better judged from their treatment of
animals than anything else. Some of these, both in relief and in the
round, are far superior to their human figures, and even now excite the
admiration of sculptors.

The cause of this difference is easily seen. When an artist had to
represent an animal, his study of its form was not embarrassed by any
such obstacle as a long and heavy robe. The animal could be watched
in its naked simplicity and all its instinctive and characteristic
movements grasped. The sculptor could follow each contour of his model;
he could take account of the way in which the limbs were attached to
the trunk; he saw the muscles swell beneath the skin, he saw them
tighten with exertion and relax when at rest. He was not indifferent
to such a sight; on the contrary, he eagerly drank in the instruction
it afforded, and of all the works he produced those in which such
knowledge is put into action are by far the most perfect; they show us
better than anything else how great were his native gifts, and what a
fund of sympathy with the beauties of life and with its inexhaustible
variety his nature contained. Whether he model an animal separately or
introduce it into some historic scene, it is always well rendered both
in form and movement.

This is to be most clearly seen in the rich and varied series of
Assyrian reliefs, but the less numerous works of the same kind of
Babylonian origin show the same tendency and at least equal talent.
In copying the principal types of the animal world with fidelity and
vigour, the Assyrian sculptors only followed the example set them by
their south-country masters.

  [Illustration: FIG. 68.--Head of a cow, bronze. British
  Museum. Width across the cheeks 3¾ inches.]

A cow’s head in bronze, which was brought from Bagdad by Mr. Rassam,
is broad in treatment and of great truth (Fig. 68); the same good
qualities are to be found in a terra-cotta tablet found by Sir Henry
Rawlinson in the course of his excavations in the Birs-Nimroud (Fig.
69). It represents a man, semi-nude and beardless and with a stout
stick in his hand, leading a large and powerfully made dog by a plaited
strap. It is a sort of mastiff that might be used for hunting the wild
beasts in the desert and marshes, the wild boar, hyena, and panther,
if not the lion. The characteristics of the species are so well marked
that naturalists have believed themselves able to recognise it as
that of a dog which is still extant, not in Mesopotamia indeed, but in
Central Asia.[167] We may seek in it for the portrait of one of those
Indian hounds kept, in the time of Herodotus, by the Satrap of Babylon.
His pack was so numerous that it took the revenues of four large
villages to support it.[168]

Similar subjects were represented upon other tablets of the same
origin. One of them shows a lion about to devour a bull and disturbed
by a man brandishing a mace. Nothing could be more faithful than the
action of the animal; without letting go his prey he raises a paw, its
claws opened and extended and ready to be buried in the side of the
rash person who interrupts his meal.[169]

  [Illustration: FIG. 69.--Terra-cotta tablet. British
  Museum. Height 3⅗ inches.]

We may also mention a cylinder which, from its style, M. Ménant does
not hesitate to ascribe to the first Chaldæan monarchy. It represents
two oxen in a field of wheat. The latter, by a convention that also
found favour with the Greeks, is indicated by two of those huge
ears that so greatly astonished Herodotus.[170] Was it on a similar
principle that the Chaldæan engraver gave his oxen but one horn apiece?
In spite of this singularity and the peculiar difficulties offered
by work in intaglio on a very hard material, the forms are well
understood, and the artist has not been content to give them merely in
outline. At the croup and under the belly an effort has been made to
model the figure and to mark its thickness.

Judging from their style and inscriptions, several more of these
engraved stones may be ascribed to the oldest Chaldæan schools of art,
but we are satisfied with again reminding our readers that it was in
Lower Mesopotamia that everything had its beginning. We shall take our
remaining examples from the richer deposits of Assyria.

  [Illustration: FIG. 70.--Cylinder of black marble.
  National Library, Paris.]

Among all those animals that attracted the attention of man either by
their size or strength, either by the services they rendered or the
terror they caused, there were none that the chisel of the Assyrian
sculptor did not treat and treat with taste and skill. With their
passion for the chase the kings and nobles of Assyria were sure to
love dogs and to train them with scrupulous care.[171] They did more.
They employed sculptors in making portraits of them. In the palace of
Assurbanipal terra-cotta statuettes of his best dogs have been found
(Fig. 71). They belong to the same race as the Chaldæan mastiff above
mentioned, but their strength, their fire, I might almost say their
ferocity, is better shown in those pictures where they are no longer
in a state of repose, but in movement and action. Look at the series
of slabs representing the departure for the chase. The hounds are held
in the leash by attendants who carry bags on their shoulders for the
smaller game (see Fig. 72). Mark the tightened cord, the straining
bodies, the tension of every muscle in their desire to get at their
quarry! We can almost fancy we hear the deep, confused bayings with
which they prelude the regular music of the hunt itself when the game
is afoot. These animals are represented with no less truth and vivacity
when a kill has taken, or is about to take, place. As an example of
this we may point out a relief from the same palace in which two of
these bloodhounds launch themselves upon a wild ass whose flight has
been arrested by an arrow. The ass still manages to stagger along, but
he will not go far; the hounds are already upon him and have buried
their teeth in his flanks and croup.[172]

  [Illustration: FIG. 71.--Terra-cotta dog. British
  Museum. Height 2⅖ inches.]

Other domestic animals are figured with no less sure a hand; to each
is given the proportions and attitudes that really characterise it. We
shall now study them all in succession; others have done so, and have
found much precious information upon the fauna of Western Asia and upon
the state of Mesopotamian civilization;[173] we shall content ourselves
with mentioning the principal types and those in which the sculptor has
shown most skill.

  [Illustration: FIG. 72.--The hounds of Assurbanipal.
  British Museum. Height 26 inches. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

The colossi of the gateways have already given us an opportunity for
showing how art enlisted the powerful limbs and natural majesty of
the bull in its service. Elsewhere the bovine race occupies a less
important part in Assyrian sculpture than in that of Egypt, in whose
tombs scenes of agricultural art are of such constant occurrence. We
find, however, the wild bull,[174] which the kings of Calah hunted
in the neighbouring desert (Fig. 15), and the draught ox, which,
after a lucky raid, the terrors of Asia drive before them with their
prisoners and other booty (Vol. I. Fig. 30).[175]--We may also point
to the heifer’s head in ivory which acts as tail-piece to the third
chapter of our first volume. We sometimes find also sheep and goats
of both sexes (Fig. 54);[176] but of all the animals that have close
relations with man, that which occurs most often on the palace walls is
the horse. They did not use him as a beast of burden; it was the mule
that was used for drawing carts (Vol. I. Fig. 31), for carrying women
and children and merchandise (Vol. I. Figs. 30 and 115). As with the
Arabs of to-day, the horse was reserved for war and hunting. But the
Assyrians were not, like the Egyptians, content to harness him to the
chariot; they rode him as well. Their armies comprised a numerous and
well-provided cavalry; and the Assyrian artist drew the horse a great
deal better than his Egyptian _confrère_.

The horses we meet with in the Assyrian sculptures are of a heavier
breed than Arabs; they are generally shorter and more thickly set.
Travellers believe the breed to still exist in the horses of Kurdistan,
a country which was bordered by ancient Assyria and dependent upon
it.[177] The head is small, well-formed, and well-carried (Fig. 73),
the shoulders sloping, the neck and limbs well set on, and the muscles
strongly marked. We have already had occasion to figure horses at full
speed (Vol. I. Fig. 5), standing still (Vol. I. Figs. 67 and 115),
and proceeding at a slow pace (Figs. 21 and 31).[178] No observer can
avoid being struck by the truth of attitude, and movement given by the
Assyrian sculptor to horses both driven and mounted. Nowhere is this
merit more conspicuous than in one of those bas-reliefs of Assurbanipal
that figure the episodes of a chase of wild asses (Fig. 74).

  [Illustration: FIG. 73.--Chariot horses; from Layard.]

Contrary to their usual habits the herd have allowed themselves to
be surprised. One of those armies of beaters who are yet employed by
eastern sovereigns on such occasions, has driven them upon the hunters.
The latter, preceded by their dogs, throw themselves upon the herd,
which breaks up in all directions. They pierce those that are within
reach with their arrows; those that do not fall at once are pursued and
brought down by the hounds. We cannot reproduce the whole scene,[179]
but we doubt whether there is any school of animal painters that has
produced anything more true to nature than the action of this poor
beast stopping in the middle of his flight to launch futile kicks at
his pursuers.

  [Illustration: FIG. 74.--Wild ass. From the hunt of
  Assurbanipal, in the British Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

The ibex and the wild goat figure in the same sculptured pictures.
One marching in front of the herd turns and anxiously sniffs the
wind, while her companion quietly browses by her side; farther off,
two kids trot by the side of their mother. The alarm has not yet been
given, but upon the next slab the artist shows the headlong flight
that follows the discovery of the enemy. Naturally it is the wild
and domestic animals of Mesopotamia and the districts about that
are most commonly figured in these reliefs, but the sculptor also
took advantage of every opportunity and pretext for introducing into
his repertory those rare and curious animals which were only seen in
Nineveh on rare occasions. Thus the camel that we find in so many
pictures is the same as that which now occupies the same region and
marches in its slow caravans;[180] but on the obelisk of Shalmaneser
we find the double-humped Bactrian camel (Fig. 49).[181] The clumsy
tribe of the pachyderms is not only represented by the wild boars that
still have their lairs in the marshes of the lower Euphrates;[182] the
rhinoceros and the Indian elephant also occur on the obelisk (Vol. I.
Fig. 111).[183] The apes shown in our Fig. 64 also seem to belong to an
Indian species.[184]

The sculptor was not always as happily inspired by these exotic
animals as by those of his own country, and in that there is nothing
surprising. He only caught a passing glimpse of them as they defiled,
perhaps, before the people in some triumphal procession. On the other
hand, the fauna of his native land were known to him through long
habit, and yet his reproductions of the elephant and the dromedary
are very good, much better than those of the semi-human ape. His idea
of the rhinoceros is very faulty; the single horn planted on the nose
leaves no doubt as to his meaning, but the lion’s mane with which the
animal’s back is clothed has never belonged to the rhinoceros. The
artist may have worked from a description.

In these pictures birds hold a very secondary place; Assyrian sculpture
was hardly light enough of hand to render their forms and feathers. For
such a task, indeed, painting with its varied handling, its delicate
lines and brilliant colours is required. It was with the brush that the
Egyptians succeeded, in the frescoes of their tombs, in figuring the
principal birds of the Nile Valley with all their elegance of form and
brilliant variety of plumage. In Assyria, among a nation of soldiers
and in an art whose chief inspiration had to do with war, the only
bird we find often reproduced is the eagle, the symbol of victory,
who floats over the chariot of the king, and the vulture who devoured
where they fell the bodies of the enemies of Assyria; and even these
images are rather careless and conventional, which may perhaps be
accounted for by their partially symbolic character and their frequent
repetition.[185] A group of partridges rising and, in those sculptures
of the later Sargonids in which the artists show a love for picturesque
detail, birds hopping in the trees or watching over their nestlings,
have been mentioned as showing technical excellence of the same kind
as the hunting scenes.[186] The ostrich appears on the elaborate
decorations of the royal robes (Fig. 75) and upon the cylinders (Fig.
76). Perhaps it was considered sacred.

  [Illustration: FIG. 75.--Embroidery on the king’s robe;
  from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 76.--Fight between a man and an
  ostrich. Chalcedony. National Library, Paris.]

As for fishes, crabs, and shells, these were scattered broadcast over
the watercourses in the reliefs, but they are never studied with any
great care (see Vol. I., Figs. 34 and 157), nor is any attempt made to
distinguish their species. They seem to have been introduced merely as
hints to the spectator, to dispel any doubt he may entertain as to the
meaning of those sinuous lines by which the sculptor suggested rivers
and the sea. Where these indications are not given we might indeed very
easily mistake the artist’s intention (see Vol. I., Figs. 38 and 71).

Some of the animals in the Assyrian reliefs are then nothing but
determinative signs, a kind of pictorial gloss. Of these it will
suffice to mention the existence. Their forms are so much generalized
that they offer no matter for study. On the other hand, our best
attention should be given to those figures whose modelling has
strongly interested the artist, who has taken a lively pleasure in
reproducing their various aspects and in making them live again in
all the originality of their powerful and exceptional natures. In
this respect the lion deserves particular notice. He interested the
Assyrian sculptors more profoundly than any other animal and they
devoted extraordinary attention to illustrating his various attitudes
and characteristics. One is inclined to believe that the more skilful
among them chose a lion for treatment when they wished to display all
the talent they possessed and to gain a reputation for complete mastery
of their art.[187]

Here we find the great beast stretched carelessly upon the ground, full
of confidence in his strength and careless of danger (Plate XI.); there
he rises to his feet and advances ready to collect himself and spring
upon any threatening enemy or passing prey (Plate VIII.). We sometimes
find both these motives united, as in a bas-relief of Assurbanipal,
which is unfortunately mutilated (Fig. 77). Here a lioness is stretched
upon the ground, her head upon her forepaws and her tail outstretched
behind her, in a favourite attitude of very young cats. The lion stands
upright before her in a proud, extended attitude like that of the
colossal lion from Nimroud (Plate VIII.); his head and the hind parts
of his body are unfortunately missing.

  [Illustration: BRONZE LION



Elsewhere we find the lion cautiously emerging from a stoutly-built
timber cage (Fig. 78). He has been captured in a net or snare and shut
up in this narrow prison until the day of some great hunt.[188] When
that arrives the door is raised at a given signal by a man perched on
the top of the cage and protected by a timber grating. In spite of this
defence the service would hardly be free from danger but that the lion
is too pleased to find himself at liberty to look behind him.[189]

  [Illustration: FIG. 77.--Lion and lioness in a park.
  British Museum.]

The lion finds himself confronted by the Royal huntsman who fights, as
a rule, from his chariot, where two or three companions, chosen from
his bravest and most skilful servants, are ready to lend him help if
necessary. The British Museum possesses a great number of sculptured
pictures in which every incident of the hunt is figured up to its
inevitable end. We reproduce two figures from the slabs representing
the great hunt of Assurbanipal. The first shows a huge lion mortally
wounded by an arrow which still stands in his body. It has transfixed
some great vessel, and the blood gushes in a wide torrent from his
open mouth. Already the chills of death are upon him and yet with his
back arched, and his feet brought together and grasping the soil, he
collects his energies in a last effort to prevent himself rolling over
helplessly on the sand.

  [Illustration: FIG. 78.--Lion coming out of his cage.
  Height of relief about 22 inches. British Museum.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 79.--Wounded lion. Height of slab
  about 22 inches. British Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Still more expressive, perhaps, and more pathetic, is the picture of
a lioness struck down by the same hand, but in a different fashion
(Fig. 80). One of three arrows that have reached her has transfixed
the spinal column at the loins. All the hinder part of the body is
paralysed. The hind feet drag helplessly on the ground, while the poor
animal still manages for a moment to support herself on her fore
paws. She still faces the enemy, her half opened jaws are at once
agonised and menacing, and, as we gaze upon her, we can almost fancy
that we hear her last groan issue from her dying lips.

We might multiply these examples if we chose, but the two fragments
we have reproduced will, we hope, send our readers to the British
Museum to see the _Hunt of Assurbanipal_ for themselves. In any
case they are enough to prove that the Assyrian sculptor studied the
lion from nature. He was not without opportunities. He was, no doubt,
allowed to assist at those great hunts of which he was to be the
official chronicler. He there saw the king of beasts throw himself on
the spears of the footmen or fly before the arrows of the charioteers,
and break the converging line of beaters; he saw him fall under his
repeated wounds and struggle in his last convulsions. Later on he
could supplement his recollections, he could complete and correct
his sketches by the examination of the victims.[190] At the end of
the day the “bag” was displayed as it is now at the end of a modern
_battue_, when the keepers bring pheasants, hares and rabbits,
and lay them in long rows in some clearing or corner of the covert. In
one of the Kouyundjik reliefs we see the king standing before an altar
and doing his homage to the gods after the emotions and dangers of a
hunt that was almost a battle.[191] He seems to pour the wine of the
libation upon four dead lions, which his attendants have arranged in
line upon the ground.

There must also have been tame lions in the palaces and royal parks.
Even now they are often to be met with in that country, under the
tent of the Arab chief or in the house of the bey or pacha.[192] When
captured quite young the lion is easily educated, and, provided
that his appetite is never allowed to go unsatisfied, he may be an
inoffensive and almost a docile companion until he is nearly full
grown. We are ready to believe that the lion and lioness shown in our
Fig. 77 were tame ones. The background of the relief suggests a park
attached to the royal residence, rather than a marsh, jungle or desert.
Vines heavy with fruit and bending flowers rise above the dozing
lioness; we can hardly suppose that wild animals could intrude into
such a garden. It follows, then, that the artist could study his models
as they moved at freedom among the trees of the royal demesne, basking
idly in the sun or stretching themselves when they rose, or burying
their gleaming teeth on the living prey thrown to them by their keepers.

Thanks to such facilities as these the Ninevite sculptors have handed
down to us more faithful reproductions of the lion than their more
skilful successors of Greece or Rome. For the latter the lion was
little more than a conventional type from which ornamental motives
might be drawn. Sometimes no doubt they obtained very fine effects from
it, but they always considered themselves free to modify and amplify,
according to the requirements of the moment. Thus they were often led
to give him full and rounded forms, which had a beauty of their own but
were hardly true to nature. The Assyrian never committed that fault. He
knew that the great flesh-eating beasts never grew fat, that they were
all nerve and muscle, without any of those adipose tissues which reach
so great a development in herbivorous animals, like the sheep or ox, or
those that eat anything that comes, like the pig. Look at the bronze
lion from Khorsabad figured in our Plate XI., and see how lean he is at
the croup in spite of the power in his limbs, and how the bones of his
shoulder and thigh stand out beneath the skin.

This characteristic is less strongly marked in the bas-reliefs, which
hardly enjoy the same facilities for emphasising structure as work
in the round. On the other hand the other features of the leonine
physiognomy are rendered with singular energy. Anything finer in its
way than the head of the colossal lion from Nimroud figured in our
Plate VIII. can hardly be imagined.

  [Illustration: FIG. 80.--Wounded lioness. Height of slab
  about 15 inches. British Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 81.--Niche decorated with two lions.
  Height 6½ inches. British Museum.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Seeing how familiar they were with this animal, the artists of
Mesopotamia could hardly have failed to employ him as a motive in
ornament. In such a case, of course, they did not insist so strongly
upon fidelity to fact as in the historical bas-reliefs, but whether
they made use of his figure as a whole or confined themselves to the
head or paws, they always preserved the true character and originality
of the forms. This may be clearly seen in an object belonging to the
British Museum (Fig. 81). We do not exactly know where it was found and
we cannot say what may have been its use. It is a kind of shallow niche
cut from a fossiliferous rock.[193] It is hardly deep enough to have
sheltered an idol or statuette of any kind. But whatever it may have
been nothing could be more natural than the action of the two lions
that show themselves at the two upper angles. They hang tightly to the
edge of the stone with their extended claws, giving rise to a happy,
piquant, and unstudied effect. The scabbard in our next illustration
is no less happily conceived; the lions at its foot who seem about to
climb up the sheath with the playfulness of kittens, should be noticed
(Fig. 82). Again, we find the lion introduced into those embroideries
on the royal robes of which we have already had occasion to speak.
In the example figured here (Fig. 83) he is fighting an animal whose
feet and legs are those of a bull, although its stature is greater and
its form more slender than those of the antelope. It appears to be a
unicorn, a fantastic animal that has always played a great part in
oriental fables.

  [Illustration: FIG. 82.--Sword and scabbard. From a
  Khorsabad bas-relief. Louvre.]

The lion’s head with its powerful muscular development, its fine mouth,
and picturesque masses of floating hair, has often furnished ceramists,
gold and silversmiths, and art workmen of every kind with motives for
use upon their creations. A fine example of this is reproduced on the
title-pages of these volumes. It belongs to the Luynes collection in
the French National Library. The material is gold, and a small staple
attached to the neck shows that it once belonged to some object now
lost. Our reproduction is of the same size as the original. In spite of
its small dimensions its workmanship is no less remarkable for freedom
and nobility of style than the colossal head from Nimroud. Something of
the same qualities but with more finish in the details is to be found
in a terra-cotta fragment covered with a green glaze which now belongs
to the collection in the Louvre. These objects, which have come down
to us in considerable numbers, must have been used as applied work, in
the decoration of vases, utensils, and other small pieces of furniture
(Fig. 84). The object figured at the end of the last chapter belongs to
the same class. There is a hollow or mortice in its base by which it
was attached to some knife or poignard to form its handle.

The lion’s paw was used in the same fashion and no less often. Its
expressive form and the elegant curves of its claws are found on
numerous altars, tables, and thrones (Vol. I., Fig. 168; and above,
Fig. 47).[194]

  [Illustration: FIG. 83.--Combat between a lion and a
  unicorn. From Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 84.--Lion’s head in enamelled
  earthenware. Louvre. Actual size.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

We find the same truth of design in many small earthenware articles,
even when they reproduce a type less interesting and less majestic
than that of the lion. A good instance of this is afforded by the goat
of white earthenware covered with a blue glaze which was found at
Khorsabad by Place (Fig. 85). It is but a sketch. The modeller has not
entered into any details of the form, but he has thoroughly grasped
its general character. The terra-cottas properly speaking, those that
have received no glaze or enamel, are, as a rule, less carefully
executed, but even in them we can perceive, though in a less degree,
the certainty of eye, the same promptitude in seizing and rendering the
special physiognomy of an animal. We feel this very strongly in what
is by no means the work of a skilful modeller, the dog figured below
(Fig. 86). The head and fore quarters of one of the mastiffs of the
bas-reliefs may here be recognized (see Fig. 72).

  [Illustration: FIG. 85.--Recumbent goat. Enamelled
  earthenware. Actual size.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

The same desire for precision, or rather comprehension, of form,
is to be found even in those imaginary beings which the artists of
Chaldæa and Assyria took such pleasure in multiplying. Although in
their fantastic creations they brought together features belonging to
animals of totally different classes, they made a point of drawing
those features with the greatest precision. This is well illustrated by
an object in the Luynes collection (Fig. 87). Nowhere is the arbitrary
combination of forms having nothing in common pushed farther than
here. A ram’s horns grow on a bull’s head, which, again, has a bird’s
beak; the body, the tail, the fore paws are those of a lion, while the
hind legs and feet and the wings that spring from the shoulders are
borrowed from the eagle.[195]

  [Illustration: FIG. 86.--Dog. Terra-cotta. British
  Museum. Height about 5 inches.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

We have already described the most remarkable of all these composite
types, the man-headed bull and lion; we have attempted to explain the
intellectual idea which gave them birth; we have yet to point out a
variety which is not without importance. The lion has sometimes been
given, not only the head, but also the arms and bust of a man. In one
of the entrances to the palace of Assurbanipal there was a colossus
of this kind (Vol. I., Fig. 114).[196] With one arm this man-lion
presses against his body what seems to be a goat or a deer, while the
other, hanging at his side, holds a flowering branch. This figure, like
almost all of those found in the doorways, is winged. Another example
of the same type is to be found in a bas-relief of Assurbanipal; it
is, however, simplified, and it looks, on the whole, more probable
(Fig. 88). The wings have disappeared; there are but two natures to
be joined, and the junction seems to be made without effort; the lion
furnishes strength and rapidity, the man the various powers of the arm
and hand, and the beauty of the thinking and speaking head. The divine
character of the personage thus figured is indicated by the three pairs
of horns bent round the dome-like tiara, and also by the place he
occupies in the inferior compartment of a relief on which, at the top,
appear those lion-headed genii we have already figured (Vol. I., Fig.

  [Illustration: FIG. 87.--Fantastic animal. National
  Library, Paris. Height 5¼ inches.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

In this last composition we have a foretaste of the centaur. Replace
the lion by a horse and the likeness is complete. Even now it is very
great. At the first moment, before we have time to notice the claws and
divided toes, we seem to recognize the fabulous animal of the Greeks
upon the walls of an Assyrian palace.

  [Illustration: FIG. 88.--Man-lion. British Museum.
  Height about 27 inches. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Another composite animal familiar to the imaginations both of Greeks
and Mesopotamians was the winged horse, the Hellenic Pegasus (Fig. 89).
The example we have chosen is full of grace and nobility. We feel that
the wings have given additional lightness and almost a real capacity
for leaving the ground.

  [Illustration: FIG. 89.--Winged horse. From Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 90.--Griffins seizing a goat. From

The whole of the fabulous tribe of griffins, by which we mean an animal
with the body of a lion or panther and the wings and head of a bird
of prey, is richly represented in Assyrian art. The griffin recurs
continually in the embroidery of the royal robes of Assurnazirpal (Fig.
90). The bird with a human head, the prototype of the Greek harpies
and sirens, is also to be frequently met with. We find it introduced
in those applied pieces which, after being cast and finished with
the burin, were used by bronze workers in the decoration of vases of
beaten metal. The diameters of the vases may easily be calculated from
the inner curve of the applied plaques;[197] the latter were used to
strengthen the vessels at the points where the movable handles, like
those of a modern bucket, were attached. These handles were hooked to a
ring or fastened to the back of the figure on the plaque.[198] The head
of the figure gave something to catch hold of when the vessel was upon
the table, with its handle down. The form in question (see Fig. 91) was
chosen by the artist on account of its fitness for the work to be done;
the tail and wings embrace the swelling sides very happily; but yet it
would never have been so employed had it not belonged to the ordinary
repertory of the ornamentist.

Of all these types the only one that does not seem to have been
invented by those who made use of it is that of the winged sphinxes
used as supports in the palace of Esarhaddon (Vol. I., Fig. 85). The
human-headed lion is certainly found long before, but it is not until
the later reigns that he takes the couchant attitude and something of
the physiognomy of the Egyptian sphinx.

  [Illustration: FIG. 91.--Human-headed bird. From De
  Longperier. One-third of the actual size.]

Under the Sargonids communication with Egypt became so frequent that
certain motives from the Nile valley were introduced into the Assyrian
system of ornament, but the part they played was always a subordinate
one. In creations such as those we have just been studying Chaldæa and
Assyria certainly displayed more inventive power than was ever shown by
Egypt. Speaking broadly, there was no possible combination they did not
attempt. It was from Chaldæo-Assyrian artists that Syria, Judæa, and
Phœnicia, as well as Asia Minor, borrowed their imaginary animals; and,
thanks to these middle-men, it was also to the artists of the double
valley that the early ceramists and modellers of Greece owed not a few
of the motives they transmitted to the great periods of classic art,
and, through the latter, to the art of the Renaissance and of our own

                      § 5. _Chaldæan Sculpture._

So far we have made no distinction between Chaldæan and Assyrian
sculpture. They made, in fact, but one art. In both countries we find
the same themes and the same treatment--the same way of looking at
nature and the same conventional methods of interpreting it. The common
characteristics are numerous enough to justify us in attributing to
one and the same school the works produced both in the southern and
northern provinces. If we take them _en bloc_, and put them side
by side with the productions of any other great nation of antiquity,
we shall be at once struck by the close resemblance between all the
monuments from the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates, whether they
come from Sirtella or Babylon, Calah or Nineveh. The connoisseur can
point out a Mesopotamian creation at a glance, mingled with works from
Egypt, Phœnicia, or Greece though it may be. In order to define the
Chaldæo-Assyrian style, he may take the first object that comes to
hand, without caring much whether it come from the upper country or the
neighbourhood of the Persian Gulf.

And yet between those cities of primitive Chaldæa that almost rivalled
Memphis in age, and the towns of Assyria which only commenced to
flourish in centuries that we may almost call modern, it is impossible
that the spirit of the plastic arts and their executive processes can
have remained without change. Between the earliest and the latest
monuments, between the images of Gudea and those of Assurbanipal,
there are, at least, shades of difference. It is certain that the old
Chaldæan art and the art of Assyria were not two different arts, but
they were two successive movements of the same art--two phases in its
development. We have still to distinguish between these two phases by
studying, one after the other, the history of Chaldæan and that of
Assyrian sculpture.

In the course of this study, and especially in the case of the older
civilization, we shall encounter many gaps. The monuments are few, and,
even of those that we have, many are not a little embarrassing. They
are often uninscribed and we are then without even the help afforded
by the language and the style of the character in fixing a date.
Fortunately this is not always the case; there are often indications
that enable us to form certain groups, and, if not to assign absolute
dates, at least to determine their relative places in a chronological

Of all these groups the best established and almost the only ones
that can be used as the heads of series are those whose elements have
been furnished by the explorations undertaken by M. de Sarzec, French
vice-consul at Bassorah, at Tello, upon the site of a town which we
shall follow the majority of Assyriologists in calling Sirtella. We
have written the history of these excavations elsewhere; we have
explained how greatly they do honour to the artistic spirit, the
perseverance, and the energy of M. de Sarzec;[199] we have given the
history of the negotiations and of the vote in Parliament which led to
the acquisition by the Louvre of all the objects discovered. It will
be sufficient to say here that the works began in the winter of 1876
and came to an end in 1881, and that the purchase of M. de Sarzec’s
collection took place in the latter year, under the administration of
M. Jules Ferry.

The name of Tello, which has become famous so suddenly, is to be found
on no map of Asia to which we have access. The place thus designated by
the Arabs in consequence of the numerous mounds, or _tells_, that
are sprinkled about, is situated quite in the desert, on the left bank
of the Shat-el-Haï, above Chatra and below Saïd-Hassan, which are on
the other side of the channel, and about an hour and a quarter’s march
to the east.[200]

This site seems to have been inhabited down to the very last days of
antiquity, so that monuments have been found there of all ages; for the
moment, however, we are only concerned with those that belong to the
early Chaldæan monarchy. Among these there are some that date from the
very beginning of Chaldæan civilization. This we know not only from
their style; arguments based on such evidence alone might leave room
for doubt; some might even contend that the development of art did not
proceed equally over the whole of that extensive country; it might be
asserted that here and there it was in a far less advanced state than
at other centres. The age of these monuments is fixed by much less
debateable signs, namely, by the character of the symbols of which
their inscribed texts are composed (see Vol I., Fig. 2, and below, Fig.

  [Illustration: FIG. 92.--Inscription engraved on one of
  the seated Chaldæan statues. Louvre.]

We have already explained[201] that in the monuments from Sirtella
these symbols were not all wedges, or arrow-heads, whose exclusive use
did not commence until afterwards; we have shown how their original
ideographic nature is still to be traced in many characters. Compare
the inscription here figured with those on our Assyrian monuments. Put
it side by side with the narrative that runs across all the reliefs
of Assurnazirpal at Nimroud (Vol. I., Fig. 4, and, above, Fig. 64):
you will see at once what a profound change has taken place and how
many centuries must have intervened between such different ways of
employing the same alphabet. At Tello the material was less kindly;
it was not, as in Assyria, limestone or gypsum; it was a diorite
or dolerite as stubborn as the hardest rocks of Egypt.[202] The
widely-spaced characters are none the less distinct; their cutting
is, in fact, marvellous in its decision and clearness. We feel that
the scribe traced each letter with much the same care and respect as
he would have shown in performing a religious rite. In the eyes of
the people who saw these complicated symbols grow under the chisel,
writing still had a beauty of its own as well as a mysterious prestige;
it was only legible by the initiated, and they were few in number; it
was admired for itself, for the power it possessed of representing
the facts of nature and the thoughts of mankind; it was a precious,
almost a magic, secret. By the time that the palaces of the Assyrian
monarchs began to be raised on the banks of the Tigris it was no longer
so; writing had gone on for so many centuries that people had become
thoroughly accustomed to it and to its merits; all that one desired,
when he took the chisel in hand, was to be understood. The text in
which Assurnazirpal celebrates the erection of his palace and claims
for it the protection of the great gods of Assyria, is written in very
small, closely-set characters, engraved by a skilful and rapid hand in
the soft and kindly stone; the inequalities of the surface, the details
of the sculptures and the shadows they cast, make a letter difficult
to read here and there. Nowhere, neither here nor in any other of the
great Assyrian inscriptions, do we find the signs of care, the look of
simple and serious sincerity, that distinguishes the ancient writing of
Chaldæa. At Calah and Nineveh we have before us the work of a society
already far advanced, a society which lives in the past and makes use,
with mere mechanical skill, of the processes created and brought to a
first perfection many centuries before.

Of all the monuments found at Tello, the oldest, apparently, is a
great stele of white stone, both sides of which are covered with
bas-reliefs and inscriptions. Unfortunately it had been broken into
numerous pieces, and, as these have not all been recovered, it is
impossible to restore it entirely. The style of its writing seems the
farthest removed from the form into which it finally developed, and its
symbols seem to be nearer their original imitativeness than anywhere
else. “Inexperience is everywhere to be recognized in the drawing of
the figures; eyes are almost triangular and ears roughly blocked out;
the aquiline type of nose is but a continuation of the line of the
forehead, into which it blends; the Semitic profile is more strongly
marked than in the monuments of the following age.”[203]

  [Illustration: FIG. 93.--Fragment of a stele; from
  Tello. Height 1 foot. Louvre.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

The bas-reliefs represent strange scenes of war, of carnage, of burial.
Here we find corpses arranged in line so that the head of one is
touching the feet of his neighbour (Fig. 93); they look as if they were
piled one above another, but this, we believe, is an illusion due to
want of skill on the part of the artist. He puts objects one above
another on the field of his relief which, in reality, were laid side
by side. We must imagine these corpses spread over the surface of the
ground and covered with earth. If the sculptor had introduced the soil
above them, the corpses would have been invisible; so he has left it
out. The two figures on the left, who mount an inclined plane[204] with
baskets on their heads, what are they carrying? Offerings to be placed
on the summit of the sepulchre? or earth to raise the tumulus to a
greater height? We prefer the latter suggestion. When earth or rubbish
has to be removed in the modern East, when excavations are made, for
instance, the work is set about in the fashion here commemorated;
the action of these two figures seems, moreover, to indicate that
the weight they are carrying is greater than a basket full of cakes,
fruits, and other things of that kind would account for.

If on this fragment we have a representation of the honours paid by the
people of Sirtella to companions slain in battle, another compartment
of the same relief shows us the lot reserved by the hate and vengeance
of the victor for the corpses of his enemies (Fig. 94). Birds of prey
are tearing them limb from limb on the place where they fell. In their
beaks and claws they held the heads, hands, and arms of dismembered
bodies. The savagery of all this suggests a remote epoch, when
civilization had done little to soften original brutality.

A last fragment belongs to another composition (Fig. 95). It comes
from a relief showing either the departure of an army for the field
or its triumphal return. Very little is left, but that little is
significant;--a hand holding one of those military standards whose use
by the Assyrians we have already noticed (see above, Fig. 46), and the
head of a personage, perhaps the king, walking in the procession; and
that is all. The head-covering of the latter individual seems to be a
kind of feather crown with a metal or ivory aigrette or cockade in the
centre of one side, reminding us in its shape of the head of one of
the great Assyrian bulls; it would seem to be a symbol of strength and

  [Illustration: FIG. 94.--Fragment of a stele; from
  Tello. Height 9¾ inches. Louvre.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

In the monograph now under preparation by MM. de Sarzec and Heuzey a
description of several smaller and still more fragmentary pieces of
the same monument will be found. There is one of which the subject may
still be traced. We have been prevented from reproducing it by its
bad condition. It again shows a battle field. Two rows of corpses are
stretched upon the ground; behind them are several standing figures.
We may thus re-establish with but little room for mistake the whole
economy of the composition. It was made to commemorate some military
expedition in which the prince who reigned at Sirtella was successful.
We do not know whether the fight itself was represented or not, but we
have before our eyes the consequences of victory. One picture shows
the insults inflicted upon the lifeless bodies of the hated enemy; two
more celebrate the care taken by the victors of their dead and the
honours rendered to their memory; finally the march of the successful
army is portrayed. We have here, then, a well thought-out combination,
a serious effort to seize and figure the different moments in a
complicated action. The execution is, however, of singular awkwardness.
The first halting experiments of the Chaldæan chisel, what we may call
the primitive art of Chaldæa, is preserved for us in the fragments of
this great stele.[205]

  [Illustration: FIG. 95.--Fragment of a stele; from
  Tello. About one-third of the original size. Louvre.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

A second and still more curious group of monuments is composed of eight
statues of different sizes with inscriptions of Gudea, and of a ninth
on which occurs a name read _Ourbaou_ by some and _Likbagas_
by others.[206] It is the smallest of all those exhibited at the
Louvre. All these figures are broken at the junction of the neck with
the body.[207] We may put beside them two heads whose proportions are
about the same as theirs, which were found, one among the mutilated
statues, the other in the ruins of a neighbouring building. The
material is similar, a very hard and dark igneous rock. The execution
corresponds exactly with that of the torsos, to one of which the first
named head may perhaps have belonged.

M. de Sarzec tells us that these statues were found in the great
edifice at Tello, almost all on the soil of the central court.[208]
Some are standing, others seated;[209] we give an example of each
type (Plate VI., Figs. 96 and 98). In these effigies we may notice
an arrangement that we have more than once encountered in Assyrian
reliefs, but which has never, so far as we know, been employed in the
arts of any other people. “All these statues, without exception, have
their hands folded within each other and placed against their chests,
an attitude still used in the East to mark the respectful attention
of the servant awaiting his master’s orders. If, as we have every
reason to believe, these figures were placed in a sacred inclosure, in
front of the images of the gods or of the symbols that recalled their
power, this attitude of submission and respect became one of religious
veneration (Fig. 97).”[210]

At Nimroud and Khorsabad this expressive gesture is sometimes given
to eunuchs in the presence of their masters, sometimes to kings
when standing before the effigies of their gods. It is thoroughly
well-fitted for those votive statues that proclaim themselves in their
inscriptions to be offerings to the deity. In consecrating an image
of himself on the threshold of the sanctuary, the king assured the
perpetuity of his prayers and acts of homage; he remained for ever
in an attitude of worship before his god--in an attitude whose calm
gravity was well calculated to suggest the idea of a divine repose to
which death was the passport.

  [Illustration: FIG. 96.--Statue; from Tello. Height 37
  inches. Louvre. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

The chief point of interest for us lies in the execution of these
statues. They embody a very sensible progress. Art has thrown off the
hesitations of its first youth and attacks the stubborn material with
much certainty and no little science; and yet the most striking quality
is less the successful grappling with a mechanical difficulty, than
the feeling for nature and the general striving for truth; a striving
which has not been discouraged by the resistance of the material. This
resistance has resulted in a method that makes use of wide, smooth
surfaces; and yet the workmanship has a freedom that a too great
fondness for superficial polish too often took away from the diorite
monuments of Egypt. The bare right arm and shoulder are remarkable
passages. The strongly-marked muscles of the back and the freedom with
which the bony framework is shown under the flesh and skin should also
be noticed. All these parts are treated with a breadth that gives a
fine look of power to the otherwise short and thickset figure. And yet
the vigour of the handling never goes beyond what is sober and discreet
(Fig. 98). The same character is to be found in the hands, where
joints, bones, and nails are studied with minute care, and in the feet,
where power of foothold and the shapes of the toes are thoroughly well

  [Illustration: FIG. 97.--The hands of a statue; from
  Tello. Louvre. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

The treatment of the two heads is no less excellent (Plate VII). The
eyes are straight and widely opened; the heavy brows join in the
middle; the strong and salient chin, as well as the crown of the head,
is shaved in the fragment in which it is left bare.[211] Under the kind
of hat or turban in the other there would be a head no less bald. In
our own day the small cap of cotton or linen covered by the twisted
scarf or shawl of the Turk or Hindoo, conceals little but the smooth
skin of the skull.[212] The custom had yet to be introduced of wearing
the long and closely-curled hair and beard that we find reproduced in
the sculptures of Nineveh. The nose is broken in both heads, but if
we may judge from the statuettes and bas-reliefs of the same epoch,
especially from a curious fragment recovered in the course of the
same excavations, it must have been arched--but not so much as the
Assyrian noses--and a little thick at the end. Taking the face as a
whole it is square in structure, like the body; in the few examples of
Assyrian heads in the round that we possess the oval of the face seems
longer, but the beard by which the whole of its lower part is concealed
renders any comparison difficult. We do not think, however, that there
is any necessity to raise a question of race. “It is only subject to
the greatest reserve that we can venture to say anything as to the
ethnography of the types created by sculpture, especially when those
types are archaic, and therefore exposed more than all others to the
influence of school conventions.[213] It is a common habit with antique
sculptors to allow traces of their work in its rough shape to subsist
in the finished creation. In all countries the march of art has been
from square and angular to round and flowing shapes, from short and
thickset to graceful and slender proportions.”[214]

The tendencies shown in the rendering of the face and the uncovered
parts of the body are also to be recognized in the treatment of the
drapery. “The sculptor has attempted with much truth and simplicity to
suggest the relief of the drapery and the direction of its folds. This
early and timid attempt at studying folds is all the more remarkable
as nothing like it is to be found either in Egyptian sculpture or
in the later works of Assyria. It bears witness to a sculpturesque
instinct that does not reappear until we arrive at the art of the
Greeks and the magnificent development of draperies and their
significance which we then encounter.”[215]

  [Illustration: FIG. 98.--The large statue from Tello.
  Height 5 feet 3 inches. Louvre. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 99.--Female statuette. Alabaster.
  Height about 8 inches.]

The figures we have been describing seem to us to represent THE
ARCHAIC AGE OF CHALDÆAN ART. The characteristics to which the
name of archaism has been given are easier to feel than to define. The
proportions, especially in the seated figures, are here very short and
broad, so much so that they seem to want length even when compared to
the thickset forms in the Nimroud bas-reliefs. There is some evidence
that the neck was very short and thick and the head large for the body,
as we see it indeed in the statuette of a woman sitting, in which our
lamented colleague de Longpérier was the first to recognize the work of
some ancient Chaldæan artist (Fig. 99).[216] In the figures from Tello
the elbow and the lower edge of the robe make those sharp angles which
Assyrian sculptors set themselves to round off in later days. There is
no attempt at grace; directness and truth of expression are all that
the artist has cared about.

  [Illustration: FIG. 100.--Statuette; from Tello. Actual
  size. Louvre. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

We should ascribe several other objects found at Tello to the same
period. These are in the first place the votive bronzes inscribed with
the name of Gudea, which M. de Sarzec drew from their hiding places
(Vol. I., Figs. 146–148); secondly, a statuette carved from a rather
soft, fine-grained stone (Fig. 100). By its attitude it reminds us of
the statues of Gudea, while the treatment of its drapery is more like
the alabaster figure that we have chosen for reproduction from the
old Louvre collections. Those symmetrical folds that appear to have
been obtained with an iron, and that we have already seen imitated
on the oldest Chaldæan cylinders (Vol. I., Figs. 3, 17, and 20; and
above, Figs. 39 and 40), may be observed in its draperies. Thirdly, a
bas-relief in soft stone, of which two compartments still remain, would
date from the same period (Fig. 101). In its original condition it may
have comprised some further divisions, for the subject as we see it in
the fragment preserved is by no means clear. In the upper compartment
there are four figures diminishing in size from left to right. The
male figure on the left bears what seems to be an instrument of music,
a kind of cymbal upon which he would beat with the hammer-shaped
object in his right hand. The three individuals behind him are all in
attitudes of submission and respect. In the lower division a seated
individual twangs the cords of a harp. In front his instrument is
decorated with the image of a bull, recalling the richly ornamented
harps that we find so often figured in the Egyptian tombs.[217] Another
figure, again in the attitude of respect, stands before the harpist. It
seems to be that of a woman, but the relief is in such a condition that
nothing but the general contours can be made out.

  [Illustration: FIG. 101.--Fragment of a relief; from
  Tello. Height 44 inches. Louvre.]

Chaldæan art did not stop here. Once arrived at the degree of mastery
shown by the statues of Gudea, it made progress of which, indeed, we
are unable to measure the rapidity; but whose results are now before
our eyes. We can hardly doubt that it reached a pitch of executive
skill which often gave quite remarkable delicacy and finesse to
the most insignificant details of sculpture and ornament. This had
already suggested itself to M. Heuzey in the course of his study of
the small Chaldæo-Babylonian figures belonging to the collection of
terra-cottas in the Louvre;[218] he found the same merits in several
of the fragments collected by M. de Sarzec.[219] We have been unable
to reproduce all the pieces to which he alludes; some are too small to
be rendered in a fashion that would do justice to the excellence of
their treatment;[220] but that we may give some idea of the third group
we are thus led to form, we shall figure two or three small objects,
which the visitor will find without difficulty in the cases of the
Louvre. One of these is a fragment from a bas-relief on which nothing
remains but a foot, charmingly modelled, and a piece of ornament
representing a vase from which two streams of water, each supporting
a fish, are flowing (Fig. 102). The hardly sensible relief and the
extreme finesse of this motive, remind us of the marvels of Japanese
workmanship.[221] Still more striking is a small, a very small, head in
steatite, reproducing the same type as the large statues with a grace
and precision that make it a veritable gem (Fig. 103). The eyes have
the oblique inclination that was afterwards to become so conspicuous in
the Assyrian reliefs, but in a very slight degree. We may apply almost
the same remarks to another but less well preserved head in diorite.
Unlike all those we have as yet encountered, it is not shaven. In spite
of the stubborn material the twists and turns of the hair and beard are
sculptured in relief with admirable skill and precision.

It was during this period that the custom was introduced of allowing
the hair and beard to grow, so that their crisp curls should form a
close frame for the face. This fashion was in the ascendant when a
bas-relief, of which, to our great regret, we only possess a small
fragment greatly damaged by fire (Fig. 67), was chiselled. It is
remarkable both for the fineness of its workmanship and its curious
subject. It shows the upper parts of two figures, entwined. That on the
right, from the long hair flowing over the shoulders, must be a woman.
The tall horned caps worn by both figures proclaim them to be a royal
or divine couple.

  [Illustration: FIG. 102.--Fragment of a relief; from
  Tello. Actual size. Louvre.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 103.--Head; from Tello. Actual size.

We find the same characteristics in a fifth monument from the same
place, whose composition at least is not wanting in originality. This
is a support of some kind, perhaps the foot of a vase, cut in rock so
hard, dark, and metal-like in its reflections, that at the first glance
it might almost be taken for bronze. Its general form is circular.
Above a plinth decorated with roughly chiselled squares and around a
central cylinder, sit a number of individuals with long beards and
hair. Their hands are placed upon their knees; the attitudes of the
limbs and the modelling of the feet remind us of the statues of Gudea;
but these figures are nude and their arrangement has more ease and
variety. The general motive is especially interesting; it is both
singular and happy, and proves that art was sufficiently advanced to
understand how to decorate common objects by the addition of figures
skilfully grouped and placed in natural and picturesque attitudes (Fig.

It can never be sufficiently deplored that none of these monuments are
either of a fair size or in a good state of preservation. We can only
judge of the school by the small fragments we have been describing.
What name are we to give to the art of which we thus catch a glimpse?
Is it not better to employ some expression that has been sanctified by
custom, and one to which the critic and historian instinctively turns?
When he seeks for a special term to denote the different phases of an
organic development, what does he call the phase in which execution is
at once free and informed with knowledge, when the hand of the artist,
having won complete mastery over itself and over the material on which
it is employed, allows him to reproduce those aspects of nature by
which he has been charmed and interested? He calls it the _classic
period_, or the period in which works fit to be placed, as models,
before the artists of future ages, were produced. If we adopt this
nomenclature, the third of the periods we have just been discussing
will be for us the CLASSIC AGE OF CHALDÆA.

  [Illustration: FIG. 104.--Stone pedestal; from Tello.
  Greatest diameter 6 inches. Louvre.]

Although the remains from Sirtella give an opportunity for the study of
Chaldæan art that is to be equalled nowhere else in Europe, still the
British Museum and the old collections of the Louvre contain more than
one object calculated to enrich, if not to complete, the series we have

A bronze in the former gallery (Fig. 105) seems to date from the
earliest period of Chaldæan art. It has been thought to represent a
goddess, Istar perhaps, although there is nothing in the modelling
of the bosom to suggest the female sex. The whole work is, however,
so rough and barbarous that the author may very well have left out
all details of the kind through sheer inability to render them. Like
the bronzes of Tello, this figure--which is without legs--ends in a
cylindrical stem. It was in all probability meant to be placed in one
of those hiding places we have already described.

  [Illustration: FIG. 105.--Chaldæan statuette. Height 6½
  inches. British Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Monuments from the Archaic age are less rare. We have already had
occasion to notice some of them, the tablet from Sippara with the god
Shamas (Vol. I. Fig. 71), for instance, the canephorus inscribed
with the name of the king Kourdourmapouk (Fig. 53), and the stele of
Merodach-Idin-Akhi (Fig. 63). The canephorus must have been the oldest
of these objects. Its head is entirely shaven and in its attitude it
resembles the bronzes of Gudea (Vol. I. Fig. 147). We are induced to
bring down the tablet nearer to our own day because the individuals
shown in it wear both beard and long hair. These are not confined to
the god himself and the two divine personages who support the disk
placed on the altar and representing the sun; they are common to the
three figures advancing in an attitude of worship. The first appears to
be a priest. Among other interesting details we may point out, under
the throne of Shamas, the two strong-limbed deities whom Assyriologists
call Izdubar and Hea-bani, and, in Shamas’s right hand, the staff
with a ring attached that is found elsewhere than in Mesopotamia. The
draperies of the god and those of the third worshipper are arranged in
the crimped folds of which we have spoken above. Here art is fairly
advanced. Putting on one side the convention which allows the deity to
be made much taller than mortals, the proportions of the figures are
good, their attitudes well understood and expressive. The workmanship
of the stele of Merodach-Idin-Akhi is far inferior to that of the
Sippara tablet. It belongs to a series of monuments in which, as we
shall explain farther on, the workmanship is, as a rule, very mediocre.
We shall also mention a few fragmentary statues of very hard stone
which have been seen by travellers in Chaldæa,[222] and a few remains
of the same kind that are now in the British Museum; but of the first
we have only short and vague descriptions, while, among the second,
there is not a piece that can be compared to the statues of Gudea in
the Louvre. During all this period the volcanic rocks appear to have
been extensively employed; we still think they were obtained either
from the borders of the Arabian desert, or by way of the two rivers
from the mountains at the head of the double valley.

To the same school we may attribute a bronze from Hillah, now in the
Louvre (Fig. 106). It represents a priest robed in a long tunic with
five flounces of crimped work. His hair is brought together at the
back of his head, and he wears a low tiara with the usual horns folded
about it. His beard is short and broad. With his two hands--which
are broken--he holds a small ibex against his chest. We have already
encountered this motive in Assyria (see Vol. I. Fig. 114).

  [Illustration: FIG. 106.--Statuette of a priest. Height
  5¼ inches. Louvre.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 107.--Statuette of a woman.
  Terra-cotta. Louvre. Height 5¾ inches.]

It is chiefly, however, among the terra-cotta statuettes that we
find good examples of that more elegant and refined form of art of
which we catch certain glimpses in some of the Tello fragments. The
figure of a priest happily draped in a mantle that covers his head
and shoulders from behind, has already been given (Fig. 50). We may
here add two more specimens of the same kind. Their merits, however,
can only be fairly appreciated in the originals, on account of their
small size. One of the very best things produced by Chaldæan art is
the statuette of a nude woman, standing and suckling her infant (Fig.
107);[223] her large, and perhaps slightly empty forms are modelled
with ease and artistic feeling. She is, in all probability, a goddess
of maternity.[224] In the statuette reproduced in our Fig. 108, the
treatment is less free, its precision is a little dry and hard. The
personage represented employs the gesture proper to the nursing
goddesses (see Vol. I. Fig. 16), although robed from head to foot. Her
garment ends below in a deep fringe. On her head there is a Persian

  [Illustration: FIG. 108.--Terra-cotta statuette. Height
  4¼ inches. Louvre.]

This latter figure, in spite of certain qualities to which we are by no
means blind, belongs to a period of decadence which lasted, perhaps,
throughout the Persian domination, and even as late as the Seleucidæ
and Parthians. The types consecrated by religious tradition were
repeated, but repeated with a hesitating and indifferent hand, and
with little reference to nature. The faults inherent in this kind of
workmanship are still more conspicuous in the example, given in Fig. 16
of the first volume, of a type which was very common both in Chaldæa
and Susiana.[226] Whether we call her Istar or Anahit this goddess
seems to have enjoyed a very lasting popularity in the whole region
of which Mesopotamia forms the centre. The art of Chaldæa survived
itself, so to speak, and reappeared after the fall of the national
independence, just as the art of Egypt had a renewal of life under the
Ptolemies and the Roman emperors. It is to these centuries that we
should ascribe a limestone head found by M. de Sarzec at Tello (Fig.
109). In its execution there is none of the firmness and feeling for
nature that is so conspicuous in the monuments from the three periods
that we have endeavoured to establish.

  [Illustration: FIG. 109.--Head; from Tello. Actual size.

It is mainly to the second Chaldee empire that a whole series of
monuments belongs whose characteristics constitute them a class
apart;[227] we mean those tablets, generally of some very hard stone,
which are inscribed with what we should call title-deeds. Two-thirds of
their surface is occupied by several columns of close and fine writing,
in which the stipulations of the contract securing the rights of the
proprietor are recited. On the upper part, and dominated by several
stars and by a great serpent stretching across the upper edge, some
emblems are grouped, and these are almost exactly the same in all known
examples. There are altars upon which the wedge or arrow-head, the
primordial element of that writing without which the preservation of
the contract would have been impossible, is either laid upon its side
or set up on end. Other altars support horned tiaras, a horse-shoe,
and another object which has been made unrecognizable by an unlucky
fracture. With these things are mingled several animals, real and
fantastic, and many symbols, no doubt of a sacred character, for we
find them hung round the necks of Assyrian kings or placed in front of
them on the field of their steles.

On one of these monuments, the one we have chosen as the type of the
whole series, a double river seems to flow round the stone, and to
embrace in its windings the mystic scene we have described. This is
the _Caillou Michaux_, now in the French National Library. In
Fig. 110 we give a reproduction of it as a whole, and in Figs. 111
and 112 the upper parts of its two faces on a larger scale.[228] The
particular value of each symbol here engraved, is still, and perhaps
will always remain, an enigma, but the general significance of their
introduction into these documents is easily understood. They give a
religious character, a sort of divine sanction, to the titles inscribed
upon the stone; they act as witnesses and guarantees. The landmark
thus prepared, was set, no doubt, like the Athenian ὅροι, at the
limits of the field whose ownership it declared. It became a kind of

The workmanship of the upper division is very dry and hard; it is not
art. These images were not intended to charm the eye; they were only
placed on the stone on account of their supposed power of interesting
the gods in the preservation of the rights and titles thereon set out.
Their execution was therefore left to mere workmen, who sculptured
the symbols and animal forms in the most mechanical and perfunctory
fashion. They never dreamt of referring to nature and so giving some
variety to the traditional forms. This art, if we may call it so, was
hieratic in the fullest sense of the term.

  [Illustration: FIG. 110.--The Caillou Michaux. Height
  19¾ inches. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

From our point of view, then, we should gain nothing by multiplying
the number of these monuments. They are chiefly interesting to the
historian of law and religious beliefs in Chaldæa. The remains for
whose recovery we look with the most anxious hope are those of what we
have called the classic age of Chaldæan art, an art that must have
reached its apogee in the days of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar.
Speaking broadly, we can show nothing produced by the sculptors,
painters, and ornamentists who were employed on the decoration of those
great buildings which even the Jewish prophets could not help admiring,
while they abused the princes who built them and the gods to whom they
were consecrated. The earliest Greek travellers, such as Herodotus and
Ctesias, only saw the ruins of these magnificent structures and of
their rich adornment of enamels, frescoes, and sculptured figures; and
yet how great was their wonder! We can hardly reflect without emotion
upon what we have lost in great works in stone and metal carried out in
the style of which certain fragments from Tello and a few terra-cotta
statuettes give us some faint idea.[230]

  [Illustration: FIG. 111.--The Caillou Michaux, obverse.
  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 112.--The Caillou Michaux, reverse.
  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

That such works did once exist we are told by the Greek historians.
Herodotus, after having described the temple of Bel and the sanctuary
on its summit in which no image of the deity was set up, goes on, “In
this temple at Babylon there is another sanctuary lower down, _where
a great seated statue of Zeus may be seen_.[231] Near this statue
there is a large table of gold, the throne and its steps are of the
same material. The whole, according to the Chaldæans, is worth eight
hundred talents of gold ... at one time the sacred inclosure also
contained a statue of massive gold twelve cubits high. I did not see
it. I content myself with repeating what the Chaldæans told me about
it. Darius, the son of Hystaspes, formed a project to carry it off, but
he did not dare to execute it. Xerxes, the son of Darius, caused the
priest to be put to death by whom the enterprise was opposed, and took
possession of the statue.” We here have the evidence of an eye-witness.
The seated statue of Bel, without being of the colossal size ascribed
by the Chaldæans to the image destroyed by Darius, must yet, if we may
judge from the expression of Herodotus, have been larger than nature.
We may gather some notion as to its pose and general appearance from
certain figures carved upon the cylinders (Fig. 40), just as, in
Greece, the more famous and venerable of her religious statues were
reproduced upon coins and gems. As to this Babylonian statue, the one
doubt we have relates to the value put upon it by the Chaldæans. Had
the statue and its surroundings really been of massive gold, would the
Persians have spared it when the other was overthrown and broken up?
It is possible that in spite of the historian’s assertion the work he
describes was only gilded bronze.

And as for the image twelve cubits high, we may express the same
doubts. Ctesias seems to have received better information as to how
these figures were made than Herodotus, and, through Diodorus, he
tells us that they consisted of metal plates beaten into shape with
the hammer.[232] Whether Ctesias or his informants did or did not
exaggerate their true dimensions (Diodorus speaks of a Bel forty feet
high), or whether these figures were of gold or gilded brass, is of
comparatively slight importance; we are interested chiefly in the
information he gives as to the method of fabrication. Ever since the
discovery of the Balawat gates proved to what a height the student art
of Assyria carried the manipulation of metal by the _repoussé_
process, we have had no difficulty in believing that the sculptors of
Babylon in the time of Nebuchadnezzar could build up images of colossal
size and fine decorative effect by means of plaques united with rivets.
If we may believe the rest of Diodorus’s description, the Chaldæan
artists combined the glory of gold and silver with the purity of ivory
and the bright and varied colours of precious stones. And all this we
see good reason to admit when we have examined at the British Museum
those ivories in which lapis lazuli and other substances of the same
kind even now fill up the hollows of the design, while the field still
glitters here and there with some last fragments of the gold with which
it was once incrusted. The skilful workmen who discovered the secret
of this kind of mosaic, may very well have learnt to combine these
beautiful materials so well that the statues upon which they were used
would even have rivalled the chryselephantine masterpieces of Phidias;
in richness and harmony of tones, at least, if not in nobility and
purity of form.

                      § 6. _Assyrian Sculpture._

Assyrian sculpture is far from leading us into the remote centuries
from which some of the Chaldæan works must date. It had no period of
infancy or childish effort. The Semites of the north were the pupils
of their southern brothers, from whom they obtained an art already
mature. The oldest known Assyrian monument dates from the reign of
Tiglath-Pileser I., or about the end of the twelfth century B.C.; it
is a bas-relief chiselled upon a rock near the sources of the Tigris,
about fifty miles north of Diarbekir and near the village of Korkhar.
It represents the king standing upright, his right hand extended
and his left holding a sceptre; at present, however, we only know
it by the very poor sketch given by Professor Rawlinson.[233] It is
almost the only monument extant from the time when the capital of the
monarchy was on the site now known as _Kaleh-Shergat_. One other may
be named, the female torso in the British Museum, to which we have
already referred;[234] on it the name of Assurbilkala, who succeeded
Tiglath-Pileser I., may be read.

The monumental history of Assyria really begins two centuries later,
with the great buildings erected by Assurnazirpal at Calah (Nimroud),
his favourite residence. Assyrian art then reached a level that,
speaking generally, it never surpassed. In the following centuries it
innovated, it became more complex and certainly more refined, but it
produced nothing essentially nobler than certain Nimroud bas-reliefs,
in which the king is seated among his great officers or before his
gods, and always in the attitude of prayer and sacrifice. We have
already given several examples of these reliefs (Vol. I. Fig. 4, and
above, Figs. 15 and 64); we may here add one more (Fig. 113). Leaning
on his bow with his left hand, the king, richly dressed, lifts in his
right the patera whose contents he is about to pour as a libation to
the deity. Facing him stands a gigantic eunuch, who waves over his
master’s head one of those fly-flappers that, with the parasol, have
always been among the insignia of Oriental royalty (see Plate X.).

These figures are rather short in their proportions, and the muscular
development of their arms, which alone are bare, is violently
exaggerated, but yet as a whole the work has a certain grandeur and
nobility. The lines are well balanced. Both the king and his attendant
seem fully impressed with the gravity of the rite over which they are
busy. There is dignity in their attitudes, but no stiffness; their
gestures are easy and expressive without being too much accented.
In our engraving we have only been able to include the two isolated
figures, in the original there are several more all occupied over
the same rite. Even the British Museum has only a few fragments from
these vast compositions. For those who saw them in their original
completeness, well lighted and distributed in their right order along
the walls of spacious saloons, they must have seemed majestic enough.

In his palace decorations the Assyrian artist set himself to free
his figures from all unnecessary surroundings and to simplify his
theme as much as he could. But we must make a distinction between
those reliefs that may be called historical, such as the pictures
of battles and sieges, and those in which the king is shown in the
accomplishment of some duty belonging to his position, and part of
his daily or periodical routine. It is to the latter class that the
most carefully-executed works belong. In these no particular locality
is specified; like that of the Panathenaic procession, it is left
undetermined, and the mind of the spectator is silently invited to fill
it in for himself. Those who frequented the palace were accustomed to
see the king upon his throne, or traversing the wide quadrangle, or
pouring libations on the altar that stood in front of the temple; so
that they had no difficulty in imagining all that the sculptor had left
unsaid. In the hunting pictures the same method was followed with but
little modification. A flat surface suggesting the unbroken expanse of
the desert, was the only indication of a _locus in quo_.

  [Illustration: FIG. 113.--Assurnazirpal offering a
  libation. Height 7 feet 8 inches. British Museum.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

It would have been difficult, or rather impossible, to adhere to such
a rule in those reliefs in which the actual incidents of military
expeditions were retraced. In them the sculptor thought it necessary to
insert such details as would permit the various episodes commemorated
to be identified. One of the simplest means of insuring the desired
result was to render not only buildings, such as castles and fortified
towns, but also the natural features of the scene, with the greatest
possible truth. This the Assyrian artist did, as a rule, with
excellent judgment. Thus, if an action or campaign had been fought
in a mountainous country, he made use of a kind of lattice-work or
reticulation, which every spectator thoroughly understood (see Vol. I.
Figs. 39 and 43); if among forests, he introduced numerous trees among
his figures. He made little attempt to distinguish between one kind of
tree and another, but in most cases employed forms as conventional as
that by which he indicated hills (Fig. 114).

  [Illustration: FIG. 114.--Tree on a river bank; from

One of the chief merits and most striking features of Assyrian
sculpture is, then, its power of selection, its rejection of all that
is superfluous, its comprehension, in fact, of the true spirit and
special conditions of the art. The field has none of those encumbering
accessories which, under the pretext of furnishing and defining, only
serve, so to speak, to take away air and elbow-room from the figures.
When certain complementary features are required to make the subject
clear, the sculptor introduces them, but he never gives more than is
strictly necessary. He never gives way to the temptation to exaggerate
such details, or treats them as if they had an interest and importance
of their own. Such sobriety found its reward. His work no doubt
remained faulty in many respects and inferior to that of his Egyptian
forerunner, still more to that of his Greek successor; but yet it had
an air of frankness, of pride and dignity, to which the more complex
and superficially more skilful compositions of the following epoch too
seldom attained.

The good qualities of this early Assyrian school are no less
conspicuous in the colossal figures with which the doorways of palaces
and temples were decorated. The head of the winged bull has nowhere a
more lofty expression or one more full of dignity than at Nimroud (see
below, Fig. 133). The chisels of these northern artists never created
anything more bold, energetic, and lifelike than the figures from the
small temple built by Assurnazirpal (Vol. I. Fig. 188); we need only
mention the colossal lion in the British Museum (Plate VIII.) and the
grimacing demon whom a beneficent god seems to be expelling from the
sanctuary in spite of his threats and grinning teeth.[235]

And yet this art which is so masterly in some respects is very
primitive and naïve in others. We cannot help being amazed, for
instance, at the wide band of wedges that the scribe has been allowed
to cut across all the lines and contours left by the sculptor. This
proceeding is to be explained, of course, by the essentially historical
and anecdotic character of Assyrian art, but nevertheless it betrays
the contempt for æsthetic effect which is one of the characteristics
of archaic art in Assyria. This feature is by no means without
importance, and Sir Henry Layard seems to us to have been ill advised
in deliberately suppressing it. In his otherwise faithful reproductions
of the best preserved among the bas-reliefs of Assurnazirpal he has
everywhere left out the continuous band of inscription which runs
across them at about two-thirds of their height. By such a proceeding
he has sensibly modified their decorative value.[236]

We must be on our guard against attributing such primitive simplicity
to inexperience in the use of the chisel. In the finest works of later
years that instrument was never wielded with more assured skill than
in the delicate carvings in which the embroidery on the royal robes
are reproduced. We have already put several of these motives before
our readers; in Fig. 115 we give a last exquisite morsel. It shows a
winged lion with the head of a woman, and a king or priest who holds
one of her paws in his left hand, while with his right he seems to
threaten her with a mace.

  [Illustration: FIG. 115.--Detail from the royal robe of
  Assurnazirpal; from Layard.]

Such dexterity as this is not to be seen in works in the round (see
Fig. 60). But with the reign of Assurnazirpal commences another
series of royal monuments in which the artist, not being compelled
to quit work in relief, felt himself more at home. We refer to
those round-headed steles on which the standing figure of the king
is relieved against a flat ground bordered by a raised edge. An
inscription is engraved sometimes upon the bed of the relief, sometimes
on the reverse of the stele. An effigy of Assurnazirpal belonging
to this class is now in the British Museum. It was discovered still
standing in the entrance to one of the temples built by that sovereign
on the platform of Calah. Before the stele there was an altar similar
to that shown on page 256 of our first volume. This altar is also in
the British Museum.[237] From the existence of these steles it has
been concluded, with no little probability, that the Assyrian kings,
or at least some of them, received divine honours after their deaths.
We have chosen that of Samas-vul II. for reproduction, on account of
its good condition (Fig. 116). It differs but little from the stele of
Assurnazirpal. High up in the field and in front of the head may be
noticed symbols like those on the land marks (see Figs. 111, 112, and
143). The king’s right hand is raised in the attitude of adoration.
In his left he holds a sceptre, with a ball of ivory or metal at one
end and a tassel at the other. These steles must have been set up in
great numbers. We find them represented in the reliefs (Vol. I. Figs.
42 and 112, and Plate XII.) and upon cylinders (_ib._ Fig. 69).
They were raised as a sign of annexation in conquered countries, and an
invocation engraved upon the stone put them under the protection of the
Assyrian gods, who were charged with the punishment of any who might
lay hands upon them.[238]

In the British Museum there are fragments of a sculptured obelisk on
which the wars and hunts of Assurnazirpal are figured. It is taller
than that of his son Shalmaneser II., being nearly ten feet high, but
as the material is a soft limestone, it is in far worse preservation;
we only mention it to show that Assyrian art was in possession of all
its resources in the time of this king.

Under none of the princes who reigned at Calah did sculpture show
any sensible change of style; but yet, perhaps, in certain passages
of the Balawat gates we may recognize the first signs of a tendency
that was to become strongly marked under the Sargonids. The field
of the relief there contains a far greater number of picturesque
and explanatory details than the great bas-reliefs of Nimroud. The
campaigns and victories of Shalmaneser II. was the theme put before
the sculptor. In order to do it justice he had to carry the spectator
into countries of various aspects, and to give their true character to
military struggles whose conditions were incessantly changing. He did
not think success was to be attained by confining himself to figuring
the cities and fortresses besieged and taken by the Assyrian army; he
introduced features for the purpose of determining the seat of war.
Such accessories were better placed among figures on a small scale
than among those surpassing or even approaching life size; and without
knowing exactly why, the artist seems to have been warned of this by
a secret and delicate instinct. These strips of bronze are ten inches
high; each is divided into two horizontal divisions by a narrow band of
rosettes, which is also repeated at the top and bottom of each strip.
The figures are on an average about three and a half inches high (see
Fig. 117 and Plate XII.).

  [Illustration: FIG. 116.--Stele of Samas-vul II. Height
  7 feet 2 inches. British Museum.

  Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]




  British Museum]

Our Plate XII. is an exact copy from a part of the band marked B in
the provisional numeration adopted by Dr. Birch.[239] According to the
inscription upon it this part of the work commemorates a sacrifice
offered by Shalmaneser on the borders of the Lake Van, in Armenia. The
figure of the king is not included in our plate, but it contains all
the sacred vessels of which he made use for the ceremony. Beginning on
the left we find a sort of great candelabrum, a three-legged altar, and
two standards upon tripods. Must these be accepted as military ensigns
of the same class as that shown in Fig. 46 or as religious emblems of
the sun and moon? The question is hardly one for us to discuss. Next
comes a stele raised upon a rock, or perhaps carved upon its surface.
Other reliefs of the same series show us that Shalmaneser erected these
steles in every country he conquered. Further to the right we see
soldiers throwing into the lake the limbs of the animals sacrificed.
This must be an offering to the deity of its waters, perhaps to Anou,
who was believed to reside in rivers and lakes as well as in the sea.
The denizens of the lake seize upon the morsels thus put in their way;
among them we may recognize a large fish, a tortoise, and a quadruped,
that may perhaps be an otter.[240]

In the lower division we see the Assyrian army on the march. On the
right Mr. Pinches recognizes a fortified camp in which horses were
left for flight in case of defeat. There is, indeed, one of these
fortified walls shown in projection, of which we have already spoken,
but the horse is placed upon a clearly indicated arch. What is this
arch doing in the middle of the camp? We ask ourselves whether this
circular structure may not be intended to represent a fortified
_tête-de-pont_. It is abundantly proved that the Assyrians and
Chaldæans made great use of the vault. Why should they not have
employed it for bridges elsewhere than at Babylon? and wherever there
were bridges on the great roads and near their own frontiers what
could be more natural than to defend them by works flanked, like this,
with towers? The horse would then be about to cross the bridge, and
his introduction would be explained simply by the sculptor’s desire
to give all possible clearness to a representation which could never
be complete. He seems to advance with some precaution as if the floor
of the bridge, which is indicated merely by a straight line, was made
of tree trunks or roughly squared planks badly joined. We offer this
hypothesis for what it may be worth. Next come two archers, and then
chariots. The ground must be difficult, for not only does the driver
support his horses with a tightened rein, but a man on foot walks in
front and holds them by the head.

We find a scene entirely similar but still better treated in the upper
division of another plaque (see Fig. 117).[241] Here we may see that
the chariots are progressing not without difficulty and even danger, in
the very bed of a torrent. The movement of the men who lead the horses
is well understood and skilfully rendered; we feel how carefully they
have to conduct their advance among the blocks of stone that encumber
the bed of the stream and the tumbling water that conceals the nature
of the ground. In the lower division we are presented with one of those
scenes that are so common in Assyrian reliefs. The king in his royal
robes appears on the left; a line of prisoners guarded by archers
approach him and beg for mercy, while the foremost among them “kiss
the dust beneath his feet,” to use an oriental expression in its most
literal sense.

  [Illustration: FIG. 117.--Two fragments from the Balawat
  gates. British Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

We should have been willing, had it been possible, to make further
extracts from this curious series of reliefs; to have shown, here naked
prisoners defiling under the eyes of the conqueror, there Assyrian
archers shooting at the heaped-up heads of their slain enemies. But
we have perforce been content with giving, by a few carefully chosen
examples, a fair idea of the work that intervened between the
sculptors of Assurnazirpal and those of the Sargonids.

It is probable that the scheme of this vast composition was due to a
single mind; from one end to the other there is an obvious similarity
of thought and style. But several different hands must have been
employed upon its execution, which is far from being of equal merit
throughout. It is on examining the original that we are struck by these
inequalities. Thus, in some of the long rows of captives the handling
is timid and without meaning, while in others it has all the firmness
and decision of the best among the alabaster or limestone reliefs; the
muscular forms, the action of the calf and knee, are well understood
and frankly reproduced. The passages we have chosen for illustration
are among the best in this respect. Taking them all in all these bronze
reliefs are among the works that do most honour to Assyrian art.

The only monument that has come down to us from the reign of Vulush
III., the successor of Samas-vul, is a statue, or rather a pair of
statues, of Nebo; the better of the two is reproduced in Fig. 15 of our
first volume. These sacred images are of very slight merit from an art
point of view; we should hardly have referred to them but for their
votive inscriptions. From these we learn that they were consecrated
in the Temple of Nebo by the prefect of Calah in order to bespeak the
protection of that god for the king. But the latter is not named alone;
the faithful subject says that he offers these idols “for his master
Vulush and his mistress Sammouramit.”

In this latter name it is difficult not to recognize the Semiramis
of the Greeks, and we are led to ask ourselves whether the queen of
Vulush may not have afforded a prototype for that legendary princess.
This association of a female name with that of the king is almost
without parallel either in Chaldæa or Assyria. In royal documents, as
well as in those of a more private character, there is no more mention
of the royal wives than if they did not exist. Only one explanation
can be given of the apparent anomaly, and that is that Sammouramit,
for reasons that may be easily guessed, enjoyed a quite exceptional
position. It was in those days that, from one reign to another, the
princes of Calah attempted to complete the subjugation of Chaldæa.
It may have happened that in order to put an end to a state of
never-ending rebellion, Vulush married the heiress of some powerful
and popular family of the lower country, and, that he might be looked
upon as the legitimate ruler of Babylon, joined her name with his in
the royal style and title. This hypothesis finds some confirmation
in what Herodotus tells us about Semiramis. She was, he says, queen
of Babylon five generations before Nitocris, which would be about a
century and a half. He adds that she caused the quays of the Euphrates
to be built.[242] This takes us back to rather beyond the middle of
the eighth century B.C., that is very near to the date which
Assyrian chronology would fix for the reign of Vulush (810–781). As
the last representative of the old national dynasty, this Semiramis,
associated as she was in the exercise, or at least in the show, of
sovereign power both in Assyria and Chaldæa, would not be forgotten
by her countrymen, and the population of Babylon would be especially
likely to magnify the part she had played. There is nothing fabulous
in the tradition as Herodotus gives it, although it may, perhaps, go
beyond the truth here and there. Ctesias, however, goes much farther.
He brings together and amplifies tales which had already received many
additions in the half century that separated him from Herodotus, and
he thus creates the type of that Semiramis, the wife of Ninus and the
conqueror of all Asia, who so long held an undeserved place in ancient

The last Calah prince who has left us anything is Tiglath-Pileser II.
(745–727). We have already described how his palace was destroyed by
Esarhaddon, who employed its materials for his own purposes.[244] At
the British Museum there are a few fragments which have been recognized
by their inscriptions as belonging to his work (Vol. I. Fig. 26)[245];
they are quite similar to those of his immediate predecessors.

With the new dynasty founded by Sargon at the end of the eighth century
taste changed fast enough. In those bas-reliefs in the Khorsabad palace
which represent that king’s campaigns, many details are treated in a
spirit very different from that of former days. Trees, for instance,
are no longer abstract signs standing for no one kind of vegetation
more than another; the sculptor begins to notice their distinguishing
features and to give their proper physiognomy to the different
countries overrun by the Assyrians. But these landscape backgrounds are
not to be found in all the bas-reliefs of Khorsabad.[246]

The art of Sargon was an art of transition. While on the one hand it
endeavoured to open up new ground, on the other it travelled on the
old ways and followed many of the ancient errors; it had a marked
predilection for figures larger than nature, and bas-reliefs treating
of royal pageants and processions remind us by the simplicity of
their conception of those of Assurnazirpal. We have already given
many fragments (Vol I. Figs. 22–24, and 29), and now we give another,
a vizier and a eunuch standing before the king in the characteristic
attitude of respect (Fig. 118). The inscription which cut the figures
of Assurnazirpal so awkwardly in two has disappeared; the proportions
have gained in slenderness, and the muscular development, though still
strongly marked, has lost some of its exaggeration. All this shows
progress, and yet on the whole the Louvre relief is less happy in its
effect than the best of the Nimroud sculptures in the British Museum.
The execution is neither so firm nor so frank; the relief is much
higher and the modelling a little heavy and bulbous in consequence.
This result may also be caused to some extent by the nature of the
material, which is a softer alabaster than was employed, so far as we
know, in any other part of Assyria. At Nimroud a fine limestone was
chiefly used.

We shall be contented with mentioning the stele of Sargon, found near
Larnaca, in Cyprus, in 1845. It is most important as an historical
monument; it proves that, as a sequel to his Syrian conquests, the
terror of Sargon’s name was so widespread that even the inhabitants of
the islands thought it prudent to declare themselves his vassals, and
to set up his image as a sign of homage rendered and allegiance sworn.
But the stone is now too much broken to be of any great interest as a
work of art.[247]

The artistic masterpiece of this epoch is the bronze lion figured in
our Plate XI. It had been suggested that its use was to hold down the
cords of a tent or the lower edge of tapestries, a purpose for which
the weight of the bronze and the ring fixed in its back make it well
suited. This idea had to be abandoned, however, when a whole series of
similar figures marked with the name of Sennacherib was found. Their
execution was hardly equal to that of the lion we have figured, but
their general characteristics were the same, and they had rings on
their backs.[248]

These lions are sixteen in number; they form a series in which the size
of the animal becomes steadily smaller with each example; the largest
is a foot long, the smallest hardly more than an inch. The decrease
seems to follow a certain rule, but rust has affected them too greatly
for it to be easy to base any metrological calculation upon their
weight. But all doubt as to their use is removed by the inscriptions
in cuneiform and in ancient Aramaic characters with which several of
them are engraved. The Aramaic inscriptions all begin with the word
_mine_; then comes a figure indicating the number of _mines_,
or of subdivisions of the _mine_ that the weight represents;
finally, there is the name of some personage, who may perhaps have been
a magistrate charged with the regulation and verification of weights.

  [Illustration: FIG. 118.--Bas-relief from Khorsabad.
  Height 9 feet 5 inches. Louvre.]

With the accession of Sennacherib, a sensible change comes over the
aspect of the reliefs. What until now has been the exception becomes
the rule. On almost every slab we find a complex and carefully treated
landscape background. The artist is not satisfied with indicating the
differences between conifers, cypresses, and pines (Vol. I. Figs,
41–43), palms (_ib._ Figs. 30 and 34; and above, Fig. 21), the
vine (Fig. 47), and the tall reeds and grasses of the marsh (Fig. 119)
are also imitated.[249]

  [Illustration: FIG. 119.--Marsh vegetation; from Layard.]

We feel that the sculptor wished to reproduce all those subordinate
features of nature by which his eye was amused on the Assyrian plains;
he seems almost to have taken photographs from nature, and then to
have transferred them to the palace walls by the aid of his patient
chisel. Look, for instance, at the reliefs in which the process
of building Sennacherib’s palace is narrated. The sculptor is not
content with retracing, in a spirit of uncompromising reality, all the
operations implied by so great an undertaking; he gives backgrounds to
his pictures in which he introduces, on a smaller scale, many details
that have nothing to do with the main subject of the relief. Thus we
find a passage in which men are shown carting timber, and another in
which they are dragging a winged bull, both surmounted by a grove of
cypresses, while still higher on the slab, and, therefore, in the
intention of the sculptor, on a more distant horizon, we see a river,
upon which boatmen propel their clumsy vessels, and fishermen, astride
on inflated skins, drift with the stream, while fishes nibble at their
baited lines.[250]

Neither boatmen nor fishermen have anything to do with the building of
the great edifice that occupies so many minds and arms within a stone’s
throw of where they labour. They are introduced merely to amuse the
eye of the spectator by the faithful representation of life; a passage
of what we call _genre_ has crept into an historical picture.
Elsewhere it is landscape proper that is thus introduced. One of the
slabs of this same series ends in a row of precipitous heights covered
with cypresses, vines, fig and pomegranate trees, and a sort of dwarf
palm or _chamærops_.[251]

They thought no doubt that the spectators of such pictures would be
delighted to have the shadowy freshness of the orchards that bordered
the Tigris, the variety of their foliage and the abundant fruit under
which their branches bent to the ground, thus recalled to their minds.
The group of houses that we have figured for the sake of their domed
roofs, forms a part of one of these landscape backgrounds (Vol. I. Fig.

We might multiply examples if we chose. There is hardly a relief
from Sennacherib’s palace in which some of those details which
excite curiosity by their anecdotic and picturesque character are
not introduced.[253] We find evidence of the same propensity in the
decoration of the long, inclined passage that led from the summit of
the mound down to the banks of the Tigris. There the sculptor has
represented what must have actually taken place in the passage every
day; on the one hand grooms leading their horses to water, on the other
servants carrying up meat, fruit, and drink for the service of the
royal table and for the army of officers and dependants of every kind
that found lodging in the palace.[254]

This active desire to imitate reality as faithfully as possible had
another consequence. It led to the multiplication of figures, and
therefore to the diminution of their scale. No figures like those
that occupy the whole heights of the slabs at Nimroud and Khorsabad
have been found in the palace of Sennacherib. In the latter a slab is
sometimes cut up into seven or eight horizontal divisions.[255] The
same landscape, the same people, the same action is continued from
one division to another over the whole side of a room. The subjects
were not apportioned by slabs, but by horizontal bands; whence we may
conclude that the limestone or alabaster was chiselled in place and not
in the sculptor’s studio.

We have not engraved one of these reliefs in its entirety; with its
half-dozen compartments one above another and its hundred or hundred
and fifty figures, it would have been necessary to reduce the latter to
such a degree that they could only be seen properly with a magnifying
glass. The originals themselves, or the large plates given by Layard
in his _Monuments_, must be consulted before the dangers of this
mode of proceeding can be appreciated. The confusion to which we have
pointed as one of the cardinal defects of Assyrian sculpture, is
nowhere more conspicuous than in the battle pictures from Sennacherib’s
palace. It is, however, only to be found in the historical subjects.
When the sculptor has to deal with religious scenes he returns to the
simplicity of composition and the dignity of pose that we noticed in
the reliefs of Assurnazirpal.

This may be seen in the figures carved on the rock of Bavian by the
orders of Sennacherib. The village which has given its name to this
monument lies about five and thirty miles north-north-east of Mossoul,
at the foot of the first Kurdistan hills and at the mouth of a narrow
and picturesque valley, through which flows the rapid and noisy Gomel
on its way to the ancient _Bumados_, the modern Ghazir, which in
its turn flows southwards into the Zab.

The sculptures consist of several separate groups cut on one of the
lofty walls of the ravine. Some are accompanied by inscriptions, but
the latter speak of canals cut by the king for the irrigation of his
country and of military expeditions, and do not explain why such
elaborate sculptures should have been carried out in a solitary gorge,
through which no important road can ever have passed.[256]

The valley, which is very narrow, is a cul-de-sac. May we suppose that
during the summer heats the king set up his tent in it and passed
his time in hunting? According to Layard’s description the scene is
charming and picturesque. “The place, from its picturesque beauty
and its cool refreshing shade even in the hottest day of summer, is
a grateful retreat, well suited to devotion and to holy rites. The
brawling stream almost fills the bed of the narrow ravine with its
clear and limpid waters. The beetling cliffs rise abruptly on each side
and above them tower the wooded declivities of the Kurdish hills. As
the valley opens into the plain the sides of the limestone mountains
are broken into a series of distinct strata, and resemble a vast flight
of steps leading up to the high lands of central Asia. The banks of
the torrent are clothed with shrubs and dwarf trees, among which are
the green myrtle and the gay oleander bending under the weight of
its rosy blossoms.”[257] Such a gorge left no room for a palace and
its mound,[258] but a subterranean temple may have been cut in the
limestone rock for one of the great Assyrian deities, and its entrance
may now be hidden, or even its chambers filled up and obliterated, by
landslips and falling rocks, and two huge masses of stone that now
obstruct the flow of the torrent may be fragments from its decoration.
They bear the figures of two winged bulls, standing back to back and
separated by the genius who is called the lion-strangler.[259]

  [Illustration: FIG. 120.--The great bas-relief at
  Bavian; from Layard.]

The principal relief fills up a frame 30 feet 4 inches wide and 29
feet high (see Fig. 120). The bed has been cut away by the chisel to
a depth of about 8 inches. Sheltered by the raised edge thus left
standing the figures would have been in excellent condition but for
the unhappy idea that struck some one in later years, of opening
chambers in the rock at the back and cutting entrances to them actually
through the figures. These hypogea do not seem to have been tombs.
They contain no receptacles for bodies, but only benches. They were,
in all probability, cells for Christian hermits, cut at the time when
monastic life was first developed and placed where we see them with the
idea of at once desecrating pagan idols and sanctifying a site which
they had polluted. In Phrygia and Cappadocia we found many rock-cut
chambers in which evidence of the presence of these pious hermits was
still to be gathered. In some, for instance, we found the remains of
religious paintings. As examples we may mention the royal tombs of
Amasia, which were thus converted into oratories.[260]

The composition contains four figures. Two in the middle face each
other and seem to be supported by animals resembling dogs in their
general outlines. They are crowned with tiaras, cylindrical in shape
and surrounded with horns. One of these figures has its right hand
raised and its left lowered; his companion’s gesture is the same, but
reversed. The general attitudes, too, are similar, but the head of
one figure has disappeared, so that we can not tell whether it was
bearded like its companion or not. They each carry a sceptre ending
in a palmette and with a ring attached to it at about the middle of
the staff. In the centre of this ring a small standing figure may be
distinguished. Behind each of these two chief personages, and near the
frame of the relief, two subordinate figures appear. In attitude and
costume they are the repetition of each other. Their right hands are
raised in worship, while in their left they hold short, ball-headed

The two figures in the centre must represent gods. The king is never
placed on the backs of living animals in this singular fashion; but
we can understand how, by an easily-followed sequence of ideas, such
a method of suggesting the omnipotence of the deity was arrived at.
Neither did the kings of the period we are considering wear this
cylindrical tiara. In the palaces of the Sargonids it is reserved for
the winged bulls. It is larger than the royal tiara, from which it is
also distinguished by its embracing horns. Finally, the ringed sceptre
is identical with the one held by Samas, in the Sippara tablet (Vol. I.
Fig. 71). No one will hesitate as to the real character of these two
personages; the only point doubtful is as to whether the one on the
left is a god or a goddess. The mantle worn by the right hand figure is
wanting; but the question cannot be decided, because the head has been
completely destroyed. In any case, the difference of costume proves
that two separate deities, between whom there was some relation that
escapes our grasp, were here represented.

As for the two figures placed behind the gods, they would have been
quite similar had they been in equally good condition. They represent
Sennacherib himself, with the head-dress and robes that he wears in the
sculptures of his palace at Nineveh. He caused his image to be carved
on both sides of the relief, not for the sake of symmetry, but in order
to show that his worship was addressed no less to one than the other of
the two deities.

This rock-cut picture is not the only evidence of Sennacherib’s desire
to leave a tangible witness of his piety and glory in this narrow
valley. In another frame we find some more colossal figures, only one
of which is fairly well preserved; it is that of a cavalier who, with
his lance at rest, seems to be in act to charge an enemy. His attitude
and movement recall those of a mediæval knight at a tournament.[261]

Layard counted eleven smaller reliefs sprinkled over the face of the
rock. Some are easily accessible, while others are situated so high up
that they can hardly be distinguished from below. Each of these has an
arched top like that of the royal steles (see Fig. 116) and incloses
a figure of the king about five feet six inches high. Above his head
symbols like those on the Babylonian landmarks (see Figs. 43 and 111)
and the Assyrian steles (Fig. 116) are introduced.[262] Three of these
reliefs had inscriptions, and to copy them Layard caused himself to be
let down by ropes from the top of the cliff, the ropes being held by
Kurds who could hardly have had much experience of such employment.
The illustration we have borrowed from his pages shows the adventurous
explorer swinging between sky and earth (Fig. 120).

As a last example of these works cut in the rock, we may here mention a
fountain that was cleared and for the moment restored to its original
state by Mr. Layard (Fig. 121). By means of conduits cut in the living
rock, they had managed to lead the water of the stream to a series
of basins cut one below the other. The sketch we reproduce shows the
lowest basin, which is close to the path. The face of the rock above
it is smoothed and carved into a not inelegant relief. The water seems
to pour from the neck of a large vase, seen in greatly foreshortened
perspective. Two lions, symmetrically arranged, lean with their
fore-feet upon the edge of the vase.[263] The work is interesting,
as it is the only thing left to show how the Assyrians decorated a

  [Illustration: FIG. 121.--Fountain; from Layard.]

The Assyrians thus found, in the very neighbourhood of their capital,
great surfaces of rock almost smooth and irresistibly inviting to the
chisel. Their unceasing expeditions led them into countries where,
on every hand, they were tempted by similar facilities for wedding
the likenesses of their princes to the very substance of the soil,
for confiding the record of their victories to those walls of living
rock that would seem, to them, unassailable by time or weather. Their
confidence was often misplaced. In some places the water has poured
down the face of the rock and worn away the figures; in others,
landslips have carried the cliff and its sculptures bodily into the
valley. In some instances, no doubt, the accumulations cover figures
still in excellent condition, but several of these fallen sculptures
have already been cleared.

  [Illustration: FIG. 122.--Assyrian bas-relief in the
  Nahr-el-Kelb. Drawn by P. Sellier.]

We have already spoken of the bas-relief of Korkhar;[264] it is about
three hundred miles from Nineveh, but the Assyrian conquerors left
traces of their passage even farther from the capital than that, in the
famous pass of the Lycos, for instance, near modern Beyrout, and now
called _Nahr-el-Kelb_, or _river of the dog_. A rock-cut road
passes through it, which has been followed from the remotest times by
armies advancing from the north upon Egypt, or from the latter country
towards Damascus and the fords of the Euphrates. Following the Pharaohs
of the nineteenth dynasty, Esarhaddon caused his own image and royal
titles to be cut in this defile; they may still be seen there, on rocks
whose feet stand in the bed of the torrent (Fig. 122).[265]

Without going so far as northern Syria we might find, if we may believe
the natives of the country, plenty of sculptures in the valleys that
open upon the Assyrian plain if they were carefully explored. Near
Ghunduk, a village about forty-five miles north-west of Mossoul, Layard
noticed two reliefs of the kind, one representing a hunt, the other
a religious sacrifice.[266] But after Bavian the most important of
all these remains yet discovered is that at Malthaï. This village is
about seventy-five miles north of Mossoul, in a valley forming one of
the natural gateways of Kurdistan. The road by which the traveller
reaches Armenia and Lake Van runs through the valley.[267] There, in
the fertile stretch of country that lies between two spurs standing
out from the main chain, stands a _tell_, or mound, which seems
to have been raised by the hand of man. Place opened trenches in it
without result, but he himself confesses that his explorations were
not carried far enough, and, the beauty of the site and other things
being considered, he persists in believing that the kings of Assyria
must have had a palace, or at least a country lodge, in the valley.
However this may be, the bas-reliefs, of which Place was the first
to make an exact copy, suffice to prove that this site attracted
particular attention from the Assyrians (see Fig. 123). They are to be
found on the mountain side, at about two-thirds of its total height,
or some thousand feet above the level of the valley. In former days
they must have been inaccessible without artificial aids. It is only by
successive falls of rock that the rough zig-zag path by which we can
now approach them has been formed. The figures, larger than nature, are
arranged in a long row and in a single plane. Place was obliged, by
the size and shape of his page, to give them in two instalments in the
plate of which our Fig. 123 is a copy. In the absence of a protecting
edge they have suffered more than the figures at Bavian. They have,
indeed, a slight projection or cornice above, but its salience is
hardly greater than that of the figures themselves.

  [Illustration: FIG. 123.--The bas-reliefs of Malthaï;
  from Place. About one forty-fifth of actual size.]

The composition contains three groups, or rather one group repeated
three times without sensible differences. The middle group, which is
divided between the upper and lower parts in our woodcut, has been more
seriously injured by the weather than those on each side of it; three
of its figures have almost disappeared. The first group to the right in
the upper division has part of its surface cut away by a door giving
access to a rock-cut chamber behind the relief, like those at Bavian.
It is, then, in the left-hand group that the subject and treatment can
now be most clearly grasped.

In the first place, we may see at a glance that the theme is
practically the same as at Bavian; it is a king adoring the great
national gods. But the latter are now seven in number instead of two;
instead of being face to face they are all turned in one direction,
towards the king; but the latter is none the less repeated behind each
group. There are some other differences. Among the animals who serve
to raise the gods above the level of mere humanity we may distinguish
the dog, the lion, the horse, and the winged bull. The gods are in
the same attitude as at Bavian; their insignia are the same, those
sceptres with a ring in the middle, which we never find except in the
hands of deities. The sixth in the row also grasps the triple-pointed
object that we have already recognised as the prototype of the Greek
thunderbolt.[268] Finally, each god has the short Assyrian sword upon
his thigh. To this there is one exception, in the second figure of each
group. This figure is seated upon a richly-decorated throne, and has no
beard, so that we may look upon it as representing a goddess. The last
of the seven deities is also beardless, and, in spite of the sword and
the standing attitude, may also be taken to represent a goddess. The
tiaras, which are like those of Bavian in shape, each bear a star, the
Assyrian ideogram for _God_.[269]

There is no inscription, but both Place and Layard agree that the
proportions of the figures, and their execution, and the costume of
the king, declare the work to have been carried out in the time of the
Sargonids, probably under Sennacherib, but if not, during the reign
either of his father, his son, or his grandson.

We have been led to give a reproduction and detailed description
of these reliefs, chiefly because they acted as a school for the
people about them. We find this habit of cutting great sculpturesque
compositions on cliff-faces followed, on the one hand by the natives
of Iran, on the other by those of Cappadocia, and in the works they
produced there are points of likeness to the Assyrian reliefs that can
by no means be accidental. When the proper time comes we shall, we
believe, be able to show that there was direct and deliberate imitation.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was not only on these rock-cut sculptures that the gods appeared
thus perched on the backs of animals; the motive was carried far afield
by small and easily-portable objects, on which it very often occurs. It
is to be found on many of the cylinders; we reproduce two as examples.
Each of these shows us an individual in an attitude of worship before a
god standing on a bull’s back. The main difference between the two is
one of style. The cylinder engraved in Fig. 124 dates from the early
Chaldæan monarchy, while its companion (Fig. 125) is ascribed by M.
Ménant to the Assyrian dynasty of Calah.[270]

By their simplicity of arrangement and the nudity of their field,
the sculptures of Bavian and Malthaï belong in some sense to the
archaic period, but their figures are designed with that finer sense
of proportion that distinguished Assyrian art from the reign of
Sennacherib onwards. It was, however, in the palaces that the new
tendency towards grace and slenderness chiefly made itself felt. We
have no sculptures to speak of from the time of Esarhaddon, but no
monarch has left us monuments more numerous or in better preservation
than his son Assurbanipal. A visit to London is necessary, however, for
their proper examination, as they have not yet been made the subject
of any such publication as that devoted by Mr. Layard to remains from
the time of Sennacherib and Assurnazirpal. Some idea of them may be
formed, however, from the numerous fragments figured in these pages
(Vol. I., Figs. 5, 27, 28; below, Figs. 162, 172, 174, 177–180, 188).

  [Illustration: FIG. 124.--Chaldæan Cylinder.

  [Illustration: FIG. 125.--Assyrian Cylinder.[272]]

Speaking generally, the sculptors of Assurbanipal were the pupils of
those of Sennacherib, with, perhaps, a larger endowment of taste and
skill. Under them Assyrian art aimed higher than ever before. It was
fascinated by movement, and endeavoured to render its accidents and
unforeseen turns. From this point of view we must draw particular
attention to the pictures representing the campaign of Assurbanipal
against the Elamites. In these the figures are more numerous and more
closely packed than anywhere else, and the chisel has attacked episodes
more complicated and more difficult to treat. Here, for instance, is
a chariot upset upon the battle-field; it is turned completely over,
while the struggling horses pull different ways, and the occupants are
thrown out head foremost. There are many technical defects and mistakes
of drawing, but the attempt is none the less interesting.

Some of the reliefs show the same confused accumulation of figures
as in the time of Sennacherib. Now and then we find as many as six
horizontal divisions, each from ten to fourteen inches high. But
their height obeys no regular or constant rule. The central division,
with the king in his chariot, is two feet high. No attempt is made to
distinguish planes by varying the size of the figures, to mark the
successive moments of the action by dividing the groups, or to give
prominence to the main incidents; the confusion is unbroken. Here, as
in all the battle pieces, a very singular convention may be noticed.
There are no dead or beaten Assyrians. If we may believe the artist,
the kings of Nineveh won all their battles without losing a man!

The hunting scenes are arranged with more judgment. In certain
respects we might place them in the same class as the great reliefs
from Nimroud. By right of their dignity and breadth, the latter must
be considered the masterpieces of Assyrian sculpture, but these later
works can boast an amount of energy and vitality and a truthfulness of
handling that are worthy of no stinted praise. The master by whom the
conception was thought out abandoned the overloaded backgrounds that
his immediate predecessors had brought into vogue. He concentrated his
attention on the figures, to which he gave all the value he could. They
stand out with singular force against a field whose unbroken surfaces
happily suggest the immensity of the naked plains on which the hunts
took place. We have already shown how well the distinctive features
and movements of the dog, the lion, and the wild ass are rendered; in
our Fig. 126 we give another example of the same kind. A sentiment
of real interest is stirred in us on behalf of these wild goats with
their young, who run and feed on the steppe while horsemen and beaters
prepare to drive them into the treacherous nets.

  [Illustration: FIG. 126.--Wild goats. British Museum.
  Drawn by Wallet.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 127.--The feast of Assurbanipal.
  British Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Elsewhere, on the other hand, the sculptor has furnished the beds of
his reliefs with certain vegetable and floral forms chiselled with
the greatest care. We may give, as an example, the kind of royal park
or garden in which we saw a pair of tame lions (see above, Fig. 77).
Behind the animals, to the right, there is a tree round which a vine
clings and mounts. It is heavy with clusters of ripe fruit, and even
the curling tendrils with which its branches end are not forgotten. On
the left there is a palm tree, or, at least, its trunk. Between the
vine and the palm tall flowering stems rear their heads. The artist
has wished us to understand that fruits, sweet-smelling flowers, and
umbrageous leafage, combined to make these gardens the most agreeable
of retreats for a king fatigued with war against human enemies or the
beasts of the desert. The same intention is traceable on the famous
slab already figured (Vol. I. Figs. 27 and 28), which shows the king
and queen at table in one of these royal gardens. We reproduce the
chief group on a larger scale in order that the beauty of the execution
may have a chance of making itself felt (Fig. 127). Notice the
treatment of the vine that bends over the heads of the royal couple.
The heads themselves have suffered, but all the rest of the plaque is
in excellent condition. Notice the pattern on the royal robes, and the
details of the furniture. The latter may be recognized as truthful
renderings of the magnificent chairs and tables of bronze, inlaid with
ivory and lapis-lazuli, of which so many fragments have been found in
the Assyrian palaces. Every detail that the chisel could render has
been faithfully copied. Except in colour and material, the objects
themselves are before us. The fringed coverlet thrown over the king’s
knees, the cushion on which he leans, the garland thrown over the arm
of his couch, the system of metal uprights and cross pieces of which
the queen’s throne, the king’s bed, and the small table placed between
them consist, might all be restored without difficulty. The chiselled
feet of all these objects resemble fir-cones in shape. In the case of
the table they are connected with its body by lion’s paws. On the lower
bar of the queen’s chair there is a small couchant lion.

  [Illustration: FIG. 128.--Terra-cotta statuette. Actual
  size. British Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

It may be thought, perhaps with truth, that the sculptor has overdone
these details, and that his figures are, in some degree, sacrificed to
the decorations about them. Other examples from the same series, give
a higher idea of the sculpture of this time; we may cite especially
a fragment possessed by the Louvre, in which the treatment is of the
skilfullest (Plate X). It represents Assurbanipal in his war-chariot
at the head of his army. The chariot itself, and all the accessories,
such as the umbrella and the robes of the king and his attendants, are
treated with great care but they do not unduly attract the eye of the
spectator. We can enjoy, as a whole, the group formed by the figures in
the chariot, and those who march beside and behind it. Its arrangement
is clear and well balanced; there is no crowding, the spacing of the
figures is well judged and the movement natural and suggestive. The
king dominates the composition as he should, and his umbrella happily
gathers the lines of the whole into a pyramid. In all this there is
both knowledge and taste.

The best of the Assyrian terra-cottas also belong to this period. The
merit of their execution may be gathered from the annexed statuette,
which comes from the palace of Assurbanipal (Fig. 128). From the staff
in its hands it has been supposed to represent a king, but we know that
every Assyrian was in the habit of carrying a stick with a more or less
richly ornamented head, and here we find neither a tiara nor the kind
of necklace which the sovereign generally wore (see Fig. 116). I am
inclined to think it is the image of a priest.

In conclusion we may say that, in some respects, Assyrian sculpture was
in a state of progression when the fall of Nineveh came to arrest its
development and to destroy the hopes it inspired.

                          § 7.--_Polychromy._

We have now studied Mesopotamian sculpture in its favourite themes,
in its principal conventions, and in the fluctuations of its taste
and methods of work; we have yet to ask whether this sculpture, which
differed in so many ways from the plastic art of Egypt, differed from
it also in absence of colour. We have put off this question until now,
because we had first to determine what materials the architect and
sculptor employed, how they employed them, and what part was played by
figures in relief and in the round in the architectonic creations of
Chaldæa and Assyria.

In speaking of Egypt we have explained how a brilliant light destroys
the apparent modelling of objects, how, by the reflections it casts
into the shadows, it interferes with our power to distinguish one
distant plane from another.[273] In every country where a vertical sun
shines in an unclouded sky, the decorator has had to invoke the help
of colour against the violence of the light, has had to accept its aid
in strengthening his contours, and in making his figures and ornaments
stand out against their ground. In describing Egyptian polychromy
we said that we should find the same tendency among other nations,
different in character and origin, but subjected to the influence of
similar surroundings. We also allowed it to be seen that we should have
to notice many changes of fashion in this employment of colour. Colour
played a different and more important part in one place or period than
in another, and it is not always easy to specify the causes of the
difference. In the Egyptian monuments hardly a square inch of surface
can be found over which the painter has not drawn his brush; elsewhere,
in Greece for instance, we shall find him more discreet, and his
artificial tints restricted to certain well-defined parts of a figure
or building.

Did Assyria follow the teaching of Egypt, or did she strike out a line
of her own, and set an example of the reserve that was afterwards to
find favour in Greece? That is the question to be answered. Before we
can do so we must produce and compare the evidence brought forward
by Botta, Layard, Place and others, who saw the Assyrian sculptures
reappear in the light of day. Ever since those sculptures were
recovered they have been exposed to the air; they have undergone all
the handling and rubbing involved in a voyage to Europe; and for the
last twenty or thirty years they have been subjected to the dampness
of our climate. We need, then, feel no surprise that traces of colour
still visible when the pick-axe of the explorer freed the alabaster
slabs from their envelope of earth have now disappeared.

Before examining our chief witnesses, the men who dug up Khorsabad,
and Nimroud, and Kouyundjik, we may, to some extent, foretell their
answers. We have already explained how the Mesopotamian architect made
use of colour to mask the poverty of his construction and to furnish
the great bare walls of his clay buildings. Both inside and outside,
the Assyrian palaces had the upper parts of their walls and the
archivolts of their doors decorated with enamelled bricks or paintings
in distemper. Is it to be supposed that where the reliefs began all
artificial tinting left off, and that the eye had nothing but the dull
grey of gypsum and limestone to wander to from the rich dyes of the
carpets with which the floors were strewn? Nothing could well be more
disagreeable than such a contrast. In our own day, and over the whole
of the vast continent that stretches from China to Asia Minor, there is
not a stuff, however humble, that is woven on the loom or embroidered
by the needle, but betrays an instinctive feeling for harmony so true
and subtle that every artist wonders at it, and the most tasteful of
our art workmen despair of reaching its perfection, and yet many of
these faultless harmonies were conceived and realized in the tent of
the nomad shepherd. We can hardly believe that in the palace where
official art lavished all its resources in honour of its master, there
could be any part from which the gaiety that colour gives was entirely
excluded, especially if it was exactly the part to which the eye of
every visitor would be most surely attracted.

Before going into the question of evidence one might, therefore, make
up our minds that the Assyrian architect never allowed any such element
of failure to be introduced into his work; and the excavations have
made that conclusion certain. The Assyrian reliefs were coloured, but
they were not coloured all over like those of Egypt; the grain of the
stone did not disappear, from one end of the frieze to the other, under
a layer of painted stucco. Flandin, the draughtsman attached to the
expedition of M. Botta, alone speaks of a coat of ochre spread over
the bed of the relief and over the nude portions of the figures;[274]
he confesses, however, that the traces were very slight and that they
occurred only on a slab here and there. Botta, who saw the same slabs,
thought his colleague mistaken.[275] Place is no less decided: “None
of us,” he says, “could find any traces of paint upon the undraped
portions of the figures, and it would be very extraordinary if among
so many bare arms and bare legs, to say nothing of faces, not one
should have retained any vestige of colour if they had all once been
painted.”[276] We might be inclined to ask whether the traces of
pigment that have been noticed here and there upon the alabaster might
not have been the remains of a more widespread coloration, the rest of
which had disappeared. Strong in his experience, Place thus answers
any doubts that might be expressed on this point: “We never found an
ornament, a weapon, a shoe or sandal, partially coloured; they were
either coloured all over or left bare, while objects in close proximity
were without any hue but their own. Sometimes eyes and eyebrows were
painted, while hair and beard were left untouched; sometimes the tiara
with which a figure was crowned or the fan it carried in its hand was
painted while the hand itself and the hair that curled about the head
showed not the slightest trace of such an operation; elsewhere colour
was only to be found on a baldrick, on sandals, or the fringes of a
robe.” Wherever these colours existed at all they were so fresh and
brilliant at the time of discovery that no one thought of explaining
their absence from certain parts of the work by the destruction of the
pigment. “How is it,” continues Place, “that, if robes were painted
all over, we only found colour on certain accessories, on fringes and
embroideries? How is it that if the winged bulls were coated in paint
from head to foot, not one of the deep grooves in their curled beards
and hair has preserved the slightest vestige of colour, while the white
and black of their eyes, which are salient rather than hollowed, remain
intact? Finally, we may mention the following purely accidental, and
therefore all the more significant, fact: a smudge of black paint,
some two feet long, was still clearly visible on the breast of one of
the colossi in the doorway of room 19.[277] How can we account for the
persistence of this smudge, which must have fallen upon the monster’s
breast while they were painting its hair, if we are to suppose that the
whole of its body was covered with a tint which has disappeared and
left no sign?”

Such evidence is decisive. The colouring of the Assyrian reliefs must
always have been partial. The sculptor employed the painter merely to
give a few strokes of the brush which, by the frankness and vivacity of
their accent, should bring the frieze into harmony with the wall that
enframed it. Nothing more was required to destroy the dull monotony of
the long band of stone. At the same time these touches of colour helped
to draw attention to certain details upon which the sculptor wished to

For all this, four colours were enough. Observers agree in saying that
black, white, red and blue made up the whole palette.[278] These tints
were everywhere employed pretty much in the same fashion.[279]

In those figures in which drapery covered all but the head, the latter
was, of course, more important than ever. The artist therefore set
himself to work to increase its effect as much as he could. He painted
the eyeball white, the pupil and iris, the eyebrows, the hair and the
beard, black; sometimes the edges of the eyelids were defined with
the same colour. The band about the head of the king or vizier is
often coloured red, as well as the rosettes which in other figures
sometimes decorate the royal tiara. The same tint is used upon fringes,
baldricks, sandals, earrings, parasols and fly-flappers, sceptres, the
harness of horses and the ornamental studs or bosses with which it was
covered, and the points of weapons.[280] In some instances blue is
substituted for red in these details. Place speaks of a fragment lost
in the Tigris on which the colours were more brilliant than usual;
upon it the king held a fan of peacock’s feathers coloured with the
brightest mineral blue.[281]

When figures held a flower in their hands it was blue, and at Khorsabad
a bird on the wing was covered with the same tint.[282] In some
bas-reliefs red and blue alternate in the sandals of the figures and
harness of the horses.[283] We find a red bow with a blue quiver.[284]
The flames of towns taken and set on fire by the Assyrians were
coloured red in many of the Khorsabad reliefs.[285]

A few traces of colour may still be discovered upon some of Sargon’s
sculptures in the Louvre and upon those of Assurnazirpal in the British
Museum.[286] I could find no remains of colour either upon the reliefs
of Assurbanipal or upon those of Sennacherib, where, moreover, Layard
tells us he could discover none.[287]

It would be very strange however, if in these palaces of the last of
the Sargonids the decorator had deliberately renounced the beauties of
that discreet system of polychromy of which the traces are to be found
in all the earlier palaces. It is possible that these touches of colour
were reserved for the last when the palaces were erected, and that
something may have happened to prevent them from being placed on the
sculptures of these two sovereigns.

So far as we can discover, no trace of colour has been found on any
of the arched steles or isolated statues left to us by Chaldæa and
Assyria. This abstention is to be explained by the nature of the
materials at the disposal of the sculptor in Chaldæa, the cradle of
his art. These were chiefly igneous rocks, very hard, very close in
grain and dark in colour, and susceptible of a very high polish. The
existence of such a polish disposes of any idea that the figures to
which it was given were ever painted. The pigment would not have stayed
long on such a surface, and besides, the reds and blues known to the
Ninevite artists would have had a very poor effect on a blue-black

On the other hand, when they set to work to model in clay the Assyrians
could give free rein to their love for colour. Most of the statuettes
found in the ruins of their palaces had been covered with a single
uniform tint, which, thanks to the porous nature of the material, is
still in fair preservation. The tint varies between one figure and
another, and, as they are mostly figures of gods or demons, the idea
has been suggested that their colours are emblematic.[288] Thus the
Louvre possesses a statuette from Khorsabad representing a god crowned
with a double-horned tiara, and covered all over, flesh and drapery
alike, with an azure blue.[289] A demon with the head of a carnivorous
animal, from the same place, is painted black, a colour that seems
to suggest a malevolent being walking in the night and dwelling in
subterranean regions.[290]

The Assyrians also made use of what has been sometimes called natural
polychromy, that is to say they introduced different materials into
the composition of a single figure, each having a colour of its own
and being used to suggest a similar tint in the object represented.
Several fragments of this kind may be seen in the cases of the British
Museum.[291] We may give as examples some eyes in black marble; the
ball itself is ivory while the pupil and iris are of blue paste, a
sandy frit in which the colour sank deeply before firing. Beards and
hair were also made of this material; they have been found in several
instances, without the heads to which they belonged. In the ruins from
which he took these objects, Layard saw arms, legs and torsos of wood.
They were so completely carbonized by fire that they could not be
removed; at the least touch they crumbled into powder.

With wood, with enamel and coloured earths, with stones, both soft
and hard, and metals both common, like bronze, and precious, like
gold and silver, the sculptor built up statues and statuettes in
which the peculiar beauty to be attained by the juxtaposition of such
heterogeneous materials, was steadily kept in view. With inferior taste
and less feeling for purity of form than the Greeks, this art was
identical in principal with the chryselephantine sculpture that created
the Olympian Zeus and the Athene of the Parthenon.

The idea that sculpture is the art in which form is treated to
the exclusion of colour is quite a modern one.[292] The sculptor
of Assyria was as ready to mix colour with his contours as his
_confrère_ of Egypt, but he made use of it in more sober and
reserved fashion. How are we to explain the difference? It is easier to
prove the fact than to give a reason for it. It may be said that the
sunlight is less constant and less blinding in Mesopotamia than in the
Nile valley, and that the artist was not called upon to struggle with
such determination, by the profusion and brightness of his colours,
against the devouring illumination that impoverishes outlines and
obliterates modelling. We must also bear in mind the habits formed
by work in such materials as basalt and diorite, which did not lend
themselves kindly to the use of bright colours.

In any case the fact itself seems incontestable. We cannot say of the
Ninevite reliefs as we said of those of Thebes, that they resembled a
brilliant tapestry stretched over the flat wall-surfaces. If, in most
of the buildings, touches of paint freely placed upon the accessories
and even upon the figures and faces, lightened and varied the general
appearance of the sculptures, still the naked stone was left to show
all over the bed and over the greater part of the figures. From this
we must not conclude, however, that the Assyrians and Chaldæans did
not possess, and possess in a very high degree, the love for bold and
brilliant colour-schemes which even now distinguishes their degenerate
posterity, the races inhabiting the Euphrates valley and the plateau
of Iran. But they gratified their innate and hereditary taste in a
different way. It was to their woven stuffs, to their paintings in
distemper and their enamelled faïence that the buildings of Mesopotamia
owed that gaiety of appearance which has led us to compare them with
the mosques of Turkey and Persia.

                             § 8.--_Gems._

“Every Babylonian had a seal,” says Herodotus;[293] this fact seems to
have struck him directly he began to explore the streets and bazaars of
the great oriental city. These seals, which appear to have attracted
the eye of the historian by the open manner in which they were carried
and the continual use made of them in every transaction of life, public
or private, are now in our museums. They are to be found in hundreds in
all the galleries and private collections of Europe.[294]

When Chaldæan civilization became sufficiently advanced for writing to
be in widespread use and for every man to provide himself with his own
personal seal, no great search for convenient materials was necessary.
The rounded pebbles of the river beds gave all that was wanted. The
instinct for personal adornment is one of the earliest felt by mankind,
and just as the children of to-day search in the shingle of a beach for
stones more attractive than the rest, either by their bright colours,
or vivid markings or transparency of paste, so also did the fathers of
civilization. And when they had found such stones they drilled holes
through them and made them into earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
More than one set of pebble ornaments has been preserved for us in the
Chaldæan tombs. In many instances forms sketched out by the accidents
of nature have been carried to completion by the hand of man (Fig.
129). They were not long contented with thus turning a pebble into a
jewel. The fancy took them to engrave designs or figures upon them so
as to give a peculiar value to the single stone or to sets strung into
a necklace, which thus became a kind of amulet (Fig. 130).

In the first instance this engraving was nothing more than an ornament.
But one day it occurred to some possessor of such a stone to take an
impression upon plastic clay. Those who saw the image thus obtained
were struck by its precision, and were soon led to make use of it for
authenticating acts and transactions of every kind. The presence of
such an impression upon a document would perpetuate the memory of the
man who put it there, and would be equivalent to what we call a sign

But even when it developed into a seal the engraved stone did not lose
its talismanic value. In order to preserve its quasi-magic character,
nothing more was required than the presence of a god among the figures
engraved upon it. By carrying upon his person the image of the deity in
which he placed his confidence, the Chaldæan covered himself with his
protection as with a shield, and something of the same virtue passed
into the impressions which the seal could produce in such infinite

  [Illustration: FIG. 129.--River pebble which has formed
  part of a necklace.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 130.--River pebble engraved; from De

No subject occurs more often on the cylinders than the celestial gods
triumphing over demons. Such an image when impressed upon the soft
clay would preserve sealed-up treasures from attempts inspired by the
infernal powers, and would interest the gods in the maintenance of any
contract to which it might be appended.[295]

To all this we must add that superstitions, of which traces subsist in
the East to this day, ascribed magic power to certain stones. Hematite,
for instance, as its name suggests, was supposed to stop bleeding,
while even the Greeks believed that a carnelian gave courage to any one
who wore it on his finger.

When engraving on hard stone was first attempted, it was, then, less
for the love of art than for the profit to be won by the magic virtues
and mysterious affinities, both of the material itself, and of the
image cut in its substance. Then, with the increase of material
comfort, and the development of social relations, came the desire of
every Chaldæan to possess a seal of his own, a signet that should
distinguish him from his contemporaries and be his own peculiar
property, the permanent symbol of his own person and will. So far as
we can tell, none but the lowest classes were without their seals;
these latter when they were parties or witnesses to a contract, were
contented with impressing their fingernails on the soft clay. Such
marks may be found on more than one terra-cotta document; they answer
to the cross with which our own uneducated classes supply the place of
a signature.

When the use of the seal became general, efforts were made to
add to its convenience. In order to get a good impression it was
necessary that the design should be cut on a fairly even and
regular surface. The river pebbles were mostly ovoid in form and
could easily be made cylindrical by friction, and the latter shape
at last became so universal that these little objects are always
known as _cylinders_. These cylinders were long neglected, but
within the last few years they have been the subject of some curious
researches.[296] They may be studied from two different points of view.
We may either give our attention to the inscriptions cut upon them and
to their general historical significance, or we may endeavour to learn
what they may have to teach as to the religious myths and beliefs of
Chaldæa. As for us we are interested in them chiefly as works of art.
It will be our duty to give some idea of the artistic value of the
figures they bear, and to describe the process by which the engraving
was carried out.

The cylinders are, as a rule, from two to three-fifths of an inch in
diameter, and from three quarters of an inch to an inch and a half in
length. Some are as much as an inch and three quarters, or even two
inches long, but they are quite exceptional.[297] The two ends are
always quite plain--the engraving is confined to the convex surface.
As a rule the latter is parallel to the axis, but in some cases it is
hollowed in such a fashion that the diameter of the cylinder is greater
at the ends than in the middle (Fig. 131).

Nearly every cylinder is pierced lengthwise, a narrow hole going right
through it. Those that have been found without this hole are so very
few in number that we may look upon them as unfinished. In some cases
the hole has been commenced at both ends, but the drill has stopped
short of the centre, which still remains solid.

  [Illustration: FIG. 131.--Concave-faced cylinder; from

  [Illustration: FIG. 132.--Cylinder with modern mount;
  from Rawlinson.]

The cylinders were suspended by these holes, but how? In casting about
for an answer to this question, the idea that the Babylonian attached
the greatest importance to the clear reproduction, in the clay, of
every detail of the design engraved upon his seal, has been taken as
a starting point, and a system of mounting invented for him which
would leave nothing to be desired in that respect (see Fig. 132). It
is a reproduction, in small, of a garden roller; as a restoration,
however, it can hardly be justified by the evidence of the monuments.
Examine the terra-cotta tablets on which these seals were used, and you
will see that their ancient possessors did not, as a rule, attempt to
impress the whole of the scenes cut in them upon the soft clay. It is
rare to find an impression as sharp and complete as that on the tablet
from Kouyundjik, which we borrow from Layard (Fig. 133). In the great
majority of cases signatories were content with using only one side
of their seals, usually the side on which their names were engraved.
Sometimes when they wished to transfer the whole of their cylinder to
the clay, they did so by several partial and successive pressures.[298]

The imperfect stamp with which the Chaldæans were satisfied could
easily be produced without the help of such a complicated contrivance
as that shown in our Fig. 132. Nothing more was necessary than to
lay the cylinder upon the soft clay and press it with the thumb and
fore-finger. The hole through its centre was used not to receive an
armature upon which it might turn, but merely for suspending it to
some part of the dress or person. In most cases it must have been hung
by a simple cord passed round the neck. Now and then, however, the
remains of a metal mount have been found in place, but this is never
shaped like that shown above. It is a bronze stem solidly attached to
the cylinder, and with a ring at its upper extremity (Fig. 134).[299]
Cylinders are also found with a kind of ring at one end cut in the
material itself (Fig. 135).

How were these cylinders carried? They must have been attached to the
person or dress, both for the sake of the protecting the image with
which most of them were engraved, and for convenience and readiness
in use as seals. In Chaldæa the fashion seems to have been, at one
time, to fasten them to the wrist. In those tombs at Warka and Mugheir
that we have described, the cylinders were found on the floors of the
tomb-chambers, close to the wrist-bones of the skeletons; and the
latter had not been moved since the bodies to which they had belonged
were laid in the grave.[300] This fashion was apparently abandoned
by the Assyrians, for in those reliefs which reproduce the smallest
details of dress and ornament with such elaboration, we can never find
any trace of the seal beside the bracelets. It is probable that it was
hung round the neck and put inside the dress, in front, for greater
security. It never occurs among the emblematic objects of which the
necklace that spreads over the chest outside the robe, is made up. To
this day traders in the East keep their seals in a little bag which
they carry in an inside pocket.

  [Illustration: FIG. 133.--Tablet with impression from a
  cylinder; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 134.--Cylinder with ancient bronze
  mount; from Soldi.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 135.--Cylinder and attachment in
  one; from Soldi.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 136.--Chaldæan cylinder; from

  [Illustration: FIG. 137.--Impression from the same

The practical requirements of the Mesopotamians were satisfied with a
hasty impression from their seals, but we must be more difficult to
please. Before we can study the cylinder with any completeness we must
have an impression in which no detail of the intaglio is omitted; such
a proof is to be obtained by a complete turn of the cylinder upon some
very plastic material, such as modelling-wax, or fine and carefully
mixed plaster-of-Paris. The operation requires considerable skill.
When it is well performed it results in a minute bas-relief, a flat
projection, in reverse, of the whole intaglio. The subject represented
and its execution can be much better seen in a proof like this than on
the original object, it is therefore by the help of such impressions
that cylinders are always studied; we make use of them throughout this
work. Our Figs. 136 and 137 give some idea of the change in appearance
between a cylinder and its impression.

The cutting on the cylinders, or rather on all the engraved stones of
western Asia, is in intaglio. This is the earliest form of engraving
upon _pietra-dura_ in every country; the cameo is always a
much later production; it is only to be found in the last stage of
development, when tools and processes have been carried to perfection.
It is much easier to scratch the stone and then to add with the point
some definition to the figure thus obtained, than to cut away the
greater part of the surface and leave the design in relief. The latter
process would have been especially difficult when the inscriptions
borne by many of the seals came to be dealt with. What long and painful
labour it would have required to thus detach the slender lines of the
cuneiform characters from the ground! And why should any attempt of
the kind be made? As soon as these engraved stones began to be used
as seals, there was every reason why the ancient process should be
retained. The designs and characters impressed upon deeds and other
writings were clearer and more legible in relief than in intaglio.
And it must be remembered that with the exception of some late bricks
on which letters are raised by wooden stamps, the wedges were always
hollowed out. We find but one period in the history of Chaldæa when,
as under the early dynasties of Egypt, her written characters were
chiselled in relief. It is, then, apparent that the artists of Chaldæa
would have done violence to their own convictions and departed from
long established habits, had they deserted intaglio for work in relief.
That they did not do so, even when their skill was at its highest
point, need cause us no surprise.

The Chaldæans naturally began with the softest materials, such as
wood, bone, and the shells picked up on the shores of the Persian
Gulf. Fragments of some large pearl oysters and of the _Tridacna
squamosa_, on which flowers, leaves, and horses have been engraved
with the point, have been brought from lower Chaldæa to London (see
Fig. 138).[301] Limestone, black, white, and veined marble, and the
steatite of which most of the cylinders are made, were not much
more difficult. These substances may easily be cut with a sharp
flint, or with metal tools either pointed or chisel-shaped. With
a little more effort and patience still harder materials, such as
porphyry and basalt; or the ferruginous marbles--serpentine, syenite,
hematite--could be overcome. The oldest cylinders of all, those that
are attributed to the first Chaldæan monarchy, are mostly of these
stubborn materials; their execution was easy enough to the men who
produced the statues of Gudea.[302] All that such men required to pass
from the carving of life-size figures to the cutting of gems was good
eyesight and smaller tools.

It was only towards the end of this period that more unkindly stones
began to be used, such as jasper and the different kinds of agate,
onyx, chalcedony, rock-crystal, garnets, &c. The employment of such
materials implies that of the characteristic processes of gem-cutting,
whose peculiarity consists in the substitution of friction for cutting,
in the supercession of a pointed or edged tool by a powder taken from a
substance harder, or at least as hard, as the one to be operated upon.
“The modern engraver upon precious stones,” says M. Soldi, “sets about
his work in this fashion. He begins by building up a wax model of his
proposed design upon slate. He then takes the stone to be engraved, and
fixes it in the end of a small wooden staff. This done he makes use,
for the actual engraving, of a kind of lathe, consisting of a small
steel wheel which is set in motion by a large cast-iron flywheel turned
by the foot. To the little wheel are attached small tools of soft
iron, some ending in a rounded button, others in a cutting edge. The
craftsman holds the staff with the stone in his left hand; he brings
it into contact with the instrument in the lathe, while, from time to
time, he drops a mixture of olive oil and diamond dust upon it with his
right hand; with the help of this powder the instrument grinds out all
the required hollows one after the other.”[303]

  [Illustration: FIG. 138.--Engraved shell. British

The first engravers who attacked precious stones had no diamond dust.
They supplied its place with emery powder, which was to be found in
unlimited quantities in the islands of the Archipelago, whence it was
imported by the Phœnicians at a very early date. Moreover there was
nothing to prevent them crushing the precious stones belonging to the
class called _corundum_, such as sapphires, rubies, amethysts,
emeralds, and the oriental topaz. No doubt the lathe or wheel was a
comparatively late invention. M. Soldi thinks it hardly came into use
in Mesopotamia till about the eighth century B.C. Before that the
continuous rotary movement that was so necessary for the satisfactory
conduct of the operation was obtained by other means. According to M.
Soldi they must have employed for many centuries a hand-drill turned by
a bow, like that of a modern centre-bit or wimble.[304]

  [Illustration: FIG. 139.--Chalcedony cylinder. British

  [Illustration: FIG. 140.--Cylinder of black jasper.
  British Museum.]

On examining the oldest Mesopotamian engravings on precious stones
a skilled craftsman would see at once that nearly all the work had
been done with only two instruments--one for the round hollows and
another for the straight lines. In the designs cut with these tools
we find curiously complete likenesses of the small lay figures with
ball-and-socket joints used by painters. Some idea of the strange
results produced by these first attempts at gem-engraving may be
formed from our reproductions of two cylinders in the collection at
the British Museum. The influence of the process, the tyranny of the
implement, if we may use such a phrase, is conspicuous in both. Note,
for instance, in the first design, which is, apparently, a scene of
sacrifice (Fig. 139), how the head and shoulder of the figure on the
left are each indicated by a circular hollow. The same primitive system
has been used in the cylinder where the god Anou is separated from
another deity by the winged globe (Fig. 140). The design is here more
complex. The bodies of the two divinities and the wings of the globe
are indicated by numerous vertical and horizontal grooves set close
together; but the circular hollows appear not only in the globe and in
the piece of furniture that occupies the foreground, but also in the
knees, calves, ankles, and other parts of the two figures.

  [Illustration: FIG. 141.--Assyrian cylinder. British
  Museum. Drawn by Wallet.]

As time went on they learnt to use their tools with more freedom and
more varied skill. We shall not attempt to follow M. Soldi in tracing
the art through all its successive stages.[305] As an example of the
skill to which the Mesopotamian artist had attained towards the seventh
century B.C. we may quote a splendid cornelian cylinder belonging to
the British Museum (Fig. 141).[306] The subject is extremely simple. In
its general lines it continually recurs on the bas-reliefs and gems of
the Sargonid period. A winged personage, with his arms extended, stands
between two fantastic winged quadrupeds and grasps each by a fore-paw.
The chief actor in the scene is very like the winged genius whom we
encounter so often on the walls of the palaces (see above, Fig. 36),
while both in the exaggerated modelling of the legs and in the care
with which the smallest details of the costume are carried out, the
special features that distinguished the sculpture of the time may be
recognized. The execution is firm and significant, though a little dry
and hard. It is made up of short cuts, close together; the engraver did
not understand how to give his work that high polish and finish that
enabled the Greeks to express the subtlest contours of the living form.

From this period onwards the artists of Mesopotamia and, in later
years, those who worked for the Medes and Persians, put into use all
the precious stones that were afterwards engraved by the Greeks and
Romans. Their tools and processes cannot have greatly differed from
those handed down by antiquity to the gem-cutters of the middle ages
and the Italian renaissance. If their results were inferior to those
obtained by Pyrgoteles and Dioscorides,[307] it was because oriental
art never had the knowledge of the nude or the passion for beauty of
form which made Greek art so original. Intaglio is only a bas-relief
reversed and greatly diminished in size; the style and spirit of
contemporary sculpture are reflected in it as the objects of nature are
reflected in the mirror of the human eye. For want of proper tools it
may lag behind sculpture, but it will never outstrip it.

The close connection between the two arts is nowhere more strongly
marked than in some of the cylinders belonging to the first monarchy.
Although the artist was content in most cases with mere outlines, he
now and then lavished more time and trouble on his work, and gave to
his modelling something of the breadth and truth that we find in the
statues from Tello. These merits are seen at their best in a fine
cylinder belonging to the New York Museum (Fig. 142). It represents
Izdubar and his companion Hea-bani, the Hercules and Theseus of
Chaldæan mythology, engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle with a wild bull
and a lion, a scene which may be taken as personifying the struggle
between the divine protectors of mankind on the one hand, and the blind
forces of nature assisted by all the supernatural powers of evil on
the other.[308] We have already had occasion to speak of Izdubar, who
is always represented nude and very muscular. As for his companion,
he combines the head and bust of a man with the hind quarters of a
bull.[309] There is a certain conventionality in the attitude of
the lion and in the way his claws are represented, and the movement
of Hea-bani’s left arm is ungraceful; but the antelope under the
inscription and the bull overpowered by Izdubar are rendered with a
truth of judgment and touch that all connoisseurs will appreciate. We
may say the same of the two heroes; their muscular development is given
with frankness but without exaggeration; the treatment generally is
free and broad.

  [Illustration: FIG. 142.--Chaldæan cylinder. Marble or
  porphyry. New York Museum.]

Between this cylinder and the one quoted on the last page as among the
masterpieces of Ninevite art, there is the same difference as between
the statues of Tello and the bas-reliefs of Nimroud and Khorsabad. The
engraver, who some fifteen centuries before our era, cut upon marble
this episode from one of the favourite myths of Chaldæa, may not have
been able to manipulate precious stones with such ease and dexterity
as the artist of Sargon or Sennacherib who made the cylinder in the
British Museum, but he had the true feeling for life and form in a far
higher degree.

So far we have studied the cylinders from the standpoint of their use
and the material of which they are composed; we have described the
processes employed in cutting them and the changes undergone in the
course of centuries in the style of art they display. We have yet to
speak of the principal types and scenes to be found upon them. We
cannot pretend, however, to give the details in any complete fashion.
For that a whole book would be necessary, such as the one promised by
M. Ménant.

This is not because the themes treated show any great variety; they
have, in fact, far less originality than might at first be thought.
Compare the impressions from different cabinets and attempt to classify
them in order of subject; you will find the same types and scenes
repeated, with but slight changes, on a great number of specimens, and
you will soon discover that hundreds of cylinders may be divided into
a very small number of groups. In each group, too, many individual
specimens will only be distinguishable from each other by their
inscriptions. All this is to be easily accounted for.

The finest cylinders, whether in design or material, must have been
commissioned by kings, nobles, and priests, while the common people
bought theirs ready-made. When any one of the latter wished to buy a
seal he went to the merchant and chose it from his stock, which was
composed of the patron gods and religious scenes which happened to be
most in fashion at the time. As soon as the purchaser had made his
selection he caused his own name to be engraved in the space left for
the purpose, and it was this inscription, rather than the scene beside
it, that gave its personal character to the seal. The production of
these objects was a real industry, carried on all over the country and
for many centuries, and continually reproducing the same traditional
and consecrated types.

M. Ménant believes himself able to determine where most if not all
the cylinders of the early monarchy were produced. He talks of the
schools of Ur, of Erech, of Arade, and in many cases the signs on which
he relies appear to have a serious value. But we shall not attempt
even to give a _résumé_ of the arguments he uses to justify the
classification he was the first to sketch out; we could not do so
without multiplying our illustrations and extending our letterpress to
an extravagant degree. Judging from the examples quoted by M. Ménant
himself in support of his own theory, the workshops of different towns
in the course of a single period were distinguished rather by their
predilection for particular themes than by anything peculiar in their
styles of execution; the same processes and the same way of looking at
living forms may be recognised in all. We may, then, treat all these
early works of the Chaldæan gem-engravers as the productions of a
single school; and in this history we only propose to note and discuss
the general direction of the great art currents. We cannot follow all
the arms and side streams into which the main river is subdivided.

  [Illustration: FIG. 143.--Chaldæan cylinder. Green
  serpentine. Louvre. Drawn by Wallet.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 144.--Chaldæan cylinder. Basalt.
  Louvre. Drawn by Wallet.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 145.--Chaldæan cylinder. Basalt.

One of the favourite subjects at this time was the scene of worship we
have already encountered on the Sippara tablet (Vol. I., Fig. 71.); in
the cylinders as well as on the larger tablet the worshipper is led
by a priest into the presence of an enthroned divinity. The temple,
indicated in the tablet, is suppressed in the seals, where the space is
so much less, but otherwise the composition is the same. It would be
difficult to imagine anything better fitted for objects of a talismanic
character, which were also to be used for the special purpose of these
cylinders. Whenever the Chaldæan put his seal upon clay he renewed
the act of prayer and faith which the engraver had figured upon it;
he took all men to witness his faith in the protection of Anou, of
Samas, or of some other god. We need therefore feel no surprise at
encountering this subject upon the cylinders of Ourkam, (Vol. I., Fig.
3), and his son Dungi,[310] princes in whom the oldest Chaldæan royalty
was embodied. Both of these seals seem to have been engraved in Ur,
the home of that dynasty. We have given several other variants of the
same theme (Vol. I., Figs. 17–20, and above, Figs. 40 and 124);[311]
here are two more found by M. de Sarzec at Tello (Figs. 143, 144). In
the first of these two streams seem to flow from the shoulders of the
seated deity; they may have some connection with that worship of the
two great rivers whose traces appear elsewhere.[312] In the second
example, which is not a little rough and summary in its execution, the
figures are believed to be those of women, on account of the way in
which the hair is arranged. It is clubbed with ribbons at the back of
the neck. The artist seems also to have tried to suggest the amplitude
of the female bosom. On the whole we may believe the scene to represent
a goddess--Istar perhaps--surrounded by worshippers of her own sex.
In the Louvre there is a cylinder with a scene of the same kind, but
more complex and, for us, more obscure (Fig. 145). A seated figure,
apparently female from the long hair flowing over the shoulders, sits
upon a low stool and holds a child upon her knees. In front of the
group thus formed stands a man who seems to be offering some beverage
in a horn-shaped cup. Behind him there are three not inelegant vases
upon a bracket, and a man kneeling beside a large jar upon a tripod.
The latter holds in his hand the spoon with which he has filled the
goblet presented by his companion. We may, perhaps, take the whole
scene as a preparation for a feast offered to one of those goddesses
of maternity whom we find on the terra-cottas (see above Fig. 107).
We shall not here go into the question whether we may see in all this
an episode in the legend of the ancient Sargon, the royal infant whom
his mother exposed upon the water after his clandestine birth; after
commencing like Moses, the hero of this adventure was found and brought
up by a boatman, and became the founder of an empire when he grew to
manhood, like Cyrus and Romulus.[313]

  [Illustration: FIG. 146.--Chaldæan cylinder. Montigny

If we may believe M. Ménant some of the cylinders belonging to this
period represent human sacrifices. Such he supposes to be the theme of
the example reproduced in Fig. 146. The figure with arm uplifted would
be the priest brandishing his mace over the kneeling victim, who turns
and begs in vain for mercy. The issue of the unequal struggle is hinted
at by the dissevered head introduced in the lower left-hand corner. To
make our description complete we must notice the subordinate passage,
a rampant leopard, winged, preparing to devour a gazelle.[314] The
conjecture is specious, but until confirmatory texts are discovered, it
will remain a conjecture. Those texts that have been quoted in support
of it are vague in the first place, and, in the second, they appear
to refer less to the sacrifice of human victims than to holocausts of
infants, who must have been thrown into the flames as they were in
Phœnicia. Why should we not look upon it as an emblem of the royal
victories, an emblem similar in kind to the group that recurs so
persistently in Egyptian sculpture, from the time of the ancient Empire
to that of the Ptolemies?[315] The gesture in each case is almost
exactly the same; the weapon raised over the vanquished both in the
Theban relief and the Chaldæan cylinder is well fitted to suggest the
power of the conqueror and his cruel revenges. We have reproduced this
example less for its subject than for the character of its execution.
The figures are modelled in a very rough-and-ready fashion; we might
almost call it a sketch upon stone. The movement, however, of the two
chief figures is well understood and expressive.

  [Illustration: FIG. 147.--Chaldæan cylinder. Basalt.]

Another and perhaps still richer series is composed of stones on which
the war waged by Izdubar and his faithful Hea-bani against the monsters
is figured.[316] We have already shown Izdubar carrying off a lion
he has killed (see above, Fig. 35). Another task of the Mesopotamian
Hercules is shown in Fig. 147, where he is engaged in a struggle with
the celestial human-headed bull, who has been roused to attack the hero
by Istar, whose love the hero has refused.[317]

In this cylinder it will be noticed that Izdubar is repeated twice,
once in profile and once full face. Close to him Hea-bani is wrestling
with a lion, the bull’s companion and assistant. In another example
we find Izdubar alone (Fig. 148) and maintaining a vigorous struggle
against a bull with long straight horns, and at the same time turning
his head so as to follow a combat between a lion and ibex that is going
on behind him.[318] The action of both these latter animals is rendered
with great freedom and truth. We have already had to draw attention
to the merit that distinguishes not a few of the animals in these
cylinders.[319] This merit is to be found in almost every composition
in which the artist has been content to make use of natural types. It
is only when he compiles impossible monsters that the forms become
awkward and confused. An instance of this may be found in a cylinder
found by M. de Sarzec at Tello, on which winged quadrupeds seizing
and devouring gazelles are portrayed (Fig. 149). Too many figures are
brought together in the narrow space and the result is confusion. We
are not, however, disposed to accept this cylinder as belonging to the
first years of Chaldæan art. It is of veined agate, a material that
was not among the earliest employed; but there are many more on which
similar scenes are engraved, and which, by their execution, may be
safely placed among the most ancient products of art.[320]

  [Illustration: FIG. 148.--Chaldæan cylinder. Black
  marble. French National Library.]

One of the earliest types invented by the imaginations of these
people was that of the strange and chaotic beings who, according to
the traditions collected by Berosus, lived upon the earth before the
creation of man, creatures in which the forms and limbs afterwards
separated and distinguished by nature, were mixed up as if by accident.
The text in question is of the very greatest interest and value. It
proves that the composite figures of which Chaldæan art was so fond
were not a simple caprice of the artists who made them, but were
suggested by a cosmic theory of which they formed, as it were, a
plastic embodiment and illustration.

“There was a time,” says Berosus, “when all was water and darkness, in
which monstrous animals were spontaneously engendered: men with two
wings, and some with four; with two faces, and two heads, the one male
and the other female, and with the other features of both sexes united
in their single bodies; men with the legs and horns of a goat and the
feet of a horse; others with the hind quarters of a horse and the upper
part of a man, like the hippocentaurs. There were also bulls with human
heads, dogs with four bodies and fishes’ tails, and other quadrupeds in
which various animal forms were blended, fishes, reptiles, serpents,
and all kinds of monsters with the greatest variety in their forms,
monsters whose images we see in the paintings of the temple of Bel at
Babylon.”[321] Of all these fantastic creatures there are hardly any
but may be found on some cylinder, and if there be one or two still
missing, it is very probable that future discoveries will fill up the

  [Illustration: FIG. 149.--Chaldæan cylinder of veined
  agate. Louvre.]

Before quitting these remains from the earliest school of gem
engraving, we must draw attention for a moment to the way in which
it treats costume. In most cases the folds of the stuff are imitated
by very fine parallel strokes. Sometimes, as, for instance, in the
figure on the right of Ourkam’s seal (Vol. I., Fig. 3), these close
and slightly sinuous lines extend without interruption from the top to
the bottom of the dress, but in most cases they are crossed by several
transverse bands, probably coloured, either woven into the material or
sewn upon it (see Vol. I., Figs. 3, 17, and 20, and above, Figs. 39 and
41). We have already encountered this method of treating drapery in
certain statuettes from the same place and time (Figs. 99 and 100), but
we never find it in Assyria or in Chaldæa after the fall of Nineveh,
either in statues or on engraved stones.

There is another characteristic detail that should not be forgotten,
namely, the caps turned up at the side in the shape of horns (Vol. I.,
Fig. 17 and above, Fig. 143). By this head-dress and the plaited robes
a Chaldæan cylinder may be at once recognised as dating from these
remote ages. Fashions and methods of execution changed as soon as the
preponderance of Assyrian royalty was assured. Artists of merit must
then have migrated northwards and opened workshops in the cities of
the Tigris; but production was never so great as in the south. Every
traveller in those regions notices that there are far more cylinders
to be purchased in the bazaars of Bagdad and Bassorah than in those
of Mossoul.[322] The glyptic art of Assyria was an exotic, like her
sculpture and her architecture.

  [Illustration: FIG. 150.--Archaic Assyrian cylinder. In
  the Uffizi, Florence.]

In attempting to define the characteristics of the Assyrian cylinders,
and to distinguish them from those of Chaldæa, we may take as points of
departure and as types of the new class, a few seals bearing legends
that enable us to give them a positive date. Thus we may learn from a
signet that once belonged to the governor of Calah what the execution
of the artists employed by the princes of Elassar and Nimroud was
like (Fig. 150). We need not hesitate to assign this cylinder to the
first Assyrian monarchy. The workmanship, at once careful and awkward,
belongs to a time when all the difficulties of gem engraving had not
yet been overcome. In the wings of the genius and the legs of the
personage who follows him the management of the instrument used is that
of an art still in its infancy. In this seal then we have a valuable
example of what we may call THE ARCHAIC ASSYRIAN CYLINDER.
We have already figured several in which the same characteristics
appear (Figs. 124, 139, and 140). In the same class we may put a number
of cylinders on which scenes of worship are represented with slight
variations (Figs. 151 and 152).[323] The figure of the king standing
before the altar with his right hand upon his bow resembles the
Assurnazirpal in several of the Nimroud reliefs (see above, Fig. 140).
The Balawat gates and other remains from the same time have already
made us acquainted with the accessories of the act of worship figured
in the last of these two cylinders, especially with the short column
surmounted by a cone (Plate XII).

  [Illustration: FIG. 151.--Assyrian cylinder. Serpentine.
  National Library, Paris.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 152.--Assyrian cylinder. Serpentine.
  National Library, Paris.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 153.--Assyrian cylinder. British
  Museum. Drawn by Wallet.]

We now come to the epoch of the Sargonids with its still more refined
and skilful art, of which an exquisite cylinder in the British Museum
may be taken as an example (Fig. 153). The name of a personage called
Musesinip has been read upon it, and it is believed to be a reduction
from a contemporary bas-relief. In the centre appears the holy tree
with the supreme deity floating over it in the winged disk. On each
side of the tree is the figure of a king with a winged eagle-headed
genius behind him. These last-named creatures have their right hands
raised, while in their left they hold the bronze buckets we have
already encountered at Nimroud (Vol. I., Fig. 8). There is one detail
which is not to be found, so far as I know, in the bas-reliefs, namely,
the double cord that descends from the winged disk into the hands
of the king. The artist, no doubt, meant to symbolize by this the
communication established by prayer between the prince and his divine

Among the dated and authenticated examples from this epoch the cylinder
inscribed with the name of Ursana, king of Musasir and adversary of
Sargon, may be quoted.[324] We do not reproduce it because it differs
so little from the example of Assyrian gem engraving given in our
Fig. 141. The same genius appears in the middle, but instead of two
winged monsters he holds two ostriches by the neck. We have already
encountered this fight between a man and an ostrich on a stone dating
from the same century (Fig. 75). We may name as a last example the
stone found by Layard at Kouyundjik, which may be the very signet of
Sennacherib himself (Vol. I., Fig. 70).

If we place all these impressions side by side we shall find they have
a certain number of common characteristics which will enable us to
recognize those of Assyrian parentage even when they bear no lettering,
or when their inscriptions tell us nothing as to their origin. In the
first place they are mostly of fine materials, such as chalcedony or
onyx. Secondly, they contain sacred emblems and types that are not to
be found in the primitive arts of Chaldæa, such as the mystic tree,
the winged globe, the eagle-headed genius, &c. Thirdly, the fantastic
animals of Assyria are different in general appearance from those of
the southern kingdom; and, finally, the costume of the two countries is
not the same. In the cylinders from Calah and Nineveh we find neither
the flounced robes nor the cap with turned-up borders. As in the
palace reliefs, the mantle-fringes cross the figure slanting-wise--an
obliquity which affords a ready means of distinguishing between a
native of Assyria and one of Chaldæa.

  [Illustration: FIG. 154.--Chaldæan cylinder dating from
  the second monarchy. Black jasper. British Museum.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 155.--Impression of a cylinder on a
  contract; from Ménant.[2]]

The use of the cylinder persisted after the fall of Nineveh and
throughout the second Chaldæan monarchy, but the types from this late
epoch display very little invention or variety. The most common of all
shows a personage standing bare-headed before two altars, one bearing
the disk of the sun, the other that of the moon (Fig. 154).[325]
This individual is sometimes bearded, sometimes shaven. His costume
is neither that of early Chaldæa nor the twisted robe of Assyria.
Sometimes one of the altars or the field is occupied by a monster with
a goat’s head and a fish’s body and tail, as in the impression left
by a cylinder on a contract dated “the twelfth year of Darius, king
of Babylon, king of the nations” (Fig. 155).[326] The use of these
types lasted in the valley of the Euphrates all through the Achæmenid
supremacy. No inscriptions were used. Names and dates were engraved by
hand on the clay after the seal had been placed upon it. We can see
clearly from the monotony of the images, which are repeated almost
unchanged on hundreds of tablets, that the art of gem-engraving was in
full decadence. The people were enslaved, they lived upon the memory of
their past, creating neither new forms nor new ideas. They no longer
attempted to make their seals works of art; they looked upon them as
mere utensils.

  [Illustration: FIG. 156.--Cylinder with Aramaic
  characters. Vienna Museum.]

Cylinders are sometimes found in this region inscribed with Aramaic
characters, like the weights from Nimroud. Such, for instance, is one
representing a dismounted hunter meeting the charge of a lion,[327]
while his horse stands behind him and awaits the issue of the struggle
(Fig. 156). The costume of the hunter is neither Assyrian nor Chaldæan.
He has been supposed to represent a Scythian. The Scythian figured at
Bisitun has the same pointed bonnet or cowl. Cylinders of this kind
will long be a difficulty for the classifier.[328]

The cylindrical form was not the only one used by the inhabitants of
Mesopotamia for their seals. Small objects in _pietra dura_ of a
different shape are now often found in the country, and are beginning
to hold their own in our museums; these are pyramids, spheroids,
and especially cones. Every cone, except one or two which may never,
perhaps, have been finished, is pierced near its summit with a hole for
suspension. There has never been any doubt from the first that they
were signets. Their bases, which are generally flat, but sometimes
convex or concave, are always engraved in intaglio. The impression was
thus obtained at one stroke, at one pressure of the hand, and it was
in all probability the greater ease with which that operation could be
carried out that in time led to the supercession of the cylinder by the
cone. The use of the latter became almost universal in the time of the
Seleucidæ and Parthians.

  [Illustration: FIG. 157.--Cone. Sapphirine

  [Illustration: FIG. 158.--Cone. Sapphirine

It is when they grow old that both nations and individuals turn their
attention to ease and comfort. The Chaldees were long contented with
the cylinder, although, as a seal, it was a very imperfect contrivance.
The ancient monarchy never seems to have made use of flat signets. The
impression of one has been sought for in vain on those contracts of
the time of Hammourabi, where so many cylinders have left their mark.
The oldest document on which the trace of a circular seal has been
recognized belongs to the northern kingdom, and dates from the reign
of Bin-Nirari, who occupied the throne of Assyria towards the end of
the ninth century B.C. From this moment the use of the cone becomes
rapidly common. Under the Sargonids, and still more during the second
Chaldee monarchy and under the Achæmenids, it superseded the cylinder.
The dates inscribed on the tablets prove their age; the space on the
cones themselves was too narrow, as a rule, for a legend. On a few
specimens we find one or two characters engraved, generally a divine
monogram or the traditional emblems of the sidereal powers. A few cones
have inscriptions in Aramaic characters (see Fig. 157); on the example
figured we again encounter the strange composite beast we have already
seen upon a stone tablet and a cylinder (Figs. 87 and 141). In spite
of the alphabet employed, this cone must have been engraved either in
Nineveh or its neighbourhood.

The narrowness of the field explains the want of variety in the
subjects. In a small circle like this there was no room for more than
a single figure with a few accessories, or, at most, for two figures.
We cannot expect to find scenes as varied and complicated as those upon
the cylinders. A very small number of the simplest themes formed the
stock-in-trade of the engraver.

There are about four hundred specimens in the British Museum, and as
many more in Paris, in the Louvre and the _Cabinet des Antiques_.
In the presence of them all we can only confess to a feeling of
embarrassment. They are never arranged in chronological order; Assyrian
intaglios are mixed up with those from Chaldæa, from Phœnicia and
Persia. Certain types were reproduced and copied in this region even
as late as the Arsacids and Sassanids. We shall choose a few, however,
which we may with some certainty attribute to Assyria. There is in the
first place one on which two winged figures seem to be adorning the
sacred tree (Fig. 158). We find the impression of an almost exactly
similar cone on a contract dated 650 B.C. The only differences lie in
the more careful execution of the latter seal and in the substitution
of the radiant disk of the sun for the crescent moon.[331] In another
impression we find the radiant disk changed into the winged globe.[332]
The shape and fringe of the Assyrian robe may be recognized in the
intaglio in which a man with long hair and beard does homage to a
winged genius (Fig. 159). The worshipper is standing, but behind him
appears a kneeling figure. This posture is rare, but it is met with in
a few instances on monuments from this period, and is always used to
suggest the profound respect with which a man does obeisance either to
his god or his king.[333]

We need not hesitate to ascribe to the second Chaldæan monarchy a cone
with a bearded individual standing before an altar on which lies a
fantastic animal (Fig. 160); above his head appear the sun, the moon,
and a star. We have already mentioned two examples of this theme, which
begins to appear in the time of Nebuchadnezzar and remains in fashion
until the Macedonian conquest.[334]

  [Illustration: FIG. 159.--Amethyst cone. National
  Library, Paris.[335]]

  [Illustration: FIG. 160.--Agate cone. National Library,

Among the themes in most frequent use under the Sargonids we might have
quoted the _single combat of the king with a lion_, the _god
standing upon a lion’s back_, the _king over whose head a servant
holds an umbrella_, the heads and bodies of different animals, and
others.[337] We cannot pretend, however, to enumerate them all. It is
sufficient to show, as we have done, that after the ninth century at
latest both cylinders and cones were produced in the same workshops,
and that the differences in their figuration are to be explained by the
dimensions and form of the new surface. Those who have supposed that
the use of flat seals only commenced under the Achæmenids are mistaken.
All that we can say with truth is that intaglios cut upon sections of
cones, spheres and pyramids are less ancient than the cylinders of Ur,
Erech, Accad and Sippara.

This is proved by the dated contracts to which we have already so often
had to refer; but supposing no such contracts to have been in existence
we could have arrived at the same conclusion by another path. Cones in
calcareous stone, in marble, or even in _pietra dura_ are either
wanting altogether, or very few and far between; they are almost all in
precious stones, most of them in carnelian and chalcedony. Sapphirine
chalcedony, with its fine bluish tint, seems to have been most in

In Egypt we found intaglios upon metal as well as upon lapidary
substances.[338] This use of metal was a result of mounting seals in
circles of gold or silver. Precious stones were rare and difficult
to cut; what could be more natural than to substitute metal for them
and to make the bezel of a ring of the same material as its hoop. For
its engraving neither lathe nor diamond dust was wanted; the burin
alone was necessary, and the figures cut by it gave a result no less
satisfactory than those obtained by the slower process and in the more
stubborn material. The temptation was great for the Egyptian artist,
and we are not surprised that he succumbed to it, but it did not exist
for the Chaldæan engraver. The latter had only to deliver a stone which
his client could wear fastened to his wrist, or hung round his neck
by a cord. He had no direct and intimate relations with the worker
in metal; he was not compelled to call in the latter to mount his
creation. Sometimes, under the influence perhaps of foreign models,
he may have attempted to substitute metal for stone, but isolated
attempts did not make a school. We can point to only one example of
such work. The British Museum possesses a silver cylinder, but the only
interesting thing about it is its material.[339] The composition of the
type is naive and its execution rough. All this allows us to believe
that metal seals were very rare and never came into general use.

Oriental artists, at least during the period of which we are now
speaking, hardly ever practised any kind of gem-cutting but intaglio,
but there are two stones in existence in which first attempts at a
process that must have led in time to the production of cameos, may be
traced. “In one of these gems, an onyx, the upper layer is cut away
from the one below it and an inscription left. In the other the eyes
and neck of a serpent are rendered with the aid of three different
tints in the stone.”[340]

   § 9. _The General Characteristics of Chaldæo-Assyrian Sculpture._

We have now reached the end of our inquiry into the history of
Mesopotamian sculpture--an inquiry that we have endeavoured to make
as complete as the existing remains would allow. So far as Chaldæa is
concerned, these are very few in number. On the other hand, the three
centuries over which the Assyrian power extended are pictured in such
a vast number of reliefs that we are embarrassed by their number as
much as by their want of variety. Our difficulty in the case of Assyria
has been to make a selection from a vast quantity of objects that tell
us the same thing again and again, while, in the case of Chaldæa, it
has been to insure that none of the scanty salvage from so great a
wreck should be lost. We have more than once had to make induction and
conjecture take the place of examination and assertion before we could
complete even a rough sketch of the development of Chaldæan art.

There is one question that must have been asked by many of our readers
before these pages came in their way, but is now, we venture to hope,
fully answered, and that is, whether the Semites of Chaldæa drew
their first inspiration from a foreign source, or whether it was an
original result from the natural aptitudes of the race. Ancient as
civilization may have been in the Euphrates valley, it was still more
ancient, to all appearance, in the valley of the Nile. And yet all who
have examined the figures we have placed before them must acknowledge
the originality and independence of Chaldæan art. No; the sculptors
of Memphis and Thebes were not the masters of those of Babylon and
Nineveh; they preceded them indeed, but they left them no teaching and
no models to copy.

This is proved in the first place by the difference, we might say the
opposition, between the two styles. The Egyptian sculptor simplifies,
abridges, and summarizes form; the Assyrian amplifies it and accents
its details. The former seems to see the human body through a veil
of gauze, which hides the accidents of the surface and the secondary
forms, allowing nothing to be clearly grasped but the contour and the
great leading lines. One would say that the second studied nature
through a magnifying-glass; he insists upon what the first slurs over.

This is not the only difference between the two methods and the two
interpretations. The Egyptian artist can seize the character of a
movement with much justice and vivacity, but he endeavours to ennoble
it by giving it a general and typical value. This he does, for example,
in the gesture of the king who brandishes his mace or sword over the
head of his conquered enemy while he holds him by the hair with his
other hand.[341]

He thinks more about elegance in arranging the posture of his figures;
look, for instance, at the men and women carrying offerings, at the
dancers and musicians who abound in the reliefs and pictures. His
favourite attitude, however, is one expressive of force in repose.
We cannot deny that in his figures in the round the Mesopotamian
sculptor showed the same predilection, but his choice was suggested,
or rather imposed, by the resistance of the materials he employed and
the necessity of avoiding certain executive difficulties over which
he could not triumph. We can hardly see how he could have given his
figures more animation or have better expressed the freedom of their
limbs and the swing of their bodies; the stones he used were either
too hard or too soft, and he was without the needful skill in the
management of his tools.

It is in the reliefs, where he is more at his ease, that he allows us
to see whither his natural inclinations would lead him. They contain
hardly any seated figures. Man is there always on his feet and in
action. Movement, to interest the Mesopotamian artist, need not be the
expression of an idea, or the cause of graceful lines. It pleases him
for its own sake by its freedom and unexpectedness, I am almost tempted
to say, by its violence.

This feeling is visible chiefly in the battle pictures and hunting
scenes. In these, no doubt, the drawing of limbs, &c., often leaves
much to be desired. The hand has been unable to render all that the eye
has seen. The unveiled human body has not been displayed often enough
to the sculptor for him to know thoroughly the construction of its
framework and the mode of attachment of its limbs. On the other hand,
when animals have to be treated, with what singular power and complete
success the same artist has often represented the tension of the
contracting muscles, the speed of the horse as he stretches himself in
the gallop, the spring of the lion as he throws himself upon the spear
(see Fig. 161), and, finally, the trembling of the flesh in the last
struggle against suffering and death! It is in the Assyrian monuments
that these things are treated with the greatest success. A people of
soldiers and hunters, whose truculent energy gave them the empire of
all western Asia, they had neither the mild humour nor the fine taste
of the Egyptians, they were less easily moved, and we find ourselves
wondering that they never hit upon the fights of gladiators as a
national pastime. They were touched and interested by force passing
from repose into action, by force putting forth all its energies in
contempt of danger and in spite of the most determined resistance.

  [Illustration: FIG. 161.--Assurbanipal attacked by
  lions. British Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

The temperaments of the two nations were, then, vastly different,
and by the time their mutual relations became close and continuous,
each had thought too much, had worked too much, and created too much
for itself to be in any great danger of losing its originality under
the influence of the other. Moreover, the two civilizations never
penetrated within one another. Their moments of contact were short
and superficial. Under the great Theban conquerors of the eighteenth
dynasty, the Egyptian armies advanced to the Euphrates, and the princes
of Mesopotamia may, for a time, have recognized the suzerainty of
the Pharaohs; this is proved to some extent by the numerous scarabs
engraved with the name of Thothmes III., which have been found in the
valley of the Khabour,[342] but after the nineteenth dynasty their
hold upon these distant conquests must have been lost. Their access to
them was barred by the Khetas, in Syria, and, a few centuries later,
it was the Sargonids who invaded Egypt and admired its monuments so
much that they carried some of them away, such as the lion found at
Bagdad. It bears the oval of a Pharaoh who is believed to be one of
the shepherd kings.[343] In the interval the importation of objects of
luxury, which was carried on through the Phœnicians, had introduced a
few foreign motives into the repertory of the Assyrian artists, such as
the crouching sphinx and the lotus flower; the winged globe may also
be Egyptian; but these borrowings never go beyond details; even if
they were far more numerous than they are, they would not deprive the
sculpture of the Mesopotamian Semites of its right to be considered an
independent and autonomous form of art, whose merits and defects are
to be explained by the inborn genius of the race, by its manner and
beliefs, by the natural conditions of its home, and the qualities of
the different materials employed.[344]

It is in the same order of ideas that we must seek a reason for the
differences we have remarked between the art of the early Chaldæan
monarchy as it has been revealed to us in the monuments recently
discovered, and Assyrian art as we have known it ever since the
explorations at Khorsabad, Nimroud, and Kouyundjik. In all this there
is a most interesting question for the study of the historian. Of what
nature was the bond by which the sculptors of Calah and Nineveh were
allied to those who had chiselled the Sirtella statues, perhaps a
thousand years before? What place does the brilliant and prolific art
of Assyria occupy in the series of phases whose succession was governed
by the laws that have presided over the development of human societies
in every age and place? Until within the last few months we should have
found it difficult to give a satisfactory answer to this question.
Assyrian art offered contradictory features to the observer, and it
was not easy to understand how, with so lively a feeling for form, and
especially for movement, it could have admitted so much conventionality
and repeated itself with so much insistence and prolixity. The
combination of skill and awkwardness, of energy and platitude, was more
than surprising. But the problem resolves itself as soon as we go back
to the art of Chaldæa, the first-born of the two sister nations, and
the pioneer of Mesopotamian civilization.

Assyrian art, even in its most ancient productions, was not, as we once
believed, a primitive or even an archaic art; neither was it what we
call a classic art, an art employing the skill it has acquired for the
renewed study of nature and the sincere imitation of its beauties. We
shall not call it a debased art or an art in its decadence; to do so
would be to exaggerate our meaning; but it was an art no longer in its
progress, an art that, for the sake of rapid and ample production,
made use of conventional formulæ invented by deceased masters and
handed down by tradition.

Perhaps we may give a clearer notion of what we mean by a comparison.

Under all the reserves implied by such collations, we should say that
Chaldæan art was to that of Assyria what the Greek art of Phidias,
Praxiteles, and Lysippus was to the Alexandrian and Græco-Roman art
which we now call _Hellenistic_. In the studios of Nineveh, as
in those of Pergamus, of Rhodes, of Antioch, of Rome, great activity,
great skill, and no little science were to be found; even originality
was sought for, but it was sought rather than won. Thus we find in
Macedonian and Roman Greece, here a school drawing attention by
audacious and perhaps theatrical execution, there another devoting its
skill to pathetic subjects, and attempting to render physical agony by
contracted muscles. So it is in Assyria. The ease with which alabaster
and soft limestone could be cut allowed the artists who worked for
Assurnazirpal to give to the ornamentation of the rich stuffs they
figured a delicacy and refinement that were impossible in the stubborn
stones of Chaldæa. Two centuries later the sculptors of Assurbanipal
sought a new element of success in the complication of their scenes,
in the grace of their execution, in the picturesque details of their
landscape backgrounds, in the increased slenderness of their figures,
and in a certain elegance spread over their compositions as a whole.

It is certain that neither the Greek of the later centuries nor the
Assyrian invented and created in the proper sense of the word. The
Greek sculptor, thanks to a deeper comprehension of the true conditions
of art and to the necessity under which he laboured of reproducing the
nude, certainly did not remit his care for modelling, but he looked
at the contours and the significance of the human body rather with
the eyes of his masters and predecessors than with his own. It was to
those masters that he was indebted for his propensity to see one set of
features rather than another, and to give that interpretation to form
that, taken altogether, constitutes the Greek style.

The Assyrian sculptor was in much the same case, but as his figures
were draped, almost without exception, it was much easier for him to
put nature aside altogether and to fall into manner and routine. It is
only when he has to represent animals that he seems to work from the
living model. The human body, hidden under its long and heavy robes,
did not discover enough to awake his interest; all that he sees--the
features and the profile of the face, the throat, the lower parts of
the arms and legs--he treats after the examples left to him by his
Chaldæan leader. In the whole of Assyrian sculpture there is no passage
studied from nature with faith and sincerity, like the hand, the
shoulder, and the back in the statues of Gudea. The Chaldæan sculptor
had a taste for strong modelling, and in this his Assyrian pupil copied
him with such an excess of zeal that he arrived at exaggeration and
pure convention. He knotted the knees of his figures, he gave them
knee-caps standing out like huge bosses, and muscles so stretched and
salient that they look like cables rather than flesh and blood. It is
an early edition of what is now an old story. The master is betrayed by
the pupil, who copies his mannerisms rather than his beauties and turns
many of his fine qualities into defects.

We may now see how much the Chaldæan excavations and the collection
which the Louvre owes to M. de Sarzec are calculated to teach the
historian of art. These discoveries, by their intrinsic importance and
by the light they have thrown on the origin of a great civilization,
may almost be compared to those of Lepsius and Mariette, to the
systematic researches and happy finds that have revealed the Egypt
of the ancient empire to us. Assyrian art is no longer a puzzling
phenomenon. Like the Egyptian art of the Theban epoch, it was preceded
by a realistic and naturalistic, an inquisitive, simple-minded, and
single-hearted art, which had faithfully studied the human form and had
thus created one of the original styles of antiquity, a style, perhaps,
in which Greece at its first beginning found the most useful lessons
and the most fertile suggestions.

As we have already confessed, we can form but a very imperfect notion
of what the art of Chaldæa was in its best days, in its period of youth
and freshness. The remains are few and small; they are heads separated
from the bodies to which they once belonged, chips from broken reliefs
and a few small bronze and terra-cotta statuettes. Even supposing that
new discoveries come to fill up the gaps, so that the development of
Chaldæo-Assyrian art may be embraced as a whole, even then it would,
we believe, be interior to that of Egypt. No doubt it possesses certain
qualities not to be found in the latter. The statues from Tello have
a freedom and vigour of modelling in certain parts that can hardly be
prized too highly, and the Memphite artist never chiselled anything so
full of intense life and movement as the animals at Kouyundjik; but
without again referring to faults already treated at length we may
say that the supreme defect of Mesopotamian sculpture is its want of

It is a powerful but monotonous art. For each class of figures it had
but one mould. It seems never to have suspected how unlike men are to
each other when they are looked at closely; we are tempted to believe
that it never made a portrait in the true sense of the word. It held
through many centuries to the general and abstract types created at
first, and repeated them with a constancy that inevitably causes some
weariness in the spectator. It also committed the mistake of spreading
a single colour, speaking metaphorically, over all its pictures; as
a musician would say, all its compositions were in the same key; it
was always serious; it did not understand how to laugh or unbend. In
the elaboration of its demons it certainly cast about for as much
ugliness as it could find, but that was to frighten and not to amuse.
In all the remains of Assyrian art there is no trace of playful humour,
of the light-hearted gaiety that is so conspicuous in more than one
Egyptian monument. In the subordinate parts of some of the reliefs
from the Sargonid period we find certain groups and scenes belonging
to what we should call _genre_, but neither here, nor in the
bronzes, nor in engraved gems, nor even in the terra-cottas, do we find
anything that approaches caricature. The comic element, without which
no representation of life can be faithful and complete, is entirely

A final defect of Assyrian art is the almost total absence of woman
from its creations. In Chaldæa we found her in the small bronzes and in
a few clay figures; the canephorus with bare arms and bust, the nursing
goddesses who bear a child in their arms or who press their breasts
with their open hands, will be remembered, but it would seem that such
subjects were treated only in figures of very small dimensions. In
the fragmentary reliefs and statues from Chaldæa there is nothing to
suggest that female forms, either wholly or partially nude, were either
cast or chiselled in anything approaching life size. Still less were
such things made in Assyria, where no terra-cotta figure even of the
deity to whom the names of Istar, Beltis, Mylitta, and Zarpanitu have
all been given, has yet been found. It was, however, at Kouyundjik
that the only nude female torso yet discovered in Mesopotamia was dug
up. It bears the name Assurbilkala, and is now, as we have said above,
in the British Museum.[345] Among the ivories, indeed, we find female
statuettes in which we are tempted to recognize the same goddess; but
where were those ivories carved? We have good reason to believe that
not a few are of Phœnician workmanship.

The real national art of Assyria must be sought in the palace reliefs,
and in that long illustrated chronicle of the court, the chase, and
the royal campaigns, woman plays a very subordinate part. It has been
thought that a tall, beardless individual who occurs near one of the
doorways of Assurnazirpal’s palace, in the place generally reserved
for divinities, should be accepted as a goddess (Fig. 162).[346] She
is winged, and her hair is gathered together at the back of the neck,
one long knotted and tasselled tress falling nearly to her loins. Her
right arm is raised, her left lowered; in her left hand she holds a
small wreath or garland. A wide girdle at the waist confines a long
robe falling to the feet, and a fringed and flounced mantle. Nothing
is seen through this drapery, such as amplitude of bosom or hips, to
suggest the female sex, while the jewels that may be noticed on the
neck and wrists and in the ears are also to be found on figures that
are certainly male. In fact there is nothing to suggest a woman but
the arrangement of the hair and a certain unwonted refinement in the
execution of the features. And it is only by external signs like these,
by the pose and the costume, that the few women in the bas-reliefs
are to be recognized. This observation holds good for the queen of
Assurbanipal as well as for the musicians who celebrate his victories
and the captives led into slavery by the Assyrian armies.

  [Illustration: FIG. 162.--Figure of a goddess. British
  Museum. Drawn by Wallet.]

We can hardly say then that woman had any place in Assyrian art; she
was represented, if at all, only by her robes. In the long series of
reliefs you find none of the charming variety given to Egyptian art by
the slender forms of goddesses, queens, dancers, and players on the
mandolin, who crowd the pictures and allow the graceful contours of
their youthful bodies to be seen through their transparent robes. In
spite, then, of all its merits, the art of the Assyrian sculptor is
far from complete. His neglect of the soft nobleness inherent in the
beauty of woman deprived him of a precious resource; his works are
without the telling contrasts that nature has set up between the forms
of man and those of his mate. We have endeavoured to do him justice;
we have sought to put in full light the merits by which he attracts our
admiration, but we cannot help seeing that he lacks something that we
have found in Egypt and shall find again in Greece; he is without the
charm of grace and light.


                             CHAPTER III.


In the inventory we are compiling of the various methods used by the
Semites of Mesopotamia to address the intellect through the eyes,
we shall consecrate a chapter to painting for form’s sake. The kind
of representation we call by that name was no more known to the
Assyrians and Chaldæans than it was to the Egyptians.[347] They loved
brilliant colours, but they only made use of them for what was, in
fact, illumination; they coloured figures and ornaments, but they never
_painted_, as the word is understood in all modern languages.

In our endeavours to explain how the Mesopotamian architect disguised,
under a robe of gay tints, the poverty of the materials with which he
was forced to work, we showed that he employed colour in two different
ways, according to the place occupied in the building by the wall he
had to cover.[348] In the interiors of rooms he was, in most cases,
satisfied with spreading upon the plaster a coat of some pigment that
could be easily renewed when it began to fade; but in those parts of
the building that were exposed to the weather, and even in some rooms
that were the objects of particular care, he had recourse to the
solidity of enamel. We have pointed out the favourite motives both in
the distemper paintings and in the kind of mosaic given by the glazed
or enamelled bricks; we have yet to say what tints the enameller used
and how he used them. Our coloured plates will give a better idea of
this decoration than we can give in words (Plates XIII., XIV., and

In the carpets still woven in Asia Minor, Kurdistan, Khorassan and
Persia there are colours at once brilliant and soft that are a constant
delight to the eye of the connoisseur. We may point, for instance, to
certain reds and greens at which the manufacturers of Europe gaze in
despair, in spite of the resources of modern chemistry. This freshness
and solidity of tint is explained by the almost exclusive use of
vegetable dyes. These the Kurd or Turkoman extracts from mountain
plants, sometimes from the stem or the root, sometimes from the blossom
or the seed.[350] These inventions and recipes have been handed down
from generation to generation through many ages; the secret of many
dyes must have been discovered long before the fall of Nineveh or the
beginning of the Babylonian decadence. Down to the very last days of
antiquity the dyers of Mesopotamia were famous for their processes
and the harmonious splendour of their colours. Since the days of
Nebuchadnezzar the people of that region have forgotten much, while
they have learnt nothing, perhaps, but how to hasten the depopulation
of their country by the use of gunpowder. All the professional skill
and creative activity of which they still can boast they owe to the
survival of this ancient industry, whose traditions and practical
methods are preserved in the hut of the mountaineer, under the tent of
the nomad, and in those bazaars where so many agile weavers repeat,
with marvellous rapidity of hand and sureness of eye, the designs and
motives of thirty or forty centuries ago.

Among the colouring materials still in use in the woollen fabrics of
the Levant there can be very few with which the ancients were not
acquainted, and perhaps they used some of them in their distemper
paintings; but the latter were no more than feeble shadows when
discovered, and they soon vanished when exposed to the air. It was
different with those that had been subjected to the action of fire.
They could be removed and analyzed. But the enameller confined himself
almost exclusively to mineral colours, of which alone we can now
describe the composition.

The two colours most frequently used were blue and yellow. Backgrounds
were nearly always blue (Plates XIII. and XV.), and most of the figures
yellow. Certain details were reinforced by touches of black and white.
In the brick representing the king followed by his servants (Plate
XIV., Fig. 1), the royal tiara is white, the hair, beards, bows,
and sandals are black. Red only appears in a few ornamental details
(_Ibid._, Fig. 2). Green is still more rare. It has been found at
Khorsabad. In a fragment of painting upon stucco it affords the ground
against which the figures are relieved;[351] and in the enamelled brick
decoration on the harem wall (Vol. I., Fig. 101), it is used for the
foliage of a tree that looks at first sight like an orange tree; its
leaves however are rather those of an apple (see Plate XV., Fig. 3).

According to Sir H. Layard, the blue which was spread in such great
quantities on the enamelled bricks was given by an oxide of copper
mixed with a little lead, the latter metal being introduced in order to
render the mixture more fusible.[352] This analysis applies only to the
bricks of Nimroud. In the Sargonid period another process, borrowed,
perhaps, from Egypt, seems to have been employed. Place tells us that
in the course of his excavations he found two blocks of colour in one
of the offices at Khorsabad. One of these blocks, weighing some two
pounds and a little over, was blue. An artist was at the time engaged
in copying in water-colours the decoration of one of the walls covered
with enamelled bricks. In order to get as near as possible to the tint
of the original the notion occurred to him to make use of the Assyrian
blue. But the latter was stubborn and would not mix; it left a vitreous
deposit at the bottom of the cup. At first it was supposed that its
long sojourn in the earth had deprived it of some of its qualities,
but later analysis explained the difficulty in a more satisfactory
manner. Its unfitness for use as water-colour was not the result of any
alteration. Being intended for use as a glaze or enamel upon pottery,
it was composed of lapis-lazuli reduced to powder.[353]



  From Layard Sulpis sc.


  British Museum]



  From Layard Sulpis sc.



  From Nimroud]



  After F. Thomas Sulpis sc.



  Imp. Ch. Chardon]

The Chaldæans made a wide use of lapis, which they imported from
central Asia. The fatherland of that mineral is the region now
called Badakshan, in Bactriana, whence, in ancient times, came what
Theophrastus calls the Scythian stone. The caravans brought it into the
upper valley of the Tigris, whence it made its way to Babylon
and even as far as Egypt. The inscriptions of Thothmes III. mention the
good _khesbet_ of Babylon among the objects offered to Pharaoh by
the Rotennou, or people of Syria.[354]

This fine lapis-powder, intimately united with the clay by firing, gave
a solid enamel of a very pure colour. If mixed with a body of some
consistence it might be used upon the sculptures; perhaps the blue with
which certain accessories were tinted was thus obtained.

The yellow is an antimoniate of lead containing a certain quantity of
tin; its composition is the same as that of the pigment now called
Naples yellow.[355] White is an oxide of tin, so that the Arabs do
not deserve the credit they have long enjoyed of being the first,
about the ninth century a.d., to make use of white so composed.[356]
The black is perhaps an animal pigment.[357] The green may have been
obtained by a mixture of blue and yellow pigments, of ochre with oxide
of copper, for instance. As for red, no colour is easier to get. The
Nimroud enamellers used, perhaps, a sub-oxide of copper,[358] while
those of Khorsabad employed the iron oxide of which our red chalk is
composed.[359] We can examine the latter at our ease. The cake of red
found by Place weighed some five-and-forty pounds. It dissolves readily
in water.

The whole palette consisted, then, of some five or six colours,
and their composition was so simple that no attempt to produce an
appearance of reality by their aid could have been successful. Taken
altogether, the painting of Mesopotamia was purely decorative; its
ornamental purpose was never for a moment lost sight of, and the forms
it borrowed from the organic world always had a peculiar character.
When the figures of men and animals were introduced they were never
shown engaged in some action which might of itself excite the curiosity
of the spectator; their forms are not studied with the religious care
that proves the artist to have been impelled by their own beauty and
grace of movement to give them a place in his work. There are no
shadows marking the succession of planes; in the choice of flat tints
the artist has not allowed himself to be tied down to fact. Thus we
find that in the kind of frieze of which we give a fragment at the
foot of our Plate XIV. there is a blue bull, the hoofs and the end of
the tail alone being black. Upon the plinth from the Khorsabad harem,
a lion, a bird, a bull, a tree, and a plough are all yellow, without
change of tint (Plate XV.) In the glazed brick on which a subject so
often treated by the sculptors is represented (Plate XIV., Fig. 1),
the painter has tried to compose a kind of picture, but even there
the colours are frankly conventional. The flesh and the robes with
their ornaments are all carried out in different shades of yellow.
He makes no attempt to imitate the real colours of nature; all he
cares about is to please the eye and to vary the monotony of the
wide surfaces left unbroken by the architect. The winged genii and
the fantastic animals could be used for such a purpose no less than
the fret and the palmette, but as soon as they were so employed they
become pure ornament. In a decoration like that of the archivolts at
Khorsabad (Vol. I., Fig. 124), the great rosettes have the same value
and brilliancy of tone as the figures by which they are separated; the
whiteness of their petals may even give them a greater importance and
more power to attract the eye of the spectator than the figures with
their yellow draperies.

If the Ninevite bricks had never been recovered, we should have been in
danger of being led into error by the expressions employed by Ctesias
in describing the pictures he saw at Babylon, on the walls of the royal
city: “One saw there,” he says, “every kind of animal, whose images
were impressed on the brick while still unburnt; _these figures
imitated nature by the use of colour_.”[360] We cannot say whether
the words we have italicised belong to the text of Ctesias, or whether
they were added by Diodorus to round off the phrase. It is certain
that they give a false notion of the painted decorations. Those to
whom the latter were intrusted no more thought of imitating the real
colours of nature than the artists to whom we owe the glazed tiles of
the Turkish and Persian mosques. The latter, indeed, gave no place in
their scheme of ornament to the figures either of men or animals, and
in that they showed, perhaps, a finer taste. The lions and bulls of the
friezes had no doubt their effect, but yet our intelligence receives
some little shock in finding them deprived of their true colours,
and presented to our eyes in a kind of travesty of their real selves.
Things used as ornaments have no inalienable colour of their own;
the decorative artist is free to twist his lines and vary his tints
as he pleases; his work will be judged by the result, and so long as
that is harmonious and pleasing to the eye nothing more is required.
We are tempted, therefore, on the whole, to consider some of those
slabs of faïence upon which nothing appears but certain ornamental
lines and combinations, suggested by geometrical and vegetable forms
but elaborated by his own unaided fancy, as the masterpieces of the
Assyrian enameller. If he had resolutely persevered in this path he
might perhaps have produced something worthy to be compared for grace
and variety with the marvellous faïence of Persia.


                              CHAPTER IV.

                         THE INDUSTRIAL ARTS.

                           § 1.--_Ceramics._

Of all the materials put in use by the inhabitants of Mesopotamia,
clay was the first and by far the most important. Clay furnished the
sun-dried bricks of which the great buildings were constructed, the
burnt bricks with which the artificial mounds on which those buildings
stood were cased, and the enamelled bricks that enabled certain parts
to be covered with a rich polychromatic decoration. The figures of
the gods and demons they worshipped and the tombs into which they
were thrust after death were both made of this same material. It was
upon clay that they learnt to write; it was to slabs of terra-cotta
that their kings confided the memory of their victories and acts
of devotion, and the private population their engagements and the
contracts into which they entered. For thousands of years tablets of
clay thus received not only long texts, but those impressions from
seals, each one of which represents a signature. While wet and soft,
clay readily accepted any symbol that man chose to place upon it; once
it was burnt, those symbols became practically indestructible.

Accustomed to employ the unrivalled docility of kneaded earth in so
many ways, the Chaldæans must, at a very early date, have used it for
domestic purposes, for cooking, for holding grain, fruits, and liquids.
Like every one else they must have begun by shaping such utensils with
their fingers and drying them in the sun. Few remains of these early
attempts have been preserved. The invention of the potter’s wheel and
firing-oven must have taken place at a very remote period both in
Egypt and Chaldæa. The oldest vases found in the country, those taken
from tombs at Warka and Mugheir, have been burnt in the oven. Some,
however, do not seem to have been ‘thrown’ on the wheel. The thickness
of their walls and their irregular shape suggest that the potter
fashioned them with the back and palm of his hand (Figs. 163–165). The
paste is coarse; it is mixed with chopped straw, which shows here and
there on the surface; there is neither ornament nor glaze, and the
curves are without grace.[361]

  [Illustration: FIGS. 163–165.--Chaldæan vases of the
  first period. British Museum.]

  [Illustration: FIGS. 166–168.--Chaldæan vases of the
  second period. British Museum.]

Some other vases found in the same cemeteries are ascribed to a later
epoch. They give evidence of a real progress in art. We have already
figured two examples in our first volume (Figs. 159 and 160); three
more are given in Figs. 166–168. The body is finer, and sometimes
covered with a slight glaze; there is still no decoration, but the
forms are obviously meant, and not without distinction. These objects
have been thrown on the wheel, and the dexterity of their maker is
further shown by the skill with which their handles are attached.

  [Illustration: FIG. 169.--Chaldæan vase, about 4 inches
  high. British Museum.]

We have no means of assigning even an approximate date to the vases
found in other parts of Chaldæa. A curious vase from Hillah may be
ascribed to a much later period, however, on the evidence of its shape
alone (Fig. 169). It has the general form of a bucket. The body is
decorated with indented triangles cut in its thickness and detached
from the background. In all this there is a striving after effect that
suggests the decadence. Nothing like it has been found in Assyria
dating from the ninth, eighth, or seventh centuries. Sir H. Layard
brought from Nimroud a certain number of vases showing a real progress
even when compared with the remains from the second period of Chaldæan
ceramics. Among these were some quaintly shaped pieces, such as the
hexagonal vase with slightly concave sides reproduced in Fig. 170. To
the same class belongs the very common form, with a pointed base, that
could be thrust into the sand (Fig. 171), and the large bottles shown
in Figs. 172 and 173. By the side of these not very graceful pieces
we find some with shapes at once simple and happy, and comparable, in
more than one instance, to those that the Greeks were to adopt in later
years. Goblets with feet and without (Figs. 174–176), a well-shaped
ewer (Fig. 177) and some variously contoured amphoræ, should be
noticed. One of the latter has a long neck and two very small handles
(Fig. 178), the handles of the other two are larger and more boldly
salient, while in one they are twisted to look like ropes.

The vase last figured, like many others from the same place, is glazed,
and glazed in two colours, a bluish-green round the neck and a decided
yellow upon the body. At the line where they meet the two colours run
one into the other, producing a far from disagreeable effect.

  [Illustration: FIGS. 170–173.--Assyrian vases; from

It will be noticed that the decoration upon all these objects is very
slight. We can point to little beyond the double row of chevrons on one
of the amphoræ (Fig. 178), and the collar of reversed leaves round a
kind of alabastron found at the same place (Fig. 181).

  [Illustration: FIGS. 174–176.--Goblets; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 177.--Ewer; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIGS. 178–180.--Amphoræ; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 181.--Alabastron; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 182.--Fragment of a vase. British

The taste for decorating their works seems to have spread among the
Assyrian potters between the ninth and seventh centuries B.C.
At least many traces of it have been found among the remains at
Kouyundjik. The date is fixed for us by a fragment on which the name
of Esarhaddon occurs, the letters of which it is composed standing out
in light against a dull black background. There is no further ornament
than a line of zig-zags traced with some brown pigment. The fragment
we reproduce (Fig. 182) formed part of another vase decorated in the
same way. We cannot point to a single complete specimen of this work,
but by comparing many pieces all from the same place, we may gain some
idea of the taste in pottery that prevailed under the Sargonids. A vase
upon which certain Aramaic characters were traced with the brush was
decorated with bands of a reddish-brown pigment turning round the neck
and body at irregular intervals (Fig. 183).[362] Elsewhere we find a
more complicated form of the same ornament. The horizontal bands are
separated by a kind of trellis-work, in which the lines cross each
other, sometimes at right angles and sometimes obliquely, while in the
blank spaces we find a motive often repeated, which might be taken at
first sight for a Greek _sigma_. The resemblance, we need hardly
say, is purely accidental (Fig. 184). We may also mention a fragment
where the surface is sprinkled with reddish-brown spots on a light
yellow ground (Fig. 185). So far as we know the only complete example
of this decoration is the fine goblet dug up by Place in the Jigan
mound (Fig. 186).[363]

  [Illustration: FIG. 183.--Fragment of a vase. British

  [Illustration: FIGS. 184, 185.--Fragments of vases.
  British Museum.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 186.--Goblet. Height, 5 inches.

  [Illustration: FIG. 187.--Fragment of a vase. Actual
  size. British Museum.]

In all these fragments the decoration is purely geometrical; it is
composed of lines, spots, and other motives having no relation to
the organic world. A step in advance of this seems, however, to have
been taken. On some other fragments from the same districts, files
of roughly-suggested birds appear upon the bands and between opposed
triangles (Figs. 187 and 188). We shall find the same motive in Cyprus,
at Mycenæ, and at Athens, in the pottery forming the transition between
the purely geometrical period and that in which imitation of life
begins. In a fragment which is tantalizingly small we catch a glimpse
of three lion’s paws playing with a chess-board ornament. A row of
cuneiform characters runs along the lower part (Fig. 189).

  [Illustration: FIGS. 188, 189.--Fragments of vases.
  Actual sizes. British Museum.]

These fragments, taken altogether, show that a certain effort was made
to produce decorated pottery towards the end of the Assyrian period.
Why was the attempt not carried farther? Why were earthenware vases not
covered with ornamental designs that might be compared for richness
and variety with those chiselled in or beaten out of stone or wood,
ivory or metal? The reason may, we think, be guessed. Clay appeared
such a common material that they never thought of using it for objects
of luxury, for anything that required great skill in the making, or in
which its proprietor could take any pride. When they wanted fine vases
they turned to bronze; bronze could be gilded, it could be damascened
with gold and silver, and when so treated was more pleasing to the eye
and more provocative of thought and ingenuity on the part of the artist
than mere clay. It was reserved for Greece to erect the painted vase
into a work of art. Her taste alone was able to make us forget the
poverty of the material in the nobility of the form and the beauty of
the decoration; we shall see that her artists were the first to give to
an earthenware jar or cup a value greater, for the true connoisseur,
than if they were of massive gold or silver.

During the period on which we are now engaged, the Mesopotamians
sometimes attempted to cover their vases with enamel. The British
Museum has several specimens of a pottery covered with a blue glaze
like that of the Egyptian faïence.[364] Here and there the blue has
turned green under the action of time. One of the vases reproduced
above (Fig. 180) belongs to this class. Vases of the same kind, covered
with a rather thick layer of blue and yellow enamel, have been found
among the rubbish in the Birs-Nimroud at Babylon,[365] but it is
difficult to fix an exact date for them with any confidence. On the
other hand, it is generally agreed that the large earthenware coffins
brought from the funerary mounds of Lower Chaldæa are very much later.
In style the small figures with which they are decorated resemble the
medals and rock sculptures of the Parthians and Sassanids.[366]

The art of making glass, which dates in Egypt at least as far back
as the first Theban dynasty,[367] was invented in Mesopotamia, or
imported into it, at a very early period. No glass objects have been
found in the oldest Chaldæan tombs, but they abound in the ruins of the
Assyrian palaces. A great number of small glass bottles, resembling the
Greek _alabastron_ or _aryballos_ in shape,[368] have been
dug up; many of them have been made brilliantly iridescent by their
long sojourn in the earth.[369] A vase found by Layard at Nimroud,
and engraved with Sargon’s name just below the neck, is generally
quoted as the oldest known example of transparent glass (see Fig.
190).[370] It has been blown solid, and then the inside cut out by
means of an instrument which has left easily-visible traces of its
passage; this instrument was no doubt mounted on a lathe. Sir H. Layard
believes, however, that many of the glass objects he found are much
older, and date from the very beginning of the Assyrian monarchy, but
their material is opaque and coloured.[371] Some bracelets of black
glass, which were dug up at Kouyundjik, prove that common jewelry
was sometimes made of that material; glass beads, sometimes round,
sometimes flat, have also been found.[372] A glass cylinder or tube, of
unknown use, was found by Layard at Kouyundjik; it is covered with a
decoration made up of lozenges with a concave surface (Fig. 191).

  [Illustration: FIG. 190.--Glass vase or bottle. Height
  3½ inches. British Museum.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 191.--Glass tube. Height 8¾ inches.
  British Museum.]

It is curious that no cylinders or cones of terra-cotta or glass have
come down to us from the Assyro-Chaldæan period. Clay was doubtless
thought too common a material for such uses, and as for glass, they
had not yet learnt how to make it a worthy substitute for _pietra
dura_, as the Greeks and Romans did in later years.

Before we quit the subject of glass we must not forget to mention
a very curious object found by Layard at Nimroud, in the palace of
Assurnazirpal, and in the neighbourhood of the glass bottle and the
two alabaster vases on which the name of Sargon appears. It is a lens
of rock-crystal; its convex face seems to have been set up, with some
clumsiness, opposite to the lapidary on his wheel. In spite of the
imperfect cutting, it may have been used either as a magnifying, or,
with a very strong sun, as a burning, glass.[373] The fineness of the
work on some of the cylinders, and the minuteness of the wedges on some
of the terra-cotta tubs, had already excited attention, and it was
asked whether the Assyrians might not have been acquainted with some
aid to eyesight like our magnifying glass. It is difficult, however,
to come to any certain conclusion from a single find like this; but if
any more lenses come to light we may fairly suppose that the scribes
and lapidaries of Mesopotamia understood how thus to reinforce their
eyesight. In any case it is pretty certain that this is the oldest
object of the kind transmitted to us by antiquity.

                          § 2. _Metallurgy._

Even at the time to which we are carried back by the oldest of the
graves at Warka and Mugheir, metallurgy was already far advanced in
Chaldæa. Tools and weapons of stone are still found in those tombs in
great numbers;[374] but side by side with them we find copper, bronze,
lead, iron, and gold. Silver alone is absent.

Copper seems to have been the first of all the metals to attract the
notice of man, and to be manufactured by him. This is to be accounted
for partly by the frequency of its occurrence in its native state,
partly by the fact that it can be smelted at a comparatively low
temperature. Soft and ductile, copper has rendered many services to man
from a very early period, and, both in Chaldæa and the Nile valley, he
very soon learnt to add greatly to its hardness by mixing a certain
quantity of tin with it. Where did the latter material come from? This
question we can no more answer in the case of Mesopotamia than in that
of Egypt; no deposits of tin have yet been discovered in the mountain
chains of Kurdistan or Armenia.[375] However this may be, the use of
tin, and the knowledge of its properties as an alloy with copper,
dates from a very remote period in the history of civilization. In its
natural state, tin is always found in combination, but the ore which
contains it in the form of an oxide does not look like ordinary rock;
it is black and very dense; as soon as attention was turned to such
things it must have been noticed, and no great heat was required to
make it yield the metal it contained. We do not know where the first
experiments were made. The uses of pure tin are very limited, and
we cannot even guess how the remarkable discovery was made that its
addition in very small quantities to copper would give the precious
metal that we call bronze. In the sepulchral furniture with which the
oldest of the Chaldæan tombs were filled we already find more bronze
than pure copper.[376]

Lead is rare. A jar of that metal, and the fragment of a pipe dug up
by Loftus at Mugheir may be mentioned.[377] It is curious that iron
though still far from common, was not unknown. Iron nowhere exists in
its native state on the surface of our planet, except in aerolites. Its
discovery and elimination from the ore requires more time and effort
and a far higher temperature than copper or tin. Those difficulties had
already been surmounted, but the smelting of iron ore was still such
a tedious operation that bronze was in much more common use. Iron was
looked upon as a precious metal; neither arms, nor utensils, nor tools
of any kind were made of it; it was employed almost exclusively for
personal ornaments, such as rings and bracelets.[378]

Gold, which is found pure in the veins of certain rocks and in the beds
of mountain torrents, and in pieces of a size varying from that of a
grain of dust to nuggets of many pounds, must very soon have attracted
the attention of man, and excited his curiosity, by its colour and
brilliancy. We find it in the tombs mixed with objects of stone and
bronze. Round beads for necklaces, earrings and finger rings of not
inelegant design were made of it.

  [Illustration: FIG. 192.--Iron mattock; from Place.]

If, when the Chaldæans built their first cities, they already knew how
to put metals to such varied uses, they could hardly have failed to
take farther strides in the same direction. In order to measure the
progress made, we have only to establish ourselves among the Assyrian
ruins and to cast an eye over the plunder taken from them by Botta,
Layard, and Place. Metal is there found in every form, and worked with
a skill that laughs at difficulties. Silver and antimony are found
by the side of the metals already mentioned,[379] and, stranger than
all, iron is abundant. The excavations at Warka seem to prove that
the Chaldæans made use of iron sooner than the Egyptians;[380] in any
case it was manufactured and employed in far greater quantities in
Mesopotamia than in the Nile valley. Nowhere in Egypt has any find
been made that can be compared to the room full of instruments found
at Khorsabad, to the surprise and delight of M. Place.[381] There were
hooks and grappling irons fastened by heavy rings to chain-cables,
similar to those now in use for ships’ anchors; there were picks,
mattocks, hammers, ploughshares. The iron was excellent. The smith
employed upon the excavations made some of it into sickles, into tires
for the wheels of a cart, into screws and screw-nuts. Except the
Persian iron, which enjoys a well-merited reputation, he had never,
he said, handled any better than this. Its resonance was remarkable.
When the hammer fell upon it it rang like a bell. All these instruments
were symmetrically arranged along one side of the chamber, forming a
wall of iron that it took three days to dig out. After measurement,
Place estimated the total weight at one hundred and sixty thousand
kilogrammes (about 157 tons).[382]

According to the same explorer some of these implements, resembling the
sculptor’s sharp mallet in shape, were armed with steel points (Fig.
192).[383] Until his assertion is confirmed, we may ask whether Place
may not, in this instance, have been deceived by appearances. Before we
can allow that the Assyrians knew how to increase the hardness of iron
by treating it with a dose of carbon, we must have the evidence of some
competent and careful analyst.

It is certain, however, that in the ninth and eighth centuries this
people used iron more freely than any other nation of the time. Thus
several objects which appear at the first glance to be of solid bronze
have an iron core within a more or less thin sheath of the other metal.
Dr. Birch called my attention to numerous examples of this manufacture
at the British Museum, in fragments of handles, of tires and various
implements and utensils, from Kouyundjik and Nimroud. The iron could
be distinctly seen at the fractures. The Assyrians clung to the bronze
envelope because that metal was more agreeable to the eye and more
easily decorated than iron, but it was upon the latter substance that
they counted to give the necessary hardness and resistance. The contact
and adhesion between the two metals was complete. From this, experts
have concluded that the bronze was run upon the iron in a liquid

It is easy enough to understand how the inhabitants of Mesopotamia
came to make such an extensive use of iron in the instruments of their
industry; it was because they were nearer than any other nation to what
we may call the sources of iron. By this we mean the country in which
all the traditions collected and preserved by the Greeks agreed in
placing the cradle of metallurgy--the region bounded by the Euxine, the
Caucasus, the Caspian, the western edge of the tableland of Iran, the
plains of Mesopotamia, the Taurus, and the high lands of Cappadocia.
To find the deposits from which Nineveh and Babylon drew inexhaustible
supplies, it is unnecessary to go as far as the northern slopes of
Armenia, to the country of the Chalybes, the legendary ancestors of our
mining engineers. The mountains of the Tidjaris, a few days’ journey
from Mossoul, contain mineral wealth that would be worked with the
greatest profit in any country but Turkey.[385]

Bronze was reserved for such objects as we should make of some precious
metal. Botta and Place found numerous fragments of bronze, but it is
to Layard that we owe the richest and most varied collection of bronze
utensils. It was found by him in one room of Assurnazirpal’s palace at
Nimroud.[386] The metal has been analysed and found to contain ten per
cent. of tin, on the average.[387] These proportions we may call normal
and calculated to give the best results. In one of the small bells that
were hung to the horses’ necks the proportion was rather different;
there was about fifteen per cent. of tin. By this means it was hoped to
obtain a clearer toned and more resonant alloy.

Pure copper seems to have been restricted to kitchen utensils, such as
the large cauldrons that were often used as coffers in which to keep
small objects of metal, like the little bells of which we have spoken,
rosettes, buttons and the feet of tables and chairs not yet mounted,
etc.[388] It is probable that these vessels were also used for heating
water and cooking food.

All these metals, and especially iron and copper, were dearer perhaps
in Chaldæa than in Assyria, because Babylon was farther from the
mineral region than Nineveh; but the southern artizans were no less
skilful than their northern rivals. In our review of the metal
industries we shall borrow more frequently from the north than from the
south, but the only reason for the inequality is that Chaldæa has never
been the scene of exhaustive and prolific excavations like those of

                           § 3. _Furniture._

Cursing Nineveh and exulting in the prospect of her fall, the prophet
Nahum calls to all those who had been crushed by the Assyrian hosts; he
summons all the nations of the east to take their part in the work of
revenge and their share in the spoil to be won. “Take ye the spoil of
silver,” he cries, “take ye the spoil of gold; for there is none end of
the store and glory out of all the pleasant furniture.”[389] We shall
find all this among our spoils of Nineveh. The princes and nobles of
Assyria seem to have had a peculiar love for luxurious furniture. To
see this we have only to look at the bas-reliefs, where the artist took
the greatest care to imitate every detail of the thrones on which he
placed his gods and kings; and many fragments of these richly decorated
chairs have been recovered in the course of the excavations; with the
help of the sculptures they could be put together and the missing
parts supplied. The elements of many such restorations exist in the
British Museum, and we may well ask why no attempt has been made to
reconstitute an Assyrian throne with their help, so as to give an exact
idea of the kind of state chair used by a Shalmaneser or a Sennacherib.

In order to carry out such a restoration successfully we should have
to begin by renewing all the wooden parts of the piece, the legs, back
and cross-bars. Wood alone could be used for such purposes. Metal
would be too heavy if solid, and not stiff and firm enough if hollow.
We have, besides, direct proof that the Assyrian joiner so understood
his work. “I found among the ruins,” says one explorer, “small bulls’
heads of copper, _repoussé_ and carefully chased, inside of
which a few fragments of dried wood still remained. These pieces had
certainly belonged to chairs exactly similar to those figured in the

At Nimroud, in the room in Assurnazirpal’s palace in which so many
precious objects were discovered, Layard found the royal throne, and
close beside it, the stool upon which the royal feet were placed, an
arrangement of which we may gain an exact idea from the reliefs (Figs.
47 and 127). The sides of this chair were ornamented with bronze
plaques nailed on to wooden panels, and representing winged genii
fighting with monsters. The arms were ornamented at the end with rams’
heads, and their points of junction with the uprights of the back were
strengthened with metal tubes.[391] All the wood had disappeared, but
it was impossible to look at the remains for a moment without seeing
how they were originally put together and what office they had to fill
in the complete piece. Most of the fragments are now in the British

  [Illustration: FIG. 193.--Fragment of a throne. Height
  18 inches. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

The same collection has been recently enriched by the fragments of
another throne, from Van.[392] A claw foot, uprights ending in several
rows of dentations, and two winged bulls that once in all probability
formed part of the arms, are among the parts preserved. The bulls
are without faces, which may have been carried out in some other
materials, gold perhaps, or ivory. The wings also are covered with
hollows in which inlays of ivory or lapis may have been fixed. From
Van also came the remains of another throne which now belongs to M.
de Vogué, who has been good enough to allow us to reproduce the more
important fragments. The best of these is one of the front feet which
ends at the top in a rectangular tablet on which a winged lion is
crouched (Fig. 193). Another piece seems to have been one of the cross
pieces of the back;[393] the round sockets with which one face of it
is nearly covered must once have been filled with precious stones.
This lion, like that on the London chair, also has its wings covered
with incisions, and its eyeballs represented by gaping hollows. The
effect of the whole was heightened by threads of gold inlaid on its
leading lines, such as round the grinning jaws of the lion. The largest
piece is a hollow casting, but very heavy. The various members were
connected by tenons and mortices; some of the latter are shown in our
illustrations. The large rectangular openings on the upper surface of
the cross-bar received a metal stem to which some small figures were
attached; their bases have left marks on the cross-bar which may still
be distinguished. Their feet were surrounded by a line of gilding.

  [Illustration: FIG. 194.--Fragment of a throne. Length
  18 inches. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 195.--Bronze foot of a piece of
  furniture. Louvre.]

These pieces of furniture show great variety in their forms and
decorative motives. Sometimes the ornament is purely geometrical, like
that of the foot shown in our Fig. 195, where it is composed of several
rings placed one above the other with a bold torus-like swell in the
middle. More frequently, however, the bronze uprights end in capitals
resembling a bunch of leaves in shape. We have already encountered
this type in the ivories, where it occurs in the balustrade of a small
window (Vol. I., Fig. 129); we also find it strongly marked in the
throne from Van, where the drooping leaves are chiselled with much
care. We find the same motive in a small sandstone capital in the
British Museum. It is in one piece with its shaft. We are inclined to
think it a part of some stone chair in which the forms of wooden and
bronze furniture were copied (Fig. 196).[394]

  [Illustration: FIG. 196.--Capital and upper part of a
  small column. Height 2 feet. British Museum.]

Two pieces of the same kind found at Nimroud are more complex in
design. In one we have a bouquet of leaves reminding us of the
Corinthian capital (Fig. 197), while, in the other, a band seems to
hold two lance heads, opposed to each other at their base, and two
bean-shaped fruits, against the shaft (198). As for the feet of all
kinds of furniture, the favourite shapes are pine cones (Figs. 47 and
127) and lions’ paws (Figs. 47 and 199).

  [Illustration: FIGS. 197, 198.--Fragments of bronze
  furniture; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 199.--Footstool, from a bas-relief;
  from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 200.--Stool; from Layard.]

These elaborate decorations are found not only on the royal thrones but
also on the footstools which are their necessary complement (Fig. 199),
and on the seats without backs which were used, perhaps, instead of
the more unwieldy throne when the king was away from his capital (Fig.
200). The footstool has lions’-claw feet, the more important object has
rams’ heads at each end of the upper cross-bar;[395] the leg shows
the capital with drooping leaves noticed above; volutes, opposed to
each other as in the capital from Persepolis, ornament the cross-bar
which holds the uprights together. In this piece of furniture, where
the sculptor has confined himself to the scrupulous reproduction of
his model, we may see how these objects were upholstered. A cushion
of some woven material with long bright-coloured woollen fringes, was
fitted to the seat. The whole is characterized by happy proportions and
severe simplicity of design. We know from the Sippara tablet that even
the gods were sometimes content with such a seat (Vol. I., Fig. 71).
The figures of Izdubar and Hea-bani are there introduced between the
uprights of Samas’s stool.

One of the most complex and effective of all these examples of
decorative art is the throne upon which Sennacherib is seated before
the captured city of Lachish (Fig. 47). The space between the uprights
is occupied by three rows of small male figures, who with their
uplifted arms and heads gently thrown back, seem to bear the weight
of the cross pieces. This naïve device is also to be met with in the
sculptures of Persia; it is suggestive of the absolute power which
places the king so far above his subjects that nothing is left for them
but to support and add to the edifice of his grandeur.[396]

Bronze and wood were not the only materials used in these objects of
regal luxury. As in the throne of Solomon,[397] the glory of gold and
the creamy whiteness of ivory were mingled with the sombre tones of
bronze. This is proved by the thrones from Van, and it was noticed by
the explorers of the Assyrian ruins; small fragments of ivory were
mixed with the pieces of bronze that have been recognized as the
_débris_ of furniture.[398] Some pieces of rock-crystal, found in
the palace of Sennacherib, appear also to have helped to ornament a

It is easy to guess how ivory was used on these objects. Look at the
throne of Sennacherib (Fig. 47), the couch of Assurnazirpal, the table
on which his cup is placed and the high chair of his queen (Fig. 127).
The cross-bars and uprights are divided into numerous small panels or
divisions; each panel may have inframed a plaque of carved ivory.

Were all these plaques made in Mesopotamia? or were they imported from
Phœnicia and Egypt? The frankly Egyptian character of some among the
tablets we have reproduced (see Vol. I. Figs. 129 and 130; and above,
Figs. 57, 58 and 59) forbid us to deny that some of the ivories were
imported;[400] but we believe that to have been the exception rather
than the rule. We know both from the sculptured reliefs and from actual
finds that ivory was brought into Assyria in its rough state. Layard
found some elephant’s tusks in the royal houses at Nimroud,[401] and we
see others brought by tributaries as presents to the king, both in the
reliefs of Assurnazirpal’s palace,[402] and in those of Shalmaneser’s

Hence it appears probable that ivory was worked at Nineveh and Babylon,
and that probability is changed into a certainty when we examine the
other ivories in the same collection. Although not a few of the ivories
chiselled in relief offer motives that are strange to Mesopotamian art,
it is not so with a series of tablets on which the designs are carried
out in pure line and with extreme refinement (Fig. 201). Figures and
ornaments are purely Assyrian; winged genii wearing the horned tiara,
dressed as in the reliefs, and surrounded with the rosettes and cable
pattern to which we have so often referred, and other motives of the
same kind. Among the latter may be noticed the variety of knop and
flower border that we find so often in the painted and enamelled
decoration, in which the knop is replaced by a disk (see Vol. I., Figs.
117 and 118).

  [Illustration: FIG. 201.--Ivory panel. Actual size.
  British Museum. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

We believe the truth to be as follows. A considerable quantity of
Indian ivory entered Mesopotamia by the Persian Gulf and the caravan
routes. It was there carved by native artists into the various shapes
required, but, especially during the heyday of the Assyrian monarchy,
it was far from supplying the whole demand. Africa, through Phœnicia,
was called upon to make up the deficiency. But the African ivory was
not imported in its raw state, it came in in the form of skilfully
chiselled plaques that only required mounting; the merchants, through
whom the trade was carried on, delivered sets of these plaques for
beds, or chairs, or what not. We thus get at some reason for the
difference in style between the tablets in relief and those engraved by
the point. The latter represent native art; in the former, where we so
often see the characteristic gods, sphinxes, costumes, head-dresses,
and even cartouches of the Egyptian monuments, we may recognize the
product of the Nile delta, or even of Tyre and Sidon. The inscriptions
on several fragments seem to confirm this hypothesis. I have seen no
ivory tablets with cuneiform characters, but plenty with those of the
Phœnician alphabet.[404]

  [Illustration: FIG. 202.--Dagger hilt. Ivory. Actual
  size. Louvre.]

Ivory was used for many purposes; we have described how it was employed
upon ceilings and doors;[405] we have just seen how it helped to
ornament articles of furniture; it also supplied the material for
many useful and ornamental objects, such as sceptres, boxes, cups,
knife-handles, etc. (Fig. 202). Did the Assyrians understand how
to give still greater variety to the appearance of these things by
staining the ivory? At first sight it might appear that they did. Among
the specimens in the British Museum some have the fine yellow colour of
the Renaissance ivories; others are white, grey, brown or even quite
black. These tints, as I myself ascertained, are not superficial; they
extend entirely through the pieces. But we do not believe they were
produced by any artificial process. If the Assyrians had understood how
to dye ivory, would they not have dyed it red and blue as well as the
colours above mentioned? But they did nothing of the sort. The tints
in question are, then, to be otherwise explained. They are not the
direct result of fire. Wherever the flame has touched the ivory it has
calcined it, and left nothing but a whitish friable substance. They
may, however, have been caused by the long continued impregnation with
smoke and carbon received from a soil filled with ashes and washed by
the rain. An effect of the same kind is produced upon objects buried in
a peaty soil. In any case several of the fragments that have come down
to us are of a fine, glossy black, like that of ebony.[406]

In beds, tables, chairs, and footstools the framework was of wood
and the decoration of metal, an important _rôle_ being assigned
to incrustations of ivory, of lapis lazuli, of crystals, and other
materials of the kind. But there were also pieces of furniture whose
purpose made them well fitted to be carried out entirely in bronze;
such, for example, were the tripods on which the braziers or censers,
used in sacrifices, were placed. We have seen these figured in the
reliefs (Vol. I., Figs. 68 and 155); the Louvre possesses one that was
found at Babylon (Fig. 203). It is formed of three stems very slightly
inclined inwards, and bound together at the top by a circle decorated
with incised ornaments and four rams’ heads in relief. Towards the
bottom they are held together by three straight cross-bars, the points
of junction with the legs being masked by three human faces. The feet
are shaped after those of oxen. Cords are twisted round the point of
junction of foot and leg, then crossed in front of the fetlock and
knotted at the back.[407]

The chafing-dishes placed upon these bronze tripods were of the
same material. Chaldæans and Assyrians, although they neglected to
give their earthen vessels any great beauty of form or richness of
decoration, attached great importance to their metal vases. The bronze
vessel seems to have been one of the chief objects of luxury both in
the temple and the palace. The peculiarities offered by certain of
these objects and the interest of the problems they suggest, make it
necessary that they should be studied separately and in some detail.

  [Illustration: FIG. 203.--Bronze tripod. 13 inches high.

  [Illustration: FIGS. 204, 205.--Metal vases. From

  [Illustration: FIG. 206.--Metal bucket. From Layard.]

                   § 4. _Metal Dishes and Utensils._

Metal vases are often represented in the bas-reliefs, where we find
them sometimes of very simple form, like the bowl (Fig. 204) and bucket
(Fig. 205) here figured, which may have been of copper. They are
provided on the upper edge with small loops through which a cord might
be passed. As for the buckets that were used in the ritual of public
worship, and that the sculptor put in the hands of the winged genii
adoring the sacred tree (Vol. I., Figs. 4 and 8), they were certainly
of bronze, both body and handle. Their forms are very elegant, and
their walls are ornamented at the top and bottom with twisted and wavy
lines, with palmettes and flowers both open and closed. In the example
we figure (Fig. 206) the winged globe, which is introduced just below
the upper edge, attests the religious character of the object.[408]

The bas-reliefs tell us nothing about those large vessels, analogous,
no doubt, to the λέβης and κρατὴρ of the Greeks, upon the sides of
which the human-headed birds with extended wings, one of which we
have already figured, were fixed (Fig. 91). Neither has any complete
specimen of the class yet been discovered in the excavations. The
frequent employment of this motive is proved, however, by the number of
these detached pieces that we possess. They all come from Van, but they
belonged to different vases. We here engrave a second example (Fig.
207). The ring on the back by which the handle was attached will be
noticed. As in the throne described above the bronze was relieved with
inlaid ornament; there is a hollow in the breast in which it was set.
In the originals the rivet-holes which afforded a means of fixing them
may be seen; in one or two the heads of the rivets are still in place.
This specimen differs from one figured on page 172, in that it has two

  [Illustration: FIG. 207.--Applied piece. Height 9
  inches; width 14 inches. From the collection of M. de Vogüé.]

We do not multiply examples of the vessels used to transport liquids,
because their decorative forms were found pretty equally distributed
all over Chaldæa and Assyria. We have every reason to believe that
they were produced in great numbers in all the towns of Mesopotamia.
On the other hand, there is a whole class of vessels that perplex
and embarrass archæologists almost as much as they delight them--the
class of _metal cups_. This name is to some extent a misnomer.
We shall employ it for the sake of simplicity, but most of the objects
in question are rather what we should call dishes or platters than
cups. They belong to the same class as the Greek φιύλη and the Roman
_patera_. Their vertical section is shown at the bottom of our
Fig. 208. The slight ridge underneath, caused by the gentle elevation
of the flat bottom, enabled the dish to be more firmly grasped than
would otherwise have been possible.

  [Illustration: FIG. 208.--Bronze platter. From Layard.]

Such things must have been comparatively rare and costly. In a
store-room of the North-Western Palace at Nimroud, Layard found a great
number of them, packed one within another in cauldrons like those
mentioned above; others, of less value no doubt, were stacked against
the wall. At first the explorers were inclined to think that they all
dated from the reign of Assurnazirpal, the founder of the building; but
many things combined to suggest that the palace was repaired by Sargon
and even inhabited by him.[409] He may have lived there until his own
house at Khorsabad was finished. It is possible, therefore, that some
or all of these cups date from the eighth century B.C.

In many instances oxydization had gone so far that the cups could
not be lifted without falling to pieces; others, however, though
covered with a thick coat of oxide, were brought away and successfully
cleaned.[410] At the British Museum I compiled a catalogue of
forty-four plates or cups of this kind, nearly all from the same
treasure, while in the store rooms of the same institution there are
many more waiting to be cleaned and rendered fit for exhibition. All
these, with a few exceptions, are ornamented, the simplest among them
having a star or rosette in the centre. Wherever the bronze has not
been completely eaten away the decoration may be recovered, and often
it is still singularly clear and sharp. A few cups that had been
protected by those placed above them showed, when discovered, such
brilliant copper tones that the workmen at first thought they were of
gold. The mistake was soon recognized, but we may well believe that
the conquerors of half Asia numbered gold and silver vessels among the
treasures stored in their palaces; as yet, however, none have been
found. All these cups, like the deeper vessels recovered at the same
time, were of bronze; the precious metals only appear in the form of
small inlays and incrustations in the alloy. In the centre of the
rosettes with which some of the bands are decorated a small silver
stud, slightly raised above the rest of the surface, is sometimes
placed, and in a few cases the points of the great rosette that
occupies the centre of the plate radiate from a centre of gold, silver
being banished to the small rosettes at the edge. Again, the middle is
sometimes a kind of boss, over the whole of which traces of gold may
still be distinguished.

The decoration of these _pateræ_ is always inside: on the outside
nothing is to be seen but the confused reverse of the pattern, such as
may be seen on the left of our Fig. 208. I have found but one exception
to this rule in a much deeper cup on the outside of which a lion hunt
is represented.[411] In that case figures engraved within the vase
would have been invisible, for it is very deep.

In most cases the ruling principle of the decoration is the division
of the disk into three, four, or five concentric circles, but in some
instances the whole field, with the exception of a simple border, is
occupied by one subject. In those cups upon which the greatest care
and thought seem to have been lavished, the figures are beaten up
into relief with the hammer and then finished with the burin. In the
others the whole design is carried out with the latter tool, which
is sometimes used with a degree of refinement that is amazing. As an
example of this we may quote a _patera_ that has been cleaned
and put on view quite recently. Stags march in file around its five
concentric zones, which are all of the same width. It is difficult
to explain either the fineness of the lines or the regularity of the
design, each animal being an accurate reproduction of his neighbour and
the intervening spaces being exactly equal. One is almost tempted to
believe that the work must have been done by machinery.

We know, however, that such mechanical helps were unknown to the
ancients, and, although there are many cups and vases at the museum
bearing a strong mutual resemblance, we cannot point to any two that
are exactly similar. To give a fair idea of the variety of their
designs we should have to reproduce not only all the cups figured
by Sir H. Layard, but several more that have only been prepared for
exhibition quite lately. Among the latter are some very curious ones.
We cannot afford the space for all this, and must be content to give a
few examples chosen from those on which the ornament is most definite
and clearly marked.

  [Illustration: FIG. 209.--Bronze platter. Diameter about
  9 inches. British Museum. Drawn by Wallet.]

It was noticed by those who saw the veil of oxide drawn away from the
ornamentation of these bronze vessels that a large proportion of them
were Egyptian rather than Assyrian in their general physiognomy. Some
of them displayed motives familiar to all those who have travelled in
the Nile valley. Take, for instance, the fragment we have borrowed from
one of the best preserved of them all (Fig. 209).[412] Neither the
minute lines of palmettes in the centre, nor the birds that occur in
the outer border, have, perhaps, any great significance, but nothing
could be more thoroughly Egyptian than the zone of figures between the
two. The same group is there four times repeated. Two griffins crowned
with the _pschent_, or double tiara of upper and lower Egypt,
have each a foot resting upon the head of a kneeling child, but their
movement is protective rather than menacing. Instead of struggling, the
child raises its hands in a gesture of adoration. Between the griffins
and behind them occur slender columns, quite similar to those we have
so often encountered in the open architecture of Egypt.[413] Between
the groups thus constituted are thicker shafts bearing winged scarabs
on their campaniform capitals. These same columns and capitals occur on
another cup from which we detach them in order to show their details
more clearly.[414] In one instance the terminal of the shaft is unlike
anything hitherto found elsewhere; it is a sphere (Fig. 210); but the
contour of the next is thoroughly Egyptian (Fig. 211), and the symbols
on the last three, a scarab and two uræi, proclaim their origin no less
clearly (Figs. 212 to 214).

  [Illustration: FIGS. 210–214.--Columns or standards
  figured upon a bronze cup; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 215.--Bronze platter. Diameter 8
  inches. British Museum. Drawn by Wallet.]

We gather the same impression from a platter only cleaned quite lately
and consequently not to be found in Sir H. Layard’s works; it is now
reproduced for the first time (Fig. 215). The whole decoration is
finely carried out in line with the burin. The middle is occupied by a
seven pointed star or rosette, nine times repeated. Around this elegant
and complex motive there are concentric circles, the third of which,
counting from the centre, is filled up with small figures hardly to
be distinguished by the naked eye. We divine rather than see lions,
birds, seated men, and certain groups of symbols, such as three lines
broken and placed one above the other, which are continually recurring
in the hieroglyphic writing of Egypt. The fifth zone has conventional
papyrus stems alternating with rosettes. The sixth, much larger, is
filled with ovals surmounted by two plumes and the uræus, that is by
the royal cartouch of Egypt in its usual form. The interior of each
oval contains very small groups of figures separated from one another
by four horizontal lines.

  [Illustration: FIG. 216.--Part of a bronze cup or
  platter. Diameter about 9 inches. British Museum.]

We may quote a cup figured by Layard as a last example of this exotic
style of decoration. In the centre there are four full-face heads with
Egyptian wigs (Fig. 216). Around them a mountainous country is figured
in relief, and sprinkled with trees and stags engraved with the point.
The wide border, which is unfortunately very much mutilated, is covered
with groups of figures apparently copied from some Egyptian monument,
if we may judge from the attitudes and costume. One figure, whose torso
has entirely disappeared, wears the _pschent_ and brandishes a
mace over his head; the movement is almost identical with that of the
victorious Pharaoh with whom we are so familiar. A goddess, who might
be Isis, stands opposite to him. In another part of the border there is
a misshapen monster crowned with feathers and resembling the Egyptian

  [Illustration: FIG. 217.--Bronze cup. Diameter 11
  inches; from Layard.]

Side by side with these platters we find others on which nothing
occurs to suggest foreign influence. Take, for instance, the example
reproduced in Fig. 208. In the centre there is a small silver boss,
while the rest of the flat surface is occupied by the fine diaper
pattern made up of six-petalled flowers that we have already met with
on the carved thresholds (Vol. I. Fig. 96). The hollow border is
ornamented with four lines of palmettes united by an undulating line,
a motive which is no less Assyrian than the first (Vol. I., Figs. 128,
138, 139, etc.). In Fig. 217 we reproduce a cup on which its original
mounting, or ring by which it was suspended, is still in place. The
whole of the decoration is pure Assyrian. The rosette is exactly
similar to many of those found on the enamelled bricks (see Vol. I.,
Figs. 122, 123). In the first of the three zones, gazelles march in
file; in the second, a bull, a gazelle, an ibex, and a winged griffin,
followed by the same animals attacked by lions and making fourteen
figures in all; in the third zone fourteen heavy-crested bulls follow
one another round the dish. All these animals are among those most
constantly treated by the Assyrian sculptor; their shapes and motions
are as well understood and as well rendered as in the bas-reliefs. The
bulls especially are grandly designed. Moreover, the idea of employing
all these animals for the adornment of such a surface is entirely in
the spirit of Assyrian decoration. We shall meet with it again in the
shields from Van; we figure the best preserved of the latter on page

It would be easy to give more examples, either from Layard or from our
own catalogue of these objects, of the purely Assyrian style on the
one hand, or of that in which the influence of Egyptian models is so
clearly shown, on the other. It is enough, however, that we have proved
that these little monuments may be divided into two clearly marked
classes. Did the two groups thus constituted share the same origin?
Did they both come from the same birth-place? Further discoveries may
enable us to answer this question with certainty, and even now we may
try to pave the way to its solution.

There would be no difficulty if these bronze vessels bore cuneiform
inscriptions, especially if the latter formed a part of the decorative
composition, as in the palace reliefs, and were cut by the same hand.
But this, so far as we know at present, was never the case. In some
fragments of pottery we have found cuneiform characters (Fig. 185),
and the name of Sargon has even been read on a glass phial (Fig. 190),
but--and we cannot help feeling some surprise at the fact--none of
these objects of a material far more precious bear a trace of the
Mesopotamian form of writing. I do not know that a single wedge has
been discovered upon them. A certain number of them are inscribed,
but inscribed without exception with those letters which Phœnicia is
supposed to have evolved out of the cursive writing of Egypt.[416]
They were not introduced with any idea of enriching the design, as
they always occur on the blank side of the vessel. They are close to
the edge, and their lines are very slender, suggesting that they were
meant to attract as little attention as possible. They consist of but
a single name, that of the maker, or, more probably, the proprietor of
the cup.[417]

May we take it that these inscriptions afford a key to the mystery?
that they prove the vases upon which they occur at least to have
been made in Phœnicia? We could only answer such a question in the
affirmative if peculiarities of writing and language belonging only to
Phœnicia properly speaking were to be recognized on them; but the texts
are too short to enable us to decide to which of the Semitic idioms
they should be referred, while the forms of the letters do not differ
from those on some of the intaglios (Figs. 156 and 157) and earthenware
vases (Fig. 183), and upon the series of weights bearing the name of
Sennacherib.[418] The characters belong to that ancient Aramæan form of
writing which seems to have been practised in Mesopotamia in very early
times as a cursive and popular alphabet.

The inscriptions, then, do little to help us out of our embarrassment,
and we are obliged to turn to the style of the vessels and their
decoration for a solution to our doubts. The conviction at which we
soon arrive after a careful study of their peculiarities is that even
those on which Egyptian motives are most numerous and most frankly
employed were not made in Egypt. In the first place we remember that
the Egyptians do not seem to have made any extensive use of such
platters; their libations were poured from vases of a different shape,
and the cups sometimes shown in the hands of a Pharaoh always have a
foot.[419] Moreover, in the paintings and bas-reliefs of Egypt, where
so many cups and vases of every kind are figured, and especially the
rich golden vessel that must have occupied such an important place in
the royal treasure, we only find the shape in question in a few rare

After this general statement we may go into the details. In these
the hand of the imitator is everywhere visible; he borrows motives
and adapts them to his own habits and tastes. Take as an example the
platter to which a double frieze of hieroglyphs gives a peculiarly
Egyptian physiognomy (Fig. 215). An Egyptian artist would never
employ hieroglyphs in such a position without giving them some real
significance, such as the name of a king or deity. Here, on the other
hand, an Egyptologist has only to glance at the cartouches to see that
their hieroglyphs are brought together at haphazard and that no sense
is to be got out of them. This is obvious even by the arrangement of
the several characters in the oval without troubling to examine them
one by one. They are divided into groups by straight lines, like those
of a copy book. The Egyptian scribe never made use of such divisions;
he distributed his characters over the field of the oval according
to their sense and shape. The arrangement here followed is only to
be explained by habits formed in the use of a writing that goes in
horizontal lines from left to right or right to left. There is, in
fact, nothing Egyptian but the shape of the ovals, and the motive with
which they are crowned. The pretended hieroglyphs are nothing but
rather clumsily executed pasticcios. And it must be noticed that even
this superficial Egyptianism is absent from the centre of the dish. In
those Theban ceilings which display such a wealth of various decoration
we may find a simple rosette here and there, or rather a flower with
four or eight petals, but these petals are always rounded at the
end; nowhere do we find anything that can be compared to the great
seven-pointed star which is here combined so ingeniously with eight
more of the same pattern but of smaller size. On the other hand this
motive is to be found on a great number of cups where no reminiscence
of Egypt can be traced. The ruling idea is the same as that of the
diaper-work in the thresholds from Khorsabad and Nimroud (see Vol. I.,
Fig. 135).

After such an example we might look upon the demonstration as made,
but it may be useful to complete it by analyzing the other cups we
have placed in the same class. That on which the scarabs on standards
and the opposed sphinxes appear (Fig. 209) seems pure Egyptian at
first sight; but if we take each motive by itself we find variations
that are not insignificant. In Egyptian paintings, when the scarab
is represented with extended wings they are spread out horizontally,
and not crescent-wise over its head.[421] We may say the same of the
sphinx. The griffin crowned with the _pschent_ is to be found in
Egypt as well as the winged sphinx,[422] but the Egyptian griffins had
no wings,[423] and those of the sphinxes were folded so as to have
their points directed to the ground. In the whole series of Egyptian
monuments I cannot point to a fictitious animal like this griffin. It
is in the fanciful creations of the Assyrians alone that these wings,
standing up and describing a curve with its points close to the head
of the beast that wears them (see Fig. 87), is to be seen. It is an
Assyrian griffin masquerading under the double crown of Egypt, but a
trained eye soon penetrates the disguise.

The arrangement, too, of the group is Assyrian. When the Egyptians
decorated a jewel, a vessel, or a piece of furniture by combining
two figures in a symmetrical fashion, they put them back to back
rather than face to face.[424] Very few examples can be quoted of the
employment in Egypt of an arrangement that is almost universal in
Assyria. In the latter country this opposition of two figures is so
common as to be common-place; they are usually separated from each
other by a palmette, a rosette, a column or even a human figure (see
Vol. I., Figs. 8, 124, 138, 139; and above, Figs. 75, 90, 141, 152,
153, 158, etc.), and it was certainly from Mesopotamia that Asia Minor
borrowed the same motive, which is so often found in the tombs of
Phrygia and in Greece as far as Mycenæ, whither it was carried from
Lydia by the Tantalides.[425]

The same remarks will apply to the cup partially reproduced in our
Fig. 216. The ornament of the centre and of the outer band is Egyptian
in its origin, but the mountainous country with its stags and its
trees, that lies between--have we found anything like it in Egypt?
The mountains are suggested in much the same fashion as in the palace
reliefs, and we know how much fonder the sculptors of Mesopotamia were
of introducing the ibex, the stag, the gazelle, etc., into their work
than those of Egypt. The rocky hills and sterile deserts that bounded
the Nile valley were far less rich in the wilder ruminants than the
wooded hills of Kurdistan and the grassy plains of the double valley.

There is one last fact to be mentioned which will, we believe, put
the question beyond a doubt. Of all antique civilization, that which
has handed down to us the most complete material remains is the
civilization of Egypt. Thanks to the tomb there is but little of it
lost. Granting that these cups were made in Egypt, how are we to
explain the fact that not a single specimen has been found in the
country? About sixty in all have been recovered; their decoration
is distinguished by much variety, but when we compare them one with
another we find an appreciable likeness between any two examples. The
forms, the execution, the ornamental motives are often similar, or, at
least, are often treated in the same spirit. The majority come from
Assyria, but some have been found in Cyprus, in Greece, in Campania,
Latium, and Etruria. Over the whole area of the ancient world there is
but one country from which they are totally absent, and that country is

We may, then, consider it certain that it was not Egyptian industry
that scattered these vessels so widely, from the banks of the Euphrates
to those of the Arno and the Tiber, not even excepting from this
statement those examples on which Egyptian taste has left the strongest
mark. Egypt thus put out of the question, we cannot hesitate between
Mesopotamia and Phœnicia. If the cups of Nimroud were not made where
they were found, it was from Phœnicia that they were imported. The
composite character of the ornamentation with which many of them were
covered is consistent with all we know of the taste and habits of
Phœnician industry, as we shall have occasion to show in the sequel.
On the other hand we must not forget at how early a date work in metal
was developed in the workshops of Mesopotamia. Exquisite as it is, the
decoration of the best of these vases would be child’s play to the
master workmen who hammered and chiselled such pictures in bronze as
those that have migrated from Balawat to the British Museum.

We are inclined to believe that the fabrication of these cups began
in Mesopotamia; that the first models were issued from the workshops
of Babylon and Nineveh, and exported thence into Syria; and that the
Phœnicians, who imitated everything--everything, at least, that had
a ready sale--acclimatized the industry among themselves and even
carried it to perfection. In order to give variety to the decoration of
the vases sent by them to every country of Western Asia and Southern
Europe, they drew more than once from that storehouse of Egyptian ideas
into which they were accustomed to dive with such free hands; and this
would account for the combination of motives of different origin that
we find on some of the cups. Vases thus decorated must have become
very popular, and both as a result of commerce and of successful wars,
must have entered the royal treasures of Assyria in great numbers. We
know how often, after the tenth century, the sovereigns of Calah and
Nineveh overran Palestine, as well as Upper and Lower Syria. After each
campaign long convoys of plunder wended their way through the defiles
of the Amanus and Anti-Lebanon, and the fords of the Euphrates, to the
right bank of the Tigris. The Assyrian conquerors were not content with
crowding the store-rooms of their palaces with the treasures thus won,
they often transported the whole population of a town or district into
their own country. Among the Syrians thus transplanted there must have
been artizans, some of whom endeavoured to live by the exercise of
their calling and by opening shops in the bazaars of Babylon, Calah,
and Nineveh. Clients could be easily gained by selling carved ivories
and these engraved cups at prices much smaller than those demanded when
the cost of transport from the Phœnician coast had to be defrayed.

In one of these two ways it is, then, easy to explain the introduction
of these foreign motives into Assyria, where they would give renewed
life to a system of ornament whose resources were showing signs of
exhaustion. This tendency must have become especially pronounced about
the time of the Sargonids, when Assyria was the mistress of Phœnicia
and invaded the Nile valley more than once. To this period I should be
most ready to ascribe the majority of the bronze cups; the landscapes,
hunts and processions of wild animals with which many of them are
engraved, seem to recall the style and taste of the bas-reliefs of
Sennacherib and Assurbanipal rather than the more ancient schools of

In any case it would be difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish
between the vases engraved in Mesopotamia by native workmen and those
imported from Phœnicia, or made at Nineveh by workmen who had received
their training at Tyre or Byblos. The resemblances between the two are
too many and too great. At most we may unite all the platters found in
Mesopotamia into a single group, and point out a general distinction
between them and those that have been discovered in the Mediterranean
basin. The ornament on the Nimroud cups is, on the whole, simpler than
on those found in Cyprus and Italy; the figure plays a less important
part in the former, and the compositions are more simple. The Assyrian
cups, or, to be more accurate, those found in Assyria, represent
the earliest phase of this art, or industry, whichever it should be
called. In later years, after the fall of Nineveh, when Phœnicia had
the monopoly of the manufacture, she was no longer content with purely
decorative designs and small separate pictures. Her bronze-workers
multiplied their figures and covered the concentric zones with real
subjects, with scenes whose meaning and intention can often be readily
grasped. This we shall see when the principal examples of this kind of
art come under review in our chapters upon Phœnicia.[426]

  [Illustration: FIG. 218.--Bronze cup. British Museum.]

Meanwhile, we shall not attempt to establish distinctions that are
nearly always open to contest; they would, besides, require an amount
of minute detail which would here be quite out of place. To give but
one example of the evidence which might lead to at least plausible
conclusions, we might see pure Assyrian workmanship in the cup figured
below (Fig. 218),[427] where mountains, trees, and animals stand up in
slight relief, both hammer and burin having been used to produce the
desired result. Among these animals we find a bear, which must have
been a much more familiar object to the Assyrians living below the
mountain-chains of Armenia and Kurdistan than to the dwellers upon the
Syrian coast. In the inscribed records of their great hunts, the kings
of Assyria often mention the bear.[428] Nothing that can be compared
to these wooded hills peopled by wild beasts is to be found on the
cups from Cyprus or Italy. I may say the same of another cup on which
animals of various species are packed so closely together that they
recall the engravings on some of the cylinders (see Fig. 149).[429]

On the other hand, there are plenty of motives which may just as easily
have had their origin in one country as the other. The two vultures,
for instance, preparing to devour a hare stretched upon its back, which
we figure below (Fig. 219).[430]

  [Illustration: FIG. 219.--Border of a cup; from Layard.]

It may be thought that we have dwelt too long upon these cups; but
the sequel of our history will show why we have examined them with an
attention that, perhaps, neither their number nor their beauty may
appear to justify. They are first met with in Assyria, but they must
have existed in thousands among the Greeks and Italiots. Light, solid,
and easy to carry, they must have furnished western artists with some
of their first models. As we shall see, they not only afforded types
and motives for plastic reproduction, but, by inciting them to find a
meaning for the scenes figured upon them, they suggested myths to the
foreign populations to whom they came.

                             § 5. _Arms._

We shall not, of course, study Assyrian arms from the military point
of view. That question has been treated with all the care it deserves
by Rawlinson and Layard.[431] From the stone axes and arrow-heads that
have been found in the oldest Chaldæan tombs, to the fine weapons and
defensive armour in iron and bronze, used by the soldiers of Nineveh in
its greatest years, by the cavalry, the infantry, and the chariot-men
of Sargon and Sennacherib, the progress is great and must have required
many long centuries of patient industry. In Assyria no trade can have
occupied more hands or given rise to more invention than that of the
armourer. For two centuries the Assyrian legions found no worthy rivals
on the battlefields of Asia; and, although their superiority was mainly
due, of course, to qualities of physical vigour and moral energy
developed by discipline, their unvarying success was in some degree the
result of their better arms. Without dwelling upon this point we may
just observe that when war is the chief occupation of a race, its arms
are sure to be carried to an extreme degree of luxury and perfection.
Some idea of their elaboration in the case of Assyria may be gained
from the reliefs and from the original fragments that have come down to

  [Illustration: FIGS. 220, 221.--Chariot poles; from a

It was from the animal kingdom that the Assyrian armourer borrowed most
of the forms with which he embellished the weapons and other military
implements he made. Thus we find the chariot poles ending in the head
of a bull, a horse, or a swan (Figs. 220 and 221).[432] Elsewhere we
find a bow no less gracefully contrived; its two extremities are shaped
into the form of a swan’s head bent into the neck.[433]

  [Illustration: FIGS. 222, 223.--Sword scabbards, from
  the reliefs; from Layard.]

The sword is the king of weapons. By a kind of instinctive metaphor
every language makes it the symbol of the valour and prowess of him who
wears it. It was, therefore, only natural that the Assyrian scabbard,
especially when worn by the king, should be adorned with lions (Figs.
82, 222, 223). These were of bronze, no doubt, and applied. In the
last of our three examples a small lion is introduced below the larger
couple. The sword-blade itself may have been decorated in the same
fashion. The Assyrians understood damascening, an art that in after
ages was to render famous the blades forged in the same part of the
world, at Damascus and Bagdad. The Arab armourers did no more, perhaps,
than practise an art handed down to them from immemorial times, and
brought to perfection many centuries before in the workshops of
Mesopotamia. At any rate we know that two small bronze cubes found at
Nimroud were each ornamented on one face with the figure in outline
of a scarab with extended wings, and that the scarab in question was
carried out by inlaying a thread of gold into the bronze (Fig. 224).
Meanwhile we may point to an Assyrian scimitar, the blade of which is
inscribed with cuneiform characters.[434]

In the reliefs we find a large number of shields with their round
or elliptical surfaces divided into concentric zones.[435] A recent
discovery enables us to say how these zones were filled, at least in
the case of shields belonging to kings or chiefs. In 1880 Captain
Clayton found, on the site of an ancient building at Toprak-Kilissa,
in the neighbourhood of Van, four shields, or rather their remains,
among a number of other objects. These shields are now in the British
Museum. Upon one fragment we may read an inscription of Rushas, king of
Urardha, or Armenia, in the time of Assurbanipal.[436]

  [Illustration: FIG. 224.--Bronze cube damascened with
  gold; from Layard.]

This inscription, which is votive in its tenor, combines with the
examination of the objects themselves, to prove that these shields are
not real arms, made for the uses of war. The bronze is so thin--not
more than a millimetre and a half in thickness--that even if nailed
upon wood or backed with leather it could have afforded no serious
protection, and its reliefs must have been disfigured and flattened
with the least shock. The edge alone is strengthened by a hoop of
iron. The shields are votive, and must have been hung on the walls
of a temple, like those we see thus suspended in a bas-relief of
Sargon (Vol. I. Fig. 190), a relief in which a temple of this same
Armenia is represented.[437] But although they were made for purposes
of decoration, these arms were none the less copies of those used in
actual war, except in the matter of weight and solidity; thus they were
furnished with loops for the arms, but these were too narrow to allow
the limb of a man of average size to pass through them with any freedom.

  [Illustration: FIG. 225.--Votive shield. Diameter about
  34½ inches. Drawn by R. Elson.]

For us the most interesting point about them is their decoration, which
is identical in principle with several of the bronze platters lately
discussed (see Fig. 217). This may be clearly seen in our reproduction
of the shield which has suffered least from rust (Fig. 225).[438] In
the centre there is a rosette with many radiations; next come three
circular bands separated from each other and from the central boss by
a double cable ornament. The innermost and outermost zones are filled
with lions passant, the one between with bulls in the same attitude.
And here we find a curious arrangement of which we can point to no
other example: both lions and bulls have their feet turned sometimes
to the centre of the shield, sometimes to its outer edge. The general
character of the form is well grasped in both cases; but the design has
neither the breadth nor firmness of that upon the cup to which we have
already compared this shield (Fig. 217). The armourers were inferior in
skill to the gold and silversmiths--we can think of no more appropriate
name for them--by whom the metal cups were beaten and chased, although
they made use of the same models and motives. No one would attribute
a Phœnician origin to these bucklers; they were found in Armenia and
were covered with cuneiform inscriptions. They must have been made
either in Assyria, or in a neighbouring country that borrowed all from
Assyria, its arts and industries as well as its written characters. The
Assyrians attached too much importance to their arms and made too great
a consumption of them to be content with importing them from a foreign

  [Illustration: FIG. 226.--Knife-handle. Bone. Louvre.]

When we turn to objects of less importance, such as daggers and
knives, we find their handles also often modelled after animals’ heads.
We have already figured more than one example (Vol. I., tail-piece to
chapter II., and Vol. II., tail-piece to chapter I.). But sometimes
they were content with a more simple form of decoration belonging
to the class of ornament we call geometrical, which they combined
with those battlement shapes that, as we have seen, the enameller
also borrowed from the architect (Vol. I. Fig. 118). A by no means
ungraceful result was obtained by such simple means (Figs. 202 and
226). These knife-handles are interesting not so much on account of
their workmanship as for their tendency and the taste they display.
They were objects of daily use and manufacture. Cut from ivory and
bone, they were sold in hundreds in the bazaars. But in every detail
we can perceive a desire to make the work please the eye. The evidence
of this desire has already struck us in Egypt; it will be no less
conspicuous in Greece. In these days, how many useful objects turned
out by our machines have no such character. Those who design them think
only of their use. They are afraid of causing complications by any
attempt to make one different from the other or to give varied shapes
to tools all meant for the same service. They renounce in advance the
effort of personal invention and the love for ornament that gives
an interest of its own to the slightest fragments from an ancient
industry, and raises it almost to the dignity of a work of art.

             § 6. _Instruments of the Toilet and Jewelry._

The preoccupation to which we have just alluded, the love for an
agreeable effect, is strongly marked in several things which are
now always left without ornament. A single example will be enough
to show the difference. Nowadays all that we ask of a comb is to
do its duty without hurting the head or pulling out the hair; that
its teeth shall be conveniently spaced and neither too hard nor too
pliant. These conditions fulfilled, it would not be out of place in
the most luxurious dressing-room. The ancients were more exacting, as
a series of ebony combs in the Louvre is sufficient to show (Figs.
227–229).[439] They have two rows of teeth, one coarse, the other
fine, and each is ornamented in the middle with a figure in open-work
(Figs. 228–229) or raised in relief on a flat bed (Fig. 227). Only a
part of the latter comb is preserved. The frame round the figures is
cut into the shape of a cable above and below, and into rosettes at the
ends. On one side of the comb there is a walking lion, on the other the
winged sphinx shown in our engraving. Its body is that of a lion, it
is mitred and wears a pointed beard. In the second example we have a
lion with lowered head within a frame with a kind of egg moulding. The
forms are so heavy that at first we have some difficulty in recognizing
the species. In our last specimen both design and execution are much
better. A lion is carved in the round within a frame ornamented with
a double row of zig-zag lines. The modelling has been carried out by
a skilful artist and is not unworthy of a place beside the Ninevite

  [Illustration: FIG. 227.--Comb. Actual size. Louvre.]

We know of nothing among the spoils of Assyria that can be compared to
those wooden spoons that the Egyptian workman carved with so light a
hand;[440] but two objects found at Kouyundjik prove that the Assyrians
knew how to give forms elegant and graceful enough, though less
original, to objects of the same kind. One of these is a bronze fork,
the other a spoon of the same material. Cables, zig-zags, and beads
are used to ornament them, and the whole is a good example of Assyrian
taste in little things.

  [Illustration: FIG. 228.--Comb. Actual size. Louvre.]

So far we have treated Assyrian metal-work of the ornamental kind only
as it is seen in bronze. Hardly any objects of gold or silver have,
in fact, been discovered in Mesopotamia. And yet it is impossible
that those two metals can have been very rare in the Nineveh of the
Sargonids or the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar; war and industry certainly
led to considerable accumulations of both. We must find a reason for
their absence in the success with which the Assyrian tomb has so far
avoided discovery. The tomb alone could offer a safe asylum to such
treasures, and preserve them in its shadows for the inquisitive eyes
of modern archæologists. Before being abandoned to the slow effects of
time, the temples and palaces were pillaged. Here and there, however,
in some well contrived hiding-place or forgotten corner, a few trinkets
may have escaped the eyes of greedy conquerors, or of the later
marauders who sounded the ruins in every direction for the sake of the
precious metals they might contain.

  [Illustration: FIG. 229.--Comb. Actual size. Louvre.]

The oldest jewels left to us by these peoples are those found in the
most ancient tombs at Warka. Their forms are simple enough--bronze
bracelets made of a bar tapering rapidly to each end and beaten with a
hammer into a slight oval (Figs. 232, 233). These bars are sometimes
very thick, as our first example shows. The golden ear-drops from the
same tombs (Fig. 234) are made in the same way.

At Nineveh the art is more advanced. We may form our ideas of it from
the bas-reliefs, where people are shown with jewels about their arms,
their necks, and hanging on their cheeks; and also from a few original
specimens that have escaped the general wreck. In the foundations of
Sargon’s palace, under the massive threshold, were found too, together
with a large number of cylinders, the remains of necklaces made up
of pierced stones, such as carnelian, red and yellow jasper, brown
sardonyx, amethyst, &c., cut into cylinders, polygons, medallions,
and into the shapes of a pear and of an olive or date-stone (Fig.
235). This use of precious stones was a survival from the days when
pebbles were turned to the same purpose. Earrings were made in the same
fashion (Figs. 236, 237). In one of the reliefs we see a eunuch wearing
a necklace in which double cones alternate with disks (Fig. 238).
The same elements could of course be used for bracelets or armlets,
by shortening the wire on which they were strung. From an art point
of view such a jewel was quite primitive; all its beauty lay in the
rich colours of its separate stones, among which beads of glass and
enamelled earthenware have also been found.

  [Illustration: FIGS. 230, 231.--Bronze fork and spoon;
  from SMITH’S _Assyrian Discoveries_.]

Kings and other high personages were not content with such simple
adornments. It would seem that princes wore necklaces made up of
separate pieces each of which had an emblematic signification of its
own (Fig. 239), because we find them constantly reappearing in the
reliefs, sometimes around the sovereign’s neck, sometimes distributed
over the field of a stele. In the stele of Samas-Vul, the king only
wears a single ornament on his breast; it is exactly similar to what we
call a Maltese cross (Fig. 116).

  [Illustration: FIGS. 232, 233.--Bracelets; from

  [Illustration: FIG. 234.--Ear-drop. British Museum.]

  [Illustration: FIGS. 235–237.--Necklace and ear-drops.
  Louvre. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

These ornaments must have been of gold and of some considerable size.
The grand vizier, and the king when his tiara is absent, wear a diadem
about their foreheads in which the rosette is the chief element of the
decoration (Vol. I. Figs. 25 and 29). The queen’s diadem, in the “Feast
of Assurbanipal,” is crenellated (Fig. 117), reminding us of that worn
by the Greek Cybele. In the same monuments the wrists of kings and
genii are surrounded with massive bracelets (Vol. I. Figs. 4, 8, 9, 15,
23, 24, 29, &c.). In the Louvre there is a bronze bracelet of exactly
the same type (Fig. 24C).[441] We may see them figured among
the objects offered in tribute in a bas-relief at Nimroud (Fig. 241).
From the same reliefs we gather several examples of ear-pendents (Figs.
242–244). It is probable that the same models were carried out in gold,
silver, or bronze, according to the rank and fortune of the people for
whom they were made.[442] The forms were not altogether happy.

  [Illustration: FIG. 238.--Necklace; from Layard.]

And yet the Assyrian workmen could sometimes turn out lighter and more
graceful objects than these. It was, no doubt, when they laboured for
the softer sex that they modified their methods of work. The figure
of a winged genius in which we ventured to recognise a goddess wears
several necklaces, and one of them looks like a chain with alternately
thin and stout members (Fig. 162). Now, at Kouyundjik, a necklace has
been found (Fig. 245) bearing no little resemblance to the one here
copied by the sculptor. It is composed of slender gold tubes, separated
from each other by beads of the same metal. These beads are alternately
ribbed and smooth. The workmanship is good and very careful.

  [Illustration: FIG. 239.--Royal necklace; from

That these articles of personal jewelry were made in the country is
proved by the fact that not a few of the moulds used by the jewellers
for the patterns most in favour have been found. They are small slabs
of serpentine or very hard limestone, in one face of which the desired
pattern is cut in intaglio (Figs. 246 and 247). Wherever the pattern
communicates with the outer edge by a small opening, it may have been
used to receive the liquid metal; where no such gutter exists, the
design must have been stamped, the leaves of metal being placed over
the hollow and beaten into it with a mallet.[443]

  [Illustration: FIG. 240.--Bracelet. Diameter 5 inches.
  Louvre. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

It was by this latter process, no doubt, that those buttons which
have been found in such quantities by every one who has explored the
Assyrian palaces, were made. They are sometimes small disks ornamented
with concentric bands (Fig. 248), sometimes lozenges with beaded edges
(Fig. 249). These buttons have sometimes staples for attachment like
ours, but more often they are pierced with a small hole for the passage
of a metal thread. They were thus fixed on the king’s robes and the
harness of his horses. Our Fig. 250, which is copied from a bas-relief
at Kouyundjik, shows how the leather bands that encircled the necks of
the chariot-horses and supported bells, metal rosettes and coloured
tassels, were decorated.[444]

  [Illustration: FIG. 241.--Bracelets; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 242.--Ear-drop; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIGS. 243, 244.--Ear-drops; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIGS. 248, 249.--Gold buttons. British

  [Illustration: FIG. 245.--Necklace. British Museum.]

The habits and tastes of the Oriental saddler have not changed since
the days of antiquity. We cannot get a better idea of Assyrian harness
than by examining the sets exposed for sale in the present day in the
bazaars of Turkey, Persia, and India. More than once, when some Kurdish
bey rode past him on his Arab, Sir H. Layard felt as if he had seen
a vision from one of the Ninevite reliefs. The leather stitched with
bright coloured threads, the housings of gaudy wool, the hawk’s bells
tinkling round the horse’s neck, were all survivals from the past.
The equipment of a Spanish mule, or the harness that used to be worn
by the waggon teams of Eastern France within the memory of men not yet
old, gives some idea of the effect produced.

  [Illustration: FIGS. 246, 247.--Moulds for trinkets;
  from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIGS. 248, 249.--Gold buttons. British Museum.]
  from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 250.--Part of the harness of a

Personal jewelry and the apparatus of the toilet seem to have been no
less elaborate in the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar than in the Nineveh
of Sennacherib, but we possess very few objects that can be surely
referred to that period. To the very last years of the Chaldæan
empire, if not to a still later date, must be ascribed two golden
earrings now in the British Museum (Figs. 251 and 252). They represent
a naked child, with long hair and a head much too large for its body.
We are told that they were found in a tomb at Niffer, with other
objects whose Chaldæan character was very strongly marked. Without this
assurance we should be tempted to think their date no more remote than
that of the Seleucidæ.

Among the knobs, or buttons, used so largely by joiners, tailors, and
saddlers, some have been found of ivory and of mother-of-pearl. The
jewellers, too, must have used these substances, which would give them
an opportunity for effective colour harmonies. Thus Layard mentions an
ear-pendent that he found at Kouyundjik, which had two pearls let into
a roll of gold.[445]

  [Illustration: FIGS. 251, 252.--Ear-pendents. British

On the other hand no amber has been found in Mesopotamia. That
substance was widely used by the Mediterranean nations as early as
the tenth century before our era, but it does not seem to have been
carried into the interior of Asia. It has been asserted that one of the
cuneiform texts mentions it;[446] that assertion we cannot dispute, but
it is certain that neither in the British Museum nor in the Louvre,
among the countless objects that have been brought from the Chaldæan
and Assyrian ruins to those great store-houses of ancient art, has
the smallest fragment of amber been discovered. If it ever entered
Mesopotamia, how could it have been more fitly used than in necklaces,
to the making of which glass, enamelled earthenware, and every
attractive stone within reach, contributed?[447]

                           § 7. _Textiles._

Among people who looked upon nudity as shameful, the robe and its
decorations were of no little importance. Both in Chaldæa and Assyria
it was carried to a great pitch of luxury by the noble and wealthy.
They were not content with fine tissues, with those delicate and snowy
muslins for which the kings of Persia and their wives were, in later
years, to ransack the bazaars of Babylon.[448] They required their
stuffs to be embroidered with rich and graceful ornament, in which
brilliant colour and elegant design should go hand in hand.[449] The
Chaldæans were the first to set this example, as we know from the most
ancient cylinders, from the Tello monuments and from the stele of
Merodach-idin-akhi (Fig. 233). But it would seem that the Assyrians
soon left their teachers behind, and in any case the bas-reliefs
enable us to become far better acquainted with the costume of the
northern people than with that of their southern neighbours. Helped and
tempted by the facilities of a material that offered but a very slight
resistance to his chisel, the Assyrian sculptor amused himself now by
producing a faithful copy of the royal robes in every detail of their
patient embroidery, now by imitating in the broad thresholds, the
intersecting lines, the stars and garlands woven by the nimble shuttle
in the soft substance of the carpets with which the floors of every
divan were covered.

The images on the royal robes must have been entirely embroidered
(Figs. 253 and 254). They cannot have been metal cuirasses engraved
with the point, as we might at the first glance be tempted to think.
In the relief there is no salience suggesting the attachment of any
foreign substance. Neither have we any reason to believe that work of
such intricate delicacy could be carried out in metal. It was by the
needle and on a woollen surface that these graceful images were built

The skill of the Babylonian embroiderers was famous until the last days
of antiquity.[450] During the Roman period their works were paid for by
their weight in gold.[451] Even now the women of every eastern village
cover materials often coarse enough in themselves with charming works
of the same kind. They decorate thus their long hempen chemises, their
aprons and jackets, their scarves, and the small napkins that are used
sometimes as towels and sometimes to lay on the floor about the low
tables on which their food is served.

It is likely that the Assyrian process was embroidery in its strictest
sense. In the modern bazaars of Turkey and Persia table-covers of
applied work may be bought, in which hundreds of little pieces of
cloth have been used to make up a pattern of many colours; but in the
sculptured embroideries the surfaces are cut up by numerous lines which
could hardly have been produced, in the original, otherwise than by
the needle. This, however, is a minor question. Our attention must be
directed to the composition of the pictures and to the taste which
inspired and regulated their arrangement.

  [Illustration: FIG. 253.--Embroidery on the upper part
  of the king’s mantle; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 254.--Embroidery upon a royal
  mantle; from Layard.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 255.--Embroidered pectoral; from

The principle of the decoration as a whole is almost identical with
that of the bronze platters. A central motive is surrounded by parallel
bands of ornaments in which groups of figures are symmetrically
disposed. Outside this again are narrow borders composed of forms
borrowed chiefly from the vegetable kingdom, such as conventional
flowers and buds, palmettes, and rosettes. The figures are strongly
religious in character; here we find winged genii, like those about the
palace doors, adoring the sacred tree, floating in space, or playing
with lions (see Fig. 253); in another corner the king himself is
introduced, standing between two monitory genii, or in act of homage to
the winged disk and mystic palm.

All these images are skilfully arranged, in compartments bounded by
gracefully curving lines. The designer has understood how to cover
his surface without crowding or confusion, and has shown a power of
invention and a delicate taste that can hardly be surpassed by any
other product of Mesopotamian art. There is no trace of the heaviness
to which we alluded in our section on jewelry.

  [Illustration: FIG. 256.--Detail of embroidery; from

  [Illustration: FIG. 257.--Detail of embroidery; from

  [Illustration: FIG. 258.--Detail of embroidery; from

The impression made by these compositions as a whole is intensified
when we examine their separate details. The variety of the combinations
employed is very striking. Sometimes the ornament is entirely linear
and vegetable in its origin. Look, for instance, at the kind of square
brooch worn on his breast by one of the winged genii at Nimroud (Fig.
255). The sacred tree surrounded by a square frame of rosettes and wavy
lines occupies the centre, the palmette throws out its wide fronds
at one end. In another example we find a human-headed lion, mitred
and bearded, struggling with an eagle-headed genius. On the right of
our woodcut (Fig. 256) a bud or flower like that of the _silene
inflata_, hangs over the band of embroidery; it is a pendent from
the necklace. Sometimes we find real combined with fictitious animals.
In Fig. 257 two griffins have brought down a spotted deer. Elsewhere
we see a winged bull perched upon a large rosette in an attitude that
is at once unexpected and not ungraceful (Fig. 258). Finally the king
himself or a personage resembling him is often represented struggling
with fictitious monsters (Fig. 259). In this figure notice the rosettes
that are scattered promiscuously over the field. We shall encounter
the same prodigality of ornament in the oldest Greek vases, whose
decorators seem to have been afraid to leave a corner of their surface

       *       *       *       *       *

In his way the weaver was no less skilful than the embroiderer, but he
could not give quite so much rein to his fancy as his fellow workmen.
The shuttle was less free than the needle. In its passage through the
threads of the warp it could hardly do more than trace symmetrical
designs and repeat them at regular intervals. We must seek for the
patterns of Chaldæo-Assyrian carpets in the sculptured thresholds of
the palaces. In these the general principle never varied, but the
composition changed just as it does to-day in the carpets and rugs
imported from Turkey and Persia. In any case there was a border into
which the softest and most delicate colours were introduced. As a
rule it must have been decorated with one of those “knop and flower”
ornaments originally invented by the Egyptians.[452] The space so
inclosed was sometimes divided into coffer-like compartments or
panels, sometimes it was filled with a single diaper pattern, as in
the threshold from Khorsabad (Vol. I. Fig. 96). No figures of men or
animals are to be found here. The simple and perhaps monotonous forms
borrowed from the vegetable kingdom, were thoroughly well suited for
stuffs destined to be stepped upon by countless feet. If, in our
fancy, we clothe the patterns of the carved sills in all the charm
of varied colour, we obtain a glowing surface that may be compared,
at a respectful distance, with the gorgeous colour harmonies of the
Mesopotamian plains, when the spring showers have clothed them in a
robe of brilliant green, studded with the pure white of the marguerite,
the gold of the ranunculus, and the rich satin of the purple tulip.

  [Illustration: FIG. 259.--Detail of embroidery; from

                           § 8. _Commerce._

The industry whose products we have been describing presupposed an
active and widely extended commerce. It made use of many things
that were not to be found within its own country, and it produced
so much that it could not fail to seek for profitable exchanges.
“Thou [Nineveh] hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of
heaven,”[453] says the prophet Nahum; and Ezekiel calls Chaldæa “a land
of traffic” and Babylon “a city of merchants.”[454]

Like Egypt, neither Chaldæa nor Assyria understood the use of money,
but its absence did not affect their trade. Whether their system was
one of barter, or whether they employed the precious metals in rough
ingots or rings of a certain weight, weighing them in the balance for
each transaction, we cannot say, but we know that the great cities
of Mesopotamia had intimate business relations with the surrounding
countries for many centuries, and that their merchants had ingenious
methods of mobilizing their capital. It is even asserted that they
made use of the bill of exchange or of something strongly resembling

It was only at its southern extremity that Mesopotamia had a sea-board,
and we have very little information as to its maritime commerce.
There seems to be no doubt, however, that it held communication with
India by sea. Ur, the oldest of the successive capitals of Chaldæa,
was near the Persian Gulf, and its ships are often mentioned in the

As civilization advanced those vessels must have increased in number.
Isaiah speaks of the ships of the Chaldæans.[457] The regular winds
of the Indian Ocean enabled a sea traffic to be carried on without
danger; ships could proceed to the mouths of the Indus and return to
the Persian Gulf almost to the day. That communication of some kind
existed between the two countries can be proved. The _zebu_, or
humped ox, is often represented on the Mesopotamian monuments; and that
animal is indigenous in India, where its domestication dates back to
the remotest antiquity. Among the half decomposed beams that have been
disinterred from the ruins in Lower Chaldæa, some of teak have been
recognized.[458] Now the home of that tree is in India; it is to be
found neither in Chaldæa nor in any other part of Western Asia. Finally
a large proportion of the ivory consumed by the artificers of Babylon
and Nineveh must have come from India. The same ships may have brought
African ivory from the land of the Somalis, and, as they coasted along
Arabia they may have increased their cargoes with myrrh, incense, and
other aromatic spices from that country.[459]

But it was in the main by land that Mesopotamia imported her raw
material and exported her manufactures. There must have been continual
intercourse by caravan between Assyria and the Indus valley. The
route must have been by Cabul, Herat, the gates of the Caspian and
Media.[460] Several passes led down to the Tigris valley from the
plateau of Iran. Longer and more difficult roads brought Armenia and
the Caucasus into relations with Nineveh; but, as Herodotus noticed,
the rafts of inflated skins, or _keleks_ as they are now called,
could be used to float the stones and metals, the leather and the wool
of the hilly regions down to the Assyrian capital and the cities of
Chaldæa. Timber also would come down with the stream. Towards the west
the roads that crossed the fords of the Euphrates, either at Thapsacus,
or higher up, at Karkhemish, put Assyria into communication with Asia
Minor by the defiles of the Taurus, and with Upper Syria and Damascus
by the desert and the oasis of Tadmor. It was by this latter route
that the great ports on the Syrian coast received those draperies and
carpets which Ezekiel was so careful to enumerate when he pictured the
commerce of Tyre. Addressing that queen of the sea whose fall made him
leap for joy, he cries: “Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the merchants of
Sheba, Asshur and Chilmad were thy merchants. These were thy merchants
in all sorts of things, in blue clothes, and broidered work, and in
chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar among thy


                              CHAPTER V.


In the ages that rolled away before the commencement of the period
that we call antiquity, the eastern world saw the birth of three great
civilizations; the civilization of Egypt, the civilization of Chaldæa,
and the civilization of China. All three are primitive in character.
So far at least as we can judge, no other form of civilized life had
preceded them in those countries; the past had left no examples to
guide them on their way. In the valleys of the Nile, the Euphrates, and
the Yang-tse-kiang, three natural theatres in which all was prepared
for the work to be performed upon their stages, man emerged from
barbarism much sooner than he did in any other part of Asia or Africa;
he there formed organized societies whose beginnings are lost in so
impenetrable a past that we have no little difficulty in deciding on
which hearth the flame of civilized life was first kindled.

Although these civilizations had each a physiognomy of its own, they
had, nevertheless, more than one common feature. It would take too long
to notice all the resemblances, but we may point out two by which the
historian can hardly fail to be impressed as soon as the idea of making
a comparison suggests itself to his mind.

All three nations learnt to write, and to write in ideographic
characters. These characters are by no means alike in Egypt, Chaldæa,
and China. In each case they began by representing the thing whose idea
they wished to convey, and with time they reduced and simplified the
images thus created until they had a certain number of conventional
forms. This work of simplification did not always proceed on the same
lines. The direction it took and the final result were greatly affected
by the materials employed. Writing traced upon rice paper or papyrus,
with a reed pen, gradually put on an appearance very different to
that of characters punched in clay with a point or stylus. The three
systems were in the end perfectly distinct; and when, by dint of long
and patient effort, you have mastered all the difficulties of Chinese
writing, you are no nearer than you were before to a comprehension of
the wedges or the hieroglyphs.

And yet these three creations of man’s genius are identical in method
and principle. Their point of departure was the same. They began by
figuring every object to which a distinctive name had been given.
The next step was to invent expedients by which these concrete signs
could be used for the expression of abstract ideas, and the next again
to employ them for the notation, not of ideas, but of sounds. In one
country the passage from the direct to the metaphorical use of a term,
and from the pure ideogram to the phonetic character, was made with
more skill and rapidity than in another. Here the corrections and
retouches suggested by practice were more cleverly used to remedy the
vices of the system than there. But the fact to be remembered is that,
without previous concert, all three societies solved the problem put
before them in the same fashion, and that problem was how to fix their
thoughts and transmit them to future generations. They began with naïve
and roughly executed images, like those made by modern savages. From
this stage, in which so many less gifted races stuck fast, all three
nations emerged with equal decision and good fortune. By the same
roads and by-ways they arrived at the expression of the most complex
ideas with a most imperfect instrument. But in spite of all their good
will and their subtle intellects, neither Egypt nor Chaldæa nor China
succeeded in reducing the word to its elements, and fixing upon a
special symbol for each of the fundamental articulations of the human
voice. A kind of hidden force, a secret instinct, seems to have urged
them on to the required analysis, while they were held back by some
fatality or prejudice of their birth or early education. They were all
three on the point of touching the goal, but they never quite reached
it, and it is to another race that the glory of having invented the
alphabet must be given.

These civilizations have a second characteristic at which the
observer cannot but feel surprise, namely, their singular longevity
and immobility. No doubt when we examine them closely we see that they
changed, like everything else that is born, that lives and dies; but
the changes only took place with extreme slowness. In the course of
three or four thousand years beliefs and mental ideas could hardly
remain quite stationary, but the forms and ceremonies of religion
varied in no appreciable degree.

We may say the same of manners and social institutions. These could
not, of course, remain quite the same during such a lapse of time;
a single word, for instance, may have changed its meaning more than
once in so many centuries; but it is none the less true that the
conservative spirit, as we should call it, had a permanent force that
it seems to have lost in the west, amid the rapid transformations and
perpetual mobility of our modern world.

And we must recollect that these societies did not escape any more
than others from the disorders of civil war, of political revolutions
or barbarian inroads. Like all other human systems, they were subject
to catastrophes which must have thrown everything into confusion for
a time. But after each crisis had spent its force the ranks were
closed and dressed, like those of a well-disciplined regiment after
receiving a destructive volley. When quiet had come again men returned
to their places in the framework of a society closely bound together
by habits formed during countless generations. This framework had been
so patiently elaborated and co-ordinated, it was so elastic, and,
at the same time, so full of resistance, that even a foreign master
found it more politic to preserve it and fall in with its ways than
to destroy it; he was content, in most cases, to step into the place
occupied by the prince whom he ousted. Affairs thus fell into their
accustomed groove as soon as a conquest was complete; classes were
reconstituted on their old bases; property and people took up their
former conditions; the only difference lay in the fact that a new group
of privileged individuals shared the wealth created by agricultural,
industrial, and commercial activity. The sovereign and his chief
officers might be of foreign race, but the social machine rolled on
over the same road and with the same wheels as before.

The effect of this uniform and continuous movement did not stop here:
it had another consequence in the rapid assimilation of heterogeneous
and accidental elements, which adapted themselves in a very short
time to the mould into which they were pushed and pressed by the
never-sleeping action of an intense organic life, until, in time, they
became fused and lost in the life they had meant to dominate.

Thus we find that Egypt, from the time of Menes to the end of the Roman
domination, appropriated, and, as it were, digested and absorbed all
the emigrants who came to establish themselves within her borders. Some
of these came sword in hand, after having destroyed all opposition;
others crept in humbly, demanding nothing better than permission to
live in peace. Some were barbarian mercenaries in the pay of Pharaoh,
some shepherds or agricultural labourers attracted by the splendid
fertility of the soil, others were artizans in search of wealthy
patrons, or merchants who sought a profit in distributing the products
of the Egyptian soil or industry over foreign lands. No matter to what
race they belonged, all these strangers and foreign sojourners, from
the Hyksos to the Phœnicians and the Greeks, came under the spell of
Egypt and exercised but little influence over her constitution, her
manners, and ideas. To dissolve a body that appeared indestructible
required two great religious revolutions--the rise of Christianity,
and, but a few centuries later, that of Islamism.

So it was with the civilization born in the double valley of the Tigris
and Euphrates. Between the days of Ourkam and those of the Sassanids it
had many different masters, but long before the apparent triumph of the
Greek system, we find certain religious types maintained and repeated,
which bear witness to the tenacity with which habits and beliefs,
formed long before the first dawn of historic times, clung to life.
Finally, China offers us a still more curious example of the intimate
cohesion and the resisting force that defies the centuries. Egypt,
Chaldæa, and Assyria are only memories; but China, protected by its
situation, and by the circle of mountains and deserts that nature has
drawn about it, the China of Confucius, still lives upon its ancient
sites. Its religion is still that of the two primitive peoples we have
been studying, an elaborate form of _fetishism_, or _animism_
as some would have us call it. The adoration of the sovereign and of
his great officers is addressed chiefly to the celestial bodies, to the
sky itself, to the earth and its mountains; the common people fear and
worship the genii that people the air and the waters, and, still more,
the spirits of their own dead. These they feel hovering about them;
they talk to them; with touching solicitude they prepare their funeral

As for the chief by whom these five hundred millions of human beings
are governed, his power still preserves the absolute, theocratic, and
patriarchal character that distinguishes royalty in all primitive
social systems. We cannot tell what the future may have in store for
China, which is now in contact with the west on all its frontiers,
but it is curious to think that we have as contemporaries in one of
the vastest empires in the world, a nation of men who in all their
intellectual conceptions are nearer to the ancient Egyptians or
Chaldæans than to a modern Englishman or Frenchman. And what adds to
our surprise is that a people of whom we are sometimes inclined to
speak with contempt is not more easily affected by our ideas and our
scientific knowledge, and even goes so far as to add one more to the
anxieties that beset the civilization of which we are so proud. Even
a power like that of the United States of America takes alarm at the
invasion of Chinese workmen, who do more work for less pay than men of
Anglo-Saxon, Irish, or German birth.

The isolation in which China has lived so long has prevented us
from giving her a place in our history, but we could not ignore her
altogether; we have felt ourselves compelled to point out the close and
striking resemblances that make her a sister of Egypt and Chaldæa--a
younger sister indeed, but one that has survived her elders; and the
comparison is important because the example of China enables us to
realize better than we otherwise could the conditions under which the
industrial activities of Egypt and Chaldæa were exercised. Thanks
to the data she furnishes we can understand how the workshops of
Babylonia and the Nile delta were able to scatter their productions
in such prodigious quantities over all the markets of Western Asia;
how objects elegant and carefully made as they were could be delivered
at a price low enough to find plenty of buyers, even when the heavy
charges for freight, brokerage, &c., were added to their original
cost. On the fertile plains of the Euphrates and the Nile, as in the
“yellow” district of China, life was so easy and food so abundant that
the workman’s wage was almost _nil_. This gave to the dwellers
in those happy regions a first advantage over the tribes condemned
to win a laborious existence from the dry soil of the islands and
mountain-chains of Southern Europe.

In a great bee-hive like modern China, where men swarm in countless
millions, work is not only done cheaper, it is done better than among
the poor and scanty tribes that peopled the shores and narrow valleys
of Greece and Italy in those remote days when Memphis and Babylon were
still great capitals. These small clans of fishermen and woodmen, of
shepherds and agriculturists, were cut off from one another by lofty
ridges, which were often to be crossed only by difficult and dangerous
paths. A happy chance or a well directed effort of thought might lead
one of them to discover some technical secret, but a long time would
elapse before the invention would cross the mountains and simplify
the toil of the neighbouring tribes. In that western world which
remained so restless until the eleventh or tenth century before our
era, it constantly happened that a tribe was bitten by a kind of mania
to seek for a new and more favourable home. These displacements put
an end to labour for a time, and brought about shocks and conflicts
by which development was arrested and settled questions reopened. A
canton sacked or a few villages destroyed was enough to put an end to
some promising invention or to destroy the memory of some successful
process. No conquest over natural difficulties was final.

It was quite otherwise in those ancient states which had a population
firmly rooted in the soil, and of industrious, sedentary habits. In
such societies there was no danger of a rude interruption to a work
begun. When some artizan more skilful or imaginative than his fellows
improved the tools of his trade, the knowledge of those improvements
spread rapidly from workshop to workshop. Even in the cities of the
modern East those who follow a particular trade live together in their
own quarter of the town. In Constantinople and Cairo, in Damascus
and Bagdad, there is the armourers’ quarter, the jewellers’ quarter,
that of the saddlers, the tailors, and of many others. These quarters
have their own special entrances, their officers and watchmen; in the
days of antiquity as now, they formed so many small industrial towns,
where, thanks to the heredity of professions and the constancy of
habits and fashions, the prosperity of the manual arts was not at the
mercy of political accident. Wars and changes of dynasty might cause
a moment of stagnation and dulness, but such troubles did not prevent
the apprentice from receiving from his master the instruction in his
trade that he would afterwards pass on to his successors, with all that
he himself could add to the legacy of the past. There were no sudden
interruptions, no solutions of continuity: all that was found was kept;
nothing was forgotten or wasted.

Until the still distant day when Ionia, Greece, and Italy should also
have their populous cities, Egypt and Chaldæa found themselves in a
very favourable situation compared with the peoples, or rather tribes,
who dwelt on the shores of the Mediterranean. Among the latter none
but those simple industries that could be carried on under the family
roof, and in which the women and children could take their part, were
understood. In the basins of the Nile and the Euphrates there were
real manufactures. Artizans were specially trained and grouped into
corporations; they did not work only in the hours they could spare from
agriculture; they laboured at their trade without interruption from
one end of the year to the other, producing objects which commerce
would afterwards “place” where the demand was brisk. In fact they had
a real, we might almost say a great industry. Beside the machine-fed
industry of modern Europe its output was no doubt small; neither Egypt
nor Chaldæa had steam, nor electricity, nor the “spinning-jenny;” but
their organization and division of labour gave them a superiority
over their contemporaries no less crushing than that by which modern
Europe is enabled to flood the whole surface of this planet with her
manufactures, and to substitute them for the local industries. In
every little village of Anatolia I found the cottons of Manchester and
the blue plates of Creil; they could be bought cheaper than native
pottery and textiles. It was the same in antiquity. In the islands and
on the coasts of the Ægæan, there was no competition to be feared by
the faïence, the vessels of terra-cotta or metal, the textiles, the
arms, the ivories, the glass, the utensils of every shape and kind sent
out in such inexhaustible quantities from the workshops of Egypt and

We must endeavour to point out the channels by which the overflow
from this rich and varied production reached the people by whom it
was consumed. And we have a distinction to make between the various
foreign countries to which it was conveyed. We have, on the one
hand, those countries that were in direct contact with Egypt and
Chaldæa, such as Syria, for instance, which dealt immediately with
the manufacturers of the Delta and the Euphrates valley. On the other
there were distant clients who scarcely knew the name of the country
from which their merchandize was brought. They made their purchases at
second or even third hand. The influence of the two great primitive
civilizations was naturally felt with less force at a distance than
when close at hand. In the case of next-door neighbours, it no doubt
favoured the progress of industry and the creation of wealth, but at
the same time it must have weighed like an incubus on the national
genius and imagination; by furnishing it with a complete repertory
of forms and types it must have discouraged it and prevented it from
becoming truly creative. On the other hand, with those who only came
under that influence when attenuated, and, as it were, refracted by
interposed media, the effect was quite different. It gave useful
hints and suggestions, stimulating the spirit at the same time as
it dispensed with the necessity of long periods of experiment and
uncertainty. In the latter case originality was not crushed in the bud;
it was enabled to develop itself with complete freedom.

These differences will be pointed out hereafter as they occur, but it
was necessary to insist before going any further on the common features
presented and the similar parts played by Egypt and Chaldæa in all
the earlier ages of antiquity. These two peoples, who were so long
practically forgotten, were the real founders of western civilization.
To be ignorant of this capital fact or to shut one’s eyes to it for
a moment is to lose one’s grasp of the true rise and subsequent
development of the system which is in course of completion under our
eyes and with our help.

Five or six centuries seem to have been sufficient for Greece and Italy
to raise themselves to the pitch of refinement and culture suggested to
us by the names of Pericles, of Alexander and Augustus. At first one
is not amazed by this singular phenomenon. One thinks a satisfactory
reason has been given for it by a few general statements as to the
genius of those gifted races. But criticism has now grown to be more
exacting. It has more precise observations and more numerous points of
comparison at its command. It knows how slowly, especially in the first
steps, collective and successive works are accomplished. It seeks for
an explanation of such rapid progress in the duration and importance of
the preliminary work carried out with untiring patience by the older
societies, the laborious forerunners of the brilliant favourites of
history. Without this long preparing of the ground, lasting at least
some two or three thousand years, without the countless efforts of
invention and the prolific activity that filled up that period, how
much longer the nations of Southern Europe would have been in shaking
themselves free of the barbarism in which Scythians and Sclaves, Celts
and Germans were steeped until they were conquered by Rome. What
turn things might have taken we cannot even guess, but of this we
may be sure, that the world would not have witnessed when it did the
marvellous and almost sudden appearance of the flowers of classic art
and poetry.

Now the industries of Egypt and Chaldæa won their great prestige, and
the works with which they flooded all the countries within their reach
awakened the plastic genius of the western races, because behind them
there was an art, an art not without faults, but yet with no little
originality and grandeur.

In both countries architecture had created buildings whose wealth
of decoration corresponded to their ample size, and gave point to
the significance of their plans. The ambition of Chaldæa was no less
high than that of Egypt. For size and general magnificence its great
edifices might be looked upon as worthy rivals to those of the Nile
valley, and yet we cannot say they deserve to be put quite on the same
level. In the vast plains of the Euphrates those staged towers whose
restoration we have attempted had a singular importance; they amazed
the eye with their size, and pleased it with their brilliant colours;
but they fell short of the nobility, the mysterious beauty and dignity
of the Egyptian temples. Temples, sanctuaries, or palaces, all the
great structures of Mesopotamia seem to us to suffer from a certain
heaviness and want of variety, and they had another great fault. They
bore in their bosoms the seeds of their own rapid dissolution. Unlike
the halls of Carnac and Luxor they had no defences against the action
of time and the violence of man.

The Chaldæan architect must, then, be put below his Egyptian rival,
and the real cause of his inferiority, as we have already explained,
is to be looked for in the defects of the only material in which his
conceptions could be carried out. That material was brick, brick either
burnt in the kiln, or dried in the sun, with which any conception may
be realized but one in which delicate mouldings and slender columns
play a conspicuous part.

In the case of sculpture the balance hangs about level. The two schools
rendered living forms, and especially those of mankind, in different
ways, but their merits have seemed to us to be distinct rather than
very unequal. In one we have found a more delicate feeling for line,
for grace and refinement of contour; in the minutest statuettes as in
the most gigantic colossi, we have tasted the charm of that proud and
smiling serenity that is expressed as much in attitude and gesture as
in the face. In the other we are chiefly struck by energy of modelling
and power of movement. We have estimated these qualities of force and
vigour at their full price, and we have pointed out that the form
of man occupies a far more important place in the religious art of
Chaldæa than in that of Egypt. In its more frankly anthropomorphic
character it has seemed to us an advance upon that Egyptian sculpture
which put the heads of crocodiles, hawks and hippopotamuses on the
shoulders of its gods. And yet we have been obliged to acknowledge
that the natural conditions were in some respects unfavourable to the
development of Chaldæo-Assyrian art. Their funerary rites did not
demand the absolute fidelity which made the early Egyptian sculptors
such admirable portraitists. In the absence of such compulsion the
Mesopotamian sculptors created general types rather than individual
figures, and their art always had a more or less conventional character
in consequence. Its progress was also hindered by the barrier of opaque
drapery that was interposed between the artist and his model. In his
figures of animals we may see how great his genius for the expression
of life, form, and movement really was, and in all imitative qualities
they leave his figures of men far behind. Nothing in the world can make
up for the absence of that patient study of the nude, on which all
really great sculpture is founded.

It is because Mesopotamian art never studied at this elementary school,
and never mastered these foundations of all plastic skill, that such of
its productions as border on what we call the industrial arts, never
shook themselves clear of a certain heaviness of hand and a certain
monotony of effect. These defects are easily accounted for; a robe--and
especially a straight and clinging robe like that of Assyria--hides all
refinements of modelling, and all the grace of those undulating lines
by which the human form is bounded. If, as in Egypt, the sculptor and
painter had made all the beauties of the human figure, and especially
the graceful contours of woman, familiar to every eye, artizans would
have known how to give more subtle and agreeable forms to their
creations, and would have been compelled to give them. A knowledge of
the nude would have enabled them to make countless variations on a
single theme, and to use it again and again without danger of tiring
the eye. All robed figures have a certain mutual resemblance, however
little there may be in common in their movement and costume. In at
least one Assyrian relief we have been obliged to leave it in doubt as
to whether a life-size figure is that of a god or a goddess.

On the other hand, two nude figures may be almost identical in attitude
and gesture, but even a careless eye will not confound one with the
other. In one the bony framework and muscular development will be more
strongly marked than in the other. Sex, age, habits of work or repose,
will leave their unmistakable marks upon the fleshy contours. The
artist’s difficulties begin when he attempts to record all the shades
of form, and, no doubt, he can never be successful in such an attempt
until he has accumulated no little stock of professional knowledge and
skill. But it is something when he begins to perceive those shades, and
to understand their interest and value. In endeavouring to reproduce
them he feels his hand become lighter and more adroit; in time he will
set himself to imitate nature in all her marvellous variety, and in
doing so he will be led to perceive how she never repeats herself, how
she gives to each individual his own distinctive physiognomy at the
same time that she never confuses the identity of type or species. Put
on his mettle by this discovery, he will become more ingenious and more
inventive every day. Having learnt how scarcely perceptible variations
of line and proportion suffice to distinguish between one being and
another, he will accustom himself to give variety to his creations
by the same process; however slight the changes may be between his
successive productions, each will be a new and unique creation in the
fullest sense of the word. Thenceforward the limits of his art will
be as wide as those of nature herself. Once it has entered upon the
road thus pointed out, it may indeed encounter certain difficulties
of execution, but it need fear no longer a relapse into the worst of
faults, monotony and uniformity.

Unlike the Egyptians, and, as we shall see, still more unlike the
Greeks, the Chaldæans had to dispense with this invaluable training.
Hence the inferiority of their art. That their imaginations were
lively enough is proved chiefly by the decoration of their carpets and
embroidered stuffs, on which all the resources of line are developed
with unfailing taste and fancy; on which vegetable and animal forms,
both real and fantastic, are mingled with the figures of men and
supernatural genii in a fashion that is always graceful and full of
variety. But the variety is more apparent than real. Every human figure
is robed and practically identical in appearance; the artist was
without the resources enjoyed by his Egyptian rival for modifying his
theme without destroying its fundamental character.

Compelled to judge of these embroideries from a small number of
examples handed down to us on the reliefs, we are ready to admire
them for the diversity of their motives, but perhaps if we had a
larger collection we should find some particular group or figure
frequently reappearing. But even if it were so it ought not to lead
us to condemn the taste of the artizans who made them. On stuffs used
for garments, on carpets spread upon floors and tapestries hung upon
walls, repetitions were not out of place. The motive was not looked at
for itself, for its value as an isolated creation, but for the effect
produced by its continual repetition. The eye receives a certain kind
of pleasure from the constant return of a single arrangement of line
or harmony of colour; and an element which, taken by itself, would
have but little value, may be used to build up rich and graceful
compositions. This is sufficiently proved by the ceramics and textiles
of the modern East, such as the faïence of Persia, the shawls of India,
the embroidered silks of China and the porcelain of Japan.

  [Illustration: FIG. 260.--Egyptian mirror, reduced by
  about a fifth of its actual size. Louvre. Drawn by Saint-Elme

The same law does not hold good in all the sumptuary arts. Take jewelry
and gold or silversmith’s work, for instance. The aim is no longer
to decorate and illumine a surface of indefinite extent, it is to
create an object with a distinct unity and form of its own. The
great resource of the worker in precious metal lies, therefore, in
those figures of men and animals to which nature has given a clearly
defined shape and special features by which one is distinguished
from the other. In this respect the goldsmith is the pupil of the
sculptor. He reproduces, on a smaller scale, the types created by
the statue-maker, and multiplies his copies with the freedom of hand
imposed by the necessity for meeting a wider demand. It matters little
that in one time or place these imitations are made with less care and
refinement of taste than in another; the principle is always the same.
In the industrial arts, at least in those in which the figure plays
an important _rôle_, we find nothing that cannot be referred to
some model created by the same people in their fine arts. The work of
the artizan is the reduction, the reflection--enfeebled, indeed, but
faithful so far as it goes--of the work of the artist.

In glancing over the productions of Chaldæo-Assyrian armourers,
jewellers, workers in metal, cabinetmakers, turners, &c., we shall,
then, feel no surprise at the introduction and skilful treatment of
animals and parts of animals, for we have already shown that the
Assyrian sculptors were, perhaps, the foremost _animaliers_ of all
antiquity. On the other hand, in the whole of those objects which have
taught us some of the favourite motives of the Assyrian ornamentist,
we have hardly encountered a human figure; at the most we can only
point to one or two objects on which it was used. In the throne of
Sennacherib (see above, Fig. 47) it was in reality no more than a
symbol. It was not introduced for its own sake, but in order to suggest
a particular idea to the mind of the spectator. And as for the earrings
moulded into the shape of a child (Figs. 251 and 252), we are not at
all sure that they belong to the place and period to which they are

But although we are met on all sides by animals and by fragments from
their bodies, by serpents, rams, goats, bulls, lions (most frequent of
all), griffins and other fictitious monsters, we are distressed by the
absence of those figures of men, still more of women, which occur so
continually on the articles of furniture, on the domestic utensils, on
the metal vases and the jewelry of the Egyptians. Wearied by the very
wealth of an art so rich and so marvellously inventive, we have given,
perhaps, in our volumes upon Egypt, examples too few and chosen from an
insufficient number of classes; but our readers cannot have forgotten
the graceful girlish forms carved on the handles of the perfume spoons,
here stepping delicately among the stems of papyrus, there with their
slender limbs extended like those of a swimmer.[461] We may be allowed,
perhaps, to refresh the memories of readers who have dwelt so long
with us in Assyria, by placing before them two more examples from the
marvellous art wealth of the Nile valley (Figs. 260 and 261).

These two examples do not belong to the same class as the perfume
spoons, but their ruling idea is the same. They are mirrors with bronze
handles. In both cases these handles are modelled in the shape of nude
women or young girls, the slender proportions recalling the sculptures
and paintings of the New Empire. In the first the right arm hangs by
the side while the left is crossed upon the chest; the head alone,
protected by the thick hair or wig, supports the mirror (Fig. 260). In
the second both arms are raised as high as the shoulders and the hands
bent upwards from the wrists to meet a depressed cross-piece to which
the polished disk is attached (Fig. 261). In both cases the modelling
of limbs and torso is a little dry and summary; but the motive is well
imagined, and in spite of defects in detail the whole is characterized
by style and grace.

Nothing of the kind has been found, or, to all appearance, will ever
be found, in the goldsmith’s work of Babylon and Nineveh. As new
excavations are made, we shall, no doubt, find new arrangements,
but it is very unlikely that anything yet to be discovered can
essentially modify the idea we have been led to form of the tastes and
habits of Mesopotamian industry. We are sufficiently familiar with
Chaldæo-Assyrian sculpture, both in its strength and its weakness,
to thoroughly understand the gaps which must always have existed in
the storehouse to which the artizan went for his ideas. The artizan
followed the example of the sculptor; he gave his attention to the
bas-relief and it repaid his trouble. Among the figures sprinkled
with so lavish a hand over stone and wood, ivory and metal, some were
traced with the point or engraved in intaglio; others were beaten up
with the hammer or chisel so as to stand in gentle salience above their
bed. But, speaking generally, no attempt was made to model the nude
figures of men or women in the round. No suspicion of the wealth
of suggestion latent especially in the latter, seems to have dawned
upon the Assyrian mind. If we except a few terra-cotta statuettes, the
artist who in some way gave proof of so much resource, of so much skill
and ingenuity, seems never to have felt the charm of female beauty. The
beauty of woman is the light of nature, the perennial joy of the eye;
to exclude it from the ideal world created by the plastic arts is to
condemn that world to a perpetual twilight, to cast over it a veil of
chill monotony and sadness.

  [Illustration: FIG. 261.--Egyptian mirror, actual size.
  Louvre. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

In the arts of all those peoples who received the teachings of Egypt
and Chaldæa, whether at first hand, like the Phœnicians, or at second,
like the Greeks, the two distinct influences can always be traced.
Mesopotamia may be recognized in certain ornamental motives, such as
the “knop and flower,” the rosettes and palmettes, as well as in its
taste for the symmetry given by coupled figures; still more clearly
is it betrayed in motives into which lions and the whole tribe of
fantastic animals are introduced, struggling with and devouring each
other, and occasionally brought to the ground by some individual
dressed in a long gaberdine and crowned with a tiara.

On the other hand, it is to Egypt that our thoughts are turned when
the human body meets our eyes in its unveiled nobility, with all
the variety of attitude and outline its forms imply. The peoples of
Western Asia learnt much in the school of the Chaldæan artist, but
the teaching given by the Egyptian sculptor was of a higher order,
and far better adapted to guide them in the way that leads to those
exquisite creations in which delicacy and certainty of hand are happily
allied with imaginative power. Sooner or later such teaching must have
aroused, in open and inquiring minds, a feeling for beauty like that
felt in her peculiar fashion by Egypt, a feeling to which Greece, when
once put in her right way, gave the fullest expression it has ever
received in marble and bronze.

In order to make good a comparison that no historian of art can avoid,
we have placed ourselves successively at two different points of
view, and from both we have arrived at the same result: as artists
the Egyptians take a higher rank than the Assyrians, than those
constructors who obstinately neglected the column even when they built
with stone, than those sculptors who avoided measuring themselves with
nature, and who shirked her difficulties by draping their figures. But
before thus bringing the two methods and the two ways of looking at
form into opposition, we ought perhaps to have pointed out a difference
in which this inequality is foreshadowed. In all the monarchies of
the East the great monuments were anonymous, or, at least, if a name
was given in the official texts it was not that of the artist who
conceived them, but of the king under whom they were created. It is
not till we arrive at Greece that we find public opinion placing the
work of art and its author so high that the latter feels himself
justified in signing his own creation. But although this practice was
not inaugurated in Egypt, numerous inscriptions bear witness to the
high rank held in Egyptian society by the artists to whom the king
confided the construction and decoration of his buildings.[462] These
men were not only well paid; they received honours which they are
careful to record, and their fame was spread over the whole valley of
the Nile. In the cuneiform texts we have so far failed to discover the
name of a single architect or sculptor, and it does not appear that a
reason for the omission is to be sought in the peculiar conditions of
Chaldæo-Assyrian epigraphy. Although Babylon and Nineveh have not left
us thousands of epitaphs like those rescued from the sands of Egypt,
we possess many private contracts and agreements in which information
similar to that afforded in other countries by the sepulchral steles is
to be found. Neither there nor elsewhere do we find a trace of anything
corresponding to the conspicuous rank held under the Theban princes of
the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties, by a Semnat, a Bakhenkhonsou,
or any other of the royal architects whose names have been handed down
to us in the texts.

It is unlikely that this difference will vanish when more texts have
been translated. The inequality in the position of the two artists is
readily explained by the unequal development of the two arts. Egyptian
architecture is learned and skilful after a fashion quite distinct
from that of Mesopotamia. It is not content, like the latter, to
spread itself out laterally and to heap up huge masses of earth, to be
afterwards clothed in thin robes of enamelled faïence, of painted and
sculptured alabaster. In spite of their rich decorations, palaces like
those of Nimroud and Khorsabad never quite threw off their appearance
of gigantic improvisations. Their plans once determined--and Assyrian
plans only varied within very narrow limits--the method of roofing,
flat or vaulted, fixed upon for each apartment, all the rest was only
a matter of foremen and their legions of half-skilled workmen. At the
very least we may say that the architect who superintended the building
of a Ninevite palace had a far easier task than his rival of Thebes or
Memphis. The arrangement of porticoes and hypostyle halls demanded much
thought and taste, and, if the work when finished was at all to come up
to the ideas of its creator, the workmen who cut the graceful capitals
and sturdy architraves from the huge masses of granite, sandstone, or
limestone, had to be supervised with an unremitting care unknown and
uncalled for in Mesopotamia. The architects who raised the colonnades
of Karnak and the Ramesseum for Seti and his famous son, were the
Ictinus and Mnesicles of the East. We may become better acquainted than
we are now with the monumental history of Mesopotamia, but we shall
never find within her borders artists worthy to be placed on a level
with those Theban masters.

And if we compare the sculptors of Thebes and Nineveh, we shall
arrive at the same conclusion. On the one hand we find artists who,
whether they worked for the tomb or the temple, in the most stubborn
or the most kindly materials, chiselled images that either delight us
with their simple truth, or impress us with their noble gravity and
colossal size. A whole nation of statues issued from those Egyptian
studios through which we have conducted our readers, many of them
real masterpieces in their way. In Mesopotamia, after early attempts
that seemed full of promise, the art of modelling statues was soon
abandoned. In the glorious days of Nineveh, all that was required of
the sculptor was a talent, we might say a knack, for cutting in the
soft gypsum or limestone realistic illustrations of the conquests and
hunts of the reigning prince. He had to turn out purely historical and
anecdotic sculpture by the yard, or rather by the mile; while in Egypt
we see the whole nation, with its kings and gods, revive to a second
life in those forceful and sincere portraits of which so many thousands
have come down to our day.

In placing the distinctive features of the individual upon wood or
stone, the sculptor did something more than flatter the vanity of
the great; he prolonged their existence, he helped them to keep off
the assaults of death and to defy annihilation. From Pharaoh to the
humblest fellah, every one had to conciliate the man who possessed such
a quasi-magic power, and from whom such an all-important service might
have to be demanded. The common people bought ready-made figures in
a shop, on which they were content to cut their names, but the kings
and nobles commissioned their statues from the best artists of the
time, and some reflex from the respect and admiration surrounding the
sovereign must have fallen upon the man to whom he confided the task of
giving perpetuity to his royal features, in those statues that during
the whole of his reign would stand on the thresholds and about the
courts of the temple, and on the painted walls of that happy abode to
whose shadows he would turn when full of years and eager for rest.

If, before the advent of the Greeks, there were any people in the
ancient world in whom a passion for beauty was innate, they were the
people of Egypt. The taste of Chaldæa was narrower, less frank and less
unerring; she was unable, at least in the same degree, to ally force
with grace; her ideal had less nobility, and her hand less freedom
and variety. It is by merits of a different kind that she regains the
advantage lost in the arts. If her artists fell short of their rivals,
her _savants_ seem to have been superior to those of Egypt. In
their easy-going and well-organized life, the Egyptians appear to have
allowed the inquiring side of their intellects to go to sleep. Morality
seems to have occupied them more than science; they made no great
efforts to think.

The Chaldæans were the reverse of all this. We have reason to believe
that they were the first to ask themselves the question upon which
all philosophy is founded, the question as to the true origin of
things. Their solution of the problem was embodied in the cosmogonies
handed down to us in fragments by the Greek writers, and although
their conceptions have only been received through intermediaries by
whom their meaning has often been altered and falsified, we are still
enabled to grasp their fundamental idea through all the obscurities
due to a double and sometimes triple translation, and that idea was
that the world was created by natural forces, by the action of causes
even now at work. The first dogma of the Babylonian religion was the
spontaneous generation of things from the liquid element.[463]

The first vague presentiment and rough sketch, as it were, of certain
theories that have made a great noise in the world in our own day,
may be traced, it is asserted, in the cosmogonic writings of ancient
Chaldæa. Even the famous hypothesis of Darwin has been searched for
and found, if we may believe the searchers. In any case it seems
well established that the echo of these speculations reached the
Ionian sages who were the fathers of Greek philosophy. Their traces
are perceptible, some scholars declare, in the _Theogony_ of
Hesiod. Possibly it is so; there are certainly some striking points
of resemblance; but where the influence of such ideas is really and
clearly evident is in those philosophic poems that succeeded each other
about the sixth century B.C., all under the same title: _concerning
nature_ (περὶφύσεως).[464] These poems are now lost, but judging
from what we are told by men who read them in the original, the
explanation they gave of the creation of the world and of the first
appearance upon it of organized beings, differed only in its more
abstract character from that proposed many centuries before, and under
the form of a myth, by the priests of Chaldæa. If we may trust certain
indications, these bold and ingenious doctrines crossed over from Ionia
to the mainland of Greece, and reached the ears of such writers as
Aristophanes and Plato.

It does the greatest honour to Chaldæa that its bold speculations
should have thus contributed to awaken the lofty intellectual ambitions
and the scientific curiosity of Greece, and perhaps she may have
rendered the latter country a still more signal service in teaching her
those methods by whose use man draws himself clear of barbarism and
starts on the road to civilization; a single example of this will be
sufficient. It is more than forty years since Bœckh, and Brandis after
him, proved that all the measures of length, weight and capacity used
by the ancients, were correlated in the same fashion and belonged to
one scale. Whether we turn to Persia, to Phœnicia or Palestine, to
Athens or Rome, we are constantly met by the sexagesimal system of the
Babylonians. The measurements of time and of the diurnal passage of the
sun employed by all those peoples, were founded on the same divisions
and borrowed from the same inventors. It is to the same people that
we owe our week of seven days, which, though not at first adopted by
the western nations, ended by imposing itself upon them.[465] As for
astronomy, from a period far away in the darkness of the past it seems
to have been a regular branch of learning in Chaldæa; the Greeks knew
very little about it before the conquests of Alexander; it was more
than a century after the capture of Babylon by the Macedonians that the
famous astrological tables were first utilized by Hipparchus.[466]

In the sequel we shall come upon further borrowings and connections
of this kind, whose interest and importance has never been suspected
by the historian until within the last few years. Take the chief gods
and demi-gods to whom the homage of the peoples of Syria and Asia
Minor was paid, and you will have no difficulty in acknowledging that,
although their names were often changed on the way, Mesopotamia was
the starting place of them all. By highways of the sea as well as
those on land, the peoples established on the eastern shores of the
Mediterranean entered into relations with the tribes of another race
who dwelt on the European coasts of the same sea; they introduced them
to their divinities and taught them the rites by which those divinities
were honoured and the forms under which they were figured. Without
abandoning the gods they worshipped in common with their brother
Aryans, the Greeks adopted more than one of these Oriental deities.
This is not the place to consider the question in detail. We must put
aside for the present both the Cybele of Cappadocia and Phrygia and
that Ephesian Artemis, who, after being domiciled and naturalized in
one of the Hellenic capitals, so obstinately and so long preserved
her foreign characteristics; we must for the moment forget Aphrodite,
that goddess of a different fortune whose name is enough to call up
visions of not a few masterpieces of classic art and poetry. Does not
all that we know of this daughter of the sea, of her journeys, of the
first temples erected to her on the Grecian coasts and of the peculiar
character of her rites and attributes--does not all this justify us in
making her a lineal descendant of Zarpanitu, of Mylitta and Istar, of
all those goddesses of love and motherhood created by the imagination
and worshipped by the piety of the Semites of Chaldæa? On the other
hand the more we know of Egypt the less inclined are we to think that
any of the gods of her Pantheon were transported to Greece and Italy,
at least in the early days of antiquity.

Incomplete as they cannot help being, these remarks had to be made.
They will explain why in the scheme of our work we have given similar
places to Chaldæa and Egypt. The artist will always have a predilection
for the latter country, a preference he will find no difficulty in
justifying; but the historian cannot take quite the same view. It is
his special business to weigh the contributions of each nation to the
common patrimony of civilization, and he will understand how it is that
Chaldæa, in spite of the deficiencies of its plastic art, worked more
for others than Egypt and gave more of its substance and life. Hidden
among surrounding deserts the valley of the Nile only opened upon the
rest of the world by the ports on a single short line of frontier.
The basin of the Euphrates was much more easily accessible. It had no
frontier washed by the Mediterranean, but it communicated with that
sea by more numerous routes than Egypt, and by routes whose diversity
enhanced the effect of the examples they were the means of conveying to
the outer world.

It is, to all appearance, to the ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia
that humanity owes the cultivation of wheat, its chief alimentary
plant.[467] This precious cereal seems to have been a native of the
valleys of the Indus and Euphrates; nowhere else is it found in a wild
state. From those two regions it must have spread eastwards across
India to China, and westwards across Syria into Egypt and afterwards
on to the European continent. From the rich plains where the Hebrew
tradition set the cradle of the human race, the winds carried many
seeds besides those by which men’s bodies have so long been nourished;
the germs of all useful arts and of all mental activities were borne
on their breath like a fertilizing dust. Among those distant ancestors
of whom we are the direct heirs, those ancestors who have left us that
heritage of civilization which grows with every year that passes, there
are none, perhaps, to whom our respect and our filial gratitude are
more justly due than to the ancient inhabitants of Chaldæa.


                      ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS.

                                VOL I.

P. 155.--It was not only as mortar that bitumen was used. Mr.
RASSAM tells us that he found at Abou-Abba (Sippara), in
Chaldæa, a chamber paved with asphalte much in the same fashion as a
modern street in London or Paris (_Proceedings of the Society of
Biblical Archæology_).

P. 200.--From a late communication to the _Society of Biblical
Archæology_ we learn that Mr. RASSAM found the Sippara tablet in the
corner of a room, under the floor; it was inclosed in an inscribed
earthenware box.

P. 242, line 12; for Shalmaneser III. _read_ Shalmaneser II.

P. 266, line 8 from foot: for Plate X. _read_ Plate IX.

P. 305.--Intercourse between the valley of the Nile and that of the
Tigris and Euphrates seems to have begun not sooner than the eighteenth
Egyptian dynasty. To this conclusion we are led both by Egyptian texts
and by the tablets in the library of Assurbanipal. Most of the tablets
are reprints--if we may say so--of texts dating originally from Ur, and
from the time of the ancient Chaldæan monarchy. Now these texts seem to
have been written by a people who knew not Egypt; no mention of that
country is to be found in them. They contain a division of the world
into four regions, in none of which Egypt has a place (SAYCE,
_The Early Relations of Egypt and Babylonia_, in Lepsius’s
_Zeitschrift_, p. 150).

P. 349.--We may here draw attention to an object which may be compared
to that described by M. Clermont Ganneau, both for its intrinsic
character and its probable destination. It is a tablet in brown
limestone, portable, and surmounted by a ring or staple cut in the
material. On one face there is a bas-relief in which the goddess who
occupies the lower register in Péretié’s bronze again appears. She has
the head of a lioness, a snake dangles from each hand, the arms are
outstretched, and two animals, in which LAYARD recognises a
lioness and a sow, hang to her breasts. This goddess stands before an
animal which has a bull’s head in the engraving given by Lajard. But
its feet are those of a horse, and no doubt we should find that the
animal in question was a horse if we could examine the original; but
we do not know what has become of it. If, as there seems reason to
believe, this goddess is an infernal deity, it is easy to understand
why serpents were placed in her hands. These reptiles are the symbols
of resurrection; every year they quit their old skins for new ones.
The object in question is described in detail in the _Recherches sur
le Culte de Vénus_, p. 130, and figured in Plate XVI, Fig. 1. Upon
one of the larger faces of the tablet and upon its edges there are
inscriptions, magic formulæ according to M. Fr. Lenormant.

This tablet was formerly in the cabinet of M. Rousseau, at one time
French consul at Bagdad. It was found in the ruins of Babylon. Size, 24
inches high by 24 inches wide, and 3⅞ inches thick.

P. 384.--In speaking of the excavations made by Sir H. RAWLINSON at
Borsippa, we forgot to mention his paper entitled _On the Birs Nimroud;
or, The Great Temple of Borsippa_ (_Journal of the Royal Asiatic
Society_, vol. xviii. p. 1–32). Paragraphs 1 and 2 give an account
of the excavations, and we regret that we wrote of the religious
architecture of Chaldæa before having read them. Not that they contain
anything to cause us to change our conceptions of the staged towers.
The excavations seem to have been carried on with great care, but they
hardly gave results as complete as they might have done had they been
directed by a thoroughly-trained architect.

                               VOL. II.

P. 48.--Upon Arvil, the ancient Arbela, and the likelihood of great
discoveries in the mound which there rises 150 feet above the plain,
see a contribution from Sir H. RAWLINSON to the _Journal of
the Royal Asiatic Society_, vol. i. new series, 1865, pp. 190–197.
The mound is at present crowned by a Turkish fort.

P. 176.--Herr FRITZ HOMMEL, one of the few non-French students
of the remains from Tello, is no more inclined than we are to allow
that the igneous rocks from which they are cut were brought from
Egypt. He believes they were won from much nearer quarries, viz., on
the borders of the Arabian plateau (_Die Vorsemitische Kulturen in
Egypten und Babylonien_, pp. 211–223).

Pp. 188–190.--In enumerating the few monuments of Chaldæan sculpture
that we possess over and above those brought home by M. de Sarzec, we
forgot to mention a small Babylonian head in hard alabaster, now in the
Louvre (Fig. 262). Its workmanship resembles that of the two heads from
Tello (Plate VII.), and some of the small heads from the same place. It
is conspicuous for the same frank and decided modelling, but it belongs
to the period when long beards were worn.

P. 202.--To the list of Chaldæan sculptures we should, perhaps, add
the rock-cut relief found by Sir H. RAWLINSON in the district
of Zohab, about fifty leagues from the left bank of the Tigris, and to
the north-west of Bagdad, near the village of Sheikhan. This district
forms a part of the Persian province of Kirmanchah (_Journal of the
Geographical Society_, vol. ix. p. 31). The relief occurs, it seems,
on the high road between Babylon and Ecbatana, in the defile which is
now called _Tak-i-Girrah_, one of the passes leading up through
Mount Zagros to the plateau of Iran. There is a sketch of the relief
from the pencil of Sir H. Rawlinson in the _Five Great Monarchies_
of his brother (vol. iii. p. 7). The king stands with his foot on the
body of a conquered enemy. An individual, probably the royal general,
presents two kneeling captives, who are held by a cord attached to
rings put through their noses. More captives with ropes about their
necks are carved on the kind of plinth upon which the main group is
supported. The whole picture is about two feet wide and five high.
Near it there is an apparently unfinished inscription in Babylonish
cuneiform characters. The Chaldæan origin of the work is confirmed by
the flounces on the general’s robe. In the same neighbourhood there are
ruins which appear to date from a very early period.

  [Illustration: FIG. 262.--Fragment of a Chaldæan
  statuette. Louvre.]

P. 219.--We have here omitted to draw attention to one of the
differences between the art of the Sargonids and that of the preceding
dynasty. In the figures from Tello and in the bas-reliefs of the time
of Assurnazirpal the sculptor has left the eyeballs smooth (Plate VII.;
Vol. I. Fig. 15; Vol. II, Figs. 43, 64, 113). In the sculptures of the
time of Sargon and his successors, on the other hand, the cornea is
indicated in the figures both of men and animals, by a clearly traced
circle (Vol. I, Figs. 22 and 25; Vol. II. Fig. 118 and Plate X.). It
was, no doubt, the desire to give a more lifelike expression to the
physiognomy that led the artist thus to modify his proceeding. There
are a few figures in which the desire for imitative truth is pushed
even farther. In a bas-relief in the Louvre there is an eagle-headed
deity in which not only the cornea but the pupil also is marked by a
smaller circle within the first. See the _De l’Expression des Yeux dans
la Statuaire_ of Doctor DEBROU (_Correspondant_, April 10th, 1883). His
special knowledge has enabled him to make more than one remark upon the
representation of the eye in ancient and modern sculpture, to which
writers upon art would do well to pay attention.

P. 398.--On the subject of the female divinity whose worship was so
widely spread over the whole East and over the Mediterranean coasts,
the dissertation of Herr GELZER, _Zum Cultus der Assyrischen
Aphrodite_ (Lepsius’s _Zeitschrift_, 1875, p. 127) may be
consulted with profit.

       *       *       *       *       *

We received the admirable _Guide to the Kuyundjik Gallery_,
published by the authorities of the British Museum, too late to make
use of it for our work. It joins to an exhaustive account of the
bas-reliefs of Sennacherib and Assurbanipal a description of the
smaller objects contained in the glass cases of the same gallery. Many
of these objects date from a very early period, and many were found
in Chaldæa. Some of the more interesting texts are translated by Mr.
Pinches; of others he gives a summary. The body of the work is preceded
by an introduction giving such details of Assyrian history, religion
and manners as are required by the general student. When a similar
_brochure_ is forthcoming for the Nimroud gallery--and the energy
of the English officials is a guarantee that we shall not have to wait
long for it--visitors to the museum will be in possession of all that
is necessary to enable them to profit to the fullest extent by its
superb collection.




    Abd-al-Medjid, Sultan, ii. 39.

    Abdul-Hamid, ii. 76.

    Abou-Abba (or Sippara), i. 200.

    Abou-Sharein, i. 157, 190, 262; ii. 34.

    Abraham, i. 15, 199.

    Abydenus, i. 51;
      spoken of by Eusebius, 57.

    Abydos, on the Hellespont, ii. 220.

    Accad, i. 14, 21, 59.

    Acheron, i. 354.

    Adar (Saturn?), i. 73.

    Adrammelech, i. 103.

    Agbatana, _see_ Ecbatana.

    Ahmes II., ii. 339.

    Ahura-Mazda, i. 88.

    Alabaster, found near Mossoul, i. 120;
      its distribution, 121;
      its constitution, 121;
      its characteristics as a material for the sculptor, ii. 110.

    Alabastron, ii. 301.

    Alexander the Great, i. 54; ii. 382.

    Alexander Polyhistor, i. 51.

    Allat, i. 83, 345.

    Alphabet, invention of, i. 22.

    Altaï, i. 21.

    Altars, their characteristic forms, i. 236;
      with battlements, 255;
      circular, 256;
      sarcophagus-shaped, 256.

    Amanus, ii. 340.

    Amber, its absence from Mesopotamian remains, ii. 362.

    Amen, i. 78, 79.

    _Ament_, the Assyrian, i. 345.

    Amiaud, M., i. 361.

    Amoor, i. 19.

    Amphora, ii. 300.

    Amraphel, i. 36.

    Amulets, ii. 251.

    _Anabasis_ quoted, i. 361.

    Anaïtis, _see_ Oannes.

    Animals, grotesque and fantastic, in Assyrian Art, ii. 167–173;
      on the seals, ii. 279.

    Anthemius, i. 172.

    Antioch, ii. 286.

    Antiochus-Epiphanes, i. 33.

    Aphrodite, ii. 398.

    _Apollonius of Tyana_, i. 299.

    Apsou (or Apason), i. 83.

    Arade, ii. 265.

    Aramaic, or Aramæan, came into common use with the second Chaldæan
      Empire, i. 18.

    Aram-Naharaim, i. 3.

    Arbeles, Arvil (or Ervil), i. 6; ii. 48.

    Arch, frequent use of, i. 132, 221;
      invented in Chaldæa, 222;
      at Mugheir, 222;
      in the hanging gardens at Babylon, 223;
      in Sargon’s gateways, 224;
      in the sewers of the palaces, 227.

    Archivolt, enamelled, at Khorsabad, i. 290.

    Arioch, i. 36.

    Aristophanes, ii. 397.

    Aristotle, i. 71;
      his _Politics_ quoted in reference to the size of Babylon,
        ii. 56.

    Arithmetic, Chaldæan, i. 68;
      origin of the sexagesimal system, 68.

    Armenia, annexed by Assyria, i. 7.

    Arms, ii. 343.

    Arrian, his Indian history, i. 57.

    Artaxerxes Mnemon, i. 90.

    Artists, their social position in Mesopotamia, ii. 394.

    Aryans, said to compose part of the early Chaldæan population,
      i. 18.

    Aryballos, ii. 306.

    Asia Minor, ii. 172.

    Ass, the wild, in Assyrian sculpture, ii. 150.

    Asshur, the builder of Nineveh, i. 14.

    Assur, i. 83;
      the Assyrian god _par excellence_, 84;
      fell with Nineveh, 88.

    Assurbanipal, i. 36, 44;
      receives the homage of Gyges, king of Lydia, 44;
      his cruelty, 47;
      patron of literature and the arts, 47;
      his library, 47;
      numerous remains of sculpture dating from his reign, ii. 236.

    Assurbilkala, ii. 101, 203, 289.

    Assuredilani, i. 51.

    Assurnazirpal, i. 42;
      his statue in the round, ii. 126.

    Assyria, its true boundaries, i. 7;
      its successive capitals, 7;
      its size, 7;
      consolidation of its supremacy, 41;
      first A. empire, 41;
      second A. empire, 41;
      expeditions into Armenia, Cappadocia, and Syria, 41;
      strictly a military monarchy, 96;
      its _régime_, 103;
      Assyrian monarchy, solidity of the succession, 103;
      characteristics of the Assyrian race, 105;
      cruelty of the Assyrian kings, 105–7;
      luxury of _do._, 105–7;
      constitution of the Assyrian nation, 111;
      comparative insignificance of civilian element, 112.

    Assyro-Chaldæan language, the, i. 53.

    Astarte, i. 345.

    Astragali, i. 206.

    Astrology, i. 65;
      the forerunner of real astronomy, 67.

    _Athenæum_ quoted, i. 317.

    Aturia, a variant of Assyria, i. 6.

    Auben (or Auben-Ra), ii. 120.

    Augustus, ii. 382.


    Baal worshipped in Judah and Israel as well as Tyre and Sidon,
      i. 16.

    _Baalazar_, ii. 336.

    Babel, i. 14, 53.

    _Bab-i-Houmaioun_, ii. 72.

    Babil, i. 130, 154;
      its identity discussed, 384; ii. 35.

    _Babooshes_, i. 238.

    Babylon, age of its premiership, i. 38;
      more tenacious of life than Nineveh, 54;
      etymology of the name, 86;
      natural elements of its prosperity, 92;
      superiority of its situation over that of Nineveh, 93;
      an “eternal city,” ii. 53;
      its defences, 53;
      incomplete nature of the explorations that have been carried out
        on its site, 55;
      its size discussed, 56–59;
      the stone bridge, 57;
      height of the walls, 63.

    Bactriana, metals brought from, i. 125.

    Bagdad, i. 40, 54.

    Bahr-ul-nejef, ii. 176.

    Bakhenkhonsou, ii. 394.

    Balawat, gates of, i. 194;
      steles figured on, 196;
      standards figured on, 195;
      their discovery by Mr. Rassam, 242; ii. 51, 73, 118, 210.

    Baldricks, how coloured in the reliefs, ii. 247.

    _Baruch_ quoted, ii. 89.

    Bas-reliefs, defective methods of fixing them, i. 265.

    Bassorah, i. 8, 38.

    Battering-ram, used by the Assyrians, ii. 64.

    Battlements, i. 248;
      coloured ornament upon them, 254;
      their effect against an Eastern sky, 254.

    Bavian, carved rocks at, i. 263;
      sculptures at, ii. 225;
      description of the valley, 226.

    Beards, their significance, ii. 136.

    Beauchamp, de, his account of a room in the Kasr, i. 281.

    _Beharel_, ii. 336.

    Behistan, i. 88.

    Bel, i. 78, 83;
      supreme in Chaldæa, 86;
      temple of, at Babylon, ii. 201.

    Bell, artist, drowned at Bavian, ii. 230.

    Bellino, cylinder of, ii. 61.

    Bel-Merodach, his sepulchral chamber, i. 379.

    Beltis (_see_ Istar), i. 78.

    Beni-Hassan, i. 208.

    Benndorf quoted, i. 357.

    Berosus quoted by LENORMANT, i. 2;
      quoted by RAWLINSON, 4, 15;
      his _Medic_ dynasty, 36;
      native Chaldæan dynasty, 36;
      his “Arab Kings,” 41, 57, 64;
      the decorations of the Temple of Bel, 287;
      his account of the origin of things quoted, ii. 270.

    Beyrout, ii. 231.

    Birch, Dr., quoted, ii. 120, 306, 311;
      his opinion on the ivories from Assyria, 320, 339.

    Birs-Nimroud, i. 130;
      its identity discussed, 384; ii. 35.

    _Bit-Saggatou_, i. 379.

    Bitumen, its use as mortar, i. 155;
      where found, 155;
      used to attach glazed bricks to the surface of the walls, 285.

    Black stone, Lord Aberdeen’s, i. 211.

    Boaz, ii. 70.

    Bœckh, ii. 397.

    Borsip (or Borsippa), i. 38, 53.

    Boscawen, ii. 232, 345.

    Botta quoted, i. 157, 175;
      his opinion as to the use of columns, 179, 244, 259;
      glazed bricks, 294;
      his opinion as to Assyrian use of colour, ii. 245.

    Brandis, ii. 397.

    Bréal, Michel, quoted, i. 32.

    Brewster, Sir D., ii. 306, 308.

    Bricks, process of manufacture of, i. 115;
      system of construction in, 116;
      made in Chaldæa at a very early period, 117;
      their shape, 117;
      their size, 117;
      their inscriptions, 118;
      convex-sided B. at Abou-Sharein, 118;
      dangers of crude B. as a building material, 156;
      always clothed in some other material in the palaces, 271;
      quantity of enamelled B. to be found in Babylonia, 281;
      enamelled B. of Assyria inferior to those of Chaldæa, 281;
      glazed B. in the British Museum, 281;
      enamelled B. found by George Smith at Nimroud, 293.

    Bridge, at Babylon, ii. 57.

    Bronze, its use in the palaces of the king of Babylon, according
      to Philostratus, i. 299.

    Broussa, i. 289.

    Balls, winged, ii. 81.

    Battons, or walking-sticks, ii. 357.

    Bracelets, ii. 356.

    Bumados, ii. 225.

    Buvariia, i. 156, 371.

    Byblos, i. 56.


    Cabul, ii. 374.

    _Caillou Michaux_, the, i. 30; ii. 4, 197–8.

    Cairo compared to Babylon, ii. 59.

    Calah, i. 14, 42;
      to be identified with Nimroud, 314.

    Callisthenes, i. 71.

    Calneh, i. 14.

    Campania, engraved bowls found there, ii. 339.

    Candolle, A. de, ii. 399.

    _Canephoros_ found near Bagdad, ii. 116.

    Capitals, i. 205.

    Cappadocia, annexed by Assyria, i. 7; ii. 236.

    Carpets, probable identity of the patterns on modern Kurdish
      carpets with those made in antiquity, i. 289; ii. 293.

    Cartoons, used by the designers of the glazed brick decorations,
      i. 285.

    Caucasus, metals brought from the, i. 125.

    Causeways, paved, ii. 74.

    Cavaniol, H., quoted, i. 151.

    Cedars from Lebanon, used by Assyria, i. 123.

    Cemeteries, drainage of the C. in Lower Chaldæa, i. 341;
      their contents, 342.

    Ceramics, etymology of the word, i. 115.

    Chabouillet, his _Catalogue des Camées_ quoted, ii. 90.

    Chafing-dishes, ii. 323.

    Chaldæa, primitive civilisation, i. 1;
      its size, 7;
      ethnic elements of primitive C., 16;
      its early population, 17–21;
      second C. empire, 52;
      sudden storms, 74;
      archaic period of its art, ii. 187;
      its classic age, 192.

    Chaldæan religion, i. 55;
      more obscure than that of Egypt, 55;
      its derivation from fetishism, 59;
      origin of the composite forms of gods, 60;
      astronomy compared with that of Egypt, 72;
      origin of its idols, 76;
      difficulty of establishing a Mesopotamian pantheon, 78;
      the composite figures of Egypt and Mesopotamia compared, 79;
      anthropomorphism of the Chaldæans franker then than that of the
        Egyptians, 80;
      premiership of successive gods, 84.

    Chaldæans (the priestly sect), described by Diodorus, i. 90;
      their archimagus, 91.

    Chalybes, ii. 312.

    Chamanism, i. 59.

    Chariots, war-, ii. 74;
      their construction, 75.

    Chariot-poles, ii. 344.

    Chastity, sacrifice of, at Babylon, i. 89.

    Chatra (or shatra), ii. 174.

    Chedorlaomer, i. 36.

    Chedornakhounta, i. 36.

    China, its civilisation compared with those of Egypt and Chaldæa,
      ii. 378–380.

    Chipiez quoted, i. 220.

    Chronology, Chaldæan and Assyrian, i. 36–41.

    Choisy, Aug., quoted, i. 172.

    Chosroes, i. 171, 185.

    Cicero quoted, i. 66, 71.

    Cimmerians, i. 44.

    Clermont-Ganneau quoted, i. 348; ii. 342.

    _Cloaca Maxima_, i. 233.

    Cloisonné shapes, ii. 202.

    Coffered ceilings, i. 294–304.

    Coffins, from Warka and Niffer, ii. 306.

    Colour, the use of, in decoration, i. 272;
      the use of in the human figures in the reliefs, i. 277.

    Columns, their restricted use, i. 132;
      their rarity due to want of stone, 200;
      their occurrence in the Sippara tablet, 202;
      sheathed in bronze, 205;
      bases, 214–217;
      figured upon gems, ivories, and bronzes, 220.

    Commerce, ii. 372.

    Composite forms of Assyro-Chaldæan gods, i. 63.

    Cones, coloured, used for wall-decoration in Chaldæa, i. 279;
      bronze, at Tello, 318;
      superseded cylinders as seals, ii. 276.

    Confucius, ii. 378.

    Corneto, i. 180.

    Corundum, ii. 260.

    Costume, Chaldæo-Assyrian, ii. 94.

    _Courban-Bairam_, feast of, ii. 38.

    Courtyards, at Khorsabad, ii. 16, 29.

    Cow, the, in Assyrian sculpture, ii. 143.

    Creil, ii. 381.

    Crenellations, i. 248;
      Place’s theory of their origin, 252;
      note by editor, 253;
      coloured ornament upon them, 254.

    Crete, ii. 51.

    _Crux Ansata_, ii. 120.

    Crystals, used for decorating furniture, ii. 323.

    Ctesias, i. 52;
      speaks of the Χαλδαίοι, 90;
      his account of the walls of Babylon, 282;
      his statements as to the size of Babylon, ii. 59;
      his statements as to the size of Nineveh, 59;
      on the bronze figures of the gods, 202;
      his description of the figures on the walls of Babylon, 296.

    Ctesiphon, i. 54;
      never seems to have been a seat of learning, 57, 93, 223.

    Cunaxa, i. 113.

    Cuneiform characters, i. 14.

    Cush, i. 14.

    Cutha, ii. 57.

    Cyaxares, i. 50.

    Cybele, ii. 398.

    Cylinder, commemorative, its discovery at the Birs-Nimroud by Sir
        H. Rawlinson, i. 317;
      the Phillips C., 317.

    Cylinders (seals), i. 56;
      their universal use in Babylonia, ii. 251;
      collections of, in our Museums, 251;
      method of mounting, 255;
      of carrying, 256;
      their supercession by cones, 276;
      rarity of metal cylinders, 280.

    Cypriots, their indebtedness to Babylonia for their written
      characters, i. 32.

    Cyprus, engraved bowls found there, ii. 339.

    Cyrus, i. 54.


    Dado, coloured, at Khorsabad, i. 273.

    Dagon, _see_ Oannes.

    _Daily Telegraph_, the, its subsidies to Mr. George Smith’s
      exploration, ii. 7.

    Damascening, ii. 345.

    Damascius, i. 58, 83.

    Damascus, ii. 231.

    Darius, ii. 201, 275.

    Decoration, i. 260;
      the colours of the painted D., 272;
      motives of the coloured D., 274;
      colours used at Babylon, 283;
      cuneiform characters used decoratively, 284;
      use of animal forms in D., 307.

    Deecke quoted, i. 32.

    Delaporte, bricks brought to Europe by, i. 284.

    Deuteronomy quoted, i. 151.

    Diamond dust, its use by gem engravers, ii. 260.

    Diarbekir, ii. 203.

    Diodorus, i. 5, 120;
      his vague statements as to height of Babylonian temples, 129;
      statement as to destruction of the temple of Bel, 137;
      his description of the palaces of Semiramis quoted, ii. 34;
      λίθιναι δοκοί, 35;
      his statements as to the size of Babylon, 55;
      his statement, after Ctesias, as to the size of Nineveh, 60;
      his mention of the statue of Bel, ii. 202.

    Dionysius Periegetes quoted, i. 299.

    Diorite, used by the Chaldæan sculptors, i. 141;
      statues from Tello, ii. 175;
      fragments found at Tello, 190.

    Dioscorides (or Dioscurides), ii. 263.

    Disk, the winged, its significance, i. 87.

    Dog, the, in Assyrian sculpture, ii. 143.

    Dolerite, ii. 175.

    Domes, _see_ Vaults.

    Domestic architecture, ii. 51.

    Doors, their forms, i. 236.

    Doorways, importance of, i. 244.

    Dour-Saryoukin (or Khorsabad), i. 43, 227;
      plan of, 313.

    Dowels, metal, used to fix the carved slabs, i. 265.

    Drainage, system of, in palaces, i. 227.

    Drainpipes in the Chaldæan mounds, i. 158.

    Drapery, its effect upon Assyrian sculpture, ii. 286.

    Dromedary, the, in Assyrian sculpture, ii. 152.

    Dumouzi, i. 83.

    Dungi, ii. 259, 266.


    Earrings, how coloured in the reliefs, ii. 247, 354;
      in the form of nude children, ii. 362.

    Ecbatana, i. 52;
      the colours of its walls, 273.

    _Ekimmou_, i. 345.

    Elam, i. 35.

    Ellasar, i. 36, 39.

    _Elselah_, ii. 336.

    Embroidery, on the robe of Assurnazirpal, i. 307;
      use of animal forms in, 308; ii. 364.

    Ephron the Hittite, ii. 70.

    Epigenes, i. 71.

    Epithets given to the gods, i. 347.

    Erech, i. 14, 24; ii. 265.

    Esarhaddon, i. 44, 103; ii. 8;
      unfinished state of his palace at Nimroud, 8, 40;
      his image in the pass of the Lycos, 231;
      rarity of sculptures dating from his reign, 236.

    “E-schakil,” i. 261.

    Esther quoted, ii. 71.

    Etana, i. 346.

    Etruria, engraved bowls found there, ii. 339.

    Euphrates, its inundations, i. 9.

    Eusebius, i. 51, 57.

    Ezekiel quoted, i. 286; ii. 372, 374.


    Fergusson, James, defects of his restorations, i. 277.

    Finnish compared to the language of early Chaldæa, i. 19.

    Firouz-Abad, i. 169.

    Flandin, Eugène, his opinion on the roofing question, i. 163;
      his opinion as to the polychromy of the Assyrians, ii. 245.

    Fly-flappers, ii. 203;
      how coloured in the reliefs, 247.

    Forks, ii. 351.

    Foundation ceremonies, i. 311.

    Fountains, at Bavian, ii. 229;
      in Asia Minor, their decoration, i. 262.

    Fox-Talbot quoted, ii. 159.

    Fresnel, ii. 58.

    Frieze, of enamelled brick at Khorsabad, i. 283;
      of the Parthenon, ii. 106.

    Fringes, how represented and coloured, ii. 247.

    Furniture, ii. 313;
      its magnificence in Assyria, 313;
      thrones, 314;
      decorative motives, 314–324;
      Ivory ornament used upon it, 319;
      remains from Van, 319.

    Fustel de Coulanges quoted, i. 345.


    Gailhabaud, i. 180.

    Gates, discovered at Nineveh by Layard, ii. 62;
      at Khorsabad by Place, 62;
      discovery of the Balawat gates by Mr. Rassam, i. 242;
      gates at Khorsabad described, ii. 65–72;
      use of gates in the East, 69.

    Gems, ii. 251;
      engraving upon oyster shells and other comparatively soft
        materials, 258;
      cylinders, 251–280.

    Genesis quoted, i. 14, 15, 117, 155, 199; ii. 70.

    Ghazir, ii. 225.

    Ghunduk, ii. 232.

    Glass, the earliest known example of transparent glass, ii. 306;
      its early use in Mesopotamia, 306.

    Globe, the winged, its significance, i. 87.

    Glyptic art, ii. 251–280.

    Gobineau, de, ii. 253.

    Gold, i. 299;
      used for decorating domes, 379.

    Gomel, ii. 225.

    Goun-goun, i. 39.

    Graphic processes, i. 327;
      plan from Tello, 327;
      disproportion between figures and buildings, 333.

    Greeks, the, as travellers and observers, i. 56.

    Gudea, bronzes inscribed with his name, ii. 116, 180, 188.

    Guillaume, E., quoted, ii. 128.

    Guyard, Stanislas, his agreements with M. Halévy on the origin of
      the Chaldæans, i. 19.

    Gyges, king of Lydia, his homage to Assurbanipal, i. 44.


    Hades, the Assyrian, i. 345.

    Halévy, J., his disbelief in Turanian element in primitive Chaldæa,
        i. 19;
      quoted, 21;
      his dissent from the reading _Gudea_ or _Goudea_, 328;
      translation of a text relating to a posthumous life, 344.

    Haldia, i. 394.

    Ham, i. 15.

    Hama, i. 349.

    Haman, i. 131; ii. 71.

    Hammourabi, i. 35;
      contracts from the time of, ii. 277.

    Hands, treatment of, in Chaldæan statues, ii. 183.

    Hanging gardens, the, at Babylon, i. 223; ii. 30;
      their position, 35.

    Harem, at Khorsabad, ii. 20.

    Harness, how ornamented, ii. 357.

    Hathor, i. 78.

    Havet, M. Ernest, i. 15.

    Hea-bani, ii. 86, 263, 269.

    Hedjra, ii. 176.

    Helbig, ii. 302.

    Heliopolis, i. 56.

    Hematite, ii. 252.

    Hera, i. 374.

    Herat, ii. 374.

    Herodotus, considers Babylonia a mere district of Assyria, i. 5;
      quoted, 8, 9, 12;
      his Ἀσσύριοι λόγοι, 50, 120;
      the vagueness of his statement as to the height of the temple of
        Bel, 129, 155;
      the ramparts of Ecbatana, 273;
      his scanty allusions to burial in Mesopotamia, 340;
      his reference to Nineveh, ii. 59;
      his statement as to the height of the walls of Babylon, 63;
      and as to their width, 64;
      quoted, 94;
      his description of the temple of Bel or Belus, 201;
      quoted, 257.

    Hesiod, ii. 397.

    Heuzey quoted, i. 63; ii. 177, 184.

    Hierapolis, i. 56.

    Hillah, i. 27, 38;
      mentioned by George Smith, 153; ii. 195.

    Hinges, bronze, i. 243.

    Hipparchus, ii. 398.

    _Hisr-Sargon_ (or _Dour-Saryoukin_), _see_ Khorsabad.

    Hit, i. 4.

    Hoefer, Ferd., quoted, ii. 5.

    Hoffmann quoted, i. 337.

    Horse, the, in Assyrian sculpture, ii. 149.

    Horus, i. 78.

    Household, arrangement of the royal H. in Assyria, i. 96.

    Humboldt quoted by RAWLINSON, i. 3.

    Hyksos, ii. 378.

    Hypogea, at Bavian, ii. 227.


    Ibex, occurs on the summits of shafts, i. 209;
      in Assyrian sculpture, ii. 150.

    Iconography, was there an Assyrian? ii. 138.

    Ilou, i. 78.

    India, metals brought from, i. 125.

    Inscriptions, funerary, their absence i. 55.

    Iran, ii. 236.

    Isaiah, ii. 372.

    Isidore, i. 172.

    Isis, i. 78.

    Ismi-Dagan, i. 39.

    Ispahan, i. 289.

    Istar (Venus), i. 73, 78;
      how figured, 80;
      her relationship to male deities, 83;
      her descent into hades, 344;
      her arrival at the gate of Hades, 345; ii. 89, 92, 193, 289.

    Ivories, ii. 118–125;
      Egyptian character of many ivories, 320;
      how they have acquired their present colour, 322.

    Ivory, its use in decoration, i. 300;
      panels in the British Museum, 301;
      used for the decoration of furniture, ii. 319;
      means by which the demand for ivory was supplied, 320.

    Izdubar, the Assyrian Hercules, i. 346; ii. 86, 263, 269.


    Jambs, the bronze jambs of the gates of Babylon, i. 241.

    Janus, ii. 91.

    Jewelry, ii. 349.

    Jezireh, El-, i. 3; ii. 61.

    Jigan, ii. 304.

    Jonah, character of the book of, ii. 61.

    Joshua quoted, ii. 363.

    Judæa, ii. 172.


    Kasr, i. 261;
      its identity discussed, i. 384; ii. 35.

    Kaleh-Shergat (or Ellasar), i. 7, 39; ii. 51;
       basalt statue found at, 110.

    Karamles, ii. 51.

    Karigalzu, i. 315; ii. 259.

    Karkhemish, ii. 374.

    _Keleks_, i. 323.

    Kerman, i. 2.

    Ker Porter, i. 40.

    Khabour, i. 305; ii. 51.

    Khasdim, i. 6.

    Khausser, ii. 9.

    _Khesbet_, ii. 293.

    Khetas, ii. 284.

    Khorassan, i. 289.

    Khorsabad, i. 7;
      plan of Sargon’s city, 313;
      its discovery by M. Botta, ii. 4;
      compared with Versailles, 11;
      its extent, 11;
      the arrangement of its plan, 13;
      the _seraglio_, 11–16;
      the _harem_, 20;
      courtyards, 16, 29;
      the offices, 27;
      size of the city of K., 62.

    Khouzistan, i. 17.

    Kings quoted, i. 302.

    _Kislar aga_, compared to the _Tartan_, i. 96.

    Knife-handles, ii. 348.

    “Knop and flower” pattern, i. 240, 302.

    Koran, i. 287.

    Korkhar, ii. 203, 231.

    Kouffa, i. 93.

    Kouti, i. 53.

    Kourdourmapouk, ii. 194.

    Kouyundjik, i. 7, 44; ii. 44;
      arrangement of the ruins on the mound, 47.

    _Kunuku_, ii. 255.

    Kurdistan, i. 289.

    Kushites, their relationship with the Shemites, i. 16, 17.


    Lachish, siege of, figured in the reliefs, ii. 103, 319.

    Lantern or “Louvre,” i. 183.

    Laplace, his _Histoire de l’Astronomie_ quoted, i. 68.

    Larissa, i. 112;
      its supposed identity with Mespila, 152;
      Xenophon’s description discussed, 385.

    Larnaca, ii. 219.

    Larsam, i. 1, 38.

    Latium, engraved bowls found there, ii. 339.

    Layard, Sir A. H., quoted, i. 7, 10–12, 27, 30, 40, 51;
      speaks of fetishism among the Kurds, 61, 74, 116, 119, 120, 138,
      his opinion as to the forms of roof, 160–1;
      his discovery of wood ashes in the palaces, 176, 183;
      found upper chambers at Nimroud, 189, 193, 199, 207, 211, 213;
      discovery of sphinxes in south-western edifice at Nimroud, 214;
      his discovery of limestone bases in Sennacherib’s palace, 219,
        230, 243, 261, 277;
      colours used in decoration, 280, 392;
      his opinions as to the size of Nineveh quoted, ii. 61;
      his discovery of one of the gates of Nineveh, 62;
      quoted, 106, 152, 226, 236;
      his opinion upon Assyrian polychromy, 247.

    Le Blant, E., quoted, i. 339.

    Ledrain quoted, i. 317.

    Lenormant, F., i. 17;
      quoted, i. 22, 30, 34, 37, 39;
      his _Magie chez les Chaldéens_ quoted, 59, 69, 261; ii. 90, 252.

    Lens found at Nimroud, ii. 308.

    Letronne, i. 177.

    Lighting, methods of, i. 180;
      cylinders found by Place, 184;
      by the doors, 186.

    Likbagas, ii. 180.

    Lintel, stone, from Kouyundjik, i. 237.

    Lion, the, in Assyrian sculpture, ii. 154;
      its frequent occurrence as a decorative motive, i. 219.

    Loftus, W. K., quoted, i. 8, 24, 92, 118, 156;
      his opinion as to the forms of roofs, 161, 245;
      his explanation of the semi-circular pilasters, 245, 262, 278;
      his opinion as to the casing of Assyrian walls, 282;
      his opinion on the cemetery at Warka, 339;
      his explorations at Mugheir, 371;
      his explorations, ii. 7, 33;
      coffins brought home by him, ii. 306.

    Longpérier, de, quoted, i. 116, 281; ii. 187;
      his erroneous impression as to the cylinders, 255.

    Lapis-lazuli, ii. 294.

    Lortet, Prof., ii. 232.

    Lot, i. 199.

    Lotus-flower, used as an ornamental motive, i. 303.

    Lycos, ii. 231.

    Lysippus, ii. 286.

    Lucian, “the Syrian goddess,” i. 58.

    Lucretius, ii. 364.


    Madaktu, its capture figured, i. 331.

    Magnifying-glass found at Nimroud, ii. 308.

    Malthaï, rock sculptures at, ii. 232, 319.

    Manchester, ii. 381.

    Manetho, i. 15.

    Marduk, _see_ Merodach.

    Martial, ii. 364.

    Martin, T. H., quoted, i. 71.

    Masius, Mt., i. 6.

    Maspero, quoted, i. 8, 17, 20, 34, 44, 53.

    Mastabas, compared with the cemeteries of lower Chaldæa, i. 343.

    Materials, inferiority of those used by the Mesopotamian artist,
        i. 94;
      Assyria better provided than Chaldæa, 123;
      M. used by the sculptor, ii. 109.

    Mechanical contrivances, i. 322;
      transport of a winged bull, 323;
      the lever, 326.

    _Meched-Ali_, mosque of, at Nedjef, i. 340.

    Medes, extent of their empire before 625 B.C., i. 52.

    Memphis, i. 44.

    Ménant, J., i. 40, 48, 95; ii. 90, 184, 253.

    Merodach (Jupiter?), i. 73, 75, 83, 347; ii. 89.

    Merodach-idin-akhi, stele of, ii. 93, 194.

    Mesopotamia, formation of its soil, i. 8;
      fertilisation of its basin, 8;
      absence of rain in Chaldæa, 8;
      spring in M., 11;
      formation of the alluvial plain, 14;
      climate, 196.

    Mesopotamian architecture, its general forms, i. 126;
      their cause, 126;
      the mounds, 226;
      their universal employment for monumental buildings, 129;
      restricted use of piers and columns, 132;
      the absence of _orders_, 132;
      bad effect of rainstorms upon buildings, 133;
      thickness of palace walls at Nineveh, 138;
      the column, 141;
      capitals, 141;
      important part played by the arch, 141;
      its early invention, 143;
      frequent use of the vault, 144;
      total absence of structures in dressed stone from Chaldæa, 146;
      methods of bonding stone in Assyria, 147;
      absence of mortar from Assyrian buildings, 154;
      provision for drainage in mounds, 158;
      absence of direct evidence as to common forms of roof, 160;
      size of rooms, 179;
      methods of lighting, 180;
      size of doorways, 186;
      pavilions and other light structures, 192;
      column often used in them, 196;
      orientation, 311;
      plans, their peculiarities, 327.

    Metal dishes, ii. 324;
      engraved bowls or cups, 326;
      their quasi-Egyptian character, 330;
      their true origin, 336.

    Metallurgy, ii. 308;
      metals used in Mesopotamia, 308;
      the metal district of Western Asia, 312.

    Metrical system of Chaldæa-Assyria, i. 69.

    Michel, Charles, his account of the discovery of Nineveh, ii. 9.

    _Milliarium_, i. 257.

    Mines, military, employed by the Assyrians, ii. 64.

    Models for the sculptor, i. 215.

    Moloch, worshipped in Judah and Israel as well as Tyre and Sidon,
      i. 16.

    Montefik Arabs, i. 38.

    Monoliths, i. 258.

    Moon, Chaldæan observations of, i. 70.

    Mordecai, ii. 71.

    Mortar, its absence from Assyrian buildings, i. 154.

    Mosaics, quasi-M. at Warka, i. 278.

    Mossoul, yearly _villegiatura_ of its inhabitants, i. 199.

    Mouldings, i. 236, 245.

    Moulds for jewellers, ii. 356.

    Mountains, how indicated in the reliefs, ii. 207.

    Mousasir, i. 394.

    Mousta, church at, i. 168.

    _Mudjelibeh_, see _Kasr_.

    Mugheir, i. 38, 159;
      arches at, 222;
      plan of temple at, 312; ii. 34, 256, 308.

    Müller, Ch., i. 16.

    Müller, Max. quoted, i. 20.

    Müller, Ottfried, i. 233.

    Müntz, Eugène, ii. 364.

    Musesinip, cylinder of, ii. 273.

    Mylitta, _see_ Istar.

    Myrrh, brought from Arabia, ii. 373.


    Nabonassar, i. 71.

    Nabopolassar, i. 50, 92;
      his restoration of Babylon, 134; ii. 200.

    Nabou, i. 83.

    Nabounid, his discovery of the angle stone of the temple of Ulbar,
      i. 315; ii. 58.

    Nahar-Hammourabi, i. 40.

    Nahar-Malcha, i. 40.

    _Nahr-el-Kelb_, ii. 231.

    Nahum quoted, i. 51; ii. 313, 372.

    Nana, i. 83.

    Nebbi-Younas, i. 7, 47;
      palace built by Assurbanipal still hidden there, 48; ii. 44.

    Nebo (Mercury?) i. 73;
      description of his statues, 80;
      his place of repose decorated by Nebuchadnezzar, 299;
      statue, ii. 126;
      statue of, from the time of Vulush III., 217.

    Nebuchadnezzar, i. 27, 35;
      comparison with Rameses II., 53; ii. 200.

    Necklaces, ii. 355.

    Ner, i. 346.

    Nergal (Mars?), i. 73, 345.

    Nestorians, i. 140.

    Nicæa, i. 289.

    Niebuhr quoted, i. 157;
      his opinion as to the possibilities of Assyrian exploration
        quoted, ii. 4.

    Niffer, ii. 306.

    Nimrod, his genealogy, i. 15, 17; ii. 269.

    Nimroud, i. 7;
      to be identified with Calah, 314;
      general arrangement of buildings at, 314;
      its first exploration by Layard, ii. 5;
      arrangement of buildings at, 39;
      the _central palace_, 40;
      upper chambers found by Layard, 43;
      probably distinct from Nineveh, 60.

    Nineveh, its Greek name, i. 7;
      changes in historical theory brought about by its exploration,
      its destruction, 50;
      difficulty of ascertaining the relative ages of the ruins,
        ii. 36;
      its size discussed, 59;
      Layard’s opinion as to its size, 61;
      a town gate discovered by Layard, 62.

    Ninus, i. 7, 33;
      represented on the walls of Babylon according to Ctesias, 283;
      buried within the palace at Babylon (Diodorus), 361;
      extravagant statements of Diodorus as to the size and height of
        his tomb, 362; ii. 218.

    Nipour (or Niffer), i. 38.

    Nisroch, i. 78.

    Nitocris, ii. 218.

    Nœldeke, Th., quoted, i. 34; ii. 61.

    Norris, Edwin, quoted, i. 22.

    Noushirwan, i. 185.

    Nude, the, in Chaldæo-Assyrian sculpture, ii. 92;
      the absence of nude figures from the reliefs, 98.


    Oannes, i. 1, 36, 64, 83;
      on Péretié’s plaque, 352; ii. 261, 266.

    Obelisks, unsuitableness of the name, i. 257;
      their forms, i. 236;
      of Shalmaneser II., 258.

    _Observatory_, the Khorsabad, i. 247, 374;
      described, 386;
      the colours of its stages, 386;
      their number, 386;
      its awkward position, 391;
      suggested use (note by editor), 391.

    Oppert, his ethnical theories, i. 19;
      quoted, 21, 22, 28, 30, 119;
      his estimate of height of temple of Bel, 130, 201;
      his mention of colours used on buildings, 280;
      decorative painting in Babylonia, 284.

    Orders, the, their practical absence from Mesopotamian
      architecture, i. 132.

    Orientation of buildings, i. 311.

    Osiris, i. 78, 79.

    Ourbaou, ii. 180.

    Ourdeys, ii. 73.

    Ourkam, i. 35;
      the Menes of Chaldæa, 38; ii. 259, 266.

    Oysters, carvings upon their shells, ii. 118.


    Painting, ii. 292;
      pigments used, 294.

    Palette of the Mesopotamian decorator, i. 283.

    Pallacopas, Lake, i. 53.

    Palm-bark, represented by Ninevite sculptors, i. 202.

    Palmyra, i. 349; ii. 374.

    Pamir, i. 21.

    Paradise (or Park), ii. 51.

    Parasol, ii. 203.

    Parthians, succeeded by the Sassanids, i. 57.

    Paving, three systems of, i. 238.

    Pediment, i. 394.

    Péretié, his bronze plaque, i. 349.

    Percy, Dr., ii. 312.

    Pergamus, ii. 286.

    Pericles, ii. 382.

    Περὶ φύσεως, the Greek philosophic poems of the sixth century,
      ii. 397.

    Perrot and Chipiez, _Art in Ancient Egypt_ quoted, i. 13, 23, 61,
      86, 208, 213, 222, 234, 246, 248, 268, 322; ii. 131–135.

    Persepolis, i. 88.

    Phidias, i. 58; ii. 286.

    Philostratus quoted, i. 299, 379.

    Phœnicia, ii. 172.

    Phœnicians, their invention of the alphabet, i. 23.

    Pictography, i. 31.

    Piers, their restricted use, i. 132.

    Pigments, ii. 294.

    Pilasters, i. 216.

    Pinches, T. G., i. 195;
      quoted, ii. 213.

    Pivots (door-pivots), i. 240.

    Place, Victor, quoted, i. 116, 118, 138;
      his discovery of a cedar beam at Khorsabad, 140, 148;
      his opinion on the roofing question, 163;
      statement as to the timber found in the excavations, 164;
      his discovery of fragmentary vaulted ceilings among the ruins,
        165, 173, 183, 186–189, 191, 192, 202, 208, 224, 243, 248, 266;
      loss of his collections in the Tigris, 285;
      on the plan of Sargon’s palace at Khorsabad, ii. 32;
      his description of the French consulate at Mossoul, ii. 71;
      his opinion as to the use of colour in Assyrian architecture,

    Planisphere, fragments found at Kouyundjik, i. 72.

    Plans, peculiarities of Mesopotamian, i. 328.

    Plato, ii. 397.

    Plautus, ii. 364.

    Plinth, painted black at Khorsabad, i. 272, 291.

    Pliny, quoted by RAWLINSON, i. 4;
      calls the whole of Mesopotamia Assyria, 5, 71;
      quoted, ii. 364.

    Plutarch (pseudo), treatise on Isis and Osiris, i. 58.

    Polychromy, ii. 243;
      traces of colour still perceptible on the sculptures in the
        Louvre and the British Museum, 248;
      “natural polychromy,” 249.

    Polydemonism, i. 62.

    Polytheism, a development from the worship of stars and planets,
      i. 75.

    Pompeii, i. 139.

    Pongnon, ii. 61, 226.

    Population, elements of the P. in Mesopotamia, i. 13.

    Porches, i. 218.

    Porphyrius, i. 71.

    _Portes ornées_, Khorsabad, i. 217, 227.

    Pottery, ii. 298.

    Praxiteles, i. 58; ii. 286.

    Prisse d’Avennes quoted, i. 305.

    Proportions of early Assyrian figures, ii. 203.

    Prostitutions, religious, at Babylon, i. 89, 377.

    Ptah, i. 78, 79.

    Ptolemy, quoted by RAWLINSON, i. 4;
      his astronomical canon, i. 71.

    Pyrgoteles, ii. 263.


    Racine, ii. 71.

    Raman, i. 75; ii. 89.

    Rassam, H., his discovery of a metal threshold at Borsippa, i. 241,
      his explorations under Sir H. Rawlinson’s surveillance, ii. 7;
      excavations at Kouyundjik, 48, 118.

    Rawlinson, Prof., his description of the physical characteristics
        of Chaldæa, i. 2, 47, 71, 80, 211, 277;
      quoted, ii. 1;
      quoted in connection with Semiramis, and her possible
        identification with Sammouramit, 218;
      on the question of polychromy, 247.

    Rawlinson, Sir Henry, quoted, i. 22, 156;
      his explorations, ii. 7.

    Rehoboth, i. 14.

    Rennell, his _Herodotus_ quoted, i. 281.

    _Repoussé_ work, ii. 116.

    Resen, i. 14, 122.

    Rhea, i. 374.

    Rhind, H., i. 279.

    Rhodes, ii. 286.

    Rich, his observations, on the construction of vaults by the native
        builders of Mesopotamia, i. 167, 261;
      colours used in decoration, 280.

    Roads, for military purposes, ii. 74;
      used by Mesopotamian commerce, 374.

    Rollin, i. 33.

    Rome, ii. 286.

    Roofs, discussion as to how Mesopotamian buildings were roofed,
      i. 160.

    Ross, his geological explorations, i. 4, _n_^2.

    Rouet, M., ii. 225.

    Ruelle, Ch. E., i. 58.

    Ruth quoted, ii. 70.


    Sacred tree, i. 212.

    Sacrifices, human, asserted allusions to them on the cylinders,
      ii. 268.

    Sagaraktyas, i. 315.

    Saïd-Hassan, ii. 174.

    Samarah, i. 3.

    Samas, i. 83;
      tablet of Sippara, 200; ii. 90, 193, 266.

    Samas-Vul II., stele of, ii. 209, 354.

    Sammouramit (? Semiramis), ii. 217.

    Samsibin, i. 39.

    Sandals, in the reliefs, ii. 247.

    Sarbistan, i. 169, 186.

    Sardanapalus, i. 43;
      the Greek myth, 52, 187; ii. 59.

    Sargon, i. 43, 105;
      stele of, found near Larnaca, ii. 219.

    Saryoukin, _see_ Sargon.

    Sarzec, M. de, his discoveries at Tello, i. 24, 279;
      quoted, 382; ii. 33, 141.

    Sassanids, successors of the Parthians, i. 57.

    Sayce, A. H., quoted, i. 33, 69; ii. 263, 346.

    Scabbard, ii. 164, 345.

    Sceptres, how coloured in the reliefs, ii. 247.

    Schenafieh, ii. 176.

    Schlumberger, G., his fragments of the Balawat gates, i. 242;
      ii. 213.

    Schulze, ii. 232.

    Screw of Archimedes, its asserted use at Babylon, ii. 31.

    Sculpture, absence of women from the reliefs, i. 111;
      practically confined to war and hunting, 111;
      its principal themes, ii. 78;
      its fondness for fantastic animals, 79;
      treatment of the nude, 92;
      the absence of nude figures from the reliefs, 98;
      documentary character of Assyrian sculpture, 101;
      epic or newspaper? 103;
      want of variety in the composition of the reliefs, 104;
      its appearance of improvisation, 105;
      materials used, 109;
      use of clay, 113;
      terra-cotta statuettes, 114;
      its principal conventions, 125;
      statue of Nebo, 126;
      of Assurnazirpal, 126;
      the principles of the bas-reliefs, 128;
      peculiarities of Assyrian statues and figures in relief, 130;
      the Assyrian type, 135;
      are the Assyrian statues Iconic? 138;
      representations of animals, 142;
      proportions of early Assyrian figures, 203;
      its power of selection, 207;
      in the reign of Sargon, 219;
      picturesque details introduced in the time of Sennacherib, 223;
      Egyptian and Assyrian contrasted, 281;
      _do._ 385.

    Scythians, their invasion of Western Asia, i. 49.

    Seal, in universal use in Babylonia, ii. 251.

    Seistan, i. 2.

    Sekhet, i. 78.

    Seleucia, i. 54, 93, 223.

    Seleucidæ, i. 5, 157.

    Seleucus Nicator, i. 54.

    Seljukian period, carved lions from, i. 262.

    Semi-domes, i. 173.

    Semiramis, i. 33;
      represented on the walls of Babylon according to Ctesias, 283,
      her palaces, ii. 34, 217.

    Semnat, ii. 394.

    Senkereh (or Larsam), i. 38.

    Sennacherib, i. 43;
      his death, 103, 105;
      state of sculpture during his reign, ii. 223;
      his appearance in the Bavian sculptures, ii. 229.

    Seraglio, at Khorsabad, ii. 16.

    Serdabs, i. 139, 383.

    Sesostris, i. 33.

    Seti, ii. 395.

    Sewers, system of, in palaces, i. 227.

    Sexagesimal system, the, of the Babylonians, ii. 398.

    _Shah-Nameh_, the, i. 20.

    Shalmaneser II., i. 43, 105;
      the gates made for him, 242; ii. 40;
      his obelisk, ii. 110.

    Sharezer, i. 103.

    Shat-el-Arab, i. 7.

    Shat-el-Hai, ii. 174.

    Shem, i. 15.

    Shield, votive, from Lake Van, ii. 347.

    Shinar, i. 14, 18.

    Sidon, i. 16.

    Silius Italicus, ii. 364.

    Sills, i. 239.

    Silver, i. 299.

    Simplicius, his statement as to Babylonian astronomy, i. 71.

    Sin, Assyrian god, i. 201.

    Sinjar, i. 178; ii. 110.

    Sippara, i. 38, 53, 200; ii. 90.

    Sirtella, _see_ Tello.

    Sittacenia, i. 177.

    Smith, George, quoted, i. 36;
      his recognition of the true characters of the Cypriot alphabet,
      translator of texts from Assurbanipal’s library, 48, 71;
      his discovery of limestone bases in the palace of Assurbanipal,
        220, 237, 276;
      enamelled brick found by him at Nimroud, 293;
      his discovery of an account of Istar’s descent into limbo, 344;
      his explorations, ii. 7;
      _résumé_ of the monumental history of Calah (Nimroud), 37;
      his description of the site of Arbela, 48;
      his discovery of a small model bull at Nimroud, 115.

    Sockets, granite, &c., for the door-pivots, i. 242;
      from Balawat, 243.

    Sodom, i. 199.

    Soldi, E., ii. 253;
      his description of the process of gem engraving quoted, 259.

    Somalis, ii. 373.

    Sorcery, Chaldæan belief in, i. 65.

    Soury, ii. 397.

    Spoons, metal, ii. 351.

    Staged-towers, difficulty of restoring them accurately, i. 364;
      their monotonous appearance, 366;
      their resemblance to a stepped pyramid, 366;
      description of temple of Bel by Herodotus, 366;
      their various types restored, 370–382;
      their ruins discussed, 382–391.

    Staircases, i. 189–192.

    Steatite, ii. 190.

    Steles, their characteristic forms, i. 236;
      fluted S. with palmette, 258;
      rock-cut S. at Kouyundjik, 259.

    Stone, no dressed S. to be found at Babylon, i. 120;
      bridge at B. said to have been built of stone, 120.

    Strabo, quoted by RAWLINSON, i. 4;
      carries western frontier of Assyria up to Syria, 5, 54;
      height of temple of Bel, 130;
      ruined state of the temple in his time, 137;
      his statement as to the prevalence of vaults in Babylon, 169,
        176; ii. 251.

    Stylus, for cutting the wedges, i. 28.

    Styx, i. 354.

    Sully-Prudhomme, his lines to the Venus of Milo quoted, ii. 249.

    Sumer, i. 21, 59.

    Sumerian system, the, i. 29.

    Surface decoration in Chaldæa, i. 245.

    Susa, date of its capture by Assurbanipal, i. 36, 52;
      its palace intrigues, 96.

    Susiana, i. 17.

    Sybel, L. von, ii. 285.

    Syene, i. 94.

    Syllabaries, Assyrian, i. 23.

    Syncellus, Georgius, i. 51.

    Syria, ii. 172.

    Syriac, the dominant language in the early centuries of our era,
      i. 18.


    Tablets of gold, silver, antimony, copper, and lead, found at
      Khorsabad, i. 319.

    Tacitus, i. 5.

    Tadmor, _see_ Palmyra.

    _Takht-i-Khosro_, i. 170, 185.

    Tammouz, i. 344.

    Tardieu, Amédée, i. 177.

    _Tartan_, or Grand Vizer, i. 96.

    Tauthé, i. 83.

    Taylor, J. E., quoted, i. 39, 118, 155;
      his explorations of the mounds near the Persian Gulf, 158, 200,
        222, 279, 281;
      his explorations at Abou-Sharein, 371; ii. 256.

    Teheran, i. 289.

    Tell-Amran (or, Tell-Amran-ibn-Ali), ii. 35.

    Tello, i. 24, 279, 312;
      angle-stones and foundation talismans found at T., i. 316, 383;
        ii. 33, 163;
      the discoveries made by M. de Sarzec described, 174;
      subjects of the reliefs, 177.

    _Temenos_, i. 128.

    Temple, subordinate types of, i. 391–6.
      (_see_ also staged towers).

    Tents, their forms, i. 175.

    _Teradas_, i. 10.

    Terah, i. 15.

    Terra-cotta statuettes, early Chaldæan, ii. 195.

    _Tête-de-pont_, on the Balawat gates, ii. 214.

    Texier quoted, i. 122;
      description of the great mosque at Ispahan, 287.

    Textiles, ii. 363.

    Thapsacus, ii. 374.

    Thebes, i. 56.

    Thomas, Felix, his opinion on the roofing question, i. 163, 224.

    Thothmes III., ii. 284.

    Thresholds, i. 239;
      sometimes of metal, 241.

    Thunderbolt, origin of the classic form of, i. 75.

    Tidjaris, ii. 312.

    Tiele, his _Manuel des Religions_ quoted, i. 60, 86, 89.

    Tiglath-Pileser I., i. 39; ii. 203.

    Tiglath-Pileser II., i. 43; ii. 101, 218.

    Tigris, its inundations, i. 9.

    Tiles, glazed; the manufacture not extinct in India (note by
        editor), i. 287;
      with central boss, 294.

    Toilet, articles of, ii. 349.

    Tomb, comparison between the Egyptian and Mesopotamian T., i. 336;
      absence of funerary inscriptions, 336;
      no Assyrian tombs yet discovered, 336;
      conjectures as to how the Assyrians disposed of their dead, 337;
      Loftus’s explanation perhaps the best, 338;
      the principle of the Chaldæan tomb similar to that of the
        Mastaba, 355;
      its shape, 356–360;
      its situation, 360–364.

    Transliteration, difficulties of, i. 17.

    Trees, how indicated in the reliefs, ii. 207, 223.

    _Tree of Life_, i. 212.

    Tripods, ii. 323.

    _Tunica talaria_, ii. 94.

    Turanians, said to form part of the early population of Chaldæa,
        i. 19;
      etymology of the word, 20, 22.

    Turkish compared to the tongue of early Chaldæa, i. 19.

    Turks, their bad administration, i. 11.

    Tyre, i. 16.


    Ulbar, temple of, its angle-stone, i. 315.

    Unicorn, the, in Assyrian sculpture, ii. 164.

    Ur, i. 1, 15, 38, 47; ii. 265.

    Uroukh (or Erech), i. 38;
      the stones worshipped in its chief temple, 62.


    Van, Lake, i. 395; ii. 213;
      remains of furniture found there, 314.

    Vaults, their common use in Mesopotamia, i. 144;
      their construction without centres, 167;
      their prevalence in Babylon according to Strabo, 169;
      at Firouz-Abad, 169;
      at Sarbistan, 169;
      of Sargon’s gateways, 224.

    Vegetation, marsh, ii. 223.

    Ventilating pipes in Chaldæan buildings, i. 157.

    Virgil quoted, i. 64.

    Vitruvius quoted, i. 116.

    Voguë, de M., ii. 314.

    Volcanoes in the valley of the Khabour, i. 121.

    Volutes, i. 205, 209.

    Vulnirari III., ii. 40.

    Vulush III., ii. 217.


    Walls, construction of, i. 147;
      height of W. at Khorsabad, 151;
      ornamentation of W. at Khorsabad, 151;
      of Babylon, as described by Diodorus after Ctesias, 282;
      of Dour-Saryoukin, their good preservation, 282;
      height of the W. of Babylon, ii. 63.

    Warka (the ancient Erech), i. 24, 38, 245, 272;
      palace at, ii. 33, 256, 306, 308.

    Wedges, the, i. 21;
      compared with the hieroglyphs and Chinese characters, 21;
      original constitution of, 23;
      originally perhaps cut on bark of trees, 27;
      terra-cotta peculiarly well adapted for them, 28;
      their ideographic origin, 29.

    Weights, Mesopotamian, ii. 220.

    Wheat, the origin of its cultivation, ii. 399.

    Windows, i. 236.

    Winged bulls, their height, i. 268;
      small model bull from Nimroud, ii. 113.

    Wuswas, i. 245, 272, 371; ii. 33.


    Xenephon, i. 112, 151;
      his _Anabasis_ quoted, ii. 59.

    Xerxes, ii. 201.

    Xisouthros, the Chaldæan Noah, i. 36, 315.


    Yang-tse-kiang, ii. 375.

    Yezidis, their houses, i. 178;
      their religious beliefs, _ib._; ii. 71.


    Zab, the great, i. 6; ii. 225.

    Zagros, i. 6, 39.

    _Zalalu_, i. 345.

    Zarpanitu, _see_ Istar.

    Zebu, ii. 373.

    Zend, the study of, a preparation for deciphering the wedges,
      ii. 4.

    Zephaniah, quoted, i. 302.

    Zeus, i. 369, 374.

    _Zigguratt_, _see_ Staged towers.

    Zodiac, signs of, origin of, i. 70.

                               THE END.



[1] RAWLINSON _The Five Great Monarchies_, &c., (4th edition), vol. i.
p. 278.

[2] MILLIN, _Monuments inedits_, vol. i. plates 8 and 9.

[3] _Rheinisches Museum_, 1829, p. 41. This passage will be found in
a note appended by the illustrious historian to a paper by OTTFRIED
MÜLLER, entitled _Sandon und Sardanapal_.

[4] Traces of the excitement caused by these discoveries may be found
in an article written by M. de Longperier in 1845, in which, before
having seen the monuments, he points out the interest and importance of
the discoveries with rare sagacity. The paper in question is entitled
_Ninive et Khorsabad_. It has lately been reprinted in the first volume
(page 34) of his collected works (A. DE LONGPERIER, _Œuvres_, 5 vols.
8vo. Leroux). This first volume bears for sub-title: _Archéologie
orientale: Monuments arabes_.

[5] _Lettre à M. Isidore de Lowenstern sur les Inscriptions cunéiformes
de l’Assyrie_ (_Œuvres_, vol. i. p. 109). M. de Lowenstern had already
by a kind of happy intuition hit upon the name, but without being able
to give a reason for his transliteration.

[6] This latter hypothesis was sustained, with more erudition, perhaps,
than tact or taste, by Dr. Hœfer. A skilful historian of chemistry, he
was by no means an archæologist. He had no feeling for the differences
between one style and another. See the _Memoires sur les Ruines de
Ninive, addressés à l’Académie des Inscriptions, par_ FERD. HŒFER [20th
February and 24th May, 1850]; see especially the second paper: _De
l’Âge et du Caractère des Monuments découverts à Khorsabad, à Nimroud,
à Kouioundjik, à Karamles et à Kaleh-Shergat_, Paris, Didot, 1850. His
assertions were refuted by de Longperier in the first part of his paper
entitled: _Antiquités assyriénnes_, published in 1850, in the _Revue
archéologique_, (_Œuvrcs_, vol. i. p. 139).

[7] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. i. chapter xi. § 2.

[8] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 38, Esarhaddon was the chief offender
in this respect.

[9] See G. PERROT, _Souvenirs d’un Voyage en Asia Mineure_, p. 50.

[10] This preconceived notion explains the erroneous title he gave to
his great work: _Monument de Ninive, découvert et décrit par_ P. E.
BOTTA, _mesuré et dessiné par_ E. FLANDIN, published at the expense of
the state at the _Imprimerie nationale_, Paris, 1849, 5 vols, folio (1
volume of text, 4 of plates).

[11] The palace platform was not quite in the centre of the
north-western face. The Assyrians were no fonder of a rigid symmetry
than the Egyptians.

[12] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. iii. plate 7.

[13] In this plan the darkest parts are those discovered by M. Botta;
the more lightly shaded lines show the rooms and courts excavated by
his successor.

[14] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. iii. plate 18 _bis._

[15] RAWLINSON (_The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. p. 286), and
LENORMANT (_Historie ancienne_, vol. ii. p. 196) make the two parts of
the platform--the arms of the T and its shank--different in height.
In doing so they have borrowed a mistake from Botta. The mistake is
easily understood in the case of Rawlinson, whose fourth edition,
although published in 1879, reproduces the plans compiled by Fergusson
after Botta. We are more surprised at Lenormant falling into the same
error, as he gives an excellent _résumé_ of Place’s discoveries. Botta
seems to have thought the two parts of the palace had different levels
in consequence of an inequality in the distribution of the fallen
materials. In the neighbourhood of the latter buildings, such as the
so-called _Observatory_, and where the open spaces were fewer and less
ample, there was, of course, a thicker bed of rubbish than where the
buildings were lower and the walls farther apart. But wherever the
original surface of the mound was reached, Place ascertained that its
level never varied. In none of his plans is there the slightest trace
of any slope or staircase leading from one level to the other, so far
as the summit of the platform is concerned.

[16] LAYARD, _Monuments_, 2nd series, plates 14 and 15.

[17] Thomas placed this ramp at the south-east rather than at the
south-west because it seemed better to make it lead direct to H, the
forecourt of the sélamlik, than to break in upon the privacy of the
harem at the opposite corner.

[18] This court was about 206 feet wide, by 366 feet long.

[19] The letters on our plan signify courts, or rooms--like some of
those in the harem--that were only partially roofed in.

[20] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 57.

[21] LENORMANT, _Manuel d’Histoire ancienne_, vol. ii. p.

[22] See Vol. I. page 392.

[23] OPPERT, _Expédition scientitique_, vol. ii. p. 242.

[24] The doorway beside which these artificial palms are raised is that
which leads from the court U to the hall marked Y on the plan. As to
the elements made use of in our restoration, see PLACE, vol. i. pp.
114–127, and vol. ii. p. 35. We have already noticed the discovery of
the metal-sheathed poles (p. 202, and fig. 72).

[25] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. iii. plate 25, fig. 4.

[26] See the _Book of Esther_.

[27] This room corresponds to the apartment in the richer houses of
Mossoul and Bagdad, that goes by the name of _iwan_ or _pichkaneh_.
It is a kind of summer hall, open on one side (OPPERT, _Expédition
scientifique_, vol. i. p. 90).

[28] A minute description of all these offices will be found in PLACE
(_Ninive_, vol. iii. pp. 76–105).

[29] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. pp. 99 and 274.

[30] OPPERT, _Les Inscriptions des Sargonides_, p. 52.

[31] So far as I know, PLACE alone has given this problem a moment’s
attention (_Ninive_, vol. i. p. 279), but nothing could be more
improbable than the hypothesis by which he attempts to solve it. He
suggests that one of the drains of which we have already spoken may
have been a conduit or siphon in communication with some subterranean
reservoir and provided with pumping apparatus at its summit. We have no
evidence whatever that the principle of the suction-pump was known to
the Assyrians.

[32] STRABO (xvi. i. 5) pretends that the hanging gardens of Babylon
were watered by means of the _screw of Archimedes_ (κοχλίας or κόχλος).
If it be true that this invention was known to the Chaldæans, it may
also have been used to raise water to the platforms of the Assyrian
palaces. The discovery, however, is usually attributed to the Sicilian
mathematician, and STRABO’S evidence is too isolated and too recent to
allow us to accept it without question.

[33] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. ii. p. 197.

[34] LOFTUS, _Travels and Researches_, chapter xvi. and especially page

[35] DIODORUS, ii. viii. 3–4.

[36] DIODORUS, ii. viii. 7.

[37] OPPERT, _Expédition scientifique de Mésopotamie_, vol. i. p. 150.
See also LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 508, upon the tradition of the Arabs
relating to the tall tamarisk, the only tree that grows on the summit
of the mound.

[38] J. MÉNANT, _Babylon et la Chaldée_ (1 vol. 8vo. 1875), p. 181.

[39] DIODORUS (ii. 10), speaks of λίθιναι δοκοί, or stone beams, to
which he attributes a length of sixteen feet, and a width of four;
STRABO (xvii. i. 5) makes use of the expression, ψαλιδώματα καμαρωτά,
which means _vaulted arcades_. Both writers agree that there were
several terraces one above another. Diodorus says that the whole--as
seen from the Euphrates no doubt--looked like a theatre. Both give the
same measurements to these hanging gardens; they tell us they made a
square of from three to four plethra each way (410 feet). The mound of
Tell-Amran is much larger than this, and if it really be on the site
of the famous gardens, it must include the ruins of other buildings
besides, pleasure houses, chapels and kiosks, like those figured in the
reliefs, to which we have already had frequent occasion to allude.

[40] LAYARD believes himself to have ascertained that the buildings on
one part of the Nimroud mound were ruined and covered with earth, when
those upon another part of the platform were founded. The paved floor
of the north-western palace is on a level with the upper part of the
walls of the north-eastern and central palaces (_Nineveh_, vol. iii. p.

[41] George SMITH, _Assyrian Discoveries_, (pp. 71–73), gives the
following _résumé_ of the monumental history of Calah, from the
inscriptions found at Nimroud. “A city was built on this spot by
Shalmaneser I., King of Assyria, B.C. 1300, but this afterwards fell
into decay, and was destroyed during the subsequent troubles which
came on the Assyrian Empire. Assurnazirpal, who ascended the Assyrian
throne B.C. 885, resolved to rebuild the city; and bringing numbers
of captives taken during his wars, he set them to work to rebuild
Calah, and then settled there to inhabit it. The north-west palace
and the temples near the tower were the work of this king, and from
these came most of the fine Nimroud sculptures in the British Museum.
Shalmaneser II., King of Assyria, succeeded his father Assurnazirpal,
B.C. 860. He built the centre palace, and the base at least of the
south-eastern palace. Vulnirari III., his grandson, B.C. 812, built
the upper chambers and the temple of Nebo; and Tiglath-pileser II.,
B.C. 745, rebuilt the centre palace. Sargon, King of Assyria, B.C. 722,
restored the north-west palace, and his grandson, Esarhaddon, B.C.
681, built the south-west palace. Lastly the grandson of Esarhaddon,
Assur-ebil-ili, the last King of Assyria, rebuilt the temple of
Nebo just before the destruction of the Assyrian Empire.” A general
description of the platform and the buildings upon it will be found in
LAYARD, _Discoveries_, pp. 653–656.

[42] This idea is favoured by LAYARD (_Discoveries_, p. 654).

[43] The central palace was partly destroyed even in the days of the
Assyrians, by a king who wished to make use of its materials. LAYARD
(_Nineveh_, ii. p. 19) found more than a hundred sculptured slabs
stacked against each other, as if in a warehouse. The architect of
Esarhaddon, the author of this spoliation, had not finished his work
when it was suddenly interrupted. For a full account of the discoveries
in the south-eastern palace, see LAYARD, _Nineveh_, ii. pp. 38–40.

[44] Especially from the central palace (LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p.
656). The small rectangles shown on our plan at each side of the wall
dividing the rooms marked 2 and 3 from each other, represent slabs
lying on the ground at the foot of the wall for whose decoration they
were intended. They were never put in place. The bases of circular
pedestals, standing very slightly above the ground, are also marked.
Sir H. Layard could not divine their use.

[45] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. pp. 25, 26, and 29.

[46] For an account of the excavations see LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. i.
pp. 34, 39, 46, 59–62, 347–350; vol. ii. pp. 25–36.

[47] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. pp. 14–16.

[48] All the passages by ancient writers bearing on the subject will be
found collected in the first of those articles of HŒFER, of which we
have already had occasion to speak. Its title is: _Textes anciens sur
l’Histoire et la Position de Ninive_. It is certain that even in the
Roman period its site was not positively known. Lucian, who was born
at Samosata, less than a hundred leagues from Nineveh, says: “Nineveh
has perished; no trace of it remains, and we cannot say where it stood”
(_Charon_, c. xxiii).

[49] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 137.

[50] The plan in which LAYARD shows the results of his two digging
campaigns will be found in the _Discoveries_, facing page 67. For the
excavations at Kouyundjik see also his _Nineveh_, vol. ii. chapter
xiv, and _Discoveries_, pp. 67–76, 102–120, 135–161, 228–233, 337–347,
438–463, 582–588, and 645–652. Layard attempts to give a general idea
of the palace and of its decorations. There is also much detailed
information regarding this building in RAWLINSON’S _Five Great
Monarchies_, vol. ii. pp. 178–133.

[51] The only details that have been given, so far as we know, of the
discovery and exhumation of Assurbanipal’s palace, are to be found in
an article by Mr. Rassam entitled: _Excavations and Discoveries in
Assyria_ (_Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archæology_, vol.
vii. pp. 37–58). This paper contains a plan of the northern palace (p.

[52] “Ervil is the site of the Assyrian city of Arbela, and in the
plains outside it was fought the great battle between Alexander and
Darius. I had no time to examine the place, but I saw in passing that
there were mounds rivalling in size those of the Assyrian capital. Over
the principal mound a Turkish fortress is built, which would make it
difficult to excavate here; but as Arbela was a great city, much may
be expected here whenever it is explored.” GEORGE SMITH, _Assyrian
Discoveries_, p. 67.

[53] See the article by Mr. Rassam quoted on the last page. The plan
(p. 52) he gives does not tell us much.

[54] See LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. pp. 45–63; and _Discoveries_, p.

[55] See PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. ii. p. 169.

[56] It is in chapters xi. to xiv. of his second work (_Discoveries_,
&c.) that LAYARD tells the story of his discoveries in that valley of
the Chaboras from which the writings of Ezekiel were dated.

[57] See page 145.

[58] We have noticed at pages 176 and 177 of our first volume the two
passages in which Strabo discusses the houses of Susiana and Chaldæa.
As to the villages in the Euphrates valley, in which domes are still
used, see OPPERT, _Expédition scientifique_, vol. i. p. 46.

[59] HERODOTUS, i. 180.

[60] DIODORUS, ii. viii. 4, 5.

[61] G. SMITH, _Assyrian Discoveries_, pp. 55, 56. M. OPPERT also
admits that this is the only city that has left traces that cannot
easily be mistaken. (_Expedition scientifique_, vol. i. pp. 194, 195.)

[62] HERODOTUS, i. 178.

[63] DIODORUS, ii. vii. 3. The following passage has been quoted
from ARISTOTLE’S _Politics_ (iii. 1), as supporting the assertion
of Diodorus: “It is obvious that a town is not made by a wall; one
might, if that were so, make the Peloponnesus into a town, Babylon,
perhaps, and some other towns belong to this class, their _enceinte_
inclosing towns rather than cities.” The text of Aristotle seems to me
to prove nothing more than that the philosopher was acquainted with
the descriptions of Diodorus and Ctesias. He says nothing as to their
exactness; he merely borrows an illustration from them, by which he
attempts to make his thought more clear, and to explain the difference
between a real city with an organic life of its own, and a mere space
surrounded by walls, in which men might live in close neighbourhood
with each other, but with nothing that could be called civic life. All
the texts relating to the ancient boundaries of Babylon will be found
united in M. OPPERT’S examination of this question.

[64] Even now the wall of the Royal City stands up more than thirty
feet above the level of the plain.

[65] HERODOTUS says nothing of the tunnel; DIODORUS alone mentions it
(ii. ix. 2). See OPPERT on this subject. He believes in its existence
(_Expédition scientifique_, vol. i. p. 193).

[66] HERODOTUS, i. 186; DIODORUS, ii. viii. 2. Diodorus, following
Ctesias, greatly exaggerates the length of the bridge when he puts it
at fifty-five stades (3,032 feet). Even if we admit that the Euphrates,
which in ancient times lost less of its waters in the adjoining marshes
than it does now, was then considerably wider than at present, we can
hardly account for such a difference. On the subject of this bridge see
OPPERT, _Expédition_ &c., vol. i. pp. 191–193.

[67] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 489.

[68] See OPPERT, _Expédition_ &c., vol. i. pp. 184, 185. HERODOTUS
mentions these quays (ii. 180, 186). DIODORUS (ii. viii. 3), gives
them a length of 160 stades (nearly 18½ miles), which seems a great

[69] HERODOTUS, i. 180.

[70] And this makes us think that the streets were narrow, a conjecture
confirmed by the words of Herodotus. In speaking of the doors above
mentioned by which the river was reached, he does not use the word
πύλαι, but πυλίδες, its diminutive. If these doors were so small, the
streets must have been lanes.

[71] This we gather from more than one phrase of the historian (ii. 183
and 196).

[72] DIODORUS, ii. viii, 3

[73] All that he says is that it was on the Tigris (i. 193), that it
had a king called Sardanapalus (ii. 150), and that it was taken by the
Medes (i. 103, 106).

[74] _Anabasis_, iii. 4.

[75] DIODORUS, ii. iii. 2, 3.

[76] Line 35 of the _Cylinder of Bellino_, after Pongnon
(_l’Inscription de Bavian_, p. 25, in the _Bibliothèque de l’École des

[77] M. OPPERT also considers the evidence of Ctesias as worthless
(_Expédition scientifique_, vol. i. p. 292). Sir HENRY LAYARD on the
other hand believes in the great Nineveh of that writer (_Nineveh_,
vol. ii. p. 243). He is chiefly influenced by the often quoted verses
of the Book of Jonah, in which it is declared: “Now Nineveh was an
exceeding great city of three days’ journey,” and that there were in it
“more than six-score thousand persons that cannot discern between their
right hand and their left hand,” which, with the ordinary proportion of
children to adults, would give a total population of about 800,000. We
shall not waste time in explaining that all these expressions are but
poetic ways of saying that Nineveh was a great city. It is a singular
idea to look for topographical and statistical information in a book
which makes a prophet sail from Joppa for Spain and, immediately
afterwards, without any preparation, speaks of him as preaching in the
streets of Nineveh. Add to this that, according to the most recent
criticism, the Book of Jonah is not older than the sixth century before
our era, so that it must have been written long after the fall of
Nineveh, and when its power was no more than a memory (see NŒLDEKE,
_Histoire littéraire de l’Ancien Testament_, p. 116). [In Sir H.
Layard’s latest published remarks on the extent of Nineveh, he rejects
the statements of Diodorus for much the same reasons as those given by
M. Perrot (article on _Nineveh_ in Smith’s _Dictionary of the Bible_,
1863 edition).--ED.]

[78] BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, vol. v. p. 21. OPPERT, _Expédition_,
vol. i. p. 292. LAYARD, vol. ii. p. 243. The English explorers have
found traces of some external works and of a ditch which is now
filled with the waters of the Khausser. RAWLINSON, _The Five Great
Monarchies_, vol. i. pp. 259–261.

[79] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, pp. 120–122.

[80] It has no scale.

[81] HERODOTUS, i. 178.

[82] HERODOTUS, i. 179. Herodotus says that the Chaldæans _constructed
buildings of a single chamber along each parapet of the wall, leaving
room between them_ for a four-horse chariot to turn. His words are:
ὲπάνω δὲ τοῦ τείχεος παρὰ τὰ ἔσχατα, οἰκήματα μουνόκωλα ἔδειμαν,
τετραμμένα ἐς ἄλληλα· τὸ μέσον δὲ τῶν οἰκημάτων ἔλιπον τεθρίππῳ

[83] DIODORUS, ii. vii. 4.

[84] In many carved pictures of sieges we see soldiers who appear to
be digging mines (LAYARD, _Monuments_, series i. plates 19, 20, 66.
RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. p. 473).

[85] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 165; vol. ii. p. 11.

[86] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. pp. 197–198.

[87] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, Vol. I. p. 342.

[88] See Vol. I. Page 242, and Fig. 97.

[89] All these details are taken from PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. pp.

[90] _Genesis_ xix. 1.

[91] _Genesis_ xxiii. 10.

[92] _Ruth_ iv. 1 and 2.

[93] See also 2 Kings vii. 1.--ED.

[94] _Esther_ ii. 21.

[95] _Esther_ iii. 2, 3, iv. 2, 6.

[96] At Semil, to the north of Mossoul, Layard saw the Yezidi chief,
“Abde Agha, seated in the gate, a vaulted entrance with deep recesses
on both sides, used as places of assembly for business during the day,
and as places of rest for guests during the night.”--_Discoveries_, p.

[97] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 186.

[98] It is even believed that the Assyrians used a machine for
launching great stones, like the Roman catapult. The representations
in the bas-reliefs are not, however, very clear. RAWLINSON, _The Five
Great Monarchies_, vol. i. p. 472.

[99] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 196. Causeways of this kind may be
noticed stretching away from the tower in our Fig. 29. See also LAYARD,
_Monuments_, 2nd series, plates 18 and 21.

[100] A few terra-cotta statuettes have certainly been found, but these
seem to be idols rather than images of the defunct.

[101] The ordinary and principal office of the human-headed bull,
was to guard the doors of temples and palaces, but in his _rôle_ of
protecting genius, other functions were included. Thus, in a bas-relief
representing Sargon’s campaigns in Phœnicia, we find a bull that seems
to be walking on the sea. With Anon, Oannes, or Dagon, the fish-god, he
presides over the journeys of the ships that bring cargoes of wood from
Lebanon (BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, plate 32).

[102] M. LENORMANT has collected these texts in his _Origines de
l’Histoire_, vol. i. p. 115.

[103] This must represent one of the favourite rites of the
Chaldæo-Assyrian religion, allusion to it is made in the passage given
as a letter of Jeremiah (BARUCH vi. 25): “Now shall ye see in Babylon
gods of silver, and of gold, and of wood, borne upon shoulders, which
cause the nations to fear.”

[104] CHABOUILLET (_Catalogue général des Camées de la Bibliothèque
nationale_, No. 754) proposes to recognize in the scene here
represented the offering of his nightly spouse to Bel in his temple
at Babylon (HERODOTUS, i. 181). M. LENORMANT agrees with this
interpretation (_Essai de commentaire des Fragments de Bérose_, p.
374). MÉNANT, on the other hand, thinks it as little justified as
that which finds the early scenes of Genesis--the temptation of Eve,
and the eating of the forbidden fruit--reproduced upon the cylinders
(_Remarques sur un cylindre du Musée Britannique, in the Comptes rendus
de l’Académie des Inscriptions_, 1879, pp. 270–286).

[105] In the great stone torso of which we shall speak presently (p.
98), these details seem to have been omitted; at least no trace of them
is to be found on the stone; but they may have been added in paint. In
figures of men the Assyrians very rarely indicated the male organs. One
of the personages sculptured on the Balawat gates affords an exception
to this general practice, but he is a prisoner about to be put to
death, and the detail in question is a kind of indignity meant by the
sculptor to show that the man in question was a savage who fought in
_puris naturalibus_.

[106] Among the Lydians, says Herodotus, in his account of the
adventure of Gyges (i. 10), “As among nearly all barbarous nations, it
was a great indignity, even for a man, to be seen naked.” Conf. PLATO,
_Republic_, 452, c; THUCYDIDES, i. 6; XENOPHON, _Hellenica_, iii. iv.

[107] HERODOTUS, i. 195; “As for their dress they wore a linen tunic
coming down to their feet, and, over that, a woollen tunic. Finally
they wrapped themselves in a short white cloak.”

[108] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. i. fig. 98.

[109] HEUZEV, _Les fouilles de Chaldée_, p. 13.

[110] See _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. i. fig. 255; vol. ii. figs. 247,
259, &c.

[111] _Ibid._ vol. ii. plate facing p. 334, and figs. 268, 269.

[112] See LAYARD, _Monuments_, 1st series, plates 15 and 16.

[113] In one relief the figures of these swimmers are no more than
fourteen inches long (British Museum, Assyrian Basement room, No. 56).

[114] LAYARD, _Monuments_, 1st series, plate 57; 2nd series, plates 25
and 28.

[115] _Ibid._ (1st series), plate 63; _Discoveries_, p. 457.

[116] We have refrained from giving a reproduction of this fragment on
account of its bad condition. Its surface is rough; it lacks the head,
the forearms and the foreparts of the feet. The material is a coarse
limestone. The height of the fragment is thirty-eight inches.

[117] No people that have ever lived have been more solicitous than
the Assyrians to transmit the remembrance of their exploits to
posterity. We thus find that many of their sculptured slabs had their
posterior faces, those that were turned to the wall, also covered with

[118] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 437.

[119] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 448.

[120] British Museum. The whole series is illustrated in LAYARD,
_Monuments_, 2nd series, plates 20–24.

[121] Sir H. LAYARD’S translation is different (_Discoveries_, p. 152).
That quoted in the text has been kindly furnished to us by M. Oppert.

[122] Sir H. LAYARD, who has seen more Assyrian sculptures in
place than any one else, seems to have been much struck by these
incongruities. “It is rare,” he says, “to find an entire (Assyrian)
bas-relief equally well executed in all its parts” (_Nineveh_, vol. ii.
p. 78).

[123] This impression is still more strongly felt on glancing through
the plates in which Sir H. LAYARD has reproduced in their entirety the
series of sculptures which we can only show in fragmentary fashion.
Compare, for example, the Panathenaic _cortége_ with two processions
taken from the palace of Sennacherib, the grooms leading horses, and
servants carrying fruits and other comestibles (_Monuments_, 2nd
series, plates 7–9), and the triumphal march of the Assyrian army with
its chariots (_ib._ plates 47–49).

[124] LAYARD, _Monuments_, 2nd series, plates 45 and 46.

[125] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. pp. 302–314.

[126] At Nimroud, in the palace of Esarhaddon, the lions and bulls
of the gateways are of a grey and rather coarse limestone, while the
bas-reliefs are of alabaster (LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. pp. 26 and
163). The same mixture occurs in the palace of Assurnazirpal. Several
of the bulls in that building are of a fine yellow limestone which must
have been brought from the hills of Kurdistan (LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol.
ii. p. 315).

[127] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 316; _Discoveries_, pp. 307, 308,
309, &c.

[128] Each side of the original has five reliefs. We have been
compelled to suppress one in order to give our figures sufficient scale.

[129] The obelisk reliefs should be studied in horizontal bands, and
not by taking the whole of a face at a time. A translation of the
accompanying texts will be found in OPPERT’S _Expédition_, vol. i;
and reproductions of all the four faces in LAYARD’S _Monuments_, 1st
series, plates 53–56.

[130] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i, p. 150, and vol. iii. plate 48, fig. 3.

[131] HEUZEY, _Catalogue des figurines en terre cuite du musée du
Louvre_, vol. i. p. 26.

[132] HEUZEY, _Catalogue_, &c., p. 18.

[133] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. pp. 375.

[134] Both the British Museum and the Louvre possess examples of this
kind of work in which the handling shows the greatest freedom.

[135] The slab numbered 107 contains, perhaps, the nearest approach to
a reproduction of the group in question.

[136] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. pp. 197–203, and figs. 179 and

[137] This was the opinion of M. DE LONGPÉRIER (_Musée Napoléon III._,
description of plate 1).

[138] See vol. i. page 242.

[139] See also plate xii.

[140] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 563.

[141] DE LONGPÉRIER, _Notice des antiquités assyriennes du Musée du
Louvre_, 3rd edition, 1854.

[142] We take this transcription from a note sent by Dr. BIRCH to the
_Athenæum_ (14 July, 1877), when the ivory in question, together with
many more objects, was stolen from the British Museum. It was offered
by the thief, in the first place, to M. de Longpérier, who thought it
a forgery, and afterwards to the keeper of the Hague Museum, who, put
on his guard by the publicity which by that time had been given to the
theft, detained the piece and restored it to its legitimate owners.

[143] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. pp. 293–295.

[144] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 361. The same characteristics may be
recognized in the alabaster statues found by PLACE in one of the harem
courts at Khorsabad (_Ninive_, vol. i. pp. 122–125, and vol. iii. plate
31, _bis_.). They are shown on a small scale in our fig. 197 (vol. i.).
We may see that they were set with their backs against a wall, and that
they carried a cushion on their heads, on which we have placed a vase
of flowers. These statues were drowned in the Tigris!

[145] We may also quote the following monuments as examples of Assyrian
statues: 1. The fragment of a seated statue found at Kaleh-Shergat,
which we figure on page 127 (LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. pp. 51–52).
2. The head of a statue of Istar, discovered at Kouyundjik (SMITH,
_Assyrian Discoveries_, pp. 248 and 430). This head is about nine
inches high. 3. Fragment of a colossal statue of shelly limestone,
found in the same place by the same explorer (_ibid._ p. 430). It
consists only of a part of the left shoulder. There is an inscription
on the back tracing the descent of Assurbanipal from Sargon.

[146] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. pp. 284–288; vol. i. fig. 173,
and vol. ii. fig. 240.

[147] E. GUILLAUME, in his _Considérations sur les Principes de
l’Histoire du Bas-relief_, which was read at the annual public meeting
of the five Academies in Paris on the 14th August, 1866, (Didot, 4to.).

[148] Vol. I. page 266.

[149] In this particular, the two large bulls from Khorsabad in the
British Museum are better placed than the pair in the Louvre. Their
position at the entrance to the Khorsabad Transept (?), gives an exact
idea of their original arrangement.--ED.

[150] It must not be thought, however, that its employment was
universal. In the palace of Sennacherib, at Kouyundjik, and in one of
the palaces at Nimroud, the bulls had only four legs.

[151] See PERROT and GUILLAUME, _Expédition archéologique de la
Galatie_, vol. i. pp. 345, 346, and vol. ii. plate 57.

[152] This contrivance may also be seen on the small limestone stele,
covered with writing, which represents Assurbanipal carrying a basket
on his head, and preparing to make an offering to the gods (British
Museum, Assyrian Side Room).

[153] Look for instance at the last figure but one, on the right, in
PLACE, vol. iii. plate 60, fig. 4. It is that of a man turning to speak
to one who follows him. The feet are turned in one direction, and the
head in one diametrically opposite to it. Nothing more ungraceful could
be conceived.

[154] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. i. fig. 98; vol. ii. figs. 250, 254,
255, &c.

[155] _Ibid._ p. 294.

[156] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. pp. 185–196, plates ix. x. xi.
and figs. 172, 173, 174, 178, 183, 198, 199, 205, 208, 213, 214, 215,
216, 223, &c.

[157] _Ibid._ figs. 273–275.

[158] _Ibid._ p. 192.

[159] An almost unique exception to this rule occurs in those
bas-reliefs in the British Museum which represent the great hunts of
Assurbanipal. We there see a company of beardless individuals marching,
bare-headed, dressed in a short tunic and armed with lance and buckler.
But this is an apparent rather than a real exception. The chase is
not war. These men are not soldiers, but attendants on the hunt, an
inferior kind of _shikarrie_. In the battle pieces we sometimes see the
eunuchs attached to the king’s person fighting at his elbow.

[160] We have no reason to believe that the Egyptian fashion of wearing
wigs obtained in Assyria (LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. pp. 327, 378).
HERODOTUS tells us that in his time the Chaldæans wore long hair (i.

[161] This is the opinion of M. LENORMANT (_Gazette des Beaux Arts_,
vol. xxv. pp. 218–225), and M. MÉNANT has upheld the same thesis in a
paper read before the Académie des Inscriptions (_Remarques sur des
Portraits des Rois Assyro-Chaldéens_, in the _Comptes Rendus_ for 1881,
pp. 254–267).

[162] On this point again I regret to be unable to agree with M.
MÉNANT; I am unable to perceive any of the differences of which he
speaks (see p. 258 of his paper).

[163] RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. ii. p. 500.

[164] Upon the discovery of these figures and their nature, see LAYARD,
_Discoveries_, p. 230.

[165] Layard, _Nineveh_, vol. i. pp. 126–127. The English explorer
himself remarks in speaking of this relief, that the features of the
men show nothing of the special type which the artist endeavoured to
suggest by this clumsy expedient.

[166] This is what M. MÉNANT sees in this Babylonian stele: “It
represents a race with a short, thickset body, a short neck buried
between the shoulders, a flat nose and thick lips” (p. 259 of his

[167] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 537.

[168] HERODOTUS, i. 192.

[169] LOFTUS gives a poor reproduction of this monument, which he found
at Sinkara (_Travels_, &c., p. 258). We have not reproduced it, because
it is in much worse condition than the terra-cotta dog.

[170] HERODOTUS, i. 193.

[171] RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. p. 234. Upon
each of these figures appears the dog’s name, which always bears some
relation to the qualities he displayed in the performance of his duties.

[172] This relief is figured in RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_,
vol. i. p. 356.

[173] W. HOUGHTON, _On the Mammalia of the Assyrian Sculptures_ in
the _Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archæology_, vol. v. pp.
33–64, and 579–583.

[174] We are tempted to believe that these animals were exterminated
before the days of the Sargonids by the unrelenting pursuit to
which they were subjected; they are not to be found in the pictures
of Assurbanipal’s hunts. On the other hand, in the palace of
Assurnazirpal, which dates from two centuries earlier, they were
figured with peculiar insistence and in great detail (LAYARD,
_Monuments_, first series, plates 11, 12, 32, 43–44, 46, 48 and 49).

[175] RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. p. 351; LAYARD,
_Monuments_, first series, plate 58. Second series, plates 26 and 29.

[176] LAYARD, _Monuments_, first series, plates 58 and 60.

[177] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. ii. p. 233.

[178] Among the reliefs in which the Assyrian horse may be best
studied, are the slabs from the palace of Sennacherib, in which a
string of horses led by grooms are shown (LAYARD, _Monuments_, second
series, plate 7). They have no trappings or clothing of any kind to
hide their form.

[179] Other incidents, figured with no less spirit, will be found in
RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. pp. 355, 356; 516, 517.

[180] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 21, _Monuments_, first series,
plate 61; second series, plate 50. BOTTA (_Monuments de Ninive_, plate
128), reproduces a group of camels sketched with a light hand, but with
much truth and judgment.

[181] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 433. All four faces of this
obelisk are reproduced on plates 53–56 of the first series of LAYARD’S

[182] RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. pp. 40 and 350;
and LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 109.

[183] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. pp. 434, 435.

[184] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 436. The Assyrians seem to
have been much struck with these apes when they first appeared at
Calah. This is shown by the care expended upon them by the sculptor
of Shalmaneser’s obelisk; he has reproduced the bas-relief of
Assurnazirpal on a smaller scale (LAYARD, _Monuments_, first series,
Plate 55).

[185] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 437.

[186] LAYARD, _Monuments_, series ii. plates 32 (Khorsabad), and 40

[187] A lion hunt is to be found in the bas-reliefs of Assurnazirpal,
dating from the ninth century, B.C. (LAYARD, _Monuments_, first series,
plates 10 and 31); but it is especially in those of Assurbanipal (7th
century), that the animal becomes so conspicuous.

[188] On the subject of these great hunts and their arrangements,
see RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. pp. 505–512. The
custom is still kept up in Eastern countries, and their _personnel_ is
pretty much the same as it was in antiquity. See CHARDIN, _Voyage en
Perse_ (Langles’ edition), vol. iii. p. 399; and ROUSSELET, _L’Inde des
Rajahs_, pp. 202, 464, 468.

[189] These caged lions are only found in the bas-reliefs of
Assurbanipal. The number of lions killed between the eleventh and
seventh centuries B.C. must have been something extraordinary.
Tiglath-Pileser I. boasts in one of his inscriptions of having done
eight hundred lions to death. In time they must have become rare in
Assyria. They must then have been brought from Chaldæa or Susiana,
where they have always been more abundant, and transported to the north
in carts, cages and all, there to afford sport for the king. In our day
lions are hardly to be found higher up the Tigris than Bagdad; but on
the Euphrates they occur much farther north, as far as Bir and all over
the valley of the Khabour (LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 48). They are
most numerous in the marshes of the lower Euphrates, where they were
hunted in boats by the kings of Assyria (RAWLINSON, _The Five Great
Monarchies_, vol. i. pp. 361 and 508). Most of the lions of Mesopotamia
have very little mane, but a few have been encountered here and there
in which that feature is largely developed. These seem to have been
chosen as models by the Assyrian artists.

[190] In one single series of these reliefs, there are eleven lions
killed and seven terribly wounded.

[191] The king sometimes found himself engaged with a lion at
the closest quarters. In an inscription on one of these reliefs,
Assurbanipal thus expresses himself. “I, Assurbanipal, king of the
nations, king of Assyria, fighting on foot in my great courage with a
lion of terrifying size, I seized him by the ear(!), and, in the name
of Assur and Istar, goddess of war, I put an end to his life with the
lance I held in my hand.” (FOX TALBOT in the _Journal of the Royal
Asiatic Society_, vol. xix. p. 272).

[192] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 487. As to the part played by the
lion in the ceremonies of the present court of Abyssinia, see GEORGES
PERROT, _Les Fouilles de M. de Sarzec en Chaldée_, pp. 532, 534, of the
_Revue des deux Mondes_ for October 1, 1882.

[193] The same rock may be identified in the fragments from Tello.
There is a kind of cylindrical base in the Louvre, which appears to
have been cut from a material differing in no respect from that of the
object figured above. Lions’ heads appear upon it also.

[194] Upon the employment of the head and paws of the lion as an
ornament, see also LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 301.

[195] In the inventory this monument is described as acquired in Syria,
that is to say it was bought from M. Peretié, at Beyrout. M. Peretié
was a well-known collector, and objects found in Mesopotamia were
continually brought to him from Mossoul, Bagdad, and Bassorah. There
can be no doubt as to the origin of this little monument; the execution
is certainly Chaldæan or Assyrian. The same monster, rampant, is to
be found on the Assyrian cylinder described by M. Lenormant under
the title, _Le Dieu-lune délivré de l’Attaque des mauvais Esprits_
(_Gazette archéologique_, 1878, p. 20).

[196] As to where this colossus was found, see LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol.
i. p. 68.

[197] DE LONGPERIER, _Deux bronzes Antiques de Van_ (in his _Œuvres_,
vol. i. pp. 275–278).

[198] In de Longperier’s reproduction of one of these figures, the ring
attached to its back is shown.

[199] G. PERROT, _Les Fouilles de M. de Sarzec en Chaldée_, in the
_Revue des deux Mondes_, for October 1, 1882. A methodical account of
the whole enterprise will be found in a forthcoming work, which will
bear for title: _Découvertes en Chaldée_, par M. E. DE SARZEC, _ouvrage
publié par les soins de la conservation des antiquités orientales au
Musée du Louvre_. Its quarto size will make it a more convenient work
than those of Botta and Place. The illustrations will be produced by
the Dujardin heliogravure process.

[200] Saïd-Hassan and Chatra, of which we have made use to give some
approximate idea as to where Tello is situated, are marked upon the map
given by LOFTUS (_Travels and Researches_, &c.).

[201] Vol. I. Chap. I. § 4.

[202] M. OPPERT believes that he has discovered in the inscriptions
of Gudea, proof that the stone he employed came from Egypt. We cannot
attempt to discuss the phrases which seem to him to bear that sense.
We have some difficulty, however, in believing either that they took
the trouble to transport such ponderous blocks across the desert, or
that they sent them on a voyage round the whole peninsula of Arabia,
a voyage that must have lasted some months, and that when similar
materials were within reach. See what Mr. TAYLOR says about the
district which is called _Hedjra_ (heap of stones, from _Hadjar_,
stone), from the numerous masses of black granite that may be found
there. This district is almost opposite _Schenafieh_, not far from
_Bahr-ul-nejef_ (_Notes on Abou-Sharein_, p. 404, of vol. xv, of the
Royal Asiatic Society’s _Journal_).

[203] HEUZEY, _Les Fouilles de la Chaldée_, p. 16 (extracted from the
_Revue archéologique_ for January, 1881).

[204] Perhaps we should rather give the Chaldæan artist the credit
of having produced a not untruthful bird’s-eye view. The bodies in
the sepulchre are evidently stretched side by side, and they diminish
in size from front to back, as their distance from the eye of the
spectator increases. The two living men are mounting upon the edge, or
wall, of the grave, an edge such as the tomb figured on p. 358 of Vol.
I. (Fig. 164) must have had before its lid was put on. In these two
figures there is an unmistakable attempt to give the effect of distance
in varying their size. A curious detail in this relief is the post with
a rope knotted round it that appears in the lower left hand corner.--Ed.

[205] It has been thought that the inscriptions contain proof, that,
during the period, to which this primitive art belongs, Sirtella was
the capital of a small independent kingdom, while the title of Gudea
(_patési_, or governor) would seem to show that in his time it formed
part of a larger state. Gudea can only have been a great feudatory; his
position must have been similar to the nome princes in Egypt. HEUZEY,
in the _Comptes rendus de l’Académie des Inscriptions_ for 18 August,

[206] A tenth statue of Gudea, very much mutilated, is not yet
exhibited. There is also the lower part of a small seated statue,
without inscription.

[207] The great seated statue that occupies the middle of the room is
five feet three inches in height, and has no head. One of the standing
statues is four feet eight inches high. The one figured in our Plate
VI. is only four feet two inches. The small statue called the architect
(Fig. 96) is three feet one inch. It will be seen that some of these
figures are over, and some under, life-size; one only, if we allow for
the head, will correspond with what we may call the height of a man.

[208] Letter from M. de Sarzec read to the Académie des Inscriptions on
the 2nd December, 1881 (reprinted in HEUZEY, _Fouilles de Chaldée_).

[209] On the knees of these seated figures we find the scale, the
stylus and the plan of a fortified city that we explained on pages 327
and 328 of our first volume.

[210] HEUZEY, _Les Fouilles de Chaldée_, p. 12.

[211] Some may be inclined to think that the bald head may once have
been protected by a covering cut from a separate block. This idea was
suggested to us by the existence in the British Museum of a kind of
wig of black stone (Nimroud Gallery, case H). It is carved to imitate
hair, and, in front, has a kind of crest, the whole being cut from one
piece of stone. It may have been used to surmount a limestone figure,
and the contrast between the light colour of the one material, and
the blackness of the other would be neither unpleasant nor unfitting.
In another case (A) of the same gallery, we find beards and wigs made
some of glass, others of a sandy frit imitating lapis-lazuli. The use
of these disconnected pieces must then have been very widespread. But
we doubt whether the Tello head ever had such a covering, because that
part of its surface which would in such a case have been hidden from
sight, is finished with the same care as all the rest. If the artist
had included a wig in his calculations, would he have taken the pains
he did with the modelling and polishing of the cranium?

[212] In the sculptures representing the erection of Sennacherib’s
palace, many of the workmen have their heads protected from the sun
by a turban resembling that of the Tello statue. This can hardly be
clearly seen in small scale reproductions (Vol. I. Figs. 151 and 152),
but LAYARD gives two of these heads on the original scale, for the
express purpose of calling attention to their singular head-dress
(_Monuments_, series ii. plate 16).

[213] Here M. HEUZEY answers M. Ménant, who thought he could discover
in these two heads that the sculptor’s models had not been Semites,
but belonged to the primitive race, of Turanians, no doubt, by whom
the Chaldæan civilization was founded (_Les Fouilles de M. de Sarzec
en Mesopotamia_, in the number for December, 1880, of the _Gazette des

[214] HEUZEY, _Les Fouilles_, &c., p. ii.

[215] HEUZEY, _Les Fouilles de Chaldée_, pp. 13, 14.

[216] DE LONGPÉRIER, _Musée Napoléon III._, plate 2.

[217] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. fig. 271.

[218] HEUZEY, _Catalogue_, p. 32.

[219] HEUZEY, _Les Fouilles de la Chaldée_, p. 15.

[220] We may give as an instance the very small fragment of a relief in
white stone, representing the Indian humped bull, the _zebu_, which has
also been met with in the Assyrian bas-reliefs. The treatment is very

[221] See DE LONGPERIER, _Monuments antiques de la Chaldée decouverts
et rapportés par M. de Sarzec_ (_Œuvres_, vol. i. p. 335). The learned
archæologist, of whom the writing of this paper was one of the last
occupations, saw in this fragment evidence of worship rendered to the
great rivers that watered and fertilized Mesopotamia; the double stream
of water is the symbol of _Naharaim_, or “the two rivers,” a symbol
whose presence in other objects from the same region he points out.

[222] LOFTUS (_Travels_, p. 116), describes a statue of black granite
that he found at Hammam in lower Chaldæa. So far as we can tell from
his short description, it must bear no slight resemblance to the Tello
statues. The right shoulder was bare and had an inscription engraved
upon it. The rest of the figure was clothed, and the hands were crossed
upon the knees. The head was missing. At Warka the same traveller saw
a bas-relief representing a man striking an animal; it was of basalt
and was broken into several pieces. Among the objects acquired in 1877
by the British Museum, I find mentioned “a fragment of black granite
or basalt, which seems to belong to a statue of Hammourabi, king of
Babylon about 1,500 years before our era.” (_Account of the Income and
Expenditure of the British Museum for 1878._) Is not this the broken
statue which now figures in the gallery under the name of Gudea? At
the first moment the inscription may not have been readily deciphered;
the summary report presented to Parliament seems, indeed, to name
Hammourabi with some hesitation.

[223] This type comes from Tello. Among the statuettes found there by
M. de Sarzec, there were some in which it was reproduced, but they were
all inferior to the example figured above. LAYARD found statuettes
inspired by the same motive in a mound near Bagdad (_Discoveries_, p.

[224] HEUZEY, _Catalogue_, p. 30.

[225] _Ibid._ p. 35.

[226] LAYARD found this type near Bagdad (_Discoveries_, p. 477), and
LOFTUS encountered a great number of examples in his explorations at
Susa (_Travels_, &c., p. 379). Those brought by him to London are
quite similar to the statuette in the Louvre that we have chosen for
reproduction (HEUZEY, _Catalogue_, p. 32).

[227] In the case of the _Caillou Michaux_, this has been clearly
established by M. OPPERT (_Expédition scientifique_, vol. i. pp. 253,
254). He remarks that the betrothed of the person who had caused the
stone to be cut, is spoken of as a “native of the town of Sargon;” so
that the stone must be later than the end of the eighth century, B.C.
And all the monuments belonging to this class bear such a strong mutual
resemblance, that their dates cannot be very widely separated. They are
reproduced on a large scale, both texts and figures, in the _Cuneiform
inscriptions of Western Asia_, vol. iii. plates 41–45, and vol. iv.
plates 41–43. We have reproduced two, in vol. i. fig. 10, and above,
fig. 43.

[228] According to MILLIN, who was the first to draw attention to this
monument, its material is a black marble; it would be a mistake to
call it basalt (_Monuments antique inedits_, vol. i. p. 60, note 6).
The inscription on the _Caillou Michaux_ has been translated by OPPERT
(_Chronologie des Assyriens et des Babylonians_, p. 40), and by FOX
TALBOT in the _Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society_, vol. xviii. pp.
53–75. [There is a cast of this _Caillou_ in the Assyrian Side Room at
the British Museum.--ED.]

[229] The weight of these objects was in itself sufficient to prevent
them being easily removed. The _Caillou Michaux_ weighs rather more
than 70 lbs.

[230] HEUZEY, _Catalogue_, p. 32.

[231] Ἔστι δὲ τοῦ ἐν Βαβυλῶνι ἱροῦ καὶ ἄλλος κάτω νηός, ἔνθα ἄγαλμα
μέγα τοῦ Διὸς ἔνι κατήμενον χρύσεον (i. 183).

[232] Ἐπ’ ἄκρας τῆς ἀναβάσεως τρία κατέσκευασεν ἀγάλματα χρυσὰ
σφυρήλατα, Διός, Ἥρας, Ῥέας. DIODORUS, ii. ix. 5–8.

[233] _The Five Great Monarchies_, &c., vol. ii. p. 79.

[234] See _ante_.

[235] LAYARD, _Monuments_, second series, plate 5.

[236] For the reasons which led him to take this step, see the
Introduction to the first series of plates published in the _Monuments_.

[237] The original arrangement of these things is shown in the second
series of LAYARD’S _Monuments_, plate 4.

[238] We have round-headed steles of Assurnazirpal, of Shalmaneser II.,
of Samas-vul II., and of Sargon. Those of other princes are figured in
the reliefs. In the Balawat gates we find Shalmaneser erecting them
wherever his conquests led him (plate 12).

[239] We have not copied the uniform dark green tint forced upon the
English publication by the necessity for printing in one colour. We
have borrowed from the fragments in the possession of M. Schlumberger
the broken hues of the patina deposited upon the bronze by age, a
patina which has, perhaps, been too much removed by the cleaning to
which the pieces in London have been subjected.

[240] In page 3 of his Introduction, Mr. PINCHES speaks of a “crocodile
and a young hippopotamus.” I do not think that either of those animals
can ever have lived in the cold waters of Lake Van, which receives, in
the spring, such a large quantity of melted snow.

On the other hand, the argument applied by M. Perrot to architectural
forms (see vol. i. pp. 139 (note 2) and 395), may here be invoked by
Mr. Pinches. It is more likely that the artist introduced such animals
as were to be found in the rivers and meres of Mesopotamia, than that
he ascertained how Lake Van was peopled before he began his work.--ED.

[241] In order that we might give two interesting subjects on a single
page, we have here brought together two divisions that do not belong to
the same band in the original.

[242] HERODOTUS, i. 184.

[243] In repeating this hypothesis we have followed Professor RAWLINSON
(_The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. ii. pp. 119–121); to us it appears
worthy of extreme respect.

[244] See above, page 40.

[245] See also LAYARD, _Monuments_, first series, plates 57–67.

[246] Among the reliefs in which the transport of the materials for
Sargon’s palace is represented, there is one which shows timber
being dragged down to the Phœnician coast. Here the sea is no longer
indicated merely by sinuous lines and a few fishes as in most of the
earlier reliefs; there are all kinds of animals, shells, turtles,
crabs, frogs, and even sea-serpents (BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_,
plate 34). In one place we find a wooded hill, with trees still of
indeterminate form (plate 78). In another we may recognize pines in
the forest traversed by the Assyrian cavalry (plates 108–113); birds
fly among the branches and several among them fall pierced with the
arrows of the hunters. Other trees bear fruit (plate 114). Partridges
run upon the slopes of the hill. See also in the basalt reliefs from
the building we have called a temple, a coniferous tree of some kind,
probably a cypress, the general form of which is very well rendered
(PLACE, _Ninive_, plate 48).

[247] This stele now belongs to the Berlin Museum. It has recently been
the subject of an important work by a learned German Assyriologist,
Herr SCHRADER (_Die Sargonstele des Berliner Museums_, in the
_Abhandlungen_ of the Berlin Academy for 1881). He gives a translation
of the inscription, with a commentary, showing the date of the stele to
be 707, or the fifteenth year of Sargon’s reign.

[248] These lions are figured by LAYARD, Monuments, first series, vol.
i. p. 128. Their inscriptions are brought together in a single plate in
the _Discoveries_, p. 601. The Aramaic texts will be published in the
_Corpus inscriptionum Semiticorum_, in the first instalment of the part
devoted to Aramaic inscriptions.

These lions of Khorsabad and Nimroud may be compared, both for type and
use, to the bronze lion found at Abydos, on the Hellespont, in 1860.
M. DE VOGUÉ has made us acquainted with the latter in the pages of the
_Revue archéologique_ for January, 1862. His article, which contains a
reproduction both of the monument as a whole and of its inscription,
and an explanation of the latter, has been reprinted in the _Mélanges
d’archéologie orientale_ (8vo. 1868, pp. 179–196). Mr. NORRIS has
published a special study of the weights in the British Museum (_On the
Assyrian and Babylonian Weights_, in the _Journal of the Royal Asiatic
Society_, vol. xvi. p. 215).

[249] Botanists are of opinion that the conventional representations of
the marsh vegetation suggests the horse-grass, or shave-grass (prêle),
rather than the _arundo-donax_, in which the leaves are longer and

[250] See LAYARD, _Monuments_, second series, plates 12 and 13.

[251] LAYARD, _Monuments_, second series, plates 14, 15.

[252] LAYARD, _Monuments_, second series, plate 17.

[253] Sennacherib caused his sculptors to celebrate the campaign in
which he subdued the peoples of Lower Chaldæa. Like the Arab of to-day,
they took refuge when pursued among the marshes in the neighbourhood of
the Persian Gulf (LAYARD, _Monuments_, second series, plate 25). The
light, flat-bottomed boats, with their sharp prows, are shown pushing
through the reeds, and bending them down into the water to clear a

[254] The slabs taken from this corridor are now in the _Kouyundjik
Gallery_ of the British Museum, and numbered from 37 to 43. See also
LAYARD’S _Monuments_, second series, plates 7–9.

[255] See LAYARD, _Monuments_, second series, plates 47–49. &c.

[256] These sculptures were discovered and described for the first time
by M. ROUET, the immediate successor of M. BOTTA, at Mossoul (_Journal
Asiatique_, 1846, pp. 280–290). More detailed descriptions will be
found in LAYARD, _Discoveries_, pp. 207–216, and in PLACE, _Ninive_,
vol. ii. pp. 161–164. The latest and most complete translation of
the Bavian inscriptions, or rather of the one inscription that is
repeated in three different places, has been given by M. POGNON, under
the following title: _L’Inscription de Bavian, texte, Traduction et
Commentaire philologique avec trois Appendices et un Glossaire_, 1 vol.
8vo. in two parts, 1879 and 1880 (in the _Bibliothèque de l’École des

[257] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 216.

[258] LAYARD tells us that near the entrance to the gorge, and under
the alluvial earth carried down by the stream, he found the remains of
carefully-built stone walls, but he is silent as to the character of
the building to which they may have belonged. (_Discoveries_, p. 215.)

[259] See the vignette on page 214 of LAYARD’S _Discoveries_.

[260] PERROT and GUILLAUME, _Exploration archéologique de la Galatie_,
vol. i. pp. 367–373, and vol. ii. plates 72–80.

[261] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 210.

[262] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 211.

[263] Mr. LAYARD intended to give accurate and complete drawings of
all the bas-reliefs at Bavian. For that purpose he despatched to the
valley a young artist named Bell, who had been sent out to him by
the authorities of the British Museum. Unhappily, this young man was
drowned while bathing in the torrent, in July, 1851. Before his death
he seems only to have copied the great relief; hence, in LAYARD’S great
work Bavian is represented only by the plate we have copied. In the
_Discoveries_ a few additional sketches are given.

[264] Page 203.

[265] In the valley of the Nahr-el-Kelb, there are five or six Assyrian
reliefs mingled with those of Egyptian origin. They may at once be
distinguished from the works of the Rameses by their arched tops.
The only one of which the inscriptions are still legible, is that of
Esarhaddon (see _Monuments inédits de l’Institut de Correspondance
archéologique_, 1858, plate 51, fig. F, and especially LEPSIUS,
_Ægyptische Denkmæler_, part iii. plate 197, fig. D). Judging from
their style and the historical information we possess, these steles
may be attributed to Tiglath-Pilezer, Assurnazirpal, Shalmaneser II.,
and Sennacherib. The remaining figures must be referred to other
princes. Quite lately Mr. BOSCAWEN has published an interesting article
(_The Monuments and Inscriptions on the Rocks at Nahr-el-Kelb_) in
the seventh volume of the _Transactions of the Society of Biblical
Archæology_ (pp. 331–352). It is accompanied by a general view of the
site, and a very careful plan of that part of the valley in which the
Egyptian and Assyrian inscriptions are to be found. Professor LORTET
has also paid a recent visit to the valley. We are indebted to one of
his photographs for our fig. 122 (_Tour du Monde_, 1882, p. 415). We
should have expected to find traces of these Assyrian rock-sculptures
on the shores of Lake Van, where the princes of Nineveh so often
appeared as conquerors: so far, however, nothing beyond cuneiform
inscriptions has been found. There are no royal effigies (SCHULZE,
_Mémoire sur le Lac de Van_, in the _Journal Asiatique_ for April-June,
1840, and LAYARD, _Discoveries_, chapter xviii.).

[266] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 369.

[267] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. ii. p. 154.

[268] See vol. i. page 75, and fig. 13.

[269] The bas-reliefs of Malthaï have been described by LAYARD
(_Nineveh_, vol. i. pp. 230, 231), and, with greater minuteness, by
PLACE (_Ninive_, vol. ii. pp. 153–160). The latter alone gives a
reproduction of them, made from photographs. Between the two accounts
there is one considerable discrepancy: Layard speaks of four groups of
nine figures each, Place of three only.

[270] Other cylinders belonging to the same group will be found
reproduced in LAYARD _Recherches sur le Culte de Vénus_, notably in
plate iv. figs. 9–12.

[271] French National Library, No. 710.

[272] Florence Museum.

[273] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. i. pp. 120–122.

[274] FLANDIN published in the _Revue des deux Mondes_ (15 June,
and 1 July, 1845), two papers under the general title of _Voyage
archéologique à Ninive_, and headed severally _L’Architecture
assyrienne_, and _La Sculpture assyrienne_. The assertion to which we
have alluded will be found in the second of the two articles, at page

[275] BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, vol. v. p. 178.

[276] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. ii. pp. 82, 83.

[277] _Ibid._ vol. iii. plate 46, No. 4.

[278] BOTTA (_Monument de Ninive_, vol. v. p. 178.) LAYARD, _Nineveh_,
vol. ii. p. 310.

[279] Upon this question of polychromy in the reliefs, a very precise
note of LAYARD’S may be consulted with profit (_Nineveh_, vol. ii.
p. 312). The discussion has also been very judiciously summed up by
RAWLINSON (_The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. pp. 357–365). One of
the plates from which we may gather the best idea of how this sculpture
must have looked when its colouring was intact, is that in which LAYARD
gives a reproduction of one of the winged bulls as it appeared when
first uncovered (_Monuments_, first series, plate 92).

[280] BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, plates 12 and 14.

[281] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 58.

[282] BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, plate 113.

[283] _Ibid._ plates 43 and 53.

[284] BOTTA, _Monument_, &c. plate 62.

[285] _Ibid._ plates 61 and 76, and vol. v. p. 124.

[286] See especially at the south end of the _Nimroud Gallery_, the
upper part of a male figure, numbered 17 _a_. The black of the hair and
beard has preserved much of its strength.

[287] “At Kouyunjik there were no traces whatever of colour.”
_Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 310.

[288] HEUZEY, _Catalogue des Figurines en terre cuite du Musée du
Louvre_, p. 18.

[289] HEUZEY, _Catalogue_, &c. p. 19.

[290] _Ibid._ p. 20. LAYARD also found many of these blue statuettes at
Khorsabad (_Discoveries_, p. 357).

[291] These fragments were found by LAYARD in one of the small temples
at Nimroud (_Discoveries_, pp. 357, 358).

[292] M. SULLY PRUDHOMME has lately embodied this idea in his verses
addressed to the Venus of the Louvre (_Devant la Vénus de Milo in the
Revue politique_ for 6 January, 1883):--

    “Dans les lignes du marbre où plus rien ne subsiste
    De l’éphémère éclat des modèles de chair,
    Le ciseau de sculpteur, incorruptible artiste,
    En isolant le Beau, nous le rend chaste et clair.

    Si tendre à voir que soit la couleur d’un sein rose,
    C’est dans le contour seul, presque immatériel,
    Que le souffle divin se relève et dépose
    La grâce qui l’exprime et ravit l’âme au ciel.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Saluons donc cet art qui, trop haut pour la foule.
    Abandonne des corps les éléments charnels.
    Et, pur, du genre humain ne garde que le moule,
    N’en daigne consacrer que les traits éternels!

[293] HERODOTUS, i. 195. STRABO says the same thing, but in a passage
(xvi. i. 20), in which he borrows from Herodotus without acknowledgment.

[294] There are fine series of these seals, or cylinders, both in
the Louvre and in the _Cabinet des Antiques_ of the French National
Library. But the collection of the British Museum is the richest of
all. It possesses about 660 examples, against the 500 of the _Cabinet
des Antiquités_, and the 300 of the Louvre. The cabinet at the Hague
has 150. A single French collector, M. de Clercq, possesses more than
400, most of them in very fine condition and of great interest. He
is preparing to publish a descriptive catalogue of his treasures,
accompanied by photogravure facsimiles of every cylinder. According
to M. Ménant, the total number of these cylinders now in European
galleries can fall very little short of three thousand.

[295] M. Fr. LENORMANT explains this talismanic value of the cylinders
very clearly in his _Étude sur la Signification des Sujets de quelques
Cylindres babyloniens et assyriens_ (_Gazette archéologique_, 1879, p.

[296] We have derived most of the information contained in this
chapter from the works of M. MÉNANT, who, for many years past has
given more study to these cylinders than any other savant. We have
found his _Essai sur les Pierres gravées de l’Asie occidentale_ of
special value, but we have also made use of the various reports he
has published in the _Archives des Missions_, relating to the foreign
collections visited by him, and of his papers read before the Académie
des Inscriptions. We have, moreover, consulted the following works,
not, we hope, without profit: DE GOBINEAU, _Catalogue d’une Collection
d’Intailles asiatiques_ (_Revue archéologique_, new series, vol.
xxvii.); E. SOLDI, _Les Cylindres babyloniens, leur Usage et leur
Classification_ (_ibid._ vol. xxviii.); and _Les Arts méconnus_, by the
same author (1 vol. 8vo. Leroux, 1881), chapter i., _Les Camées et les
Pierres gravées_.

[297] The thickest cylinders are found among those that appear the most
ancient. I measured one, in the _Cabinet des Antiquités_, that was
barely less than an inch in diameter. On the other hand, there are some
very small ones in existence.

[298] MÉNANT, _Essai sur les Pierres gravées de l’Asie occidentale_,
Introduction, p. 19. In the British Museum M. Ménant made a careful
examination of a tablet on which these successive impressions from a
cylinder allowed the whole of the scene with which it was engraved
to be studied (_Rapport sur les Cylindres Assyro-Chaldéens du Musée
britannique_, p. 95, in the _Archives des Missions scientifiques_,
1879). Even as late as 1854, a fine connoisseur like DE LONGPERIER
could think that the cylinders were purely amulets and were never used
as seals (_Notice des Antiquités assyriennes exposées dans les Galeries
du Louvre_, 3rd edition, p. 87). No such assertion could be made now.
Hundreds of impressions are to be found on the terra-cotta tablets from
Mesopotamia, and moreover, we find this formula in the inscription
borne by many of the cylinders: “Seal (kunuku) of so-and-so, son of
so-and-so.” In Assyrian the word _kunuku_ meant, as the word _seal_
with us, both the instrument used and the impression it gave (MÉNANT,
_Essai_, Introduction, p. 17). Some of these impressions are figured in
LAYARD, _Discoveries_, chapters vi and xxv. See also his _Monuments_,
second series, plate 69.

[299] The Louvre possesses a cylinder mounted in this fashion. It was
found by Place in the foundations of the Khorsabad palace. See DE
LONGPERIER, _Notice_, p. 98, (No. 469 in the _Catalogue_).

[300] TAYLOR, _Notes on the Ruins of Mugeyer_, p. 270 (in the Journal
of the _Royal Asiatic Society_, vol. xv.).

[301] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 563.

[302] A few cylinders of fine stone dating apparently from the early
monarchy, are exceptions to this rule. M. MÉNANT quotes a cylinder
of sapphirine chalcedony, which he ascribes to the reign of Dungi,
the son of Ourkam (_Essai sur les Pierres gravées_, pp. 141–143);
elsewhere he mentions an onyx cylinder in the _Cabinet des Antiques_
(No. 870), which bears an inscription proving it to have been the seal
of the scribe or secretary who served the son of Karigalzu, whom he
places at the end of the fifteenth century B.C. We also find jasper
cylinders that appear, so far as their execution and the costume of
the figures engraved on them may show, to have come from the same
workshops (_ibid._ p. 123) as those of the softer materials. This,
we acknowledge, is a difficulty. But in the first place they may
have now and then succeeded, even in the early years of the art, in
fashioning materials harder than those with which they were familiar,
by redoubling the patience and time spent upon the work; and, secondly,
several kings separated from each other by centuries must have borne
the same name, and it is perhaps a little bold to determine the age of
a monument from the fact that it is engraved with this or that royal
name. Who can say that none of these little monuments were reworked in
the time of Nebuchadnezzar? Archaism was then in fashion. The writing
of the early monarchy was imitated in official documents. Is it not
probable enough that, while they were in the vein, they copied the
seals of the old and almost legendary kings? They would reproduce them
in their entirety, both images and texts, but in obedience to the taste
of the day, they would execute the copies in those harder and more
precious materials which his increased skill permitted the workman to
attack. In spite of a few doubtful instances, we may repeat the general
rule we have laid down: That the great majority of those cylinders that
bear incontestable marks of a high antiquity, are cut from materials
inferior in hardness to the precious stones, or even to the quartzes.

[303] E. SOLDI, _Les Cylindres babyloniens_ (_Revue archéologique_,
vol. xxviii. p. 147).

[304] _Ibid._ p. 149.

[305] The three pages in which M. SOLDI sums up the result of his
inquiries, may be studied with advantage (_Les Arts méconnus_, pp.

[306] See J. MÉNANT, _Observations sur trois Cylindres orientaux_
(_Gazette des Beaux-Arts_, December, 1879).

[307] Or, more correctly, Dioscurides (Διοσκουρίδης), according to the

[308] As to the connection of the Greek Heracles with Izdubar, see a
passage quoted from SAYCE by Mansell (_Gazette archéologique_, 1879,
pp. 116, 117?). The New York cylinder is only 1.52 inches high. It has
been slightly enlarged in our woodcut, so that its workmanship might be
better shown.

[309] Upon the exploits of these two individuals, and the place they
occupy upon the cylinders, see MÉNANT, _Essai_, &c., pp. 66, _et seq._

[310] MÉNANT, _Essai sur les Pierres gravées_, Fig. 86.

[311] _Ibid._ p. 138.

[312] DE LONGPÉRIER, _Œuvres_, vol. i. p. 335. Compare our Fig. 17,
Vol. i., and M. MÉNANT’S observations upon the double-faced individual
in whom the original androgynous type of the human race has been
recognised by some (_Essai_, &c., pp. 111–120). We are inclined to
agree with him in supposing the double profile to be no more than a
convention, whose strangeness is diminished when we remember that it
occurred upon the convex sides of a cylinder, where the eye of the
spectator did not grasp it all at once, as upon the flat impression.
In choosing such an arrangement, the artist seems to have desired to
connect the figure both with the seated god and the figures on the
other side; it is an expedient of the same nature as the five legs of
the Ninevite bulls.

[313] MÉNANT, _Essai_, &c., p. 166. M. Ménant mentions some other
myths, with which this scene may be connected. The true explanation
cannot be decided, however, until the Chaldee mythology is better known
than at present.

[314] _Ibid._ p. 153.

[315] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, Vol. i. Fig. 85.

[316] MÉNANT, _Essai_, &c., pp. 61–96.

[317] MÉNANT, _Essai_, p. 94. Izdubar contends not only with monsters;
he pursues, for his own pleasure, all the beasts of the desert and
mountain; like the Nimrod of Genesis, he is a “mighty hunter before
the Lord.” See the cylinders figured and explained by S. HAFFNER (_La
Chasse de l’Hercule assyrien_, in the _Gazette archéologique_, 1879, p.

[318] MÉNANT, _Essai_, p. 91.

[319] See above, page 144, and Fig. 70.

[320] MÉNANT, _Essai_, pp. 55–62.

[321] BEROSUS, fragment 1, § 4, in vol. ii. of the _Fragmenta
historicorum Græcorum_ of Ch. Müller.

[322] BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, vol. v. p. 2. LAYARD, _Discoveries_,
p. 605.

[323] These two cylinders are respectively numbered 937 and 942 in the
_Cabinet des Antiques_.

[324] MÉNANT, _Catalogue des Cylindres orientaux du Cabinet royal des
Médailles de La Haye_ (The Hague, 4to.), No. 135.

[325] Upon these types see MÉNANT, _Archives des Missions_, 1879, pp.
128–9. The signet figured above belonged to a member of the tribe
called _Egibi_, a group of merchants and bankers who seem to have
held the highest rank upon the market of Babylon, both under the last
national kings, and under the Achæmenidæ.

[326] _Archives des Missions_, 1879, p. 115.

[327] The charging animal seems rather to be a wild boar. The shape
of its head and body, the ridge of hair along the spine, the shape of
the legs and feet, and its action in charging, all suggest a boar, a
suggestion confirmed by the action of the hunter, who receives the
rush of the animal on a kind of scarf or cloak, while he buries his
boar-spear in its back.--ED.

[328] The cylinder published by LAYARD, _Introduction à l’Étude du
Culte public et des Mystères de Mithra_, plate xxv. No. 4. See on the
subject of the inscription upon it, LEVY, _Siegel und Gemmen_, plate 1,
No. 15. A certain number of intaglios with Aramaic characters, which
belong to the same class, have been studied and described by M. DE
VOGUÉ, in his _Mélanges d’Archéologie orientale_, pp. 120–130.

[329] National Library, Paris; No. 1086.

[330] National Library, No. 978.

[331] MÉNANT, _Empreintes de Cachets assyro-chaldéens relevées au Musée
britannique_ (_Archives des Missions_, 1882, p. 375), fig. 5.

[332] _Ibid._ fig. 25.

[333] A kneeling figure occurs on a contract dated from the seventh
century, MÉNANT, _ibid._ p. 376, fig. 7. Several impressions in the
London collection show us personages in the modern attitude of prayer
before the figure of a god overshadowed by huge wings. _Ibid._ figs. 26
and 27.

[334] MÉNANT, _Empreinte de Cachets_, &c. fig. 65.

[335] De Luynes collection, No. 188. Diameter 1 inch.

[336] No. 986.

[337] _Ibid._ figs. 20–24, 27, 30, 31, 41–44.

[338] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. pp. 290, 291.

[339] MÉNANT, _Rapport sur les Cylindres du Musée britannique_, p. 127.

[340] SOLDI, _Les Cylindres babyloniens_ (_Revue archéologique_, vol.
xxviii.), p. 153.

[341] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. i. fig. 85.

[342] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 281. A scarab of Amenophis III. has
also been found. Layard also tells us that he found several scarabæi
of Egyptian manufacture, while excavating at Nimroud, and others were
brought to him which had been found in different parts of Mesopotamia.

[343] _Account of the income and expenditure of the British Museum for

[344] In a recently published work (_Kritik des Ægyptischen Ornaments,
archäologische_ _Studie_, with two lithographic plates, Marburg, 8vo,
1883) Herr Ludwig von Sybel has investigated the influence exercised
by what he calls _Asiatic ornament_ upon Egyptian art, after the
commencement of the second Theban empire. The impression left by his
inquiry--which is conducted with much order and critical acumen--is
that Egypt, by the intermediary of the Phœnicians, received more
from Assyria and Chaldæa than she gave. This influence was exercised
chiefly by the numerous metal objects imported into the Nile valley
from western Asia, where metallurgy was more advanced and more active
than in Egypt. We may have doubts as to some of Herr von Sybel’s
comparisons, and may think he sometimes exaggerates the Asiatic
influence, but none the less may his work be read both with profit and

[345] See above, page 98.

[346] Layard, _Monuments_, first series, plate 7.

[347] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. chapter iv. § 1.

[348] Vol. I. Chapter II. § 7.

[349] The ornament reproduced in our Plate XIII. is borrowed from a
plate of LAYARD’S _Monuments_ (first series, plate 80), and the two
subjects brought together in Plate XIV. are taken from plate 55 of the
second series. Our Plate XV. brings together, on a smaller scale, the
figures which occupy plates 29, 30 and 31 of PLACE’S _Ninive_.

[350] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 311.

[351] PLACE, _Ninive_, plate 32.

[352] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 166, note.

[353] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. ii. pp. 251, 252.

[354] LEPSIUS, _Les Métaux dans les Inscriptions egyptiennes_.
Translated into French by W. Berend, and with additions by the author,

[355] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 166.

[356] _Ibid._ p. 166.

[357] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 313.

[358] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 166.

[359] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. ii. p. 252.

[360] DIODORUS, ii. viii. 4.

[361] RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. pp. 91, 92. We
borrow figs. 163–8 from Professor Rawlinson. Some of these, he tells
us, are from drawings by Mr. Churchill, the artist who accompanied
Loftus into Chaldæa and Susiana; the rest are taken from objects now in
the British Museum.

[362] We borrow the figures numbered 183, 184, 186 and 187, from the
plate accompanying a remarkable paper by M. HELBIG, in which he points
out the similarities that exist between this Ninevite pottery, and
the oldest pottery of Attica and the Ægæan islands (_Osservazioni
sopra la provenienza della decorazione geometrica_, in the _Annales
de l’Institut de Correspondance archéologique_, 1875, p. 221). The
tracings reproduced by M. Helbig (_tavola d’aggiunta_, H), were made by
Mr. Murray. Our figures 182, 185, and 188 were taken from drawings made
by myself in the British Museum.

[363] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. ii. p. 150.

[364] BIRCH, _History of Ancient Pottery_, 2nd edition, 1873, p. 91.

[365] BIRCH, _History of Ancient Pottery_, 2nd edition, 1873, p. 104.

[366] The British Museum possesses some fine examples of these coffins;
they were transported to England by Loftus, who had some difficulty
in bringing them home intact. See LOFTUS, _Travels and Researches_,
&c., p. 204; LAYARD, _Discoveries_, pp. 558–561; and BIRCH, _History
of Ancient Pottery_, pp. 105–107. In the upper parts of the mounds at
Warka and Niffer, where these slipper-shaped coffins were packed in
thousands, fragments of glazed earthenware, plates and vases, were also
found; they seemed to date from the same period.

[367] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. p. 375.

[368] BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, vol. v. p. 173. RAWLINSON, _The Five
Great Monarchies_, vol. i. pp. 389–391.

[369] On this subject see a note by Sir David BREWSTER (?), appended to
LAYARD, _Discoveries_, pp. 674–676.

[370] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 197.

[371] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. i. p. 421; _Discoveries_, p. 197.

[372] RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. p. 574.

[373] A detailed description of this curious object will be found in
a note supplied to Layard by Sir David BREWSTER, who made a careful
examination of the lens (_Discoveries_, p. 197).

[374] See RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, &c., vol. i. pp.

[375] On the richness of the metalliferous deposits about the
head-waters of the Tigris and Euphrates, see vol. i. pp. 124, 125.

[376] RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. p. 98.

[377] _Ibid._

[378] _Ibid._

[379] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. ii. p. 263.

[380] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. pp. 303–305 and 379.

[381] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. pp. 84–89, and plates 70, 71.

[382] A certain number of iron implements are exhibited in the British
Museum (Kouyundjik Gallery, case E); they were found for the most part
at Nimroud, by Sir H. LAYARD (_Discoveries_, pp. 174 and 194). Among
objects particularly mentioned by him are feet of chairs, tables,
&c., mattocks and hammers, the heads of arrows and lances, and a
double-handled saw 62 inches long.

[383] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 264 and plate 71; figs. 5, 6 and 7.

[384] This is formally stated by Dr. PERCY, who furnished Layard with a
long note upon the composition of the Assyrian bronzes (_Discoveries_,
p. 670). At Nimroud, the latter found helmets and cuirasses of iron
with surface ornaments of bronze (_Nineveh_, vol. i. p. 341). He
speaks of this proceeding as characteristic of Assyrian metal-work
(_Discoveries_, p. 191).

[385] To the evidence of Layard, which we have already had occasion to
quote on this point, we may add that of RICH (_Kurdistan_, vol. i. pp.
176 and 222).

[386] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, chapter viii.

[387] See Dr. PERCY’S note, at the end of the _Discoveries_, p. 670.

[388] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, pp. 176–178.

[389] NAHUM, ii. 9.

[390] E. FLANDIN, _Voyage archéologique_.

[391] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, pp. 198, 199.

[392] In 1882 these fragments were in the _Nimroud central saloon_. In
the _Assyrian side room_, close to the door, there is another throne
whose bronze casing might be restored almost in its entirety. Its
decoration is less rich, however, than that of the thrones of which we
have been speaking. A poor drawing of it may be found in George SMITH’S
_Assyrian Discoveries_, p. 432.

[393] This is not complete; about a third of it seems to be missing.

[394] Reasoning from the analogy of the ivories above mentioned,
it might be thought that this fragmentary column belonged to the
balustrade of a window. M. Dieulafoy, who first drew our attention
to the fragment, provided us with a photograph of it, and is of that

[395] In BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, plate 164, a bronze bull’s head
is figured which must have been used as the arm of a chair.

[396] This motive was by no means rare. Some more examples will be
found reproduced in LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 301. At Malthaï
there are human figures between the uprights of the throne on which the
second deity is seated. They may be seen more clearly in Place’s large
plate (No. 45), than in our necessarily small engraving.

[397] _1 Kings_ x. 18.

[398] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 198; SMITH, _Assyrian Discoveries_, pp.
431, 432.

[399] George SMITH, _Assyrian Discoveries_, p. 432.

[400] As soon as these ivories arrived at the British Museum, the
learned keeper of the Oriental Antiquities was struck by their Egyptian
character. A paper which he published at the time may be consulted with
profit (BIRCH, _Observations on two Egyptian cartouches, and some other
ivory ornaments found at Nimroud, in the Transactions of the Royal
Society of Literature_, second series, vol. iii. pp. 151–177.)

[401] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 195.

[402] LAYARD, _Monuments_, first series, plate 24.

[403] _Ibid._ plates 55 and 56. In the second stage of reliefs,
counting from the bottom.

[404] Among the ivories in case C of the _Nimroud Gallery_ there is
a kind of blackish ivory egg, which may have served as the knob of
a sceptre. In an oval crowned by the uræus between two feathers,
we find an inscription which appears to be Phœnician. It has been
read as the name of a king of Cyprus. LOFTUS, in a letter addressed
to the _Athenæum_ (1855, p. 351), speaks of other ivories from the
south-western palace at Nimroud. They are the remains of a throne, and
were found in a deposit of wood ashes. He says there was a shaft formed
by figures placed back to back and surmounted by a capital shaped like
a flower. There was also, according to the same authority, a Phœnician

[405] See Vol. I., pp. 299–302.

[406] My researches were not confined to the ivories in the cases. I
also went through the thousands of pieces in the closed drawers which
are not shown, in some instances because of their broken condition, in
others because they are merely duplicates of better specimens in the
selection exhibited.

[407] The feet found by Sir H. LAYARD at Nimroud must, as he
conjectured, have belonged to one of these tripods (_Discoveries_, pp.

[408] We should also mention another vase, shaped like the muzzle of
a lion, which was used to take liquids out of a large crater set upon
a stand (BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, vol. i. plate 76. See also M.
Botta’s plate 162, where the chief examples from the bas-reliefs are

[409] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 197.

[410] In the eighth chapter of the _Discoveries_, LAYARD gives a sort
of inventory, rather desultory in form, perhaps, but nevertheless
very instructive and valuable, of the principal objects found in
the magazines--we have borrowed largely from these pages. The most
important of the cups are reproduced, in whole or in part, in the
plates numbered from 57 to 68 of the _Monuments_, second series. A
complete and accurate study of the cups and other objects of the same
kind discovered in Western Asia will be found in M. ALBERT DUMONT’S
_Les Céramiques de la Grèce propre_ (pp. 112–129).

[411] LAYARD, _Monuments_, second series, plate 68.

[412] This platter is figured in LAYARD’S _Monuments_, plate 63, but
our drawing was made from the original.

[413] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. pp. 87–89.

[414] It is numbered 619 in the museum inventory. It bears an
inscription in Aramaic characters.

[415] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. figs. 280, 281.

[416] Inscriptions of this kind have been found on five or six of the
bronze platters in the British Museum. They are about to be printed
in the _Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum_, part ii., _Inscriptiones
Aramæa_, vol. i.

[417] Thus, according to M. de Vogüé, who has examined the inscriptions
upon the cups recently cleaned, three of the cups from Nimroud bear
respectively the names of _Baalazar_ (Baal protects him), _Elselah_ (El
pardons him) and _Beharel_ (El has chosen him). Baalazar was a scribe.

[418] See above, p. 220, note 2.

[419] See PRISSE, _Histoire de l’Art egyptien_, vol. ii. plate entitled
_Le Pharaon Khouenaten servi par la reine_. The kind of saucer held by
the queen is more like the Assyrian pateræ in shape.

[420] See in PRISSE’S _Histoire_, the plates classed under the head
_Arts industriels_, and especially the four entitled _Vases en Or
émaillé et cloisonné_. In all these I can only find one patera, in the
plate called _Collection de Vases du Règne de Ramesés III._ There is
nothing to show that the vases here figured were not earthenware.

[421] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. figs. 287, 288. See also the
great vultures on the ceilings (_ibid._ fig. 282), and winged females
(_ibid._ fig. 287).

[422] PRISSE, _Histoire de l’Art egyptien_, vol. ii., the plate
entitled _Types de Sphinx_.

[423] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. fig. 239, and PRISSE, in the
plate above quoted.

[424] A cursory glance through the pages dedicated by Prisse to the
industrial arts is conclusive on this point, the heads of snakes
and horses, the figures of negroes and prisoners of war are almost
invariably placed back to back on the objects they are used to adorn.
Examples of this abound, but in order to understand what we may call
the principle of this ornamentation it will suffice to refer to figs.
314, 327, and 328 of the second volume of our _History of Art in
Ancient Egypt_.

[425] In PRISSE’S plate entitled _Choix de Bijoux de diverses Époques_,
there is a bracelet with a central motive recalling that of our cup.
It shows us two griffins separated by a palmette from which rises a
tall stem of papyrus between several pairs of volutes. This object is,
however, almost unique of its kind, and we do not exactly know to what
epoch it belongs. May it not belong to a period when Egyptian art began
to be affected by that of Mesopotamia, an influence that is betrayed
in more than one particular? According to Herr VON SYBEL, who has
studied Egyptian ornament with so much care, this motive of two animals
facing each other did not appear before the nineteenth dynasty, and he
looks upon it as purely Asiatic in its origin (_Kritik des Ægyptischen
Ornaments_, pp. 37, 38). We may also quote a small box of Egyptian
faïence inscribed with the oval of Ahmes II, the Amasis of Herodotus.
It bears two griffins quite similar to those of our group, separated
by a cypress. But Dr. Birch, who was the first to publish this
monument, recognizes that, in spite of the cartouch, its physiognomy
is more Assyrian than Egyptian (_Transactions of the Royal Society of
Literature_, Series II. p. 177).

[426] See on this subject an ingenious and learned paper to
which we shall more than once have occasion to refer, namely, M.
CLERMONT-GANNEAU’S _Étude d’Archéologie orientale, l’Imagerie
phénicienne et la Mythologie iconologique chez les Grecs_. First part:
_La Coupe phénicienne de Palestina_ (1880, 8vo, 8 plates).

[427] LAYARD, _Monuments_, second series, plate 66.

[428] HOUGHTON, _On the Mammalia of Assyrian Sculptures_, p. 382.

[429] LAYARD, _Monuments_, second series, plate 67.

[430] LAYARD, _Monuments_, second series, plate 62, B.

[431] RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. chapter vii.;
LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. pp. 338–348.

[432] RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, &c., vol. i. pp. 408–410.

[433] BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, plate 159. In this plate the chief
types of weapons figured in the reliefs at Khorsabad are brought

[434] BOSCAWEN, _Notes on an Ancient Assyrian Bronze Sword bearing a
Cuneiform Inscription_ (in the _Transactions of the Society of Biblical
Archæology_, vol. iv. p. 347. with one plate).

[435] BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, plate 160.

[436] SAYCE, _The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Van_, in the _Journal of
the Royal Asiatic Society_, vol. xiv. p. 653. Mr. Pinches tells me that
there is a similar text on the hollow border of the shield reproduced
in our Fig. 225. Nothing is now to be distinguished, however, but
characters that may be read, “Great king, king of ----”.

[437] See vol. i. page 394.

[438] We cannot too often thank the keepers of the Oriental antiquities
in the British Museum for the trouble they took in enabling us to give
a figure of this hitherto unpublished monument. The fragments, which
had not yet been pieced together or exhibited in the galleries, were
arranged expressly for our draughtsman.

[439] Nos. 385–391 in DE LONGPÉRIER’S catalogue. These objects came
from the collection of Clot-Bey, which was formed in Egypt but
contained many things of Syrian origin. DE LONGPÉRIER did not hesitate,
on the evidence of their style, to class these objects as Assyrian, and
any one who examines the motives of their decoration will be of his
opinion. See his _Œuvres_, vol. i. p. 166.

[440] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. pp. 394–395, and figs. 257,

[441] DE LONGPÉRIER, _Notice des Antiquités assyriennes du Musée du
Louvre_, third edition, No. 212.

[442] Many more varieties of the same type will be found in the
plate on which BOTTA reproduced the principal jewels figured in the
Khorsabad reliefs (_Monument de Ninive_, plate 161). See also LAYARD,
_Discoveries_, p. 597.

[443] The Arab jewellers still make use of similar moulds (LAYARD,
_Discoveries_, p. 595).

[444] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, pp. 177–178.

[445] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 597. The oldest mention of the pearl
fisheries of the Persian Gulf is to be found in those fragments of
NEARCHUS that have been preserved in the pages of ARRIAN (_Indica_,
xxxviii. 7); but it is probable that the search for pearl oysters began
in those waters many centuries before. The Assyrians, as we have seen,
made use both of pearl and mother-of-pearl.

[446] J. OPPERT, _L’Ambre jaune chez les Assyriens_ (in the _Recueil
des Travaux relatifs à la Philologie et à l’Archéologie egyptiennes et
assyriennes_, vol. ii, pp. 34 _et seq._) M. Oppert’s rendering of the
paraphrase which he believes to specify amber is not accepted by all

[447] In the inventory, compiled with so much care by de Longpérier,
of all the little objects in the Assyrian collection of the Louvre,
and especially of those necklaces found by Botta in the sand under the
great threshold at Khorsabad (from No. 295 to No. 380), there is not
the slightest mention of amber. MM. Birch and Pinches tell me that the
oriental department of their museum contains no trace of amber, with
the exception of a few beads brought from Egypt, to which they have
no means of assigning a date. They have never heard that any of the
Mesopotamian excavations have brought the smallest vestige of this
substance to light.

[448] ARRIAN, _Expedition d’Alexandre_, vi. 29.

[449] The reputation enjoyed by Chaldæan textiles all over western
Asia is shown by a curious text in the book of JOSHUA (vii. 21). After
the taking of Jericho, Achan, one of the Israelites, disobeyed orders
and secreted a part of the spoil, consisting of two hundred shekels of
silver, a wedge of gold, and “a goodly Babylonish garment.”

[450] “Pictas vestes apud Homerum fuisse (accipio), unde triumphales
natæ. Acu acere id Phryges invenerunt, ideoque Phrygioniæ appellatæ
sunt. Aurum intexere in eadem Asia invenit Attalus rex: unde nomen
Attalicis. Colores diversos picturæ intexere Babylon maxime celebravit
et nomen imposuit.” PLINY, _Nat. Hist._ viii. § 74. _Acu pingere_, and
for short, _pingere_, here meant _to embroider_. _Picta_ or _picturata
vestis_ was a robe covered with embroideries.

[451] See PLINY, l. c. LUCRETIUS, iv. 1026. PLAUTUS, _Stichus_, Act ii,
Scene ii, v. 54. SILIUS ITALICUS, xiv. 658. MARTIAL, _Epigr._ xiv. 150.
I borrow these citations from the first chapter of M. EUGÈNE MÜNTZ’S
_Histoire de la Tapisserie_ in the _Bibliothèque de l’Enseignement des

[452] See Vol. I. pp. 305–307.

[453] NAHUM iii. 16.

[454] EZEKIEL xvii. 4. ISAIAH also alludes to the commerce of Babylon
(xlvii. 15).

[455] See on this subject, François LENORMANT’S _La Monnaie dans
l’Antiquité_, vol. i. _Prolégomènes_, cap. iii. and especially pp.

[456] RAWLINSON, _The Five Great Monarchies_, vol. i. p. 108. MÉNANT,
_Essai sur les Pierres gravées_, p. 128.

[457] “... the Chaldeans whose cry is in the ships,” ISAIAH xliii. 14.

[458] TAYLOR, _Notes on the Ruins of Mugeyer_ (_Journal of the Royal
Asiatic Society_, vol. xv. p. 264).

[459] STRABO speaks of a Chaldæan settlement on the Arabian coast of
the Persian Gulf; he calls it Gerrha (xvi. iii. 3). All the products
of Arabia, he says, were there brought together. Thence they were
transported to Chaldæa by sea, and carried up the Euphrates as far as

[460] The juxtaposition on the black obelisk of Shalmaneser II. of the
rhinoceros, the small-eared or Indian elephant, and the Bactrian camel
seems to point to this route. The monkeys in the same reliefs appear
to belong to an Indian species (HOUGHTON, _Mammalia of the Assyrian
Sculptures_, pp. 319, 320).

[461] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. figs. 257, 330 and 331.

[462] _Art in Ancient Egypt_, vol. ii. pp. 176–179.

[463] SOURY, _Théories naturalistes du Monde et de la Vie dans
l’Antiquité_, cap. i. and ii.

[464] _Ibid._ cap. iii.

[465] Fr. LENORMANT, _Manuel d’Histoire ancienne_, vol. ii. page 176.

[466] SOURY, _Théories naturalistes_, p. 65.

[467] A. DE CANDOLLE, _Origine des Plantes cultivées_, pp. 285, _et

Transcriber’s Notes:

1. Obvious printers’, punctuation and spelling errors have been
corrected silently.

2. Some hyphenated and non-hyphenated versions of the same words have
been retained as in the original.

3. Where hyphenation is in doubt, it has been retained as in the

4. Superscripts are represented using the caret character, e.g. D^r. or

5. Italics are shown as _xxx_.

6. Bold print is shown as =xxx=.

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